#102 – Medical Treatment for Menopause – Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor-Su

Medical Treatments for Menopause 

Dr. Rebecca Dunsmoor works in Seattle, Washington as an OBGYN specializing in diagnosing and treating unwelcome symptoms of menopause. The North American Menopause Society acknowledges her as a certified menopause practitioner and educator. On her website, renuvagyn.com, Dr. Dunsmoor maintains a growing collection of menopause-related information and runs an online women’s clinic to assist patients remotely. Dr. Dunsmoor also contributes to genneve.com, improving their impressive collection of knowledge and resources on menopause and midlife.  
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#101 – [Personal Story] – Healing from Abuse – Toni

Healing From Abuse

 My guest, whom I call Toni in this episode, is here to share a personal story of abuse and eventual transformation. Within the interview, she shares a lot of difficult episodes and traumas in her life in a brave and transparent way. You will get a lot out of this episode will learn that despite the hardest upbringing, there can be transformation, growth, and healing along the way. Please listen along and support Toni as she shares her story here. 
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#100- Body Kindness – Rebecca Scritchfield

Body Kindness 

My guest Rebecca Scritchfield is an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, author of Body Kindness and host of the Body Kindness podcast. She is a strong advocate for body positivity and healthy standards for eating, living, and self-evaluation.  

Rebecca poses the question in this interview: Isn’t your life all that much better when you aren’t worried about the standards of society? Through love, connection, and care, she shares how to be fully committed to yourself and how to have better sex through body kindness. Really valuable advice within. Enjoy! 
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#99 – From Sexual Madness to Mindfulness – Jennifer Gunsaullus

From Sexual Madness to Mindfulness 

My guest is fresh off a book tour for her new book From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women. Her name is Dr. Jennifer Gunsaullus and she is a sociologist and sex coach with a wealth of knowledge on sexuality and mindfulness. Within this talk she deftly connects her term ‘sexual madness’ with mindfulness, which is an extension of her book and professional work with her clients.  

If you wondering how mindfulness can help you with sexual desire, body image, and to achieve better, well-rounded sex, then listen along and learn. You won’t regret stopping by! 

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#98 – BDSM and Kink – Tamara Pincus

BDSM and Kink 

My guest today is Tamara Pincus, who is an AASECT certified sex therapist, an advocate for BDSM and polyamory, and an overall celebrator of the diverse BDSM community. In this episode, she breaks down the fundamentals of BDSM, gives advice on how to start and practice safely, as well as talks about trauma and dissociation and other important topics. As she reminds us, BDSM is really common, so if you’re just getting started, curious, indifferent, or have been practicing for many years, this episode is for you. Enjoy!  

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#97 – Sex and Chronic Illness – Dr. Lee Phillips

Chronic Illness and Sex 

My guest is here to talk about chronic illness and how it relates to sex. Originally, there wasn’t a lot of information or resources on the subject, so to fulfill this pressing need, Dr. Lee Phillips made it a point to devote his time towards researching and alleviating some of the sexuality stressors of chronic illness. 

Lee has worked for more than 12 years as a psychotherapist; he is a licensed social worker, an educator, a sex therapist, and a prolific researcher in the sexuality realm. He brings a lot of experience and wisdom to this episode. Check it out! 

Listen to “97: Sex and Chronic Illness – Dr. Lee Phillips” on Spreaker.

The Inspiration for his Book on Chronic Pain 

Lee says that he started a chronic pain management group through his work as a geriatric psychotherapist in Williamsburg, Virginia. This would lead to the inspiration for his subsequent work in understanding and mitigating the detrimental sexual effects of chronic illness.  

Shortly after, he was approached by a colleague and persuaded to get into sex therapy because of the impacts of chronic pain on sex and relationships. He knew he could do some good work in that facet of therapy.  He also says that he was inspired to take his own research further because there wasn’t a lot of information out there on the topic of chronic illness and pain, and how it relates to sexuality. 

 

The Various Emotions That Can Accompany Chronic Illness in a Relationship 

Lee says that some couples go through ‘crisis mode’ whenever a partner is diagnosed, but overall the emotions and dynamics vary from person to person. 

