#135 – Optimal Sexual Experiences – Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz

#135 – Optimal Sexual Experiences – Dr. Peggy Kleinplatz

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: 

  1. Being totally absorbed in the moment 
  2. Sharing a connection with  your partner 
  3. Deep sexual and erotic intimacy 
  4. High levels of empathic communication 
  5. Fun, laughter, exploration and good risk-taking 
  6. Authenticity 
  7. Vulnerability 
  8. Transcendence 

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 

Website: www.optimalsexualexperiences.com 

Book: Magnificent Sex: Lessons from Extraordinary Lovers (routledge.com/9780367181376) 

Background 

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. 

 

#134 – Senior Sex – Joan Price

#134 – Senior Sex – Joan Price

Listen to “134: Senior Sex – Joan Price” on Spreaker.

Senior Sex 

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.  

Responsive Desire 

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. 

Scheduling 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. 

Sexual Rights 

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. 

Background 

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 BelovedThe Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain—or Regain!—a Spicy, Satisfying Sex LifeNaked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior SexBetter 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: 

https://joanprice.com/ 

https://joanprice.com/blog 

https://youtu.be/efGXHzf19Bs 

http://eepurl.com/cx2Nab 

https://seniorplanet.org/author/joan-price/ 

https://www.hotoctopuss.com/senior-sex/ 

#132 – The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland

#132 – The Pleasure Gap – Katherine Rowland

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. 

Background: 

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: 

https://www.katherinerowland.com/ 

https://www.amazon.com/Pleasure-Gap-American-Unfinished-Revolution-ebook/dp/B07RKW3FZ7 

 

#129 – Sex during quarantine – Dr. Diana Wiley

#129 – Sex during quarantine – Dr. Diana Wiley

Sex During Quarantine

Jessa and Diana feel compelled to note that this episode of the Better Sex Podcast was recorded on June 1, 2020. Diana suggests that quarantine’s stress of forced togetherness is hard for many couples. But in addition to that, she talks about how the recent murder of a black man by police has provoked riots in cities across the country, a political firestorm that only adds to the stress people are feeling during the quarantine. 

Listen to “129: Sex During Quarantine – Dr. Diana Wiley” on Spreaker.

The Rebirth of Ourselves and our Lovers 

Referring to the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dr. Diana saw the free time with our families as an opportunity to grant our relationships a second birth. She tells us that many couples haven’t had sex in a long time, and many have never been especially intimate with their partners. She recognizes both states as challenges that must be overcome to rekindle love and sex in relationships. That’s the reason she gives for publishing her book—Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine—and the relationship-building tools that fill its pages.  

Health Benefits of Sex 

Dr. Diana educates us about the many benefits of sex and intimacy, telling us that having sex or touching your partner is scientifically shown to reduce stress. In her practice, she tells us she often recommends massage to her clients as a method to reconnect because massage lowers cortisol and adrenaline levels when certain pressure points are stimulated on the body. She also teaches that touch, especially sex and orgasms, relieves stress by releasing oxytocin, a neurochemical which increases bonding, is a natural sedative, and increases empathy.  

Even masturbation reduces stress and has positive effects on health, Dr. Diana assures us. More surprisingly, Diana discusses that there are nonsexual self-touch exercises that also reduce stress and improve health. Unfortunately, she admits that unlike sex with someone else, the body does not release oxytocin during masturbation.  

When it comes to how sex impacts the rest of people’s lives, Diana and her husband like to say, “It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s the fountain of youth,” about sex because having sex dramatically increases the feeling of vitality regardless of biological age. 

Salvaging and Reigniting Broken Relationships 

Dr. Diana claims to have written her book primarily to enrich people whose relationships are already doing well but want to take their intimacy to the next level. However, she acknowledges that some people are quarantined with unsuitable or violent partners, while others are cohabiting with a partner that they intended to break up with before the quarantine put the brakes on that process. For couples who were planning to break up, Dr. Wiley suggests they come together and have a conversation about whether their relationship is worth salvaging.  

