Adding Sexual Pleasure to the New Healthcare

As Washington squabbles about the nuances of our new healthcare system, we citizens of Boulder can claim bragging rights for being one of the most happy and healthy cities in the nation. We have it covered when it comes to diet, exercise, mountains, meditation, and Jewish mysticism (at least for those of you who study with Reb Zalman). However, we may have to periodically remind ourselves that high-quality health also includes sexual health.

What would our country look like if we provided affordable healthcare services for all people to access their highest potential of pleasure? From a public health approach, we’d emphasize primary prevention of illness using pleasure as preventive medicine. This would entail sophisticated sexuality education about healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships with self and others.

A pleasure-oriented sex life has several evidence-based health benefits, including savings in healthcare tax dollars. Endorphins released after sexual activity relieve tension and stress, and help manage pain and headaches. (Yes, that means we can no longer use the excuse of having a headache to refrain from sex.) Sexual play also burns calories—not as much as a stationary bicycle class, but certainly more comfortable for your genitals. Post-sex relaxation supports better sleeping and helps curb cravings for junk food and cigarettes. Oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, improves intimacy and bonding. This may be less than ideal for the one-night stand. However, it may be perfect for the 20-year marriage seeking deeper connection on more nights than just Shabbos.

Sexual pleasure comes in many shapes, sizes, and flavors. Sexual pleasure can include a foot massage, a scalp massage, or a full-body sensual massage. Sexual pleasure can include scarves, ties, blindfolds, and other fun vibrating toys. Sexual pleasure can include candles, music, oil, lotion, and a glass of Manischewitz wine. Sexual pleasure can include a heart to heart conversation, or a series of unforgettable orgasms. Unforgettable orgasms also come in various colors, shades, and tones.  Some lucky individuals are able to so fully melt into pleasure that they can experience multiple orgasms, nocturnal orgasms, and/or a blend of all the above.

And if you still haven’t figured out what an orgasm is, that’s ok, our society has yet to agree on one perfect definition. Jewish professor of sexuality, Dr. Mitch Tepper, states that orgasm is not just about rubbing friction to the right parts. Also known as “The Prophet of Pleasure”, Tepper teaches that orgasm is about love and connection. Having a spinal cord injury and using a wheelchair for over 20 years, he has emphasized extra-genital orgasm and pleasure, inspiring people who don’t have a disability to learn from those who do.

Hear us Washington, if we can teach our young ones and our communities about healthy sexuality and the beauty of sexual pleasure as part of love and connection, we can heal our nation! Have a Sexy Shabbos!

About Dr. Jenni Skyler

Jenni Skyler, PhD, MSEd is a sex therapist and board certified sexologist. She is the Director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy in Boulder, Colorado. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Sexology and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy track. She has worked in the field of sexual health as a therapist, educator, and public health consultant since 2005. In addition, Jenni is a PAIRS® certified instructor and hosts workshops and retreats to help couples emotionally enrich their relationships.

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