Need some help creating a more rewarding sex life? Trying to find ways to rekindle a dying relationship? In Portland, there are a wealth of sex therapists and relationship coaches to help anyone struggling with these or other sex-related conundrums.
Need some help creating a more rewarding sex life? Trying to find ways to rekindle a dying relationship?
In Portland, there are a wealth of sex therapists and relationship coaches to help anyone struggling with these or other sex-related conundrums.
In particular, sex therapist Julie Jeske and relationship coach Shanya Luther can provide some expert assistance.
Jeske specializes in sex therapy for both men and women. She counsels couples, groups and individuals, teaching them how to feel more comfortable with sex. In their first session, Jeske helps her clients simply by talking to them.
“It hits my heart strongly how brave people can be,” Jeske said. “It’s heavy, and what I call processing.”
Jeske’s discussions about sex and relationship issues include topics such as sex communication, discussing what clients are comfortable and uncomfortable with, and how to cope with erectile dysfunction.
Jeske also assigns “homework” to her clients, helping them discover who they are sexually.
“It’s more about self-discovery than putting on an act,” Jeske said. Her assignments include writing about things they’ve learned in the past or about sensuality and romance.
“That’s how some people access their sexuality. Some people are very romantic,” Jeske said.
Her physical assignments include helping couples spice up their marriages by practicing kissing or participating in activities such as visiting a sex-toy shop, or assigning single clients to practice masturbation, among other things.
Jeske also teaches an online class for women, helping them discover who they are sexually. It’s a 10-week course and is based on the book she’s currently writing.
“It’s very exciting,” Jeske said. “It’s different compared to working with people in
Jeske keeps in contact with her online students through email and video conference calls.
“It’s different, but it’s a good way to keep in touch with clients who normally couldn’t come to my office,” she said.
Jeske is passionate about her current work because she feels all women should discover their sex potential.
“We don’t have good models for sexuality in our culture,” Jeske said. “There’s this idea that you’re either sexual or you’re not. If you don’t represent what is stereotypically sexy, then you’re not sexual at all.
“We have ways to teach people how to be a tigress in the bedroom and how to blow his mind, but we don’t have ways to teach ourselves who we are and what makes us feel best,” she added.
Before Jeske opened her practice, she hosted pure romance parties, for which she would go to women clients’ homes and teach them about different sex toys as well as help them order the pieces they wanted. Jeske discovered her sex therapy passion through hosting these parties.
Jeske has had her practice, located in Northeast Portland, for four years. She can be reached at [email protected]
Luther specializes in relationship coaching. She offers support services to adults with mental disabilities and neurological variations. Her coaching centers on relationship difficulties, communication issues with loved ones and issues surrounding sexuality.
“There [are] all kinds of variations of what people are looking for support with,” Luther said. “I tend to help people with, ‘I’m lonely and I don’t know how to meet people or partners,’ to ‘I’m doing stuff in public that might get me arrested.’”
Luther works with mentally disabled clients to recognize what behavior is appropriate in public and what isn’t. This includes helping them learn when and where it is OK to touch other people or themselves and when it isn’t.
“Sometimes they haven’t learned not to touch someone without asking, or themselves or their genitals on the MAX,” Luther said. “One of the things I learned about sexual offenders is that most of them were mentally disabled or had neurological variations, and were never taught that something wasn’t OK.
“Someone who is labeled a sexual predator because they weren’t taught not to do certain things, what not to say or what not to do, is really a failure of our system,” she added.
Luther teaches her clients what’s right and wrong verbally and visually, through role-playing and by demonstration. It depends on each client’s best learning method.
“It really has to be customized to the individual…their particular needs and their developmental disabilities, because not all developmental disabilities are the same,” Luther said.
In terms of communication in intimacy and relationships, Luther teaches her clients about consent and its importance. “Being in a relationship is all about consent,” she said.
Luther also discusses healthy communicating, differences between passive, aggressive and assertive communication, and how to make contact with someone. She also teaches communication limits.
“If a client I have likes someone, they call them 15, 16 or 17 times a day, and that’s not OK,” Luther said.
Luther also teaches her clients how to have a “fair argument” and to not resort to physical or emotional abuse. She also focuses on teaching her clients about what it means to be intimate. She teaches them the difference between intimacy and sex.
“I talk to people about the fact that intimacy is a drive to feel seen, heard and cared about,” Luther said. “It’s the place where we feel safe to be vulnerable and don’t try to hide who we are.
“Most people mistake intimacy for sex,” she added. “Sex and sexuality include intimacy, but they don’t define intimacy.”
Luther also provides her clients a safe place to identify themselves in terms of gender and live “authentically.”
Luther has worked in her field for more than 15 years. She practices her work at Among Friends in West Portland and can be reached at [email protected]