Ep. #58 Developing the Courage to Express Your Sexuality with Reid Mihalko
Think about how you express your sexuality today. Are you inhibited or are you following a social norm of what you think sex should be like, rather than taking what will make you really satisfied, what you feel deep inside to be you, and expressing that.
Today’s world of sexuality has many variations. There are tons of opportunities and options to express our sexual nature today because it’s becoming a more and more open environment. Maybe that’s something that will enrich your life, and at the same time, it can build your confidence and improve your relationships with women. Of course, allow you to deepen your own experience of sex and your own sexuality.
Today’s guest is Reid Mihalko. He is a well-known and frequent speaker at the major sex and relationship conferences. He’s been at it for the last 10 years and looks at this whole area with a very open perspective. This is reflective of his own open dating lifestyle, as you’ll learn, from which he has obviously learned and experienced a great deal also.
This is a really insightful interview, which I greatly enjoyed myself. So, I hope you enjoy it as much.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Reid created The Cuddle Party, a workshop about non-sexual touch and intimacy (02:33)
- National End A Bad Relationship Day: getting people thinking about and giving them the permission and tools to end a relationship ethically (04:42)
- Depth as a metric for success in a relationship instead of duration (06:35)
- Honesty is the new version of fidelity (08:32)
- Cheating, affair websites, and the erosion of relationships and intimacy (09:43)
- Talking to your partner about your needs, wants, and desires (11:40)
- Depth of relationships and the ability to talk about riskier topics (15:40)
- Describing depth of relationships (19:05)
- What is appropriate or inappropriate to talk about concerning sexual needs (23:10)
- Reid and his dating lifestyle (28:40)
- Exploring different areas and more free expression (34:47)
- Handling negative reactions as a result of freedom of sexual expression (40:00)
- Is it a good idea to be spontaneous with sexual expression? (48:05)
- Self-expression replaces attraction as the new currency in relationships (53:08)
- Connection choices to certain demographics or communities for meeting people (56:00)
- The impacts on the life of sexually inhibited guys and the motivation to change (59:34)
- Staying ahead of the game by increasing self-awareness and your emotional IQ (1:04:00)
- Recommends for getting advice (1:05:05)
- Top three recommendations for men to improve their dating, sex, and relationship life as fast as possible (1:08:14)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Make Difficult Conversations Easier: Video and transcript from Reid’s blog
r10x.com: Reid’s free training videos for love language
Reid highy recommends the following books:
- Fifty Shades of Grey (E. L. James)
- Ethical Slut (Dossie Easton): A guide to infinite sexual possibilities
- Opening Up (Tristan Taomino): A guide to creating and sustaining open relationships
- She Comes First (Ian Kemer): The thinking man’s guide to pleasuring a woman
- Mating In Captivity (Esther Perel): Unlocking erotic intelligence
- Women’s Anatomy of Arousal (Sheri Winston): Women’s sexuality and sex education
- The Five Love Languages (Gary Chapman): How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate
- The Five Languages of Apology (Gary Chapman): How to express healing in all of your relationships
Books, Courses and Training from Reid Mihalko
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan] Reid, there’s a couple things I was reading in your biography that really stuck out at me. You invented something called a cuddle party and National End to Bad Relationship Day?
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. Cuddle party, which turned 10, 10 years old now in 2014. In 2004, I created and launched a workshop on non-sexual touch and intimacy. Basically, it was a workshop for people to learn how to communicate better and how you create safe space for yourself around physical intimacy--in this case, non-sexual, and then how you invite people into that safe space.
When you know how to create that and you can be clear with your communications, that safe space that you create for yourself extends to others. It’s a really powerful, useful and fun way of creating intimacy quickly with people. Ten years ago, I launched that in New York City.
That became a huge news story because New Yorkers were paying money to cuddle. It got me on Montel, on Tyra Banks. It got me on television and in print on seven different continents in 14 languages.
It basically exploded and that launched my career as a workshop facilitator and as an intimacy geek. And now cuddle party, 10 years later, I think is in seven different countries. Events are being held in six or seven different languages.
I don’t run cuddle party anymore because I wanted to go off and do more sexually explicit education. I stepped away as the founder and spokesperson of Cuddle Party so I wouldn’t ruin its reputation. The challenge was everyone thought that adults getting together to cuddle had to end in an orgy.
If I was actually teaching people how to throw an orgy, then it would confuse folks. So a Cuddle Party now is its own entity. It runs in different parts of the world. Now I come off and create other interesting things to get people thinking and talking about relationships, intimacy and sex in different ways.
National End to Bad Relationship Day was just another stunt or idea to get people thinking about and giving them permission and tools on how to end relationships ethically and with a little more panache rather than just a late night drunk text saying “I break with thee. I break with thee,” if anyone remembers Steve Martin’s old break-up routine.
[Angel Donovan] That’s cool. So National End to Bad Relationship Day, did that get as much press? It’s just interesting which things get press and which things don’t get so much.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah, it got a little bit of press and then I moved on to other stuff. I revive it. I try to throw it on every Friday the 13th. I launched it on a Friday the 13th several years ago that happened right before Valentine’s Day, February 14th.
The other thing that’s really interesting is it’s a conversation starter about how do you know if you’re in a relationship you should stay in or not. How do you know how to get out of abusive relationships, or how do you figure out if you’re dating your species, which is whole other thing that I talk about. And basically what makes for healthy relationships.
Sometimes healthy relationships mean you should end the one you’re in because it’s not ideal or healthy for either one of you to be in it. It’s an integrity choice. We’re taught in culture that if you love somebody, you never let them go. I think a lot of things have been shifting in culture over the last couple of decades. One of those things is sexuality as well.
[Angel Donovan] When I heard the name National End to Bad Relationship Day, I was really thinking more of the second thing you brought up there, which is people in these bad relationships. They’re not aware that it’s not working for them.
I think there’s also as issue of settling, because they can be in a relationship for a year. Maybe they wait five years before finishing it, but after the first year, it was pretty clear that it’s something they should have moved on from.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. And that, from a geeky perspective, has a lot to do with we’re taught, in most cultures in the world still today, that duration is the metric for success in relationships. The longer you were together, the more successful the relationship might have been.
I’m a big proponent that duration is no longer the metric. We need to be using depth, not duration. When you look at it from being honest and truthful, and having the conversations that you’re afraid to have in your relationship, that’s actually a healthier relationship and a healthier way of measuring success.
When you do it from a depth perspective, not duration, then what comes up for grabs is should we stay together or not. Then you can end relationships now with integrity rather than holding onto them until you have such a catastrophic train wreck that you can finally walk away. Culture will say “You tried. Look at that. Look how horrible that was.”
You had to leave rather than “Well, honey, I think we’re growing in different directions. What do we want to do about this?” It doesn’t make relationships easier but it does if you go from a depth perspective and actually increased your odds for staying together longer.
