Dive Deeper with Leah
I have been through the fire and come out the other side. Now I’m here to walk with you as you do the same.
I will help you take a stand for yourself, your desires, and YOUR PLEASURE.
In this episode of Good Girls Talk About Sex, we talk with Meagan, a 36-year-old, cisgender woman who describes herself as Hispanic, straight, single and monogamous.
Meagan talks frankly about her childhood explorations of sexuality, how she felt culpable for the things that happened to her as a teenager because she looked older than she was, and why she has taken time off from dating and sex as an adult.
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I’m sex educator and sexual communication coach Leah Carey and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: In today’s episode, we’ll meet Meagan, a 36 year old cisgender woman who describes herself as Hispanic, straight, single and monogamous. Meagan was immediately on board when she heard about this podcast and has been an ardent supporter since I’ve begun working on it. In fact, we did three interviews together as I learned what this podcast wanted to be and how to use my equipment. That’s a true friend.
I am so pleased to introduce Meagan!
Meagan, I’m really happy to have this conversation with you because I know that you are also interested in pushing the bounds of what is “normal” conversation.
MEAGAN: Absolutely and I think even more so now, I think this is a really important conversation to have.
LEAH: All right. The first question that I ask everyone I speak with is what is your first memory of sexual desire?
MEAGAN: I remember in kindergarten liking this guy named Cooper and one day in class we were standing in line and he turned around and I remember this like it was yesterday, we both stuck our tongues out and touched our tongues together. And that was in kindergarten. And then I remember in middle school, inviting friends over and we used to use my mom’s vibrator and pass it around and acknowledge how good it felt on our clitorises, which we didn’t even know what that word was at that point.
LEAH: How old were you when you were doing that?
MEAGAN: That was probably sixth or seventh grade.
LEAH: And were you doing that with your clothes on or did you take your clothes off? MEAGAN: I think we were in our pajamas.
LEAH: So when you were passing the vibrator around with your girlfriends, was there a sense that this was a sexual thing? Where was the dividing line between physical enjoyment and sexual enjoyment?
MEAGAN: All we knew was that it felt really good, but none of us thought that it was sexual necessarily. We just knew that it felt really good when we put it in that area. It was really innocent. We weren’t ashamed of it.
My best friend growing up basically we played doctor. We would take photos of each other. I mean when we were taking photos of each other naked, I think that was a bit more sexual. We wanted to look sexy. But when we were playing doctor, we were kind of exploring our bodies and seeing how they compared with each other.
LEAH: Was this another female friend? MEAGAN: Yeah.
LEAH: So when you think back on those experiences now because everything you’re talking about is like twelve, thirteen and younger, was this childlike exploration or was there actual sexual energy involved?
MEAGAN: It’s an interesting question because as I got older, people told me that it was sexual energy and they told me that I had a lot of sexual energy and that played out in different ways including me having a lot of partners. But at the time, I really think it was just innocent energy. Because I didn’t think of it like that at the time, maybe an adult who would have seen that would have. When do you find it as sexual? Is it when you need to get something out of it? I guess, what’s the difference? I’m not sure.
LEAH: Yeah. I think it’s an interesting question to explore and I don’t have an answer either. But kids do explore. There is a lot of sexual exploration that happens at childhood and I think it freaks a lot of parents and adults out because we see it through the filter of having become sexual beings. But maybe, when you’re still a child, that’s not actually going on. I don’t know.
MEAGAN: Yeah. It wasn’t until the shame became involved that I started thinking it was sexual, you know what I mean. So I started thinking that that was wrong in some way.
LEAH: So what’s your first memory of sexual shame?
MEAGAN: My first kiss. My first real kiss. I felt so ashamed. It was the summer before my seventh grade year. I still was probably prepubescent. I remember I had a little pot belly and I was wearing a bandana. I wore really baggy clothes and I had become best friends with this boy in California and I remember we were sitting in the movie room and it was dark and he leaned over and he kissed me. And it was my first kiss and I didn’t want it. I was shocked. I thought it was completely disgusting and I basically ran away and then he tried to see me the next day. He bought me a teddy bear and I refused to see him the rest of the summer.
MEAGAN: Yeah, and it’s funny because I swore of boys that day. I was like I’m never going to kiss a boy ever again and then it wasn’t until an entire year later where I had my second kiss. And at that time, I loved it and I wanted more and I wanted to find out where I could get more of it.
LEAH: Do you think the difference was in your readiness to have the experience or was the difference in how much you liked the boy and wanting to have that experience with him?
MEAGAN: I would say the readiness. It was definitely the readiness. Maybe because I was more aware at that age what sexual sex was and what kissing was rather than being in kindergarten touching tongues when we were in line. I had no clue whatsoever what sex was or what that implicated and I think I was just not ready. And I viewed that boy from my first kiss as just a friend, I didn’t see him as sexual, I wasn’t ready yet. I wasn’t ready for that.
LEAH: And by the next summer you were ready to start exploring that?
MEAGAN: Yeah. It’s funny because every step along the way, when I was ready for something,
I wanted it then and there. [LAUGHTER]
MEAGAN: Kind of like me in life. But that happened when I lost my virginity as well. I literally climbed through a guy’s window in the middle of the night and jumped on top of him.
LEAH: Oh my goodness! Tell us that story. [LAUGHTER]
MEAGAN: When I lost my virginity, I was seventeen and there was this guy down the street. He was in a fraternity and I lied to him about my age. He hollered at me one day when I was
walking home from school in the school bus and he asked me what year I was. I didn’t think this was a lie but I told him I was senior not thinking that in his mind, senior in college.
MEAGAN: In my mind, I just didn’t think. But I was in senior high school and I started seeing him here and there and then one night, I got really drunk with my friends at my house. I threw up in my backyard. I passed out in my bed and then I woke up at 3 in the morning. I think I have a page from him because we didn’t have cell phones back then, we had beepers.
MEAGAN: And it was like 3 or 3:30 in the morning and I walked down the street. It was three or four blocks away and I basically climbed up into right off the balcony or the front porch. And I opened his window. He was dead asleep and I basically jumped on top of him and pulled down his pants. I mean, I obviously got consent first, kind of. I don’t think I actually asked him/ “Do you want this?” but he woke up and he was surprised but he was like, “Okay, you want to do this, fuck me.”
MEAGAN: And I said yes. He was not very big so it was kind of like a good way to start I guess and he kept asking if he hurt me and I didn’t know what he meant because it didn’t hurt at all.
MEAGAN: And that’s how I lost my virginity. LEAH: Did you have pleasure that first time?
MEAGAN: Oh God. I mean first of all, I was still drunk and second of all, not really being able to feel him and I think I was just acting out how I’d seen it in the movies. I remember it being exciting but having pleasure, not really sure.
LEAH: Did you continue having sex with him?
MEAGAN: Yeah we continued for probably a year or so.
LEAH: And did it get better over time? Did you start having pleasure?
MEAGAN: Honestly, I think at that age I just cared so much how the guy felt that it wasn’t even in my mind as to what I felt. Beyond just knowing that I wanted that high of being wanted and having somebody inside me.
LEAH: So the high was about his desire for you? MEAGAN: Yeah.
LEAH: Was it about making him feel pleasure? MEAGAN: Yeah.
LEAH: But it was not about you feeling pleasure?
MEAGAN: No. I mean that didn’t really happen until I was mid- to late-twenties probably.
LEAH: What did you think the change was that allowed you to start focusing on your own pleasure?
MEAGAN: Oh, that’s a good question. I finally had my first orgasm alone. I got a dildo in my early twenties, but I didn’t think I had my first orgasm until around mid-twenties, so I finally felt what that felt like. I knew what it felt like to feel good but I didn’t know how an orgasm felt like. And then having a couple of partners who made that a priority. And starting to heal the trauma from my childhood, basically just being able to heal myself.
LEAH: Sounds like what you’re talking about is that there were some non-consensual experiences.
MEAGAN: Right. I think it was a combination. I had not only non-consensual experiences. I was never raped, I don’t think. Although I was certainly drunk enough. Looking back, because I can’t even tell you how many times that I was drunk and I didn’t want it or I had said no but then it was so much easier to go along with it than to keep saying no.
