Simplify Desire: Dr. Lori Brotto Says Make Love Mindfully
While mindfulness can feel like a relatively new phenomenon in western societies — Jon Kabat-Zinn popularized it in the US in the 1970s — it has, in fact, been helping people feel connected to their lives for centuries. Dr. Lori Brotto experimented with the practice as treatment for women with sexual concerns and found that mindfulness can have positive effects on desire, response and connection — and the effects seem to be lasting.
A lot of what we ‘know’ about sex as a society is based on outdated research and cultural assumptions. Listen to Dr. Lori Brotto talk about her new book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness and explain some of our many misconceptions about sex, and introduce ways we can use mindfulness practices to feel more connected to ourselves — and to our partners — during sexual encounters.
“It’s a gift to notice that that capacity, that ability to experience pleasure, is right there, if we just pay attention to it.”
By the end of this episode, you’ll learn concrete practices you can use to really tune into sex and make it better – regardless of your age or gender – and discover that pleasure is always there for you, if you can be there for it.
Who’s Dr. Lori Brotto?
Dr. Lori Brotto is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and a registered psychologist. She is also Executive Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute. Dr. Brotto conducts research on women’s sexual health and develops and tests psychoeducational interventions for women with sexual desire and arousal complaints. Her new book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness, is a scientifically-informed translation of her research on mindfulness to improve women’s sexuality and is coming out this month!
Dr. Lori Brotto’s recommended reads
1. Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker
In Life’s Work, Dr. Willie Parker tells his deeply personal story about being a Christian reproductive justice advocate and abortion provider. He believes that helping every woman in need, without any judgment, is exactly what a Christian should do. In this book, Dr. Parker examines the complex political, societal and religious matters around abortion laws in the US from a perspective of someone who performs them and every single day fights for the right to do so.
Comment from Lori: “So, essentially the book is about Dr. Parker as a strong and devout Christian who, in his early 40s, became an abortion provider. And the book is about how he’s navigated that conflict of being a Born-Again Christian, a devout Christian, and yet, carrying out abortions, which among religious individuals would be viewed as completely antithetical to being a true Christian.”
2. Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship by Dr. Stephen Snyder
Combining the latest research on human sexuality with real cases from his 30 years of experience, Dr. Stephen Snyder explains in this book how to have an amazing sex in a committed relationship. His unique approach has helped thousands of individuals and couples overcome their erotic challenges in bed, understand their sexual feelings, and enjoy the sexual connection for life.
Comment from Lori: “It’s cover-to-cover real stories from real couples navigating through the changes of sexuality that happened in the course of a long-term relationship. And so, it’s very, very practical. Anyone who is in a long-term relationship can pick up this book and feel like it reflects and mirrors their own experience. So, a very easy, accessible read, and Stephen Snyder is a very charming and delightful writer, as well as individual.”
Extra credit reading
If you would like to dig deeper into mindfulness, positive psychology, improve your sex life and relationships, check out this book list made by Ben and Caitlin!
You can read (or listen to!) the key insights from each of these books on Blinkist in 15 minutes or even less:
1. The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality by Rachel Hills
The Sex Myth is about the various myths and misunderstandings that surround people’s sexuality today. In the past, bigoted ideas stemmed from a lack of information. Today, however, a superabundance of information about sexuality puts modern lovers under considerable pressure to perform and meet the perceived standards. Find out how the old myths have been replaced by a whole new set of misguided ideas about what kind of sex we’re supposed to be having.
2. The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and the Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
The Body Keeps the Score explains what trauma is and how it can change our lives for the worse. These blinks investigate the wide-ranging effects experienced not only by traumatized people, but also those around them. Nevertheless, while trauma presents a number of challenges, there are ways to heal.
3. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Mindset discusses the differences between people with a fixed mindset versus those with a growth mindset. Our mindset determines the way we deal with tough situations and setbacks as well as our willingness to deal with and improve ourselves. This book demonstrates how we can achieve our goals by changing our mindset.
4. Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
Come as You Are is a scientific guide to the art and beauty of sex. These blinks explain how loving your body and exploring pleasure beyond the confines of social standards can open new doors to ecstatic satisfaction.
Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.
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Specifically, we’d love to hear how you would answer one of the questions we always ask our guests: “What have you discovered was much easier than you initially thought it was?”
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Who made this?
Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler.
Stellar research and production assistance by the outstanding Natallia Darozhkina.
Sound and editing by Ben Jackson and Ody Constantinou, who had to have a piece of his left trigger finger removed to stave off a flesh-eating bacteria he picked up while swimming in a Holiday Inn pool in Arizona.
Dr. Lori Brotto’s Website http://www.loribrotto.com
Savage Lovecast https://www.savagelovecast.com
Krista Tippet interviews Dr. Bessel van der Kolk on On Being