NYC Psychotherapist Blog

power by WikipediaMindmap

Monday, January 30, 2023

Coping with Psychological Trauma: What Are Emotional Flashbacks?

Emotional flashbacks are intense emotional states which are triggered in the present by unresolved trauma from the past (see my article: Reacting to the Present Based on Your Traumatic Past).

Psychological Trauma and Emotional Flashbacks

Emotional flashbacks often occur to people with Complex Trauma.  

In this article, I'll define emotional flashbacks and give examples of these experiences.

What Are Emotional Flashbacks?
Emotional flashbacks occur when there is a triggering event.  The person who is having an emotional flashback experiences strong waves of emotion.  These experiences are related to traumatic experiences from the past, but an experience in the present triggers the emotional flashback.

Emotional flashbacks bring a person back into feeling-states they had during the original trauma, including traumatic childhood experiences.

How Are Emotional Flashbacks Different From Other Traumatic Flashbacks?
Flashbacks have specific memories associated with them. Often there is a visual image with flashbacks.

However, emotional flashbacks usually don't have visual images.  The person who is having an emotional flashback relives the emotions associated with trauma from the past.  This can make it confusing because, without the visual images related to a particular memory, the person often doesn't know why they're having the emotional flashback.

What Are Some of Symptoms of Emotional Flashbacks?
People who experience emotional flashbacks experience emotions related to past trauma including:
  • Fear
  • Feeling unsafe
  • Feeling abandoned
  • Shame
  • Sadness
  • A sense of impending doom
What Can Trigger an Emotional Flashback?
  • Sights
  • Sounds
  • Smells
  • People
  • Situations
  • Events
Examples of Emotional Flashbacks
The following examples are composites of many different clinical cases with all identifying information removed to illustrate how emotional flashbacks can occur:

After Jack gave a presentation at work to senior managers, he met with his director to get feedback. His director's feedback was overwhelmingly positive. He only had one minor  recommendation for Jack about how to improve one of the graphics.  Then, he concluded by congratulating Jack on a job well done.  Even though the director's feedback was very positive, when Jack heard the minor recommendation, he felt waves of intense fear and shame wash over him.  

Emotional Flashbacks at Work

When he was alone in his office, Jack felt overwhelmed by these emotions and he couldn't understand what was happening.  Although he remained in his office for the rest of the day, Jack felt like he was in two places at once--being in the office as well as feeling like he was somewhere else, but he didn't know where.  Later that day, when he had a session with his trauma therapist, who knew his family history, she told him he was having an emotional flashback which was related to his childhood history with an overly critical father, who beat him for making mistakes.  His therapist helped Jack with some grounding exercises to calm him down and then they processed the experience with Somatic Experiencing therapy.

As she walked into her kitchen, Alice overheard her mother-in-law tell another party guest that she admired Alice's intelligence.  As she stood in the kitchen holding the tray of appetizers, Alice felt her hands trembling so much that she had to set the tray down to steady herself against the counter.  She felt waves of sadness and shame, but she couldn't understand what was happening to her.  When her partner, Jane, came in to see what was keeping Alice from rejoining the party, Jane found Alice in a state of terror.  She had seen Alice like this before so she held her close and soothed her with supportive words.  

Emotional Flashbacks at Home

During her next trauma therapy session, Alice realized her emotional flashback was related to experiences she had as a child when she heard her mother praising Alice's sister for being the "pretty one" and saying with scorn that Alice was the "intelligent one" in the family.  Her mother's tone of disgust towards Alice conveyed how much more she preferred what she perceived as Alice's sister's beauty as compared to Alice's intelligence.  Even though, as an adult, Alice knew logically that she was also pretty and her sister was also intelligent, whenever anyone complimented her for being intelligent, on an emotional level, she felt abandoned, ashamed, fearful and sad.  She and her trauma therapist worked on these childhood memories using EMDR therapy.

Joe normally considered himself to be a person who was on an even keel emotionally--except whenever he was cut off by another driver on the road.  At those times, he would go into a rage.  During one incident when his wife was in the car, Joe was so enraged that he pursued the other driver for several miles, caught up with him at a red light and cursed at him.  

