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S2: warning this podcast contains explicit language and conversations of a sexual nature.
S1: Hi, I’m Stoya. I’m a writer and pornographer,
S2: and I’m Rich Juzwiak, I’m a writer,
S1: we’re the authors of How to Do It. Slate’s sex advice column. This is our new podcast, where we answer brand new letters all about your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex or trying to have sex or not wanting to have sex. We’re here to help.
S2: So here we are doing this podcast. This is our first episode. Here we are.
S1: We have a pile of questions to help with. And we have some fairly unique expertise that we draw upon.
S2: OK, so tell me this like you describe yourself as a pornographer. What does that mean?
S1: So I performed under contract to a very mainstream studio for about five years, and that means having hardcore penetrative sex with other performers. And like many performers, I began producing and directing my own content. So I’ve worn many, many hats. But that’s given me some very useful knowledge about the spatial geometry of sex and also allows me to comment from lived experience. When people writing about pornography and situations where someone needs education, that is more along the lines of like variety and what’s possible, and like ideas exploring what they might fantasize about.
S2: Yes. And also, you’ve written other sex advice columns before.
S1: Yeah. You’ve also done advice.
S2: Yes. My entry into advice was kind of satirical. Pot Psychology was a video series that ran on Jezebel in which you know me and my code advice giver Tracey Egan Morrissey. We get stoned and give advice, and the whole idea was just to subvert the idea of advice. It’s like, why would you listen to these two idiots, you know? And I think it’s I don’t know. I think that’s still kind of true in a way. Yeah.
S1: I’ve always wondered, and I may be projecting your motivation to find experts is beautiful and so helpful. And I also wonder if a little bit of it is imposter syndrome.
S2: You know, as a journalist, I’m getting assignments from people all the time with this column, and they’re really good. They’re questions that, like I never thought of or I always wondered, but never really had an excuse to look up. And so that’s really like what I’ve sort of taken advantage of. You know, I’ve written about sex. I’ve written about my sex life specifically. I think that that’s probably one of the reasons why I was reached out to for this column. But also, like, I have no illusions about my own limitations as a human and thinker. And so I love to use other people’s expertise and sometimes I use your expertise. You know,
S1: I have frequently, I use your research.
S2: So I think the podcast is very much just as far as I conceive it an extension of the column. We’re basically doing what we do. We’ve got reader questions. We’re answering them. We will be bringing in experts will hopefully be talking to people who wrote in as well, like, I would love for this to be dynamic, but basically, we’re just shooting the shit over here about sex.
S1: Yeah, and it’s great, and I can’t believe it’s a job.
S2: I know I’m super happy to be doing this and to be here.
S1: All right. Let’s dig in,
S3: dear, how to do it. I’m a mostly straight guy, 31, and I exited a long term relationship about eight months ago. It was awful, but I’m feeling better about myself and I’m getting out there. The flirting and making out, et cetera, with new women has been very fun and wonderful for my self-esteem. The problem I’m experiencing isn’t very macho. Basically, when I come in somebody, I kind of fall in love with them. Seriously, their smell comes to me at odd times. Intrusive memories of recent encounters. What should we name our kids? After about a week of no contact, it fades and I’m no longer an obsessive creep. I’m in no way interested in nor ready for a relationship. Yet when I blow my load in somebody’s pussy or mouth, something just seems to click and I feel myself fall for them and crave them in a way I’m not comfortable with. My partners have not believed my reasons for cutting them off. I can’t bring myself to lie. So sometimes I just ghost. One person texted me, I was just another fuck boy with a line. But the truth is, I am in no rush to fall for someone again. I’m also horny. Is there a better way to go about screwing around without triggering these feelings and confusing? My partners signed love at first Jizz.
S2: Sounds like oxytocin to me. Yeah, this person seems to just have a lot of oxytocin receptors. You know, this is a chemical. It’s called like the cuddle hormone, right? It’s just associated with kind of feelings of love, and it’s often released after sex. Now, typically speaking, women tend to release more of it after sex. And so that’s sort of the emotional divide. You know, that’s why women like to cuddle stereotypically and men fall asleep. But I mean, the human body from body to body, there’s such variation that it makes sense that like here we have a guy who just has a lot of oxytocin receptors.
