Nicole: The first question I would wanna ask is how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?
Kelly: So my name's Kelly Gordon. I am a disabled entrepreneur, I suppose, from Birmingham in England, which you can probably tell by the accent. I work as creative director at Hot Octopus, which is a tech company. We are international and.
I am the co-founder and co-owner of With Not Four, which is a recruitment company that's targeted specifically towards representing disabled talent. Um, so we represent them in, uh, all of their work, but mainly the creative industries, mainstream media and advertising as well. So Jack of all trades. Uh, mom of two as well.
I've got two boys. And a partner. We're getting married this year. Oh, congrats. We've back in like three weeks, so. Wow. So exciting. Yeah. So lots going on. Mm-hmm.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Yeah, you're an entrepreneur, this hot octopus. I'm curious what that is. What is that entailing?
Kelly: Yeah. So Hot Octopus is a sex tech brand. Uh, like I said, we are global and we think about sex tech.
We basically invent sex toys. I love it. But we call them sex tech because there's a bit of like a technology element as well. One of our, our toys is like really, really interactive and works with apps, and works with pairing with the partners toy. And it's very, very cool. And we have loads of tech that we've developed ourselves.
So we have course plate technology, which is, it was based around medical technology and it can actually bring penis owners. To ejaculate or bring them to orgasm from flacid as well as erect. So it's like that's our best seller. Of course. Yeah. And we have another really cool technology called TRE and Bass as well, and that's like fully customizable and it's like, Based on the vibrations of music.
So the treble is like the high rumley vibes, uh, sorry, the high frequency vibes. And then the bass is the low rumley vibes and you can like make your own combo. So yeah, very popular also.
Nicole: Wow. I'm like, where can I get one? I would love to try.
So are you saying that like it pairs to music?
Kelly: No, no, sorry. It doesn't pair to music, but it uses the same principles, so like, you know, like the trebles more high pitched and the bass is more low Bumbly. Yeah. There's over a hundred combinations that you can do with the toy to make, make your own music, basically.
Nicole: Yes. With your own body and your own pleasure. That's so neat.
Kelly: Yeah, it's really cool.
Nicole: How did you get into this? This is, I'm sure you didn't wake up and telling your parents, you know, like, I'm gonna make sex. Toys. Right? Like how did you get here?
Kelly: Yeah, definitely not. So basically I got into it quite naturally.
Um, I've always been like really into sex and sexuality. Mm-hmm. Like a young age to the point where I was, I was really curious about, about sex and how like relationships and sex work and how to be attractive to people and how to.
Interest in sex life from, you know, quite a young age, probably a bit younger than I should have. And then my family were really prudish about sex. Uh, but obviously rise of the internet and people being curious. I got asked to write quite a lot of pieces around disability and sex. I focused on mainly like, Kind of warning people, really dangerous stuff and you probably shouldn't do that.
Um, and one of the articles I wrote was for the company that I'm creative director for now, and we just got talking around like inclusivity and like. How the brand could really focus on those pillars. So then I became head of inclusivity at the brand, and then shortly after that I just got like, I'm a super nosy person.
I, I have to be involved with everything like Kelly, you really like, you really know what you're doing with the, the future direction of this brand. So, How do you fancy, uh, a promotion? So yeah, I was, I was super keen and now, now I'm kind of at the forefront of the brand really. I'm taking us to events everywhere, getting the word out there.
We just ran a really amazing photo shoot where we featured like all kinds of sexuality, all kinds of bodies, all kinds of abilities, and just like, I'm just so proud of the work we do. I could talk about it all day. You
Nicole: should, and I'm happy to hold that space to talk about it because I think that's a conversation that has not had enough.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I think so. Mm-hmm.
Nicole: Yeah. What would you wanna say about that to the world?
Kelly: Oh God, that's like a big question. I think it's, yeah, it's just super important to, for, for the world to know and to kind of think about, I guess, that everybody deserves the right to pleasure. Um, no matter, you know, no ma matter what your body could do, no matter what it looks like, no matter who you are as a person, everyone deserves their own pleasure, uh, and to be able to explore that.
So I think, you know, the more we open up these conversations about that, The better because people are gonna start feeling more comfortable and they're gonna start to explore themselves. No, I spoke to so many people throughout working at the company. We did a self-love event, um, in partnership with somebody that we work with, and I had a lot of the Volvo owners coming up to me and saying, I've never even masturbated before.
Um, and the, and they were, they were much older as well. They were, you know, they were sort of, it was all around menopause as well, so they were that kind of age group and it, it was quite surprising. But I do think we've come a long way in terms of like, Talking about sexual wellness now openly. Um, but yeah, there's so much for people to explore when they start opening their minds.
Nicole: Yeah. Wow. That, that breaks my heart truly to think that there are people who have never masturbated. I know there's so much stigma with that, but at the end of the day, what we're talking about is pleasure in our bodies, the ability to. Feel good in your body with the natural body you have. And so the idea that someone has never explored that and explored all the pleasure that is possible with that, that breaks my heart.
