Dive Deeper with Leah Carey
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.
Having trouble loving your body? In our culture that’s normal, no matter your shape or size.
In a special crossover episode, Leah talks with Rachael and Kelsea on the Thick Thighs Save Lives podcast about how public nudity experiences along her journey sexual awakening transformed her understanding about what kinds of bodies are lovable. She gives tips on how to feel better naked, tune into what you want, and communicate it to your partner.
The Thick Thighs Save Lives podcast: https://www.constantlyvariedgear.com/pages/thick-thighs-save-lives-podcast
Rachael Arruda – @rachael_cvg
Kelsea Hellyar – @littlemisshellya
Constantly Varied Gear – @constantly_varied_gear
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: Hey, friends. At the beginning of the last episode, I talked about how far behind I’ve been falling as the stress of two years of global crisis weighs on all of us. I’m not going to repeat the whole rant, but suffice to say, things aren’t any better today than they were two weeks ago. In fact, I’ve noticed things changing in a way that surprises me.
A few days ago, the state of Oregon announced that it will be lifting mask mandates in the coming weeks. And while this should be a sign of life returning to something approximating something like normal, instead it’s prompted something closer to a trauma response in me. I’ve spent some time thinking about this and what I’ve come to is that every time it seems like things might be on the verge of getting better, a new surge or a variant comes along and plunges us back into the darkness.
In the United States, our government and health agencies are saying that it’s time to start learning how to live with COVID rather than shutting our lives down. Intellectually, I understand what they’re saying, but my nervous system has become attuned to this pattern. Things get a little better, there’s hope, and then we get kicked yet again in the proverbial nuts and it feels even worse. And truth be told, this is not a new pattern for me.
In fact, I recognize it quite intimately from my childhood. Things would be going well at home. We’d have couple of days of peace. My dad would be jolly and happy. I’d begin to relax just a little and allow myself to feel just a little safe. Then out of nowhere, the next crisis would explode and my world would be in shambles yet again. And it would feel ten times worse because I had let my guard down. So, I learned to equate a slight relaxation as the exact moment I needed to put my walls up because the worst was yet to come.
So, here we sit at a moment when the world is starting to say, maybe it’s okay to relax a little and figure out the new normal. And my brain and nervous system are responding, are you fucking crazy? I’m going to lock down even harder. A couple weeks ago, Catieosaurus, who’s episode was released in this feed at the beginning of January posted on Twitter, “Retweet if after two years of an ongoing global pandemic, you’ve been living in what one could fairly say is an ongoing and constant trauma response, but you’ve been calling it a little tired and scattered because acknowledging how big and awful this is all the time feels even worse.” I feel that in the deepest part of me.
Ironically, the one place where I continue to feel competent and fully present is when I’m coaching. I’m able to put aside my own bullshit and meet my clients in their world, even though their world is riddled with the same pandemic mine is. So, quick plug. If you’ve been thinking about starting coaching, now is a great time.
But back to the podcast, I keep falling behind on all my podcast related deadlines and it’s been this way for a couple months. So, rather than continuing to push the boulder up the same mountain over and over, I’m going to give myself a short break. There won’t be any episodes in March. I plan to start up again in April depending on how my brain is doing. No fear though. This show isn’t going anywhere. I already have conversations recorded to get us through the summer and probably beyond. Recording the conversations is the fun and easy part. It’s getting them from raw audio to produced show where the backlog happens.
And that’s also the place where money makes a difference. So, if someone were to swoop in and fully fund this podcast, I would happily put out a new episode every week because I could hire people to do the pieces of the process that bog me down. But for the moment, that’s not the case. So, I just want to assure you that this isn’t the beginning of the dreaded pod fade. I’ll be back in your feed soon with a whole slate of brand-new kickass interviews. But until then, let’s jump into today’s episode.
I heard from a bunch of you how much you appreciated the last episode where I shared my conversation with the Human Awareness podcast where we talked about how many of us feel our personal worth is defined by how our body looks and how we think once we deal with body image issues, they should be done and gone forever. And how the phrase “I feel fat today” is actually pointing at something deeper.
So, today, I’m going to share another conversation with you about how our relationship with our bodies affects our relationship with sex. We talk about some of the same ideas, but the conversation itself is so different that I think it’s a really good companion to last time. So, I hope you’ll listen to both. So, on this episode, you’re going to hear me speaking with Rachael and Kelsea hosts of The Thick Thighs Save Lives Podcast.
