Mama Gena, her new book PUSSY: A Reclamation, and the power of PJ

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I interviewed Mama Gena in April, 2016, before her book came out in September of that year. As you will hear, late in the interview she wonders if the world is ready for her message, this book, and the word Pussy. The week Pussy: A Reclaimation came out, the Access Hollywood tapes showing Donald Trump tossing around “Grab em by the pussy” hit the media, and Gena’s book hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Brava! 

 

Wow, this interview was so, so amazing.  Regena Thomashauser, aka Mama Gena, is truly a renegade pioneer of feminism and female sexuality (is that redundant?). Through her in-person and online workshops called Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and books by the same name, including (to-be-released in September) Pussy: A Reclamation, Thomashauser offers a fascinating history on the power of female sensuality and sexuality, biology lessons on female anatomy and the possibilities (and fruits of) hours-long orgasms. Most critically, Mama Gena shares advice on how women today can reclaim and master the power of their own sensualities — something no one I know of is doing.

In this awesome interview, Mama Gena shares with me:

  • Why “pussy” (and not vagina, vulva, yoo-hoo, or … like my friend grew up calling her, ‘chicken’) and what that word really, truly means.
  • The urgent need for for women everywhere to prioritize the learning of what pleases their every senses — a practice that guarantees  attracting the biggest genuine fulfillment and success in career, parenting, romance, and global domination.
  •  Thomashauser’s own journey as a divorced mother of a young daughter, while dating and building a seven-figure business.
  • Why she appreciates that her first post-divorce love affair — with a remarkable, wealthy, glamorous man who adored her — ended, freeing her to manifest her life’s work.
  • How to nurture your daughters’ sensuality even if you are struggling to nurture your own.
  • Her reaction when I told her I tried to do a word count on “pussy” in the PDF of her new book, but there were too many to tally.
  • The power of PJ (don’t know what PJ is? Hint: it’s pussy juice) and right there in my Times Square studio, two grown women harvested and applied a dab of her own behind her ear.

 


 

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Related:

“My husband was raping our daughter”

Kickass single mom sexuality educator Vanessa Osage

 

Transcript of Like a Mother interview with Mama Gena

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Emma: Welcome. I am exercising my most favoritest part of my job, which is that I read a book that I love, and then I call the author and I get to meet them in person.

Regena Thomashauer and you may know her as Mama Gena, of The School of Womanly Arts, which is a book, it is an in-person course, it is an online course. You are really a revolution, which I will describe, and I’ll let you describe in your own words, is that you help women get in touch with their sensualities and leverage that to create their wildest dreams.

Gena: Yeah, it’s the key to everything. A woman who owns herself sensually owns her life. If she don’t, she don’t. It kind of cuts like that.

Emma: Before I let you expound on that because that probably blows a lot of people’s minds. I feel like I’m a very sexually liberated woman, always have been, but you still really have pushed me to some very much higher levels. We’re speaking today, in part, because you do have a new book coming out and the name of the book is: PUSSY.

Gena: A Reclamation. Okay, buckle up, because it’s a lot to dump on somebody. Even the title is so provocative. It’s so scary. It’s so offensive.

Emma: The word pussy is a shocker.

Gena: Totally.

Emma: Yet is the essence of everything that you’re doing in your work.

Gena: Yeah.

Define pussy.

Emma: Define pussy. I’ll speak for what most people think, that pussy is a derogatory word used for men. Pussy is something really nasty that a man will say in reference to your genitals. Maybe it’s a little bit sexy in bed, but usually, it’s really nasty. There’s nothing really good going on there.

Gena: It’s the global put-down.

Emma: It’s a global put-down.

Gena: Yeah, you want to insult someone, call them a pussy. Man or a woman.

Emma: Right. Really, the takeaway from that is that women are inferior. Your book is all about our pussies, our vulva, our reproductive organs, is the essence of us as women, therefore, our most powerful source, therefore the most positive thing that we could possibly do or say about ourselves or each other.

