top of page

154. Year Three: A Feminist Tale of Non-Monogamy, Jealousy, and Pleasure

Nicole: Hello, dear listener, and welcome back to Modern Anarchy. Welcome to Modern Anarchy. Today's episode is going to be a little different than our usual conversation series because today is the three year anniversary of the podcast. Three years ago, I was in my first year of my spring semester in my doctorate, and I wanted to procrastinate having to study for my psychopathology course, having to memorize all of the different Disorders in the DSM.

And instead I released this podcast and said, let's direct all of my focus and energy over here. And now three years later, this week is so important and so special to me because it is the beginning of this long journey that I've been on with all of you, dear listeners, and. It's been such a joy to reflect on this journey and to see the growth that has come from all of you sharing these podcast episodes with your community, having listening parties.

It's truly beyond my wildest dreams to be here and to be a part of the conversation with all of you. And I'm so, so thankful for all of you at Dear Listeners who continue to tune in each Wednesday and I hope you enjoy this very raw and vulnerable conversation that I, this year, decided to record with one of my lovers in my community who has seen me cry about this podcast, seen me giggle, seen me in all of the range of emotions about this space.

And so I am really excited to be sharing this conversation with you, dear listener. I am sending you all of my love, and let's tune in to today's episode. Man, this feels like way more pressure than my usual work workings.

Cooper: How come?

Nicole: I think it's just the additional, like, it's cause it's you, it's cause it's supposed to be about me.

Which is very different than like, oh, I'm going to talk to this person and see what we talk about. This feels more personal.

Cooper: And this intimate bi directional microphone setup.

Nicole: Right. With the cat.


Cooper: Well, thank you for asking me to do this with you. I feel very honored to be marking this milestone with you.

Nicole: It's gonna make me cry.

Cooper: I know it's been a really big year for you and your podcast, and I think you do an incredible job of holding space for your guests, so I'm excited to provide you with Some space to reflect for yourself.

Nicole: Mm hmm. I'm already crying.

Yeah. Uh huh. I'm ready. You can take me for a ride. I'm ready to, uh, to, uh, sub. And let go and allow you to hold this container. So I'm really excited for that. And, and yeah, no one I trusted more than to do this with than you. So I appreciate you being here too.

Cooper: Well, we can start with your first question if you feel ready.

Nicole: I don't know if I'm ever going to feel ready for this one. We just got to dive in, you know, it feels weird, but yeah, I just got to go for it. Yeah.

Cooper: So it's been a big year for you and for the podcast. How have you changed? In the last year,

Nicole: I feel like the biggest thing that has changed is I feel normal.

I feel like I've talked to you about that one. Like just like, despite being a queer non monogamous kinky sex radical, like I feel just deeply normal this year in ways that I don't think I did. Like last year, I felt very like, Oh, I'm changing. I'm like, rah, like trying to chat, uh, challenge the system in ways that like this year, I just feel like you're normal next door person.

Cooper: You've settled into it.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: I guess I don't feel like how different I am until I talk to someone like sometimes I'll talk to people at the climbing gym and then just like let them into a little bit and they're like, well, you do what? And I'm like, oh yeah. But other than that, I feel pretty, uh, normal, which has been really nice.

Whatever normal means, right?

Cooper: You have it. A new sense of perspective.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: Uh huh. Yeah. And I think mostly that comes from the community. Right. In terms of like the people that I've connected with, of course, like the podcast guests in general do that for me. Right. To come in every week and. That was like one of the biggest things when I first started, I, I remember recording at the very beginning and asking someone like, what is fed like, like, what does this mean?

And so just in terms of like coming from that to like where I'm at now, there's just so much progress. But at the beginning it was like these conversations gave me hope for what was possible. And I don't feel like I had a full community of people that were living this sort of lifestyle. And so. I would like tune in to a conversation with somebody and I felt like, oh, this is possible.

There's people who do this. And now I feel like my community is like, of course, I have different people that practice different relationship orientations. And I appreciate that diversity in terms of my connections. But for the most part, like everybody else is doing the same thing. You know, in terms of like, not monogamy and kink.

Uh, queerness. And so it feels super normal.

Cooper: Yeah. You're constantly being faced with these different perspectives and with all these different people asking these different questions. It's really amazing engaging in that discourse like on a weekly basis.

Nicole: Totally.

Cooper: Yeah. I, I definitely know that in our relationship beyond being like a joy in itself,

it's also like an incredible site of praxis for me, like an opportunity to dig down into my values

and then one might say it's like a double edged sword, but it's been incredible. An incredible opportunity for, for growth for me to also be vicariously engaging with these questions that you're asking yourself, that you're asking your guests.

Nicole: I know sometimes I wonder if I talk about the podcast too much, you know, but it seems like it's fun to talk about, you know, like, Oh, I had this conversation with this person and we went here and. What do you think about that, Cooper? Like, I'm so curious, you know, like it's, it's rattling me in this way, or it made me think about this.

And so it's been like, just like a starting point for a lot of deeper conversations that we've had, or like anyone in my community that I've had, and then like pull back into the space and, and then like continue the conversation. There was that point where, I don't know what it means to heal from sexual violence, right?

I recognize that there's no end. To healing from the ways that society has like disconnected us from pleasure. I feel like that's a lifelong practice of dismantling that I'll still be doing until I die of like, oh, you know, here's another thing I didn't know until today, but I definitely hit that point.

I feel like a couple of weeks ago where I was telling you, like, I feel like I've. Done a lot of healing.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Yeah, I've seen you shed a lot of shame.

Nicole: Yeah

Cooper: I've seen you break out of Systems that have been holding you back. I know that you're increasingly critical about some of the Academic systems that you work in and you're reaching, you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for that.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: And that's giving you a really deep sense of freedom stepping into your own power in that way.

Nicole: Yeah. We could talk about that. Oh my God. Do you remember, do you remember in the summertime when I was calling you crying about whether to edit out that I had orgasms or not in the episode?

Cooper: There was a lot of self.


Nicole: Oh my god.

Cooper: That was, uh, happening because. Of the systems that you're working in.

Nicole: Right.

Cooper: And it's cool to see you find some freedom from those things.

