In which Amp & I discuss the flavors of non-monogamy

Jun 13, 2018

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Dr. Liz: What can non-monogamy look like in different kink and leather dynamics? I’m Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych and joining me today is –

Amp: Amp. Hi. I’m from Watts the Safeword on YouTube. I’m a kinky individual who’s non-monogamous.

Dr. Liz: Absolutely. So Amp was really kind of inviting me over to come and speak with him for his channel and I wanted to talk with you about non-monogamy.

So you’re involved in the kink and leather world. What does non-monogamy look like for you?

Amp: Sure. So I’ve had plenty of monogamous relationships in my life, some that were not really successful because of jealousy and cheating and some that were really successful because there was lots of communication. But it didn’t work out at the end.

Currently, I’m in a polyamorous relationship where I have one primary partner that I am pretty exclusive with. But they have other partners within this family that we’ve created who are all leathery in some way and have that kink dynamic to their lifestyle. But we all get along really well and while I don’t have sex with them per se, his other people that he’s with …

Dr. Liz: Sure.

Amp: … it’s a polyamorous relationship that works for us because there’s lots of communication. There’s lots of dynamics that work like a family. There’s lots of support from all areas of the – or all people in that family. It’s fun. It works.

Dr. Liz: Awesome. So for those who may not know, when you’re talking about leather or a leather family, what does that mean?

Amp: It’s kind of like a chosen family for those that are queer. You know, how when we get into our later stages in life, we kind of find that group of friends who we turn to every day, we chat with all the time, who we consider family even though we are born of different people.

In leather, and kink specifically, there’s a lot of traditions and kind of a back story to everyone and their kinks and what they’re into. I find that when you’re able to talk to someone about your kinks and what you’re into sexually, that kind of takes you to a new realm of friendship or in this case family where you’re comfortable about talking about everything.

You’re talking about maybe health problems that you have related to sex or you’re talking about very intimate parts of who you are sexually. That just makes you closer in a lot of ways.

Dr. Liz: Sure. So in kink and BDSM, have you found that there are any ways in which having strict rule relationships where there’s like a master-slave dynamic or a daddy-little-girl in my case or like a daddy –

Amp: Puppy.

Dr. Liz: Puppy

Amp: In my case.

Dr. Liz: Or whichever those different assignments. Does that strict DS dynamic impact how non-monogamy functions or what people are available for?

Amp: Oh, absolutely. I think that depends on how you negotiate your non-monogamy. So like when myself who – I’m a puppy. So like I enjoy the animal role play. No actual animals are involved. Actually animals can’t consent. Animal role players are not into actual animals.

Dr. Liz: Right.

Amp: But I am into that dynamic where I pretend to be and I role play with my daddy who is a dominant, very like sexy leather guy, like typical daddy. When we enter that dynamic, we are like – you know, we’re both very sexual people. We both do some like adult performing on the side. So we know that there’s going to be sex outside of our relationship and we’re totally fine with that.

So that definitely affected our non-monogamy because we were open about who we’re sleeping with. We’re open about getting tested and being on preventatives like PrEP, which is pre-exposure prophylaxis for all those trying to have anal sex maybe without condoms, if that’s what you’re into, or just preventing HIV in general.

Dr. Liz: I actually recently read that there’s a recommendation that if you have more than two unique sexual partners in a given month, they recommend that you go on PrEP. Most health insurance covers PrEP. So if you have health insurance, it’s a good thing to look into.

Amp: Well, and with that though, like – because I’ve had PrEP for a few years and I had doctors that were not – they didn’t even know what PrEP was. I went in there and they’re like, “We would love to get you on that PrEP thing. But what – can you explain what that is?”

Dr. Liz: It is kind of new.

Amp: It is.

Dr. Liz: Especially in the States and especially if you’re not a gay man. PrEP is more known by those who are in the gay community or doctors who particularly service that community.

I’ve had a couple of friends who are women or assigned female at birth who went to their doctor and the doctor was like, “But that’s for gay guys.”

Amp: No, not at all.

Dr. Liz: It’s not. It’s for anybody with a body who doesn’t want to get HIV.