Emotional Flashbacks and Road Rage

His wife feared the other driver would get out of his car and there might be a physical confrontation, but he drove away instead.  She was so upset by this incident that she insisted Joe get help in therapy or she would never get into the car with him again.  When Joe began trauma therapy, he learned that his road rage experiences were connected to his childhood experiences of feeling helpless whenever his father beat him when the father was drunk.  During those times, Joe suppressed his fear, sadness and his tears because he was afraid his father would become even more angry if he allowed his emotions to show.  But, as an adult, these emotions and physical reactions remained suppressed in Joe's body and came out during these road rage incidents.  He and his therapist worked on his unresolved trauma using AEDP therapy.

A few weeks after Ina began dating Bill, she invited him up to her apartment.  She really liked Bill and she knew the feelings were mutual.  Until then, they had kissed but they had never had sex, which Ina really wanted to do.  After relaxing on the couch together where they cuddled, Ina invited Bill into the bedroom and they began to kiss and undress.  As they got into bed, Ina was aware that she was sexually aroused, but when Bill kissed her ear, she froze.  She felt waves of terror come over her and she jumped out of bed.  She didn't know what had come over her and she apologized to Bill.  Although he was very caring and understanding, Bill was confused because he didn't understand what was happening.  Since neither of them knew what was happening, they both agreed to cuddle instead of having sex that night.  

Emotional Flashback and a History of Sexual Abuse

The next day during her trauma therapy session, Ina' realized her emotional flashback was related to childhood memories of when her stepfather used to come into her bedroom after her mother had fallen asleep.  Just before he touched Ina's breasts, he would kiss her ear.  When Ina remembered these experiences in her therapy, her therapist provided Ina with psychoeducation about emotional flashbacks.  Soon after that, they worked on Ina's history of sexual abuse (see my article: Overcoming the Trauma of Sexual Abuse).

Getting Help in Trauma Therapy
Emotional flashbacks related to unresolved trauma are challenging experiences.

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a trauma therapist (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

Once you have worked through your traumatic history, you'll be free to live a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a trauma therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Slut-Shaming Women and Girls is a Form of Bullying and Sexual Harassment

Slut-shaming is a form of bullying and sexual harassment of (mostly) women and girls.  It's not new--an early example of slut-shaming is in The Scarlet Letter, a novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne which was published in 1850.  

Slut-Shaming is a Form of Bullying and Sexual Harassment

The story takes place between the years 1642-1649 in the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony. The main character, a young woman named Hester Prynne, has a child from a man she isn't married to and whom she refuses to identify to the local ministers who are demanding to know the father's identity.

As a result, the punishment for her "sin" is that she must stand on a scaffold in town for three hours to be shamed and ridiculed by the townspeople. In addition, she must wear the scarlet letter "A," which stands for adultery, for the rest of her life.

What is Modern Day Slut-Shaming?
Let's start by defining modern day slut-shaming (see my article: The Madonna-Whore Complex is Still Alive and Well Today).

Stop Slut-Shaming

Modern day slut-shaming is a term used for the act of judging, stigmatizing and bullying girls and women based on their appearance, sexual attitudes and their actual or perceived sexual habits. 

Although contemporary society no longer requires girls and women to stand in the town square to be shamed, current day bullies have other ways to degrade and humiliate them, including verbal harassment and cyberbullying with posts on social media.

Anyone can be slut-shamed, but teenage girls and women of all ages are usually the targets for violating sexual norms from the perspective of the harassers.  

This form of bullying and sexual harassment can occur with or without the intended target's knowledge either in person or, as mentioned before, on social media.  Unfortunately, social media provides a platform for slut-shaming which can reach millions of people.

Girls and Women Are Not Asking For It

There is often an attitude among people who engage in this form of sexual harassment that girls and women are "asking for it" by wearing certain clothes or engaging in certain sexual behavior.  This attitude is a form of misogyny.  

