The Wild & Sublime Podcast
Season 4, Episode 1, with host Karen Yates
Season 4 kicks off with the first half of October’s live show, where panelists chat about porn – what’s good, how to find out what you like, and ways to think about its role in your life.
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#S4E1 | Get the Most Out of Porn + Sex and the Media – Oct Live Show
Goddess Erica: There is also a social shame around the consumption of porn. We don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to talk about the fact that we do it, let alone what we’re watching when we watch it. And I think that that can lead to the feelings of compulsive overconsumption, because there’s no outlet to talk about it and share it, and feel normal and to normalize it.
Karen Yates: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment®, no matter your preferences, orientation, or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. I chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity. You’ll hear meaningful conversations, dialogues that go deeper, and information that can help you become more free in your sexual expression. I’m sex educator and intimacy coach Karen Yates.
This week, we’re talking porn from all angles. Close-ups and long shots. Plus, an interview with sex coach Caitlin V about sex in the media. Keep listening.
Do you want some easy hacks for connecting with your partner more easily? Download my free publication, “Say It Better in Bed! 3 Proven Ways to Improve Intimate Communication.” Learn effective things to say and do, leaving the guessing game behind. Whether you’re in a long term relationship or hooking up once, you will come away with simple yet powerful ways to boost your sexual communication skills. Go to the shownotes or karen-yates.com to download your free guide.
Hey folks. Welcome to a new Wild & Sublime year. I am hoping that everyone is settling into a pleasurable 2023. We have some interesting conversations today that I think you will enjoy. Our fourth anniversary show was October 10 at the Hungry Brain, which was hugely fun. We had performer Dusty Bahls giving it his all, storyteller Archie Jamjun, a chat with Stranger on switching, and a lot of that will be on the next episode. And, by the way, tickets are now on sale for the February 11 show at Constellation. We’re going back to the big stage, and we will have vendors, demos, dancers, and of course, amazing conversations about sex. You can get tickets through our show notes or at wildandsublime.com.
For today’s episode, we will be focusing on a few other awesome segments of the show. A panel conversation on porn and an interview with sex coach Caitlin V. The panel, with somatic therapist Peter Navarro, sexual empowerment coach Goddess Erica, and Caitlin V was rich and juicy. One of the deeper live show panels, I think. And we covered a lot of topics about porn, like ethical porn and how to find it, the benefits and the ways you can mine porn for maximum pleasure, and how to make your own porno, if you are so inclined. We give you some tips and techniques. We also discuss how porn influences our sex life with partners — the performative aspects, that is. And here is the funny thing. I began thinking later, especially when listening to the audio afterwards, that I had wanted to, since it was our fourth anniversary, to be really big in my performance as the host that night. But when I got on stage, that wasn’t where I was at. And the audience was feeling introspective too. So, I couldn’t push it into a zone that it didn’t want to go to. It have been serving anybody — which is exactly like sex. We might want it to look a certain way, but it’s always a fluid event, always changing. The best thing to do is just show up, stay present with what you’ve got, and don’t worry. And it ended up being a great show.
Moving on. At every live show, we do a land acknowledgement, the recording of which did not make it into this episode. The show took place on the unceded lands of the Council of Three Fires — the Ojibwe, the Odawa, and the Potawatomi nations, also known as Chicago. If you want to learn more about the tribal lands that you are residing on, check it out online. There are many resources to help you learn about the history of indigenous culture, and how you can engage more fully with it.
Now, we begin with an interview with sex coach Caitlin V, who returned to our live stage after three years. We interviewed Caitlin on the podcast four months ago, when she told us about her new show, “Good Sex,” on Discovery+. In this interview, we’ll talk a little bit more about the show, but also about Caitlin’s experience with being a sex educator on social media — the upsides and the very real downsides — as well as some ludicrous interviews she has taken part in. Enjoy.
Our first interview of the evening, I’m very, very excited about. This person was a guest at the very first Wild & Sublime show, October 2018 at stage 773, when the show was still known as Super Tasty. She was a panelist, answering the question with a few other folks, “What is sex?” It was a very lively conversation. Since that time, she has grown a thriving YouTube presence — over 400 videos, I think now, of sex education, advice, ideas. And she’s now the host of the latest Discovery+ show, “Good Sex.” I am talking about sex coach Caitlin V. [audience cheers]
Caitlin V: Good to be back.
Karen Yates: So tonight, we’re going to talk a little bit about your show. But we’re also going to talk about sex and the media, because I have a feeling you have some opinions about that. [laughs]
Caitlin V: And experience.
Karen Yates: And experience. Yes. So, I want you to tell folks the premise of “Good Sex.”