Rachael and Kelsea are devoted to supporting women to change the way they define fitness. On their show, they spend a lot of time busting myths about dieting, the “right” way to work out and why being attached to your scale is actually damaging your progress. In this episode, you’ll hear us talk about the different messages boys and girls get growing up about their bodies, about body neutrality, the relationship between communication and touch and supporting women to accept and love the bodies they’re in today.
Thanks so much to Rachael and Kelsea for hosting this deep and wide-ranging conversation and for allowing me to share this episode with the Good Girls Talk About Sex audience. If you want to hear more of their conversations, look for The Thick Thighs Save Lives Podcast on all major podcast providers. On with the show!
LEAH: Clients will come to me and say, “I need my partner to touch me differently or sometimes, I don’t want my partner to touch me at all.” But for this example, the more useful one is, “I need my partner to touch me differently.” And I’ll say, “Okay, this is a great place to start. How do you want your partner to touch you?” And the response is almost always, “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that part. I just know I don’t like what they’re doing.”
KELSEA: Can we help them out a little? It’s not what you’re doing, but I’m not sure.
RACHAEL: The big question is this. In a world of fake Instagram models and fad diets, how do real people achieve their fitness goals? We are an army of hardworking women changing their lives through fitness and health. Wherever you are at on your journey, we have the answers to how to make working out and eating well a part of your life. Join us in changing the dialogue for women everywhere. Welcome to The Thick Thighs Save Lives Podcast.
RACHAEL: Hi, guys and welcome back to The Thick Thighs Save Lives Podcast. I’m Rachael.
KELSEA: And I’m Kelsea.
RACHAEL: And we have a sexy, sexy episode for you today. We have our guest, Leah Carey. She is a sex and intimacy coach and host of the podcast Good Girls Talk About Sex.
KELSEA: Love that.
RACHAEL: Her journey and purpose to body neutrality through a healthy relationship with your sexuality really caught out attention. It is an outstanding message and she loves talking about all things related to female sexuality and how to maximize your happiness and fulfillment through developing a healthy mindset when it comes to your body. So, Leah, thank you so much for being on with us today.
LEAH: Thank you so much for having me. I’m thrilled to be here.
KELSEA: Man, I’m loving this episode already.
RACHAEL: I know. She’s a vibe. I like her vibe.
KELSEA: I just get so excited. You’re such a vibe. I love it. All right. So, we’re going to dive right into it with how does one become a sex and intimacy coach? Tell us about your journey and how you found your career here.
LEAH: Okay. So, how does one become a sex and intimacy coach? In my case, by being terribly sexually repressed for the first 42 years of my life.
LEAH: This became my calling because I lived it so hard. It was so painful for so long. I grew up in a home where there was a lot of emotional abuse, some sort of lowkey sexual inappropriateness. And my father told me, starting when I was 11 or 12, so around puberty, my father started telling me I was fat and ugly and that people wouldn’t like me if I didn’t have a perfect body. And at the same time, he was telling me that he had to lock me in my room until I was 30 and he would break the kneecaps of any boy who looked at me. So, super confusing. Am I totally unlovable or am I so desirable that I have to be protected from the world?
And so, what I did was just shut my sexuality down. I was internally still totally boy crazy, and then as I grew into my college and early 20s, I became girl crazy as well. And that was its own confusion. But on the outside, you would never have known that I was interested in someone because to me, the idea of letting somebody know that I was interested meant that I was putting them and myself in danger.
So, the relationships I got involved in, I didn’t have my first serious relationship until I was 25. It was the first time I had sex. The relationships I got involved in tended toward the emotionally abusive because that was all I knew that I was worthy of. I thought I should just take what I can get because no one else is going to love me anyway.
My dad passed away when I was in my mid-20s. So, the next 20 years after that, I was the one who was repeating his voice in my head. Yes, he had said all these incredibly damaging stuff, but he was gone. And now I was the one who was perpetrating all of that abuse on myself and continuing to tell myself that I was fat, continuing to tell myself that I was unlovable, and finding people who would reinforce those beliefs for me.
The big change came for me when I was 42. My mom had passed away. She was my absolute best friend in the world. It was so painful to lose her, but what happened, God, I still get chills when I talk about this because it is such a hard dichotomy for me, it was incredibly awful to lose her and she was my last tie to all of those old stories about being a good girl. She had been very loving. She had not emotionally abusive with me at all. And she and my father were no longer together, but still I had imbued our relationship with a lot of those stories about I had to be a good girl because that’s who she knew me to be. And when she was gone, I no longer had to be that good girl.
