The Secrets to Sexual Self Discovery: Part 2 – The Love Dr. answers our questions

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Continuing our previous feature on Dr. Tepper, The Secrets to Self Discovery: Part 1, we posed some questions to gain a little more insight on getting the love and sexual intimacy you deserve. 

Renowned Sexologist, Dr. Mitchell Steven Tepper, sheds NEW LIGHT onto his research which gives fresh hope to those seeking to “Regain that Feeling.” With over 30 years as a sexuality researcher, educator, counselor, coach, advocate and a person with a disability, Dr. Tepper draws on his years of experience and research to provide a guide that is well worth your time if wanting to learn more about how to love…and love yourself.

Question and Answers

They say men like to hunt, and this drives their sexual desire. The “chase.” Do all men have the capacity to go beyond this intrinsic need and create a deeper more spiritual connection?

“There are many reasons or motives behind looking for sex. Being successful with the hunt is more about affirming masculinity than it is about fueling desire. Actually, research shows that married men have more sex than single men. And yes, I think men are more capable of a deeper connection than we are given credit for!”

What is the balance between need and dependency, and trust and vulnerability?  SO MANY people are getting hurt. For example, a young woman recently wrote:

“But I am a relationship oriented person. I always have been. That’s just the way I was made. I’m trying to be independent and not rely on anybody else or have any expectation, but my heart is always so open and vulnerable and trusting.

What is the right balance?

“The idea that we can be independent and not rely on anybody is a myth. We are all interdependent. Strive to love and respect yourself first and know you deserve to be loved and treated with respect. An open heart, and the ability to be vulnerable and trusting can all serve you well in the long run but you don’t want to wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s inside your body and protected by muscles and bones for a reason.

Love is an action, not a feeling, and our judgment is affected when acting emotionally and not overriding it with your brain.  We feel based on the fantasy of a person that we create in our minds, so we are creating a feeling—a sexual feeling which is physiology overriding our judgment.  To be vulnerable does not mean to suspend criticism or not to be discerning…and it certainly doesn’t mean setting yourself up as a target.  You’re not going to want to be sharing your most personal and private stuff on a Tinder hook-up. It is when you are in a committed relationship that you can begin to trust fully.  To be vulnerable to strangers is setting yourself up to react to them emotionally. “He makes me feel good” or “I am in love with him” vs. “this is someone who demonstrates characteristics I cherish and respect.”

Photo Credit: Melanie (Goodman) Dante for "Regain that Feeling"

Photo Credit: Melanie (Goodman) Dante for “Regain that Feeling”

The person who is good for you may not trigger that strong feeling immediately.  They may meet some of the criteria you have in mind as being attractive: i.e. a nice car, job, looks… This gets your attention, but only on a surface level. But, it creates feelings and you may act on a feeling without really knowing the person.  When it is real, love is more than a feeling. It is really, actually knowing someone and understanding their strengths and weaknesses while being able to overlook those weaknesses.   You may notice some characteristics that may or may not change over time like being messy or late, yet you can accept that because you respect them and accept them.

The romantic fantasy of love is ingrained in us from a young age. In the book I talk about Cupid, the Western vision of love; Cupid’s arrow usually strikes a little lower than the heart! This is way before Disney’s Prince Charming!  The feeling of romantic love is often distorted by either lust or our wishes for this to be the one. We often react to a surface level of information; things that are easy for people to fake while they are in a dating mode. A healthy love stems from valuing yourself and feeling good about yourself independent of whether a guy or girl wants you.

Love is best created by two complete wholes being together. If you are feeling lonely, not valuable, and without the attention of this other person, you are liable to make bad decisions.  Love is mutual respect, and when you allow an abusive relationship, you are saying, “I value and choose to see other things he is giving me, like his love and attention, so I will put up with his anger, his slaps…” You are devaluing yourself and coming from a place of need. You need this person’s love and affirmation so much that you are sacrificing your health and wellbeing.”

“A partner whose fears, assumptions, sense of inadequacy, and inability to relate make him or her avoid or abandon you, can leave deep scars that take a major toll on your sexual-esteem. They can cripple your sex life more than any loss of sensation, movement, or function ever could. But they don’t have to. You can’t control other people’s reactions, faults, misperceptions, insecurities, anxieties, or selfish behaviors, so you shouldn’t let them define you. You can’t always depend on others to reflect your best self. To learn to love and trust yourself, you have to look inward. Remember that you’re a lovable, capable, and sexual being. Meaningful connection is the point. Believe there is a reason to bother.”

Everyone has to say this mantra: I am a loving, capable and sexual being. You have to know it in your heart. If we all have a creative source in us, we all have intrinsic value. 27% of people with severe disabilities are employed. If we are going to value ourselves based on a capitalistic model, then we are not seeing that we are all created equal on a spiritual level.

If you express your inner self, there will be a match with someone who is attracted to these characteristics.  Millions of able-bodied men and woman are saying that all the good ones are taken. This is just not true and is because they have a laundry list of qualities they are seeking on a superficial level.”

Is it healthy and is there a place for casual, arm’s length dating?

“Dating is like shopping. Before you choose to date exclusively, there is plenty of room for casual dating.  Then it becomes a question of who do you have sex with and what are your goals? In the orthodox Jewish community, the match is already vetted by the family based on values and goals. The only thing left is to see if there is any chemistry.”


If you want to find the kind of connection and sexual intimacy that Dr. Tepper writes about, he can work as a counselor/coach providing individual services to help you with your online dating profile. He can help you write or review your current profile and choose a dating platform that best matches your desire because many services such as OkCupid, Match.com and eHarmony use different approaches. He can help you to express what you value in a partner and what you have to offer in the best way. He will also spend a few review sessions with you and recommend your best photos. It is a good exercise even if you don’t find someone via this vehicle, as it will start the dialogue and get you thinking about your goals. Dr. Tepper works on a sliding scale with fees negotiated based on good-faith offered to people with disabilities who are on fixed incomes. Normally, the first session is 90 minutes, then 60, and then 15 minutes here and there. He likes to spend most of the time working upfront with people to create a plan, and then schedule time to follow up –even via text.

If you would like the opportunity of a free session, please send us an email at contactus@pushliving.com. We will then select one person for the profiling service to the retail value of $897. The outcome of the session and the profile will be published on PUSHLiving.com (anonymously should you choose) so that others can benefit from the example.

You can reach Dr. Tepper at his website drmitchelltepper.com. Join in the forum and sign up for his next retreat or workshop at regainthatfeeling.com.

Deborah Davis

Deborah is a Speaker, Disability Inclusion Consultant, Entrepreneur, Writer and Business Owner of Wheelchair Lifestyle Enterprise Push Living Inc.

She was a Former Dancer, Accident Survivor (C 6-7 Spinal Cord Injury resulting in incomplete Quadriplegia 1985), College grad (BBA Finance 1991 U of Miami), with a background in Sales and Marketing and Non Profit Development and Management.

She is now embarked on new path creating a market for Disability Inclusive Stock Images with the creation of PUSHlivingPhotos.com and publishing an online enterprise: PushLiving.com. The mission is to create Inclusion for people with disabilities through stock images for advertising, marketing and editorial uses, providing accessible properties for travel, swap or purchase, publishing an online magazine for improved health and well-being, providing information and opportunities for Accessible Travel, and operating an online store with products that improve lives.

She is most passionate about building a network of people with disabilities who are empowering, supporting and creating a more inclusive world. Personally, she is a mother of two beautiful, wise and exceptionally bright young women, and residing in South Florida.

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