Caitlin V: So the idea behind “Godo Sex” is that I coach couples, but we put cameras inside of their bedrooms, and I’m able to use that footage inside of my coaching sessions with them. So, I get an unrestricted view of what’s going on in their bedrooms, and I get to share that with them. And as we all know, seeing ourselves is sometimes the best medicine. And, you know, if a picture’s worth 1000 words, a video is worth a thousand more.
Karen Yates: So, the thing that really strikes me about the show, because I’ve watched many of the episodes, is that even though this is — you know, we’re so used to reality TV being very crafted, right? But in every episode, there are some very — well, first off, there’s “real” reality, because we’re looking at people’s footage. And sometimes it’s really explicit. I was looking at one today, I’m like, “Oh, my God!” I’m like, oh-oh-ohhh! But then you have people do exercises in your office that are very vulnerable, and really… I don’t know. Like, how did that strike you? Watching people bare themselves like that?
Caitlin V: And that’s an excellent question. I want to just acknowledge all of the generosity and the courage that it took for the couples and everyone that was involved in the show to bare themselves. And I think from the beginning, we really framed it as a show that was going to educate people, that was going to normalize things, that was going to be an opportunity for people to see themselves in the cast. And that, yes, they were making a tremendous sacrifice, but they also were doing that for the good of thousands, tens of thousands of people, who will see it eventually and learn something and see that, you know, maybe something that they’ve been dealing with in private and isolation actually is something that other people are going through, too. And that there’s solutions, there’s answers, there are things that can be done.
I also think that there’s a little bit of thrill and excitement. You know, I don’t think anyone that didn’t want to be intimate applied for the show, right? It’s part of the agreement. Also, it was new for me, too, because I don’t use that in my coaching. I had never used that. And the minute that I got the first clips — which by the way, it was like the day before we started filming. Like, it was not — I didn’t have a ton of time to sit with them.
Karen Yates: Oh my god.
Caitlin V: And I had had them put the cameras in my own bedroom, so that I could see what it felt like, and kind of just get some familiarity. But from the minute that I watched the first clip — which, if you’ve seen it, the first clip that I saw was the dog clip.
Karen Yates: Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Caitlin V: That was number one. That really was number one. I mean, it’s number one of the show; it was number one for me, too.
Karen Yates: Dog jumping on bed in the middle of sex. Like, kept jumping, and they kept kicking it out of the way.
Caitlin V: Oh, yeah. The ménage à paw!
Karen Yates: The big takeaway: don’t have your dog in your bed while you’re having sex. It’s a boner killer.
Caitlin V: Truly, yeah. But even from that first moment, I was like, I don’t know that any of my clients would ever tell me or have the awareness or the self awareness to actually report to me what was vital for me to take from those clips. And then the power of showing that back to people, and also trying to show it to them in a way that didn’t encourage any shame, right? Holding that was really particular, too.
Karen Yates: So, you know, we’re going to be talking about sex and the media tonight. But I wanted to talk about one person in particular, the man that you did erotic persona work with. Because one of the things I wanted to ask you is about some of the the messages that media sends to people. And so, the story with this man, is that, cis-hetero man with ED — erectile dysfunction — and Caitlin had him develop this erotic persona to give him more power as a dominant. And he loved it, and he took to it like a duck to water, and it started increasing his ejaculation. But he’s still quite wasn’t where he wanted to be. And then you turned the tables. And what happened?
Caitlin V: Well, later on in the show you mean?
Karen Yates: Yes.
Caitlin V: So, he actually shocked me. Because he told me, oh I have trouble really leaning into this part of me. And as you see in the show, he does not have any trouble at all. The minute that he hits go, he’s like, full on. And I’m watching — if you watch, I think it’s the second episode, we do a Dom/sub exercise where he’s the dominant. And there’s a moment you can catch me on the couch where I realize, like, that maybe I’ve taken things too far. And I’m like—
Karen Yates: Yeah.
Caitlin V: —my “oh, shit” face, because I was like, this guy told me he had trouble accessing!
Karen Yates: I know — and he’s with the paddle, and he’s like, “Kneel!”
Caitlin V: He’s like, making her get down and everything. And I was like, I should have put more boundaries on — I didn’t expect you to run with this this way! You know, you told me one thing. So I invited him to create a submissive erotic persona. And he had some trouble with that. He was resistant, but — can give you, like, behind the scenes update?
Karen Yates: Yeah.
Caitlin V: So actually, he’s the only person that was my client prior to the show, and remains my client to this day.
Karen Yates: Awesome.
Caitlin V: And he would be completely fine with me sharing that. That’s something that we’re both very proud of. And he recently did try it. He recently did. He didn’t want to try it for the show. But you know what? Sometimes actually the universe has other plans. And you have to wait until the moment is actually right. And I’m happy to report that when he did do his submissive persona, he stayed hard the entire time, and he ejaculated. So!
