Ask A Sex Therapist

Hey everyone! I'm doing some exciting things these days, including starting a vlog where I will answer all your questions related to sex and sexuality. Feel free to email me at AskASexTherapist@gmail.com and your questions could be featured in upcoming episodes.


Masters of Sex


I am BEYOND excited for the new show, Masters of Sex, that debuts September 29th on Showtime. However, that day also marks our one-year anniversary (Woot!). I can't reasonably plan our day around a TV show, so I just expected to catch it On Demand at a later date until I came across the ENTIRE PREMIER EPISODE on Facebook. Geeked is an understatement of what I felt as I watched.

My excitement about this show stems from its subject matter. Masters of Sex is based on the biography of the same name written by Thomas Maier about William Masters and Virginia Johnson. The Masters and Johnson research team pioneered in the field of sexology; William Masters was a physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis and Virginia Johnson was hired as his research assistant. Together, they created a model for the human sexual response and worked together to further develop the diagnosis and treatment of sexual disorders and dysfunctions from 1957 to 1994. A lot of knowledge we take for granted (i.e. that women are multiorgasmic, sometimes fake orgasms, etc.) was shared by this pair. The research they produced also debunked the 1758 assertion that masturbation causes blindness, the 19th century thought that sex for pleasure would ruin the body, and Freud's belief that clitorally induced pleasure probably revealed unresolved psychological  problems.


Additionally, I have benefited in many ways by their work. The first book I ever read about sexology was written by Masters and Johnson. Also, my sex therapy supervisor, Linda Weiner, LCSW, worked at the Masters and Johnson Institute (so I can say I'm trained by Masters and Johnson by proxy. ...kinda. No, not really. Anyway...)

The contributions of Masters and Johnson are significant in that they worked to bring science into the bedroom. ... or brought sex into the laboratory. Either way, they revolutionized the way we think about and study sex and sexuality and I am super excited about this show!

Links About Masters of Sex:


Mood Music...

I love Internet Radio. Pandora and Spotify make my workdays just a wee bit easier. I can design a station based on my favorite artist, comedian, or even a favorite song and have hours upon hours of great music (or comedy) to fill my day. At home, we often listen to both platforms (I have a pretty dangerous playlist on Spotify called Groove if you follow me there) but it's interesting what comes on the radio. ...which leads me to a question I was asked a little while ago:

"How do you handle having sex while listening to the radio when the music switches to a Gospel song?"

I have to admit that, at first, I did chuckle a bit because this has happened on a few occasions. You're listening to your Jill Scott station at work and a Fred Hammond joint slides through. You hit like because it's your jam and you think nothing of it. ...until you're grooving to Crown Royal on Ice while hands are on hips and you're acting out the other lyrics and Imagine Me by Kirk Franklin pops on. Awkward can't quite describe the feeling.

This question was asked by a married woman who said she discussed this topic with her husband, so let's take it from the perspective of a married couple having sex and a Gospel song comes through the speakers when it wasn't exactly time for Praise and Worship. How do you handle it?

First, know that it's okay to laugh. It's okay to look at each other with that, "I wasn't thinking about Shirley Caesar" look in your eyes and laugh. It's also okay to hit skip or, if you're not listening to one of the above platforms, change the station. If you're not comfortable, don't feel bad about it, but just shake it off and count it as an opportunity to laugh and grow.

However, if you're not comfortable and it's more than something you can just laugh off, I think it's important to explore reasons why. In Christianity, God has been taken out of sex for the most part. Christians are not taught to pray before sex or even think about God outside of the occasional exclamation in varying forms of "Oh God!" which are generally accepted. However, our sexuality is, in fact, a gift from God. I believe God wants us to enjoy sex within loving, healing relationships. However, if we experience feelings of guilt or shame when a Gospel song comes on, what do you think it stems from?

Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we're free from guilt and shame. However, when we share ourselves, our most sacred being, with people who don't treasure us, we deny ourselves the opportunity to experience God's true design for sex. If a situation like this ends up being more than something you can shake off, I think it's important to ask yourself why and not be afraid of the answers.

So, what do you do when Albertina Walker creeps in on your R&B station? Honestly, if you're sharing yourself with someone who truly values you and God is glorified (yes, God can be glorified in everything we do), press skip and keep the party going.


Christian Swingers?!

These past few weeks have felt like a marathon. I drove down to Atlanta with my sister to get her set up at Gammon Theological Seminary (Hey Boo!), flew back, had step practices, and came together with my family as we grieved the loss of my uncle, Ronald "King Omowale" Pittman. Tired is an understatement. However, Wednesday, two friends shared the same site with me and I took that as a sign that I needed to write about it.


