Better Sex show

Better Sex

Summary: Better Sex is focused on helping all couples create and enjoy their best possible sex life. Better Sex is hosted by Jessa Zimmerman who is a couples’ counselor and nationally certified sex therapist.Each episode will dive into one topic related to sex. Some will be devoted to addressing sexual concerns like sexual dysfunction, differences in sexual desire, and intimacy problems. Some will help you develop realistic and helpful expectations. And some will offer information and approaches that can just make your sex life better.The information and discussion on the podcast should not be taken as medical advice or as therapy. Please seek out qualified professionals for medical and therapeutic advice.

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 142: Birth Control – Emily Aytes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3089

On this episode, we hear from birth control expert, Emily Aytes. She uncovers some of the most common questions she receives. Interestingly, Emily shares that both young and older people ask her about birth control as it isn’t widely discussed from her experience. Her personal opinion is that having a birth control conversation with your partner early on allows you to enjoy sex and delve into other parts of your relationship.Long acting reversible contraceptionIf you have ever wondered what a LARC is, Emily explains the acronym to us : LONG ACTING REVERSIBLE CONTRACEPTIVE. This includes IUDs which can last between 3-12 years. Emily shares the side effects of the IUD and unpacks NEXPLANON, the copper and plastic iud. Benefits of this include not having to remember anything as these methods provide protection without any further human intervention once they are implanted. If you change your mind and decide to remove the device, rest assured that it’s relatively easy to continue where you left off.The shot is another commonly taken contraceptive in this category and contains Progesterone. Again, Emily discusses the side effects and notes that this method too is pretty effective.Other Birth Control MethodsThe pill has proven to be a highly effective method from Emily’s findings, however she notes the side effects and the fact that human intervention is required everyday, opening up a window for error and loss of effectiveness.Touching on condom use, Emily explains how human error can result in a lack of effectiveness while doubling up on methods eg IUD plus a condom, can increase effectiveness. On the positive side, condoms are accessible without prescription and offer a wide range to suit your personal preference.Planned Parenthood website is recommended if you are interested in a more natural method that does not require any external intervention.Common QuestionsOne of the most common questions Emily gets asked is around how pregnancy occurs. For this reason, she explains the biological process for us in an easy to understand way.We learn more about emergency contraceptive including the morning after pill : Plan B ( no script required) and Ella ( which requires a script) and the Copper T which is extremely effective.Another common question Emily gets is whether you can get pregnant during your period. While it is possible, she explains it is not likely. For a more behavioural method of contraceptive, Emily discusses withdrawal which is only 78% effective.BackgroundEmily Aytes (she/they pronouns) is a community outreach educator with Planned Parenthood in Indiana state. As an educator, her role includes offering comprehensive, inclusive, and medically accurate sexual health information to her local community and beyond.The majority of her work in the community is with young people in middle and high school classrooms teaching about relationships, consent, birth control methods, STIs, gender, and communication skills.Emily is passionate about all folks having access to sexual health information so that they can make their own informed decisions. She also enjoys teaching about racial and social justice, LGBTQ+ identities, and sexual pleasureResources and Links info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz –

 141: Doing Non-Monogamy Well – Tristan Taormino | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3159

On this episode we dig into non-monogamy with Tristan Taormino. She discusses how the processing of both parties feelings is a crucial element to open relationships. Interestingly, she shares how working on yourself is a big part of the open-minded approach required to make this type of thing work.The Importance of Boundaries in Consensual Non-monogamyTristan recommends a slow start and provides clear guidelines and examples on how to do this. Knowing what you want and need makes setting boundaries easier. These boundaries include whether or not you and your partner wish to keep your non-monogamy close to home or not. This ultimately bleeds into how much time you will be investing in non-monogamy and the depth of the relationships you will be seeking. Tristan shares the types of boundaries that could come up.Decisions to make regarding non-monogamyTristan’s advice for couples with different feelings about non-monogamy is to go at the pace of the slower partner. Ultimatums are not encouraged especially if your partner agrees to give it a try.Tristan adds valuable advice about making decisions during the heat of a moment, advocating a more thought-through approach when put in these situations. People trying non-monogamy also struggle with certain behaviours including jealousy. We learn more about this and how to constructively handle this.The Common Pitfalls of Consensual Non-monogamyTime management is considered one of the pitfalls of non-monogamy. With many tools available at our disposal, Tristan unpacks the subtle and obvious scenarios that eventually lead to your time being consumed and the negative impact it can have if not managed.We hear about emotional privacy and how it involves considering the preferences of all the parties included in your non-monogamous arrangement. Tristan’s suggests the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell ‘ method if all parties can agree to it. Vito power comes into play here and we hear about how it can be used fairly.Considering the PastTrauma and negative childhood experiences eventually manifest in our relationships. Tristan urges us to investigate these issues so that we are informed when entering a relationship and acutely aware of our partner’s triggers and understand why they exist.BackgroundTristan Taormino is an award-winning writer, sex educator, speaker, filmmaker, and radio host. She is the editor of 25 anthologies and author of eight books, including Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships. She lectures at top colleges and universities and teaches sex and relationship workshops around the world for nearly 20 years.Tristan hosts Sex Out Loud, a weekly radio show on the VoiceAmerica Network and is the creator of Sex Educator Boot Camp, a professional training program while still running a coaching and consulting business for sexuality and creative professionals.Links and ResourcesTristan’s Book – info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz – Recent EpisodesBetter Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 140: Bawdy Bookworms – Thien-Kim Lam | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1388

