Monday 19 July 2010

dear listeners

Welcome to a special page for anyone who's curious about listening to the series of Intimate Conversations on sex that we first released at Latitude Festival 2010.

Just click on the titles to download...

(Or subscribe to our podcasts on iTunes by clicking here.)


Olivia's first sexual partners led her to think that sex with men wasn't as interesting as it was on her own. Even at University, she wasn't getting what she wanted or needed. And then, things changed.

Editor's Notes
Olivia was a great woman to meet. We were maybe a little nervous in each other's company at first. And we tackled some juicy subjects that never made it to the edit: female ejaculation, the techniques of clitoral stimulation, radical ideas around sex education. But the edit here is really centred on what became the core of our conversation: which was about the confidence it takes to say what you want and what you need. So this is a frank, tender and personal conversation. And at Latitude we had a lot of men keen to listen to this and a lot of young women who said everyone should listen to it. I'm really glad to have met Olivia. She's a great woman. And a beautiful one. And as a man I'm extremely glad to have had the conversation we did. I just wish I'd had it 25 years ago...

At the age of 42, Adrian decided it was about time he had penetrative sex. So he saved up £500 and hired a male escort for just one night. What he got was an experience he'll never forget.

Editor's Notes
Adrian is one of the most beautiful men I know. Beautiful in that he has a heart so full of love that sometimes you doubt he's actually a real person. This man must be a persona created to divert attention from the 'real' thing. But he's not. Not at all. He has a camp, very funny side to him but when that mask drops... it reveals one of the most authentic partners in conversation I've ever met. So when I asked him to be on my list of people to talk to, I secretly knew (or hoped at least) that I would get candour, openness and honesty. And I did. But I got so much more. Adrian 'gave' himself to this conversation. Gently; quietly; tenderly. But fully - and without prejudice. So of course what happened was the dialogue grew and grew. So much so, that this is just Part 1. Later this summer, I'll publish Parts 2 and 3. (If you can handle the love...)

At the age of 14, Jane lost her virginity to a man who attacked her and her mother. Now, nearly 24 years later, she feels ready to talk openly about her experience and what it's taught her.

Editor's Notes
When someone has a life story as compelling as Jane's, it's hard not to be more taken by the story than the person. And yet as I edited this conversation, I kept finding that I wasn't listening to the narrative. Instead I kept being drawn to the woman describing it, occupying it. So this edit took a long, long time. And actually, this is only the first section of what will be a three or four part series, because there's not much of our conversation I want to cut out, so full and potent as it was. So yes, the content is powerful - incredibly powerful and sometimes almost unbearably so. But through the harrowing details, beyond the nightmarish plot and behind the unfolding story you hear someone who is a survivor. A powerful, passionate, life loving survivor. Please don't listen to this conversation if you're feeling vulnerable or if the subject of rape is too personal or raw for you. But if you're robust enough to hear someone who's been through hell and who's coming out the other end, I urge you to listen and breathe in about as much inspiration as it's possible to take. And then when you've listened, check out Jane's brilliant blog.

Giles has been straight, bi-sexual and gay. He's always had a strong relationship with sex and his physical and spiritual journey through life has been hugely informed by who he shares himself with.

Editor's Notes
I didn't interview Giles; Julie did: "The first time I met Giles was in a dance workshop. To dance with him is to be gathered into his generous, inclusive, sensual, laughing energy. I lost all self-consciousness and tuned in to the joyous body, surrendered to music and movement and the flowing patterns of my feet and his. This was dialogue like I’d never experienced it before. Conversation in words was trickier, less direct. But as we talked I kept hearing the same qualities: a courageous, playful, improvisational approach to both life and sex; a fierce desire to express himself truthfully, to connect; and the courage to be witnessed standing in that truth. And on top of all that, a infectious humour and lots of love. I hope you get to dance with Giles one day, but until then, I hope you enjoy listening to him as much as I do."

Brian is in his early forties. An Englishman living in America, for most of his life he's had a lot of sex with a lot of women. Then, just six months ago he met Dana. And fell in love.

Editor's Notes
Brian and I met while he was in London in June 2010. We'd met only once before, very briefly at a mutual friend's party. Within just a few minutes, we were exchanging incredibly personal details. I think maybe in a way we recognised aspects of ourselves in each other. We share a love of great sex, of women, we share a tubby round the tummy rejuvenation in our lives that slightly belies our age. And I think we both share a deep, energised passionate wish to have our spoken language serve our thoughts and feelings. And we both know that words can't do it all. So in a very boisterous way... we met. And then something more happened. After lots of graphic stories, questions and curiosities we got into something a little bit deeper. And when I began to listen (really listen) back to the tape, the change in Brian's voice was extraordinary. His tone softened, his breathing slowed and his rhythms began to settle. And so did mine. I started to listen. And I was listening to a man in love.

To all of you who came to Latitude - thank you! We had a really wonderful series of sessions each morning, with hundreds of you choosing which conversation you'd like to listen to, sitting down in the woods with your iPod and headphones and listening. It's great to share these same conversations now, beyond those few days in Suffolk.

Wherever you are or were - thank you for listening.