According to the American Association of University Women, slut-shaming is the most common form of sexual harassment in middle school.  

Schools can also, unwittingly, create the atmosphere for slut-shaming by requiring certain dress codes for girls that prohibit them from wearing clothes that reveal "too much skin," but the same schools often don't have the same dress code for boys.  

Girls in these schools are often penalized for "distracting boys" with revealing clothes.  This is a form of scapegoating and victim-blaming. It sends a dangerous message to everyone that girls are responsible for boys' "uncontrolled" behavior.  It also blames girls who are sexually harassed and assaulted by indicating that it was their own fault.  

Examples of Modern Day Slut-Shaming
The following examples represent only a few of the many ways that girls and women are slut-shamed:
  • A woman who is wearing a sexy outfit is criticized (by men and women) as being a "bimbo," "hoe" and other derogatory names to her face as well as behind her back.
  • A woman who enjoys sex is degraded verbally to her face as well as being gossiped behind her back.
  • A woman who has an extensive sexual history is verbally attacked by her boyfriend (or spouse) in an unrelated argument.
Stop Slut-Shaming

  • A woman discovers that a former boyfriend placed a sex video of them on social media without her consent (see my article: What is Revenge Porn?).
  • A high school girl, who is about to text her boyfriend with a sexy picture of herself, is shamed by her friend.
  • A middle school girl comes to class one day and discovers her classmates are gossiping about her because a boy she dated revealed she allowed him to touch her breasts.  At the same time, this boy is praised by his male friends for the same acts for which the girl is denigrated.
  • A high school girl discovers that her classmates are criticizing her sex life on social media.

The SlutWalk and #MeToo Movement: Reclaiming the Word "Slut"
Even celebrities aren't immune from slut-shaming.  Some of the most visible cases of slut-shaming on social media have included celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande and Amber Rose.

After she was slut-shamed by her former husband, Amber Rose created the SlutWalk in 2015 where she gave a speech to talk about her personal experience.  In addition, she has spoken out publicly about the purpose of the Slutwalk as giving women a voice for gender equality and to address sexual injustice, victim blaming and derogatory labeling.

The Slutwalk is one way that women have reclaimed the word "slut." With regard to the origin of the word, it seems to have been used originally by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who used the word "sluttish" in the 14th century to describe untidy men.  Eventually, "slut" was attributed to kitchen maids and "dirty women" and was followed by the more contemporary sexual connotation that has been used to scapegoat women in general.

The reclaiming of the word "slut" is intended to deal with external misogyny as well as the internalized misogyny experienced by women.

The Slutwalk also provides a way for women to tell their own stories and provides words of empowerment for other women who have endured this form of sexual harassment.  It has become an international movement which calls for the end of rape culture, victim blaming and slut-shaming.

The #MeToo movement has also served to empower women and raise people's awareness about sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The Psychological Effects of Slut-Shaming
The psychological effects of slut-shaming can be traumatic and long lasting.

Slut-shaming has been linked to 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and shame 
  • Problems with body image
  • Low self esteem
  • sexual anxiety
  • Sexual guilt
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide 
Seeking Help in Trauma Therapy
If you have experienced slut-shaming, you could benefit from seeking help from a licensed mental health professional who specializes in helping clients overcome psychological trauma.

Trauma Therapy

A skilled trauma therapist can help you to overcome trauma, rebuild your confidence and improve your overall well-being.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a trauma therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Keeping an Erotic Journal For Sexual Self Discovery

In previous articles I've discussed the mental health benefits of keeping a journal (see my articles: Keeping a Gratitude Journal and The Benefits of Journaling Between Therapy Sessions).

Keeping an Erotic Journal For Sexual Self Discovery

In this article I'm focusing specifically on the benefits of keeping an erotic journal as part of your erotic self discovery as discussed by Dr. Jack Morin in his book, The Erotic Mind - Unlocking the Inner Sources of Passion and Fulfillment (see my article: What is Eroticism?).

