Interview With Moushumi Ghose - How To Win a Man's Heart

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January 12, 2015

Interview With Moushumi Ghose

1. As a sex therapist what are some of the most common issues that your female clients face and how do you help them?

Women seem to suffer more than men from the -grass-is-greener- issue. Expectations from friends, family, media, as to when they should be getting married, when they should be having babies are all a pretty major source of stress for women. Also, body image issues, which again goes back to the same issue as well, comparing oneself to others. Media doesn’t help much, with its portrayal of sexiness correlating with thinness. What ends up happening is there is too much focus on being perfect and putting much bigger and heavier expectations onto their lives whether it be dating or sex, rather than enjoying the experiences they are having. Clinging too tightly to certain ideals, trying to fit circles into squares, seeking outside acceptance often leaves women feeling frustrated and disillusioned.

My focus is to encourage women to find acceptance within themselves, figure out what it is they want, not what society thinks they should want. Relying on the accolades of others takes a lot of energy, trying to please, trying to impress can take a toll on women, zapping not just energy but self esteem, self worth, and so much more. This in turn has a direct effect on their sexuality. Being present is at the cornerstone of having a good sex life, but if one is worried about being perfect this can be very difficult.

Women also have a lot of shame not just about body image, but about their desire. Women have been repeatedly reminded that being sexual might equate to being a “slut”, for example. I find women blaming themselves when relationships fail, or when for example, a potential date doesn’t return their phone call. There is a lot of self blame, guilt and shame about having a voice, standing up for themselves, speaking their minds and asking for what they want.

I do a lot of work around this, which is trauma based really, because its years and years of conditioning, societal conditioning, familial, etc which is traumatic in nature, so unlearning a lot of these messages takes some work to help the women heal, forgive themselves for believing the messages, forgiving people they hold responsible for their anger and empowering themselves to not stand by and take abuse, but learn to recognize it and walk away with strength and dignity, letting go of anger which is often embedded in the pain, and empowering themselves not to point the finger and not to play the victim either, so they can embrace their sexuality, and embrace their womanhood with pride. That is the first step to becoming sexually empowered.

Women don’t feel safe in the world. So, along the way the aforementioned, we may also address whatever else comes along, feelings of inadequacy, lack of knowledge about sex, to help them feel safer and more empowered in the bedroom.

2. Some women feel so stressed out and overwhelmed due to their work, family commitments, relationships etc. that they have very little to no sex drive. How common is this issue and how can women work towards getting their sex drive back?

Women are natural caregivers, and society has taught women to put their needs second, others needs first. Being and feeling sexy is about feeling good about yourself. When you are depleted, the first thing that needs to happen is to get some of that self love back. A lot of this goes back to what I mentioned in #1, learning to ask for what you need. Its fine to be a caregiver, but at what cost?

Women need to know what is going on with themselves first, before they can asks for what they need. Being conditioned to focus on others needs is another pattern that needs to be unlearned. Learning to recognize what your body is telling you is an easy way to get back to taking care of yourself. Since I do mind body work, I educate women on how to recognize certain bodily symptoms, for example, feeling butterflies or having a pit in their stomach can be an indicator that they feel responsible or guilty about certain things, feeling a heaviness around the chest area can indicate sadness, is another example. Addressing the feeling is the first step to being able to ask for what we need.

3. Some experts recommend women wait till they get to know the man they are dating and not have sex until you both are committed to exclusivity. Some experts believe you should go with the flow and be spontaneous and not have any rules regarding when you want to sleep with a man. Can you share your thoughts on the right time to have sex?

I am big fan of doing what you feel is right in the moment. Women, as I mentioned before, tend to blame themselves when things go wrong, this is the “slut” mentality or double standards of our society. As a woman, if you want to have sex on the first date, go for it. If you don’t feel ready, then don’t, there are no rules except the ones that suit you, in the moment. This is key. Our feelings change, moment to moment, and if in the moment you really want to but your rule says, wait till the 2nd date at least, then make a decision before hand. And then recognize there are no “wrong” decisions. If you change your mind in the moment, that is fine, too. Learning not to blame ourselves is the key to dating. Whether a man calls you back or not should not be seen as something Women can control by being more or less sexual. If you go with your heart, and he doesn’t call you back, it sounds more like you are dodging a bullet and doing the right thing, as opposed to the other option.

4. You mentioned slut mentality and how it affects women. This attitude is usually based on years of false beliefs and attitudes that stems from society in general including friends and family. Needless to say, making a change and letting go off self judgement is not easy. What are some practical steps that women can take to shift their mindset and embrace who they are unabashedly?

Practical steps that women can take to get rid of these false beliefs and negative attitudes is to first recognize what those false believes and negative attitudes are. Whether they are stories we tell ourselves, voices we hear in our heads or negative tapes that run through our minds, it’s important to first pinpoint those.

Then it is important to take steps to change those negative stories. This varies from person to person. A lot of women like positive affirmations. They might do positive affirmations in the morning or they might post them on top of their mirror.

Another way to get positive messages is to hang out with positive people. Stop hanging out with people that perpetuate those negative attitudes and beliefs. We know who those people are, they are the ones that make us feel bad about ourselves. This may not be easy but it is definitely doable and the outcome can be great.

