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142. Celebrating Your Slutty Pleasure to Dismantle the Systems with Tamara Pincus

Nicole: Welcome to Modern Anarchy, the podcast exploring sex, relationships, and liberation. I'm your host, Nicole.

On today's episode, we have licensed clinical social worker, And certified sex therapist Tamara Pinkus joined us for a conversation about celebrating sexual pleasure. Together we talk about sex and spirituality, being considered too much, and questioning the narratives of authority. Hello, dear listener. Welcome back to Modern Anarchy.

Today's episode really continues the conversation that we started last week, right? I opened the episode about our fantasies last week, talking about the impact of systems and how that creates what we dream about both erotically in our fantasies as well as our day to day Typical existence, right? Our narratives are deeply shaped by the systems and the cultures that we exist in and there is no Getting out of that, right?

And I think today's conversation really hits on that Tamara shared how her son had been going through Abstinence plus education and how that is a mandated education in their state that you should feel shame if you have sex before marriage, right? Take a deep breath with that one, right? And these cultural narratives deeply impact how we see ourselves and our actions and our sexuality, right?

Tamara had said, you know, Even if you didn't go to church, right, or experience that deeply religious upbringing, I think you still are impacted by this, and God, I just wanna even go further to say, I don't care if you didn't grow up religious. Lucky you, actually. But if you didn't, you still exist in this society, right?

We all are living under systems of oppression that we're just little goldfish gobbling up some water up in here that is our normal day to day, and we don't even think about it, right? Let's look at science. The pudendal nerve, the nerve that's running through the pelvis. You know what that word means in Latin?

Shame, y'all. It means shame, okay? So whether you grew up going to a church on Sunday and got the purity messages that I got, or you escaped that sort of trauma, it is so abundant in our society. Everywhere, okay? I want you to pay attention to media, right? When they talk about sex, do they giggle and get really tight in the chest and struggle to even have the conversations and make it feel uncomfortable?

Do they, you know, make strange faces at any sort of mention of BDSM or any sort of mention of having sex with multiple people or even more, right? What are the conversations that aren't happening in those spaces, right? You might think, sure, I didn't grow up in these societies that were deeply repressive, but the reality is that that society impacts all of our media, impacts all the ways that we are living through the world in such small, little, discreet Subtle ways that deeply influence how we move about through the world.

Let's even talk about the white dress of a wedding. Okay, where do we think that's coming from, right? And of course, we now have the empowerment to make these decisions, right, of is this a value system that I respect or do I want to craft my own? Another one of those is mononormativity, right? The idea that you must love only one person and anything else is wrong.

Gross. If you practice sexual fidelity, beautiful, right? What a great practice. But to have this additional mononormativity bias that anyone who does something else is wrong? That's what we're trying to challenge here, right? This world of messages and assumptions that teach us this is the one and only way.

There is going to be a diversity of ways that people choose to practice sexual connections. A diversity of ways that people want to practice relational connections. And so we're trying to dismantle this world that taught us This is the one and only way, and anything else is gross or wrong. Now, when I think back to my earlier life, okay, oof, taking it way back to when I was wearing my purity ring, and not as a statement of empowerment for where I'm at now, but rather as something that I was intending to practice.

I remember I would wear my purity ring, And I would hear about some of my classmates who had sex before marriage, and I would think, wow, that's so sad. I really should be praying for those lost and broken people who are just throwing their bodies out there like that. How, how sad for them. And I moved out of purity culture, but continued to judge myself for having sex with more than one person, right?

That's how I was supposed to live a holy and pure life, was finding this one person I would only have sex with for the rest of my life, and Society, you know, we use this word monogamy, but no one that I really know practices monogamy. We all often practice serial monogamy, the act of having one person at a time.

And so when I first started having sex with multiple people, I judged myself, right? Ooh, I'm, I'm doing this thing. Wow. Oh God, I'm such a whore, right? Still unpacking the ways that purity culture and society had so deeply laid in. cultural messages about what it means to do these things. And when one of my first partners came to me and said, Hey, I practice polyamory and I think I want to do this with you.

You know how I responded? I said, Uh, no, if you actually loved me, you would only want me and me forever. And again, A reflection of where I was at at the time, okay, I've continued to unpack these messages to realize, wow, okay, I can love multiple people, I can hug, kiss, sex, I can do that with multiple people, and it doesn't mean that I love them any less, it doesn't mean that they're not important to me.

I have this value system of moving through the world with sexual self governance, right? This is not something that someone can ever take away from me? Sure, at times I might choose to only have sex with one person because that feels good for periods of time. Or sure, in my self governance, I exist in community structures and when my choice to act and have sex with other people is going to impact others in that community, I have a conversation before I do something about that, right?

But at the end of the day, my sexuality is mine. I have self governance over that and choose when I want to explore that intimacy with some people and when I don't, right? That is up to me to decide and hold the consciousness of the beautiful community that I connect with. But this is not something I could have ever imagined doing when I was judging people for having sex before marriage, let alone having two people that you have sex with in your whole life.

Let alone two people at the same time, two people in the same room, right? Like all of these have been such a stretching of my imagination in terms of what's possible. And I will understate that I've never been happier and more connected to my pleasure than where I'm at now, right? When I was back judging people for this, I was not experiencing the deepest pleasure that I am experiencing now, which makes me ask really deep questions about free will.

When I was in that environment, living with such judgment, was I really free in that space? Purity culture told me what to think. It told me what to believe. And I didn't really see any way out of that. Anything else was gross. And knowing the pleasure that I feel in my body now with my connection and my freedom, I look back on that time and feel like I Really didn't have the freedom because of the systems and because of the ways that that taught me what was okay And what wasn't but of course, this is a yes And we do have empowerment in this moment to choose with the reality with the society that we're in Are these values that I want to live in accordance to or are these values that I've been sold or taught?

Are the right way to be? The biggest thing in terms of changing those perspectives, right, it was the community and the culture that taught me this is the way to be. And so, again, it is the community and the culture that can also be the antidote, right? Finding new media outlets that give you a different perspective, finding new friends, tuning in to Podcast.

Hello, dear listener, right? These conversations that I have had with so many different guests about sexual liberation and freedom so profoundly changed me. All of you dear listeners out there that write in saying, Wow, this podcast has helped me to think about new ways of exploring intimacy, and you're so thankful for these conversations.

You're changing me. There's days that I'm scared to put out these episodes and the things that I'm saying because of these systems and to have your words, to have these guests who are so vulnerable about their lived experience. It's. So profoundly life changing, right? Everything I study about relational psychology is that these relationships shape our sense of identity, and my path of sexual pleasure is so directly a testament to that fact, right?

