My guest on today’s episode of Period Story podcast is Clio Wood, a maternal health advocate and journalist. Her first book, Get Your Mojo Back: Sex, Pleasure & Intimacy After Birth tells her own story and experiences, the experiences of other relatable, real life women and includes lots of information about sex and intimacy after birth from experts and further resources.
In this episode, Clio shares:
- The negative impact teen magazines and television had on her feelings about her body
- How she learned about the value of self-compassion
- The importance of female pleasure
- How better communication can lead to better sex and more intimacy
- And of course, the story of her first period!
Clio says that post-natal sex is important and that just because you’ve had a baby, you shouldn’t have to put up with whatever issue that’s stopping you from finding sexual pleasure.
Thank you, Clio!
Get in touch with Clio:
Le’Nise: Clio, thank you so much for coming on to the show today. I’m really excited to speak to you to hear the story of your first period, but also talk about your brand new book, Get Your Mojo Back, which is very, very exciting. But let’s get into the first question that I ask all of my guests, which is tell me the story of your very first period.
Clio: Well, it’s the story that everyone needs to hear, isn’t it? Thank you so much for having me on. It’s a real pleasure to talk to you. So I suppose my first period, it’s one of those ones that I, I don’t I don’t often think about it, and I guess many of your guests don’t. And so I was thinking back to the experience, and I suppose it was a bit I was maybe expecting it to be more of a ta da moment. In my family, we didn’t really talk much about, you know, milestones in adolescence or anything like that. And I had read a lot of teen books, loved a bit of Sweet Valley High. I really loved the Judy Blume books and, you know, the one that sticks in my mind around that time that I had just read this. Hello God, Are you there? It’s me, Margaret, or something like that. But it’s the one of the ones that a lot of people know about because it’s got the, like, breasts. It’s got periods, you know, all of that.
And I had been at a trampolining lesson. I think it was a Friday night. I was about 13. And I got home and I had I hadn’t been feeling anything odd necessarily. You know, I was probably like quite hungry after the end of a long school day and then going to like a sports club. And then I got home and I went to the loo and I had some blood in my pants and I was kind of excited, but also a little bit nervous at the same time. I kind of didn’t really know what I mean. I knew what to do practically. I knew I needed pads and so on. But I remember calling for my mom and, you know, to kind of tell her. And because these things kind of come out of the blue, she was all like, Look, I’m getting dinner ready, you know? She wasn’t like rushing straight to my side and, you know, and, you know, kind of celebrating the moment or anything like that. But yeah, so it was kind of a really every day moment. But I then remember kind of wanting to. Maybe tell my dad about it, but not really knowing how to broach it and what, as and when I did, what his reaction would be, because it’s not the kind of thing that he and I would spend much time talking about. And even with my mom, you know, it wasn’t something that I would I would really talk to her about. I mean, we had had the practical talk of like, you know, this is what you do, you know, here are tampons, here are pads, you know, you have a choice of what to use. And we had sex education in school.
But all of that, I think, was much more focussed on the practical side of things rather than necessarily any kind of emotional changes, how it might make you feel the journey to kind of owning and empowering your own well-being and so on. So yeah, I mean, looking back on it now, I think it was probably quite a nice, safe, comfortable first experience. But at the time, yeah, and I and at the time it just it didn’t feel like that momentous or that dramatic. And I guess part of me really wanted it to be like it felt like it should be. You know, I think in some cultures and especially like in some stories, people would have a little period party or celebration or something like that. And that just was not in the DNA of my family at all. And I suppose, you know, probably isn’t from a lot of, you know, kind of British upbringings either.
Le’Nise: Why did you want to tell your dad about that you got your period?
Clio: Yeah, I you know. Interesting question, I suppose, because it felt like an achievement. You know, like I was. I was, I guess. Yeah, It’s a really good question. I guess maybe I was. I was proud and I wanted him to kind of acknowledge and celebrate and like, you know, this is this is me growing up. But yes, that’s an interesting, that’s an interesting point. I mean, I don’t know just what are. I would love to know what other people’s reactions are in terms of like who they want to tell and who they want to kind of mark the moment with.
