110 episodios

Better Sex is focused on helping all couples create and enjoy their best possible sex life. Better Sex is hosted by Jessa Zimmerman who is a couples’ counselor and nationally certified sex therapist.

Each episode will dive into one topic related to sex. Some will be devoted to addressing sexual concerns like sexual dysfunction, differences in sexual desire, and intimacy problems. Some will help you develop realistic and helpful expectations. And some will offer information and approaches that can just make your sex life better.

The information and discussion on the podcast should not be taken as medical advice or as therapy. Please seek out qualified professionals for medical and therapeutic advice.

Better Sex Jessa Zimmerman

    • Sexualidad

Better Sex is focused on helping all couples create and enjoy their best possible sex life. Better Sex is hosted by Jessa Zimmerman who is a couples’ counselor and nationally certified sex therapist.

Each episode will dive into one topic related to sex. Some will be devoted to addressing sexual concerns like sexual dysfunction, differences in sexual desire, and intimacy problems. Some will help you develop realistic and helpful expectations. And some will offer information and approaches that can just make your sex life better.

The information and discussion on the podcast should not be taken as medical advice or as therapy. Please seek out qualified professionals for medical and therapeutic advice.

    109: Sleep, Snoring and Sex – Lindsay Tucker

    109: Sleep, Snoring and Sex – Lindsay Tucker

    My guest today is Lindsay Tucker. She is the founder of artfulsleep.com and is on a mission for better sleep for all. When managing a snoring partner, she has a fresh perspective on the challenges that can arise. To her, instead of getting rid of the disruptions, she teaches the powerful concept of accepting the disruptions and becoming a better, stronger sleeper regardless. Within this episode, she shares anecdotes and expands upon the idea of becoming a more resilient sleeper.

    The Link Between Sleep and Sex
    Lindsay says that most people can see the link between sleep and sex because it can create a really special bond. It’s also an intimate setting – hello, it’s the bedroom after all – and any disruptions in sleep can have considerable carryover into a couple’s sex life.

    Lindsay actually shares a story about the first night she stayed the night with her husband. And right when he fell asleep, the whole house shook with his snores. She said it was so loud that she had to leave the bedroom and head to the couch. Upset and unsure if she would ever be able to cope with his seismic snores in the future, she didn’t know what to do.

    She says she doesn’t share the story to make her husband feel bad, of course, but only to accentuate the close connection between sound sleep and a harmonious relationship.

    Snoring is not Insurmountable
    Lindsay says that you’re never going to change the person who snores, but you yourself can change and learn how to sleep better.

    She says that you can work on getting rid of the disruptive blue light that messes with your circadian rhythms. This can lead to more peaceful sleep, even if your partner is a loud snorer. Additionally, instead of this subtractive approach, there’s also an additive method.

    Adding blackout curtains or a cool room to the equation can really help you embrace the snoring and become a better sleeper. Lindsay said she tried all of the “gimmicky” things like a noise-canceling app on her phone, earplugs, and more, but they didn’t work for her.

    Health Costs for the Snorer, and the Importance of Sleep
    Lindsay says that in her experience and expertise with snoring, really the only time that there are health risks for the snorer is if they have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea prevents the sleeper from getting adequate oxygen throughout the night, which often means the person is waking up multiple times a night, gasping for air, even if they are not aware. They can then awake and feel groggy, even if the clock shows that they did in fact “sleep” deeply for 8 hours.

    A big reason why Lindsay is so keen on talking about this topic is not only her own experiences with a snoring partner but also her interest in the importance of sleep. She calls sleep the one “constant” for all of us. Sacrificing your quality of sleep is a recipe for disaster. And being sleep deprived not only saps your energy but also reduces your sexual drive.

    If you are sleep deprived, you are most likely not wanting to have sex. This is just the simple reality of only having a finite amount of energy. As experience dictates for my clients and in Lindsay’s estimation, if you are tired, the last thing you want to do is have sex. Add sleep deprivation to an already rampant snoring problem and things can get complicated.

