“What I’m feeling deprived of is somebody from the adult community to tell the 14, 16, 18 year-old Philip just a little bit more than just the technicalities but tell them about — tell me about… Like why did nobody ever tell me how to touch somebody with great care? Or how… how to communicate your desires, or your boundaries? Or how to be with another person and work through conflict?”
Welcome back to horizontal with lila, the podcast about intimacy (sex, love, and relationships of all kinds) that’s entirely recorded while lying down.
This episode, as an experiment, was recorded in the event space of Hacienda, called Hacienda Studio. It’s roomy and echo-y, we’re marooned on a little island of a mattress with a purple sheet in the middle of a huge space that spans almost the entirety of the brownstone, and the house itself makes some noise, as if it wants to be a third character in our conversation. My sound mixer was not best pleased that I recorded in a cavern with no sound treatment — but, it was worth the experiment!
In this episode, I lie down with Philip Stehlik, of the sex-positive venture Cambyo.
Cambyo is designed to help people develop their intimate lives. Through their online publication, research, community building, and in-person events (such as a sort of salon meeting in which people are invited to share their experiences around intimacy, sexuality, and relationships in semi-public), Cambyo aims to cultivate a safer space for people to discuss. On Medium, they publish real stories about people’s intimate lives. If you want to contribute a story of your own to the ongoing, destigmatizing dialogue, please reach out to them!
I first met Philip at a small cocktail party in the West Village. Philip and Cambyo co-founder Matt Hunter were in town for just a few days, and by the strength of their charisma alone — well, and also a little nudge from Bryony Cole, host of the fabulous sex tech podcast “The Future of Sex” — they gathered a mix of sex tech entrepreneurs, educators, activists, and therapists together for a night of conversation.
Philip is German, and now resides in San Francisco’s sex-positive nexus. He’s an excellent communicator, a world-class hugger, and somehow his presence simultaneously both calms and excites me — I wish he lived in New York!
In the first half of this episode, we talk about sex ed in Germany, coming of age, condoms, and VR porn.
The second half has been released separately, by popular demand.
Won’t you please … come lie down with us.
Links to Things:
Hacienda Studio, a center for sex-positive education and experience
Cambyo, Philip & Matt’s venture, designed to help people develop their intimate lives
Cambyo on Medium, real-life stories about intimacy, curated by Philip & Matt
The Future of Sex, one of my favorite podcasts, hosted by Bryony Cole, which explores the evolving worlds of sex and tech. Especially check out the VR porn episode 06: Can Teledildonics + VR = Human Intimacy?
Der Perfekte Liebhaber, a book young Philip learned from
Show Notes (feel free to share quotes/resources on social media, and please link to my iTunes, this website, or my Patreon!):
website link: https://horizontalwithlila.com/
Patreon link (the crowdsourcing of patronage!): https://www.patreon.com/horizontalwithlila
[3:11] The Crime & Punishment-themed Hacienda party.
[3:35] What do they use to protect the sheets?
[4:21] How arousal affects our decision-making abilities.
[7:02] Lila on condoms.
[11:11] Philip’s story about a self-identified nymphomaniac he met at a play party.
[12:26] Lila’s “sex map.”
[15:05] What did Philip learn about sex from school, his stepdad, and books, as an adolescent in Germany?
[17:12] Who guided young Philip to develop his intimate life?
[18:53] Philip read “How to Be the Perfect Lover” at 16. In German, it is written Der Perfekte Liebhaber.
[20:06] What is missing from the formal mentoring programs for young boys?
[21:22] Lila’s fly-on-the-wall experience at a Men’s Group meeting once.
[22:09] “If we teach the boys, they’ll teach each other, and they’ll treat women better, and we start to turn those tides. But if they stay uneducated, patriarchy just continues to rule.” – Lila
[25:24] Philip’s discovery of lingerie catalogs at 11 or 12 years-old.
[27:53] How Philip’s teenage friends shared games, movies, and cartoon porn.
[28:43] VR porn and Philip’s overwhelming experience.
[29:05] Does Philip watch porn now?
[33:23] I later remembered that this phenomenon is called the uncanny valley.
uncanny valley (noun) = the experience of uneasiness or disgust when one encounters a strikingly human-like, yet nonhuman, figure, such as a robot.
[36:17] VR porn stigma?
[37:09] Masturbating next to a partner who isn’t.
[37:42] What is “real” sex?
[38:31] The Sex & Disability video blog conversation with Jason DaSilva, filmmaker with MS, recorded at the Villa.
[38:46] “Why does mainstream media or porn get to tell you that only penis in orifice is ‘real sex’? And that it has to be between humans and that it has to be … […] If you put those limitations on it, a lot of people get really sad, because they can’t experience it in that way.” – Lila
Philip: It is real, because everything we experience is real in our own reality, and … it was real that my mind was thinking somebody was looking me into the eye while sucking cock — I didn’t have that physica- the exact same physical sensation, but something in me perceives it as real. So, I guess that’s the other side of it. It is as real as any kind of experience is that you’re having, and then you can be the judge of what kind of experience do you want to have.
Lila: Well, your arousal was real. And I would say, it’s certainly as real as any fantasy. I fantasize all the time when I masturbate, right, that’s just a multi-sensory fantasy.