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Love, Lust, and Laughter


Wiley and Sage – Wise and Witty Journeys – the radio show that talks all about: LOVE, LUST, & LAUGHTER.


New York, NY


Wiley and Sage – Wise and Witty Journeys – the radio show that talks all about: LOVE, LUST, & LAUGHTER.





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Love, Lust and Laughter - 5.21.24

A Second Tribute to Candid Royalle, with Jamye Waxman As sex therapists and longtime friends of Candida Royalle (actual name Candice Vadala), Jamye and Diana appreciate Candice’s thirst for self-knowledge. She wrote in 2013, “Still trying to unlock the key to myself.” She also wrote, “I will not let my past ruin my future.” For decades Candice struggled to view herself through her own eyes, rather than through the eyes of some guy. Jamye Waxman ( spoke in response to Dr. Diana’s questions: What was Candice to you? and What would you like to thank her for? As the “Godmother of Feminist Porn,” Candice—a real pioneer— was an inspiration for Jamye; also, a real friend and mentor. Jamye confesses that Candice believed in her before she could believe in herself! Diana and Jamye agreed that their late friend allowed others to shine! Jamye, for example, produced “Under the Covers” while Candice directed (the very last movie before her death in 2015). Our discussion pivoted to pornography. Candice was disappointed by the new generation of mainstream porn: “The adult-porn industry is becoming a trash heap of over-the-top extremities of the most violating acts … Young men being brought up on this latest crop of meaningless mechanical crap are learning some terrible things about sex and women.” She wrote that in her diary in 2003. Jamye fears that for our offspring, that we are fostering a phone-based childhood instead of a play-based childhood. Because of phones, kids often have easy access to porn. For example, choking a partner may be normalized. (See the interview with Dr. Debbie Herbenick.) Jamye’s concern is that things are being learned without being addressed. Candice foreshadowed that violence could become acceptable. It’s easy enough to go down a rabbit hole: vanilla sex scenes lead to kinky sex acts or violent ones. In the early morning of September 7, 2015, Candice died of ovarian cancer at her Long Island home. The night before Diana wrote to her, in part: “To think that your vibrant, creative, beautiful life is about to end is devastating. It’s not fair. But your legacy is phenomenal! Through your movies, your book (How to Tell a Naked Man What to Do), and your media appearances, you have changed and improved many people’s sex lives and relationships. And, when folks can experience less shame and more enthusiasm regarding their sexuality … wow! … what a blessing!” Diana and Jamye are glad Candice lived. She was a real blessing! BTW, Check out Jamye’s column in PLAYGIRL. The one on attachment and relationships is compelling: .


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 4.2.24

A Tribute to Candida Royalle & the Sexual Revolution with Veronica Vera Diana Wiley and Veronica Vera were each longtime, close friends of Candida Royalle, a pioneer in producing female-friendly pornographic films. Both women were interviewed by Jane Kamensky, former professor of history at Havard and director of the Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, for her recently released biography: Candida Royalle & the Sexual Revolution – A History from Below. The book is a sympathetic, clear-eyed profile of a woman who made female pleasure her business by starting her own production company, Femme Productions, in 1984. Royalle (Candice Vadala, 1950-2015) prioritized women’s pleasure and orgasm in her films, while featuring a variety of sensual and sexual play. She wasn’t interested in making the same, old, typical, boring, (male-focused) pornography. Veronica Vera ( wrote the column “Veronica Vera’s New York” that ran from 1985-1993. Veronica chronicled the sex world of which Candice was a star player. Veronica also founded CLUB 90, the first porn star support group with Candida Royalle, Veronica Hart, Gloria Leonard, and Annie Sprinkle. Fast forward to 2015, Veronica was the executor for Candice’s estate, and was instrumental in getting her archive of diaries, journals, and photos to Dr. Kamensky. Veronica knew Candice for about 35 years and loved her dearly. Diana knew Candice for 28 years and also loved her deeply. They met at a sexology conference. Diana’s first impression was that of a radiant woman with a smile that said, “I love life, live it to the fullest, and adore adventures!” Yes, both women were open to adventures! They recognized that immediately as well as their sexual openness. Diana confessed, “My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been. There is a scintillating thrill in new adventures!” She thought of herself as a girl of sparkle, shimmer, and shine – at least one in progress. That attitude played out when she worked as a showgirl in Miami Beach in the 70s (this job followed teaching school in Honolulu). Chapter 25 of the book, “Sex in the 90s,” opens with a photo of Candice and Diana (page 351), who were about to go on the Jenny Jones TV talk show. The topic: Candida’s explicit erotic films for couples to watch and how Diana used them in her therapeutic practice. Later, they envisioned “Case Studies: An Educational Line for Femme Films.” They proposed a first volume on sex and aging, a research specialty of Wiley’s and a huge potential market. One fan, a woman whose marriage benefited from watching Candida’s films, called her the Grace Kelly of Porn – a sophisticated and beautiful woman of incredible integrity, big enough to allow others to shine. Candice’s quest for self-understanding as the center of a life well lived is evident in a 2013 journal: “Still trying to unlock the key to myself.” Tune in for a fascinating podcast! And buy Jane Kamensky’s book … you’ll find yourself rooting for Candice Vadala!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 1.30.24

