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Sexual Freedom

Healing The Asian's Shame With Mai Vu

Published on: Jul 27, 2018

Born to a very famous mother and a non-existent father, bestselling author and life coach Mai Vu grew up in a myth created about her family and their escape from Vietnamese communism. For her, the escape, as difficult as it was, was a doorway into a whole new life. When she hit America, that was when she started hitting the ground running. She felt like she had a brand new slate and nothing was going to stop her. For 39 years of her life, she devoted herself to building a relationship, buying a house, doing chores, having babies, growing her business, going to church, and being good to my parents. On her 39th year, she had this epiphany where she was forced to face the questions of whether she’s going to continue suppressing herself for the rest of her life or opening it up so that she can learn more about herself. Mai shares her life story from growing up in an abusive family to excelling in academics and career, to living large by unleashing herself by finding sexual freedom and full self-expression.

Healing The Asian’s Shame: Sexual Freedom with Mai Vu

In America, many Asian couples are still not open to talk about sexual preference or open to learn a better way to enjoy each other without an open communication. The number of marriages without sex, having an affair and divorce are increasing rapidly in the Asian community. Our guest, Mai Vu, is qualified to talk about this topic openly and directly. Mai is a bestselling author of The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating and an international speaker on various topics like, Are You Dating Like a Peasant?, Begging for Love and Attention Instead of Attracting the Love That is Rightfully Yours. Mai has been featured on CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, in Entrepreneur Magazine, Wealthy Women Magazine and Mr. Dad Podcast. Mai is changing how women across the world work, love and lead. Mai is a master coach and relationship lifestyle expert. Mai has worked with over 2,000 clients worldwide and has trained over 1,000 life coaches through the Coaches Training Institute and One Taste.

Welcome, Mai, to this special series called Healing the Asian’s Shame. Thank you for your openness to talk about one of the areas that a lot of Asian women are suffering with, and that is interracial marriage. Would you take us back to your childhood time? What does your life look like before and after you came to America?

Thank you so much, Kimchi, for having me on the show. I am delighted that you have created this forum for us powerful Asian women to talk to each other, to share our stories and to hopefully, one day, soon come together, so that we can celebrate what we have accomplished and who we are in this world. I think there’s not enough spotlight placed on us as powerful Asian women who have achieved a lot and we’re more in the background. Thank you for doing the work that you do.

You are welcome.

My background is I was born in Vietnam back in 1965. I grew up and communism happened. My family and I were boat people escaping out of Vietnam, just like a lot of us Vietnamese. After a year of sojourning on the Pacific Ocean, one way or another, I ended up in America, in California in the late ‘70s and we began our life. We began building our life from there.

How was your life before? What does it look like? Did you have a great childhood before the communism took over and then after that, when you come here, what does your life look like? 

I was born to a very famous mother and a non-existent father. He was just a soldier who married co Mai Lien. I don’t know if some of the audience would recognize that name, but my mom was the first TV anchorwoman in South Vietnam. She’s well-known throughout South Vietnam. When we escaped and twenty years later I came back to Vietnam, I went to my neighborhood and they had created a myth about my family, about our escape. That’s how famous my mother was. My mom and dad never got along. My dad was very angry, bitter and feeling very insecure about himself and he married one of the most beautiful woman, most talented woman in the country and we were poor. It was such a juxtaposition where every night, my mom was on TV talking to half of the country and they were struggling financially.

I grew up with a very angry father who hit me and my brother a lot, which put a lot of fear into my body and my psyche. I felt very less when I was growing up. I failed miserably in school. It was horrible. I don’t know why I was such a terrible student. Who fails kindergarten? I barely made it through kindergarten. First grade and second grade were horrible for me. I never got along well in the Vietnamese culture and I would walk from school to home thinking I was born in the wrong place, “Why am I born here? Why am I so miserable?” For me, as difficult as it was, it was a doorway into a whole new life for me. When I hit America, I was hitting the ground running. We worked hard like any immigrant family stories. My mom and dad had two jobs and they were gone all day. I was taking care of the family, the household, the chores, my brother and pretty much we were self-governing, so that my parents could work to make money, so that we can catch up in the society.

When you came here to America, do you feel that you belong here?

I felt like I had a brand-new slate and nothing was going to stop me. For some reason, the minute I came here, everything was easier. I excel at school even though I didn’t know the language. I was interested in school. I went all the way to college and got a mechanical engineering degree. I was not a smart kid but I applied myself and I worked really hard.

Do you think the reason you excelled and did well in school is because you have more confidence about who you are? 