[Angel Donovan] Yeah. That’s pretty insightful. That reminds me of what I saw in China. They have many, many older couples. They’re together for 40, 50, 60 years. Sometimes they live apart. Sometimes they live together, but they refuse to get divorced because of the culture.
It’s more like a ghost relationship. They guy’s going to have his mistresses and so on. Often, the woman can’t do anything. But that’s a really extreme case. Some of that is still based in Western culture as well. We still see that.
[Reid Mihalko] And if the women could have their relationships on the side too, I would--it’s all about people being able to have permission to do what makes them happy and not be hiding it from each other. I really do think honesty is now the new version of fidelity.
It’s not about sexual fidelity. It’s really about are you lying to each other. That’s why people are getting so pissed now about affair and indiscretions in relationships. Again, things have been shifting. Now the fidelity piece is really about honesty and transparency.
It’s not about sexuality anymore. And do you have the cojones to actually have the scary conversations in your relationships. That takes a certain kind of human being, whether it’s a man or a woman.
You have to really step up and be an adult. Are you being an adult in your relationships? Are you dating people who can be adults in their relationships? That’s not stuff my Mom and Dad talked about the breakfast table growing up.
[Angel Donovan] One of the reasons I thought it’d be great to have you on here is you get around a lot. You speak a lot of different places. I think you have your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in general culture, because you’re talking so much and you’re probably getting a lot of feedback.
One of the interesting things is you brought up lying versus truth and fidelity. One of the big trends in online dating is all of these affair and cheating sites, which has really blown up over the last few years. What do you think of that versus the truth you’re talking about, people coming more to the truth and having more confidence?
And taking more risks in terms of putting the truth out there and possibly getting rejected, and getting some kind of emotional push-back versus taking the sly route to try to make themselves happy, which is cheating, affairs, and so on, behind their backs.
[Reid Mihalko] I think what’s happening with the dating sites and whatnot is any kind of affair situation, if you pull the camera back so you can see the actors as actors and see the guy with the sound boom, and the make-up artist in the corner. For the most part, people have the camera, air quotes, pushed up so close that they believe the actors are real. When you pull the camera back and actually see what’s going on, you realize this is all a movie and people are playing parts.
When you take that approach and look at affair websites, basically my take on that is--oh, you’re going to an affair website for one of two basic reasons. One, you think you actually can’t talk to your partner about the fact that your sex life isn’t good, you’re not happy. Maybe you’ve discovered you want to try non-monogamy but you don’t know how to talk about it so you go have an affair. Or you’re just starving because your relationship is so bad and you haven’t had sex or any kind of intimacy with your partner that you’re going to that affair website because you’re looking for an easier fix and you want to have an affair.
The second reason you’re going to an affair website is it’s a huge turn-on for you to want to go have an affair. It’s an erotic hit. Maybe you really don’t want to have an affair. You just get turned on by it.
When you realize that you can talk to your partner about your needs, wants and desires, it’s going to help a lot if you’re actually clear with them--if you have some clarity about what you need to talk about. You have to do your homework. Those conversations, it’s not guaranteed they’re going to go well, but you can start those conversations.
It’s what you’re not saying in your relationships that is destroying them. It’s eroding the intimacy. This is the same thing if you want to have an threesome, if you want to have more blow jobs, whatever that stuff is in your life that you’re sitting there being like “I wish I had more of this.”
You can learn how to talk to your partners about that. What ends up happening is when you have that courage and that bravery to actually be real with people, two things are happening. One, you’re letting your partner know these things are important to you, or you think they might be important to you, because you’re opening up a discussion.
There’s a better chance that now they’re not having to read your mind that you want blow jobs every weekend. You’re like “Oh honey, I’d would really love blow jobs every weekend.” You open up the conversation so there’s a better change you might actually get what you want.
The other thing nobody thinks about is when you’re being that real and honest with people, and communicating your wants, needs and desires, you’re role modeling for them that it’s okay for them to tell you all the stuff that they’re withholding, scared about, afraid to tell you. Being that person in the relationship, being that person with your friends and your family, that changes not just your life but your communities’ life. Then, all of a sudden, what’s possible in the world, opens up in a way that was not available for my Mom and Dad.
I grew up in a family where my Mom and Dad loved each other very much. My brothers and I would catch them making out in the kitchen and cuddling on the couch. But they didn’t have the communication skills to talk about what was really needed in their relationship. They didn’t have a way to work through their upsets.
What ended up happening is my brothers and I saw two people who loved each other until they both died have a horrible marriage because they couldn’t communicate. All they had was resentment, frustration, anger and confusion. They stuck to the duration thing of we will never give up on each other, which in some ways is inspiring, but it made for a shitty childhood.
My Mom became an alcoholic. My Dad became a workaholic, trying to fix things with money. It was just a really fucked up family.
That being said, when you start having the courage to have the scary conversations, and then people in your life start having their scary conversations with you, possibility just opens up. Anything’s possible doesn’t mean that relationship is going to be the relationship that you get to have what you want, but you guys being honest with each other increases your odds. For those of your guys who are listening who are single, if you start vetting the people that you’re dating, and basically dating your species, you start dating women who are into having similar things that you’re into having.
There’s a lot less stress and drama. Relationships don’t have to be so quote unquote hard and tumultuous and stressful all the time. To go back to the affairs website, I really thing what’s happening is people think they can’t talk to their partners so they must go have an affair.
They must go have an affair because they can’t talk to their partners because they have to have the relationship last as long as possible. Really, what’s happening by hiding all of that, they’re just eroding the foundation of any possibility of a healthy relationship. Now you’re just caught in this whole thing about lies and things like that.
[Angel Donovan] I think it also connects with what you’re talking about--depth of relationship because depth of relationship is the ability to talk about more risky topics, deeper topics and understand each other better. But it’s a lot easier to stay shallow and have a shallow relationship and go and have another shallow relationship and the affair. In a way you don’t have these dangerous questions you’re talking about where you risk getting some kind of rejection or emotional negativity back from the other person.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. This goes back to how high is your emotional IQ. How well do you know your own emotions and can navigate being triggered, feeling rejected? Can you step out of yourself and realize “Oh, that’s my brain chemistry getting triggered and keeping me from being present with the person I’m talking to?”
Can I step away from--it’s not that you’re killing off your emotions. You’re still going to feel them and stay in touch with them. But can I realize that I’m triggered now and that’s me triggered and still pay attention to my partner or to my friend or to my boss or whoever I’m talking to.
Can I still pay attention to my loved one and try to figure out what it is they’re asking for? Most people are really just trying to get their needs met and they want to feel loved, honored and cherished. They want to feel seen and heard.
What ends up happening is when we get triggered, or in a conversation our partner gets triggered, and then we get triggered that they got triggered. Then no one’s actually being able to be present and listening to each other. This is the same kind of stuff that happens in the bedroom.