Technology Changes Sex Education – What Parents Need to Know to Talk to Their Teens Dr. Diana Wiley interviewed her amazing colleague Dr. Debby Herbenick, Provost Professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health, and Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion. Dr. Debby has just published her sixth book: Yes, Your Kid: What Parents Need to Know About Today's Teens and Sex. She is widely considered one of the country’s most credible sources of accurate scientific information when it comes to sexuality. How did she come to write this book? As a sex researcher and educator, she knew parents needed sex education—in an updated version. So much has changed because of internet access. Also changed are the ways that teenagers and young adults are having sex. There are changing sexual norms. As a mom, Dr. Debby was compelled to write Yes, Your Kid. It’s important to be an askable parent, a parent who is warm, approachable, and supportive. Often with religious/church influences, the parents themselves grow up in a culture of sexual shame and guilt. Silence is a message, too. Dr. Debby offers parents guides to opening up conversations with their children. The book offers good strategies for parents. We talked about “The Rise of Rough Sex” (Chapter 7). Dr. Debby’s research has shown a rise in rough sex and even choking among teens. Forty percent of women ages 18 to 29 have been choked during sex. Choking is a form of strangulation; obviously, there are risks—even death, although rare. It everywhere now, even globally. It’s in mainstream pornography. It’s in lots of TikTok videos. Parents, when confronted with this information will yell, “No Way!” Dr. Debby’s extensive research says, “Yes, it’s happening.” Parents can step into conversations about rough sex, but also about consent, using condoms, and communication. Pleasure also needs to be considered. Who can enjoy getting it on with a lover who ignores the real risks of pregnancy and STIs? Feeling safe is crucial to the deep relaxation necessary for erotic pleasure! To quote Debby Herbenick, PhD: “Let your teen know that you want them to have fulfilling relationships in life—and that may include sex if they want. Be that resource and safety net for them.”


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 11.21.23

ANDROPAUSE, sometimes called MALE MENOPAUSE Though the potency crisis that hits many men in middle age has some obvious causes – age, alcohol, stress – the decline is hormonal and psychological as well. Men often won’t discuss it with their doctors, their wives, or their lovers. Dr. Stephanie Buehler (, heading up The Buehler Institute, joined the program once again. When men and women face the same passages with different needs and directions, how does the partnership survive? Dr. Stephanie and Dr. Diana talked about it all! Women go through the process of menopause in different ways, but it’s almost a universal experience. Men are all different. Often there are existential issues. For example: Does my life have meaning? What parts of myself have been neglected that I am now free to live out? Do I matter? The denial of aging can show up in a man’s embracing symbols of success and vitality. It may also contribute to men avoiding seeking help when they experience sexual issues as they age. Women are often concerned about their partners. One of Dr. Diana’s clients said, “I have some menopausal symptoms – but the main problem is that my husband has more! He’s 52, withdrawn, moody, and angry that he’s aging and losing his hair. Also, he just doesn’t get aroused anymore. And I got tired of things not happening when I tried to get sex started. I always thought it was me. I stopped trying because I thought it was embarrassing to him.” These are not uncommon complaints from female partners. The two sex therapists discussed typical psychological problems such as lethargy, depression, increased irritability, mood swings, and an overall lessening of a sense of well-being. As men move into their 50s and 60s, they may have intermittent problems in gaining and sustaining erections. They may also feel some slackening of sexual desire. And unless a man is in a good relationship with a supportive partner, the shock of all these changes can bring on a powerful psychological crisis, which can actually frighten a man into erectile dysfunction (E.D.). Still, they don’t talk about it. Men may have integrated this idea: “Your job as a male is to be strong.” It’s important to underscore that there is a robust population of older men who survive this potential crisis with their egos and erectile abilities intact. In one large study, forty percent of these healthy males remained completely potent at age 70. A man’s general physical health picture is significant. Organic factors contribute to E.D. in up to 80 percent of men. Of all the causes for erectile dysfunction, the most common is impairment of the blood supply to the penis. This results in many males who won’t even try to have sex! Dr. Stephanie points out that some female partners are not helpful, heaving insults like, “What’s wrong with you?” Once again, USE IT or LOSE IT comes into play. And it requires a trusted partner, and some self-discipline around drinking, eating, exercise, and preventive health measures. Many men have emotional connection problems. They didn’t get training in this; rather, they got performance training. Dr. Stephanie recalls Dr. Steve Braverman asking, “Does a man have to have a hard penis in order for sex to take place?” As a man gets older, and feels less secure sexually, intimacy and trust with his partner become critical. The two sex therapists also talked about alcohol, diet, and stress. The chronic use of alcohol can murder potency. Urologists report that when looking at the tissue from patients with chronic alcoholism, the nerve is killed inside the penis. Tom Lue, an internationally known expert on the treatment of male sexual dysfunction, notes “It’s almost impossible to revive. Usually, it takes 10 or 15 years of chronic heavy alcohol use to kill the nerve.” In 1995 Dr. Diana spoke about aging and sexuality at a Washington, D.C. conference. The keynote speaker, Dr. William Masters (of Masters and...


