Nikki Glaser On Not Letting Labia Shame Mess With Your Sex Life

Illustrated By Anna Sudit.
From time to time, The Bed Post features other voices opening up about what gets in the way of good sex. This week, I speak with sex-positive funny person Nikki Glaser.

If you don't know comedian Nikki Glaser from her current Comedy Central show Not Safe with Nikki Glaser, you may have seen her stand-up work on Last Comic Standing and elsewhere, or her talk show with Sara Schaefer Nikki & Sara Live (not to mention her turn as a prudish mother in Amy Schumer's Trainwreck.) If not, you're missing out, because Glaser is unafraid to wrangle in a personal and relatable way with that most uncomfortable of topics: sex.

"I wanted to do a show that would work, something I actually knew I liked talking about and that I knew something about," she tells me of developing Not Safe, which features panels, field reporting, and experiments on topics from aural sex to dick pics to how the only thing she wants after a one-night stand is a damn glass of water. "What I do know is that I like talking about sex," Glaser explains.

Read on for my chat with Glaser and learn about why she has chosen sex positivity as her cause (it has to do with the length of her labia); then, catch the finale of this season's Not Safe this Tuesday — and Glaser's first hour-long special, "Perfect," this Saturday.
Why this show now?
"I was looking to work with Comedy Central, and they were looking to work with me... My boyfriend and I were developing [the show] together, and he was like 'Well, you’re one of the biggest pervs I know, so maybe it should be something about that,' and I was like 'You’re right, that’s true.' So we built the show around making people feel less shame around sex. I know [shame] was something that I dealt with early on, and just being scared about sex and not knowing about it, so I kind of want to be that voice for girls."

How did you personally overcome that shame and fear?
"Everyone’s been so uptight my whole life about [sex that] I’ve gone the other way. I didn't have sex for so long — not so long; I waited till I was 21. And I didn’t 'wait,' I was just really scared that I was going to do it wrong, or that I was going to be bad at it, or my vagina was going to be gross, or whatever was going to happen. And then, as soon as I did, I was just like, That was it? and then I just wanted to talk about it all the time.

"I had talked about it so much up until that point, because I wanted to be prepared for it, that I was so at ease...talking about it; I had gleaned every piece of information I could from my friends, so I was already pretty good at...getting people to open up about it. And then by the time I was doing it, I didn’t really have many boundaries around it, because I just didn’t find it to be that special or that sacred or private of a thing. I found it to be something that was really fun."

This is something I struggle with as a sex writer — how do you decide what to divulge and what to hold back?
"I’m learning my boundaries. I honestly would probably share just about anything. It’s other people that I worry about — my boyfriend getting embarrassed that I reveal something about our sex life, and him not being comfortable.

"Also, people just don’t want to hear some stuff. I do want to challenge them a little bit, but I don’t want to turn them off, viscerally, in any way... I would like to cross a line at some point and be like, Oh! There it is. I think I’m getting close to that in some respects. I keep thinking I’m going to run out of stuff to divulge on the show or onstage, and I haven’t reached that yet. I keep finding new stuff that I’m like, Oh yeah, I forgot that I did that, or I thought about that during sex.'"

Has your honesty about your personal life had an effect on how people treat you?
"Both online and in person now, it’s happening a lot more where people are very comfortable after shows just saying stuff. They think they can talk to me like I talk about myself onstage... They’re not bad people; they’re just dumb and they’re not thinking, and they get excited and wrapped up in the moment, and they say stuff like, 'Take a picture with me' and then go 'This is going in the spank bank!' And I’m like, 'What are you doing?' I want to just take that picture back... And then they’ll write stuff on Twitter that’s like 'You’re so hot, I can jerk off to you and fucking laugh at the same time.' That’s not a compliment! I feel like talking about sex opens me up to guys who feel like they can say shit to me, and I don’t feel like that happens to guys who talk about sex. Even girls do it to me.

"And then I feel guilty complaining about it because I feel like people are going to be like 'Oh, she’s just bragging that she’s hot.' It’s weird... I tweeted about it today, and someone said, 'If you’re having a sex show, you’re asking for it.' I couldn’t even answer that. They're just saying 'look at what you’re wearing' — it’s the same argument... Because I have a show about sex, I’m just a harlot who just wants to fuck everyone and is open to it? Even if I were, it doesn’t mean you can say whatever the fuck you want to me... Even my therapist today was like, 'Well, you opened yourself to this,' and I was like, 'I think you’re fired!'"

Not your therapist too!
"It’s like, what, you’re on their side? She’s 80, so out-of-touch. There are some things where I'm like, 'We're going to have to skip that one, let’s go back to how I’m angry… You don’t understand Twitter, so I’m going to go back to something else.'"
What's your hope for the future of Not Safe?
"We want to cover more serious topics. I’m fired up about abortion rights, like everyone should be. The transgender bathroom issue, we’re trying to tackle; Planned Parenthood, we want to do something with them. We want to shy away from the game-y, sketch-y type things and just focus more on educating people.

"I just want high schoolers and the kids watching these shows to be more educated and informed and to make their own decisions and to not be scared or feel like they’re weird. I just felt alone and weird because I watched porn, or weird because I thought my vagina was weird. If one person watches the show and hears me say I thought my vagina was gross because I had labia that were longer than I thought they should be, but then I found out they weren’t...if I would’ve heard that, that would’ve saved me years of anguish and hating myself and not wanting to get fingered. I could have gotten fingered for years if I would’ve known that there was a girl out there on TV who said it’s okay to have a long labia."
The Bed Post is a series that explores what holds us back from sex and love with whom we want, when we want, where we want, and how we want — because we all deserve sex and love lives that are not only free of evils, but full of what is good. Follow me on Twitter at @hlmacmillen or email me at hayley.macmillen@refinery29 — I’d love to hear from you. Find all of The Bed Post right here.

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