long-term relationships

Swoon Podcast Episode #29 – U Can't Touch This: Healthy Boundaries

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #29 – U Can't Touch This: Healthy Boundaries


When it comes to healthy boundaries, most of us don't have good models. We either set super rigid boundaries and have none at all. Or we set boundaries and the people around us say we are being mean or selfish.

On this episode of Swoon Gina and Julie talk about healthy boundaries – why they are important, what they look like and how to honor them.

This episode covers:

  • What are boundaries?

  • What makes boundaries so hard for so many people.

  • Boundaries are not only about what we don't want but also about what we want to embrace and invite in as well.

  • The way boundaries can encourage intimacy and connection.

  • Using your body as an indicator for where your boundaries are.

  • How trauma or boundary violations affect your ability to trust your intuition.

  • Setting and maintaining boundaries is a practice.

Memorable Quotes

“Boundaries are not only about limits or what you don't want – boundaries can also include what you want more of and making requests.”

“Creating boundaries in relationship is an opportunity for intimacy and connection.”

“You can't have trust without boundaries.”

“One of the things I love about boundaries in terms of sexual connection is that they create safety, it creates that safe container that allows us to surrender and give in to experiences more. I don't have to be hyper-vigilant if I know is permissible or not permissible in our sexual relationship.”

“Our bodies are one of the best indicators, they will tell us when our boundaries need adjustment.”

“If in your family or as a child your boundaries weren't respected – you can learn to mistrust your intuition.”

Resources from the Podcast

Healthy Boundaries Class on Gina’s Website

Boundaries and Protection book by Pixie Lighthorse

Action Steps from the Podcast

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What body signals tell you your boundaries need adjustment?

  • What are you trying to cultivate or nourish?

  • What do you need to ask/request/invite to nourish this?

  • What do you need to guard against/protect it’s growth?

  • How will you know when it’s working?

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality educator, author and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #28 – Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Breakup Recovery

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #28 – Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Breakup Recovery

Breakups can be painful, confusing, overwhelming and super distracting. Julie and Gina talk about what makes breakups feel so hard and also ways you can help yourself move through the pain and heartache.

This episode covers:

  • How hard breakups can be (for both people)

  • The multitude of emotions you can experience during and after a breakup.

  • The importance of feeling your feelings.

  • Ways to feel your feelings without drowning in them.

  • Different ways you can get support.

  • How to be a supportive friend if someone you love is going through a breakup.

  • The importance of self care during this time.

  • The possibility of a loving end to a relationship – breakups don't have to be chaotic or unkind or dramatic.

Memorable Quotes

“There is not a math equation for how long it takes to get over a break up.”

“We want to make meaning, we want to understand, we want the magic potion to make it better. Part of the breakup is feeling your feelings and that is so challenging.”

“You can't selectively shut down feelings.”

“Open hearted living means feeling it all – not just the joy. Part of the reason I can feel such high pleasure is because I've let myself feel intense pain.”

“Grief is a byproduct of love. The reason you are sad is because you were happy at one point in time.”

“Sometimes the hardest part of an ending is not the ending of the relationship, but the ending of the dream for your future.”

“Often the person who would comfort us most in our lives, can't comfort us through this because they are experiencing it too...or they are the one causing it.”

“When going through a break up, our brain looks like the brain of someone who is going through withdrawal.”

“Healing is not always linear.”

Resources from the Podcast

When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chodron

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Action Steps from the Podcast

Ask what you’ve learned and what you would do differently next time.

Set some boundaries – what do you need in terms of space, communication etc.

Or create rituals/practices for yourself so you feel your feelings and don't get stuck in them.

And when you are ready to start dating again, listen to -

Swoon”Episode #16 – You Can't Hurry Love: Dating in Real Life

“Swoon” Episode #24 – Thank You, Next: How Not to Get Into the Same Bad Pattern Again & Again

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality educator, author and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #27 – Something to Talk About: Healthy Communication in Relationships

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #27 – Something to Talk About: Healthy Communication in Relationships

According to Gina and Julie communication is the number one issue couples come to their offices to sort out- but what that means is different in every duo. Join us this week to sort through the most common communication tips we wish everyone knew.

This episode covers:

  • The most common communication issues that come up in relationships

  • How to identify and address your communication defaults in relationships

  • How to cultivate new communication skills

  • What to do to break unhealthy or unwanted communication patterns

  • How to deal with the inevitability of conflict in partnerships in healthy ways

Resources from the Podcast

The High Conflict Couple, Alan Fruzzetti

Communication Skills Class

Action Steps from the Podcast

Begin thinking of communication as a practice and allow yourself to practice new skills. Talk about how you want to handle conflict in your relationship when you are not in the middle of a conflict.

