Expanding Eros: Exploring the Multi-Dimensionality of Sex


Episode 237

Cat Meyer, Psy.D., LMFT

In this conversation, Paul F. Austin and Dr. Cat Meyer discuss the expansive nature of sex and the importance of redefining it. They explore the role of microdosing in enhancing vitality and connection, as well as the need for discernment and consent in relationships. Dr. Cat also provides a primer to play parties and offers advice on navigating new experiences safely and intentionally.

Dr. Cat Meyer, PsyD, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex, trauma, and ketamine-assisted therapy, author, yoga teacher, and international speaker dedicated to evolving the relationship we have surrounding sexuality and our bodies. She is the host of the podcast Sex Love Psychedelics and the founder of SexLoveYoga.com, an online platform for education and programs on relationships, sexuality, and embodiment.

Podcast Highlights

  • Expanding the definition of sex
  • Lessons from combining sex and psychedelics
  • Microdosing and sexual vitality
  • Vetting partners and building trust
  • Understanding play parties
  • Embodied consent
  • Resources on polyamory, tantra, and BDSM

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.0 Paul F. Austin: Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, where we explore how psychedelics can be integrated into culture for the evolution of humanity. This is your host, Paul F. Austin, and today I'm speaking with licensed psychotherapist, researcher and public speaker Dr. Cat Meyer.

0:00:19.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: We have seen in some of the anecdotal data that I've been collecting from over 800 participants at this point. That microdosing can increase our energy, it can increase our confidence for sexual functioning. [laughter] It can guide us away from this performance mentality and more into letting pleasure be our compass. It can also provide a sense of vulnerability. We may be more likely to open up about what we need or what we want, or even be more present.

0:00:55.3 Paul F. Austin: Welcome to the Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance, and collective transformation.

0:01:29.4 Joseph Anew: If you care about psychedelics, then you should care about supporting your brain health. And here’s why.  Inspiring experiences rarely translate into the mental clarity and drive to do something with them without a well-nourished brain. That is where Qualia Mind makes things easy. Qualia Mind artfully blends 27 research-backed brain-nourishing nootropics in a holistic way, with vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free ingredients. One serving a day supports focus, mood, energy, and drive to translate your ideas to action. And right now, you can try Qualia Mind up to 50% off by going to neurohacker.com/thirdwave and use code THIRDWAVE at checkout to score you an additional 15% off.  This is all backed by a 100 day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose. That’s Qualia Mind at neurohacker.com/thirdwave with code THIRDWAVE for 15% off to start nourishing your brain on a daily basis.

0:02:44.7 Joseph Anew: If you are listening to this podcast, you know we believe that psychedelic medicines are humanity's most potent tool for personal and professional growth and transformation. There's a problem in the psychedelic space right now, but for the right person, it could also be the perfect career opportunity. The medical model of psychedelics is an important step, but it cannot, and likely will never meet the actual demand. It's too expensive, it's too controlled, and even if you can afford it, it's only for those with the right diagnoses. But there is so much more to these medicines than healing trauma or depression. Rediscovering purpose, enhancing creativity, expanding your sense of aliveness and wellbeing, your spiritual connection, healing your relationships, creating higher performance and leadership skills, and so, so much more. So what's happening is that curious individuals are having to hit the streets, find substances where they can, and trust that the underground facilitator or guide has been properly trained, has the right experience, and the right intentions.

0:03:50.6 Joseph Anew: It's created an ecosystem with a lot of opportunity and many unqualified undertrained and inexperienced people out there serving psychedelic medicines and hosting ceremonies. Bringing professionalism and ethics to the psychedelic space and the underground is something that we have been committed to since our launch in 2015. On our website, we have all of our trusted and vetted professionals listed for all to find for free, and for those looking to step in at a higher level themselves, who want to become educated, either to launch a new professional psychedelic practice or take an existing one to the next level. I invite you to check out our 10 month psychedelic coaching certification. We brought together an incredible faculty covering every aspect of psychedelic work, mind, body, and spirit. The certification is by application only, and explores the depths of psychedelic medicines, as well as our own proven five step model for their safe, intentional, and responsible use, from microdosing to heroic dosing. For more details and to enroll yourself now, for our next certification program, beginning soon, please visit psychedeliccoaching.Institute now, that's psychedeliccoaching.institute now.

0:05:10.3 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, this is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave, and today we have Dr. Cat Meyer on the podcast, Dr. Cat Meyer, Cid LMFT. He's a licensed psychotherapist specializing in sex, trauma and Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, as well as an author, yoga teacher and international speaker. She's dedicated to evolving the relationship we have surrounding sexuality in our bodies, and is the host of the podcast, Sex Love Psychedelics, and founder of sexloveyoga.com, an online platform for education and programs on relationships, sexuality, and embodiment. Now, we had Dr. Cat as part of our virtual summit that we hosted about a year and a half, two years ago. I wanted to bring her back on the podcast to go even deeper into what she's learning as she's applied psychedelic assisted psychotherapy within sort of an intimate or sexual context. So in this episode, Dr. Cat and I discuss the expansive nature of sex and the importance of redefining it.

