Hi! I’m Dr. Jess. I’m a sex and relationship expert, keynote speaker, television personality, host of the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast, and the resident sexologist for ASTROGLIDE. I hold a PhD in human sexuality with a focus on education.

I wanted to get on Reddit to do an AMA the week before National Orgasm Day (July 31st). Not enough Americans are having orgasms — and I’d like to help change that!

My practical relationship advice reaches millions each month via mainstream media outlets and I travel extensively across the globe to work with couples (including royalty and presidential candidates) to transform their relationships from good to great.

I’ll be here at 1pm EST to answer all of your juiciest sex questions. AMA!

EDIT 1: Verification Tweet!

EDIT 2: I'm here a little early, so I'm going to start answering questions now!

EDIT 3: Thanks so much for chiming in! I want to get to all of your questions (or as many as I can), but I’ll have to do so late tomorrow night. Please keep chiming in, because your responses are really insightful (and funny).

Finally, remember you can always get a free sample of ASTROGLIDE here!

Comments: 1635 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

Portarossa2373 karma

I travel extensively across the globe to work with couples (including royalty and presidential candidates) to transform their relationships from good to great.

Well, someone has to ask about that.

I'm sure you're not going to name names about your past clients, but would you say that the problems of the rich and powerful are pretty much identical to the problems faced by the average man or woman on the street? Or do they tend to include things like 'I can't get it up unless I rub caviar on my dick first'?

Has there ever been a relationship issue that you felt was just completely out of the realm of understanding for the average Joe?

Choppergold2880 karma

Do heads of state state they want more head?

drjess_ama1580 karma

I'm supposed to be answering Qs, but all of these answers are too funny not to read!

MrMastodon810 karma

One in particular did.

drjess_ama1023 karma


drjess_ama1696 karma

I just snort-laughed because I can picture some of my clients rubbing caviar on their penises -- and so they should if that’s what they’re into. To each their own!

Research suggests that folks with more money may be more likely to cheat; I’ve observed that the more power and status (not just money) people have, the more likely they are to feel entitled to cheat on their partners. They also run a lower risk of their partners leaving them when an income discrepancy exists.

Overall, the sexual problems and desires seem similar across income levels and cultures (in my experience -- and I really do work in diverse locations from Lebanon and Manila to Grande Prairie -- google that! -- and Los Angeles). There is a difference, however, in terms of opportunity and access. And if you already face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis, you may be less likely to openly embrace another identity (e.g. swinger or kinkster) by choice. This may be why are more likely to see white, middle class folks, for example, in the kink lifestyle.

In terms of most financially outlandish stories: I did have a client who wanted a circus orgie on his jet and asked me about hiring performers. And I had another who wanted to hire the actor who played Christian Grey in the 50 shades movie for a private BDSM scene; she was asking if I had a hookup, but unsurprisingly, I couldn’t help out.

Portarossa1172 karma

Is there an academic explanation for the rise in incest and pseudo-incest themed porn in the past few years? It seems like it's everywhere now, and I've got my own theories as to why that might be, but I'd love to here if there's a consensus from people who have a professional interest in the topic.

drjess_ama609 karma

I’m not aware of academic research focusing on the increase of incest porn. I have seen some research examining incest in gaming, but I haven’t seen any hypotheses with regard to why it might be on the rise (aside from the ones mentioned above my other Redditors). I wish I could help more, so I’ll ask around.

You may also want to see more on incest in the video game industry here: https://www.academia.edu/4090824/Incest_Sexual_Violence_and_Rape

zombietrooper137 karma

If they don't answer, I'd love to hear your take.

Portarossa487 karma

My reckoning (as someone who writes about dicks for a living) is that it's the cheapest possible fetish to include. When there was a rise in the popularity of BDSM after Fifty Shades of Grey, you saw porn producers scrambling to throw in more and more elaborate kink scenes -- but there's a cost associated with that if you still want your porn to look 'professional'. Dungeons like you get at the Armory don't come cheap, after all.)

When the incest wave emerged after things like Game of Thrones took off, porn producers must have been laughing. All they needed to do to ride this newfound collective boner-wave was to include someone saying the line 'But you're my [relative], it's so wrong... but I still want you!', and they could film the same ol' porno they were going to film anyway. Better yet, you could have them say 'You're my step-[relative]', and you get to appeal to a lot of the people who like incest (while sidestepping a lot of content filters; looking at you, Amazon), while still being 'vanilla' enough that you can appeal to the mainstream porn-connoisseur who's willing to give it a shot, but doesn't want anything too freaky. Every other erotica novel on Amazon had step-siblings in it for about two years for that very reason. It's dirty... but it's not too dirty.