Try implementing any of the following for one week:

  • Set intentions for your conversation- especially the potentially tender ones. Identify a clear goal or hope before you begin talking.

  • Try taking a pause or break when conflict gets heated. Set a clear timeline for when you’ll check back in and identify a phrase you’ll use to take a break well before you are in conflict. Find a place to collect your thoughts (like a journal) if you need to in order to respect the space your partner might need.

  • Set aside a weekly check-in time for the two of you to touch base about your hot button issues proactively before they feel urgent.

  • Practice giving your partner the benefit of the doubt. Start noticing when you are assuming something negative and challenge yourself to come up with two positive interpretations for every negative narrative you notice.

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality educator, author and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #26 – Hey Jealousy: Managing Jealousy and Insecurity in Relationships

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #26 – Hey Jealousy: Managing Jealousy and Insecurity in Relationships

It can be really disruptive when jealousy pays you a visit. Most folks would rather never feel jealous at all because it usually feels so terrible and overwhelming.

Pick up a few really useful tools to manage jealousy so you don’t have to feel so bad with Julie and Gina this week.

This episode covers:

  • Why jealousy is a problem and a few common ways jealousy can impact your relationship

  • How to befriend your jealousy so you can have a better relationship with it

  • How to manage the reactivity that come sup when jealousy pays you a visit

  • How to shift from jealousy to gratitude and appreciation

  • When and how jealousy can actually be useful in relationships

Resources from the Podcast

The Jealousy Workbook

Jealousy E-Course


Action Steps from the Podcast

When you notice jealousy (or fear) is showing up first acknowledge it is there. Remove yourself from the reactive space and take deep breaths. Then focus on gratitude instead and begin a list of appreciations to ground you in what your jealousy might be trying to protect instead of the reactions coming up.

OR

Make three columns on a piece of paper. In the first column write out all your thoughts (you don’t have to show this to anyone, so don’t worry about editing yourself here). In the second column list the feelings associated with each thought. And in the final column make a list of actions you can take or requests you can make to address the feelings.

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #25 – Crazy in Love: Having Needs vs Being Needy

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #25 – Crazy in Love: Having Needs vs Being Needy

Are you worried about being needy? Or maybe you have a hard time asking for what you want and secretly wish your partner could read your mind.

Today Gina and Julie discuss listener questions about the difference between having needs and being needy, and how to ask for what you want without being passive aggressive or nagging.

This episode covers:

  • The difference between being needy and having needs

  • How to ask for what you want (without being passive aggressive or demanding)

  • How to identify your needs

  • How to talk about the underlying themes or meanings when you make a request

  • The importance of being responsive to your partner's needs

  • Under every complaint there is an unmet need – Gottman

  • The cost of unmet needs

  • The vulnerability in asking for what we want

Quotes from the episode

“I hear from a lot of people who don't want to be perceived as needy. They don't want to be a nag and don't want to be needy and because of that they often subvert their own wants and needs. Or they want someone who will know what their needs are without saying them and that will make them feel more seen or more valued or more loved.”

“It is OK to have needs! It's OK to have needs in your relationship. As human beings we have needs.”

“Having needs doesn't make you needy.”

“Asking and demanding are two different things.”

“It's OK to ask things of a partner, because that's part of partnership. Otherwise you could just be single.”

“It's your responsibility if you are going to choose to be in partnership with me, to be responsive to my needs.”

“When we ask for something, we give people the opportunity to give to us. And that feels good for them too. There is value in being able to please someone we care about.”

“Ican't tell you how many times we talk about doing dishes in my office – But It's never about the dishes – it's often about helpfulness, showing up for each other, showing support, or order or efficiency.”

“In relationship, there is something beautiful about showing up for each other. I want to know what your wants and needs are. I may not be able to meet every one, but I want to know what they are.”

“The best way to get what you want and need is to ask for it.”

Resources from the Podcast

Nonviolent Communication List of Universal Needs

Communication Class

Action Steps from the Podcast

Draw 3 columns on a piece of paper

In the 1st column – write all the thoughts or judgments going through my mind

In the 2nd column – write the feeling that is attached to that thought

In the 3rd column – look at the list of needs and in the this column I list the unmet need

Then you can ask your partner for something or bring up a conversation with your partner based on the need.

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #24 – Thank You, Next: How Not to Get Into the Same Bad Pattern Again & Again

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #24 – Thank You, Next: How Not to Get Into the Same Bad Pattern Again & Again

If you realize you've walked into the same relationship pattern over and over again (and most of us have) this episode is for you.

