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The Sexy Science of Fifty Shades of Grey. Joanna Wilson, D.O. Board-Certified Internal Medicine Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.

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the sexy science of fifty shades of grey

The Sexy Science of Fifty Shades of Grey

Joanna Wilson, D.O.

Board-Certified Internal Medicine

Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center


“A rich, handsome man charms a young innocent with lavish gifts and bold declarations of desire. With a smoldering gaze, he melts her insides, turns her legs to jelly and paralyzes her subconscious, paving the way for hot sex scenes while she attempts to crack his steely veneer.”


intriguing book but don t expect a pulitzer prize
Intriguing book,but don’t expect a Pulitzer Prize



Accessible protagonist

Written in first person

Brings BDSM to the general population

New savvy cover art

  • Redundant
  • Poorly edited
  • Blatant product placement
  • Old erotica formula
tipping point erotica for soccer moms
Tipping Point:Erotica For Soccer Moms
  • e-readers protect privacy
  • Escapism from stressors of life, finances
  • Escapism from personal repression
  • Expression of taboo fantasies
  • Pandemic of low libido in adult women
  • Hypersexuality in music, video
  • Normal
    • Help turn off the parts of the brain associated with stress and anxiety
  • Women are heteroflexible
    • Sexual attraction to women is common in heterosexual women
  • Erotic novels aremore arousing towomen than pictures
  • Promote exploring different aspects of self and partner

Snowden, Gray. Archives of Sexual Medicine


Restraint, sensory stimulation, role-playing, and a variety of interpersonal dynamics

  • Power Exchange

“Physical manifestation of psychological surrender.”

endorphins anastasia s anesthesia
Endorphins: Anastasia’s Anesthesia
  • Attenuation- pain perception can be reduced and nerves can be desensitized
  • Endorphins- released by painful stimuli and orgasms and mimic morphine to reduce pain
swedish vs deep tissue your choice
Swedish vs. Deep Tissue: Your choice
  • Pain thresholds vary person to person
  • Interpretation of pain as pleasure may be a variable of neuronal wiring or provide psychological relaxation for some people
timing is everything
Timing is everything
  • Sexual arousal encourages acceptance of smells and fluids normally considered offensive
  • Lack of sufficient arousal upon exposure to offensive substances augments feelings of repulsion

Borg, Feelings of Disgust and Disgust-Induced Avoidance Weaken Following Induced Sexual Arousal in Women

play safely
Play Safely
why did christian insist on exercising
Why did Christian insist on exercising?
  • The pelvic floor muscles which control urine also contract during orgasm
  • Strong muscles prevent urine leakage and allow more intense orgasms
kegel exercises
Kegel Exercises
  • Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream.
  • Perfect your technique. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
  • Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
  • Repeat 3 times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
the tip of the iceburg
The tip of the iceburg
  • Clitoris has 8,000 sensory nerve fibers (more than anywhere else in the human body and nearly twice the amount found on the head of a penis)
  • The glans is connected to the body or shaft of the internal clitoris, which is made up of two corpora cavernosa wrapped around the vagina
  • The corpus cavernosum also extends further, bifurcating again to form the two crura. These two legs extend up to 9cm, pointing toward the thighs when at rest, and stretching back toward the spine when erect
orgasm 101
Orgasm 101
  • Direct or indirect stimulation of clitoral tissue induces orgasm
  • Vaginal penetration tugs at clitoral tissue
  • Some positions are better than others at achieving sufficient clitoral stimulation
location location location
Location, Location, Location
  • Distance of clitoris to vaginal opening is one of the determinants of a woman’s ability to orgasm during penetration
oxytocin a big warm chemical hug
Oxytocin: A Big, Warm Chemical Hug
  • Released during breastfeeding and promotes uterine contractions and bonding
  • Released during non-sexual touching of romantic couples and lowers blood pressure and promotes a sense of well-being
  • Released during orgasm to promote a sense of intimacy and relaxation
bonding not bondage
Bonding (not bondage)
  • Great sex is not about technique, but about feeling an emotional connection
  • Generating bliss in the partner, and not focusing on generating an orgasm

