Episode 5 Transcript – Fly on, Unicorn Hunters

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Megan: Welcome to Queers Next Door
Leigh: with your hosts Leigh and Megan.
M: We take the topics you care about:
L: sex, relationships, feminism, kink, social justice, and entertainment,
M: and look at them through a queer as fuck lens.
L: Find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at Queers Next Door
M: and make sure to follow the blog at queersnextdoor.com.
L: Cheers, queers!

M: Hi.
L: Can you hear me? I can’t hear anything.
M: You can’t.
L: Can I? I don’t know. Yep. That.
M: You can?
L: Uh huh.
M: (laughs)
L: Can we start ’em all like this?
M: Okay (laughs) Hi Leigh.
L: Hi Megan.
M: What have you been doing to take care of yourself this week? I’m so excited!
L: Oh! Well, I think a good place to start is something that I’m working on in therapy that I don’t know, maybe it’s helpful to other folks. So my therapist gave me an assignment, which I really like therapists who give assignments because I don’t know, as a coach I like to give assignments just ’cause it’s, I don’t know, it’s good to have something to like think about in between. But her assignment for me was like, “What does, like what does PMDD steal from me or what does it cause me to forget about myself?” Because I was saying that things that like I feel like a failure and all of these things, but like I don’t believe that deeply at my core. But the longer the symptoms last, the more it starts to feel like it’s my real belief, so I made a little list today, which I can see from here, that it was like things that PMDD causes me to forget. Maybe I’ll have you hand it to me and then I could actually read it. (laughs)
M: Move my mustard out the way.
L: Yeah.
M: (laughs)
L: Megan’s the first person to eat mustard in this house in like two years but mustard doesn’t go bad, does it?
M: I hope not. It tasted good.
L: That’s good. It’s mostly just…vinegar? and mustard seed? I don’t know. Okay, so this-
M: Oh my god! Wait! It expired! (laughs)
L: Is it expired?
M: like three years ago.
L: It expired three years ago? That’s bullshit. It’s fine.
M: (laughs) We always have the most random things on the intro.
L: I am very sensitive about expired food when it’s something that can like rot, like when it’s like dairy or meat or something.
M: Uh huh.
L: Anything that’s like vinegar based is basically pickling itself – this is not scientific information – is basically pickling itself
M: (laughs)
L: and it’s fine and also recently my best friend sent me a message that said food expiration dates are a hoax. And there’s this whole thing about it. And it’s like, you know it’s like big business or something. I’m talking some nonsense right now, so
M: (laughs) No, I totally believe that.
L: So, I’m gonna move on. I hope I did not poison you with my very old mustard.
M: I’m taking a picture of it.
L: Do it. It’s organic.
M: It’s so random.
L: It’s organic.
M: More on that conspiracy theory later. (laughs) I’m just kidding.
L: I know.
M: (coughs)
L: I don’t care because I am also a very delicate flower so I feel like if something’s gone bad, that like my body knows immediately.
M: (laughs)
L: I’m also psychosomatic. Ahhhhh! Okay, so things that PMDD causes me to forget, and I think you could sub out PMDD for mental illness or depression
M: Mmhm.
L: or anxiety or anything. So for me, it was: I am loved. I am a good mother. People enjoy spending time with me. I am a good friend. I am a good partner. I am needed. I have good days. I’m good at my job and I help people. I’m not a burden. I’m safe. I’m not my illness. I am worthy. My brain lies to me during episodes. I am not too much. This feeling will pass. Folks choose to have me in their lives. I am not my past, my trauma, or my addiction. Healing isn’t linear. I deserve kindness and compassion. And, I am not broken. And it was helpful to do this. I cried while I did it. I’m not crying now because I’m heavily medicated (laughs)
M: (laughs)
L: But I feel like it’s going, I’m coming out of a really, really bad, really long PMDD cycle, like almost two weeks. And so I’m feeling mostly okay now. But I think that this will be helpful for me to pull back up next time I’m in it.
M: Mmhm.
L: So I don’t know, I encourage folks to, if you’re not gonna do it this way, have a mantra, have a thing you repeat to yourself when your brain’s mean to you, because you’re not always a reliable narrator, so
M: Yeah.
L: Are you gonna cry? (laughs)
M: (laughs) No, I was just thinking that, no it is really, what’s the word, beautiful? I guess like I hate describing anything that’s hard as that
L: No, no.
M: but it’s, I was thinking like oh I should write one about like anxiety and depression and all that. And also I want to take a picture of that with the mustard. (laughs)
L: Yeah, do it! It’s pretty.
M: You write really pretty and I’ve seen your journal and stuff.
L: Thank you. I’m actually thinking of, ’cause I need another hobby, of getting into those like, the fancy hand lettering stuff. `Cause these are just some like washable Crayola markers. But I’m thinking about those, you know, like paint pens and stuff.
M: Mmhm.
L: And like learning how to do like fancy lettering. ‘Cause I watch those videos on Instagram of people writing words with cool markers
M: Yeah.