Nicole: Yeah. Cause not SANA, where I'm training at now, they're so supportive of everything that I do. But knowing that I was going to apply to internship and that I had to apply to those specific sites and they were very limited and very competitive to match in Chicago.

And so then it was, yeah, that question of what happens when one of the, uh, Site supervisors, because it was a choice too of like, do I put the podcast on my CV or not? And my school being like, no, you probably shouldn't, you know, which is so radical when you really think about what that means for them to say stuff like that.

But it felt very important for me to have that on there. I really didn't want to be at a site that didn't see what I was building and respect what I was building. And yeah, I see the value of that. But then that meant literally every single week for months, I was like, What if this is the episode that that site supervisor clicks on and goes, who is this girl?

She did what with her body? You know, like, I was just like, I just remember crying about it a lot with you of like, just the double think of going in and just, just, oh yeah. Feeling like so much censorship in terms of what I could and couldn't say.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: I'm proud of you.

Nicole: Thanks.

I'm really happy I matched.

If I didn't match it would have been a much more complex story, but it feels nice that that happened.

Cooper: That weight is off your shoulders. Oh my God.

Nicole: Yeah. And now I finished that last paper, so I'm. I'm done with the academic portion, which is wild. I can't even believe it. Truly. I feel like everyone goes into grad school, at least include like psychology to like heal parts of themselves or things that they're interested in or whatever.

And for me to have gone into the field. To want to work with sexuality and relationships and then to have this podcast space like there's been so much healing that has occurred in these conversations for myself. Like, yeah, I, I remember how I was dating the monogamous. Guy for a while and wondering whether I should do monogamy with him because he met all my like life dream boxes Or if I should follow non monogamy.

Cooper: I remember Yeah

Nicole: I just remember having a podcast recording on here where I was like literally actively processing that with another Polyamorous person about all of my fears and questions and like crying on the podcast You know, like there's been so much like healing for myself in terms of not I mean sexuality like shame embodiment like I some of these conversations like even the one with Elmo painter about somatic Healing of like, um, them just being like, yeah, tune into your body.

What do you want to eat for dinner? What do you want to wear? Like I, that's stuff that I started taking with me from those conversations of like every day trying to think about, yeah, you're right. Like, where do I feel this in my body? What do I want to do? Like so much of my healing journey has been so deeply connected to all of these conversations.

I feel like I've hit a point where I've like healed a lot, I feel, I don't want to say completely shameless, but you know, cause I started dating someone else and then knowing that his family might listen to this, knowing that his mom might listen to it is something completely different because I've been so radical with my own family, right?

Like, Once I was queer, it felt like everything else was, you know, we've already lost her. She's gay, you know, like, so like doing the psychedelic and the non monogamy and the kink and whatever, you know, already felt like, uh, you know, just more onto the fire. Yeah, exactly. But like knowing that someone I'm dating's family would listen to it felt like a whole nother part.

Like. In terms of potential censorship or shame, that's like a little bit harder, but I, I do feel like there's been so much healing that I feel like my, my purpose has shifted. I kind of said that to you of like, Oh, I, again, like there's no end to unpacking the ways the systems are impacting our sexuality and pleasure and relationships, but like my interest in going into the books has shifted from like, how do I heal myself to like, how do I help other people?

Which felt like a pretty radical change for me in the last year to kind of. Just re look at how I've been going into this work because it definitely started from a place of my own healing journey Yeah and that's on the podcast like website like it said like how it started like it was weird to kind of like read that back as I was doing some editing for it and Have all that out there and like kind of think back to when I wrote that and that is the beginning of the journey

You know, it's like taking a turn

Cooper: pull others up behind you In some way.

Nicole: At least to levels of embodiment. I don't want to think that I'm more enlightened than other people. That's problematic. But like in terms of access to pleasure without shame, fuck yeah.

Cooper: Yeah, for sure. Provide some perspectives and some tools.

Nicole: Right.

Cooper: In the form of your various guests.

Nicole: Yeah. Like I've been like, uh, brainstorming.

 that, Jealousy meditation working on. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For myself and everybody else.

It's good. It's exciting. It's a, it's, it's really exciting. That's something that's changed in the last year or two is I feel like, uh, I don't want to say I wasn't doing non monogamy a year ago. Cause I was right. And I was multiple years ago, but there's some level of feeling like I'm here now. Like I'm in it.

I'm really doing it. I don't know if it's having like multiple partners and like feeling like it's really like my community and here, but it feels like I'm actually practicing non monogamy now in ways that feels more real than just thinking about it. Or, or, you know, I've just lived into it a lot more in the last year.

Sure. I feel committed to it at this point too. There was definitely parts of the journey where I was like, is this exactly what I want to do with my life? You know, like maybe I'll try it out. I remember being in therapy and saying that to my therapist of like, you know what, I'm just going to try out and I'm not going to be worst case scenario.

I drop out and I say that didn't work for me, you know, and like, I feel very committed to it now where I'm like, no, like this is. Like I was saying today in my didactic training with like sauna and my teams, like now monogamy is my spiritual practice. Like I feel very committed to the idea of what it means to love in this way and there's no turning back at this point now.

Cooper: And it's grounded in some lived experience for you. Not coming purely from a place of theory and

Nicole: right.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: Well, because that's the funny thing, right? Is like, you can read all the books and then people like maybe you or some of my other partners look to me as like the quote unquote expert because I'm here and it's like, Oh yeah, it's really easy for me to see in other people.

Like, yeah, this is it. This is how you do it. This is how you Brown. But until you are actually there, it's like, with your own partner.

Yeah. Yes. Yeah. I think back to the, uh, experience of us at Thai food when you told me that you would dance with somebody else and I lost. And what, how would you say? I didn't lose it. I mean, I just had an intense, somatic reaction, right? Yeah. Let alone the threesome experience, which like to the listener hasn't come out yet.

In the podcast, but I've definitely talked about it now. And so it will start to roll out into some of the future episodes. And I've talked about like, which feels political, like that feels political to have that out there, to like normalize that, to have that sort of conversation, um, in so many different ways, all of this feels political, but, um, yeah, to talk about what reaction went through my body.

