Dr. David J. Ley is a world-renowned clinical psychologist and author of Insatiable Wives and The Myth of Sexual Addiction. We’ll be discussing everything about sex: porn, kinks, addiction, and even religion. We share our sexual role models, what we think of sex education in America, and how sexual values play a role in a person’s belief system and political values.
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Clinical psychologist and author Dr. David J. Ley talks about sex, porn, “addiction”, and the value of proper sex education.
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0 (0s): Yeah. Imagine being a kid in the, you know, in the 1950s, I mean, you didn't have social media, you, you know, you didn't have phones, rock and roll was the big thing. Right. And then what did you do? You went out and parked and you found people to have sex with now. Kids have so much other stuff to do. Video games, social media, reading this podcast, every other. And I'm not blaming you. I'm not holding you on your podcast responsible, but, but are there some people that rather than getting busy with their partner, they're listening to your podcast? I mean, think about the, the, the couples that lay down in bed and they're both looking at their phone and until they're tired and they lay their phone down and go to sleep well, if they didn't have their phone, they didn't have all that other diversion. 0 (51s): Would they be getting busy as something to do that we think is one of the big factors. And then frankly, I mean, we're still teaching kids, you know, to be afraid of Sachs. And I think that also this decrease in sex as part of that consequence, 2 (1m 28s): Hello, everybody. You're listening to Chatting with Candice, I'm your host, Candice, Horbacz back before we jump into this week's episode, I'm the only housekeeping that I really have is due to the nature of the conversation. Unfortunately, this episode is going to be throttled on pretty much every platform. So if you do enjoy the conversation and if you know anyone else that might enjoy the conversation, I would greatly appreciate you sharing it and leaving reviews and engaging with it. That's the best way to help counter the throttle that is going to naturally occur. Unfortunately. But yeah, other than that, I really hope that you enjoy it and that you can share it with a couple of friends and without further ado, please help me welcome Dr. 2 (2m 15s): David J Ley. He is a world renowned clinical psychologist known for bringing scientifically accurate and clinical sound information to discussions around sexuality and pornography. So it's going to get spicy. Let's dive in. So Dr. David J Ley, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. The timing of this was really perfect for me because I recently was a guest on a pretty big show that has a very conservative audience. And everyone was like, why did you agree to go? Like you are walking into the lion's den. And for me, I think that's where we can kind of create the most changes when we have conversations with people that we don't necessarily align with and hopefully in a nuanced. 2 (2m 60s): But what I found was, and I by means obviously I'm no professional, all my experiences, either anecdotal or based off of, you know, me reading professional papers from people like yourself and then just kind of regurgitating and St like picking it apart as I saw it. And what I realized, and I've heard you talk about this, is that a lot of people who are so set in their convictions, they don't want to listen to the research at all. They're like, I don't want to hear the facts. I feel this way. So to start off the episode, I would love your opinion on, like, how do you have a successful conversation with something that's so emotionally charged for so many people? 0 (3m 41s): Yeah, God, I I'd be a fucking billionaire if I could, if I had the answer for that conference question, right? Oh my God. I mean, in today's in today's world, I mean, that's the, that's the, that's the zillion dollar question. How do you have a conversation about, about politics, about race, about gender, about sex, about porn. I mean, it's wild that this weekend over this week, you know, during the Supreme court hearings with Tongy Jackson, I guess we were hearing about all of this, all of this hyperbole and panic about pornography and, and the need to punish, you know, aggressively punished people who, you know, who are caught watching, you know, child sexual abuse material, which is an important issue, but these issues are so charged that it's difficult. 0 (4m 38s): And, and it's particularly difficult for me when people want to have one to argue with me and they pretend to use facts, or they think they're using facts, but really they're arguing from this place of emotions and fear and faith, not facts. And they look, they find facts that support their beliefs, but they don't question them that's as, as a researcher, as a scholar, that's difficult, right? I, you know, and your, your listeners, you know, if they, if they want, they can jump on YouTube and you can watch a video of me with Katie Couric. 0 (5m 19s): And so I was on Katie Kirk show when she had a talk show and she's, it was about, it was about pornography. And I kept talking about the research and, you know, I kept kind of challenging some of her beliefs and she like, at one point she hit herself in the head and she said, you know, if you talk about what the research shows one more time, but that's what I'm here for. I realized though after that, and it was, it was one of the most painful media experiences I've ever had in my life. I mean, it was, it was horrific. I walked off stage, I went the hotel and I get, I got as drunk as I think I've ever been. 0 (6m 1s): It was, it was tough, but I realized that I needed to do better at the issue that you just raised. How do you talk to people that are coming from such a place of, of fear? And, and, and I realized that first, we need to give people permission to have these feelings we need. We need to, a lot of times, unfortunately, people in my field, you know, a sex therapist, field, people that are sexually progressive, they can be awfully judgemental of people that are more sexually conservative. And I think we need to address that. I think we need to be more kind and compassionate. 0 (6m 42s): We need to recognize that people that, you know, grow up in a highly conservative religious or sexual community are going to have a lot of fear and distrust of Sachs. Of course they are because they've been taught that seeing a girl in school, wearing a dress with spaghetti straps is going to inflame the boys with lust, such that the boys will engage in rape or, or out of control sexual behavior. They've been taught that, you know, having sex too much or liking sex too much will maybe make you gay or make you have sex with animals or make you have, you know, engage in sexual abuse of children. 