What is sex therapy really about? What do you talk about in sex therapy? How do you prepare for sex therapy? 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: [00:00:00] So we wanna help guide that and give more information about what sex therapy really is and what sex therapy isn't and hopefully that'll help people make their decisions of what they want.
Melisa: Hi everyone. Welcome back to Queer Relationships Queer Joy.
Keely: Welcome, hello.
Melisa: Hey, Keely.
Keely: Hi Melisa. So we have some updates, um, and today is an episode with you and I, we are just saying how this is in between two, two interviews. And so just our voices today and we're talking. I think the title or how we talk about this is what does a sex therapist sound like or how, what kind of questions do we ask? What is sex therapy really about? We've talked about sex a lot this [00:01:00] year and in other episodes, but we haven't always fully laid down the groundwork, and it's like if someone's coming into sex therapy for the first time, or really how I see it more is if someone is, oh, I've heard about sex therapy. What is sex therapy? What do you talk about?
Melisa: Yeah. Or how do I prepare for sex therapy? You know, for some folks going into therapy with some idea of what you wanna work on, it can be very, very helpful for you and the therapist. So hopefully today's episode gives you some more, um, points that you can reflect on and ideas if you are interested in working with a sex therapist.
Keely: And just what is sex therapy? Yeah.
Melisa: I mean, what is sex really?
Keely: Before we [00:02:00] get to that, let's have some updates. If you have updates, we'll introduce ourselves
Melisa: Updates and intros. Yes, all the good things. We'll start with intros. I'm Melisa DeSegiurant. I'm licensed as a marriage and family therapist and professional counselor. I'm a white person. I'm bisexual. I am able bodied. I am polyamorous and I am gender fluid. I use she and they pronouns.
Keely: My name is Keely C. Helmick. I'm the owner of Connective Therapy Collective. I'm a licensed professional counselor. I'm also a certified sex therapist. I am white, non-binary queer, mainly able-bodied at this moment, and I don't even- relationships. What is that even?
What is even the title? I don't freaking know at this point. I just saw on TikTok, there's this person that goes by the name therapy, Jeff, and he's a local person in Portland, Oregon, [00:03:00] and he, he posed the question of, are you avoiding dating right now because you aren't ready to date, or is it because you don't wanna deal with the dumpster fire that current dating is?
Melisa: Valid question.
Keely: I know. And you know what Melisa like, I honestly got off the apps this weekend I had a, I was like, I'm gonna take a full break.
Keely: Yeah. Um, And for me, the break is to, I noticed that I was just casually on the apps and the profiles that I'd made, I'd kind of updated them, but like the pictures, the profiles, like what I was presenting as myself on these apps, really was reflective of when I created them like a year ago.
Keely: And I wanted to take some time to really, really think about what it is that I want right now. Mm-hmm. . Um, I am [00:04:00] still dating the one person who's non monogamous, and I just am like, I'm just gonna see what happens, .
Melisa: Yeah. It sounds like you're being very present and intentional with your profiles on apps, for example.
Keely: Yeah, and I think it's interesting to reflect on stepping back from it for a moment and being like, what? What was I getting out of it? What do I wanna get out of it? I think it's a really good reflection too, just on technology in general because we get so much out of technology, but I think it also hinders us, and it's interesting in therapy right now because there's this transition of going from a lot of people are doing mainly telehealth therapy and then going to more of a hybrid or going back into person, and we keep talking about this coming back into person or reconnecting or connecting with people in all aspects, work and romantic relationships and friendships and [00:05:00] family, and using technology in a very specific, intentional way. Mm-hmm.
Keely: So we'll see what that means for dating. I don't know, I'm like, maybe , maybe I can meet some people in real life. Or maybe it's just a true break and whatever that means is just what it is.
Melisa: Yeah, yeah. You're just letting it be.
Keely: Yeah, and I just was. I may just really just, I like to think about when I wanna do things, waiting to do something till I really wanna do it. And I wasn't fully invested in the, in the, in, in the dating apps at this moment. And so why half-heartedly do something?
