#48: Ian Kerner – She Comes First

The True Meaning of ‘Cliteracy’
Starting with a discussion of his book, She Comes First, Ian Kerner’s coined word ‘cliteracy’ is given more thought and emphasis. Overall, the term encapsulates the aim of his bestselling book. He relays to listeners his previously one-sided mentalities towards sex, his struggles, and his overall motivations for becoming “cliterate” (clitoral literacy). By moving past an intercourse-dominated understanding of what sex had been, and shifting towards an outercourse understanding of what sex could be, his life changed for the better. For more on the backstory and motivations for She Comes First, and his whole shift in perspective, check the episode out.

Less Performance Anxiety With Cunnilingus?
Yes and no, Ian Kerner states. Certainly, if one shifts towards more foreplay, closeness, and outercourse over sticking to a strictly penetrative practice, the slow-burning build-up can be a much more relaxed experience for all who are involved. And according to Kerner, it is much rarer for a man to be anxious about performing oral sex on a partner over traditional vaginal intercourse (where maintaining an erection or premature ejaculation can often crop up). Instead, females are usually much more anxious to receive cunnilingus because of issues of genital self-esteem and other factors. For more on this, Ian Kerner really brings up some cogent points on the subject.

Genital Self-Esteem
This concept is a very important one to consider when the topic at hand is cliteracy. Especially for someone who has harsh, unrealistic, or unhealthy self-perceptions about the appearance or size of their genitals, and so on. And the number one way to remedy an anxious partner is to express how much you enjoy giving them pleasure–expressing one’s during the performative aspect of cunnilingus is key. This reinforces a system of positive feedback which in turn makes the act more enjoyable for all involved.

Sex in Multiple Acts
Ian likes to remind his clients that sex shouldn’t be done on just a penetrative basis. He likens those kinds of sexual practices as a play with only one act. So, instead of going straight for the climax without actually having built up properly for it, he encourages starting slow. Only when you introduce important elements can you move onto the next act. If you want really good, healthy sex, one should logically start with the first act: this could consist of seduction or playful touching. Act 2 is genital stimulation. And act 3 can logically progress from there with more foreplay. Or maybe an intermission between acts 3 and 4, and then the play resumes. Also, who says an orgasm has to be the end result? Some of the most satisfying sexual experiences (plays) don’t always end with a climax. For much more, check it out!

Changes to She Comes First?
Because Ian wrote She Comes First over a decade ago, some of focuses and implementations are perhaps a little lopsided for his taste now. Technique gets the majority of page space throughout the book, and he ponders aloud if perhaps he should have focused more on the communication aspects of sex over achieving a ‘flow’ state during the act itself. Both are important of course! But overall, Ian is proud of the book, as he should be. And for those who haven’t picked up a copy, you really should. You should also really check the episode out!

Background
Ian Kerner is the bestselling author of, She Comes First, and its companion piece, Passionista: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man. In addition to garnering acclaim with the aforementioned books, he has successfully launched and maintained a career as a licensed psychotherapist, a sexuality counselor with a focus in sex therapy and couples therapy; he is also considered a prominent authority on sexuality throughout the industry.

Just a few of the notable programs and organizations that he is a part of include the following: He is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT); Also, Ian is certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists and currently sits on AASECT’s Board of Directors. And for a more in-depth list of his affiliations and efforts, visit his website here: https://www.iankerner.com/

In addition, Ian is also a very accomplished public speaker and lecturer and has spoken at dozens of events on topics ranging from psychotherapy to sex tips and beyond. He has been a guest on the Dr. Oz Show, he writes for CNN Health, and is a frequent speaker at many academic institutions and symposiums. All in all, Ian is one of the most successful writers on sexuality of all time, and we have been extremely fortunate to have him on the show!

Website: https://www.iankerner.com/

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Jessa Zimmerman

Jessa Zimmerman is a couples’ counselor and nationally certified sex therapist. On Better Sex, she and her expert guests share their insights, strategies, and ways of thinking about sex that will help you improve your intimate relationship.