On the show today we are joined by Vanessa Marin, who is a sex therapist specializing in helping women achieve orgasms. Through her work, in person and online, Vanessa has coached countless clients towards more fulfilling sex and a greater understanding of their bodies. In our conversation we cover Vanessa’s early desire to become a sex coach and the challenges that she faced on her journey towards her current status.
We then get into the nitty gritty of the big ‘O’, unpacking different types of desire, the dual control model, common myths on the subject and the helpful concept of curiosity. We also discuss sex toys, menopause, and some of the methods and resources that Vanessa offers.
- How Vanessa found herself in the job of orgasm coach.
- The basis of Vanessa’s program for helping her clients.
- The strong bond between desire and orgasm.
- Differences between spontaneous and responsive desire.
- An explanation of the dual control model.
- Female orgasms are complex, how can we simplify it?
- Where to start focussing your efforts when learning how to orgasm.
- A few of the myths around female orgasm.
- The courses, steps and guides that Vanessa offers on her website
- Rethinking orgasm through the idea of curiosity.
- The use of sex toys in this endeavour.
- Menopause and orgasm and comparing different perspectives.
- A more realistic idea of a healthy sex life for couples.
- And much more!
Resources, extended show notes and Alice’s details can be accessed by clicking here.
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[0:01:25.6] Sean Jameson: Today on the podcast, I’m talking to Vanessa Marin, she is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex therapy and she’s here today to help you stop feeling embarrassed and start having way more fun in the bedroom. Vanessa has bachelor’s degrees in both human sexuality and sociology from Brown University and she also has a master’s degree from CIIS. She’s been featured over 1,000 times in major publications like the New York Times, O the Oprah magazine and real simple.
Vanessa, thanks so much for coming on the Bad Girl’s Bible Podcast.
[0:02:02.7] Vanessa Marin: Thank you so much for having me, I’m really excited to be here.
[0:02:05.6] Sean Jameson: Great. Well, I get so many emails and comments from female readers and listeners to the podcast who struggle with reaching orgasm as much as they’d like. Some don’t orgasm at all and some just don’t orgasm enough. I’m thrilled today that we’re talking about how female listeners can orgasm more often and more effortlessly, more easily. But before that, I’d love to know a little bit more about you and how you came to help women with their orgasm troubles.
[0:02:36.4] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely. I knew that I wanted to be a sex therapist for pretty much as long as I can remember, which I think is a little unusual, even at a really early age, I remember being able to sense my parents discomfort talking about sex. I think my version of the talk was basically just – if you have any questions, you can ask us but please don’t actually ask us because we don’t want to answer them.
I remember just feeling really confused about why is this such an embarrassing topic, why do people struggle with this so much, why can’t we just talk about it more openly and honestly? From those humble beginnings, I slowly developed a career in sex therapy and then really started to specialize in female orgasm a little bit later in my career when I realized that my entire practice was full of women who were struggling to learn how to orgasm.
I always knew that female orgasm would be a hot topic in this area but I was definitely surprised by how many women were really desperately seeking some sort of solutions. I realized this is an area that I wanted to help so many more women with.
[0:03:46.6] Sean Jameson: Awesome. Do you kind of lead with personal tips then or how do you kind of go about helping your clients?
[0:03:55.2] Vanessa Marin: Because it’s become such a popular topic, I now have two different ways of working with me. So I do offer one on one coaching with clients and then I also have two online courses for learning how to orgasm. In my work, I discovered that people felt a lot more comfortable doing the online courses because you can do it in the privacy of your own home and the convenience of your own schedule.
It’s a sensitive topic and a lot of people felt a little nervous coming into my office to setup an appointment, they were worried about seeing somebody that they knew in my waiting room. At the time, I was in San Francisco and even just the hassles of parking was a lot to deter people.
I started creating these online courses which are called Finishing School and I have two versions of it. I have Finishing School — Learn How to Orgasm for women who have never had an orgasm and I have Finishing School — Orgasm With a Partner for women who can orgasm on their own but struggle to get there with a partner.
[0:04:54.1] Sean Jameson: I think you can be separated into two specific issues. I’m just wondering if you have any stories, be it personal or maybe past clients on maybe they struggled reaching orgasm, having as many orgasms as they’d like. You know, that maybe our listeners could relate to.
