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.
Good Girls Talk About Sex is now a weekly show! Every other week you’ll get these shorter solo episodes where I tell bits of my story and answer YOUR questions about sex and sexuality.
Thanks to Jessi Kneeland for interviewing ME! I highly recommend following her on Instagram and signing up for her weekly #TransparentTuesday emails.
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!
LEAH: Hi friends. I am so excited to finally come to you with the first episode that makes this an every week podcast. I know some of you have been telling me that you really want this for a while and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make it happen in a way that didn’t completely overload my ability to actually produce something every week.
So here’s what’s going to happen. Every other week, you’re going to continue getting the regular interviews just like we’ve been doing from the beginning. But then, in these between weeks, you’ll be hearing more from me.
So to start with, something that I’ve also been hearing from you is that I tell my story, so recently I had my friend Jessi interview me and over the next four of these episodes, you’re going to hear that interview with Jessi. It’s also a chance for you to call in and ask questions. So the most frequent question I get by far is some variation of “Am I normal?” So this could be, “I really love doing this thing that none of my friends do, am I normal?” Or “I really hate the idea of this thing that my boyfriend or husband or girlfriend really wants me to do, am I normal?” Or any of a bazillion other questions about are your desires, are your fantasies, are your preferences, is your body normal? And I can kind of give you a Cliff Notes version to tell you the answer to all those questions is yes but I also know that every person has their own particular version of that question, their own particular fears and gremlins. And that the best way to address that is for you to get to ask your questions, your specific questions and then I can answer them and we can do it in a way that helps lots of people rather than just one person at a time.
So, here’s the best part. I’ve set up a phone line where you can call and leave your am I normal questions and that number is get ready, drum roll please, 720-GOOD-SEX. That’s 720-4663-730. Messages can be up to two minutes long so let me know what’s going on with you and what your fears and concerns are. And then, you may hear your question on the show being answered. So again, the number is 720-GOOD-SEX and that’s in the Show Notes.
So now, I want to get us started with this interview that I did with Jessi Kneeland. You may know her name because I have interviewed her. In fact, she is the only person who thus far, I have interviewed twice. She is also the body image coach who walked with me through my own journey of body reclamation and sexual healing. So I really trusted her to be the one to do this interview because she and I already have such as an established, deep relationship. So I’m really excited to start sharing this with you and then in the second half, we’ll get started with our first “Am I normal?” question.
JESSI: Hi and welcome Leah, I’m so happy to have you here.
LEAH: Well, thank you so much, Jessi. I’m pleased to be here.
JESSI: So this is a little bit of a role reversal and I’m going to ask you a whole bunch of questions about yourself and your story that your listeners are curious about. So let’s get started with if you have one, your first memory of awareness of sexual pleasure?
LEAH: So I was saying to you before we started taping that I have very consciously not gone and tried to figure out the answers to all these questions so I don’t have a pre-rehearsed answer.
The first thing that I really remember is I think I was about 11 or 12 and I was reading the book Clan of the Cave Bear and there are some really, really sexy scenes in that book and I had feelings in places that I was unfamiliar with, and I think I sort of humped the bed a little bit. I wasn’t quite sure what that whole thing was that I was experiencing but I don’t think that was the first experience. It’s just the first thing that I remember really clearly.
Sometime around that time, I also have a clear memory of having a friend over and so, my parents did not spank me and somehow, I had it in my head that I wanted to experience spanking. I don’t know why. I don’t know where that came from like, “Did I read that from somewhere?” I have no idea but I asked and now, I think back and like, “What must she have been thinking?”
LEAH: Because I asked her to put some rope around my hands and spank me. And I was like 11 or 12 like that’s pretty kinky stuff. It was only in the last few years that I went to a class about kink and somebody said, “Your kink preferences probably showed up much earlier than you even recognize.” And I was like, “Oh my God, you’re right!”
JESSI: Did it have a sexual feeling at the time?
LEAH: I don’t know that it did but I don’t know if it was purely non-sexual either.
JESSI: Sure, interesting. That’s super interesting.
