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Episode 1

Welcome to the very first episode of the BBXX Podcast, “Let’s Get Intimate!” We’re here to discuss everything you never learned about sexuality, intimacy, communication, and healthy relationships.

Peggy Orenstein is a New York Times best-selling author of the book Girls & Sex and was voted one of the “40 Women Who Changed the Media Business in the Past 40 Years,” by the Columbia Journalism Review. Our conversation with her was so good that we’ve made two episodes of it! We delve into the impact of sex empowerment and transparency in young people-especially girls.

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Sasza Lohrey 

Alright everybody, thanks for joining us today. We have the honor of having Peggy Orenstein on board with us today. So I’d like to kind of just start out with to give people an idea of your work and kind of the motivation and the inspiration behind it to have you talk a little bit about how you got started where your personal narrative comes into play throughout your work.

Peggy Orenstein 

Well, I mean, I always I always start with personal and Girls and Sex, It’s sort of a, there’s a bunch of different things that led me there. Part of it is that I have a daughter who was heading to high school. And so I was really thinking I knew about these issues that have always been percolating for me, but, you know, one thing that I really struggled I never got this into the book, but I kept trying, I kept putting it in taking it out, was was sort of my own experience as a girl, which was very positive. And I think that that was partly why I was so taken aback by what I was hearing from young women, partly because my mom was really positive. I was definitely told, you know, nobody buys the cow when they can get the milk for free and this kind of like, Wait till you’re married. I mean, literally, my dad said that.

Sasza Lohrey 

I’ve never heard that expression! What does that even mean?

Peggy Orenstein 

Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Like, why would you marry somebody if you can have sex with them?

Sasza Lohrey 

And your dad told you that?

Peggy Orenstein 

My dad sat me down before 

Sasza Lohrey 

That’s so insightful. 

Peggy Orenstein 

I know. They changed. Yeah, I changed. I don’t put my parents down but my mom. So once you got married, though, right. My mom was really clear that like I didn’t really didn’t would be plugging my ears and humming because my mom would tell me how great her sex life was with my dad. And they would leave books around the house like everything, you know, back in that era, every 

Sasza Lohrey 

That was how you passively educated people. It’s like they’ll probably find this.

Peggy Orenstein 

Well, it wasn’t probably. It was like where I would n’t miss it. So, you know, I read all the chapters on female masturbation and thought when I was like 12, and yeah, I’m gonna go try that. But even more than that, I feel like there was this time sort of, after the sexual revolution. Yeah. Before there started to be the backlash against choice and abortion. Abortion was was available for teenagers birth control was available for teenagers, the AIDS crisis hadn’t started yet. And I think there’s this little sliver of a moment where for girls, you could actually explore your sexuality in the right circumstances. Not everybody not everywhere. But like we all went our freshman year of college and went into the student or room in the Student Union and took specula and flashlights and mirrors and dropped our pants and examined ourselves. I mean, like there was a thing there wasn’t, it was like there was a politicization of female sexual pleasure. Why not came from sort of a particular branch of second wave feminism and like trickled down to my generation. And then I think that door slam shot in the mid 80s, or the early 80s with AIDS and the Reagan administration and various things. Also we didn’t have frats when I went to college, we didn’t have alcohol either, for that matter. So we were having sober sex, that with a politicization of the female orgasm, and it was great, you know, so so I thought that was just going to keep on marching forward. And when I started talking to girls today about what their sex lives were like, I was kind of stunned, to be honest, because it was clear that they felt like yeah, sure, we can have sex, we can do what we want, but they weren’t enjoying it. And that contradiction, I just was like, I was really blown away by it. So that was sort of a lot of what motivated me.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah, that’s so interesting because it literally seems as though things have gone backwards, as you’re saying you’re talking about at this peak of potential for this revolution. And then now with at least speaking from my own personal experience, totally the opposite and much more closed off. And so you attributed that a little bit to AIDS, but what else would you say may have played a role in that?

