Sex Positive Me

E101: READ ME: A Parental Primer For THE TALK

Listen to “E101: READ ME: A Parental Primer For THE TALK” on Spreaker.

We were happy to have Dr. Lanae St. John back on the podcast again after 3 years. She recently released her book, READ ME: A Parental Primer for THE TALK and we’re so excited to see this book come alive. The information is applicable to adults, parents, and children. She also revealed her five building blocks to a healthy sexuality. These blocks can help anyone build trust in themselves and their partner(s) in creating healthy relationships. We had a great conversation reminiscing over how this book evolved and took form.

About Dr. Lanae St.John

Dr. Lanae St.John, known as The MamaSutra, is a board-certified sexologist with the American College of Sexologists and a former professor of human sexuality at City College of San Francisco. She’s been named one of the top 100 sex blogging superheroes by Kinkly.com every year since 2013.

Dr. Lanae has been quoted in Forbes.com, Huffington Post, livestrong.com, Popsugar, and Women’s Health Magazine and she’s been a guest on multiple podcasts including Sex Out Loud, Sex Nerd Sandra, and Sexology. In addition, she is the author of Read Me: A Parental Primer for “The Talk.” Lanae lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner and two daughters.

Instagram: @themamasutra
Twitter: @themamasutra
Facebook: TheMamaSutra



Amberly Rothfield
On sex positive me explore all aspects of sex and relationships ranging from fetishes and BDSM to ethical non monogamy and LGBTQ issues. Sex positive need to stigmatizes sexual practices and relationships while reconciling reality with myths and misconceptions. Our goal is to educate, entertain and be advocates of sexual freedom and now here’s your host, Angelique and John Luna.

Angelique
Hey everybody, it’s Angelique Luna and I’m here with my co host troublemaker god he’s still alive in quarantine John C Luna

John
Barely, I thought you were gonna kill me when the when the next package came in from from UPS or Ah, we have more coconut rope and we know how much you love coconut rope.

Angelique
Why Midori Why? That’s all I mean.

John
It takes a lot for me to say something that gets you quiet. So I gotta remember that.

Angelique
So let’s go to our guests who has been a dearing and fabulous a friend, colleague in the sex education field. We’ve known her for many years and now she finally birth the child we’ve been waiting for her book. Read Me the parental primer for the talk. Miss Lanae St.JOHN, how are you?

Lanae St.John
Hi, how are you? So good to see you.

Angelique
Well, you know, we’re in zoom and due to COVID technicality we’re not showing the video or portion by audio but yeah,

John
I was just watching something about how makeup sales have gone down. Less and less and less because we’re not going out.

Lanae St.John
Yeah,

John
so And someone said, I said pants sales, because really, you don’t need them if you’re on zoom.

Angelique
Well, you know we have, we have to laugh because we’re in Florida, you’re in California and Florida always has the weirdest of weird stories. We had a judge in South Florida yell and scream at lawyers and other

John
because they were doing court online.

Angelique
They were doing court online, but they weren’t wearing pants or weren’t wearing clothes. Like someone was actually in the bathroom doing a presentation in the nude and we’re like,

Lanae St.John
No, seriously?

Angelique
The only in Florida. Yes. Exactly. Okay,

Lanae St.John
I suppose it’s good. If it’s gonna happen, It’s gonna happen in Florida.

Angelique
Yeah, you know, it’s pretty bad when our local station has a game show saying did it happen in Florida or not?

Lanae St.John
Oh, seriously?

Angelique
Oh, oh, yes,

Lanae St.John
there you go.

Angelique
So I’m wondering if some of the topics And the book would happen in Florida. They’re here. Because I noticed there was like a lot of personal stories and adventures in there and relating to the stories and tell us about it. How, why did you do it in that format?

Lanae St.John
Yeah. So when I sat down to write the book, it was originally going to be a blog post.

Angelique
That’s a very long blog post.

Lanae St.John
Right. So originally it was going to be I think it’s the last two or it’s toward the back the the two chapters that talk about the five reasons parents don’t talk to their kids and you know, the tips that can help them make it easy. And I started to write this post and back then Charlie Glickman was my editor, and it just kept getting longer and longer and longer. And I had also come up with the idea of those five building blocks and so I sat down with a with an editor. I’d put together all the pieces of, of writing that I had had been working on, put them all into one document. And I shared it with an editor and they said, there’s actually there’s some meat to this. So she did kind of an Edward Scissorhands, to my book. Put it all, like put it all back together in a completely different format. And, and it was, it was like magic. Ended up how it is now, and putting in those personal stories. Well, the reason why I did that is I felt like, if you could give people examples of how it worked in real life, it would take it from being this theoretical, oh, pie in the sky. I don’t really know how this works in application to something really tangible. And so, you know, and also back then, the kids were really young. Now they’re 16. And just about Ready to turn 18? And, you know, I don’t now, I asked for their permission for some of the stories that I, you know, that I talked about with them and and there have been a couple that have been really, really big that I haven’t yet written about. But I have gotten permission to tell so I could share them here.

