Sex and Psychology Podcast

By Dr. Justin Lehmiller

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The Sex and Psychology Podcast is the sex ed you never got in school—and won’t find anywhere else. Kinsey Institute researcher Dr. Justin Lehmiller takes you on a journey through the psychology of sex and relationships, offering practical tips along the way that can help you take your intimate life to the next level. Learn more on Dr. Lehmiller’s blog at sexandpsychology.com


Episode Date
Episode 53: Everything You Think You Know About Sex Is Probably Wrong
00:50:38
Have you ever heard that there are 8,000 nerve endings in the clitoris, or that the clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis? These statements appear as facts in countless social media posts, news articles, and books. There’s just one problem with them, though—they’re wrong. It turns out that so many of the things we think we know about sex and that we hear repeated over and over just aren’t true. That’s why this episode is all about what we don’t know about sex. To help us set the record straight, I spoke with Dr. Lisa Dawn Hamilton. She is an associate professor of Psychology at Mount Allison University in Sackville, where she teaches about sex, gender, and neuroscience. Lisa Dawn also has a fantastic podcast called Do We Know Things? that corrects common misconceptions about sex. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What is the G-spot, really? -Do we actually know what the average penis size is? -Can men have multiple orgasms, too? -Does peeing after sex really reduce your risk of getting urinary tract infections? -What is the real purpose of pubic hair, and how is public hair removal related to STD risk? -How do hormones like testosterone and oxytocin really affect us? -How do the brains of monogamous and non-monogamous men differ? -What’s the connection between sexual arousal and disgust? Why does disgust sometimes become a sexual turn-on? To learn more about Lisa Dawn and her work, visit doweknowthings.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com This podcast was made on Zencastr. Join Zencastr today and receive 40% off of their professional plan for 3 months with my exclusive discount code: sexandpsych
Sep 24, 2021
Episode 52: Sex Fantasies Around The World
00:42:58
Do people from different cultures have different sexual fantasies? Or are there common threads that run through our fantasy worlds? As someone who studies fantasies, these are questions that have long interested me—and now I have some answers! During my recent study abroad course on sex and culture in Amsterdam, I met the author of the largest study of erotic fantasies in the Netherlands. He traveled to festivals with a caravan and interviewed hundreds of people about their sexual turn-ons. Needless to say, I had to do a podcast with him! My guest today is Lucas De Man, an artist, TV host, and CEO of the company New Heroes. In collaboration with psychologist Mariëlle de Goede, he published a book titled Yes, Please! about his work on Dutch sex fantasies, which they are currently expanding to include a worldwide audience. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -How do you get people to open up about their sexual fantasies during an interview? And how can you be sure they’re being honest? -What do our sexual fantasies tell us about ourselves? -How are sexual fantasies similar around the world? How are they different? -Why do Americans seem to be more into cuckolding than Europeans? -Where do our sexual fantasies come from? -What happens when celebrities share their sexual fantasies in front of a live audience? How do you get them to open up, and how does the audience typically respond? Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com This podcast was made on Zencastr. Join Zencastr today and receive 40% off of their professional plan for 3 months with my exclusive discount code: sexandpsych
Sep 17, 2021
Episode 51: American Hookup - Inside College Hookup Culture
00:48:19
When did college “hookup culture” actually begin? Who is it helping, and who is it hurting? And what can people today do to navigate hookup culture and casual sex in healthy ways? For the answers to these questions, I spoke with Dr. Lisa Wade, an associate professor of sociology and gender and sexuality studies at Tulane University. She is also author of the book, American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What does the term “hookup culture” actually mean? -When did college hookup culture first begin? -Who is hookup culture helping? Who is it hurting? -What does hookup culture look like for the LGBTQ+ community? -How can young adults more successfully navigate hookup culture? -How do you have good and healthy casual sex? -How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed hookup culture? To learn more about Lisa and her work, visit her website at lisa-wade.com and check out her book, American Hookup. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com This podcast was made on Zencastr. Join Zencastr today and receive 40% off of their professional plan for 3 months with my exclusive discount code: sexandpsych
Sep 10, 2021
Episode 50: How Many Reasons Are There To Have Sex? At Least 237
00:53:39
Why do humans have sex? To many, the answer to this question might seem obvious—but the truth is that our reasons for sex are many and varied, and some of the reasons people cite might very well surprise you! For this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Dr. Cindy Meston, a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Female Sexual Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also author of the book Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between). Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What are the most common reasons humans have sex? -What are the least common reasons? -How do reasons for sex differ across men and women? -Do our reasons for sex change as we age? -Why is it that genital arousal and psychological arousal don’t always line up? And what does this mean? -What effect does Viagra have in women? Are there any women for whom it can offer therapeutic benefits? -How does sexual arousal change sexual decision making? -How do you build and maintain a career studying sex when there’s very little research funding for it? To learn more about Cindy and her work, visit her website at mestonlab.com and check out her book, Why Women Have Sex! Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com This podcast was made on Zencastr. Join Zencastr today and receive 40% off of their professional plan for 3 months with my exclusive discount code: sexandpsych
Sep 03, 2021
Episode 49: Divorce Sucks - How To Move On After Breakup
00:51:35
Divorce sucks. It can suck away your time and energy, your money, and, in some cases, even your will to live. So is there anything you can do to “divorce-proof” your relationship and avoid this kind of pain? And if you’re going through a divorce, how do you put the pieces back together and move forward in a healthy way? For the answers, I spoke with Dr. Patrick Markey, a Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Villanova University. He is co-author of the new book F*ck Divorce: A Science Based Guide to Piecing Yourself Back Together After Your Life Implodes.  Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -How do you cope with the stress of divorce and breakup? What should (and shouldn’t) you do? -How do you most effectively support a friend or family member who is going through a divorce? -When should you stay on good terms with an ex vs. cut them out of your life completely? -When is the right time to get back on the dating scene, and how do you start over in a healthy way? -What can you do to reduce the risk of future divorce? -How does our interest in sex change throughout the year? Why is sexual desire seasonal? -How do our sexual interests change following political elections? To learn more about Patrick and his work, follow him on Twitter @patmarkey and check out his new book co-authored with Dr. Erica Slotter, F*ck Divorce. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Aug 27, 2021
Episode 48: Sex On The Brain
00:50:46
Everyone’s brain is a little different when it comes to sex—and understanding how your sexual brain works is one of the keys to unlocking more pleasure and improving your sex life. That’s why this episode is all about the brain mechanisms that underlie sexual response, and it’s going to change the way that you think about sex.  I interviewed Emily Nagoski, the New York Times bestselling author of the books Come As You Are and The Come As You Are Workbook. She is also co-author of Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What is the Dual Control Model of Sexual Response and why is it crucial to understanding our own sexuality? -Why do many people (but especially women) sometimes experience a disconnect between genital arousal and psychological arousal? -What’s the difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire? -What can people do to boost sexual desire? And is there any role for medication in this? -How can you better manage stress so that it doesn’t kill desire? -What are some practical ways to improve your body image? And how can changing the way you see yourself give your sex life a boost? To learn more about Emily and her work, visit her website at emilynagoski.com and check out her books Come As You Are, The Come As You Are Workbook, and Burnout. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Aug 20, 2021
Episode 47: The Truth About Testosterone
00:54:40