Kelly: Yeah, I know. It is it, like you say, there is a lot of stigma attached to it as well, so that's partly, um, why, but, um, Also like some of the, these people were in long-term ma marriages and relationships where that was like a, like a no-go zone. Like people, I, I've heard people say before that like masturbation is cheating and all that kind of thing.
And then there's that. I think there's that like heteronormative view, which is like, A penis in vagina sex is like the main thing, and, and that should be enough for everyone. There's, there's just so many things tied to it, so I do understand their position, but at the same time, yeah, I feel like I'm glad that I could give them some sex toys on the day.
Nicole: Yes, yes, yes. We have a whole new future. I mean, yeah. It's, it's wild to think that touching my body is cheating. Yeah, like touching my body. No one else is my body. My pleasure. My body is cheating.
Kelly: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And like, and it just says, it just, I don't know. I think it's a thing as well, like some people worry about their partners watching porn, don't they?
And what they're thinking about and what, what they're doing. And it's like, That for me, that's, that's quite jarring cuz it's like you can't control somebody else's mind and you know, you've gotta have some freedom as it's just kinda suffocating, you know?
Nicole: Yeah. Yes, a hundred percent. I think that's where I get sad too, because I'm like, There's an ability to see beauty in the world and to enjoy that.
Whether you choose to actually have that as a fantasy that you watch through porn or do in your real life is a choice, right? But like to try and cut off our natural ability to see beauty and eroticism in other people. Yeah, I don't know about that one. I don't know. I agree. I agree. Yeah, and it's interesting.
I was just editing an episode that came out for today, and I was looking at the research, at least in the States that. Marital rape was not a thing until 1976 in the United States. So up until that point, every state allowed a husband to rape his wife with no consequences. So that wasn't even 50 years ago.
So I think when we're thinking about older generations who, someone who's never masturbated before, we have to remember the framework of 50 years ago it was legal. For a husband to rape his wife. And I think that comes into the whole context of women being property and how so many women have been disconnected from their sexual power because of things like this.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. That's, that's when you put it like that. Wow. It's just 50 years is no time. And that, I know it should never have been the case, but you know, it's, it seems so, so recent and that's just, that's frightening.
Nicole: I know, I know, I know. When I put it like that, sometimes I forget, like, yeah, like 50 years ago, that wasn't that long.
Yeah. Yeah. Wow. I know you said that when you were writing, you talked about some dangerous stuff. I'm curious what's, what's the danger?
Kelly: I thought I saw you scribbling a little note down. I know. I'm like, Hmm. What is this? Curious. Yeah, so basically like, like I said, I was, I was definitely younger than I should have been.
I was. Meeting people online. So I was like, I grew up when we had like dial up internet and AOL chat, like that was my era. Um, and like chat to all kinds of people, like from everywhere and. It wasn't how it is now when you can just jump on a Zoom or go on a, like send a camera picture off your phone or whatever.
Like, I had no idea realistically who these people were. I actually remember like one time, um, somebody sent me a picture of Little Bow Wow. And they were pretending to be there. Come on. I'm not that like, you know, I might be young, but I'm not that young. Come on.
Yeah. So I was meeting these people, like obviously didn't really know like who they were, got to know them and like got really deep connections with people, but like then met them. Um, then more recently when I was. I was growing up a little and I met, I met with someone I'd met online. Uh, I was driving then, so I, I drove to meet them at the train station, and then we just had, we had nothing planned really, other than just sort of drive around and just whatever.
So we went to like a supermarket and got some like alcohol and then just pulled over at the side of the road and started drinking. And we had sex and. I was out of my wheelchair in the back of the car and I can't get back in my wheelchair once I'm out my wheelchair. So this guy could have beat, like literally that was the first time I met him.
He could have been anyone and he didn't have, like, we were in such a sec. I literally drove us to a secluded place. Yeah, I could have driven myself there like, and he could have done anything. And I think at that age I just was. Wasn't thinking about it or I didn't have the right priorities in terms of my safety.
And yeah, that was that. That's really one that kind of sticks in my head because it wasn't like I had a phone nearby that I could have called like an emergency, or I was just on the floor, like literally on the floor. So yeah, that was probably the main dangerous one I could think of.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That safety of what could have happened.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. And then I think it is with any wheelchair user that's kind of in my boat where their, you know, their conditions kind of progressive or like dependent on the day or whatever. It's always a risk going to a hotel for a hookup because you have to depend on them to almost get you onto the bed, which I'm most people are very willing to do because they want you on that bed.
Yeah. When it comes to when you're ready to get off, then that's not your choice anymore. Um, and you know, I'm not saying that all people are like this by any means. Um, and I've always had good experiences, but it was always like the what ifs. And I think when I started putting it down on paper is when I realized actually that was, that was not good.
That like, that could have ended badly.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Putting a lot of trust in that other person to be respectful.
Kelly: For sure and like, I think like back then as well, like consent wasn't a huge conversation like the like yeah. It was just probably quite problematic and I didn't realize.
Nicole: Sure. But did you have fun though?