Peggy Orenstein 

You know, people ask me all the time, what changed? And again, you know, I’m talking about a very specific demographic, but I felt like that demographic that I was in, was it but there was this potential for trickle down and for a broader idea, I think it was a combination of the rise of the Moral Majority. So what you know, eventually became like the Tea Party in the new right, and all these people sex education became super political to them. And that was their like, stake in the ground that they want to change. And Reagan gave that to them with abstinence only Education. The AIDS crisis made sex equal death for a whole generation of people. That took a lot of the fun away. And then simultaneously, the commercial culture, a lot of the rules were dropped around what they could pick. And that became a much more aggressively objectified culture. And then you had the internet, the rise of the Internet and social media, and then, you know, to be fair not to just totally stick it to the right. Bill Clinton, and I did not have sex with that woman and not defining oral sex is sex. And all of that did not do anybody any favors either.

Sasza Lohrey 

Right? And so BBXX actually started through an art project I did in college, and it came out of kind of this conversation I overheard it was in a personal narrative class in which you could ask these super personal questions. One person was in the hot seat and one of the questions asked in this kind of intimate classroom experience and environment was what’s the best sex you’ve ever had? And this girl answered, oh, and this was her second long term relationship. And she said to be honest, it’s never really been that great. And you know, we tried for a while. But now we just kind of focus on him and I just enjoy the experience. And I remember thinking, frustrated from my own experiences and lack of information too throughout life thinking, why is this a story I hear so much? Why is this the norm? Like this is agreeable.

Peggy Orenstein 

 I mean, that’s the script. That’s the script. The script focuses on male pleasure. Sarah McLellan, who’s a psychologist at the University of Michigan frames this as a social justice issue, which I think is really great. And she coined the phrase that I use all the time, which is intimate justice. And that’s this idea that sex is political, as well as personal so just like you know, who voted The floor who does the dishes in your house, and it brings up similar issues around gender inequality and economic disparity and physical and mental well being and violence. And what intimate justice urges to do is ask these questions. So who is entitled to engage in an experience who is entitled to enjoy that experience? Who’s the primary beneficiary of that experience? How does each partner define good enough? And you know, yeah, those are really hard questions. I think, for a lot of adult women, and traumatic questions to confront when I start talking about this in a crowd of parents, I can see on women’s faces, this sort of almost terror goes across their face or this sorrow. And I just kept thinking when we’re talking about girls, I just, I don’t want girls’ early experiences to be something they have to get over.

Sasza Lohrey 

Right. And I just think it’s so interesting, and I’d love you to speak a little more about the findings. What you found throughout these conversations with so many young Girls, but then also how a lot of the patterns don’t change as these girls age and become young women or adult women. There seem to be so many of the same conversations, the same patterns and the same just kind of lack of information, sometimes lack of empowerment.

Peggy Orenstein

Yeah, I mean, one thing I always talk about is the American Psychological clutteradactomy. And I think I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s sort of funny, but in flip, but it’s really real. And it’s the way that we completely, I mean, I just saw Did you get the book when you were little Karen keeping a view of the American Girl book, most girls get that for their puberty book.

Sasza Lohrey 

I got nothing. Oh, I got zero writing. I didn’t even get a map that says here’s your clittoris. I had to Google it when I was 20 because I decided maybe I don’t have one. Maybe that’s why I don’t have orgasms, and I’m just like, how is that a thing that anyone ever say? My fear thinking that we would never think that 

Peggy Orenstein 

We would never allow that level of ignorance about your elbow. or your nose, I mean it’s crazy. I’ll get back to the American Psychological code rejecting me but the Karen keeping of you 2, which is the second book, they have a map of the external female genitalia. They don’t name the clitoris. No, it’s like sort of a mark there. But, you know, they’ve got the labia they’ve got the vulva, they’ve got the urethra I’ve

Sasza Lohrey

They’ve got like periods, pregnancy.