Testosterone is one of the most misunderstood and maligned hormones in the human body. It gets blamed for toxic masculinity, sexual assault, aggression, and more. That’s why this episode covers what you really need to know about testosterone and how it affects us. I spoke with Dr. Carole Hooven, who is a lecturer and codirector of undergraduate studies in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She is author of the fascinating new book T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -To what extent are sex differences a product of hormones and biology vs. socialization? -How does testosterone affect sexual behavior in men and women? -What can transgender persons taking hormone therapy teach us about how testosterone affects all of us? -What is the link between testosterone and sexual orientation? -Does abstaining from masturbation really increase testosterone in men? -How can a more scientifically informed understanding of testosterone benefit all of us? To learn more about Carole and her work, follow her on Twitter @hoovlet and check out her latest book T: The Story of Testosterone. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Aug 13, 2021
Episode 46: The Sex Education You Deserve
00:47:54
It’s time to reimagine sex education and start giving people the sex ed they need—and deserve. So what should that look like? That’s the subject of my latest podcast with special guest Dr. Kristen Mark. We talk all about the sex ed that does and doesn’t work and explore tips on cultivating happier and healthier sex lives and relationships, including how to keep the spark alive and how to work through sexual trauma. Dr. Mark is the Joycelyn Elders Endowed Chair and Professor in Sexual Health Education at the Institute for Sexual and Gender Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is also a sex and relationship researcher and therapist, and an AASECT certified sex educator. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What does sex education look like around the world? Which models work, and which ones don’t? -Beyond reducing STIs and unwanted pregnancies, how can better sex education make society healthier overall? -Why should pleasure be a central focus of sex ed? -How can people in long-term relationships keep the spark alive? -What should you do if you and your partner want different amounts of sex? How do you bridge that divide? -How can bisexual people cultivate healthy relationships in the face of bisexual stigma? -How do you cultivate a satisfying sex life if you have a history of sexual trauma? To learn more about Kristen and her work, visit her website at kristenmark.com and follow her on Twitter @Kristen_Mark Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Aug 06, 2021
Episode 45: Why Marriage Is So Hard, And How To Make It Better
00:50:32
Marriage is hard. And, in many ways, it’s harder today than it was in the past because what we’re asking of our partners now is so dramatically different than it was before. Whereas marriage used to be about meeting basic survival needs, it’s become more about self-actualization. And so if we want to understand how to make the institution of marriage better, we have to look at it in the context of our ever-changing needs and expectations. That’s why this episode is all about the science of marriage and how to cultivate happier and healthier marriages. I interviewed Dr. Eli Finkel, a professor at Northwestern University, with appointments in the psychology department and the Kellogg School of Management. He is also author of one of my favorite books, The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -How and why have our expectations for marriage changed over the last century? -How do we manage conflicting needs in our relationships, such as the need for excitement and surprise vs. the need for stability and security? -Can opening up a monogamous marriage help to save it? -How has the pandemic shaped marriage and relationships, for better or for worse? -How can we make marriage better? What can you do to keep it healthy and strong? -Should we be asking less of our partners? -How do you keep sex healthy and hot in a long-term relationship? To learn more about Eli and his work, visit his website at elifinkel.com and check out his book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jul 30, 2021
Episode 44: The Science of Kink, BDSM, and Fetishes
00:49:23
There are a lot of things people get wrong about kink, including the idea it’s inherently rooted in trauma and mental illness, that it’s abusive, and that kinky people can’t develop healthy relationships. That’s why this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast is all about the science of kink, BDSM, and fetishes! I interviewed Dr. Richard Sprott, who studies identity development, health, and well-being in alternative sexualities and non-traditional relationships. He currently teaches at California State University, East Bay and he is co-author of the book Sexual Outsiders: Understanding BDSM Sexualities and Communities. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -What’s the difference between kink, BDSM, and fetishes anyway? -How common are kinky sexual interests? -What is the link between kink and mental health? -What’s the truth about how kink and sexual trauma are connected? -In what ways can kink be healthy, or even therapeutic? -Where do kinky sexual interests come from? Do they run in families? -Do kinky sexual interests change with age? -How should we think about kink—is it a sexual orientation or a leisure activity? To learn more about Richard and his work, visit tashra.org Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jul 23, 2021
Episode 43: The Truth About Polyamory
00:54:38
People’s interest in polyamory is growing. For example, Google trends reveal that searches related to polyamory have risen significantly over the last decade. However, while interest is climbing, myths and misconceptions abound, which is why this episode offers a deep dive into the world of polyamory. I interviewed Dr. Heath Schechinger. He is a Counseling Psychologist at the University of California Berkeley and also maintains a private practice. Heath is the Founding Co-Chair of the Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy within Division 44 of the American Psychological Association, and he is the Co-Founder of the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: -Who’s into polyamory and what are the different “shapes” that a polyamorous relationship might take? -What is “solo polyamory” and how does it work? -What are the unique benefits of consensual non-monogamy? What are the unique benefits of monogamy? -If you’re polyamorous and seeking relationship counseling, how do you go about finding an affirming therapist? -What are the most common issues that come up in sex and relationship therapy with polyamorous clients? -If you’re curious about exploring polyamory, what do you need to know? If you’re polyamorous, what do you need to know about maintaining healthy relationships? -What’s the future of polyamory and consensual non-monogamy? Will we eventually have legal recognition of multi-partner relationships? To learn more about Heath and his work, visit his websites at drheathschechinger.com and polyamorylegal.org Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jul 16, 2021
Episode 42: The Decisions That Make or Break a Relationship
00:44:47
Getting into a relationship is much easier than getting out of one. People have a tendency to slide into relationships without putting in a lot of thought. But when it comes to getting out of a relationship, people may deliberate for months, perhaps years—decades even. So why is that? This episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast is all about how we make relationship decisions. I interviewed Dr. Samantha Joel, an Assistant Professor at Western University. Her research examines how people make the decisions that grow or break apart their romantic relationships. Sam has a fascinating body of work that I am so excited to share with you! Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: • Can computer programs predict who we’re going to be attracted to before we ever even meet someone? Can these programs also predict which relationships are going to stand the test of time? • What are the factors that predict relationship happiness? What predicts when couples decide to break up? • Are people more afraid of missing out on an opportunity for love or being rejected? • Why do so many of us have such a hard time rejecting romantic prospects who aren’t a good match for us? • Is having sex with an ex-partner a good or bad idea? Does ex-sex prevent you from moving on? • Why is it easier to get into a relationship than to get out of one? • What happens when a couple decides to open up their relationship? Does it change the quality of that relationship over time? To learn more about Sam, visit her website at relationshipdecisions.org and follow her on Twitter @datingdecisions Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jul 09, 2021
Episode 41: The Secrets of Relationship Success
00:49:27
It is often said that the most important decision you make in your life is who you decide to have a relationship with—yet most of us are never really taught anything about how to make this decision. As a result, we typically learn how to navigate relationships through trial and error, but there are usually a lot of errors along the way! That’s why this episode is all about boosting your relationship IQ by revealing the secrets of relationship success. I interviewed relationship expert Dr. Gary Lewandowski. He is a Professor at Monmouth University and author of the new book Stronger Than You Think: The 10 Blind Spots That Undermine Your Relationship…and How to See Past Them. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: • How believing in the idea of a “soul mate” holds us back from finding relationship happiness. • Why it’s OK—and healthy—to be a little bit selfish in your relationship. • How too much closeness in your relationship can push you and your partner apart. • Why you shouldn’t tell your partner, “if you love me, you’ll change.” • How going for a partner who is way more attractive than you can produce a less stable relationship. • Why it’s important to embrace disagreement and conflict in your relationship. • Why breakups usually aren’t as bad as we think they’re going to be—and how to move on after a relationship ends. To learn more about Gary, visit his website at garylewandowski.com and check out his new book Stronger Than You Think. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jul 01, 2021
