Fingering and blow jobs were a sin – Hannah

Purity ring, wedding ring … cock ring?! After many conversations with people who have religious trauma around sexuality, it’s a pleasure to finally welcome a guest who grew up in conservative Christianity and has a healthy relationship with sex.

Hannah opens up about how she and her husband navigated abstinence while still building a relationship based on trust and pleasure, and how they continued to nurture both after pregnancy loss. We also talk about sex during pregnancy and in the aftermath of miscarriage.

Hannah is a 26-year-old cisgender female. She describes herself as half white and half East Indian, heterosexual, monogamous, married, and her body is curvy.

Find my NBC Op-Ed at https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/learning-sex-education-can-save-kids-from-groomers-rcna26931

Good Girls Talk About Sex
Good Girls Talk About Sex
Fingering and blow jobs were a sin - Hannah
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In this episode we talk about

  • Sexuality within Christianity
  • Abstinence and purity rings
  • Losing virginity
  • Trauma responses and recovery
  • Sex during pregnancy
  • Sex after miscarriage

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Full episode text

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

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Hey, friends. You may have noticed over the last three years that I’ve talked with a lot of people who have left Christianity at least in part because of the messaging around sex and sexuality. And you might have wondered, why doesn’t Leah ever talk to anyone who’s Christen and has a positive relationship with sex?

It’s not for lack of trying. I don’t want to suggest that all Christians are damaged around sex, but I’ve approached countless Christian women to do interviews for this podcast and none of them have said yes, which is why I was so thrilled when Hannah contacted me to say she wanted to do an interview.

Hannah grew up in Christianity and didn’t have sex before her wedding night even through a 5-year courtship with her now husband. She has a very strong faith, which helped guide her through two miscarriages and resulting medical treatments. You’ll hear about all of that and how it affected her experience of sex with her husband.

And one more thing before we dive in. Near the end of this conversation, you’ll hear Hannah talk about teaching her young daughters the correct names for their body parts and demystifying their bodies in general. This is an incredibly timely conversation because sex education in the United States is currently under attack as is so much else.

For instance, recently a New Jersey school district announced it would limit sex ed instruction to a single 35-minute period on the last day of school in grades 2, 5, and 8. That’s not even enough time to get kids beyond the giggling stage, let alone cover basic anatomy, talk about appropriate boundaries, and give them the skills they need to recognize their body signals when they’re in a dangerous situation.

In March, Tucker Carlson called it common sense to not talk to children about their genitals, calling it “disgusting and probably illegal.” My colleague, Justine Ang Fonte and I published an op-ed at NBC News pushing back against this rhetoric and explaining why it’s absolutely crucial to teach children the proper names for their genitals and to talk openly and without shame about their bodies.

It can literally save their lives because a child who learns that anything down there shouldn’t be mentioned is much more likely to not tell an adult if someone is touching them inappropriately. To find that op-ed, you can search my name on the NBC News site or there’s a link in the episode description in the app you’re listening on right now. And now, let’s get back to the star of this episode.

Hannah is a 26-year-old cisgender female. She describes herself as half white and half Indian, but she jokes that her father is so white that you’d never be able to tell my mother is from India by looking at me. She describes herself as heterosexual, monogamous, married, and her body as curvy. I’m so pleased to introduce Hannah!

Hannah, I’m so excited to talk with you. As everybody knows by now, I love it when listeners let me know that they want to do interviews and you are one of those. So, thank you so much for getting in touch and for being here today.

HANNAH: Yeah, I’m excited. Thanks for having me.

LEAH: Yeah. So, I start every interview in the same place. What is your first memory of sexual pleasure?

HANNAH: So, I listen to a lot of your podcast episodes, so I knew this question was coming. I know that no topic is off limits, so I’m honestly just going to go there and say that my first sexual memory, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say it was pleasurable. I was in a really bad relationship when I was in high school before I met my husband. So, around the age of 14, 15, the person who I was seeing at the time was very physically aggressive. So, I don’t really have great memories starting off. I remember when you’re 5, 6, 7, 8 and you watch a cute movie and you feel all tingly everywhere, that kind of thing.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: But really sexual pleasure memory was finding out what a boner was when I was grabbed and felt something happening in his penis area. And then, being like, “What the heck?” Because I hadn’t really ever had that. I was probably 14, 15 at the time, so I was like, “What’s going on?”

And then, he would just touch me when I didn’t want to be touched and he would say a lot of false things about me to other people. So, that shaped my high school experience. That’s actually stuff that I still carry into my marriage. I absolutely hate my boobs being touched because that brings me right back to that spot, being in a place where I was never asked or it wasn’t in a kind and loving setting. So, I would say that’s my first experience. That’s been stuff that I’ve worked through for many, many years and I’m still working through.

LEAH: Yeah. So, how long were you with this boy?

HANNAH: So, probably off and on for about 10 months. And I was just so young that I don’t really think I ever thought of it as a problem. It was a big problem, but it was so misshapen in my mind that we would end things, and then I would come back, and we would end things, and I would come back.

And it was so bad that that year, I had an eating disorder. I was skin and bones. I had a terrible relationship with my parents and they actually pulled me out of the school and begged me to get a restraining order. But things were just so messed up in my brain that I didn’t really see the reality of the depth of the situation. I just didn’t really see it as a problem. And so, it was 10 months of grueling, my poor parents, off again and then on again, and then off again and on again.

LEAH: Do you remember what attracted you to him in the first place?

HANNAH: So, I grew up in a very, very small Christian school and I didn’t really have any idea of what life looked like outside of those very, very safe walls where sex is never talked about, where nothing ever really happens besides you go to school, you learn about the Lord, you do your studies, and then you come home.

And so, I think going into a very massive public high school was just so overwhelming for me and I was just desperate to find friends. And so, he was very quick to want to be my friend and we met actually in band class. And then, I had had things with other boys starting with my first kiss was at 13, but it was never more than just a thing. So, being that young, people are like, “Is he your boyfriend?” and it was just quick to put a label on it. And then, it got very intense very fast.

LEAH: Yeah. So, you said that you tried to black stuff out. Are you okay having this conversation about him?

HANNAH: Yeah. So, I actually did something called a Freedom Appointment about a year ago and that really helped me to be able to get to a spot where I am able to talk about it. And my husband and I have been able to have really good conversations where I’m like, “If you really want to have good sex, you’re probably not going want to grab my boobs because it’s going to just bring me back.” And poor him, he’s like, “Ugh.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: But it just brings me back to that spot and it makes me actually want to throw up. Sometimes it’s fine, but other times especially if I’m sort of in the mood but not really and my mind can easily wander. So, we’ve had good conversations and the Freedom Appointment really helped and I actually share my story with young women. And so, I’ve had opportunities to talk about it. So, this is fine.

LEAH: Okay, great. I’ve never heard this term before. What is a Freedom Appointment?

HANNAH: So, it’s actually something that our church offers and it’s like a very intensive 4-hour session where you meet with someone who’s a counselor and you go through all the people that you need to forgive and why you need to forgive them. And in the verbiage that you use would be, “I choose to forgive this person for this,” and then I just listed out all the things that that person did. Now, I do feel like I’ve forgiven him, but have I forgotten it? Obviously not.

LEAH: Those are two different things.

HANNAH: Yeah. You know the saying forgive and forget? I’m like, no, that’s not a thing. You don’t forget about it and it doesn’t mean that just because you’ve let it go that the trauma still isn’t there. But just saying it out loud and releasing that bondage that what he did to me is weighing on me like it was somehow my fault or somehow my problem, just letting it go and being like, “No, I forgive you and I’m not going to let what you did to me affect my life any longer,” was really, really freeing for me.

LEAH: I’m really glad that you got to have that experience. So, let’s go back a little bit because we started right at age 14-ish. So, let’s go back to your childhood home and what were you hearing in your childhood home about sex, about sexuality, about being female?

HANNAH: So, my home, it was such an amazing home to grow up in. Two parents who really love me and who really loved each other. And it’s honestly weird to me that I got into that situation because I never felt like I was missing out on love. Some people say that, “I didn’t feel loved, so I looked for love in other areas.”

