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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 94: Dr. Jennifer Valli – Fetishes | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 3284

My guest today is Jennifer Valli. She has been on the show before to share her expertise and we’re very fortunate to have her back! Jenifer has a PhD, has 26 years of clinical experience in psychiatry, and she is an experienced therapist an AASECT-certified sex therapist and educator. She is professional involved with many different publications including Men’s Fitness Magazine, and she did Post-Grad work in Sexual Health at the University of Michigan. This is just a few of her notable accomplishments and qualifications. Most applicable to this particular episode is her training in fetishes/paraphilias through Johns Hopkins University. Within this talk, she explores the complex world of fetishes, and how we should approach them, some theories on their starting points, as well as ways to normalize atypical arousal. What is Paraphilia? Jennifer says that “a paraphilia is when someone has an intense sexual arousal pattern to an atypical object or situation.” These are known as fetishes. While we used to consider these “abnormal,” we now see these arousal patterns as part of the spectrum of human experience. A couple common fetishes that Jennifer talks about are the cuckold fetish and the infantilism fetish. The cuckold fetish means that one partner derives pleasure from another person pleasuring their partner. It usually involves a male, and there is often a humiliation component to the act. This is different than a threesome, though. With cuckoldry, there is a voyeuristic component that is different than three individuals collaborating together in a threesome. The infantilism fetish consists of being treated as an infant during sexual encounters. This often involves wearing a diaper or drinking from bottles. Jennifer walks through a lot of different non-consenting paraphilias which are listed as a disorder in the DSM-5. The Importance of Sex Positivity for Those With Paraphilia As is discussed within the talk, the DSM has been shifting in a positive direction when it comes to paraphilia. This is important because it normalizes these desires and removes shame from the consensual fetishes – that are actually pretty common across the board. Where do Fetishes Start? As far as the origins of some fetishes, there are the rare cases that can be traced back to a particular moment. But she states that there is not a lot of consensus on why people develop fetishes. One of the theories is that because men have a higher incidence of paraphilia, that there are distinct moments, say around the age of 10, when they witness a taboo moment that is linked to an erotic arousal. And then as they masturbate, this serves as a biological reinforcement that is sort of mapped into the mind. Females are more likely to have sexual fluidity around arousal, and males are more linked to a kind of sexual imprinting. Listen along for a detailed 5-step breakdown of how assessments are made for fetishes. Legal Vs Non-Legal Assessment When talking about the assessment of fetishes, legality is a key thing that professionals like Jennifer are required to assess. If the fetish is legal, there will be efforts to normalize the behavior by minimizing any residual shame surrounding the paraphilia. If it is not legal, like pedophilia, she then looks to see if there is any distress around the urges. If there is no distress, that’s when the red flags are raised, and there’s a problem. Mistakes in Accommodating Paraphilia in a Relationship Jennifer says that a common mistake is in too much time and attention being spent on the partner with the fetish and not enough on the balance of the entire relationship. Another mistake is in trying to meet both partner’s needs in one night. Jennifer states that it’s...

 93: Taylor Pierce – Navigating Jealousy | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2341

My guest, Taylor Pierce, is a therapist at the Center for Couples & Sex Therapy in Portland, Oregon. She works closely with couples to explore issues in relationships and sexuality and really loves connecting and working with the LGBQT community and ethically non-monogamous dynamics. In this episode, in particular, she explains the ins and outs of jealousy and how we can avoid it by diving deeper into the root causes of our insecurities and fears. Really important, powerful stuff that Taylor does a great job demystifying! Her Interest in Jealousy Taylor says that she first gained an interest in jealousy because she likes working with people who are in ethically non-monogamous relationships, and jealousy can come up a lot within that relationship dynamic. But Taylor soon began peeling back the layers of the jealousy onion and realized that jealousy is a basic, universal trait of many types of relationships. This led her even farther into a specialized interest in the trait and she has a lot to share about the subject! Control Issues Because of Jealousy Often, if a partner becomes jealous, they can forbid the other from seeing another person out of insecurity or fear. For example, let’s say that a couple in a monogamous relationship develop some trust issues. It can be common for one of the people in that relationship to assert too much control over the other because of underlying insecurities. Taylor says it’s never a good thing to let the jealousy morph into controlling situations because it’s often a sign of avoiding communication about the deeper issues at play: insecurity and a lack of trust. Primary and Secondary Emotions To understand jealousy on a deeper level, Taylor says that you can frame it through primary and secondary emotions. Primary emotions are your gut reactions. They are the most vulnerable and tend to act as defense mechanisms. They are also full of fear and display any insecurities that may have been circulating inside of you. Secondary emotions are reactions to those primary emotions, which in turn add to the complexity of the overall emotional reaction. Jealousy is a secondary emotion; it may arise after feeling angry, sad or hurt when your partner is flirting with someone else. Steps for De-escalating Jealousy Taylor reminds you to first be self-understanding because jealousy is a pretty common emotion to have. Almost everyone has felt jealous in a relationship before–if not now, then probably in the future. She says self-awareness of emotions or deeper core issues at play– like a fear of abandonment–can help mitigate the overall intensity and longevity of your jealousy. Taylor also encourages you to ask yourself questions to investigate the surrounding thoughts around your feelings of jealousy. And if you start having that regular dialogue with yourself, you’ll find that you come to the root cause of your jealousy and can often move past it. Identify What You Need to Feel Safe After you have identified what emotions or deeper insecurities are at play in your jealousy, Taylor encourages you to make a list for achieving a safe solution to your jealousy. She states that the list should be a balance between the work you do yourself and your partner could provide for you–for example, reassurance that you are not going to be abandoned. Create Self-Care Rituals Taylor says that creating a self-care ritual can really help if you’re struggling with jealousy. So often the main cause of jealousy is a feeling of inadequacy and insecurity, so reminding yourself just how strong you are, as well as empowering yourself with positivity, is never a waste of time! Negative Reactions to Jealousy Taylor says that shaming yourself for feeling jealous will only make you stuck in jealousy even...