On this episode, we visit the topic of erotic fantasy in a box! Thien-Kim came up with the idea after selling sex toys at parties and one day finding herself aroused while reading a novel.She compares books today versus those written decades ago, explaining how writing has evolved for today’s audience. While older books come across as forceful, today’s books around heterosexual characters, usually lean toward romantic beginnings that consider the pleasure of the female partner first.Gender DiversityWith many obstacles around sexually diverse characters, Thien-Kim notes that many authors self publish in order to get their work out there. Her monthly box is called the bawdy quickie and only features diverse romances and more gender-diverse toys.Thien-Kim handpicks toys specifically to the books she selects and gives her clients the opportunity to give her feedback on her virtual platforms open to anyone.Her Experience and FindingsWith thousands of books to choose from, Thien-Kim mentions a few great resources for you to find good reads and authors for yourself. She looks for good quality toys that are female-friendly. Her journey has led her to discover that many people want to try sex toys in the bedroom so she provides advice and direction regarding toys wherever she can.BackgroundAs the Chief Erotica Officer of Bawdy Bookworms, Thien-Kim Lam curates kits to help women explore their sexuality through romance books and sex toys. Her subscription box-meets-virtual book club pairs steamy romance novels with sex toys, lubes, and lickables.She selects from hundreds of best in class sex-positive products and smart, sexy fiction to create a curated experience every time. Their virtual book club chats create a safe, open-minded community for women to connect with others who wish desire to embrace their pleasure. Through Bawdy Bookworms, she celebrates diversity in romance because everyone deserves a happy ending.Resources and LinksBawdy Bookworms: https://bawdybookworms.comBawdy Quickie, featuring diverse romances: Bookworms Insiders Facebook group: info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz – Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 139: Safer Sex & STIs – Kayla Potts | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3478

On this episode, Kayla Potts educates us about STIs. She highlights that people often do not display symptoms when they have an STI and recommends testing as the only way to be certain of your status. From Kayla’s experience, she has found that it’s better to specify each individual test you require to your healthcare provider. When Should You Test for STIs If you are wondering how often to get tested, Kayla encourages us to test once a year if you have one partner. Multiple partners moves you up to 3 to 6 months. In a perfect scenario, she advocates testing before every partner as well. Bringing up testing can be uncomfortable but Kayla shares easy ways to broach the subject. The Best Timing for STI Testing In terms of timelines, some STIs may only reflect positive result weeks or months after infection. Kayla urges us to speak to our health providers to get help around the correct timing for best results. While all STIs are worth knowing about, Kayla mentions that there are very comprehensive tests for the serious types and explains the kinds of infections we can encounter. Common STIs HPV, Chlamydia and Ghonoreaha come up as common STIs. Kayla urges us to be aware of these if you are sexually active and ensure that you are responsible. She discusses the two ways we can contract an STI, namely body fluids or skin to skin contact. She digs deeper into Herpes and how one can contract, identify and prevent it. Using Condoms Kayla shares in-depth guidance on the use of condoms, dental dams and gloves clearing up a few grey areas including how these should fit. Because of sugars in condoms, she proposes not using flavoured condoms for genital to genital contact and advocates other types instead. Prevention and Myths In the conversation around STIs prevention, we learn about vaccines and that the best prevention is abstinence. With many myths around HIV, Kayla informs that it is not specific to a gender, sexual orientation or a specific sexual act. In addition to this, she flattens any belief that STIs can be passed on via toilet surfaces or air among other common misconceptions. Background Kayla Potts is a community outreach educator with Planned Parenthood in Washington state. As an educator, her role includes offering comprehensive, inclusive, and medically-accurate sexual health information to her local community and beyond. Most of her days are spent in the middle. and high school classrooms educating young folks about consent, relationships, birth control methods, STIs, gender, and more. Kayla has been involved in sexual health education work since volunteering for Planned Parenthood as a high school student. She is particularly passionate about sexual health information that is free of shame and centres pleasure. Resources and Links https://plannedparenthood.orgMore info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz – Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 138: [Personal Story] Pelvic Organ Prolapse – Erin | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1806

