Does pleasure play a role in your divine experience?
It’s not often we hear mainstream conversations about the intersection of spirituality and sensuality. But for me, pleasure, sensuality, and God are inextricably connected.
In today’s episode, I’m chatting with author and founder of Booty Parlor, Dana Myers all about how pleasure and sensuality play into spiritual spiritual practice.
Even as a young girl, Dana was lucky enough to recognize the role that pleasure can–and should–play in a woman’s life. Through candid conversations with her mother and her own self-exploration, Dana created the foundation for a lifelong practice in self-love and sensuality.
Now, she guides other women to discover their own sensuality and take ownership of their pleasure through her books and women’s empowerment brand Booty Parlor.
Whether she’s creating for Booty Parlor or educating her own children, Dana holds pleasure and embodiment in high regard.
Join me in today’s episode as I chat with Dana all about her journey to discovering her own sensuality and how she advocates for others to do the same.. She’s sharing the role pleasure and sensuality play in her spiritual life, and she also opened up about how she broaches these topics with her young children.
Listen to episode 376 now!
In episode 376 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:
- [3:32] Defining God, Universe, or Source for yourself and allowing your identity to evolve
- [8:29] Getting out of your comfort zone to share your magic with the world
- [11:35] Different ways to connect with the divine and your inner self
- [18:44] How pleasure, sensuality, and God overlap and how they are interconnected
- [24:58] How the culture and conversation is changing around pleasure and sexuality
- [30:29] Traditionally female spaces and how they’ve changed over time
- [31:50] How to engage with beauty in a way that builds your confidence and self-love
- [39:29] How women before us engaged with pleasure, especially when it was still taboo
- [43:22] Teaching pleasure and sexuality with children and teens
- [47:05] How Dana founded Booty Parlor and built a brand around female pleasure and sensuality
- [50:28] Why you shouldn’t be afraid of the long game when it comes to your brand and business
Resources mentioned by Elizabeth in the episode:
- Follow Booty Parlor on Instagram
- Check out Dana’s books
- Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
- My current favorite comedian, Michelle Buteau
- Check out the Dating in Your 30s & 40s Workshop
- Explore the Self-Love Mini Course
- Join The Wild Soul Sacred Body Membership.
- Email us with questions or feedback.
- Don’t miss an episode of The Embodied Podcast.
Quote from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast:
- 00:33:29] “For me, beautification was not a ritual that I did for anyone else. It was an amazing, inner confidence-boosting, enthusiasm-raising, amazing experience for me.” – Dana
How was this episode for you?
Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!
About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto
Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.
If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussion on Instagram here.
Transcripts for Episode 376:
– Hello, everybody. Welcome to episode number 376 of the Embodied podcast. I am your host, Elizabeth DiAlto. And today, our guest is my Miami friend, Dana Meyers. Dana is the founder of a women’s empowerment beauty brand called Booty Parlor. And we are gonna talk about the origin story of Booty Parlor in today’s interview. And we also get into all things, pleasure, sensuality, and God. And one of the reasons I love talking to Dana about this, and I was so excited to interview her is when I first met her here in Miami, over a conversation at my dining room table. I learned that she’s literally been discovering like very consciously and intentionally, even by way of conversations with her own mother from the time she was like 10 years old, all about pleasure and sensuality, which I know is not an experience a lot of us can relate to, some of you might be able to. But I love, love, love, love this chat. Dana is super fun. She’s super hilarious. She’s also a mom of two. And I loved getting to jam with her on how she’s bringing these things up and broaching these topics with her own kids right now, as they’re in that kind of like preteen zone, which I know a lot of you could probably relate to parenting children of that age, whether it’s something you did before, something you’re doing or something you’re approaching now. So enjoy the interview, enjoy Dana. The show notes for this episode could be found at untameyourself.com/376.
– Hi Dana.
– Hi, babe. How are you?
– I’m literally so excited for this conversation. You are actually my first interview in 2022.
– Oh, well thank you so much. I’m honored.
– Yeah. I didn’t finish the “Miss J” book, but we’ll talk about it.
– Oh my God. I should have brought my copy. It’s by my bed. Damn it. Neither one of us have it. Now that’s a good one.
– It’s okay. So this year, I always kind of like to have, I switch up my opening questions for the podcasts every so often. And this year, this is what I’m really interested in. And there’s actually a couple, there’s usually just one, but there’s follow up questions to this new one.
– I’m excited. I’m starting to sweat a little.
– Oh, please. Sweat. I actually have my AC pumping. You might even be able to hear it, ’cause I also get hot during the conversations. What is your relationship to God right now? Including, like what is the word you use? What do you call God if you call it anything?
– Yeah, that’s a great question. I was just actually sitting with my father-in-law last night and telling him about this full moon spell party that I’m hosting next week.
– That I’m coming through.
– Yes. And sharing a little bit about witchcraft and magic, and my magical practice. And I said to him, you know, this is the first moment in my life where I feel the least Jewish I’ve ever felt.
– And it was really interesting because I was raised as a Jew, but like culturally and like with the family, but I went to temple and I believed in God. But God was always something much bigger than the traditional, what you’re sort of given on a piece of paper as a kid. But what’s my relationship with God right now? For me, God, and God is a very interchangeable.
– And they coexist. And so, I speak to both. It’s source. It’s universe. It’s me. It’s my heart. And my relationship is really strong and deep and rich and present every single day right now.
– Yeah. And then if you-
– Great question.
– Thank you. If you don’t. Well, ’cause here’s one of my big things, in terms of identity, I’m so fascinated with, we have this culture that’s overly obsessed with identity and, but a lot of the identity markers or the things that they want to use to pit people against themselves. So I’m also interested in how else do people identify? And for me, one of the big ones is a mystic. A lot of my life revolves around that. My number one relationship is with God.
– Since the summer, and this is February right now. So since like August, I’ve been binging on everything Carolyn Mays, related to mysticism and energy anatomy. And-
– I’ve got some right here.
