After nineteen years as a Calgary couples counsellor, I now get the desperate emails and the frantic phone calls practically all the time: My wife cheated on me… My husband had an affair…
Marriage Counselling Calgary: Making Sex Matter.
One rather well-known secret of search engine optimization is that, often, people can’t even bring themselves to Google what they really need. So often, when people are searching, “Marriage Counselling Calgary,” or, “Couples Counselling Calgary,” what they are actually searching for is, “Sex Therapy Calgary.”
Our society’s shame around sexuality and sex therapy is just so great they can’t even admit what they are searching for to a search engine.
And, in fairness, both Christian and Secular society’s stance towards sexuality is troubling. The messages about the self so many endure during their most formative years are often so incredibly damaging that years of sex therapy are required to undo them.
People come by that shame honestly…
The other day, Ros and I were driving with our daughters. Midway through the trip, the subject of what they were being taught about sex in their (Christian) school came up.
Our oldest daughter quickly commented:
“Oh, we all know what they want us to believe about sex – have sex, and you’re probably going to hell.”
Ros, of course, was shocked, and started asking who had said that. Apparently, no one had come out and said those exact words, but as both of our daughters began to unpack the language that had been used, it increasingly became clear that only an idiot would not have arrived at the understanding they had grasped was being communicated.
Of course, Secular society is well aware of the damage that religion has caused in the area of sexual functioning – and, justifiably, rather stridently vocal about such. Yet, really, have they done any better?
As the glow has started to fade on the sexual revolution, a vast assortment of intellectuals, marriage counsellors, sex therapists and college professors have started to ask if both sides are missing the boat:
Naomi Wolf, in her book Promiscuities, reports that when she lost her own virginity at age 15, there was “something important missing.” Apparently, the thing missing was the very sense that anything could be important. In her book Last Night in Paradise, Katie Roiphe poignantly wonders what could be wrong with freedom: “It’s not the absence of rules exactly, the dizzying sense that we can do whatever we want, but the sudden realization that nothing we do matters.”
So much of the above-linked article, falls right into the path of the errors our daughters are subjected to within the hallowed halls of Christendom. And, even though the answers the author gives almost entirely miss the boat, he still offers something incredibly valuable:
The right questions. (Or at least half of them…)
As we engage in this strange marriage counselling that really is sex therapy in our practice here in Calgary, we hear two channels of questions:
(1). Clients who have come in from Judaeo-Christian backgrounds generally are desperate for a way to help their sexualities escape from the cloud of guilt, shame and fear that has surrounded them for years. (These clients will sometimes even admit they found us covertly by searching for Marriage Counselling Calgary/Couples Counselling Calgary.)
(2). Clients who come in without that Christian background? They usually feel sex has become meaningless, exploitive, dirty and utterly relationally devoid. They may have the courage to directly search for Sex Therapy Calgary, but it’s actually our discussions around spirituality that draw them to book a session.
Really, both the Christian and Secular clients are looking for the same thing: They are looking to, somehow, make sex matter again.
They long for sexuality to be seen as a place of exquisite and complex spirituality and for sexual intimacy to become a means of life-long and incredibly secure attachment. They seek sex therapy because they are tired of living fragmented lives and long for all parts of intimacy to operate as a unified and passionately flourishing whole.
And, they want both the romantic and the erotic love to last in their precious relationship – forever.
So, at the end of the day, we care not at all if you used Marriage Counselling Calgary, Couples Counselling Calgary or Sex Therapy Calgary to find us. What we want you to know is that it is possible to heal both from the cloud of shame and guilt as well as the desolation of meaningless sex – and make sex matter again!