Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

201. Cross Stitching and Neuroscience: A Follow Up Interview with Emily Nagoski

Back in March, Amanda and I did an interview with Emily Nagoski, and she agreed to take listener queries from all of you once her semester was over. It’s done! We’ve got questions, and answers. We discuss pain, orgasm, shame, and fantasy, sex and sexuality, masturbation, orgasm, pain during sex, better paths toward orgasm, sex games for fun and enjoyment, ethical porn and feminist porn.

Thank you for trusting me with your letters so that I could relay them to Emily, and thank you for trusting us both with your problems. You are definitely not alone.

WARNING: at about the hour mark, we begin discussing a letter that may be triggering for many of you. There’s plenty of verbal warning from both of us, and Emily gives a short TL;DR answer to some of the questions raised, but if you are sensitive to discussions of sexual abuse and rape fantasy, please be aware that this portion of the podcast may be upsetting. I want you to feel safe while you’re listening. Listener discretion is advised.

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

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This Episode's Music

This episode’s music is provided by Crime and the Forces of Evil. The track is “The Burke-Gilman Troll”, from the album Bone Walker, the soundtrack for Angela Korra’ti’s Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. Find this album at Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, or CD Baby.


Podcast Sponsor

The Valor of the Healer

This podcast is sponsored by romance reader and fantasy author Angela Korra’ti, who writes for Carina Press as Angela Highland. Her Rebels of Adalonia trilogy is available now wherever Carina ebooks are sold. Begin this epic fantasy adventure with Book 1, Valor of the Healer:

The Rook: An assassin hired by vengeful elven rebels to kill the calculating Duke of Shalridan, Julian walks into a trap and barely escapes with his life. Healed by a beautiful captive in the dungeons, he’s enthralled and vows to free her from the duke’s clutches.

The Hawk: A Knight of the Hawk duty-bound to cleanse elven magic from Adalonia, Kestar has a secret—and heretical—ability to sense the use of magic from afar. He knows something suspicious is happening in the duke’s keep, but he has no idea how deep the conspiracy goes.

The Dove: A half-elven healer with no control over her magic, Faanshi is the goddess’s to command. She’s always been a pawn of the powerful, but after healing two mysterious and very different men, she faces a choice that may decide the fate of the whole kingdom…


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This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

Transcript Sponsor

Sweet Heat: Volume 1

Author and podcast fan Kelly Maher is sponsoring the podcast transcript celebrating her latest birthday, but she’s giving the gift to you. Her SWEET HEAT collection of backlist titles are available for half-price at all outlets through the end of July, and her short story BLIZZARD BLISS is available for free through the link in the podcast entry.

Volume 1 contains eight short stories and one novelette wherein two friends from culinary school are paired together on a competition show, and their long-time friendship simmers to a boil.

Each collection is on sale for $1.99!

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Add Your Comment →

  1. Hi Bitchery! Thanks to Sarah for letting me sign on to sponsor this week’s episode! (I’ll be sponsoring next week’s too.) And now that I see the topic of this episode I’m all the more happy to be giving it some sponsorship love. \0/

  2. kateswan says:

    There are as few really powerful women as there are really powerful men.

    I love a good cheerleading session. Women need to take ownership of their own needs. However. In spite of a history of paternal squelching, men have had as little ownership of their own needs as women. They may have been afforded more space to exercise those needs . . . Maybe. Perhaps. History is a canny, fickle bitch, prone to poor note-taking.

    The desire to rub against something familiar, exciting, comfortble or engorging is always media-obscured by the religious, political, and social trends of the time during which the rubber wants to rub.

    Who has allowed paternalistic behavior to flourish and dominate? Any answer will include unproveable percentages of men and women. Time traveling backward into primitive cultures, needs, and expectations, your mileage may vary.

    Sexuality does not define a life. Or a gender. It is part of the expression of one’s life. We have arrived at the fucking 21st century. Men and women need to “grow a pair.” Define what completes you. Know your body and yourself. Skip the cheerleading clinics and accept, embrace, and nurture your individual needs and desires.

    On this subject, it truly is all about you. Know thyself. Orgasms will quite possibly follow.

  3. Megan says:

    Did you ever figure out what the title of the porn about the romance author is? I need this in my life!!!!!!

  4. YotaArmai says:

    OMGOSH I loved this episode. During the last portion of the podcast you mentioned a statistic about the number of women who have a specific type of fantasy. (Hopefully I’m not being too obscure, I’m trying to avoid triggering topics) The supposition is that those fantasies are born from the culture we are steeped in during our formative years. I’m wondering if there are any trends that relate to age? Could a trend related to the age of the respondent show if we are making progress in terms of our culture and the media we produce and consume?