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. That reminds me of like what we've talked about with consent. Like you want that absolute hell. Yes, I'm ready, uh, from yourself before you engage.
Keely: Yeah. There was an article actually, and I can't re I'm referencing it and I can't, it was years ago. Um, this person talked about dating and love and [00:06:00] connection and he was just like, it's either a fuck yes or no.
Keely: And I love that concept of like, okay. You're either really into it or just let's not do it. And yeah, so that's kind of my update. It's not a really interesting or fun update. It's just.
Melisa: It's real. That's what's happ- it, it's. If it's a consolation. It's very interesting to me cause I'm like, oh wow. That affirms like most of my experience being non-committal about dating apps and being like, I shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be here if I don't wanna be here.
Keely: Yeah, if you don't wanna, yeah. And I think that, honestly, I think part of the challenge and why dating is so hard right now is because I think there are, I'm curious how many people are on dating apps right now?
Just kind of Just being there.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: And not really maybe in the same space that I am and [00:07:00] but wanting to keep that openness of potential.
Melisa: Mm-hmm. Now as you're saying that, I'm like, this is also, I've said this before and this is definitely, I'm like, it's not like a great marketing thing to share, but like it also represents my profile on Instagram.
If any of you follow me, sorry, not sorry. I'm very non committal about marketing. Just, I honestly, more work. I'm really non-committal about giving myself more work and social media. I just do have such boundaries around and ooh, it drains my energy and it just doesn't feel good. And I'm like, oh, maybe I shouldn't be there. I don't know. We'll, we'll decide.
Keely: Yeah. Well, and I think, honestly, I think how this connects with sex is when there's a blase attitude or not knowing what you really want out of sex or a sexual connection with somebody, and I wanna get your update [00:08:00] Melisa, but I think this, that can feed into what we're talking about with like sex therapy and utilizing sex therapy in the way that you want to and getting, getting what you want out of it.
Because when I think about people coming in for sex therapy, Sometimes it's underutilized because people come into sex therapy being like, okay, I, I want to have sex. It's like just someone going into a dating app being like, I want to date somebody. But when you go into sex therapy, it's really helpful to have intention around that.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: And so we wanna help guide that and give more information about what sex therapy really is and what sex therapy isn't and hopefully that'll help people make their decisions of what they want or have some time to do some reflection, some guided reflection before diving in with a therapist specifically in sex therapy.
Melisa: Yeah, a hundred percent. Well, uh, what is my update? [00:09:00] I think I, I think I arrived this morning being like, I don't know. I'll figure it out. , this, this is my time to reflect, evidently recording live for everyone to listen to. Um, I am, well, I. I'm well, it's, I guess it's still winter, you know, so kind of slowly crawling out of winter ish
I'm noticing I have a little bit more energy, there's more light. I have noticed since moving up to the Pacific Northwest, how much I am impacted by the seasons. So I really feel it in such a different way than I ever did growing up in California, where it was pretty much the same all the time. , um, I am happily in relationship.
Things are just going really well and I'm trying to continue to be present, which is difficult for me as relationships progress. I'm, I'm very much like I was the little kid who was dreaming about my whole future adulthood when I was like, you know, seven.
So, being present is always a, uh, process for me. It's my continuous work. Um, but yeah, I'm, I'm doing well. I, [00:10:00] one thing that was really fun that happened, um, fun, it wasn't fun, but it was, uh, really meaningful, was, uh, my partner who doesn't live here sent me some flowers.
Melisa: And it was such. Yeah, it was such a surprise. And again, like, especially cuz we don't share space and I really don't know when that will happen again, for various reasons, um, it was really meaningful and I just, it's, it's cool how people can find a way to be present even from long distances away.
Melisa: So that made me feel very special. Um, yeah. So things are good. I'll, I'll share more. My queer joy is, is, is related to something I did with my local partner. So I'll share that later. But, um, I'm good. I'm, I am working. God, I'm so, I'm not gonna judge myself, but I'm like still doing the relationship with self.
