How Not Expressing Your Needs in Bed Harms Your Mental Health

Two wooden figures with lightbulbs for naughty bits "turned on"

Noted hip-hop philosophers Salt-N-Pepa once sang, “Let’s talk about sex baby / Let’s talk about you and me / Let’s talk about all the good things / And the bad things that may be.”

They were definitely onto something. Talking about sex isn’t always easy, but seldom does the best sex happen without some sort of communication. Now, for a lot of people, asking for what they want in bed is no walk in the park. But ask someone who has pushed through and communicated even if they felt awkward doing so, and while they may say “yes,” they’ll likely also tell you it’s well worth it.

Continue reading How Not Expressing Your Needs in Bed Harms Your Mental Health

Ask the Sexuality Expert: The Not So Sexy Parts of Anxiety and Depression

Banana on pink background

It’s a friday night, you’re getting cozy with your partner and zoning out while surfing the latest feeds on your smartphone. They lean in for a kiss, then a grope; you can sense the next step. Your anxiety skyrockets: heart beating fast and breath becoming more rapid. Repetitive thoughts start spiraling: What do they want from me? Why is work stress popping up now? Will I perform well in bed? What if I can’t keep an erection or climax?

We have so many strategies that allow us to zone out easily during relaxed moments, but when sex or physical affection is presented, our bodies must suddenly engage in the present moment. This presence often brings a flood of thoughts and feelings from the day, or those sparked by sex in general. For someone struggling with anxiety or depression, this flood of negativity prevents us from connecting with our partner and enjoying sex and pleasure in the ways we might like.

Fear not! We have some thoughts and tools to support you in shifting this pattern.

Continue reading Ask the Sexuality Expert: The Not So Sexy Parts of Anxiety and Depression

5 Ways Therapy Can Improve Your Sex Life

Lesbian couple kisses at sunset

If the thought of sharing the nitty gritty details of your sex life with a stranger is enough to kill your libido, well, I don’t blame you. Trust me, I remember how insanely awkward I felt the first time I bought up something sex related to my therapist!

While opening up about such an intimate topic to anyone can be awkward, coming clean about the issues you’re dealing with to a therapist can be super-beneficial to your sex life. After mustering up the courage to bring up the awkward sex talk with your therapist, you can reap big-time benefits. Here are 5 ways therapy can help improve your sex life, as told by 5 people who have experienced it first hand.

Continue reading 5 Ways Therapy Can Improve Your Sex Life

MJ’s Story: Working Through Trauma of a Male Sexual Assault

Trans man standing by grey wall

My boyfriend and I lay in bed, his fingers twirling my chest hair as we talked about our plans for hysterectomies. I told him I saw the procedure as a safeguard against a worst case scenario. Hearing this, he looked so anguished, I nearly felt guilty.

“It makes me sad that you worry about that happening again” he said.

A few years ago, I told my 12-step sponsor about surviving sexual assault. He said we can’t resolve some experiences, we can only share our stories to help others realize they’re not alone. In other words, we can say, “me, too.”

Since getting sober in 2013, I’ve heard stories from several sexual assault survivors and I’ve told my own. Men don’t often discuss sexual assault or mental health, and while it’s not easy to share my story, I believe it’s crucial.

Continue reading MJ’s Story: Working Through Trauma of a Male Sexual Assault

Jack’s Story: My Identity In the Wake of Male Sexual Violence

Man looking forlorn

I was staying at my parents house for a summer internship before my senior year of college. It was an especially hot summer in LA, and I remember when I woke up that morning I couldn’t tell if what I was experiencing was a fever or if I had just forgotten what a real SoCal summer felt like. I remember sitting down on the toilet, looking between my legs and seeing blood. I remember thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

After one visit to my family doctor and then another to a specialist, I learned the man I had slept with the night before had left me with not one, but two treasures to remember him by: internal hemorrhoids with abrasions (the blood) and herpes (the fever). When I called to tell him, he didn’t answer. When I went to find him on the gay hook-up app where I had met him, his profile had disappeared. When I Googled his name and the hospital where he purported to work as a physician, I found nothing.

That’s the man who raped me. I don’t remember the name he gave me and I’m almost certain it was a lie, so let’s call him John R. Smith. The “R” stands for rapist.

Continue reading Jack’s Story: My Identity In the Wake of Male Sexual Violence

Why Sexual Health was an Important Topic at This Year’s Coachella Festival

Woman in flower crown at music festival

Glitter and jewels coat faces, arms, and cleavage. Outfits are perfectly paired to maximize Instagram appeal and reach. Alcohol and substances fuel the connections of strangers while rotating DJs ensure ample beats.

Despite the lineup of artists, the real show at Coachella Music Festival is the private party scene. I had the opportunity to participate in one such event, the Safe Space Party at Laguna Seca. As a licensed Talkspace sex therapist, I had the privilege of speaking and participating in this event to support the promotion of a new app, SAFE, designed to support stigma free sharing of STI test results with sexual partners. Other companies and organizations joined the event as sponsors and speakers, including Amber Rose; Julia Cheek, founder of EverlyWell, the Crave vibrator team; and Vera Papisova from Teen Vogue.

Continue reading Why Sexual Health was an Important Topic at This Year’s Coachella Festival

5 Reasons Masturbation is Great for De-stressing

Woman with a hand on her skirt and tattoo on leg

While it’s likely that the concept of masturbation was a source of stress when you were younger (because when you’re 11 it’s easy to believe masturbation can, indeed make you go blind), solo sex is great for your health. In fact, the mental health benefits of masturbation are so bountiful that I’d go so far as to claim masturbation is self-care.

If you’re not already masturbating regularly, you might want to add it into your routine (Ugh! What a horrible chore!) Aside from making you feel great, masturbation is great tool for de-stressing. Not convinced yet? Here are some ways masturbation helps you calm down.

Continue reading 5 Reasons Masturbation is Great for De-stressing

6 Ways Sex Is Good for Your Health

Pensive young woman lounging at home

Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow, that person’s miserable! They need to get laid!”?

Well, that comment may be offensive and unnecessary, but it isn’t completely wrong. Sex may not be a cure-all (though I wish it were) — but it can have a measurably positive impact on your mood, as well as your physical health!

Continue reading 6 Ways Sex Is Good for Your Health

The Psychology of the Orgasm Gap

Man and woman embracing at home

We know that women face a number of challenges to achieving equality. In the boardroom, we face the wage gap. And in the bedroom: The orgasm gap.

Researchers (and everyday people!) have found that a gap exists between the frequency with which men and women experience orgasm, especially during heterosexual sex. Specifically, women consistently have fewer orgasms than their male partners.

Continue reading The Psychology of the Orgasm Gap

When Is Sex Bad For Your Mental Health? (+ What To Do About It)

Hip couple sitting and chatting

Sex is wonderful under the right circumstances, but it can turn into something not-so-great and unhealthy when it becomes a way of acting out, or a coping mechanism for other, deeper issues.

Especially when your mental health isn’t on it’s A-game, your sex life can get out of whack.

Here are some less than ideal decisions around sex one can make … and how to avoid them.

Continue reading When Is Sex Bad For Your Mental Health? (+ What To Do About It)