Episode 37: Heather Corinna: Sex, Gender and Feminism for Young Adults

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Sometimes it feels like the world is spinning madly out of control, one generation to the next. What was “naughty” in the nineties is “normal” in the aught-ies. Questions that never got asked in the sexy sixties are the ho-hum topics in today’s “blogosphere”. Meet Heather Corinna, freelance photographer, self-portrait artist, author, sexuality educator and activist, and author of “S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College.” Heather and I spend a lively half hour or so discussing sex education, the young feminist community, gender identity and politics for teens, “queer-ness”, and a host of ideas that your average teenager thinks about everyday. And don’t miss Chip’s provocative exercise about gender identity and roles, for you to try at home.

Transcript

Woman: This program is intended for mature audiences only.

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Chip August: Welcome to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I'm your host, Chip August. Today on the show, we're talking about sexuality and gender identity and we're talking, I hope, a lot about kids and sexuality, teens and what they need to know. We're talking with Heather Corinna. Heather is a freelance photographer. She's a self-portrait artist. She's an author. She's a sexuality educator and activist and she's currently located in Seattle, Washington.

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Heather Corinna: People are looking for one unilateral way to define feminism except that feminism is made up of more than half the whole planet, so coming up with one definition is pretty much [xx]. We very much live in a culture that privileges romance as the highest relationship ever regardless of its quality. If it's a romantic relationship and if sex is involved, then it automatically is the most elevated kind of relationship we have.

We've made a lot of progress. We have the right to vote. We have laws and protections against rape, against sexual harassment in the workplace, but a lot of what happened is that women as a whole--anybody from any movement somebody who’s politically oppressed, they're terrified of backlash that often when we get some forward movement, there's a great temptation to stop there for fear that everything we've gotten so far will be taken away.

[musical interlude]

Chip August: Today on the show we're talking with Heather Corinna. Heather works in human and women sexuality. She's involved with queer issues, gender issues, women’s issues, body and self image, has a lot of stuff with childhood and adolescence. She would write and, of course, she is involved in the media and the arts and the natural world in the urban context.

Heather has written work as a puritan all kinds of anthologies “Aqua Erotica”, “Adventures of Food”, “The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica”. She's in print and in Internet publications from Penthouse, SoapboxGirls, Scarlet Letters. She's got a website called “The Scarleteen”. Her first solo book “S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College” is an extensive young adult sexuality resource and was published in the spring of 2007. I must admit that I just purchased it for my two kids. I think it's a pretty great compendium of things that the young adult needs to know about sex. Heather is also a photographer and her photography has been seen and shown on the Backs Magazine and at the BECAUSE conference/gallery and a whole bunch of other places.

So welcome, Heather Corinna.

Heather Corinna: Thank you.

Chip August: My show has been criticized by some of the listeners, those of you listeners who are listening, you can attest to this. I haven’t up until now talked very much about gender identity, gender politics, gender issues that a lot of the shows seem to pretend that the world basically has two, you know, there's males and females and that’s how it is. Yet I'm really clear that it's a much more complicated subject on that. I'm hoping today that we're going to chat a little bit about feminism, about gender identity, about gender politics, about the languaging, about how one even talks about all these in this day and age because I think a lot of my listeners would like a world view that isn’t quite so polarized. I think we all know that we live in a world that seems much more complicated than just there are men and women. So I want to walk in to the show and I hope that you can enlighten us a little bit.

Heather Corinna: I hope so, too. It's a tall order.

Chip August: So I noticed you call yourself a feminist. I think you do, at least you talk about feminism.

Heather Corinna: I do.

Chip August: Yes, OK. So let's just start there. I notice that the word “feminism” has--oh, my God, it had so many meanings for so many people. Some people think it's just about hating men, some people think it's just about women who want to not shave their arms and their underarms and their legs. What is a feminist these days? What do you mean by feminism?

