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Dr. Berman:
Right. So have you ever watched porn with him?

Yvette:
Oh, yeah, we've been together for over 20 years. We've—

Dr. Berman:
So you've seen what the women say on those movies?

Yvette:
Yes.

Dr. Berman:
That's what he—that's probably what he's wanting you to say.

Yvette:
Yeah.

Oprah:
That's what she's saying. She's saying, "I feel ridiculous saying that."

Dr. Berman:
Is that what it is?

Yvette:
Yes. Yes, I do. That's—you know, we—I think—I mean, I really feel like our sex life is great. We have a great sex life, the moaning and the—it feels great. But I know he's looking to take it to another level, and I am having a really, really hard time with that. I just—you know, saying some of those really expressive crazy stuff—

Dr. Berman:
What does it make you feel? What's the story you have about what it would be saying about you?

Yvette:
Maybe—I don't know. I just—

Oprah:
Yeah, you do.

Yvette:
I feel like he's going to judge me. Maybe that he's going to judge me.

Dr. Berman:
And what you're really afraid of is that you're judging yourself and what's really going on is that somebody from earlier in your life is judging you and you've taken that on yourself. So—about your sexuality. So there's some key people or person in your life that played a fundamental role in your sexual development that taught you that, you know, that judged you around it. Around being too free, around being too natural, around being too expressive, around owning your sexuality too wholeheartedly and aggressively, and that's the voice that's playing in your head, that you're projecting onto him because he's sitting there saying, "Let's go for it." He's not going to judge you at all.

Yvette:
No. No.

Dr. Berman:
It's you who's judging yourself. And really what's happening is that you're allowing that little girl to judge yourself. You know what I mean?

Yvette:
I got you. Yeah.

Dr. Berman:
So think about—we don't have to get into that right now, but think about who that person was and who those messages were and write them down and really own them and decide whether you want to keep owning those messages as yours.

Yvette:
I'm going to do that. I really am. I'm going to do that.

Oprah:
Well, Yvette, thank you.

Yvette:
You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

Oprah:
Thank you for Skyping in. So Lara from Vermont called in with a question. Lara?

Lara:
Hey, Oprah. Thanks for taking my call.

Oprah:
Glad you're here.

Lara:
Dr. Berman, I am a single woman. And to Oprah's point, a sexually vibrant single woman, so I fully enjoy pornography.

Oprah:
Okay.

Lara:
And recently I happened to mention this in front of a friend of mine who's very passionate about women's rights, and so we got to talking about perpetuating the image of women as sexual object,s and I suddenly felt really guilty and, you know, a little bit dirty.

Oprah:
And judged.

Lara:
And so my question is whether or not porn is a healthy outlet for a woman's sexuality that we can enjoy sort of guilt-free?  

Dr. Berman:
I—I truly believe yes. I think that there is a very healthy role for erotica and pornography in a single person's life, in a couple's life, in a relationship's life. And that there is nothing wrong with it. And—and, you know, yes, sort of traditional feminism has shunned pornography as something that objectifies women. My take on it, and I consider myself a feminist, is that when you own your sexuality, and when you embrace your sexuality, that's the most feminist thing there is. And so whatever turns you on embracing that should be celebrated.

Oprah:
Yeah. It's the difference between owning it and abusing it.

Dr. Berman:
Right.

Oprah:
Owning it and then exploiting it.

Dr. Berman:
Right.

Oprah:
Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Berman:
Does that make sense?

Lara:
Yeah, I used to wear it as a badge, you know? Like something to be proud of and sort of flaunt it as being this sexually liberated—I don't know if people say that anymore—woman in my 30s.

Dr. Berman:
Good.

Lara:
And it was just recently that I've started to feel like I shouldn't be doing it or I should feel bad about, you know, enjoying myself that way.

Dr. Berman:
I think you're giving that person too much power.

Oprah:
Is that person older?

Lara:
No.

Oprah:
No. Interesting.

Lara:
They're not.

Oprah:
Yeah. Because I'm wondering, is it a generational thing? Because obviously there are a lot of, as I was saying earlier, a lot of women in their 30s, and obviously their 20s, who own their sexuality in a different way than, you know, my generation did.

Dr. Berman:
Right. Well, there's feminist—

Oprah:
That's a generality.

Dr. Berman:
I think there can be a generational thing, and I think there can be an ingenerational thing where it has to do with your attitude toward men, I think, more than anything else. And if to you feminism means that men are bad and that men are objectifiers and that men are seeking to put you down, and we have to push against that and live our lives at the effect of that, then you're going to see porn as something bad. If you are the kind of feminist who celebrates men as being different but equal and having their own strengths and you having your own strengths and you own your own sexuality and aren't at the effect of men in terms of your sex life, then porn can be a great thing.

Oprah:
Okay.

Dr. Berman:
Does that make sense?

Oprah:
Yeah, it does make sense.

Dr. Berman:
Okay.

Oprah:
Thanks, Lara.

Lara:
Thank you so much. That's very helpful.

Oprah:
Good. Thirty-two-year-old Heather is Skyping from her bedroom near Los Angeles, California. Hey, Heather. Welcome.

Heather:
Hey, Oprah.

Oprah:
Hey.

Heather:
Dr. Berman, I was actually watching the show last Friday with women not being able to achieve orgasm or having a decrease in their libido and not having the same level as their husbands? And my issue is actually the opposite. My husband and I have a great relationship. We've been together for quite some time, and I would say in the last year we've noticed a decrease in his libido, and I want more sex than he does and our roles have almost reversed, or I feel that maybe if he does do it, he's just taking one for the team and it isn't something he necessarily is excited about doing.

Oprah:
Wow.

 

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