Love, Sex & Relationships

Beatty Cohan MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of “For Better for Worse Forever:  Discover the Path to Lasting Love,” columnist, national speaker, national radio and television expert guest and host of “The Ask Beatty Show” on the Progressive Radio Network.  She has a private practice in New York City and East Hampton.

I was excited to interview Beatty as I am a veteran of dating at a later age; mainly using the internet to find a romantic partner.  Her approach is different and it was inspiring to hear, as we spoke on the telephone.  I hope you will find the information Beatty shared as helpful as I did.  Please note that all information in this article was communicated to me by Beatty. 

Beatty shared three elements that must be in place in order to achieve success in a love relationship. 

  1. Each person needs to be in a good place emotionally, psychologically and psychiatrically.  We need to be willing to emotionally work through our past traumas and hurts as best as we can, knowing of course, that we can’t change our histories.  This process is necessary if we want to be able to fully engage in life and live in the moment, rather than continue to have one foot in the past and one foot in the present.  It takes courage to look at our past traumas and to address issues that continue to get in the way of our lives and relationships.  And the ‘good news is that we don’t need to navigate life and life’s challenges alone.  We need to give ourselves permission to reach out and ask for help when we feel ‘stuck’. Beatty’s mantra is – Acknowledge, Address and Resolve!  The relationship should be the icing on the cake, says Beatty.  The cake must have a sturdy foundation to hold the icing in place. We need to be the cake!
  2. We need to learn the ingredients that go into a healthy relationship. Using the cake analogy again – we must know what ingredients to use to bake a cake.  Unfortunately, this is not something that is taught in school or that we necessarily learn from our parents.  But it’s never too late to learn!
  3. Through Beatty’s research with 450 people in the Providence, Boston and Connecticut areas, she developed a 10 step formula to help people assess who’s right or wrong for you BEFORE committing to any serious relationship. Beatty’s formula changes the way that you look at relationships forever.  It educates, empowers and above all, keeps you safe!  Beatty’s book For Better for Worse Forever:  Discover the Path to Lasting Love , outlines her formula in detail.  Her research found that it takes about one year to find out who someone is and is not.  And unfortunately, this process cannot be fast-forwarded. Her book outlines a number of ‘red flags’ such as substance abuse of various kinds, verbal, emotional, sexual and physical abuse that you must take seriously and EXIT the relationship before it’s too late.  In an interview that Beatty had on her radio show with Denise Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson’s sister, Denise said that she believes that if her sister had known about and had used Beatty’s formula that she would be alive today.  “We need to do our homework”, says Beatty.

FACT – The divorce rate in the United States is 48% for first marriages, 68% for second marriages and 73% of couples marrying for the 3rd time find themselves in a divorce court. These statistics are distressing.

Beatty offered some possible explanations –

  1. The mythical belief that love and romance conquers all adversity.
  2. A false sense of what healthy relationships are, due to misleading and distorted portrayals in movies, reality television and popular music.
  3. Few if any serious relationship education courses or programs offered in schools, colleges or universities.

In summary, in order to find and sustain a healthy and happy relationship, we need to be willing to deal with our own ‘skeletons in the closet’ and ‘unfinished business, so that we truly feel good about ourselves, rather than hoping and wishing that someone else will save us.  We then need to be committed to doing Beatty’s in-depth assessment that has been successfully used by thousands of men and women around the world.  I think of all the times, the man I was dating was simply a “carrier” of my fantasy.  As the red flags proliferated, I had no choice but to break up with each one of them. 

Beatty and I discussed how as challenges arise in our relationship, there is an opportunity to grow and to get closer. There is a dichotomy because our deepest need and desire (to be known and to be loved) is also our deepest fear.  We push and pull at love rather than just being able to receive it.  It is complicated for many of us.

Every relationship has problems and challenges.  However, people need to be willing to learn the skills of effective emotional communication and problem-solving.  It involves, discussion, trade-offs and compromise, leading to a win/win resolution.  Naturally, certain destructive and self-destructive compromises and trade-offs should NEVER be made.

In terms of sex, people are having very little of it and that causes alienation and dissatisfaction in relationships.   Being touched is a basic need and many people are starving in that department too.  On average, couples in the United States have sex twice a month and then there are those who don’t have sex at all or rarely.  In France however, couples engage in sex twice a week!  What do the French know that Americans don’t! 

There are many reasons why couples are having challenges in the bedroom.  These will be discussed in a further article.  You may be surprised to know that many medications both prescription and over-the counter, have sexual side effects, including lack of desire and inhibited orgasm. If you are worried or wondering if your medicines may be causing sexual side effects, please don’t hesitate to discuss this with your doctor.It is also important for people to take care of themselves physically through nutrition and exercise.  Staying in touch with your own body can be helpful in keeping one’s libido strong throughout a lifetime.

There are couples that opt for companionship relationships, minus the sex.  And this is perfectly fine, as long as BOTH parties are in agreement.  The majority of single people also practice self pleasuring to satisfy their sexual needs and desires. Masturbation is normal and natural and good for our physical, sexual and emotional well-being. There are many terrific vibrators and sexual aids on the market.  Check them out!

Beatty shared a wonderful story with me about a former patient, Charlotte, who had been happily married for her entire adult life.   About a year after her husband died she and found herself attracted to a much younger man.  Charlotte was in her mid 80’s when she again became sexually interested and sexually active.  The idea that we outgrow our need for closeness and sex is simply a myth.  Older age can be a time to explore our sexuality in new and exciting ways.

My conversation with Beatty gave me much to think about.  I canceled my two subscriptions on internet dating sites because I realize I have some work to do.  It Is work well worth doing as it has to do with my happiness in the love/romantic relationship category.  I hope you think it is worth it too.

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