Tori grew up in a church that preached purity culture, which mostly taught her what she didn’t want—a life with far more shame than sex, compounded by firmly fixed instructions around gender. She followed her pleasure down roads less traditionally traveled and created polyamorous and non-monogamous relationships with people across the gender spectrum. It works for her, her partners, and the children for whom she wants to make a better, healthier world.
Tori is 37-years-old. She describes herself as Black, pansexual and polyamorous. She has a partner who she lives with, plus she’s in a relationship with another couple. In terms of gender, she uses the she/her pronouns, but said, “Gender and I are not on speaking terms.” We talk about that in our conversation. She grew up in Evangelical purity culture.
TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO EXPAND)
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am sex and intimacy coach, Leah Carey, and this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: Hey, friends. As you know, I’m always trying to find people to share different aspects of sexuality with us. One aspect we haven’t covered in previous episodes are people on the asexual and aromantic spectrum, which was why I am so excited that today’s guest, Tori, describes herself aromantic. And because each person experiences these attributes differently, I’m going to let her describe exactly what that means to her.
Tori is 37 years old. She describes herself as black, pansexual, and polyamorous. She has a partner who she lives with, plus she’s in a relationship with another couple. In terms of gender, she uses the she/her pronouns, but said, “Gender and I are not on speaking terms.” You’ll hear more about that in our conversation. She grew up in evangelical purity culture. I am so pleased to introduce Tori!
Tori, I am so excited to have this conversation with you. You and I don’t know each other at all. I happen to find you because something that you had posted on Twitter came across my screen. And when I clicked on you to see who you are and learn about you, in your Twitter profile, it said aromantic. And I was like, “Oh, God. I want to talk to her because I haven’t been able to get anyone who’s aromantic yet.” So, thank you so much for saying yes.
TORI: Yeah, absolutely.
LEAH: So, I start every interview in the same place, which is what is your first memory of sexual pleasure?
TORI: This is going to be very telling of my childhood.
TORI: So, it’s a whole story. So, I was homeschooled. So, my mom had us sitting in these little desks. Usually, she’d be behind us talking on the phone or whatever. I don’t remember. I don’t know what they were talking about. It was all very weird to me. And I always thought I would get in trouble because if I was wearing jeans, you know how they would rub up against you? Yeah. I would massage my clitoris with my left hand as I’m doing whatever I’m supposed to be doing with my right hand.
TORI: I’m trying to make sure that my mom doesn’t see me because good feelings are bad.
TORI: I guess I’ve always been sneaky. I’ve always been subversive.
LEAH: So, how old do you think you were when this started?
TORI: Let’s see. Seven or eight? Yeah.
LEAH: And did you have a sense that this rubbing and this pleasurable feeling was leading somewhere? Did you come to something you would now recognize as an orgasm or was it the rubbing enough?
TORI: Yeah. No. I don’t think so. Yeah, not that I can think of. Yeah. It just felt good, so why not?
LEAH: Yeah. So, you said anything that feels good is bad.
LEAH: And I have a feeling there is a story there.
TORI: Yes, yes.
LEAH: So, yeah, how did you come to that idea, I think what we could easily call shame, around sexuality? How did that develop for you?
TORI: It was preached pretty regularly at church and at home. As I’ve said, I was homeschooled. So, it was just part of what we learned was purity culture and no sex before marriage. And the only sex in a marriage that counts is a cis-het couple. So, it was like if you obey all of the rules, then you will have a really awesome sex life when you get married. It was just a very strange environment to grow up because just for me, for my body, it just didn’t make a lot of sense.
I knew why I had to do it from the religious perspective. I knew why I had to perform this purity culture thing. But in terms of fits, I’m the opposite end of the spectrum. In Evangelicalism, all women are coded as asexual, which is that’s a whole conversation. But women don’t have sexual desires is basically how it’s communicated. And so, that was really where I was raised. It was like, yeah, body shaming and sex negative in all of the ways. It didn’t work. I have several siblings. And yeah, none of us waited to have sex except I think one before getting married. So, it doesn’t pay off. It was a lot of effort for zero reward.
LEAH: So, you said that women are coded as asexual. Does that mean that there is also an expectation that women won’t have any pleasure from sex? Once you get there, are you allowed to have pleasure?
