#104 How to Give Women Oral Sex (and the Benefits of Porn) with Ian Kerner
We're also going to be looking at the benefits of porn. We've spoken a lot about some of the issues with porn in the past, and specifically abusive porn, overuse of it. Today what we're getting is some interesting examples of where it's being used positively in therapy for men with certain types of sexual difficulties.
So we see that the world isn't black or white. When we're trying to get to the truth of things, often there's a grey area and the grey area means it depends on the context. It depends on your situation. Sometimes porn can be a good thing used in a certain way, and at other times it can be negative, and negatively affecting your health, your drive, and so on. So that's another interesting aspect we're getting into today.
Today's guest is Ian Kerner, PhD. He's a licensed psychotherapist and nationally recognized sexuality counselor in the U.S. He specializes in sex therapy, couples therapy, and working with individuals with a range of relational issues. You may know him as the author of the best selling book "She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman," which of course is about oral sex and cunnilingus. He wrote this 12 years ago and it's still a No. 1 best seller in human sexuality, which is pretty amazing on Amazon, and it's been a New York Times best seller.
So Ian is very, very well known. He's been featured on pretty much every single media outlet you can think of, like TV, the press, and so on over the last decade. He's also the founder more recently of a site called goodinbed.com. It's a site that brings together a whole bunch of leading sex and relationship experts. They give out advice on the side and they also carry out original research on human intimacy and sexuality.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Ian's background and his journey to writing the book "She Comes First" (03:45)
- Pharmaceutical interventions for premature ejaculation (09:20)
- Getting to the root cause of premature ejaculation (10:40)
- Balancing porn and masturbation: the positive and negative aspects (12:56)
- A guideline as to what is healthy versus unhealthy regarding porn and masturbation (17:09)
- Getting to the next level of understanding sexuality and achieving mutual pleasure (25:18)
- Is cunnilingus a current and recommended tool? (27:20)
- Understanding the clitoris/female genitalia and stimulation (30:33)
- Introducing the subject of cunnilingus and how to approach it (32:43)
- Relaxing into the act of cunnilingus - slow and rhythmic (40:45)
- Changing or increasing the pressure as a woman gets more aroused (42:15)
- The myth of doing oral sex as if you are following the alphabet, a routine (43:55)
- The best ways to connect with Ian to learn more about him and his work (44:45)
- Recommendations for advice in this area (45:16)
- Top three recommendations for men to improve the sexuality aspect of their life (45:56)
Click Here to let him know you enjoyed the show!
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Promescent: Product Ian recommends to help reduce premature ejaculation by slightly desensitizing the penis.
- She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Woman: Ian's book providing men an understanding of female sexuality and how to satisfy women.
- iankerner.com: Ian's website focusing on sex therapy, couples therapy, and individual pyschotherapy.
- goodinbed.com: Ian cofounded this website bringing together many U.S. leading sex experts, including ebooks, blogs, and forum.
- Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life (Emily Nagoski, PhD): Ian recommends this book for insights into female sexuality.
- Dr. Debby Herbenick: Ian recommends Debby for her work at the Kinsey Institute.
Books, Courses and Training from Ian Kerner
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Ian, thank you so much for joining us today.
[Ian Kerner]: My pleasure, Angel.
[Angel Donovan]: Great so let's dive straight into a little bit of background. You've been around for a long time. It was 12 years I believe now and before of course, you were a working therapist. Could you give us a little bit of an idea of what started you on the journey that got you writing this book that became so popular.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah so, what I started me writing She Comes First? Well, going back to my early adulthood and my teenage years, I suffered from pre-mature ejaculation which is actually probably the most common male sexual dysfunction. I mean, we tend to hear a lot more about erectile disorder because we have a pharmaceutical treatment for it through Viagra and Levitra but really, pre-mature ejaculation is a much bigger problem and if effects men of all ages and back then, I really felt kind of like a sexual cripple.
I kind of stumbled through sex. I didn't always realize that I wasn't able to satisfy women. Eventually when I did realize that, I became quite depressed. Ultimately, I did manage to find a girlfriend who was loving and supportive but, really cared very much about her own orgasms and her own satisfaction as well and she kind of demanded that we go to see a sex therapist. We ended up seeing a couple’s therapist at the time that had some specialization in sex therapy but, it was really an eye opener.
I mean, the relationship itself did not last. The tips and tools I was given did not necessarily work but, a huge part of the process was just being able to talk about the problem and share it with both an objective third party as well as my girlfriend at the time. So, having that permission to talk about a sexual and to be able to reframe it as normal was huge for me and was life changing.
