Episode 20: Cosmic Sex: What Thousands of Women Say (and hundreds of men, too) with Gina Ogden, Ph.D. Author of "Women Who Love Sex" and "The Heart & Soul of Sex"

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Francesca Gentille interviews Dr. Gina Ogden, marriage and family therapist, researcher, and facilitator of "Heart & Soul of Sex Workshops." In this episode Dr Ogden shares mind blowing statistics from her ground breaking sex research. Learn what almost 4,000 women and men say about sexuality and spirituality. Delve into the multi-dimensional sexual brain. Celebrate the real meaning of the "Oh, God!" experience during sex. Discover how to move through limiting sexual beliefs and break through to your personal erotic edge.


Cosmic Sex: What Thousands of Women Say (and hundreds of men, too) with Gina Ogden, Ph.D. Author of "Women Who Love Sex" and "The Heart & Soul of Sex"

Announcer:  This program is intended for mature audiences only.


Francesca Gentille: Welcome to 'Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra', bringing you the soul of sex. I'm your host Francesca Gentille and with me today is Dr Gina Ogden. Dr Ogden is a marriage and family therapist, a researcher and author of five books including 'Women Who Love Sex' and 'The Heart and Soul of Sex'. She also teaches 'Heart and Soul of Sex' workshops all over the country.

Francesca Gentille: You know, I think that this is America's dirty little secret at this moment, is that really that sex is more than y'know, penis and vagina, tarbe and schvarse - is more than just a sensation.

Gina Ogden: I'm asking, what does sex feel like? And what does it mean in your life? And you're going to get a sound spectrum of answers from that. If I had one little bottle of wisdom that I could hand out to everybody is first of all listen to yourself and secondly, listen to your heart. Sex is more than just physical, in that it involves our hearts and our spirits and our minds, as well as our body and that said, we do live in a physical world which is defined by work and kids and whatever else is going on and that we have to make some time. Sex is literally a path to spirit that all sorts of visual stuff can open up, emotional stuff can open up that I've had women and men say "You know, I see god at the moment of orgasm" - I call it the "Oh God" experience.

Francesca Gentille: (laughs)

Francesca Gentille: Welcome Gina.

Gina Ogden: I'm really delighted to be here Francesca. As you know I just admire so much that you're putting us all out over the airwaves.

Francesca Gentille: Well Gina I am so delighted to have you here, I just love your brain. I love that you are someone is spritiual, has shamonic information and yet, is a researcher - someone who is concrete who deals with statistics and numbers and gives us the information we need in a way that makes sense. And one of the ways you've done this so beautifully, recently is from your research from your book, 'The Heart and Soul of Sex'and how many women did you actually hear from in that study?

Gina Ogden: Well women and men. I had been on the road for years for various other books including 'Women Who Love Sex' and I thought I really need to get some statistical information to back up these stories that I'm hearing all over the country and I put out a survey that ended up going national even though it was an indepedent survey and I ended up with three thousand eight hundred and ten people of whom over three thousand were women. But there were six hundred and eight-four men in this survery as well and what was amazing to me, the survey was titled, 'Integrating Sexuality In Spirituality' (acronym 'ISIS') and what's amazing to me is the men who answered the survey were very much like the women who answered the survey in terms of the kind of information they gave about sex being a whole person experience not just a physical 'big bang'.

Francesca Gentille: You know, I think that this is America's dirty little secret at this moment, is that really that sex is more than y'know, penis and vagina, tarbe and schvarse - is more than just a sensation and the other researchers, the 'Height' reports, the 'Masters and Johnson' have all been really studying the physical sensations and what the body does. But what's so exciting to me and I think a lot of our listening audience is that you've been studying what the spirit, what the emotions do - what y'know really happens and what means something to us beyond y'know as they say in Britain the 'slap and tickle'.

Gina Ogden: (laughs) Well indeed. I started out as a mere sex therapist and after many years of doing this and hearing stories I understood that indeed, sex is more than physical. I mean I understand that in my own life too, as a women on this planet. And as I was reading the research and finding that there are over seven hundred sex surveys that were done in the twentieth Century, and they all ask the same questions, 'how many times do you have intercourse a week?', 'when did you start?', 'how many orgasms did you have?' blah blah blah. As if our sexual experience was actually something you could count and measure, and in fact guess what? You can't count and measure all that goes into our sexual experience because it has to do with our emotions, it has to do with how we reach out and make contact with one another, it has to do with our sense of humour it has to do with our sensations, it has to do with our crazyness and our wonderfulness and all of the space that we create in our relationships for making contact or not making contact and there is no yard stick you can put on that. So I believe that sex researchers who have tried to put that yard stick there have been short changing women and men by asking the wrong questions.

