San Francisco couples counselors and sex therapists sHare: understanding is key to intimate connection, sex and love


We Speak Relationship

San Francisco couples counselors and sex and intimacy coaches can help you cultivate the skills to have emotional intelligence.

The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. This applies to intimate emotional connections, as well as dynamic & satisfying authentic sexual experiences. 

San Francisco Intimacy & Sex Therapy Centers offers sexuality coaching, intimacy counseling, couples counseling and Sex therapy.

We Speak Sex.

Insecurity: The Primary Reason Your Relationship Is In Trouble & How to Fix it


We Speak Relationship.

Our San Francisco Sex Therapists & Couples Counselors Can Help You Build Loving, Intimate & Lasting Relationships.

Your Relationship May be in Trouble-

our sAn Francisco RELATIONSHIP Experts can sHow you How to Fix it through couples therapy & intimacy coaching

A Couples Counselor, Sex Therapist & Love & Relationship Coach From California Relationship Centers and San Francisco Intimacy & Sex Therapy Centers, Speaks On Why Your Relationship or Marriage Is Struggling and How Our Couples Therapists Can Help You Have A Healthy Relationship

Here at California Relationship Centers, most people seeking couples therapy or coaching, believe they have too much conflict, don’t tend to resolve conflict, feel disconnected, and/or believe they are not very good at communicating. 

If a couple has prior experience with any type of therapy or coaching, and thus has learned how to identify the deeper causes of problems in a relationship, they might also claim that their relationship is triggering past traumas, and that they are having difficulty creating solid intimacy, trust and safety, together. 

Our leading San Francisco bay area couples therapists, psychologists, sex therapists, sexologists and relationship and intimacy coaches are here to help you realize that the challenges you are experiencing in your sex life, dating life, partnerships, or marriage, are simply symptoms of a deeper issue we all struggle with. 

We are here to tell you that the core issue we all struggle with is:


how to Fix this?

Attachment-Based Couples Counseling and Intimacy Coaching

It is unfortunate that society doesn’t educate us all about insecurity, given that this is the primary cause of most of our mental health problems, negative patterns, and relationship dysfunctions. For this reason, when any individual seeks to heal, or couple tries to heal together, it is important we all recognize what insecurity is, where we can truly begin to take responsibility for how we perpetuate ways we feel stuck in our lives. 

What Is Insecurity?

Insecurity is described using slightly different terminology, in most orientations of therapy and coaching, through the lens of the methodology and paradigm used to treat patients. A basic definition for insecurity is: the experience of feeling uncomfortable, fearful and/or anxious in relating to self or others, while not trusting in the moment, that one and/or the other, are good, whole, and/or well. In fact, many of us have not healed our grief or traumas of our past, and as a result this leads us to feel insecure. We might feel depressed, hopeless, powerless, anxious, angry, sad, despairing, confused, fearful, and/or desperate when we feel insecure, yet are not aware that insecurity is the root of our strong emotions.

This experience of ongoing insecurity often compels people to try to relieve the feelings caused by it, as a means to feel more peaceful, or less disrupted in one’s focus and well-being. Usually, people seek to relieve insecurity, through changing their behaviors toward the self or others, through demanding or requesting others shift or change to alleviate their discomfort, or through distancing or getting away from whatever, or whomever, seems to trigger the insecurity. In effect, when we feel insecure, we often try to control whatever and whomever we can, in order to no longer feel insecure.

In this vein of attempting to control, it is rather common that most individuals point to an external cause of the emotions associated with feeling insecure. And, due to blaming circumstances and others for what it is we believe is making us feel insecure, most of us have a tendency to secretly (or not so secretly) seek couples therapy or coaching, to get a third party to point out that our partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, or fiance, is the one being harmful, and thus needs to change. When feeling insecure, we believe the therapist or coach must magically make our partner be the one to build greater empathy or sympathy for our pain and discomfort, and that this third party will also hopefully get our partner to stop doing what they have been doing. Most of us genuinely believe the feelings that are triggered by our own insecurities, will go away once our partner changes, and thus stops making us feel this way. For people who continue to approach couples counselling or relationship coaching in this way, they are disappointed to find that when their partner changes their behaviors, they are STILL unhappy in the relationship, because they have not addressed the core issue of insecurity. 

