Shoot your shot, episode transcript

Allison Behringer: Public Service Announcement! If you have a single friend who wants to be dating, look out for them!

Myisha Battle: 100 percent.


Myisha: Welcome back to KCRW's ‘How's Your Sex Life?’. This is your sex and dating survival guide. I'm so glad to be on this journey with you. I'm Myisha Battle and I'm here to tell you it's okay to break up from dating apps or be celibate if you want to, unlike Bumble, I'm not judging. Today, we're going to hear from listeners who need advice on initiating a hookup, getting back into sex, and setting boundaries. And I'm here with Allison Behringer. Hey, Allison!

Allison: Hey, Myisha! Thanks for having me.

Myisha: Oh, such a pleasure! Allison, you have your own KCRW podcast, Bodies.

Allison: I do! Yeah.

Myisha: Lovely. Tell us a little bit about that.

Allison: Yeah, so Bodies is a documentary style show and each episode we kind of go deep with one person, sometimes a community of people, and kind of get to know them and some kind of health journey, health mystery, body exploration story, so they're kind of intimate portraits of a person and then in each episode, we kind of try to tell the larger sociological story. And yeah! We finished our last season, season four, last summer.

Myisha: Amazing. So you're no stranger to going deep?

Allison: Yes.

Myisha: And that's sometimes really necessary when we get tricky questions, so I'm excited to get into that with you, but before we get into our listener questions, I want to ask you something.

Allison: Yeah, ready for it.

Myisha: How's your sex life?

Allison: My sex life is great right now! I'm honestly probably the best it's been.

Myisha: Oh, okay! Are you comfortable sharing why?

Allison: I was single for a long time, dating for a long time, and I'm in a very committed, wonderful relationship, and yeah, it's really good right now!

Myisha: Yay! Okay, great! All right well, let's get into it. Let's hear what our listeners need help with and as a reminder, the questions you'll hear are voiced by actors, not the question askers.

Question 1: Hey Myisha! So I'm in a casual relationship with this guy. We're both in it for the sex and he usually initiates our hookups, but I've been wondering, is it okay for me to reach out instead?

Myisha: So we've got someone who's used to being pursued, it sounds like and they're curious if it's okay to be the pursuer. You know, we don't necessarily know the gender of this person, but I tend to get this question from women a lot, where they are really comfortable having a casual relationship, but there are societal pressures that may constrain them when it comes to acting on their own desires. So it's okay to be in that position of being pursued, but what does it say about you as a woman if you're going out and looking for sex or asking for it? So I think this can be something that's tricky for a lot of women and people in general, I think there's a maybe a shyness that can come with being the initiator, but it's also a really great skill, because in long term partnership, you know, you you want to strike that balance between being the person who's desired and also expressing your desires to your partner and this could be an opportunity, I think, for this question asker, to start flexing that skill now, and being a little uncomfortable, but also in the end getting what you want, because clearly, this person wants to have sex with her.

Allison: Yeah. Yeah. And I like what you're saying about like the practice, because it also makes me wonder if this question asker is hesitant to initiate in other ways with sex? Like, are they hesitant to express to ask for what they want? Are they hesitant to? Yeah, like express their desire within like, once, once they are meeting once these two people are together? Are they may be nervous or hesitant or not sure if it's quote unquote, okay to initiate other things, like maybe they have ideas for what they want to do in bed. And yeah, I'm like, yeah, I guess like the tricky part about the show is we can't ask follow up questions of the question askers, right?

Myisha: I know! Yeah, we've only got this.

Allison: Yeah, yeah, but just based off of that, I would say yes, 100 percent, and maybe also push the person to think about other ways they can initiate. Or maybe it's really scary to send that first text message to meet up, but maybe they can practice, okay, if the if the other person reaches out, but then within once they're meeting up, they can try to initiate in other ways, like within maybe like the safety of, okay, this person has initiated, they're interested, but how can I initiate in a smaller way?

Myisha: Baby steps is what you're saying.

Allison: Yeah. Yeah!

