Kate Sloan

The Art Of Surrender with Author Kate Sloan

You may have heard of this week’s guest from her two podcasts, blog, or books. Kate Sloan is a writer and podcaster specializing in sex, kink, and relationships. We talk about her books ‘101 Kinky Things Even You Can Do‘ and ‘200 Words to Help You Talk About Sexuality & Gender,’ the latter of which was recently released.  Plus, we do a round robbin covering her two podcasts (The Dildorks and Question Box), sex-ed, and the perks of the daddy-little girl dynamic. Kate and I also chat about the fine art of surrendering to pain, as well as, pain as a tool for healing. If you’ve ever wanted to know the ins and outs of being a sex columnist, this episode is for you.

Show Notes

Welcome back to Lita balloon podcast. This is your host Charna caselle. And today I have an awesome guest with me, Kate Sloane, who’s a writer and podcaster specializing in sex, kink and relationships. And she’s the author of two different books, a recent one 200 words to help you talk about sexuality and gender. And previously 101 kinky things even you can do. Welcome Kate love. Life is about to start the trauma extension is a great honor to size.

Thank you for having me.

Yeah. Thank you. I’m excited to hear about your process of writing these books. And what specifically inspired you to like what you hope to get from writing this most recent book? 200 words?

Sure. So I did the book 101, kinky things even you can do with a publisher called Lawrence king who are based in the UK. And they had originally reached out to me and basically said, we want to do a sex book. We’ve never done a sex book before. But we don’t really know what we want that to be. And like, Do you have any ideas basically. And I pitched them a number of ideas over the phone. And none of them were quite right. And kind of just in the moment improvisationally I was like, Oh, what about like 101, kinks and fetishes, because like I’m very interested in especially like unusual things like clown fetish, sneezing, fetish, that kind of thing. And at first, that was the idea that we were going to run with. And then we ended up deciding to do something that was more sort of generally applicable something stuff that even you could do, as in even somebody who’s like, never really thought or booking before or never done any of it. So it’s a beautifully illustrated introduction to literally 101 Different kink acts, and three ways that you can try each of them and there’s like safety info and tried to make it a really great introductory book. But then, after that was all wrapped up. The same publisher was like, We want you to do a book about sexuality and gender, because they have this series called 200 words to help you talk about which is like definitions of words from like subject matter experts on like psychology or art, various things like that. And I was like, that seems really stressful trying to define 100 words that like are pretty hard to define. But I was like, I’m willing to take a crack at it. Now it’s out. It is beautiful. I’m very happy with how it came up.

Yeah. It’s, it’s I already I’m like, you know, I have young folks in my life, that I feel like this would be a really helpful book for them and their families. And so I was thinking automatically when I opened this book, like, I wonder Who is the intended audience, I mean, there’s so many different audiences and people that could benefit from a book like this. And I was curious, besides the fact that they already had like, prescribe 200 Dot, dot dot, it’s like, who were you thinking of when you wrote the book, I was thinking of people who really

want to be better and more informed about these issues, but don’t really know where to start or just want sort of a an approachable and friendly place to start from with learning about these issues. Because I think that there’s a lot of ignorance out there. And some of it is, you know, malignant ignorance, like people being bigoted and, and, you know, transphobic, homophobic, etc. But some of it is just ignorance out of, you know, just literally not knowing, right, it is possible to, like really hurt people’s feelings and say, totally the wrong thing, or misgendering people or what have you, if you don’t have like, a basic understanding of these issues. So I know that a lot of people are looking to understand them better. And so I did, like 100 Sexuality words and 100 Gender words. And there’s like a little bit of overlap between the two. But mostly they’re, they’re sort of separate concepts. I just really wanted it to be something that somebody could pick up and learn something from or like, give to somebody in their life, maybe like while coming out to a parent or a partner, just to help them understand it a little bit better.

I could totally see it being useful in that way. Right? Because I think that there are a lot of people out of out of habit or ignorance. And you know, when when when a child comes out in a different way, that they’re just just habitually perceiving and conceiving of someone in a particular way, that it could be really helpful. I came out when I was in high school, and you know, my mom, she’s in her 70s in Florida. And so she’s one of the youngest ones in this condo complex. And you know, and she, she’s always like, I’m so grateful for what I know, I’m one of the only people that knows different, you know, these terminologies. And then, you know, and then yeah, she bonds with, I think she has one other older woman who’s like a snowbird, from New York. Who has who’s like hip to the, to the queer lexicon.

Yeah. New Yorkers tend to be, I think, more ahead of the game in that area than a lot of other folks.

Sure. Yeah. I’m really also curious, the other book, your kink book, right? So it’s like a beginning, a one on one type book? Are you working on the next one, the one that like really lights you up and that you’re excited? You’ll cloud fetishes,

etc. Not at the moment, I don’t really know if there’s like that much of a market for that. I would like to do that eventually. But kind of my big dream in terms of literary things I’d like to write is, I’ve always wanted to do a history of the magic wand vibrator, known as the Hitachi magic wand. And now it’s been taken over by a different distributor. And it just has a really fascinating history as far as like, it became really famous as a vibrator in the masturbation workshops taught by Betty Dodson in like, the 70s ish. And, you know, it’s in so much porn, especially a lot of queer porn, and it’s become this really interesting cultural icon. I think it’s like probably one of the most famous sex toys in the world. And that was actually one of the ideas I had originally pitched to the publisher. And they were like, Yeah, I don’t think that that’s quite right for us. But I was like, maybe someday I’ll find somebody who will let me write that.