And then not only that but when I was fifteen, I had a guy who I really, really liked and I thought I was in love with. He was 26 and I was obsessed with him. My parents really trusted him. I trusted him so much that they allowed him to take me out. And then on the way home, he basically pushed my head down and made me give him a blow job and that was the first blow job that I had ever given.
And it wasn’t until many years later in therapy that I realized first of all, that it wasn’t consensual and second of, all it was child molestation and third of all, I was so innocent that at that point I thought we were boyfriend and girlfriend. So when he came in my mouth and then I looked up at him and he dropped me off in my parents’ house and said that he could never see me again and that I could never tell anybody about this, I was devastated. And that was probably the moment where I lost some of my innocence and I thought I was just there to please men really.
LEAH: I’m so sorry that happened to you.
MEAGAN: Thank you.
LEAH: And I think it’s really important to just pause here for a moment. When we have some non-consensual experience where another person invades our body, no matter what orifice, no matter what they are using, whether it’s their penis, their fingers or toy or whatever, that is non- consensual. That is not okay and it is rape.
MEAGAN: Yeah and you know if I was listening to this and I was hearing a woman say this, I would be angry for her for not owning that. I shouldn’t say owning that because that sounds like you’re putting everything on her but you’re right. It was wrong of him to do that. He certainly raped my childhood and innocence. It was wrong and it scared me. I didn’t tell anybody for another six years or so probably.
LEAH: Which is, you know, the fact that he would say to you, you couldn’t talk about this with anybody, and you would then go on to believe that. That’s another marker of no matter what words you put on it, how not okay that interaction was.
Please forgive me for hijacking this for a moment but I think it’s so important. Right now, we’re in the midst of a cultural moment where there are a lot of questions about what consent is and I think it’s really important to sort of pull that apart and understand that just because you didn’t say no in that moment doesn’t mean you gave consent. That was coercion.
When someone uses their power over you to get you to do something that you don’t know what you want to do or not, that is coercion. And I also heard you say that there were times when guys sort of just kept going and you finally decided it’s easier to give in then to keep saying no. That’s coercion. It may not fit the actual definition of rape but that does not mean that it is consensual behavior.
MEAGAN: If there are any young girls listening, I also want to say that at that time I felt somewhat culpable for it because I looked older. I mean I was fifteen, but I got into bars quite often. And by the time I was fourteen, I looked 25 and I was 25 until I turned 30 basically.
MEAGAN: But you know that it’s true. As a pretty young girl, men would often think that I was much older and then therefore I felt responsible because I did look older and therefore I would act older and sometimes I would lie about my age. And I wanted desperately to be older. I wanted desperately to be treated like an adult so in some ways I blame myself for that and I felt that it came with the territory of what I wanted and this was what I was asking for. And I just want to say if there are any young girls listening that that’s absolutely not true and just because you’re pretty or thin or look older, however you look doesn’t matter. It’s never okay for a guy to do that to you.
LEAH: Yeah. Thank you for saying that. Okay. Let’s just both take a deep breath.
LEAH: Yeah. That’s a lot. All right. I’m going to change the subject a bit. The title of the podcast is Good Girls Talk About Sex so I’d love to hear you talk about what do the words good girl mean to you as a child and what do they mean to now?
MEAGAN: Well I just want to say that when you said that just now, I really felt that now I shouldn’t be in this podcast.
MEAGAN: Because I was not a good girl and that’s basically what I thought as a little kid, that I was not a good girl and that I also didn’t know if I wanted to be a good girl. I prided myself in being a bit rebellious, standing up for what I believed in and being a little bit of a badass. And the sexual part of it came with the territory, so there were also darker parts of that where my initials are MAL, so M.A.L. and I can’t even tell you how many pages in my journal just are really big letters like “M. A. L. = BAD”.
MEAGAN: Mal is bad in Spanish. It’s bad in French and I was such a bad girl. And so a good girl to me was boring, was somebody who played by the rules, someone who I didn’t necessarily want to be aligned with.
And now, good girl I would say just feels patronizing. It feels like something you would say to your dog or something that we’re expected to be and it’s all bullshit. Good girls never go anywhere.
MEAGAN: That’s kind of hard right now. And because we’ve talked about this before, I know why you chose that. Because you really identified with good girl and everything I’m saying is not to put you down or anybody who identifies as a good girl in any way. I’m just being completely frank about that but I also know why you chose that because you as the good girl didn’t talk about sex growing up, right?