Karen Yates: Right on. [audience cheers] I wanted to talk about these messages. Because he had trouble, you know, as a cis, hetero dude, taking on this role as a submissive. I was looking at a Instagram reel today from a sex educator, talking about how — we’ll talk about Instagram and a second — talking about how actually mainstream media has more negative messages around sexuality, body image, than porn. So, what messages do you, in a mainstream concept, do you have to undo? What do you see happening to people when they come to see you?
Caitlin V: Performance is probably the number one. That people are so hung up on their performance, sexually, erotically, that it actually separates them from their experience and their partner’s actual experience, right? It’s so much more about how sex looks. And that makes sense, because we are presented sex from a purely visual aesthetic lens. And there’s this quote, I forget the originator, but he says that sexuality models the erotic, but it doesn’t exhaust it. So it’s part — you know, it models eroticism, but it doesn’t exhaust it. But we only have this one real example of eroticism. And it is this, like, heavily performative, heterosexual, cisgender sexuality. And so, everyone’s like, performing this thing. But the truth is that we all have access to eroticism. We have it, we can access it, we have to kind of let pleasure exist and be in approval of pleasure. And, you know, I think at its core, there’s the performative aspect, and then there’s this like, part about sex that is devoid of pleasure. You know, it’s the one place that we’re allowed to experience pleasure openly. And yet we’ve almost drained it of that aspect.
Karen Yates: I think it’s a total disassociation from the body. It’s like totally being in the head. You know, it’s like the head is kind of like, floating above the experience.
Caitlin V: The head — here’s what it looks like.
Karen Yates: Yeah. So, let’s change the conversation up a little bit. I want to talk about first SESTA-FOSTA, which is something a lot of folks know about, but we talk a lot about on the show, is the bill that was passed by the government. And it was meant to curb child sexual trafficking online. And what it did is, it had a cascading effect, and it basically, like, started censoring anyone talking about sex on the internet. Because all the folks that owned the platforms, including social media, didn’t want to be fined for, you know, being part of this. So, you have a YouTube channel. And a few years ago, it went dark. Can you talk about that experience? Because you’ve had several experiences we’re going to talk about, but can you talk about that experience in particular?
Caitlin V: So, YouTube has a history of being sort of the most permissive of the social medias. And therefore, people like me often utilize YouTube a little bit more freely to talk and to educate. And YouTube has still maintained that, although less so. And you know, I run my business off of YouTube; I pay my bills off of YouTube. And I’ve taken a lot of actions over, because it’s never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, right? And it has also been a very tenuous place to exist and to be online. It’s a little bit of a given— like, I’m very grateful that YouTube exists. I’m grateful that social media exists. I wouldn’t have the platforms that I do. I wouldn’t have the impact that I do, I wouldn’t have the job that I do. Were it not for these platforms that I utilize for free. You know, it costs a lot to produce content, as you know, but once it’s out there, they are the ones that are hosting it, they’re sharing it, they’re finding the users. And also like, I’m contributing to YouTube too, because if it weren’t for the content creators, there would be no reason to go to YouTube and watch the sponsors. And so, it’s a relationship that ideally is reciprocal. But I also live in a lot of fear that all of the work that I’ve put in — the years, the hundreds of videos, the almost 500,000 subscribers — could be gone like that.
Karen Yates: Yeah. So how did you bring it back online? Like, did you have to do anything?
Caitlin V: No, I think at that time I filed whatever the form is, that I’m sure tens of thousands of people file every week, that was asking for them to reconsider. I mean, I still have a strike. And YouTube works on this ‘three strikes, you’re out’ policy. And the strikes are removed from your channel after a certain amount of time, but… I managed to get a community violation that just never really disappeared. And yeah — I live in fear of getting another one, because you can’t post another video. It affects the algorithm. I mean, it’s a dance.
Karen Yates: Oh, I know. I remember, one of our first posts on Instagram — we’ll talk about Instagram now — was of a clitoral model. Like, it was like a little clay model of a clitoris, but it just so happened to be between a woman’s legs. Now, she’s wearing leotards and a bodysuit. But it got flagged. It got flagged. So Instagram, you were recently — what? A week ago, on Tuesday, what happened?
Caitlin V: On Tuesday, I went to sign into Instagram, to find out that my account had been removed. It’s completely gone, no trace of it. And there’s a chance, if I get them to reinstate it after 28 days — before 28 days, I should say — it will come back. And if they don’t, within 28 days, everything will be gone. And that was like my personal Instagram from over a decade. It has memories. So unfortunate. But can you tell you my hypothesis of why I think my Instagram got taken down? So, I recently posted a short about double penetration, where I spoke positively of — I was like, here’s why — I think the line was like, here’s why women love double penetration. And I talked about the perineal sponge, and this piece of erectile tissue that exists between the anal canal and the vaginal canal, and why it feels good to have it compressed from both sides. And then I said, you know, you don’t have to do this with like two human penises. You could do it with toys! And I was like, but if you want to do it with two penises, I say go for it! Just like — not sure, like, maybe a little bit… I mean, it was educational, though! You know, like at the end of the day, it’s educational! Like, I can I can be like, ‘try it.’ You know, that’s not gratifying. And often the line is like, was it sexually gratifying? Or was it educational? That’s the line that I toe with YouTube. Like, one time I like, did like this in a video. And they were like, that was sexually gratifying! It’s out! With a shirt on, I should note. Anyway. So, this double penetration short, though, got picked up by WorldstarHiphop.com.
