Listen to “137: Dance, Flow State, and Sex – Ode Dixon” on Spreaker.
Flow State and Dance
3 years ago Ode discovered Flow – The Psychology of Optimal Performance and picked up dancing again after so many years of not dancing regularly. This reversed her stressed-induced high blood pressure diagnosis within eleven months. Now, she uses dance as a mechanism to help her clients alleviate stress-related anxiety that hinders performance, and to spark creative insight to problem-solving in various work, learning and life environments.
Ode joins me on this episode and discusses using dance to access a flow-state. Her first experience with flow state was through dance. According to Ode, research shows that flow improves anything you apply it to.
While flow may seem a spiritual experience, Ode explains that flow is exhibited by highly successful people. For many of us, we would have heard it referred to as “peak performance.”
As a testament to the success of flow state, Ode shares that it transformed her sex life with her partner. She explains that this is caused when neurochemicals are triggered when we move our bodies. The common chemicals released in the flow state are commonly called DOSE: Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins.
Ode explains that the process involves the body going into a calmer state and then releasing “happy chemicals” so the activity you are doing is enjoyable. She reveals that the flow state can happen during specific activities. These are usually activities that require actively using your brain and using your senses to focus on the present. Dance is one such example.
“Flow is intrinsically motivating. We learn that when we perform a certain action, it should be enjoyable and come naturally without being calculated.”
Specialist in deep embodiment, Afrojuju Dancer, peak performance researcher, and former bedside nurse, Ode has been using the tight link between beliefs and mind/body connection since she toured as a praise dancer with a prolific evangelical group partaking in missions across rural regions of West Africa for 10+ years.
She has been dancing since the age of 5, showcasing performances along the streets of her village with her dance groups. She’s vastly knowledgeable in various African dance styles, rhythms, movements and beats. She understands the neuroscience that underpins body movements and enhanced performance.
Ode holds 2 bachelor’s degrees – Management and Registered Nursing, an Associate degree in Social Works and a long-term mentorship under some of the world’s top Flow Scientists and researchers.
She lives in Naples, Florida with her husband and 3 boys, avid anglers and boaters who love discovering the 1,000 islands that surround the SouthWest Florida Keys one island at a time.
Resources and Links
Listen to “136: Back into Dating – Marni Battista” on Spreaker.
Marni shares a great tip for figuring out what entering the dating world would be like. After gathering the stories we have about it in our minds, she suggests that we challenge the stories that could turn into fears or excuses. Her method is light-hearted and creative but really eye-opening!
Entering the dating arena after a while can require a bit of preparation. Marni recommends practising dating by targeting the areas you are less comfortable with like dressing or confidence. For those surviving divorces or reaching their golden years, Marni encourages you not to run away from dating but lean in and take a step in a direction that could lead you to happiness.
Marni shares advice on communicating openly as a vital element when dating to ensure both parties are clear on where each stand and if there are any concerns or issues upfront.
Dating while parenting
She shares advice for parents in the dating world – advocating that time is separately allocated for dates and that your expectations regarding your partner’s role in your kids’ life are clearly voiced early on.
Where to find a date
If you are wondering where you can meet your perfect partner, Marni recommends Match.com. From her findings, dedicating at least 30 min a day to one chosen app should return decent results.
Beware of free apps like Plenty of Fish. Marni warns that these sites can be cumbersome. She mentions a few niche sites that you can find in the links below.
“Be the person you want to attract” Marni has experienced people unexpectedly finding partners within their current circles eg: work, clubs they belong to etc. She suggests dressing well and being aware of the habits and interests of people around you when you are looking for that someone special. A connection can happen in the most unexpected place.
You will also hear her view on matchmakers. She reveals the right age for trying matchmaking services and what people generally look for.
How does dating work today?
With men having to adjust to the times, Marni explains that their biggest fears include rejection and being perceived as predators. For this reason, women need to be much more direct about what they want.
Paying can be a grey area for many. Marni’s advice is fair and allows men to express their chivalry and for women to reciprocate in return when the time is right.
An absolute must is safety during dating. Marni shares some great tips in terms of defining available time upfront and not using your personal environment as a venue for your first meeting. Red flags include your potential date refusing a video meeting!
Dealing with Quarantine
Funny, thoughtful ideas given by Marni reveal how easy and special dating can still be if you are in quarantine. For those that just need to abide by social distancing, Marni suggests hiking or picnics within the rules.
Marni Battista is a certified professional Dating and Relationship Coach and expert writer. Her work can also be found in Cosmopolitan Magazine, Yahoo! Shine, Huffington Post, YourTango.com, CupidsPulse.com, Men’s Fitness, Glamour and more.
