Nicole: Do you have any questions before we get into it before we start?
Britta: Um, not particularly, other than I'd quickly had checked out your podcast and actually get to listen to more than a bit of Corey's, who's a friend of mine. Um, cool. But yeah, like I, like, I think I got a sense of like, you know, a lot of great like expansive sex and queer and you know, just out there kind of stuff.
So Uhhuh I feel at home, I feel right.
Nicole: That's nice. That's what I'm trying to create. I think there's a lot of people like us who feel very at home in this space and I at least personally couldn't find a podcast that talked about those things. So here we are.
Britta: Nice. Well, well done.
Nicole: Thank you. Yeah. Well then if we wanna just roll into it.
Oh, here's my cat. She'll come and say hi. 'cause this is her house. Of course. This is her house. Of course.
Britta: Mine might come say hi too, so.
Nicole: Okay, great. I welcome all cats in this recording. Um, Yeah, if you don't have any questions, we can just start into it. Yeah, let's go for it. Then. The first question I would ask you is how would you introduce yourself to the listener?
Britta: Ah, it's always a great question and there's sort of ways where I feel like in different spaces I'm introducing different parts of myself because I do feel multiple. But I would say that maybe the most expansive way that I would introduce myself is as a weaver between the worlds of conscious sexuality and, and psychedelic ritual with a sort of lens or focus on embodied consent and mm-hmm.
Um, social justice.
Nicole: Oof. Alright. I am excited to unpack that. I think that we need to have lots of unpacking. Could you explain to me what that means?
Britta: Sure. So, I mean, I think the easiest way to explain it is actually just to sort of share a bit about my background and how I got here, because that's kind of how I weaved the world I've woven.
So it really started out really as I became like a young adult having a very strong asexual identity, feeling very disconnected from my body, having a lot of experiences that I could now, you know, label as consent violations or even assaults that I didn't, didn't even occur to me were that because they were so normalized by our rape culture.
Yeah. And really coming to the point where by the time I was 19 years old, I was just very cynical about sex, about dating, about what my. Like what access to my body even meant? Mm-hmm. And without really any grounding in what, why I might want my body to be accessed or not. So really from that place, I became really interested in sex work.
I, I thought it was like, well, this makes a lot more sense. This is a way where, I can set the hours, set the amount of money, decide who I'm seeing and not seeing. And it was kind of my introduction to having boundaries, to be honest. I mean, I really, it was the first place where I felt like, well, maybe I'm not quite adept at communicating that this is not very comfortable, or that you're rubbing my clit too hard.
But at least I've said that you can only do this for an hour and it's gonna cost you this amount of money. Mm-hmm. And so that was kind of like me stepping into the like, okay, I'm gonna see what this whole sexuality field is, but I'm gonna do it, uh, in a way that's under my control. And, you know, through that I actually started finding connection to my body.
I started finding more understanding about what was happening in a lot of like cis hetero men's minds and hearts to allow them to act the way that they were acting. And actually, I found a deep love for, for straight cis men and, and the way that they were being kind of, Hurt by patriarchy even though it doesn't excuse the behaviors that sometimes come out of that.
But I really got a sort of behind the scenes look and those years in my young twenties were really formative and I started to research sort of sacred sexuality and the history of like the sacred prostitute in quotes, which is, you know, an archetypal thing and also, Partially historical, but we don't know the full extent of how that was happening.
But it was a very big inspiration for how I was approaching sexual healing. And then at the same time, because of the dissociation and the trauma, I was, you know, introduced to drugs at like 19. I went from being like, just say no to like, oh, high speed, high coke, you know, it was sort of like a big jump.
Mm-hmm. Similar to being asexual, having been with maybe like two or three people and becoming a sex worker at 19, it just sort of, I was like, Madonna whore. Those are the, those are the options. Yeah. Alright then. Mm-hmm. Um, so, you know, I was experimenting with drugs. I had some issues with addiction and I actually had a client who, a sex work client who introduced me to.
A positive view on psychedelics, which I thought were the one category of substance that I would never touch because, you know, uppers and downers were like, fine, but like whatever. That stuff makes people lose their mind. You know, old school, we're in like 2000 and like seven right now, right? Mm-hmm. So it's a different world.
And so that was actually how I first, um, came to trip. And my trips really taught me so much about myself and about my need for, to surrender. And that surrender practice from tripping fed into my sexual development. And they sort of like became integrative practices for each other. And so that's when I was like, okay, I want, I want this to actually be my path.
And so after I worked through, um, stuff around addiction and trauma, working with iboga and ayahuasca and lots of medicines, that was when I sort of decided I wanted to become trained as a somatic sex educator, um, and become more involved in psychedelic spaces. And so at that point I was like a, you know, That's it.
Sex and drugs are gonna save the world. This is, this is it. Yeah. This is the movement. This is my purpose. And I still partially believe that. And also having spent, you know, a decade or more in, in spaces around conscious sexuality, around psychedelic healing, I've also seen so much harm. Right. Replicated in those spaces.
Right. You know, which I saw in my, in my movement spaces as well as a sex worker rights activist, like the way that our movements implode and, and the way all the trauma comes up and all the patterns of exploitation and harm and domination come up. And so that's when sort of really looking at social justice and through a lens of, of power dynamics and consent, that became my added focus that had to be woven through it all in order for the vision to possibly femme Fest as a like, you know, I.
Possible world changing modalities of sex and drugs. So that's the short,
Nicole: I'm in love. I love this. I'm like, yes, yes, yes. And so much of that nuance too, of like hoping that like a whole world of sex and drugs could change everything. I, I feel very resonant with that, where I think that if more people were enjoying consensual pleasure mm-hmm.
I think the world would be a better place if more people were able to let go of ego drop down into connection and vulnerability. I think the world would be a better place. But like you said, in those spaces, there's still harm. We're still human navigating all of that. Oh. But I'm so excited that you're here
Britta: and my cat's here too.
If you hear a little meowing in the background marmalade, it's very excited about this movement and has some thoughts to add as well. Yeah,
Nicole: I know Fatcat always adding her meows whenever she feels in alignment.
Britta: Yeah. I do feel like that, you know, the radical nature of like deeply embodied pleasure is something that's so, I think it's, it's feels so important.
Right? Especially right now. Because I feel like the more that we're walking into these times of like, you know, Pretty much fascism, you know, pretty much like, you know, restriction on basic bodily autonomy, gender expression, reproductive rights, all the things, you know, as sort of like a, a doubling down on all the sort of insidious threads that were already in our culture, but are being more fully expressed at this moment in a way that feels like a real tipping point.
You know, I feel like it's so easy to, to go into a freeze response or to go into dissociation, or to just wanna escape. And I think there's really wise and important moments to do that for our self care. Right? And also it runs the risk that we don't stay connected to our bodies and to our pleasures. And I know really deeply that whatever.
There is within us that can allow us to face this moment and these challenges. It's going to come from being able to touch into those places and our bodies and our pleasures and all of the like, radical power in that. Mm-hmm. You know, I come back to Aja Lord's, you know, the use of the erotic over and over again.
I just feel like it's like foundational that if we lived in a society that was sexually liberated, and I don't just mean, you know, you can do such and such acts and be this out on your social media. I mean, we know how to feel into our bodies and our pleasures and communicate our limits and our boundaries and have exchanges, um, where we maybe have playful power exchanges within our play but aren't stuck within toxic dynamics of power.
Mm-hmm. Outside of those play spaces, that if we were really in those, in those ways connected that actually it would be impossible for us to. Somehow for, for these forces that want to dominate, to dominate, we would be unstoppable. I, I truly believe that.
Nicole: I do too. Mm-hmm. And that is a hundred percent why I love working in this space.
Right? Because I think that the reality of being embodied, whether it's through sexuality or not, is a part of what we need to be in better connection with our community and with other people. That ability to communicate and be present in the experience of what you're feeling in your body is what allows us to be closer, what allows us to have good boundaries.
Mm-hmm. And when we're in connection with one another. I think that our worldview changes. I think we're less capitalistic. I think we're less driven by materialism. We are more in relationship with other people and enjoying the benefits of connection. I think our society has gotten radically disconnected, at least within Western society, been so individualistic, and now we're finding meaning in materialism and other sorts of things because we're so disconnected from our relationships to other people.
