As you might guess, the legal protection for non-traditional relationships and non-nuclear families is insanely slow to progress. That’s why people like Diana Adams are so important. They dedicate themselves to fight for the rights of folks that may live outside your view. Diane founded her own law firm that’s focused on same-sex couples, non-nuclear relationships and families. She is very, passionately dedicated to helping form healthy, stable families no matter the love construct. Whether that’s co-parenting, polyamorous families, different same sex configurations— there’s all kinds of ways that love and families come together. In this episode, you’ll hear her talk about some very poignant and personal examples.
When you boil it down, all of us want super intimate relationships. But how do we get there? Especially with our loved ones? There’s not much out there to model from. Hard to learn from your parents. It’s not like there’s a class in school on how to have intimate relationships or even what to look for. Really, there’s not any kind of guidance. We’re all grasping at straws, feeling our way without much of a map.
And when you live in our culture, there’s some pretty strict rules about what relationships look like. We’re either watching movies like Love Actually, where a guy shows up holding poster-board that says “to me, you’re perfect” or we’re watching hardcore porn of people’s junk. When it comes to intimacy, there’s two types of trained professionals that people pay to get help: Either you’re droning on to a shrink about your problems or you might have some specific sexualized fantasies that you need to exercise. For that, you might turn to a Dominatrix.
It’s a fact that god created the universe, reality is in three dimensions, India is a developing country, you need to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, that when you meet the right person it will be true love, and if you eat fat you’re going to get fat. These are indisputable facts. There’s no place for opinion, or feelings in any of this, right? If you opened your brain and added up all the time you’ve spent fact-gathering, how much time do you think that would add up to? How much of what’s in your head are anecdotes that you repeat and how much are simply true? Even if they’re not, who’s got time to figure out what the truth is, where to start, and how to see it?
Certainly, Science is true. That’s the bedrock of our culture. It’s always been true and it always will be true. That is, until you look to the past and realize it’s a modern invention not at all shared around the world. It blows up the closer and closer we get to it. That’s not anti-science sentiment just that we do need to take a closer look at ourselves, our minds and how we perceive reality. The closer we look, the more we realize there’s some pretty big gaps.
Love is life’s biggest virus of the mind. We live and die for it. Make major decisions because of it. And completely don’t understand it. “It’s complicated” is an understatement. We’re handed a script about what love really means and should be from the time we’re children. Our fairytales are pretty clear: you’ll meet someone and be swept off your feet, have babies and live happily ever after. But by the time you’re in y our 30s if this hasn’t happened for you, people think you’re misdirected or in the closet. Then by your 40s, the jury is out and clearly something’s wrong with you. Even if you did get married, where the hell are the kids? Let’s face it, we’re all following the same recipe for love— even if it doesn’t fit.
If you’re like me you might ask, where has imagination gone? We seem to have forgotten that muscle. How to even tap what’s really inside us. It’s sort of amazing when you think about it, we’re born into a world where there are tuning forks on any topic that pump out a story about what that topic should be— how we should think, feel, and behave when it comes to marriage, love, money, work, religion— or really any topic.
So we find ourselves trying to adjust our harmony to those other tuning forks. We’re reacting to them. We’re trying to make them happy. We’re trying to satisfy all of the demands that those containers and shapes are asking us to conform to.
It’s almost impossible to get in tune with reality. There’s a lot of guests on this show that have talked about how fake everything we’ve created really is and certainly that is true when it comes to one of the most fundamental topics: our sexuality. How we encounter and express intimacy— physically, emotionally, spiritually, and cosmically— with someone else. How we share it and what it should look like.
I don’t know about you when I was growing up, I had a super-skewed perspective on what business and working was all about because everywhere I looked were articles about entrepreneurs raising tons of money or celebrities in the business world reinventing everything. Or it was my parents that pushed specific occupations— be a doctor, a lawyer, get to work and sit in an office— but that’s a super limited and incredibly unrealistic view of the working world. The options that you’re exposed to are just so limited. So many of us end up finding a safe place professionally, pretty early and staying there because it’s safe.
Imagine if you actually had the power of seeing a spectrum of choices in front of you. That power of visibility would be incredible. You’d have the ability to see what other people were doing, what options you were attracted to and various paths you could go. It would totally open the world up to you.
I have a wildly candid conversation about that with this week’s guest, In the Valley Below. Jeff and Angela share deeply personal stories they’ve never shared in any interview before for fear their big label or even fans wouldn’t understand. After a trip to SXSW in Austin, Texas, they fell in love, Angela left her girlfriend and they decided they needed to write music together. The band started as a studio project, and as you’ll hear, nearly walked away from music. Then, after a crazy turn of events, they made their television debut on The Late Show With David Letterman and have since appeared on Conan and tons of music festivals. LA Weekly listed their debut album among the 10 Best Albums of 2014 and The Huffington Post named “Peaches,” the song you just heard, the #5 song of that same year.
All of us can relate to covering up something in our lives. For many of us, that can end up being a huge part of who we really are. We can find ourselves living as outsiders pretending to be something we’re not whether that’s at work, with our friends or in our relationships. These lies can literally destroy our life. “Coming out” isn’t something sequestered to the LGBT community. Coming out means bravely uncovering who you really are and it’s a practice that we can all learn from. In this case, Morgana did it in front of millions of people. In front of co-workers. In front of absolutely everyone she knows. And she did it more than once. When you listen to her story you realize just how much keeping secrets can hurt and just how powerfully becoming outwardly authentic can be.
Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever wondering what sex therapy was or who it’s for but after my conversation with somatic sex therapist, Elizabeth McGrath, I realized I could have saved a million sessions with my therapist and a lot of time and money if I just would have started with someone like her. Sure, there’s plenty of other non-sexually related issues you can chat with your Counsellor about like facing mortality, how your parents were total assholes, and your fear of meat but at least for me, most of my issues have had to do sex and relationships. If I would have spent time unraveling those, I would have known so much more of myself, so much faster and that would have leaf blown a million mental boxing matches. Just have a listen to this conversation with Elizabeth McGrath and you’ll see what we mean. We cover a massive range topics and really helpful advice that will, no doubt, lead you to the same conclusion I had: Sex-therapy is the new must have.
You may not know it, but loneliness is hard-wired to kill us. Long ago, sticking with our tribe meant staying happy and safe so it’s no wonder that loneliness and rejection developed into hard-wiring to try to force us back into the group in the event we left, got lost or were ejected. Today, there’s a loneliness epidemic thanks to enormous separation in our cubes, cars, and culture— horrifically accelerated by the last decade of “social” technology. Look on any playground, streetscape or living room and we’re all staring down at our hands. In this episode Dr. Winch doesn’t just point at the problem, he offers valuable solutions so hopefully, if you’re one of the nearly 50% of Americans suffering deep loneliness, his advice will help you escape its horrible and life-threatening grip.