Sarah is a 35-year-old, cisgender woman who describes herself as white, married, monogamous, and pansexual. She clarified however that while she has experienced attractions to people of all genders, her sexual experiences have been limited to cisgender males.

Through her teens and early 20s, Sarah dated MUCH older men. She reflects back on those experiences, sorting through the ramifications of her partner choices, including the pressures she felt and how the power differentials in those relationships worked. She is now married to a man her own age and in the second half of the show we talk extensively about the physical difficulties she has with sex and how she and her husband work around them.

Major themes in this episode include the stigma, power dynamics, and secrets involved in dating much older men; physical challenges with sex and difficulty with orgasm; and expanding the definition of what counts as sex.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)

LEAH: A quick note before we get started. I’ve decided to change my name on social media. Some of you may have already seen that I’ve made the switch from IamLeahCarey to GoodGirlsTalk. I know it’s a tiny change for you. You probably won’t notice but it feels like a huge change for me. And I’m really excited about it. So whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, please join me at GoodGirlsTalk. And now, on with the show!

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I’m sex educator and sexual communication coach Leah Carey and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: In today’s episode, we’ll meet Sarah, a 35 year old, cisgender woman who describes herself as white, married, monogamous and pansexual. She clarified however that while she has experienced attractions to people of all genders her sexual experiences have been limited to cisgender males.

 

Through her teens and early 20s, Sarah dated much older men. She reflects back on those experiences in this conversation, sorting through the ramifications of her partner choices including the pressures she felt and how the power differentials in those relationships worked. She’s now married to a man her own age and in the second half of the show, we talk extensively about the physical difficulties she has with sex and how she and her husband work around them. I’m so pleased to introduce Sarah!

 

I’m so excited to talk with you today. I don’t know a lot about your story but what I know the little bit that you shared with me is really interesting. So I’m excited to talk with you today. Thank you so much for being here.

 

SARAH: Thanks. I’m happy to be here.

 

LEAH: Awesome. So the place that I start with everyone is what is your first memory of sexual pleasure?

 

SARAH: I think my first memory of sexual pleasure probably is from being a child and figuring out that certain areas felt good. Yeah. I remember lying in bed.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: But very normal. Do you remember approximately how old you were?

 

SARAH: I remember I guess 8 or 9.

 

LEAH: Did you read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?

 

SARAH: I did read that, yes.

 

LEAH: I remember reading that and I must have read it before I discovered my masturbation because I remember reading the part where she said I touch myself under my belly button and I was like, “I wonder why?” And then at one point, I read it again and I was like, “Oh, I know exactly why.”

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: That’s really funny.

 

LEAH: So when you were touching yourself as a child, did you come to something that you would recognize now as an orgasm?

 

SARAH: No. I didn’t. Typically, I would touch myself and it would feel good and then it would sort of got too intense and then stopped.

 

LEAH: Interesting. So the intensity was too much for you at that age?

 

SARAH: Yup.

 

LEAH: Do you remember the first time you allowed yourself to go over that line?

 

SARAH: Well the first time I had an orgasm was not myself. It was with my then boyfriend and it’s extremely difficult for me to orgasm. So I was an adult, I can’t remember exactly, but past 25 by the time I was finally with a partner that figured out that and I had never figured it out for myself despite lots of attempts.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So you knew there was something you knew you were going for but you haven’t gotten there yet?

 

SARAH: Yeah. I mean I enjoy pleasuring myself. I had a period where I think I was an adult but I can remember reading short stories online, erotic fiction and things like that. So I did experiment with that but I just couldn’t get myself to orgasm.

 

LEAH: Oh, interesting. So that wasn’t until you were in your 20s. Let’s talk about your earlier dating experiences. When did you start dating and presumably fooling around with other people?

 

SARAH: Well technically speaking, I identified myself as having a boyfriend when I was five.