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 10.31.23

The Scariest Halloween Goblin: Many young men get their sex education from porn! Dr. Paul Joannides, author of Guide to Getting It On, now in its 10th Edition, is seriously concerned about how porn affects young men. A great deal of sexual misery stems from mistaken beliefs! There is very little competent sex education to help. Dr Paul, realizing that many young men, teenagers included, are compulsive about video gaming, developed the website Real Dude Radio to reach this audience with accurate information about sex. This works because young people consume information differently, conditioned by the video gaming industry and porn. They need help with the distortions of pornography. Real Dude Radio is very enlightening! The Ultimate Guide to the ClitorisSex in Porn vs Real LifeFap Not – Masturbate Madness Dr. Paul is also concerned with sextortion where young men are getting blackmailed for their dick pics that also reveal their face. See this recent article in the Washington Post: ‘IDK what to do’: Thousands of teen boys are being extorted in sexting scams Listening to this podcast episode will enlighten and entertain you!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 09.19.23

Sexual Communication Improves As We Get Older Dr. Stephanie Buehler joins Dr. Diana in a conversation about sexual communication; later, the sex docs speak about menopause. Dr. Stephanie Buehler ( is a licensed psychologist and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and Supervisor. She is the author of several books on sexuality and relationships. Dr. Stephanie notes how important it is for the aging person to acknowledge and cope with changes. What doesn’t change is the solution: Couples need to figure out their sexual needs and wants and communicate them (and perhaps put down their phones for a while!). Conversation, it seems, is the most powerful type of foreplay. Talk to each other about sex. What do you want to feel? Desired, young, and alive? Or? Then you have to decide if you’re willing to put in the work. Practice, practice! Gourmet sex is like gourmet cooking. They don’t happen without focus. Dr. Buehler points out that before having a hard conversation with a loved one, it’s important to identify what you want to say. Perhaps it is, “I am sad and what I need from you is extra affection.” Have empathy for your partner. On the other side is contempt, a dangerous feeling. We have to adapt to changes as we age. Good sex needs re-imaging, expansion! Outercourse is wonderful because there’s no goal … you can just enjoy the feelings. The man doesn’t have to worry about his erection because there is no penetration. Partners can get out of their brains and into their bodies! Connection rules. In the heat of an argument, many people have trouble reaching out. Remember, hurt underlies anger. Couples have to decide that the relationship is more important than all those things they do that annoy each other. Positive reinforcement instead of criticizing always wins! Dr. Stephanie observes that in some Asian cultures where aging is revered, women don’t have as negative an experience with menopause. Older women are seen as wise and are protectors. Many menopausal women say emphatically “This is my time!” She was a good girl, a good wife and a good parent. She’s done for everyone, and now she is going to take care of herself. Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, BHRT, can provide the missing hormones resulting from menopause. Please listen to the podcast for all the details!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 08.08.23

Is the “Barbie” Movie Layered with Subversive Messages? Nicole McNichols, PhD – The Sex Professor – – joins Dr. Diana to review the movie “Barbie.” They explored layered themes, including body image, appearances, perfectionism, and shame. It’s not surprising that for the past 64 years, Barbie has been at the center of debates about who women are, who they should be, how they look, and what they want. The “Barbie” movie reveals many answers! Body Image/Appearances – Dr. Nicole and Dr. Diana discussed how a woman’s image of her body affects her sexuality – and her relationship with her partner. There is “spectatoring” – looking at yourself with a critical eye during sex, preventing mindfulness. Sensate Focus exercises promote touching, massaging – helping a couple discover new erogenous zones for pleasure beyond PIV (Penis-In-Vagina) sex. What to do about a poor body image? Cultivate the ability to appreciate your uniqueness. When you start to appreciate your imperfections as endearing distinctions, you will have begun to love yourself in a way that allows you to love others. Regardless, the idea of a perfect body is fiction. None of us have perfect bodies. You may be ignoring your body at the expense of genuine sexual pleasure and empowerment! Perfectionism – Eventually, Barbie was able to embrace herself, her vulnerability, her authenticity. Dr. Nicole proclaims: Real is the new perfect! Shame – Sometimes called the “master emotion,” it is the feeling that we’re not worthy, competent, or good. Shame on you if you fail, so don’t try. There is not much room for growth. Barbie and Ken both experience personal growth. Barbie deals with sexism and experiences the power of female confidence and collaboration. Ken deals with patriarchy and perils of toxic masculinity and entitlement. Dr. Nicole McNichols is a Sex Professor with about 4,000 students a year attending her class at the University of Washington. There’s a reason she’s so popular … Her sex-positive messages are delivered with vitality, enthusiasm, humor and intelligence! Dr. Nicole has a blog on Psychology Today, and you can see her great posts on Instagram and TikTok. Stay tuned! She’ll be back for a Part 2.