If I’m fucking my partner and all of a sudden, for whatever reason, I can’t get it up, I start getting it in my head about not getting it up and then my partner is trying to fix what’s wrong with me, thinking it’s about her. It’s not about her. It’s about do you have the skill sets to call a time out and be like “Hey, this is what’s happening.”
“And until I get hard, I’m going to use my hands and I’m going to hand fuck you. And we’re going to have a great time.” By me then using my hands to pleasure my partner, and creating a lot of excitement for her, I’m getting turned on that she’s getting turned on. I’m still getting to be connected and feel like a rock star.
And because now I’m focused on her and her pleasure, I’m out of my head--that bad neighborhood you get into when you can’t get it up--I’m focused on her and now I have a better chance of possibly getting my erection back or not. If I don’t get it back, it’s maybe not ideal, but there’s a shit ton of other stuff I can do in bed with her to feel like a rock start. The big piece is me realizing what happens if I get in my head and get into that neighborhood and don’t get myself out of it.
For a lot of guys, and also women in relationships, dealing with this kind of stuff, actually being human with each other, is scary. But when I do the math, I’m like this is the only game in town, folks. Do you really want to step up and be somebody who’s courageous enough to go deeper, to have a real conversation?
What ends up happening is when you’re that guy, or that woman--it’s not about gender-- that’s inspiring. Now you’re inspiring people with who you’re being in the world. Sometimes it’s a lot of work, but that kind of work reaps huge rewards, I think.
[Angel Donovan] We’ve been talking a lot about depth here, so I just want to make sure the guys understand because it can be pretty abstract or something. Are you talking about understanding each other? How would you describe depth of relationship?
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. First off, and this is funny because you and I are going to be like “Let’s talk about sex” and we’re coming at it sideways. Guys, we’ll get to the sex, don’t worry.
This is basically priming the pump. This is like setting the foundation for all this, because what I mean by depth is really and honestly, even to pull it back another step, I don't think you should be trying to understand anybody. I can barely understand myself. How the fuck am I going to understand anybody else, let alone a woman.
I’m not a trained therapist, nor do I play one on television. I really think we should stop trying to understand each other and start practicing communicating our wants, needs and desires as quickly and as up-to-date as we can. Why that’s useful is none of us are mind-readers, and trying to run a relationship off of reading body language is problematic.
When you can communicate directly to people, there’s some ways to do it with some coordination and some savoir faire. You don’t have to bulldoze people. But when I can say “Hey, honey, I would like to have sex today. Would you like to have sex today?”
Or if I’m trying to pick somebody up in a bar, I’m like “Hey, I’m interested in picking you up and hitting on you but you don’t know me. Can I just check in with you and see if this is a good idea?” There are ways to be really obvious and straightforward with people that I think, in today’s culture, basically is so refreshing and new.
But when being direct and clear with people turns them off, it’s an assessment tool. The person who doesn’t want you to be clear and direct with them, the person that can’t handle it, you shouldn’t be hitting on. You shouldn’t be dating them.
You shouldn’t be having a relationship with them because there’s all this other bullshit that starts to creep in that you need to try to navigate that doesn’t have to be there. And so depth, to me, is really about clarity and vulnerability. When you cultivate the ability to be that courageous, to be that honest, open and vulnerable, and you have self-awareness to be that clear about what you want--and sometimes you don’t know what you want--but the statement “I don’t know what I want” is actually a pretty high level of self-awareness.
That self-aware, clear communicating person who can give people room to say yes and no, that guy, in my world of sex geekery and whatnot, that’s the guy that gets laid over and over and over again. No one’s communicating in that way in most of the rest of the world. What you’re doing, what you have to navigate is all this other stuff to try to figure out how we can get laid, and do you really want to get laid, and is this okay?
I just like to shake up the Etch-a-Sketch and come at it from a completely different way. And the people who find that refreshing are the people you should be hanging out with. Because what’s possible then in life is 10 times whatever most people are experiencing in their day to day life.
So if you’re a slut and a sex geek like me, you can have that. If you want to be monogamous and get married and have kids but still have amazing sex with your wife once or twice a week, you can have that. And it’s going to take a little bit of work, and a lot of courage, but once you get the courage part, the work is the work that just comes from living an extraordinary life.
There aren’t any free rides here. But doing that kind of work to have an extraordinary life is much more useful and a better way of spending a life than the extra effort of trying to make everything fit and work in a world where everything’s already askew.
[Angel Donovan] Right. I think, in an interesting way, we talked about some very basic things, like “I want a blow job.” And I think it’s nice to talk about these things because everyone can relate to I have this basic sexual need.
I’m wondering if you feel the reason that these conversations aren’t had--like a guy doesn’t say in his relationship or perhaps to whatever extent “I’d like a blow job right now” is because he’s not sure what is appropriate or inappropriate in that setting, and he’s worrying about it. What do you have to say about that?
[Reid Mihalko] For people who want to go to readaboutsex.com and poke around on my website, my advice is radical. I think 10 or 20 years from now, it’s not going to be radical. And just to give your guys a little bit of feedback, so I’m non-monogamous and I’m a slut.
[Angel Donovan] What does that mean? Are you in the polyamory crowd?
[Reid Mihalko] I am in the polyamory crowd but also because I’m a sex geek I’m in the BDSM and kink world. I’m in the swinger world. I’m what one friend would call awesome sexual. If you’re awesome, I probably want to sleep with you.
Awesome exists in many places. I figured out the hard way that because I like to meet people with either intellectual conversation or sexual conversation, like body language or the English language, because I’m unilingual, I don’t mind if we have a quick conversation and then we start having sex. In that quick conversation, the things I need to know if it’s a good idea for us to have sex we’re going to have in that five or 10 minute conversation.
In that five or 10 minute conversation, if you’re my species, like if you get and are slutty in the same way that I’m slutty, then we can have a five minute conversation and then go have sex as a means of getting to know each other. From a geek perspective, the definition of slut would be anyone who thinks or has the perspective that sex is a good thing when done with consent and self-awareness.
So for me, as a slut, I like having sex with lots of people. I like group sex. That’s me. I’m not trying to enroll other people to be like me. You figure out what makes you happiest and then do date people for whom that also makes them happy.
[Angel Donovan] This is your sexual expression, and it’s an interesting topic because that’s where you found the courage to have expression about a pretty unique approach compared to the 1 percent or the 0.5 percent of the population with this approach. The whole idea of it being appropriate or you worrying about that is kind of more relevant to you than most of us. But I think a lot of the guys, when they’re in any kind of relationship, they’re thinking less about their own self-expression, what they actually want and how to communicate than what are the social standards around them.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. And that’s the tipping point. That’s where you can change everything because everything that I needed to do and master to have the life that I want, if I can be fucking five people in the same week, and everybody knows about them, and no one’s mad at me, those communication skills that it takes to create that are the exact same communication skills it takes and should be used to make sure one person’s not mad at you.