Once a casualty of prolapse, Erin is completely asymptomatic today. Having encountered this long before support groups and information was easily available, Erin was forced to learn how to help herself. After the birth of her fourth child, her body had surrendered.SymptomsIn addition to incontinence, Erin explains the symptoms of prolapse as the feeling of a tampon falling out or sitting on a tennis ball. After being advised to live with her condition, Erin did some searching of her own.Working SolutionsHer search led her to a biomechanist, marking the beginning of her recovery. One of the methods she discovered was the belly release. She notes the role of the ribcage and how important it is to select non-underwire bras to allow movement in the ribcage. Erin credits a book by Katy Bowman (available on Amazon).Erin advocates walking and tackles the superficial elements of kegels, explaining how critical control is for this exercise. With unnecessary shame around pelvic floor prolapse, Erin encourages women to take look at recovery as very achievable.BackgroundErin Underwood is a functional movement therapist from Oregon that specializes in prenatal and postnatal health. She is passionate about education around pelvic floor and core strength and function.She has studied biomechanics extensively and in addition to her in-depth yoga training has continued her education by certifying and training with the top minds in the country connected to pelvic floor and core wellness.She currently is focusing on her local community by serving through workshops to the prenatal and postnatal community as well as local health care providers, providing them with the most up to date science broken down into practical and helpful tools.Erin has four beautiful boys and, post deliveries has personally healed from a grade 2 uterine and grade 2 rectocele prolapses and a four-finger Diastasis Recti using all the tools she teaches in her movement therapy, which further fuels her passion for seeing women fully functional and getting all the information necessary to heal.Resources and LinksWebsite: by Katy Bowman: info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz – Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 137: Dance, Flow State, and Sex – Ode Dixon | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2334

Flow State and Dance3 years ago Ode discovered Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Performance and picked up dancing again after so many years of not dancing regularly. This reversed her stressed-induced high blood pressure diagnosis within eleven months. Now, she uses dance as a mechanism to help her clients alleviate stress-related anxiety that hinders performance, and to spark creative insight to problem-solving in various work, learning and life environments.Flow StateOde joins me on this episode and discusses using dance to access a flow-state. Her first experience with flow state was through dance. According to Ode, research shows that flow improves anything you apply it to.While flow may seem a spiritual experience, Ode explains that flow is exhibited by highly successful people. For many of us, we would have heard it referred to as “peak performance.”DOSEAs a testament to the success of flow state, Ode shares that it transformed her sex life with her partner. She explains that this is caused when neurochemicals are triggered when we move our bodies. The common chemicals released in the flow state are commonly called DOSE: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins.Ode explains that the process involves the body going into a calmer state and then releasing “happy chemicals” so the activity you are doing is enjoyable. She reveals that the flow state can happen during specific activities. These are usually activities that require actively using your brain and using your senses to focus on the present. Dance is one such example.“ Flow is intrinsically motivating” We learn that when we perform a certain action, it should be enjoyable and come naturally without being calculated.BackgroundSpecialist in deep embodiment, Afrojuju Dancer, peak performance researcher, and former bedside nurse, Ode has been using the tight link between beliefs and mind/body connection since she toured as a praise dancer with a prolific evangelical group partaking in missions across rural regions of West Africa for 10+ years.She has been dancing since the age of 5, showcasing performances along the streets of her village with her dance groups. She’s vastly knowledgeable in various African dance styles, rhythms, movements and beats. She understands the neuroscience that underpins body movements and enhanced performance.Ode holds 2 bachelor’s degrees – Management and Registered Nursing, an Associate degree in Social Works and a long-term mentorship under some of the world’s top Flow Scientists and researchers.She lives in Naples Florida with her husband and 3 boys, avid anglers and boaters who love discovering the 1,000 islands that surround the SouthWest Florida Keys one island at a time.Resources and Links info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comPodcast Website – Health Quiz – Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 136: Back into Dating – Marni Battista | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2581

Dating Again Marni shares a great tip for figuring out what entering the dating world would be like. After gathering the stories we have about it in our minds, she suggests that we challenge the stories that could turn into fears or excuses. Her method is light-hearted and creative but really eye-opening! Entering the dating arena after a while can require a bit of preparation. Marni recommends practising dating by targeting the areas you are less comfortable with like dressing or confidence. For those surviving divorces or reaching their golden years, Marni encourages you not to run away from dating but lean in and take a step in a direction that could lead you to happiness. Marni shares advice on communicating openly as a vital element when dating to ensure both parties are clear on where each stand and if there are any concerns or issues upfront. Dating While Parenting She shares advice for parents in the dating world – advocating that time is separately allocated for dates and that your expectations regarding your partner’s role in your kids’ life are clearly voiced early on. Where to Find a Date If you are wondering where you can meet your perfect partner, Marni recommends From her findings, dedicating at least 30 min a day to one chosen app should return decent results. Beware of free apps like Plenty of Fish. Marni warns that these sites can be cumbersome. She mentions a few niche sites that you can find in the links below. “Be the person you want to attract” Marni has experienced people unexpectedly finding partners within their current circles eg: work, clubs they belong to etc. She suggests dressing well and being aware of the habits and interests of people around you when you are looking for that someone special. A connection can happen in the most unexpected place. You will also hear her view on matchmakers. She reveals the right age for trying matchmaking services and what people generally look for. How Does Dating Work Today? With men having to adjust to the times, Marni explains that their biggest fears include rejection and being perceived as predators. For this reason, women need to be much more direct about what they want. Paying can be a grey area for many. Marni’s advice is fair and allows men to express their chivalry and for women to reciprocate in return when the time is right. SafetyAn absolute must is safety during dating. Marni shares some great tips in terms of defining available time upfront and not using your personal environment as a venue for your first meeting. Red flags include your potential date refusing a video meeting! Dealing with QuarantineFunny, thoughtful ideas given by Marni reveal how easy and special dating can still be if you are in quarantine. For those that just need to abide by social distancing, Marni suggests hiking or picnics within the rules. Background Marni Battista is a certified professional Dating and Relationship Coach and expert writer. Her work can also be found in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Yahoo! Shine, Huffington Post,,, Men’s Fitness, Glamour and more. She has also had appearances on major television networks, including CBS and ABC where she has been a guest on Loveline (filling in for Dr Drew!) and Dr Phil, on nationally broadcast radio shows, such as On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and on Youtube Channels, like Off Air with Sisanie. Marni’s weekly dating and relationship podcast, “The Dating Den,” has more than 25k downloads per month and she was named one of the 10 Best Women’s Dating Experts by @DatingAdviceCom. Resources and Links

