EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Courtney Croucher, Host of Strategic Slut

A while ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Croucher. Courtney is a fourth-year student at Western University, where she’s studying Media Information Technological Studies and Women Studies.

Back in July, Courtney launched Strategic Slut– a podcast where she voices facts and thoughts alike about dating, relationships, sexual health, and many more taboo topics. It’s funny yet informative, making it a great source for those interested in these topics. Needless to say, I’m quite a fan of it!

During our interview, we talked about the importance of talking about sex, online dating, and the podcast itself. Read on to hear what Courtney had to say about these topics and much more!

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E: Could you please give some background about yourself?

C: I was born in Michigan, and then I moved to Cambridge, ON when I was six. I had a weird childhood; I was bullied and had very low self-esteem. I was the chunky kid- not overweight, just like a little kid going through puberty. I didn’t get along with everyone; I just didn’t find “my people”, and that led me to find my own hobbies. School was weird for me because I hated the social aspect of it. I hated elementary school and high school— high school was the worst four years of my life. I actually forced myself to go to university. I was gonna take a year off to try and figure out what I wanted to do. But I realized that if I did, I probably wouldn’t go to school at all. So, I went to informative sessions to learn about college and university programs. Someone mentioned a Media program, and I was so shocked because I didn’t know that was a thing. I was like, This feels like me!

I later fell into Women’s Studies when I took a first-year course. I said, “I don’t want to be in a room full of feminists” because I had no idea what it was about. I was the least politically informed person. But the class changed my life. It completely my values, it informed what I think about the world, and it’s what started this podcast.

E: Who or what exactly inspired you to care about discussing the many topics you’ve covered on your podcast already, like sex and love, so frankly?

C: Since I was a very young child, I’ve always loved the taboo topics. My mom was quite conservative in the sense that she just wouldn’t talk about those things. But I was this young ten-year-old asking her about sex and what it is. I wanted to know the nitty-gritty details! That led to having a curious mind— and not getting the answers I wanted was so frustrating. That made me more curious.

I guess my largest influence isn’t just seeing how people react to these topics, but the fact that people are interested in them. Everyone’s having sex. Everyone’s having those hush-hush topics behind closed doors with their trusted people. No one’s talking about it, though. Girls can’t talk about a female orgasm loudly in a café without feeling like they have to lower their voice, whereas guys come in and you hear the “bro talk”. I hated that gender difference.

Then I got into The Skinny Confidential years ago. I have no idea how I came across her. But I realized how much I related to a lot of the things [Lauryn Evarts Bosstick] was speaking about. Also, on the podcast, [hosts Lauryn Evarts Bosstick and Michael Bosstick] talk about so many taboo topics and go into discussions that are like mine. I thought it was so interesting that they’d talk about sex, and it’d be their highest number of listens— but no one would talk about it. It’s like, Okay, people are the most interested in these topics, but they don’t know how to interact with them. Well, I have something to say. I’m a very blunt human being, and I don’t wanna beat around the bush.

E: Could you please explain how you came up with the name, Strategic Slut?

C: Laughs I knew I wanted something kind of cheeky that kind of already gave the impression that it’s gonna hit on taboos. I loved the idea of The Skinny Confidential, The Bitch Bible… all those cheeky names that are easy to remember and have branding to them. But I simply couldn’t think of one. It’s the reason that I procrastinated doing this podcast for at least a year; not just fear, but I didn’t know what to call it. I wanted it to be a brand because I want to expand it eventually. So, I sat on it for months. Then it literally popped into my mind one day. I thought, Something Strategic…and then Strategic Slut. It’s cheeky- I love it! I told my mom, and she laughed. I sat on it for about two weeks, bounced the idea off a few close friends, and they loved it.

[My friend] Lauren isn’t on the podcast; she was like, “I’m not committed to this.” I was like, “Cool, ‘cause it kinda feels like my podcast!” I knew it was my podcast. I thought, Let’s take the word “Slut” back. My idea is that you can be strategic and informed. But the slut part isn’t just taking back the word, it’s also about doing what you want. If you wanna be “slutty”, go for it. If you wanna be a virgin, do it. Just be informed of your decisions.

E: Why did you create this podcast in the first place?

