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Sex with Dr. Jess


January 8, 2021

Overcome Shame & Oppression in the Name of Self-Love & Pleasure

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How does a survival mindset affect sexuality? How does history and oppression shape sexuality for Black women? How do you learn to love your body and give yourself permission to embrace pleasure? How do you really fall in love with yourself? How does code switching affect sex and relationships? How do we unlearn embedded messages that hold us back in life and in love?

Community Psychologist and Sexologist, Author and Professor Dr. Hareder McDowell joins us to share her experience and insights.

Follow Dr. McDowell on Facebook and Instagram. Follow P.R.E.T.T.Y. INC. on Instagram and Twitter.

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Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

EPISODE 195: Overcome Shame & Oppression in the Name of Self-Love & Pleasure


You’re listening to the Sex with Dr. Jess podcast. Sex and relationship advice you can use tonight.

Brandon (00:18):

Welcome to the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast, I’m your co host Brandon Ware here, with my lovely other half, the doctor Jess.

Dr. Jess (00:25):

Happy, happy new year.

Brandon (00:28):

Yeah, happy new year. Do you feel any different?

Dr. Jess (00:31):

  1. Well as you know Brandon, and other folks may not know, we didn’t exactly ring out or ring in the new year because we were dealing with a family situation with somebody being diagnosed positive with COVID, so we had a nice quiet new year, Chinese food and champagne. You know I don’t really like anything more than that. Just the two of us and my one uncle, Dee, from a distance, shout out to Uncle Dee, totally taking care of us in the middle of this family, I don’t wanna say crisis, but hiccup for sure. And it’s the start of 2021. I’m definitely excited for it. It’s interesting if I were to get into it, I didn’t get all the things done I had wanted to complete in 2020. And I was talking to my therapist today, and her big question is why? Like, why do you need to do these things? Why is it so important? Because I feel so torn between wanting to do them but also not wanting to do the work you know?

Brandon (01:31):

You just want it to magically happen?

Dr. Jess (01:34):

Not so much that, because I love the work. But this I think feeling torn between what you feel you should do and what you really enjoy doing. And one of the questions she posed to me had to do with like, “why? What’s your vision?” Right? “What is your mission? What is your purpose?” She said, “Avoid mission creep.” I thought this was really interesting, where other things are creeping into my mission and distracting me from what I wanna do. So if I’m in the privileged position to not have to do things I don’t wanna do, why do I? So we got into that you know, the scarcity mindset that I struggle with, some of the fear of saying “no”, wanting everyone — and this is a word that comes up for me — desperately to like me, and that’s a really hard thing because you’re setting yourself up for failure. So I guess I just came out of my therapy session, so I’m letting loose. But I am excited for 2021. Do you have any resolutions? I posted some new year’s resolutions on instagram just now, that you can check out at @sexwithdrjess, but have you thought about anything there babe?

Brandon (02:45):

I haven’t done an entry yet, to highlight what I want to achieve. But thinking on the spot, I want to be more efficient with my time when I’m doing a task. I want to be more efficient but I also decided that I want to be more forgiving of myself when I’m struggling, or when I’m not being as efficient as I wanna be.

Dr. Jess (03:05):

Yeah, because you’re definitely hard on yourself.

Brandon (03:08):

Yeah I find I’m generally pretty focused, but throughout the last nine months there have been periods where I have not been focused. So I wanna just cut myself a little bit of slack and apply that principle across the board. Not only to work but also to for instance, working out or staying active, like not getting irritated when I don’t get a workout in, or not getting irritated when I don’t eat as well as want to. Every opportunity is a chance to start again or to improve. r

Dr. Jess (03:37):

Right, and maybe not to have to improve, just to be, because that perfectionism, which is something I struggle with, and it is not a positive thing is it? It’s exhausting. It’s emotionally exhausting. It’s psychological draining. It’s physically draining. So less of that in 2021.

Brandon (03:55):

Yeah, generally I feel good about 2021. I feel like it’s going to be a much better year than last year. And we’re already starting off the year with some good news with the with the election in Georgia.