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 07.18.23

Alternative Relationship Arrangements David Steinberg is a writer of consummate intelligence and compassion! Whether he is writing books or taking photographs, it comes across that sex is who we are, how we live, and how we experience pleasure and life. I’ve known David since 1988 when his first book Erotic by Nature was published. We’ve been friends for 35 years! David and I discuss Open Relationships (one aspect of ethical nonmonogamy) and Living Apart Together. David and Kim, his partner of 17 years, practice both. David talks about how they give each other freedom, they get to be who they authentically are. He says they keep it fresh! Every year and a day Kim and David meet to review and further define their relationship. Do they want to continue for another year and a day? It appears they have the real thing going on, a true love story! Ethical Nonmonogamy (ENM) describes the situation where members of a couple consent to having additional sexual and/or romantic partners, and it’s gaining in popularity. More than a fifth of single American adults have engaged in ENM according to recent studies. ENM requires self-reflection, radically open communication, and compassion. Boundaries and rules are discussed; they may need to be re-negotiated over time. The trust is built on the fact that there’s nothing to hide. Living Apart Together (LAT) refers to committed couples who each keep separate homes, often because they cherish private space and financial independence. Often these couples begin their relationship later in life. Both David and Dr. Diana have their respective LAT situations. The thrill in your relationship tends to endure because you are not living with each other all the time, thus helping to avert the slippery slope into a gray, monotonous relationship. Dopamine, the hormone of arousal, flows when there’s anticipation of wonderful sex to come! Yes, let there be spaces in your togetherness. David Steinberg is also the author of This Thing We Call Sex. His fine art sexual photography will be assembled into a book Loving Couples, now in production. When it is published, he’ll be back to talk about it, I promise!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 05.30.23

Getting “Sex Smart” with Dr. Mark Schoen Dr. Mark Schoen is a sex educator and a filmmaker whose website has been called the “Netflix of sex education.” Fifteen years ago, Dr. Mark started with 46 films and now his site has over 600 films divided into three categories – Education, Research, and Therapy. Many universities use Sex Smart Films knowing that it is a sex educator’s dream come true! Parents need to familiarize themselves with the Education section of the site. Research shows that mothers and fathers who talk about sex with their kids are more likely to end up with adult children who share their values. Dr. Diana suggests that her client couples use the Therapy section for Sensate Focus Exercises. For her female clients with anorgasmia, using the “Becoming Orgasmic” steps can help with just that! Dr. Mark says many people use these two sections for self-help – when sex therapy is not an option. Watching any of the films of Mark’s site can be a great way to improve a couple’s communication. Pause after a scene and talk about it. This may help articulate wants and sexual needs. Plus, we learn so much visually. Dr. Mark and Dr. Diana discussed possible consequences of little or no sex education. Many folks need to be educated about what it means to be transgender. The transgender community is perhaps the most misunderstood and mistreated minority in America and around the world. Mark Schoen’s documentary “TRANS” shares the stories of several transgender people in various stages of their lives and their transition, ranging from a 7-year-old to those in middle age. Family and friends viewing this film will better understand what their loved one is going through. At a Univ. of Michigan discussion, a male-to-female trans person was asked if they chose this. The reply: “Who the fuck would choose this?!” They are born this way. Dr. Mark Schoen gave birth to Sex Smart Films. What a valuable resource! Check it out.


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 04.18.23

Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, is a cannabis specialist with a practice in Boston. Dr. Tishler graduated from both Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. Now he helps patients around the world. All of his appointments are virtual. His website has lots of helpful information. Soon Dr. Tishler will publish his randomized, controlled study with one thousand females, looking at situational orgasmic disorders. Most women can bring themselves to orgasm by masturbating, especially using a vibrating toy. Orgasms with a partner are more difficult for many women. Cannabis helps with orgasms! “Evidence Mounts: Cannabis Enhances Lovemaking for Most” is the title of Michael Castleman’s Psychology Today Blog post (Oct. 15, 2022). Dr. Diana and Dr. Tishler spoke about the key points: As cannabis becomes increasingly legal, many studies show that most users report better sex. A 2020 report from Stanford researchers revealed that cannabis increases desire and arousal for most women and improves orgasm and satisfaction, and for most men, cannabis improves their erections and increases orgasms and satisfaction. Cannabis doesn’t improve sex for everyone, but the research shows that two-thirds of users report sexual benefits. Cannabis helps with pain and healing. Dr. Diana shared about her abdominal surgery in February. Cannabis helped with the pain … much better than the opioids! Two weeks after the surgery, she felt ready to resume sex with her husband. Smoking pot made a difference! More healing ensued! (Dr. Tishler also commented on the problem with opioids is that they can cause constipation; in some cases, addiction.) Another cannabis benefit is that with lowered inhibitions, laughter and play may be more accessible! A good laugh—like a good cry or good sex—is a natural tranquilizer. Turns out, laughter is a natural stress-buster! Plus, remember that couples who laugh together, last together! On the topic of cannabis vs alcohol, Dr. Tishler observed that alcohol is essentially yeast poop … it’s been through fermentation. It is waste. The phytocannabinoids in cannabis come from a plant and work on the human body’s own endocannabinoid system. Dr. T. points out that alcohol is toxic to neurons, to the liver, heart and even bone marrow. Dr. Tishler is a superb guest because he’s so articulate and dispenses excellent information! Spend some time on his website. Dr. Diana also has more details available in her bonus chapter, “Cannabis for Couples.” Download it free from


