Content warning: The things described
in this article are of a sexual nature.
BANG! is a sexuality podcast about sex, intimacy and relationships. It was created by our very own Melody Thomas for Radio New Zealand.
you aren’t already listening, it’s worth starting at the beginning. The podcast
explores the ways our parents talked to us about sex (or didn’t) and the
struggles faced by parents attempting ‘the talk’ now, travelling through the
fraught teen years, the perils of modern dating and the ways relationships
change after babies and marriage, all the way up to sex in retirement homes.
in its third season, BANG! is looking into kinks, sex positivity, polyamorous
relationships, and more. Here, Melody speaks with three women about the ways
that desire and intimacy have changed over their lives.
Hannah is a 30-year-old sales rep and
mother of three young children, who’s been married for five years. For Hannah
and her husband, starting a family changed their sex life – but perhaps
surprisingly, it was for the better.
sex life started at 14. If I think about my kids doing it at this age it makes
me super uncomfortable and a bit sad. I would be mortified. The whole
experience was as you would expect, awkward, making sounds you think you should
make because you’d watched a few movies. I was more doing it to say I did it
than anything else. It was with my childhood neighbor. I didn’t even like him,
but he was popular so I did it with him. I remember thinking he had a really
thin penis, like a pencil. That’s actually the only defining memory I have of
my first time. I haven’t said a word to him in years – we aren’t even friends on
Facebook. He was only 14 too; dicks are still growing at that age yeah? I hope
his dick grew.
my parents found out I had done it for the first time it was completely by
accident through a letter mum found in my uniform. I was usually so careful
with letters so maybe I left it there subconsciously so I could talk to her? She
told Dad and they sat me down and had a massive talk to me about how boys think
about sex at this age, and what they really want. It was a really awkward open
conversation. It would have been so uncomfortable for Dad, I can’t believe he
did it. I didn’t appreciate it back then but I so appreciate it now.
enjoyment of sex has changed so much. Thinking about it now I really wish that
I could go back and tell my young self to wait until my husband came along! I
used to give sex out willy nilly and the only person I waited with was my
husband….is there something in that?
I was pregnant I didn’t want to be touched… Everything repulsed me. Except
porn. And not just any porn, women on women porn. I have never been a watcher
of porn – it actually makes me a little bit uncomfortable. But when I got
pregnant I used to watch it on my phone all the time, I’d hang out to be home
alone to watch it. I have not watched porn at all since, the urge has just
massively changed after I had kids – I don’t know what it was. I think possibly
because my husband had seen every part of me through child birth and I lost all
self-consciousness with him. Or that everything was stretched and more
sensitive. I actually had a proper porno orgasm about six months after my first
kid. It was mind blowing. It’s gotten better and better and better.
so excited about the future. I can’t imagine what it will be like to have sex
without the fear of waking anyone up or someone walking in. Or having enough
time to do it in the day! Each phase of our sex life has come so naturally.
There has been no expectation of it to get better – at each phase I really have
thought, ‘can it get any better than this?!’ We’ve been through so much
together and I think that adds to our sex life. Our kids, the family that we
have built – what we’ve been through to try and make everything work all
contributes to that connection.
Janis is a 56-year-old flight
attendant who grew up in the Hawkes Bay. A mother of four, she recently became
engaged to a man she fell for through the dating app Tinder.
lost my virginity at 15 to a boy I met on holiday at Mahia… I’m sure his
parents must have known but nothing was said to either of us. After that, we
education was diverse. I had a mother who had no trouble whatsoever informing
me (and most of my friends) about how you did it and what an amazing experience
it was. In fact, I now think she went a little too far. What teenager wants to
know how her mother took it up the arse by mistake one night when her and her
partner were doing doggie? I remember having the ‘sex information evening’ at
intermediate school but can’t recall any of what we were shown.
met my partner on Tinder. My friend took ahold of my phone and downloaded the
app. I was amazed at how many men were on there. In my age group it isn’t so
much a ‘hook up’ app, and I liked the decisiveness of it. If I liked the pithy
and succinct sentence they had written and they looked okay, then I swiped
right. Most dates I went on were for a coffee or a drink at a bar. I found this
easy – within 5 minutes I believe you know if you’re attracted to someone or
not. I’ve never used Tinder looking for a sexual partner, although I did have
men asking me if that’s what I wanted. They were upfront and knew what they
wanted and respected the fact that that wasn’t what I was looking for. My
partner and I met for a coffee one Sunday afternoon and it was obvious to both of
us that there was chemistry. By the following Saturday we had spent the night
together. He immediately deleted his
profile and Tinder, and I did the same. We became engaged in April.
sex life now is satisfying and fulfilling. Sex can drop off when you have a
young family, but once I got to my 40s it took off! You’re more relaxed, you
know exactly what you do and don’t like and you don’t feel embarrassed
expressing yourself. As men get older I think they mature enough to realise it
isn’t all about them getting off and they are more considerate of ensuring that
you are finding it pleasurable as well. We both have the same sex drive which I
think is important and we both enjoy sex together immensely.
can’t imagine my sex life changing much in the future. If health issues prevent
either of us from fully engaging in intercourse I think we both are very
creative and would work around it. I know my grandmother was enjoying an active
sex life well into her 70s – hopefully I’ve inherited her genes!
Sarah is a 26 year old who works in
Communications. She has been on and off dating in the capital for almost a
decade, moving from congregating at the food court in Courtenay Place in large
groups, to pashing guys (and sometimes girls) at Establishment, to meeting
strangers from Tinder.
was 16 when I lost my virginity and was the second to last in my friend group –
the last girl was Christian. I would describe it as virgin on virgin awkward,
on a single bed during a school night and my Mum was home. Weirdly enough, I
was on top. The guy was kind of my boyfriend, but nothing was official on Bebo
or Facebook. He didn’t invite me to his ball and I didn’t invite him to mine so
I wouldn’t class it as an official relationship. We were both keen to not be
virgins. I think we thought we were under pressure to not be inexperienced. I
genuinely thought I was ready and he passed my three rules – I had to know his
name, I had to not regret it and we had to be sober. Strict criteria – I don’t
know how anyone made the cut.
parents were supportive and not strict, but sex wasn’t something that was
discussed often. My Mum had to drive me to get the morning after pill once
after a regrettable drunken encounter. I was 17. She even paid the $35 for the
pill before dropping me off to work where I was a part time fairy for
children’s birthday parties. If there was any judgement, she never told me and
she never held it against me.
used Tinder. It gives you more chances for meeting someone you might possibly
never run into. Some would think it’s unnatural, but it enables people to make
more genuine connections through a wider pool, rather than potentially settling
for less in a smaller circle. But I also appreciate and accept those who don’t
want to filter their future boyfriend or girlfriend through an app. Tinder is
what you make of it. You get to direct this and make up your own mind.
I compare my sex life now back to my mechanical sex encounter when I was 16,
I’d say it’s dramatically improved. I think sex has and will continue over time
become less taboo to talk about. There’s no shame in having sex if you’re in a
safe and comfortable situation; and even more so, there’s no shame in enjoying
sex. Whether it’s with a partner, an ongoing fling, or a one night stand. I’ve
been able to orgasm through the clitoris for ages and recently I discovered
that I could orgasm vaginally through intercourse. I was so, so proud. It was
almost as great as getting a degree except I get more personal satisfaction out
Names have been changed
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