LEAH: Yeah. Absolutely. It was a very shameful subject. It was a very confusing subject that I felt ashamed to talk about and then felt ashamed to express as I became older and sexuality wasn’t an appropriate outlet. I felt that it wasn’t available to me and so all of that idea of being a good girl was very repressive.
But now, I’m sort of stepping into that into a new belief that “good girl” is more about being a woman of integrity, being a woman of my word and really doing what I can to bring light to the world and do as much as I can to make it a little less fucked up.
LEAH: That’s the kind of good girl that I want to be. For me, it no longer has any of those connotations of repression or trying to make other people feel good.
MEAGAN: I think for me I no longer want to identify with good or bad. I’m totally stealing this from Elizabeth Gilbert, but I want to be free. And that has a lot of themes in my work, around my writing. It has a theme in my life, right? Living in the corporate world, not having a boss anymore, not giving my power away whether it be my boss, whether it be my lover, whether it be my best friend and so that’s just something time and time again in my life, is giving my power away sexually, creatively, giving other people too much power basically. And that’s basically what I’m done with doing.
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MEAGAN: I had to deal with my boss recently so that was a whole other lesson in and of itself. So slowly but surely, I’ve been peeling away.
LEAH: When you say you had to deal with your boss, I assume that’s not a physical sexual relationship?
MEAGAN: No, just a boss that I believe hires women that he sees this kind of flaw in who are strong women but then he can gaslight and manipulate. Because I would look around the table and we’re all the same type. And when I had talked to other women who had left the company and one who had actually slept with him, we each had something in our background which allowed us somehow to fall prey to these men who seek us out.
I was probably the one who spoke up to him the most. But now I’m free. But yeah, it was just a [unintelligible -25:08] and power struggle.
LEAH: Yeah. That’s interesting. You are describing women who are strong and yet he’s preying on them and I think usually we think of women who are preyed on as having a different constitutional or emotional makeup.
MEAGAN: Right. They’re painted in movies and things as weak or people who are easily trodden over but no. I think sometimes people that we would view as the strongest people from the outside are the ones who have suffered or are suffering potentially from some type of abuse in a relationship.
MEAGAN: Sometimes, the strongest and the most empathic people are the ones who the narcissists prey on the most because it’s the ones that are the biggest challenge in some ways, right? If they break them down. It’s almost like those that appear weak are too easy if that makes sense.
LEAH: It’s really interesting that you say that because it makes me think about the relationship of my mom and my dad. My dad was a narcissist and a gaslighter. And I would hear him talk about how he was attracted to my mom because she was so strong. But I looked at my mom and she did not present that way at all. She presented as really beaten down. She was an amazing mother but in terms of sort of that relationship, she never spoke up to him. She really was sort of acquiescent to him.
But recently, I was going through her belongings after her death and I found this cache of pictures that I had never seen and I discovered these pictures from a time when she did show up as that really strong person. The bright red dress, really showing up fully like herself and really this bright, beautiful woman who I had never seen and it was so interesting to see that because that was a woman who I never got to know. And apparently that’s what really attracted my father to her but then he beat that out of her.
MEAGAN: That’s so interesting. I mean, the guys who have fallen in love with me and I’ve also fallen in love with but they love my personality when they first meet me, how big I seem. They say that they love it, but then as we get into the relationships, little by little they start pulling apart. My exes would sometimes take me into a dinner party and if I said the wrong thing or if I laughed too loudly, pull me to the side and say I was embarrassing them. So it was all the things that they fall in love with then they get intimidated by and they think they can’t shine if you’re also shining, which obviously is a complete fallacy. And so it’s up to the woman then.
Of course I’m sure there’s another type of relationship where potentially the female would also do that to the male as they say emasculating the male although I hate that term. In my experience, every single guy I’ve dated although I haven’t had a boyfriend for years since I’m being very very clear, I’ve been tested along the way as well. These guys are still attracted to
me but I’m able to spot them out so much faster now. They do one little thing and I’m like, “Nope.” I can tell. One guy just casually said to me, “Why do you paint your nails? You have such beautiful hands and you look so nice without nail polish.”
