Good day, and welcome to our show, eh? In this episode, we introduce the Skeptical Pervert podcast. Who are we, and what is this all about? What do we mean when we say we take a rational approach to human sexuality?
In this episode, meet your hosts Franklin, Joreth, and Eunice, and find out a little bit about what we’re trying to do! Transcript below.
Franklin: Hello! Welcome to the new Skeptical Perverts podcast! I’m Franklin.
Joreth: Hi! I’m Joreth!
Eunice: And I’m Eunice.
Joreth: This podcast takes a look at human sexuality from a perspective of empiricism and rigorous skepticism. More on that in a bit.
Franklin: First, let’s take a look back at the history of the Skeptical Pervert. Joreth and I thought up the idea in late 2009, as a vehicle for bringing some rigor to discussions about sex and sexuality. We’ve talked quite a lot about launching the podcast since then, but we’ve both been busy and life kept getting in the way.
In the grip of a globe-spanning pandemic, we found this idea rattling around in the Box of Many Things that is our shared ‘projects we’d like to do’ list, dusted it off, said “Ooh, you’re shiny!” and started work again. Especially considering we are living in a world where critical thinking is less and less common, and people are taking medical advice from Facebook memes written by Russian trolls and soccer moms rather than doctors—and calling that “skepticism.”
Eunice: And that’s when I accidentally wandered into this whole shebang and didn’t say no fast enough! So, what are some of the things you’re likely to hear us explore during the course of this podcast?
Joreth: Ooh, we have so much to talk about! What are aphrodisiacs? What is “sex tech” and how is it used? How do people have sex during a pandemic? What, if any, are the differences between so-called “male” and “female” libidos? Kink vs. sex? Is porn harmful? Sex offender registries. … the list just goes on and on!
Franklin: Basically, we want to take a close look at myths, urban legends, “common sense”, and other ideas about sex and see if they’re true, and how we know that they’re true (or not true). We take what’s sometimes derogatively called a “reality-based” approach to questions about sex and relationships and we wanted to share that approach with you, dear listener!
Eunice: Now, you might be wondering — what’s our backgrounds? Our experiences? Where are we coming from in all this? I know it can seem like every random person with a microphone is starting a podcast these days.
Joreth: Yeah, like, who are we to be talking about science and sex on a podcast?
Eunice: OK, as you’ve probably already guessed, this is an 18+ podcast, so warnings galore right here — we discuss some pretty adult topics from a rather personal point of view sometimes. We do not shy away from our own investigations when the occasion calls for it!
Joreth: Yep, we’re going to dive right in with frank and candid discussion of biology, chemistry, and personal experience. And between the three of us, hoo boy do we have some experiences! We use adult language, both in the sense of discussing sexual activities and body parts by their appropriate names and also using grown-up slang. So, Franklin, let’s start with you. Who the fuck are you and why are you talking about sex and science?
Franklin: Who am I? I’m a kinky, polyamorous, seasoned veteran pervert. That means I enjoy BDSM activities, like dominance and submission and letting my partners do things to me and such. I have multiple partners in multiple long-term relationships, all of whom know about each other and sometimes conspire with each other.
Eunice: You’re welcome!
Franklin: Beyond that, I’m pretty typical—I’m a cisgender straight white man, which is treated as pretty much Standard Western Human version 1.0 in a lot of ways. I am comfortable in the sexual and gender identity I was assigned at birth, and with he/him pronouns. I’m interested in and sexually attracted to women, but not men, which I consider a bug rather than a feature. I can’t be attracted to men even as an abstract thought experiment. That means there’s a huge vast part of the human sexual experience I will never know. If someone invents a magic pill that can turn straight people bisexual, I’d take it in a heartbeat!
Joreth: I’d totally be down for that! The existence of straight women is the best evidence ever that orientation is innate, not a choice.
Eunice: I can confirm it’s just a way to get rejected by multiple genders?
Joreth: Good point!
Franklin: I’ve been a sex educator since the mid-1990s. I’ve had a rich and varied sex life—I lost my virginity in a threesome, which gave me a long-standing fondness for group sex.
I am a writer by trade. I’ve written fiction and nonfiction, both self-published and professionally published. In fact, Eunice and I are four books into writing a five-book series of far-future, post-scarcity science fiction theocratic erotica.
Eunice: Well, five books for now, but who knows how long it’ll be by the time we’re finished!
Franklin: I’m a dedicated mad scientist with a fondness for tentacles. I hold a patent on a sensor-equipped strap-on dildo that allows the wearer to feel when it’s touched. I design and make sex toys, mostly involving tentacles, sometimes involving the xenomorph facehugger from the Alien movie (thank you very much for THAT nightmare, Joreth!).
