Whether you had to think for awhile or you can recall your last time like that, we're chatting with She Comes First author and sex therapist Ian Kerner about the pleasures of sex and how sex can help us bring us closer to our partners (and in light of everything going on, we all need that reminder more than ever!). We discuss the importance of being 'cliterate' and not just putting the emphasis on intercourse, how you can start to explore in the bedroom in a way that doesn't seem as intimidating, and the important sex trends you need to know that are happening right now.
TW: In the intro we also talk about abortion rights and the overturning of Roe v. Wade
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S14E20: So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex w/ Ian Kerner
00:00:00 - 00:05:07
This episode is made possible by sugar break. I have a confession. I have a sweet tooth, and every year I make it a goal to eat less sugar. And I'm not alone, 90% of Americans are actively trying to reduce our sugar intake. Now, this year, I may actually accomplish that goal with sugar break, a plant based natural solution that helps people manage their blood sugar as part of a healthy lifestyle without completely altering their daily lives or costing an arm and a leg. There are three core products, the sugar break resists as a natural minty fresh breath strip that blocks sweet taste in food and curbs sugar cravings on the spot. Sugar breaks stabilize is a pre meal capsule made with white mulberry leaf, a powerful plant ingredient that helps block carb and sugar absorption and slow down digestion. And then there's sugar break reduce, a daily capsule that helps maintain healthy, balanced blood sugar, day in and day out. Of course, please consult your doctor before starting any supplements. Now for our listeners only get 15% off your entire order, just visit sugar break dot com slash dateable and use the code data for 15% off. This applies to any products on the site. Again, just go to WWW dot sugar break dot com slash dateable and use a code DAT ABL E for 15% off your entire order. The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Hello Friends, welcome to another episode of the dateable podcast. We are so happy to have you with us. Thanks for listening. Thanks for tuning in and for anybody who's new to this podcast in case you didn't know we talk about dating, yes, on the surface level, but we go way deeper than that. We are really about human connection and the sociology of dating and the dating culture that we see today. So many of you are frustrated with a dating culture, and the recent news of roe versus wade, being overturned, does not help that any of that. And we are still kind of recovering from that, but so glad that last week, Julie texted me and she said, let's disrupt our regular programming. Let's do an episode about this. And it was completely the right call because we needed to address this and also share some of the stories from our community. Yeah, we got a lot of comments about how it was super helpful that we published this episode. So I think seeing those comments made us realize that it was the right call and, you know, we did have this episode planned originally, which we will be going into detail about why sex is pleasurable and why it's great. And I actually taught to you a and I was like, do you think we should move this one to next season and put a different one that we recorded that's not as sex focused because of everything happening. And I'm glad that you were like, no, we need to keep going because while obviously, you know, there's dangerous sides of sex. We can't just live in fear either and forget about all the positives of sex too. Like I don't think that gives us a good culture moving forward. And the Atlantic wrote about the sex recession that we're in and how younger generations are not looking as sex as sexist pleasurably as we used to. And I think it's really sad because sex is part of us and it is pleasure if we choose it to be and we shouldn't demonize sex, we should actually open openly talk about sex. So I'm glad we're having this episode, but part of this is, it makes me realize that data is such a save space and our Facebook community is such a safe space. But as soon as we put content out on the Internet, it becomes not so safe. So yes, we put some stuff on TikTok and on our Instagram reels and some of the comments we got about our last week's episode regarding roe V wade where we had to delete some of them because it was just so fucking inappropriate. One guy said women are demons. We had someone else say actually that one, the one that you and I texted about. That one really brought it home for me was it's women's responsibility to not open their legs. Yeah. And I was shocked that someone still saying that, I shouldn't be shocked. They're Internet trolls, but I was so shocked that someone was actually say that out loud. I know. It is definitely not the world that we are in in the sense of you and I, the people we encounter in our daily lives, the people that are in this community, but I'm sure people were just trolling Instagram and TikTok looking up hashtags around roe V wade and abortion and whatever. And that specific person, we clicked into his profile and it was all basically about how abortion is terrible and who even knows if that's a real account.
00:05:07 - 00:10:04
It could be a total fake planted troll. True. But yeah, it was definitely one of those things that I'm glad that we can remove comments and we're generally pretty free speech and doing that, but then there becomes a time that you're like, this isn't even our listener base responding to this. Yeah. This is an okay. And you know, I think, yeah, why, of course, I don't want to stereotype because there's a lot of great men out there. But of course, all of the comments were from men. Every single one of them. Unfortunately, and this is why we want to, I don't know, commend the men in our group because I think the men in our group truly think beyond that and are on our side, but that's just a response to this comment of it's a woman's responsibility to close her legs. I'm sorry. No unplanned pregnancy was ever the result of one person. It takes two. Yes, some women choose to get pregnant on their own, but that's pregnancy they're going to go through with. Any on wanted pregnancy, there was someone else involved. It's a man involved. And so yes, it's two people opening legs. You insert your penis and coming in her. So do not put the responsibility on one person. And also, if you heard our last week's episode, we had women who used all sorts of contraception that failed, or were with partners who lie to them. And we also hear of these other stories that we didn't feature in this episode are women who had medical issues where it would having this child would put their life in danger. So stop with this bullshit. Okay, stop at this playing game. It is not cool. It really isn't. And you know, there was this quote that doctor Diane, who he had on our podcast to smile back. She put up and I want to read it because I think it's very relevant to all that's going on, but also where we're going with this episode in the future of, you know, two people using sex as a connection mechanism because that is a big piece of relationships and I think that the fear here is that that's going to diminish that aspect as well. So what she said was with today's Supreme Court ruling, sex will no longer be a fun, get to know you experience. From a mental health perspective, the question is, are you prepared for the consequences of sex? Couples must have serious conversations about the impact of their actions, birth control and relationship status. And I think it's like the pandemic is just like all these things just continue to make the barrier to have sex even larger and some people might say that's a good thing, but I would also argue that, you know, to have a relationship that flourishes, like sex is a really good thing and we should not be taking that away as a result of everything. Sex is part of the communication in a relationship. So we're always talking about improving our communication skills, sex is part of that. And I'm sad that we keep demonizing sex. We keep stigmatizing sex to the point where people are afraid of having sex, hoping that this episode will open that mindset up a little bit, where we can see sex positively, but also just know why we have sex, be more intentional when we do it. Yeah, so we wanted to get sex therapist Ian Carter on the podcast. He is the author of she comes first, which is, I would say, up there as one of the sex bibles. I would say. Probably with come as you are. When I think of two sex books, those are what I think of. And he recently wrote a new book, so tell me about the last time you had sex. And you know, just we'll get into the whole combo with him, but he is just such a refreshing take of how important sex is. And how we were just talking about in society, there's so much shame and demonization around it, but what is the flip side? And I think just hearing from him reminds you that sex is a beautiful thing, and we should not feel as shameful as we do about it. So Julie, tell me about the last time you had sex. Some things are better left off aired. I know, it's such an inviting title, isn't it? It really is. It does make you think about it. It makes you think about the last time you had sex, especially if you were in a relationship already, maybe you don't pause to think about these moments of your relationship. But it having this conversation made me think about the last time I had sex. And, you know, I've been with my partner for four years. So sex has definitely changed the cadence of sex has changed, but the way we connect now is so different than we did in the beginning. I feel like the way we connect now is to me what makes me feel so sexually attracted to him is when we can close the doors, be on our bed and just talk.