And I do think that a huge chunk of that is our sexual embodiment, but much larger our embodiment of pleasure and boundaries and being able to communicate with other people. So, Absolutely.
Britta: Absolutely. And it comes to like these fundamental places where I feel like sometimes I speak to people who I love, who you know, can't see a world past capitalism, can't see a world past hierarchies and domination.
And when I think about why I know in my body that, that those worlds can be possible, it's both because of learning about other, you know, indigenous cultures and ancient, like immediate return at hunter-gatherer ways of being. And it's also from spending time in spaces that we're operating non hierarchically, like, you know, restorative and transformative justice spaces and talking circles and seeing what happens when you create spaces where, There is a level of trust that every person's voice is going to be heard, every person's need can be expressed, and we can find a way to meet everyone's needs and not, but without it being at the expense of each other.
And when you start believing in that, that, you know, resources can be shared, that these things can be worked out, that I can have needs and express them and not be punished for it, you know, all of these things, then these other worlds seem a lot more possible. But when we live in this sort of scarcity fear mind that, you know, I think all of us kind of by default are raised into, and so it's like an unlearning process.
Then it really does seem like, you know, this model is the only way, and I've just gotta hoard enough resources to get through this apocalypse because no one else is gonna take care of me. And who else could I rely on? And it's gonna be every man for himself, you know, man in quotes, you know? So it's like that sort of way of thinking that I.
And which is also so based our, as we often have done, like historically in Western culture, we sort of like find a narrative in nature that we, where we're projecting our own social values and understanding, you know, so we look at chimpanzees and we say, look, listen, this is just what happens. Look at the men fighting, look at the infanticide, look at the competition for mates.
You know, and I'm like, or we could look at Bonobos, right? And we can look at cooperation and ma focal cultures and sex used to diffuse tension and create cooperation and share resources. So I'm like, you know, there's a lot of ways to, to look and see what our potential is. And genetically we're just as close to Bonobos as we are to chimpanzees.
So to me, I think our latent evolutionary potential, you know, is definitely, if nothing else equally could go either way. Right? I. Then I start learning. I've been learning a lot from the radical anthropology group in London and they've been bringing all this like feminist Marxist lens to evolutionary understandings.
And I'm usually like a little bit like I remember doing evolutionary psychology in my undergrad and being like, oh, this stuff is like kind of, I don't know, there's like a lot of justifying, you know, patriarchy or justifying all these things through it. But actually when you start taking a different lens, when you start being consciously like aware of how those tendencies wanna appear in your lens and back up, there's a lot of evidence to say that before we started living in ways where we.
Actually like accumulated resources when we were really immediate return hunter gatherers when we could had to kind of share what we accumulated because there was nowhere to store it. We were, we were moving constantly. There was, it was actually a way that we lived for many, many, many, many, many thousands of years.
Like up until like maybe five or 10,000 years ago ago. And so, like for maybe a hundred thousand years or more before that, we were living in that, this other way mm-hmm. Where we used sexuality, humor, and play in order to prevent toxic hierarchical dy dynamics from, from enacting themselves and in order to share resources.
And you can still see this in a few, like tribal cultures, and I'm, I'm not gonna not gonna remember their names right now, but if anyone's interested, Camilla Powers is a lot of this work on, um, These, these cultures because I think, you know, while we can't maybe go back to the point where we don't have, you know, you know Right.
Resources in, uh, storage anymore, you know, we're not gonna move it back to there. But I think we can learn so much from these other ways of being. And I think they're intimately tied to, I mean, they're definitely tied to, to pleasure and to relationships. You know, they are so different. Yeah. Going back to that source.
So for me it's all, yeah, it's really political. And I also, when I say that, I always wanna be like, everything's political. I know sometimes people are like, you know, oh, why does everything have to be so political? And I'm like, well, actually not being political in quotes is just being complicit with the current politics.
So we're all being political and we get to choose where our politics and where our values are. Mm-hmm. Mm
Nicole: hmm. The personal is the political right. When I don't have autonomy over my body, I think I need to start screaming about that and raising some sort of hell. I mean, there is, like you said, no way to get out of the political nature of our being and what we do as humans when we move about through the world, how we use our money, how we craft our lives.
All these things are political statements, whether we acknowledge it or not, right?
Britta: Yeah, absolutely. And politics is really about. At it's root, it's not about, you know, do you vote red or blue? It's about structures of power and how power is structured and how we, how we allow power to flow through our society.
Mm-hmm. And that is just fundamentally something we have to interact with on the micro and macro levels all the time.
Nicole: Yeah. And what I love about the politicalness of this space is that everyone is so interested in sex. Yeah. I think it's such a juicy space as like a, not bait per se, but like a bait in some ways of like totally, you, you wanna learn about this thing that we don't talk about.
Hey, hey, hey. You know? Exactly. And then you pull them in. 'cause in my opinion, like any sort of. Exploration of sexuality that doesn't take in the political nature of the larger context is failing. Right? Like, I wanna keep things light. Yeah. And, and happy and fun and explorative. But like, if I'm not critiquing climate change, which is something that is gonna inherently affect our libido when mm-hmm.
The reality is that our world is burning. How am I supposed to be in my erotic self? My literal home is on fire. How is my nervous system supposed to want to play and feel safe? And so I just. You know, it's a juicy way to pull people into this space, but I think that any sort of discussion of these things takes, needs to take into the context of larger societal implications as well.
Britta: Yeah, absolutely. We're, we're in this web of life. There's no separation other than the illusion of it. And you know, it's like all those memes you see going around now where it's like, you know, like, I wonder why the young koala is so depressed and there's like no trees left, you know, for it to climb, you know, it's like that.
You can't separate, you can, we can try to medicate ourselves into, you know, feeling like this. This is normal, but ultimately it's gonna fail. And ultimately, if you're trying to be in your body, So that you can be with your pleasure, then you're gonna be present to the grief of what's happening around us as well.
And that's just,
Nicole: but I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.
Britta: I know, I, sometimes I look back at times in my life when I was really like full-time dissociated and I'm like, you know, I don't have the pleasure, but I also didn't feel any of this. And then I think, no, no, I want the pleasure. I want the pleasure.
But you know, it come, it comes with the grief, it comes with the full awareness. And you know, and we need that. I mean, if you can't be with the grief, then you can't find that generative way through the grief where you can do something to address what's causing the grief. Mm. And that's, you know, we're so, we're trapped until we can feel, so that's also why it's, you know, bringing people back into connection with their bodies.
And I like say that as someone who does that partially for a living in order so that I can maintain my own practice of bringing myself back into my body that. Is so necessary for us to address the problems that are around that. Sometimes I think it's funny that the typical lens from like more like quote unquote serious activists, like more historically I feel like this has changed.
But there was kind of like a point when I was really pushing around decriminalizing drugs and sex work and psychedelics and people would be kinda like, we need to focus on these, like bigger issues. Brita. I'd be like, well actually I think, I think this is the way in to the bigger issues actually. And I think we need all of it and we need people focusing on, in, on all the different portals in, but I think the constant focus on the pain and the loss without also giving ourselves portals and access to pleasure to resource ourselves with is just gonna burn us out.
I mean, and I've been in so many activist spaces where the burnout is so intense. Mm-hmm. And that's also why like recently I've been really motivated to think about a pleasure activist response to, to these abortion bans because it feels. It feels so oppressive in a way that I think both is gonna eventually burn us out.
Mm-hmm. And also the, the sort of success of these laws depends on severing us from our erotic selves and our power. Oh yeah. And so I'm kind of like, okay, you know, it is true now that in a large number of states in this country, Heteronormative penis and vagina. Sex is criminalized essentially because you can be forced to either become like a felon or a parent, you have no rights once you engage in that act.
And that's what they want. They want that act to instill so much fear that you, you know, you, you're only gonna participate in it within a certain patriarchal constructs so that you're not left vulnerable to these laws. And so I kind of wanna just come back with a big fuck you and be like, okay, we're not gonna focus on that kind of sex.
We're gonna have all the other kinds of sex and we're gonna learn to be much better at it. Yeah. Hell yes. And this is both gonna be harm reduction within this legal system and the pleasure activist, like, you know, journey. I wanted our culture to go on anyway so that we can unscript, you know, descr this, these like, you know, sexual stories and really come into a more expansive and queer and I.