[Angel Donovan]: That's really awesome. I mean, that's a great point to bring up because, I think a lot of guys on the call listening to this podcast have similar...we all have issues. I grew up with one concern. Other guys have other concerns. You had one concern. How old were when this took place?
[Ian Kerner]: When I went to see therapist?
[Angel Donovan]: When you became aware of this because, it sounds like maybe it was a few years or so. Was it something that developed or really from your teenage years, I mean, it was just kind of something you had?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, no it really began in my teenage years. Obviously when you're masturbating, you don't really realize how long you can last. You don't think about it but, really as soon as I started dating women and engaging in sex play and sexual activities, I kind of became aware of it.
The other thing was that I really felt that the only way to pleasure a woman or to engage with a woman was with a focus on the penis. Only much later in life did I learn that the vast majority of women do not orgasm from intercourse alone, that all of the sensitive nerve endings that contribute to the female orgasm are really on the surface of the vulva, that most intercourse positions do not actually stimulate the clitoris directly and the clitoris being the powerhouse and sort of the center of the female orgasm.
So ultimately, as I sort of gathered and learned this information, I really began to find other ways to pleasure women and other types of sex scripts, the main one involving oral sex. So, that really lead me to develop a new sense of sexuality self-esteem, to know that I could pleasure women. Maybe not what was in my mind as the traditional way but, there are many paths to orgasm and to pleasure. So, being able to discover a consistent path to being able to pleasure women was really eye-opening and ground breaking and I still...although, my issue with pre-mature ejaculation has improved considerably over the years.
[Angel Donovan]: Was there anything you did or was it as a consequence of you think maybe calming your nerves because, you learned how...the conalingus and...
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah I mean, I think first of all, just being able to slow down, pleasure a woman with my mouth, feel all of the excitement and sensations in my own body, attune to my own process of sexual response, having more control. Look, when you're lying flat on a bed with your mouth connected a woman and not your penis, if you feel yourself getting heavily aroused, you can do something before you reach the point of ejaculatory inevitability. So, I was say that conalingus gave me the tools to sort of slow down and really familiarize myself with my own process of sexual response along with developing self-esteem and confidence.
Now, the other thing is that anxiety plays such a big role in so many sexual dysfunctions for both men and women and so if you're a guy with erectile disorder or you're a woman who can't orgasm or you're a guy like me who suffers from pre-mature ejaculation, the anxiety is a big part of the problem. So, being able to also alleviate the anxiety and the stress was also a part of it.
I tried many different techniques along the way, many common well-known behavioral interventions like the squeeze technique, the stop-start technique. I tried various medications at different points. Today, I work a lot with men who suffer from pre-mature ejaculation and I always advise them to first off develop alternative sex scripts that lead to pleasure with their partners. I go over all of the behavioral interventions but also today, we have different types of pharmaceutical interventions for pre-mature ejaculation which can also help that I did not have the benefit of when I was growing up.
[Angel Donovan]: That's interesting, I didn't know we had those kind of pharmaceuticals.
[Ian Kerner]: Certainly, we've learned that one of the side-effects of a common anti-depressants, an SSRI...something like a Zoloft or Paxil or Prozac...one of the common side-effects of an anti-depressant is that it does delay ejaculation. So, for a man who suffers from pre-mature ejaculation and has a lot of anxiety around it, a small dose of an SSRI can be helpful.
There are also lidocaine-based sprays that you can spray on the penis that numb the penis but don't numb it so greatly that it eliminates sensation. One product that I like a lot that's FDA-approved is called Promescent and the reason I like that product is because with most of those lidocaine sprays, they transfer to the partner. So, a woman will start to feel numbness but, this particular product and it's the only product, it absorbs. They have an absorption technology. So, it absorbs through the membrane of the penis pretty quickly and there's no transference of that numbness of the product to a partner.
[Angel Donovan]: These sound like work-arounds though. I mean, are these your last resort? I normally prefer to cover these things from a nature-fix standpoint. So, when you think about the actual cause of it, the root cause, do you have a theory about that, an idea? This is why that sometimes I can't always fix it so, I'll go to these tools which we can use in the meantime.
[Ian Kerner]: Well absolutely, I mean first of all you know, when you're doing sex therapy, there's no one cause and there's no one solution and so, it's really eclectic and you're pulling together a combination of different approaches and none exist in a vacuum. So, I would never just tell somebody who suffers from pre-mature ejaculation to take an SSRI or to use a treatment. I would always think about the much larger context especially, the relational context.
There are some issues...in the end Angel, there are some issues that I feel very strongly should not be medicalized like right here right now in the US we have a drug that looks like it's going to be approved by the FDA to treat low female desire. I adamantly believe that desire is (unless somebody is really suffering from medical reason from low desire), I really do not think that desire is an issue that requires pharmaceuticals.