Gena: Highest of all complements really.

Emma: Talk to me about that. What is that? We’re still not saying what pussy is. What is pussy?

Gena: A wakeup call. It’s that smack upside a woman’s head to say, “Hey, it is time to reclaim. It’s time to take ownership of that which has been disparaged.” It is a time to repossess that we create life. That’s what women do, and we don’t behave that way. We behave as if we are not in charge of our bodies, not in charge of our lives. We behave as if we deserve to make $0.70 on the dollar that men make. It’s over, sisters. We don’t have time. It is time to step up and plug into the power source of being a woman, to learn the landscape of the feminine and to allow that to connect you to your divinity. Creating life is the place where the human and the divine meet. Until we kind of enjoy that, honor that, we can’t use our full wingspan as women.

Emma: This is not to be confused with just sex though.

Gena: Not at all. Pussy is kind of a wavewalking. It’s a way of connecting to your deepest intuition. It’s a way of knowing that your beauty is eternal, whether you are a teen or 89. It is a way of standing in ownership of your yes, and your no. It’s a way of understanding every aspect of your feminine and being proud at who you are and what you’re capable of. It’s standing powerfully in your voice and for your truth. It’s knowing you’re hot, always, and at all times. Pussy is awesome. Pussy’s your power source.

Emma: One of the giant themes of the book is, it’s about pleasure.

Gena: Yeah, it’s the whole thing.

Emma: It’s all about pleasure and all of that wonderful power that you just described. You have to be feeling awesome all the time, in order to exercise it.

Gena: We as women, we are undervalued at home. We’re undervalued in the workplace. We’re undervalued in a relationship. We look for our value outside of ourselves. We want daddy to say, “Yes, you are wonderful.” Or our husband to say, “You’re the best, baby.” Or our boss to say, “Of course you’re going to get a raise and a promotion.” Something. We’re always looking outside for that light switch that’s within that we’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever been given the access to or the directions for.

We’ve been taught to play life as if we were men. We fail at that and then we blame ourselves for failing, then we take antidepressants and drink too much and have eating disorders.

Emma: Mutilate our bodies.

Gena: You got it.

Emma: Something I found so remarkable in your book, it’s a feminine thing, enjoy your meal.

Gena: Yeah, it’s so hard.

Emma: You tell us to shop for your favorite foods and lay them out beautifully on a plate. Take that luxurious bath every day.

Gena: Yeah, it makes you queasy doesn’t it? How am I going to have time for that? Doesn’t she understand?

Emma: Speak to that. Once your nurture that, what happens to your time management?

Gena: Oh my gosh.

Emma: This is for moms. The tagline of this show is, “For moms who think.” But, single moms who are like, “Well, I have to sacrifice. I have to sacrifice for my children first, I have to sacrifice in the workplace. Who’s got time for a luxurious bath and nice meals? I’m just going to eat my kids leftover Cheerios for dinner.” Speak to that. I know, in my own life, I advocate for women prioritizing themselves first, always, but what’s your take?

Gena: It’s so easy to say, and it’s so difficult to execute. We have so much conditioning. If I called you up in the middle of the night tonight, and I said, “I need a transfusion, can you meet me at that the hospital?” You’d be like, “Got it! There!” Whereas, if I hit you as you’re rushing home from work to feed your kids and I said, “Quick, why don’t we make a deal that both of us, before we even throw dinner on the table we’re going to agree we’re both going to take a five minute hot bath with candles, music, and rose petals. Deal?” You’d be like, “I don’t have time for that. I’m already late. The kids are starving.”

We exclude pleasure. What happens is when a woman behind that process of reclamation, which is saying, “Maybe I’m not worth it and maybe everything else is more important, but what if I just did an experiment where today, instead of slapping my clothes off, dashing out of the house with wet hair, I took time, and I took some coconut oil and I gently moisturized, and then I did the tiniest little dash of lipgloss and gave myself a little wink in the mirror. Instead of thinking that it’s a bad hair day. I just gave myself that moment.” This amazing thing happens. Instead of her body flooding with cortisol, she changes her chemistry. When you create a pleasurable experience for yourself, whether you have it by accident or on purpose, you turn on these neurotransmitters which release prolactin, endorphins, serotonin, which are all the hormones that make you feel good. They make you feel bonded. Those are all the hormones we’re hoping to release when we pop a Prozac.