S1: Yeah, because of my line of work, I get a lot of questions about like, how do you not fall in love with people? Don’t you feel something having sex with someone like over and over if you work with them a lot and like, Yeah, you do. Yeah. I mean, maybe I’m not the norm here, but just like in casual hookups, I feel things for that person. Now, does feeling mean we need to think about what we should name our kids? No, right? But there’s intense, deep feeling.
S2: You know, there is something to be said for like a very clean hookup that it’s just satisfying all together. And, you know, I didn’t even catch his name walking out the door. But I also tend to measure the quality of my hookups in terms of whether I feel that thing or not. You know you are connecting with another person. You can turn that off. You can be into the not connective part of it. But for me, I feel like compassion is, you know, treating people like humans before and after orgasm. But again, I don’t have that love thing. I might have an intense fondness at times, you know?
S1: So the love here is in quotes like our readers specifically says, like, I kind of fall in quote unquote love right with them. And so the kind of and the quotes make me think that what they’re describing are the fondness and tenderness and intimacy and like, not necessarily like Western Lake headed towards marriage love.
S2: Exactly. But then to me, it’s like he already has the pieces and can’t he see that for what it is? I mean, he sees himself doing this over and over again. So when that happens, you say, Oh, wait, this isn’t headed down the aisle any time soon, probably. This is just that thing I do. And that should actually allow you to put things into perspective, at least.
S1: Oh, so I am going off a mostly street here, right? I’ve noticed the more that a person is outside of heteronormativity, the more we have to think about what we’re doing.
S2: Yeah. This guy,
S1: he’s mostly straight. It was in a long term relationship. I don’t think that he necessarily can easily see the perspective here. Right. And our culture, you know, the culture, the we all grew up in in our thirties very much had this sentiment of like when you meet someone and you feel feelings for them and then you get on the relationship escalator. Mm hmm. And then you’re on the relationship escalator. And that continues in certain ways. And if you’re gay, you know, maybe you adopt. Right? But there’s this like, all right, you’re doing it. You got a feeling. So now you’re playing out this script. And I think it’s important here to tell him directly, you don’t have to play out that script. Yeah, you can love people, right? And not play out that script.
S2: Well, and I think that script for many people probably is a substitute for interrogation and thinking, and I overthink everything and I’m not prescribing that, you know, that has its own problems, whatever. But I think the other extreme of not thinking about it, of going through the motions of doing that thing you’re supposed to be doing because this is what you feel and that is it is equally harmful, potentially for sure.
S1: So how should he navigate this situation, though?
S2: Isn’t it about just kind of being able to put your finger on that which you’re feeling and how you manage that? I mean, look, there are any number of things that might set me screaming, right? And that’s what I feel when that’s the trigger. But part of being a civilized human being is saying, I’m not going to actually listen to those emotions, pay them much stock, let them dictate my behavior. I understand what’s going on, and I kind of just need to remove myself, take a step back. I see what’s happening. So let me manage that.
S1: Yeah. And when he says after about a week of no contact, it fades. That, to me, seems like a situation. And where he could be like a person that I want to have sex with, I’m happy to see you every like seven to 10 days. I don’t want to tax in between. Aside from like talking about when we’re going to meet up, yeah. And how that’s going to happen, I think that’s a pretty functional solution worth trying 100 percent.
S2: Then you’re setting that barrier. Yeah, but you need because you have these wild, free wheeling emotions. Yeah. This question also made me wonder, is this person perhaps a good candidate for polyamory? And I wonder if, like polyamory attracts people who have this kind of oxytocin response releasing, you know, or more receptors or whatever. This is purely conjecture just, to my knowledge, has not been studied. But it does make me wonder, you know, this capacity for love that some people seem to have infinity inside of them and other people don’t. I wonder how closely related it is to brain chemistry.
S1: Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that poly people are much more likely to snuggle before and after. Mm hmm. And also to generally appreciate physical intimacy that doesn’t necessarily result in orgasm. Uh-Huh. So, yeah, are there any academics out there listening who want to look into this? Love to hear from you when you have some data.
