The road to reclaiming consent is extra-long when it begins at age 3, and even more complicated by undiagnosed mental health disorders. For Deidre, a lifetime of sexual assault and a growing substance problem led to a rock bottom that included a BPD diagnosis. Today she’s feeling healthy mentally and in a wonderful new relationship.
Deidre is a 31-year-old non-binary person who uses both she and they pronouns and doesn’t have a preference for either one. Deidre describes herself as white, lesbian, monogamous, and partnered. She grew up in Canada and now lives in Germany. She describes her body as average.
Read Deidre’s writing:
Find Deidre at:
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am 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: Hey, friends. About a year ago, I read an essay on Shondaland called “Why I Married My Platonic Best Friend” about two women who realized that they were soulmates even though they didn’t share a sexual relationship. I was so taken with that piece that I bookmarked it, I started sending it to people, I referred clients to it as an explanation of the validity of non-normative relationships.
A few months ago, I discovered that I was in a Facebook group with Deidre Olsen, the author of that essay. I reached out to her and asked if she would please, please, please do an interview. She very graciously said yes and even said that she’d do it with her real name so I could link you out to all of her writing. I’m thrilled to have her with me on this episode.
Deidre and I cover a lot of territory including dating with herpes, an extensive history of sexual assault, and navigating relationships with borderline personality disorder. It’s some challenging territory, so please take care of yourself. Deidre is really open about everything she’s experienced and I think that if you choose to listen, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Deidre is a 31-year-old non-binary person who uses both she and they pronouns and doesn’t have a preference for either one. Deidre describes herself as white, lesbian, monogamous, and partnered. She grew up in Canada and now lives in Germany. She describes her body as average. You can find Deidre on Instagram, Twitter, and at her website, and I’ll put all those links plus links to her articles and some other resources in the show notes. I’m so pleased to introduce Deidre!
Deidre, I’m so excited to have you here. Welcome!
DEIDRE: Thank you. It’s nice to be here.
LEAH: So, I always start with the same question. What is your first memory of sexual pleasure?
DEIDRE: So, I was very hypersexual as a child. I started masturbating when I was 12 years old. And I knew what sex was because I am a survivor of early childhood sexual violence unfortunately. The impacts of that made me very hypersexual since childhood. And my earliest memory is masturbating at age 12 and understanding the sensation of sexual pleasure for the first time.
LEAH: Yeah. So, when you say you were hypersexual, different people might use that word to mean different things, can you talk about what that means to you?
DEIDRE: For me, hypersexual is hyper focusing on sex as a form of validation, as a form of intimacy to affirm myself, to feel wanted, to feel connected because I had my agency and autonomy stolen from me at a young age. It was the only way I could feel like somebody wanted or desired me.
And so, because I couldn’t get it necessarily in a romantic sense, I looked to sex as a form of validation. And so, I would say I was hypersexual because I would go directly to that because I just assumed no one wanted me in a romantic sense. And so, the easiest thing for me was just to have a lot of sex from my teenage years.
LEAH: Yeah. So, how old were you when the early abuse began?
DEIDRE: 3 years old.
LEAH: Okay, so very, very young. Do you have some sense that between those years of 3 and 12 when the masturbation began that you were already really focused on sex and sexuality?
DEIDRE: I would say that the first time it happened, sadly it was my 17-year-old babysitter who was a girl and who came from an evangelical Christian family in a very small town in Northern British Columbia, Western Canadian Province. And then, I think that was my first sexual experience. And all I remember is police, lawyers, and doctors because my mother pursued justice, and sadly justice did not prevail.
And then, after that, I was actually molested by two male cousins, one of which is only a couple months older and one who’s brother is 3 years older. So, I was molested by other children and that cemented what happened to me when I was younger. But the molestation by my cousin, I think I was 9 and it was truth and dare.
And so, that was where I had more of an understanding of the sexual component. Before, it was just like something that happened to me and I didn’t understand. But when another kid did it to me, it made me get a better understanding of what sex was as a concept and also, of course, I was a bit older. So, then I think it was in the back of my mind until I discovered masturbation at age 12. So, I would say 9 to 12 is when the conception of sex really played more of a role in my head.
LEAH: Sure. I have a couple more questions about this period. Is that okay?
LEAH: All right, and please feel free if we’re getting into areas that are too tender. You said that when you were 3, there were lawyers and all this stuff involved, which says to me you had to have enough language and self-possession to say something to somebody. Do you remember any of that?
DEIDRE: A little bit, yes. It’s actually unfortunately my earliest memory of my life. I just remember being in pain and my mom was horrified because she gave me a bath and I didn’t want to let her see my vagina. And she was like, “What’s wrong, honey?” And I said something along the lines of, “She wrecked me. She put something inside me and she humped me.”
I don’t remember saying that. I actually have police records that say what I said to my mother and what she told the police I said, but my memory is of the horror on my mother’s face and the sinking feeling knowing that something was wrong even though I didn’t understand and also the feeling of pain.
LEAH: Yeah. I just heard you use the word, “She wrecked me,” which is a pretty big sentiment for such a little child. How did your mom handle all this?
DEIDRE: She was horrified. She also is a victim of sexual violence. So, I know this was retraumatizing for her because she had an uncle who raped her when she was 11 years old. It compounded her grief because she didn’t want her child to grow up with the same pain that she had and I don’t think she ever would have assumed that a teenage girl would have been the perpetrator. Usually, it’s a boy or a man. So, I think it’s a lot more that a teenage girl sexually assaults a toddler.
So, I think it was very, very devastating for my mother because, at the time, they were living in a rural place. They had moved to the middle of nowhere just because they wanted to save a lot of money. So, it was very isolated. She had no family there. And my dad was working long hours and I think she was pregnant when this happened with my sister. I was 3 and my brother was 1 and she was my pregnant with my sister.
LEAH: Oh my God. That’s a lot.
DEIDRE: And actually, my dad was investigated as a perpetrator, so he couldn’t actually be part of the process. So, she literally was going through hell alone.
LEAH: Wow. So, he was investigated even though it sounds like you had identified the female babysitter?
DEIDRE: Yeah. I guess because it’s oftentimes a male figure in the kid’s life, so they said it was their due diligence.
LEAH: Sure. What an awful thing for a family to go through. I’m so sorry.