We can actually create that chemical shift if we pay attention to our pleasure. No one told us, because our mommas didn’t do it, and their mommas didn’t do it. We come from a legacy of women treating themselves as less than. The reason I call my work the pleasure revolution, is because I’m asking a woman, in your lifetime value yourself deeply, and serve your joy because it will make everything and everyone in your world better. It’s so tricky to get a woman to do that. That’s why I had to call the book Pussy because it’s arousing, it’s a wakeup call. Like, really?

Emma: I was finishing reading last night, and I have a PDF version and I did a search on the document how many time you used the word pussy. It couldn’t count it.

Gena: Alright, that’s hilarious.

Emma: It’s uncountable. But you desensitized by using it. It becomes a verb, pussify. You have a verb for clitoris, clitify.

Gena: You have to be clitorate.

Emma: You have to be clitorate. It becomes this whole other language because there’s women’s studies scholars who can tell us about the English language being masculinized.

Gena: I do love those people who do that. I love them.

Emma: And you are part of them. You’re doing it mainstream and not in your ivory tower.

First of all, let’s talk about this revolution. I can just speak from a quick personal anecdote. You talk about your own experience, you were totally shut down sexually until you were like 30 years old.

Gena: Yeah, that would be so accurate.

Emma: Yeah, and now you’re so, beyond. You’re our shining star of sensuality and female sexuality, right?

Gena: I do what I can.

Emma: False modesty is not allowed in these rooms.

So many of the women you mentioned of your students have similar experiences. They’re very shut down in not just their pussies and in their bedroom and their sex lives but in their lives. Those things are one in the same in your teachings.

Gena: Yeah, you got it.

Emma: You have a whole curriculum about masturbating and getting in touch with your pussy and knowing your pussy. You had a brownstone, where you taught your school in a vestibule, you had an artist paint it to look like a pussy, including a shiny sheen on it.

Gena: Yes, it’s called sebum. It’s the waxy substance that protects us from bacterial infection.

Emam: It’s all about this pussy and this awakening. What about the world and society. I can just speak for myself and my work. I’m all about sexually liberating moms. There’s just no space for mothers to express their sexuality, much less unmarried mothers. It’s the worst. There’s such a Madonna-whore complex going on. I’m very open about my sex life. I have a very active sex life. I write about it, I speak about it, I talk to my readers about it. My ex-husband, he has ideas about dating, and sex, and mothers, and it’s probably like in the 50’s, right? As much as I want to shut that out, I still do have to face him and other attitudes like that. As somebody who is out there, I can tell you, it is even hard for me.

Speak to the women out there who say, “Okay, I’m taking a turn in my marriage.” Or “I’m taking a turn amongst my girlfriends. I’m going to prioritize my sensuality, my pleasure, my sexuality.” And they poo-poo it. What’s the answer to that?

Gena: I’m glad you used the word sensuality because that’s the game. The goal is inside a culture that doesn’t encourage this, to remain sensually alive, and sensually awakened. Let’s say, you speak fluent French, but you stop speaking it for 10 years. It’s really tricky to keep your conversation alive, that language alive. You start losing vocabulary. There’s no one to talk to about it. The language of sensuality is not different than that, except perhaps it’s even more challenging because we never learned it.

It’s not like your momma pulls you on her knee when you were a little girl and said, “Darling, you are a woman, so I want to introduce you to the world of your desires. I want to know what you want. I want to know what pleasures you. Let’s explore that.” My momma never talked to me like that.

Emma: She didn’t have the language because she wasn’t exercising that herself.

