Being the Better Man: 21st Century Masculinity with Eric FitzMedrud - securing sexuality podcast episode 60
Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week's episode:
Sexuality and Technology: Exploring the Boundaries of Consent
In the modern age, relationships, and technology have become deeply intertwined. With the advent of social media, online dating platforms, and constant connectivity, the dynamics of relationships have undergone a significant transformation. However, amidst this rapid evolution, it is crucial to remember and uphold the importance of consent. Consent is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship, both in the physical and digital realms. Here we aim to shed light on the significance of consent, exploring its implications, challenges, and the role technology plays in navigating this complex landscape.
Before delving into the role of consent in relationships and technology, it is essential to establish a clear understanding of what consent entails. Consent is a voluntary, informed, and mutually understood agreement between individuals to engage in any form of activity, be it physical or digital. Consent should never be assumed or coerced; it must be explicitly given and can be withdrawn at any point.
Consent in Relationships
Consent in Technology
Challenges and Solutions
Consent forms the foundation of healthy relationships, both in the physical and digital realms. It is imperative to recognize the significance of consent, actively seek it, and respect the boundaries of others. Technology has undoubtedly transformed the dynamics of relationships, but it also presents new challenges. By fostering awareness, encouraging open communication, and utilizing digital consent tools, we can ensure that consent remains a cornerstone in our evolving relationship landscape.
Stefani Goerlich: Hello and welcome to Securing Sexuality. The podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy-
Wolf Goerlich: -and information security. I'm Wolf Goerlich.
Stefani: He's a hacker and I'm Stefani Goerlich.
Wolf: She's a sex therapist, and together we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age.
Stefani: Today we are so excited to be joined by doctor Eric FitzMedrud. He is a clinical psychologist who has lived all around the world, but he's currently practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he's written a new book, “The Better Man - A Guide to Consent, Stronger Relationships, and Hotter Sex”, which is coming out September 19th. Eric, you beat me by just under a month so we get to have a fun little race with our books. So I'm excited.
Wolf: Eric, so good to have you with us. The Bay Area is one of my favorite areas. And this book, this concept around consent is also quickly becoming one of my favorite topics. What do you cover in it?
Dr. Eric Fitzmedrud: One of the most important things that I'm trying to cover in the book is that consent is for men, too. That consent is not just about trying to get what you want. It's a comprehensive pleasure-building process and that for men instead of just trying to have a script for consent, which I include at the end of the book, for sure, including getting giving, monitoring and following up on consent. I'm really talking about the emotional relational skills necessary in order to engage a consent process in a really balanced way when, for example, when we know what our needs are then it's easier for us to ask for what we want, when we know what our partner needs and we've heard that from them. It's easier for us to ground ourselves and know whether we want to say yes to that or no to that. When we have the emotional regulation tools to handle a no, then we can rebound and see what's still available. What did we still get a “yes” for?
Wolf: One of the things that I've always looked at consent in the early days, right when I was a young lad, when I was a teenager and early twenties, I looked at this whole consent conversation is like, all right, I have to. It's the right thing to do, But doesn't it felt felt like it, like sucked the joy out of the robots, right? Like the seduction piece felt, uh, somewhat diminished. Obviously, as I've grown older, my perspective on that has changed. But when you talk about like strategies for practicing consent, how do you keep the romance and the excitement high when you have those conversations?
Eric: Well, I think one thing I want to start with is it's OK. And better for it to begin without that and to know that that's a building process. It's a practice process and practice allows. You eventually become more comfortable more at ease. That then begins allowing you to be more natural in the consent process. And then you can begin adding in some of the bonus skills on top of just the base of consent, so that it becomes a lot more like steamy talk. Do you like this? Oh, you don't. OK, how about that? Oh, I noticed that. That seems to be getting your breathing going. If you like that, do you also like this? And then it begins building not just, um a map for what we are and aren't going to do it begins building the warmth, anticipation, the erotic energy flowing back and forth. Is there anything else you like? Is there anything else you don't want to? You want to make sure we don't do Now you're flirting with each other at the same time, but you're engaging in a consent process. Building flow, not interrupting flow. And so it really has the capacity when you're proficient in it. When you understand the map of your own consent process when you understand your own interests that you can be fully present erotically present with your partner building the energy before you get in the front door, much less the bedroom door.
