The Queer Joy Podcast; two relationship therapists exploring what it looks like to see joy in queer relationships.
In this episode we talk about destabilizing the relationship hierarchy, finding pleasure in unexpected places, and creating community.
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Keely: Hi, everyone! Welcome back to Queer Relationships, Queer Joy. I'm Keeley C Helmick Melisa: I'm Melisa De Seguirant Keely: And we are hanging out today with Tuck. We're going to let them introduce themselves because I don't want to mess up anybody's names. Last name, whatever. But I do want to say we like to start the show with introducing ourselves and then Melisa and I, our intro has become shorter and shorter. Cause like you under the whole thing, go back to previous, went back and read episode, read, listen to episode one. You'll learn all the things. Um, My pronouns are they them. I am a queer gender fluid non-binary femme sometimes. Relationship status is now super single. Yeah, that's different. Yeah. Yeah. Melisa: And I'm Melisa. I used she, her pronouns. I'm bisexual, polyamorous. Solo poly; all the things. Still, still, you know, making profiles, deleting them. I'm still on that game. Tuck: And I'm Tuck Malloy. I use they, them pronouns. I'm a non-binary and trans human. And I also am a holistic sex educator. And yeah, super queer love that always been that way. But you know, it has taken many iterations in my life. So right now I live with a partner in the bay area. But I actually, right now I'm in Portland and I'm staying with one of my like life partners. Who's an important connection to me. So yeah, we're, I'm, non-monogamous poly like that also in a relationship and anarchist. So I feel like all of those terms kind of like none of them quite land for me. So I, I use them differently on different days, but yeah, I'm stoked to talk to you. Keely: Yay. We've had some feedback from listeners that were like, oh, what are the different vocab. And so for those, I would love to hear when you say relationship anarchist, what are you just saying? Tuck: Yeah. I would love to explain that because I think it's a really powerful term and idea that has also. Also been in all of our lives and lots of ways for, you know, for years like in human history, people have been practicing relationship anarchy. Because essentially it is the destabilization of a hierarchy in which romantic and sexual relationships are prioritized above all other relationships. So, yeah, that term, I think can feel good to some people and not great to other people like terms are always like that labels are always like that. But I find it to be helpful. I like the idea of if anarchy of like chaos in, and like embracing that in a productive and collaborative way, because I think thats cool and feels kind of witchy to me, but but it's, it's definitely not an orientation of thinking about relationships that is chaotic necessarily like all relationships get to sort of emerge. In the way that they want to. And I feel like that thinking about that, like being like, okay, this relationship just has space to kind of grow into whatever it wants. If it wants to be a friendship that has, you know, just like a lot of cuddles and hugs. That's great. Like if it wants to be a long longterm, long distance, Like, you know, power play dynamic. Like it can be that if it wants to shift between different kinds of things, it can, like the relationship just sort of gets to show up as it is more organically. Melisa: I love the way you talk about making space for like that to naturally evolve and happen. We've been talking a lot about getting rid of the relationship escalator and all of these steps, which comes, you know, at least from my perspective so much from a heterosexual, like monogamous. Lens anyways. So but spaciousness, that's a great concept. Tuck: Yeah. I definitely feel like that's what non-monogamy has brought to my life is just space. Like feeling like, okay, there, there are options for me. Like there are no conversations that can't happen, even if they're really hard. Or even triggering or, you know, super painful. There's still there's space for those feelings also. Cause I feel like in my life I've, if anything, my experience of exploring relationships outside of the like cis hetero patriarchy realm has been. Not just like, you know, super fun all the time. Like there are big, hard feelings in there, but they can still be coupled with pleasure and love and safety. Which it kind of sounds like as part of what y'all are vibing in this podcast is being like, let's like bring it back to where we find joy and connection and. Just good, yummy, sexy queer feelings. Keely: Yeah, exactly. And like how you're saying, and even just like expanding, it's not, there's going to be, there are a lot of interviews with romantic couples, but it's not. The focus is not just romance. It's like expanding, like you were saying of like our relationships, our connections with all kinds of, in all different kinds of ways. Tuck: Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, like I was mentioning before, people have been living like that for a really long time, having a relationship. I mean, so I think a good example of this is, if you think about, You know, in any society before it was colonized, there often just a lot of. Different kinds of relationships that really matter to people. And sometimes