The following is a conversation with Ayla,
a sex researcher who does some of the largest
human sexuality survey studies in the world
on everything from fetishes to relationships.
She’s fearless in pursuing her curiosity on these topics
by asking challenging and fascinating questions
and looking for answers in a rigorous data-driven way
and writing about it on her blog, knowingless.com.
She’s also a sex worker,
including OnlyFans and Escorting,
and is an exceptionally prolific creator
of thought-provoking Twitter polls.
Ayla and I disagree on a bunch of things,
but that just made this conversation even more interesting.
I like interesting people in the full range
of the meaning that the word interesting implies.
I’m currently reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac
and would be remiss if I didn’t mention
one of my favorite quotes from that book
that feels relevant here.
The only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk,
mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow Roman candles
exploding like spiders across the stars.
In the middle, you see the blue center light pop
and everybody goes, ah.
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It’s interesting because this conversation with Ayala
is, in fact, about data, a lot of data,
from I think she has over 500,000 people
that took a very extensive survey
on their sexual preferences and all that kind of stuff.
So basically, self-report information
about your own understanding of your mind and body
and so on, I mean, that’s so powerful.
That’s so, so, so powerful.
Data in general is really powerful for any kind of study,
for medical studies, for psychological studies,
sociological, for any kind of study that includes humans,
and it’s nice to see Ayala do this gigantic data set,
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for your life, for your diet, that should not be based,
no matter how big the data set is,
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or it should only be in part based on population data.
It should be, hopefully, in large part
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in the description, and now, dear friends, here’s Ayala.
I feel like this conversation can go anywhere.
Is that exciting or terrifying to you?
I think it’s more exciting.
The uncertainty exciting to you?
In conversations in general, or just this one?
I think conversations in general.
Like, is anybody like,
oh, the certainty is really exciting?
Maybe if the certainty is something new.
I mean, novelty always comes with uncertainty, right?
I started trying to think of a counter example.
You’re uncomfortable with generalizations of that kind.
Like, all of the things that I’m comfortable with
Like, always is always a really bold word to use.
But if it’s truly novel,
that means you don’t really understand it.
It’s outside your distribution.
So therefore, it’s gonna have a bunch of uncertainty.
But you don’t think of it as uncertainty.
You think about it as something new,
but it actually also attracts you
because there’s a lot of uncertainty surround it, probably.
Like, what is this new thing?
Like, annihilating the mystery.
Like, that drive.
What about the danger of it?
I was just thinking of, on the drive over,
because I was like,
a little nervous about doing this podcast.
And then I was like, feeling into the unpleasantness of it.
Like, the fear of what if something goes terribly wrong.
And then I was also feeling into like,
how much that feels like part of why it’s exciting.
Like, if I knew that it was going to go great, I don’t know.
Did you actually imagine all the possible ways
it can go wrong?
Not like, all of them.
But I was like, what if I say something really dumb?
Or like, you ask me a question and I answer it in a way
that makes me sound like a lot less capable than I am.
And I’m like, really afraid of being perceived
as stupid or something.
I was also thinking about this on the way over.
Like, I’m kind of risk averse in some ways.
Like, I don’t like driving fast in cars,
because I was driving very carefully here,
because the roads are bad.
And then I was thinking about,
I’m very like, pro-risk in other ways.
Like, being really exposed to like,
a wide variety of people who might hate you.
And I think like, from the outside, that might look fine.
But I think the monkey brain is really sensitive
to lots of people yelling at you
for whatever problems that you seem to have.
So that’s the big risk you’re taking,
is putting yourself out there as an intellectual,
like through your writing,
and then a lot of people yelling at you.
Is that the worst embarrassment you’ve experienced?
It’s pretty bad, yeah.
I think the worst embarrassment is if I put something
out there that I failed to like,
be properly skeptical of in myself.
And then people are like, oh, we caught this thing
that you didn’t catch.
I think that’s the biggest terror.
Yeah, from looking at your reading
and listening to your interviews,
you seem to be very defensive
and worried about being a good scientist.
But you’re like, methodology.
And funny enough, you get attacked on that methodology,
even though, you know, I’m a fan of psychology,
of like, academic psychology,
and it’s kind of disappointing often
how non-rigorous their work is,
how small the sample size and so on,
and how big and ambitious, over-ambitious
the proclamations about results is,
especially with the news reports on it.
Now, you’re both the researcher,
the scientist, and the reporter, right?
So like, that’s what you have with the blog.
Your sample size is often gigantic.
The methodology is right there.
The data is right there.
You provide the data.
And then you’re like, raw and honest
with your interpretation of the data.
Like, there’s an honesty, authenticity to it.
So I don’t know, it’s actually really refreshing.
I don’t know why people criticize it.
I think this is what psychologists are probably terrified
about being transparent, and transparent in that way
is because they’ll get attacked for their methodology.
So they wanna cloak it in a sort of layer of authority.
Like, I’m from this institution.
It was peer-reviewed.
There’s kind of all these layers,
and I’m also not gonna share the data with you,
and I’m also gonna pretend like
most psychology studies are not replicable.
I’m just going to pretend there’s authority to it.
I think it works on a lot of people.
Like, from the outside, you’re like,
ah, the scientists with the white lab coats
with credentials, those are the people
who are like, doing science.
And like, doing science is, you know,
you have like, fancy terms that other people
don’t really understand.
And to be fair, like, I have a lot to learn.
I’m still like, I’m self-teaching.
I’m like, learning through people.
Learning as I go, I’m definitely not super knowledgeable
about this stuff.
But a lot of what those people are doing in science
is not that hard.
And a lot of people, like, don’t try to learn it
because it seems so, like, elevated.
And this is one thing that really bothers me.
I think, like, everybody can do science.
Like, if you just have this aspect of curiosity,
and like, you just really want to figure something out,
you can go and start, you know, asking people questions,
doing surveys, like, writing down the answers.
And then you can go learn how to look at that data
in a way that gives you more information about the world.
Like, it’s very simple and straightforward.
If you just approach it humbly and earnestly,
and you’re like, please, let’s figure this out together.
But people, like, are, I think, self-crippled in this
because they view this as, like,
relegated to the domain of the experts
and, you know, the fancy scientists.
And I think that makes me feel really sad.
You’re almost attracted to the questions
you’re not supposed to ask.
Which might contribute to the controversy.
Not exclusively, probably.
But you’re just not limited by,
like, part of your curiosity is asking questions
that seem common sense.
Like, some of the most controversial questions
are, like, around sex.
It’s like, everybody thinks and talks and does sex.
I mean, it’s the driver of human civilization.
And yet, there’s so little, like, rigorous discussion
about the philosophical
and the scientific questions around it.
It’s like, it gets really weird to be able to discuss them.
It becomes tricky to discuss them.
Yeah, it’s super charged.
Because everybody has a really strong opinion.
Like, whether or not, you know,
pornography is damaging to society.
Or, like, how sex corresponds to gender.
Or, like, what kind of sexuality is acceptable.
Like, can you have sexual preferences
that in themselves are immoral?
People get very angry about it.
Well, the sad part is they’re not just opinionated.
But most of us, our relationship with sex is,
I think, I guess, I want to say, not rigorous.
I think it’s very difficult to be rigorous about sex.
And I would consider sexual urges
to be kind of elusive to introspection
in a way that’s a little bit disproportionate
to a lot of other things.
Like, you could, like, introspect about, you know,
how I want other people to like me
and where my insecurities lie.
But sex is one of those black box things.
A really common thing is for people to,
if you have a fetish,
you sort of check back in your childhood
to see an event that corresponds to that fetish.
And then you, like, develop a narrative.
Like, ah, this event in my childhood
must have caused this fetish.
And so I think this causes people to be biased
towards like a concrete, coherent, causative way
that events happen, or that sexual fetishes happen.
This is just like one example of like why
I think it’s really hard to be rigorous with introspection.
Because we can’t avoid,
you just want to tend towards making like coherent narratives
which I think is not always the correct way to explain it.
The narratives that are connected to childhood
and so on, how they originate.
Yeah, you’ve, I mean, we’ll talk about fetishes
because you have a lot of really interesting writing on that.
Just actually zooming out.
I should mention, you tweeted, I wrote this down.
You tweeted, I do not understand
how to have normal conversations with people in person
if I’m not on drugs.
So I guess, let’s both agree
to not have a normal conversation, I guess.
Assuming you’re not on drugs now.
Or if you are, you don’t have to tell me.
I feel like a very small amount of phenibut,
which is a nootropic.
Don’t know if that counts.
Is that a drug?
Well, I guess I’m on caffeine.
So we’re both.
Good enough to have a normal conversation.
We don’t have to.
What is normal anyway?
What do you think is the primary driver
of human civilization?
Is it the desire for sex, love, power, or immortality?
Like avoiding the fear of death,
constructing illusions that make us forget
about our terror over mortality.
So sex, love, power, death.
Is this a Twitter poll?
There’s four options.
This is reality, not everything.
Maps perfectly to a Twitter poll.
But in this case, because there’s four options,
and it is a small number of characters, it does.
But I’d like to think I’m more interested.
You know what?
I think your Twitter polls are fundamentally interesting.
There’s something about the brevity of a poll
limited to a set of choices,
and having an existential crisis
and searching for the answer.
Well, this one is a big one.
Like, what do you think is behind it?
Do you believe that there is one primary driver?
Like, do you think that it can be understood
in the terms of primary drivers?
Yeah, I think, well, maybe it’s an engineering perspective,
like trying to reverse engineer the brain.
I don’t think we’re equipped
or understand enough about the mind to get there.
Yeah, like, what’s the primary driver of a tree?
Yeah, well, then it gets to the question of what is life?
What is a living organism?
Like, to self-replicate, probably.
That’s a very clean simplification,
but I think life is more interesting
than just self-replication.
Yeah, but it sounds like there’s a curiosity in you
that you’re trying to, like, poke at,
and I don’t understand exactly what that curiosity is.
So if I had to dedicate 1,000 years
to understand one of these topics,
which one would be the most fruitful,
I guess is the indirect thing I’m asking.
No, well, fun.
To me, everything is fun, but-
Yeah, I mean, I’m with David Foster Wallace.
The key to life is to make sure that everything’s unboreable
or to be unboreable, or nothing is boring.
Everything is fun.
I could just literally sit.
I honestly, because I don’t think,
I don’t know where you got that glass,
but that glass exists, and I forgot it exists,
and it was really fun to me to know that now it was there.
What about the really unpleasant things?
Like, if you’re in deep agony.
Yeah, that’s fun.
That’s fun, because it’s like, I mean, yeah, heartbreak.
It’s like knowing that I’m capable of that.
We’re all living in the gutter,
but some of us are looking up at the stars.
So when you’re in that gutter,
for some reason, the stars look brighter, right?
So whenever you’re going through a difficult time
or whenever you see maybe other people
being shitty to each other,
it makes you really appreciate when they’re not.
The contrast makes life kind of amazing.
I’m reading a bunch of books,
and one of them is Brave New World,
where they remove the ups and downs of life,
partially through drugs,
but over over-sexualization and all that kind of stuff,
and I feel like you need the ups and downs of life.
The dark, you need the dark to have happiness,
to have like a deeply intense feeling of affection
towards another thing or a human being.
Yeah, so everything’s fun.
But fun is also a weird word to define,
because fun, I think for a lot of people,
that’s why I talk about love a lot.
I think love is a better word than fun,
because fun is like lighthearted.
Love is more intense.
Like I love that glass and the water that’s in it,
because it’s freaking awesome.
Like somebody made that glass, right?
And like not have many mistakes,
and the way it bends light in interesting ways,
and the way water bends light in interesting ways,
like I can see part of your arm through that water.
That’s freaking amazing.
Everything is amazing.
I’m with a Lego movie.
Anyway, but if like from a scientific perspective,
if I were to investigate sex,
I don’t know why I put love in there.
Let’s just narrow it down the Twitter poll.
Let’s focus on the basics here.
Sex, power, or death, immortality.
If I were to try to,
like from a neuroscience, neurobiology perspective,
or reverse engineer through building AI systems
that focus on these kinds of dynamics,
exploring the game theoretic aspects of it,
exploring the sort of cognitive modeling aspects of it,
which one would get me to a deeper understanding
of the human condition?
That’s the question.
Okay, Nietzsche is the will to power.
Freud and the bunch is all about sex.
And then death.
Liv just, Liv Burley,
brilliant previous guest on this podcast,
she just released a video where on her bedside
was the book Denial of Death by Ernest Becker,
which of course she would have on her bedside.
But that, his whole work is that
everything is motivated by our trying to escape
the cold, harsh reality that we’re going to die
and we’re terrified of it.
One of the gifts and burdens for human beings
is that we are cognizant of our own death.
And that terrifies us.
That’s the theory.
And because of that, we do everything we can.
We build empires to escape the fact that we’re mortal.
Wouldn’t this change quite a bit for religious people then
who don’t believe that they’re going to die?
Well, they created religion.
The idea there is to create myths, religions.
You can create religions of all kinds.
Yeah, but if this is one of the defining things
that defines civilization,
then we should expect to see massive differences
between people who believe we’re going to die
and people who don’t.
Good, I love it.
You think it like scientifically here,
but, and they have actually answers.
Like there’s a whole terror management theory
where they do write psychology type papers
and they do actual experiments.
I can mention how their methodology is interesting.
They prime with the discussion of death.
Like they take one certain set of people
and have a conversation with them.
And another set of people,
they mention death to them before the conversation
and see how that affects the nature of the conversation.
That’s really interesting
because death fundamentally alters
the nature of the conversation.
Just even priming,
like reminding you that you’re going to die briefly
changes a lot of things.
These kinds of priming papers usually not replicated.
I just have like,
I feel like I’ve heard a bunch of priming ones that.
I think you have PTSD over psychology papers
that are not replicated.
I just did one,
I just did a priming experiment on my own
and found it didn’t have any effect.
But again, it’s not a thing.
Can you just give me a careless statement
summarizing an entire scientific discipline
of terror management theory?
I don’t know.
Like I haven’t rigorously looked at
how good of it is psychologically.
I think it is interesting philosophically,
the way Freud talked about the subconscious mind.
Philosophically, it’s an interesting discussion.
Then you have to get rigorous with each for sure.
But the idea is that,
like it’s not that religious people
get rid of the terror of death.
This is just one of the popular ways
they create an illusion on top of it.
That’s that idea,
like a myth that allows,
that makes it easier for them to forget,
to escape that terror.
But everybody else does different methods.
Like you fill your days with,
like capitalism has a whole religion of itself,
like the rat race for getting more and more
material possessions and so on.
And couldn’t you argue it in the opposite direction?
Like, let’s say, assume that we’re Christians here
and we’re like, oh, the atheists,
everybody has terror of hell
and the atheists invent this mythology
where actually evolution is true
in order to escape their terror of hell.
So that doesn’t feel like a persuasive argument to me.
But I used to be very, very Christian
and I did not have a terror of death.
And then I lost my faith
and then I had a deep terror of death
set in for a few years.
And it felt very different to me.
So for denial of death,
I don’t know if he says that it’s actually possible
without really a lot of work to get to the actual terror.
Like, I think his claim is that
in early, early, early childhood development,
that’s when the terror is real.
And then we aggressively construct systems around it
of social interaction to sort of construct illusions
on top of it.
I’m doing a half-ass description of this philosophy,
but it is interesting to simplify the human mind
into underlying mechanisms that drive it.
Yeah, I was gonna say,
your thinking seems kind of poetic.
Like the way that you’re sort of handling these,
these concepts feel like more like aesthetically driven.
