So, you’re probably wondering about that title, “your vulva is a snowflake,” and the fact that today’s episode has the word “sex” front and center
You might even be thinking, oh this episode isn’t for me, I’m not in a relationship or having sex – or, I AM in a relationship and it’s a healthy relationship – or, I’m not looking for sex advice right now – or whatever might be coming into your brain because this episode has “sex” in the title.
I want to make this clear – yes, we talk about the act of sex a little, but this episode is not about intercourse or partnership. Like, at all.
This is one of the most all-inclusive, body-positive conversations I know I’ve ever had. And probably, you too.
Anne Hodder is a certified sex educator, sex toy expert, and sex-positive PR & marketing pro at Hodder Media. I originally met her at the gym, in a spin class, and since then she has been such a thoughtful, wise, and supportive presence in my life. I knew that when the time was right, I needed to have her on the pod. And today, more than ever, seems like the moment to talk as candidly, honestly, graphically, and altruistically about sex, sexuality, trauma, consent, desire, and body positivity as we do here in Episode 16.
So when you hear “sex educator,” if you’re like me, you probably think about your health teacher in middle school and that one unit they did on the “how-tos” of sex and our bodies.
Talking to Anne, I learned it’s, so, SO much more than that. And while most of us get the birds and the bees talk or maybe get that year or two of classes in school, it’s NOT enough. What Anne does isn’t just talking about intercourse – it’s about owning your body, your decisions, your emotions, and making empowered choices. Yes, sometimes in the bedroom – but a lot of what she talks about doesn’t even have to do with going between the sheets.
In this episode, we talk about shame, what we get wrong about sexual trauma – or at least what I did – and how MUCH that explains when it comes to the way we navigate our relationships and sexuality, her experiences with talking to high schoolers vs. adults, Anne’s journey into the sex journalism and then sex education world, judgement, dealing with embarrassment, body hangups, sex positivity, body positivity, and why no emotion is mutually exclusive. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I especially love Anne’s take on the ideas surrounding “normal,” how clickbait pseudo-science articles on the web screw us up, and how we can all be WAY more accepting of who we are and how we desire.
I came to a realization while listening back to this recording: Ann says “There are things we can and cannot say to people under 18. The thing we need to remember when talking with high school kids is that developmentally they’re in a totally different place.” And it donned on me that most of our FORMAL, ACTUAL SEX ED ends in high school health class. Which means that, for most of us, the education ends before we’re actually experiencing the majority of our mature sexual life. The education ends – and the speculation begins. No wonder sex, sexuality, and everything even closely related seems like such a mystery – the information we have was given to us based on what we were actually able to process at the time!
I had “human development class” every single year from kindergarten to sixth grade, talking about everything from dating to kissing to drugs to, yes, how babies are made. And then I got to middle school, and I distinctly remember we talked about sex in 7th grade. And then nothing in 8th, then barely anything in 9th, and that was it. In 9th grade, I was 14 years old.
I was really lucky to have incredibly open-minded and candid parents, especially a mom I could talk to or ask anything. But I know some young women aren’t as lucky growing up. Even with her guidance, I was still being handed a set of experiences and opinions – nothing from anyone actually trained to guide me through things from an educational non-parental perspective. So it makes sense to me that sex and sexuality are most commonly surrounded by shame, mystery, rebellion, etc. And moreOVER!, we only see sex portrayed a certain way in the media – USUALLY heterosexual, usually cisgender, and USUALLY two really young, really pretty people. Very little body diversity, age diversity, gender diversity. We’ve got to see more in order to normalize our own normal.
This should go without saying, but this episode IS for mature audiences – we swear a bit, we talk not GRAPHICALLY in a vulgar way but in an anatomical way, and while Anne was cracking me up throughout the entire episode, it’s definitely not a set of subjects to be taken lightly. And hey, if that’s not your thing, cool – or if you’re, I don’t know, my grandma listening (and she DOES listen) and you don’t really want to hear your granddaughter talking about this, that’s cool too! But on the huge flipside, I would say that this is an episode that should DEFINITELY be shared with anyone in your life who is open to listening, because as we discuss on the episode, we live in a culture that dodges these important topics way too often and to our detriment.
Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the pod by shopping on Amazon
Find your local Planned Parenthood
Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Anne’s message is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!