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Sex with Dr. Jess


August 9, 2019

Overcome Sexual Repression

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How do know if you’re sexually repressed or if your partner is holding you back? What is sexual empowerment and how can you overcome repression to feel more empowered? Jess and Brandon discuss their experiences and share personal insights.

How do I know if I’m sexually repressed and if my partner is involved in making me feel this way? I hear about sexual empowerment and that’s how I want to be.

Sexual empowerment and sexual repression are not static states of being, but experiences that fluctuate over time.

You may feel repressed one day and empowered the next.

You may experience empowerment in one sexual scenario and struggle to overcome the repression with which you were raised. The experience of sexual repression (which is universal) does not mean that “repressed” is a part of your sexual identity, as sexuality is fluid.

You may feel empowered on your own, but you may be socially repressed because of your gender, sexual orientation, race, age, ability or body type. While empowerment and overcoming sexual repression may be admiral goals, it’s important to look at the ways in which systemic oppression wreak havoc on our sexual identities and sexual expression.

If, however, you feel that your own attitude or behaviours (or those of your partner) are resulting in feelings of sexual repression, you might consider whether or not…

1. Your partner (or society) shames you for your sexual desires or fantasies. This is a serious red flag and a sign that you may not be compatible. Compatibility can be cultivated, but if they judge you for your sexual desires, you may find difficulty finding common ground.

What to do: Talk to them about the judgment. Call it what it is. Ask them to explain the source of this judgment. How does it make them feel? Are they struggling to overcome a sexual issue and are they projecting their negative feelings on to you? If they’re willing to work on this, you can find a path to compatibility. If they continue to shame or judge you (without acknowledging their own hangups and baggage), you may want to consider whether they’re the right sexual partner for you.

2. You feel guilty about masturbating or enjoying sex. Masturbation is common, pleasurable and healthy for people of all genders. However, many of us are raised to believe that it’s a dirty little secret and overcoming these negative messages can be a challenge.

What to do: Examine the reasons why masturbation is shameful. Make a list with two columns: Why it’s bad and why it’s good. Consider the pros against the cons to approach sex and masturbation with a more rational (and less moral) lens.

3. You enjoy sex, but feel ashamed or embarrassed after engaging in sex that brings you pleasure.

What to do: Consider the messages you received about sex growing up. Look at them from an evidence-based perspective. Look for scientific reasons why you shouldn’t enjoy sex and why you should feel ashamed. And then look for reasons why you deserve to enjoy sex.

Here are a few:

  • Improved sexual functioning. Self-pleasure can help you to become more familiar with your own body and its unique sexual responses. You’ll likely become better at asking for what you want during partnered sex as a result of your self-pleasure sessions.
  • Boosted body confidence. Masturbation not only fosters a positive connection with your body, but it can boost self-esteem. When your body performs (through a sport, a dance or a session of pleasure), you experience an increase in confidence and tend to focus on its strong points as opposed to its “problems”.
  • Heightened sexual desire. Masturbation is elemental to increasing desire in many cases, as it helps us to learn about our own bodies and reactions. Self-pleasure also increases the likelihood of orgasm and is connected with higher self-esteem. Moreover, as your body relishes in the dopamine and endorphin release, you are more likely to crave more, resulting in an increase in desire for sex.
  • The relinquishment of sexual shame. Most of us learn to orgasm through self-pleasure and accepting the fact that orgasm is an experience as opposed to something a lover can “give you”. This idea can work wonders for how you see sex and your body.
  • Masturbation is also associated with a host of health benefits including lower stress levels, improved circulation to the pelvic region, restful sleep, relaxation and and an increase likelihood of orgasm (alone and with a partner).
  • Improved pelvic floor.
  • Masturbation helps you to relax, de-stress and enjoy a good night’s sleep — all of which will only serve to benefit your intimate relationship with a partner (e.g. fewer fights) and your sex life (more energy and confidence for sex). And of course, sleep is associated with many health benefits including improved cognitive functioning, digestion, healthy weight maintenance and immunity.

