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Big Little Podcast Episode 4: Acceptance, Ageplay as Therapy
Released March 13, 2011
Hosts: Spacey, Mako
Guests: Dr. Gloria Brame
Transcribed by Staub. Uncertainty in transcription is indicated with [?]
SPACEY: You’re listening to the Big Little Podcast, a show by, about and for age players of all kinds. Just like the subjects of our show, we expect our audiences to be mature adults. If you are under 18 and looking for upfront advice and answers to questions about sex, please visit Scarleteen.com.
[intro music~! ♪♫♪]
SPACEY: So welcome to the Big Little Podcast, a show by, about and for age players of all kinds. I’m Spacey and I’m here with my brother -
MAKO: - Mako, that’s me!
SPACEY: Hooray! And we have another guest – probably a special guest, my brother’s a little star struck here at the moment. And I have to admit that-
MAKO: Very. [laughs]
SPACEY: -Yeah, I’m a little excited too. But by way of telling who this person is, I wanna tell a little story. And that is... The year is 1996 or so. I’m about 21. And I’m living in the middle of the Bible belt: Atlanta, Georgia. And I’m strolling through the book stores. Right, I am a young adult baby, not so connected beyond the internet to what’s going on - although I guess maybe I already had started hosting a few munches. But I’m hungry for more about what this is and what it’s about. And so I- strolling through the bookstores, just looking to see if they have anything on the topic. And you’re not really thinking that my chances are hugely unlikely cause this is not like a special bookstore or anything. It’s like a Waldens bookstore, or the equivalent of a tiny barnes and nobles today, ‘cause those probably don’t exist.
MAKO: But then what happened?!
SPACEY: But then what happened was I did find a book! And it’s something that I had heard mentioned from one of my internet friends. And as I flipped through it, there was a section on age play and adult babies in particular and there were several interviews. And I learnt about one of my favourite words to this day that probably is one of my main kink definitions, which iSpacey: erotic humiliation.
SPACEY: And I learnt about that word from our guest today, which is Dr Gloria Brame. So welcome!
GLORIA: I love erotic humiliation myself, so I’m right there with you. Hi guys! It’s very nice to meet you and to meet your audience, kind of. Or have them meet me.
MAKO: I’m just gonna get this out of the way and say – oh, I’m so excited that you’re here! Different Loving changed my life. Come Hither changed my life.
GLORIA: I hope my next book will change your life too!
MAKO: Ooh, what’s your next book?
GLORIA: My next book is a general book about sex, but it’s a book which... I think is of special relevance to everybody who’s not mainstream. Whether bi, gay, fetishistic, kinky, swingy, whatever – because it’s a book that really talks about what we know as fact to be real normalcy and not the notion, I think, that is propagandistically pushed forward about what’s supposed to be normal. That only one kind of sex is normal. So in a way it kind of continues one of the main themes of Different Loving, which is – and Come Hither – which is my own thirst to understand what normal is and to propose some new models of sexual normalcy that make sense to everybody.
MAKO: Oh, that’s so exciting!
GLORIA: And not just to that percentage of the population who believe that in order for sex or sexual feelings to be legitimate, it has to involve a man on top of a woman in the dark grinding away. [laughter] That human sexuality is really and always has been diverse and that what is really ‘normal’ is sexual diversity. So that’s my next book so I’m really, as you can imagine, really psyched.
SPACEY: That sounds like an incredibly important work.
GLORIA: Thank you.
MAKO: I’m so psyched about that too. Something that I’ve been saying to people for years is that sexuality is more of a number line than a point? And that you can be sensual to be sexual? And that a lot of the things that age players and adult babies do, if you go back to the works of Erikson and Freud, have a lot to do with all that kind of non-goal oriented sensory sexuality. So that’s... I’m all for it. [laughs]
GLORIA: I consider myself an age player.
GLORIA: Almost all my experience has been as a Mommy. But I do like to put subs in diapers.
MAKO: Ooh, tell us all about it!
GLORIA: [laughs] So, y’know, it’s not you, age players! I’m just sort of your good natured, all-around, extremely versatile fetish perv. I have a number of fetishes and age play is one of them.
S:Well indeed. I’d be curious if you could share a little about your first age play experience. How that went and how you sort of found out about this world of age play.
GLORIA: Do you mean my earliest memory of being interested in it, which was at age five? Or the first time I actually played with the fetish?
MAKO: Both please. [Gloria laughs]
SPACEY: I was gonna say, I don’t think I could limit that down!
GLORIA: Yeah: ‘More! More!’ I remember that when I was age 5, I locked myself in the bathroom, and I... using the toilet paper roll very creatively, wrapped it around myself until it looked like a diaper and then I felt happy. And then I had the difficult task of very gently winding myself back to put it all back on the roll. [laughter] I still remember myself in the bathroom, like, turning counter-clockwise very gingerly. Because I knew my mother would-
SPACEY: Nobody will ever notice!
GLORIA: Exactly, right. And it was in a- just a mess, so God knows what my mother really thought. So that’s like my earliest memory that I thought diapers were erotic or sensual.
SPACEY: I have some very similar memories.
GLORIA: It’s like other stuff I did as a kid? Like running cold water between my legs or riding on top of a chair until I nearly broke it! That at the time I had no idea was sexual but now as an aging dominatrix, I look back and I go: holy crap! I was just jerking off all over the house - I just didn’t know what I was doing.
SPACEY: Those formative years start early.
MAKO: Yeah, I know that when I was little, that I had a lot of those same thoughts too. From a really, really early age, I eroticised spanking even before I knew that that’s what I was doing. And I remember when I was a kid, we used to travel a lot on these big international flights. And I would go into the bathroom on the airplane and they had sanitary napkins – just for free! And I would grab a whole bunch of them and line the inside of my underpants to make this fake diaper. And I didn’t know that that’s even really what I was doing!
GLORIA: Right! And that’s what I mean! It wasn’t like you’d had a traumatic experience or you’d been converted by somebody or... lured! I think fetishes are natural impulses in most people and in some people they’re stronger than others, just like everything else. Just like an instinct for music is stronger in some of us or an instinct to be athletic is just stronger in some of us. And I think in some of us fetishes are much more pointed, much more urgent.
MAKO: People really struggle with that though, right? They want validation that it’s okay.
SPACEY: Well, and in fact, I think there’s a really important moment for a lot of people when they realise that there’s a name for what they do and that there’s other people that do it. And so I’d be curious, sort of, when you had that moment. That: ‘oh this thing that I liked is called age play’.
GLORIA: Well the funny thing is, I guess... I’m 55 now and I got into the scene around 1985 so... how long ago was that? 36- no, 26 years ago. So that’s right, I was pushing 30 at the time. And I’m pushing 56 now. So I had always known about S&M but since most of my fantasies before I got into the scene, I didn’t really fantasise about hitting and spanking and whipping, I fantasised mainly about fetishes, humiliation and bondage and watersports. As a kid those were the things I always fantasised about. So I didn’t think I was ‘one of them’ because when I thought of ‘them’ I thought of this really strange community of [?] functioning people. I thought of the people I read about in fiction. Like in De Sade or even in the story of O - I never liked any of the people in the story of O. I just didn’t like the characters. And so I couldn’t identify with it at all. But a friend of mine who I met through business and revealed to me that she was an S&Mer, she convinced me to join a bulletin board service. Do you guys even know what that is?
SPACEY & MAKO: Oh yes!
GLORIA: Are you all- you remember them?
SPACEY: I joined a 1200 baud modem and had that experience of dialling in to see what other people were saying about a topic.
MAKO: Me too.
GLORIA: On my apple 2E I dialled in on a 300 baud modem to...
MAKO: Oh, old school.
SPACEY: But that’s as fast as you can read anyway. [laughter]
GLORIA: To a BDSM – it wasn’t called BDSM at the time - it was called bondage and discipline group, which echoed across the country. It was an echo system.