0 (7m 28s): So they're terrified of sex. And we have to, we have to recognize that we have to connect with them there and, and, and, and say, you know, I believe that people can have, you know, these sometimes frightening sexual desires and not act on them. I believe that talking about these things, doesn't actually make them happen because there's all the often times, there's this kind of mythical thinking that if you talk about something, it might happen, like, look at sex education in schools where, you know, they, a lot of states, abstinence only, we're not going to talk about condom use because then, then it would give people, it would give the kids permission to use condoms and you didn't have sex, and we don't want them to have sex at all. 0 (8m 20s): So we're not going to talk about it, right? But the reality is not talking about things actually increases the likelihood of those things happen. Abstinence only states that have abstinence only education have higher rates of teen pregnancy and higher rates of STI and higher rates of lack of use of contraception or condoms during first sex, because the kids aren't ready for it because they have talked about it. So if we can connect with people and say, you know, I think it's healthy to talk about this stuff and we don't have to agree, but there's somewhere in between our views that has maybe a healthy place to explore. 2 (9m 2s): Oh, absolutely. So a couple of things that I wanted to touch on that you said in one of my conversations that I was having, and this happens a lot with people that tend to be on the conservative side of sexuality and like their argument against pornography is it immediately goes to beastiality. It immediately goes to child abuse material. I try to say is if you take like a neuro-typical person that doesn't have these, like maybe antisocial tendencies, they're not going to go there. And from the professionals that I've spoken with is like, they say, if you get someone who has committed these crimes and acted upon them, if they feel like they're in a safe environment and where they can be honest, they say that was the thing that they were always going after. 2 (9m 45s): It just took them a while to like, get there. So it's not, it's not like we can take a regular guy who has a healthy relationship with sex sexuality, and he's going to go be a criminal and like this crazy sexual deviant and menace. And I feel like you do such a disservice to everybody involved when you kind of create that hyperbole around sexuality and pornography, because it's not to say that there's not fault, fault flaws within the industry, because there absolutely is just like in anything else, but we can't actually tackle those issues if we're going after a boogeyman that doesn't exist. 0 (10m 21s): Yeah. But, you know, Candice, you don't give yourself enough credit. That's a, that is a very sophisticated informed evidence-based kind of view you just espoused. Thank you. I mean, I, I love hearing that. I love hearing you say that. I mean, yeah. I like to, I like to say, you know, pornography is not a slippery slope coded and K Y you don't just start at the top looking at Playboy and end up at the bottom screw and sheep. If you end up looking at, you know, sheep porn, it probably exists. I'm sure I don't want to see it, but it probably is out there rule 34, if you end up looking at sheep porn, and that becomes your thing it's because like you said, that was actually an interest. 0 (11m 5s): You always had that an interesting thing happens though, as people watch pornography, they become more accepting of sexual diversity in themselves. And other people that people who watch porn become more, less judgmental of LGBT sexuality, they become more accepting of kink in themselves as well. And so we see folks who start looking at kind of vanilla porn, and then they ended up gravitating towards some unique or fetishistic or extreme kind of porn, but they do. 0 (11m 46s): So because lightning didn't strike when they watched the vanilla porn, nothing bad happened. And so then they became less afraid and ashamed of those desires to maybe, well, maybe I'll look at fart porn that I never thought I would, but okay, maybe. Right. And it's because that desire, that interest was always there, but they were ashamed of it. So the same is true with, with, with people who watch child sexual abuse material is that, and my second book is called the myth of sex addiction. 0 (12m 28s): And I really challenged the validity of the whole sex addiction model porn addiction as well. That it's really based on bad science, but it also offers this very troubling excuse to people who engage in criminal problematic sexual behavior. So Harvey Weinstein got caught, you know, sexually abusing and harassing and sexually assaulting some of our favorite actresses. And then he went to his ex addiction treatment and said, Hey, people I've got demons. No man, you engaged in criminal behavior. And there are lots and lots of men in sex addiction treatment who got caught watching child sexual abuse material or porno or child pornography. 0 (13m 16s): And because they had money, they were able to talk the judge into not sending them to jail, but sending them to treatment instead treatment that costs about a thousand dollars a day. And for which there is no evidence, it works, no scientific evidence works. It gets more problematic. When we look at the research that finds that people who watch child pornography, people who consume child sexual abuse material are, are people with pedophilia. They may have never sexually abused a child, but they have always had that interest and watching the material is the way they fulfill it. So now what we, what we have then is we have people who are getting sent to sex addiction treatment to avoid criminal charges for this material and having this material, Josh Duggar, I just went to, you know, just convicted on this a couple of weeks ago, one of his claims was he was a pornography addict and a sex addict. 0 (14m 18s): No, you're watching that material because you, you have pedophilic interests. You need treatment for that. The problems, not the porn, the problem is this sexual disorder. If we don't treat that, there's a problem. 2 (14m 34s): Yeah. I was going to ask because that was one of the talking points that I was, that got raised and we got stuck on for it. I'm not kidding. About 10 minutes of me and the host back and forth was arguing about the term addiction. And then the co-host was kind of like, well, does it matter? Cause like his stance was it's absolutely. And mine was no true professional will actually validate that. Like they will not say that it is an addiction. You might get some quacks out there that are trying to make some money off of you. And they open up these centers, but they're not neuroscientists there. It just doesn't have the patterns of addiction. So we went back and forth and when she said does this matter? And I said, it does. And that's why I'm not loosening my grip in this 10 minutes, because exactly that is, if you are so quick to label something as an addiction, then you take all accountability off of the table. 