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Pleasure and trauma on The Erotic Philosopher

Pleasure and trauma on The Erotic Philosopher

In two weeks time I’m going to see my co-author, Alex Iantaffi, for the first time in person in nearly three years! Our last time together was at the Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies (NMCI) conference in Barcelona at the end of 2019 (you can check out our presentation here). It’s a massive understatement to say that much has happened in our lives at every level since then. It feels huge to finally be able to be together again.

It’s good timing, then, that our episode for The Erotic Philosopher podcast, with Cyndi Darnell, just came out. In this episode Alex and I draw on the book we wrote, via zoom, during the pandemic: How to Understand Your Sexuality. We cover how erotic, like other kinds of, pleasure is heavily constrained by both cultural and relational forms of trauma. These include the social norms and messages we receive about sex, and the patterns we develop to relate with others and ourselves (including our bodies and feelings), growing up.

You can listen to the podcast episode here. You can buy How To Understand Your Sexuality here. There’s more on trauma in my free book here.

Alex and I are hoping to spend most of our time together relaxing (Hell Yeah, Self-Care!), but it seems highly probable, knowing us, that we’ll also be starting to plan and scheme for our next book together, How to Understand Your Relationships. This book¬†will explore how we can relate with others (and ourselves), expanding our capacities against a backdrop of so much cultural and personal trauma around relationships. I’ve written a bit about some of these themes in my new zine, Relationship Struggles.


Meg-John Barker is the author of a number of popular books on sex, gender, and relationships, including Queer: A Graphic History, How To Understand Your Gender, Enjoy Sex (How, When, and IF You Want To), Rewriting the Rules, The Psychology of Sex, and The Secrets of Enduring Love. They have also written a number of books for scholars and counsellors on these topics, drawing on their own research and therapeutic practice.

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