TORI: I would say yes. In our context, it was this subject that a lot of people who were not in any way qualified I think to write about sex and sexuality. There was a whole genre of Christian sex manuals essentially. But again, it was all from this very sex negative perspective where, yeah, women don’t have any sexual desires. They can enjoy sex if you do it the long way asexually.
LEAH: Which basically means paying attention to them.
TORI: But it is really irrelevant to the relationship whether or not you enjoy sex. The advice is very consistency have sex even if you don’t feel like it. Have sex with your husband even if you don’t feel like it.
LEAH: Yeah. Wow, So, at what point did you start recognizing that this was probably not going to work for you?
TORI: I had several points. So, the first little sign for me was my mom got me a purity ring, which was something that was really popular at the time. And I was at work one day and I was trying to put stuff away and I was fiddling with my ring because I have ADHD. So, I’m always just doing stuff with my hands. And my ring slipped off and just disappeared like gone, gone. I was standing behind the cash register. There wasn’t anywhere that it could really have gone. I looked because I worked there.
TORI: I looked several times and it was just gone, just vanished which I was like I feel like this is a sign. And then, I guess the other really big thing was when I first started having sex when I was 19. I knew that I was supposed to feel bad about it. I knew that I was supposed to shame myself. And I was just like I don’t really understand why people make this a thing. I know I’m supposed to feel guilty and I thought it was fun. And I don’t know why people make this such a huge deal. It’s just not.
In context, you do have to be responsible and get consent, but in evangelical churches people are obsessed with sex and they talk about it non-stop honestly. It’s up there with abortion like being anti-choice in terms of their functional values, their lived values. Yeah. So, I think that that was probably the biggest thing. I was just like I don’t understand. Why is this such a huge deal? Why do people make this such a big deal? Yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. So, you said sex for the first time at 19. Was that your first contact with somebody or had you been kissing, making out, playing with people before that?
TORI: No. Let’s see here. The one thing that was really, really great about it was I met my boyfriend at a Christian college, Bible college and, yeah, I was in one of his dance classes. I’ll put it that way.
LEAH: Got you.
TORI: So, just because we knew we weren’t supposed to have sex, we did everything else. It was very progressive over the summer. Even though in retrospect, I would see that activity as sex, but in terms of PIV sex. But it was nice because it’s not scary when you take your time with it, which was what I absolutely loved. And there was just this idea of if you have a vagina, it’s supposed to hurt a lot, the first time. I was like I didn’t have that. It was great.
LEAH: Yeah, because amazingly when you’re ready and turned on and lubricated and you’re really wanting it, it doesn’t have to hurt the first time. That is the most ridiculous cultural narrative we have, but it’s because we assume that it’s going to happen when the boy is ready and the girl’s just going to go along for the ride.
LEAH: You said you did everything, but PIV. SO, does that include PIA, penis in anus?
TORI: No. Fingering totally, but yeah. A lot of people do do that. That’s the cheat. Yeah.
LEAH: Yeah. That’s what I’ve heard that a lot of people in purity culture have anal sex because it’s not vaginal. And so, therefore, they’re still a virgin.
TORI: It’s so ridiculous.
LEAH: So, the first time you enjoyed yourself, it sounds like?
TORI: Yeah. In retrospect, I still think back on it very fondly.
LEAH: That’s amazing.
LEAH: How long did the two of you continue together?
TORI: Really, we only dated for five or six months. Yeah. That feels like a long time when you’re 19.
LEAH: Yeah. It does.
LEAH: And so, what happened next for you in terms of your sexuality?
TORI: So, I was like I know I’m not supposed to do this. I tried to put a lock on it. Well, I’m supposed to wait for marriage. I guess I’ll do that. But then, I ended up in a relationship with another person and I was just like again these rules are just so weird and don’t make any sense. And I don’t understand them. Why are we doing this? So, yeah, I ended up moving in with this person and we had sex. And my parents tried to make me feel very, very bad about it. And again, in retrospect, I’m like why were you being so childish?
TORI: But yeah, I was just like I don’t know. You guys are weird. You’re making this a thing and I just really feel like it’s not a thing.
LEAH: Did you have a good relationship with your parents in other aspects?
