Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

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Getting Kinky in Quarantine

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by Sara Rosen, LMSW, MEd

While the global pandemic continues to grow and physical distancing measures remain, relationships across the globe are redefining what intimacy looks like for them, and so is the kink community. As distancing mandates evolved, kinksters across the globe watched as all of their conferences and meetings were understandably canceled. While major kink conferences like Portland’s kink fest are issuing refunds for canceled events, kinksters are left wondering how to connect with their communities while practicing safe social distancing. A draw to the community, for many, is the freedom to have a safe space to be their authentic selves. Being isolated from one of your supportive communities while managing the uncertainty of life in a global pandemic, can have devastating impacts on mental health.

Get creative

Luckily, Kinksters all over the globe have created both public and private virtual play parties and experiences of all kinds.

A good time to explore

If you’ve been curious but haven’t explored, now is a great time to get involved in and learn about the kink world! As virtual play parties and workshops gain more traction, there are many social distance friendly options to explore. This is an excellent time for those who have been interested in trying out alternative sexual play but have felt shy about physically attending a meetup. Virtual play parties mimic real-life play parties in that there is a well-established community that prioritizes consent. New attendees have the opportunity to learn the rules, “the ropes,” and the many experiences available to them at any type of kink/fetish play party. Attending a kink play party from your own home could be an easy way to get an introduction into a new community and sexual play.

Logging in

For those looking to attend a virtual event, here’s how it works: typically individuals and couples are given a Zoom code, where they are able to log into a protected and discreet chat room. Some parties mandate each participant to keep their cameras on in order to reduce the risk of uninvited voyeurs, but rules may vary between meetups. Virtual kink parties can reflect in-person parties in that they start out by getting to know one another and then ease into play. 

Where to find some virtual meetups

One organization that started the wave of virtual kink parties is the well known “Killing Kittens” group. Killing Kittens is a website and meet up for kink and fetish parties, with an emphasis on female pleasure. Killing Kittens hosts events, workshops, and play parties under the premise of sexually liberated women and couples. Killing Kittens continues to host a series of virtual parties and workshops to keep kinksters entertained and engaged in the community while practicing social distancing. If you’re looking for the closest thing to a meet up right now, I highly suggest checking out one of the many virtual kink meetups out there! If you already have friends and partners in the community, think about hosting your own virtual party. 

Play & learn on your own at home

If virtual sex parties aren’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to get kinky while physically distancing. Being cooped up makes for a perfect time to extend your kink world and learn new skills. You can attend an online lecture style workshop or watch live demonstrations. Pagans Paradise, on Eventbrite, hosts yoni massage live streams, interactive naked home workouts, and other “quarantine edition” classes and parties. Lady Euphoria of NYC facilitates an online workshop on alternative bondage, where she teaches viewers how to utilize household items as restraints. Sex ed Ashely on Eventbrite provides free webinars on BDSM, play parties, and dungeons. You can find a plethora of kink/fetish workshops, classes, and parties on sites like Eventbrite and Fetlife. If you’re looking for something more private, a virtual coaching session with Mistress Couple, author of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage, might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Looking for anonymity?

If you want to try something that might feel a little more anonymous, try connecting with like-minded, sex-positive people on Reddit. Reddit Gone Wild (subreddit r/gonewild) is a platform for individuals and couples to post their own homemade pictures and videos.  If you want to dip your toe into the virtual kink world, try posting an anonymous sexy pic, and see how it feels for you! Reddit has numerous forums for open-minded sex-positive people to connect without having to publicly identify themselves.

Toys!

Maybe you want to stay off the computer entirely. Try ordering some new toys to use whether you’re physically distancing solo or with a partner(s). Check out Kinky Toy Store for a range of toys and gear that will arrive discreetly at your doorstep. Kinky Toy Store sells everything from vibrators and lube, to fucking machines and cock cages. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, browsing the options and talking about what piques your interest could be a really fun way to get the conversation started with a partner!

Dating apps

Even though we can’t go out and meet new partners in person just yet, you can still match with and meet new like-minded kinky people. Feeld is a dating app for ethical non-monogamists and kinksters alike. The app currently has a “quarantine core” option for connecting with kinksters who are physically distancing. When creating an account, Feeld gives you an upgrade option that allows you to keep your profile private from social media acquaintances, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you won’t run into your co-workers (unless of course, that’s your kink). 