L: and it’s really soothing, so I think I might get into that. `Cause I don’t have enough indoor hobbies. (laughs) So
M: Every time we do this, whatever you say always lead into what I’m gonna say. It’s so weird. I literally just thought, remember before we recorded we always think about what we’re gonna talk about tonight?
L: Yes.
M: I’m like, what have I been doing? Well, I guess I’ll ask myself, because it’s
L: Well yeah, let me ask you, that was me.
M: (coughs)
L: Megan, what have you been doing to take care of yourself?
M: The only thing that I came up with for my answer was that I have been making myself a schedule and staying with my calendar. I looked on Pinterest at, what is it, bullet journals?
L: Yes!
M: And so, it made me think, what you just said, of, I was like gonna tell you, oh, go on Pinterest, and they tutorials about writing and about making little pictures and stuff. But it seems like every time we do this, I’m on like a new kick. It’s like, “I’m going out. And now I’m sleeping. And now I’m doing this.” ‘Cause you know, it changes.
L: Yeah!
M: And one of the things I noticed, last year I went through this cycle too. In the beginning of the year, it was very helpful for me to have lists and calendars
L: Mmhm.
M: and I think it’s typical in the beginning of the year.
L: Yep.
M: Only it started in February for me, not January, ’cause January was, I don’t remember what was going on, some crisis, as usual.
L: Mmhm.
M: And so I have all these lists and I’m, I write really sloppy, so I’ve been actually writing neat and using all my markers. And then I did the craft project, the valentine I gave you. And then I-
L: Megan made me a really sweet Valentine.
M: (laughs)
L: We might take a picture of the outside of it. It’s adorable.
M: Yes. And so that stuff has been helpful. And I realized this last year because I was blogging about it, that it becomes not helpful for me when I get too obsessed with it. Because it’s like I’m spending all this time on that, and not doing the things on my list. But it gives me this illusion that I’m like on top of it
L: Mmhm.
M: or that I’m organized, which I never feel like I am.
L: Yeah.
M: So I am mindful of that now, and I was on Pinterest, just going through all these pins and like, “Wow, lookit.” There was, people bullet journal like all these graphs of random things. And I’m like, “Oh, who has time for that?” But I do see why, as you said, if you need something to like, distract your mind, and help, then why not? But I just, my writing is not that good, and I’m not that creative, so… But looking at your list, I can do that with you know anxiety and…
L: Sure.
M: And I think it would be helpful.
L: I also feel like with like crafty stuff, like you pick what thing you feel like you’re good at. Like I think I do, I have lovely handwriting. But I can’t draw, so I don’t draw. So I do handwriting stuff. So if you could draw, draw. Or if you can think of cool things like, cut out letters from a magazine if you don’t like your handwriting, you know what I mean, like I feel like there are ways to like find the art thing.
M: Mmhm.
L: `Cause when I was in art class when I was in high school, I felt like it was so related about how you could do like figurative drawing, and I’m just kind of shitty at that. And I think I convinced myself that I was shitty at art, but I’m not at all. Like I’m pretty good with like colors and color theory and design and a lot of things.
M: Mmhm.
L: But I’m terrible at drawing, like lifelike things.
M: (laughs) I am too.
L: What are you throwing this time?
M: (laughs) Just droppin’ my chapstick.
L: Nice.
M: I’m very obsessed with chapstick if you haven’t noticed.
L: Oh, it’s so dry. Can we complain about dryness? I know this is a really boring topic, but like my fingers are cracking.
M: (coughs/laughs)
L: Because I had to wear a band-aid on my finger just because my skin cracked with how dry it is. And I’ve been putting like thick, like grandma lotion on.
M: I was gonna bring my bag balm today and I didn’t. You know what that is?
L: Yes, I do!
M: I’ll bring it for you next time.
L: I’ve been putting just like straight Vaseline on it too. But anyway, instead of rambling on and on, which maybe that’s what you’re here for
M: (laughs)
L: and, don’t worry, we will. Our kind of topic today is, so when Megan and I worked together in the past, and also when I was just like, had kind of my own blog, I was doing something called Ask Sex Coach Leigh, which we’ve talked about a little on Instagram, just answering people’s sex and relationship questions. And we’ve gotten a few lately and we’ve talked a little bit about them on here. And so we wanted to do our episode today of some Ask Sex Coach Leigh, and Megan (laughs) questions. So we got one that’s really good, that I like, and I think it’ll spark a good discussion. So, Megan would you like me to read it?
M: Yes.
L: Okay. So this is long and we decided we kind of love that it’s long and like, I’m not, I’m like too far from the mic, we love that it’s long because it kind of, it shows someone’s thought process, and I think this a thought process that a lot of people have, so, we’re gonna do it in total.