Tune in to hear from Julie and Gina about breaking bad relationship patterns.

This episode covers:

  • How to identify the patterns you repeat- before you're playing them out AGAIN

  • Why these kinds of patterns show up over and over again.

  • How common it is to repeat relationship patterns- even the ones you don't really want.

  • What to do if you are in a familiar pattern.


Quotes from the episode

“Unconscious factors are drawing us to similar experiences."

"It's an important personal shift to move from 'this person is a jerk." to ' how did I contribute to this dynamic?'."

"Not only are you elected to office, but you run for office."

"Change won't happen without personal accountability."

"Just changing who you are drawn to won't make a shift."

"Sometimes when you're used to chaos, calm can create uncertainty and feel uncomfortable."

"Chemistry is one of the few things I can't infuse into partnerships in my practice.. and too much chemistry can be problematic."

"We tend to think about relationships as all good or all bad, and there is much more complexity to our dating history."


Resources from the Podcast

Swoon Podcast Attachment Episode

Swoon Podcast Dating Episode

Mating in Captivity - Esther Perel

Hire a Therapist

A General Theory of Love - Thomas Lewis

Loving Bravely - Alexandra Solomon

Attached - Amir Levine & Rachel Heller

Deeper Dating - Ken Page

Wired for Dating - Stan Tatkin

Wired for Love - Stan Tatkin


Action Steps from the Podcast

Draw up your relationship timeline with names and dates on the left. On the right look at how they started and how each relationship ended. Note any themes, patterns or common characteristics. And ask what you learned or what you would do differently if you had the relationship over again? How did those dynamics serve you at the time?

Notice the places where you tend to think a relationship is all bad or all good and challenge yourself to dig deeper. What did you learn? What parts of that relationship would you like to keep moving forward? What would you let go of?

When thinking about dating and new relationships ask yourself: how do I want to show up? What kind of partner am I? What do I have to share with/offer a partner?

What was I learning in my last relationship?

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #23 – Bootylicious: Anal Sex Education

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #23 – Bootylicious: Anal Sex Education

One of the more challenging desires our clients want to share is their curiosity or interest in anal sex and anal play.

In today's episode, Julie and Gina get real about the joys of anal pleasure.

This episode covers:

  • How to get over the "ick factor."

  • What if you tried it once and it didn't go well?

  • What if one of you wants it and the other doesn't?

  • What's the difference between anal play and anal sex?

  • How to expand your definition of anal pleasure.

Quotes from the episode

“Instead of severing ourselves from this whole region of the body that is right up next to other regions we usually like to focus on, think about ways to include it in order to relax together."

"When it comes to anal sex lube is essential.- I would say 'mandatory.'"

"If there's a surprise element it tells me that consent is not present."

"Everyone has a butt. So what's great about that is regardless of what body or identity your partner comes with, they might be into it. And whether you have a partner or not you might be into it."

"Try things on yourself before you try them on or with a partner."

"Different people experience different pleasure during anal play."

"Toys can be an additive to other sexual play and arousal. But Julie's safety tip is: if you're using a toy anally you want to be sure you either have a really good grasp on it or use something with a flared base."

"Not only inserting but removing too, move slowly."

"Don't yuck someone else's yum... The less judgment we have the better."

Resources from the Podcast

Good Vibrations Guide to Anal Sex

Bend Over Boyfriend by Femme Fatale, edit: on the podcast, Gina says this video was put out by Tristan Taormino, when in fact it was made by Dr. Carol Queen and her partner Robert Morgan.

Babeland Anal Toys List

Action Steps from the Podcast

Listen to this podcast with the person you're having sex with and talk with them about anal play and pleasure. What are you curious about? What will help you feel safe to try? What will help you explore without judgment?

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Swoon Podcast Episode #22 – Bad Blood : Sexual Gridlock & Conflict

swoon-podcast-1

Are you ready for a life and relationship that makes you swoon?

Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


Episode #22 – Bad Blood: Sexual Gridlock & Conflict

Sometimes sex has gotten so complicated that couples stop talking about. What do you do when you and your partner are in a sexual stalemate? Today Gina and Julie discuss what to do when sexual gridlock happens.

This episode covers:

  • What happens when you and your partner are in a sexual stalemate?

  • What is stonewalling and how do you know it's happening?

  • The difference between sexual tension, resentment, blame, and stonewalling.

  • How people can go years without sex when they get stuck in a sexual stalemate

  • What is often underneath sexual frustration or anger.

  • The role of personal accountability when it comes to sexual gridlock.

  • How to shift out of a negative feedback loop.