He says that it’s typically a dynamic consisting of one ‘ill’ partner and the other healthy. Occasionally relationships can “open up” as the ill partner doesn’t feel adequate enough to pleasure their partner. But even more frequently, the healthy partner teams up and doesn’t act adversarial towards the illness, but instead looks for a way to manage it together. 

And sometimes there’s actually relief after a diagnosis because it brings context to an otherwise mysterious ailment that hadn’t been understood. 

 

The Mental Aspects of Chronic Illness 

Lee says that the physical symptoms can be extreme for chronic illness, but they can also lead to severe mental health difficulties that should not be overlooked.  

A big part of his job is to try and alleviate the mental turmoil that can arise dealing with an illness. When considering getting back into as healthy a sex life as possible, he likes to take into account their sexual history and see what can be done about getting back to the same level of frequency and intimacy. This can be a good boost for overall mental health in a patient. 

 

Imago Dialogue for More Reconnection Between Partners 

He says he uses Imago dialogue therapy for his couples. One of the core principles of Imago is that we unconsciously pick partners based on the qualities of our caretakers through life. So, if there’s a lot of isolation, anger, fighting, or depression within a chronic illness relationship dynamic, he will use the Imago model as exercises to break through some of those issues. 

He says there’s a sender and also a receiver within this model. The basis of the practice is to have couples actively listen and repeat what is sent from the sender back to them. This builds the necessary rapport and reassures both partners that what they’re saying is being internalized and understood. 

 

The Importance of Seeing a Sex Therapist 

Lee encourages couples to see a sex therapist and make active strides for sexual reconnection. In addition, a sex therapist can help a couple figure out alternatives to the traditional way they’ve had sex. Because, after all, sex is so much more than just penetrative sex. There’s a whole spectrum, and a sex therapist can help illuminate this crucial aspect of sexuality to those suffering from chronic pain.  

 

Key Links for Dr. Lee 

Dr. Lee’s Website: https://www.drleephillips.com/  

His blog: https://www.drleephillips.com/drleephillips  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drleephillips/  

Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/drleephillips  

Affiliate link for The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability 

#96 – [Personal Story] – Orthodox Judaism and Sexuality – Matty

 Orthodox Judaism and Sexuality 

My guest, whom I will call Matty, grew up in an orthodox Jewish family. In this personal story, she shares her unique perspective on her upbringing and how it has affected her life from sexuality to marriage and more.  

Within this episode she shares a lot of the challenges of her religion, but also the beautiful aspects of her marriage that speak so profoundly to her sexuality and womanhood. This is a great educational opportunity for non-orthodox listeners and will only serve to widen the dialogue on sexuality as a whole. An important perspective from a great guest; listen along! 

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#95 – Sherrie Palm – Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse 

My guest is Sherrie Palm, who is the founder and CEO of the Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support. In addition, Sherrie wrote a great book called Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The Silent Epidemic that delves deeper into the subject of this episode: Pelvic Organ Prolapse or POP for short. 

Driven by Sherrie’s expertise and research on the subject, this talk demystifies the condition and shines a light on treatment options, causes, challenges, and ultimately the ways to manage the condition and live freely with it. Such an important episode that I am glad I have the opportunity to share with you. Enjoy! 

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#94 – Dr. Jennifer Valli – Fetishes

My guest today is Jennifer Valli. She has been on the show before to share her expertise and we’re very fortunate to have her back!  

Jenifer has a Ph.D., has 26 years of clinical experience in psychiatry, and is an experienced therapist an AASECT-certified sex therapist and educator. She is professionally involved with many different publications including Men’s Fitness Magazine, and she did Post-Grad work in Sexual Health at the University of Michigan. These are just a few of her notable accomplishments and qualifications. 