Stefani: I love that idea of building, in my work with couples, a lot of times the folks that I'm working with have been married for a very long time. And ideas of consent kind of get diluted in the relationship. It becomes this sort of obligatory. I mean, we've been married for 20 years. I guess I kind of have to or how frustrating is it that my partner doesn't want to when we've been together for so long and reframing the consent-building the consent-gathering the consent negotiation as sort of almost a form of foreplay as this tension-building as this pleasure enhancing opportunity is a really lovely way to recontextualize something that can feel really frustrating for a lot of people. With a lot of the people that I work with, I end up talking about a child development and frustration, tolerance, and how our ability to sit with not getting the martial when we're four ties directly into not getting the kiss when we're 14 or the blow job when we're 34.
Eric: Absolutely tolerating a declined offer, which is my preferred reframe for what a lot of people will call rejection is a really important skill being able to recognize. How can I provide pleasure for myself? How can I not make that myself dependent on my partner in a multidimensional way? Relationally emotionally as well as providing sexual pleasure for myself within the boundaries of my relationship agreements, and to then say OK, I didn't get A but I still have B and C. Maybe I could even ask for D and E. How can I take the no that I've received. And instead of focusing on that roll with the yeses that I've received and look for, what else is possible to build on top of that, it's so important. And, you know, there might be a whole other erotic map available here. It's one of the reasons that I use, uh, an image from everyday feminism, a Webcomic about the consent castle, especially in long-term relationships. The idea is the structure is built, and when the structure is built, you don't think of safety needs. But if you're interested in trying something new, if you're interested in adding on to the building to the consent castle, then you're putting it under construction. That means you need to put the vests and the hard hats on. You have to go back to more explicit consent processes even along, even in a long-term relationship.
Wolf: Now, whether it's long-term relationships or just getting new, there's quite a big difference between being on zoom, being over text messages, meeting in person, being in the same house together or the same apartment together, and I know that one of the things that intrigued me about your book was I know that you did a lot of research into this, right? It's not just here's some ideas we had. It's really grounded in some really good evidence. So what I was wondering is, when you were looking at the evidence behind these skills, uh, did anything pop out on you in terms of the different ways that we connect over the different modalities of different technologies?
Eric: I think the most important thing that jumped out at me is that people sometimes make assumptions. If they've talked about this here, they're comfortable talking about that here, Uh, the ubiquitous, you know, unsolicited phallus pick that gets sent over the internet is a really good example. Maybe you started texting, but that doesn't mean that the person is open to, uh, pictures and engaging in consent of what do you feel comfortable in this medium? What do you feel comfortable with this medium? Even providing the larger framework of how are we engaging here? What are you open to and really again? Kind of considering What am I open to? Where is this headed? Who is this person? What am I sending and who is it to? I think it is a very important thing to consider. What is the format here? And what have we consented to in this format? Is it safe for me? Is it safe for you or working together for our safety? And the broader question is this format this digital avenue that we're using? Is it colluding for our safety with us, too?
Stefani: How do you advise folks when you're noticing that their sort of safety risk framework isn't aligned with the person that they're trying to connect with when something that feels really reasonable or even pleasurable for them is being met with, um, push back or even holy cow? Why would you? Now I feel victimised sort of response or the reverse.
Eric: My very simple guidance is the most insecure, safety-conscious person leads the engagement. So the person who has the most restrictive requirements I don't want to send pictures. I don't want to use this medium. I want to add these other security frameworks. I want to use this kind of security protocol when we meet the first time. That person's safety and security leads the engagement, and it's very simple. And if that level of safety and security feels like it cramps your style too much. Then you get to say no, too. You can say no, thank you to that, and it's very simple. And on the other hand, if you say yes to it now you're following. Clearly, this is more security than the high-desire partner or the low-security conscious partner is engaged in for the high-security conscious person. You are colluding with them to support their sense of safety in the process that will release them to feeling other feelings instead of security consciousness, security concerns, restriction, contraction, wariness. You're freeing them into feeling curious, erotic, open and interested available. And that's a really powerful dynamic.
