The Wholesome Pervert: Part 1
The Sex Education of Caitlin K. Roberts
By Mike Reid
If you’re offended or uncomfortable by a conversation about sex you might want to stop reading now. (Even though I'm not a fan of censorship, images have been censored in accordance with our platform's terms of service policies.)
I recently had an amazing conversation with Caitlin K. Roberts. We discussed so many things it couldn’t all fit into one article. Therefore, I introduce to you the Wholesome Pervert (Part 1).
I usually start these articles with a short paragraph to introduce the person I’ve interviewed and maybe provide some insight into what you’re about to read. Not today, this woman is so interesting I’m diving right in.
Name: Caitlin K. Roberts.
Professions: (Nearly) Certified Sex Educator and Porn Producer
Mike Reid: Okay, what does a certified sex educator mean?
Caitlin Roberts: It means I went through a whole lot of training and supervision to make sure that the information I’m providing is accurate and not problematic in any way.
MR: What you do you mean by problematic?
CR: Well there’s a lot of bad information going around about sex. Things like porn is addictive or you need to get rid of all of your fear or shame around sex. There’s just a lot of stuff about sexuality that people have really limited scopes and ideas on. Which is fair, because it’s all we’re fed, especially in public school. As young adults get more and more interested in sex, but your only source is Google, you’re probably not going to find the best answers. It’s being able to give the best information that you feel has scientific backing and will not harm people further.
MR: So what institution or body certifies your program?
CR: It’s called the Institute of Sexual Education and Enlightenment in the United States.
MR: Do you teach in schools?
CR: They probably wouldn’t allow me in schools as I’m also a porn producer. (Haha) However, I went to MIT in February and I did a few workshops there for their pleasure week. I also occasionally write about sex education.
MR: What motivated you to get into sex education?
CR: The best way I’ve been able to describe it is there’s something called the Dual Control Model which describes each person’s “Sex drive”, to a degree we all have brakes and accelerators. Our accelerators are the things that turn us on and our brakes are things that turn us off. Most people have a semi-sensitive brakes and accelerators. So think of it this way: You get home after a long day of working and you’re really not in the mood. You just wanna put on sweatpants, watch tv and relax. Mainly because you’ve been working or stressed all day and you’re not in the mood to be in a sexy place.
MR: Understood. So for most people stress is a brake.
CR: Usually. But not for everyone. For me, for example, if I come home from a long day of work, the first thing I want to do is have sex as a de-stressor. My accelerators are really really high, and I don’t have a lot of brakes. Things like “we’re in a public place”, “that person might be an inappropriate person to sleep with”, “it’s winter” or “I’m super stressed at work” don’t affect my accelerators at all. So to finally answer your question, I’ve always been a sexual person and my interests simply drove me forward from there.
MR: How would you describe yourself?
CR: My favourite description for myself is that I’m a wholesome pervert.
MR: (Haha) Caitlin, the wholesome pervert.
CR: Yeah. My average day usually includes me walking my dog, reading, running my two Air BnBs, making a nice vegan dinner, and staying home most nights. I’m in bed by 11:30. In that sense, I’m wholesome. But I’m also a dirty pervert.
MR: So what are you passionate about?
CR: I’m passionate about pleasure. If you want to be able to utilize your body, having sex is a pretty great natural chemical high that really puts people into their best selves. That doesn’t speak for everyone, of course. Asexuality exists and there are people who truly don’t want to have sex for various reasons. However, outside of those folks, I think that if more people came to understand sex as something that is healthy and good for you, then we would be in a very different place.
MR: How so?
CR: When people have sex it release a variety of chemicals in the brain. It’s a really intense connection to our neurology and how we function in the world. If we’re having genuine and pleasurable experiences with people that we want to be having those experiences with, orgasms or pleasure will basically turn us into superhero versions of ourselves.
MR: So what’s your superhero self?
