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Actress Hit by Addiction
Aired September 26, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Brett Butler was Hollywood royalty starring as a recovering alcoholic and single mom of three on the TV hit show "Grace Under Fire."
Then, addiction took over her real life and it bottomed. Now, she`s back on TV with Charlie Sheen playing a bartender. The ups and downs of Brett Butler`s on and off-screen battle with addiction.
And later, Naomi Wolf addresses the vagina-brain connection. What is she on to? You might want your kids to leave the room for this one.
Let`s get started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Yes, that is Naomi Wolf`s new book.
But, first, we`ve got Brett Butler.
Thank you so much for joining us.
BRETT BUTLER, ACTRESS: Hi. Thank you.
PINSKY: I mean, you look fantastic.
BUTLER: Thank you. Thanks to your hair and makeup.
PINSKY: No. Come on now. We met in the green room. It was a pleasure to hear your story.
Let`s try to flush out for my audience where you`ve been, what happened, lots of question marks and curiosity.
BUTLER: For some maybe the first time, but formally my last time, because I don`t want to be that person that messed everything up and years later I got a hit show. Be careful of what you pray for. I had wonderful bosses. Terrific people to work with.
PINSKY: This is "Grace Under Fire" we`re talking about.
BUTLER: "Grace Under Fire" in `93. I had about -- coming up seven years of sobriety when that happened.
PINSKY: Oh, you`ve already been sober when "Grace Under Fire" hit.
BUTLER: Yes, I wouldn`t have gotten the show. I wouldn`t had anything in my life at the time.
PINSKY: Was it real sobriety? Like a secure --
BUTLER: Yes. I even had the day and all that stuff. I had --
PINSKY: I think they`re showing a picture -- is that "Grace Under Fire?" That must be from back then.
BUTLER: I`m trying to think. The level of blondeness and also how big I got.
PINSKY: People always asked me, was she using during that time when she was filming the show?
BUTLER: Actually filming? Yes. It doesn`t require -- that sounds disrespectful. It doesn`t require every brain cell to be there and do that. There`s no excuse and there`s every one to pick up.
I didn`t need one. I have gone back and looked at why. Regret is an immense -- not all together unnecessary companion.
But it`s really hard to talk about. There are people that still won`t talk to me and won`t take a call even by way of -- I mean, I`ll always be that person that threw away a lot.
My only lesson in it and I told your segment producer, the only thing about spiritual growth is about fight club, it`s better not to talk about it. Just in terms of this is what I learned about mercy and recovery and things like that. That`s all I want to do.
But, yes, I was using on the show. And I had a lot of people care about me and try different ways to stop. It`s funny. It`s like a baby with a gun really when you have your own show and you pick up and you say, well, I can do this and that. In a way if I had been drinking at the same time because I was mortally afraid of alcohol, I was taking pain pills and doing cocaine and I`m a Jedi apparently because I could take enormous amounts of it.
PINSKY: How much Vicodin?
BUTLER: I got up to 50 a day.
PINSKY: My standard patient is 30 to 35 a day.
BUTLER: You know what`s amazing? My liver is fine. To quote Steve Earl, I`m not going to be arrogant to say that God saved me for something special, but I`m curious about what it is.
PINSKY: And what was bottom? What turned you around?
BUTLER: It was -- this is so dramatic. I felt like my soul was leaving -- I knew I was probably going to die. It wasn`t what it should have been, which is losing my terrific husband, getting fired, it`s like a bad country song. Even gave my dog away.
PINSKY: None of that matter.
BUTLER: That wasn`t my bottom. I was what you call high bottom. I was alone in my house in the hills wandering around. Just -- your brain fries out.
PINSKY: If you think you`re going to die, I don`t call that a high bottom. If you really believed you`re dying.
BUTLER: I felt like my -- I can`t even describe the low. You just keep -- I heard other people say it more articulately. You just want to reclaim that great 20 minutes you got from something.
But I remember when I got the pain pills, it was for something legitimate. How funny that I was nearly 40 before I ever had a pain pill. Wow. This should never be wasted on pain.
Now that I understand endorphins and things and when someone told me really early on in sobriety, you can create or attract those same endorphins. You might have to work hard and they happen in other ways, just to know that they were there was the carrot in front of the donkey. Yes.
PINSKY: And then "Anger Management" came along. How did that happen?
BUTLER: Well, actually, what happened July of `98 is when I just came back and started to live again. I had problems in sobriety, which was kind of a surprise to me. I wasn`t by myself during that but a pretty bad depression.
