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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1200
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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For several years now I have had a difficult time achieving

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For several years now I have had a difficult time achieving orgasm while having intercourse with my wife. I am able to have an orgasm during oral sex and usually during masturbation. I used to believe that my wife's vagina wasn't tight enough to properly stimulate me. However, now that she has been with another man, and that man has a smaller penis than I do and he says that she is tight. I feel just horrible that, although I am very sexually attracted to my wife and want more than anything to please her, that I have such a hard time (and rarely do) achieving an orgasm with her during intercourse, especially since I now know that another man can. Do you have any advise for me?

nphbrown :

Just a quick thought. Since a big part of sex is in the mind, one place it's important to focus is on what goes on in your mind during sex. Of course you should also consult a doctor to have your physical responses thoroughly checked out. And there's always Viagra & Cialis etc. to try. I'd be willing to discuss a little about the types of orgasm you do and don't have, and about the content of your sexual fantasies. But I'm not convinced you should air this sort of normally ultraprivate information on an anonymous website, despite the advantages of your identity being inaccessible to anyone else. That should be discussed first. You also don't know anything about the credentials and experience you're getting in an "expert" with only a brief BIO on the website. I am not a certified sex therapist, though I have some specialized knowledge about sex fantasies that sex therapists don't have. But I think it's the delicacy of your topic and the low amount you have deposited that have probably led you to get no responses in over 26 hours. Ethically I would not offer any advise for which my knowledge base is insufficient. Perhaps some frank discussion about sex fantasies and mechanics, and then how best to get your questions answered would be the best help I can offer.

nphbrown :

Meanwhile I go walk the dog and think about this.


I guess I'm a little confused about your response. First of all, I do have some ED and am taking Cialis for it with very good results. You state that you would be willing to discuss the types of orgasm I do and don't have but seem to indicate that this shouldn't be discuss on a website. If I don't discuss it with you here, how can I? You also indicated that the "low amount" I have deposited probably led to my not getting responses to my question. I am willing to pay more money for help with this problem, I guess I don't understand this website and how to offer more money. I am pretty desperate for help as it's been almost a month since I have been able to orgasm during intercourse with my wife. She says it doesn't bother her but it sure does bother me. Please help me.

nphbrown :

Thanks for your courage to pursue this. There is another way you could do this, and that is to seek out a certified sex therapist in your own area, where you would be known to that person. Sex is so inevitably surrounded with powerful force-fields of shame, that being SEEN by a real person who knows enough about the human variations on sexuality to reflect to you with the clarity of a mirror that is NOT just unbothered by what you're sharing but also reflecting COMFORT and RESPECT for you including your sexual issues. I will endeavor to do that, tho I do not have as broad a range of sex-therapy expertise as hopefully a licensed and very experienced sex therapist would have.

nphbrown :

So question 1: How old are you? How much age difference is there between you and your wife? ED is normal for older men, and I am one of those myself. So ED is certainly no significant source of shame, as you seem to know yourself too. It's also not so unusual for men to be unable to ejaculate during intercourse, as you probably know it's around 1/4 or less of women who orgasm during intercourse themselves. On the other hand, If your wife does regularly achieve orgasm during intercourse, then it could be particularly upsetting (that is embarrassing) to you that you can't. Or if she has come to regard your coming as the sign that she has been all the woman that you want her to be--or if you Believe that she may think that way, even tho she insists she's fine with your lack of orgasm, then your worries about disappointing her may play a big part in shutting down your release of inhibition into ejaculatory inevitability.

nphbrown :

Furthermore, in masturbation it's all under your own control, all the changes in how you stimulate your penis from moment to moment AND all the words and images you're running in your imagination. 2. Do you remember how old you were when you began masturbating? Were there any physical or interpersonal circumstances affecting your early and teenage masturbation practices? How did the comparative frequencies of your masturbation vs intercourse vs nongenital sex with another develop and change over the years since you first began? Graphing frequencies would work nicely, but this site doesn't have visual capabilities. So you can just estimate numbers and % during various phases of your life. I'm basically looking for how your masturbatory and oral sex habits may have influenced your orgasmic approach during intercourse. 3. Have you been exclusively heterosexual, or situationally bisexual or homosexual during the sexual phases of your life?

nphbrown :

4. What have your predominant sex fantasies been while masturbating? 5. What sex fantasies have you had while getting oral sex? 6. What sex fantasies have you had, or do you normally have during intercourse? To what extent do you sometimes find yourself imagining your penis as an instrument of aggression during intercourse? Do you sometimes feel aggressive during intercourse in the missionary position? Do you have some strong moral beliefs about some types of intercourse, such as passionate condemnation?

nphbrown :

Do you regularly want another part of your body to be stimulated to intensify your orgasm? This will be more than enough information for me to get started to give you the best that I can offer. So have at it.

nphbrown :

Norman Brown

nphbrown :

The way you could pay more money for the length of help conversation we'll have is just to keep the question open but give me a big bonus at the end, since I get 3/4 of bonuses but only 1/2 of deposits. You'll need to call customer service to find out how to keep the question from timing out, or you will have to relist it to continue. I've given you quite a bit to write about in my questions, so I don't expect to be responding again until you have done that. If you're too uncomfortable to respond to some of the questions, please just tell me that. I'm willing to keep your confidence and to comment professionally on what you share--or decline to comment when I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough to comment professionally. I have some more questions not mentioned, but your answers to these will take us a long ways.

Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your responses. I'm appreciative of your help. My wife (Margie) and I (Steve) will both turn 61 in July. I really don't have a problem with the fact that I have ED, and am comfortable using Cialis with very good results. Margie achieves orgasm, mulitiple times and types, during sex. She states that while she enjoys it when I ejaculate in her during intercourse she is feel with the fact that i don't. I am the one that it bothers the most. I am still sexually attracted to her and she is the ONLY woman I want to have sex with, even after 40 yrs of marriage. I was 4 or 5 when I started masturbating and have always masturbated and still enjoy masturbating. I don't recall any physical or interpersonal circumstances that may have affected my masturbating. I would have to be honest and say that for the last several years, when Margie and I have sex there was far more oral sex or masturbation to orgasm than with intercourse. I would say I ejaculated during intercourse fewer than once a month, it was normally oral or masturbation. I have always been exclusively heterosexual and have no interest in men sexually. All of my sexual fantasies have involved 1) Margie having sex with another man 2) Margie teasing me about the size of my penis (small penis humiliation) or 3) wearing panties during sex. I know my penis is average in size so I don't know where the SPH ever came from. We have engaged in all on these fantasies. About 5 weeks ago Margie began seeing another man at my encouragement. I have found this both sexually exciting and disturbing at the same time. We have had 2 or 3 MMF sex sessions which I find erotic, but again I am without orgasm. My sex fantasies remain the same. I have never felt aggression during intercourse in the missionary or any other position and don't have any moral or religious beliefs that are in the way. I have enjoyed anal stimulation in the past but it's not a part of our regular sex. Anything you can suggest to help I will appreciate. I feel like I'm slowly losing my mind. Thanks.

Thank you for trusting me with this information. It gives me a good footing to start with. I can empathize thoroughly with your feeling that you're slowly losing your mind. As I understand what you've conveyed, your experiment with encouraging Margie to see another man has set off a growth in your #1 sex fantasies that may well be the primary psychodynamic that is intensifying your confusion of imagery and feelings that IS your AWARENESS OF SLOWLY LOSING YOUR MIND.


SO first and foremost I suggest you DECLARE A HALT TO YOUR MMF SEX SESSIONS. Call it a moratorium that your professional marriage therapist adviser is calling for. If you haven't told Margie yet that you've consulted someone, tell her now that you're getting very uncomfortable with your state of mind, and you needed professional advice, because you have been feeling worse instead of better, since you began this experiment of seeing her with another man.


Tell her that it's a turn-on for you to see her with the other man, but there's something bigger than that turn-on that feels very bad to you, like HELPLESSNESS. (Does this word open a door into the realm of confusion, fear, emptiness, or abandonment that threatens to engulf you and obliterate your ego-center? If something like that does happen inside of you, how can you restore yourself to a sense of Existing in the present again? How have you done that before now?)


Write back to me about how it feels when you dwell on that feeling state you're in when you're aware of her and him in the real present. Use all the Feeling words that hover around your erotic fantasy-center. Put your own awareness of this primal experience into words, or pictures, or sounds, or any other form of artistic expression. JA does not have the capability of sending attachments, such as pdf or music, to me. But if you have something you want to send that does express your state and its further developments toward an outcome, you can 1. describe your productions to me (such as an existing piece of music or soundscape, or an artwork or art story that I can access for myself) or 2. ask me for an avenue for sending me your artistic expression (abstract colored crayon or magic-marker depictions are often fairly satisfying expressions).


After communicating some of what you are feeling to Margie, ask her to talk about how she feels about this new experiment, including how she feels about the threesomes, about the other man, and about you and her in your relationship now. This could be a VERY IMPORTANT exchange for you both. Remember to tell her FIRST some of how you're starting to feel, how "off balance" or "helpless" etc.


But even if she's quite excited about where this experience is going for her, TELL HER YOU MUST HALT IT FOR NOW. Your marriage therapist says you must get to the bottom of what's going on inside of you, or things could turn out very badly for you. She will love you as much as you love her, and she will join you in this effort.


Notice right now WHAT MY SUGGESTION IS TRIGGERING IN YOUR FEELINGS, what you'd say to me if you could be here right now in my presence.


I have a next step I may pursue in mind already, but I want to take this one step at a time. So I will await your responses to this step before I proceed.


