Sex therapist Rachel Wright poses in an official publicity photo.

Podcast: Interview With Sex Therapist & Author Rachel Wright

Author and sex therapist Rachel Wright helps scores of clients and readers discover, contemplate, explore, and accept their sexual selves. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, The Huffington Post, and many other notable publications. She has also candidly discussed her own explorations of polyamory to educate audiences on the biggest misconceptions about open relationships. In the new edition of the Adult Empire Podcast, Wright joins host Dallas to discuss porn, sexuality, sex toys, and much more.

She covers her career background, her own sexual journey, her attitude toward porn, porn “problems” she helps her clients confront, the psychology of family roleplay porn, the pitfalls of the “slippery slope” argument, society’s attitude toward porn versus other entertainment, ethical porn, non-monogamy, porn’s role in sex education, the problem with “virginity,” sex toy trends, prostate toys, polyamory, and the future of sexuality.

Listen to the podcast on your favorite platform, watch the video version below or on Adult Empire YouTube, and check out text highlights.

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Interview highlights

On who she is and what she does:

I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. And my focus as a psychotherapist is in sex and relationships. So I like to say I work at the intersection of mental health, sex, and relationships. And folks come to me to work on usually one or two of those, and don’t realize kind of how they all interact.

And they are three areas of our life that we don’t get a lot of education on, which is wild, because they’re such a big part of all of our lives. So I was a kid who was really curious. I always asked “why.” I wanted to understand why people did things. I wanted to understand why so many people got divorced or broke up. I wanted to understand why our culture had so much shame around sex.

Even before I had that language to use, I was very aware that there was a there were “things” that you didn’t talk about at the dinner table type things. And I did not understand why sex, money, politics were kind of all under this. We don’t talk about it, when they seemed so important to people. And so as soon as I realized I wanted to be a therapist, which was around 15 years old, my parents put me in therapy, and I did not want to go because what 15-year-old is like “Yay, therapy!”

And I left that first session feeling so seen and understood by the therapist, that I got into my mom’s minivan and I was like, “I want to do that. I want to help people and the way that I feel helped even just by being seen in this way.” And so ever since then, I was just kind of on a path to do it. And now I do that and educate and I do consulting and writing and it’s expanded into more modalities and ways of doing these things, but still all at that intersection of mental health, sex, and relationships.

On porn:

I’ve always had a really positive relationship with porn, both personally and professionally. I think that the only time that it really becomes a “problem” for people is the same — in the same way that anything becomes a “problem” for people, where it starts to impair the things that we need to do and want to do in our lives. And so, you know, for some, it really can desensitize them to having in-person sexual experiences. And for others, it enhances them. It’s all about how we interact with it.

I compare it to food, right? Food is neutral, an objectively neutral thing. And yet, we have some people who have a disordered relationship with food, and we have some people who don’t and then there are tons of people in between on that spectrum. And porn is the same way. You know, granted, we don’t technically need it for survival like food. But for many people, it is a source of expression. It’s a source of curiosity and exploration. And so I would say that I have a really positive relationship with it. Regardless of how often I’m interacting with it, frequently or infrequently.

On porn “problems” clients bring to her:

Often, it is not a problem that they’re necessarily having but a problem that someone in their life is telling them that they have. And that’s, of course, not all the time. There are plenty of people who come in — and I can think of a couple of people specifically who weren’t going to work because they were staying home and and watching porn.

And so, again, that’s kind of where we get into this “is it impairing” space. But a lot of times, I will get people who say, my partner is upset with my porn use. And is there something wrong with me for my porn use? Is there something wrong with me for the type of porn that I’m watching? These kinds of inner grappling things of, “I’m watching step sibling porn? Does that mean that I want to have sex with my stepsister?” Where the line of enjoying porn as entertainment and a form of titillation and eroticism, and then acting in their real life? Where does that line land? And the healthiest way is to be very clear on where that line is, right? Like, “I enjoy doing X, Y, and Z and my real tactile human-to-human life. And I enjoy watching A, B, C in porn.” And sometimes those things line up and sometimes they don’t. And that’s okay. As long as we’re very clear on where those lines are.

On family roleplay/fauxcest porn:

It’s not real in terms of the person watching it doing it. We, as human beings, many of us love taboos. And the idea that specifically step fill-in-the- blank, it’s not actual [incest] — granted, this exists too — but the more popular [theme] is a faux family type thing. It’s not real in the way that they’re not related. So we’re not watching incest. Again, these are all actors. So like they’re not actually related. But the idea that they’re not related in the storyline, just by marriage. And it’s a very taboo thing, incredibly taboo.

Porn is a way to explore those taboos in a way that is safe and is legal and fun for people. So I think that some of the highest-rated porn categories and the most-watched porn is taboo, because it is safe to watch it from the comfort of your own home.

On society’s attitude toward sex and entertainment:

Many people, not all, but many people are so uncomfortable with sex because of [ . . .] this culture of shame around sex growing up, and it is, “inappropriate” to talk about sex in certain environments. Whereas you could say, “Yeah, I got this video game. And I go around, and I kill people to steal their homes.” And someone would be like, “Oh, what game is it? Oh, this sounds great.” And if you go and say like, “I got this video game where I just go have sex with people.” Some would be like, “How did you get your hands on that?”