0:06:11.9 Paul F. Austin: We explore the role of microdosing in enhancing vitality and connection, and we go into the need for discernment and consent in relationships, especially when it comes to sex and psychedelics. Dr. Cat provides a primer on play parties, which are interesting, and how to navigate them safely and intentionally and recommends resources to guide your journey of conscious and transformative sexuality. Alright, before we dive in with Dr. Cat Meyer, just a reminder to follow the psychedelic podcast on your favorite app. You can also help others by finding the podcast, by leaving us a review there. And if you're watching the video version of this episode, make sure to like and subscribe to get more content from it. Alright, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Dr. Cat Meyer. Alright. We did it. [laughter] I had to, I had to delay a little bit, and then Cat had some tech issues with Riverside.

0:07:08.8 Paul F. Austin: Things were not going our way. I apologize for being behind. I think I emailed you about this, like, I'm in Lisbon for a couple weeks and I go to dinner with friends at 6:30. And I'm thinking, oh we'll be done by 8:00 no problem. And then I'm like, oh, this is not America. It's a little different [laughter] in Europe, it's a little more extended. So I jogged home in the rain. And now Cat, you were in our virtual summit, what, a year and a half ago?

0:07:38.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yes.

0:07:40.9 Paul F. Austin: And gave a talk there. You're a PsyD. Is that accurate?

0:07:44.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:07:44.6 Paul F. Austin: Okay. A PsyD, clinical psychologist or doctor of psychology, is it both?

0:07:50.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Doctor of Psychology.

0:07:53.1 Paul F. Austin: Doctor of psychology. And you talk a lot about sex.

0:07:56.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: I talk a lot about sex. Sex and psychedelics.

0:07:58.0 Paul F. Austin: Tell a lot, your memes are, your memes are pretty, [laughter] pretty good.

0:08:04.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: You know, I like to keep it spicy. I think it's important.

0:08:05.3 Paul F. Austin: Keep it very spicy, I'll tell you that. Yeah. Yeah. And where, and you're in LA at the moment, or are you traveling?

0:08:13.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: No, I live here in LA. I live in Topanga, so I'm up in the nature.

0:08:16.0 Paul F. Austin: You moved to Topanga.

0:08:18.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:08:18.8 Paul F. Austin: That's a thing right now, right? Quite a few people are moving to Topanga, is what I heard.

0:08:23.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: You know what? A lot of people recognize that to live in a place where your nervous system can just relax and doesn't have to fight the noise and the stimulation of the city, it makes all the difference.

0:08:34.8 Paul F. Austin: Where were you before? Topanga, Venice.

0:08:40.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. Culver City area.

0:08:42.4 Paul F. Austin: Yeah, Culver City. Which is close, like...

0:08:44.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Same, same but different. Yeah.

0:08:46.6 Paul F. Austin: Or Vista. And on that. And why'd you become a doctor? Tell, let's start there. Why'd you become a Doctor Cat? What inspired that?

0:08:53.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: Ah, God. The doctor part, I'll be truthfully honest, probably my younger perfectionist, [laughter] it's like, we're gonna do this. We're gonna go all the way. But truthfully, I love academia. I love diving into research. I love like learning. So it was very much a natural progression for me. I went into, specifically, I wanted to be a sex therapist since I was 21, and I discovered that you could be that, I was like, this is a job you can have. [laughter] And not from the sense of me loving sex at that point. It was like me actually being a very afraid of it freezing up in relationships, having total dysregulation and panic in my system and wanting to overcome that, wanting to discover as much as I could so that I could have healthy relationships. Because at this point it was just none.

0:09:52.0 Paul F. Austin: Just yesterday I interviewed Gay Hendricks, Gay and Katie Hendricks.

0:09:57.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yes.

0:09:58.3 Paul F. Austin: Who live up in Ojai. And so we were talking a lot about relationship and relationship principles, and they initially had focused a lot on intimate relationship couples, but then they expanded that into the executive world and the business world and teams. And they've been together 45 years or something like that, which is, and written 40 books together, which I think is just totally nuts. And one thing that they talked a lot about were like, these relationship principles. And what Gay said was right before he got into relationship with Katie, he would commit to telling the truth. He would commit to taking full responsibility and finding like a creative partner, being creatively stimulated by them. And so I thought, yeah, it's a really beautiful way to put relationships. Sex though is different than relationships. What, what's this? I'm curious to hear your current thoughts on it, like sex, relationships, polyamory, monogamy, how open, from a sexual perspective have we become the last 10 years? Do you think this is helpful in healing, or do you think it can at times be a distraction and sort of, I don't know, I guess like anything else, like, I mean, psychedelics are this way too, right?

