#196 – Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn

#196 – Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn

Listen to “196: Bodyfullness – Dr. Rachel Allyn” on Spreaker.

In this episode, Dr. Rachel Allyn, a holistic psychologist, and pleasure expert, walks me through the concept of “bodyfullness.” Sharing some personal experiences, she talks about how embodied mindfulness can help us heal our traumas, reclaim our right to healthy pleasures, and inspire heartfelt human connection. 

What is bodyfullness? 

Bodyfullness is the ability to use connection and movement and physical awareness, in addition to paying attention to our thoughts and feelings, to really open up to pleasure. It also recognizes the ways that trauma lives in our body but goes to the next step of owning our rights to life’s pleasures and giving ourselves mental permission to enjoy, especially in a world where pleasure has been labelled a dirty word. 

How does the practice of bodyfullness tap into our capacity for healing and connection? 

Bodyfullness is moving away from the notion that feeling good in our body is bad and should be repressed. In fact, reverence for our body is the portal to opening up to different types of pleasure. When we open up to pleasure just within our own self, we connect more to others, and it helps us to open up to intimacy and relationships, be it sexual or platonic. 

How do we overcome some barriers to bodyfullness such as self-acceptance and body image issues? 

Dr. Allyn believes that part of the system we’ve been raised in is the epidemic of disembodiment, and that we should start an inner revolution about our bodies. bodyfullness is not just loving our body, but also embracing pain and discomfort especially when we override our body’s messages. We should all take time to listen to the language of the body and put it into balance. 

Four essential and overlooked types of pleasure 

Dr. Allyn discusses the four types of pleasure, underscoring the need to embrace all of life’s pleasures, because we all deserve to experience every single one. She talks about sensual pleasure, playful and creative pleasure, flow states, and erotic and sexual pleasure. Embracing pleasures does not mean running away from pain. Rather, it helps us tolerate and regulate pain, and keeps us grounded and honest about ourselves in dealing with emotions. 

How do people expand their pleasure and how do they share it with others? 

Dr. Allyn suggests slowing down and giving the body permission to rest. We need to start with ourselves before moving into engaging with others and bringing in somebody else to share in our pleasures. We need to own our right to pleasures first to effectively share and open up to what others might want for pleasures. Ultimately, it is a process of give and take. 

The Pleasure Is All Yours: Reclaim Your Body’s Bliss and Reignite Your Passion for Life 

In her book, Dr. Allyn gives light to people feeling stagnant coming out of the pandemic. She hopes that her book can reignite the power of inner connection to our bodies in order to connect to others on a deeper level. The negative feelings that we experience during these trying times are all part of a natural reaction to our collective trauma. Self-compassion, patience and support from others is key. 

Biography: 

RACHEL ALLYN, PHD is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified yoga instructor, public speaker, and relationship columnist. She is the founder of YogaPsych, PLLC, a psychotherapy practice for adults that blends Western medicine with Eastern philosophy and connects the mind with the body. She has been in private practice for almost fifteen years working with individuals and couples dealing with sexuality, intimacy, and relationship problems as well as trauma, depression, anxiety, and loss. She’s been quoted in books and magazines including Yoga Journal, Women’s Health, Outside, Good Housekeeping, and Cosmopolitan. 

Resources and links: 

More info: 

 

#190 – Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima

#190 – Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima

Listen to “190: Hormones are Your Superpower – Dr. Stephanie Estima” on Spreaker.

Hormones are Your Superpower 

Dr. Stephanie Estima, author of the book The Betty Body: A Geeky Goddess’ Guide to Intuitive Eating, Balanced Hormones, and Transformative Sex, joins us to talk all about how women can take control and embrace their bodies. She talks about chronic stress, menstrual cycle, sleep, hormonal imbalance, nutrition, and how we can love ourselves by understanding them.  

“Women need to have twice as much sex than men” – Dr. Estima 

Women have 52% less serotonin synthesis than men which causes women to require twice as much reinforcement. This reinforcement could be sex or otherwise to fill that gap.  