Schnarch, The Passionate Marriage

sensate focus touching instructions
Sensate Focus: Touching Instructions
  • Increases communication and awareness of sexually sensitive areas between partners

sexual attention deficit disorder
Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Spectatoring-cognitive self-absorption during sexual intimacy
    • Focus on non-erotic cues reduces intimacy and perception of pleasure
      • Generates anxiety
      • Ignore erotic cues
  • Fear
    • Of taking too long
    • Or not climaxing at all
learn to be in the moment
Learn to be in the moment
  • Mindful Meditations itunes podcast and Mnf app
  • Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas
masturbation is a touchy subject
Masturbation is a touchy subject
  • Directed masturbation
    • Visual exploration
    • Targeted manipulation
  • Strong relationship between frequency of masturbation and orgasmic ability during masturbation
take one and call me in the morning the history of the vibrator
Take one and call me in the morning-The History of the Vibrator
  • 1800’s: Physicians treated common ailments (anxiety, depression, aggression, hysteria, muscle aches) with weekly sessions of induced ‘paroxysms’
  • 1869: Steam-powered massager by the American physician George Taylor
  • 1880: Battery-operated vibrator by British physician Joseph Mortimer Granville and manufactured by the Weiss Company

“help women maintain a youthful glow and calm demeanor”

  • 1920’s: Vibrators began to appear in pornography, giving them a social stigma
    • Nail buffers, back scratchers or vacuum attachments?
  • 1980’s: Vibrators became more mainstream when the AIDS epidemic boomed

the target dictates the weapon
The target dictates the weapon.
  • External
    • Clitoral
  • Internal
    • G-spot
    • Vaginal
    • Rectal
bottom s up
Bottom’s Up!
  • Butt plugs and prostate massagers can be very pleasurable to some people
vaginal blood flow
Vaginal blood flow

Increased by:

Decreased by:




Men’s cologne

  • Exercise
  • Adrenaline
  • Penetration
  • Testosterone
  • Arousal
did anastasia ever keep her underwear dry
Did Anastasia ever keep her underwear dry?
  • Vaginal lubrication
    • Ingredients: pyridine, squalene, urea, acetic acid, lactic acid, complex alcohols (including cholesterol), glycols (including propylene glycol) ketones, and aldehydes
      • one third of women produce short-chain aliphatic acids (a pungent class of chemicals which other primate species produce as sexual-olfactory signals)
    • Altered by: vaginal bacteria presence and species (natural and probiotic use,) estrogen status, and diet
the secret ingredient pheromones
The secret ingredient: pheromones
  • “odorprints” in genitaldischarge, sweat, and saliva
    • Contain immune system identifiers
    • Prevent inbreeding with those with similar pheromones and promote attraction to those with different ones
    • Blocked during OCP use affecting attraction

Wedekind et al.

need a spoonful of sugar
Need a ‘spoonful of sugar’?


Listerine strips


from slugs to vaginas
From slugs to vaginas
  • Rabbit vaginas used for testing vaginal chemicals, but slugs were better
  • 5 consecutive days of exposure - Mucus production discriminates between non-irritating and mildly irritating
  • The slugs reported:
    • Replens is mildly irritating
    • KY is moderately irritating
    • Nonoxynol-9 is severely irritating

Dhondt.Local Tolerance of Vaginal Formulations. Sexually Transmitted Diesease April 2004.

learnin lubes
Learnin’ Lubes
  • Glycerol concentrations increase vaginal secretions during sexual arousal
    • Intensity of secretions is due to the osmotic gradient of the compound (ie, glycerin, propylene glycol)
  • Highly hyperosmotic lubes (Astroglide) have been shown to cause sloughing of the lining of the colon and cervix and increase chance of STD infection

Fuchs. Hyperosmolar Sexual Lubrican Causes Epithelial Damage in the Distal Colon: Potential Implication for HIV Transmission. JID 2007:195 (1 March)

lube a girl s best friend
Lube: A Girl’s Best Friend
  • Water-Based with glycerin
    • Long lasting
    • May promote yeast infections
  • Water-Based without glycerin
    • Shorter-lasting
    • Bitter tasting
  • Oil-Based
    • Massage
    • Not for use with condoms
  • Silicone-Based
    • Waterproof
    • Best for anal use
    • Not for use with soft silicone toys
  • Flavored
stimulating lubricants
“Stimulating” Lubricants
  • Ingredients
    • Menthol
    • Peppermint
    • Niacin
    • Saw Palmetto
    • L arginine
    • L Histidine
    • Orange fruit
    • Ginsing
    • Maca
    • Gingko