    For much more on this subject and details on Lindsay’s program, check out the rest of the episode!

    Key Links for Lindsay:

    Her website for her sleeping program: https://www.artfulsleep.com/

    More info:
    Link to the free guide – Talking About Sex: http://bettersexpodcast.com/talk
    Join my email list here: http://bettersexpodcast.com/list
    Book and New...

    • 30 min
    108: Out of Control Sexual Behavior – Doug Braun-Harvey

    108: Out of Control Sexual Behavior – Doug Braun-Harvey

    My guest, the sexuality educator, author, trainer, and psychotherapist Doug Braun Harvey is here to share his knowledge on an important distinction in the sexual health realm: Out of Control Sexual Behavior (OCSB). Within this interview, there are discussions about classifications of sexual health, advice for psychotherapists on how to let patients present their own vision of sexual health, and an overall fruitful discussion on the nuances of the field.

    Spoken eloquently and drawing from his wide experience in the field, Doug Braun-Harvey makes this a must-listen.

    A Specific Definition of Sexual Health
    Doug says that sexual health is the “balance between sexual health and sexual pleasure.” What he means by this is that you are not only being careful about your sexual activity but also equally focusing on pleasure. He also states that sexual health must factor in the sexual rights of all involved.

    When talking about the generally agreed-upon definition of sexual health currently taught in schools, the definition has not changed for many years – where the didactic preoccupation has centered on wrapping “sexual health” in a limited, encompassing curriculum of just pregnancies, STDs, or STIs.

    Classifying Sexual Disorders
    With classifications and conceptualizations of sexual dysfunction always being defined, assigned, and redefined, it’s difficult to find the point where an out-of-control sexual behavior becomes a disorder. Classifications are made that relate sexual compulsion to impulse control; this presents challenges from a psychiatric standpoint, and even more so because most of those definitions are not made definitively – so to speak – but are only established to get a dialogue going and the research flowing. In other words, there is a lot of gray area and malleability for sexual disorders that take professionals in the field to work out and categorize.

    It’s a fascinating and complex subject that Doug does a good job at explaining within this episode.

    Out of Control Sexual Behavior
    The core concept of this talk is Out of Control Sexual Behavior. Doug defines OCSB as “when a person’s urges, thoughts, or behaviors feel out of control to them.” He says this only applies to consensual sexual behavior. And the most important distinction he makes is that OCSB is recognized as a sexual health problem and not a disease or disorder.

    He says that someone who has OCSB is not aligned with six key principles of sexual health:

    - Sexual health is consensual
    - Non-exploitive
    - Protected from STDs, STIs, and unwanted pregnancies
    - Honesty
    - Shared values
    - Pleasure and mutual pleasure

    He says that for those patients who fall out of the realm of consensual sexual behavior, into the non-consensual categorization, there is a whole different specialist they should be referred to. That training is much different and the methodology changes for patients who are not participating in consensual sex. Doug says that getting in touch with a specialist who is equipped to help the patient with non-consensual behaviors is important.

    Allowing the Patient to Determine Their Own Sexual Health Vision
    Doug says that during his assessment process with patients, he doesn’t present a certain narrative to the patients. In other words, he doesn’t tell them they have a disorder or disease but lets them present their own vision of sexual health. A lot of his patients come to him because they align with particular writings or teachings that Doug has presented, so he lets them come to him and present their sexual health identity in that sense.

    He has his patients fill out forms that delineate boundaries that they shouldn’t cross, some they are ambivalent about, and then a sexual health column that presents where they want to be from a sexual health standpoint.

    • 51 min
    107: Sexological Bodywork – Charlie Glickman

    107: Sexological Bodywork – Charlie Glickman

    My guest, Charlie Glickman, has been a sex educator for over 25 years. But it wasn’t until about 15 years ago that he realized the power of bodywork for managing and working through sexual shame. After solely teaching and writing as a sex educator, Charlie experienced firsthand just how powerful somatic therapy can be in a sexual shame context. So, he then developed his own course and practice around that discovery. This episode traces the advent of his important work in the field and moves beyond that to deliver practical insights and knowledge on the topic. A really, really important topic that I hope you get a lot from. Thanks for listening!