Le’Nise: I think about 90% of my guests, they either go to their mom or their sisters or like maybe an aunt, unlike definitely like a female family member. A couple of my guests, they didn’t tell anyone except for their friends. But the majority of them, the dad, that conversation with dads has never really figured,as far as what they shared with me. So that’s I just found it interesting that you wanted to share it with your dad. And I think we should that should be happening more, you know, more often because it’s important for for parents, both parents, to know what’s going on with their children.
Clio: Yeah, definitely. I think that experience and all of my other kind of experiences growing up in terms of wellbeing, sexual wellbeing, physical, mental, whatever it might be, that has really shaped how we have those conversations with our daughter. Well, we’ve got two daughters, but one is only one year old, so we’re obviously not having those conversations with her yet. But like with the older daughter who’s 8, we have very much wanted to own that from both sides and have that conversation. She’s really comfortable talking to either of us about things. I’m sure that will change as she maybe gets a little bit further on into adolescence and goes through puberty and so on. But I think it’s really interesting. She feels totally comfortable talking to either of us about, Oh, what’s the period like? You know, tell me about the, you know, how babies come or whatever. You know, we have this we’ve had this conversation with her really openly.
And I remember when she was younger, kind of four or five, and I would be changing my pad in the loo, for example. And she was, what’s the blood? What’s the blood? And, you know, so she’s really interested. And I think it’s I wonder I wonder how all the people kind of are able to not talk about that because I do come across lots of women who. on Facebook Groups, for example, are like, Oh my gosh, my 11 year old has just asked me where babies are coming from. And I don’t know what to say. And I’m like, How did you get to 11 before you have that conversation, first of all, and or even seven, eight and like, you know, and these are people with younger siblings as well. So they may have like six, four and two. And I find it quite amazing that they didn’t have that conversation when these new babies were coming along as well. I’m not saying that we’re graphic and anatomical or whatever, but we do, we’re very open with our daughter and in a child friendly way about the processes, what happens. You know, we use the correct names without getting too graphic. So she knows about penis and vagina sex and so on, and what a period is for and why you why if you don’t have a baby, then you get a period and so on. So I think it’s a really interesting thing. It’s quite interesting how my experience has shaped our approach in talking to her. And I just find it incredible that people are not having that conversation with their kids earlier.
Le’Nise: Yeah, I agree, because when you it’s almost like when you learn about these things a bit older, you there can be a bit of shame attached to it because it’s kind of like, well, firstly, why didn’t I learn about this earlier? But then if you’re leaving it up to the schools or friends, then you don’t you’re not able to shape your child’s view on these important topics.
So it’s not just periods, it’s sex. And, you know, you think about like I think I’ve read some stat like 40% of nine year olds have seen some sort of pornography. Yeah, I was really horrified by that. And my son is nine and I was just thinking, Oh my God, like.
Clio: Is that imagery or video? Video or audio video. Wow. Yeah. I mean, it’s so readily available now. I suppose so, Yeah. Yeah.
Le’Nise: And leaving that those conversation, those important conversations up to the schools or up to friends, it just feels in this day and age, really naive to be frank. Yeah.
Le’Nise: Just you just have this huge opportunity to shape your child’s views, but also to tell them that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yeah. And it comes to sex, you know, we’ll talk more about that later on in our conversation. But when it comes to sex, to say like, actually what you see in these videos, that’s not real sex. That’s not what it’s like in real life.
Clio: Yeah. Yeah, 100%. I think you. I mean, that’s an absolutely astounding statistic. But I suppose given access to devices. You know, the average family has at least four devices in the home, two phones, tablet, smart TV, whatever it might be. And, you know, our kids know all passwords or if it’s unlocked, if you put it down, haven’t locked yet and they get into it or they’re they’re on YouTube, they’re looking for something else, it happens to come up. Whatever it might be is is out there and it’s it’s getting to them. So if you don’t counter that with a healthy framework first, that’s going to be their first view, you know, visual imagery of sex. And that marks you, doesn’t it? So I think yeah. So yeah, I feel very, very strongly about it, I have to say. And I know you do too.