0:11:16.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, that, I mean, you just opened like a whole wormhole in the galaxy, I mean, that question right there. Like, including poly and open and sexuality and everything. Like the way that I see sex is not what we've been given culturally to understand what sex is. Like, we've been given this image that sex is the behavior, it is the act of our bodies, typically penetration. And our bodies moving together in friction to get off on this genital orgasm. And if we actually look at that definition, it perpetuates a lot of our dysfunctions. And those if we can't maintain an erection or we can't ejaculate, or we have premature ejaculation, or we can't orgasm or we can't have desire or arousal in our bodies. And so if we instead expand the definition of sex to be not just this act, this physical act of bodies, but really this this multidimensional experience of pyschedelics...

0:12:23.8 Paul F. Austin: Like tantric, like more energetics and...

0:12:30.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: I mean, I was gonna say energetics. Yeah. But this energetic experience, this exchange of energy, but also the concept of aliveness and the concept of how we move in the world, like we are sexual beings in and of itself. You cannot separate me being a sexual being from me being a caring being or a, like a teacher or, or this, that, or the other. It just, it, our bodies have the ability, whether we engage in that or not, to procreate that as sexual. Now the world operates in sex, plants reproduce, even the concept of, I was speaking to aliveness, like the world operates in rhythms and it operates in sound and sensuality and this eros, this aliveness. And so I think if we see sex or we see the way that we move through life, as in what ways can I find aliveness, in what ways can I connect to the rhythms and the sensuality and the innate eroticism of everything?

0:13:47.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: Then that I think that that can really transform not only our dysfunctions, but really you know, answering this question, how open have we become? I don't know that we've become open enough. There's a lot of judgment, there is a lot of shame, there is a lot of wounds surrounding the word sex. And again, it's these definitions that we've put it under, or these expectations that we've put on it and we don't realize instead how we're draining ourselves of this aliveness because of all of these preconceived notions or ideas and definitions that we put on it.

0:14:26.7 Paul F. Austin: Which is why psychedelics can be helpful. Psychedelics oftentimes help to kind of break that armor. A lot of people who work with psychedelics become more, I would say, sexually vital, even more open-minded. A lot of the shame and guilt that mainstream religion has around sexuality can be released through that. And like psychedelic sexuality is, I would say even more so than psychedelics. It's a powerful force. And so what humans have sort of navigated through since the beginning of probably time is how do we work with that? How does that become something that's maybe sacred or just biological? Right? So it's interesting to look at different cultures, how they approach it, how they teach it, and from a western culture perspective, we've had a pretty, I would say, and not great relationship with it last, what, 1700 years, since Christianity?

0:15:22.4 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. The puritanical view of it, which is sex for procreation. And you use that energy, which is, this is not uncommon.

0:15:31.0 Paul F. Austin: Just building energy, right? Like it's manifest destiny energy, it's colonizing energy, it's, like it's that, and it's not sustainable in many ways. It's not healthy.

0:15:44.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: It's not sustainable because it's not refueling. And so here's where the concept of like erotic intelligence is refueling us. You know, it's this concept of the relationship to our bodies, the relationship to creativity and inspiration, the way that we engage with the world, the way that we engage with others, the way we engage with our own emotions and other emotions. If we continue to just expel or just spend this energy or we are draining ourselves from all the type of managing the shame that's inside of us, that is literally draining us, then no wonder we're exhausted or everything is gone. And we don't have any energy left for aliveness or to turn on. We just, yeah. We have to. Here's the example of so many of people come to work with me because their relationships have become routine. They're boring. They are uninspiring because they're not putting anything into it. They're not putting the effort or the creativity.

0:16:56.6 Paul F. Austin: They need more acid. Just say it. They need more acid. [laughter]

0:17:00.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: I mean, that is great for a, an amazing experience. But even then, if you're not integrating what you're learning there, then it just becomes a super sexy experience. And it doesn't transform your relationships or your body or the way you interact with the world around you. It just is another fucking hot experience. [laughter] So...

0:17:24.3 Paul F. Austin: Have people come to you looking specific? So I'm curious about microdosing and sort of eroticism sexual healing, sexual desire, like I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on that. Like how can low dosing help facilitate greater vitality, eroticism, sexual connection, low dosing in particular? Like, I'm not gonna, I'm probably, I mean, I never say never, but I'm probably not gonna take like two tabs of acid and try to, I like maybe towards the tail end of it when I'm coming down. But in the throes of it, that would be, I mean, I've never tried it, but I imagine it would be very intense whereas low dosing, you can, yeah.