Karen Yates: Whaaat?
Caitlin V: Yeah. Oh, yeah. I was credited — it was, “Chick claims women love DP.” So that had, like — you know, when someone sent it to me, it had like, 5000 views. By the end of the day, I had like 127,000 views, which is like, way more than it got on my channel. Yeah, I got maybe 10,000 on my Instagram.
Karen Yates: You crashed your own…
Caitlin V: Yeah, I think, so you know, basically, I was like, I can retire now. I made it to Worldstar. And they heard that, and was like, got it, you’re retiring then!
Karen Yates: And you know, a lot of social media creators are just moving toward bolstering their email lists, because it’s the safest thing you can do. Sign up, wildandsublime.com.
Caitlin V: Caitlinvneal.com.
Karen Yates: I mean, because that’s the only way, ultimately, we can get a hold of you if everything crashes and burns.
Caitlin V: And even that is precarious.
Karen Yates: Yeah. I guess smoke signals are next. Final question. You know, you are now — you know, you’ve moved from — I mean, you still do YouTube. But now you have a show. And you’ve been doing promo, and you’ve been interviewed. What is that like, and what are you noticing about the media and sex?
Caitlin V: So I did an interview with The New York Post to promote the show. And they got a little hooked on how old I was. She’s like, so where do you live, and how old are you? And I was like, those are two pieces of information that I don’t readily make available. Why do you, why is that relevant at all to promoting the show? And I said, Well, I’m in my early-mid-30s. And so in the final blog post, it was Caitlin V, a sex educator in her early mid 30s. That was really relevant, you know? And I get it. Our image of sex educators in the media is often like more like a Dr. Ruth, or a Sue Johansson. So it is different to see a younger person having a show where she’s kind of on the main stage and she’s got credibility. And I totally get the fascination of that. The other piece that I found really interesting is the number of people who have asked me, like, are you worried that people are gonna masturbate to the show? Like, number one, I — no. I don’t worry about people masturbating. Number one. Sounds fine!
Karen Yates: Like, what???
Caitlin V: Because there are, like, 10-second clips of the dogs interrupting, or—
Karen Yates: The grainy, grainy black and white security cam footage…
Caitlin V: What I said to that particular interviewer, one of them, was like, you know, if golf is your thing, you can jerk off to the Golf Channel. Didn’t you used to masturbate to anything? Like, no, I’m not worried.
Karen Yates: So, on that note… Where do you go from there? Thank you, Caitlin. Let’s give her a round of applause.
And just to let you know, Caitlin’s Instagram account is live again. You can find her at @caitlinvictoriousx. We’ll return to the rest of the show in a moment. Would you like to get on our twice-monthly newsletter with cool resources and info about live shows? Go to wildandsublime.com to sign up and to access transcripts for every episode.
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And now, for the next conversation: porn. The panel and I definitely had a far-reaching conversation on how to use it and more. I’ll be joined by somatic therapist Peter Navarro, sexual empowerment coach Goddess Erica, and sex coach Caitlin V.
So, porn. We’re going to be talking about what’s out there, what’s awesome, and what you should know. But I thought I would start out with the question — let’s just go straight to the benefits of pornography. And I would just love to hear folks’ thoughts about what is porn good for? Besides having orgasms.
Peter Navarro: Hi, Karen.
Karen Yates: Hi, Peter.
Peter Navarro: Hi, other panelists. So, my two things for porn and beneficialness would be self-awareness and exploration. So, what we do know about porn — and I’m coming at this from a therapist’s vantage point — what we know about porn is that it absolutely influences how we interact with each other. So, if we’re really choosing to involve ourselves in self reflection about our use of porn, it can actually really allow us to interact with each other in a more humane way, which is what we really want for each other, especially in this world that we’ve been through in the past few years. So yeah, that is mostly kind of my thought around it. Self exploration and self awareness.
Karen Yates: Goddess Erica, what are your thoughts?
Goddess Erica: I love the descent into fantasy that you can take in pornography. It’s a space where you are presumably alone with yourself or with someone that you trust. And you are peering into the corners of creativity through the lens of other people. But it’s an opportunity for you to tickle your own creativity as well.
Karen Yates: Oh, I love that — descent into fantasy. Mmm. Caitlin.