Cooper: The dissonance between your values and your responses, or your intellectual position on something versus what's going on in your body. Yeah. There's always such a trip, right?

Nicole: Right. Which is something I see a lot of my clients, too, who are practicing non monogamy, right? It's like, Mm hmm. We can have such clear visions of what our value system is and how we want to show up and then when you start to live into that, the ways that the body can react, you know, in the mind to the, the rumination, the spirals, all of that, even though, you know, like, this is how I want to show up.

I want to do this. And I feel like you've seen me do that in a lot of our relationship, you know. I came to the ideas of relationship anarchy through reading more than two and finding that like one paragraph in there and feeling this resonance with the ideas that I couldn't really speak to one of my dissertation is either a dissertation or a relationship anarchy guest for the podcast.

Hard to say one of them talked about relationship anarchy feeling like a bell. That just ring, you know, that same sort of like somatic connection to something. And that's definitely what it felt like for me. And so from there, I just said, Oh, I want to do this thing. I don't know how I'm going to do this thing.

And then dating the monogamous person. Feeling torn and then meeting you and saying, wow, okay, I'm going to do this thing, you know. Um, but living into that thing, relationship anarchy has been really complex.

Cooper: Yeah, outside of the framework of like number of partners in terms of non monogamy.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Would you say that your, the way that you engage in relationship anarchy has shifted as well?

Nicole: Well, I mean, the answer is absolutely, right? Like, how do you not grow every year to like, look at it differently, I guess. Yeah, for sure. Yes. I've really loved the relationship anarchy recordings that I've done for the podcast, of course. Like, I've absolutely loved getting to record those and learn from the people who have those conversations with me, let alone, you know, in the last year, I had the website created for the podcast, and so now I have that forum for the relationship anarchy research, because not everyone has come on to do the one on one conversations that I'm releasing.

But I would share them with you too. Like I'd get those submissions of the relationship anarchist questions and feel inspired and shifted and, and I guess, yeah, inspired as a good way. At, at, at times when it feels like hard and complex, it was really nice to get one of those submissions from some stranger in the world who is trying to do the same thing and would answer these questions and then I could like see myself.

In their, their joys and their struggles and feel some sort of resonance with other people through that. So that's absolutely changed how I look at relationship anarchy and continues to do so. And I also finished writing my dissertation this year, right? So I also processed all the data that I had collected through those interviews and really sat with that and wrote all of that out as well.

And so I think the way that I look at it is radically different than when I looked at it. A year ago, and obviously it started from a connection point of non monogamy right to more of an understanding. Now, I would say of like the inherent aspects of community that are much more expansive than non monogamy.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Mm hmm. It's exciting.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Next question.

Nicole: Sure.

Cooper: Next question. What is one area you're still learning to have compassion for yourself?

Nicole: Uh, learning to slow down has been really hard. Sometimes even I hear it in the recordings, you know, like when I'll go back and, you know, Someone will give me a compliment in the recording and then I just roll straight up.

Okay. Now, where do you want to plug? You know what I'm like, damn it, Nicole, slow down and just be, um, yeah, if I listen back to, you know, that because I'm going on internship next year, I've been back recording into 2025 and so already going back to past levels of consciousness. Yeah, there's definitely times where I'm like, Oh, wow, Nicole, that was a really great idea.

I'm so proud of you like that. You hit that out of the park, you know, and then there's other times I listen. I'm like, that is not at all how I would have responded to that. Now. I'm so much wiser. Like, you know, and I, I have not gone back to listen to past episodes. I really can't. I don't think I can do it, but so

Cooper: it seems like a healthy practice.

Nicole: Yeah. Just to stay here right now. I don't need to go there. You know, it's okay. I think another thing I'm having a lot of compassion for myself is jealousy again, coming back to jealousy and the non monogamy pieces. And since that's so much of what I talk about in this podcast, right. I have felt like a hypocrite at times I've talked about this with you.

I think when I have. Multiple partners, whatever we want to use that word, multiple lovers, people. And then you or someone else talks about dating or doing something with someone else. And I like, I feel like I fall apart and it feels absolutely hypocritical that like, I'm doing this for myself. And then when it comes to other people, it gets much scarier, which makes a ton of sense, right?

In terms of attachment, I have a secure attachment with myself.

Cooper: Everybody processes these things differently.

Nicole: Yeah, but it feels intense. Right? And so I just, I'm having compassion for the journey that that is. And I specifically was remembering when I think this was the first time that my other partner started dating someone and had kissed someone and I was like connecting with them And I'm pretty sure you came over to my house and I was like, this is so intense Cooper I am feeling so much in my body.

I'm so jealous. Oh my god, and you were like Well, I just listened to your episode with Tuck Malloy on relationship anarchy, and you seemed to have a lot of wisdom. And you were like, you should listen to it. And I was like, oh, no, man, this is intense. And then

Cooper: Physician healed herself.

Nicole: Yeah. And then we started playing it.

And you like forwarded it to the parts that you thought were good of the episode.

Cooper: It really sucks to have all these receipts, doesn't it?

Nicole: I know. Well, I was just like Well, so remember you started, we were listening to it in my kitchen while we were making dinner and I was processing my jealousy with my other partner.

And, um, I would be like listening to myself saying like, oh, like you ground and, you know, It's okay, and you figure it out, and you're gonna be just fine. And meanwhile, like, living into that, literally hearing myself say that, I was like, having arguments of saying, that's not actually that easy. You don't know, you know?

And you were like, actively, I think, cooking me dinner or something, and I was just sitting there like, Stewing in my jealousy and saying, no

Cooper: position of the listener is different.

Nicole: Yeah. But even from then to now, like I do feel much more like secure and all of it. I feel much, I feel so much stronger. Like I feel so much more grounded and ways of like.

Feeling excited for my partners to explore other relationships and like the levels of work It's taken to feel secure in that and the level of conversations. It's taken to feel secure in that is Intense and well earned strength. I feel like I have now in it So it's been quite the journey But I think I definitely have to have a lot of compassion for myself when stuff like that happens where I'm like Oh, you've talked about this

Cooper: and I I've been seeing these examples of compersion in you this year that feel very new and different.