00:10:06 - 00:15:04
Maybe not that much of a turn on for other people but it's such a turn on for me is when we can leave the dishes, the laundry out, you know, in the living room and close that door and just talk for hours if we can without those distractions because I realize in the beginning of a relationship what makes things sexy is that you don't see the day to day. So this is just a fantasy. You're like, you're not seeing the dirty dishes. You're not seeing the grocery list, but when you live together, you've been together for a long time. You do associate that person with the domestic responsibilities. And that's like the most unsexy thing in the whole wide world. So uncoupling the tube has been really helpful for me to get in the mood. I think, you know, when I think about sex, it goes beyond just the act. I think it's the closeness that you feel and connectedness and the cuddling and just being with this person in this uninterrupted space I agree with you. It's like there's so much logistics happening on a day to day or but there's something about just like laying down with your partner. Even if it's not physically, that actually having sex was just being close to one another that reminds you that, you know, a relationship, I feel this way about my partner that he is my best friend, but I think for it to be more than just a friendship, I don't want to generalize because I know there is like asexuality and all that. But for the majority here, there is this element of sex that's layered on and something that's striking about this conversation that we get into is that people don't want to say that they're looking for that sexual connection anymore because I think there's such a stigma like that shouldn't be the quality that's important because you know we all get old and ugly, but I think there is an element that there needs to be that attraction to your partner and I don't think you should feel guilty about and suppress that. I think there is a reason why you're with someone, a lot of it is because there is that sexual pull and that intimacy. I remember when I turned 18, I was in the U.S., my grandma's in China, and she sent me lingerie. Oh, God. Oh God. And it was so cringey to me at that point, but she knew I had a boyfriend, she had actually had met my boyfriend. She really liked him, but her message to me was sex is important. I mean, this is a traditional Chinese household in China. She's my grandma and I never witnessed this. Thank God, but I'm pretty sure she was very into sex. Well, the fact that she's giving you this, yeah. Yeah. I was a little embarrassed. But it was a red underwear set, you know, bra and panty set. It was really cute. And she didn't like send me, she didn't write a letter, but that's what she was implying. And years later, I've learned to realize the reason why she's so, what's the word? She's so alive, I don't know. She's still alive, but she was so alive and vibrant was because she loved human connection. And she really loved exploring that part of her. And maybe with my grandpa, who is no longer with us, but I don't even want to think about that, but it's good. It's good to know that I come from a family that at least sees that as a priority, especially in a Chinese family. And I think that's why I was just such a horny kid because maybe I just passed down. That theory that in this past sound is hereditary, but I was, I was a very horny kid, I'll leave it at that. We'll save that for another episode. I feel like you've talked about that before. I probably have. People can go through the archives on that one. It's interesting, though, even just the language you were using right now, though, is like, I don't want to think about it, or all that. And I think that's so ingrained in us that it's something that we shouldn't be thinking about. And it's almost like wrong if we're envisioning people that, but instead of celebrating, this is a foundation of a relationship. And I'm glad that we can have that open conversation today because I do believe it is a foundation and we need to start celebrating that more. You know, sometimes when they're driving in my car because in LA, that's all you do is just being your car. I think I'm a stand up comedian and I go over some material in my head and the last time I was stuck in traffic, I had some pretty good material. I was like, you know, sex wouldn't be stigmatized if our parents actually forced us to have sex when we were kids. Kind of like how they force us to eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Can you imagine if your parents are like, did you have sex today? Well, go get your sex today, okay? Sex is good for you. Go do it. Don't do your homework, go have sex. Imagine if we grew up like that, we wouldn't be having, well, we certainly wouldn't be stigmatizing sex, but also maybe we just wouldn't use sex as such a mystery. Well, I think of mean girls every time. You know, that scene where they're oh yes. With the what is it like the football coach that's now lead sex Ed, and he's like, if you have sex, you will die.
00:15:04 - 00:20:09
That is what I always think of. And I feel like that was a great when you were younger. Yes. This is something really bad. And yeah, and I think that what we've learned from some of the comments on our Instagram and TikTok is there's a cohort that's still very much believes that. So I'm glad we're continuing with this episode, continuing to also push the narrative that sex can be a wonderful thing. We can't forget that. That doesn't mean that diminishes anything that's going on and more or less. I think that we need to keep them as separate entities, which is difficult because they are interconnected, but it's important that we continue to keep them separate. Yes. Okay. So announcements this week. You don't share this with a friend. I feel like we all need that reminder right now. I've had so many conversations with Friends over the last week of just how sad we all are. It just down on things. And I feel like this episode will make us remember the good stuff, so pay it forward, share it with a friend, or even share last week's episode with a friend. I thought it was personally very therapeutic, hearing real people share their story, even though, you know, it's not always the most uplifting conversation, the fats that people are able to share what they went through, how they process this, I found it therapeutic. So depending on what your friend needs, you got your choice. You could send them either or both. Depending on the mood. And then at dateable podcast is our Instagram and TikTok. We had a viral video the other day. I don't know. Maybe not viral, but viral for us when the rest of us are like it's all relative. So relatively viral, we'll call it that. Join us on TikTok. Help us grow. This is our infancy, but I feel like we're making progress every day is a little better on TikTok. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little embarrassed to give out our TikTok in the beginning, but now I feel like we're putting some effort into it. So yes, please follow us on TikTok. It is kind of a different content that we're putting out there, different tone, but we would love your support on that channel. Yeah. And I are going to continue to evolve it. We're going to think about a little further how we want to go out on TikTok. So you might as well get in now, so you're here to see all the trials. And the good bad and ugly. Yeah, exactly. I was like, there might be some stuff that we regret later, but you'll be able to see it if you follow us. That's how you hook people into following you, right? You're like, just watch the trade wreck. That's about to come out. The shit show happened. Okay. Well, before we get into it, let's take a second to hear from some of our sponsors. This episode is made possible by filter off, so we hear this conundrum from you all quite a bit. You match with someone on an app, you exchange a few messages and get excited to meet them. And then when you do finally meet them IRL, you're disappointed. It's like they're a completely different person than the one you exchange messages with. We can't have this happen anymore because your time is precious. You need to check out filter off, with filter off, you can see the person you're matching with and actually get to know them over a quick video date before you waste your time getting ready, hopping into your car or onto the train. No more swipe fatigue, no more catfishing, no more text messages, pretending to be dates. Imagine being able to go on a date that's not entirely predicated on someone's ability to send text messages. Because you'll have already seen them and talk to them for a few minutes and you'll have a better sense of who they are and how you get along. 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This has been so valuable for me in how I process my negative self talk and also how I process the conflicts in my life. I love that better help is online therapy and they offer video, phone, and even live chat only therapy sessions. So you don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to. I find it to be much more affordable than in person therapy, and it's so convenient. You can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours after you sign up. Our listeners get 10% off their first month at better help dot com slash dateable that's better help HELP dot com for 10% off your first month. Okay, let's hear it from Ian kerner. Let's talk about sex, shall we? We should always be talking about sex.