SPACEY: Okay, I remember that.
GLORIA: Hardcore, man! And until I joined that group, I was convinced I wasn’t an S&Mer. I didn’t know what I was. I knew I was weird, I knew I liked bondage. And actually I had begun- I had a relationship where there was spanking in my early 20s but I felt all kinds of messed up about it. [laughs] I was really a peace-loving hippy kind of chick in my youth, y’know, anti-war. And the whole spanking and hitting thing made me feel like, ‘what’s wrong with me? Why do I get off on that, it doesn’t fit with me.’ ‘Cause in my head I’m peaceful and... y’know.
MAKO: I’m so glad you changed your mind.
GLORIA: Well then I had this amazing revelation ‘cause what I did was I did join the group at her insistence and I left one of my fetish fantasies and I was positive no one would respond. I didn’t think I would have anything n common and the thing that was amazing to me was that… It took a day to get email in those days but the next morning, there were people who were really into it and turned on and wanted to get to know me.
MAKO: That’s so awesome.
GLORIA: And up until then, I’d never even told anyone what my fantasies were! I’d done some light bondage and spanking but I’d never talked about, y’know, pee-pee to anyone. Or things... I laugh about it now ‘cause now it’s so old hat. But I was a very nice Jewish girl from New York.
MAKO: It is scary, right? At first? Telling people these things, saying them out loud, admitting them to yourself.
GLORIA: I had that kind of moment that Spacey was wondering about. Because it was like when I realised that I was... There was a name for me – or maybe it was Mako who made this come in earlier.
SPACEY: It’s all the same.
GLORIA: When I realised that was my sexuality... I don’t know. It’s like this great weight was lifted from me. Suddenly things started to – for example, it really started to make sense why all my vanilla relationships had been so dysfunctional and why there had been such huge power struggles.
MAKO: Yeah, I tell people all the time that one of the great benefits to embracing your sexual identity – to taking control of your own sexual agency over yourself – is that it frees you up to be a more authentic and well-rounded and whole person.
GLORIA: I totally agree.
MAKO: Suddenly you can, I don’t know, make some meat loaf and watch TV on the couch because you did get the beating you needed earlier in the day!
SPACEY: And it’s not processing in the back of your head every waking hour any longer.
GLORIA: No, it’s not an obsession. It becomes – it’s not a piece of your identity that you have to keep buried from the whole world. And I don’t think I realised how alone I had felt with my identity until I found community.
MAKO: How did you go about doing that?
GLORIA: Well I was living in New York and it really wasn’t that hard because there were very active clubs at the time. It was the 1980s. There were three lively clubs at the time that you picked up an issue of screw magazine and there they were! Listed right out in the open. It was a very different time.
MAKO: Have you seen your experience of age play and how accepted it is change over time?
GLORIA: That, I must say, I don’t feel has changed the way everything else has changed.
GLORIA: I think that age play still is insanely taboo because there’s tremendous- one may say sensitivity, some might say hysteria, over pedophilia in this country.
MAKO: Ah, there it is again!
GLORIA: And I think a lot of people are completely ignorant about the difference. And they see diapers and acting like a baby somehow as a desire to – you know the old myth.
GLORIA: We don’t even have to rehash it.
SPACEY: It’s called- it’s my eye-rolling talk around here.
GLORIA: Right, I know!
SPACEY: Every time we have to talk about it, I roll my eyes, ‘cause, like, can we move on to a more interesting subject?
GLORIA: It has always been my experience that, in fact, people who are Littles have the greatest amount of sensitivity to children and their issues and are actually the most likely to opt for the most harmless form of child-rearing to protect their children to the utmost.
SPACEY: I believe that.
GLORIA: Because I think they really do understand, y’know... Transvestites always say, male-to-females say, they really understand how women feel. I think that infantilists really can understand how a child would feel. A small child. What that helplessness must be like - because you experience it through regression.
MAKO: Oh, amen to that.
GLORIA: You feel that vulnerability and you know how important it is to be safe.
MAKO: For sure.
SPACEY: I have to admit I always wonder about- that people are so easily able to make that logical leap from age play to pedophilia but they don’t make a similar logical leap from, say, puppy play to bestiality. And why is it that they’re able to make that differentiation?
GLORIA: Exactly right! I mean, I think it’s because there is and remains enormous fear in the culture about showing vulnerability and being perceived as powerless. And children or infants particularly are the epitome of that. And I think that’s why it freaks people out to think of a man in a diaper. They are always a lot more receptive to girls in diapers.
MAKO: Y’know I say that all the time, this social bias that it’s okay for women to be soft or to be childlike! But as men mature, we’re supposed to put that stuff away. Which is bullshit!
GLORIA: Well it’s threatening! It’s like the ultimate anti-macho stance. It’s saying ‘I am who I am. Tough if you don’t like it. Yeah, I got a penis – so what?’ [laughter] This is another kind of man.
MAKO: Y’know it’s really interesting to me because there’s this thing I tell people all the time about how- and I don’t know if this is the case for women. But like, for men, I think that there are largely speaking two kinds of men. There are ‘guy’ guys and there are ‘girl’ guys and I am a huge ‘girl’ guy. A ‘guy’ guy talks in sports metaphors a lot and he’s kind of afraid to cry in front of people and he doesn’t wanna appear weak. And I actually think that ‘guy’ guys are actually very vain and kind of shallow and sort of weak. Whereas as a ‘girl’ guy, I don’t think that there are chick flicks – those are just damn good movies. [Spacey laughs] And I’m not afraid to show my feelings and I’m not afraid to cry. And I kind of don’t give a rat’s fuck what anybody thinks of me or what I do.
GLORIA: Well you’re a very brave individual, Mako. You really have balls to do what you do.
MAKO: Brother too. And everyone who listens to this show, frankly.
GLORIA: Yeah, I mean, it’s a very difficult fetish because it’s very difficult to explain to other people and even when you allow people in, it has been my experience that even people who say they get it or they will indulge it... But ultimately they really do think something’s wrong about it and they don’t wrap their mind around it. I think it takes very open-minded and enlightened people to see it as it really is and not let their own fears and insecurities and agendas get in the way of it. And I think that we have seen that transition somewhat in gender. I’m not saying that straight men are usually comfortable around transvestites but I think there has been growing acceptance and certainly growing acceptance of transsexuals and that they are among us and they are our friends and brothers and lovers. And that it’s okay and it doesn’t just mean what people used to think. And I’d like to see that growing acceptance for people who play with age.
MAKO: Oh me too.
GLORIA: But I think that’s an even deeper fear, I really do. Yeah.
SPACEY: I do think that I have seen some softening on that level and a lot of that has come with the visibility of the age play community as there have been more of us that have been part of the BDSM community being seen. The fact that I was able to conduct an age play event at the south east leather fest a few years ago I think speaks to the more openness of it. The fact that there are a lot of at age play events at larger BDSM events across the country I think speaks to that. I think the kinky [?] college in Chicago recently had an age play title that they created and they’re putting forth.
GLORIA: They should because, y’know, a lot of people like age play! They just don’t take it out of the house and let anyone else know. I mean most of the people that I know who do age play are closeted about it even if they do other kinds of BDSM play in public.
MAKO: Yeah and I think it’s because of a couple of reasons. I think it’s because people don’t understand their own feelings about it and they’re frightened of other people’s reactions to it. And almost to a one, almost every single age player I’ve ever met or spoken to or had any dealings with, even if they don’t currently feel this way, has gone through a period of their life where they seek validation from some external source or body or group – to tell them that it’s really okay that they are like this. And it’s funny even, ‘cause I see this in the age play community a lot where there’s this huge gap in between sexual age players who they’re in touch with and in tune with the fact that it’s a sexual thing for them and people who play with it in a sensual way but in a non-sexual way? And it’s like those two camps of people, they just fight like dogs! And I’m guilty of this as much as anybody else. I’m a sexual age player and there was a period of my life when I used to stomp all over the faces of non-sexual age players and say that they were fooling themselves. And I’ve since changed my mind about it and I’ve realised it’s just points on a curve and that people are sexual in whatever way makes sense to them and sensual in whatever way makes sense to them.
