Why queer sex? What are accelerators and brakes? How do you deal with differences in desire types and responses?
Hear it all on this episode of the Queer Joy Podcast; where two relationship therapists explore what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
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Keely: That's one of the basics when we're talking about going back to basics, is looking at sex, how are we defining sex?
Keely: And how can we look, talk about sex outside of penis, vagina, penetrative sex.
Hello, welcome 2023 to Queer Relationships Queer Joy.
Melisa: Woohoo. We are here. We've officially, I know I think we've released already one in the new year, but we are now recording in the new year. We're officially there.
Keely: Yeah. Well, and I think that for me anyway, I am adjusting to the new year pretty much through all of January. So,
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Same
Keely: Oof. Well, we were just talking before I logged on that kind of a little tired today feeling the adjustment of post holidays, even though today's like, I guess today's technically a federal holiday, but whatever.
Melisa: Here we are.
Keely: Here we are. Here we are for updates. I have some updates.
Melisa: Should we do intros and then updates?
Keely: Okay. Well, yes.
Melisa: I haven't, I haven't given up on us doing intros consistently yet.
Keely: I haven't given up on it, and I love how you bring it back because I'll just start blabbing and then, yeah, 20 minutes later.
Melisa: For sure.
Keely: Oh well, and I remember one of my intentions was to get this like quick and to the point. So let's see how I, I'll practice some more. My name is Keely C. Helmick. I am a certified sex therapist, licensed professional counselor. I am the owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I am a queer white, non-binary fem. I'm currently solo, non monogamy, and my back is getting better. I still have in rec in recovery, but it's getting better. That's my updates. That's my intro.
Melisa: Yay. So glad to hear. Well, I'm Melisa DeSegiurant and I am licensed as a therapist working at Connective Therapy Collective. I see clients in Oregon and California. I'm white. I'm able-bodied. I'm bisexual. I'm a polyamorous person, and my gender is fluid and ever-changing. I use she and they pronouns.
Keely: All right. Well, so it's, it is 2023.
Keely: What is going on in your life? What updates do you wanna give since the last time we record.
Melisa: Oh boy. Yeah, right before we hit record, it was like, oh, what are my updates? well, I guess. I, I am, I am have felt very disoriented in the last, I would say, two weeks. because of all of the weather that we experienced in the Pacific Northwest, my holiday plans were all canceled. and when I say canceled, it would've felt a lot easier to navigate if it was just canceled. I went through the whole two days of trying to get, I went through I think four flights I went through, I boarded my cats and then had to unboard them and like, it just, it was a really big ordeal that for me was disorienting and then trying to do the holidays.
It just, it was a big mess. I'm fine. I I had a lovely time doing my solo thing as I have done for now three years in a row for the holidays. Um, and I, I really do. I was able to orient towards a lot of gratitude, for, you know, there's a lot of people, gosh, that had a lot of travel plans and things happen and some really horrendous things happen with weather on the East coast especially.
So I, I can very much be grateful for the holidays I did have, and there's the grief over like seeing family and, you know, missing yet another gathering for another year . So I'm just coming off of all of that and I had tried to reschedule plans for New Year's, and then that fell through too due to an illness in my family, so I am just over trying to go anywhere right now.
I am staying here. And, um, yeah, like I said, I think disoriented is the best thing I can say. It doesn't feel like it's super emotionally charged, but I'm okay. I'm doing well. I'm, I'm grateful for the things I have. I'm grateful that the holidays are behind us. I'm really, it was a headache for me and I'm, I'm glad it's done.
Keely: Yeah, it seemed like there was just so much going on and my theme, or my thought was that there was so much work and then not a lot of rewards for all the work because the storm hit so perfectly, and I will say I was not traveling. But had this whole wonderful Christmas planned out with Main Main, and they got Covid, and I haven't seen them now for, I don't know, almost two weeks.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: So get to see them after this recording, actually.
Melisa: There you go.
Keely: Finally exchanged Christmas presents a week later and, but in good queer fashion, good queer, non-monogamous fashion. Instead of seeing them, I had a friend who was in town, friend, former lover with their, with her partner, and the two of them came and stopped by and hung out for a little bit.