On the other hand, with something like pre-mature ejaculation where so many men suffer from it chronically and have suffered from it for their own lives and have tried the behavioral interventions and that they have not really helped, I think that there are some problems that do lend themselves more to some sort of pharmaceutical intervention of some sort. I always am interested in the bigger relational context. I always interested in the connection between people sexually. I'm always interested in how they are trying to create their own desire through fantasy and other types of arousal. That's a long way of saying that I am very flexible, very elastic and very eclectic but, I know first-hand the sort of the loneliness and the silent aspiration that people feel when it comes to their sexual problems and I really do want to help them.
[Angel Donovan]: Right yeah so, rather than saying, "I'm sorry. We're not going to use pharmaceuticals even though they can help you," say like, "Look, let's fix this. Maybe it's not the perfect solution but, we have to get it fixed.
[Ian Kerner]: Right, or let's use it, let's try this for a short period of time.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah great. So, we've spoken about porn and masturbation and how that can affect or hormones in the past on this show. I'm just wondering if you think that's one of the main things today because, we've heard about the growth of porn obviously. It's hard to escape these days. Do you think that is something. I don't know if you've seen your practice? Has this become a more common problem in your practice over time or is it the same or maybe we're giving more attention to it but, it's always been there?
[Ian Kerner]: I think that because porn is free, because it's so accessible because there's so much of it, it has created new issues for our culture and I work with a lot of men and women and couples who identify porn as being problematic in some way. It's interesting to me in that many of the young men I work with have really grown up almost never having a non-porn-based orgasm. They've only ever masturbated to pornography for their entire sexual development. So, that's interesting.
On the whole, I tend to find that we're very alarmist about pornography, that we're very quick to label pornography as addictive that we do not decouple masturbation and pornography. So, we sort of lump them together and therefore, we look at masturbation as an unhealthy which is the opposite is true.
If I'm working with somebody and they're masturbating regularly, to me that's a sign of health. If somebody comes into my office and they're not masturbating, that's a sign that they may be unhealthy or that they may be shut down.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, is it not U-curve?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: Is it not more like a U-curve or rather an N-curve? There's a happy balance in the middle basically. You don't want zero. You don't want like ten times a day.
[Ian Kerner]: Right, right well I mean you know, you want to be aware. There is an issue called hyper-sexuality where people are using sex, masturbation, pornography to either seek some sort of validation or to self-regulate their emotions in some way. So, certainly, there are unhealthy uses but, on the whole, I find that pornography can have largely a very positive impact on people and on their relationships and that there can be very much be a space to explore porn as a couple, to use it as a way as fantasizing, to smooth out libido-gap.
I know plenty of men who will say, "You know, my wife was pregnant and for the three months leading up to the birth of a child and for three or six months afterwards, we rarely had sex but, being able to masturbate to pornography really helped us to sort of help me to kind of get through that gap." I know a lot of men who say that because they're able to masturbate to porn and there's such a wide variety of porn that they feel less compelled to cheat.
So, I know plenty of couples and plenty of women who enjoy pornography on their own and use porn as a way of creating some arousal especially when they're in a long-term relationship and sex has become somewhat familiar to them. So, I actually think that there's probably way more pros to the pornification of our culture than cons.
[Angel Donovan]: It's great to hear. It's quite a different viewpoint to the mainstream and I really like your practical tools focus. It's like, "You know, my wife's pregnant. She doesn't feel like having sex right now. I don't want to cheat. So, I use porn for a while." I mean, that makes perfect sense.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah absolutely, I think porn can also be a way to get in touch with some of your erotic interest or erotic themes or to explore taboos that you wouldn't normally get to explore in life. But you know like look like anything, it can lead to problematic behaviors. I just find that I'm often in the interesting position of people coming to me and saying, "I'm a porn addict. I need help. I'm addicted," and that's really very often based in their own shame around masturbation, their own cultural sense of what's normal and I kind of really have to kind of normalize their pornography use for them and get out from under that definition of addiction. That definition is not helpful.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right. It's really interesting. Could you give us a rough guideline to what is healthy versus non-healthy. Like you'd say, "Oh yeah, maybe you are doing a bit too much porn," versus "No, this is fine. This is really normal." Is there some kind of line you can draw as guidance for people?
[Ian Kerner]: I did an interesting experiment. I had about 20 men who all around the same time told me that they were having problems with pornography. Either it was zapping their libido so they didn't quite have enough sort of libido for their partners. Some felt that they were having a hard time focusing during sex. That they were sort of recycling images from porn in their mind and it was hard to focus on real lovemaking and some men were having some erectile issues.