 135: Optimal Sexual Experiences – Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3095

In this episode, Dr. Kleinplatz introduces her findings around “optimal sexual experiences” based on actual interviews she performed. After much research, she shares these eight components couples need to have to eventually reach an optimal sexual experience:1. Being totally absorbed in the moment2. Sharing a connection with your partner3. Deep sexual and erotic intimacy4. High levels of empathic communication5. Fun, laughter, exploration and good risk-taking6. Authenticity7. Vulnerability8. TranscendenceHer findings show that people begin to seek these experiences around their mid 50’s. Part of the process of discovery is unlearning much of what we know about sex growing up. Spontaneity arises as one of the behaviors to “unlearn “ as Peggy candidly shares her views on this.Anyone can get there!Peggy has found that people with chronic illnesses are enjoying magnificent sex! In an unexpected twist of events, Peggy’s co-workers proved that presumed stereotypes are false. She shares that consent is a major piece of the puzzle and contributes to empathic communication.Peggy educates us about moving from good to magnificent sex explaining that getting to know each other on an ongoing basis builds trust to explore deeper levels of your relationship.We learn about differentiation and how it impacts reaching optimal sexual experiences while identifying that therapy has to be customized to each individual.To reach for the optimal sexual experience goal, Peggy highlights that respect for each other is crucial.Resources and LinksWebsite: http://www.optimalsexualexperiences.comBook: Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers ( J. Kleinplatz, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Director of Sex and Couples Therapy Training at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She was awarded the Prix d?Excellence in 2000 for her teaching of Human Sexuality. She is a Certified Sex Therapist and Educator.She is the Director of the Optimal Sexual Experiences Research Team of the University of Ottawa and has a particular interest in sexual health in the elderly, disabled, and marginalized populations.Kleinplatz has edited four books, notably New Directions in Sex Therapy:Innovations and Alternatives (2012), winner of the AASECT 2013 Book Award,Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures with Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D. (2006)Sexuality and Ageing with Walter Bouman, M.D. (2015).She is the author with A. Dana Menard, Ph.D. of Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary LoversIn 2015, Kleinplatz received the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists Professional Standard of Excellence Award.Better Sex with Jessa Zimmerman

 134: Senior Sex – Joan Price | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2427

