Naomi is joining the Unprocessed podcast to breakdown the biggest myths around sex, libido and relationships. Strap on – uh, in – this Aussie sexologist is set to blow the lid off all your misconceptions, from the types of sex you can have to consent, comfort and all those other sexpectations.
Naomi Hutchings has been working in sexology for nearly two decades, with a passion for equipping people with the knowledge and education they need to have a happy and safe sex life. She joins Clara and Grace in the latest episode of Unprocessed to unveil everything we need to know to make that happen. Let’s dive into the first misconception – you don’t always have to feel confident about your body.
“Who says that I don’t get to have sexual pleasure because my body doesn’t look like that?” Naomi says.
The sexologist reveals she follows body neutrality over the body positivity movement. Why? Because it’s all about acceptance and understanding – let’s take a look at the two movements. Body positivity is a movement that encourages people to love and embrace their bodies, regardless of shape, size, or appearance. It challenges societal beauty standards and promotes the idea that all bodies are worthy of love and respect, counteracting body shaming, unrealistic ideals, and negative self-image. Body neutrality, on the other hand, focuses on shifting the emphasis from appearance to function and overall wellbeing. It acknowledges that not everyone can reach a state of constant body love or positivity, and that's okay. Instead of placing undue emphasis on appearance, body neutrality encourages individuals to value their bodies for what they can do rather than how they look. It aims to reduce the pressure to constantly feel positive about one's body and instead fosters a sense of neutrality—a state where thoughts about the body take up less mental space.
Consent + Sex Education
Naomi says learning about sexual boundaries and consent starts early.
"How you can start sex education is about also consent just saying, ‘would you like a hug?’ And if they say no, ask, ‘do you want to just wave, do you want to do a fist pump or something?’” Naomi says. “If someone in the family, auntie Jo says, ‘hang on a minute’, then it’s like no, in our family we ask for hugs and if someone doesn't want to, they don't have to do it.”
Teaching children about consent and boundaries from an early age helps them understand that their feelings, wishes, and personal space are respected and valued. This understanding becomes a foundation for respecting others' boundaries in all aspects of life, including intimate relationships. When people grow up with a clear understanding of consent and boundaries, they are more likely to treat their partners with respect, communicate openly, and prioritize each other's comfort. This isn’t just modelled at home, but at school too. Consent education teaches children how to communicate their feelings, needs, and desires in a respectful and assertive manner. These communication skills are invaluable in intimate relationships, where open and honest communication is vital.
Intercourse Isn’t the Only Way
Naomi breaks down the unhelpful expectations around sexual activity – including the misconception that intercourse is the only way to have sex, noting that a whopping 80% of women cannot orgasm with this type of sex.
“Women who have sex with women, whether they're bi, pan, lesbian, whatever, but when they have sex, they're more likely to have an orgasm, and that’s not necessarily because they know each other's bodies, but because there’s not this expectation of penetration.
“My clients use the term foreplay which I don't use because I think it makes it seem like everything you do before the ‘big thing’, the ‘p in the v’, and I'm like, you can do all sorts, you can be having amazing sex by yourself in a room with your partner who's in another country on the phone – why don't we talk about just let's go play and then sometimes it's penetration, sometimes it's not, which then opens up your script to lots of things.”
Sexuality encompasses a wide spectrum of intimate activities that people engage in to connect with their partners and experience pleasure. Intercourse is just one form of sexual activity, and it's important to acknowledge that it might not be the preferred or possible choice for everyone. Activities like oral sex, manual stimulation, mutual masturbation, sensual touching, cuddling, and emotional intimacy all play a significant role in people's sexual experiences. Bodies come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and abilities – and Naomi unpacks how important it is that might be comfortable or pleasurable for one person could be uncomfortable or challenging for another. It's essential to recognise and respect individual differences and abilities when it comes to sexual activity – there’s no ‘one way’.
The most important aspect of any sexual activity is communication and consent. It's essential for partners to have open discussions about their desires, preferences, boundaries, and any physical limitations. Consent should always be enthusiastic, mutual, and ongoing, regardless of the specific activities involved.
Keen to break down more misconceptions around sex? Check out the episode HERE.