there's like an emphasis on there's , okay, these ones are really important or like we really need these ones. But I think the, yeah, this experience of being, straight couple married to the nuclear family is very much like a white patriarchy culture thing that has been brought into all of our lives without our consent. Keely: And we're making them feel bad or sometimes we can be made to feel bad, or like the idea of like so many, it's like compulsory heterosexuality, compulsory monogamy, like this idea of, this is what you're supposed to do. And then we have this internalized shame internalize negativity. If we're not living life in that Melisa: way, even the way they talk about like, you know, being polyamorous, I've had people refer, oh, it's an alternative lifestyle alternative to, to what? Like, this is just a lifestyle. Tuck: Yeah. That's such a good point. Like always being put in. Alternate space of being you were it almost like the shadow space of being either you're in the light and it's, you can show up and be present and be public, or you can be like this alternative thing that we don't want to talk about as much. There's just like weird and cooky. And, and we literally sometimes cannot share with people in our life, which. Can really suck. Keely: Well, speaking of public so you've had been doing some things on Instagram and you have some classes and you want to tell our listeners more about what you're doing or just how you show up in the world?. Tuck: Yeah, I have a lot of different projects happening right now because recently I was like, okay, I really want to do the sex education work full time. And like many people who are navigating capitalism, which is all of us, like I've been doing, you know, side jobs or day jobs, and then basically working double time also. We're teaching classes and creating content on Instagram. So a couple of months ago I was like, okay, I really want to give myself a chance to show up fully in this work and, and trust that my community is gonna catch me in that and hold me in that, which has been extremely terrifying, but also really beautiful. And I really do feel like my community has been showing up for me in a really big way. And all of the people from like, you know, my very inner circle to be radiating out to all of these other people who I've been able to talk to in my DMS on Instagram, who have just a quick question. And I'm like, I, I feel very available right now to, to offering just knowledge and, and support and resources to people. For free, but I also am very available to helping people more long-term and affirming the need to be paid for that. Which is scary as well. So yeah, I do a lot of work with people one-on-one basically doing like a curated sex education curriculum. The thing that made me really want to go in that direction is that when I was in school, my most powerful learning experiences were when I would go to a teacher's office hours. Or when I had a chance to talk to them after class and I could be like, Hey, I didn't know how to ask this question in class, because, it felt too complicated or like I have these other questions related to this topic and they'd be like, okay. Yes, let's break it down. So I I want to give people that experience of being able to have the safety container of a one-on-one interaction. But still like we're learning together, you know, and we can explore whatever people want which is really fun for me. A lot of the time people will show up to a class and be like, okay, we're doing this class. And then halfway through, they're like, oh my gosh, I'm realizing that I have all of these questions. About this other thing. And I'm like, okay, great. Do you want to just talk about that right now? I have that knowledge. I can give that to you right now. Or we can do another class in the future. It's really collaborative, which feels really good. And similarly feels like de-stabilizing a lot of the structure of traditional teaching styles. So. That is awesome. And then I also teach group classes too. I'm teaching a fisting workshop this week with Gabrielle Casell, which I'm really excited about. And that's just like, you know, we were both on Instagram posting about this day. And then we had a little exchange in our DMS being like, oh, I love that. You're talking about that. Love that you're talking about that. And then we were like, wait, we could talk about it together. And I think that's been really special too, to see this non-competitive energy. Yeah. Among people, which again, reminds me very much of my experience in relationships of like, navigating that with metamours or like friends of friends or like wherever jealousy comes up. And so it's been really cool to feel in myself, this desire that other people really succeed. And also being like, oh, I want to get to know them more. I want to work with them. I want to be with them because yeah, that is not something that is encouraged. Keely: No, no, no. We're part of a small group practice and when I'm talking to other group practice owners, it always has this, like this edge, this like, like this squeeky ooh. It feels a little awkward and a bit, oh, let's do this. And yeah, I found recently I've been reaching out because I've really been I just want to say I'm so excited about the 15, because it has such a negative connotation and it's so fucking rad and I'm so glad that y'all are talking about