Attention came with a price tag – Jessi

February 14, 2019
Good Girls Talk About Sex
Good Girls Talk About Sex
Attention came with a price tag – Jessi
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Show Notes

In this episode of Good Girls Talk About Sex, we talked with Jessi Kneeland, a 31-year-old cis-gendered white woman who is bisexual, monogamous, and currently single.

Jessi is a coach, speaker, writer, and altogether kickass person who is passionate about helping women to understand their bodies and their sexuality. She is the coach who has stood with me through my sexual exploration and reclaiming my body. You can find her online at www.JessiKneeland.com and on Instagram at @jessikneeland

FREE audio extras:

  • The lesson Jessi learned at age 7 about what it meant to desire male attention
  • The lessons she learned about body image in her young life
  • How confusing it is for people who were assaulted as children and didn’t understand that it was assault at the time, and how important it is to give accurate language to those experiences
  • The ways Jessi went about healing from childhood assault
  • How detrimental it is to compare our trauma with other people’s trauma
  • Jessi’s transition from feeling sexy to feeling sexual pleasure
  • Practicing “vagina kung fu”
  • When Jessi learned that what she thought was “great sex” … wasn’t
  • The male body worker who helped Jessi recognize how her physical injuries were reflecting the emotional trauma she had been through
  • Jessi offers an easy anatomy lesson on the muscles of the vagina
  • The cultural narrative around women’s role in sex
  • Jessi’s recommendations for great reading
  • The Quick Five

Resources

Full episode text

LEAH: Hi. I’m Leah Carey and this is Good Girls Talk About Sex. This is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. Before we get started, I want to tell you this. 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 Jessi Kneeland, a 31 year old, cisgender white woman who is bisexual, monogamous and currently single. While many people use pseudonyms to protect their privacy when appearing on this podcast, Jessi is using her real name because she is passionate about helping women to understand their bodies and their sexuality. You can find her online at jessikneeland.com. I’m so pleased to introduce, Jessi!

I am so excited to introduce Jessi Kneeland who I have been working with for much of the past year and she is a big reason that I was able to do this as much as I had done in terms of sexual exploration and to come through it on the other side in as good mental and emotional shape as I have.

Jessi is a body image coach and when I first started working with her, it was for body image. But we very quickly transitioned into the realm of sex and how at first body image played into sex but then as time went on, she really supported me in ways I couldn’t have imagined in terms of my sexual journey and just exploring and learning to be okay with myself as a sexual person.

So I am thrilled beyond, beyond to be able to talk to Jessi today. Jessi, welcome and thank you so much for doing this.

JESSI: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

LEAH: Yay! We’ve spent most of the year talking about me. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: I’m excited to spend a little bit of time talking about you. JESSI: Right. It’ll be a little bit of a role reversal here.

LEAH: Yeah. So Jessi the first question that I like to ask everybody who I talk with is, what is your first memory of sexual desire?

JESSI: That’s a good question because I feel like it really depends on how we define sexual desire. I mean I was one of those kids who masturbated before I have a memory. I don’t remember a time I didn’t have sexual urges or desires. I certainly remember crushing on boys when I was so young but like of course that isn’t really exactly sexual at that point, not in the adult sense if you think about it.

So I guess I don’t know, I don’t remember there being a particular threshold at which those desires switched into a truly adult sexuality. But I feel like I’ve had sexual desires as long as I have memory.

LEAH: I do know some things about you because I’ve watched your TEDx talks. We’ve talked a little bit about the fact that you experienced some inappropriate and unwanted advances from your young life. Would you like to talk about that a little bit in terms of how that affected your experience of sexual desire?

JESSI: Yeah. So like I always said, I’ve always had these crushes. I loved attention and there’s no other way I could put it other than it just felt good to me to have male attention and the attention of boys even before I was old enough for that to be sexual.

When I was 7, the older brother of a girl I stayed overnight with, sexually assaulted me and so that experience certainly put me through language and thoughts to what it meant to want attention from boys, because he and I had had what I would now call a flirtatious sort of banter. I mean I was 7, it wasn’t really flirtation but it was just, “God. It feels so good. He was so nice to me and so charming and cute.”