– It’s so great. ‘Cause her book “Anatomy of the Spirit” was actually, this is 10 years ago now. I’ve read that book right around when I was getting my first “Reiki Attunements,” which was my first foray into energy were back in the day. And so just going deeper, revisiting her stuff. But I love how she defines a mystic is someone who’s more interested in experiencing the true nature of God than talking about the true nature of God, which kind of like what you described. And I don’t like to, I’m not necessarily anti-religion. Though, I see a lot of the issues that religion perpetuates causes whatever, and actually keeps people separate from God in a lot of ways.
– But that is interesting because I certainly even have people in my family. I was raised Catholic, who talk about God all the time and wanna reference God all the time. But if we look at how they’re actually behaving, I’m like, do you have a relationship with God though? Like, what’s it really look like?
– You know, I felt really lucky growing up in sort of the reform Judaism space. You know, the temple that we went to was reform. And I was always like, I always felt I had the permission and the space to question what I was learning. You know, I was very-
– And what is that? What reform means? I’ve actually never heard that before.
– Well, the way, and again, I’m not like, I’m not- You know, I couldn’t define it for you, but it’s like super liberal Jew. It’s like-
– Got it.
– Super kinda make it what you want kind of a Jew.
– That’s what I grew up. You know, thinking that reform Judaism was, I’m sure there’s a much more specific definition.
– Anyone wants to let us know, please let us know.
– But for me it was like, you take what you want and you have the freedom to explore and express yourself. And I felt, I’m so lucky that I had that kind of framework of religion growing up. And for me, Judaism has always been more about like the cultural sense of it and feeling belonging. And you know, also like the shared struggle aspect of the Jewish people. But you know, religiously, I’m not a religious Jew.
– Yeah. And that’s been interesting as I’ve gotten deeper into my magical practice and learning more about witchcraft. And really for me, it’s just like all about, it’s about the elements right now, and working with nature, and working with my nature.
– And I’m getting so much out of it, you know. And so much growth out of it. And I found some amazing teachers in the last couple of years, who’ve really helped and inspire me. So, but it feels very, it feels kind of like fluid for me. You know, like I feel like my Jewish people, they still love me. Even though I’m not- They’ve always loved me, even though I’m not really practicing.
– Yeah. That’s so funny because that was not the type of Catholicism I grew up with. But that’s just, I always had an innate relationship to it like that. Like my mom used to say to me, you can’t just pick and choose what, which parts you like. And I’m like-
– Yes, I can.
– I’m gonna, like-
– I don’t know, like that was always my kind of mystical instinct anyway, even as a young person.
– So, you mentioned magic, witchcraft. You mentioned some teachers, if you would like to share your teachers, if you wanna hype them up, please feel free to share. And I know you do, your spell work, and your candles, and you post your beautiful pictures of all these things. And I’m so excited to come to your moon circle next week, which by the way, I don’t go to people’s circles. But when you invited me, I’m like, oh hell yeah, I’ll go to hers.
– Well, and I gotta tell you, I have never hosted a circle before. I’ve hosted hundreds and hundreds of sex talks for women. And you know, sexy shopping events and lectures on sex and motherhood and all of these things. I am straight up going outta my comfort zone, doing this.
– I love it.
– And so, you’re gonna be there. There’s some other like spiritual and embodiment leaders who are gonna be there. And I’m like, noticing what’s coming up for me. I’m like, well, maybe I should have Elizabeth to lead the movement portion. And I’m like, no, you know what? I’m just gonna share what I share. And if she wants jump in, she’ll jump in. I’m noticing like-
– I’m never gonna jump in by the way. I’m not gonna do that unless you ask me. So, you know.
– I might ask you.
– Boundary agreement right now. If you want my input in something, you’re gonna have to ask, ’cause unsolicited is never gonna be my style.
– Yeah. And so, it’s just very interesting. I’m very into doing new things right now.
– I love that.
– And I’m into setting outside of my comfort zone. And I’m such like a solitary witch, you know. That I’m like, I wanna share this thing that I love so much with women that I love. And so I just thought, you know what? Come on over. And it’s gonna be magical.
– Well, and I feel like you can’t mess up when that’s the place. Like that’s actually how this podcast has grown and has stayed for this our seventh year now.
– Wow. Congratulations.
– Thank you. I would just be having, it was back seven years ago, we didn’t have Zoom yet. It was Skype, right. There was no FaceTime either yet, right. So we’d be hopping on Skype with people. And I mean, I had just, I knew a lot of people all over the world from various programs or conferences, whatever. And so you’d be catching up with people here and there. And I would hang up from having, just such rich conversations with people like, damn, I feel like my women would love to have heard that conversation.
– And so then I was like, I gotta start recording these. And so, the podcast also came from that place of like, I just wanna share. I just wanna, this is really fun. I find it intensely fascinating. But likelihood, if I do this to someone else might is high, and then we just kept going. ‘Cause people did.
– Yeah. Amazing.
– And that kind of enthusiasm is quite magnetic. So I’m very excited for you. Okay. What do you wanna share about how you connect with God, the divine, whatever these days.
– Hmm. Well, yeah, there’s many ways. Both sort of in daily journaling, breathwork, and yoga for sure. I mean, it’s really interesting. Couple weeks ago, I was going through some pretty intense stuff and I was in a yoga class. And I was really exhaling the intensity that was inside of me. And so, I was really in quite a trance with my breath. And at the end of the class, I was like, high, because I had activated my breath so much and connected with God, goddess, so much. And so, I’m sitting there and I’m like, really just like, high. And clear and cleansed, and renewed. And this young yoga teacher comes up to me and she says, you know, listen, I really love having you in class, but your breath was like a little too much today.
– Yes. Yes. Okay. So H took me out of my happy place, out of my inner connectiveness. And you know, kind of moved me, my reaction, not my response. My reaction was that of, did I do something wrong? I’m being shamed for something? I was breathing in a class that’s all about breathing. She said, what couldn’t you see that woman in the corner, you were driving her crazy. Yeah. So it was really hard.