(begins reading)

I have a question about dating profiles and also naming sexuality in general. I identify as a lesbian, but I’m worried that by using the word, I’m excluding trans and nonbinary people, or inadvertently indicating that I’m not interested in them. I was told that some people view those who identify as lesbian as automatically narrowminded and disinterested in those who don’t conform to gender norms. I don’t want to exclude anyone, apart from cisgender men, who adopt normal gender roles. I tried using the word queer instead, but everyone, including queer people, assumed I was bisexual and open to dating cisgender men and playing female roles constantly when I do, despite my using the word queer. I would prefer to use lesbian to be clear that I’m not interested in men. It took me awhile to come out as lesbian, and I had several very traumatic relationships with cisgender men before I came out. So I find being assumed to be bisexual, or up for these kinds of relationships constantly, very hurtful. It was exhausting using queer and having to explain to both queer and hetero people that the person they assumed I am does not feel like me. Just because I look femme does not make me the new cisgender guy’s group’s perfect match. Can I use the word lesbian to describe myself and feel safe and not be discriminating against transgender, intersex, or bisexual people? Identifying as lesbian is really important to me, but I worry that by using the word I’m contributing to homonormativity and putting off potential partners that I’m attracted to. However, I really don’t want to use the word queer and dealing with all the assumptions that I understand what it’s like being attracted to men. I don’t feel safe using it. As a femme identifying woman, it’s always assumed, even in queer spaces, that I have adopted this identity to be a trendy bisexual, open to sex with men and women and threesomes. I’ve been called prudish and discriminatory in queer spaces for expressing a clear preference that I don’t date men. Even queer women often just assume I prefer men, based on the way I look, so I have to use the word lesbian to be clear that my sexuality exists. Why is this? How can I construct my own identity when there isn’t a word that will keep everybody happy? How can I challenge the preconceptions of some people who use the word queer but keep perpetuating the same stereotypes about people’s sexual preferences being based on how they present and what label they call themselves before even getting to know the person? It is a real problem because queer people think they are in a utopia where it’s all sorted and we stop questioning or thinking we can be wrong. 
(stops reading)
The end. I just talked a lot by reading it. Do you want to talk Megan?
M: (coughs)
L: Or do you want me to start blabbling?
M: The only thing that I wanted to comment on was that I have felt similarly, that I don’t date cis men.
L: Mmhm.
M: And it’s not that I never do. But just like, for the most part, I’m not interested and I do like, I feel like she said, I feel bad or I feel like I’m gonna get that hate like you can’t discriminate against them that way. And even from queer people, I’ve heard it. I’ve heard things like that. And it’s like it’s not even that I hate men. (laughs) I don’t, you know.
L: Right.
M: It’s just that I just generally am not that interested. And so I do sometimes feel like that needs to be excluded from like my dating profile and blah blah blah
L: Mmhm.
M: But then you do feel guilty and so, I have thought about that too. Well I know lesbian doesn’t fit for me personally.
L: Yep.
M: But I get why, I get what she’s saying, so…
L: Yeah, I think we’re looking at two different groups of people who could be, or at least who she’s worried she might be excluding, and one is cis men, who I think are gonna be just fine, to be totally honest. I think it’s okay if she doesn’t want to date cis men, then you know it’s not, she’s not portraying something that’s incorrect about herself.
M: Mmhm.
L: I think she just doesn’t, that she’s a lesbian. Because she doesn’t sleep with men. What her fear is, it sounds like, and I think this is other people’s fear as well, is that by using the word lesbian, these days is there this implication that lesbian means only attracted to lesbian-identified cis women. And I think, I think two things. One, is there a word that’s going to make everyone happy? No. There’s not. So you have to choose the word that you best identify with. But if you have concerns, my opinion is like, explain a little more, you know. There are ways to kind of code your language on dating sites, without going into a really long explanation, but where you can still make it clear what you are are and aren’t interested in. Like I’ve seen people say, like interested in anyone but cis men. I’ve seen people say, like, sometimes a way that you can say that you’re a lesbian but you are open to dating people that fall across like any kind of like gender spectrum on the queer side is like, what if you just put no TERFs. Because there are, TERFs, if you don’t know, stands for Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists, which is, (sighs) you know, a group of, often “lesbian” identified people who do not believe that trans women are “real” women, so many quotes in that. And so, unfortunately, a lot of them also identify as lesbian.
M: Mmhm.
L: So I think there’s that worry that, identifying as lesbian means that. So you could just say like, I don’t know. I feel like no TERFs is always a good way of saying not only are you not that kind of lesbian, but you’re also not looking for that kind of lesbian, you know. Or, but I don’t know. Lesbian’s not a bad word. And I think we’ve talked about this before. We talked about it. Janet and Ted talked about it of like this feeling of earning labels.
M: Mmhm.
L: I think we have a right to labels we identify with, and if they’re not as clear as we want them to be, we also have the space to explain them. So for me I, just my opinion is, if you feel comfortable identifying as a lesbian, then be a lesbian. And if your brand of lesbianism, simply means that you don’t date men, then say, “What lesbian means to me is I don’t date men.”  Or, “Always open to meeting folks across the gender spectrum, but not interested in dating cis men.” You know, like
M: Yeah.