S2: Yeah, exactly. This is like B. Further studies are needed portion of our emails.
S1: I’m happy to be a subject right now. Volunteer Yeah.
S2: So in some, my recommendation is mindfulness. You know, he’s almost got it. Just got to make the connection. You’re observing this stuff now. What are you going to do about it to manage yourself? You know that these flights of fancy romantic fancy are something that you experience a lot. So now you can see it for what it is.
S1: Yeah, and figure out ways to proactively think about something else when you have those intrusive memories and all caps questions. And if intrusive starts to feel really applicable and it’s happening a lot. You might consider seeing a psychiatrist to talk about whether there’s any possibility of like OCD or something.
S2: Yeah. Because obsession you don’t really want. You do want to be able to manage that and you might need extra help.
S1: Yeah, maybe, maybe, maybe. I don’t know. We don’t know. It feels like it’s maybe a problem. Go talk to an expert in an office who’s seeing you one on one. Yes. You know,
S2: let’s hear our next question.
S4: Dear, how to do it. My husband has an old friend from school, Mara, who we see a few times a year. I also know her through mutual friends before I met my husband. She recently started an only fans, which I found out about when my husband told me that she’d followed him from the Instagram account she’s using to advertise it. And he had then followed her back. I admittedly overreacted to this. I’m currently going through a chemical abortion for a second baby that we both wanted but have realized we can’t have right now. I’m fairly primed for over emotional responses after apologizing and talking. We’ve both concluded that viewing sexual material of someone my husband knows personally is a hard boundary for us. But what are Mara’s responsibilities here? What is the social etiquette for inviting your friends, especially those in long term relationships, to view your online sex work? Mara followed only male friends from this account. No women and many of these men are in long term relationships. My husband made the decision to follow her of his own free will, but he wouldn’t have known the account existed if she hadn’t made the first move. It has hurt my feelings and makes me feel like Mara has no regard for our friendship. Is this a communication issue or is it not personal? Strictly business. Signed into problems.
S1: So this is really complicated. Yeah. Our writer. Lot of hormonal, intense stuff going on. Yes, we can take that and put it like in a corner, right? You’re sensitive. That’s valid. Seemed pretty logical to me. You’re doing a great job. Several things considered and the fact that they also know Mara. That’s interesting background, but not super relevant. Yeah. There is no social etiquette at this time. Right? Like online sex work and social media are such new things. Yeah. And culture and society being such that someone would dip their toe into sex work and feel comfortable telling their friends about it is so new. Yeah, but like, I don’t know, let’s make it up, right?
S2: Yeah, I think that’s what our task is, right? I mean, personally speaking, how do you feel about people that, you know, socially viewing, you know, the material that you put online?
S1: So, you know, I am a weirdo. Let’s preface with that. Like, I am strange in a lot of ways. Mostly homeschool. OK. Right? I think you got it. Socialization. Most United States citizens did, but
S2: I think you do pretty well.
S1: Thank you. Thank you. I’ve actually put a lot of concerted effort. But you know, my best friend, when I am particularly proud of like a pose or an image or like the styling, I’ll send him a picture. Mm. And sometimes that picture includes my genitals in a very aggressively, explicitly sexual way. Right? I’ve discussed this with him. At one point I was like, Hey, so I just said, you like a really aggressive picture of my hoo ha. Is that okay? And he’s like, Yes, it’s absolutely fine. Like, it doesn’t feel sexual to me. This is your work. Like, it’s cool. It’s a great picture. I’m happy to see and be involved. And he had someone he dated in the past couple of years who completely flipped their lead over me. Commenting from my Stoya Instagram, which is my only Instagram. And he was like, commented on like something that he’d posted of, like something he saw on the sidewalk. Mm hmm. And she was like, Oh my God, like, how could this be happening? Like, it’s so weird to be using her porn account to the comment. So, you know, like the way I handle things, I get pushback for and like judgment on. But also, I prefer to live my life very open and like, not particularly compartmentalized. Yeah, I do think it is very odd that Mara only followed male friends of her friends. Right from this account, it strikes me as weird, because that’s just bad business.
S2: Oh, you would want to cast a wider net?
