Comprehensive Sex Education Often Prevents Unwanted Pregnancies

 

Studies by the federal government and others show that young people’s sexual risk-taking is actually promoted by ignorance, not knowledge. Social liberals and conservatives appear to hold polar opposite views on sex education. Conservatives often present the idea that sex for teens is dangerous.

My guest, Dr. Carol Queen, is Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations, a nationwide chain of sex toy stores. Since 1990 Dr. Carol has enjoyed a unique platform to focus on sex education and women’s pleasure. Dr. Carol has lived in San Francisco for 35 years, and remembers that her city lost twenty thousand residents due to AIDS in the 1980s and 90s. This led San Francisco to institute a comprehensive sex-education program in grades five, six, and seven. Even so, this program never mentioned sex without intercourse, such as hand jobs and oral sex. The belief was that the idea of teaching pleasure would be too much of a risk.

Parents need sex education, too. When they are more confident, they are better at sexually educating their kids. The Journal of Sex Research published a study demonstrating that the likelihood that adolescents will have intercourse decreases as the number of sexual topics they discuss with their parents increases. This study was repeated by entirely different researchers the following year, with the same results.

When sex education (through the schools and/or parents) is comprehensive, teens examine their sexual decisions far more carefully and wisely. Studies show that many with better information choose to postpone intercourse and to use contraception when they do begin to have intercourse.

Sex education that simply teaches “just say no” to sex is unrealistic and ineffective. A CDC study shows that only 12% of those who take virginity vows keep them – a failure rate of 88%. Research about teen pregnancies in all 50 states showed that abstinence-only sex education is ineffective in preventing teen pregnancy and may actually contribute to it.

Dr. Carol recommends this excellent book by Heather Corinna: S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Sexuality Guide to Get You Through Your Teens & Twenties. She also suggests “A Sexplanation” a movie by Alex Liu. “In his quest for a good sex education, health reporter Alex Liu meets with educators from Planned Parenthood to Porn-Hub to strip away shame from sexuality.” 

Dr. Diana and Dr. Carol also discussed the criminalizing of bodily autonomy because Roe v. Wade may likely be overturned. Anti-abortion laws have wide-ranging public health, economic, and social consequences. It’s been shown that women denied abortions experience more poverty, have more anxiety, and their existing children experience developmental consequences. Anti-abortion laws can also be deadly: research asserts that overturning Roe could lead to a 21% increase in pregnancy-related deaths.

Bodily autonomy is a human right. Abortion is essential health care. Period.

Cannabis for Couples

 

Jordan Tishler, MD, is a cannabinoid specialist physician based in Boston (although he sees patients from anywhere via telemedicine visits). He’s the perfect guest for today—April 19th—one day short of the annual cannabis celebration of “4/20”! Dr. Tishler graduated from both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. Bryan Brewer, Dr. Diana’s husband, joined as the cohost.

 

Dr. Tishler was quoted in a recent New York Times article titled “Cannabis for Better Sex? Here’s What the Science Says.” Although the research has room for improvement, some studies indicate that using cannabis can help with sexual concerns such as low desire, inability to reach orgasm, erectile and ejaculatory dysfunctions, and others. Dr. Tishler recommends trying cannabis alone for the first few times and masturbating, in order “to understand what it does to the body and sensations.” Then introduce its use with a partner.

 

A key piece of his advice is to “start low and go slow.” Finding the right dosage is critical. Too little and you won’t feel much of the effects. Too much and you can become overwhelmed, which can eventually lead to the development of tolerance. (Don’t worry—you can’t die from an overdose of cannabis!)

 

To find the right dosage, Dr. Tishler advises patients to start with inhaling one puff from a cannabis flower vaporizer (not cannabis oil), which would typically deliver about 5mg of THC, the main psychoactive molecule in cannabis. He suggests that most people will benefit from a dosage ranging between 5mg and 20mg of THC. (Edibles and tinctures are too slow to take effect for sex, and smoking cannabis is not good for the lungs.) He also maintains that there is no particular “strain” of cannabis that works best for sex (or any other purpose).