Heather Corinna: Well I think, again, it's usually often a personal definition and sometimes the trouble is that people are looking for it not to be there, looking for one unilateral way to define feminism except that feminism is made up of more than half of the whole planet. So coming up with one definition is pretty much next to impossible. Feminist women as a whole can agree on one very critical thing which is that feminism is about seeking out equality for women.

I think that’s about where it stops to the point that we can all sign on to it. Anything beyond that, you have to really make room for who you're talking about especially when feminism as a historical, political movement has so often been first world, has so often been about white women, about middle to upper class women that often who’s even defining feminism isn’t particularly global and isn’t that diverse. So for all the arguments you have about what is feminism, even that is within a relatively limited group of people.

Chip August: Well, here in the United States, here in the wealthiest of the first world here, is there really a lack of equality for women? Do you see that that persists or is that a dinosaur?

Heather Corinna: No, it's not a dinosaur. I mean, we still get paid less on the dollar. The ERA has still never passed. We've got rape rates that are completely outrageous but most not completely about women, mostly about women being victimized. We still have several states in the United States in which marital rates is completely allowable. So absolutely, we're not there yet.

We've made a lot of progress for sure. We have the right to vote, that’s great. We should have the right to vote from the gecko [sp] but we have some laws and protections. We have laws and protections against rape, against sexual harassment in the workplace, all of these things. They are no longer classified ads for employers the way there were in their specifications 60’s in which they were divided by jobs for men and jobs for women.

So we've absolutely made progress but a lot of what happened is that I think women as a whole--anybody from any movement and if somebody who’s politically oppressed are so terrified of backlash that often when we get some forward movement, when we make some progress, there's a great temptation to stop there for fear that if we push further forward, everything we've gotten so far will be taken away.

Chip August: So how does that fear manifests?

Heather Corinna: We do see backlashes. I mean, we absolutely have backlashes. We're seeing backlashes right now. Post rover [sp] this way in terms of the fact that for everything that went on to make abortion legal, we're still having to fight really, really hard to try and keep that in place and that is very tenuous especially on the [xx].

Chip August: OK, that gets a little confusing for me. OK, I don’t want to argue with you but I want to probe this and take it apart here. What you just implied was if you are a person who believe that life begins at the moment of conception, you can't be a feminist.

Heather Corinna: That’s not necessarily true. You get to believe whatever you want. But if you believe that you have the right to control another woman’s body and make another woman’s choice for her, that’s not women’s equality.

Chip August: Yes, that gets to be a bit problematical when you think it's murder though.

Heather Corinna: Well, but that’s only if it's about you. It's really what it is. If you're seeking to control what another woman does with what happens inside her body and taking away her choice, making your choice her choice, I know that that’s absolutely not a feminist.

Chip August: This is really challenging for me because I actually agree with what you're saying and I am really clear that we have laws that prevent people from murdering each other. We don’t just say, “Well, that’s your personal choice.”

Heather Corinna: Except that those people are living people, they're not [xx] someone else’s body.

Chip August: Right. So if you believe, that’s what I said, that if you believe that life begins at the moment of conception, then you are talking about a living person. I think what you're saying is you can't be…

Heather Corinna: Well, [xx] about two living people is what you're talking about.

Chip August: Right. Exactly, thank you.

Heather Corinna: You're not talking about one living person, you're talking about two, one of them is a literal--and I don’t mean it as insult, I mean it as a scientific fact--a literal parasite on someone else’s body, they need that other person’s body to survive. Without it, open survival, they obviously [xx] fertility that we're talking about something different. But up until viability, a fetus is a parasite technically, that’s what it is, that’s how it exists. It exists in someone else’s body and without that other person’s body, it doesn’t exist. It's a very tricky issue. On the other hand, you can bear easily be pro-choice and still think whatever you think and choose whatever you will choose for your own body.

Chip August: Yes, it's a politically-charged thing and I don’t want to spend too much law. I don’t want to get too much law on it.

Heather Corinna: Sure. When you're talking about women’s equality, you have to also bear in mind that still, in the United States specifically, our body of law and our body of policymakers are still majority male. So what women think when we're talking about backlash, right now [xx] was decided overwhelmingly by man and it still is because our body of law and our body of policymakers are still majority males. We're still even in a situation where policies about women’s bodies aren’t being ruled upon mostly by women. They're still being ruled upon mostly by men.

Chip August: So in your perfect world, if the country is 51% female then Congress will be 51% female and the Supreme Court will be 51% female, and either the President or the Vice-President will be one, is that what you're saying?

Heather Corinna: We’d certainly be a lot closer to that, the ideal. But right now it’s still very, very unbalanced. [xx] with that. Obviously things are going to shift, but ideally, do you want to closer to that? Sure, you want to be closer to that ideally in a democratic government is supposed to be a representative of the people. If it's a gender majority that isn’t real, then that’s not a representation.

Chip August: Well, I don’t want to get lost in this.

Heather Corinna: I'm sure not.

Chip August: No, no, because I think you're describing a parliamentary system rather than the system that we have. We don’t have proportional representation of any group except over representation of white men.

Heather Corinna: Yes, exactly.

Chip August: But what is a young feminist these days? Is that a political activism stance? Is that what a young feminist is? Somebody who’s a young woman who’s politically trying to change this?

Heather Corinna: Young feminists, right now, it's a little bit tricky because it's not like if you are 16 years old and coming in to feminism in 1973 or ’74, you'd have a very active on foot movement to walk into. At this point right now, it's not that we're without that. We absolutely still have that, but it's a lot more segmented. It's gotten a lot more esoteric, it's a lot more engaged in the system rather than being outside of it. We have less [xx] huge marches than we do feminists who are part of political lobbies.

So a lot of young feminists right now, they're feeling out how they feel. They're in a different situation than my mother was or even than I was--I'll be 38 this year--just kind of to give you a gauge of where I sit in it. They're trying to figure out that out in the context. They have some tools that women didn’t have before. I mean, there are huge feminist communities on the Internet. They can read feminist text without having to try and seek them out at the library. They can connect with other women globally actually. They can connect with other women more internationally and with more diverse groups of women than feminist women have been able to do in the generations before them.

So on a lot of ways, they have a lot of boon, in other ways, like I said, they're coming into a very segmented movement right now. “I can't really figure out where it’s at.” So it's a little tough for them to figure out where it’s at. Some of them came to feminism like through the space [xx]. They're trying to figure out what it means and it can be very confusing for them to come in with the idea that feminism is like gay-girl power and everything you do is a big “Yehey!” rather than they're being very critical aspects of feminism. There are very big deconstructive aspects of feminism and lot of constructive critique and lot of questioning of what we're all doing and how that works and what that meant. So it's a little [xx] for younger feminists right now.

Chip August: There was a time, certainly in the ‘70s, when I was reading books like Marilyn French’s, “The Women’s Room”, I had the sense that feminist’s agenda basically was to make men feel guilty about wanting to have sex with women. It seem to be that any time a man had sex with a woman, it's act of right, that family of literature. Where does women sexuality sit in all these?

Heather Corinna: Well, you know, it's not 1970. That’s really a lot of it, and a lot of third wave feminist literature has come out sexuality in a different way that some second-wave literature. I mean, the Andrea Dworkin talking about how intercourse can be rape. I'm going to say that because everybody misquotes [xx]. She's not my favorite feminist out there by any means, I respect a lot of what she says. She's not one of my personal favorites.

Chip August: I like her work on gender identity and gender politics better.

Heather Corinna: Yes. She's very deeply misquoted. She's probably the most misquoted feminist of all time, poor Andrea Dworkin. But even then, even at that same time, what we, as sex educators, right now talk about all of the time about clitorises and about how the whole [xx] vaginal orgasm things with mythology actually came out of second-wave feminism like the first long pits on how women’s anatomy really works. It came out of second-wave feminism and there's so much material at the time and so much that was so politically loaded because it was the first time women had voiced anything like this and really had a platform within which to voice in and an arena in which to be heard when they were voicing it.

