Questions for Erotic Intelligence

Your erotic intelligence is your knowledge, wisdom, and comfort in the erotic arena. I offer 5 questions to get you started in developing erotic intelligence between you and your partner.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sexuality Speaker, Sociologist, Sex Therapist

ANTIVIEW: What I'm NOT as a Sex Expert

I was recently interviewed by ANTIVIEW, a site that brings creativity and challenge back to journalism and interviewing. The questions were the opposite of what I'm used to, e.g, What am I not? How doesn't someone become a sex expert? I have included the first portion of the interview below, but please click on the link to go to the ANTIVIEW site to read the rest!

WHAT ARE YOU NOT?

I do not sleep with my clients or watch them have sex.

I am not a psychologist or a marriage and family therapist.

I do not have orgies on the weekends (although I’m not opposed to the idea!).

I’m not ungrounded or “woo-woo,” although I do take a holistic approach to my work.

I am not a man-hater, although I identify with feminism, and I do not take sides in my counseling work.

I do not make people feel bad about being sexual under their own terms and by their own definitions.

There are a lot of assumptions about my kind of work, so it’s fun to be able to articulate, off the bat, what I am not!

Read the rest of the article at ANTIVIEW.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapist, Sexologist, Sex Expert, Sociologist

Dos and Don'ts of Sexual Philanthropy

Can you give too much during sex? I was asked to write about "giving in the bedroom" for the Philanthropy Issue of Pacific San Diego Magazine this August 2012. You might be surprised to read that a give, give, give approach isn't always the best.

Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego Sexologist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker

Are We All Sexually Dysfunctional?

At the recent sexuality conference I attended, my friend and colleague Gina Odgen spoke about her “ISIS Wheel.” ISIS is an acronym for “integrating sexuality and spirituality.” Gina is a sex therapist, author, and shaman, and her ISIS Wheel is a like a medicine wheel and a compass, applied to sexual experience and satisfaction. Above is an image of the ISIS Wheel.

Visualize yourself standing before a life-sized ISIS Wheel. Now reflect on your sexual experiences and sexuality and consider how you like to enter these experiences. Is it through the “body” realm and pleasurable sensations, such as heightened body awareness, the sounds of your partner’s arousal, or orgasm? Think back to the first time you had sex. Perhaps there was a “mind” component motivating you, such as curiosity or expectation. The “heart” component, about emotions, is strong for many and varies from the extremes of love and trust, to guilt and fear. For some, the “spirit” path is most motivating, when they exchange sexual energies and deep connection with their partner.

The foundation for Gina’s ISIS Wheel is sexual health, not sexual dysfunction. This means that despite any concerns people have in their sex lives, it is all just part of their sexual story that can be mapped and explored through the wheel. Framing sexual concerns as stories instead of dysfunction gives individuals and couples more freedom to explore the complexity of their sexual experiences, without judgment. Clearly, sex through the lens of the ISIS framework is about a lot more than physical release or performance.

The “ISIS connection” is when all four aspects of the wheel meet in the center. However, any experience is just as valid as the next. When we view a sexual “problem” as part of a sexual story and journey, it makes it a lot easier to address it head on, in all its layers of complexity. I suggest taking this wheel for a spin to learn more about you and your partner!

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapist, Marriage Counselor, Sex Speaker, College Sexual Health Speaker

Shhh…Can You Hear That? Vaginas Are Talking

“If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”

This is one of several questions posed by Eve Ensler in her award-winning play, The Vagina Monologues. I think it speaks to the personality of a woman’s sexuality, and offers the opportunity for many women to explore this verbally for the first time. Based on my work, here is what some vaginas want to say:

“Warm me up. Sometimes I may be hot and heavy right away, but other times it takes awhile to get the blood flowing down there. My arousal isn’t always immediate, but it doesn’t mean I’m not interested. I just need you to prime my pump, both physically and emotionally.”

“Slow down! Pounding is good sometimes, but it gets old in the long run, and I feel like a porn actress. When we are in synch with each other, the natural ebbs and flows of intercourse are perfect.”

“Surprise me. You may have found something that seems to work, but this can change over time, and even just day to day! Please don’t let your need to feel good about knowing how to please me get in the way of continual gentle exploration. From the labia and clitoris, to the vaginal opening and G-spot area, and the rest of my erogenous zones, there is a lot of me to discover.”

If you’d like to hear from more vaginas, ranging from hysterically funny to heart wrenching, come see the play The Vagina Monologues. I will be performing in two benefit performances at the La Jolla Playhouse on March 18. Buy your tickets for the 2pm show HERE and the 7pm show HERE.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sex Therapist, Marriage Counselor, Sexologist, College Sexual Health Speaker

(This blog was originally posted to Pacific San Diego Magazine's Blogger Series.)

Feeling Like a Masturbation Tool for Men?

“In my sex life, I’ve just been a tool for men's masturbation.”

A woman in her mid-20s said this to me. She said that she and another female friend had realized this harsh reality about their sex lives. And they weren’t pleased with this realization.

What does this mean – “a masturbation tool for men”? To me it means being sexually passive. It means women not knowing and owning their sexuality. It may mean men acting out what they’ve watched in porn… and women feeling like they are only there for men’s pleasure. It sounds like it’s based on fear, embarrassment, performance-focus, and disconnect.

What it DOESN’T mean is good sex. And for the woman I spoke to, it doesn’t mean self-respect. This unfortunately isn’t a simple topic to tackle, as it involves many layers of socialization, gender roles, fear, shame, culture, religion, assumptions, and miscommunication. I think it is complicated for both women and men. 

What can you do if you find yourself in this passive “tool” role? Start by asking what you like or don’t like in sexual activity. If you don’t know, think about when you ever felt the most sexual excitement. Next, ask yourself why you have sex? Go beyond the obvious and consider more “uncomfortable” reasons, such as feeling validated, getting attention, obligation, or drunkenness.  Another young woman shared with me that the main reason she had sex was because it was easier than saying no. This is pretty heavy. Do you think that your reasons for sex match with the reasons that your partners wanted sex? There’s likely a mismatch here.

Finally, take a big picture approach to determining how to move forward through this “tool” role, to one with more pleasure and ownership. Consider each of the following five categories and how you’d like to grow in each, as connected to your sex life: physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. Every week, choose a different category and commit to exploring what you’ve written down. The most important component in this process is compassion for yourself.  Walking through these steps doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with you; it just means that you’re open to growing and embracing this valuable process.