And that was what freed me to go on this incredible journey of sexual healing that literally took me around the United States and to a sex resort in Jamaica and all of these places that brought me to this recognition that, oh, wait. Maybe those things that my dad told me were not true. And maybe I’m allowed to be a sexual person. And in all of that, one of the really hard lessons that I had to learn was that even though I look in the mirror, and I still don’t love what I see in the mirror, I have a larger body. I got rolls. I got cellulite. I’m a little chunky, but I still have thin privilege. I still even though I look the mirror and I do not see somebody who is thin or pretty, I have thin privilege. I have pretty privilege because my face is basically symmetrical. That has been an incredibly difficult thing for me to face that the way that I learned to view myself on the inside and the way that other people see me are completely different. And I think it’s true for a lot of us.
KELSEA: I love that. And we come back to this time and time again, but the people doing the most important work in their field, they always have the one thing in common which is it comes from such a deep-seated personal experience. And that is I feel like the people who really truly know what the feels are and they can really just get out there in the world and relate to all of the people having those same feels and they’re just doing the best kind of work that way. You got to know it. You got to feel it.
LEAH: Yeah. I can’t disagree with you. That’s what I see when I look at the field and I think that people will say to me, “Oh, I’m so sorry that all of this happened with your dad.” And yeah, it sucked. And I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it weren’t for that because I wouldn’t have had to go through this transformation. I wouldn’t feel so passionate about this subject if it had been easier for me.
RACHAEL: And I think that the message that you got from your dad is one that we receive as women existing in this world.You are a danger to yourself. You’re a danger to other people. You’re putting yourself in danger by just existing. And I know that that’s a message we get at such a young age with the same language of locking you in your room until you’re 30. There are several ways that you can say that. You’re not dating until you’re 30. The things that we say to young girls.
KELSEA: Just that saying I’m in trouble, just that little phrase.
KELSEA: By you existing here, meaning that you are the trouble.
LEAH: And that you have to be both female enough to be acceptable, but not too female because then you’re dangerous and you’re jailbait and you’re causing boys to sin. What is that? It’s so harmful.
RACHAEL: Yes. And it’s trickled into everything we do. We get into a school setting and it’s like, “No tank tops because you are a distraction. You are a danger. You are a distraction. You are the source of everything that we don’t want here by your general existence.” And that is so problematic and a message that girls receive loud and clear throughout their lives.
LEAH: Yeah. As we’re recording this right now, there’s a headline that I’ve seen several times in the last day about a judge saying that a teenage boy who has been convicted of rape and assault shouldn’t go to jail because that’ll be too harmful for him. We teach our boys that their sexual needs are more important than the existence of women.
KELSEA: Absolutely could not agree more. And I think that there’s so many women just shaking their heads on all of these messages because I have not yet come across a woman that says I’ve never heard any of that. And there’s level of all the messaging, but you have been in the trenches and heard these things and have these deep-seated things. I just think that makes your message so valuable and so heard by so many women.
So, let’s talk about body neutrality for a minute because you touched upon that in talking about you still have trouble when you look in the mirror and you don’t always love everything you see. So, body neutrality, it’s in its early stages, but it’s definitely picking up some steam. Can you talk for a minute about what that means to you and how it relates to a healthy sex life and otherwise life?
LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. So, I want to give proper acknowledgement to the coach who I worked with who I know you have interviewed in the past, Jessi Kneeland.
KELSEA: God, I was thinking about her. As we’re talking about this, I’m like, “She’s amazing.”
LEAH: Yes. And she is the coach who I worked with. And I want to be clear, I did the work and she changed my life.
LEAH: So, thank you, Jessi. I found Jessi right around the time that I was beginning this journey of trying to figure out not my sexuality, I knew who I was attracted to, but trying to figure out how I was allowed to experience and express my sexuality in the world. And we had some incredibly profound conversations like early on in our coaching relationship, I remember I had met this guy.
I was traveling around the country. I called it my freedom tour. I was looking for the next place I was going to live and I was in Washington DC for about 10 days and I had turned on a dating app because this was like my step out into the world. I’m in this city where I will never see these people again, so what can it hurt to just go on a dating app and see what happens? And I met this guy, had a dinner date with him. And he was very bland, but we got along fine.