Yep, you read that right. Christian Swingers. What's even better is their description:
For Christian Swingers things are not easy – often other religious people judge you, out of ignorance or envy, telling you that your lifestyle and love practices are wrong. But the Bible teaches us ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ and there’s that verse about the first stone… but if you’re keen on keeping your privacy, well – yours, and don’t want your friends, coworkers, other PTA members or just about anyone else to know that you don’t have a problem with faith and enjoying free love with other couples, this sitecan help you! It’s designed to cater to the needs of those like you: devout Christian couples who still want to have an active love life and share it with another, in good faith!
The bible in a paragraph: why didn't I think of that!?!
Skip the swingers’ club and meetings where you can be seen and avoid bad reputation – your personal life is something shared between you and our partner; other couples willing to join you are probably having the same problems. Visiting this site might change your life for the better and increase the number of your potential dating partners – a few simple steps in the registration process will open up a whole new virtual world of possibilities! Since privacy is an issue here, you can still choose to remain anonymous until you decide to trust someone enough to share such personal information – something that’s not possible in classic swingers’ meetings and clubs, which might even lean towards openness and promotion is this lifestyle. Visit our club and discover other Christian couples with the same interests and desires who find you hot - Christian Swingers website will make your life easier and give you more access to potential dating partners!
Taken from ChristianSwingers.com 8/27/13

Of course I joined and created a profile. Research, right?

I only signed up for the free membership which doesn't allow you to do much of anything but browse the few (I counted seven) profiles on the site (and I question their authenticity). You can't contact members or even view their pictures/videos except the thumbnails available for preview.

Aside from the poor writing in the description of the site on the publicly accessible page, there's not much to it as far as I can see. No, I didn't purchase full access, but when I searched for people in my area, there was no one within 100 miles of my zip code. I also took issue with the language used in the people search. You can choose categories, i.e. I'm couple looking for a couple. The issue I had was the other categories listed: male, female, transsexual, crossdresser, group (more than 2), gay couple, lesbian couple. As far as I knew, and I could be wrong, transsexual  and crossdresser  are antiquated terms that many find offensive. Then again, this site doesn't strike me as the type that would be overly absorbed with inclusive language. Also, the site was full of ads for pornographic websites and flashing web links that promised free webcam videos and the like. Nah, I'll pass.

My overall assessment is that this website simply exists to cause a stir and make money. Of course people will check it out simply because of the title. I checked it out and I'm not interested in swinging. It was for research, remember?

I'm not even going to go into the theological reasons as to why ChristianSwingers.com is just odd. I think they do enough of that for you. However, just remember that when you allow others to worship in your temple, they leave footprints, whether good or bad.


Give Yourself A Hand

Can you believe it's the end of May already? And we haven't even celebrated around these parts! Cinco de Mayo? No, but May has been named National Masturbation Month! Go ahead and give yourself a hand.

Masturbation is something I'm often asked about. So many wonder if it's a sin to pleasure yourself since there are so many mixed messages given in faith communities and on the Internet. I used to seriously struggle with this answer until I came across an interesting Bible study that gave a pretty cool perspective.

It explained that the Bible does not directly talk about masturbation, good or bad, so it's difficult to draw  conclusions on what "thus saith the Lord." What they did say, however, is that it is a gift. Masturbation gives you the ability to quench your thirsts without falling into sin or causing anyone else to fall either. They do caution, however, against using "perverted" imagery to either cause arousal or climax. Also, it's important that masturbation is simply a part of your sexual expression, not something that becomes a compulsion or ends up interfering with your everyday activities. As with anything, moderation is key. If you find that you cannot function without partaking in a specific activity (be it masturbating or using substances), it's a good idea to seek professional help.

So there you have it. Is masturbation a sin? Absolutely not. However, it's important that you understand why so many caution against it. I believe people speak against masturbation because they're afraid people will become bound to it. Will some people? Possibly, but it doesn't make the practice evil.

Also, it's important to understand your body and know what pleases you. YOU are responsible for your orgasm. Yes, even in partnered sex. You are responsible. I think it's unfair to blame another person for your dissatisfaction. Are there horrible sex partners? Of course. However, it's important that you educate yourself on your own body so you can guide your partner in pleasing you.

Enjoy the rest of the month!


Don't Try This At Home

I’m not a porn connoisseur, but I understand that many people may view pornographic videos to get ideas on how to spice things up in the bedroom. Yes, I'm a Christian and no I don't believe that all material seen as pornographic is essentially evil. HOWEVER, I am wise enough to know that you should not try everything you see in these videos, no matter how the participants seem to enjoy themselves. Also, it's important to realize that most of these videos show things that "look" good, not necessarily feel good to the participants, but let's save that for another post.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article on The Huffington Post where they described a man who had to have a 20-inch eel surgically removed. He watched a video where someone put an eel in their anus for sexual gratification and decided to try this for himself. Apparently, things didn’t go as planned. The eel ended up chewing through his large intestine and was found in his body cavity trying to find a way out. The eel was still alive when the surgical team removed it, but died a short time later. I believe the man will possibly face animal cruelty charges.