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 03.21.23

Talk about WILD MONOGAMY! Listen to this satisfied couple: “Sex is the glue that keeps us tight – when your rhythms are the same, your fantasies, tastes, and levels of desire mesh and blend because you know this is not to be found on any corner just ahead.” Mali Apple and Joe Dunn ( have this sort of sexual relationship, this sort of intimacy. And they wrote about it. The authors draw on stories from real people and the latest research on sex and love. Their forthcoming book, Wild Monogamy: Cultivating Erotic Intimacy to Keep Passion and Desire Alive, encourages couples to develop – or redevelop! – their erotic intimacy. Both in their coaching and in the book, Mali and Joe suggest that couples explore the edges of their “erotic comfort zones” to keep their sexual connection energized. One of you might be nervous but still you set up adventures to explore. Joe confessed he was once nervous to be naked on a nude beach … but then, he got to focus eventually on how the sun felt on his skin! Sustaining desire requires reconciling two opposing sets of human needs – security and adventure, the domestic and the erotic. In the Chapter “Erotic Versatility,” readers are encouraged to open up to all four dimensions of sexual connection: physical, creative, emotional, and spiritual. There can be transcendent sex. It’s not about the body (not how thin, fat or youthful you are), yet the body is the instrument. It’s about union, which happens on the interior. There is the “Healing Power of Eroticism.” Couples can turn insecurities, inhibitions, shame, and even performance issues into opportunities for intimacy. Role playing can ease the way. Mali has paid Joe to act as her gigolo! Imagine if your partnership could take you to states you’d never imagined – realizing “This is what we’re here for, to love like this!” WILD MONOGAMY provides lots of inspiration!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 02.07.23

VALENTINE’S DAY is coming soon – LET’S TALK ROMANCE! Dr. Ashley Mader ( joined Dr. Diana to talk about love and romance. After all, love is a topic central to our lives and our search for meaning; alas, mystery and myth still cling. The two sex therapists explored three areas: They first targeted singles with the question: Who is my perfect romantic partner? A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in 2020 addressed this topic. Sorting through a massive data-set of 11,196 couples, they tried to figure out what makes some romantic relationships happier than others. The academics came to one central conclusion – that relationships are unpredictable. But while data analysis appears unable to point people to their ideal mates, it can tell us why our gut instincts are often wrong. When people choose partners, they tend to favor those who are physically attractive as well as people in certain height ranges. For daters, a potential strategy is to seek out people other daters tend to overlook. He or she may not be your type – but give them a chance! And, find a partner who is already happy, someone who is satisfied with their life and free from depression. How to reignite passion in a long-time relationship. Passion usually changes over the course of a relationship. The feelings haven’t gone away. They’re just not prioritized; perhaps assumed instead of actionized. When you started dating, everything was about being together. Then life takes over. There are external and internal distractions everywhere. To name a few: cell phone, computer, kids, negative self-talk, worrying, judging, stressing, fatigue, inhibitions, unrealistic expectations, and lack of time. Couples often suffer from skin hunger because there is so little touching. According to research by Johns Hopkins, human fingertips have about 3,000 touch receptors, each! So, spend the night with your hands all over each other! Massaging is great foreplay. How to truly express love to your partner on Valentine’s Day – or any day, really. To begin with, think about what you want: to be closer, happier, more loving and feeling more loved. This may help push you past your fears. You might open with, “I want to be more expressive, but I haven’t always had the words.” An Adoration List works -- five non-material things that make you feel special and loved, and share your list. Also, take turns saying what I love and appreciate about you. Appreciation begets appreciation. It builds a reservoir of good will. Listen to the show for lots more details!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 01.10.23

GOALS FOR 2023: Integrating More Intimacy and Avoiding Bad Sex To help Dr. Diana explore these goals for 2023, she welcomed back Dr. Ashley Mader to Love, Lust and Laughter. Dr. Ashely is a sex therapist, educator, and consultant ( We two sex therapists talked about “How to Have Bad Sex” and how to turn those negatives into positives. Having bad sex requires that you: Love in the Time of Corona: Advice from a Sex Therapist for Couples in Quarantine Dr. Ashley is interesting and fun! She plans to return on the 7th of February to talk about putting more romance into your relationship! Stay tuned


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Love, Lust & Laughter - 12.20.22