I think this theme is gonna continue
throughout this conversation
as we talk about relationships and sex.
Yes, for sure.
I think so.
And I think your thinking seems to be very driven
by how can I construct an experiment
to test this hypothesis?
Yeah, something like that.
Yeah, but aren’t,
there’s some things,
especially that have to do with the human mind,
that are really messy, really difficult to understand.
There’s so many uncertainties and mysteries around
that we don’t yet have the tools to collect the data.
Like one of your favorite tools is the survey,
is asking people questions,
and then figuring out different ways
to indirectly get at the truth
because there’s flaws to the survey.
You kind of learn about those flaws
and you get better and better
at asking the right questions and so on.
But that’s not,
that’s indirect access to the human mind.
But do you think like poetic narratives are?
I’m not like saying poetic narratives are bad.
Like I think it’s like a cool way of like handling concepts,
but I’m not sure that they are more rigorous.
No, no, no.
No, but like they might be the more correct,
like philosophy might be the right way
to discuss things that were really far from understanding.
They might be more useful shorthand.
Like morality, like I don’t think morality makes any sense,
but it’s really useful shorthand to use
when handling concepts and a lot of the time.
Right, like ethics and morality.
You could construct studies that ask different questions.
Like just having worked with autonomous vehicles a lot,
the trolley problem gets brought up.
And I don’t know,
you can construct all kinds of interesting surveys
about the trolley problem,
but does that really get at some deep moral calculus
that humans do?
It’s sexy because people like write
clickbait articles about it,
but does it really get to like what you value more?
Five grandmas or like three children?
They construct these arguments of like,
if you could steer a train,
if you could steer an autonomous car, which do you choose?
Yeah, I don’t know.
I don’t know if it’s possible
with some of those to construct.
Sometimes the fuzzy area,
there’s some topics that are fuzzy
and will forever be fuzzy
given our limited cognitive capabilities.
I don’t know, there’s a way of looking at things
where it’s like, for example,
the childhood fetish thing that I was talking about,
like where do your fetishes come from?
Like you can develop a narrative where it’s like,
you know what, I think like this kind of thing is,
you know, when you’re surrounded by feet
when you’re a child, this causes foot fetishes.
And this is like kind of a cool narrative.
And I think a lot of people’s ideas about philosophy
follow the same sort of thing.
Like what is the narrative that is cool?
And I think this is useful for meaning making.
Like I’m very pro meaning making.
Like when you’re talking about everything is fun
because, you know, the contrast or whatever.
I very much ascribe to that.
I really enjoy that philosophy.
I also find everything to be very delightful.
And this isn’t like a question of truth, right?
We’re not like, where is the true delight
that we’re objectively measuring?
I guess this is a frame, a poetic frame
that you’re using to like sort of change
the way the light hits the world around you.
And that’s super useful
because it like makes you happier or something.
Yeah, but also gets to the truth or something.
Yeah, I guess if what is the truth.
Yet another question.
What is truth?
You’ve, actually to jump back,
you believe that free will is an illusion.
So why does it feel like I’m free
to make any decision I want?
It’s a cool illusion.
I think that’s probably like where
our sense of identity comes from.
It’s a fun illusion.
Like when you really meditate on your sense of identity,
at least for me,
it seems like it comes down to the sense of choice.
Like, oh, I am doing the thinking.
Like, what does it mean to do with thinking?
It’s like, ah, something in me has exerted agency
over having this thought or not having this thought.
Like the sense of self really comes down to choice.
And so when I say that like free will is an illusion,
I also mean there’s something like the self is an illusion.
Identity is a trick of the light.
But it’s a really fun one.
You think a lot about your identity.
I have occasionally.
Like you really struggle with it.
You’re proud of it.
I do too.
It’s not, we have different journeys, but so.
I really take a lot of delight in it.
I used to be very into like deconstructing it.
Like you probably, maybe, you know,
I did a bunch of like way too much jealousy for a while.
And at that point, very no ego.
And now I’m like very ego.
I really enjoy having a lot of ego.
I actually happen to know like everything about you.
Like more than you do.
Wait, could you solve my problems?
Yes, all of them.
I’ve did thorough research.
What is consciousness then?
I actually wrote that as a quote.
What is consciousness?
To remind myself.
So like how does that tie in together with free will
and identity and all of that?
What is consciousness is like
one of the biggest questions ever.
I think, I do think that people often get confused
when talking about consciousness
because I think people are referring
to two separate concepts
and often like combining them into one thing.
Like we asked the question, you know,
is AI going to be conscious?
I think this is kind of the wrong question.
Like we can identify signs of consciousness.
Like, ah, they seem to refer to themselves,
but this is not necessarily proof of consciousness
in the same way that like dream characters
acting exactly the way normal human people do
in your dream is not evidence
that they themselves are conscious.
So like signs of consciousness
are not proof of consciousness,
but there is something that we definitely know,
which is like, I currently am conscious.
I can tell because, right.
Like I’m like just directly observing my experience.
And so like there’s one kind of consciousness,
which is I am directly observing my experience
and that you cannot replicate it.
Like I cannot observe two experiences.
It is necessarily singular and it is necessarily certain.
Like you can make all the arguments you want.
Like I’m still directly observing.
It’s not a thing that’s subject to reason.
Whereas are other things conscious?
This is something that’s replicable.
Like you can apply it to multiple people.
It’s something that’s not certain,
like almost definitionally not certain.
Like we don’t actually know if there is, you know,
an internal experience.
So my argument is that like when people are talking
about other things having experience,
they’re using a different concept
than the thing that they’re actually looking at
when they look at their own experience.
I think they’re two different things.
Definitionally not possible.
No, if you understand the mechanism of consciousness,
you’ll be able to measure it probably, right?
Yeah, but what are you measuring?
Like I think there’s just like a subtle difference.
Like when you’re asking the question,
is this other thing conscious?
Yeah, the easy thing to measure is like a survey.
Does this thing appear conscious?
And then the hard thing is you understand
the actual mechanism of how consciousness arises
in the physics of the human brain.
Yeah, but you can do that in a dream, presumably.
Like if you had a very good dream or a very good simulation.
But we could then have somebody in a simulation or a dream
where they go through and they fully understand,
you know, they do all the tests
and the tests come back exactly the way you’d expect them to.
But from the outside, we’re like, well, this is misleading.
They’re not actually conscious.
Like your dream characters aren’t conscious, right?
I don’t know, are you asking?
Are you telling?
I’m like appealing to an intuition.
But it sounds like you’re driving towards a narrative.
I don’t, you did a poll about men and women and dreams.
Those are some kind of difference.
I couldn’t tell what the difference was
except that more men than women.
Quite a lot more women dream vividly than men.
Which I actually found in my chaos survey.
So I did a survey, maybe you know the,
I just had people-
I know everything, do you remember?
You know, yes, I’m sorry.
So as you clearly know.
I’ll try not to talk down to you through this conversation.
And I not only know everything,
I know how your future looks like.
And how everything ends, yeah.
So you could probably win
all the prediction markets on my life.
So we should also mention
that when you have prediction markets,
you have votes that you,
what’s the site called again?
And one of them was,
will I be on the Lex Friedman podcast?
And I voted.
I invested everything I owned into the yes.
Is there such thing as insider trading on there?
Does that, goes against the terms of the-
No, I think insider trading is part of the information.
So it’s supposed to be.
Oh, I see.
And then I realized it’s actually public information
that I voted.
I think my face shows up there,
it’s like, damn it.
It’s gonna influence.
You could make the fake account.
Or I could be lying, right?
Yeah, that’s true.
And then dump the stock or whatever.
You know, I try to manipulate,
somebody made a market,
like is Ayla going to post a poll,
spelled P-O-L-E on her Twitter,
like a photo.
And I was like,
I’m gonna manipulate this market.
So I like fucked around with it,
and I voted no.
And then I accidentally posted a photo of a poll
Oh, but that’s like self-sabotage.
Yeah, I accidentally fucked up my own market.
that’s like the reverse of insider trading.
What were we talking about?
Oh, the women and the men,
and the difference, the vivid dreams,
and the markets.
If you go with the market,
oh, because I can perfectly predict your future.
But then it’s not fun.
I like the romance of unpredictability.
And so I like to,
even though I know everything,
I like to forget everything.
Very Buddhist of you.
Yeah, the river.
No man in the river once,
whatever, the footsteps,
however that goes.
One of my favorite questions is like,
if you could press a button
and then have all of your wants fulfilled,
anything that you want.
So it’s like such a rapid degree
that you don’t really experience the want.
Like as the want arises,
it then is like completed as immediately
so that you are completely without want.
Like, would you,
would you press that button?
Yeah, I didn’t think you would.
No, no, no.
Because immediately everything stops being fun.
The first, it’s only fun the first time.
But if you want it to be fun.
But like, what would be my source of fun?
I feel like I would have,
on day four, just to get off,
I would need to do nuclear war
because it will escalate quickly.
I feel like if everything is possible,
I assume you mean like something
that is not just normal human things.
Yeah, magical world.
Then you start escalating really quickly.
Like, I wonder,
I’ll probably do like,
I want everybody to just fly into the air
and hover in the air.
And then you’re like,
oh, life is meaningless.
Like, why does,
like, you go,
I feel like you get,
no, I actually,
that’d be a really interesting experiment.
Like, what are the limits?
Like, are we all capable
of becoming psychopaths essentially?
Like, I’d like to believe not.
There’s a very hard limits on that,
like in our own mind,
like of basic compassion.
Because I love being compassionate
towards other human beings.
And it’s one of the things I think about
if you give me power,
like a lot of power,
like absolute power.
And I think that’s the power you mentioned
is the scariest kind of power.
Because it’s like,
it’s not even power in this normal world.
It’s like magical power
where you lose,
it’s like dream world power
like video game power.
You don’t even think of it as reality.
You could just mess with the world.
And I feel like that’s terrifying.
Yeah, you’d basically be God.
But without like,
I feel like the idea of God
wants to like keep things like
But then you’d probably,
if you wanted to keep them functioning properly,
then it would rapidly,
like you would never experience a time
where you’re like,
oh no, that was a mistake.
Because as soon as you,
like before you even experienced that,
the world would shift to match it.
No, I think I would actually,
I take it back.
I think I would regret
the first time I hurt somebody.
See, in my visualization,
it was like a video game
where everybody’s like NPC, really dumb.
No, I think the first time
I witnessed pain from anybody,
that’s when I would stop.
And I would probably run into that very quickly.
Like even just the hovering,
make a person hover,
and they’re gonna be probably really upset
with the hovering, right?
And so I’m gonna be like,
no, don’t do that anymore.
And then I’ll probably go to,
honestly, I’ll just return back to my normal life.
I don’t know.
Yeah, that’s kind of what I feel like.
Like if I had the power to do anything,
I think I would probably want to have a life
very similar to where I am now.
Yeah, I mean, it’s like with Uber,
like it’d be probably more convenient
to do certain things.
But even then,
like the struggle,
like I got a flat tire,
so I have to fix that.
I kind of,
the flat tire makes everything more beautiful.
It’s like, cool.
I can do like a normal manual thing.
But also it makes you like appreciate your car,
appreciate the convenience of transportation,
all of it.
I know some people who would like
call this a bunch of copium,
like you’re just sort of making do with what you have.
Like we wouldn’t go back to Amish times
or like pre-technology
because to like,
in order to make ourselves appreciate things more.
And so it seems like a hindsight reasoning,
which like I can appreciate that argument,
but I don’t know.
Anyone who uses, sorry,
to interrupt the word copium in their argumentation,
I think it’s sus.
It’s sus, my entire argument is now.
No, I’m just kidding.
I interrupted rudely the flow of thought.
But you don’t think so?
In part, you disagree with that kind of argument?
Cause I think people have this idea
that if you like come to accept
or like find meaning in what you have now,
this is sort of at odds with trying to improve it.
And I don’t find this to be the case.
I find like the attempt to improve it
to also be part of it.
Like I enjoy the fact that there’s something
like problematic going on
because now I get the experience
of like striving to make it go away.
And like that in itself is where the meaning lies.
It’s not just that things are bad,
it’s that there’s things are bad
and we’re trying to stop it and also.
If you combine that with a sense of optimism
that the future can be better,
yeah, that feeds into this productive effort
of making things better.
And it somehow makes the vision of the things
that are better more intense.
Having experienced shitty things.
So we talked about free will and consciousness
and what drives human civilization.
Question left unanswered.
It’s a homework problem for the reader.
I’m gonna get like a scoreboard at the end,
the amount of questions.
Completed successfully versus not.
Can we talk about some practical things?
So one of the many amazing things,
I think of you as a researcher,
but you’ve also been doing research in the field.
Yeah, field work.
The Jane Goodall of.
How did you get,
what’s the short and the long story
of how you got into sex work?
How did I get into sex work?
Well, I mean, there’s a whole like childhood thing
where I was conservatively homeschooled.
Do you wanna actually talk about your childhood?
I think it’s interesting
because you also worked at a factory.
So like your childhood is really fascinating
and difficult, traumatic.
So, and you’ve written about it.
There’s a lot of ways we could talk about it,
but maybe what are the things you remember
the good and the bad of your childhood,
of your maybe interaction with your father?
Yeah, my dad probably has narcissistic personality disorder.
And so it was very centered on very controlling childhood,
We were homeschooled
and pretty isolated from the outside world.
Like we didn’t know anybody else who wasn’t homeschooled.
We went through a program called Growing Kids God’s Way,
which was very,
it was like the kind of program
where you’re not supposed to pick up babies
when they cry to train them
that they can’t manipulate the parents.
Because like baby crying was viewed as like,
you’re just teaching them from an early age
that they’re allowed to make the parents
do what the kids want.
And we’re very against this philosophy.
So, you know, that combined
with a narcissistic personality disorder,
dad was pretty rough.
Super controlling, yeah.
And developing and feeding the self-critical aspect
of your brain.
Yeah, very much.
It was, you know, I was like lazy,
I was never gonna accomplish anything in life.
I was gonna move out of the house
and realize how good I had it at home,
you know, the classic stuff.
He was very like logical and smart though.
And so he’d also like teach us logic stuff.
I remember some of my earliest memories
are him like giving me basic logic puzzles.
Like the dog has three legs,
you know, how many dogs have four legs?
And I would mess up and,
but he was an evangelist,
basically a Christian evangelist.
So we did like Bible study five nights a week.
I memorized, I think 800 verses of the Bible
by the time before I became an adult.
Yeah, and it was very patriarchal also.
So I was expected to grow up and become a housewife,
They’re like, oh, you can go to college to meet a man
and also to get a little bit of education
so that you can homeschool your own kids.
Like we were explicitly told
that women were subordinate to men
in regards to like making decisions when you’re married.
Our pastor’s daughter was not allowed to leave home
because she would be outside of the authority of a man.
So when she got married, she was allowed to leave
because she was never allowed to live in a house
where she was not under a hierarchy.
So this is like the kind of culture that we live in.
So there’s a hierarchy
and there’s a gender aspect to the hierarchy.
There’s men at the top of that hierarchy.
Men at the top.
Okay, but your own psychology, your own mind.
So most of that self-critical brain is bad, right?
It’s confusing, because he told me that I was smart,
but also that I would fail.
But not smart enough, right?
Or like smart, but not smart enough.
Smart, but like not virtuous or something.
There’s always a flaw.
There’s always a flaw.
I think a lot of the fucked upness of my brain
came from feeling like I didn’t have the authority to think.
Because it was so carefully suppressed.
My ability to express or have any sort of power
was just absolutely annihilated.
Like systemically, psychologically,
they would do psychological torture mechanisms
to make sure that I wasn’t actually thinking on my own.