Peggy Orenstein 

Exactly. So this is my American clinical, psychological clitoral ectomy when girls are born when when parents have their babies, they statistically have more of a likelihood of naming all their boys body parts. So they’ll say like, here’s your pee pee or something like that. Girls like right from navel to knees. And there’s no better way to make something unspeakable than not to give it a name.

Sasza Lohrey 

It’s like Voldemort.

Peggy Orenstein 

Yep. And then you go to your puberty education class, right if you have one, you learn that boys have erections and ejaculations, Girls, periods and unwanted pregnancy, not the same thing, you know? And then you see that you know that thing that looks like a steer’s head or George O’Keefe painting like the internal thing and it grows out between the legs. So you never say vulva. I mean, even the Vagina Monologues. It’s the vulva monologues. It’s not that I mean, we never say vulva. We never say clitoris. No surprise, fewer than half of girls aged 14 to 17 have ever masturbated. That will not come as a surprise to you? I guess. And then they go into their partner experience and we expect in some miraculous way magical thinking that they’re gonna think it’s about them that they’re gonna feel like they have you know that they can voice their wants their limits their needs or even know what those would be

Sasza Lohrey 

Right? If you don’t even if you’ve never had an orgasm.

Peggy Orenstein 

If you have a partner who says what feels good to you, right? How you really know what I don’t know what the definition of feels good is, what is the definition of feels good, right? It might just be, I enjoy your company like that. It might be it doesn’t hurt, right? It might be it doesn’t hurt. And we allow that we allow, you know, that’s why one of the things that I know, I’m so grateful that we’re having this umbrella conversation about consent and the culture is so important, so important. But it’s a baseline. Right, you know, I was not raped is a very low bar for a sexual experience. Right. And that’s the other reason why I wanted to write Girls and Sex was that I wanted to talk about what happens after Yes, and how we can provide an experience that is reciprocal, that’s mutual that’s enjoyable

Sasza Lohrey 

And kind of just raise that bar because I think a lot of women too, think, oh, that’s just how it is because they don’t have that comparison. Their friends that haven’t had these great experiences, or they think oh, that’s just how partners Are you know, not necessarily the most generous versus just raising the bar and being like, no, there are, you know, men or women in some cases who genuinely value your pleasure, your orgasm more than their own right? Like the bar is higher. So everybody just needs to kind of raise their values and adjust to that and leave behind all the bullshit.

Peggy Orenstein 

And one of the things that Sarah McLellan, who the intimate justice woman talks about, she does a lot of studies on sexual satisfaction, the how people define good enough part. And so, young women are more likely not, if not entirely, but more likely than young men to define their pleasure by their or their satisfaction by their partner’s pleasure. So they’ll say this is it well, both in same sex and other sex encounter, so they’ll say if he had a good time, I had a good time. Men are more likely again, not exclusively, but more likely to define their satisfaction by their own pleasure. So, like by their orgasm, like if I had a good time, I had a good time. And so, you know, and bad sex girls will say, you know, we use words like humiliating, degrading, painful. Boys guys never use that language. So if you go into an experience, hoping that it won’t hurt, wanting to feel close to a partner expecting hills to have an orgasm, yeah, you’re going to be satisfied if that low bar is reached. And there’s nothing wrong, you know, with wanting to feel close to your partner’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel good. Orgasm is not the only measure of a sexual experience. But you know, low bar. and that’s why in research, you often see that women report satisfaction levels equal to men, because they have a different definition.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah. And so how do we change that conversation because there are people who you know, value their partner like there are men who genuinely care. Where do you think that comes from? Is that family culture? Are there different patterns across different global cultures? What actionable advice would we give to young people or perhaps, you know, young girls, but also young men and parents to kind of shift everybody’s thinking and raise that bar together.