I used to work at Good Vibrations. Oh, cool. Yeah. So what about other I mean, have you approached other publishers? Good. had its own public? I don’t know, at this point. It’s been, like 20 years since I worked out.

But yeah, I’m honestly so busy with all the other stuff I’m doing that I kind of want to like, because each of these books I had to write in a three month period, which is like a really short time to write a book. So it’s insane. Yeah, I probably want to take some time off writing a book for a while, but I would like to get back to it eventually.

Well, you’re I want to I want the listeners to know how diversified your talents are. I mean, so you’re, you’re a writer, that you’re you’re a writer of books, you have a blog, you’re a songwriter. Right? So your relationship to language is very intimate. And then you have two podcasts. Yes. Right. Yeah. Where a lot of hats. That way. I know. I’m like, so when do you sleep?

Rarely, and poorly. It’s a little, it’s honestly a little tough because I have fibromyalgia. So I’m like kind of tired and achy, like all the time. But I think that it helps a lot to have a career that, at the best of times is something that like fills me up rather than draining me. And especially the music stuff, like this year, I set myself a challenge where I’m trying to write and record one song per week, because I was recognizing that, like, I’m putting all this energy into my work writing. I’m not doing any fun writing, which sounds weird, but like, I just love writing so much. And I wanted to do more fun writing. And so yeah, it’s been really cool to see how those things all kind of feed into each other.

That’s fantastic. No, and I and I totally, I totally get it people like what do you do for fun? I’m like, right?

Yeah. What do you what do you like to write for fun?

Well, right now, as as you know a little bit about I am falling for someone who lights my whole body up just thinking about his eyebrows. Seriously, it’s absurd, like a washroom chop celery. And I’m like, I’m so turned on right now. I get all like, absurd. Yeah, I’m like getting flushed and starting to sweat as we talk about it. And my old editor and I had kind of joked but seriously talked about writing romance novels, like for educated kind of like, you know, feminist romance novels. So sassy, smart, sexy books, writing some of just documenting this creative, long distance relationship and how to navigate that. I pause from doing this because the podcast I mean, I seriously have no idea how you’re managing to do all these things at once because I was writing a book, then start writing articles started the podcast, and then I did a house remodel and that kind of put a stop on everything. Yeah, besides researching doorknobs, so I’m curious more about the singing. Sure, and the writing. And, you know, when you sing your there’s vibration moving through your body and thinking about like what that boat As for you, and if there’s something in particular, because you could just write it as poetry, but instead you’re choosing to sing. Right. And so is there anything you want to say about that?

Yeah, it’s an interesting question.

I think that

a lot of people might assume that the same skills would translate, you know, I’ve been a professional writer doing like journalism type stuff for, like about a decade. But it’s really not the same thing at all for me, because my songwriting process is much more led by the music and much more sort of, like, sit there playing chords, and just sort of improvise overtop of that. And through improvising, like sometimes I will stumble upon a lyric where I go, Oh, that’s good. I can make something of that. And so I’ll have like a rhythm. And then at that point, I can kind of go more into my writer brain and sit down and go, What rhymes makes sense with this or whatever. But I It all starts with improvising. And it feels very much like channeling something to me, which is really strange. I was doing a weird exercise this week, because I was feeling really uninspired for my song this week. And I started like, recording some chords and some drum beats and was looping them. And then I was singing over top of it, just kind of like whatever was coming into my head. And at one point, I was thinking about this, this recent news about the Supreme Court and the losing our reproductive rights. And I started singing. Have you seen the news today? They’re trying to take our rights away. And as soon as I said that, I was like, yeah, there it is. I started writing the rest of that. And it’s a song called bodily autonomy. But it’s really wild. It’s not at all like sitting down and writing an article where I’ll go, here’s the topic I want to tackle. And here’s the points I want to make. It’s like, I have to sort of like listen to the universe, which sounds really woowoo but like, that is what it feels like.

Well, it’s you know, when you go into alpha brainwave states, right, that’s, that’s the creative zone. That’s also the meditative zone. But it’s, you know, it’s you’re accessing a different space. Yet my, my friend, Amy, who has sometimes co hosted this podcast, she’s a musician, and she has channeled most of her songs, doing medicine journeys, like a different song downloads every, every time. She’s a whole. It’s just like two albums. from doing that. That’s pretty awesome. So I’m, I’m, of course here in California, where we do Whoo, well, yeah.

Yeah. It’s interesting that you mentioned about kind of like the flow state headspace because like, that’s definitely something that I’m interested in, like, also from like, a kink perspective, because there’s like all this research about how like sort of sub space or top space that people go into during BDSM scenes is very similar neurologically to the flow state, or like an athlete being in the zone, or an artist or musician being in the zone. And as soon as I started reading that research, I was like, this makes so much sense to me. Like it really does feel like a similar Yes, state of like, everything feels natural and easy. And you’re kind of in this like floaty headspace where stuff just feels good. And I just always feel really refreshed afterward. Like as if I just woke up from a nap or something. It’s really great.

Well, it’s also when I think about that I think of being fully in the present moment. Because so often, we’re neurotic, and we’re worrying and we’re thinking about the past, and we’re thinking about the future. And when you have something like it could be pain that you’re fully immersed in, in the present moment, or chord, or, you know, whatever it is, right? It’s like there is so much refreshment is not, but there is refreshments, a nice glass of iced tea in the present moment. And that we crave that we so it’s so rare that we get to spend that time fully there.