Alternative and kinky and, and eco sexual and all the different kinds of sexual expressions, and be resourced by that so that we can fight back and we can do the, the marching in the streets and the legal battles and all the other things that also have to happen. Mm-hmm. So that's something that I'm like my heart is focused on.
I'm trying to find the, the spoons and the way to navigate a sustainable pace of, of launching it. But I want to launch a, a sort of strike for pleasure, you know?
Nicole: Yes. I'll be right there with you in that strike. A hundred percent. And I think it's so hard, uh, I liked when you talked about, I think you said freeze response.
I think thinking about these things in terms of Yeah. Our fight, flight, freeze fa response is really important. Right? Like, these are large systemic problems that are affecting all of us. Yeah. In a multitude of ways. And so it makes sense that we would go through different responses of, you know, fight and getting that adrenaline rush and feeling that.
But the reality is that's not sustainable. Like we mm-hmm. Our bodies are not meant to state. And I mean, I think that's what a lot of what we're seeing right now, uh, in terms of like high cortisol and stress and you know, depression and anxiety is I get, you know, as someone working in a therapy space, I get so frustrated because I think that anyone who has depression right now to a degree right, is like a normal response Yes.
To the world that we're living in. If I look on the news and I see this, it's a school shooting, the climate change, this, I have no rights over my, like how am I supposed to just be happy in that?
Britta: Yeah. And it's quite like pathological to desire. People to be, you know, like to, to actually, what is that expression where it's like, it's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
I mean, that is not the way forward. We need, you know, I also don't want people to be suffering. I want there to be support, of course. But I also don't want them to feel like it would be normal, like for them, for them to feel totally great in the face of what we're living through. And actually it's, it's, to me, what's pathological and what's dangerous is to, is to try to, to feel that, you know, and that's sometimes where I start to feel like some, some spaces, maybe I'm thinking specifically more about some neo tantric spaces, some like, uh, psychedelic capitalist spaces where we can microdose our way back to, you know, being more productive at work.
And maybe if we're having a hard time, you know, go drink ayahuasca this weekend, come back to Google, and then keep building the ai, you know, like that's sort of like we're in this yes, these loops where you can, these are tools. And sometimes I don't like using the word tools because there's also, like, for me, the plants and fungi and even chemicals that are psychoactive are, are relationships that I'm in.
So it's calling them tools is sometimes a little bit utilitarian, but in the sense that these relationships can be, Whatever we make them to be like, any relationship and we can kind of exploit and abuse these relationships to, or we can find really generative transformative relationships where we are in reciprocal relationship with the cultures and, and plants and, and practices that we're learning from.
And then, then allow them to change us and maybe we'll also change them. And that's, you know, that's the profound space that I, I want the psychedelic renaissance to lead us to that. I want this explosion of like, you know, more conscious sexuality practices to lead us to, but it can just as easily, if we're not alert.
Just reaffirm the systems we're in. You know, I think psychedelic psychotherapy can also double down on sadism and ableism that I already see in the way that like psychedelic research is happening. It can, you know, kind of double down on the same, you know, uh, who's excluded from the studies, who has access to the medicines.
Right. You know, how, what are the belief systems in this, in the sort of model that we're even using the medicines in all of those things. And you know, and it's funny 'cause in some ways we're lucky, like psychedelics are, and, and you know, conscious sexual practices, which are like meditative basically are all like modalities that can help us think critically and question and look at things from, you know, the bird's eye view.
But we also need the containers we're doing them in to be culturing that, to be encouraging that. Because if not, I remember when I was younger, I thought, oh my goodness. Like Y Bogo was the, the plant that really changed my life. Mm-hmm. And I'm always cautious about sharing about it because it, it is under sustainability.
You know, there's some questions around how much it's starting to be used, especially for addiction globally. Um, and I, I don't think that it, the answer is for no one to ever take evogue, but I do think the answer is for us to come into a real relationship of reciprocity and sustainability and start planting and making sure that we're not just supporting poachers in this regions and taking the.
Plants away from the traditional oui people who use it. But I have so much deep love and gratitude for that plant. And you know, I remember thinking, well, anyone who's been using this plant, like, you know, I'll, when I, if I go visit those people, like they're gonna have like the answers, which is, its like own kind of like dysfunctional colonial lens, right?
Yeah. It's like, it's like the inverse of the like savage. Yeah. It's like, oh no, you're the gurus, you know? Yes, they know. And it's those total dehumanization, you know? But you know, that's where I was in my mid twenties. I was like, okay. And I went to Gabon and I couldn't believe some of the, you know, really patriarchal ways the society was structured and some of the things that I saw, like in every culture.
And I was like, wait, but you're tripping on Iboga all the time, but you haven't questioned these things. And then I looked at our culture and I was like, wait. In my psychedelic subcultures, we're tripping all the time and there's all these really messed up things we haven't questioned. Maybe like it's not enough to be working with the plants.
Maybe there also needs to be like this constantly constant, reflective process happening that really examines systems of power and structures of power and consent. So yeah.
Nicole: Yes, yes, yes. And I think that's where the language of using it as a. Tool is helpful because then it's not the answer. But I hear you on that like nuanced of having a relationship with the medicine where it's not this complete take, take, take, take, take.
Whereas the CE reciprocal nature of that relationship and how do we get into a healthier relationship with it. But that like language of tool to like take away the sense of the magic bullet, right? Or like that Absolutely. It's gonna Absolutely, if everyone just takes mushrooms, The world will be saved.
Britta: Yeah. And it's a very, I mean, I used to be part of the culture of the movement that would say that who, I mean literally almost thought, you know, maybe if we did just put l s D in the water, it would make it whole world better. You know? I mean, which is so problematic from a consent perspective, aside from anything else.
But, but you know, we learn and we grow and, um, and now I look around and I see so much of what's happening in the psychedelic space is really disturbing to me. Mm. Just we saw with the legalization of cannabis, you know, like the corporatization, the, the monetization, the um, the structural inequalities, right?
And then also at the same time, what making it almost more insidious is the patting ourselves on the back about how we're all, you know, Doing venture capital to get psychedelics, you know, into the healthcare system to make the world a better place. And I just think that's a really dangerous lens and often uncritical and, and sort of like, not finger pointing at any one specific person for doing that, but just to say that like there's no way, I don't believe like under the systems that we live under for us to go and, and take a, a plant or a fungus or a chemical, especially when most of them were used indigenously by cultures that were colonized, uh, bring it into our system.
Yeah. Which is still the colonizer system, right? Which is a capitalist system which is full of systemic inequalities and just put it out there. Make money off of it and it not be, uh, inherently dysfunctional. I just don't think that's possible. And I'm not saying that we can only do things when they're absolutely perfect.
Like there will always be imperfections to our models where we're gonna have to bridge from where we are now to a different future. But I think that the level of, of thoughtfulness and, and consciousness and, and just commitment to unlearning and, and deep humility. You know, I think the primary movers and shakers in the psychedelic space are people for who have class privilege, white privilege, you know, often, uh, heterosexual privilege, sane privilege, like all the privileges and.
That's a recipe for disaster without a lot of a lot of work going into it. Yes. So sometimes I've gotten depressed, you know, once I started really seeing how this was happening, I've gotten sort of like, oh, maybe it would be better if no one knew about mushrooms. You know? I mean, which is. In reality. Right.
With what happened with Maria Sabina, who was the mm-hmm. Her who introduced, you know, the modern west to psychedelics. You know, I think she regretted it because it, it ruined her life and it, and it destroyed her village, and it created a lot of harm. Right. And so that is, historically, that's what happens.
So if we wanna break that cycle where we have to put a lot of, it can't just be the kind of like, equivalent of greenwashing where we like, you know, say a land acknowledgement at the beginning of our corporate gathering. You know, it has to really be, and that's a active process. There's no like, moment where you check that box and you're like, all right, I've decolonized, you know, done Right.
What are third quarter profits looking like? You know, that just isn't how it's gonna work. Right? So, but I, I, after I had that time of being really depressed and thinking, oh, this is just completely effed, like, it's not gonna, mm-hmm. I've also come through that and then kind of, and the, the medicines have helped me see how.