No, I didn’t get my confidence until two decades later, after I became a life coach. I studied hard and achieved high because I have low self-confidence because I didn’t fit in socially. I didn’t know how to play with kids and didn’t have good girlfriends. I had the books, I had the library, I had the librarian that I found safe to hang out with and I study. Those were my refuge. I couldn’t succeed in the social game, the boys, the girls’ dynamic, but I could succeed in the book game. That’s what I did. I studied.

Who were your role models growing up? Did you have any?

My role model has always been my mother. My mother is awesome. She didn’t finish high school. She grew up in a family of eight kids. She went to work at sixteen. She built herself and became a radio personality by the time she was eighteen and then became the TV anchorwoman when the TV station opened in South Vietnam. She’s self-taught and she put herself together and she guided herself. I studied my mother ever since I was born and in fact, she gave me the metaphor for my work. Since then, I’ve given birth to a very precious signature concept and my mother is the influence on where this concept came from that I didn’t even know. After I’ve taught this concept for many years, I looked back and I’m like, “My mother is the first person that taught me this thing.”

Sexual Freedom: The escape, as difficult as it was, was a doorway into a whole new life for me. When I hit America, I was just hitting the ground running.

I’ve always admired my mom. I loved her and she was beautiful to me in all different ways. As an adult, I also see that she has a lot of flaws and a lot of things that got in her way. I love her nevertheless, and I respect her hugely for her courage and her wit, her brain to figure out how to maneuver as a powerful Asian woman in the world. My mom is one of the first few powerful Asian woman in the world for someone who was never educated. She communicates and had dealings with the president of the country way back when, from the president to the generals, to politics, to communism politics and all that stuff.

My mom is also my role model. I watch and observe her, then I say, “I want to be like her.” 

I didn’t want to be like my mom. I admire her hugely but I ran away from fame for a long time. I didn’t want to be famous because I had low self-esteem. That’s why I started out my life as an engineer, being behind the scenes and working hard. I figure if I hide behind working hard, I was going to get what I want. I ran away from my look. I ran away from being comfortable in my physical body. I’d never thought that I was cute enough, pretty enough to be seen or to even date or to even catch the guy that I want because my dad hit me a lot so all of that really impacted how I grew up as a young woman. That’s where the shame came in. Mine came from being hit as a child and also taking on my parent’s shame of whatever their circumstances were.

You mentioned that your first marriage, your first husband was not Asian.

No, and neither is this current one.

Was it a deliberate decision to choose a non-Asian husband?

It was. When I was growing up in Vietnam, I looked around and to be honest, I was not impressed with the Vietnamese men then. There was a lot more men who sits at cafes, stationed and pontificate about life but did nothing. The woman carried the society in Vietnam and then immigrated into this country. There were not that many Asian men around at that time. This was late ‘70s and the ‘80s. Growing up at that time, I am attracted to white men more than Asian men for a long time. Now that I have reclaimed my roots and made a lot of peace with my Asian-ness, the shame is the shame of being Asian too. I didn’t see that much value.

When I came to this country I wanted to be in with all the white people. I wanted to excel and to fit in with the white community. We never lived in the Asian Vietnamese communities for some reason. We just felt outside of that. We were outside of our own people and then with the white people, we were never inside. I’m always on the edge of society. I was more attracted to big, great white men. I wasn’t cute enough, pretty enough, blonde enough, and tall enough to attract a great white man, the football stars and the political boys that grow into men that went to Harvard. I was more into nice white guys that didn’t scare me and was so curious about Asians.

There’s a cultural attraction that’s very interesting between white men and Asian women that works well. The white men who are not dominant white men. I’m going to say this not as a political comment or anything, but people like Trump or CEOs of companies and all that stuff, they want to marry young, white, beautiful, blonde women like a trophy wife. Then the other group of men, white men who are nice guys, who are sincere, who are the good guys and they don’t normally take CEO positions. They take lesser positions. They like Asian women because we are, “on the outside anyway.” We look meek and mild and we, at first, don’t seem as demanding as the white women at that level. When they bring us home, it’s a totally different story but that’s a different conversation.

My husband is Taiwanese, so he’s Asian still. I observed several friends who married an American and I noticed that and say, “The type of men who marry Asian women, they are very gentle. They are very soft and very open-minded.” That’s the reason these Asian women prefer not to marry Asian men. They will say that, “I am attracted to that. At least there are some men who are out there who respect me.” 