And a lot of it comes back to religion. When colonizers came in a long, long time ago, and white Christianity took over as the the main thing going on, there was a culture of shame around sex. And that has just been so pervasive. And so I think that for some families, for some people, they feel more comfortable watching a series on Jeffrey Dahmer than they do watching a series about a pornstar or how porn is made or watching porn itself. Which is really interesting.

On the problem with “virginity”:

The reason why virginity is such an icky concept, to me, is it’s socially constructed. And it comes from this purity background of, women specifically, they were considered impure, if they were not virgins, when their fathers sold them for a dowry to this other family. And that’s where it comes from. And they would literally check a hymen in a woman inside of a vagina. And there are plenty of humans that are assigned female at birth, that don’t have a hymen, the hymen broke doing another activity, the hymen’s tiny so you don’t even notice it. There are so many different variations of why someone who even hasn’t had penetrative vaginal intercourse doesn’t have a hymen. And so it came from that. [ . . .]

So it’s not that the idea of having your first penetrative sexual experience isn’t special. It is. You’ll remember it. Regardless of who it’s with, or how it happens, most of us remember that experience. And so I don’t want to take away that the word virgin or virginity as the positive side of my first sexual penetrative sexual experience. But I think that this idea that you’re losing something [ . . . ] We’re not losing anything. We’re gaining an experience, whether that experience lined up to be neutral, lame, happy, negative.

On sex toy trends:

I really love the emphasis on two different things. I think that as an industry, sex toys have become more focused on being either gender neutral, or be focused on vulva pleasure. And I know some people listening may be like, “Haven’t they always been focused on vulva pleasure, like vibrators?” And I mean, really specifically, what helps someone with a vulva orgasm, and do that either alone or with a partner. And a lot of those same toys, they’re packaged and designed in a way to be more gender neutral. And I really love that we’re, we’re moving into this space of like, here’s this toy that can be used in four different ways. And it’s equally as good in these four different ways.

On the future of sexuality:

What I would love to see and what I think we’ll see is just more of an acceptance of people being who they are. And whether that is monogamous, non-monogamous, heterosexual, gay, straight, queer, whatever it is, asexual, allo, sexual, transgender, non-binary system, whatever it is, that we have more of an acceptance of differences, and love for those differences. And that we can look at someone who is different than us, whether that is around sex, or race or religion, as long as religion is not oppressing other people, or career choices, or upbringings.

Rachel Wright image courtesy rachelwrightnyc.com

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Podcast: Interview With Sex & Tech Journalist Samantha Cole

Transcript

Intro

Dallas 0:39
Hello, and welcome to the Adult Empire Podcast. I’m Dallas, your host. Our guest today is psychotherapist Rachel Wright.
She has a master’s degree in clinical psychology, and in her own words, has worked with 1000s of humans worldwide, helping them scream less and screw more. Her work has appeared in Insider, The New York Times and many other publications. She joins us now. So just to provide some context and background, tell people a little bit about what you do and how you got to where you are now.

Rachel Wright 1:13
Oh, man, do have five hours?

Dallas 1:17
Thumbnail version, right?

Rachel Wright: who she is and what she does

Rachel Wright 1:18
Exactly, exactly. My name is Rachel Wright. I am a licensed marriage and family therapist. And my focus as a psychotherapist is in sex and relationships. So I like to say I work at the intersection of mental health, sex, and relationships. And folks come to me to work on usually one or two of those, and don’t realize kind of how they all interact.

And they are three areas of our life that we don’t get a lot of education on, which is wild, because they’re such a big part of all of our lives. So I was a kid who was really curious. I always asked “why.” I wanted to understand why people did things. I wanted to understand why so many people got divorced or broke up. I wanted to understand why our culture had so much shame around sex.

Even before I had that language to use, I was very aware that there was a there were “things” that you didn’t talk about at the dinner table type things. And I did not understand why sex, money, politics were kind of all under this. We don’t talk about it, when they seemed so important to people. And so as soon as I realized I wanted to be a therapist, which was around 15 years old, my parents put me in therapy, and I did not want to go because what 15-year-old is like “Yay, therapy!”

And I left that first session feeling so seen and understood by the therapist, that I got into my mom’s minivan and I was like, “I want to do that. I want to help people and the way that I feel helped even just by being seen in this way.” And so ever since then, I was just kind of on a path to do it. And now I do that and educate and I do consulting and writing and it’s expanded into more modalities and ways of doing these things, but still all at that intersection of mental health, sex, and relationships.

Dallas 3:22
So it sounds like, in some sense, it was your destiny to be on this particular path from very early on.

Rachel Wright 3:29
Yeah, and yeah, yeah. If someone out there believes fully in destiny, I, you know, I’m one of those people that like, I don’t necessarily believe in it. And I recognize that I’m only a human. So like, there certainly could be right.