C: I wanted to create some sort of content, but I couldn’t figure out what. I did try YouTube for a brief time in high school, and it didn’t feel authentic. I felt like the camera put me in such a weird place, and it didn’t feel right. Plus, with where YouTube is going, I didn’t feel like it’d be a long-term thing. Then there’s my own interest in podcasts— I’m constantly listening to them. There’s no free time that I’m not listening to a podcast. I later realized that it’s the only type of content you can consume while doing something else. You can continuously drive, work out, clean your house, go for a walk— whatever you wanna do. It doesn’t require your full attention. I think that’s where technology and the media space is going. So, I thought a podcast would be the easiest. Plus, being able to just sit there and talk seemed truer to me; with blogging, my personality doesn’t come out.

E: You covered this in your very first episode, but can you please explain your definition of a slut?

C: I don’t think there’s a definition of a slut. We have a cultural understanding of what a slut is, but there’s no definition. The cultural understanding of a slut is typically pointing to a woman— it’s never a person, always a woman— who openly expresses her sexuality, and also typically points to someone who sleeps with a lot of people. There’s no actual way of measuring that. Is a slut someone who sleeps with numerous people over the course of their lifetime? Is it in a span of time? Can you be a slut in a monogamous relationship? There’s no definition; it’s just a cultural understanding to demonize women for their sexuality. I think it’s all informed by the way we’re raised because most of us were raised to think similar things about female sexuality and expressing it. The media, television, and movies all point to a similar definition.

E: Should men and women be more open about discussing sex- not just couples, but just generally speaking?

C: Yes, because sex is a part of life and a part of a healthy being. People are always wanting to improve their mental health and physical health. But no one’s talking about improving their sex life, what makes them feel good or what it means to them. Everyone grows up with little to no education about it. Then they get into some sort of relationship, and they just start engaging in this thing that they have no idea how to navigate. I think it’s wildly important because sex affects all facets of your life; like your confidence and your mental health. It’s important for your own personal well-being and it informs your relationships and how to navigate them.

Also, we’re taught about sex in a very gendered way, so it’s important to create that conversation amongst the genders. We experience sex differently. Obviously, there are two different [body] parts; so physically, you’re experiencing it in different ways. But in heterosexual terms, you both should understand one another and what makes each other feel good. All of these things that create healthy sexual relations go into creating a healthy relationship; communication, boundaries, honesty, and more. So, why is it taboo? That leads to creating stigmas of all things surrounding sex.

E: How can society become more comfortable with talking about sex?

C: Sex is informed by religious and medical influences, but is still often intertwined in deeply religious and traditional ways of thinking. I think to navigate those taboos and banish any stigma, we need to create discussion. Whether that’s through education in schools, podcasts like mine, or just talking to your girlfriends a little more openly about things you’re curious about or your experiences; and be able to do so in a judgement-free way. But the biggest answer is to create a political movement to get it integrated into education. But to do that, you have to remove a lot of stigmas, and I feel like that’s not gonna happen if you don’t change those beliefs about [sex].

E: When it comes to sex, what do you think is the most important thing to discuss?

C: I would say normalizing masturbation [for women]. I don’t think people should be engaging in sex without trying out their own bodies first. It’s so gendered because men are taught that it’s a natural part of their being— it takes care of their uncontrollable sexual desires. Meanwhile, women are completely demonized with the idea of female masturbation. It creates a lot of insecurities when you get into the bedroom because you don’t know what makes you feel good. If you’re not feeling comfortable with your body and then you’re naked in front of someone and they’re touching you, how are you supposed to feel confident? I think it also relates to communication, boundaries and honesty because if you know what makes you feel good, you’re able to communicate that.

E: What are the benefits that come from people discussing sex openly?

C: It normalizes it. We’re out here telling everyone how our workout was or what we ate in a day, but we can’t talk about sexuality and experiences. However, it depends on what you’re comfortable with. I always overshare— if something funny happens in the bedroom, I wanna talk about it because I think it’s hilarious! Or you can go to your girlfriend for advice. Again, this normalizes it. We talk about so many things openly that are so personal— why can’t we talk about sex?

E: Do you believe dating is only going to become more difficult as time goes on?

C: Yes. We’re in this weird time in society where we’ve had a massive change in technology, but we don’t know how to deal with it. Then we have generations that are just very different. For example, my parents are a completely different generation, and they don’t know how to prepare us for life because they never dealt with the technology that we have. It’s not the root of all problems, but we don’t know how to deal with it. That’s creating issues in relationships. You can see the masses of Instagram and dating apps. It’s allowing people to be more picky of who they end up with, compared to a time before social media. Back then, you only saw who you were around, so you didn’t have much of a lurking eye. I think that’s it’s making [dating] hard.

