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Soft Landing Podcast: Episode 2: A Laboratory of Sexuality


Destination? Soft landing. This week's episode, A Laboratory of Sexuality, takes us to the lab where we are cooking up a recipe for sexualiTEA. First we (Rafaella and Eric) spill the tea on our own sexualities and the journey we took to get to where we are currently. Then we test out a few hypotheses around what this nebulous concept of sexuality is.


Interested in diving in deeper? Each episode, we will provide a worksheet or resource for you to add to your toolbox of self-exploration. This week, we have a Sexuality Exploration worksheet, which you can find here.


Have a question you'd like answered on the podcast, submit it here!


Be sure to also follow us on Instagram @softlandingpodcast


And learn more about our therapy, coaching, and education services here.


 

Soft Landing is created, hosted, and edited by Rafaella Fiallo and Eric Jones. The intro, outro, and transition music all provided by: https://freebeats.io ⁠and produced by White Hot.


 

Episode transcription:


Eric

Hello listeners, welcome back to the Soft Landing podcast, a gentle space for self-discovery. We are your hosts...


Rafaella

Rafaella

Eric

... and Eric. This week we are traversing the air currents of sexual fluidity. And there might be some turbulence, so strap in your strap on as we navigate the complexity of sexuality. And be assured we will make a soft landing.


Rafaella

Mmmm, love it.

Eric

Thank you. So really excited for this topic. I feel like this is also a really great segue for our last episode because we're talking about sexual liberation and freedom. And I think that goes right into the whole piece around sexuality and fluidity around it. So I'm really excited to dig into it.


Rafaella

Yea, me too. There's so many places we can go and I'm really excited to see where it goes and where the conversation takes listeners as well, because I think it's a topic that can feel so rigid and when we talk about fluidity or we try to be more open with our sexuality, it's like we run against these barriers. Be it from society, from family, from religion, from friends, from memes, from whatever the case. So I'm really glad that we have this space to just put it all out there.


Eric

I agree. We're more than just the Kinsey scale. Great piece for what it was back then, but we can get beyond that.


Rafaella

We can do better.


Eric

We could do better.


Rafaella

So, to start off this week, I would love for us to chat about how we have come to conceptualize our own sexuality.


Eric

Yeah, oh that is a big question. As we're talking about this for people, I thinking about it for myself. I, you know, I feel like, this is taking me back to so many different places of time, you know? And that's a really great question. So first off I want to start, I know for me personally, I knew at a very young age that I was attracted to men. Like probably 5, 6 years old. I was like looking at people and being like, I'm into men's bodies and things and all that kind of stuff and what I was seeing out in the world. And so, you know, I was also raised in a very small rural town in North West Florida. So, I feel like for a lot, for a really long time I kind of buried that. You know and kind of was like, "I am nothing".


Rafaella

Can I ask, as you think about that, was your community silently homophobic? Like we don't talk about queerness and so you learn from the silence, "Oh this is not something I should talk about." Or was it more overt, like "[sic] Homosexuality is bad and those people are kissing, why are they kissing?" Like that type of thing. So, what was the vibe in your town?


Eric

It was a bit of both. I think definitely within my family, it was like, we don't really talk about it. You know, we don't really touch on that subject. I think outside of that in the world that I was into as I left home, there was like a mix. Kids are kids and they be saying things and they be doing things. It is definitely like this is not safe for me to share these things. And so definitely kind of recognized all these pieces and was like, I, for my own safety, I felt like I had to bury this. I had to not engage with it. And so it wasn't until, gosh, probably like college where I was really starting to actually then own it and come to terms with like all the other stuff that kind of happened before then and getting to a place where I was able to start sharing with people. Like, this is how I identify, I am not straight. I am not this thing that, which I mean, to be fair, I was probably like a glass closet. I didn't try very hard.


Rafaella

[Laughter]. You're like I'm gonna be nothing. But also, it's very clear that...


Eric

I wasn't trying to date any girls. I think also in my head I was like I don't want to have a beard, which for people don't know, a beard is like someone who might be closeted who dates someone of the opposite gender to protect their queerness or homosexuality.


Rafaella

And that person would be considered the beard?


Eric

Yes. And I just never felt okay with that personally because I was just like, I'd rather not do that. I'd rather just be me and just exist. And I definitely had people ask me throughout school like are you gay and I'm like no. I remember one time I was hanging out with some friends who also like very queer now and was the first time I was even like, I think it might be a little bisexual.


Rafaella

Just tip a toe in, see what the vibe is. See how people respond.


Eric

Yeah, really having those those moments. But I think, for me too, it was in getting more comfortable in my skin, surrounding myself with other people, especially in college who also were queer or trans-identified people who just made me feel safe to be able to show up the way that I felt like I wanted to. To fill seen, like we've talked about, right? And then from there just getting to this place where, you know at back then I said I was gay, now I say I'm queer because even though I have like almost exclusively been with people who identified men, male-bodied people, I also recognize that I have other attractions and so that there are possibilities out there that I necessarily won't shut myself off to given the right context.