Dr. Jess (04:07):

Oh okay, I saw you following that this morning, I’m still catching up. Well, I’m excited because today we’re going to be talking to Dr. Hareder McDowell, also known as Dr. Mac, a community psychologist, sexologist, an author, a professor and they’re joining us to talk about the influence of Black women on human sexuality and gynaecology, the differences faced by Black women in terms of nudity and body positivity, tied in with history, sexual barriers that adversely affect and impact meaningful relationships. So some very big topics. Before we welcome Dr. Mac to the program, I want to shout out our sponsor, all sorts of health tests you can do from home, receive your results confidentially and securely online. Check them out at and again, please use code DRJESS. And I wanna shout out Womanizer as well. Because I had a really fun day yesterday with the Womanizer. Womanizer offers these pleasure air toys, that are like no other toy on the market, and they really revolutionized the field. So checkout, and again please use code DRJESS to save a few dollars, and also so that they know you learned about it here. We are going to be discussing some big topics so without further ado, let’s dive in with Dr. Mac, because I know we are going to learn so much from her. Welcome, welcome Dr. Mac, how you doing today?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (05:47):

I’m good, I’m good. How are you?

Dr. Jess (05:50):

Wonderful. Happy to have you here.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (05:54):

Thank you.

Dr. Jess (05:55):

Now, you do a lot of things both online, in the community, one on one, in education. How did you get into this field?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (06:04):

Well what was so interesting is, I started off just as an educator, literature teacher for elementary school students. And I was that teacher that the girls came to with those questions, and it would just become standard, that you would come to my class to ask the question, to pick up something that maybe you didn’t get at home. And then I also was that friend who could get the awkward, quote unquote “awkward” questions. And I was never judgmental, I just had very open spirit and it one of those things that sounds cliche like, “What can I do all the time and talk about all the time? Sex.” So it worked. Then I got into my doctoral program and my dissertation chair said “hey, if you wanna study Black women specifically, you’re not gonna have a lot of literature to back you up. You’re not going to have a lot of references that directly correlate to you all, so if you wanna take this ride I’ll take you on as a student and it’ll just be me and you.” And I ended up having the opportunity to research and work with over five hundred Black women that were really open with me, really truthful, and I just was amazed at ending every focus group or session, and they would respond with “well what’s next? Thanks for this focus group, but what, how, where do we go now?” And I said “well I guess that’s me. Let me develop something.”

Dr. Jess (07:32):

So you came to sexuality through education. I actually have the same story. I was a high school teacher. But I’m most interested in your research with five hundred Black women. What did you study, what did you learn?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (07:43):

I studied how we’re trained to communicate about sex, and the lack thereof, and what that level of communication did to our sexual experiences and why we’re fourth and fifth and six generations, with the same stories. The same stories about nudity, virginity, religion, barriers, where we just have a few gaps that we didn’t really have the freedom to explore because we were surviving. So in a lot of instances we went from massive reproducers, never even understanding what the term like ‘rape’ meant. Because it’s just what was. So, where do you go from you know, slavery post reconstruction, the civil rights movement, where we’re just, I don’t know, religious, and we’re doing things to protect our sanity. So there’s never a conversation about anything related to nudity, sexuality, or the many times that some of us are not even familiar with. So once I studied and work with these Black women, they explained that, “hey, by the time I had my first conversation about sex, I was already pregnant.” or, “we don’t talk about anything, so I don’t talk about rape. I just survive and move forward.” And then we’re devastated when our daughters and granddaughters and a great granddaughters has had the exact same story of abuse and trauma and body shame and the list goes on and on. And mom and grandmom are wondering, “well, I guess if we would have told the truth, we might have helped them.” And that story played over and over with different nuances, but it was really the same trend.

