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Intimate Interactions

Author: Victor Salmon

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Improve your relationships, get confident asking for what you really want, and have more intimate, satisfying sex! These lessons from non monogamy and consensual kink can improve any relationship and help you connect more with yourself and others. Check out
106 Episodes
How is ADHD a positive? Provided you have strategies and can compensate for thinking differently than others expect, ADHD can actually be quite a positive. Today I talk with Yana Skorstengaard, a graduate student with ADHD, about how she and I have worked with our brains to become academically accomplished. For me, that was achieving two full time science semesters on the Dean’s List (more than an A average); while Yana is taking a graduate degree in a subject she passionately cares about. While academic success isn’t really a measure of life success, achieving one’s goals when one is constantly told they get distracted and won’t achieve or can’t amount to anything, it’s refreshing to have another perspective to remind folks that ADHD can be an advantage and can give you the ability to deep dive and hyperfocus and achieve where more normative thinkers who don’t have ADHD would not be able to maintain the attention as long as an ADHD thinker could. But I’ll let Yana tell you more about that here on Intimate Interactions.
From Gloria’s history in Portland in the 70s to Hogan’s Alley in Vancouver, we talk about anti-Blackness and how it has shaped the world we live in. Gloria once joined a cult, and she opens up about this experience today. Despite everything different about the cult, spoilers: it was also racist and prohibited miscegenation or interracial relationships. I really appreciate my friendship with Gloria and the way we can laugh about things that are just horrific. It helps me get through it and hopefully she feels the same. Somehow despite the ickiness and gravity of the things she brings up, her light and funny personality always seems to find a way to shine through it all. This session was pulled out of a longer recording so it may end abruptly. Don’t worry, Gloria will be back in a couple of weeks to finish out the conversation.
Billie, an EDS (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome) veteran of ten years with other conditions like POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) talks about her chronic illnesses and the challenges she’s had having her pain or condition taken seriously. Content warning: this might get graphic. Billie brings a refreshing and positive perspective around not diminishing your experience or comparing yourself to people harder hit by life or circumstance. I’m excited to share that perspective with you here on Intimate Interactions. What are some examples of chronic illness making it hard to access healthcare? What strategies have you used to work with doctors or be more successful? What are some hidden services you didn’t know Canada offered free?
Today I talk with someone else who has a formal diagnosis for ADHD. Mine was as a child and hers was as an adult. We chat about the experience of having ADHD and how it impacts us. While today we focus on the experience of it, there’s an upcoming session where we talk about strategies and coping.
Shame Expert Gloria Jackson-Nefertiti calls in to talk about her life as a black femme with undiagnosed autistism growing up. Gloria somehow continues to be her usual charming self sharing very personal anecdotes about anti-blackness as it affected her in school and as a younger person.
Today, two POC folks discuss monogamy, polyamory, autonomy, and agency. Jet Noir shares a story of his parents’ and how they dealt with extramarital adventures. I discuss relationship anarchy and how it relates to Jet’s identity within non monogamy. Enjoy! What flavour of polyamory do you identify with? How did you get into polyamory? (Story about my parents and their DADT brand of non-monogamy.) What sorts of monogamy hangups did you unlearn? Could you fill in folks on what the relationship escalator is? What realizations or values did you arrive at that helped process through that? How has polyamory changed your relationship to yourself? How has polyamory affected communication in your relationships?
Jet Noir is back to talk about racial fetishization. We talk about dating, conventions, and other stuff in how it relates to race. As a former fitness coach, Jet has some experience as, what he calls, a body image coach. We talk a bit about tea to ease into the conversation as well as how we met before diving into the topic. I mention “Love is Not Colorblind,” a book written by Kevin Patterson about non-monogamy as experienced by a person of colour. That book is useful in my opinion for any folks wanting to see more representation by people of colour in their currently mostly white space. Let’s hear from Jet himself on Intimate Interactions.