Y'all, like, I'm still, still working on it. And specifically, habits. It's just, it's, I think for a lot of people it's so difficult to maintain habits that I don't even wanna call them healthy habits cuz we can kind of get into a judgment place about what's healthy and [00:11:00] what's not. Just what feels good to me and what I operate best with.
And that like includes, things like learning how to cook for myself, things like budgeting, like these things that feel, like, you know, I don't know, like the normal adult stuff that none of us really wanna do, but that's part of my self-care right now. I'm not doing the bubble baths and the face mask and even the solo dates right now. The self-care is like really nailing down some practices that are helping me in my life.
Keely: I mean, I think, There's a certain part of when we're talking about sex, where there's a piece that is framing those habits and framing consistency about it being in the forefront. I think it's so easy. I mean, one of the things, I think a very common thing that people come into sex therapy is saying, sometimes with a partner. I think most times with a partner, some people [00:12:00] come and they come individually, but usually still have a partner or partners. Mm-hmm. And they're like, well, I, they come with the basic framework of I wanna have more sex. Mm-hmm. or they say, I want to want to have more sex.
Melisa: Right. I was, I was like, or they say, my partner would like me to want to have more sex.
Keely: Yes. And so what can be really helpful before starting sex therapy is to, as you're talking about recognizing within yourself, your relationship with yourself, it's starting with what is your relationship with yourself around sex.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. Like what, and I think some of these questions, like you referenced, Keely, we have said before, but really sitting down and thinking about when you hear the word sex today, right now, what comes up in your mind? What stories come up? What emotions come up? What happens in your body? That's the first part of just reflecting like, what is even going on?
What's your relationship to sex right now? One [00:13:00] way to simplify it is think about what are three words you would use to describe the sex you are are having right now, or not having? Right? What three words would you use to describe your sex life or your relationship to sex.
Melisa: Then what three words would you like to believe in the future? Is that something you wanna change?
Keely: Well, and something we, so if we're working with someone individually, I think it's helpful when we talk, think about previously and sometimes is with the partner you're not with, and so it can be helpful to think about this before going into therapy is like what sex in your past was really enjoyable.
Keely: And are there pieces to that or are there things when you think about that, that you could incorporate currently?
Keely: Or what changed that and why is that different?
Melisa: Totally. Yeah. And that's one thing I think a lot of people are familiar with in therapy is [00:14:00] that we may ask, the therapist may ask questions about your past, and that is true of sex therapy too.
We're gonna ask about your relationship with sex, how it was first introduced to you. How did you even learn about it? What were you taught about it when you were super young.
Keely: Well, I think clarifying even like what a sex therapist is, and I think everyone would have different definitions of what a sex therapist is.
And honestly, what I tell people is a lot of sex therapy is actually trauma work.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: And so I, when I think about the difference between a general licensed practitioner, A, a general licensed therapist or licensed marriage and family therapist, uh, licensed clinical social workers. The difference is they work often with trauma as well, but don't even mention the word sex, like how many times we talk [00:15:00] about therapists in general, not even mentioning sex.
Keely: And so as a, as a, as a certified sex therapist with the extra training and just with the mindset of, we still look at people holistically, but we include the sexual part of a person.
Keely: And so much therapy leaves that out. And so I think sometimes people are cautionary or aren't sure if they wanna see a sex therapist because they think that we're all we're gonna do is talk about sex. Or they confuse sex therapy with sex coaching. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. or sometimes even confused with, uh, sex surrogacy.
Melisa: Right? Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: And when I use the word trauma or like looking at your past and seeing what influences the sex that you're having right now or the sex that you're not having and what, what is going [00:16:00] on with that?
And we talk so much when we're talking about like general couples counseling, we're we look at the past, we look at attachment, you know, we talk about attachment, we look at relationship or how we were raised and how those things influence how we attach or connect with romantic partners currently. And again, that framework is great, but the, the sexual part is often left out.
Keely: And how did we as a person, grow into our sexual selves? What happened or what influenced us? And, and how do we move through and evolve through that and be, and making those things conscious. We then have more control of how we want our future sex lives to look like, how we want our relationship with our sexual selves.
