The Pleasure Podcast

Writer and actor Naomi Sheldon and sexual function doctor Anand Patel explore the relationship we have with our bodies when it comes to sex, intimacy and pleasure in this new series of interviews with sexologists, DJs, novelists, therapists and more. I...

Latest episode

  • 10. S4, Ep 10 Lady Phyll: Black Pride and Same Gender Loving Women

    It’s the finale of season four! Thank you to all our guests and pleasure podders for making this a brilliant season, we’ve reached more people than ever before. We love our growing community and thrilled to know you’re as passionate as us when it comes to talking about pleasure. I’m taking a break to have my babies, but we’ll be back in January with a brand-new season. Don’t worry, there’s a juicy archive of episodes to explore so please dig in. But now for our finale guest, and this really is a special one…It’s international changemaker, Black Pride co-founder, MBE rejecting, aptly named Lady Phyll! Phyll Opoku-Gyimah co-founded UK Black Pride. She’s the exec director of Kaleidoscope Trust, an organisation working towards the liberation of LGBTQ people around the world; an Albert Kennedy Trust patron, and a public speaker focusing on race, gender, sexuality and class. She successfully campaigns for the better treatment of people of colour in the LGBTQ+ community and this year was voted number 4 on the Pride Power List.This is a gloriously personal conversation where we discuss the genesis of Black Pride and Phyll’s search for intimacy after her marriage ended and she was able to finally fully explore her sexuality with women.She shares the emotional connection found in her first sexual experience with a woman which allowed her to be ‘seen’ in the most profound way, as well as her thoughts on polyamory and having sex that allows for vulnerability rather than performance, not ignoring of course, the simple joy of fucking!We talk about the paths trodden by Black lesbian women who have come before her and why UK Black Pride has come together as an ongoing movement rather than a moment providing an inclusive safe space to connect with your chosen family. And the importance of recognising the broad range of identities that we have - the intersections of race, gender, sexuality that are all important to recognise to manage true allyship.In a zoom miracle, in under an hour, the three of us fell in love - we hope you do too.Lady Phyll is the is the co-editor of Sista!, an anthology of writings by same sex living women of African/Caribbean descent with a connection to the United Kingdom, released by Team Angelica Publishing in 2018, which includes work by 31 writers and available on Amazon and all good bookshops.*We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us.*Social Media:Lady Phyll: @MsLadyPhyllNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 9. S4, Ep 9 Sangeeta Pillai: The Price of Indian Feminism

    Today on the Pleasure Podcast we welcome Sangeeta Pillai, founder of feminist online platform Soul Sutras and fighter of Indian Patriarchy! Sangeeta developed SoulSutras to be a safe space for South Asian womxn to tell their stories openly without shame or fear, connecting with one another, sharing a common cultural identity.Soul Sutras has developed into a feminist platform hosting the award-winning taboo-shaking Masala Podcast to developing Masala Monologues, a series of writing workshops and theatre shows in the UK and US.Sangeeta talks to us about her childhood, growing up in the slums of Mumbai and expected to follow the narrow familiar trajectory planned and expected for South Asian women of obedient daughter, wife, and mother. Sangeeta pushed against traditional expectations from a very young age, being the first woman in her family to work and decline marriage, but not without significant personal cost.We discuss the cultural drive for purity and the responsibility of women to guard that safely between her legs. Sangeeta received the message from her family that physical pleasure is not for her, that sex will be the ruin of the archetypal good Indian woman. The strongly conditioned links between nudity and sex and shame at an early age limited access of even simple intimacy.Having a breakdown led to Sangeeta's sexual awakening and eventually her drive to create a safe space for women to speak to each other and open up. A blog became a writing workshop which developed into a theatre space and an award-winning podcast.We talk about reclaiming the sexual heritage of India such as the Kama Sutra for a great seductive sexual experience, and look at India as a liberal secular place of openness and possibility. We discuss the deification of boys that is endemic in Indian culture and how growing up feeling like you are somehow better is harmful for both men and women. We discuss how her more traditional extended family have responded to her work by silence, how to move forward when you are not seen as a success by your family, and how the price she has paid for the path she has chosen is loneliness.Sangeeta keeps pushing the boundaries, recognising the importance of keeping challenging the silence and taboos in Asian culture to allow us all to normalise sex and intimacy and affection.Learn more about Soul Sutras here and catch Sangeeta’s wonderful Masala Podcast on Spotify, iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts!*We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us.*Social Media:Sangeeta Pillai: @Soul_SutrasNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at
  • 8. S4, Ep 8 Julia Schönstädt: The Feminist Porn Movement