JESSI: So just going back for a second, when you were having these feelings, what was the framing in your head? What had you learned up until that point or been taught about what might be happening inside your body with these feelings or why might you be humping the bed?
LEAH: I don’t know that I had context for it. So my parents were very open with me from a very young age about how babies were made. We had a book I think called How Babies Are Made and I read that book a lot from the age of 4 years old probably. So I was pretty familiar with the mechanics then on top of that, my dad was really, how do I want to say, well, he was an alcoholic and he didn’t have great boundaries. So his sexual interaction with me came a little bit later but even as a fairly young child, he was speaking very sexually to women other than my mother in front of me.
JESSI: I hear you say, it’s like what that means to be speaking sexually?
LEAH: Yeah, like being on the phone and being like, “What are you wearing?” To other women or yeah, kind of explicit sexual remarks to women in person and on the phone. I remember overhearing numerous times.
And then, he also had boxes of magazines, Playboy, Pent House and a magazine called Variations which I would now look at as an adult and say, “Oh, that’s about alternative sexual desires, kink, poly, swinging, threesomes kind of stuff.” But at the time, I had no frame of reference for that whatsoever. And I found those magazines probably around age 10 and every time I was alone in the house, that was the first thing I did. I went down to the basement and there were three or four boxes of them and I took the lid off the box and I started looking at the magazines and I had no understanding of what that compulsion was at the time, but I knew that I liked looking at the photos of naked women.
There was something about breasts that was extremely intriguing to me. I liked reading, I think maybe it was Pent House, I’m not really sure. One of the magazines, some people would write in their sexual fantasies and they would print them as letters and I liked reading those. And at the time, I don’t know what I would have told you what I thought any of that was because I didn’t understand sexuality at the age of 10 or 12, but there was this compulsion to go look at these things. And then the Variations magazine was a really, really confusing and distressing to me because I was seeing things that I really didn’t understand. Descriptions of kink activities, not even hardcore kink that I would consider hardcore kink now, at the time, it was just like bondage and spanking and a lot of key parties. That was a thing in the 70s.
LEAH: So the key parties and the swinging and the partner swapping and couple all of that with this weird sexual energy that was flying around our house and my dad telling me about his sex life with my mom.
JESSI: As a child?
LEAH: As a child. It was just really, really confusing. Both really attractive and also repulsive all at the same time.
JESSI: It seems, so since you kind of found the magazines that I’m assuming were sort of hidden, but were you aware that this was something that was taboo or private?
LEAH: Yeah. I definitely knew this was something that I didn’t want anybody knowing that I was doing. I was looking at.
JESSI: And did you have a clear concept of what would happen if they did know?
LEAH: Interesting question. I don’t know if it went any further than me thinking that I would be really, really embarrassed and I would probably be in trouble for violating their privacy. I don’t know that I had any concept beyond that.
JESSI: And I’m curious too. Because at 10, first of all, I read the Clan of the Cave Bear also at 11, so my reaction when you said that was like, “What?”
JESSI: I hear you. But also 10 and 11, I think that might strike some people to be young like having sexual urges and thoughts and feelings. Obviously, as you know in my experience with women, it’s not that young but it is young in the cultural conversation. So I’m curious if you later on had any feelings about the fact that it started young for you.
LEAH: No, I mean I think I was repressed by the whole thing that I just tried not to think about it too much at all.
LEAH: But going back to that comment about our kink preferences showing up really young, the scene in The Clan of The Cave Bear that was so erotic for me and I still remember some of those scenes, all of these years later. It was not the scene on the horse. It was not any of that stuff.
It was at the very beginning of the book when she was still with the other clan she had grown up with and they had this signal that the men had a “signal” that they gave to the woman that was the “get down on your hands and knees, I’m going to fuck you now.” So there was no aspect of consensuality to it. And there was a man who was using this as a power play over her and he would give her the signal and she would have to submit to him and that was the scene that I found so erotically charged for me. I liked the other ones too but that was the one that gave me the feelings that I was like, “What is this thing?”
JESSI: And what do you make of that now as an adult being kink informed as you look back on that?