Charlie Sheen is -- it`s a town where everyone says they`re my good friend, but he`s really been a great friend. He wanted me to have a part on the show and Bruce Helfrod was great enough to write me in and I`m playing Charlie`s bartender.
PINSKY: It`s hysterical. Are you sober bartender or is that knock it in?
BUTLER: Well, we haven`t talked about it. I think I hit on him so far and I`m not sure.
PINSKY: I heard someone tell you as if you felt as though his offering you this job really saved your life.
BUTLER: Yes, it did. It reminded me. I was still punishing myself for everything that I had done. I was excelling in self-loathing.
And when he asked me -- I remember, because I was doing stuff alone on a farm with animals and miserable. Why am I doing this? He called and I went I belong. You know, there`s a lot of shows out now. There`s still room to me. So, I`m glad to be there. I felt great.
PINSKY: And everyone that I know who knows Charlie talks about what a great guy he is, and that`s what scares them when his addiction gets going.
BUTLER: It`s not just that. He`s a substantial person and so many layers so him and he`s so interesting. This town is where we make dreams come true and we write all the shows. But there are a few people that pot of wallop like he`s got.
I want him to have a chance to be in something as interesting as he is. I just wish him all the best. His family is all around. He`s got great friends. It`s just so far so good.
PINSKY: And now, speaking so far so good, you`re doing well?
BUTLER: Yes. Thank you. Thank you. I`m really happy to be back.
This is a little part but it`s a good one. I love it. I got to do a scene with Charlie and his dad. Nothing could make me happier.
PINSKY: You can see the happiness. You`re radiant.
BUTLER: It helps, too. I did lost 100 pounds. (INAUDIBLE). You have to do that when you get sober and quite smoking cigarette. You get huge. I feel great.
PINSKY: All right. Now, we`re going to talk more with Brett and we`re going to bring Bob Forrest in here to share this conversation. Brett is a fan of Bob.
And later on, we`ve got a famous writer who reveals secrets basically about how to get more pleasure from sex. She`s got a theory about that. This may not be suitable for kids. Part of the sex and relationship Wednesday stuff.
So, stay tuned.
PINSKY: Back with actress Brett Butler on addiction, sobriety.
Joining us now, Bob Forrest, addiction counselor from the program, "Rehab", VH1, 9:00 on Sundays, also recovering addict, and founder of Bob Forrest Counseling Services.
Bob, before we get to you -- Brett is a fan of yours. You`re a fan for her.
But I want to get into your marriage. You got a whole another set of stories around your first and second husband and some traumatic experiences.
BUTLER: Well, I was 20. Drinking. I met another person roughly that age and drinking. So there`s your Molotov cocktail level of a relationship.
I`m careful about it because if anybody hears it, it`s a touchy thing, domestic violence is, guy gets demonized and the person -- I get to be a celebrity survivor. It was something we co-created.
PINSKY: Well, it`s so funny you say that. I was quoted as saying -- I was in Lance (INAUDIBLE) radio show and I was quoted as saying that Chris Brown was not solely guilty for the situation with Rihanna. That they shared responsibility. I don`t mean that he should have ever touched her. I`m not saying it`s OK what happened.
I`m saying people --
BOB FORREST, ADDICTION COUNSELOR: There`s a fetidness.
PINSKY: There`s a fetidness. Thank you, Bob.
And that`s what you`re saying. I`m not justifying anything. It`s just an explanation how two people find each other and why they keep going back.
BUTLER: It`s how illnesses --
FORREST: I heard they were hanging out the other night.
PINSKY: They were? Nice. Let`s get off of them.
BUTLER: Girl, what are you thinking?
PINSKY: You had a bad experience with domestic violence.
BUTLER: I`m glad to have lived through it. That`s what it was. You know what? Obviously he had some terrific things about him. This is something that happens with alcohol and families and stuff like that.
PINSKY: Is it the second husband?
BUTLER: That was the first one. My second husband is the terrific guy and we`re best friends. He`s a great guy.
PINSKY: The first one, though, ended up doing something bad --
BUTLER: No, I got a letter from his almost adult son several years ago saying -- I never met him. He just said, dear Ms. Butler, I used to hate you. That didn`t narrow it down any. You were married to this person. My mother, his second wife, was found beaten into a vegetative state. They did not arrest whoever did it.
I`m being very careful for a reason. My ex got custody of his toddler brother and the kid reached out to me. During the time -- I didn`t mean for them to go find him when I got famous. I felt bad. Nothing worse than (INAUDIBLE). But they found him.
I got letters from her saying he`s never touched me. And it ended up that wasn`t what happened.