TORI: That’s a really hard question to answer. So, as a child, my dad was my absolute favorite person on earth. My dad was my hero. And my mom, we had a pretty antagonistic relationship. I think that she felt like I was trying to hurt her like get under her skin because I would correct her parenting a lot. Because I just had this very deep internal sense of justice and I don’t even want to say right and wrong, but I had this deep internal sense of morality. And my mom just didn’t live up to those expectations that someone who from my perspective at that time, someone who had Christian values should hold. Can I tell you a story?
LEAH: Yes, please.
TORI: Great. Okay. So, when I was, I don’t know, 13 or 14, we went on vacation and we knew some of the families and we didn’t know some of the other families. But all the kids were the same age like early-ish high school, mid-high school to little little and it was a super incredible experience.
One of the boys and I, we were having a conversation and talking. And there’s these huge pine trees in the back and somebody put a swing on one of them. He started pushing me on the swing, which was fine and we were just chatting. He ended up pushing me from the front because it wasn’t a back-and-forth swing. It went all the directions. And so, he had his hands on my breasts and I thought he was very cute. So, I was like whatever I’m not going to make a thing about this.
But my mom saw this and she decided to punish me for it because it was my fault, I guess. It was like there was maybe implied consent, but there was no verbal consent. From my perspective, I was fine with it, as I said. But from my mom’s perspective, I was causing him to stumble. I was tempting a boy. And so, I confronted my parents on this last year. And I was like, “Look. This isn’t okay. You literally punished me for from your perspective was me being molested. That’s what you saw and you punished me for that. I had consequences for that.”
And my mom already didn’t really like me. I’m 13 and I’m telling her how to parent. And so, yeah, last year, I was like, “Okay. I am more than happy to talk to you as soon as we show up all together in family therapy. We will have a conversation.” I was like, “Until then, do not contact me.” And I got a very defensive email back several hours later and she goes, “I don’t remember that.” I’m like, “Okay. But if you don’t remember it and I’m telling you that it happened, do you not care? Again, from your perspective, you believe that I was being molested. And you’re not going to ask me how I am?” She was like, “I don’t remember that happening and I was a very protective parent.” And I was like, “Okay. We’re done.”
TORI: Yeah. So, I hope my parents take me up on this one day because that would be awesome.
LEAH: But until then, you’ve been out of contact?
TORI: Thankfully, I’m super tight with my siblings. They’re all awesome, so I’m very grateful for that.
LEAH: And are they in contact with your parents?
TORI: Yes, in different amounts. Yeah.
LEAH: Are you aching to explore new vistas of your sexuality, but you’re not quite sure how to proceed? Are you wondering if your desires are normal? Are you afraid you’ll have to blow up your existing relationship to have the kind of sex you want? Or maybe you’re hearing these conversations every week and thinking, “I understand what she’s talking about. I just don’t know how to do it in my life?” Well, that’s where personalized and intimacy coaching comes in.
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I work with clients who are motivated to explore many different areas of sexuality including things like learning how to talk about your sexual desires with current or future partners, learning to date after a long time out of the dating pool, questioning if you might queer, challenging body image security in sexual relationships, dipping your toes into BDSM or consensual non-monogamy, exploring sexuality for later in life virgins, recovering from infidelity, and so much more.
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LEAH: So, it sounds like your parents had a very particular idea about how life was supposed to be and it did not end up working out for them?
TORI: I would absolutely say that that is true in parenting terms. Yes. And I’ve wondered for years what they thought of that. I’m like you put in so much effort to get us to act a certain way. That’s just not how people are. People are not robots. You cannot preprogram them to run a certain script to run on a certain narrative. It’s not your choice ultimately, where as a parent now, I also have to remind myself of. Ultimately, my kids are going to be who they’re going to be and I just need to be a safe landing place for them.
LEAH: Are you parents still in the church?
LEAH: At what point did you leave the church?
TORI: Let’s see. So, I started checking out around the time I turned 30. I was married at the time and we were in a very, very abusive church. And there was lots of shame, lots of lecturing, lots of people being very condescending, older folks being condescending to young families. And yeah, it was all built on this idea of community. And we were all really close and we all look out for each other, except that’s too much work. I can’t help you.
Simultaneously, because at that point I had a three-year-old and a newborn and that made me really start thinking about faith, religion through a very different lens because I’m like I have my kids and I am extremely protective of them in ways that I feel like are healthy. And I don’t take pleasure in harming my children, which is a very, very, low bar.