Amp: Yeah, and because gay men are not the only ones who are high at risk for HIV. There’s lots of different communities that need that kind of protection if that’s what they’re looking for.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. So I’ve seen in the kink community and in my own experiences that sometimes different DS dynamics will have certain activities or titles that are reserved for a certain partner. So for instance, I have one partner who bought a specific collar that I was only allowed to use with him or I had one partner who, as part of our dynamic, called me “Piglet”. We both agreed that that was a name that I was not going to use with anyone else and that he was not going to use with anyone else. Are there any things like that in your world or how has that played out for you?

Amp: Sure. Well, so I have my collar on here. This is on at all times unless of course I need to like take it off or get it fixed or cleaned or something. That’s something that I wear out of respect for my daddy. I don’t wear anyone else’s collar. Generally, you don’t touch anyone else’s collar without permission or you like ask the top in some cases. But he’s the only one that I call daddy. I’m the only puppy in his relationship statuses. But he has other like animals. He has a pig.

Dr. Liz: OK.

Amp: And he has a “hund,” which is like the German form of a dog. So it’s a little more like – more German lifestyle when it comes to like leather and kink. But absolutely, there’s tons of dynamics out there and like you said, there are piglets. There are pigs. There are daddies and little girls. There are daddies and boys. There are sirs, masters, slaves and every one of those dynamics kind of come to the different – either non-monogamy if that’s what they’re doing sort of dynamics.

For instance, I don’t really sleep with anyone else sexually because my daddy is my primary partner. But he is at his own discretion on how he would like to explore that. He’s totally able to play with other people because we talk about it and there’s not any jealousy there between us. Communication is important in that regard.

Dr. Liz: Well, and I think that brings up a really interesting thing that comes up a lot in non-monogamy is that people think things have to be equal in order for them to feel good, right? That everyone has to have the same number of partners, the same number of dates, the same everything and that’s not necessarily what works best for everyone because it sounds like for you, you’ve got your primary and your daddy and that’s who you spend most of your time with in terms of sexual energy and that kind of interaction. But he has other folks.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: So does that ever feel unequal to you? Does that bring up things like jealousy? How does that sit for you?

Amp: Sure. So I mean – and he – I’m the primary one that’s in the city with him. Our other partners are kind of outside the city or another state. So he does a lot of communication via text or other messaging apps. So sometimes if I ever feel that he’s not being able to pay attention in like certain instances where like we’re at an event together and we’re trying to focus on this thing together, that we’re doing with one another, I can feel that maybe he’s texting too much or he seems distracted, and that can be – that can bring up a little bit of jealousy. But in those instances, I’m able to just say, “Hey, daddy. Can we focus?” and he totally – he’s always receptive to that. He understands that certain instances and certain dynamics are specifically safe for us and should be given a little more priority. Then he will get back to and he lets the other subs know that, you know, oh, I’ve got something going on.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: So he will be back with them. So if there’s ever any jealousy, it’s always just a – let’s stop. Let’s communicate. Let’s recalibrate and move forward.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. Such a great point that communication is key when you have those jealous feelings come up. I’ve noticed in my life that I tend to feel jealous when I feel insecure in a relationship. So if I feel like I don’t know where I stand or I don’t know what they feel about me or where I am in their life, that that’s when I tend to start noticing feelings of jealousy and wobbles come up; whereas if I know like what I mean to them or that I’m important to them or what my place is in their life, I tend to have less of it. Are there any things in particular that trigger those kinds of wobbles for you?

We talk about jealousy and I think jealousy is an interesting word to use because I think people use that as a catchall for a lot of things that aren’t necessarily jealousy and so I refer to the wobbles instead.

So the wobbles are that feeling that I get inside of me where like something is happening. I’m like, “Uh!”

Amp: Oh, OK.

Dr. Liz: And that can be jealousy. It can be insecurity. It can be fear. It can be uncertainty. There are a lot of different components that it could be and for me, what tends to like bring that up or allow other things to start bringing that up is again not feeling secure in my space in that relationship or my space with that person. So what do you notice gives you wobbles?

Amp: I can get wobbles sometimes and I love that word. I think our language is so bad at definitions. The words mean too many things sometimes.

Dr. Liz: Yes.