If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to get business advice, you may want to seek somebody like Richard Branson, who runs however many hundreds of companies he’s got going right now. Get business advice from somebody who’s run a lot of companies and made a lot of mistakes and then figured it out. If you’re looking to have a healthy monogamous relationship, or any kind of relationship, for me as a geek trying to figure out where’s the wisdom at.
What’s the advice that’s not just going to apply to polyamorous people but applies to relationships in general? The advice, when you really start boiling it down, it’s about this transparency and honesty thing. When you get caught up in the piece you just mentioned, like I’m not looking for what my own needs are. I’m trying to assess the cultural cues.
What you need to do is realize I’m trying to understand the setting and everybody else in this setting is trying to understand the setting, why don’t I just step out of it a little bit and get meta with everybody and say “Hey, you know, I’m not sure what the cultural and social cues are, what’s appropriate. I want to hit on you but I don’t know if that’s appropriate. Can you give me an idea of, would you like me to hit on you?”
You can create context and relatedness with people by actually describing the elephant in the room and understanding that most men and women are trapped in seventh grade hell. It’s like a seventh grade dance now, on steroids. We’re adults now and we can have the sex. What ends up happening is everyone gets so worked up and so anxiety ridden, we end up hitting each other with our lunch boxes as a means of flirting.
There’s a more grown-up way to do it. You can still be playful but you don’t have to be stuck in seventh grade hell where rejection and everything is so culturally loaded. You can actually step out of that paradigm and come at it from a completely different angle.
The main tool is are you brave enough to actually say what’s going on for you to people in general? And then invite them to share with you what’s actually going on for them. That kind of realness, especially as a quote unquote pick-up technique, my entire life is about just being real with people.
[Angel Donovan] Could you give us a bit more context to your life? How did you get on this path? How old are you today? What is your dating lifestyle like? Do you have five relationships and five slut encounters? What does your lifestyle look like today? I have no idea.
[Reid Mihalko] [laughter] I’m 46 years old right now. It’s 2014 if you’re listening to this in the time vault of podcasts. I currently have a primary partner, my partner Allison. We live together in California. I don’t have any other primary relationships right now.
[Angel Donovan] For the guys, what is primary versus secondary?
[Reid Mihalko] For those of you who are curious about non-monogamy, go read Tristan Taormino’s book called Opening Up. That will give you a really good framework for just non-monogamy in general. There’s another great book that was written several years ago called The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy. That will give you another framework for non-monogamy.
But inside of non-monogamy there’s lingo, like anything. Primary partner can be defined in lots of different ways but is basically, for me, the person that I live with and share finances with. It’s not necessarily the person I’m in love with the most, although it can be.
For me, Allison is my primary partner. We live together. We share finances together. Whenever I’m making huge life decisions, she comes into the picture because the way our life is woven together. I’m also emotionally attached and madly in love with her.
I need to consult her and think about and consider her in how my life goes along because she’s so primary in my world. Other lingo are things like secondaries and tertiaries, for those of my chemistry and science geeks, who might want to think of it like an electron shell. You’ve got your nucleus and then you’ve got your electrons orbiting the atom.
Basically, you can have other relationships that are quote unquote further away from you, in not necessarily importance, but in how they’re woven into how you plan and choose your life and how you consider people. Secondary relationships and tertiary relationships--some people like using those terms. Some people don’t because it feel very hierarchical.
You may have to find lingo that works for how you want to view the world, and your world perspective. Basically, I’ve got Allison--she’s my main partner. I have no other people I’m officially dating but I have lots of lovers and friends that I have sex with on a regular basis.
Currently, Allison’s away for the weekend speaking at a conference, so I’m seeing a bunch of my friends and lovers and having sleepovers with people I don’t get to spend a lot of time with. I have extra time right now. Even if Allison was in town, I would still have lovers come over during the day for lunch or something like that, and we’d have lunch and catch up, and maybe fuck or maybe not.
People come over for sleepover dates, or I go to their houses. Why this all works and can be out in the open is when I met Allison, she was non-monogamous too. I don’t date monogamous people.
If your monogamous, conservative and want to have a baby, I’m the devil to you. I’m the worst idea there is for you to date, because I’m not going to make you happy. When I met Allison, she and I have a lot of similar values and similar life expressions. Us getting together made a lot of sense.
We had a fondness for each other. There was a lot less friction in our relationship because she liked dating sluts. We never had to really fight about that. Sometimes we get into a fight because I’m very slutty and she’s more like slut light, but we don’t fight about non-monogamy.
The analogy I would use for everybody is think about relationship styles as music. Most people went to quote unquote conservatory and were taught that classical music, classical relationships is how you play music. Some of us were not happy being monogamous.
We’re not happy playing classical music, but we felt broken because we were taught that’s the best music to play. Until you walk into a jazz club or go to a rock concert, you don’t realize what music really is for you. Can you give yourself the permission to figure out how does the music of relationship come through you?
Then, go start a band with somebody who likes playing that same kind of music. Allison and I like playing the same kind of music. If I was to date a monogamous person who wanted to have kids, that’s like me being a jazz musician and somebody else being a country musician. We’re going to make each other pissed off because we’re going to be trying to get the other person to play a different kind of music.
The music analogy seems to help people start to understand, because no type of music is bad. I don’t think polyamory is more evolved than monogamy. It’s not. What’s evolved is you figuring out what makes you happiest and going and dating people for whom that makes them happy.
It’s the same principles in the bedroom sexually too. If you want kinky bondage stuff, go date kinky bondage people. It will make your life easier rather than trying to convert the quiet Mormon girl that you’re dating into being kinky when she doesn’t really want to be kinky.
[Angel Donovan] It strikes me that a lot of people in their twenties probably are just sticking to the default classical music, right? When you do find people start to explore different areas and how do they get introduced to this, apart from listening to this podcast and wondering about it, and reading through books or something? How would they typically get into wider self-expression, being freer about being okay with expressing something different?
[Reid Mihalko] It is starting to shift in certain ways. Now, gayness and queerness not so taboo because of Will and Grace and popular culture, because of the media and the news. Inter-racial relationships--great example. People dating somebody that’s not their race, 50 years ago, that was a big fucking deal.
If you were white and the person you fell in love with was black, you were not supposed to get married. If you were Catholic and the person you fell in love with was Jewish, you were not supposed to get married. Inter-racial marriage now is not that big of a deal, for most people.
Same thing’s happening now with sexuality around queerness and gayness. Now, the third wave of this, in this interview, is talking about the kind of sex you want to have. People are starting to explore things earlier now than when I was in college.
One, because we have the Internet. So if there’s something you’re curious about, you can Google it. It doesn’t mean you’ll find the right website or the best website for accurate information, but you’ll find examples of stuff out there.