LEAH: You would hope.
TORI: And neither God nor my mother can even reach that bar. At some point, I was just sitting around, I’m mulling this over because I’m like again, this is so weird. I don’t get this. Why are we supposed to be doing this? Why are we supposed to be hating queer people? It even got to the point where I was realizing that I was very extremely attracted to women, which was much, much earlier. Yeah. At some point, it just clicked with me. I was like okay, so if the God of the Bible that I was taught about was my next-door neighbor, I would call the cops on him.
TORI: And I do not believe in the cops. I do not believe in calling the cops. I would call the cops on this person because they are literally torturing their children. I was like I’m sorry. That’s not love. And if that’s the God that exists and I find that out the hard way, then great. That’s awesome. You suck and I do not want to be with you for eternity. Go away. That was a really big, enlightening moment.
And I went back to school and I was taking biology classes, which was amazing because I had been given all of this nonsense about the earth is 6,000 years old and Noah and the flood were actual things that actually happened. And now, having access to have all of this information and seeing how it actually makes sense. Because the thing about the Bible is you have to force it to make sense because it doesn’t. It’s not a cohesive narrative. It is not a history book. It is not a biology book and people try to use it like that.
And so, evolutionary biology and all of the information that we have, all of the data that we have collected, I was so excited to learn this. I was like this makes so much more sense than anything I have ever read in the Bible and I have been reading the Bible for three decades. Yeah. It was a little bit of a gradual process, but this was the highlights as I began to leave. And then, it ended up being really great because I get to have these incredible conversations with my kids about the fact that we’re all unique and these incredible things that exist in the universe and that doesn’t even make any sense and also we’re bacteria in the grand scope of the universe.
TORI: We’re not even bacteria like single-celled organisms in the grand scheme of the universe. Nature doesn’t make me feel bad about myself.
LEAH: I’m into that.
TORI: So, yeah. I’m like I’m here for this. This is great.
LEAH: Yeah. So, before we started recording and I got your biographical information, you said that you consider yourself pansexual. You identify as pansexual. I noticed when you were talking about that person who you moved in with that you were very careful not to use pronouns. So, I’m curious was that person not a man?
TORI: No. Yeah. I noticed that too and I’m not 100% sure why I did that, but it was just this moment of me going, oh, I can make my own life apart from my parents.
LEAH: Yeah. So, at what point did you have an interaction with someone who was not a cis man?
TORI: So, honestly for me it was pretty late. As I said, I got married when I was 26 and then I ended up leaving the church when I was 30, 31. I definitely knew from a very young age as I said that I was sexually attracted to women. I guess it really comes down to just to get away from the binary is I don’t care what is in your pants. It does not affect who I’m attracted to. Yeah.
I had just little random experiences that tipped me off. And I was like, okay. This is a thing and I’m not supposed to act on it because it’s “sinning.” I talked to my gay friends about it. I was very open. I was like yeah. I am definitely sexually attracted to women and nonbinary folks. And I just don’t categorize people that way. Gender as a construct does not serve me in any way. I ended up getting divorced, just to clarify and started going on dates with everybody. I didn’t have any gender filters on my little apps.
TORI: Yeah. Honestly, it was really great. And so, I met really cool people and was sable to have different kinds of sex than what I had had up until that point.
LEAH: So, what was your first experience with a woman like?
TORI: It was amazing and really sincerely I was coaching myself. I was like you might feel really guilty because you have been coded to feel guilty. You’ve been coded to feel like this is sinning. Even though it was something that you know you want to do and your body wants to do it, just for context. And I’m walking myself through it. It’s not that big of a deal. But it was amazing. It was so great and very much why didn’t I do this sooner?
TORI: I was at her place and driving, going back home and I was like yeah. Again, I just don’t feel bad. People tell me to feel bad about sex and I just do not feel bad about it. I don’t know. That programming just didn’t stick very well with me.
TORI: Yeah. It was amazing, 10/10, highly recommend, have sex with women.
LEAH: So, something else that you mentioned is that you have a complicated relationship with your own gender. So, I’m curious what that means to you.
TORI: Yeah. Like I said, it’s similar to not caring about other people’s gender or parts. I just do not. Gender as a social construct, it doesn’t serve me in any way. I definitely present as hella femme. So, I’m fine with that. That’s how I feel comfortable. Okay.