Gena; Exactly. It feels like we all feel so awkward, so clueless when we’re exploring pleasure, but it’s so necessary. When I first went to the flower store and tried to imagine what kind of flowers do I like? I had no idea. Am I a white rose person? A yellow rose, person? A pink rose, person? A red rose person? No one ever had asked me. I never asked myself. I never allowed myself to imagine what is it that nourishes me in that world? We don’t get encouraged. When women encounter each other, what do we mostly talk about? We are taught to complain. We’re taught to complain about our boss, our husband for sure, our kids.

Emma: Our bodies.

Gena: Our bodies. Oh, my God. The negative is what women feel comfortable sharing.

Emma: What is that?

Gena: It’s the culture. It’s patriarchal culture.

Emma: Is it like a victim thing? Oh, life is so rough.

Gena: Yes, and we’re all raised to have a victim mentality. It’s always somebody’s fault, that there’s no good men out there, all that stuff. It becomes challenging for a woman to even begin to explore, which is what my school is about and what my books are about. It’s giving woman an excuse to say, yes to figuring out, am I a light chocolate person? A milk chocolate person? A white chocolate person? A dark chocolate person? Do I like 70 percent dark chocolate?

We want to know those things because sensuality is more than sex.

That’s the least of it. It’s choosing to remain sensually alive throughout your life, so that your senses, your sense of taste, your enjoyment of what you put in your mouth, your enjoyment of the fragrances, the enjoyment of the sounds, the music. All of those senses are alive, and yes, that you stay in touch with the heartbeat of the feminine which is your pleasure, your sensuality.

I think it’s wrong when women think that their partners are supposed to be responsible for their sensual aliveness. I think each of us has to put our key in our own ignition and turn that baby on. Take her down the highway. Then you can invite passengers, but not until you’ve done some exploration on your own and some education on your own.

Emma: You are a single mom. You’re a divorced mom, and you talk about that in your new book. You had this passage in there that resonated with me and what I write about often. After your divorce, you had this really fantastic love with a larger than life, very glamorous, successful man, who you loved and he just swept you off your feet.

Gena: Completely.

Emma: The relationship floundered and he passed away, and it was this ultimate heartbreak for you.

Gena: Beyond.

Emma: The part that got me the most was you reflecting back on that, and you said, “You know what, if that relationship had persisted I would have followed him, and I would not have answered my calling, which is developing my programs and my business and learning about being an entrepreneur and helping these women.” I don’t know. I was just hoping you could elaborate on that because it speaks to what you just said about fulfilling yourself first and nurturing your desires and not turning to your partner. Because this guy was so enticing. I’m like, where is he? I Googled him. I couldn’t find him. Is that a real name?

Gena: No, I had to change the names, because you know they make you do that. I grew up the same way you grew up and the same way our kids grew up. I was read Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, which are all these women that are basically in comas, that this prince comes and he awakens them and he takes them to his dreams. I loved those stories. Every Halloween I wanted to be the princess or the bride. It gets inside yourselves. As power, we understand that men have it. Unless we’re aligned with one of those that has power, judgment, all those things that we’re taught that we do not have, we’re not going to get where we want to go.

I thought I was so evolved, I was such a feminist. Then this king came along and I was willing to just be like, “Oh, the School for Womanly Arts? What’s that? Let’s go to Europe.”

Emma: That’s totally relatable because at the time you were struggling financially. You were in a huge pickle. You were a new single mom and acclimating to that scene. Then this guy was wildly wealthy, successful, glamorous, educated, and he adored you. What woman can hear that story and not empathize or sympathize? It’s so human.

Gena: It’s so interesting because all he wanted from me was for me to learn how to run my own company and be successful. His last text to me was, “Regena, the world requires your radiant light. You go for it.”

Yet, I was trying to find all kinds of ways not to step into that. I was so, in a way, lucky to have had my heart broken open that much, because it was only a fall that steep that would have awakened me to having to get my shizzle together, raise my kid, grow my company, and step into myself as a woman.