Dallas 3:50
So from what I’ve read it in other places, and what you’ve said in other interviews, it sounds like that 15 was a pivotal age for you because it was around then, from what you said, you realized that you were a polyamorous person as well, right? Or had those first hints anyway?

Rachel Wright 4:07
I, around the age of 15. I again, like I didn’t have this language, it’s only upon looking backwards and reading diary entries. And, you know, looking back at different actions and things like that, I definitely realized that I was not heterosexual. And I realized that I was not wired to be monogamous. And that manifested in ways that weren’t really healthy because, you know, I was being raised in the same culture that we all are, which is super heteronormative and super mono normative. And so I didn’t understand why I couldn’t explore relationships and sexuality with other people while still wanting to stay with whoever I was dating and whoever my you know, boyfriend or girlfriend or or whoever was. Yeah, so looking back at it, I just want to like give this young Rachel a big hug. Like, it’s okay, you are normal. Like there are plenty of other people who feel this way.

Dallas 5:06
For sure. Now, of course, Adult Empire is a famous porn site. How is your attitude toward pornography evolved over the years?

Rachel Wright 5:15

I’ve always had a really positive relationship with porn, both personally and professionally. I think that the only time that it really becomes a “problem” for people is the same — in the same way that anything becomes a “problem” for people, where it starts to impair the things that we need to do and want to do in our lives. And so, you know, for some, it really can desensitize them to having in-person sexual experiences. And for others, it enhances them. It’s all about how we interact with it.

I compare it to food, right? Food is neutral, an objectively neutral thing. And yet, we have some people who have a disordered relationship with food, and we have some people who don’t and then there are tons of people in between on that spectrum. And porn is the same way. You know, granted, we don’t technically need it for survival like food. But for many people, it is a source of expression. It’s a source of curiosity and exploration. And so I would say that I have a really positive relationship with it. Regardless of how often I’m interacting with it, frequently or infrequently.

Dallas 6:36
So when people come to you to talk about porn as part of their intimate life, what what are the, quote unquote, problems that you’re bringing, that they’re bringing to you regarding their porn consumption?

Rachel Wright 6:48
Often, it is not a problem that they’re necessarily having. But a problem that someone in their life is telling them that they have. And that’s, of course, not all the time there. There are plenty of people who come in and I can think of a couple of people specifically who, you know, like weren’t going to work because they were staying home and and watching porn. And so, again, like that’s kind of where we get into this, like, is it impairing space? But a lot of times, I will get people who say, my partner is upset with my porn use. And is there something wrong with me? For my for muse? Is there something wrong with me for the type of porn that I’m watching? These kind of inner grappling is of like, I’m watching step sibling porn. Does that mean that I want to have sex with my stepsister? Like, where the line of enjoying porn is entertainment and a form of titillation, and eroticism, and then acting in their real life? Like, where? Where does that line land? And the healthiest way is to be very clear on where that line is, right? Like, I enjoy doing XY and Z and my real tactical human to human life. And I enjoy watching ABC on porn. And sometimes those things line up and sometimes they don’t. And that’s okay. As long as we’re very clear on where those lines

Dallas 8:24
are. You mentioned the whole phenomenon of the quote unquote step porn sheet is sometimes referred to as faux cyst. I think on our website, we call it family roleplay, which is an intriguing genre, what do you make of the, of the popularity of that particular genre? Because I can say on our site, it is definitely one of the top sellers consistently.

Rachel Wright 8:44
If you’re not interesting, yes, I you know, I think that again, because it’s not real, it’s not real in terms of the person watching it doing it. We as human beings, many of us love taboos. And the idea that, you know, specifically like step, fill in the blank, it’s not, like you said, it’s faux sassed, right? It’s not actual. And granted, this exists too. But the more popular Is this, like faux family type thing. And there’s a It’s not real in the way that it’s, they’re not related. So we’re not watching, you know, incest. Again, these are all actors. So like they’re not actually related. But the idea that they’re, they’re not related in the storyline just by marriage. And it’s a very taboo thing. Right, like incredibly taboo. Porn is a way to explore those taboos in a way that is safe and is legal and, and fun for people. So I think that some of the highest rated porn categor worries are the most watched porn is taboo, because it is safe to watch it from the comfort of your own home.

Dallas 10:08
What do you make of the slippery slope argument? People say Okay, so you’ve got the full access porn. And you know, okay, so it’s a fictional scenario, but, you know, then they’re going to start watching something that, you know, is outright objectionable. You know, why do people present that? And do you think there’s any credence to that?

