Episode 1: Corporeal Pleasure

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ANNOUNCER: Around Australia on the AusEtherial network, and across the world online, this is Supernatural Sexuality, with Doctor Seabrooke!

SEABROOKE: Hello everyone, welcome to the first ever episode of Supernatural Sexuality! I'm your host, Dr Olivia Seabrooke, Folklorist, Sexologist, and Couples and Family Therapist.

Join me tonight as I take calls from listeners just like you, who have questions about their relationships or sexualities. I'm here to provide a different perspective, and maybe help you find a way forwards.

If you have a problem, and you'd like some advice, you can call us around Australia for free on 1800 975 711, or internationally via our Geistline service, at SeabrookeOnAir.

I have to admit, I'm so happy to get the opportunity to get out of the office and onto the airwaves, and give everyone the chance to find happiness in their relationships, whatever those relationships might look like.

Before we start, I want to start the season right by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we record upon today, the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.

And now, it's time for your calls! Time for our first caller, you're on air, go ahead.

ADAM: Hi Dr Seabrooke, my name is Adam.

SEABROOKE: Hello Adam, good to hear you, so what's the situation?

ADAM: Well, See, it's about my girlfriend.

SEABROOKE: And she is?

ADAM: A werewolf.

SEABROOKE: Oh, lovely! Go on.

ADAM: It's just that, like, we've been dating for about a year, and I'm getting a little frustrated about the fact that she seems to keep really distant from me?

SEABROOKE: Well, that's a smidge vague there Adam, What do you mean by distant? That could mean a lot of things.

ADAM: Well, I want to spend more time with her, and be around her more.

SEABROOKE: How much time per week are you spending with her right now?

ADAM: Well, some weeks, it's like three or four times a week, but some weeks, she doesn't want me around at all, like, at all...

SEABROOKE: Hmm. Adam, would those weeks just happen to be around the full moon?

ADAM: Yeah, actually. Now that you mention it, they are!

SEABROOKE: Okay, okay, so, that's not uncommon or odd there. Werewolves often keep people away during full moon so they don't hurt people, especially younger ones that don't have full control when they change, why is this a problem for you?

ADAM: Well... it's just... I feel like she's keeping this part of herself away from me, you know? I want to love all of her! I feel like if I'm not there during her worst days, I don't deserve her at her best, you know?

SEABROOKE: Adam, I really admire your desire to accept your girlfriend so completely, it's really noble, but firstly, that's not your decision to make, and I don't think it's a decision that you should force onto your girlfriend either.

ADAM: Yeah, But, I want her to trust me enough that I can take care of myself!

SEABROOKE: I don't think that's the trust you need to be encouraging in her. She's building these limits in her life for good reason, she could seriously injure or even kill you, and I'm a big fan of my callers getting to make return appearances, you know!

ADAM: [laughs] Yeah, I guess.

SEABROOKE: I think you should work towards showing your girlfriend that you're willing to trust her boundaries around this. She's not going to warm up to the idea of you spending time around her on the full moon if you keep acting like you don't trust her knowledge about herself. I mean, if she lets down the boundaries a bit, and you just rushed forth, you could still get hurt, and she's likely to get even more distant!

ADAM: I just, I want to be more involved with her.

SEABROOKE: I know! It can be really hard, right? But you just have to give her the space to make the decision. Just, work to make it easier by showing that you respect the boundaries she has. You need to show her that she's right to trust you with this part of her, once she chooses to let you in.

ADAM: Okay, thanks Dr Seabrooke

SEABROOKE: Anytime, Adam! Be careful and keep the trust!

ADAM: Thanks!

SEABROOKE: And I think that's something to keep in mind for everyone listening - trying to force trust often looks like pushing boundaries - the best way to build trust is often to let the other person choose the rate at which they let you in.

SEABROOKE: Now, my producer Shannon tells me we have another caller on the line, you're on the air...


SEABROOKE: Oh, geez! I'm so sorry, everyone, we appear to be having some--


RAMONA: [apologetic] No, no, that's just me, I'm sorry!

SEABROOKE: Oh, that's much better.