Caitlin V: What I’ll add is a source of new ideas. It allows us to connect to our own creativity, but also, just in terms of sparking ideas that we can use later. Like, I had a lover once who grabbed a sex toy, and it was like a little flogger with little plastic fingers —I forget what they’re called — and I thought I was about to get flogged. And then he turned it on its handle and put it in my mouth as a bit. And I was like, where did you get that idea??? He was like, “Porn.” Like in that moment, I was like, uh, everything I’ve ever thought about porn, I’ve just had to drop. I was like, okay, yeah, maybe there’s some validity to that.
Karen Yates: So, how can couples use porn? Like, let’s say you’re a couple that has not watched porn together. How do you begin that conversation, and what can you do? Like, walk us through that.
Goddess Erica: I’m currently writing a blog post right now about my first sexual experiences with my husband. And one of the first things that happened when we slept together was that he demonstrated — well, he instructed me on how to put the condom on with my mouth. And later, when I asked him where he learned it, it was porn. So, even when you’re not watching porn together, there’s opportunities for learning, when the porn is ethical, and when it’s created safely. There’s opportunities to learn from it.
Caitlin V: I think that even in introducing the idea of watching porn with a partner, you are already entering into a really rich territory, that could be triggering. It’s going to bring up stuff for just about any — because we all have a relationship to porn. You know, whether we’re a consumer or a critic or a performer. And I think you can learn a lot about your partner, where they’re coming from, their values, what they’re open to, what they’re not, just even entering into that conversation. And so, I guess my piece of advice would be to make that into multiple conversations. To like, give that conversation time to unfurl, and have both people be able to come to it with, like, a grounded knowingness of what’s in it for them, what it could bring up for them, and kind of what their intentions are for it inside of the relationship.
Goddess Erica: What you brought up just made me think about how watching porn together can be a safe container for gauging someone’s reactions to things that you might be interested in, that you’re not ready to actually talk about.
Karen Yates: Excellent. Excellent. So, who originally was porn made for? Peter?
Peter Navarro: Young. Cishet. White. Men.
Karen Yates: Thank you, Peter.
Peter Navarro: Very welcome.
Karen Yates: [laughs] Okay, so let’s say that’s the frame. What non-beneficial messages, what unreasonable expectations do folks have, based on mainstream porn these days?
Peter Navarro: You have to penetrate to have sex.
Karen Yates: Oh, my God. [clapping]
Peter Navarro: You don’t have to do that.
Karen Yates: You mean, you don’t have to do that to have sex?
Peter Navarro: You do not have to do that.
Karen Yates: Really?
Peter Navarro: That’s correct.
Karen Yates: Oh, my God. Thank you.
Goddess Erica: You’re done when the guy comes.
Caitlin V: So much about bodies. Just so much of what a sexual body looks like, what bodies are allowed to enjoy sex, what size body parts are average, normal, expected.
Peter Navarro: The pleasure ends when you come. It doesn’t. It doesn’t have to. It can continue.
Goddess Erica: The fetishization of certain groups.
Caitlin V: No warm-up is required. For anything.
Peter Navarro: No aftercare is required.
Karen Yates: Oh, yeah.
Goddess Erica: The escalator of blowjob, penetration, face shot.
Karen Yates: Let’s just talk about cinematic fluids. Let’s talk about ethical porn, which seeks ultimately to kind of change up the narrative. What are some of the hallmarks of ethical porn?
Goddess Erica: So, ethical porn. I think that a way that you can recognize it, first and foremost, is the person who posted that content, the people in the video. You know, is it clear that it’s connected to those people? Because unethical porn often is created without people’s knowledge that the porn exists at all.
Caitlin V: And are the performers being paid for their work? Are you paying for it? I mean, you can — there’s plenty of porn that you can consume for free. But one of the better indications that you’re getting access to high quality, hopefully ethically made porn, is the exchange of your dollars that you’re making for it.
Peter Navarro: Yeah, when I think about this question, I think about ethical production of porn, and I think about ethical consumerism of porn. And so I think, for me, when I see an ethical stance with porn consumerism, I’m being invited as the consumer to really be intentional about what I’m watching and how I’m being represented, and how other people are being represented in that media, whatever the media is. Whether it’s audio, whether it’s visual, whatever it is.
Karen Yates: Do you have some favorites, Peter?
Peter Navarro: Some favorite companies? Some favorite companies — honestly, I’m going to defer to my panelists for that. But I will say, I love Twitter, because Twitter allows you to follow your stars. You can pay them directly. They’re gonna have all of their content at the top of the page, and that’s really the best way, is pay your stars directly. Pay your providers.
Karen Yates: Mmm, no middleman. Yeah.
Goddess Erica: I agree with that. I think that that’s a really great idea. And honestly, I think that Twitter feels very much like the farmer’s market version of porn consumption, [laughter] because you’re getting directly from the creator, so you know it’s good.