Happy two days after Canada day or the day before the 4th of July. Former British North America week? Ugh colonialism is gross. While everyone is talking about the concept of being free from restrictions, I’m interviewing veteran podcasters about their flagship projects that produce free short fiction for me and for you. From the horror stories of Pseudopod to the science fiction of Escape Pod to fantasy stories of Podcastle - there’s an Escape Artists’ podcast for that. Check them out at Today, the inimitable SB Divya, Mur Lafferty, and Alasdair Stuart chat about what they’re passionate about in podcasting, how they got into podcasting, and how they’ve built community. SB Divya Former engineer specializing in machine learning with an education in computational neuroscience and signal processing Writer New Book: Contingency Plans for the Apocalypse and Other Possible Situations (2019) Mur Lafferty Many accolades including winning two parsec awards in the same year in 2008, won the 2018 Best Fancast Hugo Award for Ditch Diggers Writer Alasdair Stuart Co-owns Escape Artist Podcasts Writer (as seen in the Guardian, Sci Fi Now, How it Works, The Fortean Times, Neo, SFX, Bleeding Cool) Escape Artists ( Podcastle, The Fantasy Fiction Podcast Pseudopod, The Sound of Horror Escape Pod, The Original Science Fiction Podcast 576 - Karma among the Cloud Kings Cast of Wonders, The Young Adult Speculative Fiction Podcast Support them at Check out Escape Pod: I mention: 697 - The Last Stellar Death Metal Opera I also really liked: 701/700, 692/691, 672, 661, 660, 636, 633/632, 624, 619, 617, 613, 1) What themes in science fiction excite or fill you with passion? 2) Why did you decide to get involved hosting Escape Pod? 3) How has podcasting built meaningful relationships for you among other show contributors? 4) How has Escape Pod built community for itself over the years? 5) I've noticed since 2014, Escape Pod has become significantly more representative of women, people of colour, and queerness in story choice. Was this a conscious choice and how did it happen? 6) Have you ever felt exposed or surprised by information the community had about you that you published years ago?
There’s a fascinating distinction between the way we see ourselves and the way others see us. Those might be the same. Those might be radically different. For public facing folks like Jet Noir or even myself, it might be intentional that we show part of who we are to make art, construct a performance, or for a host of other reasons or pressures. I love events like burlesque and related but quite different events like drag. They often have something valuable to say about sex, sexuality, and identity. What that is differs by performer, act, and the audience experiencing it. I encourage you to experience both burlesque and drag for different reasons, but what they both have in common is you will possibly learn a lot about other people if you don’t also learn something about yourself. Jet Noir is a Black, cis-gender, non-monogamous, pansexual burlesque performer and sex educator from the Bay Area. This was recorded on April 12th, on day 27 of self isolation for him during the Covid-19 crisis. How did you first get into burlesque? Why is burlesque important to you? What function do you think burlesque serves in society? How does your identity as a burlesque performer relate to dating? How is your dating life impacted by your identity? What are “sexpectations” as you use the word? How do you manage expectations others have of who you are in relationships?
Today we talk about scripts around what words like community mean. We talk about housing and how we’ve been taught to “live together” either in couples or with roommates. How does that look for folks off script like triads? We’ll talk about relationship orientation, the traditional white-picket fence Canadian dream, gender and its impact on scripts, queerness and its impact on scripts, and we’ll even chat a bit about environmental sustainability. Really, we aren’t having happy, loving relationships with more than two people for the sake of the planet, but hey - it’s a legit benefit! Now let’s chat about triads here on Intimate Interactions. Do you identify as non monogamous? Can you explain what a triad is? Did you practice polyfidelity, a sort of closed triad or did you practice non exclusivity and more of an open triad? How did your triad decide to practice that and what sorts of conversations were had around that? Did anyone ever object to that style of triad? What are the pros of being in a triad for you? What are the cons of being in a triad for you? Do you think you’d try another triad if you had the opportunity in future and why?