GLORIA: Well right, and I can tell you that – because I consider myself a very sexual player in that I feel passionate, I get wet, I want my partner to get hard. I mean, there’s a lot of kissing, there’s a lot of dripping excitement and whispered cruelty on my part. [laughs] and all the rest of it. But at the same time, the fetish itself is sex for me. I don’t need to necessarily supplement it. Do you know what I mean?
MAKO: Right, a diaper is not foreplay to intercourse – it’s sex all in itself.
GLORIA: It is! Right. And I think that’s true for some fetishists like me. I think we’re really all over the map. I mean, when I work with fetishists – and I work with a lot of fetishists of every possible variety – there’s still like a basic pattern. The basic pattern is we have urges as kids that you don’t even realise have anything to do with sex. They’re just a little odd – they don’t make you feel bad but they’re odd. In your teen years, you realise you’re different from other people in what turns you on and depending on your circumstances, you might feel really horrible and freakish about that or you might be moderately okay with it. And then when you reach your peak of hormones, usually between 17 and 25, you fantasise about it a lot but you’re so horny that you can have a lot of other kinds of sex. But then the older you get, I would say 30+, the more you realise that your greatest pleasure derives from the fetish.
GLORIA: That’s a pattern- do you guys feel that’s a pattern that...
SPACEY: Hm... I mean, it’s certainly a pattern I’ve seen. I’m not sure that I would say it quite fits the pattern of my life. They’re very similar at the beginning as far as the young...
GLORIA: What changed for you?
SPACEY: I would say in my twenties and in my young teens- uh, older teens and twenties, I was sort of so sort of consumed by my fetish that the idea of having a normal sexual relationship was kind of scary to me.
GLORIA: Interesting, yeah.
SPACEY: And so I stayed away from that, in fact. I was happy to be friends with all kinds of people but I didn’t let it move on past a certain point. And it was only later-
GLORIA: You mentioned you’re married now. So was your wife somebody you married later in life?
SPACEY: I’ve actually been married twice. My wife now is somebody that I met just about 5 years ago.
GLORIA: I see.
SPACEY: Hugely compatible but even my former wife, I was out to her about all this stuff before- or when our relationship started becoming really serious, so... It was always sort of important to me. But I definitely agree that, into my thirties now, that this is important enough to me that I probably wouldn’t seek out - heaven forbid this relationship should end – I probably wouldn’t seek out another relationship that didn’t include these aspects for me.
MAKO: Right. And I turned 40 just a few months ago - or 4.0 depending on the underpants I’m wearing at the time [laughter] - and not that I’m further along than Spacey, but I’ve experienced some of what you’re talking about. It’s really interesting to me. Back when I was in my late teens and early twenties and a stray wind could give me erection, yeah, you’re right, I could be sexual about anything and everything. What I find as I get older is that... I did go through this period in my mid-20s where I tried everything on the buffet, kink-wise. I went crazy with it and I did some things back then that I’m not interested in now. But I’ve expanded in some other ways too, in that a lot of my interests are cyclical. So things have changed for me. I have some interests that are cyclical and some that are sort of like the perennial – they’re always gonna be a good thing for me. Spanking always does it for me and diapers always do it for me, although I find that my need for them has changed. Like I like diapering other people just as much as I like being diapered now.
GLORIA: Right. I understand that.
MAKO: As I got older, I got more in touch with the fact that I am polyamorous and that it’s a big need for me. Brother and I- our family is really complicated.
SPACEY: [laughs] It’s true.
MAKO: I’m married, okay, so I’ve got my wife and my girlfriend – both of whom are Mommies to me - and then brother and I are part of a poly triad with this other wonderful woman. We actually call each other brother and sister. It’s not like an incest fetish, it’s just the best words we have because we kind of consider ourselves to be so close that we’re three parts of the same person. And then brother’s married to a wonderful woman who I love and sister’s married to a wonderful man who I love! And then we have branching connections going off of there! And as I’ve gotten older, the thing I’ve come to see is that surrounding myself with a variety of partners who have different perspectives and I have different power relationships with – it really means a lot to me. So while I’m still the same age player I was 20+ years ago, I’ve evolved some.
GLORIA: I think that when you’re involved in this world, that all new possibilities present themselves. If you just allow yourself to find what really works for you rather than – I think what most people do and reaching a certain age and saying this is the way it is always going to be? I think people like us do have that extra opportunity if you will because we’re so unconventional too. To say ‘well, if I’m unconventional this way, maybe I’m unconventional that way’. And we start opening doors and we permit ourselves to be who we are.
MAKO: The value of an open mind.
GLORIA: Yeah. And to be who we are. Who we really are. In other words, go with what feels right to you – does it feel good to have a brother? Does it feel good to be in your own family? I have two life partners, my husband who I’ve been married to for 22 years, William, and our submissive... wife? Y’know, not legally but if there was justice in this country it would be real, she would be our third domestic partner, because she’s been with us for 11 years. So we’ve been a triad, a very happy triad, for 11 years. If you would have asked me 20 years ago, did I imagine myself– I’m pretty heterosexual. I’m bi-kinky, I’ll dominate girls but when it comes to the icky stuff, I like the boys. [laughter]
MAKO: Is age play a part of the relationship you have in your triad?
MAKO: Yay! [Mako & Spacey laugh]
GLORIA: I wish more so! She’s a very cute little subby girl.
GLORIA: And she’s got a smart mouth, so as far as I’m concerned, she should spend time in diapers. [laughs]
SPACEY: We’re gonna do a show sometime about bratting so...
GLORIA: Yeah, I like the diaper punishment.
MAKO: Me too.
SPACEY: [sarcastically] Yeah, and it’s so punishment for you, too. It’s awful.
MAKO: Y’know, I’m gonna cop to something that’s hard to admit but there is a way that diapers are punishment for me! I love wearing them when I want to – and I love wetting them. But I have a big love-hate relationship with doing the other thing in them.
GLORIA: I mean erotic punishment in this particular case. I don’t mean like, making somebody scrub the floor as punishment.
MAKO: A funishment!
GLORIA: A funishment, there you go. Oh my God, you do not have it on record that Gloria Brame used the word funishment. You’ll mess my reputation. [laughs]
SPACEY: Oh my. We’ll have to bleep out this whole section. [laughter] I wanna take some time because some folks have written in to ask some questions to you and I wanted to make sure that we were able to get to those questions. So if it’s alright with you, we’ll move into some of them. I think some of them will be more easily answered than others so I think we’ll just start with some of the easiest answered which, well okay, brother will ask.
MAKO: Sure! The one at the top of the chat, right, brother?
SPACEY: At the bottom.
MAKO: Oh, okay, sure. Yeah this one’s super easy. So an anonymous writer-in asks – “it’s not age play per se but does your professional side interfere with your kink side?”
GLORIA: No. [laughter]
SPACEY: Alright! Short answer!
MAKO: Moving on!
GLORIA: What?! I mean, does a gynaecologist’s work interfere with his sex life? I don’t have intimate interactions with clients, I do talk therapy. Just like... So I’ve actually made a very conscious choice for the last fifteen years really only to do kinky stuff with the people I wanna do it with when I wanna do it. In other words, not for money, not ‘cause somebody– I have no problem with sex work, I think it’s a great field but I think for me that would be difficult. So being a therapist, I love- I can talk about this stuff 24/7. I love sex, I could talk about anything and everything related to sex all the time without ever getting bored.