Peggy Orenstein 

we should all think like girls, I mean, if everybody values other persons, and it’s true that when girls have same sex encounters, the orgasm gap disappears, right? And what young women who have same sex encounters would say to me was that they felt like they could get off the script. They also felt like they’d all read the same Tumblr post, but I knew what they meant, right? They meant they could get off that heterosexual expectation script, and they could create an encounter that worked for them. And they were into, you know, this much more mutuality, reciprocity. And girls who have encounters with both boys and girls would really talk about that and they would really point that out as a marked difference for them. So I do think there is something to that. I’m being facetious, but I’m also not, but look We have no education in this country, at best kids learn about at best reproduction, birth control and STD prevention, and most of them don’t learn about that. So, you know, there’s this fear somehow that if we tell young women, that sex should feel fantastic to them, whatever, however they define sex, that they’re going to go do it, and that, you know, all hell will break loose or something. And that is not what happens. In fact, what research shows is that when young women feel more in control, when they understand their bodies, when they understand orgasm, when they understand their own, wants, desires, needs, limits, they have a higher standard and experiences 

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah, you’d be more likely to either stick with one partner when you realize you can find what you need, or at least you’d know you can go you know, masturbate yourself and have a great time and not even necessarily need somebody else. If it’s an unsatisfactory experience. 

Peggy Orenstein

And there was actually just an article in The New York Times the other day about the one program that has an evidence base that reduces young women’s risk of victimization, even though we really should be focusing on men not perpetrating, but still right. As long as we live in the world, we have to worry about girls reducing their risk. And what they found, I mean, there was all kinds of things that they found reduce girls risk, but when they added the our whole lives curriculum, which is one of the best curricula for sex positive sexuality, relationship, education, to that, to the refusal skills and all this other stuff. It was infinitely more effective. Yeah. And again, because girls, they didn’t do that double think that girls do when they get into situations where you thought, Wait, am I supposed to want this? Am I supposed to like this? Maybe other doses? They knew they were like, no, this isn’t what I like. I don’t want this. This is not a positive sexual experience. No, you know They weren’t, they didn’t let the coercion go as far right? And again, not up to them to do that. But given that we live in the real world, I want my daughter to have every tool in her Arsenal to reduce her chances of being victimized and to increase her chances of having a really ecstatic experience. And when you mentioned global patterns, yeah, there are differences. And, you know, the United States is lousy. And one of the things I did was look at the Dutch and you know, I particularly there was a study that compared the early sexual experience of 400 randomly chosen girls a to demographically similar colleges in Holland and here so apples to apples comparison, and the Dutch girls had everything we say we want, you know, the girls had fewer negative consequences, they were more likely to be sober when they had sex, they were more likely to know their partner really well more likely to prepare for the experience more likely to enjoy the experience, more likely to be able to communicate during the experience. I mean, like, it was enough to make you go buy a pair of wooden shoes.

Sasza Lohrey 

Right? I remember hearing about that and just thinking, Okay, I just want to contact all of them and have them provide the advice to the girls here.

Peggy Orenstein 

Well, I mean, it was a really they said that the difference was when they talked in a one-on-one way was that Dutch parents, teachers and doctors talk to both boys and girls early and often about sex, sexual pleasure, and the importance of love. While American parents actually weren’t necessarily less willing to talk to their kids, we frame all our conversations in terms of risk and danger. And the Dutch talk about balancing responsibility and joy. And for me as a parent, that was like, it hit me between the eyes. I mean, I was like, Oh my God, that’s exactly what I would have done. That’s exactly what I would have done. And it changed my parenting like on the spot.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah. And since you particularly mentioned they also focus on boys too. How do we involve boys And men into this realization in this movement of empowerment of pleasure and like equality, how do we get them involved as well?