Rachel Wright 10:24
I think that there can be for someone, which is, in the same way that someone who has had an experience with let’s say, and someone who has an addiction to alcohol, you could say, Yeah, that one glass of wine is a is a quote, unquote, slippery slope to a problem, and that person’s life being impaired. But for another person, a glass of wine is a glass of wine. That’s it. And so I don’t think that it is fair or valid to say that watching a type of porn is a slippery anything to anything, you know, it can just be what it is. And I’m also a really, I don’t love the term slippery slope. I think it’s overused so much by people in a way to not express what they’re actually feeling and experiencing. Right, like, for example, let’s say I learned that my partner was watching stepsister porn. And let’s say, that made me really uncomfortable and scared. It’s easier to say, you know, that’s a slippery slope to blah, blah, blah, than saying, I feel uncomfortable with what I just learned. Can we talk about it? It’s far more vulnerable to talk about our own emotional experience and our own thoughts and feelings that come up. And it’s easier to use these terms like slippery slope, or, you know, whatever the term may be. Yeah, so that’s, that’s what I was. Right? I

Dallas 12:00
think there was recently a whole podcast by the guy who wrote the Freakonomics book talking about the slippery slope concept. And I mean, one of his points was, it

Speaker 4 12:07
was just kind of a cover or just sort of rhetorically lazy kind of what you’re saying

Dallas 12:11
there. In fact,

Rachel Wright 12:14
yeah, it doesn’t, it doesn’t state anything. It’s like, it’s kind of like when people say, oh, you know, they say that eating 12 eggs a day. And you’re like, Who is that? Who gives me the data? If you have a study? Great, show me the study. Let’s see who funded it. Let’s look at how it was done. Was it ethical, like all of these things, but so often, we’re we’re very lazy in our language. And I don’t mean that like as a criticism, like, oh, Lazy, Lazy, like, it’s, it’s many of us. And we all are kind of guilty of that in different areas. But yeah, slippery slope is definitely one of those avoidance phases, phrases, right? Like, instead of saying, I’m afraid that if you start watching porn, you’re going to start watching it every day and then not want to have sex with me. We say, you know, that seems like a slippery slope,

Unknown Speaker 13:04
for sure, for sure.

Dallas 13:07
What do you think it is that people have such a different attitude toward porn? Compared to other types of media? I guess what I’m thinking of specifically is, you know, people will watch something on say, Netflix that’s extraordinarily violent or depraved, or is about serial killer or something like that. And, you know, not really think much of it, but a porn movie they want instead is to somehow in a different category. What is that? Exactly? I mean, there’ll be an objectionable Serna scenario in a porn movie, but it’ll somehow be worse than this crazy serial killer thing on Netflix, to some people.

Rachel Wright 13:38
Yeah. It’s so fascinating, right? I truly think that and this is just my I’m certainly not a monolith. So this is just my opinion on this. But I think that for many people, not all, but many people are so uncomfortable with sex, because of kind of what I was talking about at the beginning, this shame, this culture of shame around sex growing up, and it is, quote, unquote, inappropriate to talk about sex in certain environments. Where as you could say, Yeah, I got this video game. And I go around, and I kill people to steal their homes. And someone would be like, oh, what game is it? Oh, this sounds great. Right? And if you go and say, like, I got this video game where I just go have sex with people. Some will be like, how did you get your hands on that? And a lot of it comes back to religion. You know, when colonizers came in a long, long time ago, and really like white Christianity took over as the the main thing going on. It, there was a culture of shame around sex. And that has just been so pervasive. And so I think Because that, you know, for some families, for some people, they feel more comfortable watching, you know, series on Jeffrey Dahmer than they do watching series about a porn star or how porn is made or watching porn itself. Which is really interesting. It’s just, it’s fascinating. And again, like, I really think that if you sit someone down and have an honest conversation, it will be hard for them to articulate why those things are different. And I do want to honor those folks out there that are totally the reverse. I know a lot of parents who feel very against showing their children violence, and specifically like gore, not not necessarily like true crime type things, but like, violence for violence sake, versus sex for sex sake, they’re more willing to show and have those conversations. But I also think it comes down to are you willing to talk about it. And if a parent feels uncomfortable and is unwilling to have a conversation about sex, they’re going to be less likely to show their child something that has a sexual element to it and age appropriate of course, versus violence. It’s to them it almost seems like an easier conversation like violence bad. We’re done with the conversation. And you know, the conversation around Texas is a bit more nuanced.

Unknown Speaker 16:26
Right? For sure.

Dallas 16:28
So speaking about conversations about sex and porn, ethical porn has been a buzzword in the industry in the last several years. What’s your take on what that means? If anything? And do you see it relating to other similar terms? And for instance, I know you’ve talked a lot about ethical non monogamy which is another interesting a recent term I wonder if you could talk a little bit about that. Yeah.

