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Design a Healthy Relationship with Dr. Justin Lehmiller

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DR. MIKE MORENO: Welcome back to Wellness Inc. I’m Dr. Mike Moreno, taking a deep dive into all things wellness after over 25 years of practicing medicine. I’m fascinated with anything and everything that can help you feel better, live healthier and become the best you possible. I’ll be interviewing the most cutting-edge experts in the field of wellness and exploring new innovative technologies to help you live your best life. At the end of each episode, I’ll give you my weekly RX. My top tips for you to use right away. Remember to subscribe for free, rate, and review my podcast on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen.

What do Americans really want when it comes to sex and is it possible for us to get what we want? Think about that. Well, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at the Kinsey Institute and author of the blog Sex and Psychology and the book Tell Me What You Want The Science of Sexual Desire has made it his career ambition to answer all of these questions. This guy is going to help us a lot. No, he is going to help me. He’s an internationally recognized sex educator and he’s here to help us lead a happier and healthier sex life and build stronger relationships. Thank you for being here, Dr. Lehmiller.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Listen, the first thing we’re going to get into this, but first thing I got to say is as you’re going through your formal education, what leads you down this path or how did you arrive at “this is what I want to do”?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: So for me, what I do now is not what I planned on doing my entire life. I like to say that I ended up in the field of sex research and education serendipitously. So, I went to graduate school to study the psychology of romantic relationships and what makes for a healthy, committed, long lasting relationship. Along the way, I got assigned to be a teaching assistant to human sexuality course. That class was my very first experience with formal sex education, other than like the day in the fifth grade.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. I was going to say, I remember that.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: It was just eye opening, and it made me realize how little I knew about sex. How it’s such an important topic and how people have so many questions about it. It was weird because I was studying relationships, but nobody was talking about sex. So that kind of made me want to go down that path and to really look at that intersection of sex and relationships.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, you know, I think what happens is that sex is one of the biggest aspects of a relationship, like it or not. It seems interesting that so many people are not open to talking about it. So many people have struggles with their sex life. We turn into these giddy little 16-year-olds when someone mentions it. It’s really a very important thing for a foundation for our relationship.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: It absolutely is, I would argue that sex is perhaps the single biggest source of relationship conflict because partners aren’t getting what they want and don’t know how to communicate about it. So that leads to problems in the bedroom that spill over into all the other aspects of their relationship.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, I know is a primary care guy, I deal with a lot of this. Whether it is erectile dysfunction issues or whatever it may be, at least from the man’s standpoint. There is this sort of, you know, people will come in. First of all, you know how guys are. They are always afraid to come right out and say it because we are macho, right? So, we get there in a roundabout way, but it’s amazing to me how much of a disconnect. I’m curious to see what your thoughts are. People think that stress should not have a huge impact on sex and erectile dysfunction. I scratch my head because I think to myself, when I’m stressed out, if your mind’s not where it’s supposed to be, it’s a problem. Do you see that as a big issue?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Absolutely, I think there’s this sort of perception that your body should always do what you wanted to do. For example, people with penises, you know, that their penis should always function on command and do what you want, but the reality is that there’s all kinds of factors that can impact our sexual functioning. Stress is a big one, especially right now during a pandemic.

You know, I’ve conducted research looking at how the pandemic is shaping people’s sexual lives and relationships. There are lots of big impacts on sexual functioning because of stress. It pushes down desire. It makes it harder to become and stay aroused or to have an orgasm and that affects people of all genders and sexual orientations. It’s totally normal.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I mean, it seems to me just conceptually, something like this can absolutely destroy an otherwise really good relationship. So, it seems only important that you talk about this. So, it takes in my next question is, why are people so freaked out or afraid to talk about what they want or the whole sex? I mean, where does that stem from?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I think there is a couple of factors. One is that most of us are not taught sexual communication skills. You know, sex ed is pretty basic covers usually just the mechanics of intercourse coupled with messaging, saying don’t do it or wait until marriage

DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. I think it was literally an hour long in school, they’re like, OK, onto the next subject.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, my sex ed, I remember being so excited in the 5th grade, the day we were going to cover this, and I went in with my notebook and I wrote sex ed really big at the top of the page. At the end of the day, I had written nothing down because I left, knowing less than I went in with. That’s the problem with sex ed, is that we’re not teaching people useful information or practical communication skills. The other factor that’s important here is that there’s so much shame that’s tied up in sex and sexual desire. We’re taught that it’s something that is dirty and that your genitals are your private parts and all of these things. So, we feel like it needs to be cloaked in secrecy and that you don’t talk about it. That just makes it harder for people to ever open up those lines of discussion.

DR. MIKE MORENO: So what do you think now? I’m in my 50s and if you were to kind of look at how people are approaching this subject now in 2020 or let’s just say someone in their 50s vs someone in their 20s, are we getting there? Are we making some progress? Or is there still a long way to go?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I mean, it depends on the metrics that you are looking at and there’s this weird disconnect in the U.S. where you look at our culture and we see sex all around us. It is represented in advertising and movies and television. We hear about and see sex all the time but it’s a taboo subject still. We don’t talk about it and the education just isn’t there. If you’re looking at sort of representation of sex and media and liberalization of sexual attitudes, you know, you do see that happening where people, for example, are more accepting of contraceptives and same sex relationships and sex outside of marriage. We’re more accepting of these things today, but there’s still so much that we don’t know, and we still have a lot of room for improvement.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I want to be clear, but when we say sex, it does not necessarily mean intercourse. I think just being intimate with your significant other. You know, I have a lot of patience and as they get older, it’s something that you know, perhaps for physiologic reasons or whatever. It is kind of interesting. I got to tell you; I have had conversations with elderly couples who are so open about it. They talk about their sexual relationship and quite honestly they will clearly tell you, we don’t have penetration, or we don’t have intercourse, but we find ways of pleasing each other. I am thinking, OK, here is an 85-year-old couple telling me this. I am like, way to go to recognize that it is more than just the act of intercourse.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I think that’s such an important point and something that we can all learn from when we ask people to define sex, we find that most people define it very narrowly as penetrative penile vaginal intercourse, and they don’t count other things like oral sex and so forth, as being true forms of sex. What we see in the research is that people who take more expansive views of what sex is are more sexually satisfied and it promotes healthier sexuality as they age.

There’s a couple of reasons for this. One is that it gives you more opportunities for pleasure. Right? Because if your partner is not interested in intercourse at one point in time, but maybe they are open to other activities, there is other things that you can do and experience pleasure together and connect with one another. Then also, as you age, you know, as you mentioned, more sexual difficulties tend to pop up due to changes in the body due to chronic illnesses.

When you have this more expansive definition of sex, you can be more flexible and adaptable in how you meet your needs. So, I think part of having a healthy sex life is having that expanded definition of sex and being sexually flexible.

DR. MIKE MORENO: When you mention this, it sort of carries a “dirty” connotation with it. I think people get caught up in exactly what you said. So, I’m wondering this, are there common myths when it comes to sex that are not supported by science and research? What are some of those?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I mean, there’s so many. I don’t know how much time you have.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I’m thinking of my audience at home, if they’re thinking of the top one or two things that that are just so far off in the science, what would you say that would be?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I mean, one of them is what the normal human body is supposed to look like. You know, there’s all kinds of misconceptions about what the average penis size is or what a vulva is supposed to look like. Sometimes those misconceptions come through pornography because porn is kind of become the default source of sex ed for a lot of people. When you look at the research on something like average penis size, when you ask people what they think the average erect penis length is, they say something like 6 or 7 inches. The reality is it’s closer to 5. Right? So, the average penis is smaller than we tend to think it is. I think that having that knowledge can be really helpful to people because men place so much value on their penis size.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I know, right?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: They’re all hung up on whether they can pleasure their partner. They feel a lot of shame. It’s like, no, in reality, odds are you’re probably pretty normal. We see the same thing with the vulva, right? This wide variation in the appearance of women’s genital anatomy as well. Again, just if you’re looking at porn as a model or diagram for what the human body looks like, recognize that those are not typical bodies that you’re seeing and that’s not where you should go to learn about the human body or what sex is and how it’s supposed to happen in real life.

