Archive | September, 2011

Frame Your Life: Part I

28 Sep

GUARD YOUR HEART
FOR OUT OF IT FLOWS
THE ISSUES OF LIFE 

 

When it comes to friendships, dating and relationships……. What is ok by you and what is not ok? How do you know things have gone too far? Where do you draw the line? Do you just go with the flow or are you certain about what you want?

What is a boundary?

A boundary is a balcony in a high-rise apartment to protect people from falling over the edge.
A boundary is a yellow line at a train station platform for people to stand behind to stop people from falling onto the tracks or get hit by an oncoming train.
A boundary is a signed marriage document, the public declaration to spend your life with one other person only for the rest of your life.

A boundary frames something; it makes a clear distinction between one thing to the other, it tells you how far to go and when you’ve gone too far. A boundary draws the line between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, what is safe and not safe, what is healthy and what is unhealthy.

Boundaries can help us. They can protect others and us from getting hurt. Boundaries can allow us to experience the fullness of life – an abundant life. Think of a playground; once the playground boundary is established, it is clear where a kid can play and where it is out of bounds.

The good thing about creating boundaries is YOU can set your own. You choose who and what you let inside your ‘house’ and what you will keep out. Its kind of like ‘guarding your heart’…..you choose who and what you let into your heart and who and what you don’t. Throughout your life there will be thousands if not millions of choices to make, particularly when it comes to friendships and relationships. Choose WISELY. Give yourself the freedom to decide what you will allow in your heart and what you will leave at the front door.

What boundaries do you have in your life?

Is kissing a good friend a ‘no go’?
Is having a one-night stand ok with you?
Is sleeping with your boyfriend or girlfriend off limits?
Is cheating on your partner debatable?
Is taking back your partner who cheated on you dependable?

Its all too easy to go with the flow when it comes to our friendships and relationships…..do whatever feels good at the time without giving a second thought to our actions and our behaviours. At times we can get caught up in the moment and it might seem too hard to stop. Sometimes we can think we have not harmed ourselves or others and other times our ‘in the moment’ behaviour can get us in trouble, destroying relationships and hurting ourselves and others.

How can I set boundaries in my life?

It starts with the basics…. how would you like to be treated? Treat others that way.

  • What behaviours display respect to yourself? What behaviours display respect to others? What doesn’t?

E.G. You’re hanging out with a group of guys and they want to take photos of you doing sexy poses and maybe even some shots with your top off. Does this behaviour respect you? Are these guys displaying respect towards you?
What boundary do you have about your body? Available to anyone or off limits and reserved for that special someone only?

  • What is valuable to you? Another way of putting it is, what is important to you?

E.G. You have a close friend who you really don’t like in that way but you’ve had a few drinks at a party and you are feeling a bit lonely. Is it ok to sleep with your friend? Even if there are no feelings on both sides and its only a one-night thing?
If you value your friendship with this person and don’t want to hurt them or confuse your friendship with sex, you may have a boundary about keeping friends as friends and nothing more.

E.G. You’re in a relationship and you are not ready to have sex with your partner. So how far is too far? If you haven’t thought about that, you might find yourself in the heat of the moment and not know how to stop.
A boundary will help you clearly know what you are ok with and what you aren’t. Being uncomfortably explicit and writing out what is ok and what is out of bounds will help you and your partner keep within that boundary.

Sticking to them & living them out – Making boundaries come ALIVE.

Actions are always harder than speaking mere words. Many people can talk the talk but not many can walk the walk. It may not be the easiest thing to do but in the long run, you will be better for it and glad you stuck to what was important to you.

Look at the boundaries you have in your life and think about what steps you can take to live your boundaries out. What actions will you take? Who will you speak to for advice or accountability? Living out your boundaries will make your friendships and relationships a lot simpler and easier to enjoy.

Let’s take Joe and Mary’s relationship as an example. They have been dating for a few months and really like each other but they both strongly value their sexuality and want to save sex together for marriage. To keep what is important to them they need to set boundaries on their physical relationship.
How do they do that?

Firstly, they need to talk to each other about what is important to them in their relationship. What physical activity is ok and not ok? Where can their hands go and where can’t they go? What kissing is ok and what kissing is out of bounds? How will they know if they go too far? What will they do when things get heated? Who will they speak to if they want to get advice? Both of them need to AGREE on these things, as agreement is the first step in setting a boundary.

Secondly, they can do things that will make it easier for them to stick to their boundaries. For example, avoid being home alone together, sleepovers or holidays and sitting in the car late at night. All these things will tempt them to do things they may wake up the next morning regretting.

Thirdly, they can make themselves accountable to someone they respect and trust and this person can provide support and give them advice when they need it. It totally helps when someone encourages us to keep going and reminds us what is important to us, especially when we are feeling discouraged.