And I think my abilities, uh, for compersion have like deepened this year with you as well. So it feels really nice. I think you're Doing great.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: And you can definitely always continue to hold compassion for yourself.

Nicole: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. I don't think there'll be an end to the jealousy or the fear, which like makes sense, right?

These people are deeply important to us and the fears of them leaving or losing them. It would make sense that that would have such a weight to it all, of course, but it certainly feels. Again, do I pull in the metaphor of rock climbing? Right? Like, do I? It feels like I can climb much harder routes today than I certainly could.

A year ago. I was just wondering, was the, was my first sex party a year ago? When did we do that? That was like a year and a half ago, huh?

Cooper: That was a year and change.

Nicole: Yeah. My first scene by myself.

Cooper: That's a big milestone. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You've been engaging. Um, with a new sense of independence in kink, which has been really cool to see.

You've said to me, you know, in the past that you've had some sense of existing under my wing in that space in some ways, and you've been definitely exerting your independence, which.

Nicole: That's so good.

Cooper: It's really cool to see.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Yeah,

Nicole: for sure. Well, yeah, because you were the first person I really explored kink with, you know.

Depends on where you define kink, where do you define that, right? But like truly, I feel like you were one of the first then, yeah, to not get lost in the uh, Societal patterning of putting the man on the pedestal, particularly with my Christian upbringing. I talked a lot about that with you of like what's meant in the ways, you know, growing up to say that I'm supposed to literally worship and submit to the authority of a man.

And how I feel like that's, even if you're not growing up Christian, that's like deeply ingrained in our societal context. Um, so to like watch that sort of patterning and feelings in our own dynamic and to make sure that I, I built my own connections to these practices has felt really, really radical.

And yeah, it's, it's been such a, such a year of like leaning into more fantasy. I remember connecting with another partner who like just sitting at, I think it was big chicks right between the, the queer bar in Chicago, I don't know, and like sitting across from them and on a Sunday and they were like, So what are your fantasies?

And granted, I was mid grad school. So to get out, you know, my fantasy is get out of school, you know, so I wasn't dreaming too far, but even just to not have an answer to that felt really wild. I was like, how do I, yeah, what am I fantasizing about? And so to start like lifting that muscle of dreaming, right?

Like the scene that I had after matching with my two fem partners felt like. Really, like, lifting that muscle. Like, what actually, when I think about something, what is it that ignites me erotically and gets my body going and makes me excited?

Cooper: Engaging in that creativity for yourself. Totally.

I love that for you.

Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's been very exciting and There's a handful of episodes that are going to come out about the complexities, though, of like when your pleasure shifts, you know, when you're like this one kink practice that was so hot no longer does it for me and then what, you know, like, where do you go from there?

And, you know, they always talk about how, um, Catholics have the kinkiest sex because they're the most repressed. Right. So when you, you can't have something so wrong, it's so taboo, it's so charged, right? You tell the kid you can't have the cookies in the jar.

Cooper: Forbidden fruit.

Nicole: Yeah. The cookies are bad. Don't you dare.

Don't, don't think about the cookies. Right. And so suddenly it has such a charge to it. And so the more that I've stepped into liberation of my shame, the less. Charge, my sexuality has had, which has been heartbreaking in some ways because it feels less exciting. It feels exciting in different ways. Maybe I can unpack some of that here, but it's not the forbidden fruit anymore.

And that used to have such a charge to it. What I, when I go back to that level of consciousness of the forbidden fruit, absolutely not. In no way would I want to go back to that space where I was, where it was so charged because that space also included a inability to communicate my desires for my pleasure and an inability to say no and inability to like really live into any of my liberation with sexuality.

So there's no way that I would go back to that level of consciousness, but through this practice of this podcast, through the practice of my various relationships and all of my life, like. There has been such a dismantling of shame and then by association less of a charge with it. I think that that also has allowed for deeper embodiment though in some ways because when you're in such shame and fear and inability to talk like you're Your brain is spinning a million things, am I making too much noise, does my body look okay, like all the like hypervigilance that, you know, I went through with sexuality to like get to a space now where I'm much more embodied, like, you know, again, losing shame in that practice, but it has allowed more.

Embodiment and pleasure at the end of the day, even though it's not as the, it's not as the spicy button that it used to be.

Cooper: It's more matured.

Nicole: Yeah.

Cooper: Yeah. Like that initial encounter with the taboo that was so powerful that has settled down that sort of, uh, that sort of NRE with that.

Nicole: That's a good way to maybe talk about it.

Well, let's even talk about like my femme and female partners, right? Like the first time that I had queer sex. I was about to come just from like making out with them. It was wild. That's not happening anymore. You know, not that I'm not having orgasms, but it doesn't have that same sort of, Oh my God, this is the thing, you know, which is also part of my political agenda in some ways, in terms of like, I do think that like, The repression is where the problems happen.

Like, I want us to get to a space where, like, not that sex isn't as meaningful, but not as charged with such complexity, right? Like, how is it that when I go to a kink space, my boundaries are more respected than when I go to a bar? Mm hmm. Right? The space that is sex focused. This is the agenda. You have public sex in this space.

Mm hmm. That's more respectful than my bar down the street where I get groped by random men like that. Like, I do want us to get to a space where it is less, you know, The cookie jar, you know, and in that space, I'm very curious what our erotic profiles look like, right? Because as I've stepped more and more out of shame, it's not done, but like, the more, then there's certain kinks and practices that have been less exciting.

And so, collectively, I am very interested in seeing Where we go as things become less repressed and there was something there was one like, um, documentary I was watching that was talking about like even like rape fantasies, right? And then it was talking about how culturally context how contextual that is rape fantasies being very popular in America And in Sweden being apps.

I think it was Sweden. I'm not actually confident on the side and have to go back to the documentary, but like, I think it was Sweden, like that being absolutely not something that was as commonly interested in as American culture again, play with it. Right? I'm not judging any plane, but I do think we have to get critical about how our society impacts what we're attracted to.

Yeah, and we don't have to have answers for that, right? It doesn't have to come back from a trauma standpoint always like I think that it's just I'm just curious, right? I'm just curious, future years, what is going to be erotically charged for people as we continue to step into a more sex positive world.

