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Five Women Driving the Female Sexual Revolution: Stephanie Theobald (broadcaster and author)

by Beth Divine 18 Feb 2019

Stephanie Theobald is call for a pleasure revolution. The first sexual revolution, she says, was all about male pleasure and satisfaction. The next – which is over due – should be all about women, women’s pleasure and reducing women’s shame in seeking sexual pleasure.

Theobald, who is bisexual despite having had mainly lesbian relationships since being in the public eye – her current relationship with a man, author Jake Arnott (himself previously thought to be exclusively gay) raised more than a few eyebrows, has recently written a book that is said to be part Kerouac part Didion. The book, Sex Drive: On the Road to a Pleasure Revolution, is an exploration on multiple levels.

Theobald is seeking her own intimate and personal pleasures, as she seeks out advice and conversation with those bastions of first, second and third-wave feminism that she can find. While she does so, she explores America, taking in cities and highways and small towns and rural by ways in equal number, finding out what is happening and for whom, taking, with skill and compassion, the pulse of American womanhood.

Some of the women that Theobald have spoken to are real giants in the movement for shame-free sexual pleasure for women: Betty Dodson who, at the age of eighty nine had recently resurrected classes that she used to hold in the 1970s – masturbation classes for women; Jocelyn Elders who was fired by Clinton for saying that masturbation should be discussed in schools, and Whitney Wolfe, founder of the feminist dating app, Bumble. All of these women, in their own ways, were ahead of their time, daring to challenge views about female sexuality, pleasure and even orgasm that hadn’t been challenged for decades, if not centuries

Theobald acknowledges their achievements, and builds upon them, wittily and unthreateningly encouraging women to find their own way to pleasure – to find it, and enjoy it, rejecting any thought that shame or humiliation has any place in anyone’s bedroom.