Peggy Orenstein

Well, I really I mean, I’ve been talking, I’m writing a book on boys, now, Boys and Sex. So I’ve been talking to a lot of boys, and most of them, the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of them don’t want their partners to have a bad experience, but they’re working on the same script. So nobody- as little as we talk to girls, we talk to boys less. I mean, generally, what they have heard from their parents is don’t get a girl pregnant and respect women with no like, what does that mean? What does respect women? What would that possibly mean? And they are completely clueless. Plus they have this pressure to appear experienced. So I just had a boy the other day who was telling, we were talking about the non reciprocal blowjobs situation. And, you know, he’s sort of like, Well, you know, part of it is like you’re in a closet whose high school boy,so what do you get? It’s like it’s easier for her to get on her knees, whatever he was saying. But then after we talked about it for a while it was his real fear was that he would come off as inexperienced. So he just decided he wasn’t going to do anything to her or for her, because he didn’t want anybody to find out how inexperienced she was. He was, and if she was just doing to him, nobody would know. And, you know, I thought, first of all, so she can be inexperienced. That’s okay. But he was like, What? And I said, well, didn’t she care? He said, Well, she didn’t ask, so I guess she was fine. So I mean, it’s the whole dynamic. The whole dynamic ends up being that way. So when we don’t have sexuality, not sex, we have to broaden the definition of sex. It is not. I mean, that’s the other thing. Sex equals heterosexual intercourse. That’s not going to feel good for girls. That’s not gonna feel good to a 15 year old girl, you know? So we got to broaden the notion of sexuality and really educate kids about what it is in so many nuanced ways and that includes, you know, emotional intimacy as well as physical intimacy. And how do we do that? I mean, I’ve seen it done so well, in our whole lives in individual people’s classes. But we live in a country right now that, you know, we’re refunding abstinence only. So, for that to get into the public schools, I mean, I don’t know.

Sasza Lohrey 

And I think with the boys too, a lot of it is just this invented social pressure where they go to their guy friends, and they want to be like, Oh, it was great. I did this I did this, but if and they just kind of it’s a self fulfilling prophecy, where it’s like one of them might actually care about her experience, but since the other guy doesn’t talk about and the other guy doesn’t talk about it. Whereas if one guy could just go and be like, the most mind blowing experience is her orgasm, right? And just change that whole conversation. And the other dude would be like, well, shit, Bobby is giving her three orgasms. I gotta fucking step up my game. 

Peggy Orenstein 

I know, right? And then I find it really weird to, I mean, that was another thing that I felt like shifted somewhere in the culture that now guys brag about, like, getting off, getting a road closure, I think how hard you know, like, what’s the what’s the challenge, you know? Like, why aren’t you going like, I turned her on. So I mean, or they’ll say something horrible. You’re like, Oh, you know, I beat up her pussy or you know, something like that really like, icky thing. But there’s sort of No, no sense that not that it’s an achievement, but that….

Sasza Lohrey 

It’s a conquest. It sounds weird. 

Peggy Orenstein 

That would sound a lot. It’s to me, like if you’re gonna talk about, you know, if you’re gonna if you’re gonna brag, you know, why aren’t you bragging about what a great lover You are? Yeah, you know, it just seems weird.

Sasza Lohrey 

Yeah. And I think that the way we talk about things and the way that culturally constructed language affects the way we perceive Things like the way that we then think about them and the way we then talk about them and act. It’s just this again, a self fulfilling prophecy. And when you look back at the language, you know, as you mentioned, people don’t parents don’t mention vulva vagina. The only times we hear them are pussy, twat…

Peggy Orenstein 

Right. In a kind of ugly way. Yeah. 

Sasza Lohrey 

Terrible, like only negative words. And so if that’s all we have, right, then if our only associations with any word representing a vagina are negative, or shameful, how are we then supposed to create any sort of normal, let alone total positive cultural realm? 