 

There are many pleasures to be found by combining cannabis and sex. It can help with orgasms. The more intense orgasms you have, the more it strengthens the bond between the partners and motivates you to have even more sex!

 

Dr. Tishler is an articulate and tireless advocate for patients seeking to take advantage of the benefits of medical cannabis. His blog site has more than 200 articles exploring many aspects of this topic. In addition, he is the founder of the Association of Cannabinoid Specialists, an organization of professionals offering evidence- and experience-based education for patients, cannabis clinicians, referring clinicians, and lawmakers to help them understand cannabis medicine and make informed decisions. You can also view the site’s listing of cannabis clinicians to find a provider near you.

 

Dr. Diana, author of Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine, offers a free download of the bonus chapter entitled “Cannabis for Couples” at www.DearDrDiana.com.

 

 

Transgender Acceptance in Our Culture

 

How do cultural issues affect sexuality and sex education? Dr. Mark Schoen, founder of Sex Smart Films—the “Netflix of Sex Education”—has the answers. The website, with more than 650 films, is divided into sections on Research, Therapy, and Education. We focused on Education, which provides accurate information on a very wide range of sexual and gender issues. The 3-minute animated film “’What’s Gay?’ Asked Mae”, directed by Mark Schoen and based on the book of the same name by Brian McNaught, recently won the award for BEST ANIMATION at the 2022 LGBTQ+ Toronto Film Festival. (The answer to the question: It is a way to love.)

 

Cori, an M-to-F trans person, joined the conversation. Offering her articulate and poignant personal observations, she spoke of her transitioning journey. She shared her motivations, fears, and lessons of self-evolution. Cori had viewed Dr. Mark’s award-winning film “TRANS” and was brought to tears. For so many others the film truly resonated: there are more than 250 reviews (average 4.5 stars out of 5) on the Amazon page for “TRANS” (available on DVD and Prime Video). One reviewer observed, “One of the best documentaries I’ve ever watched. For anyone with a loved one or someone they care about who is transgender, this film will educate and inform you. It also happens to be very moving. Nothing is sugar-coated here, but I also did not walk away with a feeling of despondency.”

 

Yes, there is hope!  Especially if you have more information which can be empowering. One academic observed after viewing “TRANS”: “Who the fuck would choose this?”

 

There are, of course, roadblocks. The Florida legislators recently passed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It has been used as a vehicle to marginalize and attack LGTBQ people. And it sends a terrible message to our youth that there is something wrong with them. Now the bill is standing between children and their teachers and doctors.

 

Please tune in to hear two authentic, passionate guests – Dr. Mark and Cori! Mark Schoen asks, “What can we do to make it more acceptable?” The program is filled with ideas. An important one is that sexual orientation education should be taught early on. (The Scandinavian countries have sex ed for children five and up.) Then, we might enjoy more acceptance and less anxiety!

 

 

 

THE ONLINE DATING SCENE for THOSE OVER 50

 

Dr. Diana and Dr. Linda De Villers (www.DrLindaDeVillers.com), longtime friends and colleagues, brought different perspectives to the conversation. Dr. Linda is recently single and has just begun online dating. Dr. Diana was widowed in 2000 and was on and off dating sites until 2010 when she met her man, now her husband! As sex therapists, both docs have single clients wanting guidance around online dating.  With patience and persistence, you can find a wonderful partner – and enjoy the search in the meantime!

 

For setting your online expectations, it can help to run the numbers: MEET 9 PEOPLE. Our brains are best equipped to handle five to nine options – or there may be cognitive overload. Pick nine, meet in person, then take a break while you get to know at least one. GIVE IT THREE DATES, even if you don’t feel the chemistry. Attraction is important, but if someone meets your needs, you may find the attraction follows.