Of the ways that my mind has been shaped and changed and changed. Right. Sexual liberation is a diverse practice. There's gonna be so many different people who want to practice sexual fidelity, sexual self governance, openness, right? Great. We need diversity of thought and opinion, and I hope at bare minimum that we can let go of the ideas that if you have sex with more than one person, more than one person at a time, that that doesn't in any way make you less pure, less holy.

In my eyes, that integration to your pleasure is divine, and I hope that we can understand that this world is full of so many beautiful people. It is normal for us to be in relationship with a lovely, beautiful, gorgeous human, and to also look out and see that in the world and see other people that excite us sexually, right?

It is a choice whether we enact those desires, it is a choice whether we build those relationships where that is what we want to explore, and again, we are all gonna have different desires with that. But I hope we can get to a space where we can let go of shame for that natural human ability to see beauty in the world, to connect to Eros and the erotic, and I hope that these conversations, dear listener, are creating space for all of us to explore our own path to sexual liberation and to feel more connected to our pleasure I am sending you so much love, okay?

I know that there are so many shameful messages about sex, and I hope you know that you are accepted in this space. You are celebrated in this space. And I love you, all you dear listeners out there. Please continue to practice your pleasure activism, because that is how we're gonna change the world.

Alright. With that, let's tune in to today's episode.

So then the first question I like to ask each guest is, how would you introduce yourself to the listeners?

Tamara Pincus: So my name is Tamara Pincus, and I am a licensed clinical social worker and certified sex therapist. I run a practice in the DMV. So in the DC, Virginia, Maryland area, and we do sex therapy and sex education and, um, and also coaching for open relationships and for dating coaching and those kinds of things.

Nicole: Great. Great. Great. I'm excited to talk to you today about all those things. Yeah. I know. Yeah. When you sent over the topics you had sent over, you know, fat liberation, ethical, non monogamy, and BDSM and spirituality and sex. And I'd want to ask if you, like, took a moment to breathe into your body, where would you want to start?

Do any of those topics really speak out to you now?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I think what's coming to me at the moment, maybe because you made me take a deep breath, is the sex and spirituality, please.

Nicole: Okay, here we go. Let's dive down the path. So tell me how that connects right now for you, even in that moment of taking the deep breath.

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I think You know, taking a deep breath is just sort of like dipping your toe into the spiritual waters. Right. Um, and so I'm always thinking about, like, you know, feeling into your body and like, how does that connect with who you are as a sexual person, you know, and how sexuality is really a very spiritual experience.

And I think it's interesting that organized religion sort of wants to disconnect you from that in a lot of ways. So that's the thing that has been coming up for me a lot at work lately, you know, in life, sort of dealing with people's sort of religious trauma around their sexuality and trying to figure out how to help them find.

The place where they can be a spiritual person and really embrace their sexuality without having to sort of be like, well, I don't believe in anything because I'm a sex positive person or because I'm embracing my sexual freedom.

Nicole: Yeah, that's definitely been a running theme of conversation on the podcast because of my own experience growing up very Christian, very conservative Christian, you know, where.

Sexuality was not allowed, let alone queer sex, let alone anything beyond that as well. Right. So there's been many conversations on the podcast about that and the ways that it impacts our ability to enjoy pleasure. Right. So I'd be curious, you know, you mentioned that you're seeing this a lot in your work, what are you seeing?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I'm just seeing a lot of people who have a lot of guilt and a lot of sexual shame, and a lot of times that sexual shame will literally lead to physical issues like vaginismus, which is sort of a tightening of the vagina that makes. any sort of penetration really painful. And that gets tied up with this idea that like the only sex is penetrative sex.

So there's this like, well, then I don't get to access my sexual being at all, or I don't want to access my sexual being. Cause it's going to mean that I have to do this thing. That's really painful and unpleasant. So that's showing up a lot. And it's been interesting for me as a person who's never been a Christian.

Um, I was raised, you know, reformed Jew and. You know, it's not like my family was particularly sex positive, but certainly there wasn't this like, don't go there at all ever sort of message.

Nicole: Yeah, that's definitely what I got for sure. Yeah, I got the paper test. I don't know if you've heard of that one.

Tamara Pincus: No.

Is that where you're supposed to squeeze your legs together?

Nicole: No, it was like we went into chapel and they were giving us a sex ed conversation and they put two pieces of paper together with glue and then ripped them apart and said, this is what happens when you have sex with someone that you're not married to.

You, when you stop and leave that person, you lose parts of yourself and you're damaged.

Tamara Pincus: So kind of like the chewing gum.

Nicole: Oh, I haven't heard that one. Tell me this, this horror story.

Tamara Pincus: Oh, the chewing gum. I think. Elizabeth Smart talked about it. She was, uh, this woman who was as a child kidnapped and sexually assaulted and she'd come from a very conservative Christian background.

And she'd been told, like, you know, if you have sex before marriage, it's like your gum that's been pre chewed or something. So she just left after having You know, had this horrific experience feeling like now she was impure and never going to have a positive sex life. And she's done a lot of activism around this, this kind of thing, which is great.

Nicole: I'll have to reach out and see if I could get them on the podcast. It'd be an interesting conversation. Surely. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, I'm the ways that that will impact you. I think that was my question to reflecting on my own experience of like, yeah, how many people were in that crowd when they were doing that, you know, church chapel discussion that had had a sexual assault history.

And we're sitting through that having to grapple through these messages and what that means. I mean, it's horrific to think about the ways that these narratives cause so much harm for our ability to tap into pleasure.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, yeah, it's terrible. And I feel like to some extent, we've all got it. Even those of us who haven't, you know, grown up in a religious space.

Like I, um, during the pandemic, my son had a class on abstinence. He were in Virginia, the state of Law is that you have to offer an abstinence plus curriculum, which means you have to have a discussion about abstinence in your classroom. And, um, but it was the pandemic and we were all home. So he was like, do you want to sit in on my class?

Because, you know, I'm a sex therapist.

And the teacher who is, you know, a gym teacher, um, no training in sexuality whatsoever, you know, and that's ridiculous curriculum that they put together is like, if you have sex before marriage, your parents are going to be ashamed of you. Oh. End. I mean, and, and, you know, my son doesn't want to talk in his class, but like, we're like saying things in the chat.

So, so finally, eventually he's like, except if, if you're my kid's name's mom, um, it's clearly still be okay. I think that's so damaging for kids who have been sexually abused. I mean, and most of the time, like when you're like 12 and you're having sex with a teacher, for instance, you may think of it as a thing that you're choosing to do.

