• Relationships

    How To Turn Conflict into Deeper Connection – Part 2: Committing to Connection

    view of two pairs of feet facing each other

    This is part two of a series of three posts about how we can use conflict to serve our relationships, instead of seeing it as a threat to closeness. I recommend reading part one first if you haven’t already done so. Part three will be published soon.  In the first post in this series, we looked at the different ways many of us avoid conflict. Whatever your particular flavour of conflict avoidance, if you want to get to a place where arguments seem like opportunities you can meet instead of threats you need to run from, then I recommend trying out a position that may feel a bit new or…

  • Relationships

    How To Turn Conflict into Deeper Connection – Part 1: Avoiding Conflict

    This is part one of a series of three posts about how we can use conflict to serve our relationships, instead of seeing it as a threat to closeness. Parts two and three will be published weekly on Fridays. A few years ago I was facing an afternoon of practising conflict at a weekend workshop called Authentic Relating Training, and I was feeling sceptical. It was my first ever experience of being in a space where we were being taught to practice conscious communication and self-responsibility in our relationships, with all the new language and different ways of thinking that involved, and it had been quite revelatory. I’d gotten through…

  • Personal Growth

    How To Run a Sharing Circle (the ultimate guide)

    Three years ago I started my first sharing circle with a handful of strangers in a church hall. I was incredibly nervous; I remember doing a lot of googling beforehand – “how to start a women’s circle,” “what is a sharing circle,” “does a talking stick need to actually be a stick.” I found some answers, made some of it up myself, and collaborated on plenty of it with the folks who eventually joined me. Since then, sharing circles have been a constant in my life and I’ve made some really wonderful friends as a result. It’s a form of ritualised socialising: it gives meaning and intention to the time…

  • Sex

    How to Navigate Dating and Sex with Endometriosis

    I was recently asked how to go about dating and sex when PIV (penis in vagina) sex is often uncomfortable due to endometriosis. This question intrigued me because, although I don’t live with endometriosis myself, it speaks to the need for having authentic, vulnerable conversations about needs and desires with people you a) feel attracted to and b) likely don’t know very well. I had a hunch that any advice I could give would be relevant to many more folks than only those diagnosed with this specific condition. I’ve spoken with people who do have endometriosis about which challenges come up most often, where the most anxiety is, and what…

  • Embodiment,  Sex

    How To Stay in Your Body During Sex

    Do you ever feel as though you’re just going through the motions? Perhaps it’s hard to enjoy sex because you’re always stuck in your head, feeling disconnected from your body to the point where it doesn’t even feel like it belongs to you.  It can sometimes feel like a physical block, a complete dissociation from felt sensation, where you enjoy sex and intimacy on an emotional level but can’t connect to the physical enjoyment. Maybe you struggle to maintain eye contact, feeling a lack of connection to the person you’re with, unable to really tune into what you’re both feeling.  Feeling challenged by staying in your body during sex is…

  • Trauma

    What Happens When We Get Triggered?

    Arguing with someone I care about is one of my clearest triggers. I’ll start out fine: I’ll stay rational and reasonably calm. I’ll be able to remember to have compassion for their alternative view. If the argument continues and I feel unheard, I may start to raise my voice and feel myself getting frustrated. But there’s always a very obvious point at which some little switch flicks in my brain, and I totally lose the capacity to engage with the other person. I’ll feel myself quite literally freeze; sometimes I’ll notice that I’m opening my mouth but I have no idea what to say. I won’t be able to follow…

  • Trauma

    How To Stop the Fight or Flight Response

    Different parts of our brains are responsible for the four responses we often default to when in a situation we perceive as threatening: people-pleasing (hyper-socialisation), fight, flight, and freeze. Because these responses don’t distinguish between real and perceived threat, it doesn’t matter whether we are actually in danger or not: most often we’ll go into one of these responses in everyday situations when in fact we’re perfectly safe, such as when we’re socialising in a large group or in a disagreement with someone we love. What Is The Fight or Flight Response? We’re actually talking about four different survival responses. In brief: hyper-socialisation appears as trying to keep everyone happy.…

  • Sex

    Connecting First

    Intimacy is often closely associated with sex – to the extent that the words are sometimes interchangeable. But sex and intimacy don’t quite mean the same thing, and one is not a requirement in enjoying the other. Sex is an easy default when trying to create connection and intimacy. Enjoying sex with a new person is no bad thing, but it can be unhelpful if we’re using it as a way to cover up a need for intimacy which we are unwilling to address. Why do we rely so easily on sex when we want to feel close to someone new? Do we find it so difficult to connect in…

  • Relationships

    What Is a Polyamorous Relationship?

    Polyamory is the sometimes challenging, often liberating, and almost always unpredictable practice of having multiple simultaneous intimate, sexual relationships with different people. But more than this: polyamorous relationships, when done successfully, force us to confront the things we’re scared of in a much more immediate way than monogamous commitments. So what does polyamory really mean, and why would we choose it?

  • Sex

    How to Make Sex Better: Lessons From the BDSM Community

    Whether you’re into floggers and rope or vanilla as it gets, there’s a lot to be learned about communication, boundaries, and consent from those in the BDSM community. Although these may not be the first things many people think about when asked what makes for the most memorable encounters, they can make sex so much better if we get good at them. So why is that? One thing I’ve learned during my own explorations is that relaxation is everything when it comes to pleasure. And in order to relax, we need to feel safe. If there’s one thing experienced BDSM enthusiasts know about, it’s safety. Knowing how to ensure everyone…