ON-DEMAND

Between You and Me

Calendar
Streamed
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Learn to identify, honor, and assert your boundaries for better sex and more fulfilling relationships. Bring your boundary questions to Roan and get tips for exploring and communicating.

Video transcript

Yeah, so my name's Roan Coughtry, I am based here in Atlanta, Georgia. Southern heat and humidity like Brit is saying, there is a lot of it. I love it. It's my favorite. I really, really love it. But yeah, I'm a sex educator, I am a Pleasure Pro, here on O.school. I am an anti-oppression facilitator. I am a coach. I am a healing artist. I do one on one healing and energy work with people. I do one on one coaching with people. And I do a lot of workshops. I facilitate a lot of things and it's something that I really, really love. I've been doing sex ed for years now. It's something that I'm really passionate about and beyond just education, I do a lot with liberation around sex and bodies and why that's important. And why that's important for our overall liberation and how it's tied to all other forms of liberation work that we do in the world, right? And social justice work that we do. And so it's very much a form of activism for me too. And yeah, we're gonna be talking about boundaries today. I started saying a little bit about how long it took me to learn that I even had boundaries. Or had a right to my own boundaries. And so we're gonna be talking about some of that. Where it comes from, the causes of it, all of that. So, yeah, Jane I'm so glad you can join this stream. You're welcome, absolutely for having this stream. You're saying, "I'm excited to learn about sexual "and emotional boundaries. Especially communicating "shifts and boundaries in an existing relationship. "I worry about, well this isn't how I'm used to engaging "with you." Totally, yes, thank you for naming that right upfront. I actually saw, I found a meme today around boundaries, around you know, it said something along the lines of, oh, no, it said something along the lines of... Anyone who gets upset when you set boundary, it's because they were benefiting from you not having boundaries before that. And I was like, fuck, yes. That is pretty true. People get used to us being a certain way. And they get used to maybe where our boundaries are or aren't. And then so if we actually start claiming our own boundaries more and shifting that, you can get some push back. And we're gonna talk about that too. And I hear you, that concern about, well this isn't what I'm used to. You didn't used to have this boundary, right? Which can be tricky and can be hard to hold. So, thanks for naming that right off the bat. We're definitely gonna get into that. And yeah, we're gonna be, basically, we're gonna be talk- I always talk about the systemic stuff and how it influences us. We're gonna be talking a little big about that. We're gonna be talking about how to identify things in society. Or to identify things that society teaches us about our boundaries. And how this relates to who we are. Why it can sometimes be tough to hold boundaries. We're gonna explore how healthy boundaries, actually, rather than creating distance, can actually help us achieve greater intimacy and deeper connection in relationships. And then talk about some tools to practice identifying our own boundaries. And developing tools to assert these boundaries. So an hour is very short. We're not gonna be able to get into too much depth. But I'm gonna skim over some things, I'm gonna skim over somethings quickly and then spend more time on some other things. And so if you have any questions along the way, please ask, that's what the chat box is for. And I'll get to as much as I can. I'm also gonna be doing other streams. So every Thursday of this month, I stream every week, three p.m., Eastern, on Thursdays. And this month in July, I'm focusing, mostly on boundaries and consent and how to communicate those. And so, we're gonna be talking also about yes's and no's. How to say no. How to be fully embodied in our yes. In these next few weeks, after today. So we're gonna, each of these streams is gonna build on each other. So whatever we don't get to today, I'll also carry over to next week too. So you all can tune in and hear more about that too. Let me also just get this set up. I am gonna be audio recording theses streams. So if anybody isn't able to tune in today, live, they'll be available for a sliding scale donation, so tell your friends. That's me marketing. Alright, so, as I was saying, my name is Roan Coughtry. I'm a sex educator and we are gonna be talking about boundaries today. So I'm really exciting to talk with y'all. And just a couple other logistical things, like I said, Brit is our moderator today. And then if you're inspired by anything that you hear, please tap on the little tip jar, that really helps us to keep O.school going. All these streams are free, so what we really care about is just you being here and watching and tuning in. And anything extra that you're able to give goes a long way to helping us keep O.school going. Helps me keep the lights on and do this work that I really love doing. So, really glad to have y'all and lets talk about boundaries. So, boundaries, we have a lot of different forms of boundaries. So boundaries basically are these things that separate us from the world around us. Our physical boundary is our skin, right? Our skin is this outer layer of our body, that physically separates what is me, from what is outside of me, right? What is us from what is outside of us. It keeps me separate from the air or this table, or water, you know? Or another person's skin, right? We can have emotional boundaries, we can have energetic boundaries, we could have mental boundaries, spiritual boundaries, sexual boundaries. All of these boundaries have to do with who we share our energy with, when and where and how. So emotional boundaries, that's around my feelings. What feelings are mine versus what feelings are somebody else's. As an empath, I was actually just chatting with someone today. As an empath, that can be tricky, to know what's mine and what's somebody else's, right? Especially if you're a highly sensitive person. Mental boundaries, you know, my thoughts versus other people's thoughts. Sexual boundaries, we're definitely gonna be talking about today. So, who I want to engage with sexually, in any kind of way. And when and where and how. Those are my boundaries. And then we can also have spiritual boundaries. Anybody who believes in spirituality, right? And energetic boundaries too. I feel a lot of things energetically. And so those can be- that relates to my boundaries in the world, how I move through. I really wanna start off by talking about what are we taught about boundaries. What does society