    What is Sexological Bodywork?

    When asked to define the term, Charlie says that sexological bodywork is “somatic education in erotic embodiment.” To further break this down, he sums it up as follows: the central focus is on the somatic aspects – the body.

    Education, in the context of sexological bodywork, is achieved when his clients leave a session with more knowledge and experience than they had coming in. This is a huge goal of the practice.

    Erotic embodiment encompasses erotic activity, but also, it adds staying present and truly “embodying” the eroticism in the moment, in all moments, that it happens.

    The Power of Flirting

    Charlie shares interesting insights on a couple who struggled to discern each other’s sexual signals. When speaking to the wife, Charlie asked her to practice flirting with him, in a professional capacity, during one of their one-on-one sessions. After doing so, Charlie said that it was hard to tell she was even doing so because her body signals were not doing the communicating for her. Instead of feeling rejected by her husband, she realized her husband probably had no idea when she was flirting. This also turned out to be the case on the opposite end of the spectrum: the husband was wary about flirting because he didn’t feel like his wife was all that into him.

    Consent Considerations

    Charlie says that his practice factors in consent as one of the most important facets of bodywork. To that extent, Charlie will not do any bodywork unless the patient lays out exactly what they are ready to do that day. There should be no guesswork when it comes to consent, and he says it’s always a good thing when boundaries are established and there’s enough trust and accountability so tht the patient can immediately say “no” and be respected in that wish.

    The Many Areas of Sexological Bodywork

    Charlie gives an overview of all of the areas he focuses on as a sexological bodyworker. These focal points range from asking for consent, telling your partner what you want, maintaining boundaries, managing shame and rejection triggers if your partner says no to sex, and pleasure mapping.

    Charlie also works with patients who have experienced or are experiencing trauma, with the goal of getting back to a healthy state of equilibrium despite those traumas. Additionally, he works with those who have gone through considerable transitions in their lives: hysterectomies, gender transitions, postpartum mothers, and a wide range of circumstances that contribute to a diverse sampling of sexological bodywork needs.

    How do Prospective Patients Know When They’re Ready for Bodywork?

    Charlie says that if the idea of bodywork sounds a little too intimidating or scary, sexological bodywork might not be right for you. He says it could be that you just need to talk to a sex therapist or a practitioner and ask some questions to test the waters out. And because there are so many specialists in the profession, it really does help to do a little bit of research on various practitioners to see if what they offer and the testimonials they provide speak to your personal experience.

    Charlie says it’s completely normal to feel nervous about...

    • 43 min
    106: Pelvic Floor Function after Childbirth – Kathe Wallace

    106: Pelvic Floor Function after Childbirth – Kathe Wallace

    My guest is the author of Reviving Your Sex Life After Childbirth, a pioneer for diagnosing and treating pelvic floor dysfunction, and also a practicing physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, specifically. Overall, she is one of the leading authorities on the PF and has a wealth of knowledge to share in this episode.

    She talks about treatment, what to expect during the “4th trimester”, and common ways of regaining sex drive after birth through pelvic floor physical intervention. Listen along!

    Postpartum Considerations
    Kathe says that what sparked her interest and important work with post-childbirth mothers was that no one was really helping mothers regain their sex drive. Additionally, she drew from her own experience as a mother to drive the work she would do with other mothers. More specifically, Kathe specializes in the all-important pelvic floor muscles.

    She says that obstetricians often don’t address the pelvic floor muscles and the importance of strengthening them after childbirth.

    The Most Common Impacts of Childbirth on the Pelvic Floor
    Kathe says that pain is the biggest reason why mothers come to her for physical therapy. She says that providing information and treatment for the pain not only alleviates the symptoms but provides a huge relief to mothers who might have uncertainties and stresses about regaining their sex drive.

    Other common reasons are simply a lack of sexual desire and incontinence due to weakened pelvic floors. Laxity and looseness is another common byproduct of childbirth on the pelvic floor, which can certainly contribute to mothers feeling uncomfortable about sex, making them more likely to avoid it.