 

LEAH: Oh, okay then.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: So in kindergarten, my first kiss technically I was five years old with a little kid.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: I always was very friendly with boys and also attracted to them so yeah, I showed my colors at five I guess.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: But I obviously don’t think of that as a relationship that’s just a fact about when I was five.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: When I was 12, I had what I would call my first boyfriend and we dated for like five days before he broke up with me.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Yeah, so I was 12. I think I had another boyfriend three months after that.

 

LEAH: And were you kissing these boys?

 

SARAH: Yes, kissing. It wasn’t much of anything, the first one. The second one we were definitely going at it, making out. It was just kissing but he didn’t know and I didn’t know about the whole longue thing. So it’s really like movie style make out sessions, when I eventually found out that that’s what that was.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So it was open mouth no tongue?

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So was it fun? Did you enjoy it?

 

SARAH: It was fun. Yeah. Yeah. But it honestly took me, I want to say, I think I was 14 and dating someone when they pointed out the fact that I didn’t use my tongue and then I was like, “Oh. This is the thing I should be doing.” Other people have been doing it wrong, I guess?

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: So when you started to incorporate your tongue, did it feel different? Did you enjoy it more or less?

 

SARAH: I think I enjoyed it more generally but I have had a couple of partners that were so sloppy that I honestly think it would have been better if the tongue just wasn’t involved.

 

LEAH: I hear you.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: The first boy I ever kissed, I swear he was trying to shove his tongue down my throat. It was so awful.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

LEAH: So when did you get into your first more, it sounds like you were dabbling for a while, when did you get into your first serious relationship that included more sexuality?

 

SARAH: So when I was 16, I started having a very unofficial relationship with someone who was 7 years older than me. And it was very physical. It was also very intellectual.

 

Before anything was happening physically, we connected as people and there was a ton of flirting in the same spaces. Now I can remember, we would make quizzes for each other to solve like English quizzes. It was a lot of intellectual flirtation going on but then ultimately, I guess how it started was I went with him to look at a college I was considering going to.

 

I guess it’s relevant that my parents were very comfortable with him and didn’t suspect him and nothing happened up until that point. But on that trip, I decided to kiss him and I don’t think he was expecting that to happen. I think he told me that later. But he was excited and seized the opportunity. So from that point on, we would meet periodically when we could because we were not dating, it was just when we could get away with being together and no one was going to raise any eyebrows.

 

And then that time it became very physical when it was just the two of us together. So I felt like I didn’t know what to do with a penis. I mean I had never touched one and I didn’t really do very much. But he touched me in all sorts of ways that I’ve never been touched before and oral sex but I mean we did a lot.

 

LEAH: So he didn’t penetrate you with fingers or penis or anything?

 

SARAH: He penetrated me with fingers, yeah.

 

LEAH: And so we’ve already established that you didn’t come to an orgasm with any of this touch, but did you enjoy it?

 

SARAH: Yeah, I definitely enjoyed it. I really had no concept for how I was supposed to behave when this was happening so one of the things that I realize now is I was silent. I didn’t know if it was okay to make any noises. Now I’ve become a very vocal person.

 

[LAUGHTHER]

 

SARAH: But yeah, I was totally silent. To be fair, there were some circumstances that silence was probably dictated by the situation.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Like parents in the other room kind of thing?

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: But there were other times like we were in the middle of the woods somewhere, I could have made all sorts of noises and I was definitely holding myself back from that. So I definitely felt pleasure but I think I was probably more uptight in part because I just felt like I shouldn’t be making noises if that makes any sense. So I don’t know that I totally leaned into the experience.

 

So yeah, I had no concept of what was and wasn’t okay. And I also felt pressure given that he was so much older, I knew he was very experienced and I didn’t want to do the wrong thing. But I really didn’t know what was right, what was good. And he was really not talking in these situations either, so he was just like doing his thing and I was doing it but there really wasn’t a lot of conversation happening there.

 

LEAH: When you say you felt pressure, it sounds like what you’re referring to is internal pressure as opposed to external pressure from him. Is that correct?