Dr. Jess (09:26):

And so what did you do with that research, in terms of developing your programming?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (09:30):

So originally I wrote a curriculum that I wanted to start with younger girls, because the bottom line to me was, well our responsibility now is to the youth. We’ve had our experiences. We’ve gone through some things. So how do we tell them our real truth? Do we remember when we were fifteen, sixteen, do we remember what was happening to our bodies and what was really important to us, seventh and eighth grade? And sometimes we forget and we tell our adult versions of things and it’s full of untruth that we think protect the next generation. And  in fact, your truth and your communication is really the prevention to anything. So from there, I said “well, communication is the prevention to the perscription, whatever it is.” And from that developed a nonprofit, and was able to do a great partnership with Chicago public schools, as well as the surrounding chartering schools, and we were able to touch a lot of girls with our nonprofit, P.R.E.T.T.Y., were we speak to them at their level, but in a very direct way, offering them our own personal stories as well. Like, “you’re gonna feel this, you’re gonna think this.” And our program is the only one that’s research based, specific to Black girls and women, and we invite all who identify as female, fifth to twelfth grade, without promoting abstinence or marriage, which is a big taboo in Black community.

Dr. Jess (10:53):

One of the elements with sex almost always relates back to shame. And shame breeds in different cultures, in different families, in different places, in different ways. But it’s omnipresent really, it’s always there. And I have some questions from listeners, you’re a community psychologist and a sexologist, so I thought you could maybe weigh in on a few of these?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (11:16):

Happy to.

Dr. Jess (11:17):

Okay, so this one’s nice and short and sweet. I should say that folks, I love when you write me a short and sweet question, ’cause you know some of them are really long and I don’t wanna lack empathy, because I know people wanna share their stories, but the short ones are easier for me to get to, because we do get them in great volumes. So this person says, “how do I get over the shame? I know sex is healthy. But I still have a little voice in the back of my mind saying it’s dirty every time I do it, and it’s affecting my marriage.”

Dr. Hareder McDowell (11:49):

I think that’s a great question, and I love that she said that it is something that is omnipresent through a lot of us, no matter our race, and we have to find the onset right? So in our community, sometimes it’s our mothers, that’s the voice, that’s the voice that said that you were fat, that you were going to hell, that you were inappropriate, that you weren’t ladylike. In the end, even though you think that you may move past mom, or your choir director, your coach, teacher, somebody who you held in reverence and something they did truly breached the trust that you had, and the confidence that you were building. And it causes a bit of a developmental delay, as it relates to confidence. So sure you have the look externally, and you got the husband, and you got the job. But when you’re quiet by yourself, and you haven’t been encouraged to touch yourself or understand your body or masturbate or give yourself permission to watch and be turned on by things, you are wanting to be influenced by your partner. But it’s a challenge because they’re helping to assist something that already has to reside in you. So if you can get back to the onset of where that voice came from, you can make an honest attempt to shut it up. And to really dive into your own body positivity activities, there are journals, there are videos, there are affirmations. A lot of people are getting into their chakras and understanding a lot of different holistic methods to fall in love with themselves. So when someone says something similar to that mom or that coach or that grandmother, you can say “you know what, I shut this person up before, so you couldn’t be right. What my body’s feeling has to be accurate or I wouldn’t be feeling it.” So that would be my advice.

Dr. Jess (13:36):

I love that. Now when you say fall in love with yourself, what do you mean by that, and how important is it?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (13:42):

It’s important because when we think about the medical profession and medical practitioners, you as a patient have to inform them, and in order to inform them you have to look and touch and feel and help them with their practice. Because we love to get mad at physicians when they you know, don’t know everything. But falling back in love with yourself is truly signing your own permission slip for what you like when nobody’s around. So if you’re really a foodie, and when everybody is gone you just want to put butter and sugar and flour on everything, you have to figure out how to create that space. You know, that’s not sustainable, but that’s you. If you are a country Western person, your culture says that you’re not supposed to like it, yeah that doesn’t make sense, you’re not loving yourself, you not answering to what it is that you like. If you are like me, and want to have orange hair and the leper shirt, because that’s your mood, that’s exactly what you wanna do. And the more you do it, the more confident you are and the more you fall in love with yourself, because you’re not code switching for everybody else to sign off on, I don’t know, a permission slip of life.

Dr. Jess (14:54):

Can we talk about code switching? Because that’s a term we use in different communities, but Brandon, I don’t know if you know what code switching is.

