(PART 2 of 2) Add pleasure back in to the conversation about healthy sex and the whole conversation changes!
This is the second half of a conversation with Doug Braun-Harvey, co-author of Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior, Rethinking Sex Addiction , where psychotherapists Ann Kelley and Sue Marriott continue to discuss the six principles of sexual health as defined by Doug Braun-Harvey. If you missed the first episode hear it here: Part 1
How do shared values, honesty and pleasure work into having a healthy sexual life? How do we think of sex addiction and compulsivity as a disease rather than a common problem? How do people individually have to determine if their sexual behavior is out of control?
0:00 – Intro & Recap
1:15 – Distinguishing desire discrepancy and sex frequency. Having sex can actually lead to more desire after the fact.
2:39 – Sexual Health Principle: Honesty
3:03 – There is correlation between anti-masturbation attitudes and lack of knowledge about bodily responses. Parenting tip about honesty: Respond in a way that shows you’re grateful that you’re child is asking you and glad that they’re honest with you. This will make them a better partner in the future.
5:38 – Sexual Health Principle: Shared Values. Shared values = making sure we understand the meaning of sex, even in a case-by-case basis.
8:45 – Sexual Health Principle: Pleasure. 2011 definition of sexual health from the US Government removes the word “pleasure”.
12:18 – If you don’t let children know that you know sex is supposed to feel good, you’ll appear ignorant. Incorporating the concept of pleasure in dialogue with not only your child, but with partners. Remove shame from pleasure.
15:43 – Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life – Emily Nagoski
16:30 – Sex Addiction: Where can pleasure go wrong? Sex addiction became a popular conceptualization in the 1980s and was coupled with alcoholism and the advent of HIV. Idea that we cross a threshold into a way of functioning (addiction) and then can’t go back became commonplace thinking. Dialogue about pain of sex rather than pleasure.
21:00 – In the US, certified sex addiction therapists are not certified sex therapists. Sex addiction model is a trauma-focused model. Questioning the idea that something physiologically, psychologically has lead us into this disorder state. Instead thinking of it as a human problem rather than a disease.
23:00 – Braun-Harvey’s definition of out of control sexual behavior: When a person’s sexual urges, thoughts or behaviors feel out of control for them.
24:30 – Often dialogue about out of control sexual behavior comes after a period of secrecy. This can conflict with shared values.
26:00 – Example of a 20-year marriage in a non-sexual relationship. Husband is masturbating frequently, is discovered, and subsequently treated for sex addiction. Instead this is not a behavior to be overly concerned about. It’s consensual solo sex.
28:00 – Construction of sexual imagery as exploitative can lead to arguments. People individually need to determine when imagery becomes exploitive. Interpretation to case: After values conflict surrounding sexual imagery as exploitative or not, they both expressed that they had pleasure from experience and got to know each other better. Sharing who you are erotically is a great way to get to know your partner.
32:50 – Violating values. Idea of being compulsive or having a disease is actually just violating one or more of the principles. How to find our guest.
35:00 – Wrap-up. Importance of having conversations about sexual health. Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior: Rethinking Sex Addiction.
If you missed it, catch The first half of this interview here.
Also hear a later, related podcast that refers to this series, an interview with Esther Perel on Infidelity, Love and Desire here.
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More resources here:
Treating Out of Control Sexual Behavior, Rethinking Sex Addiction by Doug Braun-Harvey
Sexual Health and Recovery A Professional Counselors Manual, by Doug Braun-Harvey
The Harvey Institute Contact Doug here! The Harvey Institute is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations integrate sexual health principles and practices to improve personal well-being and rethink their organizational practices.
In 2013, Doug Braun-Harvey and Al Killen-Harvey combined their individual psychotherapy practices with their international training consultation services to form The Harvey Institute.