SkyHill Forum

December 2014 Newsletter

January 22, 2015

Written by Rick Laska, MSW, LGSW

Stress and Sex

Is it truly the most wonderful time of year?  It’s getting darker earlier, we’re exposed to less sun, and the decreased temperatures can make it more difficult to choose to be outside.  If we celebrate the holidays, that can mean spending money in ways our bank accounts weren’t ready for, yet.  It can mean trying to acknowledge all of our family and friends despite having limited time (or desire).  But in general, there seems to be more hustle and bustle as the year comes to an end and everyone is in a rush to meet work and personal obligations.

With increased commitments often comes increased stress.  Increased stress in our lives can also mean our sex lives take a nose-dive.  Stress can negatively impact our body image, mess with our desire and arousal, put strain on our relationships, lead to easy ways of coping that negatively impact our health (such as heavy smoking or drinking), and impact our hormone levels.

Although it may seem like one more thing to add to the list, taking care of ourselves during this time of year (and actually year-round) is extremely important.  Taking care of ourselves can look like many different things - from getting a massage, to building something with our hands; from getting together with our closest friends, to meeting with our therapists more frequently; from taking a moment away from the party to take a few deep breaths, to sneaking away for a kiss (or more).  Taking a few mindful moments out of your day can keep some of the passion in your life and make this time of year truly wonderful and sexy!

The SkyHill Experience - Rick Laska, MSW, LGSW

Caring, compassionate, affirming, and accepting - those are just a few of the words clients have used to describe Rick Laska, Sex and Relationship Therapist at SkyHill.  Rick has his Masters in Social Work and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker.  He has completed an intensive Sexuality Training Program offered through the Neighborhood Involvement Program and is currently completing the requirements for AASECT sex therapist certification.  He has worked as an educator and counselor in the HIV/AIDS field for over 7 years, and has been a sex educator for over 15 years.

“Being a supportive, healing presence for my clients, regardless of who they are or what issues they may be bringing to me, has always been important to me,” says Laska.  “Issues around sexuality can bring up such shame and guilt and I want to help people feel heard and empowered.” 

This philosophy is part of what has helped Rick work successfully within the HIV/AIDS field, LGBTQIAA-identified clients, as well as his work with victims of sexual trauma.  He also has a strong background in working with individuals facing chemical dependency issues and compulsive sexual behaviors.  In his work, Laska co-authored a nationally-recognized training for chemical dependency treatment staff and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors to work with individuals living with HIV and address sexual health issues. 

“Sex-negative culture can make already difficult treatment issues so much more difficult to explore with people due to their experiences of embarrassment.  My hope in working in the field of human sexuality is to change some of the shaming culture that can emerge within it.”  To learn more about working with Rick, or any of the therapists at SkyHill, call 952-562-7837 or email


Mindful Sexuality

Sex is an important part of life, but it can be difficult to stay mentally present in sensual moments.  For some people, this can lead to performance anxiety, sexual dysfunction, or sex that isn’t satisfying or intimate.  This 8 week group will help you identify and practice mindfulness techniques to embody your individual and partnered sexual experiences. 

Mindfulness can help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety, heal from sexual trauma, and manage other mental health issues you may face.  You will also explore ways to be sexually mindful and empowered in your daily life!  Each session costs $25 per session and the group runs for 8 weeks.  For more information or to enroll, call Rick at 612-564-9199 or email