Cooper: Yeah, I guess I'm wondering how concepts around kink have developed historically. Obviously, they come out of there. And I guess if we're assuming like a narrative of progress from more oppression to less repression, then we could say these taboos will hold less power in the future.

Nicole: Yeah. I mean, think back to when ankles were erotic, right?

Oh my God. I saw her ankle. Whoa. That's so slutty. Like none of us would understand in our modern, well, society. Um, that's not true, right? In different cultures, that is actually erotic. In our American culture, that doesn't do it for me, and I doubt that does it for you. You know? And so like, yeah, I am curious, you know, when you have threesomes on the regular, right?

Threesomes are the most. Um, the highest reported fantasy and research, right? The forbidden fruit for most monogamous relationships. So, yeah, what does it look like in a world where more people are practicing non monogamy having threesomes? Maybe it has less of that charge, right? It's not the forbidden thing.

At least for me, what I continue to move towards is deeper and deeper ability. I feel like to appreciate the human before me of who I'm connecting with and the beauty and magic of that. Rather than the forbiddenness, right? Because my queer sex is still really lovely. I still love having my queer sex, even though I'm not, like, feeling like I'm going to come from making out with them, and it's been normalized in some ways, but, um, I still really enjoy it in deep ways that are, um, maybe deeper than before, than the shallowness of some level of repression that kind of first started that journey for me.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Yeah. Newness, as it relates to eroticism, is something people talk about

a lot, whether that's like engaging in BDSM for the first time or engaging with a new partner for the first time. There is a lot of discussion around how to process shifts that occur when things become less new and how to evolve, shift, deepen.

These practices in order to keep eroticism alive. Right. I don't know if you have thoughts about that.

Nicole: I do. I have lots of different thoughts. Right. Yeah. I think first about the like levels of cultural world, you know, again, to the person who fantasizing is a sin. You're starting in a very different place of what is erotically charged, right?

And so your, your, your, your stretch over a lifetime of where you could go with that slowly is very different than when you start out where maybe you're, maybe you grew up on a commune where people are practicing polyamory. And so if you started with that, and so that's, you know, you're, you know, Your point.

And so just thinking about the different, like, context of people of where they're at in their own existential, like, narrative paradigms culturally, being an important piece for that. I mean, there's endless conversations on this of like, how to find different joy with a long term partner. Is that kind of what you're asking about?

Cooper: The system.

Nicole: Yeah. Well, I mean, one, I'm gonna continue to live into it as I date with my multiple partners mm-Hmm. So my own personal research will continue to shift. Um, but a lot of people talk about how it ebbs and flows, right? Mm-Hmm. People talk about that. So I think that it's a question of what are your expectations too?

You know, like, have you incorporated all these different things? How, how often do you meditate? You know, just to be in your body and actually feel the pleasure that is possible with another person, you know, sometimes I've, I've loved to like meditate on who I'm actually having sex with. Like, that's a really fun space for me of, um, of like holding, like, who is this person and how we grown, how we shifted over time.

And like, that level of narrative is always going to keep growing with you as you go through that. Um, and that's like a highly erotic space for me to think about that. You know, and like, remember that this person in front of me is always changing as much as I am, and that we're not the same people that started out.

Um, but of course, you also know that I deeply believe in non monogamy. Like, that is a hundred One of the largest reasons why I started practicing non monogamy was to avoid bed death. Yeah. Everything that I've looked at with the research is like, this is inevitable, you know, and it is sad. Like there's, there's research showing that like, again, this happens in non monogamy or monogamy too, like same partner, right.

Um, there are some research talking about, it seems like a duh, you know, um, when you watch the same porn, right. It slowly starts to, like, decrease in arousal when you're watching it. When you're having sex with the same person, you know? Mm hmm. And so a huge part of why I've wanted and have stuck with the complexities of jealousy is to live into the diversity

yeah. And I respect that you can find that in different ways, again, depending on where your cultural framework is. You could find joy and diversity with one person for the rest of your life, and that is beautiful. For me, I get bored and I'm so frustrated that that's not a narrative, at least for women.


Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: I feel like it's really accepted for men to have that sort of narrative of wanting the novelty. Wow.

Cooper: Yes, it's very gendered

Nicole: Yes. And so for a woman to say that I got bored in my longterm relationship, I love him to death. Let's be very clear. I love him. Our sex is great, but I want a different flavor.

Oof. That's a narrative I'm waiting for, personally.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Revolutionary.

Nicole: It shouldn't be, but it is. Absolutely it is. It's wild. Because I remember, like, arguing that thought with, like, my feminist class, and this one person came back and was like, well, from my dissertation, I actually saw that hookup culture, women didn't enjoy it.

And I was like, yeah. Hookup culture is very different than what I'm doing in non monogamy, my friend. Like, I'm not just hooking up with these people. Like, I'm building long term partnerships with these people. You know what I mean? So like, yeah, maybe the, if we're talking about socialization of women, women being socialized as more relational, Of course, the hookup ness of like, goodbye, see you later.

Like that is not meeting that, you know, it's for some people it is, but for like me, it's not. Right. And so I wanted long term partnerships and then the novelty of all these different connections and then all of us fucking together, literally, you know, like, um, so for me, I'm, I'm really committed to that.

And, I want to do it in a way that's not, um, shaming of other people who go down different paths. You know, I have some of my best friends are practicing monogamy and we're just on different journeys of where we're going with it and unpacking it. And so I want to continue to like hold this stance of naming.

Cause I, Just even this last week when I was recording, I like named that for myself. And I like, I say this very specifically when I talk about this on the podcast for me, non monogamy has been about the diversity of having multiple partners and not getting bored in a dynamic. And then the guests came back with, well, yeah, we don't want to shame other people who do.

And it's like, I didn't do that. I literally said for myself, I said for myself, this is true. And so I want there to be a narrative of that, that exists out there in the world of like, Hey, women, you can get bored in your relationship and it doesn't mean you don't love that person. It just means I want diversity,


Cooper: Which is one of the exciting things I think about relationship anarchy that it, it constantly questions these assumptions. It questions the assumptions and it starts from like a basis of, well, responsible self not feeling obligated to follow. Externally imposed scripts, kind of, period.