Rafaella

Okay, right. How did you come to that awareness?


Eric

Oh gosh, that's a great question. Well, OK. Story time. So I do know one moment and I think that I was hanging out with some friends we were hanging out and stuff. And you know, we were sipping on a little something something. I ended up...


Rafaella

The liquor, it will get you every time

Eric

It will, it will. And I ended up making out with one of my friends, a woman, and then one of the other people here was also a woman. And I was very turned on. I was literally at one point like we got to stop because I felt like we're... also we were all like virgins, we'd never had sex before in that context, and I was like I think we need to stop because I identify as gay and I don't want your first time to be with someone... [laughter].


Rafaella

I'm seeing this thread or this theme of you also considering other people's experience, right? I don't want to put on a front or kind of have this identity by dating a woman to protect myself. And how would that make her feel? What would she feel looking back? Oh, this person was gay or I slept with someone... you know yeah so... I see you. You care for other people. Setting boundaries.


Eric

I try, I try. I definitely try to lead with that. Yeah, but it was so funny too, because there were other friends there too. They were all like, "Eric we thought you were gay." I go, "I thought so too, but I guess I'm not as exclusively gay as I thought." And I think that was like a great moment for me of like, "Oh, they're, like, it." There, it was a great lesson of things aren't as strict or as simple as we think they that might be right. And so I think from there too, just continue to get to know other people, to just meet different types of people and recognizing what was coming up for me in those moments, right? In terms of attraction, and then really sitting with myself and reflecting on what does that mean? What does that look like? How do I feel about that? And getting to this place of understanding for myself that I tend to overall just be attracted to pretty masculine people. There were moments where there were people who were not male-identified or male bodied, but also very masc presenting, and I'd be like, "Oh, hi". And then there were also some other people who were male bodied and the way they presented, it was something different, that also made me think, "Huh, I like something about this". And I think it got to this place where I really wanted to be able to, again get to this place of understanding for myself, that while my specific behavior has been this one thing, that how I conceptualize my sexuality is from this place of wonder and curiosity. And then for me, the added piece of context, right. Because I don't want it to be a, I want to have you as my experiment, but I want to be able to be open to different opportunities as they arise. And pursue them with this energy of joy and pleasure and fun rather than, "Oh, I can't do this because of this this and this". So I think for me that was like a big really cool journey that I've been on for myself.


Rafaella

You're hitting on so many pieces that I also want to bring into the conversation. The first one is around alcohol and substances, and sexuality. Because you know I'm thinking of songs like, "I kissed the girl I liked it" and I know when I was in what was that high school, I liked it and I know when I was in, what was that, high school or whatever, whatever it was. It was kind of like when you're in the club party having a good time you're dancing with folks of the same sex most of the time these are folks in more femme presenting or in female bodies who have that permission to twerk on their friends, you know, stuff like that. Smack their ass and kiss and make out. And it's a fun, not even exploratory, is just like a fun thing that we do, you know? Sometimes it can be performative. You know, I've spoken to some folks who like, well, the guys like it. So we thought it was hot or whatever. Or they think it's hot. So I've met a lot of people. I've worked with a lot of people who question the validity of their attraction, their desires, or even their behaviors while under the influence of something. And the permission I like to give all of us is it's yours to decide. Like it could be Okay, I was under the influence of something and that doesn't really feel too aligned with my sober self. So maybe I'm not interested in the other person. Or maybe it was a little liquid courage and I do feel like I was able to do something I would not have normally done because of that situation. But I don't want people to feel like they have to box themselves in and to remain more curious about, all right, it happened, how far into the curiosity do I want to go or can I get myself permission to go to see like what does this mean for me? Does it mean anything for me? Do I want to do anything with it right now or not? Can I put it to the side and look at it from a distance? Because I also feel like there's so much pressure to figure out your sexuality. You need to know for sure in the LGBTQIA press community. Where do you fit?


Eric

What's your letter? What's your assigned seating?


Rafaella

Exactly. And figured out ASAP. And I would just love to be in a society where sexuality is just as fickle as what my favorite food is this month. You know, and it's OK, as long as it's consensual and it's honest. And you're having those conversations with folks in a timely manner, so that way we can decrease or eliminate people feeling like they're being dragged along or being hurt because of our, whatever stuff we're going through, but like could we have our phases where we're just like figuring it out and we don't even have to choose. It's like oh yeah you saw me with this type of person one day and the next day, or the next month, or the next year, it's like it's fine and it doesn't mean that you don't know what you want and that you're inconsistent. It's like no what I want is the multi-verse. What I want is to be diverse and curious and that is part of my sexuality.