They were having a hard time maintaining and an erection during intercourse because, they had sort of gotten acclimated to a kind of pressure and friction with their hands that's not easily reproducible during actual sex. In clinical terms, it's called an idiosyncratic masturbatorial style.
So, I had all of these men in different ages, some were single, some were in relationships and I did an experiment with them all at the same time. I said, "Alright, for the next month eliminate internet porn from your masturbation habits. You don't have to stop masturbation, you don't have to stop using erotica or magazine or even videos, just internet porn and let's see what happens. Let's keep a journal."
It was really interesting. First of all, across the board, the men masturbated a lot less because, it just wasn't as easily as available. For many guys, they don't have DVD players, they don't even know where to get a DVD anymore. In some cases, the men had a lot more libido and they were really bringing that to their partners and in some cases, their partners were really happy about that. In some cases, the partners were like, "You need to go back to whatever you were doing before because, I don't want all of this sex."
Here was the much interesting thing for me, was that I really along the way encouraged the men to masturbate to fantasies of their own creation or to their own erotic history or to their own memories and for a lot of men, it was very powerful to find themselves thinking about like their teenage sweetheart again or their first love or the college girlfriend that they hooked up with. Like to kind of rebuild their own sort of erotic database and erotic history.
So for me, it would be problematic if somebody is only masturbating to pornography, internet pornography. It would be like the equivalent of somebody saying, "I only watch TV. I never go to theatre. I never listen to music. I never read books. I only watch TV." I do believe that we should be able to tap into our own sexual histories through masturbation, to our fantasies, that there should be a creative element to it.
[Angel Donovan]: Or there should be a sense of reality to it? I'm saying this because, I have a theory like I'll just run past you. I think we can rewire our brains. You know when you're masturbating, there's dopamine, there's the other hormones which I think they're stimulating the brain in a certain way. Stimulating neuro-pathway, the development of neuro-paths and so, when you are doing this as a habit and you're using say some type of porn...
I actually think that if I decided...perhaps I've never been attracted to one ethnic type. Right, we'll say it's Asian, Japanese or whatever and I start masturbating with Japanese porn all the time, I think I could guarantee that within a month, I'm starting to notice Japanese women around me. I'm feeling more attracted with them. I'm thinking about, "Yeah, I'd like to date a Japanese woman."
Just because basically, I feel like you can rewire and reprogram your brain based on all the chemicals you're stirring up and the wiring, you're putting these two things together, right? These visuals with this stimulated reaction and it's just natural that your brain starts thinking that way and evolving that way.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, there's been a lot of studies around neuroscience and porn and I don't know that there's yet a clear verdict and then, is the developing brain different than the mature brain? I guess in the end for me, it's very individualized.
For example, I work with a patient of mine who has pedophilic tendencies but, this is a person who has enormous empathy with children, recognizes that sex with a child would be illegal, would be unethical, would be abusive. So, this is a person who suffers because, he has pretty strong pedophilic tendencies but, has never actually had sex with children but, being able to masturbate to pornography that generally features adult actors who look like children and were consensually in the porn is a real outlet for him. It's a real way for him to manage this issue that he has.
[Angel Donovan]: You don't think that could be building, kind of helping him to impress that standard in his brain? If he kind of forced himself to only masturbate to adults that don't look very young, like say they all look like they were in their 30s or whatever. Do you think that would help or...?
[Ian Kerner]: I don't think it would really help. I think the orientation came first and that the orientation is there and it's largely a bio-genetic orientation. I don't think that it can be rewired. I mean, I just...in the same way that you can't rewire a gay man to be interested in women or you can't really rewire a heterosexually orientated man to be gay. I don't really think that you can rewire a lot of what people sexual preferences are.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Thanks for this discussion. I wasn't expecting it. We've run down this corridor because, it was really interesting. I think it's really relevant to people at home as well.
Some of the other things you spoke about in your background is you had this mature-minded woman. I don't know how old you were 24 but, she was very open to talking about it.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, I was 20.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh great!
[Ian Kerner]: 20.
[Angel Donovan]: See, you were lucky because, you had this open-minded, mature-minded woman who's like, "Let's deal with this." You kind of got lucky there I guess and then, you went to sex therapy at that age which you're also very lucky to...
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: ...because, I don't know if you were already thinking about becoming a therapist yourself and that you're open to it?
[Ian Kerner]: No, I was not. I didn't become a therapist until later in life. I dabbled with many other things but then, kind of returned to that...or that experience always stayed with me and eventually sort of merged the two. But yeah, I was lucky especially since I lived in a world in which there was no information and no access to information.