Angelique
Um, well, your girls are on another level of like sex positivity and using, you know, consent left and right, because I remember you told a story last time about them throwing the consent flag, it’s like you didn’t have consent?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah. It happens less often now, but because I think their boundaries are better. But yeah, it used to be very often that I would have one kid yelling, no consent as like, almost like uncle you know how some people use uncle like, throw out the no consent, everything stops. So Yeah, so putting in those personal stories, it felt like it could help people with Yeah, how it would apply to them or potentially apply to them.

Angelique
Now, what surprised me was when you put in the book that some people are going to feel uncomfortable reading this and I’m like, Say what?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, Yeah,

Angelique
Why would they feel uncomfortable?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, I actually I’ve had some really interesting reviews. I mean, not interesting, bad, but interesting, good one recently posted on Goodreads. And it was a young woman who doesn’t have kids yet herself. Thought it was just going to be you know, an easy read but got really disappointed right away by the fact that she had to process some stuff. But she was like, I was really glad to, you know, to keep with it, basically. So, but yeah, it it brings up stuff for people and I had a podcast interview. I think it was last week, where the author or the the podcast host said the same thing. Like, she was pushing up against some really challenging things that she wasn’t sure she agreed with at first and then she just she kept reading and she said, I could tell I was learning something because I would catch myself really thinking about, you know, why do I think this way, you know why? And for me, you know, it’s, I’m in another group where we talk about the curse of knowledge and you guys probably experienced this now, too, right? You’ve been doing this work for a while, and you almost forget what it was like to be in that space of not knowing and not understanding. And, and, yeah, it, it trips me up today. Even when I try to, you know, write things I’m like, okay, I really need to bring this back to, you know, make it about them that they understand what I’m talking about.

Angelique
So yeah, it’s

Yes, simplifying it. Yeah, cuz sometimes you I’m liking this business mastermind group and I’m the only one talking about sex. So I kind of focus instead of like, the intimacy and relationship coach, I’m doing a sex educator coach, you know, so because I do want people to get over the fact of you know, sex is a good thing. It’s pleasurable. It’s not taboo, you know, because I see the dancing around when just cuz Oh, will say intimacy and relationships, no goddamnit sex, it’s like, yeah, you know, it’s pleasure. And the mere fact that some people still at 30, 40, 50 can’t even say the word I was like, Oh, my god, there’s a lot more work to be done here.

Lanae St.John
And so much work.

Angelique
Yeah. And we teach so much that sometimes we forget, not everybody has attended our class. So when we say things, it’s like, okay, backtrack. I gotta explain it. It’s like, well, you’re vanilla. It’s like, what does that mean? You know, like, Oh, great. So we put the disclaimer in our class that we relate everything to food, you know, he’s Italian and Mexican. It’s all about food. And that’s how one could understand the conversation about sex and not feel uncomfortable.

Lanae St.John
There ya go. Great way to put it. Context of food. Another universal.

Angelique
Everyone,

Lanae St.John
Say that again

John
I said it leads to a lot more takeout lately.

Lanae St.John
If only right?

Angelique
Oh, yes. All right. Let’s talk about the five building blocks because I love how you have it set up in the book that you even put like a little quick description of what each building block is meant to be.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah, and that was inspired by I mean, any conversation I have even with my my partner who is not a native English speaker. It’s always helpful to define your terms. And so having that at the beginning The chapter helps to sort of lay out, at least in my mind, layout. Okay, what are we going to talk about here? And how does this really apply and, and all that. So I tried to find a quote too. So you probably noticed the quotes at the beginning, they all tie back to that part was actually kind of fun. Because that’s another piece that as I was putting the book together, I would stumble upon quotes, and, you know, four or five years ago, Instagram used to be lots of quotes, right? Less stories and more like, interesting quotes that you could share. And I have two books on the bookshelf back there. Well, nobody can see. But um, they’re all they’re all full of quotes about sex. And so some of those I’d pull out and, and then others I would just find elsewhere. So yeah, it was, it was it was a lot of fun. It ended up being a lot of fun. Putting a book together.

Angelique
Oh, yeah, totally in there. It’s like, yeah, the one quote I would really liked was the would you call it? Fred Rogers? Talk at the senate

Lanae St.John
Senate,

Angelique
about mental health. Yeah. And that was like, yeah, you know, if we had mental health, we wouldn’t be in this situation. We are right now, but that’s okay. That’s just my opinion.

Lanae St.John
Well, in addition to that, you know, yeah, we wouldn’t be in the same position we’re in now, but I’m, I’m becoming more of the mind to want to push for sex to be dealt with in schools. No differently than math and science. Because it’s, you know, it’s something that people deserve to know factual information. giving people information that doesn’t. It’s not true is like we would never do that with math or science. We would never allow I don’t know integers to be taught some other way or multiplication tables, because, you know, we don’t believe that they’re true. You know, this is this is not a piece. I mean, I understand why parents want to that’s not even read. They think it’s protecting right? Yes, yeah. But um you know, I, I kind of understand it but if they really dove into understanding sexuality, what people do sexually and how they think and feel about it, and how important it is just for health, like removing the word sex from sexual health and just calling it health because health, health and wellness and you know how important it is I actually just posted a blog post right before we jumped on the on the call here. I’m talking about how I talked to my kids about STI testing. You know, I included in the book right page 62 is what I just put in the blog post But, you know, if it’s not a sexual thing, it’s a health thing. And there’s every reason to encourage my kids to, if they’re going to be dating, this is something that’s part of dating, you know, you have to know what your status is you have to know how to be able to communicate it. And you know, same thing with genital self exam, so there’s Yeah. So there’s a lot to this topic, and I think it should be treated like a science.