JOY & STRESS – IT’S THE HOLIDAYS! Dr. Carol Queen’s Good Vibrations platform allows her to focus on sex education and women’s pleasure. There is an abundance of sex education in The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. Dr. Diana and Dr. Carol enjoyed a conversation about joys and stressors over the holidays. To have more joy, we need to manage our stress better! The mind-body approach – the brain is locked in an intricate embrace with the body. It turns out the body has a big say in what we do and who we are. Information flows into the brain not only through all our senses but also from the vagus nerve as it snakes past all our organs, especially the gut. The vagus offers a pathway for healing the mind through the body. Deep breathing practices of mindfulness can create an inner state of calm. Like most organs, our lungs are on autopilot, but we can take the wheel. Deep breathing for a minute or so recruits the vagus to send an all-clear signal to the brain. In doing so, the heart slows, the blood vessels relax, and the gut contractions smooth out. The gut, sometimes called the “second brain,” is home to trillions of microbes (composing the microbiome). An unbalanced gut microbiome, often a consequence of the standard American diet, is a potent source of inflammation and this can lead to major depression and anxiety. Self-Compassion is better than self-esteem! An analysis of 14 studies found that people high in self-compassion were less vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and stress. When you see yourself clearly – both positive and negative traits – you can more easily cope with setbacks and mistakes. Self-compassion means treating yourself in the same way you would treat a treasured friend. Some people feel they need self-criticism to motivate themselves. Rather than motivating, it makes people feel anxious, incompetent, and depressed. Relieving stress through sex. Sex toys can be fun and can spice up a relationship! Dr. Carol has talked to men wanting to buy a sex toy for a partner. Dr. Carol will ask, “Have you talked to your lover?” The answer is often, “No.” Communication is essential! Buying a gift card at Good Vibrations or Babeland is a safe bet. Then you can make it part of a Date Night. Visit the store together and ask questions of a well-informed staff member. Dr. Carol and Dr. Diana had a lively discussion about clit-sucking toys, mutual masturbation, and reading erotica.


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Love, Lust & Laughter - 11.22.22

Dr. Carol Queen Is a “Cultural Sexologist” – Politically And Socially She is the Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations, a nationwide chain of sex toy stores. Since 1990 Dr. Carol has enjoyed a unique platform to focus on sex education and women’s pleasure. Her sex education is published in The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone. The midterms revealed notable pro-choice outcomes. Abortion is healthcare and bodily autonomy is a human right! There is a long history of criminalizing bodily autonomy, especially for Black, Indigenous, working class, and trans people. Dr. Carol and Dr. Diana discussed the various culture war issues. Bay Area activist Carol Leigh (1951-2022), also known as The Scarlot Harlot, died earlier this month. Her legacy in the area of sex work activism is substantial. She defined sex work as a labor issue, not a crime, not a sin. The job is done by a million people in this country who are stigmatized and criminalized by working to support their families. Carol Leigh coined the term “sex work” and said, “I wanted to create an atmosphere of tolerance within and outside the women’s movement for women working in the sex industry.” The Holidays are coming … Will you gift sex toys? Tune in to hear Dr. Diana and Dr. Carol discuss guidelines for appropriate gift selections. Dr. Carol will return to “Love, Lust and Laughter” December 13, 2022. Tune in then – and listen to today’s show – a provocative, informative broadcast!


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Love, Lust & Laughter - 10.25.22

LOVE AFTER LOSS – Becoming Capable of Intimacy and Laughter Again Dr. Lori Buckley, my friend and colleague of nearly 20 years, is the perfect guest to explore this topic. She and I have some parallels on our life paths. We are both Sex Therapists who have narrated sex education videos for The Sinclair Institute – including Great Sex for a Lifetime. We’ve both been divorced and widowed and remarried – me four+ years ago, she in 19 days! We both moved out of L.A. – hoping for a more simpatico male dating pool, among other reasons. Big surprise – Los Angeles has more than its share of narcissistic men! (Note: although the following stories are written from the perspective of women dating men, the advice is generally applicable to any gender dating any gender.) Beware of the man who doesn’t ask any questions about you on the first date. These guys are probably very narcissistic. Me. Me. Me. But it can’t be all about him when it comes to relationships. Besides, he may hold idea that I will find someone who makes me happy. Since happiness is an inside job, the relationship fails. If your new date is only talking about himself, you may be watching him talk about the only person who interests him: himself. After loss, Dr. Lori asks the question, How do I move forward? First, it’s important to figure out what you really want. How do I navigate relationships and love? How do I navigate my sexuality after losing a beloved partner? To figure out what you really want, you may need to give it three dates. If you don’t feel “chemistry” at first, please remember that chemistry doesn’t (usually) last. Attraction is important, but if someone meets your needs, you may find the attraction follows. It helps to know your deal-breakers -- for example, smoking. Most people focus on wants: hot, funny. You may find the right one when you focus on needs: communication, mutual respect. Dr. Lori and Dr. Diana discussed common fears in dating the second time around. One fear is that first dates will be awkward. Sure, they can be – but they can also be interesting and fun! In addition to talking about mutual interests, ask lighthearted questions that delve beneath the surface. Examples: What was your favorite toy when growing up? What would you love to do if there were no constraints? What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? If your house were on fire, what’s the first thing you would grab to save? Another fear is that there will be a lot of losers out there. The reality is that your attitude has the biggest impact on your satisfaction with dating and your ability to meet compatible people. Often promoted by popular media is the idea that single men are inept or self-centered and that women are confused or impossible to please. Of course, the truth is that many men are capable and loving. Many women are straightforward and agreeable. You can assess a person’s character by paying attention to the person’s actions as well as words. Look for evidence of kindness, respect, integrity, emotional generosity, and responsibility. Does he show up on time? How does he treat the staff at a café? Does he put away his cell phone during dates and give you full attention? When the subject of past relationships comes up, does he dwell on his ex’s negative traits? What did he learn from his last relationship? Will he want sex right away is another fear. Plenty of people don’t mind waiting -- and someone who is right for you will respect your boundaries. You might say, “I’m attracted to you, but I want to slow this down” … “I don’t have sex with someone this soon, so for now why don’t we just kiss and cuddle?” Perhaps the biggest obstacle to finding love in midlife and beyond is staying home. Move those fears aside, and get out there and date! Both Dr. Lori and I are similar in this way, too: we’ve danced our dreams awake with a special man. She has Harry, I have Bryan. I can honestly say my connection with my husband is one of fun,...