DEIDRE: Thank you.
LEAH: Did that change your family dynamics at all?
DEIDRE: I think it’s a pretty horrible thing to have happen, especially if it’s a new family. I was only 3 years old. I’m actually the age now that my mom was when she had me. So, I guess she was 34 and I can’t personally imagine in 3 years having a little kid and especially just being so far away from your parents and your family and being in isolation. I can’t. The strength that she had to endure such a travesty is incredible to me.
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So, then we move forward to when you’re 9 years old. At this point when the violation happened at 9, it sounds like you had an idea that something was going on that was actually a violation. It sounds like you had some concept of what that meant. Do you remember what was happening inside your head at the time?
DEIDRE: Yeah. So, by this point, we had moved back down south and my parents had finally been able to buy a house. So, for me, moving to this new town and it’s where my parents have lived for 25 years now, it was like the feeling of a new beginning. And I knew something bad had happened in the back of my mind, but I just didn’t understand what it was.
It was darkness that you don’t understand, but it’s always with you. And it made me feel like there was something different about me and maybe something innately wrong with me that caused bad things to happen to me even though I didn’t understand what it was.
So, pretty quickly after moving to this town and my parents bought a house and it was like finally this darkness was gone. And we started hanging out with my cousins. And I’ve often wondered if maybe somebody was sexually assaulting them because I know that kids imitate and I don’t know what happened. I’ve scoured my mind for reasons. I thought, I don’t know, are they addicted to porn or something like that? But there wasn’t really high-speed internet at the time. Maybe I was even younger. This must have been the late 1990s. I might have actually been younger than 9 because I don’t think it was the year 2000. I think this was more 1998, 1999.
And I don’t even know how it started happening. I have a very distinct memory of my grandparents’ house and all the parents were upstairs and me and my cousins were downstairs in the back bedroom. And yeah, they were asking me to play truth or dare with them and do sexually explicit things and that just compounded that I thought there was something inherently wrong with me. This just cemented that kind of foreboding I had in the back of my mind.
LEAH: Yeah. God, I’m so sorry. That is so much for one child to go through.
DEIDRE: Thank you.
LEAH: Do you remember how you discovered masturbation? And beyond just the technical parts of how you did it, was it something that was pleasurable for you?
DEIDRE: I think so. I had a hyper awareness of my body because I had this feeling of having my agency stolen from me. I also had really severe childhood depression and I’m actually writing a memoir about this topic. I was very self-destructive and self-repulsed and had very bad self-neglect from an early age. And there was little to no intervention. It was more so swept under the rug that I was a weird kid and I was just behaving erratically, but I had very, very, very bad hygiene. I had a lot of very self-destructive behaviors as a child.
And so, having had my cousins put these conceptions of sex into my head to see body parts as sexual objects, I don’t know. I think I self-objectified and I think I began seeing myself as being someone that has something inherently wrong with them. I also started to see myself as a sexual object. From there, I began exploring my body and I think that led to masturbation.
LEAH: Yeah. So, I am not a psychologist. So, I don’t want anyone to hear this and think, “This is exactly how this goes.” But there is a concept here that some people may not be familiar with, which is that when sexuality is introduced to a child before they’re developmentally ready for it, so 3 years old, definitely before you’re developmentally ready for it, that sexualizes child before they’re ready and that can create this sense of hyper focus on your body, hyper focus on how you appear in the world and how people respond to you and respond to your body and in things that we generally think develop in your tween or your teen years can develop in children as young as 3 or 4 if they have been sexualized before they’re ready.
And I think that from the outside, when people see that and they don’t understand what they’re seeing. It can lead to them thinking, “There’s something wrong with this child,” putting some shame onto the child as in, “I don’t want my kids near you because oh my God, what are you going to do?” When in fact, that child is actually probably in a whole lot of pain.
DEIDRE: Yes, exactly.
LEAH: Yeah. So, you started exploring your own body and masturbating. What kind of masturbation did you do? Do you remember?
DEIDRE: To be honest, it was just clitoral stimulation, and then probably some penetrative exploration as well.
LEAH: So, with your fingers?
DEIDRE: Yeah. Objects, also the bathtub stream.
LEAH: Yeah, the bathtub faucet is a big one. Yeah, absolutely.
LEAH: And that was fun for you?
LEAH: Yeah, okay. And did you relate to the idea of being with another person sexually or was this just something that you wanted for yourself?
DEIDRE: I don’t know. I think it was more I enjoyed it, but I think it was more of an objectification of self. I didn’t realize I was a lesbian until I was 18. So, all of my relatedness to another person’s body was through sexual assault.
And so, I think I actually looked for experiences that mirrored that experience that that was what I thought sex was. I thought that because I was feminine, I was a straight woman, a straight girl, and I dated boys, and I thought that I had just to lay there and take it. And I thought that my self-worth was quantified by how much attention boys paid to me.
I was sexually assaulted many, many times as a teenage girl and really only until recently have I actually been able to look at it as sexual assault because I also think that I was a teenager in the 2000s and I actually didn’t even understand the concept of consent well until my 20s. I had no concept that I had any bodily autonomy because I was so used to having it robbed from me that I just thought I just lay there like a pillow princess, give them what they want, and that’s how I can be loved.
LEAH: Yeah. So, how old were you when you started dating boys?
DEIDRE: I think 15. 15 is when I lost my virginity. So, I had a couple quick boyfriends, and then had a lot of random sex. And then, I had one boyfriend for a year and that was pretty much it, yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. So, was any of that sex that you were having pleasurable or was it entirely just laying back and waiting for it to be over?
DEIDRE: When I had my high school boyfriend, it was experimentation. So, I think at one point, I found an angle that I liked that elicited some enjoyment. But mostly, I thought that there was also something wrong with me because I was like why don’t I like this? It’s because I was gay.
LEAH: Yeah, penises didn’t do much for you.
DEIDRE: No, not at all. Yeah, no. A lot of the time, I was very, very repulsed and I tried it anyways and I thought I also believed a lot of these harmful myths that female sexual pleasure was a myth, and yeah, that I just lay there, I take it, I do my job. And hopefully, a boy will love me in return.
LEAH: Yeah. Were you using protection?