DR. MIKE MORENO: What I really want to ask, I’m dying to hear about some of the stuff you discovered in terms of fantasies and stuff like that. I also feel there is this sort of false idea of when intercourse is taking place. There’s also this kind of weird idea put out there by a number of sources that you makes you- Oh yeah- this guy will go for 2 hours without an orgasm, then you’re kind of like, really?

So, what do you think about that? I mean, that’s a big problem for people too if you have the wrong information, just as you were talking about size. I think it’s also important to give an idea of how long foreplay is typically? How you know, of course, there’s variation. How long from the time you’re having intercourse does someone reach orgasm? I think those are important points as well.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Absolutely, and there’s been a lot of research looking at how long does it last? How long does foreplay last? If you’re talking about heterosexual couples, the average length of sex and foreplay is around 20 minutes or so. That’s including everything, from warm up through orgasm. So, it’s not as long as most people think it is.

If you’re looking at men specifically in terms of how long it takes them to reach orgasm from the moment of penetration to the moment of orgasm, on average, is 5 minutes. They did this with studies where they gave men stopwatches and they had to stop and start. They’ve also done parallel studies with women and for women, average time to orgasm is about 13 minutes or so.

So, women do take a little bit longer on average to reach orgasm but people’s ideas about how long sex should last, or it’s supposed to last are way off from the reality. You know, people think sex is supposed to last a lot longer than it normally does and in reality, it doesn’t look like on porn where people can go for hours and hours.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Right. Like the sun’s coming up, I mean, guys… please… Did you hear what the good professor said? 5 minutes is average, right? So, don’t get all worked up about these things. But, yeah, I think the passion and perhaps the foreplay, obviously, but as far as intercourse and as you put it perfectly from the time of penetration to the time of an average of 5 minutes, I think people have this weird idea that, oh my gosh, it’s supposed to be like an hour. I’m like, I don’t think so. I think it’s important that people know that.

All right, now we got to get to something that I’m dying to hear about. When I saw this and I was looking through my notes, I was like, this is going to be interesting. You conducted the largest survey on sexual fantasies in America. So, first of all, let’s talk a little bit about the most common ones that you discovered.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Sure, so I surveyed more than 4000 Americans from all 50 states. I asked them about their favorite fantasy of all time and content coated those fantasies to look for themes and found that there were really 7 main themes that account for people’s favorite fantasies of all time and I’ll just quickly run through them.

First, multipart sex. So, anything involving more than two people. Next was BDSM, anything involving power control or rough sex in a way. Next was novelty and adventure. So just doing something that’s new and different for you, such as sex in a new position or location. Then there are the taboo fantasies where you’re doing something that is socially or culturally forbidden. The non-monogamy fantasies where you’re fantasizing about being in some type of sexually open relationship. Then there’s the passion and romance fantasies, which are more about emotional fulfillment rather than the explicit sex act itself. Then lastly are kind of like the self-exploration fantasies where people are kind of pushing the boundaries of their gender role or sexual orientation in some way, such as a different gender person who fantasizes about cross-dressing or a heterosexual person who fantasizes about a same sex experience.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I mean, it seems to me fantasies are normal and healthy in a relationship, you know? Obviously I would not want to hurt anybody. You know, in general, I think it’s a healthy thing. Let me pose an example for you. Let’s say if you have a couple, one who is into a fantasy and the other not so much, how do you approach that? What do you say? Or do you say like “oh hey, I got an idea”. Walk me through this.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yes, so that specific issue comes up a lot where partners might have a discrepancy in a desire and when partners are sharing fantasies and your partner says something that you’re not into, here’s how I tell people to respond. First, start by thanking your partner for sharing that with you and recognize that it was probably difficult for them to bring that up because of all the taboos and stigma and shame that’s embedded in sexuality.

