This week, we explored something that, to some degree, is part of every one of our lives, and that is sex. It is a source of great pleasure and great stress and great discussion and preoccupation for many, many people. Itt seemed appropriate to do a programme on that. I had the pleasure of talking to sex therapist Ian Kerner. He’s a psychotherapist and a sex therapist, and a very prolific author.
Ian Kerner’s books
His first book was published in 2004 with the very catchy title, She Comes First. He’s written 10 or 12 of the books, not to be left out. He’s also written a book called He Comes Next. Passionista was a book published in 2008. We discussed we really kicked off our discussion with him about his most recent book, published in 2021 – So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex. Specifically, we were talking about sex scripts.
I first stumbled upon Ian Kerner’s work after I had a prostate operation, and interestingly, I had prostate cancer some six years ago. A prostatectomy has all sorts of implications, potentially negative on one’s sex life, with the possibility of nerve damage and whole issues around erectile dysfunction.
It was at that time that one could really start to explore how penis-centric sex can be, particularly for a male. It’s also interesting to then start to look at books that can help you navigate through what it can be. A potentially very stressful and challenging time. The entity is a very stressful and challenging time.
In my own case, I was fortunate enough to make a good recovery. I would say in 80 to 90% recovery, but it raised all sorts of issues about sex at a very late stage, both on a light stage, and I think the 60s is that light. But when you consider how early one engages in sex, either through masturbation or in the early part of your sexual discovery in life, whatever age that started for each and every individual, sex is a part of our lives.
Ian Kerner’s books are a very interesting journey. And for my wife and myself, when we read this book together out aloud, it was like having a psychotherapist in the room with us to help us navigate discussions about sex, which we’d never had any problem talking about before.
But it gave us a structure and allowed us to explore this in a whole new, fresh way and in a very structured way and a very constructive way, in a very thoughtful way. And that’s why I was really looking forward to talking with Ian about that. We started off the discussion about sex scripts.
What is a sex script? Literally, it is what happens in sex with you as an individual or as a couple. It was interesting to go through that and to learn what he describes as rec-relational sex. So he’s identified three different forms of sex, Procreational, which is pretty obvious, and active procreation.
Recreational, which is something that, you know, we go through when we’re courting and in various parts of our lives. And then there’s Relational sex, which is with you, which you have with a partner on an ongoing basis. I think the combination of the word recreational and relational is what made up rec-relational sex.
It was a very interesting discussion about that. It was also redefining terms like what is foreplay, what is core play, what is outercourse, what is intercourse, and clitoracy actually means.
It was a fascinating discussion and one that I think was very candid, I think. In himself, which is probably not surprising considering this is what he does. As I said, is a psychotherapist. But we talked also about pornography and the role that pornography plays. We talked about a whole range of shame, what shame is all about the role that masturbation plays. So it was a really interesting discussion. We touched on trauma as well, and what effect trauma has.
This dovetailed into some of the discussions that we’ve had with psychologists in this space about trauma and what trauma actually means. We were talking with Nigel Denning and Dr. Trail Dowie about trauma, and it reminded me of a podcast that I’d done with Dr. Sarah Woodhouse. You’re Not Broken, where we talked about trauma. We’ve discussed this with the legendary Petrea King.
We’ve talked with a doctor. as I mentioned, from the Mind Medicine Institute and touched on this subject with Admiral Chris Barrie, not talking about sexual trauma but talking about trauma in general. And with Ian, we touched on the effect of various kinds of child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual trauma and the impact that that has on people’s lives.
This week was an opportunity to open up a discussion about an aspect of health that is part of everybody’s life to one degree or another. If you are fortunate enough to be in a relationship, that is one thing. If not, that does not mean that that’s the end of a person’s sex life.
There are other ways of enjoying life without a partner. But it was an interesting discussion and one that I thought was worth sharing with you. Those books and Ian’s website are linked to our show notes this week. So I would encourage you to listen to it. I hope this finds you well. Until next time.
This podcast provides general information and discussion about medicine, health, and related subjects. The content is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for care by a qualified medical practitioner. If you or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. Guests who speak in this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions.