How would you feel if your significant other called you up one day and announced he’d landed a job filming porn? That’s exactly what happened to Emily Southwood two years into a relationship with then fiancé. While she’d long considered herself sexually liberal, the news stirred up mixed emotions, challenged her beliefs about pornography and set her on a path of self-discovery. She and her relationship ended up benefiting tremendously from it all and she’s shared her experiences in a witty, relatable and ultra-insightful memoir entitled, Prude. I hope you’ll check it out!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily last week on Girl Boner Radio, and loved what she had to say. She was also kind enough to reply to additional questions for you all afterward. Check out her thoughts below and listen to our radio chat using the iTunes link that follows. Seriously, you’re in for a treat!
An After-Chat with Author Emily Southwood
August: What inspired you to become a writer?
Emily: That’s hard to pin down because I have always wanted to be a writer. I failed grade one because I couldn’t read, so maybe there was a bit of a “I’ll show them!” reaction in there somewhere. I’m pretty defiant! I started writing reams of bad poetry in high school. From there, I studied creative writing throughout my twenties and never tried to do anything other than make enough money to buy time to write. It takes forever and pays little, but it’s one thing I never doubt I should be pursuing.
August: I love that. How have your loved your ones reacted to your openness about sexual experiences and pornography in the book?
Emily: They have been incredible. First and foremost, there’s Robbie, who gave me cart blanche to use anything about him. Luckily he’s hard to embarrass! My parents also really surprised me. My dad’s a pretty conservative British guy and I would have understood if he didn’t want to read Prude. But he did, and he even called to tell me which parts resonated with him. My mom is my biggest cheerleader. She tells everyone about the book her daughter wrote about porn. She makes me blush! My family’s openness surprised and impressed me—it’s been an unexpected benefit to this whole experience.
August: Too awesome. Our moms should meet! ;) How did you move past your own discomfort in revealing so much of yourself?
Emily: It was a process. In initial articles and drafts on the topic, I glazed over a lot with bad puns and abstraction because I had trouble admitting what I really felt: Robbie filming porn made me jealous and crazy! By the end, I was just trying to use the best details to reveal my emotional journey. Focusing on the writing and on connecting with readers allowed me to put any self consciousness out of my mind. Put it this way: I’m now way more concerned about whether a reader found a paragraph compelling than whether they know about my sexual quirks.
August: Why do you feel it’s important, particularly for women, to talk about porn?
Emily: This is an unscientific assumption, but I think it’s more common that dudes watch porn, joke about porn, and share what they found online. Robbie did with his friends growing up. My girlfriends and I didn’t, and I think mostly because we just didn’t think it was something for us and/or didn’t want to be labeled either prudes or sluts. I think that’s changing. Women are watching and producing more porn, and hopefully feeling empowered to take or leave what they do or don’t enjoy. It’s when we’re off in our own corners making assumptions based on porn that communication can misfire. So talk about it, ladies!
August: How have the experiences featured in Prude influenced you as a mother?
Emily: It’s hard to say at this point (my son is a-year-and-a-half old) but I think I’ll be much more prepared to have some tricky conversations with him down the road. I feel much more comfortable talking about sex and porn because of this strange journey. All that said, I’m pretty sure mothering a teenager will manage to make me feel like a prude all over again!
To stream or download our radio chat, visit this link on iTunes: Married to Porn
We’d love to hear from you! What did you think of Emily’s thoughts? How would you feel if your significant other took a job in the porn industry? Do you discuss porn with your partner or girlfriends?