John
Oh, it definitely should be. One of the things I’m always amazed about is when you talk about STDs, the shame that’s associated with it.

Lanae St.John
Oh, yeah,

John
Even from your own doctor.

Angelique
Oh, God. Oh, yeah. We had to switch doctors because one knows we were like F you we’re out,

John
You’ve never heard of a doctor go Oh, you have cancer. What did you do? You know, it’s never an STI What the hell? It must have been wild or something. It’s like why is there so much about a particular disease?

Lanae St.John
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I thought it’s interesting. I have a friend who had been communicating with somebody for like, five years. And finally they’re both single. And now it’s an you know, COVID has happened. And they ran into each other at the grocery store. They could just feel this electricity in the air. Right? Yeah, no one you know, post COVID when we can finally go outside, everyone’s gonna be buy some stock in condom companies I would guess.

Angelique
We would do all that. Did you see the Saturday Night Live skit about dating after COVID?

Lanae St.John
No, I didn’t.

Angelique
Oh, my God, you gotta check it out. Because they were making fun of Disney’s Ana. Remember, like they were locked up and then the first guy she got, you know, she married. So that was the premise that they did on SNL. They’re like, Okay, well, here’s this guy who’s homeless. I don’t care. I’ll date him. It’s like, Well, here’s this other guy. I don’t care how he looks. I’ll just take him. It’s just like he has a pulse. That’s fine. Yeah. What was that?

Lanae St.John
It was interesting though, because my friend after having run into him they were they started texting each other and the conversation they had about, like, when’s the last time you saw someone just like the cut? You know? Like the check in how, how often are you keeping yourself quarantine? Like, what’s your? What’s your ring of? Or sphere of it? Like what is the word? Like how many people have you seen? Like, do you have people visiting you? Do you visit other people? Right? That kind of conversation. I was like, this is a great opportunity to add on to that with the STI stuff, right?

Angelique
Yeah. When was the last time you get tested unit even pre new COVID.

Lanae St.John
Exactly. Exactly. So yeah. So maybe people are learning to talk about things that are a little taboo, right, because the if you get COVID kind of scared of that right.

John
I still think the funniest question I’ve been asked is can I catch it through sex If I’m wearing a mask? And I’m like, Okay, I know you’ve been locked up for eight or nine weeks. It’s wearing thin on you, isn’t it?

Angelique
I thought it was the oral wine. It’s like yeah, you can’t catch it if you’re just doing oral in a glory hole. These are the questions we’re getting. I don’t know if you’re getting the same ones.

John
People are asking them their valid questions. I need to get there. We’ll need to get their their touch in there just trying to figure out what’s a loophole?

Lanae St.John
Yeah. COVID hacks I suppose. It sounds like a good one. You might have to hit that one, covid hacks.

Angelique
Alright, we’re gonna take a short commercial break and we’ll be right back.

Hey, john, I want to get a new toy.

John
Okay, so let’s go to Fairvilla.

Angelique
But I don’t want to waste time trying to find out what goes with what?

John
Well, there’s Fairvilla University and their staff is very well educated and helpful.

Angelique
Okay, but how about if I just want to go to a party instead?

John
Then go to their website because on their calendar lists all their events,

Angelique
but I don’t want to spend a lot of money.

John
Have you heard of the loyalty program?

Angelique
Oh, yeah, that thing. I’m on my keychain that makes everyone blush every time they see it?

John
That’s the one.

Angelique
Let’s go.

John
Well, they have over five locations in Central Florida. Which one do you want to go to?

Angelique
Fairvilla, for pleasure, fun and fantasy.

John
And we’re back and we’re talking to the mama sutra. Lanae St.JOHN here. Now her new book. Read Me, the parental primer for the talk and talk. It’s always been an uncomfortable subject for everyone. My talk was really, really uncomfortable for my parents. So Tell me how well I totally blew that one.

Angelique
Okay, so

John
really smooth and then my mind just went blank.

Angelique
It’s all good. So I will transition in so have been uncomfortable. I love the governor of the state of Tennessee signed into law, a bill that prohibits teachers from talking about the so called gateway sexual activities. I lost my shit when I said it’s like kissing, holding hands general touching, you know, when teaching sex education in Tennessee schools. So if I touched your hand, I mean, you know, it’s a gateway for sexual activities.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, just the idea that one has to lead to the other, right, cuddles and hugs. For example. I was talking to somebody recently a parent of I think it was five boys. And the idea that, you know, cuddling or pleasure the building block in the book pleasure that hugs could be non sexual. I was like,

John
What do you mean?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, they are non sexual. They don’t have to lead to sex, right? But there are so many people who think that if you start hugging then it’s just gonna gateway into you know? Yeah, the acts of sex, which is really interesting.

Angelique
And sometimes you just need that, you know, just yeah, human touch, human intimacy without the penetration and the thing. I don’t understand why people automatically assume soon as you say sex or sexuality it is penetration.

