Rana Good is the founder of Naïra NYC. A writer for publications such as Forbes, Travel + Leisure, Coveteur, Mens Journal and others, she created her own platform celebrating women of color.
Intimacy expert and bestselling author Shan Boodram launched her career as a sexologist because of bad sex. Wildly disappointed by her personal sexual encounters as a young adult, she sought out more information about sex and pleasure. As she learned more, her sex life improved and she decided to build a platform to share her insights as a sex educator.
This eventually led her to YouTube and growing a vast social media following, with several stints on TV along the way. Check out her Instagram where you can learn about important yet still taboo topics like sex toys, self-pleasure, or her recent series of seven ways to achieve orgasm through various erogenous zones, including your nipples.
We spoke to Boodram about the most common sex issues she encounters speaking to others, how to solve them, and why you need to listen to her podcast stat.
What made you decide to become a sexologist and what was your path in this field?
Shan Boodram: I actually started in this field when I was five years old. People think of purpose as something you have to find, but a lot of times your purpose is very similar to what you wanted to be as a child. I was always fascinated by the human body and thought that it was beautiful. I enjoyed exploring my own body and didn’t feel shame about it, however, I grew up in a catholic family and went to a catholic school so that changed my outlook. I found my way back to my purpose at age 19 through massive disappointment when it came to sex. I found myself at a crossroads – either sex was negative and dangerous, or I had it right at a young age with bad information. After going to the library and reading many books, it did create a huge improvement in my life through learning. I decided that I wanted to make sex education sexy and accessible. I graduated with a degree in journalism and then became a certified sex educator in Canada. Then I moved to California and became a certified sexologist in 2016. Now I’m getting my master’s in psychology.
People think that sex education is two weeks in school or a book that you read. I’ve been in this space for 15 years now since I was 19 years old and I’m still learning. I’ll never stop learning about how to be a successful intimate partner!
You aspire to be a mix of Dr. Ruth and Rihanna, what does that mean?
Dr. Ruth revolutionized sex education, she made it accessible and became a household name, which was unheard of before. Unfortunately, people are ashamed to look for help with sex and they shouldn’t be. Rihanna revolutionized sexy, she celebrates showcasing your body and with Savage X Fenty she made lingerie accessible to all body types. I love how she uses her sensuality in unique ways. Also, let’s be honest, she’s also the person whose bathwater we all want to drink! I wanted to make sex education accessible and I wanted to make it sexy. And Rihanna is who I think of when I think of sexy.
Since you have 15 years of experience, what are the most common questions you get about sex and intimacy? What’s your advice?
During the pandemic, the most common question I was asked by far was about mismatched sex drives. Since people were in a prolonged cuffing season or isolated period with their partner, people realized they have different sex drives and sexual needs. My podcast which I just launched (and is at #36 in America which I’m really proud of) is all about unassisted orgasms episode 1. That means orgasms that occur just from penetration without clitoral or other erogenous zone stimulation. We see unassisted orgasms as the norm, but only 25 percent of people with vulvas can achieve orgasm that way. I am one of the 75 percent who can’t achieve orgasm just through penetration and this first episode is one of the reasons I even got involved in this field.
To begin with, I thought something was wrong with me. It’s also the number one question I get all the time. Why can’t I orgasm during partnered sex? Why can’t I receive pleasure? How do I receive pleasure?
It’s important to change the script and move away from this idea that unassisted orgasms are the pinnacle of sex. That’s why I’m so passionate about self-pleasure and why I work with brands like LELO, to make great really orgasms done your way, at your hands, accessible for everybody. Ninety-five percent of people with vulvas who masturbate are able to achieve orgasm but only 68 percent achieve orgasm during sex. Women need to bring what they do to themselves into the bedroom. We need to bridge the gap between what happens in solo sex and with your partner. There’s a toy called TIANI3 with a remote control that’s a great way to educate your partner on what gets your off but also include them in the process.
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What have been some of your career’s biggest milestones? Why are you most proud of them?
I’m most proud of my book Game of Desire – it’s changed me in so many ways. I worked with six women on this book, and I learned and loved a lot. I’m also super proud of my podcast, “Lovers and Friends”, I’ve been trying to have one since 2006 and have been a guest on so many podcasts. I know everyone and their uncle has a podcast but I’m really trying to add something new to this. I brought my experience in showrunning to this podcast — it’s not just a conversation, there are real segments, clips, and interviews. Also, there are dialogues for the audience to model their conversations about sex and intimacy after.
When I get to partner with companies like LELO, that’s also a dream come true. When I first entered this space, I was losing jobs and had very little money which was stressful as I was an immigrant to America. I was taking a gamble on myself. Now there are companies that are looking for a voice like mine which is so hard to do in this society. Take, for example, Instagram, you can’t even write the word sex without on there without it being flagged. Working with companies to join forces to tackle sexual taboos is a very proud accomplishment of mine.
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You have a company with your husband, Shared Entertainment. What are your plans with Shared Entertainment and what’s it like to work with your husband?
Shared stands for Shan and Jared, our names combined. We started a company before we were even engaged! We were ready to commit to a work relationship before our relationship because there’s so much crossover in our passions. I’m so lucky to have a partner who is my sex expert. He’s so curious and sex-positive – I got someone who wanted to do the work on their own and wasn’t intimated by my work. It’s challenging, beautiful, and cool. It’s just like sex, right? Sometimes it’s hot as fuck and cool, sometimes it’s perfect and awkward. When it doesn’t work, we just talk about it. The fact that we’re doing it together is what makes it so beautiful.
How do self-love and sensuality make you a better partner in a relationship?
Self-love and self-sensuality to me mean, I would date me, and I would choose me. How we love ourselves is our best practice — if you can master self-love, the sky is the limit for our intimate potential with others. When you have self-love you learn about yourself and take time to get to know yourself. When you delight in your own company and pleasure, that’s a turn-on in itself.
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