– That’s a little inexperienced heart.
– That was her, bless her little inexperienced heart. And it was actually a good experience because I had to sort of process that and remember that, 20 years ago, when I was in my mid twenties, I’m sure I made mistakes in my professional environment.
– Of course.
– Of course.
– So compassion. But also, you know, really had to come back to, you know, what? My breath is how I connect to God.
– And my breath is how I process my emotions
– And that’s mine. And no one can shame me for it. And no one can take my expression away from me. So-
– And even if they don’t get it, like she obviously didn’t get it, you know?
– No. but I was also like, you know, Rodney Yee never told me my breath was too much. And Sean Corn never told.
– Like all these amazing like legendary teachers that I’ve been privileged to be in their rooms before.
– Like no one’s gonna shamed me for my breathing.
– You know, it was, I’m gonna quickly also share. I had an experience before. So like a little over a month ago, I mean, once I got to Miami, this has just been such a place, just like a lush. And I felt like actually, goddess called me here. It was like distinctly goddess energy, like so lush. So supple here. Like even the humidity, the moisture, I’m like, yeah. Like the green, like California is so dry. I’m like, oh my God. So I’ve been grieving a lot. Like I have a good amount of grief that I just kind in a carry. And so, I was in a yoga class. And this is an experience instructor. She was like, she’s actually the owner of the studio. I love this studio. But it was fascinating because I was having, I specifically, put myself in a back corner. As a facilitator, I know any given class, I could have a big emotional release and I don’t wanna be distracting to other people. Not that I need to be consider. It’s just like considerate, right. So I placed myself-
– Specifically in the back corner. And there was a moment where I was like, in a child’s pose and the tears came, so I was crying. And I hear the instructor call my name. And I ignored her. ‘Cause I’m like, she probably, she’s in the front of the room. I’m in the back. She probably doesn’t realize I’m crying. Then she called me again, ’cause like she really likes which I listen to each their own, but she kind of likes everyone to be practicing together. That’s just not how bodies and people work, right. So she called my name again, and I just looked up at her, and I shook my head, no. You know, just to kind of be like, yo, I’m having my own experience over here. Leave me alone. And then actually, that right in that back corner, there’s a door. So I just went outside. I actually sat outside and I cried. Like I was having this cathartic. And the thing about that is like, her class, her practice, her opening. Like whatever her sequence was facilitated that for me, you know. But it’s always so fascinating to me how even in those environments, people are still so averse to people’s expression. Whether your breath,
– your noise, your emotions,
– even as a person in a class when someone else is doing that, I used to get irritated. But now, I actually like, if I was in that class with you, I’d be like, good for her for just going all in.
– Or also, I would notice, that’s my irritation.
– Which means I’m not paying enough attention to myself
– to my mind, to my breath, to my decisions.
– And never fucking mind and mind my business.
– It’s not like I was gasping or farting or coughing or spluttering, you know. But that was interesting. And I actually don’t remember what your question was, how we got here.
– Actually, you connect. And that story came.
– Oh yeah, journaling, breath, and yoga. I’m definitely stretching and moving all the time. And that for me, is definitely a way to just like tune in. Like from grounding all the way to energy reaching up. That’s, that’s very powerful for me. And then really in my candle magic. I spend a couple of weeks, thinking about what’s going on, what I’m processing, what I need from a spell, what I wanna receive. And I spend time writing it, choosing the candles, and the herbs, and the colors and the shapes that I involve.
– And evolve. And it’s all part of my connection and my practice with God. And then I, light it up and cast it. And you know, sometimes add some sex magic into the spell, sometimes not, but- And then I tend to it, ’cause the candles that I use will burn for a couple days. So I tend to it. And that’s really sort of what my current practice of connecting with God is.
– I love it so much. I usually don’t know what I wanna call an interview until after, but before we even got on, I was like, this interview is definitely gonna be called pleasure sensuality in God.
– Love it, yeah.
– You do the things that we would talk about. And so, for me, an embodiment work, connecting to ourselves, learning to speak our body unique language of the senses. You know, and what’s funny is, there are certain things that I don’t ever really explicitly talk about, but people always kind of assign to me, and pleasure is one of those things. But you’re a person who pleasure is actually, Booty Parlor, all your stuff. It’s a much bigger and more, I think, explicit part of your life, your world. It’s what you do. So I’m curious, like these three things. Pleasure, sensuality, God. You’ve already talked a little bit about the spell casting and the candles, and telling like. There’s actually so much sensuality to that.
– Oh, so much.
– And it sounds like you enjoy it.
– I think, so here’s what I would love to ask you. The relationship between, it’s almost like the Venn diagram of pleasure, sensuality, and God. Where are they separate? Where do they overlap? Where do they feed each other? Like, what’s all that like for you?
– Great question. I’ve never thought about it in that way. ‘Cause it is, those three things are so interconnect and present in my daily life.
– I mean, I- You know, to kind of roll it way back. I grew up with a very sensual mother, you know. A really beautiful sensual mother who kind of owned her pleasure. You know, her 80s, early 80s vibrators. You know, were in her like leather nightstand table. And I knew about her, I sensed her femininity, and her connection to pleasure before I probably had words for it, right.
– And she was and is a makeup artist. And so I would tag along with her to the beauty parlor where she had her little makeup space. And beauty parlors are all about pleasure. They’re all about transforming, bringing out that inner confidence through the ritual of beauty, the ritual of hair and makeup, and girlfriend to girlfriend, truth-telling in conversation. So I was kind of immersed in that culture of pleasure and female sensuality growing up. And then I got my period at 10 and developed quite early, and really had a natural curiosity and hunger to experience pleasure. And I knew that that was an important part of my identity. And I wanted to figure it out, and I wanted to push those boundaries. And I wanted to see what that meant for me. And my mom was totally onto me, and talked to me very openly about pleasure, and about giving myself pleasure. And I remember she was like, like I remember being on like the mob of carpeting. It’s so like 80s or early 90s, like on the mobs of carpeting.
