Healing Through Understanding Your Sexuality With Jay Stringer

Jordan D’Nelle 0:01
Welcome to Vaginas Vulvas and Vibrators with Jordan D’Nelle, this is a safe place to learn about women’s health and sexual wellness. I’m your host Jordan D’Nelle, physician assistant, women’s sexual educator and intimacy coach.

On today’s podcast, we have a special guest joining us to talk about our sexual behaviors and why we do what we do. This episode is very interesting, and we talk about how your childhood really impacts your sexual fantasies, what your sex life looks like, and how as parents that is also important to be aware of how you’re raising your children, and the things that you do can ultimately impact them. Mind blowing episode, I hope you enjoy.

Before we get into today’s episode, I want to tell you a little bit about the Worthy Women’s Brunch series. November 21st is the first ever Worthy Women’s Brunch event. It is a live zoom call with myself, Rachel, Megan, and Megan Aldridge Krueger, some of the best sexuality and confidence coaches that are out there. This is going to be jam packed with how to get through the holiday season feeling confident, worthy, empowered, and dealing with the stress and everything else that comes with the holiday season. We are setting you up to start 2022 with a bang. To get more information about the worthy woman’s branch go to Worthy.JordanD’Nelle.com. We look forward to having you join us.

Joining me today is Jay stringer. He is a licensed mental health counselor, ordained minister and author of the award-winning book Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals our way to Healing. Unwanted is based on a multi-year research project of over 38,000 men and women to address the key drivers of unwanted sexual behavior by the use of pornography, infidelity, or buying sex. Jay’s passion is to equip people with resources they need to outgrow their unwanted behaviors. Towards the end, he created the sexual behavior self-assessment and partnered that with the heart of man film to create a five-month online curriculum for small groups to explore how our stories shape and predict the sexual brokenness we pursue. You can learn more about this faith-based course at http://www.thejourneycourse.com. Link will be in the bio.

Jay, welcome so much to the Vaginas Vulvas and Vibrators podcast. I am so happy to be talking with you today. Do you want to just go ahead and open up and tell us about how you started this path to helping men and women uncover their unwanted sexual desires or behaviors and what you do?

Jay Stringer 3:16
Sure. So, my name is Jay Stringer, and I live in New York City. My wife is also a psychotherapist, and we have two kids. So, we moved during the pandemic from Seattle to New York. And it’s, I mean, it’s been such a lovely transition. And yet it’s been if we’re honest, like just a complete circus, to have our entire lives uprooted and changed so we are acclimating to life in New York City. Both have loved it here. And it is unlike any other city I’ve ever lived in terms of pace and hustle and grander, but also just the crap of life too. So that’s a little bit about kind of current life. And I would say you know, my path to working with unwanted sexual behaviors. Very few people grow up thinking I really want to work with people who have affairs and struggle with porn and those sorts of things. So, I would say there are both personal and professional reasons for this, I would say on the personal side of things. A really formative story for me actually occurred when I was in grad school. During grad school I had a grandfather who passed away and I didn’t really know him terribly well in then I’m named after actually both my grandfather’s so, Jay was my dad’s dad’s name. Elmer was my mom’s dad’s name. I never knew Jay. He passed away about two years before I was born. And then Elmer passed away. And it was just this sense of like, I know nothing about my family history like I don’t know beyond like professions, like who were these people, and after Elmer passed away, I was like, I just really need to get to know my grandparents. And so the first one up was my dad’s mom. And her name was Dorothy. And the one thing I would say about Dorothy is she could just be a cold steel door when it came to sharing anything, emotions, hugs, you just were not going to get very much affection from Dorothy. So, I wanted to know just more about her life. So around her 90th birthday, I took her out to lunch. And I bought these three skeleton keys from the era of her birth year. And I said, Grandma, I called her nanny, I said, Nanny, I want to know about your life. And these three keys symbolize three lunches that I want to take you out to. And I’m thinking that’s a great gift as a grandson to give to his grandmother. And my grandmother was completely horrified. It was like I had just asked for my inheritance. And she looked down at the keys, didn’t say anything, and like three seconds passed, five seconds passed, 10 seconds passed. And then she eventually looked back up at me and shove the keys back across the table and said, Jay, there are some stories, you just don’t tell; there are some doors you just don’t open. And that was a shock to me, you know, just builds that natural sense of curiosity of like, What in the world is my grandmother’s background? Why are there so many stories that I just don’t know. And so, from that you can extrapolate, and I think all family systems are like this, is that we do not always tell the truth about our earliest traumas about the difficult things that happen within our families. And so, what I realized, even from a professional standpoint, is that when we don’t tell our stories, many times our behaviors, our self-destructive behaviors, our personality traits, all do that for us. So that cold steel door of emotion from Dorothy was not random at all, what we learned is that probably around the age of 13, or 14 years old, as she was sexually assaulted by a family member, and never told that story, but we had to piece that together after her death. And that’s so often what I see professionally as well, is people come in with one storyline, like I just had an affair, or I am one of the most perverse, broken sexually promiscuous women you have ever met. And so, there’s some level of contempt in terms of how they describe their sexual story. And yet, when you begin to kind of go into their childhood experiences, their present dating, or their marriage, so many stories begin to unfold in. So that’s what I really began to kind of see on both a professional and personal front is that when we don’t tell our stories, when we don’t engage our past, a lot of times our compulsive and unwanted sexual behaviors will do the talking for us. And that’s what I love about being a psychotherapist. I work with men and women that are really involved in some level of sexual crisis and getting to work with them when they’re coming in telling a toxic story. And then they begin to realize, Wow, there’s so much more about me than just this unwanted behavior. That’s what I love to do.