A lot of that literature, too, wasn't meant for men. Absolutely men were reading it, it wasn't meant for men, it was meant for women. I'd say it's not really about making men feel guilty, it's about questioning things--especially if we're going to talk about gender issues absolutely applies--questioning things which are presumed to be defaults. You know, intercourse is the default sex, right? And everything else is just everything else, and maybe at best it’s foreplay but it's not the real sex and we can thank Bill Clinton for [xx] too.

Chip August: All right. I want to interrupt you right there because I want to go into this conversation about what is sex and what's real and what's not, but I want to take a break first. It's a perfect lead.

This is Chip August and you're listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I'm talking to Heather Corrina. We're going to take a short break, please do listen in to our sponsors. They have some really good deals for you. They support us and we hope that you support us by supporting the sponsors. Do stay tuned because at the end, we will have an exercise for you. We'll be right back.

[musical interlude]

[radio break]

[musical interlude]

Chip August: We're back. You're listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I'm your host, Chip August. I'm talking to Heather Corrina. Heather is a freelance photographer, a portrait artist, but she's also a sex educator, sexuality educator. She has written a terrific book for teens, for high school kids and college kids called “S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College”.

We've been talking about feminism a little bit, now we've shift over and started into this thing about what is sex. You mentioned Bill Clinton and I teach sex education in a couple of private high schools and I hear frequently that Bill Clinton says that oral sex isn’t sex.

Heather Corinna: I think people neglect to mention why exactly is that? What is [xx]. Obviously, what sex for him at the time wouldn’t been worth anything [xx].

Chip August: Yes, and that he was scrambling for his life trying to say anything trying to get himself out of trouble, yes.

Heather Corinna: Absolutely. I think we have to ask that question in a much more [xx].

Chip August: But what is sex? When you talk to teens, what is sex?

Heather Corinna: It's whatever you enjoy doing sexually that stimulates you, that gets you off and makes you feel satisfied. It can be absolutely anything. It can be everything that we could think of, and let's put Bill’s opinion aside. Everything we think of that we are [xx] sex that ends in sex whether it's [xx], oral sex, manual sex, cyber sex, the things that we know or presume most of which be sexual because somewhere it had the word sex in them.

But it can be a million different other things. I had somebody write me an advice letter a few weeks ago being very concerned because she would have an orgasm when she got a massage which a massage is creating sexual stimulus in her, it's making her feel good. If it's satisfying for her then it's OK. It's OK for it to be sex. It's OK for it to do that and it also especially you want to move out of not even just talking about heterosexual people but just talking about people who are transgender. We're talking about people who are disabled in some way. We're talking about people who not presuming that we all have one kind of body, one kind of gender, one kind of sexual reference that we're all drawing from that somehow applicable to everybody that’s really one size fits all. We have to get a little bit more diverse. Once we're really dealing with more diverse population, there's no escaping that.

Chip August: One of the things that I tell adults because I notice as adults we get really narrow in our definition about sex and sexuality. I just invite adults to remember the first time they ever hold hands with somebody that they really, really hot [xx].

Heather Corinna: Sure, right, and their knees [xx].

Chip August: Oh, my God! For someone to have an orgasm just from holding hands.

Heather Corinna: Sure. Of course, of course.

Chip August: But I also noticed, when I was a teen my own sexuality was a much more fluid thing than--I'm 54 years old--and I just noticed that--I don’t identify myself as gay. I don’t really identify myself as any particular label, but I remember loving my male best friend with all my heart. My God, he was the most important person in my life. And having to be very confusing about what that meant or didn’t mean and being afraid to showing too much affection. I don’t feel it's more fluid when you're younger.