Amp: So jealousy is awful. Things that give me wobbles. Whenever he’s playing with someone else and I don’t hear from him. Whenever he’s playing with someone else and I’m not getting as much attention as I know he’s giving other people. But the things that I tell myself and I reassure with to kind of battle against the wobbles is that I know he is getting something from his other people that I’m just not into. Like generally when he’s with his pig or his hund, he is doing some heavy impact. He is doing some cigar play. He is doing some really verbal degradation or humiliation with those guys that I’m not really into.

I’m definitely more of like emotionally-connected and I love our kinks that we have and they’re really, really therapeutic for both of us. So the wobbles are generally offset by I know he’s going to come back and his energy and his batteries are going to be recharged for the kind of play that we really enjoy with one another.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. The thing I tell myself a lot that’s kind of similar is I will try to notice like what’s the story I’m telling myself about this and what would be the kindest, the most compassionate story I could tell. So like if he hasn’t texted me back for several hours and I’m like, “Why isn’t he texting me back?” it’s because he’s hanging out with this person and that means he doesn’t like me anymore and she’s prettier than I am, right? Instead, what’s the kindest story? OK. He’s just having a really good time and not paying attention to his phone.

Amp: Or maybe he’s taking care of them and making sure that the after-care in their scene is just – they need the undivided attention.

Dr. Liz: Maybe it has nothing to do with me.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: Right? And I think it’s an important skill in relationships especially in non-monogamy to be able to identify what it is that creates wobbles for you and how you can help adjust to those and counteract those and like communicate about them with your partner.

I think a lot of us, especially coming from a monogamy mindset, have this unspoken expectation that our partners are supposed to be responsible for our happiness and that’s not real.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: I love that you talk so much about communication because I think a lot of monogamous folks or people coming more strictly out of monogamy, there’s the story of the fairytale relationship where they just always know what you want. That’s not true in monogamy but it can be easier to cover for a while.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: Whereas I think in non-monogamy because there are so many more variables, it’s much easier to run into a wall sooner of this person isn’t going to know what I want unless I tell them.

Amp: Sure. I think that I get – like online, whenever I’m talking about non-monogamy, people think that – for some reason, I think monogamous people don’t exist or that they’re not equal or they’re not – like they don’t get to have good relationships. It’s absolutely something that works for tons of people.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: And they are not lesser than non-monogamous people just for this reason or that reason. Everyone gets the same, what they want, and everyone should have a relationship that works for them. There’s nothing wrong with non-monogamy. There’s nothing wrong with monogamy.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. I think that all of us in our culture, because we’re raised in that like monogamy fairytale, learn really shitty tools for relationships and that is true of monogamous folks and people who are non-monogamous. I think – so I did partner dancing for a long time. The first partner dancing I learned was Lindy Hop. When you’re learning swing dancing, they tell you not to dance with the same partner all the time. They need to dance with a lot of different people. The reason being, if you always dance with the same partner, you start learning to cover for each other.

You learn like they aren’t quite reading this right. But I know what they mean. So I’m going to do it. They learn, oh, they don’t quite know how to follow this. But I know what they’re going for. So I can adjust to it. So that when you then go and dance with someone else, you don’t actually know how to do the dance anymore. You’re no longer actually following or actually leading. You’re waiting for the person who has learned how to cover for the ways that you’re having some problems and I think the beauty of – or part of why a lot of non-monogamous folks talk about needing better tools for their relationships is because it’s harder to cover for more people.

The joke I’ve heard is if you don’t go to communication in non-monogamy, all you will do is talk about your relationships. I see that actually happening a lot. There are a lot of people who come into my office as therapy clients who – I ask them when was the last time they had a date where they weren’t processing their relationship and they can’t remember.

Amp: Oh.

Dr. Liz: Right? It’s so sad and it’s not that non-monogamous people have better tools or are more aligned. I think it’s that you hit much more roadblocks if you don’t know how to communicate. You run into more people who don’t cover for things the way that you do. I think everyone needs to learn better tools. Everyone needs to learn to ask for what they want. Everyone needs to learn to say no. We need to learn how to use our words and non-monogamy I think is harder to do, if you can’t do those things.

Amp: Absolutely.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: Especially when we talk about how words have so many meanings. You need to be able to really hone in on what that word means to you or find a better way to talk about it.