S1: Yes. 2021, right? And you think that only men? Yeah. Want to see you naked?
S2: Yeah. Total nude move.
S1: Yeah, I like honey. You have to be much more like, yeah,
S2: you know, beyond opening
S1: and stretching, like actually, league female subscribers are some of the greatest subscribers because they’re much more like respectful. Believe it. Yeah. And that’s that’s not to say that they don’t have male subscribers. You’re also super respectfully notice details. And they’re like, wonderful, of course. But overall, it’s just it’s nice to have women subscribers in the mix and like women in your chat room and like all that kind of thing. Yeah.
S2: Although I will say that like following people via an Instagram isn’t exactly setting a cataclysmic trap. It’s kind of a mere suggestion of here’s something you might want to take a look at.
S2: And, you know, do with this information what you will.
S1: Yeah, but it’s odd. It is. It’s OK to be like, Hello, I am actually following a large number of my male friends, right? And only my male friends from my brand spanking new porn specific Instagram account.
S2: The one thing I will say is that to your point about there being no etiquette, here’s a couple who came up with the idea that viewing this kind of sexual material of somebody that the husband knows is a hard boundary that is not a boundary that is cast in stone as to what every couple should be doing. So this person says this is a hard boundary. Mara may have an entirely different view of boundaries that isn’t necessarily amoral or deceptive. She’s not trying. Necessarily like snare these guys in her trap. She’s just got a different kind of outlook.
S1: Yeah, she just, you know, like how I think it’s totally acceptable to comment on these friend’s personal Instagrams from my, you know, one stop shop personal and brand. I don’t think it’s weird to send my best friend an explicit picture, but I wouldn’t. To other people that I didn’t have some sort of like sexual relationship with,
S2: but also her that conversation that you had. It seems like if that friend of yours had said this is getting to be a little too much, it doesn’t sound like you would have pushed back and been like, Well, fuck you, you got to take my pussy. Whatever, I’m going to give it to you.
S1: I would have been like, Oh my god, I’m so sorry. Zac’s app allows us to delete messages. Should we delete that so you don’t have to see it?
S2: Exactly, because we’re all feeling our way through this stuff.
S1: Yeah, and that’s really what the writer and their husband do here, which is, feel it out. Yeah, right. Go to Mara and say, Hey, I’m in a harmony hurricane right now. I don’t understand why you did this social media thing. It’s upsetting me and like, see what she said?
S2: Yeah. Listen to her answer. Yeah.
S1: And you might imagine understand some of the logic. And you also might be part of us building a collective social etiquette around this subject.
S2: Exactly. So, yeah, have that conversation in good faith, too, because chances are Maura is in trying to snare your husband. It’s not some kind of devious plan on her part. In all likelihood, she’s just trying. So there is a business aspect to it.
S1: And like, she might have ended up on some strange message board. Yeah, like advised her to do this. And she’s like, you know, scrambling to like, pay some bills. And so she’s like cashier right through it, right?
S2: Sounds good, right? Yeah. You’re listening to this week’s free episode. Our second episode each week is exclusively for Slate Plus members. This week we have a letter from a man who’s best guy friend has been staying with him and his wife for a few months. It’s been nice, except for what he just caught his wife doing. But if I were in this situation and I saw my boyfriend doing that, I’d be like, What are you doing? Yeah. You know, like what?
S2: So listen to that episode tomorrow. Sign up for Slate Plus for just $1 for your first month, you’ll get every how to do a podcast with no ads. Plus, you’ll be able to read every single advice column on Slate with no monthly limits. Joined now at Slate.com Slash HDI Plus that’s Slate.com slash HDD.
S1: IPL U.S. If you’re in need of sex advice from Rich and me. You can write to how to do it at Slate.com, slash how to do it. Or you can leave us a voicemail at three four seven six four zero four zero two five and we may use it on the show. That’s three four seven six four zero four zero two five and Slate.com. Slash h o 0W TODO i t remember this is anonymous and nothing is too small or embarrassing.
S2: Our show is produced by child to how to do its editor is Jeffrey Blumer. Our letter readers are Shasha Leonard and Benjamin Frisch. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.