Denial is part of that too. It is -- talking about for the grace of God. I wish him all of the best.
PINSKY: It certainly happened to you.
BUTLER: It happened to me. When I met my second husband, he was so great, I thought a truck was going to hit him and then I realized the universe told me I don`t deserve less than that.
PINSKY: Do you deserve him now?
BUTLER: You mean back? No, he`s with someone wonderful. I`m not honing in on that. No, we`re dear friends. No, no.
PINSKY: Bob, you have something to say.
FORREST: Just watching her, just getting to know her in the green room and just the deepness and richness and the full of life that you are, that`s what sobriety is. We can`t convince enough people that it is so deep and rich and ruminating. She exemplifies it.
PINSKY: She radiates it.
BUTLER: So many things that happened. I said this once in a -- there was some really new people in and I said, I was scared to say God because it would chase people off. It`s not about religion.
This woman said, don`t worry, the whisky will chase him right back in.
PINSKY: Let`s get to your call, Tina in Virginia -- Tina.
TINA, CALLER FROM VIRGINIA: I would like to know what your biggest fear of overcoming addiction was?
BUTLER: Are you talking to me?
BUTLER: Biggest fear? Just that it felt like dancing with myself after a point, even though I knew theoretically in life I had been born without taking things. I didn`t know -- it begins to feel like the new normal. You think you may not be able to live without it.
PINSKY: The biggest fear is not doing drugs.
BUTLER: Yes. Only by being around other people -- and I could see it in their eyes, even more than their words, I could it in their eyes, what had happened to them.
PINSKY: Marlene in Georgia -- Marlene.
MARLENE, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: Hey, Brett. I just want to ask how hard it was for you to change your friends and to get away from that addiction and peer pressure from them.
PINSKY: I`m glad you ask that, because again, this is a piece of treating addiction that no one emphasizes. You have to change everything in your life. There`s no pill or doctor that`s going to fix that. You have to rebuild your life. How hard was that?
BUTLER: The day I decided to get sober the only person who would take my calls was my dealer. And she showed up. I said, I need you to hang with me. I have to go somewhere in 12 hours. I want to make sure I don`t go into convulsions.
She not only did it, she took me to that place. And two weeks after that, she was in an accident because she was intoxicated that took her life.
PINSKY: Where did you have to go that day?
BUTLER: To a place where other people don`t use a day at a time. Figure it out.
PINSKY: You might have seized or something.
BUTLER: Like a giant card party.
PINSKY: You might have seized or something had she not given you --
BUTLER: Yes, she came by to get me. So, you change -- you can protect yourself. They`ll always be there. There`s always someone there that reminds you of a good time and bad time and someone that`s holding.
PINSKY: Rick in Georgia -- Rick.
RICK, CALLER FROM GEORGIA: Hey, how are you?
RICK: Congratulations, first of all, on your recovery, Brett. Our paths crossed back in the `80s when I moved to Georgia, or the Atlanta area, and you were doing comedy clubs.
RICK: What I wanted to find out --
BUTLER: Do you know where my tattoo is? Go ahead.
RICK: Yes, those card games.
I wanted to ask you what the difference it can be going from, you know, doing clubs and being kind of independent and going to becoming a noted actress, Hollywood -- how do you get a support group together?
BUTLER: Well, I will just say this real quick, see if I can. I remember the first time I ad-libbed on the show because the audience left and I looked at writers and they were frowning at me and I went, oh, no.
It`s different. It`s all wonderful. You just have to find blessings and surprises. Does that make sense?
PINSKY: I think he`s talking about how difficult it is for a public person to find meetings and things like that here and trust me, plenty of people do.
BUTLER: It`s L.A.
FORREST: You`re talking about it earlier.
BUTLER: It`s L.A. It`s very -- I`m so glad you`re back. I loved your show. Can I give you a script?
PINSKY: We`ve got to take a break.
Coming up, again, a warning: we`re going to talk about women rewiring their system in such a way that they`ll enjoy sex more. Naomi Wolf has a book about that.
All right. But next, more with Brett and your calls.
PINSKY: We`re back with Brett Butler, who`s been sharing her story of recovery. But I guess you hit a bad bottom at one point where I know your bottom is where you thought you were going to die, but there was an episode where you nearly did die, is that right?
BUTLER: Yes. I was someone where had a place to pay a lot of money not to use anymore, decided to delay my intake time. Of course, I chartered a jet to be there or something ridiculous. It was only 12 hours. In that 12 hours, I found myself coming to underneath a tub of water.
PINSKY: You were drowning?
