#166 – Communicating Sexual Desires and Boundaries – Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez

#166 – Communicating Sexual Desires and Boundaries – Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez

Listen to “166: Communicating Sexual Desires and Boundaries – Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez” on Spreaker.

Communicating desires and boundaries 

In this episode, Yael Rosenstock Gonzalez talks all about how to understand and communicate your own desires and boundaries to your partner. Today’s topic of discussion lines up with the four pillars of Intimacy with Ease Method to help you have the best sex of your life! We hear talks of red flags, tips on how to work with your partner around these aspects, and most importantly, real life applications. 

Is it One conversation? 

Communicating desires and boundaries are put together in a conversation because when people are engaged in making sure everyone is having the best time possible, criminalized behavior is unlikely. While sharing her views, Yael points out the stigma around the conversation of consent and sexual assault. 

Why is communication so important?  

It’s important to understand our method of communication. Yael tells people to reflect on how they communicate their sexual or non-sexual needs. While communication could mostly be verbal, it’s important to recognize the meaning of the cues you give off and to make sure people in your life are aware of it. It avoids unclear messages and conflict. 

Reasons why people struggle communicating about sex 

Yael says there are several reason why someone struggles communicating about sex. It could be revealed when you ask yourself questions of who and why. Your anxiousness could be the result of a sex taboo, shame around your own pleasure, or the expectation of knowing what’s wrong in your sexual relationship without any proper communication with your partner. For some people with insecurity, Yael advices to make communication sexy by asking what you want and by validating your partner during sex. And for someone with shame around pleasure, you should question the series of incidents like getting caught that resulted in it. You become confident in communicating about sex by undoing these patterns. 

Myths around sexual communication 

Yael breaks down some of the myths around sexual communication. People overemphasize penetration during sex. People believe sex is enjoyable only with penetration and they neglect oral sex. For a lot of people arousal happens before the penetration and it’s important to be in tune with your own arousal to effectively communicate it with your partner. Yael also breaks down myths around sexual chemistry. People assume their partner would just know what they want because of the sexual chemistry they both have. While it could be true for some people, Yael says it’s mostly communication and putting in the work that’s important. Communicating your desires doesn’t mean there’s no chemistry. Yael also talks about instances where people mistake their lack of sexual chemistry or interest as being asexual when in reality, it could mean either that they are asexual or that they didn’t find the right partner or gender. It’s important to be aware of your own sexual desires to be able to communicate effectively. 

Communication about boundaries before or during sex? 

Yael advices people who experienced sexual violence or trauma to be aware of some of the things that act as triggers, keeping in mind that triggers may change. In those instances, it’s advisable to talk about your boundaries with your partner before sex to avoid activating these triggers. She also urges people to communicate their needs and tell them how their partner can help them create a safe space. You can also have a conversation before sex about things you want to try or things you might want to try and things that you don’t want to try. 

How does respecting these boundaries look like? 

When you have a trigger or feel uncomfortable doing something, your partner should be supportive in accepting you. They should be patient to wait and listen when you’re ready to talk about it and not put blame on you. This is how respecting boundaries looks like Yael’s view. 

Reasons why people don’t respond well to boundaries 

Yael believes some people don’t respond well in these situations because of either being caught off guard or because of their surfacing insecurity and doubts. There are also instances where people take it as a “challenge to teach you,” thinking it will help you overcome what makes you uncomfortable. While Yael says shifts may occur, it’s likely to occur in a supportive environment rather than to occur by force. Yael also brings up an interesting reason where people are unsupportive because they’re missing out on something they enjoy. Yael gives a solution for this that she says could come as unpopular among people is to seek those things outside the relationship after having a clear conversation and make an ethical and consensual decision. 

Sometimes a partner could feel like an abuser when in these situations. And a lot of times people let their partner do things they’re uncomfortable with to avoid making them feel like a violator. In this situation, it’s best to take a break before deciding whether or not to have a conversation. 

What to do when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries? 

Yael shares some of the red flags to recognize when someone doesn’t respect your boundaries like putting the blame on you, pushing you and shaming you. When your boundaries are not respected, it’s time to walk away. Yael asks people to re-evaluate the value of that person in your life and re-evaluate the reasons you’re keeping them around. She points out the reality of how we’re not taught to make boundaries or talk about how a healthy relationship looks like. It’s one of the reasons why many people don’t recognize a non-physical unhealthy relationship. 

Finally, Yael leaves us with a thought provoking fact that boundaries are not always meant to be physical. Boundaries can also be made for time, space and the emotional energy you spend. She says boundaries can be set to things like letting people share their emotions to setting a time and place to send and receive nudes. 

Resources and Links:  

Website: https://sexpositiveyou.com/

Website: https://www.yaelrosenstock.com/  

Book – An Intro-Guide to a Sex Positive You: Lessons, Tales, and Tips  


Courses: https://sexpositiveyou.com/#workwithme 

Instagram: @yaelthesexgeek 

Facebook: @YaeltheSexGeek 

Twitter: @yaelthesexgeek 

More info: 

Training video – https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/video-choice

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

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

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

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

Access the Free webinar: How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressured or obligated: https://intimacywithease.com/free-webinar  






#165 – Stepping Into Your Feminine Wild – Natalie Frasca Surmeli

#165 – Stepping Into Your Feminine Wild – Natalie Frasca Surmeli

Listen to “165: Stepping Into Your Feminine Wild – Natalie Frasca Surmeli” on Spreaker.