Most applicable to this particular episode is her training in fetishes/paraphilias through Johns Hopkins University.  Within this talk, she explores the complex world of fetishes, and how we should approach them, some theories on their starting points, as well as ways to normalize atypical arousal. 
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#93 – Taylor Pierce – Navigating Jealousy

Navigating Jealousy 

My guest, Taylor Pierce, is a therapist at the Center for Couples & Sex Therapy in Portland, Oregon. She works closely with couples to explore issues in relationships and sexuality and really loves connecting and working with the LGBQT community and ethically non-monogamous dynamics. 

In this episode, in particular, she explains the ins and outs of jealousy and how we can avoid it by diving deeper into the root causes of our insecurities and fears. Really important, powerful stuff that Taylor does a great job demystifying! 
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#92 – Matthias Rose – Ejaculatory Choice

Ejaculatory Control or Choice 

My guest is a repeat guest, which is a first for the Better Sex Podcast! His name is Matthias Rose and he is a Tantric teacher and healer. Matthias operates his practice out of Seattle and loves to connect couples through the power of Tantra.  

In this episode though, he explores the power of “ejaculatory choice”. This is the concept that men can be in control of their ejaculation and learn to orgasm without ejaculation. By riding what he calls orgasmic waves, men can slow down their experiences, ramp up their connection and intimacy with their partner, and overall just let go and experience sex in a healthy, care-free, powerful way. 

Listen in for much more on this powerful practice. 

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#91 – Kara Haug – Fairy Tale Expectations

Happily Ever After is a Fairy Tale 

My guest today is Kara Haug. She is the creator of Grace Unbound and is a practicing sex educator with a B.A. in Psychology and a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as a certificate in Sexual Health Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her role mainly centers on teaching youth about shameless sexuality. She does a lot of workshops and is doing important work shifting the narrative on sexuality.  
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#90 – Susan Bratton – Sexual Vitality

Background 

My guest Susan Bratton has been called a ‘trusted hot sex advisor for millions’. She is a sex technique publisher, a celebrated speaker, educator, CEO and Co-Founder of Personal Life Media, and the list goes on and on about her qualifications and amazing qualities. 

In this episode, in particular, she shares her experience with sexual vitality and the summit she is spearheading in September (September 23-29, 2019). Within this talk, she also shares some insights into intimacy issues and basic remedies for those disconnects between couples of all dynamics. 

Really useful, informative stuff. And I’d recommend that you check out the many resources that Susan has put out there! 
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#89 – Dr. Justin Lehmiller – Sexual Fantasies

Sexual Fantasies and Eroticism 

I know I say it often, but this topic is one of my favorites. In this episode, I talk with Dr. Justin Lehmiller about the all-important topic of sexual fantasies.  

Justin is a celebrated speaker, researcher, author, and a very effective educator on the psychology of sexuality. His blog Sex and Psychology gets millions of visitors every year, and he regularly contributes his writing to major publications. This talk about his research is guided by his expertise and experience in the field. 

Listen to “89: Dr. Justin Lehmiller – Sexual Fantasies” on Spreaker.

The Most Common Sexual Fantasies  

Justin says that when he surveyed almost 4,200 Americans from 2014 to 2016, the most common fantasies encompassed 7 different themes. 

  1. Multi-partner sex 
  2. BDSM 
  3. Novelty, Adventure & Variety
  4. Taboo activities 
  5. Emotional connection and fulfillment 
  6. Homoeroticism and gender-bending 
  7. Non-monogamy

Justin describes these as the building blocks of fantasies, meaning that they are not mutually exclusive and many overlap. For example, you can very well dip your toes into multiple categories in your own personal fantasy life. 

Are people ashamed of their fantasies? 

As Justin states, he found that men reported more shame about their fantasies than women. Overall, the majority of study participants reported that they held a positive relationship with their fantasies, but there were still some who felt negative emotions towards their fantasy. 

Another important thing he found during his research is that just sharing sexual fantasies can open up eroticism and alleviate feelings of embarrassment or shame for having certain fantasies. 

The Differences between Men and Women regarding fantasy

Although the data showed that both sexes share a lot of commonalities, there were still some marked differences. 

