This week, 72-year-old Paulette gives us a window into growing up in a conservative time and culture, and how those tight-lipped and sexually discouraging tropes impacted her lifelong ability to experience pleasure.

Paulette is a cisgender female. She describes herself as mixed Black/Latinx, heterosexual, monogamous, and post-menopausal. She describes her body as “thick.”

PSA: Restrictive beliefs can impact so many areas of life and pleasure. If something is confusing you and holding you back, ask, ask, ask for help.

Bookmark moments:

  • 2:52 – Paulette shares her first memory of sexual pleasure, kissing a boy at around age 8 and liking it.
  • 7:45 – Growing up in an African-American and West Indian family, the expectation was that girls would not bring shame to their family.
  • 8:50 – She got her period at elementary school unexpectedly, and up to that point had received no education about sex or reproductive bodily functions. Even afterwards there was little detail imparted. “Keep your legs closed, your skirt down. You’re a young lady now.”
  • 14:50 – Paulette opens up about her love of foreplay and less-than-love of penetration and tells about an early love experience with only kissing.
  • 19:08 – She loses her virginity around age 20, though she is still very nervous to have sex because of the intense shaming around pregnancy out of wedlock.
  • 21:13 – Paulette has a pregnancy and miscarriage, which she thinks may have been caused by her intense fear of the pregnancy. She has another pregnancy later with the same fears, and decides to seek an abortion. She later adopts two children.
  • 26:28 – She marries at age 35, and finds herself sexually unsatisfied and unable to work on it with her husband.
  • 31:25 – Paulette diverts her energy to her kids, in the face of her lack of satisfaction in the marriage.
  • 33:57 – The talk turns to masturbation; Paulette has never done it, and the repressive effects have lasted her lifetime.
  • 37:14 – They discuss body image and being “thick.” Paulette consciously raised her boys to have the body comfort and confidence she didn’t.
  • 43:30 – Paulette shares that sometimes she gets what feel like incorporeal nighttime visits. Her husband has passed away at this point, as has her first love.

The Lowdown (47:30)

  • What belief did you have about sex as a child or teenager that you wish you could correct her on now?
  • (Follow up) Do you ever feel like there was a possibility of a breakthrough to enjoying it, or was it just something that did not seem available to you?

The audio extras for this episode are:

  • More about Paulette’s relationship with her first lover, and how it felt when they progressed from making out to penetrative sex; plus a longer look at Paulette’s marriage to her husband
  • The extended Lowdown Q&A

Audio extras are available to everyone FOR FREE at  Because this material is marked explicit, you will need to create an account to access it, but no pledge is required.  Of course, all pledges are happily accepted!

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Host – Leah Carey (website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email)

Audio Editor – Gretchen Kilby

Music – Nazar Rybak