Oddly enough, this is not the first eel extraction recorded.

Ladies and Gentleman, this post is not to discourage you from watching videos to get ideas on enhancing your sexual experiences. Also, this post is not aimed at discouraging anal sex. However, it’s important that you’re realistic in the things you decide to try. Here are some questions to ask yourself or your partner:

  • Could this end in death, dismemberment, or a quick trip to the emergency room?
  • Will I and/or my partner enjoy it?
  • Why am I doing this in the first place?

Honestly, I encourage people to think outside the box and have fun in the bedroom (or kitchen, or…you get the idea). On the other hand, it’s important that in exploring those boundaries, you establish safety and set yourself up for a great experience and not a medical emergency. If things don’t pan out exactly as they did in the video, shake it off. Learn from the missteps and laugh. Sex doesn’t have to be serious. Have fun! But don’t stick animals up your anus; it might not end well.


In Search of the Perfect Vulva

The Perfect Vagina

I came across this documentary on a list serve a few months back, but didn't have time to watch it at that moment. However, as luck would have it, I came across it again with lots of time on my hands. I got myself comfortable in our office as the hubs watched the NFC and AFC championship games in the living room. Can you imagine the look on his face when he popped his head in and saw a glimpse of the surgery? Anywho, I felt this documentary was well-done and gave perspective on the motivation behind labiaplasty as the documenter, Lisa Rogers, hoped to influence other women to love themselves the way they are instead of altering their "fannies."

I myself have never had insecurities regarding the appearance of my vulva. The correct term of the female genitalia is vulva whereas vagina is only a part of it. I can thank my mother for my confidence. Before getting married last September, I lived in a house with two other women (my mom and sis) and we walked around naked all the time. Sure, we covered up in the winter or when company came over, but we were taught at an early age to not be ashamed of how we look, to be comfortable in our own skin. And before you ask (or think for that matter), there was nothing sexual about it. If we were going from our rooms to the shower or getting an item of clothing from another part of the house, it just wasn't a big deal if we didn't have our clothes on. AND my mom never made us feel bad for how we looked. I don't know; I think it was a pretty cool thing. However, as I grow as a therapist, I learn that so many people had distinctly different experiences. Not everyone can walk around their homes "buckin' naked," partly because they may have been teased about bodily imperfections by relatives. I have a co-worker with large breasts who told me her mother teased her often about them. She researched having a breast reduction, not because their weight produced back strain, but to reduce the negative attention she received from her family. Then along came a boy who told her she was pretty and, well, that'll be a story for another day.

Although this documentary was filmed in the UK and released in 2008, labiaplasty is a booming business in the United States. There are several cosmetic surgeons with flourishing practices who only focus on this procedure. The way some view labiaplasty is the same way some people view braces: "I have an imperfection I'd like to fix." As someone who experienced "Brace Face" as an adult, I can understand this perspective. Braces were painful. I mean, seriously. And the recovery from labiaplasty is no crystal stair. However, the fact that remains that there's a perceived imperfection that women feel the need to fix.

...and I think that's my biggest issue. Women don't really see their vulvas unless they're trying to. If you stand naked in a mirror while dressing, you won't see the inner workings unless you're making an effort to do so. Because of this, I think so many women aren't able to feel comfortable with what they have and only compare their vulvas to the perfect, airbrushed examples they see in porn. Also, most women aren't told their vulvas will change with sexual activity or with childbirth and when this happens, they're thrown for a loop with imperfect parts, not realizing the breadth of variety of vulvas.

While watching this documentary, I instantly thought about Psalm 139 where David praises God for making him so wonderful. Conceited? Absolutely not! Think about it; if God made us in His image (male and female), and we're acknowledging His wonderful creation, isn't that an act of praise to God? When we were fashioned, all our parts were made special and magnificent. Yep, those parts too. And to change your vulva into something that looks prepubescent is almost disrespectful.

I know people will continue to compare labiaplasty to braces or other cosmetic surgeries. However, I think it speaks to a deeper issue of self-worth that surgery alone can't fix. Yes, this surgery has changed the lives of many women. However, are they completely happy with themselves? Or have they valued the wonderful creation they are?

Questions, questions, and more questions. One thing is for sure. I love me, all of me, and I hope you love you too.

Scriptural References:
Psalm 139:13-16 MSG "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like and open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived on day."

Psalm 139:14 AMP "I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well."

Psalm 139:14 NIV "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."