Several months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Lux Alptraum (that’s her over there on the left). Lux is one of the figures behind Boinkology, and an all around interesting person. Last month, Lux did an interview with me on Boinkology, and I enjoyed the talking with her so much I asked her if I could turn the tables and pick her brain too. Here’s the ensuing interview:

Karen: Hi Lux! Thank you so much for doing this interview! Can you introduce yourself a bit? How would you introduce yourself in a personals ad?

Lux: 25 year old girl in New York with a penchant for smart conversation. Particularly conversation about sex, the internet, or both.

K: Can you describe your most influential sexual relationship from the past few years? Why was it so influential for you?

L: Sadly, my most influential relationship was a negative one. My first serious relationship, which ended a little over four years ago, was with someone who was pretty emotionally abusive and spent a lot of time and energy on making me feel bad about myself. Though I don’t wish that experience on anyone, I do feel that — in the long run — it taught me a lot about how I want to be treated, and gave me the knowledge and ability to avoid people who bring that kind of negativity into my life.

K: I’m sorry to hear about the negativity in that first serious relationship, Lux. Now that you’ve moved past it, where are you, relationship-wise?

L: I’m in a really great place, actually. I have a partner who loves and respects me, appreciates me for who I am, and is really good at talking through problems when they arise. Really, what more could you ask for?

K: Let’s talk about work a bit too. I know you’re behind Boinkology – can you talk a bit about what you do there?

L: I launched Boinkology almost a year ago with my friend Richard Blakeley. We wanted to create a space where people could talk about sex beyond the usual conversations about porn, sex toys, personal sexual experiences, and sexual health. While all those areas are extremely important, we feel that there’s much more to sex and sexuality than what goes on between our legs — Boinkology focuses on all of that.

K: What are a few of those topics beyond the ones you mentioned that you like to focus on at Boinkology?

L: I’m really interested in seeing how sex and sexuality are viewed and represented in daily life — and especially in pop culture. Sex is everywhere — in our advertising, in our entertainment, even in our presidential race — and I think it’s fascinating to observe and comment on it.

K: Now we know the whats, let’s talk about the why. What drew you to create Boinkology?

L: I’ve been interested in sex for — well, pretty much all my life. It’s pretty much the only thing that’s consistently held my interest for the past ten years; and that was definitely a huge part of why I created a blog about sex. Beyond that, however, is the fact that I’m consistently disturbed by how hard we, as a culture, find talking about sex, one of the most fundamental, basic parts of life. I strongly believe that the more we talk about sex, the more comfortable we become with the topic, and the better off we all are. Through my work, I try to help people see that sex doesn’t have to be a taboo topic.

K: So with this understanding of where you are now in your sexual and work lives, I’d like to understand a bit about how you got here. Can you talk a bit about your sexual development through adolescence?

L: Though in some ways I developed really early — I discovered masturbation at a very young age, and started puberty at 10 — I went through much of adolescence feeling like a late bloomer. I didn’t date at all until after high school, and started college feeling like I was way behind my peers (though in retrospect, I see that that was hardly the case). On the plus side, this gave me a lot of time to figure out who I was and what I wanted — which, in the end, was a very beneficial thing for me.

K: And how did your parents and family interact with you around issues of sex and sexuality? What, in essence, was your sex education at home like? How did it influence you?

L: My parents have always been pretty open about sex and sexuality. When I was five years old, they gave me a copy of “Where Did I Come From?” and were always open to discussing any questions that I had (it also helped that my mom was an HIV educator). I think their openness helped me understand that sexuality is a beautiful, wonderful thing, and taught me to be comfortable with the topic.

K: I’m was sorry to hear that your first relationship was so negative. I think that is something of a common theme for young women. How did your parents react to that relationship?

L: What’s really interesting, for me, is that my parents were privately opposed to my relationship, but never tried to step in and get me to end it. They were very aware that I needed to make my own mistakes — and were very cautious about risking alineating me by coming out against my relationship.

K: Helping parents learn how to interact with their child who is in a relationship they don’t approve of is a difficult thing. I’m sure there are parents who would love some advice on how to support their daughters through such a difficult time. Do you have any suggestions?

L: I think the best thing that you can do is remind your daughter that you love and support her, and will be there for her through anything. It’s very hard to see someone you love get hurt, but coming down hard and trying to prevent your daughter from being in a relationship is a surefire way to drive her away. Being a loving, supportive figure, and reminding your daughter what a healthy relationship is supposed to be like, is really the best tactic — when your daughter realizes that she needs to get out of her relationship, you will be the person she comes to.

K: Based on your experiences, how would you recommend parents teach their children about sex and sexuality?

L: I think being open and honest (and starting the conversation early) is the only way to go. While there are certainly topics that aren’t appropriate for younger children, it’s never too early to teach children to love their bodies and love the wonderful feelings their bodies can give them. And the earlier you start talking to kids about sex, the easier it becomes to talk about it — by the time they’re teenagers, you’ll be much more prepared to take on the hard questions.

K: Thank you so much for your time, Lux! I look forward to watching Boinkology develop! Is there any last thing you’d like to say?

L: I think talking to young people about sex is a hugely important thing. What we learn about sex in our youth and adolescence can shape our identities for the rest of our lives — I’m very glad to know you’re out here helping parents have these conversations.