Long distance relationships like any kind of relationship are diverse, varied, and complicated. Jazz Goldman discusses the benefits, challenges, and milestones of long distance relationships while reflecting on our comet partnership, one flavour of long distance relationship. We have had some struggles that felt intense to me and some successes that felt like big wins. Your mileage may vary, but we can only speak from our experiences. Here’s Jazz and myself talking about our comet partnership on Intimate Interactions. 1. What are comet partners? 2. How do you distinguish between comet partners and other non monogamous long distance relationships? 3. What regular maintenance do you think is helpful for you in long distance relationships? 4. Are holidays significant for you in long  distance relationships? 5. What feeds you about long distance relationships? 6. What are some milestones of long distance relationships?
There are places in the world right now where you can’t even say the words coronavirus. This episode I catch up with my friend Morgan while we’re both doing self isolation as directed by government policy. While we don’t live in a place that enforces lockdown, we’re both responsible enough to know if the government says it’s dangerous for us to be out and about, we’ll do our very best to self isolate for the full 14 days. We’re also fortunate that we both have roommates who are understanding. Mine helped me out with some shopping! Part of being low FODMAP for me is the tremendous difficulty of finding food that won’t make me sick though usually plain meat is okay. I had just recently bought a chest freezer from Craigslist and after a particularly good sale on eye-of-round beef at a local grocery store, I had more than 28 days of protein making meals significantly easier for me though they were plain and similar. Most recommendations: pasta, tomato sauce - had to be very specific forms. Rice pasta makes me sick, and any garlic in anything makes me sick so most prepared pasta sauces are out. Wheat makes me sick so most cereals are out. Corn I can have in limited quantity so some cereals are tolerable in small amounts. Yeah. So basically I ate eggs for breakfast every morning, small amounts of cereal or oatmeal in the afternoon, and beef for dinner for fourteen straight days. Remember, barbecue sauce and ketchup are out of the picture because I can’t eat much fructose without getting sick. Plain beef. Spelt pasta with olive oil and white vinegar was an option though. Right - back to Morgan the extrovert who’s one day ahead of me in isolation. Actually I’ll just let Morgan tell you about their situation here on Intimate Interactions.
Getting a throat infection or cold sores are often seen as something that most people experience at some point in their lives. However when those infections are lower down, say on someone’s genitals, there’s a tremendous amount of added stigma that seems to come out of nowhere. Whether you get cold sores on the lips on your face or on your genitals, they’re still just cold sores. A bacterial infection in your throat that is easily treatable with antibiotics isn’t really different from a bacterial infection on your arm or genitals that is also treatable with antibiotics, so why all the stigma? Today we’re talking with Charisma, a former addict and genital cold sore person about the concept of catching stigma. The real fear for me in contracting any STI is really catching stigma rather than the infection itself. I know which ones are easily treatable like most Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphillis infections. In fact, those infections only really do damage if they go undetected and untreated so get checked! They may cause pelvic inflammatory disease as well as serious long term permanent consequences if untreated. What’s stopping you getting tested? Is it stigma? Consider that you might have contracted them from someone asymptomatic. For some diseases, most infections are without symptoms. For others, many infections are without symptoms. If you’ve never been tested, if you can, go get a read-out that says you’re all negative - unless you’ve literally never had sex. I also know which ones have vaccines like HPV, the treatment for which is a nearly painless cooling of the skin over the infected areas, stimulating your immune system to naturally take care of the infection itself. The process takes less than two weeks although you may be infectious to others before you see infected areas, during infection of course, and afterwards. Like HSV - that’s herpes simplex or cold sores - any viral infection can be transmitted when you’re asymptomatic. Even HIV has a treatment these days. What used to be a death sentence is only a real danger if you use a condom and have sex with someone without telling them where you can be convicted in court - thanks to stigma - of crimes like attempted murder - though I should mention these crappy outdated laws are finally being overturned in courts. The point being the most harmful part of STIs in my opinion are the long term effects and the stigma itself. Stigma also gets in the way of testing, diagnosis, and treatment. So go get tested and get educated about what’s really at stake. Be safe. Try not to get sick. If someone gets sick, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to; you can always say no; however be as supportive as you’d be if they had gotten sick in a non genital way. Just my two cents. Now, let’s hear from Charisma.
