Six Questions for Bibi
Read my guest blog with Rebecca Pillsbury, author of "Finding Ecstasy", in 2015 below.
1) YOU APPEAR TO BE A FELLOW WOMAN OF WANDERLUST. CAN YOU TELL US HOW YOU CAME TO MOVE FROM GERMANY TO THE US?
Yes, I am definitely a woman of Wanderlust, always have been. I sometimes joke that I must have been a gypsy or with the circus in a past life.
I think it’s just innately who I am, and/or maybe it has something to do with growing up in (West-) Berlin before The Wall came down. I very much resented growing up in a city with a wall around it! We could never just get up and leave the city for a couple of hours or a day to go to a neighboring town or to the countryside. And I loved the countryside! The space, the animals, nature! It was always a major ordeal passing through the checkpoints to drive through East-Germany before entering West-Germany where we could move about freely. In spite of the challenges of leaving West-Berlin though, I did get to travel a fair share growing up and I LOVED it, especially going to different countries. I think I’ve always had a longing to go see other places, experience life from different viewpoints. I think, if you’re open to these things, it can give us new perspectives, we can learn new things and grow beyond our current level of awareness and “knowing”.
I left Berlin as soon as I could. Right after finishing high school I moved to West-Germany with a boyfriend who talked me into going to California with him. My first time to the US! I never had any desire to go to the States but I fell in love with California and vowed to return and spend more time there someday.
Upon my return from California I worked for an English pharmaceutical company for a couple of years. When the opportunity to go to California as an au-pair presented itself, I jumped on it. I spent 8 months in California, some of the best times of my life for many reasons! I could have easily stayed, but I had a job offer which would allow me to return often: I became a flight attendant with Lufthansa and traveled the world for four amazing years. Even during my off days I’d buy tickets and go places. During that time I started skydiving which led me to meet my husband-to-be during a skydiving vacation in Florida. We got married 1 ½ years later and my last flight with Lufthansa was my move to the States in 1990 at the age of 26. I’d always wanted to live some place near the ocean and with palm trees, and here I was, in Florida, and I still am 25 years later!
In what ways have your travel adventures throughout life influenced the person you have become?
I think traveling has made me more confident in being comfortable in different places, situations and with different people. I can appreciate and be curious about our differences but also realize our similarities. I feel like I can make friends anywhere I am.
I used to be very shy when I was young. I would never raise my hand in school, and, when the teacher called on me, always blushed! I could never imagine talking to a stranger on the phone or on the street! I’m not like that anymore, it’s become much easier for me to talk to people I’ve never met before. Looking back now, I realize that I have always enjoyed people and what they are about, I love hearing their stories. Traveling has given me the opportunities to meet many people from very diverse backgrounds and with amazing stories.
Immersing myself in different cultures throughout my life, even for short periods, has made me, I feel, a better person. I have learned to trust myself, and to follow my intuition, to be more comfortable with who I am and I have realized I have a lot to give and share.
2) Speaking of "trips," I am so excited about your new book project, "Trip to Bliss." Can you share what inspired the idea for the book and what this project is about?
One of the main drives in my life is that I want to inspire and empower people. The ideas for this particular book project came about when I was talking with some friends and catching up on each other’s lives. One guy shared a story, don’t ask me how it came up, about his ex-girlfriend learning how to have multiple orgasm from a late-night TV show. Something snapped in my brain and some puzzle pieces that had already been floating around fell into place: the idea for Trip To Bliss, a collection of stories from women who have learned to have orgasms, was born:
I’m sure you’ve heard about statistics that say that 70-85% of women can’t climax during intercourse/sex from just the penetration alone. Many women don’t ever have an orgasm, even by themselves and think they are alone with this issue, or feel something is wrong with them, when in all reality this is an issue that affects a majority of women. But they are too embarrassed to talk about it, even with their closest friends.
I now know it is something that can be learned. There are many women who at first could not climax but have, at some point on their life path, discovered how to do it, by themselves and/or with a partner.