teach us about boundaries? I'm gonna write this prompt in the chat box, here. Because I really think it's important to unpack the things that we're taught, right? To unpack what we learn and the stuff that can be deeply imbedded in brainwash, in our thoughts, in our minds. And just kind of come out automatically, you know? I didn't realize all the shit I was taught about boundaries until I actually started unpacking is. So what were you taught about boundaries? What were you personally taught in your own life? I'd love to hear you share. What were you taught about your rights to your own boundaries. Did you have an option of having boundaries? Were you taught that you absolutely could hold boundaries? Or that other people got to hold boundaries and you don't? And it's different for every body. It's related to so many different aspects of our identities too. A lot of us are taught to tolerate boundary violations all the time. We live in a society that doesn't necessarily respect our boundaries. And respects some people's boundaries over others. Values some peoples boundaries over others. I'm gonna show this handy dandy little chart here. My fancy hand drawn little diagram here, that I refer to a lot of my streams. So in the center bubble we have the personal level right. That is our own personal experiences, our personality. That's like, my body, my personal experiences in life. My thoughts, beliefs, values, all of that. Then we have the interpersonal, which is relational. So that is my relationships with my family, the people I grew up with, with my teachers, with my friends, my peers, my partners. It can also- sometimes people separate this out into a slightly broader layer of communal, community. And so that's more, that's also a kind of relational but it's a little bigger than one on one relationships. That's like my school, all the people I went to school with. My neighborhood, my neighbors, all of that. My job, my coworkers. And then this outer layer, this final layer. Is the systemic. So that is, that include all aspects of our society that shape our society. So like our school system, our public health system, or lack there of. Our prison system and the way that that operates in our country. Our immigration system and the way that that operates through our country. Other things that are included in the systemic are these broad sweeping things that influence our society. So things like transphobia, things like racism, things like patriarchy, things that position some people in power over other people. Like groups of people in power over other people, that's all within the systemic. Now that all then filters down and plays into our relationships. Plays into our personal sense of self. All of that can be influenced by the systemic. And we're gonna be talking a lot about the systemic today when it comes to boundaries. Because we're taught shit. Maybe we're taught things from our family. Maybe we're taught things from our parents. Maybe we're taught things from our peers. And maybe we're taught some shit from fucked up gender roles in movies, like the systemic kind of things. So getting back to what I was saying, a lot of us are taught to violate- taught to tolerate boundary violations all the time. This can come from systemic shit. So things like cat-calling and harassment, for anybody who's born female, anyone who's female raised, anyone who's female assigned, or identifies as female, you might really relate to growing up being harassed for your body. Whether your body conforms to traditional, beauty norms, quote on quote, beauty norms, or not. A lot of female bodied, female assigned people, or fem presenting people, harassment is a part of everyday life. Whether it's sexualized harassment, desexualized harassment, jokes, there's this thing where, I remember when I was in grade school, or middle school probably, when there was just this thing oh, if a boy is bullying you or teasing you, it means he likes you. Or if a boy goes by and snaps your bra, it's because he likes you. That's a boundary violation. So being touched without consent, having your bra snapped without consent. Being harassed, having your body be commented on without consent. Those are all examples of boundary violations that just get so normalized in our society. We're just taught, oh, boys will be boys, that's just the way it is. And this is one example related to gender. And we can think of so many other examples and I'd love to hear y'alls examples of ways that we're just taught to tolerate boundary violations. Even down to, when kids are hugged and kissed and whatever without their consent. People are just like, oh you're so cute, and they're just all up on your face and your hair and your whatever , just being like, aren't you so precious? Oh, come here. You know? That's affection, right? And it's usually so good natured, really well intentioned. And maybe the kid doesn't wanna be touched, maybe the kid is actually like, oh god, stop doing, I don't wanna cuddle you right now. I didn't say I wanted to cuddle. So, even at a very young age, our agency around our bodies can be taken away. Jane is sharing, "I was told that sex is going to hurt, "so there is no point in negotiating boundaries, "it's all painful anyway." Oof, yeah. "Also it is taught that emotional intimacy "is a boundary that friends cannot cross "and it's only for romantic partners." Thank you for both of these examples. Those are both really hitting the nail on the head of just perfect examples of- so being taught, if we're taught that sex is gonna hurt, so there's no point in negotiating boundaries, that puts a lot on the table. Sex can be a 1,012 different things. And so if we're taught, oh there's no point in negotiating boundaries around sex, then it's like, anything goes? Which is terrible. No, not anything goes. Maybe there are somethings I like and somethings I don't. Maybe I want penetration, maybe I don't want penetration. Maybe I want to penetrate you, maybe I don't. So many different layers of intimacy within sex. That then, right, if there's no point, quote on quote, no point, in negotiating boundaries, that can be hugely disempowering. And also, yeah, what you're sharing around emotional intimacy, there can be a lot of norms around- Well our romantic relationships should be the only place where we are intimate in this way. And if you're too emotionally intimate with a friend, well that's just not okay. That's really only reserved for romance. And so again taught kind of these rigid rules around who we should and shouldn't have boundaries with. On the flip side of that, I can also relate to, I was taught that in romantic relationships, kinda linked to this, in romantic relationships, there's no such thing as too much intimacy. Like, we're supposed to tell each other everything and be inseparable. And share