How has the pandemic affected your sex life?
Host Karen Yates speaks with sex coach Tazima Parris, therapist Matthew Amador, and sex educator Sarah Sloane about “GETTING LAID DURING COVID — Part 1: Dating and Hooking Up.” The panel gives practical suggestions for you. Comedian-musician Amy Do performs a song from our September 2019 show, and we close with Karen’s Sermon on the Pubic Mound on COVID and compassion from March 2020, the last live show (for now!)
Wild & Sublime Podcast Transcript
#01 | Getting Laid During COVID, Part 1: Dating and Hooking Up
[Wild & Sublime theme music]
MATTHEW AMADOR: I know some people who are afraid to have the conversation about, hey, what is your... what’s your risk level? What have you been doing? Because for them, it feeds on the fear of “oh my god, I don't want this to be slut shaming.”
SARAH SLOANE: You have got to know what is going to feel okay for you before you go into any conversation about it.
TAZIMA PARRIS: That's like number one, is to do it as early as possible.
KAREN YATES: Welcome to Wild & Sublime, a sexy spin on infotainment, no matter your preferences, orientation, or relationship style, based on the popular live Chicago show. Each week I'll chat about sex and relationships with citizens from the world of sex positivity with spicy additions from storytellers and musicians. I'm Karen Yates.
Today's panel topic: Getting Laid During COVID, a two episode conversation. Yes, it's that big. Part One this week: Dating and Hooking up. Next episode-- dropping August 6-- Part Two: Long-Term Relationships. Plus, today we'll be hearing a little ditty from comedian-musician Amy Do, and my Sermon on the Pubic Mound from the last live show we did in March 2020, right as COVID hit Chicago. Keep listening.
Wild & Sublime is sponsored in part by Uberlube: long lasting silicone lubricant for sex, sport, and style. I highly recommend it. Go to uberlube.com.
KAREN YATES: Episode One. Thank you for joining me as this live show moves into a podcast. Wild & Sublime began in Chicago in 2018, when I realized that one of the things as a sex educator I loved doing was talking about sex. And, I have a background in live performance, and so the two worlds sort of came together in this show, which began in October 2018, at a theater called stage 773 in their cabaret space. And at that point, the show was called Super Tasty, and pretty quickly, we outgrew that space because what started happening was there was a core group of folks that started coming show after show and it was produced on a monthly basis. And that audience was composed of like, sex educators and sex therapists and kinksters and people in the polyamorous scene-- you know, basically the core group of folks was from the sex positive community in Chicago.
But then there was another group of folks that were of all types, and… and the audience for the show spans from like, age 25 to age, you know, 70. It was… it’s people that are enlivened by the message: that to talk about sex and sensation openly and in community is a really lovely thing, and it brings joy.
Community was a really huge part of the show. And it will… we will have the live show again, of course, but you know, we… we always did this thing after the show called The Afterglow, where the audience could come on stage and get together, and chat with the guests, and chat with each other, and vendors were there and it was a really warm, happy place. In this podcast, I'm going to be taking a lot of the ideas that, you know, came up in the show as I interviewed people and you know, we had panel discussions and there was a lotta Q & A from the audience. There were a lot of prompts-- the audience wrote things on papers and I would read them out loud and I… I'm really hoping I can bring a lot of that energy to the podcast here. And I hope that… that I can hear from you out in podcast land-- you can give me your feedback. And while I know we won't be able to replicate the community that one feels when one is at the live show, I think it would be awesome to at least in part get that sense of liveliness from the audience that is listening to this podcast. So I hope you join me and stay along for the ride. Thanks so much.
And now it's time for the panel. This time period of COVID has impacted almost everything, including people's sex lives. Our panel will be discussing that today. We had a very full conversation that will be in two parts. Today is dating and hooking up: How do you start an intimate relationship, especially one that might start online? How do you hook up, go to sex parties? We are being joined by some really awesome folks today, sex and intimacy coach Tazima Parris, sex positive psychotherapist Matthew Amador, and sex educator and Director of Operations and communication of the inclusive dating site, #Open, Sarah Sloane.
KAREN YATES: Tazima Parris. Welcome.
TAZIMA PARRIS: Thank you.
KAREN YATES: Matthew Amador, welcome.
MATTHEW AMADOR: Hello. Thank you. It's an honor to be here.
KAREN YATES: And new to Wild & Sublime, welcome Sarah Sloane.