For people who want to salvage or restore their relationship, she says the process of reigniting relationships begins with a conversation about what each person wants from the relationship. To help couples reconnect physically, she describes writing about lots of nonsexual touch exercises. After they become comfortable touching, Diana explains that they can set achievable goals like becoming great at kissing or having a make-out session. She says these actions and discussions can help reveal hidden desires and build the confidence needed to enter the marital bed and take time with sex. Dr. Diana claims that the change in pace should increase the quality of their sex life. She reminds us that women tend to need twenty minutes of foreplay, oral sex, and penetration to reach orgasm and receive all the benefits of sex. She offers tools to accomplish this in her book. 

Touching with Your Clothes On 

In her book, Diana encourages couples to assess the intimacy of their relationship when they’re not having sex. She argues that couples probably don’t feel closer when they’re just watching TV together, which is why she supports intentionality about touch and connecting. She knows that not all families physically demonstrate affection, but believes that touching and hugs are irreplaceable glue for relationships. In her book, she writes that a seven-second kiss or a fifteen-second hug is enough to release oxytocin and create meaningful bonding on a daily basis. 

The Sex Menu 

One of the tools in Dr. Diana’s book is what she calls a sex menu. She describes the menu as a chart listing sexual activities and allowing each person to select a yes, no, or maybe reaction to indicate their desire for those acts. She says that many people get to anal sex and say no or maybe, but Dr. Diana reminds us that anal play doesn’t have to involve a penis in an anus. She describes rimming, which can be accomplished by moving a clean, wet finger around the anus, which stimulates nerve endings to create a very pleasurable experience. 

Date Nights 

In the second chapter of her book, Diana instructs couples to plan their date night at home. Under normal circumstances, she told people to have a date night one time every week, but with the forced closeness of the coronavirus quarantine, she believes having a date night twice per week is helpful. She says some of her patients believe that scheduling date nights would kill spontaneity, but Dr. Wiley argues that spontaneous sex is a Hollywood myth, and people need to put sex on the calendar. By scheduling sex, Diana claims that the partner with a lower sex drive can feel relieved because they know they won’t have to have sex until the marked day, which allows her to prepare herself for sex by reading romance novels, taking long baths, masturbating, or doing anything else that can increase her sexual enthusiasm. When that time comes, Dr. Diana believes that giving massages is a great way to start any sex session, because it allows both parties to be relaxed.  

Dr. Wiley recommends that both partners discuss what they want from the evening. She claims that being sensual, considering all of our senses, is particularly helpful. She does admit there are limits to her book and her methods when she explains that resolving mental health issues and relationship tensions are necessary before increasing touch, as sex and romance are only truly effective for people who like each other. 

Seven Secrets for Sensational Sex 

  1. Take care of yourself first. If you’re uncomfortable during sex, she advises telling your partner and making the sex better by avoiding discomfort.
  2. Maintain and respect boundaries. She asserts the value of boundaries, saying it’s important to discuss what you do and don’t like, and to avoid pressuring each other into performing undesired sex acts.
  3. Communicate openly and directly. Dr. Diana reminds us that no communication is clearer than spoken words. 
  4.  Don’t take anything personally. The doctor informs us that sometimes people aren’t in the mood for sex or specific sex acts. She reminds us that there are any number of reasons this could happen, and it’s unwise to presume it has anything to do with you. 
  5. Focus on your partner’s pleasure. Diana’s husband expresses this as, “Worship your woman, and the goddess will reward you.” Though the phrase is gendered, Diana assures us the sentiment applies to men and women alike. 
  6. Don’t take each other for granted. Dr Wiley says that expressing praise for your partner and growing in gratitude every day is a great method to cultivate life satisfaction and marital bliss. 
  7. Let go. Diana mentions that many women are very inhibited, which limits their ability to explore new things and enjoy sex. In her practice, as marijuana is legal in her state, she often recommends the substance as a method of pushing through inhibitions and having fun. She says that alcohol can serve a similar purpose, but it’s more harmful and not as useful. 