This podcast is brought to you by Desire Resorts.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Overcome Sexual Repression

00:00:05 – 00:05:00

You’re listening to the sacs with dr jess podcast sacks and relationship advice. You can use tonight <music>. Welcome welcome to the sex with dr jasser podcast. I’m brandon where here with my lovely partner dr jess hey. Hey how’re you doing today babe. I’m great good feeling ailing sexually empowered very really. I don’t know i kind of put me on the spot with that question. I feel great. I do what does that mean to you. Sexual impairment is a test no just kink. He’s stalling people with formulate a crafty response. I i think sexually poverty is just being aware of your what you’re comfortable with being open minded to new ideas and being nonjudgmental. I think when somebody presents was on something to you even if it’s not your cup of tea just acknowledging that it’s not and not judging it to each their own. It’s interesting that you bring up not judging in the context of other people’s desires because i think it’s a good reminder that when we judge other people it’s usually because we we have some judgment about ourselves. Yeah there’s been so much in the news over the last few years whether it’s a sexual health education and ah or you know just issues in general and maya opinion is very much if you’re not hurting anyone else and you’re educating informing and helping helping people have healthy lives how does not benefit everyone well. It’s it’s interesting because our friends over it. We’ve i’ve had their account taken down without notice without explanation on instagram and this is happening to sexuality and and sexual health education accounts across the board and of course it’s concerning to me because i work really hard on instagram. I don’t just throw up photos oftentimes. I’m actually crafting posts that are sort of like mini blog posts and that could be taken down at any time now granted. I know instagram is a free service but i think it’s interesting that in we vibes case for example selling sex toys is a problem but there are so many other ads on my feet feed for beauty products for tummy tucks for lip injections for i don’t know all sorts of beauty related products and let me be clear clear if you like those things that is perfectly fine and i think it’s important to emphasize that many of these products are sold to us using body shaming approaches right. You are not good enough. That wrinkle makes you unattractive. Your lips aren’t big enough your but isn’t isn’t big enough. Your waist is too big. He’ll cool sculpting ads and i think it’s interesting that products that create shame around our bodies and profit from that shame are held in much higher regard than products that are simply designed to help us love enjoy an an embrace our bodies and in censoring sexual health education what they’re doing is sending the message that sex and pleasure are shameful and they shouldn’t be discussed and the cost of this message is so frightening to me because if you don’t have the tools and permission to talk about what you you want and what you don’t want your desires your boundaries your fears your concerns. How do you even begin to negotiate consent. When accurate evidence based sexual health information is censored. We know that folks turn to non educational sources primarily primarly porn to learn about sex and porn can be lovely it can be titillating. It can be exciting. It can be entertaining but it is not designed with education nation in mind it does not reflect comprehensive. Sexual health education were evidence based information and we know that education can help help you to thoughtfully reconsider some of the messages you receive in porn and popular media so by censoring this information. It’s this cycle of <unk> distant powering people and when you remove sex education you cost people their lives so we know that sexual health education saves lives. It’s associated did with higher academic achievement crater gender equity higher school attendance rates a suicide prevention. I know it’s linked with higher levels of confidence lower risk of abuse and more fulfilling relationships so we’ve got all this data linking sex education positive health and personal outcomes but we’re saying saying no man.