Rachel Wright 16:50
Yeah, I think that you know, in Gosh, this is such a complicated concept. Um, you know, when it comes to I’ll speak to the non monogamy piece first. When it comes to ethical non monogamy. I personally have stopped using that phrase. I know a lot of people still do. And there are two main reasons why I’ve stopped using it. Number one is that again, kind of coming back to this like white Christian colonizer stuff. Non monogamy existed before monogamy did. And in a lot of indigenous cultures, non Monogamy was the norm. And white settlers came in and we’re like, we’re literally going to murder you, unless you become monogamous, and Christian and start doing these things the way that we do. And so there was, you know, among other reasons, a large genocide. And now fast forward and there are a bunch of people who are like, Okay, I want to practice non monogamy, but it’s going to be ethical, implying that it wasn’t before. And that there’s something something inherently unethical about it right now. And there’s not right like, you wouldn’t say ethical cheating. That’s not a thing. Cheating is cheating. And that definition can be different for every single relationship monogamous or non monogamous. But non monogamy and monogamy are simply just two sides of a coin. And they’re both on a spectrum and there can be non ethical monogamy just like there can be non ethical non monogamy. And there can be ethical monogamy and ethical non monogamy and so if we just drop those prefixes and say, yeah, they’re great ways of being monogamous and they’re crappy ways of being monogamous. And they’re great ways of being non monogamous and crap who is being non monogamous? Um, so that that’s where I use that there are don’t use that there for. And in terms of porn, I think that with porn, it’s a little bit different. People, because of our lack of sex education in general, people do not understand how porn is made. And if we zoom out even further, and like look at kind of the entire entertainment industry as a whole, like, I’m talking like mainstream movies like Marvel, Disney, like as mainstream as they come. There are so many unethical practices in the entertainment industry. I mean, the Writers Guild is on strike as we speak, and still have not been able to settle. And so everyone is fighting or trying to fight for good treatment. And I think that even more behind a wall is how porn actors, actresses, producers, directors, everyone on set are treated. There is a lack of education. arounds, what makes something ethical in all entertainment and then even further away as porn? And so I think that this push for ethical porn and this this term that’s really been like, flying around really is like, is what I’m watching something that I support? Is the person that I’m watching on screen. Were they treated? Well? Were they paid equally? Are they doing things that they consented to doing? If they wanted to use a condom was a condom used? You know, if they didn’t want to do anal? Were they told no, you have to? Or were they told? Of course not. We’ll we’ll adjust this, like whatever is on the menu is on the menu. And so I think that it has helped people gain a bit of perspective and maybe questioning a little bit of like, is what I’m watching something that I want to endorse. Now what exactly that definition is, I mean, I’ve even interviewed porn directors, and they struggle to define exactly what ethical porn means. Because I think that we’re, we’re still trying to figure this out. It’s hard. It’s hard. And so I do think that it’s a wonderful thing to be more mindful and learn about these things. And I don’t think that we have all of those answers yet. And if we don’t have them for, you know, again, like mainstream things like Disney, you know, we’re certainly not there with porn, and I wish that they were all on the same thing. You know, personally, I wish that like, porn actors were in the Screen Actors Guild with actors, like they’re both on camera performing and entertaining. And I think that it would help regulate and make things a lot safer. And both on the production side and on the consumer side.

Unknown Speaker 22:03
Right, right. I

Dallas 22:04
mean, there’s a whole swath of people who just want to pretend that the industry doesn’t exist. And in a way, they’re not really serving the interest of the people that they claim that they are by not allowing it to be mainstream. And as you say, they would permit regulation would permit Gil to to read all these other things we have in other industries, it would just make everything better, because porn is not going to go away. I think we can safely say,

Rachel Wright 22:26
Yes, I would agree.

Dallas 22:29
So speaking of terminology there when it comes to pornography, or I guess just a sex in general, are there any terms because I know that terminology is something that is important to you. And I’ve learned some terminology, just reading some of your articles like allo sexual, that one was a new one new one to me. So are there any like salient porn terms that you think should be rethought? gotten rid of reconsidered, do any come to mind?

Rachel Wright 22:56
That’s tough, not not that come to mind. Like, right away. I think that, you know, porn is supposed to be entertainment, not education. And I think that for a lot of people, it is their education, because of the failing of our actual sex education. And so because it has taken on that burden, I do sometimes wish that there was like, more accurate usage of anatomy, or a more accurate depiction of orgasms. And variety of orgasms and the different ways people can look instead of kind of like seeing this one. Look. But I I actually don’t really think that that is the burden of the porn industry. I think that that’s more of the burden of the sex ed side. So not nothing that really comes to mind. No, I do wish that the whole zoomed out like system were different so that everybody could know what was, you know, realistic and what wasn’t, you know, things like fluffers and scoopers. I don’t think people realize exists on porn sets. And so they get into real life. And they’re like, why doesn’t this look and feel exactly this way? And you’re like, Well, you have a team of people, just like my hair doesn’t look like Jennifer Aniston on friends all day, because she had a team of people coming in between takes, you know, it’s like, it’s the same concept again, but like, because of our lack of education. People don’t realize that.

Dallas 24:36
Right? You raise a very good point that porn, whether it wants to or not, does often occupy that role of sex education, and it shouldn’t have to, as you say, and then there are some things you could do to to present sex in a more realistic way but it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the industry as you as you mentioned. Another interesting phenomenon in porn is there’s this is a to take to say fixation, but it’s certainly a marketing angle that’s frequently used a first, you know, first anal or first, what have you. So I read in one of your pieces you were talking about virginity and how that’s a concept, you kind of at least if I understood you correctly, which would kind of go away because it’s kind of an invented thing. And maybe you could explain a little bit more like that. But I saw that is interesting relating to this porn first thing and what what do you make of that? Being such a prominent marketing ankle so frequently? It really