all of our deepest thoughts and never keep secrets and just be like, we're supposed to be one. Like fused into one person. Which later on, I discovered that's too much. You know, that's for any relationship, for me, that's too much, I want to be int- and I love intimacy, I love being intimate with people. But for this automatic expectation of like, oh just because I'm romantic with someone means that I have to be intimate. Maybe sometimes I'm not ready. Maybe sometimes I'm not interested in that with that person. And so related to, and kinda on the flip side of what you're talking about, of this sign that having no or this belief that having no boundaries is a sign of intimacy. Thank you for sharing those, Jane. I'm gonna be talking a lot about no, next week. And saying the word no. So I'm gonna, I'm not gonna get into too much about that this week, but that goes hand in hand with boundaries. Of what does that mean to actually say no to something. There can be a lot of hang ups around that. Which essentially tells us, we're not supposed to hold boundaries. Co-dependency, I'm gonna be talking about that in a few weeks, also. But that is a huge way I've struggled, personally, with boundaries. Where I have become codependent with people. And I've essentially taken on responsibility for things that aren't my responsibility. I'll take on responsibility for their happiness and their emotions. Which isn't my responsibility, right? It's my responsibility to be kind and to treat people well. It's not my responsibility to take on someone else's burdens and solve them for them, for that person. And that's a way, where in my codependency, I took on that role, I took on that responsibility, in a way that wasn't sustainable and wasn't good for anybody. 'Cause it just doesn't work. That was a lack of boundaries. Not saying no to things that I don't want to do, but being a people pleaser, I have been raised to be such a people pleaser. And that's something that's taken me a long time, I'm still kind of actively unlearning because it's deeply ingrained. And so if I wanna please another person, or I wanna make them happy, then maybe I'm not holding boundaries around things that I should hold boundaries around. Maybe I'm not holding boundaries when I say that I'll do something, but I actually really don't wanna do it. When I agree to help someone, but maybe I'm already tapped out. So yeah, Jane, like you're saying, this codependency, as the ideal. Like being glorified. Watch any fucking movie like a rom-com, any of those, there's so many messages about how we're just supposed to fuse into one person. And how codependency is actually kind of celebrated. And then similar, the romance, the over romancing in Hollywood stories that really simplify what romance is. I call that the- er, I don't call that, a lot of people call it the romance myth. Not that romance is a myth. Romance absolutely exists. But this myth about romance, that it's super simplistic, and like, find your other half, and you become one person, and it's all just beauty and roses. So a lot of these messages come from all over the place. They can come from Hollywood, they can come from pop culture, they can come from our family, they can come from whatever subculture we're apart of. They definitely can come from these mainstream systems, at least in the US, of white supremacy and patriarchy, and all of these things that filter down to how we are and how we move through the world. And I also want to name this piece around which bodies are especially relegated to this idea of having no boundaries. Who's bodies are respected? And who's bodies are not respected? Again, getting back to this systemic piece. So I'm talking specifically about the United States, because that's where I live, but this can also apply to a lot of other places, of who's bodies are valued? Who's bodies are given the right to have boundaries? All of this shit that's going on with ICE right now, with immigration, and with kids being taken away from their parents, is this prime example of boundaries not being respected. People's bodies are literally being taken and locked up. And obviously, without their consent. But all of- talk about boundary violations. You have your child taken from you, or your taken from your parents. Or your whole family together is put behind bars. Those are intense boundary violations that are systemic, that are condoned by our government. So that's the level of systemic shit that we're talking about. So all of these things are directly related to systems of oppression. So, especially for folks who are raised female, or are fem, folks who are fat, people of color, all of these way of - people with disabilities. If we hold any of these identities, saying no, is an act of power. Just being able to say no, that's an active agency, that's an act of power. And so many of us are taught by society, very strategically, and intentionally, not to claim that power. We're either taught not to claim that power or we're given severe consequences if we claim that power. So depending on our identities, again if we're fem, female, fat, people of color, have a disability, any of these things. Saying no, can hold many more consequences than people who are white, people who are male, people who are straight, people who are you know? Or any combination of those identities. So again, getting back to, it's more than just a personal thing, it's more than just oh, I have trouble saying no, I have trouble knowing what my boundaries are. Again, a lot of that could be totally due to my personality, it could be totally due to my childhood experiences growing up or relationships that I've had. And I can separate it out from what I've been taught about my agency and my body, related to, who I am as female assigned, queer, trans, white, middle class, you know all of these things, all of these other aspects of who I am influence how I move through the world in my own body. So that's just something to think about and unpack a little bit too. And then all of this can be further compounded, if we've ever experienced trauma, or have been previously violated in some way or had our boundaries violated. And so, that's also a piece. If my boundaries had been repeatedly violated through my life in different ways, or in my case, I've had some severe boundary violations, but then I've also had just a lot of ways where I didn't know I could set a boundary around something, and so I never set that boundary. So essentially, I was kind of violating my own boundary form my whole life, complete not in any kind of blaming way. Completely, I just didn't know I even had that option to set a boundary around that. And so when I learned that I could, I was like, oh my god! And it was very liberating and also complicated, you know, I had to deal with all this sadness around