Or like being able to deviate
from anything anybody ever told me.
To the degree that it’s still ingrained in me.
Like I once was with a friend, we were traveling,
and he wanted me to hop a turnstile.
It was like very late at night, the train was here,
and I could not physically force myself to do it.
Like he was like yelling at me, like, come on, do it.
I was trying so hard to make my body cross the line.
And it was just, it’s like embedded in my physical being
to like be unable to do stuff like that,
which is really annoying.
You’re not free to take action in this world.
Yeah, some of them.
So that was, I think, the most annoying part
of my upbringing.
Would you classify it as like suffering?
At the time, yeah, definitely.
Well, it’s confusing because like when I was a child,
it was just painful in the sense that like things suck.
But it was placed in a meaning framework, right?
Like it is good, it is virtuous
to submit to your parents and do what they want.
If they tell you to say goodbye to your best friend forever
and never talk to them again,
you go do that without complaining.
And so like I would go do something like that
and I would, like, it would suck.
It really was like concretely painful,
but it was also placed in this narrative
where I was like fulfilling some sort of greater purpose.
And so it’s very confusing to refer to it as suffering
because there’s so many painful things we do today
that are placed in the narrative of a greater purpose
that like I think I would agree with.
Like I go get a medical procedure done and that sucks,
but I’m like, ah, this is helping me in the long run.
But like say if I got abducted to an alien planet
and they’re like, by the way,
all of those medical procedures you got done,
you didn’t have to get them done,
those are totally unnecessary,
then I might get really upset about it.
Yeah, I wouldn’t trust those aliens though
because they probably want to do
different medical procedures than I do.
This is true.
I saw a thumbnail for a video
that I’m proud of myself for not clicking on
about a man who’s claimed that he had sex with aliens.
And I was like-
Proud of yourself for not clicking on that?
Because I was wondering,
because I would probably watch it for like 20 minutes
and then I should be doing work.
Oh, I see.
And I’m actually happy because I get to imagine
all the different possibilities that it could have been
for that man who had sex with aliens.
Did you have like a really high resting happiness state?
It’s probably like a mushroom state, yeah.
Wow, do you do mushrooms?
I’ve done mushrooms before.
It was very awesome, but like more intensely awesome.
Because I was just looking at nature,
it makes nature even more beautiful, I think.
But it’s already pretty beautiful.
I haven’t done MDMA.
People say that I should.
It’s very nice, yeah.
But I already, yeah.
What did you call it?
Resting happiness state?
Yeah, high resting happiness.
Yeah, that’s a good way to describe it.
But it’s not like, some of it is genetic
that you’re able to notice the beauty in the world
and some of it is practiced
where you realize focusing on the negative things in life,
like unproductively is,
it just doesn’t help your mind flourish.
So like you just notice that and it’s like,
I mean, I think people with like depression learn that
or like probably with trauma too
is like there’s certain triggers.
Like if you’re, if you suffer from depression,
you have to kind of consciously know
there’s going to be triggers that will spiral,
like force you to spiral down.
And so just avoid those triggers.
Some people have that with diet, with food and so on.
And so I just don’t like,
whenever there’s a shady things happening or shady people,
unless I can help, unless I can somehow help,
like why focus on it?
Back to your upbringing.
What was the journey of escaping that?
I, well, I left home like kind of early
because my dad and I were not getting along
by the time I was a teenager,
but I was still Christian for a while.
And I lost my faith after I think I moved away
and I started having friends that weren’t religious
or like weren’t raised in this super conservative environment
that I came from.
And I think I, this was not conscious at the time.
This is my hindsight story,
but I believe that like being exposed to a culture
in which I had the capacity to believe,
allowed my brain to actually seriously consider
the thought that maybe all of this stuff was untrue,
that I’d been taught like 6,000 year old earth
and evolution is a lie, macro evolution
and all of this stuff.
Because when you’re immersed in an environment like that,
I don’t think you actually have a choice.
Like your brain has to believe these things
because this is a survival thing.
Like if you believe this, you’ll be,
like if you believe the wrong thing,
you’ll be totally cast out.
Even if they’re not gonna cast you out,
you’re gonna be cast out in like communion with others
because we were always told
that you can’t like trust non-believers really.
They don’t have a moral compass.
They’re gonna screw you over.
And so I’m like, oh, I can’t be that.
Like everybody’s gonna outcast me internally.
So anyway, I wasn’t,
I don’t think I actually had the capacity
to seriously question my faith,
even though I thought that I was questioning it quite hard
until I got into an environment where it was safe to do so.
And once I started being able to make friends
who were not religious, I’m like, oh, if I lose my faith,
I’m still gonna have some sort of community.
And then at that time I went through some questioning
and then I lost my faith.
So in that, given your friends, given your situation,
you have, you now have the freedom to think essentially.
Or at least the ability to think
of something that was acceptable in the new culture, yeah.
Without, I mean, is there a danger
of like adopting the beliefs of the new culture?
So like there’s some aspect
of just being able to think freely,
which you weren’t able to do when you were growing up,
just to think, like look at the world
and wonder how it works, that kind of thing.
I mean, you were, but within certain boundaries,
like there are certain basic assumptions.
And as long as you were following those basic assumptions,
which is to be fair, it’s like kind of what we’re doing now.
Like we have, have I gone and done the personal research
that like evolution is the thing that’s going on?
Have I looked at like the age of the stones?
No, I haven’t, I’m trusting other people.
Which I think is like a fair choice to make
given where I’m at right now.
But you’re also assuming like there’s causality
in the universe, time is real.
Like that, first of all,
the thing that your senses are perceiving is real.
You’re assuming a lot of things.
Yeah, I think like it’s better just to become aware
of the assumptions you’re making,
like as opposed to not making those assumptions at all.
Like you have to assume something.
And I did, it’s very suspicious, right?
That I went out of this very conservative culture
and now, well, I guess I don’t believe things
that are super in line with the current culture.
I think this is why I feel a little bit safer right now
because like when I was Christian,
I believed generally Christian things.
But now I believe a bunch of things
that like people really hate.
Like I get canceled online all the time.
I’m like, okay, this is a sign
that maybe you’re thinking independently
if you’re like able to think things
that are completely at odds with the people around you.
And to be fair, this is a little bit easier to do
when it’s like general culture,
but it’s much harder to do with your peer group.
Like the people that you trust, your friends,
the people whose opinions you respect,
like disagreeing with those people is very difficult
and I’m not very good at it.
Yeah, I do think that if you establish yourself
as a person who can be trusted
and is a good human being,
you have a lot more freedom to then explore ideas
that are different from your peer group.
So like those seem,
if you separate the space of ideas
versus some kind of like deeper sense
of what this person is,
like that they’re an interesting
and trustworthy and good human being.
Well, is there somebody that you respect
who you consider significantly smarter than you?
And can you imagine believing an idea
that you’ve heard them talk really disdainfully about?
Like, how would you feel coming to me?
Like, I believe this thing that you find to be.
Yeah, I do all the time.
You may be braver than me.
And to be fair, I support doing this.
Like I try to do this, but I think like subconsciously,
I noticed that I don’t do it as much.
And so I’m suspicious of myself.
I’m like, oh, I wonder if I’m hiding to myself
like actual curiosity about things
that might deviate from my peer group.
Because I noticed that I’m not actually deviating with them
as much as I do with the outside world.
Yeah, that’s interesting.
I mean, like, because I do see most people I interact with
as smarter than me,
but I also have this intuitive feeling that dumb people,
which I consider myself being, have wisdom.
So like in the disagreement,
actually, I also believe in the power of conversation
and in the tension of disagreement.
So I think even just disagreeing from a place,
from a good place, from a place of like love
and respect for each other,
I think I just believe in that.
So it’s not like individuals, you’re disagreeing.
You’re like working towards arriving
at some deeper truth together, right?
Even if the other person is smarter.
Maybe that’s how I justify it for myself.
I just, I’m also a fan of conversations
because like I’ve seen just listening to conversations.
It seems like a great conversation more emerges from it
than the sum of its parts, right?
Like somehow two people together can do,
like that dance of ideas can somehow create a cool thing.
By the way, I enjoyed, I saw a video of you dancing
at a bar drunk.
It wasn’t the bar drunk, it didn’t look drunk,
but just the dancing.
It was like ballroom dancing type of thing.
I was like, yeah.
Something like that.
I’ve been doing a bit of tango dancing.
I like it.
I like stuff with the body in general,
like wrestling or combat.
Usually when there’s a tension,
you have to understand the mechanics
of how two bodies move when they’re in conflict
and dancing is similar.
Like you have to do like rapid thinking also,
like rapid intuitive physical thinking.
And that’s my favorite kind of thing.
Like a lot of exercise is really boring to me
because you can just do it while your brain’s off.
But something like ballroom dancing or fusion dancing,
like you have to constantly be like figuring out,
like it’s a rapid puzzle.
And that’s so wonderful.
What’s fusion dancing?
That’s the video.
Fusion dancing is like,
if you have any sort of dance background,
you can come and you just kind of mix those together.
Oh, you just improvise.
So you can have people doing ballet,
with people doing ballroom,
with people doing blues.
And then there’s an interesting dynamic
because there’s, I don’t know,
maybe you can correct me,
but there’s a, that’s very meta.
There’s usually a lead and a follow.
I guess most dances have that.
Yeah, and so that,
but both have a different,
like you both have to be quite sensitive
to the other human being,
but in a different way.
Yeah, it’s interesting.
So I like both that there is that definitive role,
but also like,
it’s not somehow that one is better than the other.
There’s a interesting tension between the two.
It’s cool because it’s like a basic rule set
that allows for a ton of expression.
I’ve recently started to experiment
with like reverse leading.
It’s not like back leading.
It’s like, I don’t know,
like sometimes I’ll like lead a move.
So you can lead as a follow.
Oh, you can lead.
When I’m typically following,
I’ll like occasionally throw in a little lead
here and there.
But don’t you kind of follow it?
Oh, I see.
Don’t you hint at a lead when you’re following?
Like, don’t you, just by the dynamics of your movement,
you’re not perfectly following.
I mean, because there is like,
the lead is listening to your body, right?
So like, you’re kind of both figuring out
what you do next.
I’m a very good follow though.
So I’m like, I’m an invisible follow.
You do a move, it’s like I.
I’m not like good at technique.
I didn’t know those existed,
like a perfect follow.
Oh yeah, perfect.
So you can perfect follow.
I really, I do.
I’m not great at technique and sometimes I’ll fall over,
but like with the following part, I’m very good at.
Do you enjoy following?
It’s really nice.
It’s again, like it’s a very fast physical puzzle
you have to solve.
It’s like typing.
I really like typing.
That’s why I was inquiring about your keyboard earlier.
Why do you like typing?
It’s like the very fast, like the really rapid response.
What’s the, reaction time.
I like things that like have very fast reaction times,
like games like that.
But typing is not a reaction
or is it the brain generating words?
And then you’re like,
cause typing a reaction.
Okay, the sensation that I get when I am typing
is the kind of thing that I’m trying to point out.
So maybe reaction time isn’t the quite,
I don’t know what the term is,
but whatever that thing is,
like the thing where you have to like look at a word
and then communicate it into your fingers.
It feels like dancing.
Like you’re responding.
You’re responding to your brain.
Your fingers are doing the responding to the brain
that generated the words.
Making your body do what your brain wants it to do,
but like fast and precisely.
Oh, then you might not like this Kinesis keyboard
cause it makes it easier to do that.
You probably like the struggle, right?
Well, I mean, it looks hard
because it looks like it’s high depression on the keys.
No, well, oh, I see.
Yes, more than like a laptop keyboard,
but like that you don’t have to,
one of the main things is
you don’t have to move your fingers at all.
So like, for example, a lot of people,
I think they have a backspace up in the top right corner.
So if you have to make mistakes, which is like,
I mean, that’s like so metaphorical,
like every mistake you have to like really hurt yourself for
cause you have to like stretch for the backspace.
So there’s that poetic narrative again.
It’s like it emanates from like a lot
of your perspective.
Yeah, I don’t, and I see it as a good thing.
It’s a good, like a romantic element
permeates my interpretation of the world.
Yes, but you left home early.
How did you end up working at a factory?
I tried to go to college, but failed.
Couldn’t afford it.
Did you like it?
I remember it just being really slow.
I remember being shocked that the teachers didn’t care.
Like I was used to homeschooling.
And where, I don’t know, like educate,
it just like, it meant something.
It felt like the people around me that were teaching me,
cause we had like a mom’s group also,
like directly cared about what I was learning.
And I would be able to ask questions
and they would like really respond.
What’s a mom’s group?
And it was like a homeschooling group.
So we’re a bunch of moms who are homeschooling their kids,
get together and then teach each other’s kids.
And they have different like interests and capabilities
and so on and they kind of.
And sometimes if some of the kids are really good
at something you have like the older kids teaching
the other ones too.
So it was very like,
everybody kind of figures out what they’re good at
and they share that skillset with everybody else,
which I think was a pretty great setup.
Honestly, I think my childhood kind of sucked
in a lot of ways,
but homeschooling was excellent for me,
mainly because it just had so much free time.
Like I just did like two to three hours of school
and then did whatever the fuck I wanted
for the rest of the day.
And I got to actually pursue skills
that are still useful for me to this day, so.
Even in that constrained environment.
Like I’ve read fantasy books and I wrote so much
and now I’m writing a lot for my blog, so.
What kind of fantasy books?
Like sci-fi type stuff?
Like classic, like I read like Mercedes Lackey
and the E.E. Knight and Ursula Le Guin and.
I don’t know any of this.
What is this?
What is it?
Is it like a romantic thing or is it like,
is it romance?
Just all the fantasy books.
Like dragons and elves.
Got it, got it, got it, got it.
You didn’t mention Tolkien for the fantasy.
I read Tolkien.
So you threw all the dragons.
How did you end up in a factory?
You tried school.
Yeah, yeah, I tried school.
Had to drop out for a couple of months
and then I was like, well, I’m poor
and I was ready to take any job.
I was like applying for sewer jobs
and then I got a factory.
I’m like, all right, let’s do it.
Because my parents, no financial help at all.
They’re like, you pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.
So anyway, I went to work in a factory
and that sucked ass.
Do not recommend.
Wake up like 4 a.m., work on weekends too.
It was terrible.
And so I did that for about a year
and I was like, this is,
I was trying to grip my teeth and be like,
this is my life, right?
I didn’t have high expectations for my life.
I was just like, I thought like if you get a job
where you don’t have to be on your feet all the time,
that you’re living a good life.
But, and then I got another job briefly as a photographer
and then they fired me.
I think I was 19 at the time.
Fired you for like-
I was just too young.
And really, really bad at interacting with people
in the outside world.
Like I was pretty well socialized as a homeschooler
with other homeschoolers.
But in the outside world,
especially with all of the like hierarchy submission stuff
beaten into me, like literally beaten into me,
it was very difficult for me to interact with other people
who were like older than me
or had any sort of confidence at all.
So they hired me to do like photography for people
and then I was rapidly, turned out that I was bad at this.
And so they fired me.
But at that point I’d left my factory job.
I’m like, I can’t go back to the factory.
I had some savings and I slept on friends’ couches
and I tried various self-employment stuff.
I’m like, maybe I can do product photography or something.
But it’s Idaho, you know?
Nothing, and if you’re like a 19-year-old
with no experience in the outside world at all,
it was really difficult.
And so I had a friend recommend
that I try becoming a cam girl.
So that’s how it started.
What’s, what is camming?
What is being a cam girl?
What’s that called?
