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.
Ep225: Boozy Bestie Advice for Sex and Relationships – Desiree Simone
For the final episode of the Better Sex Podcast, blogger Desiree Simone shares her journey on divorce and how it led to her blogging her feelings as she was going through the process. More than a decade later, through her blog that evolved into a podcast, Desiree lets us in on the most common mistakes that she gets from people regarding relationships, dating and sex and the kind of advice she gives on every challenge and mistake.
Top bad decisions people make about relationships
With the onslaught of social media, one common mistake is still having a social media communication with your ex-partner. It is one thing when you just want to see what the other person is up to, but even just looking is a form of engagement. There is a slippery slope in this scenario, although still on a case-by-case basis, of becoming a little bit obsessed as to what they’re doing and looking at it every day. There’s a great danger of going down that rabbit hole of really trying to get additional information. You then would wonder why it is important to you suddenly? Are you just platonic Facebook friends? The emotional response is the one that you need to be careful of because it can get you asking whether you still have feelings for your ex? Am I really over this person? Am I ready to move on?
You also must think about the effect it would have on your current partner once they find out that you still have that emotional connection that you are holding on to. Ask yourself: How would you feel if your partner was doing the same thing? If you realized you wanted to get back to your partner, you must be honest even if it will make you look bad.
Another problem still related to social media is the need to make all aspects of the relationship public. It tends to create chaos because you are inviting other people to put their two cents in. Ask yourself: Why do you need to do it and to what gain? Creating an image of a perfect relationship or marriage on social media is dangerous as it feels the need to compete.
Top bad decisions people make about sexual relationships
The biggest mistake people make is not openly communicating to their partner the things that they like and do not like. It is important to let your partner in. We all must be better at being able to talk effectively to our partner about things that work or do not work for us. Sex is about you too and not just your partner. It is important to find ways to make the experience amazing for both parties. Fake orgasms do not serve anybody, and you will be miserable doing it.
Another thing in line with this is talking about things that you might want to try. Do not repress it because you might end up being resentful in the end. You should feel comfortable enough with your partner to open up. If you are on the receiving end of this, you should welcome any conversation without judgement, even if it is something you don’t have any interest in doing. Be accepting, even if you are not interested and try to find a happy medium. There should be no kink shaming.
Another thing is the issue of watching porn and masturbating. Some people think that this is a form of cheating. If this is an issue, it is important to step back and really understand where your partner is coming from and why they have this thought about porn and masturbation. From there, start to peel the layers to understand but whatever you do, do not feel like it’s your responsibility to change your partner’s mind.
Desiree Simone is a blogger and host of the “Break Bottles, Not Hearts” podcast. She’s known as “The Boozy Bestie”, your go-to friend who helps with relationship issues with love and good cocktails. Originally from Georgia, Simone has a dual degree in Public Relations and Rhetoric and worked for Carnival Cruise Lines for over 10 years as a Production Singer. Her take on love, sex and dating is equal parts...
224: Pregnancy and Postpartum Challenges for Sex – Paula Leech
In the quest to know the various kinds of things that get in the way of sexual desire, sex therapist Paula Leech walks us through two situations that probably have the most profound impact on sex life and interest in being sexual for couples, particularly in women: pregnancy and having a baby. What are the challenges and opportunities, as well as strategies for people who are in either of these stages?
Sexual struggle while trying to get pregnant/during pregnancy
Fertility is getting more and more challenging nowadays because of the life that we live in, so more and more couples are struggling to get pregnant and needing to have intervention. What we know as a natural human process now becomes an intense one, and all the anxiety can just hijack it and make it all so hard. As a result, sex can become something that is very clinical, high stress, high pressure, and obligated. The fun and the casual nature of it can shift. Having to do the process month after month on a somewhat scheduled basis can have a dramatic change in the nature of a couple’s sex life and can really impact their experience and interest in being sexual.
Barriers to intimacy after giving birth / adding a child to the family
Giving birth or having an addition to your family changes your life, and your sexuality is profoundly impacted by this. Your world just flipped upside down, and the reality is that your body will be in survival mode. It will take different amounts of time to recover. The baby’s needs are so consuming; your spouse’s sexual needs can easily go down the priority list. Physically, changes after birth can also complicate sexuality. Chemically, having sex with the partner can be replaced by bonding with the baby as mothers get the same kind of hormones. So, the biological reality is you can easily lose desire to have sex during this period for the first one or so years.