[0:05:15.2] Vanessa Marin: Yeah, II definitely talk a lot about the fact that I am a sex therapist and I have had my own orgasm struggles. I think it’s really important for me to be honest with the women that I work with and help normalize that this is something that everybody has to learn, we all go through a learning process around it.
For me personally, I was able to learn how to orgasm on my own but I spent years and years not being able to replicate that experience with a partner. It was just so baffling for me because at that point, orgasming on my own felt really straightforward, it was easy, I could do it quickly, I just knew what to do, it felt so simple and so it was very confusing for me, how can something that’s so simple and straightforward on my own be so impossible with a partner?
For me, at that time, you know, whenever I work with women, they always talk about feeling embarrassed about not knowing how to orgasm and just feeling a lot of shame around it. At that time, I was studying to be a sex therapist. Not only was I feeling all of that embarrassment and shame but I also have this added layer of this what I’m trying to do for a living.
[0:06:30.0] Sean Jameson: I’m supposed to be a pro!
[0:06:32.1] Vanessa Marin: Yes, exactly. I had one of the worst cases of imposter syndrome that you can imagine and I also – it was really challenging, you know, when I would date somebody or be in a relationship with somebody, as soon as they heard that I was training to be a sex therapist,, there would be all these assumptions that I was some wild cat in the bed and I was going to be having all these crazy multiple orgasms and you know, all the stuff.
It was just a lot of pressure. It set me up in a good position now where I can really relate to the clients that I’m working with because I have been there.
[0:07:09.4] Sean Jameson: Awesome. Well, I’m glad to hear you were able to overcome it. I want to talk about your some of the reasons why women struggle with orgasm. But first, I’d love to talk about maybe the basic concepts for people to understand, sort of like the ground work so then they can relate them, they can relate the struggles into this theory or idea. But I’d love if you could talk a little bit about how arousal and desire works, because before you actually orgasm, you have to be in the mood.
I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about maybe spontaneous desire and responsive desire.
[0:07:50.1] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely, there’s a really powerful relationship between desire and orgasm and I think that a lot of women tend to neglect that relationship. A lot of women expect what we sort of think that an orgasm’s going to pop up out of nowhere and we don’t really think about the fact that an orgasm is a journey and you need to be feeling arousal and desire and pleasure building up into an orgasm. If you’re not feeling that, you know, it’s just not going to happen. Also, there’s kind of an inverse relationship as well, a lot of women will get so frustrated by their orgasmic challenges that they’ll start losing their desire for sex.
They start avoiding sex because they just don’t want to get into the situation where they’re either going to have to fake it with a partner or be really frustrated about not having an orgasm. Those two things definitely play in with each other quite a bit. What you were talking about spontaneous versus responsive desire is another super important point that it’s really crucial to know regardless of what your challenges are with orgasm. The basic idea behind this is that there are two broad categories of arousal and desire. Of course, we’re all unique butterflies so we all have different things but in general, we can lump ourselves into two categories.
With responsive desire — responsive desire will show itself in response to a stimuli. You might be watching a movie and there’s a sexy scene on the movie, you might be kissing your partner and initially have not really been that into it but then start thinking, this actually feels really nice. Your desire is responding to some sort of stimulus.
Then on the other hand, we have spontaneous desire and this is how most people think that desire is supposed to work that we just feel the spontaneous desire out of nowhere. If you kind of boil down these two types, what it actually comes down to is there are two components of desire there is our mental desire, our thoughts thinking, “Wow, sex sounds good right now, I want to go find my partner, I’m horny right now.”
Then there’s our physiological arousal. Those are the things that happen in our body to prepare us for sex. Women, we start to get wet, our nipples can get erect, men are going to get erections, it’s the physical responses that happen. In spontaneous desire, you’re feeling that mental desire first and then you’re going to get the physical arousal after.
Responsive desire is the exact opposite, you’re feeling some sort of physical stimulation and then you start thinking, that sounds good, that looks good, that feels good, I want more. You know, everybody, as soon as I describe this, everybody always says, well spontaneous sounds better, how do I get that?