DEIDRE: Sometimes. But I always got manipulated into allowing boys to use the pull-out method. I used birth control for a short while until my mother found it and she told my boyfriend’s dad. And he was an evangelical Christian. He freaked out at my high school boyfriend who freaked out at me. Of course, then it was my fault because I was a whore.
And then, also I found that it really, really affected me psychologically. Hormonal stuff really affects me. Because there was so much anger at me, I was like, “Okay, we can just go back to the pull-out method because I’m a whore and I’ll just give you what you want.”
LEAH: Yeah. And that willingness to be talked out of birth control or protection is very much hallmark of that feeling broken and feeling like you just have to give up whatever you have because it’s all you’re worth.
DEIDRE: Yeah, exactly.
LEAH: So, you’ve said a couple times that you were around 18 when you discovered that you were gay. Can you talk about that? What was the discovery? What prompted that for you?
DEIDRE: It’s funny because I have a very specific moment. I was doing a yearbook class and it was towards the end. It was my last year of high school and a girl’s arm brushed against mine and I got this sensation that I had never had before. I was like, what was that? And it was like butterflies. It was like it just trigged this feeling in me that I had never felt before.
And I probably spent two years fantasizing about that moment and returning to it. And at first, it was like, no, I couldn’t possibly be. I don’t like girls. No, no, no. And then, I was like, what if I did? That would be weird. Yeah, eventually, I was fantasizing about dancing with a woman. The song in particular was Cat Power’s The Moon and it was under a silver disco ball. I had this recurring fantasy.
But actually recently, I was just in Canada not long ago visiting my family for a couple months. And my mom, she wants me to get all of my shit out of the attic that I left there from all over the years and I was going through some stuff and I found this old diary. And it only had a couple pages in it, but I found this page.
And I wrote it on the eve of my 13th birthday in February 24th, 2004. It was called “Confessions” and I confessed all of the ways that I thought that I had sinned. And it was a really, really upsetting thing to find and also really remarkable, especially for the sake of my book, but I wrote about going to a girl’s birthday party because I remember I didn’t have many, many friends. And I got invited to this girl’s birthday party and I can’t make out one part of it, but I’m saying, “I think I’m lesbo. Oh my God, ew.”
And I was shocked to find this. I was shocked because I had no recollection of knowing I’m gay. But when I was 12 years old, I did know I was gay. And also, in this thing, I found written proof that my cousin molested me. I have to find exactly what it said. Can I pull it out? Because it’s honestly really remarkable. Let me see if I can find it. It’ll just take a second. Okay, I found it. Can I read it to you?
LEAH: Please do.
DEIDRE: Okay, yes. So, February 24th, “Confessions.” I have done so much bad stuff in my life. One thing is just, wow, it’s disgusting, but I was little, and yeah, me and my cousin French kissed. I guess I was too adventurous. I hope I don’t get too adventurous in high school. I get so weird, something girls, and I think I’m lesbo sometimes. Haha, oh my God, ew. At Justine’s b-day party, I went skinny dipping. I’ve cybered people, OMG. I’m a freak! I’ve tried stuffing my bra and bought a thong. I wore makeup to school without asking. I wrote bitch on the chalkboard at school. I’ve had a boyfriend. I’ve made out a few years ago. I looked at porn on the internet. I’ve threatened my brother and sister and hit them. I stole money and candy from Safeway and from Holly and even more than this.
So, I wrote that when I was 12 years old and I was just shocked to have found this because I literally thought I was a sinner and it’s literally called “Confessions.” It was like I’m 12 years old and I’m confessing my sins.
LEAH: Yeah, which is particularly remarkable to me because before we started recording, I asked you, “Was there a religion that had a significant effect on you?” And you said, “No.” But it’s so much in the air that we breathe that you still have this idea that you have to confess your sins and that even these tiny little things somehow speak to your general character and worthiness as a human.
DEIDRE: Yeah. I think I might have watched that movie 13. That movie came out when I was 12 years old. So, I think maybe that’s why also.
LEAH: That’s a lot for a young woman to be holding.
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LEAH: You’re 12 years old and you realize you have this inkling that you might be a lesbian. You put that away for a bunch of years. It pops up again at 18. And you said that you had a couple of years where you were pushing that knowledge away. Were you still dating and sleeping with boys at that point or did that stop while you were trying to figure out your orientation?
DEIDRE: So, I had this high school boyfriend, which I think I dated from 16 to 17. We broke up because he was homophobic and extremely Christian. And I have been a lifelong atheist. Then I thought I might be bisexual. And so, I still dated boys, but then I had a couple threesomes in that time.
LEAH: When you were still in high school?
DEIDRE: One when I was high school and one when I was out of high school. Both of which were two of them were sexual experiences I’ve ever had in my life. The first one was when I was a teenager, an older boy, and then there was another girl. We were both vying for his attention. So, he was like, “I can have sex with you both.” So then, he did and it wasn’t really a threesome. It was basically him just fucking each of us individually.
LEAH: Yeah. So, there was no attraction or interaction between the two of you?
DEIDRE: No. And she ended up getting upset and crying and leaving. And then, he was like, “Good, you’re the one I wanted anyways.” And then, I thought that was good. I was like, “I’m being chosen.”
And then, the second time was with a pretty well-known DJ, not super famous, but pretty well-known and it was also a summer thing. I had gone out with a friend. I was probably 19, 20 and we had done MDMA and she was like, “Do you want to go have a threesome with this DJ?” And I was like, “Sure, why not? I’m high on MDMA. I’ll do anything.” And then, we went.
And it was also the same thing. It was the worst sex I’ve ever had. It was so bad and he just waved in the middle and kissed one, and then kissed the other. And then, my friend left me there alone with this guy even though she brought me there. She fucking left me alone. And then, he wanted to have sex with me. And then, it was weird. And then, yeah.
LEAH: So, no fun and it sounds like no interaction with the women who you might actually have enjoyed.
LEAH: So, at what point did you actually start engaging with other women by choice as opposed to by circumstance?
DEIDRE: There was one boy in particular I really, really liked. I think when I was 20, and then, it didn’t go well. And then, I was like, you know what? I’m tired of this. This is disappointing. I’m just going to try and date girls.