MAKO: Me too. It’s one of the reasons I wanna follow in your footsteps and become the same kind of therapist that you are. I am curious about something, though, related to that. I remember years ago – what’s that movie? Ah, Exit to Eden. In Exit To Eden okay, which I think is a great book and although people have mixed feelings about the movie, I think is a good movie too, there’s this point that one of the main characters, this dominatrix, says to her boyfriend, ‘we need to go on this trip and just go away from this kink island where we live and I just wanna have regular, vanilla sex with you because it’s like work to me doing it all day long.’ Is it ever a problem for you? ‘I heard about diapers 9 times today! I just wanna have some missionary sex or something.’
GLORIA: I consider that a very sex-negative attitude. So no.
MAKO: Good, I don’t feel that way either! [Spacey laughs]
GLORIA: Not in the least bit. I mean, that’s the point of view that something is fundamentally wrong with sex, there’s something that’s fundamentally wrong with kinky sex, that people shouldn’t think about sex too much. Well you know what? I think about sex all of the time and I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with it. I mean people think about baseball all the time [Mako laughs] – I think there’s something wrong with that! I mean thinking about sex, which I consider a crucial to your mental stability, crucial to your physical health, crucial to your quality of life issue.
MAKO: You know it’s funny, people say to me all the time that... I hear a lot from age players who have a diaper fetish that they wish they could be struck hysterically incontinent or have some terrible thing happen to them that would require them to need the diapers? So that they could legitimately need them. And I tell them all the time – dude, you do need them! Because they make you happy.
GLORIA: Right. Exactly. People don’t seem to value their own needs as being legitimate, important, worthwhile, as important as anybody else’s.
SPACEY: What a shame.
GLORIA: I think that’s one of the worst and saddest things with fetishists of all kinds. Because I’ve had from the guy who was desperately ashamed because he liked to sniff panties.
MAKO: I love that!
GLORIA: And that was it. He just liked panties. To the people who ingest faeces or y’know, it’s a big wide world out there. There’s usually always somebody wilder than you in it, too - and more often than not they happen to call me. [laughter]
MAKO: Where’s the line, Gloria? How do you know where – I’m assuming that you do – if somebody calls you and they say ‘well I like X’, what’s the line for you to say, ‘well maybe you need to be cautious about liking X’ or ‘maybe you shouldn’t like X’.
GLORIA: To me, the line is the same place for BDSMers with the line. Which is that consensual adult and sane. Let’s just go to safe, sane and consensual. Safe: I don’t support any behaviour that has a good chance of killing someone. That isn’t to say that there’s some kinds of heavy play that S&Mers do that I feel they’re entitled to do if that’s their choice but I’m talking about things that are clearly going to have negative results.
MAKO: Right. If you have a cliff top-
SPACEY: Long term, injurious impact.
GLORIA: Yeah, is almost inevitable, that kind of thing. I believe very much in managed risk – managed risks – and I think that’s what a really safe, even a hardcore player is all about, is managing risks. So safe. Sane meaning they’re not two depressed people who are trying to kill themselves? They’re not people with personality issues that prevent them from making good choices for themselves, they’re not whatever. You know. And mutually consensual. Both of them are expecting to have a good time. And if they meet those criteria then the real question is always ‘how do you do it safely?’ Or how do you manage your risk? So I don’t judge, I don’t think a fetish per se is a problem or a fantasy is ever a problem. I don’t think there is such a thing as ‘you shouldn’t have a particular fantasy’.
SPACEY: ‘How dare you have a thought?’
GLORIA: Right, how dare you have a thought that you didn’t even really consciously pick to have, like a dream. It’s like holding someone responsible for their dreams. You just can’t help it. But it’s what you do! So…
MAKO: One of the things that drives me absolutely to distraction, it’s a big button for me in a bad way, is people who say ‘well you’re a Little so you can’t like this!’ Or ‘you’re an age player - you can’t be sexual like that!’ I think that’s just so wrong!
GLORIA: I believe that’s wrong too. I don’t believe there are any ‘shoulds’ about it. I think this is really about, in my view, from my perspective and my whole- this book, of my new book, I call it The Truth About Sex. From my perspective, the truth is that sex is such an individualistic experience, there really is no right and wrong. It’s just a matter of finding somebody else who wants to have the same kind of experience, being in the moment with that person and getting pleasure out of it. What’s wrong in sex is when one partner’s unhappy or miserable or has an injury that they never anticipated. And you know what, that’s at least as relevant to right wing Christian fundamentalist marriages as to any other kind of relationship. And that should be the standard. The standard should be: are the two partners on the same page, loving each other, giving each other what the other one needs by their own definition? Or do you have two miserable, abusive people in a relationship?
MAKO: There’s a big damn difference between domineering – I’ve dated domineering – and dominant. [Spacey laughs] I love dominant.
GLORIA: Oh yeah, completely different. Dominant is respectful. Domineering is just bully. Anybody can get what they want through being brutish and being a brute.
SPACEY: So bring it back to some of the questions that we received. This may actually lead in well, ‘cause you mentioned your own book, and we got this one from someone who’s a professional psychotherapist who wanted to know: what suggestions would you have for a professional psychotherapist with limited awareness of the kink scene for the purpose of being able to serve kinky people, to increase their knowledge base and to gain a better understanding of the issues surrounding them and their loved ones? And they wanted to know if you could point out specific books, blogs, websites or organisations for therapists.
GLORIA: Well, they might wanna get involved with Caras, C-A-R-A-S, which is a group of I believe - I don’t know if they’re very active right now - but they’re a group that actually is comprised of psychotherapists who are [?] and projects and doing the – oh my gosh, I’ve forgotten the name, it’s slipped my mind. But generally speaking, my advice to a psychotherapist would be quite simply A) to learn everything you can at your own pace and do your own post-graduate work by... I wouldn’t recommend necessarily visiting sites but there are tons of really excellent books out there. And almost any good large group like a Janus, or an Eulenspiegel or a Black Rose has a bibliography of recommending reading or maybe a club local to you. But it’s easy to find and I would say read up on most recommended books. The second thing that I think is really important to remember is that people are very vulnerable in their sexuality and particularly if it’s a fetish or an unusual fetish. And what they’ve heard from way too many people usually growing up is either ‘you’ll get over it, it’s a condition, it’s a flaw, it’s something you should be ashamed of’-
SPACEY: ‘It’s a phase.’
GLORIA: ‘It’s a stage you’re going through. When you get married, it’ll be different.’
MAKO: ‘That’s not what a normal boy does.’
GLORIA: Or ‘you need a cure’. Right. I guess you guys have heard it all, eh?
MAKO: Oh yeah. [Spacey laughs]
GLORIA: So you’re dealing with a population of people who, in addition to whatever insecurities they may feel, have also experienced a good amount of social negativity that has even shaped how they see themselves. So unless they’ve done a lot of work on their own, unless they’re pretty smart and enlightened and have really been teaching themselves about it and been joining groups and going to meetings, chances are that the person most often who will drift into a therapist’s office is going to be somebody who feels isolated, very alone and very sad.
SPACEY: Fair enough. That’s good information I think.
MAKO: Yeah, it’s great.
SPACEY & MAKO at the same time: So-
MAKO: Oh, go ahead brother!
SPACEY: I was actually gonna say, I think Mako wants to pass on another question here.
MAKO: I do. The top one?
MAKO: Okay. I was curious about what Dr. Brame might have to say about hypnosis. So the listener’s question is: what are the benefits and drawbacks to using hypnosis to achieve a desired headspace?
SPACEY: And I think I would probably add to that that it’s very common in the adult baby community particularly to want to be hypnotised so that they have to use a diaper for a certain period of time, or that there’s a trigger word for making them have to use a diaper or making them feel like a baby and lose control.
