This article originally appeared on VICE New Zealand.
Being a woman who talks publicly about sex can be hard. Our society is both highly sexualized and totally repressed, and although these conversations are being had more and more, it’s easy to find yourself in the midst of controversy. I know this first hand—as the editor of New Zealand’s first erotic literary journal, Aotearotica, I’m learning the hard way that being open can make you a convenient place for people to project their own shame and baggage.
Someone who has had to "really step up and face [her] own stuff" is Juliet Allen, an Australian sexologist and creator of the Authentic Sex podcast. She grew up in a household where her mother ate breakfast in the nude, and her father often likes her Instagram posts, "even if it’s saying I had a threesome." Allen is pushing the conversation about sex forward, helping others to "deal with their shit," both in real life and on social media.
VICE: How much of your advice is actually about sex, or is it more whole person holistic health?
Juliet Allen: I think it’s both. If people want to specifically talk about sex, then I’m happy to do that. But I do like to work holistically because I could give people different positions to do, or Tantric breathing techniques, and that’s a quick fix, but what’s lying underneath? I really find from working with so many people that the answer is different for everyone. We’re all so unique and every couple has their own stuff they bring to a relationship. We all have different traumas, all sorts of shit. It really depends.
I’m often curious about people’s parenting around sex and sexuality. What’s your perception?
Yeah, there’s a lack of parenting. It’s pretty grim, but the reality is that it’s not the parents’ fault a lot of the time because we still live in a repressed culture around sex. Adults didn’t get their sex education and they’re not getting that education still. And they’re not dealing with the shame and guilt they have around their own sexuality and then they bring it into their kids’ lives, without even knowing.
Do you think that repression is part of the reason you have such positive responses and such a huge following on social media?
I guess so. There aren’t many people talking about sex. There kind of is online, but a lot of it is just really shitty in my mind, like Cosmo articles, you know, like: ‘How to please your man.' So I think people like me because I’m honest and authentic and I really do walk the talk.
Do you describe yourself as a feminist?
No, I don’t. This is such a controversial one. I recently wrote a post and I got slammed for it.
I said that there are a lot of ideas like ‘pussy power,’ and ‘we need to reclaim ourselves’ and ‘we need to empower women,’ and I totally agree. And that’s what I’ve been doing for years; however, I really feel now, from working with a lot of men, and having male partners, that men aren’t given enough time around sex, and there’s not enough education out there for men. Men are feeling really disempowered due to the #MeToo movement.
I said, "There are a lot of feminists out there who just bash men," and all the feminists were like "How dare you?"
I was like, ‘Here we go.’ I just stood strong by what I said, and I didn’t mean any negativity toward women who identify as feminists. I think feminists are awesome, but, just like any subculture, there are going to be some who are more fun to be around than others.
How do you keep work and pleasure separate?
In a way it is interlinked because it’s part of who I am and it’s part of my every day so it does have an impact on my sex life and my relationship and always has in every relationship I’ve been in. I think the only impact it could have is that I put pressure on myself and my relationships to have really great sex all the time.
That sounds terrible…
It can be a bit like I wish I wasn’t under this pressure because maybe I wouldn’t give so much of a shit that we haven’t had sex for two days. It’s like, it’s only been two days, get over it.
Speaking of being under pressure, for most women, the clitoral orgasm is the go-to, but you advocate for going deeper so to speak.
Yeah, I do. But I’m also not against clitoral orgasms, so I’m not like some sex educators who say you shouldn’t have any.
Tantra teaches that your sexual energy starts building at the base and when we ejaculate or have a clitoral orgasm, the energy goes out and down through the base of our bodies and we’re getting rid of energy and life force energy.
If I don’t have clitoral orgasms and my partner doesn’t ejaculate for a couple of weeks, he as a man is a lot more turned on and wants a lot more sex with me as opposed to him just ejaculating and I’m a lot more turned on because you’re keeping the energy cycling through your body as opposed to getting rid of it.
Most people would see ejaculation as the end point. That’s how you know when you stop.
That’s true, but men don’t need to ejaculate to have an orgasm. I’ve been with men who don’t ejaculate and then have two hour orgasms. I’ve had a two hour orgasm, not ejaculating, not even having my body touched. If you’re racing for the finish line, and that’s the end goal, then that’s all you’re ever going to get.
How do you have time for a two hour orgasm?
I make time, it’s really a priority for me. I part-time parent, so my daughter goes to her dad and in a way that creates time because when she’s at her dad’s, then my partner and I get more time to sleep in and have loud sex at any time of the day on the couch. You’ve just got to make time. People spend time watching TV or exercising; I make time to orgasm.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Aotearotica on Instagram.