This week we put aside the regular episode to feature the stories and voices of women and non-binary folx of color.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)
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!
LEAH: Hi friends. I’ve questioned whether to put an episode out this week given what’s going on in the United States and around the world. It doesn’t feel appropriate for me, a white woman, to be telling my story, which is what was scheduled. So instead, I’m dedicating this week’s episode to hearing the stories and lifting the voices of women of color.
First, we’ll hear a handful of excerpts from interviews with black women and non-binary folks from previous Good Girls Talk About Sex podcast episodes. Then in the second half, I’ll introduce you to some female podcasters of color who I think you might really enjoy. So, let’s get started with this excerpt from my conversation with Jazz in the episode Vibrators changed my life.
LEAH: Do you remember the first time you masturbated?
JAZZ: Uh-huh. Very vividly because I was like almost 14 years old so I wasn’t like a little person. I was just a minor tween.
JAZZ: So yeah, I mean that had a lot to do with David Bowie.
JAZZ: A particular movie that all my friends who still connect with me from that time know which movie that is.
JAZZ: Yeah, I just kind of had a special moment by myself. And from there on out, I started getting really interested in repeating the experience because I more or less passed out like I climaxed and then, I was just not there.
LEAH: So it was really intense for you?
JAZZ: Uh-huh. I was really kind of just following sensation. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I wasn’t thinking about it. I guess there’s sort of like a whole parallel conversation about being embodied vs disembodied or disassociated. And I am definitely a person who has been disassociated on and off throughout my whole life, so it’s kind of funky to think about my first time masturbating and how that was definitely that was at play but perhaps in a positive way.
LEAH: So, can you talk a little bit more about that distinction you just brought up about embodied, disembodied, dissociated?
JAZZ: Well, I mean I would do a whole manner of things without really feeling connected to my body or remembering that I had a body that I was inhabiting. And that wasn’t just because I was like nerdy and reading a lot. It was because of a lot of background in performing arts at a young age and just being told how to move my body, being handled by people, and just sort of accepting it, and moving through those experiences.
LEAH: That’s really interesting.
JAZZ: Yeah. And I mean to clarify to say that positive disassociation I think I would more readily associate
with ecstatic states, which is what I believe happened to me the first time I masturbated.
When it comes to the performing arts and how they deal with people under the age of 18, I have a lot of criticism/critique and I don’t think it was a good thing, but it’s also how my body learned how to survive and manage a lot of complex dynamics, so I don’t want to shame dissociation as a subject or the performing arts.
LEAH: Well, I am curious. Can you give us a specific scenario where you experienced this? Because I think this will be a really unfamiliar conversation for a lot of people.
JAZZ: Sure, and I mean we can also just throw in my elephant in the room, which is antiblackness, and that would be my gigantic critique of theatre, particularly how you bring up people of color in a theatre tradition that is inherently Euro-centric.
But to bring it home, a moment that has stuck with me forever, I had a teacher in my senior year at LaGuardia, the performing arts high school where I studied drama. And I was in the senior play along with my buds playing one of five black roles in a twenty cast production, and I had a teacher say in a rehearsal in front of the whole class that I should both wear black, because I’m black because. We were doing a costume lighting check and also, that I should sound more black, which was obviously wildly inappropriate and inaccurate things to say to a human being.
And instead of calling him out on it or just having any kind of reaction, I just stood there and that’s a type of dissociation, a freeze maybe response and things like that would happen all the time. Worse things would happen to darker skinned folks in the industry, my peers.
Folks who are listening, I’m a light skinned mixed race person, and so my experience is never going to be as effed up as a darker skinned person. So, if we’re talking about things like dissociation and pleasure, embodiment, where I sit in the world of blackness, and where others like me sit are just really never not there. It’s always part of the experience and influencing the situation.
LEAH: Next up is Tenisha from the episode I had to get drunk to have sex. [MUSIC]
TENISHA: I have masturbated like probably majority of my life at this point. LEAH: And is that a pleasurable experience for you? Do you enjoy masturbation?