A friend of a friend was a lesbian and my friend was like, “You guys should meet. You’re both gay. You both like girls. Maybe you will get along.” So, a friend had a party in my hometown and we were both invited. And I did a lot of MDMA to the point where I was blacking out. I might have done four or five capsules of MDMA that night and I ended up hooking up with her in the back of a car while a guy watched. It’s not a nice memory. I was just really, really high on drugs and thought it was a good idea, yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. Do you feel like that experience was primarily for the benefit of the guy who was watching or were you wanting to do this with this woman? How much of this was for you and how much was for him?
DEIDRE: Hard to say. Honestly, I was not in a frame of mind to be doing that. We were all too, too high to be doing that. And we wanted to hook up, but I don’t know. I think he was just like, “You guys can go in my car and I’ll watch.” And I don’t know why for some reason, I didn’t care just because I was so high. It didn’t matter. I wanted to hook up with her, but certainly not under those circumstances.
LEAH: Yeah. I want to keep going forward in your timeline, but I also want to pick up one other thing, which is that through all of this, this most recent piece that you published was about having herpes from a very young age. So, I’d like to ask about how that affected your growth and development as a sexual being, as someone who knows that people are going to look at you and determine whether they’re attracted to you?
DEIDRE: Yeah. I’ve had it as far as I can remember and I got really bad outbreaks as a child. I would have five or six on both lips and it would be to the point where my lips were fat. And I would go to school and girls called me AIDS face, but I was also just so traumatized and so depressed and everything in my life was so terrible in terms of my hygiene, my bedroom, that this was just one manifestation of chaos, but it wasn’t the only one.
Because I had really dental decay, my bedroom, there was rotting food in my bedroom, it was really bad when I was a teenager. And for some reason, it doesn’t seem to have really affected me as a teenager. I don’t know why because I didn’t get as bad outbreaks and I think because I had had it for so long, I didn’t care as much.
And also, I didn’t realize it was herpes either. I didn’t know that. I had this euphemism of cold sores and I knew that other people get them. Sometimes, teachers got them. So, I think also when people said mean things to me as a kid, I didn’t fully understand the context of the stigma because I didn’t know it was herpes. And I think I learned that later on and I don’t know.
It’s more so it wasn’t a thing itself, it was more so that I felt so ugly and disgusting that I wanted to hide. I do know that a lot of the time, I was at home fussing over it. And I was crying and I didn’t want anyone to see me and I felt disgusting. But with that said, I felt disgusting not only about that.
I remember kids telling me I smelled bad. I remember one boy telling me that I had yellow teeth and that my breath smelled. So, I think because I had other things going on, I think that was very true. Because I had other things going on, I think it lessened the blow. And I don’t know. I was really cute, so maybe that helped.
DEIDRE: It didn’t stop me. Boys were always interested in me. I had platinum blonde hair and I was very shapely and very feminine. And I think when I turned 15, I started taking better care of myself even though there was still a lot going on at home. I became better at appearances. And before, I would just let all the ugliness out. And then, I just wouldn’t do anything sexually with anyone when I had a breakout.
LEAH: That was one of my questions. Yeah, if you were aware enough, was it because it was uncomfortable or because you were aware that you could potentially pass something on?
DEIDRE: Yeah, I knew that it was contagious and also, I just felt gross. So, I don’t want to kiss somebody if I have an open sore on my face. That doesn’t feel nice. So, I knew it was contagious because I knew I had gotten it from my mom. And so, I didn’t want to give it to somebody else. So, I usually didn’t tell somebody that I had it until I had a breakout when I was a kid. And then, I would be like, “Okay, I have to wait for this to go away. I can’t kiss you for two weeks or do anything sexual.”
LEAH: And has it always remained in your face or have you had migration to your genitals?
DEIDRE: Just my face.
LEAH: And what kind of protocol are you on now, if any, to manage it?
DEIDRE: You know what’s funny? I had that article come out and I hadn’t had an outbreak in a year and a half. And then, a week after, I got one. It’s tiny. You can see it there, but I’m like, of course, one week later.
DEIDRE: But I think because I had it for so long, I don’t get bad outbreaks anymore. And now I know exactly what gets rid of it. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of COMPEED patches. They’re like these little circle things, clear stickers. So, you put it on and it flattens it out so that you can’t see it. It makes it less visible and also, it keeps it sterile and it stops it from getting really, really bad.
So, I just put those on the whole time, then I take a pill. I found this thing in Germany. It’s called Lyranda and it has L-lysine in it and a bunch of vitamins. So, basically, it’s just a natural way to boost your immunity, your immune system and go through the cycle fast.
But it’s interesting, my current partner, it’s not as stigmatized in Germany. Everyone’s just like, “Yeah, herpes, whatever.” It’s way, way, way more stigmatized in Canada. So, I told my girlfriend. She literally was like, “Everyone has that. I might have it, but I’m not symptomatic. I don’t give a shit.”
LEAH: And that’s actually likely true that the prevalence of people having the herpes virus is extremely prevalent, but not everybody is symptomatic. Okay. So, let’s get back to the timeline. You have had a couple of disappointing experiences with women. At what point did you have an experience that you actually enjoyed and that you chose?
DEIDRE: So, the girl that I hooked up with in the car, I actually hooked up with her a second time. So, I was seeing this boy, then I had this experience with this girl. And then, unfortunately, I was raped in June 28th 2011. I passed out on the couch and I woke up to a man raping me and this was right when things had ended with the last boy I ever saw romantically. And I told him and I don’t know. Things between him and I didn’t work out and it was right when I was in the midst of my queer awakening.
This man raped me and I had this experience where I had been out with a friend all night dancing. And I was very naïve and had this feeling of doing drugs where I really loved the party scene and I loved the way that MDMA made me feel like I was floating and that everything was serendipitous. I could talk to people and I could meet kindred spirits and I had this feeling of bliss and connectedness.
And I remember twirling out into the summer air and talking to a really beautiful woman outside of the bar. And my friend had met a guy on the dance floor and he had invited us to his wealthy parents’ mansion in a very affluent part of Vancouver. And I was chatting up this beautiful woman and I was like, “Would you like to come? Everyone should come. We’ll do drugs all night and we’ll watch the sunrise and chat and it’ll be so marvelous.” She’s like, “I don’t have a phone, but I’ll give you my friend’s number.”
