Evelyn Resh

Sensual and sexual health and satisfaction for teens and adults

Archive for the category “Blog”

Pound(s) Cake



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Pound(s) Cake

My new book has an entire chapter devoted to health seeking behaviors and how they impact our sex life.  My premise is that a 70-30 split is best – 70% of the time we need to be adherent to healthy practices such as frequent and vigorous exercise, eating healthy foods, sleeping enough – you get the picture.  The remaining 30% is up for grabs.  This is what I consider optimal for good health and consequentially, better sex.  So far with today’s breakfast I think I have used my 30% for the rest of my life. This morning’s breakfast entrée was pound cake.  And like an inexperienced sommeliers I had to keep tasting to fully appreciate the product; the lemon bouquet accented by the ever-so-slight essence of almonds and then the perfection of the baking time which prevented giving the cake too dry a finish.  Unfortunately, I look for serotonin in all the wrong places; Ben and Jerry’s containers, my baking talents, and Richardson’s Candy Shop which is not far enough away from home that distance provides a deterrent. I feel a bit self-conscious pulling my figurative pants down in front of all of you about this. Where is my shame? But, perhaps I need to share this for the sake of soothing my conscience, helping me to self-correct, and relieving the suffering of others who have surely made a similar entrée choice at one time or another.  Food is my favorite drug.  Never mind a lovely glass or two of Merlot at the end of a hard day.   I will reach for any and all baked goods or candy every time. The good news though is that I genuinely love to exercise. I exercise just about every day and am doing my best not to throw either my health or my self-image down a shit hole as I age.  Meanwhile, I am slightly stoned from the carbohydrate load and wishing I had given last night’s dinner guests the entire cake to take home instead of a very large piece of it – hospitality and prevention in one!  Oh well, today’s hike will be longer than usual.

Happy Spring, everyone!

p.s. If you’re anywhere near Boulder, Colorado April 6-10, come join me at the Conference on World Affairs at CU Boulder. I will be speaking with great people all week and it’s a fabulous event!


Beautiful or Average?


Thanks to the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty women are being given the opportunity once again to re-consider their low self-esteem. Dove’s newest experiment revealing how women so often feel badly about how they look is nothing less than thought provoking, leaving the viewer, after only minutes, examining her own choice about how she self-defines. When faced with two doors to enter the same building, women are forced to ponder which door to go through; the one marked “Beautiful” or “Average”.  On hidden camera, we see the quandary that overcomes women as they ponder, struggle, and finally decide on which is the right entrance for them. What’s most striking of all? The disappointment that appears on women’s faces when they chose the door marked “Average”  versus the smile that appears when they choose the entrance with the “Beautiful” sign. Keep in mind here that choice is the operant word as those caught on camera are subjects not only of Dove’s experiment but of their own scrutiny and negative thinking. In every case, when a woman chooses the door marked “Beautiful” her smile – be it sheepish, sly, or broad and declarative – reveals the extraordinary effect of positive self-identification.

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. But Dove has proven that a woman’s beauty is a choice to be made by the woman herself and the results of that choice will show on her face. Just watch the video.  

