- What does it mean to be non-binary?
- How about gender fluid? And queer?
- Why does language matter?
- How can we reconnect with our bodies?
- How can we liberate ourselves from gender roles in the name of more pleasure?
- How can we effectively communicate our needs to partners?
Non-Binary Gender & Sex Therapist-Turned Coach, Rae McDaniel joins us to answer these questions and more.
And take advantage of holiday pricing and discount code* DRJESS25 at TSC.ca where you can shop for:
If you’ve got questions or topic suggestions for the podcast, submit them here. As well, you can now record your messages for us! Please record your message/question in a quiet room and use your phone’s headphones with a built-in mic if possible.
*Promo Code DRJESS25 is valid from September 29, 2021 at 10:00pm ET – December 18, 2021 at 11:59pm ET. Promo code may be redeemed on regular purchase price, This Visit Only Price, Event Price and Blockbuster Price before S&H charges and taxes on products as identified on Intimately You with Dr Jess (tsc.ca/intimatelyyou). Promo code cannot be redeemed on our TODAY’S SHOWSTOPPER™ offer, Encore TODAY’S SHOWSTOPPER™ offer or Exclusive For You TODAY’S SHOWSTOPPER™ Presale offer, or redeemed for cash, or used towards payment of the TSC Credit Card. Offer cannot be combined with any other offer or discount (including Rogers employee discounts). All “Last Chance Price Final Sale” and “Clearance Price Final Sale” purchases are final, no returns or exchanges. Offer subject to change without notice. To redeem your Promo Code when making a purchase online at tsc.ca, enter it into the PROMOTIONAL CODE area upon checkout. If shopping by phone call 1-888-2020-888 and quote the Promo Code to the Customer Care Representative. ©2021 Rogers Media.
This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Finding Pleasure in Liberation: Gender, Body Image & Communication
You’re listening to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast, sex and relationship advice you can use tonight.
Welcome to the sex with Dr. Jess podcast. I’m your co host Brandon. We’re here with my lovely other half Dr. Jess.
Hey, today we are talking about gender. So we’re going to go over some terminology talk about gender roles and how they affect pleasure and sex and relationships. And so a lot of pressure right around gender, I would think kind of growing up you had expectations as a boy what you’re supposed to do what you’re not supposed to do, even as a man, you’re an adult man now, right,
right. Yeah, I’ve been told I’m physiologically an adult man. Yeah, you’re still a boy.
Okay, but so much pressure. I didn’t I mean, certainly for women. I just feel like the pressure kind of comes from all angles. And it you know, it happens in the bedroom, in the living room, in the boardroom, all across the board. And so we’re going to be talking with Ray McDaniel, who’s going to just help us to unpack some of the the messaging and maybe make some small changes for happier lives and better sex and before we welcome ray to the conversation, I want to give a big shout out to TS see and intimately you so intimately you is the show that I host in partnership with TSC it airs on Citytv Fridays at midnight in Canada and if you’re not in Canada, you can watch it at tsp.ca/intimately You and I want to shout out some of their products because they have holiday pricing on a bunch of their products including actually a Canadian brand called high on love which has some really beautiful products with hemp seed oil and their minis pleasure kit is currently on sale. And it includes it’s actually really pretty, it’s a cute little you know giftset with little miniatures so you can try all of their top products so they’re sensual bath oil with like this lavender honeybee scent, they’re sensual massage oil, which I think is strawberries and champagne. They’re high on love lip gloss for couples, they’re high on the stimulating sensual oil. And it comes with really pretty little bullet vibrator with 10 speeds that is rechargeable. So all of these toys and products are available at tsc.ca/intimately you but more importantly, I’ve got a discount code that isn’t advertised elsewhere. And that is Dr. Just 25 25% off all of their high end sexual wellness products and more affordable ones as well. Anything you’re into they they have a line that I’m really happy about called cristalino. And they’re these gorgeous glass dildos. I know you’ve checked them out right there.