It’s not, it has its own set of challenges. A lot of people who have spontaneous desire, they’ll feel the mental desire for it but then their body hasn’t quite caught up yet. A man might not be able to get erect even though he really, in his head wants to have sex. You know, it’s an equally frustrating experience as not feeling that mental desire out of nowhere. It’s not that either type is better or worse than the other, it’s just that there are different needs that each of those types come along with.
[0:11:22.5] Sean Jameson: Awesome, would you say that women are mostly experienced spontaneous desire or is that men or vice versa?
[0:11:31.5] Vanessa Marin: There hasn’t been a ton of research done on this, there’s a great writer, Emily Nagoski who writes a phenomenal book, Come As You Are and she’s done some research on it and she believes that women tend to be more in the responsive camp. There are definitely plenty of women who are spontaneous but it tends to be that women on average are more in the responsive camp and men are more in the spontaneous camp.
[0:11:56.1] Sean Jameson: Perhaps women need sort of physiological, physical stimulation first, maybe to get in the mood as supposed to walking down the street with their husband or boyfriend and they just want to grab them and they’re ready to go.
[0:12:10.9] Vanessa Marin: Exactly, yeah, but once we get ourselves started, for a lot of women, you’ll notice your arousal start to build from there, you’ll start to respond to it.
[0:12:20.8] Sean Jameson: Next, I’d like to talk about the dual control model and I’d love if you could just say a little bit about that, give people an idea because I guess at the most basic level, it’s about what turns people on or turns their desire on or off. But I’m not the expert, I’d like to think I am but you’re definitely the expert in this Vanessa. I’d love you could talk a little bit about that.
[0:12:44.9] Vanessa Marin: Yeah, the idea behind the dual control model is that we basically have a gas pedal for our desire and a brake pedal for our desire. It’s a pretty obvious metaphor, the gas pedal is going to be the things that get you going, that make you feel the active desire and then the brake pedal is the things that inhibit your desire, that get in the way that even can put you into reverse if we’re sticking with the driving metaphor here.
It can feel like you’re even less turned on than you were before. It’s really important for us to think about both of these categories. Most people, when they think about desire, they only go with the gas pedal and they think, what do I need to get turned on, what’s going to get me there. I think it’s equally as important to think about what are the things that get in the way of me feeling desire.
For example, maybe you know, when I’m exhausted or I haven’t had a full night of sleep, it’s really hard for me to get in the mood for sex. Maybe if I have roommate and I can hear them right outside my door, it’s really hard for me to get in the mood.
Maybe if I have been the victim of sexual assault and I’m with a partner that I don’t fully trust yet, I’m not sure if they’re a safe person yet. It’s hard for me to get in the mood. It’s thinking about both of those aspects, what do I need — what blockages do I need to remove to me feeling desire and what are the things that help push me into feeling more desire.
[0:14:12.5] Sean Jameson: That is awesome. I think Vanessa, you just provided a really good kind of foundation framework for people to understand, how they might get turned on, what does turn them on and then what might stop them getting turned on or get turned off altogether.
But then, you know, if someone says no to all this the why — is there a simple explanation on why women struggle to orgasm or is it very complex.
[0:14:45.0] Vanessa Marin: It’s very complex, could spend a long time talking about it.
[0:14:49.3] Sean Jameson: I’ve got time.
[0:14:52.2] Vanessa Marin: There are definitely a lot of different reasons why women struggle with this. I think you know, it’s one thing, there are a lot of people that don’t understand how orgasm and desire and arousal and all that works. You know, even from there, it’s one thing to understand that and it’s another thing to put that to work in your life, to actually start taking steps to make changes in the way that you have sex.
I think in general, a lot of us really hesitate to make an effort with our sex lives because we think that sex is just supposed to be effortless and natural and everything’s just supposed to happen. This idea of having to make an effort is really scary to a lot of people. We’ve got that broad umbrella serving as a pretty big roadblock for a lot of people.
Then the second broad category that we have is orgasm myths. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about how female orgasm works, there are a lot of generic articles that you’ll find on the internet, saying things like, all you have to do is just relax or just drink a glass of wine, let it happen. Most women just don’t have the information that they need to actually learn how to orgasm.