There's no way, but through, you know, like it, it, there, we need to move through the culture that we're in, but we just can't use that as the excuse to not look at the process and critique it as it's happening and constantly refine it and constantly adjust and constantly become more aware, which is, you know, a little less fun than just being like, getting everyone tripping.
We're all turning on, it's great. Right, right. We're saving the world. Woo. Again, that ignorance is bliss. I mean, come on. Ooh. That's the theme.
Nicole: Yes. I know. Sometimes I'm like, wait, I wanna go back. And I know you said that too. I was like, no, we don't really, but man, now that we're here, I don't know about this.
Um, but yeah, as you were talking about it, I think like even my own reaction, like I was having that like freeze response. 'cause then I'm like, Brita, well, like, okay, well what are we supposed to do now? Like, it's all messed up. It's fire here, fire there, fire here. I mean, like, and I felt the same way. You know, I'm working currently or training in a psychedelic assisted psychotherapy space, right?
Doing that sort of work. But even just the therapy in general, like talk therapy in general, right? Like we're talking about that within a colonial, patriarchal, racial capitalist structure that has taken connection, relational support into that. And how do we acknowledge the realities that that is wrong and in a system that is wrong and problematic and also it is needed.
And is helping people. Mm-hmm. And like that nuance, but I hit that freeze point repeatedly throughout this journey. The more I learn, the more I see, the more I acknowledge these things of just feeling complete freeze. Yeah. Of like, it's all messed up. I just want to eject. I don't wanna do this anymore. I'm not a part of this.
Britta: No. Yeah. It's very difficult. I think that there's like, One, I'm really grateful to psychedelics themselves because they can help us hold the messy complexity. They can help us break out of the binary and the Yeah. You know, the, you know, I definitely have a part of me that wants to be, you know, almost puritanical and like no, my, everything that I do to do with healing and needs to be like perfectly decolonized.
And that also is, Kind of, it's like that's actually part of the problem too. So it's like being able to see ourselves in process and be okay with the fact that we are complicit in imperfect systems that are harmful in some ways, and that we're doing the best we can to balance them out. And that's a very slippery slope, right?
Like it's very easy to then just justify your way through that. So I say that with some hesitance, but I think it's uh, uh, skills that we're all, I think, who are becoming more conscious of these, of these things, you know, trying to hone because it doesn't do any good to say, well, I'm just completely outta these fears anyway.
And if the people who are feeling the most of the weight, of the responsibility of what it really means to engage in these things, decide to throw out their hands in the air, we're leaving it to the people who aren't feeling any of it. And that's not. A good answer either. Right. But I also think that there's, you know, different people are gonna be called to different roles.
Like I do think there's, there's the role for the people who are gonna be working very much within sometimes even the institutions and trying to, to bend and change and push as much as they can within them. And they have the, the spoons and the capacity for that and the integrity for that. Then there's gonna be those of us who are like, I, I can't, like, that will just kill my soul.
I need to be outside with the pitchforks and the torches. Yeah. Uh, you know, and we need both. We are not gonna be, it's like an inside and outside job, and there's gonna be people who are forming alternatives to therapy and community. And there's gonna be people who are changing the culture of therapy within those institutions.
And we need both. And we need to sort of, I think, Not have as much conflict between who's right, between the people taking both approaches. Because ultimately we're up against some, some like pretty intense forces and we're not gonna get the job done. We need to weaken the integrity of the structures from the inside as we're trying to tear them down from the outside.
It will help, I think.
Nicole: Right? Right. And if we're in freeze or any of our nervous system responses, we're not gonna be able to do that work. And I think part of what that work needs is larger social movements, people working together because yes, frequently the system itself is so big that it, it creates that response.
I feel overwhelmed. I don't know what to do. But I think that we forget in that how big we are as a collective and the power that we do have when we band together. On these issues.
Britta: Yes. And I think that, you know, there's a lot of learning that I've done around understanding like more of the, like what it means to, for there to be like spores all over the world.
Small communities, small groups, small groups of friends doing this work and how that's actually transformative and that we don't have to have the biggest structures. Yeah. In fact, most often when I see like radical groups try to start institutionalizing or become bigger, that's when they lose their ability to do what they need to do.
And like, just believing in the strength of literally, you know, a thousand or a million podcasts trying to get in at these things. A thousand or a million, like small community mutual aid groups, a thousand or a million, you know, and how that, that mimics much more the patterns of how things work in nature and they're, they're sustainable.
You know, they're not as vulnerable to the toxicity of our culture because all you need is one toxic leader, one person who's, you know, looking to abuse power within a group that's like very large and institutionalized, and you can actually implode the work of many, many people mm-hmm. Who have the really have their hearts in the right place, you know, and are working really hard.
So becoming more resilient to like building structures that are more resilient to change to the way the world's changing and, and to the kinds of harm that happen. I think that where I really like come back to the embodied consent work mm-hmm. Is really like seeing not just within our sexual interactions, but like, it's actually been like some, some of the most radical work that I've done in terms of like changing how I relate as a healer, change how I relate as a friend.
As a lover. Yeah. Because there's so many, uh, weird. Naughty non-consent, like the whole, you know, questions of like, who is it for, which is foundational to Betty Martin's wheel of consent, looking at an action and being like, who is this for? Like if I'm gonna ask my partner, like, you know, do you want a neck massage?
Is that because, you know, I'm asking them like, does your neck hurt? Do you want me to massage it? Or is that because I'm trying to put my hands on a body right now and I'm trying to get close and I figure if we start with a massage, things might get sexy. Right? Right, right. So we do that like all the time in the realm of the non-sexy too.
Right. You might ask like, you know, if your friend wants to get a certain kind of food, and actually what you're saying is, I would like that to get that kind of food. Would you like to come get it with me? I am such a sucker for that one. Yeah. I mean, this is, we're kind of trained to avoid desire or avoid the vulnerability of expressing desire.
Amen. And so, and like that, that creates all these different kinds of like, Dysfunctional threads in relationships like that extend far outside of the erotic or like the explicitly erotic, you know, you know, I've been sort of dreaming up a, you know, a kind of wheel of consent informed training for psychedelic practitioners, for example, because there's just so many ways where the psychedelic spaces I've been in haven't really done that work.
And so they're replicating a lot of like, you know, con messy consent patterns. Like I'm not just talking about the explicitly like, you know, consent violation, abusive patterns in which there are unfortunately a lot of in all spaces, including psychedelic spaces as well, but just what it means to really like, Empower choice and voice and to take ownership of our own needs and desires and be in relationship with the parts of us that sometimes need to take and sometimes are happy to allow and sometimes wanna serve and sometimes need to accept.
And those four quadrants of the wheel and learning where we are more comfortable and where we're not, which is gonna show us our patterns of like entitlement and submission are gonna really help us understand what's happening relationally when we try to come together to make the world better or just come together.
Nicole: Yeah. Do you think you could provide like a practical example or something for someone who might be hearing you resonating with you, but unsure of what this looks
Britta: like? Yeah. Well, I think, you know, whenever I try to talk about the wheel of consent, I'm like, it's, it's not a, a head understanding thing.
Like I could even point you to a, you know, the diagram of the wheel of consent. It took me like several years of looking at that diagram before it actually made any sense to me, and what, what helped it make sense to me. The only reason it didn't make sense to me is because of the embodiment practices.
So what I would suggest is play the three minute game. It's like the foundational, like practice of the wheel of consent. It's really simple. You can do it with someone who's just like a friend. You don't, it can be a completely platonic exercise. In fact, I recommend you start it that way because so much is gonna come up just in that.
Before you even bring it into the erotic realm. And so Betty Martin, Dr. Betty Martin, she like developed this model on the basis of playing this game with her clients. Hmm. And the game is you take turns asking each other. How would you like to be touched and how would you like to touch me? And like in a workshop, I would start out by just saying like, we're only gonna touch maybe hands and forearm, you know?
And then the person will ask that the question, the, the person that say, you just asked me how would you like to be touched? I might say, you know, I would really like it if you could tickle the palm of my hand. And then you're not gonna just be like, okay, I guess I'm tickling. You're gonna be like, oh, okay.
Is that a gift I can willingly give with a full heart? And maybe you might say, you know, I'm happy to tickle the palm of your hand, but like, you know, Brita, I'm only gonna be able to do that for about a minute. Does that sound good? And once we've negotiated that, we would go through and do it. And that's gonna give me the, the experience of accepting a gift that you're serving me.
