Sexual Consent and Improving Mental Health

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sexual consent

Liv Arnold’s romance novel deals with sexual consent and improving mental health. Listen to this episode now!

Liv Arnold has worked as a copywriter for several global companies and now runs her own freelance business. A native of Melbourne, Australia, she lives with her husband and their spoiled dog, who only eats freshly cooked meals. Liv is author of the novella Law & Disorder and the novels Etched in Stone and the new Stepping Stone, both part of her Invested in You series. She is also a regular contributor to Cosmopolitan, giving advice on sexual wellness.

In this episode of Last First Date Radio:

  • Why Liv wrote Stepping Stone
  • Why she used a romance novel to talk about sexual consent
  • How she wove her anxiety into the book
  • What she’s doing to help others with anxiety and mental health issues
  • Why she’s so passionate about sexual consent

EP 520: Liv Arnold – Sexual Consent and Improving Mental Health

Tell us about your new book, ‘Stepping Stone’, and why you wrote it.

Every time Jenna Kravitz sees her ex-husband, she’s still attracted to him. They were soulmates, meant to grow old together…before he returned from Afghanistan with PTSD. In a moment of lapsed judgment, he ruined his marriage. So, when Jenna proposes they have kinky fun, he accepts. After all, she can’t help being drawn to his gigantic…brain.  

How could his plan to win back the mother of his children possibly go wrong? He must rise to the occasion. She has to swallow her pride.

I wrote it because I wanted to talk about PTSD, as I have anxiety and take medication for it. I also wanted to normalize talking about sexual harassment, which is something one of the characters experiences.

Like many women, you have experienced sexual harassment which has affected your wellbeing. Can you share a bit about your story?

When I was younger, I didn’t realize if it wasn’t an enthusiastic yes, it’s a no. Whoever pressures you to take things further, it’s harassment, even if you give in. It’s coercive control. It was consent, but it was through pressure and manipulation.

How do your romance novels teach sexual consent and improve mental health?

I wanted to normalize mental health and let people know many have those challenges. A lot of people look down on writers of romance novels. The main female characters in my book take charge of their sexual lives. They are empowered. I want readers to be influenced by these characters.

My main character, Jenna, while separated from her husband, realizes she has a secret fetish for BDSM. She becomes empowered to suggest that to her husband. She takes charge of what she wants.

A percentage of the profits from the book to The Anxiety and Depression Association of America. What prompted you to do this?

I’ve always had challenges with anxiety, and people would say, “It will be fine”, which is not helpful. Many people have anxiety, and I wanted to support the association that helped me with their resources. They made me feel less alone.

What are your final words of advice for anyone who wants to go on their last first date?

Have fun. Don’t be afraid to take control of what you want. If the guy is shy, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. 

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