Norman Brown

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for your previous response. I'm sorry for not getting back to you sooner but I've been trying to sort through everything before I responded back to you. Margie knows that I have consulted with you and I have shared all of our correspondence with her. We have discussed my feelings and emotions many times at great length. For her part she is willing to stop seeing Tom, but she does not want to since it would hurt Tom very much and she cares about him a great deal. They both have a strong emotional involvement. Having said that Margie has reaffirmed that I am the most important partner to her. My state of mind has improved since last Tuesday. Last Monday Margie and Tom were together for several hours, riding on his motorcycle (something she enjoys but I don't). She and I had a "miscommunication" about when I asked her to let me know when she was with Tom (he picked her up from her having coffee with a girlfriend of hers) and when they were headed back to our house after their ride. The result was that I was extremely upset, thinking she didn't care about my feelings. The result was all three of us were hurt or upset. They did not have any sex as planned that day. Then I felt guilty about that. Margie then went to be with Tom on Tuesday traveling about an hour from home to be with him. I had OK'd this meeting, and they were together about 6 hrs. I asked her to leave to come back home at a certain time and I was VERY concerned that she wasn't going to honor that request - simply because they would be caught up in one another. However, she did come home as I asked and that made a world of difference to me - like the best Christmas ever as a kid. It reaffirmed to me that I was important to her. Silly I know, but that's how I felt.
Anyway, I think that if I asked them to stop right now my guilt over that would be almost crushing. She enjoys their time together and the excitement of this new relationship, plus knowing that another man finds her sexually attractive. Margie brings that excitement back to our bed.
I think that the strongest feeling I have is not HELPLESSNESS, but a feeling of being left out. As I said we have had a couple of three ways in which I was obviously included, but they have had several sexual encounters without me. The three ways were VERY enjoyable, especially for Margie, however the problem exists of my not being able to ejaculate in her during intercourse. I do ejaculate during masturbation and oral sex with Margie. All sorts of previously arousing (for me) stimulation (verbal) has not helped.
If I was in your presence now I would express what I did above, my reluctance to halt her time with Tom due to the massive guilt I fear I would feel over depriving Margie of the experience with Tom.
I cannot tell you how much this experience has also made Margie and I even MORE IN LOVE. We feel love and a closeness we haven't EVER felt before. My biggest fear is that something (anything) happens to disrupt that.
My feeling of being left out is not just from them having sex together, but I think its their emotional connection, excitement when she talks to him on the phone or in person, texts and e-mails, etc. I of course am not involved in those, nor do I feel truly involved when the three of us are together in a social setting. I also feel that maybe it's not right for me to infringe on their relationship.
While Margie admits she enjoys it when I (or Tom) ejaculates in her, she says its not that important to her and that I just need to stop worrying about it, that it will happen again when its time. I however see it as a direct reflection on me as a lover, particularly when Tom can provide her with it and I can't.

Well, this is a fine kettle of fish. I went thru something like this in 1971-72, when my first great love was in its 8th year. We were both 29. There is so much more that I know about these erotic/emotional forces that I know now, since my experience with therapy began then and I went to psychology grad school in 1973-75 and changed my profession to psychotherapy (from Humanities, English & German literature, where I had my first PhD.


When we did this it was the cool new thing to do, with the books The Harrad Experiment (Heinlein) and Open Marriage coming out right then. Now I've heard there's another wave of this sort of experimentation among college kids, they call it Polyamorous, where it's not just one or two threesomes, but each person might have 3-5 lovers, mostly pigeonholed to Internet & phone calls, other ports of call, and "old friends," etc.


I think I know where your own sexual arousal patterns originated. But for now, this is not the most immediate challenge. What other close relationships and/or sexual relationships does Tom have?


You've cut a deal without halting the experiment in New Love, by asking for and getting some reassurance that you have the power to limit the duration of their amorous behavior, and that's probably slowed down your potential of losing your mind for the time being. But now you have a relationship problem, and it will only get bigger and more entrenched unless one of two things happens. Either Margie falls out of love with Tom, or you have a change of heart in your conscious attitude.


You wrote: "For her part she is willing to stop seeing Tom, but she does not want to since it would hurt Tom very much and she cares about him a great deal. They both have a strong emotional involvement. Having said that Margie has reaffirmed that I am the most important partner to her."

The fact that you feel guilty about depriving Margie of her new love would be touching if you were her father, brother, or son, but it does not bode well for the future of your marriage as her husband. It is really great that you can express all of your feelings with Margie, because it means your intimacy with her is very strong. And actually, if you continue to be able to express what you're feeling with her, and you are ABLE to keep expressing all your feelings, especially feeling left out and hurt, she might fall out of love sooner rather than later. But there's one area of feelings you're not sharing with Margie, because you're probably not aware of them yourself. And that's Anger.