I always felt loved by my parents, but I think growing up in such a sheltered home going into what was the real world for a 14-year-old was very, very overwhelming. I just didn’t really know. And I learned about sex in 4th grade. My friend opened the dictionary to the word sex and she’s like, “Oh my gosh, look at this.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And I was like, “What?” like a 4th grader and we read it. And then, I went home and I was like, “Mom, I read this in the dictionary.” And she was like, “Okay.” And then, that night, I was getting ready for bed and she came down this book. And then, she read me the book and I was like, “You do that? What? That sounds gross. I thought it was just not real.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And then, we had that talk and she talked to me about periods. And then, she took me away when I was 10 and we talked about it some more and she asked me if I had any questions, and then that was it. It was never like we couldn’t ask questions. I never felt like I wasn’t free to ask my parents questions, but the church that I grew up in was very, very strict in a lot of rules, I don’t even know the right word.

It wasn’t a very healthy place and it was sex is bad until you’re married, and then everything is permissible. And so, I grew up feeling like, okay, if I have sex before I’m married, then I’m bad. But as soon as I’m married, everything is fine. So, I didn’t feel that freedom to ask questions because it wasn’t talked about in our church. It was seen as a bad thing, even though my parents would have been fine to talk to me about it. Does that make sense?

LEAH: Yeah, it does. And in terms of the church, what about things leading up to sex? Was kissing okay? Was holding hands okay?

HANNAH: Yeah. That type of stuff was fine, but it was like you wouldn’t want to be making out with a boy because that would lead to this. You wouldn’t want to be alone with a boy for a long period of time because that would lead to this. And they never really did any purity talks. They never brought anybody in.

So, fast forwarding to now, I’m in a church where I can go to sessions that talk about how to teach my kids about sex. And so, that is something that I actively looked for and in fact, my best friend teaches parents how to teach their kids about sex. So, it’s really interesting how it’s come full circle. So, I think that that environment definitely shaped me getting married. And then, now with my own kids, okay, I’m not going to do that. Our church is not going to look like that.

LEAH: Yeah. So, before we started recording, you told me that your parents come from two very different cultures. And I’m curious how that showed up in your home around sex and sexuality, if at all.

HANNAH: My mom actually was supposed to have an arranged marriage. When she was about, I think 17, someone came to the house while she was sleeping.

LEAH: And this was still in India?

HANNAH: In England. So, she was born and raised in England. My parents met in England at college. So, she was born into a Sikh family like don’t cut your hair, don’t shave your legs, very, very traditional Sikh family. And so, first generation immigrant.

So, I know she was supposed to have an arranged marriage at 17. Someone came to look at her and she was sleeping, so weird. And they were like, “She’s not pretty enough for my son.” And so, then they left. And I could probably show you a picture of my mom, but she is the most beautiful woman. She’s absolutely stunning. And so, they didn’t want to marry my mom.

So, it wasn’t very traditional for Indian women to go to college, but my mom actually became a Christian through a youth group in Inner City, London. That’s where she grew up. Some white English people brought her to church with them, then she became a Christian, and then her brother became a Christian, her sister became a Christian, then her mom became a Christian. And so then, she went off to college and that’s where she met her dad.

LEAH: It sounds like she really took on Christianity. Did she maintain any of the Sikh traditions?

HANNAH: Not really besides the dress. Even now, when we have fancy events, she still dresses in a traditional Indian saree or an Indian suit. We eat a lot of Indian food in our house. There’re different fun Sikh traditions that we do, but we don’t practice anything that Sikhs do, but her father is still Sikh.

LEAH: Yeah. I’m curious because my understanding is that’s a very conversative culture, but it sounds like she was open to talking. She was open to having conversations with you, so I’m really happy for you that you got to have that relationship with her.

HANNAH: It was funny because when I got married, nobody really talked to me and I know we’ll get into that about sex. So, we didn’t really talk about it leading up to my marriage, but she always was like, “If you want to talk about it, I’m here.” But I just never really felt comfortable because we just didn’t talk about it in our daily life.

LEAH: So, at any point, did you discover masturbation?

HANNAH: No, not really. That’s just never really been something that I have really done. I remember when your body changes and you start having cervical mucus, I remember being like why is that happening? So, I remember feeling down there, seeing, like why is stuff coming out? But I never really did anything for pleasure.

I think one time in the bath, I was laying under the water, I must have been 16, 17 at the time and I was like that feels good, but I never really did anything with it. I think I was just still very stuck in that place of, okay, I don’t really want anything to happen because I’ve been in places where I have felt things that I didn’t want to feel. And so, I’m just not even going to go there.

LEAH: Yeah, sure. So, did you have any sex education prior to high school? Was there anything going on in the Christian school around sex education?

HANNAH: Nothing in the Christian schools. My parents, like I said, they did that weekend where they took us away and we talked about sex and nothing was off the table. We could ask whatever we wanted, and then my mom read me that book. But then I got to high school, and then my freshman year in high school, in health class, they talked about STDs and protection and went over all that and did the basic like, “This is what sex is.”

And then, I got pulled out of school my freshman year and got sent to a different school because of the situation with that boy. My parents were like, “Okay, if you’re not going to put a restraining order on him, then we’re pulling you out of school.” So, they sent me to another school and that public school had a sex education class.

And it was just like there was this weird question box that you could ask whatever question you wanted. And so, the boys would just ask these really weird and sometimes demeaning questions towards women. And I went home and talked to my mom about it. I’m like, “They’re asking all these really weird questions and the teacher was a male and he would answer them.” And so, my mom was like, “No, you’re done.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, they actually pulled me out of that class. And then, during that class, I would do an independent study health study during that class.

LEAH: Wow. It’s like you kept trying to get the information.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: And things just kept not working for you.

HANNAH: But I actually met Adam in between my freshman and sophomore year of high school.

LEAH: And Adam is?

HANNAH: He’s my husband, yeah.

LEAH: Okay, plot thickens.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, we actually met when I was 15 and my parents had told me, “You’re leaving that school.” And they were like, “You are so messed up right now that you’re going to Bible Camp.” And I was like, “I am not going to Bible Camp.” They’re like, “No, you’re going to Bible Camp.” And my mom was so distraught with where I was physically because skin and bones, no emotion, very sick, in a very bad spot mentally.

The boyfriend that I was seeing in high school, every time we would break up, he would spread lies about me to all the other people in the school. So, I would get messages from boys that I thought were friends and they’d be like, “I’ve got a birthday gift for you.” And I’d be like, “Okay, what?” And they’d be like, “It’s a coupon book to have sex anytime you want because I know that you’re easy to go around.” And there would be other girls who would be like, “Don’t talk to her. She’s a homewrecker. She’s a whore. She sleeps with whoever will sleep with her.”

And the funny thing is, is I had never slept with anybody. I think that’s another reason why I always kept coming back to him was because I was like, “If I do, then you’ll stop spreading all these lies about me,” which then shaped the rest of my high school experience.

So, when my dad pulled me out and sent me to Bible Camp, my mom didn’t come because she was like, “I cannot see her being dropped off. She’s going to cry. She’s not going to want to be there and I can’t be there for that because I’m going to want to bring her home.” So, my dad brought me and he was like, “I’m leaving you. I’m not coming back until the week is done and you are going to have something big happen. I don’t know what it is, but something big is going to happen and you are going stay here.”

And then, I met Adam the second day into Bible Camp and it’s all because I had a friend in my camp, so immature, 15-year-old, I had a girl in my dorm who really liked Adam and he liked a different girl. So, I went up to him and I was like, “You can’t like that girl.” And he was like, “Why?” And I was like, “You just can’t like her.” And he was like, “Okay.” And he’s like, “I’ll like you instead.”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: The beginning of a great relationship.

HANNAH: It’s a great love story, right?

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Oh my gosh. So, I just have a couple more questions before we move on to Adam. With this other boy, you hadn’t had sex with him. How far did things go with him? Did you take your clothes off with him?