I’m 52 years old. When I was in my 20s and 30s, marrying time, the Asian men and the Vietnamese men were also in a transition phase. They still had the old values system of Asian men that we all know that is close-minded and limited and all this stuff and doesn’t work but they were becoming. I didn’t have a lot of choices to show me that an Asian guy could be really great. They probably lived states away. There’s an author that’s really famous who wrote a couple of awesome books. He’s my age. If I had known him, I would’ve thought differently. I would have gone for him, but I didn’t have that kind of progressive men to be with. The nice white guy were the progressive men and they were supportive. They allow me to elevate myself. I’ve done a lot of studying around this in my master’s program where there is this dynamic where when an Asian woman or a color woman marries a white male, our status in life goes up. If we marry a black man, it goes down. That is just the way it is. I’m not being racist. I’m not being mean. I’m not trying to be controversial, but this is a social dynamic that happens.

You marry and then you’re lesbians, that’s at the fifth rung. It’s ugly. I can’t believe that we’re even talking about this, but it is something that happened invisibly, yet very visible in society. I didn’t know any of that, but that’s what my survival instinct had me choose the next white guy that I can get on the rung with. Marry up. I didn’t have enough self-esteem to marry up a guy who is rich, so I married a guy that just had enough so we struggled together. We were very kind and good to each other, we respect each other hugely and we were good to each other. We support each other.

What was the reason the marriage ended?

There are a thousand reasons. I come to learn that when a marriage ends, there are many reasons, not just one. One reason is that for some reason we stopped empowering what works between us, but we started looking at what didn’t work between us and we focused and put the importance on that. With any relationship, if you put the importance on what’s not working, it’s going to fall apart. If you could put your attention on what’s working, it will grow and blossom for you. That’s one thing that we did. Another thing that we did that I didn’t know, but looking back, I’m going, “This could be another reason.” I needed to break because I had a mission to do in the world and I needed more support and I needed the freedom to do it.

Sexual Freedom: With any relationship, if you put the importance on what’s not working, it’s going to fall apart.



When my marriage fell apart, it broke up the traditional husband and wife taking care of a child together where now we have the split household and all this stuff. It sounds terrible and I didn’t think we could do it, but we did it. It allowed me two weeks on, two weeks off. Two weeks on as a mom, two weeks off as a career woman, a coach that goes around the world to change the world and spread her message. It allowed me time and freedom to travel, to have the love that I want and to still be a great mom.

My ex-husband had to step up and be a great dad for his daughter. He couldn’t hide behind me. For that reason, I’m super glad that it broke up and we have to be more creative to make all the pieces of my life work the way I want it to work. I didn’t know that that was going to be the answer. I follow the crumbling despite the pain and the hurt but looking back at it, it makes total sense that our marriage fell apart. Last but not least, the two of us are completely different people. I don’t even know how we could be together for eighteen years. Now that we’re apart, we looked at each other and we’re like, “How the heck did we stand each other that long and was so good to each other?”

There is a lot of research say that we choose to stay in the relationship because the other person complements us, they have the values or the qualities that we don’t have. That’s why we say, “If we are together, then we are complete.” If we don’t know how work it, how to communicate with each other, how to see the quality of those characters or those behaviors or those beliefs, then eventually, we will attack each other. 

The amount of similarity and the amount of differences, which ones are we going to put our attention on? Are we going to put the attention on the differences or the similarity? In the beginning, we put out our attention on the similarities, so we grew together and at the end, we put our attention on differences. Another thing too is that having children is hard on a relationship. It’s exhausting on the relationship. It took so much for us to meet each other in the middle, having children and also jobs. At that time, I refused to put my business as secondhand. My business, my coaching work, my public speaking and my work with women is important to me. It’s not secondary. In fact, it’s as important as having a child and as important as being a wife. It was more important, having a child and my business was more important than being a wife. That’s another reason why it fell apart. Another reason why my marriage fell apart is that I had a sexual awakening and it blew us out of the water.

What do you mean by that? 

I have always been a good Catholic, firstborn Asian immigrant woman. What does that mean? That means I didn’t have sex with anyone else. I married the guy that I had sex with. I didn’t have any other partners. I did it right. I kept my legs closed. I studied hard. I devoted myself to building our relationship, buying a house, doing chores, and then having babies. Then growing my business and going to church and be good to my parents. That’s what I did for 39 years of my life.