She has also had appearances on major television networks, including CBS and ABC where she has been a guest on Loveline (filling in for Dr Drew!) and Dr Phil, on nationally broadcast radio shows, such as On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and on Youtube Channels, like Off Air with Sisanie.
Marni’s weekly dating and relationship podcast, “The Dating Den,” has more than 25k downloads per month and she was named one of the 10 Best Women’s Dating Experts by @DatingAdviceCom.
Resources and Links
Listen to “135: Optimal Sexual Experiences – Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz” on Spreaker.
Optimal Sexual Experiences
On this episode, Dr Kleinplatz introduces her findings around “optimal sexual experiences” based on actual interviews she performed. After much research, she shares these eight components couples need to have to eventually reach an optimal sexual experience:
- Being totally absorbed in the moment
- Sharing a connection with your partner
- Deep sexual and erotic intimacy
- High levels of empathic communication
- Fun, laughter, exploration and good risk-taking
Her findings show that people begin to seek these experiences around their mid 50’s. Part of the process of discovery is unlearning much of what we know about sex growing up. Spontaneity arises as one of the behaviors to “unlearn “ as Peggy candidly shares her views on this.
Anyone can get there!
Peggy has found that people with chronic illness are enjoying magnificent sex! In an unexpected twist of events, Peggy’s co-workers proved that presumed stereotypes are false. She shares that consent is a major piece of the puzzle and contributes to empathic communication.
Peggy educates us about moving from good to magnificent sex explaining that getting to know each other on an ongoing basis builds trust to explore deeper levels of your relationship.
We learn about differentiation and how it impacts reaching optimal sexual experiences while identifying that therapy has to be customized to each individual.
To reach for the optimal sexual experience goal, Peggy highlights that respect for each other is crucial.
Resources and Links
Book: Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers (routledge.com/9780367181376)
Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Director of Sex and Couples Therapy Training at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She was awarded the Prix d?Excellence in 2000 for her teaching of Human Sexuality. She is a Certified Sex Therapist and Educator.
She is the Director of the Optimal Sexual Experiences Research Team of the University of Ottawa and has a particular interest in sexual health in the elderly, disabled and marginalized populations.
Kleinplatz has edited four books, notably New Directions in Sex Therapy:
Innovations and Alternatives (2012), winner of the AASECT 2013 Book Award,
Sadomasochism: Powerful Pleasures with Charles Moser, Ph.D., M.D. (2006)
Sexuality and Ageing with Walter Bouman, M.D. (2015).
She is the author with A. Dana Menard, PhD of Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers
In 2015, Kleinplatz received the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists Professional Standard of Excellence Award.
Listen to “134: Senior Sex – Joan Price” on Spreaker.
Joan tells us that being a senior sex advocate is her third career. She lived as a high school English teacher until a car accident made her acutely aware of the privilege of being able to be and stay mobile. She tells us that insight inspired her to become a fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, and health and fitness writer. After falling into what she calls a “planet-shattering” romance at the age of 57, she understood that great sex was a crucial element of romance at any age. Her research into overcoming the challenges of senior sex and increasing the passion and intensity of senior sex revealed an empty market niche, encouraging her to jump into the market by sharing her own experiences and adding her own research to the topic of senior sex.
She explores the misconception that sex is no longer experienced in old. She says that many believe that when people are older, they give up their sex lives and take up crocheting instead. “I have nothing against crocheting,” she says, “but it’s not sex.”
Challenges of Senior Sex
Joan admits that senior sex is not the same as the sex people have in their twenties. Bodies age and change, and she suggests that our sexual history can impact our sex lives.
She tells us that many people presume their sex lives are irrevocably declining when their knee arthritis prevents their favorite position, they take too long to orgasm, their erections are unreliable, penetration can become uncomfortable or intercourse may not feel as good as it used to. Joan believes that hurdles like these can be overcome when they’re acknowledged out loud and discussed with our partners. She admits that sometimes these are medical issues, while others are best solved with creativity, research, and an enthusiastic partner’s work.
Joan mentions that many elderly men and women insist that their desire to have sex is gone. To combat this belief, Joan describes writing a blog post on hotoctopuss.com about the difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire. Many people believe that if spontaneous desire goes away, they no longer want to have sex, but that’s inaccurate. Responsive desire, she explains, exists when your body begins to engage in sexual activities, and you slowly develop a real desire and passion for sex while you’re engaging in the act.
Spontaneous desire, where a person knows they’re aroused and wants to have sex actively, often fades with age due to the hormones encouraging sexual reproduction declining. People who only experience responsive desire claim that they never really care about sex until they’re actually doing it—at which point they care very much! Joan argues that this responsive desire is just as intense and valuable as spontaneous desire, it just appears during instead of prior to sex.
