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Living in a sex-positive community with Lila Donnolo

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My first play party was awkward, to say the least. I didn’t know anyone there, I hated my outfit, and I didn’t know the rules. Oh, and I couldn’t stop sweating. It was not cute.

At least I’d found out about the play party and was invited. Two challenges which prevent most people from attending a play party.

It can be hard to find out about a play party to go to (sex parties) if you’re not ‘in the know’. Good thing for you, Lila Donnolo is very much ‘in the know’.

She lives in a sex-positive intentional community in Brooklyn called Hacienda House. We discuss the ins and outs of living in such a community, how to get invited to play parties, some of the etiquette required to fully enjoy yourself, and more.

Lila is also the host horizontal with lila, the podcast  of intimate conversations about sex, love, and relationships that’s entirely recorded while lying down. Lila is warm, generous, and her voice sounds like honey. Listening to her is one of the most soothing experiences I can think of.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we look like together. I think you’ll agree, we are pretty cute when we want to be.

What you’ll learn (or why you should care):

• How to get invited to sex parties

• What it’s like living in a clothing-optional, sex-positive, intentional community in NY

• How to be a responsible hedonist by checking in on your partners desires, fears, boundaries, and intentions

EP28 Play PartyLila and myself recording the horizontal with lila podcast

Play Party Notes and Resources

Find her on her website and on Instagram.

To find out more about Hacienda House and to get invited to their public sexy events, go here.

Learn more about Kenneth Play, the sex hacker and founder of the Husband Camp course here.

This show has been produced by Shaun Galanos with help from Gilford Street Studios.

The Play Party Transcript

Lila Donnolo: My name is Lila Donnolo and I’m the host of the podcast Horizontal with Lila where I have intimate conversations with people that are entirely recorded while lying down as we did just yesterday, in my room, without the AC, sweltering, naked. That was the first time I’ve recorded naked.

I spend a lot of time naked because I live in this clothing-optional intentional community which makes it sound like a nudist colony. It’s not, it’s just that we’re totally comfortable with nudity and with people being at various stages of undress in our home.

The place where I live is a really special environment. It is a sex-positive intentional community called Hacienda Villa which literally means house house.

The other house that the owner has in New Orleans that’s more of a retreat space, an Airbnb, but you have to rent out the whole joint for sex positivity is called Hacienda Maison, which is also— house house.

There’s a theme of the houses being doubled. It was co-founded by Andrew Sparksfire who is a real estate guy and had thrown sex parties called Hacienda for many years, seven years I think when we started the house and Kenneth Play, who is a sex educator, sex coach.

Lila Donnolo: Sex positivity to me is a celebration of all sexual acts and relationship styles and structures between consenting adults. That includes also opting out of sex.

Asexuality and demisexuality are included on that spectrum and are to be respected and celebrated as the choices that people want to make.

It is a celebration of the choices that people make regarding their sexuality, but it’s predicated upon honesty, so knowing yourself, knowing your desires, communication, being able to tell other people what they are, asking for what you want and mutual respect.

I think what’s important about sex positivity is the celebration of a myriad and also the ever-evolving array of choices that people can make.

Also, what I find implicit in it is the sense that it will evolve throughout our lifetime, it will change our preferences, our desires and maybe even our relationship styles or maybe even how we think we are wired, or what we think of as our species, as Reid Mihalko would say.

That might change throughout our lives as well.

I think a lot of the issues from our sex-negative culture come from people assuming that you have to take a label and live it through your entire life.

Any deviation from that is considered failure. It’s really detrimental to our romantic lives and our sexual lives and our sense of being right with our souls, I think. So sex positivity.

And then, intentional community, there are a lot of unintentional communities in New York, people living together because they needed a roommate and they can’t afford a whole apartment and so they found something on Craigslist, or people who don’t have a guarantor or somebody who’s willing to vouch that they can pay the rent.

So an intentional community first and foremost means we’re living together on purpose. We choose to live together. It’s deliberate.