00:20:09 - 00:25:06
And the question is always not about how much sex should you be having or what type of sex is really about how to make sex more pleasurable. It seems like one of those things that we don't really talk about. I mean, we certainly didn't learn it in school. And we should learn more about it, right? There needs to be some sort of education around it. So I'm sure some of you were many of you may have a copy of the book she comes first and we are so lucky to have the author with us Ian kerner for this episode where we'll be talking about how to have pleasurable sex. So who is Ian? He has a sex counselor and psychotherapist. Some would call him a sexual detective. I love that for you. That's so great. He specializes in sex therapy, couples therapy and working with individuals on a range of relationship issues. He's the author of she comes first. If you don't know, the cover has a very beautiful papaya on it. And I just noticed it has a banana on the side. I just recently noticed that the highest very prominent. And his recent book is called so tell me about the last time you had sex. He's 55 years old lives in New York, and he is married. Welcome, welcome. We're so excited to have you Ian. I'm totally excited to be here. And I'm so excited that you brought up she comes first because I wrote it a while ago, but it remains out there in the world and one of my favorite books that I've done, so I'm happy that you brought it up. Iconic. And you know the banana is very much in the background. That was purposeful. So she wanted a big papaya and a little banana. As the way it should be done. So you've clearly been an expert in the sex feel. Like how did you even get started? What gave you the drive to educate here? Wow. Well, you know, it really goes back to growing up as an emerging young adult back in the 80s and this was pre Internet, pre magazines like men's health. There was really little to no information. I grew up in a very sex avoidant home with a single mom. It wasn't sex negative. It just wasn't sex positive. And I really struggled with sexuality. I particularly struggled with sexual problems and actually she comes first begins with the line. It was the hardest thing I ever had to write. Confessions of a premature ejaculator. And that was an issue that I struggled with and back then, I mean, it just led me to feel forlorn and depressed and despairing because basically I couldn't get the love making and the sex that was in my head to connect with my penis and I was a really poor lover. And there were so many misconceptions at the time. And so really in trying to figure out how to get on the other side of that issue, I really began to educate myself. I read Kinsey and masters and Johnson and share heights, so it really launched my career as a sex therapist just trying to be in the world as a lover. It was powerful work and it continues to be my own journey, just always evolving my own sexuality across as I go through the life cycle and really connecting to other people around their sexuality, but really understanding that we have these sexual selves and our sexual self is a central part of who we are and many of us exile our sexual selves or push our sexual selves away. So helping people to integrate their sexual selves into their lives is kind of where my work is at. I would argue that a lot of people may have been in the same position or still are in the same position where they just feel like that's the way sex should be, even if it's just not pleasurable, they may feel like this is the way it is. So what was the turning point for you where you thought, no, this has got to be better than that. I don't think I ever felt that sex should just be, you know, mediocre or you know, I mean, I do find with a lot of my patients that they do come in with strong beliefs, like, oh, sex should be painful. Like a lot of women actually come and believing that sex comes with some pain. Or a lot of women come and believing, you know, basically orgasms are for masturbation, not for partnered sex or pleasure isn't for partnered sex. I have a lot of men and women who come in saying, well, sex just isn't that important, right? Like married people don't have sex. So why should I be picking a partner with any degree of real sexual attraction or caring about sex like a lot of people like kind of push sex down the ladder to kind of like, you know, the bottom of the ladder there. But I think and maybe this is why I ended up in this work that sexuality sensuality connecting, love making, skin against skin, breath with breath.
00:25:06 - 00:30:03
It was always hugely important to me. And I really wanted to, I mean, she comes first is about being a caring lover and being a courteous lover. And wanting to give pleasure. And knowing that the real pleasure is not just in receiving, but in giving pleasure. Right. Well, that book was so iconic. I mean, for somebody reasons, but I think because it was written by a hetero man focused on women's pleasure. And what you just said, giving over just receiving. I feel like the message before your book was very much orgasm, get the pleasure, you know, don't worry about your partner as much. Why did you feel like this message needed to be heard of this book needed to be written? Well, like I said, I was I was struggling with premature ejaculation. So basically I wanted to increase the length in which I could my duration, my sexual duration. And as I was reading it, as I was as I was researching and learning, I really started to understand, I started to become clitoris. And I started to become and really understand the role of the clitoris as the powerhouse of a female orgasm, and I realized that, hey, I could figure this issue out and last as long as I want. But that doesn't actually mean I'm going to be engaging in pleasurable sex because 80% of women do not orgasm from intercourse alone because the most sexual positions fail to adequately stimulate the clitoris. So really, my mission went from just trying to last longer in a very kind of venous fallow centric way to really just developing a whole new paradigm of sex that was outer course based, not intercourse based, and to me, that is still one of the fundamental issues that I find individuals and couples coming in with. My new book is called so tell me about the last time you had sex. And basically, if I'm working with a heterosexual individual or a heterosexual couple, 95% of people, the last time they had sex, it was intercourse based, intercourse was central to the sexual experience. And if I asked them how long did it take you to get to intercourse most couples will say anywhere from zero seconds to 6 minutes, right? So there's like very little happening. Other than intercourse. So I think that became my main message, much more so than just giving pleasure or lasting longer. It really became, you know, developing what I call a sex script, the sex that you engage in that's uniquely your own and rebelling against the cultural sex script that's so intercourse based. Okay, so I want to focus on that because I want to jump around a little bit. We're talking about how people do jump into intercourse quite fast. And you also talk about in the book she comes first, turning foreplay into core play. So what does that mean? I'm guessing it's along the same lines. Yeah, it is. It really means just intercourse gets so privileged as a behavior, right? Like a hand against a vulva, a mouth against a mouth on a mouth, a mouth and a penis, right? Those activities get so sort of deep privilege and intercourse gets so prudent. So in turning four play into qualify first of all, it's just recognizing that those are the behaviors that we associate with foreplay are just as important, if not more important than intercourse. And building sex scripts that are based on those behaviors, you know, there was a study done of gay and bisexual men 25,000 gay and bisexual men and they were asked about the last time they had sex and only 35% actually engaged in intercourse. 65% of gay and bisexual men engaged in outer course based sex scripts. They basically took ten behaviors, ten basic behaviors, everything from kissing on the mouth to hand against penis. You know, all that kind of foreplay stuff, but in the end, I believe there were more than 1300 combinations, those ten behaviors were put together in more than 1300 combinations of these 25,000 men. So it just shows you the incredible variety that can go into turning foreplay into core play in a very personalized way. I think the penetration bit. I mean, that's very heteronormative too, right? Like you touched on it, especially lesbian couples and all different configurations, sex doesn't need to mean just intercourse. It doesn't need to just mean intercourse. So I guess out of all the combinations, I can think of the obvious ones, but maybe what are some of the less obvious ones that kind of surprised you that may get our listeners being like, oh, I didn't know we could do that.