Joan’s webinars talk about communicating needs, knowing your needs, as well as scheduling sex and creating responsive desire. She says that her books, blogs and webinars help people respond to and understand their current needs and abilities, and guides people through the conversation.
Benefits of Senior Sex
Joan assures us that senior sex can be better than the sex young people have because the elderly know what they like sexually and in other areas, they’ve learned to communicate very well, and they’ve gained the perspective to understand many problems as easy to overcome or as entirely unproblematic. She implies that elderly men and women have outgrown the shame and reticence most young people feel about sex. In her work, she notices older people are better at truly focusing on the pleasure their bodies are capable of creating, while young people are often fretting about minor bodily imperfections or other insecurities instead of being fully in the present moment.
That isn’t to say no seniors have hang-ups about sex. Jane describes the prejudices her generation internalized about the topic. She informs us that her generation was told not to talk about or have sex until you’re married and that women who don’t have orgasms during intercourse—as most women can’t—were called frigid. She says she is currently working on a webinar to work through this process and help seniors find the words to talk about attaining great sex.
Joan believes that especially for couples without spontaneous sexual desire, it can be sexually rejuvenating to set a date for sex. She explains that seniors can see that date on the calendar and that will cause them to think about sex more often. Scheduling sex also allows for planning the event with special underwear or a romantic setting or any number of other, enjoyable ways to improve sex and foreplay.
Joan suggests scheduling time to talk about sex and the physical and emotional changes that occur as people age. She insists that this can’t be accusatory. It’s meant to inform your partner about your changing body and needs and to invite your partner to do the same.
Sex Surveys and Seniors
Joan has been disappointed by surveys surrounding sex, because they often don’t poll the elderly about their sex practices at all. When they do include the elderly, she mentions that they don’t ask the right questions. Usually, she says, they ask whether you’re sexually active, which is a nebulous term.
She believes it would be illuminating if people writing surveys would ask what kinds of sexual activities people are utilizing at different ages. On air, she considers that she could do some of this research herself.
Another worthwhile survey question Joan suggests is, “What is interfering with your sexual pleasure?” Joan suggests that trouble reaching orgasm, not having a partner, and not having a vibrator could all be included in such an open-ended question.
Losing a Partner
She says her book, Sex After Grief was written after she lost her great love. Joan found herself trying many, many things to try to come back to her sexuality after losing her husband. She recounts her journey and shares the methods others used to overcome grief. She explains that there are many ways to regain your sexuality after the death of a partner, and though no single path exists, this book will help you navigate the loss of your partner and the return to your sexual self with insight and compassion.
Sex in Nursing Homes
Joan has written some about sex inside nursing homes, where you’re kept apart from others, cannot lock the door, and are given no privacy. She says there are a few nursing homes where sexual rights are a priority, based upon the belief that assisted living home residents should not be treated as prisoners. She says that it’s important to research nursing and assisted living facilities to determine whether they have policies in place to enable sexual activity in their facilities.
She explains that it’s important for the elderly to discuss what sexual rights their partners have before their mental state deteriorates or their body becomes too infirm to allow sexual activity. She says that if their partner can’t provide sexual or romantic love, or they themselves are too senile to remember their spouse, it’s important to make decisions about whether their partners finding love elsewhere is blessed or discouraged.
Joan Price is an advocate of ageless sexuality encouraging seniors to reclaim and rejuvenate their sex lives. A public advocate of senior sex since 2005, Joan has written five books to help and sexually engage seniors: Sex After Grief: Navigating Your Sexuality After Losing Your Beloved, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain—or Regain!—a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex, Better than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty, and Ageless Erotica.
Joan narrated and collaborated with Jessica Drake on her award-winning, explicit educational film “Jessica Drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Senior Sex.” Joan maintains a newsletter and a blog on senior sex, and she created an entertaining, free webinar to encourage safer sex among the elderly.
Resources for Joan Price:
Listen to “133: Sexual Personality Types – Vanessa Marin” on Spreaker.
Sexual Personality Types
Vanessa shares that she’s always working to make people’s sex lives better, but the idea of forming a personality test for sex began from hearing her clients talk about sex in very different ways, inspiring her to take notes and investigate what people truly desire and require in their sex lives. These notes developed into a system that identifies 11 different personality types based upon what people need, want, and hope to get out of sex.
Vanessa’s survey describes decompressors as people for whom sex is about stress relief, blowing off steam, and getting to that sense of relaxation that ensues once sex is over. She clarifies that people who use sex for this reason often talk about the joyful, restful afterglow than about sex or anything that precedes sex because reaching that state is their real goal.
