Speaking on everything from how one’s upbringing and culture biases can manifest themselves physically as well as mentally, to the We-Vibe and the posthumous careers of gangster rappers; we get a glimpse at the world of sex through the eyes and ears of the woman who (literally) wrote the book on the blow job.
With a bachelor’s in science, a master’s in counselling (specializing in sex therapy), an associate degree in sex education, and a clinical sexology certificate for good measure, Dr. Teesha Morgan rattles off “penile plethysmograph” without having to sound out the multisyllabic recent Google search.
Dr. Morgan addresses what her seminars at Taboo will touch on, as well as her efforts to enhance sex education in the therapy community, and the role of the pubococcygeus muscle.
Vancouver Weekly: So how rad is it getting to talk about sex all day?
Dr. Teesha Morgan: It’s pretty amazing. I feel very lucky, very blessed to be involved in the profession that I am in. I am grateful to do both individual as well as couples counselling, and I really feel like I’m making a difference on an emotional level, and on a relationship level. On the flipside, I get to do other things like speak at the Taboo (Naughty But Nice Sex) Show, as well as do sex education work and write books.
VW: Are there any frustrating parts to your job?
DTM: Teaching sex education can be. Educating people on how to properly communicate using the proper (gender) pronouns, if they are speaking with someone who identifies as trans for example. As well seeing first hand the lack of specific information our sex-ed classes in High School and Elementary School prepared us with; which I think would be really pertinent (information) as adults. That said, by the time adults get to me, they are pretty receptive and want to learn. Whereas the “teeny boppers” know everything, because of course, they are teenagers.
VW: I remember knowing everything. What happened to all of that “knowledge”? How much of an impedance are cultural values in your line of work—the things that are taught to us by society or “passed down”?
DTM: I think like most things in life, it can stem back to a cultural or genogram family origin kind of thing; our family is our origin. Our family is our culture in a broader macro to microcosm aspect—from our gender expression, gender identity, to our sexual orientation. Society tells us what is or is not okay and what to express. You can see that just by travelling to different countries around the world. I don’t think we are doing horribly here in Canada, but we’re definitely not doing great in the aspect of acceptance.
The same thing applies if we look at certain sexual dysfunctions, for instance, women that have GPPD (Genital Pain Pelvic Disorder). That is a condition that can be caused by our upbringing or even religion. “For example, if someone was raised in a really religious environment and was told that sex was wrong or dirty, or that it was really going to hurt, then that in and of itself could cause certain types of GPPD, like vaginismus. So that’s societal or cultural, and that’s a pretty severe thing.
VW: So let’s dive into the science behind what sounds like a mental health issue.
DTM: Our brain is our largest sex organ, and your body hears everything your mind thinks. So if your mind is telling you “this is going to hurt” or “this is wrong”, the body will then react to it; almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example vaginally, the pubococcygeus muscle (which is like your pelvic floor muscle) will just tense up. Even though you don’t have conscious control or conscious awareness of this happening, your body’s defence mechanism is trying to stop anything from entering.
That condition can be as severe as not being able to put a tampon in, or less severe like being able to insert a finger or fingers for foreplay, but nothing the size of a penis.
VW: What can be done about people that despite the introduction of scientific-based evidence, can’t seem to intellectually change their views? Let alone change their stance on an emotional level?
DTM: There is a therapeutic modality called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) based around addressing specific unhealthy thoughts, like for example “catastrophizing”.
For example, CBT works on a scenario where I show you evidence and you still don’t agree with me. We then look at your thought train patterns that you are using to justify not agreeing with science or logic. Does it fit into the list of examples of what people do that exhibit unhealthy or negative thought patterns or behaviours?
So that’s a therapeutic way of addressing it, but on a more human-to-human level, it’s more about analyzing the emotion that is driving that belief. Being an inquirer into why they believe that at the core, where it sits in the body, and what that means to them in terms of values would help get to the root of what we really need to examine.
Let’s say I meet a man that’s very homophobic, I find that one of the stories that often stops them in their tracks has me ask “do you want to know what is really interesting?” Then go on to tell them “there is a test where they take a penile plethysmograph and they put it around a man’s penis. They then they show these men all different types of pornography. From chimpanzees having sex, to heteronormative sex, to gay sex while having the men rate how turned on they were by each of the different types of porn. At the same time, the penile plethysmograph measures the amount of blood flow to the penis to see if there is a correlation between what they’re saying and what they are actually turned on by.
The men that score really high on homophobia or hatred towards gay people had their penises respond the most to the gay porn. The men who were more accepting towards other sexual orientations and lifestyles or who scored low on homophobia didn’t see their penises respond to the all-male pornography.
VW: With an increased awareness of poly relationships, open relationships, as well as “swinging” (in this city especially), do you consider that sexual or societal progression?
DTM: Yes, I think awareness is progress. I don’t think it matters what topic we are talking about. I think awareness helps us know that not everybody is like us, and there are other things going on outside of us. That we should open up our mind and our hearts to these differences. So yeah, I would definitely say that awareness is progress. The age old adage applies, “knowledge is power”.
VW: What is your interpretation of feminism?
DTM: Feminism is all about freedom of choice. I don’t think that we all need to be equal to each other, and I don’t think we all are equal to each other in all aspects. It’s the freedom of choice to say and do whatever it may be (that we feel compelled to do). Whether I want to be a stay at home wife, a porn star, or the President of the United States, I should have the option to do so, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
VW: Do you wear pink?
DTM: *Laughter* I’m not a huge pink fan. I will sport it, it is in my closet. I’m not going to lie to, I have some workout shirts that are pretty bright. But I’m not really a pink kinda girl.
VW: Is it more of a case that you tend to like other colours more, or do you have an aversion to the colour?
DTM: I would not choose pink if I was given any other option, except brown maybe. I definitely don’t enjoy pink that much.
VW: I have a running theory about women who have a negative relationship with pink, in that they are always the first one to tell you “all my friends are guys”, or “I’m a tomboy”. If the majority of the remaining evidence points to them possessing other qualities conventionally associated with femininity, it can be a red flag that goes up as a sign of their combative relationship within. It can often be a sign of somebody waging a fight within themselves. When at the end of the day, most of us are ultimately looking to surround ourselves with people that are true to themselves regardless of what qualities are entailed. People with as little “baggage” as possible.
DTM: I can see that. I would say that I tend to agree with your running theory.
VW: Tell me about We-Vibe?
DTM: I feel like in all honesty, even before they asked me to help with the Taboo (Naughty But Nice Sex) Show I thought We-Vibe was a good vibrator.
I feel like if you go into adult stores a lot of the vibrators have a penis aesthetic or focus, especially in the past. Don’t get me wrong, the phallic (shape) is fine and dandy and they have some that curve to the left or curve to the right. But I feel like their vibrator that is the shape of the letter “c” would hit the g spot and on the other side would stimulate the clitoral / hood area or the clit or the crux or wherever you want to position it.
I love the new feature We-Vibe adds that allows you to play with your partner on your phone through an app, long distance. They make the whole process easy for us IT illiterate folks. With “push play” (technology) you can touch your phone’s screen to control vibrations and build intensity or choose to create custom vibes on your own. What you create with the touch of your finger gets replicated while inside you or your partner.
VW: Like a Minority Report for the groinal area?
DTM: Exactly! And they have a vibrator that you can sync to your music. So it vibrates with the beat of your chosen songs. On any regular day, it’s pretty amazing to be having good sex that is in tune with you and your partner. But this just takes it to another level. You are now feeling that music emotionally and physically at the same time!
VW: All of a sudden your partner is only listening to Ludacris!
DTM: Yes, just Luda, TuPac…or early Makaveli!
VW: We didn’t touch on the Westland Academy of Clinical Sex Therapy. “Heads Up”, or what you will be talking about at Taboo (Naughty But Nice Sex Show) for that matter.
DTM: **Laughter** Thanks for reminding me to talk about myself. My business partner (Constance-Lynn Hummel) and I are both therapists who have noticed that there was minimal-to-no training in Sex Therapy available for therapists in Canada. In an effort to change that we, along with our team of dedicated graduate researchers, created The Westland Academy of Clinical Sex Therapy . An online source launching this spring will provide training to mental health and healthcare professionals, looking to expand their knowledge of Sex Therapy.
Constance and I also wrote a book called Heads Up which is meant to help individuals increase their confidence, expand their sexual repertoire and get the real low down on oral sex. The book is also split into two sections. The first section is more tips, techniques and interesting tidbits. Whereas the second section is more therapy based and addresses frequently asked questions, such as barriers to enjoying oral sex etc.
As for the Taboo Show, I will be discussing the top Q&A questions I get asked behind closed doors. Such as “Can masturbation cause Erectile Dysfunction?”. I will also talk about ways to spice up one’s sex life that isn’t the regular “go-to’s”. Of course, I’ll be talking about blow jobs. I promise you, once you hear about moves like the “grapefruit technique”, your oral sex life will never be the same.
VW: Is your book “Head’s Up” strictly mouth to penis centered? Or is it an overall aural overview on oral?
DTM: It is strictly on fellatio. There is no cunnilingus in the book, but it is LGBTQ2A+ friendly and not heteronormative. We’re thinking we may need to write another book called “Heads Down”, based solely on cunnilingus and sell the pair as a packaged deal. However, I am in no rush to write another book at this time.