Myisha: Yeah, I like that. Yeah, there's a lot of ways to practice this skill and there's a lot that's related to sex that we think should be innate, or just we, you know, understand, and there's a lot more that's a skill actually. It's not something that we're just immediately, you know, born with an understanding or knowledge for and especially when we add the layer of culture on top of that, and some of the kind of strict gender roles around sexual initiation. Men versus women. Yeah. Yeah. Great! Okay, so, go forward, question asker, and hopefully many many more hookups are in your future! Great! Okay, so we have another question and it is about getting back into sex after taking a break for a pretty long time.

Question 2: I haven't had sex in eight years, I've been thinking about taking up a sex buddy to take care of my itch, but I don't know where to start and honestly, most of the time, men scare me. Thoughts?

Myisha: Men scare me too! Men scare a lot of women. There's that viral video going around about would you rather run into a man or a bear in the middle of the woods? Have you seen this Allison?

Allison: No, I haven't. I haven't. What would you, what would you pick?

Myisha: I'd pick the bear. I'd pick the bear, if it was like any random man versus like any random bear. So it's been really interesting to see that there have been like women asking their male partners, like if our daughter were stuck in the woods, would you rather her run into a bear or a man? But I offer that to this question asker just right off the jump, because yeah, men can be scary. That being said, I think there are many opportunities to connect with some great people out there. What do you think?

Allison: Yeah, I think when I heard this, I thought maybe this person wouldn't do the best just like going on to one of the apps and just like going for the you know, just hook up, just sex buddy kind of thing, that actually this person might benefit from a arrangement where they like really get to know the person first. Because I think sometimes when we hear like, oh, casual sex buddy, like casual hookup person, we think, all right, cool, they're hot, they're down, let's do it, and I wonder if this person like might feel more comfortable easing in if they took like, a slower approach to it? Like having a hookup buddy doesn't need to be this like quick thing where you send a few messages on an app and then go like, you can have a sex buddy that you, that start as a friendship or you know, it can start in different ways. And so I think I would encourage this person to take their time and ease into it. And I don't know, maybe you have advice for like how to find those people? Because I think it's, it's hard! It's hard. I did like a ton of dating and going on random internet dates, people I met and like, it's hard to find good people that you're comfortable enough to have sex with.

Myisha: Yeah, agree. Yeah and especially with this baseline fear.

Allison: Yeah.

Myisha: So I think you're right. I think that maybe jumping in and saying like, a hookup is what I want and need and I won't stop at anything until I get that maybe is the not helpful approach? It's not that you can't do that, you know?

Allison: Right, right.

Myisha: But I think that it may be helpful to think of this as a way that you're sort of expanding your experience of sex. I don't know if this person has completely sworn off like masturbation, but, you know, if you have along with like, not having partnered sex, like that's a good place to start, like, introducing yourself to your body again. That reintroduction can be really great and then thinking about how you can expand into the partnered world, meaning being social, you know, going out and being social, doing the things that you love, finding community or asking your community for support, you know? I think that could be really interesting and fun because someone might have a friend who's like newly divorced or, you know, going through something similar to what you're going through and might be a really nice match for you in terms of pacing, and I don't know, that that community connection feels like it could alleviate some of those feelings of fear around your safety. And I think even expanding on that and going out with friends who know that you're single and looking, that can be really helpful, you know, having a wing woman with you. Yeah! What do you think in terms of like that approach? Do you think there's any other social opportunities for this person?

Allison: Well, yeah, I want to say two things about that. One is I'm curious about the sexual orientation of this person, because they say men. Men scare me, and maybe this person is sure of their sexuality and men are the one and only gender that they want to date or be sexually connected to, but maybe I would offer like, if most men scare you, maybe do some exploring.

Myisha: Mmm yes! I love that.

Allison: Just yeah, I don't know! But of course —

Myisha: Yeah, allow for that!

Allison: Yeah, just just throwing that out there! We don't know that much about this person, and then I guess, something I, this kind of comes from personal experience where let's let's assume that like, this person only wants to date men, like that is their sexual orientation. I've found, in my past dating experience, that going out being social gets me a ton of great friendships, mostly like women, femme friendships, but like going out, doing hobbies, doing cool stuff, it was a lot harder to find straight men that were available. So like, yeah, I'm just asking that question, because I feel like maybe other people have been in that position. They're like, yeah, I'm going out and doing hobbies! I'm making so many friends, but like, I'm not finding someone to have sex with.

