Did you know that according to studies, people today are having less sex than those from previous generations?
I interviewed my dear friend for many years, and she is an expert that you are going to love and enjoy. I mean, she’s just amazing. Dr. Sorah Dubitsky is a writer and a publisher. She wrote a blog for three years called Married Sex for Couples Who Lost Their Spark and she changed the title to Love God and Sex because she wanted to bring in a spiritual dimension of love and sex. Dr. Dubitsky is a professor at FIU, an author and lecturer on Human Sexuality.
She was married for 37 years to my dear friend Larry Dubitsky who has left us and is looking down on us from heaven. And this is the part I’m really excited about. She’s currently working on a new book possibly titled, Reclaiming Intimacy in the 21st Century. She had an exemplary marriage, which we should all be jealous of.
What is sex? Why has it become stressful for today’s generation?
The title for today’s meeting is Sex without Stress. But it’s not what you think, which you’ll find out in a minute. OK, so that is this beautiful woman’s information. And now, without further ado, I’m going to ask Dr. Sorah my very first question. What is sex anyway?
(Dr. Sorah) : It’s not what you think it is. People hear ‘sex education’, they immediately think of sex therapy, and they immediately think of bodies. Bodies doing stuff, interacting. I don’t look at sex as bodies. I look at sex as energy, vital energy.
It’s the urge to merge that is built into all living things. It’s a drive. It’s part of our survival mechanisms. You’ve heard of the Four Fs: Feeding, fighting, fleeing, and making love. So like the first three, feeding, fighting, fleeing is for survival of the body, the individual. The last one, making love. is for survival of the species But I want to re-emphasize that sex is energy. It’s divine energy. It’s the energy of life. But it’s gotten layered with all of this stuff: rules, regulations, culture, history, politics, all of that has an influence on how you express this energy. So sex is more than just two bodies. It becomes an expression of how are you feeling right now? What is your motivation? That’s a big thing of mine. Why do you want to have sex?
And we’re affected by the environment. Since COVID, people are having less sex. There are medical conditions that affect sex. There are societal expectations. So, for example, the first day in my class I post these videos. They’re over 20 years old–what do men want? What do women want? It boils down to women want relationships, men want sex. I pair that with an article I found in the New York Times which included a video by Cardi B and Megan the Stallion. And it’s called WAP. I won’t say what that stands for. If you don’t know, you can look it up. It’s about these liberated women who are enjoying their sexuality. And I post that as a contrast to the first video to see how today’s students respond. Here’s the modern sensibility of how sex should be. And then here’s this 20-year-old phenomenon. And most students still agree with the 20-year-old phenomenon!
Women still want relationships, and for men, it’s still all about sex. And they do like or respect the Cardi B perspective. But they still want the other. And there’s even more data about that, that people are getting tired, especially young people are getting tired of sex without feelings, sex without any real connection.
One of the chapters I’m working on is, “Is The Era of Casual Sex Ending?”. And there’s some evidence that, yeah, it is. People want more.
People today are having less sex. Is stress a contributing factor?
(MarciaGrace) : Very interesting. So how does that tie in with the idea that people are, according to surveys, having less sex today?
(Dr. Sorah) : There are other things that are taking over and using that energy. Remember, sex is energy. One of the drivers of sexuality is the neurotransmitter dopamine. There’s a wonderful researcher, Helen Fisher. She did her research around 2000. (You can find YouTube videos by her).
And she talks about dopamine being the driver of love. The addictive love that makes people want to think about their love object 24 hours a day and want to be with them 24/7. They don’t stop thinking about them. That dopamine secretion applies to video games and ‘likes’ on Facebook. So, it’s being taken up by these other things. You watch a movie, and you get a hit of dopamine. If somebody likes your Facebook page; you get a hit of dopamine.
(MarciaGrace) : So Facebook is actually taking some of our desire for sex away from us or subverting our sex drive?