So that was fun. And then just like general updates starting the new year. I was listening actually to the episode a couple weeks ago and I did realize I, I don't know if I've said the update, but there's, Texas is no more so the person Texas I met in Texas.
Melisa: No, no. Not just getting rid of the whole state like we're done with Texas
Keely: Well, I mean, I have some family members there, so maybe not, but you know, sometimes, I think sometimes we would be okay with that.
Melisa: Some parts of Texas we love. We love if you're, if you're listening from Texas, please, we still love you
Keely: Yay. Hey, there's some rad people in Dallas. We actually had an interview from Dallas. my family is in Austin, and Austin is definitely a sanctuary for queer people.
Melisa: So I heard
Keely: When I stepped into Austin, that was more queer to me than Portland. Like, I walked into the information center and it was like, boom, a whole table of like rainbow queer stuff. It, it's so queer, so fucking queer. Yeah. So I, yeah, hanging with Main Main, and then, I don't know, I've had so many conversations about dating apps and I don't know, I'm not really on them right now, but I'm having fun, like talking to people and their experiences and I was very, very validated. Had a meetup last week with somebody who had similar experiences to me. Having this whole, like being slow and intentional with dating and then the other people not responding in the same way to the slowness.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Keely: And so I was very validated by that conversation. And in fact, I gonna see that person again in a couple days. And so that was fun to talk about.Otherwise, I like what Chaney Nicholas is saying and just the astrologer. She's like, okay, go into 2023 slowly. And the start of 2023 is slower. I like that vibe.
Melisa: Yeah, yeah.
Keely: I think that vibes with our topic today, kind of going back to basics around sex.
Keely: And slowing down and talking about some really simple concepts that are so essential that Emily Nagoski talks about and researchers around sex.
Melisa: Hmm. Simple concepts, but things that we forget and or never learned because I feel, I've said this, I know in a recent episode, maybe even last week, but I don't know why they called it sex education. I did not get an education around sex. I did not get an education as to how to have sex, why two have sex, what sex is about, what it can feel like. Like none of that, I got like really bad abstinence training.
Keely: Abstinence. Yeah.
Melisa: And not to mention, and I did say this before, but queer sex. I mean and I literally didn't even know how to have sex as a queer person with that did not follow the script of what I thought, what I had seen in movies, really. Cuz again, it's not like I was taught in school how to have sex.
Keely: Well, it's so concrete in the patriarchy where sex is not talked about outside of if there's a penis involved.
Melisa: Mm-hmm., right.
Keely: And I'll get even more specific because even. Sex that's talked about with a penis involved. It's always very specific. And so for folks that have penises but either don't practice penetrative sex with their penis, or folks that don't have that, you know, certain erection or have, there's all these specificities around it and that is what we're taught. So yeah, people are like, what is sex or the cliche, how do lesbians have sex? How do you know? How do two people with vulvas have sex?
Melisa: It can be done. Not that like any of you didn't know that, but
Keely: Well, and that's one of the basics when we're talking about going back to basics, is looking at sex, how are we defining sex?
Keely: And how can we look, talk about sex outside of penis, vagina, penetrative sex.
Melisa: Right. Yeah. What is sex really and yeah, what does it mean? Because people have very different opinions for, for, I guess what it leaks into for me is the why question that I like to go back to so often. And why specifically sex? People have sex for lots of different reasons. Sometimes it's to like release anger or steam or stress. Sometimes it's to connect with someone. Sometimes it's too orgasm. Sometimes it's, you know, to feel good in one's body. There's a lot of different reasons.
Keely: Sometimes it's go to sleep.
Melisa: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, and so it's all good, but it's good to know what your why is, before you start engaging.
Keely: Yeah, so a couple, we wanted to review a couple of the concepts that Emily Nagoski isn't the original person thinking about this, but really says it so well in her book, Come As You Are, and the first concept is the gas pedal concept.
Keely: And so thinking about, because when we think about sex or we think about interacting sexually with ourselves or with somebody else, we're thinking about, as you said, the why. And the gas pedal model really states that if you imagine desire or wanting to engage in sex, the same as like a gas pedal in a car. Well, the gas are the things that make you want to have sex, and the brakes are like the eh, don't wanna have sex.