L: But we show people a lot in like how we act and what our, like our actions speak louder, like I guess what I want to say to this person is like, you’re not at all coming off as exclusionary, so I’m sure you don’t in the way you talk and in the way you act and so, I don’t know, be proud of the label that has, that you spent time coming to. You’ve tried on different labels and this one fits and this one feels good. I think it’s awesome to own that. I also think it’s really compassionate that like you are thinking about how it might be perceived and so it’s nice to maybe clarify that.
M: Mmhm.
L: But you don’t owe anyone that clarification or that assumption that somehow your identity is, I don’t want to say exclusionary because like some of our identities are exclusionary. I mean, you’re saying you don’t date cis men. That’s an exclusion. But what you’re trying to say is that you’re not, that your lesbianism is inclusive of trans and nonbinary people. It’s interesting too because I think people, you know, I don’t know where she’s from, you know, I don’t know personal details, but like, for me, and I don’t know if this is your experience too Megan, but like in my community and our community, there’s sort of an assumption that queer doesn’t mean that you date cis men. Like queer doesn’t always read as bisexual. I think there’s a lot of reclaiming the term bisexual and a lot more people are using it. So I feel like, as a person who also is in a place where I’m pretty much open to dating people across the gender spectrum but not really interested in dating cis men, that queer does kind of speak to that, but it’s all about how language is used and the places you hang out and with the people you’re around.
M: When we talk about community stuff it’s interesting`cause I always say LA based, but I’m not really that close to you
L: Right.
M: in location-wise.
L: Sure.
M: And so I’m not really at the same places as you.
L: Mmhm.
M: And so for me there is kind of- oops I’m always hitting the mic. I talk with my hands and my head. It does kind of seem like queer, I don’t know how to say it. I feel like it’s gonna sound a little bit bad. But a lot of queer people in my community, where I go out and also online, do date men.
L: Okay.
M: Cis men. And also women and nonbinary and trans and everybody.
L: Mmhm.
M: And not that, again, to go back to that, it’s not like trans men or women are not real men and women.
L: Of course.
M: You know what I mean. But that’s where like this whole language thing, it gets tricky, because I don’t want it to sound like I’m saying that. But, so yeah, to me sometimes like I say queer and I’m comfortable with people being like, “I don’t really know exactly what it means.”
L: Mmhm.
M: ‘Cause I will tell them if there’s a reason to. But it can mean, to me, it’s just like you date everybody.
L: Right.
M: And so at times I have felt like oh is there something that is more, another label that I could choose that would be like more accurate, ’cause I really like, I like to say queer. I like it, and obviously, our podcast is called Queers Next Door. And I know that some people don’t like the term and that’s fine too. But, yeah, so in my opinion, a lot of times, to me, when someone says they’re queer, it does include cis men.
L: And it totally can. Yeah.
M: Yeah. And it can or it can’t. And so like I guess, that’s why I was like okay, I can see where she’s coming from with this. And there is, and I don’t know if it’s for me, the work that I’m in, that I do appeal to a lot of cis men, and I kind of have to
L: Sure.
M: that I don’t know if that’s why it comes up for me too. That whole like why do I feel like I need to, owe it to not exclude them (laughs) you know.
L: Well, because then we take like a transactional nature of like the main consumers of sex work are cis men
M: Mmhm.
L: which is just a fact. Well, just saying this, I was thinking about like, I’m back on dating profiles, which is like its own little personal hell.
M: Yes! (laughs)
L: On Tinder, you know, you don’t put anything really, so I just, I say I’m queer like as one of the like, you know 100 characters that you can write. On OKCupid you can choose all the different things. Like there’s, there are the options for, and I check to see all of ’em, but there are definitely options for gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, queer.
M: On Tinder?
L: No, on OKCupid.
M: Okay, okay, okay.
L: So, for me, ’cause this is gonna sound contradictory, and I’m realizing that maybe like that’s just the case with some of this stuff is contradictory. I am listed as, like, what I’ve checked off, as queer and pansexual, because those feel most, I don’t really use pansexual but I think it embraces like a wider spectrum of genders that I feel like is necessary. And then queer is obviously, it’s what I use to identify myself. And when I say, what am I looking for? I say that I am looking to meet queer people. But I also say I am not interested in dating cis men at the moment, including couples where one person in that couple is a cis man. And then, I say, fly on, unicorn hunters.
M: (laughs) I love that.
L: Because you know what, there is nothing wrong with being a unicorn hunter, but I am not interested.
M: Yeah.
L: So like am I contradicting myself by saying I’m pansexual on a site and then saying I don’t wanna date men. I don’t know. I don’t know.
M: But it’s you.
L: But that’s where I am. And I don’t. And I also, and I think part of what I mean about like not feeling guilty excluding cis men, is like, you don’t have to date- This is such a like nuanced conversations, but like, nobody has to date anyone that they’re not attracted to, but I do think we should sometimes step back and be like, where are our preferences coming from. And like do we have preferences against marginalized people and marginalized groups because society has told us to. And that’s where I was like, I’m not worried about cis men. I’m not saying I hate men. I’m saying mmm, cis men are not marginalized. Cis men are not excluded from the world of dating because of their identity.