On my 39th year, I was getting ready to turn 39 and I had this epiphany. I was getting a massage and my massage therapist was making light conversation. She is like, “What are you going to do to celebrate your birthday?” Out of my mouth said, “I’m going to have a sex party.” I almost fell off the table. She paused, her hand froze on my back and then I went into this negotiation in my head I’m like, “No, we are not doing that. That is crazy. We don’t even know what that means and besides we’re a mother, we’re the CEO of our company, our budding growing company. We’re a wife. We’re Catholic. We’re Asian. We don’t do things like that that.” My inner voice, the one that said, “You’re going to have a sex party,” my inner voice was silent and then she came back with, “Are you going to set us free or are you going to kill us off in this lifetime?”

I burst out crying. Tears just spew out of my eyes and at that moment, I realized that I have been unleashing everything. I was a life coach at that moment. This was back in the late ‘90s, early 2000. Life coaching was coming on to the planet. It’s a movement of unleashing your potential and reaching and fully self-express. I was in the forefront of that. I’m the first Asian certified female coach in the world. I have been helping countless women and men around the world to unleash themselves and training them to be coaches themselves and to take coaching into corporations and everything. I was living large in all aspects of my life but the one aspect that I kept a tight grip on was my sexuality. I shut that down to be appropriate. I didn’t have time for it. Our sex life was not very good at that time and I was rigid when it comes to my sexuality. I was proper and rigid.

For me to blurt out on that massage table that I was going to have a sex party was the craziest thing that came out of my mouth ever in my life but I knew that I couldn’t stop. I knew that I had to face the answer to that question, which is, “Am I going to suppress myself for the rest of my life or am I going to open it up so that I can learn more about myself?” I know the significance of this conceptually so I had to go home and tell him that. He’s like, “How was your massage, honey?” I said, “It was great.” “Did you get any profound epiphany?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “What?” I said, “I’m going to have a sex party to celebrate my birthday.” He was sitting on the kitchen sink eating an orange and he goes, “Can I be in there?” He was joking. I said, “Yeah, in fact, you’re the first person that needs to be there.”

We started talking about it and truth be known is that all along in our eighteen years of marriage and being together, he had always said to me that, “I know I’m your first person that you’ve ever had sex with and there’s going to be a moment in time where you are going to want to explore your sexuality. When that moment comes, I want you to know that I support you and it’s okay to explore that.” All along in that eighteen years I thought what he meant to say was, “I don’t love you enough. I don’t care that much about you to fight for you and to keep you all to myself so do whatever.” That’s what I heard. I didn’t hear the sincerity and the love and the wisdom that he had until that moment where I stood there in that kitchen and said, “I’m going to have a sex party as a way to celebrate my 39th birthday.” He said, “How are we going to help you do that?” I had a good marriage. It’s just that we had to end it, so that we can become who we are today. I don’t regret it at all and I’m very grateful for the whole experience.

He was very open minded. It sounds like he’s a great husband. Very sensitive. 

He was very closed in a lot of ways, but when it comes to that and when it comes to supporting each other, he and I were awesome with each other, very supportive and so that’s how we got there. We had a really strong relationship as you can tell, that we could be honest with each other, we never cheated on each other. Everything I do, it’s always on board but we were so innocent. We didn’t realize how much it took to hold onto the relationship and to understand what it takes to go through something like that. I could understand him, but I couldn’t go through it myself and be his coach and his therapist at the same time and still be a mom and build a business. I told him that he had to do his own work and he refused to get help and so it exploded on us. He got hurt and fell into a hole and I couldn’t carry him anymore. I’m going through this thing myself. I took off energetically and I blossomed into this powerful, beautiful woman and he sank into this miserable, abandoned, withdrawn man in a hole that he had to find his way out of it. He had his own journey and I had my own journey and I personally liked my journey much better than his journey.

Sexual Freedom: I could understand him and all that stuff, but I couldn’t go through it myself and be his coach and therapist at the same time and still be a mom and build a business.

During the time that you told your parents that you’re going to marry an American, what was their response? 

My parents have always seen that coming because they’ve never seen an Asian guy coming through the doorway and I’m never interested in an Asian guy. My mom was so fed up herself of dealing with Asian men and her own husband, so she was fine with whomever I marry. I’m going to be transparent. As long as I didn’t bring home a Mexican guy or a black man, they were fine. I was 21 years old and I was in college. I came home to visit my boyfriend at that time, which was my ex-husband, and I was staying with him and my dad found out that I slept over there. He never swore at me. I don’t know where it all came from, but he had twenty minutes of swearing, calling me every single name in Vietnamese and in English that he could possibly think of to describe who I was as a woman just because I had a boyfriend and I was sleeping with him. That was so uncalled for that I never invited them into my personal life ever again.