HANNAH: No. He always tried to get under my clothes and always touch me, but I came from a very, very conservative home. I didn’t even know what a boner was. So, when he would grab me and I would feel that, I was like, “What is happening to you?”

So, I googled it because we talked about sex. We never talked about the fact that a penis has to get hard in order to get inside of a vagina. We just did penis into vagina. So, I didn’t know what was going on. He would get to my boobs. He would get to my butt, but I was very good at keeping that safe.

And like I said, the one time, school was done and everybody had left. So, I had to clean out my gym locker and I had forgotten to do that. So, I walked to the locker room. I didn’t know that he was following me. He followed me into the locker room and he trapped against the lockers. He was a big boy like football player, big. Everything has still blacked out for me from that moment. I just remember being able to somehow get away from him, and then run out. And I don’t remember how it happened. I just know that I was able to get away at that point. So, I think had I not had been able to that, I don’t really know what would have happened.

LEAH: Yeah. I want to go back to something you said a few minutes ago too. You were saying like, “I don’t know how I got into this. I was in a loving family. I wasn’t missing anything.” I think we have a narrative that says if we get into a traumatic situation, it’s because we’ve had trauma in our past. And I don’t necessarily think that’s true.

I think that sometimes, we just end up in bad situations. You go to a new school. You don’t really know anybody. You’re trying to figure out how to fit in and somebody shows you attention. Yeah, that’s going to be exciting and interesting and attractive. I honestly don’t think it needs to be any deeper than that because then once you’re involved with him, he’s then stepping you into this more abusive situation. And as a naïve girl who really didn’t know a lot about the world, you’re along for the ride. Yeah, I really think that it’s allowed to be that simple.

HANNAH: Yeah. I think for a long time, my brain was always like why did you allow yourself to make that many mistakes when you didn’t have trauma? Now that I’m older and I can reflect on it, I know that it can be as simple as what you’re saying. I know that now, but in that time, there was so much blame on myself because I was like why did you allow this to happen when you didn’t have any trauma? Does that make more sense?

LEAH: Absolutely makes sense. Yeah, I just think it’s really important to pause and highlight that for a moment because it can be really confusing this narrative that we have about trauma begets trauma. That’s absolutely true, but that doesn’t mean that trauma has to have a precursor and also, it’s tied up in this idea that we create our own reality. And so, if I get into a bad situation, then that means that I have done something or been somewhere bad. I just think it’s all bunk.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: All right. So, let’s talk about Adam.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So, you meet him. You tell him he can’t like the other girl. He says, “Okay, then I’m going to like you.” What was your feeling about that? When he said that, was it exciting? Was it scary?

HANNAH: He didn’t say that. He tells me that now that we’re married.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: He’s like, “You just came marching in and you were so confident.” And he was like, “Okay, I’ll like you.” He just started showing me interest throughout the week. And at first, I thought he was really annoying. He laughs all the time. I’m not a very happy person.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And so, he’s always happy. What is up with this guy? And he was so pursuing of me, which I wasn’t used to somebody that was pursuing me. And then I left camp, so we got each other’s numbers and we were just texting. And then, throughout the summer, we just started getting to know each other and I was 15 at the time. And then, my dad and my mom had said I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16.

And so, on my 16th birthday, he came down and he asked my dad if he could date me. Yes, it was really sweet. And my dad, he’s a pastor, so he’s like, “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus?” And Adam grew up in a church too and Adam was like, “Nope.” And he was like, “Then you can’t date my daughter.”

And he still asked me. He still asked me to be his girlfriend and I said yes. I didn’t know the conversation with my dad. So, my dad was really mad about that. He was mad about that for quite a long time. But Adam is a very strong Christian now and him and my dad have a great relationship. They’ve been on trips together and they love each other a lot. So, all of that is healed.

But I think I jumped into a relationship with him so fast and keep in mind, my parents knew nothing about anything that happened to me. I actually didn’t tell my mom until I was 24 what had actually happened in high school and my dad still doesn’t know what happened. So, throughout Adam and I’s relationship, they were always like, “You’re so young. You’re so this. How do you know?”

Because I dated Adam and I was in a relationship with Adam, there was no way for that boy to get back to me because I had Adam. So, I was in a new school and he would still text me and he would still message me, this other boy, but I’m just like, “I have a boyfriend now.” So, it was like there was no way for him to get back in. So, I think that having Adam was what allowed me to break myself off from that very toxic situation.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Are you aching to explore new vistas of your sexuality? Do you hear me talk about concepts on the show and think, “It makes sense, but I need help applying it to my particular situation?” That’s where personalized sex and intimacy coaching comes.

When you work with me, I promise to help you feel safe exploring your sexuality. Together, we’ll look at your needs and desires without judgment and help you figure out how to fulfill them. There is no single answer that’s right for everyone, so I’m going to help you discover what’s right for you. And we’ll go at your pace. That’s the pace that respects your emotional needs, your boundaries, and your nervous system. Because going too fast can send you into shutdown while going too slow can be infuriating and exhausting. The goal is to find what’s right for you.

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, exploring consensual non-monogamy, learning to date after a long time out of the dating pool, exploring your sexuality for later in life virgins, and so much more. I want you to have a deeply fulfilling intimate life and together, we can help you get there. For more information and to schedule your discovery call, visit www.leahcarey.com/coaching. That’s www.leahcarey.com/coaching.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: So, what was your interest or attraction in Adam once he started pursuing you?

HANNAH: He’s just so kind. He is one of the kindest men I have ever met. We’ve been together since 2010 and he has never, ever yelled at me. He’s never called me a bad name. He’s just shown me so much love.

And I actually wrote a letter to him when we had been dating for about 6, 7 months that was like, “This is what I’ve been through. This is what’s happened to me and it’s formed who I am.” And so, I’m like, “I need you to know this because I’m coming to you with baggage.” In my 16 almost 17-year-old brain, I was like, “This is a dealbreaker. He’s not going to want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be touched, who gets anxious every time that someone comes around them and squeezes them really hard or touches their boobs.”

And I emailed it to him and I texted him on my iPod. And I was like, “Hey, so I sent you an email and I need you to read it. You don’t have to get back to me right away, but please don’t talk to me until you’ve processed it and decided what you want to do with it.”

LEAH: I just have to pause here for a second and say how amazing it is that at 16 years old, you had this level of self-knowledge and self-awareness. You were able to look back and say, “This is what happened and here’s what’s happening with me as a result. Here’s what you need to know.” That is a massive amount of processing for a 16-year-old to do. That’s incredible. And then, to have the awareness to say to him, “I can’t talk to you until you’ve processed this. Not just that you’ve read it, but you’ve had the time to process it.” I’m blown away.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Because I was like it’s going to be more painful for me if we get a year and a half down the road and you’re like, “Okay, you’ve been avoiding me.” Okay, so we didn’t kiss for 4 months after we started dating. So, we just took things really slow and not making out, just a single kiss. And we were young, that’s different, but teenagers are horny.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, we took things really slow, but I was like, “Okay, a year down the road, if we’re still together and you’re like, why are you resisting me? Why are you struggling with this? Why does it feel like there’s a disconnect? I don’t want to have to break up a year and a half when we could have broken up 4 or 5 months into it.” And then, I would have had even more pain. So, it’s probably more selfish really why I wrote the letter.

LEAH: It’s incredible. It really is. I know that you can’t see that from the outside because you lived it, but from the outside, that is fucking amazing.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Yeah. Thank you. This will probably amaze you even more. He got the email. I texted him. He read the email. He called me back 5 minutes after he read the email and he was like, “I don’t care what you’ve been through. I don’t care what that guy did that to you. You and I’s relationship is different and I’m going to love you through that and we’ll work on that together.”

And I was a sophomore. He was a senior. So, he was a little bit older, but that has carried through into our marriage is that same he always shows up for me. He always is loving towards me, patient and kind. And you’ll probably be blown away by this, but we actually didn’t have sex until we got married and it was 5 years.

LEAH: Wow, yeah. So, I’m in love with Adam even though I have never met him. He’s amazing. Every woman should have an Adam.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Okay. So, what were those 5 years like for the two of you? Were they frustrating?