The Betty Body 

Dr. Estima’s The Betty Body promises to help women get their own “Betty body”. Its philosophy is rooted in being size agnostic and embracing the body that you already have. The book helps driven people with a vagina embrace their gender agnostic feminine energy as much as their masculine energy by slowing down and getting attuned to their bodies.  

What the book teaches people with a vagina 

The book talks about the effects of chronic stress on physiology. Chronic stress is of two types: Eustress and Distress. While eustress gives out ‘good stressors’ to motivate you, distress negatively impacts you to de-energize. Dr. Estima talks about these stressors and their effect on your menstrual cycle and your ability to embrace your body in the book. Dr. Estima believes women must understand their menstrual cycle and how to use their hormonal flow to their advantage. 

Hormonal imbalance and sleep deprivation 

Dr. Estima explains the impact of hormonal imbalance and the various hormonal compositions that occur while moving from perimenopause to menopause. She stresses the importance of mastering the natural bases like generalized movement, stress reduction, and nutrition before considering other options like hormone replacement therapy.  

She talks about the impact of sleep, regular sex, and orgasm on the vitals (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, and menstrual cycle) and the activation of pleasure centers in the brain. To solve sleep deprivation, Dr. Estima suggests avoiding bright lights in the evening and keeping caffeine intake to 12 hours before sleeping. 

Advice for women struggling with orgasm  

Dr. Estima advises women who’ve never had an orgasm to take it slow and spend an hour every day exploring their bodies to figure out what they like. Self-pleasure could be the first step towards discovering more about your pleasure points. She emphasizes the freedom in play and the lack of pressure. She suggests resistant training and protein intake improves the synthesis of testosterone for people experiencing anorgasmia.  

She leaves us with hope for every betty to look inside themselves for their worth rather than external validation. 

Biography: 

Dr. Stephanie Estima is a doctor of chiropractic with a special interest in metabolism, body composition, functional neurology, and female physiology. 

She’s been featured on Thrive Global, of the Huffington Post, has over 3.5 million article reads on Medium.com, and has helped thousands of women lose weight, regulate hormones, and get off medications with her signature program, The Estima Diet. You can hear her every week on her podcast, Better! With Dr. Stephanie. 

Resources and links: 

More info: 

 

#188 – When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman

#188 – When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman

Listen to “188: When your partner has Alzheimer’s – Wanda Braveman” on Spreaker.

When your partner has Alzheimer’s 

Wanda Braveman joins me today to share her personal story through her book, “White Knight: Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment.” The book details her difficult journey with a partner who had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. She talks about how their relationship changed, issues of consent, and their sex life while sharing her powerful story.  

Background of their Relationship  

Wanda reminisces about her first encounter with her husband, Joe, and their connection on their first date. After their heartwarming encounter, Wanda says they had no contact with each other for a year until Christmas time when they finally got together and ended up getting married 9 months later. Discussing their relationship before Alzheimer’s, Wanda talks about Joe’s achievements of high diving in high school and his high intelligence. They had an incredibly passionate sex life and a normal married life. Four and half years into the marriage, they realized that Joe couldn’t read the time on his watch, which they mistook for poor eyesight. Later, she realized they needed a doctor after Joe couldn’t remember his social security number or his co-workers’ names.  

Sexual Relationship After Being Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s  

Wanda’s husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 57. They continued having a sexual relationship; Wanda says, “It was like saying goodbye.” Seven months into the diagnosis, their sexual relationship took a turn when the act was no longer filled with tenderness and romance, but something that could quickly have turned into sexual assault. Wanda then took action to put a stop to it. While there are many books about the clinical aspect of Alzheimer’s disease, there were none about how Alzheimer’s feels from a personal perspective. It was a book that Wanda needed when she had no one to talk to about her experience as she was going through it. 

Wanda describes the advancement of Alzheimer’s as inconsistent. As their lovemaking stopped, Wanda was concerned that, since his inhibitions were lowered, he might attack other women or their daughters due to his sexual frustration. Their relationship took a turn from being intimate to Wanda assuming the role of his mother and taking him to work every morning.  