Brandon (15:00):

I am aware, but I’m sure somebody could explain it to me much better than what I believe to understand.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (15:10):

That’s me. And it’s interesting because it’s cultural right? So every culture has a cold switch and every gender has a cold switch. So to speak to the Black female community, we always feel that we have to be over educated, over experienced, overdressed. It’s an automatic code switch which goes against something that we are naturally. So we shift our dialect. We shift our tone, sometimes I have a deep voice. I know some of us trying to talk lighter so it doesn’t seem as aggressive or assertive. Some of us go against our natural curl patterns and straighten things out because it’s acceptable. Some of us code switch our entire figures sometimes, to not be offensive to whomever told us that our shapes were offensive. And sometimes it’s in business. We go home for the holidays, we code switch for our parents. We put the weed down. Don’t drink as much. But it’s the code switch because holidays. But it’s the switch up that you have to do to make a space feel safer.

Dr. Jess (16:12):

For yourself or even for other people who maybe have more power than you. I think about all my different voices. And a very good friend said to me, “you sound so different on the podcast,” and other people have said like, “you sound different when you’re talking to someone out in public.” I noticed that I try and seem sweeter than I am.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (16:35):

That’s a universal woman thing. I don’t know, we just, I don’t know.

Dr. Jess (16:40):

And also, it’s a way of protecting ourselves. I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to explain this properly. But I’ll hear people say, especially white people, say things about certain cultures. And say, “oh they don’t do that” or they’re not into that or they’re shy about that or they don’t talk about that. And what I wanna tell them, no actually we just don’t talk about it in front of you necessarily right? We don’t necessarily feel safe speaking about it in front of you. So our topics change, our language change, the way we dress has to change. And that’s a burden and it can also be trauma. Like the emotional, practical, financial, exhaustion of that can be experienced as trauma overtime.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (17:26):

Extreme mental trauma, especially when we’re speaking of white privilege, that’s just one of the things that’s on the list. Like you don’t understand code switching if you never have to. People switch towards the quote unquote “majority” and usually if we are toning our selves down, it’s to make someone white, or like you said a superior, comfortable. And if you are in the space where you have no safe spaces afterwards, you find yourself code switching at work, you code switch with your husband, you code switch with your girl group, code switch with your parents. It’s like, well when are you yourself, on vacation? So a lot of people will answer, “yes, well when we go through the islands I can be myself.” Well what do you do now in this pandemic? You’re just not gonna be yourself until they let us out? So it’s a challenge, and it builds up to the point where you completely lose yourself and then you have to really take steps, do the work, to kind of get back to you.

Dr. Jess (18:20):

And in psychology, which is so white dominated and historically more male dominated, and I’ve heard you talk about gynaecology and other areas being dominated in a similar fashion. We wonder, there is so much left out of the research right? We can say “oh well the data shows” but with whom did we collect that data? Well we know it’s primarily white college students because it’s a convenient sample. And so even in a field that you know, pretends to be rooted in science, we still struggle with massive gaps when it comes to gender, when it comes to sexuality, when it comes to gender identity, when it comes to race and culture. So we really appreciate what you’re saying about falling in love with yourself in private, and it makes me think of masturbating, and of course that is not the only way to love yourself.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (19:14):

But it’s a good start.

Dr. Jess (19:16):

It doesn’t suck. Unless you have a section toy, then maybe it does. Folks should check those out,, and you can code. DRJESS to save while you’re at it. So I have another question here about masturbation, about this person’s like, it’s a long letter. So they say that you know, experts are always saying masturbate, but they even know where to start and you know, they were raised with so much shame and judgement around it that they just can’t bring themselves to do it. So they wanna know number one, “am I okay if I don’t?” And number two, “how do I push through and make it happen?”