Heather Corinna: Well, some of it is true that we very much live in a culture where that privilege romance as be highest relationship ever regardless of its quality, it doesn’t matter. If it's a romantic relationship and it's sex involved, then it automatically is the most elevated kind of relationship we have. So if we feel something like that, if we feel very deep love, very deep loyalty for a friend, with all those [xx] is very normal that we're going to stop and say, “Oh, my God, am I in love with him?” Like “Is that what it is?”

If it is, if it's that important, if we feel our heart would break, if we never saw them again, then it must be sexual or romantic which is really fallacious and much more based on politics really in the way that people want to make sure everybody fits into the same little box. So we can organize them neatly than on the reality of how people feel about each other and the reality of how many different kinds of relationships we can have in which we can have feelings that are just as strong. It's different but just as strong as we might have romantic sexually or stronger.

My mother’s life partner is absolutely her best friend, and they have a kind of commitment that people who are sexual partners, people who are married that’s not their relationship but it is their relationship. Do you know what I mean?

Chip August: Yes. Well, the thing gets really complicated because I know people who are deeply in love and committed to each other and have been in long term relationship and aren’t sexual anymore.

Heather Corinna: Of course, and that’s normal.

Chip August: Right. Well, I know if it's normal or not--and I actually argue that I wish it weren’t so, but I know a lot of people that it's true for--and it's really clear to me they don’t stop being gay or straight or however they see themselves. They don’t stop being sexual beings, they just might not be having penis, vagina sex. So the question that becomes then how do we know what I am? If I'm a 16 or 17-year-old boy or a girl and I'm liking sexual feelings and I'm noticing that I have strong attachments to my same gender friends and strong attachments to other gender people and some place, it's romance. How do you know what you are?

Heather Corinna: One thing that’s really interesting actually that keeps coming out like every time I poll young adults about this, and we have about anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 visitors at Scarleteen a day, so when we do polls, we can get some pretty broad data.

Chip August: OK, just pause for a moment. Scarleteen, Scarleteen is a website that you made, it's yours.

Heather Corinna: Yes, it's mine.

Chip August: I visited it, I took my kids there, because people might not know what you're talking about.

Heather Corinna: Sure.

Chip August: That it's a terrific resource for young adults to talk about things, to ask questions about sexuality, to get good sexuality information. OK, now you were saying.

Heather Corinna: [xx] to express more and more often which in my mind is absolutely phenomenal is that most of them--if no one made them feel like they had to pick a label, if they had to know what they were, if they had to define it, they would prefer not to. It seems like right now there's a really cool thing happening with a lot of young adults where if all external pressures were removed, they would feel no internal pressure to know what they are. They would feel much more comfortable I think than a lot of previous generations of self with that fluidity. Unfortunately, again as you said, whether you're talking about gender, whether we're talking about orientation, we live in a culture that loves its binaries.

Chip August: Well, you mentioned Andrea Dworkin, and one of my favorite quotes ever about this, she once said that “The system of sexual polarity is real but not true.”

Heather Corinna: Yes, exactly, absolutely.

Chip August: Yes.

Heather Corinna: And it's one of these things that is so internalized. We get so many messages about it from the very earliest days even when we're not overt. We get them to the point that it feels natural, that we should subscribe to anyone thing or another or fit in anyone’s box simply because we've had it even before we've heard and knew what it was. It's been everywhere around us, it's very, very pervasive and that’s really where young adults get into trouble because they feel like they are expressly told they have to pick a side. With adolescents in particular, it's really, really tricky because it develop mentally normal for adolescents to be very sexually fluid, to be less particular about picking partners. It's completely, completely normal because it's fluid, it's totally new.