2 (15m 23s): And I, and I think that that's what we see a lot. When you see these often men that have, have these addictions, you're not fixing anything and there's no accountability or saying I have this disease or there's this substance that has control over me. And that's simply not true in my opinion. And we see this happening with other things like not even in like the sex atmosphere, like we see social media is now being called addictive food is addictive. Gambling's addictive. Like all of these things that typically aren't. So to play devil's advocate, would you say, because there's, we're living in such a world of nuance, should we maybe redefine what addiction means? Should we consider sex in porn to be addictive under like these new parameters? 2 (16m 4s): And then like, what would the cost benefit analysis of that be? 0 (16m 9s): Sand is how can I get you into grad school? Because in fact, you know, within the mental health field, we really have, we've really walked away from the term addiction within the DSM, the, the, the standard book of psychiatric diagnoses. The term addiction is used a total of like four or five times. And it's used in the chapter heading. And then there's this line in the, in the book where it says the term addiction has a very vague, subjective, meaning that at best refers to some level of acuity or severity. But for instance, one of the things that I like to point out is that there's been a long time debate about whether cannabis is addictive, because distinct from alcohol, you know, cannabis doesn't really show a significant tolerance effect. 0 (17m 4s): Cannabis also doesn't really show a significant withdrawal effect or really any withdrawal at all. And look at LSD or the psychedelics. You can't really overdose on psychedelics and they don't have any withdrawal and they don't have any tolerance kind of effects. And it has forced my field to really recognize that we had based the concept of addiction, almost exclusively on alcohol. And that may not be accurate or, or useful or effective because the, the, the best, the best scientific meaning of addiction is when the shifts from needing, from wanting something to needing it. 0 (17m 54s): So when I start drinking alcohol, I, I, I want it because I liked the effect, but at some point, if I consume so much alcohol every day, my brain starts to need it because we, our brain, our brains are lazy. And when we don't need something, it stops making it. Alcohol takes the place of some neurotransmitters in our brain. When we drink a lot of alcohol, our brain stops producing. Some of those neurotransmitters uses alcohol. Instead, if you then stopped drinking alcohol, people can have seizures and die because our brain needs it. Now for function. 0 (18m 35s): We do not see that shift in sexuality. For instance, nobody in the history of the world has ever died in blue balls. 2 (18m 41s): Right. 0 (18m 42s): You know, you might get irritated when you have sex. W w when you don't get to have sex when you want, but you're not going to die. Nobody ever died from having too much sex. In fact, people who have more sex live longer, the, you know, 2 (18m 59s): The longevity. 0 (18m 59s): I, yes. So in fact, that that effect is very clear in men and less clear in women. Do you know what the num the recommended number of orgasms a month is for a man to have the heart, to have the most healthy prostate? 2 (19m 15s): Oh, man. A month. I'd say 1723. Whoa. Okay. 0 (19m 22s): Right. So, yeah, that's right. Yeah. So my prostate at this point is effectively immortal. When I die, my prostate will, will live for another three or 400 years. The, so we have a problem then, because you know, with, when we think about addiction, when you think about drugs and alcohol, it is the excess of it. That is the problem. But with sex addicts, there are lots of people out there who identify as addicted to sex, but they might have, they might, they might cheat on their wife once a year and view themselves as addicted to sex. 0 (20m 2s): Huh? There are lots of men who watch pornography once a month and view themselves as addicted to pornography. So what, what we're describing here now is not a frequency issue. Instead, we're describing something that is a conflict. They feel, they may report that they feel that they have difficulty controlling this. They may also report that they're engaging in behavior that they regret or are ashamed of. And they wish that they didn't engage in that behavior. Why the number one predictor of identifying as a corner, as a Boerner, as ex addict is growing up religious. 0 (20m 47s): And so we have people that grew up with ideas of a right kind of sex, no masturbation heterosex within marriage. If you engage in any behaviors outside that, if you masturbate, if you have sex outside marriage, if you have kinky fantasies, right? If you watch pornography, it's now a behavior that you think makes you a bad person. And the higher levels of shame that people have about their sexual desires and behaviors, the less self control they have Because of that conflict. 0 (21m 29s): People deserve help with that. That's a painful situation to be in, But it's not actually the sex. That's the problem. It's the conflict We therapists like myself have seen the same thing. And people, for instance, that grew up religious and then realize that they're gay. How do they try and reconcile? You know, a lot of guys, a lot of people went through conversion therapy, trying to stop being gay so that they could stay in the church and it didn't work. It made them depressed. It made them suicidal. Oftentimes it gave them other problems. 0 (22m 10s): Instead, they had to find a way to accept themselves and now reconcile or create a different relationship with their religion. Some of the same is true here that the internet has brought access to sexuality and sexual material, to people who weren't prepared for it, to people who were taught that there's a raw one, right. Kind of sex. And now the internet and pornography offers them an avenue to explore other kinds of sexuality. And they're not ready for it. Those people need help. 0 (22m 50s): But again, it's not about sex. It's about, it's about that conflict. 2 (22m 55s): I totally agree. And I think that we have the capability to design the life that we want and how we want to interface with everything around us. So it's like, if you could have a healthy relationship with sex with masturbation, with pornography, you can. So it's a, do you want to feel this shame? Do you want to feel this guilt? Is that somehow serving you? Like, what is that serving? Or you can let that go. And in a whole host of ways, and then have this, this more liberated life. And I think it's so hard because like, when you talk about being sexually progressive or what's like the other political, and that goes around, it's like sex positivity. 2 (23m 40s): You talk about those. Those now kind of have a tainted tone to them. So you're like, oh, okay. Cause we've gone way too far. Now we want everyone to be the sexual deviant. We want everyone to stop getting married and stop having kids. So we can't use those terms anymore. But I guess where is that healthy balance? Because when we were talking about education a little bit earlier on, and how there's these schools that take the abstinence approach, both extremes exist, right? You also have schools that I, in my opinion, introduce inappropriate content for, for children when it comes to sexual sexual education, I fully believe in sex ed, 100%. 