In what we hope will be a regular habit, we present the very first Erotic Intent Q&A. Appropriately, it’s with certified sex educator, author, and body-acceptance and pleasure advocate, Elle Chase.
Elle is considered a powerful thought leader and a key influencer in the sexual health community, most notably for her respected voice in the body acceptance/body neutrality movement.
She is also the Founder and serves as the Director of Education at the Los Angeles Academy of Sex Education, has been featured in major media from NBC’s The Today Show, ABC’s Nightline, The New York Times, to Teen Vogue, The Daily Beast, Cosmopolitan and loads of others, and is a sought-after expert for some of the world’s highest-rated podcasts and radio shows including; Sex with Emily, Savage Lovecast with Dan Savage, Sex Out Loud, and Loveline. Read her full bio here.
Clearly, this woman knows what she’s talking about. She’s also fun. We discovered Elle thanks to her beautifully explicit, illustrated groundbreaking, how-to book, “Curvy Girl Sex: 101 Body-Positive Positions to Empower Your Sex Life” (Quarto Publishing/Fair Winds Press).
Above: "Curvy Girls Sex" by Elle Chase (Quarto Publishing/Fair Winds Press).
A first of its kind, reviews of “Curvy Girl Sex” were predictably positive and many point out that much of the advice in the book is applicable regardless of body size.
Frankly, Elle's super-sex positive energy is contagious. Even if you aren't a "curvy girl," even if you are a man, even a gay man, you might consider reading her book just to be more enlightened about body positivity, female sexuality and sexuality in general.
We were curious about the life of a sex educator, and luckily Elle obliged us by answering a brief Q&A. But first, by way of introduction, we wanted to share the preface from “Curvy Girl Sex,” as is an insightful, personal introduction to Elle and also her book.
Take it away, Elle!
The Preface to "Curvy Girl Sex"
I became a sex educator and body acceptance advocate by accident. Fresh out of a seven-year marriage where there was barely any sex, I craved passion—which I saw on TV and movies, but never experienced in my own life. Never feeling desirable, sexy, or worthy of sexual plea-sure, I had always felt neuter, unconnected to my body and convinced that sex and the joys that came with a good sex life were for other people, not me.
So after I left my husband, I found myself at a cross-roads. I was desperate for passion, single, overweight, and completely unequipped with the tools to date successfully or to have passionate, confident sex without caring about how fat I was. I longed to feel someone crave me. But who could feel passion for a fat chick, with cellulite, scars, florescent-white skin, and crooked teeth? People like me didn’t experience high-adrenaline, fervent, ardent love affairs. I had to be realistic, and I had to accept that I was never going to be the object of the desire and salacious abandon that I craved. I had to settle for what I could find and somehow make it work.
But I was wrong. Oh boy, was I wrong.
Above: Chapter 6 opening spread of "Curvy Girl Sex"
I had nothing to lose, so I started dating online. Sure, I got rejected just like everyone does, but what I found was that all types of men were interested in me. Some of them had a penchant for my body type, some men didn’t care about body type, and some men found the whole package attractive. This was a revolutionary concept to me. I didn’t expect to sleep with or date such a variety of fascinating, smart, and passionate men—of all shapes and sizes. I dated “traditionally good-looking” actors, a super-sexy masseur, a politician, a nerdy techie, and a dashing photographer, to name a few. Most of these men were younger than me, and not only were all of them physically and personally different but they were also all attracted to me regardless of my weight and flaws. My belief that I was inherently undesirable quickly evaporated.
I realized that not only was I attracted to all types of men—tall, short, fat, skinny, long-haired, bald, scarred, smooth, muscled, soft—but that all these men were attract-ed to me. If this was true in my life, I couldn’t be the only one. This realization gave me the germ of self-confidence that I needed to further explore and experience the sexual passion I so desired and, in a short time, got. I realized that my judgment that I was unattractive and undesirable wasn’t based in reality. It was a verdict I came to subconsciously over a lifetime of feedback and opinions gathered from mean girls at school, the media, and some really poor choices in men. The truth was I was sexy as hell as long as I didn’t pay attention to my old misconceptions and instead focused on enjoying myself, which included discovering what (and who) made me feel sensual and sexy, how to identify it in my body, the ways I feel chemistry with some-one, and how to recognize when they were feeling it, too.
Above: The handy organizer icons, provided in the book make it easy to see which sex acts and positions are right for you.
During this time, I recognized that the negative feelings I had toward my body and my sexual desirability was a social construct thrust upon me—one that I unwittingly and subconsciously took part in. I finally understand that this construct—that fat women aren’t sexy, or a woman must wear heels and flirty dresses, she must bat her eyes and let her date determine her dateability—was a lie. I was free. I wanted all women to know this fact. I wanted all women to know and feel confident that we are all sexy, and it has nothing to do with flat abs or lustrous hair, but everything to do with how sexy we feel and how connected we are to our sexuality.
This truth was the impetus for this book. You can’t enjoy sex if you’re constantly worrying about whether you’re sexy enough for your partner. You can’t enjoy sex when you are thinking about how to do it while looking elegant or hiding your rolls. You can’t enjoy sex if your mind is wandering and you’re not concentrating on your partner’s pleasure and your own. This is more than a book of sex positions. I hope that this book will show you how to own and accept your body the way it is right now . . . and then move on and have a fulfilling sex life.
I hope that in some way this book will empower you to not let anything get in the way of improving your sex life. Whether you learn a new position or two, come away with a better understanding of your pleasure or anatomy, or go out and buy your first sex toy, I’ll call that a success. Know that you deserve pleasure and it’s never too late to find it.
And now our Q&A with Elle...
According the Preface, you became a sex educator after your marriage ended. How does one become a sex educator? School? Online classes?
Yes! I did a lot of reading and then went through the San Francisco Sex Information Sex Educator Training Program in … where else, San Francisco.
Above: A typical spread from "Curvy Girl Sex."
How did you gather all the info and advice in the book?
The book is really autobiographical. I created a class called “Big, Beautiful Sex” that I had been teaching and really just expanded on it and then added 101 positions … which I tried out myself!