Karen Yates: So let’s move into — Goddess Erica, you’re an ambassador for MakeLoveNotPorn. Tell us all about it.
Goddess Erica: Yes. So I was going to say that one of my favorites is MakeLoveNotPorn. So, MakeLoveNotPorn is a platform that likes to consider itself a social sex sharing. So it’s like Facebook, but if people were taking off their clothes and sharing their their sex videos instead of their puppy videos. And what’s really great about it is it is founded by a woman, Cindy Gallop, and is — up until, I believe, last year was almost entirely staffed by women. They now have a nonbinary curator. But there’s a sense of safety in having a site that’s curated and created by the people who are usually not considered during pornography, or in pornography. What’s great is that all the things we’ve been talking about for ethical porn are available on MakeLoveNotPorn. There is representation, not just on different sexualities, but body types across ages. There’s a lot of content where you see older people enjoying sex, which I think, as I begin to age, I am appreciating. Because you get to see — and they like to use the hashtag #realworldsex. And it’s because you get to see real people in their bedrooms, making love, instead of performing for the camera. So it’s not scenes that they’re creating; they’re actually just sharing their footage. And so, anyone can become a content creator on this site. It’s called being a MakeLoveNotPornstar. And you get paid to create your content. They have a 50/50 profit sharing model for MakeLoveNotPornstars. So that’s so that they can keep their lights on, because it’s very hard to get funding as a female-owned company. But they pay their content creators in order to show their appreciation for the work. And essentially, like you were saying with YouTube, like the site wouldn’t exist if people weren’t actually contributing to it. So it’s one of my favorites.
Karen Yates: That’s awesome. [applause] So, yes. What would you tell folks who are contemplating making their own porn? Like, what was it like uploading that first video?
Goddess Erica: So, I’m not only an ambassador, I’m also a MakeLoveNotPornstar. I believe in the product that much. I would say that it’s different. It’s different. But it’s exciting. Turning the camera on, the first video that I created was with my partner, who’s here with me tonight. And it was a Tantric kissing video. And we didn’t do anything — we didn’t even really take our clothes off that much. There was just a passion in the exchange of kissing. But before the video started, we had this conversation about what it felt like to have the camera on, and why it felt different. And I think that that’s really important to consider, that even when you’re not performing for the camera, there’s still this awareness that the camera’s in the room with you. And so, we had to be very clear on not turning all of our sexual experiences into camera-worthy opportunities. This is for us, and this is for everyone else, and that kind of gives you freedom to feel vulnerable and free in those spaces, without giving everything of yourself to other people.
Karen Yates: Gosh, it’s so interesting, as you’re saying that, because so many people — like, civilians, who aren’t porn stars — become corny in bed. Like, they take what they’ve seen, and then — and we were talking about this a little bit earlier — like, it becomes a performative act. And here you are, doing a performative act, but making the clear effort to stay real.
Goddess Erica: Approaching it with intention. And you have to, because you can truly lose yourself in it. And the reason that I wanted to share my sex with my partners is because there’s a beauty to it. And I didn’t want to adulterate that with the performance aspect of it. And I could feel it creeping in. And so, it’s really about being very mindful of taking stock of things in the moment as you go along. Is this still working for us? Have we gone too far, is this too much? There’s always a chance and opportunity to pull back from it. But you really have to be present all the time about it.
Karen Yates: Thank you.
Caitlin V: I think that if you have interest at all in videotaping or recording yourself having a sexual encounter, that you should do it. Not necessarily that it’s right for you just to share it with other folks, or to put it on a platform. But I think there’s something — the “Good Sex” show really taught me something about democratizing recordings of sex. And that I think there’s something really, really beautiful about taking the power away from this very polished, very white, very young, very thin image that we typically have of people who are sharing a sexual encounter or an erotic encounter. And that we get to claim some of that power. Everyone, you all have little porn studios in your pockets. You know, don’t get discouraged — work on the lighting. Okay? That’s my biggest piece of advice.
Karen Yates: Front lighting, a lot of front lighting!
Caitlin V: Soft! You’re not gonna get the lighting right at first. And that’s okay. Keep trying. But I think, do it — I think do it because it’s empowering to see. If you’ve ever had a great headshot — like, it’s really empowering to see yourself through the lens in a different way. I would just invite you to try it.
Karen Yates: Awesome. Awesome. So let’s talk about — a lot of people get afraid that they’ve become compulsive with porn. They may not have, actually. What’s your experience as a coach?
Caitlin V: I recommend to people that they look through a lens of, is this having a negative effect on my life? I think a lot of people have an experience of shame around their porn consumption. And that increases the chances that they think it’s problematic, because they put those two things together, right? If I don’t feel good about this, it must mean something bad about me. And as a coach, I’m always working from a place of acceptance. Like, let’s talk about whether that’s problematic after we just get to a place where you can accept that that is a relationship that you have. It’s a relationship that you’re becoming aware of, that you may want to work on, to address. And my friends were sharing with me today about an incident in Hawaii, where an alert went out to people, saying that there was an imminent missile strike. And Pornhub traffic went up 4,000%.
