Hu­mans of Toronto Good for Her’s Car­lyle Jansen on her sex­ual awak­en­ing

Hu­mans of Toronto:

NOW Magazine - - CONTENTS - As told to Paul Sal­va­tori. This in­ter­view has been edited and con­densed. Part of a continuing se­ries in­spired by @hu­man­sofny

“When I started Good for Her in 1997, I wanted it to be a place where women and peo­ple of all gen­ders could learn about sex­ual plea­sure. But peo­ple wanted a safe space to buy mer­chan­dise like books, toys and DVDs that would al­low them to en­hance their sex lives on their own or with part­ners.

Good for Her is cen­tral to who I am today, but it’s a far cry from what my life was like grow­ing up.

My mother al­ways knew she’d been adopted. What she didn’t know was that she had been born out of wed­lock, which was a huge source of shame for her. She found out about that around the time her birth mother was dy­ing. She was ad­vised never to talk about it.

With me, she was very much ‘Keep your pants on. Don’t make the same mis­take my mother made.’

I didn’t wit­ness any in­ti­macy at home that al­lowed me to be­lieve sex, even be­tween mar­ried cou­ples, was okay. I saw my mom kiss my dad on the cheek only once.

When I was in Grade 10, sex ex­pert Sue Jo­han­son came to my class. It was be­fore her ca­reer re­ally took off, and she was go­ing around to dif­fer­ent schools al­low­ing a lot of young peo­ple to think truth­fully about sex. At one point she said, ‘I know some of you are prob­a­bly hav­ing sex al­ready.’ I was like, ‘Oh, wow!’ It hadn’t even crossed my mind. But I knew she was right.

I didn’t have that en­tic­ing body you see on bill­boards. If I wore skirts or sexy lin­gerie it just looked like I was in drag. It wasn’t un­til my early 20s that I started hav­ing sex.

Thank­fully, things are chang­ing now. We as a so­ci­ety are dis­cussing sex more hon­estly and openly.

Still, Hol­ly­wood teaches us to meet some­one, fall in love and then stroll into the happy sun­set.

Re­la­tion­ships don’t al­ways work that way. They’re strug­gles: or­gasms don’t hap­pen, erec­tions don’t work when you want them to, our part­ner doesn’t want to tell us what to do. As dif­fi­cult as these things might be to talk about, they re­main in­sur­mount­able only when they are kept se­cret.

Learning how to make love well means talk­ing about it. It’s not some­thing we’re born know­ing.”

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