Good sex is a healthy expression of desire. Dr. Alex went from a sexually-confused geeky teen to a “big gushy romantic” who’s found a place for himself amongst polyamorists.
Find Dr. Alex on Twitter at @TLaMProject and on Facebook at @TalkLikeAMan.
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Alex Bove 00:00
If I could just tell you this little like, I think funny story because it says a lot about me. I was at a conference a couple of years ago in Atlanta, and I met somebody who had come to see me, I was a panelist, and then this person had come to see my panel, we really just hit it off. We, honestly we kind of had that like eye contact across the room thing that people talk about that like never happens to me, but it happened, right? We ended up talking just really connect, I fell for her instantly, really one of those moments that they write songs about and every step of the way, it was easy with this person. Although I actually messed that one up, so I’m hitting it off with her and actually her roommate, we were all just having a conversation. A group of us, and then eventually it was just the three of us. And then eventually, we were all headed back to our respective rooms. So the two of them and me, we’re kind of getting on the elevator, we’re going up the elevator, and they say, hey, you know, we have a bottle of wine back in our room, you know, if you’d like to come split that with us?
And I said, yeah, sure. And then the elevator door opened when it got to my floor and I just walked away to my room. Later on, I learned that they both looked at each other like what the hell just happened? We just invited him back to our room. Stupid me. I just thought they were generally saying like, yeah, we’d like to split some wine with you later when you’re around, or I didn’t understand that that was that they were like propositioning me. When people are hinting at things, I don’t tend to get it. I always say you have to be the classic example of like a cave person where you’re the one beating me over the head, you know, like, here’s a neon sign. I’m interested. Let’s go back to my room. Or else I’m probably gonna think you’re really just being nice and offering me some of your wine, you know?
Hi, I’m Dr. Alex Bove. And you’re listening to good sex. My pronouns are he/him/his. I am a college professor. And a sexologist. GOOD SEX is a healthy expression of desire. One of the things in the field of studies that I’m interested in right is that we use the word masculinities. And one of the reasons we use the plural is to emphasize that there is a masculinity so if you see if you asked me is typical American dude, bro masculinity toxic? Yes, it is. If you ask me, people who maybe feel that they have somewhat of a binary gender, and then it’s a masculine version of that binary, Can people express that in sort of healthy and productive ways? Yes, I think they can. Do they do that by and large in our culture as a whole? No, they don’t. Like people like me, that’s what we’re trying to fix. I’ve always been sort of a geek-geek, and certainly not typically masculine. So I was into musical theater. I played D&D, I was into puzzles and games. And I was like, the model geeky student, you know?
I remember one time, I went to Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I just wanted to wear a skirt. And I don’t know why I just thought it would look cool and feel cool. And I lived in Florida. So it was a hot night. And I just thought I don’t want to wear pants, you know? So I guess in a way, you could call that challenging masculinity early on. But I didn’t seek it. I didn’t seek the admiration of my peers in masculine ways. Like I didn’t care that I was into school and indeed studying and I didn’t care about any of that.
I did not wear suspenders and a pocket protector, but I might as well have. I was not too cool for school. I was like, I don’t know, what’s the opposite of too cool for school. You know, I wasn’t a jock. I was picked. If not last, nearly last in gym, I was beaten up by the big beefy kids. So yeah, I think there are pressures and competitions and masculine posturing and all of that. But I’ve always felt, I mean, I’m a cisgender man. And I don’t have a lot of concern about that. I mean, that’s fine. That’s how I identify. But I don’t think I’ve ever particularly wanted to be the manly ideal, according to our cultural norms.