So now you've got a sort of feedback loop where mainstream popular culture has planted this seed of Hmm, that kind of does it for me, porn producers -- including amateurs who might not otherwise have access to shooting budgets -- adapt to include it, which results in more people discovering it as a fetish... which then drives more and more porn production, and suddenly it seems to be everywhere.

drjess_ama335 karma

I'm glad you chimed in with the GOT reference. I think it's true that when a trend hits pop culture, it gets reflected in porn (searches).

ggill131365 karma

Nah, I don't think this is it at all.

While you may have the economics of it (being cheap, and all), I think it provides an easy "tag line" for a niche of, well, plot, that a lot of guys are into.

I think every guy has found themselves in a place where they were in close proximity to a girl they were attracted to but not necessarily "permitted" to have sex with. For instance, I being at a friend's house and having the hots for their sister, but no occasion to act upon it. "Incest" sets the pieces of a similar fantasy wherein there's something off-limits about it, generally involves a story of someone "coming onto" the other to finally fulfill what was a previously unrequited fantasy. And I think that's what gets guys going, because it feels relatable in a sense. I would imagine few guys actually want to bang their sister but many guys likely do have a friend of a friend or maybe even a friend who they would have sex with given the opportunity, but while they've often been around that friend in different circumstances, there's never been any sexual tension.

So I think it really plays off of an experience that most guys have had and then fantasized about, taking it further by portraying that fantasy.

drjess_ama41 karma

This is a good point regarding forbidden fruit and I think it applies to all genders.

Nethervex1057 karma

If god created us in his image then why is my G-spot in my ass?

drjess_ama2308 karma

Because treasure hunts are fun!

Portarossa716 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Are there big academic debates in sexology the way there are in other fields of study? Are there any big rifts that the lay person might not know about? What are the big questions that people are asking right now?

drjess_ama1578 karma

One of the big debates relates to sex addiction and porn addiction.

They’re profitable industries, but the diagnosis of sex addiction has been repeatedly rejection by governing research and organizational bodies (e.g. American Psychological Association continues to reject its inclusion in the DSM). On one hand, researchers have identified evidence that porn addiction is iatrogenic (the diagnosis/label worsens the distress/symptoms) and used to excuse cheating and other undesirable behaviors. On the other, there are many people who feel as though they are addiction and there are many programs designed to address and profit from their belief.

Porn itself is a source of debate. Research findings have acknowledged and identified its benefits and other research seeks to highlight its harm. David Ley discusses here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/women-who-stray/201603/we-must-rely-good-science-in-porn-debate

Another interesting area of reserach (beyond my purview) relates to pedophilia. If the inclination and desire exists, how do we address it (and de-stigmatize treatment) so that people who feel attraction and desire can get the help they need (and never act upon their desires). I know this is a very controversial topic, but folks on all sides can likely agree that our goal is to ensure that no child experiences (sexual) trauma.

Understandably, this is such an emotional issue that we often don’t talk about it, but if we know treatment can reduce the risk of offending, we need more research and resources.

Nerdinlaw669 karma

Any tips for females having issues orgasming with a partner? While I am alone I have zero problems, however, I do have to imagine sexual scenarios in order to get there. Whenever I'm with a partner, I don't care how long he provides oral or manual stimulation, it's a rarity for me to orgasm, and completely frustrating for both of us. I think part of the the problem is that I can't use my mind as well when I am with a partner as I do when I'm alone. The only time I've found I've been able to easily orgasm with a partner is during anal (with Astroglide's silicone lube!) and he is manually stimulating my clit. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

drjess_ama439 karma

Thanks for the ASTROGLIDE plug! What you describe is common. We talked about it on our podcast a few weeks ago because a listener wrote in with a similar experience.

For some folks, it’s a physical issue -- you do what works (e.g. rubbing on the outside) when you’re by yourself and then you do something totally different (e.g. in-and-out penetration) with a partner and so you see different results.

In your case, however, you seemed to have identified that it is a mental block. You want to fantasize or be more in the moment - perhaps it’s related to performance pressure? Or perhaps you feel as though you can’t fantasize when you’re with a partner due to distraction or the pressure not to fantasize about something or someone else?

If you can have an orgasm on your own, I’m confident you can have one with a partner -- if you ditch the pressure. I wonder if the anal orgasm had more to do with being so overwhelmed by the physical sensations that you were able to get out of your head and feel less pressure.

Could you replicate this through sensory deprivation? Use a blindfold so you can focus only o the physical, for example?

Or perhaps you could put your face in the pillow so you’re not distracted by your own sounds (and don’t feel pressure to make specific sounds)?

