When we heard that the women of Shameless Sex were releasing a book, we were psyched. Shameless Sex is one of our absolute favorite podcasts because of the hosts’ nonjudgmental attitude and the expert guests, ranging from doctors to adult film stars.
Authors Amy Baldwin and April Lampert sat down with us to talk about masturbation, April’s experience as a sales rep here at FUN FACTORY, and how our culture can become more sex-positive. Plus, an excerpt of the book follows below!
1. Why write a book? Why now?
Amy: We’ve gotten so many requests over the years, it was honestly a bit overdue to take Shameless Sex from the podcast world to the literary world and write Shameless Sex: Choose Your Own Pleasure Path to Unlock the Sex Life You've Been Waiting For.
April: We’ve addressed a significant pool of topics in our podcasts, from BDSM to nonmonogamy and STIs to role play. Our book gave us an opportunity to extract the best of the best. Plus, it’s delivered in the most fun of formats. As a kid, I loved the books where you could choose your adventure. Our book allows readers to do something similar, because they can choose their own pleasure path based on the outcome they desire.
2. April, a sales position with FUN FACTORY was your entry point into the pleasure industry. Can you explain why that was such a positive experience for you?
April: While traveling all over the world for FUN FACTORY, I found that people were hungry for information beyond simple sex toy how-tos. They wanted to learn about their bodies, orgasm, and ways to expand their sexual pleasure. Those six years at FUN FACTORY were so impactful and really allowed me to begin my own shame-shedding journey. I was surrounded by progressive, growth-oriented, and exploratory individuals who were working toward the same goals of pleasure expansion and self-discovery.
3. Masturbation (aka batin’) comes up again and again in the book. Why is self-pleasure so important?
Amy: Our partners aren’t psychic, nor can they feel what sensations our body desires. There is only one person on the planet who can fully understand your body and your pleasure, and that is YOU! Having a regular self-pleasure practice (aka batin’!) is the best tool for learning about yourself and all the unique ways you can receive pleasure.
4. What are the biggest changes you'd like to see in the way our culture talks about sex?
Amy: Shame. Allowing more freedom from shame. There are simple shifts we can make and directive work we can do that will lead to more shame-free sex and intimacy.
April: STI shame. For me, our STI episode was a transformative experience.
Amy: The stigma around bisexuality. Zachary Zane is someone who has brought this conversation to the forefront.
5. How would you describe the mindset that’s most conducive to great sex?
Amy: Great sex comes from knowledge. Strive to become a master and never stop learning. Also, constant (healthy) communication. And don’t apply the same methods to each person. Everyone is different. Every partner is different. Everybody is different!
April: Open-mindedness. Knowing that you are not broken and that you are normal. Also, there is no pleasure hierarchy. Your pleasure is just as important as everyone else's. Finally, remember that all vulvas are different! Remove vulva shame! We did an episode on vulva mapping.
6. How can people use sex toys to boost their self-knowledge and confidence?
April: Knowing our bodies and what feels good to us is such a confidence-booster. Whether we’re masturbating solo or getting down to sexy town with a partner, it feels powerful to know what sex toys we like and how we want to use them. Think of it as an avenue to pleasure autonomy.
Amy: We love toys! Toys are an amazing tool in exploring pleasure paths. Some of our favorite FUN FACTORY anal toys are BOOTIE plugs. Our favorite FUN FACTORY vibrators are MISS BI and VIM, and there’s nothing out there like the STRONICS!
Take a peek inside the book with the excerpt below.
Shameless Sex Tips for Uncovering Your O—For You. Yes, YOU!
1. Practice! Masturbate often—not just for a couple of minutes a few days here and there, and not by relying on your partner(s) to motivate you. You must create your own self-pleasure practice by making it a regular habit. Start with ten to twenty minutes at least three days a week—and this is key—without making orgasm the objective
You don’t have to commit to this forever, but pledging to your pleasure for three to four weeks is recommended. It may feel like work at first, but the more time you invest into this practice, the easier it becomes. In addition, by dedicating yourself to a regular self-pleasure practice, you are continuously staying connected to your turn-ons and stoking your erotic fire. Once you gain a better understanding for what gets your motor running, you can then share what you’ve learned with your partner(s), likely resulting in even more pleasure and orgasms.