(Dr. Sorah) : Yeah.
M – And it’s because we’re getting this dopamine hit?
S – Yes.
M – Are you saying that people are responding to me so I think they’re showing me that they love me? Is that what’s going on there?
S – Yes. I have a whole paper here; technology and screen time, smartphones, social media, and additional entertainment. It reduces face-to-face contact and that’s when you get that drive. I admit I’m guilty of this- I’m driven to use Facebook how many times a day? Because every time I do, I get this pleasant hit. So yeah.
And what I’m segueing into is why people are having less sex now, especially young people. The dopamine being used by other modalities is one reason. People are getting married later. It used to be the trajectory was around 20 years old. I got married for the first time at 20. My first husband was 23. You may have been in that same age range, that drive to love. That drive to be with somebody. Since then that trajectory has been pushed forward and other things have come to take its place. So, people are having less sex now. This is all affecting milestones like marriage and having children. Also, economics is a big factor. More young people are continuing to live with their parents because they can’t afford to move out. Are you likely to have sex when your parents are behind the next wall? The high cost of living produces stress and anxiety (that’s your department.)
Liquid Love and Plastic Sexuality. Meaningless but stressful sex.
There are a couple of terms that came across recently like ‘hookup culture’, and ‘liquid love’. There’s a book called Liquid Love which I have not read, but I’ve read reviews of it. And in that book, they introduced the idea of plastic sexuality. That it’s all available but it’s meaningless. So that’s why you can get the same kind of sensation, but people are so limited in understanding how sex can be a transformative experience.
Liquid love is that love has become watered down. That’s what the newer generations are experiencing. We grew up with this idea of ‘happily ever after,’ OK? Which was a myth in its own way. You must work at it; it just doesn’t happen by itself. Another one is ‘till death do us part.’ The younger generation, people in their 30s, don’t look at it like that anymore. They don’t have the same role models we had growing up. Liquid love is the idea that love can come and go, or love can slip through your fingers. And if it doesn’t work out, whoever you’re in love with, you go back to one of these dating apps and you can find thousands more. Because with your dating apps, you’re not limited to finding somebody in your immediate neighborhood. The whole world is available.
The other term I mentioned, plastic sexuality–just think about that. That’s exactly what it is. It’s not real. There is no emotion there. There’s no connection. Good sex requires being relaxed. Requires trust. Requires openness, requires vulnerability. The way the world has become now, that’s not what sex is anymore. Because it’s casual, it’s the hookup culture, people are not finding that absolute spark that triggers the dopamine or the other ’love’ hormone oxytocin.
Another hormone that’s involved is testosterone. Oxytocin is the cuddle hormone and it’s released when somebody’s had an orgasm. In men, it’s called vasopressin. So the cuddle hormone is that really good feeling like nurturing, tenderness that happens post-sex. It’s also released when women breastfeed their babies. According to Helen Fisher, that’s the one that maintains long-term relationships. So, if you’re not getting that feeling after sex then why continue?
And there have been more articles lately in the Times, about relationships. For instance, women are getting tired of meaningless sex. And they want something else. These might be a little bit older woman. Younger women might still be into exploring, and I have to do more research about that. But the women that they’re writing about in these articles, are primarily in their 30s. And they want something more. So plastic sexuality is not satisfying anymore.
The Effects of Social Media, Pornography, and Mental Stress on Sexual Health.
(MarciaGrace) : That was great! I think you could really expand upon that, but we have some good points there as to why people are having less sex. And if I recall what you said, one is the videos, right? Young people love all those video games and TikTok.
(Dr. Sorah) : Right. It’s instant gratification. Good sex takes time. If you want to have good sex, slow down, and relax.
M – Yes! I just wanted to recap because one of the main things that we wanted to get across today is that if you are in that category then you can examine to see what’s going on in your life that’s making it like that. Are you spending too much time on Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, or whatever? Are you allowing yourself to get taken away by that instant gratification? So that’s a good point. Plus, if you’re a young person and you’re living in a household with a bunch of other people you might not have the privacy. That’s so true.