it. But yeah, the competitive piece is like reaching out and wanting to work with people and they'll be like oh yeah. Well, here's my price list. And I was like, oh, I'm glad you charged her service. I was actually just wanting to collaborate or like talk, but like, if you want me to pay for your time, we can talk about what that means. But like, no, I just want to like collaborate. Yeah, but other people are doing and how can we cross-post and promote each other's stuff. And for us at the Collective, like, we can talk about you to be, oh, here's the sex education. We can do sex ed in our, in our sessions, but we're actually the sessions are better off if we collaborate and have sex coaches working with us and sex educators, and then there's all these other realms that people can explore. Melisa: One thing we've talked about too, even as like therapists, like we don't have the monopoly on mental health or sexual health or pleasure, like I would want my clients to be seeking, you know, community and support and information everywhere they can get it. And so that's part of my agenda too. Even with this podcast of like building community. Having more of us working together. Tuck: Yeah. Yeah. And I feel the same way in the other direction where like, I'll often ask my students. You know, what is your support system look like? Because if we, if we reach an edge, like if something comes up where you're feeling triggered or activated, let's make a safety plan for you. That's within my wheelhouse of being , okay, cool. Who do you know? Who can you go to? Including your therapist or me being, great, let me help you find a therapist. Like, let me, let me do that research for you to come up with a list of. Queer therapists who are gonna get what is going on with you. So, I mean, it's all, it's all the same as, as navigating that stuff in relationships of being like, okay, yeah, my partner needs this thing. I'm reaching this edge of , I can't give this to them. I don't have space for this today. I think like, cool. Yeah. do you want to reach out to your friend or your other partner? Like let's make a plan for you or like, you know, just to like, like collaborative community experience feels very cool. Very sexy. Keely: Yeah. And so much more queer joy and pleasure like accessibility. Yeah. But that collaboration, I think when you were just the way you were saying that. Cause I think about like folks who are monogamous, especially listens to monogamous and using that framework just so it'd be like, yeah, you can be monogamous sexually, you can have a monogamous sexual and romantic partner, but you still have all these other humans and these capabilities of connecting and building relationship and building intimacy. I hate so much how intimacy is the code for sex, like, you know, Tuck: and it could be where you intimate with is such a classic question. And it's like, I intimate that with a lot of people, I don't have sex. That many people right now. Cause again, like the pandemic too, I feel like has changed everything for me in terms of the way that I'm relating to people. It's just not, I don't have the capacity, literally the social capacity to go on dates and the way that I used to, and that doesn't feel safe. Or accessible to the people in my bubble or my circle. And so that's really required me to reckon with these things of being like, okay, yeah, maybe I'm having sex with one person. But you know, my relationships are still oriented towards destabilizing. Any kind of a script that is making me feel like I have to be one kind of way. And I feel like that's why a lot of the time, yeah. With my students who are interested in exploring non-monogamy or interested in exploring monogamy, like whatever, wherever they're, where they are, I'm like, let's explore all of the relationship frameworks styles. Like let's just learn about everything that people have given names to. And then from there piece it together and make something that's working for you and your partners in your life. Keely: What would you tell yourself if you could go back to yourself five or 10 years ago before, what would you tell yourself back then now that you have learned with your relationship dynamics and who you are as a human and how you relate to people differently. Tuck: Yeah, it's such a good question too, because I'm trying to think of like my timeline, but five years ago, like I was not like out as non-binary, I was, I was having my first more intentional queer relationships. I had, I had been in a relationship that was like really loving and supportive to me. And like, I felt very seen in my queerness, but just wasn't having as, as many queer relationships as I wanted to, and as many sexual experiences as I wanted to. So it was like right at that cusp. And I think I would've just been like, Hey, This is really exciting. I think I would've just been like, Hey, I'm really excited for you. I'm like getting a little emotional because I'm like, that's it just, I think at that point, I had no idea how much joy and pleasure was going to come into my life and everything felt so scary. And I felt like all of these steps that I was taking to. Be more intentional about connecting with queer people in whatever realm, like as friends, I just, I didn't have that many queer friends. I just, I didn't feel like I had a queer community. And so that was like right at this point where I was like, I