0:18:01.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. Well, they, even that, again, it comes back to the very definition that we're so conditioned to coming back to around what sex is. I have been blasted open with, whether you wanna call it God, divinity consciousness, myself with like, the most insane erotic experience like sex through spirit. And it was just me fully clothed, just being fully rocked by orgasmic energy rolling through my body. Now that would not fit the culturally constructed idea of what sex is defined as, but it was sex in a sense. So acid, whether you wanna say two, I don't know, two hits of acid, like yeah. If you're looking to, I need to maintain an erection with sex, then yeah, you're probably not gonna be able to do it 'cause your cock might look like a, like a octopus or something. I don't know.

0:19:03.9 Paul F. Austin: Maybe that's a 500. Well, for some people, all, everyone's different, I guess, right? Everyone's sensitivity is different.

0:19:12.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Everyone's different. Yeah. But that's where your psyche might overwhelm your, I'm sorry, over override your body's processes, but you can also be fucked open by the universe because you fully surrender to the waves of pleasure that's rolling through you. And that's a totally different idea as it relates.

0:19:31.3 Paul F. Austin: Now that we're talk, I, at one point I did a tab of acid and had incredible sex, and it was like a, it was a, it was a beautiful experience. It wasn't within relationship though, or like in a, like a intimate relationship. But it was very, and what I noticed is, kind of my observation at that point was like, I knew this person fairly well, but not super well. And it almost seems like there's so much that's opened up from that combination in particular, 'cause sort of the energetic field became a lot more intermingled than I felt comfortable with at that time, I guess. So it sort of broke a, not a boundary, I would say, but it was, it was definitely like, I don't know if I would do that level of acid in that way again, so.

0:20:25.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: With that person or that level of intimate depth that you have that person or in general...

0:20:31.1 Paul F. Austin: With that individual, more so with someone who I know, but I don't, I'm not in a relationship with. I'm not dating, I'm not partners with because it's powerful. And there was, I remember there was a lot that was unpacked, not just the sort of intercourse but more like the, an hour and 2 hours. The talking afterwards was heavier than I expected. It was a lot to hold.

0:20:57.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:20:57.7 Paul F. Austin: That time.

0:20:58.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: I love that you brought that up, because this is something that people don't often think about, that we need to really be with, in a sense, vetting our partners before we enter that space with sex or intimacy with the intention, because exactly what happens is what happens. Sometimes we're more vulnerable than what we would otherwise want to be with this person, or we let them in further than what we would want to or the psychedelics increase the threshold of what we would tolerate or what we would be open to and so our level of discernment can be skewed. And then let's say we fall in love with this person because of this shared, deep experience, but that overrides the very real process of trust, which is only gained through experience and evidence with this person of whether they're somebody, that they can hold us if something goes sideways or they see something before we've built that trust. So, thinking about this, taking the time to think about this and to talk about these expectations or these possibilities ahead of time is really important. I usually remind people or just kind of guide people into waiting before doing a psychedelic experience with somebody that they're initially dating.

0:22:16.7 Paul F. Austin: Recommended.

0:22:18.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: Because... Yeah.

0:22:18.7 Paul F. Austin: Recommended.

0:22:18.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, yeah.

0:22:21.5 Paul F. Austin: At least a month. I find a month is about a good sweet spot. Right? That's, yeah, that's enough.

0:22:27.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:22:27.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: So coming back to the question about the micro dosing, I think that microdosing can be really powerful in that it's closer to our sober state than necessarily a micro dose. So the level of integration can be easier than just blasting yourself off. Bigger doesn't necessarily mean better, what we have seen in some of the research, and there's very limited research in regards to sex because the IRB is...

0:22:59.2 Paul F. Austin: And on whether bigger is better. Or that...

0:23:06.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: I think that one...

0:23:08.4 Paul F. Austin: Or an acid, which one can, or both maybe.

0:23:09.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: I think the research is in about bigger and better in that regard because... But I think people keep pushing that conversation because they don't want to be with the responsibility that comes outside of learning about being in our own bodies and our own sexuality and what we need. It's like we are defaulting to somebody having a bigger cock, I can be lazier. Rather than learning your own body, learning about your partner's body in order to use what you got.

0:23:45.8 Paul F. Austin: Right. There's a big enough.

0:23:46.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:23:49.3 Paul F. Austin: There's a big enough.

0:23:50.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:23:51.6 Paul F. Austin: There's, so how do we vet partners then, if we're looking to be in relationship? I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on how do we vet partners, and maybe even what role psychedelics may play or may not play in that.

0:24:04.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Well, let me finish the micro dose before I go into that one, because in the limited research that we have, we have seen, and some of the anecdotal data that I've been collecting from over 800 participants at this point, that microdosing can increase our energy, it can increase our confidence for sexual functioning. It can guide us away from this performance mentality and more into letting pleasure be our compass, because also in psychedelics, not necessarily. Well, psychedelics and MDMA, it doesn't necessarily support the functioning of our genitals and so, but they fall into...

0:24:51.2 Paul F. Austin: MDMA in particular. MDMA in particular, I think ketamine, too I guess.

0:24:52.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: MDMA.