Jordan D’Nelle 8:38
Wow, that is so powerful. And I think that you’re so right in it. When you don’t heal, when you don’t look into your traumas that they do come out somewhere in your life, somehow, some way in sexually is one of them.

Jay Stringer 8:55
Yes, my wife and I were just talking about that exact point. One of the things that I have been doing in the last year and it could just be from pandemic, but almost, I’d say my wife might fight me on this, but I would say maybe 50% of the time when I see her. My question to her is what’s wrong, and it has begun irritating her to no end. And I’m a therapist, that’s usually when people come to see me something is wrong. And yet that’s also been my family of origin. The way that I relate it to my mom was often that sense of, you know, where in our family is something not going right in her marriage, or where’s the house not clean? And so just that sense of like, even the question in the present to my wife, is a clarion call for me to my family system and the role that I learned how to play and so often we don’t know how to make that bridge between how is our present personality or present struggles actually, we need to construct that bridge back to the past in order to understand why we ask the questions we do or why we do the behaviors that we do.

Jordan D’Nelle 10:05
I love that. And I can’t wait to dive more into that and talk about that some more. Because I think that it really is hard knowing what to do. Like, where is the first step in this process? When you realize, hey, there’s something that I need to work through, that is showing up in my life? Where do I begin? What do you recommend?

Jay Stringer 10:29
I think that this is the role of curiosity and humility of being able to recognize that the sexual dimension of my life, there is so much more going on in there than we could ever imagine. And so most of us, I would say, if you tend to lean more politically conservative, you tend to have a very pathological understanding of your sexual life, you’re always trying to press it in my book, unwanted. I talked about this as like the lust management approach, where you’re trying to bounce your eyes, you get internet monitoring, put on your computer, you’re trying to get some form of accountability, and it’s really a suppression of your sexual life. But then if you learn more, you know, progressive, again, your core battle and mission is to reduce the shame and stigma associated with your sexual life, which is all beautiful and amazing. But oftentimes, that doesn’t really allow you to be curious about why you do what you do. It’s more of this attempt to try and manage shame of I don’t want to feel bad about what I do. I want to feel like I have some level of autonomy and choice. But then oftentimes, there’s not a developmental task of being able to say, what does this sexual behavior or this hypo arousal or this particular fantasy actually mean to me? And so, my work is really the invitation to something of the third way of being able to not pathologize but not just trying to normalize everything, but to get curious and to say, why is it that this sexual fantasy comes to me virtually every single time when I climax? Why is it that when I’m alone, I feel this insatiable need to be sexual? Why is it that when someone feels a lot of sexual desire for me, everything in my sexual life shuts down, and I want nothing to do with them. But then with another partner, I’m the higher desire sexual partner, and they seem to want nothing to do with me, what is happening there? And so I think we all have to kind of say, as one of my grad school professors said, he said, your sexual life, if it’s taking place in the bedroom is the noisiest room in the entire house, like your mother is there, your father’s there, your porn history is there, your ex-lovers are there your, you know, the recent television show you watched is there. And so, I think we just don’t have much of a framework these days to be able to say, it’s noisy. And let’s try and resist the pull to pathologize. But let’s also try and resist the pull to just normalize everything as if there is no meeting. And so that’s where I would begin is Be curious. There’s so much more that you don’t know. And that’s such a gift to be able to step into. What does this mean about me? And what is it actually asking of my life?

