Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

Author: Rosara Torrisi

Parents Have Sex, Too

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Parents having a healthy relationship with their sexuality is an important message to kids of all ages. Boundaries are appropriate, but a kiss, hug, cuddle and the knowledge that parents have sex helps kids develop their own healthy relationship with sexuality.

I definitely advocate getting mom (or partner who is a mom) something sexual and sensual for any holiday!
The tricky part for sex toys is that they’re usually not returnable. We never know what happens to plenty of presents we get people, so that’s not too big of a deal. Maybe mom uses it once. Maybe she regifts it to a friend. Either way, you got her thinking that you care about her as a sexual person, which is likely something she hasn’t felt in association with being a mom.
Some of my suggested toys?
The tried and true: the magic wand, preferably battery operated.
The mom who might be missing some penetration: the stronic pulsator
The mom who might appreciate something like oral: the womanizer
Always add some lube!

(None of these are affiliate links).

Other ideas are sensual. Massage, cooking classes, candles, bubble bath, luxurious lotion, mani/pedi, spa treatments, a Spotify subscription or a new album, new sheets, a house cleaner, a beautiful plant or a great smelling bouquet, a big bath towel or a robe, some time by the water (pool, lake, ocean, etc).
For a mom who likes some excitement to get her fire burning, try something thrilling! Go kart racing, a ride along in a sports car, bungee jumping, a ride along in a small plane or helicopter, skydiving.
And to use any or all of this… Especially for young moms… Some extra free time!
As a sex therapist, I don’t think there’s anything taboo about sex. Buying a vibrator is just as reasonable as gifting someone a box of chocolates.
Perhaps a sex toy gift could kickstart a conversation about sexuality, sexual development, stories from when mom was your age, etc. Many people are often left wandering through sexuality without parental guidance. Many forget that parents and grandparents have lifetimes of knowledge and experience that could be useful to younger generations– they were once the new, cool kids who were radicals and listened to weird music!

Sex Toy For Mom?

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Dr. Torrisi is quoted in this Refinery29 article about buying mom a sex toy for mother’s day.

“Many people forget that parents and grandparents have lifetimes of knowledge and experience that could be useful to younger generations — they were once the new, cool kids who were radicals and listened to weird music.”

Q&A with Dr. Torrisi about sexual abuse

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Dr. Torrisi was recently approached by Daianara at the Hunter College Silberman School of Social work about the ways LIIST works with clients who have experienced sexual traumas. Here’s a peek at their Q&A.

  1. How often are you referred clients from non-profit agencies that serve sexual trauma survivors?

– Many clients find me via referrals from allied professionals. Sometimes I am referred a client from the pelvic physical therapists at Northwell Hospital. I am also a recommended therapist by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), Stony Brook Hospital Midwives Program, and the Long Island LGBT Network.

  1. What does co-therapy with survivors of sexual trauma look like?

– If you mean therapy with other allied professionals, that looks like regular phone calls between us; informing each other of what is going on and how we can best support the needs of our shared client. Sometimes I even meet other providers in their offices, and we share a cup of coffee while discussing a shared client. If you mean therapy with a co-survivor, such as a partner of someone who has gone through a traumatic sexual experience, that often looks like educating the partner or family member and working on enhancing a safe attachment.

  1. What is a rough percentage of the clients you see that have a sexual trauma history? How many of them experience difficulties with sexual functioning and/or difficulties with pleasure?

– I would say a majority of my clients have experienced sexual trauma. Just think about the statistics on this alone! (Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted.) You can see more data about sexual abuse on RAINN’s website. About one in eight of my clients seek therapy with me to directly to address their sexual abuse history. Many experience sexual difficulties such as hypo-sexuality and anorgasmia. There is an excellent article by a colleague of mine, Agnes Whol, that was just published about therapy treatments that have proven success rates for sexual abuse survivors. You can read that article here.

  1. In your experience, has addressing sexuality in a positive manner with sexual trauma survivors been a healing experience for them?

– Most people come to my office because they are seeking a therapist and a therapeutic experience that will assist them in healing from their trauma(s). A happy sex life is often one of the more empowering ways of taking back the reigns from a perpetrator.

  1. Do you believe Sex Therapy is accessible for individuals in lower income brackets?

– Great question. Sex therapy is often difficult for those with lower incomes to afford. In general, insurance does not adequately provide payments to therapists. For a specialist like a sex therapist, not being appropriately compensated is just not possible. Luckily, at LIIST, we have a sliding scale and an intern with whom sessions are quite reduced. Each of the staff therapists at LIIST (currently me, Rachel Hoffman, and John Mutziger), see at least one client per day with a significantly reduced fee.

  1. Have any of your clients, who are sexual trauma survivors, engaged in consensual BDSM and kink? What has been their experience with this type of sex play?

– You have to be careful about these associations. Kink and sexual trauma do not overlap as some might think. For some people with sexual abuse histories, engaging in consensual boundary play can be empowering. This is not something I recommend off the bat. For anyone interested in kink, I always encourage them to join FetLife and to seek out the respected community members for the types of play they are looking to enjoy.

  1. How would you suggest non-profit agencies to integrate a Sex-Positive framework within their work with their clients?

– Hire an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist on staff. Host regular sex-positive trainings by AASECT Certified Sexuality Educators. Find one through AASECT’s directory listings here.

Meet Shely

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shely head shotShely Esses has joined the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy for her masters-level internship in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). Welcome, Shely! You can learn more about her here.

Back home, again

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The Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST) will close the Manhasset office as of October 1st, 2017. We remain in the Manetto Hill office, conveniently located in Plainview.