SARAH SLOANE: Hello, how are y'all doing?
KAREN YATES: I thought we could look at the New York City Health Department document that came out beginning of June, and it covers a lot of ground. And this document will be in the show notes on our website, wildandsublime.com.
So it says: “sex is a normal part of life and should be done with the consent of all parties. During this extended health emergency people will and should have sex.” And, according to a New York Times story in June the frankness of this document-- and it is very explicit, very frank-- is due to a pamphlet that was written in 1983 during the AIDS crisis called “How to have sex during an epidemic.” And in that same New York Times story they interviewed the New York City Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control, Dr. Dimitri Daskalakis, who said “abstinence for the duration of the pandemic is not going to work. We tend not to shy away from giving people realistic recommendations. There's no reason for COVID-19 to be different.”
For our purposes today, we are not going to be talking about should you have sex, we'll be talking about how to have sex or negotiate intimate contact with people. This document-- the New York City Health Department document-- advises first that it's safest to have sex with yourself and then… working outward… then your live-in relationships.
They then go on to say, if you do have sex with others outside your household, have as few partners as possible and pick partners you trust to talk about COVID-19 factors, just as you would discuss PrEP-- a type of HIV prevention medication-- condoms, and other safer sex topics. Ask them about COVID-19 before you hook up. And then they say, you know, good questions to ask are, you know, “do you have symptoms? Or have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?” Those are very basic medical questions.
But there's a… another set of questions that people are going to have a very differing level of concern around, and those questions are along the lines of, you know, “hey, what are your daily habits? How many folks do you come in contact with or frontline workers? Do you social distance?” How does one start having conversations whether you're, you know, hooking up online, or whether you are... you know, you've gone on a couple of video dates, maybe you've gone on a social distance walk, I mean, I'm talking about for folks who are really wrestling with these varying degrees of contact their... their potential partners might be having. So, who would like to jump in?
SARAH SLOANE: I… I’m… I'm chuckling because working for a dating app, where we're talking to our users constantly, and they are, you know, everywhere from “I don't feel safe doing anything other than video” to “I wanna have sex right now.” Like, there's this huge spectrum.
And one of the first things that I'm actually asking people to do is separate from that need-- to figure out what your minimum acceptable level of risk is. Like, you have got to know what is going to feel okay for you before you go into any conversation about it. If you have a pre-existing condition, if you have, you know, risk factors, like… make sure that you're confident about what you're gonna need in order to feel safe. It's the same that we, you know, this is one place where it is similar to having an STI conversation… is like, what level of risk is acceptable to you?
And remember that you can have differing levels of risk, and both people can be right. And, you know, so it's not a thing where we shame the other person for being willing to take more risk, but we can acknowledge like, hey, that's a risk that... that I'm not comfortable with. But in terms of starting the conversation, like, hopefully you've got some sort of a... of a connection where you can lean into it. And, you know, I love the idea that, you know, people… people are saying like, Oh, it's like an STI conversation. It's like, but it's not, you know. This is… this is bringing in a lot more people than just the people who are present for sex, but having that as being the starting point of saying like, “hey, what is your overall risk level in your life, like for COVID?” And then kind of reverse engineering. It's like, “okay, so here's what mine is, here's what yours is… who has the most conservative risk management, and then what kinds of things can we do within that?” So, it may be something that I totally feel like I can have outdoor sex. So, okay, great. Like, like how do we... how can we go do that? But it's about… thinking about what each person’s gonna need in order to feel safe... and then play within that realm.
KAREN YATES: Matthew?
MATTHEW AMADOR: Yeah, I think one thing that is a good starting point is honestly to normalize the fear around it. Like, a lot of us are scared about what's happening, a lot of us are uncertain at the very least, if it doesn't actually feel like fear. And, the thing about fear is a kind of like, outside… fear will… fear will feed other fear. As an example, I know some people who are afraid to have the conversation about, “hey, what is your… what's your risk level? What have you been doing?” Because for them, it feeds on the fear of “oh my God, I don't want this to be slut shaming. I don't want this to be... to overlap into that conversation of me saying, okay, because you've had this many partners and you do this, I'm not safe being with you, because that overlaps.” And even though these are two different conversations, one fear feeds the other fear. So, one thing I would suggest is just, yeah, normalize that it’s gonna be scary. It's gonna be scary for both of you. We're both figuring this out. There's no right way to do this yet, if ever. Compassion. Find compassion for yourself to say, Okay, you know what, let's have this conversation. I might mess it up a bit. Can I say fuck? I don't know if I can.