Jordan D’Nelle 13:28
Wow, I love that. And literally right before I hopped on this recording with you, I was on clubhouse, and we were talking about suppressing your desires, and how that kind of can show up to and then when you embrace your desires, what that can look like, this is so, so beautiful. Also, you’re talking about continually being curious about your sexuality. And where’s this coming from? Why do you want that? I love all that. What are some types of unwanted sexual behavior?

Jay Stringer 13:59
Yes, an unwanted sexual behavior could be any dimension of your sexual life that you wish you could get rid of and that you don’t fully understand. So, for some people, that is an extramarital affair, compulsive affairs, that could be an involvement, pornography, that could be hookup culture, that could just be a fantasy that comes to you in the midst of sex with your partner. It could also be a level of hypo arousal, meaning I can’t seem to find any sexual desire and that’s an unwanted dimension of my life as well. So, it usually it’s the things that either make us feel shame or influence us to feel shame, or the things that cause conflict in our sexual relationships with others.

Jordan D’Nelle 14:50
I will so you brought up hookup culture, and I think that that is something that is definitely on the forefront of my world and Something that I commonly am running into as a single woman who’s actively dating, like, hookup culture is the thing. It’s the norm. And so many people want to get out of hookup culture but can’t figure out how. So, I love that you include that as an unwanted sexual behavior. How do you outgrow these unwanted sexual behaviors? So silly like myself wants to get out of hookup culture? How do you outgrow that? How do you change that?

Jay Stringer 15:26
It’s a great question. So, the main distinction that I try and make in my work is, again, we’re not trying to stop a behavior, we’re trying to understand what it means. And then we attempt to outgrow it. And so what outgrowing means is, if you’re familiar with some of the work of Dan Siegel, a great author, psychologist, one of the things that he talks about, and I’m not going to spend too much time on it, but it’s this notion of like a window of tolerance that each of us have what he refers to as the green zone. So you we wake up, and we feel relatively okay about life. But we feel pretty happy, we’re at least grounded in our bodies, it’s not, you know, terribly awful inside of us, it’s not a lot of noise. But inevitably, the stressors of life, the difficulties of life, the demands of relationships, and professions, can bring us out of a window of tolerance, then we can go into the red zone, or what is known as the hyper arousal zone. And that’s when you know, you’re really stressed, you’re really aggravated, it’s kind of the fight or flight, like I’m either gonna make a fist, or I’m gonna bolt from this because I can’t tolerate the stress. And then we go into what’s called hypo arousal or the blue zone. And that’s when you don’t want to get out of bed. Everything about your life seems really depressing and boring, and I just don’t want to live another day. So part of what we need to do developmentally is learn how to tolerate our anxiety, we need to learn how to tolerate our depression. So, this is flies in the face of a lot of pop psychology, and even well intended psychological approaches of like, you come in anxious, you come in depressed, and let’s get rid of that with medication, or let’s get rid of that with kind of teaching you cognitive behavioral techniques. And I am, I would say, 51%, or more opposed to that approach, because it doesn’t help people understand why is anxiety functioning in your life. And so, you actually don’t need it reduced as much as you need to be able to tolerate some of the difficulties that you’re facing. And so outgrowing unwanted behaviors, is like you’re going down a really busy highway, like i 95, i 10 i Five, and it’s just stressful, it’s chaotic, a lot of traffic, and you just want to get out. So, you take the exit ramp to porn, or something is really difficult and your relationship, you’re undergoing a lot of conflict. And you don’t know how to stay in that tension, you don’t know how to turn towards one another. And listen, you don’t know how to make unilateral changes to begin to disrupt the destructive patterns of your relationship. And so, you leave, and you might leave there hooking up with someone else and betraying your partner, you might just kind of shut down your arousal and say, you know, you want every part of me, well, I’m not going to give you my sexual life and it becomes something of a power play in the midst of that. And so, outgrowing it means we need to first understand why we do what we do, and then figure out if there is a more healthy or developmental developmentally appropriate way to manage our anxiety. So, most of us don’t know who we are, so that when we encounter difficulties in relationships or work, we need something else. It could be a gin and tonic, it could be a cocktail, it could be porn, it could be a partner, it could be hooking up with someone, it could be a job that gives us what some psychologists refer to as a reflected sense of self. So, I don’t know who I am unless it’s reflected back to me. So, if you like me, I’m okay. But the moment that you don’t really like me or desire me, something in me implodes, and I don’t know how to deal with that implosion without sabotaging drinking, binging in some type of behavior. So, outgrowing any unwanted behavior is about building tolerance to be able to go through difficulty. So, the ability to tolerate difficulty for the purpose of growth is what outgrowing behaviors is all about.