Melisa: Totally. Yeah. Yeah. And in the, I don't even know. There is a wonderful workbook that, that, um, she made that goes with Come As You Are. although I'm pretty sure she lists out so much in Come As You Are, you can actually do this exercise, even without purchasing the workbook necessarily, but listing what are your accelerators and what are your brakes, you know?
And, and what's interesting is then if we look at people, we might be in sexual connections with our relationships with. Remembering, we've all got a different system. You know, I, my system, like my brakes are solid. I've got so many strong, wonderful brakes, you know, and that has, uh, been something, I say it now with a lot of pride and some humor because in the past I have, um, without this analogy, I have really shamed myself for seeming to have so many issues around sex which makes a lot of sense as a highly sensitive person. And I have a lot of sensory stuff that happens for me. So like, yeah, okay, there's a lot of brakes. that's not something to shame myself about. That's just something to know so that I can communicate to partners who maybe aren't as used to working with systems with a lot of brakes or like real heavy accelerator type people who, like everything is a turn on, but like, there's no brakes.
You know? We, we gotta, we gotta sort of train people how to work with us.
Keely: One. I think something to notate as you're creating the list of what your brakes are and what your accelerators are, that can change over time and that can change with different partners and that can change. The other piece to this is context.
Keely: the examples when you think about like a turn on may be, being touched in a certain way. But if you're in the middle of doing laundry or in the middle of doing something that you don't really enjoy doing or you're focused, then even that certain type of touch or those certain kind of words said to you may not be a turn on in that situation. And so that's like the next step. So you have these lists of accelerators and brakes. You look at that, you share that with your partner and then you talk more about context.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. This may prematurely get too, like far into the next thing we were gonna talk about Keely, but what I think is also important is I, I have, I have experienced this pitfall of commuting and communicating what accelerators might be there, and then had a really. Shut down response to watching somebody very deliberately, specifically do all those things.
For example, for me, an accelerator, accelerator might be, like acts of service. It might be I come home and everything is done and dinner is being cooked. Like that might be a turn on. It is a turn on for me.
Keely: You're like, it is, it is.
Melisa: And if I communicate that and I watch somebody, if I get this energy of they are doing this, so I have sex with them rather than out of being an active service, it becomes too goal oriented for me, and it's no longer a turn on. And that can feel really frustrating, I think, to people who are like, I'm just trying to do the thing you said. But it is that what is the spirit of what you're doing? Are you doing an act of service as a gesture of love or are you doing it because you want something from me and it's this like exchange with a very uh, specific goal in mind.
Keely: Well, and I think that piece, when Emily Nagoski talks about the concept, pleasure is the measure. And when something is so goal oriented that it loses the pleasure piece. Whereas, yeah, if, if a partner or some, you know, a lover sexual partner is doing certain things because they wanna do that for you and they know that you enjoy it.
Keely: Regardless of the outcome, it is something that is kind and
Keely: An act of showing love, showing gratitude.
Melisa: Totally. Totally. Yeah. I mean, and getting even further into, you know, sexual acts and how this can show up, I'm thinking about how many clients do I have that talk about the, the problematic nature of having a goal of orgasm, right? And so I'm gonna touch your body and do all these things to make you come.
Well, sometimes if that's the goal, it's not gonna happen. Like, how can we enjoy the pleasure in the moment? I'm going to do this because it's pleasurable for you and for me too. If orgasm happens, fine. You know? But that doesn't necessarily need to be the goal for everyone.
Keely: Yeah, I wonder if we can list, I know some people be sitting here and may really align with this idea of, oh, I can name, you know, 20 brakes right now, I know how to name that. I wonder if we can talk about some examples of brakes. I mean, I can say, I know for some people, certain smells, there's certain times of days, there's certain sensations, some people are really focused on certain like parts of the house or certain places of having sex. I know recently we talked about neurodivergency and folks with ADHD, folks with autism, folks on the autism spectrum whohave certain sensations and certain sensitivities to certain stimuli.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Yeah.
Keely: Those can all be brakes.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. You've talked, I, I know a lot about the sensory pieces, like things like, sounds getting in the way, you know, or, or being the possibility of being heard can be a brake for people. It can also be things like we've talked about before, like naming body parts in a way that doesn't feel good to us. That could be a brake.
Keely: That could be a total shutdown, right? That. Yes.