M: Yeah.
L: So in that sense, that like unpacking why I’m not interested in cis men, seems sort of unnecessary.
M: Yeah, and then not related to cis men, but I can never say the word, but like fetishizing.
L: Fetishizing.
M: Yes, I think we have to be mindful of that
L: Yeah.
M: when it comes to dating and online profiles, but that’s not really related to this. And also another thing not really related, but TERF, I know some people don’t- you said what that means, but also SWERF.
L: Yes!
M: So Sex Worker Exclusionary [Radical] Feminism. So I’ve seen that on a lot of people’s profiles and they know TERF and SWERF and some people are like, “What the hell is that?” (laughs) But I do like that. It’s not on my profile and it should be. Because to me, as someone who is in the adult industry, like sex work kind of stuff, it lets you know, like okay, this is somebody whose fine with that, you know, it’s sort of an attitude that
L: Absolutely.
M: that sometimes you don’t even want to spend your time- why would I even want to meet someone who’s not okay with it? You know, it’s just nice `cause you know they’re fine. You don’t have to go through that whole entire conversation.
L: Absolutely. It saves you. It’s a shortcut. And actually, this is a good place to plug the thing that I thought most people knew about, but I brought up recently in like a discussion group and no one knew about it so maybe it’s kind of lost popularity. But there is a Chrome extension, you know, the browser Chrome, and I’m not a tech person, but you can always look these up. It’s pretty easy. It’s, you know, just like an add-on web pages. It’s the Chrome extension for OkCupid called OkCupid for the non-mainstream user.
M: Really?
L: Yes. And what it does is allows you- Now, I am going to plead ignorance here. OKCupid has changed and stuff, lately, that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to. Maybe some of the stuff is easier to do just through their basic platform, but what this does is it lets you choose a set of questions and answers that are important to you in different categories and it immediately shows your compatibility with another person based on those questions.
M: Oh, nice.
L: And some examples of ones I’ve used in the past where, especially when I was more kink identified, there’s one about like, you know, dominant or submissive, you know, like do you prefer to be tied up or do the tying? Are you usually the top or the bottom? So you can answer those and it’ll show if you’re compatible.
M: Those questions are on OKCupid?
L: Uh huh. There are a million questions.
M: See, I don’t spend enough time on there.
L: And the nice thing about this is you can pick topics that you care about and it will search for answers to the questions around those topics. So you don’t have to dig. And you don’t even have to do like, a question search on everyone’s profile. Because there are a few questions on there that are deal breakers for me. And so I make sure that those are on my extension, which you can only do, you can only use it from a browser, or from a, this is where I’m just-
M: (coughs)
L: This is Tech Corner.
M: (laughs)
L: Again, where I remind everyone that I worked in tech for nine years. I think you can only do it from a desktop or a laptop, not your phone, but who even knows.
M: I just learned that you could use OKCupid on the laptop, like a week ago.
L: Awww.
M: I had no idea. (laughs)
L: Bless your heart. You can’t use Tinder, so that’s fair.
M: Yeah.
L: That’s a fair thing to know, or not to know.
M: No idea.
L: But, so some questions that I always have had on mine, were, you know, I have a child so, “Would you date someone with a kid?” We have to be matched up on that question. “Would you date someone who is overweight?” I do not love the phrase overweight, because it’s a gross way to say it, just like, I don’t know. I’m kind of the like fat as a descriptor not an insult.
M: Mmhm.
L: But I also think people can call themselves whatever. And I, you know, I’m fairly thin but I won’t date people who won’t date fat people.
M: Mmhm.
L: And I am cis but I won’t date people who won’t date trans people. And I am not currently a sex worker, but I have been, and I won’t date people who won’t date sex workers. So those are like three categories that are really big for me. Oh, and same, I’m white, I won’t date somebody who won’t date outside their race.
M: Yeah.
L: So
M: I did not know that all these things were possible with OKCupid.
L: It’s kinda great.
M: Clearly, I have been missing out.
L: The way I feel about polyamory is that the, one of the benefits is that you always get to be dating and one the downsides is that always get to be dating.
M: Yeah, I’m gonna have to go play around on OKCupid later tonight.
L: Okay, this is from Brandon, who said we can use his name on the air. Brandon’s a cis guy. That is relevant to the story.
M: And Brandon asked a question before that we answered on the podcast, right?
M: Yes.
L: Thanks Brandon. If anyone else wants to ask questions, send ’em on in.
M: (begins reading)

Hey guys. Thanks for getting to my question. It was a lot of help. I will be sure to tell people about your podcast after each episode so they can know how awesome you two are.

(pauses reading) Thank you.

(continues reading) Sorry for not leaving my name last time. It’s Brandon. I subscribe to Megan’s and now the Queers Next Door Patreon. You can say my name on air.

(pauses reading) Oh I guess I didn’t have to read out loud. Oh well.

L: It’s okay.

