5| Dr. Jenni Skyler, athlete and sex therapist: “I matter no matter what.”

Guest bio
Dr. Jenni Skyler is an AASECT (American Academy of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists) certified sex therapist and a licensed marriage and family therapist. She has been the Director of The Intimacy Institute for sex and relationship therapy for over almost 12 years. She holds a doctorate in Clinical Sexology and a Master of Education in Counseling Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition, Dr. Jenni offers sexological wisdom and advice as the in-house Resident Expert at Adam & Eve–America’s largest sex toy company. 

When not working, Jenni loves to move her body. She was a three-sport athlete in high school, a beginner marathon runner in college, competed in triathlons in grad school, and eventually made her way to Crossfit. However, she has now retired from that as well!

Website: https://theintimacyinstitute.org
Instagram: @intimacy_institute

In this episode we discuss:

  • Gymnastics as a refuge from Jenni’s tumultuous childhood
  • Jenni’s journey from gymnastics to other sports: water polo, swimming, running, triathlon
  • How a knee injury interfered with her running and ultimately lead her to weight lifting and later CrossFit
  • What it looks like to work on shifting her “compulsive” relationship with fitness to one that’s focused on taking pleasure in movement 
  • How her husband’s support and motherhood helped spark her new relationship with exercise 
  • Why she quit CrossFit (at least for now) and why the “balls to the wall” approach stopped working for her
  • Getting rid of the scale
  • Uncoupling her worth from her weight
  • The core fears of being inadequate and lovable that drove her exercise habits—and how these same fears have also been a driver behind her professional and athletic success
  • The journey to knowing “I matter no matter what”
  • How Jenni’s mom, a sexual abuse survivor who struggled with bulimia and drug addiction influenced her life (and her career in particular)
  • Are soul mates really a thing? 
  • Why it’s normal for women in long-term relationships to want to want sex (nope, not a typo!)
  • Advice on how to lean into sex with your long-term partner when your to-do list beckons
  • On mothering without a map
  • Her relationship with fear 
  • Why (and how) she’s meditating
  • The e-course she’s offering couples via The Intimacy Institute

Quotes :

On sports: “The harder I worked the better I felt.”

“I was good enough [at sports] that it was validating”

“If I get on the scale and I see a certain number I’m okay… And that was not a way to measure my validation. So I had to put the scale away and never look at it again because I had to wake up and say I’m okay just the way I am no matter what the number on the scale is”

“I matter no matter what.”

“Ironically I am able to surrender into pleasure really well even though I don’t surrender in other areas of my life”

“I am a normal woman….[I think], well you know we can have sex or I can knock off seven things off my to-do list”

Couples Retreat E-Course from The Intimacy Institute (course) 
Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers  (book)
Ten Percent Happier (app)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (novel)

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