Yeah, I have found kink really helpful in dealing with mental health struggles for this reason, like, it’s definitely you know, they say in the kink community kink is therapeutic. But it’s not therapy, which I think is important to mention. But, you know, there’s been times when I’m just so stuck in my own, you know, repetitive thoughts that are just so mean to myself, or just full of anxiety or whatever. And there’s very few things that can kind of snap me out of that faster than a partner who really knows me really well, giving me a spanking or pouring wax on me or whatever it might be. Because exactly like you said, like, I’m sort of really pulled into the present moment. Can’t really think about anything else, because all I’m really doing is trying to get through the next five seconds or whatever.

They’re one of the things I enjoyed that I listened to on your website, and correct me if I say this incorrectly, but you did a journalism project and it was a sound based project and you interviewed people about kink and using it as a healing tool.

Yeah, that was my final year final project in journalism school. It’s definitely not my best work. I didn’t know anything about audio production at that time. But it was really cool that they let me do that because I got to interview I think like about 12k serves in my local community about? Yeah, like how they view kink is restorative and uplifting. I got to talk to people from, you know, the dominant side of the spectrum and the more submissive side and people who do both. And yeah, it was just a really interesting time,

there was a clip, and I didn’t know if it didn’t if it was you, or if it was somebody interviewed. And they said, giving up control to a partner made me feel ultimately more in control of my life. And it was it was having me think about how out of control people have felt during quarantine and COVID. And all the uncertainty and wondering, you know, that there’s all these really unfortunate, tense situations that are on the uprise, whether it’s like eating disorders among kids, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. But then also wondered if there were things because people are wanting to gain more sense of control, if there’s been more increase in certain things like kink play, or in using that as tools. I don’t know if there be any way to, to measure that. But I’m curious what your thoughts are.

Yeah, I haven’t seen any

studies to that effect, I don’t think but it does seem to me that a lot of the people I know, well, a lot of people are having kind of one or one of two reactions in terms of their kink life to all this stress, which is either they lean way into it, like you’re saying, or they lean way out of it, they’re like, everything is too painful, already, like, I don’t want to bother with like trying to do more things that are painful or hard, which I get. But I definitely have found that being submissive is a great source of power for me, and helps me gain more trust in myself and helps me feel like my decisions are the right decisions, which is something that I really struggle with. Like when I was working on these books, my spouse, who is my dominant, like, took a really a really significant role in the process of helping me write the book by like, assigning me certain chapters on certain days, so that I didn’t have to decide. And they would read over to me, at the end of the day, everything that I’d written that day, and we would talk about it. And then at the end of the week, if I completed all my chapters for the week, they would like sent me a meal as a reward. So it was just this really great like rhythm that we got into that, like, I find it hard to imagine how I could have written the books without that kind of guidance. So that’s,

I mean, that sounds really sweet, like not only supportive, external structure, but that there was this very, you know, gentle discipline, and holding that that provided you and then reward. It’s like, that’s, that’s, that’s great. I love that you had that. Yeah, that’s such a great example. These people, I think of stereotypes about what what that looks like, and they don’t necessarily get the like topping from the bottom up, or, or just how tender and caring that dynamic could be. Yeah,

I think there’s a lot of media models of dominance and submission, that position it adds like a very punitive or disciplinary, dynamic, even kind of angry or aggressive. And it took me a long time to realize that I was, in fact kinky, because in part, those images didn’t really resonate with me, like, I was always drawn to a more nurturing style of dominance. My entire life, I had crushes on professors and authority figures who like took a special interest in me, because I would really respond to that energy kind of like romantically and sexually, and to be able to finally realize that that was something I could have in my relationships in this like, consensual, controlled, communicated way. It was, like really magical and transformative for me.

That’s beautiful. And your partner, did you say, spouse, your spouse? Yes. So is your spouse, a professor? Is your spouse in that kind of was? Was your spouse in that kind of role with you? Is that how you met or that it’s something else,

we actually met on Twitter, but they are effectively like one of the CEOs of a software development company. So they are like, very comfortable with leadership roles, both personally and professionally. And they can be really magic sometimes when kinky people meet each other and fall into a particular dynamic really easily. Like I find it really interesting, especially with people who are switches, which like both me and my partner have like, done some switching. And it was just so obvious, I think, to both of us that I was like, feeling very submissive toward them, and they were feeling very dominant and sort of protective toward me. And it grew very naturally, very organically. I haven’t really had that very many times in my life. I usually had to specifically ask to be dominated if if I wanted that. And yeah, it’s just really cool to be with somebody who like, gets me in that way. And I also see that there are things about their personality that get to be the get an outlet through this as well. We’re like If you didn’t know that kink, and consensual kink was like an avenue available to you, maybe controlling tendencies might come out and other areas in your life that are not so healthy. And so it’s great for people to have an

outlet for that. Yeah, I love that. Because it’s, you know, like any kind of shadow, right? If you don’t, if it’s not conscious, or if you deny it or push it away, it can come out sideways. So you both identified as kink and had maybe not the perfect fits with previous partners. But there is a way that you just plugged into one another. And a really great way is that,

yeah, we have like a daddy DOM little girl dynamic, which is kind of like one of my biggest kinks where like, I call them daddy. And they call me little one. And it’s just a sort of like, I think a lot of people assume that we’re doing like a literal parental thing. And it isn’t like that. It’s just, you know, it’s an authority figure type of person who like takes care of me. And I had, I had one daddy DOM before my current partner, but he was like, not very nice to me. And then he kind of like abruptly broke up with me. And it was really actually interesting to notice how much more traumatic that was for me than any other breakup, I’d been through because I was in this vulnerable place, psychologically with this person, right. And so I was really hesitant to get into that kind of dynamic again, with somebody else after that. But then I met my current partner, and they just like, totally understood the seriousness of that responsibility. And so it felt much safer.