Dr. Liz: Right. Words that are really problematic are things like “priority,” right? Like I need you to make me a priority. What does that mean, right? Or people who are asking about like what’s our relationship title. Well, I had a partner once who asked me – they were a non-binary person – if we could be partners. I was like, “Well, I mean I really like you. But what does that mean?”

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: Is there an expectation associated with that? Are we going to be doing anything different once we are partners than we are doing now as sweeties? Like what is transition? Because my heart was like, “Yes! Let’s be partners!”

Amp: But –

Dr. Liz: But like what if that means now that they want to see me like three times a week and I just don’t have that time?

Amp: Sure. I think for – as far as terminology goes, like me and my daddy, we are daddy and puppy. Whenever I try to explain that to someone, they’re like, “Well, what does that mean though?” I was like, “Well, it means whatever we want it to really.” I mean, sure, we’re partners. I mean you could call it boyfriends. But that’s not the terminology we use because I think that what we have and what we do is much deeper than that. Like our connection is more than just boyfriends. But for all intents and purposes, whenever our family is like, “Oh, how is your – boyfriend?” it’s like, “Oh, he’s wonderful. Thank you.” Terminology is so different for everyone in that way.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: And for some reason, whenever you make up a new terminology for your partner, it becomes confusing for people and therefore lesser, as if that makes it any less intimate or emotional or important.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. A lot of folks in the kink scene in general and especially those who have an intersection between kink and non-monogamy, they’re rewriting so many societal scripts about what it means to be in a relationship, about what relationships look like, when a relationship is at a level. You know, there’s a great site that talks about the relationship escalator, that there’s this idea in common culture that you step on the escalator with someone. You keep moving up levels. So you go from like casually dating to seriously dating, seriously dating to exclusive, exclusive to moving in together, moving in together to getting married, getting married to having kids.

You can’t get to any point on that escalator and just stop and just be like, “Actually, we’re really happy in a space where we’re like seriously dating forever.”

Amp: OK.

Dr. Liz: And you also can’t in the escalator model necessarily take a step back very easily. Like you can’t be married to someone and be like, “Actually, I think we just want to be dating.” The relationship escalator tells us that we have to like discard anyone who doesn’t make it to the top with the relationship escalator with us and stay there forever.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: And that you know that someone is the one if you ride the escalator with them forever. So it’s this very circuitous logic and I think the further you move from that narrative, the further you move from that model, the harder it is to explain to other people what you’re doing. Like I will share it will all of you.

So before we started this video, Amp asked me what relationships I’m in. That is a really complicated question for me right now because I don’t know how to simply classify a lot of the things that are happening in my life. So for instance I have a partner who I’ve been seeing for almost five months and he lives in Portland and I currently live in San Francisco. So we see each other when we see each other.

I have a person that I just started dating who I really like a lot and I think things could be great with. But I don’t want to call them a partner yet because we’ve only spent time together and meet space in a like sexual or romantic way once.

There are a lot of people in my life who are lovers, who if I saw them, we were at the same party, we were in the same place, they were coming through town. We would have great sex and really care about each other and love each other and think that they’re wonderful. But we may not talk for months.

There are people who are sexy friends who we’re friends and like sometimes we play together and sometimes we don’t. I don’t know how to classify a lot of the people in my life because they don’t fit neatly into categories. When people ask me like, “How many people are you dating?” what do you count as dating?

Amp: Sure.

Dr. Liz: Because that number could be anything from 1 to 50. I don’t know.

Amp: See, I like how you talk about like the escalator metaphor that people use sometimes. I’m more of like a – I’m a gamer. I’m a nerd. I kind of like, like the dungeon party method where like you’re going to be battling and you’re going to be trying to like build up and level up in these dungeons within like your parties. Like maybe you’re playing a game of some sort or like a D and D and party members come and go.

You go through these different dungeons or maybe kink experiences of life goals and you moving towards like the end of this dungeon. But maybe you’re going into the side rooms and you’re finding new abilities and new skills and maybe there are two party members sometimes and maybe there’s one party member sometimes.

But you’re always just trying to level yourself up, whether it’s with these people or without, with the end goal of just being better. But that’s just my own personal because I really like video games.