And then also that we have some kind of mission or something that is important to all of us that unites us on this planet. In this case, it’s the sex-positive culture. It’s a desire to share a celebration of sex and sexual exploration with the world.

We have an event space that’s called Hacienda Studio in the house and you’ve been there and it’s kind of fabulous. We used to throw more play parties, this year, we’re not throwing actually any of the large-scale play parties.

We used to do 250 person play parties that encompass the entire building, every floor had a different theme, but there have been some issues and some complications and I think they were right to suspend those larger parties for the year and also focus on the real mission of Hacienda now. It has crystallized and it’s outward facing and it’s to bring people in, not just to create insular parties for the people who’ve been partying together for years. That’s the old Hacienda.

The new Hacienda is to say, “Hey, what are you curious about? We have something for that. Come take a look and see what you’re interested in.” And so the programming now is really incredible.

We have dr. Zhana doing sex science socials where she has a different topic, usually once a month during the school year because she’s a professor of human sexuality at NYU.

She will go into the peer-reviewed science on a different topic like by curiosity, non-monogamy and break it down in layman’s terms and open the floor up for questions.

It’s really fantastic and it’s just the science. Nobody’s getting naked on those nights unless it happens later, that is not happening in the room on that night.

Click below to read the full transcript.

Read The Full Play Party Transcript here.

Lila Donnolo: My name is Lila Donnolo and I’m the host of the podcast Horizontal with Lila where I have intimate conversations with people that are entirely recorded while lying down as we did just yesterday, in my room, without the AC, sweltering, naked. That was the first time I’ve recorded naked.

I spend a lot of time naked because I live in this clothing-optional intentional community which makes it sound like a nudist colony. It’s not, it’s just that we’re totally comfortable with nudity and with people being at various stages of undress in our home.

The place where I live is a really special environment. It is a sex-positive intentional community called Hacienda Villa which literally means house house.

The other house that the owner has in New Orleans that’s more of a retreat space, an Airbnb, but you have to rent out the whole joint for sex positivity is called Hacienda Maison, which is also— house house.

There’s a theme of the houses being doubled. It was co-founded by Andrew Sparksfire who is a real estate guy and had thrown sex parties called Hacienda for many years, seven years I think when we started the house and Kenneth Play, who is a sex educator, sex coach.

Shaun Galanos: Sex hacker.

Lila Donnolo: He loves the word hacker. So the sex-positive intentional community and a lot of people ask me what both of those terms mean. I usually define them separately.

Shaun Galanos: Yes, please, that’s actually my first question. Good job.

Lila Donnolo: Sex positivity to me is a celebration of all sexual acts and relationship styles and structures between consenting adults. That includes also opting out of sex.

Asexuality and demisexuality are included on that spectrum and are to be respected and celebrated as the choices that people want to make.

It is a celebration of the choices that people make regarding their sexuality, but it’s predicated upon honesty, so knowing yourself, knowing your desires, communication, being able to tell other people what they are, asking for what you want and mutual respect.

I think what’s important about sex positivity is the celebration of a myriad and also the ever-evolving array of choices that people can make.

Also, what I find implicit in it is the sense that it will evolve throughout our lifetime, it will change our preferences, our desires and maybe even our relationship styles or maybe even how we think we are wired, or what we think of as our species, as Reid Mihalko would say.

That might change throughout our lives as well.

I think a lot of the issues from our sex-negative culture come from people assuming that you have to take a label and live it through your entire life.

Any deviation from that is considered failure. It’s really detrimental to our romantic lives and our sexual lives and our sense of being right with our souls, I think. So sex positivity.

And then, intentional community, there are a lot of unintentional communities in New York, people living together because they needed a roommate and they can’t afford a whole apartment and so they found something on Craigslist, or people who don’t have a guarantor or somebody who’s willing to vouch that they can pay the rent.

There’s something absurd like you have to make 50 times the rent in order to be able to prove that you can rent a place and most people don’t have that. So you have to get somebody who does to say, “This person is cool, they’ll pay their rent,” and most of us don’t have access to that. It’s absurd.