I have because I keep waiting for you to drop that maybe somebody special was on TSC with you. I’m sitting here waiting for my line, my intro and looking at me this whole time the whole time. Like yeah, come on,
say okay, Brandon is going to be Listen, mom, cuz my mom got really excited when she saw Brandon on TV One time. What’s up MJ? Yeah, mom and Luigi, my stepdad super excited that they saw an ad for TSC when they were like Brandon’s on TV. They brought the ad that they had recorded on like, it’s literally my show.
It’s your show. It’s got your name in it. And they’re like Brandon’s on TV. Brandon’s got a TV show. So excited for you. I mean, three of us. Three of us are very sad. And I really appreciated that Luigi recorded it recorded the recorded the ad and brought it over and then second of all second, it’s not a whole second. It’s like a fraction of a second but I’m still there.
Anyhow, Brandon’s actually joining us on our holiday episode, so he’s familiar with a lot of the products one product I want to plug specifically is the Moxie the Moxie is this very powerful panty vibe that fits in your underwear and has a tiny little flat magnet that holds it in place. And it’s rumbly and discreet and quiet and it’s Biwi vibe. And you can control it from your phone from afar or your partner’s phone if you let them that one you can use the discount code on as well again tsc.ca/intimately You discount code Dr. Just 25 Dr. JSs 25 And I also wanted to quickly mention one other brand that’s available at TSC dossier slash intimately you I’m going to link all of these on my website folks, if you head over to the podcast page, it’ll be easier but the romp toys which are a really formidable line of sex toys and they have kind of a broad range of toys from penis rings to like a smaller massager to a lay on flat brought vibe to a rabbit vibe and as well as the pleasure air toys so they’re not stealing technology. Because womanizer originated the pleasure air technology they developed it they patent it they hold that patent and I’m sure you know they have to fight for it ROM is has the technology licensed so they’re not just you know, copying what somebody else has done that cost millions of dollars, it’s licensed from them. So they have a lot of the technology from that same group in much lower priced items. So you know, starting around like say 3035 Canadian dollars, so do check out romp on tsc.ca/intimately as well and you can also use that discount code driving at home Dr. Jess 25
or right tune in and see BW on TV. This guy’s so excited. Right on TSC he saw selling penis rings. You know what? Kristalina? Actually those really nice toys cristalino
I think yes. So Brandon, I are gonna switch roles I’m gonna go sell real estate done with my head down and he’s dying to be on TV this man like,
I’m actually not I’m really Ricky Bobby on TV. I’m like, I don’t know what to do with my hands.
Don’t lie though. You love it. You love being on the mic to
know I love a good karaoke jam. If it was TSC karaoke with BW you
also like hosting things like you like emceeing don’t lie.
Sometimes. Sometimes. I’m nervous man. Nervous on TV.
Yeah, no, you were nervous.
I was when people watch it was I seriously? Half the time I had my hands up near my chin.
No, that’s not true. I think I know the date of your episode. I think your episode that you’re on is December 3. So tune in for the Brandon where high ratings were the superstar. And now let’s talk gender roles. Let’s talk pleasure. Joining us now is Ray McDaniel, a non binary gender and sex therapist turned coach, the creator of gender Eff, it’s like eff without u, the club. It’s a one of a kind, research based online group coaching community of transgender, non binary and questioning folks who are on a mission to transition who arrives with less suffering and more ease. They’re also the CEO and founder of practical audacity, a gender and sex therapy practice in Chicago. Welcome, Ray. Thanks so much for being here.
I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
We’re excited to chat with you. And before we dive into the ways in which we need to deconstruct gender roles, especially as it pertains to sex, would love to talk about some of the language from your your bio? Absolutely. So first and foremost, yeah, so you identify as a non binary gender and sex therapist and coach, yeah, you work with transgender non binary questioning folks who are feeling lost while transitioning their gender identity. So let’s start with with you, if you don’t mind, can you tell us what non binary means?