2 (24m 23s): I do wish and hope that it was like mostly the parents doing it. But I am aware that not every parent does that. So then you have to teach her this line of like, well, who says who's right. It is to teach your kid. That's a whole other bucket of worms to get into. But I do wonder, like, where's that happy medium of like sex positivity and sex education. 0 (24m 44s): Yeah. So I have an answer for you. And I think, I think it's a good answer. I, I do like to point out that the Netherlands is a good example around sex education. They actually start sex education around age five and seven and at the ages. And, and you can go on YouTube and Google, like Dutch sex education videos. And you'll see these videos where they are showing kids full nude bodies. Now they're not erect. They're not aroused. They're not having sex. It's not porn per se. But at a young age, they are showing children what make it human bodies look like? 0 (25m 29s): And that there's a diversity of it, right? Societies like the Netherlands societies, like Japan, Scandinavia places where they have accepted social nudity. And it's not a sexual thing. It's just, you know, being naked in the, in the, in the tub or naked on the beach, whatever those countries, those societies have lower rates of body image disorders in teenage girls, because they grew up realizing that there's a diversity of body types. And I don't have to look just like the, the, you know, the women on glamour magazine or Cosmo. Right? That's cool. 0 (26m 9s): The Netherlands has lower rates of sexually transmitted infections, lower rates of teen pregnancy and lower rates of sexual assault than the United States because they start talking about sex and they make it. So that sexism is secret because one of the things that happens in our society is, you know, kids get sexually abused. Women get sexually assaulted, and they're afraid that it's partially their fault. And they're afraid to say anything about it because they're going to get it was their fault or that they're going to be slut shamed or blamed talking about these issues. 0 (26m 51s): And ain't going back to what I was saying a minute ago, talking about these issues actually doesn't make it. Doesn't, doesn't make them happen, but it increases our ability to talk about these issues. So then how do we move? How do we talk about it then? Historically sex education has, has worked from a model w what's called an act based model of sexual health. So that's for as a therapist, right? As a psychologist, I want to help my patients be healthy. So then what does sexual health mean? Historically? We judge sexual health. 0 (27m 32s): By what it was heterosex was healthy. Homeless, X was unhealthy sex within marriage was healthy. Sex outside marriage was unhealthy. Now we have to recognize that it's not what you do. It's how you do it. Because now we realize that there's lots of homosexual people and that are having healthy snacks. So, okay. So we have to change that. So what did we change it to the world? Health organization has embraced a model, and this is a model that's been adopted worldwide, where it's a principle-based model of sexual health. 0 (28m 16s): So instead of saying healthy sex is what you do. Instead, we start asking questions about how you do it. So what are the components then? What are the principles that we would want to teach people about how to be healthy in a sexual way, consent, honesty, safety, in terms of potential infections or pregnancy pleasure. Cause we have to talk about pleasure. We can't people, the number one reason people have sex is for pleasure. So we have to pay attention to that. We also have to pay attention to mutuality that for us to have a healthy sexual relationship, there has to, it has to be mutual and it can't be all about me or all about you. 0 (29m 9s): And then lastly, we have to pay attention to exploitation that if, if one person is exploiting, the other person that's not healthy. So the story I tell often is, you know, two example is an example of this is imagine if, you know, if we were at a hotel bar and we met and we hit it off. And I said, you know, I've really been looking for a long-term relationship and you and I are really hitting it off. I think we could really have an amazing partnership and relationship. And then we go up to my hotel room. We have crazy hot sacks. I mean, there's orgasms splattered on the ceiling. We are just having a great time. 0 (29m 49s): But the next morning I don't call you because I was lying. I didn't really want a long-term relationship, but I knew you did it. Might've been really pleasurable, hot sex, but it's not healthy because I wasn't honest. And I was exploiting you. So instead of trying to change what people do sexually in, in therapy, I instead try to work with them about, is there a healthy way you could engage in this behavior? Is there a healthy way you could fulfill this desire instead of engaging in infidelity? 0 (30m 31s): What would it be like to talk to your partner about exploring an open relationship? Can we do this in an ethical way? That's how I think we start changing the conversation and we start, you know, in Boston, there's a psychologist named Emily Rothman who has a lovely model that she has developed about a porn literacy curriculum. And it teaches adolescents what porn is and isn't, it teaches adolescents what they can learn from porn and what they shouldn't learn from porn. 0 (31m 13s): The sad thing is that research now shows that adolescents who watch pornography and think that it is realistic are the ones who are most likely to learn on healthy lessons from porn. They're the ones who choke their partner without asking. They're the ones who try to have anal sex without preparation or consent, because they saw that in pornography. And they thought that's how real sex is. So we need to teach people about what healthy sex is by having the conversations. We don't let kids learn to drive by watching fast and furious. 