 

Writing your Profile. This is the place where potential dates get a sense of what kind of personality you have. Show your heart – people are looking for authenticity. What do you really want out of life? What’s truly important to you? But don’t give your life story. Focus on what you’re looking for in a partner, in a relationship, and what you enjoy doing. Give interesting examples of where you like to go and what you like to read. You want to give off an air of confidence and positive energy.

 

Protecting yourself both online and offline. Do your due diligence, perhaps with some online searches. Set up meetings during the day in a public place. Do try to smile, laugh, and be pleasant. You can talk about why you liked the person’s profile and note the similarities between the two profiles. Do mention something really interesting about yourself. Listen and ask questions about what the other person says.

 

Some older women fear he’ll want sex right away. The reality is that plenty of people don’t mind waiting, and someone who is right for you will respect your boundaries. You can say, “I’m attracted to you, but I want to slow this down” … “I don’t have sex with someone this soon, so for now why don’t we just kiss and cuddle.” Dr. Linda described how important TOUCH is in general; sadly, many older people have real skin-hunger.

 

Persevere! An estimated one-third of marrying couples in the U.S. met online!

 

A PRE-VALENTINE SHOW – with a focus on SENIOR SEX

 

Michael Jonas knows all about romance! He and his wife Barbara were voted “Most Romantic Couple” years ago in People magazine. Michael smiles and reports that he and his wife of 58 years are “far more in love now.”

 

They launched their first game in 1981 – An Enchanting Evening – and other games have followed. Romance & Intimacy and Dating & Conversation games have sold well: 950,000 hard-copies. Now they’re available in a downloadable format – www.TimeforTwo.com.

 

Dr. Diana has known the Jonas’ for 30 years, and loves their games -- especially An Enchanting Evening.  The game helps start conversations … then, sexual activity!

 

Michael Jonas and Dr. Diana discussed characteristics of long-term lovers. They can be hot and warm: flying high on dopamine (novelty comes with exploring/experimentation), while also floating in a warm bath of bonding. There may be lots of emotional openness and responsiveness, tender touch, and erotic exploration. Security often leads to good sex. As we grow somewhat more dependent, we may feel more vulnerable. Ongoing passion requires security; in fact, if you have the slightest amount of fear, your brain can shut down your arousal. Partners who develop a strong sense of attachment can be years into the relationship and still find the sex is infinitely pleasurable. Excitement can evoke desire! Fun and challenging activities support a lasting libido.

 

Older women can better ask for what they want in bed. She is more assertive. Michael talks about leaving your ego in a drawer … men often have performance issues, women body anxiety issues.  

 

The biggest challenge for all of us as we age is maintaining good health and a positive attitude. Regarding the latter – be open to new experiences, erotic thoughts, and laughing with your lover! Playfully tease visually and verbally to create and heighten sexual desire. Playing the games offered on www.TimeforTwo will jumpstart a romantic Valentine’s Day!  

 

Also, get the free download of Dr. Diana's Guide to Planning your 2022 Valentine's Date Night at Home.

 

Dr. Lori Buckley knows all about sex toys! On her Stuff of Love website, you will find many toys she has researched and tested. There are other products, including CPR: Connection, Passion and Romance, a card deck game and conversation starter created by Dr. Lori. For example, a “Romance” card suggests – Gaze into your partner’s eyes and tell them all the things you love about them. Dr. Diana recommends a version of this called “Soul Gazing.” Sitting about two feet from each other, look deeply into each other’s eyes, trying to see into the very core of your beings. Do this for about two minutes and then talk about what you saw. Games of romance, like CPR, can be used for a couple’s play date.

Fluent in Italian, Dr. Lori will return to Italy this year in March. She loves the sensuality, the language, and the slower pace in that country. For her, the great resignation of COVID became the great realization: relax, show down, take a walk, enjoy life and the simple things. Last year she even moved to Napa, the Italy of America. The Italians, by Luigi Barzini, proposes that Italians only trust what they can experience: cuisine, opera, fashion, and lovemaking. It’s reported that young men will share with their male friends what brings pleasure to women!