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. That's the thing as well, because of all that like, Life experience that's kind of made me who I am. And that's like really influenced the way that I communicate with people and the things that I know. And you know, I wouldn't change it, but it's just in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done it.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That lived experience is some of the best teachers, right? Because then you're able to know like, I've lived this, I've walked this, I know what this is, so don't make the mistakes that I make people.
Kelly: Right. Yeah, basically. Yeah. I can warn others, but yeah, I did it. Yeah, exactly.
Nicole: Exactly. Yeah.
What would you say to the person who is in that same boat? Like if you were to talk to your younger self, what would you have wanted to know at that time?
Kelly: I think to talk to my younger self, I definitely would've. Focused on my own pleasure more. Mm-hmm. You know, there's so much pressure. I think especially like V owners when we are growing up to like just enjoy penis and vagina sex like a he relationship.
And you know, and, and that you are there for them, basically. And I was always like the people pleaser in that way. I never really thought about like what was comfortable for me, what was like pleasurable for me even. Yeah, I think I probably give that kind of a advice. And say, you know, think about that more and actually like, do you wanna do this or do you wanna do this?
But in a different way. Why don't you teach that person actually how to pleasure you instead of just faking an orgasm.
Nicole: Yes, we done with that people, right. We are done with faking orgasms, please.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. So I think that that would be my mind advice, just to to speak. You know, speak your own truth about the whole situation and, and just prioritize your own pleasure.
Obviously it's, it's great to make someone else feel great and, and you should, you should definitely do that if you're keen to do that for somebody. But at the same time, think about yourself and what you are getting out of the situation. Mm-hmm.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that makes me wanna ask like, where do you think that sense of, like, I have to give this to someone came from for you.
Kelly: That is such a good question. I'm just, I'm so competitive. Um, my family. Have always been quite competitive. My dad was a professional footballer in the UK and we've always been a super sporty family, which is really weird having two disabled kids and be, well, they've got three kids, but uh, two of us are disabled.
Uh, and being a sporty family, uh, after he was a footballer, he was really successful in business. So I think there's that kind of like, Always that drive to like succeed, to please to be the best at whatever you're doing. I think.
Also really keen to prove that I was attractive as a wheelchair user. Like there wasn't any kinda disabled celebrities. There wasn't any disabled porn stars that I know of that had a visible disability. You know, there wasn't any representation that said, you know what? Disabled people are actually attractive, and there's such thing as inter relationships.
I did. Like I didn't know any of this. Like I was the only disabled person that I knew apart from my own brother. I was kinda like, well, where do I fit in? Like all of this? Like I think because I went to mainstream schools and I wasn't exposed to disability, I almost thought like, Well, I'm not disabled. I don't wanna be disabled, like mm-hmm.
There's nothing wrong with me. Um, but that was such a naive view to have and obviously now that I'm such a big part of the disabled community, I can see like what I've missed out on. But at the time you're just kind of trying to conform mm-hmm. And be part of society, whatever that might be. So to me it was kind of like a score to to yeah, get with a, an able bodied person and be attractive and like, even, like, I'm ashamed to say this now at my age, cuz it, it feels horrible.
But even to like cheat with somebody else's partner made me feel good and like that, that is a horrible thing to say, I think. Um, and I don't agree with that now. I'm talking like teenage years. But it made me think, okay, yeah, I've got, like, I've got what you've got. Um, that's, that is like a big confession.
I don't think I've ever said that before. I did like, you know, Look at what I can do. You're about me.
Nicole: Yes. I think there's space to hold that nuance, right, of like, yeah, that's not the ideal thing to do to other people. But given the context of where you were at and it sounded like, you know, this was a moment to prove that like, yeah, I am sexy and I am attractive and people do want me.
And yes. And that was so crucial for what was going on for you at the time.
Kelly: Was such a journey. I don't think I was a particularly nice person back then. Like I think I've changed a hell of a lot, but I think it was such a journey for me, like it out my own sexuality, figuring out what I actually wanted out of life.
Like a lot of people doubted me in all kind of ways because I wasn't particularly studious. I was more focused on the social side of things. And I don't think any of my teachers are. Or anyone thought that I would get very far in work as well? Um, no. So just kinda figuring out that whole journey, because again, there was no representation.
So I never saw a disabled person in a boardroom I never saw. Right. You know what I mean? So, It was such a confusing time paired with a progressive disability that gets worse every year. You're like, oh, what's gonna be happening next? What's gonna be happen? Like, you just never feel secure. Yeah. So I think I was just in pure rebel mode, like mm-hmm.
Nicole: Yeah. And you hit on such an important piece, that representation of not seeing yourself in these various things, like in a boardroom. So how are you supposed to imagine that world when you can't see yourself in it?
Kelly: Exactly. Exactly. And that's the thing now, that's why I've started my company because we represent disabled people to get into those positions.
Because even when I was quite successful in my career and I was applying for like intercompany promotions, stuff like that, I always felt like they were never keen to me and probably. For the same reasons. They probably thought, you know, there's this thing that comes with disability, this stigma that everybody can't handle stuff and we're vulnerable and we're, you know, we need to be talked down to, or we need to be like, explained things or we have a load of time off work, or there's all these like stigmas that apply to that as well.
