Do you listen to your intuition when it's telling you No! versus telling you Hell Yes!? Making choices based on what you know is right for you can be difficult, especially for women who have been taught to put the needs of others first. My dear friend Barb Miller has started a new podcast show for women to learn how to live a Hell Yes! life, and I was her first guest!Read More
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I'm a nerd when it comes to reading and learning about sex research. Orgasms in an MRI - awesome. Fascinating animal sex - nice. A new website supporting open sexual expression - sign me up! On February 17, I started "21 Days of #TwitterSex" to offer you all an easy way to read daily about interesting new sex-related research and stories. Why 21 days? Because it also serves as a countdown to my birthday on March 9 :)
Here are my first 7 tweets to kick off this 21 days of sex research!
Day 1 of #TwitterSex! Are there things you enjoy more than sex (bacon?!)? See if you’re on this list of 20 things: http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/02/20-things-people-supposedly-like-more-than-sex.html
Day 2 of #TwitterSex! Today’s sex bit: “Porn addiction” diagnosis still not proven as addiction: http://jezebel.com/wait-so-is-porn-addiction-even-a-real-thing-1523887084
Day 3 of #TwitterSex: Holy crap! A good crap can feel orgasmic :) http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/02/18/poo-phoria-passing-a-stool_n_4808627.html?just_reloaded=1 @HuffPostPoorna
Day 4 of #TwitterSex: Do you have the balls (or ovaries) to post a photo/video of your face during a masturbation orgasm? http://www.thegloss.com/2014/02/14/sex-and-dating/orgasm-face-videos-beautiful-agony/
Day 5 of #TwitterSex: More research to support EARLY sex education efforts: http://www.kttc.com/story/24745202/std-education-must-start-long-before-kids-engage-in-sex #sexed
Day 6 of #TwitterSex: How big is your clitoris? Where is it located? This impacts your pleasure. http://jezebel.com/when-it-comes-to-orgasms-size-does-matter-cliterally-1527952620 @jezebel
Day 7 of #TwitterSex: Breast milk! Does it vary by what gender baby is being fed? Interesting! http://www.journalreview.com/news/article_bd072362-b0b5-5ef7-8cbd-f815f0f935e8.html
Follow DrJennsDen on Twitter to keep up with the next two weeks of #TwitterSex!
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego Sexologist, Sexuality Speaker, Sociologist
Looking for something better than chocolates and roses to give your partner for Valentine’s Day? Dr. Jenn has an idea for you to really let your partner know they're loved.
I love Valentine’s Day. But I hate what we do with it. Since when does showing your love involve how much money you spend or buying culturally-prescribed, unimaginative gifts? And how much time do you spend trying to find just the right card when the words from Hallmark don’t quite fit your needs?
If you actually want this Valentine’s Day to be about experiencing and celebrating your love for your intimate partner, I suggest you share 15 things you love about them. You can do this over dinner, while enjoying a glass of wine or beer, or wherever you can both relax and engage in this beautiful conversation. Here’s how to get started.
How They Take Care of You
Does your partner take good care of you when you’re sick, or do you appreciate their nurturing and selflessness overall? Do they provide financial stability or contribute financially in a way that betters your life? Perhaps they creatively cook and make each meal an adventure, or wash your clothes in the particular way you prefer. Do they edit your blogs before you post them? Maybe they are open to sexual exploration and fulfill your desires for physical connection. Consider how they make you feel safe, grounded, and cared for so you can face the world.
Traits You Admire
Does your partner make you laugh? Or perhaps your partner has much more patience with your children than you, and you admire their strength. Does a specific physical trait turn you on, or their intelligence stimulate you? Maybe you’re grateful for their emotional vulnerability and understanding. Possibly you appreciate their social skills in any context, or that they volunteer once a month to assist disadvantaged youth? Consider both the traits you have in common and those you don’t possess yourself, but are damned glad your partner does.