Nicole: Can we talk about Foucault though? Like, where do we draw that line of what, you know, what's mine versus internalized from society? Yes, right. Oof. Never ending to that one. Because, again, if you go back to me when I was in Christianity, I would have told you, how dare you think I'm gay? How dare you?

Cooper: It's the cops in our heads that are the most nefarious.

Nicole: Right.

And I told you about how I started non monogamy, right? If you really loved me, it would only be me. Like, you know, so like, again, I don't even know how to trust my own internal desires at some point, because I've consistently learned that it's been influenced by the society in ways that are, have been beyond my free will.

That's rough. Ouch, you know, like, ouch. So that's another thing to have compassion for.

Cooper: One might say it's a psychedelic trip.

Nicole: Who's been throwing that metaphor out maybe beyond. I'm really excited though, to write, to like write or have more podcast episodes, talking about my like psychedelic work and therapy and the comparisons to understanding relationships like non monogamy.

I was just talking about it today, like in my didactics about like, Non monogamy, like we talk about psychedelics being non specific amplifiers. I think non monogamy is a non specific amplifier of your attachment. I didn't realize how much security I found through exclusivity. Like how much, how much? Oh my God.

I took that pill and I said, whoa, this is deep. This is deep to try and find security outside of that. Holy shit.

Big challenge.


Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah. And again, you're not more enlightened because you do psychedelics or non monogamy, right? I don't look at people who've never done psychedelics and be like, I'm more enlightened, but I have learned a lot from my psychedelic practice.

I've learned a lot from my non monogamy practice about how I view myself. My self worth, how I view security and relationships, my ability to communicate. Oh, I'm just really, at this point, I'm like stoked to see where I'm going to be at in a year. When I record this reflection next year, I, I'm going to be so much more grounded and be so much more rooted in all of this.

I like can't even fathom where I'm going to be at in 10 years with relationships.

Cooper: Wow, I can't wait.

Nicole: Yeah, it's gonna be a joy. It's gonna be so powerful.

Cooper: I'm excited.

Nicole: And it's gonna be good.


Cooper: Alright. Next question. What is one thing that you That you're proud of from this year.

Nicole: Why did I pick one thing? You know what I mean? That's like anti, my philosophy is about monogamy and everything. There's so many things. I'm not going to pick a favorite. Well, having just finished my academic coursework, I guess this isn't just this last year, but as I look back on the last three years, I can't believe that I've done this every single week while in grad school.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Right here.

Nicole: What? Like, how did I do that? Yeah. Healing journeys, you know, like I was committed to that. Like, it's so crazy to think back. Like, I, every single week I have sat down. For hours to commit to this, let alone the hours of reaching out to people, emails, all of it's like, Oh my God, like I have had a dream and a vision and I have committed to it.

And you've seen me when I've been tired and doing it going, I got to sit down and edit this because this is my primary partner. I don't even do the hierarchy, but if there was going to be a primary partner, it would be my podcast.

Cooper: Aggressive pursuit.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. Totally. And I tell myself, you know, working past 9pm, you know, like I do have my boundaries, like, Hey, Nicole, it's, and there's been days, it's been 10pm, you know, a little later, and you're like, Oh, okay, you know, but I guess I'm just so proud at this point.

For the dedication I've had to like seeing this through to actually making this happen from an idea in my head to like getting to this point and having this many episodes and even to hear some of my, um, guests talk about, you know, I've had some therapists on the podcast who came in and said like, Oh, my clients are bringing up your content in our sessions as something that's been really transformative for them and their sex and relationships journey.

And that's been my dream, or to hear that there's been listening parties for the podcast.

Cooper: It's a nexus of ideas.

It's important to have spaces like this. To provide perspective.

Nicole: Yeah. Well, I want a podcast like this.

Cooper: There you go.

Nicole: That's how it started, I guess. There you go. It's like, I want this, where is this happening? I guess I'm gonna have to make it myself. Do it myself, yeah. But I didn't even know what I wanted when I first started, you know what I mean?

It's been all the, it's been all the guests on the show, too, who have nominated all this and made me even more radical than I ever dreamed of being. Right. You know what I mean? Like, When I, when I really handed over the power to them to nominate who I go to next, that took me to such radical anarchists because everyone saw the name and said, Oh, let's go here.

I don't even think I was ready for half of the conversations I've had over the last three years. And I've sat down and I'm like, Oh wow, this person's really radical. You know, I'm probably doing that now to people. They probably look at me like, Whoa, you know, but

Cooper: you're getting stretched.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely.

And I feel like. This last year has been so exciting because I cried. You know, this episode isn't, these episodes aren't even out yet. Like these are episodes to be released. Getting to record with Jessica Fern. I cried like knowing that I, go ahead.

Cooper: That's a person that has been really important in some of your journey as well.

Nicole: Oh yeah. Totally learning from her writing and because she was one of the only people that had the You know, credentials and putting that in air quotes, you know, and so it felt more legitimized by the power structures of what it means to be a therapist and all of that complexity. And so, um, she was one of the only people that had that.

And that felt like it gave me some credentialing to come into my coursework where I was being told by professors that this never works. Like literally being actively told by one of the prominent teachers of A certain type of therapy in my coursework to say non-monogamy never works and it felt so rooted like grounding to be like Hey, have you heard of Jessica Fern?

Like, you know, like, so to kind of like stick it back, so to be able to record with her, like, my jaws just dropped still, because I'm just still so shocked that I got to do that. I guess it just felt like, you know, let alone, like, Tristan Tiramino felt like a big person, knowing I'm going to, knowing I'm going to record with Juan, um, Carlos from the Relationship Anarchy book, or even like Dr. Elizabeth Scheff, like all these people that are more prominent within, you know, The community of non monogamy and kink and radical sexuality. Like, it feels like I have my seat at the table. Like, it feels like I made it. I think that's what I said with you when I recorded with Jessica. I was just like, I've made it.

Cooper: And aren't you excited to get your own credentials soon and then get to really start to fuck shit up in whichever ways you want to?