Absolutely. So non binary to me means that I was born, the doctor assigned me female at birth, I grew up and that was largely fine for a lot of my life. But after a while, and after I had already come out as queer, I began to feel like that label was really restrictive for me. But I also knew that I didn’t identify as a man, I did not want to be a transgender man. And I found probably over a period of about four to five years that I landed really squarely in the middle of the identity spectrum, and that the best identity for me is not the chatbox of male or female, but non binary, the middle of the spectrum.
Thank you so much for that. And so there’s other language that doesn’t necessarily fit male or female, like gender queer and gender fluid and a gender. Would you mind talking to us a little bit about those terms, knowing that, of course, terminology, and language is always evolving and is highly personal, I noticed that when I asked you about being non binary you started with to me because your non binary is different than you know, many other folks have spoken to. Yeah,
and I love the way that you broke that down. So I always like to start with the caveat that I am not the end person when it comes to language. It’s always evolving and changing. And different people do use language in different ways. But if we’re talking in generalities being non binary, I would view that as an umbrella term for folks who don’t fit into these checkboxes of male or female. And underneath that there are a million different ways that people define themselves. And you mentioned some of the popular ones, which is gender fluid. And typically, when people are saying gender fluid, they’re speaking about a sense of their gender identity that moves along the spectrum. So maybe one day they feel a little bit more on the masculine side, one day, they feel a little bit more on the feminine side. And their sense of identity is one that that shifts. You also mentioned a gender, which I love that term as well. This speaks about people who just say that, hey, gender is not really a identity category that I find extremely important in my life. I don’t want to define myself by gender at all. And I would prefer for the most part that I exist outside of gender as much as is possible in the world that we live in.
Thank you so much for that and what about gender queer? So I was talking about gender identity versus sexual orientation with some family members who had a lot of questions the other day and they seem to be kind of following along with gender fluid with a gender with non binary with sis versus trans gender queer because we’re pulling in language from both identity and orientation was a spot that I think they were feeling more lost on and I was struggling to explain or bridge I guess those two worlds While also acknowledging that gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing?
Oh, that’s a really good question. I’ve never heard it put that way. It’s super interesting to me. So yes, queer is a term that people use to describe their sexual orientation. But if we back up and get some background on what queer actually means, it’s not just about sexual orientation. So queer it was an insult, right? It still is in some parts of the country. And it was reclaimed and about the early to mid 90s, by feminist scholars and LGBTQ folks to mean flexibility and fluidity throughout specifically, in this case, sexual orientation and gender identity. So it’s already broader than a sexual orientation, and is also a very political type of identity in the same way that we might use the term diet that used to be an insult. And it’s now like, Yay, dike, dike March. So when you say that it’s queer is about sexual orientation. It’s a yes, asterik for me, and so maybe that will help a little bit with the confusion there. Again, different people use these terms in different ways. To me, gender queer, and non binary are pretty interchangeable. For B personally, now, you might talk to somebody else, and they have a different way of describing that. But to me, there’s not really a lot of difference between those two identities specifically,
you know, what I’m hearing too, is that there is so much personal, so many personal elements attached to terminology, because I think folks, for example, are afraid to use the wrong word. And so we have to have the language to ask questions, we have to be comfortable also knowing that we can go and do our own research. It’s interesting when I was in school, so actually did my undergrad and sexual diversity studies. And when I would write about myself, I would say this was the late 90s. Yeah, well, really the end of the 90s, early 2000s. And when I would write about myself and describe myself as queer, I had to put an asterix in my writing for the professor or the TA to explain why I was using that term, because it was still, you know, 20 years ago considered so perhaps more broadly derogatory, and I used to have, I remember that now, I kind of forgot about that. And then as a syst person, probably why I am thinking of queer as it relates only to sexual orientation that probably is just where my privilege sits, where I haven’t had to think about it in other ways. And I’m curious just for folks to consider why is it so important for therapists and for everyone to have an understanding of language, even as it evolves?