 92: Matthias Rose – Ejaculatory Choice | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2476

My guest is a repeat guest, which is a first for the Better Sex Podcast! His name is Matthias Rose and he is a Tantric teacher and healer. Matthias operates his practice out of Seattle and loves to connect couples through the power of Tantra. In this episode though, he explores the power of “ejaculatory choice”. This is the concept that men can be in control of their ejaculation and learn to orgasm without ejaculation. By riding what he calls orgasmic waves, men can slow down their experiences, ramp up their connection and intimacy with their partner, and overall just let go and experience sex in a healthy, care-free, powerful way. Listen in for much more on this powerful practice. The Benefits of ‘Ejaculatory Choice’ Matthias says that rewording the phrase “ejaculatory control” to “ejaculatory choice” is a much more accurate and healthy representation for men. The benefits are many, and can extend to covering premature and retarded ejaculation. Ejaculatory choice is also beneficial for those with erectile dysfunction. The Difference Between Ejaculation and Orgasm Matthias says that when he is paying attention to internal experiences, arousal, and physical stimuli, the act of ejaculation doesn’t necessarily coincide with orgasm. Usually, orgasm and ejaculation happen close together, but they are not the same thing. And so, as he states, you can have the orgasmic experiences without ejaculation. Because they are separate, you can practice ejaculatory choice and forego ejaculation to experience the waves and sensations of orgasm. Multiple Orgasms and Greater Intimacy Apart from being able to separate ejaculation and orgasm and thus achieve multiple orgasms with practice, ejaculatory choice also means greater intimacy with your partner. It can lead to an exploration and a ‘playing’ in orgasmic waves that naturally stokes the embers of passion. And overall, being present and thoughtful and fully engaged with your ejaculation choice leads to more thoughtful, intimate sex. He says that once sex is approached from a more open-ended way, there is greater potential for felt connection and overall better sex. Ejaculation Obstacles and Techniques for Resolution Matthias says that rapid ejaculation is more common than delayed ejaculation. He says that his approach is to let go of the ‘why’ when talking about ejacluation. His approach is less analytical and more practical in the sense that he introduces techniques for resolving the ejaculatory issue. He says that getting rid of the usual anxious thoughts and distractions is key. He also tries to bring conscious attention to the physical sensations. And within that consciousness comes a shifting of the body’s automatic path to climaxing. The Power of Breathing Mathias says that deep, calming breaths are important for curbing the urge to ejaculate. You can self-regulate in this way if you are feeling the intensity ramp up. He also says that you look at breathing as a way of moving energy away from the penis and upwards into the body, this can give you a lot more control over your ejaculation. This practice de-escalates the need to ejaculate and makes for more pleasurable sex. It is also directly applicable to females as well. This breathing technique opens the door for more relaxation, which by extension leads to better sex. This is diametrically opposed to the tensing and clenching techniques often used to delay ejaculation, which leads to loss of energy and doesn’t give the benefits of ejaculation control. As he says, most men who practice slowing down and doing the deep breathing find that after the initial climax builds and the male successfully slows down and avoids ejaculation, the brain understands that you are not wanting to ejaculate. Most men report having a few more minutes of...

 91: Kara Haug – Fairy Tale Expectations | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2112

Happily Ever After is a Fairy Tale My guest today is Kara Haug. She is the creator of Grace Unbound and is a practicing sex educator with a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as a certificate in Sexual Health Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her role mainly centers on teaching youth about shameless sexuality. She does a lot of workshops and is doing important work shifting the narrative on sexuality. And in this episode, she talks about the fairytale misconceptions that all women often face in their daily lives. Because there are cultural reinforcements that peg a certain brand of story for women, many are going into marriages and motherhood with inflated expectations, only to find that things are much more challenging than they originally thought they would be. This episode explores this topic and offers some solutions for women who are struggling. Listen along. The Biggest Misconception that Women Have About Sex and Sexuality Kara says that women have been given the misconception from a young age of this giant fairy tale image that bundles romance and partnership. And she says that as reach adulthood we are hit with the reality that “the chemicals in our brain have expiration dates”. In short, women are often fed the story that romance is going to be the easiest thing in the world. It’s just a matter of finding the right partner and living happily ever after, but the reality of it is much different. Romantic partnerships are a lot of work. The ‘Goal’ of Motherhood and Long-Term Partnerships Kara also talks about the goals that women are meant to aspire to–the script they are given about motherhood and long-term partnerships–never really factor in the tough moments after the wedding or birth. No one really prepares women for how difficult the whole dynamic is going to be – especially if you are juggling a career, kids, and a complicated relationship. Your marriage and children won’t unlock an infinite wellspring of energy and motivation from within you. Most of the time it’s going to be hard, and it will be far from the fairy tale expectations that we see perpetuated in society. Struggles With Sexuality as a Women There are still considerable struggles for women to claim their desire and exist comfortably in the open while at the same time claiming their sexual yearnings. Younger women are still being labeled as ‘sluts’ in schools if they explore their sexuality, so there’s still an uphill climb that doesn’t usually end until adulthood…and sometimes never at all. The Biggest Threat to Marriages? Kara thinks that because of how involved marriage (and motherhood) can be, the biggest threat to marriages is when two partners shift their dynamic from romantic lovers to a business partner type of relationship. And identities get lost amidst all of the chaos. Kara says that prioritizing our identities as romantic partners is the most important thing. She also suggests regular conversations as a way to switch off the autopilot and reclaim your identity – despite the busy, daily happenings of adulthood. She says that even if it’s just a date night every week, or sitting down and having a conversation about sexual or other relationship needs every month. That practice can save marriages from turning into business partnerships. The Hardest Part for Kara Kara said that she had past traumas resurface while she was breastfeeding her child. She states that many women also experience these traumas around their bodies when they become mothers. She says more on the subject. Listen along! There’s Nothing Wrong With You! Being in a relationship is extremely challenging. Add motherhood and the constant stress of raising a family and you’ll hardly have any free time to spare. Just because you are struggling...