So I think that, that, that was a huge part in, in those decisions for other people. There was no representation, so they didn't know. There was no conversation around it. Uh, so instead of asking those uncomfortable questions, they made up their own mind and it wasn't the right answer.
Nicole: Yeah, there's so many assumptions there.
So many deep assumptions.
Kelly: Definitely. Yeah.
Nicole: Which is why it's so great that you're in this space, right? Challenging these, setting a new example for people.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. Like we li like I was saying to you before we got on, uh, air about the films I did over the last two days, but all of them were with disabled people just talking about their experiences and we recorded them all and we're gonna sell them and, um, to an like to.
To have like a thought starter piece, which is, you know, this is what actual disabled people think, this is what they wanna see in advertising. This is not like, because the trouble with the ad world is as like top advertisers. They're like, I'm gonna put myself in the head of a disabled person and think what they would want.
But you can't do that because you don't have that lived experience, so you are never gonna get it. Right. Yep. So what we are trying to teach is that, Just ask people, just get us involved from the start. Just pay us for our time. We'll help you. So yeah, we were just told like so many amazing stories over the last two days.
Nicole: Yeah. Is there any you'd wanna share that, like feel still like resonant with you and on your heart that you'd wanna share in the podcast space?
Kelly: Oh my God. I won't name names just in case, but there was one. Person that I worked, that we spoke to yesterday, um, that said basically they knew deep down that their father never wanted them.
In his life because of their disability. Um, cause the way they were, was sporty. The way they were, was like successful, confident, and they didn't ever see disability, so they didn't understand that those two could coexist. So it, it was like a broken relationship. They said they were only there because they had to be there.
Like they were reluctantly there. And that was like, wow. Sharing that. I was just blown away by that comment. In a way, it shows, I think, how far we've come as a society. Definitely got a long way to go, but thinking about that person and their age, they were probably around my age, which is like 34, maybe a little older than me, I'm not sure.
Mm-hmm. Um, Just thinking about them growing up in that time and how kids grow up now. I think the one good thing about social media and like TikTok and things like that is that there, there's so many outlets for people to, to show what kind of person they are and, and you know, what they're going through.
And it can be, be relatable for so many people. Mm-hmm. Um, there's obviously a lot of downsides to social media, but
Nicole: Yes. As all things in life, right. Risks. Benefits, you know, black, white, dark, light, you know, we got all of both sides. But it's so true that it does provide that space for someone who doesn't see themselves represented, doesn't have community, to know that there's other people out there and, oh my, my heart is breaking.
For that person that you mentioned and, and feeling like they were unwanted, I mean, that is the hardest thing as a human. Our needs for attachment, for love to feel like we are unwanted for who we are.
Kelly: Oh yeah, I know, I know. It really did and, and I, you know, I just thank everyone for being so honest in that experience because it just, it gives.
A deeper understanding to what we're trying to communicate, so.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And all of this is so deeply connected then to pleasure, which is another area of immense taboo, right?
Kelly: Yeah, definitely it is. There's just, I don't even know where to begin on that, really.
Nicole: Um, yeah, go for it. Go for it.
Kelly: There's just so many taboos that are tied to pleasure. I think there's still quite, we, we are not all the way there. No. Um, kink shaming, what kinks are seen as normal and like what, what is abnormal? What's weird still? And it's like, when are we ever gonna get to the point where we just say, you know what you like what you like, as long as you're not hurting anyone that, unless.
Just, just let people be and actually be interested in why they like the things that they like, because I find it fascinating,
Nicole: right? It's adult play. Yeah, I don't know why it has to be more complicated than that. It's adult play. You have consenting adults choosing to engage in fun activities together.
Why do we have to be in such an uproar? Exactly.
Kelly: Exactly. So I still, like I say, I still think there's a lot that we can all do, but um, yeah, we're getting there slowly and surely, aren't we?
Nicole: Totally, totally. I came out in one of my, uh, other episodes like, Proudly proclaiming like kink is a part of my identity and I think that's important cuz there is so much taboo and shame around these things.
But it's a part of myself that I'm very proud of and I enjoy and it's very therapeutic for me. And I think, again, there needs to be more conversation about this.
Kelly: Definitely, and like I've just found that like since I've been in my thirties, I think I've been so much more open to everything. I've been more open to like learning about myself and kind of giving myself what I need in terms of like therapy, relaxation, rest.
Yeah. Boundaries. Yeah, like the boundaries are huge and I'm still working on it, but. Just say no to things as well. Oh my God, it feels so good to say no to things sometimes.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that's what I was gonna ask. As you were starting to say that learning about yourself, I'm curious like what recent, you know, things have you been working on?
What recent nuggets of wisdom have you come through in your age and your experience? Wow.
Kelly: I recently met someone at an event and they do a program all about heating the inner child. Love that from the first group. Like a lot of people you know, had inner child trauma from like growing up with their families or like abuse in the home or like, I don't know, alcoholism, lots of issues.