Myisha: Yes, yes! And I think it's a blend, right. So when I have clients, I want them to go out and have those full rich experiences where they do meet friends who can potentially connect them to community. So I'm thinking about, like, the ways in which we used to date, pre dating apps, where you know, and granted too, like younger in life, I think, like stage of life factors into this as well, where it's a lot easier to sort of gather, but you know, going out meeting people, they invite you to a dinner party at a friend's house, like maybe there are some men there. So I think it's about sort of expanding what you're generally thinking about when it comes to, like community and those kinds of connections and thinking of it less as like, you're in the center, and there's just this direct line to a partner, and more of a web of, if I am putting myself in situations where it is it's vulnerable to make friends generally speaking too, so you know, but that might be a safer jumping off point for this person. And then once you establish those connections, or once you like, you know, spend more time with your existing friends and let them know that you're single and looking that can also present opportunities, because people will think of you, hopefully, if they're like going to a barbecue or coming up on summer, so "Oh, come to this barbecue with me come to this thing, my husband and I are going to. He has some friends who are going to be there," etcetera. I really think we should be thinking of our, our networks in that way a lot more and relying less on technology, especially when it's like hot outside. And there's lots of fun events where people are gathering, so let's all do that and then see what happens.

Allison: Yeah, also public service announcement. I feel like if you are happily partnered, your job is to introduce your single friends who are looking to other people. One of my friends once said that to me a while ago, she's like, I feel like it's my duty as a happily partnered person to look out for my friends who want to be dating, and keep their eyes open. Because I yeah, I just feel like not everyone's always doing that. And I think you're right, you have to ask for it! Like you're saying, let people know you're looking, but also like, if you have a single friend who wants to be dating, look out for them.

Myisha: 100 percent. 100 percent. I've done my share of, you know, matchmaking and some of it's successful, some of it's not, you know, but I think it's the, it's the looking out that's important. Like, no one's ever been upset with me for doing that. I think like some people get like, "Oh, what if it doesn't work out and it's all weird?" And it's like, well, people are adults, at this point, you know? Like, it's not your fault if things don't pan out the way that people want it to, so.

Allison: Totally.

Myisha: But I think this person is just looking for some fun! So let's give them some fun.

Allison: Yeah!

Myisha: Yeah! Amazing. Great! So we'll be back after a quick break and when we get back we have a question from someone who needs to establish boundaries with their parents when it comes to their sex life.


Myisha: And we're back. Let's take a listen to our last question.

Question 3: I'm 29 and I still live with my parents. I don't know how to have boundaries with them about staying overnight at my boyfriend's place. How do I have this conversation?

Allison: Oh, yeah.

Myisha: Thoughts?

Allison: I feel like, I'm just, I'm hearing my mom's voice in my head right now, which I haven't lived at home since like, the summer after my freshman year of college, but the thing I'm hearing is like "My house, my rules!"

Myisha: Oh, wow, yeah, totally! Totally!

Allison: So, I don't know. Did the person say whether they're paying rent? Or if they're just living there?

Myisha: No, just that they live with their parents still.

Allison: Okay. Oh, tricky. I'm just gonna throw this one right back to you Myisha!

Myisha: [Laughter] That's fine I'll take it!

Allison: I don't know! I don't know, because I like want to, yeah, you go, you go!

Myisha: I'll take it! I haven't had the direct experience of having to navigate this with parents, but also like, I'm a sex coach so my mom is pretty chill. Always has been like, when she went, yeah, we've been like, a little pod for a while she and I. So but I have had this experience of navigating living with my brother and his family. And so, I mean, that was also like, we were all adults, and basically, I would just text and be like, I'm not just, just a heads up, I'm not coming home. You know what I mean? Like, I don't know that your mom needs to know, mom or dad needs to know, like, where you're at! Like, you can spend the night somewhere. That is your right as a, as an adult, to spend your time, and sometimes when I would text my family, it was because I was like crashing with a friend in the city and, you know, just was out and living my life, it wasn't always that I was having sex with someone. So you know, you have this boyfriend. You are an adult. You have rights to express yourself sexually with this person and spend time with them in the ways that you want so, you know, I feel like this, this may sound harsh, but I feel like this is less of a conversation that you need to have and more of a boundary setting that you need to, to state explicitly that, you know, if you don't hear from me, I will be home. You know, if you don't hear from me, I will be out or I will make sure to give you a heads up, I will send you a text to let you know that I won't be home for the night and I'll try to, you know, we can discuss like the timeframe in which that is helpful for you, because parents worry.