 90: Susan Bratton – Sexual Vitality | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2274

My guest Susan Bratton has been called a ‘trusted hot sex advisor for millions’. She is a sex technique publisher, a celebrated speaker, educator, CEO and Co-Founder of Personal Life Media, and the list goes on and on about her qualifications and amazing qualities. In this episode, in particular, she shares her experience with sexual vitality and the summit she is spearheading in September (September 23-29, 2019). Within this talk, she also shares some insights into intimacy issues and basic remedies for those disconnects between couples of all dynamics. Really useful, informative stuff. And I’d recommend that you check out the many resources that Susan has put out there! How She Got So Passionate About Her Career Susan got her start as a publisher for sex techniques. She was inspired to continue pursuing this avenue because she started to see much more pornography than actual positive tips for more satisfying, engaging sex. In addition, she and her husband were taking workshops and tantric classes trying to ensure that their sex life was healthy and fully engaging. In that process, she reinforced her passion for sex and helping others find great sex. She and her husband actually started their company once they had learned enough to reinvigorate their sex life. Roadblocks for Intimacy and Their Solutions Susan says that after asking and having people fill out surveys, there were hundreds of different answers towards intimacy problems. About 15% of them were related to trauma; others were the products of physical hurdles: from diabetes and heart disease to painful sex for women and erectile dysfunction for men. When approaching how she would address this wide array of intimacy issues, she came to the logical conclusion that a Sexual Vitality Summit with a diverse panel of experts was the way to cover all bases. And then she also came up with the Magic Pill Method to spark a dialogue between people and get them to open up about their intimacy troubles. The Life Stages of Sexuality During the talk, the subject of age-specific intimacy issues came up. And usually the younger couples struggle with a lack of information and experience, and they aren’t communicating as openly as they should be on the subject. Middle age is usually more varied when it comes to intimacy problems: with children, careers, neglect, complacency, and physical issues being responsible. And as Susan reminds us, sex can just keep getting better and better. In fact, most 60-year olds are probably having the best sex they’ve ever had because of the experience levels and the acceptance of old age. There comes a point where sexual self-consciousness and intimacy issues are replaced with more grounded sex. Couples Heal Each Other Susan states that most healing work is done together with your partner. It’s a very involved process that incorporates not just yourself but your partner(s) as well. She also says that it can be challenging to connect with a partner who has been programmed (so to speak) through cultural means that sex has a linear function. Susan states that younger couples are less prone to these fixed behaviors and mindsets derived from environmental and familial factors. This is very common and applicable to LGTBTQ dynamics as well. How Your Gut Microbiome Affects Your Intimacy Susan states that the foods we ingest, the water we drink, the cleaning products we use, lotions we rub on our skin, and much more, all affect our gut microbiome. And after all, our gut is closely correlated with our libido. Physical vitality is inextricably linked with gut health, which really is an overall precursor to a healthy body. So probiotics and an emphasis on better nutrition really is essential for better sex.

 89: Dr. Justin Lehmiller – Sexual Fantasies | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2328

Sexual Fantasies and Eroticism I know I say it often, but this topic is one of my favorites. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Justin Lehmiller about the all-important topic of sexual fantasies. Justin is a celebrated speaker, researcher, author, and a very effective educator on the psychology of sexuality. His blog Sex and Psychology (https://www.lehmiller.com/) gets millions of visitors every year, and he regularly contributes his writing to major publications. This talk about his research is guided by his expertise and experience in the field. The Most Common Sexual Fantasies Justin says that when he surveyed almost 4,200 Americans from 2014 to 2016, the most common fantasies encompassed 7 different themes. Multi-partner sex BDSM Novelty, Adventure & Variety Taboo activities Emotional connection and fulfillment Homoeroticism and gender-bending Non-monogamyJustin describes these as the building blocks of fantasies, meaning that they are not mutually exclusive and many overlap. For example, you can very well dip your toes into multiple categories in your own personal fantasy life. Are people ashamed of their fantasies? As Justin states, he found that men reported more shame about their fantasies than women. Overall, the majority of study participants reported that they held a positive relationship with their fantasies, but there were still some who felt negative emotions towards their fantasy. Another important thing he found during his research is that just sharing sexual fantasies can open up eroticism and alleviate feelings of embarrassment or shame for having certain fantasies. The Differences between Men and Women regarding fantasyAlthough the data showed that both sexes share a lot of commonalities, there were still some marked differences. Men had more multi-partner fantasies than women did. And women had more fantasies about an emotional connection with a partner. Women also had way more BDSM fantasies than men by a large margin. In addition, men usually had a specific person in mind during their fantasies, and the women focused more on the setting and environment overall. Justin also found that the LGBTQ community had more sexually adventurous fantasies, as well as taboo fantasies. Justin provides some insight into why women might like BDSM more than men, as well as the LGBTQ community and their sexual fantasy preferences. Listen in for that. Sexual Fantasy by Personality Type Justin shares some interesting insight into the correlation between personality type and sexual fantasy. For example, those who are more extroverted by nature will be more outgoing the bedroom. And for those who are ‘agreeable’ personality types, there will be a higher incidence of focusing on their partner’s sexual satisfaction in the bedroom. He also talks about what conscientiousness has to do with fantasies, as well as self-esteem. “Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar” Justin says that sexual fantasies don’t really have to mean all that much. They can offer a glimpse into something deeper, but for the most part, they are just a product of your environment and genetic makeup and can be left out of the examination room. Fantasies can be a good evaluative road map to follow for your own unique sexual satisfaction, though. But when talking about sexual traumas, there were small connections between sexual victimization and types of fantasies. But there was a lot of inconsistency in the data. Hear Justin explain the data on this subject. How to Share Your Fantasies with Your Partner Justin says that before you share with your partner, you first have to feel good about yourself. You aren’t alone in your fantasies, so there’s a normalization that...

