112. broken a few hearts: horizontal with a global matchmaker (1 of 4)
Hello my horizontal lover. horizontal is the podcast about sex, love, and relationships of all kinds, recorded while lying down. This is the kickoff of Season 4, my Season of Experiments. I’ll be playing with form in all sorts of ways: with coaching sessions and mash-ups and crossovers, happenings and themes and advice sessions, horizontality in unexpected places, and other intimate surprises. In all my visions for Season 4, I never considered recording virtually as one of the experiments, let alone the central experiment. But the world changed. I never wanted to record virtually. I was, in fact, entirely adamant about recording in person, right next to my guest, sharing a pillow, shoulder-to-shoulder, wearing robes. That’s how it went. I felt the vibe depended on it. The depth. The felt intimacy translated from our proximal bodies, through the magic of the recorded sound waves, and into you. I thought the only way you would truly feel as if you were lying down next to us was if we were, in fact, literally lying down next to one another. But then the world changed. And in this world, recording in person becomes… less of an option. In this world, our intimate struggles have only intensified. I’ve started giving Free Love Advice on Instagram, and offering Intimacy Roadmap Sessions on Zoom — 60-minute coaching sessions with a takeaway plan. Our need for nourishing connection remains central to our wellbeing— the difference is: now, pretty much everyone is aware of that. Therein lies the paradox for us to manage, as Esther Perel says. We are more aware than ever that we require intimacy, and Covid times make it exponentially harder to meet those needs. The struggles people bring to me are so often about distance now. We ask: when will it be okay to hug our friends again? Go to a party? Dance with strangers? Do anything at all in a crowded room? How can we connect across distance? Have sex at a distance? Cultivate intimacy despite distance? Feel nourished by the kinds of intimacy available to us at a distance? How can we date responsibly, in a way that feels real? I grapple with questions like these daily, in parallel to you. It feels like a test of my superpowers, in a way. But, perhaps this is just the sort of thing I’ve been preparing for. I have a toolbox full of ways to connect, that I’ve been honing for most of my life, and my mission holds steady: To make the world a more intimate place. One episode, one conversation, one essay, one video, one session, one workshop, one course, one talk at a time. So here is my current pursuit: How can I weave the kind of empathetic cocoon that I cultivate in person in bed, with someone who is horizontal across the world? I have so many opportunities to find out! Once I embraced the idea of recording remotely, and grappled with the technical learning curve, I became enlivened by the possibilities. I could potentially lie down with anyone on the planet! In the first four episodes of Season 4, I virtually lie down with Lemarc Thomas, global matchmaker, relationship expert, sweetheart, psychology-versed purveyor of kindness, native St. Helenian, marriage equality advocate, husband to Michael, and, as he has been dubbed by The Telegraph, “the gentle but determined Cupid.” Our first two episodes will be available in all the podcast places for all the horizontalists. The second two (in which we explore Lemarc’s childhood as an effeminate boy growing up on a very small island, belonging, and his landmark marriage to his Swedish husband Michael) will be available exclusively to my patrons of the horizontal arts. Become a patron for access to The Full Horizontal by navigating directly to patreon.com/horizontalwithlila In this, my first horizontal experiment with Lemarc, he interviews me as though I were his newest matchmaking client. (Full disclosure: I am the only horizontal one for this episode. Lemarc is in consulting mode, seated in his office in Sweden and I am, in a way, on the matchmaker’s couch, across the world in Bali. And just in case you were concerned, Lemarc does get horizontal with me in our upcoming episodes.) In this episode, I reveal myself deeply. I share my visions for a romantic relationship, my struggles with belief a sexual attraction, some of the men I’ve hurt, and some who’ve hurt me, my pattern of choosing unavailable men, a fear of feeling suffocated, whether I’ve experienced emotional attraction and sexual attraction at the same time, and what I would need to feel free be all in. At the end of the session, Lemarc asks me what I love about being me, and what I believe my future partner will love about being with me. If you’d like one-on-one guidance from me on your intimate struggles, I now offer Personal Intimacy Roadmap Sessions. They are 60-minute sessions of sex-positive, judgement-free, kink-aware, LGBTQ+ celebratory, gender-affirming support for what ails you in the realm of sex, love, a relationships of any kind. A session includes exercises, techniques, recommendations, homework, a a tailored roadmap of resources to use as you navigate the terrain of your intimacy challenge. One happy client said, “I’ve had a lot of therapy. But you give advice a therapist cannot give!” To schedule, email email@example.com, and I’ll send you my welcome form, so I can best prepare for you. If you desire ongoing support of your intimate growth, become a patron of the horizontal arts at the $100/month level and receive a 30-minute coaching session every month! To peruse all the patron tiers and sign up, navigate directly to Patreon.com/horizontalwithlila, and thank you for being a part of making the world a more intimate place. Next week, in part two of our four-part arc, I interview Lemarc. Our second experiment is my very first themed episode. The topic? Matchmaking. I have so many questions! Thank you for listening to this experiment. Thank you for getting horizontal. And now, come lie down with me for one of the most vulnerable episodes I’ve ever recorded, in Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia a Stockholm, Sweden.