It’s Escape Month at the Atelier, and what better escape than a big, blissful orgasm to temporarily transport you from your day-to-day grind? Well, easier said than done. It’s no secret that many women struggle to reach orgasm on their own or with a partner, despite what our favorite rom-coms tell us. Remy Kassimir is a stand-up comedian based in New York who, after years of brazenly tackling taboo subjects in her routines, decided to finally open up about her own struggles to achieve this carnal pleasure. At twenty-eight years old, Remy had never experienced an orgasm of her own and started a podcast to educate herself (and her listeners) on how exactly to achieve the ever-elusive O. How Cum is now on its second season and answering questions from listeners about female pleasure, relationships, and feeling confident in your own skin. We talk to Remy and How Cum producer Charlotte (also her sister!) about what they’ve learned, their dream guests, and what’s next for the Kassimir sisters.
First, give us a rundown of how you guys came up with the idea for How Cum.
RK: I had a very weird and interesting road that led me to realize I wasn’t having orgasms. For some reason growing up, I genuinely didn’t believe women were having orgasms or that they even could; but when I started stand up comedy I began to see that that wasn’t true. Night after night I would hear women talk about their orgasms on stage and I’d ask them after, “Is this really something you’re doing?” They would say yes and give me some pointers and I would try to take them in but I’d ultimately see no progress and give up. I felt defective and lonely. I shared the news with Charlotte, who (despite being my younger sister) shockingly said that she had orgasmed before, but it was difficult for her to do so with a partner. After a few conversations about technique, Charlotte suggested I may be a “lazy masturbator,” and I realized that I would need something to hold me accountable to complete my task. Thus, How Cum, with its expert guests and assignments, was born.
Why was a podcast your medium of choice?
RK: I had actually been planning on a podcast way before the idea of How Cum. I noticed a lot of the more successful working comics had podcasts and though I was not a listener, I thought it seemed like a great way to connect with fans and get booked more for stand up. Topic wise, I wanted to talk about something universal, and my initial podcast idea was about all the different ways you can die, since we all “do” death eventually. But then when I realized orgasms could be a possibility for me I thought maybe that was a bit more important, and that I should do that while I’m still alive!
What has been your favorite episode thus far?
RK: I have so many favorites because so much learning and unlearning happens every week; it always shocks me to learn what I didn’t know or previously thought. One of the episodes that stands out is Season 1 Episode 24: Two Christians. Our guests dispelled a bunch of myths about sex and The Bible and it was one of the times that many Cumpanions (How Cum listeners) reached out saying it changed their minds for the better and helped them to feel more comfortable about sex and with themselves.
CK: Ooh so tough. They’re all so different, but if I had to pick one I’d say it’s Season 2 Episode 3 called “Human Prozac” with Helen Fisher (I was a psych major/brain geek so I find it fascinating). She’s an evolutionary biologist and anthropologist at the Kinsey Institute and has been the scientific advisor to match.com for 11 years – she’s also just an amazing person. I also love S2E4 with Rayna Greenberg and Ashley Hesseltine from Girls Gotta Eat – they’re incredible. Sorry, that’s two – had to.
Tell us a bit about how much work goes into planning one season.
RK: Season 1 and Season 2 are very different in terms of planning in that Season 1 was designed to teach ME how to orgasm and Season 2 is designed to answer the questions that the Cumpanions have for me and that I cannot answer. Season 1, I would choose guests based on my comfort level with them and their sex stories that could help me. The second I accomplished my “goal” however, the podcast shifted from “what’s wrong with Remy” to “what’s wrong with the world that Remy needed to start this podcast.” Season 2 Charlotte came on board full time as a producer to book more expert guests that could answer those questions.
CK: Aside from recording the episodes themselves, we research every guest that we have on (and of course before we reach out to make sure they’re a good fit…and are still alive…literally that happened once). I used to be a research associate producer at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, so that gave me a lot of training (especially in making sure that potential guests are not dead). But jokes aside, we really like to have a mix of guests so that each episode brings something new and different that people can learn from (and laugh with), whether it’s a stand-up comic, a tantric masseuse, a licensed doctor, or an adult film star. Then there’s the stuff like partnering with sponsors who we really support, doing live podcasts and events, posting on social media, managing the Patreon, putting up a website, appearing on other podcasts, and soon we’ll be making merch, etc. It’s like any startup that needs constant attention.
Are there topics that you think are too taboo for the podcast?
RK: Nope. What’s cool about the podcast is that people have so many questions about so many things and we want to explore them all. The idea is to get every topic, particularly the very taboo ones, out in the open because we don’t want anyone to feel like they’re totally alone in the world.
CK: Exactly. I think the super taboo topics are particularly important to address because we all have insecurities and at some point might wonder: “Am I a weirdo?” or “Am I the only one dealing with this?” We just want to help people dispel those feelings (or get them help if something is genuinely wrong) and let them realize that they likely aren’t the only ones with these concerns.
RK: Kim Cattrall, Jenna Jameson, & Robert Pattinson…Huge Harry Potter/Twilight fan.
CK: Probably Dr. Ruth. Or Oprah. Or Taylor Kitsch…just ‘cause, you know, he’s Taylor Kitsch.
How has How Cum changed your perspective on sex?
RK: I genuinely don’t recognize myself when I listen to S1E1. That Remy was much more meek and uninformed. I honestly didn’t know that the ability to orgasm has little to do with intercourse itself or with another person. Literally, I used to think I needed a boyfriend to have pleasure; that sex was something men were more inclined to and that one in my life/bedroom was required to have a sex life. Totally false! Most of my orgasms now are had alone and I LIKE it that way! I feel independent, accomplished, and adult. I also didn’t realize how important the clitoris is to pleasure, which is crazy. But now I know, and so do you.
CK: I don’t recognize myself in that episode either! It sounds cliché but I’ve learned that it’s really about being comfortable and secure in your own skin, learning your own body, and most importantly, being willing to speak up and ask for what you want if you are with a partner. These skills also extend to more than just sex – we always say that if you can speak up in the bedroom (one of the most intimate and perhaps intimidating places), you can speak up in the boardroom and beyond. I also had no idea how many women were not masturbating (which is incredibly important to do if you want to train your body to learn to have orgasms – you literally need to be carving out those neural pathways that many men start doing at a very young age).
Your favorite escape?
RK: Trashy reality TV shows, Tostino’s pizza rolls, and Instagram accounts of fat animals. These are the things that delight me.
CK: I think for us both it’s comedy – whether it’s a funny show, stand-up, or even just hanging out and laughing with good people. The simple things make me really happy whether it’s going on a pretty walk in the park, good food, petting some cute dogs on the street…also orgasming is literally good for your blood pressure and stress levels, so that’s good too.
RK: Yes, those things too.
What’s on the horizon for How Cum?
RK: A lot. Our goal is to hopefully turn the podcast into a TV show and a book one day.
CK: Totally. As of right now though, we’re going to be doing a lot more live shows and making some fun merchandise for the Cumpanions.
Written by Ondine Jean-Baptiste