Lanae St.John
Yeah,

Angelique
There’s so much more to it.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, exactly. I think. I mean, I wonder how much of it has to do with movies, right, like if you see a couple, starting to embrace and then it just like clothes off, blah, blah, right. Clothes Come off, everyone falls into bed or pushes everything off the counter or the desk and starts having sex right there. Right? Like how much of that is, you know, just sort of feeding these ideas that you know, you start something, you’re gonna have to finish it.

Angelique
Or, you know, come on, let’s go back to the early days of soap operas there, that you simply coupled, you know, together hugging, kissing, and next thing, you know, you screen there in the bedroom, and then you’re like, but what happened in between what’s going on? You know, and

Lanae St.John
That’s a good example.

Angelique
You know, that’s where we’re trying to fill in the blank. It’s like, Where’s the negotiation? Where’s the consent? What was the desire? And what was your intention? You know, going into all that that we kind of teach as instructors but it’s like, no one has been debunk those theories? So what is in between it’s the blurb and

Lanae St.John
Even depicted it.

John
Yeah, what I know is up until being a teenager and finding out from mostly friends and movies, sex was a complete mystery. Hmm, growing up and a lot of it is from the movies and the fact that most of them have that that that same thing where you’re leading up to it, people are kissing. Okay, this looks interesting. Fade to black. They’re getting up in the morning and now someone’s mad because something bad happened. I don’t know what happened here. And it leads to confusion. And I think part of that is is what leads to the talk being very awful with our parents, because then we’re like, Okay, well, Troy explained to me what happened. And of course, most parents are a little uncomfortable talking to their kids about sex. I’m not saying it was my favorite thing, but we did it.

Lanae St.John
What I think that’s where the book can be helpful is that I tried to in creating the, the framework with these five building blocks, I tried to take the pressure off of having conversations about penises and vaginas, and put the emphasis on these five building blocks because if you look at them, the five building blocks don’t really have anything to do with penises or vaginas, or who does what or what goes where, but they’re all, you know, basic concepts that are going to build on each other to help you have a healthy adult sexuality, right communication key, right. And always consent, you know, and even that, you know, I originally wrote the book four years ago, yes, it took two years, I had an agent that wasn’t able to place it any of these big, you know, New York publishing houses. And then that last year was just me self publishing, you know, doing all the getting all everything taken care of that is done in publishing a book. And, you know, talking about consent, four years ago, was still still pretty edgy. Right. I think. Now, we’ve had me too, and a lot of things that have happened that have really helped us articulate why consent is important. So then you have respect and respect for self and, and others. Pleasure, we talked a little bit about that and fantasy as well. So each of these things are concepts that, you know, you can talk about. If you’re two years old, or, you know, to say if you’re teaching kids about boundaries and agency and autonomy of their body, when they’re two it’ll be easier for them when they’re 12. You know, in interacting with middle school kids, peers, and also when they’re 22. If they you know, they’re now they’re off to college or living on their own and you know, there’s there’s lots of things that can happen out there.

Angelique
Oh, absolutely there, that’s the insanity of not being prepared, because it’s like, we always tell people it’s like, you know, we teach our kids about math, science, driving responsibilities, but there’s no where, even if you do do the sex education, about how to have a healthy relationship. Yeah, because some of our media or television personalities, it’s like, how is that healthy? I mean, my favorite is married with children. How dysfunctional was that family and and then you go all the way back to the 1950s. We’ll leave it to Beaver. It’s like, Wait, is that a reality or not? Yeah.

Lanae St.John
Yeah. And with that you have, at least what I think has contributed to hookup culture, is if you just teach about sex, and you don’t talk about all the stuff that has to lead up to the sex, then, of course, people aren’t going to really understand how to get from A to B. Right? There’s they’re basically going from A to Z and there’s been a whole lot of stuff in the middle of it.

Angelique
They completely miss. Fun part of it, too, you know?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah. Exactly. All that stuff is really rich. If you’re able to absorb it, learn it. When you’re young, I think, at least with my kids, we’ve I’ve been seeing the seeds that I planted for them years ago with, you know, even before I wrote the book, and seeing how it shows up now, right? My kids have been through owl. They’ve been through my teaching them on a day to day basis, all about sexuality. And this was the thing that my daughter said, she gave me permission to talk about. She and I were talking about, I don’t even remember how the conversation started. But she said, You know, when I have sex, I want to be able to find somebody that I can be comfortable with. And I was like, okay, that’s really interesting. Tell me more. And she said, Well, I get the sense that sex is awkward. And I want to find somebody that I can be completely awkward with. I was just floored. Because, you know, I was not that kid.

Angelique
No

Lanae St.John
I didn’t get any education like that. So that thought process was not there for me. I didn’t, you know, I didn’t put any importance or even any knowledge on, you know, who I would select why I would select them, right? I made some really stupid decisions

Angelique
oh come on we all have

Lanae St.John
when I was in my, you know, in my 20s, for sure. And it was, was really kind of an eye opening moment for me. And just made the point even stronger. You know, all the statistics that say kids that know about sex aren’t the ones that go out and do it, you know, they they’re more likely to use a condom, they’re more likely to, to wait. Yeah, so it’s, like I said, I’m seeing those seeds that planted years ago. Starting to starting to come up in ways I would not have expected. Good ways.