Jordan D’Nelle 19:37
You are blowing my mind right now. I love everything that you’re telling us here. Something that really speaks to me is as a prescriber myself, I really like to understand why we’re using a medication rather than just throwing a medication on to deal with and cover up whatever is going on. Like what’s the underlying factor whether we’re talking about mental health, or we’re talking about, you know, diabetes, high blood pressure. Why is that happening? Let’s not just throw something on top of it and put the fire out. But it’s still smoldering. And so, I love that you are all about understanding the why. And going from that approach, what contributes a lot of times to these unwanted sexual desires?

Jay Stringer 20:24
Yes, I want to go back to something that you said just briefly about you being prescriber, like, it’s so easy for me to say this as a psychotherapist, because this is what I do day in and day out. But I was imagining, like, let’s say, I go into see Jordan, for some treatment, I don’t want you to ask me that question of what’s going on. But what else is happening in your life, like, I just want a quick fix. And so, I think we all function like that, I don’t want to deal with the problems of my life, I want an easy solution. And so, we do that with our medical providers. And we also do that with our mental health providers. But more importantly, we do that with almost anyone relationally that we experience of like, don’t ask me to grow. Don’t ask me to confront something about who I am or why I did just changed so that I don’t have to. So yeah. But in terms of what contributes to it, there are so many things that contribute to it. In my book, I divided into three different sections. Where do I come from? You know, why am I here? Why do I stay? And how do I get out? Those are the three sections. So that sense of where do I come from is really what that first question is all about. And that’s all about engaging the childhood drivers. And so a lot of times that’s been like systems, like who your mother and father were, or the roles that you learned how to play within that family system. It could also be like an adverse childhood experience, like childhood sexual abuse, bullying, those sorts of things. So, one of the things that I’m always looking at when someone come in comes in to see me is to have them tell me a little bit about their family system. And so, what we have learned in a lot of the research is that people who struggle with kind of out-of-control sexual behavior is usually a report coming from one of two types of families, a family that’s very rigid, or a family that’s very disengaged. And so, a rigid family, this is going back to your clubhouse conversation with regard to desire, most families do not honor the desire of their children terribly well. So, in a lot of rigid families, you might want to go to your favorite park, you might want to have something to eat or drink for your birthday. And maybe there’s some ability to honor it. But for the most part, the things that you really want, there’s just a rigidity around it of like, we’re not giving you what you want, and you’re selfish in some ways for wanting it. Or other times a rigid family system has a lot of discipline to it, but in a way that is very kind of corporal punishment, or just a lot of shaming behavior. So, the root word of discipline is disciple, which is all about teaching. And so that’s the key question to think about with regard to your family system is like when discipline was given, was that really instructed to teach you to understand your motivations, your heart, your longings? Or was that used to kind of shame you? And so, what ends up happening in most family systems that are rigid is that you learn that there’s so much hypocrisy to your mother and your father, that you can’t do anything; you’re kind of powerless to engage it in your desire is not honored. And so, what happens later in life developmentally is that you learn, you know, if I look at porn, or if I hook up with someone, it’s an escape from the rigidity of my home, and I can actually have some version of my desire met. On the other front is the disengaged family system. And that is kind of when care is overlooked. I’ve had so many women in my practice, that have told stories that when they first had their period, they had no idea what was happening to their bodies, and thought they were dying. So that sense of like, what was there any oversight? Was there any language that your family gave you to help you understand not just emotions, but your sexual life? And what we find is that oftentimes, it’s a mother or father’s job, that’s more important. Maybe your mom cared way too much about how the house look, the need to present some kind of shiny, glorified image to the world and that was more important to her than actually nurturing people. So I always think of like middle school as a prototype of hell, like all of my bullying, all of my abuse in the midst of that time, was in middle school. And so that sense of Did you have a mother or a father begin to care for you? If you did it that sense of care? was really overlooked in your