When I got married, I invited him. He didn’t even walk me down the aisle because it was during a time where I was not going to give away my sense of self for someone else’s craziness. They wanted a Catholic indoor wedding and all the traditional stuff. I was not a traditional person. I wasn’t that way so I had to explain it to them and everything was fine. They showed up at my wedding as guests. They did not walk me down the aisle but they witness that. That was how it played out.

Who walked you down the aisle?

It was interesting choice of mine. I invited my ex-husband’s ex-girlfriend. He had this ex-girlfriend that he loved dearly and she was very good for him. She taught him how to be a great man. She made a different choice and he has been away from her for many years. I respected her. I invited her and another girlfriend. These two women understood who I was and saw where I was going and so I invited them to walk me down the aisle.

When and how did you begin your journey as a coach and who are your clients? 

I became engineer for Pacific Gas and Electric, our local utility company in Northern California. I spent six years there trying to find my place inside that organization. I was Asian, female and young. I checked a lot of lists for them to develop me, to grow me. Unfortunately, none of the places that they want me to grow fit my personality and who I was and I didn’t know who I was, but I knew something was missing. The company downsized the first time and froze our wages, so I went back to school and I got a master degree. That was the only thing that they would pay for, so I got a master degree in organizational development. This was when I first started to get curious and taught to understand human dynamics and relationships. It fascinated me and I wanted to change out of technical stuff and into people stuff, but I couldn’t find a place inside PG&E to fit me that would hire me for some reason.

The company downsized again on the second year and this time they were giving away a package that I would get enough money to live on for one year. I went into my boss’ office and whispered to him, “Can I have one of those packages?” He whispered back, “Why?” I said, “I don’t know but I think I have to go find it. I don’t know what it is but I have to go find it.” That was as coherent as I could be at that time. He looked at me and he said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yeah.” I didn’t have any kids then and it saved him from making a decision to have to let go of someone else who had two kids in college and a wife.

In the week that I was packing up my stuff and transferring my files over to my colleagues, I got this fax from my girlfriend who I went through master’s school with and she scribbled on this little fax piece of thing that she faxed me. I looked at it and it said, “Life coaching training school in San Rafael,” which was an hour away from me. Without any further knowledge, I signed up for the first class. I figure when God is speaking to you, you’ve got to just go. I signed up and it happened to be on my birthday weekend and I said, “Yes. This must mean something.” I came, I saw and I conquered. It was so amazing to be in a place where I’m surrounded by people who asked me what I wanted to do in the world, “What do you want, Mai?” I got to freely answer, “I want to change the world.” They didn’t laugh at me. They didn’t say, “Mai, that’s too much. You’re too little. Who are you to change the world?” They said, “How do you want to change the world and by when.” I just thought, “Sign me up for everything you’ve got because I want to know how to do this for myself and I want to know how to do this for everyone else that I know.”

On the second day of class, I was so nauseated I couldn’t move. When people ask me, “What’s wrong, are you okay?” I said, “I think the cells in my body are rearranging themselves and I’m just nauseated, but I’m fine.” I got up from that and I signed up for everything they had and in a year and a half I got myself certified. I became one of their teachers so that I can train and teach how to coach to other people. I figure the only way to be good at what you do is to teach it and what better school than this school right here. I convinced them that they must have me on their board because they turned me down.

They’re like, “You’re too young. You’re immature and something’s not right about you.” I said, “You’re right. You know you need an Asian representation here. You are all white mirin people from privileged class. You don’t know what it’s like to be a minority and to be a woman and to be Asian. I want to help you take coaching to Asia so I’m not leaving. Do whatever you need to do to get me onto your staff.” I can’t believe I said that. For someone who is insecure, have low self-esteem, and no confidence, that came out of me. To my surprise, he said, “You’re right. I’ll go talk to my partners.” The next thing I know, I was invited.

You have to be bold. Have the courage to speak up. 

I know what it takes to be bold and brave and especially being a bold and brave Asian woman. We have our own set of pain that we carry as we courageously step into leadership, step into motherhood, step into wife or partners and do our work in the world.

Who do you serve now? Who are your clients? 

I work with divorced moms who are dating again and married moms who are dying inside their marriage. I help them rebuild their love life and usually these women have a secret dream of quitting their job and becoming a life coach. I have a second niche to go with where not only are you miserable in your relationship, but you’re also miserable in your career and you want to change and you want to do something that’s much more meaningful. You wanted to become a coach to help other people. That’s my sweet spot. I’m so good at that.

You address two areas. One is something to change and the other one is to do work on the intimate relationship. That is very important. 