KAREN YATES: Yeah, you can say fuck.
MATTHEW AMADOR: Okay. You might fuck it up. We're all gonna fuck it up.
KAREN YATES: This show is about fucking, so you can say that.
MATTHEW AMADOR: It is.
KAREN YATES: Tazima.
TAZIMA PARRIS: I am a big advocate of-- like Matthew was saying-- to acknowledge the fear that we experience in this conversation. And at the same time, I'm a massive advocate of doing this early. Early, early, early, early, early, early, early. The earlier you have this conversation, the more choices you can have. And the more… like if you have this… when you're just starting to have this conversation, you’re just meeting the person… if you get that out of the way, then, if-- for example-- someone did something the week before, and they've been self isolating, or they haven't been self isolating, and you need that two weeks before you feel comfortable to come in contact with that person, then that's already started. Whereas if you've been kind of video dating for two weeks, that's time that you've now lost.
I hold this conversation in the same way that I hold, like, a relationship, what I… what I call a relationship vision: “where are you going? What are you wanting out of relationship? What's your ideal?” Share that up front so that it doesn't become about the person? “Well, it sounds like you've been doing stuff that's riskier than I would do, so I don't think it's a match. Like, this person doesn't even know, they didn't even know, [laughter] like, how can…. how are they supposed to actually respond, or address, or maybe even in you sharing what you hold as important, they hadn't even thought about that thing. So it's really about... this is an opportunity for you to share what you are about what your... what... what's important to you, so that you can find someone who's either a match or decide whether the people who you're seeing…. “okay this person is out, this person is in, this person continues to be in, this person continues to be in,” or whatever-- you can... you can sort earlier if you have the conversation earlier, or you can negotiate earlier if you have the conversation earlier. So that's... that's, like, number one, is to do it as early as possible, so that you can negotiate from whatever the information is as you find out during your conversation.
KAREN YATES: Oh, I love… I love this idea of super frontloading it, like it's… it's... in putting it in the same bin as the relationship goal, like “I'm looking for, you know, a short term relationship. I'm really looking to get married.” You know, it's this… it’s in the.. just this… it can be just rolled into the same thing before... before the stakes get really high, before all sorts of things happen. Because that's what I… I mean that's what I see for myself like there's... there's a point when it... I don't want to say it gets too late to have the conversation but it starts getting fraught.
TAZIMA PARRIS: And what... what usually happens is that now when… when you bring that conversation up, especially around the goals, or like a lifestyle thing-- cause this COVID situation is a lifestyle thing-- it becomes you expecting that person to meet your expectations and it's like, “no, if you bring it up early, it's like no, I come with this setting. This is my setting. And you can deal with it or not.”
KAREN YATES: Yeah, I… this idea of COVID as a lifestyle, your... the way you... you approach COVID is a lifestyle choice. That is a great way to put it. Matthew, do you have something to say?
MATTHEW AMADOR: Yeah, I think that's amazing. Especially... it's similar in that way to like STI conversations, like chronic STI conversations. If you bring it up up front, it becomes about the STI; if you hold it off a few dates, then all of a sudden it becomes about you. And you are not the virus. The virus is something that is attached to you. But it does not define you. But the longer you... wait to kind of bring it up, the easier it is for you to actually be more of… of, quote unquote, “the problem.” And that's just not it.
KAREN YATES: I mean, so much about what we talk about on the show is really about putting the focus on yourself: make conscious decisions very early on, put it out there, and you're giving yourself a whole bunch of power. It… it automatically gives you power. Anything else before we move on?
SARAH SLOANE: The situations that I've seen that have kind of blown up are when people are trying to reverse engineer. You know, it's... it's like it… it becomes a very rejection, fear kind of a process, and I think that being able to own your stuff and be strong in it is such a challenge for so many people. You know, a lot of us were brought up not to believe that we had the right to boundaries. But this is one of those times where us spending the time figuring out: what is it that's going to be okay. You know, and... and being able to then lead the conversations with that. It's exactly back to what… what our… our other lovely guests were talking about. It really is about knowing yourself and... and advocating for yourself, right from the start.
KAREN YATES: Yeah, this is a timeframe where, if you're single, you can maybe try new… new ways to empower yourself… see it as an asset, this time as an asset to how you behave within the dating or the hooking up arena.
