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Pelvic Pain, the P-in-V Sex Script, and Pleasure as a Lifestyle

Trust me, you don't want to miss this one.

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Hi friend!

A fantastic new episode of my podcast This Is (Not) About Your Body just dropped, all about sexuality and pleasure, and I have to tell you about it.

Nicoletta Heidegger
Nicoletta Heidegger

My guest is Nicoletta Heidegger, who is a therapist, sexologist, and host of the Sluts and Scholars podcast, and I actually have a really fun story about how we met!

If you’ve been reading these emails for a while, you might already know that I went to my first sex party and kink event in Los Angeles this summer.

A friend of mine (and fellow sex nerd) knew I had always wanted to attend an event like that, so he invited me and I immediately said yes. I had no idea what to expect, but I pulled together an outfit, and showed up feeling really excited (and a bit nervous).

The event was full of cool and interesting people from the sex-positive, kink-friendly, and BDSM communities, and I had tons of fascinating conversations throughout the night with sex educators, porn stars, pleasure coaches, sex workers, and more. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I discovered the fabulous woman I was talking to toward the end of the night turned out to be a sex therapist and coach!

I immediately got excited, because I’m a certified clinical sexologist myself, which means I’m trained to help my clients reach their sexual goals through a combination of education, resources, tools and practices, and coaching skills, and I love connecting with other people in the field.

I don’t typically market myself as a “sex coach” because I only decided to get that certification after my first few years as a body image coach, when I realized how often sex and intimacy issues impact a person’s relationship with their body, and vice versa. Some of my clients do come to me specifically to work on issues relating to sex and pleasure now (and I love that work!), but at the time I was just seeking the education and skills needed to more effectively help my clients accept and embrace their bodies.

Anyway, this woman and I were passionately discussing the overlap between our work, when someone mentioned that we both work online, and that I might like her podcast.

Photo of Sluts & Scholars Podcast Cover
Photo by Mark Dektor

“Oh cool, what’s it called?” I asked her. “Sluts and Scholars,” she replied. “Oh my god,” I responded, and pulled out my phone to open Instagram. “I’ve been following you for years,” I told her, and showed her my phone. “I love your work!! It was such a cool small-world moment, and when we were done chatting, Nicoletta and I decided to stay in touch and to be guests on each others’ podcasts. This is the episode I’m sharing with you today. In it, Nicoletta and I explore some important-but-underrepresented topics in the space of sexuality and pleasure (all of which can have an impact on a person’s relationship with their body!) including:

  • Pelvic pain. Many people (especially those with vaginas!) experience some type of pelvic pain, but often don’t recognize it for what it is, or don’t realize there’s anything they can do about it. Pelvic pain can come in the form of chronic issues like vaginismus, vulvodynia, adenomyosis/endometriosis, or pelvic floor dysfunction, and for many people it manifests as pain or discomfort during sex. Unfortunately however, most folks are made to believe their pain is normal, told they’re faking or exaggerating, or given advice that totally misses the point, like “just have a glass of wine to relax, and use lots of lube.”

  • The “penis-in-vagina” script for sex. Society has given us a very patriarchal, limited, and heteronormative idea of how sex between a man and a woman is supposed to go. For example, most of us learned that penetration is the highest (or only!) form of “real sex,” that sex is something she should do to “keep him happy,” or that sex should be centered around his desire, arousal, pleasure, and orgasm. This script has a very negative impact on our sex lives, leading to things like: sex that hurts, the orgasm gap between men and women, boredom or sexual dissatisfaction, less pleasure and connection, and decreased libido.

  • Pleasure as a healing tool and lifestyle. We often think of pleasure as a sort of “bonus experience,” available to us only when we are free of pain, stress, anxiety, insecurity, and distraction. But Nicoletta suggests that we all live in something called a “pleasure-able body,” and that actually pleasure is a skill and a resource accessible to all of us in the bodies we have today. She talks about why so many people struggle to access and receive pleasure, how to redefine your relationship with pleasure, and how to start thinking of pleasure as a lifestyle, rather than a bonus experience.

Nicoletta brings a compassionate, validating, and encouraging lens to topics that we’re normally afraid (or ashamed) to talk about when it comes to sex and pleasure, and the episode is somehow subversive, inspiring, and practical all at once. As always, there are two ways to enjoy this episode:

Also, while I love getting to create unique, valuable, and educational podcast episodes for you, it’s undeniably a lot of work, and so far sponsorship/advertising opportunities for the show haven’t felt ethically aligned, so your support for my podcast is greatly appreciated. If you’re in a position to financially support the show or want to say “thank you,” please consider sending me a one-time donation on BuyMeACoffee, or becoming a monthly patron of the show on Patreon! I cannot wait to hear what you think about today’s episode, so feel free to hit reply and share your thoughts after you listen!! Big hug, Jessi PS: Are you looking for personalized guidance and support on the path to body neutrality, self-acceptance, or embodied pleasure? If so, I have a few private coaching spots opening up for fall/winter, and I would love to work with you! Learn more and apply for coaching here.

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