298 episodes

No fluff. No lies. Just sex as we see it.

Sex Gets Real with Dawn Serra Sex Gets Real

    • Sexuality
    • 4.0 • 1 Rating

No fluff. No lies. Just sex as we see it.

    301: Sex and depression with JoEllen Notte

    301: Sex and depression with JoEllen Notte

    tl;dr JoEllen Notte is here to help us explore depression, relationships, and how depression and mental health can impact sex and desire, plus connecting during a pandemic.

    Explore More Summit is happening NOW! Grab your free ticket by registering today for this free, entirely online conference that happens April 20-29th featuring 28 delicious, timely, intimate talks. Head to exploremoresummit.com and register. We've got Pleasure Mechanics, Rachel Cole, Prentis Hemphill, Andrea Glik, Jennifer Mullan, Kai Cheng Thom, and so many others. Don't miss it!

    Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week you get to hear a bonus chat between JoEllen and I on this cultural idea that people with depression are essentially asexual, desexualized humans and what JoEllen actually found in all of her research plus looking at sex as an a la carte menu versus a buffet. (And Eeyore masturbating totally gets talked about.) Hear it at patreon.com/sgrpodcast.

    In this episode, JoEllen and I talk about her new book, "The Monster Under the Bed" which is all about sex, depression, and relationships.

    We talk about how the entire world is coping and struggling with depression, anxiety, panic, and trying to survive the unknown. How normal it is to be feeling numb and disconnected while also feeling more emotional and tender.

    We explore how being in close quarters with a partner can lead to a reckoning with our relationships, important questions to ask ourselves during these times when we're wondering if our relationship is the problem or just how terrible things are in general and how to tease out whether it's the person or the relationship.

    JoEllen and I share some of the catastrophizing stories our brains like to tell us and ways we cope, plus communicating our mental health needs with a partner and why context matters SO much when it comes to our libido and pleasure.

    JoEllen also cannot stress enough how important it is to read Emily Nagoski's "Come As You Are" if you haven't already.

    Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram.
    About JoEllen Notte:
    JoEllen Notte is a certified sex educator, writer, speaker, sexuality researcher, and mental health advocate. She blogs at The Redhead Bedhead and has been published by the BBC, Glamour, Bitch Media, xoJane, and Kinkly. JoEllen's book The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren't Having will be released on March 27, 2020.

    Stay in touch with JoEllen at redheadbedhead.com and get a copy of The Monster Under the Bed at your favorite local bookstore.

    Listen and subscribe to Sex Gets Real
    Listen and subscribe on iTunes Check us out on Stitcher Don't forget about I Heart Radio's Spreaker Pop over to Google Play Use the player at the top of this page. Stream it on Spotify Find the Sex Gets Real channel on IHeartRadio.
    Hearing from you is the best
    Contact form: Click here (and it's anonymous)

    Episode Transcript
    Visit dawnserra.com/ep301

    • 48 min
    300: Jaclyn Friedman on believing women

    300: Jaclyn Friedman on believing women

    tl;dr Jaclyn Friedman on believing women, what happens when we disclose our trauma, and why our PERCEPTION of who is a victim impacts how we view all victims. We're talking about her new book with Jessica Valenti, "Believe Me".

    Explore More Summit is happening NEXT WEEK. Grab your free ticket by registering today for this free, entirely online conference that happens April 20-29th featuring 28 delicious, timely, intimate talks. Head to exploremoresummit.com now!

    Finally, Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week you get to hear a bonus chat between Jaclyn Friedman and I on Tina Horn's fantastic essay speaking to why pleasure should not be the measure for sex work and porn performers. It's SOOOO good and super important for folks who truly want to support those in the field. Hear it at patreon.com/sgrpodcast.


    I love every time I get to be in conversation with Jaclyn, and this was no different.

    We explore the difference between what it means to believe women versus what it means to believe ALL women, and why that distinction is important.

    We dive into what it means that women, femmes, and feminized folks often have a different set of memories than cis men. The ways survivors are retraumatized by courts, lawyers, and our "justice" system.

    So much of "Believe Me" demonstrates the ways we would all move closer to liberation if we centered Black women and trans women, and we explore all the ways so many of us are only trusted if we disclose the gory details of our trauma but in doing so we are also seen as discredited and no longer experts in anything except our trauma.


    Jaclyn shares what social researchers have long demonstrated: that collectively we not only hold women to much higher standards, but as a woman's credibility goes up, we like her less for it and actively punish her for that growing credibility.

    So what can we do about it? Where do we go?

    It's such an important discussion about a very important book, and I hope you'll get yourself a copy.

    Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram.

    About Jaclyn Friedman:
    Jaclyn Friedman is a writer, educator and activist, and creator of four books Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape (one of Publishers’ Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009), What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex & Safety, Unscrewed: Women, Sex, Power and How to Stop Letting the System Screw Us All, and her latest, Believe Me: How Trusting Women Can Change the World. Her podcast, also called 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. In her book, Unscrewed, she calls on the movement for women’s sexual liberation to move past individualistic “empowerment” messages (for which she coined the term “fauxpowerment”) to focus on collectively transforming the systems and institutions invested in keeping women sexually servile. Kirkus called it “a potent, convincing manifesto,” and Kate Tuttle, president of the National Book Critics Circle, called it “the book we need right now.”


    Friedman is a popular speaker on c

    • 56 min
    299: Leonore Tjia on highly sensitive people, why mental health models are anti-erotic.

    299: Leonore Tjia on highly sensitive people, why mental health models are anti-erotic.

    tl;dr Leonore Tjia on highly sensitive people, relational work, and why modern mental health models are inherently anti-erotic.

    Explore More Summit registration is OPEN. Grab your free ticket by registering today for this free, entirely online conference that happens April 20-29th featuring 28 delicious, timely, intimate talks. Head to exploremoresummit.com now!

    Finally, Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week you get to hear a private conversation Leonore and I had prior to recording for the podcast. We didn't intend for this to be heard, but it was so good I had to share! Hear it at patreon.com/sgrpodcast.

    In my chat with Leonore, we explore what a highly sensitive person is and why Leonore has been holding workshops on sex for HSPs. We also talk about the difference between highly sensitive and high sensation seeking.

    Leonore shares about how resentment builds with tolerating and performing emotional labor as a highly sensitive person. Plus, the impact to our libido and desire when we don't feel welcome as who we really are (because of a fear and experience of being too much).

    Leonore talks about the erotic suffering we are living in and how modern medicine pathologizes valid experiences.

    We explore what partners of HSPs need to know about supporting highly sensitive people, and what it means for Leonore to be shifting her professional work to a more relational capacity. What if we all had more places where people genuinely wanted to hear about our experiences, even if it was uncomfortable?

    We discuss how worthiness ties to healthier and more connected relationships, boundaries and how we take responsibility for things that aren't ours which leads to codependence and pain. Plus, why knowing what is not yours takes a lot of practice and work on our worthiness and self-love.

    Leonore names why eros can't move through us when we are in fight/flight/freeze/fawn, not to the extent that it's possible, so the process of finding our inner authority and transforming shame into courage creates a good container for eros to visit.

    We both talk about why our work is dedicated to deeply shifting our ways of relating with ourselves, each other, and the world - because we need to change things, and it starts with our most intimate relationships.

    Finally, we geek out on the harm and damage mainstream mental health causes when it operates from within the dominant paradigm. We discuss: the normativity of modern mental health models, how little sexuality training therapists receive, and its goal is to bring us into alignment with oppressive systems. Leonore sees much of modern mental health as inherently anti-erotic.

    Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram.
    About Leonore Tjia:
    Leonore is a feminist sexuality educator who helps people create more presence, play, pleasure and power in the bedroom and beyond. As a trained practitioner of Internal Family Systems therapy, she assists people in recovering the parts of their sexual selves that have been exiled and repressed. Her workshops and teaching bring an ecological focus to sexual empowerment, helping people to reconnect to erotic vitality and step into sexual wildness. She is the founder of the Nordic Woman retreat, which combines wilderness skills and expressive arts in the Swedish backcountry.

    Stay in touch with Leonore at rewildingtheheart.com and on Instagram.

    Listen and subscribe to Sex Gets Real
    Listen and subscribe on iTunes Check us out on Stitcher Don't forget about I Heart Radio's Spreaker Pop over to Google Play Use the player at the top of this page. Stream it on Spotify Find the Sex Gets Real channel on IHeartRadio.
    Hearing from you is the best
    Contact form: Cl

    • 1 hr 4 min
    298: Discharge, FGM scars, cheating during Alzheimers, & teaching kids pleasure with food

    298: Discharge, FGM scars, cheating during Alzheimers, & teaching kids pleasure with food

    tl;dr We are talking vaginal discharge, FGM or genital cutting scars, cheating when a partner has Alzheimers, and how to teach your kids the importance of pleasure with food.