So you're doing the action, but it's for me. Now, quite often when we see someone doing an action to someone else, we assume it's for the person they're doing it to. Mm-hmm. Like just now, you know, you would be correct. You know, you would be touching my palm of my hand and it would be because I wanted it and then I was enjoying it.
But actually a lot of the time there's, there's a difference dynamic happening, which would be if you said, Brita, you know, I'd really like to like play with your fingers. Can I do that? And I might be like, I don't really like, love the idea of my fingers being played with, but I'm totally happy to allow it.
Is that gonna make you happy? That's cool. I'm totally within my, my consent field to allow that. And so someone might see you playing with my fingers and think it was for me, but actually it was for you. 'cause you wanted to take that pleasure. Now that's the, the, the dynamic that I think culturally we have the least like familiar familiarity and comfort with, because taking even the word mm-hmm.
Has like a negative con connotation, right? Just like taking for ourselves, which is because the shadows of that side of the wheel, the, like non-consensual taking can include assault, can include theft can include, so, but those. Shadows happen when we're not in a healthy, consensual relationship to our need to take and an ability to own our desire and ask.
So that's one polarity of the wheel is, um, take and allow. The other one is serve and accept. So I just kind of gave two examples of that. But if like thinking about the words and the dynamics is like too much to take in, in this moment, like I wouldn't. Worry about that. I would really literally Google three minute game.
You'll find Betty Martin in the School of Consents website. There's like a little video, um, just to remind you like how to structure the game and you will have an embodied experience and be like, wow, this was really hard. It was hard for me to take pleasure and to feel in my hands like anything while I was touching with my hands.
Mm-hmm. Hands. That's why we often wake up the hands before we even do the exercise, which I really recommend is like finding that space because we often do things with our hands and we forget how to actually just receive pleasure through them. So Betty usually starts with, we wake up the hands and then we go into the three minute game and.
That experience can start to give us insight into like, oh, you know, for me, I had a lot of non-consensual experiences in my life. Mm-hmm. Where it doesn't, in any way excuse the person from not attuning to me or not asking for, you know, more affirmative consent, but realizing how patterned I was to submit and to just like allow and how comfortable that was and how, you know, totally edgy.
It was for me to actually even feel into what I'd want to take or ask for from someone else or want to receive it, gave me a lot of information and it, it, and developing those practices have had like a huge impact on my ability to navigate those situations differently. And I think it's just as important.
For people who are patterned for entitlement to do this work as well and learn how they need to slow down and attune and not assume that people, other people have easy access to their choice and voice and, you know, and notice that they're always maybe gonna be, have a lot more easy ability to just start asking for or doing what they want and that that's not gonna be met by people who are, especially when you're working across certain, like gender polarities and gender socialization is often, you know, it happens across all genders in all ways, but there's a certain level of socialization that is really patterned in this way.
So it's like an, it's the responsibility of, I think of every person to do this work and unpack their patterns and walk the world more consciously, um, about how they're, how they're holding that in their body. Mm-hmm.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. Yeah. As you were talking, I was thinking about my own upbringing and a more fundamentalist Christian space, and I would say that it's not all.
Christians. Right. But at least the, my experience in it of being taught that my body for, I mean, we can go to purity, culture, virginity, and the whole thing of the mm-hmm. I am giving this gift of purity to my husband. 'cause that was the only person that I could marry was a male. Um, so this is a gift I'm giving to my husband.
And then on top of that, the fact that sex was Yeah. Something I would give. Right? Right. Not just the purity, but sex in general would be something that I was giving. And so being raised in that sort of construct, I would say the amount of painful sex and sex that I didn't even enjoy. Yeah. Was re a lot.
Yeah. Because I was taught that this is something that I'm supposed to give away rather than receive pleasure rather than take pleasure. Right. So I think that like gender nuance of the socialization and the various cultures of teaching around sex and pleasure, embodiment are really important because many of us have been taught that this is something we give rather than we can receive for ourselves.
And I, one of the like historical dates that has been, like, I've mentioned this now in multiple episodes of the podcast, but I think because it sucked, it just hits me so hard, is that marital rape wasn't illegal until 1976. Right? So it hasn't been 50 years. Okay. 50 years. And so if I'm working with a client that's in an older generation, it is important for me.
As a clinician in training to be aware of the fact that that is a part of the cultural systemic reality for that client is that they didn't have control over their body because their husband in that frame could rape them with no consequence because they were property. And so when people ask like, why are we still here?
Why are we still struggling to have conversations about what is it that I like? It's because that's where we came from.
Britta: Yeah, a hundred percent. I mean, it's, it's so in our cultural d n a and I think sometimes there's a weird thing, and I think this is what I, I felt as like a teenager who I think, you know, I was, as a child, I was actually very sexual.
I was like really into touching my own body. Yeah. Um, but when I came into my teenage years, I really identified as asexual because I found myself feeling so disconnected from like, the representations of sexuality around me. And it was kind of like a protective mechanism because what I saw was that even though, you know, and this was like the late nineties, but like, I don't think the world is that different now in a, in a lot of ways growing up, you know, I felt like there was.
This freedom or liberation to, you know, perform sexuality. And that was actually part of like, now you had to kind of like, you know, follow this like, oh, I'm not a slut, but like, I'm also sexy, but like, I'm not a slut, but I'm like, also really you, it was like this dance you have to do. Yes. Where it's like, it would've would be easier to just have to be one, you know?
Right. It was like a lot. And it, it wasn't rooted in my own pleasure. It wasn't rooted in my own knowing of my body. And when I think of the few. Friends that I had who, who really were rooted in that, it wasn't like seen as cool, you know what I mean? Because they were like actually just like very hypersexual.
And that was actually not approved of by this like, so-called like liberated sexual culture. Mm-hmm. So I think that that hangover is just like so with us still and like so much of the pressure even to, you know Yeah. To be, to be kinky and to be liberated and to just be so in. It is also like still rooted in a performative and like, and a historical, like there's a whole thing happening and you know, and I noticed this as a sex worker where, you know, the tide is turned in a way that it was, it is so.
Common for my cis, cis straight male clients to need you to be at least performing your pleasure in a somewhat realistic way for them to enjoy themselves. Because it's not acceptable to just wanna take pleasure. It has to seem mutual. I want it to feel natural. Mm-hmm. And yet they're not equipped to actually hear feedback that I eventually learned to be able to give them.
And the, we quickly learned was not actually wanted Yeah. To actually adjust their touch in order to actually give me a pleasure. Because that level hadn't been deprogrammed, right? Like the entitlement was still there, but it was just like, oh, but I don't wanna be one of those guys. You know? But like, so just definitely moan a lot and make sure this like, looks good, you know?
So like that culture, like what it means to actually become a person who's safe to say no to, who is, uh, willing to hear feedback and learn about. How to touch a body, especially in a culture where we don't get taught that. And we're a pornography mostly, for the most part, does not show realistic depictions of how bodies need to be touched and interacted with, um, in order to, you know, have sustainable pleasure.
That kind of learning, to me, like that's the, the, the deep liberatory work that I feel like, you know, needs to happen. And it's no one, no one loves, like in a sexual moment suddenly being told, actually that doesn't feel good. Can you try something else? It's a muscle. You have to like develop the ability to hear it and be like, okay, it doesn't mean I'm a bad lover.
It actually means I'm a good lover because they're feeling safe to tell me that. And I'm gonna now put my ego aside and really tune in and see if I can stay in flow and just adjust and keep giving check-ins. And that's the stuff that, you know, somatic sex education has been so. Liberatory for me because as a, as a provider and, and I do, can still consider myself a sex worker within a that container as a somatic sex educator, even though it's a different kind of sex work.
And it comes with different, less cultural stigma and baggage for sure. But I do feel like that work where we're constantly asking like, how would you like to be touched? What could make this feel even better? So that not even allowing the person on the table to go into that space of, oh, this is good enough.
No, this is fine. I like what you're doing, but like, but what could make it even better? Yeah. Like I want the feedback, like, let's tune in. Let's not settle for like, this is okay. You know? Um, so I think those, we need these kind of practices that like help us build a different world, that help us counterbalance this.
