Archive for March 2021

Love, Lust and Laughter - 03.23.21

Men, Porn, and the Controversy Surrounding "Sex Addiction"

This is the title of Chapter 51 in Michael Castleman's newest book Sizzling Sex for Life: Everything You Need to Know to Maximize Erotic Pleasure at Any Age. This is a comprehensive and easily accessible encyclopedia of sex, and it includes a whole lot you won't find anywhere else. Why focus on Chapter 51? After the spa killings last week in Atlanta, investigators are still trying to unravel the motivation. Michael Castleman and Diana Wiley both believe it was not anti-Asian racism per se, but rather it's likely that the shooter's sex negative, religious fundamentalist upbringing is at the root of his actions. He himself blamed it on his "sexual addiction."


Throughout history, sex has come in three varieties: reproductive, relationship-affirming (relational), and recreational. Alfred Kinsey's scientific studies in the late 1940s discovered that most Americans engaged in recreational sex. Many religious fundamentalists claim that sex for fun is sinful, and if a man used pornography to masturbate, it means he is a sex addict. As Michael points out, it is a vicious cycle: shame creates stress, which leads to masturbation and porn, which leads to more shame, and so on. Dr Bradley Onishi grew up in a strict evangelical community and now he teaches religious studies at Skidmore College. The evangelical culture he was raised in teaches women to hate their bodies, as the source of temptation, and it teaches men to hate their minds, which leads them into lust and sexual immorality.


But sex-positive Christianity does exist. Rev. Beverly Dale co-authored Advancing Sexual Health for the Christian Client: Data and Dogma, which deconstructs potentially harmful Christian beliefs around sexuality to support clients stuck in sexual guilt, shame and fear. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can help a person reframe their sexual catastrophizing, which may include ideas such as “sexual thoughts and fantasies are sinful,” “only bad people masturbate,” and “porn is evil.”


Castleman is also a medical journalist, answering more than 12,000 sex questions throughout his career, both on his Great Sex Guidance website and on his "All About Sex" blog on Psychology Today, where he reviewed Dr. Diana's book Love in the Time of Corona: Advice From a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine. He also used to answer all the sex questions for "Playboy Advisor" column in the 1990s. No wonder he was able to write the most thorough sexuality guide ever produced! Find out more about his book at and then buy a copy! You’ll be glad you did.

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Love, Lust and Laughter - 03.10.21

Tantra meets BDSMLaurie Handlers, MA, explains how kink is connected to Tantra … and she does it happily! Yes, she is the author of Sex & Happiness: The Tantric Laws of Intimacy, an international bestselling book. Many people have sexual fantasies around power exchanges/alternative sex, but don’t really have the skills to act these fantasies out. Laurie and her partner Michael Gibson teach these skills and others in their workshops, covering things like boundaries, safe words, and how you want the consensual sex scene to play out—plus spanking training (scale of 1-10, 10 is STOP… 6,7,8 are the sweet spots). The idea is that certain wicked sensations, including pain, can enhance pleasure. Pain can also help with focus.


The science supports this: a University of Michigan study found that both pain and pleasure can trigger your brain to release dopamine, the hormone that gives you a thrilling rush. Trust must exist between the couple. When it does, sex can be sensational. One partner knows how to surrender and the other knows how to take charge. Tantra practices can be a great prelude to the BDSM scenes. In the Tantric yoga tradition, sex is the life energy that flows through the body. Two lovers can learn to channel this energy and ride it to maximum pleasure. Laurie teaches eye gazing where each one looks into the other’s left eye (the receptive, feminine eye accessing the right side of the brain). Another exercise involves touching hands and breathing in synchrony to merge the energy of the heart and pelvis chakras. She offers a variety of workshops, both online and (later) in person. Laurie knows how to move from bored to playful and passionate!

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