A lot of times people will move in some place with one person who had a guarantor and they’ll just take a room and so they’re living alongside one another, they are living adjacent. They’re not living intentionally.

So an intentional community first and foremost means we’re living together on purpose. We choose to live together. It’s deliberate.

And then also that we have some kind of mission or something that is important to all of us that unites us on this planet. In this case, it’s the sex-positive culture. It’s a desire to share a celebration of sex and sexual exploration with the world.

We have an event space that’s called Hacienda Studio in the house and you’ve been there and it’s kind of fabulous. We used to throw more parties, this year, we’re not throwing actually any of the large-scale play parties.

We used to do 250 person play parties that encompass the entire building, every floor had a different theme, but there have been some issues and some complications and I think they were right to suspend those larger parties for the year and also focus on the real mission of Hacienda now. It has crystallized and it’s outward facing and it’s to bring people in, not just to create insular parties for the people who’ve been partying together for years. That’s the old Hacienda.

The new Hacienda is to say, “Hey, what are you curious about? We have something for that. Come take a look and see what you’re interested in.” And so the programming now is really incredible.

We have dr. Zhana doing sex science socials where she has a different topic, usually once a month during the school year because she’s a professor of human sexuality at NYU.

She will go into the peer-reviewed science on a different topic like by curiosity, non-monogamy and break it down in layman’s terms and open the floor up for questions.

It’s really fantastic and it’s just the science. Nobody’s getting naked on those nights unless it happens later, that is not happening in the room on that night.

Shaun Galanos: Unless you get invited into the VIP room.

Lilla Donnolo: Correct, the VIP rooms. All of our rooms are VIP, naturally.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, also a lot of them have signs on the door saying, “This is a private space, unless you’re invited into the space do not enter the space.”

Lila Donnolo: My housemate Zed made that sign for one of the parties that said, “Keep out perverts, unless personally invited by Zed,” and he liked it so much he kept it up.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, it’s a great sign. It’s very clear.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, unless personally invited.

Sex science socials happen and we also have pretty regularly Kenneth teaching practical hands-on stuff, his most popular course is Female Ejaculation or Squirting and he does also Kinky play for the nice guy, Kinky play for the loving couple.

He’s starting to do something called Husband Camp that’s online. It comes from all the teachings that he’s been labbing in our place.

We’ve had cuddle parties, we’ve had tasting parties. I’ve been doing some events. The mercy mistress, femdom, BDSM, kink taster that you went to is my new favorite. I’m really excited.

I want to do it quarterly, a screening of some short, kinky film or several short kinki films that would make up a 30 to 45 minutes thing that will get people kind of juiced up and get them curious and get them a little turned on.

And then, having these stations, and I’d like to switch up the stations a little bit, I’d like to have energy work, tantric stuff. I’d like to always have an impact, always have rope because people are curious about it, sensation play is just great.

Shaun Galanos: One of the things that I noticed when you were talking about haciendas, how welcoming it has become, I think when you were talking about having a sort of insular parties that the people in the space wanted to have that’s fun and interesting. But what’s more interesting is how do you open it up to the community at large?

I was in Washington Square Park today and I gave free love advice and people walk by and they see the sign and they laugh or they talk to their friends and they go, “Free love advice”.

And then I go, “Hey, yeah, it’s free. Do you want some?” And they go, “No, I’m okay.”

This guy walked by, and this is so classic. He walked by and he mouthed the words “Free love advice” to himself, walking by and I go, “What’s up bro? You want some?” And he goes, “No, no, I’m good. I met my partner,” and I’m like, “That’s so cool. I’m so happy for you. Have a great life,” basically.

He turned around and came and talked to me. I started talking to him. I told him that I had an interview coming up with you and that you lived in a sex-positive intentional community. He goes, “What the fuck is that?” And then I explained it to him and I go, “Yeah, they throw sex parties,” and he goes, “Man, I wish I had known about that when I was single.” Not to say that you can’t go to these parties if you are in a relationship.