– That’s normal.
– And she was like, you know, I just wanna tell you that giving yourself an orgasm is just as pleasurable, if not more than having sex. And I was like-
– And how old were you for that?
– I mean, I was probably, I was like, oh God. Maybe 12 or 13.
– That’s amazing. Like, I’m sure there’s some people listening who might have had moms like that. But my guess is that the vast majority, including me, are sitting here just like jaw on the ground.
– Like that is just not a thing.
– She’s a unicorn, yeah. She’s a unicorn for sure.
– So amazing.
– And so then, it’s like, it came a source of power for me. And not power in a bad or competitive way, but real inner power. Where I, from a very young age, I wasn’t classically beautiful. I didn’t have the blonde hair with the wings and the bangs. I had this frizzy, you know. I was short and chubby, and gangly, and had weird hair. And I didn’t feel classically pretty, but I felt really confident and sexy. And I thought, wow, I’m gonna, this is- I’m gonna go with this. Okay. I’m gonna go with this. And I kind of learned to harness and grow, and develop that part of myself as part of my confidence.
– And I made a lot of mistakes. And when I made some really big mistakes that my mom knew I wasn’t gonna talk to her about. She then sent me to a therapist when I was 15. And so I was, I had this space to talk about the mistakes that I made, and talk about some of the shame that I felt. And that therapist really helped me not get stuck in shame. She really helped me see, hey, we all make mistakes. We all make bad choices. That’s a lesson. That’s not something to get stuck in. And so, it was like, okay, well then pleasure’s great. Pleasure is my north star. I’m gonna learn from it. I’m gonna experience amazing things from it. I’m gonna learn about other people through it. And then it just guilt pleasure and beauty sensuality, just kind of became my jams from a whole life.
– Yeah. And you know, it’s fascinating. As you’re saying that, I’m thinking, right around Scorpio season, right around November. Any desire I had for dating or a partner, a man, even a lover, just like just drained right outta me.
– And one of the things, one of the reasons why I realized, is because part of my desire for partner was a desire for support.
– ‘Cause I’ve been on my for a while or now, and even in the pandemic, living by myself, being very isolated before I got to Miami.
– And I realized like, I have this support network now.
– So I was like, oh. And there was also just this reorientation around like, where am I putting my energy? And just realizing how much energy I’m given to men in my life.
– And just like, just not wanting to. Nothing against like, I’m not like jaded. I’m not like, fuck that dating stuff. I’m like, just not where I wanna put my energy right now.
– So as you were saying that though, I almost had this like flash before my eyes of a couple men that I really cared about, who their relationship to pleasure was like, like these kind of like workaholic, too busy, whether they’re love avoidant or life avoidant, or also some of them, I’ve dated a lot of single dads. Just by nature of being a single dad, like working, providing for their kid, whatever. And which I would never knock, but also, just they don’t even allow themselves to relax. Like they don’t even give themselves space for pleasure. Checking out, sure. And I guess, why I’m bringing this up, is because I think for women, it’s such an interesting relationship, and there’s so much stuff online of what pleasure looks like, what it doesn’t look like, how to do it, women shame in themselves. ‘Cause they’re not into this way or that way or whatever, which just brings me back to something else. I always take notes while people talk. I’m very-
– Listen. Yeah, go ahead.
– No, you go and then I’ll come back.
– No. It’s very interesting. Because the rate, the rapid rate at which the conversation around female pleasure and sexuality has changed. It’s like light speed in the last.
– Yeah, yeah.
– You know, five to eight to 10 years. I started Booty Parlor, 15, 16 years ago. Where I had to fight to get conversations started with the media or with retailers. I mean, it was fighting tooth and nail. It was explaining and overexplaining the connection between a woman’s pleasure, and why a lubricant is just as important and basic as a lip gloss. You know, all these things are really, really a fight. And then suddenly, it was like the floodgate have opened.
– What opens the flood gates? Do you know?
– I think “50 Shades of Gray” was a turning point.
– The popularity of that book of bringing a conversation about something that was always perceived as dark and mysterious, and taboo. Bringing that to such a height of popularity, Well, first it was Sex In The City, okay.
– That there’s a lot to normalize. Then it was-
– Especially, Samantha’s character.
– Totally. And the vibe where the rabbit-
– Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
– What was once hidden in CD stores was suddenly on the biggest TV show. And then “50 Shades of Gray,” you know, it was like, oh, well, maybe, king can taboo, and fetish isn’t so, we romanticized it.
– in that built in the popularity of that series. And so I think there were a couple like cultural markers that helped push things out
– into the open.
– And I’m sure, and these are very like mainstream heteronormative examples. I bet, we have some great folks
– that could be like, well also, this was going on and this was going on, but no one was giving us any air time.
– Totally, totally.
– You go those things. And you wanna share those with us, please also do as well.
– And now, the conversation, it’s so interesting what you brought up, it’s like the conversation got so blown open can almost be intimidating. There are so much information on how to experience pleasure. How to talk about, how to own it, and how to- And now, you know, And it also, with the Me Too movement. And now, and then sort of me too, in a way, turned into man hating. And people who don’t fully understand how to talk about the patriarchy and the patriarchal systems. It kind of can get very black and white into like, well we’re against men. And so, and then it was like, well, is it okay to still wanna have pleasure with a man and talk about that publicly?
– You know, so it’s really gotten, like the conversation is quite interesting now. And it can be overwhelming for a woman who’s like, well, I just wanna, where do I start? You know, do I have to be so bold and out there with my ownership pleasure? Or can I still want to experience pleasure in my heteronormative relationship? It’s like, there’s a lot of mixed messages. Like do I have to announce my pronouns before I talk about?
– Yeah, yeah.