How Can SF Couples Counseling Help?

To heal within couples therapy, Intimacy coaching or sex therapy, it is important to label the root cause of these painful experiences with our partner, as insecurity, because this allows us all to begin to recognize we are 100% accountable for our own healing and happiness. Our partner simply triggers what is already within us to be healed. The second any individual or couple realizes this truth, the way in which they learn to relate to their own emotions, as well as to the relationship dynamic, changes dramatically. Feelings are regulated faster, conflicts are resolved more readily, and a couple is able to experience a level of connection that goes beyond what they have ever experienced before. This level of accountability is necessary to finally grow and heal beyond past betrayals, past losses, and all the dysfunctional patterns in your partnership. 

Couples Therapy and Coaching Address Insecurity

As highly specialized expert San Francisco bay area couples counselors and sex therapists from California Relationship Centers, we understand that it may be easy to dismiss what our partner reflects back to us about our own insecurities, because we believe our partner is going to be inaccurate, or is perhaps blaming or projecting. We all have struggled with this, too! However, when allowing us, as either your sexologist, couples therapist or relationship coach to observe the dynamic and each person’s patterns, we are able to reflect back what each individual was originally blind to, within the self and the relationship.

You can have the healthy and secure partnership that you long for through successful couples counseling and sex and intimacy coaching…

When individuals or couples are helped by a couples therapist or coach, to identify, address, and take accountability for working actively with their own insecurities, and the emotions that accompany them, they become more deeply connected with their self and each other. They begin to recognize that their fear and anxiety is rooted in ways of relating, beliefs, feelings, and experiences of self, others and the world, that are based in what we all learn in childhood. All individuals and couples, through couples therapy and relationship coaching, learn that their insecurity is based in trying to cope with early life experiences that were painful, in a variety of ways. Individuals and couples begin to realize that the ways we learned to cope, set up structures and foundations of self, and orientations towards, and perceptions of everything, that served to help the world make sense, and to keep us safe in the ways we learned were safe. 

Adult Attachment Styles and Insecurity

Our couples therapists, sex therapists and coaches allow you to see that when we enter love relationships, these orientations (based on our own insecurities) often run unconsciously in the background. These orientations can be referred to as attachment styles. In regard to adult attachment, our attachment patterns are referred to as either Secure Attachment, Anxious Attachment, Avoidant Attachment, or a variation thereof. When a person has Secure Attachment, they may feel insecure rather rarely, and only in certain circumstances. Alternately, those with Anxious or Avoidant Attachment feel insecure most of the time, independent of context, though may have an increased felt experience of insecurity based on circumstances. 

Based on whatever attachment style we formed in childhood, we all have slightly varied ways we respond to feeling insecure. People with Secure, Anxious, or Avoidant attachment styles generally portray four discernable patterns or orientations, which people learn to enact when they feel insecure: 1) being accountable, vulnerable, direct, open and honest, 2) be extremely anxious and either deny ones needs or boundaries for fear of upsetting the other, 3) alternating between being extremely anxious, angry, having no boundaries, and then withdrawing, blaming, judging, or distancing, or 4) completely dismissing and devaluing the other, feeling disconnected, or withdrawing/distancing. For instance, as an individual with Avoidant Attachment, when someone gets closer than what feels safe, we may  feel compelled to withdraw and protect ourself, or feel anxious, scared or unsafe, because our insecurity is triggered. As an individual with Anxious Attachment, when someone is too distant or hard to connect with, we end up feeling anxious, unsafe, and upset, due to our insecurity. When our partner gives us a certain look, or says something that matches a familiar experience from childhood, where we originally felt unsafe, upset, exploited, helpless, powerless, or scared, they trigger our insecurity, and we react to establish feeling more secure in our self, usually through getting closer, fighting with them, distancing or withdrawing, or through saying and thinking certain things, or engaging in whatever behavior we personally associate with gaining back our sense of security. 

Sometimes, one’s insecurity may purely be triggered by being in a partnership. In this case, they may be enacting some degree of the above orientations, perpetually, within their partnership, and not realize this is abnormal. This tendency to feel perpetually insecure, and to not be consciously aware of it, is also another reason seeing a skilled couples coach or therapist is important, as we rarely notice the orientations we are unconscious of, due to not being aware of our own insecurity. 