Francesca Gentille: Absolutely and it's so exciting that you're asking the right ones and what you're finding is that male or female even though there's a smaller statistical grouping of the men, I'm looking at your book right now that y'know it says eighty-six percent say sex also involves love, romance and mystical union. Eighty-six percent!

Gina Ogden: Yeah, and it's not that I'm setting myself up as somebody who is asking the right questions but I am asking instead of saying 'how much? how many? who with?' I am asking 'what does sexy feel like, and what does it mean in your life?'And you're going to get a vast spectrum of answers from that.

Francesca Gentille: From everything that you've heard as a sex therapist, from what you've called in this research and now from your work shop, is there some things that our listening audience and basically I should want to know about our partners, something that as we're entering the sexual experience, what would you say to us? Y'know maybe some advice or wisdom teaching about, another way to think about it?

Gina Ogden: Well, y'know it sounds really simplistic to say it but I think the major, if I had one little bottle of wisdom that I could hand out to everybody it's first of all listen to yourself, and secondly listen to your heart. It's that simple. Because, women do this whole number about it's not okay to love sex - I know this because I wrote a book 'Women Who Love Sex' and all this media attention for being, y'know there aren't any women out there who love sex or it's not okay to love sex or "women who love sex are whores and bimbos" and when people accuse me of that I said "Thank you" (laughs). But women tend to do a number about it's not okay to have what I want because that our social life women are not supposed feel things. But men are socialised in a whole other way, they are supposed to take charge and you put these two 'beings' together - male and female or even female and female and male and male and what you get very often is a whole lot of static instead of this smooth flow of let's meet heart to heart, mind to mind, body to body let's align our shokras let's call in the energies around us, let's enjoy one another - let's have a good time! And we get on this kind of performance trip about how sex is supposed to be and it is defined by the researchers, it's defined by the pharmaceutical company who are selling us drugs so we can have intercourse until we are ninety-three and it's defined by our religions that tell us certain one right way to have sex. It's defined by our politicians who say who can get married who can not get married, who can have abortions who can not have abortions. So the culture is putting this damper on how we are experiencing ourselves as sexual beings.

Francesca Gentille: Y'know Gina I wanna talk more about this and how as individuals or as couples who want a deeper connection, who want more expanded sexuality we can support one another to as you say re-define sex for ourselves and our own relationships after we come back from a break and a word from our sponsor.

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to 'Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra' bringing you the soul of sex. Talking with Dr Gina Ogden who is the author of 'Women Who Love Sex' and 'The Heart And Soul of Sex' as well as the work shop leader of 'Heart and Soul of Sex' work shops across the country. Gina we were just talking about how so many things define our sexuality and really drain the way we think about sexuality the way we allow ourselves to enjoy it and here, in this journey that we're on in our conversation and this show we're supporting people to open up and to really find a new way and as you said re-define our sexuality for ourselves. How do we, what are some tips, how do we support ourselves and one another to y'know break through those limiting beliefs?

Gina Ogden: Yeah, good question I mean just the kind of underlying thing I think we all need to know. Sex is more than just physical that it involves our hearts and our spirits and our minds as well as our body and that said we do live in a physical world which is defined by work and kids and whatever else is going on and that we have to make some time. We have to set the stage for having some kind of intimate experience whether we call that 'genital sex' or whether we call it something else. But if we don't make that time it probably isn't going to happen because you'll probably already be on the internet or into the baseball game or into whatever you're doing with the kids or the dogs or whoever lives in your household. And that said I find that one of the most important things that happens with people is that they really feel that they can speak their hearts that I sometimes say you need to practice safety as erotic foreplay, in other words you have to create a safe space in your relationship maybe actually space in your house whether it's your bedroom or some other place outside but in your relationship there needs to be that sense of safety that whatever I say whetever I do you're not going to hit me, you're not going to laugh at me, you're not going to leave me and you're not going to through that back in my face and that this kind of sense of making time and practicing safety is really important and I actually have some ground rules around that if you want me to throw them out?