Melisa: Exactly. Yeah. So there, there's a lot of different things, and again, the goal is not to paint brakes as a hindrance or a bad thing. It's like, yay, my system is telling me what's pleasurable and what's not.
Keely: And all the things we just named can also be accelerators, certain sounds, certain, you know, certain music, certain sounds, certain smells, certain sensations.
Gender affirming, you know, certain names of, you know, naming body parts or certain names. All that can also be accelerators.
Cardinal: Hey, hey, it's Cardinal. You're behind the scenes. I'd say what hits the gas for me is slowly running a hand down my spine. And a break is unexpected nudity or exposure, like dropping a robe after a shower. Keely and Jennifer, another therapist at Connective Therapy Collective are hosting a one day sex therapy 1 0 1 and 2 0 1 workshop for clinic.
It's worth four Es. So if you're a mental health therapist who wants to guide your client through their own gas and brake pedals, or you know a therapist who wants to offer this healing modality, send them to the link in the episode description. Alright, back to the show.
Melisa: Yeah. So it's starting to get to know your own system. And I do like the point you made Keeley, that it's gonna change and that can get frustrating for us cuz it's like I figured it out. Oh wait, hmm, let me think again but it really can change and that's why both the ability to reflect, but also the ability to communicate when things have changed um, those two things feel paramount.
Keely: And that, you know, with, with listeners and people who have kids, that really can change things like whether kids are awake or asleep or, you know, and it can get really serious, you know, when those aren't discussed. Cuz for some people they're really just preoccupied thinking about other things and that they're not in the mood or they can, I think the other thing that we really wanna emphasize is when we're talking about sex or talking about any kind of, play with other people.
That these accelerators and brakes can happen after the sexual situation has started. And so it's also communicating. And I guess bringing up children made me really think about this because the example of people who have like a young child and maybe they're like, okay, the baby's down, or the, the child's down and asleep,
Keely: they start, you know, getting into it and then.
They hear, the child's up, and for one partner they may be, oh, you know, go back to sleep. Let's just get back into it. And for another person may be like, done like it just shut off.
Melisa: It's so true. Yeah. Yeah. Oh gosh. Bless you, you people with small children.
Keely: Well, and, and even if you don't have children, there's just things that can happen that we wanna really validate. I mean, we are always saying this, and it's just gonna always be said, consent that these things can shift even midway.
Melisa: Yeah, I'm, I'm laughing because I'm like debating how much of this I share. These are the moments where I become acutely aware that I'm on a podcast. Um, I will share just because it's hilarious and it is an example of an in the moment brake as we're talking about. I have been trying some new things and uh, without being too explicit was in a situation over the weekend where I was not able to move my limbs intentionally so ,for, for pleasure based reasons and, uh, my cat decided that was a great time to jump on the bed.
Keely: Oh yeah. Oh yes, animals.
Melisa: And I was like, Oh hell no. Like cuz no. And I needed to get help like moving her away because that was not the time and place and that was a major brake for me. It didn't mean that the, like, the experience couldn't continue, but it did mean we needed to like, okay, let's get back into the mood here, because that was, that took me completely out of everything.
Keely: Totally. Totally . I've actually had a situation I didn't realize the cat was in the bedroom with a former partner. The cat had gotten their claw in my partner's thigh.
Melisa: No, no
Keely: Like hooked. And we just like kept trying to like keep the situation going and at some point we're just like, okay, pause. Just too much. When the cat's hanging by its claw to my partner's thigh. It's just like, okay, we reaffirm, we gotta readjust.
Keely: This was not consensual BDSM. This was not consensual intense intense sensations.
Melisa: So things, yeah, things can come up in the moment that take you out of it, you know?
Keely: Yeah. And then, so looking at accelerators, I mean, there's so many things and it's so personal and I think the piece, the other thing to think about. The accelerators is this is the opportunity to really bring exploration into your play with your partners because maybe you don't really, maybe you have a harder time Identifying the accelerators, like the brakes often can be much easier starting point for people when they're thinking about these things and the opportunity to try new things. Have a yes no maybe mindset.
Keely: Okay, I'll try this. And then again, being able to say, okay, nope, that's not working for me. Let's try something else.
Melisa: Right? Yeah.