 88: Dr. Corey Allan – Desire Discrepancy Conversation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2731

My guest is Dr. Corey Allan. He is a professional counselor and host of the podcast Sexy Marriage Radio, which centers on helping couples experience amazing sex within their relationships. He hosts the podcast with his wife, Pam, and they share some pretty stellar information on the topic every week. Corey also has a private practice in McKinney, Texas and holds a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. And in this episode, Corey talks about desire discrepancy in particular. More specifically, he talks about productive ways for partners to navigate the high seas of fluctuating desires and the frustrations that can occur. One of the most important concepts that he shares (among so many others) is the importance of accepting desire discrepancy as natural, and not as right or wrong. But this is a complicated subject. And through this episode, we dissect the many nuances of a common phenomenon. Be sure to listen and learn because this affects so many of us. Enjoy! Framing Desire Discrepancy in a Positive Way As Corey states, close to two-thirds of all relationships experience some sort of desire discrepancy within the dynamic of the relationship. So this is a common phenomenon that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong within the relationship at all. Corey likes to frame it in a higher-lower spectrum rather than a right or wrong metric. This relieves some of the pressure and reframes this frequent aspect of relationships in a much more positive light. He points out that sometimes it’s actually the lower desire partner who brings the necessary perspective to the relationship by shedding light on areas that perhaps need more improvement: this could be manifested in more mindful, present sex and other areas to explore for more meaningful sex for both parties. Often the lower desire partner has a good reason for not wanting sex all that much, and attending to those reasons can shift the whole relationship dynamic in a positive way. The Harms of Pathologizing Desire As we discussed during the episode, a common thing that happens within couple dynamics is the ‘pathologizing’ of each other’s differing desires. The lower desire person will often ask what’s wrong with the higher desire individual, and vice versa, leading to a harmful interplay between each. It’s natural to get defensive, and it’s easy to assume that someone is to blame in the relationship; but mostly, desire discrepancy is a natural byproduct of being in a sexual relationship with anyone. More on this within the episode. Don’t Take Rejection Personally Corey highlights the productive and constructive ways to initiate sex with a lower-desire partner. This means if you are high desire, you should not pout or whine at rejection. In addition, don’t complain that you do all the initiation–that just comes with the high-desire territory. Corey reminds you to play the long game and frame your initiation in a positive way. How you respond to your lower desire partner’s reaction is important! Corey’s Definition for Great Sex Corey says that the best sex is when a partner is seeking what they want, and at the same time, trying to give their partner what they want. He calls it a “fluid dance”, which could also be described as a healthy interplay between the wide spectrum of sexual interests that two people can naturally develop in their relationship. He says that both partners have to show up to achieve this. Frequency has less to do with it. It has to do more with the quality of the sex itself. He says that if you can have good, quality sex, the number doesn’t really matter. In other words, there’s no quota to fulfill, but instead, there’s a standard of quality to achieve between both partners. The Importance of Communication for Lower-Desire Partners It can take courage for a lower-desire partner...

 87: [Soapbox] – You Are Not Broken | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1667

