Interviewer: Tell us how you met.
Jennifer: At San Diego Sexual Health Day — of course!
Interviewer: Is that when you decided to work as co-authors?
Jennifer: It was less of a decision and more of an evolution. The idea for Women and Kink had been on my mind for years, but there was always a distraction—such as grad school, becoming a licensed therapist and certified sex therapist, and starting my own company. (Smiles.) But that didn’t make the idea any less persistent.
The day I met Julia, I told her about my book, and she was immediately interested in being a co-author. I gave a good deal of consideration to the idea of having a co-author. I felt very protective of my research results and did not want them misconstrued or used to promote anyone’s agenda. It was with a bit of trepidation that I agreed to including her as a co-author.
Julia approached authorship with candor and curiosity, and my apprehension eased. As I got to know her better, I recognized the important perspective she brought, both from her fresh insight and from her life and work experiences. Many of the ideas in the book are hers, and I know Women and Kink wouldn’t have the same sparkle without her.
Julia: Being asked to co-author a book on women and kink was something I never even considered—but the moment it became a possibility, I felt something change inside me. I would be able to make a difference in people’s lives; not just people I knew, but people from all walks of life, people anywhere in the world.
I did sense Jennifer’s unease. I, too, would have felt protective of my research, and I did my best to reassure Jennifer that I had no ulterior motives. Plus, I had never been in a co-author relationship, so I was not sure what to expect, nor what Jennifer expected of me. I had to honestly ponder, “What can I bring to this collaboration?”
Still, this opportunity was a powerful aphrodisiac. I was suddenly empowered to step beyond my own horizons. How could I resist?
Little did I realize I was stepping off a precipice. (Laughs.) I suddenly had to rearrange time spent on my profession and my studies. I had to explain to my boyfriend and my girlfriend that I would no longer be available on most weekends. I had to allocate time during the week to work on the book so that I was prepared for the long weekend sessions.
I worked—hard!—to help write this book. There was so very much to learn and do and understand.
But the result was personal and professional growth, a wonderful book, and a wonderful friendship. Co-authoring is such an intimate experience, it’s like we got into each other’s heads while writing Women and Kink, and so many of the ideas are neither solely mine, or Jennifer’s, but rather ours.
Interviewer: Is there anything that particularly stands out about writing Women and Kink?
Julia: Sometimes the emotional intensity of the women touched me such that it was difficult to process my own feelings. There was, for example, a woman who promised her husband sexual and emotional fidelity. He died, and she still kept her promise to him. Her love and devotion transcended death.
Even now, it is difficult for me to comprehend so deep a commitment. I am honored and humbled to be instrumental in sharing such an experience with the readers of our book.
And this is but one of many examples. I was given a gift, a chance to share special stories with the world. As I co-created Women and Kink, that feeling never left me.
Jennifer: As we analyzed and organized the women’s quotations, we found that, for every woman who exclaims, “Everyone does that!” another woman says, “No one does that!” For some women, kink has a set of unbreakable rules that for other women are the antithesis of kink. In some relationships, the Master always cooks dinner and in others, the Master would never cook.
Beyond illuminating the rich variety our world offers, such ideas continuously remind me that my own hard-and-fast rules should be periodically examined. Why do I believe what I believe? Where did I get such notions? What if I didn’t do that, but did something else instead? What if I broke my own rules?
It’s not a question of right or wrong, but of life, happiness, and growth.
Those invisible, anonymous women in my book changed me. What a lovely surprise!
Interviewer: Now that Women and Kink is finished, where do you go from here?
Jennifer: It’s true that the writing is finished, our publisher, Routledge, is marketing Women and Kink, and our book can be found here. But now it’s time to get the word out there! (Smiles.) We truly believe this book can be helpful for many people on many levels, so we feel an obligation let people know about it.
Julia: We are taking a personal interest in promoting these women’s relationships, reasons, and stories. We are attending conferences in Sexology and Psychotherapy as well as kink-related events and fetish events to publicize our book. We are working with professional and community based organizations to give presentations about Women and Kink, offering book-signing opportunities, and we are donating a number of books to various causes that serve the kink community. When possible, we will be traveling to events such as Montreal Fetish Weekend —whose organizers supported our initial research—to thank them and to continue to promote their causes.
Interviewer: One final question. In Chapter 3, Reasons for Participating in Kink, you describe a vulva in detail. Do you think that kind of anatomical detail is necessary in a book on Women and Kink?
Jennifer: Anything that someone finds offensive in our book is a typo.
Julia: Yeah. You should contact the publisher. (Wink.)
Friendship is fun!