Role of Consent  

Wanda combined his dislike of showers with lovemaking, intending to give him pleasure; a ‘loving gesture’ as Wanda says. She grappled with how consent played out in the later years. She realized their relationship dynamic and the context of him reciprocating loving actions, such as rubbing soap and confessing his love to her, made it clear that there was consent. However, she emphasizes that what was right for their relationship in this context isn’t right for everyone.  

Wanda learned to take her pleasure into her own hands and recognized how to take care of herself in a healthy way.  

Dealing with Grief  

While Wanda battled with grief during this time period, noticing Joe’s happiness, she learned to be in the moment and savor it. Although she experienced grief with every change that occurred, and then some more, later on, she stayed present with him. Wanda’s book is used in her husband Steven’s therapy practice called, “Care for Caregivers”, where they focus on how caregivers feel and deal with their loved one’s disease.  

Parting Words  

Wanda’s book addresses caregiving for everyone including mothers, children, spouses, or those with full-time jobs. It applies to everyone, including people of the LQBTQ+ community who are in a loving partnered relationship with a partner diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. She leaves us with parting words, urging people to stay and live in the moment with their loved ones even when it’s difficult to assume a role.  

Biography  

Wanda offers a fresh new approach to ISGC with her memoir, “White Knight: Living with Alzheimer’s Moment by Moment”, and her warm counseling style. She makes caregiving a personal experience and enjoys sharing her life-gained wisdom and experience with others. In addition to the day-to-day management of our center as an Office Manager, Wanda is the founder and leader of our cutting-edge group, Care for Caregivers Group, based upon her book. She designed this group to enable people to become their own “White Knight” through learning and practicing self-care methods, as well as a positive, stay-in-the-moment philosophy, and to apply these principles to their work with loved ones who need their care. “You have to take care of yourself first!” This group is also for professional caregivers; it’s our experience that all caregivers need support. Wanda also co-leads our Monterey Transitional Support Group for the Transgender Community and our Sacred Sexuality/Tantra workshops for those seeking a closer connection with themselves and their beloved.  

More info:  

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com  

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com  

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com  

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com  

Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

#187 -Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi

Listen to “187: Considering Polyamory – Martha Kauppi” on Spreaker.

Considering Polyamory 

Martha Kauppi joins me in talking about her book, “Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients)” which acts as an aid for therapists and serves as a self-help manual for people who are considering polyamory or encountering problems around polyamory.  

What is polyamory? 

Martha defines polyamory as an open relationship where some or all partners have agreed to have more than one romantic and/or sexual partner. Her book caters to all forms of ethical non-monogamous relationships; even the ones that might have started out rocky.  

Is polyamory an identity or a choice?  

Martha believes polyamory could be an identity for some and a choice for others. While some consider it something that they choose, others identify themselves as polyamorous because they’ve always known that their relationship dynamic would involve more than one intimate partner. For some, their choice could later develop to be an identity.  

Martha says that people choose to be polyamorous for several reasons; they could want to explore their sexuality, a kink, a fetish, or a desire discrepancy that they could not explore with their partner. To resolve the problems in their relationship and fulfill their desires at the same time, people find polyamory a logical option.  

The benefits of polyamory  

While polyamory allows someone to have multiple partners and experience different kinds of sex, it’s also an opportunity to form a supportive and caring family. People develop communication skills and endurance in a polyamorous relationship, and along the way, it opens one up to personal, relational, and emotional growth. Martha’s book addresses these topics and offers strategies to improve and apply these skills in and outside of the relationship.  

Pitfalls and how to overcome them  

Martha says that coercion is one of the biggest pitfalls. To avoid it, one has to figure out what they want, feel, or value beyond just the terms of polyamory or monogamy, but what they represent to their partner, and how to come to a place where they can advocate for themself. It eliminates the possibility of being pushed into saying yes but also allows one to expand their thinking and consider all options. Unlike monogamy, in polyamory, people are not subjected to choose between who to pursue. People can choose both or many and decide the dynamics of each relationship.  