Le’Nise: Yeah. So then you have this experience to kind of run of the mill experience of your period. It wasn’t the ta da moment that you were expecting.
Clio: Were hoping for.
Le’Nise: And then what, what was your experience of your periods like for the rest of your teenage years?
Clio: So, I mean not really anything dramatic. I suppose what I found quite interesting was that I was, and I’m quite sporty, did a lot of exercise, played on a lot of hockey teams. Netball swam a lot and I suppose I just really sort of took it in my stride and carried on playing sports. And I know that for a lot of girls when they reach that age, it then becomes a thing. It’s kind of the cool thing to do, to complain that you’ve got your period, that you can’t do anything. And I’m not saying that that isn’t the case for some people in terms of how they’re experiencing their cycle pain wise or bleed wise or whatever that might be.
But I was always surprised when people had that as a thing and it’s quite sad, really, that it can make such a difference to people’s experience of movement and activity you’re your relationship with your body. So yet mine was kind of average, never had really bad pains or anything like that. I was quite a, my parents would say I was a very moody teenager. You know, I had a lot of emotions going on. I don’t know whether that was related because I never took the time to notice or kind of understand when these emotions were running high and if that was related to my cycle. I suspect it probably was. But I also know that I grew up in a household that was fairly toxic. There was quite a lot of unspoken anger and agendas underneath the surface. My parents had quite a bad relationship. You know, from when I was quite young, but they stayed together for quite a long time. So I also was quite depressed, I think, in my teenage years. But I never really got the help to to deal with that or had the framework to express that properly. It’s only now when I look back and I was like, well, clearly there was some issues there. So so I think that was all kind of mixed up in it, I suppose. But in terms of the actual bleed and what it did to me on a month to month basis, I wouldn’t have said it was. Game changing. I kind of got on with my my life in and my activities in a way that I had done before.
Le’Nise: I think that’s really interesting because I have spoken to quite a few women who they were sporty when they were teenagers and either it went a couple of ways, so it was like you they just got on with it or they did so much sport that they eventually lost their period.
Le’Nise: And they thought that, well, actually that’s fine because it’s, you know, it’s a distraction. Yeah. So it’s it’s good. It sounds it’s great that you had like a really healthy relationship with your period in the sense that it didn’t stop you from doing what you wanted to do, sport wise.
Clio: Yeah. I mean, I suppose I never really had a super regular period, even all the way up until my twenties, even before pre-baby. So I had my first daughter when I was 30 ish 31, something like that. And it’s only now after my second baby that they’ve become regular again, which is really interesting. I mean, I was on the pill for a long time in my twenties and obviously that definitely would impact them. You know, I did I did the kind of unadvised thing of like, you know, rolling over pill packets and things like that, if I wanted to go on holiday, you know. So I think there was a lot of stuff in there around my hormones just kind of getting really out of sync and not really knowing where they are, where they were. So it’s only now really that I’ve kind of in my, I’m 40 now, only kind of now that I’ve come into what I suppose it should have been doing maybe 20 years ago. But yeah, during my teen years that, that I suppose was a little bit annoying because it was a little bit unpredictable. Like I wasn’t ever really sure what it was going to come, but other than that, it was, it was fine.
Le’Nise: Yeah. And then talking about your teen years. So in the book, you talk a lot about your negative feelings about your body and how what you saw on TV and read in magazines like teen magazines kind of reinforced that view. But then you talk like quite poignantly about your journey and how what you went through in university and the impact of like, you know, going to university and changing like the way that your body looked and how you ate and what that did to yourself. And then kind of you found this this self-compassion, which is something we’re we’re all looking for. But can you talk a little bit more about this journey? Because I think it’s something that a lot of listeners will be able to relate to.