Explorers are all about novelty in sex. They like trying new things and experimenting. She explains that this type doesn’t always enjoy everything they try sexually, but they still appreciate the novelty and variety of their experiments.
For the fair trader, sex is all about reciprocity. They want a balance between giving and receiving in bed.
She explains that the giver views sex as a gift that they give to their partner, and they enjoy giving much more than they enjoy receiving. They like focusing on their partner and their pleasure instead of their own.
Vanessa identifies guardians by their need to have safety and security around sex. She says they care very much about boundaries and enthusiastic consent in sex. She reveals that for some people, this emphasis on safety and consent is the result of previously enduring sexual abuse, but she admits that others simply like for sex to be safe and enthusiastically enjoyed.
The Passion Pursuer
This type loves pursuing all-encompassing, intense, passionate, and even animalistic sex. She says this type of lover is very in tune with the energy between them and their partners during sex, and she tells us they want to feel like time stands still, leaving only themselves and their partner in the world.
The Pleasure Seeker
For pleasure seekers, Vanessa describes sex as being all about feeling good. They care about the simple pleasure of enjoying their bodies interacting with someone else’s.
For this type, Vanessa explains sex must feel like a priority in the relationship. She explains that they need to feel desired by their partners, and to believe that their partners are not making excuses about being tired or too busy for sex. She notes that they value consistent, frequent sex and require partners who will work to keep sex a regular activity.
For romantics, it’s all about the connection they feel to their partner during sex. She continues to say it isn’t really about the physical act or the hedonistic pleasure for them, but the emotional bonding and intimacy that sex engenders.
Sex is about spirituality and connecting to a higher energy or purpose for spiritualists, Vanessa explains that for them sex is a transcendent experience.
Thrill-seekers most enjoy sex that’s forbidden or taboo. They enjoy kink, power plays, dominance and submission. She says that if there’s a twinge of this is naughty or we shouldn’t be doing this, that thought only intensifies the sexual thrill-seeker’s enjoyment
Sexual Personalities in Action
Vanessa has heard all of these motivations for sexual activity in her practice, but she emphasizes that people will typically combine two to three personality types in their love lives. She describes the purpose of the quiz as a conversation starter that helps people understand their sexuality and learn how to discuss sexuality with their partners more clearly.
The decompressor, explorer, giver, and passion pursuer are what Vanessa sees most often, but she emphasizes that all of the personality types are very common.
An Online Quiz Can Help You Discern Your Type
Vanessa informs us that there is no need to read and reread descriptions to find out the sexual personality types of you and your partner. Her team is finishing up a quiz that can be found at vmtherapy.com to take out the guesswork.
She insists that her personality type quiz is meant to be lighthearted, but it can lead to genuine discussions and discoveries that can hopefully improve people’s sex lives.
Vanessa affirms that it’s common for people in a loving relationship to have different sexual personality types, but she believes that all of them can work together, even if some pairings require more communication before sex to ensure mutual satisfaction.
She discusses that guardian types and the thrill-seeker can be a tricky combination to navigate because one wants regimented and well-guarded environments while the thrill-seeker aims to bring in more, new, different, and potentially dangerous activities. However, Vanessa mentions that people who are into BDSM are usually proponents of safety and enthusiastic consent. Under those or similar circumstances, she assures us that the guardian and the thrill-seeker can be a fantastic combination.
She also mentions that the pleasure seeker can be at odds with the spiritualist. She explains that the spiritualist wants to create a transcendent experience and basically leave their body behind, while pleasure-seekers are focused on enjoying their bodily pleasures of orgasm and sensual, very physical, touch. However, she insists that this pairing can work out by having conversations focused on finding ways for both of them to have their needs met.
Talking About Sex Types
One way that Vanessa suggests people can compromise about their sexual desire is to take turns while emphasizing their partner’s type during sex one day, and their own type another day. She also suggests that it could be fun to run through all the personality types and play with every manner of sex.
She mentions that taking the sex quiz and talking about it to your partner can be a fun and playful method of entering into a discussion that reveals each partner’s true desires and allows those desires to manifest in bed.
Vanessa Marin earned bachelor’s degrees in Human Sexuality and Sociology from Brown University before attaining a master’s degree in counselling psychology. Her writing has been featured over 1,000 times in periodicals as prestigious as The New York Times; Allure; Lifehacker; O, The Oprah Magazine; Harper’s Bazaar; Refinery29; and Real Simple.
With her sister Jennifer and her husband Xander, she specializes in online courses like The Passion Project: A Couples’ Blueprint to Rediscovering Desire and Reigniting the Spark and Finishing School: Learn How to Orgasm.