Keely: And for those, I think there is a always a lot to be said about trying things with yourself. You know, if you, and developing, and again, it doesn't, it doesn't have to be focused on genitals. It can include your genitals. Plain touch, incorporating different touch and different activities with yourself and learning more about yourself throughout any kind of relationship, dynamic sexual dynamics, so that way you can verbalize that and you can try it before you try it with someone. And obviously, you may like something with yourself, not with a partner.
I mean that can always happen too, of course. But this idea of exploration and having ideas and those concepts, you know, if people are sitting there going, okay, not relying, it can be really simple, you know it, it doesn't have to go straight to kink stuff. It doesn't have to go straight to, when we think of like BDSM and like impact play and tying a partner up, which I mean, yay.
But it doesn't have to go to that. It can just be trying out different music or incorporating music or thinking about slowing down if you're used to having, you know, a certain type of sex, shifting it.
Melisa: Yeah. Eye contact for some people can be an accelerator, for some people it's a brake. You know, it's, again, it's just knowing. But yeah, I like what you said too about that self-exploration. I know we promote that a lot. I mean, this is where fantasy becomes so useful and important and again, not with the expectation that everything that you fantasize about in your mind is something you will want to do in this world and a physical way, but it can give you so much information, you know?
And gosh, even if you don't, like, for example, let's just say I fantasize about being tied up. However, when I'm actually tied up, that creates a trauma response. I don't like that. Say that's the scenario. You can play with invisible restraints where you are not tied up, but your hands are pinned down and you're pretending that they are.
Right. and even that might be too triggering for some people. That might not be, it may be more about have the partner say like, I love seeing you tied up like that. Even if you're not tied up. Right. Like, use your imagination and creativity here. You wouldn't believe how big of a turn on it is. And especially when we think about sex, like so much of it is mental.
Melisa: We get overly focused on physical, like the body parts and especially the genitals, but like orgasms are in our brain, you know.
Keely: And this is where like novels, erotic, like reading books, reading chapters, listening to, and then, you know, porn can come in handy, beware , or be the understanding of just cuz you saw it done by somebody. It may not translate the same way when you try with your partner. And I like how, cause we're talking about Emily Nagosky so much today.
She put it, she said in watching porn and you know, having this exhibition to do a certain sexual act is like if people are learning how to drive, comparing it to NASCAR drivers.
Melisa: Right? Yeah.
Keely: They're professionals. So if you're gonna get in a car and you're gonna be driving a certain way, if you are not a trained NASCAR driver, don't expect to have that same experience.
Melisa: Right, right.
Keely: Watch porn. Explore porn. Learn or, or have fun with the fantasy but those are professionals doing those things, and they've had lots of practice and have a whole team of support helping them with that.
Melisa: Right? And there's production and editing and voiceovers, and there's like a lot of other things that happen to make it look the way it does , that you may not have a whole production team there to like, you know, butter you up beforehand and like, you might not have snacks, although having snacks is, that's a great idea, stay hydrated, you know, but yeah, you don't, you don't have the same production team, you know, to make that experience happen.
Keely: So within this concept, so we have this, this, you know, accelerator brake concept, thinking about sex, and then there's also another concept that is talked a lot about and is really helpful for people framing because we have this expectation and the idea of responsive versus spontaneous desire.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. .
Keely: And so spontaneous desire, when we talk about that definition, is really conceptually the assumed. Like we think, oh, you're just automatically ready to have sex. And we see that in all of the movies and we see it on TV shows, see it in porn and spontaneous desire is just that idea that some people have a really like stimuli that is really accessible and pretty much always there and the, the real life kind of scenario that we think about is, you know, someone, you know, partners at home, another partner comes home from work, or the two come home from work and it's like, Ooh, I haven't seen my partner all day, and gosh, they look cute right now I wanna have sex. Boom. And then both people just wanna like tear each other's clothes off and ready to go.
Keely: And some people are like that for sure, but a lot of people aren't.
Keely: So that spontaneous desire, responsive desire is, you know, may not even be thinking about sex, but then certain words, certain hand gestures, certain touch, certain smell,
Keely: stimuli, like the word suggests, responding to something that then gets you in the mood for wanting to be sexual with your partner.
Melisa: Yeah. Totally. Yeah. And, and again, if you can kind of put yourself in either one of those categories, the point is not to shame you for wherever you land. It's more information. There's like, I guess what I'm saying is there's nothing be, it's not better to be spontaneous versus responsive or vice versa.