Well, I think as a culture, we are moving in a direction of, at least in certain parts of culture being more inclusive, and language creates our reality, we know that language has really deep connections in our brain to how we see the world. And so when we’re talking about expanding and updating our language, we’re actually talking about expanding and updating our brains to bring in different concepts. It’s also the easiest and most low hanging fruit, you can have to affirm someone’s identity. So whether that is about sexual orientation, whether that is about gender identity, whether that is new language around racial minorities and indigenous peoples, those things are the things that do create more inclusivity and open people’s minds to new ways of viewing human beings and societies.
I really appreciate that perspective. And the flip side is that when we don’t consider language, we cause harm, right? So the positive side is that we’re bringing things in, but the cost of not being considered around language not doing the work to go seek out sources, because the thing is, you know, again, and when we go back to when I was just starting university, we didn’t I don’t even think Google existed. Am I that old? I don’t know, Dating Yourself. I don’t remember when I think it was like Ask Jeeves.
Or remember that?
Do we message each other on a CQ?
Exactly. But we have so many resources at our fingertips. So thank you so much for just laying the groundwork and sharing some of that expertise with us. But let’s talk about you. You are a therapist turned coach. So you still practice therapy, you run a therapy practice. Can you first tell us the difference between therapy and coaching? And how do you move between those two worlds?
Sure. This is a question that has been coming up a lot in both the coaching world and the therapy world. Essentially, the way I describe it is, as a therapist, I’m a licensed professional through the state. I have a graduate degree. I have had years and years and years of supervision from therapists who have a higher level licensure than I do, and I’m able to go deeper into people’s past and bigger mental health concerns when I’m acting as a therapist. So for example, I can go in to trauma stories, I can really break down a trauma experience with somebody, I can help somebody with things like eating disorders or substance use, or very severe PTSD, anxiety or depression. As a coach, I’m moving more into the realm of looking at what are somebody’s goals? And how do I help them get there in the future? So that doesn’t mean that I’m not taking into account context or mental health concerns. But I’m more concerned with or I’m less concerned with how did you get these symptoms? And what is your trauma story? And more concerned with? How do you want to handle it? What sort of specific concrete skills can we talk about to help you work through whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, and in the same breath, because I am trained as a therapist, I know very well, when it is appropriate to refer somebody to therapy, either instead of or concurrently with my work. So with my work as a coach, depending on what people are bringing in, I will either require or suggest that they are also concurrently in therapy to go more into the past to dig into some of these bigger issues. But again, coaching for me is very much about present moment, what’s going on for you right now, how does that connect to your goals? And how do we get you to your goals, while also normalizing and taking into account the any mental health concerns that you’ve been dealing with systems of oppression, trauma stories, the messages that we’ve all been given our entire lives, but with the focus of moving towards that goal?
That makes sense? Actually, we needed that broken down? Because there is so much conflation within our field? I think so I want to ask about therapy. In your sex therapy practice, what is the most common issue you see or top couple of issues?
Ooh, good question. This might be a little bit skewed, because I almost exclusively at this point, work with trans and non binary folks. So the things that they are bringing into sex therapy are going to be a little bit different than a cisgender person, or even a queer cisgender person. So the things that I see in particular that are coming up the most are a sense of disconnection to their body. So whether that is because of gender dysphoria, or simply the world that we live in. And I’m also seeing a lot of assumptions about how people should be having sex. So whether that is as a assist person, or being perceived as a sis person in the past, or whether that is as they’re embracing this new gender identity, What does sex look like? And there’s a lot of rules that people internalize from our world that I think are largely really unhelpful.
So when you talk about people being disconnected from their bodies, what is the process or a process that you use to start to feel connected again?