need to, I need to find this. And it, it felt scary and ex but exciting. And, but I just had no idea how good it was going to be. It was like my, like I had no idea how much my mind was going to be consistently blown by how delicious queer people are. As friends, like as lovers, as relationships. How much more pleasure I was going to feel in my physical body, especially in exploring gender identity and, and then relating to people in that way. I just, there were so many things that I didn't realize like, oh yeah. you know, feeling off all day long. Like that's just not something that I feel anymore in the same way. Like I'll have emotional ups and downs, but it was just like, now I'm like, okay. Yeah, I can just, I feel like I can just show up to something like this podcast or whatever, and be like, yeah, I'm just, I'm good with showing up with the way that I look with the way that I feel internally. And I'm not trying to hide my exterior. And that is very pleasurable. That feels really good. Keely: Like you like actually yourself on Instagram. Oh yeah. Great. It's so great. Just like the gender bending, the fucking free sexual presence. Melisa: Like, so in your body and present. It's remarkable.. Tuck: Thank you. Yeah, I feel really grateful to my partner is a really talented photographer and filmmaker. So the collaboration that we do together is super special because I feel like I can fully show up and be like, Really like previously at different points in my life. I didn't feel like I can like be in front of a camera super easily, but like we've built that relationship, that safety. So then it's like, well then we're just playing. And it feels really good to share that with the world. Sometimes I have like moments where I'm like, this is like a lot, like I'm really sharing. This is my whole body. Like, this is This is like a window into my literal sex life. And then other times I'm like, you know what, like, that's fine. The reason why this is so edgy is because we never, we never get that. And so often the representations of sex that we get are not coming from an embodied place. Yeah. So I think it feels more intimate because you can tell that I'm like, there. Keely: You can go on the internet and see all kinds of bodies and sex and sexual displays, but not like you have that very specific. And I don't, I don't always know how to describe it to cis-het folks. But it's like, you're, you're so fucking queer. And it's like the way that he just show. So like as a queer person, I'm like, oh my God, that's so amazing. Oh my God. I love it. Like I was embarrassed to, I was kind of embarrassed to do this interview actually. Cause I'm like, they're so hot and I'm going to like so nervous and turning red right now. But I, like, I felt like it was appropriate to say at this time, but like, this is such something you just don't see very much at all. Cause, and we were even saying earlier, like even like porn, like, oh. Two women, you know, it's like cis Melisa: white. I can't watch straight girls in porn, pretending not to be straight any, like it's a turnoff. You can feel energetically that like there's nothing, that's not, for me. There's nothing connecting there with anything actually queer. Tuck: Yeah. That's so real. I watching queer porn, like with queer people, like Crash Pad series, this was the first one that I really watched that I was like, And I felt like I, the first couple of times I watched videos or content from Crash Pad, it was like, I couldn't even like really engage with like, actually like masturbating because I just was like having such an intense, like full body experience. Like I felt like I was so stimulated that I had to bring it down many notches before I was like, okay, yeah now I can engage with those in a sexy way, but I just, yeah, it felt way more intense to watch. But I think again, that's like something that I really love is exploring those different kinds of connections, that different kinds of energy. Because when you have a strong, when you have strong boundaries, Strong consent practices. Like we can share, like we can share that like appreciation for each other being like, you're super hot, you're super hot. We're loving this. Like everyone's sexy. You can share that without it feeling scary or fearful or activating. If there, if there is a container full feel like they can say, okay, that's actually not how I want to be talked to. Or, this is the way I want to be experienced. Or, you know, this is, this is our relationship outside of this moment where we're just like, yay. You look so hot in those pictures. When I was, I was in college, I had a group of friends that used to share. We just had a feed of like, our nudes. It's we would just share our nudes with each other and it was just like an appreciation. Keely: Oh my God. I love that. Tuck: yeah. So I feel like I've been trying to find more people like that in my life, then I'm like, yes, I've just, I would love to show up and witness your sexiness in a way that feels good to you. Keely: Oh my gosh. Yeah. It's well, and to have that modeling, like I think about, so. We think about like youth a lot and like having this, this modeling, this role modeling. Cause I know, and I'll age. I mean, I'm 41. So my experience, when I look at my high school experience and even in my twenties, it's so different and I know I sound old saying it like it's so, so, so different. And