HANNAH: Sexually frustrating? Yeah.

LEAH: So, what kept you faithful to that decision you had made?

HANNAH: When I was 10, on that trip, we got a purity ring because that’s something that our church was very strong on was giving your kids purity rings to signify that I am going to save myself until marriage. And then, I’m going to replace my engagement ring with this purity ring that I wear. So, that was ingrained into me.

And even though my parents were very open to talk about sex, you had sex when you were married. Anything before that is a sin. No fingering, no blowjobs, no anal sex, nothing. Nothing, no boob touching, no butt touching, nothing. That was ingrained in my brain. And Adam comes from a Christian family too, but they never talked about sex.

So, he was just like, “If that’s what you need, and that’s what you want, then that’s what we’re going to do.” We had conversations about having sex before we were married, but we always just ended on like, “No, we can’t do that.” Now, I’m not going to say we were perfect. We got very close to having sex, but we never actually had oral sex, anal sex, or vaginal sex ever.

LEAH: Okay. A little hand stuff under the table?

HANNAH: Yeah.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And my mom knows I’m recording this podcast and I’m like, “Don’t listen to it.” I’m like, “Whenever it’s aired, don’t listen to it. You’re not going to want to know.”

LEAH: I love that.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Because I have two younger sisters and she’s like, “You’re talking to them about waiting for marriage and all that stuff.” I’m like, “Yes, I’m talking to them, but I’m also an open space.” I’m like, “Come to me with whatever you’ve done and we’ll process it. I’m not going to cast shame on you regardless of what you’ve done because girl, I did it.” Anything I could do besides sex, I did it.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yeah. So, what was your wedding night like or if it wasn’t your wedding night, what was your first experience of penetrative sex like?

HANNAH: So, it was our wedding night and it was so painful. And I did have friends that had waited until they married to have sex and they were like, “FYI, it’s not like the movies. It’s painful and it’s not very fun and it can be really hard.” And so, I had another friend who was like, “Make sure you do lots of foreplay.” And I’m like we know what that is because we’ve done that.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, we just started with that. And Adam had never actually seen me naked either. So, I came in this Victoria’s Secret lingerie and I think he fainted.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: His eyes just got so big and he was like, “What?” He just blew his mind that we went from nothing to now he’s seeing me in this sheer white lingerie and he’s like, “Oh my gosh. You look so amazing, but I’m not really sure what I’m supposed to do.”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So, were you his first girlfriend?

HANNAH: Yes, I was his first girlfriend.

LEAH: So, this was first for both of you. Okay. I have some assumptions about what must happen during the waiting until your wedding night, but they’re just assumptions because I didn’t experience that. My assumption is that no matter how much foreplay you’ve had before the wedding night, that when you get to that night, you’re both like, “We’ve been waiting for so long. Let’s just do it.” And that’s part of the reason it’s so painful because there’s not enough time for the woman to get lubricated and neither of you really knows what you’re doing. So, is that true? Did the two of you just go at it or was there a lot of foreplay that night?

HANNAH: We did foreplay. We did lubrication, but I think when your mind is very ingrained in it’s a sin before you get married, at our wedding actual reception, my dad kept going like, “You should go now. You should go to the hotel.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And I’m like, “But dad, it’s 10 o’clock, people are still dancing.” He’s like, “You should go.” And I was like, “Why are you telling us to leave?” and because I think that’s a natural thing like, okay, you’re finally married, so go have sex because you can have sex.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: It was just really overwhelming though for me. We had an hour-long drive. I don’t think I really said anything the whole drive down because I wasn’t scared because Adam has never made me feel scared. He’s always made me feel safe. He’s always like, “Are you okay with this? Do you feel okay?” He’s never made me feel unsafe, but that mindset shift is really, really hard. Yeah, I don’t think there’s really anything you can equate it to.

LEAH: So, how long did it take for that mindset to shift for you to the place where you were able to relax and be present and have fun?

HANNAH: So, I feel like it took a good few days into my honeymoon for me to realize that, okay, we’re actually married. This is actually not a sin. It’s actually fine, but I think it took longer than that, even after my honeymoon for me to not feel the weight of it, if that makes sense.

Yeah. And it was just when we first had sex, I remember we had sex and there was enough lubrication. But after it was done, I was like, “I just need to go have a bath.” I just need to sit in the bath and I had to process it. I was like, okay, we just did that. And he was like, “Do you want me to sit with you? Do you want me to sit in the bath with you?” I’m like, “No, gosh, no. Just leave me alone. I just need a little bit of space.”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yeah. So, I’m hoping that at some point, it got good for you?

HANNAH: Yeah. We have great sex now. We have two little kids, so it’s like few and far between. But when we have sex now, I would say 95% of the time, I can orgasm without a problem. And we have good communication.

LEAH: So, what are some of your favorite things to do?

HANNAH: Let’s see. So, I’m actually a huge fan of missionary position. I’m actually a huge fan of me on top. Those are our two go-to positions. He knows what it’s going to take for me to have an orgasm with him on top and I know what it’s going to take for me to have an orgasm with me on top. So, it works out really well.

I feel like we always start with just the same foreplay, which we talked about this the other night. I’m like, “We should really mix this up a little bit,” but it just works. We start with fingering and something like that or entry-level penetration. And then, sometimes go from behind. And then, we’ll finish with either him on top or me on top, so yeah, and it works.

LEAH: Great. And so, you’ve talked about not liking to have your boobs grabbed. Do you not like having them touched at all or is it just that grabby sensation that you don’t like?

HANNAH: So, I generally have to keep a bra on when we’re having sex because I don’t like them being just out and open. It just feels so vulnerable. It feels like I don’t have a say really when they’re going to be touched. I shouldn’t feel like that with him, but I’ve explained to him so many times, I’m like, “It’s not you.” Because he’s always like, “What can I do to make you feel more comfortable?” I’m like, “It’s not you. It’s just the situation.”

I try to get there. And if I feel comfortable and I’m fine with it, then I’ll tell him while we’re having sex like, “I’m fine if you touch my boobs.” I will verbalize that to him, so he knows it’s a safe space if he wants to go there. But he also knows that I will withdraw and retreat, and then I most likely won’t have an orgasm if he goes there without me saying something. If he starts to go there and I know that that will happen, then I just move his hand. And if I don’t say anything, then sometimes, he will touch my boobs and it’s fine. But he knows that if I move his hand away that it’s like, “No, we’re not going there.”

LEAH: Not only is that not about him, it’s not about you at 26 years old. This is you at 14 years old who’s responding in the moment that he goes for you boobs, he is no longer having sex with 26-year-old you.  And I think that’s really important to remember. I’m also curious. First of all, are you interested in moving through this or is this something that you’re okay with? Because both of those are valid choices.

HANNAH: So, I think within the Christian community, there’s classes you can do that help heal you of trauma. There’s one called Awaken-Love. And I thought about it, but I’m at the spot where I’m like I really want to do that work together. We’re trying to explore different things that make me feel comfortable rather than just going to someone and being like, “Help me to figure out how to heal myself of this trauma.”

I’m trying to work through that more with Adam and know that he is a safe space. He is someone I can trust. He’s someone who will never hurt me. He will never harm me. He will never take advantage of me. So, when I do feel comfortable, I’m moving to this place now after being married for 5 years where I’m like, “Okay, it’s all right. My bra can come off. It’s okay. It will be fine.”

And then, just to allow myself to be naked when I’m done and not feel like I need to completely dress myself right away, but just like, okay. It’s all right. It’s okay that my boobs are out. It’s fine. And that’s how I’ve been doing some of the healing, which is very different when we first got married because I was like, “Don’t. Just don’t.”

LEAH: Yeah. I have some ideas for things that you might be able to try in working through this. And if you’re interested, we can talk about those. I’ll be happy to share that with you.

HANNAH: Yeah.