0:24:53.7 Paul F. Austin: If you take enough ketamine you're not going to be getting up.

0:24:57.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Sure.

0:24:59.4 Paul F. Austin: As a man anytime soon.

0:24:59.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. So with these, it can also allow us to. Okay, if that's not working for me, but this feels really good, if I just move in my body with my partner or I just follow where things are feeling good in my own body. It can also provide a sense of vulnerability. We may be more likely to open up about what we need or what we want or even be more present. Some of the shares from the individuals that I've been collecting data from have said that they felt more confident in their body, that they didn't feel like they had to hide, that they could relax into their body, that they could see themselves as something that was lovable. And shame is such a block to our eroticism, or to our erotic potential. And so by increasing compassion and reducing that shame, that opens us up into moving in our bodies in a more authentic way, which is a lot more pleasurable.

0:26:05.5 Paul F. Austin: Way more pleasurable.

0:26:07.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:26:10.8 Paul F. Austin: Way more, especially when you can be in touch with every aspect of it and I want, I have so many questions I want to ask you, but I got to slow my role because I think we're catching up still. So, the, if we're taking these low doses of, we're working with these low doses of psychedelics, becoming more vulnerable, more open, how might that help with discernment in partnership and relationship in... As we become more sexually attuned and sensitive? How does that impact how we choose a partner?

0:26:46.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: I mean, I think the discernment needs to happen in non-altered states of consciousness, because again, this whole concept of consent needs to be negotiated and agreed upon before that. Because similarly to what I said, with this increase of the window of tolerance, both physically in our body and emotionally, we might allow things that we wouldn't otherwise in a sober state. So I have had clients come to me in confusion and a lot of emotional pain because they went further with someone in that altered state than they would have allowed, and then they went into the shame of themselves and the physical pain their bodies were holding because that wasn't okay with them. And in the confusion of...

0:27:34.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: Well, I said yes, but a yes in an altered state in any substance. We talk a lot about this on alcohol, but we don't talk enough about this with psychedelics. And so discernment is, have you had enough time with this person to experience whether there's somebody who can hold presence, somebody who doesn't dismiss your needs, your request, your concerns, somebody who doesn't avoid you or drop off communication or doesn't leave you feeling with a slightly anxious or dysregulated state of being. Now, I understand in all romantic relationships, we hit up against the part of us that can be afraid, afraid of rejection or afraid of deepening an intimacy. And I believe that those conversations can be had, too.

0:28:36.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: But why would you bypass these feelings with a psychedelic? Just to deepen that intimacy faster than what your system is ready if you can't have these vulnerable conversations? You may not be ready to deepen with that person yet. It's almost like fast tracking it, but you miss the very important process of that building.

0:28:58.7 Paul F. Austin: So what are the signs that it might be a good time? What are the signs that, oh, it may, this may be a great way time to elevate it or explore that together? Right. What is that process of discernment?

0:29:14.4 Dr. Cat Meyer: Checking in with both people about what they are wanting in a relationship. If this is something that one person wants just to hook up and to explore, and the other person has the very real intention for a relationships, that's what they're looking for.

0:29:28.3 Paul F. Austin: Right, I like that.

0:29:29.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: That's what they're open with. Yeah. And it can cause a lot of confusion because sometimes in order to meet somebody, we might grit our own teeth and say, yes, that's what I'm available for, too. And it can be very sneaky. This is the manifestation of the archetype of the people pleaser or the mother archetype who suppresses their own needs to support the safety or the care of the other person without regarding their own. So things like that, I would also say, looking at what the two of you individually, two of you or more of you, I really want to open that as a possibility for any Polycule or group experiences.

0:30:17.0 Paul F. Austin: Polycules? Is that...

0:30:17.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Polycules.

0:30:19.2 Paul F. Austin: What are Polycules?

0:30:22.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: Poly-relationships that include more than two people, just opening the space for everyone, or even with some of these play party experiences, too.

0:30:33.8 Paul F. Austin: Sure.

0:30:34.4 Dr. Cat Meyer: We go into these experiences and there's a group dynamic there. But again, going through the important process of negotiation, which needs to happen internally for your own self as well as in a group, what are your desires? What do you want to get out of these experiences? What do you, what are your boundaries? What are your limits, your availabilities? What are you available for? And then what are your needs? What are your needs? How can, what is something that you need in order to feel safer, or to move towards doing something? What do you need intact before it would be a yes? Checking in with somebody you're about to engage in and asking what makes your yes a yes?

0:31:18.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: And that can really be helpful to stop the habit of just saying yes and really get into the awareness, the conscious awareness of why am I saying yes? For some people, some of these play parties are a way to experiment and to explore or to practice new skills. And for other people, it's to find love, or to other people, it's to discover new parts of themselves. So I think these are really important to understand where everybody stands so that we can co create something that's supportive.

0:31:53.8 Paul F. Austin: What's a play party like? Cat.

0:31:59.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Okay.