Clio: Yeah, I think it’s and I’m so glad that you brought it up because it is all kind of interrelated, isn’t it? I suppose the first time that I felt awkward about my body was quite early on. I mean, I suppose periods aside because when I had my period, it, it felt like, you know, it felt like a cool thing to, you know, to get your periods. And I guess I was probably average. I wasn’t really early, I wasn’t really late. But, you know, you know who’s got that period when you’re in the toilets and you’re talking with your friends or you’re hearing overhearing gossip or whatever it might be.
But I never really felt comfortable in my body in terms of its size and its shape. And I think the first time I experienced that, I was maybe in prep school. So I wasn’t even 11 yet. I was I was ten and we were doing a school play and one of the teachers actually made a comment about how the dress fitted on me. And I just remember getting really hot and embarrassed, not really knowing what to say, but then kind of suppressing that get on with it, you know, not ever really feeling comfortable again in what I was wearing, but just kind of getting on with it. And I suppose that then carried on into senior school. So kind of 11 and 12 and onwards where I was quite short, a little bit plump like, and you know, a normal child. But a lot of my friends were much taller than me. That real kind of stick thin teenager, you know, where they where people just, like, feel like they’ve been stretched really gangly, quite like Bambi, like. I was not. And, you know, I was I was little bit rounder, the I obviously, you know, I was I was into sport and everything, so I was active. But I just always felt like with those people around and with the magazines I was seeing with all these like skinny teenage models in that my body type wasn’t right.
And I then started to, you know, I’d got my periods and my skin was a little bit maybe greasier was getting some spots. I had braces for five years, like proper train tracks, top and bottom. And so I was still, you know, I had friends. I was fairly popular, but at the same time, I was always desperately trying to kind of fit in. And my parents weren’t necessarily cool, so we didn’t necessarily get the cool shoes or the right school bag, but so we had to really, like, fight to. You know, there’s a lot of pressure, isn’t there, when you’re a teenager to kind of fit in with everyone. So I really, really wanted to have Kickers and then everyone had a Kangol bag. So I really wanted to have a Kangol bag and, you know, all of these different things that contribute, I suppose, to your sense of self-worth in your adolescent years. And I was always just really struggling to get those right and. I think it was really. It is only in my later years when you get to kind of late twenties, thirties, forties, that you really start to own the power of being different. And in a school context and even in a university context, sometimes you want to fit in, you want to follow the herd, you want to be popular, and you kind of don’t really appreciate that. Actually, the ones who are different at that stage are probably the ones that are going to go on and change the world.
It’s the it’s the kind of inverted commas nerds and geeks who are the ones who are like super brainy, have the connections, have the ideas. And and, you know, Bill Gates was not a cool guy, but he’s like, how successful has he been? And it’s things like that, isn’t it, that you don’t really appreciate because you can’t see that when you’re younger. All you can see is what your friends are thinking of you. And is everyone laughing at me because my shoes are not quite the right style or whatever? Yeah.
So I did really struggle on that journey and it did lead to a lot of yeah, just I guess, disordered eating. I got to university, as you say and I happened by chance to lose quite a lot of weight over the summer between going between being at school and going to art school afterwards and then on to university. And I remember one of my friend’s dads commented on it just being like, Oh, you know, you’ve lost a lot of weight, like you look great or whatever, something like that. It was not meant in a sexual way. It wasn’t meant to be anything untoward, but those sorts of things, you know, that for me really stuck in my mind and I was like, Oh great, You know, that’s something that I should be mindful of from now on. And you know, you can go to university and it’s a different environment and you can create your own narrative a little bit more than you can in school, because particularly if you’ve been in the same school for seven, eight, nine, ten and 12 years, whatever it might’ve been. And I was in the same school for quite a long time. So you can kind of go and create that new voice for yourself and that new history. And I wanted to really lean into that and own that kind of popularity.
