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Nikol Hasler - Midwest Sexual Edu-tainment

An Interview with Nikol Hasler of The Midwest Teen Sex Show

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Nikol Hasler is one-third of a new and highly entertaining podcast The Midwest Teen Sex Show. A Midwestern mother of three (who isn’t afraid to use her children in the service of sex education) Nikol has no formal training as a sex educator but along with her co-creators Guy Clark and Britney Barber, she has created a great sex education tool, playing with stereotypes not just about sex, but about age, race, class, and orientation in a way that is engaging and opinionated enough to be useful.

I virtually sat down with Nikol to find out what makes a creative writing instructor turn to sex, what sort of impact her podcasting has on her kids, and how she would make the world a better place if she had the chance.

How would you describe the Midwest Teen Sex Show?

I would describe it as 95% tongue-in-cheek humor with a bit of blunt talk thrown in. It is a show where we can address some pretty huge aspects of sexuality while still entertaining ourselves. We have a lot of fun writing these jokes, and at the end of the day we are trying to have a laugh. I hope I get through to some people in the process, don't get me wrong, but I am not a doctor. None of us are. We are geniuses, though, and fairly good at scrap booking.

On your site it mentions that you have three children. Being a child of a sex therapist myself I have to ask -- have your kids seen the show, and if yes, are they mortified?

They have seen bits and pieces, but nothing in its entirety. I am a very honest parent, which is why I do not put them in situations which cause them to ask certain questions. There have been times when the oldest, who has Asperger's syndrome and is quite blunt himself, has asked me certain questions about words or sexual situation that I don't think he is ready for. In those cases I will just tell him, "You are not ready to know this yet", and he accepts that answer because we talk so openly about so many other things.

They have so many other things to be mortified about with me as a mother. Whenever they have friends over to spend the night they feel it important to remind me to wear pajamas to bed. Honestly, they are incredibly supportive of me with the show. They know what I am doing and they are proud of me for it. Except for the baby. He is a bit of a prude, and we worry about his political leanings.

Where did you learn about sex?

Oh, that is a heavy question indeed. I was subjected to sex at a very early age by friends of the family, babysitters and relatives who had no right to be near children. I won't elaborate because these aren't my memoirs.

As to any sex education I received, I became sexually active around age eleven, but was never talked to about sex until I was sixteen. I was in rehab and was given my first ever AIDS test, at which time a very stuffy woman dolled out the dos and don'ts to me. Frankly, I wasn't really listening. That is why I think that it is so important to find a way to talk to teens respectfully while still cracking jokes. Each time we write the episodes I am thinking, "Would I have listened to me?"

Do you remember what names you first learned for your genitals?

Steve. Not really, but wouldn't that have been a hoot?

They were my "privates". It was funny to me, because I always took words seriously, and I imagined my "privates" wearing army fatigues and doing push ups. Oh, and sex was "humping." This word still gives me the willies.

Who are your sex education heroes?

I have been a fan of Dr. Petra Boynton for a while now. She has a more informational style than the Midwest Teen Sex Show, but I love reading her blogs and writings, especially when she discusses workers in the sex industry. Obviously, I watch Sue Johanson. When we first talked about making the show I was so nervous that one day she would see it and not be proud of me.

And I don't know if you've heard of Melissa Gira . She also has a podcast, geared more towards adults, and she's been writing about sex for years. She just manages to stay fresh and young. I'd love to know as much as she does.

Any sex education villains?

While it is amusing me to picture a little man with a sinister mustache and a cape spreading misinformation about sex, I must say that one thing this podcast is teaching me is that everyone is working pretty hard to get their voices heard.

And now I am going to attack one of my favorite shows, which is South Park. If there is any single show out there that I think further teaches intolerance for homosexuality, I would say it is South Park. Don't get me wrong, here, I know they are making jokes. I just think that often their shows are one big gay joke and I have yet to see a homosexual character portrayed positively.

If you think about the movie, American Beauty you will see that the only reasonably sane and together couple of people in the whole thing are the gay couple. South Park, which does tackle a lot of the stupidity in our society by showing us how ridiculous things are, has really reached a lot of teens. I just think that they should have been saying, "Isn't gay bashing lame?"

What's your best sex tip?

My best sex tip is to try everything. Twice. You might have been doing it wrong the first time.

(And be safe. There. I had to say it.)

If you were God what are three things you would do to make the world a better place for sex?

1.) I would turn off that place in the human brain where certain attributes are generally considered undesirable. I'm talking weight, facial structure, disabilities, color, even gender. I would make everyone attractive to everyone else. I know that our brains are hardwired to find certain attributes attractive for the sake of reproduction, but I think we are doing more than our part to populate the world.

2.) I would eliminate the very things that make people fear sex. Reproduction would be a choice. AIDS would not exist. STIs would be a thing of the past.

3.) I would make sure that everyone would watch the Midwest Teen Sex Show.

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