Long history we're carrying in our bodies.
Nicole: Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I think the reality is that has to be done relationally, right? Mm-hmm. Like this isn't something that you can just wake up one day and start doing. I think, at least for me, the suppression of the ability to express my desires slash even know.
What they were first off. Right, exactly. I had no idea was because of the society and the relationship of purity culture that I was in with those types of people. Mm-hmm. And at least in my own experience of going through sexual, um, intimacy with people who, I guess I, maybe I shouldn't even use the word intimacy to describe it, where I would express what I wanted or critiqued and it would come back with aggression or some sort of ego bruising of the other person to which then I shut down to which, okay, I'm not gonna bring myself out anymore because if I do, I get this hard reception.
So part of this is like the person who's in that space who feels like I can't express my desires. Part of that might not even be you as much as it is the person you're saying it to. And if they're receiving you poorly, yeah, then of course you're naturally going to shut down. And so I think what is so crucial is to find relationships where you can practice this, model this.
This is also kind of what therapy is, right? Like you have a relationship with someone who he's hears you. Sees you, yeah. Models, healthy relationships. It's a corrective experience. You need the same thing when it comes to sexuality. Whether that's working with a somatic practitioner, a sex worker, a partner, I don't care.
But you need someone. You need someone to practice and learn and be received well in that practice. Otherwise we will attack ourselves and say, why do I struggle so much? And it's like, well, you haven't had a safe space to do it.
Britta: Right, exactly. I mean, I know that firsthand because I know when I did my, um, somatic sex education training, I was so excited to bring some of those practices into a new relationship mm-hmm.
Um, that I had just began. Yeah. And it, it actually, it was a relationship where there was a lot of chemistry and yet, like actually beyond the limits of that immediate chemistry, there wasn't much room for that kind of communication. There was a lot of resistance to like, you know, losing the magic of that experience or like by communicating too much or diagramming how it should be, as if this should be something that fully unfolded in an intuitive, like mystical way, which like, there's beautiful aspects of flow experiences that are, can be based on that, but you have to have the foundations of being able to actually communicate with your words or with your gestures what you need to build upon that.
You know, and I actually lost so much of my. Capacity that I built in that training. And I've had to work hard to, to rebuild that because it is kind of like a muscle, it kind of does just atrophy if you're in the wrong relationship or in the wrong environment where it's not encouraged to speak up or you're saying, I'm encouraging you to speak up, but when you do, like I don't really fully hear you, or I don't really adjust my behavior, or I kind of like mock you for needing to, you know, and that was also like noticing that I, you know, I'm neurodivergent so.
For me, I need explicit communication. I mean, I think we all do, but like I am fully like, uh, engaged in explicit communication as my main mode of taking information. Like if you're expecting me to pick something up implicitly, like I am gonna try, but I, I really need you to just say what you need. And I think that's like a good foundational practice to have in relationships.
And then if you find that you develop enough rapport that you, some of those things go on without saying, then that's great, but you need the foundation or you're just sort of like out adrift in the ocean. And if something goes wrong, and that's with whether you're in a psychedelic experience or a sexual experience or both, you need to have the life wrapped available to you of like, Active, explicit communication and in knowing that it's going to not, uh, you're not gonna be punished for it.
You're not gonna, it's not going to like end or sever the connection in some way. It's just, it's so important.
Nicole: Yes. Because what it allows you then to do is to state your needs. And if you can do that in the most, quote unquote taboo shameful of our society space of sexuality. Mm-hmm. What ends up happening is once you can do that, it changes how you interact.
And dare I say every other capacity, because now I have no shame in stating what I want and what I need. And being received when that is a no from another person to be clear, who doesn't wanna give me that? And when I go out into the world, I am much clearer with communicating what I want and need in relationships, in situations.
And it is so directly correlated. So when we can't ask for pleasure with our bodies, with our connections, it's hard to ask for pleasure, dare I say in anything else.
Britta: Absolutely. It is like the foundational place. It's the place where we move through power dynamics. It's the place where we move through and play as adults and where we learn our, it's like, so it's at the root of everything.
And what we change there has like such big reverberations like you're saying. And I think that's like something that maybe also a reason that I've just been always so called to work in that realm because it is so foundational to our broader web of relating.
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Exactly. And. What makes me sad though, is a lot of people think we're pretty wild and Yeah, I know.
You know, like that's the real like, like oh my god, drugs and sex. Like I know those people have fallen off the cliff and gone off and I'm like, oh my God. And I think it's hard for me 'cause that's my family in a lot of ways. Um, yeah, totally. I like went home to see some family and even was talking about psychedelic assisted psychotherapy work and my brother was just like, ketamine's a hard drug.
I would never want a psychologist who's done any of that, like blah, blah, blah. And I was like, oh dear. Oh dear God, you know?
Britta: Yeah. It's wild 'cause it's, it's easy. Like, and some, some days I'm like, wow, the world's so different. 'cause when I was like first blogging about sex and drugs in like 2008 or something, or oh nine, yeah.
I felt like I was so far out there. Right. There wasn't any ketamine assisted therapy. There wasn't like decrim movements there. There was, there wasn't like, I don't, I think like maybe somatic sex education was like a few years old as a modality. You know? It was really like a, a whole different world. And I sometimes, like, I, I take for granted in some ways that there is this wealth of like different subcultural networks and information.
And also when I step outside of the bubbles sometimes I'm like, Oh wait, I forgot. Yeah. To you, I am like a, you know, drug dealing whore. Okay. Yes. You know? Yes. So that's kind of wild. But I think that's also something a testament to the times we're in, because people are just, you know, there's the people in their Q Anon bubble, there's the people in there, like, everyone's in their subcultural and like, there's so many things happening at once.
And I mean, the, both, the beauty and the curse is that a lot of times those cultures aren't speaking to each other. And then when you dip out of your bubble, you're like, oh, oh wow. Okay. I hope I'm safe here. I feel that a little bit about where I'm living and my rural life now, where I'm like, oh, I, I hope this is okay.
I am gonna lay a little low up here. I hope we know. Yes. So it's, yeah, it's a weird time. But I do, I do really feel like there is, I. Stuff is sinking in in ways where Yes, it's like people can't, it's like inescapable. It's like, you know, everyone has someone's grandma who really benefited from medical cannabis, right?
Like there's, you know, there's just like all these like little places where it's like it's seeping in. And I think that's what the sort of fascist pushback is about, is feeling that. Everyone knows, has, has, knows someone's kid who they love, who's gender non-conforming. Like there's like, there's just enough of it that you can feel this earth rattling change that's afoot and there's a equally strong pushback and we're in that exact moment.
Um, but I have this deep faith that even though some days the world looks so dark and like it does look like fascism's at our doorstep, I do feel like whatever this is is like the last gasp of something very old from an old cycle we've been in. And actually there's too many of us who have woken up to these things, who are embodying these things, and that if we stay in our integrity and we stay in our bodies, they can't win.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. I feel, I feel it in my bones. I feel it in my body. Yeah. This, like you said, that earth shattering collective rising, that you know, Even in that example with my brother, my mom then came in 'cause she works for the veterans' office and she's like, well, you know, they're using it with veterans now.
And I love, I love that, okay, great conservatives, let's go there. You know what I mean? Like great in, you know, so I think that like, like you said, the grandma who's used medical cannabis, like it is collectively rising slowly and maybe not in our lifetime. Right? Yeah. But I do have so much faith despite the freeze response, despite all of these things that collectively there is something that's rising.
Britta: So may it be
Nicole: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I wanna be conscious of time 'cause I had only said an hour, but I do have questions about like consent on drugs, so I don't wanna dive into that. 'cause that could be like a whole conversation. But if you have space or time, I'd be curious.
Britta: Yeah, I mean, without going into like a super deep dive about it, I feel like what I really.
Just sort of start out with, whenever I, I think about this or someone asks me these questions is, you know, what are the existing relationships in place? Like, what's your relationship with this person? What's your relationship with your body and what's your relationship with this substance? And those three relationships I think are gonna be foundational to how you wanna.