Camming is like you talk to the camera live
on the computer, like you live stream.
It’s kind of like Twitch.
And then people are typing in the chat,
like, hi, I do this stuff.
And then the people can tip you money
and then you can do things in response.
Like, oh, if you tip me a hundred tokens,
you know, I’ll take my shirt off or something like that.
And like, what’s the,
what site were you using at that time?
My free cams.
My free cams?
Is that a popular site?
Yeah, it’s pretty popular.
And how did, what were the next steps?
Like, did you enjoy it?
Oh, well, it was the first time
I had actual control over my life.
And I made like actual real money.
And so I just exploded into it.
I thought about it nonstop.
I was streaming all the time.
I was like coming up with like new creative things.
And the thing is like, I don’t know.
There’s something about public school that,
I ended up living in a house of cam girls
full of other girls who had gone to public school.
And I don’t know if how much of it’s genetic
or like just because I’m weird
or is it because of our upbringing?
But I felt like I was much more fearless
and much more weird and creative online
than other people were.
Not because they weren’t awesome people,
but because I think like public school,
I got the impression based on them talking about it
that it sort of like beats out any sort of deviance from you.
More so than your, cause I got the-
We had moral deviance was beaten out,
but like you could do whatever.
Creative deviance was not-
Creative deviance wasn’t so much.
Like I didn’t have other kids making fun of me ever.
I didn’t, I don’t think I’d ever heard an insult
about my physical appearance as a child or teenager once.
So your father was basically saying
you’re not good enough was intellectual.
Oh no, that was like moral failing.
Yeah, like I was not virtuous.
Like in various ways.
Like, you know, like you’re lazy
and mostly the lazy part.
I have like ADHD or something.
And it was, I was not good at it as a kid either.
I would totally forget all the time and-
Is there some sexual repression aspect to that?
Like, you know how they say that there’s,
what’s it’s not just homeschooling,
but just like Catholic girls and so on,
just because like there’s moral,
you’re forbidden to do certain things.
It’s like, there’s a kind of liberating feeling of saying,
like basically rediscovering yourself,
rediscovering your freedom by doing just diving head in,
head first into sexuality, into your own sexuality.
Is there some aspect to that?
Yeah, absolutely to some degree.
I think that like people kind of model it slightly wrong.
Like, I think there’s a truth to it.
But when I first got out of the house,
for me, freedom was like going outside at 2 a.m.
or like eating chocolate, you know,
on days that I previously wasn’t allowed to eat chocolate.
Like that was like a really intense expression
of rebellion for me.
And I think people like, don’t think of this,
like I got out a lot of my like intense rebellion
through things that people don’t typically consider
to be rebellious at all.
Sure. Like I wore a bikini.
I just like walked around in it and like, I can do this.
And so like, this was most of that
emotional processing for me.
And it took me a couple of years from leaving home
and all of that conservative culture into doing sex work.
In the meantime, I was,
I did try having sex with a lot of people,
but this was mainly because
I didn’t know what the norms were.
I didn’t really understand.
I was just like, okay, take things logically,
take things one step at a time.
And I’m like, okay, if the whole previous set
about like how I’m not supposed to kiss somebody
until the altar of marriage,
if that’s not the way that things are supposed to go,
then what is the way things are supposed to go?
And I was like, well, if I am aroused,
I should go have sex with someone, right?
Is there any reason not to?
No. So I went, I just,
I would go around asking random people to have sex with me.
Did you have any peer pressure saying like,
that’s not good, or that is good, or like any,
did you feel any currents of society in any direction?
Or are you independently just thinking like,
from first principles?
I think, I mean,
like, I’m not saying it was a totally clean thing.
I’m sure that I was experiencing society
telling me this is bad.
But you have to know,
like I wasn’t watching normal movies when I was a teen.
Like we watched Christian movies,
or the stuff that we watched was filtered.
Like I watched the Titanic
and I had no idea that Jack and Rose had sex
because it was put through a filtered-
Wait, did they?
Yeah, they went and, you know,
he’d painted her naked and-
There was a scene in a car, on the ship.
In a car, on the ship?
Yeah, on the, they had like stored cars in storage
and there’s a hand.
I watched it again later.
And I was like, oh my God.
I don’t remember the sex scene.
Well, maybe were you also put through a filtered version?
Maybe it’s the filter I see,
like did the couple in the notebook also have sex?
Because maybe for romantic movies,
I focus on the romance, maybe, right?
And the sex scenes are always like weirdly filmed
Because it’s never, I mean,
it doesn’t, it feels more like romance than sex.
I guess that’s the main focus of this, right?
Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.
So they had sex.
It’s good to know now.
They did, I’m letting it go.
I’ll go back and watch now.
You have your own personal filter on your brain.
And once you realize that there are some,
like the foundation of your beliefs were wrong,
then everything might be wrong
and you’re kind of just doing
from first principles explode.
Yeah, it was like from first principles, basically.
And again, like not totally separate from culture,
but also I think in general,
I also have a predisposition to just be like,
you know, fuck what culture tells you,
just figure out what’s right for you and do it.
And so that mixed with, you know,
the figuring things out from first principles.
I did eventually figure out that I didn’t like
having casual sex with just anybody quite as much.
So I stopped that, but it took me a while to figure that out.
What’s the negative of casual sex?
It’s just like not good.
I mean, if you like figure out the chemistry
you have with someone better,
then it can be a lot nicer, but I wasn’t doing that.
I was just like somebody I met and I’m like,
you seem kind of cute.
Like I didn’t bother to try and develop any chemistry.
I mean, I didn’t know.
Chemistry even outside of sex,
just chemistry, like human chemistry,
I would, it’s like kind of cringy,
but I would like walk up to guys or send them messages.
Like, would you like to have coitus is what I would say.
You would say coitus.
I’d said that.
I mean, it’s kind of cute in a way.
I mean, it’s a girl asking you to get laid,
so they probably didn’t care that much.
But anyway, I’m saying that like,
I had a lot of rebellion out of my system
by the time I started sex work.
So like for me, like maybe I’m sure it was somehow related
because we were extremely sexually repressed growing up.
I remember the day I learned I had a vagina,
which was absolutely horrifying.
Do not recommend figuring out
you have another orifice in your body.
Do you want to share the process of you
figuring out that you had a vagina?
Actually, they told me I had a vagina.
Oh, like intellectually,
like there was somebody said you have a vagina.
And that was horrifying to you.
I didn’t know I had,
because you weren’t supposed to ever like
touch or look at yourself ever.
So I never did.
It was really disgusting.
And so I had no idea
that what was going on in my genital region.
And so one day my mom sat me down,
I think I was like nine or 10.
And she was like, you have a,
there’s another ovary.
And you’re going to bleed out of it,
is what she told me.
You’re going to bleed out of it for a while.
And I was like, what the fuck, mom?
I didn’t know what the word fuck was,
but I would have said that if I had known.
When did you first learn the word fuck?
Oh, I think I learned it when I was at a playground
and it was written somewhere and I read it out loud.
And then the kid next to me started giggling.
Did you ever, did you say fuck again for a while?
No, I think the next time I said,
I swore the first time I was 18.
Like intentionally said a swear word when I was 18.
Did it feel good?
I was like really nervous.
I was like nervous.
What’s your favorite swear word?
I mean, fuck’s pretty good.
Yeah, fuck’s pretty good.
Okay, so that’s camming.
I mean, what are the pros and cons of camming?
And how does OnlyFans map into this?
Did you switch to OnlyFans at some point?
I did, yeah.
That came for like five or six years
and I burned out eventually.
What are the good aspects?
What are the bad aspects of camming?
Well, the good aspects were that
it was just your own terms.
You get to decide.
Everything about it is under your control,
which I loved at the time.
I was like, I can work when I want, how I want,
any sort of expression I experimented.
And I was very successful.
I was making around $200 an hour,
which for that website at the time was like pretty good.
I had elaborate routines.
I was a mime.
I would dress up as a mime and then dress up a chair
and I would seduce the chair.
Yeah, or like-
Was there an artistic element to it almost?
Yeah, very much.
Did you talk to the chair?
You had gnomes?
No, I was a mime.
Oh, sorry, right.
Yeah, get it straight, dude.
You know what I really appreciate about you
is I’m asking some really dumb questions
and you’re answering it in a very intelligent way,
so I appreciate that.
Did you ask the chair questions?
I was a mime, you fucking idiot.
Okay, I’m sorry.
There’s gnomes on the, like big gnomes or small gnomes?
Like lawn gnomes.
And you seduced the lawn gnome on the chair?
The gnome was sitting on the chair?
There were some, yeah, gnomes on the chair.
I did a photo set, which I submitted to Reddit,
where I got abducted.
I was like stripping, taking my clothes off,
and then slowly the gnomes surrounded me in the background
and then dragged me off.
And I did this as a photo set and I-
I mean, I didn’t feel consensual in the photos, but-
But it was the 11th-
Consensual, not consensual, the gnomes.
It was very successful on Reddit, basically.
It was the top post on Gone Wild
and the 11th top post of all time on Reddit.
Which I think probably just means it’s artistic,
it’s interesting, it’s edgy, it’s funny,
so it’s really, really well done.
But it was really shocking to me
that nobody else was doing anything creative with sex work.
Like for me, it was like breathing.
Like you’re just doing sex and you’re bored,
I’m like, what do you do?
I don’t know, let’s try something funny.
Like it’s just the natural progression.
And it felt to me like there was almost no competition.
Like I would just be really creative
and like immediately it was the top
not safe for work post on Reddit.
I’m like, well, I didn’t even try that hard.
And so it’s really shocking to me
that other women who are doing this sort of thing.
Is that still a little bit of the case?
Like that there’s not as much like,
because from my sort of outsider perspective,
that seems to be still the case.
Like there’s not, like as you describe it,
that’s kind of cool.
That’s like almost like playing,
like having fun with sexuality almost.
And yeah, but that does require kind of thinking through,
it’s almost like a creative project,
like a photography project or something like that.
Almost like a little skit movie.
It’s this vibe of like,
how can you like bring like vibrant novelty
to whatever you’re doing, anything you’re doing.
And I really like doing this with surveys too.
Like I’ve been doing a lot of standard surveys,
but I’m also like experimenting
with novel creative artistic surveys.
I’m like, how do you ask a question
in a way that’s like beautiful and unusual?
And like a thing that’s completely groundbreaking.
Like nobody’s ever like-
You always make everything so poetic
and romantic is disgusting.
But yes, I think you have that engine in your head,
I guess, of creativity.
Like, yeah, the way you ask questions,
which is not trivial to do,
like for, it’s actually very difficult to do,
like good survey questions.
And I mean, we’re joking,
but like, yeah, almost like poetic
because you have to ask a question
in a way that doesn’t lead to the answer.
Like you have to kind of inspire them to think
and then indirectly get at the truth.
It’s an art form, honestly.
Yeah, and also in a way
where they don’t misinterpret the question
because it’s amazing how any question you think,
oh, this is the clearest question possible.
No, you’re wrong.
It has to be even clearer.
Right, willingly or unwillingly,
because like you also have to defend
against that question being criticized later
when you publish about it, all of that.
You have to think about it all.
Yeah, I think this might be my greatest strength.
So I’m not very good at statistics.
I’m not like great at presenting data,
but I think probably my greatest strength
is in fact survey design and like question phrasing.
Because I have tweeted so many thousands of polls
and every single one I get people telling me
the way that they misinterpreted the poll.
So it’s like-
You’ve become master. Gone through fire.
And then again, I’m testing the phrasings all the time.
Like what happens if you slightly shift phrasings?
And so I’ll do the same question test over time
to see how it changes
and the way the framing affects the results.
So the good and the bad of camming.
So you said good, the, what was it?
The freedom to also be creative.
And the bad is just that it was exhausting.
The site that I was on, the way that it’s structured
is that you’re ranking on the site
and thus the amount of people that see you
and thus the amount of money you earn
is affected by the amount of money that you earn
on average over the last 60 days.
So if you’re streaming and nobody’s tipping you,
this means that you’re going to be dropping
down in the rankings,
which is gonna make it harder in the future.
Okay, so the rich get richer on that site.
Yeah, so it’s very high pressure.
Like if you’re on, you need to be making money
as fast as you can if you wanna continue to make money.
So that was really stressful.
It was very mentally taxing.
I would do it for a couple hours
and just log off and be completely exhausted
because you’re just like on as hard as you can.
And this is why I have a little PTSD around streaming.
Like I’ve considered Twitch streaming
and I try a little bit and I’m like,
I haven’t fully integrated the fact
that you don’t have to be like maximally entertaining
every single second yet.
You can actually just chill out and take it slow
and nothing bad happens.
You can just enjoy silence.
Did you feel lonely doing it?
I mean, even just streamers feel lonely.
I moved into a house of cam girls.
Did that make it better or worse?
It made it better.
I’m still friends with them to this day.
Oh, so it was like a team almost like
we’re in this kind of together?
Yeah, so we would like work together
and stream together and swap our clothes and stuff.
It was great.
Swap ideas too?
Swap ideas, yeah.
And actually on a small tangent, maybe a big tangent,
what do you think?
Because it’s a recent controversy of Andrew Tate
and that he, I think in the past ran a camming business
and he’s being accused of sex trafficking.
What do you think?
Like from your own experience,
what do you understand about Andrew Tate?
Is he a good person?
Is he a bad person?
Is there something shady about his practices or not?
I wish I could answer, but I don’t know.
I haven’t looked into it at all.
I’ve heard people talking about it.
I just haven’t bothered to go into it.
It is well-known that like when I was doing it back in the day
that Eastern European models
had something different going on though.
It was like a trope about,
you know, there’s the Eastern European models
and then there’s everybody else.
That they’re what, it’s like darker or something like that?
Like they do studios and they’re lower quality.
Which means what?
Studios are, you go into like a warehouse
and then they have set up a little,
like things that replicate bedrooms,
but they’re just like stalls.
And then you give, you rent out
or you pay the studio percentage of your income.
And you can tell when something looks like a studio,
it’s like a type of background.
That if you’re like watching enough,
it kind of starts to, you notice the patterns.
So like the standards are lower there
and the ethical boundaries are a little looser.
Of how people are treated.
I never heard anything about the ethical side.
I just knew that it was like lower quality.
Like the girls seemed like they were less into it
and like cared less.
How does this all interplay with like sex trafficking?
Consensual versus non-consensual.
I would be shocked if there were never
any non-consensual camming.
I mean, I guess it’s like, if it were going to happen,
I wouldn’t be surprised if it were in fact,
Eastern European models.
Based on, this is outdated.
This is, I’m just thinking of my stereotypes
back when I cammed a lot.
So some of that is stereotypes
versus like collecting good data, right?
Yeah, I haven’t done data on cam girl.
I mean, it’s hard.
It’s even hard to get that data, right?
But obviously a really important problem.
There’s a method that I’m trying that I really like.
I designed a survey type,
which is like asking people who you know.
Like, who do you know who’s done this?
And you tell me like,
oh, do you know anybody who’s a doctor?
Do you know anybody who has had cancer
or like smokes or?
Personally, you mean?
Just do you know anybody?
And then if you ask about a whole bunch of things,
you can calibrate the responses.
That’s really interesting.
If your population, you know, 20% of them know doctors,
and then you know the actual amount of doctors,
then you can tell like how this is corresponding.
Like what is the visibility of doctors?
So you can reconstruct the graph.
And we can do this with sex traffic.
And of course people are gonna be like,
well, sex traffic is not visible.
People, you don’t know those.
Like, well, then we can ask about other non-visible things
that other people don’t know that we do have data for.
