Last year, we embarked on a journey to become the first lifelong brand for a woman’s body with the introduction of Sex by LOLA. In launching this new category, we’ve found that although we’ve definitely made progress, sex and sexuality are still touchy subjects. Women oftentimes still feel stigmatized when it comes to discussing sex with their partners, friends, and even their doctors.

We asked Shan Boodram, certified sex educator, dating coach and relationship expert, to weigh in on all our most pressing questions about sex and sexuality. We worked with Shan during our ‘Let’s talk about it campaign’ and could not wait to hear her take.

How do you feel about the question “what’s your number?”

Now that I’m married, I don’t think about my number all that much. Mostly because I know my life partner doesn’t care, so why should I? But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I woke up every single day and thought about my sexual count. After meeting a new person, I’d preemptively strategize ways to avoid the discussion, as if the truth would automatically place me on a sex offender list.

When did you stop worrying about your sexual count?

One day, I realized that my “number” is so insanely irrelevant and should have no bearing on my relationships. So, I stopped feeling compelled to share it with partners. And that was really liberating. There was a moment when I thought, it’s not like there’s any government record or Google-able site holding me accountable, anyway.

It was a powerful realization that my sexual choices are just that: my own. And I shouldn’t feel any obligation to disclose or justify that number to anyone else. Especially if any part of me felt unsafe doing so.

How else do you feel insecure about your sexuality?

I used to feel insecure about my sexual fantasies. There’s one where I’m a live model in a sexual health classroom; in another, I’m on vacation [with my partner] and discover that our room is actually attached to a theater!

Then, a couple years ago, I read Esther Perel’s book Mating in Captivity where she discussed sexual fantasy at length. Perel, a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author, said its best to not literally judge our private thoughts. In other words: it’s better to treat your fantasies like poetry, not as gospel.

So, if I listen to my own sexual fantasies (rather than desperately attempt to deny them), the common thread is exhibitionism. I’ve learned not to take the plotlines too literally — my fantasies seem to be more about my desire to be desired.  And that right there is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of!

How do you think social media plays a role in our perceptions of sexuality?

I think a lot of people are concerned about looking “too thirsty,” or desperate for sexual attention and approval, on the internet. Just ask yourself: how many hot photos in your phone have you refrained from posting, for fear of being judged by others? Or, how many times have you rushed to judgment after seeing someone else’s hot photo?

I’ve definitely been guilty of both. But I try to think back to something I read in The Laws of Human Nature, the most recent book by Robert Greene: “Behind any vehement hatred is often a secret and very unpalatable envy of the hated person. It is only through such hate that the desire can be released from the unconscious in some form.”

So, whether you’re the one posting that sexually explicit photo, or you find yourself with an overwhelming desire to critique it, try to dig into your subconscious and identify your underlying motivation. Do you crave attention or power? Are you grappling with your own sexual insecurity or envy?

At the end of the day, if you can acknowledge your tendency to be “thirsty” on social media, try your best to own it! There’s nothing more empowering than learning to accept yourself and let go of what other people think.

LOLA is a new feminine care brand by women, for women. LOLA offers tampons, pads, and liners made with 100% organic cotton via a customizable subscription service. A better month awaits you.

www.mylola.com