Given the importance of gaining greater awareness and taking responsibility for our own insecurity, in order to have a happier, healthier relationships, why not seek a highly skilled counsellor, coach, therapist, or sexologist, for the help you need? Here at California Relationship Centers and our subdivisions such as San Francisco Intimacy and Sex Therapy Centers, we understand insecurity, and we want to help you and your partner, today! 

Is Dissociation Interfering With Your Sex Life?

Is Dissociation Interfering With Your Sex Life?

Do you check out or get numb during sex?

Don’t weigh yourself down with despair, guilt or frustration about your sex life and experiences not being as fulfilling as you would like; perhaps consider whether dissocciation is interfering with your sex life.

Seek help with one of our highly qualified San Francisco Bay Area Sexologists, Couples Counselors, Sex Therapists, or Sexual Empowerment Coaches, who can help you begin to learn about, to overcome and heal your dissociative tendencies, so you and your partner(s) may have the sex you always dreamed of.

California Relationship Centers and it’s subdivisions such as North Berkeley Couples Therapy Centers and San Francisco Couples, Intimacy & Sex Therapy Centers can help. We are the Leading Sex Therapy and Couples Therapy Centers in the United States, and we accomplished this by carefully collaborating with the best of the best in this highly specialized field. We Speak Relationship. We Can Help. (510) 982-6401

Creating & Filming Safe Spaces for Women, San Francisco Empowerment Coach & Filmmaker E. Beth Nelsen, MA Shares...

Creating & Filming Safe Spaces for Women, San Francisco Empowerment Coach & Filmmaker E. Beth Nelsen, MA Shares...

A  post by Empowerment Coach, Social Activist and Nationally Acclaimed, Award-Winning Filmmaker. E. Beth Nelsen, who is currently crowdfunding on Seed & Spark to cover post production costs for her documentary Mothership. She speaks on the importance of creating safe space for women and the intersectionality of social impact.

To Open or Not To Open? San Francisco Sex & Couples Therapy Experts Speak on Open Relationships verses Monogamy

To open or not to open?

San francisco couples therapy and marriage counseling

We Speak Relationship.

We Get You. 

Agreements, Boundaries, Communication, Negotiation & Security are all crucial skills to a healthy partnership within a duo and beyond. Our San Francisco Couples & Sex Therapists can help you and your partner(s) develop the relationship foundation you need to thrive in your relationships. 

That is the question friends.

Last week at a party, my friend introduced his other partner.  Yes, he’s identifies as gay and open.  This was the first time I was meeting his second of two partners (Clint and Ruben, the names have been changed to protect the innocent). 

Another friend perked up after the second partner left, “So how does this all work exactly?”

“Well”, our open friend smiled and sighed, “I’m dating both of them at the same time.  It lets me take my time, compare notes and never get bored!” he laughed.

“So you’re poly now?” Short for polyamorous, my friend asked. 

Noooo… I’m open… I mean – I guess technically I could qualify as poly right now, but I prefer an open relationship long term.”

                        My curious friend then shot off a bunch of additional questions because he was completely fascinated and confused.  Rightfully so, in San Francisco folks throw around these terms assuming we all understand.  But many don’t and, without educating themselves, they’re throwing themselves and their partner into open relationships and getting into deep trouble.

                        I know, I’ve gotten countless calls from men inquiring about therapy to help their open relationships feel good again.  I usually ask them,

“When did you both consent to be open?” 

“Uhmmm…” Is a typical response. 

“What agreements have you made together about how your open relationship works?” 

“Agreements?” Strike two. 

“How’s your communication and ability to repair after conflicts?”

“Not so good at the moment.  We get pretty heated and stuck.”  Yikes!

            This guy and his partner are not ready to be in an open relationship.  They might not even know what an open relationship is, yet, they’re in one!  I tell my clients that an open relationship is a romantic relationship and agreement between two people, where it’s permitted to have intimate, romantic or sexual relations with others.