The Internet is changing things, and pop culture is changing things too. 50 Shades of Grey was a really popular erotic book a couple years ago, still popular. They’ll be a 50 Shades of Grey movie coming out soon. That will make it popular again.
BDSM and kink has been around forever but now if you see somebody being tied up on television or blindfolded by their lover in some chocolate commercial, and you’re like “Ooh, that looks fun,” and you’re savvy enough to say “Okay, the fun is the chocolate or the blindfold? I think it’s the blindfold, but the chocolate’s good, but it’s the blindfold.”
Then you Google getting tied up and being blindfolded, and then you find resources. Then, all of a sudden, you hear a podcast because you looked for podcasts about rope bondage. Then somebody’s talking about how to talk to your partner, that you might be kinky and into rope.
Now you develop the courage to finally talk to your friends about this kinky thing that you might be into, or talk to your therapist. Then, eventually, you get the courage to talk to your partner. What you find out is your partner saw the same commercial and has been thinking about the same thing for the last six months, but couldn’t tell you.
Or you find out your partner never even considered that before, and is interested in trying it, or is horrified that you would even bring up chocolate and blindfolds in the same sentence. But, then, because you don’t judge them for not being into what you’re into, for your birthday, they decide to buy a blindfold and some rope, and then you guys dip your toe into the kinky pool and explore a little bit.
Maybe you explore and like it. Maybe you explore and you’re like “Oh, that was really sweet to do that for my birthday, and I don’t think I’m into rope.”
But what usually happens to people is they have these things they’re interested in. They feel completely alone, like they’re the only person who’s into blindfolds and chocolate, or whatever else you’re into--humping balloons or whatnot. And you feel so ashamed you’re into this when what you’re supposed to be into is classical music.
And you spend your entire life tortured, and that pressure and that shame starts squirting out in weird ways, in unhealthy ways in your relationships and your life in general. Then you’re old and you look back on your life and you played by society’s rules, but really you were unhappy the whole time.
I’m really about which life do you want to live? Do you want to be courageous and vulnerable and risk pissing some people off to find people who love you for who you are? Or are you going to play by society’s rules and risk not being happy and having a life not well lived at the end of it?
For a select few people out there, being straight and monogamous, getting married and having kids and only having missionary position sex once a week, or something like that, or being in a sexless marriage, they’re okay with it. It’s fine for them. Then they’re the ones who really win because they didn’t have to do any of the other work.
They were born and raised in a way that what society’s promoting works for them. They’re not wrong either. They just got lucky. The rest of us, we have to do a little bit more work and hustle to figure out who we are, how to communicate that with other people, and then build the lives that we want.
Either way, the choice is yours. Are there tools out there to learn how to be better at this stuff and do it faster and shorten your learning curve? Absolutely.
Are you a freak because you’re into something you think nobody else is into? Google it. There’s probably a website already for it.
In today’s day and age, what’s edgy and radical is being monogamous and wanting to get married. And that’s cool too. We need classical musicians in the world too. Classical music shouldn’t die. But we need jazz and country and acid German speed metal and whatnot, pop music.
[Angel Donovan] So what would you say to someone who gets some negative reaction? If you think about a very basic way to express yourself sexually, say you met someone and you’ve known them for about a week--not a very long period--and you want to try something. I don't know if you can give an example of something which is relatively mundane--a lot of people want to do it but something that sometimes gets a negative reaction from the other partner.
[Reid Mihalko] I would say a mundane one--the easy ones, because I use a lot of humor when I teach and I’m kind of a dork. The easy ones are either butt sex or spanking, because butt sex is so taboo. But spanking, a lot of people are interested or curious about exploring spanking.
So whether you have a spanker or the spankee, it’s nervous making to actually admit or be vulnerable with somebody and say “Hey, will you spank me?” or “Can I spank you?” So you share that with somebody, they get a negative reaction, this is what you do.
Whenever somebody gets triggered or gets angry at you or you get a negative reaction, if you’re having a good day, my fellow listeners, take a deep breath and ask them “Tell me more.” Tell me about the reaction you’re having right now.
[Angel Donovan] What is a typical negative reaction? Is it a look of shock on the face or spread out from people? What kinds of things would they be doing here?
[Reid Mihalko] It could be anything, like “Oh my God, how dare you? I could never” or “You freak!” or “You monster!” or somebody just shuts up and walks away.
[Angel Donovan] A lot of time they’re probably not going to say much about it. Maybe it’s more like the look you’ll get in the eyes, or something like that. It’s a bit more subtle.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. If you reverse engineer this, look at it from this perspective. Most human beings don’t handle surprise well.
When given new information, most people don’t handle it well, especially when it’s information that might be counter to what is societally approved, or quote unquote normal. What is truly normal is that everything’s up for grabs, folks. Everyone thinks they’re a freak or broken. That’s normal.
But the reality is people don’t handle surprise well, so how can you, if you think of this from a social engineering perspective, how can you introduce new information to people in a way that surprises them less? The two things there are it’s about building relatedness and about building context. It’s still a crap shoot, but these are the things you can do to improve your situation.
So what I would recommend is a version of what I teach, communication-wise, which is a difficult conversation formula. If people want to go to readaboutsex.com and just type into the search bar “difficult conversations,” you’ll get a blog posting that has a download PDF that you can get that will walk you through a tool for how to create context.
Basically, this is how I would do this. You would do “Honey, there’s something I want to tell you that I’m a little scared about telling you. What I’m afraid might happen is you might shun me, you might judge me, you might post on Facebook what I’m about to share with you. And then I’m societally excommunicated from the world and never get to love you ever again.”
You can get as grandiose and as goofy or as playful as you want with being vulnerable. Everyone has their own style. So you share what you’re scared might happen. Then you share what you would like to have happen.
So “I’m afraid X, Y, Z. What I’d like to have happen by telling you this is A, B, C. I would love for you to know that I don’t withhold stuff from you, that I’m always going to be vulnerable and courageous with you, even with stuff that’s scary for me. And, ultimately, I’d like what I’m sharing to bring us closer together. And what I’m scared to tell you--“
The third and final step is you tell them what you’re not telling them. “I’m afraid to tell you that I think I might be into spanking. I want to know what you think about that.” And that’s it.
And then you let them have their reaction. Then you say “Well, do you want to tell me anything about what’s going on for you?” The answer--and this isn’t a gender thing but it does work really well for male-female dynamics--is whenever a woman gets upset with you, just remain grounded, take a breath, and say “Honey, tell me more. I can see that you’re having stuff some up for you. Tell me more about it.”
Then when they tell you more, be like “Thank you so much for telling me. Tell me more.” And if you can keep showing up for people, and really the psychology here is by me focusing on staying grounded and telling you to tell me more, to share more, I’m actually taking an action and being focused in a way that may help me not get triggered.
What ends up happening is somebody gets upset, a woman gets upset and then you get upset that she got upset. Then the shit has hit the fan from both parties. You want to concentrate on techniques that will allow you to unplug the fan.
