A Practical Guide to Not Hating Your Relatives (or Yourself) over the Holidays

A Practical Guide to Not Hating Your Relatives (or Yourself) over the Holidays

If you'll be seeing family for the holidays, you hopefully have some positive reasons for why these folks matter to you. Likewise, there's probably some things that drive you crazy. I recently had a couple ask me how they could avoid reverting back to old patterns when they're home with family....

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What do you think unites us all? Positive media!

When I was an undergraduate at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, I did a thesis project in Sociology. My study topic was the portrayal of women's bodies in the media and the impact this has on young women as consumers. That was 21 years ago, and I'm still critiquing media and advertising messages.

For the month of April, though, I was given the opportunity to be a part of *positive* media--advertising that makes us feel better about ourselves, not worse. Positive media brings us closer together, instead of creating wedges through insecurity or fear.

I would like to know how you think we're all united? What helps you remember to be compassionate to others? Please tweet, post a photo, make a video, and tag @drjennsden, so I can see what you're creating in #PositiveMedia!

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego Sexual Health Speaker, Sexologist, Intimacy Sociologist


Fifty Shades of Erotic ~ Sex Lessons

If you thought the Fifty Shades of Grey book series was Fifty Shades of HOT, then you’re likely excited about the movie version release Valentine’s weekend. The trilogy created a stir a few years ago with its sexually explicit content and portrayal of BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism). While kink caused the controversy and media coverage, I contend the main appeal of these books for women is something much more mainstream and traditional. Anyone who wants to sexually please a woman can learn a thing or two from author E. L. James.

Anastasia Steele is a 21-year-old virgin at the start of the story. She is the shy girl next door. This character seems to resonate with American women of all ages because her sexual awakening gives us all permission to be sexual without shame or embarrassment. In her role as a sexual submissive, Ana allows Christian Grey to control and pleasure her body in ways she didn’t know were possible. Through surrendering to Christian, Ana can still be a “good girl” yet also sexually adventurous.

At the most basic level, Christian makes Ana feel desired. Although Ana is insecure about her appearance, Christian is overwhelmed with desire for her. For many of us, feeling desired by someone we admire makes us feel more worthy and attractive. The reader can embody the raw, insatiable desire, and perhaps recall their own experiences with this prior to other priorities and life stresses getting in the way, or the newness of their relationship wearing off.

All of this makes Ana feel special. With Christian’s good looks, fortune, and power, he could woo many women… yet he chose to seduce Ana. This must mean that she’s special in some way. Then, despite his desire for a non-emotional sexual relationship, he falls for her and begins to change and open up. This further indicates how extraordinary she must be and the female reader feels this excitement and power through Ana.

In spite of the sexual kinks, this is a traditional romance story in many ways, which makes it familiar and safe. This also means that anyone who wants to sexually please a woman can glean some sexual insights. The first take-home message is that women like confident lovers. Sure, it’s unlikely you are a fantasy man who is attractive, sexy, wealthy, powerful, philanthropic, and aged 27, like Christian Grey. Deal with it and own what you’ve got. Fake it until you make it when it comes to confidence. Channel Christian Grey if you have to.

The next lesson, if your partner is game, is to introduce new aspects of power play and sensual play in the bedroom. You can practice dominance by removing your partner’s senses, such as tying her up with a scarf, using a blindfold, or putting in ear buds with carefully chosen music. Be slow, teasing and in charge. Let her experience how much you desire her.

Finally, make the object of your desire feel special. Let her know through words, actions, time, and attention that you think she is amazing. Never stop courting her, so she always knows she is a top priority. This may sound cliché, but what would it take to actually prioritize this every day?

There are warranted critiques of this story, like the poor writing, imprecise depiction of BDSM, and portrayal of an unhealthy relationship. But Fifty Shades unexpectedly pushed the right buttons for many women. If you found yourself stirred by the steamy scenes, think about what this indicates about your sexual interests. And consider if 2015 is your year of sexual awakening.

(This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of Pacific San Diego Magazine.)

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego Sexologist, Sociologist, Sex Speaker

Sweet & Sexy Photo Scavenger Hunt - Feb 13!

If Dr. Jenn's Den and FrogQuest had a baby, this would be it!

Add spice to your Valentine’s weekend with a sex- and love-themed Photo Scavenger Hunt. Whether you’re single or the better part of a couple, we want you to gather a team of 4-6 friends, dress in any outrageous costumes you choose, and set off on this high-energy hunt! Your challenge is to capture the most daring, creative, and interactive photo quests, from the list we provide, with your smartphone

Fun? Check! Adventure? Check! Competition? Check! Making a spectacle with your friends? Double check!

Photo quests will have you and your team setting up compromising yet hilarious photo rich situations, some of which may require that you get strangers to help you out! For instance, you may need to convince a stranger to eat an ice cream or a piece of fruit seductively. Don’t feel comfortable with a particular quest? No problem! Skip it and move on to another. There will be no shortage of other laughable moments to photograph!

Each quest is worth a varying amount of points depending on how daring or difficult it is, so the objective is to earn more points than any other team. Afterwards, teams return to watch a photo slideshow and celebrate while enjoying food and drink specials. This is the best part!

I'm co-hosting this event with my friend Chris Geirman, who owns FrogQuest Photo Scavenger Hunts.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego Sexologist, Sociologist, Sex Speaker

Top "Vagina" Trend of 2014

With so many ridiculous suggestions for how to "beautify" our genitals, this was my favorite "vagina" trend of 2014.

~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus -- San Diego Sexologist, Sexuality Speaker & Sociologist

The Mindfulness Movie in San Diego! Fundraiser for Jeans 4 Justice

Purchase Mindfulness Movie tickets as San Diego fundraiser.

There is something we can do for as little as 8 minutes a day that will change our lives. That something is called MINDFULNESS, and I am hosting a movie fundraiser about this powerful practice. Mindfulness is simple in its concept, but difficult in its practice. Yet we can all learn to do it, and 35 of the leading experts in the field will help us out.

As a member of the Board of Directors for Jeans 4 Justice, I am hosting a showing of The Mindfuness Movie and a post-movie panel discussion. All ticket sales benefit Jeans 4 Justice, a San Diego-based nonprofit dedicated to preventing sexual and relationship violence before it happens. Their programs help youth and young adults create compassionate relationships and skills to handle negative emotions in a healthy manner. 

Here is a synopsis of The Mindfulness Movie. Full Life. Less Strife:

Experts agree. We don’t experience reality as it really is. We perceive it through a filter that allows us to see only what we’ve been conditioned to see. That’s because we’ve become trapped in the neurobiology of our own brains. As we grow older our actions and reactions become conditioned by our hopes, intentions, anxieties, motivations, loves, hates, desires, fears or frustrations. Eventually we become stuck in these patterns and live our lives on autopilot.

Join us on a journey with a group of 35 world-renowned authors and experts in neuroscience, psychiatry, relationships, sports psychology and quantum physics. Learn an ancient technique that is rapidly becoming embraced by modern science called Mindfulness.


Date: Friday, December 6, 2013 

Time: 8pm - 10pm, doors open at 7:30pm 

Price: $15

Place: AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, San Diego, CA 92130 (Free parking in parking garage next to building – park in visitor or unmarked spots.)

Purchase tickets online ahead of time HERE.

Post-film Panel Discussion with local mindfulness professionals:
Steven Alper, LCSW – METTA Training and Consulting
Craig Lambert, LCSW – Craig Lambert Couples Therapy
Sara Schairer - Compassion It
Jennifer Gunsaullus, PhD – Dr. Jenn’s Den

We appreciate our generous venue sponsor AMN Healthcare!