You might also consider using a vibrating penis ring. This one can be pleasurably overwhelming:


This is just a start. And you can listen to more on the podcast (or read the rough transcript) here:


Violinjuggler226 karma

Piggybacking on this, as my girlfriend has a similar issue. When she masturbates, even when she's in the room with me, she can orgasm relatively fine, but if I'm stimulating her usually it takes significantly longer (though this is an improvement from a few months ago when she rarely orgasmed, if ever. We've been focusing on mindfulness and helping her get out of her own head). Are there any techniques to help avoid "psyching herself out" of orgasming?

kaislynn392 karma

Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are, has a really solid suggestion re not psyching yourself out. Release herself/yourself from the need to orgasm as the goal of sex; the goal is to do what feels good, not just to orgasm. There’s so much about sex that feels good whether or not you orgasm. The pressure to perform or reach that point often gets in the way of experiencing all the other great stuff. Plus, if you aren’t worried about getting there, sometimes you arrive anyway.

drjess_ama363 karma

Agreed. Pressure kills pleasure.

GintamaFan_ItsAnime629 karma

My girlfriend can squirt when I rub her g-spot and I enjoy doing it. But she was molested as a child, and sometimes when we are trying she says she is overwhelmed by a feeling of uncomfortabily that she can't get over, and we can't go on. There are also a couple of other situations that make her feel this way. She has expressed that she wouldn't feel comfortable going to a therapist, are there any other types of treatment that could help?

drjess_ama666 karma

Mindfulness can help. I just interviewed a survivor last week: https://www.sexwithdrjess.com/2019/07/sex-pleasure-after-sexual-assault/ She has written a practical, non-clinical handbook based on her experience: Want: 8 Steps to Recovering Desire, Passion, and Pleasure After Sexual Assault https://www.amazon.ca/Want-Recovering-Passion-Pleasure-Assault/dp/1633539644/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Want%3A+8+Steps+to+Recovering+Desire%2C+Passion%2C+and+Pleasure+After+Sexual+Assault&qid=1563397887&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Teefdreams592 karma

Hi Dr Jess.
So, the important question... female ejaculate. Is it urine?
And why do we squirt?

drjess_ama940 karma

Research suggests that its contents are similar to male prostatic fluid. It has been found to contain prostatic-specific antigen, prostatic acid phosphatase, urea, creatinine, glucose and fructose. Some describe it as sweet tasting and others say that the taste is rather subdued.

The expulsion of fluid from the urethra is a fairly well-documented phenomenon. Not only do early sexual texts including the Kama Sutra reference women’s ability to expel fluid during sex, but the latest research reveals that the skene’s glands, which are a part of the G-Spot and drain into the urethra, are homologous to the prostate gland in men. Female ejaculation, like male ejaculation, is a sexually-induced reaction that may or may not coincide with orgasm.

The concern with regard to urinating during sex can sometimes inhibit our sexual response and limit women’s experiences of pleasure with the G-Spot and female ejaculation. The skene’s glands are embedded in the spongey tissue that surrounds the urethra between the vagina and the bladder. It is therefore common for women to feel as though they have to pee when the G-Spot is stimulated through the vagina or the abdominal wall. Many of us tense up, contract our pelvic floor muscles or cease stimulation altogether in reaction to this sensation warding off orgasm entirely.

While it is possible for ejaculate to contain some traces of pee, emptying your bladder before sex play can help to alleviate this concern. In the event that you do release a small amount of urine due to pressure on your bladder and urethral sponge, rest assured that this fluid is also harmless and like ejaculation, it often goes unnoticed during sex.

For some women, ejaculation can be intensely pleasurable and evident, while for others their experience may range from discomfort to indifference. For other women, ejaculation can go entirely unnoticed during sexual intercourse. Each of these experiences is normal and healthy. Our bodies are unique and just as each person reacts differently to the foods we consume, we also respond uniquely to sexual stimuli and touch.

SheepGoesBaaaa578 karma

I think the distinction people are wanting to draw - is between a 'secretion' via the urethra of the above described composition, and the more common depiction in pornography which could be visually best described as a a pint of water expelled like a rottweiler motorboating a faucet.

drjess_ama339 karma

Good point! There is no Supersoaker 3000 up there. In porn, they sometimes fake things. Gasp -- I know. AND, it's possible that some people do squirt more. Anatomical and functional anomalies exist. Just as some people sweat or drool more, so too do some folks ejaculate more.

DoWhile54 karma

I think this might be missing additional details regarding volume and other sources of liquids in addition to the Skene's glands.