I get back on my soapbox this week to talk about something I think is important. So many people feel broken or like something is wrong with them when they struggle with sex, but this is not true. All couples go through lapses and setbacks. This does not mean anything is wrong with you. What you’re going through makes complete sense; we just have to understand why. It’s natural to doubt yourself when you have sexual difficulties; that’s just a normal part of being human. But you are definitely not broken, and steps can be taken to fix that type of mindset and prevent those thoughts from consuming your life. I want to remind you that grieving and struggling with body image issues or desire discrepancy is normal, but it doesn’t have to take away from your ability to have an engaging, fulfilling sex life. Listen along. It’s Common to Struggle with Sexual Desire Despite how the media portrays the subject, consistent sexual desire is not a guarantee. There are so many factors that go into any individual’s libido. And there different ways of experiencing sexual desire. There are two basic ways I describe sexual desire. First, there is proactive desire. This is sexual desire that is spontaneous, where you think about and want sex, and you’d like to take steps to make it happen. This is what culture teaches us constitutes ‘libido.’ But there is also reactive desire. This is when you only feel desire once you get going and start to be physically (and mentally) aroused. This may mean you feel absolutely no desire at any given moment, but once you get going in the way that elicits that desire within you, you start to react positively to that stimulus. Your desire then emerges. Often, desire discrepancies occur because of a dynamic interaction between these differing modes of sexual desire. The person more interested in sex often has proactive desire. The person less interested often has the reactive kind. Both types are individual, they can fluctuate, and they are totally normal! Sexual Performance and Dysfunction If you struggle with any sort of sexual dysfunction or pain, it might be tempting to consider yourself broken in a tangible, “look at my dysfunction” type of way. But that’s a false narrative that should be restructured to reflect a more positive reality. You are not broken. You may need to reorient the way you approach sex and get creative with it, but that doesn’t mean you’re broken. You can adapt and even pursue different medical interventions if there are treatments available. There are many approaches to take. Loss, Grief, and Relationship Issues Can Contribute to Feelings of Brokenness Sometimes sex will force you to confront issues that are emotionally upsetting–such as procreation struggles or sexual trauma–and this can also contribute to this hurtful cycle of brokenness, These types of struggles can compound and carry over into your relationship, which can initiate and feed a vicious cycle of even more feelings of being broken. So, depending on how much work you’re putting into your relationship, you can expect there to be momentary (or lengthy) lulls in your sex life as well. This is not an accurate reflection on some innate sense of your self-worth but is a natural ebb and flow of being with a partner. Lack of Knowledge and Experience The state of sexual education in the U.S. has certainly not helped to dispel these feelings of inadequacy. And while many people think they’re learning about sex through pornography, porn is not education; it is entertainment. And it can contribute to body image issues and just an unrealistic portrayal of sex in general. This can widely influence feelings of brokenness. Aging, Illness, and Trauma Affects Desire As you age, you won’t feel the same sort of sexual readiness and libido as you used to feel. We...

 86: [Reprise] Emily Nagoski – Come As You Are | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2549

Come As You AreMy guest today is the acclaimed author of the best selling, Come as You Are. Emily has been a sex educator since 1995, where she put her education to good use (psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy). Quickly, she realized that sex education, woman’s well-being, and violence prevention was far more fulfilling work for her personally. So, she made the switch from more neuro-centric work to that of the sex-education realm. And that switch has made all of the difference for the countless people who have benefited from Emily’s work in the field. She has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with an emphasis in human sexuality, and the list of her qualifications could go on. And within just seconds of this interview, you will immediately understand just how smart and articulate Emily is. Listen in. The Motivation for Come As You Are As Emily relates, the motivation to write her best-selling book has a very prominent beginning. It was the first day of the semester and Emily was beginning her usual Anatomy class. A student raised her hand and asked if Emily would walk the students through the evolutionary origin of the hymen. Never having contemplated the question, she knew the semester was going to be a challenging but rewarding one. And during the final exam, when asking a question worth 2 points, she asked students to state one thing they had learned. The answer was far from what she expected. She found herself grading the final exams with tears in her eyes. Listen in to learn what most of her students’ answers centered on. We All Have the Same Parts Consider the scrotum. Yes, never before has someone provided an opening sentence like that, but stop for a moment and consider it. The central tenet to Come as You Are is that we all have the same parts, they are just organized differently. If you look at the center of the scrotum, there is a demarcating line that runs down the center; during gestation, all it took was a simple hormone and genetic difference that prevented the scrotum from becoming a labia. They are both stretchy and anatomical similar, but they become formed differently during birth. Through this type of thinking, Emily crafted the book to alleviate the stresses and insecurities of sex. With stress-free sex, with more comfort inside one’s skin and the anatomy that we have developed, we can become comfortable in the fact that we are completely normal. For more on this, listen along. Variance Should Be Celebrated Getting to know your own sexual parts, as well as your partner’s. There is no one-size-fits-all type of sexual practice. Some women, a minority actually, can experience orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone; the majority cannot. And all because of slight anatomical differences that can’t be controlled. So, the number one message communicated is to celebrate the inevitable variance between everyone! SES & SIS This is another extremely interesting section of the interview: Emily talks about the internal sexual excitation system and the sexual inhibition system in our brain that is constantly working behind the scenes. These two work in tandem to balance out sexual excitation with an inhibiting effect that prevents us from being sexually excited all of the time. For more on this dual-control process and how understanding it can help trauma victims, listen along. I am not doing it justice here! The Ramifications of Stress on Sexual Health Stress can make one’s body shut down completely when it comes to healthy sexual functioning. As the brain is highly reactive and conditioned through many facets of existence, a stressful situation can kickstart the sexual inhibition system (SIS) which will more often than not win out over any excitation. But again, variance shows up in this respect as well. Everyone is wired differently. Some people have...

 85: [Soapbox] – Talking about Sex with your Partner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1898

