How To "Fix" Painful Sex with Fran Bushe

This week, Hannah chats to playwright & comedian Fran Bushe about her show Ad Libdio, which explored female sexual dysfunction. Fran shared the misconceptions around what we view as ‘normal’ sex and feeling inadequate when you can’t have it. They also talk about viewing the brain as an important sexual organ, and why we need to change the notion that ‘successful’ sex = penetrative sex. Finally, Hannah and Fran discuss sexual empowerment as a continued process, and how we learn about ourselves and our bodies throughout our lives.


What we chat about…

  • Fran’s comedy show Ad Libdio, and the process of creating this show

  • Misconceptions around what sex is, including that sex only means penetration, as well as the impact of not having female pleasure be a part of sex education

  • The idea of ‘maintenance sex’ and that you’re having sex to please someone else, such as faking orgasms

  • Having more mindful sex

  • Fran’s experience of going to the doctor to talk about the pain she was having during sex, and doctor’s own misconceptions about this - having painful sex is seen as a ‘luxury problem’

  • The portrayal of sex in porn, including a lack of foreplay and how quickly women come

  • Feeling inadequate by not being able to have what is perceived as ‘normal’ sex and how the sex positivity movement can actually add to this feeling of inadequacy

  • The brain being the most important sexual organ

  • The reaction of partners when they find out about Fran’s sexual dysfunction, seeing it as ‘challenge’ to ‘conquer’

  • The power shift that happens when a woman knows what she wants in bed

  • Fran’s time at sex camp, which focused on intimacy, touch, and slowing down

  • Masturbation fantasies, and how these can be helpful when you’re not able to have particular types of sex, due to limitations in the body or brain

  • Sexual empowerment being a process.

Useful Links


Fran is an award winning playwright and comedian whose writing has recently been performed at Soho Theatre, VAULT Festival and Pleasance Theatre (where she has also been a resident artist). Fran has worked with Brook and Sexpression:UK to improve sex education and discuss taboos around female sexuality.

Find out more about Fran on her website, Instagram and Twitter.




Want early and ad-free access to episodes?

Hannah Witton