I want to collect these stories in “Trip to Bliss”. It is not going to be a how-to book with advise on what toys to use, how to set the mood, etc. but a book with real stories from real women (and some guys, too).
My vision is to start a conversation and to inspire and empower women, to let them know they are NOT alone, and that having an orgasm CAN be learned.
3) You wrote on your blog, "I feel a strong inner drive to open up this conversation and make this book a reality. I feel I have to do this. Simple as that." What was most instrumental in your personal journey that led you to believe this book was your calling?
I think the most instrumental aspect is that I’ve always asked a lot of questions about why things are the way they are. Another aspect is that it’s an issue I have struggled with. I had no idea other women had this “problem”, too. When I found it to be an issue for many, many women I began wondering “why isn’t anyone talking about this?” I mean, we talk about guys, about sex and size and everything else but never about whether or not we have orgasms when we have sex, or even by ourselves. Having orgasms every time we have sex is a given for men. It’s NOT for many women. Certainly in the media it is not portrayed as a challenge for women at all: Women climax in every bedroom scene we see in movies which, apparently, does not portrait reality at all.
So when I realized this is a real issue and nobody, openly, wants to talk about it I felt drawn to dig deeper.
Imagine what a different world this would be if women could enjoy sex more because they have orgasms instead of feeling inadequate because they can’t cum or feel they have to fake it.
Imagine the impact on relationships if women learned to know their bodies better, what they enjoy and were able to communicate it to their partners, could climax anytime they wanted to because they are that in touch with their bodies; if they had fun with it instead of dreading their man approaching them.
I’ve learned to follow my “gut” and to trust it more and more. Like I said earlier, there were some puzzle pieces that came together one day. Once they did I just knew I have to do this. I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for a couple of years now. It kept coming back to the foreground of my mind, kept tugging at me and wouldn’t leave me alone.
I have, over the last six months, made some major changes in my life to be in a great place and space to be able to really focus on working on Trip To Bliss.
4) What helps give you the courage to speak out about this often taboo topic? What do you have to say to women who are thinking about participating in the project, but are afraid to go public with their story?
At first it wasn’t easy to talk to people about it. I knew, though, I had to if I wanted to find the women who have stories to tell about how they learned to have orgasms. When I finally had the guts to start telling people what I am working on I was very surprised by the positive responses I received. They ranged from “great idea (just don’t ask me to share)” to “cool, let me tell you …” to demonstrations like a guy pushing his girlfriend onto the hotel bed and demonstrating/telling me, with clothes on, what “works” for his girlfriend, and many other funny moments, interesting comments and serious conversations.
Everyone seems to LOVE the idea! I have gotten only encouragement and enthusiasm from the people I have shared my vision with. It really seems to hit a nerve. This has made it more and more easy for me to talk about the idea behind Trip To Bliss.
As far as sharing your story and “going public with it”: I will only use first names (which can be changed or read “anonymous” if the writer so desires), ages and nationality. So at the end of a story it would only read: Lisa, 42, USA.
5) What do you believe are the first steps in creating a more sex-positive culture, on both a personal and global scale?
I believe that the way to a “better anything” is communication. The moment we talk about something we bring it to light, and the moment we bring it to light it loses some of its scariness.
On a personal level this would mean talking about sexual issues with a partner or a close friend or in a women’s group, like you describe in your book. It can be scary and embarrassing, I know it was for me! But I found once I did, I wasn’t alone with it anymore. We could talk about it, research it, play with it, try different things. If you’re with the right person it can make everything lighter, more interesting, more playful and fun at times, also frustrating at other times. But having it not be the “elephant in the room” helped me, and my partner, deal with it. If we are in a good relationship this should be possible. In expressing any challenges or issues, we are now including the other person, or the culture at large, in finding solutions. When we open the dialogue we open the doors to compassion and understanding.