Keely: Yeah. Well, and I think that the, the nuance to this is it can be really tricky talking about this because. Most relationships that are longer term start off seeming that most, that both partners are spontaneous desire because you just, you have that newness, you know, we call it N R E, new Relationship Energy, and you're like, oh, you know, you see the person, it's all new and you wanna have sex a lot.
And then what often happens, and I mean definitely the people, the couples that are coming in for sex therapy will identify, yeah, we just wanna have sex all the time. And then, later down the road, you find that a spontaneous, it's a spontaneous person and responsive person, and there's so much shame around the responsive person because, oh, well, sex used to be like this.
And it's like, well, they're actually a responsive desire type person. They just mimic more of a spontaneous at the beginning.
Melisa: Totally. And, and NRE can be a huge accelerator. It certainly is for like most of the people I would say that I talk to. And so when NRE is not there, that's a powerful accelerator that is gone. Now, it doesn't mean that you have changed. It means that NRE has changed. It's not there anymore. You know, and that's where being creative and some novelty can be super duper helpful and I actually know couples that do the the practice where they go out to a bar and pretend like they don't know each other and they re-meet and they recreate some of the NRE. And that's why I'm saying imagination can really take you a long way if you commit, you know.
Keely: And I think that's where then this idea of when you were talking earlier, being pressured or this balance of okay, understanding. When you do realize, if you realize that a person, one person, spontaneous, a person, responsive, or even sometimes more challenging is the responsive and responsive person.
Keely: And it's interesting cuz then I hear people come in, you know, speak like questions or things that people ask and someone will be like, well I'm m always the person initiating. And it's like, well, okay, is that because you're the more spontaneous person in this dynamic?
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And then what meaning are you making of that? Because if we can just accept that our dynamic works best when this person initiates and this person responds. Great. There's nothing to fix. It doesn't have to be even all the time. Just because what, like our brains say that everything should be perfectly even. Like no, it's fine if one person does all of the initiating, as long as it's fine for both those people and we're clear on what the meaning is behind that.
Keely: Yeah, and noticing as we get more in these nuances of thinking about what is the narrative around this and what is the dominant cultural narrative around the meanings and how we make meaning or have these assumptions around these different dynamics.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah, totally. Yeah. I've heard the meaning making before. If like somebody isn't initiating, that means they don't want me.
Melisa: Maybe not, you know. And it, it doesn't mean that it has to, like I said, it, it's okay if just one person is initiating. It's also okay if that doesn't work for the system, and y'all decide, like, I know that I'm the more spontaneous person, but I really can't, I, I, I can't be the one initiating all the time. I do need somebody. And then that's a different discussion, you know?
Keely: Well, and then so when we're talking about responsive desire, then that is where. You know, people don't like to say it, but scheduling sex or scheduling connection times that comes into play.
And really, and I say this, I say this all the time, in therapy sessions where we have this idea that there's something like unsexy about scheduling sex.
However, if you think about it, when you first start dating somebody, when you don't live with someone, and you're going on a date, isn't that kind of scheduling sex? You're doing this prep work. You're, you know, getting your body ready, your mind ready.
You have quite a bit of time before you see this person, that you've prepped your body to be in a pretty sexy space.
Melisa: Totally. Yeah. I mean, when you schedule something then you then you know exactly when foreplay happens. When aftercare happens, like you can really orchestrate a beautiful experience.
Keely: And you know, as you're saying this, it reminds me of so many things in the BDSM community that just gets it so well because any scene when you're doing practicing a kink scene is gonna be well thought out and prepared.
Melisa: Right, right,
Keely: And that's some of the joy of it, like that anticipation and that planning, that planning and thinking about it can actually be its own foreplay.
Melisa: Yeah, that, you know, as you're saying that, I, I think what I'm wanting to add is like you may think that scheduling sex, for example, is not sexy. Challenge that for yourself. Just because you think something doesn't mean it's true. So challenge that, make it sexy. I bet you can, you know, and again, it's fine if you decide, mm, that doesn't totally work for me.