MEAGAN: It starts there. It’s so subtle and he was complimenting my hands. He was saying how beautiful my hands were but it was such a subtle and controlling thing.
LEAH: Yes. What has your life been like for these last few years without a relationship? MEAGAN: I say that I’ve become a born again virgin.
MEAGAN: Not entirely. But there was a really long time probably a year and a half after we broke up that I really just needed to heal and I needed to be away from men probably for the first time in my life and it meant no sex, no real dates, and just be with myself. So I did that for the first year and a half.
There were a couple of people that I ended up sleeping with or I had affairs with or whatever but then it’s been very slow and though I’ve started the past eight months or so feeling confident again in wanting to date and being in a relationship and feeling really excited about it again, but yeah, it’s just been a really conscious hard thing. I literally will download a dating app for a weekend and then delete it again on Monday.
MEAGAN: And then I talk to my coach and she’s like, “You don’t need to date right now. It’s okay. Don’t date.” And now I’m ready and I actually started dating this guy a couple of weeks ago and I really really started liking him and really I felt like this was going somewhere and he said to me he didn’t want to sleep with me until I was ready. He’s probably the first guy who has ever said that to me.
MEAGAN: And I said to him, “God. I don’t even know what it feels like to be ready.” And it’s
really been a long time. [LAUGHTER]
MEAGAN: And he was like, “Even more reason to make sure that you’re ready because I want to make sure that I love you and that you feel completely secured on this.” And it really got me thinking about how I never considered thinking of that. I had sex with guys. I mean, honestly it
goes back to the bad girl thing. I almost felt embarrassed to say no or say can you wait because I didn’t want to seem vulnerable. I didn’t want to seem weak in some ways that made me feel like I was weak.
LEAH: I remember during my period of intense exploration, I was fooling around with this guy and I had been very open with him that I was really sort of taking baby steps. I was really relearning myself and relearning my sexuality. And he was totally on board for that. This was not a romantic thing. It was purely physical fooling around sort of relearning myself. And I said to him at one point, is it okay if I don’t, and I was scared to even say the word, touch your penis until I’m ready? And he’s like, “Yeah. Of course. That’s what consent means. That’s what it is.” And it blew my freaking mind.
LEAH: Like wait a minute, I don’t have to do it until I’m ready and then I started what I hear you questioning like, “What does that even mean? How do I know if I’m ready?”
Because in the past, I’ve always just done it because I was supposed to want to. I was supposed to give the other person pleasure. My readiness was never a factor so how would I know what ready feels like and I decided that what it felt like was waiting until I had the feeling of “Oh my God! I can’t wait until I touch it!” like “Oh my God! I just want it right now!” And that I was going to have to wait until I had that feeling. God it’s so basic!
LEAH: And yet it’s not because we don’t learn it!
MEAGAN: I know it’s insane like I’m 36 years old and the first man to ever tell me that it was okay to wait until I was ready is at 36. And I’ve slept with like over a hundred people.
LEAH: It’s astonishing that we don’t learn that basic bodily autonomy. I want to ask you one more big question before we begin to wrap up which is what did you learn about “appropriate sexuality” as a child? And this could come from a number of different places whether it was your childhood home and your parents, from school, from religion, what did you learn about appropriate sexuality as a child?
MEAGAN: It’s a really good question. I grew up in a household that was pretty complicated and I had very mixed signals throughout my childhood. My mother divorced my father when I was six months old because he had been having an affair with her best friend. Then she married this man. He became my stepfather when I was five years old and she was not sexually attracted to him. I didn’t know this at the time but you could tell that she had no interest in him. And then when I was twelve years old, she married another man.
She was very vocal about the sex but I don’t know what that taught me about what is appropriate. My mother often said if you got it, flaunt it so in terms of what we could wear. On the one hand, she would say if you got it, flaunt it and then if we dressed kind of boyish or hippie, she would tell us to go and clean up. I guess subtly we were often taught to look good and attractiveness mattered.
Sexually, I was Protestant. I went to Presbyterian Church. I don’t know. My mother and my stepfather when I was thirteen or fourteen gave my stepbrother and I this VHS tape called Who am I now?