Stefani: That actually ties into something that has become sort of one of the catchphrases within my own practice. I have found myself saying again and again that we go at the pace of the slower partner. Whoever needs the slower, calmer pace is the one who sets the pace for whatever we're working on. Because you can't reverse that right The minute you try and bring somebody that is more safety conscious or more reserved into a higher level That just creates an anxiety and, frankly, a coercion that nobody wants.
Eric: And you're not going to win by, even if in a moment you were able successfully to push past a partner's initial security consciousness, safety consciousness, push past their maybe into an I guess you're not creating pleasure. You're not creating their presence. They're not going to be present to you. It's damaging the relationship. It's damaging your reputation with them. You haven't won anything. You haven't gotten anything that's that's desirable.
Wolf: And that, uh, maybe, I guess OK is a far cry from enthusiastic.
Eric: Absolutely, absolutely.
Wolf: So how would you define enthusiastic consent for our listeners? And how would you conceptualize it?
Eric: Enthusiastic consent is the process of getting that. Oh yeah, yes, please. Wow, Really, that is so engaging and powerful because now you've got a person interested, engaged, deeply polarised to what you're offering, and that enthusiastic consent means that even if somewhere in the process of taking fantasy into reality, either or both of you discover that there was something here that wasn't as desirable or pleasurable as you thought, it would be hoped it would be fantasized that it would be the memory of the enthusiastic consent process sets a marker. Hey, I thought it was going to be fun, but it wasn't. And you are now have the opportunity to learn from the experience. What was it that made the difference there? And the great news is that most of the time, if you have enthusiastic consent, I think people are going to be grateful and deeply engaged that you're able to do what you talked about. It's going to create more pleasure for both of you. That creates a partner who's interested in probably engaging in pleasure again, whatever that looks like.
Wolf: Well, as you're talking through that, one of the things that occurred to me was there's oftentimes this perception that enthusiastic consent is something we demand of our partner. Our demand is probably a strong word, but something we're aiming for with our partner. But of course, we're gonna enthusiastically consent. You know, I'm the guy in the relationship, of course, whatever you're coming to be with, I am down for, but, uh, as anyone who's been in a few relationships, you start to notice. There's maybe some things that you know, I am not down for maybe there's some boundaries that I have. What message do you have around consent and negotiation when it's you as the man, your boundaries and when perhaps you're the slower partner.
Eric: So again there's that message, right? Consent is for you two men. There are men who are the low desire partner in their relationship who are experiencing pressure. There are men who are the low desire partner, and when a partner is asking to open up. There are low-desire men. When their partner is asking for some kind of kink to be introduced into the relationship and you aren't a pleasure dispenser. It's valuable for you to remember that the myths about masculinity, that we're always hard, always ready, always interested, always horny are not true and that the reality of yourself, your emotions, your erotic map are absolutely 100% vital to your relationship because your relationship doesn't exist without you. And so being honest about your no creates the best opportunity for you to have the vibrant, vital, and connected sexual experiences that you want and that your partner is actually looking for with you. So if you're honest and open about where your no’s are, then you're creating the real discussions that may be challenging, but it's more powerful to have those conversations than not to.
Wolf: Yeah, we've certainly seen relationships. Stefani and I and our friends and, you know, in the wider community, we're clearly, um the the man. Sort of like, stumbled into it, right? Like he thought. Well, this is what men do. He thought. Well, of course I'm up for it. He thought, Well, you know, of course, this is what I'm supposed to do and didn't necessarily recognize. He had the room to negotiate, and then the bravado kicks in. I mean, for other men. I don't have bravado. Yeah, so, I, I like that. That point, because it does. You know, in those relationships it does create, um, what's the word? I'm looking for a lot of discomfort, right? I mean, you're you're in a relationship. You're like, this is not who I am. This is not doesn't feel right to me.