Melisa: I like what you said about the holistic [00:17:00] piece too, that it's just sex is a, a part of human existence that we bring to the table explicitly so because, unless people have had experience in sex therapy before, the client usually isn't going to just bring it up. It's usually the therapist it needs to, to make sure that that's in the room.
Um, and there may be, I mean, this is where you do wanna, if you can do a consultation with the provider before you start working with them, you can ask these things, ask about how they approach sex therapy because there may be some providers who are really specifically focused on the mechanics of sex and techniques and, and maybe even go more in a coaching direction with it.
Whereas you're saying Keeley, I think from the therapy perspective, it is more of this holistic, full picture of a human being with all the trauma and all the grief and all the other emotional processes we know how to navigate, but with sex intentionally at the table because we know it's integral. It's connected to all of it.
Melisa: Whether or not the [00:18:00] therapist talks about it.
Keely: Well, and, and what's going on in other parts of our lives really influence the sex that we're having.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Keely: And when I think about, and if anyone's listening to the Sex Coach, you can clarify because, you know, just like a therapist, different sex coaches will have different ways that they work with clients.
Keely: Oftentimes those sex coaches will refer folks to therapy before doing sex coaching because sex coaching often focuses more, not just like on technique, but really focuses on, on the present. Mm-hmm. and, and they do focus more on specific sex.
Melisa: Sure. I like that distinct, uh, that, that point though that it's focused on the present.
Keely: And goal, you know, you think about coaching and it's like goals and, and really creating movement and so I often tell people, or when I'm working with couples or individuals, I [00:19:00] will at some point sometimes refer them to a sex coach because when things have been worked through in counseling, sometimes a sex coach is going to be the right fit then at that time.
Melisa: Sure. Yeah. And, and that may look like healing trauma as we've indicated in counseling. That may look like, uh, if you're in a couple working on communication skills. And learning how to regulate your nervous systems when you're triggered, if there are, you know, triggers around talking about sex, for example.
Those are things that can be ironed out in therapy that can then be useful to better engage in coaching.
Keely: Yeah, And there's just so much that goes into it. And so as we were saying before, if you're thinking about sex therapy or thinking about wanting to explore more about what's going on in your life and how that connects [00:20:00] to your sex life, how can people, and maybe, and you know, you can answer this, we'll both answer this, but I'm, I'm posing the question of what can someone do before they engage in sex therapy? or if they're like, okay, I'm not sure if. Sometimes I use the word, I don't really need sex therapy, but what can I do with myself in preparation? Or what are the things, you know? You mentioned the three questions I think about also, oh, I just wanna mention sidetrack. I was gonna say it before.
Is that the other thing about sex therapy is not especially like at a place like CTC. We also, when we're talking about sex therapy, really reflect on how does gender and sexuality interplay with, with, with sex? And so there are a lot of things, especially if you're in an, an exploration around gender [00:21:00] or, you know, we talk about people newly coming out as as queer or just exploring their sexuality, exploring their gender, their gender expression, how gender plays into gen, um, into sex.
Keely: And we have a specific episode on gender, so we're not gonna go full depth into the gender piece, but just that's again, where sex therapy can really differentiate from general counseling because a general councilor, maybe talking about like, oh, how do you, you know, how do you come out? How do you talk to people about, you know, how do you come into your body with your new identity? And talking a lot about identity.
Keely: But then we're here to be like, okay, so, how can we talk about sex in a new way that, you know, you weren't taught or that you haven't been experiencing in the past?
And so that question, you know, for when we [00:22:00] say, oh, well, what kind of sex have you had? that you really enjoyed, and maybe that can influence, well, maybe it's that, oh, I'm exploring my new identities, integrating these pieces that I'm exploring. How does that reflect and integrate with my sex life now.
Melisa: Yeah, I think just posing these questions, thinking about these things before sex therapy is part of how you get prepared. I mean, I feel like journaling is my answer to everything slash that's how I process. I respect, not everyone does , um, but I think reflecting on. Some of those things and, and perhaps it's even coming up with a list of questions for yourself that you have, that you haven't asked or dunno how to explore on your own.