M: (laughs) (continues reading) I do have a new question for you. When I go to sex parties I notice I get nervous around people. This is normal given I don’t socialize much. Since I started going to parties with queer, cross, and trans folk, my nervousness goes away quicker, but when I’m at parties mostly with cis women and couples, I get more nervous, and it sometimes affects my performance. The nervousness reminds me of when I graduated from my all boys high school and went to college with men and women. It was hard to socialize with women and left me feeling anxious. Do you guys have any idea why I might be experiencing this? I’d really appreciate your feedback. (stops reading)

L: Alright, I have some theories. I don’t know for sure. So I’m obviously, I was not socialized as a man in all-male settings. I was socialized as a girl in all-girl settings ’cause I went to an all-girls high school. And it does sort of change the dynamic of socializing in more mixed crowds when you are used to socializing in like a kind of single-gender way. But my guess is that us queer folks have had to work to feel safe in spaces and so if we are coming into a space that’s vulnerable, which I would say that a sex party is very vulnerable
M: Yes.
L: both around whatever kind of sex is happening but also around bodies, especially if you’re a person whose body has been either judged or fetishized or whatever, that it’s going to be a more curated space. Like if it’s a party that’s primarily queer- I’m going to make assumptions. And the assumption is that probably a queer person’s throwing these parties, right. And so they’re going to curate a group of people that feel safe. And I think people in these communities often come to discussions about like appropriate party etiquette and consent in a way that maybe straight folks have not had as much experience with. I have been to queer-oriented sex type parties and always felt safe. I have been to like essentially swingers clubs, sex clubs before in a more hetero fashion and have felt very watched. Like there’s a real focus on the male gaze and like a performance for men. And so I don’t know your story, Brandon, but my guess is that if you’ve spent a lot of time surrounded by men and the way men talk about women and the way men look at women and the way men treat women sexually and you’ve gone into spaces where you’ve added women to this dynamic where lots of people, probably not everyone, of course, but where lots of men are seeing a sexual situation as a place to objectify women. And that’s not who you are is my guess. Then that doesn’t feel as safe.
M: Mmhm.
L: But, again, I’m making a lot of assumptions.
M: And even other women
L: Yep.
M: objectifying women in those more… I don’t want to say like swingers because I don’t think it’s all or like exclusive to them. But the whole like let’s drink and it’s fine if I go grab
L: Yes.
M: this lady’s boobs or ass
L: Yeeees.
M: or make out with her because
L: Yeeees.
M: we’re just two girls and we’re drinking and you know, it’s like (laughs)
L: And they always think it’s cute.
M: Yes.
L: And you know what, actually, that’s a really good point because I will say, I had an experience at a sex club, like a mostly straight sex club, where I was, I was having sex with a male partner and I was on top, so my butt was showing. And of course, people watch. There’s a difference between watching and creeping, you know. It was a little more creeping there but I wasn’t”t like, my face was not towards watching people. So, I felt fine. I felt okay. People were watching. I heard a little bit, like, “Yeah! That’s hot!” Alright, sure. And then a girl slapped my ass. And I turned around, and I was like, “Do not touch me.” And she was like, “Woah! I was just saying” blah blah and I was like, “I don’t know you, and you didn’t ask.”
M: Mmhm.
L: It felt like she was very taken aback by the assumption that like because I’m having sex in front of her, and she was enjoying watching it, that she didn’t have a right to smack my ass.
M: Yeah.
L: So, yeah. So I think you’re right. And I don’t think is like judging like straight people as much as just primarily straight spaces around sex do not seem to have the same level of importance put on enthusiastic consent.
M: Mmhm. And I wonder if it’s changing ’cause I haven’t been around that in a while, but I’ve been at conferences and stuff, where there will be a lot of swingers in one space and the queer folks, will kind of be like, ugh, I don’t want to go, because they kind of have these expectations of what will happen. And I have went anyways and talked to people and of course it was a couple, who was like, “I think you’re really hot and you should come to my hotel room” and just kind of, I don’t judge- I think that’s fine if people want to do that, like yes, have fun, that sounds great. But for me, I was like no, no thank you. And I actually talked to them a little bit about that, about like there is- swingers sometimes… Or they brought it up to me. Like, “Oh, swingers have a bad like-” rap or rep, however you say it. And I was like, “Yeah, they kind of do, but I know it’s not everyone.”
L: Mmhm.
M: It’s just like, there needs to be some consent talks and like modeling of behaviors and all that, I think. And it could be changing. I don’t know.
L: I’m curious how it’s changing too. The sex club experience that I’m talking about was only a few years ago, like maybe two years ago, two or three years ago. But I was a swinger for, lord, like six or seven years.
M: I always forget that.
L: I know. And so I feel like, I feel like I can judge because I’ve been there. And this sort of goes back to the unicorn hunting thing. I think if there were, if I could throw, host my ideal workshop, it would be How to Get into  Nonmonogamy as a Male/Female couple Interested in Dating Women Without Being a Fucking Creep.