Senior SexJoan tells us that being a senior sex advocate is her third career. She lived as a high school English teacher until a car accident made her acutely aware of the privilege of being able to be and stay mobile. She tells us that insight inspired her to become a fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, and health and fitness writer. After falling into what she calls a “planet-shattering” romance at the age of 57, she understood that great sex was a crucial element of romance at any age. Her research into overcoming the challenges of senior sex and increasing the passion and intensity of senior sex revealed an empty market niche, encouraging her to jump into the market by sharing her own experiences and adding her own research to the topic of senior sex.She explores the misconception that sex is no longer experienced in old. She says that many believe that when people are older, they give up their sex lives and take up crocheting instead. “I have nothing against crocheting,” she says, “but it’s not sex.”Challenges of Senior SexJoan admits that senior sex is not the same as the sex people have in their twenties. Bodies age and change, and she suggests that our sexual history can impact our sex lives.She tells us that many people presume their sex lives are irrevocably declining when their knee arthritis prevents their favorite position, they take too long to orgasm, their erections are unreliable, penetration can become uncomfortable or intercourse may not feel as good as it used to. Joan believes that hurdles like these can be overcome when they’re acknowledged out loud and discussed with our partners. She admits that sometimes these are medical issues, while others are best solved with creativity, research, and an enthusiastic partner’s work.Responsive DesireJoan mentions that many elderly men and women insist that their desire to have sex is gone. To combat this belief, Joan describes writing a blog post on about the difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire. Many people believe that if spontaneous desire goes away, they no longer want to have sex, but that’s inaccurate. Responsive desire, she explains, exists when your body begins to engage in sexual activities, and you slowly develop a real desire and passion for sex while you’re engaging in the act.Spontaneous desire, where a person knows they’re aroused and wants to have sex actively, often fades with age due to the hormones encouraging sexual reproduction declining. People who only experience responsive desire claim that they never really care about sex until they’re actually doing it—at which point they care very much! Joan argues that this responsive desire is just as intense and valuable as spontaneous desire, it just appears during instead of prior to sex.Joan’s webinars talk about communicating needs, knowing your needs, as well as scheduling sex, and creating responsive desire. She says that her books, blogs, and webinars help people respond to and understand their current needs and abilities, and guides people through the conversation.Benefits of Senior SexJoan assures us that senior sex can be better than the sex young people have because the elderly know what they like sexually and in other areas, they’ve learned to communicate very well, and they’ve gained the perspective to understand many problems as easy to overcome or as entirely unproblematic. She implies that elderly men and women have outgrown the shame and reticence most young people feel about sex. In her work, she notices older people are better at truly focusing on the pleasure their bodies are capable of creating, while young people are often fretting about minor bodily imperfections or other insecurities instead of being fully in the present moment.That isn’t to say no seniors have hang-ups about sex. Jane describes the...

 133: Sexual Personality Types – Vanessa Marin | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1542

Vanessa shares that she’s always working to make people’s sex lives better, but the idea of forming a personality test for sex began from hearing her clients talk about sex in very different ways, inspiring her to take notes and investigate what people truly desire and require in their sex lives. These notes developed into a system that identifies 11 different personality types based upon what people need, want, and hope to get out of sex.The DecompressorVanessa’s survey describes decompressors as people for whom sex is about stress relief, blowing off steam, and getting to that sense of relaxation that ensues once sex is over. She clarifies that people who use sex for this reason often talk about the joyful, restful afterglow than about sex or anything that precedes sex because reaching that state is their real goal.The ExplorerExplorers are all about novelty in sex. They like trying new things and experimenting. She explains that this type doesn’t always enjoy everything they try sexually, but they still appreciate the novelty and variety of their experiments.Fair TraderFor the fair trader, sex is all about reciprocity. They want a balance between giving and receiving in bed.The GiverShe explains that the giver views sex as a gift that they give to their partner, and they enjoy giving much more than they enjoy receiving. They like focusing on their partner and their pleasure instead of their own.The GuardianVanessa identifies guardians by their need to have safety and security around sex. She says they care very much about boundaries and enthusiastic consent in sex. She reveals that for some people, this emphasis on safety and consent is the result of previously enduring sexual abuse, but she admits that others simply like for sex to be safe and enthusiastically enjoyed.The Passion PursuerThis type loves pursuing all-encompassing, intense, passionate, and even animalistic sex. She says this type of lover is very in tune with the energy between them and their partners during sex, and she tells us they want to feel like time stands still, leaving only themselves and their partner in the world.The Pleasure SeekerFor pleasure seekers, Vanessa describes sex as being all about feeling good. They care about the simple pleasure of enjoying their bodies interacting with someone else’s.The PrioritizerFor this type, Vanessa explains sex must feel like a priority in the relationship. She explains that they need to feel desired by their partners, and to believe that their partners are not making excuses about being tired or too busy for sex. She notes that they value consistent, frequent sex and require partners who will work to keep sex a regular activity.The RomanticFor romantics, it’s all about the connection they feel to their partner during sex. She continues to say it isn’t really about the physical act or the hedonistic pleasure for them, but the emotional bonding and intimacy that sex engenders.The SpiritualistSex is about spirituality and connecting to a higher energy or purpose for spiritualists, Vanessa explains that for them sex is a transcendent experience.The Thrill-SeekerThrill-seekers most enjoy sex that’s forbidden or taboo. They enjoy kink, power plays, dominance and submission. She says that if there’s a twinge of this is naughty or we shouldn’t be doing this, that thought only intensifies the sexual thrill-seeker’s enjoymentSexual Personalities in ActionVanessa has heard all of these motivations for sexual activity in her practice, but she emphasizes that people will typically combine two to three personality types in their love lives. She describes the purpose of the quiz as a conversation starter that helps people understand their sexuality and learn how to discuss sexuality with their partners more...