LEAH: And so, I was talking to Jessi and I said, “I’m curious. Would it be terrible for me to get together with him just to have sex?” And her response was, “I’m curious about you using the word terrible instead of saying, would it be fun?” Oh my god.
LEAH: And that was what helped me to know that I could trust her to talk about my body because there was this fear in me that she was going to say, “I’m sorry. I can’t work with you if you are this cavalier about using your body.” And so, what I learned with her was I don’t have to get to this place where I look in the mirror and I’m like, “I love my body. I love my curves. My curves are gorgeous.”
That’s just not going to happen, but I can get to the point where I don’t hate my body and I can put clothes on my body and be like, “This is okay. I’m going to go out into the world today and my body is not the most important thing about me. It is not the only thing that people are going to care about.” This was a conversation that went on over time with Jessi. It was not an overnight thing. I want to be super clear that this took months and months, deep internal consistent work. And I’m now four years out and this is something I’m still learning about on an active ongoing basis. The thing that made the biggest difference for me in actually experiencing it was I mentioned a few minutes ago that I went to a sex resort in Jamaica. So, I went by myself and I was terrified.
LEAH: This didn’t happen because I was brave. This happened because I was scared out of my mind, but I knew that I would wonder and regret it if I didn’t do it. And so, I went and initially, my thought was, “I’m going to have some sexy adventures.” And then, I got there and I was like, “Oh, no. No, I’m not. This is way too far outside my comfort zone.”
KELSEA: No sexy adventures.
LEAH: That shit is not happening this week.
RACHAEL: I was braver when I was thinking about it.
LEAH: That is exactly true.
LEAH: But I found a hammock on the beach. It was a nude beach. For anyone who’s curious, it’s called Hedonism 2. And so, I sat on the nude beach for five days, completely nude, took my book. I literally read on the beach of the sex resort for five days. It was like the most vanilla possible experience you could have.
LEAH: But what I learned was that nobody told me to go put my clothes on. Nobody walked by me, I had these immense fears that people were going to be like, “Nobody wants to see all that. Take that away. Go put that away. Go inside, put your clothes on, nobody wants to see that.” And it never once happened.
People actually looked at me with my rolls and my curves and my cellulite with heat. I don’t think that I was putting off any sexy vibes at all. I only got hit on once during the five days I was there. That was fine, but I could see the way that people were looking at me and they were looking at me with heat. And I was looking around the other people on the beach and it’s very hard to talk about this without talking about body sizes, which is something I really don’t want to do, but I honestly don’t know how else to convey this yet. There were women on that beach who were 300, 350 pounds. There were women on that beach who were under 100 pounds and I could see their ribs. There were women on that beach using walkers because they had such severe arthritis and other conditions.
Every single one of those women had somebody looking at them with desire. That is when it clicked for me that all of this shit that we hear about how you have to have a model’s body and how you have to lose 20 pounds and, oh my god, the love handles, none of it matters. It is absolutely not true. There are people who want to love us in the body we are in today, not 10 pounds from now.
KELSEA: That’s gold.
RACHAEL: That’s everything.
KELSEA: Did you guys hear that? I just want you to play that back because that’s important shit right there.
RACHAEL: That’s just everything because I think a lot of times, we just have this idea built up in our mind that it’s someone else, something else, some other look, something other than what we are currently in. And the saddest thing and the thing that I wish everyone would know and learn is that it doesn’t exist. There is no weight that you’re going to feel like you are the sexiest. There is no space where you are like, “Oh, when I get there.” If you’re waiting for it, it’ll never happen.
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 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.
LEAH: Today’s episode is sponsored by Kindra. Kindra is a self-care company that makes estrogen-free essentials to support people who experience the hormonal changes of menopause. Their best-selling product is a daily vaginal lotion that comes with a revolutionary reusable applicator and dramatically relieves vaginal dryness. This intimate lotion is formulated with skin soothing humectants and critical vitamins like niacinamide that can improve the appearance of inflammation and rebuild moisture over time. Plus, after just three days of use, 80% of users said it feels like natural lubrication and reported improvement in discomfort during intimacy. So, try out Kindra using code goodgirls20 for 20% off your first purchase. That link and code are in the show notes on the app you’re listening on right now. And please, let me know. I’d love to hear how it works for you!
KELSEA: There’s so many instances in which we say that body positivity has a size, it has an aesthetic. It’s going to come, but it’s just around the corner. It’s that 10 pounds. It’s my boobs, they’re just not perky enough, but if I could get a boob job. We often hear, “If I looked like her, I’d walk around naked all the time.” Would you though? Because I really want to challenge women to really think about this, it’s always in the distance. And Leah, in your opinion, what are the issues with conditional terms of feeling good naked in actual aesthetics?