How to Start an Erotic Journal
You can start an erotic journal by keeping a notebook and creating sections for the following experiences:
  • Non-Sexual Erotic Memories including any type of eroticism, which isn't necessarily sexual. According to sex therapist, Dr. Esther Perel, eroticism blooms from the tension between excitation and inhibition in terms of the way you think, feel, act and what you do.
  • Erotic Dreams including dreams where you felt erotically energized either by yourself or with a partner or partners
  • Other Erotic Thoughts and Feelings including eroticism you're curious about or any other erotic thoughts and feelings that come to mind

Why Keep an Erotic Journal
The great thing about keeping this kind of journal is that it helps you to remember the erotic experiences you've had in the past and experiences you want to have now or in the future.  

Keeping an erotic journal often creates an opportunity 
  • To create greater self awareness of your erotic self 
  • To feel alive and erotically embodied
  • To improve your self care by helping you to get in touch with sensuous experiences you enjoy, a relaxing bubble bath, scented candles, incense, smoothing on your favorite body lotion and whatever else engages your five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste)
Self Care and Your Erotic Self

  • To create a new sexual awakening for yourself, especially if you have gotten into a rut with solo or partnered sex and need to feel sexually alive again  

Do You Have a Undiscovered Kinky Side? 
  • To share ideas with a partner or partners about what you would like to experience sexually together or alone, if you wish. Keeping it private, at least at first, is a way to prevent you from feeling inhibited about what you write so you don't self censor before you have a chance to capture your erotic thoughts and feelings in writing.  A compromise to sharing or not sharing might be sharing selectively what you want your partner(s) to know about you and what you like (see my articles: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2).

Getting Help in Sex Therapy
If you're feeling stuck in terms of your erotic self, you could benefit from seeking help in sex therapy.

There can be many reasons why you feel stuck, including sexual anxiety, depression, a negative body image, a history of sexual abuse and other related problems.

Sex therapy is talk therapy that focuses on sex. There is no physical exam, nudity or sexual activity (see my article: What is Sex Therapy? and Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy).

A sex therapist can help you to overcome the obstacles that are preventing you from having passionate and fulfilling erotic and sexual experiences.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

What is Revenge Porn and How Can You Prevent It?

Revenge porn has become a serious problem over the last several years.  In this article I'll define revenge porn and what you can do to take care of yourself if this happens to you.

Revenge Porn

What is Revenge Porn?
Revenge porn is usually defined as sharing sexually explicit photos of someone to shame or humiliate them.

The usual scenario is that when someone in a relationship wants to end it, the other person either threatens to share sexually explicit photos with others or on social media as a way to get back at the individual who wants to end the relationship.

These threats are also made as form of coercion where the partner who is making the threats hopes to prevent the breakup.

The person who threatens or who actually shares sexually explicit photos wants to frighten, control, and embarrass the other person and cause emotional pain.

Why Do People Engage in Revenge Porn?
Generally speaking, the person who is angry about being left wants to hurt the partner because s/he feels hurt, abandoned and angry about being left.  It's a way to get back at their ex.  This is not an excuse to condone this behavior.  It's an explanation for the behavior.

Some people who make these threats might hope that the threats will keep their partner from leaving or, if they have already broken up, they might hope that it will force the ex to get back in the relationship.  This is obviously a very serious form of manipulation.  

Note:  In New York City, revenge porn is a crime (more about this later).

Not surprisingly, research into this behavior has revealed that people who engage in revenge porn often lack empathy and are not concerned about hurting others.

Feeling Betrayed and Violated by Revenge Porn
Anyone who has ever had the experience of having sexually explicit pictures shared with others or placed on social media without permission feels betrayed and violated.

Going through a breakup can be painful enough without having to deal with an ex--someone you once loved and trusted--violating your trust by exposing your nude photos.  It can make you feel like you never knew this person, and it can make it hard for you to trust again in future relationships.

Revenge Porn: Prevention First
To avoid having potential problems in the future, your best option is not to allow anyone to take nude or sexually explicit pictures of you that you wouldn't want to be revealed.