LEAH: I think that it plays very much into my fantasies now. The whole submissive, sort of being taken control of. I don’t play it out in any sort of hardcore way. I think it’s much more prevalent in my fantasies than it is in my actual sexual play. But it is very much at the center of my sexual fantasies.
JESSI: And in your many conversations with women about their sexual fantasies, how common do you find this to be?
LEAH: Which part of it?
JESSI: The submission, lifelong, yup.
LEAH: Hugely, hugely common.
LEAH: And terribly confusing for a lot of women, especially sort of type A very driven self actualized kind of women find it extraordinarily confusing that they have these fantasies about submission because they think, “Well, I’m so powerful, why in the world would I want that? There must be something wrong with me.” It’s not the case at all. It’s totally normal.
JESSI: Right. So I guess that’s why I was asking did you have feelings about that? Was it ever confusing for you?
LEAH: It became very confusing for me as I grew a little bit older, yeah. When I say a little bit older, I would say in my early 30s, I started trying to without really any understanding of what I was doing like it was so odd, I was so disconnected from my body and my sexuality. And so the thing that I tried to do in order to somehow jumpstart my connection to my body was to try things that were maybe a little outside of the “norm”, to be more exciting, to be more adventurous.
And so I would ask partners to hold me down and “No, hold me down harder. No, I don’t want to be able to move at all.” And they’d be like, “I don’t know how to do that.” And eventually it turned into this like, “Why do you want that? That’s kind of weird.” So I mean in one way I was just with partners who didn’t have compatible fantasies but I was also really like, “I don’t really understand why I want this.” And I feel like maybe it’s weird and wrong and yeah, it was really confusing.
LEAH: Are you aching to explore new vistas of your sexuality?
Do you hear me talk about concepts on this show and think, “It makes sense, but I need help applying it to my particular situation!”
That’s where personalized sex and intimacy coaching comes in!
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 shut down, 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 more!
I want you to have a deeply fulfilling intimate life, and together we can help you get there.
JESSI: So going back to what you learned then, so much of that informs how we process stuff later, what we’re exposed to as kids, how sex is framed for us, how bodies are framed for us, what did you learn about what sex was supposed to be like as a kid?
JESSI: That sounds like it’ll be such a nice easy answer.
LEAH: Yeah, right. So somehow I don’t know that I ever had a conversation with my mom about her sex life until I was much, much older. But somehow, I understood even as a kid that my mom did not enjoy sex, that it was not something that was high on her list of to-dos. My father had explicitly told me that he was not happy with their sex life and that he wanted more, he wanted different, he wasn’t happy with her body. One of the things that he said to me was, “You need to be careful because you’re starting to look like your mother” in terms of my body which only fairly recently, maybe even my work with you, I’ve been like, “Wait a minute, you married her.”
JESSI: Yeah, yeah. So many reasons.
LEAH: Yeah, you chose her. You pursued her and now you’re saying that I need to be careful because I’m like her? What? So my dad had sort of go-tos, there was the message that I was getting fat. I was unattractive. No one would ever find me desirable. That were some very explicit messages that he gave me. And he started saying those things even when I was really rail thin, like incredibly stick thin. He was already telling me I was getting fat, that my stomach was poochy.
I did not understand how insane that was until the last few years when I actually pulled out pictures of myself. I have specific pictures that I remember him referring to and so in my mind, I’m like, “Oh, in those pictures I’m really fat.” And a few years ago, I went back and found some of those pictures and I’m like, “That’s insane. That is certifiably insane.” I built up this whole idea of myself and my body based on completely erroneous information. So there was that piece. I was fat and ugly and undesirable.
And then he also told me that he was going to lock me in my room until I was 30 and he would break the kneecaps of any boy who showed interest in me. And those two things were always said as a joke, but they were said so frequently that the joking aspect of it totally disappeared for me. As far as I was concerned, they were real threats. So which is, “Am I totally undesirable or am I so desirable that you have to lock me away?”
So what messages did I learn about sexuality as a kid? I learned it was really, really dangerous. That I needed to lock it away. That I wasn’t going to be loved, I wasn’t going to be desired, and even if I was, that I would be assaulted.