But for me, like what I found out from the first group was that I've got a wounded inner child from like, feeling excluded as a kid in like mainstream schools. And um, also like when I apparently, cause I have this issue sometimes where I'm really out there like, and I can talk and talk and talk and I can work really hard.
Yeah. There's no access or like I'm being, I'm kind of an afterthought in terms of my accessibility and I don't have the same standard as everybody else. I can kinda go into shutdown mode and she said to me like that, that is from these experiences from when you were younger and you felt like. You had to go and shut down because you were, you didn't know how to deal with feeling like you'd been left in the corner like you left out and all your friends are running around on the playground or that she said like, that's followed you, and like, we're gonna work on that, basically.
Which was fascinating to me. But I just thought that I just had really up and down moods. Yeah. On the day. But no, she, she's assured me that. But it's all, all stemming from that. So also like I think just supporting friends and stuff. Like one of my friends, she's a life coach and she needed some people to work with her on like a study project.
So I just let her use me as a case study for like four sessions and sure. You know, kind of thinking, I dunno what I'm gonna get out this. I feel like I know myself well. I feel like I know how I operate and like she completely flipped it on its head and made me think.
Another perspective from somebody else. Like I'm not saying, you know, you have to pay a load for expensive therapies or anything like that. I'm just saying like even talking to your friends like super, super openly, like they might be able to give a different perspective to what you already know, so yeah.
Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. That's. The, like you said, perspective, we sometimes have blinders and sometimes it can be so hard to see your own stuff because we're, we're too close in and we're so there. So having someone else from a different viewpoint who can look and see that can just point out the things because of their distance, because of that spacing, which is so great.
And yeah. I loved when you were talking about the inner child. I think that that can be such powerful work because like when you. Take a moment to close your eyes and see yourself as that younger child on the playground and really see that and connect to that memory. It's so much easier to have compassion for yourself, at least for me, right?
Right now I'm like, you know, you can get on yourself, like, why are you struggling with this or that? But when you see that child version of yourself, the compassion just naturally flows because you didn't know any better, any better. We were just little babes, you know?
Kelly: Yeah, it really puts it into perspective massively.
So. But yeah, I've just been, I've just been exploring kind of all parts of myself and also like a friend of mine, um, she's like a presenter and she does radio and stuff, and I just said to her like, like, I, I really wanna like boost my confidence with this. Let's just do a session. So we just booked in this session and she like got me recording myself loads of times and she was like, um, Oh, don't put your hands up as much.
Don't do this, don't do that. And she, she was brilliant. And the thing that she said to me the most, that, that really stuck with me and like it's helped me so much since that day, like a few months ago, but I feel like I've come since then. Yeah. Is like, you don't have. Perfect. And it sounds like so simple, but for me I was, there's so much pressure on me, like it from myself, not from anybody else.
It's always like, okay, you are the host of this thing. You need to hold it down at all times. You need to not forget this. Not like there was so much pressure and then that like, Make you like mentally freeze up or just either deliver it, but not in a way that you would if you could just be yourself and have your personality.
Do you know what I mean?
Nicole: Yes, I do. Yes. Yeah, and take that deep breath and be your authentic self. I know that that pressure for perfection is so. Strong and definitely as someone who hosts a podcast, it's something I've experienced too. Um, and I definitely struggled with a lot of anxiety in my life. And so anxiety, perfectionism, you put those two together and we have ATO of an experience when you try to be yourself, but.
Yeah. I always try to put it in the frame of the reality that we're all social creatures, right? We all want connection. One of the scariest things for us as social animals is to be isolated from the herd, right? And so when I am coming into a space doing this, if I'm not perfect, then maybe people won't like me.
Maybe people will judge me. Maybe people will do all of those sorts of things. Thing, so it makes sense why it would be so scary. Like even on an evolutionary sense, right, of like, yeah, that'd be terrifying. And so having compassion for yourself and remembering that. Just like you have that I have that and every single other person has that.
We're all in that same boat of being like, do people like me? Am I okay? Am I doing this right? And that's the normal experience.
Kelly: Yeah, that's so true. I didn't even think of it like that, but yeah, that's so true. Everybody probably feels exactly the same.
Nicole: Yes. I think that's some of the benefits sometimes of uh, Being a doctoral student in clinical psych, like when I'm in the therapy room with clients, like hearing these stories repeatedly of how everyone feels the same way.
I just wish everyone had that same lens to see that and realize that like, yeah, you see people up there like presenting themselves on social media, showing up and doing these events, but what you don't see is the inner thoughts of, oh no, like I put too much hands here, or I mumbled my words, or all of these things that are normal thoughts that we have and we.
Allow. We have compassion, and then we still do the things. You know?
Kelly: Exactly, exactly. You're so right.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. I'm so glad that you're exploring that and coming into these pieces. I think that all of that is so crucial for pleasure, right? Like sometimes we only talk about the sexual pieces of it, but like having compassion for yourself, letting go of the perfectionism, all of that is deeply connected to our abilities to enjoy sex and to have pleasure too.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely. I've just started like just being completely, sometimes brutally honest. Yes. It's gotta work for both of us. Like I said, we are getting married in three weeks. Yeah. Congrats again. If you know, we're gonna be together forever. Hopefully monogamous. You know, some people aren't, but. We plan to be.