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

LEAH: It’s an interesting experience to be with somebody so much older and have all of these questions and uncertainties and nowhere to go with them.

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

LEAH: So what happened after him?

 

SARAH: I basically found by the time I was 15 that I always been attracted to older people. Towards the end of high school, I connected with another older person but he was much older. He was 2 years older than my father. And yeah, with him, I mean there were power dynamics. He was teaching me in the arts as well as becoming friends with me and we were doing things together people knew that. First it was just as friends.

 

LEAH: When you say doing things together, you mean socially?

 

SARAH: Yeah, socially. Going to have a meal or see a play or something.

 

LEAH: And when did it turn sexual?

 

SARAH: So again I was the one who initiated this. I think we had just finished spending time together so I don’t remember what it was we were doing socially but we had always said goodbye with a hug and I kissed him. And we had previously hugged and the thing where we hug somebody for like five minutes.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: It was just a hug. So it wasn’t that much further for me to do that. So it surprised him and I don’t think there was much to it. I think it was I just kissed him, okay, bye.

 

LEAH: When you say you kissed him, you mean on the mouth? Not on the cheek?

 

SARAH: Yeah. So then I think the next time I saw him he had a conversation with me and was like, “I thought about it and I appreciate that you’re thinking about me like that but I really don’t think it’s a good idea.” So I was like, “Okay.”

 

And then so we left it at that for a while and I don’t know if a while is weeks or a month or something but so there was a period of time where we were just continuing to spend time together. But I mean there was clearly a connection between us and I’ve always been such a contrary person.

 

So things like society saying this isn’t okay, to me I just hear that and go well, why not? And that’s how I’ve always been. It’s just been a part of my personality and you could see it throughout my life and it carried over into my sex life. I know people say this isn’t a good idea and I guess I understand why that’s true but I’ve always been told that I was born 25.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Yeah. So if I’m a really mature person, is it any wonder that I’m attracted to people that are a lot older than I am. It didn’t seem crazy to me.

 

LEAH: If you would look back at it now, as your adult self, at your 18 now, right? Your 18 year old self, would you say to her, “This is a great idea. Go ahead” or would you say to her, “You might want to have some caution here”?

 

SARAH: I would say the latter. I think when I look back now, I see that it was more problematic that he did what he did. I don’t blame my 18 year old self for having the feelings that I did but yeah, if I could warn her and be like, “Hey. I know this seems harmless enough.” But the part of it is that I learned that the complications involved in secrets are not worth it. And it’s a little sad to me that years of high school was wrapped up in me keeping secrets and into college.

 

LEAH: So how did things develop with him? You kissed him, he said, “Let’s not do this.” There were a couple of weeks or months and then?

 

SARAH: Yeah, and then now I can’t even remember exactly how we sort of got back into doing things but we very much did. First it was kissing and then it started evolving and I had never had penetration so I didn’t want to have sex. I knew I didn’t want to have sex until I was out of high school and at that point, I still had a few months I think before I graduated. So we waited although he kept pushing and now I look back on that, that’s not okay even if you believe yourself to be in a relationship with him.

 

LEAH: Oh, God. Coercion is absolutely a thing within relationship, no question.

 

SARAH: Yeah. But I was pretty forceful that I wanted to wait. And so he agreed to wait until I was 18. There was a night that I was going to be staying at home and had the place to myself for the night. And we made plans that we would do it then. And I was very insistent that we use a condom and he started using a condom and then he couldn’t stay hard and without my permission, he took it off.

 

LEAH: No, I’m so sorry.

 

SARAH: Yeah.

 

LEAH: Let me just pause here for a second because it’s really important for people to hear. I can see from the look on your face that you know this but it’s really important for people to hear that that is sexual assault. Period. If you’ve made an agreement to use condoms and somebody takes the condom off without your permission that is assault. And I’m really sorry that happened to you especially in the context of somebody who you really trusted.