having to never set that boundary, previously. So that's a little of the background of ways that we're taught to have or not have boundaries. Now, why are boundaries important? I'm curious to hear from y'all. Why are boundaries important to you? Some of my thoughts, they keep us safe, they can help keep us more comfortable. I wouldn't say that boundaries always keep us comfortable. Comfort is determined by so many factors but boundaries can help keep us more comfortable. They can help us stand up for ourselves and protect ourselves. They help us to know where we stop and where we begin. So, my own boundaries helped to inform me of where I stop, and someone else begins. What is the end of me and where does someone else start? When I have strong boundaries, I'm less likely to lose myself, emotionally, in relationships. This is something that I used to do a lot, through, specifically through my codependency. I would lose myself in relationships easily. I would get wrapped up in another person. I would- like, what would make them happy would make me happy. Also, as an empath, it was super complicated. Still is complicated. But whatever would make them happy would then make me happy. It's like, I wouldn't be initiating as much for my own sense of self, for my own power. So yeah, and when I have strong, healthy boundaries, I'm less likely to lose myself. I'm less likely to lose track of what matters to me. I'm less likely to overstretch myself, over commit myself. And I mentioned this earlier too, that rather than creating distance, boundaries can actually help us achieve a greater intimacy and deeper connections. So, with healthy boundaries, it's this connection between two whole, complete, separate people connecting from that place of wholeness. Rather than this kind of vague, ambiguous, enmeshment of becoming the same person. Or like, oh, you complete me. So I'm gonna take you on and you're gonna take me on and it's this kind of, ambiguous enmeshment. Again, where it's not really clear where one person stops and another on begins. But from this place of wholeness, two separate people, who whole people, becoming interdependent, not codependent. But interdependent. And connecting from that place of wholeness and centeredness and authenticity. I've had much deeper and more authentic connections with people when I'm coming from a place of wholeness within myself. And healthy boundaries around myself. It opens up a whole new kind of connection, I think. And it helps me be clear on, oh, do I really like that? Or do I just think I do because I started dating my partner? Is that just something I got excited about because my partner's excited about? Or do I actually like it? What else? What else? Yeah, I'm glad you're resonating, Brit. I love talking to people about this stuff because it's like, it just helps to reaffirm it, it helps me to continue to remember all of it too. I'm trying to think of how else boundaries are useful. They set the perimeters of a relationship. They help set expectations for a relationship. And so, if I have a boundary around oh, what's a good example? Oh, this is a great example. So I am a pretty extroverted introvert, kind of right in the middle there. At the end of the day, I'm more of an introvert, but I'm super social, I love people. I love connecting deeply with people, I love my friends, my partners, my lovers, I love people. My family. Chosen family, blood family. And I need a lot of alone time. I need to- and this is something I ignored for a long time because I am social. And because I had fomo super hardcore. I can get really social and do a lot, sometimes I'm doing the most. And I really need alone time. I need to make sure I'm meditating daily. I need to make sure I'm sitting in front of my alter, daily. I need to make sure that I am slowing down, that I'm taking, at least, a couple nights to myself, every week, where it's just me, where I'm not going out doing anything. Where I'm not having anybody over. Where I'm just really just in my own energy and in my own space. And not interacting with anybody else. It's just beautiful, nourishing, love up on me time. And so, when I start dating someone, or get really excited about someone, that can start to slide, if I'm not careful. Because I'm loving up on this other person. I'm excited to spend time with them. They make me feel really good, I make them feel really good. It's just this fun energy. And so, I need to be clear, to set a boundary at the beginning of any relationship, of I need this solo time. That's just part of me, it's part of my life, it's part of my care package for myself. It's just part of how I move through the world. I need to make sure I'm taking this alone time. Even if I'm living with a partner. I need to make sure I have my own bedroom and I have my own alone time. And I need to communicate that. And then that helps others to know what to expect from me. And it helps me to know what to expect from me. When I'm clear about that, then someone's not - if I'm clear about that, then the person I'm dating, isn't gonna get upset when suddenly I'm like, yo, I need space, I need time, I need space, I just need my own me time. If I haven't been upfront with that, they might be like, oh wait, but is that about me, what do you mean you need space? And so it's absolutely my right to have my boundary and then my my responsibility to communicate that boundary in some way. It communicate my needs and my wants. And then it also helps other people to then consent to the relationship. So, on the flip side, say that I'm dating someone, and they have a boundary around... Say they have a boundary of they like to keep their lovers and their friends separate. And they don't ever want their lovers and their friendships to overlap. That's their boundary and there's nothing wrong with that, that's totally fine. If I'm someone who's like, I want to meet your friends, and I want to know... Oh actually, a polyamory example is an even better example. So say I start dating someone, and they have boundary around, that they don't ever what their lovers to meet each other. 'Cause they just like to keep people compartmentalized. They don't like overlap. I'm someone in my, my non monogamy, the way that I practice it, it's important for me to know people's other people. And my ideal is to have friendships with people's other people. And have them know my other people too. And I don't need that ideal, I would love that ideal, but what I do need actually, is to just at least know. Maybe meet them or whatever, that's my need. Their need is very different than that. And so that communicates a need and a boundary from the get go. So then I can actually decide, okay, I totally respect that boundary. Does that work for me? Maybe it doesn't? If I'm never gonna meet any of your other people, I don't know if that works for me. And so maybe we're just not compatible. And then that preempts a lot of drama. 