Eric

I love that, yeah. And that makes me think of this comic, her name is Zainab Johnson. She's so funny. And she has this bit. Let's see if we can remember correctly. Basically, she's like, oh, it's like a woman, you know, she's 5 years ago, she had that like, you know, she was with us the da da da. Like, oh yeah, I remember girl, when you were like, with that, you were gay for like 5 years. And now you met with the man. And I think the point was then she said, but like for a man, we don't allow that.


Rafaella

We don't know your DL or undercover. You haven't, you know, you're doing the thing because you don't have the courage to come out. And yeah, it's very, very different.


Eric

And the whole point was like, we get to a place where we're like the same way. You can be like, hey, yo Joe, you remember you gave for those 5 months. Or that night? Yeah, it was really funny. She was a good one.


Rafaella

And also to also acknowledge because people, not everyone has that experience, not everyone's community or circle is open-minded like that and they don't have that person or people saying it's okay. Like, oh yeah, you remember...no, they're like, see, what are you doing? You know, you're all over the place. You don't know what you want. You're out here confused. And that's what a lot of queer people, even if they are not exploring and they've been very definitive of their sexuality, just like they're confused. They don't know because their community or family wants them to be straight. Yes. And they can't accept it. Yeah. Anything else you want to say?


Eric.

I think I'm good.


Rafaella

Alright, so you know. When I think about the journey of my sexuality, I still have light bulb moments of like, "Mmhmm, gay as hell". And I like saying stuff like that too because I remember people saying that to me. So it's in a sense it's like being able to own it now, even though in those moments I would dismiss it, or deny it, or most of the time I would just joke it off or things like that. But I just had a moment recently where I was thinking about back in the day, we were on AOL chat. Dial up still dialing up and I remember there was someone from school who was my homie. But we were talking all the time. This is also giving the vibes of how you can start to develop feelings from someone the more that you are in a relationship with them, the more you talk to them. But specifically, I'm talking about chatting with folks online. Yeah. And how it's just a different energy, right? So even though this was my friend, we saw each other every day. There was something about those intimate conversations while we were online, that made me start to like them, like her. And she was also going through her own sexual identity. When I first met her, she was wearing, you know, very much presenting as a teenage girl. And then her style would change, only wearing jeans and t-shirts, never anything too girly. And then it was starting to get more and more masculine. But even in between all of that, I'm like, I like her. You know, and I remember telling her I liked her and then I have like a block. Of like, then what? I probably need to do like a little EMDR. What happened after I shared my feelings about that. Later just blocked that all out and it wasn't until a couple years ago and I'm like, I had crashes on folks and there weren't a lot of times where I would share that. But I do remember that specific time. And then growing up where even when I was dating guys. Always like people would always like girls you're a lesbian, you're gay. And I'm just like what? I'm in a whole relationship with you. Like, what's the problem?


Eric

What am I not doing right?


Rafaella

How do you know?


Eric

Yeah, it's like I thought I was doing all the things.


Rafaella

And I was doing all the things and enjoyed it. But I think about those times. I think about family members questioning me all the time. I remember, I specifically remember them saying, "I don't want you to be gay because then you'll go to hell and you won't be there with me". And I'm just looking at her like...sis.


Eric

Yay, the religions trauma. Wooo.

Rafaella

The religious trauma. And just being like, this is weird. First of all, because I know all your business, so you feel like, that this is what you're singling out as a sin. But so like having these call-outs and declarations of my sexuality coming from outside that I was just like also not too pressed about at the same time. Which, I mean I know why, like I didn't I wasn't trying to be curious about it out loud. I was fine with dating men, dating boys and dating men. And I was like, cool. I'm a straight girl. You know, back in the day we used to say strictly dickly. I don't know, I have not heard that in a long time. I think that's also like a Black community thing. But yeah, I used to say that and I was like, yeah, this is, "This is me. This is my deal". And when I got to college, I still wasn't really exploring my sexuality, but I was in a lot of queer circles. I had a lot of friends who were studs. And people would ask me. Are you gay? Why are you always hanging out with them? They're gonna turn you out. That's another thing. I don't, we don't say that anymore now, but it's always this fear being turned out. And in my head, "I'm like, oh shoot, [unclear] Why not". But really, that's where it was. So it was always like me saying that I'm comfortable with, you know, I don't, I'm not homophobic and I don't have a preference and I like everybody. Not saying like sexually, I'm like, I'm friends with everybody, so I can have queer friends, gay friends. And it doesn't mean anything about my sexuality. But whole time, I'm looking at her like, you just let me know. And after psychology class, we're out of here! But yeah, and so, you know, as I reflected on even when I was in junior high or high school, whenever that was. And my friend was, finding her identity. A lot through fashion and then finally coming out and then like My friendships and attraction to studs and more masculine presenting people. It wasn't until maybe a couple years ago I even heard about the term androphilia or being an androphile, androsexual, which is someone who is attracted to men or masculinity or masculine presenting people. Regardless of sex, biological sex. And when I read that, I was like, oh, that makes so much sense.