Karen Yates: What?? Here comes the missiles… I’m gonna stroke my missile!
Caitlin V: I mean, what would you do? I also would go — I’m like, I’m going to have an orgasm, I’m gonna see what intoxicants are available. Like, if we’re going down, I want to feel good while we go. So, is that a compulsive use? Another point was made, like, it’s an act of self care. And sometimes, my clients, when I recommend that they stop utilizing porn, usually because of the very specific outcome that they’re desiring from our work together. And I’ll say, you know, you’re externalizing your turn-on, and you’re only locating your turn-on outside of yourself. And so, you know, with men especially, I’ll say, why don’t you cut out porn? And they’ll go, Caitlin, I tried, and I couldn’t get hard, so I just went back to porn. Like, one time, right? So what I say is, like, I want you to have access to turn-on without anything outside of you creating that for you. That’s the most power that you can have inside of your own erotic experience. And if you find that you can’t get aroused without that external source, consider taking a break and relocating that at home.
Karen Yates: Thank you. Goddess Erica and Peter, let’s talk about downsides of porn. What you’ve noticed — shame, compulsivity? — and how do you work with folks?
Goddess Erica: If I may, I want it to add on to what you said Caitlin, about the shame around the consumption of porn. There is also a social shame around the consumption of porn, we don’t like to talk about it. We don’t like to talk about the fact that we do it, let alone what we’re watching when we watch it. And I think that that can lead to the feelings of compulsive overconsumption, because there’s no outlet to talk about it and share it, and feel normal and to normalize it. And so, eliminating the social shame is also necessary, in order to really see where the levels are for compulsivity.
Karen Yates: Mmm. Thank you.
Peter Navarro: I want to offer a different vantage point, in that I want for you all to welcome shame in, rather than to avoid it. Because what shame can actually offer us is an opportunity to self reflect about what we are consuming, and if it’s exploiting other people. So I actually will go ahead and invite it in, right? Carefully and intentionally, and be able to differentiate.
Goddess Erica: I like that as a metric, of when you feel shame, being introspective and asking yourself why. It’s all about why.
Karen Yates: So Peter, can you talk a little bit about like a somatic intervention for shame, when you invite it in? And when I’m saying somatic intervention, I’m talking about, like, being in your body, but being aware of your body.
Peter Navarro: Well, being aware of your body first requires you to know what your body is. And your body is culture at its primest. So, everything inside you has been in some way impacted or influenced by other people who are outside of you, and of yourself, and of groups of people, and where you live, and what you see. There’s just so many contributing factors when it comes to this word “body.” So I think understanding your body is the best way to start to understand your shame. I would also add, understanding other people’s bodies. So, really allowing yourself to understand that we have different bodies, different stories, different narratives, and different cultures that live inside.
Karen Yates: Thank you.
Goddess Erica: We are an amalgamation of our experiences and surroundings.
Caitlin V: I’ll just add that sometimes it’s best to do that with professional help.
Karen Yates: Absolutely, absolutely. Whoo! I could have talked about this all night long, but it’s time for a break. Thank you!
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Someone asked, and I’m really glad they asked, because I forgot to ask, “How can I be a more ethical consumer of porn?”
Peter Navarro: Pay your providers.
Goddess Erica: Yes, I second that. Find sites, and understand their policies, to know whether the providers who are on those sites are being treated ethically.
Caitlin V: And then I want to piggyback off of what you said earlier, which is make sure that you’re having an ethical relationship with yourself — your body, your relationship with yourself, any other stakeholders, partners, and then the performers as well.
Goddess Erica: I have another one, too. Which is kind of piggybacking off of what you said, and the last panel, which is: Consider why you are interested in the things you are looking for.
Karen Yates: Mmm. Mmhmm. Which leads us to the next question: “What are some first steps on how to go about figuring out what I enjoy and feeling pleasure?” What are the first steps to go about doing that?
Goddess Erica: Again, I want to go back to something that she said. And that is getting into your body. Really connecting to the sensations that you’re feeling, and asking yourself why you’re feeling them, particularly when you’re observing or consuming content, can give you clues into what you’re into.
Peter Navarro: I’ll just continue from there. What is embodiment? So, embodiment is being able to tune in to the internal milieu, if you will, of what’s going on. Right? And so we can begin to kind of identify for ourselves, in our own bodies, what sensations are pleasurable. So, if I feel a tingle somewhere, is that pleasurable for me, or is it dissatisfying? So, you can kind of do that process with yourself, with a multitude of sensations.