I didn’t have women around me who were stepping into themselves as women. I was raised by 50’s housewives and that’s what I saw on the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family. I don’t know. Those kinds of things were the things that influenced me. I was so blessed to be able to break out of that and find and live my vocation.

Emma: I love that story so much. Another takeaway, which is that this incredibly successful man was seeking an incredibly successful woman to be his equal. He wanted you to be his peer, he didn’t want you to be his subordinate.

Gena: Yeah, he was totally cool. I think of him a lot and I feel like he would be so proud of me because he saw me as a thought leader, a leader in this world, an awakener. He would say, “Regena, look at the world. It’s only in countries where women are well treated that there’s peace. It’s up to you to elevate the consciousness of women so that the world can get on the business of evolving.” He had a good eyesight.

Emma: It’s very true, I think, that we need people, whoever they will be, to see bigger versions of ourselves.

Gena: You got it. And that’s one of the reasons that I structured my courses as a real-time, real-life, community because a woman has access to becoming who she is and who she was destined to be. Not by the man she’s with, but by the sisterhood that surrounds her. The way women naturally want to stand for one another’s dreams and desires and see the best in each other. It’s part of the community of practice and the legacy of the work that I’m creating.

Emma: Alright, I just want to read a little bit from your book. This is some learnings from your students. It says, “We tried dabbing pussy juice behind the ears when going to a job interview, with incredible results. A few dots of PJ perfume before a date, it was like crack cocaine to a guy. When we wanted to feel powerful in an audition or a work presentation, we tried going panty-free. If we wanted to make ourselves positively bulletproof, we’d go panty free, add some temporary tattoos, press on jewels, and stickers to decorate our secret weapon. Pussy. To our amazement, we discovered that adorning her, activated her. Like Wonder Woman’s golden cuffs.”

Gena: Yeah, I should have brought you some temporary tattoos. That was so foolish of me.

Emma: We have some in my kid’s junk drawer in the kitchen.

Gena: I got a chance to meet the president of the United States and that was so fun, and such a great moment.

Emma: You talk about that. I pulled up a little bit, actually, from your book.

Gena: I put a little PJ behind my ear and, ding, went right into the Whitehouse. In fact, it’s not easy, because there’s over 300-400 people there, but I found myself in exactly the perfect spot on the receiving line and I left Michelle a manuscript.

Emma: So, he might be thanking you later for that.

Gena: Yeah, so pussy’s in the Whitehouse is all I can say.

Emma: Maybe it’s our time.

Gena: I think it’s a good sign.

Emma: I think that’s it. Pussy for president. I’ll wear that button.

Gena: I agree.

Emma: I can get into that. I have to say, some woman who is about to deal with a grumpy husband because his national football team was not going to win, and she flashed the TV, some of it goes a little too far for me.

Gena: All I can say is there is a significant historical precedent.

Emma: True.

Gena: I mean, in ancient Egypt, if you wanted to secure a fruitful year of harvest, all the women would flash the crops and the fields, and the harvest would be secure. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s better than a rabbit’s foot, or a horseshoe. If you think about it, there’s more relevance in the sense that we’re simply honoring the source of life itself. There’s no human being on this planet that does not exist except that there is a pussy involved. There is no child born unless it’s c-section, that doesn’t pass through a pussy on its way in and on its way out. It’s about time that we honored and revered the portal to life that lives inside every woman.

Emma: I am just personally thanking you for saying that. One more topic which we have skirted, which is just sex.

Gena: Let’s talk about sex.

Emma: Part of sensuality and pleasure is sex and orgasms specifically. Talk to me about why women need to be having lots and lots of orgasms.