Angelique
I know they sometimes surprise us because you think they don’t listen to us, but then then turn around and say things like that. I’m like, Oh, so you did listen, you did take notes. But you’re still making me feel like I did a bad parenting job. You evil child here, but you know, but that’s a good thing there. Because I know growing up, it was like, Don’t ever date a guy because they only want to have sex. You only have sex when you get married. And I’m like, okay, but what happens if I didn’t have sex? How am I supposed to know what to do on the wedding day? You know, it’s like, lights on lights off what you Yeah, it’s very challenging, and then even to have even that permission to tell my partner, hey, I like this or can you stop and do that because it will ruin the mood because that’s what we learn not to say anything or speak up. And that’s what’s been great the last couple of years with a lot of the conversations and the need to then We are learning to speak up and be vocal on what we like, you know, even do self care, masturbation, you know, during National masturbation month and also Mental Health Awareness Month it I don’t see that as funny I say hey, they go hand in hand you know you have an orgasm and your mental health healthy.

Lanae St.John
It certainly does help. Yeah it helps to relieve all that stress that we’re feeling and in COVID and quarantine, right?

John
Absolutely. So let me ask you, when you wrote this, who’s who should be reading this book? Because I know it is the primer for the talk. And most people think, okay, the talk, depending on where you’re from is somewhere between 12 and 18. Depending on how in the cloud you are, but you should be reading it because we always say sex ed should begin as early as two.

Lanae St.John
Yep.

John
Two minutes left.

Lanae St.John
Yeah. Well, and it’s it’s interesting because when I look at The audience that does pay attention to what I say, or what I write, or whatever, they’re usually kids that already have, or they’re usually people that have kids that are already in school. So I do find some toddlers and preschoolers, but mostly kindergarten up through young adult. But I’ve also noticed in the reviews when I read the reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, I’m noticing a lot of people who don’t have kids have read my book and gotten a lot out of it. Because it’s, it’s not just a book that is for parents. I think it’s also a book that has a lot to say about how we learned what we learned, and maybe even begin to question. You know, who was that for? Who were those lessons? Who are those messages? Those false messages? Who are they for? You know, and to be fair, my parents probably got a lot of shame when they were, you know, or the messages they got? Were all about shameful sex or sex is dangerous and things like that, because it probably was, you know, if you if you’re not talking about it back then. Yeah, there’s probably a lot of stuff that our parents and grandparents had to put up with or endure and so they didn’t they didn’t know. They didn’t know what to say. But now, we do have resources out there who can help. So I guess it’s the book is really for anybody who wants to maybe unlearn the bad messages about sex that they’ve absorbed.

Angelique
And there’s a lot of it through several generations, cultural religious, I mean, we have seen it and heard it all, you know, in regards to what makes sex uncomfortable for them.

Lanae St.John
I believe it

Angelique
And also, I think it’s so helpful for people who’ve gone through trauma to And to even set the foundations for them to understand that this is the healthier way what you experience. Yes, it was bad but it is repairable. So you can still have a healthy, you know, relationship there. And that pleasure is not bad. fantasies are not bad. You know, we always say it ignites a conversation gets you new ideas. I mean, you could fulfill them or not, but at least it gets you gets the motor running.

Lanae St.John
That’s for sure. Get lubed up at least

Angelique
always use lube.

John
It gets the mind going and the joke you know, we’ve all heard the term the mind is the biggest sex organ. But I find people when you say that to them, they kind of give you a weird look. But then I’m like can you have great sex when you’re worried about maybe losing your job? Well not worried about that or can you have great sex when you’re worried? You know that your in laws are going to go knocking at the door all the time. Well, of course not, it just reinforces that, that your mind has to be there first before the rest of its gonna fall.

Lanae St.John
Yeah. Yeah. You know, and speaking of your mind has to be there. There was something that came up this week in a conversation with a parent who is asking, you know how to handle it when they get caught in the act with, you know, the kids walk in. And I, the word that struck me, or that stuck out to me this time, for whatever reason, it was this particular time was about the word caught. Right? If, if most parents, you know, most of the vanilla parents like to say I mean, I know I certainly did when I when I first started out, was that when two people love each other, sex is something people do when two people love each other. But then, out of the same mouth, there’s somebody who’s like Ah, oh my God and like grabbing the covers and covering themselves up and feeling acting like they’re ashamed or embarrassed or need to hide this thing that two people who love each other are supposed to do. Right? Do you see where I’m going with this? Like? Yes,

John
yes. a very confusing message for a child.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, it’s it’s really interesting that we use words like caught. Because if you break it down, you aren’t doing anything wrong.

Angelique
Nope

Lanae St.John
Right? So just notice even the language that we use around things like that. It’s, it’s remarkable to me.

Angelique
Oh, absolutely. That’s one thing I noticed throughout the book. It’s like know your terms and terminology, how you’re saying things, even your explanation about sexuality what it really means because everyone does get confused on the word of sexualities, sexual intimacy, you know, sexual wellness, it’s like what is it all mean you know?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah. And one of the things, the next thing I’m working on here I have a thing I think is the most interesting is the more I study sex, the less sex is about sex. Like, like, you know, I think what I see is, you know, people are seeking something, right. They’re seeking something, and, and identifying what those things are so that you can get that and then be able to have that connection with your partner. Right. So, so yeah, it’s it’s been interesting to, to really dive into this field. And yeah, communication is bigger than I would have expected. You know, and that’s something that just I didn’t learn about any of this stuff relating to communicate, communicating with my partner about, you know, what I wanted and what to expect in a relationship or future goals and things like that. Right.

