Written by Taylor Troeth
Illustration by Hattie Reid
About a year ago I went through one of the trickiest times of my life, it was a *cue jaws theme song * dun dun DUN! A… breakup! Shock, horror, I know. It may sound dramatic to some, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve worked through in my life, and that is the honest to god truth. I had the rug swept out from under me as my boyfriend-partner-lover-soulmate WHATEVER you call him, told me out of the blue he was no longer in love with me. My perfect, it’s meant to be, man I thought I was going to marry and have a million kids with pulled “it’s not you, it’s me” on my cute little butt. It was an emotionally traumatic experience, to say the least, even for a strong, confident, independent woman like myself. No lies here, it was bloody tough. I soon learnt thanks to a lot of things, (Zoe Foster Blake and her bible, ‘Break-up Boss’ being one of them), that this was a tiny heart-shaped, bow covered, shiny little present. At the time, of course, it didn’t feel like it.
One of the things my psychologist did keep reining home, was the importance of staying busy and occupied and to spend my time doing things that made me happy and feel like me. I love reading, but at the time I found it quite hard to concentrate for long amounts of time on words. I was so emotionally exhausted, and my thoughts would wander, or more like run a billion times an hour. I was desperate to find some normality in the way I was feeling, so I began listening and watching things constantly to keep my mind at ease. To get through this breakup I was going to do anything and everything to fast track the healing process as quickly as I possibly could, so I could move on with my life. And within that, I found a little nugget of gold: sex and relationship podcasts. Arguably, this was one of the best things that I turned to, to get me through the highs and lows of a breakup. To this day, as I am still happily single and over my long-ago lover. I always crave hearing other women’s stories about love, sex, dating and relationships.
"Arguably, this was one of the best things that I turned to, to get me through the highs and lows of a breakup."
Through my journey of being heartbroken, I learnt a lot about my own sexuality. I had spent almost 3 years of my early 20’s with the same guy - and don’t get me wrong, it was great and amazing and I learnt so much from that, (and I know a lot of people spend a lot longer with a single person and that’s totally wonderful Cinderella shit too). Although now, being single and in my mid-twenties, it has truly helped me learn so much about what I want and what I like – for myself AND by myself! It was the first time I was prompted to buy a sex toy purely for my own pleasure. I had all the time in the world to listen to my body and what I wanted and needed without catering to someone else’s sexual desires and needs. Listening to these podcasts not only helped me hear that other women were going through similar struggles emotionally, but they empowered me sexually and I learnt so much about women’s anatomy, sexuality and stories as well.
Now let’s get to the good stuff, the pods!
- LOVE etc. - from the beautiful girls at Shameless Media, LOVE etc is pure joy and happiness. They interview lots of women on all walks of life and talk about everything from breakups, cheating, sugar babies, sex workers, virginity and all that pervy stuff we crave – especially when you’re going through a break-up. One of my favourite episodes dived into an amazing story about a woman who had some great experiences swinging in her twenties and another about cheating from different perspectives. The pod is so enlightening and makes you realise that there are so many different ways people see and experience, love, sex and relationships. Every episode of LOVE etc opened my mind up to so many different possibilities of the way I viewed sex and relationships, which was so refreshing.
- Ladies, We Need To Talk - Yumi Stynes is a godsend (Yumi if you’re reading this - I love you and... yes that’s all I have to say). She just has a way with women and asking them the right questions to get the exact answers you want and need. Her episodes do an amazing deep dive into women’s bodies, sexualities, relationships and all sorts, but I have learnt SO much about my anatomy and women’s, wants, needs and desires from this podcast. Ladies, We Need To Talk does exactly that – it talks about the things you may not always talk about, or are perhaps a bit taboo or you’re a bit self-conscious about. After listening to Yumi talk and interview other amazing educated and experienced women, in all different ways, and hearing their stories, it truly makes you feel like you’re not alone in feeling whatever you are feeling and importantly wanting whatever the hell you bloody-well want! I learnt so much about my body! Isn’t it crazy how we have these bodies and we are taught so little about it in sex education at school? If only Yumi Stynes took my sexual health classes at school then I would have learnt and known so much more than I did before I started becoming sexually active. My favourite episodes include Making friends with your vulva, Discussions about bad sex, Learning about your Clitoris’ and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. It is honestly a pot of gold at the end of a sexual education rainbow. Ladies, We Need To Talk is so educational but in an accepting, warm and fun way. It boosts your morale as a woman and makes you feel like you can have these ‘taboo’ conversations about your clitoris or your orgasms with your mum, nan and the lady at the cash register.
- My Dad Wrote a Porno – Now this one is a little left of centre, and I am in no way saying ‘hey! This has great sex advice!!’ No, no, no - just no. However, this brought me so much light during my break-up, and it has some, sorry A LOT, of hilariously and terribly written erotica scenes which will make you laugh, cringe, and potentially even make you feel a little better about that time you had awkward cringe-worthy sex with the guy from your office. Hosts Jamie, James and Alice’s comments and laughs are irresistible, and even though its anatomically incorrect, it’s funny, light-hearted and fun – and that’s what sex should be most of the time, right!?
- What I Know Now by Amelia Liana – This one is more of a relationship-py one, however, I loved listening to this one through my breakup. Amelia Liana’s voice is so soothing and listening to her work through her very public, very intense, breakdown of her engagement does make you feel so empowered like you can do anything and how you are not alone in going through these traumatic times! It really empowers the idea of being your own person and taking up your space and doing the things that you want that perhaps you didn’t make as much time for when you had your other half. It made me reflect and realise humans are humans, we adapt, we change, and the only thing we can do is change our own actions – not someone else’s.
- Girls Gotta Eat – I got onto this train late, but god am I glad I got on it! Rayna and Ashley’s pod makes you feel so included, so seen and you’ll spend almost every episode going ‘oh my god, right!?’ or laughing along with them. They are two great friends, who have a laugh, have a drink and tell you all the in’s and outs of their dating and sex life. It feels like you are sitting down with two very humorous friends who are extremely open about their personal lives. It prompted me to have more open discussions with my girlfriends about dating, our sexual preferences and also just having a laugh about our terrible dating doozies.
- It’s a Lot with Abbie Chatfield – This is a newer pod that I have recently found myself drawn to, from the amazing sex-positive feminist queen herself, Abbie Chatfield, who a lot of people would know from the Bachelor franchise. Abbie is so honest, so open and so friendly you feel like you are sitting in her apartment having a glass of wine with her, talking openly about all things sex, female empowerment and experiences of real women. It’s those stories you love telling your girlfriends as soon as you get together, as well as not only normalising but encouraging things like female masturbation, body positivity and always going for and getting what you want in with sex and dating, and well, life. Abbie has some amazing guests, including Clementine Ford the queen herself, and also answers all those ‘I’m not sure about this’ questions for her listeners too. Although I myself haven’t gotten to this episode yet, all I am seeing everywhere is peoples rave reviews of her episode ‘Glug it up’... I’ll just leave that there for you to peruse.
I know there are so many new episodes and shows to explore since I started my sex and relationships pod journey, which makes me extremely giddy and excited. They’re such an awesome thing you can listen to anywhere and everywhere. Some of my favourites have really helped me heal and learn things that I did not even think I needed to learn. So, go forth my feathered friends! Enjoy the sweet little heart-shaped gift that is sex and relationship podcasts.
Taylor is a singer, dancer, actor hailing from Melbourne currently based in Sydney, Australia. Taylor loves reading, writing and through Covid-19 lockdown has started composing her own music. On her days off she likes to go to the beach, pat strangers dogs and eat copious amounts of chocolate and ice-cream.