This is true on a global scale as well. Communication is the key! Sex-culture, positive as well as negative, is communicated on many different levels. We grow up with beliefs we just “inherit” from our parents, our teachers, or are indoctrinated with by churches and the media, etc. I know from reading your book Finding Ecstasy, you know all too well about this and that it takes serious soul searching and personal work to even realize that we have these beliefs (and, of course, not only about sex) because we have assimilated them so early in our lives, at a time when we could not question these “truths” we were being given. For things to change, we have to become aware of them and realize that they shape us and our outlook on life so very much! And then we have to ask ourselves the critical questions: do we want to keep those beliefs? Do they serve us in living the life we truly want to live? Or do they hinder us and do we want to discard them and replace them with better ones?
So in my opinion changing our sex-culture, whether it be on the personal or the global scale, has to start on a personal level. The work has to be done here first, and only from here can our sex culture change. Once we do that work we can now be “the difference we want to see in the world”: we ask more questions about why things are the way they are, are more curious, judge less, and carry our new beliefs out into the world. We affect our partners, our children, our friends, and anyone we come in touch with through our changed thinking, our words, our actions, our work.
Imagine the impact each one of us can have!
The partner making it safe to talk about not being able to have an orgasm together. How many women wouldn’t have to feel inadequate, or feel the need to fake it?
The parent openly talking about the body and sex, allowing it to be a safe topic with their children. How much guilt and shame could be avoided, how many teen pregnancies?
The friend sharing with another friend about her experiences. How much understanding and compassion could it create?
The movie maker who doesn’t just take the easy way out showing the woman climaxing but instead creating a scene where they talk about it. How many people can he reach?
The politician supporting policy changes, …
The woman who shares her story in Trip To Bliss. How many other women can she inspire through her experience, empower them by giving them hope and encouragement that they don’t have to live without the joy of having orgasms but help them realize they, too, can learn it.
You see, once we address it on a personal level it will carry into our families, our educational system, the media, out into the world. This is, in my opinion, how we will create change and a new culture around sex.
6) What are your goals with this book project and web portal? If you could describe a "dream result," what would it be? What transformation do you see for yourself?
My “dream result” for Trip To Bliss is …
… to raise awareness of this issue, to open up communication. To let women know they are not alone, there is nothing wrong with them. To lessen the feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame and dread women have around this issue.
It is to change our culture around this taboo topic in a positive way.
It is that many women from around the globe resonate with this project and will step up and share their story so that we can together inspire and empower each other to make a difference and create real change.
It is to change the statistics (that say 70% of women don’t climax during intercourse) for the better.
It is to involve men into this conversation, as well. If this is an issue that affects women, it obviously affects the men in their relationships as well. I am sure there is many a man out there who is wondering if he is doing something wrong, or why he can’t make “IT” happen for his woman. So I know there are men out there who know what helped, what worked, what made “IT” happen. I think it is important to capture the male perspective of this particular issue as well as the female. So, if you’re a man reading this, please share your insights with us or if you haven’t experienced this in your life, share it with your friends who might be interested in sharing their story.
It is to speak publicly on talk shows and stages about this issue.
It is to share resources, knowledge and inspiration.
It is to create safe environments for women to talk about it.
It is, last but not least, to support causes that help women. Part of the proceeds will go to organizations who are working to end female circumcision (FGM Female Genital Mutilation), sex-trafficking and child pornography. At that point the project will have come full-circle for me.
As for myself, Trip to Bliss is a huge learning experience all the way around. Already I have learned so many new things about the topic itself as well as about writing and publishing, social media, which I hadn’t used much before, managing my time, realizing that I enjoy writing; I am making new friends and have amazing conversations, … I am learning a lot for and about myself in the process. Speaking about Trip To Bliss on an individual level is always interesting. I also want to do public speaking about this topic to help raise awareness and start the conversation, even though the idea of public speaking scares me tremendously! But I know I want to do it anyway. It’s scary at times, and I really have to push past my own limiting beliefs but I’ve always had an inner desire and drive to grow on a personal level so I am really enjoying, for the most part , stepping up to these new challenges.
And if it wasn’t for Trip To Bliss I wouldn’t have met you, Rebecca, and your book, Finding Ecstasy, for which I am truly grateful! The story of your journey to transformation is very inspiring! Thank you very much, Rebecca, for inviting me to share a little bit of my own journey here!