Books like mine had not been written. Even magazines like Men's Health were not out there on the stands. I mean, what was available was the Kinsey Report. Things that were very statistic orientated and really dry. So, the generations growing up today have access to so much more information around sexuality and one of the things that I love so much is the communities that build up say for gender, queer people or trans...
[Angel Donovan]: Positive sex community, yeah. That's a great support. We've had some members of that on the show previously. Yeah so, there are a lot of outlets. So, I just wanted to bring that up because like guys, no matter what type of issue you have at home, like you said like talking about it with someone who's objective.
I liked what you said earlier about normalizing their views because, people when we're on our own, we build these ideas. There's also so much information on the internet that you could go either way, right? You can find an opinion telling you you're a complete psycho or someone telling you you're completely normal depending on where you go. So, there's a question of information quality out there too.
[Ian Kerner]: Absolutely and it's still very easy especially when you're young to confuse porn sex with real sex and I think you know, the statistics for women faking orgasm are higher today than they were a generation ago. So even with all this information out there, it doesn't mean that we're not repeating the same problems or living through the same issues.
[Angel Donovan]: That's interesting also. Have you got a plan to break through this to the next generation? How do we get to the next level?
[Ian Kerner]: Coming back to you know She Comes First, that book has been out now for you know 12 or 13 years and remains a best seller. I'm always touched a) by the men who write to men (many who are young men in college) who some suffer from pre-mature ejaculation, some are just so happy to have learned sort of to have an accurate view of female sexuality and to be able to pleasure women. I also often hear from mothers and fathers who have given She Comes First to their sons as presents when they turn like 16 or 17 to help them sort of become sort of sexually civilize adults.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, it would be so cool if all parents were like that.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: It would change the world.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, it would be and I'm also a father of two sons. So, I think about this a lot and I think it's just really important for me as a parent to be able to lead the conversation and co-construct the conversation and enter the dialogue. There's also...there's just so much great science out there right now that is really explaining how sexuality works and how male sexuality differs from female sexuality and how we can achieve mutual pleasure out there. So, I feel like in some ways the science is demystifying sex and allowing us to kind of just build like a solid foundation based on pleasure.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, that's great. I mean, we've had a lot of people talking about it. I think it's really exciting the times we live in. The science is just developing so fast now.
I think also, people like you and a lot of the other people we've had on the show, that pulling out the science and putting it into easily consumable form like you just mentioned because, it's not always done, the science but, more and more today it is, even relatively entertaining. No matter how ADD you are, you can still watch it and get informed and get what you want out of it. Okay so, I want to make sure we do cover like the main topic which is kind conalingus is where this all can from.
[Ian Kerner]: Great.
[Angel Donovan]: So, is this at all that you still recommend quite highly today. It's been 12 years and so on. Is it really kind of one of the best tools in the tool box? Like to have a mindset of She Comes First and conalingus.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah I mean so, science has shown that for women to really cycle through the process of arousal and to achieve orgasm that parts of the female brain that associated with stress and anxiety kind of need to deactivate. Those parts kind of need become still and that women sort of enter into an almost trance-like state. So, the first thing that I always try to encourage guys to do is to really create an environment that is secure, safe, that's very relaxing, that can enable that sort of trance-like process.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a great tip. In terms of the practicalities of it, what would be the things that you might get wrong, like some specific details? I don't know.
[Ian Kerner]: Also, there's sort of like the early stage of arousal where a person is first starting to get turned out and to get aroused. Then, there's the second stage of arousal sort of leading up to orgasm.
So in the early stages of arousal, I think that that is a great time to like enjoy foreplay, to share fantasies, to add a lot of novelty. But then, at a certain point, you don't want to be focused on novelty because, if you're thinking about all the new things that you're doing and you're sort of trying to teach your brain to do all of these new things, the parts of the brain that need to deactivate so that they can just experience pleasure will not deactivate.
So, I think a mistake that a lot of men make is to try and sort of have like this porn-style sex where you're always introducing a new position or switching something up. You know, there is a place for that but then, there's also a point in which you just want to transition into being able to provide the kind of stimulation that can really enable that total mental letting go and that's where I think conalingus is really important.
Great, you're with a girl. You're starting to fool around. Share that hot fantasy with her. Try some really fun positions. Do some role playing.