Joreth: My pleasure!
Eunice: You know he loves it, he keeps coming back for more!
Joreth: Your logic is unassailable. I very much look forward to creating a whole new category of nightmares for you next summer with that facehugger harness!
Franklin: You people are terrible. Ahem. Anyway…I thought doing a podcast on skepticism and perversion would unite two of my favorite things, science and sex! Eunice, who are you?
Eunice: Well, I’m a community organiser, project manager, trainee therapist, author, sex educator — I basically do a load of random bits and pieces, mostly because I’m really bad at saying no.
Joreth: Ah, the achilles heel of the community organizer!
Eunice: I’m also your friendly neighbourhood queer, kinky, grey-ace, demisexual, bisexual, solo-polyamorous, cis woman and I’m the British East Asian part of our little trio.
Now, I just threw a whole bunch of terms at you, so let’s go through them one by one, shall we? Firstly, I’m queer — well, I’m certainly not mainstream, and since I’m so many things it’s easier to just go for the most inclusive label I could find. Franklin already gave a little info on what kinky means for him, but for me it’s all about having a mindset of playfulness and openness and creativity whilst exploring sensually. Not necessarily sexually, mind.
Franklin: “Playfulness.” That’s one word for it! Other words might apply as well, like ‘fiendishness’ and occasionally even ‘terrifying.’
Eunice: Didn’t I say you have a type? You keep finding out that people you like are…”differently moral”.
Joreth: I need to put that on a t-shirt.
Eunice: Anyway, next up: grey-ace, demisexual, and bisexual, now here we get into some interesting terms! Grey-ace means I’m on the asexuality spectrum, although not fully asexual, and therefore I don’t really respond to sexual desire and arousal in the ways that society seems to expect me to. Demisexual means I need to have connected with a person emotionally and mentally before I can be sexually attracted to them — usually the thought of being attracted to them doesn’t even come up in my brain before then! — and bisexual means, for me, that I am attracted to people of most genders, although these days I lean towards fewer cishet men and more of everyone else thankyouverymuch. I’m aware it can mean something slightly different for various people, and some people would call me pansexual instead, but this is my label.
Next on the list is solo-poly, which means that I have multiple consensual, loving relationships but I don’t want to financially, legally, or residentially entangle with any of my partners. Autonomy is very important to me.
Franklin: I’m starting to lean toward solo-poly myself, now that I think about it. When I first met both of you, you were both solo poly and I was much more entwined poly, but I think you might be dragging me over to your side!
Joreth: We have cookies! Er, well, I suppose “cupcakes” in my case, but, y’know…
Eunice: Mmmm, cookies….you’re making me hungry! So, cis just means that I identify with the gender that was assigned to me at birth, which was ‘female’. And finally, I’m British and East Asian, specifically Chinese. Both of those, of course, mean that I tend towards understatement. Phew, that was a lot! What about you, Joreth?
Joreth: Well, I’m kind of a Renaissance man. And since I also have an unusual gender identity, that phrase fits. My identity is “tomboy”. A tomboy is usually depicted in the United States as a person of the female persuasion with strong masculine tendencies. She acts and dresses and even sometimes looks like a boy, but she doesn’t want to *be* one, she just thinks that girls should be treated like boys too if they want to be. In popular culture like movies, she also tends to be sexually attracted to men. That all feels like me. To that effect, I use feminine pronouns like she/her but I use masculine titles like “sir” and “cameraman” (which is my actual job title) and “dude” and “master” and “you guys”.
Eunice: Also “badass who should be ruling the world”. But maybe that’s just my opinion.
Joreth: I also strongly identify with feral cats. I tend to see myself as a cranky black alley cat who wants food and attention, but only when I want it and the way that I want it. So maybe I’m more of a Renaissance cat?
Franklin: Ah, that explains a few things! I never could resist a cat.
Eunice: We all know you’re a cat slave. Every cat you’ve ever come across knows you’re a cat slave. As in a slave to cats, not a slave who…is a cat?
Joreth: Can you have a chaosbunny who is also a slave to cats?
Eunice: Eh, he’s prey, they’re predators?
Franklin: Hey now!
Joreth: As a Renaissance cat, I have a very diverse set of interests and skills. As the saying goes, “jack of all trades, master of none”. I majored in several different disciplines at various times during my academic career including sociology and human sexuality, and I also tend to deliberately take part-time side jobs in industries I have never worked in before just to learn something new.