Um, One of them, to your point about identities, Keely, I'll, I'll offer this, these, it's like a multi-part question here, but this comes from a really good resource, the Conscious Sexual Self Workbook by Melisa Friley, who's a licensed marriage and family therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area. And was my teacher in grad school [00:23:00] for that, that one class we got sex therapy. Uh, it was only one class, which is such a shame, but I will say she's fantastic. Um, so in her workbook and the workbook's great because if you do like journaling there's shit town of journal prompts and there are exploration things. So we've talked about using masturbation for example, as a way to practice and explore your sexuality and the concept of pleasure.
And there's lots of exercises in here for those of you who, who want homework . Um, but speaking to the identity piece, Keely that you were talking about with gender, with, um, sexual orientation, with ability, with, you know, racial identity, all these different pieces, One of the questions she asks is, based on any of your identities embraced by you or assigned by others, what sexual stereotypes do you feel people apply to you?
Write 'em down. How do you feel about them? How do you consciously or unconsciously act these out or confirm people's beliefs about you, [00:24:00] or how do you actively negate them? How do these stereotypes affect your behavior? As I say that, I think about the like compulsive heterosexuality thing we've talked about.
Keely: Yeah. Compulsory, yeah.
Melisa: Right? I mean, and there's so many other examples, but as queer people, as gender diverse people, there are a lot of images we get and a lot of, uh, stereotypes, a lot of language, a lot of programming around what we should or shouldn't be, what we should look like, what we shouldn't look like, who has access to sex, who doesn't.
So thinking about that, how are your identities influencing how you think about how you're allowed to experience sex or how you're allowed to experience pleasure? And are there any of those allowances you're wanting to change in sex therapy?
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We're wanting to make an extra special community compilation for episode 69. So call us and let us know. What's been setting your heart a flutter. It doesn't have to be relationship related. It can be any joy. Again, the number is 5 0 3. 6 6 0 4 4 0 9. And you can find it in the episode description.
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Keely: Gosh, and I think this idea of how others interpret identity of self.
Keely: I really see this playing out in long-term couples a lot, and mainly it's monogamous couples where one [00:26:00] person is coming into their gender identity and how they're working with their partner to have sex that reflects who they are.
Keely: Not who they used to be or who used who they used to present as, or, or, or, and changing that sex.
And, and the way that queering sex isn't about necessarily changing your partner. You can change your partner, um, or you can have more than one partner, but it's how do you speak to the partner and how do you incorporate different ways of having sex? And when you have a cis person and a non-binary or trans person who's just coming into their identity in this dynamic, those set ways of how sex is supposed to be really, really comes to the forefront.
Keely: And this is a great example of where sex therapy is can be so helpful, [00:27:00] you know, and especially couples therapy done with a sex therapist, because these are things that we are better trained in. Not that we're like perfect at it, but we're better trained in and have more conversations and working with others to move through that.
Keely: And, you know, I don't wanna say it's a joke, but you know, often therapists, especially, they're non monogamous like, well, just open up your marriage or open up your relationship and that can be helpful. But there are ways that humans together can explore new ways of interacting with each other's bodies in affirming ways.
Melisa: Right. Yeah. I'm so happy you brought up this concept of, of change because yeah. Like that's why people usually go to therapy. They want something to be different. They're looking for change.
Melisa: And that said, it does feel like an opportunity to almost like point out sort of [00:28:00] the nature, at least where you and I stand as clinicians, Keely. I can't speak for every sex therapist, but almost like the nature of how we approach change or investigate it. Because I think we come from a very curious, non-judgmental place and there are some of you and or people out there, um, who come to sex therapy wanting a change that we actually have to do some work around, like what the request is.
For example, someone coming in and saying, I have this thing that I do that like it really, it's the only thing that turns me on and it makes me orgasm or gives me pleasure but I don't, I don't want it. I don't like it. Get rid of it. And that is something that I've heard people come to sex therapy for, but that's not how it works.
It's like, it, it, people might know the word shadow work, if any of you're in spiritual communities. It's sort of like that parts work, right? Those, those of you who are o on the IFS train right now, there's, we can't just get rid, we don't get rid of parts, right? There's integration, there's healing, there's, there's work that needs to happen.