00:05:01 – 00:10:12

Don’t talk about sex and i. I don’t know it puts it. Puts me in a state of fear in a state of <hes> you know hyper vigilance which has just distressful to see all these other accounts censored and you know my turn to be next and i bring up the censorship of vibes instagram account because we’re gonna talk briefly about sexual repression and empowerment today ahead a instagram follower message me and ask how do i know if i’m sexually repressed and if my partner is involved in making me feel this way i read about sexual empowerment and that’s how i want to be so this person wants to know if the repressed and they wanna feel sexually empowered and i think it’s important to begin with a reminder that sexual empowerment and sexual repression are not static states of being they are experiences that fluctuate over time you may feel repressed one day and empowered howard the next and it’s not always a linear build or an ascension from repression to empowerment you may experience empowerment in one sexual scenario and then struggle to overcome the repression with which you were raised the experience of sexual repression which is i think think universal doesn’t mean that repressed needs to be a part of your sexual identity. It isn’t experience in sexuality is it is fluid fluid on other examples. You may feel empowered on your own but you may be socially repressed because of your gender your sexual orientation your race your age aged your ability and or your body type and while empowerment and overcoming sexual repression can be i think admirable marble goals. I think it’s important to look in the ways. Look at the ways in which systemic structures can wreak havoc on our sexual identities and sexual expression so you you grew up probably somewhere in the middle would you would you say in terms of the sexual messages you received saved yeah reflecting back on my upbringing. The sexual messages were fairly limited and it was very much. Don’t come home home with kit <hes> i- rumor sex education in junior school and then when i got to high school i’m not catholic but i went to catholic high school and was taught by <hes> you know my religion teacher about sexual health and education and it was about the abstinence it’s method which from my perspective reflecting again reflecting back on it was kind of frightening yeah and you actually did practice abstinence throughout the actually that’s great. I really did through many of my high school years. I did practice that and the the the other the other method that they did teach was the rhythm method so mine was the no rhythm method where you just want without like you said but it it’s scary to think think about that message being relayed because rhythm that method of birth control it doesn’t stop other things from being transmitted of course. It’s not safer sex because we’re not accounting for sti transmission when you think of the word repression. When have you felt sexually repressed or or how have you experienced sexual repression. I don’t think that i ever felt repressed. I think that it was is only through this relationship and your involvement when we first met was with the sexual the sexual education center at u._t. Ah you’re the director and the people that you around and their willingness to talk about it openly honestly intelligently really opened mind to new ideas new things and a comfort speaking about it and then when that when that education when that opportunity existed. I don’t think i look felt oh jeez. I was really impressed. It was just it was a new chapter where it was okay to talk about it. Yeah i think sometimes it’s really really just about permission to feel what you’re feeling. When i think about empowerment i think about the freedom to seek your own authentic version of sex right permission to embrace whatever feels right for you at the time and if it involves other people with consent of course in his fluid changes right so so for me the more you i may look back in five ten years and it wouldn’t say fearful repress now but just my life experience in in five or ten years might be that i’m much more empowered in the future and what’s nice is that i can change that right now. It’s interesting to me that you bring up my my friends from the sexual health education center in the work that i did there because it’s a reminder that the sexual is social the people you surround yourself with affect every facet of your life.

