Relationships and Sexuality

Interpersonal, Romantic Relationships and Sexuality

Relationships and sexual expression can be the source of much pleasure and joy as well as pain and separation.

Symptoms and problems can include:couple fighting 2

  • Communication problems
  • Emotional triggers that escalate into fighting and/or shutdown
  • Difficulties with emotional intimacy, vulnerability, and/or trust
  • Betrayal
  • Sexual issues
  • Loss of romance
  • Boundary issues – too rigid, too loose, violations of boundaries
  • Difficulties with conflict style (assertiveness, passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive)
  • Issues with parenting
  • Illness and aging
  • Or other challenges such as alcohol or drug addiction, depression

Intimacy and Connection

Couples coaching/therapy can help partners learn important communication skills, solve conflict better, and answer important questions such as:same sex couple b&w

  • Are you there for me?
  • Am I special?
  • Do you care?
  • Are you the right partner for me?

Helping couples decode negative interactions and the underlying feelings and needs while helping to improve acceptance and empathy for each other’s experience can allow couples find their way  back to a place of respect, love, and connection again.

Alternatively, if one partner is leaning out and one is leaning in, relationship therapy/coaching can help discern whether this is the right relationship for you and getting clarity about your commitment and willingness to work on the relationship. For more information on discernment counseling and separation divorce, click here.

By creating a safe environment, one can explore triggers and the pain that underlies them and cultivate awareness of ineffective systems and patterns of relating, tend to past wounds and emotional pain, identify needs and longings, and have more opportunity to experience intimacy, vulnerability, connection, and trust.  By helping to build on personal strengths while appreciating differences, developing new skills for emotional regulation, communication, assertiveness, and problem solving, Dr. Val helps people to have more joyful and rewarding relationships.


disconnected couple in bed

Do you find it difficult to:

  • navigate differences in desire
  • talk about what really turns you on
  • get out of your head and into your body?

Distracted by stresses of the day, appearances, and performance take away from what it takes to feel pleasure, slow down, drop into a more sensual space.  Lost in resentment, not feeling open, receptive, trusting? Sexual desire diminishes. Trauma, religious/cultural messages and taboos, and other beliefs can contribute to suppression of allowing one to blossom into the full expression of who they are as a sexual being.

“A good orgasm is satisfying, but a great orgasm can be a revelation of your deepest being, unfolding the truth of who you are in ecstatic communion with your lover.” ~David Deida

Sex therapy can help couples and individuals have difficult conversations about desire, pleasure, intimacy, and the nourishment they want from sex. Looking at what messages you got about sex, what you want from sexual intimacy, and the blocks to pleasure can help to embody yourself fully as a sexual being.

man and woman in shadow

Valerie Sher has been a long-time practitioner and activist in the development of healthy relationships, sexuality, and embodiment. She uses a non-judgmental mindfulness-based approach in cultivating self-inquiry and growth and greater mind/body well-being. She gently works to understand the dance between partners that contributes to separation or closeness. She sees her work as an offering and cultivation of presence, courage, and compassion to allow others to more safely explore and change blocks to loving and relating more fully and effectively.

Trained extensively in the field of sexuality, intimacy, and relationships, Valerie is trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Hold Me Tight programs, John Gottman, David Snarch, Somatica for Couples, Tantra and sacred sexuality, and Hakomi for Couples. As an educator for Kaiser, she taught Couples Communication and other courses involved in healthy relating, including Stress Management, Assertiveness, and Anger Management. She is a member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) and the Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT)

For more information on Emotionally Focused Therapy, Hakomi and Somatica Approaches, click here.

Contact Valerie Sher, Ph.D. at or 650-332-4656 to see if couples therapy is right for your partnership.