Dr. Hareder McDowell (19:55):

So I would say compare it to personal training. Anytime we’re going through something where we’re trying to unlearn something, really shift the dynamic, it’s a challenge in the beginning. So any of us who have had a weight loss journey, or it’s funny because my husband is trying to grow his beard out and just one spot just won’t come through, and it’s challenging because you have to go through the phase, and it’s always a brighter on the other side. But you can’t skip the phase. So you have to start by just looking at, and I say her, because I always want people to name her, so that there’s an ownership, there’s a possessiveness to it. And a lot of us don’t give porn credit, as the research, that’s data, those numbers. If you look “how to masturbate” or if you’re looking at something and it’s watching XYZ, masturbating, you look at the numbers, it’s 1.2 billion whatever. You’re not the only person trying to get a self help video, so you can figure out what it is you want to do. So don’t make yourself feel like you have to know what you’re doing because you’re a certain age, or because you’ve had kids. There are women who have had more kids than orgasms, so we know that some of us don’t know what we’re doing. And I think that we have to give ourselves permission to laugh, if you’re getting toys and you’re trying something out. Check it out. Do it wrong. Watch another video. And exploring that, you’re going to accidentally figure out what your thing is and what your rhythm is. And if you have an accountability trust, girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, talk about it. And you’ll be surprised that your friend is like “girl, I’ve been trying to figure it out too. Is there an app for that? What are you reading? Let’s watch this, let’s do that.”

Dr. Jess (21:49):


Dr. Hareder McDowell (21:50):

That would be my advice.

Dr. Jess (21:53):

Right, and it’s not the last time you’re gonna do it right? If you do it, and it doesn’t feel good, if you feel like it fails, like guess what? You’re gonna be able to masturbate tomorrow.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (22:20):

And who are you reporting to?

Dr. Jess (22:05):

The masturbation Gods.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (22:07):

Exactly, they know that you’re doing it wrong.

Dr. Jess (22:09):

Right? So you know, so much of what holds us back, is this pressure to be perfect. Because this next question I have, “my boyfriend wants me to make noise in bed. But I always feel too shy. Help, I don’t wanna be the silent prude.” I love when people name themselves in these little notes.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (22:28):

And words have so much power, but if you it, then he knows it too. I think that perfection parallels paralysis. And I truly feel that the more you try to reach it, the further in reverse you’re going. And I think if you have a partner that you can play with, why can’t we tone it down a bit with having to be on point? Because now your code switching at home, and that’s supposed to be the safe space, that partners supposed to be the one that she can hang with, and figure things out with, and laugh with. And if there is a sound that is wanting to come out of you, once again the fact that you’re thinking about it, or over thinking about it, you’re repressing something that’s about to happen naturally. And that is possibly why you’re orgasms aren’t where they could be, because it comes with a scream, and you’re taking cherry off the top. Because you’re thinking somebody cares. And if you trust your partner, and he says “I really don’t care about any of that,” then you realize that it’s completely self inflicted and it’s in your own head, and you could possibly experience what the next level could be, if you truly just flowed organically in the moment, a lot of stuff can happen.

Dr. Jess (23:50):

Absolutely. Now you talk about nudity and body positivity, your body neutrality. Can you tell me about your work with that, with your experiences and how it can be different for Black women as opposed to white women?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (24:05):

So with Black women, we weren’t given permission to love our bodies before our bodies were used as tools. So to tell me to love my breast, to give myself a self examination, to then inform you that I may have found a lump, and then you find the lump, and then I feel guilty that I never gave myself the breast exam, is a pile up of trauma and shame because we should have known better and we put a lot on our shoulders as Black women because we are constantly looking for ways to not be judged for something else again. And we don’t want to seem overtly sexy. We don’t want to necessarily be judged as hypersexual because of our attire. We don’t want to be judged because of our curves. We are just now hitting a stride of having places to shop for small waistlines and big butts. Items we were born with, before you could purchase them. And we’re excited that we have you know, all of these different outlets now that can provide fashion for us. But when we talk about loving our bodies, it’s a cliche thing, because it was a tool, and then it had to be protected. So you were raised to keep your skirts a certain length, to watch your cleavage, and it wasn’t just an elder being mean to you, it was an elder trying to protect you. Because a man could do any and everything to you married to him, not married to him, at any age, and there was no recourse. And currently to this day, the way they’re trafficking Black girls, there’s still no recourse for snatching us up and doing whatever you wanna do to us. So to tell us that we should be happy about our nudity, it comes with a lot of fear. And it comes with a lot of shame, because we are just now getting to the point where we truly, truly, truly, love the all varieties of us. And representation is increasing in the media. We have more than one aisle in the beauty supply stores for our hair, we have different bra sections that will give you a big cup and a small number. All of these things that I know that white women don’t have to consider are our day-to-day considerations with every single thing that we do. And we’re still in our first stages of a lot of revolutions. And we don’t want to be, like I said, judged any further, but we’re at a really, really good spot right now, of making sure that the next generation, they’re are a lot more boisterous and outspoken and body positive. So I’m excited that the granddaughters are about to start helping grandmothers out, on this nudity thing.