Dr. Liz: Yeah. It’s a great metaphor. I love that one. I think another one that I’ve heard that I really appreciated was talking about it like a big, giant camp ground, that some relationships are like camping by the lake.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: And they like to camp by the lake. Some relationships are like being in the cabins. Some like to be on the top of the mountain. It’s not a better or more serious relationship to be on top of the mountain than to be by the lake. But those may mean different things. You may need different things to do that.

Like if you’re up on the top of the mountain, you’re going to need a much more serious sleeping bag. If you’re down by the lake, you’re probably going to want some wet gear. There are different things that you’re going to need in those different areas. But it’s not the one that’s like better or more real than the others.

Amp: Uh-huh.

Dr. Liz: Because I think what I see sometimes, when interfacing with a largely monogamous world, is there’s like, “Who’s your real partner? Who’s the real relationship?” which is about as much sense as like, “Who’s the guy and who’s the girl?” in the gay relationship.

Amp: Yeah. Who’s wearing the dress? Who’s wearing the pants? But no, I do like the camping model as well because like in the campsite, you want to leave the campsite, no matter if you’re going to come back or you’re gone for good. You want to leave it better than you came. You want to clean up and make sure that that person or that campsite has gotten something out of us as well and they are feeling good about it and they’re now – they’re brighter and cleaner and they’re – they’ve learned something as well.

Dr. Liz: Right.

Amp: You’re giving them something because they’ve given you an experience.

Dr. Liz: And if someone is like high maintenance like me and they don’t want to be in a tent for four days, you need to have a cabin available. Like you can’t expect everyone to camp by the lake just because you like camping by the lake.

So in terms of kink and leather and non-monogamy, are there any common problems you’ve seen come up with those?

Amp: Let me think about that for a second. I think that at least in like the gay kink realm, there’s this underlying, unspoken term of like, well, everyone is a little non-monogamous or like people are slutty, whichever – how you like see that term. But that we’re all very like open in a lot of ways.

I think sometimes that that gives people a bad rap in the kink community because they think that we’re somehow sluts. I know that kinksters in general are kind of like, oh well, dark and dirty and you’re living this really, oh, like taboo life. But in a lot of ways, like kinksters and people that are non-monogamous in the kink community know how to communicate really well and we know how to tell someone what we want, what we need, what we’re looking for in a relationship and how long we want to be in a relationship. It’s – maybe not how long, sorry.

Dr. Liz: I mean sometimes you know.

Amp: Sure.

Dr. Liz: Like sometimes you have a clear – you know, I’m only in this area for this many days or I know that I have this space in my life right now. But in two years, I’m going to grad school, whatever that is.

Amp: Sure. But I think that a lot of people in the kink – like especially the gays because that’s my own realm. We get that rap of like, “Well, you don’t know how to be monogamous,” as if that that – as if that is the end goal to every relationship.

Dr. Liz: Right, or that means that you’re more serious or more committed or that it’s a better relationship if you do monogamy rather than non-monogamy. Yeah. Any other problems you see that come up in that intersection of like kink or leather and non-monogamy, specifically for you and the gay dudes?

Amp: I think that’s the biggest one. I’m honestly trying to think of like things that I run into. Toxic masculinity is a big thing right now. I don’t know if you want to unpack that at all.

Dr. Liz: Let’s talk about it a little bit. Oh, goodness. Toxic masculinity. In both those communities separately and especially in the intersection. I see it in like folks who are hetero or bi-queer, right? So I see a lot of like male dominance who collect a harem of lady submissives who are not allowed to play with anyone else.

Amp: Yes. But the ladies have no say.

Dr. Liz: But they consented to it. They said yes and they’re usually much younger and very conventionally-attractive and almost all of them were picked up by that dominant when they were brand new to the scene.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: And it’s – god, toxic masculinity just creates so many problems.

Amp: It does and in the gay community as well. I mean new kinksters, sometimes they just jump on the first dick.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: And to those people I say that’s great. Like you have so much energy that you want to give to people and that’s beautiful. But you need to make sure you’re safeguarding yourself and your feelings and your emotions because if you get into bed with the wrong person, who’s toxic in any way, be it masculine or just emotionally or like abuse you in some way, that can leave a really, really bad imprint on your kink experience to begin with.

So I think that regardless of monogamous or not, that is – that’s the problem in the kink community and regardless of gay, queer, bi, straight.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: There’s that underlying tone of just toxicity that can happen sometimes.