And so, she gave me her friend’s number. We took a cab and her friend texted me and he was like, “What’s the address?” And I gave it to him. And so, this girl’s two friends showed up and she didn’t show up. Two guys showed up. And so, we had a few drinks and I was very, very intoxicated at this point. And I ended up just passing out on the couch.
And my friend went upstairs with the guy who’s house it was. And then, I was just left downstairs with the guy. And I woke up in the middle of the night and his tongue was inside me. He had pulled down my stockings and his tongue was inside me. And I woke up and I was like, oh my god, oh my god. What’s happening? I don’t know who this person is. I was like, “Did I have a drunken hookup or something? And I was like, no, no, no. I don’t know who this is. This is not something I wanted.
And then, he put his penis in me and I crunched up into a ball and I was like, “No, no, no. I’m tired. I’m tired.” And then, he came and he spooned me for two hours and I just laid there in horror. Again, just going through my memories being like, is this something I wanted? How did I get here?
Eventually, I jumped up and I ran upstairs and I was like, “Please, please,” to my friend, she was in bed with this guy whose house it was. And I was like, “Please, please, this man, he just raped me. Help, help, help.” So, they get up. They come out and the guy, he’s like, “I’ll handle it. I’ll handle it.” He goes downstairs and he comes up smiling. And all of a sudden, I see this other guy leaving and he’s like, “It’s all good. It’s all good. I told him he’s got to go and he gave me a bag of weed, so we’re all good.”
And then, sadly, I think because I had been sexually assaulted so many times, I have been sexually assaulted more than 100 times, and this was the first time I think that I had an adult conscious about it because before, it was just something that happened to me and I never really had the wherewithal to really understand the ramifications of it, but this was the one that changed everything. This was the one that broke me. This was the one that shattered everything.
And so, me and my friend were leaving and I just remember looking up at the sky and I was like, now I know what it means to be a woman in the world. And that feeling of just that floating feeling was gone. I felt the heaviest I had ever felt in my entire life. My clothes were weighted. Everything was weighted. The earth was going to swallow me whole. It was like I had discovered gravity for the first time. And I just looked p at the sky and the sun was blinding and it was just this terrible feeling.
And we went back to my hometown. And from that point on, it brought up everything that I had buried about my childhood, the sexual violations I had experienced as a child, it brought them all back because now I could see them with new eyes. And I really, really understood the severe psychological consequences of sexual violence and how it had shaped me as a person, something I had never questioned before.
I just thought there was something innately wrong with me and I was like, no, something was done to me and I am who I am because of those experiences. So, that happened and it was right when I was in the midst of my queer awakening. And it had me return to the babysitter and I was like, am I gay because I was assaulted as a child by a girl? And I started asking myself all these questions.
And so, I hooked up with this girl the one time and it felt really disgusting because we were too high and it shouldn’t have happened. But there was one day, she asked if I wanted to hook up and I left my hometown in the middle of the night and I took all these crazy buses. And I went to go see her and I climbed in her window.
DEIDRE: We hooked up and it was exhilarating the second time because I wanted it and I was willing to do anything to get there. And I was like, no, this is what I want. So, it was just a quick hookup and I think I fingered her, but that was the first time I had proper sex with a woman not under the influence of drugs and it was wonderful. And then, from that point on, I never dated men again.
LEAH: You mentioned that you’ve been assaulted many, many times. Did all of that happen prior to your queer awakening or has that happened again since?
DEIDRE: It’s happened again since. My high school boyfriend, I only recently realized it, was a serial rapist. I was with him for just over a year and he forced me to have sex with him every day over and over again when I didn’t want to. So, the majority of it happened when I was a teenager, but I have been sexually assaulted by men and women since being raped in June 2011.
LEAH: Wow, you have been through a lot, yeah. So, after you had that experience with the woman that it sounds like was pleasurable and fulfilling, do you remember if you had an orgasm that night?
DEIDRE: I don’t think so, but it was more so just the bodily experience of feeling feelings for the first time like feeling real true attraction for the first time and all of the endorphins and the rush like the adrenaline was what was so exhilarating.
LEAH: And so, what happened after that? Did you pursue dating?
DEIDRE: So, this would have been the summer of 2011. And by march 2012, I had my first girlfriend.
LEAH: Okay. And what was that like?
DEIDRE: So, after this, I would go home every night and I would scour through plenty of fish. I made a fake account. I was too scared. I just wanted to see what the dating profiles of girls my age looked like. And so, I spent night after night and I was on Tumblr and I found this Tumblr called girlswholikegirls and I would scroll through it every night, every night, every night. And then, one night, I came across this woman and she was going to the university I wanted to go to, studying the same thing I was studying, was the same age, was really, really beautiful, and she also liked Lord of the Rings.
DEIDRE: So, I sent her a message and she wrote me back. And then, a month later, she was my first girlfriend.
LEAH: Wow. And did you have pleasure when you were being physical and sexual with her?
DEIDRE: Yes. I think we actually orgasmed with our clothes on just from laying on top of her, yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. Yay, finally something good!
LEAH: Okay. So, how long were the two of you together?
DEIDRE: Four and a half years.
LEAH: That’s a long time. And was it a good relationship? Was it a healthy relationship?
DEIDRE: No, not at all. The first two years were really beautiful because I was madly, madly, madly in love with her, but we were not good for each other and it was not a healthy relationship. But the first two years was a lot of just bliss because I ended up getting into the university, so we studied together. We both studied political science at The University of British Columbia and we lived together. And it was just magical for the first time, felt in control of my body and my life. And I felt like myself for the very first time.
LEAH: Wow. So, after that relationship ended, what happened next?
DEIDRE: Then I had dated for a long time, but nothing really, really worked out. I had a lot of issues with substance abuse and I was very, very self-destructive once that relationship ended. I went into a very bad depressive episode. I didn’t have a proper mental health diagnosis until I was 29. I got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
So, I stopped doing so many drugs and I started drinking too much and I started taking anti-depressants and that made me black out. So, I was very, very self-destructive and I was not in a position to have a healthy relationship because I was a very unhealthy person. But then, in December 2019, I quit drinking. And since then, I have found the love of my life.
LEAH: Wow. Okay, I definitely want to hear all about that. I also want to ask having gotten the BPD diagnosis, does that help you look back at your past behavior and see any patterns in relationships and in sexuality?