It is and what I’m discovering with myself and with all the clients that I have worked with around this is that the reason why as women we grow older is because we are not supported and loved adequately. When we know how to let love in and have the love that we want and a partner who loves, adore and cherish us, we actually grow younger, grow hotter, and more powerful. That’s what I do. I am a champion for bold, brave woman who wants to grow younger, hotter and more powerful by having the love that you want.

From the lessons you’ve learned through relationship with men, what are the three top advises that you want to give to Asian women who are either married or divorced? 

The three things that I see that gets into our love life, what we do so earnestly, but we do these things and it really break the relationship is three things. One is that we work way too hard. We take on all the responsibilities so much that we block love. We can’t let love in. We can’t let ourselves be loved because we’re constantly running humility, guilt and this high demand for perfection. That’s number one. Number two is that no matter what we achieve, we keep thinking that we’re not good enough. We haven’t done enough and we’re not good enough. We’re not worthy to be loved. We’re not worthy to be treated in certain ways both at work and in our personal relationship. Some of you may be sitting there and may, “No, that’s not true.” I’m going to invite you to quiet down and really look inside and say, “What if Mai is 1% right? Where am I run by fear that I’m not good enough still because it’s in there?” It’s in there and it’s insidious. It’s killing our relationship and in turn, killing us.


Sexual Freedom: We work way too hard and take on all the responsibilities so much that we block love.

Last but not least, we walk on eggshells trying to please everybody. I don’t know why we took on this role that we have to make everyone around us happy. The irony is no one is happy. Those are the three things that women around the globe do that really hinder our ability to be loved and to have the lasting love that we want from these three places. We disempower the men around us and we cut them off at the knees. We’re into wimps and then we get so bored and we hate them for not being the man that we want them to be. That was a lot.

We don’t have time to waste because we’re all getting older and love is right there, whether you’re unhappy in a marriage or if you’re single and wonder, “I have wealth, I have education, degrees, job, I pay my bills on time and all this stuff, how come I’m going on vacation by myself?” That’s because you don’t know how to let love in and even if you do know how to let love in, the three things that I mentioned is running in the background and so you’re killing the love and then you don’t know how to grow the love, you don’t know how to grow the relationship.

My sweetheart and I went to Costco. He is now almost 70. He has prostate cancer. We’ve been healing cancer. He lost a ton of weight, but he’s looking great because we’re doing it naturally. I looked at him and I said, “When you stood at my doorway naked in your old man body, I thought to myself, “He’s still so hot and so cute.’” I’m surprised how much I still love him and in fact I love him more and I adore him even more. I find him even more attractive even at this stage, which in his mind, he looks the worst than he’s ever looked before. I sit down, I’m like, “How did that happen? How did we grow hotter together?” You’re the relationship coach. I’m living the result of what I teach and it’s so surprising and at the same time, delightful and I know that it works because I follow what I teach.

We take our own pills, our medicines. We test it first before you give it away.

I always question myself, “Does this stuff work? Am I just making this up?” I’ve had enough evidence now between here and Sweden, North America, Canada and even in Dubai.

Are you proud of being an Asian woman?

Yes, I’m proud and I love that I’m Asian. Asian is in right now, especially 40 something, 50 something Asian women. We are as hot as we can get. We are at the prime of our life. We are smart. We are studious. We have the discipline. We put in the hard work to sustain ourselves and we have the beauty and the long-lasting beauty. We grow younger also, but this is something that I see that other women in other race can go younger too. We love genuinely, deeply and we’re humble. We’re humble and we give out everything that we have. I’m also proud to be an Asian American woman but I’m more proud to be an Asian woman.

You have a daughter. She’s born here?

I have a daughter. She is seventeen. Yes.

What are the family traditions and Asian values that you still honor and practice today and how do you plan to pass it on to your daughter? 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was very concerned about that because I don’t speak Vietnamese language very well and I don’t know the culture, the hoo-ha, the bow to your ancestors and the protocol. I was very concerned about that and I had a very dear friend who is very wise and he said, “Mai, you are raising your daughter to be who she is, not to be who you want her to be, so why don’t you find out what she’s interested in and teach her that instead of trying to instill something that she may or may not be interested in.” I took that to heart and there’s always a compromise. As she grows up in my family, I make sure a few things that is instilled in her and in us, it’s that family matters.

We drive down to San Jose. It’s an hour drive every three weeks or so to visit my parents and my oldest aunt who lives by herself and is abandoned by her family, but we pay attention. I make sure that she helps them and are polite to them, understands where they come from and have respect for where they come from. Anything else is not necessary to me. I don’t need her to bow to me or bring me whatever or even honor Mother’s Day, because to me Mother’s Day is every day.

