Jessa Zimmerman – www.JessaZimmerman.com – author of “Sex without Stress – A Couple’s Guide to Overcoming Disappointment, Avoidance  & Pressure” returned to the program. This time we focused on “The 9 Phases of Taking the Stress Out of Sex.” Phase 1 is prioritizing intimacy – where it’s not just sex you’re scheduling; rather, it’s a trip to the playground. It’s important to just show up. With this sort of journey, there are no expectations, and you are seeing it as an opportunity to have fun. And, having fun together often fosters desire! There are many benefits derived from the giver-receiver exercises: one is that you need to take care of yourself, the foundation of trust. We also discussed exploring eroticism, her book’s Phase 9, where it is important to take and allow pleasure. Consent is built in to this exercise. Practicing emotional surrender by reminding yourself of what you are especially grateful for in your lover…Be playful and expressive. Laugh!  The articulate, informed Jessa will return in the new year.

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Brad Coates (www.CoatesandFrey.com) and Dr. Diana enjoyed a conversation about America’s growing gender gap between men and women. His book, “Divorce with Decency” Fifth Edition, is a comprehensive treatment of the legal, emotional, economic, psychological, and social aspects of marital relationships. We looked at women’s increasing educational, economic, and political power. Porn is part of the erotic erosion between men and women; in fact, it may be a scapegoat for all the conversations men and women are not having. Couples almost never discuss their sexual desires and fantasies. Man are more likely to soothe themselves by turning to solitary pleasures and paid ones – less emotionally complicated forms of sex. The #MeToo movement has led to further divisiveness with an expanded awareness of the prevalence of abuse/assault. Of course, not all guys are bad dudes! But some women are feeling safer with other women. There’s more…please tune in!   

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The #MeToo movement has brought to light some harsh realities. Where do we go from here? To help make sense off this, Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce returned to the show. Intimacy seems to be going extinct. Many men cannot integrate closeness and sexual passion. Furthermore, loneliness is on the increase especially among those 15-25 years of age. When there is little face-to-face interaction overshadowed by texting, people do not get the full picture; so, there is more depression and anxiety. And less interconnectivity leads to less oxytocin and more cortisol. How do we make consent more sexy? Use your words before boundaries are crossed…talk about sex before having it. Dr. Nancy’s take-away: get connected in person – otherwise your health and longevity may suffer. www.drnsp.com.   

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Halloween is tomorrow. What are adults getting out of Halloween? Some dress up as their fantasy persona. Does this impact personal sexual behavior? Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce (www.drnsp.com) returned to the program to help sort this out. Dr. Nancy is a sex and relationship author, an international speaker, and a sensuality educator. Playing out fantasies can help couples with communication, help them be more playful and adventurous. According to a study of people’s sexual fantasies, where more than 4,000 respondents were interviewed, the most common fantasy is multi-partnered sex, followed by power, control, and rough sex; novelty and adventure; taboo and forbidden sex;  and partner sharing and non-monogamy. Many experiment with these fantasies in a harmless manner – often inviting additional communication. Dr. Nancy sees fantasy as entertainment! As a teacher, she is involved with Hedonism (www.hedonism.com) – a resort that can jump-start a fading sexual relationship. Dr. Diana referred to “Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex” which provides some valuable information about three-somes and more. In her chapter “Swinging: Strangers at the Party” Nina observes that by keeping an open mind, you will find out things about yourself or your partner that may surprise you. We discussed this. Dr. Nancy is a voice on Voice Americahttps://radio.thesexylifestyle.com/show/3801/the-conscious-living-show. Please tune in on November 13th for more with Dr. Nancy!

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Jessa Zimmerman – www.JessaZimmerman.com – has written “Sex without Stress – A Couple’s Guide to Overcoming Disappointment, Avoidance & Pressure.” It has recently been published, and already I am recommending the book to couples in my practice. The cycle of avoidance does damage to a couple’s sex life. We discussed the sexual myths that spawn unrealistic expectations – including men want sex more than women and are always ready to go. An informal survey of sex therapists suggests that the man has more libido in 60 to 70% of cases, but sometimes it is 50-50 men vs women. Often the lower desire person wants more nonsexual affection and more attention in general. Jessa describes two ways that people experience sexual desire – proactive and reactive. In the latter case, desire needs to be evoked. “Just do it” may be the best advice here because often arousal is necessary to feel desire. So, people who think they need to be in the mood to have sex might in fact need to have sex to get in the mood! Maintenance sex is not the same thing as enthusiastic sex; but, as Amy Poehler declared in her memoir “You have to have sex with your husband occasionally, even though you’re exhausted. Sorry.” Other myths in Jessa Zimmerman’s book include sex is natural; it shouldn’t take work. And you and your partner should know what the other wants; you shouldn’t have to communicate. Other myths: women should orgasm though penetration alone, men should last a long time, and if you are in a good relationship, neither of you should masturbate. When Jessa returns December 4th, we will discuss “The Nine Phases of Taking Stress out of Sex.” Tune-in!