Nicole: Yeah, cause when Dr. Nicole said

Cooper: Oh my god, game over.

Nicole: Well I have to dismantle that too, that's important to make sure. Cause it's not like the only wisdom can come from a doctor, that's problematic.

But am I absolutely going to use that power, particularly in an area that is so taboo? Yeah. Sex, non monogamy, kink, psychedelics. Oh, yeah, I'm gonna be saying Dr. Nicole, like, are you kidding me? Oh, man, I want to use that power to, like, Leverage. Yes, and actively dismantle it at the same time. You hear me talk shit about the field of psychology all the time on this podcast, you know?

So I want to be, use the system and the power I have within it to also dismantle the system at the same time.

Cooper: It's a challenge, right? But you're up for it.

Nicole: It's been a fun climb. I'm loving it thus far. Yeah. Not when I was crying about whether I could release this episode or not. That's when I was really feeling it.

Um, yeah. Oh, this is so scary to do. This is so scary to do knowing in past experiences with certain training sites being told I was too radical or too queer, right? Like, Knowing that, knowing that the field of psychology is more conservative, like I, that's when I was really feeling it of this and now having the internship contract signed and knowing that I have the community at Sana that I have that like deeply appreciate me and love me and like to feel like I have that sort of path moving forward, let alone having my own clients and the podcast growing.

Like I feel so much more a breath of security. Like I feel security, a secure attachment to my future in a way that's allowing me to like. Yeah, I, I went to the sex party and I, I did this, you know, like in a way that, yeah. And I think, and that's important. Like, I want to be able to talk about this in a way that's not like, there's so much talk about this stuff that is like dirty intentionally, do you know what I mean?

Or like where they try to play up and Oh, like, I was so bad. I went to this party and did this, like, no, I want to be like, I went to the sex party and we had a journaling prompt afterwards about how I'm integrating this part of myself into my identity. Like, this very like. Normalized, you know, like not the taboo of like, Oh, I did drugs and I'm bad.

Like, no, I had this drug experience and it actually was really healing and profound. Like, again, like I want to be able to talk about these things, like the beauty of sex for the like, Healing, gorgeous, playful thing that it is and not just the raunchy taboo. And that feels very, very important to me. And so like part of the security is being able to like talk about this in a professional way.

Like I have clients, my therapy clients who listen to my podcast and. Are going to hear this and like, what does it mean to professionally be putting this stuff out there as a person, right? I'm putting this out as me, Nicole, but to know that any of my clients could hear what I just said for the last hour, like that's a lot to process and supervision, which is what I've been doing.

Cooper: So yeah. Yeah.

Nicole: I mean, I guess that's a feminist tale if I've ever heard one.

Cooper: Yeah. It's like respectability is what we're talking about, right? And like, having to put this veneer of respectability on everything is a form of oppression, but it makes sense also to want to be able to engage with these things, On a level outside of purely taboo, purely subversive.

Nicole: Right. That's why I loved recording with Raquel Savage, a therapist, sex worker who had porn out and other sorts of content. I was like, fuck yeah. I'm a therapist and I do this. And then that made me want to like put out porn or do something that then there is more complexity to that of what it means to have that and all of that.

So I'm like, And bowing down to people who do that, you know, in terms of what it means politically to put that out there and to have your message and to stand in that and yeah, and that, and I'm just a baby over here compared to what they're doing with that, you know, like I just talk about it, let alone like having it out visually or, or other, other ways, you know?

Cooper: Yeah. Because. The raunchy is not mutually exclusive, right, with the professional, yeah, with the legitimate, I guess. Yeah. I don't know. Words like professional and legitimate and respectable are really challenging. Absolutely.

Nicole: And that's like the heart of the issue right there, right?

Cooper: Mm hmm.

Nicole: So yeah, do I want to use a doctor title to like pin porn into it?

Mm hmm. Absolutely. Absolutely it's gonna be Modern Anarchy with Dr. Nicole in a year and

Cooper: a

Nicole: half.

Cooper: A powerful tool.

Nicole: Oh, absolutely.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: If I've gone into this much debt, I'm going to, I'm going to have fun using that tool as much as I can, you know,

Cooper: use everything we have available to us.

Nicole: Totally. Totally. And, and I just, again, I'm, I'm just really excited at this point.

I see so much joy ahead in my future. I wrote my last paper for loss and mourning on the, uh, the loss of sexuality, like the different losses we can go through, even just the loss of I want to say this in air quotes, virginity, right? The loss of, um, ability to have sex as you age, the loss of interest, the loss of trust.

If you've been through trauma, right? Like there's so much of my work that I do on the podcast that is pleasure based of, of dreaming of like my personal life and these fun conversations of, this is the kind of pleasure that is possible. This is kind of embodiment that is possible. And then so much of my therapy work is more of like the, the pains, like.

Working with people who have experienced significant trauma to see my career unfolding of like what it's going to mean to work in both. Like, I really do want to work in both of like the initial healing all the way to the pleasure end of the spectrum and to like, have that be my career feels so much depth to it.

Right. There was a, there was definitely a point at this journey where I was like, I only want to do pleasure. I want to stay in the pleasure space, but I do feel very connected to the, like what it means to go into the darker space of like people who have just gone through Sexual violence and are right there and who are processing it at that level like I really see my career unfolding and like all Of that being connected.

Cooper: Yeah, it feels like you have an opportunity to on one hand do Responsive healing work and on the other hand to do this pretty figurative creative work.

Nicole: That's the whole healing continuum

Cooper: Love that for you

Nicole: Yeah, psychology kind of left off the whole pleasure part and then specifically diagnosed some of the pleasure part like their diagnostics of kink of saying it's a disorder or even going back to homosexuality being a disorder.

Right? It's like the field of psychology doesn't have a good track record. Let me tell you. And even the field of attachment that talked really poorly about non monogamy, it does not have a good track record in terms of pleasure liberation, let me tell you. For sure. So I am here to talk about it.

Cooper: Yeah, like it's one thing to talk about things like kink being within a cultural context and then it's another thing to pathologize it. Right. And that can be a fine distinction in some cases.

Nicole: Yeah. Do we even need to talk about how wide the field of psychology is in terms of pathologizing different cultures? Yeah.