So we've gotta get this right. It's gotta be what we have and what we enjoy. Cuz it's a big part of life, you know? Yeah,
Nicole: yeah. What does being more honest with your partner look like for you?
Kelly: Um, I think for us, It's so difficult because, um, my work schedule is like wild, um, and have the two kids as well. So I think it's just making time for each other, like every day.
We always make time for like intimacy in terms of like hugs and kisses and stuff. Then I think it's just like we've tr we've made a pact of being more regular with like our sex life. Because sometimes we'll have a period where we can like do it loads all at once and then there's sometimes we can't even like get a like time in for like two weeks or three weeks or something.
And like for me, I like. To have regular intimacy because I feel like it really brings us closer together, especially when it, it can be so hard with kids because you can just be kind of bombarded constantly and like they take up, like, not that you lose your identities, some people do, but um, I think we are quite solid in our own identities, but I think.
In that time that, that they're awake, if that makes sense. You kind of become, you are, you are helping another person constantly, so you kind of become mom and dad and you stay mom and dad for that period of time. So it's really important, I think, that you connect still as those other people outside of those hours as well.
Yeah. Got this pack going to say, okay, this day is our least busy day, so let's try and at least hit it once a week on that particular day. Yes,
Nicole: yes. And the beauty of that, the beauty of coming together to be intentional about that time, because like you said, there are other things going on that you have your.
Focus to that. You were building beautiful things in your life with your children. And so to be able to have that intentional time where, yeah, this is the day we're gonna focus on it and be with one another and have these experiences, and being able to talk about that is really helpful.
Kelly: Yeah, definitely.
And I think that like the best thing about my partner is like, he's so, so open and so supportive. So like if I raise something as. Something I've been thinking about or like an issue or like even from this, but all the way down to like, I need you to mow the lawn more often. Like, he's so receptive and he, he will make that change if he knows that I'm, you know, feeling some kind way about something.
So that's like the best thing I could say about him. Like he's, he's so good at. Understanding and hearing me and understanding what I need. Probably I'm not as good the other way around.
Nicole: I'm sure you are. I'm sure you're slow. And listen, I'm good.
Kelly: Otherwise I cook good meals. Hell yeah. It
Nicole: all balances out.
It all balances out. Exactly. But again, like what I hear from that is like, The importance of being able to communicate comes into all of the areas, right? If my, it's my opinion that when you're in the room with your partner, if you can't communicate about your sexual pleasure and what you want, and what you need, and like you said, teaching people how to pleasure you, then it's gonna also feel uncomfortable to ask them to mow the lawn.
Right. Like those are wildly different things. These are talking about your needs, desires and what makes you happy. Right. And equally are gonna be hard if you can't do one or the other.
Kelly: That's so true. And like the people like that you know, that are in the boat that you just said in terms of like they struggled to ask anything.
I've been in that boat in previous relationships before, and you just really compromised your own self care. You compromised your own feelings. You either like, Overdo it yourself because somebody else is underdoing it. And that can go from everything to intimacy to the like mental load that you take on from, from being in a partnership.
It's so important that it's a fair partnership and I think like my pack to myself, probably before I got with my partner that I'm with now, is that I would never be in that situation again. I was really doing all the heavy lifting and getting nothing back because what's the point? I might as well be alone and do it, you know?
Nicole: Right, right. And that's definitely something I've struggled with too. And I think like when I look back on that time, it was almost like Id be afraid that I was asking for too much.
Kelly: Yeah. Definitely agree. Definitely agree. Yeah. You know, I keep coming back to my disability, but I think it's so relevant. For example, um, I have to have help to get into my chair to go to the toilet and vice versa, like the other way around.
So it might be like you'd hold it for longer because they were busy or like you'd just be in, or like, do you know what I mean? It's like, it should never be that way, but I've been in that situation so. In the past where I've put my needs last just to make other people's lives easier. Yeah. Yeah. I think what, by what I was doing in the past, you know, might make the short term easier or less stressful, but then by proxy it was really making the long term like way harder.
Nicole: Yes, yes, yes. And, I hear you on that of the, the added difficulty of that with a disability of the needs that you have in the relationship with your partner and how that could contribute to the, I'm already asking for so much,
Kelly: I. Definitely, I do think there's something in it as well. I don't know why this just jumped into my, my mind, but I do feel like every sort of partnership I've had always become like super serious because of that, such a deep level, and you need that support like, You get up close and personal with people straight away, and I think that that's not really something we do these days.
Um, we all kinda, you know, play our cards close to our chest when it comes to relationships. We don't text back first. We don't, uh, you know, we don't say we love them. We don't like, you know, I mean, we have all these kinda little games that we play, but we have a disability that's not really possible because it's like, you know, I like you, but.
Can you help me have a wi, do you know what I mean? There's no in between, there's no middle ground. It's just very, very, all or nothing with a disability. So I do feel that it kind of, uh, makes relationships kind of come to fruition quite quickly, and you do get so close to people. Mm, I mean, Even like my PAs, like I have, I have like PAs to help me on a daily basis, especially when I'm traveling with work.