TENISHA: So, I enjoy it like I think it’s pleasurable, but I also have this guilt about it and the guilt comes from a couple of places. One part is from my religious background like I’m Christian and you’re not supposed to masturbate. You’re not supposed to have really any premarital sexual thoughts or actions or anything of that nature, so there is guilt from that part but there’s also just this guilt where it was not something that was talked about or welcomed in my house, so I always kind of hid it. So guilt from hiding it, from religious, and just from familiar or societal expectations.
LEAH: It sounds like you’re having pleasure now during sex. TENISHA: Yes.
TENISHA: When we were talking earlier, I was like, “Wow, I don’t think I actually orgasmed before.” [LAUGHTER]
TENISHA: I mean not from a partner before this guy, and now like that is his priority is to make me orgasm.
TENISHA: Which is amazing.
TENISHA: And I don’t always, not a 100% of the time, but he kind of gets upset when I don’t. [LAUGHTER]
LEAH: It’s totally okay, totally normal to not orgasm every time.
TENISHA: Yeah, but I mean he’s happy when I’m happy in that way. And yeah, I think there’s still certainly some things that I am working through on the sexual side, but sometimes I have to catch myself. Like I’ll say, “I don’t want to orgasm”, and I’ll shut my body down, and so I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on there. But I have noticed when I just let go, yeah, I have a great time, but sometimes I don’t want to, and I’m not sure exactly what that is related to.
LEAH: Here’s Shana from the episode It was never: I’m ready, let’s do this. [MUSIC]
SHANA: My first, not my first-time having sex, but my first sexual experience was with a guy I was not in a relationship with, but was dating over an extended period of time my freshman year in high school, and he used to come over after school. I lived two blocks away, and I would look out the window and see him pulling up along the fence on the side of the house, and that’s how I would know he was coming over. And we would make out for like a hundred years.
SHANA: And we never took our clothes off and we would just make out. And so, I think of that as my first sexual experience. We never had sex.
LEAH: How old were you?
SHANA: I was 14, and I really liked him, and he stopped coming over one day. I mean we never had a
conversation about what was happening between us or whatever.
He stopped coming one day and he was a white guy. And he stopped coming over and the next thing I knew he had a girlfriend who was like one of the golden girls, not in the sense of the show, but like one of the beautiful white girls in the school.
So that taught me two things. One, it reinforced that you had to be a certain kind of girl to be treated with value by a man. And two, that white men were going to choose white women over me. And I was going to be a secret and they were going to be public.
LEAH: And have you experienced that in later relationships?
SHANA: I never had any other relationships with white men after that. And I never really connected that to him. I have this, I guess there’s no better word for it than hang-up, that I feel like having any sort of sexual interaction with a white man feels like I’m indulging his slave shack fantasy, which could be the furthest thing from the truth or could be real, I don’t know, but I can’t relax.
And I find it very difficult, even though I’ve had a good friend who was a white man who I would have loved to have been in a relationship with, and I couldn’t make myself do it.
LEAH: So, it doesn’t necessarily preclude attraction to a white man but it does preclude involved with a white man?
SHANA: Yeah. I can’t imagine. Again, this is my shit, this is my hang-up. But it’s hard for me to imagine being truly partnered by a white man and I wonder if that’s because I’ve never seen it. I knew it wasn’t in my family structure or because of some of those early experiences.
LEAH: This excerpt is from last week’s episode with Maya, The worse I felt, the more sex I had. [MUSIC]
LEAH: You’ve told me that you’re mixed race, black and white. You are a very light skinned woman. I’ve talked to other black women who have had real challenges with feeling fetishized by white men or having real difficulty in dating based on their skin color. And I’m curious about what your experience has been with that, if any.
MAYA: No. I have actually never had sex with a white guy before. As I grew older, I realized that black men is where it’s at.