LEAH: I love what you just said. This idea that people have, I talk about this experience and people listen to me and they’re like, “That sounds amazing. That sounds so freeing, but I could never do it myself. It’s too scary.” And I get it. Before the moment that I did it myself, I never could have done it myself.
KELSEA: Amazing how that worked.
LEAH: It was so terrifying. And now, I actively seek out rooms where people are nude together because it is so incredibly healing for my body image. So, I’m part of an organization here in Portland, Oregon where we have nude events. And that was so important to me in this ongoing process of body image. And then, we went into a pandemic where for two years, we weren’t in the same room together, let alone all naked together. And my body image has taken a fairly slow but steady backward fall.
And we’re just starting now to do nude events again. I think I’ve been to two or three over the past couple of months with lots of important COVID protocols in place, but being back in those rooms, I can feel it starting to work on me again in positive ways. The fear is, at least this is the fear as I know it myself and have heard it from other people, I’m sure there’s lots of other versions of this fear out there, but the fear as I understand it is I’m going to walk into that room and everyone’s going to judge me because I don’t look perfect. When in truth, when everyone is naked, nobody is actually looking really at anybody because you’re all just there being and feeling into yourselves.
It is not true to say nobody’s looking. Of course, people are looking, but part of what creates this issue is that we’re covering ourselves. And so, we’re all wondering what’s under somebody else’s clothes and believing that it’s better than what we have under our clothes. And once we take our clothes off, we see how untrue that is. Even people with flat stomachs and tiny waists and perky boobs have places that they’re uncomfortable with. They have places that they’re trying to hide or show in the best angle. Models do not believe that they are stunning gorgeous creatures for the most part because they’re constantly being told what’s wrong with them and what they have to fix. We are trying to live up to something that does not exist.
RACHAEL: I love this idea. I think that a lot of our listeners are going to be thinking like, “I can’t even change in front of a mirror and I can’t even get naked in front of my husband or my significant other.” And I hear that and I want to validate those experiences, but what advice would you give to some of those ladies to take the first step in getting more comfortable in their body and their own skin?
LEAH: Yeah. So, I actually a couple months ago had a few friends who have large audiences on Instagram polled their audiences for me, And the question was, do you feel comfortable being fully naked in front of your partner? 35% of women said no. That’s massive.
KELSEA: That’s heartbreaking.
LEAH: That is stunning to me.
KELSEA: It’s your partner.
LEAH: It’s the person who one would hope you could be the most raw and vulnerable with. So, what does it look like to start overcoming this? First of all, I think that a lot of people, the standard advice would be just do it. Just take your clothes off. Turn the lights on and get through it the first time, then it’ll be easier. I think that is absolutely the wrong way to go about it because what you’re going to do is trigger your nervous system into total overwhelm and freakout. And then, it’s going to feel even harder and more traumatic.
Instead, what I would say and this is something that I do with my partner on a fairly regular basis because, like I said, I’m still working these issues myself, I hear my partner say I love you. I love your body just the way it is. And in my head, I think, “Okay, sure. A) You’re probably crazy and B) You have to say that because we’re in a relationship and you don’t want me to go crazy on you because, God forbid, the woman should go crazy.”
So, hearing the words “You are beautiful and I love your body” are nice, but they are never going to do the trick because we don’t believe them. And so, all of our defenses are going to come up and be like, “You’re lying to me.” Similarly, all of this stuff about, “Look in the mirror and tell yourself 10 nice things a day and tell yourself how much you love yourself,” same thing. It’s going to trigger all of your systems that say, “That’s bullshit. I don’t believe it.”
Instead, what I recommend is going to your partner and hopefully you have a partner who’s going to be sensitive to this, go to your partner and say, “I am having difficulty. I am really challenged,” especially now most of us have been more sedentary over the last two years than we’re used to, “I’m feeling really self-conscious. And I could use some validation, but here’s what I need to hear. I need to hear why you love me, why you love my body, not that you love my body, but what about my body is it that you love? Because I want to try to see myself through your eyes.” And the adjustment is not to go from I hate my body to I love my body.
KELSEA: It’s unrealistic.
LEAH: It just doesn’t happen that way.