Amp up the excitement but then, there is going to be a point where she is you know turned on and ready for more substantial arousal and that is where you're going to want to transition into the kind of sex that provides very rhythmic, very persistent, very consistent clitoral stimulation and I really am pretty adamant that unless you're maybe using a vibrator or have a kind of manual stimulation that works, that oral stimulation, conalingus, oral sex is the best way to provide that consistent, persistent, rhythmic clitoral stimulation.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, I know when I was younger, I had some girlfriends who found it difficult to get off in other ways than oral. We could relate to masturbation also. Like if the girl's been getting used to playing with her clitoris a lot because, I know you talk about the clitoris versus the vagina and the stimulation with penetration. Do you emphasize that the clitoris is the center of the orgasm?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, I think that male and female genitalia is really homologous. So, we're all born of sort of the same embryonic tissue but then at a certain point, we differentiate into male and female and our sex organs differentiate. But, we're using all of the same tissue and parts just in different ways. So whereas the male penis grows out, female sexual genitalia kind of grows in wards but, it's still all there and it's all connected.
So really when you're stimulating the clitoris, you're really stimulating the entire arousal platform. But again, if you're not stimulating the clitoris, if you're just engaging in missionary sex that is not hitting the clitoris at all and for different women, the clitoris can be placed either closer to the vagina opening or farther away from the vagina opening. The women who were able to have sex, who were able to have orgasm more consistently during intercourse are generally the ones who have clitorises that are like a few centimeters closer to the vagina entrance so that they are being persistently stimulated.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, so it's higher up near the pelvic bone?
[Ian Kerner]: It's actually a little lower down closer to where the penis...
[Angel Donovan]: Oh really?
[Ian Kerner]: ...would be able to hit it.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, I see, I see. Yeah, I got you. Funny, when I was like 21 or something, I fell across this where one of my girlfriends couldn't have...she'd never had an orgasmic...a vaginal penetration...while having sex, she'd never had an orgasm and it happened between us because, I was fooling around. I was kind of leaning with my pelvis on her pelvis.
[Ian Kerner]: Right.
[Angel Donovan]: So, we're having sex and she had this orgasm and of course, because I was leaning on it. That's why I was wondering if was like sometimes if it's higher up at the top, guys might accidentally hit that also?
[Ian Kerner]: Right what you were, was it sounds like you were leaning your pelvis against her...
[Angel Donovan]: Right.
[Ian Kerner]: ...clitoris.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah.
[Ian Kerner]: And that's why also the woman on top position, the female superior is often a position that the majority of women can more easily have orgasms from because, they're really able to fine tune the clitoral stimulation.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Okay so in terms of conalingus, I guess guys might be a little bit worried about how they breach the subject. Like kind of first of all, I think some guys are kind of used...you said like, they're used to having like normal sex and stuff and they might feel a bit embarrassed about introducing the subject or starting with it. Have you come across that in the past?
[Ian Kerner]: I've definitely come across conalingus taboos that both men and women experience. I mean, some men maybe feel like they don't know what they're doing. Some men have been taught to think that a woman's vulva maybe unclean or unhygienic.
Generally, I find that women have a lot more taboos than men. A lot of women suffer from a lack of genital self-esteem. They feel like, "Oh, my vulva doesn't look like a porn star's. So, he's not going like doing it," or "I take too long to orgasm," or "Maybe I don't smell good or taste good." So, I generally find that women have more insecurities around receiving conalingus than men and I try and guide me to really focus on creating a very, very loving supportive sexy context because, giving oral sex to my mind is not a task or a chore. It's a highly arousing, loving, pleasurable act.
[Angel Donovan]: You brought up some great points there, that it's more the concern of the girls and that reflects my experience as well. Like, some of them will be nervous about you going down on them.
So practical tips...I mean, things like just going for a shower before...like a nice shower where you bath each other before hand. Then, she's...that's not as big as a concern for her if it has been.
[Ian Kerner]: Absolutely, the other thing that I would say about oral sex is that many men sort of approach as kind of a like an appetizer or something to engage in briefly before the main act of sex. But, I really encourage men to think about oral sex as a complete act of love making that culminates with her orgasm.
Men also need to remember that most women do have a multi-orgasmic capacity. So, even if she has had her first orgasm through oral sex which is far better than her having no orgasm which is often the case, that doesn't mean that your orgasm can't follow on fast and be almost simultaneous or that she will not go on to have further orgasmic experiences.
So, that's sort of the philosophy behind She Comes First is to take oral to extent it into a complete act of love making that really maps to her arch of arousal, culminates in her orgasm. I think many men again, either approach oral sex as something that you do at the very beginning for a short period of time and always when in fact, oral sex isn't always the best thing to begin with.
I mean really, oral sex I think is not really so much part of foreplay but, really should start once two people are much more highly aroused because, if a woman is not really highly aroused then, oral sex, it may tickle, it may feel uncomfortable, it may feel too intense the stimulation. So, you really want to be sort of sexually warmed up before you transition into oral sex.
