Mary Roach
Author, "Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War"
01:51

Sex Advice From Mary Roach

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Mary Roach says the brain gets in the way of executing sex tips well.

Mary Roach

Mary Roach grew up in a small house in Etna, New Hampshire. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and then moved out to San Francisco. She spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. During that time she wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.

Though she mostly focuses on writing books, she writes the occasional magazine piece. These have run in Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many others. A 1995 article of herse called "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, and in 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category. Mary Roach also reviews books for The New York Times.

Her first book, Stiff, was an offshoot of a column she wrote for Salon.com. Her other books include Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

 

Transcript

Question: Do sex tips help?

Mary Roach: I think that the women's magazines and a lot of those quick tips for better sex, I think that they do people a disservice, sometimes, because they become very focused on; they're thinking, "Okay, I read that I should do this and am I doing it right?"

There's a certain amount of anxiety that comes from thinking, "I don't know if I'm suppose to do it this way and I don't know if he's responding and I don't know; am I doing this right?"

Rather than just letting it go where it takes you and losing yourself in it instead of trying this sort of menu things you read in a women's magazine.

And there's a certain amount of pressure, I think, also, among very young girls to do what's expected of them. I don't know what they're getting out of; I just don't think that's the way to have good sex.

In terms of practical how-to; the one study I found; the one sexual therapy technique that worked well for women and seem to be pretty simple was, like, mindfulness training.

It's just all about not spectating, not watching yourself, just being in the moment and not being anxious about what's expected of you; are you reacting right or is your partner reacting right. That's easier said than done. It's like somebody telling you, "Relax!" You're relaxed if you're relaxed.

Recorded on: April 6, 2009.

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