 

SARAH: Yeah and I was like, “I’m giving you my virginity and you can’t do what we agreed upon.”

 

LEAH: Yeah, that’s not okay.

 

SARAH: No. So that upset me but I didn’t end things. And we continued to surreptitiously have a relationship like through the summer and then I went to college and I think it continued through most of my first year of college.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: You’ve probably heard it from all of your favorite podcasts. If you rate and review this show, it makes it easier for other people to find it. And while it really is helpful to have those reviews, I feel uncomfortable asking for them because like many of us who were socialized as little girls, it’s not always easy for me to ask for what I need or desire. But a friend reminded me recently that there’s another reason that sharing reviews is so important and it’s about helping others which is something that those of us socialize as little girls are really comfortable doing.

 

Leaving a review helps people who need to hear these conversations know that they’re not alone. I clearly remember the days not so long ago that I was terrified that an alarm would go off if I took a book off the shelf at Barnes and Noble in the sex section and I would be marked as a deviant. People who are new to this podcast need to know that they’re not alone and they’re not perverted to want to listen to it. And you can help them know that by leaving a review telling them what you get out of it.

 

So I’m here to ask outright, I would be incredibly grateful if you would share your love of this podcast with a rating and review at Apple Podcasts. You can even use an anonymous screen name. Meanwhile, as usual, there are extras from this week’s conversation with Sarah at patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. They include Sarah going into greater detail about the older men that she dated when she was younger, including the time she was interrogated by police because she looked underage and was with a man her father’s age plus of course, the extended Q and A. You can find all of this and more at patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: After that first time where the sex was not as [unintelligible – 22:31] as one would hope, did it get better?

 

SARAH: Yeah, it got better. I mean I learned a lot about sex being with him.

 

LEAH: You still weren’t orgasming yet, right?

 

SARAH: Correct.

 

LEAH: What were you telling yourself in terms of your ability to orgasm like was there any voice in your head saying, “There’s something wrong with me?” Or was it just, “I haven’t figured this out yet.”?

 

SARAH: I think I sometimes wondered if there was something wrong with me. But I don’t know I’ve always felt like I’m a very sexual person and to feel like that’s a large part of who you are and yet you can’t orgasm is a frustrating contradiction.

 

LEAH: I hear you. Yeah. So let’s talk about power differentials for a minute. First of all, he’s an older man and you are a college age young woman but he also was a figure in your social community and had a leadership role. How did strike you? How did that play out for you?

 

SARAH: I think most of the time it made me feel pretty good to be with somebody that was older and respected. Yeah, there were plenty of other attractive women that he could have been with, and yet he was choosing to be with me and he was a really talented person and I find talent really attractive.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: I hear that.

 

SARAH: Yeah. So at this point, I was 19 then he said he wanted to end things so this was pretty early in my second year. And his rationale was that there was a woman he had met who he thought he could see and have a relationship with and she was really into him. And while she was younger than him, she was significantly older than me. So they still had twenty years between him or something.

 

There was still a big age gap but he felt like the people in their social circles would initially wrestle but they could come to accept it and he didn’t feel like that was true for us. I kind of felt like it was a cop out on his part because he wasn’t willing to try people and say, “Look. I’m seeing Sarah. This is what it is. You’re going to need to accept this.” He wasn’t willing to do that and yet he was willing to do that with this other person.

 

So that frustrated me but he made it sound like he would rather be with me but this woman’s attractive and she likes me and she’s smart and I think I need to give us a chance. So he broke up with me and then there was a period of time when we saw each other several times where he was theoretically dating her like she believed herself that she was in a monogamous relationship and she kept coming back to him.

 

LEAH: Not just sexually?

 

SARAH: Yeah. But he was the one initiating it getting sexual and when I think about that, he was very pushy. And I allowed it but I felt not trapped, I felt upset because clearly wanted to be with him still. I haven’t gotten over him but I didn’t want to be with him in that way. I just wanted him to leave her. So it felt like he was using me but I had a really hard time saying no because I was still getting some attention or acknowledgement. And I also kind of felt bad for her I mean I wouldn’t want someone doing that to me.