Reconnecting with partner
During these two phases, challenges around sex and finding connection with your partner are discovered. On top of the insane amount of change happening, you can also find yourself renegotiating the roles in your relationship with your partner, as well as getting to know your partner as a co-parent. This is also the phase where you will be finding yourself, as well. When you can’t find yourself, you are not going to feel good about sharing yourself with another person. Desire is such a complicated recipe. You got to feel tethered to yourself enough and be comfortable in your own skin to be able to show yourself.
How to maintain a sense of intimate connection, maintain some focus on pleasure and presence
There is no going back to normal after either of these processes. Anxiety is the primary culprit for most sexual dysfunctions. if you are stressed, the body shuts down sexual functioning. Also, this may be the first time that you will be confronting a big change to your sex life, but it definitely won’t be the last thing you are going to adapt to because your sexual life will just undergo natural changes (as you get older, for example). Bear in mind that this is a season. This is a hard, painful, and vulnerable experience for couples to go through, and there is no going around it. It may require talking again about what intimacy means now, how to expand that definition of intimacy and find ways to get connected with your partner. Seek help if needed. Most importantly, give yourself a lot of credit and grace as you are navigating the most profound amount of changes in such a small amount of time.
Paula received her bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Development at Arizona State University and then went on to receive her master’s degree in Family Therapy at the University of Massachusetts, in Boston. Post family therapy licensure, Paula became AASECT (American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors,...
223: Premature Ejaculation – Keeley Rankin
Keeley Rankin joins me in a conversation to talk about solutions for Premature Ejaculation. She talks about the anxiety attached to this problem, various approaches and why they don’t work, and her five-model approach to help with early ejaculation.
What Qualifies as Premature Ejaculation
Keeley’s work as a sex coach is oriented around connecting and communicating with one’s body and focusing on making the experience pleasurable. She defines the experience of early ejaculation as ‘an anxious feeling of how long one is going to last during the act’. While for many it’s a matter of normalizing and educating on what’s expected. For others, it’s an ‘anxiety response to arousal’. She categorizes each case as either severe, moderate or mild.
Where Does Anxiety Start?
Keeley believes this anxiety could either be traced back to someone’s early sexual experiences or could cultivate in the later part of life. She notes that many of her clients are unaware of the anxiety they’re experiencing in everyday life and warns people not to take random advice.
Thoughts on Conventional Treatments
She refutes some conventional approaches to early ejaculation, such as thinking about something not sexy during sex, strengthening one’s kegel muscles, using SSRIs, and numbing sprays. She presses the importance of being present and connected with your body’s sensations during sex rather than numbing them.
Keeley talks about her five-model approach to help people with early ejaculation. She takes us through the five steps of breath, anal breath, arousal and anxiety curve, and spreading erotic energy through the whole body. The approach focuses on being able to slow down, relax the sphincter and pelvic floor area, breathe down your body and master the ability to hold the higher arousal state without anxiety.
Tune into the episode to learn about each step in the five-model approach!
Pleasure Work as Individuals and for Couples
People work on this individually to understand the theoretical process and lay a foundation through self-pleasure until one can become capable of enjoying sex without the anxiety. They can then increase the stimulation through movement, noise or by adding new things, and then lastly bringing in a partner. She adds that a partner could be included to do bodywork.
How Can a Person Bring it Up with Their Partner?
Keeley advises partners to communicate around pleasure without pressuring the other person or consulting a professional to help when communication gets difficult.
Keeley Rankin is a sex and relationship coach, pleasure advocate and a sexy-preneur. She works with individuals and couples who want to embrace their innate desires, build sexual confidence, and fully realize their sexual potential.
Keeley received her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and has been featured in media outlets such as The Huffington Post and Oprah Magazine. She’s trained in Hakomi Therapy and Recreation of the Self, both body-based mindful therapeutic modalities for uncovering and healing subconscious and childhood wounds. For seven years, she worked closely with the world-renowned author and transpersonal psychotherapist who coined the phrase ‘spiritual bypass’, John Welwood.
As an expert in male sexual struggles, she created the Premature Ejaculation Mastery Video Course for men to learn to last longer in bed from the privacy of their own homes.
She also specializes in facilitating deep erotic connections for couples. Pre-Covid, she would meet couples in Paris for the unique-extreme-sexy-connected date night – private sessions aimed to prep the couple for an evening at a sex club.
Resources and links:
222: Testosterone for Women – Dr. Matt Chalmers
This episode talks about hormones and how it affects sexual function and overall health of women in particular. Dr. Matt Chalmers explains two primary hormones in women, testosterone and estrogen, and what we can do to keep their levels in check and keep your sex drive up.