 132: The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2518

Katherine explains her initial interest in sexual pleasure gaps began with her journalistic coverage of the search for a female version of Viagra. She describes being intrigued by the prevalence of the notion that there is something fundamentally wrong with women’s level of sexual desire.She argues that feminine sexual desire is an ephemeral state that stems from myriad sources and appears as a final state that is or isn’t reached. She says it’s not a single trait that can be manipulated directly. Upon seeing this attempt to manipulate female sexual desire, Katherine began to interview women about their own sexual desires and what brings them sexual satisfaction.Men and Woman Experience Sex DifferentlyIn broad strokes, Katherine explains the Pleasure Gap is a measure of social inequality. She explains three intersecting ideas, the first being the differences men and women give in the accounts of sexual experiences. She says men report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than women, they achieve orgasm more readily, and are happier with their sex lives overall. She also informs us that men feel less stress, pain, and anxiety related to sex.By contrast, she tells us women commonly report low desire, absent pleasure, muted or unfulfilling orgasms, sexual aversion, and disinterest. She points out that women beat themselves up for feeling that way about sex. Katherine reiterates that these are common female experiences of sex, but women are prone to blaming themselves for their problems.She suggests that even women who report some satisfaction during sex may not be experiencing the event completely. Katherine mentions one study in which 50% of female participants reported having an orgasm when the scientific monitors for orgasms indicated no orgasm had occurred. She says this suggests that women’s education about their bodies and their possibilities is distressingly subpar.Female Sexual DysfunctionCurious about this disparity in human feeling, Katherine shares that many women express sexual dysfunction, asserting that their genitals feel numb or dead, all while lab tests report ordinary, healthy function of those organs. In other words, she noticed that women were responding physically to sex without any pleasure or intimacy being experienced in their brains. She suggests that because the mental and emotional aspects of sex are so important to women’s pleasure, that medications that aim to help women enjoy sex by affecting their genital performance miss the mark.Sex in Media vs. Sex in LifeThe third gap Katherine mentions is the gap between the sex we’re sold in the media and the sex we actually want and find fulfilling in life. She suggests that our modern notions of a liberated identity suggest that women should want and exude sex constantly, but real women often experience the opposite reality. She suspects that the problem is rooted in the lack of education women receive about sex and pleasure.Ms. Rowland also cites the stereotypes that men, the socially dominant sex, are supposed to desire lots of sex, while women are limited to being a gatekeeper restricting sexual access. Katherine believes that women need to be taught that pleasure is worthwhile and healthy so that they can feel comfortable exploring what gives them pleasure and allows them to enjoy sex.What genuinely leads to satisfying good sex is intimacy, freedom of expression, creativity, safety, and being empowered to explore what genuinely turns you on.The Effects of Sexual TraumaSexual trauma and abuse can also hinder women’s experience of their bodies according to research. She explains that women with this history may feel numb and distance themselves from the experience of sex or be hyperactive and hypervigilant during sexual encounters, leading to them feeling too stressed to enjoy sex. Women Katherine talked to also noted that...

 131: MS and Sex – Kimberly Castelo | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2609

Living with MSSix months after her daughter was born, Kimberly stopped nursing, and soon went completely numb on the left side of her body. An MRI uncovered that she had 8 lesions on her brain, which she says led to a quick diagnosis of MS. While her MS has been in remission for 12 years, her prognosis could change at any time.Despite her remission, Kimberly tells us that situations exist that can still trigger MS symptoms. She informs us that many people with MS have trouble with heat which affects her sight. Difficulty swallowing and walking and feeling a tingling along her body are also common, she explains, especially in the heat. At a psychological level, Kimberly reports that people with MS have to live with a great deal of the unknown, as they can’t guarantee their level of functioning from day to day.Support for the Newly DiagnosedKimberly tells us that many support groups exist for people newly diagnosed with MS, some of which can be found in the Resources section of these show notes. She recalls when she was first diagnosed, she thought MS was a death sentence, which she now knows is incorrect. However, she counters that while MS doesn’t kill, it does hinder functionality, which she found devastating enough to trigger all the classic stages of grief. She attributes her acceptance of MS and her emotional recovery to the love and support of her partner.Difficulties with Sex in MSMs. Castelo points out that many people with MS are depressed, which leads to wide usage of libido-lowering SSRIs. Even without SSRIs to reduce sex drive, Kimberly informs us that 85% of women and 90% of men with MS suffer from sexual dysfunction.For both genders, Kimberly tells us about spasticity issues, generalized pain, and difficulty moving legs that can impede sexual function. Kimberly says that another common problem is that MS affects the bowels, causing some people to lose bowel control during sex.She warns that people with MS can fall into having obligatory sex to please their partners, which she describes as incredibly damaging. She believes that sex should prioritize both you and your partner’s satisfaction, never just one person’s.Kimberly explains that the partners of MS patients can suffer too. Many partners become caregivers, and amongst partners who become caregivers, switching hats to make sex possible can be difficult, especially when their partner needs a lot of care. Kimberly encourages caregiving partners to compartmentalize moments and force themselves to have fun and playful events as well as their required caretaking.Another problem amongst caregivers that Kimberly sees in her practice is that people operating as caregivers often don’t share their own struggles. In those cases, she reminds caregiver partners that humans enjoy helping each other, and by not sharing their struggles, they are depriving their partners of that joy and intimacy. Helping partners with problems, she asserts, is also empowering to the partner with MS, because they are given the opportunity to be a caregiver as well.Improving Sex with MSKimberly says that for people partnered with someone who has MS, it’s important to allow space for grief before they can begin problem-solving. After the grieving gives way to acceptance, she states that couples may be surprised to discover that sex with MS can create phenomenal sexual connections due to the incentive MS creates to explore new avenues of sexuality. It can even raise the quantity of playful erotic moments in people’s lives.She describes her concept of daily erotic moments as simmering with her clients. Just like making a soup, she suggests that first, you get things started, then it starts to smell good, then better, and in the end, it’s so amazing that you have to eat the stew. She mentions that having multiple sexually intimate moments throughout the day can...