And then later in the night, he wanted things and I was like, “Well, we were having a great time so maybe this is just sort of what follows that.” And so I would say it definitely labeled for me that my desire for attention came with a price tag. Yeah. I think it gave me the context of sexuality moving forward that said that this need I have to be paid attention, which I did for sure before that day, it’s going to have certain sexual expectations. And that that wasn’t even totally off base.

It’s not like I didn’t like him but I just didn’t know what we were doing. I knew why I had to do it but I did like him. I wanted his attention. So I think it shifted the context for me of what desire felt like, to be like, “Oh. If I want someone’s attention, I have to be sexual to them.”

LEAH: How old was the boy?

JESSI: I’m not sure. I would say early teens but I don’t really know. LEAH: So a fair bit older than you?

JESSI: Oh yeah, definitely older.

LEAH: Wow. And so that happened when you were 7. As you went through puberty and sort of the hormones started pumping the way that they do for young teenage girls, was your assumption that in order to have a boy’s attention that means I have to be sleeping with him?

JESSI: Not sleeping with necessarily but engaged in sort of a sexual context, yes. So even if my role in an exchange was chased but maybe that I presented my body in him in a sexual way which is why body image started to become such a thing when my body was changing and I became aware of myself in that way.

It was like, “Okay. In order to play my role right, in order to get what I need, the attention that I want, I have to suck my stomach in, and pop my hip out and do all these things that girls needed to do to be sexy” because that is my job. That’s my role.

LEAH: And how much of that was a really conscious calculus for you? And how much of it do you think you just absorbed?

JESSI: It’s hard to say because I’ve spent so much of my life in the last decade or whatever analyzing it. [LAUGHTER]

JESSI: But I genuinely think most of it was more conscious than you might imagine. It wasn’t conscious and informed the way it is now. But it wasn’t unconscious either. It wasn’t autopilot. I really thought about it. I would look at myself in the mirror and pose and when I was finally allowed to wear makeup, I practiced putting it on. Always putting in mind that I wanted male attention and that this is how you got it. And even when I judged myself for that, even when it felt really dark to me like there’s something wrong with me, that I wanted this badly, I still was doing it pretty consciously.

LEAH: And how did it feel when you actually got the male attention? Did it feel satisfying and fulfilling?

JESSI: Yeah, it did. It did. I mean compared to what I now consider satisfying and fulfilling, no.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: But at the time, absolutely, it was thrilling. It was satisfying. It made me feel very successful because I knew that I was doing it right. I got the male attention that I wanted so I felt successful.

LEAH: And what about going back to the brother of your friend, given how young you were and you didn’t really know what was going on, was that experience a pleasant one? Did you feel coming out of it like, “Oh my God! I’ve just been assaulted” or did you come out of it feeling like “Oh, I got some attention and that was nice”?

JESSI: Neither. I came out of that feeling yucky and I couldn’t name why for five years, maybe a little less.

It was years before I told my parents and when I told them, I told them under the context of something yucky happened that I know wasn’t supposed to be happening but I only knew that, maybe at some

level gut reaction I knew that, but also because of the way that he acted. It was like, “This is our secret. Don’t tell your friend.”

All this stuff so I knew people didn’t talk to me that way. There was nobody in my life doing that and so I knew something about that was not supposed to be happening. I knew that there was something up. But I didn’t really give it the context of assault honestly until like 15 years later, but maybe even later. But the first time when I told my parents, it was like, “Hey. A thing happened and I think it shouldn’t have, right?”

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: And they’re like, “Yes. It absolutely shouldn’t have. Do you want to press charges?” But at that point we had already moved and I never saw him again and it was like I didn’t want to talk to police or anything I was like 14 I think at this point or maybe even younger.

At that point, I just decided it was done and I always kind of had it in my mind like, “Yeah, that one kind of yucky thing that shouldn’t have happened.” But I didn’t call it assault until many years later.

LEAH: I’m curious because I know that there are a fair number of women who had some type of experience of inappropriate touch as children that at the moment they had it, they weren’t aware that it was inappropriate or maybe they were but didn’t completely understand what was going on and experienced some pleasure from it and then take that into their adult lives as, “Oh my God, I’m a terrible person because this awful thing happened to me and I enjoyed it.”

JESSI: Yes. I mean I hear all the time from clients, from friends, different areas as you say from the Tidal that I had lots of people giving responses to that so I do hear that all the time. And it’s so common and such an important thing to talk about.

