The sex you want to know
Sex and pleasure. It shouldn’t be tricky business yet sometimes it feels like it. How do I tell my partner I want to peg them, is wanting to be called daddy during sex ok, and how do I squirt? So many questions! We reached out to one person we knew would be all over these topics (and then some). Introducing Euphemia Russell, from Melbourne but now based in Oakland, California.
How would you describe what you do?
I own a Pleasure Education business, I Wish You Knew (@sex.iwishyouknew) sharing practical pleasure information for all genders. I do private consultations, workshops, and train healthcare professionals.
What were the experiences that moved you towards working in this space?
I slowly shifted into this space from personal interest, to self-directed nerdery, to crowdfunding to study in California, to beginning workshops in Melbourne and flourishing with a support community of people keen to learn!
What do you wish everyone knew about sex and pleasure?
You are normal. Sex is weird for everyone. Reflect on and articulate your wants and needs. Focus on your own pleasure first, then communicate to others. Don’t yuck other people’s yums. Sex isn’t only penetration. The more pleasure you feel, the more capacity for pleasure you will have in the future. Remember to breathe, move, and make sound.
Talk us through your workshops! How do you run them and what topics do you cover?
Oh I do so many different workshops! All of them I try to make as accessible as possible with learning, listening, and asking. My facilitation style is practical, dorky, and fun. There’s no nudity or hooking up in my workshops though.
I teach what I consider are the fundamentals: Know Your Fantasies and Desires, Know Your Sexy Parts, The Kinky Science of Pleasure.
Then I also teach technique focused workshops: Squirt Play, Impact Play, Sensual Slow Play, Strap on Play, Deeper Play, and Butt Play.
Then I do fun community events: porn screenings, and Butt Plug Dance Parties.
I Wish You Knew focuses on pleasure and exploration for all bodies, genders and sexual identities and experiences. How do you ensure inclusivity in the work you do?
I think inclusivity can never be ensured, it’s a constant process of reflecting, listening to others, and interrogating assumptions. But in all my work I try to use inclusive language, information and images that represent all identities, bodies, and types of pleasure.
Mainstream representations of sex, bodies, and gender are pretty narrow. How does that negatively impact our relationships to our own bodies and our sexual relationships with others and how can we unlearn those messages?
Historically, society has given privilege to people and bodies based on prescribed attractiveness and identity conformity. We’ve all internalised these messages which are of course sneaky and harmful. To undo and unlearn these messages, we can lift up self-identifying folks of all genders, and create opportunities to increase visibility.
As for sex and bodies, communication and talking about sex and desires is radical in itself. Practice being more comfortable with being uncomfortable as you articulate yourself. Take up space with your sexuality if your identity and experience isn’t a dominant experience – respect isn’t based on modesty.
You talk about not “yucking anyone’s yum” – how does shame stop us from exploring the full potential of pleasure in our own bodies?
Shame is a sneaky fucker. It can express itself so differently for everyone, we all wrestle with it in different ways. We can experience fear of judgement, self-judgement and internalised messaging, disconnection from our bodies and pleasure (ie using phrases like “down there”), shaming others for their sexual expression.
Sex is weird for everyone, no one needs to experience more shame. Well, unless being shamed and degrading talk is your kink!
What does sex positivity mean to you and what are the misconceptions around what it means?
Sex positivity doesn’t mean the same for everyone. But in short, it’s supporting everyone’s sexual expression and experiences as long as they are consensual and respectful. It means supporting anyone with whatever stage or place they are at. So cheerleading can be just as harmful as shaming.
Any sex/pleasure myths you want to bust for us?
Oh so maaaaaaany. I love science and sex research, and we have a long way to go until we have sound data on all the experiences. Where are all the sex positive millionaires at?! But a few major ones are: virginity isn’t real, gender is a social construct, sex isn’t only penetrative, vibrators don’t damage your nerve endings, oil based lubricants aren’t good for penetrative sex.
Any shout outs or resources you would like to point to (aside from I Wish You Knew) for affirming, gender/body/sexuality diverse information?
A pivotal moment for me in the process of becoming a Pleasure Educator was reading the graphic novel Oh Joy Sex Toy given to me by my sibling, which opened my eyes to accurate, non-judgemental, pleasure education with some dorkiness thrown in! Check it out.
Some of my favourite Insta accounts for gems of fun inclusive info are: @afrosexology, @fatsextherapist, @wildflowersex, @ihartericka.
Visit @sex.iwishyouknew for more.