Sex on the Brain

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Use your brain to enhance your sex life. Enjoy more intimacy and better sex using the untapped power in your Brain. Light up your Brain lite up your sex life.


Read Full Transcript

Dr Daniel Amen: Hi everybody this is Dr Daniel Amen.

Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen.

Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to the Brain Warrior's Way podcast. Today we're going to talk about sex on the brain.

Tana Amen: So much fun.

Dr Daniel Amen: I was a columnist for Men's Health for 3 years. I wrote a column called Head check and after I was writing for awhile they asked me to do a number of feature articles. One of my favorite ones was six women wrote about the best sex of their lives and I had to do the psychoanalysis.

Tana Amen: Oh no.

Dr Daniel Amen: I'm like "really fun to read. Don't hang out with those women because it was pretty crazy". Then I wrote an article called sex on the brain. It was 5,000 words, I was really excited about it and I went with Katelyn who was my...

Tana Amen: She's 16 or 17.

Dr Daniel Amen: She was 16 at the time and we went over to Barnes & Noble because I wondered would they put the article on the cover. I had never had a cover article. When I got there and I looked at the cover of the new edition of Men's Health and I was disappointed. Until I opened up the table of contents because they in fact did put my article on the cover. When Katelyn was looking over my shoulder she squealed. She was horrified.

Tana Amen: By the way she still has PTSD to this day. Our daughter Chloe has threatened if you ever do that she's running away from home.

Dr Daniel Amen: The article, they changed it to the best sex of your life. We are going to talk about the best sex of your life. Because ultimately it's your brain. Your brain is the biggest sex organ in your body. It's only organ where size matters.

Tana Amen: Well and the thing is, is that women and men their brains are different, so of course they process and view sex differently. We need to talk about this for your relationships.

Dr Daniel Amen: Nobody thinks about the brain. It's I love you with all my heart. I mean no one says I love you with all my brain.

Tana Amen: That's a little weird.

Dr Daniel Amen: Even though it's the brain that you love. You can transplant someones heart, you can't transplant their brain. Or people say oh I have a broken heart. When really it's your brain that's broken. But you know that just sounds like somebody that hit you over the head with a bat.

Tana Amen: That's hilarious. That's very funny.

Dr Daniel Amen: How do you use your brain to have great sex? One of the things that I discover was with a healthy brain. My friend Earl Henslin, you know Dr Henslin who's a very well known psychologist? He says no forethought equals no foreplay. If you really want to have great sex it starts by taking good care of your brain. Then knowing, paying attention to what are those things that excite your partner. Is it smell? For women this is incredibly important. They're a number of scents that have been shown to increase blood flow to female genitals. It's baby powder.

Tana Amen: That's weird but okay.

Dr Daniel Amen: When Alan Hersch did studies on this, he's in Chicago. I read that and I'm like "Well why baby powder?" Well what do women associate?

Tana Amen: Babies.

Dr Daniel Amen: Babies, cute little babies that have been diapered. Then they want one. Completely unconscious.

Tana Amen: That's opposite for men I think.

Dr Daniel Amen: It's not. If you want her to feel a little frisky, take a shower and just a little tiny bit of baby powder. Whenever I take Tana's car to the ...

Tana Amen: Oh my gosh, you are so devious.

Dr Daniel Amen: To get the car wash and then they go "So what kind of scent do you want in?" I'm like "Do you have baby powder?

Tana Amen: You're so devious, really? Wow they're actually going to learn what kind of guy you really are. You're so funny.

Dr Daniel Amen: Did you ... I mean we've been together 11 years.

Tana Amen: No I've known it all along.

Dr Daniel Amen: I'm very, very, very fond of you. For men it's not baby powder, obviously you're right it scares them. It's the scent of cinnamon.

Tana Amen: Interesting.

Dr Daniel Amen: When I told my mother that she hit her forehead and she said "That's why I have 7 children".