Have fun

Being kinky doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be hanging from the ceiling spread eagle in a rubber suit. There are plenty of ways to explore kinks and fetishes while also being safe and practicing social distancing. These are just a few ideas on how you can physically distance and enhance that spark. I encourage you to get creative and kinky!

Therapy by Phone or Video Chat [Can Suck]. Here’s How to Make It Better.

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LIIST has been providing video therapy for years. We do still think in-person sessions are best because we believe we can better attune with our clients. This pandemic has encouraged all of our sessions to move to video. So far, we are very happy with the results.

person holding MacBook in car with black interior
person holding MacBook in car with black interior

Our greatest concern for the feasibility of online sessions was with regard to couples. In our sessions with couples, we have figured out some great workarounds. One of our favorite new techniques is to have each partner participate from separate devices in separate parts of a home. Interestingly, we are finding that couples are doing a better job of turn-taking in conversations during these video therapy sessions!

This article in Vice by Caitlin Flynn outlines more ideas for continuing to ensure you’re getting the most out of your video therapy sessions.

Looking for some support?

If you would like some support for your relationship, or your sex life, feel free to reach out to us. LIIST has an outstanding team of therapists. We specialize in helping individuals, couples and relationships navigate difficult times.

How to Tell Your Partner You Want to Go to Couples Therapy

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Dr. Torrisi is quoted in this Vice article with some great advice about bringing up this important conversation and what to do if you partner is resistant.

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.

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

How to use gender pronouns

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Having a hard time figuring out how to use a gender prounoun you’re not used to yet? This fun little app let’s you plug in a gender pronoun (she, he, they, xe, ze, ey, hir, fae, and hu) — perhaps yours, a friend’s, your child’s or parent’s– and understand how it’s used as a subject, object, posessive, and reflexive in a sentence. Try it!

I Am Not Trapped In My Body

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“I am not trapped in my body, I am trapped in other people’s perceptions of my body.” This is an oustabding video of a slam poet describing her experiences of the gender binary that holds us all down. #LetsTalkAboutIt

Trans Research Opportunity

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As a PhD student, I am often in contact with other researchers seeking participants for their studies. Lately, it has been wonderful to view the growing number of strengths-based studies for transgendered individuals. Below is information for one of those studies.

LOOKING FOR TRANSGENDER PERSONS
This researcher will explore the experiences of transgender adults as they tell their story about how and when they negotiated their personal path to their true gender including the influence of their family of origin, friends, and professional colleagues.  
My name is Gerard Cavanaugh MS, LPC, LMFT and I am a doctoral candidate in Family Therapy at Texas Woman’s University, in Denton, Texas. I am conducting a research study in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the PhD in Family Therapy at Texas Woman’s University. My study is titled:
“I Want to Be Who I Am”: A Phenomenological Study of How Transgender Persons Viewed the Changes in Their Families as They Negotiated the Path to Their True Gender.
This study involves recruiting (15 minutes), filling out a demographic questionnaire and signing a consent form (up to 15 minutes) and a face-to-face interview lasting up to 60 minutes. You can be at any place along the path to your true gender, or you have completed the journey. You may bring a trusted family member or fictive family member to the interview. The interview will consist of exploring your experiences as you grew up in your family of origin, which family values were influential to you as you negotiated your path to your new gender, and how you describe your disclosure to family, friends, and professional colleagues.
Participants must be age 18 or over. Family or fictive family members (persons not related to family members, yet considered part of the family) must be 18 or older. Participation is voluntary and you may, or your family member may, withdraw at any time. You may ask questions at any time using e-mail, phone, or during our face-to-face time.
If you are interested and willing to participate in this study please contact:
Gerard Cavanaugh 817-992-8034 or at gcavanaugh@twu.edu.
If you know someone who might be interested in participating in this study, please share this information with them.  There is a stipend of $10 for every participant if that person completes the interview. You are free to withdraw from this study at any time.
There is a potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all E-mail, or Internet transactions.

Positive Reviews For TRANS The Movie

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“When someone says to me, ‘What is this film about?’ I say, ‘It’s about human rights, injustice and discrimination,’” Mark Schoen, producer of “TRANS,” said. “And what I’ve learned is the gender spectrum is much wider than I ever thought it was and you know it’s not just transgender. There’s intersex, there’s genderqueer. I think the important thing is that we have to, as a society, let people be their authentic selves, whatever that may be.”- from The Eastern Echo

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