When I think of responsibility, I also think of accountability, and I considered accountability, my spirituality, like, it’s very important to me to recognize how my spirit impacts other people and how I allow their spirits to impact me, it’s, it’s just really lovely, when somebody can acknowledge that, that you’re, like, you’re opening your body to see one of the most vulnerable states when they can, you know, just acknowledge, like, oh, not take it on, like responsibility, like a burden, you know, like something that they’re, like, resentful about, but instead that they’re that they feel honored. Yeah, do that’s lovely.

Yeah, totally. I’ve been in relationships in the past, where I did have the sense that, like, if I asked somebody to be dominant with me that it was like, you know, they viewed it as an inconvenience or kind of a hassle. And I don’t know, I do think that there is a place for relationships between, like, I do think that you can agree to do something kinky with a partner, because they’re into it, and not necessarily be into it yourself. And I think that can work. But for me, this particular type of dynamic, like really seems to function better if both people in it are like, you know, inherently wanting it and gaining pleasure from it.

Yeah, definitely, I think across the board, whether it’s you’re in an open relationship, or whatever it is, if you’re doing something solely to please another person, it doesn’t always work. It’s a bit of a setup. Right? You’re transparent about, about your mental health, and about bipolar and social anxiety and fibromyalgia. And so thinking about how the intersection between like sex and relationship and chronic health conditions, how that just how that shows up in the work that you do in your creative work in your writing. Yeah, I

think that, especially since my fibro has gotten worse, I’ve become much more aware of wanting to talk about types of sex, that don’t necessarily require a lot of movement, or a lot of strength, or a lot of endurance, or even to be physically in the same room with a partner. Like, I think that, weirdly, being in a long distance relationship has sometimes been better for me on this friend, because something like phone sex requires much less energy of me than having sex in person a lot of the time, depending on you know, what kind of sex you’re having, or whatever. But for the most part, I think that’s true. And so I really enjoy writing about sex as a thing that is as much if not more, so psychological, as physical, and also writing about, like ways to adapt the things that you’re doing to work with your body, because they did a lot of King stirs in particular, like, especially people who are like sadomasochists, like, have a lot of like guilt and shame if they can’t, like push themselves as much as they want to. And I just think that’s total bullshit. I think that kink is also like, largely about your psychology. And I think that being able to endure like a 45 minute whipping does not make you like a better kingster than if you have to say for it after two minutes, then I think that the more important thing is like are you having a good time or the person or people you’re with having a good time? Do you feel like you’ve got out of it what you wanted to, and if not, like how can we make accommodations for that, for example, I wanted to do a trampling scene with my partner I wanted to be walked on and stepped on which like, psychologically to me, it was really hot. But, you know, physically I was like out it’s just a lot. It’s very intense it Yeah, it’s one of the things I noticed that was like more intense than I even expected was like when they would step on my, my upper back, my chest was compressed a little bit. So it can actually really and all the way which is like scary in a different ways like breath play, which is like a hot for me too. But I realized that like, I can adapt this act, I don’t have to do it the way that other people are doing. And so sometimes we would do it in a way where like, my partner is like sitting in a chair, and they’ll like walk their feet over me while I’m laying on the floor. So it’s like, much less weight is being put on me. And I still kind of have that feeling where like, we’ll do things like, I’ll be there footstool, and they’re sitting there as if I’m literally a footstool, and they’ll like read a book or something. And it’s just sort of like I try to look at what is the actual feeling that I’m trying to capture here. And what’s another way I can do that, that won’t make my body hurt too much.

What I love about that is so you know, first I think makes me think of harm reduction. And and titration. Right, so in somatic work when you’re working with something and you just it’s like, how about you feel just a little bit like 10% of that? Yeah. And then there’s, you know, these studies about, if you visualize something, the same parts of your brain light up as if you’re actually doing it. And so as even if you’re on the phone, and you’re, you know, they’re speaking to you as if and narrating how their feet feel on your body. And yeah, you know, and then you’re describing the sensations in your body back, right? And then it amplifies everything as you describe it. Right. So that’s just I love the creativity in an adaptation. It’s like if you go to a yoga class, and there’s only one way you’re supposed to do it, versus I don’t trust that teacher, unless there’s like three options, you know, for different bodies. It’s like, okay, come on, we can all do the same thing.

Yeah, and another like, useful thing that I have in my sort of toolbox with my partner is like, one of their main fetishes is erotic hypnosis, which has like a lot of very interesting applications, including, like, being able to make me feel things that if I tried to actually do them in real life, they would hurt too much, or I physically wouldn’t be able to do it. So that’s pretty neat.