Rachel Wright 25:29
is. Isn’t that fascinating? And, you know, I think that we all do this, like, in and out of sex, right? It’s like, oh, this is my first time at Disneyland. It’s my first time going here. And we put a lot of emphasis as human beings. On our first blank, you know, it’s my, it’s my first date. It’s my first day of school, like we, you know, we pick out our outfits, like, our culture, in and out of sex has this like fixation on firsts. And with some things, it’s fun, right? Like, of course, your first time at Disneyland is going to be unlike your other times at Disneyland, you’re literally seeing something new for the first time. And same goes for sex. The first time you have sex is a special thing. It just it doesn’t have to be the Okay, let me rewind a little bit. The reason why virginity is such an icky concept, to me, is a it’s socially constructed. And it comes from this purity backgrounds of women specifically, were not able to be married, they were considered impure, if they were not virgins, when their fathers sold them for a dowry to this other family. And that’s where it comes from. And they would literally like check a hymen in a woman inside of a vagina. And there are plenty of humans that are assigned female at birth, that don’t have a hymen, the hymen broke doing another activity. The hymen is tiny. And so you know, you don’t even notice it. Like, there are so many different variations of why someone who even hasn’t had penetrative vaginal intercourse doesn’t have a hymen. And so it came from that. And if we want to continue that, that is like a whole other conversation like I, there’s so much wrong with that, right? It’s like when we really think about that. So it’s not that the idea of having your first penetrative sexual experience isn’t special. It is. You’ll remember it. It’s, you know, regardless of who it’s with, or how it happens, most of us remember that experience. And so I don’t want to take away that the word virgin or virginity as the positive side of like my first sexual penetrative sexual experience. But I think that this idea that you’re losing something, right, that’s the difference between my first time at Disneyland, and my first penetrative sexual experience, is you didn’t say, Oh, you lost something by going to Disneyland the first time. But we say I lost my virginity that day. And we’re not losing anything we’re doing is gaining an experience, whether that experience lined up to be neutral, lame, happy, negative, so many different factors, different conversation. But we’re not losing something. And I put so much pressure, like, who am I going to give this to? Instead of like, Who do I want to have this first experience with? Who do I want to go to Disneyland with for the first time? Who do I want to travel Europe with for the first time, right like that feels a lot more neutral and exciting to think about, then who do I want to give my purity to? It’s like, no one is not. So I think that, you know, there is this. There’s also myths around like, tightness in in vaginas and you know, someone who hasn’t had penetrative sex before that their vagina is literally going to feel differently than someone who has and like most of the time, that’s total BS. But this fantasy that some people have of like, being someone’s first can then be played out through watching these first porn type things. And I don’t think that there’s anything wrong inherently with that. As long as it comes from this idea of I would love to be someone’s first experience with this and not I want to take their virginity, right, like those two things sounds so different.

Unknown Speaker 30:18
Right? Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah. I

Dallas 30:21
mean, it is an interesting phenomenon the way it’s carried forward in porn in a different way with with the first and, you know, of course, there’s first anal and there’s, you know, a couple of notable ones, but eventually they’re they’re beginning to reach with things like first airtight, which I had to have that explained to me, I didn’t even know what that was. I was like, first airtight and you know, it was like a group sex sort of thing. And, you know, I asked the particular star who had started that I said, you know, somebody firsts, aren’t you going to run out of the men? She had a good rejoinder. She’s like, well, it was sexuality is so varied, you can never really run out of first I thought to che to che on that one. So I know also that you are a reviewer of sex toys. So what what are the interesting trends lately in sex toys that you’ve liked? Or disliked? Oh, wow,

Rachel Wright 31:09
fun. Um, I really love the emphasis on two different things. I think that as an industry, sex toys have become more focused on being either a gender neutral, or be focused on vulva pleasure. And I know some people listening maybe like, How haven’t they always been focused on vulva pleasure of like vibrators and I mean, really specifically, like, what helps someone with a vulva, orgasm, and do that either alone or with a partner. And a lot of those same toys can they’re packaged and designed in a way to be more gender neutral. And I really love that we’re, we’re moving into this space of like, here’s this toy that can be used in four different ways. And it’s equally as good in these four different ways. You know, Dame, for example, came out with a clip, air pulse, vibe, tech, and it can be used the way that the hole is shaped, it can be used as like a classic clip, air pulse, and it can be used on nipples. It’s also shaped really well for anyone who has undergone bottom surgery or is on hormone replacement therapy, and their genitals are shifting and changing shape. And so it’s just this toy that’s like, it’s lavender in color. You know, it doesn’t feel these traditional, kind of like masculine, feminine, gender binary things, and it can be used so on so many places of the body. And so I love I absolutely love that. And I think that we as a whole have become more comfortable to talking about people who are assigned male at birth and sex toys, you know, that they can use toys to and the idea that good lube is also a sex toy is a trend that I really appreciate and love. Luke doesn’t get enough credit for what it does for all deeds and needs an award. It does.

Unknown Speaker 33:27
It does. You’re right. It

Dallas 33:29
is very underrated, isn’t it? Under discussed, I daresay.