Tana Amen: Lebanese people cook with a lot of cinnamon.

Dr Daniel Amen: She hit her forehead, she said "He would never leave me alone". My dad married someone he liked a lot.

Tana Amen: Funny.

Dr Daniel Amen: The other thing and I think this is actually one of the brain way's I hooked you. Was do something nice for someone she loves.

Tana Amen: No question. Yeah when we were first dating my dad had become a recluse and diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. I just remember the whole family being extremely stressed out and you treated him and discovered that not only he didn't have Alzheimer's disease but he was on the wrong combination of medications which were toxic. But just that act of you moving him, you've done many things for many of my family members but that was one of the initial ones that really made me realize what kind of person you were. For women, men who are family oriented it's just something that for women is ... I'm not going to say it's the same for all women, for most of us it's critical. It's what we look for, someone who is going to take care of our family, our children. When things get rough are you going to be there to help make it better?

Dr Daniel Amen: So smells, emotional bonding, a healthier brain equals sexier you. I've just seen that over and over again that people have had head injuries.

Tana Amen: Right because you're more consistent, you're kinder, you're more thoughtful. All of those things are very true.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well and people who have emotional issues, like untreated ADD. Distracted, impulsive, disorganized, procrastination, all the things that sort of irritate a relationship. Anxiety, you're body's just filled with tension and you're not feeling sexy. All of the stress hormones are going to cortisol, all of the mother hormones are going to your stress hormones rather than to your sex hormones.

Tana Amen: There's another big thing, I'm just going to speak from a female perspective and you can talk about the scientific part of it. Energy, women are tired a lot from working, taking care of children. For women, it's funny for men sometimes it seems like, tell me if I'm wrong sex is often a way to fix problems. You know arguments or things like that or how they feel better when they're tired. For women's it's like not going to happen.

Dr Daniel Amen: It'll fix just about anything.

Tana Amen: Right but for women that's not going to happen. If you're tired or you're stressed out or you're angry it's not going to happen.

Dr Daniel Amen: Right, so helping her around the house can be really helpful. Depression, often one of the number one symptoms of depression is it drops your libido. If you have OCD, things have to be just a certain way it often can disrupt someones sex life. Brain trauma, toxic exposure, aging. Why do our hormones drop with age?

Tana Amen: Well it's the planets way of wanting to get rid of us to save resources for the next generation. When I heard I that I was horrified.

Dr Daniel Amen: We believe in hormone replacement.

Tana Amen: Oh no I'd be on the evening news without it. It's scary.

Dr Daniel Amen: All of these brain health issues unknowingly can sabotage and we talked about sex hormones a little bit. Low levels of testosterone are associated with low libido, depression, memory problems and how do we lower our testosterone levels?

Tana Amen: Sugar and lack of exercise.

Dr Daniel Amen: Sugar bursts and lack of exercise. With two thirds of us overweight in the United States almost 40% of women now are obese. It's the biggest brain drain in the history of our country because as your weight goes up the size and function of your brain goes down. That's going to steal your testosterone.

Tana Amen: Did you say that ... I thought I heard you say that something about sex 3 times a week or something like for men increases their longevity?

Dr Daniel Amen: According to one of the largest longevity studies ever done, on 10,000 men, 3 times a week decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%. We have no medicine that can do that. I'll often tell Tana she's...

Tana Amen: Was this self reported?

Dr Daniel Amen: If she withholds that I could sue her for attempted murder.

Tana Amen: I want the follow up to that study. What was that follow up to that study for women?

Dr Daniel Amen: Well for women it's not frequency, it's how much they liked it.

Tana Amen: Thank you.

Dr Daniel Amen: If you're not pleasing her you could sue him back.

Tana Amen: Thank you very much. We picked on men a little bit about helping women around the house because of her energy, smelling good all these things. But you know women have a ... if you want your relationships to be really special and connected because ultimately that's what it's about. It's about improving your relationships. You have to be...

Dr Daniel Amen: Do you want to know the sexy foods?

Tana Amen: Hold on. Ultimately it's about improving your relationships and you have to be aware. Sometimes women get this idea in their head because I talk to a lot of them who have this idea. Well he should just understand. And it's not all about sex. Well I have news for you it is for him. A lot of it is about sex for him. It's not because he's a pig it's because it's how he's wired. If you want to understand him you have to understand that he's biologically hardwired that way.

Dr Daniel Amen: It's one of Gods cruel tricks.

Tana Amen: That he made us different.

Dr Daniel Amen: She needs talking in order to have sex.

Tana Amen: And he needs quiet.

Dr Daniel Amen: He needs sex in order to have talking.

Tana Amen: Anyways, take a little responsibility for your relationship and don't just go well he should understand me. Well no you should understand him too. In fact I remember when I was, you love my mom for this actually. I thought that it was a little bit weird that a mom would ever say this to her daughter. When I was getting married my mom said, my mom's a little crazy. You have to know my mom but ...

Dr Daniel Amen: She's awesome.

Tana Amen: I know you actually like her. But she actually said to me because I couldn't cook at all. I mean I literally could not cook at all when I met Daniel. She said to me "You know honey it doesn't really matter, don't worry about the cooking". I marrying into a family where there's all these amazing cooks, these Lebanese cooks. She said "Don't worry about it honey". She said "You only really have to cook in one room in the house and it doesn't have to be in the kitchen". I looked at her like Mom. But that's my mom and her point was you need to take care of your man. That's the responsibility piece. If you want your relationship to be healthy and you want him to understand you spend sometime understanding him.

Dr Daniel Amen: There are foods that can significantly decrease your chances of sex like sugar and foods raised with hormones and pesticides.

Tana Amen: Fried fats too.

Dr Daniel Amen: Oysters have a lot of zinc in them and...

Tana Amen: Cinnamon.

Dr Daniel Amen: Omega 3 fatty acids. Avocados, nuts, seeds, colorful foods.

Tana Amen: But cinnamon is supposed to be an aphrodisiac for men.

Dr Daniel Amen: Do you know that 40% of 40 year olds have erectile dysfunction?

Tana Amen: I do but hold on. Maca, speaking of foods, maca root powder has actually shown in multiple studies to improve sexual function in both men and women. Add a little maca powder to your morning smoothies.

Dr Daniel Amen: Food can make a big difference. If you eat like we talk about in the Brain Warriors way it actually directly attacks vascular problems including erectile dysfunction. Which is extremely common. Which is why Viagra, Levitra, Cialis, commercials are everywhere on TV. Even though they've been out for 20 years. It's all about blood flow. You want to avoid anything that damages blood flow, that's true for men or women. Like smoking, a lot of caffeine, the standard american diet and do things that increase blood flow. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil, exercise can help as well.

Tana Amen: Sleep.

Dr Daniel Amen: Certain supplements like arginine and ginkgo.

Tana Amen: And sleep, you have to sleep.

Dr Daniel Amen: You want to know your partners brain because if she's a little OCD and likes things a certain way in order to have sex. Well make them that way. I mean don't have to push against her.

Tana Amen: If you're sitting there going no we need to experiment and things have to be different all the time, that's going to freak her out.

Dr Daniel Amen: Know her brain but if he's got low frontal lobes then he needs excitement, experimentation, things like that you want to get out of your comfort zone.

Tana Amen: So understanding.

Dr Daniel Amen: The more I can get outside of my head and into Tanas head the more, the luckier I get.

Tana Amen: But it's about the understanding each other and knowing that it's about your brain.

Dr Daniel Amen: Sex is not just about you unless it's single sex. You want to be about each other. You want to boost the chemicals of love, like oxytocin. That's the cuddle hormone whenever Tana sends me a text I'm thinking about you or she'll take a picture and send it to me. It just ...

Tana Amen: Clarify that because you just got everyone thinking something. Okay he's not talking about the bad kind.

Dr Daniel Amen: I didn't even think about that but now I am.

Tana Amen: I'm sure they are. Well they are thinking that. The topic is sex on the brain. Yes I do not do things that will get me arrested.

Dr Daniel Amen: What increases oxytocin? It's eye gaze, not staring.

Tana Amen: Don't be creepy. As my 13 year old would say, don't be creepy.

Dr Daniel Amen: Or give you that look that only your wife can give you. That does not increase oxytocin. It increases cortisol.

Tana Amen: But hugging increases oxytocin.

Dr Daniel Amen: Hugging, touching, texting kind of things, racy things would be okay.

Tana Amen: Not that will get you arrested.

Dr Daniel Amen: Another chemical called phenylethylamine, or PEA that's in a little bit of chocolate. But a little bit of chocolate, you give her a box of chocolates she will have no need for you.

Tana Amen: She's going to get sleepy.

Dr Daniel Amen: Plenty of PEA.

Tana Amen: There's a reason that chocolate is the international food of love. It actually really does make you feel more attractive.

Dr Daniel Amen: You want to focus on what you like about your partner, more than what you don't.

Tana Amen: That's important. Let's stop there for a second. Because to be married and together as long as we have and some of the people we know 30, 40 years. You have to be able to focus on what you love about someone. Every couple gets irritated with each other. Every couple's going to go through those times. They're going to get annoyed. We've certainly had ... We work together so there's times we get annoyed but when those moments happen. I know for me I will make a list and you are so amazing with my family. When my mom had a head injury you are amazing with Chloe our 13 year old, with my dad, with everyone in my family really. When I focus on those things and how awesome you are and what a good partner you are and how much fun we have together working together. It instantly switches that thinking away from he irritates me to okay so what. You know what I mean? All these things are amazing and they're wonderful and you can just shift that quickly. You don't stay married for a long time if you can't do that.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well and it's funny because we've talked on TV about how you have ADD. You've never met a cabinet door you actually wanted to close.

Tana Amen: You said something really nice about this the other day.

Dr Daniel Amen: Or a wrapper that you ever really wanted to throw away. I went downstairs and there were 15 of them.

Tana Amen: But they're not all mine by the way it's Thanksgiving. They're not all mine.

Dr Daniel Amen: When I look at them now, rather than being irritated I just go, I would truly hate it if they weren't here.

Tana Amen: You said to me "You know what. As much as I sometimes look at them and go why? I realize I would miss it if your wrappers weren't here. If you weren't stealing my cup from my sink." So those little things that normally. It's important to flip that.

Dr Daniel Amen: Let's be clear if you started putting away the wrappers I'd be okay with that.

Tana Amen: It's not on my priority list.

Dr Daniel Amen: What I would do is I would miss the fact that you were connected to them.

Tana Amen: It's probably not going to happen.

Dr Daniel Amen: Well we've gone on and on about this so much more to talk about sex on the brain. We hope your love life is awesome and amazing. The one secret I'll tell you being a psychiatrist for 35 years, you have a lot more control on it than you think.

Tana Amen: You are powerful.

Dr Daniel Amen: You are powerful. Let me leave you with this one question. Do you know what is the one thing you could do when you got home that could make your partner crazy?

Tana Amen: Crazy mad.

Dr Daniel Amen: I know that if I walked in the door and looked at Tana with a stern look and said you need to be quiet and do what I say.

Tana Amen: I would actually laugh at you and think you had a head injury.

Dr Daniel Amen: That's like throwing a match on kindling.

Tana Amen: No I seriously would think you had a head injury.

Dr Daniel Amen: But there are those things. You know you can do that, that you can blow up your relationship. I choose not to do that because I love her. If you're that powerful, what are those things you can do today that make him or her smile, feel warm and have those weak knees? Take care.