At Pillow, we pride ourselves on being A Love and Intimacy Education Platform for all couples. To help people to understand different routes and ways to explore love, relationships and all forms of intimacy is important. As individual beings, we understand that what people like, and what makes us feel good is as unique as we are.
There is also no one route to Rome when it comes to education. There are so many amazing individuals trying to get the conversation started when it comes to sex and relationships, because when it comes to this subject we can get a bit shy. In-House Expert Kate Moyle spoke to someone who is doing just the opposite… Danielle Bezalel aka DB, a UC Berkeley graduate, singer, performer, educator, traveler, and creator, producer, & host of a new sex ed podcast called Sex Ed with DB.
Sex Ed with DB is an intersectional, feminist podcast for folks who want to hear real stories from Bay Area voices as they try to revolutionize the way we talk about sex.
KM : As a podcaster who describes themselves as someone who wants to revolutionize the way we talk about sex, can you tell us a little bit more about how you are trying to do that?
DB : I think inherently (and unfortunately) by having a podcast that talks about sex so openly and honestly revolutionizes normal conversations around these topics — which aren’t happening nearly as frequently and as fully as they should. Sex Ed with DB speaks about topics that are often labeled taboo such as BDSM, rape culture, transness, sexuality on a spectrum, how common STIs are, and more. We also make a point to spotlight underrepresented voices such as queer people, people of color, non-binary folks, and people of all ages.
KM : And what made you start the podcast and inspired you to take these conversations out into the mainstream space?
DB : I was halfway through my year teaching English in Israel when my cohort toured the Jerusalem Belz community. We were walking around with one of the rabbis who lived in this community his entire life. The rabbi was showing us the synagogues, divulging his opinions on his way of life, and discussing his family traditions; he explained that when his five daughters eventually turned seventeen, respectively, a matchmaker would “marry them off”. He proudly explained that they would not learn about sex until their wedding night. “That is the night my daughters will have sex for the first time and hopefully become pregnant.” A fire was lit within me. My hand shot up and the rabbi nodded my way. In that moment, I wished these young women had access to any of the digital media tools that exist to educate themselves; how different would their lives be? “What if your daughters are not ready to be mothers?” I said aloud. “Shouldn’t they feel in control of their own bodies?” The rabbi raised his brow: “No. They have no choice. This is how it goes.” I created Sex Ed with DB to combat this sexism and the unfortunate cultural norms in this society and so many others! Women (and young people who identify in all ways) deserve education, access, and resources — especially when it comes to choices about their own bodies and lives.
KM : Do you think that the way that we have sex, and even what we mean by it, is different now to how it was for previous generations?
DB: Yes and no. I think a lot of people who have (heteronormative) sex now are still having the same sex from 100 years ago. I think mainstream pornography has done a huge disservice to people, young and old, when it comes to who should be the person to have the pleasure. Men are typically the only ones who climax in porn — and it’s usually white, straight men. I think there are some norms that are changing and there is more focus on women’s pleasure now than ever before. I still think we have a LOT of work to do when it comes to making sex equal, consensual, and pleasurable for all involved (including women, LGBTQ+ folks, disabled folks, etc).
KM : And why do you think that is, or what do you think is behind these changes?
DB : I definitely think that social media plays a huge role in the positive changes about how sex is portrayed. Bold, incredible, feminist content is all over Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the like that encourages people (especially women, people of color, LGBTQ+ folks) to love themselves and their bodies — to be confident in their own skin and own who they are. I also think the sex toy industry is more geared towards clitoris’ than ever before WHICH IS AWESOME!
KM : What is your personal definition of intimacy?
DB : To me, intimacy is: closeness, love, feeling at home with someone, feeling totally comfortable, authenticity, being 100% yourself, happiness, feeling warm, feeling cozy, and being vulnerable. Intimacy is extremely difficult to define for me in words because it’s all about the feeling.
KM : And in these conversations about sex, sexuality and sex lives where do you believe that intimacy fits into the conversation?
DB: I think it goes right in the middle of all of it all!
Without intimacy, we wouldn’t be able to open ourselves up to others and allow ourselves to be raw and scared and have close partnerships. I think intimacy should have its own week during a “healthy relationships” unit in sex ed.
KM : And do you think that as we as humans find new and different ways to connect e.g. more virtually / through technology / messaging / via screens more than face to face that the role of intimacy will change in our lives?
DB : That’s a great question — my answer is definitely. Although, I think there’re absolutely ways for people to connect intimately through FaceTime, email, videos, texting, etc. I, personally, always feel the most intimate with someone when I am physically with them — I’m not sure if that’ll ever change for me.
KM : Something you promote is the hearing of people’s voices in your podcast which is also what we are also doing at Pillow, taking the voices of experts and those with knowledge and expertise in intimacy and love out into the world for more people to experience. Why do you think that this way of working is important?
DB : I think the more we can have experts’ expertise accessible to the public for free/an affordable price, the better! Especially if we give that space to experts who are marginalized or often underrepresented (people of color, non-binary folks, LGBTQ+ folks, people with disabilities, etc). This is a great way to educate because people should have the best, most accurate information they can about sex, sexuality, and healthy relationships so they can live autonomous, happy, and healthy lives!
KM : Your favourite quote about love?
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
– Oscar Wilde
KM : And if you had one message to leave our readers with what would that be?
DB : If you believe in this work — sex education for all — please consider donating to our Season 2 fundraiser at www.gofundme.com/edwithdb. We need $10,000 to pay our creatives, editors, designers, and team for all of their incredible work!
KM: And finally where can people find out more about you?
DB : To find out more about my story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Facebook!