Episode 178: From Sexual Shame to Sexual Freedom

March 24, 2023 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast
Sex and Psychology Podcast
Episode 178: From Sexual Shame to Sexual Freedom

While the term “safe sex” might imply that there’s a perfectly safe way to have sex, there’s always going to be some degree of risk, both physical and emotional. Whenever you have sex, you’re making a choice about the level of risk you’re willing to take on in order to experience the pleasures of sex. Everyone has a different risk tolerance, though, which is why we all make different choices. However, we have a tendency to shame everyone who has a different risk tolerance, whether it’s higher or lower than our own. This sex shaming hurts everyone because it makes us less likely to talk openly about sex. So today we’re going to talk about shedding sexual shame and feeling free and empowered to make your own sexual decisions.

I am joined by Zachary Zane, a Brooklyn-based sex writer. He is the sex and relationship columnist for Men’s Health, where he writes Sexplain It. He is the co-author of the book Men’s Health: Best. Sex. Ever. Zach’s latest book is titled Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto.

Some of the topics we discuss include:

  • Why have men largely been left out of the sex-positivity conversation? And why is it important for everyone to be involved?
  • How might the phrase “safe sex” be misleading when thinking about sexual risk? Should we be talking about “risk-aware sex” instead?
  • Why do some people view STIs as an acceptable risk, while others view them as unacceptable?
  • Why is it important to reduce stigma around STIs?
  • Why is sex shaming so prevalent, even within the queer community?

Content advisory: This episode contains very frank discussion of sexual matters.

Check out more about Zach on his website, and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram @ZacharyZane_

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Credits: Precision Podcasting (Podcast editing) and Shutterstock/Florian (Music). Image created with Canva; photos used with permission of guest.


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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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