Well, the first thing is mindfulness, which sounds very basic and trite at this point, but it’s because it works. And there’s so much research behind it. So you can’t really do anything. As far as creating change for yourself, if you’re not aware of what you’re doing right now, and not aware of the context of that. So the first thing is becoming aware of when you might be enacting a should when it comes to sex, and starting to become aware of what are the types of assumptions that I’m making about relationships, about roles and sex, and even about body parts and how they again, quote unquote, should be used. The next thing I would say, is body neutrality. So we talk a lot about body positivity. And that’s wonderful. I want people to feel amazing in their bodies. And sometimes that can feel a little bit out of reach, especially for somebody who is experiencing gender dysphoria, or specifically, genital dysphoria or chest dysphoria. So I teach people to instead of trying to force themselves to love that part of their body, every ounce of their being, how can we say, Hey, this is a part of my body that I don’t necessarily love right now, it might be a part of my body that I want to change in the future or not. But how can I show love more globally to my body, and more specifically to these body parts, while still holding I don’t necessarily love how they look? So that might be intentionally incorporating pleasure in a new way. So if you don’t like to have your chest or your nipples touched in a particular way, how can you switch that up? Is there a way that you can have your chest touch that does feel good to you? And same with other erogenous stones skin in general and genitals? What is assumptions are we making about how certain genitals should be touched? And how can we break that down? Lucy fielding just wrote a book called transects and calls this an imaginal failure. So how can we imagine something different than what society says, as this is the way that these body parts should work? We should touch them. And we should experience pleasure with them. And I think with that concept, I’m also bringing in a lot of curiosity, how can we experiment with different ways of touching your body that feel good, whether that is on your own, which I highly recommend, or if that’s with a partner, you want to bring them in to help you explore your body in these different ways. And I think the last thing is very particularly focusing on pleasure, right? It’s a muscle, what we focus on expands. So if you are used to disassociating from your body, and not experiencing pleasure, then how can we bring a little bit more mindfulness in specifically to your five senses? And have you tried to experience pleasure, not only in sex, but in general ways as well,
you brought up so many things there. I mean, starting with mindfulness, which has been practiced by Eastern cultures for 1000s of years, and now you say, you know, we realize, yes, there’s lots of research behind it. But so many of our cultures have been practicing this for so long. And now we just have, you know, Harvard, sort of backing us up and saying, Hey, this society that’s been around a long, long time was doing something and but one thing I’d like to talk about is that divide or the perhaps distinction between body positivity, body neutrality, and perhaps body liberation. Could you speak to that a little bit more like when we think of body positivity, we think about a movement that was started by folks in marginalized bodies and has sort of been taken away, right? body positivity is just kind of a hashtag now, sort of like mindfulness, like anything anytime, I guess, anytime anything gets commercialized. And I’m not acting like I’m not a part of that, like, I have a course on mindful acts. So I’m not saying I’m not a part of that, or like, I’m any better than that. But can you give us some definitions? Would you be comfortable talking about body positivity versus body neutrality versus body liberation?
Sure. And you explained it so well. And absolutely. And with mindfulness as well, cultures have been practicing this for 1000s and 1000s of years. It’s not new. There’s nothing new about this. And I think as you’re saying, like kind of white folks co opt this body positivity and the way we talk about things, the way we talk about mindfulness, and it is really important to route back into where did this come from? Where did this originate? And you’re right, body positivity originated, specifically with black films, if I am getting that, right, I believe I am and then was kind of CO opted by white women usually skinny white women. taun stretch mark with one stretch mark. Yes, saying this is now body positivity. And, and what that means. And I think the origins of body positivity are right on and the way it’s gotten co opted can feel a little bit trite and surface level. And it also focuses on I need to love deeply every single inch of my body. And I think a lot of us have the experience of not always loving every single inch of our body, and then that becomes a personal failing, and I’m not good at body positivity. Body neutrality, on the other hand, is this awareness of, there are things about my body that either globally or just today when I look in the mirror, I don’t feel great about and it is the intentional choice to continue to show love to your body, despite that, and because of that, as showing a little bit of extra care to those body parts that in that moment, are a little bit hard to love. And so it’s a much more accessible frame. I think it’s much more helpful and helping people move from I don’t like this part of my body to I am still able to show self love and experience pleasure in my body. Whatever limitation I have, or whatever I’m thinking about it. I infer
me neutrality also sorry to just jump in here. ties in kind of function of the body as well, like what it does for me how it I’ll use the word perform, which I know not everybody likes, but that’s something that works for me, right? Like it’s movement strength. What it does, and pleasure is a part of that. Right? So rather than being about appearance, it’s like what does it what does it do for me? What does it give to me?