JESSI: And I’m also hearing that the framework which is not that unusual in our culture but the framework of what leads to sex is being visually appealing enough to be sort of chosen by presumably male partner. That’s your job is to look good enough that someone picks you to have sex with.
LEAH: Yeah, that’s interesting. I haven’t thought about that before but yeah, I think that’s definitely true and I wore really frumpy clothes. I wore big baggy sweaters through all of my growing up. I remember one time wearing something a little more form fitting and one of my friends like a 14 year old friend actually commented on it and was like, “Wow, you look different.” And I think even that comment made me uncomfortable.
JESSI: What was the discomfort?
LEAH: At the time, I don’t think I could have told you anything. But now, I understand it as being seen, being visible and therefore, opening up the possibility of assault.
LEAH: Let’s leave here it for now. In two weeks, we’ll pick right back up at this point, diving into the connection that I had developed between sexuality and assault. And now, for our new segment, “Am I Normal?”
Every other week, I’ll be answering your “Am I normal?” questions. It seems like every question I get is at its core somehow a question about whether the person asking is alone in whatever they’re experiencing. And truthfully, I’ve never yet heard a story that’s so outlandish, that the person asking was the only person who had ever experienced it. The details of our experiences will be unique to us but the basic impulses, feelings, desires, they are all extremely common. In fact, you’re going to hear using the word common rather than normal a lot because I want to dispel the idea that there is something abnormal when it comes to sex. There maybe things that are uncommon in the general population, but that does not make them abnormal or a sign of perversion. For instance, scat page and age play are both considered quite taboo and maybe uncommon if judged by the number of people participating in them. But there are entire communities built around these activities. So sure, maybe they’re uncommon but they’re not at all abnormal.
That’s why I love this first question so much. It’s about a fantasy that isn’t at all uncommon but can be quite unnerving if you’ve been brought up that strict monogamy is the only ethical moral and normal choice for your sexual relationships. So here we go.
QUESTION: I’m wondering if I’m normal because I find myself fantasizing about my boyfriend cheating on me and it’s actually a really big turn on and then when I actually realized that he’s not going to because he’s a pretty loyal, good person, I’m turned off even though I don’t actually want him to cheat on me. So am I normal?
LEAH: Thank you so much for calling in. It took a lot of bravery to ask this question. What you’re describing is a fetish referred to as being cuckolded. According to my online dictionary, the origin of that word comes from Old French meaning a cuckoo bird laying its egg in another bird’s nest. So you could think of as the desire to see your boyfriend laying his seed in another woman’s nest. Is this normal? Absolutely. Is it common? More so than you would imagine.
In fact, a major activity in swinger communities is to switch partners so you can see your partner being sexual with another person. And even outside the swinger community, this is a fantasy that is quite common. But because we’ve been brought up to believe that strict monogamy is the only ethical moral and normal choice for our sexual relationships, we don’t hear about this because it’s too taboo to talk about.
So let’s talk about the somewhat more confusing part for you. That you know your boyfriend is loyal and you love that about him, so he wouldn’t do it and you don’t actually want him to do it, but you can lose your turn on when you realize it’s not going to happen. So I’ve said this a lot of times on this show, not every fantasy is meant to be acted out. In the first half of this episode, I talked about how my own fantasy life tends toward being dominated in some fairly kinky ways, but I rarely play out those fantasies in any hardcore way with my partner. The reason is that the couple of times we’ve gone down that road, I’ve gotten totally wigged out. One time, we did some roleplaying with him as a really controlling Dom, and I could not get the sound of his domineering voice out of my head for a couple of weeks. And it was really, really uncomfortable. Other play sessions in this arena have had similar outcomes so we pretty much don’t play in this arena. But that doesn’t stop my brain from seeing it as a serious turn on. And yes, just like you, there are times when I see my partner not being domineering and it kind of turns me off.