 

LEAH: So let’s skip to when you were 25 and finally had that magical moment?

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Yes. So I’ve been with my boyfriend for probably a couple of months, not super long, maybe even less than that could have been six weeks, but we dove into sex very quickly within days. And so we’ve been playing around a lot and I had made it clear don’t be offended if you can’t make this happen because you’re not the only person who’s had this issue.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: But he was very much somebody that gets as much pleasure at giving pleasure as receiving pleasure and so that was really important. It was just a matter of experimentation and I quickly felt like he knew more about my body than I do. And it’s interesting in hindsight because he hadn’t been with very many people. I know he watches porn and things like that which I’m sure inspired some things.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: But yeah, so he just tried all sorts of things and also at that point I was more vocal. I was more comfortable saying what felt good and what didn’t feel good and asking for more of something if I wanted it. So I think all those things combined meant that at a certain point, he just took twenty minutes and was just like, “Let’s just focus on this right now” and it paid off.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Do you think there was any difference in you? Were you relaxing differently? Were you participating differently? You said you were more vocal which I actually think makes a difference but what was going on with you that you think allowed you to be in this space to orgasm?

 

SARAH: Yeah. I think I felt more comfortable relaxing in all sorts of ways. I feel that there were subtle ways that I’ve held back with other people in the past with my body and he just made it so clear like, “This is all about you” and he was putting so much energy into it so it’s like I owe him at least to do everything that I can to open up to this, right?

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: And I remember I think we talked about when he masturbates, is he just thinking about the action is he picturing people, I she picturing me, like what’s the process that he goes through? And I feel like he encouraged me to experiment with thinking about whatever I wanted and not feeling like there’s any right or wrong like I can be here with him but I could also think about something else or us doing something else or whatever I want. There’s no wrong answer for how you get to an orgasm.

 

LEAH: I love that. So how did it feel the first time you actually had an orgasm? What was it like?

 

SARAH: Yeah, it was incredible.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: It’s a real thing!

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: The whole world hasn’t lied to me.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Yeah, it was really awesome and from that point on, it’s still really difficult to get me to orgasm so it’s not like every day ever since, it’s been great.

 

LEAH: It’s not like it opened up this channel and suddenly, you’re a fountain of orgasms.

 

SARAH: No.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: No, it hasn’t. But it’s happened many times and just having the knowledge that it’s possible is nice and gives me a sense of normalcy. I mean obviously there’s a release in that that you don’t get otherwise and it’s nice I can sometimes experience that and also this boyfriend is now my husband so I’m with someone that continues to put my pleasure first and he will put the time and energy into something as I want. So generally speaking, it will be me that will be, “You know what? I’m really tired. We don’t’ have to make this an all night affair.”

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: “Let’s move on. You’ve given me some pleasure. We’re good.” Because yeah, it’s still tough.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: How did he feel about that because you mentioned that he takes a lot of pleasure from your pleasure? And let me say I’m familiar with this because my partner is the same way and I also have a hard time orgasming, so there are a lot of nights when I’m like, “Yeah, it’s just not going to happen.”

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: And he’s great. I actually make a real effort to say it not as a joke but sort of snickering at myself so that it stays light so that he has the opportunity to also laugh about it and be like, “Well it’s just one of those nights.” So how does your husband respond on those nights where you’re just like, “No, it’s just not going to happen”?

 

SARAH: Yeah, it’s similar with me. I sort of do the same thing trying to keep it lighthearted because you don’t want to ruin the moment that you’re having just because that piece is not going to happen. I think earlier on, it was harder for him to accept that but now he knows my body.

 

He knows how challenging it is and he knows I’m not going to say that out of obligation, I’m actually going to say that because it’s actually what I want is for him to let that be and not make that the goal tonight. And I also knew I liked massage, but because of I can get into more of my other challenges in sex, but because of all the challenges I have like massage has become a real focus of sex. And he’s an amazing masseuse and extraordinarily patient and will do whatever I ask of him in that regard so now there are a lot of times that that becomes how he gives me pleasure mostly.