Alex Bove 04:27
As long as I can. Remember, I have had examples in my life of either falling in love with multiple people at the same time, or falling in love while I was in love with someone else. I had a lot of internalized shame about how I felt. A lot of that came from Catholic Italian American upbringing, but some of it was masculinity stuff. So it was like, Oh, I’m just a horny guy. Oh, I’m just broken. There’s something wrong with me. I can’t do monogamy when I read The Ethical Slut, Dossie Easton and Janet Hard’s famous book, which some people love and some people don’t, okay, fine. When I read that book, I had that experience that a lot of people will describe as, oh, this is me, and there’s a name for this and there’s other people like me, and this is okay.
The thing about polyamory is that there are as many ways to be polyamorous as there are polyamorous people. The first thing you should do when you meet a polyamorous person is you should ask, what does polyamory mean to you? I’m gonna use a very broad definition, but it really is, you know, multiple, consensual, romantic or sexual relationships with the full consent of everyone. For me, I see polyamory as something like and I know this is controversial, but I’m gonna say it, something like an orientation. For me. I don’t think you have to have love in all cases to call yourself polyamorous even though the word amorous is in there, but I do think the key components are knowledge and consent. Everyone involved should know what’s going on, everyone should consent to what’s going on. And then, as I said, multiple relationships. And for me, almost all of them involve love because I’m just a big gushy, romantic, and I just fall in love. That’s me. I fall in love with everybody all the time.
Alex Bove 06:27
Some of my relationships are more sex-centered, some of my relationships are more love-centered. Many of my relationships are fully platonic. Some common myths are things like oh, well, you’re just not capable of committing to somebody, or you just don’t know what real love is, or something like that. You don’t know how to fully love somebody; you just can’t be satisfied. You don’t really have long term partners; you just have a lot of casual sex. That’s not polyamory. That’s poly fuckery. People will say stuff like that, which is a very sex negative thing to say. People think that I’m a swinger sometimes. But swinging your polyamory for a lot of people are different things. And no, I might need to clarify like, no, no, that’s not how I do it. You know? Yeah, there are people who do non-monogamy that way, they’re okay. But I’m polyamorous that means something else.
The question polyamorous I always get is what about jealousy? And I always say, as someone who’s been vegan for 21 years now, I often say that this is the equivalent of where do you get your protein? The assumption in the vegan question is you need X amount of protein to be healthy. And that’s actually a myth. I mean, yes, you need some amount of protein, but the amount of protein most non-vegans think you need is actually quite wrong. And so when people say, well, what about jealousy? Or what do you do about jealousy? They’re assuming that everyone’s always jealous in relationships, right? And that’s not true either. For me, the best sex is when I meet someone, and I feel desire. And I’m able to move through all of the steps that it takes to become sexual with somebody in a relatively fluid easy way, right? Because I don’t do well with the sort of, let’s find a pretext to go be alone or be sexual. I’m a person who’s just like, well, look, I’m into you, I like you. Here’s what I’d like to do.
Alex Bove 08:18
I mean, not in graphic detail. But like, in general, you know, oh, you’re into rope? Well, that’s great. If you want to tie up some time. You know, like, whatever it is. I’m gonna be sexual with somebody. I don’t just jump into bed with somebody. Right? I have to have several conversations. One is just the normal, safer sex conversation, which is viruses and barriers and fluids and things like that. And then there’s the second safer sex conversation, which is, if we have sex, what do you think that will mean for you? Here’s what I think it will mean for me so that we also make sure that we’re emotionally in the same place and then we can move on to the actual like, okay, now what are we into? What would we like to do? And then actually doing that I think would be hot. Let’s work together to have a great experience. You can find out more about me and my podcasts and all of my various social media handles at @talklikeaman.net Thank you for listening to GOOD SEX.
GOOD SEX is a Lemonada Media Original. Produced by Claire Jones and Matthew Simonson. Our supervising producers are Kryssy Pease and Xorje Olivares, and our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Music is by Dan Molad with additional music from APM music. Sound design is by Matthew Simonson. If you like GOOD SEX, the show, not you know, why don’t you rate and review us. Listen and follow for new episodes each week wherever you’re listening right now. Thanks for listening.