If you thought I was fishing for sexual violence when I asked you if you ever felt aggressive during sex, it was quite the opposite. If a man can't spontaneously feel like an aggressive animal during sex with his mate (sometimes)--and a lot of men can't--then he's missing something in his emotional make up. I was missing that myself during my 20s, and it led me to let my girlfriend's new romance with a 19 yr old student (my favorite young guy, like my son) go on, even though I could feel often enough how much it hurt me to lose her to her excitement for him. I was unable to get angry or aggressive enough to assert my partnership with my girlfriend and demand she stop fooling around with the kid, or declare that I would make him leave our socalled communal house. It took about 9 more months, but I could never get back the sense of belonging and security I once had, and the relationship was doomed.


Anger is a manifestation of the natural male aggression that leads men to hunt their women down, to protect them from all dangers and also all rivals, and to feel triumphant, possessive and masterful when they are thrusting uninhibitedly in the climactic stage of male orgasm. [I'm particularly concerned about your reactions to this little paragraph, because it's one of the vital centers of this issue.


You're not knowing mentally and not reacting instinctively with "mate guarding" like the other male primates. So "New love chases away old," (The Art of Courtly Love, Andreas Capellanus, 1174, southern France) no matter what Margie tells you about you being number one husband. The rich Arabs can add another wife every 5-7 years if they can afford to support her. So they'll go on according number one wife status to their first wife, but their passion is bound to flow towards the new woman in their life. If you allow Margie and Tom to keep on heating up their chemistry, you're guaranteeing that their new love will take months to a few years to simmer down, and the limitations you put around it for your own version of "mate-guarding" will either make their passion work harder to work itself through their minds and hearts (like the famous adulterous affairs of Tristan & Isolde, the forbidden passion of Romeo & Juliet), or perhaps falter then fizzle if there's enough guilt in either Tom or Margie.


You wrote: For her part she is willing to stop seeing Tom, but she does not want to since it would hurt Tom very much and she cares about him a great deal.


How much MORE is it going to hurt Tom if she waits 6 months or more likely 2-3years to stop seeing him? How much LESS of her number one man are you going to feel as yourself if you watch it continue for ONE more month? I'm very concerned that you and I don't have enough trust built up for me to guide you through what's coming your way. This written Q & A approach between strangers is not strong enough, not multichannel enough to go into the deeper stuff that you've sculpted into the sex fantasies and sexual behavior you're now acting out. For most people sex fantasies are kept on the imaginary level, because once they're enacted in real life they have a tendency to become more compelling than any other emotional sector in the love relationship. Sexual intensity threatens to sweep away the more tender love feelings, and people can lose their grip on the identity of themselves, their partner, and their love relationship itself.


Our species is biologically designed to carry on serial monogamy, and in the vast majority of cultures it's the men who can get away with having a lover or two on the side, especially if their first wives don't know or choose not to know about them. Women have to be able to warm up to another man, because in the bad old days their husbands could be killed fighting another tribe. I

Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
WOW, you sure have given me a lot to think over. I will need a few days to digest all of this. By the way, I do feel a great deal of trust in and with you, that's why I continue to pursue the issue with you. Is there any way that we can discuss these issues perhaps over the phone? I am willing to to pay whatever fee you charge. Please let me know, otherwise please give me some time to mull this over in my mind. Thanks.

I was typing a continuation for about a half hour, and talking with my wife, who is in private practice (incl phonework) with me, when you started reading what's above, and that prevented me from adding what I was going to add. It gets more intense and personal. The facts that you started masturbating around 5-7 years before the norm for boys (which is early puberty) and your continued reliance on masturbation--that also preserved your childhood sex fantasies all the way into your present day, the contents of those fantasies, and your inability to come into your wife's vagina all point to some early sexual experiences that you can't remember, not necessarily because they were "ugly" or "perverse" but because you didn't have any words to anchor bodily sensations into your memory so they could be retrieved. You have sensations but no symbolic representations (words), but your sex fantasies are metaphors for some of what your child-mind did with those experiences. It's not allowed for me to give out my email or phone number thru JA. But I'd like to talk about the role of shame as a normal and frequent companion to sexual excitement and how those two combine to configure our sex fantasies, originally a brilliant thesis of Robert Stoller, MD, from Los Angeles, where I grew up, before living in Europe during much of college, then Michigan and now Florida. Jesus said Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be too. What he meant is that when we gather to focus on healing and spiritual growth, the transcendent energy is constellated between us, and that transforms--not me, not you alone, but the chemistry of our meeting in the same serious quest. That energy that we're exchanging only thru words, written or telephoned, will catalyze changes that neither of us can predict. But they'll be good for you, and I'll be grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I think that first I have to clarify something for you regarding Margie and Tom's relationship. Margie and I have talked about their relationship at some length. Margie is not in love with Tom. Her feelings are best described as infatuation. Tom provides her with some feelings and sexual experiences that I haven't, but that I am working hard to provide to her. In fact there have been some recent changes in their relationship. Margie is no longer hesitant to end their relationship. While we haven't done that as yet, our collective schedules over the next month will severely limit the amount of time they can spend together. Both Margie and I view this as a good thing, giving us more time to work on our own relationship.
I have also become much more comfortable with Margie's relationships with both of the other men she is seeing. I believe that this stems from the incident a couple of weeks ago when Margie returned from being with Tom as I had asked her to. This had a tremendously positive impact on reaffirming to me that Margie DOES care about my feelings and that I am her primary partner.
In the past week I have also been able to ejaculate in Margie twice during intercourse. This was the first time in almost a month that this happened. It has not happened every time we had intercourse, but we both feel that this was a positive improvement.
Regarding your comments on anger, I have to tell you that I am not an angry person, nor one who angers easily. However, I do anger when those I love are hurt or are in danger. As such I believe that I do exhibit "mate guarding" in those respects. However, I am not aware of any anger concerning Margie's relationship with other men. I may be kidding myself but I can only acknowledge feelings that I am consciously aware of.
As to early sexual experiences I am only aware of the normal "playing doctor" with a little girl friend of mine. Of course I was also caught masturbating by my mother with the typical over reactions of spanking and being told I'd never be able to have children of my own. These reactions, I believe, are consistent with the times - 1950's.
I greatly appreciate any further comments or advice you have for me.