life. And so, what happens if you grew up in a very disengaged family is that you begin to look to the horizon, to find some level of care and intimacy that you don’t really trust that your family is going to be a place where you experience intimacy, in desire, you have to look outside of the family. And we see that pattern get created over and over again, where people get married, they don’t really trust their partner to be able to know them seek them out. And so almost immediately, they begin scanning the horizon for another lover for another person. And so those are the family systems aspects of it. And then the other side of it would just be adverse childhood experiences. And I see this a lot with women. What we know from the research is that one in three, one in four women have past histories of sexual abuse. And what my research showed is that the very heaviest pornography users actually had sexual abuse scores that were nearly 24% higher than those who did not look at pornography at all. And so, what we know is that if your sexual template very early on in life gets messed with, there’s something abusive or problematic, the likelihood that your sexual life will find very similar themes of exploitation and abuse and assault is going to increase pretty dramatically. So, one story that comes to mind with regard to this is I was working with a woman who she was in college at the time and had basically just been fired from her nanny position due to snooping around the house. And so, what she didn’t realize was this family had a nanny cam installed in their master bedroom. And she was scanning through their master bedroom, and they picked her up on video. And what she said to me was, she said, Jay, I’m so relieved that they thought I was just trying to steal money, or their possessions. And I said, Well, if you weren’t trying to go through the drawer for money, or valuables, what were you trying to find that she said, I was trying to find their sex toys, I was trying to find porn, I was trying to find something. And she’s like, basically just shamed herself. Like, I’m so freaking disturbing. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, my sexual life is getting me into trouble. So again, she starts with a narrative of herself is very destructive. Well, as we begin to trace that story back, one of the stories that came to mind for her was when she was in middle school, she Bran, kind of a cat and dog sitting service or her neighborhood when people would go on vacations. And she said that she loved kind of being able to snoop around different people’s homes and try and find porn, try and find their sex toys. And again, like that bridge of being able to go back from, you know, early 20s woman to a middle school woman, and I said was that the first time that you started looking for porn, because at some point at 14, you knew that there would be something to find. And eventually, the story that she got to was that she lived with her grandparents one summer, and one of the things that her grandfather would always ask her to do is to clean the guest bathroom, but when she was there that summer, and he was really particular about his glass cleaner, and would basically say, you know, client, you need to just call her Kelly, Kelly, you need to go and clean the bathroom, and the glass cleaners underneath the sink. And so, she’s nine years old, she goes into their bathroom, gets the glass cleaner underneath the sink. And underneath that, right next to the glass cleaner is her grandfather’s stacks of Penthouse and playboy. And so that sense of feeling highly ambivalent of, she’d never seen porn at that point. Wanted to see it was aroused by the images, but also sense a level of shame. And again, just the brilliance but also just the wickedness of her grandfather putting glass cleaner right next to his what’s been referred in the past as dirty magazines. And so, for her, that’s always what she sets, some level of a lot of arousal, but also a level of feeling really dirty in her sexual life. And so that was the privilege of our work together with really helping her to understand that this compulsive sexual behavior this being fired, was actually giving her clues about how her sexual story was abused and groomed for long before any kind of destructive sexual pattern began. And that’s the work is how can we build that bridge between the present and the past?

Jordan D’Nelle 29:59
Wow, that’s so interesting that when you start digging, you see these things. And you brought up a couple of things that I wanted to talk a little bit more about. One of which is how parenting affects children growing up. And the importance of doing the healing in doing the work. Because you don’t realize what behaviors you’re passing on, or how your interactions are affecting your children. And for me, like, I don’t have kids, however, my mom and I have a ton of open conversations about this, because I started going to therapy, she started going to therapy, and now we’re realizing like, why I am the way certain behaviors I have, and how they are learned from her. And it’s just so important to do the work yourself as a parent especially.