RAMONA: Yeah, it's the whole ghost thing. Sometimes it messes with phone calls and stuff like that, but I think I managed to tone it down. Anyway, hi, uh, I'm Ramona. Sorry, long time listener but first time caller, kinda nervous.

SEABROOKE: Good evening, Ramona. Let's get right into it then, shall we? What can we help you with tonight?

RAMONA: [business-like] Okay, so. I'm a ghost, as previously established, and I've been with my current partner for a while--since back when I was still alive, actually.

SEABROOKE: Oh, I imagine that was quite the transition.

RAMONA: Yeah, it, uh, wasn't easy. (laughs) But Fran and I worked through it, you know? Except for one thing.

SEABROOKE: Hmm, and what would that be, Ramona?

RAMONA: [shy] Well, as I'm sure you can imagine, not having a tangible, physical body makes it difficult to do...certain other things.

SEABROOKE: Yes, I imagine there'd be a lot of unusual challenges that come along with being incorporeal. Was there something in particular to which you're referring?

RAMONA: You know, other things.

SEABROOKE: Oh! I do see why that in particular would be difficult to navigate. Before we get too deep into it, however, I do want to encourage you not to tiptoe around the subject. While I understand being a tad uncomfortable talking about the matter, (amused) talking about sex and relationships is literally why I'm here.

RAMONA: [relaxing] I--[laughs] Yeah, okay. I can definitely try to be more direct, I suppose.

SEABROOKE: Lovely! Now then, what seems to be the issue?

RAMONA: Well, I died almost two years ago, and Fran and I have more or less recovered from that--as much as anyone can, you know--and we've talked it over and we're ready to start having sex again.

SEABROOKE: Oh, well that's fantastic! But I don't need a crystal ball to sense that there's a "but" coming up.

RAMONA: But whenever I try to make myself corporeal for longer than it takes to do some entry-level poltergeist stuff...like knock over a chair, slam a door, you know you get it--I just, I get overwhelmed and overstimulated and I end up getting really bad sensory overload because of it.

SEABROOKE: Oh, I do see how that would put a damper on the mood a bit.

RAMONA: Yeah, just a smidge.

SEABROOKE: Okay, before we get too far into it, have you considered that maybe sex doesn't necessarily have a role in your relationship anymore? You said you've worked through it, but that doesn't change the fact that you and Fran have both been through something traumatic. I mean, Trauma can affect us in ways that we don't expect and it's important to really check in with ourselves and evaluate how our needs have changed.

RAMONA: Yeah, that's something we went over after, you know, it happened, and that's not what it is. We both, we both miss sex and we miss having sex with each other, and it just kills me--pun, not intended--that I...can't.

SEABROOKE: I see, I see. Well, have you considered that...

RAMONA: [frustrated] And it isn't even just the sex, you know? I'd like to be able to hold my partner's hand, or make her soup when she's sick, or hell, just not having to rely on Alexa to make a phone c--oh great, now it's turned on again. No! Turn off! How do these things even--Aha! Got it! Yes, hi, sorry. I'm here.

SEABROOKE: You're quite alright. So, when you start to make yourself more solid, what happens with regard to being overstimulated? What does it feel like? Not so much the attack itself, but the sensory overload leading up to it?

RAMONA: [plainly] Well. Okay, so even while intangible, I still have some of my senses. I can still hear and see and talk and all that good stuff. But when I make myself more corporeal, however, it's like being assailed by physical sensations. Even if I'm not touching anything, it's all the things I didn't usually notice while alive--things like the airflow in the room, or the humidity, or even dust! Did you know dust has a feeling to it? It kind of really sucks! A lot! And that's just sort of the passive things, that's not including actually touching or being touched by Fran. And once that starts hitting me, everything else starts getting wonky too. Sounds are either too loud or too quiet, and if I can process them at all; lights are suddenly too bright; things like that.

SEABROOKE: Alright. So, here's what we're going to do: I'm going to give you some tips on how to manage overstimulation, as well as go over some non-physical ways to be intimate with Fran. It won't be the same as sexual intimacy by any means, but it's no less important, and it'll help you two to still feel close in the meantime.

RAMONA: [deflated] Okay, that sounds--(sighs) yeah, okay.