That’s a totally that is it is fun. I dated somebody who isn’t that. Oh, cool. That’s awesome. Do you have? Do you have any particular stories that you want to share about that? So

like, because I work with my brain all day, sometimes it just, you know, feels sort of fried at the end of the day, and I just want to shut it off, which is why I’ll watch you know, stupid Netflix stating reality shows or whatever. But my partner and I devised a scene one time, that was like an erotic hypnosis scene around like intelligence play, or like bimbo edification. So like they they put me in trance over a video call. And I had laid out all this makeup for my collection on the desk in front of me, and they put a trigger in my head or a suggestion in my head that was like, as you do your makeup, every piece of makeup that you put on, you’re gonna get a little dumber, you’re gonna like so your intelligence is going to like, drain away. And so I was like talking on one video. While I was like doing my makeup, like doing every single step. And I remember that when I got to the eyeliner, I was like doing the, the wing shape. And they were like, Oh, what are you doing there? And I was like, I’m drawing triangles. And it was, it was really cute. It was like very strange, because I felt myself losing my adult vocabulary like it right. I was just thinking, thinking more simply to, and at the end of the scene, when when we like to finish my face of makeup. And I was like, as dumb as I was gonna, then we like, had phone sex. And it was great because I I like having sex in a space of like, feeling kind of helpless. And then they you know, at the end of the scene after we were done, they like, put me back into trance and like undid the suggestion. So I would go back to my normal self. So you could write your articles. Write? Like 200 words, like up with two? Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s great. It’s like, it’s so refreshing to not have to be an adult anymore sometimes and to have like a container where I can safely do that.

Well, and, and also for a very intelligent person to sometimes get a break from over identifying with that intelligence. Right? Yeah. And being like, oh, you know, I know for me in high school, I did not feel safe being seen as sexy or attractive. And I felt like it erased my intelligence. Right? And so I would really dysregulate me and freak me out if someone said something about that to me, right. versus grow, you know, evolving and feeling safe enough in the world that I can hold. I can be all of it. Right. But yeah, I can really appreciate that goddess sometimes. So nice to be taken care of and not have to do it all and yeah, be so sharp. Yep. Totally. Yeah. And as

you know, in terms of dealing with the fibromyalgia, I’m sorry to hear that, that it’s more intense right now. And have you found are there things that you can do. And I’m wondering if you’re, if your spouse has played with you, or worked with you around hypnosis and reduction in some of the pain is that something that you’ve explored at all, a little bit, they like to stay away from doing things that that a hypnotherapist might do, because it’s just sort of like you’re getting into territory that maybe is a little risky. Yeah. And in my experience, the Hypno King community, like has really strong ethics and consent values around stuff like that. But I have noticed sometimes that if we’re playing with the trigger, where I’m meant to feel more sensitive, like more sexually sensitive and feel more pleasure that sometimes my body just sort of interprets that as like turning up the volume and all the sensations in my body, which, you know, turns with the volume and the pain as well. So sometimes they’ll, you know, specify, and even maybe help me visualize like a dial turning down and turn on the volume of the pain and turn up the volume on the pleasure. And it’s really amazing what the mind can do. Because, you know, in a really deep trance, I can do that pretty easily. And the pain doesn’t really go away. It’s just like, it doesn’t bother me as much as just sort of feels farther away for long enough that I can enjoy sex. And then the other thing is that I usually smoke weed before I have sex because I don’t want to be in pain. And you know, that helps with that.

That does it gives you a temporary break. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, no, that dial that’s I use that with my clients. I’m a trauma therapist, and in working with whether it’s, you know, increasing feelings of resilience, of strength of, of, you know, confidence, pride, whatever it is, and simply turning an imaginary knob can absolutely shift physical states and emotional states in your body. Yeah, what are some other things if anything that you found that had helped you,

then in coping,

I mean, sadomasochism usually helps a lot, because there’s the endorphins flowing. And because I’m focusing on pain, that is not the pain that bothers me day in and day out. And also because it’s just really disempowering to be subjected to non consensual pain all the time. So it could feel empowering to get to choose when I feel particular types of pain and who was giving them to me and like how strongly and for how long? And, yeah, that’s been really helpful. And also kind of reminds me that pain is just like a strong sensation. Like, I think that when I’m able to view it, that way, I have an easier time with it. It’s kind of Buddhist, almost where it’s like, okay, I’m just gonna, you know, let that thought pass. I’m just gonna acknowledge, yes, I’m in pain, but that’s just a feeling in my body. Yep. And a lot of the like pain coping skills that I’ve learned through BDSM are helpful to me as well in coping with chronic pain, mainly, just the knowledge that this too shall pass. Like, that’s always what I’m thinking of during a really intense SM scene is like, just get through the next five seconds or, you know, breathe and count or just find some way to get through the worst of it, because it always passes.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve, I’ve dealt with a lot of chronic pain and health issues in my life as well. And one of the things that has worked remarkably well is is going directly into the center. And in my experience, what happens when I go directly into the center rather than like, you brace against it or turn away from it, it can intensify something is it feels like everything gets pixelated, and then everything becomes energy. And then it’s it dissipates and starts to become something else. Not always, but at times, right? That can be a transformative, meditative moment. And, you know, everything that you’re saying I think is right is is relevant for its whether it’s emotional or physical pain, remembering the impermanence of it. And it’s but it’s hard when it is daily chronic pain, it doesn’t feel like it’s impermanent, right? Yeah. And it’s like, but the quality of it can kind of shift and it might hurt more in one way or another. Yeah. And it gives me a greater appreciation

for the times when I am really absorbed in something or really enjoying something that I’m doing. And I’m just not thinking about the pain for a while, like, I think I appreciate those times more than I did previously. And I also sort of like, look for more opportunities to do that kind of stuff. Stuff that I find very absorbing and interesting and uplifting because yeah, I need a break from the pain. Mm hmm.