0:31:59.6 Paul F. Austin: Tell us a little bit about play parties. We haven't talked about these on the podcast.

0:32:02.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: Oh, great. I'm so happy...

0:32:04.6 Paul F. Austin: I think it would be cool to, because probably a lot of our listeners are like, oh, that's interesting. And they kind of have a sense of what it might be, I've, when I lived in New York, I never went to any myself but a woman that I dated for some period of time was like, had gone to some and was involved in the burner scene. And a lot of friends in San Francisco have been part of these. But for our listeners, who might just sort of be like, oh, that's interesting. What is that? Yeah. What is a play party? What's the intention of it? What can happen? What's the structure? We'd love to hear more.

0:32:39.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, and there's a variety of this. It's, there's so many different types. I've even talked on my own podcast, Sex of Psychedelics, about a play party survival guide to help guide you through identifying what these are on in your own, how this might resonate with you or what you need to set up for yourself to sport safety. But a play party essentially is some sort of group experience that involves the erotic nature. Now, that is a very wide spectrum of a definition, because there are experiences that range from make-out parties where it's just around making out, or it's just around sensual touch for pleasure. Sensual...

0:33:24.2 Paul F. Austin: Like carnival. This is carnival, basically, in Brazil.

0:33:28.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. So it's, from that all the way to experiences of group sexual dynamics, of penetration, not penetration, BDSM experiences, tantric experiences that are more energetic or might be more of like a sacred temple where there's a lot more worshipping or energetic play, or women-led experiences, men-led experiences, gay, queer, bi experiences, swinger experiences which is more of like a couple swapping with one another, or engaging in experiences where everyone's in a relationship, so to say. It really, really varies. And it's important for you to understand if you are invited or you're looking for something like that, to check in with what you're about to step into and to know how you feel with the host, because it's different with every host, the size of the experience.

0:34:43.1 Dr. Cat Meyer: Some of them are public, some of them are private and invite only. Those have different energetic experiences. Checking in with your own boundaries of what you want to be available for or what you don't, even just going and being in the energy of a space where people are exploring their sexuality can be really powerful or it can be really triggering.

0:35:07.6 Paul F. Austin: Right? So, and not in every situation, but sometimes in these circles, there are psychedelics. There may be micro doses, there may be MDMA, there may be ketamine. There may be, so there is sort of an interesting relationship then. And this is even why it's so great to have this conversation, because when you're in a group context or group setting like that, and then psychedelics come into play, I think it's so important, like you said, to know who the host is, to also have friends, a lot of friend groups. These are people they know, these are people they trust. I think it can be problematic or potentially just risky to go to one where there's not a lot of trust and rapport initially established. It does, from my, this, the way that I feel into it, it's like the deepest level of trust, like sexuality and basically doing certain psychedelics and other things together.

0:36:12.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, if you have trusted people in this space or in some play parties that I've been to, there's what's called angels. And so an angel is someone who is designated sober and someone who you can go to for support, for help, for processing or talking through something. I would also say parties where there is a designated space that's for calm, relaxation, that you can go to if the energy is too overstimulating or too activating your own body.

0:36:48.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: I would also say parties in which there is an intentional conversation and activity around consent and talking about these altered states, these substances that might be in the space. Because people may not be familiar with the concept of escalating consent, which is continuously checking in with the progression of your activity with someone and making sure that they are consciously present to saying yes, with every change of the movement, while also educating people or reminding people about the concept of fawning. And fawning is the freezing reaction of someone or the pleasant energy or the playful energy that can come over somebody as a way to not hurt somebody else's feelings or to go along. It's like the people-pleasing aspect. And so that's why I emphasized asking somebody what makes your...

0:37:48.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yes. Say yes, because if somebody's fanning, it can be hard to tell whether somebody is a yes or no. So you want clear words there, and then a response back so that you know... Well, so both people know where they're at. So these intentional actions taken to create a space that's safe is critical in my eyes. I have been to parties where that's not the case, and people have gotten hurt because not by the fault of any one person, but because someone did such to somebody, they were new to the experience, they didn't know that they were supposed to check in or ask, they just wanted to be a part of the experience, and the other person froze and wasn't able to say no.

0:38:37.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: So, taking that time to set it up, every time, even if people in that space are veterans and they've been doing this for a really long time, it's just really important to set that tone of the space.

0:38:52.4 Paul F. Austin: Understand. Yeah, I had Jay on maybe eight months ago, nine months ago, and so we got pretty deep into the topic of consent. I think it's interesting how present and relevant that's become, I think particularly in the last, I would say that I've been aware of it five, six, seven years.

0:39:10.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:39:12.5 Paul F. Austin: A much more central part of the conversation. And my sense is part of the reason it's evolved into what it is, is because a lot of, particularly American men, but also western men are not that aware or attuned to what's happening with a woman, I would say. Right. Like Esther Perel, I know, and I don't follow her deeply.