BUTLER: When I got up, I could hear people discussing who was going to take my watch at the time. That`s funny because I`ve been -- not funny. I had been sober before. I remember thinking I`m so mad at that guy when I was the one who was crazy.
PINSKY: Creating the situation.
BUTLER: At the time, I did, yes. But he had to take a sabbatical after I left. I`m proud of that.
PINSKY: You told us one of the reasons you decided to come into the show today was the show "Rehab" on VH1 and you`re a fan of Bob`s.
BUTLER: Just seeing particularly civilians who are in it, how endemic it is and that`s just because I`m visible. I don`t talk about this so I can be, oh, there I am, again, in the public eye. It`s actually kind of difficult.
But you know what? It is a universal thing. If anybody relates to it and it helps, that`s great. I really don`t talk about quantity or specific things. This is the first time I`ve ever done it because I don`t want people to compare and go, I`m not that bad yet. It doesn`t matter what it is. You just feel like your whole soul is vacated.
PINSKY: Let`s talk to a caller. Anne in Indiana -- Anne.
ANNE, CALLER FROM INDIANA: Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Ann.
ANNE: I`ve got a question for Brett.
ANNE: Brett, do you think if you was not a celebrity, that your addiction would be different in any type of way? The way it happened? The way you got hooked or anything?
BUTLER: I don`t know. I`m pretty sure I was alcoholic the first time I took a drink. I did start doing comedy before I ever went into places where people recover. What was funny is I knew I was probably dying alcoholic but I said I won`t be funny unless I quit drinking.
Whatever gets you there, whatever -- if it`s your kid or your bird or a fish or you want to fit into a dress. I don`t care what it takes. I`m not really sure what to say.
FORREST: What gets you to want to get sober?
BUTLER: To fantasize how different it would be.
PINSKY: I think people have a fantasy, too, that somehow because you`re a celebrity, the disease gets worse. Too many people there are enabling you.
It would have gotten bad either other way?
BUTLER: The whispers are louder than you would hear if you weren`t famous.
PINSKY: Let`s talk to Kevin in Massachusetts -- Kevin.
KEVIN, CALLER FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Hi, Dr. Drew and Brett. How are you doing?
Brett, I was wondering, did you get into a 12-step program to find your way in sobriety or did you find another way to find sobriety that suited your needs better?
PINSKY: Let me kind of answer that if you don`t mind and just say that sobriety -- I have been a physician working this field for 20 years. If there was some really good alternative, we would be advocating it. But now the term sobriety is synonymous with active participation and capitulation to a 12-step program.
BUTLER: And I pretend to be a doctor on TV so I can say the same thing.
If there`s a shortcut or there`s another way or as they say if it were in a pill, I probably would have heard about it too.
PINSKY: There are half measures out there. You can`t return to a flourishing life on replacement. I couldn`t be a doctor on a replacement. You couldn`t be an actress.
BUTLER: When I started -- I was on -- I just smoked pot for five years. I sat in meetings and when I get tired of being miserable, I`ll quit.
PINSKY: Right. Jen in Pennsylvania -- Jen.
She hung up. There you are. Go ahead.
JEN, CALLER FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Hello.
PINSKY: We have Lisa now. Jen is back. Jen, go ahead.
JEN: Dr. Drew, Hi.
Brett, I wanted to let you know that I was a huge fan of "Grace Under Fire."
BUTLER: Thank you.
JEN: I, you know, grew up watching it and then you kind of fell below the radar. I didn`t know why. You know, to see you come out this year and "Anger Management" made me happy for you to see you back in the light and to now know your struggle and how you`re coming back, I commend you for everything you`ve been through. And I only wish the best for you. I really hope you get to continue on and do what you love.
BUTLER: Thank you. I`ve had a lot of help from my friends.
PINSKY: Thanks, my dear. Thank you, Brett, for joining us. It`s a pleasure.
Here we go.
FORREST: Here they are.
PINSKY: "Anger Management", we`ll look for you there. And many other places, I`ve got my own theory where you need to go with your hidden talents. Let`s talk about that later.
Next up, adults only look at the connection between women`s brains, hormones, sexual relationship. Taking calls. Naomi Wolf joins us. Be right back.
PINSKY: OK. Our next segment will contain adult content. May want kids to leave the room.
Our guest has written a book about the brain-vagina connection, and exploration between vagina and female creativity, confidence, sense of connection.
She is Naomi Wolf, the author of "Vagina: A New Biography." Naomi, thank you for joining us. I`ve been a fan of yours for many, many years.
In a sentence or so, what`s the message women should take from your book at the outset?
