I recently had the opportunity to ask sex educator, Jacq Jones (@sugarjacq), the sex, sexual health, and sex toys questions you’ve always wanted the answers to. Jones is a sex positive lesbian feminist, focused on helping people’s sex lives become better and safer. She teaches people about their bodies, pleasure and safe sex practices. Recently, she has been featured as a “sex expert” in advice column, is now the weekly correspondent for YSB Now The Real Talk Tuesday and is the owner of Sugar, a fabulous sex toy store in Baltimore.
For tips and information about things like first time anal sex, shopping for a sex toy with a partner and STI’s, keep reading.
How long have you been a Sex Educator, and what motivated you to become a Sex Educator?
I’ve been working in sex education and reproductive health care since 1994. As a feminist and a woman, I believe that having control over our reproductive choices is a critical component of our path to equality. As I worked in the field, I realized that the sex education system was failing to address pleasure in sex for people of all genders. Pleasure is one of the primary reasons we engage in sex. Through pleasure, we are able to abandon shame and embrace our bodies, our sexualities. That embrace changes perspectives and changes the world. I became devoted to helping people access the information and products they need to be able to express their sexuality with shameless joy.
What would you say is the biggest problem, issue, or question people come to you with? And how do you respond to them?
The two most common questions we get are from women who are pre-orgasmic and interested in exploring orgasm, and from couples who are interested in exploring anal sex.
We give folks interested in anal sex, the following advice: congratulations on exploring the butt! There’s tons of nerve endings there and lots of pleasure opportunities. Use lube. Lots of lube. The only toys that should be used in the butt are toys that have a flared base. Butts are strong and can pull a toy that doesn’t have a base inside–then you’re going to the ER. Butt sex should never, ever hurt. If it does hurt, you’re going to too fast; slow down and enjoy the sensations!
Do many women come to you because they have never orgasmed, are unable to orgasm with their partners, or are unable to make themselves orgasm during masturbation? What kind of advice do you give them?
Many, many women and people with clitorises that identify as other genders have not experienced orgasm yet. Everyone spends a period of their life when they are pre-orgasmic and for some of us, that lasts longer than others. When we’re working with a person that’s pre-orgasmic, we encourage her to learn about her anatomy, explore different sensations, try a vibrator and take her time.
70% of women will not have an orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. The clitoris is where most of our nerve endings are. It needs attention! If you’re seeking orgasm during vaginal penetration, add in clitoral stimulation (hands or vibrators tend to work well) and see what happens!
When should women seek out a Sex Educator?
Any time someone has a question about sex, anatomy or sexuality! The information is out there and it’s your right to access it!
Before I ask this question, let me begin by saying, congratulations on your recent marathon! Do you think exercise is an important aspect of learning about one’s own body? If so, how can woman use exercise and fitness to learn about their bodies, and even pleasure?
Exercise is magic–seriously. Exercise, much like sex, provides our brains with chemicals that keep our moods stable. It increases blood flow to our brains which helps us think more clearly and it improves blood flow to our genitals which helps feed our nerves and increases sensation.
In our culture, women are constantly told that their bodies aren’t good enough. If we’re thin, we’re too thin. If we’re curvy, we’re too curvy. Too tall, too short, too much and never ever enough. Through exercise, we often can learn that we are exactly right. That our bodies are capable of incredible things. And that it doesn’t matter what our bodies look like. We can be strong at any size. We can be healthy at any size. What matters is what we do with our bodies.
If you’re looking for a pick me up, check out the @ihavearunnersbody on Instagram. We are beautiful. Each and every one of us.
In addition to be a Sex Educator, you are also the owner of Sugar, a fabulous sex-toy store in Baltimore. Do you want to tell our readers what Sugar is, exactly? And what motivated you to open the store, originally?
Sugar is a sex positive sex toy store. We’ve been open for almost 10 years! In our store, we greet each customer and answer questions. All of the products are out of the box and on tables so people can pick things up and really understand what they’re buying. We have an online store where we have the same awesome products and information.