Men had more multi-partner fantasies than women did. And women had more fantasies about emotional connection with a partner. Women also had way more BDSM fantasies than men by a large margin. In addition, men usually had a specific person in mind during their fantasies, and the women-focused more on the setting and environment overall. Justin also found that the LGBTQ community had more sexually adventurous fantasies, as well as taboo fantasies. 

Justin provides some insight on why women might like BDSM more than men, as well as the LGBTQ community and their sexual fantasy preferences. Listen in for that. 

Sexual Fantasy by Personality Type 

Justin shares some interesting insight on the correlation between personality type and sexual fantasy. For example, those who are more extroverted by nature will be more outgoing the bedroom. And for those who are ‘agreeable’ personality types, there will be a higher incidence of focusing on their partner’s sexual satisfaction in the bedroom. 

He also talks about what conscientiousness has to do with fantasies, as well as self-esteem. 

“Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar” 

Justin says that sexual fantasies don’t really have to mean all that much. They can offer a glimpse into something deeper, but for the most part they are just a product of your environment and genetic makeup and can be left out of the examination room. Fantasies can be a good evaluative road map to follow for your own unique sexual satisfaction, though.  

But when talking about sexual traumas, there were small connections between sexual victimization and types of fantasies. But there was a lot of inconsistency in the data 

Hear Justin explain the data on this subject. 

How to Share Your Fantasies with Your Partner 

Justin says that before you share with your partner, you first have to feel good about yourself. You aren’t alone in your fantasies, so there’s a normalization that needs to first occur.  

He says to lay low and start slow. A gradual buildup for disclosing your fantasies to your partner is much more powerful than an overwhelming information dump!  

He also goes into detail on how important sharing is for increasing overall sexual desire and satisfaction within the relationship.  

Key Links for Justin:  

Affiliate link for Justin’s book: Tell Me What You Want : https://amzn.to/2ZPPezs 

His website: https://www.lehmiller.com/  

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/  

Justin Lehmiller Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/psychologyofsex/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/justinjlehmiller/ 

#88 – Dr. Corey Allan – Desire Discrepancy Conversations

Desire Discrepancy Conversation 

My guest is Dr. Corey Allan. He is a professional counselor and host of the podcast Sexy Marriage Radio, which centers on helping couples experience amazing sex within their relationships. He hosts the podcast with his wife, Pam, and they share some pretty stellar information on the topic every week. 

Listen to “88: Dr. Corey Allan – Desire Discrepancy Conversation” on Spreaker.

Corey also has a private practice in McKinney, Texas and holds a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. And in this episode, Corey talks about desire discrepancy in particular. More specifically, he talks about productive ways for partners to navigate the high seas of fluctuating desires and the frustrations that can occur. One of the most important concepts that he shares (among so many others) is the importance of accepting desire discrepancy as natural, and not as right or wrong.  

But this is a complicated subject. And through this episode, we dissect the many nuances of a common phenomenon. Be sure to listen and learn because this affects so many of us. Enjoy! 

Framing Desire Discrepancy in a Positive Way 

As Corey states, close to two thirds of all relationships experience some sort of desire discrepancy within the dynamic of the relationship. So this is a common phenomenon that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong within the relationship at all. 

Corey likes to frame it in a higher-lower spectrum rather than a right or wrong metric. This relieves some of the pressure and reframes this frequent aspect of relationships in a much more positive light. 

He points out that sometimes it’s actually the lower desire partner who brings the necessary perspective to the relationship by shedding light on areas that perhaps need more improvement: this could be manifested in more mindful, present sex and other areas to explore for more meaningful sex for both parties. Often the lower desire partner has a good reason for not wanting sex all that much, and attending to those reasons can shift the whole relationship dynamic in a positive way. 

The Harms of Pathologizing Desire 

As we discussed during the episode, a common thing that happens within couple dynamics is the ‘pathologizing’ of each other’s differing desires.  

The lower desire person will often ask what’s wrong with the higher desire individual, and vice versa, leading to a harmful interplay between each. It’s natural to get defensive, and it’s easy to assume that someone is to blame in the relationship; but mostly, desire discrepancy is a natural byproduct of being in a sexual relationship with anyone. 