Yeah. And I just went to London to do this shoot that I keep mentioning. Um, and I took a new one that I'd never met before, apart from in a training session and we went and stayed together for, for three days. She supported me on this photo shoot cuz my partner was at home with the kids. Yeah. But for her to support me, that means like her helping me get dressed, helping me go to the toilet, helping and that like can you ever imagine doing that with somebody that you just met?
It's just weird. It's so, it's so strange when you put it into perspective. Yeah,
Nicole: it sounds very vulnerable.
Kelly: Can be and, and it's. I think that's a big part of why I feel so exhausted sometimes when I've been working. Because if I've been working away on a shoot like that, I'm almost disconnected from my own body because I have to be to kind of cope with that situation.
Mm. And then I come back to life and I'm like, okay, I'm getting help from my partner again. I'm comfortable with this. I can get into the position that I normally like to sleep in. I can wear my clothes comfortably because we've had loads of practice and like, That's like my comfort blanket. And then being away from that for like three days and having to compromise.
Like not through anybody else's fault, like these people do amazing work, but it's just the fact of they haven't done it with me for years and years, so they don't know like the best methods or whatever. Yeah. Last night I was really overwhelmed cause of all of that and like feeling like no. You've switched your brain off in terms of your own body, just just to preserve and to be able to.
I mean, I'm sure there's so many situations that people have that are similar in other industries and stuff and, and with other abilities, but I just, it just came to me then when you were speaking. Yes.
Nicole: Because it's all a part of your experience and what makes your experience unique and the unique needs that you have and the unique ways that relationships are different.
Right. That, that time component of someone who understands exactly how you like to sleep in the bed and all of those pieces, that's so crucial.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. And so it's been such a pleasure to talk to you about all of these things and to hold space for the nuance of this conversation because again, I don't think that there's enough space for these conversations.
Kelly: Yeah, I don't, I also agree with you. I don't think there is, and I also don't think that, you know, people think in mainstream media perhaps, that people would be interested in these conversations, but in my, because they can be so graphic and they can be so personal. Mm-hmm. But in my mind, like these are the kind of conversations we should be having because it tells you something deeper than how good somebody is at lip syncing a song on TikTok.
Yes. Like no change to those people, but I feel like as a society, we're becoming super materialistic and we're becoming super, like, I don't even know what the right word is, disposable in the way that we act with our relationships, with our lives, with everything. And I think to understand people on a deeper level is like, The route we should all be taking now and especially after Covid, God, especially after Covid, getting to know people again and feeling social again and yeah, I'm, I'm all for it anyway.
Nicole: Yes, yes. I think people are waking up. I think people are waking up slowly. I think the interest in vulnerability and authentic conversations is waking up for people and we're starting to like see that start to happen in society, which I'm all. For especially something like Covid, the shared trauma that we've all collectively gone through with our generation in this time.
And yeah, I, I just know that you have so much wisdom to share with the world. You said people might not wanna hear these conversations, but at the same time, like you understand a level of vulnerability because of your lived experience that I don't understand.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah, it's true. It's true, yeah. In different kinds of ways, and yeah, I'm sure it works the other way as well with your, your own experiences, but that's just the case, isn't it?
Everybody's got their own, even if they've not had trauma. Everybody's got their own unique experience to talk about, and I just find it fascinating to hear about.
It's quite funny. I'm quite a sad person. Really. What did you do when you got home? Like I wanna imagine like when you get home, like what do you cook for dinner? What do you watch on tv? Like, what do you like doing? I just like to, to imagine people's lives without and think what are they doing? What are they doing in their own house?
It's fascinating. Totally.
Nicole: Totally. What's the behind the scenes action? What's really happening? Yes, absolutely. And hopefully we'll get to that space. Too, where like we can deconstruct the ideas of like the professional and the personal in some ways cuz I think there's such a strong boundary at times, which is necessary to get work done.
Don't, don't get me wrong, but the reality is like we're all humans in this and that doesn't go away from our experience.
Kelly: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Such a varied an interesting conversation. Yeah.
Nicole: I'm curious, as we come towards the end of our time, is there anything that you really wanted to talk about today going into the podcast that maybe we didn't hit on that you wanted to share with the world and no pressure?
I do have a closing question if that. It doesn't resonate.
Kelly: Say I feel like, I feel like I've just shared like constantly for all this time. So, um, yeah, I just think anything that you think we haven't hit in terms of what you wanted to get outta the episode and um, yeah. Anything else that I could do or explain would be fine.
Nicole: No, I think you've been lovely. I think you've been very vulnerable about your experiences, about how much growth that you've done in the last couple of years, learning to. Take care of yourself and your inner child and you know, the hot octopus. I mean, that sounds so exciting, and it sounds like you are such an activist for changing the landscape around these things and such a powerful leader in that way.
Kelly: Yeah. No, thank you so much. Thank you. Yeah, of course.
Nicole: The one closing question that I ask everyone on the podcast is, what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?