Allison: Yes, yes.

Myisha: Yeah, so it's like, you know, I can make sure that I'm deciding whether I'm going to be out all night by 6pm. So that if there's like a shared dinner plan, you know that I'm not going to be there and that's what it's going to need to be because you are an adult, and you can live your life, even if you currently have a situation where you are under the roof of your parents. That's my personal feeling.

Allison: Yeah, I like that. I like that because I think it also addresses the thing of like, you do want to be courteous to the people that you live with, like I've been in living situations before where we're super tight and so if I'm not coming home that night, I send a message to my roommate, so they know, I'm safe and they're not worried about me. So I like that a lot. And yeah, I mean, we don't know anything about this person's family, like, we don't know anything about the culture or conversations they've had in the past, so it could be the case that like this is going to be you know, them setting boundaries is going to start a difficult conversation, but I also wonder if this person might be just like building this into a bigger deal than they think? Like, sometimes that happens to me when I'm like, oh, I don't know if, like, if I share this, I'm just thinking especially about my younger self, like share this with my mom or try to talk about it, but I think like relationships with our parents can change and grow and like I've sometimes been surprised when I've shared things or set a boundary that I thought I might get push back on and my mom's like, okay, just, you know, let me know when you'll be back or you know, something like that. So, yeah, I like what you're saying of like, the advice to just go for it, set your boundary, and then okay, if harder conversations need to be had and then that's going to happen but just like go in kind of like alright, kind of easy, breezy. Not going to be home tonight and then set that firmly. Yeah, I like that.

Myisha: Well, I would love to hear from any and all of our question askers any follow up. You know, did you expand your community and find that person to hook up with? Did you tell your parents that you're setting this boundary and how did that you know, trickle down and affect your relationship with your partner, your relationship with your family? I would love to hear any and all follow up from our question askers today, but we're gonna move into our final segment and I actually have some questions for you! They're all dating and relationship oriented. Basically, what we'll do is I'll read a few questions, and you can pick a question to answer. How does that feel?

Allison: Great!

Myisha: Okay, cool. So here are your choices. A. What's the worst way you've ever been dumped?

Allison: Ooo!

Myisha: Going straight for the traumatic story! B. What's the best way someone's asked you out?

Allison: Oh!

Myisha: That's a fun one to think about, or C, do you like to plan the date or be swept off your feet?

Allison: I would answer the worst way I've been dumped. I also have a pretty good story for how I've asked someone else out. Can I do two? [Laughter]

Myisha: Listen, you can do double.

Allison: Okay. This is my worst getting dumped story. Okay, I was in high school, I think I was a sophomore, and I was totally in love with this guy. He had one of those like old Ford explorers that were really popular in like the early aughts

Myisha: Ugh, love!

Allison: But it was a two door and a stick shift!

Myisha: Okay, hot!

Allison: Yeah, yeah! And I was just, I was, we didn't say I love you, but I was definitely in love with him. We dated for like two or three months probably, and then when he wanted to break up with me, he had my friend do it!

Myisha: Ohhh, ooo.

Allison: Like he broke up with me through a friend! And we're not in middle school, we're in high school. And that was when the John Mayer album Continuum had just came out, and I just like cried myself to sleep every night listening to that album. So yeah, that's definitely the worst way I've been dumped!

Myisha: I'm so glad that you took us there, because I think the hardest way I've been dumped also happened in high school, and I just I'm curious. I kind of want to ask this to every guest now because I'm like, is it the worst? Do we like, peak, dramatic wise? You know, or are those like, maybe it's true, the first cut is the deepest, you know? Because yeah, I remember just violently throwing myself around crying as a result of this one breakup. So yeah, it's dramatic.

Allison: Yeah.

Myisha: Well, yeah, I mean, wonder where that guy's at now!

Allison: Yeah. I know.

Myisha: You do?

Allison: Yeah, of course.

Myisha: I love that you admit that!

Allison: We actually had a strange reconnection like, five, six years ago, but then it fizzled out again. Anyway!