Dr. Liz: Yeah, and I think that toxicity plays out in particular when there are differences in power and experience. So if you’re in a community and you see that there’s like one experienced person who is always playing with newbies and exclusively newbies, that’s something to be looking out for. It’s something to be aware of.

Amp: Uh-huh.

Dr. Liz: If you’re looking around your community and you see that there is someone who is telling people either that they can’t have a safe word or that they’re not as good with a safe word or a true blank does blank, that’s something – that’s also important to look out for.

Amp: And it’s so toxic in a way because like the – OK.

Dr. Liz: It’s toxic masculinity. Goodness

Amp: It’s that kind of toxic nature. Like the, “You’re not a real blank because you don’t blank.” Like – especially in the puppy community. I feel that sometimes people are like, “Well, you’re not a real puppy because you don’t wear this gear or you don’t act this way or you’re a fashion pup.”

Like with kinks especially, telling someone that they’re not a real anything is not super welcoming. A puppy play especially, it’s such a playful like low-level entry kink that a lot of new people that are – before they get into puppy play are vanilla in whatever terminology they’re using for themselves.

Like telling them that they’re not a real, insert whatever kink, totally drives them away from the community, totally cuts off and burns any bridges that they might move from puppy play to really intense impact play or bondage. Like you are curtailing their – not curtailing. Their experience in the kink community and they might grow and learn and be a wonderful educator or someone who helps the community and fundraises. Like that toxicity is not helpful in anyone’s experiences.

Dr. Liz: I think – you know, you talked about like video games and D and D, right? It’s so similar to what happens in gaming communities for people who are women or people of color where a woman is wearing a shirt for a specific comic hero and some dude feels entitled to ask her about the entire history of that comic book ever. Like there was a time where you didn’t know things either.

Telling someone that they don’t know enough or they’re not real X is not usually helpful. If you see someone doing something that is dangerous or that can cause, there are ways to have conversations with them about it. But I think anytime you start with telling someone that they’re wrong, it’s going to be really challenging to have a good conversation.

Opening up conversations with like, “Hey, I just want to check in with you. I saw this thing happening and I’m just curious. Like what are your safeguards there?”

Amp: Yeah. I think that – and to bring it to a full circle, like that carries over into relationships. Telling someone they’re not monogamous or telling them you’re not properly polyamorous or you’re not properly non – like why are you somehow the police in this situation? Like how are you totally policing people? What is – are you –?

Dr. Liz: Yeah. I mean as long as folks are treating everyone involved with their full autonomy and respect, treating everyone as equal people, not using people as things. It’s not up to us how people structure their stuff. So then when we’re talking about non-monogamy, we’re talking about kink or leather, what would be the tips that you would give someone who’s thinking about either exploring non-monogamy or exploring kink and leather or both?

Amp: Educate yourself. There are tons of wonderful resources out there. Whether you like reading, there’s tons of great books. Whether you like blogging or going on Tumbler or people websites, there’s tons of wonderful resources on YouTube. Not just our channel that we do. But there are other channels for lesbian people, for non-gender-binary people, for trans people. You can search on YouTube and you will find a channel that’s specifically talking about the relationship for you and I absolutely encourage that you find people that are like you and that you can actually relate with because people that are really passionate about the sex that they have or the kinks that they have, like they love what they’re doing. They love reaching out. They love making friends online.

But also educate yourself and don’t just jump on the first dick because you’re so pent-up and you want to do something because that can lead to some really, really bad scenes. I’ve been there. I’ve had those experiences.

Dr. Liz: Totally done it.

Amp: That anyone that you’re going to be playing intimately with, because there are lots of people out there that will take advantage of you just because you are really into this or that thing, regardless of your kinks or just the kind of relationship you’re looking for, just protect yourself. It would be my biggest thing.

Dr. Liz: Yeah, awesome.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: I love what you talk about, about like not jumping on the first dick –

Amp: Or not dick.

Dr. Liz: Or vulva.

Amp: Or vulva, yeah. Whatever gender or sexuality you are looking for.

Dr. Liz: Genitals, you know. I think that when this is something you’ve wanted to do for a while and you’re just starting to explore it, you’re like, “I want to do all of the things!”