    This week on The Pleasure Podcast we welcome German portrait photographer, music video and lesbian feminist porn director Julia Schönstädt. Julia is passionate about platforming unheard voices, working with prisoners, refugees as well as sex workers, helping the world to see them beyond their labels. Her 16 Bars Project, a prisoner's portrait series that aimed to raise awareness for the penal system, led to a Guardian award.Her work as a guest director for Erika Lust, the pioneer in feminist porn, was her first foray into the adult film world. Fed up with the mainstream representation of girl on girl porn, Julia’s work centers on authentic content for the LGBTQ community. She sent us a couple of her films and they are breath taking, fusing a music video aesthetic with erotica to create a delight for the senses, far removed from mainstream porn.You can access the films we discuss All Eyez on Me and Pleasure Seekers . Warning...they are very sexy.We discuss the problems of mainstream porn and how ethical porn is fighting to counteract them, from consent and sexual health, to making sure that women are behind the camera as well as in front.Julia shares her experience as a porn director on and off set; how language is key when making sex scenes believable and why revealing that she works in the sex industry was more scary than coming out.We look at the importance of speaking openly about porn, why we should be paying for it, and how porn has a role and a duty of care to teach about consent, diversity and sexuality to a whole generation of kids who rely on porn for their sex education.Julia has a production company @sugartowngirls and you can access Julia's films we discuss here:ALL EYEZ ON MEPLEASURE SEEKERS1953You can find out more about Julia's other work on her website: *We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us.*Social Media:Julia Schönstädt: @j.schoenstaedtNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at
  • 7. S4, Ep 7 Paapa Essiedu: Lads Mags, #MeToo and how men are moving on.

    This week on The Pleasure Podcast we welcome actor Paapa Essiedu. He’s been named a BAFTA breakthrough Brit and won huge acclaim for his performance as the RSC’s first black Hamlet. In Michaela Coel’s series I May Destory you he plays the sex positive Kwame, a gay man whose assault is ignored by the Police – a beautifully nuanced performance. But Naomi will always think of him as the man she met at the RSC who in one memorable show played a singing seal as her understudy – a role she'll never let him forget.Paapa grew up in east London, and was raised by his Ghanaian Christian mother, after his father left for Ghana. Her upbringing had a long-lasting impact which made him the man he is today.We talk to Paapa about growing up in the 90s, poor and Black on a London estate and what happens if your only sex education is learnt from lads’ mags and fumbles behind the bike shed. We look at how lad culture can forge desires that don’t match up to the girl you fancy in Geography and the unlearning men must do to discover their own tastes.Paapa tells us how sometimes not having your dad breathing down your neck can let you be free to be your own man and the privilege of emotional vulnerability when being strong and hard can act as a mode of survival. We touch on how Black men are pushed towards hyper sexualisation and how the #MeToo movement has impacted the conversations men are now having. How willing are they to engage with past behaviours?CW: RacismIf you would like to know more about groups that are supporting men and their role in society do check out the following organisations:The Good Men Project: A website that examines what it means to be a good man in today's society.Good Lad Initiative: specialising in helping men and boys to contribute to improving gender relations. *We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us.*Social Media:Paapa Essiedu: @PaapaEssieduNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at  
  • 6. S4, Ep 6 Janine David: Sex and Sexual Identity During Pregnancy

    Next week we’ll be returning to business as usual but for now it’s the finale of our mini-series on parenthood. This week we welcome doctor and sexual function specialist, Janine David to speak to us about sex and sexuality in pregnancy. Janine is a GP working in Wales who specialises in Men and Women’s sexual health. She developed an interest in sexual health in 2013 and, like Anand, is a Fellow of the European Committee of Sexual Medicine (FECSM). This is the highest qualification you can achieve in this field and she is the only active GP in Wales to hold this.Janine has a diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and is a member of the British, European and International Societies of Sexual Medicine (BSSM, ESSM & ISSM).Janine is a regular speaker on the national and international stage and is actively involved in clinical research as well as being a mother and so we are thrilled to have her join us on The Pleasure Podcast to talk about sex and sexuality in pregnancy!We discuss medical training and recognise the gaps that don’t aid us in supporting pregnant women, let alone talk about sex with them. Janine slays myths about sex in pregnancy and shares how important intimacy between couples is: we need to recognise how we remain sexual beings before, during and after pregnancy even if the actual delivery can shock men’s perspectives of their partner’s genitals!We speak practically about the importance of masturbation, how to make sex more comfortable in the later stages and how sadly semen isn’t going to stimulate labour, but orgasms serve to keep you together.It’s a frank and fun conversation about relishing the changes in pregnant bodies, maintaining intimacy and retaining your sexual identity.Learn more about Janine’s clinics here.*We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us.*Social Media:Janine David: @DrJanineDavidNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at 
  • 5. S4, Ep5 Anna Jordan: Miscarriage and Becoming a Mother

