Entries by Dr Lori Beth

No Is A Complete Sentence

Boundaries. I can’t talk enough about them. Neither can the TikTok-verse. You can hardly have your daily scroll without at least one #creator mentioning boundary setting, lack of boundaries, permeable vs impermeable boundaries, or giving a personal example of a boundary violation. 

Why? It’s not that we don’t know what a proper boundary looks like or how to set one. It’s that we simply lack the skills. Many of us are not good at setting boundaries (or simply don’t set them) because we have been brought up to believe that it is rude to set boundaries with friends and family. 

That’s simply not true. Setting boundaries is absolutely essential to mental wellness because they:

  • Help us to preserve our emotional energy.
  • Allow us to choose how and when to share information.
  • Let us define our levels of vulnerability.
  • Are essential to keeping clear about what is our responsibility and what responsibility belongs to others.
  • Are critical for us to determine what emotions are ours and what emotions belong to others.
  • Promote interdependence instead of co-dependence.

Even with all the positive implications of setting boundaries, we still find ourselves in a quandary when faced with setting or maintaining our own boundaries. 

Let’s come back to guilt for a moment. We feel guilt because we buy into our family culture (and sometimes an even larger cultural belief) that by setting a boundary, we are violating a set of rules. For example, if you haven’t set boundaries with your family members before and if the rule in your family is that everyone has access to all of your time, things, and/or information, it is very likely (and completely normal that) you will feel guilty when you start setting boundaries, particularly the first few times.

In my private practice, I often see clients who have boundary setting work to do around privacy and family members. Telling a family member that something is not their business is likely to cause guilt. Even if you haven’t expressed the boundary out loud to that particular family member, you may still find yourself secretly fuming when the boundary is violated. 

Here’s a great example from a real life client (names are changed to protect identities). Jane’s mother often asks questions about Jane’s intimate life making Jane uncomfortable. When Jane felt pressured to answer, her mother frequently criticised and shamed her for her responses. Jane decided to tell her mother that her intimate life was not her mother’s business. The next time her mother asked her about her intimate partners, Jane replied “My intimate life is not something I wish to share.  It is my business only.”  Her mother replied “We don’t have a real relationship anymore because you don’t share personal things with me.” Predictably, Jane felt guilty for “ruining” their relationship.    

But that isn’t where Jane’s story ends. Before Jane let the boundary go, I requested she reflect on how she felt when she did share this information with her mother. She replied that the guilt was much easier to deal with than her mother’s criticism and attempts to control her intimate life.

Did you know I teach a regular class on boundary setting (and throughout the pandemic have been teaching it on Zoom)? I’m putting together my class schedule for 2022 and this one is incredibly popular.

Need immediate help with boundaries? Send me an email 

A Notorious Self-Care Sunday

A large part of self-care is doing things that not only make sure you are looking after yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. But we often forget about pleasure.

Raising your pleasure quotient is an essential part of self-care.

As a sex & intimacy coach, I spend a lot of time helping people to embrace pleasure and increase their pleasure quotient. (Yes, there is a pleasure quotient!) Today, I am sharing my formula for increasing your pleasure and self-care.

First, have a self-pleasure day. Yes, a whole day. Begin with breakfast in bed, eating the most decadent foods. Spend time in solo sex. Buy yourself a new sex toy in anticipation of your self-pleasure day.I recommend Tenga’s Midori for an excellent external buzzy toy. But if you’re looking for a certain spot, the Osci 2 by Lovense is an amazing G-spot toy that can also be app controlled (!). Last but not least is a personal favorite, the O-Wand, which provides an amazing cord free wand experience. (For 10% off on the O-Wand, use the code DrLori10.)

Plan your day. Spend at least a couple of hours in sensual and pleasure based pursuits. Read some erotica, listen to some erotica, or watch some erotica. This shouldn’t be goal-oriented (though if you have some orgasms along the way – fantastic). The goal is to increase your pleasure overall.     

Add a partner. If you have a partner, have a day that you are sensual together. Plan the day so you are doing things that bring each other pleasure from massage to hot sex to role play. Enjoy your favourite foods together – but feed each other. The goal of a mutual self-pleasure day is to increase pleasure and intimacy during the whole experience.

Looking to level-up? If you are feeling adventurous, get a yoni massage. This is a massage by a sexological bodyworker and the massage is both sexual and deeply releasing. You may also try taking a class to improve your sexual skills or exploring a new area of sexual or sensual pleasure.

Make your day about you. Enjoy every minute. You deserve it.

Hate the Player, Not the Game

“Dr. Lori Beth, how do I know if I’m being used?”

Inevitably, this question comes up in a relationship where one partner is feeling that they are putting in more than they are receiving. In all ‘ships from grown folkin’ to a long-term partnership, there are ebbs and flows. However, if you are finding yourself doubting the authenticity of your relationship, here are a few “reality checks” you can use.

First, the other person takes more than they give, in any and all areas. This is fairly obvious.  There are few excuses for putting far less energy into the relationship than your partner does.

Second, the person only has time for you/attention for you when they want something. This one seems obvious but it can be hard to spot.  

For most, the idea of using someone for our own gain is a foreign concept. However, there are multiple reasons someone might ‘use’ a partner. Some people are raised to believe that they are the centre of the universe and that they can use their attractiveness/wit/sex to get what they want from a partner. They learn to trade on their attractiveness to get their needs met so they might not look at it as using a partner, they are simply doing what they feel is needed. The problem is that they are interested in meeting only their own needs and not the needs of their partner.

For a relationship to work, all needs need to get met. There must be a give and take.

What should you do if you suspect you are being used? First, I advise that you carefully analyse the situation as objectively as you can.  

If you determine you are being used, try denying your partner what they are seeking. For example, if they are using you for money or an easy life, crack down on money and luxuries for a while and see what they do. If they withdraw, that gives you some evidence that they are using you. Then, it is time to look at gently confronting them with your suspicions. Make sure you are feeling strong and able to hold your ground when you confront them or choose to do it in a safe environment, like with a third-party or therapist.