More on this within the episode. 

Don’t Take Rejection Personally 

Corey highlights the productive and constructive ways to initiate sex with a lower-desire partner. This means if you are high desire, you should not pout or whine at rejection. In addition, don’t complain that you do all the initiation–that just comes with the high-desire territory. Corey reminds you to play the long game and frame your initiation in a positive way. How you respond to your lower desire partner’s reaction is important! 

Corey’s Definition for Great Sex 

Corey says that the best sex is when a partner is seeking what they want, and at the same time, trying to give their partner what they want. He calls it a “fluid dance”, which could also be described as a healthy interplay between the wide spectrum of sexual interests that two people can naturally develop in their relationship.  

He says that both partners have to show up to achieve this. Frequency has less to do with it. It has to do more with the quality of the sex itself. He says that if you can have good, quality sex, the number doesn’t really matter. In other words, there’s no quota to fulfill, but instead, there’s a standard of quality to achieve between both partners.  

The Importance of Communication for Lower-Desire Partners 

It can take courage for a lower-desire partner to speak up about their needs, or to break off an initiation, but it is extremely crucial for a healthy relationship and sexual dynamic. If the lower-desire partner can communicate their needs and be in a comfortable enough place to assert their comfort level with sex, then a lot of good can come from that. It is the responsibility of the higher-desire partner to create a space that is conducive for this type of communication to occur. 

And for much more within this episode that wasn’t touched on here, be sure to check the rest of this episode out. There’s definitely a lot to chew on and digest! 

Key Links 

Corey’s podcast: https://smrnation.com/series/sexymarriageradio/  

Website: https://smrnation.com/  

#86: [Reprise] Emily Nagoski – Come As You Are

Come As You Are

My guest today is the acclaimed author of the best selling, Come as You Are. Emily has been a sex educator since 1995, where she put her education to good use (psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy). Quickly, she realized that sex education, woman’s well-being, and violence prevention was far more fulfilling work for her personally. So, she made the switch from more neuro-centric work to that of the sex-education realm. And that switch has made all of the difference for the countless people who have benefited from Emily’s work in the field. 

She has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with an emphasis in human sexuality, and the list of her qualifications could go on.  And within just seconds of this interview, you will immediately understand just how smart and articulate Emily is. Listen in.  

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#85 – [Soapbox] – Talking about Sex with your Partner

How can you bring up your sexual concerns with your partner?

On this episode, I focus on talking about sex with your partner when things are not going well. It can be uncomfortable to bring up sexual issues with your partner, and it’s for this reason that I have developed a guide that you can access with the link at the end of these notes. 

Listen to “85: [Soapbox] – Talking about Sex with your Partner” on Spreaker.

While these talks may be difficult to broach, they create an arena for constructive feedback and help build healthier relationships. I share that this is how you create a sex life that works for BOTH of you. 

A vital part of this is to first get over any fear you may have about talking about sex. Facing these challenges as a team is crucial to solving them. I outline three different stages for having this type of conversation.  

 

Prepare 

Like anything, without clarity and knowing what you want, you will have no direction. I emphasize the importance of this step. Highlights are picking up on patterns, emotions, and thoughts in your sex life.  As part of the preparation step, I urge you to identify how you contribute to the problem. “Every situation is co-created.” I bring up a few important questions for you to answer and flesh out in this step. Empathy is also a factor in the preparation step, and I gently guide you around this to help you understand your partner, too. 

 

Approach your Partner About the Topic 

“Making time is something to consider as opposed to spontaneously bringing up the sex talk. 

talk about the value of having a time limit on your conversation, too.  I genuinely want you to find a solution, and having a collaborative attitude sets a healthy foundation for working together and talking. This will probably not be solved with one go, so expect a series of talks ahead of time. 

 

How to talk about this 

With collaboration in mind, I urge the use of “I” language. Tune in to learn more about this. I suggest creating space by allowing your partner to tell you how he/she/they feels. In addition to this, “distinguish between what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.” Tune in to hear my advice on filters and managing triggers. You will learn about empathizing and exercising control in this step, too. 