    This week’s guest is Bruntwood Prize winning playwright, screenwriter and director Anna Jordan. Her work has been performed in theatres around the country from the Royal Court to the Royal Exchange. On screen you’ll have heard her whip smart dialogue in shows such as Succession and Killing Eve. Her down to earth charm is combined with a furiously wicked humour – finding laughter and hope in the darkest of places. And it’s this combination that is so striking in her monologue for The Bunker’s Everywoman, in which playwrights wrote confessions on parenting and identity. Anna’s piece was on her miscarriages and navigating a potential motherhood whilst losing her own mother. In Anna’s signature style, the account is far from hopeless, more, it’s an honest tale about a subject that is still so little spoken of without shame and fear. Anna had three missed miscarriages before she had her son (who makes a star appearance). She talks to us about trying for a baby, the losses along the way, what a missed miscarriage is and the choices that follow. We discuss how writing can help us find a way to remember and the joy of finding just the right word for some of the most painful experiences of life. Anna explores the shame of blood, who to tell about your miscarriages and the act of falling in love with her pregnant body after years of self-scrutiny. She says ‘if one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage then why as a society don’t we talk about this more? Why is it that anything that occurs below the belly button and above the knee of a woman is talked about in whispers?’We do go to some darker places here about so take care if you’ve been affected by miscarriage.CW: Miscarriage, deathAnna is a terrific workshop facilitator and will running a Nurture Ideas and Keep Them Alive workshop on Thurs 3rd Sept, perfect for anyone who wants to get that writing idea down on paper however experienced you are- you can book on eventbrite HEREAnna is represented by Camilla Young at Curtis BrownRead more about Anna's experience in her blog HERE*For support about pregnancy, miscarriage and pregnancy loss/still birth you can contact:Tommy’s CharityThe Miscarriage Association provide free advice and supportAnd for stillbirths and neonatal...
  • 4. S4, Ep 4 Freddy McConnell: The Dad who Gave Birth

    Today we welcome award-winning Guardian journalist, writer and full-time single dad, Freddy McConnell. Freddy is perhaps most well-known for the film Seahorse: The Dad Who Gave Birth directed by acclaimed director Jeanie Finlay which documented his journey into fatherhood as a trans man. Freddy speaks to us about the empowering experience of realising he was trans, of coming off of testosterone to become pregnant, and how being trans is not necessarily a transition but a state of being.We also discuss the misinformation given to trans men about the effects of testosterone therapy on their fertility. I found this interview particularly fascinating given my work with testosterone deficiency syndrome in cis men. It was a really important reminder that our assumptions in the medical profession need to be challenged when it comes to treating trans bodies.Freddy talks about his childhood, the freedom he was given to make his own choices and the compromises he felt compelled to make. We talk about his experimentation with identity, about the difficulty in getting information about being trans 10 years ago and the struggle to get medical treatment - in cases it can be years until the first appointment, let alone starting treatment.Importantly, we look at the difference between treating trans men and cis men with testosterone and the evolution of understanding how it affects trans men. We discuss the changes that testosterone had on Freddy’s body from hair to his own scent and then being read as male - a hugely affirming moment. Freddy shares how being cared for as a trans man being pregnant was rather uncomplicated, the midwife simply caring for the person in front of them and how the challenges of pregnancy were more from the lack of testosterone and the dysphoria rather than pregnancy.Seahorse is available to watch here.Freddy's work can be found on his website here.*We would love to hear from you: email us at or tweet us @ThePleasurePod.Please do rate, review, and share the podcast, it helps other people find us!*Social Media:Freddy McConnell: @FreddyMcConnellNaomi Sheldon: @NaomiSheldon1Anand Patel: @therealdranandFollow us at @ThePleasurePod and visit us at