Here’s a good example growing up. I would never change the pronouns listening to songs on the radio because there would be all of these love songs and if it was a guy singing about some girl, I wouldn’t change it. I was like this doesn’t matter. I just don’t care. People are like, “Hey, guys.” I’m like, “I’m a guy. What? Whatever.” It doesn’t matter to me.
So, yeah, in terms of the social construct, I just don’t care. It creates so much trauma in so many ways and so many people are being harmed and I’m like I’m over it. I don’t care. You can call me whatever. You decide. I’m a man. Cool. Whatever works for you. This is not my deal at all. That’s on you.
LEAH: How do you talk to your kids about gender?
TORI: I try to be really clear with them on some people don’t feel like they fit in the bodies that they have. Somebody might be born with a penis, but they don’t feel like a boy in any way and their brain tells them, “You are not a boy. You are a girl or you are nonbinary or the entire spectrum of gender, whatever that is.” And that’s fine. Some people’s brains are just wired differently.
And I’ve really just put it like that. I’m like, “It’s brain structures and you get to decide for yourself. Everyone gets to decide for themselves what their gender is and we don’t need to think that that’s weird. Some people are cisgender and then some people are trans. Some people are intersex and many people just again like me with gender. Some people just don’t choose.”
And so yeah, I’ve always been really, really clear with them and I know that it can be a little messy with younger kids to try to explain that to them, but I’ve also been intentional about making sure that they have books that feature families of all different configurations and characters where you don’t know what the person’s gender is and they never say and it’s fine. So, it’s really important for me to make sure that my kids know that we treat humans with respect. Period. That’s it. The end. And people have autonomy and whatever they decide that works for their body is their decision and theirs alone and we respect it. This is not a conversation.
LEAH: Yeah. And do they consider themselves boys? How does that conversation go if you’re not defining people for them? How does that conversation go?
TORI: Yeah. So, my oldest I think he was 5 and he was like, “Mom. I’m not a boy anymore. I’m a girl.” Just out of the blue and I was like, “Sweet. Let’s do it. That’s awesome.” And I asked him, “Do you want me to use she/her when I’m talking about you?” Both of my kids use he/him for everybody.
TORI: Everyone is he/him. Yeah. I was like, “Do you want me to change?” He said, “No. whatever.” And then, I was like, “Cool. Sweet.” He just tried it on and a week or two later, he’s like, “I’m not a girl anymore. I’m a boy.” I’m like, “Great. I’m glad that you got to do that.”
LEAH: I love that. I love it.
TORI: Yeah. It was amazing. It really was because, yeah, I’m like gender is like outfits. You just put on whatever feels good.
LEAH: So, let’s get into the aromantic piece.
LEAH: For people who are listening, who are not familiar with what that term means, could you give us the 90-second version?
TORI: Yes, absolutely. So, aromantic means that sex and intimacy are two separate bowls. And so, having sex does not lead to any kind of intimacy. It does not need to lead to any kind of intimacy. For me, at least if I choose that, then that’s fine. That’s great. That’s wonderful. That’s lovely. But in terms of having to have a relationship configured in such a way that sex and romance and intimacy are all together as one package, they’re all separated out and they do not touch for me. I just choose what I want within the framework of consent and respect and autonomy. Cool. Let’s do it.
So, yeah, there just isn’t the emotional kind of component naturally. I am a very open loving person. That’s just how I’m wired, so I have truly really incredible relationships that are romantic. And I have really incredible relationships that are very intimate and don’t involve sex and when I have relationships that I enjoy sex and we’re friends.
LEAH: Also I think we should clarify that every person who is aromantic is probably going to define this a little bit differently and every person who is asexual is going to define that a little bit differently. For you, being aromantic doesn’t mean that you are not at all interested in romance ever. It just means that it’s not necessary for you to have a relationship with somebody that’s sexual. Do I understand that correctly?
TORI: Romance I guess is a lot like gender for me in that I just don’t really understand it. I assume I’m neurodivergent in some way. I’m not sure. I haven’t actually been tested for anything except ADHD, but I get that it’s something that people are into and I just am so glad that people have that. And I just don’t get it. I literally forget that Valentine’s Day is a holiday.