Asking a woman to share more will help you not get triggered on a good day. On a bad day--I teach this stuff, I still get triggered. I just know I’m getting triggered and know to tell my partner “Honey, I’m triggered now. I’m worthless. I cannot help right now. I’m only going to make this worse. Can we take a break and I’ll come back to this conversation.”
Most people don’t know how to do that, but you can learn how to do that. When you’re focusing on tell me more, thank you, tell me more, it will help you stay untriggered, hopefully. But what she’s experiencing on the other end is you not making her wrong for having feelings.
You asking her to tell you more not only is going to give you better information that might be useful, it’s keeping you from going into fix-it mode, which women hate. The difficult conversation formula can help you create context so that you surprise people less. It also helps you get clarity about what you’re scared about and what you’d like to have happen.
When you share things like that, which are vulnerable in that kind of “Here’s what I’m afraid of. Here’s what I’d like to have happen. Here’s what I need to say,” you’re creating context and helping men and women get into a space of listening that’s more empathetic, which might help them not get triggered. That’s one tactic or strategy that helps transform a lot, because you now have a formula to get clarity and then to share things with people, hopefully in a less surprising way.
The other way to do it, which is a hack to all of this, especially when you’re meeting new people, is “Hey, I listened to this crazy podcast. They were talking about spanking. What are your thoughts on spanking?”
Me asking an open-ended question like that, what I did is a set the frame, the context. Then I asked a question about your thoughts so I’m building relatedness by creating context and then inviting you to weigh in. That’s another way.
Those kinds of situations are really fun as ice-breaking techniques, because you get to ask people about stuff you’re interested in and see how they feel about stuff. Now, they still may answer non-truthfully because they’re going to go by societal prescriptions and be like “Oh my goodness, hitting people as a means of turn on? Shocking!”
But you can say “Well, I read the article and I thought it was kind of interesting. I’ve never tried that. Would you ever try something like that, even if it was shocking?” Now you’re able to use things that you’re curious about and lead with them as a means of getting to know people, modeling a little bit of vulnerability and curiosity without judgment, and then inviting them to share with you rather than walking up to somebody cold and being like “Hey, you’re ass looks amazing. May I spank it?”
That can be done. What you need for that situation to really work well is ideally, a shared context for why you would ask that question. Me asking somebody if I can spank them at a BDSM Meet-up group mixer is very different than me asking the checkout girl at the grocery store if I can spank her.
[Angel Donovan] Totally.
[Reid Mihalko] Does that make sense?
[Angel Donovan] Yeah. What strikes me is, in my experience, if someone less experienced sexually, let’s say not from one of these communities, and maybe even from a more conservative background, and younger, in my experience, they tend to be more conservative, and they tend to react more with the social default. Even if they would like it.
Sometimes you can introduce it in a more subtle way, like you talking about spanking. Well, you lightly tap them on the ass. What do you think of that approach, for someone who’s likely--there are some people who are going to have a negative response to it verbally, but maybe would actually like it if it just spontaneously happened?
[Reid Mihalko] Well, the spontaneously happened thing is a little bit tricky for me. For your listeners to understand this, I’m a sex geek, relationship geek. I’m a huge geek on consent and how do you communicate consent and get opt-in from people before you do things.
A big tenet of Cuddle Party is you must ask permission and get a verbal yes before you touch anybody at a Cuddle Party. I would never spontaneously smack somebody’s ass, of somebody I didn’t know, as a means of--even if I just smacked it lightly--as a means of checking out if I can go further.
[Angel Donovan] When you say you don’t know, does that mean you’re not in a relationship, or--
[Reid Mihalko] Like a complete stranger? I wouldn’t even do it with somebody I knew unless we already had a conversation that it was okay for me to do that kind of stuff.
[Angel Donovan] However, if you were in bed with a girl that you’ve been sleeping with for the past couple of weeks, would it be okay to slap her ass and see how she reacts to that?
[Reid Mihalko] Yes and no. What I would do if you were really savvy, in my opinion, is while you guys are in bed, I would start dirty talking to her and creating the scenario. I would use my Batman voice and say “I’m going to roll you over and I’m going to pull your underwear down and I’m going to spank you. Then I’m going to put you over my knee and then I’m going to spank you some more until you beg me--“
I’m going to start setting a scenario and see how she reacts to it, rather than just out of nowhere, just spanking her ass. If we’ve been sleeping together for a couple weeks, then we’ve already negotiated a lot of different stuff. So I could lightly smack her butt without asking and without the dirty talk and say “Did you like that?”
Or if we’re being playful and wrestling, then I smack her butt, that’s a different kind of situation. The vulnerable, ballsy place is “Honey, are you into spanking? I feel like I want to spank you--yes or no?”
Now some people are going to argue “But, Reid that’s not romantic. You’re being a pussy about that. You’re always checking in.” Here’s the payoff.
When I’m hanging out with people who check in with me about stuff, and tell me what they want rather than just beating around the bush, we get way more fun stuff done and accomplished and created than if we’re both hedging our bets not really sharing what we want. I can use dirty talk as a means of exploring but at some point--
[Angel Donovan] You have to have straight talk.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. And the other thing is, you can have straight talk when you’re not in bed. I do counsel people. Talking about sex while you’re having sex is kind of tricky for some people.
Some people get pre-verbal when they get really aroused. Some people are just more vulnerable and prone to being triggered, with critique and feedback in bed. Talk about sex stuff when you’re not having sex, like when you’re on a dinner date, or when you guys are at the grocery store.
Be like “You know, honey, I listened to this crazy podcast. Have you ever been spanked? Are you into spanking, do you think? Could we try that?” Rather than in the middle of you going down on your partner, popping your head up and being like “Honey, are you into spanking? I was listening to this crazy podcast--“
Having your black belt in communication gives you more ways to communicate and share with your partner, or your partners, about stuff. When you notice that you have share come up because maybe you want to spank your partner, and that’s why you’re not speaking, that’s a perfect opportunity for the next time you’re with your partner. You can say “You know what? I had some shame come up today. And I didn’t want to tell you something that occurred to me.”
If you have those kinds of conversations in your relationship from the get-go, then it’s not strange to blurt that out. And then your partner’s like “Oh, shame, what?” And you’re like “Well, I was thinking about spanking and it kind of turned me on. I’m afraid that you’ll think I’m gross or some sort of perverted monster, and that’s why I didn’t want to share it.”
That piece that you just shared is more important than if you ever spanked each other or not.
[Angel Donovan] I think people are generally afraid to have the kind of honest, vulnerable conversation, a vulnerable point where you’re expressing really what’s going on. That may be one of the harder parts of all of this in terms of self-expression and putting yourself out there.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. So here’s another interesting, geeky assessment of culture. Most people were raised in a culture where attraction is the currency in relationships. My job is to get you to be attracted to me, or attract you to me, and then if I get the girl, or get the guy, then I have to keep them attracted to me because I need to get the relationship to last as long as possible because that’s how I measure success.