And, you know, particularly with with boys as well. Like I had never had that approbation from boys, guys, men or whatever before. And now that I had, you know, supposedly got hotter, I really leaned into that. And that was not a healthy thing longer term, because it meant that I placed a lot of importance on what I ate, trying not to put on weight. I wanted to go out and dance and kiss a lot of boys. And that then leads to that whole conversation and that double standard around sexuality from for men and for women particularly in a university context where everyone is having sex all the time. But, you know, it’s only the women who are kind of castigated for that. You know, it’s a very fine line, isn’t it? The oh, gosh, so frigid. She you know, she she’s a tease, she leads people on. You know, she dances with them and doesn’t do anything with them, whatever, between.
There’s a really fine line between that and like, oh, well, you know, she slept with him and, you know, she slept with the other guy last week. And, you know, she kissed like this many guys in one night. And it’s like, well, hang on. The guys are doing that as well. And no one’s talking about them in those terms. So you know what? Where is that judgement coming from? It just made me so angry. Like I could never I can articulate it now and obviously I’ve written about it in my book, but at the time you just kind of get through it and you’re like, okay, well, you know, I still don’t know what to do, but this guy seems to like me and you know, I’m going to I’m going to get on with it and see what happens. And then, you know, that leads to whatever of whatever gossip it’s going to lead to, which is really sad. And look back on it now. And I feel really sorry for myself in that situation. And it makes me really scared because I have daughters and like, please God, it’s not that bad when they get there. You know, hopefully the dialogue has changed and hopefully I can empower them enough to stand up for themselves and know how to navigate that because it’s really difficult.
Le’Nise: Yeah, I think in the late nineties and early two, thousands were, justa very toxic time for women in the culture. Like a lot of like slut shaming.
Clio: Slut shaming.
Le’Nise: And you know, just you just I because I, I think we’re around the same age so, you know, going to university. And, you know, I do remember that, you know. Yeah. Girls you know you oh, she’s a slut because she’s slept with all these guys. But then, you know, you’d have the guy who had had, like, sex with lots of girls and he was like, he was a hero. He was a stud. And it’s just it’s so disempowering. And I think it’s, you know, it’s a left left a mark on a lot of women. And in our like who grew up in in the same era so that yeah yeah.
And this actually leads quite nicely onto the next question I want to ask you what is around female pleasure? Because, you know, you think back then it wasn’t, the conversations around female pleasure were very different to how they are today. So it was very much about how can you pleasure the man, you know, what can you do, best blowjob techniques and all of that kind of thing. Yeah. Whereas now the conversations are very, very different. So can you talk a little bit because in, in the last kind of couple chapters of your book, you talk about sex and, you know, re-establishing connection, which we’ll talk about a little bit about, but that just kind of start by talking about the importance of female pleasure.
Clio: Oh my God. So important. And I think, you know, you you referenced earlier about children’s access to porn and seeing that very early on. And obviously that really can frame, you know, porn is really the only other representation of sex that we see that’s not ourselves. Right. Like it’s not like we go and watch our friends and see how they’re doing it so it can really frame you even though you know it’s not real. If you see something enough times, then it becomes normal. And so.
And obviously, in traditional male gaze porn, the focus is not on women’s pleasure. I mean, I think yeah, that’s showing cunnilingus a little bit more now. But it’s literally I mean, it’s it’s so unrealistic. It’s it’s ridiculous. And they basically spend like 2 seconds doing that before they move on to penis in vagina or some kind of other penetrative penetrative sex. And it is really important to kind of acknowledge that we’re talking a little bit more openly about self-pleasure and how important it is and how important the clitoris is and how much bigger it is than we were taught when we were growing up or we had reference for and how important it is for you to kind of connect with that, because particularly if you’re viewing your body with such antipathy, maybe even hatred as I was once, why on earth would I connect with myself and show myself love like it was all about me trying to please other people. And that goes into the bedroom as well.