But we’re also in this weird time where it’s cool to not care. It’s almost a lack of human connection. We’re all trying to avoid it, but that’s what we want so deeply. It’s sad because you look at how depression and suicide rates are the highest currently, despite things being better than ever before. I truly think it’s because they’re lacking human connection. When you add technology, it’s like no one knows how to love.

E: Do you think online dating will continue to be popular?

C: I think so. It’s efficient because you can weed out who you like and who you don’t like very quickly. I think whether it’s gonna stay successful is a good question because even though it’s popular now, people still tend to like relationships “made in the wild” more than online ones. A relationship will work if you want it to work, regardless of how you meet. But it’s hard to meet people when you just swiping for hours. Even though it’s efficient because you’re not going on multiple dates, I think that’s still less efficient because you don’t get to know the person. You can spend weeks texting someone, only to meet them in-person and realize that they’re totally different offline. I don’t think it’s gonna die, but I don’t think it’s going to continue staying successful.

E: How do you think dating will change in the next few years?

C: I think there will be more conversations about consent, as well as what we actually want. There’s already enough conversations going on about the bullshit of dating, so I think the more we talk about it, the less likely we are to deal with that. You’ll also be more aware of patterns. It’s hard because there’s still a gendered aspect of dating, and women are now taking their careers more seriously than relationships. Men are struggling with that because they were taught for years that it’s the other way around. With dating in the future, women are finding it hard to be understood; and now that we’re realizing our worth in society, it’s making it more difficult because they want to be heard. If they’re not having that, it’ll create serious problems in relationships. It’s 2019— a lot of women aren’t faking it in the bedroom anymore. If they’re not receiving that kind of pleasure, it creates more issues because they’ll go and find a man that can please them.

E: What are the three most important things a woman should know about sex?

C: How to practice safe sex, what makes [women] feel good, and how to communicate to your partner without feeling shameful. Whether it’s communicating a “No” or a “Yes”, or communicating that they want either a casual or serious relationship— all of that comes back to sex.

E: Do you believe men need to learn more about women and how sex is for them?

C: YES. Laughs Most men don’t even know what a clitoris is! Men need to look all the diagrams up. They need to learn these things, and they also need to know that if sex is painful for a woman, there are multiple reasons why. It doesn’t mean it’s her first time, or that you’re too big for her. Some men think it’s an ego boost when a woman’s in pain, and that’s not okay. Also, there’s nothing hotter than the both of you loving the experience. If one’s faking it and just wanting it to be over, where’s the pleasure in that? It’s supposed to fun. If it’s not, then why are you doing it?

E: What do you hope to gain from doing Strategic Slut?

C: If there’s one person listening whose outlook changes on something— whether it’s a political change or suddenly thinking, Oh my God, that’s normal!— or some sort of reassurance that someone else is thinking the same thing. As long as they gain something from it, I’m good. I would love it to be big; but realistically, I’m just doing it out of pure passion, and hope that someone relates to it, or at most finds it entertaining.

E: Has anyone reached out to you to say that your podcast has helped them?

C: I’ve had a few people tell me how much they love it, and that they respect me for speaking out on these things and starting conversations.

E: Have there been any topics you’ve yet to cover on your podcast that want to?

C: I wanna talk about the LGBTQ and transgender people; disability porn; and how to get over break-ups and heartbreak. I’d also love to talk about the media and technology aspect of dating a little more. Not so much about dating apps, but rather more about how TV has changed sex and dating overtime. There’s also some nitty-gritty topics that apply to certain people, but I’d love to get into those, too.

E: What do you hope comes next for Strategic Slut?

C: I’d love to have just one sponsorship first. Laughs That’d be cool! Although I’ve wanted to scale it, I haven’t seen it as a business yet because I don’t know what’s to come. I’m gonna let my audience navigate it and see what they’re most interested in. With my topics, I don’t think I’m that funny to do live shows. I’d love to do something related to charity- for example, the proceeds from sponsorships going to charity. I may come up with a blog or YouTube channel, but it’d be less focused on the podcast and instead be more lifestyle-based so people can learn who I am as a person.

E: Where can people listen to your podcast and stay updated about it, or stay updated about you?

C: My personal Instagram is @thenotsoaveragebetch. There’s also an Instagram for my podcast, @strategicslutpodcast. Strategic Slut is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, and a new episode is uploaded every Monday.

***

xo,

Elizabeth

Published by Elizabeth Sarah Larkin

Freelance Writer & Social Media Manager

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