Episode 40: Sexual Deception, Jealousy, and the Dark Side of Relationships
00:49:55
Although sex, dating, and relationships can bring us great joy, they also have a very dark side. For example, people sometimes lie or deceive others in order to have sex. And in dating and relationships, jealousy sometimes turns into violence. So why do these things happen in the first place? And what can we do to prevent them? I interviewed Dr. David Buss, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He is considered the world’s leading scientific expert on strategies of human mating and is one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology. His latest book is titled When Men Behave Badly: The Hidden Roots of Sexual Deception, Harassment, and Assault. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: Why is sexual deception so common in the world of dating? What are the deeper roots behind this behavior, and what can we do about it? How many people in relationships cultivate “back-up mates” in case things don’t work out with their current partner? Why is this behavior so common? Why are we often drawn to partners with “dark” personality traits, such as narcissism? Why is jealousy “the most dangerous emotion?” If jealousy causes so many negative effects, is it really an adaptive emotion? Why is it important to consider evolutionary perspectives on human sexuality? Can adopting an evolutionary perspective help us to prevent sexual harassment and violence? To learn more about David, visit his website at davidbuss.com and check out his book When Men Behave Badly. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jun 25, 2021
Episode 39: The Surprising Secrets of STDs
00:49:07
Is it really true that having a greater number of sexual partners necessarily means you have a greater risk of sexually transmitted infections (STDs)? Nope! It turns out that a lot of the things we think we know about STDs are just plain wrong, which is why this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast is all about the surprising secrets of STDs. I interviewed Dr. Ina Park, an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. She is author of the new book Strange Bedfellows: Adventures in the Science, History, and Surprising Secrets of STDs. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include: Is everyone equally vulnerable to STDs? Do some people have more natural immunity? How does STD contact tracing work, and what kinds of reactions do people tend to have when a contact tracer informs them that they might have an STD? Can an STD really ‘highjack’ your brain and change your sexual behavior to facilitate viral transmission? What’s the connection between pubic hair grooming and STDs? Are online dating apps responsible for increasing rates of STDs? How do you have effective conversations with a sex or dating partner about STDs? To learn more about Ina, visit her website at inapark.net and check out her new book Strange Bedfellows! Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jun 17, 2021
Episode 38: Sex Dreams And What They Mean
00:36:25
Where do our dreams come from? And what, if anything, do they actually mean? As someone who is a very vivid dreamer every single night, I have always been curious to learn more about the psychology of dreaming (including our sex dreams), so I invited a dream expert onto the podcast to explore what the science actually says. For this episode, I interviewed Dr. Dylan Selterman, a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. He is a social and personality psychologist who has published several studies on the topic of dreaming. Some of the topics we explore include: Why do we dream in the first place? Does dreaming serve a purpose? How many times per night do we dream, and what are the most common dream themes? How often do people dream about sex, and why do some people dream about it more than others? Do sexual and romantic dreams reflect our waking experiences? How do dreams influence behavior in waking life, including how we feel about our partners? What do we know about lucid dreams (dreams where you recognize that you’re in a dream)? What do our dreams mean? And is there any value in analyzing them? To learn more about Dylan, follow him on Twitter at @seltermosby and check out his Psychology Today blog titled The Resistance Hypothesis. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jun 11, 2021
Episode 37: Inside an Affair - Sex, Lies, and Cheating
00:30:38
What does an affair really look like? What do people do, say, and feel when they cheat on a romantic partner? And why do so many people commit infidelity in the first place? In this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, we take you inside an affair. I interviewed Dr. Dylan Selterman, who is a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland. Dylan has published an extensive body of research on infidelity. We dive into some of the key things he has discovered, including: What counts as “cheating” anyway? How common is infidelity? What are the main reasons why people cheat? And do those reasons vary across men and women? What are the most common intimate behaviors that take place during an affair? Are affairs really all about sex? How often do affairs lead to breakup? How is infidelity similar or different in same-sex vs. mixed sex relationships? Is there ever anything positive than can come out of an affair? To learn more about Dylan, follow him on Twitter at @seltermosby and check out his Psychology Today blog titled The Resistance Hypothesis. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Jun 04, 2021
Episode 36: The Magic of Masturbation
00:43:33
May is Masturbation Month, so let’s talk self-pleasure! Masturbation is a topic that has long been shrouded by secrecy and shame, and it’s well past time that we bust the harmful myths, break the taboo, and normalize self-pleasure. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I spoke with Marie Aoyama, who works in the Global Marketing Department for TENGA, a Japanese-based sexual health and wellness brand enabling users around the world to celebrate self-pleasure with its innovative and diverse sex and masturbation toys. TENGA recently released their 2021 Self-Pleasure Report, which was based on a representative survey of 1,000 American adults aged 18-54. This survey offers important insights into masturbation attitudes and practices in the United States today, as well as how they have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: How did self-pleasure change over the last year? Why was there a bigger drop in masturbation for women than there was for men during the pandemic? What do people actually do when they masturbate? When people fantasize during masturbation, who and what are they most likely to think about? What are the benefits of self-pleasure, and why should we think of it as a form of self-care? How many people are comfortable talking openly about masturbation? And what do we need to do to break the taboos surrounding self-pleasure? To learn more about the key findings from TENGA’s 2021 Self-Pleasure Report, visit usstore.tenga.co Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
May 27, 2021
Episode 35: The Guide To Opening Up A Relationship
00:53:44
One of the most common questions I get asked as a sex educator is how to open up a monogamous relationship. People ask about this for a wide range of reasons. For example, some folks have always wanted to do it, but never knew quite how to go about it. Others just want to try something new and different, or find the idea exciting. Yet others are in long-distance relationships and seeking to provide a sexual outlet. So what do you need to know if you’re thinking about giving this a try? For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I spoke with certified sex therapist Martha Kauppi. She is the founding director of the Institute for Relational Intimacy and author of the new book Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients). We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: How does having an open relationship tend to work out? What are the questions you need to ask yourself—and your partner—if you’re thinking about opening up your relationship? What goes into a successful relationship agreement, and how do you make an agreement you can actually stick to? What is “new relationship energy” and why is this a double-edged sword in open and polyamorous relationships? What are the most common problems that arise in open relationships, and how do you deal with them? What if you open up your relationship, but one partner wants to go back to being monogamous and the other doesn’t? To learn more about Martha, visit her website: instituteforrelationalintimacy.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
May 20, 2021
Episode 34: How To Talk To Your Doctor About Sex
00:48:20
Sex is a topic that is all too often neglected in the doctor’s office. That’s unfortunate because our health affects our sex lives and, at the same time, our sex lives affect our health. We need to open the lines of sexual communication in medical settings so that we can help people to lead happier, healthier lives both in and out of the bedroom. For this episode, I spoke with Dr. Michael Moreno, a family medicine physician of nearly 25 years. He is author of the New York Times Best-Selling 17 Day Diet book series and host of the Podcast WELLNESS INC. His work focuses on encouraging and sustaining positive lifestyle change. This episode offers a physician’s perspective on sex. Some of the topics we cover include: What is the role of a healthy lifestyle in having a good sex life? Why do we need to stop looking for a pill to fix every sexual problem? How much training do physicians actually get in sexual medicine? How can we make medical offices a more comfortable environment for discussing sex for doctors and patients alike? What are the most common sexual health issues that come up in the doctor’s office? Why are so many young men today reporting erectile difficulties to their doctors? How often are sexual problems based in skewed perceptions of what’s “normal” when it comes to sex? To learn more about Dr. Moreno, visit his website at drmikediet.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