Exactly, yeah, that is a really key piece that I miss. So thank you for bringing that up for body liberation. In my work. I view that through a particular lens of gender freedom. So there’s a lot that goes into body liberation beyond gender. Freedom. But when I am talking about my work, I am talking about body liberation, meaning that every person gets to live in their body in a way that feels as comfortable as possible for them, and also gets to express their body, their gender, and how they want to show that gender to the world, in whatever way feels authentic to them, whether that is a cisgender person, whether that is a trans person, it is about authentically showing up in the world with the fullest expression of who you are, period.
That’s a lot for many people, it is that just like that, that’s kind of moving in some ways, or scary, or feels on a taint attainable, right? Like that notion of separating your self worth, or your sense of being from your body. And then I think also in our culture, from when we say body, oftentimes, we mean how our body is seen, right? Like the appearance of our body, it’s not just what we feel, it’s how we see ourselves how other people see us, thank you so much for that, I sprung that on you, but really appreciate you kind of walking us through those I would call the movements, right, or perspectives or whatever you want to call them, but I’d see them as movements. And I imagine in your work, as you said, because you’re working with folks who are trans non binary folks who are sometimes transitioning, there’s that added very heavy layer around what’s acceptable, because at every turn, you’re being told, like you don’t belong here, or we don’t accept you here, or you can’t even try on clothes, use the bathroom, the most basic of human rights. So if we tie this in to to sex, and pleasure, you talk about how important it is to deconstruct gender roles across sexual acts. And I think some people hear that as political, right, like, and of course, everything is political. But it also is about pleasure, right? We know that regardless of genitals, regardless of gender identity, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of body type, regardless of age, that when we start to deconstruct roles, we’ve been assigned pleasure changes, like it shifts so immensely. So why is important? Is it important to deconstruct gender roles across sex acts? And how, how that how do we do?
Well, I think you mentioned one important thing, which is, it’s for everybody. So when we say it’s political, yes, because the personal is political. And I think that freedom from for one is freedom for all. So as we start deconstructing gender roles, we’re not saying that traditional gender roles are expected gender roles, especially in the boxes of male and female are bad. I’m just saying, why don’t we choose them instead of automatically having them assigned to us? So deconstructing gender roles, and sex is about looking at the scripts that we have been handed about what it means to be a man, what it means to be a woman. And I specifically say that because we don’t really get any scripts on what does it mean to be a non binary person, we’re making it up. In the boxes of male and female, there is this idea that there are certain things that you quote unquote, should do when it comes to sex and certain roles that you should take on even certain energies that you should bring to the bedroom. So this is about looking at what does it mean to me to express my gender when it comes to sex? So things like roles, what does it mean to engage in, for example, penetrative sex, being a giver, or receiver of penetrative sex is independent of gender, pretty much all bodies can do it if they want to, in the same way, roles like top and bottom, dominant and submissive, those are not gendered at all. And we think about even energy in the bedroom, and we call things masculine energy or feminine energy. And I think that’s kind of a lazy placeholder, quite honestly, are we talking about energy that is soft and slow? Are we talking about energy that is hard and fast or nurturing or teasing? None of those energies are specific to a particular gender. So as we start to realize that we get the opportunity to have a pause between what we automatically do and does that feel authentic to me, do I want to do that?