TAZIMA PARRIS: And I would also add, some people put off this conversation until they feel confident. I'm gonna say, you're never gonna feel confident about this conversation, any conversation when it comes to sex, you just don't. It's never… like, even as a professional where I talk about sex every day, all day, it's my job… I still for... when advocating for myself, it still feels uncomfortable. And one thing that I use when I'm bringing up something that is uncomfortable or scary, I will say, “Hey, this is a scary thing for me to bring up. And, here it is, do we have… do you have time to talk right now? Or can I... is there another time that would be better?” and you create space to have a conversation. Name the fear, name the anxiety, name whatever is going on for you.
And if… depending on the level of intimacy that you have with this person, the… the level of safety that you feel, you may even say, “I'm afraid that you'll reject me when I share this thing.” Like, it’s just like put it all the way out there. And you're never going to feel confident about this conversation, so don't even try. Just know, “I know I'm gonna feel afraid. I'm saying the thing. I said the thing. Oh my god, yeah, I was totally, totally afraid. [laughter] Oh, the person is not blowing up,” or ‘Wow, this… the reaction is a little more intense than I anticipated,” or whatever. You're gonna roll with whatever's happening, but you’re… don’t wait until you feel confident, cause none of us feel confident. We're human.
MATTHEW AMADOR: I'm not even confident with what I'm saying right now. [laughter]
But… but speaking on what you're saying, adding on to that, this is something that we're continually learning. Like, this is something for time immemorial. We are waiting for the right time to say something when it feels comfortable. And by starting to name it, that’s one place to start, cause especially in terms of intimacy and relationships, we have so much anxiety over intimate… intimacy and relationships. And then a lot of us feel the only way to cure that is to have intimacy, sexuality and relationships. So it's like, “well, part do we start? What part do we start?” Cause this is kind of going… this is starting at two different sections, like, how do we have it, and then actually having it. So, it's not gonna go away on its own. Find a moment where you can actually break that chain and say, “Okay, you know what, I'm just gonna name this, this is going to be as uncomfortable as fuck, but here we go.”
KAREN YATES: And… and these… Thank you. And these are totally learned habits, you know of… that we have to put into place and do all the time to keep them alive.
Okay, so let's move on in this extraordinary document. Let’s get into the juice. So, New York Times health department document: if you find yourself at a sex party, or as they diplomatically put it, “if you decide to find a crowd…”
The New York... New York health department recommends: “limit the guest list.” I suppose that's if you're hosting. “Have a large well ventilated space, wear a mask, go with a consistent partner,” And, I was not sure if they meant attend the gathering with a consistent partner or choose a consistent partner. “Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and most importantly,” quote, “bring a hand sanitizer.” Folks, do you have any thoughts? Do you know of any folks who have been to sex parties during this time?
Sarah, I'm seeing a lot of nodding there. You start.
SARAH SLOANE: There are a couple of places that have opened up. Most of them are limiting the number of people that can be in there. Some of them are actually specifically designating, like, “here is the room that you are allowed to be in,” they have separate wash facilities… and on the other hand, there are a lot of people that are doing business as usual. In terms of like, particularly folks with house parties. I think that, you know, there are lots of things that we can do if we're gonna do that to reduce the risk. Honestly, everything that we're seeing, especially about the airborne nature of this virus is, you know, around, everybody's wearing a mask, like, you know, that would be a substantial thing that you can do.
But I think if you're looking at going to a house party or going to a sex party, it's like, ask a little bit about like, “who's... who's coming to this? How many people are going to be there?” If it feels like the crowd is a little large, maybe that's not the party, maybe, you know, maybe you find one that's like five to 10 people. That's a little bit more of a manageable number. But, yeah, I think this could also be a great opportunity to explore doing a little bit more exhibitionism and voyeur stuff, because you can do that from a distance of six feet with no frickin’ problem.
KAREN YATES: Right, right.
SARAH SLOANE: And you know, and we can kind of like, we can engage in some of the other things that make sex parties or kink parties so exciting in a way that is far safer for us.
KAREN YATES: Mm-hmm.
Matthew, do you have something to say?