– Sex that I want to. It’s a lot of information, I think, for the modern woman to absorb and process,
– and try to share.
– No matter where she exists on whatever spectrum of gender or sexuality. And I think,
– a lot of it is performative now, right? Because we have social media. I am constantly looking.
– I can’t wait. I hope I live another 50 years. So I could read the studies that must be happening about how social media is fucking all of us up, and changing culture, not for the better. It does so many miraculous things like even people listening this podcast. So many of us get to be connected because of social media and things. But it’s so wild now, the way people can just be inundated, and also feel obligated to be sharing or performing. And then like you mentioned, there’s this term lately that I hadn’t actually really heard until recently self censorship.
– Where like you were saying like, well, can I say this, if someone identifies, for example, as a feminist, then are they allowed to like actually want to be in a traditional monogamous relationship? Like-
– And allowed is an air quote. So yeah,
– Right, right.
– I think it gets very complex which- So this connects to something because I’m so curious. You know, when I was growing up, both my parents worked and so we spent a lot of time. We were lucky enough when my grandparents were close, we spent all the time in my grandparents house. Then I also had a babysitter. And when for the first several years that we went to Susie’s house, she also had kids, two older than me, one younger than me. And then my brother is four or five years younger than me. So we go to Susie’s and it was like this fun house of kids on New York lane on Staten Island. And they lived above a beauty salon.
– And I don’t remember why we were allowed to just hang out in the beauty salon sometimes.
– It’s awesome.
– And it was just so fun and so cool. And it felt, like I was always enamored with like older women or like makeup, or whatever it was. I thought it was super fun until I got into, until actually, I also got my period when I was 10.
– Oh, hi.
– I had C cups by the sixth grade.
– But at that point I decided I didn’t, I wanted to cover all that up. I just became a tomboy. I was wearing like basketball jerseys, sweatshirts, anything I could do to cover it up. It was my nightmare, once the pool party started to happening. And I’m like, everyone’s gonna see it, I have titties. But what do you notice? ‘Cause you’re in the beauty industry.
– What’s the difference between a beauty parlor? Like when you were growing up, when I was growing up, and now?
– Yeah. Oh gosh. Well the aesthetic is so different, right. And especially, living here in Miami, babe, which you see, the aesthetic of beauty here is wildly wow, off the charts. I mean, I think-
– It’s the fake butts. I can’t deal with the fake. I know this isn’t really the beauty parlor thing, but like the fake butts-
– the fake butts are intense, really intense.
– They freak me out.
– They’re really intense.
– Look I mean, I have a very groovy, beauty salon right now. Oh, which we share. And so, that feels like a very intimate experience. But you know, when you go into like the, I don’t even know what it’s called the IGK or something. But like all the Miami women go to.
– I dunno what that is.
– I don’t either, but I hear about it. Okay, I hear about it. And it’s all about the straightening and the blowouts. And for me, because I’ve always been so, I just embrace what the natural curl, okay, of my hair. I’ve never really, I’ve never worn it straight. I don’t even know how to make it straight.
– I did that for a hot decade at least, if not 15 years.
– Oh, wow, okay. So you know what I, surface level, top level. You know, the beauty parlor that I grew up in, I was born in 75, probably started following my mom to the shop when I was what? Six? And, you know, that was 81. So it was like, kind of more like, you know. It’s eighties, it was more colorful, and it was a little bit more natural. But it was also big. And, you know, the nails.
– And I guess, So for me, the aesthetic of today, which is at least by Kardashian sort of standards of this new kind of beauty world. It’s high, heavy contour, super slick straightened. You know, within an inch of your life, your hair has been flat ironed and straightened. Super cinched waste trainers, super amplified booties. And I still say, even though that aesthetic is not the one that I want to amplify for myself, like if you are amplifying what you have, and it makes you feel good, then God bless you. Right?
– And so, for me, where I kind of sometimes struggle, right. When we talk about patriarchal culture and the beauty myth, and how we are raised. You know, as Sarah Durham Wilson, our mutual friend and my teacher, has always said to be pretty and polite, and pleasing. It’s like, I get that. That is the experience of a lot of women. For me, beautification was not a ritual that I did for anyone else. It was an amazing inner confidence, boosting, enthusiasm, raising, amazing experience for me. And so, I think that I love beauty. I’m okay with beauty, all the while, I think that women need to look at themselves and really find that balance of, am I doing this only for someone else, or am I doing it for myself? And that’s a tricky balance for us to find. Because compliments do feel good, and attention from people you may be trying to attract because you want love in your life.
– That feels good too. But if you’re only doing it to get attention, if that’s how you’re building yourself worth. Well, that’s where beauty and the beauty business can get kind of tricky.
– So it’s very, it’s fine line. It’s tricky. And we each have to look at that, I think.
– So I had this experience. I’ve probably talked about this on the podcast before where in early 2010s.
– So that’s what we’re calling them.
– Love it.
– I was in this relationship for like almost three years. And I lived with this person, and he was very critical of my body. When we got together, I was still kind of coming outta my fitness life. And I was in different shape. I was in more traditionally like, personal trainer looking kind of shape, standardly accepted. And then I gained weight while we were together. And I just became more voluptuous, which, some people use whatever words you want, someone could say, chubby, chunky, whatever. I love voluptuous. There’s just more. I just got more body now, you know? And you know, part of my multi-ethnicities or being Italian in Puerto Rican. So for me, that I grew up around women with a lot of body.
– So, And I also grew up on Staten Island, like in New York with like all the cultures, all the bodies. So I didn’t grow up, the women in my family were like always dieting. But I was also super athletic growing up. So my weight wasn’t really something that I really paid much attention to, maybe, till I got into high school. And I know some people, that started for them much younger. Some people, it wasn’t even a thing. But what this is reminding me of, is after I get outta that relationship, I took a off from dating. And I had lived in San Diego for that. I moved up to LA, which obviously, LA is a pretty shallow place.