I've got a long career ahead of me. A very exciting career.

Cooper: I know I have the last question. Do you have other questions that you feel like you would like me to ask?

Nicole: That's cute that you ask that because I always ask my guests too, like, before we go to that closing question, is there anything left on your heart?

So I usually take that deep breath with them.

Cooper: Well, I'm an avid listener.

Nicole: I know you are. She's so cute. I love getting to talk about it with you every week. That's so fun. To the person that's listening, I'm just thankful that they're here, right? I'm thankful that they're tuning in. I'm thankful that they're growing with me each week and the people who are supporting me on Patreon.

Like, I mean, like I'm just so thankful that people are going on this healing pleasure journey with me. And I'm just excited to see where it's going to be. Like, I feel very committed to this podcast. Like a partnership, you know, like I feel committed to doing this through the rest of my career of like, there's the wedding ring folks, like, you know, like, for me, like, I'm committed to doing this till I, till I, till I die.

I told you, remember I told you my password pin code. And I said, if I die, it's your responsibility to put these episodes out. We've had a conversation about it. So that still rings true. If I die, you have content through 2025 to release. So you're signing up for some work,

Cooper: the collected posthumous works.

Nicole: Exactly. Right. Which sometimes often makes them grow more in the realities of that one. But, um, yeah, I feel very committed to continue to like show up in the space and be humble and learn and grow and expand and have fun doing it. I hope, you know, that'd be an important thing is like having pleasure on this podcast too, through the conversations I have.

So yeah, I feel very committed to the journey here.

Cooper: Well, with that, I have one more question for you. What is one thing that you wish people knew was more normal?

Nicole: Pleasure. Even the field of psychology, right? It's like negative trauma, trauma. There's like positive psychology. You know, the last wave of cognitive behavioral therapy saying, Oh, maybe we should ask our clients when was the last time you were happy and that actually being therapeutic, right?

Let alone the psychedelic work that I do and people having pleasurable experiences, right? So much of the healing narrative is so trauma heavy focused. Not to write it over in a Pollyanna just pleasure way, right? But I do think that the whole equation is very off in terms of just that domain alone, right?

In terms of negativity, but also just in terms of sex and relationships. Oh. My. God. I don't want to have sex. I'm too, I'm too stressed. I can do this. It's not that fun. There is so much more to this. We gotta start talking. Let alone the like, oh, my ball and chain. The ball and chain. Like this, like the way that people talk about relationships and joke about it in comedy skits, like it's just normal to hate.

I, I remember the one article from, uh, I forget who wrote it, but the title of it was. Marital hatred is normal. And I was like, is it? Like, is it? Like, I, I do want a world where people have pleasurable relationships and pleasurable sex lives. And part of that is bigger dreams of what is possible. It's possible, my friends,

Cooper: dependent on a lot of big systemic changes happening.

Nicole: Absolutely.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: There's reasons why this podcast is free and not put behind a paywall that feels important to me. Yeah. Yeah. Right. That's something I can do. Right. I can't solve the whole equation at all. Right. But I, I can do that. I can offer sliding scale in my services. I can work at a nonprofit. Right.

I can do these things. Right. Absolutely. I do think this is like my corner of the thread, right? If there's like the large threads of all the ways that we're dismantling, this is my thread. Like, okay, how do I help people have more orgasms? Not to center it too hard, but like more pleasure in their body.

That means slowing down. That means being embodied. That means communication. All of that is revolutionary. I am very deeply committed to like what a world of free love and free pleasure would mean in terms of political change. That feels so deeply connected, let alone the ways that we organize family households and stuff around these things, you know, that's, I mean, it is a radical re shifting of everything.

But I guess I just, I'm so tired of the people who think that like sex is painful. I'm so tired of the people who think relationships are painful. That is not to say that we don't have to put in work, that there aren't dark days of sadness, right? The more you can embrace the loss and mourning, the more you can enjoy the pleasure.

So many people are just locked into a paradigm of thinking this is all that is possible.

Cooper: And I Because it's what we're told.

Nicole: Right. And I would God, if I could find a book of a radical liberated woman who is living that out, the closest I get is the ethical slut. Right? Closest I get is the writings of them and other people.

Mm-Hmm. But God, if I could have that, I mean, I do, I found some podcasts, you know, I listen to it like, but, but I listened to them like, like it's my Bible, like it's my church because I just don't have enough examples of it, let alone to think that women can't have credit cards until 1970. I mean, I can start listing off all the ways that like, God, women's liberation feels so important to me as a woman myself, but like, yeah, pleasure.

There's so much more pleasure that is possible in our current system. There's so much more pleasure that is possible. And I do think it is revolutionary to think about what sort of pleasure is possible when we change the system. I, like, joked about one of the, uh, intros, like, if the revolution doesn't turn you on, I want you to dream harder.

I do. I stand by that. Dream bigger. You're not seeing what I'm seeing, you know, if you're not getting excited in your body about that.

Cooper: Maybe a failure of imagination.

Nicole: And it's hard. That's right. Like other podcasts that dream about what it's like, life would look like in a different society outside of our current structures.

Cause it's hard to get that creative play. And for some people, yeah. And for some people it's harder to imagine What enjoyable sex looks like. Yeah. Like this just can't, like, what? How? So I just, I wish I could normalize the pleasure that is possible at minimum in sex and relationships. And that feels like what I'm committed to doing both personally for myself, for my lovers.

I want them to feel that for all my lover. Like that is how I ground through every moment of jealousies, the liberation I want and the liberation I want them to feel. And then, you know, my listeners, my clients, like all those people, like I just. I want to normalize the amount of pleasure that is possible.

Cooper: Mm hmm. Amen.

Nicole: Amen, y'all. Let's go back to spiritual trauma. Well, thank you. Thank you for holding me.

Cooper: Yeah.

Nicole: that was special.

Cooper: Again, I'm so impressed with you every day. I'm so proud of all the things you've done with this year. All of the growth and shifts that we've had. I'm happy to be here.

Nicole: Yeah. It's been a joy.

Couldn't do it without you. Cheers. Cheers. Cheers.

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.


bottom of page