Pillow Talk: Carlyle Jansen
If you enjoy sex, have a passion for female orgasms, and really dig feminist porn Carlyle Jansen—founder of Good For Her and avid student, consumer, advocate and educator of human sexuality—is definitely someone you should know.
Sexlife Canada recently had the good fortune of sitting down with Carlyle for a chat about her popular store, society’s shifting attitudes towards women’s sexuality and sex positive culture.
SLC: How would you describe Carlyle Jansen?
CJ: Carlyle Jansen is an approachable expert on modern day sexuality for everyone. She loves to take the mystery out of sex while embracing the sacredness, beauty and raw passion of all it can be.
SLC: When did Good For Her first open for business?
CJ: In 1997. It’s been 14 years. Originally we were in a smaller space, three doors down for the first two years, and we’ve been at our current location for 12.
SLC: What are the most popular classes offered at Good For Her?
CJ: Giving Great Head is number one, and the second most popular are the orgasm courses. After that it’s Flirtation 101, G-spots and Drive Your Man Wild.
SLC: This past spring, Good For Her hosted the very well attended Sixth Annual Feminist Porn Awards. What was your impetus for starting an awards show celebrating feminist porn?
CJ: We noticed that there was a shift in the porn industry. There was a lot of porn coming out that was more women friendly; more women, queers and trans folk getting behind the camera and being involved; more positive displays of people of colour and of size; and more people of different ages and physical abilities. We wanted to do something to recognize that.
It was just supposed to be a fun night when we would bring in some directors and showcase their work. But we quickly realized from the response that we were on to something, and that it would be something bigger. So we didn’t start out thinking it would be an awards show. We just wanted to have a discussion about porn.
SLC: What would you say is the most significant shift you’ve seen in attitudes regarding sexuality, particularly women’s sexuality in the time since you first opened Good For Her?
CJ: I think there’s much more openness to porn. There are still a lot of people who think it’s terrible and not okay. But I’m finding there are more and more people who used to think porn was bad, and that all women in porn were being demeaned and treated poorly. Now there are a lot of women blogging about their experiences in porn and how much they enjoy their work. There is also more porn available that makes it pretty clear that the women are enjoying themselves and getting pleasure from their work. They might speak about what they like on camera, and then you’ll see them do it. So I think that’s helping people decide that porn isn’t inherently bad and that it can be okay.
SLC: In your opinion, if our society was truly sex positive and much more accepting of women and other marginalized groups, what do you think would change most regarding the way we all approach love and sex?
CJ: I think we would have much more openness to individual differences, desires and needs, and much less judgment. 'That’s perverted,' 'That’s freakish,' 'That’s weird,' 'How can you dress that way?,' 'You look like a man?' 'How could you be a man but want to wear a dress?' I think all of that judgement about what people like and how they want to have sex would change. People would stop being so concerned about who you love and how you love ‘em.
SLC: Name three people you feel are doing big things to promote a more sex positive culture in Toronto?
CJ: Carrie Gray of Aslan Leather who makes outstanding sexy gear and puts on great events, Jessica Yee who can do anything and stands up for everyone, Brenda Cossman who is opening up and diversifying Sexual Diversity Studies for everyone.
SLC: What’s next for you? Is there anything you have your sights set on accomplishing in your career as a sex educator and owner of Good For Her that you can share with us?
CJ: I am thinking about starting to do more informational videos and online workshops so we can reach people who live outside of Toronto.
SLC: Tell me one little known fact about Carlyle Jansen that would surprise people.
CJ: I get really shy when I’m with a partner. I’m very comfortable talking about sex, but when I’m with a partner or someone that I love I get very, very shy.