Next, if you’re not into the fantasy, that’s OK, but take a little bit of time to think about it and think about whether there are aspects or elements of the fantasy that you might be into. So sometimes letting it marinate for a little bit, maybe doing a little bit of research can help to change your view because maybe you’re not into it because you’ve just never thought about it before. It’s just a totally different and foreign thing to you.

If you’re not into it, you know, that’s OK too, but think about are there other ways that you can help your partner meet their sexual needs? So, for example, is there a compromise fantasy that you can come up with where you’re taking elements that you’re interested in, in elements that they’re interested in and combining it in a way that is mutually satisfactory and pleasurable?

DR. MIKE MORENO: It’s all about the same word in so many things when you talk about relationships. Communication. It comes down to not being afraid to have that conversation, but communication is key. I think when you look at relationships, they talk about the strains and relationships. It’s commonly children, it’s commonly money, but as you mentioned, sex is a is a big one. I think having that conversation, I mean, half the time you don’t even know you assume your partner doesn’t want to do this or doesn’t want to do that. Then you bring it up in a polite and in a mature way. It could change your life.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, and that’s what I see in my research, is that the people who are sharing their fantasies with their partners and acting on them report being the most sexually satisfied. They’re in the happiest relationships. They have the fewest problems with sexual functioning. They’re just doing better on average by all metrics. I should also say that most people report positive experiences when they share their fantasy with the partner, that it brings them closer, and it improves their relationship. Even if they don’t go the extra step of acting on it, you’ve learned something about each other. You’ve deepened your connection. It’s important to recognize that fantasies can be useful just as a form of dirty talk. You know, just because you fantasize about something doesn’t mean you actually have to do it.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Right.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: So I think there’s a lot that we can get out of tapping into our fantasies and sharing them more in our relationships.

DR. MIKE MORENO: You know, so let me ask you this, if someone were to approach their significant other and say, “hey, you know, I feel like our sexual life isn’t what it used to be”, which I’m sure is a common, common statement and they try to kind of subtly introduce, say, a fantasy and the other person is like not having it. Do you keep trying to revisit that or do you just put it to rest and go, well, I guess this is never going to happen?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: So with relationships, there’s never any kind of one size fits all rule, but I think ideally the model that you’re going to have in your relationship is that you’re going to do regular sexual check ins with your partner. A lot of people are under the impression that early on in the relationship, you establish your sexual compatibility and you’re good to go, but the reality is that our fantasies change, our bodies change and over the course of our lives, what we like in sex, what we want from sex changes and varies.

So, if you’re not checking in with your partner regularly, you’re not going to know about the ways that they’re changing, and this is part of what needs a lot of couples to disconnect over time is that they’re changing in different ways and the other one doesn’t realize all of that. So, having that open line of communication I think is crucial.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Let’s say someone comes to you and you have two people who are just in one direction and the another. Give us some strategies. Give us some things we can do to design it. We come to you and I’m like, I have these fantasies that are all respectful, this and that in my mind, my partner doesn’t, but we want to, and hopefully your partner is willing to go with you to one of these discussions or probably many. Where do you start with designing something like that?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, and again, something where you have to figure out what’s going to work best for you and your relationship circumstances, but one thing that I often suggest trying is expanding your sexual menu and trying to find and cultivate new shared sexual interests. So even if you’re far apart on something, find a way to bridge that gap.

A helpful question that you can ask your partner is, rather than making it about, you know, what is the specific sex act that you want to try? Ask them how do you want to feel during sex? That’s a totally different conversation. Once you’re sort of tapping into what are the deeper physical, sexual, emotional needs that they’re trying to have met through sex, how can we create an experience that meets their needs and meets my needs at the same time? So, I like to think of fantasies as being endlessly customizable based on the relationship. So, part of it might just be having that different type of conversation.