Manners 101

A Guide for Loving Couples

I know I am not the only person who has friends that I really enjoy spending time with one-on-one but who I dread socializing with when their partner joins the party. Sometimes, their sweetheart just isn’t my “cup-of-tea.” But more often than not, I can’t tolerate the way they behave towards one another when they’re together. I am not sure how and why it happens but many couples lose their good manners after they’ve been together for a while. As a friend I find this obnoxious and unpleasant. As a sexuality counselor I can tell you it leads to a world of trouble in a relationship and nothing good will come of it – especially where sex is concerned.
Most of us start -off a new relationship on our best behavior. We pay close attention to personal grooming, politeness, and do our very best not to interrupt our date when they’re telling us a story or giving us their opinion about something. We all know that not doing so can reduce our chances for another date in the future. And yet, once the relationship is well-established – especially over years -it is easy to slip and slide into conversations and behaviors void of even a wit of the good etiquette we cultivated when we first met.
Saying things like: “Yes please,” “Thank you,” “May I,” “You’re welcome,” and of most importance a sincere, “I apologize” shouldn’t fade after the blush of new love has worn off. These time- honored expressions of appreciation and respect gain strength and momentum as indicators of how you don’t take your loved-one for granted. When first meeting couples for counseling, I watch and listen closely to how they talk to and about one another. I am not doing this just to follow the story line. I want to see what side of the fence their manners fall on – Downton Abbey or Animal House. If I find myself cringing and then reaching for Emily Post’s: Etiquette it indicates that the couple has lost their decorum. I have rules in my office which include: “You must speak politely to one another.” This is an important starting point and in its absence, nothing I say or do will help the couple achieve any resolution or regain their intimate satisfaction.
Good manners are appealing, alluring, and sexy. That is why you focused on them in the beginning. You were hoping they would help ignite the flame and chase of new romance. When I counsel a couple whose sex life has tanked and their verbal communication is barbed, crude, and mean it’s no surprise they’re not having sex. Who would want to have sex with someone who is rude to them? I recently worked with a woman whose partner said: “You’ve gotten so fat! I can’t imagine having sex with you now.” Personally, had I been on the receiving end of that I would have immediately reached for my favorite Ben and Jerry’s to cool the burn. In contrast if they were to hear: “Your weight worries and distracts me from sex because I can’t stop focusing on how it is impacting your health and our life together. How can I help you with this?” the burn might have been avoided all together. Men in relationships with women who they feel are always focused on work, kids, and friends and never on them tell me they are lonesome for their partner and feel uncared for. The well metered, self-disclosing, and emotional statement: “I am lonesome for you and this is why I complain about our not having sex more often” is very different than: “All you ever do is crap for the kids and your parents.” Needless to say, the former is likely to yield a better outcome. And, waking up and bidding a pleasant: “Good morning” even if the morning is not your jolliest time of day is polite, respectful, and sets a positive tone for the day. It also shows that you acknowledge your partner and despite your grouchiness, are willing to rise to the occasion on their behalf. This is a statement and act of generosity towards the one you love.
Maintaining a healthy intimate relationship isn’t easy. Life is demanding, fast-paced, and tiring and all of us will move in and out of feeling feel drained and frustrated by life’s events. All the more reason to take a few moments to think about what you’re about to say, how you’ll say it, and how it’s likely to be received. You don’t have to be an Emily Post scholar to make this work. But you do have to believe that your loving partner is as deserving, if not more so, of your best behavior than everyone else you encounter in life. Believe it or not, this is sexy stuff and a strong adhesive for a satisfying intimate life.
E. Resh, copyright 2015

Good Food or Expensive Tests?

There is not a day in practice when I don’t see patients who complain of fatigue, pelvic pain, or weight gain. You could assume, correctly, that any midwife would naturally hear about such discomforts. All three are common in pregnancy. But I am not referring to the pregnant ladies I care for. I am talking about my GYN patients – of all ages. I have women who tell me they’re tired all the time, have no idea how they gained thirty pounds in a year, and don’t make the connection between their pelvic pain and their (only) once weekly bowel evacuation. For those of you who pay attention to your caloric intake and output and appreciate your morning constitutional, this story may be leaving you utterly gob-stopped. You are not alone. I too find it shocking and take special precautions not to let my jaw hit the floor too loudly lest it bring the important conversation I am about to have with my patient to a screeching halt. What’s even worse is how many of these women have had expensive testing procedures ordered by other practitioners in an effort to find out what’s ailing them. Sadly, these colleagues of mine neglected to ask a simple and diagnostically helpful question before ordering any tests: Tell me, how, what, and when do you eat and then, how often do you empty the waste can? Medicine’s ignorance and disregard of patient’s dietary and elimination habits is not a newsflash. But with disturbing frequency I see how this remains a final frontier for even the most experienced health care provder. Food for cogency, stamina, and an overall sense of well-being is a worthwhile and foundational concept to be thought of in every visit we have with a patient, especially if they’re complaining about something. Practitioners need to ask about this before spending big health care dollars on CAT scans MRI’s and ultrasounds. And patients need to think about it too. Young people are very unlikely to have some weird and rare thing wrong with them. There is no question that I run across plenty of pathology in my practice which I am grateful I have the skills to recognize, manage, or turf when necessary. But frankly, the amount of teaching I do when it comes to dietary habits for improved bowel function and stamina never ceases to amaze me. The American bagel and coffee breakfast makes about as much sense as starting the day with a Snicker’s Bar. There’s not much difference between the two although the Snicker’s would at least give you some fat calories to rely on before you eat lunch. Be kind to your body, start your morning with a protein rich breakfast and scrap the white flour bagel and trade it for whole grain toast. Then keep up the pace with proteins, vegetables, good fats, and solid, slow burning carbohydrates throughout the day. And be careful not to let too more than 4 hours go by without eating something. Otherwise, you won’t have the energy you need and your overall digestive process slows – this is not good for the waste processing plant. Don’t make the same mistake practitioners make. And, if you’re not having success daily or at least every other day on “The Throne” then keep an honest food diary for 3-4 days. This will help you evaluate your diet to see where the problems lie. You’ll feel your best if you do and you may be able to avoid an office visit and expensive testing altogether.

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