00:10:12 – 00:15:03

Even though you weren’t having sex with any of those people they left a lasting imprint and so much of what i’ve learned about sex has been through the social from other people’s stories from folks sharing with me and if we’re talking about sexual repression because this person wants to i know are they repressed to their departure play a role in this repression. I think your partner in society in general can shame you for your the sexual desires and fantasies and if this is the case. I think it’s a pretty serious red flag and perhaps a sign that you’re not compatible. If your partner is making you feel embarrassed embarrassed or judged for your sexual desires. I often talk about how compatibility can be cultivated. You don’t have to want the same things but if they judge you for or your sexual desires. I think it’s going to be difficult to find common ground now. If their initial initial reaction judgment that doesn’t mean you need to break up but i think think they may have to dig a little deeper and say. Do i really want to judge you or is there a discomfort with which i’m sitting and i’m not acknowledging my true feelings around on this and if you do feel your partners judging you and it’s making you feel repressed. I say you talk to them about the judgment. Call it exactly what it is. Ask them to explain elaine why they feel this way. What is the source. How does your desire or fantasy or any expression you’ve shared how does it make them feel you you know are they struggling to overcome their own sexual issue or or shame and perhaps they’re projecting their negative feelings onto you and if they’re willing to work on this of course you can find a path to compatibility but if they continue to shame or judge you without acknowledging their own hangups and their own baggage because we’ve all got them. I think you might want to consider if the right sexual partner for you other signs that people are dealing with sexual oppression revolve around guilt so if you feel <music> guilty about masturbating or enjoying sex perhaps that’s a sign that you know you have some shame to let go of you. Know masturbation is it’s common. It’s pleasurable. It’s healthy see for people of all genders but so many of us were raised to believe that it’s a dirty little secret and it can be hard to overcome these messages so if you are feeling <hes> some shame around masturbating for example examine the reasons why masturbation is shameful make a list with two columns why it could be bad for me and and why it could be good so the benefits and costs of masturbation and consider the pros against the cons because there aren’t that many evidence based cons. I mean i i can’t. I’m not saying that you you have to masturbate okay and i’m not saying that there aren’t some drawbacks for some people at some times but overall it’s it’s a healthy the approach to sex and if you can look sex more through a rational rather than a moral lens because morality in around sex tends to be quite arbitrary tori and you know not particularly complex i don’t think it considers necessarily the nuance of individual desire and experience so if you can look at it through a rational as opposed to moral lend you might see that shame or that guilt differently and feel a little bit more empowered feel less repressed and other folks folks find that they really enjoy sex but they feel ashamed or embarrassed after engaging in sex that brings them pleasure and if that’s the case you wanna consider the messages you received about sex growing up and again look at them from an evidence based perspective look for real reasons why you shouldn’t enjoy sex and why you should feel ashamed and then look for the reasons why you deserve to enjoy sex and they’re of course all these benefits of sex you know you when you have sex you actually experienced improved sexual functioning. <hes> oftentimes people will report that. They feel better about their bodies. After sex having sex can actually actually lead to more sex and heighten your sexual desire is having six can also help you to relinquish some of the sexual shame that you might be struggling with or perhaps as you were raised with because when you bring pleasure to something shameful it subverts the power of that shame at you know there are some health benefits associated with sex like lower stress levels improve circulation to the pelvic region a better night’s sleep higher relaxation <hes> it can for some people apparently improve pelvic floor functioning wing and it can help you have a good night’s sleep and of course when you sleep well. You have a better relationship with your partner. You have fewer rights. You have more sex you’re better able able to resolve conflict and then sleep is associated with a host of health benefits including improved cognitive functioning even digestion healthy weight maintenance manson immunity and so if sleep if sex puts you to sleep.