0:39:35.5 Paul F. Austin: So in my general sense, it is with her being from France, the conversation is very different in certain countries compared to in America, and that's, I think, an interesting overlap. And of course, I ask just why that might be, why is it that consent has become... And I think it's important, and I'm not denigrating it or saying it's not important, but why is it become so prevalent, whereas let's say in France or some of these Mediterranean European countries, it's not as often talked about, I think it's becoming more talked about than it was, but it doesn't seem as center to the conversation.

0:40:12.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:40:12.5 Paul F. Austin: Why is that, do you think?

0:40:14.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Oh God, that's a good question. Part of it, I think there's so much conversation about the trauma in our culture and about everything from systemic trauma of our culture, but also the individual personal trauma. And as we're talking about this more and more, we've brought into the conversation the concept of the somatic body experience of trauma.

0:40:41.7 Dr. Cat Meyer: And so that is different than the intellectual conversation that we have had about consent, which is yes or no. But there are subtle signs of the body of yes and no that we're becoming more tuned to. And so for the longest time, women have blamed themselves for fanning and freezing, going into experience saying, "Well, I didn't say no, or I didn't know this. Maybe I asked for it, maybe I shouldn't have taken that, whatever, whatever."

0:41:10.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: And it flips this responsibility on to that individual versus the shared responsibility that we all need to take hold on and recognize that we're a part of. So I also see as a culture of women, we have also been conditioned to not speak up when we're uncomfortable, to grit our teeth. Even physically, how much trauma we're holding in our jaw because our jaws...

0:41:49.1 Paul F. Austin: I've had a lot of trauma, if I can remember...

0:41:51.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. Because our jaws are this... I just recently had this conversation with my friend, Desi Valentine about our jaws...

0:42:02.0 Paul F. Austin: Oh, Desi? Fantastic. I love that. Did you invite her to the microdosing collective party, was that you?

0:42:04.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: I sure did. Yeah.

0:42:08.2 Paul F. Austin: That's the best. Yeah, it was great.

0:42:09.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. So like this concept of our jaws are the silent witness to all the breaths that we don't take, the expressions that we don't give, the emotions that we don't express, the words that we don't express.

0:42:24.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: And as women, there's so much of the archetype of the people pleaser, that we just grit, we just bite down to create safety for men or for other people otherwise, so that we don't hurt their feelings or so that we can get the connection that we're wanting, or so that we don't hurt them and then have to hold the fragility of their wounds that they haven't looked at.

0:42:54.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: Now, this is a generalized statement, I recognize that, but this is a common thing that we do see. I'm reminded of the scene in Barbie. I don't know if you watched the movie Barbie.

0:43:05.3 Paul F. Austin: I've not yet. No.

0:43:06.2 Dr. Cat Meyer: I only recently saw it. There was a scene where Ken was talking about how it was really hard for him to be a leader and he doesn't want to do this anymore, and he started crying and falling into the shoulder of Barbie, and Barbie is just holding him like... Patting his back slowly. And she's like, "Yeah. It's hard to do, isn't it?"

0:43:27.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: And that we see that a lot, this role of the woman needing to be the holder of the pain in the world, and that's exhausting. We're clenching, we're holding, we're contracting, not to say or to hurt or to risk creating safety for everyone else.

0:43:56.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: And so I'm not even sure where I started with, there was consent, the consent of consent. So having this conversation in teaching us, the embodied sense of this, and the somatic experience of it, not just the intellectual yes is yes and no means no. But does your stomach clench, does your jaw tighten? Do your shoulders tighten? Where do you have aches in your body to see if you are actually over-riding your own boundaries in order to take care or function or create safety for everyone else that is excluding yourself.

0:44:36.8 Paul F. Austin: Okay. So what are some positive signs then, say if I'm turned on, if it's a yes, if I'm... What does that feel like?

0:44:43.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. Relaxation on the body, expansion on the body, tingles in the body. And it really requires us to pause before we respond and to sometimes closing into our artist's eyes and notice what's there. There's a really powerful practice from conscious communicating about noticing. And it requires us to pause, go inside and notice where we're clenching or just notice anything, what's happening in into the body and expressing that.

0:45:19.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Sometimes we don't have the words or we don't understand it until we vocalize that. And then we can have clarity, or if we don't have clarity, then it needs to be a no, instead of overriding ourselves to meet somebody where we think that they want us to meet them.

0:45:43.0 Paul F. Austin: So who are some of your favorite teachers when it comes to sex or books that you read, like if folks are listening, they're like, I'd like to go deeper into this.

0:45:52.9 Paul F. Austin: One that I read many years ago was Sex at Dawn, which has become quite well-known and prominent by Christopher Ryan, really exploring this idea of polyamory and how polyamorous relationship is more prominent in indigenous communities, how industrialization has led to sort of an over-emphasis or Judeo-Christian values has led to an over-emphasis on monogamy.