TORI: It’s like I love to do things with my friends and I love to do things with my partner and I don’t need that. I very much feel like I can meet my own needs. And some of those needs are emotional. Some of those needs are intimate. I don’t have any need for romance. That’s just whatever. So, yeah, that’s just how it fits for me is that there’s just no overlap. If you want to take me out to a fancy dinner and I will get all dolled up and we will do whatever and walk around downtown and be really loud or obnoxious or whatever it is we want to do, great. Love it.
TORI: If you want to give me flowers, I love flowers. Give me all of the flowers.
TORI: But yeah, in terms of just things that I think about, I definitely try to be very caring and aware with my partners, paying attention to things that they like and enjoy. But yeah, for me, it just doesn’t really register.
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LEAH: So, you have a live-in partner. What made you decide that this was somebody who you wanted to make that kind of commitment with?
TORI: Honestly, a huge part of it given again how I’m wired is we have really incredible conversations and I find a lot of my identity in being able to wrestle with these very complex ideas and topics and I’m always trying to clarify my own morality. I’m always trying to make sure that I am being respectful of all people. We all goof I get it. But I’m always trying to be the best version of myself to all of my people and being able to just have someone who you can just have eight-hour long conversations with. Leave the house to go on a hike, which that has been our thing since we met. You can just sit down and spend the entire day talking and I love that. That’s incredible to me.
LEAH: There are people who will hear that and not understand how you can have that kind of connection without feeling a romantic bond along with it.
TORI: Yeah. I think there’s absolutely intimacy there and being able to be vulnerable and honest. That’s incredible. My closest friends, this is how all of us are. This is just very much how we operate. And when we spend time with each other, in that respect it’s not different from a friend. It’s not different from having a best friend or however you want to call it, however you rank friendships, which is corny.
TORI: Anyway, that was really what it was. It’s like we’re actually really, really good friends and we like fucking.
LEAH: I love it.
TORI: This is great. This is awesome.
LEAH: And does this person use he/him pronouns?
LEAH: Okay. Does he have other partners?
TORI: Okay. So, that’s an interesting thing. Okay. So, we met on Bumble. We started dating. And at some point, we had a conversation about the other people that we’ve met on the app. And it turned out I was the second date that he went on on this app. And I’m like, “I don’t even know how many dates I went on on the app.”
TORI: I’m not actually sure. I was really frustrated by that. I was like, “That’s sex. You just got super lucky.”
TORI: And I have just been trying to keep my head above water. Yeah. So, I was like, “You have to go on more dates. This is essential because this was not fair. This is not equitable.”
TORI: And then COVID happened, so the plague. Before that we had been talking about other kinds of potential situations and Portland has a lot of really cool sex clubs. And so, it didn’t have to be a date date. But having sex with other people or whatever. I was just like, “That’s a thing that you should do.”
LEAH: So, given that answer, does he consider himself monogamous?
TORI: That is a really good question and I would say no. I was pretty like, “This is who I am and I’m just not wired for monogamy. That is not unsustainable for me at all. I can promise you that nothing’s going to happen and I will be not telling the truth. I know myself well enough at this point to know that that’s just not going to be a thing. I can say it to make you feel better, but it’s lying. I’m lying. So, I’m not going to do that.”
LEAH: Did you cheat during your marriage?
TORI: That was a complicated story because I had asked, “Can we open our marriage?” And so, we were very much on the same page with that. And then at some point, there was some communication breakdown and I ended up having sex with a really old friend like hooking up with a really old friend a couple of times and we’re still super close. He thought that we had gone back to being closed and I did not realize that. Yeah.
So, then we had several long ugly tearful conversations about that and it ended up closing our marriage again, which was in terms of trust I get that. Whatever happened here there was miscommunication. I guess it’s the lens that you’re using and I completely understand for some people it’s like that’s totally cheating, even if you had already said, “We’re going to be open.” I respect that. I understand that many people feel that way. But yeah, so that’s what happened.
LEAH: That’s another great reminder just how excellent your communication needs to be in order to have an open relationship or to be a polyamorous person. I think there are so many people who look that and say that it’s immoral or unethical when in fact to do it well you have to be extremely communicative and extremely honest or things can fall apart and get bad real, real fast.
TORI: Yeah, absolutely.