 130: Sex and Orthodox Judaism – Dr. Shy Krug | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2866

Diversity in Jewish Beliefs and PracticesDr. Shy describes Jewish law as a corpus of Jewish religious requirements. He explains that every aspect of life has regulations to help Jews proceed through life. He discloses that there are disputes within the Jewish community about who can interpret Jewish law, leading to different sects of Judaism being formed, each with their own practices. Dr. Krug reminds us that he can only share his own interpretation and some alternate views he’s encountered personally and professionally.The Spirituality of Sex in JudaismThe doctor describes Judaism as a sex-positive religion that appreciates the human body and human experiences. He emphasizes that Judaism encourages its adherents to elevate the mundane and the physical to the holy through thoughtfulness, intentionality, and restriction. He says Judaism contains many laws and restrictions on sex that are meant to transform a potentially carnal act into a holy union that increases both people’s connection to each other and to God. He tells us that in the Jewish view, conceiving a child is an act involving three people: the man, the woman, and God.He counters this interpretation of Jewish law by describing smaller, rarer sects that see sex as a necessary evil that should be experienced infrequently. He states that many people with this belief see sex as a necessary transaction that occurs within marriage.The Sexual Power of Jewish WomenDr. Krug mentions there is a Jewish law that requires men to satisfy their wives sexually. He explains that a man cannot demand sex from his wife, but a wife can demand sex from her husband. He clarifies that a man can tell his wife that he’d like to have sex, but compelling her to have sex isn’t licit. This imbalance of power can create tension when the man wants to have more sex than his wife, but he tells us Orthodox couples often mitigate this disparity by refocusing on sex as a holy and intentional act, rather than a purely physical drive. He implies that the absence of desired sex allows men to reinforce the intimacy and holiness of sex through the delayed gratification abstinence ensures.Family Purity LawsDr. Krug describes family purity laws that require men and women to separate when the woman is menstruating. During menstruation and for seven days following her period, he says that Jewish men and women cannot interact sexually. Dr. Shy describes several protective barriers many employ to fulfill this law, like sleeping in separate beds, not sharing food from the same plate, not passing things to each other, and not feeling each other’s weight. When two people sit on the same couch cushion, he explains that they feel each other’s weight when they move; he informs us that Orthodox Jews avoid doing this during this part of a woman’s cycle to avoid the desire to touch each other that such closeness might incite. While the Bible does not give the reason behind these restrictions, he informs us that Talmudic sources extrapolate that physical distance encourages couples to focus on the verbal and emotional elements of their marriage and maintain the excitement of sex.Premarital SexDr. Shy asserts that premarital sex is prohibited in Judaism. He informs us that some Jews will avoid all physical contact with potential mates and many Jews avoid being alone with each other altogether. He informs us that in the most right-wing forms of Judaism, girls and boys are kept apart and schooled separately, allowing them to reserve all sexual education until their children are old enough to marry. Some Jews, he tells us, do have premarital sex and cohabitate with partners before marriage, but those practices are not widely accepted in Orthodox communities.About MasturbationWhile he admits that some Jews do masturbate or utilize pornography, he points out the clear Biblical prohibition of masturbation, which he...

 129: Sex During Quarantine – Dr. Diana Wiley | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2731