How can you bring up your sexual concerns with your partner?On this episode, I focus on talking about sex with your partner when things are not going well. It can be uncomfortable to bring up sexual issues with your partner, and it’s for this reason that I have developed a guide that you can access with the link at the end of these notes. While these talks may be difficult to broach, they create an arena for constructive feedback and help build healthier relationships. I share that this is how you create a sex life that works for BOTH of you. A vital part of this is to first get over any fear you may have about talking about sex. Facing these challenges as a team is crucial to solving them. I outline three different stages for having this type of conversation. Prepare Like anything, without clarity and knowing what you want, you will have no direction. I emphasize the importance of this step. Highlights are picking up on patterns, emotions, and thoughts in your sex life. As part of the preparation step, I urge you to identify how you contribute to the problem. “Every situation is co-created.” I bring up a few important questions for you to answer and flesh out in this step. Empathy is also a factor in the preparation step, and I gently guide you around this to help you understand your partner, too. Approach your Partner About the Topic “Making time” is something to consider as opposed to spontaneously bringing up the sex talk. I talk about the value of having a time limit on your conversation, too. I genuinely want you to find a solution, and having a collaborative attitude sets a healthy foundation for working together and talking. This will probably not be solved with one go, so expect a series of talks ahead of time.How to talk about this With collaboration in mind, I urge the use of “I” language. Tune in to learn more about this. I suggest creating space by allowing your partner to tell you how he/she/they feels. In addition to this, “distinguish between what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.” Tune in to hear my advice on filters and managing triggers. You will learn about empathizing and exercising control in this step, too. Among other valuable tips, I also emphasize, “Don’t have sex that makes it worse.” Listen for more! Important Links Link to the guide sex: http://bettersexpodcast.com/talk Join my email list here: http://bettersexpodcast.com/listMore info:Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.comWeb – https://www.bettersexpodcast.com/Sex Health Quiz – http://sexhealthquiz.com/If you’re enjoying the podcast and want to be a part of making sure it continues in the future, consider being a patron. With a small monthly pledge, you can support the costs of putting this show together. For as little as $2 per month, you can get advance access to each episode. For just a bit more, you will receive an advance copy of a chapter of my new book. And for $10 per month, you get all that plus an invitation to an online Q&A chat with me once a quarter. Learn more at https://www.patreon.com/bettersexpodcastBetter Sex with Jessa Zimmermanhttps://businessinnovatorsradio.com/better-sex/

 84: Martha Kauppi – Sexual Desire Issues | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2277

My guest today is Martha Kauppi, who is a certified sex therapist and supervisor. Through her practice in Wisconsin, she focuses largely on relationships and how they can affect sex, and vice versa. In addition, she has a background in healthcare, so she brings a very useful perspective and expertise to her practice. Within the episode, Martha talks about how complicated desire is in particular. She describes it as multifactorial, and she also says that desire and arousal is the complex result of a cluster of systems working together. Enjoy this very informative talk from an important figure in the field! Definition of Psychic Energy When describing the libido, many people would define it as a physical phenomenon or a biological culmination of desire. Martha describes it as a psychic energy, or a “want to want to have sex.” Martha says that if someone is wanting to cultivate desire, that’s a crucial first step and a great sign for her client. Because there are so many moving parts that go into desire, there are also many ways for a partner to struggle to become aroused. Martha talks about the internal pressures, of ‘putting out’ in the relationship despite not having the desire, as well as the external pressures, like birthdays or other events. She says that these pressures can contribute to a loss of arousal, even if subconscious. As the pressures ramp up, so too desire can diminish in relation. Other Things That Can Make Accessing Desire Difficult Martha says that sex pain is the biggest obstacle to desire, by far. It’s not technically a desire issue or intimately linked to the desire systems at work, but any sort of sexual pain will kill desire. And unfortunately, a lot of people who have painful sex are not bringing it up because they just assume it’s normal. Or in some cases, a lot of people don’t want to tell their partners because they are afraid of how it will affect the relationship. Martha states that painful sex is treatable and should be addressed, because sex should not be painful. She also states that the pelvic floor is the usual cause for painful sex. In addition to this, she talks extensively about how a lack of pleasure contributes to decreased desire. Check it out! Resources for Women and Men In addition to a lot of valuable information on desire challenges for men and women, Martha shares some good resources: A Woman’s Touch (for men and women), OMG YES and of course The Guide to Getting it on is always a great book to reference. Talk to a Professional! She says that so many people are suffering and discouraged because of a lack of pleasure when they don’t need to be. If you can’t figure it out on your own, Martha really stresses the importance of seeing a sex therapist. She says she can often clear up pleasure problems in a couple of sessions. Anxiety and Depression A major cause for a lack of sexual desire can stem from mood disorders. And the medication that patients take to combat some of the symptoms can often lead to erectile issues and a decreased libido, so desire can be chemically affected as well as the challenges posed from depression or anxiety. The Improvisational Sexual Style Instead of thinking of desire as a linear progression, where kissing leads to touching, which then leads to internal stimulation and climax, Martha’s preferred improvisational style is much more sustainable a way to approach desire. Instead of walking up a staircase and participating in a hierarchy of sexual actions (with a goal in mind), there’s constant communication going on about desire and no script to stick to. Martha thinks that the usual, linear model of sex actually creates needless sexual dysfunction. She thinks we would all be less broken if we could just ditch the linear model! Key Links for Martha...

 #83: Dr. Kelifern Pomeranz – Erectile Dysfunction | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2636