You may not understand that this is a problem or that this is not okay. And so to tell people it's not okay to talk about really, Like, furthers victimization of these vulnerable kids. Oh, absolutely. It makes me so mad. Yeah. Yeah. So I actually went to, um, I spoke with the people at the school system and I was like, who is writing this curriculum?

And they're like, you know. Volunteers and we have a nurse, so at least we have somebody who knows what they're talking about. And I'm like, what kind of sexuality training does this nurse have? And they're like, you can't get on this committee unless you get a school board member to appoint you to the committee.

To the curriculum committee, like, that's never going to happen. What school board member is going to be like, I'm going to appoint the poly case therapist. That's not fucking happening. Oh, can I curse?

Nicole: Yes, please. Curse. I think there are multiple reasons to curse on this podcast about these topics, right? Yeah. The power structure is inherent to that, because I'd be curious, like, if they get to demand an abstinence only has to be taught, like, what about a pleasure based.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We don't talk about pleasure. We don't talk about pleasure. Like, there's a, there's a, like, a list of reasons they give you of why people might have sex. And those reasons are like, your partner wants to, and to keep up with, like, what other people do, are doing. And like, none of it is, it feels good.

I can't say that. Make the list of reasons a teenager might have sex. The fact that you are rushing with hormones that are telling you the things that you want to do right now is have sex.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. God, I was really hoping that we've moved, you know, optimistically away from this more so, but it's sad to hear that this is still happening.

Tamara Pincus: It's still a thing. I mean, at least it's abstinence plus, so they at least have to tell you something about sex. means they're going to, like, show you pictures of what STIs look like and try to.

Nicole: For sure. Yeah. And I, um, do psychedelic assisted psychotherapy. So, you know, drugs are definitely a part of my perspective as well.

And it reminds me a lot of like the dare conversations, right? Where it was like, just say no, no, no, no. And then now we have like a ton of data actually on how those programs were ineffective. Right? And so it's just, I think the long term path towards this is that we'll realize this is not one. It's not trauma informed at bare minimum, right?

It is not trauma informed. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Right. Which is horrific, let alone the effectiveness of it if we could research these things, but just in general, it's horrific to think about the people that are being impacted from this. Ugh. Yeah.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. It's terrible.

Nicole: So when you have that client, you know, who's going through this, you know, what are some of the first steps that you're doing to support them to, you know, write a new narrative?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I think it sort of depends on the person. I tend to be pretty individualistic, so we want to look at where did this message come from? Is that a person or a group of people who you consider to be reliable now? How has that message served you? What kind of messages might help you feel differently about what's going on?

And then with something like vaginismus, we may also want to be trying, like, other kinds of interventions, like, have you. You know, been to a pelvic floor physical therapist, or, you know, I feel like for vaginismus specifically, and it's not even a thing we can access in our area at this point, but I really wish that we had access to sexological body workers who could, like, do internal work while focusing on pleasure and really take things slow and really take things slow and Do like do this process from a not medical place because I think like, when we look at at this kind of thing is like, this is a disease and you're sick or something.

No, there's nothing wrong with you. Your body did what it needed to do to protect you. And whether that was protection from like a past sexual trauma or whether that was protection from religious trauma, it doesn't matter. Like, right now, we're trying to like, help you release that trauma from your body and also help you find pleasure and joy and pleasure and joy doesn't have to come from putting things in your vagina.

Nicole: Right, right. More expansive ways to do that. Yeah. It is not required. Totally. I am so glad that you mentioned how the body is, you know, keeping you safe, right? In that act. I think that's a really important piece for people to understand in multiple different ways, even outside of sex, right? Like anxiety, all these other things, like frequently it's, it's.

The reaction of our, our body, you know, our mind trying to keep us safe. How do we adapt? How do we cope to these things? And, and being able to have that compassion for ourselves in the way that's showing up, I think can really change the model away from this. You're diseased. You're broken. You're this to a, Oh.

My body was trying to keep me safe and it still is. How do I work with that in relationship with kindness and compassion rather than that hatred. And we've definitely had a Yoni massage therapist come onto the podcast and talk about that word, talk about, you know, combining spirituality in the body or.

Um, I've had other surrogate partner therapists come on and that's another powerful space. So yeah,

Tamara Pincus: absolutely. And that's another thing like surrogates are amazing. I wish I got to work with them more, but there's just not been enough local to me and enough clients who are willing to sort of make the leap because I think it feels scary for them.

Nicole: Yeah. It's hard. Hard. Yeah, definitely. I know some of them fly. So that's kind of, you know, the world of it, since it's so like a little bit more rare to get access to, but yeah, it's difficult. And then do you have access to the means, the resources, all the fun things of this? So I think that's why I like to have this space right where this podcast is free.

Anyone can listen into it and be able to have these conversations. So hopefully we can get outside of the barriers to resources under this system and have more access to these conversations. But the reality is a conversation can only get you so far. When it's a practice of embodiment, right? And being able to have that, you really need that in person experience.

Tamara Pincus: Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, I think there are some embodiment practices that you can learn by working with somebody online. Like I have a coach who works for me who does some of that kind of stuff, like sort of coaching people through that sort of thing. But yeah, it is different online. Also, you know, there are some upsides to it.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah, of course. Yeah. And I mean, at least for me, it's been empowering to like step into a reclaiming of sexuality and spirituality and the union of that. Yeah. It's been so powerful to like step into that like divine whore persona and like what does it mean to embody that? I'd be curious if any of your work takes clients through that sort of like reclaiming process.

Tamara Pincus: Honestly, I haven't had it. A lot of clients who've been going through that process, though, I think I personally have been going through that process. Yeah, I mean, so I've been polyamorous. Well, I tried it in college, but we didn't even have that word. But then they also have been doing it for, like, the last 12 years or so.

And I've had times where I really felt bad about my desire to connect sexually with. Lots of people I remember for a sex, you have to do this class. That's called a sexual attitude reassessment. I've heard right? And, um, and you have to like, at least the 1 I went to, you look at all of these different kinds of porn.

And then you talk about your feelings about the porn. And the 1 I went to was like, fairly low key. Um, like, it wasn't anything super extreme. It was like BDSM and like. Sex with people with disabilities and elderly people having sex and all these things and I left the, the class and I got in the car. It was in New Jersey.

So I was driving home to, you know, Northern Virginia and, and I just started bawling my eyes out. And I was like, I am such a slut. I have all of these things that are supposed to be so edgy, like having sex with older people or having sex with people with disabilities or you know, engaging in medias have, I had done all the things like there was very little in this, you know, class on things that were supposed to stretch our mind around sexuality that I had not done.