MAYA: Like I mean I grew up in a white suburb, and that’s why I was too tall, I was too big. Like white men would look at me and say I’m fat. Black men are like, “Ooh, she thick.”
MAYA: And so I don’t feel I was fetishized by white people. I feel like I was disregarded by white men, but black men loved my body or my size.
LEAH: And I assumed that is how your husband treats you? MAYA: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Yeah, he loves my body.
LEAH: What happens next?
MAYA: I dated a Muslim boy. We thought that we were going to marry each other. That’s kind of like how we talked to each other. We were both Muslim but we were same type of Muslim, meaning we weren’t practicing, and we were very Americanized culturally. Yeah, but he had severe depression. I had severe depression and it just didn’t work. And he ended up breaking up with me because he said that I’m too big for him. And he’s 5’6, I’m 6 foot.
MAYA: So, we were a very awkward pair. We looked awkward together but that’s what I loved about us. I thought that he didn’t care and I love fucking with people’s ideas of what’s normal.
MAYA: And the fact that we were together, it just made people uncomfortable and I loved that. And so part of me is like, “Did I really love him or I liked the idea of how different we were together?”
LEAH: Finally, let’s revisit one of my favorite conversations of all time with Michelle in A throbbing in my nether regions.
LEAH: You talked about sort of running away from the idea of sex and pleasure. At what point did you allow that to become part of your life?
MICHELLE: When I went to college. [LAUGHTER]
MICHELLE: It just seemed like everybody was doing it and I didn’t even really have a boyfriend. I had this little dorky thing when I was in 8th grade and we both turned out gay.
MICHELLE: And it was like so geeky or whatever. I hadn’t kissed anybody until I went to college and then that happened, my first year. And I’m just like, “Well, I’m kind of here and here’s some cute guys here.” I was really intimidated by the girls but I was like, “There’s some cute guys here and they seemed to be interested so why not try something?” And I was freaked the hell out and scared but it was just like, “There’s some cute dudes here.” And one guy in particular that I ended up having a crush on and messing around with all throughout college and I think it’s kind of what opened me up to the idea of it.
LEAH: To the idea of pleasure?
MICHELLE: Doing anything kind of sexually. I let him known that I had a crush on him and I was open to the idea of messing around with him.
MICHELLE: And I mean he’s a teenage guy, here’s a girl who is decent looking, and I had a really great body back then. He’s like, “Sure why not? And she’s open to giving me oral sex. Let’s go!”
MICHELLE: So that was kind of how that went, yeah.
LEAH: So, was that your first sort of sexual entre was giving him oral sex?
LEAH: And did you enjoy it?
MICHELLE: It’s interesting. The act itself, because I kind of have an oral fixation, so that helped. [LAUGHTER]
MICHELLE: But it was cool because I enjoyed the power of it, honestly. I’m not really a fluids person so that part kind of grosses me out. I told him there’s never going to be a time where I’m on my knees in front of you. If you want me to do this, you need to lay on the table or lay down or something, but I’m not going to be on my knees and you standing over me. And so, he did it because he wanted it, so it’s like I recognized this ability to get him to do certain things with that being on the horizon if you know what I mean. I can’t say that if it was anything like, “Oh my god, this is so good! This taste so great! The smells!”
MICHELLE: It was nothing like that, but I enjoyed the power dynamic of it. And I really liked him, and I wanted him more in different ways, and I wanted a relationship with him and stuff. And I think a young me was like that’s kind of a way to be close to him because he was very noncommittal because he had a lot of girls coming at him. So that was a way of me to kind of get some closeness with him. It wasn’t
ultimately what I wanted in terms of the amount of closeness and relationship and all of that, but it was something, I think.
LEAH: Yeah, and so was there reciprocity? Did he go down you? MICHELLE: Ha! No!