MAKO: I’ll tell you how common this is. I wrote a novel called Auntie Eva’s Boarder that’s all about adult babies and one of the big, hot things in that book is that the main character in the book is forced to wet himself through hypnosis.
GLORIA: Well it’s a fantasy that’s been hot in the adult baby scene since I first became aware of the adult baby scene in ’87. [laughs]
MAKO: Is it real?
GLORIA: There is a support group online on compuserve[?] for adult babies called ‘Adult Baby’. And run by a wonderful guy named Bill Goldberg and I don’t know if he’s still around or not but I love Billy and people were always writing stories about it - and in fact the old Diaper Pail Fraternity, I don’t know it still exists, run by Tommy?
SPACEY: It’s sort of a defunct organisation now.
GLORIA: It’s a defunct organisation? Yeah. And I remember that they used to sell tapes on incontinence, ‘cause I was on their mailing list so I got all the good stuff. Y’know, tapes. So here’s the question – does it really work? I don’t know. I neither advocate nor put down hypnosis. I think hypnosis is one of those things where it works for some people, it doesn’t work for other people. It’s safe. It’s not like on TV where you can be hypnotised and two hours later you’re gonna start acting like a chicken. [laughter]
SPACEY: I don’t know, there’s a pretty popular hypnosis act at the Frolicon where people do just that but hey! [laughter]
GLORIA: Yeah, but they’re not really hypnotised.
SPACEY: Oh yeah, indeed.
GLORIA: There’s never been proof that hypnosis really works. Some people have found, for example, when they wanna quit smoking, they do hypnosis and it helps them. But we don’t know- in other words, would it help somebody if I put them in a deep state of relaxation and talked to them about the evils of smoking at a time in their lives when they wanted to quit smoking?
SPACEY: Right, it’s the whole correlation/causation problem there.
GLORIA: And I’m not aware of any scientific studies that have proven absolutely that hypnosis can turn you, certainly, incontinent or really make your body do things that it doesn’t normally do. Let’s put it that way. I think willpower has to be involved.
MAKO: Sure. I know that I’ve certainly experienced subspace and regression a lot and those two states have some similarities and some differences. I’ve been in both subspace and been regressed, which that’s a mind trip. I don’t know, have you heard of any experience of hypnosis leading to those things?
GLORIA: Never. Well, I shouldn’t say never. I have heard of people regressing under hypnosis but again, it’s very hard to know what’s going on in the personality and inside of the individual mind. It may be that inside that person is a little kid and that’s a safe place and when they really, fully relax, they let that little kid out. But if you’re talking about hypnosis to change your biological state in a sense, to take your body from the hardcore training it receives during the potty training years? To have an instinct, what becomes second nature and instinctive, reflex to tighten a sphincter in response to training, I think it would require more than hypnosis to learn to let it go.
MAKO: That’s why my book is fiction.
GLORIA: Could you hypnotise anyone into deep throat? If you could hypnotise – I don’t know about it and if you could I think there would be-
MAKO: Mass hysteria? [laughter]
GLORIA: No, but the knowledge would be spread around. Isn’t it kind of the same- you have to be able to relax the muscles in your throat. Like a sword swallower. You have to be able to take it all the way down. Well I think in the case of the bladder sphincter, it probably takes a good bit of work to learn to be able to unlearn the behaviour you got during potty training.
MAKO: I’ll tell you an interesting thing about that which is that although I wear diapers to bed fairly frequently and I can wet in my sleep, which is something I’m very happy about, I don’t generally wet the bed otherwise. And I don’t really understand the autopilot my body goes through to go ‘oh, underpants! Or naked, or pyjamas – turn off the spigot.’
GLORIA: Right, you’re probably able to go into deep relaxation where you give yourself permission to be a baby that night.
SPACEY: I think it’s very similar to the reason that when people first try diapers they can’t even use them unless they’re standing in front of the toilet, right? They have to have that ‘okay, I now mentally give myself permission to go!’
GLORIA: Yeah, it’s interesting. Or they can’t pee in certain positions like lying down.
MAKO: I remember an ex of mine and I diapered a friend of ours and helped him to learn to do it. We brought him into the bathroom and we sat him in his diaper on the closed toilet seat and then ran water in the sink, warm water, and put his hand under it. And whispered wet sounding things to him and eventually he was able to get it and he was like ‘if I’m gonna have to do this every single time I wanna wet in a diaper, this is gonna be very inconvenient!’ [laughter]
GLORIA: Well I think you can train yourself.
SPACEY: Sure. Obviously had to train yourself to get to the other points.
GLORIA: I also keep waiting for that drug to come down the pipe that allows you to be incontinent for 24 hours. [laughter]
SPACEY: But no other side effects! [laughs]
GLORIA: No other side effects whatsoever. Just the one thing. [laughter]
MAKO: That’s kind of an amazing thing. I don’t know of too many other kind of fetishes that would wrap themselves around a drug like that! I could just see babies at baby parties wanting to deal this thing. ‘Hey man, do you want some-’
GLORIA: No kidding! [laughter] [gruff voice:] ‘I got a hit of the good pee stuff. It really makes you pee.’ [laughs]
MAKO: I did have this terrible experience once. Well it wasn’t me personally. I was at a party and I was changing this woman’s diaper and she had wet like a whole bunch. And I diapered her up again and not 15 minutes later she was wet again and it was because she’d done this incredibly ill-advised – don’t do this – behaviour. She’d taken these diuretics, like a lot.
GLORIA: Oh, I was gonna say I bet she took a bunch of diuretics.
MAKO: Yeah and after I found out that she’d done it, well A) I made sure she had some water and I think some pedialyte and made sure she was okay and about an hour later, I spanked the living daylights out of her!
GLORIA: Yeah, people will go to extremes, it’s not surprising, to get the experience that they crave. And when you crave that experience of incontinence, a lot of people have done a lot of crazy things to try to make it happen.
MAKO: We got one more right, brother?
SPACEY: Right, our last question comes from finally somebody who doesn’t wish to remain anonymous. It’s our friend Benny who has been running a business selling clothes for age players and I hear that’s gonna be coming back into the works soon. But he says that a story that ABDLs often tell about their own childhoods is that parents or other caregivers getting very angry over bedwetting or a bathroom accident and humiliating and forcing them back into diapers during childhood or their early teen years.
MAKO: ‘If you’re gonna act like a baby...’ [laughs]
SPACEY: “This story has been told in various ways by so many different ABDLs that I hesitate to believe that this story is always true. My question is, is it possible that this sort of experience really does create a diaper fetish? Or is it, as I suspect is more likely, that people are creating stories or memories because they feel that this must have happened to them so that they can have an explanation for their fetish?” He says “I believe that they really do think the story or memory is real because neurologists know that people create false memories all the time”. He says, “am I off base here?”
GLORIA: Okay. Is that Benny ending? Is he off base or? I have a long answer to that, is that okay?
GLORIA: I would class that, what I consider when I’m working in my practise, what I would call... the... ‘pivotal experience fallacy’. [laughs]
GLORIA: It’s the fallacy, the belief, that one event makes you a fetishist. Or one set of events completely turns you around. Just, let’s say- and particularly it always, in people’s memories, it’s always the traumatic events. Whereas I believe that in reality there are just as many fetishists who come to their fetish because it always felt good, they always knew it felt good. Their biggest cognitive dissonance was when they realised that other people didn’t feel the same they did about their fetish.
SPACEY: I have to say I’m in that second boat.
GLORIA: And screamed or ran away or whatever. Somebody just innocently saying, ‘what? What?!’ I believe there are always people like that and that there are probably more of them than there are people who have had traumatic experiences -
MAKO: Right. But you know what?
GLORIA: -who end up becoming fetishists because I also think plenty of people who end up having traumatic experiences never become fetishists.