CR: If I go a week without having sex, my work diminishes. I’m less engaged with people, I’m less interested in doing volunteer work. If I’m having sex at the amount I want to be having sex then I have more energy, I’m out fighting for the rights of everyone, I’m much more engaged, I create friendships easier. There are a lot of articles coming out about how pleasure can alter your life and the lives around you.
MR: At the end of the day who doesn’t want to be their best self or a superhero?
MR: Let’s switch gears for a minute because there’s something I’m very excited to ask you about. Over the years, I’ve seen posts and articles about you running an event called Body Pride. What is it that all about?
CR: Body Pride is a workshop I’ve been running for about 5 years now. It’s pretty much how everything started. I was watching Betty Dodson’s body sex workshop on a documentary. She’s an 87 year old sex educator who runs these workshops. It’s advertised to women. I’m not sure what her rules are with non-binary and transwomen, but it’s for women and they get together, get naked and do group masturbation, genital show and tell, group body massage... So it’s a much more intense version of Body Pride, but one of the things that struck me was witnessing a group of women getting naked in a room together and it not being weird or sexual. It was completely normal and comfortable, and it was completely mind blowing to me that this was a thing you could do and it would be fine.
MR: And the spark was lit.
CR: Yah, so I started running body pride which at first started as a bunch of naked women being silly, drinking wine and talking over each other. We’d laugh a lot and take pictures. It’s now a lot more controlled. It has turned into a facilitated group discussion, although there’s still a naked dancing photo shoot at the end. I run them at Good For Her. I do them for people of all genders or non-genders. I just trained someone who’s an inter-sex person of colour and a man too.
MR: So you watch this documentary and you start thinking about things like being naked around your own friends. You create a space to talk about the body, while you challenge feeling weird in the nude around people you normally trust and take comfort in their presence?
CR: It was less about a need to be naked around my friends. It was more about being naked without sexualizing my nudity. There are people who come to be naked around other people, some come to work through eating disorders, some have grown up in really religious households, some have never had sex before and want to get in touch with themselves. There are a number of different reasons.
MR: What happens at a Body Pride workshop?
CR: People arrive and after 10 mins of chilling out, folks get naked. For a few hours we have facilitated group conversation where we talk about sexuality, the body, relationships, anything that comes up. We go around the room so people can discuss anything they want to. There’s stretching, breaks, snacks and wine if people need it or want it. At the end we do a dancing naked photoshoot where I take photos of people dancing to their favourite song.
MR: What is one of the most interesting things that you experienced at an event?
CR: I’ve had a lot of incredible experiences. A woman once came up to me after the workshop and told me that she’s been going to therapy and group therapy for years. And none of that was as helpful as this one workshop. That was really powerful to hear. At the age of 22, I wasn’t anticipating helping someone break through an emotional or therapeutic struggle.
MR: That’s amazing.
CR: Yeah, although to this day, I tell people this is not therapy. I can’t promise to fix, solve or help anything for you. I can only offer the experience. It’s what each individual takes away from it. Some people just like being naked around other people and some feel so uncomfortable naked that they come because they realise it’s a thing they want to address.
MR: The first time I met you was at a Crush TO party. What was the goal of that project and what has it become?
CR: It was just an event that was suppose to bring people together. When I started doing Body Pride I met a lot of really incredible women who didn’t know anyone else like each other. Some were into polyamory. We were all very sexual people and we were all queer to a certain degree. We knew that if we could discover a group like us, there must be more of us out there. So we threw a party just to see who we could bring out. We advertised it for any and all: If you’re kinky, vanilla, gay, straight, poly or monogamous. Just come out and meet each other. Let’s be a sex positive community. It went really well. We ran them monthly for over 3 years. I don’t do them anymore, I might throw one occasionally as a throw back. But I don’t actually like hosting parties, they mean I need to be awake past my bedtime. And I like one-on-one interaction with people as opposed to group settings.
MR: Yes, I remember the wholesome pervert doesn’t like to be out late. (Haha)
Read Part 2 Here