Eric

I'm right there with you. That reminds me of another story from college. One of my friends, she was dating this girl from this rugby team. And I was so attracted to her. She was very masculine presenting. And I remember I told my friend this was like, I think she's so hot. Like, I just, you know, short, I think it's that called the Caesar haircut. It's like that kind of kind just, well fitted like clothing very mass presenting. My friend said, Eric, that is the gayest thing I've ever heard you say, that you are attracted to this woman because of how masculine she presents. Listen, I don't know what to tell you. I'm into it.


Rafaella

I'm into it. And and as I started meeting more people and just more gender expansive people. And then I was like, oh, I'm parents sexual because I really don't care. I like you as a person and the conversations that we have, like I'm very much in that sense like sapiosexual, but more so in relational, romantic, attraction, sexual attraction, again, pansexual. You know, it's just like if I like the aesthetic, I like the vibe, I like the presentation or whatever, it's just, it's like that. But when it gets to more on the romantic side of things, it's more about relationship building and personality and how I get along with you.


Eric

And I love that distinction. I definitely to talk more about that in a little while.


Rafaella

And another thing, just speaking about romanticism, it's like I also realize how often I have very strong, for right now I'm going to call it romantic, but like romantic feelings for my friends. Especially like girl friends. You know, but it wasn't sexual, I didn't want a romantic relationship with them, but I would want to dote on them, and care for them, and surprise them with gifts. Like oh, we were in the mall and she said she liked this. I'm going to buy her this. I would just feel so much in my heart, like romance for them. But there was never like jealousy. I never wanted to be with them or anything like that. I was just always so interested about that response or behavior. And one of those people actually, I made a post a while ago, it was just like a queer post. And this person slid in my DMs, just like I always thought that we were both kind of queer and we never talked about it, because we just didn't talk about it. But that was definitely someone I always felt a romantic feeling towards.


Eric

I love that. And I really, one I love the distinction between sexual attraction and romantic attraction, I think that is also a really important piece here that we can delve into. I love this piece around the friendship thing. I am such a staunch person around really redefining how we think about friendships. I've often said all of my really close friends that I have in my life, I'm attracted to them in one way or another. I think that we don't want to say that because it feels weird or like, ehh, no...


Rafaella

...Because people tend to go straight to sexual attraction and there are so many different forms of attraction.


Eric

And that's the reason why I want them in my life is because of that attraction.


Rafaella

Can I also say one more thing.


Eric

Yea, go for it.


Rafaella

What I tend to notice is that because we tend to say or hear or even feel the attraction, we automatically go into the sexual world. I think that's why we also are in relationships, romantic, sexual relationships, that we might not have been in otherwise. Because we actually had an intellectual attraction, or an aesthetic attraction, or an emotional attraction with someone. But we're like, oh, if I feel this, that means it must be sexual or we should be in a relationship together. When it's like maybe you should write poetry together. Maybe you should like start a band together or maybe you should just hang out more and be friends, but so much of these intense feelings that can come up, I think we're taught that we should do something sexual with it and that's not the case.


Eric

That is so, that is a great, great, great, great point. I love it. Okay, so how about we take a break and then we'll come back and jump into some more?


Rafaella

Okay, let's do it.


Eric

And we're back. So I want to take us now, to kind of talk about the politics of sexuality because, for better or worse, it has been politicized. And I think that that also then plays into how people experience their own sexualities in the world around them too. And so, I want to start with this idea of compulsory heterosexuality, which I feel like you mentioned earlier, right, in like this, this need, or feeling, to perform heterosexuality to appease those around us.


Rafaella

Yeah. I'm just thinking, I'm just having so many thoughts and realizations and feelings about that. And, grief. And I think when we are talking about any identity that we have, or didn't have access to for however long. We are talking about grief. We're talking about the loss of what could have been, and then grieving that. What it would have been like to not have the shame? Didn't have to hide, to explore earlier, and have these conversations. Who would we be? And then, it sucks even more because even once you get there, you still have to navigate the politics of it, that kind of take up unnecessary space we'd would rather use for the fun, the curiosity and exploration. But we have to deal with people's shame being projected onto us or their questioning or their violence. And so it's like even though we're now, we're still going through the grieving process because I just can't be free because you care too much. This other person cares too much and they're being judgmental. So all of that was kind of coming up, where it's just, so often we forget about it and people they kind of get caught off guard like, "But I'm out and I'm dating and I'm dressing the way this affirming to the way that I wanted to show up in this world, but what is this heaviness that I still feel?" And we have to recognize that, so we can give ourselves the space to name like oh there is a loss here. There is grief here.