Quotes from the episode

“They're not talking about it, but you can feel it, it's so intense. There isn't any talking about joy or pleasure, all they talk about is how bad it is so then they avoid talking about it. It becomes this giant, invisible mountain between them.”

“People feel real shame about their frequency of sex – it's not uncommon for people in these stalemate potions to have a very low frequency of sex and really low fulfillment when it comes to how fulfilling or pleasurable it is.”

“Blame is a flag that accountability is needed somewhere in the relationship.”

“How bad should it get before going to therapy? At some of the first signs of blame and stonewalling, that's a good time to go to therapy.”

“It's OK not to want sex – when it comes to stonewalling you might not even be checking in about if you actually want sex – you might just be mad and using withholding sex/connection as a weapon and not budging from your position.”

“It can become a negative feedback loop – you do this, so I do this, so you do this, etc – and all the things we are doing, we feel like we are protecting ourselves from pain or we are the victim, but really it's just contributing to the disconnect or the mountain of frustration between us.”

“Partner #1 If only YOU would ___________ then I would want to have sex with you.

Partner #2 I you wanted to have sex with me then I would want to do __________.”

“If you look at how you are contributing, you can shift it. One of you has to be willing to move or soften or change the cycle.”

Resources from the Podcast

It's going to be really hard, nearly impossible, to break out of the cycle without a third party to help you shift the dynamic. Check out therapyden.com to find a therapist who will help you facilitate a new conversation.

Mating in captivity

Gottman Rapoport Conflict Blueprint

About Your Swoon Hosts

Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina

Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

Join us and leave your review on any of your favorite podcast channels:

Four Agreements in Romantic Relationships

Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements transformed the way I think about communication with myself and with the people I love. I know for some the spiritual undertones can be off-putting, but for many of my clients over the years it has offered really powerful wisdom.

The overall theme is that four simple yet profound rules can have an enormous impact on our life and relationships. Focusing on each of them has helped me live a more intentional, integrity-fueled life and build more mindful connected relationships.

These agreements not only apply to life in general but are absolutely critical in dating. I’ll dive deeper into each of them below. You can also download this beautiful printout of all the agreements to help you keep them in focus.:


Agreement 1: Be Impeccable With Your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using your words to speak against yourself or others. Use the power of your words to grow truth and love.

Being clear with your intentions, expectations, and boundaries in relationships is the best path to connection and the only way to avoid misunderstandings.

When I began to focus on this agreement I noticed many innocent lies I told throughout the day. I might run into someone I know and say “we should get together sometime” knowing I would never truly follow up. These white lies add up, and wear on us over time. And for many of us this culminates in a pattern of over-promising and over-committing in relationships. Committing to this agreement means being really honest with yourself and others all the time.

I also appreciate the focus of this agreement on being really mindful of the words we choose to create a life and commit to a narrative that works for us. The stories we tell ourselves have direct impact on our happiness and the ways people around us respond to us. Take care in choosing the stories you hold as true, and the ones you share.


Agreement 2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

Realize that nothing others do is because of you, but instead a projection of their own reality, self-work, and dreams. When you are immune to the opinions of others it will free you from needless suffering.

Let me be clear here: I’m not saying you should stop caring about anyone else. But most of us care a little too much. I see so many folks tied up in anxiety and conflict because they are too closely connected to their partner’s feelings- or worse, their perception of their partner’s feelings.

This is huge when dealing with rejection. Once you accept that rejection isn’t personal, it starts to roll off your back. Maybe your partner had a bad day, maybe someone in their past was a jerk, or maybe they’re just unhappy- unrelated to you.

Their emotional experience is beyond your control. You can help them feel a little better, but their choice to feel better does have to start from within. There’s no value in stressing about something that’s out of your hands and not about you.

Now, of course there are times something you’ve done will spark a reaction in someone else. You can still own your mistake or the impact you had on someone else without taking it personally. That might sound like responding “I’m sorry, I was running behind, and that resulted in you being late and nervous.” instead of “I am sorry I’m such a jackass. I always mess this stuff up.” Can you feel the difference?

It’s really important you take responsibility for your actions and work on improving it to minimize negative impacts on others. But don’t let it determine your self worth or define your character.

You can do better- and you will.


Agreement 3: Don’t Make Assumptions

Ask questions and communicate as clearly as you can about misunderstandings. Stay curious about yourself and the others around you to create room to honor each of your individuality and growth.

I’ve written extensively about this in the past, so I won’t bore you here, but staying curious about your sweetheart is the easiest way to avoid growing stagnant and bored in long-term relationships. Invest energy in understanding them instead of assuming they’ll never change.

The same goes for yourself. Stay curious about your thoughts, feelings, and reactions to others- there’s always plenty to learn and the more you assume you know, the less self-awareness you are likely practicing.