Are your weekends filled with activities together? Do you enjoy cheering on your football team, or reading and discussing your latest book? Perhaps you enjoy physical activities, such as hiking, yoga, or bike rides. Maybe home improvements create the context for the best of your mutual talents. In evenings after work, do you enjoy hashing out your political views, doing a crossword puzzle together, or watching your favorite drama series? Don’t just share the examples of the specific activities you jointly enjoy, but how it feels and what it means to you to be able to spend that time together.
Remember that time you hiked into a cave, got lost, and never thought you’d find your way out again, but now can laugh about that exhilarating experience? Did you share awe at the birth of your first child? Maybe there was a birthday party when you partied like rock stars or that time in church when you both couldn’t stop giggling. Was there a relaxing vacation that helped you reconnect and remember why you’re together? These are the best moments that have marked the passage of your relationship and your growing bond.
Big Picture Commonalities
Does your partner share your moral compass? Do you have similar spiritual beliefs, political opinions, or ideas about balancing finances? Perhaps you prioritize similar values in your parenting styles. Do you both fight fair, and believe respect and kindness should always be present? These may be reasons you got together in the first place, or commonalities which unfolded as your relationship evolved and made you love your partner even more.
How They Make You a Better Person
How does your partner challenge you to be the best version of you? Do they gently discuss your parenting style and help you break the patterns you’re unwittingly mimicking from childhood? Have you supported each other in eating healthier, drinking less, or exercising more? Do you feel affirmed in your dreams and passions, even if your partner has different goals? Ideally, intimate relationships create a synergy that elevates each individual to a higher level of themselves.
Be sure to give details and examples for all of your listed items. Your partner may not know the depth or meaning behind your appreciation if you don’t explain it. Love is appreciating your partner for the moments you enjoy together, who they are in the world, and how they make your life better. Brainstorming 15 things might have sounded daunting at first, but I hope all of your love items are freely flowing now. I’m reminded of that popular quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
I hope you and your partner will never forget this Valentine’s Day.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, CA -- Sexologist, Sociologist, Sexuality Speaker
"How can I be better in bed?"
People often ask me this question, wanting a secret technique to give their partner more pleasure. I advise them that the best way to become a better lover is to approach sex as a holistic experience. Fortunately, if you’re interested in expanding your sexual horizons, San Diego has plenty to offer. The only requirements are curiosity and the courage to explore.
Whether exploring the mental, physical, emotional, social, or spiritual sides of sex, it takes courage to step outside your comfort zone. As San Diego sexual spiritualist Shawn Roop says, “Sex is a natural act that can enlighten, awaken and open the body and soul, and quiet the mind.”
Sex Ed in school might have been uninspiring, but sex classes available in San Diego will make you want homework. Sexologist Dr. Sayaka Adachi teaches workshops at Déjà Vu Love Boutique in Vista and private home parties. She says classes like “Blow Him Away!” and “The Amazing World of Female Orgasm” are popular because they “teach the nitty-gritty of fun and easy techniques to pleasure a partner, while expanding knowledge of themselves and their partner.”
Dr. Adachi says that in the sexual realm, like everywhere else, knowledge is power. When asked what people incorrectly think they know about sex, she says with a laugh, “How big the clitoris is, let alone where it is.”
At Pleasures & Treasures Boutique in North Park, sex educator Alex West Moreau teaches a range of classes on improving sex and BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism).
“The most challenging thing for people to grasp in my classes is that it’s simply ok for them to want to explore their sexuality,” Moreau says. “Permission to explore is rarely given to oneself.”
While classes on BDSM may feel too risky for some, Moreau promises a “safe and secure environment for the public to learn how to explore deeper levels of themselves and connect more deeply with their partners.”
If you think that sex-toy stores have sketchy staff and offensive product packaging, then you need to visit a local gem, The Rubber Rose, in East Village. According to owner Lea Caughlan, the store is “simple and classy, with a carefully curated selection of bodysafe products, presented in a nonjudgmental, gender- and sexuality-neutral context, run by sex educators.”