 

He’ll do other things but he’ll check in with me, “Do you want me to touch you here tonight?” “I don’t think we need to do that tonight.” “Okay. I’m going to stick to these other things that are making you really, really happy right now.” So I don’t orgasm but it’s an incredible release so it’s still really, really satisfying and that’s a part of sex.

 

LEAH: Yeah, I want to echo that. For me orgasm is lovely when it happens but because it’s not something that I can count on, I still have a really satisfying pleasurable sex life that doesn’t always include orgasm and a lot of that is just touch. It’s so beautiful to feel his hands touching me. So, when you say, “It’s not going to happen tonight”, do you then focus on him? What’s the next thing that happens in that or do you both just roll over and go to sleep?

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Not that. So yeah, sometimes when I tell him it’s not going to happen then he will shift to focusing on touching me on other ways that are pleasurable. And I will almost always incorporate touching him and doing things for him as well into what I do though there have been times where I’m tired and he will initiate and be like, “I’m really too tired to do anything.” So then he’ll just sort of take whatever I give and sometimes it’s not much of anything.

 

And he’s so great. It’s wonderful to be married to someone who continues to ask for consent. No matter how many times we’ve done something, he doesn’t assume something like, “Are you okay if I touch myself?”” Yeah. “Are you okay if I put this here while I do it?” Okay. Or “I’m not really feeling that but you can look at me, I’ll kiss you.” Whatever it is, he listens and he’s right there.

 

So I do enjoy giving him pleasure and that’s often a lot of it but in general, he has more of a sex drive than I do and I think some part of that is he’s just happy to be connecting with me in whatever I can do right now. And also, I have carpal tunnel so I mean that gets in the way a lot because if I can make something happen for you before I get to the point where my hands are cramping up, great. And if I can’t, I’m turning over the reins to you or I’m going to touch you here while you’re touching yourself and that’s what we’re doing tonight.

 

LEAH: So you mentioned a couple of minutes ago that you had other issues around sex, what are they?

 

SARAH: I have autoimmune issues that cause dryness so it’s an issue system wide but in particular for sex, it’s vaginal intercourse is really difficult and I would say this probably started I think with past partners.  I still struggle like even going back ten years, I probably struggled with dryness there before I really knew I was struggling with dryness anywhere else. But every time I was with a new partner, all the problems would go away magically. I didn’t do anything.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: New relationship energy causes all the chemicals to do all of the things.

 

SARAH: Yes.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: And I remember when I started seeing my now husband, early on we were having sex four and five times a day.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: Which I’ve never had before and it was great but the whole time  I was just like you should know this isn’t going to last. I understand you’ve got a great sex drive but for me, I know from past experience, we might have this for two or three months and then it’s very quickly going to taper off and it’s going to be much, much more difficult for him to be able to do this.

 

So once we hit that point, obviously foreplay becomes that much more important and things like that but we also started trying to figure out other solutions. That’s when I first went to my gynecologist and was talking about what’s going on and she suggested coconut oil as a really harmless lubricant to use for whatever. So I started incorporating that in so whatever kind of touch or whatever, that’s like always next to us. So we’ve got something ready to go.

 

But yeah, I mean I know there are conditions that make it difficult for people to have vaginal intercourse in terms of dryness and things like that and it’s possible at this point that something like that has developed on top of the fact that I got dryness everywhere. For a while, we would have intercourse and it was just a lot of talking back and forth about checking in if things were too uncomfortable.

 

And then, I don’t know, probably three or four years ago, it sort of got to a point where it was generally more painful than it was worth to even try it. So, at this point, I’ve got the dilators, I’ve gotten that from my gynecologist too.

 

LEAH: So those are the things that you start very small and you insert larger over time.