'Cause we're just from the get go, looking at these deep compatibility things and being real with out boundaries. Rather than being kind of wishy washy or not really communicating out boundaries. So it can also, on that note, it can prevent resentment that comes from agreeing to things we don't really wanna do. How many people, I wish I could see a show of hands on this livestream, how many people have agreed to do something that you actually don't wanna do. And then you feel resentful about it later. I used to be the fuckin king of this. Also part of my codependency, where I would just agree to shit. And not wanna do it. But then I felt like I couldn't say no. Or that the consequences would be too big if I said no. And sometimes that was legit, sometimes actually there were gonna be consequences and that wasn't worth it for me. Other times, it was just made up in my head. I was just scared of saying no. But then, by not saying no, and doing the thing, I would then get resentful about it and then that would just become this burden that I was carrying. Brit is sharing, "It wasn't until my mid 20's ish "that I started setting boundaries for myself, "in relationships. And it was a game changer. "A lot of people didn't understand why these rules, "and many people called me dysfunctional "because I didn't want to adhere to the typical "relationship boundaries that are expected "but not talked about." Oh my god, oh, thank you all for raising your hands! I love this! Hey, Alexandria, so great to have you. Yes. And Brit, yeah, oh my god, all of this, all of this. I'd love to hear more, if you wanna share more specifics. Fuck that, people calling you dysfunctional, you're actually standing up for yourself and you're being authentic and true to yourself. So fuck yes. And I'd love to hear some examples of these typical relationships boundaries that are expected but not talked about. Can you share what some of those are that you've noticed? 'Cause so many of these are just expected, they're not named, they're not talked about. And if we were to actually name then and talk about them, a lot of them might sound absurd. Like put it into words, and it sounds a little absurd. Probably why we don't talk about them. And where they're these subtle little things that just go unnamed. But thank you for sharing that. I'd love to hear more. Probably a lot that I can relate to. Another thing that I wanna say about boundaries. So that's whole list, I just talked a whole lot about why boundaries are useful. Also, boundaries help us negotiate our risk level. So especially when it comes to safer sex. My boundary, around safer sex, people can have whatever boundaries you want. My boundary is, for the most part, that I want to check in with the person fist about when they were last tested, if they have any STIs that they know about. And I'm in general, how many partners they're having unbarriered sex with before I will agree to have unbarriered sex. And if they don't know the answer to any of those question, that's totally fine, and I'll just use a barrier. And that's my risk assessment. And so then we're not gonna be exchanging fluids. But basically, my boundary is, if I am gonna be getting all juicy with someone and actually exchanging fluids and not using barriers, I wanna know when they were last tested, if they have any STIs. And since their last testing, if they've had a bunch of sex with a bunch of different people, unbarriered. Not out of any judgment around that, please slut if up as much as you want, I'm a slut. Absolutely, go for it. But just as a way to assess my own risk level around STIs. So again, boundaries, and it took me a while to get to that boundary. And sometimes that boundary changes. It's been a little different at different points of my life. But boundaries help me to negotiate my own risk level that I'm willing to take, that I feel comfortable with. And that I feel like will help me be the most present and enjoying the situation. A little bit about boundaries, boundaries can change, depending on the person. So you'll have different boundaries with your partner, that you do with your coworker. Boundaries can change on the day. I know depending on how I'm feeling in my body, I have different boundaries around, I mean, in general, I'm a huge touch person. So if you're a person in my life that I'm real touchy with. If you're a partner, you know, a lover, chances are, I'm gonna be touchy. I'm gonna be fine with touch. And there are some days, where actually maybe I don't want that much touch, maybe I actually need some spaciousness from it. If I'm sick, if my body is feeling run down, somehow. Maybe I want a different type of touch. Totally times, when actually, I don't really want sexy touch. Maybe I just want cuddle touch. Boundaries can change based on location. So, public versus private. Obviously, we have different boundaries. Not everybody. Boundaries can change based on the mood, based on the weather. And it's okay. You always have a right to your ever changing boundaries. Always, always, always. You always have a right to your boundaries, you have a right to change your mind. You then have a responsibility to communicate that. And that's where it can get a little tricky. And where over these next few weeks, we're gonna be talking more about the communication piece around it. But if I'm not expressing my boundaries, people aren't gonna know what those are. And we all kinda step on each other's boundaries, accidentally, anyway, at different times. Someone might cross my boundary, completely not realizing that they're crossing my boundary. I might cross someone's boundary, completely not realizing that they have a boundary there. And so what's important, I always have the right to my boundaries. And then I have a responsibility to communicate them and assert them. And when someone crosses it, to be like, hey, hey, that's not, that's my boundary. And I don't need to be a dick about it. I don't need to attack them for crossing my boundary. I can just be like, hey, just so you know, that's a boundary. Now if they then, don't respect that boundary, of if you're dealing with someone who's repeatedly not respecting a boundary, that is when, you know, not gonna say, oh, be a dick. I don't support people just being a dick for the sake of being a dick. But if someone's repeatedly not respecting your boundaries, then, you know, okay, what do I need to do to be more assertive? What do I need to do to really make it clear to this person? What do I need to do to keep myself safe? So, we'll get into a little bit more of that later. Jane is sharing, "Yes, it's so important to set, "at the start of a relationship." Yeah, start boundaries at the start of a relationship. "What happens