 

Dr. Lori and Dr. Diana also discussed female orgasms. Foreplay is crucial. During all the kissing and caressing, the nervous system starts taking notes and fires feel-good messages though the web of nerves that weave their way through your pelvis and up to your brain. This early stage is where a lot of women get tripped up because they can’t silence the voices in their heads (When was the last time I had a bikini wax? Am I prepared for that 8 am meeting?) long enough to focus on the sensations. To keep your mind from wandering, it’s helpful to zero in on one of your senses: focus on the smell of his skin, relish the feeling of his hands on your body, concentrate on how he tastes while you’re kissing. When you’re turned on, your nerves communicate to your brain that it’s time to increase blood flow. The more engorged you are, the more sensitive you become to his touch. You feel safe and free to really let go! Besides being more in the moment, slow down. Ahhh, Orgasms!!!

 

Dr. Lori Buckley’s YouTube Channel has 70 videos. Her book 21 Decisions for Great Sex and a Happy Relationship offers more help. Dr. Lori and Dr. Diana are long-time friends … tune in to listen to their explicit conversations!

 

Dr. Lori Buckley on Decisions for 2022 (and Remembering Betty White)

 

Sex therapist Dr. Lori Buckley returned to discuss decisions we can make in 2022, a subject she is familiar with. Her book—21 Decisions for Great Sex and a Happy Relationship—guides you in making key choices to enhance your pleasure and develop a more intimate connection with a partner.

 

But first, Dr. Diana and Dr. Lori looked at lessons we can learn from the life of beloved actress Betty White, who died on December 31, just a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. How can we stay Golden? The first lady of television captured unique humor, timeless wisdom, and impish irreverence in The Golden GirlsThe Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Hot in Cleveland, among others. Wendie Malick, one of Betty’s co-stars on Hot in Cleveland said, “We were so fortunate to have a mentor like her to show us that it ‘ain’t over until it’s over.’ She gave me the courage to go into my third act.” Betty White recalled that she was born a cockeyed optimist, and that she got it from her mother. Betty always found the positive! She seemed utterly approachable, a woman whose warmth seemed to reach out to us.

 

Ahhh … but there was also the bawdy side of Betty. Ryan Reynolds, who played her grandson in the 2009 film The Proposal, said of her jokingly, “a typical Capricorn. Sleeps all day. Out all night boozing and snacking on men.” According to Betty, you’re never too old for sexual desire. “I don’t have a fella, but if Allen [her late beloved husband] – or Robert Redford – were around, we’d have a very active sex life,” she told AARP in 2010 at the age of eighty-eight. “Sexual desire is like aging – a lot of it’s up here (points to her head).”

 

Dr. Lori spoke about her book 21 Decisions for Great Sex and a Happy RelationshipWhy are decisions different? She explains, “A decision is not something you merely think about. It’s something you actually do.” Fear of failing actually keeps people from trying; that’s too bad, because we can learn so much from our failures. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” Lori and Diana practiced this by taking risks over the years, mostly in their 20s and 30s. Eventually, it became easier to embrace change. Dr. Lori spoke about her decision last year to move to Napa, where she knew no one. In 2008, Dr. Diana moved to Seattle, where she also knew no one. Dr. Lori emphasizes how important it is to be clear about what one really wants. (You can find lots more from Dr. Lori at her Stuff of Love online store and her Stuff of Love YouTube Channel.)

 

One final reflection on Betty White: people will remember her as a good person. People will remember how she made them feel – as they laughed. Betty White was quick-witted, aged successfully, and was so universally admired!

 

Intentional Pleasure with Masturbation & Vibrators

 

Masturbation is a touchy area! Dr. Carol Queen informs and entertains as she talks about masturbation and vibrators. She is Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations, a nationwide chain of sex toy stores. Since 1990 Dr. Carol has enjoyed a unique platform to focus on sex education and women’s pleasure. She is also the historian and curator of GV’s Antique Vibrator Museum in San Francisco. Her sex education is published in The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. This is the ultimate how-to, why-to, what-to book about sex!