Angelique
Right. You know, setting the intentions what we want. I mean, we were raised, you know, children are meant to be seen not heard.

Lanae St.John
Oh, God. Yeah, I grew up with that.

Angelique
Yep. So that way we just have to continue on in adulthood not speaking either.

Lanae St.John
Yeah. And that’s how dangerous that is.

John
Or worse we silence others

Angelique
Yeah.

Lanae St.John
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Yikes. That’s true. That’s true.

John
To an extent, we all carry parts of our parents and our upbringing with us. And it takes a lot of I love the word unlearning to make your knee jerk reaction, something else.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah the cause

John
Because you’re not using the word I got caught when we’re talking about sex. Because it’s what we’ve heard for our entire life.

Angelique
And then be all shameful and bashful. It was like, Oh my god, you know, it’s like, wait a minute, wait a minute, own it. Own it. You guys did it. You know, this is what you taught you to just spin it and say well done. Yeah, this is our private time and this is we’re showing love to each other as adults not to you know to kids so

Lanae St.John
Well, but even then, kids, if they’re walking in on you, like let’s say it’s the middle of the night, and you’re doing your thing and the kid knocks on the door or doesn’t even knock just comes in.

John
They never knock.

Lanae St.John
Right? They never knock. But it’s less about what you’re doing. Because they’re probably not they might be coming in because I heard a noise and maybe it was your bed squeaking or something. But chances are it could be a bad dream or they need a drink of water or they had to go to the bathroom. Right and so there’s there’s a lot of things that could be playing into why they came to you in the first place. And so, you know, just stopping dismounting and be like, I noticed you’re here and not in your bed. Are you okay? Do you need anything? You know, do you need to the bathroom Do you need to Did you have a bad dream? Just like checking in with them, making the fact that you were having sex a complete non issue? like not even not even addressing it unless they ask, right like we don’t we do this thing where we need to maybe offer information about something that they’re not even questioning. They might not, you know, they might not have even noticed. I might have been in a weird position but okay, you know,

John
yes, you’re right or why we sound like you know, someone out of a sitcom. Nothing’s over here. Don’t look over here. And that’s when the kid goes no, what’s what’s over there?

Angelique
what’s over there?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah,

John
you act this nonchalant as you’re putting it. You’re right. The kids won’t notice. Because you’re not putting the focus on it?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, like, wow, you’re here. What’s What’s up? What do you need, you know, and like, make it just a total non issue and this, okay? It’s all about me. Pay attention to me, okay. I’m, I’m, I had a bad dream. You know, they’re not gonna notice you can even like dismount Just grab a robe and deal with it. But yeah, I just we don’t have to be as ashamed as we, as we’re programmed to be.

Angelique
Yeah. Which makes it interesting because oftentimes I do see the parents overthinking and over communicating something that the kid was just looking for a black and white answer, either yes or no or this is what happened, not this long dictionary experience. So what is going on? And that’s just because As parents, we overthink and complicate the situation when they’re just simple, little mind children learning and growing and sponging up but we just kind of over dump. I guess would be the answer?

Lanae St.John
Yeah. Yeah. It’s like a brain dump. Yeah, you know, that reminds me there was a story I used to tell, really early days of studying sexuality and talking to parents and one parent pointed out that when her son asked, Where did he come from? She went into a whole long story about like the birds and the bees and Babies and how they’re born. And he’s like, Oh, that was really interesting because you know, so and so said they came from such and such hospital where they come from

John
That would work too

Lanae St.John
you came from the hospital. Not really given the whole information, but I mean, getting context and getting, you know, asking a deeper question, tell me why you tell me why you’re asking, you know, where does this you know, kind of buying yourself some time at the same time? And you’ll get to see like, yeah, the answer. You’re looking for something totally different.

John
Yeah, that is true. Kids are curious, but it’s to a point. Because I had a nephew asked me like, you know, I want cookies. I have to cook cookies. What does that mean? Okay, I have to go into the oven. I do this. Then I started talking and he’s like, I see the eyes glaze over. Like, I just want a cookie. Like, okay, it’ll take 40 minutes you get the cookie as soon as In a lot of ways, depending on the age, it’s the same thing about set or that question, Where do I come from? You don’t need to go into a dissertation. You were born in a hospital, everything worked out, you’re here.

Angelique
As long as it’s not the stork story, we’re good.

Lanae St.John
Exactly

John
To come in on this, why are there birds?