when you super believed in certain things "at the start of the relationship, mainly codependency," Great example. "And now you want to shift that because I hear those "accusations. Like, you're wishy washy." That is such a great question. Biggest thing I will say, is you absolutely have the right to shift and to change. And to change your values, and change your belief, and change into... Especially as we're unlearning and unpacking things. I went through tremendous transformation as I was unlearning and unpacking some of this shit. And I'm continuing, I still go through transformations when I learn something new. And I'm like, oh, fuck I never thought about it that way. So important. And that's challenging. It can be challenging in relationships because we get comfortable with where people are. And in general, we do this thing in relationships, a lot of people do this thing in relationships, myself included, and it's kind of normalized out there. We start a relationship, we get into the relationship, we establish a relationship, and then we don't ever want that person to change. We just don't want anything to change, ever. We want it to stay exactly the same in static. Which comes from fear, because if someones changing, well maybe they will change away from me. Maybe they'll change and move away from me. Which is scary. And at the end of the day, we're not static people. We are constantly growing and changing and shifting. That's just life. I guess what I will say, Jane, is if anyone is accusing you of being wishy washy, and anyone on this stream, and myself too. I'm saying this to myself too. If anyone is accusing you of being wishy washy, or in some way, shaming or blaming you for changing your mind about a thing, especially something as big as, oh, I think I might have a boundary I've never thought of. That is essentially, not respecting you. Doesn't mean that they're a mean or terrible or evil person. And it's normalized even, like what we talked about before. It is normalized to not respect boundaries in our culture. It's not seen as bad. I want to get away from any idea that, oh, someone's evil, because they're not respecting your boundary. Or they're bad person because they're not respecting your boundary. They could be super great person, and they've been brainwashed in this bullshit to not respect someone's boundary. Or to call that wishy washy. So I think of it a lot as brainwashing. And at the end of the day, it's not okay. You deserve to be respected. You absolutely deserve to discover what your boundaries are and change them and assert them. If you realize, oh, I have a boundary here and I actually don't want to be... So, codependency, oh my god, perfect example. And we'll talk about this in a few weeks, more in depth, I think on the twenty- the last Thursday of the month, we're talking specifically about codependency. For me, it was this process of, okay, I actually am not responsible for your happiness. And if you're having a bad day, it's not my responsibility to fix that for you. Always my responsibility to be kind. For sure. But it's not my responsibility to fix your bad day. If I start setting a boundary around that, I might get some push back. People get used to our lack of boundaries or wherever our boundaries have been. So if I start setting a boundary, they may be like, yo, but you used to take care of me. What the fuck, where you going? You used to do this labor for me, you used to do this work for me, what do you mean? And my boundary is about respecting myself. It's about showing up for myself and really, really respecting myself. And I always have the right to do that. And the pushback is hard. And it doesn't mean your doing anything wrong. It doesn't mean that you don't still deserve to have that boundary. What you do deserve is to be respected in that. So, thank you for sharing. I hope that makes sense. And I'd love to hear your thoughts and anybody else's thoughts too. It's hard. The pushback when we start to set boundaries can be really hard. And pushing back against someone's boundaries, end of the day, is just disrespect. It is just a sign of not respecting. So I have to remember that too. If someone sets a boundary and I'm like, oh, ouch wait, I don't know that I want you to have that boundary. You used to not have that boundary. Why? I can take it personally, I can get all hurt about it. I can take it as rejection. And then I have to check myself. And be like, wait, am I pushing against this person's boundary? That's not okay. If I'm doing that, okay Roan, slow your roll. If I am doing that, I'm not respecting the person. And that's not okay. And that's not what I believe in. And that's not what I wanna do. So, Brit is sharing, okay around your comment earlier, these unspoken expectations of relationships. "Maybe the one's I encounter are exclusivity, "when one should check in, before and after sex behavior, "I.e. to stay or to go." Totally great, great examples. Oh and assuming feelings, oh my god, so much around around assuming feelings. Lord. Q! Hi, Q! Welcome, so good to have you. Everyone stay tuned Q has an amazing stream coming up later tonight. I think at six p.m. Eastern, three p.m. Pacific, in a few hours. Gonna be great. Oh my god, yeah, this thing around, you've changed. From partners before. Of course I've changed. I'm a human. I'm gonna change. And of course, you've changed. And that's hard. I have so much compassion for that too 'cause change is scary. And change could mean, are you changing away from me? And we want stability. I want stability. Of course, yes. This scared part of me wants everything to stay exactly the same. So it's predictable and it's not risky. And that's just not realistic. One of the most, one of the things I want to lean into relationships most, or lean into in relationships most, is allowing each other to change. And just trusting, that change, change is the only constant. And I can't control that. And when I start trying to control that is the sign that something's not right. Something needs to be worked out in myself. So, oh thank you so much for the tip, whoever tipped. Clitasaurus, thank you tipper. Yeah, so that's, oh there was a thread that I wanted to get back to. Oh, a piece that I did want to name, it's okay to not know your own boundaries, also. Especially, if you've been raised to not really think about your own boundaries. If you've been raised to care take other people's boundaries and not really know your own. It takes minute. It's okay to not know. And being in the maybe is totally fine. Maybe is actually a really juicy place to be in. And remember, that only yes, means yes. And you can always change your mind. So, sometimes we don't know what we like. And we're not sure if something is just meh, or maybe we're just ambivalent about it. Or maybe we don't care. Or maybe it's something we actually don't want. And that's okay, what is important, what's always, always important, is that our partners and our friends and our family, and every body in our lives, respect this not knowing. And they're willing to stop and wait, and be patient while you figure it out. Whether that takes minutes or months. So this is for all things, in all relationships. Also, very much about sex. If you don't know it's okay. And what matters what matters is that other people respect this. And let you not know. And a maybe and a not- A maybe and an I don't know is a no until it becomes a yes. 