Eric: Yeah, and that's where the authenticity comes in. It's one of the reasons that I have as a central part of the book, fairly early on an exercise that's fairly deep to guide men into understanding their own erotic map. What am I most interested in? What creates a sense of vibrance and vitality for me? When I think about sexuality, what is the kind of infrequent, curious interest that I have? What might I be able to do out of the spirit of generosity? But it might not do anything for me. And then what turns me off and in the book, I think I call it, You know what grosses you out and kink Communities. This would be the squick content. And when we know that map and something comes in that we're unfamiliar with, we hadn't thought about We had never had a partner who asked for that. We have the opportunity to instead of first considering what our partner is asking us to do, we have the opportunity to consider Where does that fit for us? Is this in my range of generosity? Is it something that's surprisingly, you know, interesting and exciting for me? Is this something that I don't think I like I think that pulls makes me pull away. Understanding that basic element of is bringing me to lean in, get curious or lean out is a really good framework for understanding. I'm here. I'm important. I can relate to this piece of information independent of my relationship. I'm not obligated to say yes. And when I have mapped my eroticism, it creates for me a greater ease to validate my partner's ask rather than having some kind of negative, judgmental reaction. Wow. You know, this doesn't do it for me. In fact, it kind of leads me to pulling away. But thank you for telling me that. That's something of yours. Uh, let me sit with it for a while. Let me see if there's a way that I can incorporate it into our relationship. But at base, I want to let you know that there's nothing wrong with your sexuality either. Thank you for asking.
Wolf: Yeah, we all have different maps. We all have different ways of going about it, for sure. How does, uh, how does this tie into the technology-use for the men you work with?
Eric: So there are a couple of things that I think are really important, especially for, um, online porn viewing, online webcam viewing, things like that. Remember that even as you are able to dial up in the infinite, you know, Internet, something that dovetails perfectly with your interest. What turns you on? What gets you really excited, that the people who are creating this content for you or are engaging with you maybe even live are performers. They are working, and their job is to create for you a sense of connection and intimacy, but that ultimately one part of your process of receiving that needs to be to maintain a sense of your privacy and your security emotionally, relationally, financially, and informationally as you engage. So, um, make sure that you're using a platform that makes that keeps you secure. Make sure that what you put out on that platform is keeping you secure, that you're not sharing more information about your personal life, your relationships or your financial information that would put you at risk. And the other thing that I really like to emphasize is keeping your relationship secure from your online behavior, including with your partner, includes making sure that your partner knows what your online sexual behavior is, whether that's something the two of you engage in together, or that you're engaging in solo, that they know what it is and that your relationship agreements have clearly identified where the boundaries of fidelity are relative to online sexual behavior. Because the greatest damage that I see done is not from loss of information or something that's happening, but when a partner discovers what you've been doing, but you hadn't told them, and that is something that you can control with a little communication and consent and relationship agreement, negotiation ahead of time.
Stefani: So you just touched on two things that tie into something I've been thinking a lot about recently. I'm, um, by the time this episode airs, this will long pass, so don't get excited listeners. But this coming Thursday, I'm speaking at Squad Con at Hacker Summer Camp, and I was really kind of torn about how to do that. How to talk about mental health and technology and what I eventually settled on. And what I've been really sitting with is this idea of loneliness and consent and loneliness as a vulnerability, and I'm thinking about that in two ways. In relation to what you just said. There's the risk that so many of our clients put themselves at or are exposed to when their loneliness becomes a primary driver for their engagement with people online and performers online. And then, conversely, there's that loneliness that they feel in their relationship when they can't talk about what they want or what they're doing or what they need. And it's two separate sort of scenarios in which, theoretically, people are surrounded by folks they can talk to. But the loneliness gets in the way, and it becomes a really not only a significant mental health challenge for them, but also it becomes a vulnerability in terms of what they are likely to be exposed to or at risk of. And I'm curious if you would speak to that.