Um, But at least, like I said, I don't come from a shame based [00:29:00] stance. So that's something that I think sex therapists will help you explore your expectations in sex therapy, good sex therapist, good, any therapist will help you explore your expectations and figure out what are the changes we can collaborate around.
Cuz maybe we can't change that one particular behavior, but we can change how you look at it, how you feel about it, how you navigate the impulses. Right. And there's so many different examples. I'm being vague, I understand. But um, I have seen that where people come in really with a lot of shame and they're saying, get rid of this part for me. And that's really just not what we do.
Keely: Yeah. And it can be, some of this work can be, seem like it takes a long time and sometimes people don't always get the results they want or they, you can come into therapy thinking you're gonna be working on one thing and then, whoops, it went this way.
Keely: And that's part of the growth process. But again, as a sex [00:30:00] therapist, we're helping people navigate these pieces, not just when they're having sex, but how does that incorporate into their whole life and how does what they're doing in their life influence and change what they're doing sexually?
Keely: And as usual it comes back. I mean, we're, we're talking like, oh, it starts with self I was like, if there is like a theme throughout, it's, it starts with self and communication and I,
Keely: You know, honestly, I hear many times couples coming in and saying they feel so close to their partner, but they don't know how to talk about sex.
Melisa: Absolutely. That's a big one. And I know we've said this here on the podcast before, but I, I say this to so many clients.
If being in sex therapy is your [00:31:00] first opportunity to talk regularly, great. That's one place to practice and immerse yourself in more conversation outside of sex therapy. And that's something anyone can do even if you don't have access right now to a sex therapist. Listen to podcasts like this one.
Listen to all the podcasts, right? Watch YouTube, watch people, find people. Um, make sure your social media feeds, you're getting really good information and regular information about sex. That's part of how we make the conversation more comfortable. We just practice having it.
Keely: Yeah. And sometimes sex therapy for an individual is just a place to learn to be more comfortable about talking about sex. Cause you, you know, you mentioned earlier the shame and so depending on your group of friends, depending on who you surround yourself with, maybe you're not comfortable talking about sex in general. And so the relationship with a therapist can be an [00:32:00] opportunity to just practice that.
Keely: And explore. And what is it like to say certain words or talk about certain things and say it out loud, and you can practice that with a therapist before talking to partners.
Melisa: Totally. Yeah. And sex therapy is not just for allosexual people, it's for asexual people too. And I have plenty of asexual clients who get a lot out of a space to talk about how sex has impacted them because we live in such a, like allosexual centric.
I can I even say that though? Is that even true? I don't even know. There's so many things about sex. It's so shamed. Everyone's so obsessed with it though. Right? Whether they're like affirmative or they're shamed or, and, and I feel like my asexual people are like, fucking stop already. I'm over it. Can we talk about something else?
And sometimes sex therapy is a place for them to talk about those things, right?
Melisa: And explore and affirm their asexuality.
Keely: Well, and you mentioned earlier that [00:33:00] is a perfect example of someone who's on the asexual spectrum, who's asexual, uh, talk about expectations from society, expectations from partners, expectations from anyone.
And that conversation, or those conversations may be just about how do I balance, you know, how does a person boundary or talk to people Being very specific. I don't really wanna talk about sex.
Keely: Or I wanna talk about all these other things, or explore being on the spectrum of like, okay, sometimes I have these certain ideas and desires, but in general I don't feel like that.
Melisa: Or I feel very sexual in my own body and I'm very connected to my own. Yes. I love my sexuality and I don't wanna have partnered sex.
Melisa: And I have a difficulty of the world, assuming I must want to. Right. Like that's, that's something that comes up for clients
Keely: Or I, yeah. And some people come in and, and want a [00:34:00] romantic connection with people and want, want partnership, but don't wanna have that sex involved and how, how to practice talking with and using the words and what does that look like and affirming that just because that's the expectation doesn't mean that's what you have to do in your relationships and you can find connection in ways. So we're talking about sex, but then not talking about sex, but it's still-
Melisa: It impacts us all because it's part of our experience. You know, regardless if we're allosexual or asexual, it is, it is part of the human experience and so we are all impacted.