DEIDRE: 100%. Actually, after I was raped, I was at UBC and I had a really hard time in my last university because I was severely depressed. And this was the first time I had actually admitted to myself that I had mental illness. This was 2013, 2014 because the rape, it took me two years for everything to really, really hit me.
And I was in my last year and I was taking 5 classes a semester. And I was going to fail and I was trying. I went to, at the time, it was called access and diversity and I wanted to be able to write my final exams in a quiet room and I wanted some extensions on papers because I was having a really hard time and I was already taking an extra year to do my degree. I didn’t want to do it in six years. I wanted to finish in five.
So, they gave me an interim accommodation in the summer time. And I got straight A’s. I did so well. It was the best grades I ever got in my life. And then, the fall came and they said that I needed a diagnosis in order to be able to continue getting accommodation.
So, I went to the university’s councilor. I told her all my trauma and she was like, “Honestly, it takes a really long time for us to give a diagnosis. By the time we do it, it’s going to be too late” because I was already halfway into my second last semester. And she was like, “Unfortunately it’s just going to take too long.” And then, they sent me to a doctor and the doctor told me I probably didn’t have mental illness. It was because I was vegetarian and my B-12 and iron was too low.
DEIDRE: But it just felt like I was going to everywhere on campus and having doors slammed in my face and it was retraumatizing me. And I ended up actually going to one of my professors. Because I was like, okay, the last thing I can do is I’m just going to have to ask the professors. I’m not going to be able to have this governing body mediate.
So, I went to this one professor and she had previously been the Dean of Sociology, a lesbian professor and I remember, I will never forget, I showed up at her office hours. She was late. She showed up with another student. They had Starbucks in their hand. I already felt disrespected because she didn’t take my time seriously. I was shaking because I felt like I would have to get down on my knees for help.
So, finally, we go into her room. I didn’t want to disclose that I had been raped. And she pushed and she pushed and she pushed and she pushed and finally, I had burst into tears and told her. And she told me as a 4th year student that I should know how to mitigate my mental illness. And I was like, you just prodded me into disclosing that I was raped, and then you literally made me feel like I’m making up being raped so that I can get a small advantage as though I’m lying because I’m a shitty student. That was really, really horrific.
LEAH: Are you aching to explore new vistas of your sexuality? Do you hear me talk about concepts on this show and think, “It makes sense, but I need help applying it to my situation?” That’s where personalized sex and intimacy coaching comes in.
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I work with clients who are motivated to explore many different areas of sexuality including things like expressing your sexual desires to current or future partners, exploring if you might be queer, challenging body image insecurity in sexual relationships, dipping your toes into BDSM and consensual non-monogamy, learning to date out of a long time out of the dating pool, exploring sexuality for later in life virgins, and so much more.
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DEIDRE: After I graduated from university, my ex-girlfriend and I, we went to South America for six and a half months. I came back to Vancouver, I worked at the café for about 10 months and then I moved to Toronto. She actually broke my heart. We were supposed to move to Toronto together and she broke my heart and she moved to New York City without me. We did 6 months long distance, then we broke up over the phone and then we never spoke again.
And so, I was alone in Toronto. So, I was severely depressed. I didn’t know anybody. Toronto is a 5-hour flight from Vancouver. It is a 45-hour drive. I was unwell. And so, I tried to get help. I went to something called the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Again, told my entire life story to a counselor and she diagnosed me with major depressive disorder and PTSD.
And then, I was given antidepressants. So, I was on antidepressants for 3 years. And then, I started drinking. And the combination of alcohol and antidepressants was lethal. So, I went full rock bottom. If there was a basement, there’s an elevator shaft under rock bottom, that’s where I went. I was the most self-destructive I’ve ever been in my life. I gained 80 pounds in 6 months. I was fired from every job. I lost every friend I made. It was complete catastrophe. I was a complete shell of myself. I was suicidal. I was cutting myself. It was really, really, really, really bad.
And because I didn’t have the proper mental health diagnosis and I knew that I was like, this is not just depression. There’s something worse going on here. Those words just didn’t fully encapsulate how I felt inside. And so, it took actually until March 2020, I was suicidal and I was always too scared. I was like, I’m not sick enough to go to the emergency room. But finally, I decided to go.
Again, told my life story to the psychiatrist and he gave me a pamphlet. And he was like, “It sounds like you might have borderline personality disorder.” So, I took it home and I read it and I was like, oh my god. This is me. The chronic feelings of emptiness, the unstable relationships, the substance abuse, all of these things are me.
And it was funny because a few years prior, my sister was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, but I actually scoffed at it because I thought it was multiple personality disorder. So, I was like that’s ridiculous. She doesn’t have multiple personalities. I thought it was like an overmedicalized jargon and unnecessary. I didn’t understand what it was. But then, it ended up being a completely life-changing eye-opening thing and actually a couple of months before, I had quit drinking. So, these two things completely changed my life.
LEAH: Wow. And at some point in here, did you move to Germany?
DEIDRE: Yes. So, I moved to Germany in July 2020. So, the pandemic came and I lost my job. I had no reason to be there anymore and it was either move back home or move somewhere else. And I knew that if I moved back to Vancouver, it would be regressive for me. I didn’t want to fall back into my old life. I needed something different.
And my friend had a very similar experience. She was miserable. We had nothing going for us and also Canada’s very, very expensive. Everything that was good about my life there had crumbled before my eyes. I had no prospects. I was working in journalism and I got laid off twice. The city is so expensive. Everything that was good about the city got destroyed by COVID. And I was like, why am I paying a rent premium to live in a city that is defined by fast food and condo towers and they’re ripping everything down? I was like, I am so unhappy.
So, my friend and I had gone on a date in February 2019 and we had instant chemistry, but she realized that she’s straight. But we stayed in contact and we just followed each other on Instagram and we had hung out right before the pandemic happened. We were starting to hang out more frequently, and then the pandemic happened and we were both stuck inside. And I just lost my job and we were like, “We can’t do anything.”
It was lockdown. It was the very first lockdown. And so, I was like, okay. I think it was the time when it was controversial to see somebody from another household, but we would just meet up and we would just go on these 4-, 5-hour walks through the empty city streets. And during this time, we just had such a good time. I just wanted a hug. I needed human connection and this really gave it to me during this uncertain time.