I think a lot of men also worry like, "Is my tongue a mini penis?" I've had women tell me, "He approaches oral sex like a cobra fighting off a mongoose or the running of the bulls in Spain. It's just like a mad stampede for my clitoris." You know and I often encourage men to take it slowly, to be gentle, sometimes to be still. If you think about it as a dance in which the woman is leading, sometimes just being still and providing a consistent point of resistance and really letting her do the movement and letting her establish the rhythm.
[Angel Donovan]: So there you're talking about a point of resistance, there would be...your tongue is flat and it's kind of lying against it and she can move.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, your tongue is flatter. Even...there's an area called the front commissure which is just above the clitoral glands. So, just above what we would consider to be the clitoris, there's an area that's sort of ripe with nerve tissue.
[Angel Donovan]: Is it still in the hood or...?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, it's right over the hood.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh, kind of on top of it?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, just pretty much sort of right on top of the hood. That area, you know engorges with blood and it gets kind of wiry and I often advise men if you can stimulate that area certainly with your tongue but even better, if you just sort of raise your lips and just press your upper gum (just sort of where your teeth meet your gum) against that area and let her push into your upper gum.
So, then you're providing a point of resistance and then with your tongue, you rhythmically stroke the clitoris and lick the vulva. That's really a great combination because then, she's really getting that pressure as well as the friction of your tongue. So, it's really about working with sort of your gum and your tongue.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, I think you're opening a whole new dimension because, most guys just think of licking the clitoris. That's basically all it is and I guess it's a question of rhythm and everything but, you just mentioned licking the vulva as well. So, are we only talking about the clitoris is conalingus when it's done well is...are we looking at other parts of it. So, you just mentioned above the hood?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, I think of conalingus, I think of I guess maybe two, three or four dimensions. I think of certainly the pressure against the front commissure or the area just above the glands or where the glands really start to kind of become the hood. So, definitely being able to apply pressure to that area.
Then, I think about rhythmically stimulating the clitoris with the tongue. Being able to move your tongue left to right or up and down. I also think about stimulation the vulva as a whole. So, the inner and out labia, the vaginal entrance.
I think that there's a point in which you want to be able to add some manual penetration with your fingers. So for example, if you take your index finger and your middle finger or just one finger or start with one finger and then, go to two fingers and you insert your fingers inside her vaginal entrance...maybe you raise your fingers up so you're really pressing against the vaginal ceiling which actually contains the G-Spot and you don't have to...
By penetrating I'm not talking about thrusting in or out. I'm just talking about inserting a finger or two, pressing up against the vaginal ceiling and just providing that kind of support while you're also pressing your gum against her front commissure and stimulating the clitoris or just being still and providing maybe a slow rhythmic movement with your tongue but, really letting her press into you and thrust into you, thrust into your mouth much as if she were sitting on top of you in the female superior position.
So, a lot of men will complain, "Oh, conalingus is so much work. It starts to hurt my mouth. It starts to hurt my neck. I can't keep licking so, furiously all the time." I'm just like, "If you're working hard, it doesn't mean you're working well and it doesn't have to be painful." In fact, it shouldn't be painful. It should feel amazing and there's nothing better for a guy than really being able to slow down his own arousal, engage in an incredibly sort of turned on act of providing pleasure, to build up all of that sexual tension and then to have a powerful orgasm of his own.
So, it's not at all a chore. It shouldn't be painful. If anything, it should be loving, pleasurable and gratifying when done well.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a great resume. I'm thinking of some of the question guys may have about this process. The interesting point you brought is like...I guess it's not a race.
This actually happened to me when I was younger. I would get worn out because, I guess I was going at it too hard? I'm sure exactly what I was doing. It was quite a long time ago but, I do remember like getting tired and like before she had an orgasm and I guess I was....basically, I'd worked my muscles out because, I was pushing too hard and I was going to hard. It's long time ago so, I'm not sure but, if you're taking a much slower more relaxed, you're pushing your tongue out so far...you know, just little details which would give you a lot more stamina so that that kind of thing doesn't happen.
[Ian Kerner]: Right yeah, no it shouldn't feel like work. It shouldn't hurt. I mean listen, you can...so your head is between a woman's legs. Her legs are sort of close together. You should be able to even lean your head, relax your head against her leg as though her leg is just sort of a soft pillow and really just nestle right in there, get your upper gum connected to her front commissure, lick at your own pace in a very slow rhythmic pace.