  1. Vaginal/interstitial fluids may contribute to the liquid content
  2. The Bartholin glands (posterior to the vaginal opening), homologous to the male Cowper's glands where male pre-ejaculate content comes from, can also contribute to this.
  3. The volume of liquid in these glands amount to a few thimblefulls. Beyond that, the liquid source majority contributed by the bladder.

drjess_ama73 karma

Good point. And most experiences of ejaculation (according to the research I've read) are lower in volume -- less than a teaspoon. It's confusing because the porn representations are almost always high-volume. It's possible that the more voluminous expulsions come from the bladder. I recall one very small-scale study in which the bladder refilled before expulsion even though they had just emptied it before starting.

emperorpocky541 karma

What’s it like going for a PhD in human sexuality? What do people say when you tell them your job?

drjess_ama1345 karma

The research itself wasn’t as sexy as it sounds. I was studying interventions to improve teacher comfort and knowledge of sexual health topics. I’m passionate about public education and believe sex ed can save lives, but it’s definitely not sexy research.

When people find out what I do they usually say ”I have an interesting case/story for you…” and then proceed to overshare.

Ferelar377 karma

That’s so crazy. I have an interesting case/story for you- this one time I engaged in coitus.... with the lights on!

drjess_ama119 karma


jizle72 karma

How do you react in those overshare situations?

I would surmise that it's an "ok, well therapy is a good answer that I can't provide as we're in a loud bar/pub and all"

drjess_ama77 karma

That's a great line. I take much longer to get to it, but I'm working on being more direct.

Johnny_Carcinogenic56 karma

Good question. Also, What kind of career tracks are there for this type of education?

drjess_ama78 karma

You can study in multiple fields -- psychology, social work, nursing, medicine, education, marriage and family therapy. I suggest studying in a mainstream field and specializing/taking courses in sexuality.

In terms of career tracks, they're varied. You can work in therapy, education, coaching, social services, or media. I work in television, publishing and public speaking. I primarily speak for entrepreneurs and executives who want to invest in their relationships just as they invest in their businesses. But I also speak to trade show audiences, corporations (e.g. on how relationship research applies in the workplace), parents and schools. My passion is public education, so I volunteer with school boards and schools in my hometown (Toronto, ON, Canada).

StarsCanScream385 karma

Do you know about the r/nofap subreddit? Users there believe that abstaining from masturbation can lead to a healthier and better life. Some go as far as to say you get “superpowers”, such as enhanced thinking abilities, by going 90 days without masturbation.

What’s your take on this?

mastermason8643 karma

I’m on day 113 and I can levitate

drjess_ama18 karma

Is that how those folks in tourist squares do it?!

drjess_ama480 karma

I’m familiar with the concept. I know some folks draw from ancient Eastern philosophy, which I find interesting, as I’m of Asian descent (Chinese-Jamaican on my mom’s side). However, I do think some of these philosophies are sometimes applied out of context.

I don’t know of any empirical evidence that links abstinence with these purported benefits. But if you experience these benefits and it’s working for you, I recognize that you know your body (and life) best.

Portarossa493 karma

Chinese-Jamaican on my mom’s side

Your family dinners must be dope.

drjess_ama506 karma

They are loud and delicious. And my family is in the food business.

EyeofNothing199 karma

The point of /r/NoFap is that individuals (like myself) have identified patterned, habitual use of pornography and the consequences of leading a life style that over values the importance of sexual activity, often to the detriment of effort and time spent on other, more fulfilling activities.

Basically, I identify as a sex addict, and have participated in self-destructive behavior in a never ending cycle of sexual gratification, self abuse, and sexual objectification.

NoFappers acknowledge this never ending cycle (again, no different that substance abuse addiction... the phrase "one is too many, and a thousand is never enough" absolutely applies) has been problematic in our lives, and we are seeking to break the cycle.

drjess_ama123 karma

Thank you for sharing.

Raining-Lemons340 karma

I'm a 30 y/o female and have never orgasmed ... I've tried everything I can think of, both solo and with a partner, but nothing.

I can feel the build up and my body physically reacts like it's 'orgasming', but I don't feel anything

Any idea what's wrong with me?

drjess_ama399 karma

I don’t think anything is wrong with you. I imagine that your experiences have left you so hung up on reaching orgasm that the anxiety and distraction takes over and won’t let you get there. If you’re thinking about (or feeling pressure to) orgasm, you may not be able to do so because your thoughts can interfere with the brain’s orgasmic reaction. Because part of your brain (the section behind your left eye) is believed to shut down momentarily at orgasm, “letting go” of thoughts can be essential to the experience.

You also mention that your body seems to react like it is having an orgasm, but you don’t feel anything. Do you mean that you don’t feel a release? Or you don’t feel the contractions? Or does it just not feel good? I’ll wait to hear back from you and try to reply...