LEAH: So, you also mentioned that you have been involved with a couple and I’m interested to hear more about that.
TORI: This is hilarious. So, they actually met each other through my Twitter account.
TORI: If that tells you anything about the dynamic and they’re open. I don’t know. It’s the same thing. We just have these amazing conversations and a lot of shared values and ideas and also, it’s fun to have sex.
LEAH: So, if they’re open, do you primarily interact with them as a couple or each one of them individually or all? Is there any play around that?
TORI: Yeah, all of them. So, we have our individual relationships with each other obviously and then we also interact as a group. They’re awesome. So far, it works. I don’t know. I guess I’ve just been really lucky that way. I’ve just had a lot of really positive experiences around sex and sexuality.
LEAH: Not only is that great to hear, but it’s particularly amazing given the background you came out of.
TORI: Yeah, very true.
LEAH: Yeah. So, just to circle back to that, do you ever find yourself slipping back into that old shame thought pattern or has that been so thoroughly weeded out that it’s just not even on your radar anymore?
TORI: They had a hard time keeping it on my radar when I was all the way in. So, at this point, it’s like no. It doesn’t come back for me in that way.
LEAH: And now, it’s time for the Lowdown, the things we’re dying to know, but would usually be too polite to ask any good girl.
LEAH: Do you have sex on your period?
LEAH: What’s the approximate number of sex partners you’ve had?
TORI: Question mark, a couple dozen.
TORI: I don’t know. 35, 40, something like that. I’m not actually sure. I could count it up, but yeah. It wouldn’t be worth the time.
LEAH: It’s fine.
LEAH: Have you ever had sex with someone with a racial identity than your own?
LEAH: What’s your favorite sex toy?
TORI: Sex toys really don’t do it for me.
TORI: Yeah. I’m like a cave woman. I just use my fingers.
LEAH: Fingers, tongues.
TORI: Yeah, 100%.
LEAH: What’s your favorite sex position?
TORI: I can never remember the name of it. Why am I like this that I can’t remember the name of it?
TORI: But it’s like starting out with missionary, but my legs are over their shoulders. I don’t remember what that’s called. I know some people call it pregnancy.
LEAH: Yeah. I don’t actually know names of sex positions either. It’s more important how it feels and not what it’s called.
LEAH: Do you prefer to initiate or for your partner to initiate in the bedroom?
TORI: Either is fine, yeah. It goes both ways. I’m good with that.
LEAH: Are you generally more active or more passive during lovemaking?
TORI: I would say I’m more passive. I’m a little bit vanilla, shockingly in bed.
TORI: Given everything that I have just said, I’m a little vanilla.
LEAH: Do you prefer clit stimulation or penetration?
TORI: Penetration. I am someone who does not have a lot of clitoral orgasms, so yeah. G-spot is where it’s at.
LEAH: Do you enjoy having your breasts played with?
TORI: Yeah, that’s great.
LEAH: Do you think it’s generally easy or challenging for you to orgasm?
TORI: I would say it’s definitely on the easier side.
LEAH: Have you ever faked an orgasm?
TORI: I’m sure I have, yes.
LEAH: Can you orgasm from intercourse or strap-on sex alone without additional stimulation?
LEAH: Do you prefer the orgasm from masturbating or from sex with another person?
TORI: They’re so different. They’re both amazing, but they’re so, so different. I love masturbating, but it’s just I have more control over how it works in that situation. And having less control I love also because it’s a surprise. So, it all works for me.
LEAH: Nice. What kind of touch do you enjoy most?
TORI: What kind of touch? Hmm. I have to think about this for a second. I’ve never really rated it. Honestly, if someone actually knows how to suck on a nipple without making it painful, that is a skill. That is a very, very serious skill, so yeah.
LEAH: All right. Awesome. What are your hard red lines?
TORI: If we talk about it first, cool. Let’s try it.
LEAH: Are there things you’ve tried that you never want to do again?
TORI: Things that I have tried that I never want to do again, nothing I can think of. So far, it’s all been good.
LEAH: Do you have hair down there or are you bare?
TORI: Usually I like to have a little bit of hair, to have some tail feathers.
TORI: So, I’m fine with that. It works out, but just whatever I feel like. In the summer, it’s pretty bare.
TORI: Because I’m in my swimsuit all the time. But otherwise, who cares?