If you can’t find a way to compromise, you know, some couples work this out by opening their relationship. Some couples work this out by, you know, one partner or both partners turn more to masturbation and pornography or virtual reality, like there’s all kinds of approaches and strategies people can adopt, but it really depends on, you know, what is going to work best for you and your relationship.

DR. MIKE MORENO: So you bring this up and I’m curious because there are a lot of open sexual relationships. The traditional little house on the Prairie thing with the Ingalls family back in the day. It’s a new world we live in. I talk to my friends and they tell me about stuff. Of course, it’s respectful conversation, but I’m like… Really? I know people who bring in another person into the mix and it blurs boundaries and what can you do? Can you still have healthy relationships with that sort of thing or does one person eventually- you know what I’m saying? There’s a thousand questions around something like this. So how does that work?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, it’s a super important question and I’ll preface it with some statistics, so nationally, representative surveys in the United States and Canada have both found the same thing, which is that 1 in 5 adults say they’ve been in some type of sexually open relationship before, which tells us that this is not a really rare or uncommon thing, and in survey studies, we see that about 1 in 20 people say that they’re currently in some type of open relationship. So, lots of people are doing this and these relationships can work. I can point you to a lot of studies and review articles and meta-analyses that actually find that on average, relationship quality is very similar for people who are monogamous and people who are what we call consensually non monogamous.

The people who are not doing well are the people who are non-consensual are not monogamous, which is the term we used to refer to cheating. You know, that’s a different thing, but when people have that open communication and they set their boundaries, they can figure out ways often to make that work. Sometimes it improves and strengthens the relationship because they’re not putting all of their expectations and goals and hopes and everything into just one person. It’s really hard for one person to meet all of your needs sexually and emotionally.

Think Esther Peril, very popular sex therapist, has described this very well when she talks about how we often have these competing needs that we want to have in our partners. We want them to be a constant source of novelty, excitement, and surprise. Yet we also want them to be very predictable and stable and reassuring and right. So, we want security and surprise at the same time and that’s like a really tall order.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Yeah, that’s a tall order, exactly. So, I got to ask you this, because when I do these interviews and I love thinking to myself, if you’re a listener listening to this right now, they’re whatever driving down the road or on a run and they’re listening and they’re thinking like here’s what I want to know the answer to. I think when we’re talking about these open relationships, what have been your experiences when the guy, the girl, the guy, and the girl, whatever, they approach their partner and say, hey, I’m thinking this would be a good idea and they are met with not open arms and an upset partner.

How do you introduce this and how do you take me through this whole thing? Because I could see that going south really quickly and with good intention. Right? You think these people value the relationship. They recognize that that element of their relationship is off, and it could destroy an otherwise beautiful existence. So, you take a shot at it, but it may not go your way. What happens then?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, there’s lots that I can say on this, actually, just published a study recently that looked at fantasies about open relationships among people who are currently monogamous. I find that most people who are monogamous have fantasized about this before. The ones who have acted on their fantasies, for the most part, report very positive outcomes. Again, suggesting that this can work out, but there are some cases where it does lead to conflict and problems and I think is a starting point.

You need to ask yourself, why do you want to open up this relationship? If the answer that you come to is that the relationship that you’re currently in is failing and, you know, things are not going well, that’s not a good reason to open up a relationship, because odds are if you don’t have good communication and you’ve got other problems opening and that’s going to be the end of the relationship, probably.

You know, if there are other reasons because you have certain needs that aren’t being met or you can’t meet in your current relationship and you also want to see your partner have the opportunity to meet those needs as well and you’re coming at this from a position of strength where you’re looking at this as a way to improve and enhance your closeness and your relationship. That’s more the right reason for wanting to do this. So as always, with fantasies, I think it’s best to approach them from a position of strength rather than a position of weakness in your relationship.

