NYU’s new sex-positive podcast tells you how to have ‘Good Sex @ NYU’

NYU’s Health Promotion Office dropped the first two episodes of its newest podcast, talking about what good sex means to the university community.

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Kevin Wu

The “Good Sex @ NYU” podcast features university faculty and other guests to educate listeners on safe sex practices. (Kevin Wu for WSN)

Aarna Dixit, Contributing Writer

Growing up in India, I didn’t receive any sex education. Now, the world of sex and sexuality has been crucial to who I am today — I became a sex educator with Planned Parenthood after moving to the United States. When NYU’s Health Promotion Office launched the first round of its inclusive, comprehensive sex education podcast, Good Sex @ NYU, I knew I had to speak to the team and hear more about their vision for this accessible public health project. 

Good Sex @ NYU interviews students and faculty, focusing on producing smaller episodes that address sex-specific issues. Guests are welcome to share their own stories and create a more conversational, informal tone. The podcast is an innovative and engaging way to increase awareness about sex and sexuality on campus. 

Podcast co-host Danielle Elleman, NYU’s associate director of Sexual and Relationship Respect Services, is excited most about starting sex-positive conversations and hearing people’s stories. 

“I am excited to interview folks from different schools, cultures, backgrounds and identities, just to hear stories from across campus and the globe,” Elleman said. “When it comes to our quickie topics, I am most excited to talk about primary prevention of harm, masturbation, mental health and pleasure, BDSM, different types of relationship models, and so many others.”

The first episode is an introduction, and the second is an interview with Jason Pina, vice president for University Life and Global Engagement. Elleman said the idea for the podcast came out of a Counseling and Wellness workshop she facilitated with sexpert Alyssa LaFosse called “Let’s Talk About Sex.”

“This experience led me to want to find a way to have more conversations around healthy relationships, pleasure and sex,” Elleman said. “Often, I am talking about sex and relationships that are harmful, unhealthy or abusive, and the goal of the podcast is to consider ways to talk about primary prevention, looking at the underlying root causes of sexual and relationship harm, while also providing practical information.”

April Fellers, the podcast co-host and nurse manager for NYU’s COVID-19 Prevention & Response Team, emphasized the podcast’s openness and vulnerability around sex.

“Vulnerability inspires connection, so I’m hoping that once people hear other members of the community share their personal stories on the podcast, they will feel comfortable to keep the conversation going,” Fellers said. “I hope the podcast will illuminate all levels of oppression — ideological, institutional, interpersonal and internalized — and empower our community to challenge social and cultural norms that disenfranchise marginalized communities as a result of these oppressions.”

Tisch graduate student and intern for the podcast Parade Stone feels the project is crucial for the NYU community. 

“In undergrad, I craved a source for accurate information about sex, intimacy and pleasure that wasn’t my friends or the internet,” Stone said. “A podcast is a great medium to deliver this critical information about sexual health as podcasts are digestible and will make the listeners feel less alone. Sex is vulnerable. It’s important for students to have a resource that affirms all the nuanced emotions that come with the territory.”

Fellers knows pleasure is rarely included in discussions surrounding sex and wants to shift the conversation to a pleasure and sex-positive perspective.

“With Good Sex @ NYU, we’re changing the conversation so that people can get to know their bodies and what they like and don’t like,” Fellers said. “People empowered with information are more likely to have a happy and healthy sex life, throughout their lifespan, and less likely to be unhappy, have regrets, or be taken advantage of in sexual or relationship experiences.” 

Good Sex @ NYU is seeking interviewees from all NYU campuses and global sites. The co-hosts described the podcast as a safe and open-minded interview environment where the podcasters will answer any questions brought in. 

The team also hopes that listening to the podcast will help make students become more aware of campus resources — including the Student Health Center’s GYN Health, Counseling and Wellness Services and Global Spiritual Life — that address sexual health, pleasure and mental health.

“We especially want to highlight experiences and amplify voices that are sometimes overlooked or unheard,” Fellers said. 

Elleman says the NYU Counseling and Wellness Services provides a number of workshops including Navigating Healthy Dating Relationships, Let’s Talk About Sex, Stress Management in Uncertain times and Understanding Trauma. The Student Health Center also has a Sexpert that students can meet with individually to explore their sexual health questions, 

“I hope the NYU community can connect to the folks who we interview in different ways to know that they are not alone,” Elleman said. “By developing this podcast, we want folks to know that they are not alone in their sexual and relationship journeys. I am hoping that others will find some additional empathy for people who might seem on the surface very different, but are actually more similar than we realize.”

The first two episodes of Good Sex @ NYU are now out on all platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcast and iHeart Radio with episodes to follow every Monday.

Contact Aarna Dixit at [email protected]