Margie is a treasure, and I know you know that.

I'm a lot less worried about the future course of her outside infatuation now. I'd still like to correspond about the origins I intuit for your sexual issues. Your report also shows that your chances of dissolving some unconscious blockage that has channeled & inhibited you for decades fairly rapidly are good. I'm coauthor of a medical research review that could be quite valuable: Low dose naltrexone for disease prevention and quality of life--it's the quality of life part that has useful references.


I'll have more to write later.


Norman Brown, Ph.D., LMFT

Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I showed your response above to Margie and she wants to know why you said that she's a treasure (even tho I know that she is)....LOL.

The fact that she's able to balance her obviously natural kindness toward anyone whose emotional well being may depend on her actions with her primary loyalty to you--and I overestimated the power of new love to chase away old love in your marriage, for which I apologize. I would certainly be very devoted to her if I were you and she were herself.


PS That complete version of Low Dose Naltrexone for Disease Prevention and Quality of Life that's pdf on the net is missing some information that was later added, so it's not useful to you. The version accessible thru Pub Med, govt medical/psych/neuroscience database has the missing info.


I still want to discuss the origins question with you. But it should be in real time, as a back and forth, and I don't know how to bring the chat function back into play here. And it's not allowed for me to direct you to my phone #. So perhaps we can determine what time zones we're in (EDT for me) and arrange a time to have a conversation online. If I were to refer you to someone local for you, that person (who I undoubtedly don't know) would have to be well versed in both sex therapy and psychoanalysis. A psychoanalyst might work fine, but they're usually very expensive. So give me your time zone and your best times for a spare 30+ minutes. The contents are not more (normally) private to a contracted therapy session than stuff you've already written, so I don't have to back away in favor of a phone or face consult with someone else I can't be sure of. (We therapists are actually notorious for disagreeing about a lot of the explanations & interpretations for an individual's issues, so we can get territorial about clients while rationalizing that it's "too many cooks spoil the broth."

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I look forward to being able to have a real time discussion with you. We live in Wisconsin (outside of Milwaukee) in the Central Time Zone so we are 1 hour behind you. I will be pretty much free all day next Tuesday (July 5) if that works for you. If it does, please let me know what time is good for your schedule and I will be sure that I'm available then. If that day doesn't work for you. I watch two of my granddaughters (ages 6 and 3) all day on Wednesday-Friday each week so those days tend to be rather hectic. The next best day for me would probably be the morning on the 6th or most any time on the 11th or 12th.
Again, thanks for all of your help.

Tuesday July 5th works for me. Anything after 12 noon my time works for me, and I'd schedule an hour just to be safe--it all depends on how far we can get in this sort of online mode. Meanwhile I'll write the experts-support and ask if I can get chat mode restored, because that works better. It's more conducive to short verbal exchanges, so more like in-person or phone therapy. I'm partially retired myself and in private practice of psychotherapy in Florida and online. Let's get this set up and in the works.


In the mean time you can help me get my expertise more focused on your own uniqueness if you would write about your family of origin. Specifically:

1. Your father--age at your birth & his age when deceased, his attitudes & feelings toward you & yours toward him in childhood, including how they might have changed as you got older (until your age 21). His work career & its impact on his presence at home and on his closeness or distance from you. His relationship with your mother, including his attitudes & feelings (as you perceive them) esp during your childhood from preschool till age 21.

2. All the same aspects of your mother (incl working or homemaker during your childhood) and her relationship to you and to your father up to your marriage to Margie. Compare the amount and quality of time you had with your mother and with your father on a regular basis from your toddlerhood until teenage.

3. How is Margie similar to AND different from your mother?

4. What events in your childhood stand out for you, from your first 2 yrs(hearsay usually) until school age (some memories)? How satisfying or unsatisfying would you say your first 12 years were with each parent?


That's enough. If you report diligently on these questions, I will know better where to explore on Tuesday, so that online time can be reduced. Now I'll go ask if I can switch back to chat mode for then.