Dr. Jess (26:53):

I love that. And so when we think about nudity, how do you approach that with the young people that you work with? I know that, so you have a web series “Black Women Sex” and on youtube. You’re launching “Clutched Pearls”, a two on one counselling session, providing an individualized partnership development and sexual empowerment plan. Can you tell us a little bit about that web series and this program?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (27:20):

So the web series “Black Women Sex” and it was a different topic every single week, we did 6 episodes. And it was really how we juggle a lot of different things. So episode one is “Black Women Sex and COVID.” Like what are we doing, we’re not necessarily the online daters, the trust is always thin, for a lot of different things, based on how we’ve been exploited. So what are we doing? You know, are we actually on Tinder, are we utilizing some of the things that our counterparts are using? Then we talk “Black Women Sex and Success.” You know, why do we feel the need to be super women? Why do we judge one another on a lot of different instances, if we’re married or not, how many husbands or children’s fathers we have. So, it was just a lot of different topics related to things that we’re going through, narratives that we pass down. “Clutch Pearls”, the two on one clinical and community experience, is myself, a community psychologist, and a partner, a colleague of mine, a clinical psychologist. And there’s a curriculum in a ten step plan for everything. But just like masturbation, it’s no 10 step plan for that. So if I want to call and have someone truly take the educational approach and say, “Hey what’s your story. How did we get here. And how do we create a plan for you to develop the partnership that you have, be single happily, or began to really make a plan to commit to someone?” And then we add the sex to that, because some clients may say “hey, I’m in it, but tomorrow I’m supposed to go over there and I don’t know what to do.” And sometimes as a thirty or forty year old woman, you think like, “I know everything else. Why do I feel like I’m seventeen going to this man’s house?” And we put the pedigree away, and turn back into the seventeen year old girl that has a crush on the football player, and you forget all your accolades, because it doesn’t matter when it comes to that type of thing. So our team is really coming to help our clients create a sustainable plan for sex, and partnership development.

Dr. Jess (29:25):

Oh I love that. I love a plan. Brandon knows I love a plan, and I’m always trying to create relationship plans with couples, because they spend all this time planning their weddings, but not any time planning the relationship. And so the idea of a sexual empowerment plan sounds amazing. So folks, they can learn more about this on IG. You’re at @clutchepearls_. I love that, and then you’re personally @dr.hmac, but I’ll put all of those in the show notes. Who is eligible to look into this “Clutched Pearls” program?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (30:02):

So of course, representation is key, and we want to make sure that Black and Brown women look at two Black women and say “we get it, please talk candidly. Don’t code switch with us. Don’t put your pearls on for us.” So ideally we want the women who felt that nobody got it, and nobody would understand it, and they just wanna have a clinical and a community in their pocket, to say, “okay do it, and this how, and this is your homework, see you next week.”

Dr. Jess (30:33):

I love it. I also love homework. Well I like assigning it, not actually doing it. A true teacher. Before we let you go, can you give us an idea of what you want to change in sexuality, in body positivity, and creating more meaningful sexual relationships curriculum wise?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (30:52):

I wanna put Black woman in the curriculum. Black women aren’t mentioned human sexuality curriculum at all. And the tools that are still used in gynaecology right now, reproductive-health, those tools were all on the backs and vaginas of slave women, slave women who were experimented on. And there’s a statue of the person who had experimented on them in a lot of places in this country, we still have to study him and his work, and those names are omitted. Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy, three slaves who went through trials of experimentation over the course of years. And I want those women and their stories and our stories included in the human sexuality curriculum. Sexual development and relationships, I want people to be free. Because I’m aware that a free sexual experience is good for every single part of your body. Whether it is a stress reliever, whether it’s keeping your waist completely snatched, because you don’t do as much cardio as you would in the bedroom, on the treadmill, period, if you love it. So just really making people understand that what you feel is okay, you just didn’t know that you had all these options.