LEAH: Okay. I think the first one is that you need to be in charge. You literally need to be the one who takes his hand and puts it on your boob and says, “Okay, now touch me this way.” Squeeze, stroke, nipple, no nipple, whatever it is, you need to be 100% in control and probably at the time the two of you are not working towards having orgasms. This probably needs to be a time that the two of you set aside to just get comfortable with the idea of your breasts being touched and you being in control and you being able to say, “Okay, stop. I’m done.” I think that that’s probably the first step.

HANNAH: And that seems really scary to me for some reason. The thought of that seems really scary.

LEAH: I’m not surprised because it’s really different from anything you’ve done before. So, we have these neural pathways in our brains. And what happens is a trigger happens, and then a response happens. And when that trigger gets pressed and the response happens, the more times it happens, this neural pathway gets built and it gets stronger and stronger every time that happens, that it gets trigged, and then there’s the response.

So, you now have this neural pathway that has been created around your breasts being touched. And every time it gets triggered, it just goes, “I know how to do that.” I respond like, “No, don’t do that. I don’t want that.” I leave my body. I don’t have any more sexual sensation. So, what we’re talking about here is creating a new neural pathway and that makes your brain go, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? This is not how we play.” And all of its defense mechanisms come up.

So, yeah, it’s going to be a little bit scary. And here’s the thing. Scary but intriguing and exciting is good. That’s a positive kind of scary growth. Scary, I feel like I’m going to vomit and want to go lie in the bed for the next three days, that is not good. That is scary that’s taking your nervous system too far too fast. And so, the question is where does it fall on that scary scale for you? If it’s a little bit exciting, you have the capability to move through that scary and actually try something new. You may or may not like it and that’s okay.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: But if it feels vomit inducing and you need to crawl under the covers, don’t do it because that’s just going to retraumatize you. And it’s just going to reinforce that neural pathway that’s already set up that we don’t want. Does that make sense?

HANNAH: It makes total sense. It makes complete sense. I think I’m on the it makes me want to vomit, but it doesn’t make me want to be in my bed for three days.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Okay. That’s an excellent distinction for you to make and maybe we can talk about some other ways to ease into it more gently.

HANNAH: Yeah.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: I never want a guest on this show to be surprised or upset by the types of questions I ask. So, I require informed consent before we begin an interview, either they’ve listened to an episode or we’ve had a detailed conversation about the topics we’ll cover. And if I ask a question they aren’t comfortable with, they know that we can pause the interview to renegotiate.

The same thing should be true in our bedrooms. We should know what we’re getting into before we begin and how to make adjustments if it’s not going the way we expected. But it’s rare for anyone to teach us how to have those conversations. That’s just one of the reasons I love Dipsea so much.

In their audio erotica stories, you hear characters having explicit consent conversations that are sexy and don’t kill the mood because a consent conversation can be hella sexy when it’s done well. Dipsea is an audio app full of short sexy stories designed to turn you on. And many, if not most, include some consent conversation woven into the story. This is the perfect way to learn by listening and give yourself a happy ending at the same time.

Dipsea releases new content every week. So, in between listening to your favorite stories again and again, you can always find something new to explore. It’s your go-to place to spice up your me time, explore your fantasies or heat things up with your partner. For listeners of this show, Dipsea is offering an extended 30-day free trial when you go to www.dipseastories.com/goodgirls. That’s 30 days of full access for free when you go to www.dipseastories.com/goodgirls. That link is in the show notes, so go to www.dipseastories.com/goodgirls.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: I know that you’ve had a couple of pregnancies that ended in live births and also a couple of pregnancies that didn’t and that that has created some experiences for you around sex and sexuality. So, I want to just open the floor to you and let you tell the story the way that you want to.

HANNAH: So, Adam and I got married June 13th, 2015 and we got pregnant with my first daughter that same year in November. So, 4 months after we got married. we got pregnant. I was on birth control, but I am a strong Christian. So, I felt something inside of me or just felt like I needed to get off birth control. I didn’t really know why, but I just felt this I need to get off of it and it wasn’t necessarily doing anything to me. I just had this very strong feeling, so I got off birth control.

We were using condoms and we’re still new to sex. We’ve only been married for 3 months and we never did it before. So, one time, we had sex too fast to put a condom on and there was my first daughter. And I was like, there’s no way I’m going to get pregnant the first time we have a slipup, but nope. So, she was born 1 year and 2 months after we got married.

So, we were thrown into parenthood really fast after being married. She was an amazing blessing and still is. But then after we had one, I was actually still in college when I got pregnant with her because I was only 20 when we got married. So, I had my 21st birthday, and then I got pregnant with her. So, I was showing up to my methods classes 30 weeks pregnant. So, that was unique.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So, you’re still just figuring out sex and suddenly, now you’re figuring out parenthood and how to have sex during parenthood. That is a lot to take on.

HANNAH: Yeah, and how to be pregnant and have sex. That’s a whole another ball game. You could just do a podcast on what is it like to have sex when you’re pregnant?

LEAH: Okay. So, tell me. What it’s like to have sex when you’re pregnant?

HANNAH: I feel like it’s everchanging because sometimes, your belly is so big that you can’t have the husband go on top. And sometimes, you’re just so nauseous he can’t be on top and you have to be on top. And sometimes, you have to poop right in the middle of it because things are getting pressed where they shouldn’t be getting pressed.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Or the conversation is like, “Is my penis going to hit the baby?” “No, that’s not going to happen.” “What if water breaks?” “That’ll be unique.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So many weird things you never thought about or after you have sex, the rhythm motion of having sex puts your baby to sleep, but then you don’t feel your baby move, so you’re like, “Are they okay? Did something happen to them while we had sex?” And then, I asked the doctor one time. I’m like, “After we have sex, I don’t feel the baby move.” And she’s like, “You probably put the baby to sleep.” I’m like, “That’s weird. That’s so weird.”

LEAH: That’s amazing.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, yeah, it’s just so different. So, we went from never having sex to having sex, and then getting pregnant. And I get very sick when I’m pregnant, so then we had her. And then, I finish school. I went student taught when she was 1. And then, while I was student teaching, like I said, she was 1. So, my husband and I were like, “I’m almost done teaching. Why don’t we just try to have a baby?”

Because my goal, my idea of my 5-year plan was to have four children by the time I was 28 and I was going to be done. Yeah, I was going to be done. Every two years, I was going to have them and be finished and be able to be still young when my kids were out of the house, so I could travel the world.

So, I got pregnant right away. I had spotting while I was pregnant at 6 weeks and 8 weeks and 10 weeks. And so, I would go into the doctor every time. They would do an ultrasound and the baby was fine. I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. It’s basically a bleed inside of the uterus. And so, it’s very common.

Usually, the placenta just absorbs it and it’s fine. It doesn’t harm babies. I had an appointment when I was 12 weeks. I was going to be 13 weeks pregnant. I went to the doctor’s appointment. It was the week before Christmas. And I was like, “I need to go to the doctor’s early.” I told my husband. He was like, “Why?” And I was like, “I don’t know. I have a feeling that something is wrong. I don’t know why I have this feeling and I have a feeling something’s wrong.”

And so, we went. I scheduled the appointment earlier. And before I left, he’s like, “What do you think is wrong?” And I was like, “I think that the baby has Down Syndrome or something.” And he was like, “Okay, that’s not really insurmountable.” And I was like, “No, it’s not, but I just need peace of mind to know that the baby’s okay.”

And so, I made an appointment a week early. They got me in that morning. She tried to find a heartbeat and she was like, “You probably just have a very stubborn baby boy inside of you. We’re going to send you to ultrasound and we’ll just make sure that the baby’s fine.” So, I went to ultrasound.

And the ultrasound tech was like, “I’m really sorry. Your baby has no heartbeat.” And I was like, “How did that happen?” I was like, “How big is the baby measuring?” And she was like, “The baby’s measuring 11 weeks and 6 days.” I’m like, “That doesn’t make any sense. I’m 11 weeks and 6 days today, I know when I conceived. I know the exact day.” And she was like, “You probably lost the baby this morning.”