Kelly: Uh, I, I think we are gonna go with the whole theme of, of everything we've sort of discussed today. Nothing is too much information.
That's what I wanna normalize. Like a friend, my friends and I spoke about, um, having kids, and this hap this works in all different kind of ways. It's not just because of kids, but when you have a child, like there's this like, Feeling that you are supposed to feel, which is like the overwhelming love like instant thing.
And that's like the big like greeting cards, vibe thing that you're supposed to feel. But none of us had that. Like people are scared. People grow into love. People. Like at the end of the day, me, my friend put it perfectly cuz she was like, The child. My child was a stranger to me when they were born and I had to learn them and I had to learn their quirks and I had to understand them.
And so I think, like I would've never known that that wasn't normal for people to feel, unless we all spoke about it just one night over a glass of wine. So I think, you know, when it comes to sex, when it comes to intimacy, relationships work like. Everything you're worried about, just get it out there.
Like, I just think if we start doing it and opening up these conversations, one, you'll find out you have so many more people you can relate to. Yes. Um, but also like your struggle a lot less in independently. Just worrying about, am I normal? Does this work, does do I fit with society? Am I broken? Should I feel this?
Should I feel that? Like I find it fascinating and I think that's what I would love to normalize is just. Any conversation is fine because
Nicole: these conversations are about our humanness.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. And I just, like I said before, I just find it fascinating and helpful and insightful, and I think everybody else will feel.
The same and people can pull away from conversations because of like trauma, things like that. That's completely understandable. But if somebody just finds it playing weird what you're trying to say, then it's kind of like more on them than it is on you. Like, go you for sharing that information, like and, and feeling comfortable and vulnerable and opening up.
Like you should never feel bad for that. So yeah, I just encourage people to try it more often.
Nicole: Because like you said, when you do that, you find other people that have had the same experience. And how therapeutic was that conversation with your friends over a glass of wine to know you're not alone? Yeah,
And like it's not saying like we don't obviously do. In that moment when I just became a mom for the first time, I was scared and I didn't know who the hell the baby was. I was on that many pain drugs and this wasn't a normal situation for me. So it's very okay to just think. Fuck. This is wild. Yeah,
And some days I don't wanna do it. Some days I don't
Kelly: like it. Yeah. Well, this is another thing about motherhood, isn't it? It's like, I think, or parenthood, I should say. Even my own dad, like I said, I said before about him being like quite competitive and quite, you know, high up in business being successful, blah, blah, blah.
What you're doing with your career and, and, and the kids because you know you can't do both. And I was like, well, you did both. Yes. Uh, so just because I am a woman means I can't do both. Like I was so confused by that statement and yeah, I don't even know what my point was to begin with, but that's just in itself like so much pressure as a, as a parent,
And I will echo that. I am. Equally confused by that statement. And I think, yeah, it's based in a whole world where that was the expectation, right? We can go back to the earlier part of our conversation of it's only been 50 years since we've changed that world. And so I think that when people see, you know, a mother, they think, yeah, of course that's gonna be your whole world, your whole life.
So you couldn't do both. But that is not the reality of the world that we are living in anymore. You are going to shoots, you are going to London, and you know who's home with the kids.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah. But that like, oh my God, I could literally, I could talk to you all day long. But that's another thing as well, that's a huge stigma, is having a stay at home partner. And I don't like, I don't appreciate, appreciate that ever, because it's just like, why is that a gender thing still even now, like I make.
Our family good money or good enough money and we get it done. He sorts everything out, like from deciding what they need to driving them there to like being that emotional support when I'm not here. Like everything that, like we're completely equal when it comes to parenting and I think there's such a stigma with, well, what does your partner do?
And, um, you know, like they must, like what do you pay for things? And like, it's like we kinda have it both ways. Like people have different lives. Just, just deal with it.
Nicole: Yes. And you know that if that was the other way around, no one would bat an eye. They'd be like, oh, you're a stay-at-home mom. Yeah. Great.
Kelly: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So that's still something that's you, yeah, that's got a massive stigma tied to it. But yeah, that's one of the time, I guess
Nicole: hell yes, I know, right? A whole nother conversation. But again, pointing to the multitude of ways that you are being a leader, and I would call that activism, talking about this in a space like that, and challenging the status quo around multiple things that need to be challenged in my opinion.
Kelly: Oh, thank you. No, that's really,
Nicole: thank you very much. Of course. Yeah, it was lovely to chat with you. Where would you wanna plug people to Hot Octopus, all your stuff that you're doing so they can find more and connect with you? Yeah,
Kelly: sure. So hot Octopus, so I, I, sex tech products are on hot octopus.com. You could find me online at Miss Cal, which is Ms.
K e l g e e. But I'll give you the tag for that. My business is with Notfor. If anybody wants, uh, representation or advice about being disabled in the workplace or looking for creative freelance opportunities, and they can hit me up. And the web address is with notfor co uk.
Nicole: Great. Uh, it was so lovely to have you today and I really appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Kelly: That is so lovely to be here. Thanks for having me.
Nicole: Of course. Yeah.