    Power in Pleasure, my 5-week online course all about pleasure is now enrolling. The next cohort starts March 22nd, so do not miss it! Especially now with the news cycle and the fear. Spending some dedicated time for 5 weeks, plus 6 intimate group calls, to explore pleasure and safety is sooo important. Check out the details and enroll now.
    First up - BE SURE TO SIGN-UP FOR THE BODY TRUST SUMMIT!!! There are still 3 days left which means NINE free talks to see, and there is a 90-minute Parenting with Body Trust panel on Tuesday, March 17th that is a MUST for parents and caregivers of small children. Register, for free, now because it's entirely online and ends March 17th.

    Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week's bonus will be at patreon.com/sgrpodcast. Enjoy!

    Also, I love your emails. Send your questions my way! You can use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    On to the episode!

    I Sense You Are Stronger Than Me wrote in asking about vaginal discharge. Occasionally, especially after sex, ISYASTM will have thick, white discharge and they are embarrassed to go to the doctor to get it checked. Is it normal? What is it?

    I share a few articles with you about the ways our discharge can change over the month and the impact that condom-less intercourse with a penis can have on vaginal pH and discharge. Links to all the articles mentioned in this episode are at dawnserra.com/ep298.

    Next up, North is struggling because they have a lovely partner they've been with a year. Everything is fantastic. The problem? North's partner experienced genital cutting (many people know it as FGM or FGC) and the scars on their partner's genitals trigger a disgust response. North isn't disgusted by their partner, but by the evidence of the violence that was done to them. How can they move past it all?

    Donald Alone wrote in concerned that he is cheating. He is in his 80s, and his wife has Alzheimers and is in a memory care facility. Donald recently met a woman who, while married has been left by her husband, and the two of them are hitting it off. They've kissed and they are wondering if what they've done is considered cheating.

    Finally, Eating Momma loves the idea of eating for pleasure and wants to help teach her 9-year-old daughter the importance of pleasure around food. How does she do that?
    A huge thanks to the Vocal Few for their song in the opening and closing of the episode and to Hemlock for their awesome song "Firelight" which was used in this episode between questions.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram.
    About Dawn Serra: What if everything you’ve been taught about relationships, about your body, about sex is wrong? My name is Dawn Serra and I dare to ask scary questions that might lead us all towards a deeper, more connected experience of our lives. In addition to being the host of the weekly podcast, Sex Gets Real, the creator of the online conference Explore More, I also work one-on-one with clients who are feeling stuck, confused, or disappointed with the ways they experience desire, love, and confidence. It’s not all work, though. In my spare time, you can find me adventuring with my husband, cuddling my cats as I read a YA novel, or obsessing over MasterChef Australia.

    Listen and subscribe to Sex Gets Real
    Listen and subscribe on iTunes Check us out on Stitcher Don't forget about I Heart Radio's Spreaker Pop over to Google Play Use the player at the top of this page. Stream it on Spotify Find the Sex Gets Real channel on IHeartRadio.
    Hearing from you is the best
    Contact form: Click here (and it's anonymous)

    Episode Transcript
    Coming soon! at da

    • 1 hr 3 min
    297: Christy Harrison on eating for pleasure, desirability, and being anti-diet, Part 2

    297: Christy Harrison on eating for pleasure, desirability, and being anti-diet, Part 2

    tl;dr Christy Harrison of Food Psych is here to talk about pleasure, happiness, weight stigma, what it means to be anti-diet, and why trusting our hungers around food & sex is so important. Part 2 of 2!

     
    I am so excited to share Part 2 of this 2 part conversation with the incredible Christy Harrison! If you haven't heard Part 1, hop over and give that a listen before diving into this episode.

     
    Christy is an anti-diet dietitian, host of the Food Psych Podcast, and she just published a book that we are exploring here called, "Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating".

     
    Before we get into my chat with Christy, I wanted to share a post on Tumblr by Inkdot about clothing that I wish more of us knew. The dressing room can be a fraught place for many of us - clothes never seem to fit just right, or the arbitrary sizes bring up shame. Head to dawnserra.com/ep297 for a link to this piece about celebrities and clothes might bring some relief to those of us who struggle with finding clothing that fits our bodies.

     
    Be Nourished's free online Body Trust Summit is March 11-17 and it is going to be fantastic. If you like my conversation with Christy this week, the summit is 24 talks that will take you even deeper into your relationship with food, body, pleasure, and healing. Register now!

     
    Finally, Patrons who support at $3 and above, this week are going to explore our body stories and I'm going to share a few more awesome bits from Christy's book for us all to be in together. Hear it at patreon.com/sgrpodcast.
     

    So back to my chat with Christy:
     

    This week on Part 2 of my conversation with Christy Harrison we continue our exploration of many of the lies we've been sold, desirability politics and changing bodies, and why the problem is NOT weight but rather weight stigma and a focus on dieting.
     