And the result to me immediately that you can’t miss is greater variety, right? So you talk about dominance, submissive, top bottom, penetrated, penetrated, penetrated, penetrated? Why do you know what I mean? No one knows in one, one Because. And then there was one other thing that you said they’re all around energy. And so if we limit ourselves, imagine, because you’ve got a penis and a prostate, you don’t want to be penetrated and you miss out on the prostate, you miss out on what we often call the g spot you miss out on that full bodied sensation, you may or, you know, for example, being expected to have so called feminine energy, which you better describe in a different way, which is specific to what you’re feeling and what you’re carrying, as opposed to what you’ve been assigned. But let’s say you’ve been told you’re supposed to be demure, you’re supposed to be soft, you’re supposed to be submissive, you’re supposed to, in fact, be a gatekeeper. And missing out on the power of getting to be dominant. Yes, missing out on the opportunity to potentially be a top those two things, obviously, not always coexisting, but I mean, wouldn’t it be more fun to at least at some point in your life, get to play a switch, right, get to be dominant, get to be submissive, get to be playful, get to be domineering. And it doesn’t mean that you’re going to love all of those all the time, right? It’s okay to be a sis hetero woman who loves to be submissive. Absolutely, just fine. But the key word and you started with it. And I think it’s the perfect way to sum it up is choice, right? It’s the same thing when people ask me about monogamy. My issue is not with monogamy. My issue is with a sign compulsory, monogamy as the default zactly similarily. around sex, like when we just do it, because we’ve been told to do it. It’s like becoming a doctor because my parents are a doctor. And I say that because you hear from so many doctors who were like, Oh, my God, I want out of this field. Like I only did it because I was supposed to for the family. We heard that across other fields, but especially some of those, I guess, high pressure, but also high status positions that you feel you must love. It must give you this fulfilling life. This is really helpful in terms of thinking about what how am I limiting myself? And I think I would suggest that folks right now to think about like, how do you limit your yourself in terms of gender roles, or in terms of other elements of your identity, like other layers of your identity, not just gender? So what what can we do, first and foremost, to break through the restrictions that gender roles impose upon us,
we talked about it a little bit earlier. The first one is awareness, which, you know, if you’re listening to this podcast, now, you know, and you get to have an opportunity to look at the battle. Exactly. So becoming aware that you might be playing out scripts that don’t necessarily feel authentic to you. So that’s number one. And then getting curious, getting playful. When it comes to sex. Not everything has to be so serious, you know, I talked about it as spaghetti wall mode, where you’re cooking a pot of spaghetti and you test it to see if it’s done by you pick up the spaghetti, you throw it at the wall, if it doesn’t stick to the wall, no big deal, you haven’t failed in spaghetti, you just need to cook it a little bit more. And if it does stick great, great information for you. I think it’s the same thing in this, if you’re curious about trying on a different role, different sexual position, a different sexual activity, you can just try it from a playful place of there is no failure. If you don’t like it, or it’s funny, or you don’t know how to do it or you fall off the bed. Fine. That’s just a good story later. But every playful step that you take gets you a little bit closer to knowing. I also think of it like the eye doctor, when they do like a B, right? You’re showing the different lenses b c, a c, it’s like that, you start noticing, Hey, I like this piece that I am exploring. And I don’t like this piece. How can I build on the piece that I like? How can I take one tiny step assess, say, Do I like this? And take another tiny step? Or take a step back? Say I’m gonna go in a different direction. I think that you
have to be you have to be willing to be imperfect. Yes. Hey, like you said, cuz I would say that I’m like, if you overcook your meal, you don’t never cook again, you don’t hang your head in shame. Just set the timer differently next time. But with sex man, we put so much pressure on ourselves. So I appreciate that perspective. And I wonder if it would be helpful for people to think about what it is they are into, like the roles that they do play in bed, whether they’re attached to gender or another essential element of our identities. And then think of the opposite role like the farthest away from that you can get and can you try it? Like can you visualize yourself trying it? Can you try it even in jest? Like, can you mess around? I know when people ask about you know, how do I become more dominant without feeling silly? Often I’ll say like, it’s okay to feel silly. Like go ahead and like what is the cost of feeling silly one to 10 times. And then maybe you’ll learn that hey, you know what, I don’t really like playing a dominant or you might learn like okay, I feel more power. I feel more in this role. When I dress up, or I feel more in this role when it’s dark, or I feel more in this role with one partner and not another, and those are just things you learn about yourself. But I guess we can’t learn unless we actually start to, as you say, deconstruct to really think like, am I actually into this? Or have I been told I ought to be into this?
