Don’t call me daddy

Sex on Tuesday

Photo of Khristina Holterman

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It’s a tale as old as time: He came, I didn’t. We’d been trying everything: different positions, different strategies, even different locations and nothing worked. So, after unsuccessful attempt number 347, I drove home from my boyfriend-at-the-time’s house, crying, convinced that I’d never be able to orgasm. 

On my way home, I realized the “Call Her Daddy” episode I was listening to was called “Why We Can’t Cum.” Desperately searching for answers, I turned it up. But then I was crying more — not just because the advice wasn’t actually offering me answers, but because it was making me feel worse. I suddenly realized; this podcast had always made me feel worse. 

In case you’re not familiar with it, “Call Her Daddy” is a sex podcast for women. Its aim is to empower women by talking in-depth about women’s pleasure, dating and plain sex advice — shared through the hosts’ hilarious commentary and personal anecdotes.

Flash forward to today, and I’ve vowed never to listen to “Call Her Daddy” again. In fact, I actively speak out against it to any of my friends who listen to it. I talk through it with them and together we realize that it’s never made any of us feel better. 

One of my friends blames the end of her relationship on “Call Her Daddy.” An aggressive, outlandish comment? Maybe. But honestly, I believe it. I could say the same. 

As a former avid listener, I can say, with confidence, the podcast really misses the mark. Sure, I mastered giving a blowjob with the “Gluck Gluck 9000.” And I convinced my ex-boyfriend to study the “Cooch Gobbler Combo” (he failed). But I also mastered the art of being toxic. Truth be told, that’s what I mastered best. 

“Call Her Daddy” taught me that if I’m not cheating, he is. That if I’m below a six on, yes, a ranked number scale based on looks, I must make up for it in bed. My insecurities were coming through at full force, and they were validated by my friends, who were listening to the same senseless advice I was. 

My relationship ultimately became a balancing act between two raging jealous people trying to blame each other, swapping Snapchat passwords and searching camera rolls. 

I was left feeling like I constantly had to impress my boyfriend, especially sexually, or someone else would. From surprising him with lingerie to road head, I was constantly trying to excite him. The podcast had convinced me that somehow I wasn’t enough for a boy who couldn’t bother to shower before seeing me after lacrosse practice.  

But as my feminism and self-confidence grew, I strayed further and further from the talk show. Instead of embracing femininity and helping girls grow comfortable and confident in their sexuality, “Call Her Daddy” instills toxic advice into impressionable women. 

The problem, however, is much larger than one podcast. 

Where can young girls go for healthy sex and relationship advice? The first time one of my friends told me about “Call Her Daddy,” I was relieved. It was the first time I’d heard of women’s sexuality being talked about so openly in popular culture, which is why, once I realized how harmful the advice really was, the podcast felt so much harder to abandon. 

My whole life, the women I’ve looked up to — actresses, teachers, media stars — have led me to believe that men won’t change; men are animals, uncaring, hypersexual beings. They’ve taught me that the only way to tame men is to be like them, to stoop to their level of fuckery. Somehow empowerment gets lost in the narrative of adopting measures men have used against us in order to feel powerful. 

The idea is there: a podcast for women to own their sexuality, to have sexual freedom as men do. A safe space for talking about sex when, historically, it’s been a taboo conversation topic for women. But why is it so difficult to talk about women’s sex in a supportive and nondegrading way?

I don’t know about most people, but my mother never sat me down and explained how to suck a dick or send the perfect nude (for which I’m honestly grateful). But then where to learn it? For me, it was porn, movies, friends, boys and ultimately a pseudo-feminist podcast that depleted my self-worth more and more with every episode. 

The lack of sexual support in the media for young women is disappointing but not surprising. It’s unfortunate that we have to be so wary when it comes to what advice we are internalizing, but step one is learning to be cognizant of the media we consume. 

Turning off the “Call her Daddy” podcast was the first thing I had to do to overcome the embedded misogynistic advice I’d been living by. And ditching problematic media may be necessary for others to truly feel liberated in sex and relationships. 

Besides, what woman would feel sexy being called “Daddy” in bed anyway? Not me.

Khristina Holterman writes the Tuesday column on sex. Contact her at [email protected]