0 (31m 57s): If we don't want kids to learn unhealthy lessons about sex from porn. And if we want kids and people in our society to have healthy sex for the love of God, we've got to start talking about what it is. 2 (32m 10s): No, I, you nailed that. Absolutely nailed that because a lot of the conversation is that it's the industry's responsibility to somehow let your child know that this isn't real. And first of all, your child shouldn't be anywhere near that content. So like, what are, where are your safety measures on your end too, right? It's your kid and that's your duty to protect your child. And no one else's in any realm, but I think that the buck should be stopping with the parents. It's like you, if you don't want kids to come across this material, because they will, at some point, whether it's like their friend's phone or someone's laptop is left out, like it's unavoidable, unfortunately in today's world as the internet exists as it is. 2 (32m 54s): So you have to have these conversations and be like, listen, if you come across this material of a friend shows it to you, a like, I would like you to not watch it until you are of age. But if you end up watching it know that this is not real, this is for adults. It's meant to be entertainment for adults and you should not be taking any of this and applying it to another person. So it's uncomfortable for sure. But I mean, I'm, so I'm part Japanese. And I also grew up with like this, a lot of naked adult bodies around me. It was very normal. And like of all ages, like you would see 80 year olds walking around naked, especially at the bath houses and all of that. And it was just normal to me. I didn't think anything, otherwise, again, it wasn't like in a sexual way. 2 (33m 37s): So I have always kind of looked at naked bodies a little bit differently. Like it wasn't this crazy thing that had to be riddled with shame. And then my dad was also a cop. So we had the conversation about, about sex and inappropriate touching when I was like free, like super early. It's like one of my first memories, which sounds crazy to some people, but he saw some horrific things happening all the time when he was clocked in. And he's like, not my kid. And how do you protect your kid? You protect your kid with competence. So you have to tell them, then, you know, the world out there is not always unicorns and fairy dust. And some people will try to hurt you. And this is what it looks like, and it's not your fault. 2 (34m 19s): And you absolutely go to an adult that you always come to me or your mom if something happens. But if you want to put your head in the sand and pretend that I'm like they're too young to have those conversations, you're actually putting them at risk. 0 (34m 32s): Absolutely. I know, good job dad, way to go. Candice is dead rock on. There's a book I ran across recently. I highly recommend it to every family I've talked to. It's called my voice is my superpower. And it is exactly the lesson that you just got from your dad. It is first, it's a, you know, it's a book with children of color, which is gorgeous. And then it is kids being taught that, you know, their body is their body. And you know, if somebody touches them that they should, you know, that they should say something and use their superpower, their voice to say no, and to get help. 0 (35m 16s): And that is not their fault. It's so important for people to have that discussion and have that, give kids that, that, that power, because that's how we protect him. I, I, but it's not, it's not just sex. It's, you know, and I, I tell parents that they need to, eh, prepare their kids to encounter all kinds of uncomfortable stuff online and not just sex, but, you know, videos of people, dying videos of people being beheaded. And for the love of God, we need to prepare kids to be attacked by all of the mean nasty people that hide online and just want to be awful to each 2 (36m 4s): Other. 0 (36m 6s): So what I tell kids, what I tell parents is You've got to tell your kid that there are things online that they're going to encounter that are going to make them feel bad and confused, and complicated and scared and all kinds of weird feelings. And when that happens, it's not your fault. Come to me and we could talk about it and you're not going to get in trouble. That's the really important thing, because when the kid comes to you and says, oh, I ran into this stuff. And then the parent punishes them, right? The kid's never going to come ask for help again. So we have a choice, you know, you can abandon kids to this frightening, scary world that we live, or we can put on our big boy panties and talk with them about how to, how to survive in this world and how to be safe. 0 (37m 4s): And to let them know they're not alone. Most kids want to be like their parents. They, they, you know, they, they view their parents as you know, where they came from and they want to be like them. They want to understand your values. I unfortunately see lots of parents who are scared to talk to their kids about sex, because they're scared of their own sexuality, or they're scared that somebody is going to think that that's, you know, sexual abuse of some kind or misunderstand it. They're scared that if they talk to their kids about sex or kids who are going to go have sex, but if you talk to your kids about your sexual values, They start learning about themself from that. 0 (37m 51s): One of the best questions I ask people is, and I'll ask you, Candice, who is your sexual role model? 2 (37m 59s): Oh man. I don't know if I've ever even thought of that sexual role model. You know, I'm going to say, and I, she's just one of my role models in general is probably Esther Perel, because she's like this older woman that's still very vivacious. And you can tell, like she has this amazing sexual relationship with her husband still, like it is, she's constantly talking about passion and how do you keep that spark alive? And I think so often we, and it's so sad. We hear, you know, if you've been married for so long that that just fizzles and it's snuffs out or at a certain age, you have to just accept that, that death of your sexuality. 2 (38m 40s): And she's like a living reminder that that's not the case. So yeah, I would, I'd have to say 0 (38m 45s): That's a good one. I, I know a stair shoot. She's a friend and a colleague. I bet she would be thrilled to hear you say that. 2 (38m 52s): Oh my God, she's amazing. 0 (38m 54s): I, The thing is, and I will say women are often more able to answer that question guys often aren't because oftentimes the only time we hear about male sexuality is when a guy's in trouble for it. So 2 (39m 19s): Yeah. 0 (39m 21s): So I ask people to start thinking about what kind of sexual being do you want to be? How do you want to integrate your sexuality into your life in an ethical self-determined kind of way at this point, sorry, you can hear the train going by outside the elephants at, at this point, I, I, as I started thinking about this question years ago, and I realized that I've got lots of sexual role models and one of my favorites right now is in the zone funny, but Miley Cyrus really is that. Yeah, because you know, she, I just love, I just love the fact that she grew up this guy, Disney girl, and has now pushed back and said, I'm going to be the sexual person I want to be. 0 (40m 12s): And then a few years ago there were, she got blackmailed over naked pictures and people were saying, oh, we're going to release these naked pictures. If you don't pay us money. And she said, fuck you. And she posted them online herself. 2 (40m 26s): That's awesome. 0 (40m 28s): That's yeah, that is, that is hard rock right there. I love it. And what that reflects is a level of self-acceptance of your sexuality That I think when we accept our own sexuality, now we get to start thinking about How do I consciously make my sexuality a healthy part of my life. And that's a conversation I just love to be part of with patients and people in general, because that's also how we start to make the world a better place. And to be honest, I mean, we all know that sex with somebody who is, who is, who has accepted themselves as a sexual being is the hottest sex ever. 0 (41m 20s): That's I, I want us all to get there. 