Eric

I appreciate that and that brought stuff up for me because, I was in the Peace Corps. And I was in a country where it was illegal to, homosexuality was illegal. And they were very clear of like, you really should not be disclosing this to people in your city, town village, wherever...


Rafaella

It's not safe.


Eric

It's not safe. And going into it, I was leaving undergrad and I was also like a couple years out from doing other stuff. And I felt very secure in myself at that point. So I was like, oh, won't be big deal. I can handle this. You know, I'd done a lot of work, got to my realizations, I was like, "I feel secure". But baby, let me tell you, once I got there and was building relationship with people, and feeling like I couldn't fully share all of myself with them, and was always holding back. It became really difficult and I wound up having conversations with the counselor there because of the struggles, and some other stuff too, but that was one of the things that we talked about. She had her previous work as a grief counselor, and she's like, this is grief. And, like you said, like morning and grieving what could be and what never will be. And I think that's such an important piece to talk about too because I don't think we do talk or recognize that enough that there is grief in that process. And like for me, even just naming it allowed me to then work to process it and to continue processing. Because I still cannot share with them this thing, right? And so, I really appreciate that. I think that's such an important piece that I truly was not thinking about when we walked into this conversation.


Rafaella

Yeah, and you can't process what you don't name.


Eric

Yeah, no, I think that's great. And then thinking about the structures that be. Heterosexism is real. There's a lot of privilege in...


Rafaella

...Privilege and survival? If we're talking about the witnessing, the seeing, the acknowledgment, and the structures that be, the policies that be. I mean, you were just talking about how it was illegal. And how here, in the States, marriage has been illegal, has been not an option for folks. So how many couples have struggled because they were not able to reap the benefits that come with marriage, being able to put a partner on their insurance, or ensuring that someone can be a beneficiary. You know, things like that, that people have really struggled with financially because that's just, that's our society. And that being taken away, because of who someone loves, and how they show up in the world. So when we talk about compulsory heterosexuality, it's in one hand you have to recognize why people choose what they do? The factors that make them feel safer to come out, or make them feel like it's an option for them. Sometimes it's a matter of what is, I don't want to say what's real or what's fake, because, what we do know sometimes, it's because of society messages, we then kind of spill that narrative into other people, like our friends, our family, and maybe they don't align. Maybe they've been silent because they just, maybe you did a great job of staying in the closet and they would have never guessed, right? Maybe you haven't and they're just waiting for you to disclose, but they're ready to accept you. So I think we do have that role of like okay how much of this is me pulling from the societal narrative that this is not okay and so I have to say in this relationship so I can appear in this sexual identity and how much of it is in assumption that I'm making. Both can still be scary to learn, to figure out. Like okay what is the risk here? And am I going to be right or wrong? And what are the potential outcomes or consequences of me making that move. And they are not easy things to ask or determine. And I think now, because we feel like we're in the sexually liberated world and it's like everyone can be, like, no one cares anymore if you're gay. Well the fact of the matter is a lot of people do care. So, you know, we can't force people to come out or make them feel bad for being in the closet a little bit longer, like everyone has their reasons. And it's based on their level of comfort and safety. And you know ideally we would love to create more spaces where it is safe for folks, even if it's in this in our space, you can show up this way. But I think even with this, when we're talking about compulsive behavior, or beliefs, or expectations, how we can also do that to one another in the queer community. And that's what I always like to say, we are, we have created these spaces where it's like we are open, this is a place you can just show up, be yourself, pick from the letters, switch them around, whatever the case is. But in some spaces, there still feels like I have to check a certain box. Am I doing queer, queer enough, right enough? Are people forcing me to come out for whatever reason or, you know, things like that where it's like, all right. Are we just going to oppress people over here too? But it does happen.


Eric

Yeah. No, I agree. There's so much I wanna respond to. I'll start with that. I agree because there's this idea with queer theory, that things are kind of constantly changing and influx and like their definitions are in labels or are a bit meaningless because of that. And also the importance of having those labels to give like definition, to give that feeling of being seen, to give that, but then creating all these things, and then still reinforcing old behaviors within, that we took from heterosexuality. We're still forcing these edges, these hard edges on people, and not getting to this place of, we have these things, but also in the queer theory side. Do what you want.


Rafaella

Do what you want, but also it needs to be this color.


Eric

And so it's just this really weird dichotomy that I think we constantly are recreating.


Rafaella

But again, it's about survival. It's about being in the group. And when you're in the group, you're more likely to survive. You're more likely to have access to resources. You're more likely to have you that community that can help you during the crisis situation. And you know I really long for and strive for the day where our survival isn't purely linked to our similarity.


Eric

But just to us existing.