MATTHEW AMADOR: I love that this document is so pro-kink. Like, it's not even subtext, it’s just text. [laughter] It reminds me of.. gosh, there was… okay, Savage Love. I remember reading this one letter that was, god, it was a straight guy who had communicated with someone on Craigslist. And he was looking for someone who was female identified, so a woman to have anal sex with and someone responded and said, “Yes, I'll meet you. My room is gonna be dark, the door will be unlocked. Just be naked on the bed, I'll have sex and I'm so shy, I'm just gonna leave when you're done.” So he went to the apartment. She shows… the person shows up in the dark with a towel over their head, has sex with them, anal only, leaves and then he's like, “So that happened. And I guess my question is, is it possible I had sex with a dude?” And Dan's like, “Yeah, it's... you probably did. Like, you probably did.” But since then, I've had a fascination with “Yeah, just walk in, towel over your head, get to business…”
KAREN YATES: Is this… is this a fantasy, Matthew? It's… it’s sounding like a fantasy.
MATTHEW AMADOR: I… you know what? It's any… my phone number is listed. You may look me up, anybody who's listening to this podcast. [laughter]
But that's what this makes me think of like, hey, if there was any a time to show up with a towel on your head, this is fantastic. Towel on your head at a gloryhole, you're not gonna get anything in your eyes. That's pretty thick fabric, if you have good quality towels. If you have poor quality towels, you're good, you’re covered from head to foot. Let's get it on.
KAREN YATES: Right. And by the way, anyone who is listening who has been to a party recently, I would love to hear how it has gone for you. Were there protocols in place or not? I especially want to hear about if there were protocols in place and how you felt about that. Send a voice memo to us under two minutes or three minutes is fine, if it's really juicy. You can send it to , and we will attempt to air it.
So, let's move on. If… so the document says if you meet your sex partners online,” I'm assuming they mean, you know, Tinder, Grindr, “or make a living having sex, consider taking a break from in person dates. Try video dates, sexting, subscription base fan platforms and sexy, quote, “zoom parties.” Does anyone have any thoughts there?
TAZIMA PARRIS: This is a massive, massive opportunity, you can get really creative. Part of our limitation is access to one another. However, you can create intimacy with these new technologies. And the thing that I would highlight here is: make sure you plan ahead, cause if someone starts like, saying words that are really highly offensive, or you know, traumatizing to you, it's gonna ruin your joy. So I would encourage people to have the conversation prior to like, whatever the next thing is, unless you already know, that's already been established. If it hasn't, this is a new partner, you're just saying, say, you know, hey, these… these words or this kind of play is off limits for me. I like helping people create a “yes, no, maybe” list for themselves. This is an excellent time to use that even though you're not in person. It's... it's an opportunity. “I love this. I hate this. This I may be open to but I'm going to ask for it if that's all right with you. How about you?”
So you... you share what... what's going on for you. And then you invite the other person to say like, what they want. And I would also push back if they say, “well, anything with…” no, let's be specific, because some people will be like, “anything is cool.” And then they’re... then they get offended. And then that that person may have some standards, or they may have them but they're trying to be cool… [laugher] or they feel afraid to offend the person. But again, this is a lifestyle choice. It's a lifestyle way of being in your sexuality and you wanna invite the person, hey, this is what comes with me.
“I like this. I don't like that. If you do this, it will be over. I'm open to possibly doing this. How about you?”
MATTHEW AMADOR: I would say one thing, knowing plenty of people who do professional sex work and people who have tried to… and people who host parties, and people have tried to transition it to more of an online experience. It's just going to be different. It's just going to be different. This podcast is different than the live event. It's just gonna be different. And I think adjusting your expectations, so it's not gonna be the exact same thing… that can go such a long way. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is not gonna be butter. And that's okay. Just go with it knowing that it's gonna be… I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and we'll discover what this is.
KAREN YATES: Mm. Sarah, do you have a thought?
SARAH SLOANE: To add on, in addition to like a love, yes, there may be less, I think that they're, like... there's such a critical piece for people, not only people who are just trying to figure out how to do a negotiation, but also for a pretty easy way of kind of communicating a large amount of information to your partner in one fell swoop, which is great when you're doing online stuff.
The other thing I would add is to think about what gets you off. Like, not what your yes’s and your no’s and your maybe’s are but what is the thing that nourishes you about sex and… and communicate that along with it. Like, I know for me reaction is what does it. And so it's like I… you know, like I don't have to be in the same room with you. But if I can see, hear, smell… whatever... your reaction, then that actually feeds me. It gets me more turned on. So I front load and say like hey, “I… you know, like, if you give me a reaction and you're really into it, I'm gonna be even more into it.” And when you let people know, “hey, this is the thing that's going to get me off,” and they want to be there, they're gonna do it for you. You know, it's like somebody who's less vocal might, you know, like, that might be a difficult kind of a... an online or by phone interaction. But if you, if you tell them like, “Hey, your noises, I want your noises.”