2 (41m 23s): Yeah. So how, when you have these patients that come in and I can imagine a lot of them are probably like really nervous and squeamish, maybe timid around the conversation of creating or live that sexual life that they want. And especially when it's been drilled in around you, like there is only one path forward. So that have this idea that there's other options is so crazy to them. Like, how do you, how do you start? How do you get them into the water? I guess 0 (41m 52s): Yeah. Starts with lots of questions starts with, you know, questions about, you know, what are your ideas or your beliefs about sex? Where, where did that come from? How do you remember being taught that? Where did you learn that then I might move to, are you sure? That's the only way now, as you look back at that lesson that you learned when you were a child, are you sure it's right. 0 (42m 34s): Many of us were taught racist and sexist beliefs as, as young children, right? But most of us these days are actually not racist or all that sexist anymore. We've moved away from those values. So our values can change. And oftentimes our values change as society changes. So between 2010 and 2015, the United States went through the largest shift in social values in recorded human history. In 2010, a majority of the United States believed that gay marriage was wrong. In 2015 of majority of the Americans believed that gay marriage was right in just five years, a huge shift happened. 0 (43m 23s): And that shift happened because we had lots of stars, celebrities coming out as gay. We had TV shows, will, and grace where gay characters were open and public and we're human. And it got safe enough that our friends and our family members started coming out more. And it forced us all to realize that a lot of our judgment around homosexuality was based on stigma and ignorance. The same is true around race, the same as true around all kinds of values. 0 (44m 7s): So access to pornography is actually part of the change that's happening in our society around sexuality, 50 shades of gray. I mean, love the book or hate it, loved the movies or hate them. They, they showed us that there are millions, hundreds of millions of women out there that are actually interested in the fantasy being dominated. Oh 3 (44m 33s): Yeah. 0 (44m 35s): And before that, I mean the sex addiction industry, it's funny in 2003, one of the Patrick Carnes or the leader of the sex addiction industry published a book called don't call it love. And in the book, he said that interest in BDSM was an addiction and that it was an unhealthy relationship with torture. Now people in the sex addiction industry are saying, well, it can be a healthy outlet. It can be a healthy expression if it's done in healthy ways. Right. Good for them that they've gotten there. But We are increasingly accepting sexual diversity and recognizing that having diverse sexual interests doesn't make somebody a bad person. 0 (45m 27s): Does it make them automatically immortal? So we, We used to believe that, you know, interest in bondage and discipline that interest in exhibitionism interest in Seders, sadism, and masochism interest in voyeurism, things like that, that these were really rare. And that when they happened, they were usually unhealthy. These are Sexual disorders that are diagnosed in the DSM A couple of years ago in 2016, a researcher in Canada did this study, his name's Christian Joelle. And they, they did the study three different ways on, they called people. 0 (46m 7s): They interviewed people and they did inter internet surveys and they found, and these were non-clinical people. These were not people coming to treatment for disturbed sexuality. These were just Joe Schmoe. And they found that 50% of the general population has interest in sexual behaviors that we used to think were disordered. 30% of people had engaged in them And interest in masochism or sexual submission was actually correlated with life satisfaction. People that were interested in that, and that were more likely to be satisfied in their life. 0 (46m 47s): So we found out that these, The reason we've always thought that hetero monogamy sex was the only healthy kind of sex was because we shamed everything else. We didn't hear about all of those non vanilla interests because we shamed people if they talked about them. But it turns out that a lot of the people doing the shaming have those interests themselves 2 (47m 19s): Naturally, 0 (47m 21s): You know, you, I mean, all the over the past couple of years, I mean, there have been dozens of Q Anon people who got caught watching child pornography as they are out there attacking data files and such. And the valuable thing. Joelle did a follow-up study to that and, and found that people who had sexual interest or fantasies that were criminal or that were nonconsensual were very unlikely to enact those behaviors. So it's possible to have sexual fantasies that are potentially unhealthy. 0 (48m 3s): If you act on them, it's possible to have those fantasies and not act on them. I had this guy come to me a few years ago and young kid, 21, maybe something like that in college. And he'd grown up really, really feminist deeply believed in feminist values of galitary aneurysm. But the thing that turned him on the most was videos and fantasies of pardon my French to your audience, but face fucking a, a girl until, you know, tears were running down her face and, and eat better. She had mascara and the mascara was running down her face. 0 (48m 46s): He was really a guilty and ashamed about that fantasy though, because he thought it made him a rapist. It thought it, he thought that that made him a bad person having that fantasy because it contrast it is egalitarian beliefs. And I said, dude, you know, your job is to find a feminist. Who's really into that. And the thing is, there's lots of them because there's lots of feminist who fantasize about, you know, rape fantasies. 2 (49m 16s): Yeah. I was going to say, isn't that very common for like really hardcore feminists to actually be into more of like that aggressive kind of SNM and things like that. 0 (49m 26s): We, we, we don't know why people fantasize about the things they fantasize. We don't know why people find arousing, the things they find. We genuinely don't. I mean, it's like, it's like a roll of the dice. It's an interaction of your brain, your sexual arousal and the things you encounter in your environment. But research around sexual fantasy pretty consistently finds that people are fantasize about the taboo, the things they're not supposed to fantasize about. So Republicans and conservatives are much more likely to fantasize about color-coding and infidelity 2 (50m 6s): And like threesomes. Right. 