Rafaella

Just to our humanity. You exist, I see you. You deserve to have peace, to have rest, to have access to things, and it not be contingent upon you showing up in the way that makes me comfortable.


Eric

I think the other piece too, that you're talking about, of this idea of compulsory heterosexuality, of people choosing to wait longer, or choosing to never fully identify as not heterosexual. And so I think I wanted to also kind of go back, with another thought with the compulsory heterosexuality piece, particularly with the people who maybe wait longer or like never own another identity outside of heterosexuality. Because I think there's this interesting piece too of, we mentioned earlier the people on the down low, we mentioned women just making out to make out, particularly in these clubs or party settings. This additional idea of like, people who identify as straight, as heterosexual, but then will maybe sometimes either have same-sex or divergent sexual attraction to other gender identities and I think that's important too because I don't want to limit to like just cis-gender understanding of heterosexuality or homosexuality.

But there's this idea that, "Oh, if I go off and get a blow job or fuck someone in a bathhouse, that's okay. I'm still primarily this thing. I still hold a heterosexual identity. And so I think that is also a really interesting piece because I think that comes with some tension too. With this idea of having your cake and you eating it too.


Rafaella

Yeah, which I just personally I do not like that saying.


Eric

Oh, you don't?


Rafaella

Because if it's my cake...now it's different if you're saying you want all the cakes, that don't belong to you. But if it's my cake, I get to do whatever I with it. Why wouldn't I eat my cake? But anyway, that's just a side bar. Find another saying. It's my cake, I can do what I want.


Eric

That's funny. Okay, that's a really great point because I do love cake. And if you're going to give me some, I'm going to eat it. So why not...but I think the idea for me is that you get to hold, not only hold this privilege identity of heterosexuality, but you also then get to be behave and have experiences and pleasure within this same-sex or divergent sexual attraction from people who are not of the straight opposite sex. And so that then creates this weird dichotomy too, even in some classes that we've had discussions, people feel really uncomfortable with this idea, because it's like you get to benefit from this thing, while also enjoying this thing, but not...


Rafaella

...We do that in so many other areas of our lives though when it comes to identity and access, you know, even ethnicity, race and all this other stuff, right? We talk about folks who may be ambiguous or you know, someone looks at them, they're like, I don't know where you're from, or they think they're one race and maybe they're biracial, multi-racial or something like that. And people talk about that, right? Like, oh, you can be accepted in this community and also you're in this community but you don't experience the racism. So this is really interesting conversation around oppression and privilege. And we all have to be oppressed. As opposed to our earlier half of the conversation, where we were like, why can't people mix and match and have fun and do whatever they want without labels if that's what they choose. If this person is like Hey, I'm mostly heterosexual or straight, and sometimes when I go on vacation or when I go to a bathhouse or when I drink or whatever the case is, what is the issue with that? If and when it is consensual, safer sex practices, and there's no deception happening like this person isn't in a relationship with someone else and they don't know. Unless they have a don't ask on tell policy, which is something different. But if they, if this other person is believing I'm in a monogamous relationship with someone and then you're out here doing all of this stuff, then yeah that's a problem. But yeah, if you want to live this way, yeah, I don't, I don't really see the problem. I think the problem tends to be is that those parameters aren't being met, and there is a lot of harm, and deception, and violence, and still like internalized phobias and shame, like that straight person quote unquote is now shaming queer people or limiting access for things like that. That's typically what's happening. Yes. So let's speak on that. Let's not necessarily say, "Oh, it's wrong or it's, a problem for someone to have a flexible sexuality," and say, "These are things that aren't being met, that's causing harm that need to be addressed." It's how I'm more-so see it.


Eric

No, I love that, yeah.


Rafaella

And going back to the whole androphilia thing, I was thinking about, especially now, one because of social media. So back in the day it wasn't like this because we didn't have so much exposure. But you know, I can go to a popular person's page who's maybe masc of center, masculine presenting, or a stud, or something like that, and in the comments it's a bunch of quote-unquote straight girls, who just like I think I'm gay or I'm straight but she can get it. Or what does it mean that this person is so hot to me? And I'm just like, it means you might be an androphile, but also you may not be and that's okay. But it's just like, how do we give ourselves and people permission to just try on different things. Because also maybe there's nothing more to do with that. Like we can look at people and experience attraction, again, and it not have to lead to a sexual behavior or even romantic outcome. But yeah, I think sometimes we just kind of really get stuck in the action of sexuality. Which is so interesting to me because you know I've had people question like, "Am I gay or queer if I've never had a gay or queer relationship?" And I'm like, we don't ask that of straight people. We have folks who have maybe never had a sexual experience with someone else, right? Thinking of the movie, 40, was it 40 or 50 year old version or something like that? It's not like this big to do of like, "Is he gay?" Or how do you know you're really straight if you've never slept with the woman? That you never happens.