Finally, they don’t need to beat themselves up if they make a mistake and cross a boundary. Refocusing on their vision and what’s important to them and continuing to work towards it is way more beneficial. No one is perfect. It doesn’t matter how many times a person falls, what matters is if they pick themselves back up again.

What is important to you?
What do you value?
Decide on these things.
Choose what is right for you.
Guard your heart.
Frame your life with what you want.

What boundaries do you have? I’d love to hear them. Email sexthewholestory@hotmail.com

More to sex than mere skin on skin

18 Sep

When I was a kid, I LOVED Christmas morning. I was so excited about waking up in the morning and running downstairs to the Christmas tree to search for all the presents that had my name on it. My excitement made me not want to go to sleep. If I didn’t sleep, I could open my presents in the middle of the night and not have to wait till the morning. Oh the joy of Christmas morning! The excitement of seeing wrapped gifts with my name on it. The surprise on my face when I opened the gifts. It’s such a wonderful experience. It made me feel so special.

Every one desires to be loved, accepted and to belong. This is universal. It is intrinsic to our human make-up.  We were created for relationship.

Today’s culture is very much a sexualised culture. Sex is expected and assumed when you hook up with someone and especially when you enter into a relationship. But is this type of culture actually healthy for us and our futures? Are the people we are sleeping with even worth what we are giving them?

There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact.

Sex is deeply intimate and extremely vulnerable. It joins two people together as one. Sex deepens our love and bond with someone. It is life-creating and extremely relational. It was designed to be experienced in the confines of marriage where the devotion and commitment is for life – the ‘till death do us part’ commitment, the ‘no matter what happens, I’m sticking by your side’ devotion, creating a safe and loving environment for the couple to be completely exposed, vulnerable and intimate. Sex was created to seal and unify a marriage joining the 2 people as 1 – body, soul and spirit. It is the ultimate expression of LOVE. Powerful and completely beautiful!

Now there was a time when I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to get for Christmas. A few weeks before Christmas, I searched the whole house when my parents weren’t home. I knew that had already bought me gifts and I knew they were in the house somewhere. I finally found them in a cupboard. The gifts were already wrapped up with my name on it. This was going to be tricky. I carefully peeled the sticky tape off and slowly opened each side of the present making sure I didn’t rip the paper. It was exciting to see what gifts I was going to receive but once I knew what I was getting, I must admit, I felt a bit bad, a bit guilty, a little cheated that I had wrecked the surprise for myself on Christmas morning. When Christmas morning came, I tried to act surprised like I was opening my gifts for the first time. Truth be told, it just was not as special as it would have been if I didn’t take that sneak peak weeks before.

Our sexuality is a unique gift that we give to another person. Waiting for the right person and giving it to them in a committed, secure, long-term relationship makes the experience so special for both people. Awakening love before the right time can rob you of a beautiful experience and leave you feeling guilty and regretful. Think about this…. when I finally decide I want to spend my life with this person, what have I saved to give them?

Sex comes with an attachment.

After breaking up with my boyfriend that I had sex with, I felt deep rejection and heartache. Even though I knew that breaking up was the right thing to do, I felt a part of me was given to him that I wouldn’t be able to get back…..I was intimate and vulnerable with my boyfriend and from that I developed a strong connection to him. It made it even harder for me to not want to get back with him. I was left feeling unloved and lonely….looking back, I wish I didn’t sleep with him.” Elisa

When we have sex with one person, we get attached to them. We feel deeply connected with them and desire to be with them. Hormones oxytocin and prolactin are released in our brains making us feel a deep union with the person we’re having sex with. This explains why sex is designed in a ‘for-life committed relationship’. Casual sex – ‘friends with benefits’, ‘sex with no strings attached’ is not possible as sex comes with an attachment. We bond with the person we are having sex with and develop a deep connection with them.

Try before you buy. 

If you had a choice between a brand new fragrance or a tester fragrance, which one would you choose? Of course the brand new fragrance! The tester fragrance has been tried out before with many people wearing the fragrance. The brand new bottle has never been used.

 

“If I wait till our wedding night to have sex with my wife, what about if she is crap in bed? Then I will be stuck with her. It makes more sense to me to find out what she is like before I marry her.” Dean

Who wants to be the person “tried out” before bought? It cheapens a person down to their sexual performance and creates comparison. It doesn’t make a person feel special or unique. The gift of sex is cheapened and makes the sexual experience all about self-pleasure. And what about if the person you marry is good in bed but then turns bad? A virgin has nothing to compare their experience to.

A great lover is not just about how experienced they are in the bedroom or how many sexual techniques they can do. What makes a great lover is there ability to satisfy one person for their whole life and to be satisfied by one person for their whole life. To be a great lover requires work – effort, time & a willingness to learn. It requires openness and vulnerability. The sex shown in movies and through the media is fake. No ones sex life is as perfect as the movies portray – that’s why it’s a movie!