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Sheri Winston, author of “Succulent Sex Craft,” returned to the program to again discuss boundaries. Few were taught about boundaries when they were young; therefore, Sheri and Dr. Diana’s conversation reflected remedial education on the topic. Adults need to talk with their boys and girls early and often about sexual ethics, gender dynamics, consent, pleasure, healthy relationships and the risk to them of mixing sex and alcohol. Pleasure is often missing in sex education…and the joy associated with full consent and enthusiasm! But how to get there? Research by the Making Caring Common project showed that in a survey of more than 3,000 18-to 25-year-olds, more than 60% of respondents had never had a single conversation with their parents about how to be sure your partner wants to be having sex with you. It seems as though many parents have abdicated responsibility for talking with their children about sexual ethics and emotional intimacy. Using role-plays, Sheri teaches ways to try out different approaches to saying things. Language is necessary – as is practice, perhaps using  friends for a rehearsal scenario. Acknowledging shyness about the topic – i.e., insisting on using a condom – can help the speaking-up process. If we helped people feel less ambivalent about sex, they could use their words more easily and have much better sex! There is more on Sheri’s website: www.IntimateArtsCenter.com.

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Sheri Winston, author of “Succulent Sex Craft” a full-course meal of sex education delights, knows about boundaries. Reflecting the current national conversations, Dr. Diana and Sheri discussed the emotional, physical, energetic, romantic, sexual, and conversational boundaries. When our boundaries are healthy, we have the freedom to play and explore within them! Sheri offered the principles and skills of boundaries – one’s own and how to communicate and protect them. Few were taught early on about boundaries; therefore, skills need to be developed. These skills include self-awareness, authentic communication (if you can’t talk about it, don’t do it!), and choice. Is a firm “No” needed, a wide-open “Yes,” or perhaps a “maybe.”  Re the latter, if someone says, “I do not want to do this with you,” she may be indicating that she needs more time to check-in with her own needs. The conversation continues next week, a Part 2 with Sheri Winston. We will talk about respecting other people’s boundaries and teaching children about boundaries. Tune-in, call-in if you are listening live. Check-out Sheri’s website: www.IntimateArtsCenter.com.     

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Dr. Mark Schoen is a sex educator and a filmmaker whose website www.SexSmartFilms.com is the Netflix of sex education. Many universities use Sex Smart Films knowing that it  is a sex educator’s dream come true! Parents also need to familiarize themselves with the site. Research shows that mothers and fathers who talk about sex with their kids are more likely to have offspring who share their values. Whether it is a parent or a grown-up in a sexual relationship, it can be argued that simply watching a sexually oriented film is a step in the right direction when communication is a problem. Access to the Internet allows kids to view porn. These films are NOT sex education…They are made for adult entertainment purposes only. We in the U.S. should take some pages from countries like Denmark where versions of sexuality are shown on TV and violence is frowned upon. Dr. Mark now has 615 films on his website under these categories: education, research, and therapy. Also, by going to www.LoveafterWar.org you can see a clip of his upcoming documentary intended to help health care professionals working with vets. Mark told the story of a soldier at Walter Reed coming out of a coma; his first question was, “Is my junk okay?” For all of us, getting more information on sexual health can make all the difference!

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Brad Coates (www.CoatesandFrey.com) provided us with an analysis of the pros and cons of three of life’s most crucial choices: to marry, to re-marry, and to parent. Brad knows all about marriages and divorce because he’s been a divorce lawyer in Honolulu, Hawaii for forty years.  Dr. Diana and Brad discussed this topic. The biggest marital benefits come in high stress environments, and people who are married can often handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t. Marriage may be most important when there is stress in life. It helps to accommodate a partner’s needs as well. Trust is necessary. Does your partner have your best interests in mind? Can you listen nondefensively? We love this motto: “When you’re in pain, the world stops and I listen.” Humor helps too in that it may soothe couples inside and out during conflict. If a couple decides to have a child, parenthood can wreak havoc on their relationship and sex life. Many will stay together and feel stuck in a mild but chronic depressive state sometimes called “depressively married.”  Then there are couples who choose not to have children because they want more pleasure for themselves; in other words, they are hedonists. Here’s the paradox: We expect more from our marriages but feed them less. Check out Brad’s book “DIVORCE with DECENCY” now in its 5th Edition.

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Sexuality and disabilities – especially for injured veterans – are not addressed or explored enough. Dr. Mitchell Tepper, an internationally recognized sexuality educator and disability expert, has collaborated with filmmaker Dr. Mark Schoen (my guest September 4th) in making a documentary “Love after War” (www.LoveafterWar.org)  We discussed the background leading up to creating the documentary, and the physicaldisabilities with the process leading to sexual self-discovery (his book is “Regain the Feeling” – www.DrMitchellTepper.com). Our focus moved on to the invisible disabilities caused by PTSD and depression. A former Army psychiatrist was the first to identify failed intimate relationships as the leading cause of suicide. So many relationships would benefit from having conversations about sexual performance. Often for men, and particularly for former soldiers, the problem can be laden with shame. In the end, the film that Dr. Tepper and Dr. Schoen are making is about compassionate love. Please listen for more inspiring details! 

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