Eric

It's always the opposite. How do you know if you haven't tried it?


Rafaella

It never happens because that's the default, right? But if you are saying you're queer, but you've never had a partner or whatever. It's just like, how do you know? The same way that you knew before you had sex with anyone, before you kissed anyone, before you flirted with anyone, before you had someone flirt with you. You had an idea.


Eric

I think that's such an important piece. I agree. It's like also, I think of, particularly the bi-erasure of it all when a bisexual person might be with someone of the opposite sex and maybe hasn't ever had a same-sex experience. And people are like, well, how are you bisexual if you never... because I am.


Rafaella

...Because I am. You are valid, anyone listening who's in a relationship and they're pansexual or bisexual or whatever the case is, and people are questioning the authenticity of your sexuality because your partner, because your relationship appears to be straight presenting. None of that matters. What matters is what you say.


Eric

But yeah, I love that and I love the piece too. And that's why I want to bring it up because I think that that tension of like straightness and heterosexuality but then like the behaviors, and all that stuff, I think it's such an interesting piece that I also don't know we allow for that nuance enough either.


Rafaella

Yeah, we don't, we don't want nuance. We want to be able to know with certainty what something is, because we've been taught and shown that our survival requires that certainty. But I just think it's something that we've expanded to things that don't matter. Like I'm just thinking of an extreme example, like you live in a forest and you need to know for certain, is that a rock or is it a wolf? It's gray, I need to know for sure what that is, so that I know how to move. Valid, makes sense, certainty. But when we're talking about sexuality, and identity, and having sex, and having fun, and putting people in boxes is not necessary. We need to be focusing on is it safe, sane, pleasurable, consensual, you know?


Eric

Unless they do want to be put into a box. Literally. Okay, with that, let's take our final break and then we'll come back to wrap it up.


Eric

Welcome back y'all. We are so excited to have our first listener letter. We're really excited to have more of those too. So if you have questions for us, please go and find it in our bio, on Instagram at the @softlandingpodcast and share your thoughts and questions with us.


Rafaella

And the website, healingxchg.com/podcast.


Eric

Thank you. So you can find submissions for all that at both of those places. So this is from Kevin this week. And Kevin is really wondering how can he create space for himself to explore his sexuality. So what does that look like? How do we kind of cultivate that atmosphere, that almost like a laboratory of sexuality.


Rafaella

I love it. One of my first recommendations, if you will, practices, is to one, release the pressure of having to practice anything specifically to explore or affirm your sexuality.

So you do not need to get on Tinder, Grinder, or Bumble or whatever, to start dating someone immediately. But start off with increasing your exposure. And being curious. through who you're following online. Maybe if you watch pornography, you can explore different types of pornography. If you read erotica, check out some erotic stories that can help with your curiosity around some of these identities that you're exploring. Go to workshops, talk to, you know, if you're in queer community, talk to them about some of their queer journeys and how they've explored. Ask for some of these resources. Like okay, because they'll tell you all the podcasts listen to, all the books to read, the IG accounts to follow, the workshops that have been really affirming and healing and expansive for them. If you don't have those communities, start finding those communities, start to increase your circle and exposure to folks who are different than you, or who are maybe versions or flavors of where you think you might want to go, without feeling like, in order for me to know if I like this or if I'm this way is, I need to kiss a guy. Let's slow it down. And also that just may not be safe and possible for each other. Also reminding everyone, reminding us that, a lot of us we're clued into our sexuality because of those earlier ways, because of who we were around and, thinking about one of our favorite actors growing up. Like, OK, I thought I liked them because it was an action person, but it was deeper than that. Oh, I really liked this person because of her style, and it was deeper than that. So remembering that a lot of us come into our sexuality not because we had a sexual experiences, not because we kissed someone, or we even held hands with someone. It's because we had that exposure. And so, yeah, taking off the pressure to jump into the deep end immediately.


Eric

That is such a great tip. And even in like the last part, because I'm thinking back to my childhood things because let me tell you again, I knew very early on. It was probably because of what I was seeing on TV like Tommy and Oliver from Power Rangers, like the White Ranger, baby.


Rafaella

Yes, come on. First of all, also, when you liked all of the Power Rangers, I think is a sign.


Eric

Yes. There were many. Yeah, all of them were just doing something.


Rafaella

All the colors. That could be a light bulb moment for someone listening right now.

Eric

Oh, for sure. I think that is such a great point. And listening to podcasts like ours. So giving a little plug to please follow us and share. I think that's such a great point. And especially taking that pressure off of the behavior of it. You don't, again, have to do the sex, to have the identity. Who you are, how you feel, that is, it just is. It doesn't have to be anything other than that. And so I think that that's a great way for people to also just to be more kind with themselves, to be more soft with themselves in their own process and along this path too.