LEAH: The adjustment is to go from I hate my body to my partner is telling me that they love my body and I don’t believe it yet, but I’m choosing to believe that they believe it that they’re not lying to me. That I think is the crucial intermediate step that most people miss and then get caught up in this. They’re lying to me and I can’t believe anything they say. The intermediate step is this is what they’re saying and I don’t have to believe it yet, but I am going to choose to believe that they believe it.
RACHAEL: I always ask myself the question like what’s his motivation for lying?
LEAH: Right? Yeah.
RACHAEL: Why would he say I love the thing about you? This is an elaborate lie that he had to spend all this time thinking about that you just came up with on the second. What would be his motivation there for telling you this massive lie or is it really just the truth?
RACHAEL: You know what I love about that too is just being the therapist in me says that I love being able to identify what it is specifically you need and then put some language behind that where you’re saying to your partner like, “This is what I think I need right now and it looks like this.” That’s a really important communication tool with anyone who’s in your life.
KELSEA: Do that with that you can expand that and really start living your best life.
KELSEA: Because people don’t know. A lot of us don’t even know what we are looking for. So, the first thing is like, what am I looking for from my partner right now? That question alone can be really internally challenging, and then being able to share it with your person is a next step that is also bridging a gap between both of you.
LEAH: Yeah. One of the things that I use frequently with my clients is called the 3-minute game where you lie down and your partner sits next to you and you literally start a timer for three minutes on your phone and the person who’s sitting up says, “How would you like me to touch you for three minutes?” And that turns out to be an incredibly difficult question for most people regardless of gender, for most people to answer becuase we don’t think that way.
When it comes to being in the bedroom, those of us who were brought up as little girls were brought up to take care of everyone else first to make sure everyone’s needs are taken care of before we have our own. Maybe we’re not even allowed to have our own. We’re in constant performance mode of making sure that everyone else is cared for. And so, when somebody says, “What do you want?” Our brain immediately goes to, what can I say that I want that will make them happy? So, when the question is, “I’m not asking for anything in return, I simply want to pay attention to you for three minutes, what do you want for those three minutes?” Our brains just go, “I don’t know.”
LEAH: Yeah. Wait, you’re going to touch me and I don’t have to do anything in return? I’m sorry. That does not compute.
RACHAEL: Right. I’m confused.
LEAH: Yes. So, it is a really challenging question and clients will come to me and say, “I need my partner to touch me differently or sometimes I don’t want my partner to touch me at all.” But for this example, the more useful one is, “I need my partner to touch me differently.” And I’ll say, “Okay, this is a great place to start. How do you want your partner to touch you?” And the response is almost always, “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that part. I just know I don’t want like what they’re doing.”
KELSEA: Not that. Can we help them out a little? It’s not what you’re doing, but I’m not sure.
LEAH: So, all of this, I think people tend to think that sex is 20% maybe communication and 80% touch. I think that it’s 80% communication and 20% touch. The touch is the fun part, but you don’t get to actually have the kind of fulfilling connected fun that you want until you’ve done the communication part which is saying, “Here’s what’s going on with me. Here’s what I need. Here’s what I want. Here’s how I feel loved.”
RACHAEL: I love that.
RACHAEL: I love the example you gave of practical advice that you give your clients because I think that a lot of women listening may be at a point where they’re starting to see that maybe their sex life and their thoughts about sex are a little bit damaged and especially deeply rooted in these things, like you said, we were brought up with and deep-seated body issues that have just infiltrated their way into really all parts of lives.
Not being able to take off your shirt at the gym when you’re hot, not being able to walk confidently into a clothing store and pick on some clothes and go into the dressing room, not being able to be naked in front of your husband, not wanting to be intimate with him or with the lights on or all of these things. So, if someone is starting to recognize that they have some issues in this area that they may want to work on or improve, what would you say are some of the first steps that women can do? Should we watch porn? What should we do?
LEAH: Wow. So, it’s a big question and there are a lot of different ways to come at it. If porn appeals to you, great. Do it. I am not an anti-porn advocate. I think that if you’re going to watch it, please pay for it and seek out ethical feminist porn because you’re probably going to like it more.
LEAH: So, yeah, there’s that. But there are lots of ways. One of the questions that I get a lot is, “I literally don’t know what I want. My partner asked me what I want and I don’t know what to say.” And so, I will frequently recommend whether it’s watching porn, reading books that have sex scenes, watching TV shows.