Norman Brown

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
WOW, what a homework

My dad was 31 when I was born in 1950. They put off having kids until after WWII even though my dad didn't serve in the war. My brother was born in 1947. My dad died at age 72. My dad wasn't around much because he had his own business (a bakery) and worked 12-14 hrs a day 7 days a week. When he did get home we ate supper and he fell asleep on the couch until it was time to go to bed. He was a good provider but really didn't do a lot as far as raising my brother or me. That fell to my mom. My dad was probably pretty typical of a dad in the 1950/60's. He was the provider, my mom raised the kids and kept the house. She also worked in the business. My dad was a distant quiet figure. I don't ever remember him telling me that he loved me. I always sought his approval and respect, but to this day don't know if I ever got that from him. He and my mom were never affectionate in public. A brief kiss when he got home from work is all that I remember. Dad was not the disciplinarian, except on rare occasions. That too fell to my mom. I don't know that my attitudes and feelings toward him really changed very much as I got older. I always respected him and always sought his approval.

My mom was 31 when I was born and 70 when she died. As I said before she was the home maker and in charge of raising the boys. She loved her boys with a great intensity and it showed. She was involved in the PTA and scouting with us. She also worked in the bakery, less when we were younger and more as we got older. My mom was the dominant personality in the family. She was a very personable woman. I always knew that I was loved by her, although I don't remember her telling me very often. I spent much more time with my mom than I did my work, chores, and I was sick a lot as a child (cyclic vomiting from about age 5 or 6). Again, I think she was pretty typical of the era.

Margie is like my mom in two important ways. She has a tremendous capacity for love and she shows it and Margie is the social person in our relationship. Margie was also predominantly responsible for raising our two children (Bryan - now 36 and Kelly - now 33). I worked three jobs (one full time and two part time) for most of the kid's lives. Do you see a parallel there? Until the kids were school age Margie did not work. Margie was also involved in the church and school with the kids and in our condominium association while she stayed home. Margie has always expressed much more love and caring for the kids and me. This was not not just in doing as it was with my mom. Margie has never given herself the credit she deserves for raising our family. My mom may have been a little more "domestic" than Margie, but again is that just a sign of the times (1970/80's)? Margie and I have always been more open with our affection in public (holding hands, kissing, hugging, etc).

Events that stand out from my childhood....

Family vacations every year. We traveled a lot as kids. We were able to see most of the country and much more than most families.

My illness as a child. As i stated, I had cyclic vomiting from around age 5 or 6, and was put on medications to control that (Mycillian and Dylantin). I also missed a lot of school, but never was kept back. I was over protected by my mom as a result of my illness.

Going to baseball games (Milwaukee Braves) as a boy. I loved baseball, played it a lot and followed the Braves until they left Milwaukee.

I was a bed wetter until about age 12 or 13.

I didn't have many friends and the ones I did have were mostly girls.

I was an average student until my last 2 years of high school. I got mostly "C"'s. I had to work harder due in part to the medicines I was taking. I was not social in school. Always wished I was more athletically gifted.

I would have to say that my first 12 years were very satisfying with my mom, but as I stated my dad was always distant and I wished that I could be accepted more by him.

I hope that this is what you are looking for from me. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Yes, great job with the homework. You have regularly gone beyond the call of duty throughout our consultation. In fact your responses have been among the most courageously candid I've ever seen in my short career as a Relationship Expert on JA, 4 months. I've had other men and women in my private practice who were just as open, but they've also had at least a few months of sessions before they wanted to be as self-revealing as you have been from the very start.


Your answers open a few doors that I want to go thru, since we have some time before Tuesday. Are you OK with 11am your time on Tuesday? If so let me know, or if later would be better, let me know.


You've clearly connected with the right "Expert" for your concerns, or even for some ongoing telephone therapy if you want to try it. (I can't offer you my email or telephone number, but you can do anything you want outside of this venue. And what we've done already is beyond the scope of what we're supposed to offer on this site.) Why do I write this? My family constellation is the same as yours, exactly, except that I'm 5 years younger than my brother, and my mother died when I was 23 and my father when I was 36. Both my mother (depressed) and my father (malignant narcissist, scary temper, domineering and demanding of us boys) were less positive (M) & more negative (F) influences, and partially the origins (along with my own callings to this profession) of my engaging in my own therapy. But a large handful of professional experiences with clients and students has led me to recognize some characteristics that boys may have in common if mom as the only woman in their immediate family. Preferring the company of girls or at least avoiding membership in a pack of boys is one of them, but Imagining their beloved having sex with another man is not.


And Oh Yes, although we were raised mostly in the Los Angeles area, my father met my mother when she was teaching high school along with my father's younger brother at Kenosha High School, in around 1935. Both my father and his younger brother (same age difference as yours) attended that high school, and their family constellation was the same as yours and mine. My brother bears his father's and grandfather's unflattering names, while I get to bear Norman and Malcolm as names from my mother's Scottish heritage. My uncle Ken got the same privilege of bearing some of his mother's family names as I did, since there was a hard and fast rule for everything. I developed the ability to almost vomit as my best defense against having to clean my plate, including every bite of the vegetables I couldn't stand.


