Panting, moaning and ‘pussy-gazing’: the couple who have sex on their podcast

Lacey Haynes is a women’s “intuitive healer”, and guides couples in yoga-informed “elevated sex”. When she opens her front door, the first thing I notice about the Canadian podcaster is her fashionable faux fur slippers and chic blunt fringe. Where is the western wellness guru uniform of linen tunic, elephant-print trousers and culturally inappropriate head jewellery, I wonder?

Inside the living room, I spot the hot-pink sofa that Haynes’ Australian husband, Flynn Talbot, a men’s life coach and fellow elevated sex practitioner, calls “love island”. Fans of their podcast – Lacey and Flynn Have Sex – will know it as one of many locations around their house where they take the title literally, recording themselves having sex in the bedroom, on the kitchen barstool, and beyond.

But it’s not the sex that’s the main event – it’s the talk. In each episode Haynes, 37, and Talbot, 40, discuss techniques and topics around sex and relationships, covering everything from overcoming rejection to the joys of cunnilingus; from rethinking orgasm as the ultimate goal to navigating intimacy with common conditions such as UTIs and premature ejaculation.

Their mission is to help coupled-up listeners have more fulfilling sex – and to transform nonexistent or perfunctory sexual experiences into something physically pleasurable, emotionally empowering and spiritually uplifting. From there, they believe, the sky is the limit: “elevated” sex can lead to better mental and physical health, and even a better career.

After all, it’s what happened to them. As they tell their listeners, their relationship started out “hot and heavy”, before “the sex died”, says Haynes. But rather than “living out the rest of our days like that”, they decided to invest in their sex life. It became a project that they worked on together, drawing influences from yoga and books on everything from diet and anatomy to politics and memoir.

The project eventually transformed their relationship and led them to start their own business, which offers private coaching, online courses and even retreats. Haynes focuses on women – and extends their relationship work to include pregnancy – while Talbot takes care of the men. They do it all from their idyllic home in Sussex, while juggling the parenting of their two home-schooled children.

Their work couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite living in an age of hypersexualisation, with more Britons tuning in to Pornhub than BBC News, people across all demographics are having less sex than 10 years earlier, according to a 2019 survey published in the British Medical Journal, which also found that couples and over-25s are seeing the biggest decline. According to Relate, 29% of couples regard their relationships as “sexless” – and half of women and nearly two-thirds of men in the BMJ survey said they wanted to have more. Throw into that a pandemic in which 78% of cohabiting couples saw a change in their sexual activity (and not for the better), and it’s perhaps no wonder that Haynes and Talbot have found a listenership. But with devotees come detractors, and, as I’ll find out, some of the pair’s more controversial views have attracted criticism.

Over tea in the kitchen, I listen to them lovingly bicker over how to heat pastries and I enjoy Haynes’ impressions of her kids pleading to stay up late. There is nothing about this conversation that suggests sex, but I don’t doubt it could go that way. That is, after all, one of their key messages: that too many couples wait for the vague and mysterious “mood” to show up, when it is always within their power to have sex, be it before work, once the kids are in bed, or just after a mid-morning croissant on an unseasonably warm autumn Thursday.

Haynes and Talbot didn’t mean to record themselves having sex; it just sort of happened. “We intended to have sex off the podcast, and then come and talk about it,” says Talbot. But that first recording in April 2021 – dreamed up just a few months earlier – “developed its own momentum”, says Haynes, as the talk about sex turned easily to foreplay and then the act itself. Their approach to the podcast’s sex segments is to talk through what they’re doing and how it feels in unflinching detail. Their choice of words ranges from the ethereal (“I see your light shining,” one of them might say as they revel in each other’s “energy” and “aura”), to terms ordinarily censored: “Lacey is tugging on my cock,” Talbot might say; or from Haynes: “He’s licking my side pussy.” It is not a podcast to be listened to in public. The listener hears them pant, moan and direct each other to orgasm.

In many ways we are living in the age of the overshare, where giving too much information turns ordinary people into viral stars. Indeed, a quick look at the podcast charts makes clear that subjects that were once highly personal (psychotherapy, pregnancy and sex) are driving serious engagement. But even by today’s standard, Lacey and Flynn Have Sex shocks.

Not every episode ends in ecstasy, however. The listener also hears Haynes in distress when sex triggers difficult memories; flashes of annoyance if one does something the other doesn’t like; and the sound of shuffling around when there’s physical discomfort. All of it is discussed in detail: a real-life, authentic example of how to talk about (and throughout) sex.

The couple met in Berlin more than 10 years ago, when Talbot, then working as a light artist, kept failing to show up for classes at Haynes’ yoga studio. “Then she had a Christmas party and I went to that,” recalls Talbot. Was it love at first sight? “No. My first thought was, ‘Wow, she is super Canadian. And loud. Imagine living with her,’” he laughs.

Nonetheless, there was an instant connection. “I was actually in a relationship,” says Haynes. “And I could have kept going in it and just ignored the 15% of the relationship I wasn’t happy in, like so many people do. But then I met Flynn. I was just so fascinated by him. He recognised my entrepreneurial spirit and I his. And he was tall. As Melissa McCarthy says in Bridesmaids, I wanted to climb him like a tree.”

For the next few years, they were sexually insatiable and madly in love, maintaining the passion through moves from Berlin to Australia via South Africa, before marrying in Nova Scotia and settling in the UK in 2014. It was around this time that their sex life slowed down, worsening after they had their first child in 2017. The issue? Talbot wanted more sex than Haynes.

One person wanting more sex than the other is a common problem for couples in long-term relationships. “I was just like, everything I want is with Lacey,” says Talbot, recalling his frustration. “So why can’t we cultivate that?”

“I felt resentment,” says Haynes. “I’d satisfy him and be like, ‘Phew, I’m off the hook for two weeks.’ It put Flynn in something we call the rejection loop, where he’d come near me and get rejected.”

The transformation was not an easy process. “Lacey was full-on crying, having emotional meltdowns,” recalls Talbot. But every Sunday they made an appointment for sex and pancakes. This was the first step. “Credit to Lacey, she showed up,” he says.

The pair say they have learned that sex is not just a pleasurable experience, but a place to work through emotions and traumas. In an episode on “rage fucking”, they talk about the opportunity to release feelings of anger through sex and masturbation. They even talk about sex as a place where they have some of their brightest business ideas. (Haynes even used to offer “pussy-powered” business coaching, which used their practice to help women unlock career goals.)

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