– And I remember wondering when I did start dating again, if anyone was gonna be interested in me. Now that I had like more body on me, you know?
– And I just, it blew my mind. I’m so glad that I did have the confidence to be like, well, coming outta that experience where that person was very critical in my body. I’m like, never again. I’m like, that is a deal breaker for me immediately. Like anyone, and no one has since criticized my body. Right?
– It’s like something in my energy was available for that, then that’s not-
– Yeah, yeah.
– And if anyone were to, it would be like the quickest exit. There’s the door for you. But what blew my mind was actually how many people were so into it. And I don’t say that I don’t share this, ’cause listen, I’m sure there’s some people listening who are just like naturally very thin and not curvy. I’m not saying this is an ideal, but I’m just saying everything that gets programmed into us, about how women are supposed to look?
– Its just like one standard idea. But really anyone can find someone that wants what you’re wearing with.
– Totally, and also-
– Like you were saying, oh, sorry,
– That’s also just not the primary reason to care how you look by the way.
– Or care at all. ‘Cause listen, if you don’t give a shit, don’t give a shit. It doesn’t, you know.
– Totally. Well, look.
– What are you gonna say?
– I think it’s also tricky because the standard of what a woman’s body should look like has changed every single decade.
– In the fifties, it was like, the beach bunny and curvy, and Marilyn Monroe. And then the 60s and 70s, it was like Twiggy, super thin. And then the 80s, it was like strong, like Jamie Lee Curtis, and physical with the high cut leotard. And then the 90s was super wave. And then the 2000 was like grunge. And you know, and then it’s like-
– Well, and the dawning of JLO, the Kardashians, the big butts as a standard, kind of that came in like late 90s into the early 2000s, right?
– Yes. And I think that, even though like some of the focus on the booty, again, we live in Miami. So there’s like this almost cartoonesque.
– Kinda thing about giant butts here. It’s weird. It doesn’t look human.
– It doesn’t look human.
– So that’s weird. But the general, you know, not just acceptance, but embracing of the bigger booty, I think has been a real gift for women at large. Because it has allowed all of us to just fucking relax a little bit about the size of our bodies.
– Except when they want your waist to look like a fucking Barbie doll.
– Well, that’s very true.
– You go with booty.
– That’s also very, very, very true. I mean, come on. I don’t know.
– Really fascinating.
– It’s a lot. It’s a lot of pressure to be a woman, which is why you really just have to tune everyone out, and just find what works for you, and what feels good for you.
– And then surround yourself with people that are just gonna celebrate the outta that.
– Yeah, yes. Yes.
– So I wanna shift to, so we were,
– Where were we’re?
– It was funny a couple friends, when I moved to Miami, we’re like, you need to meet Dana Meyers. And so when I finally did get to meet you, we had a little dinner at my house with our friend, Kate. And you were telling us, now was the J book, it’s called the “Sensuous Woman,” right?
– I found at my grandma’s house.
– That was the best part for me, that it wasn’t even your mom. You found this at your grandma’s. ‘Cause listen, and I’m sure some of you could relate. When I think of about my Catholic grandma.
– Yeah, uh-huh. And my, that grandma was a Sicilian Catholic who converted to Judaism. So she was a Sicilian Catholic.
– Unbelievable. When I think about my little German, Irish grandma, there’s not a book that I could imagine less likely to be on her bookcase than that fucking book.
– Can you tell us about it?
– Yeah. I mean, look, every Sunday we’d go over to my grandparents house. And you know, maybe the book was my aunt Kim or my aunt Michelle’s, you know, who knows? But I found it in my grandma’s basement, and that’s where I would hang out. You know, the men would be watch watching football and the women would be cooking. And, you know, my cousins were little than me, so I would just kind of go in the basement and hang around. And once I found that book, it was like, I knew I had a limited amount of time to read-
– And how old were you when you found the book?
– Okay. So it was before I had sex for the first time, which was at 13. So I probably read it during my 12th year.
– This is amazing. Okay, keep going.
– And which now that I almost have a 12 year old, I’m kinda like, whoa, I never thought that that was, air quote, too young. I knew it was young, but I never knew it was too young. I still don’t feel that I don’t regret anything. But now again, now that my first born is almost 12, I am like, whoa, like that was pretty intense. But anyway, I found that book and it was like a revelation. It was written in the 60s and by J, air quotes, anonymous, and it was all about a woman’s pleasure. And of course, it was, there’s so much about like how to please your man with an epic blowjob with whipped cream. And, you know, tickle this part on the underside of his, of the head of his penis. All these little sex tips and tricks, you know. But that is where, it’s where I learned to give a blowjob. And so every Sunday, I would go and I would take out the book, and I would put it back the right place. And I would kinda hide it to make sure that it wouldn’t go missing. And then eventually, I just fucking stole it. I’m like, you know what? Grandma, this is mine.
– This is mine now.
– And yeah. And you know, that was just another voice. It was another voice. It was my mom’s voice. There was this voice in the book. And then, when I went to college, I think you mentioned this too. I had always found women who were like a stage ahead of me in their lives, in their relationships, in their careers. You know, I always had these older women who were kind of my guides, who could help me, who I could talk to, who could give me more information than I needed. And so, there were a lot of amazing women in my life besides that book and my mother, who empowered me sexually. And there were a lot of men in my life, amazing lovers who empowered me to speak up, and to put words to what I feeling, and put words to what I wanted. And so, I really gotta give, some of these men, major props as well. You know, who encouraged me to speak up. And that was big for me too.
– Oh, that. Okay, so there’s two other things I really wanna ask you.
– And she brought up your kids. This is what I gonna say. I also, even just, I have cousins who are significantly younger than me, like 10 and 12 years. And even just noticing the difference between like me and them, and I always wondered if part, where did you grow up? I forget.
– I grew up in the Southern Suburbs of Chicago.