My guest is Dr. Kelifern Pomeranz. She is a licensed clinical psychiatrist, a sex therapist, and an overall expert on arousal disorders and more. She has a practice in Silicon Valley and is here to talk about erections: in particular, how to have healthy erections, what to do if you are having problems getting them, and various strategies for a healthy functioning penis. Definition of Erectile Dysfunction Kelifern says that erectile dysfunction is defined as a recurrent inability to obtain or maintain penile erection. This means that for 75% to 100% of sexual activity, this inability is consistent. And for at least 6 months of consistent inability. She says that physicians will try to determine if a person is experiencing generalized erectile dysfunction, which means that it occurs across the board, in all sexual episodes, or whether they experience difficulty in very specific situations, which would mean situational erectile dysfunction. Also, professionals look to see if the dysfunction has been present since birth or if it is acquired from certain circumstances. Also, when asked the difference between performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction, Kelifern says that it’s similar but not the same in that ‘performance anxiety’ doesn’t meet the criteria for a formal diagnosis. It can be temporary and often is determined by psychological effects. How Common is Erectile Dysfunction? Kelifern starts off this question by admitting that the stats are all over the map, but she says that some stats show that more than 30 million men struggle with erectile dysfunction. Also, a very well known study in Boston showed that about 43% of the 1,700 men studied (between ages 40-70) had erectile troubles. What Medical Issues to Talk to Doctor About Before Getting Viagra She cited a statistic that said around 70% of erectile dysfunction can be traced to physical conditions. Physicians will look at diabetes, smoking, heart disease, hardened arteries, and anything that inhibits or restricts blood flow. But sadly, a lot of men are being written prescriptions for medication right away instead of being looked at for many of the other contributing causes. A lot of dysfunction is being written off for psychological causes when they are rooted in treatable physical disorders. The Science of a Hard-On Kelifern says that the penis is comprised of 3 cylinders. One runs along the bottom of the penis, which encircles the urethra. And then are 2 cylinders that run alongside the penis and are made up of the sponge-like tissue that fills with blood. As she states, an erection is a complex thing. Not only are the body and the brain working in tandem, but psychological and emotional factors have a lot to do with a successful erection as well. When aroused, a man’s penis will fill with blood at 6-8 times the normal rate of blood flow. It becomes engorged, the arteries suspend, and the penis hardens. Kelifern also says that men can have erections that do not involve the brain. This is called Reflexogenic erection. These types of erections occur by direct stimulation of the penis and are controlled by nerves found in the lowest part of the spinal cord segments. The brain is not involved. But there is much more that goes on. Kelifern says it’s a very complex interplay in the body. Hear her describe the process in more detail in the episode! Psychological Circumstances Surrounding Erectile Dysfunction Kelifern says that arousal is key, as well as relaxation. Anything that disrupts either one of these can make obtaining or maintaining an erection very difficult. Any discomfort can lead to performance anxiety and can decrease the necessary arousal. So when the brain is anxious, it disrupts the brain’s ability to send the necessary messages to the penis. And this is not good for getting an...

 82: [Soapbox] Exploring Eroticism – Jessa Zimmerman | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1399

The topic today is eroticism, which is our unique fingerprint of what turns us on. It’s a set of things or the theme of things that really arouses us – that we find highly interesting and erotic. We all have the things that we prefer in sex and things that we find more arousing than others. This is a useful concept and area of inquiry if we’re going to make our sex life as good as we can. Frees Us from Guilt and Shame I find eroticism fascinating. And one of the theories that I subscribe to was developed by Michael Bader, who wrote a great book called Arousal: The Secret Logic of Sexual Fantasies. He talks about how our eroticism, what we find especially arousing, frees us from guilt and shame. It moves those obstacles out of the way so that we can be fully aroused. I give a great example of what Mr. Bader means, and if you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book in terms of trying to figure out why exactly does your eroticism exist? What does it absolve you of or relieve for you? Why is Eroticism Important? In some ways, you may have been going along having sex with your partner for a long time. It hasn’t been highly erotic, and it’s been just fine, and that’s part of the problem. We tend, over time, to come down to what a colleague of mine called “lowest common denominator sex.” How do we get to this point and what do we do to move beyond this level? It’s important to understand that maybe there’s room to explore what could reenergize your sex life. We Need More Fuel for the Fire Not only is our sex life becoming a little bit more predictable if we’re with the same partner usually, but we tend to need more fuel on the fire to get aroused or to reach an orgasm as we age, as we have more stress, as we have more responsibilities. So, tapping into our eroticism is a great way to up the stimulation because that is mental stimulation. If you’ve ever heard the saying that our brain is our biggest sex organ, that’s what that means to me. I explain it further during the episode. Mental stimulation has a lot of power. And if we add that, we get our brain engaged and highly charged, and that’s a lot of energy for our sex life. That added stimulation makes it much, much easier to get aroused or reach orgasm, especially as we get older in terms of what we need to really get turned on. Your Eroticism is Revealed in Different Ways If you think about the best sex you’ve ever had or the sex that was the most exciting or what you like to do, that might point you in the direction of what you find highly arousing. A place you could also look is in your reaction to sexual or romantic material. There is so much out there, and we don’t respond equally to all of it. We’re going to be drawn towards things that shine a light on what we find erotic. Watch for those things. And if you haven’t noticed that or you’re not coming across it, maybe seek out some erotic material on purpose and test the waters. Another place you can look for your eroticism is in your sexual fantasies. If you fantasize, or if you could begin to fantasize about purely erotic material, your own creations really reflect your eroticism. This works because we don’t put stuff in there that doesn’t work for us. If you want to examine your sexual fantasies, spend a little bit of time there, maybe write some of these out. That can be a great place to identify the themes of what turns you on. Once You Understand Your Eroticism The next step is to share that with your partner. To learn theirs and to share yours with them. I can’t stress this enough – adopt a stance of curiosity without judgment. Set the stage to have a welcoming conversation and start to explore what really turns you each on without any sense that you must do anything about this yet, or that it means that anything is good...

