Sex Gets Real 187: Getting Unscrewed with Jaclyn Friedman

 It kicks off December 4th and it's totally free. We'll spend 5 days going super deep into body politics, self acceptance, fat activism, diet culture, weight stigma, and shedding body shame so we can center our pleasure.

Don’t forget, the Explore More Summit: Bodies Edition kicks off December 4th and it’s totally free. We’ll spend 5 days going super deep into body politics, self acceptance, fat activism, diet culture, weight stigma, and shedding body shame so we can center our pleasure.

To see the line-up and to enroll, pop over to

This week, Jaclyn Friedman is here to talk all about her new book, “Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power, and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All.” It is a powerful, comprehensive examination of all the ways our ideas about sex intersect with things like media, racism, justice, toxic masculinity, patriarchy. Basically, all my favorite topics wrapped up into one.

We geek out about why sexual olympics and hedonism will NOT set everyone free. What it means to have “fauxpowerment” around our sexuality and why individualistic solutions aren’t going to heal the world.

We talk about Hugh Hefner (ugh), the ways doctors fail us, Jaclyn’s visit to a sex research lab and what the vagina REALLY is. Seriously, that last bit blew my mind.

We also talk about what we can do to actually start changing the world, how we can confront things like toxic masculinity and patriarchy, and why it all matters.

You can pre-order the book here (it comes out November 14th, 2017).

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In this episode, Jaclyn and I talk about:

  • How wide the net is cast in Jaclyn’s new book about the systemic issues around sexuality.
  • The fauxpowerment myth that we are fed that we can just push ourselves to sexual empowerment, but we have to recognize the powerful institutions that are invested in our feelings of brokenness or a certain kind of sexuality.
  • Finding actual sexual power and sexual liberation requires culture change. But that’s overwhelming, so no wonder we are eager for the classes and the products that offer a seemingly simple fix.
  • Why capitalism and individualist solutions keep us all sexually broken.
  • How hedonism became conflated with liberation. OH GOD FUCKING YES.
  • Hugh Hefner and how fucked up his ideas were about women and sexuality. Ugh. Gross.
  • Medical professionals grow up in the same culture that we do. Which means, doctors are swimming in sex negativity and patriarchy and sexism, too. Doctors famously disbelieve women about sexual pain and discomfort because men in our culture disbelieve and distrust women, period.
  • Jaclyn talks about disaster-prevention sex ed which is sadly the better version of sex ed available in most U.S. public schools. Which is to say, it completely dismisses and ignores pleasure, especially for folks with vulvas and who are queer.
  • Jaclyn had a chance to go to a sex research lab run by Meredith Chivers and shares some amazing stories, plus what the vagina ACTUALLY is. MIND. BLOWN.
  • We trust guys when they tell us what’s going on with their bodies, so why don’t we trust women? Women can have the physical symptoms of arousal without actually feeling aroused. And yet….that’s not the story we are told to culturally accept.
  • The psychological process of “backlash” and why often we double-down on incorrect or blatantly untrue information. Jaclyn shares a chilling study that is in her new book that showed that men who heard stories of sexual assault from the victims actually were MORE likely to then think sexual assault/rape was acceptable. WTF.
  • Why restorative justice can be challenging on survivors and Jaclyn’s thoughts on how we haven’t yet found an answer that is perfect around violence and survivors.
  • Toxic masculinity and the response that women inevitably receive whenever they post about it. #NotAllMen #StopHatingMen *eyeroll*
  • Why gender and masculinity myths need to be dealt with using prevention and not intervention. We need to be teaching young people from very early ages about toxic masculinity and gender issues before their form their ideas of what it means to be a man.
  • How can we start changing the culture? How can we have an impact? Jaclyn has phenomenal suggestions. We can center our pleasure in our activism and change work. YAY!

About Jaclyn Friedman:

On this week's episode of Sex Gets Real, Dawn Serra geeks out with Jaclyn Friedman about her new book, "Unscrewed." We talk about sexual politics, toxic masculinity, why playing sexual olympics isn't about sexual liberation, why the sex education we offer is harming so many young people, and what you can do to help shift the culture around sex and violence. It's a powerful chat.Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, speaker and activist, and creator of the hit books Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009, and #11 on Ms. Magazine’s Top 100 Feminist Nonfiction of All Time list) and What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety. Her podcast, Unscrewed, is paving new paths to sexual liberation, and was named one of the Best Sex Podcasts by both Marie Claire and Esquire.

As an undergraduate, Jaclyn thought she was too smart to become a victim of sexual assault – until another student proved her wrong. That experience eventually led her to become a student and instructor of IMPACT safety training. At IMPACT, she helped bring safety skills to the communities which most need them, including gang-involved high school students and women transitioning out of abusive relationships.

Friedman’s work has popularized the “yes means yes” standard of sexual consent that is quickly becoming law on many US campuses. Her insistence that authentic sexual liberation is a necessary condition to end the systemic sexualization and violation of women led Lyn Mikel Brown (Co-founder of SPARK and Professor of Education and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Colby College) to call her “this generation’s version of Dr. Ruth.”

Stay in touch with Jaclyn on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @jaclynf.

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  • Dawn
  • November 12, 2017