Like homelessness or being in jail,
or like if you have been like sexually assaulted,
a lot of people don’t like talking about
if they’ve been sexually assaulted.
So you can do a whole bunch of things
that are like similarly suppressed in knowledge in some way
that we do actually have rates for.
And then compare that to the graph when we ask people,
do you know anybody who’s in sex traffic?
So again, this is not perfect.
I’m not saying this is ideal.
But you can infer things.
You can infer things about that graph.
But I’m saying we don’t have good ways
of measuring sex trafficking right now.
Anyway, I did a big deep dive into the research
that we have on sex trafficking in the Western world.
And the actual, like I read the studies
and like reports about the studies,
and it’s really pitiful.
We have terrible data.
It’s like, there’s just like vague estimations
made from one guy in a basement in the 80s.
That’s like the basis for like one big study
that like a lot of people report on.
And so I’m like, okay.
So the method I’m proposing obviously is not perfect,
but like the bar is so low at this point.
Well, I wonder also if there’s ways to design a survey
that gets at the victims of sex trafficking also,
which is they presumably have public access to the internet.
And I wonder how many of them are distinctly aware
that they’re victims.
Like it’s asking the question
when you’re inside of a toxic relationship,
are you inside of a toxic relationship?
I mean, if the toxic relationship is truly toxic,
sometimes your mind is fucked with, right?
You’re not, you don’t even know what’s true.
So it’s interesting if you can design surveys-
For people who are actively sex trafficked?
Yeah, who could break through that.
So basically get data on how many people
are getting sex trafficked directly.
Like if you don’t frame it,
like if you don’t say the word sex trafficking,
you’re like, are you just in a situation where you’d-
And maybe through the survey, I mean, that’s very meta,
but through the survey, help them.
You know, I did this,
this is what started my relationship surveys.
So I’ve done a series of relationship surveys,
and that was because I knew somebody
in a terrible relationship.
And I was like, I bet if she took a survey
where she answered questions about her relationship,
but at the end got a score
that compared her to everybody else,
she’d be like, oh wait,
everybody else has much better relationships than I do.
So that’s why I started making the relationship surveys,
was exactly for that reason.
Yeah, that’s really, really, really powerful
to know that like you’re not crazy
for thinking this is a bad relationship.
Right, or I think like the actual question is like,
could you do better if you broke up?
I think that the thing that keeps most people
in their relationships is like,
this is the best that I can do.
And like, this is normal.
And if it were normal, I would say that they are right.
Like if you live in a culture
where everybody is abusing their people
in their relationships, then yeah,
I mean, what are you going to do,
break up and then just be alone for the rest of your life?
Most people don’t want to do that.
But now comparing yourself to the average is good to know.
Know your options are.
At least understand it,
because being normal is not always,
like this conversation is not always great.
Meaning this conversation is anything but normal.
Okay, and that was a tangent on a tangent
about a niche passion, which is really fascinating
that you’re playing with those kinds of ideas
of survey design.
But back to camming.
So what were the cons?
What were the negatives of camming?
Oh, like the exhaustion of just like live,
like the high pressure thing.
That was probably the worst thing.
So not, was there,
what about the interaction with different people?
Like the dynamics of the interaction
with the fans, I guess.
I had a pretty great time.
I mean, it obviously wasn’t perfect
because it’s the internet, but I don’t know.
This is the thing that confuses me a lot,
because a lot of women that I know
complain about being harassed by men quite a lot.
They’re like, you know, men are always,
you know, grow up in harass.
You know, you have to be paranoid in the club.
People are like, they’re always huffing on you
and you’re just like, Jesus Christ, get away, man.
And I do not have this experience.
Or like, maybe I do, but I’m interpreting it differently.
I don’t know.
The thing is, I don’t know what causes me
to have such a different experience from these women
that are like really, feel really hostile towards men.
And my guess is that there’s some sort
of like very subtle signaling that we’re accidentally doing.
We’re like, no fault of our own.
I’m not saying this is a virtue.
I’m saying like, maybe it’s just genetic
or the fact that I’m-
That women are doing?
That the women are doing, yeah.
Like that, and it might be just something
I’m completely accidentally, through no intention,
like happening to signal the thing
that is causing men to not view me
as like a desirable target or like a target at all.
Well, what about the flip side?
Maybe you’re not sensitive to the creepy stare.
Yeah, that also might be true.
The dude who’s like, as I’m dressing you with his eyes,
that like in a creepy way, that you’re just not,
you don’t like worry about it.
Or you’re not touched, like the fear of that,
the anxiety of that, the unpleasantness of that
just doesn’t hit you.
I think that’s also at least part of it.
Maybe all of it.
Yeah, I think there’s some evidence for it.
I think often like guys will do a thing to me
and I’m just like, that’s a thing, cool.
I don’t have any negative response whatsoever.
That’s call back to the tire.
It’s a thing.
This is nice.
Yeah. That happened.
Was good to know that can happen.
Like I once had like a homeless guy
like asked me to come back to my place, baby.
And I was like, this is fun.
Like, I’m like, do you want me to,
I love asking men like,
are you trying to get me to have sex with you?
Just like saying it out front.
And they’ll be like, well,
they usually they stop for a minute and they’re like,
well, yeah, I mean, I would like to have sex.
And I’ll be like, thanks for asking,
but I’m not interested in having sex with you.
How do you have a good day?
And then I walk away and that’s great.
I don’t know.
I have no issues with that interaction,
but like maybe this is the kind of thing
that other women would find to be really offensive.
So you have that conversation
and it doesn’t turn into like a threatening feel.
Like with a homeless guy.
No, I’ve never had that happen though.
But I think there’s just something,
I think I’m doing something.
Like, again, this is kind of accidental.
Like I’m just am like this always.
And I think I just happen to be like this at people
and they don’t expect it.
Like they don’t expect me to be like really nice
while explicitly asking them what their intentions are.
Like directly putting my finger on the thing that like,
oh, you’re trying to have sex with me.
And then also not judging them for it.
I think this like throws people off a little bit
so they don’t get aggressive.
They’re like, oh, you’re autistic or something.
Even the cloak of anonymity on the internet,
you weren’t getting.
Yeah, I just think I’m just not reactive
and or maybe I’m giving off, I don’t know.
I don’t know what’s going on.
Maybe it’s both, maybe it’s a feedback loop.
So I just, I had a pretty good experience.
I know not everybody did.
Definitely people reported having antagonistic experiences.
But when I was scamming, I generally really liked,
people were really nice to me, had a great time,
So you also did OnlyFans, as you mentioned.
And I read on a website,
so this is very investigative reporting,
that on some months you’ve made over $100,000 on OnlyFans.
How did that feel?
Great, really great.
I mean, like, well, actually,
because so much of your upbringing, you didn’t have money.
You had to struggle with the fact of your job and so on.
Maybe a good person to ask, can money buy happiness?
Well, I mean, I think you get like a resting set point
of happiness, regardless of how much money you have.
But money can buy being less stressed, I would say.
Is there a lot of variation
in the basic rest happiness for humans in general?
Like, is that a good thing to think about?
I mean, they’ve done some studies, but again,
I’m not sure.
I haven’t actually read the studies,
so maybe they didn’t replicate,
where they measured people before and after
winning a bunch of money
to see if their happiness was higher.
I think by some measures it was, and by some it wasn’t.
No, I mean, basically, almost genetically.
So nature and nurture, but is there,
let’s say after you’re 18,
is there like some stable level of happiness
that all the environmental genetic factors combine
to create so that everything that life throws at you
has to face that happiness?
Like you mentioned earlier that I seem to be happy
with a lot of stuff.
So maybe I have a certain level.
Do other people have a lower level?
Some people have higher level.
Is that a useful, or is that a useful model of human beings?
Or is it all ups and downs?
Like, is it all, like, there’s no stable.
Well, I mean, that’s my combo, right?
Like, I don’t know.
Some people just are happier than others in general,
and other people aren’t.
But then you also have ups and downs.
Like, I’m sure you’ve experienced sadness sometimes
and happiness the other times.
Like, if I actually were to integrate,
so have an integral under the,
the area under the curve,
I don’t know if I’m different than other people.
Maybe I’m just like really focused on the happy moments
and maybe feel the down moments most intensely,
and maybe that, like, on average, it’s all the same.
Is that possible?
I mean, maybe?
I just, I don’t know.
Like, I remember when I was a kid,
my mom would call me Pollyanna all the time.
So I was, like, finding the good in everything.
I’d be like, something bad would happen.
So you were a happy kid?
I was a really happy kid, yeah.
Even in the harsh conditions?
Yeah, I mean, like I said,
like, I think the harshness comes from the bad meaning.
Like, and I had good meaning applied to it.
You were a stoic.
I was, yeah.
With another book I’m reading next week,
tune in, Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
All right, all right,
camming, 100K, so it felt good.
So it’s crazy, though, right?
You can just, like, take clothes off
in a creative way with some gnomes and make 100,000?
Yeah, I mean, there was a lot more to it than that,
What was it?
What’s the different process?
I mean, it’s marketing.
Like, so with only, with my free cams,
I was unusual in that I decided to do,
outside of the website marketing,
I would, like, post on Reddit, right?
This was very unusual at the time,
but, like, OnlyFans is structured such that
they have almost no internal discovery whatsoever.
So if you want people to come to your page,
you have to go out onto external websites
and advertise for yourself directly.
Very different model.
And so this is something I had already been doing
and already had practiced in,
and so I think I was, like, already quite advanced.
Like, I already had an account on Reddit
that was, like, seven years old at the time,
tons of, like, karma that means
I could post in subreddits.
I’d already been on Twitter for years,
you know, like, posting actively.
So I already had, like, presences
on all these other platforms
that really helped with the conversion.
Reddit and Twitter?
Reddit, Twitter, FetLife, Instagram, TikTok.
And you were still advertising creatively?
So, like, there’s, like, sexuality,
but there’s also, like, creative sexuality.
Yeah. And ideas, too.
Yeah, like, one of the really popular ones
was I, like, molested myself as a mime
using a, one arm through a jacket.
And so the jacket looked like it was,
the jacket looked like it was alive,
and, you know, and that one did really well.
Did you, like, brainstorm with somebody?
And, like, I recently got to hang out with Mr. Beast
and sit on a session of brainstorming different ideas.
I just envision you with, like, a team brainstorming.
All right, how about we try the mime
and the molesting thing?
I don’t know, it’s too edgy.
I wish, I think the team would have been a lot more fun.
But no, it was just me.
Like, I had an apartment that looked, like,
kind of like this, you know?
You just sit alone, and you’re like,
well, that would be a good idea.
And I’d seen, you just collect ideas over time, right?
Like, I’d seen somebody doing a version
of the, like, this animated hand act, like, when I was a kid.
And it just always stuck in my head.
And, like, one day I was like, I bet I could do that.
And then when I was, didn’t try and think of ideas to do
as a sex worker, I was like, why don’t I just try that?
And then it turned out to be, like,
like a really, like, quite a viral hit.
Is there, is there stuff, like you mentioned, too edgy?
Like, Mr. Beast tries to keep it PG.
Do you try to keep it PG-13?
Well, with the sex advertising stuff,
I mean, it’s sex advertising, so it’s obviously not PG-13.
I don’t know these ratings.
What is even beyond that, R? It’s not family-friendly.
It is X.
Like, even the one that I’m describing to you,
at some point, like, you can see my boob.
So. There’s a boob, is X.
A boob is, I guess.
I thought R, I think you could show a boob in PG-13.
Yeah, maybe X is, like, if you’ve got
some sort of rhythmic motion going on.
Maybe that sound, but the rhythmic motion, not.
You can have one or the other, but you can’t have both.
You have both.
That’s when we hit the X, yeah.
So, definitely not family.
I mean, with the sex advertising stuff,
like, guys like vanilla shit.
Guys want basic, hot girl.
You can do something, like, kind of sexy and creative,
like getting abducted by gnomes,
or, like, the self-molestation, right?
But those are still pretty within the normal boundaries.
What do you mean, guys like vanilla stuff?
I mean, most guys like vanilla stuff.
What’s vanilla stuff?
Like, hot girl being horny.
See, we’ll talk about fetish.
I think my Overton window on what is vanilla
is expanding quickly after following your work.
I actually have done a lot of studies on what is vanilla.
Like, I’ve done a couple different surveys
where I ask people, like, how taboo is this thing?
And I have, like, a rating from least to most taboo.
By the way, I don’t like,
I don’t appreciate the beauty of vanilla ice cream.
It is really good, though.
You eat vanilla ice cream?
I eat vanilla ice cream, yeah.
I think there’s just so many more options.
It’s, like, the absence of creativity.
I mean, if you put in, like,
some chocolate chips or something.
Yeah, they already made it more interesting.
It’s a start.
Okay, so what’s vanilla?
And why do guys like vanilla?
So, hot girl doing hot girl things?
What, like, on dressing and then having sex?
The thing that I found was most successful
were frames where the man was framed as passive
and the woman as active.
Or, like, for example, like, oh, you know,
we got assigned to the same bunk
at the breeding school or something.
Or, like, oh, we’re the last people on Earth, right?
Or, like, oh, no, you know,
I desperately need somebody to, like,
cure me with this disease and I need semen.
So it’s, like, in any scenario
where the guy just, like, finds himself
such that the woman, like, desperately needs him
for some reason and he doesn’t have to do much,
that is, like, typically one of the
much more successful things.
Guys like women falling into their lap.
What about the power dynamic?
So guys are less into power dynamics than women are.
And you can do power dynamics
as long as it’s, like, handed to them.
Some guys, obviously, some guys are, like,
very dominant and, like, prefer, like, having to work.
But this is the minority.
Like, if you’re trying to do, make 100K a month
and you’re trying to appeal to the widest group of people,
the most effective advertising,
you’re not gonna be making the most money
by being, like, particularly submissive.
So on the camming side, that’s your,
unlike, like, escorting or just personal relationships,
you’re trying to, you have an audience.
You have, like, a theater full of people.
Like with live camming?
Yeah, with live camming.
Yeah, it’s like a live theater.
Does that freak you out?
There’s just, like, a bunch of people watching?
How do you feel right now?
I don’t know they’re watching, because it’s not live.
Yeah, that’s true, it’s not live.
So, like, it might as well be.
Like, they could be watching.
I feel like there’s just the two of us.
And there’s, like, sometimes I imagine
there’s a third person.
Usually, no, no, not God, just,
I usually imagine either a guy or girl or a couple
just sitting there for some reason,
like, usually on the beach and usually high,
or on some kind of, like, on mushrooms,
just, like, listening passively,
just kind of looking at the sunset.
That’s what I imagine.
Oh, that’s really good.
I think that’s useful.
Like, when I write my blog posts,
sometimes I do terribly, but it’s the most effective
when I imagine one person that I’m writing to
to try to explain.
And, like, having a high couple watching the sunset
is maybe really lovely as a calibration.
I have to say, it is pretty romantic,
because I’ve gotten a chance to meet couples
that listen to podcasts together.
I don’t know why,
that seems, like, intensely romantic to me,
because you’re not watching TV together,
you’re listening to a thing.
I mean, I guess sometimes they watch it,
but, like, you’re listening to ideas together.
I don’t know.
It’s like you’re going through the same
kind of thought process at the same time.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
That’s a really beautiful way to put it.
So, it’s like, you’re melding,
your thinking is following the same line.
Some of our podcasts do that more than movies.
I think movies give you a lot more freedom
to think about stuff.
I feel like your thoughts are aligned.
And, like, especially if the podcast is good,
like, if it’s listening to, like, a Dan Carlin podcast
about history, that you’re, like, on a journey together.