Testosterone and estrogen
Dr. Chalmers said the problem he ran into is people think that women should focus on their nestrogen levels, which is not really the case. For sexual conversation purposes and if you are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, headache and/or joint pains, we need to look at the estrogen level. Otherwise, we look at your testosterone level, because as we start raising that, the body will convert testosterone into estrogen, balancing the two hormones.
What is the function of testosterone in women?
For health purposes, testosterone helps regenerate muscles (your heart is a muscle, your blood vessels all have muscles in them, so this aspect is important). But for sexual functions, testosterone in men can make a lot of things better from a physiological standpoint such as erection. What people fail to remember is that the clitoris is the same tissue embryonically, so you can also get more nerve functions and more blood flow into the clitoris if you give women the right amount of testosterone. A stronger orgasm, for example, is often noticed with higher levels of testosterone.
Are there any lifestyle changes that are going to affect testosterone levels?
Stress plays a big part, so your stress level will be evaluated first. We bring nutrients level back to where they’re supposed to be, and then we work on your mind so you can learn how to deal with your stress. That can naturally bring testosterone levels up. However, there is a point in time where your stress, your genetics and everything plays a big role where if we cannot bring it up after that, then we go to the injections, and that will get us where we need to be.
Are there risks/potential side effects for women using testosterone supplementation?
Clotting is a safety factor to look at. With higher testosterone, blood gets thicker, so you need regular blood tests. Typical side effect in men is hair loss. With women, some experience acne, darkening of hair, and a good chance that you will gain weight. It ramps up your metabolism so you’ll lose fat but gain muscle, so you may look skinnier but not lose weight on the scale. In that aspect, it will not help with weight loss but will work on fat loss.
Hormone therapy is recommended to be done for the rest of your lives for its physiological benefits – osteoporosis, heart functions, sexual functions. If we can find a way to take the stress away and bring testosterone levels naturally back up to 100, that is better than medical intervention. But in this time that we live in, there are lots of factors that affect our hormone levels – bad nutrition, bad sleep, high stress and environmental toxins. With hormone therapy intervention, we are increasing the quality of life by changing the physiology a little bit so we can have all the functions that we want to have. Dr. Chalmers underscored, however, that we still need to look hard at the stress level because even with even with high-level testosterone, high sex drive may not be possible. It could be that you fix how your days are structured first before we change the chemistry in your body.
Dr. Matt Chalmers is a health and wellness expert, author and speaker who specialises in the areas of long-term wellness, nutrition, women’s health, weight loss, athlete wellness and holistic healing.
With a client list that includes professional athletes, business executives, politicians and celebrities, Dr. Chalmers takes a holistic-based approach with patients to identify and treat the source of their issues. Medical doctors regularly...
221: Sexual Communication – Dr. Tara
Do you know the real secret to having an amazing sex life? After years of research and talking to thousands of respondents, Dr. Tara might have unlocked the answer to that big question. Learn what you can do to start having better sex with your partner and how to get that satisfaction that we need in our sex lives.
What is sexual satisfaction?
Sexual satisfaction is a subjective measure of how you feel about your sex life. There could be a lot of factors affecting this, but generally, it’s not merely counting how many times you are having sex with your partner to say that you have a healthy sexual relationship, but it’s about a subjective evaluation of your life. Do you feel good about your sex life? Are you having great sex with your partner? Do you find your intimate encounters pleasurable?
How to achieve that high sexual satisfaction
Results from Dr. Tara’s study showed that sexual communication is the strongest variable – inside or outside sex – in predicting sexual satisfaction in couples in the long run. Sexual communication can mean easily having sex talk with your partner. It also covers communication during sex and how much you are able to express yourself verbally and non-verbally. Other strong indicators are sexual confidence and sexual self-esteem. Simply put, this is about feeling confident about yourself during sex as well as having a positive feeling about your body and sexuality. It is important to know, though, that before achieving all of these, you must first practice sexual mindfulness – being mindful during the act of sex, being extremely present and consumed by the moment.
Sexual communication in and out of sex
Becoming aware that you want to improve your sex life is critical because sexual communication is not something that you can force on people. No matter how you emphasize the importance of sexual communication, deciding to want to have better sex is a personal choice at the end of the day. Dr. Tara suggests doing regular sex talks or “sexy check-ins” where you and your partner can genuinely express any concerns about your sex life, if any. Sexual communication can be vulnerable so approaching it in a positive way is also important.
During sex, you can verbally express your pleasure or perhaps verbally adore your partner. If you’re not the talking type, you can also do so many things non-verbally to relay your message to your partner and maintain that positive sexual communication.