'Cause only yes's are yes. Does that make sense? So what else, what else, what else? Yes, okay Q. Three p.m. Pacific, 6 p.m. Eastern. Yes. Using your words, communication. Perfect segue. 'Cause we're not gonna have too much time to talk about how to actually communicate this stuff, today. I am gonna be talking more about that in the next two weeks. We're gonna be talking about yes's and no's. And how to actually say them and communicate them. So definitely tune in the rest of the Thursday's this month. And then the last week we'll be talking about codependency, specifically, and all the fun nuances of codependency. But in terms of boundaries, I wanna share this exercise that has been really useful for me. And invite you all to just try it on your own time. It comes from this book called Girl Sex 101, by Allison Moon. Really great book. I would highly recommend it. It's very gender inclusive, very trans inclusive. Even though it's called Girl Sex. I've also found it to be, as a trans person, I've found it to be really stellar on all trans topics, issues, all of that. And just very gender broad. So Allison Moon, the author, has an exercise in it called the Embodying Yes exercise. And basically it's this process where, you just sit, if anyone's done meditation, you can kind of ground and center yourself into you body. If you've never done meditation, that's totally fine, either. You don't have to for this. But you just kind of ground and take a couple deep breaths. And just settle into your body. And notice do a body scan and notice how your body's feeling. And then, its great to do this with a partner, with someone else asking you the questions. But you can also read through a list, and ask yourself questions. And then for - yes, no questions. All of these yes, no questions. And then for each question, you respond out loud to whatever feels authentic to you. Just one word. So, a yes, or a no, or a maybe. And then feel what you're feeling in your body. And the questions are things like... Simple thing. It's not like, do you like to be anally fisted? It's not the most intense of the sex questions. It's simple questions. So questions like, do you like dogs? And then sitting with your body and noticing what you feel. So if you like dogs, where is the yes in your body? Is it in your chest? Is it in your arms? Is it in your face? Is it in your stomach? Is it tingly? Is it warm? Is it cold? What do you feel in your body when you feel a yes? And then same thing if it's a no. I really don't like dogs. What do you feel in your body of this no? Is it like a tightness? Is it a coldness? Is it a, where in your body do you feel it? Is there a color? Is there a shape? And doing this with a series of questions. So that you can get used to, oh, what does a yes feel like in my body? And what does a no feel like in my body? And then I've used this when I'm needing to decide something. Or say someone asks me to do a favor for them. And I'm not sure how I feel about it. And I'm not sure where my boundary actually is around it. I'll sit with myself and I'll do something similar to this exercise of being like okay, just ground into my body, and then ask myself that yes or no questions of, do I wanna do this for so and so. And then, even if the yes or no doesn't pop into my head right away, am I feeling sensations in my body anywhere? And do those sensations remind me more of a yes or a no based on what I've learned about my own personal yes or no before that? Doesn't mean it's always super easy to figure out. But it's something, right? And shout out to Girl Sex 101. Shout out to Allison Moon for that. 'Cause it's been super useful for me. Alexandria is sharing, "I've heard, you've changed, "including recently. I'm struggling with reassuring "a partner that a long standing relationship "can survive change and adapt, if needed." Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Yes, thank you for sharing that. And that's, I deeply believe in that. That a relationship that is built on a solid foundation that can adapt with change, that's the marker of strength in a relationship, in my opinion. For length of relationship, for strength in the longevity end. Longevity isn't the only quality of relationships. We can have relationships that are super strong with other things. And maybe they don't last as long. And that's okay. Not all relationships are meant to last a long time to be successful. But this long standing, this strength of longevity, this long standing relationship has to survive change. And has to adapt. And that doesn't mean it's not scary. And it's just part of life. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. Chris, hi Chris! Chris is sharing, "When do you know what a partner's "boundary is too difficult for me? "I had a partner who had a hard time with cuddling "and physical contact outside of sexual space. "and I am super cuddly and I felt like I was really "missing out on physical touch. "Eventually, the relationship ended, and I was like, "why was I so afraid to ask to be touched more? "It seemed so needy at the time "to asked to be touched more." I resonate with this hardcore, Chris. Thank you for sharing this. I also identify as a very, very, very cuddly person and physically affectionate. And I actually had a relationship, somewhat recently, with someone who, I don't think they were intentionally trying to do this, but I ended up feeling shamed for wanting to be that cuddly. There was some things that this person said and the ways that they said it that actually felt shaming over how cuddly I was. And I just that's just part of who I am. And I, for the most part, have partnered with and dated other people who are also very affectionate and that love that about me. And I love that about myself. I think it's such a beautiful quality to be super cuddly. And yeah, in certain relationships, it was an incompatibility. For sure. There's was someone else that I dated too, who was not very physically affectionate, and I was actually okay with that. I knew going in, it was just real clear from the start, that he was not a cuddly person. I am a cuddly person. And it, for what ever reason, in that relationship, it wasn't an issue. Because I just knew going in, okay, I'm