1. Tell us more about what you do
I’m the founder and writer behind Shy & Curious, an online platform that explores sex and love without the fear of having to hide your Google search history. I write articles and essays about sex, relationships and intimacy through a mix of personal anecdotes and extensive research from certified trusted sources.
2. Why do you do what you do?
My mother passed away unexpectedly in 2019 after hiding her breast cancer from our family. She never saw a doctor and remain undiagnosed until 4 days to her death when we had to send her to the ER. While mourning her death, I was greatly affected by the fact that while we were so open about certain taboo topics like making dirty jokes or sharing details about sex, she was too ashamed of her body to tell me the truth about her cancer. She ended up having to deal with her pain alone and in fear and I never want anyone else to experience what she went through – because of shame, guilt and fear of talking about what is seen as socially taboo. Whether it’s sex, relationships, our bodies, there isn’t such a thing as a stupid question.
Shy & Curious is a name that refers to my readers. They may still be a little intimidated or nervous to openly ask or talk about private topics but they’re curious and want to take ownership about this important part of their lives and therefore still seek answers.
3. How did you get started?
I get asked this a lot and the more apt question is “when did it become harder NOT to do what I do”! I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of love and intimacy in general. Even as a teenager, one of my favourite books was Roland Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse. When I moved to New York and started exploring my sexuality, it became clear that there were so many misconceptions and taboos around sex that had hindered my enjoyment of pleasure as well.
When my mother passed away, it didn’t immediately hit me to start a blog. Instead, I spent some time soul-searching and initially thought about starting a women’s circle where we can share freely and in a safe space. However Covid-19 happened and as no events were allowed, I thought I shouldn’t let this stop me from creating a resource and since I love to write and share my stories, Shy & Curious was born.
4. What messages do you have for fellow womxn out there?
One thing I’ve learned that’s helped me a lot is to know that you’re not alone in how you feel. While we may have been brought up in different cultures and upbringing, you’ll soon realize that everyone experiences joy and face their own trials in their own way but emotions are universal. Once you can empathize and put yourself in someone’s shoes, it’s easier to be kinder to both them and yourself. You wouldn’t use a harsh tone on your friend or loved one who’s going through a rough time, so why are you using that judgmental harsh tone on yourself? I’m still learning this lesson today and take it one step at a time.
5. What messages do you have for fellow womxn regarding their sexuality?
There’s no such thing as normal! How we may approach sex is unfortunately a product of our societal culture and especially in Asia where there’s a stigma about sex just for pleasure and women taking the lead in owning their pleasure. It’s ok to enjoy sex and it’s also ok to try and then decide “it’s ok but it doesn’t work for me”. The main thing is to unlearn shame, guilt, and performing for your partner when it comes to sex and intimacy. Take the time to explore yourself and be open to trying out something new, whether alone or with a partner, while ensuring that your safety, respect and trust isn’t compromised. Overall, we forget that sex is meant to be fun and playful!
6. What do you think of sexual wellness products?
I believe that unfortunately there’s still a stigma and various myths around the use of sexual wellness products that should be dispelled. It can often be met with judgment and disdain especially when there is the misconception that you only use toys if you’re single or your partner is unable to sexually satisfy you. Instead, I strongly believe that sex toys are just like the term implies – they should be used to spark creativity and fun during adult play! They’re just tools to help you receive and give pleasure in various sensations and heightened ways for both yourself or with your partner/s. They don’t replace the intimacy you get with a partner or that human touch.
7. Do you have a recommended sex toy or lube?
Personally, I prefer external stimulation so the Womanizer Premium is my holy grail. I’ve always said that if I ended up on a deserted island and can only bring one toy, it’ll be this in black and gold! As for lubrication, I would definitely recommend the Pjur – Analyse Me Comfort Water And Extra Moisturising Hyaluron Anal Glide Lubricant for those keen to explore anal play. It doesn’t dry out fast and is also unscented and paraben-free so it’s gentle for those with sensitive skin.
8. What do you wish you knew about sex and sexuality growing up?
I wish that we were taught collectively that sex and sexuality isn’t morally wrong or only for procreation as a concept. Yes, sex can be sacred and it does involve the exchange of vulnerability, emotions and energies. However with the right person who you trust and feel safe with, sex is fun, playful, collaborative and a beautiful celebration of intimate relationships, pleasure and appreciation of our bodies in all forms.
9. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Still writing and being passionate about sex and love on Shy & Curious! I do see myself with the love of my life as we travel and have adventures as we explore the world. I miss living in New York and while I’ve no expectations on where I’ll end up settling down, there’s no cultural barriers when it comes to being a resource for those seeking answers about intimacy and relationships. I’ll be typing out my essays on a beautiful beach with a mojito in hand and my love next to me!
About Noorindah Iskandar
Noorindah Iskandar is the founder and writer behind Shy & Curious, an online platform that explores sex and love without the fear of having to hide your Google search history. Through honest conversations and a sense of humour, she helps to demystify taboo topics and unlearn shame & guilt around sexual wellness, relationships, and self-love for the shy yet curious at heart.