00:30:03 - 00:35:07
Okay. You know, I also just wanted to say one thing which is in my work, once I eventually became totally outer core space and totally it. And I see this with young people today. I was shocked how many women are heterosexual women are intercourse focused. I work with so many men who would love nothing more than to take the emphasis off of their penises, right? And to be able to focus on their mouths and their hands and get rid of, I know you did a show on sexual anxiety about erectile unpredictability. You don't know how many men crave just like outer course and taking the pressure off, but they're with partners who are very intercourse focused. So I'm always so curious like intercourse isn't even the thing that's going to give you an orgasm, half of these women will say, yeah, I don't expect to orgasm. It's just the thing that I associate with sex. And then I want most. Very interesting. So I'm sorry, but I didn't mean to digress the question was what are the most like quirky or yeah or like unique ways to pleasure that you wouldn't think about? If there's a few that come to bide, you don't have to go through all 1300. You know, the behaviors themselves are not unique. And when you look at how they're organized and apparently the more sexual behaviors that you have in a sex script, the more likely you are to generate arousal pleasure and orgasm, but honestly, there's simple things like kissing and hugging and oral sex and manual stimulation and, you know, what's interesting, too, is how you organize those behaviors in your sex scripts and sometimes I work with couples. And intercourse doesn't if you de privilege intercourse, then it doesn't have to be the main activity or the final activity. It can be an activity that happens in the middle, and then you switch to other activities, right? So it's really just like thinking of this sort of like palette of colors that you can basically paint with. And the ultimate idea is that you want a sac script with your partner that just generates pleasure, right? The whole thing, you had Emily nagoski and I noticed I was looking through all of your pockets. The whole idea of pleasure being the measure, I think, is very powerful. You know, it's fascinating with obviously your book title. It starts to be like, oh, when was the last time I had sex? So I was thinking about it. And my mind immediately goes to intercourse. It does not go to just kissing or touching all that. And so I think you're very right that that is the perception of what sex is. Yeah, and you know, we're right now, we're also just talking about physical behaviors, but one of the biggest things that I've noticed in my practice is that couples build sex scripts, whether they work or not, that are totally physically based and are lacking in psychological. So one of my missions is to really help couples kind of sheath a sex script. She those behaviors in some kind of psychological experience that gets the mind erotically turned on. Do you think someone would need to be clitoris to do that? Need to be clear to do what exactly to have pleasurable sex. Do I think that somebody would need to be cluttered to have pleasurable sex? Well, if there's someone with a vulva in the room that's looking to have pleasure, I guess it would depend upon your definition of pleasure as pleasure a psychological experience. Is it a physical experience to what extent do orgasms matter? But for most of the patients that I work with, they want to have pleasurable sex. They sometimes want to have fun sex or meaningful sex. And they usually like that sex to be an absorbing experience that generates arousal that culminates in an orgasm. And so if you are a person with a vulva, then I think it's really important that you as the person with the vulva are an mindset so that you can advocate for that kind of stimulation, and I think it's really important that partners or willing to work on their clitoris. So yeah, I'm asking this question because I love reading the book reviews of she comes first because there are so many women who were shocked by how much a hetero man could know so much about female body to the point where a lot of these women felt like they were educated about their own bodies. One review and said, he has definitely done his homework, so I'm curious to know how do you become clitoris? What is even for someone who doesn't even have a clitoris? How do you become, how do you strengthen your clearest? This word, too.
00:35:08 - 00:40:01
So great. Well, I think, first of all, really understanding the anatomy of the clitoris. And understanding that the clitoris involves external structures that are on the surface of the vulva and internal structures that are inside the vaginal entrance. So first of all, a lot of my book just focuses on the structure of the clitoris and definitely the glands or the head of the clitoris, which would be the equivalent of the glands or the head of the penis is the most sensitive part of the clitoris. But there are actually called quera, there are legs. So imagine like the clitoris and imagine the tip of the clitoris is what's visible on the surface of the vulva and you definitely want to stimulate that rhythmically and consistently and you can imagine that that part of the clitoris is probably a few centimeters at least above the vaginal entrance, right? So the position of the clitoris, the glands of the clitoris in relationship to the vaginal entrance, there's definitely could be up to like a half inch. So you can imagine that most intercourse position could really miss the clitoris completely. So you definitely want to think about intercourse positions that are going to be able to stimulate the glands of the clitoris. So basically the female superior position or woman on top is a great position to provide clitoral stimulation. But here's what's also interesting is that we talk about the G spot, right? And sort of these internal regions of the vagina. And we talk about vaginal orgasms, but when you look at the structure of the clitoris, it is basically a wishbone, right? So there's the tip of the clitoris that we're seeing, and then there are these legs that literally wrap around the entrance of the vagina. So when women are experiencing vaginal pleasure, it is because the friction of intercourse is creating vibration against those clitoral structures. So it's not like that vaginal pleasures independent of the clitoris. So also then understanding that the most sensitive part of the vagina is going to really be the first two inches and the vaginal entrance and creating the right kind of friction and vibration to get the clitoris all those clitoral structures completely enlivened, right? So that's sort of from an anatomical perspective, but the thing that really bugs me is that so many of my patients come in and the first thing they do is go to that kind of direct genital stimulation of oral sex. They really think of it as like, oh, that's the first thing I'm going to do. And so it's like great activity wrong time. Because they're also has to really be a buildup of arousal psychological arousal. And physical arousal. So I think it's also understanding the timing of when to focus on clitoris. So oral sex or direct clitoral stimulation is not the first thing you do within 30 seconds of hooking up. So I think it's also about thinking about the overall process of arousal. I'm just so curious because I continue to be baffled by the 80% of women do not orgasm through intercourse. That's very much surprises me. And I know it's like I've heard it a lot. And I'm thinking about even the interview we did with Emily nagoski, I know everyone's wired different based on how much arousal they need and stimulation. I guess from what you were just saying, is it that women's bodies are just so different with their anatomy or is it like what is kind of the reason why some women have no problem orgasming through intercourse and others don't. So there is an orgasm gap and that orgasm gap exists along two dimensions. One is related to the distance between the clitoris and the vaginal entrance. So some women are going to actually have a clitoral glands that's closer to the vaginal entrance and the clitoris might actually be more consistently stimulated during intercourse. So that might be one reason. Remember, we also said that the G spot is effectively clitoral structures wrapped around the vaginal canal. I mean, the vagina is not meant to be sensitive. It's meant to deliver babies, right? Women do not need more sensitive nerve endings when delivering babies. It's painful enough, right? So you can also imagine that for some women who are really turned on, just getting the friction of a penis in and out of a vagina can create a level of vibration that really reverberates through the clitoral structures.