Do you remember? Did you ever see the movie patch? Adams? Yes. Love it. Right. Well, so when I was 2121, I was taking the leave of from school, from college, and my roommate, and I decided we were going to do a documentary about Patch Adams. So this is before the movie came out, we found out about him in a book of oddities, and flew to New to West Virginia to meet him. And his whole thing that can his book, he has a book called Gesundheit. And in that book, it he talks about, and it’s really a shift from a paradigm of pain to a paradigm of joy. So for me, I consider it my first somatic experience of understanding the power of the mind. And there is this scene in the book where the guy who wrote the book about him who had rheumatoid arthritis, they were standing and looking at the sun setting and patch was asking him, he’s like, so what do you have in your life that feels good? And he’s like, Well, not much. And he’s like, what are some things? You know, he named some things he’s like, he’s like dancing sex. And, you know, sudden, the sudden the sunset in this moment, right? And he’s like, Okay, do more of that. You know, not that’s that was his prescription. Because he’s like, he was basically saying, I feel pain all the time. He’s like, Well, what about in this moment? And he was like, Well, yeah, no, not so much in this moment. He was like, we’ll do more of this encouraging the pleasure. You know, I call it like, micro pleasures. And dosing yourself in those ways. Yeah,

I love great food. I love lying in my comfy bed. I love wearing fancy lipsticks and clothes, like this saw great stuff. And like, also, it’s like, very sensual stuff for those times when sex is hard for me, because I’m so tense or stressed out or in pain, but I still want to have some way of connecting with a partner or with myself on like, essential level.

I think that’s so important, right? Because it can be, you know, I could imagine you’re like, I wrote these books about sex, or, you know, sexuality, and, and there could be this pressure to be like, have the most dynamic, you know, hanging from the ceilings, sex life, and you go, actually, there’s a total there’s this, you know, continuum. And there’s subtlety and nuance. And I get to be really creative. The other thing about pain, I find that pain is a way to ask me to be in my body. Right? Whether it’s chronic pain or chosen pain, you know, where it’s going, this may have been a body during childhood that was hard to be in. And dissociation was the best route. And then it’s, it’s a path to re embodiment, that can be a path to re embodiment, even though it’s really uncomfortable. Yeah,

I’m going through trauma therapy at the moment. And my therapist also like has kind of like a somatic focus. And it’s really wild to like, notice, for the first time, how tense stuff I have been against the world all these many years, because of that, it’s like, when you just haven’t been aware of it, it’s such a big change to notice it and to sort of start moving towards not doing that anymore.

Right. Right. Well, yeah, there’s a habitual shape that gets created, like and what I what I just saw you do, I’ll let the listeners know, it’s like, you know, look like held breath and the chest, shoulders up, eyebrows up kind of bracing in this way. And we can’t see ourselves. You know, I years ago, I had a client came in who was a nurse. And she had that almost like a permanent like, look on her face. Yeah. And then she was a peds nurse. And she couldn’t figure out why the parents had a hard time trusting like, there was this whole thing. It was fascinating, right? It’s like, oh, how do we start to see ourselves feel ourselves and also realize the impact that how we’re shaped impacts other people? How are you? How are you doing right now?

In terms of trauma,

and in terms of in terms of energy level, I know you’ve been working all day and writing I just wanted to check in.

I’m okay, I’m having like, a weird pain flare up in my leg that’s been driving me nuts because I’m like, just sitting at my desk. job where I’m writing five articles a week and it’s just like, God, it’s a lot but it Like you said, it’s an invitation to notice my body because when I’m, you know, hunched over a computer for eight hours, it’s like, I’m very much in my brain. I’m having to think about all this stuff. And then if the at the end of the day I noticed my leg is hurting, I’m like, Okay, that’s a sign from my body that maybe I shouldn’t work so hard. Maybe I should have taken a walk at lunch, taking a break, something like that.

And even in this moment, not having to necessarily sit exactly how you’re sitting, like if you need to stretch or move your leg or, you know, you can totally, we can also press pause, and you can do that. So there’s no need to force yourself.

Yeah, I’m alright I do. I do two podcasts and guest on a lot of shows. I’m used to like sitting in one place for an hour. Sometimes I’ll smoke weed before a podcast because I am a little more loosey goosey. But I did not do that in this case, because I was like, I don’t know you. I don’t want to be weird around.

You are more than welcome to be weird around me. And I totally understand if I had done that. I’d be like, no, no, I don’t I don’t have anything to talk about. Don’t look at me. Yeah. So I’m curious how you would define sexual freedom? What is sexual? What is sexual freedom for you?

I think it’s the freedom to have the sex life that you want to have, whether that’s like swinging from the ceiling, like you said, or something more subdued or no sex at all, for, you know, some asexual folks. I think that, like you were saying, like, I have felt a lot of pressure in my life, especially doing what I do to have like, a really interesting out there sex life. And there have been times when that to me seemed like the greatest expression of sexual freedom was to be, you know, fucking lots of different people and lots of different places. And I still, you know, I’m still quite a kinky person, I own a lot of sex toys, and use a lot of like weird, weird toys and objects in my sex life. But I just don’t feel as much pressure to constantly be talking about, like, how great and varied my sex life is. And I feel like that sense of like, comfort is sexual

freedom. Right. So what I hear inside of that is also less performance and pressure to diversify and more acceptance more presence with what is and allowing that and working with what it is.