NAOMI WOLF, AUTHOR: I guess first of all it`s about understanding ourselves better and appreciating ourselves more. Basically, I learned that the insights we have about female sexuality are about 30 years out of date. And that there`s a whole array of amazing scientific discoveries that are not widely reported about female arousal and orgasm and desire.
But the fact that we don`t know this information is part of why 30 percent of women, even a very hyper-sexualized culture, don`t have -- they have low libido, and another 30 percent some of the same women and some different women, say that they don`t reach orgasm regularly when they want to. So, these new discoveries really kind of change the idea of what female sexuality is.
PINSKY: When you say that we don`t know about this, this is axiomatic, in medicine and in people who deal with this stuff. Who is the "we" that doesn`t know this?
WOLF: Well, I follow female sexuality carefully. And, I was astonished by some of the things I learned when I started to interview scientists at the cutting edge of what I come to think of as the brain- vagina connection. For example, we still talk about the clitoris and the vagina as being different and the G-spot being separate from the clitoris.
There`s been like a war about, you know, these two parts of women back to (INAUDIBLE) 1970s. But anatomists have sounded that there`s a neural arm at the anterior of the female pelvis such that the clitoris is the north of it and the G-spot is the south, and 90 percent of women in loud (ph) conditions with strangers reach orgasm when both of these pointers stimulated at the same time.
So, to me, that`s -- you know, one example of one of many of really remarkable new discoveries.
PINSKY: Well, including that we`ve known that there`s parts of the cervix that connect with different regions of the brain and have people -- women have very intense emotional reactions with different parts of the genitalia.
WOLF: Can I jump in?
WOLF: Because Dr. Drew, you just said something really important that I really appreciate. Dr. Barry Komisaruk at Rutgers and Beverly Whipple, indeed did an experiment, series of studies last year that found that just as you`re saying, the mouth of the cervix lights up different parts of the brain associated with different emotions and brain functions.
And this is just one example of that incredible brain-vagina connection which leads us to appreciate our sexuality and our minds, you know, in new ways. But a lot of people who are not familiar with this information, you`re in the minority, are very surprised to learn that neuroscience is finding many layers of the brain-vagina connection.
PINSKY: In fact, -- we`ve known this for so long as physicians, there are neurosurgeons out there that implant devices in the spinal column to give women orgasms. They known exactly how to manipulate the spinal activity -- anyway, let`s go to some calls. Nancy in Louisiana. Nancy, what`s up?
NANCY, LOUISIANA: Hi. I can`t wait to read your book.
WOLF: Thank you.
NANCY: I agree with you so much. You know, back in the old days, I heard that historionic -- the women that histrionic and crazy, that they had to have the doctor come in there to give them orgasms to settle them down.
PINSKY: Yes. There was a terrible period of history where the medical community did not serve women well. You have a chapter about that in your book, don`t you?
WOLF: I do, Dr. Drew. Thank you and thank you, caller. I didn`t catch her name, but she`s absolutely right. In the 19th century, women were told by gynecologists and obstetricians that nice women had no sexual passion of any kind and only prostitutes felt desire.
At the same time, they did, as the caller mentioned, create a booming business, you know, giving women orgasms, you know, in the doctor`s office as a way to relieve what they called hysteria. But putting it more positively, what neuroscientists have learned recently is that there`s a direct connection between the autonomic nervous system in women which is what is involved with relaxation, heart rate, circulation, and arousal.
And so, this means that, you know, another example of the mind-body connection. So women feel like there`s something wrong with them if they were snapped at by a husband or a partner in the morning, and then, you know, here she wants to make love in the evening, and the woman feels like I can`t just switch right on.
But in fact, you know, housework is foreplay if that`s what`s stressing you out. In order for a woman to become really aroused and be really responsive, she really does need to be free from what neuroscientists call bad stress.
And so, that you know, so heart rate can go up so her circulation can boost so that there can be, I mean, pardon me for getting graphic, but you know, lubrication and engorgement of vaginal tissues and so on.
And so, this is an amazing -- like you have to treat women well emotionally in order to have them really be aroused which is, I think, an empowering findings.
PINSKY: There are bunch of other neuroscientific data about how women separate arousal and desire. Men can`t separate those things. And another point --
WOLF: Oh, tell me more about that.
PINSKY: Off the air maybe, because it`s a little complicated. But men, when they have arousal immediately have appetite and desire. Women can have arousal and no desire. Desire is activated not visually the way it is with men, but be that as it may. The autonomic nervous system is the sort of accelerator and brake of our body system
As you said, heart rate and the visceral function. And it`s the seed of emotion. Emotions are bodily base and they come in through our autonomic nervous. Mary Anne in Arkansas -- Mary Anne.