Tillie is back to chat with us about kink, edge play, when we discovered we were first interested in those things, queerness, gender dysphoria, and self-acceptance. How has power exchange changes for us as we’ve gotten older? Let’s get to the session and hear Tillie’s perspective. Do you do edge play? What is it? What edge do you play on? When did you first discover you were interested? How has your relationship to queerness changed as you’ve gotten older? When did you first know you were kinky? How has your relationship to power exchange changed as you’ve gotten older? What thrills you about it if anything? What are three primary kinks for you and what needs does each meet?
Chronic conditions are rarely easy. It’s a seemingly permanent change to your quality of life and the habits and behaviours you can have for the rest of your experience on this planet. Sometimes, the conditions are long term and treatable, but other times there’s nothing you can do. Today, we’re talking with Charisma, a former addict and HSV positive person about her anxiety and depression. We talk about social acceptance but will dig into stigma in another episode. However depression and anxiety can be chronic conditions. I’m excited to chat more about mental health with an old friend with whom I haven’t caught up in years.
Okay this session with Tillie is much more content rich than the last one I recorded while experiencing intestinal distress. We chat about power exchange and how it informs self-domming or executive function as it’s more academically described. How do you plan or organize for having reduced function? We note that managing self care can be exhausting but list strategies for dealing with chronic conditions and talk about how we reduce the emotional labour behind self care. We share strategies like touch and somatic movement as a way to manage and distract from pain. Tillie offers a model of expensive versus cheap feelings. We briefly touch on ring theory, and I talk about my fear of trying to hold down a job. We also talk about processing the loss of connection or loss of experiences that can come up when chronic conditions or our bodies demand we miss out on something or someone. About half way through we take a break to check in with friends and then come back to finish our conversation about boot blacking - our initial topic. An anonymous friend consenting to podcast with us joins us to chat about ADHD, and connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Tillie and friend share their origin stories. I say goodbye afterwards and do a brief summary. Enjoy!
We talk briefly about consent and art. In and among these conversations, we somehow get on the topic of consent in bestiality - consider this your content warning that that’s in here. We also talk very briefly about a warehouse fire in California where some people died. So content warning for that. And with those in mind, let’s go to the session with Sophia here on Intimate Interactions. We talk briefly about consent and art. In and among these conversations, we somehow get on the topic of consent in bestiality - consider this your content warning that that’s in here. We also talk very briefly about a warehouse fire in California where some people died. So content warning for that. And with those in mind, let’s go to the session with Sophia here on Intimate Interactions. How much do you think about challenging social norms in your selection process at SEAF and at the PEF gallery for the art you choose? Do you find the selection process for SEAF challenges your opinions more or that your opinions challenge the pieces more? What was your last experience with art that felt dangerous or that challenged you? How does consent work with art that squicks you out, and how do you manage art in a public space that might provoke negative emotions or responses?
At WCB this year, I had some pretty severe chronic pain. I get periodic intestinal issues leading to severe headaches and sometimes nausea. I’ve had the same gastro enterologist for almost two years now and nothing we’ve tried has helped except hydrating more and eating low FODMAP which have helped a little. When I’m in distress, a little goes a long way. The difference between an 8 out of 10 and an 8.5 out of 10 is significant in my emotional exhaustion. This session, I chat with Tillie about self-care and our chronic conditions. I’m pretty sick for most of the episode so if you find it’s not content rich enough for you, I understand. What this episode does in my opinion is open an intimate window into what my experience of the world is like. If you don’t have chronic pain or illness, this might give you a look into what one specific kind might look like - very different from other kinds. About 20 minutes in, I get interrupted to go do my volunteering duties. I take some medication and then get right back to it. To be honest, the podcasting was a helpful distraction from my condition.