Caitlin V: And then I just want to add, like, both looking for and being open to the whispers. We spoke a little bit earlier about how we live in such a pleasure-negative context. And so just being open to that things can feel good, that they can be pleasurable, that at any moment, pleasure could be here, it could strike. And also it’s true that we find what we look for, right? And so if we’re constantly on the lookout — like, where’s that thing that’s going to feel good, that’s going to turn me on? You will find it. And the more that you look for it, the more often you’ll find it.
Goddess Erica: And also be aware of the inverse. If you’re constantly looking for reasons to be ashamed, then you’ll find it.
Karen Yates: All right. “Can we desexualize ourselves? How can we increase sexual appetite after an extended period of time?”
Peter Navarro: One more time?
Karen Yates: This is a two-parter. So, “How can we increase sexual appetite after an extended period of time? Can we desexualize ourselves?”
Caitlin V: Yes, we can desexualize ourselves. I’ll say that. I think we can never really de-eroticize ourselves. I think our erotic potential lives on, whether it feels like a little candle or a roaring flame. It’s there, the pilot light doesn’t really truly ever go out. What I said earlier, about making sure that we’re locating arousal and turn-on somewhere inside of ourselves. But what I’ll say in this instance is, locating it anywhere. It would be great, and way too easy, to say, “Find it from within.” But sometimes, actually, if it feels like it’s been a long time and you’ve been separated from your erotic life or your sexuality, your pleasure —find it wherever it exists. And again, look for it and keep turning it up a little bit, a little bit, a little bit at a time. And also, what I’ll say on this is that it’s not at all a linear process. I have felt, you know, even just in the last year, a total lack of sexual arousal and desire. We go through it too, even professionals. And then all of a sudden, there it is. It doesn’t follow a linear process; it can be there, it can be gone. It can really come and go very, very quickly and easily. And it can be easy.
I find it kind of a practice. You know, it’s easy, I think it’s really easy with the kind of world we live in, with the overstimulation of everything just coming at us, to get very shut down and to really be connected to our erotic self. Even if we’re not, say, actively engaged in a sexual relationship with anyone. Or maybe we’re not even particularly self-pleasuring very much, but like to just keep — like you were talking about, the pilot light. To keep it going, it’s almost like a yoga, if you will.
Goddess Erica: I think another thing to consider is that we are inherently sexual beings. And so, I think that desexualizing is almost impossible. That when you desexualize, it’s either a mask, or it’s a protective measure, because the the time or the situation or the people that you find yourself around aren’t fertile ground for being sexual.
Peter Navarro: I want to say that ‘sexual equals romance’ is a myth. I kind of want to invite in the asexual population here, when we talk about sexuality—
Karen Yates: Thank you.
Peter Navarro: Because we often leave them out of the conversation. And so I just want to bring them in, and offer that.
Goddess Erica: And that sexuality is a very individualistic thing. That what is sexual for you could be seemingly nonsexual to someone else. So, you know, also claiming your ownership of sexuality is important to everything.
Karen Yates: Final question: “How do you find a kinky person that doesn’t think you’re only into sex?”
Goddess Erica: Go to kinky spaces. I think that there’s an understanding, especially in kink spaces, where kink and sex are very different things, and there can be sexual experience through kink. But conflating the two is something that’s commonly done. But in kink spaces, it’s pretty clearly understood and communicated that sex and kink can be very separate.
Karen Yates: Peter, do you have a thought?
Peter Navarro: I’m just gonna go ahead and echo: go to kinky spaces. The only way to find folks is to go out into the world. Right?
Karen Yates: Yeah.
Caitlin V: And maybe if you’re giving off an energy that you’re only interested in sex, like, there’s nothing wrong with that either.
Karen Yates: Right? Well, panelists, thank you so much for all of your wisdom tonight. Caitlin V, Goddess Erica, and Peter Navarro. Let’s give them a hand.
Learn more about Peter Navarro, Goddess Erica, and Caitlin V in the show notes. Wild & Sublime is supported in part by our Sublime Supporter, Full Color Life Therapy, therapy for all of you at fullcolorlifetherapy.com.
Well, that’s it, folks. Have a very pleasurable week. Next episode, we follow up with part two of our October live show. Are you a switch or vers? Want to learn how? We’ll tell you all about it. Thank you for listening. If you know someone who might be interested in this episode, send it to them. Do you like what you’ve heard? Then give us a nice review on your podcast app. You can follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for newsletters at wildandsublime.com. I’d like to thank associate producer Julia Williams and design guru Jean-François Gervais. Theme music by David Ben-Porat. This episode was edited by The Creative Imposter Studios. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine, feminist media at rebelliousmagazine.com.
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- Peter Navarro – Somatic sex therapist
- Goddess Erica – Tantric doula & sexual empowerment coach
- Caitlin V – Intimacy & relationship coach, host of Good Sex on Discovery+
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