MICHELLE: Oh gosh, like young black dudes back then. [LAUGHTER]
MICHELLE: I am glad that I’m a huge fan of hip hop and stuff and that’s such a big thing in Caribbean music and stuff is not going down on the woman and blah, blah, blah. But they’ve changed, thankfully. Not so much in reggae and stuff, but in hip hop, yeah, like you got dudes saying this stuff, so there’s more I think role models for them, it’s not as taboo. But back then, that’s not happening.
LEAH: That is fascinating.
MICHELLE: So, he would like touch me or whatever like with his hands. There would be fingering and
stuff like that but that was about as far as it would go between us. Yeah, but not oral sex, oh god, no.
I met this guy and we chatted and stuff, and I went to go visit him, and that was the first time anyone had gone down on me. So dorky, but when he went down on me, my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I think I kind of just almost kind of blacked out. I had never felt anything like that. He wanted to do it and I was like, “But you don’t have to. Why do you want to do this?”
MICHELLE: But he wanted to do it like that was his thing. And he actually wasn’t into receiving it himself because I was like, “This is a thing I know how to do. I’m pretty good at it, so I’d like to do that on you.” And it just wasn’t his thing and I remember thinking, “Is he normal?” I thought typical guys liked that kind of thing and I wanted to do it for him because he wanted to do it on me, but he didn’t want it, so I didn’t do it.
And I remember asking, and I was so embarrassed to ask him this, but somebody had to tell me the answer. I’m like, “Am I still a virgin?” Because I didn’t know how much he had done because I was that much out of my head. I knew he was like going down on me orally and I didn’t know if anything else had happened and so I was like, “Am I still a virgin?” And he’s like, “Yeah, you’re still a virgin.”
And so then maybe a month or so later, he came up to visit me in school and that was when we had full on sex and it was multiple sessions overnight. I remember whenever I tell folks that it was really good
and I would tell them I was gay, they would be like, “Well, how can you be gay, you had a really good experience?”
MICHELLE: And I’m like, “That has nothing to do with it. What are you talking about?” LEAH: Totally separate issues.
MICHELLE: Right. But he was great. He was very sensitive. He was like, “If this hurts too much, let me know. I’ll stop.” And when it hurt, he asked me if I wanted to stop and I was like, “Nope. Keep going. Keep going.” And he did, and he was just really caring, and he was kind.
And I’ve often said, and this is so terrible, if I could remember what he looked like and his name, and if I ever saw him again, I would give him the biggest hug, because I have heard so many horror stories and he was very gentle. He was very caring and concerned that I was having a good time, and that he didn’t push too far or anything like that. He was amazing.
LEAH: I want to thank all of the women of color who have agreed to be interviewed on this podcast. I’ll be honest. I’m still not hitting the mark of racial diversity that I think is necessary for this podcast. If you are a woman of color and you’re interested in having a safe and nonjudgmental conversation about your sexual history, I’d love to hear from you. There’s a link in the Show Notes where you can get in touch.
And here’s another place where as a white woman, I am falling down. I have not been actively seeking out female podcasters of color to subscribe to in my podcast queue. So, this week, I’ve done a lot of listening. I want to share with you some of my favorite finds. Shows that embody the same ideals that are important to me like deep contemplation, deep listening, and engaging conversations.
I hope you’ll consider subscribing to one or more of these shows and also, make an effort to incorporate more females of color in your listening choices. That’s what I’m going to do. Links to all of the recommendations here are in the Show Notes.
So first up is Nesha Frazier from Courage Hackers. These are short episodes that address really tangible topics like how you accept mediocrity in your life and when someone doesn’t believe in your goals and dreams. Here’s an excerpt from Nesha’s first episode A Consequence of Being The Strong One.
NESHA: For as long as I can remember, I have been the strong one, the bold one, the one who carried it all. I’m using air quotations as I say that. I proudly wore each and every one of those titles until I couldn’t bear the weight of it anymore. It was a blessing and it was a curse, but it shaped my entire sense of self one way or the other.
It evolved really from a coping mechanism as a coping mechanism as a shy kid who was just experiencing situations that I didn’t necessarily realize weren’t normal, but I knew I just had to figure out and I just had to get through it.