And previously, we had gone to dinner and talked about how we would love to move to Europe one day, but it didn’t seem like the right time. But then, fast forward 6 months later, we were like, “Why don’t we just do it? What am I doing with my life? I’m miserable. The world seems to be ending. Why don’t we just go?”
So, we planned. And 3 months later, we sold everything and the second borders open, we bought plane tickets before borders opened. This was when they first shut down borders. Yeah, we were on a plane and we went to Portugal for a month to just relax on the beach. And then, we arrived in Germany in August 2020. And it was the greatest decision I ever made because I am the happiest I’ve ever been.
LEAH: Wow. And so, there’s more to that story of you and your friend who you moved with, right?
DEIDRE: So, we are soulmates because when we are together, the universe makes magic happen. And we have a very deep connection and we’ve lived together ever since we moved to Europe. And yeah, we randomly decided to get married February 2021 and that was really, really beautiful. But we were also very, very vulnerable and clinging to each other for dear life and we didn’t realize how much the concept of marriage would be suffocating for our relationship.
LEAH: Can I just interrupt for a second and clarify that this is a non-sexual relationship? That you decided to get married because you are soulmates? Platonic, non-sexual, non-romantic soulmates?
DEIDRE: Yes. And I was actually dating a German and it was actually the most abusive relationship I had ever been in in my life. It was actually somebody who I had started talking to when I was still in Toronto and we spoke online for 4 months until I moved. And the first night I was in Berlin, they came to my Airbnb and I dated them for 6 months and they had completely misrepresented who they were. And it ended up being a horror show and my friend was also dating somebody and it also ended up ending terribly.
When we got here, it was a 7-month lockdown and we were just clinging to each other for dear life and I was questioning if this was all worth it if I had made the right decision. And then, there was one day where she was sobbing and I came in and I embraced her and gave her a hug and she had never let anyone see her cry like that before. And she had never been able to envision a future with anyone else other than me.
So, she proposed to me and I said yes. And we had a ceremony and we thought about legalizing it, but at the time, it wasn’t possible because everything was closed because it was lockdown. But then, we ended up realizing that legalizing it wouldn’t do anything for us. It’s better to marry a European citizen, so you can stay in the country.
DEIDRE: Because it wouldn’t have done anything really for us long-term. So, we didn’t end up legalizing it. And then, we were platonically married until December of that year, but we ended up finding that the construct of marriage ended up being extremely suffocating and we couldn’t exist as individuals. And it ended up causing more harm than good.
LEAH: In what ways?
DEIDRE: We were working really, really hard to have our individuality again in our own lives and it just ended up I couldn’t go anywhere without somebody asking me where Chiderah was. “Where’s your friend? Where’s your friend?” It just ended up being suffocating.
It was beautiful and the commitment to each other, the spirit of what we did remains to this day, but the construct of marriage was just suffocating because people couldn’t see us as individuals. We always had to be a unit. And something for BPD and she’s bipolar, and this is one of the things that we bond over, but it’s really important for each of us to have a strong sense of identity and individualism. And for me, personally, a component of BPD is you never have a sense of self. So, we really, really, really struggled with that and eventually decided that it was best for our relationship to just ditch the term marriage.
LEAH: There’s something about this story, even though the two of you decided to move out of the construct of “marriage” that speaks to me so deeply of how relationships can look any way that we want them to as long as we’re willing to do the work of figuring out what we want. And for you, that includes being really committed to your platonic soulmate. I love that so much.
DEIDRE: Yeah. It’s like another pair of women went viral on TikTok so the topic came back in the news again and we were interviewed by Refinery29 a few months. We did quite a lot of media. We were in the Daily Mail, NBC News, Your Morning Show.
And it got to the point where it was authentic and we meant everything we said. And then, when we decided to change our minds, there was this pressure to be this image of something and that also was something that was really, really difficult because people project things onto you because people thought that we were doing it for attention, that it was fake, that we were doing it for attention.
It was completely authentic, but I think the beauty of life is you’re allowed to change and grow and you’re allowed to change your mind and that’s completely acceptable. But if you stray from the path, people lose their minds. So, it was nice because we did this Refinery29 interview. And then, I just screenshotted the part where we talked about why we no longer decided to be platonically married and I just put it on my Instagram story, so I didn’t have to explain.
DEIDRE: I was like, this is nice. I can explain through a publication. But it was a beautiful experience. We also realized that we would make terrible coparents. And so, there were a lot of things where they’re like, okay, we’re always going to be soulmates and our lives are always going to be intertwined, but long-term, there’s actually a lot of differences and we want different things for our future. So, we changed our mind.
LEAH: Yeah, I love it. And you are now in a relationship with another woman. So, tell me about that.
DEIDRE: I would’ve never imagined I would meet this person because I didn’t know such a person could exist because I’m only used to abusive relationships, relationships that dysregulate my nervous system. And I went on this date. I was going on dates with a lot of Germans and Germans are very, very passive. And so, it felt very much like I’d have to be on the 27th date, “May I lay a kiss upon your lips, my fair lady?”
DEIDRE: So, I had to make all the moves and it was super awkward. But what I loved about her is that she made the first move. She was very direct about what she wanted and I found that a lot of times, in dating, for some reason, people always want me to be daddy. I don’t know why that is or maybe I’m just emanating daddy energy, but I always get put into a role and I hate it because I like to be both. And I was like, I just want to be baby sometimes.
And so, I went on lots of dates. And I’m always very forthright that I’m monogamous and that I’m sober. And so, some people would be like, “That’s boring that you don’t drink,” or we would go on a date and they would have a secret boyfriend. And I’m like, “There’s no problem. If you’re in an open relationship or you’re poly and you have a boyfriend, whatever, I don’t care, but I was explicit that I’m monogamous and that’s not what I’m looking for.”
So, it was just dating is a nightmare. And then, I went on a date with her and actually, we met on the HER app. I just randomly opened the app and I was like, she’s cute. And then, I was like, but she’s quite a bit younger. I was 30 at the time and it said she was 24 and I was like, I usually date someone who’s a year younger, a year older. But I was like, she’s cute, whatever, I’ll go on a date. And it ended up being magnificent and we started seeing each other. And two months later, she’s my girlfriend and we were saying I love you and I’m pretty sure we’re going to get married very soon.