0 (50m 7s): And yeah, whereas Democrats and progressives are much more likely to fantasize about bondage and discipline and sadomasochism because the Democrats believe in a galitary aneurysm. And then in videos, somebody is in charge and be mean to the other one. Ooh, naughty and you know, Republicans, I mean, Jerry Falwell Jr. And Paul Manafort and Roger Stone all have these histories of engaging in sexual behaviors that are not accepted within that kind of traditional, conservative, Republican, you know, culture. Why? Because it's naughty, it's sexy to fantasize about the thing you're not supposed to do. 2 (50m 48s): No, I think, I think it's all amazing. And I won't say names, but I have like a lot of very, what are labeled as conservative friends that are public figures and the conversations that I have with them behind closed doors, you would be shocked because they're like I have these desires or like, this is my actual lifestyle. These are my actual beliefs, but I can't live them publicly because I'll get kicked out of my community. So I'm like, it's, it's really sad and unfortunate. And I'm hoping with the progress that we have seen within that side of politics, because I do feel like the younger conservatives have like a much more nuanced take on a lot of policies. 2 (51m 30s): Like a lot of them are pro cannabis and prison reform and they're pro gay marriage. And you're like, well, what is conservatism? And you're like, no, like it's just, it's evolving. And it constantly is. I'm hoping that that's going to be one of the next things to evolve within that party is sexual diversity and kind of like letting go of these more puritanical takes that have kind of been the staple or standard for that party. Because I don't think if you're, again, if you're having like a healthy sexual relationship and it's consenting and it's between adults and all of those good things, like where is your argument on that? Because there is no exploitation and no one's being taken advantage of, and there's no victims in that. So aside from having a moral argument, like, what else can you say against that? 0 (52m 16s): Yeah. And I, I agree with you. I think that there are generational shifts happening here. It takes time and there's swings and backlash. I, I, I don't want to sound like I'm anti religion because I'm not, I think religion is incredibly valuable. Part of our lives. People who are religious and in religious communities are less likely to experience substance use disorders or mental health disorders. But being in a religious community is a risk factor. Being religious itself is a risk factor for developing a sexual disorder because historically, particularly a marriage, you know, Christian evangelical religions have not been very good at sex, but other, other religions in Islamic, even some of the Asian traditions are not particularly good at sex, either. 0 (53m 17s): Some of that's changing. I hope. And what I, what I hope is that these younger generations that are growing up with queer friends and with people that they see that are non-monogamous and healthy, and that they start finding ways to integrate those values with their political values and with their spiritual values, because I'd love to have those kinds of conversations, as opposed to where we started today, which was when we're talking to people who are reacting from a place of fear and emotion of these things. 0 (54m 3s): These young people are less afraid of sacks and res than those of us who are older. And, and I envy them that I just hope that we get to leave them for world intact for them to imbue those values into it. 2 (54m 26s): So with that, I, I definitely see there's like a huge positive in some of the younger people's takes on sex and sexuality. And there has obviously been like a lot of growth in that area. But when you see some of the conversations that are being had, which are that younger people are actually having sex way less. And there seems to be this loss of connection that I would say is probably across the board. I wouldn't say that's probably any generation specific, but a lot of people do talk about like millennials and gen Z in that regard. And then oftentimes more than not, they, they blame pornography or like the new way that they're looking at sex. 2 (55m 6s): And for that reason, do you have any take on that loss of connection and the decrease in sexual interaction with an actual person? 0 (55m 17s): So they are absolutely in totally completely a hundred percent wrong that it has nothing to do with pornography. And in fact, people who watch more important who watch more pornography have more sex. The, the, it is not the people who are watching pornography who are having less sex, is the people who aren't watching pornography. I argue based on, based on the research that there's a couple of things going on here. One is that, you know, frankly, the world is just a pretty stressful place. So for instance, you know, if you remember a couple of years ago, it started the pandemic at, remember, everybody was talking about, oh, what are we going to call them? 0 (55m 58s): The, the coronavirus babies. And they were saying that there was going to be a huge baby boom, because people were going to be home and they'd have nothing better to do than, than have sex. And then there'd be all these babies born nine months later, I was one of the only people who said, you know, I don't think so. And I did it. I said it in writing on a blog. And, and I said, this is a really stressful time. People are stuck at home with their partners and with their kids. That's not a very sexy environment, necessarily be stuck in there worried about finances. I don't actually think this is going to happen. And I turned out to be right. 0 (56m 38s): In fact, pregnancy rates and birth rates went down dramatically because of exactly the things I said that people were stressed out. It was harder for people to date and find partners. They were dealing with they're homeschooling their kids and every other darn thing. And then they were worried about having a job. So they, they knew as not a good time to have a baby. The same seems to be true with w with the young generations, that first they are inundated with information about how stressful and scary the world is. I don't know that the world is really all that more stressful than it used to be, but we hear about every little piece of it now, instantly. 0 (57m 26s): And that's anxiety inducing. Secondly, kids have a lot more things to do, you know, in the, you know, imagine being a kid in the, you know, in the 1950s, I mean, you didn't have social media. You, you know, you didn't have phones, you know, rock and roll was the big thing. Right. And then what did you do? You went out and parked and you found people to have sex with now. Kids have so much other stuff to do. Video games, social media, reading this podcast, every other. And I'm not blaming you. 0 (58m 6s): I'm not holding you on your podcast responsible, but, but are there some people that rather than getting busy with their partner, they're listening to your podcast? I mean, think about the, the, the couples that lay down in bed, and they're both looking at their phone and until they're tired and they lay their phone down and go to sleep well, if they didn't have their phone, they didn't have all that other diversion. Would they be getting busy as something to do that we think is one of the big factors. And then frankly, I mean, we're still teaching kids, you know, to be afraid of Sachs. And I think that also this decrease in sex as part of that consequence. 