Gena: Woman are so deprived sensually, as we were talking before, in all of her sensuality. She doesn’t enjoy the body woman, she’s in criticism of the body woman. She doesn’t celebrate her beauty, she questions her beauty. The conversation really has to begin way before we get to the orgasm. It has to begin with her sensual awakening so that she’s in recognition of the privilege of what it means to inhabit this woman’s body and to live inside of it and the power they’re in. Every woman. No woman is different than Helen of Troy who could turn the heads of a whole army. No woman is different than Cleopatra. We all have that incredible, eternal, magnificence. It’s one of the reasons women are so feared by men, and why 135 million women have experienced female genital mutilation to try to crush her power. They’re not cutting off her pinky or her ear, they’re cutting off her genitals. For a woman to truly understand what it means to be a woman, she has to begin to take ownership of this body. The highest concentration of nerve endings anywhere on a human’s body is the clitoris, containing 8,000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure. Clitoris’ don’t ever disease, they don’t atrophy, they will always be there for you. The sole purpose of a clit is pleasure. It’s different for a guy. A guy’s cock is more like a multi-tool.

Emma: That’s what you said. How many nerve endings are in a dick?

Gena: Four thousand and we have these 8,000 nerve endings. Why? Why would the great diving in the sky create the feminine where she is so loaded to feel pleasure? What is that? If function follows form, form follows function, what is that? She is specifically geared to feel and receive pleasure, not to give it. Believe me, every woman knows how to give pleasure, but not every woman knows how to receive pleasure and it’s problematic if she doesn’t fire up one of her greatest strengths and one of her greatest gifts. It becomes incumbent, it’s our obligation. We have two legs, you have to learn how to walk or you’re not really living life. You need to connect with those 8,000 nerve endings and understand what that means when you experience pleasure and what that does to your whole body and your whole being. It floods a woman with nitric oxide, which turns on all those neurotransmitters, the meta endorphin, the serotonin, the prolactin, it alters her consciousness. It actually raises her level of consciousness so that instead of viewing the world as a victim, she’s needy and less than, she’s viewing the world as gorgeous, glorious, divine, enthusiastic creature that she was born to be.

Emma: Abundance.

Gena: You got it. The only access is by engaging her pleasurable dialogue with herself and plugging into her source energy which is learning how to play with her pussy. It’s freeing.

Emma: It is freeing, and it’s free, and it’s healthy, and you don’t get a hangover. I want to talk about motherhood. No one’s talking about motherhood and sexuality. I can just share my own experience, which was that I think that I was a really healthy sexual woman. I was raised by a single mom, very feminist, progressive upbringing. Kind of neutral on the sex. My mom is like an angry, divorced, man-hater, but besides that, in terms of sex was just whatever. In college, I had a pretty healthy sex life in my 20s. I got married reasonably healthy sex life even though it wasn’t a great marriage. I was having my babies and getting divorced at the same moment. As I was becoming a mother, I was becoming single again. At that same time, I’ve always been a journalist and a writer my whole career, but I started writing personally. To me, all these things blossomed. My motherhood, my sexuality, and my creativity. In my mind, they’re just one, giant, flaming ball. They all are just completely intersected and I had this incredible sexual awakening. It was from 80 percent to 200 percent or something.

Gena: How old were the babies when that happened?

Emma: They were like one and three. I just remember this one day, I live in Queens, which is arguably the most diverse place in the world, and I’d be at the playground with my babies and I looked around one day and every single mother there was from some other part of the world, but we were all mommies. We all looked out for each other. Some kid got a snotty nose, and magically some woman who doesn’t speak your language shows up with a wipe, and there’s a band-aid.

I looked around and I’m like, well, if I have such an affinity with these moms in my motherhood, there is no amount of shame, or confusion, or joy, or smells, or pleasure, and there’s nothing that I’ve experienced in my body that all these same women at the playground haven’t experienced too. It was such this moment of shedding any shame and garbage that I had, but it was connected to my motherhood.

Gena: It’s interesting for me, motherhood was such a huge wakeup as well. When I gave birth to my daughter, I felt such a sense of responsibility to the girls of today, the women of tomorrow. What was I doing in my lifetime to make sure that the world could handle who and what a woman is? Including the full vocabulary of her sensuality, which is why I started my school. She was my wakeup call.