Rachel Wright 33:33
Yeah, very under that people are like, Oh, that’s only for someone who is going through menopause or having anal sex. And you’re like, Mmm, that’s to have like, 50,000 reasons to use lube. So yeah,

Dallas 33:46
exactly. What do you think it is that I’m generalizing here? Of course, that, that cisgendered straight men in general don’t seem to be as interested in sex toys. I mean, I can say that’s true. Certainly on our website. Most of the toys are you know, sold to women. cisgendered. Women. Not to sister Yeah,

Rachel Wright 34:05
yeah. You mean using it themselves? Yeah, exactly. So a, I think two reasons. A, I think that internal play for cisgender men like prostate play is just starting to become d stigmatized, and I really hope it continues down this path. People do not know what they’re missing out on. And the idea that a sex act or a way of stimulating your own body is associated with a sexual orientation is wackadoo to me, like who you are attracted to has absolutely nothing to do with what body part of you like to be stimulated and this association between prostate play and being a gay man. It is there. They’ve been so linked for so long. and really over the past five years or so I’ve really seen them start to unravel. And I’m just like, so leading that train. Yes, please. So I think that that’s part of it is like, you know, half of the toys on the market. And I’m guessing this is not an accurate statistic, but it certainly seems like about half the toys on the market for met cisgendered men are prostate play. And if you are not into that, or you associate it with a sexual orientation that is not yours, that already takes out half of the the toys on the market for you. So I think that that’s part of the reason. And then the other one is this, like, I don’t even know what to call it. Shame. I don’t know if shame encompasses it. But this idea of like, it’s either my hand or a pussy. Like that’s the mentality behind it. And there are so many different options, you know, there are caca rings, and strokers and flashlights and like an air tech, one of the womanizer, which is a company that makes a lot of like pleasure air technology toys for clitoris is makes this device that you can put it’s called Arc wave, and you can put a penis inside of it, and it uses that same air pressure tech to stimulate the penis. And like most penis owners that I talked to don’t even know that this toy exists. Because we’ve been thinking about sex toys for penises and like this really narrow way. And so I think that there’s a lot of stigma around. There’s a larger stigma for sis men to use sex toys than there is for sis women. And sis women still have stigma and shame to overcome. But there’s certainly a disproportionate amount to sis men. And I think that that’s why it’s like, I got my hand and I don’t want it up. My ass is like the mentality. And I’m like, you’re missing out? You’re missing out.

Dallas 37:12
Right? It is interesting that people will close off certain avenues for you know, reasons that seem arbitrary and strange. It even happens with with with content that I think there are some people who don’t want to seem to look at content with trans performers, because they think they think it may, like you said, it says means that they’re gay or something like that. I mean, for goodness sake, here is something that obviously appealed to you. You clicked into it, you know, why not? Watch it get some pleasure, it doesn’t make a value judgment about you one way or the other. It’s an interesting observation I’ve made about, you know, our website and our customers at times.

Rachel Wright 37:45
Yeah, it’s fascinating. I think that people are, you know, and I see this even in just like, my non sex stuff, I was gonna say non sex work. But that didn’t wasn’t this sentence, I was super trying to say, in the work that I do with clients in a non sexual department. There we go. That’s the sentence I was trying to say. You know, there’s a there’s a block sometimes around exploration, and going down roads that we perhaps don’t know what that road looks like, we perhaps don’t know, literally what the path looks like. And then we don’t know what the quote unquote end of that path looks like. And the fear of the unknown can often keep us as human being stuck in one spot. And that is true across the board, whether that is your career, relationships, your sexuality, we would rather stay many of us would rather say uncomfortable in the familiar than be uncomfortable in trying new things. And so I think that that applies to exactly what you’re saying to even when it comes to like a video to watch a video. It can be like, I don’t I don’t want to even go down that road in my head.

Dallas 39:04
Right. Exactly. Exactly. And of course, the point you’re making applies more broadly to to relationships as well. And I know that’s a topic that you’ve talked about at length is polyamory, for instance. So on that whole front, what are the questions that you get most frequently asked and what do you think are the biggest misconceptions about polyamory?

Rachel Wright 39:25
Oh, man, top question every single time I talked to someone new, don’t you get jealous?

Dallas 39:33
Do you have a stock answer for that?