Yeah, I think what I’ve learned from kind of going through a study phase in my early 20s, which is a phrase I use, you know, lovingly, a non stigmatizing Lee is a, I was looking for something that I thought I could find by sleeping with a lot of different people. And I think what I learned is I actually prefer to have some degree of variety within like a smaller number of relationships. Like, I like to have that level of trust with someone where we can have like, you know, sort of standard vanilla sex sometimes. And we can also do trampling or wax play, or electro stimulation or hypnosis, when we want to do that kind of stuff. And I just think that it has helped me do these things so much more deeply. Because when it’s with a new person, or somebody I haven’t been with before, I’m just so much more focused on like, how are they perceiving the situation? Am I doing a good enough job? Do they even like me? Are they gonna call me back after the fifth time? I just get so in my head about that stuff. And it’s, for me much better to be with someone who I don’t have to worry that way about.

Yeah, well, this piece about, you know, safety, and trust and respect, and how much that can deepen the connection and the ability to surrender. And a lot of what you play with is surrender. I. So that makes a lot of sense to me.

Yep. Surrender is very hard. But I think kink is like one of the places where I’ve gotten the most practice in doing that and learned a lot about like the joys of doing that.

So you also have two podcasts, right? Yes. And you have your blog, which I want to let people know there’s if you do want to read vibrator reviews, there’s some really great detailed vibrator reviews and things like that. And detailed questions answered about everything from the external piece but to the spot. So is the person you do the podcast with your spouse? Or is that a friend? No. How did that come about?

The two podcasts ID or the deal dorks and question box. Question Box is a game show podcast of shockingly personal questions. I don’t hiatus right now, but there is a backlog of a couple of seasons. And that I do with my friend Brent, who is known as Brento floss on the internet. He does like videos same music and is a musical theater composer. And we met also on Twitter a few years back, and just like bonded over having a very similar sense of humor, very similar love of musical theater and interest in sex and a bunch of other nerdy stuff that we like to talk about. But the other practice I do, which is more sex focused is the Delta Works. And I’ve been doing that for almost six years now. And I started that with my best friend. I started that with my best friend backs, who is also like a sex educator, sex writer type person, but now he’s sort of pivoted to doing more porn stuff. And we met at a retreat for sex bloggers in 2015. And like a bunch of sex bloggers, who I didn’t know except for through Twitter, like we all gathered at this beach house in Oregon, and had a great time. And then, BEX, and I also went to a sex conference together a few months later, and we ended up like having a threesome with this guy who we both thought was cute at the, at the conference. And that kind of just like bonded us, like our friendship was cemented. And some point after that, I was talking on Twitter about how I wanted to start a podcast because I used to do podcasts when I was like a kid. And then, like, ended that and always kind of wanted to get back to it. And Beck’s was like, hey, like, I’ve wanted to do a sex podcast, too. Like we should talk. So we have been doing it for like quite a long time. There’s like almost 300 episodes. Wow. Yeah, we talk about kind of like more basic things like online dating or sexting or oral sex. Now, we also get into much more sort of like 201301 type topics, like various different kinks and polyamory and we have great guests. Sometimes it’s just a really wide ranging show, always interesting discussions, and Ibex is very, very funny, like, yeah, I added the show, and every week when I edit it, I’m just like laughing at that how he phrases things. I just think he’s he’s really smart. It’s really nice to be doing a podcast with someone who I respect so much.

To wordsmiths. Yeah, that’s super fun. Yeah. You have a sweet, funny, dynamic. Thank you, right. Yeah. Yeah. And I’m wondering, is there anything else that that you want to share? If there’s any resources that you have regarding how people can reach you and find out more about you? You want to share that too?

Yeah, sure. My main kind of hub on the internet is Kate sloan.com. That’s KTSLOAN that has links to my blog and my podcasts, my music, my articles. The blog is at girlie juice.net that has like over 300 Secretary reviews on it like you were saying, the podcasts you can find them wherever you get your podcasts there, the delta x and question box and books. You can get them wherever you get your books. The titles are super long, but I will say they are 200 words. So if you talk about sexuality and gender, and 101 kinky things even you can do. I don’t know why they made the title so long. But

that’s so funny. Well, people love the numbers, right? That’s one thing. Yeah. But instead of it being eight, it’s 200. Yeah. Yeah, I

keep having to say it on on podcasts I’m guessing on lately, and I’m just like, This is too many syllables.

It’s so funny. I interviewed Annie sprinkle. And her title. She was like, I can’t even she doesn’t even remember the name of her own book by long to anything with a colon. Right? Yeah. If you get a liberal arts degree, you really like colons like me, as long as titles that don’t fit on your website. Yeah. Yeah, I really enjoyed talking with you. Yeah, me too. Thanks for having me. Thank you. How Kate approaches her physical and emotional challenges really demonstrates the creativity she’s infused the rest of her life with. Well, having labels and language that specifically describes our experiences can be validating. It’s also important to remember that we are ever evolving beings and these labels may change over time, and wishing you all clarity, flexibility and self acceptance. I want to share an exercise with you that came out of one of my clients sessions this week. In the process of developing new capacity, it usually takes repetitions of a new practice, or a new filter experience to override trauma neural pathways and generate new ones. If you meditate regularly, a slowness and capacity to observe and hold your internal state with more ease often emerges over time. The same can be said for mindful masturbation practices. One caveat is if there is a history of trauma that has you dissociate. We want to go slowly enough that we are both cultivating presence and not reinforcing more anxiety

or leaving your body.