 

Dr. Carol the Historian: Masturbation therapy for women is not altogether new. Genital massage was a common medical treatment for sexually frustrated women going all the way back to Hippocrates’ day. At the time, the doctors lacked batteries and so had to make do with fingers (or, often, those of a midwife). Electricity came along and by 1917 there were more electric vibrators than there were appliances! “Pelvic massage” for hysteria persisted all the way through the Victorian era and into the twentieth century. As a medical diagnosis, “hysteria” was removed from the DSM in 1980.

 

Dr. Carol and Dr. Diana discussed pleasure – our birthright – and how little focus there is on it in our sex education, in our culture, and among our medical practitioners. Because there is little attention to pleasure, arousal is not addressed. Sex toys can really assist with arousal! Excitement is higher partly because there is more blood flow to the genitals. The group of toys called the “clit suckers” are really HOT, and amp up the intensity! 

 

2022 is just around the corner. What are your sexual intentionsThe Sex and Pleasure Book ends with this:  “Forty years ago Good Vibrations dreamed of a radical life where pleasure was your birthright.  …  (you) desperately want to experience their authentic sexual selves … What do you think the future of sex will be? How do you see your own sexual future?”

 

A Chat With Barbi Benton

 

Barbi Benton and I have been good friends for 23 years, and this show focused on Barbi’s adventurous life! My friend is the real deal … she’s authentic, bright, beautiful, talented and FUN! Perhaps she is most famous for being Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend for eight years, more than fifty years ago.

 

We spoke about her childhood in Sacramento where she and another five-year-old—Joan Lunden (of TV anchor fame)—learned and performed the hula. When she moved to Hawaii she joined a hālau hula to learn traditional dance forms. When I lived in Hawaii I watched Barbi dance a “real” hula. She explained they studied the Hawaiian language and learned many meanings to the song. She peeled away the layers, so when she dances, the meaning comes through the face, the body, the hands and feet – from everywhere.

 

Our conversation returned to Hef and the Playboy Era. They met when she danced, at age 18, in the Playboy After Dark television show. Barbi tells the story that when Hef first asked her out on a date, she said, “Gee I don’t know. I’ve never dated anyone over 24 before,” to which Hef, then 42, responded, “That’s all right, neither have I.” She found the Playboy Mansion for him. (Hef bought it for $1.1 million in 1971, and it sold in 2016 for $100 million). Barbi always had a good eye for real estate! She introduced Hef to travel. He bought a plane so that they could arrive fresh to their various European locations. Lots of adventure stories and many interactions with celebrities. Listen for the juicy details!

 

Senior Sexuality

 

Joan Price’s candid, upbeat manner has led the media to dub her a “senior sexpert.”  Dan Savage is among her fans: “Joan Price is one of the smartest thinkers about sex, regardless of your age – or hers!” Joan’s books include Naked at our AgeBetter Than I ExpectedAgeless Erotica, and Sex After Grief.

 

Joan and Dr. Diana spoke of their own “L.A.T.” relationships. L.A.T. – “Living Apart Together” – is a long-term, committed romantic connection without intent to share a home. If not living under the same roof, date night anticipation can heighten sexual desire! Cultivating your individuality and personal fulfillment can foster growing intimacy and trust.

 

The conversation then moved to “Sex Toys for Seniors.” Joan has been a sex toy reviewer for 15 years—evaluating each toy from a senior’s perspective. She can offer guidance about how to choose the best one(s)?  What do you do if a partner doesn’t like the sex toy idea? Sex tech has come a long way, and now there are clit-sucking sex toys. They work by using a combination of air, suction, and a little vibration – all to facilitate orgasm! There are lots of juicy bits as Dr. Diana interviews her guest Joan Price. Please listen – no matter your age!

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