00:40:01 - 00:45:01
So that's one dimension, which is to do with clitoris. The other dimension that we talked about with time is also really important because sex especially for women. And I'm not really not trying to generalize. I'm just sort of working off of research and my own clinical experience. Sex, especially for women, is a process of getting absorbed. So you had Emily nagoski on, and she must have talked about sort of inhibitors and exciters and turning on the odds and turning off the offs. Men are much less vulnerable to turn offs, right? They're able to really engage their exciters, get very absorbed in sex, get around and keep going. There was one of my favorite studies was done back in the early 2000s. I think a dozen women were placed in FMRI scanning tubes to see what goes on in the female brain during sexual arousal. It's about a dozen women were putting these sort of big scanners, these like MRI machines, while their partners basically master outside the tube, right? What a fun test. Where does that research happen? Sign me up. So basically what was so interesting is the question was, what's going to be happening in the female brain during this process of going from non aroused to aroused, and what was really interesting and what's different than the male brain is, well, first of all, there was a lot of activity in the female brain that was associated with an area called the somatosensory cortex that recognizes physical sensual sensation. So that makes sense. You touch the clitoris, or you touch the vagina, part of the brain lights up, right? What was fascinating was, though, at a certain point, the female brain went from being very lit up to really going dark. And where it went dark was in regions that were associated with the environment with stressors with anxiety with observing the environment. So basically to get really turned on, women also had to be able to turn off a part of their brain, right? So you asked why are some women more orgasmic during intercourse than others? I would argue that those women are probably able to get more present more mindful just more absorbed in the sex that they're having than women who are not, right? They're able to kind of go at a certain point into a kind of like flow state or autopilot state. So I think it's those two dimensions, right? Clitoral stimulation with the absorption in the sexual experience with the mental absorption. So okay, this might be a very, very ignorant question, but I only know what I know, so I only know the types of orgasms I've had. How do I know that there could be better orgasms out there? I've heard people, I mean, at least on TV describe this whole body orgasm that I don't think I've ever felt, but maybe I could work on that. So how do I know it could be better and how do I even work on that better orgasm? Can you work on it? Can you work on that? The first thing I'm thinking about is the bullshit that's associated with trying to go after some kind of super orgasm. Because as soon as you start as soon as you start to try to do something, you're thinking about doing that thing. And once you're thinking about doing that thing, you're conscious and actually orgasm as a process of going a little unconscious, right? And sort of leaving the being able to turn off your brain, right? So you don't want to be thinking about anything. You want to be clear in your mind. So already then thinking about having a supermassive extended orgasm already, I think goes on the inhibitor side. Of the spectrum. That is honestly the first thing that comes to mind is like this Holy Grail of some extended massive orgasm. I think is bullshit, I think it's just more marketing around trying to get your body to do something that's not intuitive. What is interesting though is sometimes I'll have women come in and they'll say, well yeah, I had 80 orgasms the last time I had sex. And I'm thinking to myself, you had 80 orgasms. That's really interesting. Now, women do have the innate capacity to have multiple orgasms in ways that men do not, right? After a man has an ejaculation, blood completely evacuates the genitals, right? And a man goes very quickly from an aroused state to a non aroused state, but in women, blood is slower to flow into the genitals and much slower to flow out. So women don't go back to the pre aroused state, they go into a kind of semi aroused state and what you want to do in that semi around state is up to you. You could sort of take your time and go into a nice pre aroused state and just sort of snuggle and go to bed. Or you could go on to get rearranged and to have more orgasms. So I'm thinking when this woman, when people come in and say, yeah, I had 80 or a hundred orgasms. I had women come in and inside 200 orgasms. And I think, wow.
00:45:03 - 00:50:02
How much time did that take? A half hour. I'm like, wait, you had 200 orgasms and a half hour. Wow. So here's what's really. So here's what's really interesting is, and this comes back to the world work. I don't know if you've had like a neuroscientist Nicole prowse on at all. No problem. You should keep in mind. There's basically this idea that there's a plateau phase before orgasm, right? There's a phase. What is the let me ask you both before you actually have the physical event of an orgasm where you know your brain kind of goes nuts and the vagina tracked. What do you notice? Let's just say in the 60 or 90 seconds leading up to that phase. What does that feel like? Is it arousing? Is it really pleasurable to be really close to being that near state? What does that feel like to you? I would say very pleasurable. It's like on edge almost like it's like a maybe that is a pleasure of all that I say and I don't know it's like you're so close, but it's not there yet. Yeah, there's like, I don't know, I have this like feeling of concentration, just complete focus. Complete folks. Get myself over that hump. So you're thinking about getting to orgasm. So it's been some studies to show that women will often kind of confuse that edging space or that leading into orgasm with orgasm. And so there are a lot of little peaks and valleys in that phase, right? So some women that say they've actually had 80 or a hundred orgasms may not have ever actually had what would more clinically be or biologically be seen as an actual orgasm, which would include contractions of the vagina at half second intervals, contractions of the anus, right? And studies have shown that a lot of women who say I'm having an orgasm are actually not having an orgasm, but it's not saying they're not experiencing something or dad's or pleasurable. So that's how I sort of look at those 200 orgasms. Interesting. Let's hold that thought for a few messages. Have you ever thought about how much better dating would be if you had a whole army of people supporting you along the way? We know that dating can be frustrating and lonely, but it can also feel fulfilling and fun. Have you recently decided you want to make some changes to your love life? Maybe you've recently reentered the dating scene. Maybe you've gone on one too many dates that went nowhere, or maybe you're just ready to take your current relationship to the next level. That is exactly why we created the sounding board, a true extension of our podcast that delivers a personalized experience, which includes monthly office hours where you can drop in and chat with us about anything. Weekly sound offs with guided discussions and regular virtual happy hours, allow Julie and I to become your dating sherpas to provide real-time guidance and wisdom in a more intimate way so we can all navigate dating and relationships together. Join the sounding board today by going to dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Again, that's dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. So I have a question for you. You know, I totally agree with you can't overthink it or just won't happen at all. And thinking about like, how do I have a better orgasm? How do I do this differently? When you're in the state, you're probably going to have a zero orgasm. But at the same time, it's hard to not hear like, oh, this person had like 200 orgasms. I was like, how do I get better? Experience sex more. Like, what would you say to that conflicting school of thought, right? Spoken like a true type a personality here. I need to get an a, I need to do better. I would say make your sexual experience an exciting psychological sexual experience. There are also been studies that have shown that women can fantasize their way to orgasm without even touching themselves. Interesting. I work with men who have erectile disorder, and I don't know the extent to which it's organic and biologically based or psychologically based. So I'll give them a homework assignment. I'll say, hey, next time you're going home to masturbate and turn it on some porn and that's what 99% of men do is turn on some port. Keep your hands at your side. And just let me know what happens. Inevitably, almost all of those men come back and say, yeah, I had a total heart on within about 5 minutes. And then I touched myself and I was really able to have a great orgasm once I got there, right? So why are we not generating that psychological arousal together? I'm not saying that all of us are not. But many of us, we do a totally with ourselves, but we don't do it with each other. So we're only actually engaging 50% of our sexual apparatus, the body. We're not really engaged engaging the erotic imagination. So if you want to have better sex, if you want to have better orgasms, if you want to look back and say, that was a peak experience for me.