SEABROOKE: So, while not the same as being sexually intimate with your partner, non-physical forms of intimacy are just as important and rewarding. One way to go about this is to--wait, sorry. When you're incorporeal, are you still visible? I know that it can often vary from ghost to ghost.

RAMONA: [perks up] Oh! Yes, I can, for the most part. I'm not completely opaque or anything, and I can disappear completely if I try, but the point of this is to be more present, so.

SEABROOKE: Of course, of course! Just wanted to make sure I was about to [mild drama] bestow wisdom that was actually applicable. Now then, something you can do, while visible, is spending a few minutes--just four or five should be fine--uninterrupted, of staring into each other's eyes. Just look at each other and think in silence. After the four minutes are up, reflect on what you were feeling and thinking. Another way is to tell each other something that you're grateful to the other for, no matter how miniscule or unimportant it may seem. Even something like meditation, like spending time just sitting together in silence and letting yourselves enjoy each other's company can go a long way.

RAMONA: I think we can manage those, yeah.

SEABROOKE: Good, I'm glad. Now then. when it comes to overstimulation, something that's generally recommended is trying to remove yourself from the stimulator, but I understand that would be counterproductive to your goal. You said that when it happens, it's not just your sense of touch that is affected, but your senses, correct?

RAMONA: Yes, that's right.

SEABROOKE: I would suggest preparing in advance next time you try to go corporeal, and mitigate other sensory input during the initial period after materialization. For instance, something such as avoiding having any music playing could help alleviate distress from sound--the same goes for making sure any loud machinery or fans are turned off. As far as odors go, refraining from lighting incense or candles could go a long way, as would making sure not to manifest too soon after Fran's been cooking. Now you mentioned that you were feeling particularly sensitive to dust as well? You could consider purchasing an air purifier, though not one that produces ozone--aside from it being counterproductive to your aims, it's just unhealthy in general. When it comes to more tactile sensations, I know that it can be tempting to rush headfirst into those situations, but it's important to curb your enthusiasm and ease yourself into them instead. I suggest switching out your bedspread in favor of cotton sheets, assuming you haven't done so already, and being sure to wash them so that they're fresh and clean before attempting...anything. That way if you're able to experience that tactility without issue, you can decide whether or not you feel comfortable proceeding further.

RAMONA: [thoughtful] Huh. Okay. That all sounds doable, I think that--yes, I think that'll be alright.

SEABROOKE: And lastly, I want to make sure you're gentle with yourself, Ramona. You've been through a lot, and I know you're eager, but you need to make sure you're not being too harsh. You said you're ready, but this isn't the sort of thing that's likely to go away completely. And I want you to be ready to forgive yourself on those days where, despite doing everything right, doing all the proper prep work, you just can't. Okay?

RAMONA: Okay. Thank you, Dr. Seabrooke. For everything. I really appreciate it. I, uh...I'm going to go get ready for when Fran gets home from work. We have a lot to go over.

SEABROOKE: Certainly sounds like it, thanks for your call! And that last bit goes out to all of our listeners as well - be gentle with yourself! If you don't, who will? This is Supernatural Sexuality, I'm Dr. Seabrooke, and we'll be back after these messages.

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SEABROOKE: Welcome back to Supernatural Sexuality, I'm Dr Seabrooke, time to take some more calls, and remember, if you're in Australia, you can call us for free on 1800 975 711, or if you're listening to us from overseas, via our Geistline service, at SeabrookeOnAir. Now my producer, Shannon, tells me we have another call on the line, you're on air, go ahead.

JARROD: Hi, my name is Jarrod

SEABROOKE: Hello Jarrod, what's the issue?

JARROD: [straight to business] Okay, so when I was at uni I fell in love pretty hard when I was still kind of young for how serious it got. I was nineteen and so was he. We had a couple of great years together and both of us thought it was going to be forever, but I wound up dropping out of uni and he graduated and things kind of fell apart ... he said that it seemed like I wasn't interested in growing up, let alone growing old with him. We broke up and I kind of went off the rails for a while after that, but I've got it together now.

SEABROOKE: I'm glad to hear that! Go on.