Keely: Well, and it's interesting and gosh, this will be another, well, we kind of talked about in one episode about the idea of like queer platonic relationships and I was thinking about how when we talk about sex, some people also might shy away from sex therapy cuz they think maybe that we're gonna place too much importance on sex. Mm-hmm. And it's interesting, like the [00:35:00] exploration, and I think shrimp teeth does this a lot on their Instagram's, uh, posts. But the idea of like how we, in the one hand we shy away as a culture or like talk a don't wanna talk about sex, we talk about sex so much and really elevate the importance of sex, but not just that, but the importance of sex in relationships and that if you are having sex with somebody, then that relationship is more important Cause we intertwine sexual relationship with romantic. Mm-hmm. and. as we're, as a person or as we all are exploring these dynamics of our sexual self and our sexual connections.
Also recognizing within that the, you can separating intimacy from sex always and thinking about our connections that we have with others that doesn't involve [00:36:00] sex or doesn't always involve sex and that can also be a piece of sex therapy.
Melisa: Right? Yeah. And dismantling the hierarchy.
Keely: Yeah. And it may sound counterintuitive. Well, and I think also because we, all of our therapists work from a non-monogamous viewpoint. Even if, you know, there are people that identify as monogamous, but still have the training and understanding of non-monogamy. And so looking at how we sometimes place, um, the importrance and how can we shift that? How, how do we shift our views of, of ourselves and our connections that don't involve sex?
mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. .
Melisa: Yeah. Especially cuz we talk about fluidity so much right. In, in one relationship, even a monogamous one. There are likely to be different phases of the relationship and some that may be very focused on sex and some may, that may not be. And it's all good. We, it's all okay .
Keely: Yeah. And so I, and I realize as we're [00:37:00] saying this, like I wonder if anyone's gonna leave listening to this episode and be like, well, I'm confused then. Do sex therapists talk about sex? What do they talk about?
Melisa: Do they, do they not?
Keely: And I think at the end, really, therapy is coming into with the openness of exploration. The therapist should be trained in non-judgment and y'all get to decide for yourself what role that plays, but that we wanna shift and examine some of these cultural norms and expectations so that you as an individual, and you and a couple, and you with your partners, can create the sex life, the romantic relationship, the platonic relationship that you want outside of expectations.
Keely: And feel that pleasure and, and also I think like when we talk about pleasure is also that ple the [00:38:00] only pleasure isn't just focused on sex. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm.
Melisa: Right? Yeah.
Keely: And so I guess wrapping up is coming back to the term of holistic and that if someone is seeking sex therapy or curious about sex therapy, that we're going to be there as therapists listening and seeing you as a full person.
Melisa: Yeah, and I think that's a valuable thing to ask about. As I said before, in that consultation, when you get on the phone, you know, if you do have an idea of, Hey, this is vaguely or generally what I would like to work on, I notice that you wrote you're a sex therapist or that you're a sex affirmative.
Like, tell me more about that. What is your approach to sex therapy? That is a really valid question to ask any new therapist.
Keely: Yeah. Well, we could continue. We will, we will continue talking about sex, but for the, for the, for this episode, it's about that time to shift into pleasure and queer [00:39:00] joy.
Melisa: It's joy time.
Keely: And I feel like Melisa, you are super ready to share your queer joy.
Melisa: I do have, I have Queer Joy. I have one in the wings that I'm waiting to share, but I, I'm gonna wait at least one more week on that one. Um, it's like a, a timely thing.
Melisa: But, um, I went dancing over the last weekend and, you know, I don't, I don't do this often, so it was so much fun and it just was really great. I, I went with my partner and, um, like it was a themed night, and so my partner may have like, made some really cool props for us, like literally made props for us. Like get yourself a, a partner who can make props for like going out. This is great. This is right up my alley. So it's just really fun, um, and nice to be out.