I definitely was a sex educator before I opened Sugar, but I have learned so, so much in the past decade. I’ve learned from my amazing co-workers, from other sex educators and bloggers and most importantly, from our customers.
Do you have any tips for people who come into a sex toy store with a partner?
Be honest, ask questions and be willing to laugh. Sex is fun, and it’s really fun to try something new. Sometimes, you try something new and it sucks. That’s fine! I always say if everything you try is awesome, you aren’t trying enough new things.
What are your most popular products? And do you have any suggestions for first-time sex toy purchases?
Vibrators! Vibrators are fun, and they also solve a problem. They provide nerve stimulation at a level of intensity that’s impossible to achieve with a hand, tongue or penis. Many women need the intensity of a vibrator in order to have an orgasm. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes–sometimes, you have to try a couple different types to find the one that works best for you.
California recently voted that it is NOT mandatory for porn stars to wear condoms while performing in film. Proposition 60, the Condoms in Pornographic Films Initiative, was put to vote on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as an initiated state statute. It was defeated. Is there anything you would like to say about the use of condoms and other safe sex practices?
I am so grateful that the people of California voted down Prop 60! It was a terrible bill, created without the input of porn performers. Prop 60 put the health and safety of porn performers and producers at risk. This article, by Andre Shakti, a super smart porn performer (who’s also a friend) does a great job of explaining the pitfalls of Prop 60. As she said, “we are not ‘against’ condoms in any way; the industry is pro-choice, and always has been. I myself am a condoms-only performer, although I believe that porn performers should be directly involved in creating and shaping regulations that affect both their income streams and their bodies.”
Choice and informed consent are the keys to healthy sexuality and to healthy workplace practices. What does that mean about safer sex for the rest of us? That we need exercise choice and informed consent!
Every time we have sex, we’re putting ourselves at risk in some kind of way. In some cases the risk is small–you’re trying something new with a long-time partner, both of you have been tested for STIs and pregnancy isn’t an issue. The biggest risk is that one or both of you don’t enjoy the new thing. In some cases, the risk is higher, you’re with a new partner, the two of you haven’t been tested, you’re super into this new person and really hoping that the relationship goes where you want it to go. In that case, you need to protect yourself from potential STIs, figure out how to have an honest conversation about the expectations you both have and set some clear boundaries.
Safer sex is all about understanding the risks and benefits of the activities you’re choosing. Consider the physical risks and take appropriate precautions. Think outside of just the physical risks. Make choices that are good for you. And, when you make a choice that isn’t great, be gentle with yourself.
In light of the recent election results, is there anything you would like to say to our readers as they continue to explore their pleasures, bodies, and sexual selves as women?
Embrace your orgasm as a subversive act. Embrace your pleasure as radical self care.
Don’t have sex with people that don’t support your basic needs and your rights.
If you have the kind of sex that could get you pregnant, look into an IUD now. IUDs last 3–12 years, they could cover you until the end of the administration. This administration is very likely to reduce access to birth control by reducing or eliminating insurance coverage of birth control, defunding Planned Parenthood and more. Get it while you can!
If you have the kind of sex that could result in pregnancy, buy as much Plan B as you can afford now. Check the expiration dates first!
Start giving money to Planned Parenthood and the National Network of Abortion Funds. Every dollar helps. Say out loud as often as you can, that you believe women. Act in solidarity with your sisters. Be an advocate for everyone who has less privilege than you. Hug your friends. Listen as they rage. Turn rage into action. And find joy where you can.
We’re in for a rough time. We will get through this. We will hurt, we will bleed, we will come out the other side. We will come out forged by this fire. We will come out sharp. And we will not be silenced.
And in closing, can you recommend a few book about bodies, pleasure, or safer sex for Feathers?
Getting Off by Jamye Waxman; Girl Sex by Allison Moon; Healing Sex by Staci Haines; Urban Tantra by Barbara Caralles; Come As You Are by Dr. Emily Nagoski.