 81: August McLaughlin – Girl Boner | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1916

Girl Boner – A Story of EmpowermentMy guest is August McLaughlin. She is a celebrated health and sexuality writer, the creator of Girl Boner, wrote a book with the same name, and is a fellow podcaster!As she states during the talk, her experience with sexual education was very lacking and lopsided. From an early age, she was prepared for the terrifying world of cramps and bleeding without mention of the empowering sexual satisfaction that women can experience. This would lead to her investigating sex on her own terms, and in turn, she has empowered countless women through her work.She talks about how working in the modeling industry-led an eating disorder, how she discovered masturbation, the way toward empowerment, and much more!Connection Between her Sexual Shame and Eventual HealingAugust says that it’s hard to separate how we feel about our bodies and our emotional selves. If we don’t really talk about our genitalia and sex is considered taboo, we aren’t able to awaken the empowerment within ourselves.As August went through her eating disorder while she was doing modeling work, she also realized that an underlying cause for her not being sexually empowered was the sexual shame she carried around with her. She says that therapy certainly helped, but she was still not addressing the root of her problem.She says that a turning point in her transformation was that she started getting uncharacteristically angry. She would get sad, frustrated, and angry with herself. She realized that, as a woman, she was taught not to access her sexuality. August also realized that she didn’t know much about her own anatomy.She said she was having pleasurable sex at this point, but it became something else entirely when she connected with her body and felt empowered.Masturbation as a Turning PointAugust said that for the majority of her life, she had been more inclined to participate in intercourse than outercourse. She said that external stimulation had never really done anything for her, and besides, there had always been a layer of shame surrounding the act itself.It wasn’t until she revisited masturbation with a new perspective that it eventually opened up her eyes to more empowerment.She says that she switched careers. August was a full-time writer, she was in a monogamous relationship, and one day while her partner was traveling work, she was confronted with a desire for sex and no outlet for it. That was when she tried masturbation.August was 30 years old at this point. On the night she discovered the empowerment of masturbation, she was so excited she called her partner and told him that she had achieved an orgasm on her own! For more on this, listen to August tell the story in her own words.The “Girl Boner” Origin and MissionAfter the orgasm that changed her life, she applied for the trademark on the term ‘girl boner’. The term itself has multiple meanings for August. It’s a humorous term she used in grade school, it stands for sexual potency and empowerment, and it’s one of those titles that gets your attention right away.How Journaling has Helped AugustWhile she was freewriting and journaling, a lot was coming out about her acting career and her sexual insecurities. She thinks it’s a very powerful tool for unearthing inner sexual desires and to help with fostering curiosity. It also helps you to approach a difficult or awkward sexual subject and get closer to it in a much more comfortable way.Key Links for August McLaughlinAffiliate link for Her book: Girl Boner – https://amzn.to/2Run62dWebsite: https://augustmclaughlin.com/Podcast:

 80: [Soapbox] Desire Discrepancy Strategies with Jessa Zimmerman | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1842

Desire Discrepancy may or may not be a term that you’ve heard. This is where two different people want different amounts of sex. There’s a discrepancy between your desire and your partner’s. This is universal. It happens all the time, and it is a problem for a lot of people. In this episode, I’m going to talk about Desire Discrepancy, how it occurs naturally, issues that may crop up around it, and give you some strategies to effectively navigate this common challenge.Desire Discrepancy Doesn’t Need to Be a StruggleMost of the couples that I see in my practice are struggling with Desire Discrepancy, often in addition to some other issues and concerns. It can be a large part of where they’re struggling emotionally and relationally with each other.And it doesn’t need to be a struggle. Actually, nothing is broken. It’s just that we tend to handle this poorly. We don’t understand that it’s normal, and we don’t understand how to approach our part of the dynamic to be constructive with our partners.Having Desire Discrepancy is NaturalIt probably makes sense to you, the idea that any two people don’t want the same amount of sex. This is a universal phenomenon in a relationship, at least over time. Why would any two people want exactly the same amount of sex early in your relationship? Maybe it felt like you did, maybe it was easy and you both couldn’t keep your hands off each other. But over time, discrepancy shows up, and for different reasons. This isn’t that somebody is lacking desire or that somebody’s broken. It’s natural for our desire to ebb and flow. It’s harder once we get older, it’s harder once we’ve been with the same person for a while, it’s harder when stresses show up in our lives and we get busy with careers or children or other kinds of things that go on for us.While everybody experiences it, it’s not a problem by itself, but it can be experienced as a problem. And it’s often thought to be a problem for people that are struggling with sex in their relationship. During this episode, I talk to you a little bit about how this works and how you can approach it differently with your partners.The Solution Involves CollaborationSo now that we understand it is not a problem, we also need to realize we are not going to get you where you both want the same amount of sex because that’s not the goal. What I want to do is help you get to a place where you’re collaborating in this phenomenon, where you’re working together as a team where it’s not polarizing you, where you don’t consider it in any real issue.There still may be a little bit of negotiation, or maybe even frustration for either one of you around this, but it shouldn’t be divisive.The Lower Desire Partner Has The ControlIt’s important to understand that as desire discrepancy emerges over time or develops over time, you must realize that the person that wants less has all the control. Not because they want it, not because they enjoy having that kind of control or power, mostly they don’t. But anybody who wants something less kind of has their hand on the spigot, they’re the ones saying if, and when, and how. And this dynamic doesn’t just apply to sex, it applies to almost anything. In these situations, the person who wants something less or who isn’t valuing it as much, they have the control. It is built into the system, not because they are trying to be controlling or because they are enjoying having this control over you, it’s just fundamentally part of the system.The System is Under PressureWhen somebody wants something more than somebody else, another thing that’s inherent in this situation is pressure. The person who wants something less typically feels a lot of pressure. They’re aware that their partner wants this thing and there’s a lot of pressure in the system. And it’s likely not because the person that wants more sex is trying to...

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