Most of the couples I see stuck in struggle are clinging to resentments, assumptions, and misinterpretations without really exploring them. These keep us disconnected and often lead to bitterness. Nobody wants that.

The path to fulfillment is learning and growth- neither of which will happen without a little curiosity.


Agreement 4: Always Do Your Best

Your best will change moment to moment (with your health, energy, and experience) but by investing the best of yourself you’ll avoid self-judgment and regret.

So often the regrets we beat ourselves up about are the times we didn’t act with intention, integrity- or as our best selves. Committing to doing your best all them time helps us avoid regretful missteps.

But committing to always doing your best doesn’t mean becoming a perfectionist, or striving for some high-level output 100 percent of the time. Doing your best also means being clear with yourself and those around you about what you can do, how you can show up, and what you can give moment-to-moment and say-to-day. The more mindful you are of your internal state, energy level, and competency in the different and changing areas of life, the better equipped you’ll be to communicate this with the people you care for.

If you enjoyed this, I highly recommend you pick up The Four Agreements as well as Don Miguel’s other books, The Mastery of Love and Voice of Knowledge. They are about forming healthy relationships and defeating inner voices that cause suffering and anxiety, respectively.


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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She leads workshops and couples retreats in the Midwestern United States and Pacific Northwest and consults with clients online. Access her free Relationship Resource Toolbox here, or join her next FREE Monthly Relationships Masterclass coaching call.

Connect with her on social media or schedule a free consultation to see if her support could help you build more fulfilling, connected partnerships.

Relationship Skills Practice: Healthy Boundaries With People Outside Your Relationship

Every few weeks I share easy tips to keep your relationship fresh and connected.

I draw from the best research in healthy relationships to help you grow the kind of love and intimacy you really want.

Love is built in the tiniest of moments and smallest interactions we share. Use these simple tools to improve your relationship in under ten minutes a week.

Each video includes a free downloadable PDF worksheet or reflection guide to help you keep the energy and momentum going. To get a copy of the worksheets sign up here.

If you need help implementing these, or have questions about how to adapt them to your style, please let me know. I’m happy to help you create stronger connections.

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THIS WEEK’S PRACTICE


Today we’re talking about how to have healthy boundaries with people outside your relationship. I’m going to share five basic guidelines that help my clients navigate boundaries with other people to avoid secrecy and infidelity.

Here’s how to navigate situations with your ex or your crush without threatening your current partner.

Basic healthy boundaries guidelines (in “don’t” format):

  • Don’t be unclear about your boundaries and expectations.

  • Don’t toe the line.

  • Don’t withhold information.

  • Don’t be sneaky.

  • Don’t get defensive.

Watch the video for more details and schedule a free consultation with me if you’re interested in learning more.

REFLECTION

  • How can I build more openness in my relationship to talk about people I find inspiring or interesting?

  • How can I be more open to hearing about my partner’s new crushes, attractions, interests, and inspirations without feeling threatened?

  • What can I do to interrupt myself if I feel sneaky, withholding, or defensive?

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KEEP IT UP

The truth about long-term relationships is (even though we may not want to admit it) we all get a little lazy about our communication and tending to our connection as the years pass.

We’re often highly attentive, intentional and attuned in the early phases of relationship. But as we build a life we can get caught up in other details, day-to-day hustle, career-building, and parenting- and get distracted from prioritizing our partnerships.

There’s nothing wrong with you or your relationship if this happens, but if (when) it does, use it as a call to action for the two of you to re-prioritize practices like these. Habits are changed only with attention, so use these tools to pay closer attention to your sweetie and your relationship.

Most of these exercises are designed to take under ten minutes. If you want to integrate them into a regular practice, try committing to them on a more regular basis and keep them in regular rotation even after you receive the next practice.

It’s not going to hurt you to have extra opportunities for connection and meaning.

And if you fall out of practice don’t lose heart- you can always start again. Just make sure you do.

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Finally, if you notice you have some internal resistance to these practices or tips stay curious about it. Often the things we resist have a lot to each us.

Notice if you just aren’t getting around to connecting with your partner or if you really don’t want to try these tools and tips with them and ask yourself what that’s all about. If you want support building self-awareness around your resistance, or creating a vision of change, I’m here to help.


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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in healthy communication, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

She leads workshops and couples retreats in the Midwestern United States and Pacific Northwest and consults with clients online.

Access her free Relationship Resource Toolbox here, or join her next FREE Monthly Relationships Masterclass coaching call.

Connect with her on social media or schedule a free consultation to see if her support could help you build more fulfilling, connected partnerships.