LEAH: Wow. And how long have you been together?
DEIDRE: We’ve been dating for a year and we have been official since June. It’s just she’s the most wonderful person in the world. Just the first person that doesn’t care that I have herpes, doesn’t care that I have BPD, doesn’t have a history of trauma herself, but doesn’t care that I’m open about the fact that I do have a mental illness and I have trauma, is the first person that doesn’t trigger me.
And actually, these days, I’m so psychologically well that I don’t have many symptoms of BPD anymore. I don’t have anxious spirals because this person calms and grounds me and makes me feel secure. It’s the first secure attachment I’ve ever experienced in my life.
LEAH: Wow. And is the sex good?
LEAH: Good! That’s fantastic.
LEAH: And now, it’s time for the lowdown, the things we’re dying to know but would usually be too polite to ask any good girl.
LEAH: Do you have sex during your period?
LEAH: Does your partner also get a period?
LEAH: And so, do you also have sex when they’re on their period?
LEAH: Okay. So, four weeks a month, you’re all good to go?
LEAH: Okay. What’s the approximate number of sex partners you’ve had?
DEIDRE: Probably 50.
LEAH: Have you ever had sex with someone of a different racial identity than your own?
LEAH: What’s your favorite sex toy?
DEIDRE: The Satisfyer.
LEAH: Okay. I will put a link in the description for that.
LEAH: What’s your favorite sex position?
LEAH: Do you prefer to initiate or for your partner to initiate in the bedroom?
DEIDRE: I like a mixture.
LEAH: Okay. Are you generally more active or more passive during lovemaking?
LEAH: Do you prefer clit stimulation or penetration?
LEAH: Do you enjoy g-spot stimulation?
LEAH: Do you enjoy having your breasts played with?
LEAH: Do you think it’s generally easy or challenging for you to orgasm?
LEAH: What’s your favorite thing to do to your partner during sexual play?
LEAH: Using what?
DEIDRE: My fingers.
LEAH: Okay. Do you ever use a strap-on?
LEAH: And you enjoy that? That was a nod of the head.
LEAH: What kind of touch do you enjoy receiving most?
DEIDRE: My favorite thing is having my back rubbed.
LEAH: Nice, okay. What are your hard red lines, the things you absolutely don’t want to do?
DEIDRE: Anal, I think that’s pretty much it.
LEAH: Okay. How do you feel about porn?
DEIDRE: Love it.
LEAH: And do you actively use it with your partner?
LEAH: What’s your ideal frequency of sex?
DEIDRE: At least three times a week.
LEAH: Do you have hair down there or are you bare?
DEIDRE: Different seasons, different moods.
LEAH: Do you enjoy giving oral sex?
LEAH: Do you enjoy receiving oral sex?
LEAH: Do you ever worry about your smell or taste?
LEAH: How do you feel about ass play? I know you said no to anal, but what about ass play that’s not fully penetrative?
DEIDRE: A little bit is okay, yeah.
LEAH: What do you consider the “kinkiest” thing that you enjoy, given that every person’s scale of kink is totally different?
DEIDRE: Probably a little bit of roughness like choking, hair pulling, scratching.
LEAH: Okay. Do you enjoy dirty talk during sexual encounters?
LEAH: Have you ever felt a sexual urge that confused you?
LEAH: Do you want to talk about it?
DEIDRE: Sure. I enjoy watching anal porn, but it’s not something that I want.
LEAH: That’s interesting. There are actually a lot of people who like watching types of porn that they don’t want to experience themselves. That’s pretty common, yeah. What is your favorite part of your body?
DEIDRE: My ass.
LEAH: What’s your least favorite part of your body?
DEIDRE: Probably my belly.
LEAH: What is something about your current sex life that isn’t quite as satisfying as you’d like it to be?
DEIDRE: Sometimes, when I get stressed, I get low libido. And I would like for that to change.
LEAH: Is there a question or concern that you have about sex in general or your sex life in particular?
DEIDRE: Probably what I just said that sometimes, if I’m stressed or I’m depressed, then I feel asexual. I have no sexual drive whatever. And sometimes, I feel bad for being that way. But I also just have to understand that that’s because of sexual violence and I have to feel at home in my body in order to have sex.
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Even though it’s a challenge for you, I’m glad that you recognize also the reality of the situation, yeah. What belief about sex did you have as a child or a teenager that you wish you could go back and correct yourself on now?
DEIDRE: That I am allowed to experience pleasure and that I don’t exist for the pleasure of boys and men.
LEAH: Yeah, and that you are not inherently broken and victimized. Deidre, this has been an absolutely amazing conversation. Thank you so much for having it with me.
DEIDRE: Thank you. My pleasure. It was good.
LEAH: Yeah. Do you want to let people know how and where to find you?
DEIDRE: Sure. You can follow me on Twitter at @DeidreLOlsen or Instagram @deidreolsen and you can find me www.deidreolsen.com.
LEAH: Great. And I’ll put links in the show notes to the articles that we’ve mentioned so people can read those because they are really fantastic.
DEIDRE: Thank you.
LEAH: That’s it for today. Before we go, I want to remind you that the things you may have heard about your sexuality aren’t true. You are worthy. You are desirable. You are not broken. As a sex and intimacy coach, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours no matter what it looks like. To set up your free discovery call, go to www.leahcarey.com/coaching.
If you have questions or comments about anything you’ve heard about the show, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX. Full show notes and transcripts for this episode are at www.goodgirlstalk.com. And you can follow me @goodgirls talk on the socials for more sex positive content. If you’re enjoying this show, please take a moment to leave a 5-star rating and review on Apple Podcasts or if you’re using another podcast app, go to www.ratethispodcast.com/goodgirls. While listening to this show is free, producing it is not. If my work is meaningful to you and you have a few dollars to support it each month, I’ll gratefully accept your patronage at Patreon. Find out more and become a community member at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby. I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor. Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo. Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
As a member of the Good Girls Talk About Sex Patreon community, you’ll get exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content like after-the-interview videos where I share my personal thoughts and reflections on each episode. You’ll also receive monthly voice memos from me with reminders about the core tenets of sex positivity and consent.
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