May 13, 2021
Episode 33: How To Keep Passion Alive
00:47:18
In long-term relationships, feelings of passion tend to be really intense in the beginning, but typically decrease over time. As a result, one of the most common questions people ask about relationships is how to get that spark back—and keep it going. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I spoke with Dr. Amy Muise, an Assistant Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada who studies how couples can maintain sexual desire and satisfaction over time. We talked about the key things Amy has learned through her research, including how to keep passion alive, how to deal effectively with sexual disagreements, whether having more sex would make you happier, why cuddling after sex is good for your relationship, and so much more. Some of the topics we cover include: How can engaging in “self-expanding” activities help couples get the spark back in their relationship? Why is being motivated to meet your partner’s sexual needs crucial to maintaining passion? What happens when one partner consistently wants more sex than the other? How do you bridge a sexual divide like this? What does it mean to “positively reject” a partner’s request for sex? How do you turn down sex in a positive way? Are couples who have more sex necessarily happier than couples who have less sex? How much does what you do after sex matter? How often do people in relationships fantasize about ex-partners, and what does this mean for their relationships? To learn more about Amy, follow her on Twitter @AmyMuise Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
May 06, 2021
Episode 32: Sex and Relationship Therapy With LGBTQ Patients
00:48:59
What does sex and relationship therapy look like for LGBTQ patients? What are the main issues that come up, and how are they similar to or different from the issues that arise in therapy with cisgender, heterosexual clients? For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Thomas Whitfield, a sex therapist, educator, and researcher based in New York City whose work focuses on the LGBTQ population. Thomas is one of the co-hosts of the podcast The Obsessables and he has a YouTube channel called Sh*t They Won't Tell You in Sex Ed. We talked all about common issues that come up in sex and relationship therapy with LGBTQ persons, as well as maintaining sexual health for sexual minorities. Some of the topics we cover include: What are the main issues that prompt LGBTQ persons to seek sex therapy? How do you help a client who may be struggling with internalized homophobia? What are the main issues that arise in LGBTQ couple’s therapy? What are the unique issues that come up in sex therapy with bisexual persons? What is PrEP and how does it work to prevent HIV? Also, how does being on PrEP impact psychology and sexual behavior? What do lesbian and bisexual women need to know about maintaining good sexual health? How do you have productive and healthy conversions with a partner about STD status? To learn more about Thomas, follow him on social media @twhitfieldphd and visit his website: madisonparkpsych.com/thomas-whitfield-phd/ Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Apr 29, 2021
Episode 31: Common Sex Problems, And How To Fix Them
00:50:30
Sexual difficulties are more common than you might think. In fact, data from large nationally-representative surveys indicate that just over half of women and more than 40% of men report having experienced at least one sexual problem in the last year alone. So how fixable are these problems, and how are they most effectively treated? For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus. She is the cofounder and clinical director of Maze Women's Sexual Health, the largest independent women's sexual health center in the United States. Her latest book is titled Sex Points: Reclaim Your Sex Life With the Revolutionary Multi-Point System. We talk all about the novel system she created to help women understand where they are in their sex lives. We also discuss how everyone—at any age, in any situation—can have better sex. Some of the topics we cover include: Why are vibrators “the most underutilized tool in women’s sexual arsenal?” Why do we need to get away from the idea that we can fix every sexual problem simply by taking the right pill? What does it really mean to have great sex? What are the most effective treatments for low sexual desire and/or arousal? How do you treat problems with painful sex? What can be done for people who have difficulty orgasming, or who have never had an orgasm before? How do you deal with sexual anxiety effectively? To learn more about Bat Sheva, visit her website at drbatsheva.com and pick up a copy of her latest book, Sex Points. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Apr 22, 2021
Episode 30: The Future of Sex and Relationships
00:43:50
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our sexual and romantic lives in a lot of different ways over the last year, and while some of the changes that occurred are temporary, others may stick around for years to come. So what’s in store for sex and relationships in the future, post-COVID world? For this episode,, I sat down with Jessica Pels and Dr. Amanda Gesselman. Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, the largest young women’s media brand in the world. Amanda is the Associate Director for Research at The Kinsey Institute. Cosmopolitan recently partnered with the Kinsey Institute to survey more than 2,000 Americans about the future of sex and relationships after COVID. The results are fascinating and were published in the April issue of Cosmo. In this episode, we explore the story behind this unique research collaboration and key findings from the survey. Some of the topics we cover include: Why are so many people suddenly prioritizing committed relationships over casual sex? How has the nature of online dating changed during the pandemic, and what will online dating look like in the future? How has this pandemic changed communication around sexual risk, and will this situation ultimately lead us to have safer sex in the future? How did people in relationships fare during the pandemic? How has COVID-19 shifted people’s attitudes toward both infidelity and consensual non-monogamy? Why were so many people experimenting with their sexuality during the pandemic? What’s the psychology behind this, and what does it mean for our sex lives going forward? To learn more about this study, visit Cosmopolitan.com. Also, follow @Jessica_Pels and @angesselman on Twitter to learn more about today's guests. Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Apr 15, 2021
Episode 29: So Tell Me About The Last Time You Had Sex
00:51:23
Dr. Ian Kerner is the Sherlock Holmes of sex—he’s a detective who helps people to understand the mysteries behind their sexual problems. His approach to sex therapy begins with a simple question: “So tell me about the last time you had sex.” This question establishes the “scene of the crime,” and then it all becomes a matter of searching for the clues that led up to it. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Kerner, who co-leads the sex therapy program at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. He is the New York Times best-selling author of the book She Comes First, and his latest book it titled: So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex. We talk all about Dr. Kerner’s unique approach to sex therapy, how people at home can use it as a form of self-help, and general tips for improving your intimate life. Specific topics we cover include: How is sex therapy like a form of detective work? And how can this approach help sex therapists to better serve their clients? How can you better understand your own—and our partner’s—sexual scripts, and why is this a vital first step in fixing a sexual problem? What are the different frameworks for sexual desire? And what can you do if you and your partner have different desire frameworks? How is sex therapy similar or different with heterosexual patients compared to LGBTQ patients? Why is it important for us to change the way we think about our own sexual fantasies? How can you more effectively communicate about your fantasies with a partner? To learn more about Dr. Kerner, check out his website at iankerner.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Apr 09, 2021
Episode 28: How To Have Great Sex For Your Entire Life
00:51:52
People have a tendency to think that the best sex of their life is in the past—it’s the sex they had when they were younger. So when people think about what their sex lives will look like in the future, they don’t necessarily see themselves as having much to look forward to. However, this line of thinking is all wrong. Sex can—and often does—get better with age. So what do you need to know when it comes to having great sex for your entire life? For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with author Tracey Cox. Tracey has been writing about sex for 30 years and has published 16 books, with her latest being Great Sex Starts at 50. We talk about how to cultivate good habits in the bedroom to keep your sex life hot for decades to come. We also address common sexual issues that arise and how to deal with them effectively. Specific topics we cover include: How can sex get even better as we get older? How do you start conversations about sex with your partner—and keep them going over time? Why should we stop thinking about orgasm as the ultimate goal of sex? How do you deal with body image issues that negatively impact your sex life? How do you get the spark back in your relationship when passion declines? Why is monogamy harder on women’s libido than it is on men’s? How do you deal with common sexual problems that arise with age (e.g., vaginal dryness, erectile dysfunction)? How can using sex toys transform your sex life? How do you deal with a sexless marriage or relationship? To learn more about Tracey, check out her website at traceycox.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Apr 01, 2021