00:50:02 - 00:55:15
I think that there needs to be a psychological dimension to the sex. Very interesting. So how do we start exploring that? Because I feel like what you typically hear of, I try this kink or this fantasy. It just feels like kind of like a horror overwhelming almost. How would you advise people? It's actually an aggressive. It's so aggressive. You know, like, what's your fantasy? Like, I can't tell you, I have couples who come in. And it's like, I just want to know what his turn on are. I just, come on. Gotta have some kind of kink. What's your fantasy? What are you into? It's like, what are you hiding from me? And people are like, I don't fucking know I just like to have sex. So it's like shit. And you're like, wait, 'cause I'm not doing that. Am I doing it wrong? Am I not kinky enough? Am I too boring? Yeah. All right, it's so aggressive. But we all have erotic imaginations, right? We can all find our way to fantasize and or we could all get turned on by something. I talk about sort of introducing psychological arousal into the sex script. And I talk about there being sort of face to face, psychological arousal, and side by side psychological arousal. To me, face to face psychological arousal is like two actors on a stage with nothing but themselves to create a scene, right? It's the ability to fantasize it's the ability to talk, it's the ability to take a sexy thought and play with it together and bounce it around. And most of us can't do that. Most of us don't have experience doing that. We're a little too shy, we're a little too shame based, right? So, giving people, I learned this very early in my career as a sex therapist. Giving homework assignments like come up with a list of 5 sexual fantasies and share them. Go home and act out one fantasy. Never work. So I always begin. I always begin side by side, which is to say, there's so much amazing literary erotica being written today. There are so many amazing erotic podcasters. There's so much incredible, ethical porn being creative. And we are such consumers of media start to take in erotic media together in a side by side experience. And let's move into a face to face experience. I was working with a couple recently and then a sex script that was totally intercourse based. It was non pleasurable and had no flirtation eroticism or psychological arousal. And they agreed that they were going to start watching some ethical porn together. She really wanted to. He did not. He was afraid that she was going to judge him for his porn case. So I gave them the assignment of here are some ethical porn sites on your own, do a little research and pick a scene that you think is going to turn on your partner, right? Pick a scene based on what you know of your partner sexually, that you think is going to turn out. That's fun. Right, it is fun. Yeah. Now, in the beginning, they each picked pretty boring vanilla scenes. And they weren't particularly turned on by those scenes. But it did lead into a conversation about erotic themes and just fantasies. And then I said, so take the assignment more seriously. What do you know about your partner's personality? What do you know about their personality? How does that extend maybe into their sexual personality? So what was really interesting was she picked for him like a tickle tour like a BDSM femdom tickle torture scene. The woman is like, tickling the guy while masturbating him. And he was like, why the hell did you pick that? For me, you know? And what's interesting is I think it was just she just had like a funny reason. I know you're ticklish and I think you've been really bad. If you really need to be punished, you know. But it was set in a kind of cute mischievous way. He ended up picking for her. I think it was like a lesbian wrestling scene. In which the loser gets kind of linguist to orgasm, I was like, that's losing. That sounds like winning to me. That's what happens to them. And he picked that scene because he knew that she was really interested in having more kind of longus and he thought that the it represented both sides of her, the very dominant side of her that he also saw that the side of her that was more submissive as well. Long story short, it really opened up so many interesting conversations and they went on to really enjoy side by side a lot of BDSM material together. But then they did eventually move into a kind of more like we can just play with this ourselves without needing the media. It took a little while, but that's what I mean sort of about going from side by side to face to face, playing with psychological arousal, incorporating that psychological arousal into your physical behaviors as part of a sex as part of a sex script.
00:55:15 - 01:00:00
So how do you, how do you even get here? I think how do you get to this exploratory mindset? Because I feel like if things are good, right? Let's say you're enjoying your sex life, but you're doing the same thing over and over again. And that could get old if you're in a long-term relationship. Like how do you not approach all this when things are good to get ahead of it opposed to when it's just not good, you know? Well, that's an interesting question because for a lot of people good is good enough and good enough is good. I don't get to meet all of the couples whose sex scripts are working. But you know, when I think about my own sex life, when I think about some of my friends sex lives, they can actually be sometimes rather simple sex scripts that work over and over again that sometimes have a sequence of physical behaviors like those 25,000 gay men that really work and there's already some psychological arousal that they're able to build in. So you're asking, how do you get there if things are good? So one thing that I think about is what I call the erotic thread or the interval in between sexual events, right? Because sex shouldn't just be something that you decide to do. It has to come from something, right? It emerges from the eroticism that's present in your relationship already, right? So I do focus a lot on couples trying to bring their sexual selves into their lived daily lives in some way. Even if it's just for 5 minutes on way out. And you know, people sexual selves, it tends to be different than the kind of communication that will have when we're talking about like, hey, our landlords up in our rent or who's going to whole foods today. That's like a very negotiating relational, nice relationship, right? But the language of sex can be very raunchy, it can be very objectifying. So just getting comfortable going allowing your sexual self to speak authentically, I think is so I think like all this exploration is great and very exciting. But we've heard from a lot of our listeners before that they've had struggles when their sex drive doesn't match their partners or neither persons initiating as much as they'd like. We've been obviously spending this entire conversation talking about how wonderful sex is and how important it is in the case of mismatched sex drives. Do you think one that a relationship can still work? And two, how do you kind of get over that hump of having this open communication? Is it seeing someone like you or is there other things that people can do themselves? Yeah, I mean, I was just listening listening to that question. We basically want to talk about mismatched libidos and desire discrepancy. You also seem to ask the question, can a relationship survive and thrive? Without sex or in a more sexless state, and I have to tell you that one of the more alarming trends that I've seen amongst single people or people who are newly in relationships is really discounting the importance of sex. And I don't quite understand why that's happening, but I have had I kid you not in the last year. At least a dozen men. It's mainly men I'm thinking of right now who have picked their partners right there in relationships. They're engaged, they're newly married, they're living together. And they've come to me because at some point they realized they're not having sex. I'm not having good sex. And they're not actually that sexually attracted to their partners. And I'm like that you're just in a new relationship, weren't you sexually attracted three months ago? Like when you pick this person to me, it's so obvious you would pick somebody thinking about sexual chemistry. Maybe not privileging it entirely, and it's amazing. I've heard the same thing. You know, I made a list of all the things I'm looking for in a partner. I made my top 5 list. I made my top ten list of everything that I wanted a partner that's important going forward, Friends, family, values, whatever. And sex actually wasn't on the list, or it was at the bottom of the poster. It was the one box that wasn't checked. And I'm like, why is sex so de prioritized? And I think it's actually that a lot of people who are much younger than me are, I think there's much more of a split between sex and intimacy. So I think a lot of people are out there having sex, casual sex, adventurous sex, objectifying sex. But it's disconnected. It's split from intimacy. So they actually expect when you get to intimacy that there isn't going to be sex.