Still having sexual problems?
People usually avoid sex talks because they’re afraid to hear bad news or hear criticisms or despair and they wouldn’t know what to do. If it’s obvious that you are having sexual problems in a long-term relationship, do not hesitate to seek help from professional sex/relationship therapists. A lot of times sex issues are not just about sex so it’s easier to have a third professional person to know what the problem really is. While you’re at it, be mindful of your own body as a sexual being, work on yourself and be with yourself first.
Dr. Tara is a tenured professor of relational and sexual communication at California State University Fullerton, an award-winning researcher, a relationship coach at luvbites.co, and a podcast host at Luvbites by Dr. Tara podcast. She recently gave a TEDx Talk titled Become Sexually Powerful that highlights her 5,000-participant study examining variables that predict sexual satisfaction, and her journey from a sexually anxious girl from Thailand to a sexually confident woman.
220: Body Freedom – Elizabeth Dall
Elizabeth Dall talks about “body freedom,” the antidote to body shame and self-consciousness that many of us, if not all, experience at some point in our life. Body image issues affect mostly women and are often a great barrier to be interested in sex in an otherwise healthy relationship. In this episode, learn how to accept your body the way it is and take that first step to your own “body freedom.”
What is body freedom?
Freedom is the ability to experience something how you want to experience it. It does not mean being immune to having difficult days with our bodies, but it does mean being able to make the choice to step into freedom. It all boils down to having a choice: you can choose to stay stuck or frustrated in a negative body image or choose to step into the body image that you want to create for yourself.
Acceptance before change
One way to start a change on our body is actually by learning to accept the body that we have so we can work with it. It is about learning how to work with your body to create the change so that it’s sustainable. Allow yourself first the freedom to the change that you want and step into that identity before you even begin the change.
What does “working with your body” mean?
Whenever we want to change something in our body, we tend to detach from that body and we seemingly wanting to be another person with that change. When you work with your body, you see and acknowledge where your body is as well as where you want it to go, and the only way to be able to get there is if I learn how to work with it. To do that, we learn how to sustain habits that we enjoy so that we can keep going.
You are capable of creating change
We have been told by media, influencers and other “outside voices” that this is the way you’re supposed to look, this is what you’re supposed to exercise, or this is the way you’re supposed to eat. But it is a losing battle if we follow what they want us to do because if you don’t see results then you will just be frustrated. Know that you are capable of creating change within yourself. You are capable of choosing movements that you enjoy, dealing with your emotions, and knowing when to eat or stop eating. Your body speaks to you but there’s so much noise outside telling you things that are not really suitable for you.
What do you say to people who don’t love their body to the point that it’s affecting relationships?
Step into the idea of body freedom. It is a safe space to see your body for the good that it is. When you start to show up in this way, you give yourself unapologetic permission to show up as you are so you can then show up in that relationship. You may also want to start a gratitude practice and be thankful for what your body does for you every day. Then find a body freedom practice – an action you take that will help you step into this idea of feeling body acceptance, freedom, and love.
Elizabeth Dall, M.S., CEP, is the owner of awomanofwellness.com and helps women heal their relationship with food and their bodies and experience joy in wellness. Elizabeth believes every woman has the knowledge of what she truly needs deep within herself and that they can learn to love their bodies, heal their relationship with food, and find joy in exercise and movement. She helps by offering online programs and personalized coaching to women searching for food freedom and a desire to live a happy, healthy lifestyle without limitations.
SHOW NOTES LINKS:
Elizabeth’s two free guides to help you overcome emotional eating and ditch the diets without ditching your goals:
Overcome emotional eating free mini course: https://a-woman-of-wellness.ck.page/overcome-emotional-eating
Intro to intuitive eating...
It was a joy and a privilege to be interviewed on Jessa’s podcast about our pregnancy loss. That she recognizes that better sex includes such a wide range of human experiences made it an easy pick for me when I was searching for who could amplify our story. Thank you Jessa for showcasing real issues to help real people find the path to connection, in the bedroom and in all areas of relating.
Jessa is a delight! Highly recommend her podcast
I had the pleasure of being interviewed on Jessa's podcast. She is just lovely- calm and grounded, talks about sex in a matter of fact, informative, safe yet fun way; I had a great time. I highly recommend this podcast!
Good Morning Better Sex!!!
I love Jessa’s style and how her show moves along. Her show is in the mix for my morning coffee and breakfast making routine. Thank you Jessa keep em coming!!