My friend Sapphire is back to chat about the thinning of the veil tonight on Samhain or as you might know the night, if you’re not pagan, Hallowe’en. Some of you might be celebrating All Saints Evening, the evening before All Saints Day, especially if you’re Catholic. Some, especially in certain parts of Europe, take All Saints Day seriously enough to go to the graves of their loved ones and pray for their departed dead to help get them from purgatory into heaven. Some of you, especially in Latin America and the United States, are getting ready to connect with your departed relatives over the next couple of days on Dia de Muertos. Or maybe this is just another day in the two weeks before Diwali, this year on November 14th. Keep in mind Indians don’t follow the Gregorian calendar, meaning the holiday falls on different days each year. Last year it was October 27th, and the year before, November 7th. Or perhaps you’re celebrating one of many other traditions. If I missed you, write in and let me know. I’ll happily give you a shout out on a future episode. I also want to shout out Islamic Emperor Muhammad bin Tughlaq - apologies for my pronunciation - who ruled from his court in Delhi, India from 1324 to 1351 for being the first muslim emperor to celebrate a Hindu festival in his court. One of the reasons the Mushals made up a quarter of the world’s GDP at their height, eclipsing even the superpower of the age, the Ming dynasty was their inclusion of many different cultural groups in their empire. India is a bit of a buffet of varied cultural traditions and uniting most of it could not have been easy. I hope we can learn from their example and encourage those around us to be tolerant, especially as we approach a divisive and polarizing election season. Speaking of collections of diverse cultures and traditions - for many of us secular folks like myself, Hallowe’en is just that. In Vancouver, Canada or the stolen unceeded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Wautulth peoples, it barely resembles to me, traditional All Saints Eve even though it is technically the same holiday originally. This modern version of Hallowe’en with Trick or Treating, horror movies, Autumn harvest feasting be it Samwain or a day early for All Saints’ Day’s feast - it is what many modern holidays are: an excuse to curl up warm after dinner and share some laughs with those who matter most to you. The pandemic has made so many things harder for so many of us, especially those who are currently unpartnered. I encourage you to reach out and connect with groups online. There are plenty of folks on discord or reddit or many other places, who are just as desperate for a warm human voice to talk to. If you are really struggling and can afford it, consider joining some kind of distraction as a service provider like World of Warcraft or if you don’t have any money, something like Heroes of the Storm or Modern Warfare or any number of other free gaming communities online. There are *tons*. We’re also approaching the darkest months of the year, and I’m extremely grateful to have found the mental health medication that works for me. Do you need to check in with your GP about starting into a medication? Or maybe you need to google what kind of sliding scale counselling is most readily available where you live? Don’t forget to do those things if they sound like they might be right for you. I can’t stress enough how important planning is in dealing with seasonal depression, something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I started trying medications in the summer. I do counselling every couple of weeks. I am working through workbooks on mental health and healthy communication. I’m also not saying any of those are right for you... ...
Sophia invites me to her hot tub for a skinny dip and podcasting about kink, BDSM, consent, consensual nonconsent (though Sophia doesn’t like that term), switching, bisexuality, pansexuality, hierarchical nonmonogamy, and many others. It’s sure to be an intimate session. We talk about the origins of the Safe, Sane, Consensual or SSC paradigm. The origins are credited to Slave David Stein whose name eludes me in the recording. Feel free to google it if you’re interested in knowing more. The director of Pan Eros Foundation in Seattle, Sophia is one of those bad asses that in my opinion has dedicated her life and efforts to making meaningful change in culture. Pan Eros supports the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Consent Academy, and an erotic art gallery in downtown seattle. The hot tub was low so we had to add a lot of water and were worried it would be quite cold because the night was cold and in traditional Pacific North West fashion, it had been raining. The first thing I do on getting into the hot tub is lose my footing and almost submerge myself (and the recorder). Note: I erroneously say 3 V of power when I recognize voltage isn’t power. The maximum capacity of those batteries is 1.2 Ah meaning the power varies by amperage draw. After reading some sites online, one said a short circuited AAA battery typically maxes out around 4.5 Amps which means less than 15 watts of power, so my point stands but my needs for security, accuracy, and correctness decided to spend your time explaining this. Thanks for your patience. Also, no recorders were harmed in the making of this podcast.
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