Amp: And you will.

Dr. Liz: And you will eventually, right? But if you had been out in the wilderness starving for a week and you suddenly found yourself at an all-you-can-eat buffet and tried to eat everything, you would be sick. You want to throw up.

Amp: Or if you’re out in the wilderness and you happened upon some mushrooms or berries, you don’t know if those are good berries or mushrooms.

Dr. Liz: Not the right ones to eat, right?

Amp: Uh-huh.

Dr. Liz: So you need to be sure that you remind yourself that you have time. No matter how old you are, there’s still time. There’s plenty of people for you to play with. There’s always new things that you can expose yourself to later. You don’t have to do everything today. You don’t need to do everything in the first scene you ever do. Be willing to take it slow. Be willing to take it way slower than you think you should.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: And I think another point that I would add – you talked about like finding people who are similar to you. See if you can find good mentorship. In a lot of areas, there are groups like Society of Janus. You can get on FetLife and find local folks.

Amp: Yeah.

Dr. Liz: But finding people who have been around for a while, who are open to giving you mentorship and advice and feedback, particularly if they’re not trying to fuck you.

Amp: Especially.

Dr. Liz: Especially if they’re not trying to fuck you, because the people who are trying to fuck you are going to give you the advice that gets you –

Amp: That gets in their pants.

Dr. Liz: That gets in their pants. There are some great mentors who will fuck you and tell you when things are not right. But a lot of the people who are “mentors” are just trying to get in your pants.

Amp: Yeah. Find people in groups that are reliable, that you can vet, that you can ask other people like – almost like you’re finding a job. You would ask the references.

Dr. Liz: Right.

Amp: You know? And I know that – actually my first group that I was involved in was a leather – a gay men leather group in Seattle. There were tons of people. They have socials or munches or whatever you want to call it where you just – you’re not even naked. You have your clothes on.

Dr. Liz: Yeah.

Amp: You get to express yourself by what you’re wearing. You get to talk. You get to eat food or have a drink and just really get to know people before the actual sex happens and they do classes. So find either a Facebook group for your local contingents or find a local group that does classes every month. They exist everywhere.

Dr. Liz: Everywhere. You would be shocked how many places.

Amp: And how specific some of the groups are.

Dr. Liz: I know. Some of them are really specific.

Amp: Yeah. There are groups for just pet players in certain cities. There are groups for just furries, for just impact people, for just bondage. Like –

Dr. Liz: Rope. If you like rope, you will find rope people everywhere and they will do just rope for hours. It’s like it’s – I feel like the rope people are like the hardcore comic book nerds of the kink community.

Amp: They tie everyone together.

Dr. Liz: They are so into it. Like it’s just such a huge technical thing. It’s a very specific subset.

Amp: Well, and it brings a bunch of different people because there’s the aesthetic, artistic people. There’s the scientific like logical, like ropes and knots and how they should work. Yeah. There are so many analytical –

Dr. Liz: The engineer’s work, like how does that bear weight and oh my gosh. It’s so complicated. Yeah. If you’re like extra brainy nerdy, you might want to check out rope. Yeah.

Amp: We have tons of bondage ties. Come over to our channel.

Dr. Liz: I know.

Amp: Come to the dark side. We have cookies.

Dr. Liz: Which reminds me. Thank you so much for joining me. Where can all of our viewers find you?

Amp: You can find us at or on YouTube. Just look for “Watts the Safeword”. We have tons of different like people in the community come on, of different genders and sexualities, who talk about their sex and how they enjoy doing it. We try to give advice. We are not clinical in any way but we try and give our real-life experiences in the hopes that people find something relatable there and they can find a piece of their own kinks or their own sex. Lots of bondage demos. It’s really fun. So some over and join us.

Dr. Liz: It is super fun.

Amp: And you’re on one of the episodes coming up.

Dr. Liz: I am, I am. So how are we going to roll out these two episodes like right around the same time? So you can see me talking all about humiliation and degradation over on Watts the Safeword. Well, thank you so much for joining.

Amp: Thank you.

Dr. Liz: As always, I’m so happy to have you here and I will talk to you next time.

Amp: Bye.

Dr. Liz: Bye!

[End of transcript]

Transcription by Prexie Magallanes as Trans-Expert at

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