Lila Donnolo: Actually, most people do.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, but he doesn’t. Most people that to your parties, but not most people that are in relationships.

And he goes, “I don’t even know if I would have been able to know about these places like we know that they exist, but it’s a thing, we don’t know how to access them.” And it sounds like you’re building a space where you do some outreach.

Lila Donnolo: We do, but that doesn’t gain people access to the sex parties, as the truth, because they’re always curated. Most of the ones that are in our home or adjacent in the community are personal invitations and you vouch for the people that you bring.

There’s one that has a really lovely system where you have buddies and so you have to have somebody who has already been, who goes to that party, agree to be your buddy and they’re your accountability person and if you get kicked out they get kicked out.

I think that’s a great way to do it. So it’s not open access. But if people get on the mailing list, they are invited to sex e-things and if they are cool and they make friends and they are not creepy about it, then they might get invited to these more private parties.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, that’s where all the magic happens.

Lila Donnolo: No, actually. A lot of the magic happens in workshops. A lot of the magic happens in socials, not all the magic happens at sex parties. It’s just the flashiest thing.

Shaun Galanos: Right. It’s a thing that people want access to.

Lila Donnolo: The thing is, when they get it, they don’t know what to do and we have all these things that are set up so that they will.

Shaun Galanos: What do you mean they don’t know what to do?

Lila Donnolo: People at their first sex party are freaked out.

Shaun Galanos: I was petrified.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, and unless you have, as we do, we always have an orientation and it’s mandatory.

If you’re going for the first time you have somebody guiding you and telling you, “It’s okay to do this. It’s not okay to do that. This isn’t advisable, don’t brush your teeth or use dental floss because your gums could bleed, leading to a higher rate of transmission of STI,” etc.

Helpful tips. I said the other night at Mercy mistress, “Watching is participating.”

When you watch something you are imbuing it with the energy with which you watch it. And so you have to be conscientious of the way in which you’re watching something.

And also the distance, right? If I am this close to you and I’m staring at your genitals. That’s a little too much, if I’m across the room from you I can stare as hard as I want.

Shaun Galanos: Within reason.

Lila Donnolo: Within reason, and I know I said it and it came out of my mouth and I was like, “You can’t stare as hard as you want.” But you can stare with more intensity the further away you are.

If you’re right next to somebody, like you sit down next to somebody on the subway and they turn and stare at you, that is so invasive.

Same thing at a sex party. People don’t know the etiquette. There are etiquette workshops that exist. There are how to throw parties, Andrew is going to do a whole series on how to throw play parties.

There’s also “dipping the toe in the water” situation where you can go to a makeout party. And just feel that, right, because the vibe is such that you get some of that adrenaline going and really, “Mhm, I’m going to make out with, how do I approach somebody?”

Cuddle parties have a similar thing, right? “How do I ask somebody for consent? What do I say? What if somebody says, No? How do I say no to them?”

All these things require practice for fluency. If you invite somebody like that guy who has no idea what a sex party is like to a sex party, he’s going to come in, he’s going to be petrified, and if it’s a play party that does not have an orientation, then probably he’s going to get drunk to feel comfortable. He’s going to eke other people out because he’s watching them too intently.

He’s going to be either overzealously pursuing women who feel very comfortable with their sexuality in those environments and so feel comfortable to dress very scantily or to run around with great exuberance about their sexuality, because they’ve organized and it made agreements with people beforehand, talked it out beforehand, which is not what you’re seeing in front of you, and aggressively go after those women or is going to be too embarrassed and too shy and just be on the wall making everybody else uncomfortable with their discomfort.

Shaun Galanos: That was me, by the way, at my first party.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah.

Shaun Galanos: I didn’t like my outfit.

Lila Donnolo: Oh, what were you wearing?

Shaun Galanos: I was wearing a suit.

Lila Donnolo:  But that could be hot. Then you take it off in stages.