01:00:00 - 01:05:01
And then there's also this idea that once you're married, you stop having sex. Yeah. So it's sort of like why bother. Why should I privilege sex or prioritize sex if I'm not going to end up having it anyway? So what would you say to that though? Do you think that's weight? Or is that totally bogus in your opinion? Yeah, why is that normalized? I listen, you're talking, you're talking to the most sex positive sex there, because they believe totally in the centrality of sex. My marriage would not have survived if I wasn't incredibly sexually attracted to my wife. And if we didn't have good consistent sex, not to say there have been times that we haven't, but sex is a glue. It's like when the shit hits the fan and we're mad at each other or mad at the world, like sex is our way of recharging and putting some positivity back into the relationship. And I'm 55 and I feel like, you know, I'm a sexually alive and I'm married, so I just say to this. It's great. Fuck told you that. You know? Goals. But back to this issue of initiation, right? Just initiating. I think, I guess my pattern has always been, once I get into a long-term relationship, I stop initiating, and my partner definitely has that issue. He's like, why don't you initiate more, but the times that I do initiate are very odd times, like right before dinner, he's like, I'm not in the mood right now, but I'm like, I'm initiating, right? Or just really odd times I get aroused. So how does a couple sync in that way and especially if one person's always asking the other person to initiate? Right. It's so hard because in that kind of a relationship you are, you might get labeled the low desire partner because you're not initiating as much as your partner initiates or would like you to initiate. So he's the high desire partner I'm assuming, I don't know if you're heterosexual or the heterosexual relationship or let's just say you are. You get labeled the low desire partner and the guy gets labeled the high desire partner. I actually find that just people exist sometimes in different desire frameworks. And when we first meet the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher who studies sort of mating, she talks about the three brain systems that come together to sort of create successful relationships. And the first system that gets activated is a seeking system that's very testosterone based in men and women working with the free testosterone that both people have, right? So in the beginning of a relationship when you're seeking systems or activated, you're going to be both of you are going to feel like you're in the same sexual desire framework. The next phase is really that focusing phase where you're really just focused on each other. And that's very dopamine driven, which also contributes to excitement and arousal. So it's not until you really start to move into the third system, which is more of an oxytocin based system, which comes a little later that you start to realize, well, we're not sexual in the same way that we used to be. And look, you had Emily nagoski on it. I imagine she talked about spontaneous desire frameworks and response of desired frameworks. And it sounds like UA, what you're saying is your partner is in a spontaneous desire framework, meaning he, you know, there's a sexual cue, I kind of gobble it up. I'm metabolize it quickly. And I feel it in my body, and I'm ready to move. It's like, give me that slice of pizza. Looks good. I'm ready to eat it, right? Impulsive. That's how I am too. Yeah. Meanwhile, I'm like, I need to be showered. He needs to have washed his penis, like the room has to. The right temperature. I shouldn't have eaten so much. All of that. It's so interesting like how different people are. I mean, I guess that's what makes it challenging. To work through that. Yeah, and so you're in that deliberative for responsive framework, right? You need to get the exciters up and the inhibitors that I compare it to going into the amusement park. I got a fastpass. I see the ride of sex. I can get right on. I love that. And I'm standing in line waiting. Standing in line. Is that what you're saying? Get in there. Right, that's the sign for hundred minutes. Oh my God. If we're going to go on that ride together, we got to wait online. And we got to make that line adventurous. It's rousing or comfortable, our nice. I have to enjoy slowing down and waiting online with you. But you know, if we're on vacation, every day, anytime, anywhere. It's fine and fire eventual for you though. It's more like that psychological stimulus, yeah. Yeah, I remember we talked about that study turning off the brain, right? Already so many of the stressors and bitters are eliminated. So true. Nothing about our groceries, yes.
01:05:01 - 01:10:05
So there's been so much of this conversation before we go into takeaways. I want to just hear from you, Ian, like some of the trends that you're seeing, because I think it's fascinating. The one that you pointed out of less people prioritizing sex. And I have some theories of why I think that might be the case, considering a lot of us have really been in this hookup culture and now you kind of want this partner that we all have this laundry list of things we want. So it's a lot of stuff you said too. I'm curious what other trends you've seen. Yeah, I will definitely give you trends, but if you have insight into why a specially men in their 30s are who are sexual, are de prioritizing sex when picking a partner, like really de prioritizing it. Yeah, I'm all yours. I mean, I have a theory. I feel like I just feel like people think it's so difficult to find a partner. This day and age, men too. I think men have educated themselves a lot. Like we actually were shocked that 40% of our audience is men. And we thought initially when we started this podcast, it would be a 100% women. And I think men have gone like beyond of what is it holistically that I want in a partner. We all say like, you know, with age, beauty is going to die out. And we all get old and ugly anyways. There is this core of the internal, which I think is very important. I do agree on that, but I think that the sex needs to be there or you're just Friends at the end of the day. That's the difference. But I think maybe people have over corrected so much and because we tell people are always here. I can't get it all. They're like, this is what I'll drop when I have to drop something. So it relates to getting it all, right? Which must be a getting it all must be different than my generation getting it all. It must be like, I mean, there's all these things are much more like what like checklist. People want an equal partner now. There's all these things they feel like. They have to find. I think it's also the me too movement. I think has created a very confusing environment as much as this made a lot of progress for women. I do think a lot of men feel like, well, am I being a predator, if I initiate, or think I'm prioritizing sex? Does that make me a bad person? And even you said Ian, sometimes the way we talk during sex can be very degrading or it can be very nasty. So I think there's just a lot of obstacles in the way for people wanting to enjoy sex because there's just a very confusing environment. Yeah, there's a lot of shame and saying that that's a quality that you're looking for in a partner. When we talk to people, people very rarely say sex actually. I think they'll say attraction, but they'll never say sex flat out because they're almost like I shouldn't say this. Right, so there's a shame around acting on sex, right? Yeah, I think changing gender roles is really what it comes down to. It's like equalizing and then also fall out of me too. Yes. Right. Well, that's interesting the whole me too thing and everything because maybe that plays into the second trend. And I think we did a show about this maybe recently on erectile dysfunction, actually called erectile unpredictability or erectile variability because dysfunction makes it sound sort of like a disease or something. But I am seeing so many men in their 30s with a reptile unpredictability. Like massive amounts. Of so I think that that is a real trend. Men who can't get it up or can't gain and maintain erections during sex and I'm sure we have a lot of theories about that. I think in the end a lot of people blame porn in some way or men come in themselves blaming porn. That's what I was just thinking. I was like, maybe that's a factor of it all. Yeah. Well, and what would be the factor of porn in their mind? What would it be about pouring that would make it? Maybe tying it to the first one more. Well, I could say it actually tying to both. The first one why it's less important in general is because you do have this other outlet. Get off on and then for the second one, maybe it's unrealistic expectations of what sex is with an actual partner. So you have that performance anxiety. Right, because you feel like you have to perform like a porn star or something. Like that. Absolutely. Yeah, I think that that's totally true. And legitimate the other thing, I think, is just, look, you asked me how I got my start, right? In this field, and I think the first thing I described was that sex is complicated. Sex is complex, sex involved, connecting with another person and pleasing another person, right? Watching porn is easy, right? There's nobody looking over my shoulder. There's nobody who cares about my performance. So it's just easy, right? So some of it is just like not being able to fathom the complexity of real sexual connection and needing to learn how to do that.
