Curious & Curiouser Podcast, Episode 26: Sex, Religion, Desire, & Why We Need to Talk About Pleasure

Good news! Tracey and I are talking about everyone’s favorite subject again this week . . . Sex! And desire! In this conversation, we are answering another listener question and exploring the topic of sex as it relates to religion and spirituality.

Specifically, our listener posed this question:  How do you go from being told to have no sexual desire before your wedding night to flipping that switch after you’re married and being all in?

Whoa. Great question. Many thanks to Curious & Curiouser listener, Maddison, for sending it in!

In this conversation, Tracey and I talk about sexual exploration, experimentation, and getting in touch with your own sexual desires. We also talk about the importance of understanding your own anatomy and knowing how your body works, and offer lots of useful resources for beginning to explore these things yourself.

I describe the shame I felt when I started my period as a teenager, and we talk about how to start letting go of shame altogether as it relates to your body and your sexuality.

Tracey and I sincerely hope you enjoy this conversation! As always, 5-star ratings and reviews are appreciated, so PLEASE consider leaving one in iTunes if you’re enjoying the show! Thanks, y’all!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • How religion — and culture — tells us (as women, specifically) to shut down our sexual desire until we’re in a socially sanctioned relationship
  • Public vs. private sexual expression for women
  • My experience of redefining sex and sexuality for myself after leaving the Mormon church and the importance of educating yourself about sex, sexuality, and your body
  • Why young girls should be taught about their bodies — including full anatomy (hello, clitoris!) and tracking their menstrual cycle
  • Exploring your sexual desires incrementally and setting realistic expectations with your partner
  • Passionate Marriage:  Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch
  • Why masturbation is important for both women and men
  • Sex does not always mean intercourse and making space for experimentation and playfulness
  • Come As You Are:  The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski
  • Getting rid of the shame around sexual desires and fantasies
  • Mating in Captivity:  Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
  • Sex wasn’t always this shameful and taboo
  • Sacred Pleasure:  Sex, Myths, and the Politics of the Body by Riane Eisler
  • Our bodies are designed to experience pleasure
  • Giving yourself permission to be a sexual person and challenging outdated beliefs and values
  • Did our parents talk to us about sex and pleasure?
  • The shame I felt when I started my period at 14
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
  • How knowing about your body and your menstrual cycle enhances your sexuality and your comfort with your own sexual desire
  • And more!

For those of you living locally here in Portland and the surrounding areas who want to help with the ongoing fight against the Eagle Creek fire, here are a few places to start:

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge is accepting donations to go towards rebuilding efforts once the fire is out. Please go here to learn more and to contribute to the restoration of the gorge.

If you would like to volunteer, please contact the Hood River Sheriff’s office at 541.387.7035 to find out how.

Hood River County Search & Rescue helped save 150 stranded hikers after the fire started more than a week ago. You can send donations for future efforts to 601 State Street, Hood River, OR 97031.

Multnomah County Animal Services has stepped in to take care of pets and livestock affected by the fire. You can donate to their efforts or find out about volunteer opportunities by visiting their website here.

Remember, if you have any topics or questions you’d like us to address in a future episode comment here or email us at our joint email account: We’d love to hear from you!

Finally, please head over to iTunes and leave us a 5-star rating and/or review if you’re enjoying the show. Please note that you have to search for Curious & Curiouser in iTunes in order to leave a review — even if you’re already subscribed. Thanks so much for the support and for taking this annoying extra step to rate us. We really appreciate it!