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February 3, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

The role sexual pleasure plays in our health


Author and Certified Sexologist Eric Garrison joined the show to discuss sexual pleasure and its important to health.

Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.

Eric Marlowe Garrison is no stranger to sex and sexual health. After a dipping his feet in the sex education pool as a college peer educator, the Masters and Johnson Institute hired him to educate their clients on their then new phone service. Eric also holds masters degrees from two royally chartered universities (in the fields of sex research and teaching) and is both a Diplomate and former student president at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the world’s oldest school of public health.


Certified by AASECT and the American College of Sexologists, Eric authored the international best seller, Mastering Multiple Position Sex, and appears often in various global media. Recently, while wearing his forensic sexology hat, Eric offered expert testimony in the important trial of US v. Newman, the third sexual assault case at the United States Military Academy at West Point and only the second rape conviction in the Academy’s two-hundred-year history.

Eric is also gifted in the area of “oratorical sex”, frequently receiving invitations to share his wit and wisdom through workshops, grand rounds, and keynotes – all the way from the west coast of the United States to the west bank of the River Thames. His audiences ranged as high in number as one thousand, and the venues include the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Oxford Medical School at the University of Oxford.

Finally, and most importantly, Eric serves as a sounding board, mentor, and sex coach to people around the world who want to have better sex. He sees clients face to face in his Richmond (Virginia) office, and reaches out to people around the globe – especially serving in the US military and Foreign Service – through Skype, the Internet, and phone, when they can’t come in to see him.

For more information or to make an appointment with Eric Garrison, please go to


Abbreviated Transcript of Interview with Eric Garrison

Eric Michaels: There is so much talk on the importance of orgasms and even multiple orgasms these days. What’s your take on that?
Eric Garrison: When I work with a new client or couple, I stress the importance of sexual pleasure. Orgasms certainly are pleasurable, we may not always be able to have them. So I try to teach my clients have as much pleasure as possible and that means maybe an orgasm or maybe not, but that's fine with me, and I hope they learn that it can be fine for them as well.

Eric Michaels: What role does sexual pleasure play in our health?
Eric Garrison: The way I see it, health is a fundamental human right. Sexual health is part of health, so sexual health is a fundamental human right. Now by extension, because sexual pleasure is part of sexual health, sexual pleasure is a fundamental human right; so when people tell me that they don't experience sexual pleasure or don't have as much sexual pleasures they would like, that is as much of a concern for me as it is for them.

Eric Michaels: How does masturbation fit into sexual health?
Eric Garrison: Masturbation IS self-pleasuring. Masturbation can be practice for sexual act to come, they can teach an individual about their own body, and it can provide a slew of health benefits. It can help reduce pain. It can help control our appetites. It can help relieve sinus pressure. It can expedite a natural childbirth. It can help reduce prostate cancer in men. It doesn't cost anything, it doesn't spread disease, and it doesn't result in unwanted pregnancies. Masturbation is a problem only in two situations: if your religion forbids it, or if by masturbating, other aspects of your life are interrupted. If an individual is late for work because they masturbate, that's a problem. If an individual doesn't take out the trash, because they're masturbating, that's a problem. If somebody forgets to file their taxes, because they're masturbating, that's a problem. Otherwise it is a healthy part of our sexuality.

Eric Michaels: In your book and medical school lectures, you talk a great deal about what individuals and couples should strive for in their sexual relationships. So now for the counterpoint: how would you define abnormal sex?
Eric Garrision: I get this question a lot, so much so, that I had answered in my book. On page 13, I write: “the only abnormal form of sex is when coercion is present or consent is absent.” Minors can’t provide legal consent, nor can people under the influence of alcohol or other mind altering substances. So my definition of abnormal sex is not only a legal one and an ethical one, it is also a very open-minded and non-judgemental one.

Eric Michaels: Seeing as you literally wrote the book on sex positions, what do you consider to be the worst is sexual position?
Eric Garrison: That's a great question! I call it “The Dead Octopus”. Most of us have two arms and two legs, which means our partners probably have two arms and two legs. So when I hear that couples have sex and their arms and legs do absolutely nothing in bed, that's what I call the Dead Octopus. Now if you have an injury or paralysis, then you can eroticize other parts of your body. You may not need your hands to do anything to your body, but your partner may need an extra hand. Likewise your left leg could stroke your partner’s right leg. The important thing to remember is that pleasure in bed belongs to you. Don't rely on somebody else to give you pleasure like it's a gift wrapped up in little a little blue box from Tiffany's. You may ask for help with your sexual pleasure, but don't expect it to be given. So avoid the Cctopus and help take matters into your own hands. Speaking of which, if your partner tries to prevent you from pleasuring yourself during sex without your consent, you need to stop and have a discussion immediately, and perhaps leave that relationship.

---Don't forget to not miss the "Conclusion Tip"...

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Note: The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the show host or it's owners.

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