Interview: Jenny Block

Jen:  Today we welcome Jenny Block to Romancing the Book.  Jenny, will you share a short bio with us?
Jenny:  JENNY BLOCK is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from Huffington Post to Playboy, and is the author of O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm and Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage (winner of a 2008 Lambda Literary Award). She appears regularly on HuffPo Live, the HuffPo Sex and Love Podcast, and is featured in HuffPo’s first ever, free-standing multimedia project. She holds both her BA and her MA in English from Virginia Commonwealth University and taught college composition for nearly ten years.

Her work appears in a wide variety of publications and websites, including Playboy.com, AskMen.com.TheDailyMeal.com, YahooTravel.com, Jezebel.com, YourTango.com, American Way, Dallas Morning News, the Dallas Voice, edgedallas.com, and Curve Magazine. She is often called on as an expert on sex and women’s sexuality for Cosmopolitan.com, Romper.com, yourtango.com, bustle.com, Woman’s Day magazine, SheKnows.com, and many others.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Jenny: The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex is all about every woman’s right and responsibility to masturbate. It’s about empowering women to take care of themselves in one of the most vital and overlooked ways. Self-care is imperative for women who have so many responsibilities from family to work. And masturbating is nature’s magic cure, alleviating stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and pain, while improving your sex life. And the best part is there are absolutely no negative side effects to solo sex.

The idea came out of my frustration with how women are constantly sexualized by men and the media and are shamed out of owning their sexuality. It’s our time. Our sexuality is our own and no one else’s. It does not belong to men or exist only in relation to men – in any way. It does not exist to sell products. I want to be at the forefront of the movement returning women’s sexuality to its rightful owners – women.

Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Jenny: My father is a Rabbi who writes amazing sermons and articles and wedding ceremonies.  My sister is a researcher and so has to do a lot of writing as well. They both have been a huge help in terms of writing, researching, and editing all of my books.

Jen:  Are you a plotter or pantser?
Jenny:  I am a full-on pantser, always have been. I still owe my high school English teacher the note cards and outline for my Senior term paper. I don’t write. Writing happens to me. I feel almost as if I channel my characters and my stories.

Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Jenny: Provocative, thought-provoking, funny

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Jenny: I don’t have a routine per se. Being outside somewhere calm and beautiful really helps. And a good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt either. My girlfriend’s house on the lake is my happy place; out on the deck just steps from the water or in the sunroom with the morning light streaming in through the wall of windows, I can write almost anything.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Jenny:  I type them in my phone or write them on ANYTHING I can get my hands on.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for this book?
Jenny:  I interviewed more than 150 women. I read everything I could get my hands on. I masturbated. A lot. I ended up in a group masturbation session with my lifelong heroine Betty Dodson in her Madison Avenue apartment during one of her acclaimed BodySex Workshops. And I also had my vulva immortalized in plaster by the artist Jamie McCarthy for The Great Wall of Vagina, US edition. I’m Miss Texas.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Jenny: That they have changed people’s lives.

Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Jenny: When Betty Dodson called me her “spiritual granddaughter” and welcomed me “to the sisterhood of sex-positive feminist warriors who are creating a path for our sisters, daughters, and mothers to follow, paved with the knowledge that sexual pleasure and orgasms are not only our birthright, but the basis for our social, physical, and spiritual healing.” She also called, The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex one of the textbooks for her famed BodySex Workshops, “bringing us us one step closer to cost effective and consistently available physical and sexual happiness.”

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book?
Jenny:  I bought an expensive vibrator that I told myself I could splurge on when I got my first book deal!

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Jenny: I spend as much time as I can outside and on the water. That is my happy place. I also love taking my dog Walter on long walks. And dancing. I love to dance, especially partner dance with my girlfriend who is an incredible dancer. We actually call our sunroom the ballroom because it’s a big open space with a tile floor and twinkle lights where we light to pretend we’re Fred and Ginger.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Jenny: I’m working on a dating book about creating your own happily ever after and a YA novel about a teenage girl with muscular dystrophy who conquers her leg list (all the things she wants to do before she loses her ability to walk) with the help of her older sister.