Peggy Orenstein 

I was in a sex ed class the other day, and the teacher was talking she said, why is it that we never when we talk about heterosexual intercourse when talking about penis vagina intercourse, we never say and describe it as and then the woman wraps her vagina around the man’s penis. And I just went Oh my god, you’re right. I never Why do we always make the woman into this passive recipient of penisness? You know? Like, what if that’s what we told kids, you know, you go in and you do this, you do that you do that and then the woman wraps her vagina around the man’s penis. Right? That would totally change That conversation 

Sasza Lohrey 

It also gives her the power in the situation.

Peggy Orenstein

right? I know. It’s crazy. And I mean even that whole thing that I guess other cultures warn us even though they don’t have baseball because they’ll get American culture you know, that idea of the bases, right? Which you know, the bases are changing all the time, but whatever the bases are. I was in another sex ed class where a boy raised his hand and said, I never thought about it before. But in baseball, there’s winners and losers. So who’s the loser supposed to be in sex? Right as quick and if you even if you play it out, actually in your head. The girls aren’t even the opposing team. They’re the field. So I thought that was such an amazing moment for that boy. And this is the kind of that was that kind of class where they’re having these incredible discussions. And I really believe that kids these, this was a 11th grader, I think, totally capable of having those discussions. And I really believe like, I don’t think you know, necessarily, everything is going to be perfect for him from here out. But I think he’s going to go into his relationships, you know, whether it’s five minutes or 50 years, a little less, a little more as a partner, and a little less as an adversary who sees girls’ limits as a challenge.

This is the first of our two-episode series with Peggy Orenstein. Peggy is the author of the New York Times best-seller Girls & Sex, as well as Cinderella Ate My Daughter and Waiting for Daisy. In 2012, the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) named her one of its 40 Women Who Changed the Media
Business in the Past 40 Years. Our conversation was simply too good to fit into one episode!

Peggy first tells us about her personal story and the inspiration behind her research into female sexual empowerment. She then talks about the negative culture in the United States – making a call for change in the toxic was that boys and girls currently experience their sexuality, and citing a
reformation of education as the solution. She particularly cites the problem that girls currently feel “entitled to engage but not to enjoy,” referencing participation in sex – but without owning their own entitlement to pleasure.

Inspiration: From the 70’s Sexual Revolution to Motherhood

Sex became more political with the sexual revolution from the 70’s. Progress was made with the free love movement, but the door slammed shut and progress was quickly erased throughout the mid 80’s with the Reagan administration, the AIDs crisis, and in the 90’s with the Bill Clinton sex scandal.

She also cites her experience as a mother as a paramount inspiration for her work.

Bill Clinton saying ‘I did not have sex with that woman,’ and actively not defining oral sex as any sort of sex at all, did not do anybody any favors.

The cultural default – focused on men’s pleasure

Peggy frames this a social justice issue and quotes Sara McClelland and her “Intimate Justice” concept. Seeking “intimate justice” urges us to ask ourselves the hard questions about our sexual experiences and standards.

I don’t want girls’ earlier experiences to be something they have to get over.

The American Psychological Clitorodoctomy and Vulvamort

In the U.S. culture, language doesn’t exist for us to talk about female pleasure. For example, even women themselves have never been taught how to name their own anatomy.

  • When babies are born, parents are statistically more likely to name all the body parts if it is a boy. Often times girls’ anatomy simply is refrained from being mentioned – and there is no better way to make something unspeakable than to not give it a name.
  • Girls then go through puberty with books like Care and Keeping On You: The American Girl Book, that don’t name the clitoris.
  • In education classes, boys are taught about erections and ejaculation, while girls get taught about periods and unwanted pregnancy.

It’s no surprise fewer than half of girls 14 – 17 have ever masturbated!
Then they have a partner experience and as a society we somehow hope they will realize it should be about them and magically know how to please themselves?

I was not raped’ is a very low bar to set for a sexual experience…

What happens after “yes”?