Francesca Gentille: Oh yes please!

Gina Ogden: Yeah, again really simple kinds of ground rules. One is to take a vow of confidentiality, I do this in all of my groups. For instance that whatever passes between us, although I note that whatever is passing between you and me right now Francesca is going to be out to everybody but if this were an intimate relationship I would want to make it absolutely clear that what I'm sharing with you, you're not going to go telling your girlfriend, your boyfriend, you're not going to go sharing this in the locker room and another ground rule is that you use eye statements. You say 'I feel this, I want this' not 'you always say'. You say what I want and thirdly you keep things positive. If there's something you're doing or wanting that I just feel is not possible for me or that's a big turn on for me instead of saying "Yuk! You're terrible person" I find a way to say well, this is something that you want, it isn't where I am right now. How can we find a way to get us both what it is we want, and maybe to sandwich that in with phrases like "You know I really love you, I really like you, I love how we are together, let's see how we can move towards what it is you want" and keep it simple, because if we talk it to death it's going to get in the way. I love the old Chinese saying "Talk does not boil rice" (laughs) So that often listening and asking for what you want doesn't have to involve a great deal of talk because a lot of the talk happens within the body.

Francesca Gentille: Those are lovely ground rules and would really help a couple I think to literally say them to create their own ground rules to take some of these, make some of their own so that they really feel that safety in revealing themselves. Because that is a whole level of erotic intimacy when I reveal parts of myself that I wouldn't reveal with anyone else.

Gina Ogden: That's right and you're so right about creating your own ground rules or the very fact that there can be ground rules or safe words. Y'know if I feel really scared I can say "pickle" and you'll stop. Which allows us to be much more adventurous together that we might not dare do if we didn't know there was a way to stop them.

Francesca Gentille: One of my favourite ground rules is that "stop" is a great word because if someone is saying "stop" or I'm saying "stop" that is actually and opportunity to go deeper..

Gina Ogden: That's right.

Francesca Gentille: ..into intimacy it means something is popping emotionally some little emotional energy is moving within my body because of this intimacy we're sharing and when I can speak to it and really reveal that then the next wave of erotic connection is going to be bigger.

Gina Ogden: That's right and y'know there's a difference safety and comfort and comfort and not not but sometimes really letting go does take you beyond your comfort zone and when you get to an edge is where a lot of the sexual excitement is, spiritual excitement is. Women and men tell me sometimes that sex is literally a path to the spirit that all sorts of visual stuff can open up, emotional stuff can open up that I've had women and men say "I see God at the moment of orgasm" - I call it the 'Oh God experience'..

Francesca Gentille: (laughs)

Gina Ogden: ..y'know what do we yell at the moment of orgasm? We don't yell "Oh, devil" we yell "Oh, God!" that there is divinity there when we can connect at that level with one another and that is what I call the cosmic experience and you don't find that written about in the sex research books. Yes you will because it's showing up in brain research which is probably the subject of a whole other radio show.

Francesca Gentille: Oh, well maybe we'll touch on that the a little bit of the brain research and cosmic sex and maybe a little bit more on how do we enter that edge how do we manouevre through that edge in a way that brings even greater connection with ourselves and one another and as you said in your book forty-seven percent of your respondents say they experienced god during sexual ecstasy and we'll talk about all of this and more after a break and a word from our sponsors.

Francesca Gentille: Welcome back to 'Sex: Tantra and Kama Sutra' with Dr Gina Ogden author of 'Women Who Love Sex' and 'The Heart and Soul of Sex' we're talking about how the brain, scientists are discovering how the brain really reflects these cosmic states of sexuality and we're also talking about edges but before we go onto the edges, Gina could you share a little bit about the latest research on the brain and cosmic sexuality?

