Sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly has been making the rounds as a TV personality and author. But it’s her services that include workshops on sexuality, counselling sessions for both couples and individuals, offering training to teachers on instructing sexual education, or public speaking gigs, that makes it clear that Dr. Jess is quite the sexpert! With her unique mix of business and pleasure paired with a laidback attitude, we recently spoke to her about intimacy. Here is our exclusive interview with the renowned Sexologist behind Sex with Dr. Jess:

TPF: What initially inspired you to become a sexologist, and why?

 

Dr. Jess: I was working as a high school teacher, teaching English, social studies and health and noticed gaps in the system. I noticed that high schools lacked the proper resourced to support teachers to teach sexual education. Labelling “ovaries” doesn’t help students become aware of how to set appropriate boundaries. I went back to school and did research, although I didn’t originally didn’t plan to work in the entertainment and TV industry.

 

 

TPF: How can a woman best cope with a man who struggles with erectile dysfunction? For example, in a case where the woman is trying to get pregnant? What are some of the emotional effects of a scenario such as this?

 

Dr. Jess: It’s nobody’s fault. We get self-conscious and seek reassurance, but it’s important to remember that he needs reassurance too. It’s a two way street, after all. There are some physical causes as well as psychogenic (or psychological) causes that manifest as physical symptoms. It’s important to take the pressure off. You can try toys, and remember to focus on pleasure versus performance.

It is also hard to make a generalization about why the erectile dysfunction happened. It could be a symptom of a larger issue, or even emotional issues such as performance pressure, stress or anxiety. He could be facing stress from work or money issues, which detract from sexual function. While nobody wants to acknowledge it, in the heat of the moment, there are so many factors. Every couple has its unique issues.

 

TPF: As a sexologist, what advancements do you believe need to be made in the market of female condoms?

 

Dr. Jess: Some people don’t always love the female condom, because it feels like having sex with a bag! Other people like the fact that women get to carry the condom and explore it. There are challenges around it because of feel. For many, it is not their top pick, because people tend to like the idea of condoms that feel like skin on skin. The RealFeel condom by Durex is a good example, however.

 

TPF: What are some of the challenges associated with sexual pleasure and sexuality for a couple which includes a transgendered person who is transitioning? Also, what are some unique challenges which a lesbian couple may face in this area?

 

Dr. Jess: We definitely dichotomize gender into male and female, as opposed to transgender. In terms of a transgendered individual, surgery and hormonal treatments can affect your sex drive. In terms of lesbian couples, there are often challenges around desire when both halves of the couple lose their desire. How do you maintain that intimacy in a relationship? For any type of couple, it’s about quality versus quantity- as opposed to “how long did the sex last?” or “how many times did we do it this week?”

 

TPF: For couples who are struggling with a “sexless” relationship or marriage, what technically defines the term “sexless”?

 

In terms of a “sexless” relationship, it’s about the couple. Most of us would consider no sex at all to be “sexless”, but it could also be once a year, twice a year, or whatever is normal to you.

 

TPF: How can a woman deal with the feeling of rejection in a sexless marriage? What are some coping strategies for healthy sexuality?

 

Regardless of rejection, there are ways to include intimacy. For example, you can snuggle or kiss. Masturbation also has many benefits, from improved circulation to promoting a good night’s sleep. In fact, most women learn to orgasm through masturbation. In many couples, one person initiates sex more frequently. When we start a relationship, there are nerves of meeting someone for the first time- it’s chemically a different attraction! It’s important to cultivate some mystery.

 

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