Rachel Wright 39:36
Yes, it’s the idea that jealousy is exclusive to non monogamy is like wild. You know, we get jealous when our caretakers or parents have a second child. We get jealous when a teacher in elementary school picks the other person in class to read the thing that we wanted to read. Jealousy is really common and complex emotion. And the idea that it is reserved for non monogamy is like I don’t even Yeah, the biggest differences is that people who are non monogamous or polyamorous which is just one kind of form under the umbrella of non monogamy is they they talk about it, right like you’re you’re forced to talk about it. And a lot of people in monogamous relationships not all I know plenty of people who have discussions around jealousy and that are monogamous. But a lot of people in monogamous relationships don’t, they don’t talk about it. And they just kind of stuff it in, and it creates a lot of pain and insecurity. Because we’re not taught how to talk about it, we’re not taught how to talk about any of our emotions, let alone a complex one, like, like jealousy. Um, so that’s definitely like the top question that I get. And then you know, the ones, the ones that follow that are kind of all over the board, but usually have something to do with either logistics or sex. And they will either be super direct or very coded. Like, there’s, there’s three of us in my like, at home nesting primary relationship. And often I’ll get like, well how to sleeping work. And like, half the people are actually asking logistics of like, do you rotate? Do you each have your own room? Like, do you sleep all three in a bed? Do you like have to one like, and then the other half that was coded language for like, who fucks? Who? Right. And it’s interesting to kind of suss out what they’re asking. And I also find it very interesting that like, for the people who are asking about sex, specifically, like, would you meet someone new? Who’s monogamous? And be like, so what kind of setbacks do you guys do? Like, no, that’s not. And I’m not saying, in a way, I wish that we did live in a world where that was something that could come up in a conversation. But in the current world that we live in, that isn’t something that comes up in that first conversation or second conversation. So the idea that, like, I can meet somebody, and like 10 minutes into conversation, someone asked me about, like, who I have sex with, and how is like, really wild to me. It’s also fine with me personally, right? Like I, me, as Rachel a human individual, I feel pretty comfortable talking about these things. But just because I’m non monogamous doesn’t mean that you have like carte blanche on my sex life, like you don’t get to just like ask anything you want. It’s also not all about sex. Like, they’re asexual people who are polyamorous and non monogamous, and they have multiple deep relationships with people. And sex is not the driving factor. And sometimes it’s not a factor at all. And so those are definitely the most common questions that I get a lot I do, I do a lot of Ask me any things on Instagram. And I get a lot of questions about non monogamy a lot. And whether they’re about me, or they’re about themselves, or like the concepts in general, people are really curious, because, again, like, we didn’t get any education around this, I learned what non Monogamy was, while I was in my master’s program to become a therapist. Wow. Like, I’ve literally had to get a master’s degree to be taught what non Monogamy was. And it was in that moment that I started kind of clicking back to these younger high school experiences and being like, Oh, is that and then it wasn’t until my 20s. Like, I really like later 20s that I really connected everything together. And I’m pretty self aware person who was studying frickin psychology and relationships, and like, it took a really long time to connect those dots. So for a lot of people who are like, Yeah, I’m 50. And I’m just connecting the dots. I’m like, yeah, no, that makes sense. Like, don’t harp on yourself. This is that makes total sense, given the culture that we we grow up.

Dallas 44:31
Right, right. Exactly. Exactly. So I know we’re running short on time here. But I did want to ask you as we wind down here, what do you think is the is the future of sexuality? Do you think it’s as polyamory going to become more standard? Practice? Do you think? What do you see happening in the next 1020 30 years?

Rachel Wright 44:50
Oh, man, you know, what I see happening and really, I don’t know if this is I don’t know how much of this is what I hope will happen or what I actually see happening. And in full transparency, but what I would love to see and what I think we’ll see fingers crossed, is just more of an acceptance of people being who they are. And whether that is monogamous, non monogamous, heterosexual, gay, straight, queer, like whatever it is asexual, Allo, sexual, transgender non binary system, like what ever it is that we have more of an acceptance of differences and love for those differences. And that we can look at someone who is different than us, whether that is around sex, or race or religion, as long as religion is not oppressing other people, or career choices, or upbringings, or whatever. And we can say, what can I learn from that? And how can I make my life as diverse and rich as possible, about learning about other people’s human experiences in this world, and not look and say, that’s different, I’m scared. That’s different, I’m threatened. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel threatened or scared, we feel these things because we are uncomfortable. And combat that with curiosity. And we can combat that with interest and love and care. And so I just hope that we turn towards curiosity and acceptance, to allow everyone to be exactly who they are, and not have to hide it out of safety for, you know, their mental well being or even their life.

Speaker 4 46:49
Right. Right. So it’s the issue of curiosity, acceptance and communication. It’s it sounds like,

Rachel Wright 46:55
Yes, exactly, exactly.

Dallas 46:57
I think that’s a very beautiful and hopeful note to to close on. I just also wanted to ask if people want to keep up with all your latest work and read all your latest articles and just find out more about you. Where can they find you on social media?

Unknown Speaker 47:11
Or the or the web?

Rachel Wright 47:13
Yeah, two places. Primarily, my website is Rachel Right. nyc.com as a New York City, I write is with a W. And my Instagram, which is where I spend the majority of my social media hours is at the right underscore Rachel. So the W ri ght underscore, RSC, H E L.

Dallas 47:35
There you go and a very informative and interesting website. It is, by the way, very nicely designed lots of great stuff on video. Really enjoyed browsing.

Rachel Wright 47:41
Thank you. I really appreciate that a lot.

Dallas 47:44
And I really enjoyed chatting with you today. We really glad to have you as a guest, too.

Rachel Wright 47:48
Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1 47:50
Thanks for listening to the adult Empire podcast. And thanks to Rachel Right. Don’t forget to subscribe and rate follow us on social media. And of course, make sure to visit adult empire.com For all of your porn needs, including a full range of streaming videos, adult DVDs, sex toys, and more.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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