- Casual Conversations: The Art of Self-Discovery
- Episode 57: Masculine vs. Feminine vs. HUMAN
- Casual Conversations: Don’t Apologize for Being Human
- Episode 56: The Complexity of Simplicity
- Casual Conversations: The Paradox of Perfection
- Food For Thought: Jealousy vs. Envy
- Food For Thought: Thankful vs. Grateful
- Episode 55: To Care for Others, Care for Yourself
- Casual Conversations: Anxiety, Boundaries, and Meditation
- Episode 54: Accessibility & Equity in Mental Health Care
- En Español: El Poder de la Mente Sobre el Cuerpo
- Episode 53: Sexual Liberation & The Wisdom of Aging
- Episode 52: Cohabitation, Gender Roles, and The Summer of Love
- Episode 51: The Lies We Tell Ourselves About The Truth
- Episode 50: An Industry of Injustice (4/4)
- Episode 49: This Is Actually Happening (3/4)
- Episode 48: Standing By vs. Being An Ally (2/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: Boogie Nights
- Food For Thought: Contradiction vs. Complementation
- Food For Thought: Curiosity vs. Criticism
- Episode 47: Sexual “Empowerment” Sells (1/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: The Culture Map
- Food For Thought: Celebrating The Small Wins
- Food For Thought: The Many Roads To Happiness
- En Español: Sexualidad e Igualdad
- Casual Conversations: Communication, Mindfulness, and Pleasure
- Food For Thought: Operational Definitions
- Food For Thought: Memory Tissue
- Episode 46: The Nutrition Facts of Life
- Casual Conversations: The Lost Art of Letter Writing
- Food For Thought: Attribution Theory
- Food For Thought: Coronavirus vs. Connection
- Bonus Episode: The Psychology of Solitary
- Episode 45: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (2/2)
- Episode 44: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (1/2)
- Live Workshop: Navigating Anxiety During COVID
- Episode 43: The Body Knows Best
- Episode 42: (Un)Censoring Pleasure
- Episode 41: Bring On The Heat (2/2)
- Episode 40: Bring On The Heat (1/2)
- Episode 39: The Myth of Marriage (2/2)
- Episode 38: The Myth of Marriage (1/2)
- Episode 37: Same Page, Different Book (2/2)
- Episode 36: Same Page, Different Book (1/2)
- Episode 35: Humans In Progress (2/2)
- Episode 34: Humans In Progress (1/2)
- Episode 33: The Strength In Our Scars (2/2)
- Episode 32: The Strength In Our Scars (1/2)
- Episode 31: Masculinity & Authenticity (2/2)
- Episode 30: Masculinity & Authenticity (1/2)
- Episode 29: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (2/2)
- Episode 28: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (1/2)
- New Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
- Episode 27: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (2/2)
- Episode 26: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (1/2)
- Episode 25: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (2/2)
- Episode 24: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (1/2)
- Episode 23: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (2/2)
- Episode 22: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (1/2)
- Episode 21: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (2/2)
- Episode 20: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (1/2)
- Episode 19: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (2/2)
- Episode 18: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (1/2)
- Episode 17: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (2/2)
- Episode 16: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (1/2)
- Episode 15: Mindfulness For Sexual Connection
- Episode 14: Keeping It “Casual” (2/2)
- Episode 13: Keeping It “Casual” (1/2)
- Episode 12: The Birds & The Bees (2/2)
- Episode 11: The Birds & The Bees (1/2)
- Episode 10: Love & Death
- Episode 9: Communication- Mind and Body
- Episode 8: The Power of Sexual Healing (2/2)
- Episode 7: The Power of Sexual Healing (1/2)
- Episode 6: Redefining Masculinity and “The Million Dollar Point”
- Episode 5: Creating Body Maps and Reconnecting with Pleasure
- Episode 4: (In) Fidelity in The Time of Technology
- Episode 3: Let’s Get Cliterate! Narrowing The Orgasm Gap
- Episode 2: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (2/2)
- Episode 1: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (1/2)
- Episode 0: Google doesn’t have all the answers
- Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
Let's Get Intimate!
Episode 20: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (1/2)
Continuing the conversation with Emily Nagoski, Ph.D, sexuality educator, and author, we discuss how to better understand our accelerators and brakes when it comes to desire, why it’s important to stop worrying about sex while you’re having it, the different kinds of desire, and why pleasure is the measure! We hope you enjoy and are able to find more pleasure in your life and enjoy the sex you’re already having!
There’s No Right Way
We often feel that there’s a right way to have sex due to the sexual scripts that we’ve all become accustomed to. However, as life circumstances change, the same sexual behaviors can elicit very different reactions. Context matters! It’s rarely that something to do with you – but more
likely to be something in your environment, or context.
Accelerators and Brakes
Arousal is a dual process of turning on the “ons” and turning off the “offs”. As we go through life, we accumulate more things that turn us off. So it’s important to know those things that turn you on and hit your accelerator, and those things that turn you off and hit your brakes. An example of a common brake: cold feet! So put on some socks and warm those feet up so
that you aren’t distracted by your cold feet and you can free up your accelerator.
What does it mean for you? Worrying about sex while you’re having it is a sure way to pump the brakes. Practicing mindfulness – or paying attention to sensations in a non-judgmental way – helps with all aspects of your sexuality. Lori Brotto, who we’ve spoken about before, has a great book that can help with being more mindful during sex.
Understanding the body’s stress response cycle is incredibly valuable information. Physical activity can be a kind of endorphin therapy once you reach that threshold of activity. Because our emotions are biological events that happen in our bodies, physical activity can be a form of therapy to help release those emotions and feelings.
Stress is the most common factor that hits the brakes.
Sex and Attachment
Sex is a social behavior – it links us together – and social connection is a biological process. John Gottman researched victims of domestic violence and found that many women reported some of the most passionate sexual experiences after episodes of violence. This can be attributed to attachment theory and how the violence threatened the attachment, and because sex is a social behavior, it becomes a way to reconnect to repair the threat to the relationship and attachment. Attachment is a survival mechanism for humans.
Wanting v Liking
When people are clear about the difference between wanting and liking, the better you can communicate with your partner about what works for you so that you can access more pleasure. It is possible to like something that not want it; to want something and not like it; to like something and want it; and to not like something and not want it.
Why Desire Matters
Masters and Johnson, as well as Kinsey, researched the sexual response cycle, which didn’t really need to include desire. However, desire really matters in a sexual relationship. And we know now that desire is the single most common reason a couple seeks sex therapy. Based on the research
initially conducted by Helen Singer Kaplan, we know that there are two different ways that people can get to desire:
- Spontaneous Desire – when it appears out of the blue in anticipation of pleasure (like a lightning bolt to the genitals)
- Responsive Desire – beginning with pleasure, and your body begins to experience sensations that feel good, and then the desire comes.
It’s like being invited to a party – you may not want to go, but when you get ready and arrive, chances are you end up having fun – and if you’re having fun, then you’re doing it right!
Pleasure is the measure.
- Pay attention to your partner
- Take orgasm off the table and focus on pleasure instead
- Enjoy the sex you are having – even if it’s only with yourself.
If you’re having fun at the party, you’re doing it right!
About the Expert
A gifted and engaging speaker, Emily is an expert on women's sexual wellbeing, healthy relationships, and the prevention of sexual violence and harassment. People bring Emily, because Emily "brings the science."