MARY ANNE, ARKANSAS: Hello, Dr. Drew and Naomi Wolf.
MARY ANNE: Frankly, I just can`t believe Ms. Wolf`s claim that a sexually fulfilled woman is more likely to succeed in other areas of her life.
WOLF: I didn`t say that. I never said that.
PINSKY: Is that somewhere in a review or something, somebody who put those words in your mouth, perhaps, or no?
WOLF: Yes. Thanks for bringing it up, because it`s funny. This is very startling information. A lot of the data that I report on in "Vagina" and a lot of people are misinterpreting it. I didn`t say that at all. But I did say something very fascinating, and I want to clarify, I think, that the caller will like a lot better.
It turns out that women no matter if they`re single or in a relationship, if they`re, you know, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, have an incredible ability to get positive -mind states from well-supported sexuality.
And so what that means is that when a woman is empowered by her culture and by herself to anticipate rewarding sex, it boosts dopamine, and dopamine is a really cool neurotransmitter that goes to motivation and focus and energy than when she has an orgasm at boost to opioids which are about bliss and, you know, ecstasy.
And then, it also releases oxytocin which is about bonding and connection. So, the point does making it simply that, to me, this potent cocktail that any woman has access to if she`s encouraged to know about her body and own her own desire is one reason that female sexuality has been targeted, I think, for 5,000 years, because women can, you know, draw on these very positive mind states.
PINSKY: OK. We`re going to take a quick break. I`m bring in a physician who is going to bring in the issue here of the endocrinological status. We are an aging population now, and the endocrine issue figures in very prominently as well. So, how your neurological functioning is operating? And Simone Bienne joins us. More with Naomi Wolf, more with you, after this.
PINSKY: Welcome back. We`ve been speaking to Naomi Wolf about her book "Vagina: A Biography." That`s what the book is called. And as you might imagine, this segment may contain some adult content. You may want the children to scoot on out.
A lot of misunderstanding about female sexuality and arousal and anatomy. If you`ve got questions, call us, 855-DrDrew5. I`m also joined by Simone Bienne, co-host on "Loveline."
And I`ve asked Dr. Jennifer Park, OB-GYN in Pasadena Fair Oaks Women`s Health Center to join us, because there`s a piece of this that I didn`t want to miss, Dr. Park, and that is, as we age, the importance of hormone replacement and how hormones like testosterone, and again, has been left out of the conversation so much can vastly improve people`s sexual responsiveness.
Tell us about that, if you can. Oh-oh. Dr. Park, are you there? Well, let me -- I don`t think she`s hearing me. So, we`ll go on past that. Simone Bienne, what did you think of the conversation we were having with Naomi Wolf?
SIMONE BIENNE, DR. DREW`S "LOVELINE" CO-HOST: Actually, fascinating. Now, you know that I`m a huge fan of Naomi, because she wrote a dissertation (ph) for about one of her former books which was (INAUDIBLE) many, many years ago.
BIENNE: Yes. And, I wrote from a liberal feminist standpoints which is one of the typical lines you say when you`re writing a dissertation. And I thought it was really interesting because, I mean, you both talk very much about the response and I liked Naomi when she talks about housework being foreplay which is something that you and I always say.
PINSKY: Simone has said that for as long as I`ve known her. Yes.
BIENNE: And how important it is for women to understand that our sexual arousal system isn`t the same as men`s. What this need to be -- Naomi is right in the sense of we need to get the message out there because if we think that our arousal system is as simple as men`s, then no wonder we feel bad about ourselves, you know, and that we don`t know our desire or, you know, we don`t have sex.
PINSKY: Or we feel less than if we don`t have orgasms a certain way as women --
BIENNE: Absolutely. Yes.
PINSKY: Yes. So, Naomi, this is an important conversation, and I`m glad you`re raising it.
WOLF: I`m glad -- I`m so happy hearing this validation from people who know this field, because it hasn`t entered the culture. You know, what I often say to audiences is that, you know, we`re stuck in a model of the two genders being the same in their arousal dating back to Masters and Johnson.