Navigate this, you know, if you're talking about with a partner, whether it's a romantic partner or just a long-term sexual partner who you feel really comfortable communicating around consent stuff with, and you, you've been on this substance before on your own and in non-sexual environments, and then you're feel and you just, you know, are feeling, you know, comfortable in your body at this moment, like then, you know, I think there's gonna be a lot more room for leeway for not having a very structured container around how you explore that because there's enough support that you've already built into those relationships.
But if you're really looking at like, you know, I've never tripped on this for the first time, or this is a new lover of mine, or I actually historically have really struggled with like vocalizing my know, or like not slipping into enduring during a sexual interaction. I think that then, it's not to say that, you know, don't do that, don't, but you're kind of layering altered states like this is how I always.
Think of it like sex is an altered state. When you're aroused, you're in an altered state already because you know, you make decisions that the next day you're like, why did I decide not to use protection? Like, I guess I was a little high on arousal, right? Yeah. And then like erotic trance brings us like into an actual trance state as we start engaging with that arousal.
And then orgasm is a totally altered state. It's like an ego dissolution experience. Like a peak of a Yes. A trip. Yes. So what we're really talking about is like juggling this altered state now with another altered state. So what are our relationships to those states? And then also like, what are the support structures?
So if I wanted to trip with someone on something that, let's say, like I am pretty comfortable tripping with, but like, you know, isn't, like I'm, I don't, it's not always smooth sailing. Sometimes stuff, hard stuff comes up, which I think is most, most substances, right? There's no like, you know, and I'm gonna be with someone who I'm not that experienced sexually with.
I would wanna do some things like, you know, talk about like, What's on the table and off the table for you? Like in our baseline consciousness right now, like for how we might interact and the rule that we use from somatic sex education is you can always down negotiate. You know you, but you never up negotiate.
So if you get really high and suddenly you're like, you know what? I actually feel like doing a whole anal exploration today. I might think about like pausing that and being like, you know what, that's really cool that I've noticed that I'm gonna talk to them about that next time we try to do this and see if that's something we wanna put on the table.
Because one or both of us might feel not great about it afterwards because we're not in our everyday consciousness now. And particularly as a practitioner, that's something that I'm strict about. You know, with within everyday relationships we, you know, there's things are more fluid. They're not quite as like not one person holding the responsibility of the container for the other.
But I do think it's helpful to sort of just remember that. You know, the kind of somatic openings that we sometimes happen have when we're tripping. If we actually engage with them and do a thing that parts other parts of ourselves weren't online for when we were in that experience. It can be more traumatic when we come back to our everyday consciousness and we're like, I didn't actually wanna fuck that friend.
Or, you know, now I have to deal with the repercussions of that, or whatever it is. So like, and also like sometimes people going into, um, a trip with an agenda, like, oh, I wonder if I trip with so and so. Maybe who knows, I have a crush on them. Maybe something will happen. Like, I think it's really good to be explicit beforehand about those sort of things, because that's kind of one person going in with an agenda and the other person might not be like, open to that agenda and might feel really bad about it afterwards when they were in a more susceptible open state and didn't know that you were going in there to see if that boundary could come down, you know?
Mm-hmm. So those things are things that I think about, you know, like ultimately, like I always have these, you know, Different structures that I wanna put in place. And I also know that everyday interactions are way more complex and messy, but just sort of having a little bit of a, an intention, is this a trip where I'm open to getting sexy?
Do I wanna check in with a person about whether that's something we wanna be open to? And if so, do we wanna like play the three minute game a few times while we're coming up or before we do it so that we just practice, you know, telling each other limits and asking for what we want. And, um, negotiating or just thinking about, you know, Knowing your own needs, saying to the person, you know, I'm someone who sometimes struggles to like, stop when something's not feeling good.
Mm-hmm. Like, but I might be able to give you this body signal and if you see me doing that, that's what that means. Or, you know, just creating the supports for yourself. Um, because it can kind of get really complicated when you're, you're selling out on multiple kind of Cs in that way.
Nicole: Yes. Yes. And I appreciate the nuance of this, right?
Of, like you said, we have multiple different altered states of consciousness going on. You know, like especially if we throw kink on there too, right? Like all these different altered states of consciousness that we are navigating and being able to. See the nuance in that when you're having to do the math on what that looks like, right?
Like yeah. How long have you known this person? Is it pickup play? Have you done a lot of play before? Right. And like the difference between how that might look with someone that you just met at a play party versus someone that you've known for decades and done tons of play with. There is quite literally different levels of dance comfortability.
And so then when we add something else, like an altered state of consciousness with a drug or a medicine, then we're adding another nuanced layer to that. And so I think like, What you said was really fleshing that out and being able to have communication about that, because at least for me, what I was taught was so much so the frame of if you're on a drug, you cannot consent.
Britta: Right. Right. Which is good intentions.
Nicole: Right. I love that, but also
Britta: Yeah, it does. It's not based in reality. Yeah. Because a lot of us, you know, use a drink or use a smoke on a spliff Right. To uh, to open up to feeling comfortable. And so it doesn't acknowledge any of that reality and then sort of takes away your agency around what, and then it sort of flattens it because there are some experiences of, you know, very specifically wanting someone to get more and more inebriated in order to push past boundaries.
And that's very different from you both decided to go to the bar, have a drink or two because you knew that you wanted to fuck later. Like, that's right. Those are different things. And so by saying you can't consent when you're, you know, that just sort of flattens that and that's not that good either. So I think it's, yeah, it's just acknowledging all those, those messy, complex complexities and, and then also creating the space where like, I.
If you're good at like having aftercare or check-ins after your experiences, you know, creating space for there to be mess ups, you know? Mm-hmm. The, can we create a space where I can say, Hey, you know, actually I think that was like not okay for me, and we can engage in feedback and figure out why it happened and how not how to prevent it happening again.
Because, you know, there's the different kinds of harm that happens. There's harm that happens because someone refuses to be accountable perpetually because their own entitlement or trauma is playing out in their own way where they have no recognition of the other person's needs or experience. And then there's like the everyday harm that we're all gonna commit.
Just by being alive and not being able to be perfectly attuned all the time. And to be in messy communication with people who's, everyone's consciousness is totally different from everyone else's. And that's the other thing is that it's like being alive and conscious and communicating with another human being is already so wild that we can even take the way my brain's working and the way your brain's working and try to communicate around it.
But then you're, you're just playing with more and more variables. It's like, how many balls do you wanna keep up in the air, you know? Yes. And those balls can be really fun to keep up in the air too, but, For me, I really focused a lot on those practices separately as integration practices for each other to really build the foundation where I feel like as someone who has historically slipped into enduring and submission when I didn't feel good, it's, it was taking like a lot of building of this sort of like framework for me to feel like there are now a couple of people in my life where I'll feel like I can navigate those waters pretty comfortably, at least on this list of medicines that I'm pretty comfortable with at these kind of doses, you know, and not sort of going for that like mentality of like, Oh, but like this kind of play with this many people on this kind of dose is gonna be the most mind blowing.
You know, there's like a lot of that more is better in our culture. And it's like not necessarily, you might find that just taking a microdose and then having a sexual experience later that time the next day might blow your mind. So also not just like being like, you know, we need more all the time.
Nicole: Yes. And I think that's something even I've seen in the psychedelic space with therapy, right? The, the dose does obviously have an effect, right? But the reality is the dose can have even a stronger effect at a smaller amount if you're allowing your protector controlling parts to let go, right? Yeah. Someone who's grasping for reality to hold on can take a really high dose and say they didn't feel anything compared to someone who takes a really small dose and says they had a radical trip because they're allowed to let go.
And I think the same thing can happen, you know, on the medicine or off with a partner, right? And I think. Kind of what you were talking about with the, the differences of even language and communication. I think an existential psychology perspective would say that like we're all having our own internal experience of these words, these meanings.
And even when I'm communicating with you, like that's imperfect. Like, I'm trying to understand you, but only through my lens, you know, and so I really can't. And so holding space for that nuance of having to try and communicate and get closer on those things is a part of what it means to be in dynamic with anybody.
Right. And I think it's also so crucial to like, when we're talking about drugs, to understand that they all have different experiences, right? Like someone on a high dose of cocaine has a radically different experience than someone on a high dose of alcohol that can no longer process and think. Or even remember those experiences.