S – Two more things. One is the accessibility of pornography. It’s just ubiquitous. And watching a lot of porn sets up expectations in the mind about what sex should look like. And most often, the reality does not match the expectation or wow, and it leads to really poor encounters. One more thing–mental health. Stress, anxiety, and depression, influence sexual desire and well-being. The reason I bring that up is I see that with students, some people in my classes are in, let’s say their early 20s, and if I ask a question like, “What factors need to be in place before you have children? It’s only in the past two or three years that I’ve gotten “I need to be mentally healthy before having children.” Why is this even coming up now? Why isn’t it automatically assumed that people are mentally healthy? But no, it’s become something that they have to think about before having children. So, the awareness of mental health- stress and depression is infiltrating that generation. And it’s damping down their sex life.
Reduce stressful factors to enjoy sex more.
(MarciaGrace) : Wow. All great points. So, I think you’ve made the major points why people are having less sex. Alright, now do you want to talk about the benefits of sex? But let me just ask the audience, I guess this was not exactly what you were expecting, was I right when I said that?
(Dr. Sorah) : You know, it’s interesting because basically, I’m an academic. I’ve been reading research about sex since 2007 and that’s the perspective I take. So, like I started out saying, people start out thinking it’s about the bodies, but there’s so much more. Sigmund Freud said that civilization is a sublimation of sexuality. That means you hide it, and it comes out in other ways. So as an example, if you want to hide your gender behavior, you become an interior decorator. That’s very stereotypical, I realize that. But that’s just an idea of what sublimation is. You hide it and use the energy for something else.
Me – Is it like a substitute?
S – Yes, yes, It’s like a substitute. So, civilization is a substitute for sexuality. You can’t fornicate all the time. So, we build civilizations. That drive to build would be the same kind of energy. Sex reduces stress and releases endorphins which are feel-good hormones. It also regulates cortisol. Cortisol is one of the stress hormones that inhibit sexual activity. So, when you have sex, it releases Cortisol. But it’s in a good way. Cortisol is supposed to go up and then down to help with the stress response and then disappear. But when we’re in chronic stress, it doesn’t disappear. That’s when we get sick. So, sex spikes that cortisol, but also drops it down to normal levels.
Sex involves physical activity, so it improves sleep quality. Second, enhances intimacy and connection. That’s what it’s supposed to do. It creates something called the relaxation response–lowered heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and a sense of calm. It improves mood and mental health. It boosts the immune system and brings pain relief.
When you’re having sex, you’re not thinking about anything else, right? Someone I know put it this way, “You know why sex is great? You can’t think of anything else.” If it is good sex, you’re focused, you’re present, you’re here, you’re with your partner. Unfortunately, one of the potentialities of a sexual encounter is that your body’s here but your mind might be thinking, “What should we have for dinner tonight? Or “I need a manicure.” People joke about that, but that’s the reality.
I want to make sure I speak about this. One of the things I’ve identified concerning sex, thinking about this over the years, is that there are different qualities of sexual experience: how to have better sex. So, I’ve got three things that I want to talk about. The first thing I call intention or motivation. What do you want to come of this? We talked about that before. That’s a line from A Course in Miracles. Any situation you’re in, what do you want to come of it?
And so, I identified 7 qualities that you could have as a result of sexual experience. The first one is abusive. As wonderful as it can be, it could also be hurtful. And I don’t know that people walk into relationships with that awareness, especially women. You know we’re starry-eyed, in love, and we’re going to have sex and he or she was abusive. Some people want to hurt other people so become aware of your own motivation. Are you somebody who wants to hurt people or somebody who wants to be hurt?
M – It’s not the sex itself. It’s the purpose behind it that really makes all the difference.