Episode 27: The Guide to Casual Sex and Healthy Hookups
00:58:37
Much has been said and written in the popular media about ‘hookup culture’ and the rise of casual sex. Trend pieces often portray casual sex as inherently damaging and bad for our mental health. But is this actually the case? How does casual sex really affect us? And what do you need to know when it comes to having good casual sex? For this episode, I sat down with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova, a sex researcher, speaker, writer, and consultant. She currently teaches human sexuality courses at New York University and also runs a course called Open Smarter, which helps people figure out what type of relationship is right for them based on science. In the first half of the program, we talk about Zhana’s research on casual sex, and in the second half, we discuss monogamy, consensual non-monogamy, and everything in between. Topics we cover include: What does it mean to have ‘casual sex’ anyway? What are the different forms it can take? How many people are having casual sex, and is this increasing or decreasing? How does casual sex affect us, for better or for worse? Is casual sex really as ‘casual’ as the name implies, or are people looking for more than just sex? How can people have better casual sex? How do you know whether monogamy or non-monogamy is right for you? When and for whom is it a good idea to consider opening up a relationship? If you’re thinking about opening up your relationship or exploring the world of consensual non-monogamy, what do you need to know to start out on the right foot? To learn more about Zhana and her work, visit her website: drzhana.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Mar 25, 2021
Episode 26: Inside a Strip Club With a Cultural Anthropologist
00:53:01
For her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Katherine Frank worked as a dancer in several strip clubs and interviewed the regulars. As a student of anthropology, it was important for her to “do as the natives do” and really immerse herself in that environment to truly understand it. And what she learned is absolutely fascinating. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Frank to give you an inside look at her research, what really happens inside a strip club, and what the people visiting these establishments are really looking for. In the first half of the program, we discuss her dissertation work and the book she published based on it, titled G-Strings and Sympathy: Strip Club Regulars and Male Sexual Desire. In the second half, we discuss her recent research on group sex, which she explored in the book Plays Well in Groups: A Journey Through the World of Group Sex. Topics we cover include: Who are the men who visit strip clubs? What are their backgrounds like, and why are they visiting these clubs in the first place? (Hint: It’s about far more than sexual arousal!) How did working in these clubs change the way that Dr. Frank views the customers? How challenging is it to do a university-approved study that involves working inside a strip club? Is it really true that ovulating strippers get more tips than women on hormonal contraceptives? Why is group sex such a popular fantasy and how many people have ever done it in real life? How does consent work in an orgy? For people interested in group sex, what do they need to know when it comes to having safe and pleasurable experiences? To learn more about Dr. Frank and her work, visit her website: katefrank.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Mar 18, 2021
Episode 25: An Inside Look at a Sex Research Conference
00:54:37
What actually goes on at a sex research conference? A lot of people seem to have the impression that it’s just a non-stop sex party. I hate to disappoint, but that’s not the case! I’m going lift the curtain and tell you what really goes on when a group of sex researchers get together. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with Dr. Shayna Skakoon-Sparling. Shayna is a postdoctoral fellow at Ryerson University who studies sexual health decision-making and sexual negotiation. Shayna and I have been going to sex research conferences together for years and, in this episode, we give you a behind the scenes look at what these events are really like. We also discuss Shayna’s research on how sexual arousal affects the kinds of decisions that people make, sexually and otherwise. Topics we cover include: What is a meeting of sex researchers really like? How are the sex lives of sex researchers similar to or different from the general population? What kinds of things will you hear about at a sex research conference that you won’t hear anywhere else? What are some of the most fascinating things we’ve learned by going to these conferences? How does sexual arousal affect sexual (and non-sexual) decision making? How do you stimulate sexual arousal in a research lab anyway? How does a partner’s level of physical attractiveness affect people’s willingness to use (or not use) condoms? To learn more about Shayna and her work, follow her on Twitter @shaynagram and visit her website: https://sites.google.com/site/shaynaskakoonsparling Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Mar 11, 2021
Episode 24: A Sex Writer's Journey Into the Heart of Desire
00:50:59
What really takes place behind the scenes on an adult film set? What is it like to attend an orgasmic meditation retreat? Journalist Tracy-Clark Flory has the answers. In her lengthy career covering the sex beat in the popular media, she’s gone where few of us have gone before—and she’s learned a lot about the state of our current sexual culture. For this episode of the podcast, I sat down with Tracy to talk about her new memoir, titled Want Me: A Sex Writer’s Journey Into the Heart of Desire. Tracy is a senior staff writer at Jezebel and her writings on sex have been published all over in the media. Topics we cover in this episode include: How did being a sex writer influence the relationship Tracy had with her parents? What was the experience of finding her father’s porn like as a teenage girl? And how do boys and girls differ in their emotional reactions to finding a parent’s porn? What has the public reaction been to Tracy sharing the most intimate details of her sex life in her writings, and how has this changed over time? How can women navigate the complex mixed-messages our culture provides around women and sex? What really happens behind the scenes on a porn set? What kinds of things do people tend to get wrong about how porn actually works? What is it like to attend an orgasmic meditation retreat? How has being a sex writer affected Tracy’s own sex life and relationships? To learn more about Tracy, visit her website: https://tracyclarkflory.com Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Mar 04, 2021
Episode 23: Chemical Romance - How Drugs Can Help Us Fall In Love And Move On After Breakup
00:57:23
Imagine there was a drug you could take to enhance your relationship or deepen your connection with your partner. Or a drug that could get rid of romantic jealousy. Or a drug that could help you move on faster after a traumatic breakup. This isn’t science fiction—these drugs are out there, and they just might be the future of falling in and out of love. For this episode, I interviewed Brian Earp, who is the Associate Director of the Yale-Hastings Program in Ethics and Health Policy at Yale University and The Hastings Center. He is also a Research Fellow in the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford and author of the book Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships. Questions we answer include: What is love? And what is the biochemical basis for it? How can MDMA (the active ingredient in ecstasy) help struggling partners? Could it (and should it) play a role in couple’s therapy? What does jealousy have in common with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)? And can common OCD treatments help people to get rid of pathological jealousy in relationships? How do you maintain your authentic self if you’re using drugs to facilitate connections with a partner? How can drugs help us to get over bad breakups? What are the implications of numbing ourselves to relationship trauma? Can drugs help people who are in love with an abusive partner to break the bond and exit a toxic situation? Should drugs be used to regulate “deviant” sexual desires and “hypersexual” behavior? Will drugs be used to impose a certain sexual or relationship morality on people? What are the ethical implications of all of this? To learn more about Brian and his work, follow him on Twitter @briandavidearp Follow Dr. Lehmiller on Twitter @JustinLehmiller or Instagram @JustinJLehmiller. To stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Feb 25, 2021
Episode 22: What We Get Wrong About Bisexuality
00:56:08
Bisexuality continues to be one of the most misunderstood and controversial sexualities. Some people don’t think it exists at all and that it’s just a transitional identity people adopt before coming out as gay. Even among those who recognize that bisexuality exists, many believe things about it that aren’t true, such as the idea that bisexuality necessarily means equal attraction to men and women, or that bisexuals can only be attracted to partners within the gender binary. It’s time to bust some myths about bisexuality. For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I interviewed Zachary Zane, a Brooklyn-based columnist, sex expert, and activist. He has a sex advice column at Men's Health titled "Sexplain It" and his work has been published in Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, GQ, Playboy, and more. In this episode, we talk all things bisexuality. We also discuss the taboos around sex toys for men and answer sex questions submitted by my Instagram followers. Things you’ll learn include: What does it really mean to be bisexual? What’s the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality? What are the most common things people (and popular media portrayals) get wrong about bisexuality? How can bisexual people better navigate relationships in the face of bisexual stigma? How are bisexuals viewed within the LGBTQ+ community, and how can we increase bisexual acceptance? How do we break the taboo around sex toys for men? For men who are new to using sex toys, where’s a good place to start? Why is pegging so popular? To learn more about Zach and his work, check out his website, where you can subscribe to his newsletter and keep up with his latest writings: http://zacharyzane.com And to stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Feb 18, 2021