– Okay. So a part of me wondered, if it was because I grew up like on Staten Island and in a more, even though it’s not the city-city, it’s still one of the five boroughs. It’s still like New York city.
– Oh yeah.
– If things were just faster, if we just like matured quicker, like what was to that? And then my cousins grew up in like central, New Jersey. And I just, I remember there were different stages at which me and my brother would be like, you think they’re getting into this shit we were getting into? Like at that age? Also, very different family upbringings as well.
– But so I’m wondering for you, how do you impart, like what’s your own discernment slash parenting style or approach with imparting like pleasure in central? ‘Cause you have a son and a daughter, right?
– Yeah. I have a son and a daughter. Yeah.
– Yes. So again, I’m like I love to study, so I have lots of books. I have all the like information. You know how to talk about sex from three to seven, how to talk about sex from eight to 11. Just this week, I gave my son a book called “The Boy’s Book of Body” or something, which is a book about heading into puberty, because he gets very squeamish when I try to talk with him about it. My son and I, we can talk about anything. My daughter, she’s a little more cagey with me. And I have to like really hang back, and let her come to me with the information when she wants to.
– I’ve really learned that about her. Whereas, he, I can usually bring up any topic and he’ll get into it with me. But it’s so interesting because puberty is something that like, he does not want to talk about. So I got on this book and I said, well, just like check it out. You don’t have to read it, cover to cover. Just check it out. ‘Cause you’re about to start going through these changes. So we’ll see how that goes. We’ll see how that goes. It’s taken a couple of days. He’s still taught why’d you buy me that? Like, I don’t really wanna read it. But for me, the conversation has always been to be very frank and honest when they ask me questions. So I think, when my son was seven and my daughter was four, we were in the car. And he said, how are babies made? And I said, well, when two people wanna make a baby, the man puts his penis, inside the woman’s vagina, and the sperm comes out, and it meets the egg. And sometimes, a baby is formed. And he went, ew.
– It’s basic.
– Just ew. So I try to be like very factual about anatomy and about how things work. But on the pleasure conversation, we look for pleasure in everything. So that when we do start to talk about sexual pleasure, which is totally like, ew, on the cusp right now. My kids already have a vernacular of pleasure. We talk about how things smell. We talk about how things taste. We admire the flowers in our garden. We talk about how things feel on our skin. We do a lot of that. We do a lot of that.
– I love this. It sounds like you have built a good like sensual vocabulary and awareness.
– So it would naturally make sense that it would just overlap or spill into this new experience.
– Whatever becomes age appropriate or whatever that means.
– Yeah, totally. Yeah.
– So great. And then I don’t, I mean, we, the way we put your intro, I read your intro before the interview starts. So people know like you’re the creator and founder to a Booty Parlor. But I love an origin story. Can you tell me that one?
– The origin story of Booty Parlor?
– Oh gosh, yeah. So, I was in the music business. I grew up as a classical pianist, but really got bit by the rock and roll bug, and was chasing rock bands. Spent all my teenage years.
– How does this not surprise me at all?
– Yeah. And that was like, my soul focus was chasing. We call them LHDs, longhaired dude. And I just wanted to be in rock and roll. That’s all I wanted. So I went to a music business program and interned at all the record labels. And went on all the tours, and loved the music business. But at the same time, I again, had always been that girl that my friends were coming to for love and sex, and beauty advice. And I was always the one going in and buying them their first toy in those CD shops on the west side and Christopher street in New York. And ’cause I just wanted everyone I knew to experience this amazing gift of orgasm, and the confidence that came from that. So, my career in the music business while fulfilling, got very corporate. And I wasn’t thrilled with it. And I was dating this new guy on match.com, who I had met again on Match. And he’s now my husband of 17 years, this March. And we were always talking about business ideas in the first few months of dating. We sort of saw that entrepreneurial spark within one another. I had some girlfriends over and we were drinking cosmos, ’cause again, that was like “Sex In The City.”
– That’s the city time.
– Generation. And I was a little drunk and I said, oh, it’s like, we’re at the Booty Parlor. ‘Cause we were talking about beauty and sex, and boys. And I thought, oh my God, Booty Parlor, like that’s maybe the cutest thing I’ve ever said. What is that? Is it our girls club? Is it a book? Is it a brand? And I thought, oh, it’s where I’d wanna go shop. Instead of those CD gross, tacky sex stores. It’s where I’d wanna shop for things that made me feel sexy. So went up to San Francisco with this new boyfriend and we were driving down the one back to LA. And I said, I have this for a business. It’s called Booty Parlor, and it’s like the beauty parlor for your love life. And it’s where I’d wanna go to shop for all the things that made me feel confident and sexy. And he was like, I love it. And when he had been working in DC, in London, he had actually evaluated some business plans in the space. And it was such a white space at that time. You know, there was like really no one doing it in a female focused way. And by the time we got down to LA, we thought, let’s do it. And so, we wrote a business plan and raised money, and quit our jobs, and built the brand, and got married in March of 2005. And launched the brand in June of 2005, and we’ve been going ever since.
– My God, I love this. This like makes me wanna cry. I love it so much.
– And it’s been up and down. You know, anybody who thinks like, we’re not an overnight success story. We’re like a 16 year success story. You know, clawing.
– So everything is Clawing and scraping, and pivoting, time and time again to find business model that works, so.
– Bruh, I hear you. I literally am just, I’m doing another pivot right now.
– It’s funny.
– Yeah. It’s never ending, the pivots.
– It’s never ending. Back in the day, my first like entrepreneurial mentor was Maria Forleo. And one of her quotes that, regardless of how anyone feels about Marie now, ’cause I know some people, they’re not huge fans anymore. But-
– She said this thing once, “if you wanna be an overnight success, you have to be an everyday hustler.”
– And while I’m not super into hustle culture, like I get that it’s just like, there’s no such thing, you know. You think someone popped up overnight, ’cause you just heard of them. But like, see what they’ve been doing for the last- One of my favorite stories of this, is my favorite comedian of the last several years, is a woman named Michelle Beautou. Are you familiar with her?