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Love, Lust & Laughter - 09.06.22

Parenting, Anxiety and Differentiation of Self: What does Sex Have to Do With It? Dr. Diana and her guest, Dr. Ashley Mader, reflected on the anxious times we are living in, where stress can either be an accelerator for sexual intimacy or a brake for it. The better differentiated each partner is, the better they can communicate their desires (or lack thereof). Differentiation involves learning to balance your individuality (separateness) with your emotional connection to someone else (togetherness). For some, there is a loss of self – especially in anxious times. “Me Time” is essential. You can’t feel sexy with someone else if you don’t feel sensual and relaxed alone. For one client, a way to hold onto herself was to go to a hotel alone for 24 hours to decompress and sooth her anxiety. This was a time for enlightened selfishness! NOTE: Dr. Ashley Mader will discuss this topic at the upcoming conference PARENTING DURING ANXIOUS TIMES ( September 30,2022, 9:30-3:30 EDT. Most women with low sexual desire want to want. Female sexuality is often contextual. Women can lose desire quickly when they don’t feel the right motivation. But because female desire is highly responsive to environment, it can also be ignited. As sex therapists, both Dr. Ashley and Dr. Diana hear couples say, “We love each other very much, but we have no sex. There is too much stress.” They feel like they’re living with a roommate and they start to desexualize each other. Dr. Ashley says how important it is to create Sexy Time. Be sensuous with all your senses: seeing, hearing, feelings, and smelling keep us alive. They also feed and nourish romance and eroticism! Watch some sexy films, play sexy games, read erotica to each other. Schedule a Date Night, ending early enough to get home and have sex. Buy some pretty lingerie … Sometimes the hardest person to seduce is yourself. What about parenting in these anxious times? It’s common for anxiety to be projected onto the child. A depressive marriage is grim for both adults and children. Children with a depressed parent are, on average, more likely to have behavioral and academic problems (even lower IQs!). To survive happily as couples, they need to place a higher priority on sex and erect boundaries to protect their intimacy.


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Love, Lust, and Laughter - 08.16.22

NRE – New Relationship Energy. How To Keep It Going! Therapist Dr. Ashley Mader – – sees clients who experiencing the euphoria of new relationship energy—NRE—as well as clients in the process of separation or divorce and wondering how they got there. Dr. Ashley and Dr. Diana have similar cases in their practices; so, a lively conversation ensued! As with many things, the brain is involved, providing a biological reaction. In the early days of the relationship, the brain is pumping out dopamine, which plays a role in arousal and seeking out rewards. You’re focused on your partner and it builds the infatuation. Over time, oxytocin takes over, which promotes bonding and feelings of comfort. In the early days couples may feel like they’re on speed – later it may feel like they’re on an anti-depressant. Michael Castleman, author and Psychology Today contributor, writes about dopamine, saying, “Novelty is a nutrient that nourishes relationships and enhances sex.” Couples that want to keep the NRE high need to trick the brain in producing more dopamine. Play out sexual fantasies – taking on new roles. Go to a hotel. It hits a lot of the stimuli checklist – new, different, a little danger/taboo if there’s a semi-private balcony. At its most basic, it’s away from home. There’s no pile of laundry that can highjack a partner’s mind. Good sex requires a person to be present; removing distractions gives that a chance. Being fully present can be assisted by breathing. Dr. Ashley suggests putting your hands on the top of your head, fingers interlaced, eyes closed and breathing in and out slowly. Other times a “thoughtful distance” is necessary: a time-out, a girls’ trip, maybe time to contemplate, Who am I? Let there be spaces in your togetherness. This is accomplished with L.A.T. – Living Apart Together. Many couples who begin relationships later in life are keeping separate homes because they cherish private space and financial independence. This gives dopamine a chance to be in play because the couple can anticipate the emotional and physical intimacy! Building anticipation is its own aphrodisiac … which keeps the NRE freely flowing! In therapy often couples discover hidden issues with control. This usually means that they need to feel more cared for and loved. Rather than getting involved in a power struggle, they can ask for what they need in a positive way. Partners who learn to say “yes” more often begin to see things from their partner’s point of view, as a result, are happier. Listening with curiosity is always a good idea! NRE depends on having sex with your spouse! We want one who wants to have sex with us. The need to be desired is as important as the sex itself. Talk to your partner about sex and share how your needs may have changed over time. Be open and vulnerable when communicating – as well as kind and forgiving when misunderstandings occur. Finally, consider this if you are contemplating a separation or divorce: “Remember, you had what it took to fall in love; it’s entirely possible you have what it takes to stay there!”