like now at 41, I feel such an expansion of like, I don't give a fuck what anybody says, I'm going to be on the dance floor. I'm going to be like showing up with all my things. Like I'm going to be talking about all the things and it's great. And that's why we're here talking about this is that people have modeling of just something that's real and authentic and embodied and raw. And this way that everyone can be in can incorporate all these pieces. Even the cis hetero monogamy people. Tuck: And learn from this too. They are also welcome. Yeah. Keely: Have you heard of the book tragedy of heterosexuality? Tuck: No. Tell me now. Keely: Mindblowing. Mindblowing. Tuck: Yeah. What, what's the, what is about it's like, tell me basically Keely: like, Hey, there's all these like statistics y'all, aren't doing. Like, how can we help you? And so it's like a CIS white gay woman who likes his academic and she does all this research. And it's like, basically, which says something about like, I really have to read that book was like, oh my gosh, basically she outlines how our history of counseling and psychology and like self-help trying to force people to be together that don't want to be together. Like that's what the premise like, oh, here let's, let's let's figure out and help cis men, how to be nice to and then how do women try to get men to be attracted and how do we get them to want to have sex? Melisa: And, and the piece that's really standing out to me too, is this departure from pleasure. Yes. Completely. Especially for like, you know, women in that arrangement that it's not really about what feels good to you. Like none, nothing about that. You know, it's how to be desirable. Yeah. It's how to follow that escalator. Tuck: Yeah I mean, for me, I think it's been a really powerful experience to have students who were in a very different place when we started working together than where they are at the end. I have noticed that a lot of especially like queer. Trans educators who are like very understandably exhausted of dealing with people's bullshit who are like, I don't want to work with cis men, you know? And I'm like, yeah, that makes so much sense. Big vibe. And then other times I'm like, I actually like really available to folks who are monogamous and are in and are in a gender binary right now, I'm in a mindset because I've met so many people who have like, as soon as they felt like it was a possibility for them to break out of it, they were like, okay. Yeah, I'm interested in not none of that. Now Melisa: Well and so much permission. Like even some of my, you know, straight monogamous couples just saying. Look, there's not a blueprint. Like I've had feedback, like how much relief that brought. And I feel like that's the way that I can, like as a poly or person do feel somewhat privileged in that way. Cause like I feel permission to be playful and expansive and like whatever, you know, I'm not trapped by that system anymore. And giving other folks who may still stay in those sort of identities, but permission to. Spaciousness again, be playful. Keely: I mean, I think there's a lot of space. I don't necessarily want to do that work, but I definitely am encouraging, you know, there are men stepping up that are like wanting to have more openness and be able to like talk more about emotions and sexually explore more. And. Yeah. And I'm like, that's awesome. And we can help them. And that's not always the best client for me. Tuck: It's your own self care too. Like that's such a pleasurable experience to, to be like, I know what my limitations are. I know where my boundaries are. I'm going to affirm that and be like this is how I'm available. So I'm going to show up because you are out here being like, yes, You should do that work I'm other people should do. And that's part of the collaboration piece too, is being, working in our community to be like, I'm not going to do it, but somebody and I want, and when I see that they're doing it, I'm going to support, right. Keely: So, okay. Listeners, if there's anybody out there who's, who wants to work with these dudes and really passionately help them? Yeah. EMS, let us Tuck: know email us. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I feel like I'm down for it. I feel like I'm down for any student who comes my way, because I like really try. To create a container where I'm like, this is what's going to happen here. this is how we will be interacting with each other. And I, as a sex educator too, I feel like I had the freedom to be like, okay, actually, you're making me feel uncomfortable. And so , we're gonna close this relationship for now. We're going to close our work together. And I think that that is a great, powerful skill too, that is not often talked about. And we are so often not given space and affirmations to say no to people and have that be a pleasurable experience to be like, oh, that felt really good. I said no. I felt really good that I don't have to do that anymore. Keely: I love how much you talk about pleasure. I mean, I guess, cause you're a sex educator, but it's just like pleasure. It's like, yes, let's be in our bodies and just be about pleasure and that's our barometer.. I love Melisa: the pleasure. That's going to stick with me for a while. It can be saying no being pleasure. Thank you for that. That's huge. That's really huge because there's so much fear for so many