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Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

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Shame and Guilt

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I was recently forwarded an article about guilt and its connection to mood disorders.

What this article seems to miss is the more important issue of shame. Guilt and shame are somewhat different but what’s important about shame is that it moves from the act to the person. Shame becomes internalized as a reflection of one’s whole self.

Excessive shame or shame in key areas of identity (such as sexuality or bodily functions) degrades one’s concept of self. This degradation is a perfect incubator for both mood disorders and personality disorders. If someone lacks a strong sense of self, they don’t believe in their ability to succeed– whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.

A degradation of a sexual sense of self through internalized shame is something many experience, especially women and LGBT individuals. This internalized sexual and bodily shame is at the core of many sexual difficulties. Sexuality disorders such as difficulties reaching orgasm and even sexual pain disorders are common results of internalized shame.

Along with mood disorders and sexuality related disorders, researchers have also found links between internalized shame and physical health. Racism has has been found to lead to poor cardiac health. Internalized homophobia can result in higher rates of cancer.

What we experience as “just” psychological can have cascading emotional and physical affects.

About Rachel Hoffman, LMSW

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Rachel Hoffman is a licensed social worker who has considerable experience working with teens and young adults. With an eclectic therapy style, Rachel has treated people with symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially those going through life-transitions such as break-ups, divorce or the death of a loved one.

Rachel is also a contributing writer for Elite Daily, focusing on the influence of technology on dating. Rachel ran an initiative for single parents living in the Queens area and run support groups for single parents and their children. Additionally, Rachel assists patients as a social worker on both the Oncology and Obstetrics units at the NYU Langone Medical Center.

Rachel is a member of both AASECT and NASW and is currently in graduate school earning her PhD in Human Sexuality.

Q&A at Jericho High School

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Rosara Torrisi, 2015 Best Sex Therapist on Long Island, was recently invited and presented to a group of high school students in Jericho for the second year in a row. All of the students were eager to ask sexologist, Rosara Torrisi about her work as a therapist, her work as a sex therapist, and some education about healthy sexuality. Here are some of the questions and answers. Continue reading

Women Get Women Off Better

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Women in general are more likely to experience orgasm when “sex” includes kissing, non-genital touching, receiving oral sex, genital-manual stimulation, and use of sex toys– all behaviors more engaged in by women having sex with women.

Gay Couples Lead Marriage in to the 21st Century

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What if the critics are correct…What if same-sex marriage does change marriage, but primarily for the better?

By providing a new model of how two people can live together equitably, same-sex marriage could help haul matrimony more fully into the 21st century. Although marriage is in many ways fairer and more pleasurable for both men and women than it once was, it hasn’t entirely thrown off old notions and habits. As a result, many men and women enter into it burdened with assumptions and stereotypes that create stress and resentment. Others, confronted with these increasingly anachronistic expectations—expectations at odds with the economic and practical realities of their own lives—don’t enter into it at all.

Read more in the Atlantic article.