And it`s like, you know, arousal, plateau, climax, resolution, and a race to the finish and that doesn`t work for women, because men take on average four minutes to reach orgasm and women take on average 16 not to mention the incredible variability which I think you were about to talk about between the male neurowiring in the reproductive system in the penis, if you don`t mind me saying that word, versus the incredibly complex and beautiful and multi, you know, valent, you know, wiring in the female pelvis --
PINSKY: Mind you, Naomi, you`re talking about wiring just in the pelvis. The wiring in the brain is vastly different male versus female. Vastly different. We are -- listen, we differ from each other by an entire chromosome. We differ from chimpanzees by about 300 base pairs (ph), a part of a chromosome. So, of course, men and women are different. Of course, they are.
BIENNE: And what`s very interesting --
WOLF: You`re more about -- yes. What you were going to say about what the take away is for us in terms of understanding our sexual desire.
PINSKY: Me or Simone?
PINSKY: Go ahead.
BIENNE: Well, I think it`s really simple. I`m actually writing a book sort of to help women explain and understand, you know, the emotional connection of the vagina, and that`s really, really important, because women can feel a lot of shame because even anatomically, you know, we don`t hold our vaginas to pee.
So, even from a young age, we`re not touching down there. We haven`t had that kind of relationship. We`re not naming our vaginas like men do. They`re on best friend terms with their penises. We need to be in that same kind of relationship if we want to really enjoy our sexuality.
And that`s sort of my angle and I really respect what Naomi is saying. And if we can just all get out there and all get the message to women, love yourself, love your vagina. It`s enormously important, beautiful, luscious, wondrous part of yourself.
PINSKY: OK. Simone, stop it. Settle down. Settle down. Let`s go to calls. Pam in Georgia. Pam, what do you got?
PAM, GEORGIA: Hi, Dr. Drew and Naomi, and Simone. And actually, I have a comment related to the endocrine system.
PAM: I`m 45 and had my son at 39. And he was born, I took a low dose birth control and it was not one that I had taken prior to his birth, and my libido disappeared and I didn`t even realize it, because I was a new mom, and you know, there are so much going on. And after I stopped taking it, it returned. And, you know, I had not even realized that it had disappeared medically.
PINSKY: Yes. Let me address that. How about that? Since, we didn`t get Dr. Park who I was hoping to really give us a little information (ph) on this. Let me just say that this powerful progestational agents, progesterones that are in common birth control pills today commonly shut women down libido, give them irritation, vaginal dryness and irritation.
It isn`t discussed with them. It`s terribly common. The second issue is perimenopause often hits in the 30, certainly in the 40s, and can have a dramatic impact on your sense of well-being, your ability to connect with your partner, and there are replacement strategies, bioidentical or otherwise, that are extremely effective in restoring people -- I have personal experience with women who are angry that someone didn`t come to them ten years prior and say and offer this because they had years and years of not feeling like themselves.
This is a time whether we can do that. Naomi, finish me up. We got to go to break. Go ahead.
WOLF: Oh, I was just going to say, thank goodness for this conversation, because so many women are saying to me, I went on the pill and lost by libido and nobody told me that that`s what would happen. The minute I heard from your book that the suppressant`s (ph) desire went off the pill and now my libido is back. It`s saving (ph) my relationship.
And also, so many older women are asking me what do I do about maintaining desire. So, I want to hear more about --
PINSKY: Yes. That is -- Dr. Park uses bioidentical -- there are lots of options out there. And be careful. I`m not vilifying the pill because some of the birth control pills intensify libido. It certain ones in certain women. Women are very complex, very different. So, this progestational agents tend to be the ones that suppress.
A doctor might prescribe suppress a pill with more estrogen to enhance desire, sometimes, if it`s appropriate for you. Again, discuss these things with your physician. He or she is very accustomed for this conversation.
We`ve got to take a break and switch gears into something called "Our Country Votes." Take a look at this.
Did you know that Winston Churchill had a tattoo? Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has one as well, Jesse Jackson, Jr. So, we asked, if you were a politician, what tattoo would you have put upon your body?
Because a lot of -- apparently, even like Teddy Roosevelt had a tattoo. I guess, he was a rough rider. I guess, that`s how they saw themselves then.
Nicole writes, "I would have a giant peace sign."
And Vicky -- I can`t quite read that. Somebody says (INAUDIBLE) President Kennedy says, "ask not what your country can do -- oh, she`s channeling President Kennedy. I see that. "Ask now what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Those would be good tattoos.
All right. Thank you, guys. Next up, more calls and comments. Stay with us.
PINSKY: All right. We`re having an in-depth discussion about female sexuality with Naomi Wolf and Simone Bienne. And I was just going off about female endocrine systems, and I`ve got Dr. Park on the line, I believe now. Dr. Park, thank you for joining us.
Can you just give me a little primer (ph) here that substantiates what I was saying about the ageing of population, female sexuality arousal, and libido, and the opportunity for replacement.