Sex can cloud a person’s view of their relationship.  Take sex out of the relationship and you will see what is left. Is it based on a solid foundation or simply mutual pleasure? Mutual pleasure will only last while its convenient.

Sex shouldn’t be a bandaid to fill intimacy. Pursuing the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy leaves us more lonely than ever…. We must treat someone in sexual intimacy like we want to be treated. Remember that you are fooling around with someone else’s future partner.

Our sexuality is valuable. It is a special gift and it is WORTH giving to only one person, in a life-long committed relationship, who will look after, cherish and appreciate it.

Sex and each other need to be treated with the upmost respect.

The big ‘M’ word….

9 Sep

Yep, bet you all thought it was Marriage. I’m actually talking about Masturbation.

Masturbation is the physical act of relieving sexual tension without requiring a partner.  Many people do it. Not many people talk about it. That’s why I’m talking about it.

People can believe masturbation is harmless. It is not hurting anybody and it’s self-pleasurable. BUT just because it may seem harmless does not mean it’s helpful. Many things in life can seem harmless but indeed are not helpful to our growth and development.

Masturbation can be unhealthy when….

* It becomes a habit, as habits can be hard to break. Masturbating can become obsessive and addictive. It can dominate your thoughts and behaviours and it can become all you want to do.

* You are fantasising in your mind over people or a person you shouldn’t be thinking about in that way. Fantasising can create a craving for that person in an intense sexual way.

Some things to think about…..

What are you looking at?
What you look at can influence what you desire. E.g. if you have a picture of a hot girl on your folder, your attraction and desire for her will increase the more you look at her. The more you look at her, the more you will desire her and when there is desire, there is sexual arousal. Pornography or movies with a high level of sexual content as well as reading books that detail sexual experiences in the storyline, can make a person sexually aroused.

What are you thinking about?
‘So a man thinks, he is.’ What you focus your mind and thoughts on, you will become. It will be your focus and your vision. E.g. if you think about chocolate cake, all you will want to do is eat chocolate cake. The more you think about it, the more you will want to eat it. The greater this desire, the greater the effort you will go to, to eat chocolate cake.

Who are you fantasising over? If it’s not your partner, you are on dangerous ground. Fantasising about anyone else who is not your partner will not help you stay faithful. You will eventually prefer the relationship you are having in your head to your real-life relationship in reality. Because the fantasy world is not real, it will stimulate you in a way that your partner is not able to. Eventually you will prefer your fantasy relationship, as your real-life relationship won’t be able to compete with the relationship you have created in your head.
Can you be faithful to the person you are with, if you are fantasising over someone else in your head? Harmless it may seem (because nobody knows what you are thinking but you) but harmful it really is. Being unfaithful starts in the mind before is becomes a behaviour.

Why are you doing it?
Some people do it to relieve sexual tension, some people do it to experiment with their body and find out how it all works. Other people do it because they are lonely or feel bad about themselves and they want to make themselves feel better.

Think about why you are doing it. Is it healthy or unhealthy for you? Do you find you can’t stop? Are you doing it to cover up something deeper you don’t know how to deal with? Masturbation won’t help you deal with feelings of loneliness, depression, anxiety or unworthiness.Dealing with something hard like this can be easier when you’re working it out  with someone else. Speaking to a trusted adult or professional counsellor could help with that. For your futures sake, it’s worth dealing with now rather than later.

“It’s fine now because I’m single”. You can’t assume that you will be able to stop when you get into a relationship or that your partner will be fine with you continuing to masturbate. A relationship does not change things or solve all our problems. In fact the opposite happens, all our problems come to the surface when 2 people come together. Also, who wants to be with someone who isn’t satisfied with them that they have to go off to satisfy themselves alone?

If it has become a habit or an obsessive addiction that needs to be addressed there is good news! Developing and exercising self-control can help you tackle this area of your life. It is possible and here could be some strategies….

  • Cut out the things you are looking at and control your thinking patterns – don’t let your mind wonder. The minute your mind starts wondering, stop the thought and do something different.
  • Go to bed early and avoid staying up late surfing the Internet with no purpose.
  • Remove the computer and TV from your room.
  • Don’t stay in bed longer than you need to.
  • Stop watching movies, youtube and music video clips with high sexual content – change the channel!
  • Throw out magazines or novels with sexual content.
  • Remove the safari app from your iphone and install an Internet protection app instead.
  • Socialise with friends more and spend less time alone by yourself at home, especially if that’s your weak spot.

Being accountable, humble and transparent and allowing someone to walk the journey with you can help you gain control of this area of your sexuality. What has helped you? Email sexthewholestory@hotmail.com


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