 

Among other valuable tips, I also emphasize, “Don’t have sex that makes it worse.” Listen for more! 

 

Important Links  

Link to the guide sex: https://bettersexpodcast.com/talk 

Join my email list here: http://bettersexpodcast/list 

#84: Martha Kauppi – Sexual Desire Issues

Sexual Desire Issues 

My guest today is Martha Kauppi, who is a certified sex therapist and supervisor. Through her practice in Wisconsin, she focuses largely on relationships and how they can affect sex, and vice versa. In addition, she has a background in healthcare, so she brings a very useful perspective and expertise to her practice. 

Within the episode, Martha talks about how complicated desire is in particular. She describes it as multifactorial, and she also says that desire and arousal is the complex result of a cluster of systems working together.  

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#83: Dr. Kelifern Pomeranz – Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile Dysfunction 

My guest is Dr. Kelifern Pomeranz. She is a licensed clinical psychiatrist, a sex therapist, and an overall expert on arousal disorders and more. She has a practice in Silicon Valley and is here to talk about erections: in particular, how to have healthy erections, what to do if you are having problems getting them, and various strategies for a healthy functioning penis. 

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#82: [Soapbox] – Exploring Eroticism

Exploring Eroticism 

The topic today is eroticism, which is our unique fingerprint of what turns us on. It's a set of things or the theme of things that really arouses us – that we find highly interesting and erotic. We all have the things that we prefer in sex and things that we find more arousing than others. This is a useful concept and area of inquiry if we're going to make our sex life as good as we can.  

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#81: August McLaughlin – Girl Boner

Girl Boner – A Story of Empowerment 

My guest is August McLaughlin. She is a celebrated health and sexuality writer, the creator of Girl Boner, wrote a book with the same name, and is a fellow podcaster!  

As she states during the talk, her experience with sexual education was very lacking and lopsided. From an early age, she was prepared for the terrifying world of cramps and bleeding without mention of the empowering sexual satisfaction that women can experience. This would lead to her investigating sex on her own terms, and in turn, she has empowered countless women through her wok. 

She talks about how working in the modeling industry led an eating disorder, how she discovered masturbation, the way toward empowerment, and much more! 

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#80: [Soapbox] – Desire Discrepancy Issues and Strategies

Desire Discrepancy may or may not be a term that you've heard. This is where two different people want different amounts of sex. There's a discrepancy between your desire and your partner’s. This is universal. It happens all the time, and it is a problem for a lot of people. In this episode, I’m going to talk about Desire Discrepancy, how it occurs naturally, issues that may crop up around it, and give you some strategies to effectively navigate this common challenge. 
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#79: Dr. Sharon Cohen – Feminine Energy

All about Feminine Energy 

My guest Sharon Cohen, PhD has been working in the mental health field for over 25 years. She has also specialized in love and relationships for the past 7 years, but as she states during the interview, she has always been passionate about the subject.  

Her main clientele is women in their 30’s and 40’s, but she does work with men as well! She says she is committed to helping women find the right relationship for them.  

In this episode in particular, she taps into her knowledge base to teach us about the dynamic energy fields at the root of all relationships. Often there are masculine and feminine interplays in energy and the best, most stable relationships have a healthy balance of the two. She talks much more in depth about this fascinating subject within. Enjoy!  

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#78: [Soapbox] – Sexual Satisfaction Scale

Because there have been so many great guests and conversations on the show, it has been awhile since we’ve done a soapbox episode. In this soapbox, Jessa talks about measuring sexual satisfaction in a way that is meaningful to you. 

While host Jessa was doing her continued education (as sex therapists are required to do), she discovered a tool called a self-anchored ladder. This ladder can be used to create a sexual satisfaction ranking from 1-10, but it’s unique to each individual and anchored in the things that are important to you.  

This episode focuses on the self-anchored ladder, and specifically on what sexual satisfaction means to you personally. And the ultimate goal is to compare your self-anchored ladder with your partner and then collaborate to integrate the most meaningful aspects of sex for both of you. 

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