And I felt terrible. Like I was like, oh my God, what is wrong with me? Because I had also sat with. All these people for whom this was like, yeah, and they were opening up and they were like, whoa, I never occurred to me that people in their sixties and seventies were having sex. And it never occurred to me, you know, people with severe disabilities in wheelchairs or having sex.

You know, so I had to sit with all those feelings. And even though in theory, those feelings were not about me, I knew that I had done a lot of those things, you know? And yeah, I was like, I am such a sled. So I called, I called my then partner and he was like, you know, you're sledding. This is actually like the thing I really like about you. Other people like about you. Yeah. So it's been sort of going from there, being able to sort of work on embracing it, being able to sort of understand that, like, sexuality is a way I connect with people. It's a way I get close to people. I do sometimes really enjoy having sex on the first date and I feel like I learn things about that person.

You know, I try to be as safe as possible, but it's fun for me and I don't do it. Yes. Yeah, amazing, right? Yeah. And to also, you know, move into the fat empowerment piece. I think there is something about being a person in a bigger body, having always been like, you know, my mom was first told that I was overweight when I was like six months old.

Like I wasn't even eating real food. And I was like put on diets all through my childhood. And like, it was really clear that like my body was wrong and people were not going to be attracted to me, which is funny because now like the existence of BBW4 is like a thing I'm familiar with. You know, when I was younger, I thought nobody is going to ever love me because of this.

And then to be like, okay, but All of these people, like, really having fun with me, really having fun with my body. And it does sometimes feel like a rebellion and like a, a proving that that was wrong. Yeah.

Nicole: So empowering. So empowering to flip the narrative, right? To flip that script that started from, like you said, six months old.

Wow.

Tamara Pincus: Like, I can't remember a time that I didn't know that my body was too big.

Nicole: Yeah, that word too, right?

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, too big, too much. Like, I'm often worried that I'm, that I'm too much, that I say all the things, but I'm sort of leaning into it. Like, I do scare some people away by saying all the things, but you know what?

I'm not sure I'm sorry.

Yeah, say more to that, because I think that some people might still be in that space. I mean, might be, right? We know people are still in that space of I am too blank.

Yeah, yeah. Too blank for who?

Nicole: Great follow up question. I love that.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, because the person who is the right person for you to have a relationship with have sex with tonight is the person who doesn't think that's too much is the person who's like, That's great.

I can't get enough of it. And if you hide yourself, and they don't really know who you are, if you're like, I'm going to pretend that, you know, I Yeah. Don't have these really radical thoughts or that I am not as into you as I am, or whatever it is, like, they don't know what they're getting. They don't know what they're agreeing to.

So there's a whole consent piece there. And then, like, they don't know you. And I think sometimes when people are really hiding who they are, they also can feel like, you This is going to sound weird, but they also can feel like they're unlovable because the people who love them don't know that. So I think there's also this piece of like, radical vulnerability and radical openness.

And you do have to be careful, like you can't be open with. Everyone, but the people who you want to give it a shot to having any kind of relationship with your life. You have to have them see you enough to know if they can handle it. Like, you don't necessarily have to tell them everything, you know, you can start gentle.

You can be like, what do you think about polyamory before you're like.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That gentle start into it. Right? Because like you said, in this world, at least currently, we can't always be safe and out about all these different aspects of ourselves, unfortunately. Right? So, so that nuanced practice of figuring out where it is safe and the empowerment to hold back at times, right?

And take those little steps towards deeper vulnerability that allows more intimacy. Like you said, to be seen, to be loved. And it's so hard, though, when We're like moving about through the world, and the reality is that we internalize the relationships to our friends, our family, and the larger society, right?

So, if the larger society says you're too blank, then we, we feel that. We know that. And so it, it makes it so scary to share those parts of ourselves with another person, because the fear is, I'm going to be ostracized. I'm not going to have connection. And, and like you said, though, then that creates That active process of internalized shame, though, about it.

And then you're sitting with that. And, and that's how we get the psychological distress around these pieces. You know, like there's just so much growth that can occur when you start to bring those pieces out into safe relationships. Right. And have that intimacy of being seen, loved, celebrated for those parts of yourself.

Yeah. But if you do it to someone who that's the scary part is if you do it to someone who then meets you with, you know, if relationships are mirrors, right, you open up to someone, you tell that and they come back and be like, Ooh, you're gross. What the fuck? Right? Like we then feel that. And then you don't even want to, you want to close, pull back into the turtle shell even more.

Right? So it's like being able to have these really powerful, corrective relationships where you bring that out and like your partner, right? Your partner said that to you. I love your sluttiness. That is one of the favorite parts of that, right? Like, That brings us into more authenticity, more ability to share these parts of ourselves.

So it's so, it's so hard. You need those relationships where you're loved for that to really keep going into that deeper authenticity.

Tamara Pincus: Absolutely.

Nicole: Absolutely. Yeah, that's why whenever I'm working with clients, you know, who are stepping into queerness, stepping into polyamory, stepping into BDSM, all these things, I'm always asking them about their community, right?

Like who are the people that you have in your life to talk to about these things? Because you talk to one friend and they look at you and do that, right? Oh, gross. What the fuck are you doing? Like that, that's hard to sit with that. And we really need. A community of people who can understand, can celebrate, who can talk to us, who get the depth of the spiritual practice, right?

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, absolutely. Hi, cat.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, she's good. She's a good baby. Yeah, I was, um, I was listening to another podcast that I enjoy, um, and they started having these conversations about sex and one of the hosts started talking about how they had never had any conversations with their partner about sex. And it was a, yeah, exactly, it was a jaw dropping moment for me too, where I was like, oh yeah, I'm up in here, you know, like, what's the narrative we're constructing, how are we playing, what are we doing, like, what kind of impact, you know, and then someone else is like, I've never had a conversation with my partner about sex at all.

And, and it's just like such a reminder of the vast spectrum of people's, you know, ability to have these conversations, their understanding of the language, you know, of sexuality.

Tamara Pincus: Right. And there's so much that they miss because there's so much you can do with your sexuality with being playful. You can, you can create a whole world and you can experience things in your body that like, there's just no way you would stumble upon randomly.

And yeah, and it's hard when you're like sitting with clients and you're like, you know that they want to access these spaces, but like, they can't even say the words.

Nicole: I'm curious about that expansion, that play. Do you have any sort of examples that you've heard or in your own life that you would share for the listener who's still trying to grapple with what it would mean to play more in this space?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I feel like for, for me, I keep thinking about like just crazy role plays, like sometimes my partner pretends to be a fairy and puts on fairy wings, um, you know, and you like kidnapped by the fairy prince, like at kink festivals, you always see people in these like dinosaur outfits.