01:10:06 - 01:15:09
Yeah. The third trend, I guess, what is another trend that I'm seeing? I've seen a lot of couples who signed up for monogamy, young couples who signed up for monogamy, bottom to it. And one or both partners pretty early in the relationship want to open up the relationship and become a novelist. We're seeing that. And as opposed and opposed to couples who have started off non monogamously or like this is much harder because I really bought into the big wedding and for life and in sickness and in health. So it's like, again, challenging the script, just like your challenging the intercourse discourse, your challenging, the monogamy discourse. That's fascinating. Definitely can see that. This has been such a great conversation. I think my biggest takeaway I have is, I feel like we've almost over corrected in society to devalue sex sometimes. It's interesting that you're seeing that. So prominently with couples and while I don't think sex is everything in a relationship, I do believe it's a strong foundation or at the end of the day you just have a platonic friendship. And that's what makes, like you said, Ian, you know, you can get through the tough times because that connection is there. And I think sex is physical, but there's so much that closeness and intimacy that it brings when you are having sex with a partner. So I feel like the shame aspect of sex. We need to start having more of these open conversations. People need to go out and buy your book and just keep feeling like we can talk about sex and not feeling like that has to be hidden. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that you want someone that you're sexually compatible with as a key thing in a partnership. Where it becomes wrong is where you're like, I'll only date people want to say wrong, but where it becomes maybe limiting is like only day people over 6 feet or whatever. But having a basic connection with your partner that feels like that should be like a priority and a minimum. So I don't think we need to feel badly for saying that. And while yeah, you don't need someone that's perfect. You can have it all in the key areas that matter in a long-term relationship. I think ultimately, if this is someone you're going to be with for many years, it is important to make sure that you are finding this person, right? And in long-term relationships you can learn to change, you can learn to collaborate, you can learn to meet in the middle. Very hard to create sexual chemistry if it wasn't there to begin. So you can make that list of things you're looking for and go out and keep looking and say, oh, what extent does this person meet all 9 criteria, but there is something about sex, sexual chemistry that is like, it defies just being on a list. There's something there that you want to be rational. Totally. And then my other main takeaway is it's never too early to be exploratory. When things are going well, that's the best time to be exploratory. Because that doesn't point blame and fingers of, oh, you're not pleasing me in all this stuff. It's more of, okay, we're in this together. Let's enjoy our sex life. Because if you are choosing to be monogamous with someone, even the best of sex can get mundane. Like if you're just doing the same thing over and over again. So it doesn't mean that we have to get rid of the tried and true that works all the time, but just exploring and just find other avenues. And I feel like so often we think we have to shake it up when things aren't going well, but that is certainly not the case. I agree. Unfortunately, I really only see people. It's I'm kind of like the dentist. People come to me when the tooth really is hurt hurting. As opposed to coming in for a maintenance cleaning, right? Yeah, we should have more maintenance cleanings, right? Yeah. Instead of a sexual routine, exactly. You're the root canal. I can kind of see that. Because there is shame around lack of libido, lack of sex, you know, we often talk about how much sex we're having, how great the sex is, but we don't normalize that sex can go up and down and some maybe in relationships, sometimes you just don't have the best sex and then you work on getting better sex. I think the sex script is very interesting to me because we definitely my partner and I follow this. Tried and true script that definitely leads us to the ending that we both like, but maybe just revisiting that script every once in a while and seeing like, yes, this works, but what can we do to make it even better? Or to explore, right? Right. What can you add to the script? And can you start to weave in some psychological arousal? You know, like, you know, maybe like I always talk about having a thick sex script at the beginning that has a lot of psychological novelty.
01:15:09 - 01:18:58
And then kind of thins out into the basic rhythmic behaviors because that is when you want to just tune out and go into that mutual flow state. So I think there's a lot of room usually to take a good work in sex script and to amplify it with psychological arousal. I think my very last takeaway is we need to start expanding outside of just intercourse because I'm so guilty of that and I'm glad that you kind of brought that up again as sex does not mean intercourse. There's so many ways and in a way that almost makes it less intimidating. When you think about having sex more often and trying new things can just be heavy touch and different areas that you don't necessarily associate because it's not that orgasm or end goal and all that. Declutter it. Viva la volva. Yeah, that was, that was my main takeaway is that sex penetrative sex is not the entree. It's part of the meal and meals only taste best when you have a little bit of everything that built up that satiation you feel at the end. So I think the focus less on the penetrative sex does make the entire meal taste so much better. You make me want to go home and have a meal. Oh, which one? What kind of meal? I was like, was this little conversation foreplay? I know a sex therapy section has worked when the couple is going to go home and have sex. There you go. There you go. Well, thank you so much, Ian. This has been so great. Can you tell us where people could find you? You can find the new book, all of that. Absolutely. I mean, the book is hopefully still in bookstores. I would say go to my website Ian kerner dot com. I'm not so good with social media and a lot of stuff. But everything is on my website. We'll link it in the show notes too. Thank you, I appreciate that. Thank you so much for being on our show. Thank you for having this conversation with us. And thank you to our listeners who are listening to this. If you would like to have a very orgasmic experience, just going to Apple podcasts and give us 5 star review because that will make us orgasm, which will then you will also orgasm by association. So you don't even have intercourse to have an orgasm. You just go to Apple podcasts. But in all seriousness, reviews are basically the determination of our livelihood. So they do make they do make a huge difference for us. Okay. On that note, we're going to wrap this up. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network. Find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those posts. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to stay dateable. If you're into designer furniture and you want the sofa that broke the Internet, you don't have to go broke to get it because designer looks furniture has all the same styles and trends and all the quality, but without the designer prices, check them out, designer looks at value city furniture or designer looks dot com.