LEAH: Do you enjoy giving blowjobs or oral sex?
TORI: Yeah. Very much.
LEAH: When you give a blowjob to a penis, do you swallow?
TORI: Depends, yes and no. It just depends on how I feel.
LEAH: Do you enjoy receiving oral sex?
LEAH: Do you ever worry about how you taste or smell?
TORI: No. I’m sorry. That’s not my problem.
TORI: I taste and smell great. I don’t know. If you’re someone who doesn’t like how vulvas work, then that’s on you.
LEAH: I love it.
LEAH: Do you enjoy dirty talk during sexual encounters?
TORI: This is not going to come as a surprise to you as we’ve been having this conversation. I like cracking joke while having sex. If I can make my partner burst out laughing, that’s really emotionally rewarding for me.
LEAH: I love it.
TORI: Dirty talk is fine, but again that’s more of a romantic thing that I just don’t fully click with. Yeah.
LEAH: What belief did you have about sex as a child or teenager that you wish you could go back and correct her on now?
TORI: It would be more of a statement around your body isn’t bad and all of these people who are trying to tell you that it’s bad, they have an agenda. They’re not actually looking out for you because I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with my body. I definitely went down the body negative spiral that was very common for millennials. But overall, I have had a really good relationship with my body even despite that mess.
LEAH: I’m glad. Tori, we have done it.
LEAH: So, Tori, please let people know how they can find you.
TORI: Yeah, absolutely. I am @ToriGlass, Tori with an I. And then, my website I do a lot of anti-racism work and that’s just toriglass.com. So, yeah, Twitter, Instagram, my website, all just toriglass, pretty easy.
LEAH: Excellent and I’ll put all of that in the Show Notes. Thank you so much for doing this. I have loved talking to you.
TORI: Yeah. It was so great. Oh my gosh, you ask incredible questions.
LEAH: Aww, thanks.
LEAH: That’s it for today. Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby. I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor and Maria Franco. Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo.
And I’m incredibly grateful for the financial support from Good Girls Talk About Sex community members at Patreon. If you’d like to support me in telling these stories and answering your questions, head over to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. You can find Show Notes and Show Transcripts at www.goodgirlstalk.com. To ask a question about your sex life, your desires or anything to do with female sexuality, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX.
And before we go, I want to remind you that the things you’ve probably heard about your sexuality are not true. You are worthy. You are desirable. You are not broken. I work with women just like you to reflect their true sexual nature back to them without the judgment, shame or fear that can get in the way of us seeing it for ourselves. As a coach and PJ party hostess, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours no matter what it looks like. I am here to help you sink so deeply into your true sexuality that the version of yourself that was scared to speak up for her own needs feels like a mirage from another lifetime.
Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
- 2:50 – Tori shares her first memory of sexual pleasure, sitting in her homeschool desk at age 7 or 8 and rubbing herself over her jeans. In purity culture, “everything that feels good is bad.”
- 4:40 – Tori talks about growing up in purity culture, how it never fit her, and how it spectacularly failed to prevent sexual activity for her and her peers.
- 12:14 – She moves in with a boyfriend to the horror of her parents, with whom she is no longer in contact.
- 21:15 – Tori talks about leaving the church as it became increasingly abusive towards its members. She wants to raise them differently than how she was raised.
- 25:46 – Leaving the church (and her husband) allows her to explore her attraction to other people and other genders. Tori gets into more detail about her complicated relationship with gender.
- 32:25 – Tori spells out what being a-romantic means to her and how she separates romance from intimacy from sex.
- 38:52 – She opens up about her current live-in partner, how that configures with their other relationships, and what polyamory/ethical non-monogamy means for them. She talks about her relationship with a couple who met each other via her Twitter.
- 46:50 – The Lowdown – Tori answers questions about period sex, number of partners, sex with someone of a different race, sex toys, sex positions, initiating sex, clit stimulation vs penetration, breast play, achieving orgasm, faking it, solo orgasms vs partnered, kind of touch, nipple sucking, hard red lines, hair vs bare, giving and receiving oral, swallowing, taste and smell, dirty talk, laughter, and childhood beliefs about sex.
There are many costs associated with producing this show, so if you’d like to support the work I do, I am grateful for your contributions at www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex.
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WORK WITH LEAH:
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