Jay Stringer 30:51
Yes, yeah. I mean, Karl Yune, once said that the greatest threat or the greatest risk to a child is the unlived life of his or her mother, or parent. And you could say that, that that sense of Yeah, the way other psychologists say it like this, they say that the way that your parent talks to you becomes your inner voice. And if your parent delighted in you, and blessed, your entry, your curiosity, your giftedness, you begin to internalize it as this is a really good part of me. But if there was critique of Why are you so sensitive, why are you so selfish, what’s wrong with you, you’re always screwing up, like you’re always so disruptive, stop doing that, that becomes something of your inner voice. And then you begin to find behaviors that reinforce that core belief. So yeah, as you said, so important for you, as a parent, understand your own story. And then the other dimension of that is the roles that we learn how to play, particularly with our mothers and fathers go on to shape our sexual life. So, in my personal story, my I would say I had a very triangulated relationship with my mother. And so, what triangulation means is it’s essentially another phrase of kind of emotional investment so that when my dad would be at work or would be attending to a crisis in his world, my mom and I would talk quite a bit. So, I was always scanning the world of being able to say, do the dishes need to be done? I had a psychotic golden retriever with a thyroid problem growing up. So just always vacuuming the floors, like, what is Mommy? Right. And that became my identity that became the role that I played, that also affected my sexual life, the porn preferences that I had, the ways that I interacted with women. Early on in my adult life, were basically about scanning the world to see where were their husbands, where were their boyfriends not coming through for them. And then how could I present my heart, my eyes in a way that I know is going to engage them much better than their current partner. And so that role that I learned how to play with my mom kept reenacting itself over and over again, in my sexual life. And then as I shared earlier, in our time together, it’s still happening at some level with my wife, just in terms of what’s wrong, and how can I come through? And what do you need from me. So, the role that you learn to play with your mom or your dad or a sibling, will undoubtedly begin to affect your sexual life and your style of relating to others?

Jordan D’Nelle 33:38
Yeah, and it’s just so important to learn yourself to recognize these things. And just so that you’re aware, I think that that’s one of the big things that I have been working on is being aware of my behaviors, because I can’t do anything about them that I don’t know that they’re there and why they exist. You brought up your book, unwanted. And it’s all about how sexual brokenness reveals our way to healing. Do you want to tell us a little bit more about this book? And does it really dive more into all of this?

Jay Stringer 34:12
It does, at least I hope it does. My book. So, I come from a fairly, probably more conservative religious background. And that’s all about that lust management, the suppression of desire. And so, one of the things that I wanted to understand was, how do our past experiences play into what could be referred to as like an arousal template? So, what are the affair partners that I desire? What’s the porn searches that I typically make? And so, I interviewed about I had about 4000 men and women to get a sense of their story. So, I did want to get a sense of how many people watch porn and how many people have affairs, when we know that a third of all relationships will be impacted by extramarital affairs. We know that I don’t know, there was a study done. And I believe it was Montreal a couple years ago where the researchers were trying to find a single man that had not looked at porn, and they couldn’t find a research participant to fit that. So, it’s just we know that these unwanted behaviors are ubiquitous in our world, but we don’t really know what’s driving them. And so, the research that I did was, you know, if we could get a sense of your story, could we then begin to predict your behavior. And what we learned is that unwanted sexual behavior is not random. It’s a direct reflection of the parts of our story that remain unaddressed. And so, the implication, I think, is huge. It means that the sexual difficulties that we face can be a roadmap to healing. And so that’s what my book is about is let’s talk about the sexual difficulties that we’re facing. And as we talk about them, as we’re curious about them, the path to healing will be revealed in that. And so, one of the ways that I think about that is just to imagine your sexual life like a house, in you kind of you’re, you’re in your home, and all of a sudden, you hear that kind of familiar knock of sexual fantasy of lust of something. And just that moment of like, what are you going to do. And so, some people try and put a forcefield, around their house with internet monitoring, try and keep everything out. Some people are just like, as long as no one’s getting hurt, you can come in and just kind of be a squatter in my life today, but I’m trying to say like, don’t try and pathologize. And again, don’t just let the fantasy come in, go out onto the front porch of your life and ask questions like, why is it that I want a right fantasy? Why is it that this porn search has been appealing to me? Since the time I was 14? Why is it that whenever I feel desired sexually, something in me just begins to shut down. And so that just that sense of being curious, is how we need to begin dealing with our unwanted behaviors. And so that’s the approach is, if you are willing to listen, your sexual life will have so much to teach you.