folks about saying no or setting a boundary or guilt that we have boundaries, which is so sad to me. You know, of course we have our limitations and our boundaries and making that pleasurable and celebrating that. I think that's great. Tuck: Yeah. I'm definitely all about pleasure. And it's I mean, it's almost a joke among my friends. How much I'm like, what if we a little bit more pleasure today? Like how could we feel a little bit more, what would be like pleasurable to do? So I feel available to be a little bit roasted for that. Cause sometimes, yeah, it's just a broken record with being like. You know, are we experienced pleasure? are you, are we in our bodies right now? Like where, where are we experiencing pleasure while we watch this movie. Keely: Oh gosh. I love it. Well, speaking of pleasure, we like to wrap up the podcast with each episode talking about our queer joy of the week. Oh, I love it. Melisa , do you want to go first? I think I figured out mine but do you want to go first? Well, I Melisa: will. I ha I had two this week. It was such a pleasurable week. No, the one I wanted to share spins off of something we've talked about before this whole like autonomy and connection and how to navigate those. We had, I had made the claim that I do take myself out on dates and I did, and it was so great. It was so great. I went and like was in a nice outdoor place where I could do a lot of people watching on Sunday. And I just really love people watching and to be able to give myself permission to not feel uncomfortable or to need to look busy or, but just to be like, yeah, I'm chilling here. This is my day. Like, how are you all do? This is so great. I had the best time. Oh, I love it. So glad you had that experience. Keely: Okay, I'll go. Yeah, sure. I, so my career, so I am doing the whole exploring like lots of different relations, like lots of different connection. I had a recent breakup that's really, really, really hard and emotional. And so my queer joy was that I went out and actually I went out to a bar that I often go to. I know the owners it's like pretty queer for years and I walk in. Whoa. I'm like, there's a lot of dudes. There's like a lot of guys and it's like, it's like a group of gay men that go like bar hop together. But we're talking like, you know, when you're like used to being there, like lots of different bodies and all of a sudden, like really tall cis dudes that like, I couldn't even get inside. So I was like, okay. So I turned around and I saw just two random people talking. And these two women, we just, I was like, Hey dude, what's going on in there? And we just started chatting and I like made a new friend and it's a little queer baby who's in my neighborhood. And she like, we've been texting and, she got like her first tattoo. And she's asking me about the dating apps. It's just , so I. So much Tuck: so cute. There's some things so, so magical too about like having friends of all ages. I love that so much. I have a really great seven year old friend who is, you know, just out here exploring stuff and the world. And it's so brilliant to watch them, you know, just kind of vibe every day being like, yeah, today's they them pronouns or like, you know, like at one point I remember asking, asking her, , I was brought up something about like being bisexual or that word. And she was like, what does that mean? And I was like, oh, that means , You know, if you like people who are the same gender as you, or other genders. And she was like duh. She was like, of course every cool. Yeah. I feel like for me this week I have been having a very. You're complex, lots of different emotions, kind of weak, but it really, the big queer joy for me is just being able to stay in the house that I'm in right now with my, my ex , and my like, who's also my like current love and friend and just yeah, life partner vibes. And it's just really sweet. We were talking last night about how we've been able to hold on to like we've been able to transform our romantic love into something that's even like, bigger and more expansive without like trying to like kill off those feelings, you know? We were able to just be like, okay, now we're gonna move into this big friendship that has a lot in it. But it's just so special. Hugging them. I'm like, oh, well I'm just hugging this person who I've loved in so many different ways that I can feel all of that in the hug. And. It feels very queer and very loving Keely: What a great way to wrap up. Well, before we, I just want people to be able to know how to get ahold of you and learn more about you. Tuck: So my Instagram is at queer brain slut. My website is intrasensual.com or I also have a teachable web website that's intra sensual education.teachable.com. So those are ways that you can find me. But also I feel like if people are like those websites confusing, like I'm very available Instagram, very available to DMS and yeah, and also my email is Tuck Malloy education at gmail.com. I like, I feel like everything has a different name. I know streamline that a bit. around. Yeah, thank you both so much. This was such a lovely nourishing conversation for my afternoon. Melisa: Oh, you're so thank you for being here so glad to have your voice as part of our, our journey to share more queer joy. Tuck: It's a really important project. Keely: Thank you, Tuck Tuck: yeah. Thank you both. Keely: All right, bye everybody!