I think my personal experience outside of his attention earlier in the day which made that moment when it crossed that line from him going, “Hey, we’re going to play a game” and I was like, “I love playing games with you” to something like, “This makes my stomach feel hurty.”

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: It shifted but it certainly didn’t feel like assault. I mean if you’d ask me at that point or even for the like next decade, I feel like someone holds a gun to your back in an alleyway and that’s assault and anything else is just like a weird, yucky thing that happened.

So I think it’s really important to put language giving accurate language to these sorts of gray area moments because I was 7, I could not have consented. That is sexual assault. But yeah, it absolutely didn’t feel violent in any way because he was still being pleasant. I crossed a line here. I was like, “I don’t think we’re supposed to be doing this and I don’t really want to.” But you don’t have the skills to speak up at that point or whatever.

LEAH: Sure. So the second question that I ask is about your first memory of sexual shame and I’m curious for you if those two things, sexual desire and sexual shame, are intertwined, how did you work that out for yourself?

JESSI: I would say that experience shifted what had already been like a very present desire. Again, not to have sex but like the desire for connectivity in a way that is very similar to sex. I would say that experience confused it all and made it intertwined with a shame that it never really untwined again until I did serious healing a few years ago.

LEAH: So can you talk some about that healing? What did you do and how did it help you? JESSI: What didn’t I do? We could start with that.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: So I think that I started calling it by its name and that was a really big shift because up until that point like I said, it’s always been this weird thing that happened when I was little. It’s not a big deal though. It wasn’t like a real assault. And so once I realized how many women were having stories like this and got educated on what the language actually means and consent and all this other stuff.

When I started getting educated, I started calling it what it was and even that was terrifying. The first time I called it that to myself, I had a meltdown. Holy shit, that’s what that is and I’m going to have to use that language now if for no other reason than to show other women that we don’t have to have it in a gunpoint alleyway situation for our traumas to be valid.

And so once I started getting educated on trauma, I started pursuing healing of my own trauma but that only really started when I called it trauma because up until that point, I felt like I didn’t deserve to have to heal from anything that silly. And so of course up until that point I hadn’t done any healing. In fact, even when I thought about it, I sort of thought about it from the perspective of like, “Oh, I let it happen. That’s the gift in the curse. I’m so attractive. People just have to touch me. Even if I was child, it’s just how it goes.” I kind of had it all entangled in the narrative of who I am that was certainly rich in shame and so when I started approaching it like, “That’s trauma. That’s not who I am. He was not allowed to do that but he did it anyway, so now what?”

And it started me down the path of really examining my identity in a new way. All of the parts of me sexually and otherwise that I had created for myself based on that being not technically my fault but just a part of me as opposed to something he did that he shouldn’t have done.

LEAH: I think it’s so important what you are saying about how assault is not just when a gun is pointed at your head. I see so much conversation now. I hear it with people I talk to. I see it online. “Oh, this thing happened to me, but it’s not really that bad. Other people have had it so much worse so I don’t feel like I shouldn’t have to talk about this.”

JESSI: That’s exactly it.

LEAH: It’s so damaging.

JESSI: So damaging. If you read a newspaper article about a girl who got kidnapped for 15 years and just got released and was somebody’s sex slave, they’re like, “Okay. Some dude touched me inappropriately but who cares?” You just feel guilty for even having a story that makes you feel weird because other people have it so much worse and we put ourselves on a spectrum of who deserves to heal on what kind of trauma and then nobody heals.

LEAH: Yes. I remember when I was in college, going to a group for sexual abuse survivors and feeling like I didn’t belong in that room because these women all had these very clear memories they had these long evolving stories where they could recount everything that happened and I just sat there and said, “I don’t remember what happened but I know something happened.”

And because I couldn’t recount it with chapter and verse, I felt like I didn’t belong in that room. As you and I have discussed at length over the past year, what I experienced was sexual abuse but it didn’t look like the kind of sexual abuse that other people experience. And so I went through a really long period of time thinking I don’t belong in those rooms, I must be the crazy room.

JESSI: Yeah, totally. And what happens a lot I think is that maybe it was my first notable violation, it certainly is the one that like sent my self-identity path down a new lane sexually speaking but it was not the last.