If you want to celebrate me, just ask for a date with me. That matters to me more than do it once a year. She is released of all silliness, duties and protocol, but she is asked to keep love and respect. As long as I feel like she respects me and that our love communication channel is open, that’s all I need. As long as she can do that with her grandmother and her grandfather and her uncles and aunties, that’s all that I ask. I don’t need her to do anything else.

What does power mean to you?

There are two kinds of power. There are the external powers and then there’s the internal power. External power is force That’s not power. Power is that place inside us. To me, that’s very similar to being a bold, brave woman. Bold and brave power. That means you are responsible for yourself. At any given moment you know who you are and you know what you want. You are responsible for what you want. From there, you are soft and vulnerable. Real power is soft and vulnerable. It’s a lot like the bamboo trees. In our culture, bamboos grow crazy. They’re soft, they’re pliable and they can be adapted to everything. The equivalent of bamboo inside us is our vulnerability. Vulnerability is the key to power and a lot of times, people think being powerful means they have to be strong, hard and cut off things. That’s false. They’ll break. If they are soft and pliable, can cry, can feel, and can be honest with who they are and how they feel and speak, they are powerful beyond their need.

What will you not compromise or tolerate in an intimate relationship? 

I will not tolerate or compromise anymore who owns my sexuality. In my first marriage, I thought that to be a good wife, once I married someone, I have to give my sexuality to that person only. That’s what’s being taught. That’s how society is. My sex belongs to me, my body belongs to me. I can do whatever I want with it. As long as I’m honest, sincere and upfront and gentle with my partner, I get to have my sex the way I want it. Now, at the moment, I’m choosing not to exercise it and be with other people, but at any given moment, I want my right to my sex. No one gets to have that. Not even the church. Not a man, not my husband, not my father, not my mother, not my children either. It belongs to me. Is that too much?

A lot of women would say, “What did you say?” It makes me speechless as, “What do I want to ask next?”

You can start there. What makes you speechless?

The reason that I am speechless is that it shatters the glass, the cultural boundary. If you are a married woman, you can only have sex with your husband. If you are in a committed relationship, you should only have one relationship at a time. You are going to be with one man at the time, not do whatever you please or whenever you please.

I don’t want it to land like do whatever I please, whenever I please, without regard to my partner. It takes a lot of courageous conversation to have this kind of relationship. It takes a lot of honesty. I’m talking ten years’ worth of conversation over again to the point where it is clear between us that this belongs to me and I’m very gentle and very persistent about it and I’m very respectful about it and it’s scary. Let me tell you, it is one of the scariest places to stand in a place of owning your own body and your own sex and not say, “I’m married now. I can’t do any of that.” Every time I had that conversation, I risk my beautiful second relationship falling apart.


Sexual Freedom: When you’re in a relationship where you’re open, communicative, honest, and respectful with each other, you’re on your way towards unconditional love.

In no way am I saying this is light hearted, this is casual, you just do it however you want to do it, but at the core of who I am and who I stand for, this is what I stand for. I believe that all women need to stand in this place because if you don’t own your own sex, you don’t own your own body, you don’t own anything. You will give yourself away. You will compromise in everything that we do. That’s what my marriage and breaking out of that and discovering myself and going through my own personal journey of sexual awakening had taught me that my body and my desire and my sexuality belongs to me and it’s a metaphor for the rest of his life.

Do you think the concept of friends with benefit is healthy? 

As long as it’s respectful, negotiated upfront, nobody’s cheating on anybody and everybody brings the best of themselves to the table and you have protected sex. The thing is most people don’t do it cleanly. They do it shamefully. They cheat. They lie. They don’t tell each other everything. They don’t share themselves. They’re not honest. That’s what makes friends with benefits disgusting, sick, wrong and all that stuff, but if you’re upfront and you have a negotiated relationship where everybody’s communicating and being honest and respectful, it’s a very loving thing to do. It’s the most unconditional love things you can do. If you really think about it, all love, all relationships the way it is, it’s very conditional. You do this, I do that. You don’t get to have this. You don’t get to have that. It’s not unconditional love. When you venture out into having friends with benefits in a healthy way. All these names have so much baggage to it. I don’t even want to say these names. When you’re in a relationship where you’re open and communicative and honest and respectful with each other, you’re on your way towards unconditional love.

Unconditional love, you don’t hear that much anymore.

I don’t hear that term much anymore. It’s like we give up on unconditional love. When people do vows and get married, it’s like I don’t hear unconditional, I hear conditional.