And I remember we would invite our friends over to play because we thought it was the most hilarious thing in the entire world but that was basically our only sex talk growing up was this video. And I still remember the theme song, it was “Who Am I Now?”
MEAGAN: “Tell me. Who am I now?” Basically it’s kids going through puberty and they were talking about how puberty meant and how feelings might come up and we used to play it on loop because we just thought it was the funniest thing ever. I guess that’s the long way of saying we were never really taught. The talks never really happened. Certainly I told my mother when I lost my virginity and it was pretty much kept don’t talk about it, which is weird considering how open my mom was about herself in other ways.
LEAH: How do you think that sort of lack of guidance affected you as you grew into your own sexuality?
MEAGAN: It certainly didn’t guide me.
MEAGAN: It left me having to figure out everything on my own for sure. I mean I ended up in a lot of situations, whether I got myself in those situations or not, that weren’t that weren’t helpful in a lot of ways and I said yes to too many things and just constantly pushing the boundaries because I didn’t have any. I didn’t have them set for me so I didn’t know necessarily what they were and I just kept testing them. I often said that nobody could tell me what to do, I needed to experience it to know my own boundaries. But now I kind of look back on that assessment of myself and wonder if it’s because I never really had boundaries clearly set for me.
LEAH: Oh, that’s such an interesting question. MEAGAN: Yeah.
LEAH: Before we let Meagan go, let’s do the quick five. Five quick questions that we would usually be too polite to ask even our best friend.
LEAH: Favorite sex position?
LEAH: Favorite sex toy?
MEAGAN: Honestly, anal plug.
LEAH: And you use that during vaginal intercourse so you have both going at the same time?
LEAH: Okay. Cool. Sex during your period?
MEAGAN: Hell yeah.
MEAGAN: That’s like the best time because you could feel so much and it’s so much more open and lubricated.
LEAH: All right. Hair down there or bare?
MEAGAN: I love hair down there. However, it takes me some time to have the balls to grow it down there. When I’m first starting with a guy, I tend to be cautious and take everything off.
LEAH: So completely bare?
LEAH: And then you, over time, grow it?
MEAGAN: Right. It really depends. For me, I think I heard you say this once and it rang true for me, should I care what a guy thinks? Should I not? But honestly the guys going down there, I do
care what he wants and I think if he prefers me clean, then I’ll go clean. And if he’s open to me to grow it back. I feel sexy when I have hair down there.
LEAH: Yeah, for me I don’t really care. It doesn’t make any difference to me what’s going on down there. I will totally go with whatever my partner wants except I will not completely go clean shaven because my skin is too sensitive to do that. But yeah, what you were saying, whatever my partner wants I’ll totally do because I don’t care.
MEAGAN: I feel very sexy when I have a full head of hair down there.
LEAH: And I think that’s what’s really important is when you’re fully in your body and feeling yourself then your partner is going to get the better end of that deal when you’re fully into it.
MEAGAN: Unless he’s down there and it’s so hairy. [LAUGHTER]
MEAGAN: Can’t find the clitoris.
MEAGAN: There needs to be a little bit of a compromise and if he’s down there for a while, I want him to be enjoying it too. Then I won’t enjoy it if he’s not enjoying it.
LEAH: Sure. Do you prefer penetration or clit stimulation?
MEAGAN: I don’t have a preference. I would prefer both. The orgasm from the clitoris is much different from inside. However, I can cum either way and the closeness I feel with my partner when he’s inside me is unlike anything else.
LEAH: Meagan, thank you so much for doing this. This has been so much fun talking to you and I’m just so grateful for you for showing up and being so honest and fully yourself.
MEAGAN: Well, thank you and I’m so glad that we got to do this now. I feel like I’m in a new space in my life where I’m able to talk about this kind of thing more openly without as much on shit attached to it.
LEAH: Nice! Well, my wish for you is that you go more and more fully into that space.
MEAGAN: Thank you.
LEAH: Thanks for joining me today on Good Girls Talk About Sex. If you have questions or comments on something you’ve heard or if you would like to record a voice memo for use in a future episode, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, let me know if you’d like to be a guest on a future episode. You can find all the links and resources mentioned today on the Show Notes. I’m Leah Carey and I look forward to talking with you again next week.
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