Then finally, another major category that we have is the way that we think about sex is very focused on male pleasure. It’s really not focused on female pleasure. In a way, we’re actually setting women up to fail, to not be able to orgasm and then to feel horrible about it. I have a really funny analogy about how we treat sex if we want to get back to that at some point.
[0:16:27.1] Sean Jameson: Yeah, please.
[0:16:29.2] Vanessa Marin: We definitely do not set women up for success with orgasm.
[0:16:33.9] Sean Jameson: What kind of effort then would you recommend people put in if we’re not putting enough effort in right now? That’s a woman who can’t orgasm either by herself or with a partner.
[0:16:46.9] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely. The first place that you need to start is learning how to orgasm on your own. I think that a lot of women, I call this the night and shining armor problem, is a lot of us women, we have this idea that we want to have a partner, especially for women who sleep with men, we have this idea that we have this partner that’s just going to sweep into town and take us off to bed and magically know exactly how and where and when to touch us and stimulate us and make us just have an orgasm out of nowhere.
[0:17:17.7] Sean Jameson: He’s got the cheat codes.
[0:17:18.8] Vanessa Marin: Yes, exactly. You know, it would be great, I would love to have one of those myself but that unfortunately is just not how things work in the real world. It’s definitely much better for you to learn how to orgasm on your own first. If you feel at all disappointed by that prospect, let me just tell you that learning how to make yourself orgasm can absolutely be one of the most empowering and exciting experiences you will ever have.
You will feel so proud of yourself, way more proud than you would of the night and shining armor just doing it for you. That’s definitely step one is you got to learn how to orgasm on your own.
[0:17:59.9] Sean Jameson: What about — like you talk about myths, curse my Irish accent, myths. What are the myths that you know, the common ones that prevent women from getting closer to orgasm?
[0:18:15.2] Vanessa Marin: There are so many but some of the most harmful ones are this idea that orgasm should just be natural and effortless. A lot of women will get really upset about this idea of having to learn how to orgasm but the truth is that orgasm is a skill, it’s something that we have to learn just like you would learn any other skill playing the guitar, learning how to speak a different language. It’s something that you have to work on.
I think a lot of women will make comparisons to men here and say, but for men it’s so easy. We forget the fact that men spend a long time learning how to orgasm on their own too. They just tend to do it at a much younger age than women do. It’s a learning process for all of us.
That’s a big one that comes up. It also affects how women show up in the bedroom with partners too, where they are just waiting for it to happen rather than realizing that it is something that you actively have to make happen.
Then another big one that we have is around timing. A lot of women want the orgasm to happen within one to two minutes and the reality that takes on average, it is hard to get the total average because women are so unique and we are all over the place. But on average most experts will say about 20 minutes is a good timeframe to aim for. So that is definitely a big thing that gets in a lot of women’s way. They’ll make their partner stop touching them or going down on them if it has only been 30 seconds or a minute. It is just not enough time.
[0:19:44.9] Sean Jameson: So would you say that’s 20 minutes between the point of when she starts trying to get aroused and desire sex or 20 minutes from foreplay up until orgasm?
[0:19:57.3] Vanessa Marin: Usually 20 minutes from some sort of actual physical stimulation. And then another huge myth is the idea that women are supposed to orgasm from intercourse alone. So this is where I get into my funny example. So the reality for women is that orgasm boils to the clitoris. But most women have this belief that orgasm is supposed to happen from intercourse that the in an out motion of a penis into a vagina should be enough to make you have an orgasm.
And so the comparison that I like to make is talking about male testicles. So when you are having intercourse it can feel good for a woman. The vagina has nerve endings, it feels good, there’s a sense of closeness and intimacy. It is an enjoyable activity but for the vast majority of women, it is not going to be the kind of simulation that they need to reach orgasm because there’s not really much clitoral stimulation that’s happening in the way that most people have sex.
So we can compare it to the testicles for men. So let’s say we live in some alternate universe where we define sex as fondling a man’s testicles. So it is the same sort of thing like sure, fondling your testicles can feel good. It can feel great sometimes, maybe there are a few lucky men who are able to have orgasms from having their testicles fondled but the vast majority of men would tell you that’s just not what they need to actually reach an orgasm.