KAREN YATES: That’s great.
SARAH SLOANE: Then it gives them… it gives them that permission to like, “here's the thing that I know that's going to get this person off.” And they can kind of play up… play it off a little bit. And… and, when they say like, “hey, what would really get me off is: fill in the blank,” it gives you that like, “okay, I know what the yes’s no’s and maybe’s are, but this is how to make it juicy.” So we don't often think about communicating what nourishes us about sex, but this is a time in which… do it, because you can't pick up on the cues like you would in an in-person sexual experience. And even if you're doing in person, but you're wearing a mask, like, you're not necessarily going to be able to read your partner's facial expressions. So it's like, find other ways to communicate whether people are getting off or not.
KAREN YATES: I love it. So let's… let’s wrap this up. There are a number of things in this document that they talk about-- kind of yeses and nos, the New York City Health Department's yeses and nos. They discourage kissing and rimming… which if you don’t know what rimming is, it’s mouth on anus.
And I want to get back to… to the kissing thing. Yes to wearing a mask during sex. Yes to condoms and dental dams, safer sex-- they make a great pitch for safe... safer sex in this document too-- yes to sex positions that keep your face away from each other, like doggy style, yes to glory holes, and yes to mutual masturbation at a distance.
This “no kissing thing” you know, I… getting back to the whole dating thing. You know, kissing is always seen as sort of the first movement into building an intimate relationship, and it's... it's interesting to me that kissing is being discouraged. So, I would love for folks to just talk on this, talk on anything that I just brought up in the list. Yeah.
TAZIMA PARRIS: The kissing thing brings up both, like, using saliva as lube. Like, that's a whole other… so, that... people use that as kind of a backup or an… so this might be a time where you decide or discover “what's my favorite lube! I have a couple different ones.” And… and depending on what the situation is gonna be, what's the activity. So we're being asked by this situation, or invited by this situation to get really specific, so it's not just like, “oh, now I'm gonna just lick a little bit and we're gonna keep going.” No, you’ve gotta be more conscious, more mindful of how you're approaching this situation. I love… [laughter] I love, they're like, “make it a little kinKaren Yates.” If you haven't seen this document, please look at it.
MATTHEW AMADOR: Super kinKaren Yates. [laughter]
TAZIMA PARRIS: Oh, good. It's so good. But yeah, be… it’s… we're bringing more mindfulness and more presence to our sexual activity, and I think that's a great thing. Yes, it feels like an inconvenience. Yes, it feels like, oh, you know, it feels a little stilted. But here's an opportunity. How can we make it… and I love what Sloane said about what really gets you off. Regardless of how you're engaging-- whether it is on video or you do make it in person-- bring that up front, have that be part of that conversation, so that as you engage more mindfully, you're not in your head about it. [laughter] It's already been communicated, so you can relax into… into it and not be so scared.
Lastly, about the... this being a lifestyle thing. If you are engaging with someone who you haven't had that conversation with, you're not gonna feel safe... if you feel like they did something that you was, you know, they went off last weekend with their friends and went to a place, and you knew they weren't wearing masks, and you're not going to talk about it because it feels uncomfortable… you're not even gonna be able to enjoy the intimacy that you're having with the person cause that's gonna be on your mind. So, do yourself a favor and communicate this stuff. Make sure that the person is matching your lifestyle so that you can relax into it once you actually do get down to whatever kind of engaged... sexual engagement you're going to be having.
MATTHEW AMADOR: I love that part of this in terms of like, what it's taking away. And from kissing, like taking away the kissing privilege in a relationship. I… it almost makes it sound like dating is gonna be shunted back to like, Victorian times. Like, fully clothed six feet apart, and a wide open pathway. And it's really easy to look back on that now, like, I know if I watch like Sense and Sensibility, I'm like, “come on, come on, just hold hands!” And I'm so focused on... and yeah, I'm making a joke of it now, but I'm so focused on what they're missing, that I'm not actually focused on what they're actually having. And while there can... there should be a time, I think, to say, “okay, you know what, this sucks, this is where I'm at. I'm not going to be doing XYZ, I wish I were, but I'm not.”