Episode 21: The History of Sex Toys
00:50:50
Ever hear that story about how Victorian-era doctors were using vibrators on female patients who had been diagnosed with “hysteria?” That used to be one of my favorite stories to tell in my human sexuality class. However, it turns out that the story isn’t true. It’s time to learn the real history of the vibrator—and sex toys more generally. For this episode, I interviewed Hallie Lieberman, a sex historian and journalist. She is the author of Buzz: A Stimulating History of the Sex Toy, and she is currently working on a book on the history of gigolos. We had a fascinating, wide-ranging conversation all about the past, present, and future of sex toys. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll learn in this episode: How long have humans been using sex toys? What’s the earliest known sex toy in existence? Did you know that butt plugs were once marketed as a cure for asthma? (No joke!) What’s the real story of the history of the vibrator? Did you know that selling and possessing sex toys was illegal in many U.S. states until very recently—and that it’s still illegal to sell sex toys in one state? How do sex toys vary across cultures? How are sex toys going to change in the future? Can women really get “addicted” to their vibrators? Is it safe to share sex toys? To learn more about Hallie and her work, check out her website: https://hallielieberman.com/ Be sure to pick up a copy of her latest book, Buzz: https://amzn.to/3tOGuJO And to stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out https://sexandpsychology.com
Feb 11, 2021
Episode 20: How To Level-Up Your Sex Life
00:55:43
For most of us, our experience with sex education centered primarily around preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancy, with pleasure being mentioned rarely or not at all. Few of us ever learned anything meaningful about how to have good sex. Fortunately, the Sex and Psychology podcast is here to give you the sex ed you definitely didn’t get in school! For this episode, I interviewed journalist Michael Castleman, who has covered sex research and therapy extensively in his 46-year writing career. He has written more than 2,000 magazine and web articles, answered more than 12,000 sex questions, and published 17 books, with his latest being Sizzling Sex for Life. Topics we explore in this episode include: What do people at different stages of life (young adults, middle-age adults, and seniors) need to know in order to have better sex? How do you start productive and healthy conversations about sex with your partner(s)? How do you tell a partner what you really want in bed? What do LGBTQ+ folks need to know about better sex? And what can lesbians teach all of us about great sex? Why do so many seniors explore kink for the first time in older age? What is the average penis size, and does penis size really matter? Is it normal for people in relationships to masturbate? To learn more about Michael Castleman and his work, check out his website: https://sizzlingsexforlife.com/ Be sure to pick up a copy of his latest book, Sizzling Sex For Life: https://amzn.to/36HpFGO See here for the LGBTQ+ safer-sex guide I mentioned in the episode: https://www.lehmiller.com/blog/2018/8/29/a-safe-sex-guide-for-lgbtqia-persons And to stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out sexandpsychology.com
Feb 04, 2021
Episode 19: The Science of Kissing, and How to Be a Better Kisser
00:47:13
Kissing is one of the most common sexual and romantic activities, and it’s often people’s very first partnered sexual experience. Surprisingly, though, kissing is something that is rarely studied by sex researchers—and when it is, it’s often lumped in with affectionate behaviors, like cuddling and hand-holding, rather than sexual behaviors. So what do we know about kissing? For example, what is it that makes a kiss good or bad? And can science teach us how to become better kissers? In this episode of the podcast, I did a deep dive into the science of kissing with Dr. Ashley Thompson, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Questions addressed in this episode include: How often do people in romantic relationships kiss on average? When do people usually have their very first kiss? And how do they tend to look back on that experience? Why do we kiss? What are the primary motivations for kissing, and how do they differ across gender and personality? How important is kissing, and what are the potential benefits of it? Is the first kiss in a relationship really a make-or-break moment, as it is so often depicted in the media? What makes a kiss good? What makes a kiss bad? Can you learn to become a better kisser? To learn more about Dr. Thompson and her work, check out her website: sexualityandrelationshipscience.com And to stay up-to-date on the latest sex research and tips, check out sexandpsychology.com
Jan 28, 2021
Episode 18: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Anal Sex, But Were Afraid To Ask
00:56:47
As a sex educator, one of the topics I get asked about most often is anal sex. This isn’t surprising, given that this subject usually isn’t discussed at all in most people’s sex education courses—and, if it is, it’s usually just described as a very high-risk activity. So what do you need to know? What do people tend to get wrong about anal sex, and how can you have safer and more pleasurable encounters? For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Dr. Evan Goldstein, who is the Founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, a leading private practice specializing in an elite standard of sexual health and wellness care for the modern gay man. He is also the founder of Future Method, a sexual wellness company bringing science into anal sexual health. We had a wide-ranging discussion about all things anal, and this episode is for anyone—regardless of gender or sexuality—who has explored or is interested in exploring this activity. Topics covered in this episode include: How many people are having anal sex? Why do so many people find anal stimulation to be pleasurable? Also, what do we know about prostate-induced orgasms? Does anal sex really cause long-term damage to the body? What’s the difference between the anal sex you see in porn compared to what it’s like in real life? Is it normal for anal sex to be painful? How can you make anal sex a safer and more pleasurable experience? What do people need to know about anal douching? Learn more about Dr. Goldstein’s practice at: https://www.bespokesurgical.com Learn more about Future Method at: https://futuremethod.com?aff=5
Jan 21, 2021
Episode 17: Polyamory Fact Versus Fiction
00:52:20
Interest in polyamory is on the rise. Google trends reveal that searches related to polyamory have increased significantly over the last decade. Although interest is climbing, myths and misconceptions about polyamory abound, including the idea that it’s all about sex and that people who are polyamorous “just can’t commit.” It’s time to set the record straight. For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist and certified sexuality educator who teaches at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Dr. Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamorous families with children and she has authored multiple books on the subject, including The Polyamorists Next Door and Children in Polyamorous Families. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: What does it mean to be “polyamorous?” How many people are in polyamorous relationships or are practicing other forms of consensual non-monogamy? What are the most common things that people get wrong about polyamory? How do children fare in families where the parents are polyamorous? Is it really true that jealousy doesn’t exist in polyamorous relationships? What is “compersion,” and is it possible to experience both compersion and jealousy at the same time? What is it like to be an expert witness on cases dealing with sexual and relationship diversity? How do you know if polyamory or consensual non-monogamy is right for you?
Jan 13, 2021
Episode 16: What We Get Wrong About Men's Sexual Desire
00:40:28
A lot of people seem to be under the impression that men’s sexuality is simple. They see men as being perpetually horny and DTF and as always wanting more sex than women. They also tend to see sex as an inherently physical experience for men, having little do with emotions or intimacy. However, it turns out that this way of thinking about men and sex is all wrong. For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray, who holds a PhD in Human Sexuality from the University of Guelph and is a Registered Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is author of the book "Not Always in the Mood: The New Science of Men, Sex, & Relationships." We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: Is men’s sexuality as simple as we’ve been led to believe? Is women’s sexuality more “complex” or “complicated” than men’s? Do men have a higher sex drive than women? What factors influence libido and sexual desire in men? Is sex a more emotional experience for women than it is for men? Why do so many couples struggle with sexual initiation? What are some tips or strategies that can help when it comes to initiating sex? What do we know about sexual desire in gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men? Are the sexual struggles and challenges they face similar to or different from those experienced by heterosexual men?