So, that whole feeling like something was wrong was because my body knew that I had lost the baby. And so, I went to my doctor afterwards. So, when you have a miscarriage, you can either deliver the baby at home or you can have a surgery to have the baby basically taken out of you. It’s called the D&C and it’s actually very similar to an abortion, but obviously in medical terms, it’s called a D&C because your baby’s already passed away. It’s not like your baby is alive.

But a lot of Christians are very, “You don’t have a D&C.” But I was like, “It’s my body and I feel like it’s the right choice for me to have a D&C.” So, she refused to do it. I don’t know. She just was like, “No. We’re not doing that.” And I was like, “Why?” She’s like, “You can deliver your baby at home. There’s no medical reason to tell you that you need a D&C.”

So, my best friend is an OB. So, I called her and she was like, “Come to my clinic.” She’s like, “I will do the surgery for you tomorrow.” So, she booked me into the clinic. She did the surgery. Another reason I wanted to have this surgery done is because you can know the gender and you can also test the tissues for chromosomal abnormalities.

So, I had the D&C done and I had a very complicated recovery. I bled for 8 weeks after the surgery. You’re only supposed to bleed for 2. Every time we had sex, I would bleed. Every time I did housework, I would bleed. So, that created a very different experience for sex because where it was not painful before, it was now painful. And every time we had sex, after we’ve done that, I would go to the bathroom, there would be blood, which would bring me back to that very traumatic place. Somehow, in between there, I managed to get pregnant again.

LEAH: Wow. That’s surprising that that’s even physically able.

HANNAH: And it’s interesting because I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. So, it’s very interesting to me that I was able to get pregnant while I was pretty much consecutively having they weren’t periods because anything that I did overworking or sex would restart the bleeding, so it wasn’t a period.

So, I got pregnant and my best friend was my OB then after that. And so, she had me in the clinic at 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 11 weeks, and she was watching the baby grow to see like, “Okay, is everything looking good?” And so, before my 12-week appointment, I think I was 11 weeks and 6 days, so right at the exact time that we had lost our first baby, and I was about to go over my 12-week ultrasound.

My best friend was like, “Okay, let’s have lunch before.” So, we sat and we had lunch together. And she was like, “How are you feeling?” I’m like, “I feel like anybody who has gone through something like this feels anxiety before they go to an ultrasound at the exact same time they lost their other baby.” So, we went. She’s like, “Don’t worry. We watched the baby grow. It’s very unlikely this would happen twice.” So, I went into the ultrasound and we started it.

My friend held my hand. She’s a Christian too. She held my hand. She’s like, “It’s going to be okay. I’m here with you. I’m for you.” And so, she started looking, no heartbeat again. And the baby was measuring 11 weeks and 5 days. So, I lost the babies literally 24 hours gestationally apart from each other.

And so, I did the same thing, had another surgery. And so, my friend took my case to a board of doctors. And she was like, “This is so not normal to lose 2 babies within 24 hours gestationally of each other.” And she went and got consultations. And a very long story short, they found out I had a blood clotting disorder.

So, basically what happens is from conception to about between 10 and 12 weeks, your baby lives off of the yolk sac. The yolk sac diminishes and the placenta attaches, but my placentas were too clotted to pass nutrients. And so, what happens is 95% of people who have this blood clotting disorder don’t actually even know that they have it, but it awakens in some people when your body has a peak in estrogen.

So, I was on estrogen-based birth control before I got pregnant with Evalyn and I had a strong feeling like you need to get off of birth control not really knowing why, but had I been on it long-term, it would have awakened my disease. So, the doctors were like, “You literally have one medical miracle because if you would have stayed on it, you wouldn’t have had her.” So, for me, that’s the grace of God because I’m like I would never have her.

So, I saw a blood doctor and my mom came with me to that appointment. She’s like, “I have to know if this is in our genetics. I want to know where it came from, why you have it,” and for my sisters too. So, the doctor was Indian and my mom was Indian and she was like, “It’s definitely not from your side of the family because blood clotting disorder does not happen in Asian people.”

And so, my mom’s like, “Okay.” So, my dad got tested. He came back negative. My mom got tested. She came back positive. Yeah, somewhere in her family line, there was a white or American European person somewhere that passed that down. So, same with my second surgery, very, very bad bleeding, very prolonged bleeding.

So, once you have two very significant losses, they move you to a specialist doctor who specializes in reproductive endocrinology. And she was like, “Too bad, so sad, try again.” And I was like, “I don’t know how you even fathom the thought of having sex unprotected when you know that the result could be the same.” My husband and I had to deal with a lot of that in our sex life was just me being very paralyzed with fear of one, getting pregnant, two of losing another baby, and three of bleeding.

I started having panic attacks every time I would see blood because I was like, “What’s happening? Is my body going back into that place of healing? Am I going to be shedding more?” And the second time, I actually didn’t stop bleeding and every time we had sex, it was more and more blood. It’s like restarting the healing process.

And so, I went back. I saw a different reproductive endocrinologist and he said I needed to have a test done where they basically fill your uterus up with water. So, they go in with a catheter, fill everything up with water, and they see like do you have cysts? Do you have polyps? Is your uterus shaped okay?

And when they went inside of me, I was awake for it, so I could see all of it. They were like, “You have a huge mass inside of your uterus.” And I was like, “Okay.” And they’re like, “It’s either two things. It’s either cancer or it’s retained placental tissue.” So, they were like, “The only thing we can do is go and do another surgery to clear everything out and see what we find.”

So, I had another surgery to get it all out, found out it was placental remains. And then. they said I had to do a fertility treatment in order to get pregnant again. They needed to see the exact time of conception between the egg and the sperm and they needed to force the ovulation. And then, they wanted to also start me on blood thinners from the time that they gave me the conception shot.

LEAH: How long was this after the second loss? How much time did your body have to recover?

HANNAH: So, I lost Nova in May and I did the fertility treatment in September.

LEAH: Wow, that’s fast. So, your body has been through a pregnancy, a loss, a loss, and a fertility treatment in very quick order.

HANNAH: Yeah, and three surgeries.

LEAH: Wow, okay. Go on. I’m stunned.

HANNAH: Yeah. And I think that this point, people were telling me like, “You don’t have to do it. You don’t have to do the fertility treatment. You don’t have to have another baby. You can give yourself time.” But I was just in a place where I’m like, “No, I need to prove that I can do it again. I’ve done it once. I need to prove I can do it again.” And so, it was just like I’m going to do it and I’m going to make sure that I have another baby because I want another baby.

So, I had a really good team of doctors, three doctors, hematologist, OBGYN, reproductive endocrinologist. They all worked with me. We did a level one fertility treatment, which is where they monitor your eggs. They give you drugs to supercharge your ovaries, super painful by the way, and then you take a shot at home. And then, that forces your body to ovulate. And then, you have timed intercourse right after you do the shot and then 36 hours later. So, this is where it gets really interpreting. I had to tell my parents, “I’m having a fertility treatment. I have to have sex right away and at 36 hours afterwards.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: So, I’m like, “It might not line up at bedtime.” So, I’m like, “If I have to have sex, you have to have my daughter.” My dad was like, “Do we need to have this conversation?” I’m like, “Yes, we do because we’re doing this, so I need you to help us do this.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And I will tell you that was the most painful sexual encounter I have ever had in my marriage. When I think about conceiving my second daughter that I have now, there is no sunshine. There’s no roses. There’s no happiness to that. And I think that is something that I had to grieve as well.

When I conceived my first daughter, it was like a moment of extreme passion where you just rip each other’s clothes off and you just have sex. And then, my other daughter was so incredibly painful. When I think about it, I actually still wince because it was so, so painful. So, very different.

LEAH: Yeah. So, the sex that you had that was non-procreative sex during this whole period, was it enjoyable? It starts your bleeding again. So, is there some stress around it, fear, or are you able to just relax into the enjoyment of having sex?

HANNAH: I wouldn’t say it was enjoyable. I wouldn’t say it was something that I loved doing. We didn’t have it very often like maybe once every couple weeks because it just took me so long to build myself up to the point where I was okay with the fact that I might see blood after I was done.