Resources for Vanessa Marin:
Listen to “132: The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland” on Spreaker.
The Pleasure Gap
Katherine explains her initial interest in sexual pleasure gaps began with her journalistic coverage of the search for a female version of Viagra. She describes being intrigued by the prevalence of the notion that there is something fundamentally wrong with women’s level of sexual desire.
She argues that feminine sexual desire is an ephemeral state that stems from myriad sources and appears as a final state that is or isn’t reached. She says it’s not a single trait that can be manipulated directly. Upon seeing this attempt to manipulate female sexual desire, Katherine began to interview women about their own sexual desires and what brings them sexual satisfaction.
Men and Woman Experience Sex Differently
In broad strokes, Katherine explains the Pleasure Gap is a measure of social inequality. She explains three intersecting ideas, the first being the differences men and women give in the accounts of sexual experiences. She says men report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than women, they achieve orgasm more readily, and are happier with their sex lives overall. She also informs us that men feel less stress, pain, and anxiety related to sex.
By contrast, she tells us women commonly report low desire, absent pleasure, muted or unfulfilling orgasms, sexual aversion and disinterest. She points out that women beat themselves up for feeling that way about sex. Katherine reiterates that these are common female experiences of sex, but woman are prone to blaming themselves for their problems.
She suggests that even women who report some satisfaction during sex may not be experiencing the event completely. Katherine mentions one study in which 50% of female participants reported having an orgasm when the scientific monitors for orgasms indicated no orgasm had occurred. She says this suggests that women’s education about their bodies and their possibilities is distressingly subpar.
Female Sexual Dysfunction
Curious about this disparity in human feeling, Katherine shares that many women express sexual dysfunction, asserting that their genitals feel numb or dead, all while lab tests report ordinary, healthy function of those organs. In other words, she noticed that women were responding physically to sex without any pleasure or intimacy being experienced in their brains. She suggests that because the mental and emotional aspects of sex are so important to women’s pleasure, that medications that aim to help women enjoy sex by affecting their genital performance miss the mark.
Sex in Media vs. Sex in Life
The third gap Katherine mentions is the gap between the sex we’re sold in the media and the sex we actually want and find fulfilling in life. She suggests that our modern notions of a liberated identity suggest that women should want and exude sex constantly, but real women often experience the opposite reality. She suspects that the problem is rooted in the lack of education women receive about sex and pleasure.
Ms Rowland also cites the stereotypes that men, the socially dominant sex, are supposed to desire lots of sex, while women are limited to being a gatekeeper restricting sexual access. Katherine believes that women need to be taught that pleasure is worthwhile and healthy so that they can feel comfortable exploring what gives them pleasure and allows them to enjoy sex.
What genuinely leads to satisfying good sex is intimacy, freedom of expression, creativity, safety, and being empowered to explore what genuinely turns you on.
The Effects of Sexual Trauma
Sexual trauma and abuse can also hinder women’s experience of their bodies according to research. She explains that women with this history may feel numb and distance themselves from the experience of sex or be hyperactive and hypervigilant during sexual encounters, leading to them feeling too stressed to enjoy sex. Women Katherine talked to also noted that women are inevitably objectified in pornography, which can lead to women objectifying themselves, instead of seeing sex as an avenue to express their own desire.
What Woman Want
She tells us that the scant research available on what makes good sex suggests that sexual satisfaction has nothing to do with the physical aspect of genitals coming together.
Feeling fully present in the moment—often achieved through mindfulness and the like—and feeling overwhelmed and encompassed by their experience to the extent of forgetting about daily obligations are markers Katherine found in women’s reports about good sex.
Katherine also found women asserting a need for safety, and the need to feel confident exposing the full extent of their sexuality with their partner. She mentions that many women who discuss transcendent sex often describe it in spiritual terms – as if sex is a way to break into people’s spiritual interiors as a homecoming in the other person.
What Women Can Do to Improve Their Sex Lives
Katherine asserts that her book is not proscriptive, though she does provide resources for self-inquiry and erotic amplification. Katherine does suggest that women can try to shut off the external noise distracting them from sex as much as possible to increase sexual immersion. She also suggests that they can explore their bodies and fantasies to enhance their knowledge of their bodies and their sexual experiences.
Katherine Rowland holds a masters in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. At the same university, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow in medical anthropology. In the past, she published and served as the executive director of Guernica. She’s contributed to Nature, the Financial Times, Green Futures, the Guardian, the Independent, Aeon, Psychology Today, and more. She is the author of the Pleasure Gap.
Resources for Katherine Rowland: