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March 30, 2022

S3|EP4: Sex and Love: Addressing the Intimacy Recession (with Gwendolyn Dolske)

S3|EP4: Sex and Love: Addressing the Intimacy Recession (with Gwendolyn Dolske)

Why are young people having less sex? How has sex become "soulless"? Regardless of age, have you truly explored what intimacy means for you? In this episode, we dive into these questions and how we can bring more intimacy and meaningful, pleasurable sex into our lives.

In this episode, Janice and her guest Gwendolyn Dolske (philosophy professor and host of the Good Is In The Details Podcast) discuss the current "intimacy recession" among young people that is not only keeping individuals from experiencing pleasureful sex, but also placing them in risky situations. They share about their own experiences of learning how to bring more intimacy into their relationships and discovering what turns them on, from erotic novels to BDSM. And they talk about the harmful impacts of denying our young people nuanced sex education and open, honest conversations about sex and intimacy. 

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What we talk about on this episode:

  • What is philosophy and how does it shape our lives?
  • Gwendolyn’s philosophy course on sex and love 
  • The current sex and intimacy “recession” among young people
  • What’s missing: knowing our own bodies and pleasure first
  • The taboo of masturbation for girls
  • Gwendolyn’s personal path to discovering intimacy and pleasureful sex
  • The disconnect between how young men behave vs. how they really feel about intimacy
  • The phenomenon of young women giving sexual favors just to end a date
  • How men are also harmed living in a heterosexual, mysognistic culture
  • How BDSM can give people the space to explore different sides of their sexuality, including submissiveness for men
  • How consent and open conversations actually enhance your sex life
  • What Gwendolyn has learned as a professor from her students
  • What gives Gwendolyn hope about the younger generations 
  • How to connect with Gwendolyn

Resources mentioned in this episode:



Hey y’all welcome to The Soul’s Work Podcast, the show about uncovering our authentic selves through doing both the light work and the shadow work. I’m your host Janice Ho, and y’all are in for a treat today. This was such a great conversation on sex, relationships, intimacy that I had with Gwendolyn Dolske, who is a philosophy professor and host of the Good is in the Details Podcast. 

 And I really want to thank Gwendolyn for sharing some of her experiences teaching her Sex and Love philosophy course and the really important conversations that she and her students have around navigating sexual experiences and dating, and addressing the lack of intimacy that’s apparent in a lot of those dynamics. And I think both her and I got pretty vulnerable in sharing about our own personal journeys with discovering how to have more intimacy and pleasure in our respective sexual relationships.

 So, even though we chat a lot about these issues that come up for Gwendolyn’s students, many of whom are in their early 20s, I really do think that these considerations around intimacy, having open conversations, exploring what is pleasurable and “good’ sex for us as individuals, really applies across the board – whether you’re single and on the dating apps, or with multiple people, or monogamous in a long-term relationship, married, what have you. 

I think that while younger generations might have specific challenges growing up in, say, an intensely digitalized culture, a lot of the issues seem to remain the same for us older generations – for example, not receiving nuanced sex education that acknowledges that many people have sex for pleasure, not just reproduction, and so what are some important conversations that need to be had around that; or for example, growing up with the traditional scripts that come attached to various gender categories. So, I think regardless of generation, many of us have internalized these ways of showing up in relationships that maybe aren’t entirely aligned with our authentic selves. 

And I also think that if you’re a parent, it’s really worth listening in as well, not necessarily for a “here’s what you should do,” but to just get some of these really nuanced perspectives maybe brewing in your mind. So that when it comes to perhaps needing to have these conversations with your kids, you maybe don’t feel so alone or like a deer in headlights. It’s something you can maybe think about more proactively.

So, I’m gonna jump into that conversation in just a sec. No major life updates to report, except that I did just book an epic trip to Mexico for all of May, my birthday gift to myself for the big 4-0 this year. So I’m really looking forward to getting back on a beach. Oh, and also, The Soul’s Work Podcast does have a new Facebook Page @thesoulsworkpodcast. So please do hop over there and give it a like and follow. You’ll see posts about, of course, new episodes that drop, as well as some of my reflections, plus resources, on things like therapy, healing trauma, mental health in general, anti-racism/anti-bias work, etc. I’ll give updates on my journey to becoming a therapist, once I start school in September. And I’ll also post any singing recordings I do, because music for me is partly therapeutic and absolutely a part of reconnecting with my soul. So, again, go to and give that page a like to support. 

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Okay, so let’s introduce our fabulous guest. Gwendolyn Dolske, PhD, teaches Philosophy at Cal Poly Pomona in California. A few of her courses are Philosophy of Sex and Love, Moral Theory, and Existentialism. She is the author of “Tips from The Professor: A Guide to College Success.” Her podcast, Good is in the Details, is a commitment to the art of dialogue and a passion for discovering ideas. In the spirit of Socrates, the show aims to learn what we didn't know we didn't know (and it’s co-hosted by Rudy Salo, lawyer, author, actor, and all-around really funny guy). It’s a great podcast, go listen to it, after this episode. And on that note, here’s my conversation with Gwendolyn. Enjoy the show.