Rafaella

And I also, reminding ourselves that sex and our sexuality are not one and the same. Our body parts are neutral. Our body parts experience pleasure. It is not about the type, quote unquote, of sex that you have that means anything. And I say that because, people will make assumptions like, oh, if you have anal sex, then that means this about you. And it doesn't. It just means that you've discovered the sensations of the anal opening and the canal and it feels pleasurable. That's it. And also because not everyone is sexual in that way. If they're queer or if they're not. So you have folks who may be asexual who have no interest in being sexual with a person, but they do have a queer attraction. And that's fine. And so, so much emphasis on having the sex is really coming from compulsory heterosexuality, sexual compulsory. And it just erases so many identities and possibilities for folks based on who they are and where they are. Yeah, we have to kind of remember that being sexual, everyone has a sexuality, but sexuality is a spectrum and it doesn't have to look like one thing. You do not have to have sex to be a sexual person. Like how someone else's sexuality shows up. And I think that's just really important to remind ourselves, because I also know a bunch of queer men who don't have anal sex. Right? So, sexual behaviors, any type of penetration, intercourse is not necessary for you to, quote unquote, know if you like somebody, if you find them attractive, if you enjoy spending time with them. Because all of those are valid markers of your sexual identity. So it's up to you and to give yourself permission of where you want to go, how far you want to go, and you can change your mind. Maybe right now you're like this what I want to do, and then later you don't. And that's okay too.


Eric

That part. That was one of the parts I was going to bring up. Even when it comes to sexuality and the whole purpose of fluidity is that, ten years ago you might have identified as straight. Now you might identify as gay. Five years now, you might identify as bisexual. Ten years after that, maybe you identify as asexual. And those are all valid points in your timeline and your existence of your current sexual being.


Rafaella

Yes, and they do not minimize or erase the five years before. You know, we have this loyalty to consistency in a way that just makes it so hard for us to explore. It's like, well, if I do this now, you know, what are people gonna say? They're gonna say, "Oh, I thought you didn't like.... I don't know why I'm thinking about mushrooms, but I used to despise mushrooms. And now I eat them, anyway. But I've had situations like, I thought you didn't like mushrooms. We'll, I eat them now. But if I was so concerned about maintaining this identity or image, it's like I have to just eat mushrooms by myself. You know, things like that. So really giving ourselves first, the permission to change our minds and it does not make us wishy-washy or confused. It makes us falling more in alignment to who we are. And maybe who we are is diverse, curious people who enjoy switching it up.


Eric

Yeah. Why not, I love that. And I think the last piece I want to touch on too is like that difference between romantic attraction and sexual attraction. I think that's also a really important piece to remind people of, is that those are also on their own continuums. You might be romantically attracted to one gender or multiple genders, and then be attracted sexually to only one. And there are these both very valid places for people to be able to play in as well.


Rafaella

Yeah, I love that reminder because I know people try to invalidate that experience or maybe they say well you're not you're just not out, you're not brave enough. Like for example, maybe someone who plays a lot with women. But all of their romantic, sexual, long-term partners are men, or vice versa. And so this idea of like, oh, you're just confused or you're just not really owning up to it. It's just again putting people in the boxes. There are situations where people can admit, maybe I wasn't fully out, but other times, it's just like no this is who I met and fell in love with. So yeah, it just kind of goes back to let's get out of people's way. Let's not be a door on their path of sexual exploration.


Eric

I'm sorry, ya'll. Literally, people can say two words and I'm thinking of a song. I was like, love is an open door, from Frozen. [Laughter]. Love is an open door. Sex is an open door. Life is an open door. Any, any final thoughts?


Rafaella

Yeah, I think essentially, the big takeaway is be you, that's when you're the most beautiful.


Eric

I love that.


Rafaella

What about you?


Eric

Oh gosh. The limit does not exist. And that is a quote from Mean Girls. And I think it also applies here. The limit does not exist. You know, we can truly, if we're living in this expansive way of being, be anything and everything. All right, y'all. This was a great episode. I really enjoyed this convo. Also, reminder, we are doing something different with this podcast. We want to offer some resources for folks. So this week we have some really interesting inventories between the Klein Grid and also the Gender Unicorn, if you've heard of any of those, for you all to really just sit down and explore with. And we'll provide some reflection problems as well. So hopefully that will aid you in your own sexual exploration. And really take the opportunity to be a sexual argonaut. So thanks again for listening to the Soft Landing podcast, a gentle space for self discovery. And if you're digging our content, please share with your people, subscribe to the pod so you don't miss an episode. Rate and review us and you can find us on Instagram at @softlandingpodcast and at healing exchange dot com forward slash podcast.


Rafaella

And join us next week for a truly fun episode with our very first guest, as we talk all about sex clubs and dungeon.


Eric

Okay, bye all.


Rafaella

Bye



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