Also consider these approaches to orgasm:

  1. You might try a toy like Womanizer on the head of your clit. https://www.womanizer.com/us/womanizer-pro-black-gold It has worked for many of my clients. It uses “pleasure air” to create a suction-like sensation.
  2. Try playing really loud music to drown out noise and intrusive thoughts. Sometimes sensory overload can help you to get out of your head and stay in the moment.
  3. I’ve said this so many times, but it’s a game-changer. Practice mindfulness -- even just for a few minutes a day. Ask your partner to massage your face or thighs for 5-10 minutes so you can practice receiving pleasure without the need to reciprocate. Work your way up to a full-body massage and pay attention to the sensations in your body; if your mind wanders, it’s okay -- simply bring it back to the moment. As you learn to receive physical pleasure (without any goal of orgasm), you’ll likely find that you’re more present during sex, which can increase the likelihood of orgasm.
  4. Make sure you’re breathing and not holding your breath when you get closer to orgasm. Practice mindful breathing too: Wave breathing: visualize yourself lying on a beach; with each inhale allow the waves to roll over your body and with each exhale allow the waves to retreat and roll back out to the ocean. Cloud breathing: visualize yourself inside a warm fluffy cloud; with each inhale, allow the cloud to tighten over your body providing warmth and comfort and with each exhale allow the cloud to expand into the blue sky.
  5. Play with running water over your vulva.
  6. Use lube! It changes everything.
  7. When you feel like you’re getting close, lie on your stomach and cup your hand right around your vulva and pubic mound. Grind, rub, vibrate and use your body weight against the mattress in any way that feels good for you.

treeefingers66 karma

When you say solo, have you used a vibrator or just your hand (I'm sure you've tried both...)? I have never orgasmed with a partner without a vibrator. I have gotten to a point where I think I should be cumming from penetration alone but then it just goes away? It's a very odd feeling. I have squirted though, but that's different! I have to be stimulated by a vibrator during sex in order to cum at all. I've tried everything else, just hasn't worked.

Also, when you say you feel your body reacting, what type of reaction is this? Is your vagina/clit actually pulsing?

drjess_ama24 karma

Thanks for sharing. These are all good follow-up questions.

crossk1ll199 karma

What's the least known tip you could give anybody to improve their sex life?

drjess_ama528 karma

I’ll offer two:

Be selfish. We have turned sex into a performance and many of us are so hung up on being good and pleasing our partners that we forget about our own experience of pleasure. Giving is grand, but you’ll be a better lover and enjoy sex more if you also learn to be a taker and being selfish can help to alleviate performance anxiety.

To get started, you might try mindful masturbation. Touch yourself slowly just to experience the sensations rather than trying to reach orgasm. Notice what sounds, feelings, strokes, rhythms, etc. you like so that you can do more if it when/if you’re with a partner.

Consider your core erotic feeling. Your core erotic feeling is the feeling that you most strongly associated with sexual desire, arousal, pleasure, and fulfillment. To help identify your CEF, answer this simple question: how do you need to feel in order to enjoy sex?

Do you need to feel loved? Relaxed? Appreciated? De-stressed? Desired? Sexy? Challenged? Threatened? Jealous? Subjugated? Powerful? Surprised? This list is obviously non-exhaustive.

Your core erotic feeling is so intrinsically tied to your erotic script that you may not be able to imagine that someone else feels differently. It’s much like a Love Language. Some of you may feel as though you don’t need to feel any particular emotion in order to get in the mood for sex — you’re always in the mood. Well good for you! But you still have a core erotic feeling — the feeling that most intensifies your sexual pleasure.

You may want to answer the question: When I think of my hottest, most intense sexual experience(s), how did I feel?

Much more here: https://www.sexwithdrjess.com/2017/06/erotic-core-feeling/

howlatthemoonok166 karma

Is it true that if you don't "use it" you "lose it?"

drjess_ama105 karma

You will not “lose it”, but you may find you need to ease back into sex depending on the type of sex you want to have. For example, one of my clients didn’t have sex for 10+ years and she found that she was more tense when attempting to slide a toy into her vagina for the first time. This, of course, is surmountable. She simply had to learn to relax, get aroused and become a bit more familiar with her pelvic floor muscles -- which we all should do!

Remember that taking a break from sex is perfectly fine and not everyone wants to have sex. You don’t have to desire or engage in sex to be healthy.

You may, however, find that having sex with yourself helps to boost your sexual desire and response, so don’t wait for a partner if you want to enjoy yourself.

mkinetic161 karma

What is the most common thing you tell couples?

drjess_ama434 karma

Don’t wait until something is wrong to talk. Talk about the difficult topics (sex, kids, money, religion, in-laws, family, death) before the issues arise.

And if you’re going to talk about sex, start with the 3 Fs:

  1. Feelings
  2. Frequency
  3. Fantasy

Feelings - discuss your Core Erotic Feeling. This is the feeling you require in order to have sex. And discuss your Elevated Erotic Feeling -- this is the feeling that takes sex to another level and makes it even hotter. More below and on the podcast.

Frequency - How often do you want to have sex? How often do you think your partner wants to have sex? It’s likely that you think you know how often your partner wants it, but most people tend to misread their partner’s desire.