So here are a few more questions. 1. Did you feel inferior to other boys on a physical level in your teens? I imagine you did, since your illness and medications hindered your normal development athletically. 2. Did you notice and acknowledge sexual feelings towards girls as a teenager? Did you talk with your mother about them? And how did she react? 3. How did you get along with your older brother? Were you close or distant, cooperative or competitive? Did your dad seem to be more accepting of your older brother than of you? 4. To what do you attribute your rise in school performance in your last 2 years of high school? 5. Was Margie your first girlfriend? How did your mother react to her at first? How did they get along through your courtship (how long?) and up to your wedding? 6. What was the prevailing medical wisdom about your vomiting illness? Was it ever viewed as a psychosomatic resistance to going to school? Did you ever get counseling or psychiatry for that or for your bed wetting?

7. Did you live with shame about these infirmities as a child? What types of triggering moments for feeling awkward, embarrassed, shy, guilty, hurt or ashamed were noticeable (these are "shame moments"} There are 4 main reactions to shame: A. to withdraw from others and/or from the situations that triggered your shame, often to keep a lot of yourself private and live in your own world. B. to blame yourself, criticize yourself, lower your self esteem and feel bad or depressed. C. to avoid feeling bad by distracting yourself with something fun, exciting, prideful or mind altering (like drugs & alcohol--but private masturbation also fits very well, by altering your mind-set from suffering to pleasure and climaxing with a rush of extreme joy like the thunderous ending of Beethoven's 9th or the brief shriek-end of Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra. You can also develop something to be very proud of, so you can dwell on that instead of shame when it's triggered. D. attack other, as in blaming somebody else for the shaming situation or just finding something or someone else to get angry about or criticize inside, whether justifiably or not. To what extent would you say your childhood and adolescence were influenced by these patterned responses to shame?


You can leave this last part about shame moments alone if you want, since for most people, going into remembering such moments is like peeking into a rabbit hole and suddenly falling thru endless blackness with no bottom to be found. Only the network of shame response patterns above and the fellowship of the co-witnessing and guiding expert who's been down his own shame-silo can make that journey tolerable and also enlightening rather than just confusing and depressing. I'm really only pointing out this particular mine shaft into your history because these truths will set you free. Gaining a closer understanding relationship with your own shame moments is the single most dramatic improvement of our emotional intelligence that I've been able to teach a few thousand Psych of Relationship students and intimate couples in 2-3 hours of training and 2-3 weeks of self-observation homework. And it's also covered in my textbook and in the manual for a video Managing Shame Preventing Violence that has been distributed to thousands of clergy since it was published in the late 1990s.


In closing, I wonder if your emerging change in sexual experience has anything to do with those few lines I send you a while ago about aggression, triumph and sexual climax? ."to feel triumphant, possessive and masterful when they are thrusting uninhibitedly in the climactic stage of male orgasm." My therapist wife Pamela couldn't get her mind around aggression as a natural male element in sex until I read her these words--but then she got it and said "it turns me on."


Happy 4th festivities, and special applause for those "bombs bursting in air."



Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Happy 4th to you too. Thanks for the additional comments and 11AM tomorrow, my time, will work just fine. I am looking forward to it.

In answer to your questions, yes I always felt inferior to other boys, and still do to other men. Whether this is solely do to my illness as a child or other reasons I don't know. I have never bonded will with other men. I do have a few male friends, but have always been more comfortable with female friends. I have never felt "manly", and in fact joined the Army to "prove" to myself that I could do it. Also, to avoid being drafted during Viet Nam. I served 35+ years in the Army Reserve and retired as a LTC.

As a teen I certainly did notice girls and was sexually attracted to them. However, I have always lacked the self confidence to aggressively pursue most women. Women have seemed attracted to me but only as that nice guy they tend to treat as a "big brother" not as a sexual partner. I was never able to talk to my mother about girls or sex, that was just something NEVER discussed in the home.

I never had a close relationship with my brother. I always felt that my parents favored Allen, he was the better student and more personable child. I felt like the sickly child who was over protected by his mother. Since the death of our parents Allen and I are closer, but still not close. We don't have much in common.

The rise in my performance in high school the last two years was simply because I was taking easier courses. My first two years were mostly "college prep" courses.

Margie was my first true girlfriend. I had dated another girl before Margie but that was strictly a one way relationship. Margie was my first reciprocal girlfriend. My mother's relationship and attitude toward Margie was a little different since Margie also worked in our family business. I think my mother liked Margie but I think there was always some distance between them.

Both Margie and I were virgins when we started dating. She has been my only sexual partner all of my life, and up until recently, I had been her only sexual partner. While I look at and appreciate other women sexually, I doubt that I could be with another woman, and I really only desire to be with Margie.