M: (laughs)
L: Because I don’t think it’s creepy to want that.
M: Yes.
L: And I don’t think it has to be creepy. But like the language that people use on dating sites is so not different than when I was a swinger.
M: We should do a workshop about it and I’ll help you.
L: Okay.
M: The thing is, is I feel like we can’t do it at the conferences we would usually go to because everyone there already knows this stuff.
L: Right. It has to be an online thing.
M: Yeah, like an online or like an LA that kind of calls to more people, just people you know, out living their lives
L: Totally.
M: and not other sex educators and stuff.
L: ‘Cause I’ve done a Polyamory 101 workshop and this stuff definitely comes up. But like I really still feel like there is, there is some, there is some level of like thirsty for people who are like, “I want to slot you into my triad dream” that just becomes dehumanizing to the folks they’re trying to attract. And I think that most people are coming at it with good intentions
M: Mmhm.
L: and not realizing how they’re coming off. So this isn’t me saying like, “Oh, I want to yell at them all for doing it wrong,” but more, I want to say like, “Hey, your sexual interests are great, but like let’s find a way into this that is respectful of everyone involved and treats people like people, not sexual fantasy fulfillers.”
M: Yeah, my intro to polyamory was kind of a unicorn situation.
L: Mmhm.
M: And I wrote about it, but I think I only posted it to Patreon. I had some mixed feelings about my own feelings about it. And even the couple that I was with has said since that they think and know that they were objectifying me. But at the time none of us were really aware of it.
L: Sure.
M: And what I think about that time in my life… It was pretty much right after I left my ex-husband.
L: Yep.
M: And I was questioning, “Am I gay or straight?”
L: Mmhm.
M: And I was coming out of like a very touch-deprived and
L: Yeah.
M: love-deprived situation. So for me getting into that situation wasn’t bad. And I looked at it, the best way possible for what was happening, which I think a lot of women, not a lot of women, but I think- it just lucked out for me. ‘Cause they were kind of objectifying but I was okay with it because I was just kind of like, “Just want me.” You know? (laughs)
L: Yes.
M: I don’t care.
L: Absolutely. Objectification is not bad.
M: Yes. But I think some women get into it and don’t realize it and they don’t want to feel that way and they don’t understand why it feels bad.
L: And I think I was not a particularly mindful swinger. And I think I was not always conscious of everyone else’s feelings in the room. I also drank heavily when I was a swinger.
M: Mmhm.
L: So that just makes you less mindful of how
M: Mmhm.
L: everyone else is feeling. And so this is a little bit of like, when you know better you do better
M: Mmhm.
L: kind of thing, so
M: Yeah, and since I had that situation, and I’m really glad it worked out for me, because like I said, I wasn’t- I came into it feeling like, “This doesn’t really matter. It’s just fun.” But if I had come into it
(thudding sound)
L: I just hit [the mic] with my chin.
M: (laughs)
L: So, here we are.
M: Clearly, we’re not used to these yet. If I had come into it, which I know other people have, as like, “I’m looking for a very long-term situation with love and respect” and all that- not that we couldn’t have like worked through it. But I think that’s where you kind of get those feelings of like not even being aware, “Why does this not feel great?”
L: Yeah.
M: Or, you know, being there for, everyone’s super-connected when you’re having sex, and when you’re all together, but then like, “Okay, now I’m gonna go sleep with my husband in the room when you’re sleeping on the couch.”
L: Yeah. Yep.
M: And you’re just like, “Oh, this doesn’t feel right but why?” So there’s like a whole, like, you know
L: Yeah.
M: But I, that has been something I think I didn’t want to post it because I felt like I don’t know if I’m ready to talk about that yet, about like, I know it’s fine if you want to be objectified
L: Of course.
M: but it’s like a whole conversation that- and now I’m not into that feeling anymore, which is why I’m not usually looking to date couples unless it happens very organically.
L: No, and same. And also I want to acknowledge that there are plenty of like self-professed unicorns
M: mmhm.
L: and like, to that, I say, like, get it, you know.
M: Yeah (laughs)
L: Like, that’s great. It’s not- the desire of a like male/female – I don’t want to say hetero because that’s not always the case, couple – to like dip their toes or whatever into nonmonogamy by seeing another woman… I mean, we can deconstruct where that comes from and how we feel about male bisexuality versus female bisexuality and bleh forever
M: Mmhm
L: but I don’t think it’s inherently wrong. I just think it’s not always done in the most respectful way.
M: Yeah.
L: And I say that as someone who I don’t think always did it in the most respectful way.
M: Yes. I don’t think I’ve done things the most respectful way. There’s a lot of growing to be done with all of this stuff.
L: Sure.