And so a lot of things are like, “Yeah, that happened. But if that hadn’t happened, then the next hundred violations which are tiny micro aggressions and small moments throughout life being female, maybe wouldn’t have felt so yucky because I wouldn’t have known what it could have become.” Or maybe they still would have, I have no idea I have no way of knowing but for me for sure it wasn’t just that.

It was every other little violation that followed and they all had the context of like, “I get put in this situation because I’m likable, because I’m cute and outgoing and I like the attention and so the price for that is that people don’t see me as a full three-dimensional human being with a bodily autonomy or rights. They push them as far as they can and it’s my job to stop them whenever it’s too much or whatever.” And so those little moments of boys doing little things pushing violations in little ways all of that had the first contacts as a baseline.

LEAH: So when you had “sex” for the first time, penile penetration, was it something that was enjoyable to you? Was that a pleasurable experience?

JESSI: It was a very positive experience in so far as it was my boyfriend. We had decided. We’ve been together for a while. He went out of his way to be romantic and loving about it so it was a very, very positive experience and sometimes when I hear about other people’s virginity stories, I’m like horrified and I just feel so grateful for this man, this boy, I guess at the time.

But no, I didn’t feel pleasure as in the kind of pleasure that I’m capable of accessing now or even anywhere in that ballpark certainly not. But I took a lot of pleasure in knowing that I was desired and knowing that I was sexy enough to have sex. There was something about that that I loved and I felt very

sexy so I didn’t exactly pleasure but I was into it. And I say that characterized most of the sex I had for the next 15 years.

LEAH: So how did you make that transition from feeling sexy to feeling sexual pleasure?

JESSI: You won’t be surprised to hear that it was in direct relationship to the healing from trauma. LEAH: Oh, really?

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: Really.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: It was all of it. It was all of the trauma healing stuff that I did which includes talk therapy stuff as well as a lot of reading about the physiological effects of trauma, a lot of processing in my own writing and different workshops that I took.

It was all kinds of things culminating in a trip to Peru to do Ayahuasca ceremonies to what I thought was to summit the final part of this thing when really it turns out that that’s not how it works but yeah, I did everything I possibly could. Some of it very intentional, some of it just throwing shit at the walls and seeing what stuck. And some combination of all of it is how I ended up calling myself “embodied” now. I felt like I eventually found my way back into my body. And when that happened, I was able to play with sexual pleasure for the first time.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Interviews for this podcast often run at least half an hour longer than what we can include in an episode. Want to listen to the full unedited interviews? Become a community supporter at Patreon by visiting patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

There are a bunch of cool extras there plus you’ll be supporting open and honest conversations about female sexuality. If you enjoy these conversations, please leave a review at Apple Podcasts. It will help more people find the show. And don’t forget to tell your friends.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: If before the healing, you were having limited sexual pleasure and after the healing work, you were having increased sexual pleasure, what was it that you discovered? What are the feelings? What are the experiences? What have you found out about yourself that you bring into sex with you now?

JESSI: So many things. Well, I’m going back to the very first thing I ever did for my sexual healing was 5 years ago I think. And it was vagina kung fu is what it’s called by Kim Anami.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: And it’s like weightlifting with your vagina and she talks about how all women can have squirting orgasms. Every delightful thing I’ve ever wanted out of sex she says she teaches people to do it basically and I was like I am in. And I had never invested, it was like 500 dollars or something at the time, which is now hilarious to me but it was the first thing I ever invested in that was like I’m just going to put money and find out how I can have a more fulfilling sex life and I did not have a squirting orgasm or anything else like the other women in the group.

There were hundreds of the women and they were all like, “Oh my God, I have my first cervical orgasm and it was amazing!” Or like everybody’s having these crazy orgasms and I was just like, “I was on step one.” And I didn’t even realize how far I had to go until that course. I kind of was like, “Yeah. I have good sex.”

In fact, I remember talking to my roommate at the time. I was telling her about it and I was like, “Yeah. I have great sex. I just wanted to be better.” And she’s like, “You don’t have great sex. You don’t cum during sex.” I was like, “I don’t see the point. I have great sex and I don’t cum during sex.”

But I didn’t see those two things as mutually exclusive in any way. I just thought I had great sex because I got so much pleasure from the performance and the validation and pleasing my partner and just like I said, being sexy, I felt sexy. So I didn’t’ see it like having bad sex. But now, when I look back, I’m like, “All of that was garbage” like I had terrible sex for years.