Eric: Absolutely. I mean, this is one of the fundamental principles of my book that sexual health, including these elements of online security and the self-monitoring and self-care to not reveal or expose yourself more, um, to security vulnerabilities is built on a base of vibrant mental health, and social health. We need connection, and when we don't have it. We feel sad. We feel lonely. The consent processes, the security processes that we're talking about, the capacity to be mindful about it, careful about it. To read a security agreement for an online platform requires a lack of a sense of urgency. That means that we need to build health in our real day-to-day lives, connection community, people that we can talk to about our internal worlds and our internal lives. That makes it easier for us to go slow, carefully and safely when we engage in the digital world in the real world, with partners with hearts with bodies.
Stefani: And really leaning into that understanding that it is a need. That connection is a biological imperative, I think is something that people in our world think about and talk about, but that a lot of others don't - we think about connectivity and relation is a lovely thing to have if you can get it and I often will reference listeners do not look this up. It will make you sad. The Harlow monkey experiments and I talk about the fact that at our most primal evolutionary level, we will choose touch over almost anything else and that can be really powerful in my practice and conversations that I have with people because it's so validating for them to hear that it's not just this nice thing that you should be able to deal with not having, but it is a core need that it is necessary for our mental and emotional and relational health.
Eric: I love that. It's absolutely one of my core points with men, too, and I love to add the caveat on to that, which is yes, we need human connection. We need human touch. It's vital for our well-being and our mental health, and none of that dovetails into sexual entitlement with any other specific person or general person. So there's an essential need for human connection and human touch. But sex with any particular person is not a need. Sexual expression is a need. And when we engage in an awareness of our own desire and our own sexual empowerment, we can guarantee for ourselves, even solo, our sexual expression.
Wolf: On the solo side, I had a question for you as well, right? Because, there is a line of thought that men conflate pornography with the reality of the sexual expression. And of course, that's going to drive how we have our consent conversations both if the other partner is a slower partner or if we're the slower partner, that's gonna set some expectations. I was curious to know your perspective on whether or not that's true and some of the ways that perhaps we can counterbalance that.
Eric: So I love that question because it is a very common complaint that I see in my practice between couples that a man in the relationship. I work with a lot of gay couples, too, but that a man in the relationship seems to have difficulties understanding the difference between sex and porn and sex in real life. And so it is absolutely important for adult men to educate themselves about the differences between porn sex and real sex, understanding that lube, consent, conversation. All of these things that get cut on the porn editing floor are a part of real sex that you may not see if you're only consuming pornography and it's really that education gap of what real sex includes and doesn't include that is I think, a really important thing for parents to focus on, uh, to understand. On the one hand that the average age that a lot of boys, uh, first see porn is at 11 to make sure that you are monitoring your Children's online behavior, I typically recommend parental blockers on any device that your Children are on as soon as they are on them. And it's not just eliminating that access to porn, but on the flip side, also giving Children, including boys, comprehensive sex education, including about pleasure, and including about the fact that porn and erotica are fantasies and not realities, and that there are significant important differences between those two experiences.
Wolf: Here's my only concern with that. So I communication is paramount. Education is paramount. I think a lot of us struggle to have those conversations with their kids. I know in in several ways I struggle to have those conversations with my kids. Uh, but I'm always concerned about the monitoring because what I've noticed is in some of the research on college kids. They want to monitor their partner right. They want to forbid certain types of content or they want to know where their partner is, and that gets back to their sense of, well, we monitor because we love them. And where did that message came from? It came from when they're younger. Well, we get monitored because our parents love us. I like what you're saying there, the parental blockers as a whole make me concerned because I don't want to give kids the impression that you know we're being overly restrictive or being big brother. Is there a way to to achieve what you're doing do you think without perhaps sending the wrong signals?