Shaun Galanos: I had a cock ring on, I was with a beautiful woman, an ex, and we both wanted to go and the suit was— this is going to sound bad— it was not a modern cut.

Lila Donnolo: I understand.

Shaun Galanos: I wanted it to be leaner, I wanted the pants to be slim fit and they weren’t and I just felt sort of like a businessman.

Lila Donnolo: Amongst all these people wearing leather and latex and things.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah and getting flogged and blown and I just didn’t know how to act. There was an opening circle, I had to be vouched, there was an application for me as a new person into that community.

Lila Donnolo: They had no onboarding process?

Shaun Galanos: There was no onboarding process.

Lila Donnolo: It’s really important. I am glad it has evolved, the Hacienda has evolved to have one because it’s crucial.

I was told by someone who’s doing actually some men’s groups and things like that. He’d never been to one. I invited him to the one that we did, it was called “Rainbow playground,” rainbows and unicorns party and it was just us, villains doing it in the house, that’s what we call ourselves the villans VILLANS.

Shaun Galanos: As opposed to—?

Lila Donnolo: VILLAINS. So it was just the villans curating this party and hosting it. Why was I telling you about that? It just flew out of my brain Shawn.

Shaun Galanos: The onboarding process.

Lila Donnolo: Oh yes, this was the first time that I had the opportunity to do that part.

Shaun Galanos: I was put on the spot there for a second, did I fucking lose the thread.

Lila Donnolo: No, it was me. It was all me. I’m having a day.

So myself and Morel who was the first guest ever on my podcast, we teamed up to do the orientation and we were like, “We can make this fun. We can make this sexy, we can make this playful,” because sometimes it gets a little dry and a little boring.

And so we had call and response, like,  “What does enthusiastic consent sound like?” “Fuck, yes.” “Oh, yeah.” “More, please”.

We did call and response with that. I did a little demonstration of watching somebody from that distance and from this distance and from closer and from right next to them and I asked two people to make out.

It was it was fun and it was playful but it was informative. We spoke about just say, “No, thank you.” If you’re a maybe say, “No, thank you.”

This friend of mine who came said, “The way that you held that space I felt so welcomed in. I felt like I could enter and then I had a wonderful time because I knew what the rules were.”

If you don’t know what the rules are, it’s hard to have a good time unless you’re a sociopath. Having some parameters so, you know, “Okay, don’t go into these people’s rooms. It’s cool to use the hot tub naked.”

All these things that you might be worried about or like, “What if— ? What if I go soft,” all these worries, if you have people just addressing them and normalizing speaking about them as is your mission, it assuages so much worry, so much anxiety.

We make room for more pleasure, which is really our mission.

We celebrate all these choices in service of people having more pleasure and the sense is that it’s actually one of our principles, responsibly hedonistic.

We can have lots and lots and lots of pleasure causing minimal harm to ourselves and others.

Shaun Galanos: Because there can be harm when there’s blatant seeking of pleasure with no—

Lila Donnolo: No filter, no cap, no checks and balances of how this might affect another human being.

Shaun Galanos: What’s my impact?

Lila Donnolo: What is the impact that this will have, which we were talking about that the other day? You said you’re working on that, it’s important.

Shaun Galanos: Oh, yeah, what’s my impact?

We’re talking about the community, the sex-positive play community. That’s what people call it, they call it the community, like, “Oh, I’m in the community,” or, “I’ve met somebody in the community.” People don’t know what is the community. The community of people that are either poly open or engaged in play parties.

Lila Donnolo: The sex-positive wheelhouse house. What about that?

Shaun Galanos: I think in my experience, it can be a little messy.

Lila Donnolo: I agree. And actually, I don’t seek my partners inside this community.

My preference and my interest are in having someone from outside the community, who is open-minded and playful and curious, as my lover is now.

Willing to come to a play party with me, as we did for the first time on our third date. I mean, we had been closed in college so there were some familiarity and some intimacy already established, but somebody who is open.