I, um. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. My partner and I are currently in the process of negotiating a Tyrannosaurus and Stegosaurus roleplay. I will be the Tyrannosaurus.

Nicole: Hilarious.

Tamara Pincus: And I think these things are so out there. They're the kinds of things that you would do as like a kid. And like, when we grow up, we think we have to stop playing.

But I feel like, you know, sexuality is such a fun place to, like, play with all these things and ideas that we might have, like. Put away for later. I've been like, that's too immature. We can't pretend to be dinosaurs. We're grownups.

Nicole: Yes. That is one of my favorite questions to ask clients. Like, how did you play as a child and when did that become disconnected?

Right. Cause I think it's so clear, at least to us, how that is present for people's sexuality. Right. But some other people, I think we've been so socially conditioned that, you know, sex is for. This sex is for that. It has to be serious, right?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, it's yeah, I mean, you want to like, I feel like you've got to be able to giggle and you got to be able to like, go out there and say something like completely crazy, but that is only possible with partners who can handle that.

Um, who can handle the weirdness.

Nicole: Yeah. How do you think that you got into that space of being able to play like that? Because I think I've really struggled with that space. I've always been more, like, anxious, perfectionistic, so I don't want to put myself out in a weird way that then I might get judged.

So I'd be curious, like, how did you step into that liberation of being able to play more?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I feel like I've always had a fair amount of it. Like, I feel like as far as my sort of sexual development, I started by reading a shit ton of Romance novels, starting when I was very young and there was always like the vampires and the people being kidnapped and falling in love with their kidnappers.

Like all of the romance novel tropes, like really problematic as fuck. But here we are, so, um, so like, you know, started there and then I, and then, you know, being able to dress up as a vampire and, and also like, you know, Figuring out ways to do bondage, which I was doing like in high school and in college.

And then I found my way to the kink world in college. Like I went to my first rope workshop and it's interesting. Like, so I like saw Jabari, which I like never would have imagined from like, you know, all the stuff from the romance novels that I was reading, people were getting tied up. They weren't getting tied up like that.

But like, and then, and then in college we were doing stuff with like saran wrap and

Nicole: like mummification?

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, I mean, some little mummification. I mean, I feel like, yeah, saran wrap is too hot. It's totally not my thing now, but I mean, you don't know how sweaty you get when you're wrapped up in saran wrap, but I can only imagine.

Yeah, so like, I mean. So, for a while after that, I actually did like, in my twenties, try to become like, normal. Like, I wanted to get married and I wanted to have kids. So, like, and this Dom that I had been seeing, who was much older was like, You're never gonna find somebody in the king community that you can marry and have kids with.

So you've gotta find like a normal person and and convert them to the way Wow. . So I ended up marrying this guy, this guy that I got set up with through somebody I worked with at the Jewish Community Center who was his mother.

Hilarious.

So, yeah, and then we started exploring all the things and I was like, I need an open relationship.

And then, you know, that was 15 years ago that we decided to sort of start playing and opening up. And 12 years ago, we were like, okay, we're going to be Polly. I recently separated from him, but I feel like. In the scheme of things, things went okay. Like we were never like got super angry or mean or anything.

It was just like, we just kept drifting. Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And changed over time and then had to make that decision.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. I'd be curious too, like, how did those first conversations go? You said converting them to the way, I'm thinking like reverse evangelism compared to the other way of anti sex into a more expansive sex phase, right?

Like how did those conversations go? I think people get afraid to bring those topics up.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, I mean, it was like 20 years ago, so. I mean, I think I just sort of told him what I was into and like, showed him the toys I had at that time. And he was like, open to experimenting with it. But it didn't, I don't think it really clicked until a few years later, we started, actually, my cousin, who is also kinky poly and queer, and who is literally the best, ended up coming to live with us for like, maybe six, eight months.

And she and I started going out to it. goth clubs. And of course, if you go to the goth space, you meet the kink people. Yeah. We start getting invited to kink parties and, and sort of that's how we found our way in there. And then like, once we started going to parties and doing things, then sort of snowball.

Nicole: So getting that like lived experience is what really helped to expand the perspective.

Tamara Pincus: Right. And then we went to like a kink conference, like a couple of years after that, which is like, It's just really eye opening the first time you go and you're like people in costumes and doing all kinds of scenes and like people doing like age play and puppy play and like all the things.

Yeah. You know, the littles with their coloring books. Sure. Yeah. The people like pulling the cart around, like neighing.

Nicole: Yeah. Do you remember what you felt that first time that you were there and were taking that in?

Tamara Pincus: It's so powerful. And I was so alive. I mean, it's interesting. So at that time, when we went to the first one, like, I had gone to social work school intending to be a sex therapist, but I, you know, there were no jobs in sex therapy.

There were no group practices that would hire somebody to do sex therapy. So, so I was doing public mental health and it was like, I mean, you know, I had some powerful connections with clients and it was profoundly depressing because our society is really fucked up. Um, and you can only do that for so long before you're like, holy fuck, man.

Um, so I was getting to that point where, like, I couldn't really do that anymore. And it was like, that conference was like around the time when I was like, I really do need to leave and start my sex therapy practice and, and get my training in sex therapy and, and really do this thing.

Nicole: Totally. Yeah, yeah, I was thinking about what you were saying with the, uh, the weight of that work.

It, it, I don't know how you would characterize it, but to me, it feels like trying to stick like, you know, just these little plugs on a sinking ship of the systems, right? Like you can see how much the systems are impacting people and causing the pain and causing the results of what's showing up in the therapy room.

And you're just like this little bandaid on this, you know, wildfire of shit. And then you have that moment of like, Okay. I can keep doing this one on one individual work, but like, what about the upstream problems that are causing all of this?

Tamara Pincus: And I, my first job in social work was case management. So I was like going and picking people up in neighborhoods that I had never been to and driving them to places like the social security office and driving them to doctor's appointments and taking them to the grocery store.

And yeah, I mean, it was just. Like, the world that they were living in and the, and, like, knowing that they're trying to live on, like, the 600 dollars a month they get from social security and how are they supposed to afford a place to live and, like, being able to eat and, like, driving around to all the different food banks, trying to get enough food for people to live for a month.

It was, it was just impossible. And then I started doing quality improvement. So it was basically then tracking all of what we were doing and. Just seeing how broken it was, and then, like, the system, it got to a point where they were like, well, we're no longer going to pay for you to drive people around, but we still want you to do the same work.

And really, the only way that these agencies can function is if the social workers are billing 5 or 6 hours a day. So you basically for the. Things to actually work, you had to commit fraud, like it was crazy.

Nicole: Oh, my heart goes out to the, you know, so many social workers that are right there in that spot, right?