Jessa and Diana feel compelled to note that this episode of the Better Sex Podcast was recorded on June 1, 2020. Diana suggests that quarantine’s stress of forced togetherness is hard for many couples. But in addition to that, she talks about how the recent murder of a black man by police has provoked riots in cities across the country, a political firestorm that only adds to the stress people are feeling during the quarantine.The Rebirth of Ourselves and our LoversReferring to the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dr. Diana saw the free time with our families as an opportunity to grant our relationships a second birth. She tells us that many couples haven’t had sex in a long time, and many have never been especially intimate with their partners. She recognizes both states as challenges that must be overcome to rekindle love and sex in relationships. That’s the reason she gives for publishing her book and the relationship-building tools that fill its pages.Health Benefits of SexDr. Diana educates us about the many benefits of sex and intimacy, telling us that having sex or touching your partner is scientifically shown to reduce stress. In her practice, she tells us she often recommends massage to her clients as a method to reconnect because massage lowers cortisol and adrenaline levels when certain pressure points are stimulated on the body. She also teaches that touch, especially sex and orgasms, relieves stress by releasing oxytocin, a neurochemical which increases bonding, is a natural sedative, and increases empathy.Even masturbation reduces stress and has positive effects on health, Dr. Diana assures us. More surprisingly, Diana discusses that there are nonsexual self-touch exercises that also reduce stress and improve health. Unfortunately, she admits that unlike sex with someone else, the body does not release oxytocin during masturbation.When it comes to how sex impacts the rest of people’s lives, Diana and her husband like to say, “It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s the fountain of youth,” about sex because having sex dramatically increases the feeling of vitality regardless of biological age.Salvaging and Reigniting Broken RelationshipsDr. Diana claims to have written her book primarily to enrich people whose relationships are already doing well but want to take their intimacy to the next level. However, she acknowledges that some people are quarantined with unsuitable or violent partners, while others are cohabiting with a partner that they intended to break up with before the quarantine put the brakes on that process. For couples who were planning to break up, Dr Wiley suggests they come together and have a conversation about whether their relationship is worth salvaging.For people who want to salvage or restore their relationship, she says the process of reigniting relationships begins with a conversation about what each person wants from the relationship. To help couples reconnect physically, she describes writing about lots of nonsexual touch exercises. After they become comfortable touching, Diana explains that they can set achievable goals like becoming great at kissing or having a make-out session. She says these actions and discussions can help reveal hidden desires and build the confidence needed to enter the marital bed and take time with sex. Dr Diana claims that the change in pace should increase the quality of their sex life. She reminds us that women tend to need twenty minutes of foreplay, oral sex, and penetration to reach orgasm and receive all the benefits of sex. She offers tools to accomplish this in her book.Touching with Your Clothes OnIn her book, Diana encourages couples to assess the intimacy of their relationship when they’re not having sex. She argues that couples probably don’t feel closer when they’re just watching TV together, which is why she supports intentionality about touch and...

 128: ADHD and Sex – Dr. Ari Tuckman | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2091

To reach an ADHD diagnosis, Dr. Tuckman reports that a 45-minute interview is required. With the media coverage of young boys with ADHD, Dr. Tuckman says that most clinicians can diagnose childhood ADHD accurately, though he notes that girls aren’t diagnosed as often as boys. He suggests that clinicians might expect ADHD more often in boys than girls, leading to them not noticing the symptoms.Ari says that adults with ADHD also have a harder time being diagnosed, partially because their symptoms vary a little. Grown men and women almost never display the hyperactivity of ADHD youths, he admits, but forgetfulness, poor time management, losing things, and high distractibility continue to impact people’s personal and professional lives throughout adulthood.He shares that adults with ADHD frequently realize they have ADHD themselves in what he calls a two-for-one: Parents bring in their child for an assessment and realize they also display ADHD symptoms, leading to simultaneous diagnoses.Adult women with ADHD can be particularly difficult to diagnose, according to Ari. He tells us that they often present with anxiety and depression, but he reports that most clinicians stop their analysis there, when the root cause of their mental anguish stems from poor executive function, poor time management, and other, similar symptoms of ADHD.ADHD SymptomsDr. Tuckman explains that it’s easier for people with ADHD to maintain focus on more interesting activities and on tasks that have a strict, close deadline. Being consistent and reliable are difficult tasks for people with ADHD, admits Dr. Tuckman. In these scenarios, partners with ADHD often lament their lack of reliability, while partners without the condition hate seeing themselves turn into a nagging spouse.Dr. Tuckman describes another scenario where one person who likes everything organized in a rational manner, marries someone who isn’t as attentive or consistent about item placement at home. He says this often becomes a power struggle when what is needed is a method of reconciling their differences by coming to a compromise. He informs us that partners with ADHD will genuinely commit to the compromise and will often fulfill it for a few days, but before long they get derailed by things like getting home late, work difficulties, or not sleeping well the night before. He adds that this also leads to nagging and relationship struggles.ADHD or Simple Laziness?Ari asserts that ADHD is characterized by a failure to actualize good intentions. He describes people with ADHD as genuinely intending to fulfill their responsibilities, and he tells us that they are aware of the positive and negative repercussions that will occur if they do or don’t—for example—take out the trash. They’re often angry at themselves for neglecting their duties and breaking their promises. Dr. Tuckman assures us that adult ADHD isn’t purely about forgetting to perform menial tasks. He says they often forget things that outright hurt themselves, like leaving their lunch at home. He contends that their good intentions and their tendency to harm themselves with their disease distinguish them from people who simply want to avoid housework.Sex and ADHDAri relates that when he was researching his most recent book, he had 3,000 people fill out a form that covered their marital relationships and their sex lives. He found that most people with ADHD enjoy their sex life when they are having regular sex. Unfortunately, Dr. Tuckman discovered several barriers to intercourse including partners not having enough good feelings about each other and the couple not having enough time to have sex. The former problem comes from the power struggles described earlier, but Dr. Hickman describes the lack of time as resulting from getting distracted and consequently taking more time to do things.The ADHD Sex DriveWithin...


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