It might feel sexy and fun to share nude pictures, but once these pictures are out of your possession, it's hard to control what someone might do with them.

If someone has taken pictures of you that you're unaware of, that's a different story.  But, to the extent that you can avoid this problem, prevention is your best choice.

Revenge Porn is Illegal in New York
I want to emphasize that I am a psychotherapist and not a lawyer.  But I'm aware that in New York City revenge porn is a crime.

The New York City Council passed a law that makes it illegal to leak nude images with the intent to harm someone.  In New York City, the person who leaks such photos risks going to jail or being fined $1,000.

In order to break the law, the individual who is sharing the photos must be trying to cause harm on an economic, physical or on an emotional level.  It is also illegal to threaten to show nude photos, and the perpetrator can be sued (click on this link for more information from the NYC Council website about the law).

You can also consult with an attorney to find out your other legal options.

Getting Help in Therapy
Trying to cope with revenge porn can be traumatic on many levels.

Many people who have experienced revenge porn feel too ashamed to talk to friends and family about it or, if they do, they often find that their loved ones don't understand.

A skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome the feelings of betrayal, sadness and anger that people often experience after revenge porn (see my article: The Benefits of Psychotherapy).

Rather than suffering on your own, you could get help from a licensed mental health professional who can help you to work through these feelings (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

I am a sex positive trauma-informed psychotherapist, and I have helped many clients to overcome trauma.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

How to Flirt When You Fear Rejection

No wants to be rejected. Being rejected can feel humiliating, and fear of rejection often makes people compare themselves unfavorable to others. They tell themselves they're unlovable, not attractive enough, and generally not good enough (see my article: Overcoming Social Anxiety).

How to Flirt When You Fear Rejection

This stops them from putting themselves out there--even when they really want to date or be in a relationship (see my article: Relationships: Overcoming Your Fear of Rejection).

How to Flirt Without Being Creepy When You Fear Rejection
Most people don't come of age learning how to flirt.  Usually, there are no classes in school on how to flirt or even how to develop good social skills.  So these skills often feel elusive--as if everyone else knows how to do it and you don't.  But you can overcome your fear of rejection and learn to flirt in a non-creepy way.

What is Creepy Flirting?
A narcissistic player or womanizer, who mistreats women by manipulating and using them sexually, is an obvious creep.  He has a sexual goal in mind and he uses flirting and playful teasing as a way to disarm women and manipulate them into sleeping with him (see my articles: What is Sexual Narcissism - Part 1 and Part 2).

Creepy Flirting

He might hide his lack of confidence and fear of rejection beneath his narcissism long enough for a brief sexual encounter. Then, after he makes his sexual conquest, he moves on to the next woman because his sexual needs are often insatiable.  

But there are other kinds of creepy flirting, so let's focus on some tips for non-creepy flirting when you have a fear of rejection.

Tips For Non-Creepy Flirting When You Fear Rejection
Creepy flirting, whether it's intentional or not, makes the other person feel uncomfortable, unsafe and wary of you. 

These tips apply regardless of sex, gender, age, race or sexual orientation.
  • Be Aware and Respect the Other Person's Personal Boundaries: There are physical, emotional and sexual boundaries. When you're trying to meet someone or flirt with them, you need to be able to read their body language and pick up on social cues so you don't violate their boundaries.
    • Physical boundaries: 
      • Personal space includes the need not to feel physically impinged upon
      • Comfort or discomfort with physical touch
      • A need to be left alone