not gonna have that expectation. Gonna get my cuddles elsewhere and we're not gonna be so cuddly, and that's cool. And we connected on all these different levels that worked. And then, other times, this other relationship that kind of shamed me for cuddling, and a couple others, where it did end up feeling like I was just not getting my- and there were other reasons why I was not getting my needs met. And so what you're saying, anyway, all that to say what you're saying. If you're a cuddly person and your partner is not a cuddly person, it's easy to start, yeah, when there's an incompatibility. Which is no ones fault. So if it's just an incompatibility, it can be really easy to feel needy for having needs that are very, very normal. And if you had those needs with someone who was more compatible, they wouldn't feel needy at all. It would just feel like, oh, this is what I like? This is what you like? Great! It's easy to meet each other's needs because there's more compatibility. When there's that disconnect of compatibility, I hear you, I've been in that situation, where then I felt needy. And I felt shame for having those needs. Some of that, could just be my own stuff and my own baggage. Some of that could be coming from the other person. Are they shaming you in any way? Are they implying that you're needy for just having baseline needs? Because they can't meet those needs, which is also okay. No shame or blame on them for not being able to meet those needs and for having a boundary. That's a great boundary for them to have. It's not okay for them to shame you or make you feel needy For needing cuddles and needing physical affection. Just like it's not okay for you to shame them for not being able to cuddle or not wanting to cuddle. I want to get away from shame, in general, around this stuff. But yeah, I really, that question of when do you know when a partner's boundary is too difficult? It's hard. And it's a lot of for me, it's been a lot of checking in with myself around okay, if I just take this person's boundary at face value, and I'm not judging them for it, I'm not blaming them for it, I'm not shaming them for it. This is just their boundary. Does it work for me? And really sitting with that question for myself. Does it work for me? And sometimes yeah. Sometimes, like this other person, I was like okay, yeah I can do that, because we connect on these different ways and that's what the relationship will look like. And also, I'm poly, and so I got my cuddle needs met elsewhere. Another situation, sitting with it, okay, does this work for me? And if this was gonna be a primary partnership in my life, no, it would work. Like in this situation, if someone couldn't. If someone wasn't into cuddling and physical contact, I know my boundary would then be, okay, I can't build a primary partnership with you. 'Cause that's too much for me to give up. That's just too deep of a need for me. And that's hard to be in that space of not judging or blaming, but is this just an incompatibility? That can be hard. Especially if we love the person. And especially if there's a lot of beautiful things about it. Okay, you're sharing, "I think this person was the victim "of trauma and I suspected that was they they were "touch averse." Totally, totally. "And I was always afraid to bring up the topic "because I thought it was triggering." That's real. A lot of this stuff is tricky, especially when it comes to trauma. And right, it can be tough to bring up things because we don't wanna trigger a person. Whatever, whatever. And my biggest thought is, and I mean, the relationship is ended, so it doesn't necessarily apply now. But in any point in the future, moving forward, just make sure that you don't lose yourself, in your own needs and that. 'Cause it sounds like you were you have this compassion for where they are and their needs and you're wanting to respect their needs and their boundaries, you don't wanna trigger them. And just make sure you're also respecting your own needs and boundaries. And not just putting them on the back burner. You know, your need for cuddling is real and super valid and you deserve to get that met. All of our needs for whatever it is, super valid and we deserve to get them met. And we don't wanna be only thinking about other people's needs and boundaries, to the point where we're then neglecting our own. So yeah, I really resonate with that specific example too. And a lot at the end of the day, just comes down to compatibility. God, what would it be like if we lived in a world where we all just respected each other's boundaries? And didn't judge them? And then really move from, okay, does this work for me, or not? Rather than blaming you or getting mad at you, does this work for me or not? Or rather than blaming myself and getting mad at myself for feeling shame for myself for having needs and boundaries. Does this work for me, or not? This non judgemental space, I can reach it on a good day. And other days it's really hard, but yes, your need for cuddling is real. I totally support this. I've really needed to learn that for myself too of no, this is beautiful and I need that. It's essential. And I can't build a partnership where that's not there. And I can build only specific kinds of relationships, where that's not there. So yeah, thank you for sharing. We've gone over 4 p.m. already. So I'm gonna need to wrap it up. But thank you all so much for coming. Thank you Brit, for your amazing moderating. Yeah, you can find me on the interwebs. The social medias, all of that. If you've been inspired by anything today, please tap on the little tip jar. And share if you're able to. Also, no pressure, we really just want you here and watching. And spread the word about O.school. So yeah, tune in the rest of the month. Every Thursday, three p.m., Eastern. I'm gonna be talking about boundaries. I'm gonna be talking about boundaries and consent, and yes and no. And communicating all of this stuff. So again, bring your questions. If you have more questions after this stream, bring them to next week. Or shoot me an e-mail with the question and I'll try to address is on another stream. And yeah, stay tuned. We've gotta great, great lineup of streams later today, starting off with Q. Who's also gonna be talking about communicating using our words. Q is such a great streamer. And yeah, stay tuned. Check out the rest of the streams. And take care of yourself. And have a lovely, lovely, weekend. Thank y'all. Thank y'all so much for coming. I will catch you all next time. Bye.

Between You and Me

Date
Wed
Jul 25, 2018
|
3:00 pm
|
Calendar
Wednesday, July 25, 2018
|
3:00 pm

Learn to identify, honor, and assert your boundaries for better sex and more fulfilling relationships. Bring your boundary questions to Roan and get tips for exploring and communicating.