 

Background 

Diana Wiley, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a board-certified sex therapist, and a gerontologist. With over thirty years of experience helping clients navigate problems in their sex and love lives, she currently works with clients in her office in Seattle, WA, and via online telehealth sessions. With her radio show on Progressive Radio Network, “Love, Lust, and Laughter” she’s been reaching additional listeners and helping more people for a decade. She’s published two studies in medical journals on aging and sexuality and was appointed as a Clinton Presidential Delegate to the 1995 White House Conference on Aging. Dr. Wiley is a skilled speaker and has given lectures and presentations on Aging and Sexuality in Amsterdam, Paris, Spain, Japan, India, and at many US conferences. Recently she became the author of a book to help people stuck in quarantine called Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine. 

Resources for Diana Wiley, PhD 

Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine, by Diana Wiley, PhD

https://www.deardrdiana.com/ 

https://drdianawiley.com/ 

#128 – ADHD and Sex – Dr. Ari Tuckman

#128 – ADHD and Sex – Dr. Ari Tuckman

ADHD and SexDr. Ari Tuckman 

To reach an ADHD diagnosis, Dr. Tuckman reports that a 45-minute interview is required. With the media coverage of young boys with ADHD, Dr. Tuckman says that most clinicians can diagnose childhood ADHD accurately, though he notes that girls aren’t diagnosed as often as boys. He suggests that clinicians might expect ADHD more often in boys than girls, leading to them not noticing the symptoms.  

Ari says that adults with ADHD also have a harder time being diagnosed, partially because their symptoms vary a little. Grown men and women almost never display the hyperactivity of ADHD youths, he admits, but forgetfulness, poor time management, losing things, and high distractibility continue to impact people’s personal and professional lives throughout adulthood. 

Listen to “128: ADHD and Sex – Dr. Ari Tuckman” on Spreaker.

He shares that adults with ADHD frequently realize they have ADHD themselves in what he calls a two-for-one: Parents bring in their child for an assessment and realize they also display ADHD symptoms, leading to simultaneous diagnoses. 

Adult women with ADHD can be particularly difficult to diagnose, according to Ari. He tells us that they often present with anxiety and depression, but he reports that most clinicians stop their analysis there, when the root cause of their mental anguish stems from poor executive function, poor time management, and other, similar symptoms of ADHD. 

ADHD Symptoms 

Dr. Tuckman explains that it’s easier for people with ADHD to maintain focus on more interesting activities and on tasks that have a strict, close deadline. Being consistent and reliable are difficult tasks for people with ADHD, admits Dr. Tuckman. In these scenarios, partners with ADHD often lament their lack of reliability, while partners without the condition hate seeing themselves turn into a nagging spouse. 

Dr. Tuckman describes another scenario where one person who likes everything organized in a rational manner, marries someone who isn’t as attentive or consistent about item placement at home. He says this often becomes a power struggle when what is needed is a method of reconciling their differences by coming to a compromise. He informs us that partners with ADHD will genuinely commit to the compromise and will often fulfill it for a few days, but before long they get derailed by things like getting home late, work difficulties, or not sleeping well the night before. He adds that this also leads to nagging and relationship struggles. 

ADHD or Simple Laziness? 

Ari asserts that ADHD is characterized by a failure to actualize good intentions. He describes people with ADHD as genuinely intending to fulfill their responsibilities, and he tells us that they are aware of the positive and negative repercussions that will occur if they do or don’t—for example—take out the trash. They’re often angry at themselves for neglecting their duties and breaking their promises. Dr. Tuckman assures us that adult ADHD isn’t purely about forgetting to perform menial tasks. He says they often forget things that outright hurt themselves, like leaving their lunch at home. He contends that their good intentions and their tendency to harm themselves with their disease distinguish them from people who simply want to avoid housework. 

Sex and ADHD 

Ari relates that when he was researching his most recent book, he had 3,000 people fill out a form that covered their marital relationships and their sex lives. He found that most people with ADHD enjoy their sex life when they are having regular sex. Unfortunately, Dr. Tuckman discovered several barriers to intercourse including partners not having enough good feelings about each other and the couple not having enough time to have sex. The former problem comes from the power struggles described earlier, but Dr. Hickman describes the lack of time as resulting from getting distracted and consequently taking more time to do things. 