Be Aware and Respect Boundaries
    • Emotional boundaries:
      • Feelings, including the need not to engage with you or explain why they don't want to engage with you
      • Energy, including the need not to expend energy in meeting you
    • Sexual boundaries: 
      • Consent: This means you're being given enthusiastic consent
      • Agreement: You know the other person is in complete agreement with you
      • An understanding of preferences, desires and privacy: You're sure you understand the other person's preferences and if they just want to be left alone
  • Don't Stare at Them: Staring makes people feel uncomfortable. So, be aware, even if you're not trying to make the other person feel uncomfortable, not to stare at them.  A glance from you to gauge their interest is different from staring.  If they reciprocate with a smile, smile back and assess the situation as to whether you can approach or not.  If you approach and the other person signals they're not interested, smile and walk away. Don't continue to look at them because then you're crossing a personal boundary.
  • Respect How the Other Person Responds to You: Assuming you're aware of the other person's personal boundaries, you read their body language correctly, and you have approached them in a respectful way:
    • Listen to What They Say: Non-creepy flirting means you don't persist in trying to flirt or be friendly when they've said they're not interested.  Also, don't take it personally because it might not be about you.  It might just be about how they're feeling at the moment or some other issue.  
Listen to What She Says

    • Don't Follow Them: Whether they've responded positively or negatively, don't follow them.  Following them is definitely creepy behavior and could be considered stalking. If they respond positively and you want to ask them out for coffee, ask--don't assume.  
    • Don't Pursue Them on Social Media: In addition to not following them in person, don't follow them on social media unless you have their consent. This means you don't text them on social media sites without asking first.  
How to Flirt When You Fear Rejection
Now that we've covered the basics in terms of not violating boundaries or acting creepy, let's focus on your fear of rejection.
  • Flirting is Not About You.  It's About the Other Person: One way to flirt when you fear rejection is to focus on the other person instead of putting your expectations on them.  This means you're focusing on how to make them feel good in a genuine way while you're reading their body language, social cues and all the other factors discussed above.  
  • Smile and Be Friendly: Smiling and being friendly is very different from being creepy.  Don't open with a come-on line like Joey Tribbiani of Friends ("How you doin'").  Keep it simple.  You can ask a simple question about if they usually come to this place, but if they don't respond in a friendly manner or you sense they're uncomfortable, move on and leave them alone.

How to Flirt When You Fear Rejection: Smile and Be Friendly

  • Don't Focus on Flirting as a Means to an End: Most people flirt so they can get the other person's telephone number, ask them out on a date or get them to have sex with them.  But this is how you set yourself up for rejection. If that's your focus, the person you're interested in might be put off by it.  So, remember: Flirting isn't about you. It's about the other person.  Instead of asking for their telephone number, you can give them your number if they seem receptive.  But don't make a big deal out of it by asking when they'll call or when you'll see them again.
  • Use a Sense of Humor: Assuming the other person is receptive to talking to you and you have gotten past the initial stage of introducing yourself, you can use a sense of humor to ease this interaction and have fun.  Once again, you're doing this without an ulterior motive of getting them to go out on a date or have sex with you. Only do this if you know how to use humor to flirt.  If it makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable to be funny, don't do it because your awkwardness will probably make the other person feel uncomfortable too (see my article:  A Good Sense of Humor Can Be Sexually Attractive).
  • Know When to Back Off If It's Not Going Well: At any point along the way if you sense the other person isn't interested, don't persist. Know when to back off and leave gracefully, which could mean you just say, "It was nice meeting you" and then go.
  • Know When to Leave Even When It's Going Well: Likewise, even if you've had an enjoyable chat with this person, you also need to know when to leave.  Either way, don't just walk away. Thank them for chatting and go about your business.  
  • Remember: Non-Creepy Flirting is a Skill: Don't expect to do it perfectly the first time and maybe not even the next several times. If you don't know how to flirt, you'll need practice--it's just like developing any other social skill.
When to Seek Help in Therapy
There are times when unresolved trauma gets in the way of interacting socially with other people.  

If you know you have unresolved trauma that is affecting you in the present, seek help from a trauma therapist.

A skilled trauma therapist can help you to overcome unresolved issues so you can live a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a trauma therapist who has helped many individual adults and couples to overcome their trauma (see my article: What is a Trauma Therapist?).

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Why is a Good Sense of Humor So Attractive?

A good sense of humor is sexually appealing to most people.  It's one of the qualities that's often mentioned in dating profiles as an attractive quality in a potential partner.

A Good Sense of Humor Can Be Very Attractive

This article will explore what makes a good sense of humor, why it's so sexually appealing, and how you can develop a healthy sense of humor to enhance your social skills.