So imagine we’re in this alternate universe, this is what sex is, it is just fondling a man’s testicles and not only that, we start making men feel bad for not being able to orgasm that way. So the guy is getting his testicles fondled, he is not having an orgasm and now he is starting to feel guilty that he can’t orgasm from this. And then on top of all of that, we make him feel like he is having some sort of horrible mental blockage to this.
So this comes up for women all the time. We feel like, “Oh am I blocked in some way, maybe I am afraid of being vulnerable, maybe I am afraid of losing control, maybe I am afraid of just being really intimate with my partner.” So imagine if we told men this and so you are thinking, “Okay, well yeah. The testicles stuff feels good but this is not what I need to reach an orgasm.” And you are being told, “Well then it must be me that you have some horrible emotional mental blockages to it.”
So it sounds totally ridiculous when we talk about it from the perspective of testicles but this is exactly what we do with women. We have an activity that we have deemed, you know this is the holy grail of being physically intimate with somebody, is just intercourse and it is not the activity that for the overwhelming majority of women feels pleasurable enough to lead to orgasm but we don’t acknowledge that and on top of that, we actually make women feel guilty for needing the kind of stimulation that they need.
And we make them feel like they’ve got this horrible mental blockages to orgasm because they can’t orgasm in a way that their body is not made to orgasm.
[0:23:12.3] Sean Jameson: That is such a good analogy Vanessa, thanks for that.
[0:23:15.4] Vanessa Marin: It was my rant for the day.
[0:23:17.4] Sean Jameson: No but it’s completely accurate. I think it is such a great and simple such a memorable way that perhaps a woman listening, a female listener listening, can actually say it to her male partner, “Hey this is exactly what it is for me.” Without pointing to statistics and making it boring. It is very easy to sum up the issues of that.
[0:23:45.0] Vanessa Marin: Yeah, I think that you need to understand if you’re a man you’re like, “Yeah, okay the testicles feel good. I like that it’s nice but that’s not the thing that makes me have an orgasm” so I think it is really important for us to start having sex that is more centered around female pleasure as well especially with heterosexual couples. That there is a balance of what do we each need to feel the most amount of pleasure that we can feel with each other.
[0:24:09.5] Sean Jameson: So we don’t have enough time unfortunately on the podcast to go into deep, deep details but I am wondering if you have a series of steps maybe a listener could use to start, say on their own going from the decision that yes, I am going to put in the effort to try and enjoy and achieve orgasm alone, are there any steps you’d recommend that they take?
[0:24:36.8] Vanessa Marin: Well Finishing School is definitely a great step. It is a super comprehensive class that I took years of working one on one with my clients and really getting a sense of what works, what doesn’t work and I really boiled it all down into creating a step by step system that you can follow example along.
So again, it gets back to this idea, this fear that a lot of women have that orgasm is something that you just can’t learn and it turns it into a very clear step by step process you can follow and replicate. So if you are really ready to make that transformation and to stop feeling all of this fear and anxiety and hopelessness, I’ve been there. I totally remember what those feelings felt like, finishing school is a great step.
And I also offer on my website, I have some free guides as well. Just to give you a little bit of a taste of what my work is like and some of the techniques that I use. You can definitely head on over there and download one of the free guides.
[0:25:41.9] Sean Jameson: Awesome. Then what about then maybe the female listeners on the journey then to reaching orgasm more often that she wants to talk to her man about it. She might even explain that incredible analogy to him. Is there anything else she could recommend her boyfriend, her partner, her husband to do or whoever she’s with?
[0:26:06.4] Vanessa Marin: I think the best thing to do is to try to approach your orgasm from a place of curiosity. So I think most of us women, we are really overly focused on our partner’s experience during sex. We are thinking, “Is he liking this? Is he attracted to me? Is he seeing the way my boobs look kind of weird in this position or my gut is hanging out?” And even with faking orgasms when women make the decision to do that, it is all about what’s the man’s experience.
“I want to fake this over the top crazy orgasm so he can feel good about himself.” So I think a huge step that so many of us need to take is bringing some of that energy and attention back to our own experience and being willing to pay attention to, “What does my body actually feel? What do I actually enjoy?” So if you have done some exploration on your own and maybe even gotten to the point where you can orgasm on your own as well, then you can definitely start giving more feedback to your partner.
