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Richelle is one of my dearest friends. We have a very intimate relationship -- we know each other well including each others' fears. As someone who has been a sex educator and is sex positive, Richelle is someone I've wanted to include in Sexplanations videos for a long time. She could address just about every topic. When I thought about the dream episode with her though it was the two of us talking about our vulnerabilities -- where we get scared of ourselves, others, and those connections, sexually.

This episode is a pretty raw back and forth of my fears and Richelle's fears -- our false evidence appearing real. Some of what we say isn't articulate or perfectly sex positive. Instead of being afraid that you're going to judge us harshly for this, I'm going to trust that you know we're doing the best we can and as human beings we make mistakes. We're trying to love ourselves and that is a learning process.

Thank you for being supportive of this channel and sex education at large. One of my greatest sexual fears is that people aren't receiving the knowledge and care they need to make healthy decisions. I'm so proud of the Sexplanations' audience for your part in increases access to sexual health information for others and for investing in yourselves. Stay curious.

Here's a detailed list of the fears we brought up:
Fears about me
Fears about others
Fears about relationship
Fear I’m not good enough
Fear of my performance
Fear others won’t perform well
Fear others aren’t good enough
Fear others won’t hear me
understand me
Fear others don’t know their own needs
Fear others can’t communicate their needs
Fear of what other people think about my body
Fear of being being abnormal
Fear of being wrong
Fear of gravity
Birth control harming partners
Fear of being slow to figure out my identity
Fear of not knowing body
Fear of not knowing how to communicate
Fear of no getting my needs met
Fear of not having courage
Fear of doing something a new partner doesn’t like
Fear of not being able to impress someone
Fear sexualities don’t match up like I expect
Fear of disappointment from unmet expectations
Fear of others’ disappointment in me
Fear of saying something someone doesn’t like
Fear that what I thought works, doesn’t always
Fear of stronger emotions than others
Fear of imbalance
Fear of an unequal power balance
Fear of being too connected
Fear of not being connected enough
Fear of enjoying sex more than others
Fear of not enjoying sex as much as others
Fear of abandonment
Fear of not being enough
Fear of dissatisfaction
Fear of being talked about
Fear sex with Dr. Doe isn’t good
Fear of brand damage
Fear of dishonesty
Fear of sexually transmitted infections
Fear of being manipulated
Fear of addiction or habituation
Fear of clit lock
Fear of limiting myself
Fear of not being okay without...
Fear of accepting bad things for good sex
Fear of accepting bad sex for good things

Dr. Doe's contact info:
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 (00:00) to (02:00)


L: I'm Lindsey.  This is Richelle.  We are two friends and both happen to talk about sexuality all the time and that includes some really deep emotional things like our fears and so I was hoping today that you and I could go back and forth on all of our sexual fears as a way of giving permission to the audience to acknowledge their own fears and how to work through them.  Yeah?

R: Let's do it.

L: Okay, so first of all, the definition of fear I have as "to be afraid of someone or something as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.  An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat."  

R: I don't love that definition of fear.  

L: You don't?

R: I don't.  

L: Okay.  What definition would you like to use?

R: I feel like fear is an emotion that is a response to the unknown.

L: False evidence appearing real.

R: Yes.  That is the definition that I would use for fear in this context.

L: Okay, so wanna go back and forth and just name fears or just throw them out there, popcorn style?

R: Yeah, let's try it.  

L: Do you wanna go first?

R: Well, I was thinking about this.

L: Okay.

R: In order to kind of get my brain settled and I realized that for me, that there are fears that are about me and about myself.  There are fears that I have about the person and then there's fears about the space in between.

L: Okay.

R: So like, the ego, the other, and maybe relational fears.  

L: Okay, so what is an ego fear?

R: So an ego fear would be something like, I'm not good enough.

L: Sexually?

R: Sexually, yeah, like I'm not good enough sexually, I'm not gonna perform appropriately or maybe I don't even know what my own needs are, so I'm not going to be able to communicate them.  Those are ego for me, centered fears.  

L: Okay, and then the other?

R: Other is like, this other person's not gonna be good enough or this other person's not going to hear my message when I communicate to them or you know, they aren't gonna know what they need so they aren't going to be able to communicate it to me.  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

L: So good.  I love talking to you.  Okay, and then, and then the relational ones.

R: Relational to me is um, how the two of us communicate and can we understand each other.

L: Okay, so it's a combination of the intent of what you want to say and the impact it has on me or vice versa.

R: Yeah, and can we understand each other?  Can, is our intent and our goals the same in having sex? 

L: I wouldn't say that I'm afraid that my labia looks like roast beef, but it looks like roast beef and I am afraid of what other people think about my labia looking like roast beef.

R: Yeah, I also am often afraid my labia don't look the way they're supposed to look.  I don't know if it's like a fear of roast beef in particular, but it's more like, are these the right size?  Do they--are they doing the right thing?  Are they in the right place?  Yeah.  

L: Are they getting in the way and causing pain?

R: Yeah.  

L: Are they going to keep lengthening because of gravity and age?  

R: I mean, they are.

L: Yes.  Are they gonna dry out?  Am I gonna have underwear that holds them together?  