Jordan D’Nelle 37:19
I love that, and I am definitely gonna have the link in the show notes for people to grab that book. And I think that it would help a lot of people just get more cues as to what is going on with their sexual desires. That’s awesome. Love it, and what do you want people to know about dealing with their unwanted sexual desires?

Jay Stringer 37:40
I mean, I think I would restate what I hope I’ve been saying all along is that we really need to get curious about these things. One example that I have loved at least when I was going through grad school for psychology was there was this French psychoanalyst by the name of Jacques Lacan. And one of the things that Lacan would talk about is we all have symptoms, and he was French. And so, the, he could have used I don’t know French, but I think the French word is like symptom, but he did a wordplay with the French words and symptom and basically made it state home, which is more of a holy man or Holy Prophet. And so for Lacan, he said that every there is no patient without a symptom. And so our symptoms are basically the Holy Prophets that are saying the thing that cannot be acknowledged by the patient. So, let’s say I have a really bad back. Well, my bad back is a symptom. That is something of a Holy Prophet that’s trying to get my attention about maybe having a terrible chair, maybe it’s my poor posture, maybe I went through a car accident a year ago, and I never really got it checked out. And so the symptom is the Holy Prophet, it’s trying to get our attention. And so just that sense of curiosity is what I want would want people to know of when your sexual life gets difficult, but when you feel out of control, when you feel that it is a signal, it is trying to tell you something about something unresolved in your present relationship, or potentially unresolved in your past. And so instead of viewing it, pathologically or normalizing view it as a signal.

Jordan D’Nelle 39:28
I love that, that your symptoms are a signal. I feel like that is the key like that’s so key. Where can listeners find you?

Jay Stringer 39:37
So, my website is Jay-Stringer.com. And there are a number of resources there. So, I have you can find my book there. I have something called a sexual behavior self-assessment there as well, and so people can take the survey that that I did for my research, it’s about 160 questions and that will give you some compass headings about what’s driving your unwanted behaviors and some, you know, just some more language around, potentially why it might be manifesting in the way that it is. And then I also do a number of trainings for therapists and clergy, really any professionals just from that notion of like, you cannot take anyone further than you have been yourself. And so, what I find is that most grad schools and seminaries have not done great work preparing us for our sexual life. So, I don’t, Jordan, I don’t know about you, but I know to be a licensed therapist, you only need one class in human sexuality in order to graduate and from what I’ve heard from other nurses and medical doctors is I think that they also told me they had one required class and human sexuality. So, we don’t even our professionals don’t know a whole lot about this work. So, the website has different articles, resources, if you’re hoping to get on this journey.

Jordan D’Nelle
I love that and we’ll link that in the show notes as well. For me, you know, in school I don’t think I had any education on sexuality. And, thankfully, I’ve always been interested in it, and I’ve done the research myself, I’ve done a lot of work myself to explore my own sexuality, but ya, going to see most of your providers . . . they don’t have the information, but on top of that are they comfortable discussing it, because sometimes these conversations are not necessarily the most they can be if you’re not used to
talking about this stuff they can be awkward conversations and then the patient feels that.

Jay Stringer
Yes, yep, it’s so true. You can just pick it up so fast if your provider is comfortable or has any fluency in being able to talk through this.

Jordan D’Nelle
Well, thank you so much for jointing me today this has been an amazing conversation. I appreciate you greatly.

Jay Stringer
Jordan, thank you for having me. It’s been an honor and it’s been so good to get to know you and talk through these things with you.

Jordan D’Nelle
This episode is sponsored by Pure Romance by Jordan Jones offering top bath and beauty products and relationship enhancement items. Check out the link in the bio to start shopping today. By shopping, you are supporting this podcast.

Thank you for joining today and continuing to bring awareness to women’s health. If you love this show please subscribe so you never miss another episode. And leave a review for others to see. If you want to see me on the daily, you can check out my bio for links to all my pages. Be sure to share this episode with your girlfriends. Thanks again and see you next episode.

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