DR. MIKE MORENO: You know, I was telling you, like I commented earlier, I’ve been practicing family medicine, I have patients that have been mine for 20 plus years, a number of older couples who have been together 50, 60 years… Imagine I mean, wow! I find that when they talk about things, when they bring up things, they’re so casual and respectful about how they talk about this in the room, in the exam room. I think to myself, my god, this 88-year-old man and woman couple is a lot more mature about their approach than some of my idiot friends, so it makes you realize this is important. It’s a very important thing. A lot of people don’t know how to introduce something like this.

Then if we can switch gears for a second, let’s talk about casual sex. First of all, how would you define casual sex? And second of all, does this work? I mean, how do you do this?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, so casual sex, the way I define it, would be sex that occurs outside of a committed relationship and it can take a lot of different forms from a one-night stand to a friend with benefits to a booty call. There is all different terms and, you know, arrangements that exist. there’s lots of ideas out there about casual sex that say that it’s unhealthy, that it’s emotionally damaging. What we see in the research is sort of a complex picture. For the most part, though, people report positive experiences with casual sex, but there are some cases where people report regret and don’t have positive experiences.

Part of figuring out whether it’s right for you depends on how you view sex and love. Do you see these things as going together or do you see them as separate? And why is it that you want to have casual sex? Is that you’re pursuing pleasure or is it that you’re hoping that that will turn into a relationship?

This is what I’ve seen in my own research. I’ve actually published several studies on friends with benefits, including a 1-year study of people who had a friend with benefits to see what happens over time and what predicts having better outcomes and the single biggest predictor, again, is communication and getting on the same page at the beginning about what this is and isn’t. Do we have the same expectations and goals? Where is this going? What are the ground rules and boundaries? So, I think the rules for casual sex are often very similar to the rules for sex and committed relationships. It’s all about being on the same page and having that communication.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I got to ask you, did you have- I’m sure you did… Were their examples of couples that said, oh, yeah, let’s go into this study and it just went south?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Oh, sure.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Oh, god!

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: You know, it was fascinating to look at what happened after a year and people were all over the board and there wasn’t just like one primary outcome, you know, that they say most people got. It was pretty evenly split between those who were still friends with benefits a year later. Those who went back to being just friends, those who became romantic partners, they started a relationship from this. Then those who, their relationship totally disintegrated. Now, they’re not even friends anymore.

So, you know, again, this can go in a lot of different directions, but the people who reported the best outcomes or the people who, you know, again, went in with the same expectations and for people who were hoping that it would turn into a relationship, they tended to be pretty unsuccessful in having that happen.

DR. MIKE MORENO: All right, so let me ask you this. Oh my god. I mean, we could go on and on and on with this, but it’s so important. I’ve seen it through the course of my career so many examples of couples who seemingly everything else is right in their life, but the sex thing isn’t and then it leads to infidelity and this and fights. It’s unfortunate. I think that if we approach this in a more sophisticated way and not make it this dirty conversation, I think more often times than not your significant other appreciates that maybe not initially, but you know what I mean?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, and there’s lots of thoughts that I have on this, but one thing that’s coming to mind is that 1 in 7 married couples in the United States are in a sexless relationship. You know, so this is a common thing.

DR. MIKE MORENO: 1 in 7? Wow.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: You know, part of the reason for that is because you know, people change and grow apart over time. One partner loses interest in sex or they start to want different things. What we see is that people who are in sexless relationships really struggle with how do you manage this and how do you get your sex life back on track? Is it even possible? There is all kinds of things that couples can try.

One of the things that I like to recommend, and there are many sex therapists recommend, is to start scheduling sex. A lot of people when they hear scheduling sex, that sounds very unsexy, right? Because sex is supposed to be spontaneous and never planned. I think the way to think about it is that you plan all the other fun things you do in your life. You plan your vacations, you plan parties, you plan your social outings, why not plan your sex? If you do that, it gives the opportunity to build up anticipation and to be in the right mindset when sex actually happens. So, you can disconnect from your devices for a while first. Relax. So, there’s a lot of value in scheduled sex. Once you start finding how great scheduled sex can be, that can be the thing that opens the valve to really kicking your sex life back into high gear.