    Kathe spends some time talking about the connecting fascia and tissue that comprise the pelvic floor and how childbirth can stretch out the tissue. It can take a lot of attention to strengthen the muscles back to form, so Kathe says it’s an important step to seek physical therapy.

    The Benefits of Kegels for Arousal and Lubrication
    Kathe says that a lot of mother struggle with getting adequately lubricated for sex after childbirth. This is a completely normal phenomenon, so she dispels the myth that only menopausal women struggle with it. Kegels and other physical interventions can really help with lubrication.

    Arousal is another closely related facet of sexuality that kegels can improve. During the “4th trimester” it’s hard for mothers to get aroused. Strengthening the pelvic floor can help immensely.

    For strengthening the first layer of muscles, she suggests the technique called the “wink and nod”. She says that if you squeeze and think about moving the clitoris, closing the vaginal lips, and winking the anus you can strengthen the first layer of muscles. For the deeper layer of muscles, you would seek to bring your anus to your pubic bone, so to speak.

    For much more on that, listen along!

    How to Release a Tight Pelvic Floor
    Kathe says that there are cases where the pelvic floor actually is too tight and could benefit from a regular release of tension. For those who perhaps are too tight, she has a wide variety of diaphragmatic breathing exercises that can help. She goes into much more detail on how to know if you can benefit from tightening or loosening exercises. Definitely, don’t miss that!

    Resources for Kathe:

    Her website: https://kathewallace.com/

    Her book: Reviving Your Sex Life After Childbirth

    Free Pelvic Floor Handout: https://kathewallace.com/resources/free-handout/

    Questionnaire for Females About PFD: a href="https://kathewallace.com/physical-therapy/patient-forms/"...

    • 38 min
    105: Trans Sexualities – Lucie Fielding

    105: Trans Sexualities – Lucie Fielding

    My guest Lucie Fielding identifies as a nonbinary femme. She is a Resident in Counseling, where she practices under supervision as a counselor in Charlottesville, Virginia. In addition to her professional education and experience in Counseling, Lucie has a Ph.D. in Literature, which has been invaluable for analyzing the narratives and power dynamics at play within our society. Those same cultural scripts have very real socio-political circumstances for LGBTQ and nonbinary communities, especially.

    Within this episode, she talks about the importance of finding the Embodied Sexual Self, of Intimate Justice, and a wide range of concepts that can only improve the quality of understanding for all who want to improve their sexual knowledge. This interview was a treat, and I know you’ll enjoy it.

    Changing the Patient-Caregiver Conversation
    Lucie says that things are not going to get better for nonbinary individuals if the dialogue between patient and primary caregiver does not come from a place of knowledge and nonbinary thinking. She says that there is a false dichotomy at play that doesn’t take into account the complex spectrum of trans–sexuality. Informing yourself and preparing for those conversations opens the door for progress and much broader conversations about sexuality and pleasure when it comes to hormone therapy sessions and the possible outcomes for each trans experience. She says it’s important to not foreclose conversations with “loss” or “function” based language. Instead, a much more open and optimistic outlook that factors in the wide range of potential experiences of trans–sexuality can truly become a great methodology for patient-caregiver conversations.

    Intimate Justice and Oppression
    Lucie states that a really key concept is one that was developed by Sara McClelland called “intimate justice.” This term defines sexual satisfaction through factors that vary from person to person and depends largely on the different strata of socio-political experience. In other words, a lot of the time, sexual satisfaction is output-heavy and hardly takes into account the existential burdens or oppressions that some people can experience in their day-to-day life. Because someone who is oppressed often has a narrower window for sexual satisfaction, intimate justice is key because it sets out to provide the full picture on sexual satisfaction, and not provide a binary framework that often pits “normal versus not normal” instead of more accurate designations.

    Lucie says much more within the episode. It’s really worth a listen!