Myisha: Okay! Allison! I feel like you gave us a lot. So do you, do you still want to talk about the favorite way that you've asked someone out?

Allison: I'm really excited to share this story. I feel very proud.

Myisha: Good!

Allison: Okay, so this is when I was living in Brooklyn and there's this amazing food co-op and like, everyone's really tight knit, there's, it's, it's an amazing, magical place. And so I noticed this cute guy in the produce aisle. And then I was like, oh, he's cute. And then we got up, we happened to be like, checking out right next to each other. And it's really, it's a super small place, so we're very like, almost shoulder to shoulder, you know?

Myisha: Is this Park Slope Food Co-op?

Allison: Yes, it is the Park Slope Food Co-op.

Myisha: [Laughter] Ok!

Allison: Of infamy of fame.

Myisha: I've been on a date there!

Allison: What's that?

Myisha: I've been on a date there.

Allison: Oh! Amazing, amazing, I need to hear about this. So, and then I hear him next to me, and he says, "Oh, no, I forgot my ATM card!" and like the co-op is so old school that it doesn't take credit cards, you either need cash, or like your bank, debit card, and so I was like opportunity! And so I said to him, "Oh, if you want, I can just pay for you, and then you can just, you know, send me a Venmo!" And he's like, "Oh, that'd be so amazing! Thank you so much!" And so I paid you know, like 20 bucks or whatever for his little thing of groceries, and then he Venmoed me, and so we were like Venmo friends. And then I was like, oh my gosh, I have to take advantage of this! So then later I sent him, like a few hours later, I sent him eight dollars and a little like, cocktail emoji, and then I said “Drinks on me later?”

Myisha: Oh my god! Yes!

Allison: Oh, and then I left my phone number and then I put my phone number like in the, in my payment to him, and then I was like, you know, heart racing, whatever. And then I don't know, probably like 15 minutes later, I got a text message and he said, "Hey Allison, like, I'm so flattered. Thank you so much for like this offer, but I'm actually dating someone, but like, thank you so much like, this kind of made my day."

Myisha: Aww, that's so sweet.

Allison: And then he returned the eight dollars on Venmo, but you know, like, it wasn't successful, but it's still my best story because it was just like, I came away being like yeah!

Myisha: You did that! You did that!

Allison: Shot my shot and it didn't work out, but he was like oh, someone asked me out on a date! And I asked someone out on a date and it was great!

Myisha: You know in heterosexual dynamics a lot of men don't get to have that experience! And I think, you know, as scary as men can be, they need love.

Allison: Yeah!

Myisha: So maybe, if we! It's not our responsibility to change men, but I think you know, when you start, when you have those moments, to like, act on your own desires, it's just such an inspiration that, you know, this was a very public moment you like, seize the opportunity to help someone, and then went that extra step further to be like, and I think you're cute and want to hang out with you. So yeah, well, thank you so much, Allison! This has been really really fun. Before you go, please tell listeners where they can find you.

Allison: Yeah! So I'd love to point people to Bodies, the podcast. We're also on Instagram and Twitter at Bodies Podcast. I'm not personally on Twitter much these days, so I would probably point you to my Instagram at A-L-B 1919.

Myisha: Amazing. Thanks again for being here!

Allison: Yeah! Thank you so much!

Myisha: And thank you for listening! We love hearing your questions, keep sending those in, and we also want to hear your stories. It's still Pride Month and we want to hear how you're doing. Are you exhausted? Have you run into six of your exes? Are you boo'd up for the summer? Tell us about it! Just send us a voice memo at sex life at kcrw dot org and we might feature it on the show.


Myisha: ‘How's Your Sex Life?’ is a KCRW original podcast. Our producer is Andrea Bautista. Our executive producer is Gina Delvac. This episode was mixed by Nick Lampone. Our music was created by Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs. Thanks so much to Women's Audio Mission, Arnie Seipel and Jennifer Ferro. And last but not least, a big shout out to our voice actors. We'll let them introduce themselves on the way out.

VO 1: This is Lizzie Schliessmann. Thanks for listening!

VO 2: This is Lena Ransford. Be sure to follow the show and share with a friend.

VO 3: This is Michelle Pantoja. See you next week for another episode of How’s Your Sex Life