Actually, I find, interestingly enough that a lot of people in the community are very set in what they believe for themselves and how they’re wired, and I’m not, I am very curious about what I could be interested in and what I could desire if I felt beloved and cherished in my relationship. I feel like there’s so much that we could explore.

There’s a lot of interest that I have in that. There’s also a lot of people using the term sex-positive and the term polyamorous and even non-monogamous to cover up just fuckery, just blatant hedonism that does not take into regard other people’s feelings.

Shaun Galanos: Unchecked.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, just rampant, unconscionable, fulfilling of their own selfish desires.

I think to some extent it attracts folks who don’t feel like they fit into the standard narrative as Chris Ryan and Cacilda Jetha I think that’s how you pronounce her name, of Sex at Dawn. The authors of Sex at Dawn would say the standard narrative of you date, you get married, you have kids, you know, monogamous, you die.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, you stop having sex. You die.

Lila Donnolo: Then all the extramarital stuff is not sanctioned, and is cheating non-consensual.

People who are more radical, people who want more novelty. Kenneth, for instance, is an extreme novelty seeker.

That’s really important to him. He feels like he needs that to really be excited. Interestingly enough with him, he has to have a partner in order to be really slutty.

He’s the sluttiest when he has a partner because he has the foundation and he’s been lucky or he’s been just intelligent about choosing his partners, let’s say, not lucky, fortunate to have found them and intelligent about choosing them, that he’s paired with really slutty people, who are really happy to be slutty and to be slutty with him and that he’s slutty and they’re fine with it, and they enjoy it.

I think that a lot of people are looking for an excuse for their bad behavior and a lot of people are looking for excuses not to be accountable for their actions. Many of those people are drawn to non-monogamy.

I find that behavior repelling and I see it. I witness it. I see the fallout from it. I feel the fallout from it when I am at a sex party. I feel the emotional rumble and I don’t want to do it that way.

Before Peter and I went to our first play party together, we did an exercise that has been recommended at these orientations, and we did boundaries, fears, intentions, and desires. And it was fabulous.

Shaun Galanos: I’m familiar with the boundaries, fears, and desires but intentions are new to me.

Lila Donnolo: Oh, okay so intentions. My intention for that party was to have an experience with him.

I wasn’t looking to engage with others, of course, I talked to other people, but I wasn’t looking to engage with anybody else.

My intention was to cultivate this new experience together. And so if that meant that we stayed for five minutes and came upstairs and fucked, that was fine.

If that meant that we just went in the hot tub and hung out and chatted with people that were also fine. That was my intention.

Your intention might be to practice your boundaries, and so you’re going to refuse every invitation made to you that night.

Your intention might be to find a new lover, so the intention would be usually a larger thing whereas the desire is quite specific, because maybe the new lover that you want is a guy because you really want to tickle someone’s balls.

Shaun Galanos: For example.

I like the idea of someone being called a novelty seeker because I feel that I’ve gone my whole life seeking novelty, seeking new partners.

I’ve had a lot of partners and I find new partners so exciting and I often lose interest very quickly.

Lila Donnolo: How quickly?

Shaun Galanos: After having sex with them twice. Would that qualify as a novelty seeker?

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, I think that’s actually really common, twice.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah twice. Once is like super fun. Then the second time I was like, “Let’s see what else is going on here.” And then oftentimes, there’s there’s not much going on.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, I know a fair amount of folks who are like that in this community. That community. It sounds so bad when you say it like that.

They also long for the complete opposite end of the spectrum, right? They’ll also long for stability and coziness and Netflix and all this and they want to have the novelty too, and I think there are ways to do it, is the thing. I think there are ways to do it.

I do much prefer this newer model of honesty and transparency about your desires. Because also, there are different ways to do that.

You could have, and a lot of people do, an agreement with their partner that you only have sex with new people together or maybe it sounds like your desire is really to have new partners to have sex with pretty regularly, but that experience is for you. And then you might have a girlfriend who’s okay with that.

Shaun Galanos: That sounds okay.