Dec 21, 2020
Episode 15: The Truth About Porn
00:51:00
In the eyes of many, pornography is inherently problematic. In fact, some have gone as far as to dub it a “public health crisis” because they see it as addictive and as one of the root causes of sexual violence. But is porn really such a major threat to individuals and to society? It turns out that science has a complex and nuanced story to tell about the effects of porn. It’s not inherently good or bad. It can have different effects on different people, and it’s important for us to understand when and for whom porn is potentially problematic, as well as for whom it has positive effects. In this episode of the podcast, I explore the science of porn with Dr. Emily Rothman, a Professor of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. She has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and is the co-creator of a curriculum for high school students about pornography that is used by sex educators and health teachers from around the world. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: What is the link between porn and sexual violence? What accounts for the fact that different studies have come to wildly different conclusions? How does porn affect teenagers? What are the potential positive and negative effects? Is pornography addictive? What do we need to be teaching adolescents about porn? What do parents need to know? And why is “porn literacy” so important? What is it like to be a porn researcher? And how do you communicate effectively about the science of porn to the public? What do we need to do to improve porn research going forward?
Dec 09, 2020
Episode 14: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Threesomes
00:50:59
Having a threesome is one of the most popular sexual fantasies. However, despite the widespread appeal of this sex act, relatively few people have ever had one in real life. But just how many people have ever had a threesome before? What were their experiences like? And what do people who are thinking about having a threeway need to know? For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Dr. Ryan Scoats, who is often reported in the media as being the first person in the world to get a “PhD in threesomes.” He is currently a Lecturer in Sociology at Coventry University, and his latest book is titled Understanding Threesomes: Gender, Sex, and Consensual Non-Monogamy. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: Why is there so little scientific research on threesomes, and why is this important to study in the first place? Why is the idea of having a threesome such a popular turn-on? Why do women tend to report less interest in threesomes than men? Who is most likely to have had a threesome in real life? What are people’s experiences with threesomes actually like, and what are the most common issues that tend to come up? What happens after a threesome? What do people who are thinking about having a threesome need to know in order to increase the odds of a positive and pleasurable experience for all involved?
Nov 30, 2020
Episode 13: The Orgasm Gap, and How to Close It
00:50:56
In sexual encounters between men and women, research has consistently found that there’s a sizable orgasm gap, such that men tend to reach orgasm with far greater frequency than their female partners. However, there’s no difference in orgasm rates when comparing gay men to lesbians, suggesting that women are only having fewer orgasms when they're having sex with men . So why does the orgasm gap exist in the first place? And what can we do to close it? For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Dr. Laurie Mintz, who has studied the orgasm gap extensively. Dr. Mintz is a sex therapist and professor at the University of Florida who has published more than 50 academic journal articles and two books, with her latest being Becoming Cliterate. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: Where does the orgasm gap come from? What steps can we take to help close this gap? How does a lack of comprehensive sex education contribute to the orgasm gap and to some of the most common sexual problems people experience?How does one know when it’s time to consult a sex therapist? What are the biggest myths and misconceptions people have about sex? Is it really true that women reach their sexual “peak” later than men? Is it really true that sex is a more emotional experience for women but a more physical experience for men?
Nov 06, 2020
Episode 12: Sex and Disability
00:43:39
There are a lot of stereotypes about disabled persons, but one of the biggest is that they are necessarily asexual. However, that’s just not true. Disabled people have sexual wants and needs. They masturbate. They have sex. But almost no one talks about this. Sex and disability is a taboo topic that’s been on the margins for far too long, and we need to change that. For this episode of the podcast, I interviewed Andrew Gurza, an award winning Disability Awareness Consultant. He has spoken all over the world on sex and disability and he is the host of the podcast Disability After Dark. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: Why is sex and disability such a taboo topic in the first place, and why is it important for us to break that taboo? How can all of us benefit from shining a light on this subject? How is our healthcare system failing us when it comes to addressing the sexual health needs of disabled persons, and how do we change that? What are the conversations we need to be having around sex and intellectual disabilities? How is sex and disability viewed in other cultures? What can we learn from them? When and how do you disclose a disability to a potential sexual or romantic partner? If a potential partner discloses a disability to you, what types of questions and responses are appropriate? Which ones are inappropriate? How is SexTech changing the conversations we’re having about sex and disability? How is technology improving the intimate lives of disabled persons?
Oct 27, 2020
Episode 11: Sex, Power, and Social Justice
00:48:02
There is a common tendency to think about sex as simply a person-to-person interaction. However, this view overlooks the fact that sexual identity, attraction, and behavior are all influenced by broader social and cultural systems—and these systems can have a profound impact on the way sexuality is expressed by creating power imbalances, stigma, and shame. As a result, when we talk about sex, we can’t just talk about it as if it exists in a vacuum. We need to acknowledge the systems that shape it and talk about the ways in which justice is and isn’t being served. I’ve been itching to explore this topic on the podcast and I couldn’t think of a better guest than sex therapist Shadeen Francis, a licensed psychotherapist, media personality, and author whose work spans the domains of sex therapy, emotional intelligence, and social justice. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: What does “social justice” mean in the context of sex therapy? How is our approach to training sex therapists failing us when it comes to pursuing social justice, and what can we do about this? What does the term “normal” really mean when it comes to sex, and why is it important for us to redefine it? What is “race play” and why are some people turned on by the idea of eroticizing power differentials in the first place? What happens when people’s personal or moral values are in conflict with their sexual turn-ons? How do we reduce shame and guilt over our sexual fantasies?How do our political backgrounds and leanings shape our sexual fantasies and the way we feel about them? How can putting social justice front and center in sex therapy help us all to lead more pleasurable and fulfilling sex lives?
Oct 15, 2020
Episode 10: The Psychology of Cuckolding
00:38:40
Cuckolding is a sexual practice in which someone is aroused by the idea of watching or listening while their partner has sex with another person—and it’s a surprisingly popular sexual interest. In the survey of 4,175 Americans’ sexual fantasies I conducted for my book Tell Me What You Want, I found that 52% of heterosexual men and 66% of gay and bisexual men had fantasized about this before. In addition, 26% of heterosexual women and 42% of lesbian and bisexual women reported having had this fantasy at least once. So why is cuckolding so popular? In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with sex therapist Dr. David Ley, who has literally written THE book on cuckolding, titled Insatiable Wives. Dr. Ley is a clinical psychologist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he directs a large behavioral health and substance abuse outpatient program. He is also one of the media’s go-to experts on all things sex. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: What does a typical cuckolding scenario look like? What’s the difference between cuckolding and “hotwifing?” Why are so many people drawn to cuckolding in the first place? Why do some find this idea incredibly erotic, whereas others find it to be threatening? Why is there a political link to cuckolding—specifically, why do conservative men seem to fantasize about the idea more than their liberal counterparts? What has research revealed about cuckolding in same-sex relationships? Why is research on cuckolding so controversial? What’s the future of cuckolding, especially as norms surrounding relationships and marriage continue to evolve?