What can be very exciting for women too is as they're approaching orgasm and they want more friction and more pressure, for you to sort of remain at your own sort of slow, tantalizing pace can really increase the quality of the orgasm in the end. So, I'd say picking between being the tortoise and the hair, you definitely want to put your money on the tortoise.
[Angel Donovan]: That's great, that's great feedback. So, nice slow and rhythmic, keeping the same rhythm throughout, I guess.
Another thing I've come across is when they do get aroused, if you can like speed up and be a lot harder because, when women get aroused, they can take more stimulation in general. So, have you got any advice around that area in terms of the pressure, like should we changing the pressure as she gets more aroused?
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, what I would say again is financial you approach it sort of from a learning perspective and you know that you're always providing a sort of still point of resistance, she will take the lead in the pressure that she's comfortable with. So, it will really take the guesswork out of it.
What I would caution men against is sometimes, your arousal may be on a faster pace than her arousal. You may be ahead of her and so, you may be providing oral sex using your tongue and your mouth in a way that's mapping more to your passion and how you're than necessarily how she's feeling.
[Angel Donovan]: Great so, with the hood...because, we've spoken a lot about the hood, should you pull the hood back when you start or do you leave that? Have you got an approach for that for the guys at home who don't know what to do with the hood?
[Ian Kerner]: Sometimes, when you're first starting oral sex, if you want to just be very gentle, sort of you take your two thumbs really right at the top of the mons pubis and just sort of pull back the mons a little bit and really just sort of expose the clitoris a little more and then, just take the very gentle, loving approach to how you orally caress the clitoris but, the clitoris will retract, extent, engorge with blood. So, you basically just want to allow it to do what it wants to do.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, another huge myth I've heard many, many times and it's in movies and all sorts of stuff is you should do it as if you're doing tracing the alphabet.
[Ian Kerner]: Yeah, I don't know where that came from. I mean, first of all, I don't want to be thinking about the alphabet when I'm loving my partner. I want to be connected. I want to be looking at her body or I want to be fantasizing about her. I just want to be enjoying it. I don't want to have to be thinking about some sort of routine.
So, I think what men just really need to know is that it's not about the alphabet. It's really just about the persistent, rhythmic stimulation and really, it's about pressure to the front commissure and rhythmic stimulation of the clitoris.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thanks. Good way to round off. I've got some closing questions, lightening round questions for you. What are the best ways for people to connect with you and learn more about what you're up to?
[Ian Kerner]: I have a website www.IanKerner.com. I also co-founded a website called www.GoodinBed.com that brings together many of US's leading sex experts and their e-books and blogs and there's a forum that I answer questions on. So, I would say probably the best way to interact with me would be through www.GoodinBed.com.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thanks. I saw that site. I was going to ask you about it actually. I guess you're going to talk about some of the authors on there but, are there other people besides yourself that you found can be really helpful to people in this area?
[Ian Kerner]: Oh yeah, plenty. I mean, I love a new book by Emily Nagoski who's a colleague and a friend called Come as You Are. That's a great book with a lot of wonderful insights into female sexuality. My friend Debbie Herbenick at the Kinsey Institute as some wonderful books that are out. So yeah, I think Debbie and Emily are two great resources for sort of cutting-edge information on human sexuality.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thanks for those. I've actually heard of Emily's book also. I was interested to check that one out myself because, I've heard good things about it. What would be the top three recommendations you would give to men to improve their life? Say they're starting from scratch. What would be the top three priorities they should get which kind of move things along faster for them, change things, get them more satisfaction and so on?
[Ian Kerner]: I'm going to keep this through the lens of sexuality and I would say to...a lot of men sort of sometimes wonder like, "Why I am always the one that's initiating. Why does my partner not seem to always experience the desire the way that I do?"
Really the latest has shown that men experience spontaneous desire. So, it takes very little for a man to suddenly feel desire and want to have sex but, women really experience responsive desire. So, men respond to a single sexual cue. Women respond to multiple sexual cues.
So, I would tell me to create a context that facilitates that responsive desire, to remember that for women to really enjoy sex and experience orgasm, parts of the brain that are associated with stress and anxiety really need to deactivate. So, to focus on creating a safe, secure, loving, attached space.
Then, I think the third thing that I would say is really don't forget that sex can be entirely mental and psychological and that don't just rely on the physical scripts that you have. Incorporate fantasy, incorporate communication, incorporate talk. Really make sure that you are stimulating your partner mentally and psychologically as much as you are physically.
[Angel Donovan]: Ian, those are really outstanding points. Great, very rock solid points there. Thank you so much for your time today. I really enjoyed the chat.
[Ian Kerner]: It was lovely talking. Good luck, bye.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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