If Grey’s Anatomy is your thing, great. Go watch Grey’s Anatomy. Things that make you feel juicy. Movies, same. If there are movies that you know turn you on, watch those scenes with an eye toward not just how am I feeling, but what is the moment where I start to get turned on? What is the thing that’s going on? Because you may find that it’s not that the deep kissing that when you try it, you’re like, “Meh, okay. But it doesn’t, ugh.”
RACHAEL: Kind of sloppy.
LEAH: It might be that the guy’s wearing a cowboy hat or it could be that the part of the sex scene where you start to get really turned on is where she takes his hand and holds it down over his head. We tend to watch sex scenes as a whole and think, “Oh, that was really hot.” But not then break it down a little bit further into what was it about it that got me really juiced up? So that then I can start exploring that in my own bedroom.
A couple more great resources are literotica. It’s erotica with an L at the beginning, www.literotica.com and they have a vast library of user-submitted erotica. And it’s all tagged by different types of activity because there are thousands and hundreds of thousands of things that you can do in bed that aren’t just straight PIV intercourse, penis in vagina intercourse. You don’t even have to have penetrative intercourse to have a fulfilling sexual experience.
So, another great resource is Dipsea, D-I-P-S-E-A. I’m sorry, online is the wrong word. Audio erotica, so you listen to stories. People can come to my website if they want a free month because they’re sponsoring my show right now. Using these different resources to really dive into what is it that’s turning me on and how can I extrapolate that into my real life?
I do want to give one detour here. That’s not the right word, but I can’t come up with the right word that you may find that there are things that turn you on to fantasize about, to watch, to read about that you don’t actually want to do in your real life and that is completely okay. It’s completely normal. If you’re watching porn or reading erotica or fantasizing about something that you’re like, “This is twisted in a way that I’m not okay with, then is there something terribly wrong with me that I’m thinking about this?” No, not at all. Your fantasies are completely normal.
The way that I look at it is your fantasies are completely normal and the kind of sex that you are having is completely normal. The only caveat is if your fantasies or activities revolve around hurting someone without their consent, you can hurt someone with their consent all day long, but If you’re hurting someone without their consent, that’s where we draw the line. That’s where you probably need to talk to somebody. Get some type of therapeutic intervention. Other than that, everything is on the table.
RACHAEL: What a freeing idea.
KELSEA: I know.
RACHAEL: That you’re not a bad girl if you do XYZ. I was saying to Kelsea before that idea of that we’re told right in the beginning, you’re a good girl. You’re a bad girl. And it being so tied to sexuality and then we grow up and extend it to everything. Now, there are good and bad foods. And we’re being a bad girl when we eat cake and we’re being a good girl when we eat salad.
KELSEA: And there’s good and bad with ways to express yourself sexually. It’s the same thing. What are you wearing? Are you good or are you bad? Are your shorts too short? Are you bad? But wait in certain circumstances, you’re very good. It’s like whoa, this is so confusing.
KELSEA: And impossible. And I think that really it translates everywhere and when you start to realize that freeing message, like you said, that there is no good and bad, that there is just me, it opens the doors to being able to really discover who you are and once the wheels have started, that fulfilling life is just out there waiting for you because you can go and get everything you want to get.
LEAH: Yeah. I love that. And I would say what you said at the beginning was you’re not a bad girl unless you want to be called a bad girl and that’s okay too.
KELSEA: And that’s okay too. We’re wondering what has been the most rewarding aspect of becoming a sex and intimacy coach for you?
LEAH: Oh my god. Watching people’s lights turn on, I think. It’s those moments. So, I remember, there’s so many moments that for me are like, “That was the moment when something changed for me.” One of them was when I was in a class learning about consent, learning about having a consent conversation. Okay. I’m going to be just a little bit explicit here. I had stopped giving blow jobs to men back in my 20s because I read a Cosmo article that said if you love him, you will swallow.
KELSEA: Cosmo, what did you do to our generation of girls?
LEAH: I was like, “No, that’s just not happening.” I tried it once. I was nauseous for days. I couldn’t do it. No, hell no.
RACHAEL: So, you don’t love him then?
LEAH: Because I didn’t want the guys to think that I didn’t love them. And I was in this class learning about consent conversations and I heard this woman say, “I enjoy giving blow jobs, but one of my boundaries is that you are not allowed to cum in my mouth or on my face.” And I was like, “Wait, what?”
KELSEA: That’s an option?
KELSEA: You set your own boundaries for your own body? Mind-dropping.