Yeah. So many that are carrying that weight, holding that and not getting paid adequately for the labor that they're doing, you know, it's insane. It's completely insane.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's a reflection, right, of the systems, of the pain, of all of that, and the systems working how they're supposed to, unfortunately, right?

Tamara Pincus: Right. Like, it was never, we never meant to really take care of people with serious mental illness or people with serious disabilities. I mean, yeah, we're letting them die. Um, anyway, I have some feelings about that.

Nicole: No, and it's good. And I, this is the space to talk about them, I believe, right? I mean, I think it's important to talk about this because a lot of people don't have that positionality, right?

To see what you saw in those systems. A lot of people are living their day to day, not. Even really understanding what's going on on the other side.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. I mean, I had never been to that part of the city. I had never seen schools with bars on the windows. It's just crazy.

Nicole: Yes. And so that's why I think it's important to talk about it and get that perspective and, and that sort of thing will radicalize you really quick.

I think it radicalizes you or just makes you more in despair, right? Depending on how you handle that. But it will change you having that perspective.

Tamara Pincus: Absolutely. I mean, I do think I've been radicalized and I also am in this space lately where it's like, I just feel like there's not enough in the world I could do so, but I do find that now I do end up working with a lot of people who are working on these issues.

So like. I'm not necessarily in the trenches, but like I'm working with people who are in a position to do something.

Nicole: Sure. Yeah, totally. And, you know, I believe in a pleasure revolution. I, I, I think that the more that we are embodied and have pleasure, right? The capacity in your body to feel that is so great, so expansive, and I, I love when we can bring people into that, and I think that I believe that the more that you step into that, the more that you feel everything, it's not that you just feel the pleasure, you see the world and the things, and you feel that as well because you are so embodied, so that act of like stepping into deeper embodiment of your pleasure and intimacy and connection, I think, makes you, Become more like in tune with the other pain points of the world in such a way that I believe in in the revolution and the activism of that if we're getting people to be more embodied and waking up in that way, you're going to look at that, you know, pain point and also cry about it.

And like, I hope that brings people into more movement, you know,

Tamara Pincus: Absolutely. I do feel so many people have had to shut down entirely in order to be able to get through their day. Yes. Like you can't, you know, you can't be in this world. And, I mean, I just feel like if you, if you're not able to embody pleasure, it's just too much to sit with all the pain, which is why, I mean, I'm sure you love Pleasure Activism.

That book was really revolutionary for me. For sure. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: I'm hoping to continue that conversation on this podcast. Right. Like, what does it mean to continue to step into Pleasure Activism and all these different ways and with the different. people like you who can speak to a positionality from your lived experience of what you've learned from it.

Yeah. Yeah. I believe in that. I really do. I think that the more that we can get people there, because when you think about something like, you know, the amount of people that are on SSRIs these days and, and the realities that that causes that narrowing of your emotionality and your range, which we can.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. I'm not sure I believe that that works, that it works that way for everybody. But that's probably because I've been on SSRIs for 20 years, but and I had like my, um, either tantric awakening or onset of persistent or genital arousal disorder while on SSRIs. Sure,

Nicole: sure, sure, sure, sure. And I, I hate even that, that, like that, uh, framework of negativity of some sort of diagnosis, but how do you feel about this?

Tamara Pincus: Oh yeah, no, I'm still, I'm still kind of pissed that somebody tried to give me that diagnosis. I mean, I think. What

Nicole: someone did like a professional?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, it wasn't like in a doctor's visit. I consulted, um, one of the tantra experts through a sect and that's what she thought it was. And then I talked to some of the other tantric experts and they were like, you need to learn how to ground.

So you don't like have a surprise orgasms when you're walking around because that's awkward.

Nicole: Yeah, but that framework of problem.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah.

Nicole: How do you feel about it?

Tamara Pincus: I mean, Yeah, I think it's a really problematic framework. I mean, I know there are people who identify as having that diagnosis. I haven't met anybody who identifies that way, so it would be interesting to talk with them about, like, how did they get to a place of seeing this as this hugely negative thing.

Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

Nicole: Yeah, these are the ways that, like, these systems are impacting how we see our reality, right?

Tamara Pincus: Right. I mean, and I do think that maybe part of that is like, if I were walking around having orgasms and not feeling the pleasure of them, that would suck. And if I didn't feel like I had control of that either, like, that would really suck.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah, of course. Of course. Yeah, that makes sense. That makes sense. It can be helpful to have that. But I'm just thinking about, you know. The DSM also has female orgasm disorder, and I think it said that upwards of 42 percent of women will struggle with this disorder at some point in their lifetime.

That's a high percentage.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, I mean, I feel like so many things that are considered to be disorders are not disorders. Like Thank you. Like erectile dysfunction. No, people just don't always get an erection when they want one. That's just your body doing what it's doing. And the more you, like, label it as something terrible and make people stressed out about it, the less likely your cock is going to work.

But who cares if your cock is, like, working? Like you can still have a very pleasurable experience. This makes me want to promote Michelle Renee's soft cock week coming soon, or maybe not. And that's okay.

Nicole: That's hilarious. Yeah. I mean, I mean, there's so many different ways that you could apply that, right.

In terms of how we, uh, there's that one quote that. I think it's like, it's no sign of health to be well adjusted to a sick society. Right? Like when we're talking about depression, anxiety in these worlds, like again, no sign of health to be well adjusted to this society. And I think obviously there's a nuance in that, right?

Have we nuance of knowing the world is this messed up and having these things and still finding the pleasure in what's within our control and that framework. But just the ways that we use language to pathologize. These things it deeply impacts how we see our sense of self, right? Right.

Tamara Pincus: Huge. Absolutely.

Nicole: Absolutely. Yeah, so being able to like challenge those things quite literally of does that does that word disorder even feel accurate? What sort of frame? Who's coming in with that perspective? And, and like we were saying earlier, right? With Christianity, right? Here's another frame or, or, or restrictive religions in general.

I know it's beyond Christianity, right? Like here's this frame of what sex is and what it means and what you need to do. And we asked that question of, do you align with that? Do you want to, right? And there's, there's a lot of ways that the field of psychology does that as well. Right. And we can ask bigger questions of like, do you align with that?

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. Absolutely. And really giving people a chance to question. I've got a bumper sticker in my head now. Question authority. Yeah.

Nicole: You know, I'm so thankful that you exist for the clients out in the world that come from these different identities because the reality is, you know, Depending on who your therapist is you come to them saying, Hey, like, I've always had this fantasy of doing consensual non consent.