And it was more like, “I want to connect with you, I know that we’re living in this perpetual state of very intense grief and I want to find a way to connect with you because I can’t talk to you.” I would cry all the time. And we’d sometimes be laying on the floor hyperventilating from tears. And Adam would be like, “How can I help you? What’s wrong? What can I do?” And I’d just be like, “You can’t do anything. I just feel so much pain and sadness and grief that I don’t know how to express it to you.” And so, I felt like sex was a way to connect, but it took so much of me to get to that spot of being ready to do it that when I did it, I was tense anyways.

LEAH: Yeah. After your second successful pregnancy, and congratulations, I’m very happy for you and I’m going to assume you’re not procreative time right now. So, what has sex been like for you since you’re in a more normalized part of your life?

HANNAH: It’s great now. After I had my second daughter who’s going to be 2 tomorrow, so I had shots with her my whole pregnancy, so from conception until 6 weeks post-partum. So, that in and of itself was a big undertaking. So, after I got done with that, I felt like I was leaving the past difficulty behind.

I was able to focus on my new baby and focus on a new avenue with my husband because I had what my heart desired. And it was like I didn’t feel like I was stuck in grief. Not that her birth replaced my two babies because I would do anything and everything to have them back, but it filled my heart with hope that it is possible and God always works everything together for good.

And so, then I felt like I was able to more focus on Adam and be like, okay, not in the newborn days, when it’s like everything’s a fog, that’s hard, but after, when she was a few months old. I feel like we got back into a rhythm of being able to communicate better and talk about things and process the grief that we had been through.

We did marriage counseling for a while. I did grief counseling for a while. And so, now we know each other really well and we know what works and we know what doesn’t work and he’s really good if I’m just not there. He’s really good with it like, “Okay, that’s fine. That’s totally fine.” And so, sex is great. We have fun. We laugh. We talk. Our marriage isn’t perfect. We fight. We argue. We have disagreements. I don’t want to paint this perfect picture.

LEAH: I’m glad to hear it.

HANNAH: Gosh, no.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: And in counseling, we don’t just talk about our drama, we talk about just problems that we have in our marriage because it’s not sunshine and roses. It’s hard. I think we just take all of the stuff that we’re learning about each other and never allow ourselves to go through a long period where we’re not having sex because I think that then resentment can creep in and we don’t fight and have sex. I don’t feel like we do that, but we try to make it a priority so that we can enjoy each other and not just get stuck on the mundane tasks of parenting and life and work and all that kind of stuff.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Friends, if you love these conversations, I would love your help to keep them going. There are three ways you can participate. Two are free and one is for listeners who’ve got a few extra dollars each month. Number one, take a screenshot of this episode right now and post it to your Instagram stories. Tag me in your post. And if it’s public, I’ll reshare and send you a personal thank you. Word of mouth is the best way to build buzz for an independent show like Good Girls Talk About sex. And the more people listening, the healthier our collective sexual experiences will become.

Number two, don’t want the whole world to know you’re listening to a show about sex? I get it. Perhaps you heard something in this episode that reminds you of a past conversation with a friend or something you wish your partner knew. Send them a link to this episode and a quick message about why you think they should listen.

And number three, if you have the resources to support the sex positive work I do, I’d be grateful for your support at Patreon. Donating the equivalent of a fancy cup of coffee each month might not make a big difference to you, but it makes a huge difference to me. There’s absolutely no contract or obligation. You can cancel it anytime. Plus I donate 10% of all proceeds to ARC-Southeast, an organization that supports women in the Southeast United States to access reproductive services that are currently being legislated out of existence. It’s easy to become a patron at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

And one more thing there is a treasure trove of additional audio at Patreon that’s free to everyone. You don’t even need to have a Patreon account to access them. Just go to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex to start listening. I appreciate every one of you whether you’re a client, a patron, a social media follower or a silent listener. I trust you to know what’s right for you. Thank you for being here. Now, let’s get back to the show.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: So, are you still wanting 4 children?

HANNAH: My husband wants more. He wants a boy, but I just feel like right now, I’m really content in the season that we’re in. And he’d be fine if we have girls. It’s like I shouldn’t just make him out to be like, “I really want a boy. I don’t want any more girls.” He’d be fine with girls, but he would like a boy.

And I feel like I’m not ready to step back into that season of having to do shots from the time that we conceive to the time that after I have had a baby six weeks post-partum. I’m not ready for that knowing that I might need a fertility treatment. My doctor will not give anybody my weight. So, I’m 5’4 and anyone over 5’4 with polycystic ovarian syndrome, he will not do a fertility treatment if they weigh more than 175 pounds.

LEAH: I have feelings about that.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Yes. And that’s hard because it’s like then right now, I’m trying to lose weight so that if I do need another one, I’m at a weight that I could healthily do it, which it’s not fair. It’s a very skewed system, but that’s what I have to do. So, I’m working on that. I told Adam. I’m like, “I’m not going to have any babies until I’m at a point where I feel like I am happy with where my body’s at.”

I don’t look at my body with disdain. I don’t look at it as disgusting. I’m so proud of it for what it’s done, but at the same time, I know I need to be in a spot where I can healthily carry another baby without my weight being a factor and causing clots because I’m at a higher risk for clots. So, if I’m overweight when I’m having a baby, then even higher risk for that.

LEAH: Okay. I have thoughts, but I’m going to keep them to myself.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: You can share them. You won’t offend me.

LEAH: No. It’s not about offending you. I’m learning a lot recently about the way that weight stigma affects healthcare, especially for women and especially around fertility and it’s super not okay. I’m going to leave it there.

[MUSIC]

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.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: Do you have sex during your period?

HANNAH: We don’t have sex on my period because it just freaks Adam out. He’s so not a blood person. So, he just is like, “No way. I’ll wait until you’re done.” And then, he always asks me at day 5, he’s like, “Are you done yet?”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: All right. What’s the approximate number of sex partners you’ve had?

HANNAH: 1.

LEAH: What’s your favorite sex toy?

HANNAH: I don’t have one right now. but I am exploring some ideas.

LEAH: All right. What kinds of things are you exploring, vibrating, sucking, just a regular dildo with no vibrations? What’s your interest?

HANNAH: So, I’ve seen this clit gel. Have you seen that? You probably have. Obviously, you have. It heightens the clitoral estimation, yeah. I’m looking at that and that has been what has really piqued my interest because our sex is really good right now. So, I’m like I don’t feel like I need a toy right now, but I’m like that sounds fun.

LEAH: All right. Do you prefer to initiate or for your partner to initiate in the bedroom?

HANNAH: Adam, I feel like is at a point where he never knows if I’m too tired or not. So, he’ll be like, “Do you want to have sex?” And I’ll be like, “Sure” or “No.” So, now I’m more the one who’s like, “Do you want to have sex?” And he’s like, “Yes, I do.” Every time, “Yes, I do.”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Unless you’re on your period.

HANNAH: Unless I’m on my period, then no.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Are you generally more active or more passive during lovemaking?

HANNAH: So, I actually really like it when he takes control. So, I’m always like, “No, you take control. You tell me what you want to do and I will make it work for me around that.”

LEAH: All right. Do you prefer clit stimulation or penetration?

HANNAH: 50/50.

LEAH: Do you enjoy G-spot stimulation?

HANNAH: I don’t think we’ve explored that enough.

LEAH: Do you think it’s generally easy or challenging for you to orgasm?

HANNAH: Easy.

LEAH: Have you ever faked an orgasm?

HANNAH: Yes. I feel like who hasn’t?

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Recently?

HANNAH: No, not recently, but more when you’re first married and I’m like I know he wants me to think this is amazing, but it’s just not yet.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: What kind of touch do you enjoy most?

HANNAH: Nonsexual touch?

LEAH: Sexual or nonsexual.

HANNAH: I like hugs. I just really like hugs. I think they just I don’t know release that oxytocin and help you to feel closer.

LEAH: Yeah. What are your hard red lines, the things you absolutely don’t want to do in bed?

HANNAH: To be honest, BDSM freaks me out. I listen to your podcast on that and I just was like, “Oh my goodness.” I just don’t think I could ever do that. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with it, but I feel like, whoo, that freaks me out.