Eh, there’s an intimacy to that.
But I’ve learned that couples do that, you know?
Hashtag relationship ghosts.
That’s what you want with your future wife?
With my, yeah.
You should make an application.
An application for dating you.
I mean, maybe this is more of, like, my strategy
and less yours, but you have, like,
a wide enough audience that might work.
Okay, let’s just go there.
So, because you’ve put together an application
of, like, people to have casual sex with you,
I think you’ve had that.
And also dating, yeah.
And also dating and relationship.
I’d love to…
So, what is in that application?
Because, like, you know,
I’m sure there’s quite a lot of people
that would like to date you or to sleep with you,
but finding the person…
I mean, it depends what your goal is.
I guess relationship would be an open relationship for you?
Like, for me, I guess it’s more intensely selective
because it’s, like, a monogamous relationship
and a committed one.
Like, I’m swinging for the…
For, like, long-term.
I’m not, like, weirdly obsessed with long-term,
but it’s, like, I would love to have one girl
for the rest of my life.
But finding that,
I feel like applications will not get to that.
I feel like there’s some aspect of the magic
of the serendipity of it,
of meeting people in strange places and so on.
I just, I personally have noticed that, like,
fame has not made that process easier.
But, I mean, like, if you could, you know,
if there’s two rooms and one of them,
it’s, like, a random population of hot women
and the other one is a random population of hot women,
but all of them definitely are monogamous
and are looking for a long-term committed relationship,
like, which room would you rather go into?
Like, if you’re looking for a mate.
Yeah, well, but see, I guess my preferences are more…
That’s a really strong point.
But my preferences represent the majority, probably, right?
Because don’t most women want monogamous relationships?
So, like, it’s, I’m okay with either option.
Because, like, statistically speaking.
But I feel like we can apply it
to, like, a bunch of other things.
Yeah, and this is just a problem
if you have a high volume to filter through
and you, like, you don’t know.
Like, it’s a good, like, initial filter.
Like, you can take it from, like, a thousand people
to 20 people and then go on dates with them.
But the filter is so anti-romantic.
This is true.
This is not the romantic narrative
that you’re very prone to.
I feel like, how did you two meet?
Well, she passed the three filters I set up.
And, I mean, but it’s also,
but also, can you put into a survey
the things that you’re interested in?
I mean, I definitely think about this a lot with hiring.
Like, teams, engineers, and so on.
But with engineers,
you’re okay losing truly special engineers
because you have to filter
because there’s, like, thousands of applications.
Like, it feels like,
it feels like I worry that you would miss
the thing that actually,
because so much of it is chemistry.
So much of it is, like, the magic, you know?
But the thing is, you’re missing it anyway.
Yeah, you’re missing it.
It’s, oh, you can just run it.
And then, in addition, try some of those people.
And then go on the dates that you were going to go on
with anyway, regardless.
It’s just the thing that helps, like,
pull someone out of the crowd.
Like this, I dated a guy from my survey.
I’d ran the survey.
I assigned point values to each of the questions.
I went on a date with, like, the top couple people.
And then one of them, I was like,
and I’m still dating him to this day.
And it was awesome.
And I would never,
I never would have gone on a date with him
without the survey.
Can you, if from memory, or we can look it up,
do you remember what kind of questions were on the survey?
I asked a couple different categories.
I asked about, like, basic life stuff.
So, like, what kind of relationships,
like, monogamy versus polyamory.
Like, do you want kids?
You know, like, where you want to live.
Like, basic things that you need to be compatible.
And then I asked, like, sexual compatibility,
like, various preferences.
And then I had a section about, like, personality.
Like, what are,
I try to ask questions
that would do the most effective filtering.
So, like, what are ways that, like,
I can’t give people what they need
that, like, maybe they really want?
Like, I don’t really, I’m not very outdoorsy.
It was just very common.
A lot of people like being outdoorsy.
So, I asked the question, like,
how much do you value someone else
that you’re dating being outdoorsy?
If they marked yes, I was like, okay, we probably,
I should probably downgrade the results.
But what if, man,
but doesn’t polyamory make that really difficult?
Because can’t they find somebody for the outdoorsy stuff?
Yeah, they could.
I mean, this isn’t, like,
but if you’re going to have somebody,
it’s, like, nicer to have them
be more compatible than less.
But you’re a little bit, like,
in terms of sexual compatibility,
you’re able to, like,
you’re self-aware enough to know
what preferences you have.
Like, you can.
I think so.
I think that one helped a lot with the escorting.
Like, the escorting helped a lot
with knowing my preferences.
But there’s, like,
out of the giant pool of different preferences,
you have, like, a subset that’s clearly defined for you?
Yeah, power dynamic stuff.
Power dynamic stuff.
And not just sexual, but in relationship, too.
Like, was that in the survey?
I don’t like power dynamics in relationships.
I did ask-
No, defining them in,
like, making it clear in a survey.
Like, asking a question about power dynamics
in a relationship.
I don’t think I asked about power dynamics
Because I just assume most people don’t.
And there’s a lot of things that are kind of, like-
Most people don’t.
You’re putting together a survey,
a systematic survey to understand compatibility.
Wouldn’t power dynamics inside of relationships
that naturally emerge often be part of the question?
Or is that hard to question
because it naturally emerges and you can’t-
Well, the thing is, like,
a lot of questions sort of overlap in demographic.
And if you’re making a survey,
you want to have the minimum possible questions
that give the maximum possible, like,
Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.
But the purpose of that survey
wasn’t to do a good research study.
It was to select one subject that you could take.
So that’s part of what is good.
Like, you want to most efficiently filter out.
Because, one, like, you get more people taking the survey
the fewer questions you have,
which is good for finding a mate.
Like, if you have 5,000 men take the survey,
it’s better than 1,000 men take it.
Don’t you want men that would be patient enough
and dedicated enough to fill it up?
Yeah, but, like, what if you want, like,
a high-powered man who’s, like, on his lunch break, right?
So it’s like-
Like a billionaire who’s too busy
just flipping through. Exactly.
And the guy that I dated, he took the survey,
he was waiting for the pizza to come out of the oven.
And so it was important that it was short.
And so you want to be efficient.
Is it metaphor or literally pizza coming out of the oven?
He was literally waiting for pizza.
And he saw, the thing is, like,
I guess I’ll just fill out the survey really fast
and it changed our lives.
For me, this is my kind of romance.
I’m really into it.
But you could be efficient with surveys
by, like, making sure your questions don’t overlap.
So, for example, if somebody is very polyamorous,
they’re very unlikely to be interested
in, like, a traditional, like, man works
and the job and the woman stays home
and raises the kids kind of relationship.
Because poly people just generally don’t do that.
And so if I’m asking about polyamory,
it sort of kind of already covers the thing.
And so if I have a whole bunch of questions,
like, I can kind of, like, triangulate
a bunch of implicit kinds of questions
that I haven’t directly asked about.
So this is why I didn’t ask directly about power dynamics,
because, like, from the rest of the questions
that are in my survey, like, I can pretty accurately
predict whether or not you’re gonna be interested
in power dynamics.
But I’m afraid, yeah, like, I’m trying to think
as you’re talking, I get it.
That’s really interesting that you did that.
Also, maybe not for the effectiveness
of finding a partner, but for just exploring
the actual, the process of human sexuality,
of, like, the search, this complicated optimization process
we’re all engaging in on the landscape of happiness
that seems to be this, not even a differentiable function.
It’s a giant nonlinear mess.
Okay, but, like, for me, I don’t think I would be able
to design that survey.
I would, like, bias it too strongly.
Like, I would probably prefer women
that have read Dostoevsky or something like that.
Like, that would be a filter for me, right?
But, like, that’s a horrible filter.
Because there’s a lot of, like,
there’s a lot of amazing people that have never,
they don’t give a shit about reading,
or they don’t give a shit about reading Russian literature,
or they don’t give a shit about,
but they’re amazing and passionate and creative
in some other dimension that you might completely miss.
But you’re, like, I wonder if there’s any,
basically, you’re saying compatibility, like, hard lines
that you know statistically is just going to be an issue.
Yeah, I mean, you weight this a lot more.
But there’s also, like, preferences.
Like, if you have a woman who’s totally equal
and she’s read the thing that you like,
versus another woman who’s also identical,
but, like, she hasn’t read the thing that you like,
like, you probably, like,
very slightly prefer the one that has.
But you don’t know if they’re identical, yes, yes.
But, like, you can’t, through survey, get the identical.
Like, you don’t know.
Sure, but you can kind of, like,
do a whole bunch of weights.
So, like, the person that, like,
I ended up going on a date with,
he did not answer, like, correctly
to a lot of the survey questions, but he didn’t have to.
Like, he was just overall, overall,
the weights were, like,
he just tended to be more in the direction.
Was there a text-based fill-in, like, survey?
But, like, sorry, paragraph, like?
No, you ought to avoid that
if you’re dealing with, like, large amounts of data.
No, why not?
Because you have to fill, oh, oh, interesting.
Like, I’m different.
Because, like, first of all, you can do keyword searches.
Second of all, you can do machine learning models
that, like, first of all, you can do,
you can do, like, crude metrics,
like the length of how long they’ve written, right?
And it could flag certain things.
Yeah, it’s actually pretty easy to,
I’ve looked at, like, for hiring,
I’ve looked at, like, thousands of applications
Like, you can really,
the human brain is really interesting,
especially, like, if you visually highlight
certain information for yourself, like,
keywords or, again, with machine learning models,
like sentiment, you can highlight different parts
that will catch your eye better than not.
And I can go through just a huge number of applications.
Are you telling me I can use,
if I learn machine learning,
I can process dating survey applications better?
No, like, textual.
Yeah, like, I can, like, have them write things in.
Like, this is, like, a new way of,
that’s a really good incentive.
I think that would,
so the really nice aspect of text input,
like long-form text input,
multiple long-form text input
based on an interestingly phrased question
is you get to learn how to make a better survey.
I think you would appreciate that.
Like, you start to see how they’re actually
interacting with these questions.
Like, I ask certain questions,
like, just to see how people think.
Is it better to work smart or better to work hard?
Or is it ever okay to betray a close friend?
Like, I’ll ask, like, questions like this
that don’t really have a right answer,
but I just wanna see how they think.
Or is truth more important than loyalty?
And I get their long-form answer.
And you get to see their reasoning process.
Like, it reveals so much,
not just about the person,
but about the kind of questions I should be asking
that have nothing to do with truth or loyalty.
Like, how to get a good engineer
with, like, very specific questions.
But I think it’s really useful to get text input.
I have done text input usually with beta surveys.
So I usually do beta surveys before I do the real survey.
What’s a beta survey?
Like, I do, like, a shorter version,
or it depends on what I’m doing,
but, like, a different version of the survey
that I have people take before I release.
I use the information from the initial survey
to inform the questions that I ask in the real survey.
And I haven’t actually, recently,
but I used to do a lot of, like, the text-based questions
to see if they’re similar.
Although I don’t think I relied on it quite as heavily.
And if I introduced machine learning,
I think it would be a lot more efficient.
I love that you’re also doing, like,
you’re writing scripts and stuff.
Like, you’re doing some, like, statistical analysis.
Are you using Python mostly?
Yeah, I had to learn Python for this
just a couple months ago.
Which is the best way to learn Python.
And the best reason to learn machine learning
is to solve actual, like, problems.
Yeah, I can’t be motivated.
I’m just not motivated to learn something
unless there’s an actual curiosity I have,
and I have to learn it and to solve it.
I was trying to avoid learning coding for so long,
but eventually it was my data set became too large.
I couldn’t work with it with anything else.
So, oh, Python it is.
You know what’s also an interesting data set
that you’re probably interested in a little bit
is, like, Twitter itself, right?
I don’t know if you’ve,
I’ve played with the Twitter API a lot.
Can you just get the, download the,
I’m just, I’m stuttering now because the-
Download the Twitter?
Can you download Twitter?
No, there’s a lot of Twitter.
So, Twitter’s a social network with a bunch of people.
They’re interacting a lot.
Like, there’s like, I don’t know, the number’s insane,
the number of interactions.
But there’s different ways to interact,
to get data from Twitter.
There’s streams, you can look at,
depends what you’re interested in.
You can do results for searches.
You can look at individual tweets and get entire,
which to me is super interesting,
the entire tree of different conversations, the replies,
which might be very interesting for you
because, like, it’s not,
it’s much harder to ask rigorous questions,
which you do with your polls.
But you can see, like, how divisive certain things are.
You can look at sentiment.
Like calibrators to figure out, like,
exactly what questions you should be asking.
And also highlight interesting anecdotal things,
where, like, two people freak out at each other
and just argue, like, a thread that goes on
for, like, a thousand messages
that you might never be even aware is happening
because you’re, like,
because Twitter doesn’t, like, surface that.
Like, it would be,
Twitter doesn’t make it easy for you to, like,
visualize what the hell’s going on,
even with your own social network.
Like, if you post something that’s controversial,
that gets a large amount of attention,
you can’t clearly visualize everything that’s going on.
It’s very, it’s blurry, amorphous.
Like, you’re just kind of looking through the fog
at different replies, and it kind of, it’s, yeah.
So to be able to-
Do you see with the API,
they have, like, graphs of networks?
They have the data for the graphs, yeah.
So you can reconstruct it yourself.
And then you have different levels of access
in terms of how many queries you can do.
That is really cool.
And now, because there’s, like, Elon,
there’s a lot of sort of revolutionary stuff
happening at Twitter, I think.
You could literally sort of push for innovation there.
Like, there’s aggressive innovation happening.
So in terms of requesting stuff for the API,
you could do all that kind of stuff.
I think Twitter is just a fascinating platform
for the, as cliche as it sounds, for studying.
For me, it’s interesting,
what makes for a healthy conversation.
That term has been used,
but it’s interesting how conversation,
to me, it’s fascinating how conversations break down
Like, how, like, the virality of drama
or conflict or disagreement,
how that evolves when a large number of people are involved,
when a large number of misinterpretation
of statements is involved in text-based,
with some anonymity thrown in.
Like, I feel like there’s a lot of study
that can be done there.
I mean, Twitter’s probably not great at it, right,
as it stands.
Because it’s, like, necessarily short.
You can quote-treat things out of context, et cetera.
But we should understand that, right?
At a scale, at a large scale,
you should be able to study that kind of thing.
Which, oh yeah, what was your casual sex survey?
I actually haven’t looked at it in a while.
I think, I just asked people
about a whole bunch of fetishes,
because you don’t want to be obvious about yours
because then people are going to hijack it
to try to tell you that they like what you like.
So you want to be obscure.
You want to design a survey
where you’re testing for a thing,
but you’re still obscure
about the thing you’re trying to ask about.
So you still see it as a survey?
Like an application?
Because I think you tweeted saying,
I’m thinking of just showing up to San Francisco
and saying, is anybody open for casual sex?
Something like this?
Am I misremembering?
I’m not sure.
Oh, for escorting.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.
Which is similar.
Like, I kind of use escorting
as the way to have casual sex now.
So let’s talk about escorting.
So you wrote about escorting in your blog post.
Escorting was good for me.
How did you get into escorting?
I was working at like a,
I quit camming because I was burned out
and I was like trying to work at a friend’s startup
and it was hard for me.
I don’t, it’s difficult for me to work on projects
that are not my projects.
And so I was like, hey, fuck it.
Like, I want to go back to sex work.
I want to make more money,
but I don’t want to cam anymore
because I’m burned out.
So I’m like, well, let’s try.
I had a friend who was an escort.
I’m like, let’s try that.
And so we had a call.
