At Broadly, we know how intimidating it can be to try something for the first time. That’s why we created our podcast and column My First Time. It’s where we explore sexuality, gender, and kink with the wide-eyed curiosity of a virgin—because all of us know that sex is full of first times that have nothing to do with losing your virginity.
Over the course of our podcast, we’ve spoken to dozens of women and nonbinary people about how they approach sex, love, and dating—all through the prism of a first-time experience. We’ve learned about sex journalism, sugar dating, and squirting. We’ve spoken to a queer woman who came out after leaving her husband and their Islamist cult, a bisexual unicorn (a.k.a. a woman in a three-way with a straight couple) who’s dating a woman and her husband, and a girl who got over the heartbreak of leaving her long-term boyfriend by getting under a lesbian bartender. If you’ve got a kink, there’s a fair chance we’ll have covered it on My First Time (see: pegging, outdoor sex, or slave training).
All three seasons of our Lovie award-winning podcast is available to listen to on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Acast, or wherever you get your podcasts. But for your listening and reading pleasure, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite episodes from the last year. These episodes have moved us, informed us, and even changed the way we thought about sex, love, sex work, and fetish.
All too often, society erases a disabled person’s sexual needs and desires. For disability rights activist Kelly May Perks-Bevington, sex was a way of showing able-bodied people that she was more than her spinal muscular atrophy. But she never realized how disappointing her sexual encounters had been until she hooked up with her friend and now-husband. She talks about how accepting her disability means has made all the difference in her sex life.
Cathy Keen had been with her husband for seven years, but had always struggled with monogamy. Then she heard about play parties—events where you could swap partners or find new participants for the evening.
Porn performer and director Vex Ashley says that directing porn is all about finding beauty in the weird parts of sex. Her own project Four Chambers is bends the rules of porn by creating stuff that’s just a little bit gross, like incorporating eggs and fish into her movies. She explains why porn is more interesting when it’s half transcendent, half dirty, and just a little bit disgusting.
Strippers have to dance for hours on stage and pull their entire body weight up a literal pole every night—it’s not easy work, trust us. But for Holly Darling, the hardest part of being a stripper wasn’t physical. It was the emotional labor of listening to her clients and having to act like their cheerleader, therapist, and best friend.
When performance artist Gestalta first met people from the BDSM community, she was turned off by all the leather and chains. Then she found shibari, the Japanese art of erotic rope-tying, and found a way to practice a style of bondage that was performative, beautiful, and gave her exactly the release she needed.
When Angelica Whyte started working as a sex phone operator, she realized that creating and executing a fantasy with nothing but her voice was the real job—not the dirty talk. She’s pretended to blow dry her callers’ asses, counselled them through their wives’ infidelity, and even pretended to be a squirrel.
Dating as an HIV-positive person can be challenging, especially if you were diagnosed decades ago when the disease was heavily stigmatized. Writer Juno Roche explains how she first regained confidence in her body and her love life after her HIV diagnosis.
Conceptual artist Genevieve Belleveau grew up in the countryside and always loved nature in a spiritual—and even romantic—way. She talks about how a childhood love affair with a birch tree led to Sacred Sadism, an art project and brand that incorporates plants into BDSM equipment.
Sex shop owner Zoe Ligon built her own dildo empire around sex positivity. She talks about how an unsatisfactory first-time experience with toys and her own experience working in a sex shop led her to opening Spectrum Boutique, where she helps people select the best toys for their own needs.