            What does that look like?  It’s different for everyone. For most, this looks like having one primary partner, while casually dating or engaging sexually with others.  While many are intrigued by the idea of having their cake and eating it too, most do not have the slightest idea what goes into a successful open relationship.  Believe it or not, the elements that make up a fantastic open relationship are the same for a monogamous relationship.

There are, what I call, the Fab Five.  These are the main ingredients to making a delicious partnership with relations on the side.  They are Agreements, Boundaries, Communication, Negotiation and Security.  Even though these are necessary for any satisfying relationships, all partners in an open relationship must put forth energy and time into all of these.   


 Agreements are quintessential for open relationships because they set the parameters for everyone involved.  Here’s a classic example: You and your honey go to party.  Someone else you’ve been dating or sleeping with shows up.  Who do you go home with?  It’s not gonna go well if you make a spontaneous choice at the end of the night.  Agreements that are set ahead of time help make these types of situations easier, emotionally safer and clear for everyone involved. 


Boundaries are rules, limits or beliefs about how someone wants to interact or have others to interact with them.   We need these to feel protected with others and they can build a standard of consent between you and your partner.  Think about a time when someone did something that left you feeling very uncomfortable.  There may have been a boundary crossing.  Being able to share your boundaries or when they are crossed helps others to relate to you in more comfortable ways. 


Communication that is clear, kind and responsible is key to healthy relationships.  Expressing boundaries and making agreements are important, as mentioned above, and even more vital is letting your partner know your desires and needs.  Withholding what’s in your heart or mind usually leads to disconnection or explosions down the line.  Having space to talk openly and vulnerably can lead to the next important element, which entails a communicating and working through each other’s differences.


Negotiation occurs when you’re ready to mutually discuss and compromise with a partner.  It’s an important skill in any mature relationship.  How open are you to trying something you’re not comfortable with?  How willing are you to understand your partner’s perspective and deal with all the triggers that come up?  It takes hard work and patience, but the payoff is enjoying a relationship that’s satisfying for multiple parties.  If you’re game, you’ll learn to develop the agreements and boundaries that are necessary to get both of you on the same page, thriving and leading you to the final ingredient:   


Security in a relationship supports you in going the distance.  You must feel secure with yourself and with your relationship if it’s to work, especially in open relationships, where you’re putting each other in more risky scenarios.  Security involves a sense of safety and trust.  It helps you have faith and take risks.  With security, you can be more honest than you would normally.  Security allows each partner to explore themselves and relationships with or without their primary partner.   Security is so vital, it may require hard choices.  For example, if you open your relationship and are enjoying it, but your partner is becoming insecure and scared…would you be willing to close it if that’s what’s needed to for them to regain wellbeing and confidence?

On the flip side, just because you know what generates a fabulous open relationship doesn’t mean you’ll want one. Open relationships can be very challenging.  They can trigger our most basic attachment needs.  Attachment needs are universal and are expressed towards our caregivers when we are babies.  Some attachment needs are love, closeness, affection, care, reliability, engagement, and accessibility.  Sound familiar? When we don’t receive these growing up, we become wounded.  As adults, we look for them in our relationships.  When their met, we feel amazing, and when not, we are emotionally tortured. 

We’ve grown up with messages and values from family, friends and society about what is “okay” and “not okay” relationally.  It’s natural that many of us soaked those in.  Now as an adult, you’ll need to ask yourself: What type of relationship do I want?  You may just be learning about different types or be well versed in open, poly and other paradigms. The point is, it’s a choice.  To decide, you must ask yourself:

What are my values or goals for a relationship?

Could I emotionally handle the person I’m in love with seeing other people on the side?

How willing am I to work at the Fab Five with a partner?

Open relationships are not for everybody, especially those who do not have the elements listed above.  The most vital are security and trust.  If you do not have this foundation, forget about opening or enjoying your relationship. So whether you’ve decided to have a monogamous or closed relationship, go slow! This way both partners can become aware of their emotions and needs, while working through conflicts and developing a firm foundation. 

What is Sex Therapy and What Can I Expect?

My favorite disclaimer is a quote used in many contexts but fits so nicely in this one:

“Sex is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be discovered.”