I've always wanted to have like a rape fantasy and have that played out some way. Right? You look at them. You're like, yeah. Okay. Like, let's talk about that. Right? Another therapist would look at them and be like, Oh, my God, that's deep trauma. I need to save this client. I need to get them out. I need to do this.

Tamara Pincus: Right? And yeah, and maybe this is a way of you working through your trauma and I feel like we don't talk about kink being a way of really working through things as much as we should because there's, yeah, like play therapy works for a reason. And sexuality makes it so much more powerful. And so, like, there's a reason people will keep replaying their traumas.

But if you do that in a conscious way, you do that in a way where people feel like they can take their power back. It's beautiful. And it helps people unhook from these. Negative stories, and it helps people release the trauma that's held in their body. So, like, why would we be against that?

Nicole: Because you are challenging my paradigm of existence, right?

I have never heard of anyone who does this. That's so wrong. So, as a therapist, I'm going to work from my lived experience, rather than expanding to acknowledge my bias. Well, yeah, right? That's the scary part. I think it's hard, you know, because like you got additional training in a sect, right? And all those pieces.

And so, like you said, you went to that meeting where other people were shocked.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, yeah, they were people who were just beginning the process of getting a sex certification. Like, I do think people get less easily shocked when they go through that process. But I do think that there's still still places for more education.

And those are certainly to plug myself for for a minute. And. By the time you air this, it's going to be past when this class happens, but we do run classes on like BDSM for providers, consensual non monogamy 101, like those kinds of classes where people can get the sort of basic sense of like, what are these things?

So they could be maybe. Less judgmental when the client walks in the room. I mean, I remember the first time I taught a class on polyamory for therapists. Somebody came up to me at the end of the class and said, I hope you have really good clinical supervision and really good therapy for yourself.

Nicole: What do you think they meant by that?

I'm curious.

Tamara Pincus: I think they meant, Oh my God, you're polyamorous and you're completely nuts. What is wrong with you? But that was, like, 2012, 2013, like, when I started doing these things, nobody knew what I was talking about. And it's been kind of wild to go through, to go from that place to now, like, everybody wants to learn about this new thing.

And I'm like, I've been doing the thing for a while.

Nicole: And I had been called all these things. Jesus. Uh. Yeah. That's what scares me. I mean, my professor talked about, like, Doing, uh, research and presenting the data at conferences with other clinicians, right, about just like basic relationship satisfaction and non monogamy and all these things.

And, and they'll show the data and it's very clear that like, people enjoy this, people thrive in this, people love that. And then they'll have people, uh, clinicians that come up afterwards and be like, so it's, it doesn't work, right? Like it's, it doesn't work. And it's like, they can't even sit to actually integrate the data that's right in front of them.

Tamara Pincus: Right. I mean, if it doesn't work, why have people been doing it forever? And does monogamy work? Because show me the data. That's true. Totally. Yeah. I have a new housemate, Elizabeth Schaaf, who's been studying ethical non monogamy for like over 20 years. And she's done all the long term studies and she's done all the research with kids and like, how did the kids do in that environment?

And the kids do great. I mean, they complain that they can't get away with anything because there's parents everywhere all the time, but you know, life is rough. Like, Totally, totally. And I look at like my kids, like my older kid is already engaged in ethical non monogamy. He's got two partners, one in Idaho and one who's local and, and he's doing a great job of it.

And I'm like, I, who has those kinds of skills at 17?

Nicole: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Dr. Elizabeth Sheff came on and we talked about like the risks of BDSM and the expert testimony experience that they have is really fascinating. But yeah, I mean, the data that I've pulled for my dissertation was saying that some of the younger generations, about 40 percent of them are saying that their ideal relationship is non monogamous.

So I think we are actively changing the tides, right? Like your child at 17, you know, has access to so much more, uh, content on this than you did than I did, right? That is like sparking so much.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. I mean, there was. Really, like, when I was they, I think that the term polyamory was coined in like 1998 or something.

That was the year I graduated from college. Like, right. Yeah. Like, we didn't have a language. We didn't have any sort of resources. And so to be able to, I mean, not that it wasn't going on for the entirety of history, but, you Yeah, like, the resources weren't there. And I feel like the other thing is that people, particularly in, you know, our generation, Generation X, a lot of our parents got divorced.

Like, we all saw our parents got divorced. So, like, I feel like there's a lot of, like, how do we not have that happen? And I think part of it is, like, well, maybe we can love other people and not leave the people that we're with.

Nicole: What a concept. Life changing, right? Yeah, yeah. And because of the positionality of different generations, you're having to again, like this conversation is hitting on in multiple ways, unpack the internalizations around messaging.

Right? So at 17, if you're, you're learning from that age of polyamory is. Okay, just like a basic idea. Polyamory is okay. You know, that perspective makes the, you know, we talk about internalized homophobia, right? There's a level of internalized mononormativity that all of us from the generations before that, right, have.

And so there's so much to unpack in that process of, you know, I like to call it a psychedelic experience. Experience in and of itself, right? If your reality, your paradigms are shifting of what it means to be in love and, and share that. There's so much to unpack, but, but once you do, there's a lot of joy on that other side.

Tamara Pincus: It's true. It's true. Mm hmm.

Nicole: And I think maybe with part of your positionality and my positionality, we, we see potentially a biased sample, obviously because of our work, but how much infidelity occurs.

Tamara Pincus: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, all over the place. I mean, but do you have a choice if you are in a relationship where your partner.

Doesn't want to have sex and you have a sex drive and you don't, if you don't think you can have a conversation about polyamory and you don't think you can live without sex for years on end and you don't want your marriage to end, you don't have a lot of choices. So, I think that, like, I feel like 1 of the things is you have to focus on, like, how do you make relationships safe for people to even bring up the subject.

Yeah. What are your thoughts? We as a culture don't have great communication skills, we can get very heated when people bring up things that are difficult and we don't have the skills to sort of breathe through it and calm ourselves down and figure out how to like deal with the new scary information in a way that's not hurtful.

So yeah, and that brings us back to like sort of the basics of like, how do we help people learn to. Self regulate and that brings us back to pleasure. It's all related.

Nicole: Absolutely. Yeah. When I'm working with couples, like, that's 1 of the 1st things, right? Is where are you feeling this in your body when your partner is saying this, right?

Where is that? And if you can get. people to start that process of connecting to your body. I think that's step one to being able to have any sort of difficult conversation, right? I am feeling activated. I'm noticing my heart rate start to increase. I feel like I want to cry. I need to maybe go take a walk.

I maybe need to do some deep breathing here. Can you hold my hand during like just those basic things? Like you said, so many people don't have. And so then We get in such an activated state and things spew out, right? Where if we could have that practice of first, like being with the body, I think we'd be in a radically different world.