Eric: There is, and I think there could be a couple of different ways of doing this. So one of the biggest ones is having meta-communication with the child about the monitoring process. I mean, like I said, I recommend parental blockers, and a lot of those will include, um noticing, letting parents know what the Children search for. So when the child searches for something, it's not like you just let that go into a black hole, and then you don't follow up with the kid. Follow up with the kid. Hey, it looks like you were searching for this particular term. What's going on? Can we talk about it? Do you have questions? And also letting the child know why you're having those blockers there in the first place. Hey, there are things out there that are not developmentally appropriate. There are people online that are looking for kids to approach. I'm doing my best to keep you safe in a complex adult world and adult space, and there will be a time when this ends. You know, I'd like to think about that. That sex education conversation with Children happening at developmentally appropriate ages young and also at puberty, and also at 16, and also when the blocker comes off when the child leaves home when they turn 18. If that's when you decide to eliminate them in your household, so you're talking with them about why it's there. You're talking with them about why it's appropriate at this developmental age, and you're talking with them about why those restrictions are lifting or have are gone as they become an adult. And so my hope would be that you're guiding them into understanding that that kind of monitoring is a developmentally appropriate parental activity and that you're making the distinction between love and monitoring.
Wolf: Yeah, the old school. I used to, you know, leave at dawn and have to be home by, you know, sun out and there. Did I carry a phone with me? Uh, I tend towards that, uh, letting the kids have the free rein and I. I really believe that kids should have as much freedom as possible. Well, one of the things you said in there just reminded me when my daughter first got online. She wanted to email address you on social media. And so our agreement was I'll set that up, but I'll have access to the accounts. I'll be able to monitor it. And when you feel that you need privacy when you feel you don't want that, let me know we'll have that conversation. And, sure enough, I think she was, like, 14 or 15. She's like, I'm sure to have a conversation with my friends or use this. I want to have my own account. I don't want you to be a part of that anymore. Like OK, good. You have reached that age where, uh, you know, lusting that restriction makes sense.
Eric: And we've had similar conversations in our household, and one of the big things that we have done as a part of that is to say, You know, we are initiating these conversations with you now, and you may bump into things online that, uh, we want you to know you can initiate these conversations with us. We're going to listen to you. We're gonna follow your lead. We're going to try to not overreact. And we're going to try to answer your questions and support you. And in that way, we hope to make our Children online less vulnerable to exploitation.
Stefani: Um, I remember one thing I used to do with my son was around swearing and around language. I was always really clear with him that it wasn't that things were good or bad. It's that some things were grown up and other things were for kids and kind of taking the value statement out of it. But it's not that that's bad. It's just that that's for grown-ups. You're not old enough for that yet seemed to work really well for him. I remember at one point he was maybe 10 or 11, and he had a pretty intense medical procedure. And I looked at him like this was a lot. You have been through a lot today. If you want to swear, you can swear, because this is the thing. You know. Strong emotion calls for strong language. And this has been a big emotion day, and he looked at me and his eyes just welled up and he goes, I can't I'm not big enough yet. Yeah, and it's hilarious and it's adorable and it's a little bit heartbreaking. But also I think that when we give kids sort of a neutral framework to operate within instead of making something, you know, tantalizing and forbidden because it's naughty and dirty and we're hiding it from them when it just is very factual. I mean, you're not old enough for that yet it it can become a lot easier for them to self-regulate and for them to make good decisions and to be comfortable having those conversations. Well, when am I old enough? What is the right age for that? And it can feel a lot safer, And those communications and self-regulation skills carry right over into our adult practices and our adult relationships.
Eric: Absolutely. It's that meta-communication layer. This is what we're doing. But this is the conversation about why we're doing what we're doing. We're explaining it to you. We're giving you the reasons behind our decisions. We're open to conversation and questioning about that, and that's that emotional self-regulation, right? I can have my ideas of what I'm putting out, and also I'm open to being questioned. This goes, you know, it's it's about the removal of power over. But there is power here. There is a dynamic, but we're engaged with each other. We're still in a relationship. It's not just top-down one-way communication. It's not authoritarian. It's authoritative parenting.
Stefani: So how does this bring us back to the adults that you're talking about and writing for? What are these skills that you hope their parents instilled in them? Or, more importantly, what are perhaps the skills that you're writing to that people aren't modeling, that you would want them to see or to have.