– No, but I’m gonna write her name down.
– I’ll send you her Instagram. You can check her out. I love her for so many millions of reasons. But one of the things I love is that, she honestly had been doing comedy for like something like 15 or 18 years before she literally, she got on some like Netflix, not even her own special yet. She was on the showcase. She only got 30 minutes. And then it seems like from there, she was in this movie with Ali Wong, she got her own Netflix special. She was in this show on BET. And now, it’s like Michelle Beautou is everywhere. And every new win she gets, I’m like, yes, yes, yes. But she was grinding for like.
– Grinding, yeah.
– In 18 years or something like that before anything really big happened for her.
– And that’s so, most of my friends were like that too. And some people even probably listening to this, we don’t realize the ways that we were actually like training for something for our whole lives until the moment, like when that idea came, you lived and breathed that shit.
– Yes, totally.
– You just admit like again, you were in the beauty parlor since you were six.
– Yes, yes. For sure. It was all destiny. But then it’s also like, for a journey that’s as long as this particular one, there were moments where I put it down. And said, I need to go and do something else.
– Yeah. What did you do?
– I wrote another book about motherhood and sex, which wasn’t related to Booty Parlor. I mean, it was tied in. And then I tried to do online courses for moms. And that was like a huge failure for me. That was like a big, deep cavernous failure. And I’m okay. I’m okay to use that word.
– Love it so much. Most people try to like shirk off a failure and be like,
– It was a great opportunity to learn. You’re like it fucking tanked.
– Yeah. And that really-
– I love that.
– Yeah. It just got me more comfortable with failure, you know.
– Because what I had to learn is that, the success of me as a human, is not actually tied to the success of any given project.
– A thousand per- ‘Cause like, I’m so glad you said that. ‘Cause it doesn’t matter what industry, what career path, even if it’s a career path. It could be parenthood, it could be a relationship. There’s just so many variables involved in things outside of us, and the choices we made, and how we showed up. Like we have to take responsibility for those things, but then there’s a bajillion factors.
– Totally. There’s a bajillion factors. Yeah. And it’s not related. It’s not always just related to how hard you work or how smart you are.
– Oh hell no.
– It never is actually, it never is.
– And then, you know, Booty Parlor, we had done a licensing deal. So it was very hands off and it was working in the middle east. And it was very nice to take a Royal check, which God bless, we still do. But then Booty Parlor came back to me in a vision that I had in a ritual that I was doing with a group of witches. And in the vision, I was holding this big pan. Like a pan that they cook paella in which you made at our dinner party. Thank you. That was deluscious. And it was filled with this very sort of fertile soil.
– And Booty Parlor in my vision, she popped her head up out of the soil again. And was like, mom, I’m ready. And you’re ready. Like take me back.
– And I did. I was like, oh, okay. Yeah. I am gonna take you back. And I really enjoy selling perfumes and body lotions, and things that make women feel good in a more simple way. You know, I loved teaching workshops. And I really wanted my digital course business to work. But in a way, well, A, it didn’t work. And in a way, I have accepted that selling something that is more simple,
– Is also okay. I think in this, we talked about this at dinner. In this space that we’re all in with all these amazing female leaders and all these amazing books and programs, and things. Like for me to switch gears and say, well, I’m really okay. And actually quite proud to sell a perfume that I developed in a way that felt really simple and almost like, ooh, did I take the easy way out? But no, I’m good with it.
– But meanwhile though, as a person who has been in the digital space and like, that is what I do and what I’m pretty built to do. In the moments when I’ve tried to like foray into physical shit.
– Even like tank tops, even when we find these easy solutions.
– And it’s always so funny to me because so many we’ll be like, hey, like if we made this, but you wanted it. And there’s always all these people that are like, yes. And then you make it. And maybe like, a 10th of the people who were like, yeah, actually get it. And I’m like, fuck. Like that was so much work. And then tracking things, figuring out having it, like all the- So I think there’s nothing simple about the route that you took, but I’m sure it feels that way to you because that’s your jam.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. So interesting to hear from the other side too.
– Yeah, yeah. Like, it’s so- And this is why I love things. Astrology, human design, and you got like whatever the systems, anything we could learn about how we’re actually built.
– And what are our strengths and what we’re really not. There’s nothing I love more than discovering how much I suck at something.
– Just be like, how soon can I get somebody else to do this?
– Or support me in it at least. So I could stay in the lane of like what I should be doing.
– Yes, yeah, yeah. Love that.
– It makes life so much freaking easier. Give me a second. Was there anything else? Is there anything, I love this question. Anything I didn’t ask you that you were like, oh, I was really hoping we’d talk about this.
– I feel like this was a great conversation because you really surprised me with your questions about God, and prompted me to think about things. I didn’t know we were gonna talk about. And so, I feel like, no, there aren’t any other questions you could ask me. I’m really, I feel really good about where we went with it.
– Okay, great. I mean, I love. That’s my favorite. And I’m really, I’m excited to start the conversations this year with the God questions for all these different types of people. ‘Cause like that is also something I really want people to see. That just as many people as there are, there’s that many unique relationships or ways to connect, or see like, these people who seem so different connect in a similar way or don’t, or these people who are similar connect in totally different ways, or some people don’t connect at all. Like there’s just so many options, but thank you, especially for indulging all my questions about pleasure and sensuality. ‘Cause that really, it’s something I am just not very explicit about. But it’s such a big part of just who I am.
– Yeah, it is. And I don’t even know you that well, but I can tell you that.
– So that’s so amazing. So everyone listening, you could follow- Dana, we’ll put links to everything in the show notes. You could follow Dana and Booty Parlor on Instagram. Check out Booty Parlor. Check out Dana’s books. Thank you so much. You are so great. This was so fun.
– Get off, you’re so great. Thank you.
– All right. We’ll talk to you later.