[LAUGHTETR]

JESSI: And I didn’t know it. And I hear that now from clients all the time, “Yeah, the sex was great. I just never want it.” And I’m like, “So what makes it so great?” And they’re like, “Well, you know, it’s not bad. It doesn’t hurt or anything.”

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: I’m like, “Great. So your standards like mine were are so low.” But that’s kind of how we’re taught. Women’s pleasure should just basically be, I don’t know, ugh. We’re getting off track, but the course taught me that I had a long way to go and it was really interesting because I thought I was looking at it from a physiological perspective like muscles because I was a personal trainer and I was like, “I want to strengthen my vaginal muscles so that maybe I could have these different kinds of orgasms.”

And what I realized is like I couldn’t feel any of my vaginal muscles so no shit, I wasn’t using them and I couldn’t strengthen them. I couldn’t feel them. That really showed me that that there was something more there to heal and to look at that I might not have known if I had not done that course.

But also I was going through body work at the time because I had a herniated disc in my spine and I was having body work and it was like my hip flexor and lower back and all these things. And there was a point in working with this guy. I allowed a man to work on me because he just was magic and I never would have ever allowed a body worker up in my groin had he not really been helping me. And he very, very gently brought him to a place where I could even let him show me what I needed.

So I just remember this one time in it and I was like, “It’s so weird.” Like I’m making anxious chitchat while he’s working on me like, “I don’t even know. I don’t know why that muscle is so tight. It’s so weird.” Whatever. And he’s just like a super calming presence and he’s like, “Really, Jessi? You can’t think of a single reason this part of your body”, while he is up in my groin. He’s like, “You can’t think of a single reason this part of your body would be too tensed up to protect you?”

And I was just like floodgates opened like, “Oh my God. I didn’t think about it that way but I can immediately see that these muscles have been protecting me for a long time and my body had been protecting me and I couldn’t feel the muscles that I didn’t have access to because other things were kicking in to protect me and it just made so much sense from a muscular perspective and it’s really what sent me down my “let me learn about some shit” because I genuinely didn’t realize how far I was from having great sex at the beginning of that and I think it got a lot worse before it got better.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: I want to ask you. You said you couldn’t feel your vaginal muscles and there’s a part of my brain that’s going, “I wonder what she means by that.” And I can imagine a whole lot of women saying, “Wait. What does it mean to feel your vaginal muscles?” So can you talk about that some more?

JESSI: Well, something that I’m passionate about now is informing people that our vaginas are made out of muscles which I didn’t know until that point because people don’t talk about that. And muscles can get stronger obviously and also they can totally go offline when your brain can’t find them to make them fire which some people might have the experience of if you’ve ever done like you’re trying to learn a dance move like if you try to twerk or something and you’re like, “How come I can’t do what she’s doing?” Sometimes it’s because certain muscles are firing, your brain can’t find them to move them but with practice, if you continue to practice, you get better at it and then you can strengthen those muscles.

The same thing is true with the muscles in the vagina, because it’s basically just a muscular tunnel in there. It’s a canal and so the first time I did this exercise where I put my fingers up and then I put a jade egg up in my vagina and I was trying to feel the different quadrants Kim Anami had me focusing on the upper right and then the lower right and then the upper left and lower left or whatever. And I was like, “Okay. So I feel literally nothing at any point.” I can feel my fingers but I couldn’t feel it from the inside until I put enough pressure on the walls that I was like I felt some pressure. But if I was stroking it with my fingers, I couldn’t feel any of that.

And likewise, when I put the egg in there, other people were like, “Oh my God. It’s so sensual. It feels so good.” I was like, “I could put it up there or somebody else could put it up there and I wouldn’t know it.” I had nothing. No sensory feedback from that area. But what I was doing was this practice daily, daily, daily, over and over and over, and eventually, I started getting sensation and I was like, “Oh my God! She’s right! You can feel sensation!” Literally, the whole time I was like, “This is so stupid. I don’t know what she’s talking about.”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So is this different than kegels?

JESSI: Yeah. Well, kind of. So of course, I tried to do kegels but you can’t do kegels if you don’t know how to connect to those muscles. And I actually remember, I was such a difficult client for my body worker.