Just kind of flash forwarding through that history, I think about how it protected me when my mom became an amputee and she just completely fell apart. It was exaggerated for sure when I moved thousand of miles away from family and friends for years and I joined the service. And it really protected me in so many ways when my brother, who is currently incarcerated, I felt like I lost him to the streets.
Now that I’m a working mom, I think I just decided to keep it around and put that cape on and put the S on my chest as the strong one, because those struggles are real, and you just got to figure it out. So, for me being the strong one, the pros and cons of being the strong one meant that I really aired on the side of keeping it around for as long as I could for one reason or the other.
Be it self-imposed or just my environment, I never really feel like I was in a place where I have permission to be vulnerable or weak, and I could speak to that over the entire trajectory of my life. As a result, I felt like I began to associate feeling emotionally vulnerable as being weak. I wanted to avoid that ish like the plague.
LEAH: Bre Mitchell hosts the show Brown Girl Self-Care, where she talks about cultivating health and wellness habits that support listeners in improving tehri physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing. I especially appreciate her May 31st episode When Brands Are Silent, We Stop Supporting.
BRE: These are things that I’ve been doing this week, and they have just really helped me to kind of center in on what’s important for me. So, the first thing that I want to say is, or the first tip is, take note of the brands that are silent right now. Take note of the brands that are in your inbox or let me back up. They’re not silent. They’re silent about black issues. You see the difference?
They’re not silent. They’re just silent about the black community, silent about black people, silent about how we’re being senselessly murdered in the street. That’s the kind of silence I’m talking about. Take note of those brands and unfollow them. Don’t support them. Take them out of your inbox.
I read a good quote. Her name is Karen Kenney and her quote is, “Your stand is more important than your brand.” She is a podcaster apparently. Again, I have no idea, I think it was mentioned in my suggestions on Facebook or something like that but yeah, so one of her quotes is “Your stand is more important than your brand”, and that to me speaks volumes.
Because obviously, people in business, I have no beef with anyone in business who is out there trying to get their coins right now, I get it. We have to eat. We have things to do. We need money. These businesses I should say they have employees, they have I’m sure insurance to pay and building fees and
inventory they have to buy, all of those things, I get it. I get it. Okay, I don’t have no problem with anybody out there making money right now. I get it.
But what I do have a problem with is when you can continue to exploit black people or have your hand out in my inbox every other day or sometimes several times a day, which is crazy but then have absolutely nothing to say to anything that matters to me as a black woman. Nothing. Nothing. Crickets chirping, nothing. And it’s not even a fact that you have to be front and center on every single black issue, but it’s like you never have anything to say. You never have anything to say.
LEAH: I adore this next show So-Called Oreos, because it embodies the vibe of a slumber party that I always imagine when talking with women about their sex lives. Here are Kia, Janae, Rachel, and Amari, four friends who identify as Oreos.
PODCAST EXCERPT: Welcome to the So-Called Oreos podcast. A podcast where Kia, Amari, Rachel, and Janae discuss all the awkwardness, hardship, and hilarity that comes along with society labelling you white on the inside and black on the outside, also known as an Oreo.
Trying to mind my business and be like that’s seriously about it. To intimate conversation and candid interviews, we discuss everything about “talking white.” We talk that way which I guess is supposed to be like you talk proper and I usually think black people sound ghetto and uneducated. That’s how it’s perceived when you say you talk so white. What do you mean you don’t speak Ebonics?
Travelling while black did open my eyes to a lot of just the small privileges that Americans have, and then it also opened my eyes to as a person of color, how difficult it may be to go to another country. It was just a lot of blatant racism.
Dating as a black woman. There’s just something about the black woman who just really wants to support and see the black men thrive. And even if I’m not in a relationship with a black man, I’m still going to root for them. I’m still rooting for them. I’m always going to root for them. I’m always.
