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Let's Talk About Sex(ting), Baby! - with Chloe Cassens

The 420: A CBD Store caught up with Chloe Cassens, producer for the much lauded podcast The Sex Ed, which is sponsored by Gucci for its 3rd and current season. Our most apt description of Chloe is to coin her as a modern, Renaissance woman that happens to be a millennial living in the year 2020.  

A Los Angeles native, Chloe has deep knowledge of modern and classic literature, womens’ issues, music, fashion and food, born from a lifetime of immersive travel, studies and a broad range of work experience. Read on for Chloe’s novel ideas on dating and intimacy during COVID-19 along with her fantastic suggestions ranging from a sexy Spotify playlist to at-home fashion brilliance.

Can you tell us about The Sex Ed? What is your role? Has the content or goals of the podcast changed given the current crisis?

The Sex Ed is a multimedia platform dedicated to sex, health, and consciousness education; it was founded by Liz Goldwyn, who’s been working in the field since she was 13! One of the many ways that we get education out there is through our podcast – which I produce.

We are still in the thick of production on our third season, which just launched! Although we have had to change our interviews from in-person to remote, our brilliant engineer Jeremy Emery has worked his magic to keep our sound quality crystal-clear. 

In terms of content and goals, I can’t give away too much – but we will be releasing episodes that will offer listeners practical information and tips to help them navigate through this crisis and beyond. I’m really excited about them!Aside from The Sex Ed, I’ve just opened a virtual bookshop via Bookshop.org  and will be donating proceeds to the Mutual Aid Network of Los Angeles – check it out and buy a book!

Photo Credit: Alexander Laurent

How do we find romantic intimacy without being physical?

It’s all about the art of conversation! I think that there’s a certain amount of romance that comes with talking to someone on the phone for hours on end. It’s a bit easier, I think, to be intimate and vulnerable with someone when all they can hear is your voice; it’s sensory deprivation on a small scale, and pretty sexy. 

However, I do love a FaceTime dinner date. Even if the person I’m eating with doesn’t know it, it’s nice to make a little setup with a candle or two lit and nestle them – ie, your phone/computer – into it.

Of course, good, old-fashioned phone sex is a great option for those who have been separated! Solo sex is the safest sex you can have, regardless of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you have to be alone for it, or that it has to be boring. On that note, sex toy sales are way, way up right now – I highly recommend checking out the selection at the Pleasure Chest and Lelo and reading our essay on sex toy safety.

Is it possible to build lasting relationships online?

This is a tricky question, as there are a lot of people in marginalized communities who’ve built incredible, lasting, intimate, fulfilling relationships online. However, I think that for a romantic relationship to be truly lasting, there needs to be a healthy IRL aspect to it. We should all perhaps take a page from times past and court each other! Let’s bring back letter writing, phone calls, and the like until we can be reunited!

What should we avoid in online sexual culture?

There is A LOT we need to avoid in online sexual culture. There is much to discuss and more on the subject coming soon to The Sex Ed. 

Unfortunately, there are a ton of assholes, trolls, stalkers and pervs out there, as lawyer Carrie Goldberg calls them. I strongly recommend her book, Nobody’s Victim, to everyone as she is one of the leading attorneys fighting revenge porn and other horrible cyber-related crimes. We featured her on an episode of the podcast last year where she walked listeners through how to stay safe online, and what to do if someone threatens to leak nudes or intimate videos – or has posted them already. 

Practically speaking, if you’re in a position where you feel safe to send a socially-distant lover intimate photos of yourself, make sure that your head is cropped out of it, and that there are no distinct things in the background that would identify you. 

You should never send intimate photos to someone unless you’re 100,000% sure that they would cherish, love and be endlessly thankful for them! And DEFINITELY do not send them to someone you just met on Tinder…

How do new couples or couples that don’t normally spend a lot of time together cope if they are now quarantining together? Conversely, when couples are now forced apart for lengthy periods of time?

I spoke to two separate friends of mine recently who are both having to self-isolate with their new partners. 

One friend is stressed because he wasn’t able to last a little more than a week before wanting to kick his new lover out of the house. The other couple are doing great, and had to cut our most recent FaceTime date short because they were just so excited to start a gardening project together! I am not sure what the secret sauce is, but judging from the mini case study I got – I think that picking a small project to do together – like my friend and his herb garden – might be a good way to cope. The friend who is unhappy is currently working on several personal projects, and I imagine the new roommate is getting in the way and causing distraction, which is only causing more tension that can’t be released when it’s impossible to go out and take a breather.

How do you think dating will change once we are released from quarantine?

My hope is that people will get off of their devices and be more friendly in person! A lot of the single people we have interviewed have said that they wish they could meet someone IRL, and that they hate app-based dating. I think that more of us think this way than not, but are too nervous to act on it. Hopefully, we can all break out of our shells a bit more – respectfully, of course. 

More realistically, I would bet that the current spike in dating app use will continue. We are definitely going to get an entire Gen C – that’s Generation Coronavirus – entering Kindergarten in six years. 

Perhaps in the long-term, some of the “grass is greener” mentality that goes with having an entire city’s single population on your phone will dissipate, and people will be more likely to give each other a shot. Technology has made an entire generation more likely to break up and mess around because they think that there’s going to be a “better option” out there. 

I hope that this will make us all appreciative of the people we do have in our lives, both romantic and platonic.

Your idea of a perfect virtual date?

My idea of a perfect virtual date is one that features a lot of good conversation!

As our favorite fashionista, your favorite Corona ensemble?

First and foremost, it’s been important to me to put on lingerie and change my clothes every day. 

Liz, The Sex Ed’s Founder and CEO, has given me tons of amazing advice for several situations, which I appreciate immensely. However, the best advice she gave me came last year when I was going through a rough time – she told me that sometimes, it’s best to cope by imagining that you are the heroine of your own rom-com, and that this is your moment where the you walk home in the rain crying to sad music before the third act starts. Following this pattern, I’ve decided that my part in this period of self-isolation is that of an 18th-century woman who was banished for being too naughty, and has to live in exile until she can rejoin court life and have fun again! So, I’ve been trying to dress the part on my down-time from work. 

I really love Laura Sfez’s brand, L’école des Femmes.

and own many of her pieces. Her cotton voile pieces are particularly heavenly, and get better with every cycle in the washer/dryer. The Marie Antoinette gown and Victorian Nightie are in constant rotation at the moment!

I just talked a friend into purchasing a dress from Sleeper – I love their linen Loungewear dress, which reminds me of the chemises and underthings that you see women in Renaissance/Baroque paintings wear, and am eyeing their silk pieces as well. 

Over time, I’ve stockpiled vintage and secondhand silk slip dresses and chemises in every color of the rainbow, and have loved pairing them with all sorts of sweaters and robes. Depop is a great place to find silky sleepwear on the cheap. For robes, my current favorites are one that I bought at Liberty in London, and a dramatic floral housecoat from my new favorite brand, Bernadette Antwerp, which is run by a Belgian mother and daughter. (As the daughter of a Belgian mother, this makes me love them more).

Photo Credit: S. Elle Quintana

You have such great taste and in-depth knowledge of music. Can you provide us with a fun and sexy playlist?

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