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: Very sweet guy, I love him so. But I remember we were working on something and he was like, “See if you can lift your pelvic floor. See if you can squeeze your pelvic floor.” And I was like, “I don’t know what that means.” And he’s just like, “Do a regular kegel.” I was like, “Okay. I don’t know what that means.” He’s like, “Try to pee but don’t pee and then it’s that muscle. How’s that?” And I’m like, “I literally don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.”

My brain obviously knew. I knew what a kegel was but I couldn’t make my body do anything related to what he wanted. And so he was basically making the argument that my hip flexor and lower back needed to come into play to help protect me or to help move me because my pelvic floor wasn’t doing any work. And he wanted me to try strengthening it but I couldn’t even start. I literally couldn’t start because I had absolutely no idea how to find that muscle.

Even now, I’ve done years of work physical and emotional but I would say that I get so mad when I read articles that are like, “Just do kegels!” Because I’m like, “Does everybody else just know what that means and know how to do it?” Because I really didn’t and I felt a lot of shame about the fact that I didn’t and I always thought about it and I just pictured the tight opening of the vagina and tightening that. That’s what I always pictured.

And whenever I hear someone say like, “You want to keep your vagina tight” I guess that’s not how people usually put it but you know what I mean. But I always pictured it just being the opening. That you just squeezed the opening but I never realized that the entire set of your vagina is a muscle that moves or can move if your brain can find it.

LEAH: Well, that’s fascinating and I feel like I’ve just been given my new bit of homework. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Because I’m not sure if I have any idea of what all of that is. And I know that when I’ve had sacred spot massage or Yoni massage and I’ve had it with a few different people and they’ll feel around the different quadrants of the vagina and say, “How does this feel? How does this feel?” And I’ll say, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I feel.”

JESSI: Yes. I think that’s exactly the same thing. And I actually think it’s very common because frankly, the cultural narrative around female sexuality is that we are just a hole to fill. We’re just this passive receptacle for the penis. And the idea behind that is we don’t have to do anything, our pleasure isn’t really important but if we get some, that’s fine. But it’s like completely not at all the sexual experience

that It can be if you’re active, if your muscles are active, if your brain is connected, if your fully aroused, there’s so much more to it.

But I had never thought about it that way. I think most women are not encouraged to think about it that way so I had always just seen myself like my role in sex was just to look sexy and have a hole to fill. I never thought about it as doing anything with my vagina.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yes. Yeah, I know completely what you mean. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So what is your experience of sex now?

JESSI: Well, it certainly varies. It’s not like I’m having mind-blowing screaming orgasms every time. There are so many factors to this like context and when I’m able to be really present, all that stuff matters a lot and it certainly creates massive variety. But, I feel like embodied is the best word.

I feel like if I look back on the sex I was having, I was not actually in my body for it. I was either watching myself, thinking about what I looked, putting out a performance, worrying about their pleasure, thinking about the grocery list like totally not involved at all. So for the best of the old sex that I would have, it was just satisfying because he was really into it. And the worst of it was maybe he wasn’t, I don’t know, but I wouldn’t have even been turned on by that. I would have just been literally a passive receptacle.

And now I feel like now my standards are so much higher. Even the worst sex nowadays is like I’m there in my body for it and I want it and I’m turned on because I wouldn’t have that kind of sex anymore. So getting to a place of actually being aroused is a huge difference because you can’t feel much when you’re not fully aroused. And now I know my sexual response which is all just stuff I’ve learned and fascinates me. And also I honor my body. Also if I’m not into it, I won’t do it and that was something that was not true before. I guess I feel so much.

That’s the big difference and you can’t really explain that to someone because they don’t know what they felt before, I don’t know what they feel, but I feel so much more sensations sexually now that yeah, it’s way, way different.

LEAH: I know that you are a wealth of resources so are there any particular resources about sex or sexuality that you would like to recommend to people?

JESSI: Yeah, the book Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski is I think should just be a required reading for anybody who has a vagina and anybody who sleeps with people who has a vagina. It should literally be required reading. You should not be allowed to have sex until you read it because that explains all this stuff like the sexual response cycle and the fact that your vagina has muscles and what it means to get turned on. It’s all this stuff that we really skipped in Sex Ed. It’s the best that I know of.