If you want sex less often than your partner does, it’s likely that you overestimate how often they want it; if you want sex more often than your partner does, it’s likely that you underestimate how often they want it.

So… you need to formalize the conversation! Write it down on a piece of paper: how often do you want it? how often do you think your partner wants it? Exchange papers and have a laugh and then have a discussion about how you find some middle ground.

Fantasy - What are the core themes of your fantasies? You don’t have to share every detail, but you will benefit from highlighting patterns and the feelings associated with your fantasies.

For example, do you tend to fantasize about being desired? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling sexy? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling loved and cared for? Do you tend to fantasize about feeling threatened or at risk?

S2KRo179 karma

to explore each other's buttholes and stuff.

drjess_ama155 karma

As I'm sitting here typing and trying to keep up, I did consider a more generic answer: Four words. Eh. En. Eh. El. So we're sorta on the same page.

vintagefancollector130 karma

As a male, what can I do to give myself the most satisfying, powerful orgasms?

drjess_ama350 karma

Quick tips:

I could spend more time here (so much to say!), but there are so many Qs to get to.

OoFirePrinceoO115 karma

Tips on lasting longer during sex for a male?

drjess_ama171 karma

Oftentimes, advice related to lasting longer focuses on distraction and desensitization. And you may find that a desensitizing spray like Verge helps.

But you may also want to consider more mindful practices to enjoy sex more and last longer. I have a video course on lasting longer and have included some very brief notes below. Here is the course link.

  1. Get to know your pelvic floor muscles. You need to learn to both contract and release. Sometimes folks who do Kegels tense up too much which can actually encourage ejaculation.
  2. Practice mindful masturbation so you really get to know the cues in your body that precede orgasm and ejaculation.
  3. Masturbate to different levels of arousal. If orgasm is a 10, touch yourself until you’re at a 6 and then go back down to a 1. Go up to a 7 and back down to a 2. Go up to an 8 and then down to a 2 or three. Repeat and keep masturbating to various levels to learn more about your body’s unique response.
  4. Practice general mindfulness techniques - every day. It won’t just change your sex life, but improve your life and relationship(s). The more present you are, the less likely you are to worry about “finishing”. As anxiety diminishes, you’ll likely find that you enjoy sex more and can last longer (if you want to). Here are a few approaches to try:

Wave breathing: visualize yourself lying on a beach; with each inhale allow the waves to roll over your body and with each exhale allow the waves to retreat and roll back out to the ocean.

Cloud breathing: visualize yourself inside a warm fluffy cloud; with each inhale, allow the cloud to tighten over your body providing warmth and comfort and with each exhale allow the cloud to expand into the blue sky.

Deep, relaxed breathing can heighten your reaction and encourage your body and mind to experience the pleasure of massage with a genuine degree of presence. Whether you are giving or receiving, your breath impacts your interpretation of sensations and helps to put your mind into a state conducive to experiencing pleasure. Intrusive thoughts can also often be dismissed through conscious breathing involving a focus on our inhalations and exhalations.

Breathing is elemental to activating the relaxation response, which is a positive physical state of deep rest considered the opposite of our stress-induced flight or fight response. Harvard physician Herbert Benson’s research suggests that this response gives rise to a sense of calm, pleasure, refreshment, and overall well-being as your blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones decrease. As your mind is cleared of clutter and your levels of anxiety and stress plummet, your body becomes primed to respond to physical and sexual stimuli.

To help prepare your body for relaxed, conscious breathing and encourage a state of physical tranquility, lie in a comfortable position with one hand on your stomach. Breathe in through your nose allowing your hand to rise as your belly fills up with air.

Exhale through your mouth allowing your natural sounds to emanate effortlessly. After a few minutes, perform a mental scan of your body beginning at your toes and working your way up to your scalp to intentionally relax each muscle as much as possible. You may want to try the tense-and-release method of progressive relaxation or simply visualize each body part falling into a heavy state of serenity. If you find that the massage becomes arousing, embrace the pleasure, but stay focused on your breathing maintaining a steady rhythm and profound depth.

If your anxiety is related to intrusive thoughts, visualize putting your intrusive thought in a box and shelving it away. You can get to it later. If your mind wanders back to it, don’t fret (go easy on yourself!). Simply remind yourself that you can take care of it tomorrow, as it’s shelved away for the time being so that you can enjoy your time with yourself and/or your partner.

It’s important to note that it’s often easier to develop a skill (like mindfulness for presence) outside of the bedroom first; once you’ve practiced it and it becomes easier, you’ll find that it translates in the bedroom as well. So you may not visualize waves as you breath during sex, but as you become more comfortable being present and in your body, you’ll likely find that feeling in the moment comes more easily during sexual activity — and your anxiety may dissipate.

noobpatrol78 karma

To what extent has your scholarly work and proximity to the research on sexuality affected your personal love/sex life?