Then being able to be mindful about what you're doing in the moment, like what is happening... this happens a lot with sex in general, like we get so consumed with “sex is the act” as opposed to what's happening. Like, where some people get very focused on penetration, for instance, and then have no idea what's happening on… on their scalp, or on like, the side of their leg, or their feet, like random places that they're not just focused on. It's like, if we're more mindful in the moment of dating, even if it's this Victorian style dating… Now I’m thinking of like, masks, like when they have like… like in the plague with the big...
KAREN YATES: The beaKaren Yates thing. The beaKaren Yates mask.
MATTHEW AMADOR: The beaKaren Yates thing! [laughter]
KAREN YATES: Yeah.
MATTHEW AMADOR: The beaKaren Yates thing with the big eyes. Yeah, that's kinKaren Yates. That's actually a good... if you're... for oral sex on one side, you can reach around to the other.
KAREN YATES: I'm seeing a theme, Matthew, with you. I'm seeing like, headcoverings, um… yeah. Interesting.
MATTHEW AMADOR: Go on. Keep going. [laughter]
Plague doctor mask! Thank you, Julia. Thank you.
KAREN YATES: Our associate producer got... came in with a quote, or a chat, yeah, plague doctor mask.
MATTHEW AMADOR: But bring it back to being conscious of what you're actually having, as opposed to focusing on what you're missing. I… not to be all pollyannaish about it. But I really hope that that could be a way to mindfully kind of still inhabit a dating space and realize that it's still valuable.
KAREN YATES: I want to thank all of you, the... and the New York City Health document is in the show notes at wildandsublime.com. Please go have a look. Thank you Tazima Paris, thank you Sara Sloane, and thank you Matthew Amador.
You'll find information about our panelists and a transcript of this episode in the show notes at wildandsublime.com, as well as articles, show pictures and more. Next episode, Part Two: COVID sex and long term relationships. What are you discovering about your partner? What happens if you have kids that are always around? What about that pesKaren Yates libido? And more. Stay tuned.
And the unedited panel recording can be found on our Patreon membership site at the $10 a month level. Help support our message of sex positivity and get cool stuff like sex toy video reviews, live zoom discussions as part of the community experience. The link is in our show notes.
Next, where in the world is Winnetka? Well, it's 45 minutes north of Chicago and comedian-musician Amy Do will tell you more. She appeared at our September 2019 show and this is the recording of that performance.
Oh my god, I have fans now, cool! [applause and laughter]
One last song.
Saw his selfie, swiped right on a Sunday
Made plans to meet up on a Monday,
drove down listening to some Miley, feeling like I was being wiley
I sucked a dick in Winnetka,
the dick of someone in a startup,
or in the Army Navy service
Got in his car and said let’s do this,
I sucked a dick in Winnetka
I built my ego from the ground up,
sure I was a little nervous, but I'm just trying to live my life
And then when the deed was done, I climbed back into my Prius,
hoping that nobody would see this,
this dirty, dirty deed I did
I drove back feelin’ like a woman, like a gal who takes control
but my mama raised me right so I’m goin’ home tonight,
hopin’ nobody knows that I had sucked a dick in Winnetka
now that I think about it why’d I drive so far, just to get out of my car,
then get into his car, then suck his dick, get out his car, and get back into my car in Winnetka
I only come here for the fair like once a year,
but I'm not the only one who comes here in a car
I swear to God, I'm never gonna drive that far again to suck a dick!
I can get dick right where I'm at!
Thank you! My name is Amy Do! [applause]
KAREN YATES: And you can find more information on Amy Do in our show notes. Yes, indeed.
Wild & Sublime is also sponsored in part by our Sublime Supporter, Chicago-based Full Color Life Therapy: therapy for all of you at full colorlifetherapy.com. If you would like to become a Sublime Supporter showcasing you and your business and supporting us at the same time, with plans starting at $250 a month, contact us at .
And to finish us off, my Sermon on the Pubic Mound, which always closes out our live show. This recording was made March 13, 2020, our last live show and I think pretty much that was the last weekend of live shows in Chicago. It was a very weird weekend. It was a very weird experience. We kept sales for the show. There was a lot of social distancing going on. But, the thing that was really remarkable about this show is that the audience was really listening. Everybody at the show that night wanted to be there, and that made it a truly special experience. Enjoy.