The Rubber Rose commits to carrying only “skin-safe and nontoxic” products. As to the physical benefits of toys, Caughlan says, “Our bodies are physically invigorated when we orgasm.” For individuals who need greater stimulation intensity, or have experienced changes due to aging, illness or trauma, “Using toys can create a bridge and allow us to learn our bodies,” Caughlan says. “Toys can also create new dialogue between partners communicating new or different levels of desire and using the toys to play out fantasies.”
Beyond toys, learning how to move your body in new ways can build confidence and entice your partner. Pole dancing classes offer a sensual experience and heightened body awareness.
“Exercise makes you stronger, healthier and more confident, and those all make sex, and everything else in your life, better,” says Marie Davidson, owner of Fun Pole Fitness in North Park.
February brings local performances of the award-winning play The Vagina Monologues, including at San Diego State University. The play promises to elicit from audiences a rollercoaster of emotional reactions: sadness, thoughtfulness, shock, amusement and a lot of laughter. Attending this show can be a healing experience for audience members.
“When we discuss such topics openly, we eliminate the sense of shame that too frequently surrounds them, and instead foster a sense of empowerment,” says Sharlene Castle, producer of the SDSU show. “We want women in the audience to feel proud of their vaginas and sexuality. We want men to understand and empathize with the female experience, and we want everyone to feel outraged about the injustices women continue to face — and then do something to change it.”
Sex may be considered a private experience for many, but Kamala Devi, a Pacific Beach resident and sex coach, hosts monthly Tantra Talks, Poly Potlucks and Sacred Snuggle Parties.
“The first two are meet-and-greets for people interested in exploring new paradigms of connection, either by going beyond monogamy or making sexuality more spiritual,” says Devi, a star of the Showtime series Polyamory: Married & Dating. “The Sacred Snuggle parties are more like laboratories to express your boundaries and desires for touch, intimacy and sensuality.”
For beginners, these sexual-social environments might feel intimidating, so Devi emphasizes safety. “We give a warm welcome to newcomers and discuss social agreements such as consent, confidentiality and celebrating diversity,” she says. “People are welcome to come and watch and learn; they don’t even have to speak.”
The spiritual component of sex explores being present in the moment. Golden Hill resident Shawn Roop, who teaches spiritual workshops, says U.S. culture is missing “a personal sacred sense of sex. Fantasy, escapism and shame have ripped the grace and beauty sex offers each of us.”
Roop addresses this missing piece by teaching that “men and women have different ways they approach sex. I empower women to understand how to have sex that meets their needs beyond just the physical act. I share with men how to engage sex from a more vulnerable place.”
(This was originally published by Pacific San Diego Magazine in February 2014.)
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, Sexologist, Sexuality Speaker, Sociologist
I got to sit down with fellow sex educator, Sex Nerd Sandra, and hash out what the concept and practice of mindfulness is, and how it relates to improving relationships, reducing judgments, deepening intimacy, and enhancing sexual experiences.
The topics we cover include: The “Down Low,” Getting Touchy-Feely, Self Care, Awareness without Judgement, The Triangle of Thoughts-Emotions-Sensations, Your Patterns, Triggers, Sandra’s Trigger, Using Your Words, Tangible Feelings, A Pattern Interrupt, Run/Numb/Distract, Sandra’s Dark Shadow, Favorite Negative Emotions, Manipulation, Buddhist Science, Third Eye, Astrology “Personal Growth,” Brené Brown, Feeling Worthy, Dr. Who, Our Inner Geography, Resiliency, Dr. Jenn’s TEDx Talk, and Befriending Your Body.
Listen to this PODCAST ON SEX & MINDFULNESS.
~Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, San Diego, Sexologist, Sexuality Speaker, Sociologist