Photo courtesy of Gigi Engle
Stop Apologizing for Your Sexuality and Take Charge of Your Life.
If you've ever wished you had a big sister or older cousin who could show you all the ropes of womanhood, look no further: Gigi Engle has done it all and is here to tell you all about it in All the F*cking Mistakes, a practical handbook for all the slutty and wanna-be-slutty women out there. It is the ultimate sex-talk book, demystifying female sexuality without any of the awkwardness of "the talk." From learning how to take back your confidence in a world full of slut-shaming to discovering and owning your sexual empowerment through masturbation, to demanding the love you really deserve, this book is an ode to the women of the world who deserve to be empowered, sexually and otherwise, without guilt.
Offering bite-sized lessons that incorporate Gigi's own special brand of no-nonsense advice to provide clarity and guidance on all things slutty, sexually normative and non-normative, and everything that falls between the cracks of these brackets, this book is your how-to guide to living your sexy AF, fabulous life.
It was a pleasure chatting with longtime Ravishly contributor, Gigi Engle, via email about her new book.
Erin Khar: Congratulations on the book! I have long been a fan of your writing. You make sex talk fun and feminist, and you don’t hold back. When working on the book, was there anything you were nervous about writing?
Gigi Engle: Thank you! I'm very excited about it. It feels like forever with this project. I originally wrote the book in 2017/2018, so to finally have it published in 2020 was incredibly amazing!
I guess the one thing I was battling was my imposter syndrome. It was nerve-wracking writing something so personal and to be educating and feel like I had any right to be sharing. There were plenty of times when I was like, "Who the hell do I think I am writing this?" When I was doing the edits, I do have to admit I was laughing out loud because I'm not embarrassed to say that I think I'm hilarious. It does feel good having a writer community who I know battle with the same things when it comes to feeling like you have a right to your words.
The book is very much a product of who I was at the time, even though most of it is still super accurate about myself. The stories are all centered around my teens and early 20s because that's who I was when I was writing it. I'm really proud of it and love it - even though now that I'm almost-30, I can see how much my writing and education level has evolved since that time. My ideas have definitely progressed a lot since I wrote the book, and so I'm looking forward to my next project where I can showcase that.
EK: What would you most want to tell your younger self about sex, about owning your sexuality?
GE: That there is nothing wrong with enjoying pleasure and sexuality. That pleasure is your divine right. That being a "slut" is a social construct designed to bring you down. Sexuality is beautiful and amazing, and it's OK to own it. Oh, and I'd buy younger-me a vibrator and give her a clitoris diagram.
EK: We are now living in varying degrees of isolation, either with partners or without, and it feels like it’s affecting all areas of life, even the ones that are less apparent. What impact do you think this has on our sex lives—both for those who are staying home with a partner and for singles?
GE: The experience is going to be super subjective based on the couple or person. I've heard some couples who can't stop having sex and single people who are getting carpal tunnel from masturbating five times a day - I've also heard a lot of the opposite.
People who are super horny are likely using sex as a fun activity to do while in isolation, as a way to feel closer to themselves or a partner, and to cope with the anxiety we're all experiencing by having orgasms. If you've found your libido is totally crashing, that's completely normal as well. Being trapped inside without a lot of sunlight or human interaction can take a toll on your sex drive. The best thing to do is to try and make sexuality both with your partner and solo a priority (with the exception of the Ace community, of course).
Sex and orgasm help our brains make feel-good chemicals, and it boosts immunity. Now is a really good time to experiment and try new things, single or partnered. Have you been curious about sex toys? Buy some! Always wanted to try a butt plug? Do that!
EK: Who are your greatest writing and sex-education inspirations or influences?
GE: I have several people I'm very, very obsessed with. I have a long list of people who have influenced me greatly and who I adore. This list is definitely in no way exhaustive, but I've just had my morning coffee, and these are the ones who come to mind off the top of my head.
1. Dr. Jen Gunter is a fearless sex educator, and her book The Vagina Bible is incredible.
2. Elle Chase of lady cheeky is super smart and so sex-positive. She's fabulous.
3. Dr. Emily Morse. I'm addicted to her podcast, Sex with Emily, and cannot get enough.
4. Cindy Gallop, who is spearheading Make Love Not Porn and is the godmother of sex tech.
5. Dr. Nan Wise a brilliant sex researcher and neuroscientist, who wrote Why Good Sex Matters.
6. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a Kinsey Fellow and author of Tell Me What You Want.
7. Dr. Wednesday Martin, an anthropologist, and author of Untrue. She's a great friend and such a fabulous resource.
8. Mal Harrison, director of the Center for Erotic Intelligence. She's this incredible badass girl-boss who kills it in everything she does.
9. Dr. Irvin Yalom, one of the fathers of Existential Psychology and a personal hero.
10. Jessica Valenti, the incredible badass feminist queen who we should all be following forever.
EK: What are you reading right now?
GE: I just finished A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister and I'm about to start Three Women by Lisa Taddeo. I'm also knee-deep in psychology textbooks, as I'm studying to be a therapist. I love all sexual-health and psychosexual related books and always have one or two on my nightstand.
Gigi Engle is a feminist author, certified sex coach, sexologist, and sex educator. Her first book, All The F*cking Mistakes (St. Martin's Press), is out now. Gigi is an accredited member of The World Association of Sex Coaches.
As a sexpert for Womanizer and brand ambassador with Lifestyle Condoms, Gigi promotes and teaches about pleasure-based sex education, masturbation, and safer sex practices. When she's not writing and teaching about sex, she's volunteering at her local Planned Parenthood as a clinic escort. She was named Journalist of the Year at 2019 The Sexual Freedom Awards.