And I just remember having so many so many situations where, you know, I didn’t even think to ask it in. It certainly wasn’t the sort of topic that would, you know, it’s not it wasn’t a conversation that we would naturally have in bed because, you know, I had one long term boyfriend when I was at university, but the rest were kind of, you know, dalliances, shall we say. So you don’t kind of connect with that person in a way that you might if you are in a long term relationship and you perhaps don’t feel as comfortable in life in having that conversation. I remember we I went to an Ann Summers party, I think my first or second year and the conversation was all around like girth of the vibrators and length and so on. And I was a bit like looking back at that now I’m like, I mean that. But that isn’t going to make a difference. I mean, it might on some level, but also that isn’t the only thing that is important in a sexual experience, and that certainly isn’t the only thing that’s going to make a difference to our orgasm.
So, yeah, I think definitely. I didn’t do well at that. When I was. I found it probably quite hard to kind of open up and own that within myself in my teen and teen years as I got into my twenties and thirties it’s definitely something that I felt more comfortable with and felt more ownership of. But yeah, I think there’s a certain amount of shame there around like asking for what you want, because if you’re a good girl, you don’t ask for things in the bedroom. And that’s not a conversation that you want to have. You kind of, you know, even now there’s a, which is the national study of attitudes towards sex and lifestyle or something like that. But they do a survey every ten years, and even now it’s like 20% of people have never even spoken to their partner about what they what their preferences are in the bedroom, which is quite a lot, especially with if you’re with them say, you know, five, ten, 20 years. So I think yeah, definitely the whole like self pleasure and owning well pleasure for women and the capacity to own that through self-pleasure is is something that is really important. It certainly wasn’t part of my formative years and it’s something that I’ve had to kind of learn and be comfortable with in my late in my later years in know from from my late twenties onwards, I think.
Le’Nise: So you talked about having conversations and the importance of communication and just thinking about, you know, the title of your book is Get Your Mojo Back. And one of the things that you talk about in one of the chapters in your book is called How about After the Washing Up, Darling? Actually, I chuckled at that and it talks about navigating the practicalities of sex and intimacy in real life. And one of the things you talk about is communication. Someone might be listening to this thinking, well, you know, I’m really scared to have those conversations. You know, I don’t know. I don’t know where to start. I’m nervous. I think I feel like I might be shamed for, you know, being quite, you know, owning my sexuality and being open. Where would you suggest that they start?
Clio: Such an interesting question? Because I think I there is a tendency in our spheres, I think when we do talk pretty openly about this and about periods, about wellbeing, sexual health and so on, to assume that everyone is on the same page and they’re in a really open and communicative relationship as well. And it’s just not necessarily the case. And I tend to think of communication and talking to each other as one of the most boring pieces of advice that I can give, but it’s the one of the most crucial ones because everyone can do it and it will make a difference. It can be really hard if you have never broached these sorts of topics before. I would always advise getting comfortable with what you want to achieve from that conversation. So getting comfortable with where you are, learning a bit more about yourself, coming back to the self pleasure conversation, what turns you on, what you want to do, perhaps what you want to change, what you might want to do instead. And also be open to hearing what the other person has to say as well. Because in a really positive way, actually opening up this conversation might be something that they’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t felt the opportunity to either. It can be really hard to make the first step.
I would say sometimes taking it out of the bedroom can be the best place to do it. It will depend on your comfort levels in terms of, you know, each relationship is different, each method of communicating is different. So if you are worried about having this conversation, raising it whilst you’re doing something else, whilst you’re not facing each other, can be a really powerful way to do it. The amount of important conversations that we’ve had going for a walk or walking, if you’ve got a dog going for the dog walk whilst your kid is off in the playground, then you’ll just standing there watching. If you’re in the car driving somewhere because you’re there, you have each other’s attention, but you’re not necessarily facing one another, so it doesn’t feel as confrontational.