R: Or squishes them in the wrong way?

L: Or smashes them all up.  

R: I also, I use (?~3:17) birth control and it has little strings that hang out of my cervix and I'm really afraid of them poking and harming partners if they're penetrative and that's a fear based on, you know, evidence.

L: I am afraid that I am not heterosexual and don't know it yet.  I'm--so I'm not afraid of not being heterosexual, but I'm afraid that this whole time, I haven't been and I'm just slow to figuring it out.  

R: I almost have the opposite fear, that is, that I identified as queer and that maybe I'm heterosexual and don't know it yet.  

L: Oh, damn it, fears.  

 (04:00) to (06:00)

R: I think I'm afraid of not knowing my body well enough or knowing how to communicate in order to have a partner help me get what I need when I have sex.

L: Like pleasure, orgasm, lubrication.

R: Yeah, all.  I mean, pick one.  Like, oh, I don't, maybe in that context, I don't know or that I won't have the courage to communicate it.  

L: Mm.  I'm afraid of doing things that some partners like with the outcome of this new partner really not being into it.  

R: Oh.  Do you think that's in the ego or do you think that's in the relational?

L: Both.  It's in both, because the fear is that I can't impress this person the way I impressed these people and the relational part is that our sexualities don't match up the way that I expect them to.  Or want them to.  

R: Yeah.  Yeah.

L: So then I'm afraid of the disappointment that I will have that they don't like this thing and I'm also afraid of the disappointment that they will have that I did something that they weren't into, and that goes for language, too.  Not just physical behaviors but I'm afraid that if I say 'pussy' to this person, like, ugh, not that word, even though these people (?~5:10)

R: I think beyond physical, there's also like an emotional set of fears for me that's like, I will want more emotion out of sexual relationship than the other person or that my chemical bath will be stronger than their chemical bath and I will get attached and they won't and that the outcome will be different or that there's a difference in the power dynamic between our emotional connections so I'm, you know, not on an equal playing field where I'm super emotionally connected or I'm not super emotionally connected and they are and that that dynamic doesn't have equilibrim.

L: I think that applies to sexual power as well.  Or physical arousal where I'm worried that I'm enjoying the sex more than the other person and I am driven toward the balance for some reason.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

R: Yeah.  Ooh, yeah.  Yeah, that's a big one.  

L: Because if you don't like the sex as much as I do, then it's the fear that you're gonna leave me or the fear that you're gonna need something else or the fear that you're unsatisfied, dissatisfied, the fear that you're gonna tell other people that the sex for you with Dr. Doe isn't good.  

R: That's bad for branding.  I think fears for other people are, or like, the things that I'm afraid of for other people are dishonesty.  So I feel like I can protect myself in a lot of ways.

L: I'm getting so anxious just thinking about these fears.  Okay, but keep going.

R: Yeah, I think like, you know, I can communicate about STI status, that we can, you know, do tests, but ultimately, I have to trust somebody's word so that's a level of dishonesty.  There's also like, I have to trust that when they're communicating something that that's truly what they believe or what they feel.  So there's a lot of--

L: That they're not just telling you something to get into your pants.  

R: Yeah.  Oof.

L: It's hard being human.  

R: So hard.

L: I sometimes get afraid of being addicted to a certain type of sex, like clit lock.  Oh my gosh, I have to masturbate in this one way or oh my gosh, this person's performance of sex on my body is so right that I, I'll never be okay with anything else.

R: Or like I will accept bad things in other areas in order to have this sex.  Yeah.  

L: Or I'll accept bad sex in order to have good things in other areas.

R: Ohh.  

L: We could talk about fears all day.  What is the solution?  If our definition of fear is false evidence appearing real, it seems like the answer is to find true evidence.

R: So how do we do that?

L: We ask questions, right?  We say what do you think of my roast beef labia?  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

R: Or maybe phrase that differently, but sure.  Yeah.  Maybe just what do you think of my labia?

L: Don't you think that puts pressure on the other person to say something nice or to be set up to say something that we don't actually want to hear?

R: Maybe.  But, what's the other option? 

L: To love ourselves.  To just feel enough comfort and confidence in who we are that it, it can matter what that other person thinks but it doesn't have to influence our sexuality.

R: Yeah, I think, I think it's gathering evidence from ourselves first, right, so--

L: Okay.

R: Do I know myself enough to communicate?  Do I love myself, am I kind enough to myself to be present and bring myself into this relationship?  That's really all I can control and then my intent, is it--do I have a positive intent and am I working to improve my communication, 'cause it always is going to need work.

L: That actually reminds me about our friendship and how, so often, I can take a fear that I have, maybe about another person or my sex life or my relationship and I can share it with you and you'll share your experiences, you'll say yeah, and then it just relieves a bunch of tension around that fear and the fear kind of dies.  So thanks for being my friend.

R: That feels really special.

L: Richelle, on that note, you are a part of me seeing the world as a friendly place.  Thank you so much for being my friend and for sharing your fears with my audience.  

R: Thanks for having me and thanks for doing this work so that other people can push their fear boundaries, too.  

L&R: Stay curious.