00:15:03 – 00:20:01

It’s good for your house. Check for me. You do fall asleep right after i’m done i’m ready for at least it’s not during so i just want to emphasize that sexual repression is not an identity. It’s not a static permanent state of being. It’s it’s an experience the fluctuates over time so i would be less worried about whether you feel good and confident in your sexuality as opposed to worrying about what label you embrace and empowerment for. Everybody is very different for instance brennan. How you answered is different than how i made answer and so you need to do what feels nice to authentic to you. I think if you would ask me today what if i if i was impressed i think it would be the if somebody stifled or prohibited me from having a conversation about it or shamed me like you said because if i can’t express how i feel to someone then i feel like it’s like anything. I’m i’m bottled up. You’ve commented before other. People have told me the same therapists when you can get something off your chest. Sometimes it releases the demons right it. It makes you feel so much better so i think somebody stopping you from having that conversation and not judging you is going to be for me what would would define repression. That’s interesting so it’s really around the conversation. It’s not about the action itself again for me it would it would start there because has the conversation flows in so many different ways and in our relationship so much good has come out of conversation and good in sex in work in personal and professional activities. It’s just you have to start with with communicating and communicating is a very general broad statement to fix a problem and folks will run into. I think the obstacle full of a partner who doesn’t want to talk and so if your partner doesn’t wanna talk <laughter> oftentimes you have to look at other ways to open the conversation. Maybe it’s an activity. Maybe it’s just watching a television show talking about how the characters on the show deal with an issue because it can be easier to talk about third parties especially fictional third parties parties then to talk about your own relationship. You may also want to consider how you’re approaching the topic because if you’re making an accusation of course your partner is going to withdraw or wash shutdown or lash out if you are blaming them right. If you’re analyzing your partner oftentimes people will struggle to get through to their partner because they go at them and say oh. You’ve got this problem or you know your family. Has this history or you need help when you can’t tell your partner to get help. You can’t tell your partner how to change their behavior. You can make requests the only thing you can really control though is your own behavior and how you respond to your partner’s behaviors and i think because we don’t talk about sex in a more proactive way we wait until a problem arises as opposed to having these conversations just because because they’re relevant and fruitful by the time we get to them were often so frustrated that we are the worst versions of ourselves. I know i’m like that. I have difficulty picking my battles or picking what issues issues to bring up and then sometimes i wait too long and then i don’t bring up the issue in a constructive way and it gets nowhere whereas if i wait till i’m calmer perhaps have had a good good night sleep or have had my feet on the ground for twenty four hours i find the conversation is more fruitful and it’s because i approach it in a way that makes makes you more receptive to it but we’re all guilty of that. I think when nothing is wrong you don’t need you. Don’t think you need to fix anything but you forget that you need to maintain that state eight of good and to maintain it requires conversation. Yes and that’s why. I really do believe you have to invest in your relationship the way you invest in every area of your life so for example. If you’re if you’re fitness is really good. You’re feeling really good about you. Know how many reps you can do and how much you work out and whatever it is your goals are when it comes to fitness. You don’t just stop you. Don’t stop and say you know what i’m good now. I’m not going to work out for a couple of months or a couple years. Some people do me what happened right but investing into the relationship i’ve noticed in our relationship that when you and i are good and those conversations are being in had when we’re reflecting when we’re engaging in very short 235-minute activities every single day that focusing on making this relationship better every other aspect of my life is better because i can invest more time into work or into personal and you and i again have this is base. That’s good and you’re supportive of what i need to do or what i want to do. Well i think you love that up for me and i need to bring up my fifty video. Course course that’s upcoming from happier.

00:20:01 – 00:22:38

Couples dot com fifty exercises to save your relationship. I want to call it. The don’t get divorced course but it’s for people in all types of relationships and they are just exercises fifty little things you can do to open conversation and invest in your relationship not wait until the problems arise and really again if if your finances are in good order you don’t just let it slide you look for other opportunities oftentimes to grow and we need to do the same in relationships and i think the key is it is always easier to talk about a topic when you’re not in the midst of tension and strife so if you talk about money kids sex all that stuff when things are good. You’re probably going to find that. These conversations are preventative and fewer problems arise and and that’s part of sexual empowerment to just the talk here. We are eighteen years later. We did those exercises and we recorded them. I laughed it. I cried. I felt better after each one and i know that sounds like a sales pitch but it really isn’t it was it was moving for me and we’ve done them over the years but to do them all again. Was it really reminded me how important and how good this relationship is an can n._b._a. And how every other aspect of my life can can be better when this relationship is great. It’s interesting that you say that you it felt better after these fifty exercises because we film them over the course of let’s say a week and i hired other couples to also try them out on camera and what i found i think i had six other people come in was that the couples actually wanted to do the exercises and i think that’s why they said yes to me when making this request because they thought oh this is really cool and they’re going to get a copy of the course so it sounds very promotional but i i didn’t intend it that way. In fact it’s not even ready yet. It’s still you know being polished. I off when it’s ready. It will be available at happier couples dot com and with that. I think we’re going to wrap it up another quickey on sexual repression a big. Thank you to desire resorts. Check them out at desire experience. It is worth following along making a trip down there someday if you can. Thanks for chatting babe as always and thanks for listening. We’ll be back next friday and every friday have a great one <music>. You’re listening to the sex with dr jess podcast improve your sex life improve your life.