She like outlined the basics for me
and then I put up some ads and then started working.
What’s the basics of escorting?
How does that work?
The basic, if you want to get started escorting,
so just in case you have a career change.
I would like to.
But you’re going to want to get some nice photos.
So you probably have those.
First of all, you assumed I haven’t done it before.
Yeah, well, you know,
recreation I would like to do professionally, I suppose.
So if I wanted to do it,
if I really wanted to step up my game,
how would I do it?
Yeah, well, you got the whole tutorial.
Recreational escorting is just, okay, okay.
No, meaning like, you know,
like selling products on Etsy versus doing a startup.
Well, I mean,
escorting is kind of all just selling products on Etsy.
No, but selling a lot of products on Etsy.
Like high volume.
You’ve like dabbled.
Yeah, like, yeah, yeah.
Small handcrafted artisan.
It’s the small handcrafted dolls.
Versus mass manufacturer.
Okay, if you want a mass manufacturer, you’re escorting.
I just feel like I haven’t been getting, you know,
I’ve been undervaluing my services
and I would like to really step up.
I think you could really just like
grease some marketing gears and be trustworthy.
Yeah, I mean, it’s just some of this is marketing.
So like how, I guess I want to like know,
is it similar to camming in that way?
Like, is it you’re basically advertising yourself
and you’re marketing all the creativity
that you mentioned before, all of that?
Yeah, I found escorting to be pretty easy
because escorting is not like highly competitive.
For example, camming is highly competitive
because like the thing that I outlined before,
you know, the amount of money that you make
determines your ranking.
And you can also go and see other girls.
You can see what they’re doing.
So if a girl figures out an incredible strategy
for making money, it’s like two seconds
before that strategy proliferates into everybody else.
So it’s very fast paced and like really tough.
With escorting, you don’t get to see
what other girls are doing.
You can look at their websites,
but like you don’t know what they’re doing
with clients at all.
You can look at their rates,
but you don’t know what their volume is.
So you don’t actually know what is successful
and what isn’t very much.
So I think there’s much less like evolution of marketing
through this process.
And so I came in with like my aggressive marketing skills
for being a cam girl.
I think that really helped.
I did very well as an escort.
I just came in like made a fantastic website
and I knew how to do the ads right.
What was the finding people?
I guess it’s also like finding the right kind of customer
or the right kind of client.
I got like in a lot of trouble for this recently
in the sex worker sphere,
because I said that if you raise prices,
you’re more likely to encounter clients
that aren’t going to abuse you.
Like it’s safer.
They said that I was being classist,
implying that poor people are more violent.
But to be fair, if you’re a guy
and you want to be violent towards a woman,
you’re probably not gonna be paying her a lot of money.
You’re probably gonna be like,
you’re the kind of person likely who’s going to haggle a lot
because you don’t respect her.
But anyway, that aside, it’s a little pet peeve for me.
Yeah, I just started charging 800 an hour
and then pretty rapidly raised it to 1200.
And then a while after that, raised it to 1400.
Well, the interesting thing you mentioned
in my extensive research,
you used to do 1200 to 1400 an hour.
And then you said that you’re thinking of jumping back in
at a rate of 2400 the first hour.
And I think 900 each successive hour.
I mean, to me, that’s really interesting.
It’s like a lot in the first hour, yeah.
Oh, it’s just because it depends on
how you want to incentivize the amount of hours.
So if you have to pay a lot for the first hour,
but not very much for the successive,
you’re more likely to buy a longer period of time.
And usually I find that clients
who buy a longer period of time are nicer to you.
I don’t have a great theory for why that is,
but they’re more likely to take you to dinner
and get to know you first.
And I just enjoy that a lot more.
I enjoy knowing who I’m gonna have sex with.
Like a date, you know?
Yeah, so it incentivized the long form date dynamic
That’s really interesting.
How does money change the dynamic?
Just basic human dynamic of interacting
for free versus for money.
Like I think about that a lot.
It’s like just talking to rich people.
It’s like you usually get paid for your time
and you’re doing this for free.
Like what’s the difference?
Is there a difference really or no?
A bit, yeah.
So I’ve actually, it depends a lot.
So when I was doing it full time,
it was my only source of income.
It changed quite a lot
because I was really incentivized to have repeat customers.
So I’m like, okay, my primary interaction with you
is to have you hire me again.
I will do whatever that takes to make that happen.
And so if I have to laugh at jokes that I don’t find funny
or be more adoring of your penis
than I actually genuinely feel,
that’s what I’m going to express.
And obviously it’s to some degree titrated.
It’s unpleasant to force yourself
to like something that you don’t.
So I would actually not see clients again
that I didn’t want to.
But to some degree,
there was a sort of self-suppression going on,
which I think is the way it works
in any sort of customer service job.
Like you want the customer to leave happy.
So you just make sure that you are happy the whole time
and you’re like, ah, really enjoying the other person.
But so recently when I’ve like kind of dabbled in it
since baking money through other means
where I don’t need the money,
it’s more like a fun side thing that I’m,
like I said, it’s fulfilling the role of casual sex for me.
So like, I don’t have to do it.
This is not my primary job.
I just want sort of a good excuse
to like have sex with somebody.
And the money is like a great filter for that.
And so in that case-
So the money is, yeah, okay.
The money is basically a filter
for somebody who’s taking this interaction seriously.
It also, so there’s an interesting like psychological thing
where I have difficulty having casual sex with somebody
because some part of my brain,
which I assume is like quite female,
is doing some evaluation of status
and whether or not this is going to damage my reputation
by having sex with them.
So like if you found out that I went
and like had random sex with like a homeless man,
you might be like, wow, that says something about Ayla.
Like maybe she’s, you know, trashy
or she just has no standards for who she’s gonna fuck.
But if, and so some part of me is continually anxious.
I’m like, does this mean I have no standards
if I decide to have casual sex with you?
Like what are people going to think?
And so if you introduce money, it takes away that anxiety.
I don’t have to worry about it because it’s like,
oh, of course Ayla would have sex with that person.
They paid her.
Like this is not an indication
of the kind of mate that she can get.
This is just an indication of like a business transaction.
And this allows me to enjoy casual sex so much more
when somebody pays me for it.
To the degree that like, I almost view it as a kink.
And so it’s like, so I’m using it sort of
to replace casual sex now.
Like occasionally I’m like, I just pay, you know,
like it’s paying me a little bit to erase the anxiety
and I’ll like have a fun time.
I mean, can’t you see like dinner like that
or something like that if the person pays for dinner?
Or like, so like it’s all just, if any money’s involved,
if it’s a kink, then you could just like use it.
And you, buys a coffee at a Starbucks.
It’s like, all right.
Right, but it has to be plausible.
Like you have to like trick my brain
into like having it actually be incentivizing for me.
Like a cappuccino or something?
Yeah, like the homeless man bought me a coffee
and then I sucked his dick.
Like, that’s not cool.
All right, so I.
No shade to homeless men, by the way.
Like I’ve been friends with a lot of them.
I’m just using like some sort of stereotype of.
So like it has to be plausible
where you could trick your mind.
I mean, yeah.
And so that’s different.
So now in this sort of frame, I am still,
like I’m accepting money,
but still much more expressive of my actual preferences.
So like before when I would start escorting full-time,
I was suppressive.
And now I’m like, you know, fuck it.
I’m doing this for me.
So we’re going to make sure that I have a good time.
And so I’m much more demanding.
And then you’re having more fun
because you’re not pretending.
Like laughing at a joke or something like that.
That sounds terrible.
I mean, it’s.
But it’s also like social.
I mean, I guess I would, would I do that?
Like when you first meet people, like strangers and so on,
there’s some aspect of like niceties,
but like, I don’t know, intimacy,
like real intimacy requires like getting past the niceties.
Like laughing at somebody’s joke when it’s not funny,
feels like anti-intimacy.
Yeah, but I laugh at so many jokes automatically.
It’s interesting because like, I don’t mean to,
I’m not trying to be fake,
but like if I’m in a group of people
and somebody makes a joke and everybody laughs,
I laugh even before I’m checking within myself,
like do I genuinely enjoy this joke?
So it’s like, I don’t know,
like the degree that I am sort of just like a result
of social programming in all cases,
that like when I’m with a client,
back when I was doing it full time,
like it doesn’t feel significantly different.
It just felt like a different version of myself.
Yeah, that’s true.
Yeah, to that degree, to the degree you don’t feel
like you’re going against your nature.
Yeah, it was very rare that I actually felt
like I was going against my nature.
What about the market of how much to charge?
So 2,400, like how transparent is that market?
Is there like a market?
Like how much can you sell when you’re charging that much?
Yeah, no, like what are the competitors?
Like if this, like what do you,
are you just thinking of what,
cause you said it’s a lot of is a bit more shrouded
in mystery, like it’s more confidential.
Like do you have some transparency to the market,
what the competitors are and so on?
I did a survey of escort, it’s only like 130.
I’m trying to remember, and the median was around like four,
$300, I think an hour.
Something like that with a very long tail at the top end.
I’m trying to remember what the,
I also asked him the amount where I could calculate
the amount they made per month.
I think it was like six or $7,000 a month.
I need to double check that one, but.
I charged 50 bucks an hour.
You charged 50 bucks an hour?
You should raise your rates.
Yeah, that’d be, I’d give a really shitty hand job.
But usually the rates are around,
like if you want a median escort in a big city,
it’s usually four to $600.
A city, so the, sorry, four to 600?
In a big city, but like smaller cities,
you charge, the rates go lower.
That’s so fascinating.
What’s like the most you’ve ever seen somebody charge?
I think I am.
You’re like the.
But at this point, it’s because I’m post work.
Like I can just put in a state number.
Does like, does the fact that you’re sort of
like a sexuality expert, like a researcher and so on,
like your mind is fascinating as well,
and you’re a bit of a celebrity,
does that play into it?
Or do you feel the celebrity now?
Like when you’re with people?
Usually if people are interested in hanging out with me,
it’s because of that.
But that’s different.
Like I think besides the fun part,
like this is a kink as opposed to this is a job,
like with this as a job,
usually the high end is closer to 2000 an hour,
like the very high end.
Have clients ever fallen in love with you?
I think so, yeah.
I think it happens to me much less than most other people
due to like the thing I think we were talking about before.
Which is what?
Where like, you know, you give off vibes,
maybe like subconscious vibes.
But they have fallen in love, but not as often.
I think something about my signaling indicates
that people should not fall in love with me
because I don’t think it happens very much.
And it happens a lot with other women, but I know.
But I have occasionally had,
the thing is it’s hard for me
because I try to be as vulnerable as I can
in a connection with a client.
And like, I do really like some of them.
I still remember some of them very fondly.
And I’m like, I hope they’re doing well.
And some of them are really profound.
Like one guy saw me because he found out
he was dying of cancer.
And he was like, I don’t wanna die without seeing someone.
I’m like, Jesus Christ, that’s such a,
I don’t know, I’m very touched
by many of the people that I saw.
So there’s like deep intimacy there.
Yeah, I know that it’s brief
and I know that it’s like kind of weird,
but there’s like a real glimpse into somebody’s soul
when you get to be intimate.
And I think this is especially true for men
because a lot of time men don’t have like a way
to be really vulnerable in front of anybody.
But like, if you’re in bed with a woman
that you find to be attractive,
you can sort of let loose a little bit more.
So they can become vulnerable in general quickly?
Yeah, and I really like that.
I like being as vulnerable as I can to match it.
Like, I’m not forcing myself or anything,
but like, I just feel into it
and like notice how beautiful the person was
and like feel grateful for being able
to be in this intimate experience with them.
And that was so wonderful.
Does it ever hurt to say goodbye?
No, but I think that’s unique to me
because I like being alone a lot.
Even with my friends who I like dearly,
I’m like happy not seeing them
because I don’t like making facial expressions very much.
But I do miss some of my clients.
What does making facial expression
have to do with saying goodbye?
Well, if you are not with somebody in person,
you don’t have to make facial expressions anymore.
Oh, you can just think about them.
Yeah, you can just sit there, a totally blank face,
and then have all of the emotions that you want.
Oh, you’re telling me.
Do you have this thing too?
It’s not a thing, but like you’re on camera.
So like, I feel feelings,
but people usually want you,
like social interaction is such that like,
you probably want me to show feelings on my face.
Yeah, like that, good job.
Yeah, there you go.
So like, I definitely,
there could be just an introvert thing
where you like have a vibrant inner world
that you forget to show to the rest of the world.
And also I’m scared of social interaction,
and I just have a lot of anxiety
about interacting with the external world, so yeah.
I’m kind of surprised to hear that
because when you talked about
finding the light in everything and everything is fun,
like I usually don’t associate that
with having not very much anxiety.
Well, because I have the, we mentioned that earlier,
I just appreciate the beauty in the world when I observe it,
but then when I’m interacting with others,
I have a very harsh self-critical aspect to my brain
that says like, you’re gonna fuck this up.
You’re gonna fuck up this interaction.
You’re gonna fuck up the beauty that’s there.
If I’m sort of being fragile and vulnerable for a moment,
one of the things I’m afraid of,
I get so much love from people that listen,
or even like reach out,
like you said through the survey, like women and so on.
I’m afraid that, yeah, you know,
you admire me because you don’t know me,
but you won’t admire me once you know me.
So that’s self-critical, but it’s a silly,
I mean, as you get older, you’re like, yeah, okay.
Like I’m able to step away and objectively look at myself
and I was like, there’s no, it’s just, you’re fine.
But it’s still, this is the part of the brain
that you can’t just shut off.
What would fucking up in this conversation look like?
Like, it doesn’t have to be rational,
but I’m curious if there’s like a specific thing.
A lot of it is just a feeling,
like an amorphous fear of failure.
What it would actually look like,
maybe because we’re talking about sexuality,
me not being able to eloquently explain
the world view I have and why I appreciate it,
that would make me feel like a failure
because that would make me feel like
maybe you don’t know what you’re doing, right?
Because sexuality, not sexuality,
but even romantic relationships
are really important to happiness.
They’re really important to me.
And I’m not sure like the conception of love I have,
romantic love, is like fully made rigorous.
So especially when I’m talking to you
that thinks very rigorously about a lot of these topics,
I’m not sure if I’ve thought about them a lot.
I feel them.
I interact with the world in the space of feelings.
Maybe I’m almost afraid to be very rigorous
with these kinds of thoughts.
And so I think the failure would be like,
I would be confronted with the fact
that I can’t explain what makes me happy.
That could be a failure.
And there could be just a bunch of other failures.
Another big failure is like,
I think you’re a really brilliant person.
And a lot of folks I know know and admire your work as well.
And so like for me not to be part of highlighting
that brilliance would be a failure, definitely.
Like, because then other people might feel like,
like notice the discrepancy or something.
Yeah, but no, no, no, that’s not other people,
just my personal feeling.
And the other is like jokes,
because like we’re talking about sex, right?
So for me, like, it’s fun to just joke around,
but you also have to tread carefully
because like it’s a weird surface
because like, you know, even I already feel bad
about making a joke for 50 bucks
for a handjob that’s crappy by me.
But I think sometimes you just gotta go for it.
I went for it, it kind of fell flat on its face,
but that’s the thing of the conversation.
I think there’s like this fear where it’s like,
if you become like scientific about something,
you’ll figure out that your feelings are unjustified.
And then you’ll experience this horrible thing
where like, ah, shit, like I’m like afraid of this,
but I’m sort of being forced to by my logical mind
to like believe this thing,
which I don’t think this is true at all.
I think like your feelings are there for a reason,
like they’re for a good reason.
And like logic or like rigorous analysis
or something should be dedicated
to figuring out why it’s there.
