Sex Gets Real Episode 123: Emily Nagoski talking pleasure, joy, & science

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We all have those people that we admire to the point of fandom, and for me, one of those people is Emily Nagoski. Her work has had a deep impact on my personal life and my professional life. She single-handedly changed the way I work with clients who have low desire or libido they aren’t happy with.

And her blog? It’s one braingasm after another. So, needless to say this week was a dream come true for me.

Because I’ve already spent so much time gushing over her book, “Come As You Are,” on previous episodes, we don’t actually spend a lot of time talking about it in this hour. Instead, we talk about pleasure and joy as political rebellion, feminism, the importance of creating context that works for your sexual enjoyment, being inclusive of all bodies, fat acceptance, research, and her new book on burn out.

She also invites us to weigh in on her new romance novel. You can tweet at the show @sexgetsreal and @emilynagoski with your vote – terrorist or werewolf?

And next week? Dylan is back! So stay tuned.

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In this episode, Emily Nagoski and Dawn talk about:

  • Why pleasure is central to Emily’s feminism, and why Emily believes that joy is an act of political rebellion. It starts with Emily’s definitions of pleasure and joy, which are beautiful and profound. Then, she builds on why having joy (which is loving your body exactly as it is) is such a radical act and how incredibly political it is to reject the messages we’re surrounded by and instead embrace yourself unapologetically.
  • Context and how vital it is to our experiences and pleasure. Too many people overlook the importance of context and that you have permission to create the context you need to feel good.
  • Emily’s lovely permission slip around bodies that she repeats endlessly in her workshops, which is “all the same parts, organized in different ways.” How did she come up with that and why is it so important for all of us to embrace that mindset?
  • Gender essentialism and how our anatomy in no way determines our destiny, except that the culture we live in tries really hard to force destiny on us based on our genitals. It’s not the truth, it’s simply the norm. Perhaps there’s a better way?
  • The grief and rage that so many of us resist because if we were to realize how many years and decades we wasted worrying about changing ourselves and how untrue and unnecessary the conformity was, it would crush us and break our hearts.
  • Consent and getting to choose how our bodies are touched. Do we like what is happening to us in this moment? Emily’s approach is so simple, but also incredibly profound. Her definition of sex positivity is amazing. I’m a fan.
  • Emily’s favorite part of “Come As You Are” and her writing process.
  • How her romance novel, “How Not To Fall” was birthed in direct response to 50 Shades and the abuse it heralds as sexy and acceptable.
  • The ways that science and research is still failing women, and most especially people of color due to racism and stigma around sexuality, specifically, for Black women. We need to be aware of this when we quote statistics and findings from scientific studies – that it’s usually only young, thin, white, cis, het folks.
  • What research Emily wishes we had more of when it comes to sex, science, and understanding our responses. Her answer is deliciously detailed – and includes the phrase “incentive salience”.

Resources discussed in this episode

The epic, the amazing, “Come As You Are”

Emily’s romance novel, “How Not To Fall” (published under Emily Foster)

The Militant Baker blog on fat bodies and fat activism

About Emily Nagoski

Emily Nagoski joins the show this week to talk joy, pleasure, desire, science, and the future of her work on burn out and overwhelm.Emily Nagoski is the author of the New York Timesbestseller, COME AS YOU ARE: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life (Simon & Schuster, 2015). She has a Ph.D. in Health Behavior with a doctoral concentration in human sexuality from Indiana University (IU), and a Master’s degree (also from IU) in Counseling, with a clinical internship at the Kinsey Institute Sexual Health Clinic. She also has a B.A. in Psychology, with minors in cognitive science and philosophy, from the University of Delaware.

While at IU, Emily worked as an educator and docent at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex Gender and Reproduction. She also taught graduate and undergraduate classes in human sexuality, relationships and communication, stress management, and sex education.

A sex nerd among sex nerds, Emily has the lowest Erdős number of any sex educator in the world. She lives in western Massachusetts with two dogs, two cats, and a cartoonist. She’s funnier in real life (and hardly ever speaks in the third person). You can find Emily on Twitter @emilynagoski, Facebook, and follow her over on her blog, The Dirty Normal.

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  • Dawn
  • August 21, 2016