0:46:13.5 Paul F. Austin: I've also heard of one called The Ethical Slut, I have not read it myself, but a lot of friends have good things to say about it. And those are a particular type of more about polyamory relationships. But generally, teachers, books, resources, who do you think are some of the best people who talk about this and teach about this, and who are some of your favorite?

0:46:37.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, yeah. Well, as it relates to polyamory, my favorite books are Open Deeply and the Polyamory Paradox, because they have very beautiful language, compassionate language about how to make these work.

0:46:55.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: And The Ethical Slut is a great introduction to saying, hey, you don't have to live a relationship the way that you've been taught all your lives. And then these two books take it deeper into the skills and into the things you might run into, the common challenges. And from a very compassionate lens, I think there's a lot of stigma in this culture around alternative styles of relating.

0:47:19.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: And I think a big part of it is just people just don't know how to do it. They go in into it with all of their misunderstandings of themselves and their wounds and their functioning that may not be supportive of this, and so having a therapist or reading some of these books can be really helpful.

0:47:37.6 Dr. Cat Meyer: As it relates to sex, one of my favorite ones is Radical Ecstasy, which is about the fusion of tantra and BDSM in a sense, to see the very psychedelic nature of sex that doesn't have to require psychedelics, but can be the energetic, alchemical reaction of exploring these two different types of sexual expressions, the sacredness of it, just as much as the activity of it.

0:48:09.9 Paul F. Austin: Is Shibari considered BDSM?

0:48:11.8 Dr. Cat Meyer: Shibari, it could be considered BDSM. BBM is primarily around the taboo nature of sexual activities that's outside of the cultural constructed idea of what sex is. The Shibari is the art of Rope Tying.

0:48:30.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: It's a very meditative experience, is a very beautiful art form of bringing someone into surrender because the person who is tying is holding a deep container of presence and attunement and grounded resonance to hold that person and fully letting go.

0:48:52.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: So it's very ecstatic in the sense of not only putting your body in these positions that are uncomfortable in some senses to where your attention is so, so focused and so deeply present, but also the release of the rope can create ecstatic states because it's releasing the pressure, it's a relief. I have gone into full body orgasms just from the release of the rope after being suspended from something. So, yeah.

0:49:25.5 Paul F. Austin: Yeah.

0:49:27.9 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. So some of the teachers in that regards, I tend to be... I love BDSM. I've been in that space, I've been in tantra and BDSM for so many years. And so I really love the... And the teachers that I tend to be drawn towards are the ones that have more of a witchy, spiritual aspect around it. One of my colleagues that I often teach with is Colette Pervette, I recommend. Dia Dynasty is another one that is really incredible. Midori is another incredible Shibari artist.

0:50:12.5 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah. In regards to tantra, one of my best friends, actually, he's incredible, Yossef Sagi. He runs these temple nights here in Los Angeles, which are these conscious play parties with workshops attached to it to really emphasize consent, but also some of these deeper practices. My dear friend, Layla Martin, who I teach with and practice with, I have a lot of respect for her as well. Yeah, I don't know, I could go on...

0:50:48.5 Paul F. Austin: You could go on and on, I'm sure, that will be so good.

0:50:49.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah.

0:50:50.9 Paul F. Austin: Well, I know you have a hard stop here in a minute. So I just... I thank you for coming on this. I think it's our second public... No, third, 'cause we did a podcast for your podcast as well. So this certainly won't be our last. But we got to do an event together, like an in-person event together. But I just... Yeah, I appreciate you taking the time. If folks want to learn more about your work, if you have trainings, where you're quite active on Instagram or at least you have been, where else... How can people find more?

0:51:25.0 Dr. Cat Meyer: Yeah, they can go to sexloveyoga.com, my podcast.

0:51:28.7 Paul F. Austin: Sexloveyoga.com.

0:51:29.3 Dr. Cat Meyer: And my podcast is Sex Love Psychedelics. You can follow me on Instagram at Sex Love Yoga as well, and that's just why I post everything. So catch it all.

0:51:40.7 Paul F. Austin: Beautiful. Well, thank you, Cat. I really appreciate you and all the work that you're doing and the awareness that you're creating. And it's been a pleasure to have you on the podcast.

0:51:50.4 Dr. Cat Meyer: Thank you.

0:51:55.9 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Dr. Cat Meyer. Remember to follow the link in the show notes to dive deeper into this episode and you can always continue the conversation with us in Third Wave's Community at community.thethirdwave.co. What did you think of this conversation? Do you have your own insights to share or any questions that may have come up?

0:52:17.2 Paul F. Austin: Let us know in Third Wave's community, sign in and find the psychedelic podcast in the menu, leave us a comment and also check out the rest of the platform where you can find support, have meaningful discussions and be exposed to high quality education, resources, and providers across our global ecosystem. You can sign up for free at community.thethirdwave.co.

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