So how do you go about indulging in the fantasy without actually playing it out? It starts with a conversation like all good things in sex. So the first thing to find out is if you’ve got buy in from your partner. And here’s how this conversation could go. “Honey, I’ve been having this fantasy that makes me really nervous, so I haven’t shared it with you but I want us to both be honest, so I want to tell you about it. It’s not something I want to happen in real life, at least I don’t think it is. But I was wondering if you would be willing to talk to me about it.”
Now, if he says no, it’s important to respect his boundaries and limits and it’s also important to ask yourself if being able to talk about fantasies in your relationship is something that might someday become a deal breaker. But more likely, he’ll say yes and then you can say, “I’ve been thinking about watching you have sex with another woman. Has that thought ever crossed your mind?”
If he says, “No, I can never do that. I can’t even think about it.” Then again, you have the information, that this is a fantasy you need to entertain on your own time. And again, it’s worth considering whether this might someday become a deal breaker. But if he says “Yes, I’ve thought about it but I’ve never really wanted to tell you because I thought it would upset you.” You’ve just set the stage for an amazing exploration.
You could also introduce the subject by watching a movie that shows cuckolding and use that to spark the conversation but unfortunately, I’m not familiar with other movies that show cuckolding in a pre-negotiated way that doesn’t ultimately tear apart the primary couple and I don’t think that’s useful for the first time you introduce the subject. So I will keep looking for movies and let you know if I find any, but in the meantime, I really do think that a conversation is the best way to approach this subject.
So now, let’s assume that you’ve got buy in from your partner. This is when things can get fun. You can start incorporating this fantasy into your dirty talk with each other. Describe what you’re imagining to each other. You can describe to him what kinds of activities you are imagining him doing with this other person. He can describe to you what it’s like to be with this other imaginary person. Now again, it’s going to be important for both of you to pay really close attention to your own internal experience of having these conversations.
If at any point, they go too far to the point that you feel uncomfortable, you need to reel it back and have a conversation with your partner about what your boundaries and limits are. Another way to play in this area without actually doing the activity is going to a bar separately. Watch other women hit on your boyfriend. In this instance, it’s really important you have clear boundaries in place before you leave home about how far you’ll let this scenario go before you interject so that you both feel safe.
Another thing that I love and frankly this is what I do with my partner, there are tons of stories on literotica.com and I’ll put that link in the Show Notes. Stories that feature cuckolding. Find one that really turns you on and give it to him to read aloud to you while you masturbate. Or you can read it aloud while he enters you or you can read aloud to each other to get yourselves all hot and bothered before you even enter the bedroom. And you can text lines of it to each other to get each other hot and bothered while one of you is at work. Someday, when this pandemic is over. There are lots of ways to use other people’s stories to get you into that headspace so that you can fantasize in it together without actually having to engage in the activity. As always, the first step is being brave enough to communicate with your partner to get things started.
So, do you have an “Am I normal” question? Call 720-GOOD-SEX and leave me a message. It can be up to two minutes long and I may answer it on the air. That’s all for today. Next week, you’ll hear my interview with Jade, who grew up in a conservative Asian culture and how getting a lupus diagnosis has affected her sex life. I’m so excited about these new solo shows. If you like them, please let me know. And if you have a friend who needs to hear honest talk about sex, please share the show with them. Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
As a member of the Good Girls Talk About Sex Patreon community, you’ll get exclusive access to behind-the-scenes content like after-the-interview videos where I share my personal thoughts and reflections on each episode. You’ll also receive monthly voice memos from me with reminders about the core tenets of sex positivity and consent.
I’ve also teamed up with the talented craftspeople at Shackleton & Shanks to bring you one-of-a-kind gifts that you can’t find anywhere else.
I donate 10% of all Patreon proceeds to ARC Southeast
Rate the pod – Leave a rating and review at www.ratethispodcast.com/goodgirls
Have a question or comment – Leave a voicemail for Leah at 720-GOOD-SEX (720-466-3739) – this is a voicemail-only line, so I promise you won’t have to talk to someone in person!
Be a guest on the show – I’d love to talk with you! Fill out the form at www.leahcarey.com/guest
We publish episodes
EVERY OTHER THURSDAY