Attraction is not the right currency anymore either. The currency I’m going to advocate for is what I call self-expression. You’re not trying to wear the right clothes or say the right thing or have the right job, although that is useful in a way. You don’t want to be an asshole. You should probably take a shower every once in a while and have a decent haircut.
There’s some ways to feel good about yourself. But whether you have a mohawk or a mullet or just a conservative haircut, my advice to you is do you have the haircut that you love the most? Are you dressing, within reason--a clown suit might be a little bit much for people, unless you really love dating chicks who are into clowns.
Are you being the person that makes you happiest? Are you being the most self-expressed you can be? Then see who’s attracted to you being that.
We spend so much time and energy trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do rather than asking myself what’s going to make me happiest? When you make that distinction, you’ll be like “Oh, this is what’s going to make me happiest” and you start being that, you don’t have do all the worrying if you’re doing it right, because that’s the attraction model.
You’re being yourself. It’s a little bit more vulnerable because somebody might really reject you for wanting to have a Mohawk and wearing clown suit, or whatever it is. However, the person that is attracted to you, you don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to figure out if you’re doing it right. You just be the best you you can be and that person is attracted to you for you.
Self-expression, while more vulnerable, is a better use of your energy and time because when you take the courageous step in being yourself, it is an act of vulnerability and transparency. You scare the people who don’t like you for who you are away, and nature abhors a vacuum, and the people that see you being you are attracted to you. Self-expression, when you’re being the person that makes you happiest, will trip wire into confidence and higher self-esteem and less worry.
People who are self-expressed and more confident are more attractive. But you can use self-expression as an assessment tool. I am a very goofy, dorky, slutty guy. Not every chick wants to date me.
I’m not trying to get every chick to date me. I only want to date and sleep with the women who want to sleep with and date the goofy, slutty guy.
[Angel Donovan] To that extent, are you linked to certain demographics--communities, basically, primarily--or can you meet people anywhere? Some of the guys who know they want to have more freedom of choice as well. That’s probably why they start getting into how to attract women and some of the other advice. They feel like they don’t have any choice.
[Reid Mihalko] That’s a really good question. How do I want to answer that? I think my theories will stand the test of time.
There’s a lot of diversity out there. I’ve dated and fucked and still fuck models. I date and play with and have friends and lovers who are not models.
There’s a lot of diversity out there. There are a lot of slutty people out there that you don’t know about because you’re not approaching them the right way. But when you’re being transparent and honest and vulnerable.
My reputation now, people know me and know that I’m never going to take advantage of people. I want to leave the campsite better than I found it. My reputation now does my own marketing for me.
I have lovers of mine who send me their lovers because it’s like “Oh my God, you haven’t slept with Reid yet? You need to go sleep with Reid. He’s amazing.”
So there’s a lot of diversity out there and choice. But ultimately, I want to be--even friends with, because this is also kind of friends’ thing. I want to be friends with people, I want to be lovers with people who love me for who I am. And so the choice--
[Angel Donovan] Because that would make you happier.
[Reid Mihalko] My life is easier. I don’t have to put up with all this weird drama and bullshit because somebody’s angry with me because I’m slutty. I’m just using the slutty thing as an example of what’s possible.
If you want to have more options, my advice is figure out who you are and what makes you happiest. Maybe the definition of options is different. You’ll certainly be more interesting and you’ll be more courageous, and probably more interested in just people in general, in what their self-expression is.
So you can walk up to the model or the high-powered lawyer and say “Hey, this is who I am. Who are you?” If you guys are interested in each other, you can take it further because you’ll have the communication skills and the chutzpah and the courage to be like “Hey, I wouldn’t normally date somebody like you but you’re damn interesting and I don’t know if we’re a good fit, but would you be interested in going on a date with me, because I want to get to know you better?”
Then you can take it from there. I think you’re options open up. You’ll definitely be your own--again, I’m goofy and very extroverted, but this stuff works for introverted too. You’re looking for people who like quiet, introverted people.
When you’re being the introvert that makes you happiest and you have some communication skills and some courage, you’ll be able to get out into the world and meet more people. You’ll have the courage to talk about yourself and be curious and inviting to other people. You’re not trying to figure out if you’re getting it right or anything like that.
The way that you’re framing more options--I think more options has to do with clarity and your ability to be courageous and invite people into engagements with you, not so much more people will be attracted to you. That’s just my opinion on that.
[Angel Donovan] Great. Thanks for that. So I’m thinking now back to the main topic now, if you have a guy who’s inhibited sexually--he’s not expressing himself as we’re talking about. What are the impacts on his life? I’m looking here for like why should he be motivated to change that, besides the fact that sex can be better, his relationship may be better, based on the things we’ve been talking about.
Are there reasons he should be really thinking this is something--I should be thinking about developing my sexuality, developing my expression of that, because it’s impacting other areas of my life?
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. The expression piece, the sexuality piece--geeking out on that stuff, learning how to understand women’s bodies, how to understand your own body, how arousal happens, how to control your ejaculation just so that you have that choice. Ejaculation is a choice.
Geeking out on understanding your body and being able to listen to and understand other people’s bodies--when you learn that information and you start feeling more confident about things, you also start feeling more competent about things as well. When you start feeling more confident about your sexuality skill sets and understanding your own body, understanding other people’s bodies, there’s a thing psychologists talk about called the confidence competence loop. When you start feeling more confident about something and are moving towards mastery, you start feeling more competent and being more competent.
As you learn how to be better in bed, you start feeling better about being in bed, and so your performance will often increase, you competency. And the because of the competency piece, you’ll usually get positive feedback from the people that you’re sleeping with and from your own body. The competence feeds into increase your confidence.
You start basically getting a feedback loop of the better you are at something, the better you perform at it, which makes you feel better about it. That starts feeding itself. This also, when you’re thinking about being in the bedroom, because this isn’t just about golf techniques, the people that you sleep with start having a similar experience.
You’re good in bed, they’re feeling more pleasure. That pleasure is associated with you. They will think you’re more of a rock star in bed.
You learning skill sets around sexuality and understanding and being able to master your own body, and how to communicate stuff where you can tell you’re girlfriends or the women that you’re sleeping with “Hey, this is how I like my blow jobs” or “If you do this to my penis, it really likes that.” Not only are you role modeling for them it’s okay for them to tell you how they like to be touched, so that you don’t have to try to read their minds. You’re role modeling it’s okay to talk about sex in general.
You’re teaching them how to create more pleasure for you personally, because it’s something that you like. They get to create that pleasure for you that rocks your world. They get to see themselves rocking your world and then they feel like rock stars and more confident and competent in bed. Everybody’s self-esteem in the bedroom goes up a couple notches--versus what usually happens to most people.