The cause of my childhood illness was mental over stimulation. Whenever I got over excited about something (Christmas) it seemed to trigger an episode. I never received any treatment or counseling for my bed wetting. I simply out grew it I guess.

I don't recall feeling shame, but I certainly felt awkward and embarrassed. I was teased by other kids at times and I did withdraw. I played by myself a lot as a child, and still tend toward being a loner, although I think in the last 10 years or so I have become more social. A lot of that is due to Margie's influence on me. She has helped "bring me out of my shell" more.

One other important (I think) aspect of my personality is that I have always over estimated myself. I always felt that I was a better, employee, husband, father, friend, etc than it turns out that I actually was. I have only realized this in the past few years and that has brought out a great deal of hurt. The hurt is to myself for not being the person I thought I was all along.

I hope that we are able to have a real time chat tomorrow. I have never pursued any type of counseling before in my life. I don't know if what we are attempting is effective but I would truly hate to have to start over with someone new. I have trust and confidence in you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm just wondering how we begin the chat today?
I need to get on board with you. And I didn't try to find out how to chat. So we'll just have to use email like this, and keep it short. But I also have to go grab some breakfast so I don't get distracted by hunger. I was also stuck in front of my laptop while HP guy in India repaired it. I'll be 5 minutes before I can pay full attention.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK, just let me know when you are ready.
I'm ready. And I asked you last night if you could make a more extensive list of the times when you experienced overstimulation that led to vomiting, like Christmas is one category, and was that the anticipation of the scene of presents under the tree, or some other moment in the Christmas scene? And what were some of the other scenes?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I really don't know. All that I remember is being told that it was caused by excitment.

This email method isn't working well at all. I'll keep trying, but you are allowed to find me if you can. I'm just not allowed to tell you how.


Now you say you don't know about any of the other times when you began to vomit? You only know that it was called "cyclic vomiting" and (WHO?) told you it was caused by mental overstimulation. Do you remember the last time you had that outburst? Or a strong gag response that could have gone into vomiting?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Everything I know about it was from my mother. I remember being told that Christmas was a trigger event, I also got sick right before high school graduation and I missed graduation. It's been 40+ years since I had one of these episodes. I rarely vomit at all any more (thank goodness).


I have IM @[email protected]

It's surprising that you'd remember nothing from the triggering situations. But there is a way to work from your most recent memory. You know my name and credentials.


Close your eyes, Go inward, and relive the sick night before high school graduation in as much detail as you can. It doesn't even matter whether you get the details right or not, it only matters that you get the feeling strongly in your being.


Go through that experience inside. Include also how your mother reacted at that time.





Then stay in the feeling state and go back to an incident that happened before that one. Tell me what that one was.


Then go into that one and relive it also, in as much detail as you can, even going thru it twice or more to get fully into it. (Again it doesn't matter whether you think the details are right or not. It's the imagery and emotion and physiology that matters.


Then give me a brief summary of each of these incidents, first/latest and then second/earlier.


I can't tell when you've sent a response, so I have to go away and then come back to this connection.

Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Suite E11, Ormand Beach?
Yes. I suggest you do the internal reliving of your last vomiting sick crisis and the one before that before responding again, since this method is moving so slowly. That slowness gives you time to take 5-10 minutes for activating the emotional roots of your vomiting history, so give it that time. I'm not going anywhere for at max 2 hours.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I really have few memories from when I was sick. I remember being sick, vomiting every hour on the hour the first day, every two hours the second, every third hour the third day, etc, for about 5 days when I was suddenly better. The last episode I remember was the day before high school graduation. I believe that Margie and I had spent the day together at the beach. I went home and became ill that evening. The previous episode had occurred probably 10 yrs or so earlier. When I was about 7, I was put in the Children's Hospital in Milwaukee for testing to find out what was wrong with me. They ran tests, including an EEG, which showed abnormalities and led to the diagnosis of Cyclic Vomiting. I was then put on Dilantin and later Mycilin which controlled the episodes until prior to graduation.

Margie and I were talking about this and she reminded me of one other episode that occurred after graduation, but I have NO IDEA what triggered that. It must have occurred within a year of graduation and is the last episode I have had.

I am curious as to why you are focusing on this illness and what relationship you feel it has to my present problem.

I really don't have memories of my illness other than being so very sick for such a long time, my mother being so worried about me, and then after about 5 days suddenly feeling better. There was one time when becoming sick was preceded by my having a grand mal seizure, but only that one time, as I recall.

I did leave a message on the answering machine for the phone number for the address I stated earlier.
If you're satisfied with what we have achieved now online, please press Accept. And I wish you an ever improving marriage, since what you're doing now is creating a renaissance, and that's as good as it gets in long term marriages. You've broken thru your old marriage rules and given your partnership a new dimension that makes you new people for each other, congratulations! I hope I've nudged your new beginnings a little to help also.
Dr. Norman Brown and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you