Eric: So there are a number one of the big ones is to collude with your partner for their safety and understand that their safety needs their emotional reactions. Their vulnerabilities really aren't about you to recognize that another person has an individual separate life from yours and that what you're sharing with them is your internal life. They're sharing with you their internal life. Now you can ask without it feeling threatening. Is there anything that you need from me here that would help you feel safer? How can I support your safety That makes it easier for them to support your safety. You don't need to get defensive about safety phone calls during a first date.
You don't need to get defensive If your partner asks to take a picture of your license plate, you can understand that in the broad framework, there is an experience of a lack of safety that can make people very cautious, not making it about you not taking it personally, realizing that you have a role to play in creating collaborative safety with your partner, not personalizing it, and rolling with it can allow the two of you to engage in once that safety is fulfilled. And once that safety is checked off, that safety becomes the foundation for your pleasure engagement with each other.
Wolf: You know, I've been very fortunate over my lifetime to have a lot of friends who are women who shared with me different stories where I was not the person that was their new partner or whoever. And I was like, Oh, let me take some notes Let me let me see what you do. There's a great sense of learning that comes from having friends who will talk about this. There's also a great sense of learning from seeing, you know, media like shows. And something struck me recently. Um, it was Ted Lasso. Season three. There's an episode called We'll Never Have Paris if you, dear listener have never watched Ted Lasso - that's OK, you don't need to, um, But in this episode, what ended up happening was there's this great conversation around consent at the end of a relationship, and the entire team took out their phones and they basically went through and deleted any explicit photos of ex-partners and effectively committed to doing that whenever a relationship ends. And I thought that was such a good representation in the media of consent on technology because we oftentimes don't think about that. And for most of our conversation, we've been talking about consent on the front end. But I wanted to ask you, What is your view on consent as a relationship wraps up.
Eric: So I like to think, encourage people to think about what a successful breakup looks like in a successful breakup. We leave each other feeling better and more secure than we left each other than we met each other at the beginning of this relationship. How do we depart with gratitude and appreciation for what we had and release each other to the next chapter of our lives. And so talking about what are we going to do with any material that we might have created together? Who's in control of that? Under what circumstances can they share that with other people? And how do we delete that and make sure that it really is deleted? If that's the agreement that it's deleted, deleted in the backup, deleted forever, deleted without possibility of recovery, that's an extremely important process.
Stefani: And I think it's one that is on the horizon of becoming a relationship norm. I was excited to see it in the show. I'm excited to hear you talking about it and writing about it. And I hope that it will become just a default setting. As, you know, technology is the the water that we swim in these days, we can't separate it from our relationships. And so having those sort of practices and agreements from the beginning, um is really important. And I'm curious, you know, as we head towards wrapping up our conversation, what else would you say is really important? What are the main takeaways that you would want people to be thinking about or changing in their own relationship agreements moving forward?
Eric: Because I focus primarily in communicating to men about some of these issues, The big message that I have is consent is also for you. Internet security and safety is also for you, and safety and consent are the foundation of pleasure. These aren't things that are onerous tasks put on you demanded by your partner hoops that you have to jump through. These are things to protect your heart, your safety, your privacy, your well-being, and your capacity to give and receive all of the juicy, sexy pleasure that you're looking for and have all of the heart connection that you need.
Wolf: Safety and consent are the foundation of pleasure. I love that line. I'm going to remember that we've been talking with Eric FitzMedrud. The book is the Better Man - A guide to consent, stronger relationships and hotter sex. Thanks so much for joining us today. And thank you for tuning in to securing sexuality. Your source of information you need to protect yourself and your relationships.
Stefani: Securing Sexuality is brought to you by the Bound Together Foundation a 501(c)3 nonprofit. From the bedroom to the cloud, we're here to help you navigate safe sex in a digital age.
Wolf: Be sure to check out our website, securing sexuality dot com for links to more information about the topics we've discussed here today, as well as our live conference in Detroit.
Stefani: And join us again here for more fascinating conversations about the intersection of sexuality and technology. Have a great week, everyone!