Many people come to me to work on healing trauma, feeling safe in their bodies and re engaging their sexuality that they need to take the scenic route, slow route to expand their sexual self expression. Some things to consider if you’re already in a pleasure practice as well as in starting one. Number one. First identify where am i right now? How much can I feel and be with without getting overwhelmed and shutting down and shame number to start with your ability to be with sensation. Any sensation pleasurable as well as overwhelming before you move to sexual sensation, and picture a slider and you can move that slider from enjoyable to sensual to sexual to intensely cosmic and connected. Where are you at currently? You can answer this broadly as an where does it tend to be on average? And where is it at this moment. There’s no right or wrong or normal here. Moments a moment or states change. If the younger less safe part is more present than your capacity to be with sexual turn on often decreases. But for some people who identify as asexual, sexual turn on is irrelevant. And they can still work on feeling more enjoyment in their own skin precursors to accessing more turned on or things that open your system versus shut it down. non sexual things like all wonder, curiosity and play all do this. If you feel connected to yourself and feel safe with anyone else who’s present, you’re more likely to be able to open and enjoy your sensations. If you’re in some form of pleasure building practice, how does it impact your nervous system? Are you avoiding doing the practice because you feel anxious and overwhelmed emotionally? Do you get spaced out and feel disconnected while doing it? You may need to reframe it as a feeling good in my body practice. essential practice versus thinking of it as relating to sex, specifically dial it back. So it feels more doable. My client is working with their relationship to desire and being able to be with it without the channel it moves through clamping down an internal tightening that responds to old inherited beliefs that evoke shame thoughts, like something’s wrong with me, and ask yourself now, where am I making myself wrong with what I do? What I want, what I need, or what I feel. Remember, Curiosity is the antidote to fear, judgment and disgust. What is your intention behind this practice? What kind of body mind heart and life are you building and why? Finding a positive leverage point, such as what you really want helps motivate you to maintain the practice and remember why we were doing something that is uncomfortable in the moment. Okay, so this is practice part one. Choose an intriguing or beautiful object you’re curious about something that catches your eye in your room or on a walk that you can spend five to 10 minutes with. You don’t have to be able to pick it up. But your eyes will have to do all the work versus getting to use your fingers to explore it as well. What do you feel in your body? How is your breath as you roll it over? In your hand? What is tight or soft inside here?

Where is there more or less breath? Can you identify an emotion you can take as long as you need to to play with this

part to get this feels good. Imagine a knob on an old school stereo system that you can use and this knob will turn up the volume on this positive or neutral sensation. You can practice turning this up and down creating the ability to choose how loud you want it to be or how good do you want it to feel. Putting your attention on anything amplifies it, meaning this sensation or emotion can increase in pleasurable and painful ways. Part three, if you’ve turned the volume up to 11 have had experiences feeling safety, pleasure and connection and want to increase the sensation even more. We can move to a sensual or sexual memory practice. But this may be where some of you want to stop. Recall a moment where you were really turned on. You felt connected and safe alone or with another person. Have the scene come alive through your senses. What you smell? The scent of the ocean, their shampoo, pine needles. What do you hear their breaths. A song you love birds or the wind? If there’s a lot of bass and the song you’re listening to can you feel it in your pelvis and chess? What is Sparky pulsing, throbbing with warmth and feels open your body? It might be your ankles, your heart, your groin? Are there ways that your body wants to move in response to this sensation? Are there any images that come through? Does it feel like your body is a champagne bottle filled with tingly bubbles or your heart and Pussy is so warm and open? That will shoot rays of heat like the sun. If you’re starting an embodied pleasure practice consider this. There can be parts of our erotic life that do not align with our values. They turn us on despite how we want the world outside the bedroom to operate. Some of this gets touched on in the episode where I interviewed Janelle de Tolly. You can also read the book the erotic mind by Jack Morin to learn more about your own core Radek theme. Simply put, when we have a highly disappointing or painful event or in childhood or adulthood, we may unconsciously be compelled to repeatedly find ourselves in similar situations as an adult. This can be called a reenactment or Freud coined the term repetition compulsion, it can become a compulsive pattern that is motivated by an unconscious desire to redo the past circumstances, this time with a more favorable outcome. This time we are loved, we are wanted, we are empowered. This time the pain is chosen. For one, it’s a rape fantasy. For another, it’s an attraction to unavailable men after being raised by one hand. When done consciously this can be healing. Many take the ability to be with their own desires for granted. One of the many things that dating a firefighter was relocated daily to the next fire station has caused me to do is to be grateful for this moment of connection with myself and with him. So really, anything in your life you can take on as a practice, you can decide what am I practicing? And how do I keep that in my mind as I approach washing dishes, or dealing with the pain in the ass person at a gas station. This has been laid open podcast with your host Charna Zell, please join us again next week. If this show feels beneficial, we’d love if you please rate and review it and share it with your friends so others can find us. If you have additional questions around sex and trauma, you can submit them at Charna caselle.com. Follow me at laid open podcast on Instagram and Facebook and read more about my work at passionate life dot work. Until next time, love and more love. May this podcast connect you to new resources and empower you to heal yourself

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email

Subscribe to
The LaidOPEN

Don’t forget to rate and review the podcast! Not sure how to leave a review? Check out this tutorial!

Podcast episodes

Come Join the Mailing List.

Receive news, updates and exclusive promotions when you sign up.

© 2022 By Charna Cassell, LMFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. MFC 51238.

Design by Faridunia