Yeah, we would. It's hard, though. I don't want to do that. I just want to scroll on my phone.

Tamara Pincus: I mean, absolutely, absolutely.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. But like you've been saying, right, on the other side of that is pleasure. Right. Starting that journey of embodiment and going deeper into that. The other side of that is.

Pleasure. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. I'm curious if you could look back to your younger self and the journey, you know, you're stepping into the kink community in college, all those things. Is there anything you'd want to say to yourself back then before you got into this long journey of liberation and pleasure?

What would you have wanted to say

Tamara Pincus: when I think the thing that my younger self really needed to hear was that I was lovable the way I was because I think there are a lot of things that I did because I didn't think that I was lovable.

Nicole: Yeah. And I don't know about you, but sometimes I can hear those things cognitively and like know them cognitively, but it's a whole.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, getting that all the way to your gut so you can really feel it is rough.

And I still have moments where I don't believe that it's true. Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: How do you support yourself in that?

Tamara Pincus: Well, I have my, my true anxious attachment moments where it's sort of poke at my partner tells me what I need to hear. Um, that's true. I mean, and I do also when I'm in a better headspace, I'm able to really sort of breathe deeply and remember that there are people around me who love me for who I am and that that's okay. I feel like a lot of my stuff is about my relationship with my parents, like everybody, and I'm very sure that my children know that they're loved. And that weirdly can help me through it.

Knowing that, like, they know that I love them and I know that they love me and that we have stopped that intergenerational cycle that has gone back since before anybody in the family can remember

powerful, powerful to change that paradigm for them. Yeah. Mm hmm. And be that parent in the room that is excited for your kid when they're having sex, I hope, right?

I mean, only so far. Yeah. Totally. Yeah. I mean, you're, you're active. I don't want to be in the house when it's happening.

Nicole: Of course. Of course. Of course. But, but to write a That's a whole thing in and of itself, too. Like, what does it mean to be a sex positive parent? I mean, that's probably a whole conversation, right?

Tamara Pincus: Let me leave you guys alone. Bye. Totally, totally, totally. The condoms are over here. Yeah. You need lube.

Nicole: Totally. Safe, safe, safe, safe. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. But yeah, I mean, you're, you're changing the narrative and I'm so thankful that you're here doing this work and that you're impacting people by being your authentic self.

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I try, I do say a lot and I feel like if my kids heard this podcast, they'd be like, Mom! Poor thing.

Nicole: Oh, yes, yes, yes, yes. I'd be curious to, you know, as we come towards the end of our time, if there's anything that maybe we didn't hit on that you still wanted to talk about, otherwise I have a closing question I can guide us towards.

Tamara Pincus: I can't think of anything that we missed that I desperately need to talk about, so ask me the question.

Nicole: Okay. Great. So, uh, the question that I ask everyone on the podcast is, what is one thing that you wish other people knew was more normal?

Tamara Pincus: There's so many things.

Nicole: Yes. Please come back on the show and talk to me again.

Tamara Pincus: I mean, I wish people knew. That sexual desire outside of their current or primary relationship was normal.

Nicole: Oh, I could hold him so much space for that right there.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: I'm broken. I'm bad. Something's wrong with me that I am attracted that I see beauty in the world outside of my one relationship.

Tamara Pincus: Right. And so many people shut themselves down like, Oh no, I'm feeling this bad thing. I shouldn't be having these feelings. And they just. Shut down. They don't want to feel too alive with anyone. If they feel too alive, then they might get turned on. They might get attracted.

Nicole: Oh, it hurts to think about that space.

Yeah. That's why I couldn't do it, personally.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah, I mean I, I couldn't do it either. I, but I just, I told my partners that it was happening. I told my, I told my high school boyfriend that I had a huge crush on this girl.

Nicole: I had to speak to my partners about it. I couldn't exist in a world where that was how it was going to go through.

Connection was, Oh, cool. I'm connecting with this person. It's really great. I feel this, this desire. Oh, oh. suppress, oh no, oh no, suppress, suppress, suppress, that world of, of disconnecting from what is happening in our bodies, that world of pathologizing that, of, of putting a moral judgment on that, I mean, I, I could not live in that world, and I think.

Those questions of like, Oh, do we open up the relationship or not, you know, like everyone's on their own journey to figuring that out, but at least a paradigm where you can acknowledge that there's other beauty in the world. And then you get to choose whether you want to engage your time and energy.

Those limited resources in engaging in that in a different way is totally up to each person, each relationship, but at least open ourselves up to this world where we can acknowledge like, Hey, that's an attractive person. I have feelings about that. I'm now going to decide whether I want to open it or keep our relationship closed.

Like, just that world of more space for the natural human appreciation for beauty in the world, I think is really important. Yeah.

Tamara Pincus: For me, what comes up with that is like, it has to be another kind of beauty because if it's beauty as the culture defines it, it doesn't include me. So the word beauty for me is always like, my eyes are narrowing.

I'm doing that. Like I'm suspected of the word beauty. Yeah.

Nicole: Cause it has so much tied up in that of what's like normal beauty. Yeah. That makes sense. That makes sense. And needing to expand that then, right. And expand. Yeah.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. And like so many people have such beautiful souls and such beautiful ways of thinking and Like, why are we so caught up in what they look like?

Nicole: Good question. That's a good question, I think, to leave the listeners with of, yeah, what are your concepts of beauty? Are they narrow? And why are we so stuck in those? Yeah. Well, I love the space where we ask more and more deep questions without any answers. And hopefully we're leaving the listeners with many of those today.

Tamara Pincus: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on. It's been great to be here and to have this conversation with you.

Nicole: Of course. It's such a pleasure to be connected to other, uh, pleasure radicals out there. Absolutely. Yeah. Where would you want to plug for the people that are connecting with you, want to learn more about your work and all the offerings that you have?

Tamara Pincus: Just Tamarapincus.Com is my website. Um, you can sign up for our mailing list there to hear about all our events. The vast majority of our classes are online. We do occasionally do some in person things like we did a fat pool party last summer, which was so cool. And then we also have a meet up. So if you want to just see the classes, but you don't want to get our like long email that you don't want to read, like, you can just join our meet up.

And then if you're looking for a thing to do, it'll show up.

Nicole: All right, great. Well, thank you for coming on to the podcast, sharing your expertise, your lived experience with all of the listeners today. Great.

Tamara Pincus: Thank you so much. Of course.

Nicole: If you enjoyed today's episode, then leave us a five star review wherever you listen to your podcast.

And head on over to modernanarchypodcast. com to get resources and learn more about all the things we talked about on today's episode. I want to thank you for tuning in and I will see you all next week.

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