 

SARAH: It’s relatively small and it’s been a long time so this is a tool you can use to sort of desensitize yourself and make it easier or whatever. And the problem has just been we’re both busy people and haven’t had to prioritize that.

 

I am sure at some point, when we have more free time, we’re going to give more time trying to get that back. I would like to think in the next year or two but right now, sex for us is not traditional. We do all sorts of interesting positions and configurations and I continue to be amazed by how creative my husband is at finding new ways to stimulate all sorts of things.

 

LEAH: But it doesn’t include penis and vagina sex.

 

SARAH: Exactly.

 

LEAH: I’m going to pause here for a second and do a public service announcement for listeners about lubrication.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Because I was under the mistaken belief for a long time that if I wasn’t lubricated enough to enjoy penetration, which was most of the time, there was something wrong with me and there was something with my body and if I needed external lubrication, that meant that that there was some failure on my part. And I am here to tell you from the future that that is not true.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: All of our bodies are different. Our body chemistry is different as you’ve been saying Sarah. It’s really easy at the beginning of the relationship to have a lot of lubrication for some people not for everyone when all your chemicals are running and everything is new and exciting, it’s likelier that a lot of lubrication will show up. As we get older and we get further into our relationship, those things might change. When I finally discovered that, “Oh, wait. Using lubrication is a thing?”

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: I then had a really, really hard time finding one that worked with my particular body chemistry because the office shelf ones are a total shit show for me. I have very sensitive skin and they’re a nightmare. So here are a couple of pointers. As you have mentioned, coconut oil is fantastic. It’s all natural, you can get it organic off the shelf. There is some question about whether it breaks down condoms so if you are in a relationship where you’re still using condoms, you can use it all over your body. It does delightful things for your skin.

 

[LLAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: But if you’re having intercourse, it may not be the best choice for your lubrication for intercourse. There are several options for all natural lubricants. All of which I have tried. I should say all of the ones that I know of, I have tried and I have found one in particular that works for me. And it’s called Isabel Fay. I’ll put a link to all of these in the Show Notes. I keep a big bottle of it right by my bed all the time. It’s the only one that doesn’t irritate my skin.

 

There’s also Uberlube that comes in a clear bottle so you can see just how clear and delightful it is. There’s Good Clean Love and there’s another one that I am blanking out right now. I’ll put all of that on the Show Notes if you have difficulty with dryness and lubrication. I really recommend that you try some.

 

Oh that’s Sliquid is the other one. That’s Sliquid organics. Experiment. They’re not as cheap as the ones off the shelf from the drugstore but when you’re talking about your skin and your sex life, I think it’s worth it. Okay, end of public service announcement.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

SARAH: I’ll check in a little bit on that. My skin is also super sensitive which is why I rely on coconut oil where I was having issues with a lot of over the counter stuff and my gynecologist actually has told me at this point, she’s advised me to use coconut oil before I go to bed every night. I apply it every night because of my dryness so yeah, even though I’m not doing penetration regularly, I am taking steps to try to just keep everything happy there.

 

LEAH: When you say you’re applying it, what does that mean? Are you applying it to your external genitals internally what are you doing?

 

SARAH: Yeah, I do external and I do a little bit internally.

 

LEAH: Do you use that as a type of self stimulation or is that just sort of very practical?

 

SARAH: Usually, it’s just practical. Once in a while, I mentioned at night, I’m super sleepy. So usually if I get inspired to touch myself, it’s some time in the afternoon or maybe in the morning like I had a good dream.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Before we finish up, let’s get the lowdown, the questions we’re dying to know but we’d usually be too polite to ask any good girl.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: DO you have sex during your period?

 

SARAH: Usually no. Though I told you we have sex in interesting ways so we might not use the vagina but still do other things.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

LEAH: Yeah. So given that sort of P and V penetration is mostly off the table for you, let’s ask the question, how you define sex now?

 

SARAH: Now I define sex as any time that we are taking off our clothes and touching each other, connecting with each other.