And a whole lot more. I just love being black. So, join us every other Tuesday for intellectual and funny conversations that will make you embrace your inner Oreo.
I’m going to light your shit on fire. I’m going to tell your mamma. [LAUGHTER]
Roberta, your son cheated on you.
But you know some mammas be like, “Well that’s what men do, so what’s the use of that?” Exactly.
Old timey bullshit, it ain’t happening. That’s not okay.
LEAH: The Way Thru with Raven Delana goes beyond living your #bestlife by processing your experiences as a way to learn, grow, and become more of yourself. So, let’s listen in as she introduces herself in her very first episode.
RAVEN: Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez, these are my childhood friends. They help me to find my way through and they brought me to this place in my life, in my career, where the thing I’m most passionate about is helping you find your way through too.
So, I’m starting a podcast, and in this podcast, I’m going to share my stories of when I felt less than phenomenal, and how I made my way through. We’ll talk about the values and belief systems that have gotten in my way, and how I’m breaking them down.
I used to feel really alone and isolated by the things that life brought my way. But coming into 2020, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson which is, I’m not that special. These experiences that I’ve had, they’re more than common. You and me, we’re in this together, and so, I want to talk about it. We’ll talk about very practical ways that you can process our own life experiences as a way to learn, and grow, and become a little more of your own phenomenal self.
We have all seen the Instagram memes that encourage us to live our #bestlife, but they rarely tell us how. And that’s what I want to explore here. So, I’ll offer some tangible tools and practical resources to help you find the way through.
LEAH: To recap, the voices that you just heard were Nesha Frazier from Courage Hackers, Bre Mitchell from Brown Girl Self-Care, Kia, Janae, Rachel, and Amari from So-Called Oreos, and Raven Delana from The Way Thru.
There are a couple other shows I want to include, but I wasn’t able to connect with the creators before publication time to get permission to use their audio so I’m going to give you a verbal recommendation instead. Ev’Yan Whitney hosts the show The Sexually Liberated Woman, and since you’re all here to talk about sex already, I’m guessing you’re going to love conversations. Her May 13 episode Shame-Free Masturbation is a great place to start. Sara and Misasha of Dear White Women described themselves as
two wickedly smart, funny, compassionate, and visionary women and after listening, I have to agree. They are having conversations on things like the school to prison to pipeline, what happens when you’re sick and poor, and their May 20th episode, The Hard Conversations You Need to Have with Your Kids, is a great place to start listening. Links to all of the highlighted episodes are in the Show Notes.
Before I go, I want to offer this. If you are a person of color, first and foremost, I hope that you and your loved ones are safe. I wish you a space of mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, and I know that we have a lot of work to do to get there. If you are a white person or as a friend on Facebook said “a person without color”, I hope that you’re thinking how to support and lift the voices of color in your community. Not by speaking for them but by handing the microphone to them. I hope that you’re working to create a world where people of color can experience mental, emotional and spiritual peace, because every person in this world richly deserves it.
That’s all for today. Take care.
The first half of the show calls back to clips from previous Good Girls Talk About Sex interviews:
- 2:01 – Jazz from the episode “Vibrators changed my life”
- 7:12 – Tenisha from the episode “I had to get drunk to have sex”
- 9:59 – Shana from the episode “It was never: I’m ready, let’s do this”
- 12:58 – Maya from the episode “The worse I felt, the more sex I had”
- 15:49 – Michelle from the episode “A throbbing in my nether regions”
The second half of the show features excerpts from podcasts created and hosted by women of color that I think you may enjoy:
- 24:36 – “A Consequence of Being The Strong One” from Courage Hackers with Nesha Frazier
- 26:28 – “When Brands Are Silent, We Stop Supporting” from Brown Girl Self-Care with Bre Mitchell
- 29:55 – Podcast trailer from So-Called Oreos with Kia, Janae, Rachel and Amari
- 32:15 – Introductory episode from The Way Thru with Raven Delana
Other recommendations are:
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Music – Nazar Rybak