S- Purpose, right. I’m using intention. Exactly. That really makes all the difference. The next level of quality I call ‘empty’. And that’s what a lot of people are experiencing now is empty sex. There is no connection there. It’s like, let’s do it, get it over with. That’s liquid love or plastic sexuality. There’s no connection. You walk away feeling worse than when you started. And then I talk about ordinary sex. If you’re a couple and you’re lying in bed at night, and you say let’s do it and get it over with and it could be good or bad. Sometimes that’s what you need, a quickie. Then I talk about erotic sex which gets more into this idea of pleasing someone else, of trying something new, of expanding your horizons, of taking your time, and slowing down. Then I talk about lovemaking where you really focus on your partner. We call having sex making love. Is that what we’re really doing? You know, is that our intention when we’re with somebody? And I want to come back to that point.
M – Can I just interject here what came up when you were talking about lying in bed and having a quickie? What about the idea of foreplay, what you do before you engage in the sexual act, the time that you spend just being with each other and not just jumping out of bed saying OK, thanks a lot. Goodbye?
S – Exactly. So, with ordinary, there’d be very little foreplay, if any. Good point. Then I talk about the idea of passion. Because to have good sex, you need to feel vulnerable. Because the intimacy is there. To have an orgasm, especially women need to feel vulnerable. They need to feel safe. That’s why I talk about intimacy. You have to be able to let go. And when women have orgasms, the fear center in their brain shuts down, isn’t that interesting? And then the last experiential quality I talk about is transcendence, what I call, ‘oh God’ sex. People leave their bodies, people have visions. It’s very, very powerful. If you’ve ever read the Song of Solomon in the Bible, it narrates a sexual scene: “honey juices dripping from his mouth” and “he’s going to carry me into the desert.” It’s two lovers. I don’t want to get into the Bible. We were taught that somehow sex is bad. But wait a minute, it’s here. It’s in the Bible. And lately, I’ve read just in the past couple of weeks that the Bible has been eliminated as literature from some of the programs in Florida because it has sexual content! Yes.
The role of spirituality in a stressless sex life.
(Dr. Sorah) : To get back to this idea of motivation one of the things i know you wanted me to talk about is the spiritual aspect of sexuality where you treat your partner as the beloved. What is your definition of the beloved?
(MarciaGrace) : From Eastern traditions, I’ve got the Sufi poems and I think right away of the Sufi masters who write love poems to God. It’s not directly to the person, but in context of that connection to the Source. I think of it as a triangle. In other words, it’s you, me and God, or, as A Course in Miracles calls it, the holy relationship.
S – I always said that with my relationship with Larry –we triangulate with God. And, this is off topic, but if anything, ever was going on in our relationship, the first place we would go would be to God. That’s how we stayed married for 37 years.
M – I wish more people knew that and relied upon it and trusted that that really does work. It really does. But that’s another issue that we could go into. And maybe that’s another reason why people aren’t having meaningful sex anymore is because they’ve lost what connects them not only to each other but to a Source that connects them to all creation. It’s a whole continuum of life, of experience.
S – So I also think part of that is what our vision of God is. You and I have a vision and have had experiences with a loving God. I was doing some more research because of some of the issues here in Florida. But I wanted to really understand why there is still so much pain, especially surrounding gender issues.
M – oh boy. Let me say, I would love to have you back to have another conversation just on the topic of gender identity. That would be amazing.
S – OK. I want to say that there is so much fear… Oh my gosh. And misunderstanding. Yes. Absolutely. You and I understand God is love. God is energy. God is a connection. God is our Higher Self, our real Self, our authentic self. Our friend and guide here and now and it’s not fearful. That’s what the whole teaching of A Course in Miracles is about to replace the fearful perception of God like God’s going to get you, with a story about a loving God who only wants your best interests, and as you said before, we have come to know that as real –a loving Presence Who soothes us and comforts us in time of need. What we’re really searching for in this world is love, i.e. God. Which begs the question– how do we treat the person who’s in front of us? Are we treating them like an object? Are we treating them like they’re a source of my happiness and that’s it; a source of my gratification? As I mentioned, one of the qualities I have is called lovemaking. At the highest level, you want to start seeing your partner as the beloved. As both giver and receiver of love.