KAREN YATES: [applause] These are wild times. And you know, I was gonna be talking about something else, of course, but then... then this all hit. And, in watching everything, you know, I can definitely feel that this is maybe for many people like a moment of constriction, you know, of pulling in and pulling away. But I think it can actually be a moment of expansion, expanding into different ways of doing things, expanding toward one another. And by that I mean compassion. You know, one thing that I'm… I’m very aware of, as I've been kind of juggling things, getting the show together with all of the stuff going on, is that it's so easy to judge why people are doing what they do, because we're all making wildly different decisions. You know, some of us are running to the store and stocking up on toilet paper, and some of us are just like, “It's cool. It’s... I'm not afraid, no big deal. It's a fucking flu.” You know, and it's really easy for these various camps to judge one another. We have seen-- and we're gonna continue to see-- very weird shit happen. [laughter]
Really, we're gonna see really weird shit go down. We've already seen it, and in the weeks, the months to come. And it's a great time, this is gonna be a perfect opportunity to judge one another and to distance ourselves emotionally, not just physically, from each other. And we can't let that happen. We just can't let that happen. We don't know why another person does what they do.
I mean, I think about the intimates… I'm gonna pull it back to sex. I think about the intimates I've had in my life. And every so often, I’ve… I judge them, you know, like, “why did he do that?” Or, you know, “that was weird.” And then I became a somatic sex educator, and I learned about trauma and the effects it has on the body and the nervous system and the brain.
And then I suddenly realized, oh my god, these guys that I was… I was judging, they so clearly were showing like, clear evidence that they had been traumatized at one point or another in their life. And I had been judging them because I… I had been laying my story onto them, I'd been laying my normal on to them, and what an “a-ha” moment about my own fucking judgment that I had around that. Now, I'm not saying that everyone's traumatized. But these are traumatizing times. We are all going through trauma. You know, we talked about tonight… about learning new skills, and that's challenging. It's very challenging.
But the... because the times we're in right now are… are asking us to learn how to evolve our human skills into assuming the best of each other. That's what we're doing right now: we're learning how to assume the best and how to be interconnected, because what happens to one of us... it ripples out and it happens to all of us. And we're learning about ourselves also… we talked about getting to know yourself as an individual. It's what we talk about on the show all the time. You know, when we're with partners, you know, “what's important to me, where am I right now?” These are life things. “What's important? What am I… what am I feeling right now? Do I wanna go to the show? Do I wanna just sit? Do I wanna go for a walk? What’s… what’s going on right now?” Because, all of the crapola all of our life is getting paired away right now. It’s all getting paired away. You know, things are being taken away from us-- opportunities, events, things-- you know, we're just gonna be with ourselves, and what's going to happen, you know, is this an opportunity that I can learn a little bit more about myself? You know, we bump along and we don't give ourselves personally a lot of thought, but we can go deeper right now, have a better relationship with ourselves. I am wishing us all the best in the coming months. I hope to see you in April/May. And stick around for the afterglow for a little bit. I’ll see y'all soon. Bye. [applause]
Thank you for listening to this inaugural episode. If you know someone who is dating currently or “dating,” air quotes, and might like this episode, please send it to them. I'd also like to thank Wild & Sublime associate producer Julia Williams and intern Alice Asch. Theme music by David Ben-Porat. Our media sponsor is Rebellious Magazine: Feminist Media at rebelliousmagazine.com. Follow us on social media @wildandsublime and sign up for our twice monthly blast at wildandsublime.com. And we'd love it if you gave us a great review on your favorite podcast app. Thanks so much.
Want to rev up your relationship and bust out of limiting patterns?
Host Karen Yates is an intimacy coach and somatic sex educator who works with couples online and in person in Chicago to help improve their intimate communication and expand pleasure in a process that can be embodied, meaningful, and fun. Go to karen-yates.com and set up a free Zoom consultation and to download her free guide: Say It Better in Bed! 3 Practival Ways to Improve Intimate Communication.
- INTRO: Show history (01:40)
- PANEL: Getting Laid During COVID, Part 1 (04:18)
- PERFORMANCE: Amy Do musical performance (35:57)
From the Sept 2019 live show
- SERMON ON THE PUBIC MOUND®: COVID and compassion (38:19)
From the March 2020 live show
Keep the vibe going! The Afterglow brings you regular bonus content and goodies! Our newest $10/mo member benefit: 10% off all W&S merch!
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- Safer Sex and COVID-19 (NYC Dept. of Health)
- Tazima Parris: Infinite Relating
- Matthew Amador: Live Oak
- Sarah Sloane
- Amy Do on Instagram
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