As a follow-up, what are the most common misconceptions among your clientele?

drjess_ama108 karma

That’s a good question and the answer is a bit fluid.

On one hand, I’ve had the privilege to be exposed to so many types of sex and relationships that I can’t help but learn from the great variety. Because I get to travel, observe, listen and experience so much, I find that I don’t lack variety or excitement in sex. There is always something new to try (though I’m not always in the mood to try it)

On the other, sex and relationships are my job so sometimes I just want to power down and ignore them at the end of the day. I may have access to new things to try, but I just want to go back to the predictable and feel totally at ease.

Overall, I’d say the impact of my work on my personal love/sex life is overwhelmingly positive. Much of this may be owing to the fact that my partner doesn’t work with me, but he does accompany me often and collaborate on certain projects (e.g. my podcast). If we did everything together in business, I think the personal toll would be greater.

I’d say that the most common misconception is that sex should follow a specific pattern or that averages offer a good measure of your own sex life. Folks want to know “how often should I do it?”, “what’s the best toy?”, “what’s the best lube?”, but there is no universal answer. Somehow, so many people are still looking for one.

Toofgib76 karma

Hello Dr. Jess. In theme of orgasm day I think I have a question but it requires a bit of background info. The question is mainly out of interest, I am also in the proces of exploring other sources on it.

Due to my (m) handicap (spina bifida), nerves (pudendal nerve) from the sacral part of my spine connected my penis glans are probably not connected properly to my brain. Meaning that I can not actually feel anything in that area. I can, however still have an erection and ejaculation with feeling of the orgasm but with no feeling before that. So to get there I need to rely on my psychogenic ability (The vagus nerve is still intact) to "enjoy the journey" towards the orgasm.

No my question is: It is a bit of an insecurity for me personally. Now, there are surgical procedures improve my condition, however I have heard the argument that I should not necessarily get it fixed because someone who would truly love me in a relationship would be able to help me accept my condition as is. What would be your tak on this situation?

drjess_ama92 karma

I think you’re much more qualified to answer this question than me. I will share a few thoughts:

  • A. Sexual pleasure and orgasm come from so many different sources and oftentimes psychogenic approaches can be more powerful and pleasurable. I imagine many people (once they’ve experienced or been a part of it) would see this as a benefit and want to learn from you -- which would make sex even more fulfilling.

  • B. I hope you know you’re entitled to a partner who doesn’t just “accept” you, but celebrates and honors you. Have you heard of Andrew Gurza’s campaign, #DisabledPeopleAreHot?

  • C. If you are enjoying your sexual experiences, you may not need to consider alternative options (e.g. surgery) -- especially if they are accompanied by additional risk.

pickemupputemdown58 karma

Do you work for the brand Astroglide or are you more like a sponsored spokesperson/rep? Like... What do you do for them, and them for you? Is it like having a special faculty position at a university? Or is it more like being a sponsored pro athlete?

It's ok to leave out sensitive details about your job and personal life. Not here to pick those apart.

I'm interested in how educated professionals like yourself approach representing brand(s) vs being affiliated with institutions. Has your career path been typical of other peers in your field?

Thanks. You're doing great!

drjess_ama24 karma

Thanks for your Q. I work as an ambassador/spokesperson for Astroglide. It’s like being a sponsored pro athlete minus many zeros:) I answer press inquiries and share my thoughts on innovations (based on my experience in the field of sex education). I've been a fan of them before I started working with them, so it's a good fit for me.

If you’re affiliated with an institution (corporate or academic) it can (in some cases) limit your opportunities to work with brands according to my colleagues in the field.

I don't think my career path has been typical, but it's not a typical field. The bulk of my work involves speaking/hosting workshops, but I also work on-air in television and write books. Sometimes brand partnerships fit into these roles (e.g. a sponsored workshop) and I tend to work with brands who allow me to produce the content I feel is most valuable and integrate the brand organically when it's an appropriate fit.

Otterbotanical45 karma

Legitimate question: do you have any advice for people who can't "let go" or "get in the mood" when they're around another person? I have no trouble getting off on my own, and I'm not unable to have relationships, but these relationships ultimately fail when I'm unable to perform for them. I'm either overthinking, or it feels like I'm never in the mood.