MAKO: Right. I think it’s a very human thing though. It’s the same thing that makes us slow down and look at car accidents on the highway. No one ever has meaningful, moving heartfelt discussions about how happy their childhood was and how great their life is now because nothing was wrong with their childhood. You don’t hear people with a spanking fetish jumping up and saying ‘I have to tell you! I had a really normal, well-adjusted childhood! And now I’m a fetishist!’ You know, people don’t do that.
SPACEY: Well you’ll hear it from me on this podcast because I did have a great childhood!
GLORIA: I think that a lot of humans just in general, we tend to remember negative experiences more powerfully than positive ones.
SPACEY: They get etched and rehearsed more frequently, so...
GLORIA: Correct. Because, I do think that some of that making up- I don’t want to accuse everybody of having false memories. Some people have legitimate memories. But the example I always use is – I had a client who was into spanking and he always said that he really believed that the reason he got into spanking is because he was 8 or 9 years old and he witnessed a girl getting spanked, the neighbour getting punished that way. And it just etched in his mind and from then on... But the reality is that if there were 10 kids standing around, only 1 or 2 of them would have become- would have had that image etched in their mind. 2 wouldn’t have noticed, 2 would have wandered after a ball, 2 would have cried and grown up to be an anti-abuse activist. You know what I mean? [Spacey laughs] It’s not like they all watched the spanking and they all walk away with the same exact emotions about it - because of individualism, which is my main point when it comes to sexuality. Some diaper fetishists were just born knowing what they loved and always loved it, some did not even discover they loved it until they were older and somehow came in contact with it and it turned them on more wildly than they ever could have dreamed. Some people fantasised it, never dreamt about doing it because it seemed so wrong and made them feel like something was messed up about them or whatever and it’s a slow painful process until they finally give themselves permission to accept their own sexuality.
MAKO: Yeah and people do get in their own way a lot, don’t they?
GLORIA: Oh yeah. It’s hard not to in this culture. This culture is just so anti-sex.
MAKO: What advice would you give to new age players, Big or Little, for ways to move further along the path and get further along?
GLORIA: To trust their own instinct. If you are, whether you’re 20 or 60, if you’re honest with yourself, if you take an honest look at your life, do you generally make good choices in your life or do you generally screw up your choices? If you generally screw up your choices, you have to be extra careful because you may screw up your choices when it comes to your fetish too. But not because of your fetish. Because you are not making the best choices and maybe you need to go to more support meetings and talk to more people or get better advice. And if you look at your life, and generally you can pay your bills and you have friends and people like you and maybe you even hold down a decent job and... Then you’re a person who is able to make good choices and you’ll probably make them about your fetish too. Just relax.
MAKO: That’s great advice.
SPACEY: I absolutely agree.
GLORIA: The people who make the worst decisions are the ones who are completely freaked out. The ones who won’t do anything about their fetish until it’s such a burning need that they lose their mind. They have like temporary kinky insanity. [laughter]
SPACEY: So actually, that brings up an interesting, I don’t know why, but there’s an interesting tangent in my head that it’s really common in age play community – I’ve seen it in the kink community in general as well but age play community in particular – for people to kind of get fed up with their interest in their fetish and feel like it’s disconnecting them from other things in their life? And to just throw it all away.
MAKO: The binge and purge!
SPACEY: The binge-purge cycle, exactly, that comes and goes.
GLORIA: And that’s another really common pattern in fetishes.
MAKO: So it’s not just age players?
GLORIA: Oh no! Every fetishist. Every guilty fetishist, I should say, not the ones who feel good about themselves but everybody who feels guilty or ashamed, whether it’s their fetishist shoes or scarves or ladies clothes or rubber rain coats or bondage restraints. They usually go through periods where they’re going wild and they get all kinds of stuff. A kind of sad but poignant story, a couple of years ago, one of my oldest clients ever asked me if it was okay for him to send him all the toys that they were now getting rid of because they realised they were really, really old and they didn’t want their kids to find them. And they didn’t quite know what to do with them and they didn’t really feel like throwing them out – it was an expensive collection – so me, the toy whore, I said sure. [laughter] Send them along.
SPACEY: Best of a bad situation.
GLORIA: And what was really sad to me was how many of them had never been played with.
MAKO: Oh, that is sad.
GLORIA: And what it really said to me, it said a lot – I mean I knew about him too – I knew that he had gone through phases of his life where he went and he had bought every toy. And then they just went in a box somewhere.
MAKO: You know what I think? I think that there should be a business where when you’re going through a binge and purge cycle, you can purge and send it someplace and then when you’re done, six months or a year later, you can just say ‘I’d like those back now’ and they just send them back to you.
SPACEY: It should operate like a bank, right?
GLORIA: A fetish warehouse!
SPACEY: It should operate like a bank, though, so in the meantime they can lend it out to someone who has a need for that equipment and then give it back with another piece of equipment. [laughter]
MAKO: I don’t think that I would wanna make interest on a diaper though.
GLORIA: I mean more like refurbished toys. Send us your old, your beaten to shreds, your pissed on twenty times toys.
SPACEY: Yeah, don’t send us those. [laughter]
GLORIA: Isn’t there a teddy bear hospital? It should be like a teddy bear hospital.
MAKO: That’s a great idea.
GLORIA: For old BDSM toys.
MAKO: [laughs] ‘Old floggy.’ [laughter]
SPACEY: But if you’re deciding to purge your age play collection, you can send it to hosts@biglittle- no, I’m just kidding. [laughter]
MAKO: No, he’s kidding!
SPACEY: It is a joke!
GLORIA: And if you’re too old to play anymore and you’ve got a box of expensive, unused equipment... Gloria Brame is your friend. [laughter]
MAKO: So Gloria, you never did tell us about your first time playing with age play as an adult.
GLORIA: You know, because when I started playing, I played a lot, and I don’t really have the one- I don’t even know... I just know it started and I was so rampant that first year [laughs] that I did an awful lot of stuff.
MAKO: As a baby or a Mommy or?
GLORIA: Mainly as a Mommy. With a male baby girl.
SPACEY: I love being a male baby girl! Oh, wait...
MAKO: I love when you’re a male baby girl, brother- uh, sister! [laughter]
GLORIA: Yeah, and he’s still my daughter.
M & SPACEY: Awww!
GLORIA: Yeah, I know, 25 years later. It’s really cute.
SPACEY: That’s lovely.
MAKO: What would you say as a Mommy, what is it that you get out of it? Why does it make you feel good?
GLORIA: Well I’m also a dominatrix so... I haven’t done many purely nurturing scenes, let’s put it that way. I’m not a wet nurse type, I’m not that kind of Mommy. I’m more like a mean Mommy. [laughs] I like to incorporate other things like bondage or definitely humiliation.
MAKO: You’re making brother smile.
SPACEY: Ugh, I’m having to fan myself over here.
GLORIA: I like the coercion scenarios very much.
MAKO: Now you got my buttons. [laughter]
GLORIA: So that’s the kind of Mommy I am. I’m not really a ‘sit and hold the baby for long periods of time’ Mommy. Although, y’know, if I love a man, I have no problem sitting and holding him for a long period of time and if he’s in a diaper, all the better. Why not? They’re cute. It doesn’t have the meaning to me I guess, certainly not after all these years, it doesn’t represent anything extraordinary to me. It’s just another form of sensuality.
SPACEY: You just appreciate it for what it is and not imbue it with any extra special power.
GLORIA: Yeah. Not really. And I think that what really gets to me is precisely how vulnerable and helpless someone seems to me when they regress and I really like to make people regress. Because that’s a power thing for me.
MAKO: Oh absolutely. I’ve said for years that the core of my fetishes is not a diaper fetish - I mean, yeah, I’ve got that - and it’s not even a regressing fetish - although yeah, I’ve got that too. It’s two things. It’s a fetishisation of being vulnerable and also of having my personal space boundaries just countermanded, just completely taken from me. That you can touch me however you want.