JARROD: I ran into him again at a mutual friend's place recently and it was so good to see him, and he seemed really happy to see me. We're catching up for drinks next week and I think I'd like to reconnect with him ... maybe romantically, but to be honest I just miss him being a part of my life in whatever form it might take. My problem is that after we broke up, when I went a bit nuts, I ended up being bitten by a vampire and turned. He knows and doesn't seem bothered by it, but what it means is that I still look exactly like the 21-year-old he broke up with for being immature, while he's now 35. What can I do to make him see I've grown up just as much as he has?

SEABROOKE: Look, to a certain extent, you'd have this same hurdle even if you were still human. Reconnecting with old lovers always involves contending with spectres of who we used to be. You've each had fourteen years of growth and change and experience that you're bringing with you to this new reunion... just because it's more immediately visible with him doesn't make as much of a difference as it might seem to at first consideration. If you can, try not to place too much emphasis on trying to prove to him how different you are and how much you've matured. A relationship, whether romantic or platonic, can't grow in healthy directions if it's based on one person working to convince the other of their suitability or worthiness.

JARROD: [sadly] I just feel really sad that I won't be able to grow and change with him as time passes, you know? We were each other's first experience of deep romantic love, and I think that leaves a mark on a person, you know? But now... No matter what other milestones we reach in the future I'm never going to have any “tells” to mark it.

SEABROOKE: You sound like you're very conscious of your own, newly acquired immortality, beyond the opportunity to make a new first impression on your former partner.

JARROD: [jokingly defensive] It's not that new. It's been fourteen years since I died. It'd be pretty pathetic if I was still weird about it after that long, right?.

SEABROOKE: Well, there's no timeline on trauma, and even if there was, that's part of the point, isn't it? Being a vampire means that fourteen years means something vampire means something wholly different to you than it does to him. You've only run into him once, with another meeting planned, and you're already thinking in terms of years and decades. You let your assumptions colour a lot of your thought processes, to a degree that concerns me a little. May I ask have you ever explored whether you might have a mood disorder such as depression?

JARROD: I kind of figured that stuff only really happened to teenagers and nutcases.

SEABROOKE: Which is in itself an example of what I'm talking about. I think it really would be worth looking into this. You've gone through an extremely intense experience that's going to shape the rest of your long life, and that deserves more professional guidance than I can offer on-air right now Jarrod.

JARROD: Oh, okay.

SEABROOKE: As far as this specific situation goes, the thing that you need to keep in mind is that you and your former partner and every single other person in the world has one thing in common: we all exist right now. The people who we were when we were 21 don't exist now. The people who'll exist in another fourteen years are still fourteen years away. Let the past be the past and the future be the future. Right now, you are someone whose experiences have brought you into this moment, and the same is true for your partner. Let the rest take care of itself and concentrate on enjoying whatever bond the two of you end up building in the here and now.

JARROD: Okay Dr. Seabrooke, I'll try.

SEABROOKE: Thanks for the call. It's really really something to remember - It's easy to lose perspective on time when you're an immortal, but immortals change just as much as the rest of us. That's easy to forget.

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SEABROOKE: Well, that brings us to the end of our first show! I'd like to thank Adam, Ramona and Jarrod for calling, and a special thanks to Shannon Forth, our producer.

I'm Dr. Olivia Seabrooke, this has been Supernatural Sexuality. I hope you've found something in our show tonight, and I hope your relationships find their way. I'll see you next week.

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ANNOUNCER: Supernatural Sexuality with Doctor Seabrooke was created by Lee-Davis Thalbourne and produced by Passer Vulpes Productions.

Doctor Olivia Seabrooke is voiced by Mama Boho

Adam was voiced by Ethan Kavanagh, with the call written by Lee Davis-Thalbourne.

Ramona was voiced by Erin Lillis, with the call written by Lucille Valentine.

Jarrod was voiced by Justin Jones Li, with the call written by Mary Borsellino.

The Voice of the AusEtherial Network is Lee-Davis Thalbourne.

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Up next on the AusEtherial Network, she's a modern witch making a name for herself after a fallout with her coven, it's Kalila Stormfire's Economical Magick Services! Find out more about this great show at kalilastormfire.com.

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