Gina Ogden: Yeah well one of the things that totally fascinated me when I did my huge survey on sexuality and spirituality is that while I was doing that there were other researchers, Beverley Whibble and Barry Commis who were dilligently working away in the laboratory from an entirely different perspective measuring brain waves during how women were having orgasmic experiences and what I've learnt from their work although they were looking through something totally different what I learnt from their work is that during orgasm and during vaginal stimulation because that's what they were studying, the whole brain lights up and it's not just the hyperthalamus that lights up which is the centre for physical gratificication but guess what the amingella lights up which is the centre for emotional response and the temporal lobe lights up which is the centre for religious ecstacy and spiritual experience and I could go on for the many centres of the brain that lit up. And I said "Oh God", for me that was an "Oh God" experience, this is exactly what these women and men who are answering my survey are saying so that if there is some organic explanation for sex being a body, mind, heart, soul experience - an organic explanation for sex being more than just sensational, just physical, just a performance trip as in what all the other sex researchers are saying, 'how many times do you do it a week?' that's only a small piece of it so that was really exciting to me.

Francesca Gentille: That is really exciting and I think just hearing that gives us permission to support ourselves and support one another to go where many of us have wanted to go which is into the more of the emotional ways of being and just some of the more spiritual ways of being and to experiment with that instead of saying "put your hand here" or "do it a little harder" or "do it a little faster" this gives me that support, our listeners that support to say how can we, what way can you touch me or what way that you look at me has me feel that I'm melting has me feel that I'm experiencing God or the devine or the earth itself making love and you're giving us the language or the permission to do that.

Gina Ogden: That's right and is it really true that if we simply gaze into each other's eyes that we can come to a full body orgasm? Ofcourse and people have know this, women and men have know this since time in memorial if you go back to some of the anthropological stuff that is being dug up and revisioned and it's as if we've forgotten it in the last, I don't know hundred or thousand years and our trying to squeeze sexual experience into just this very physical maybe very procreative type of kind of bond. What I've found in my research when I started asking the questions nobody else was asking is that this indeed this is what people are feeling or doing anyway but they feel they didn't have the right to talk about it or they didn't feel that have the language to talk about it and I think you're absolutely right that once we begin to match the brain research, the laboratory research which is the 'power language' of this culture with the kind of experiential research and listening to women's stories and men's stories about what actually happens and we can put those together we do give ourselves permission, we give ourselves permission to be sexual not to have sex as if sex was some kind of commodity we could go buy in the drug store from the pharmaceutical company but we can be fully sexual as beings in this world which doesn't mean we have to be being genital with everybody we meet but we can allow sexual energy to move through us and to inform what we do its all the centre of creative energy, it's the centre of religious ecstasy, it is as they say, all one.

Francesca Gentille: And this is the edge today that we're really talking about. We had the sexual revolution in the sixties where suddenly sex became something we could all talk about and do then we discovered the clittories, the g-spot and this is the next step, the heart and soul of sex.

Gina Ogden: I think you're right, we're discovering that our sexuality can be cosmic in the sense that connects us with universal energy and by saying that I don't want to abuse this by saying this is another performance trip, that if you're having cosmic sex that you're not doing it right - it's simply allowing for the possibilities that sex is more than physical, that stimulation is more than just touching your clitoris or sucking your penis in a certain way. That there's something that happens in your emotions that there is something that happens relationally between you, that there is something that happens visually or auditorally that just blows your mind and allows your life to change in ways that you may not have been able to imagine.

Francesca Gentille: Well Gina this has been so, there is that saying "so uplifting" it really has been uplifting and inspiring. You're one of my heroes as the men and women today who are really out in the forefront paving the way for rest of us to have the erotic life, the spiritual life, the heart life, the life that we've always wanted and have it all integrated and what I wanted is to encourage people to find you and to find these work shops you're doing all over the country. Would you give us your web site so we can find you?

Gina Ogden: Yes, GinaOgden.com - you will me, or type in 'The Heart and Soul of Sex'and there I will be!

Francesca Gentille: (laughs)

Gina Ogden: (laughs)

Francesca Gentille: Thank you so much for joining us today.

Gina Ogden: Well this is just lovely and I have to say you are one of my heroes because you are doing this for so many of us who are in this field and that just feels utterly altruistic and delightful.

Francesca Gentille: And thank you our listening audience for joining us today, for being those great, revolutionaries those sexual revolutionaries in the world today and if you want to get a transcript of this today, get more of Gina's urls, find out more about 'The Heart and Soul of Sex' you can find it at www.personallifemedia.com, and you can also leave us message as 206-350-5333. Thank you for joining us at 'Sex: Tantra and Kama-Sutra' bringing you the soul of sex.

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