But I think with a partner, this idea of curiosity can be really powerful of turning orgasm into an exploration. So it is not that you need to hand over your partner, “Okay here is my 10 step list of exactly what you need to do to make me orgasm,” you know?
[0:27:21.4] Sean Jameson: I’ll be checking them off one by one sonny.
[0:27:24.7] Vanessa Marin: Yeah, “First you hop on one foot four times then…” it’s kind of crazy but a lot of women feel like they need to know exactly what to tell their partner. But instead if you say, “You know let us play around with some stuff. I am not exactly sure what my body likes best or what I respond to best. Why don’t we try this?” Why don’t we try this stroke? Why don’t we try using more pressure or less pressure? Why don’t we try comparing manual stimulation to oral sex?
So it is just being really open and curious with your partner and the other great thing is you can do that the other way around too. So with your partner, “Hey, let me explore a couple of different blowjob techniques with you,” or “Let me explore a couple of different hand job techniques.”
So rather than feeling like something is broken with you and now you need to teach your partner all of these steps and make you orgasm that’s such a pain, it is a totally different feeling to it. It’s, “Hey what about the two of us just explore together and try new things and see what we like” it really just changes the whole feeling between the two of you.
[0:28:28.9] Sean Jameson: You put that really well like framing it not as not a chore but just a fun adventure you’re going on together.
[0:28:36.5] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely. I think so many people — we see sex as a chore and it’s really sad. Sex should be fun and playful and experimental and it is okay to not be so serious about it. But I totally understand again, I have been in those places. I get that feeling of dread around sex that feeling of hopelessness and nothing is going to work for me. Do I even want to bother trying and for me personally when I made that transition into trying to be more curious and open and exploratory, it just shifted everything for me.
[0:29:09.1] Sean Jameson: What about sex toys? If couples are using sex toys or just the woman is using sex toys, is that cheating or would you recommend it?
[0:29:17.5] Vanessa Marin: It’s definitely not cheating. Sex toys can be great. I mean they can create a level of stimulation and intensity that we just cannot create with our hands or our tongues no matter how hard we try. So yeah, whenever I am talking about sex toys I think it is important just to think about what your goals are for your sex life. So for example I work with some women who say, “I love my sex toys. I am happy having sex toys be a part of every sexual interaction. I’m good.”
So they’re good, that’s great and then I have other women who say, “You know, I like using sex toys sometimes but I also want to be able to orgasm in other ways too.” So for those women, usually we’ll talk about using the vibrator or the sex toy maybe half of the time and then experimenting with other stuff half of the time. So you are just making the space to pursue your other goals and learn how to orgasm and feel pleasure in other ways too.
[0:30:11.6] Sean Jameson: But also to add to that, incorporating manual stimulation during sex from either partner is a great way to help them, add a bit more stimulation, a bit more clitoral stimulation.
[0:30:24.9] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely and you would be shocked at how a few couples actually do this and how few couples even realize that this is a possibility. And I think is just goes to show you how powerful that idea that we have in our heads of what sex is supposed to look like.
[0:30:42.4] Sean Jameson: Yeah, that is exactly why I ask are sex toys cheating? I think a lot of people especially guys, they have fragile egos. I do, we think that, “Oh no if my penis can’t do it then I am terrible, so I am definitely not using my hands.”
[0:30:58.5] Vanessa Marin: I know, yeah. It is a really sad thing because you are capable of giving pleasure to a woman in so many different ways and there really is nothing better or worse than using your hands. That still feels great, it is a huge ego boost, if anything it could be more of an ego boost because you really get to experience what it’s like to bring your partner pleasure.
You know when you are having intercourse with her like you are focused on your own pleasure too, right? You are feeling good, you are thinking about trying to make sure you’re lasting long enough wanting to keep your erection, there is a lot of stuff going through your head.
So it is harder to focus on what’s it really like to bring your partner pleasure but when it is just you touching her or going down on her, you get to see all of that exquisite detail of you the faces that she’s making, the sounds that she’s making, the ways that her body is responding, maybe her thighs are trembling, her nipples are getting hard. You get to see so much more. So it can be just as exciting of an experience if not more.
[0:32:03.6] Sean Jameson: And you also get to learn exactly — maybe what she likes.