No one’s talking about what they like because they don’t want to say the wrong thing, so then they never get the blow job again. Then everyone starts feeling shut down, not knowing what they’re doing, if they’re doing the right thing, because they’re not getting the feedback. Everyone’s trapped in this weird seventh grade hell of not being able to talk about sex at all.
Then everyone’s self-esteem and confidence levels start getting knocked down. All of a sudden, you don’t want to feel incompetent in bed. So, rather than risk it, again, you stop having sex.
[Angel Donovan] If I’m thinking about this and trying to sum it all up, you could say this is, between quotes, eliminate the guesswork.
[Reid Mihalko] Yeah. And, again, it all comes back to conversation. Can you talk about the risky stuff? This is why you want to date people who have access to their words as well.
How do you do that? You start talking early on. If you scare them away, that was your answer. That’s probably somebody you shouldn’t be with.
Now there’s some better ways to communicate and be polite and respectful. But if you can’t talk about the scary stuff, or the vulnerable stuff, I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot, especially where culture and gender roles and dating and relationships, where it’s heading. If you can get good at the courage piece, the transparency piece, the self-expression piece--if you can be curious about our bodies and geeky about this stuff, and then be brave enough to take workshops and courses and stuff to increase your own emotional IQ, and then date people who are also into increasing their own self-awareness and emotional IQ, you’re going to get into this kind of game way ahead of everybody else.
You want to be the guy who’s first to market in this kind of new type of relating with people. There have been people doing this kind of relating for eons, but it’s not mainstream. It may never be mainstream, but I’m having a great life being happy, being myself and having people love me for it.
Whatever version of you that is, whatever kind of music’s going to come out of you, I want you to have that and be surrounded with people who love how the music comes out of you, rather than you trying to play something that doesn’t make you happy.
[Angel Donovan] That’s great stuff Reid, thank you. Two quick last questions to wind up this podcast episode. First of all, who would you recommend, besides yourself, to get advice from? Someone you respect or learned a lot from in this area. Who would be your top recommendation?
[Reid Mihalko] Sure. If and when we ever get to do this again, I would love to come on and just talk explicitly about clits and vulvas and actually sex stuff. I want to apologize to you listeners who are like “Man, you didn’t talk about sex at all” and invite myself on your show again at some point and we’ll just geek out about sex.
People that I would recommend. There’s a book by Sherri Winston called (sic) Women’s Anatomy of Arousal, which is a great book that will talk about vaginas and clits and the clitoral legs and a bunch of other stuff that’s in Latin. That’s a good book to geek out on.
Another good book on sex is She Comes First by Ian Kerner will help a lot. There’s stuff on my store on my website, different products around oral sex and threesomes and things like that, for those who are geeky about that and polyamory and whatnot. Other good books that I would recommend relationship-wise, which would help you in the bedroom as well.
There’s a great book called Mating in Captivity by Ester Perel, who’s an amazing sex therapist. For those of you who are in long-term relationships--if you’re married, especially if you’re married and have kids and stuff like that, or at some point, you hope to have a relationship that lasts more than a week, Mating in Captivity is really great. It talks about the difference between security, what we need to feel secure, and eroticism, what turns us on, and the dilemma of falling in love with somebody and building a life with them and how building a life with somebody usually isn’t very erotic.
And some interesting ways to hack that situation, so you can still be hot and bothered and sexy with your partners, even if you’ve been with them for 15, 20 years or something like that. So Mating in Captivity is really great.
Please read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and his second book that he co-wrote, which is The Five Languages of Apology. If you want a really quick breakdown of that information, I have another website that’s relationship 10 x or r10x.com. You can sign up for some free training videos and those videos will break down the love language stuff really quickly.
But the language of apology book and the love languages book are brilliant. He’s a preacher, so there’s a little bit of God-speak in some of the books in places, so if you’re an atheist or an agnostic, I apologize in advance, but their content’s great. Those two books, Mating in Captivity, and we talked about Opening Up, The Ethical Slut for non-monogamy stuff, the (sic) Women’s Anatomy of Arousal and She Comes First, those would be great. For you book learners out there, dive into those.
[Angel Donovan] Thanks, man. That’s a great list, a huge list and it covers a lot of topics. It’s great for that.
Okay, we ask this question of everyone who comes on the podcast. What would you your top three recommendations to men to improve their dating, sex and relationships as fast as possible?
[Reid Mihalko] I’m going to go in three different directions with this. Start practicing saying what’s scary for you, with men and women. An opening line, if you’re doing this with strangers, is “Hey, I listened to this crazy podcast and the advice was to practice sharing stuff with people that was scary, and the stuff I don’t want to tell you I’m thinking about or what’s in my head. May I practice sharing something scary with you?”
Start that vulnerability transparency piece around sexuality. For the guys who don’t have a masturbation practice and ejaculating, try practicing masturbation without porn and without thinking about erotic scenarios but actually touching yourself and how it feels good--actually masturbating for what feels good, not what is hot in your head or on the computer screen. That’s really useful in learning how to control your ejaculation. That would be another practice and we can geek out on that stuff at another time and why that’s important.
The third thing? I would interview women for the kinds of sex they like and how they like to be pleasured. You learn a lot about sex if you actually ask women and if you can ask a group of women, even better. Once you get them going, they’ll tell you a lot. It won’t always be the best presented content, but it will be your way of practicing, asking for women to tell you what they like.
One, you can do it as research to get more data but two, you’re also practicing and developing the neuro pathways to be able to speak up and ask women what they like in bed as well. And do that without an agenda. You’re not interviewing them so you can get them into bed. You’re interviewing them because you’re genuinely curious, and again, you can always blame the podcast.
Be like “I listened to this crazy podcast. They said I should be asking this and so I’m doing my homework.” Really, when you do it that way, a lot of people will open up, because they’re like “Okay, I get to help you.”
Most women do not have the experience of men coming up to them, being like “Could you give me some insight into how to pleasure women?” Most women have never had a man ask them that, ever. That’s indicative of a shitty state of affair in the world.
[Angel Donovan] That’s very original. I’m guess you’re saying they should approach this as not hitting on the women, like with no agenda or hitting on the women, and approaching it from the mindset of curiosity, which comes across when you’re coming at it from that way.
[Reid Mihalko] Yep.
[Angel Donovan] Great. Thank you very much, Reid, for being on the podcast. I had a lot of fun today. We covered a lot of ground, so it’s been great to have you on here.
[Reid Mihalko] Thank you so much Angel. I look forward to speaking to you again, or running into you in person sometime soon. And also, if any of your listeners ever meet me in person, please come up and say hi and tell me we met on the podcast, because then we’ll have this shared moment. I really do want to invite people to come and be interactive with me.
[Angel Donovan] That’s great. Thank you Reid. Speak to you soon, man.
[Reid Mihalko] Bye.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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