M – Yes, and when you respect, not idolize but see them as an equal, there’s a sense of equality in your relationship with one another, that you both bring different things into the relationship, and they’re equally important. Is that a fair way to say it?
S-Yes. Yes. How do you want to treat someone? The golden rule: do unto others what you would have them do unto you. I have a chapter about this in my book called Mutuality. That’s what you were saying, I believe.
Master these simple techniques to minimize stress and enhance your sexual experience.
M – We’ve been going for quite a while, and I do want to make sure that we get in a breathing exercise. Dr. Sorah mentioned that she would give us a very practical tool that we can use in our love relationships.
S- There are three things necessary for great sex: first, attention, second, breathing, third, sensate focus. When you’re with your partner, focus on sensations. Make pleasure the priority, not orgasm. Focus on the five senses: what are you seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling? Let the sensations guide you. That’s how you get into ecstatic states: by invoking the five senses. And then I mentioned breathing, so breathing is one of the best ways to relax.
I have this on my blog, https://sorahdubitsky.medium.com Here’s the exercise: Close your eyes. Leave your lips partially open and as you inhale, let your lips quiver. And then you exhale and let your lips quiver. Repeat several times.
M – How do you make your lips quiver?
S – Purse your lips. It’s audible breathing. And if you can, feel the breath going into the heart chakra when you breathe in.
M – I can feel the quivering more on the in-breath than on the out-breath.
S – Absolutely, yes. OK, so practice that and it will induce a state of relaxation. It already sounds like you’re having sex. One more- This is breathing into the throat. So like right here, you’re breathing into the throat chakra. Energy Center. OK, so your lips are more open. And you’re breathing right here. And you should be able to hear it. You’re breathing down into the neck. Yeah, you’re breathing in and out of the neck. And you’re making a slight noise on that inhalation. Can you close your eyes? And this is a breath that’s used in transformational breathwork. That’s a therapeutic technique. But it also emulates another kind of sexual breathing.
M – So tell people how they get your breath techniques.
S – OK, so send me an e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org and then I’ll send you a link. There are about 15 different essays, some of them talk about pleasure and one of them talks about lifelong sexiness. And there are articles about how to do breath work. There’s one that’s with partners and that really works. All of these are designed to deepen the energy that flows, that orgasmic energy. And it’s controlling it in such a way that it’s allowed to expand. So that it increases the potentiality of good orgasms. And I am on Facebook quite a bit. I blog about gratitude daily. What am I grateful for today? It’s a very powerful spiritual practice. I also am starting teaching again on Monday. I’m in my 16th year teaching.
M – We’ve been here chatting quite a while and I really want people to take all this in because you gave a lot of information which for you is second nature, right? You just know all this stuff. So much to absorb from today’s conversation. So just leave us with a couple of the keys to having sex without stress.
S – OK, Love yourself first. Love your body. They say we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Honor yourself. and make pleasure a priority. That idea of sensate focus. Live a sensuous life. And I don’t mean sexual, I mean sensory life. If you’re eating, “Mmm, this is the best food ever” and it smells delicious. Seeing, surround yourself with beauty. And surround yourself with things that make you happy. There’s no one like you on planet Earth. There will be no one ever like you again. That’s what I would say.
M – That’s beautiful! I might phrase it as being in the moment because that’s where joy and happiness are. Because in the moment, you are smelling the flowers. You’re seeing the beauty of nature and enjoying it. It’s being in the moment, letting the past go and not worrying about the future because it didn’t happen yet. I love the way you put that. It was just so wonderful. So I hope it was useful and broadens the idea of what sex is or what it can be. Thank you so much for being my friend and thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us today.