They may talk for hours about positions, pain and pleasure on their hit podcast The Trainee Sexologist, but when fans comment on radio diva Sharyn Casey and her longtime friend Morgan Penn's "sexual chemistry" or ask whether they "get it on", they're barking up the wrong tree.
"Ewww, no!" laughs Sharyn when Woman's Day brings it up. "Imagine the headline of the article: From sex podcast to lovers!"
But while it might be a good story, the besties have no desire to jump in the sack together, with Morgan, 34, happily single, while The Edge afternoon host and mum-of-one Sharyn, 35, has an active but up-and-down sex life with her husband, The Rock presenter Bryce.
Their differing sexual experiences and perspectives are what has made The Trainee Sexologist such a massive hit, with tens of thousands of Kiwis tuning in to the first season, which started in late 2019, when Morgan was still training to become a sexologist.
Now she's fully qualified, the podcast's name has stuck and the second season drops this week. Listeners can expect to hear Morgan wax lyrical on the joys of singledom and Sharyn speak openly about keeping the love alive with her partner of 12 years while parenting their three-year-old son Tyson.
"I love offering tips from my married life and how that changes your sex life – it's all about activewear and no makeup," smiles Sharyn. "For God's sake, please don't use the term 'spice things up'. Ugh!
"In a marriage, it's about having more conversations, prioritising your relationship, getting a babysitter, going away for your wedding anniversaries and birthdays, and having time together that's just us. You have to share a relationship identity together. You're not just parents now."
Sharyn adds, "My fool-proof tip is a random quickie or getting away for a couple of nights. 'Prioritise' is the key word. No relationship should be put in the back seat, otherwise you lose the spark. Don't be scared to have those conversations with your husband."
She and her BFF are chatting while getting glammed up for our shoot at Auckland hot spot Rosanna's Garden Bar & Eatery. When the makeup artist asks if he can grab a stool from under Sharyn's chair, she replies, "Just pull it out!"
Giggling at the unintentional innuendo, Morgan points out these are the kind of gags the pair will be "pulling out" on the podcast – and in their new Woman's Day column Let's Talk About Sex, which kicked off in Woman's Day in April.
Grinning, Sharyn agrees, "It's going to be fun. It's going to get loose. I don't know if Woman's Day readers are ready for this!"
Though the Porirua-born star has been on our airwaves since 2005, when she started at More FM Wairarapa, and is a familiar face on telly, having co-hosted Dancing With The Stars NZ since 2015, she modestly puts the popularity of the podcast completely down to Morgan.
"Season one was amazing, but now she's fully qualified and has a year of experience under her garter belt, if people want to know about sex, she's your gal," enthuses Sharyn. "Morgan not only cracks me up, but she completely commands a room too, especially when she doesn't wear a bra!"
Laughing, Morgan explains that there are two types of sexologists. "There are clinical sexologists, who study psychology, then do a post-grad focused solely on sex. And then there's me, a somatic sexologist, which means I actually work with the body, human sexual behaviours, neuro-science, and how we integrate the mind and body into sex. Because, really, it's a full-body experience – we aren't just working with the mind. Being a sexologist, which I first discovered about four years ago, is my true calling.
"I've always been really passionate about women's bodies and how we should be comfortable in our own skin. How we should be loud and proud about how and when we are doing it, when we are bleeding, our experiences, the damage shame can bring to a sexual relationship… A lot of my clients are sitting in a lot of sexual shame from childhood."
Morgan says one of her "most empowering sexual experiences" was when she had sex while on her period. "I felt truly and fully like a woman."
As for Sharyn? "My most awesome sexual experience is any time I'm drunk!" she jokes. "But seriously, it was a post-baby couple's getaway with Bryce – sunshine, balcony, cocktails… I'm pretty sure people were watching, but I just didn't care. It was so hot!"
Smiling, Morgan insists, "There is nothing I wouldn't do. I'll try anything once, within the realms of legality. You have to evolve and grow, and you need to be willing to explore every ounce of yourself that may bring pleasure."
"My taboo is butt stuff," adds Sharyn. "None whatsoever. It's a no. There are lots of things I can do with my vagina, thanks very much!"
Morgan admits she uses her experience in a toxic past relationship to help clients with their issues. She explains, "I was with a narcissist, someone who completely gaslighted me. It gave me a real fright and I came away very hurt – my soul, body and nervous system were really shaken.
"Experiences like that taught me what I don't want in a partner and now I feel like I have a strong sense for guiding people through that. What I've been through has deepenedmy work with women, holding them in a safer space."
Morgan has been single for a year, saying, "Now I'm focused on myself, I'm truly happy. I don't have that ongoing loneliness as I fill my own cup. Although I'm searching for a deep soul connection, I'm having the best sex of my life… with myself."
She has a collection of toys in a special draw at home. "Sex toys are amazing, especially for time-poor people to experience new things," she tells. "I don't do porn. It's so unrealistic and women are treated like objects. Typical pornography, which a lot of men are addicted to, is just not real."
Coming up with the topics for The Trainee Sexologist and now the new column takeslots of planning and hours of conversation about bonking, says Sharyn. She adds, "We also ask radio listeners what they want to hear about. We keep conversations topical, but it's still got to be fun and non-intimidating. We don't want people to feel uncomfortable with sex chat.
"We've been covering off a lot of things that we know will be helpful, opening up positive conversations that people weren't having before. Now our followers are talking about sex toys and going off shopping for sassy items together, perhaps even raising trauma from past relationships openly. We just want to encourage people to be more confident and less shamed about sex. It always comes back to communication."
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