Exactly. Exactly. And I think the great thing about sax is that it also offers us the ability to role play, and to, if you aren’t comfortable being a dominant, create a persona, that’s a dominant, and then if it doesn’t go well, you can laugh about it later, and try again in a different way. Like you’re saying it does it we take ourselves so seriously, when it comes to sex. And that kills so much novelty, so much discovery and also great dinner party stories.
You know, I think about porn, and I’m thinking, Is there much porn where people are laughing and playful and screwing up and joking around and you know, talking dirty but saying the opposite of what they meant to say, right? Like, when I was saying penetrative versus penetrated, I got it wrong. And so be it. Right? Like, we’re not going to edit that out. It just is what it is. Because I’m this human, that doesn’t always speak perfectly. So can I afford myself that same grace in the bedroom? When I say the opposite of what I mean? Like, what’s the cost? If we giggle, it actually cuts some tension, right? So if you are feeling a little too nervous, the laughter is going going to be good for you. Last thing before you go, how do you start this conversation with a partner or partners, like if you feel like, okay, we’ve been doing this thing for a while now, I’ve been playing this specific role that perhaps is aligned with my gendered expectations. And I want to break this, how do you how do you bridge that conversation? Well, first,
I would say doing do it in a non pressured setting. So if being naked feels too vulnerable, this is a great conversation for dinner, or drinks, or just sitting around your house, when it’s not going to feel quite as vulnerable as we just finished having sex. And now I’m going to talk about the things that I want to change right now. So that’s number one. The other thing is framing it as a team effort. So not blaming anything, and bringing your partner in as a teammate of, Hey, I heard this podcast, it was really interesting about how we follow sexual scripts, is that something that you’d want to play with? It could be roleplay, doing the opposite, we have an opposite day, opposite week, right? And just see what that feels like. You can frame it as that sense of play and curiosity. And even Hey, Wouldn’t it be funny if we did this, and not this big, serious conversation about how you don’t want to take on traditional roles that we assign to masculinity or femininity? Again, it just doesn’t have to be that serious?
Absolutely. And I was just thinking to add to that, when you bring something up, I think it can sometimes be helpful to say, Oh, I’ve been thinking about this. And this is what I was thinking I could do to make it happen, right? Because people tend to go to their partner and be like, I want to spice things up, you do this. So we can think about what we can do first, it can be really helpful. And I really appreciate that low pressure suggestion, because I know that mean, because I have I’m impulsive and impatient and just do things. Oftentimes, without thinking it through. I can bring things up at inopportune times. And so I need to kind of take a step back and be thoughtful about whether or not it’s a good time to talk. And also just ask, like, do you have the space for this right now? Like, is this a good time? Like, that’s something we’ve learned working from home, because we’re working next to each other all the time. And so it’s easy to just blurt things out, like ask a question that has nothing to do with anything neither either of us is focusing on at the moment. And so we’ve had to learn it’s only taken us like 17 months to say, like I will me I’ve had to learn not so much you you have a minute like are you in the middle of something? Or is this a good time for ABC? And I know for people like me who have difficulty focusing on one thing and have a lot of, I guess we everything is stimulus. Everything is stimuli to me. I have to really think about that. So that’s really helpful. I really appreciate all of your all of your contributions, your insights on language, on body positivity versus neutrality versus liberation on why we need to deconstruct gender roles and really hope folks will take one thing out of this and make one small change or one small reflection today because I think there’s really a lot to take away folks make sure you are following Ray McDaniel on IG practical audacity as well as Facebook and the website is gender eff club dot club. So I’ll spell it for you gender j e n d e r f c k dot club and folks can definitely learn more. Thank you so much for being with us today. Thank
you so much for having me. This has been a delight. And thank you for
listening. I appreciate your taking the time out of your week to be with us. You could be anywhere in the world.
You You really could be here saying
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