We’ve never spoken to a sex therapist, so when our writer Charlotte got the opportunity to interview Dr Juliana Morris, a self-proclaimed professional counsellor who specialises in sexuality, relationships and empowerment, came up, she jumped at the chance. Turns out, it was both enlightening and inspiring. Essential reading, below.
What is clients’ most common complaint?
“Unhappiness with the connection they have within themselves and in their relationships.”
What is your general advice?
“Be clear with what you want and need. Pay attention to your motives. Surround yourself with people who make you feel seen, wanted and appreciated. And be that person to others too. Do the work on yourself and have a healthy skill set of communication. To me, it is the key to keeping a fulfilled relationship for a long period of time. Keep knowing yourself, keep showing up in your life and relationship authentically, be of support to others and communicate your needs and wants and listen to your partner’s needs and wants in a healthy way.”
What is the main issue you see?
“Within relationships, everyone wants to be seen, understood and appreciated. If they feel at least two of these are missing in their life or relationship they will come see me. The details may not at first glance fall into one of these categories but after spending time with them, it typically becomes clear where we need to focus.
Within sexuality, the two most common topics are related to orgasm/pleasure or desire to have sex/libido.”
Can you tell anything just by looking at people? In how they dress or stand?
“I’ve learned you can’t predict anything by someone’s looks or demeanour. I’ve seen people who if I had to guess probably hadn’t had sex in 10 years, run a poly club and started a kink store in their hometown, and I’ve met people who look to be the life of the party and have an incredible family life and are suicidal, cheating on their spouse and have a substance problem.”
Is there a ‘normal’ amount of sex?
“No. Only normal for you, at that point of time, in that relationship or solo time and within the context of your health, stress level, mental health and connections in your life.
It truly isn’t about the amount of sex, it is about the pleasure within the sexual activity.”
Can sexless relationships ever be healthy?
“Yes. I have worked with couples who are both happy not engaging in sexual behavior due to medicine interacting with libido, health issues or a general low need for sex and they are very happy and fulfilled. I find that healthy. If that is the case, there needs to be intimacy defined in different ways-such as snugging, or being affection with words and actions.”
Do men generally want more sex than women?
“No. I think it is quite equal. I work with a lot of women who are struggling within relationships where they want to have more sex than their partner. And I work with men who don’t want to have sex at all or sex as much as their partner. They (both the women and men) often feel so ashamed by this because the perception is that men should want to have sex all the time.”
Do you have any advice for happy relationships?
“Be grateful in your happiness. Find time to be alone and apart from each other and be fulfilled in that time as a way of enriching the happiness you already have. Celebrate your fulfillment and don’t be rattled by the natural ebbs and flows in a relationship.”
How do millennialls differ to the older generation when it comes to sex?
“My experience has been a difference of choice and voice. Millennials, in general, are seeing choices in their sexual lives rather than acting out in rebellion or having others tell them what they can and can’t do or what they should or shouldn’t want.
I also see milliennials voicing their needs and wants with more skill and health.”
Finally, what is your idea of hedonism? And of health?
“Hedonism: unapologetic wanting, seeking, receiving and giving of pleasure.
Health: Balance, self-awareness, ability to feel contentment and resiliency.”