M: And my situation where I was the unicorn, it didn’t start off as a polyamorous situation, which I kind of wanted to clarify. Because I know we have a lot of listeners who are just interested in this stuff and don’t really, you know, they don’t have the same vocabulary as we all do about it. So it started off as they were swingers and I was just kind of like, “I don’t know what I am, just here for the experience to see what’s gonna happen.” And it turned into a polyamorous situation. But like there’s a difference between swinging and poly and then even nonmonogamy, I guess it doesn’t always like mean polyamorous, right, so
L: Yeah, so. That’s a good call out, for like a quick, vocabulary check. The way I kind of explain it when I do a workshop like Polyamory 101, is that like the umbrella term would be consensual nonmonogamy. I know that’s bulky, but that’s what we’re talking about, any kind of sexual relationship outside of an established couple, where both people in the couple are consenting, right?
M: Mmhm.
L: So, oan pen relationship is the vaguest, which isn’t to say it shouldn’t be used. It’s just people mean very different things by it. Swinging usually means that it is something people do together as a couple. And it’s usually a couple that’s a man and a woman. My experience as a swinger, when I say I was a swinger, my ex-husband and I dated slash- I wouldn’t call it dating. We had sex with friends we met together.
M: Sex with friends.
L: Together though, we did, like
M: Did you do the whole like swap?
L: So, we did.
M: That’s such a fascinating thing to me.
L: It is fascinating. And there’s a lot of terms around swinging. And so for some people, that’s what their nonmonogamy looks like. But there’s a lot more rules about what you can do on your own. We did some things on our own, but it was usually like, he was like travelling, so I’d be like, you do you. Or I would be like with people we already met, but you’re not going to be able to make it, so I’m gonna go hang out with them. But we didn’t date separately. Open relationship sometimes means like actually, I was talking to someone recently on a dating site who is an open relationship and I asked her what that meant to her. And it sounds like her definition is what we would also describe as like heirarchical polyamory, which is like my family and my husband come first, but I date other people on my own, and you know, treat them with respect. But you know, that’s not a relationship that will grow to the same place
M: Mmhm.
L: as this primary relationship. Yeah.
M: Yeah.
L: So when you’re talking to people, if you’re interested in nonmonogamy, and they use words like swinger or poly or whatever, I always like to go back to, “What does that word mean to you?”
M: Mmhm.
L: That’s where we get fucked up, I think, with language. And that’s a callback to thing about lesbians
M: Yeah.
L: from the beginning, from our friend. What does- Awesome, you call yourself a lesbian. What does lesbian mean to you?
M: And what does relationship anarchist mean?
L: Relationship anarachi- Are you asking me that?
M: Yes. Because I’ve seen it and I’ve looked it up several times and I still just don’t like, get it.
L: It’s funny. The one that I don’t have a like quick of a like, pat definition for it
M: Uh huh.
L: because it means different things to different people. But essentially the idea of relationship anarchy is the belief that no relationship should be primary to another one
M: Mmhm.
L: because of the nature of it. Which is like to say that like just because you’re my wife doesn’t mean you’re more important than my best friend. Or just because I have sex with this person, and this person is my sibling, doesn’t mean that those can’t be equally important relationships. Like that relationships should not be prioritized based on rules like marriage and whether or not we’re having sex.
M: Okay. Yeah, I’ve looked it up a lot of times and I think I’ve even like read about it and I’m still just like, wait, what?
L: Yeah.
M: Well since I became poly with K
L: Mmhm.
M: my partner, it’s changed so much, like we started out feeling like the hierarchy way was the best way to go and not really thinking about how it would affect others,
L: Yep.
M: just how can we preserve our relationship and kind of do these things we wanna do.
L: Sure.
M: And it’s just been such a journey. So it changes, you know, and the things we thought about everything. Right away we tried to put rules around it and so immediately those rules were broken.
L: Sure.
M: So it’s just been such a learning experience. And even though I’m constantly reading and I’m in like the sex blogging, sex education world, like I said. Right now I’m like what the fuck is relationship anarchy? I just can’t get it.
L: Right.
M: So there’s so much to learn.
L: There is.
M: (laughs) But I get a lot of feedback from friends. And I’ve just, I don’t know, people who are like, “I wanna, I think I’m interested in polyamory, but I don’t really know.” So that they’ve appreciated our discussions. I’m glad that it’s helping someone. (laughs)
L: Yeah, no, that’s awesome. And we can always- that’s another, I guess, call out for like questions.
M: Mmhm.
L: If you have more specific about polyamory, nonmonogamy, we both could answer those.
M: Yeah. And sorry about my cough. I’ve been coughing for like over a month now and it’s not going away so… though I hate how it sounds when I’m editing.
L: Okay, I don’t feel like I hear you cough. Like it doesn’t seem like you’re coughing into my ears at all.
M: Oh good.
L: So hopefully everyone else will not feel like you’re coughing
M: (laughs)
L: into their ears.
M: Alright. Well I guess that’s it for this one, episode five. Yay! Episode five!
L: We did it!

L: Thanks for listening to Queers Next Door. We hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to follow, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
M: If you like what we’re doing, join the Queers Next Door fanclub at patreon.com/queersnextdoor to receive all of our exclusive content, and we’ll mail you a fun little surprise. You can find the link on our blog queersnextdoor.com. Cheers, queers!

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