I want a partner that I can build a life with, have a solid foundation and build a house together and have children and throw the ball for the dogs.

And then, I want the option. I want someone who’s open to being open.

So I want the option to talk about what bringing your new partner looks like. Or what having experience with the new partner looks like.

Maybe it’s something that we do as a couple, maybe it’s something that we do only at parties.

Maybe it’s something that I do on my own and she does on her own.

Lila Donnolo: There are so many options.

Shaun Galanos: I just want an option to talk about it. If it’s a NO right off the bat, then it’s not going to work, because I want to talk and I want to explore.

Like you said I want the option to change what I like. I want to be able to grow with somebody and I don’t want my desires to be fixed from this point on.

I gave some advice to a woman today who did not want to be recorded because she said that her voice was so particular and well known in New York that people were going to recognize her. She just had like a little run-of-the-mill voice.

I didn’t push her because she wasn’t comfortable, but she’s getting older and the issue that she had was that she’s dating a man that she thinks is in open relationships because at one point he mentioned that he was in an open relationship and has recently been referring to things that he’s been doing, he would say, “Oh I went to my friend today,” and he would be non-available for that whole day. She has an inkling that he’s sleeping with other women.

Lila Donnolo:  Sure, it’s more than an inkling.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, he also told her that he was in the open relationship.

Lila Donnolo: If he told her, then why hasn’t she inquired further?

Shaun Galanos: Thank you, that was the advice that I gave her was, “Talk about it. He’s already told you that he’s open so he’s probably open to talking about it.”

But she said that he has been opening her up to new experiences because she never thought that she’d be the type of person to fall in love with a man who’s in an open relationship.

She’s even gone to a play party in Germany and she said it was the tackiest thing ever. But that she never thought that she was the type of person to go to a play party.

Lila Donnolo: A good question for her to ask him would be, “What does your constellation look like right now?” That would be the series of relationships, the series of people that you’re involved with, your constellation. And the series of people that they’re involved with, because that’s how it goes when it’s not just one to one.

There are whole nebulas. So my question for you is have you ever been with someone and had sustained sexual attraction for them?

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, all my girlfriends, every woman that I’ve dated seriously. I don’t date casually. It’s either casual sex or a relationship. There’s no casual dating.

Lila Donnolo: Why? You’re just against casual dating?

Shaun Galanos: I’m just against casual dating. Yes, I’ll go with that. It’s like when I meet a girlfriend, it’s instant attraction. I mean, lust is what it is, what I thought it was love, it’s actually lust but it’s mutual.

Lila Donnolo: That’s the first stage.

Shaun Galanos: That’s the first stage, but it’s mutual and we both sort of look at each other and go, “Yeah, let’s do this thing.” And then that’s it, Tinder is off, everything is off and it’s just I am fully present and devoted.

That I haven’t found that in several years now and so I’m starting to figure out that maybe my lust gauge is not a good gauge for what a long-lasting stable relationship is built from.

Lila Donnolo: You’re going to have to have some lust. I mean, I don’t want to be in a romantic relationship with somebody that I don’t have a lust for. Although that is the first stage of development of a bond, lust, infatuation, bonding.

Shaun Galanos: I also lust after casual partners.

Lila Donnolo: Sure.

Shaun Galanos: But I don’t have the infatuation stage. It’s just lust.

Lila Donnolo: Yeah, that’s why you fall off with them after two times.

Shaun Galanos: Because it’s sexual, it’s actually arousal at that point, it’s only really arousal. Once the arousal is gone, the desire to connect is also gone.

Lila Donnolo: Open to being open. I do like that.

Shaun Galanos: That’s not a very stringent, standard, open to being open. Are you willing to have a conversation with me about it?

Lila Donnolo: We used to have a conversation. I was thinking about this as you were saying it, sometimes just having the conversation about it is hot.

Shaun Galanos: Yeah, I know.

Lila Donnolo: I have described threesome fantasies that I’ve had to partners of mine that they were involved with, and we had great sex while that was happening.