LEAH: And literally my brain exploded and I had to go pick it up.
LEAH: And then, I started trying that because I was in a period where I was having a lot of sexual engagement with a lot of different people and my thought was, “That’s fine for her to say, but people are going to reject me if I say that.” When I tell you, I have said this now to, I don’t know how many guys, let’s just say 10 guys, not a single one of them was like, “Never mind then.”
RACHAEL: Funny how that works. It’s a deal breaker.
LEAH: Wait, you want to put your mouth on my dick? Okay.
LEAH: And I’m now with a partner and one of the things that he did early on our relationship was he found some condoms that have no scent and no taste and they’re non-lubricated. And he got me 100 pack of them. He’s like, “Here, can we have blowjobs to completion now?” I was like, “Yes we can. Absolutely.”
RACHAEL: You put in the work. Let’s go.
LEAH: He figured out a brilliant solution. What I love is watching people have those moments of, “You mean I’m allowed to say that? I’m allowed to do that or think that? I’m allowed to be that?” That is the most rewarding thing for me. That is my favorite thing when somebody gets to that moment.
RACHAEL: Isn’t that amazing just being a coach, watching someone in whatever aspect of their life, have that moment where they’re owning it in themselves and really making a choice to express themselves, own their body? For us, take off your shirt at the gym and just be our free self is for me, you hit it right on the head is the most rewarding.
KELSEA: The way she said that, I was going to say same. When she said the most rewarding is to see somebody be able to just say, “This is me.” And I was like, “Oh my god, same but just a different field.”
KELSEA: Because it’s just women just finally getting the keys to own themselves and that lights me up. That’s the shit that gets me out of bed in the morning because we are in touch with so many women at so many different ages, everywhere around the world, and just watching them in different aspects of their fitness and their life, really find themselves and finding themselves worthy and valuable and important in this world, it’s just everything as a coach.
LEAH: Yes, I agree so much. One of the reasons that I reached out to you to do this interview was because I love that you are supporting women in being in their bodies in the bodies that they’re in and also going through this fitness journey because I think it’s so important to take apart, to divorce the idea that I have to look a certain way in order for someone to be attracted to me. No, someone is going to be attracted to you where you are today. Now, what do you want to do about your body for you?
KELSEA: How do you want to feel? How do you want to be in this world? How do you want to feel your happiest, healthiest self? And whatever that looks and feels like for you is exactly perfect.
RACHAEL: That’s one of the reasons why I was so excited too about speaking to you, Leah, because it’s so far-reaching. And when we talk about health of our lives, our sex lives are so, so intricate and important and such a huge piece of that and leading that out and saying, “I guess I’m working on my self-confidence and I guess I’m working on deadlifting more at the gym, but I still really can’t tell my husband what I want or my wife or my partner,” those things, it’s a whole package. And really making sure that that is integrated into the journey of self-discovery and realizing that you are enough right now to be and to say what you need. That’s your message and we’re just 100% here for that.
LEAH: Thank you. I’m 100% here for you too.
RACHAEL: Leah, it’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you today. Where can our listeners get more from you because they’re going to love you?
LEAH: Thanks. Please come join me on my podcast Good Girls Talk About Sex and to give you a little teaser of what it is, it is a non-expert show. It’s not about me teaching you how to have better sex. This is me interviewing real everyday women about their sex lives, what’s working for them, what’s not working for them, what they wish could be better, where they learned the messages that have affected their sex lives. I work really hard to make it very diverse, so we’re talking ages, races, body types, different backgrounds, etc. So, that’s Good Girls Talk About Sex on all of the major podcast apps. And if you’re interested in coaching, you can find me at www.leahcarey.com
RACHAEL: Perfect. We will link this in our show notes too so that they have some easy access to you, but I know they’re definitely going to want to hear more from you. So, thank you so, so, so much for coming on.
LEAH: Thank you both for having me. I have loved this conversation.
KELSEA: Thank you so much for listening to The Thick Thighs Save Lives Podcast. If you’d like to join our movement, get in our free app, CVG Nation, available in your App Store. We have an amazing community of women coaches to help you with your movements, challenges, and we give away leggings daily in there. Rachael and I are in there every day, so it’s a perfect place to get in touch with us. This podcast is made possible by Constantly Varied Gear. So, be sure to check out www.constantlyvariedgear.com. Have an amazing week. Crush your goals.
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!
All archived Good Girls Talk About Sex audio extras are now available for FREE! They can be accessed at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
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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