Sex, Science & Healing

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29 May 2024

We go to yoga, meditate, and read inspiring self-development books in order to take care of our bodies, minds and lives. But we might be over-looking one critical source of self-care.


Pleasure Please

One reason we might avoid including sex as part of our well-being regimen is because it’s a highly charged territory. Past experiences, cultural conditioning, or physical challenges like endometriosis or erectile dysfunction may feel like they are standing in our way from accessing the healing potential of sex. It’s also emotional. When we explore our sexual-selves we often bump into shame and shadow, fear and vulnerability, intense feelings and desires. But this is exactly why the erotic realm is such fertile ground for transformational work.

Renowned sex researcher Dr. Nan Wise believes that many of the personal challenges we face fuel our inability to feel or experience pleasure, and that “sexual problems are among the most common psychological disorders affecting the general population.1

But by nurturing our erotic selves with the same level of attention and investment that we give our bodies and minds our nervous systems can relearn how to experience more pleasure, inside and outside the bedroom (or wherever you like to play, wink-wink).

Happy Healing

One field of study yielding exciting possibilities is the study of orgasms. According to Dr. Wise, orgasms could serve as the best possible exercise for the brain. This is because during an orgasm, nearly all regions of the brain are widely and strongly activated, infusing them with oxygen. Moreover, at the same time that orgasm is flooding your brain with oxygen, “it is creating a cascade of nourishing neurotransmitters and neurohormones that bathe the nervous system with potently positive healing molecules.”2 If you read my piece on how the erotic can heal anhedonia you already know I believe orgasms are experiences of enlightenment or awakening.

Psychedelic Sex

Another significant insight on the healing power of sex comes from Rick Dobin, the founder of MAPS – a leading organization in psychedelic therapy studies in the US. Dobin says, “From our research mapping patients’ state in MDMA therapy, the closest analogue we can find, with those high serotonin, oxytocin, and prolactin levels, along with the feelings of safety, connection and openness is the post-orgasmic state”3. This is why doctors on the forefront of sex science are researching the effectiveness of prescribing sex as medicine and as a way to heal depressive states. Sign me up.

A final study from a group of scientists, including scientists from MIT, supports this idea as well. Their findings conclude that sexual stimulation resulted in study participants achieving a mystical state 6% more than psychedelics, using the same metrics using in psychedelic studies:

These findings suggest that Orgasmic Meditation can trigger a substantial mystical experience in both partners. The response in this study is comparable in strength to the response reported by others to a moderate dose of psilocybin – 10mg (aka magic mushrooms). The proportion of participants who reported a complete mystical experience was slightly higher than that reported to be found by the maximum dose of psilocybin administered in Roland Griffiths and colleagues study (62% vs 56%)4.

I believe we are at the forefront of a new era of sexual science. These studies fuel my passion for promoting growth through erotic and sexual awareness, and for creating a world with less shame and more support and acceptance.

Prioritizing Your Erotic-Self

As a sex, self-love and intimacy coach, I firmly believe in the importance of making pleasure a practice and a priority. Investing in our erotic selves should be as important as honing our intellectual abilities or optimizing our physical health. I also understand that pleasure is personal, so if you want to learn more or are looking for a place to start on your journey of erotic self discovery check out how we can work together or upcoming community events.

  1. Nan Ellen Wise. Why Good Sex Matters : Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020. ↩︎
  2. Wise, 2020 ↩︎
  3. Wheal, Jamie. Recapture the Rapture : Rethinking God, Sex, and Death in a World That’s Lost Its Mind. Harpercollins Publishers, 2021. ↩︎
  4. Wheal, 2021 ↩︎

The average person has up to 60,000 thoughts per day - 80% are negative and 95% are repetitive.

No wonder so many of us are exhausted or don’t have clarity because our minds are going non-stop… We can’t think with all that thinking, and we can’t change these thoughts by doing more thinking, yikes!

In this mindset class we learn why and how working with our internal narratives is the first step towards erotic self-care, plus do two quick exercises to start developing your mastery. 

Erotic Self-Care Mini-Class

Mindset Mastery