But we get so attached to these stories we have about ourselves and what works and what doesn't. And it's all from a cognitive place. We haven't actually necessarily tried all of these things, you know? so, so be, be brave , and, and try, you know, see, see what works for you and see what doesn't. Um, from an experienced position, not just from sitting and thinking about it.
Keely: Yeah, and honestly, I think that responsive is more of the norm. Scheduling spontaneous is more of the exception, and if it happens, great.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Keely: But to rely on that being the only way, I mean the things that we prioritize, the things that are important to us, we schedule in our capitalist society, that's so driven on schedules and timing and times.
If it's in our calendar, it's important if we schedule it out, that has importance to it. So if sex is something that you want to have in your life, schedule it. And I also think that some of these norms I'm recognizing cuz I'm, I'm saying from a non monogamous standpoint, a lot of these norms are really from a cis, hetero, monogamous, normative viewpoint.
Melisa: Right. You're scheduling everything, everything is scheduled. I mean, not to say that I assume I'm gonna have sex with my partner on every single date, but like that tends to be how it goes. Like we schedule the night that we're gonna spend time together and it happens.
Keely: Or there's only certain nights that you would have sex with that partner because that's the days that you see them.
Melisa: Yeah. And here's an example of the spontaneity that can happen even with the schedule is like sometimes maybe like as soon as this person walks in, we decide to start having sex. Maybe sometimes we have dinner first, and then we have a drink, and then we have sex. Maybe sometimes, like we go out first and then we, like, you can be spontaneous within the schedule.
It's, it's not like we're saying schedule it and then schedule what body part you touch first and then what you touch like no, like you don't have to make it boring just cuz it's schedule that's on you. If you make it boring cuz it's scheduled, that's your, that you gotta be a little bit more creative.
Keely: And you know, for some people that's su- super stimulating to be that detailed.
Melisa: It's true. I, I, committed this, the, the crime of yucking. Somebody's yum. If that turns you, if that's an accelerator you fucking enjoy, you enjoy that script, I will not, I will not. Shame your joy.
Keely: Is this a top bottom thing? I feel like tops can really, I tops have a lot of work they have to do sometimes and doms, I mean, doms put a lot of work into scenes and scenarios.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. I think, like you said, it comes from, again, the cis hetero framework, it comes from our lack of sexual education as I talked about earlier. It seems more and more like really great sex. Has a lot of thought behind it, and a lot of communication and a lot of, I, I, I don't wanna just say structure because it's not always structured in that, like, like I just gave the example of, but it's not, it's just spontaneous, we just know how our bodies work, and it all works wonderfully. That just isn't the norm. There's a lot more planning and intentionality that goes on behind great sex.
Keely: No. And this idea when it's like, oh, we'll just, it'll happen and it'll be natural. Or even, I wanna take the word like natural out of it now, is it, it is very much part of being human that most of us wanna have touch and sensation in some way, but how that is played out in different dynamics is up to the individuals.
Melisa: Yeah. Totally, totally.
Keely: And so, and I think wrapping up and going back to the idea of the, we were talking about defining what sex even means for us, or what sex is. Sex can be anything, especially in this technology day and age. I mean, oh my gosh. You know, having, I know you're in a long distance situation right now. I've been in a long distance thing and you know, is texting sex? Yes. Oh, I, you know, you can have all kinds of sex.
Keely: In so many different ways through technology, through, you know, all venue, all different places. And so I think the, the last thing I wanna make sure and touch on, and we'll keep coming back to these concepts, and that's why I wanted to introduce these concepts right now at the beginning of the year and my little Virgo brain, because we will talk about these in other episodes.
But having that basis and I think, yeah, so the last thing or the concept to bring up specifically today that Emily Nagoski talks about, and she's actually gonna be writing a new book, but the, the three, she names three things in her research that really support, uh, long-term sex connection with a partner.
Again, this is very monogamous, so I'm just putting it out there, but I think it really, it connects to all types of relationship styles and the three pieces are, the first one is Foundation of Friendship, and she specifically talks about having that relational, like when things are going on, looking to that person.
You, you're turning into them, you, you're, you're turning towards them. You have that connection, you have that friendship basis, that baseline. The second one is surprise, suprise, making sex a priority. Sex is important, making it a priority. The third piece, I'm just like, yes. The third piece is being outside and not being outside the box, and specifically not buying in to gender binary rules.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Woohoo.