I can really only speak about sex therapy with me, but in general, the experience should be comparable (we hope). I like to think of sex therapy as a journey, an experience, a process, and an adventure.  There usually won’t be one easily identifiable, concrete, black and white solution, and there shouldn’t be, because we are extremely complex individuals made up of multiple overlapping dynamics, identities and experiences.  Even in situations where there are clear challenges, i.e. a medical concern or biological factors, they are never in isolation of feelings, impact, perceptions and attitudes- all of which play a part in how we engage or disengage through intimacy and sex with ourselves and with others.  

So what then, is sex therapy? 

It is your space and time to carve out for yourself or for your relationships to explore- to outline your vision and hopes for how you want sexuality to play a part in your life; to expand your vision of sex; to discover and re-discover elements of the self that align with pleasure, satisfaction, eroticism and desire; to learn and re-learn techniques that may bring you closer to that alignment; to challenge values and critically assess the norms we have learned culturally and societally since childhood in a non-judgmental space; to empower a sense of risk and vulnerability through a secure attachment and bonding experience; to increase connection to the self and to others; and to experience and re-experience self-love. I believe that anyone can benefit from sex therapy. 

So what can you expect?

  • Par for the course, lots of conversation about sex! As a society, we struggle to know how to talk about sex, and so having the privilege of journeying with others into such conversations is invigorating and can definitely be expected in sex therapy.  I don’t want to minimize how scary this can be, however you will have your own safety and boundaries in place to ensure the practice you get in therapy works for you and your process.

  • You can definitely expect to find comfort in how common of an experience it is to feel distress, anguish, fear and un-comfortability around talk of sex or your experiences of sex.  So many of us just hope we are “normal” or “going to be okay,” and I can definitely promise you, you are.  Just because no one is talking about these things, doesn’t mean they are only happening to you.  While each of us has our own unique stories and narratives and experiences, we are all subject to human universals and feel the same feelings. 

  • You can expect to find increased hope and motivation as you progress, and you can expect to build confidence in a new narrative of healing, expansive thinking and excitement.

  • You can also expect homework- a lot of what happens in sex therapy happens on your own time within the confines of your own privacy, so don’t be surprised when your sex therapist warns you about that! This is where the motivation comes in handy- homework takes time, it takes energy and it takes commitment.  Think of it as an equal priority to cooking dinner or going to the gym- you’ll be happier if you did it.

  • Apart from that, expect an individualized and unique experience because this journey is yours and yours alone, no two people have the same challenges, desires or hopes, so give yourself permission to dream and to feel satisfaction based on your own personal vision, without comparison or judgement. 

Thank yourself for taking the first step of the adventure by asking these questions and building your curiosity around welcoming new conversations and new possibilities! 

Call for a free consultation and get your specific questions answered today.

The Pursuer / Distancer Dynamic in Intimate Relationships: San Francisco Couples Counselors Explain this Negative Relationship Pattern & How to Stop it.

The Pursuer / Distancer Dynamic in Intimate Relationships: San Francisco Couples Counselors Explain this Negative Relationship Pattern & How to Stop it.

 The Pursuer/ Distancer Dynamic in Intimate Relationships: The Most Painful & Dangerous Dynamic is not to be ignored! Our highly specialized expert San Francisco Bay Area Couples Counselors and Sex Therapists can help identify the negative cycle and help you learn more effective communication skills that will lead to deeper connection, trust, security and intimacy. 

Learn to Speak Your Partner’s Love Languages: Expert San Francisco Couples Therapists Can Help

Learn to Speak Your Partner’s Love Languages: Expert San Francisco Couples Therapists Can Help

We tend to express our love, affection and care for others in the ways in which we enjoy receiving love. It is likely that your partner and you have some differences in how you feel most loved and how you tend to show your affection. In order to feel emotionally connected to your partner, it is imperative that you feel secure in their love and commitment to you. This is what couples therapists refer to as secure functioning in a relationship. Simply put, it means that you trust that you have each other’s backs and you know your relationship will be protected from both external and internal sources.

Our expert San Francisco Bay Area Couples Counselors, Sex Therapists and Relationship Coaches can help you build the healthy, intimate and secure relationship you long for. We can assist you in learning your love languages and help you stop negative patterns of communication. After all, We Speak Relationship. So can you. 

Read more by clicking on the title....