If you go to a city that you've never been to before, you're going to just want to jump all over the place, that’s what you do because you don’t know it yet. You don’t know what your favorite places are. You don’t know where the restaurant is that has the meal that you like best of all. You don’t know. And it's the same thing with young adults’ sexuality except that they're so pushed into a corner so we also hear from [xx] who are really reluctant to pick a label because if it's not the right one then they're going to have to backpedal especially if they're not heterosexual. If they say to their parents, “Mom, I'm a lesbian” and a year later they say “Mom, I'm not.” Then they’ve put all these, they’ve validated the idea that it's a fake which in some ways it often is. All of human’s sexuality is a phase really but we've made phase meaningless. We've made phase mean that it has no meaning, it's not meaningful, it’s not real if it's not somehow life long and permanent.

Chip August: Of course, the one permanent thing about human beings is we change.

Heather Corinna: We consistently change, that’s right.

Chip August: We change, yes. I need to pause to take another break here. This is a fascinating conversation. When we come back, I want to talk about the word “queer”, because I notice you used that word in your literature and in your descriptions and I just want to talk about the word.

But first, let's take a short break. You're listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I'm Chip August, we're talking to Heather Corinna. Please come on back. After the break, we have an exercise for you.

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Chip August: We're back. You're listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”. I'm your host, Chip August. We're talking to Heather Corinna, and we've been talking about gender issues and sexuality and gay and straight and labels. I do want to say a word about labels. I'm not a big label person. I noticed that every time I get labeled something, I feel like somebody just put me in a box.

Heather Corinna: Of course.

Chip August: A friend of mine, a teacher of mine, a mentor of mine, Stan Dale--the guy who founded the Human Awareness Institute--he once said to me he wish everybody would grow up thinking they were not heterosexual. I said, “What does that mean, Stan?” He says, “Naturally sexual, whatever your sexuality is, it's natural for you.” And I thought, “I like that. That’s what I am. I am a natural sexual.”

So I noticed in your literature that you use the word “queer” and you talk about queer identity and queer politics. I'm a little leery of that word. When I was a little boy growing up, that’s how you offended--if you want to make fun of another little boy, you call them queer. It was not a good thing, in fact the word just means odd or different has come to mean something that most men would perceive as negative. Tell me about this word “queer”.

Heather Corinna: It's one of these things, it's all in how you use it. A lot of women have reclaimed cunt, for instance, and you can talk about you cuntinuated, it’s totally positive.

Chip August: Although I notice a lot of women still get offended by it.

Heather Corinna: They do, I don’t really feel that way about it. [xx] cunt are kind of my favorite vaginal words, I really like them. I like the Anglo-Saxon [xx], they're very interesting. You don’t want to try to when you want to be monosyllabic, you don’t want to try to pronounce something like [xx]. On the other hand, if you call someone a cunt, it's a very different thing and it's pretty much never positive. Even if you're somebody who likes to use that word to describe your own genitalias, it still not positive to be called the cunt.

It's the same thing when it comes down to how if you decide to use queer and not everybody does. Some of that is what term that you become comfortable with when it was kind of your [xx]. I knew that I was absolutely nothing resembling straight from when I was 10 years old and that was 1980 and I came of age queer. In an urban in Chicago in the 80’s and the punk movement and everything else--I was in art school, I was in art culture, most of my teachers at the time were gay men and women.

I came of age in a different environment, they're environment that are really hard to find anymore actually. To me when I took that on--in our community anyway--there wasn't loaded language for how you decided to sexually identify. It was pretty open ended, it was pretty much whatever you were comfortable for with. By all means, if I walked [xx] somewhere else holding the hands of my girlfriend, I would get called the [xx] in my face and nobody meant it in a “Oh, I see what your are.”

Chip August: Right, right. It wasn't [xx].

Heather Corinna: Right. It wasn't just “Oh, there's one.” It was absolutely meant to be insulting. There's still a lot of people that still use queer and some of that for me that I feel like we're really limited on language. Bisexual is fine, I don’t have a problem with that but it also seems to imply this split down the middle division that’s never felt particularly through the [xx]. It certainly is to some bisexuals, I'm not one of those people. So to me, I prefer terminologies especially for myself that is big.

Chip August: Exactly.