Natalie Frasca Surmeli is here today to talk about stepping into your feminine wild and what it means. This episode talks of awakening feminine desire and pleasure by slowing down and getting familiar with your own body. Natalie shares her insight of pleasure practices, practicing a new way of being and why it matters.

Natalie’s Story – what did she unlock?

Natalie shares the story of her journey that brought her into this path of discovery. Being a mom of 3 at a brink of divorce, overwhelmed and falling into depression, she sought out her therapist’s advice to slow down. The scientist in her rattled between the ideas of the universe guiding her and a lack of proof. When she gave in to the idea she realized that her presence, her actions and what she puts out into the world matters.

She came to a realization that doing more and working harder is not the answer to a fulfilled life. Natalie works with women in teaching pleasure practices to help them slow down and reconnect with their desires, which ultimately leads to a better sex life and intimacy.

Reconnecting with your body – Gender difference

When it comes to exploring self it doesn’t matter where on the gender spectrum you are or who your partner is. Natalie gives yoga, meditation and movement practices as examples to get in touch with your desires. It’s important to be intimate with your body and self before sharing it with your partner.

Advice that drove her away from divorce

Natalie points out advice from her father and later from therapy that drove her away from divorce. To obtain different results you have to start doing things differently. She says it’s a commitment, a process that takes time. It’s intentional work put forth by both partners to grow together. Natalie also talks about introspection. She points out that it’s your partner’s greatest pleasure to please. It’s less of a responsibility and more of a desire and a learning curve to discover what you like.

Pleasure Practices

Natalie gives out a few please practices to implement in getting to know yourself. To explore your body in a sensual way, to discover new areas of your body, she suggests self-oil massage, dance practice with closed eyes and mirror staring in the morning. There’s a number of things we are not taught about our own body and pleasure and it’s time that we explore it. Desire can be accessed in all moments of our life. Awareness practices in which we think about things that make us feel good. Natalie describes these things as the most simple and mundane activities we perform just for the sake of our pleasure. She suggests writing down 3 big to-do things for the day and something else that gives you pleasure. For Natalie, it’s taking a walk in the woods. Make a conscious effort to recognize the simple pleasures of your day and gradually transfer it to sexuality.

What ifs

Women who want to make a change, Natalie says, they’ve to make a choice. A choice to take out time from their busy life, reach out and make a commitment. For all the time spent in taking care of everyone around, it’s time to regain that energy for yourself.

Benefits of non-sexual pleasure

Natalie emphasizes non-sexual pleasure with self and a partner. Natalie calls to embrace the human being’s desire to be seen and to surrender. The greatest intimacy with a partner or with yourself can be built by exploring your bodies.

Feminine and Masculine energy

Natalie describes feminine energy as desire, surrender, flow and creation. Feminine energy calls to slow down while masculine energy strives to move forward and achieve. A balance is needed to be formed between the two for an individual to embrace it to the fullest. It’s the same for all genders.

How to have a conversation about sexuality with kids?

Natalie offers her insight on how to have conversations with kids about sexuality by giving an example of her daughters. She starts by talking about masturbation. She says it’s their duty to get to know their bodies and to explore their own pleasure before exploring it with a partner. She reflects on her own childhood when these conversations didn’t exist in her catholic family. Unlike her upbringing when she was taught bodies to be shameful, she makes it a principle to encourage these hard conversations in her family. It goes beyond sexuality to everyday tasks. Natalie and her family prioritizes activities that excite them and family time over extra math classes. “It’s about making space to explore other interests”, as Natalie says.


Natalie Frasca Surmeli is the founder of “Tribe of Wolves”, a mentor, coach, speaker and a mom of 3. She guides women to explore their feminine wild by making a “Feminine plan”. She teaches the fundamentals of Divine Feminine, Divine Masculine and Universal Energy and how to tap into these energies every day. She helps women reconnect with their self and bodies using pleasure practices.

Resources and Links:

Website: ​Tribe of Wolves
Facebook Group: Tribe of Wolves: Women Who Want MORE

More info:

Training video – ​​https://jessazimmerman.mykajabi.com/video-choice
Sex Health Quiz – ​https://www.sexhealthquiz.com
The Course – https://www.intimacywitheasemethod.com
The Book – ​​https://www.sexwithoutstress.com
Podcast Website – ​​https://www.intimacywithease.com
Access the Free webinar: How to help your partner want more sex without making them feel pressured or obligated: ​​https://intimacywithease.com/free-webinar

#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) 


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. 


#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. 


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: 




#117: Medical Approaches to Women’s Sexual Concerns with Dr. Ashley Fuller

#117: Medical Approaches to Women’s Sexual Concerns with Dr. Ashley Fuller

After accumulating nine years of experience working as an obstetrician and gynecologist at Swedish OB/GYN Specialists First Hill, Ashley Fuller transformed her practice into gynecology and sexual health. She claims that she was better able to pursue her passion for women’s sexual health by removing the obstetrics branch of her practice. In her practice she offers checkups, gynecological surgery, and regular exams including pap smears and STD screenings. She aims to help women with sexual and gynecological problems evaluate treatment options and make the best choices for their needs and lifestyles. 


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