Mm-hmm. Maybe compared to someone on cocaine who's very clear in mm-hmm. Again, an altered state of consciousness, but they're radically different. And so I think this, like this complete washover of just, yeah, all substances cannot consent, doesn't take into the nuance of all of these other pieces that we've talked about.
Right. And the real reality that, at least for me and the research shows cannabis can be really helpful for connecting to your body and enjoying pleasure. Absolutely. Right. So I think that you are gonna play such a crucial role in the movement of this future as someone who's like positioned right in that spot to have these nuanced conversations and to work in there as a researcher like.
It's gonna continue to grow as more people come to this and need someone like you who can really get into the nuance of this.
Britta: Well, thank you. I think it's like we're all gonna get into the mess of it together and figure it out because it's so, it's so many pieces, you know? But I think it's like a couple of things that you just said there is so important.
Like, you know, for me as someone living with complex trauma, actually some of the most important psychedelic experiences I had were when I stopped trying to push for the heroic doses that were gonna break me through and heal me and finally get me to fully surrender. And when I started like giving myself that gentle love to, to work slowly at the pace of my nervous system.
Yes. You know, I was like, oh, I guess I didn't need to have like seven Iboga floods. Like maybe that was actually a little excessive in my choice, you know? And then also just. The way that we're interacting as messy people with these, you know, in this culture that already doesn't know how to, to navigate these either of these worlds very, very well.
We're not really taught that. It means that it's, it's gonna be messy. We're gonna mess up, but you know, that. I keep losing the same thought. Isn't that interesting? It's okay. Take your time. It wants to, it wants to come. Don't we all? Let me think.
Nicole: Amen. Amen. Amen.
Britta: Uh, just, oh yeah, that's it. The hard and fast rules, like I see it in psychedelic psychotherapy right now where people are sort of like, you can never have touch in the session.
You know, that, you know, and all of those kinds of rules where this needs to be handled with so much care and also hard and fast rules do not actually solve the problem of a heavily non-consensual culture that we're operating in. So, you know, seven to 12% of like mental health professionals in the US have self-reported violations of like, or, or having, having had erotic interactions with their clients.
That's the culture we're living in, like without the psychedelics in place, right? So the idea that having the rule don't touch or fuck your clients is gonna fix. The problems of abuse is a total illusion. What we need is embodied consent practices, and really clear living systems of ethics that allow us to adjust for the container and for knowing ourselves and knowing the client, and negotiating those things at the beginning of a session.
When it comes, I'm thinking specifically in that, not around about erotic touch, but around like, you know, is it welcome for, to have a hug or hold a hand? Like those kind of things need to be spoken about before anyone's getting high. Yep. And you know, and that's like all these ways that we can practice helping each other find our choice and voice so that we can have less of the repercussions of just walking the world, assuming that everyone has that, and then being.
Shocked when people are having hard experiences, so, mm-hmm. Yeah. I just, I think the more I like live, the more I'm just like, I don't think that hard and fast rules about you can't consent when you're high. You shouldn't get, you know, ever have touch in the session. You should. I don't think, I think those are kind of like, Things we try to lean on to avoid the reality of the deeper work that we have to do in order to have like a truly consensual like culture of healing.
Nicole: Mm-hmm. And in general, yes. Yes. I think that you could apply that across the board in so many different ways, that it's not black and white and therein lies the beauty of our world and how many colors exist in that spectrum and all that is possible. And therein also lies the fear of how much there is in between all of that to navigate.
Right? Yes. Exactly. What we said earlier of like the more you expand and you see these things, the more colors you see, the more terror we can have in it. Right. But also there's the beauty and I. Personally would never choose to go back to a space of black and white. And I think that collectively we are waking up to realize that most things we're thinking about are way more nuanced, complex, and intricate systems that do not stand alone, that are affecting us.
Britta: Yes, a hundred percent. And, um, that's like both the, the beauty and the like, uh, and the challenge of being part of alive in this moment and part of the movements to hopefully transform some of those systems.
Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like I'm holding back from embarking on much longer conversation really here because I'm like, let's keep going.
This is good. Yeah, totally. Yeah. Um, unless you have anything else that you feel strongly you want to share, I will transition us to a closing question I ask everyone on the podcast. So if there's anything else lingering, I like to hold a little bit of space.
Britta: No, I feel complete. Thank you.
Nicole: Okay, good. Good, good, good.
So then the question I ask everyone on the podcast is, what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?
Britta: Hmm. Gosh, there's so many things, but I, I guess it's normal to not know what you want or to not be able to express it. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And by normal is, you know, normal's a relative word.
Right. So normal's in our culture, in our culture, it's very normal to not be attuned to our desires and to not be confident in, in communicating them. And so, um, I think I pathologized myself for a long time mm-hmm. For not being able to do that and assumed that everyone else around me had, was able to do that.
And, um, I don't think that's true. I think I've lit, I've learned so much, you know, facilitating the kind of work that I do. How many of us are struggling with that? And I mean, I can, sometimes I just wanna write a list of things actually like this because I often, you know, read over people's intake forms when they come to work with me.
And I read over so many sexual histories because I ask people to share as much as they feel comfortable with, so that we have a kind of like shared map of what might come up in our work together. And, um, and it's always, I'm always so honored when people are willing to share. And it's always so profound to me to note how many, like, histories of sexual violence, histories of incest, histories of like, just really painful relationships to our bodies.
Like these things are unfortunately normal. Um, so there's also like those pieces too. I just feel like there's something in our culture that. Tries to paint this world of sexuality as if everyone's got it figured out and people are just like, you know, sexy and out there and picking each other up and having great times.
And I know that's happening alongside a lot of the time, people having awful times not understanding what they actually want or need, like relationships that seem great from the outside. And there's all sorts of things happening on the inside. So I think it's just normal to be in the struggle of like trying to develop a healthy sexuality and a deeply sexually dysfunctional culture.
That's maybe that's the actual answer. Yes.
Nicole: And Lord knows we don't need to pathologize ourselves or our clients for that. Right. No. It comes back to that same conversation of, of feeling depression when you look out at the world that we have right now. Right. Or having these difficult relational dynamics in ourself because of the relationships that we grew up with.
Right. Like I think there's so much push on the individual when when you realize what sort of context we're in, what sort of rape culture we all live in. Mm-hmm. Then yeah, of course. And so like you said, that like sense of pathologizing the self, if something's wrong with me, it is normal. Unfortunately it shouldn't be.
Right. Right, exactly. But being able to acknowledge that it is normal will hopefully allow people to have compassion for themselves and to feel like they're not alone. I think that's one of the biggest things is that at least in my work with so many sexual assault survivors and incest survivors, all these other things to feel like they're the only ones.
Yeah, but like we both know is unfortunately that's normal in our society.
Britta: Unfortunately it is and and I think that understanding can really help shift some of the more toxic narratives around how harm is happening too. Because if we are faced with how common it's ha it is, then we have to be faced with how commonly people are perpetuating it, and then we can stop.
Othering, a small group of blood sucking lizard people or whoever it is who's supposed to be committing the harm in our world and face the fact that it's happening in our communities and our neighborhoods and within our families. So yeah, there's that reason to,
Nicole: yep. Where's our next episode in Transformative Justice.
Britta: I'm like, I'm, I'm happy to come back.
Nicole: That's amazing. Uh, it was so lovely to hold space with you and create this conversation. Where do you wanna plug so people can find you, connect with you and all your work? Sure.
Britta: Um, you know, I mostly on social, I mostly hang out on Instagram at Brita Loved, so it's just my name with a d at the end.
And you could also go to my website, brita loved.com, if you wanna get in touch. I have some writing on there, um, and other interviews. And I'm also like doing various, like speaking and workshops throughout the year can also write to me if you wanna. Work together. I have a very small in-person practice in New York City and I often take on Zoom clients as well.
Also, uh, working on the strike for pleasure. So you can also go to strike for pleasure.com. It's just a baby launched website. I haven't really fleshed it out yet, but it's a way to get a portal into what the idea is. And you can sign up for the mailing list for when it more fully launches? Hell yeah.
Nicole: Hell yes.
I will be there. Amazing. Well, thank you for coming on the podcast and joining the community.
Britta: Thank you so much for having me. This has been such a great conversation. Yeah.
Nicole: If you enjoy today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast. And head on over to Modern Anarchy podcast.com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode.
I wanna thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.