Lanae St.John
Tell me about the time you went to the hospital and got me mommy or whatever you write like, yeah, that could be a little. Okay. Then you’re you’re you’re more interested here and something a little deeper. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you’re right, though it does become a dissertation for for folks. And the one thing I always tried to do with my kids was come up with an answer that was, you know, simple for their age, right to answer their question, without going into a dissertation and to try to do it as best I could in in one sentence, and then be prepared for wherever that goes after that, because they would, sometimes they would ask a question. And that was expected. And then other times, the follow up was, you know, was completely different than what I would have expected. I think I might have written one of one of them in the book. Or else, it’s a blog that I wrote that I didn’t put in the book, but my daughter asked me one time, how do you have sex and not get pregnant? Like, that was an interesting question, because, you know, most conversations around sex, lead to pregnancy. Right. So like, there was, it was interesting, at least that she, she understood that you could do this thing and not get pregnant. And so then it became a conversation about, you know, masturbation, right. So, so yeah, you never know where they’re going to go with it. But yeah, if you just get curious about what they what they’re looking for what they want to know. You can give them the answer or give them give them an answer that will satisfy what they need at that time.

Angelique
Exactly. And then try to find like teachable moments because I know you talked About the JLo song and how you were discussing the lyrics. And I’m like thinking, like I’m a Disney fanatic and how many adult references are in several Disney movies and also other animated movies that you’re just like, Ah, you catch it as an adult. But as kids they don’t see it

Lanae St.John
They don’t get that

John
stuff as kids were exposed to that the parents see the sexuality on a meet up. And for me, we’re going way back on a date myself. Like a Virgin just came out.

Lanae St.John
I’m right there with ya.

John
And I remember, we were going to school and another parent drove us this time. And the moment the song came on, she not only shut off, she punched the radio to shut it off and it was violent enough that as a kid, I’m looking I’m like, okay, something really wrong that happened to piss her off.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, yeah.

Angelique
And remember audience john has 12 years of Catholic school.

John
Yes. But when it was, you know, years later I heard it and I’m still listening to the song for a while, but the lyrics still didn’t click. And I gotta say it wasn’t even till years later. So I guess when I heard the song, what are we talking about? 1980 is when she first started, I was about seven. It took a look. Anyway, when the lyrics finally clicked so many years later, 5, 6, 7 years later, it was like, Oh, crap, that’s what was going on in that car.

Lanae St.John
Now, same thing with little red Corvette, and Gosh, what are some of these others that almost any AC DC? Oh, yeah, for sure.

Angelique
Okay, how about the milkshake, milkshake picking?

Lanae St.John
I mean, so this used to be a question that I asked the students in my college classes, the very first first one of the first two days, we would brainstorm all the different sources, we got our sex ed. And so they would, they would throughout specific songs, right? Like some of the ones that we’re talking about these were the places that they learned their sex ed, or they learned about sex. And then I would ask the follow up question. Okay, so these are this is where you’ve got your sex ed, where do you Where would have you want it? You know, where? How do I word that? Where would you have wanted to learn about sex who like, what, from what source? And it surprised me the first time it happened. But, you know, one of the students right away first thing was parents. And I sort of thought that was a fluke, right? That that would be the first because they came up with some other ideas too. And the next semester, the same thing, parents was the first thing that came up. And so, you know, it just to me, it sort of underscored how important a book like this is because parents are their child’s first sex educator, right? They do want to know from us and to be Fair, not all of us got good information got, you know, we’re educated at all. I really think my mom opted out of sex ed in high school for me, like, I don’t remember getting sex ed in high school. I know I had it in junior high and sixth grade, where we had to talk about periods. I think we were even, like, gender split. Like, I don’t remember boys being in that auditorium when they had that conversation.

Angelique
Yeah, I mean, there’s still in this time and age, the gender split to and I’m like, yeah, here’s what’s going on on TV. Why are you splitting the kids?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, I don’t get that either. I mean, some point in their life, they’re going to interact with people who are of, you know, not of their gender, and going to need to understand what that person is going through. Right. It’s kinda like a cross cultural study. Oh, absolutely. And it’s important, right? It’s just as important as cross cultural cultural studies are so

Angelique
I’m glad you made the point in the book that this is not just, you know, heterosexual normative, you know, sex ed, it’s, it’s for everybody because there’s a diversity of genders and identities. So people just don’t say, Well, this was not a non gender format. I don’t know all the people who bitch about the damn vocabulary of other things, because I’ve been chewed out one too many times, because I wasn’t.

John
You know why

Angelique
I know. But still, I like to reiterate the fact that, you know, we try our very best as educators to be gender inclusive.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, and we can’t always be perfect. No, and it it’s what we were talking about earlier, silencing others, right. If we jump on people when they’re really trying, it doesn’t help them. It doesn’t. It doesn’t help both sides, really, you know, so I think Yeah, having a little bit of compassion for the work that people are trying to do and trying to educate others and I get it. I get it. It feels icky when it happens.

Angelique
Oh, yeah,

John
with everything that’s going on in the world compassion. I think there’s more of now. Yes. And there was eight weeks ago for all the pain, suffering and hate to say death that has gone on not to change the subject too much. I think we may come out of this with a more compassionate society.

Lanae St.John
I hope so. I hope you’re right.

Angelique
Definitely. So what’s in the works for you upcoming so our listeners can follow and then where else they could find you?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, actually, just this morning, I sent out an email to my email list. I am in the final stages of finishing the course. That’s a deep dive into this book. And so that’s, that’s what’s coming next. I sort of have two audiences in the Mama Sutra, at least on my, on my website, I have the parents and then I have the adults who are just learning about sex for themselves, right not necessarily to be able to communicate to them They’re to their kids. But we’re just learning for themselves. And so we’ve got some some fun things brewing for that as well. I have a freebie that I can offer to your audience ties into. I mean, it just it wasn’t on purpose, but it ties into the posts that I posted today. I don’t know why I’m on a little bit of a rant. Maybe not a rant, but on a mission soapbox mission. There you go, um, to to help people understand sexual health is health. Right? And so, I put together a PDF, which is a guide for how to do a gentle self exam whether you have a penis or a vulva.