 

LEAH: I love that. I wish everyone defined it that way. I think that should be the new definition. Any time that sexual energy is moving. Period.

 

SARAH: Absolutely. Awesome.

 

LEAH: Do you prefer the orgasm from masturbating or sex with another person?

 

SARAH: Sex with another person since it’s the only way.

 

LEAH: So you still haven’t orgasmed with your masturbation?

 

SARAH: No. I’ve tried ways and all sorts of things.

 

LEAH: Do you enjoy receiving oral sex?

 

SARAH: Yes.

 

LEAH: Even now, with dryness issues, that could be pleasurable for you?

 

SARAH: Yeah, depending on how I’m feeling there’s typically we’ll adjust what we’re doing based on what doesn’t feel good. But my partner is great about, “Oh, please don’t go there right now. That’s not working.”

 

LEAH: Do you ever worry about how you taste or smell?

 

SARAH: I used to. I don’t anymore.

 

LEAH: What’s the difference?

 

SARAH: I just feel like it’s part of getting older that I don’t care about it anymore. I think part of it too is that I have a partner now that we talk about stuff. We’ve had all those conversations, yeah. So I certainly noticed if you eat certain things, it affects the tastes or whatever. But yeah, my partner is so onboard whatever the circumstance that I really don’t worry about it and we’ve talked about it so I know that.

 

LEAH: Sarah, this has been so wonderful. Thank you so much for showing up and telling all of these stories. It’s been really fascinating.

 

SARAH: Thank you. This was fun. Thanks for having me.

 

[MUSIC]

 

LEAH: Thanks for joining me today on Good Girls Talk About Sex. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, please email me at leah@goodgirlstalkaboutsex.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at GoodGirlsTalk.

 

I was only able to step out of my good girl box when someone I respected told me that it was possible to do it. If you’d like to step out of a box that’s no longer for you, I’m here to tell you it’s possible and I’d love to work with you. Join my mailing list to receive tools to help you name your desires and communicate them effectively to your partner or potential partners. Sign up at leahcarey.com. I’m Leah Carey and I look forward to talking with you again next time. Here’s to your better sex life!

[MUSIC]

Here are some of the notable moments she shared with us:

  • 3:00 – Sarah’s first memory of sexual pleasure around age 8
  • 8:30 – Sarah’s first relationship with a moderately older partner
  • 12:00 – Not knowing how to behave when receiving pleasure
  • 13:50 – Sarah’s first relationship with a significantly order partner
  • 17:30 – Sarah considers power dynamics and coercion in relationship with an older man
  • 18:55 – When a partner removes a condom without permission it is sexual assault
  • 27:00 – Sarah’s first orgasm at age 25—through more communication, focus on her pleasure, comfort level
  • 33:00 – Navigating sexual interaction when orgasm isn’t going to happen
  • 36:30 – The physical challenges Sarah contends with including carpal tunnel, autoimmune disorders, and vaginal dryness
  • 39:30 – Experimenting with lubricants and dilators
  • 41:00 – An important PSA about lubrication!

The Lowdown (45:20):

  • Do you have sex during your period?
  • What is your definition of sex?
  • Do you prefer the orgasm from masturbation or sex with another person?
  • Do you enjoy receiving oral sex?
  • Do you every worry about how you taste or smell?

The Patreon extras for this episode are:

  • At the $5/month level, Sarah talks more about her relationships with older men
  • At the $7/month level, that conversation plus the extended Q&A
  • At the $10/month level, all that plus a monthly Ask Me Anything!

Learn more and become a community supporter at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

If you like this show, please leave a rating and review at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/good-girls-talk-about-sex/id1436501617?mt=2.

Want to be on the show? Visit www.leahcarey.com/guest and let me know that you’re interested. I’d love to talk with you!

To learn about Sexual Communication Coaching, visit www.leahcarey.com/coaching

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

Editor – Gretchen Kilby

Music by – Nazar Rybak