DR. JENNIFER PARK, OBGYN, FAIR OAKS WOMEN`S HEALTH: It can help with sexual desire and (INAUDIBLE). I give women estrogen and testosterone. The estrogen helps with vaginal lubrication and the vaginal caliber of the walls, and it makes intercourse much less painful. In addition, testosterone can help increase desire.
PINSKY: Is there something --
PARK: -- receptivity to in its part (ph).
PINSKY: Let me -- well, receptivity is more of the estrogen function. The testosterone is more the drive and desire, I would say. But let me ask this, is there something we need to be telling people to get the word out that, as we age, these are normal things and they can be restored?
PARK: Yes. I mean, I try to educate my patients as much as I can. I just tell them that what they`re experiencing is normal and that we can do something about it.
PINSKY: Thank you, Dr. Park. And Naomi, you`ve always been a good source of putting the word out there, let`s say. So, this is another chapter I`d like you to add or maybe your next book is -- or something. Get more information out there for the population as they age, because relationships are falling apart because people don`t know about this.
WOLF: It`s really true. Every single bookstore event I do, older women in their 50s, 60s and 70s say what can I do to boost desire, and they don`t know this basic information that Dr. Park just shared. They also don`t know -- I didn`t know that, as Dr. Jim (ph) does say, female sexual desire has a kind of use it or lose it quality.
So, that you do have to take care of your sexual health. You have to -- I mean, doctors never say you should masturbate regularly to women if, you know, they`re not in a relationship. You know, women really do need to kind of take an active role in taking care of their sexual health and well- being.
That said, I keep meeting women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are having passionate, passionate love relationships and sexual relationships so the stereotype that it just has to dial down isn`t the case.
PINSKY: No, and especially now that we are living so much longer and we have to prepare for that. Denise in Virginia, you got have a comment? Denise.
DENISE, VIRGINIA: Yes. Hi. How are you?
DENISE: OK. I`ll just get right into it. Some females when they have an orgasm, climax, they will, I guess, ejaculate. I don`t know. They release fluid.
DENISE: I`m wondering how is that linked to the brain when I have heard that not every female does that.
PINSKY: Well, listen, this goes into bigger talk maybe we can get to after the break which is the array of responsiveness amongst women. Women are all different one from the other. And no one is right or good or better. I`m going to have my guest answer that and address that as soon as we get back from the break. Be right back.
PINSKY: We are discussing female sexuality. Thank you for joining us. And Simone, you were going to mention -- you were going to tell us -- the caller asked us about the spectrum of orgasmic function in women.
BIENNE: Yes. now, obviously, as women, we have very many different ways of orgasming in the sense that --
PINSKY: Any given one --
BIENNE: -- any given one time. And there are people, there are women who have multiorgasmic, there are women who struggle to orgasm, and there were -- there`ll be a blended orgasm with the G-spots over their clitoris. We are obviously very complex beings. And the whole message that I want --
PINSKY: And no one is really the same.
BIENNE: Exactly. And no one is the same. And also, even the same sexual experience won`t necessarily, you know, bring you to orgasm in the same way, even though yesterday, it worked perfectly fine. That is how women are. We are complex.
If you thought your wife was complex, you know, anyone watching right now, when it comes to sexuality, we`re even more complex. But the point is, an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm and don`t judge your orgasms.
PINSKY: Yes. Women tend to compare one versus the other. Or they compare it -- Naomi, this is why I really appreciate your book. They compare it to a 17-year-old male which is like comparing it to a polar bear or something. It`s extremely wrong. I`ve got about 30 seconds left. Where do you want to take this? What would you like to say, Naomi?
WOLF: I mean, the last thing I want to say chiming in with what Simone was saying is men are not taught how important seduction is not just to get the woman but to keep the woman aroused and interested for the rest of her life.
It turns out there`s a scientific basis to why dim lights, gazing, stroking, caressing, dancing, are erotic for women and activate that arousal response. And I think, you know, men are very happy to learn this. You know, get taught it from our --
PINSKY: Arousal and then the desire often comes -- one of the mechanisms as well is intimate conversation. You know, guys, they seem to want to talk a lot.
WOLF: Very sexy.
PINSKY: See, see. Pay attention to that. Thank you, guys. Thank you, Naomi. Thank you, Simone, for joining us. Thank you, Dr. Park, as well. Thanks to all my guests. Brett Butler, thanks so much for joining us early and Bob Forrest. Thank you for watching. Thank you for calling. I will see you next time. And of course "Nancy Grace" starts right now.