[0:32:07.3] Vanessa Marin: Exactly, yeah and again that is exactly what that’s going to give you a real confidence boost and feel like you are good in bed, once you get a sense of what she responds to.
[0:32:18.7] Sean Jameson: So can menopause affect a woman’s ability to orgasm and just enjoy sex in general?
[0:32:26.5] Vanessa Marin: That is a great question. So menopause is a really interesting topic because there had been some fascinating studies about this. So in the US, we tend to view menopause as, this sounds harsh but we view it as like a woman’s life is over. You know she’s gotten old, she is not having her periods anymore, she’s drying up, all of her hormones are gone, we see it and it is like this really negative way.
If you look at other cultures, they actually see menopause as a sexual awakening for women because they no longer have to worry about getting pregnant. So now that woman has all of this freedom to be sexual and active and not have to worry about an unintended pregnancy. So in these other cultures, we see far, far, far fewer complaints than we do in the US. So in the US, a lot of women are worried that once I had menopause and my orgasm is done I won’t be able to get there. It will take me forever to get there.
But in other cultures, people will say I am more orgasmic than I ever was before. So there definitely are physical aspects to orgasm and if you are experiencing any sort of issues it is definitely important to find a doctor who is going to work with you in a really respectful way and come up with a comprehensive game plan for you. But it’s also just interesting to think about how much of it is a mindset thing that we are expecting that it is the end of our sexuality and so we make it that way.
[0:34:02.0] Sean Jameson: That’s great advice. I really like that that it is just a western thing how we reflect on menopause.
[0:34:11.1] Vanessa Marin: Absolutely.
[0:34:12.1] Sean Jameson: So would you have any advice also for couples who they have an okay sex life, what their drives they’re not in sync?
[0:34:22.4] Vanessa Marin: So yeah, that is a great one as well. So the first thing to know is that this is pretty much every couple ever. So I think a lot of us we have this idea –
[0:34:31.3] Sean Jameson: No, there’s one or two lucky couples right there I am sure that for some reason —
[0:34:35.1] Vanessa Marin: Probably, maybe one or two but the reality is we think about compatibility and we tend to focus on the numbers like you know, “Oh well I want to find somebody who wants to have sex three times a week.” But the reality is you’re never going to find a partner who always wants sex at the exact same times that you do. So even if you find a partner where you both agree three times a week is always going to happen.
Maybe you want it Monday, Wednesday, Friday and they actually don’t happen to be on the mood on those days. They wanted it Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or something like that. So, the first big part of it is just normalizing every couple alive has a mismatched sex drive to some degree and every couple alive had to work with navigating what happens when one partner is in the mood and one partner is not in the mood.
So overall, we definitely get back to this idea that I was talking about, about sex being an effort so most people think that sex just happens spontaneously and effortlessly. We should just feel that desire magically in that moment and we should magically have the time and the space and the privacy to have crazy wild sex in that moment with no communication required whatsoever. That is not how sex works in the real world.
So getting used to this idea that your sex life is something that you work on not that your sex life is something that you just rely on to work. So it can mean a lot of different things and they can definitely loop back around to that idea of getting a sense of your gas pedal or your brake pedal for each of you and working together as a team to figure out how can we create situations where we maximize the gas pedal for both of us and minimize the brake pedal for both of us.
[0:36:19.2] Sean Jameson: Great advice. That’s about it then Vanessa. Thanks so much for coming on the show and I think that is a good place to leave the podcast. So I am wondering, if people want to know more about you, if they want to know about learn about finishing school or even get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do all of those things?
[0:36:41.1] Vanessa Marin: You can find me at vmtherapy.com. It’s vmtherapy.com and you’ll be able to find all the information about my coaching courses. I also offer one about couples with mismatched sex drives, about low sexual desire, make performance anxiety, all kinds of different topics and you can also find information about doing one on one coaching with me.
I work with clients over email, video chat and the phone and definitely find tons of free resources. I have a lot of different guides that I give out. So I would be happy to have you find me over at vmtherapy.com.
[0:37:19.8] Sean Jameson: Awesome, Vanessa thank you so much for coming on the show.
[0:37:22.5] Vanessa Marin: Thank you so much for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.
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