Keely: Yeah, and we talk about that. I mean, that third one obviously we've talked about before, and that can be a whole episode of what does it mean to not be relying on gender binary roles?
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Keely: And the, and this is specifically with sex. And so the ideas of when we think about body parts, how we use body parts, how we interact with partners, how we interact with our own bodies, that not subscribing to that.
So those are the three key things that she identifies. And I'm just so happy because she is a white, cis, hetero female who has been married for many, many years. And to be saying that, because we're saying that all the time in the queer community, and I'm saying that all the time to cis hetero couples that I work with.
But then to have this sex reach, this well-known sex researcher saying that, I'm like, yes, keep saying it. Let's just, it benefits everybody.
Keely: Fuck gender binary.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Keely: So on that note, yay, sex.
Melisa: That feels like the culminating piece. Right? Like ,fuck the binary, yay sex.
Keely: How do we, that's how we wrap up for today.
Keely: So as usual, Queer Joy, what Queer Joy do we have going on for us?
Melisa: Queer Joy. Well, I realize I had said I may give a piece of an update that I never gave, so I will share and it's part of my Queer Joy that the, the gift I made was well received and it was acknowledged, the intensity at which I thought that I, because I kind of built it up even as I was talking about it here, I'm like, it, it, it was a very intense gift and that was very much acknowledged and it seems like the timing within the context of our relationship was appropriate.
So I'm grateful for that cuz it. Very vulnerable for me and like just to normalize the way people's anxieties can work. Like I had many moments after giving this person this gift of panicking, you know, about what I had just done. So that's definitely part of the Queer Joy slash update, I guess. But, no, really, I think leaning on my community has been the biggest takeaway for me in the last couple weeks with all the, the changes to my plans, you know, I, um, I needed help actually getting to rescue my cats from the boarding place because they're closed on the weekends, so I didn't have access to them. And Friday, the day that it was super snowing was the only day I could get them.
So I had my partner and my metamore actually came in like they had a, a truck and came and helped me through the snow rescue my cats. So leaning on that community was super helpful when I thought I was gonna go back out of town for New Year's, I had other, queer friends offer to help, you know, take care of my cats.
So once again, I'm talking about cats for my Queer Joy. Uh, cuz that is who I am and that is my life. but I will say my community really, really showed up for me and I'm, I'm super grateful.
Keely: Yay. My Queer Joy. What has been going on? I, my Queer Joy was being able to spend New Year's Eve, so New Year's Eve. I think I've already said this, but I'm just gonna say it again. New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday and New Year's Day, and I was able to smoothly have a relationship transition. And so I spent New Year's Eve with Leo and very friend basis or friendship basis, and it was interesting to be in a very, very cis hetero like party.
We ended up it, I mean, it was at a, it was at a restaurant that we enjoyed going to super casual fun, good DJ and it was my Queer Joy is like, it reinforced why I'm so grateful to be queer because I was, like just being surrounded. I don't remember the last time I've been with so many cis hetero men in like one area and just getting to enjoy that, having, my friend there with me and celebrating.
And just being around people, it was great. And I'm just like, oh, I'm so glad to be Queer so happy that I am who I am. So that's it for today, and we have couple little plugs, but you know, as always, you can find us on Instagram. We will be having our promotion coming up very soon, and so if you want some free gifts, check out our Instagram post, share, like. Tell us what you're thinking, it's a new year, ask us some questions. What do you wanna know more about sex? What do you wanna know about relationships? Ask us. We'll do our best to answer them. Otherwise, check us out on all the platforms and we hope you have a Queer and joyful week.
Cardinal: Thanks for listening to queer relationships, Queer Joy, a podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Keely C. Helmick and Melissa DeSegiurant with audio edited by Ley Supapo Bernido. I'm a producer and behind the scenes, buddy, Cardinal marking inter music is by bad snacks. This episode made you smile or think, tell us about it. If you hated it, tell us about that. Review us on iTunes or Spotify, or send us an email at media at Connective Therapy. Collective dot com.
Follow our Instagram at Queer underscore relationships underscore Queer underscored joy, and find more resources on our website. Www dot Connective Therapy, Collective dot com slash queer relationships. Queer Joy. It's a lot of links. Just check the episode description. All right. Love you. Bye.