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 07.26.22

Funny, Irreverent, Intelligent Sex Educator and Author Of Guide To Getting It On Dr. Diana welcomed Dr. Paul Joannides, the author of Guide to Getting It On, now in its 10th edition. This is what Dr. Diana wrote in her book Love in the Time of Corona, Chapter 8 – Learn More About Sex: “Guide to Getting It On is the first book I recommend to my clients. It’s possibly the best book ever written about sex. This comprehensive book is a fun read, filled with entertaining illustrations and detailed, hands-on information about all kinds of sexual practices … Rolling Stone Magazine called it “the only sex manual you’ll ever need!” Dr. Paul has great blogs on his website and Psychology Today. He asks two questions in his blog Redefining Sex Education: “How do we deliver sex education to today’s teens and young adults on their turf and in ways they consume information? And, how do we make sex education effective for people whose main source of sex education is porn? It’s true, sex education today needs to help with the distortions of porn.” A huge obstacle to any sex educator is that they are often not allowed to discuss sexual pleasure. Dr. Paul laments that there is also no talk about women’s orgasms, and the importance of learning to tell a partner what feels good and what doesn’t. He warns that if we don’t make pleasure the cornerstone of sex education, nobody is going to listen. Another blog entry is titled Access to Porn and Information About Sex Has Changed. Dr. Paul states that the average 8 to 10 year old has easy access to highly explicit images about sex. Misinformation leads to assumptions that this is how people really have sex (no kissing, no tenderness, no talking). Dr. Paul spoke about giving a lecture on sex to 600 students at a major west coast university. Two of the students lingered afterwards, holding hands. The young woman said, “I can’t thank you enough for your talk. It’s going to make a big difference in my sex life.” And her male partner said, “Me too.” Women need to know that it can take up to 20 minutes or more of kissing, caressing, and fooling around with a partner before they are ready to have intercourse. In other words: foreplay! The young man assumed he had premature ejaculation and was glad to hear his lasting 8 to 10 minutes was above 1 to 2 minutes considered to be P.E. Dr. Paul wonders how it is that we have done such a terrible job of providing competent sex education to young adults? Please listen to hear Dr. Paul talking about his new project focusing on young men. How to reach them? Stay tuned because he promises to return in 3-4 months to discuss the outcomes. Dr. Paul Joannides wrote a world-class sex manual. This is not surprising -- because Paul is a world-class human being!


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Love, Lust and Laughter - 07.05.22

Integrating Mind & Body and Past & Present for More Pleasurable Sex Stella Resnick, PhD, has been a friend and mentor for thirty years. At a May 2, 1992 meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (informally known as “Quad S”), Dr. Stella spoke about Actualizing Sexual Potential, asking “How good can sex get?” New to the field, I was immediately enthralled by my colleague who focused on pleasure! In this episode, Dr. Stella and I covered a range of topics, highlighting some of her significant contributions to the understanding of the role of pleasure in healthy sexuality. Attachment, Attunement and Sexuality Attachment is how we bond; it is programmed in us from day one! The mother and infant are wired to connect; and this is foundational for his/her development. The baby automatically mimics the facial expressions of mother. If the child is wanted and born of a happy marriage, the mother smiles and looks into its eyes deeply. If, on the other hand, the baby looks like the dad … a man she dislikes … her eyes may narrow as she frowns. This is instant messaging – a body-to-body transference, and it can be intergenerational. If mother was traumatized, she likely has anxious or avoidant attachment. As Dr. Stella said in her first book, The Pleasure Zone: Why We Resist Good Feelings & How to Let Go and Be Happy, “Intercourse is not the main event.” There is so much sensual pleasure to enjoy all over the body! Use all five senses; for example, really taste the kisses. Scent is the key when we smell our clean partner. Sex and the Science of Mind-Reading – Empathy and the Sex Drive Discussions of sex play, mutual regulation, dysregulation, understanding or misinterpreting the other’s signals … and sexual inter-neurobiology. We feel the other and want a “lubricated process.” Bodies are in tacit communication … If you’re in your head, you’re not in your body. Or, as Fritz Perls said, “Lose your mind and come to your senses.” Body attunement enhances empathy … discovering yourself in another’s presence. The principle of Relaxed Excitement: the secret of great sex and success in everything is to be excited, stimulated and relaxed at the same time. The ABCs of Romance: breathing together, eye contact, smiling, and kissing. This is a fascinating show! Dr. Resnick has much experiential wisdom, backed by her Gestalt orientation and endowed by contemporary neurobiology. She invites all to experience a greater, more playful, more creative form of love! Go to where you’ll find information about her three books The Pleasure Zone, The Heart of Desire, and Body-to-Body Intimacy. In addition, her Embodiment Exercises help to get in touch with feelings and release tension or numbness in your body. Finally, a quote from Dr. Stella’s 1988 SELF magazine “Sex without Sex”: “When pleasure is made a priority and sexual energy is channeled wisely and lovingly, you can know a new ease and joy in your intimate relationships.”