2 (58m 50s): Yeah. It's just that the boogie monster just keeps changing. Right. So now it's a lot of it it's going to steal your masculinity is the one I see the most. And 0 (59m 1s): Then 2 (59m 1s): They give you D and all of these horrible things. 0 (59m 4s): Yeah. I'm going to steal your masculinity. Or, you know, particularly during the me too movement, I heard lots of people afraid to be Sexual because of a fear of accusations, fear of, you know, crossing boundaries. 2 (59m 21s): I've heard that too, actually. Yeah. From younger men. 0 (59m 24s): Yeah. And you know, like you mentioned, you know, neuro-typical people, I mean, particularly during the me too movement, I heard from a number of patients that were on the spectrum, one form or another, and they said, you know, I'm being told that, even if I say, yes, you should pay attention to my cues. That actually, I mean, no. 2 (59m 47s): Yeah. 0 (59m 48s): And the guys with autism are saying, I can't do that. 2 (59m 53s): I can't, 0 (59m 54s): I can't read those cues. So it's that fear. Yeah. I mean, I, I, I refer to the modern media as the anxiety industry, their job is to make you feel nervous. And, you know, sexual anxiety is a really easy target. It's really easy to make people sexually anxious. Is your Dick too small? Are you not a good lover? Can you give them an orgasm? Are they cheating on you on and off? You know, are they going to give you an SGI? Everything. It just sexual anxiety gets in the way of being turned on. 2 (1h 0m 25s): Absolutely. 0 (1h 0m 26s): Interestingly, I mean, the, the, the predictor of erectile dysfunction, the lead, the main predictor of erectile dysfunction in young men in men under age 45 is anxiety. And people, those men who are more anxious, they can watch porn and masturbate and they're not nervous, but then they go to have sex with a partner and they feel nervous because now they've got to worry about her or his needs. They've got to be mindful about their sex. They have to be cautious and careful about how they touch them. They can't just be selfish. And it brings up that anxiety. Am I a good lover? Can I make them come? And then they don't get hard. 0 (1h 1m 8s): It's because of the anxiety, not the form. 2 (1h 1m 12s): Yeah. That all makes sense to me. And it seems really self evident. So my advice, and obviously I'm not a guy and I am not a medical professional, but I would say to start to filter out those anxiety inducing, flat like triggers, right. So if you're following these manosphere accounts or like these social media accounts or news accounts, oh my goodness. My phone, I'm sorry to unfollow those. And maybe start looking for influences that make you feel a little bit better that are maybe evidence backed instead of emotionally backed. I think that's a good place to try. 0 (1h 1m 47s): Yeah. Asking yourself what kind of man you want to be and why, and, and, and how, what kind of lover you want to be. I, when I see guys, I actually treat a number of folks that, you know, struggled with porn induced, erectile dysfunction, which is bullshit. They are, they're overwhelmingly men dealing with anxiety. I tell them, you know, first welcome to the amazing world of sex that doesn't revolve around your penis, because you can be a fabulous lover. Even if you can't get an erection, 2 (1h 2m 21s): This is 0 (1h 2m 22s): True, right. You can use your, your lips and your toes and your tongue and your nose. And what if you said to your partner, how would you like me to touch you or make love to you? If my penis wasn't even part of it, Boy, that's a fun conversation to have because, and then what happens now is we increase the guy's confidence to be a lover and an effective lover without relying on an erection. The cure for getting an erection is worry about getting interaction. 0 (1h 3m 3s): If you're worried about getting, getting an erection, you probably not going to get one, 2 (1h 3m 7s): Right? 0 (1h 3m 9s): So what if we take away the worry that you can be a good lover and a good partner, even without an erection? It's like the watched pot never boils when you are paying less attention to getting interaction. Guess what? Oftentimes an erection happens. 2 (1h 3m 27s): Yeah. It's the same for women too. It's a lot of like our ability to achieve pleasure is being able to get out of our head. It's like one of the main indicators of whether or not you're going to achieve a climax or not. So it makes sense for, for men as well. 0 (1h 3m 41s): Yeah. If you're, I don't know if you're familiar with the book, magnificent Sex lessons from extraordinary lovers by Peggy Kleinplatz. Yeah. She's a, a psychologist in Canada and she's developed, you know, in a very nice evidence-based kind of treatment program around sexual issues. But one of the things that she, one of the things she argues is that you have to teach people to be embodied, to get out of their head. Like you just said, you have to let, you have to let sexual pleasure happen and you have to be there to experience it. 2 (1h 4m 21s): Well, this has been a blast. I really enjoyed having you on. Do you want to tell the listeners where they can follow you? Any projects you're working on in any way that they can report you? 0 (1h 4m 31s): Yeah. So you can find me on Twitter at Dr. David Ley. The last name is L E Y. I know it sounds like getting laid, but it's a L E Y and my website doc, Dr. David Ley dot com. Now David Ley, phd.com. I should know this right. You know, follow me there. I'm, you know, one of the things I'm interestingly doing now a lot is expert witness work. I'm, I'm actually being brought into court cases around the country to educate juries and judges around sexuality and psychology. And it's really cool because now judges and juries and attorneys are recognizing that this sexual ignorance that we have this lack of sexual understanding that we have impacts the ability of juries and judges to make good decisions about sexuality in a courtroom. 0 (1h 5m 23s): So I'm having this really amazing opportunity to go into, go into courtrooms and, and help to explain this stuff in there too. 2 (1h 5m 31s): That's awesome. Yeah, that's really cool. 0 (1h 5m 33s): Yeah. 2 (1h 5m 34s): All right. Well, yeah, thank you again. And I hope everyone liked this conversation. We'll see you next. 0 (1h 5m 40s): Hey, really good to know you can to stay in touch. Okay. 2 (1h 5m 42s): Absolutely. 0 (1h 5m 44s): All 2 (1h 5m 44s): Right. And that's it for this week's episode. If you enjoyed the conversation, please take a moment to leave a five-star review, hit that like and subscribe button. And if you want to support the podcast, you can go to Chatting with Candice dot com. And from there you have a couple options. You could either click that link that says, buy me coffee, or join my patriotic account. I would definitely prefer the coffee because Patrion is still doing their censorship with a couple of people that I know right now. So it's not the safest account for me to like build, but those are the options as we have it. So I hope you enjoyed the episode and I'll see you next time.