GLORIA: It’s really a very outrageous and invasive kind of headplay.
MAKO: In the hottest way possible!
GLORIA: Right! And I really like that because I really like heavy, invasive, psychological play. And that- so that’s what I love about it. To me, it isn’t just... But it’s not that way with submissive men, either. It’s not just about finding someone who’s already in a helpless state. That’s fine too, but it’s about taking some sexy hunk of masculinity [laughs] and reducing him to a snivelling, weeing baby.
MAKO: Hot. [laughter]
GLORIA: I’m aging well, what can I say? [laughter]
SPACEY: So I hate to bring us back to more serious topics after the sort of mental...
GLORIA: Oh, I was dead serious about that. [laughter] Okay, what?
SPACEY: More stimulating topics we’ve been talking about perhaps. But one of the reasons why actually brother and I thought you’d be a really great person to bring on the show is that recently we had some discussions that have sort of caused us to reaffirm our sort of belief that age play in itself isn’t therapy, like age play can be therapeutic but by itself it isn’t therapy unless it’s directed by a qualified therapist. And I was wondering if you could talk a little bit or if you know anything about age play as therapy actually being directed by a qualified therapist.
GLORIA: I would not support that as a therapy mode for a number of really important reasons. First of all, if anything – as it is, there’s a lot of transference in a [?]. Are you talking about a therapist doing it or a person doing it in lieu of a therapist, like a Mommy or a Daddy?
SPACEY: Some folks have talked about doing it in lieu of a therapist, trying to relive old childhood wounds but a sort of happy version.
GLORIA: Right. But the difference is they don’t really know what they’re doing, that’s number 1. Do they have- do they know where they’re leading the person based on hours of intensive conversation and analytical skills and... Sex itself is extremely therapeutic to humans. It produces therapeutic happy brain chemistry. It, when successful and a positive experience, it brings a sense of relief, a feeling of being alive, a feeling of being connected to the world. For some people a feeling of spiritual values. I can’t say enough good things about erotic intimacy of any kind, whatever your chosen expression of it. But as a replacement for therapy? No. Any S&M scene, any kind of sex that both partners really crave, is therapeutic. Therapeutic in that it’s enormously relieving and if you have repeated positive experiences, you create a positive feedback loop that is going to make you a happier person in general. And I think that is the key to why there are an awful lot of happy BDSMers, is that they’re finally having the experiences they want, they have the expectation of being able to have future experiences that are thrilling and they find people that they can bond with on that level to share those feelings. The whole thing is a therapeutic process but it’s not the same as sex therapy or psychological counselling.
MAKO: That makes a lot of sense.
GLORIA: They’re two different animals. Sex therapy is very direct, or at least it is the way I do it! It has goals. It has goals that you meet, whatever those goals might be – if it’s getting comfortable with your sexual identity, that’s a longer goal, but it may be a shorter term goal, like getting over this or dealing with that or encountering an issue that you hadn’t expected or suddenly realising that your whole sex life is screwed because your self esteem is so low you can never ask for what you want and then you have to work on your self esteem issues. And having great sex does not solve those issues. You may feel more cheerful and better about yourself and better about your prospects – that is what one should expect from a successful sex life.
MAKO: I suppose it’s sort of analogous to... You can have a great meal, but that’s not the same thing as going to see a nutritionist to make sure you’re eating in a healthful way all the time.
GLORIA: In a healthful way that’s right for you. The key thing to me and I think the new wave of therapy too, or at least I hope it is, is actually not working off an agenda but tailoring your treatment to that particular individual’s needs. So for example the reality is that if somebody dealing with a particular issue also has, let’s say, a body image issue, like they’re particularly short or particularly skinny or particularly heavy, then you have more than just an issue possibly with the fetish. You might also have a larger issue of shyness or a larger feeling of not being part of society or not being adequate or whatever other people have made you feel. Anything that society has thrown at you, any prejudice that you’ve had to endure. It all affects your sexual identity. So again, that’s why I say I think sex therapy, psychological therapy, enters into areas that even the best play can’t enter. On the other hand, really great play does something that therapy can’t do which is give you screaming orgasms! [laughter]
MAKO: So is it ever the case that a patient will come to see you over a sexual issue and you fair it out that it’s not just a sexual issue but also a deeper psychological issue and then...
GLORIA: I would say 9 times out of 10. I mean 9 times out of 10, a lot of issues, particularly... In addition to a lot of kinky therapy, I also do a lot of ‘mainstream’ sex therapy. I do a lot of work on orgasm in women or erectile dysfunction with men, I have people come to me for those issues too. And I would say that unless there is an actual organic cause - which is very rare and you can usually figure that out in 20 minutes in your office just by asking a few questions - it’s almost always emotional, an emotional block of some kind. Whether it has to do with their body image or whether it has to do with a trauma they experienced or an anger they feel or a feeling of inadequacy about their body. For example, not uncommon you’ll have a gentleman who is very insecure about, let’s say, the size of his genitals and then one night he gets drunk and he can’t get it up. And if he’s already deeply insecure about his genitals-
MAKO: That makes it worse.
SPACEY: He’s gonna associate that and have stronger feelings.
GLORIA: Right. Now he’s like ‘oh my God! And now I can’t even-’ and once you start thinking that way...
SPACEY: It’s a self-defeating cycle.
GLORIA: Erectile dysfunction is like a big avalanche. And then your own self hatred and... Yeah, there’s a lot to sort out. I tell my clients again and again, sexual identity is so fundamental to your identity.
MAKO: That’s really interesting to me too because something I hear a lot from age players is they have a sense of guilt over merging the whole of their sexuality with their age play. ‘I’m a baby, I’m not sexual’. Which I think is baloney – you’re an adult baby! So you’re as sexual as you wanna be or can be.
SPACEY: Well again, that’s more of an identity issue, I personally think.
MAKO: Well the reason I bring it up is I wonder if that same kind of negative reinforcement feedback thing, like the poor guy with the small penis and the erectile problems, I wonder if that kind of double negative thinking is injurious. If you think you’re a baby so you can’t have sex, well maybe it makes it more so.
GLORIA: Of course it does.
MAKO: So cut it out, people! [laughter]
GLORIA: If you believe that about yourself it will shade your point of view. I like to think that what sex therapists do in a lot of ways is give people new perspectives on their own sexuality. By taking the shame out of it and saying ‘okay so you do this! Yeah?’ Or ‘yeah, lots of people have this problem!’ Just by validating them that they begin to feel relieved.
SPACEY: And they can kind of get out of their own way.
GLORIA: Mhm. And as I said, everybody is different, every one of us is flawed in some way and some of us can’t bare the fact that we are flawed. [laughs] I love being a sex therapist. It’s been the greatest thing in the world because I love the complexity and I love the fact that everybody is just a little bit different.
MAKO: That’s why you’re my hero. [laughter]
SPACEY: Well that’s good, you like complexity. Speaking of complex issues, I wanna tell you about one other thing that happened recently with brother and I right after we started the podcast that has been complex for us to sort of deal with our approach to it. And I’d be curious - part of the reason why we don’t have a good approach to it is that we’re just not familiar with the area, but we had somebody that approached us wanting to do a show about dissociative identity disorder and multiple personalities and having multiple personalities that are I guess different ages? Which I personally didn’t feel comfortable dealing with for us because we’re not qualified to talk about it, disorders in particular. And I’m not sure that really is a consensual situation.
GLORIA: Multiple personality disorder, I believe that is no longer a...
SPACEY: Right, they used dissociative identity disorder when explaining it. So I was wondering if you had any perspectives on that.
GLORIA: What does it have to do with having a fetish?
SPACEY: I’m not sure, except that it seems like age play and that are wrapped up together for them and I didn’t personally feel comfortable addressing it without having somebody who had some background experience.
GLORIA: Are these players? Or are these people studying it or trying to study it?