    All of this ties so so intimately to the ways we experience sex, the ways we navigate consent, how we set boundaries, and do relationship.
     

    Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram. About Christy Harrison: Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN is an anti-diet registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and author of the book Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating(Little, Brown Spark 2019). She offers online courses and private intuitive eating coaching to help people all over the world make peace with food and their bodies. Since 2013 Christy has hosted Food Psych, a weekly podcast exploring people’s relationships with food and paths to body liberation. It is now one of iTunes’ top 100 health podcasts, reaching tens of thousands of listeners worldwide each week.
     

    Christy began her career in 2003 as a journalist covering food, nutrition, and health, and she’s written for major publications including The New York Times, SELF, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Gourmet, Slate, The Food Network, and many others. Learn more about Christy and her work at christyharrison.com.

    Listen and subscribe to Sex Gets Real Listen and subscribe on iTunes
    Check us out on Stitcher
    Don't forget about I Heart Radio's Spreaker
    Pop over to Google Play
    Use the player at the top of this page.
    Stream it on Spotify
    Find the Sex Gets Real channel on IHeartRadio.
    Hearing from you is the best Contact form: Click here (and it's anonymous)

    Episode Transcript Visit dawnserra.com/ep297 for more.

    • 50 min
    296: Christy Harrison on pleasure, happiness, and being anti-diet, Part 1

    296: Christy Harrison on pleasure, happiness, and being anti-diet, Part 1

    tl;dr Christy Harrison of Food Psych is here to talk about pleasure, happiness, weight stigma, what it means to be anti-diet, and why trusting our hungers around food & sex is so important.

    I am so excited to share Part 1 of this 2 part conversation with the incredible Christy Harrison!

    Christy is an anti-diet dietitian, host of the Food Psych Podcast, and she just published a book that we are exploring here called, "Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating".

    Before we get into my chat with Christy, I have a few important things:

    First, at Alex's suggestion, I turned my answer from last week's episode about preferences for certain bodies into a blog post... that has as of six days later been read over 31,000 times. HOLY SHIT! There has been so much beautiful input, additional nuance, and depth in all of the things people are saying, and I am so grateful. If you like it, feel free to share it! Let's keep the conversation going.

    Second, Be Nourished's free online Body Trust Summit is March 11-17 and it is going to be fantastic. If you like my conversation with Christy this week, the summit is 24 talks that will take you even deeper into your relationship with food, body, pleasure, and healing. Register now!

    Finally, Patrons who support at $3 and above, don't miss my bonus chat with Christy at patreon.com/sgrpodcast. Christy and I talk about my own disordered eating and orthorexia, the part of her book that made me burst into tears, the cost of the performances we do around food and also sex, and where the advent of the “obesity” epidemic came from and why it’s actually really new. Hint: it has to do with money in people’s pockets NOT science.

    So back to my chat with Christy:

    I expect a lot of you are going to have some big feels come up as you hear Christy and I talk about diet culture, weight stigma, and how dieting and disordered relationships with our hungers impacts our sexual desire and pleasure.

    This is a really nuanced conversation, so if you notice yourself constricting or feeling defensive, feel free to take a break, breathe, move, and then return to it later. Seven or eight years ago me would have felt really resistant to a conversation like this, so I get it.

    Part 2, which drops next week, continues our exploration of many of the lies we've been sold, desirability politics and changing bodies, and why the problem is NOT weight but rather weight stigma and a focus on dieting.

    All of this ties so so intimately to the ways we experience sex, the ways we navigate consent, how we set boundaries, and do relationship, so I hope you'll join me for this delicious 2-part conversation with Christy.

    Be sure to send in your questions! I would love to hear from you. Use the contact form at dawnserra.com.

    Follow Sex Gets Real on Twitter and Facebook and Dawn is on Instagram.
    About Christy Harrison:
    Christy Harrison, MPH, RD, CDN is an anti-diet registered dietitian nutritionist, certified intuitive eating counselor, and author of the book Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating(Little, Brown Spark 2019). She offers online courses and private intuitive eating coaching to help people all over the world make peace with food and their bodies. Since 2013 Christy has hosted Food Psych, a weekly podcast exploring people’s relationships with food and paths to body liberation. It is now one of iTunes’ top 100 health podcasts, reaching tens of thousands of listeners worldwide each week. 

    Christy began her career in 2003 as a journalist covering food, nutrition, and health, and she’s written for major publications including The New York Times, SELF, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Gourmet, Slate, The Food Network, and many others. Learn more about Christy and her work at chr

    • 1 hr 6 min

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