Emotional regulation and jealousy  

Emotional self-regulation helps manage difficult emotions that are triggered in polyamory, such as jealousy. While co-regulation is seen often it’s not always reliable. Martha emphasizes that one has to decide to manage these emotions, and then have an honest and open conversation to address things before they’re revealed in a way that can’t be avoided.  

How to make strong agreements  

Skills in ‘differentiation of self’ aid in making strong and sustainable agreements. A strong agreement is one that all partners agree on and revisit before it’s broken. It’s more important to figure out how to make a strong agreement one at a time than having one at all.  

Martha encourages people to find a therapist who is willing to work with them to develop skills that make it possible to have a relationship that they desire.  

Biography:  

Martha Kauppi is a marriage and family therapist, educator, and AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor with a lifelong career in health and sexuality. Martha specializes in working at the intersection of sex and relational issues. She creates and presents educational materials that are based on theory and scientific knowledge while also being practical, effective, and immediately applicable by therapists and their clients.  

Resources and links:  

Website: https://instituteforrelationalintimacy.com/about/  

Book: Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients) – released on 15 May 2021. Available at Rowman & Littlefield, Amazon, and in UK outlets  

More info:  

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com  

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com  

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com  

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

#182 – When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson

#182 – When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson

Listen to “182: When You’re the One Who Cheated – Tammy Nelson” on Spreaker.

When you’re the one who cheated 

Tammy Nelson, the author of the book When You’re The One Who Cheats, joins me to talk about cheating and infidelity from the point of the cheater. She offers her interesting insight on why people cheat, what it’s like to be cheated on, and the recovery process.  

Is it Infidelity? 

Tammy defines infidelity as forming a relationship outside of your primary partnership; a relationship with a sexual context such as flirting online or paying a sex worker, in which you are dishonest about these relationships with your primary partner. The pandemic has caused an increase in online infidelity. People cheat for various reasons, but Tammy says that defining what infidelity means to you can help to start a conversation with your partner and can establish an agreement of implicit monogamy. 

Kinds of Infidelity  

While some people cheat to break up, for others, it’s a wake-up call to turn something around in their relationship. In Tammy’s words, “People rarely look for someone to cheat with, they look for someone to be.” Only 7% of affairs end up in marriage with the other person, while most affairs don’t last longer than a year. People who choose to make it work after the affair should acknowledge their changed relationship and incorporate their needs and desires into the new relationship to avoid another affair or any resentment. 

Recovering from Infidelity

Before sharing anything with family or friends, it’s best to deal with the trauma in the conflict/crisis phase. The partners should process everything, from how it happened to how they’ve changed, in the insight phase. In the vision phase, the partners make decisions about moving forward. The goal of recovery is not to forgive, but to work on building a new sex life that is fulfilling. She points out red flags that people need to look out for before deciding to move forward. 

Should You Tell Your Partner? 

A partner who confesses to an affair after it’s over to feel good about themselves, knowing it could devastate their partner, is selfish. Many feel that they would want to know if their partner ever cheats, Tammy suggests, considering the extent of information you would want to know. 

How to Avoid Cheating 

Tammy believes people also cheat because they have experienced developmental challenges of a second adolescence and seek to evolve their personalities. They rebel against their partners as they did with their parents. To avoid cheating, partners can work through this stage together to reinvent themselves and have fun. She also advises seeking therapy and outside support to grieve the end of the relationship instead of using your partner for it. 

Advice 

Tammy advises us to differentiate between intuition and fear because intuition allows us to trust and move forward. 

Biography 

Tammy Nelson Ph.D. is a Board Certified Sexologist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, a Certified Imago relationship therapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Executive Director of the Integrative Sex Therapy Institute as well as Director of the Ph.D. program in Counseling and Sex Therapy at Daybreak University in Southern California. She is the author of several books including Integrative Sex and Couples Therapy, When You’re the One Who Cheats, The New Monogamy, Getting the Sex You Want, and What’s Eating You? Her latest book Open Monogamy will be released in November 2021 with Sounds True Publishing. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, NY Times Magazine, CNN, Rolling Stone, and Time Magazine. She is a TEDx speaker and host of the podcast The Trouble with Sex. She is in private practice in Los Angeles CA. 

