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.
Portia Brown is a sex coach the and founder of Froetic Sexology, a sex education site that centers Black women and femmes. She spoke to us about free sex toys, the importance of mindfulness, and having tough convos with ourselves.
What are your top 5 bedside essentials (i.e. lube, vibes, sleeping mask, books)?
An essential oil diffuser. I mainly use lavender oil—it’s super-soothing and helps me fall asleep faster.
A CBD lube: I recently fell in love with it this year! It makes using lube more exciting and it REALLY is quite effective in bringing blood flow to the area.
Whatever book I am reading: I try to read as much as possible. Usually I am reading some historical fiction and if I’m reading nonfiction, it’s about sex or psychology or both.
My journal: so I can jot down thoughts and feelings that come up after sex, dreams, and masturbating. I also journal every morning: I make a list of intentions for the day and get my thoughts out so I can move on with a day that moves smoothly.
Whichever sex toy is currently in my rotation: I get sent sex toys from time to time and yes, it is as exciting as it sounds but I live a busy life so even scheduling time to try them out can be a challenge. (I know, poor me, huh?) I keep them on top of my nightstand so I don’t forget to prioritize “me” time, and so my partner and I can remember to use them when we are together.
If you could tell your teenage self one thing about sex, what would you say?
You deserve pleasure! You deserve pleasure! You deserve pleasure! You don’t have to put up with painful and uncomfortable sex. You deserve pleasure!
What question about sex and intimacy keeps coming up from your clients in your work?
“How can I feel more present during sex? My mind always wanders off, how do I stay in the room with my partner?”
I love this question, not only because it is so common but also because the solution is something that helps us across our lives. I always recommend mindfulness first (though this is not always the total solution, it always helps and never hurts). I essentially encourage people to be more mindful in less intimate parts of their life so they can be well practiced for sex. We also go through breathing and grounding techniques to help them feel like they are “in their body” and not in their heads so much.
What does “self-care” mean to you?
Self-care means finding balance! It’s not all bubble baths and body oils. Sometimes self-care is therapy. Sometimes self-care is having hard conversations with yourself or sitting down and tackling your monthly budget so you don’t have to stress over money!
What harmful or useless sexual script have you learned to dismantle in your own life?
I think the most harmful script I’ve dismantled in my life is the idea that I can’t be queer AND in a hetero relationship. I think embracing that has changed the way I interact with my partners and the way I navigate sexual situations.