Angelique
Whoo. That is well needed.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, so different. I mean, it doesn’t. I don’t think I have breasts in there. I think the Susan Komen Foundation usually does a really fantastic job with that I didn’t touch that piece. But the genital self exam used to be an assignment that I gave to my students when I taught it at ccsf. It was always an optiontional assignment. I had one student who was in her 50s. She I taught when I taught at ccsf. I also had the working adult degree program. So students who were going back to school, they didn’t finish their degree. And I was often women that were in this program, not always, but often. And they may have gotten pregnant young, didn’t finish school. So now the kids are grown up, and they went back to school to study. And there was one time I gave this assignment was like one of my last semesters. And they always had a choice what they could choose to do as this assignment. And one of the choices was the general self exam, and it was kind of the easiest. You didn’t have to like, go to a lecture or you know, review a book or anything like that. And so, the student left this assignment for last was really putting it off, just not, just big resistance to doing a genital self exam. And when we finally turned everything in, she said, you know, she raised her hand and she said, Professor, I have to say, I hated the thought of doing this assignment. I was like, Yeah, I can, I understand. It’s not as a tough assignment. And she said, but when I was done, I loved it. She said, I went into my room, my bedroom, and I locked the door. And I went into my bathroom, I locked the door. And I sat down on the floor with my mirror, and I named the parts you know, I looked at the book to name the parts and where everything was, and she said it was the first time I looked at myself in that way, and I got to see how beautiful it was, or how beautiful my vulva was, and, and it made me a little sad that I relied all those years on somebody else to tell me what I look like. Whether It was beautiful or not, she’s like, I got to see how beautiful it was. Just by the end of doing that assignment. I had my underwear, and I was whipping around up above my head.

Angelique
Like a concert.

Lanae St.John
And, you know, just, you know, the way she said at the class to the class all like laughs along with her and she was just she was so happy to have that experience. But think about that, as, you know, a 50 something woman having never looked and relying on others to to know what’s up down there. It’s, um, yeah, I want a bit of a mission to help parents understand that. Doing a genital self exam is not a sexual thing. It’s not a sex act. It’s a health thing. You know, heaven forbid, there’s a something to, to, you know, deal with, you know, but if there is you at least know what’s you know what it looks like and you can describe it to your doctor and use the language that is necessary and get it taken care.

Angelique
That’s awesome there. We have all that working up and then so where can our listeners find you?

Lanae St.John
Yeah, well you can find me everywhere on the internet as at the Mama sutra. So ampere sign that little amps are what does that sign that sign at sign? Th e Ma Ma Su tra and it’s www.mamasutra.net

Angelique
And where can they find the book?

Lanae St.John
You can find the book actually, at any online book retailer. I think all the big ones are are covered. You can get it in your local bookstore if you ask you might have to. They might have to order it for you but they can get it. So book Indio for the indie bookstores, Amazon, apple, Barnes and Noble. Yeah, it’s it’s everywhere. Thankfully.

Angelique
Thankfully is right because everyone needs that because you’re right. It goes for parents, you know, with children and then adults without. So it is very useful. I love those fine building blocks, but we’ve said that like three years ago, that’s why I was so excited. The child has been born.

Lanae St.John
Exactly. It has been my book, baby. Actually, you can get the book internationally, even on Amazon’s website, you can get it in every one of their countries, but it’s in English.

John
Very cool.

Angelique
Eventually in Spanish?

Lanae St.John
You know, I wish I am. I would need to have more interest from Spanish speaking community.

Angelique
You put it out there, they will buy it because they won’t speak up and ask for it. That’s one thing I’ve learned with the Spanish community that they won’t ask for it. You just kind of have to slip it in and talk to them about it there.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, and I had it I’ve had people ask me Yeah, I’ll have to maybe talk to my, the book publisher that I’m working with to, to talk about that because I do have somebody who could do a translation for it. So, so yeah, it’s it’s kind of an expense though that I wasn’t prepared for an additional expense. So I’d maybe have to figure out how to pay for that.

Angelique
fundraising. I’m all about that

John
It’s been great talking to you

Angelique
and catching up.

Lanae St.John
Yeah.

Angelique
Yes. It’s been a while. We haven’t seen you in the conference in the wild. It’s,

John
yeah, we need to make a California trip.

Angelique
Yes, we do.

Lanae St.John
Yeah, I’ve moved within the Bay Area. So the weather where I am now is much sunnier much drier. I like it a lot. I’m now down by San Jose.

Angelique
Okay, cool. That’s nice. That’s a nice area over there. So familiar with it. So because I used to travel every couple years to California, visit friends in Los Angeles and then just go up and down the coast.

John
Well, my experience in California has been consulting trips. So I know the airport’s very well. And that’s just about it.

Angelique
We took you to Disneyland.

John
That is true. We wrote the code.

Angelique
Thank you very much. Have a good one. Bye.

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