DR. MIKE MORENO: I love that you made that point. You plan everything else with your significant other and your partner. That seems like if there are problems in the bedroom or maybe it’s not in the bedroom, maybe it’s in the kitchen or wherever it is, that it needs to be addressed. I think it’s evolved a lot more I see now than when I started my practice in the 90s. People are much more open and willing to discuss it. I think to me it implies a certain a certain commitment or true depth of love for someone. When you say, hey, this is something I’m struggling with and I want your help and opening that that doorway, I don’t know what it looks like, how you do it. It’s different for everybody, but listen, if you’re in a relationship and you just you love this person, then you got something that’s not quite right. You work on that.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Yeah, and that’s really one of the big keys to relationship success is learning how to overcome conflict together. People who have what we call a growth mindset when it comes to relationships have the happiest, healthiest, long lasting relationships, because rather than looking at a challenge as the end or a sign that things weren’t meant to be, they see it as an opportunity to overcome an obstacle together and grow together. That can improve and enhance the connection you have with your partner.

DR. MIKE MORENO: So, many I mean- we just we’re scratching the surface of this, and again, I think it’s so important to a healthy relationship, but you look at the stress. I always say to my friends jokingly, but not really jokingly. Life is hard. Life is challenging. I remember when I was a little kid and you really didn’t have much responsibility. You may feed the dog and make your bed and you go to school and that’s it. Right? As you get older, life becomes challenging. I think your sexual relationship interaction starts to take a backseat and it really should be at the forefront.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Absolutely, it’s very easy for sex to fall to the back burner for several reasons because you’re juggling so many things, for one thing. Another is that many people see sex as something that happens at night, like it’s the last thing you do before you go to bed. You know, people tend to be pretty tired, and odds are somebody is not going to be in the mood and it’s going to feel like work. So that can lead the sex life to really fall off. So, you have to really make it a priority. I think a different way to think about good sex is that it requires effort. It should not be effortless or rather it’s not normally effortless for most people. That’s just one of the keys of a relationship, is being willing to put the work in to make it work for you.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Well, listen, Justin, a lot of good stuff here. We may have to revisit this on another episode, but some great, great stuff. I appreciate you spending some time educating me and educating the listeners because it’s fantastic stuff. Where can people find you because we are hoping to open Pandora’s box with these conversations, get these conversations going with your significant other. Where can people find you?

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: I run the sex and psychology blog and podcast @SexandPsychology.com, and my goal is to provide the sex ed that you never got in school. There’s practical information and educational materials on there. You can find links to my books and follow me on social media, where I am providing daily updates on what is going on in the world of sex that you can use and apply in your own life.

DR. MIKE MORENO: Thank you. That was a lot of good stuff. I feel better about it now. I appreciate stuff like this because I think it is going to allow me to even have better, not so much my personal life, well, that, too, but with my patients, I think having this understanding and I appreciate you because it’s going to make me a better doctor by discussing these things. So, thank you very, very much.

DR. JUSTIN LEHMILLER: Thanks for having me.


 
About This Episode:

Sex Expert and author of the most comprehensive survey of sexual desire ever undertaken, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, joins Dr. Mike in this exciting episode of “Wellness Inc.” to discuss his game-changing results.

You’ll find out what people really want and why, how to get your sexual desires fulfilled, and how to be sure you fulfill your partner’s needs as well. They talk about why people are afraid to ask for what they want, several myths that are not supported by facts, how to improve sexual communication, and fascinating information about what the most common sexual fantasies are!

Listen in and learn how to make your relationship more intimate and successful, and how to make your life happier, healthier and more fulfilled- and a whole lot more fun!


 
Connect with Dr. Justin Lehmiller:

https://www.lehmiller.com/podcast
https://www.instagram.com/justinjlehmiller/
https://twitter.com/JustinLehmiller
https://www.facebook.com/psychologyofsex

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