The ADHD Sex Drive 

Within the aforementioned survey, he placed several questions designed to measure the sexual eagerness of people with ADHD. By asking how often they masturbate, how long it takes them to get revved up, how frequently they would like to have sex, and similar questions he found that people with ADHD are significantly more sexually eager than people without ADHD. He theorizes that just as people with ADHD tend to be more influenced by what’s going on around them, they may also be more easily influenced by the regular thoughts about sex that float through their minds. He further theorized that having one member of a relationship respond to sexual impulses more strongly can help to maintain the couple’s sex life by incentivizing the intentional pursuit of sex in the relationship. Alternately, he admits that differences in sex drive can create a wedge between the couple. 

Sexual Satisfaction with ADHD 

Dr. Tuckman sees a lot of couples in his office who are struggling because the ADHD partner is male, and the increased sexual eagerness of his condition magnifies the already high male sex drive. He says this difference in desire combined with the way women frequently assume chores and tasks often leaves women in relationships with male ADHD patients exhausted and unhappy.  

By contrast, he found that when women have ADHD, the couple has sex 25% more often than couples where the male has ADHD. He points out that men with ADHD tend to have the highest sex drive, while women without ADHD have the lowest sex drive—a situation that naturally causes conflict. However, Ari explains that women with ADHD and men without ADHD both sit in the middle of the spectrum, with sex drives that are more similar. He speculates that having a similar sex drive between partners may lead to happier relationships in general because the good feelings from sex spill into and enhance other parts of the relationship. 

Treating ADHD with Medication 

Ari says that prescribing stimulants to ADHD patients is an excellent idea. He informs us that the stimulants prescribed for ADHD are some of the most effective medications in psychiatry and they’re non-addictive if taken as prescribed. This is particularly important to Dr. Tuckman because untreated ADHD doesn’t just result in poor school performance, but also lowers lifetime earnings, leads to increased car accidents, and even lowers lifespan because of ADHD’s tendency to reduce a person’s self-maintenance abilities and its ability to reduce a person’s ability to seek and comply with medical advice. 

Non-Medical ADHD Treatments  

Ari tells us that a lot of great resources are published to help people and their partners cope with ADHD. Seeking out better methods to get things done, get organized, and get on top of things. He suggests that cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help some symptoms.  

Navigating Sex and Romance 

When it comes to romantic relationships, he maintains that both partners must come to an agreement that they both can accept. He emphasizes that this does not mean either partner should completely change and do things their partner’s way, as that is unsustainable and avoids the fact that healthy relationships involve a give-and-take that satisfies both partners. He points out that if your sex life is important to you, working on your relationship will help that out. Similarly, he asserts that working to have a better sex life will improve the nonsexual elements of your relationship too. He explains that it’s hard to have a truly intimate sexual experience with someone you’re mad at, but reaching a level of deep, vulnerable union during sex absolutely colors the hours and days that follow. 

 

Background 

Dr. Ari Tuckman has a private practice in West Chester, PA where he specializes in diagnosing and treating adult ADHD. As a certified sex therapist, he also focuses on couples counseling and sex therapy. He frequently presents and co-chairs at CHADD, the national ADHD advocacy organization, and has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, and several other media outlets. The author of four books, his most recent is “ADHD After Dark: Better Sex Life, Better Relationship,” a title that explores the impact of ADHD on romance and sex. 

Resources for Dr. Ari Tuckman 

http://adultADHDbook.com 

 

#123 – 5 Core Conversations – Julie and David Bulitt

#123 – 5 Core Conversations – Julie and David Bulitt

5 Core Conversations 

The Genesis of Five Core Conversations for Couples 

Julie explains that she met David as an 18-year-old at the University of Maryland, which led to a 33-year marriage. She and David celebrate the fact that their differing work (David is a divorce lawyer, while Julie works as a couple’s therapist) affords them very different perspectives on dating and relationships. They tell us that their experience of marriage in their personal and professional conversations encouraged them to share their insight in a book they named Five Core Conversations for Couples.   (more…)

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