Emma: How do we talk to our daughters or sons about—

Gena: About sex and sensuality?

Emma: About the pussy and all of its form. Because, if you say that our parents didn’t do this, we’re writing that dialogue.

Gena: Yep, we sure are, and wow. I have to say, even though I was on the pathway myself I always felt so awkward, but I would just try to find moments. For example, Maggie and I would take a bath together when she was really little, so from the time she was two, she knew she had a clitoris and she knew she had a vulva. We don’t use pussy at my house, it’s for adult women, it’s not for little girls.

Emma: Interesting. Okay.

Gena: We called it vulva because that’s the actual terminology. I just didn’t want to give her a linguistic clitoridectomy by calling it a vagina, because the vagina is seen by my gynecologist with a speculum and not by me. There is no vagina. Exterior genitalia is the vulva, so, it’s super important that she knew she had a vulva because that’s the good stuff. That’s where the body feels. So, she gets to five years old, she’s in kindergarten and she comes back and she’s telling me something or other about her vagina. I’m like, “Wait a minute, you have a vulva.” and she said, “No, no, no, mommy. In kindergarten, everyone calls it a vagina.” Oh really? And I walked myself into that classroom the next morning and I was like, “Excuse me. I don’t know if you know who I am, I am Mama Gena, and my daughter, you’re not teaching them the correct anatomy. Do you call little boy’s penises, scrotum?” So I sat them down and I wanted to be able to pass out this beautiful article written by Dr. Harriet Lerner, about using the correct terminology as you raise your children and they wouldn’t let me do that, but they permitted me to run a sex education class for primary school children, which was awesome.

Emma: Wow, that’s really revolutionary.

Gena: It was great, it was a little progressive school called the Manhattan Country School. They were open-minded. How I’ve taught Maggie has been just through conversations and sharing with her as things come up, making sure she knows she’s beautiful, her body’s gorgeous, that she deserves pleasure. Now that she’s a teenager, we talk about stuff like that.

Emma: How do you approach this with your kids in an age-appropriate way? You’ve used this anecdote in a couple of your books that I’ve read, where it’s an old film—

Gena: It’s called Dangerous Beauty. Best film. Gotta watch it. Jacqueline Bisset is playing the cortisone mother, she’s educating her daughter and she’s giving her a bath, and she says, “If you want to give pleasure, you must know pleasure.” Then her whole education ensued where she taught her daughter how to experience pleasure in the way she dresses, experience pleasure in the way she eats, poetry, touching a partner, how to take your pleasure from that experience rather than simply being a receptacle for his enjoyment. It’s a learning process that used to be passed mother to daughter and no longer is. Now we get to be the mothers that pass that to our kids. The greatest thing about what you’re doing is you’re having a sex life while you’re single mom. You need to get a Nobel prize for that. That’s not easy shizzle.

Emma: You mean, logistically?

Gena: Logistically.

Emma: Well, I’m lucky because I do have a co-parenting arrangement. I mean, the kids are vast majority with me.

Gena: I raised Maggie totally myself from the time she was eight years old.

Emma: Logistically that is a totally another challenge. One thing I see so many moms having so much shame just about dating. I mean, I just start there. My daughter, you can listen, she was in here a couple weeks ago and she did an interview with me. She was awesome. She’s eight and she’s just so precocious and crazy, but we talked about dating and I said, “What do you think about dating?” She’s like, “It’s just normal.” And I said, “Well, what do you think dating is.” And she nailed it. She’s like, “Well, it’s like you go out with a man. Like if you go out with your girlfriends except it’s like a little bit more serious.” Right?

Gena: Does she ask you stuff about kissing or sleepovers with him?

Emma: Well, my kids have met a few men that I’ve been involved with, just logistically I date mostly when they’re with their dad. My mom, when I was a kid growing up, there were periods when she dated a lot, she’s in her late 60’s now, so the men she was dating were raised in the 60’s and 70’s, so they would come to the house and pick her up and bring flowers on first dates. In my mind, that is the happiest she ever was in my childhood. She’d get dressed up. Here’s a story that I cherish. I don’t think I’ve ever shared this story. My mom was getting dressed up to go on a date, and I remember watching her get dressed. She wore a perfume and the chunky gold earrings because this was the 80’s. She was going out dancing and I said, “Oh mom, a little bit of your slip is showing under your dress.” And she goes, “Oh, that’s okay. It’s sexy.” I was so little, but I loved that. I loved seeing that little bit of my mother’s humanity. We’re protestant mid-western, so there was a lot of that going on.

Gena: It’s that interesting that that moment was so luminous for you. It was the tiniest glimpse, of the smallest dot of pleasure, but you were enchanted. That’s beautiful.

Emma: I think so, too.

Gena: Because how else are we going to learn, if our mommas don’t stand for that aspect of themselves? There was a moment that was meaningful to me. One of the producers on the Conan O’Brien show a few times, and one of the producers came to one of my men’s courses. After experiencing it, because in the men’s evening I educated men about a woman’s body, showed them where the clitoris was, how women like to be touched and how to create a beautiful experience for a woman.

He went home and he called his mom and he said, “Hey mom, why didn’t you ever tell me about the clitoris?” and she said, “You never asked.”

I thought it was such a heartbreaking moment because he would have loved to, and it probably would have assisted him. He was probably in his mid 30’s when he took the course and he never really was taught. Imagine him wanting to give his best effort to his dating life. Women, we don’t teach our guys, we just lie there and we think they’re just supposed to know what to do, and maybe we haven’t done the exploration necessary. It’s just this big blackout where pussy is concerned, rather than opportunity to create beauty, and magic, and connection, which is what it should be. It was so beautiful of him to make that ask of his mom and so sad to hear that she didn’t ever feel that it was important enough to tell him.

Emma: My takeaway is that she didn’t have a relationship with her own clitoris.

Gena: Of course. We don’t want to leave the world in the dark like it’s been. It’s time to flip the switch, as it were.

Emma: I have loved every moment of this conversation. It’s such a pleasure.

Gena: Thank you. It was a blast to talk to you.

Emma: Yes. What else? Maybe something you’ve been thinking about that you have written or spoken about yet?

Gena: What I’m looking at is, because the book is coming out in September, how to give pussy a voice such that people don’t shut her down immediately. I’m thinking, how will the world receive pussy?

Emma: How do you go mainstream?

Gena: Yeah, exactly.

Emma: You know, it’s interesting because last night when I was getting ready for this interview, I Googled the heck out of you. I know you, we both live in New York, so your fan base is rooted here. I kind of always heard about just the words. The School of Womanly Arts. But, I didn’t read anything until about six months ago and then in one week, three different people, new acquaintances or just three random people said, “Yeah, I can’t believe, Emma Johnson, that you haven’t read Mama Gena.” So, I was like, gotta listen to that

Gena: Remember, my content is the most disparaged and despised aspect that we have currently in the world, which is the heartbeat of feminine power.

Emma: Right. That’s my takeaway because I’m living in this weird place called New York City, which is not America.

Gena: That’s right.

Emma: But, I wonder if we’re underestimating?

Gena: Yeah, that’s what I think. I have really good timing. I have pussy timing. I feel like the time is right.

Emma: I agree, and I’m seeing that in my work. The last six months, gay marriage, Caitlyn Jenner, everything just kind of switched. There was all this pent-up acceptance and celebration and it just switched and we’re in it right now. But I still want you to rub your pussy power all over me. You’re awesome. I love you. I loved you already, but this is a wonderful thing for me. Thank you so much, Mama Gena.

Gena: Mama Gena, author of PUSSY: A Reclamation. My other books are Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts: Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World; that’s number one, number two is Mama Gena’s Owner’s and Operator’s Guide to Men; number three is Mama Gena’s, Marriage Manual. They’re all really good.

Emma: They are. Thank you for being here.

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