There’s also a book called Becoming Clitorate which is a little cheesy to me at times but it’s super, super useful in terms of guiding women into recognizing that for many of us, we’ve bought into this myth that we should have orgasms by penetration and that is absolute nonsense. So she really breaks down why that’s nonsense and teaches you how to honor the fact. And there’s a whole chapter of that for men as well. She’s just like, “Tear this chapter out and give it to your male partner.”

[LAUGHTER]

JESSI: Because they also think that if we’re not having these extreme orgasms from penetration that there’s something wrong with them or their magical dicks. They think that’s the standard and they get their feelings hurt and then we end up faking orgasms and then it’s like this whole cycle. So she really breaks it down in a way that I think is amazing so that everyone can have more fun in bed.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Before we let Jessi go, let’s do the quick five. Five quick questions that we’d usually be too polite to ask anyone.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Favorite sex toy?

JESSI: Oh my God! I just bought one the other day. It’s called the Womanizer so it’s totally at the top of my list right now because it’s awesome.

LEAH: I’m so jealous.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: I experienced one once and it was magical but I don’t actually own one.

JESSI: Lovely.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Hair down there or bare?

JESSI: I’m lasered because it’s actually an interesting thing because in the body acceptance world, sometimes I wish I could just grow a big bush and rock it and I can’t.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Are you a single orgasm girl or a multi orgasm girl?

JESSI: You know I’ve actually wondered about this, what counts as multiple like within what time frame? LEAH: I don’t know.

JESSI: I literally had to compete with myself. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: I mean I have friends who can just go one after the other. But I also wonder if it counts if it’s like, “Okay. We’re going to go get a sandwich and then come back and go again.”

JESSI: Yeah like in one sex session, if that session takes all afternoon, and I guess multiple but if it means what I imagine it means is like within three minutes you have two orgasms then I guess probably not. We should get an official definition on that somewhere though.

LEAH: That’s a really good idea.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Do you swallow or not during a blow job?

JESSI: I do.

LEAH: Do you prefer orgasms from penetration or clit stimulation?

JESSI: I’ve never had one from penetration so I have to say clit.

LEAH: Alright. Is it more powerful if you’re penetrated with the clit stimulation or are they just totally different?

JESSI: It’s far more powerful if penetration is a part of the session. It doesn’t have to be at the same moment necessarily for orgasm.

LEAH: Excellent. All right. I am so happy to have this time to talk with you and thank you so much and for everybody listening, I highly encourage you to go check out Jessi’s website, her Instagram feed, her Facebook page, all the things follow Jessi. She’s incredible. She has helped me to radically change my life. I would not be doing any of the things that I’m doing right now were it not for Jessi and our work together and her support. So Jessi thank you so much.

JESSI: Thank you! It was awesome to be on here. I could honestly just keep talking about this all day.

LEAH: I’m down for it.

[LAUGHTER]

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Thank you for joining me today on Good Girls Talk About Sex. If you have questions or comments about something you’ve heard or if you’d like to record a voice mail on your phone for use in a future episode, send them to leah@goodgirlstalkaboutsex.com. Also let me know if you’d like to be a guest on a future episode. You can find links to all of the resources mentioned today in the Show Notes. I’m Leah Carey and I look forward to talking with you again next week.

[MUSIC]

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Notable quotables

I believed the cultural narrative that my role in sex was just to look sexy and have a hole to fill.

𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘈𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘚𝘦𝘹 podcast Click to Tweet

In order to get the attention I wanted, I learned to suck my stomach in and pop my hip out, and do all these things that girls learn to do to be sexy.

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I' m cute and outgoing and I liked attention. And the price for that was that people didn't see me as a full three-dimensional human with bodily autonomy.

𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘈𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘚𝘦𝘹 podcast Click to Tweet
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I thought I had great sex because I got so much pleasure from the performance and the validation of pleasing my partner.

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We don't have to have had a gun pointed at us in an alley for our traumas to be valid.

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When I was seven, the older brother of a friend sexually assaulted me. It labeled for me that my desire for attention came with a price tag.

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Our vaginas are made out of muscles. Muscles can get stronger. But they can also totally go offline, meaning your brain can't find them to make them fire.

𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘎𝘪𝘳𝘭𝘴 𝘛𝘢𝘭𝘬 𝘈𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘚𝘦𝘹 podcast Click to Tweet

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