LEAH: Sure, okay. Are there things that you’ve tried that you never want to do again?

HANNAH: I don’t know. Not that I can think of off the top of my head.

LEAH: How do you feel about porn?

HANNAH: I do not watch porn. My husband actually used to have a problem with it. He was addicted to watching it before we got married. And so, he doesn’t watch it anymore and I’ve never watched it. And I don’t think I would.

LEAH: When you say he was addicted to it, what does that mean?

HANNAH: He would watch porn. I don’t know. He’s never actually told me how much he used to watch of it, but I don’t know probably every day and he would masturbate. This is like 14, 15, 16, 17, even 18 because when we got engaged, he was like, “I have a problem. I have to stop this before we got married because I don’t want to bring this into our marriage.” And so, he put filters on everything. He got rid of all his social media. He has accountability people and he’s never looked at it since.

LEAH: And this may or may not be of any use to either of you, but I would suggest that’s not an addiction. I would say that that is a behavior that has been stigmatized, especially I assume in the church, that’s not a cool thing. It’s a behavior that’s been stigmatized, but that does not automatically mean that it’s an addiction. And I think it’s important to understand the difference because porn is something that you can choose to use it or not use it, but to stigmatize it in that way, somehow makes it like I’m a bad person for doing this. And that is not the case.

HANNAH: And that’s definitely not what I would want. I don’t want people to think that I think that, but that’s just what he’s always said. So, I’ll have to tell him that because I do think it is in a Christian circle like, “No. You don’t. That’s so bad.”

LEAH: Yeah. And that’s part of why I ask because based on what I have read and heard from Christians, even the use of pornography at all ever constitutes an addiction and that’s simply not true and I think that’s important. Do you have hair down there or are you bare?

HANNAH: I have hair down there, but I have a beard trimmer and I keep it trimmed.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Right. Do you enjoy giving blow jobs?

HANNAH: Nope. I do not.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Is that a problem for you and Adam?

HANNAH: No. I honestly cannot express this enough of how good of a rhythm we’re in that right now, he doesn’t mind it. We don’t have sex a lot like maybe once, twice a week, but it’s just really good that he doesn’t ever really ask for it because he’s like, “Do you want to have sex?” And we just have sex.

LEAH: All right. Do you enjoy receiving oral sex?

HANNAH: Not really.

LEAH: How do you feel about ass play?

HANNAH: Never done it, but I feel like that is another thing that can sometimes be very controversial in Christian circles. I don’t actually have anything against it, but I’ve never done it because I feel like that’s something that’s been ingrained in my brain like God did not make your body for that. Even oral sex actually, a lot of Christians believe that oral sex is not okay. And that’s not even true at all.

LEAH: Because you’re spilling the seed outside of a method for procreation? Is that why?

HANNAH: No, because God made a vagina and a penis to fit perfectly together. And he didn’t make your mouth to fit a penis or a vagina. But I highly disagree with that because if you actually look at scripture and Song of Solomon, which is a book all about sex, it talks about oral sex. So, I don’t know where some Christians get that from.

LEAH: Interesting. All right. Good to know. I’m going to have to look up Song of Solomon.

HANNAH: Yeah. It’s literally all about sex.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Do you enjoy dirty talk during sexual encounters?

HANNAH: Yeah, that’s great.

LEAH: Do you enjoy laughter during sexual encounters?

HANNAH: Man, I feel like we don’t laugh during sex. We’ve never really laughed during it, but we laugh afterwards together and just normal conversation. After we get done and we’re just talking, there’s no problem having laughter then, but we don’t ever really laugh during sex. I don’t think I’d have a problem with it.

LEAH: Have you ever felt a sexual urge that confused you?

HANNAH: Before when we were first married, I always used to want to have deep penetration sex, but we didn’t really know how to do that. And I was like, “Is that weird? Do people not want to have deep penetration sex?” And so, I ended up doing my own research because I love the Cosmo and reading all the positions and I found different sex positions that give you deep penetration. And so, I was like, “Hey, I really want to do this.” And he was like, “Okay.”

LEAH: Awesome. What’s your favorite part of your body?

HANNAH: Man, so I feel like maybe my smile and my eyes because I feel like people always say, “I was very drawn to you by how happy you are and how smiley you are.” And so, I feel like that’s something that I really love because it’s actually been a big journey for me to get to a place where I feel like I am a happy person and I have genuine joy in my life, given the things that I’ve gone through.

LEAH: Yeah. What’s your least favorite part of your body?

HANNAH: My love handles. I know I should love them more because they gave my 4 children, but whoo.

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Society tells you not to love them though. It’s really hard and it’s hard to be a post-partum mom and feel comfortable showing up at the beach in a bikini.

LEAH: Yeah. What is something about your current sex life that isn’t quite as satisfying as you’d like it to be?

HANNAH: So, I feel like we could do better on changing things up. I feel like we know what works. And so, we’re in that position of, this works, let’s do it. And we don’t really experiment with a lot of different things as much as we used to because we know what works. And so, we’ve had to have conversations about that lately of, “We need to get out of the boat because this is eventually going to get boring and it could cause there to be not necessarily resentment, but it could be a problem.” So, we really need to branch out a little bit.

LEAH: And finally, what belief did you have about sex as a child or teenager that you wish you could go back and correct her on now?

HANNAH: That sex is bad before marriage and anything that is leading to sex is bad before marriage. I think that that is a huge thing that I am changing with my kids. For example, we started reading our girls a book series that’s called The Story of Me. And it talks about how girls have vaginas, boys have penises, and how it’s normal and it’s natural, and you are created that way, and this is how a baby’s made. This is where a baby comes from.

So, my 4-year-old knows, “I came through my mommy’s vagina. One my mommy’s friends had a C-section, so the baby was cut from her.” And we’re keeping these topics so open so that she never feels like she can’t ask a question. So, she never feels like it’s off limits. And that’s something that I just didn’t feel like I had. And so, I am changing the trajectory of that with my kids.

We didn’t name body parts as they were. A penis was a pee-pee and a vagina was your privates. And I’m like, “No, they’re going to be penis and they’re going to be vagina and we’re going to talk about boobs. And it’s all going to be on the table, so that when you are in a situation, if you ever face what I faced that you can come to me. And you can be like, ‘Mom, this is happening to me right now and I need your help.’”

And I think it’s made a big difference because my 4-year-old is very extroverted like me and we were at Sam’s Club the other day. And this lady goes, “Oh my gosh, your kids are so cute.” And I said, “Thank you.” And she asked, “How old are you?” and she said it to my oldest. And my oldest goes, “I’m 4 and I’m a girl and mommy’s a girl and my sister’s a girl and we have ginas.”

[LAUGHTER]

HANNAH: Her eyes got so big. She was an elderly lady and she was like, “Oh my gosh.” I was like, “All right,” moving along swiftly. My mom’s like, “Serves you right. You’re such a millennial with your parenting.” I’m like, “No. I’m just doing it different. I just want it to be different,” so yeah.

LEAH: Yeah, I love that. Hannah, thank you so much. This has been a wonderful conversation. I’m so glad to have had it with you.

HANNAH: Thank you for having me. This has been so fun.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: That’s it for today. 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.

And remember, there’s a treasure trove of audio extras available for free at Patreon. Go to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. While listening to those extras is free, producing this show is not. If my work is meaningful to you and you have a few dollars to support it each month, I will gratefully accept your patronage at Patreon. I donate 10% of all Patreon proceeds to ARC-Southeast, an organization that supports women in the Southeast United States to access reproductive services that are increasingly difficult to obtain. Find out more and become a community member at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

Show notes and transcripts for this episode are at www.goodgirlstalk.com. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube @goodgirlstalk for more sex positive content. If you have a question or comment about anything you’ve heard on this show, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX.

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 and Maria Franco. Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo.

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 your 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.

Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!

[MUSIC]

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I’ve done this because not everyone has the means to pay for access, and I know this additional material can be deeply important for some listeners. But creating this show isn’t free, so if you’d like to support the work I do, I am grateful for your contributions at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.

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