Delicious!

That’s one way as Esther Perel would call it to navigate the presence of the other. There’s always the other right, you’re not living on a deserted island, you’re not isolated from the rest of the world.

There’s always going to be other people you’re attracted to and my sense is that it’s only when we ignore that it implodes on us in a particular way. And really, I mean implodes, right? Goes in and erupts on the inside and harms us. But there’s a lot of things that can come out of a discussion like that.

That’s why I think there are Kink questionnaires that say, on a scale of hard no to soft no, to curious, to think I might want to try, to definitely want to try.

Shaun Galanos: Fuck yeah.

Lila Donnolo: Fuck yeah.

I did that once with a partner it was like an 18-page questionnaire and it was awesome. I think that’s the day also that I wound up— Okay, so he was baking and he put a Pyrex on the stove and then it exploded all over the kitchen. There’s was blue glass all over the kitchen.

I got really hot and I started masturbating in the kitchen and we masturbated while looking at each other over the glass in the kitchen.

We didn’t lie down. It makes it sound much more dangerous than it was, but it was kind of sexy to have just broken something and then be like, “Oh, that’s so hot.”

Shaun Galanos: I mean chaos can be really, really, really arousing. Doing something that you know isn’t good for you can also be really, really, really arousing. That’s why I think that people get off on irresponsible behavior in the community. We’re outside.

Lila Donnolo: Oh, yeah, and I remember when I was traveling and I was doing my horizontal does America road trip and recording tour, I wound up one night in kind of a secret, illegal hot springs in Utah. It was absolutely gorgeous.

I was with two folks. We just started sharing. I told them about my podcast and then they just opened up and we just started sharing.

He told a story about how he was with a woman that he was crazy about and she was totally down for pretty much everything. She would bring women home to play with them, they could go to sex clubs, she was so down.

She was so open and she was excited about it, it wasn’t that she was just doing it for him. She was into it. And he cheated on her. Because that was the only thing she asked him not to do.

We are perverse, humans are perverse. Transgression can be really hot. We have to choose how we want to be.

Shaun Galanos: I don’t want anyone to transgress against me, it sounds painful.

Lila Donnolo: Yes. And then you will give up some excitement maybe

Shaun Galanos: Life is exciting enough as it is.

Lila Donnolo: Life is exciting.

Shaun Galanos: Okay, here is a question for you. What’s exciting in your world right now?

Lila Donnolo: What’s exciting in my world right now. I’m about to go to Burning Man for the first time and I have a very, very, very shiny outfit.

Shaun Galanos: So many shiny outfits I can attest to the shine that you will be bestowing upon Black Rock City 2018.

Lila Donnolo: I’m going to be a walking gold disco ball, very exciting. I’m excited about the episode I recorded with my father. It’s three hours long. It’s the best conversation I’ve ever had with my father. I learned so many things about him that I had never thought to ask him about before I interviewed him.

I recommend you interview your parents if you can while you can.

I’m excited about falling in love with someone from my past.

I’m excited about the incredible tenderness that is in this really hot relationship.

I’m excited about sharing my writing again.

I’m excited about writing a memoir about the house.

I’m excited about working towards my goal of making a TV show.

I’m excited about the way that multiple times a week somebody reaches out to me and says,

“I had a conversation with my lover/ parent/ friend that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t listening to you.”

Shaun Galanos: Where can we listen to you?

Lila Donnolo: Well, there’s Horizontal with Lila.com where all the things live and it’s also on iTunes and Google Play Music, Spotify.

I post pretty photos of me horizontal in unexpected places on the Instagram.

Shaun Galanos: Do you have a parting thought?

Lila Donnolo: When you say that I just think of The Forester quote “Only connect”.

I don’t think that we will regret any of the time we’ve spent trying to connect with other humans.

If you liked this episode, you’ll love this one:

Shaun Galanos

Shaun Galanos is a love coach and course creator. He teaches communication and intimacy tools for better relationships and more love.

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