What is a Good Sense of Humor?
First, let's distinguish well-intentioned humor from mean-spirited humor.  

Unfortunately, a lot of humor today is mean spirited.  It's based on getting a laugh at someone else's expense, which is a form of bullying.  

Well-intentioned humor, on the other hand, makes people feel good.  It makes people laugh without hurting their feelings.  

Well-Intentioned Humor Doesn't Hurt Others' Feelings

A good sense of humor is a valued social trait.  Conversely, an undeveloped sense of humor often means undeveloped social skills, and it can put someone at a social disadvantage.

In some cases, having a good sense of humor means entertaining people and making them laugh.  But more often than not it means having the ability to see humor in every day life.  

People with a good sense of humor tend to:
  • Be Creative
  • Think Outside the Box
  • Bring a Different Perspective to Situations
  • Have a Lighthearted Attitude
  • Be Resilient
  • Be Adaptable
  • Be Conscientious (they don't try to get a laugh from mean-spirited jokes)
  • Cope With Stress Better
  • Laugh More and Others Laugh With Them
  • Benefit in Terms of Their Health and Mental Health (see my article: The Benefits of Laughter For Health and Mental Health)

What is the Connection Between a Good Sense of Humor and Sexiness?
Flirting, pleasant teasing, playfulness, creativity, self confidence and intelligence are all qualities that most people find sexually appealing:
  • Humor and Flirting: Flirting is driven by emotions and instinct rather than logic. Flirting and pleasant teasing often signal sexual interest.  Flirting can be used to gauge someone's sexual interest in you. It can also ease tension between people. In addition, flirting stimulates the nervous system with increased blood flow and the release of adrenaline.  

Flirting and Healthy Teasing

  • Humor and Playfulness: Humor and playfulness can create a strong bond between two people.  Being able to laugh together also helps people to feel more comfortable with each other.  Playfulness is also fun and sexy when you're attracted to someone and you sense they're attracted to you.
  • Self Humor and Confidence: Being able to laugh at yourself shows self confidence, which is sexually appealing to most people.  

Humor and Self Confidence
  • Humor and Intelligence: Intelligence is an important quality for most people when they are seeking a romantic partner.  For many people, especially people who identify themselves as sapiosexual (people who find intelligence to be sexually arousing), intelligence is essential. But for most people intelligence is not as important as a good sense of humor.  According to Psychology Today, people with a good sense of humor are usually intelligent, but intelligent people don't necessarily have a good sense of humor.  

Developing a Good Sense of Humor
If you want to develop a better sense of humor:
  • Learn to listen and observe people who have a good sense of humor and who know how to banter.
  • Be aware that to be humorous in a well-intentioned way can signal that you're friendly.  It can also be flirty and signal that you're attracted to someone.
  • Learn how to respond to other people's humor, especially if you're someone who tends to be easily offended and jump to conclusions by taking things personally.  This doesn't mean that if someone makes a joke that's offensive you need to pretend that it's funny. But before you react, pause and ask yourself if it's likely this person wanted to offend you.  After you take a pause, you can decide how to respond.  If you still find the other person's humor offensive, let them know you don't appreciate it in a tactful way.
  • Learn to be funny without being offensive.  Jokes, stories or statements that are racist, homophobic, sexist, ageist, or that are at other people's expense, aren't funny, so avoid them.  Like any other social skill, you'll need to observe others and practice taking a risk by putting yourself out there.

Sexual attraction is influenced by many individual factors, including psychological, cultural, genetic, conscious and unconscious factors.

An undeveloped sense of humor often signals undeveloped social skills. 

A good sense of humor can enhance sexual attractiveness.  People often want to be around someone with a good sense of humor because their humor is fun and it makes them good about themselves.  

Getting Help in Therapy
If you're struggling with unresolved emotional problems, you might be struggling socially.  This makes it difficult to meet and socialize with others.

Seek help from a qualified mental health professional so you can live a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I am a sex positive therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.