Whatever works- exercise, writing in your journal, seeing a therapist, not reading tabloid magazines, watching less TV etc. there are so many ways to get on a positive trajectory and start making that change today.

5. You also mentioned how women tend to blame themselves and have a lot of guilt, regret and shame. Can you talk about ways women can heal their past wounds that may be preventing them from enjoying healthy and fulfilling sex lives?

Forgiveness is the number one way to heal wounds. Acceptance is a running second. Forgiving those who have made us feel guilty or who we blame for our guilt or anger is step one. Then forgiving ourselves. Recognizing we are not perfect by patting ourselves on the back for small successes and even celebrating those small successes whether it be by buying a new pair of shoes, clothing or taking a trip we’ve always wanted to take, taking ourselves out to dinner, etc.

Women who take on blame, guilt and responsibility also need to learn to delegate tasks and see where other people are responsible for their own behaviors. Stepping out side and looking at the big picture can be really helpful.

6. Some of our subscribers suffer from body image issues especially as they age. They feel inadequate and undesirable especially as they compare themselves with other women. And to make matters worse some become so skeptical that they feel that men only desire young, beautiful looking women. Can you share some practical strategies to overcome these negative beliefs?

Absolutely. Women should stop reading tabloid magazines and watching reality television. It’s important to recognize media’s role in shaping these body image ideals. Women should spend time with friends who appreciate their own natural beauty and who don’t try to live up to societal expectations.

Again, the way we choose to spend our time, the people we choose to spend our time with, has a major influence on how we feel about ourselves of the world.

7. Women may be in relationships where their sexual needs are not met by their partner but they doesn’t know how to express it to their man. How can women be more direct and ask for what they want when having sex?

There really is no short answer to how a woman can be more direct and asking for what she wants in the bedroom.

The reasons women are afraid to ask for what they want is endless. Stemming from low self-esteem to poor body image to being afraid of being judged. Women also often feel inadequate about their sexual experiences and knowledge. Lack of experience and lack of knowledge.

No one is ever taught how to have sex. People rarely have a language to even talk about sex. Even people with a lot of sexual experience can feel inadequate.

The first step, is to develop language for sex. However or whatever you need to do to get there, get there. Read books about sex, hang out with people who talk about sex, watch porn, go to strip clubs, read erotica, have same sex experiences, educate yourself about sex -every aspect of it.

The only way women are going to begin to feel comfortable about getting their needs met about sex is if they demystify many of the myths around sex and sexuality.

Don’t rely on your friends to tell you about sex. Empower yourself and go out there and learn everything there is to know about sex. Don’t let your lack of knowledge and experience hold you back. Get comfortable talking about sex. You are never going to be able to ask for what you want in the bedroom, if you can’t even for example say the words “p*ssy” or “c*ck.” Learn to talk dirty, period. Go to sex shops. Masturbate. Buy sex toys. Dive in. Explore.

8. Another issue our subscribers face is their men watching porn. They are concerned, worried and feel that their partners don’t really love them because they watch porn. What advice do you have for women who are worried about this issue?

Again get educated about sex. A lot of times women are concerned about porn because they don’t understand male sexuality. Get out there and learn. And a lot of times men do abuse porn. Learn to recognize the signs. Learn to speak up and say how you are feeling. Learn to ask him questions. What does he like about it?

A woman may feel insecure or jealous because he is watching porn, but what is she doing about it? Insecurity and jealousy are a part of life and 1) they do not always need to be brought to our partners attention because 2) they are typically about ourselves.

If you already feel inadequate or insecure, your partner watching porn is going to only add fuel to the fire. What else is he doing that makes you feel inadequate?

It’s important for women to recognize if this jealousy and insecurity stems from them or if their partner crossing a line. Learning to deal with our own jealousy and insecurity is key to a successful relationship. If he is truly crossing the line, then you need to address it like you would any addiction or betrayal. But if he is just watching recreational porn then you need to figure out a way to deal with your own feelings of inadequacy. Talk about it with him. See a therapist. Write in your journal. Get educated. Get your head straight.

9. What are your top 3 tips for women who want to be more sexually confident and assertive?

1. Sex education and/or exploration

2. Learn to talk dirty.

3. Self love or masturbation.

10. Can you suggest some books and resources that can help women be more sexually intimate with their partners?

My favorite book is “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton. Although it is a book about non-monogamy it is great for all types of sexual relationships and has an amazing chapter on jealousy.

“The Nice Girls Guide to Talking Dirty” by Ruth Neustifter – this book is not just about talking dirty but about all aspects of female sexuality.

“The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women” by Tristan Taormino- this book is so much more than just anal sex. Another great resource for getting creative with pleasure.

About Moushumi Ghose

Moushumi Ghose is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist – #MCF44134. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Clinical Psychology, emphasis in Human Sexuality from San Francisco State University, and Master of Art’s degree from Pepperdine University, in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is licensed by the California Board of Behavioral Science. Mou is also a Certified Hypnotherapist through the American Alliance of Hypnotists.

To know more about Moushumi, visit her website