Another inspiration for writing Girls & Sex was to help talk about what actually happens after the “yes.” To talk about how we can help provide an experience that is reciprocal, mutual, enjoyable, to raise the low bar of current standards for female sexual experiences.

Sara McClelland studies sexual satisfaction and how people define the “good enough.” Her research found that female college students are more likely than men to define their satisfaction by their partner’s pleasure.

Research often says that women report satisfaction levels equal to men – but that’s because they have different definitions.

According to a New York times article, the Our Whole Lives sex education curriculum is one of the only programs with evidence that it reduces women’s risk of victimization. Girls did not question their own thinking and they didn’t let the coercion go as far. More effort and education needs to go focus on teaching boys not to be perpetrators.

The Dutch sexual experience vs. the US sexual experience

This study compared the early sexual experience of 400 randomly chosen girls at two demographically similar colleges, in Holland and in the US. The Dutch girls were much more likely to be prepared for and to enjoy sexual experiences. The main difference was that parents inthe US framed all of the conversation around risk and danger, while the Dutch parents talked
about a balance and responsibility and enjoyment.

The unhealthy script our culture writes for boys

Most boys don’t want their partner to have a bad experience, they are simply working off of the script they have heard about, read about, or seen in the movies. All they know is: “Don’t get a girl pregnant,” “respect women,” and “look experienced.” We really need to broaden the notion
of sexuality and to begin to educate them more specifically and more intimately about such huge, incredibly important themes.

Why do we always talk about women as this passive recipient of penises?

No additional resources found for this episode.

About the Expert

Peggy Orenstein - profile

Peggy Orenstein

Peggy Orenstein is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and internationally recognized speaker on gender issues, especially those related to teens, sex and relationships. She was voted one of the “40 Women Who Changed the Media Business in the Past 40 Years,” by the Columbia Journalism Review. Her work has also been honored by the Commonwealth Club of California, the National Women’s Political Caucus of California and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Additionally, she has been awarded fellowships from the United States-Japan Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council and been a grateful resident at Mesa Refuge and the UCross Foundation.

Episode Discussion

Home Forums Episodes 1 & 2 – “Today’s Not So Liberated Sex Culture” – with Peggy Orenstein

  • Episodes 1 & 2 – “Today’s Not So Liberated Sex Culture” – with Peggy Orenstein

  • Sasza 

    August 26, 2020 at 11:14 am
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    • What did you learn about yourself?
    • What did you learn about culture?
    • What was your favorite quote?
    • What surprised you most?
    • What is one way you can enact what you learned in your own life?
    • How can we each help shift the culture and the conversation surrounding this topic?
  • Hope

    August 31, 2020 at 11:30 am
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    “Young women are more likely than young men to define their pleasure, their satisfaction, by their partner’s pleasure….if he had a good time, I had a good time.” This part of the first Episode really stuck out to me because as Sasza says, we need to raise the bar! I think it is so interesting that in every part of life, as women, we are consistently expected to please men. This reason alone is why BBXX is going to help so many people because it will allow the conversations to be held that many fear to have.

    • BBXX 

      August 31, 2020 at 11:42 am
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      Omg yes! The bar is practically on the floor at this point

  • Hope

    August 31, 2020 at 11:33 am
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    After listening to Episode 2, it really made me want to watch Liberated on Netflix. Although, it was avidly discussed in this podcast as being “disturbing,” the fact that “profound” also seemingly fit to describe the movie as well, rose my curiosity. What if there was a section on this forum, that included a section for the movie, to encourage discussions about that as well? I think it could spark a really great conversation!

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by  Hope.
    • Sasza 

      September 7, 2020 at 11:39 am
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      I think that’s a great idea! We can create another forum to talk about things we’ve mentioned in our “book club” and newsletter—documentaries, TED Talks, books, etc.