    Thanks for such a thought provoking, fascinating podcast.

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the link to the Avon “The Flame and the Flower” discussion. I read that in Jr. High in the late 80s and boy did I forget a lot about that book. (Apparently a couple of rapes because I only remembered the first one. I remebered hating Brandon, and that the book was really problematic, but boy did I forget a lot). Of course I then went out and read all of KEWs books to that time, so they were addictive on top of being problematic. But boy did I forget a lot.

  6. Make Kay says:

    I’m reading Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski right now, actually, and its amazing and so informative. I thought I knew a lot already, and it turns out I didn’t. So thank you, Emily.
    And Sarah, thank you too. This podcast is awesome. Geeking out over information provided and the fight against patriarchy and the women-bonding and just the general awesomeness.
    Thank you!!

  7. Jenny says:

    Thanks to Sarah and Emily both for a very informative, supportive podcast! I really enjoyed both this and Emily’s previous podcast. Fantastic treatment of topics that need more open discussion!

  8. Kim says:

    Great podcast and so engaging I barely noticed that I was climbing a mountain. In the midst of all the very awesome information, the discussion of Axe body spray had my fellow hikers looking at me while I cracked up. As a mother of 22 and 24 year old boys, I really have to share that it’s kind of an urban legend that Axe disguises the smell of weed, so if you find it in their car, under their bed or they’re just bathing in it, you may want to do a little bit of investigation to see if that is their motivation or if they’re just olfactory-challenged.

  9. Kate says:

    This was an incredibly brave podcast. I’m a sexual abuse survivor and I experienced my first orgasm at 49. I had never masturbated before and I still don’t know what made me try it, but I’m so glad I did. I’ve been in therapy on and off with this issue for years. I have never had an orgasm with a partner and have only recently shared this with my husband. Needless to say, it’s difficult at times but I cannot express just how much this podcast has meant to me to learn from Emily that I am not alone. Thank you!

  10. Mel says:

    I’ve only just listened to this podcast – about 12 months after it was posted. It was so powerful I imagined there would be more comments, especially about the second half.

    I want to say thank you as this discussion has had such a positive impact on me. I relate so much to feeling this real-life me and fantasy me often seem to be very different. I’ve always been clear I didn’t need to bring my fantasys into reality – but now I feel like I’m not weird!!! Such a gift. 🙂

  11. SB Sarah says:

    @Mel: You are definitely not weird at ALL. I’m so pleased this conversation had such a beneficial effect for you!! 🙂

  12. Andrea says:

    I’ve been a fan of the site for a while now, but I’ve only recently gotten into the podcasts, so I’m super late to the party here, but can I just say, this was an amazing discussion. This bit about patriarchy really hit home for me in particular – “the ways that my body falls short of the culturally constructed ideal are my problem and until I fix it I don’t belong and don’t deserve anything” – goddamn. A former partner and I were having bedroom issues, and I suggested multiple times going to a sex therapist together, but he consistently refused and at one point even said to me point blank, “This is YOUR problem and you need to fix it.” I never considered it from this angle before, because otherwise he was a generally good and pretty feminist guy, but yeah – our sex life didn’t fit the cultural script he was expecting, and so in his mind, it was my fault since I wasn’t behaving “normally” and I needed to “fix it”. I’m no longer in that relationship, but it was still super validating to hear this, so thank you. This place rocks!

  13. SB Sarah says:

    @Andrea: Welcome! I’m sorry you were in such a terrible position and I am SO glad you’re out of it. This is one of my favorite episodes, and I found it wonderfully validating, too.

  14. Riley Kirkwin says:

    I’m slowly working my way through the GIANT BACKLIST of pocasts, which is why I am listening to this one… *checks* … oh, only two years late, I’ve gotten farther in than I thought. 🙂

    Anyway, that romance writer movie sounds hilarious, did you ever find out what the title was? I kind of want to look it up and laugh at the bad costumes.

  15. Riley Kirkwin says:

    I’m slowly working my way through the GIANT BACKLIST of podcasts, which is why I am listening to this one… *checks* … oh, only two years late, I’ve gotten farther in than I thought. 🙂

    Anyway, that romance writer movie sounds hilarious, did you ever find out what the title was? I kind of want to look it up and laugh at the bad costumes.

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