Dr. Jess (32:01):

I love that. And so what can we do today? What can each person do to have a more free sexual experience, what do you recommend? Is it looking down there and taking a good look? Is it getting naked? Is it writing down those sources of shame? Where do you suggest folks start to have more free sexual experience?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (32:20):

If nobody was watching, what would you wanna do?

Dr. Jess (32:24):

That’s a good question. Brandon, would what would you do if nobody was watching?

Brandon (32:31):

I struggle with appreciating my own body. So I think in just getting naked, looking at myself, not being critical of myself, would probably be something that would help me. I mean I really, Dr. Mac when you said you know, what are you when nobody else is paying attention, really stuck out for me at the beginning. Because are you doing these things because socially you’re told to be a foodie, or you’re told to be this or to be that? What are you when nobody else is paying attention? What feels good for you? So there’s been a lot that I have taken out of this conversation. But for me, going back to the question, it’s just stripping down, looking at myself and being like, “you know what? This is the vehicle that carries me through this life. I really need to be very appreciative of what it’s given me. And what it continues to.” And kinda just relish in the good that it is.

Dr. Hareder McDowell(33:38):

I love that. I love that. And that’s not arrogant. They tell us that when we started loving ourselves too much, it’s ego, like what?

Dr. Jess (33:46):

Right. And that’s harder I think for women and particularly for Black women and other women of colour to some degree, that you know, if you like yourself too much, if you’re overconfident, than it’s a problem. But that’s because they also profit from you not loving yourself, so there’s many, mostly capitalist, layers to all of this. Now, if no one was watching, what would I do? First of all, I’d need people there. Because I need them to do the work part for me, right? But I’d do nothing. I’d let them do all the work. But without judgment, if I had the energy, I think of my, I have a writing partner named Marla Renee Stewart, that most people have heard of because she co wrote the last book with me. And one thing Marla talked about, and this is so Marla if you know Marla, Brandon knows Marla, is she likes to feel adored. And Marla is very adored by many people. But I don’t think I’ve ever tapped into that. Admired, yes. Lusted after, yes. But I love the idea of adoration, and maybe playing with a kinkier side of that. Like with multiple, in a fantasy world, like with multiple people. So now you’ve definitely given us something to think about. I’ll give you the option to share it, and if you don’t want, you don’t have to. What you would do if no one was watching?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (35:12):

I do a lot of stuff with people watching. But it’s interesting that you have the adoration fantasy, because I’ve heard in a lot of different spaces with women who work with their chakras, and feel like they’re in tune with a lot of different things holistically, they have that same thing, where it’s like, I want a team, or a board, that adores me, in different genders, and different experiences. So you can can tag in and out as you please. But each of them just have an extreme level of adoration. And I think they call it the Queen’s theory, where it’s you know, every film we’ve seen that’s based in a specific time, where you could be just out. And then I think I would have wanted to be a free love hippie at one point, that whole concept seems like I maybe lived in that time.

Dr. Jess (36:11):

You wanna trade?

Dr. Hareder McDowell (36:13):

So I’ll go back and do that, hold all the stuff that was happening in Black people in the 60s, just give me that part. And I think I would do that, if no one’s watching.

Dr. Jess (36:24):

Right, trade in honey. I love it. Well, thank you so much for joining us and thank you for the work that you do. We’re really appreciative.

Dr. Hareder McDowell (36:30):

Thanks for having me.

Dr. Jess (36:32):

And thank you for tuning in, here is to a happier, healthier, more harmonious 2021. And if you have any ideas for the show for the upcoming year, please holler at us. Please subscribe, share and if you like our programming we really appreciate a review, wherever you listen, because it helps us to spread the word and grow, and hopefully bring you even better programming moving forward.


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