Heather Corinna: That is big and it can absolutely mean something different in any given year. I had a series of years where I was only having serious romantic or sexual relationships with men and more casual relationships with the men. I had a few years where I was only dating women in both respects at all. I have a male partner right now but absolutely in no respect is this I had respects [xx] relationships, I have never been heterosexual in my life. So I have no idea what that would mean.

The general rules in our household are also queer to me encapsulates more than sexual orientation. You can talk about gender orientation as well. I don’t call other people queer just because I don’t know if they like it or if they want to use it. But if I'm hanging out with a bunch of my friends who are queer, we'll talk about queers. I mean, you absolutely get one of those things where you're talking about the different between language that are used within an oppressed group, within a minority group and then how it's used by outside that invisible wall are actually very visible

Chip August: So when somebody self-describe, they shouldn’t cringe, but when somebody yells across the street clearly meaning an antagonistic phrase, I should probably be upset about it.

Heather Corinna: I think that so, and make sure that nobody nearby has any kind of rope.

Chip August: Right, right. You are a fascinating person and I can probably talk to you for hours and hours and hours but our time is coming to a close. If people wanted to know more about Scarleteen or know more about your book, how would they find out about this stuff?

Heather Corinna: Scarleteen is all mine, so it's just Scarleteen.com. My book is pretty much everywhere. It's at Amazon, it's at Barnes & Nobles, it's at Borders. Especially if you have a [xx] about supporting independent bookstores, so if you have an independent bookstore, you should go and order it there instead of giving the money to the big guys.

Chip August: All right, I want to put in a plug for your book because as I said, I did buy a couple of copies for my two kids.

Heather Corinna: Well, you'll had them let me know if they enjoy it.

Chip August: Well, you're likely to wind up with my daughter on Scarleteen because she likes to communicate that way so that would be perfect.

I would like end the show with an exercise. Given that you're not a workshop leader and this is what you do, I thought I would propose one here for my listeners. Listeners, in this whole idea of naming our sexuality and what is our sexuality and what is sexual identity, there's so much in it that we've known since we were little kids and so much of it that we've learned from culture. Our culture just taught us, and I think this whole question of what is a man, what is a woman can be a really actually a more complex question than most of us take the time to notice.

I want to suggest a lovely little exercise where whether your partner is a same gender partner or a different gender partner than you that you sit and you repeatedly ask your partner over and over and over again, “What is a man? Thank you. What is a man? Thank you. What is a man? Thank you.” Then after a minute or two, repeatedly ask, “What is a woman? Thank you. What is a woman? Thank you.” Then have your partner ask you these questions and just notice the associations that come up for you about what is a man, what is a woman. Where do these ideas come from? Who said so?

I think there's a lot of stuff we carry around that we don’t even notice it's in there until we take a few moments to really let that information come out. So I invite you to just explore for you what is a man, what is a woman and notice where it takes you.

Heather, we're coming to the end of a lovely interview here. I want to thank you very much, you've been a great guest.

Heather Corinna: It's my pleasure.

Chip August: Listeners, thank you for listening in. If you would like transcripts for the show, you can go to PersonalLifeMedia.com where there are texts and transcripts for the show. If you want to send me feedbacks, I actually found Heather from feedback from one of my listeners and I'm always interested in show ideas and guests ideas or if you just want to let me know how I'm doing, you can reach me at [email protected].

If you want to leave a voice mail for me, there is a voice mail set up. Dial 206-350-5333, leave your name, leave my show name, “Sex, Love, and Intimacy” and your question or your comment and please leave a phone number or an email. If you leave a message on our voice mail system, just note that indicate your agreement for us to use your message on the air if we think it's appropriate to use it on the air.

So this brings us to the end of another show. Thank you very much for joining us. Thank you very much for listening. I'm Chip August, you've been listening to “Sex, Love, and Intimacy”.

[musical interlude]

Woman: Find more great shows like this on PersonalLifeMedia.com.