Sep 24, 2020
Episode 9: The Truth About Marriage
00:48:44
In the United States, the marriage rate is near a record low, and 40-50% of marriages end in divorce. Research has also found that rates of marital satisfaction have declined over time. In short, fewer people are getting married, those who do aren’t as happy as married couples in the past, and a heck of a lot of these relationships just won’t work out. So why is that? Why are relationships so hard? In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Roger Nygard about his recent documentary and book The Truth About Marriage, which examines how we can all make our relationships happier. Nygard is an accomplished filmmaker who has directed TV series such as “The Office” and edited Emmy-nominated episodes of “VEEP” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” For his documentary, he interviewed a number of sex and relationship researchers and therapists. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: Why are relationships and marriages so difficult? How can we improve our relationships, according to the experts? What is the role of sex in relationships? How often should couples have sex? What is the role of humor in attraction and relationships? In addition, we talk about the work Roger does on some of my favorite television shows!
Aug 28, 2020
Episode 8: Sex Therapy in Kinky and Polyamorous Relationships
00:35:23
People have a tendency to assume that those who are kinky and/or polyamorous must have sexual communication all figured out. However, just like anyone else, they face their own set of sexual and relationship problems—problems that sometimes require professional help. In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Shamyra Howard, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and author of the book Use Your Mouth: Pocket-sized Conversations to Simply Increase 7 Types of Intimacy in and out of the Bedroom. Shamyra specializes in treating clients who have sexual and relationship identities that fall outside of the mainstream, including LGBTQ+ persons, those who are into kinky or BDSM sex, and those who identify as polyamorous.  We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including: What are the main issues that prompt people with kinky/BDSM interests to seek sex therapy? How do you negotiate boundaries and consent in the BDSM scene? What is “race play” and how do people cope with anxieties around eroticizing racial dynamics? How do people who enjoy dominant-submissive dynamics in their sexual encounters create balance in their day-to-day relationships if they only desire those dynamics in a sexual context? What are the main issues the prompt people in open, polyamorous, or swinging relationship to seek sex therapy? How do you manage jealousy in a consensually non-monogamous relationship? Why is it important for people who are polyamorous to find time for themselves? What kind of training do sex therapists get when it comes to kink/BDSM and consensual non-monogamy? How does one find a therapist or professional who is kink- and/or polyamory-affirming?
Aug 07, 2020
Episode 7: Sexual Desire, and How to Increase It
00:33:39
One of the most common relationship problems is a sexual desire discrepancy, where one partner wants more sex than the other. This can be a longstanding pattern or issue in a relationship, but it can also emerge when one partner loses desire over time. So how do you deal with this situation? In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Dr. Lyndsey Harper, an Ob/Gyn at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and founder of the new mobile app Rosy. Dr. Harper developed Rosy as a tool to help women who are dealing with low sexual desire and desire discrepancies. We cover a lot of ground in this episode, including the factors that affect sexual desire, why desire discrepancies are so common, the role of medication in treating low sexual desire, as well as how technology (including apps like Rosy) can help people deal with desire problems. We also talk about some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sex that Dr. Harper has seen among her patients.
Jul 24, 2020
Episode 6: Tell Me What You Want--The Science of Sexual Fantasies
00:28:50
What are the most common sexual fantasies in America? Where do our fantasies come from, and what do they say about us? And how can we communicate more effectively with our partners about our fantasies? In order to answer these questions, I conducted the largest and most comprehensive study of sexual fantasies ever in the United States. I surveyed more than 4,000 Americans from all 50 states ranging in age from 18-87 and wrote a book about the nature of sexual fantasies in the U.S. today, titled Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life. In this episode of the podcast, I describe some of the key things I learned from this research, while also telling you the story behind the book. I also share how writing this book completely changed my life.
Jul 09, 2020
Episode 5: SexTech, Sexting, and Dick Pics in the Time of COVID-19
00:48:27
Lockdowns and “social distancing” guidelines are changing our intimate lives in major ways. For example, one of the things we’re seeing in our own research is that people are increasingly turning to sextech, such as by engaging in more sexting and cybersex. In fact, many adults are reporting trying these things for the very first time. In order to explore the various ways that people are leveraging sextech right now, I spoke to two experts in this area: Dr. Erin Watson and Tasha Falconer. In this episode of the podcast, we tackle a wide range of topics, including: How are people’s sex lives different in this era of social distancing, and how is sextech helping us to cope? If you’re new to sexting, what do you need to know to feel more comfortable and confident? A lot of people are worried that the more sextech we incorporate in our lives, the more disconnected we’ll become from each other—but is that really the case? How can sextech help to connect us at an even deeper level? Lastly, why are so many men sending unsolicited photos of their genitals? How is this behavior different for gay vs. straight men? And what do guys need to know if they’re thinking about sending photos of their genitals to others to ensure it’s done in a consensual and ethical way?
Apr 20, 2020
Episode 4: Maintaining a Healthy Intimate Life During Lockdown and Social Distancing
00:23:47
These are unprecedented times. Much of the world is currently living under lockdown conditions and practicing social distancing in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. So how is this affecting people’s intimate lives? How are our sex lives and relationships holding up, and is there anything we can do to more effectively navigate this complex and challenging situation? For the answers to these questions, I spoke to Dr. Lori Brotto, a Professor at the University of British Columbia, a practicing psychologist, and author of the book Better Sex Through Mindfulness. I asked Dr. Brotto what she has been seeing in her clinical practice since the pandemic began.   According to Brotto, some of her clients are reporting more avoidance-related reasons for sex at the moment, meaning they’re more likely to report having sex in order to avoid a negative outcome rather than doing it because it’s what they truly want. We also address the following questions in this episode: What are some effective coping strategies for relieving stress and anxiety in order to pave the way for a more active and fulfilling intimate life during this challenging time? How do you successfully navigate singlehood in the era of social distancing? Some people under lockdown are in abusive or unhealthy relationships. How can they stay safe and find the help they need?  What are the potential silver linings of this situation? How can we utilize this time to explore our sexuality and develop a new intimacy with our partners? Note: If you or someone you know is in a dangerous home situation right now, check out the National Network to End Domestic Violence for a list of available resources: https://nnedv.org/latest_update/resources-response-coronavirus-covid-19/
Apr 13, 2020
Episode 3: Why Good Sex Matters and the Neuroscience of Pleasure
00:33:18
In this episode of the Sex and Psychology podcast, I interview Dr. Nan Wise, a cognitive neuroscientist, certified sex therapist, and Associate Research Professor at Rutgers University. We cover a wide range of questions and topics, including: What exactly is "pleasure?" Why are we experiencing less pleasure today than we used to? How can we get more pleasure in our sex lives? Is the answer different for men and women?
Apr 05, 2020
Episode 2: How ADHD Affects People's Sex Lives and Relationships
00:28:55
For this episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I interviewed Dr. Ari Tuckman to learn how ADHD affects people’s intimate lives. Tuckman is a certified sex therapist and psychologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. In this episode, we address a wide range of questions, including: How does ADHD affect one’s sex life? How does it impact a romantic relationship when one partner has ADHD and the other does not? And what can couples do to combat the challenges that ADHD poses?
Apr 03, 2020
Episode 1: Sex, Love, and Relationship Advice from Drs. John and Julie Gottman
00:28:12
For the first episode of the Sex and Psychology Podcast, I sat down with two relationship experts, Drs. John and Julie Gottman. They are the founders of The Gottman Institute and they have been studying sex and relationships for decades. The Gottmans have published a number of influential academic papers and bestselling books, with their latest being Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. I cover a wide range of topics in my interview with the Gottmans, including: What is the biggest myth or misconception about relationships? Is believing in a "soulmate" a healthy way to approach relationships? And what can couples do to improve sexual communication in their relationships?
Mar 31, 2020