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 “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:
Sex and Orthodox Judaism
Diversity in Jewish Beliefs and Practices
Dr. Shy describes Jewish law as a corpus of Jewish religious requirements. He explains that every aspect of life has regulations to help Jews proceed through life. He discloses that there are disputes within the Jewish community about who can interpret Jewish law, leading to different sects of Judaism being formed, each with their own practices. Dr. Krug reminds us that he can only share his own interpretation and some alternate views he’s encountered personally and professionally.
Listen to “130: Sex and Orthodox Judaism – Dr. Shy Krug” on Spreaker.
The Spirituality of Sex in Judaism
The doctor describes Judaism as a sex-positive religion that appreciates the human body and human experiences. He emphasizes that Judaism encourages its adherents to elevate the mundane and the physical to the holy through thoughtfulness, intentionality, and restriction. He says Judaism contains many laws and restrictions on sex that are meant to transform a potentially carnal act into a holy union that increases both people’s connection to each other and to God. He tells us that in the Jewish view, conceiving a child is an act involving three people: the man, the woman, and God.
He counters this interpretation of Jewish law by describing smaller, rarer sects that see sex as a necessary evil that should be experienced infrequently. He states that many people with this belief see sex as a necessary transaction that occurs within marriage.
The Sexual Power of Jewish Women
Dr. Krug mentions there is a Jewish law that requires men to satisfy their wives sexually. He explains that a man cannot demand sex from his wife, but a wife can demand sex from her husband. He clarifies that a man can tell his wife that he’d like to have sex, but compelling her to have sex isn’t licit. This imbalance of power can create tension when the man wants to have more sex than his wife, but he tells us Orthodox couples often mitigate this disparity by refocusing on sex as a holy and intentional act, rather than a purely physical drive. He implies that the absence of desired sex allows men to reinforce the intimacy and holiness of sex through the delayed gratification abstinence ensures.
Family Purity Laws
Dr. Krug describes family purity laws that require men and women to separate when the woman is menstruating. During menstruation and for seven days following her period, he says that Jewish men and women cannot interact sexually. Dr. Shy describes several protective barriers many employ to fulfill this law, like sleeping in separate beds, not sharing food from the same plate, not passing things to each other, and not feeling each other’s weight. When two people sit on the same couch cushion, he explains that they feel each other’s weight when they move; he informs us that Orthodox Jews avoid doing this during this part of a woman’s cycle to avoid the desire to touch each other that such closeness might incite. While the Bible does not give the reason behind these restrictions, he informs us that Talmudic sources extrapolate that physical distance encourages couples to focus on the verbal and emotional elements of their marriage and maintain the excitement of sex.
Dr. Shy asserts that premarital sex is prohibited in Judaism. He informs us that some Jews will avoid all physical contact with potential mates and many Jews avoid being alone with each other altogether. He informs us that in the most right-wing forms of Judaism, girls and boys are kept apart and schooled separately, allowing them to reserve all sexual education until their children are old enough to marry. Some Jews, he tells us, do have premarital sex and cohabitate with partners before marriage, but those practices are not widely accepted in Orthodox communities.
While he admits that some Jews do masturbate or utilize pornography, he points out the clear Biblical prohibition of masturbation, which he defines as the spilling of seed to avoid pregnancy. By contrast, he explains that because women do not spill their seed, they are permitted to masturbate, but they are advised to restrict the frequency of their masturbation and focus on maintaining their marriage’s intimacy first and foremost.
Sex Ed in Jewish Orthodoxy
Sects vary in their approaches, but he describes the modern Orthodox sect teaches about sexual health, puberty, relationships, and communication in middle school. By high school, he informs us that students are educated about masturbation, pornography, and healthy sex practices. He says that modern Judaism acknowledges that people are sexual beings and that it’s important to acknowledge and understand human sexuality. He explains that marriage classes also inform the youths of the laws surrounding marital relations, family purity, and the ritual baths women must take monthly. He says that developing intimacy, foreplay, and discussing the origins of sex outside of the bedroom are also covered in these classes, though he tells us more right-wing sects will clothe the education in more modest language.
Condoned and Prohibited Sex Acts
While Dr. Shy clarifies that some rabbis condone sex acts like oral sex and manual stimulation as long as ejaculation always occurs inside the spouse’s vagina. He reveals that teachings vary with regard to women receiving oral sex, with some saying men can perform oral sex on their wives if it’s dark or he doesn’t look at her vagina. Dr. Krug admits that Orthodox Jews are often allowed to utilize sex toys and engage in manual stimulation. He emphasizes that the law that women need to be fulfilled during sex is so important that many rabbis will bend rules if it helps women achieve orgasms.
Laws about Homosexuality
Dr. Krug conveys general agreement that homosexual sex between men is prohibited, but even with that blanket prohibition, some homosexual sex acts are seen as more illicit than others. He explains that some rabbis will guide homosexual men towards performing sex acts that are less harmful, because continuing practising Judaism is considered more important than practising every law successfully. Dr. Krug remarks that Judaism understands that people do not choose their sexuality, and rabbis do not turn people away for being gay.
What About Sexual Dysfunction?
Dr. Shy tells us that some Jews might go to their rabbi first when they struggle with some form of sexual dysfunction, while members of more liberal sects may consult their medical team first. When rabbis are faced with a man experiencing problems like premature ejaculation, he says they will understand it as a physical problem that can prevent procreation and as an issue that can forestall marital intimacy and spiritual health. As such, Dr. Krug remarks that many rabbis will relax the normal laws against things like masturbation for as long as the prohibited act is part of the man’s medical treatment.
Gentle Advice for Gentiles
Dr. Krug suggests that the intentionality and mindfulness surrounding sex can help gentiles improve their relationships. He gives the example of sensual massage, saying that being fully present while touching and being touched improves the act. In general, he believes that being motivated by the higher goals of emotional intimacy and the sensual act of truly being present for your partner can enhance sexual and emotional intimacy.
Dr. Shy Krug holds a PhD in clinical psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a B.A. in psychology with a minor in biology from Yeshiva University. At the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, NY, Dr. Krug parlayed his pre-doctoral internship into a two-year post-doctoral fellowship assessing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder and Gulf War Multisymptom Illness. Subsequently gaining a certificate in Sex Therapy from The Buehler Institute, certified training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, he is now a staff psychologist in the general outpatient department and sexual health clinic at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, where he supervises and teaches the internship program. Dr. Krug also has a private practice in the Upper West Side of Manhattan where he treats sexual dysfunction, relationship difficulties, anxiety, and trauma.
Resources for Dr. Shy Krug:
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.
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
- Take care of yourself first. If you’re uncomfortable during sex, she advises telling your partner and making the sex better by avoiding discomfort.
- 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.
- Communicate openly and directly. Dr. Diana reminds us that no communication is clearer than spoken words.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
How Dr. Beverly Whipple Started Studying Sex
Dr. Whipple got her start while she was teaching nursing students. A sexual topic was broached that she didn’t have concrete answers for, and so she gave the inquisitive student a rain check. She then realized sex classes needed to be taught and that she wanted to be the one to do it. After being forbidden to teach the apparently taboo discipline, she took her services to institutions which allowed it. And that’s how she got her start. From there she went into particular research projects and she has been going strong for 40+ years. For more, from the charming woman herself, listen in.