Sometimes I really advocate conversational prompt cards. So there are various games now which are kind of conversation, relationship games, ones by both tell us. I think the School of Life does one. And whilst they are not necessarily going to address your specific question straight away, they’re really great for kind of just setting the tone for a little bit more of a meaningful conversation, which we don’t often get in a house where you’ve got kids and you’re running around after them and you’re super tired. So if you can get into that mindset of. The asking and answering slightly deeper questions. After the second or third one, you usually find that the conversation flows off in the direction that you meant it to anyway. So those one first first two or three questions can be really useful in setting the scene and kind of opening up for both of you. And look, it might not happen the first time, so maybe you do that and then the second time you do it for the third time you do it. Then maybe you feel able to bring up the conversation around sexuality and what’s what’s pleasing and what’s not and what you might want to change for your own pleasure and for your partner’s pleasure in the bedroom as well. So I think those those are my two, to make it less confrontational if it is difficult for you. Not doing it in a kind of face to face setting or turning it into taking the pressure off by focusing on something else first in order to really kind of delve into where you are emotionally and in the relationship as well. And then kind of bringing it up is a really good way to go about it.
Le’Nise: It’s such an interesting one because I think in our culture we have this skewed idea of how much sex people are actually having. And, you know, you have this if you base everything right, what you saw on TV, you would think that people are absolutely rampant. But the reality is much, much different. And I think that’s also important to to kind of to acknowledge that, you know, it’s not just about having, like sex, whether it’s penetrative sex or any other form of sex, it’s also about intimacy and that kind of closeness that you can cultivate with your partner through communication, through touch. So like, different, you know, maybe it’s acts of service, you know, all of that sort of thing that’s really important to bring closeness back into the into the picture.
Clio: I 100% agree. And Esther Perel actually has an amazing quote, which is foreplay starts the moment that sex ends. The point being that if you’re nice to each other, that creates a really lovely intimate environment that is that longer term. So your base level of like niceness and wanting to kind of be intimate with each other, just raise it rises a little bit. So then from there, it’s not such a big leap to kind of have sex or, you know, have a bit of a kiss on the sofa or, you know, whatever it might be, be intimate with each other and give each other pleasure because you kind of feeling a little bit nicer towards the other person anyway. And you’re inclined, therefore, to kind of want to want to give them more pleasure, want to connect with them more deeply. And I think that’s absolutely right. So it doesn’t always have to be about sex. It can be a touch in the kitchen. It could be a little cheeky squeeze of a bum, it can be making someone a coffee when they’re not expecting it or offering to pick the kids up when it’s not their time or whatever it might be. You know, sitting on the set, having a makeout session on the sofa. Like those little things, I think really build that connection. And I, they’re kind of underestimated because you kind of think it’s all or nothing while everyone else is having sex at least once a week. We need to be having sex at least once a week. So therefore, and that’s going to be better for us than actually maybe just holding hands while you’re watching your film that evening or whatever it might be. Yeah.
And I just think, you know, coming back to your point about, you know, how often are people having sex, it’s literally the only thing that no one is ever going to know if you lie about. So I just you when we hear these stats of like, oh, Britain’s doing it twice a week and or like if you’re doing it less than this much, you know you need to be doing it well whatever it is is always these headlines in the Daily Mail but like how do you know that’s true? No one’s in your bedroom like recording you and like, ticking it off. It’s just on you is on your words. So don’t believe everything that you read, don’t believe everything that people are saying as well. Because I know in for example, I’ve anecdotally from people that I’ve spoken to, people in NCT groups are going, Oh yeah, we had sex and it was fine. Like, well, now we’re at it like rabbits again. It’s like six weeks after the birth. And like, are they actually were they just saying that because that’s what they think they’re supposed to be saying? Stay in your own lane when it comes to sex, like there’s no right or wrong in terms of frequency, as long as you guys are both happy about it and you’re connecting the right amount to you and that you’ve spoken about it and you’re on the same page, then I think that’s that’s the best that you can do is and that’s a really good place to be.
Le’Nise: Definitely. And I think that kind of leads nicely into this kind of idea that, you know, the fundamentals of a relationship, it’s not sex, it’s communication and being able to communicate on lots of different subjects, but feeling like you can communicate without judgement, without feeling like you’re going to be attacked, without feeling like you’re going to have to go on the back foot, you know? Yeah, that’s where partnerships are most successful, where you can talk to the other person. Yeah.