I have not been doing as much in the [00:40:00] solo date realm or even the partner date realm recently. Just winter again, it's cold. Um, but yeah, it was really fun. I had a great time. It was like all nineties music, so my, my middle schooler, inner middle schooler was like very happy. I was having a great time
Keely: That's awesome.
Melisa: Yeah. Yeah, and I was grateful too that I was not in too much physical pain over the rest of the weekend. Only the one. The one me that I, it's just, it's, I had surgery on it a long time ago, so it's been a problem ever since. So that was my only ache afterwards, which was also part of the career joy is like, wow, I could do that now. Great. Awesome.
Keely: You can move your body. Talk about pleasure and connected with your body.
Melisa: Yes. Yeah. And the whole like, co-regulation of dancing in a group of people. Like, it's just, it's magic. It's magic. So great.
Keely: I mean my queer joy, I mean, I just am still on a high from last night. So I went , I went to a Blazer game and going to a Blazer game isn't queer in of [00:41:00] itself.
The queer part of it is that I go with an ex. So my connection with all the humans, um, that are in my world and especially an ex. Um, I just, I don't know. It was just so much joy. This is just, I was nerding out because, uh, Damien Lillard like broke all these like records last night and to be a part of it.
And there's just something about sports. I know there's like a lot of people that aren't sports people, so I, I, I understand that and. , I reconnected with sports. Um, I reconnected with basketball. That was a really big part of when I was growing up. And um, it's interesting. I don't even know if I wanna be this vulnerable, but I'll just say that there was a lot of, um, there was a person that I was very connected to with, with basketball and my youth who was not a good person. And so I was reflecting actually last night talking about sex therapy. I was reflecting last night how wonderful it was that [00:42:00] as an adult reconnecting with my love of the sport mm-hmm. , um, I think that, it was just great to have that, it was a really healing moment and in all the joy and listening and, and reconnecting to pleasure and, and just like you were talking about co-regulation and being in this huge, you know, being in the huge Moda center with all these people and everyone just like, The coolest thing was like seeing how the team, like Damien Lillard, you know, win soeveryone knew like when he was about to break the record, so then at that point his team members kept getting him the ball so he could score more points, , so he could like break this record and then love it on the record.
And that flow, um, and that can translate anywhere. It's just so easy to see in sports. Uh, the, the term of being in flow, being present mm-hmm. and being in this huge crowd of people and, and being in the huge crowd of people. Very different. You know, all different backgrounds, all different humans. Just happened to be in Portland, Oregon [00:43:00] watching this game.
And all united in cheering for this person. It was just so fun. I could go on and on. I need to stop.
Melisa: There's such energy to a big crowd like that, like cheering. It's, that's incredible.
Keely: Well, because this episodes will be released not long after the game, so it feels like it actually share it and it's more relevant. Uh, anyway, , uh, on that note, feeling, feeling good from this weekend, we both had great events that we went out.
Melisa: We did.
Keely: Out in the world.
Melisa: Look at us go.
Keely: Yeah. Ah, so coming up, I do wanna plug that we have, for those that are in Portland, I'm really excited. We now have on Eventbrite, Lucy Fielding, she will be doing a workshop for the public at Louis and Clark College. And so that's happening, um, April 22nd on Saturday.
Uh, Check out our website. You can get a link to Eventbrite, check it out, see if it's something you're interested in. It's for the public. It, it is definitely for therapists, but it's also [00:44:00] for anybody who wants to learn more about trans sex, maybe read the book and is really curious. Um, and she's just a brilliant speaker.
So that's what's coming up for us. Otherwise, you know how to find us on Instagram, on Facebook, our website, and I hope you all have a queer and joyful week.
Thanks for listening to queer relationships, queer joy. A podcast by the Connective Therapy Collective. Hosted by Keely C. Helmick Melissa DeSegiurant with audio edited by me and Ley [00:45:00] Supapo Bernido. I'm your producer, Cardinal marking. Inter music is by bad snacks. If 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. For more queer joy, visit our Instagram at queer relationships, queer joy, or our website www dot Connective Therapy. Collective dot com. Love ya. Bye.