  • BBXX 

    August 31, 2020 at 11:41 am
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    It’s crazy how our sex culture on the states seems “liberated” but there’s so much pressure to be almost hyper-sexual. It also really sucked that women don’t really experience pleasure, and that sex is a passive act. I really had to reflect on this for a while after listening to this episode haha

  • BBXX 

    August 31, 2020 at 11:49 am
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    I believe we as women at a subconscious level are aware of our shyness when it comes to our own pleasure and that’s why we really don’t stop to reflect about our intimacy or how to even express it. I really love how BBXX is exploring this topic to help us find a balance to explore sex without feeling any pressure from society or our own partner even. At the end the person that matters the most is only you and yourself.

  • Jessica

    August 31, 2020 at 12:04 pm
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    Safe sex and healthy relationships weren’t discussed in my sex ed classes in grade school nor in my conservative Chinese home, so I didn’t actually safely navigate the waters of sexuality, intimacy, and relationships in an empowering way until sophomore year of college. This episode really spoke to me (and made me wish I knew about BBXX sooner!).

    Some key points/quotations for me were

    • Statistically having more of a likelihood of naming boy’s body part but not girl’s and how that contributes to making female sexuality unspeakable/taboo
    • The disparity between male vs female puberty education (periods and unwanted pregnancy vs erections and ejaculation)
    • “Fewer than half of girls aged 14 to 17 have ever masturbated… And then they go into their partner experience and we expect in some miraculous way / magical thinking that they’re gonna think it’s about them, that they’re gonna feel like…they can voice their wants, their limits, their needs, or even know what those would be”
    • “I was not raped is a very low bar for a sexual experience”
    • Sarah McLellan’s study showing how “young women are more likely not, if not entirely, but more likely than young men to define their pleasure by their or their satisfaction by their partner’s pleasure”
    • “Research shows that when young women feel more in control, when they understand their bodies, when they understand orgasm, when they understand their own, wants, desires, needs, limits, they have a higher standard and experiences”
    • Should be focusing on men not perpetrating but NYT found this one program that discussed sex-positive sexuality, relationship, education, refusal skills, etc. reduced young women’s risk of victimization
    • Seen benefits of Dutch education talk to both boys and girls early and often about sex, sexual pleasure, and the importance of love
  • David

    September 7, 2020 at 7:12 am
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    I really liked the way Peggy Orenstein shares the concept of intimate justice. We’re still too far away from having equal conditions when it comes to intimacy and sex. I believe gender equality should not only be a matter of jobs and salary, which sometimes feels is the main and only focus of the discussion, but also a matter of enjoying sex and intimacy equally

  • Amy

    September 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm
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    The thing that I learned about myself listening to these episodes was that even though there was a sexual revolution, it feels like sexual relationships sometimes don’t mean as much as they should. The thing that I learned about culture was that sex is sensationalized as a conquest and as a rite of passage. Sex should be looked at as something special between two people in an intimate real relationship. The way that surprised me most was that sexual relationships are seen sometimes as something to do, not as a special moment in a relationship. The way that I can apply what I learned to my life and to shift the culture is to educate myself and the people around me that sex is a special moment for a couple and that it is not just something that is a conquest for someone to brag about to their friends.

  • Valentina 

    September 14, 2020 at 7:46 am
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    This particular quote made me think:

    “Why do we always talk about women as this passive recipient of penises??”

    Its always like “the man penetrates” but I loved how Peggy described a new way of refering to it as “wrapping the penis with our vagina”. Women are active, we’re not the only ones on the receiving end, sex is an act involving two people giving each other pleasure.

  • Sarah

    October 5, 2020 at 1:51 pm
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    Something that stuck out to me is the politicization of sex education and how it affects how women approach sex and focusing more on the male experience rather than our own. It is disheartening that more women view sex as solely pleasurable for their partner. This is also shown when we teach or lack of teaching children about sex all the male body parts are named, but the clitoris was not even mentioned creating some sort of shame around female pleasure, and something that is highly overlooked and not encouraged to speak on.

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