In our What’s In Your Nightstand? series, we chat with friends of Swell across the globe about their sex essentials, their new projects, and what harmful sexual messages they’re railing against.
Luna Matatas is a sex and pleasure educator with over 10 years of experience teaching sexual health and empowerment workshops. She celebrates body confidence, self-adoration and building shame-free pleasure in and out of the bedroom. She teaches a wide range of topics; including threesomes, BDSM, butt stuff and sexual confidence. Her advice on sex and kink has been featured in Playboy, Cosmo, Vice, Women’s Health and Pornhub. Luna created Peg the Patriarchy® and Mediate Medicate Masturbate® brands as part of her line of sex-positive and feminist merchandise.
We spoke with Luna about unlearning sexual shame, high school sex ed, and how her appearance is the least interesting thing about her.
What are your top 5 bedside essentials (Ie. lube, vibes, sleeping mask, books)?
- Two vibrators – one that is clitorally focused and a rimming butt plug – gotta keep it spicy for both holes!
- Lube – because lube is life.
- 2 books – anything by Paulo Coelho because I need his poetic and romantic view of the world in my life, and Goddess in Every Woman which I usually pick a random section and read before bed
- phone – it’s my alarm and I use it to listen to sleep meditations since I am a troubled sleeper!
- mini humidifier – I’m in Toronto and it’s winter, it’s soooo dry!
If you could tell your teenage self one thing about sex, what would you say?
I would tell my teenage self that your appearance is the least important factor in your sexual satisfaction. I’d let her know that sexual empowerment comes from when you feel you belong and can take up space safely in your erotic self. I’d suggest to her that she keep masturbating, but try to leave the shame behind because it isn’t our authentic voice. I would excitedly tell her that I discovered that someone else’s desire for you isn’t anywhere near as powerful as your desire for yourself. Then I’d hold up a model of the clitoris and tell her what high school sex ed left out about our bodies’ pleasure potential.
What question about sex and intimacy keeps coming up from your clients in your practice or work?
Many of my clients want to be able to get out of their heads during sex. They worry about if their body is sexy enough, if their sexual performance lives up to their partner’s expectations and if their desires and fantasies are”’weird” or “too much.” Everyone is struggling with sexual confidence in and out of the bedroom, which tells us that we all were subject to a similar narrative rooted in sexual shame.
Our relationship to our sexual confidence is influenced by industries like beauty, fashion, fitness, diet and health, our families of origin, religion, culture, mainstream porn, trauma and more. It’s complicated, so for a lot of people they internalize this and it can feel almost impossible to find a different voice amongst all the ones inside you that tell you that you aren’t enough. The good news is, many of my clients find that through daily practices, self-compassion and communication, they can unlearn this shame and make more room for pleasure.
“It’s better to tackle self-care 5 minutes every day than assigning all your self-care energy to the one vacation you can take a year.”
What does “self-care” mean to you?
Self-care to me is about maintenance and pleasure. Self-care is like gardening – there are resources and conditions that you need in order to survive and thrive. A plant might be doing work on it’s roots and that growth might not be obvious if they aren’t blooming above the soil. You sometimes need self-care to meet your basic maintenance needs as a human – sleep, drinking water, nutrition. In addition to meeting these needs, adulting also requires us to take care of needs that are emotional (e.g. therapy, meditation, community) and needs that can feel like a chore; for example, doing your taxes.
Self-care that is focused on pleasure is also critical to your well-being or blooming. Self-care practices rooted in pleasure are about nourishing your desires to feel good, peaceful, playful and sensual. It’s better to tackle self-care 5 minutes every day than assigning all your self-care energy to the one vacation you can take a year. Pleasure-based practices include things like masturbation and things like dancing around to your favorite song, learning a new hobby, self-massage, colouring, connecting with a friend and alone time.
What harmful or useless sexual script have you learned to dismantle in your own life?
That to be attractive, you have to have a body that is celebrated by porn, mainstream media, fashion and fitness industries. My appearance is probably the least interesting thing about me, and for all of us, it is the most fleeting thing about us as we all age. Seeing my body as bait for sexual attention, desire, companionship and more – left me very dependent on external validation. When we are dependent on feeling good about ourselves based on the opinions of others, it’s really easy to sacrifice, edit or tame our own authentic needs and desires.
Now, I try to see my body as a vessel for the sexiness that I bring through my personality, my fantasies, my erotic energy, my imagination and my sensuality. My body is a vessel for all of that to shine through. The second liberation that came from letting go of this patriarchal idea, is that I raised my standards for what makes me feel emotionally and physically safe. When we think we are less than because of our appearance, it’s easy to just accept any attention, even if it isn’t nourishing. Taking up more space in this body with less self-judgment is the sexiest thing I’ve ever done – and it’s ageless.