In general, do you have advice for learning to relax?

drjess_ama47 karma

This is an important and common question. Oftentimes, the lack of ability/willingness to let go and relax doesn't begin or end in the bedroom. Consider other areas where you struggle to relax and perhaps start there. Here are a few strategies:

  1. Begin each day with a body scan -- even just for a few minutes. You can google or learn more in this podcast: https://www.sexwithdrjess.com/2018/09/all-about-tantra-bringing-dr-jess-to-tears/
  2. Take breaks throughout the day (e.g. whenever you go to the bathroom) and take 7 deep breaths. Pay attention to all the sensations in your body. If you experience intrusive thoughts, it's okay. Just bring your focus back to your breath.
  3. Can you eat mindfully? Can you slow down and pay attention to every texture, taste, sound and temperature change? This can be a good practice to help you be more in the moment.

And remember that you don't need to perform for anyone else. Just do what feels good for you.

closedsidewalk30 karma

Well this is a holiday I can get behind! So, I know what happens down there when I...you know. But what happens up in my brain? Is the sense of mental clarity that comes after a real thing?

drjess_ama36 karma

Great question! If you experience an outcome (e.g. clarity), then is most certainly is a real thing.

Though the heart is often thought to represent matters of love and sex, its involvement in sexual processes is minimal in comparison to that of the brain and the nervous system. PET scans of the brain during sexual activity and orgasm reveal that its reward circuit lights up with a flurry of activity during sex.

These scans confirm anecdotal reports that sex is both a physical and emotional experience, as the amygdala, which controls emotion as well as the area which manages muscle function are activated. Brain studies also explain why sex is so pleasurable from a chemical perspective, as the areas related to dopamine release become hotbeds of sexual activity resulting in increased levels of this feel-good neurotransmitter.

And as the pituitary gland is activated, the release of endorphins, oxytocin and vasopressin promote pain reduction, intimacy and bonding. These observable brain reactions may not help you to perfect your sexual technique, but they might help you to understand and manage your emotions before, during and after sex.

The power sex wields over our minds and bodies is also evidenced in our brain activity. Sex is so overwhelmingly exciting, pleasurable and rewarding that our brains during orgasm look almost identical to a brain on heroin.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Gert Holstege, there is only a 5 percent difference between our brain’s observable reaction to sex and heroin which may explain the euphoric high we experience after a passionate sex session. And since the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, which is the section behind the left eye responsible for sound decision-making, turns off completely during orgasm, we often toss reason to the wind when the prospect of sex presents itself.

Though it may seem risky to allow our animal instincts to take over as we set logic aside in favor of pleasure, a degree of letting go and losing control is essential to desire, arousal and orgasm.

MentalUproar18 karma

A bit personal but hardly unique... I have depression and am in my 30s. My libedo is hardly what it was when I was a teenager, and I begrudgingly accept that. But combine that with the effects of depression, low confidence, and medication side effects, it’s difficult to know what causes my libedo to be absolutely pathetic. I still want sex but it’s just too much work to bother with. It’s like a dog chasing a car. What am I supposed to do when I catch the car?

So I guess my question is, what can I do about waning sexual desire? I’m still too young for it to be as anemic as it is. I want to want it, if that makes any sense.

drjess_ama30 karma

I want to want it. That makes perfect sense and your story is so common.

I think we need to stop thinking of sexual desire as something that occurs on its own and start viewing it as something we can cultivate. When you think about going to the gym or working out, it may not be something you naturally feel inclined to do, but when you do it, it feels good. And there are things you can do to increase the chances of actually going to the gym or exercising (e.g. putting on workout gear, signing up for a course, booking a personal training session). The same applies to sex, you can do things to put yourself in the mood.

The most effective way to get in the mood is to get turned on. Get yourself aroused even if you don't want it at first and see if desire follows. It often will.

Of course, I want to highlight that you don't have to want sex, but if you want to want it, getting turned on first is likely to lead to this desire.

I suppose you also need to figure out what turns you on -- visually, physically and practically. This can be tough when you're feeling tired and down, so use whatever tools are at your disposal (e.g. toys, porn, lube, a consenting friend, a hotline). I hope this helps a little!

jizle15 karma

Hi Dr. Jess,

First off, thank you for doing this AMA.

My question: I've done extensive searching for the G-spot with my SO. Can't find it. There's spongy tissue on the inner wall of her vagina that I can feel but it seems to do nothing for her.

Can you elaborate on how her anatomy may be constructed to help me here?

Edit: I've tried the 'come hither' movement and it also doesn't do much for her. She likes the clitoris stimulation. Is it possible she just isn't able to engage with the G-spot?

drjess_ama28 karma

I think it's a matter of individual preferences. Some people love having their feet rubbed (it's my favorite!) and other people hate having their feet touched. But we're all perfectly normal. The G-Spot simply may not be her cup of tea.

I do suggest that you try it: a. At different times of the month, as sensations can vary with our cycles if she menstruates. b. Once she's highly aroused. Sometimes we discover new pleasure sensations once the endorphins and oxytocin have flood our system. What feels good during the seduction phase may not work right before orgasm and vice versa.