What are you most proud of? 

I’m most proud of who I am, how I do my work, what I’ve been able to do with women to help them reclaim themselves and put them back in the rightful place to be loved, adored, and cherished in the world. That they are growing younger, hotter and more powerful by being who I am in the world. I’m not compromising. I didn’t have to hide any part of myself on this radio show. If anything, I’m being more polite so that it’s befitting of the audience, but I’m not hiding and that I’m so proud of. I’m so proud that I can truly live life on my own terms. Be loved, adored, cherished and supported by a beautiful man and a beautiful community. The relationships in my life are healthy, my daughter loves and respects me. I couldn’t be more proud.

What makes you feel at peace?

I have to say that I’m at peace with everything except for my silly worry over money. I still have that. I’m working on that one. It just kicks my butt. I wish that I could really breathe and trust that I’m fine. I’m well, but I still have that nagging fear that anxiety over money.

When it arrives what do you do?

I meditate. I ask for help. I take this supplement called Gotu Kola. It’s organic supplements. It’s a bunch of herbs. It helps balance your hormones and your nervous system.

What do you do for fun?

My work is my fun. When I put on a retreat for my woman to come out and hang out with me, it is so much fun, so rewarding, so fulfilling. I hate to say this but when I work, I’m having a lot of fun, when I am not working it’s okay.

What are your recommendations to Asian woman if they want to be heard, be seen and to be understood? 

To be heard, to be seen and to be understood is really scary because you still have shame inside you. If you make peace with yourself and truly have self-love, it’s really easy to be heard, to be seen and to be understood. There’s not a stage that’s big enough. If it’s Oprah’s stage, I think that would scare me still. Anytime somebody put me on stage, I’ll talk about it. I’m not afraid to talk about my sex. I’m not afraid to talk about how I am as an Asian woman. I’m not afraid to talk about my relationship to anything, to even money. That’s where it starts, work with yourself and make a list of all the things that you have shame about or you are afraid people would find out and start to heal and come closer to those parts of yourself and forgive yourself for whatever failure that you hold over so that when you are heard and seen, you can be heard and seen for anything.

If our listeners want to learn more about you, where should they go?

I am visible on Facebook. Email, I’m terrible at. I don’t respond well. If you send me an email, send it to [email protected] and then send me a text message. I have instruction on how to get a hold of me if you do that or just look for me on Facebook. It’s Mai Vu Coach. You should be able to find me right there. Then ask to join my Bold, Brave, Women Group on Facebook. It’s a closed group and that’s where you can interact directly with me easier. It’s free and you’re surrounded by a lot of powerful, beautiful, bold and brave women. Go to Kimchi Chow’s group, Asian Women of Power. I’m a member there.

Mai, thank you for being a bold and brave woman. I appreciate your directness and honesty about this topic. I wish you the very best of luck in business and life. Goodbye for now. 

Thank you so much for hosting this conversation.

I hope that this conversation brings you more clarity about this topic and that you no longer feel ashamed about your sexual preference. If you have any question about your specific case, please talk to your family doctor or your OBGYN doctor to evaluate your condition or schedule a call with a sexual therapist near you. Thank you for listening to this episode. Until next time, live life loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes 

"There's a cultural attraction that's very interesting between white men and Asian women that works well."

"The only way to be good at what you do is to teach it."

"The reason why women grow older is because we are not supported and loved adequately."

"Vulnerability is the key to power."

"If you make peace with yourself and truly have self-love, it's easy to be heard, to be seen, and to be understood."

About Mai Vu

A best-selling author of The Divorced Mom’s Guide to Dating, and international speaker on various topics like: “Are You Dating Like a Peasant…begging for love and attention instead of attracting the love that is rightfully yours”? Mai Vu has been featured on CBS, Fox, NBC, ABC, in Entrepreneur Magazine, Wealthy Women Magazine, and Mr.Dad podcast, just to name a few. Mai is changing how women across the world work, love, and lead. A master coach and relationship lifestyle expert, Mai has worked with over 2000 clients worldwide and has trained over 1000 life coaches through the Coaches Training Institute and One Taste.

Being divorced, a single mom, and a pioneer in the coaching industry, Mai is passionate about helping all women to have an awe-inspiring life – successful 6- figure business, HOT Love, thriving children, and freedom to travel. After trying everything else before finding Mai, her clients consistently reported that “Mai is the “last stop they needed to attain love.
www.maivucoach.com [email protected]
Join Mai’s community to stay in touch: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BoldBraveWomen/

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