Put this into action by finding a private place where you will not be interrupted, and put your cell phone on silent (or just turn it off) so you’re able to disconnect from the outside world. You can even set the scene by playing your favorite sexy music, lighting some candles, and dressing or undressing yourself so you can drop into your inner sexiness. If the idea of “sexy” doesn’t resonate with you, then set a scene that promotes relaxation and safety.
Think of this practice as if you’re following a thread of yarn: It’s guiding you while you are simultaneously paying attention to each place it wants to take you along the way. Your body’s messages are the thread, and if it takes you to your genitals, get after it! If you find that your hands want to rest over your heart or belly, allow that too. No matter where the thread takes you, stay focused on the sensations in the body because you just might find these subtleties to be the stepping stones to a much bigger experience (like orgasm).
2. Exercise! You might be thinking, Wait, what? But we promise—working on your pelvic floor strength will help you gain control over whatever bits you’re rockin’.
Have you ever heard of “Kegel exercises”? If not, time to introduce your genitals to pull-ups and presses. It’s simple: clench your pelvic floor by pulling it upward toward your body (without hands), hold for two seconds, then release in a way so it feels like your pelvic floor is moving away from your body. This can feel like you’re pushing out or bearing down. Think about what your body does when you have to stop or start urination.
Kegel exercises help strengthen your PC (pubococcygeus) muscles, leading to more control over your genitals (including ejaculations for penis owners) and can heighten orgasmic potential. Doing your Kegel exercises for a few minutes a day at least three days a week throughout the year can lead to more powerful orgasms—and even to better bladder control.
3. Meditate! Meditation isn’t just for yogis and monks. It’s a scientifically proven way to reduce the constant chatter inside your mind by steering your attention toward a focal point like your breath or a repeated sound or phrase. Make a commitment to meditate for five to ten minutes a day for at least one week. If you don’t know where to begin, try a short, guided meditation available through mindfulness apps or search the internet for the loads of free content specifically designed to help people learn to drop into their bodies. You can also try body scan meditations, where you close your eyes and breathe into different zones of your body from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes.
Once you have the skill down, you can carry these practices over into sex. For most people, deeply connected, pleasurable sex involves a similar single point of focus on the sensations in the body, and training yourself in this focus outside of a sexual context can help you learn to get out of your head. The process might sound abstract, but doing this as a daily habit can help you reconnect with your body, heart, genitals, and breath, and create a sense of acceptance of yourself and others. So, take a deep breath and give yourself permission to try something new—what do you have to lose?
4. Let go of goals! Move away from orgasm goals and create awareness around moments when goals get in the way of your presence. If you absolutely have to have a goal, then set it as self-discovery, as you are identifying pleasurable sensation(s) in your body. Since a goal’s focus is on the end result, focusing on one can interfere with your ability to stay present for the sensations in your body. So try to make that goal more like an intention to create a deeper connection with yourself instead of a desired future outcome. It’s about noticing the subtle sensations along the way. If you want a more specific focus, then take inventory of where you feel sensation—like warmth, tingling, pressure, pleasure, pulsating, pain, numbness, etc.
5. Fake it till you make it! No, not your orgasms. When you embark on a self-pleasure session, toss aside any notions that orgasm is unattainable or that you can only feel pleasure in one way. Instead, let your mind work its magic in guiding you towards orgasm and pleasure, by convincing yourself it’s within reach and that it can happen—no, that it WILL happen. Barbara Carrellas explains that by taking deeper, fuller breaths and holding positive affirmations in your mind, you may give yourself a higher chance of achieving orgasmic bliss anyway.
Similarly, Forrest Andrews, a sex toy designer for Aneros, recommends having a pleasure mantra for experiencing the pleasure you desire—I’m about to cum, I’m about to orgasm, I’m feeling extreme pleasure. This feels amazing. This tip has been a game changer for us during many sexy-time sessions—solo as well as with partners.
6. Consider a porn break! Or rather, be intentional with your consumption of pornography. While porn can be great for entertainment, it’s not realistic. Porn often shows a vulva-owning actor having orgasms from being “pounded out” with little warm up, and most clitoral stimulation is shown via a fast-fondling motion (if there’s any fondling of the external bits at all). Porn performers are professionals who are (hopefully) paid to make sex look a certain way—so don’t be fooled into believing that sex and orgasm should happen the way they’re portrayed on camera.