Harlot Interview: Gia Lynne, Author of ‘On Blossoming’
Adolescence, puberty, coming-of-age…whatever you call that time of life between childhood and adulthood, we know two things to be true:
It’s confusing, frustrating, and even a little scary
It helps shape who we are, who we will become, and how we will become it more than any other time in our lives
Sadly, it’s also a time many of us feel alone, too embarrassed to ask our questions or give voice to our concerns. This is a growing problem that many in the sexual health community have been working to fix. Gia Lynne is one such person. An advocate, educator and author, Gia recently released her debut book about that “in between” time in hopes to reach out to a new generation of “up and coming” young adults. In the midst of her busy schedule, Gia was kind enough to chat with me about her new book: On Blossoming.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Gia Lynne and I’m a pleasure-focused author, educator, and personal coach. I studied at U.C. Berkeley and am pursuing a Masters degree in Human Sexuality. My first book, On Blossoming, was released on May 7th.
tell us about your book. What inspired you to write it?
On Blossoming is sex education book which focuses on the fundamentals of pleasure, for teens and for parents/guardians raising them. I was raised in an intentional community which offers courses on relationships, communication and sensuality. As a result, I was given comprehensive sex ed growing up (and throughout my life) which has greatly influenced my choices in writing this book as well as my coaching practice. I’ve experienced firsthand the positive benefits of receiving open and accurate information about our bodies and sexual health has on a person’s life and well-being.
Once I became an adult, I was able to look back on my adolescence and realize how unique of an upbringing I truly had. How many people can say that they have close friendships with their parents? Or that their mom talked to them about the existence of the clitoris?
Growing up and having these kinds of open conversations, where I felt safe to ask any questions I had, made the challenging experience of puberty so much easier and much more fun. It wasn’t something I got a chance to appreciate until I graduated from college. At that point, I took some time for reflection and realized writing about my experience could benefit other people who are looking for an alternative and/or addition to the kind of sex ed that’s typically made available that usually emphasizes reproductive biology or abstinence. There is certainly value in learning about fallopian tubes, but I think it’s really important to create a broader conversation about building relationships, having good communication, and knowing how to create pleasure for yourself- to name a few topics!
Who do you think can benefit from your book?
I have noticed a growing desire from both parents and youth for better, truly comprehensive sex education. It’s time to provide accurate, clear information about how our bodies function, as well as the tools that are innately available to us to experience pleasure. This book is for people who want to know more, either for themselves or a loved one. While I focused my content on a younger audience (I talk about menarche and puberty) I think anyone interested in leading a happier life and experiencing more pleasure, whatever that looks like for them, will get something out of the book.
I also think the book is a great conversation starter, or platform for conversation, between a parent/guardian and the teen they are raising. If both parties are able to read the book, I think that is a perfect setting for some really interesting, useful conversations that will have a positive impact on both people’s lives.
From what I read in your book, you seem to have a very close and open relationship with your family, how do you believe this helpd you as a sexual health educator, if at all?
Great question, because it’s helped me hugely! I spent a lot of time in my early twenties wondering what I wanted to do with my life- I was running a non-profit, working as an editor and a landscaper, and had a great life, but I still felt unsure of what I really wanted to be doing. Eventually, I realized that what made me happiest was talking to other people about these fundamental ideas and concepts that I was exposed to through growing up in my intentional community and with my family. It was a classic case of not being able to see the thing that is right in front of your face! The close relationships I have with my family are the inspiration for my writing and publishing this book and for all of the work that I do as an educator and personal coach. It’s my foundation for doing so.
Also, I think that the close relationships I have with my family have given me the confidence that this information does work, because I use it myself and I have seen other people use it successfully. We have so much information in our culture that relationships “should” look a certain way, or that sex is “supposed” to look like what’s portrayed in movies. Growing up with alternative messages and information and seeing the success that taking on even just one of these viewpoints can have, regardless of your circumstances (I appreciate the fact that not everyone wants to live in an intentional community) has given me a confidence in what I do. I know it works.
What advice would you give to readers who are not receiving adequate or inclusive sexual health information? What are some of your favorite resources?
This issue is one of the reasons I felt so motivated to write this book. While there is a growing movement towards recognizing the need for truly comprehensive sex ed, we also live in a time where abstinence-based education is receiving the majority of funding.
Searching for information online can be dangerous- there’s a lot of misinformation out there. But there are two resources I always recommend:
Melissa Carnagey, creator of Sex Positive Families is a great all-ages resource
Heather Corinna’s work with Scarleteen and her book S.E.X. are also fantastic resources for all-things sex ed, especially for teens/young adults
What, if anything, about sexual health do you wish you knew when you were young that you would like to share with our readers?
The first thing I thought of when I read this question was how you feel is right. Even though I was told this and viewed myself this way, I still would at times experience so much mystery and doubt while I was growing up and specifically when I was changing so much during puberty. I’d spend so much time wondering- how am I doing? What do they think about me? Why do I feel this way? I was able to talk to my friends and family about the questions I had, thankfully, but there were so many new things going on and so many messages I was getting from the media about how I should look, feel, smell, and the kinds of activities I should be participating in, that I felt a lot of pressure. Looking back on that time, I'd give myself more confidence that my rapidly shifting feelings and experience was good and a natural part of growing up.
What other things would you like our readers to know about you?
I adore tea and it’s actually a central part of my writing process, it’s nearly impossible for me to sit down to write without a steaming cup of tea in front of me! I actually use tea as an example in my book to illustrate the difference between “sexuality” and “sensuality.”
Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?
The biggest project that I have coming up, besides the release of my book which still feels huge, is the content I’ve been creating through my Patreon platform. There, I post frequent photos and blogs about the “behind-the-scenes” view of my life as a pleasure-focused educator, but the particular part that I’m most excited about are the weekly livestreams that I’ve been creating. Each week I select a different topic, which often comes from a question that I’ve gotten from one of my coaching clients, a subject that I’ve been exploring with my writing, or I choose a word or concept that could use exploration, and then I speak on that topic for 10-20 minutes. It’s so refreshing to use this method because of the instantaneous nature (much faster than publishing a book!) and it’s even more personal than blog or even podcast format. It’s a great resource for people who are curious about pleasure education and want to know more.
And finally, there is a second book in the works! On Blossoming touches on a wide range of topics- from orgasm to consent, from the definition of friendship to menstruation, and I think there is so much more to explore and go even deeper with. I actually started the first draft of my next manuscript while I was in the editing phase of On Blossoming, so please stay tuned.