I’m also kinky, solo polyamorous, on the ace spectrum, chicana, and feminist. To me, kinky means that I explore sex with a curious attitude that blurs lines between sex and non-sex things. I have a whole list of other labels that fit under the “kinky” umbrella, and we’ll get to know some of them as the show goes on in later episodes.
I have multiple romantic partners simultaneously all with their full, enthusiastic, informed consent who also have other partners of their own while maintaining my independence within my relationships. I have a whole blog post describing what “solo poly” means to me if you want more on that, but Eunice covered it pretty succinctly for me too.
I consider myself on the asexuality spectrum because I have a somewhat complicated relationship with arousal and attraction that we’ll explore in an upcoming episode. I am of mixed ethnicity that includes indigenous Mexican tribal ancestry, and through a long and complicated sociopolitical movement, the term “chicana” was reclaimed to describe my in-between-heritages state. And I am feminist, which means that I believe in full equality among the genders is necessary but some genders are not treated equally yet, so I focus on lifting up those genders to the same level as the dominant classes.
Eunice: Ooh, yes – I hope it barely needs to be said, but we stan feminism on this podcast, and will not be taking questions at this time.
Joreth: Yep, not up for debate. I’m also a community organizer, public speaker, trainer of public speakers, video engineer, and dancer with a background in ballroom, Latin, swing, and Bollywood. You see why I call myself a Renaissance cat?
Ugh, I am wordy. Honestly, I can spend forever trying to explain who I am, so look me up online if you really want more. Let’s move on.
Eunice: So, why are you both skeptics? Other than the whole state of humanity kinda needing more of that right now, I mean.
Franklin: I am a skeptic because I want to know how the world works. The default position when someone tells you something really ought to be “Oh really? Why should I believe you?” Skepticism is a way of looking at the world that starts with the idea you shouldn’t believe something simply because someone says it’s so. That’s not enough. If you believe things without any reason to think they’re true, your brain fills up with clutter and junk. Next thing you know, you’re believing that Satanic pedophiles are selling sex slaves from the basement of a pizza shop that doesn’t have a basement just because some anonymous guy on a troll board said so. That…isn’t a good way to understand how the world works.
Joreth: Yep, as the slogan goes, skepticism is the intersection between science education and consumer protection. Basically it means that it’s in all of our best interests to just question things so that we don’t buy into a bunch of hokum and nonsense that could harm us. Skepticism isn’t about doubting. It comes from the Greek word, Skeptikoi which means “seekers”. A skeptic doesn’t say “naw, that’s not true”, a skeptic says “hold on a minute, IS that true?” And then provisionally accepts the answer in light of the evidence.
Eunice: Sex and sexuality is one of those areas that tends to throw people’s brains into a morass of basic instinctive responses, childhood conditioning, and confused assumptions based on vague messages from the society around us. So, our aim is to apply that skeptical lense onto an area that so often doesn’t get explored properly, and hopefully digging out the gems of real information from the…sewage. That means that a lot of what we use as resources are scientific papers and the like. We know that there are still issues of replicability and publication bias and human error or prejudice, but so far this is the best we got. Some of this information may well turn out to be incorrect or incomplete later, with the benefit of new research, but hopefully it will be mostly accurate. And, of course, you shouldn’t take our word for it either! Look up our sources, read them for yourself – we’ll link all the papers, articles, and books we reference in our show notes.
Franklin: You can find us at skepticalpervert.com. send us ideas, comments, or suggestions for future episodes to firstname.lastname@example.org.We hope you’ll tune in as we get this podcast rolling. We plan to look at a whole lot of aspects of sex through a skeptical lens, from aphrodisiacs to relationships in the time of pandemic (you know, because there’s a pandemic going on) to kink to Tantric sex. There’s a lot of fairy tales, weird myths, and disinformation about sex floating around out there, and a lot of hucksters willing to take people’s money on the back of it (spoiler, no pill will make your penis bigger). We want to cut through some of the rubbish.
Eunice: Future episodes will be a bit longer, but not a whole lot more. (I lie, you just won’t hear most of the rubbish.)
Franklin: And if you know someone else who might enjoy this podcast, why not share the love, by giving us a review on iTunes or Stitcher or your podcatcher of choice. You can visit the site to check out the show notes for the transcript. And don’t forget to become a patron on Patreon, which is linked on the website. The Skeptical Pervert is copyrighted and produced by Franklin Veaux, Eunice Hung, and Joreth Innkeeper, edited by Joreth Innkeeper, and the website and show notes are maintained by Franklin Veaux.
Joreth: And remember…Why settle for a skeptic or a pervert when you can mash the two together!
Eunice: Would that be a skepvert? Or a pertic? Wow, those both sound dreadful!