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.
The Pressures on Men in the Bedroom
Dr. Corey Allan is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor with a PhD in Family Therapy. He has a private practice in McKinney, TX. With his wife, Pam, he hosts a weekly podcast, Sexy Marriage Radio, to help married couples engage with each other and have the best possible sex. He also established sexymarriage.net, a website that strengthens and deepens married relationships. In all his work, he helps people embrace their choice to live life and be married deliberately while growing spiritually, enhancing passion, and embracing the people and events we encounter with joy and simplicity.
Desire Discrepancy Conversation
My guest is Dr. Corey Allan. He is a professional counselor and host of the podcast Sexy Marriage Radio, which centers on helping couples experience amazing sex within their relationships. He hosts the podcast with his wife, Pam, and they share some pretty stellar information on the topic every week.
Listen to “88: Dr. Corey Allan – Desire Discrepancy Conversation” on Spreaker.
Corey also has a private practice in McKinney, Texas and holds a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. And in this episode, Corey talks about desire discrepancy in particular. More specifically, he talks about productive ways for partners to navigate the high seas of fluctuating desires and the frustrations that can occur. One of the most important concepts that he shares (among so many others) is the importance of accepting desire discrepancy as natural, and not as right or wrong.
But this is a complicated subject. And through this episode, we dissect the many nuances of a common phenomenon. Be sure to listen and learn because this affects so many of us. Enjoy!
Framing Desire Discrepancy in a Positive Way
As Corey states, close to two thirds of all relationships experience some sort of desire discrepancy within the dynamic of the relationship. So this is a common phenomenon that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong within the relationship at all.
Corey likes to frame it in a higher-lower spectrum rather than a right or wrong metric. This relieves some of the pressure and reframes this frequent aspect of relationships in a much more positive light.
He points out that sometimes it’s actually the lower desire partner who brings the necessary perspective to the relationship by shedding light on areas that perhaps need more improvement: this could be manifested in more mindful, present sex and other areas to explore for more meaningful sex for both parties. Often the lower desire partner has a good reason for not wanting sex all that much, and attending to those reasons can shift the whole relationship dynamic in a positive way.
The Harms of Pathologizing Desire
As we discussed during the episode, a common thing that happens within couple dynamics is the ‘pathologizing’ of each other’s differing desires.
The lower desire person will often ask what’s wrong with the higher desire individual, and vice versa, leading to a harmful interplay between each. It’s natural to get defensive, and it’s easy to assume that someone is to blame in the relationship; but mostly, desire discrepancy is a natural byproduct of being in a sexual relationship with anyone.
More on this within the episode.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Corey highlights the productive and constructive ways to initiate sex with a lower-desire partner. This means if you are high desire, you should not pout or whine at rejection. In addition, don’t complain that you do all the initiation–that just comes with the high-desire territory. Corey reminds you to play the long game and frame your initiation in a positive way. How you respond to your lower desire partner’s reaction is important!
Corey’s Definition for Great Sex
Corey says that the best sex is when a partner is seeking what they want, and at the same time, trying to give their partner what they want. He calls it a “fluid dance”, which could also be described as a healthy interplay between the wide spectrum of sexual interests that two people can naturally develop in their relationship.
He says that both partners have to show up to achieve this. Frequency has less to do with it. It has to do more with the quality of the sex itself. He says that if you can have good, quality sex, the number doesn’t really matter. In other words, there’s no quota to fulfill, but instead, there’s a standard of quality to achieve between both partners.
The Importance of Communication for Lower-Desire Partners
It can take courage for a lower-desire partner to speak up about their needs, or to break off an initiation, but it is extremely crucial for a healthy relationship and sexual dynamic. If the lower-desire partner can communicate their needs and be in a comfortable enough place to assert their comfort level with sex, then a lot of good can come from that. It is the responsibility of the higher-desire partner to create a space that is conducive for this type of communication to occur.
And for much more within this episode that wasn’t touched on here, be sure to check the rest of this episode out. There’s definitely a lot to chew on and digest!
Corey’s podcast: https://smrnation.com/series/sexymarriageradio/
Come As You Are
My guest today is the acclaimed author of the best selling, Come as You Are. Emily has been a sex educator since 1995, where she put her education to good use (psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy). Quickly, she realized that sex education, woman’s well-being, and violence prevention was far more fulfilling work for her personally. So, she made the switch from more neuro-centric work to that of the sex-education realm. And that switch has made all of the difference for the countless people who have benefited from Emily’s work in the field.
She has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with an emphasis in human sexuality, and the list of her qualifications could go on. And within just seconds of this interview, you will immediately understand just how smart and articulate Emily is. Listen in.
How can you bring up your sexual concerns with your partner?
On this episode, I focus on talking about sex with your partner when things are not going well. It can be uncomfortable to bring up sexual issues with your partner, and it’s for this reason that I have developed a guide that you can access with the link at the end of these notes.
Listen to “85: [Soapbox] – Talking about Sex with your Partner” on Spreaker.
While these talks may be difficult to broach, they create an arena for constructive feedback and help build healthier relationships. I share that this is how you create a sex life that works for BOTH of you.
A vital part of this is to first get over any fear you may have about talking about sex. Facing these challenges as a team is crucial to solving them. I outline three different stages for having this type of conversation.
Like anything, without clarity and knowing what you want, you will have no direction. I emphasize the importance of this step. Highlights are picking up on patterns, emotions, and thoughts in your sex life. As part of the preparation step, I urge you to identify how you contribute to the problem. “Every situation is co-created.” I bring up a few important questions for you to answer and flesh out in this step. Empathy is also a factor in the preparation step, and I gently guide you around this to help you understand your partner, too.
Approach your Partner About the Topic
“Making time” is something to consider as opposed to spontaneously bringing up the sex talk.
I talk about the value of having a time limit on your conversation, too. I genuinely want you to find a solution, and having a collaborative attitude sets a healthy foundation for working together and talking. This will probably not be solved with one go, so expect a series of talks ahead of time.
How to talk about this
With collaboration in mind, I urge the use of “I” language. Tune in to learn more about this. I suggest creating space by allowing your partner to tell you how he/she/they feels. In addition to this, “distinguish between what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling.” Tune in to hear my advice on filters and managing triggers. You will learn about empathizing and exercising control in this step, too.
Among other valuable tips, I also emphasize, “Don’t have sex that makes it worse.” Listen for more!
Link to the guide sex: https://bettersexpodcast.com/talk
Join my email list here: http://bettersexpodcast/list