Resources and Links:

Website: https://drtammynelson.com

Podcast: https://www.thetroublewithsex.com/podcast

Book – When You’re The One Who Cheatshttps://www.amazon.com/dp/1999481003/

Email Tammy and get your free E-book! https://drtammynelson.com/contact/

More info

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com

Access the Free webinar: How to want sex again without it feeling like a chore: https://intimacywithease.com/masterclass

#181 – When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein

#181 – When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein

Listen to “181: When Sex Hurts – Dr. Irwin Goldstein” on Spreaker.

When Sex Hurts 

Dr. Irwin Goldstein, the founder of field of sexual medicine, joins me in the conversation about female sexual pain. He drives the talk with tons of fascinating information about sexual pain, including what are the different categories, common causes, and treatment options. 

The prevalence of female sexual pain 

Within the last month, 1/3rd of women reported experiencing sexual pain or some form of discomfort during sex, while only 2% to 7% of men reported sexual dysfunction or secondary pain.  He urges women to ensure they find the correct medical professional and find answers to their questions as he has found many women go untreated due to misdiagnosis. 

Dr. Goldstein best categorizes various kinds of sexual pain by the area it originates. The pain in the vulva is diagnosed as vulvodynia. However the vestibule is often overlooked as the source of pain, and more than 90% of the time is misdiagnosed as vulvodynia. 

Hormonally Mediated Vestibulodynia 

Dr Golstein warns against birth control pills as they have harmful side effects that can eventually affect your sex life.  He urges women to consider other birth control methods like Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) – IUDs, Nexplanon and Implanon contraceptive implants, and progesterone. He further informs that The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The American Academy of Pediatrics no longer consider birth control pills as the leading method of contraception. 

Causes in Older Women and Treatment Options 

For older women over 40, the hormonal challenges of menopause are a leading cause of pain. He mentions that women go through two stages of menopause, where the first one causes low testosterone levels and the latter causes low oestrogen levels. He shares available treatment options for this. 

Other Common Causes and Treatment Options 

Among other causes, Dr. Goldstein talks about Neuroproliferative vestibulodynia, a condition where women suffer from life-long pain. Monistat is the number one medicine women use that causes neuroproliferative vestibulodynia. The only treatment option available is surgically removing the vestibule, which has an 80% cure rate and is completely non-disfiguring.  

Tune in for valuable advice that can make a huge difference in your life. 

Background 

Dr. Goldstein has been involved with sexual dysfunction research since the late 1970s. He has authored more than 350 publications as well as multiple book chapters and edited 6 textbooks in the field. His interests include penile microvascular bypass surgery, surgery for dyspareunia, sexual health management post-cancer treatment, genital dysesthesia/persistent genital arousal disorder, physiologic investigation of sexual function in men and women, and diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunction in men and women. 

Dr. Goldstein is Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital, Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of California, San Diego, and practices medicine at San Diego Sexual Medicine. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Sexual Medicine Reviews and past Editor of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. He is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health and of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. He holds a degree in engineering from Brown University and received his medical degree from McGill University. 

The World Association for Sexual Health awarded the Gold Medal to Dr. Goldstein in 2009 in recognition of his lifelong contributions to the field, 2012 he received the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health Award for Distinguished Service in Women’s Sexual Health, in 2013 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sexual Medicine Society of North America, and in 2014 he received the ISSM Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Sexual Medicine. He is happily married to his college sweetheart Sue, and together they have three children and five grandchildren. 

Resources and Links: 

National Vulvodynia Association: https://www.nva.org/ 

International society for the study of women’s sexual health: https://www.isswsh.org/ 

Book: When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain 

Schedule a Courtesy Call with San Diego Sexual Medicine: http://sandiegosexualmedicine.com/courtesy-call 

More info: 

Sex Health Quiz – https://www.sexhealthquiz.com 

The Course – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

The Book – https://www.sexwithoutstress.com 

Podcast Website – https://www.intimacywithease.com 

Access the Free webinar: How to want more sex without it feeling like a chore: https://www.intimacywithease.com/masterclass 

           

 

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