    The Embodied Sexual Self
    Lucie defines the Embodied Sexual Self as coming into your own body: to experience the corporeal senses of your body and to come to your own understanding of your sexual being. This goes hand and hand with cultivating a passionate relationship with a partner or multiple partners where you experience the full embodiment of your sexual self. And there can be a wide range of relational energies that connect intimacy with passion from an interpersonal perspective.

    Providing a Safe Space for Sometimes Scary Conversations
    Lucie says that her practice provides a safe space for initiating difficult conversations and explorations of the uncertainties of trans–sexuality. In this sense, she encourages her patients to take the plunge and explore areas of their psyche and sexual identity they might have not had the courage to explore on their own. Creating these opportunities for transsexual and nonbinary individuals is absolutely essential for the overall psychological health of the community. She says it’s often a leap of faith, but one that’s so worth it because the benefits outweigh the costs.

    Mystifying Sex
    Within the interview, Lucie introduces the concept of mystifying sex – which, to frequent listeners of this podcast or advocates of c

    • 42 min
    104: Recovering Your Sexuality After Cancer – Tara Galeano

    104: Recovering Your Sexuality After Cancer – Tara Galeano

    My guest is a certified sex therapist and sexologist with a lot of important information to share on sex therapy for women with cancer. She is the creator of the class Rediscovering My Body After Cancer and has a book and online class in the works based around the class.

    When I asked her how she got started in the field, she says that she had always enjoyed teaching in a group setting, and providing cancer support really became a great opportunity to do impactful work in the field.

    Soon she would develop a class that women could come to for answers, and things have taken off from there, resulting in a large number of women who are better equipped to navigate the often disorienting world of cancer. This is such an important topic, so please listen along.

    Body Image Through Body Maps & Trauma Treatment
    The class, Rediscovering My Body After Cancer, started as a 6-week class, but soon Tara realized that 6 weeks was too long to commit to – especially for women with cancer who might not have the motivation or energy to attend every class or commit to such an intensive process. They cut it down to 4 weeks, and within those weeks they cover a few key areas.

    The first area they cover is body image. Many cancer survivors have scars or various bodily alterations that make it hard to maintain a positive body image. And for those who have, or are dealing with, negative body image: it can be next to impossible to care about having sex if you don’t feel good about yourself. They manage body image through a body map. This is such a great exercise for sharing with others and for each woman to get connected to their own sexuality and share aspects of it in a group setting. Tara says it’s a simple exercise, but one that is a crucial starting point for moving forward and building a positive foundation for each woman.

    The group then moves onto more treating trauma. A big part of the course is to treat trauma through shaking procedures, which are a common practice in a lot of trauma treatment efforts. Tara doesn’t specifically share the shaking exercises involved, but there are a lot of resources you can check out online, including Traumaprevention.com.

    The Power of Being in a Group
    There is so much uncertainty and complexity in everyone’s experience with cancer and the resultant effects it has on feeling sexy. Living in the group, as Tara describes it, is an incredibly enriching experience because everyone shares their experiences and perspectives for finding their own sexuality. And often all it takes is to express and vocalize one’s struggles or hope for rediscovering sexuality for the act to become fruitful. The group can bring out so many positive things that can lead to transformation and growth.

    She calls it a very normalizing process. It can get the ball rolling on discussions between partners about desire and sexuality, which can be a tough conversation to initiate for a woman who has a negative body image because of cancer.

    A Place of Healing for Women with all Types of Cancer
    Tara says that she works with a lot of breast cancer survivors, as well as other survivors, who all benefit from the group setting and the educational opportunity. There are many occupations – massage therapists deserve a lot of kudos – who function as educators on various facets of bodily pain. But there are still limitations in the amount of information that women cancer survivors are getting regarding sexuality. Many assume that someone else will delve deeper into the subject, often resulting in women who experience a lot of unnecessary pain during sex.

    Resources for Tara
    Her website: https://bouldersextherapy.com/

    Boulder Sex Therapy Facebook Page: a href="https://www.facebook.com/BoulderSexTherapy/?ref=page_internal"...

    • 39 min

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