SPACEY: A player, I believe, yeah.
GLORIA: Well maybe they experience it as a split because I think a lot of people – and again, it’s sort of like... Obviously for most of the things I’m saying, I hope people don’t feel like I’m scary and wanna hurt people all the time, right? But I am a dominatrix and-
SPACEY: Not all the time, just the fun times.
GLORIA: Well there it is. I’m in control of it. It’s not- I don’t feel that it’s a split off part of myself but I think that other people who don’t get it can’t put those two- they just can’t add it up together.
MAKO: I think where we were struggling is that one of the things this particular individual had said to us is that when they’re little, they can’t give adult consent. That they’re actually all the way, in the pocket Little. And require medication or time to be adult and that when they are in that Little alter, they are like an actual child. And I can’t really wrap my head around that because even though I get little and I get regressed, my Little and I are not entirely different people. We’re different enough that we are distinguishably different personae, and that he – I can even say ‘he’ about myself – acts in ways that are very childlike. But we’re still an adult. We’re still able to comprehend sex, we’re still able to say no to things we really, really don’t want to have happen. We’re still able to get big in a hurry at necessity.
GLORIA: Okay, did this person who expressed this to you, has he had the experience of having his limits pushed and has discovered that he can’t say no at any point?
SPACEY: I can’t address that, I don’t know.
MAKO: Yeah, we can’t speak to it.
GLORIA: ‘Cause that’s an important question, I mean theoretically you might say that. I do believe that some people really regress genuinely, we’re all wired differently and we all have different minds. And just like I said, as with hypnosis, there are some people who reap positive benefit, whether it’s a placebo effect or it just so happens that they were really fine subjects for it, who can say? I think the same is true with regression. I thought you were gonna ask me about consent, I was gonna say, well assuming that he gave blanket consent to somebody who was really trustworthy and not gonna harm them, why not? If he’s a person who can lose himself in his mind so far that he can have what feels to him, experience what he feels as a completely authentic experience of infancy then... Yay for him.
SPACEY: Yeah, I’m just not- I guess I was concerned that I didn’t see the ability to give consent in that.
GLORIA: But I don’t see it as a multiple personality. I don’t think it’s a different person, I just think it’s a person who isn’t allowed to be expressed in day to day. I don’t think of the sadist in me as my evil twin Skippy or something. I just think that there are times and places where she can- y’know, that part of me can be fully expressed.
SPACEY: Well again, I’ll say that this person said that they had been clinically diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and I sort of took that-
MAKO: That they are separate people.
SPACEY: The little bit that I read that, yeah, there isn’t a control over who is expressed when...
GLORIA: Okay, well then let me put it another way. There are a lot of people with personality disorders who also have fetishes and are BDSMers. Having a personality disorder doesn’t mean that ‘aah, because somebody with a personality disorder has this fetish, therefore all the fetishist have personality disorders’.
MAKO: Or necessarily that it’s bad to have a fetish either.
GLORIA: No! Fetishes are pervasive and they occur throughout the population and it doesn’t matter if you’re a depressive or bipolar person or a schizophrenic. You’re as likely as anybody else to have-
MAKO: Right, and just the same way when I was five years old, I knew I had a spanking fetish, if you’re a 45 year old guy with a 3 year old girl inside them, your 3 year old inside you can also have a spanking fetish.
SPACEY: Yeah, I think that’s true.
GLORIA: And dissociative should be distinguished I think – I think that’s why they renamed it – from... Multiple personality suggests that you are a shattered personality who has distinct people inside you who don’t even know the other. They cohabit. They’re not aware of each other...
SPACEY: That certainly was the suggestion this person was making.
GLORIA: Dissociative identity disorder really speaks to the fact that you are a dissociative personality. I mean, I shouldn’t really talk about this. I’m gonna stop myself. I’m not a psychotherapist. So I shouldn’t say anymore. But my understanding anyway of dissociative disorder, it has more to do with the fact that it’s very hard to be your authentic self, to be in your mind and in your body at the same time.
SPACEY: I appreciate the perspective.
GLORIA: So as I see it, a typical dissociative – a sexually dissociative – experience is like the person, while you’re having sex, you see yourself having sex?
MAKO: But you’re not actually there doing it.
GLORIA: Well you are there doing it.
SPACEY: Right, right, but you’re witnessing it from apart from yourself.
GLORIA: Right. Which actually is something that happens to hardcore fetishists in vanilla relationships. Like they might have the vanilla sex but they don’t feel fully present, they’re someplace else.
MAKO: Is that a problem?
GLORIA: They just go through the motions. Pardon me?
MAKO: Is that a problem?
GLORIA: If you come to see Dr Gloria Brame, it’s a problem that she wants to work on, yeah. Yes, because you don’t have that optimum state of being integrated, mind-soul-body kind of thing.
MAKO: That makes a lot of sense. So I have a question, if listeners-...
GLORIA: These are my theories. My apologies to the trained psychotherapist who may be listening in, I’m not...
SPACEY: And actually, before we get to your question brother, I wanna be really respectful of your time. We have, I think, taken a bit more of it than we had planned.
GLORIA: Yeah, and I’m gonna have to go soon because I smell dinner in the kitchen and y’know... [?]
MAKO: We are very, very grateful for your time, this is so great.
SPACEY: Would you like to tell people how they might be able to get in touch with you?
MAKO: That was my question!
SPACEY: And talk about the projects that you’ve been working on?
GLORIA: I am a super easy person to find. Just google my name and you’ll see my blog and my website and my facebook page.
MAKO: We’ll put all that lovely stuff in our show notes too.
GLORIA: And that’s it! And I’ll have a book coming out in June, so we’ll see how it goes.
SPACEY: What was the name of that book again?
GLORIA: Mako will know because he sees my facebook. I will be pounding facebook mercilessly. It’s called ‘The Truth About Sex’.
MAKO: Don’t worry, I’ll be talking about it a whole bunch.
SPACEY: I’m pretty sure you’ve sold at least two copies already. [laughter]
GLORIA: Oh, cool, alright.
MAKO: Oh Gloria, thank you so much.
GLORIA: You’re very welcome, and come back to me if you want to.
MAKO: So I guess that wraps us up.
GLORIA: Nice to meet you, Spacey. Take care.
SPACEY: It was nice meeting you.
GLORIA: Bye guys.
MAKO: Thanks Gloria.
MAKO: So brother, if people wanna reach you, how should they do so?
SPACEY: They should probably start by trying to reach both of us. They can send an email to email@example.com, they can go to our website, biglittlepodcast.com, and leave a comment in one of the blog entries, they can call our show voicemail number which my brother will be looking up and saying in just a moment.
MAKO: That’s right! It’s 678-421-4256. If you do leave us a comment, please be sure to let us know if it’s okay to use it on the show.
SPACEY: That’s right. Otherwise, we’ll read it in a silly voice.
MAKO: Like this one. [laughs]
SPACEY: And of course, I’m also on fetlife, my name there is spacey, S-P-A-C-E-Y. So brother, how can they get in touch with you?
MAKO: I’m on there too. I’m on fetlife as well, as mako, M-A-K-O, which is the best way to get me and I’d love to hear from you guys. And isn’t Gloria just the best?!
SPACEY: That was awesome. Oh, we should also tell them about our new twitter!
MAKO: Oh, that’s right!
SPACEY: So if you want to get some updates about what’s going on with the show and things that we find interesting, we’ll be posting those to our new twitter account. It’s biglittlepdcast. Biglittlepdcast. ‘Cause podcast was too long for a twitter handle.
MAKO: That’s right. And I’m on twitter as well. I’m @makoallen, M-A-K-O-A-L-L-E-N.
SPACEY: That’s right, and I’m @spacebabybob, and so thanks again for listening and we look forward to talking to you again soon!
MAKO: Thanks everybody.
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