In Between The Sheets with Clinical Sexologist Dr Dae C Sheridan

Dr. Dae Sheridan is a professor of human sexuality, a licensed mental health counsellor, a board certified clinical sexologist and a certified rehabilitation counsellor with a private consulting and psychotherapy practice. She has been in the business for over 20 years and she has a vision of changing the way people talk about sex.

Timestamped Show Notes

[2:05] Dr. Dae sees people for anxiety, depression, anger management and stress but her area of specialization and her PhD is in clinical sexology. She is therefore certified to be a sex therapist meaning she provides sexuality education, psychoeducation, as well as help people with any sort of differing functions whether medical, emotional, communicational, intimacy or issues that has to do with sexuality. Dr. Dae feels that people do not have a baseline or foundation to talk about sexual matters. Sexuality has everything to do with vulnerability, the messages people receive from their families of origin and childhood, privacy and what a person is supposed to discuss or not, what is embarrassing, what is shameful and what causes guilt, amongst other stigmas and taboos that relate to sex. Many people get involved in internet types of sexual acting out because there is no risk of shame or guilt. Some people utilize pornography in a healthy way in a bid to boost their sex life with their partners while others use it to replace intimacy with themselves or with another human being. The way a person uses pornography depends whether a person has a good relationship with their own sexuality and a good balance in their life.


[5:23] People nowadays have experiences online that can’t be replicated. When they are faced with being with a partner, they have arousal and erectile dysfunction. Issues in maintaining their arousals because there is not as much stimulus. When a person utilizes pornography or tries an exciting new thing, that person is firing up a part of their brain that gets very excited. Their dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine levels get fired up. That’s where their tolerance for certain things will start to wean, meaning they will want more and more. The things that previously excited them will no longer excite them. This person will then face an issue with being with one person who has an average physical body because their arousal centers will not fire up the way they used to before they were exposed to the titillating content.


[8:00] To come back from that, a person must first be willing to do so. This means acknowledging the fact that they have replaced human contact with the internet. Just like any addictive behavior, a person has to realize that they want to stop. The next step is looking at the reality against fantasy and taking necessary steps like going for therapy. This also means finding ways to abstain from the behaviors that are causing problems. Intimacy and sex are normal natural human behavior and to abstain from something that can provide pleasure and connection is very difficult for some people.


[9:23] The highest age rate which use Viagra and Cialis is the ages between 17-25. Dr. Dae has witnessed an uptake in her practice where young males who don’t have any differing abilities are having issues with arousals and their erectile functions when it comes to intimacy with a partner because the stimulation that they have been provided both physically, emotionally and mentally through pornography has shifted their neural pathways to keep them from being aroused.

For people of the older generation, their biggest exposure would be a play boy that they found under the bed but kids nowadays have the world of pornography at their fingertips. Things that people of the older generation could only imagine is just a click away. There is no good quality, comprehensive sexuality education in schools and at homes. Kids are learning about sex from the internet and from pornography and so their first foray into what sex may look or feel like is outside of most people’s realm of behavior. This is the reason it is so important to have a sex talk with children.


[11:03] Dr. Dae does private events with people who want to talk about sex with their children. Her primary thing is to eliminate the concept of the talk because it needs to be a continuous and open conversation with kids and not a one-way conversation directed at them. It’s about getting parents comfortable with the fact that it is crucial to have that specific conversation with kids. Most people don’t do that because of the fear that they do not have all the answers, the fear that their kid might know more than them or the fear that they will say the wrong thing. The biggest fear is that if they educate their kid about sex they will go out and have sex and that education equals permission.

All the research in the field points out that the more people talk about sex to their children the more likely they will abstain from it. On the other hand, the kids who do choose to become sexually active are more likely to protect themselves. If kids don’t know ab sex they are completely on their own.

Sex is not all about being sexually active. It’s about intimacy, love, connection, pleasure and consent. If we provide them with scripts and a confident working vocabulary about sexual matters, it will be a foregone conclusion and they will be more likely have pleasurable interactions that are mutually decided upon. Putting blinders on, increases the chance of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies especially when there are no open conversations.


[14:15] Financial stress like being in debt or people keeping secrets about money erodes trust and when trust is eroded a person is more vulnerable and that person is more likely to harbor anger and resentment towards their partner. Unresolved anger and resentment will trickle into the bedroom and into a person’s daily interaction. A person who does not have those open conversations will become disconnected both emotionally and physically. One way to regain trust or build on an existing trust is to create a set of non-negotiables about communication as a whole and what would be a deal breaker. When it comes to spending, this means coming up together with a budgetary amount. Dr. Dae encourages couples to have discussions that may not be obvious.


[20:43] Marriage nowadays is different. The roles have changed. The breadwinner nowadays is not always the man. There is increased equity and reciprocity in relationships today. Some are still conservative in their marriage but most have evolved with the time. People have to therefore set their own path because there are no role models. Conflicts will reduce if a person has the intention to want to do better at the front end. People have to look internally at their relationships and curve out their own niche. What matters to them the most is how they can make things work.


[23:05] People who have to make a ton of decisions and those who play very powerful roles in their daily lives are more likely to be passive in their bedroom because of the consistent weight they normally bear. There are plenty of people, however, who do not want to relinquish power and want to control their circumstances in and out of the bedroom. As long as there is open conversations and dialogues where both parties are getting their needs met, then everything is great. Dr. Dae is seeing changes in the roles in the family and the roles in the bedroom. If a person is in a partnership and they both have great jobs and one continues to succeed and the other feels stuck in their roles, then resentment will start to build. Some of the stereotypical roles in our culture are starting to shift and change where people can be genuinely happy and still strive to do their best to not feel like they have to be pigeonholed because of gender.


[28:22] When a person is judging or thinking about what he is supposed to do a lot of times this comes from inoculation throughout that person’s childhood. The person was taught to think in certain ways about certain things. When that person becomes an adult, it is really important for them to stand on their own two feet, look around and question some of the antiquated belief systems they grew up listening to. The person needs to use their free will to challenge some of the belief systems that may or may not fit into today. People need to make decisions for themselves that are based on their needs, desires and what will push them forward rather than what will soothe and appease some magical person elsewhere.


[32:55] When people have been in a long relationship, they tend to presume and assume things. This is especially true if the relationship is in turmoil. When people assume or presume, they rob themselves the opportunity to be heard. This also robs their partners the opportunity to rise up and meet their needs. If a person continues to stuff it and build their resentment and anger without talking to their partner, it ultimately leads to that person giving up. It similar to a person creating a narrative in their head without even talking to their partner.


[35:26] It is not that people are necessarily holding their love or withholding their best selves. It is just that they do not know how to meet their emotional needs in the way that their partner needs them met. This takes a lot of practice because in a relationship there is no auto pilot. Marriage does not have to be hard work but it has to be consistent, intentional and loving work. Some partners in a relationship may have skills when it comes to relationships or communication and so a person falls back into assuming or presuming. This is detrimental because if they don’t bother then they can never meet their partner’s needs. Most people avoid conversing with their partners about why they did something because they fear being in emotionally vulnerable for rejection.


[37:51] There is need to create a safe environment to express one’s needs with their partner. Calmly talking and sharing with a partner with the help of a mediator helps a lot. The objective third party will guide the conversation in a way that is protective and valuable and they can learn new skills in the moment while having the conversation. So often people have the same arguments without any new results or changes. It is therefore important to go to therapy where you can talk to other people about what has worked for them.


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