Clio: I think that is a really interesting one about raising things without feeling like you’re going to be attacked. Because I think quite often in this context, if we’re talking about sexual wellbeing or amount. we’re going to have sex or what type of sex we’re having. So it can be quite easy for the other person to feel attacked if you’re suggesting a change. So that’s something to bear in mind as well. Like you obviously don’t want to be attacked, bring it in, bringing it up. But equally, maybe that’s going to put the other person on the back foot and then they’re going to be really defensive and kind of snap back at you. So I’m not saying it’s easy and I come from a place where we did a lot of couples therapy as well, and that can be really use of in terms of helping you to communicate and set the framework of of being able to communicate with the other person. Because you’re and that’s it’s not you know, I’m not saying that everyone needs to go and do it right now, but if it gets to the stage where actually that third person as a neutral party can help you communicate better, it’s well worth it.
Le’Nise: I mean, we could have we could talk for hours about this. I find this topic so interesting. But for listeners who want to learn more, who want to read your book, can you just talk a little bit about the book and then where they can find it and where they can learn about you, all about you?
Clio: Sure, I would love that. So I wrote Get Your Mojo Back: Sex, Pleasure and Intimacy After Birth. Because of my experience postnatally after my first daughter, I really struggled physically, mentally to rehabilitate, to find myself again. I had scarring and a hypertonic or, tight pelvic floor which led to really painful sex. But alongside that there were a lot of emotional and mental health things going on, like post-natal depression and birth trauma. And my husband and I nearly got divorced at one point. And so the book is kind of based on the things that I learnt along the way and the information and the wisdom from the experts that I met and learnt from because I did not feel there was support for what I was looking for at all.
When I talk to people now and they’re still saying, Look, I don’t know what’s wrong. I don’t know who to turn to. My GP hasn’t got time for me. They’ve just said, Just get on with it. You feel like you’ve you’ve just you’ve had a baby. That’s how it is now. And I just think with sex, it’s still one of those really taboo topics, particularly post-natal sex, because, you know, you’re a mother now. Why would you want to do that? Why do you need to have sex? Why do you need to be thinking about pleasure? Because, you know, we’re in this different phase of motherhood. Well, sex is how we got to being mothers in the first place. So I think it’s they do go hand-in-hand, even though culturally we don’t talk about motherhood and the siren and in the same in the same space. So that is where the book came from. It’s full of my own story and experiences, the experiences of other kind of relatable, real life women. It’s got lots and lots of information from experts and snippets of, you know, exercises and tips that you can try and that will help improve where you are mentally, physically, sexually and lots of signposting as well to further resources. And there’s also I love this. I really was keen to put a decision tree at the end of the book because so often you’re kind of I just don’t know where to start. I’ve got a problem, but I don’t know what it is and I don’t know what’s causing it. You know, how how do I find what’s my first port of call? And that’s what I really wanted to help people with is just to unpick all of these different things that could be the issue and help you find out where to start. So yeah, it’s available at Amazon, Waterstones. If you Google it, you’ll be able to pick it up online and also on my website as well which is www.andbreathewellbeing.com. And I would love to interact with you on Instagram if you have any questions I’m @andbreathewellbeing. So yeah, those are all my bits.
Le’Nise: So if you if you want to leave listeners with one last thought today, of all of the brilliant things that you’ve shared, what would you want that to be?
Clio: Just because you’ve had a baby doesn’t mean you have to put up with whatever issue it is that you’re going through. You deserve to be listened to and you have the power to advocate for yourself.
Le’Nise: Brilliant. Brilliant. I love that I’m a big fan of self advocacy over here.
Clio: Yeah, well, it’s necessary.
Le’Nise: So thank you so much for coming on the show today. It’s been brilliant to speak to you.
Clio: Thank you for having me.
Le’Nise: All your links will be in the show notes. Yeah. And thank you again.
Clio: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Le’Nise. It’s been great to chat.