With the arrival of longer days and the rising temperatures of summer, our minds are turning to our bedrooms as we wonder how to heat things up in our relationships and between the sheets.
That's why we're happy to introduce our July guest expert, Kim Sedgwick, one of the Red Tent Sisters. Kim and her sister, Amy, are passionate about women's sexual health. They offer resources, courses, and coaching to help women-from fertility to menstruation to sexual confidence.
In her interview, Kim turns us onto a natural birth control method, dishes why she advocates for lube and shares a trick to help us rev up our desires. Later this month, Kim is going to help us reclaim our libidos. We can't wait!
Coffee, Tea, Water, or Green Smoothie? How do you start your day?
I’m all about the liquids in the morning. I start with a big glass of water which I prepare the night before in a mason jar and keep next to my bed so it’s ready to go when I first wake up. Then I make a smoothie – either a green smoothie with lots of lemon or this blueberry/avocado blend by Meghan Telpner. Then I make myself a cup of coffee with cinnamon which I sip while I reply to emails.
Tell us about you, and your work at the Red Tent Sisters.
I run an online reproductive and sexual health business with my sister, Amy, which we opened in 2007. We’re both passionate about menstrual health and then we each have our respective areas of expertise. Amy is trained as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner and helps people adopt natural birth control or conceive naturally using the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness.
I support women to name and claim their erotic desires and feel more confident pleasuring their partner(s). At the core of our work is the belief that every life challenge is an opportunity to heal, discard limiting beliefs, and become a more authentic version of ourselves. This has certainly been the case for us. My struggles around sexuality helped me to heal the story that I wasn’t deserving of pleasure and as a result, I was able to start unapologetically asking for my needs to be met. That process has had a ripple effect, enabling me to make more empowered choices in other areas of my life. I’m grateful that my work allows me to support others to experience similar transformations.
How did you choose the name the Red Tent Sisters?
When we envisioned our business we imagined a place for women to come together to share stories and support each other – something similar to the tradition described in the book, The Red Tent. We live in a culture that is saturated with information, and yet we hear over and over “I wish someone had told me…” We strive to create a community where people feel safe to share those tender experiences and pass on the wisdom that is so often silenced. We feel the name Red Tent Sisters captures the essence of that vision, especially because we’ve been told that talking to us is like talking to the sister you never had!
Let’s talk about toys and props. Are there any you think every bedroom should have? How do we choose?
Some people like strong vibrations while others find them numbing, some people need firm pressure while others find it painful, and some people think pink is the best colour for toys while others find it a total turn-off. That’s why I’m a big advocate of toys that are versatile. If someone is new to vibrators I always suggest getting one that has a least three speeds so that you can experiment with intensity levels.
I also recommend choosing one that can be used in a variety of ways (internal stimulation, external stimulation, solo play, partner play). Some toys are designed for a very particular purpose and if it turns out you don’t like it, you’re a bit stuck.
Lastly, it’s important to get a toy that’s made from a body-safe, phthalate-free material like silicone. I suggest taking some time to research your options and read online reviews, or go to a good sex-positive shop where the staff can listen to your particular needs and help steer you in the right direction.
As we try to make more mindful choices with everything from our personal care products to how we store our food, continuing to take The Pill starts to feel in opposition to our greener lifestyle.
What are some other birth control methods we may want to consider?
Personally, we’re big fans of the Justisse Method of Fertility Awareness (FAM). It’s a completely natural, effective form of contraception. In fact, in perfect use, FAM is as effective as the pill. We also love that it’s not just for birth control – it can be used for timing conception if you choose to start a family and it’s also great as a way to monitor your overall reproductive health.
Other non-hormonal birth control options include the copper IUD, the diaphragm/cervical cap (you can get the FemCap and Caya Diaphragm without a prescription if you live in Canada), condoms, and withdrawal. Yes, you may be surprised to hear us recommend “pull and pray” but withdrawal is more effective than you may think!
Even if we don’t feel dry down there, should we give lube a try?
Yes! I’m a huge advocate for using lube. Lube reduces friction, which makes things more comfortable, and the more comfortable you are the more likely you are to enjoy yourself. In a study of 2,451 women ages 18 to 68 (with the average age being 32.69), 94% felt that lubricants made sex more pleasurable. Given the large cross-section of participants and the overwhelmingly positive response, it's clear that lube stands to benefit all women.
When choosing a lube I suggest steering clear of parabens and glycerine and choosing organic whenever possible. My personal favourites are Sutil (made by a mother-daughter team in Vancouver) and Yes. If you’d like a DIY option, coconut oil is another way to go. Just remember that oils and latex barriers aren’t compatible.
Later this month, you’re going to share tips for reclaiming our libido. Is there any homework we can do to get a head start?
I’ll be using the dual control model of sexual desire (popularized by Emily Nagoski) as a framework for my tips. It may be helpful to start thinking about whether you feel like you need help releasing your sexual “brake” (the things that are dampening your desire, like stress) or you need to add more to your accelerator (the things that help turn you on, like sex toys). Once you identify what area needs attention it will be easier to know which tips are the most applicable. No point adding gas if the brake is on!