Not to like suppress it or tell it it shouldn’t be there.
What do you think is more important to just life,
to reason versus emotion?
Not life, to what makes us human, I guess.
My romantic narrative answer to this,
which is like not rigorous at all is curiosity.
What is curiosity?
That’s such a middle ground.
Curiosity is like both emotion and reason, right?
So it’s like this pull,
because reason is the tool you use to figure out the puzzle.
And then curiosity is the pull towards the puzzle.
Yeah, I don’t like worldviews that pit like emotion
and rationality is opposite each other.
They feel like beautiful parts of like a cohesive whole.
Like if you’re doing rationality to the extent
where you’re like suppressing
some emotional reactions you have,
then I think you’re doing it wrong.
You’re like missing a big part of it.
Like it should be like integrated.
It should be like part of like one unified flow.
Like the things that you like,
if you want to be in a romantic committed relationship
for the rest of your life,
then this is like beautiful and good.
And the kind of like logic that you’re using
to make sense of the world
should be fitted into that correctly.
I think that’s really cool.
Like anytime you have sort of like an internal
at odds thing with it,
I think you’re like using some sort of force
to suppress one or the other.
Like, oh, I’m not allowed to reason about this
or I’m not allowed to feel about that.
And that feels harsh to me.
And I think curiosity is the solution.
Like if you’re simply just calmly curious,
oh, why do I feel like that?
Let’s go find out.
That’s so cool, right?
Like you can use logic and your feelings
to like discover the answer.
Do you sometimes,
because you do this kind of technique,
which is interesting.
And I’ve mentioned it to others.
You’ll sometimes step away
from like a third person perspective
and describe the feeling you’re feeling.
Or like even just the situation,
like you’ll step out and talk about,
wait, what is happening here?
Like in the conversation itself.
In the conversation itself.
First of all, what is that?
Do you find that to be useful and interesting?
Because it’s very interesting.
It feels raw and honest.
The danger of it seems like you escape
the actual experience of it though.
So that’s the trade-off.
You make it intellectual, right?
Is it though, intellectual to do that?
I mean, maybe it is.
I don’t mean to.
Maybe that’s the wrong word.
You can make it intellectual.
But you can still continue the same flavor
because you’re not fully disengaging from the conversation.
You’re just creating an extra metal layer.
That’s happening at the same time.
I think exploring the emotional reaction
to what’s going on in the moment.
Yeah, in some way it’s actually making it stronger.
Like, or enriching it.
Like making it more, giving it more context,
giving it deeper understanding.
I think there’s like a way of going meta
that is a flinch move.
Like, oh, I noticed that we’re doing this thing.
I’m gonna name it.
And I think the thing that I described earlier,
like when the homeless guy approached me and asked,
you know, can you go home with me?
And I was like, are you trying to have sex
with me right now?
Like what I was doing is like a meta move.
Like you’re stepping outside and like, okay,
what is the purpose of this conversation?
And we explicitly identify it.
And in that case, I think that is sort of like a flinch move.
Like I’m not telling him my emotional response.
I’m not like being fully present.
I’m like sort of identifying it as a way
to subvert what’s going on.
And I absolutely think this is a possible thing.
But I usually try to be aware of that myself.
And it depends on the purpose of what’s going on.
That guy, cause that is actually like a chest move you did.
You had a purpose with that chest move,
but the flirtation is on.
Like he could have like done a better move
that would make you like curious.
Yeah, that’s true.
Cause you had an agenda with that,
but he could have changed your mind.
Like he could have, with a few words,
cause you just created extra layers, extra entry points.
If he had gone more meta,
it might’ve been like, okay, well,
now I am going to sleep with you.
See, there is something, yeah,
that’s aids into the chemistry of the conversation
when you do that meta.
I really enjoy it.
It’s like a rare, I forget, did you not,
I forget who,
I’ve had a few people do that with me,
like just in conversation.
And I feel like you were involved somehow,
cause I’ve met you before, somewhere.
I don’t know if we were,
or you were just in-
We’ve been at a couple of parties together.
Maybe it was just like a bunch of people
that kind of play with the same,
or like a comfortable-
It’s just a practice explicitly dedicated towards that.
Circling is like-
That might be the thing they-
Yeah, I think so.
We know we have some mutual circlers in our-
In our networks here.
I don’t remember what’s circling.
I’m gonna describe it horribly,
cause it’s like one of those things
that’s difficult to describe unless you experience it,
like kind of like drugs.
But it’s something like you sit around,
there’s like kind of guidelines to the conversation
where you talk about the present moment,
and you’re like honest about your experiences
as much as you can be.
And if you don’t wanna be honest,
then you say, I don’t wanna be honest.
And it’s your commitment to connection.
So you’re here to actually connect with the other person,
understand them, and be understood.
You’re not supposed to project.
So if you have an analysis about the other person,
you own it.
I’m experiencing you as this,
and then you check, is it true?
Are you supposed to be almost like converting it
towards the thing you’re thinking, like constantly?
Are you supposed to say what you’re thinking?
If it feels right in the moment, you can.
The thing is, it’s very amorphous, right?
It’s like almost like creating a magical sensation.
And I’ve been with some,
I’ve seen some very good circlers,
really high skill circle.
And I feel like I’m on drugs when that happens.
It’s very rare to see.
Does it feel honest somehow?
Yeah, very honest.
Like right now in this moment,
I’m feeling like kind of like nervous energy
because I’m talking to you and this is a unique situation.
And like, I want you to think I’m cool.
I want everybody listening to me to think I’m cool,
but I’m also having some sort of delight
at being able to express in this way.
And like some admiration for how you like set up
and built this thing that I can be a part of.
And all of these things are sort of in my body right now
as this sort of vibrating high thing.
I remember like in the party setting,
because I’ve had to talk to a few people,
I felt like it was going sexual very quickly.
Okay, I don’t know if you remember this,
but the first time I met you, I didn’t know who you were.
I just heard, I knew I’d heard your name,
like you introduced your name.
And I’m like, I think I’ve heard people discuss that.
And I was in the middle of a very sexual conversation
with another woman.
Oh, you were?
Yeah, I was.
And you just like turned around
and left very shortly afterwards.
And I thought it was very-
Oh, was I listening in on the conversation
or something like that?
I think it was like, I was talking to her
and you were just kind of like right there.
And so we introduced ourselves
and then we continued on with the conversation.
You were like standing there and listening.
I don’t think I would have left the cut.
So it’s funny, you probably interpret it in a different way.
I interpret it as you like not wanting to listen
to like graphic sexual stuff.
Was it like super graphic?
I don’t know.
I was asking her about, I was doing it,
I was interviewing her about her fetish, basically.
Oh yeah, I don’t think I would have walked away from that.
I would have been like curious.
Because I don’t often see people
having a deep interview about fetishes.
Like I wouldn’t even be, listen, I’m like Jane Goodall here.
I’m not afraid of sexuality.
I just have certain values in terms of like monogamy
and so on.
But I think sexuality is really beautiful.
Yeah, I don’t think, yeah, I can’t imagine myself
walking away from that conversation.
Somebody must have like called you or something.
Because I didn’t remember exactly how it worked.
I just remember thinking later on.
Or maybe I thought I was intruding.
I was kind of drunk, so.
And I probably was very drunk too.
I would like to actually have like footage
of that conversation so we can actually interpret
what actually happened because it was probably,
I mean, human interactions are funny like that.
It can happen for all kinds of reasons.
Have you ever fallen in love with a client?
I mean, like in tiny ways, like micro loves.
Have you ever fallen in love love?
I mean, I don’t know what it means, but probably.
The thing that other people say when they say fall in love
is probably something I’ve experienced.
What do you think they mean?
What is love?
Yeah, I know.
It’s a fantastic question.
I think, so love is one of those words
that refers to like a billion different concepts.
And I think we maybe should just taboo the term
to have a better understanding of what we’re referring to.
Because there’s things like feeling intense attachment.
There’s something feeling like soulfully aligned.
There’s like sexual attraction.
There’s like excitement.
Are you talking to me and saying we should taboo
the term love in this conversation?
How dare you?
To make it flourish into lots of other new definitions.
Okay, thank you.
For expanding love.
It sounds like you’re censoring the most important word.
This is like 1984 all over again.
Also on the book reading list.
Listen, no, romantic love, like a deep intimacy
for somebody, like a deep connection with a human being
that is also, I mean, yeah, with polyamory, it’s tricky.
And your relationship with sex is also tricky.
So like, what’s the difference between a deep friendship
and a friendship that also has a sexual component?
I remember being very confused about that
when I did a lot of LSD.
I was like, what?
The line between romantic relationships
and everything else kind of got blurred.
I was like, oh, I’m just like in intimacy.
And some intimacies mean that you spend your life together
more and have sex.
But like the same basic thing is there.
Like you’re seeing someone for who they are.
Do you think you can be, if you’re heterosexual,
do you think you could be really deeply close friends
with a guy and not have sexual relationships with him?
I assume it’s possible.
Like if anything is ever possible, then probably, yeah.
Everything is possible.
Time travel is possible.
Quantum mechanics makes every,
traveling faster than the speed of light is possible,
according to general relativity.
So you’re saying there’s a chance.
Dummer has taught me that everything is fucking possible.
But not super likely,
assuming that they are like attracted to each other.
And for somebody that has surveys and statistical analysis,
we’re interested in like, what’s the likely thing here
versus like what’s possible.
If you say possible, it’s like anything’s open.
Did you just avoid answering the love thing?
I have a lot to say about love.
I just need to be precise.
Let’s be precisely and precise and continue.
Oops, sorry, that’s my phone.
It feels like a passive aggressive suggestion
that we shouldn’t talk about love anymore,
but we shall continue.
No, we should absolutely talk about love.
It’s just the term is very confusing.
Cause it’s like, some people say the word love
and the thing that they’re thinking of is like,
oh, the butterfly is like the sparkle thing
that I get in my stomach when I think about my loved one.
But I study relationships over time.
I just really, like I did a survey about it.
And that sparkle goes away within like two to four years.
But people still report loving their partner after that.
So I’m like, okay, like when you say the word love,
what the fuck are we talking about?
I just wanna get on the same page.
Okay, so what are the different?
So the butterflies, boy, I’d like to push back
on two to four years on the butterflies, but okay.
I mean, statistically, not everybody.
Butterflies don’t give a fuck about statistics.
You ever heard of the flap of a butterfly wing
causing like nuclear war?
How do you describe that with your statistics?
Okay, so butterflies, that’s the basic infatuation,
the chemistry of the initial interactions.
Sure, but a deep, meaningful connection
like that feels like sexuality is a component of that.
Like the kind of intimacy that’s only possible
when you’re also sexual with another human being.
On top of that, you have the butterfly.
And on top of that, you have the friendship.
And on top of that, you have like, what is that?
That’s a sandwich full of-
The love sandwich.
The love sandwich.
Okay, I’m down to call it a love sandwich.
Okay, we’ll just call it sandwich, L-S.
Okay, what role does that play in the human condition?
He asked me about the human condition.
It’s an interesting phrase.
I’m like, this is like not a phrase
that’s common in my own thinking.
Sure, human condition is a good summary.
You know, what do you think?
What do you feel when I say human condition?
I ask very different kinds of questions than you.
Which is interesting.
I’ve been trying to like figure out
like what kind of brain that you have
is like creating like this category of question.
Which is why I was like saying
like there’s something about a poetic narrative in there.
Because it’s very like aesthetic.
I think you’ve asked much more aesthetic questions
than I do.
I don’t even know what the word aesthetic means, really.
Well, I mean, I know what aesthetic means,
but I also don’t know what it means.
It’s kind of like the word love.
Yeah, well, but part of it in conversation,
you don’t want to ask a question that has an answer.
Like do you have an example of a question that has-
What’s the meaning of, oh, it has an answer.
Yeah, like one that you think is like,
ah, that’s like a bad question because it has an answer.
How many sexual partners you had in the last year?
Oh my God.
That’s such a, okay.
I feel like we just like got to some sort of crux
about like the kinds of questions that we like to answer.
Because I would love that question.
To ask enough people.
All right, but does that really tell the story
of what you’ve felt over the past year?
That’s true, but then I could just tell you.
Okay, so by when you’re saying the kinds of questions
that you like, the ones that don’t have an answer,
by not an answer, you mean like not an answer
where you can know that you’re done telling it.
That you can escape having to think
by actually answering it.
The struggle is the place where we discover something,
not the destination.
It’s working, it’s working.
Okay, so what is the role of the love sandwich
in the human condition?
Okay, that’s fine.
I take that question, but it’s a stupid question.
You don’t have to.
I’m ready to chat.
Do you like love?
Do you personally like love?
Do you not like love?
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a part of me
that feels like I have unconditional love for all things.
Like when you’re talking about the glass being beautiful,
I’ve felt that.
That feels like it rang something,
that like I have a similar resonance in me for that.
If I were to circle right now,
I feel like you’re avoiding the love question,
the love sandwich question.
What’s your own personal feeling
towards loving another human being
versus having sex with another human being?
Love is like one of the concepts
that dissolved for me a long time ago.
So I have difficulty directly answering it.
But I have the experience.
When you described the love sandwich,
I feel like I have had that experience.
I have it currently for some people also.
Like I’m dating people and I have that.
So people who you date,
you would describe sharing a love sandwich with them.
So how does, I mean, that’s great to hear.
So you’re not, are you afraid of love?
No, not at all.
So can you describe to me polyamory?
What is it?
What does it mean?
Because there’s like different terms.
You have a nice blog post about it.
Yeah, I have a personal definition of it,
which I readily admit is not shared by a lot of people.
But to me, the definition of polyamory
is simply not forbidding your partner
from pursuing intimacy with others.
It doesn’t mean that you have to pursue it personally.
Like two people could be married
and only have had sex with each other for 20 years.
And as long as they’re like,
you know what, if ever you wanna go have sex
with somebody else, you’re welcome to do that.
Well, the interesting thing you said is
that doesn’t mean they have to do it.
They just have the freedom to do it.
Yeah, it’s the freedom that matters to me.
Which is, I mean, it’s called the polyamory post.
You have so many good blog posts.
People should just go look at your, read your writing.
Cause it’s really, really strong and often backed by data,
but also just a deeply honest look at yourself
and your understanding of the world.
It’s like, it’s, yeah, it’s refreshing to be there.
Like with a lot of stuff I disagree with,
but I feel like if I disagree with it,
you’ll be very open to arguing and kind of
thinking through it.
There’s just the honesty that radiates from the whole thing.
Anyway, so yeah, it’s, I mean, it would be interesting
to kind of explore what polyamory, like how it works.
What are the different versions?
What is the, what does that freedom look like?
What does that freedom feel like?
To be able to go see other people.
Depends on you.
Like, do you want to go see other people?
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.
So usually for me, I tend to be pretty happy
with like one or a few people.
And then occasionally I like some novelty.
So usually I’ll go like, like I host orgy sometimes.
So I’ll host an orgy and then I’ll go have sex
with people at the orgy.
And then that’ll be good for the novelty for a while.
Can I ask you about orgies?
So how many people are at an orgy?
What’s like a standard, we’re having a Sunday picnic
and it’s an orgy.
What’s like a number of people at an orgy?
Oh, I’ve only recently started hosting orgies,
but I have been to a lot of orgies.
I would say like the median is maybe 15 people.
I like how you say median versus mean.
Median is 15 people.
What’s the gender distribution usually?
Usually about even.
It’s like ideal if you can get more women than men
in most of them.
I’ve recently been hosting free use orgies
or orgies where consent is assumed by default when you enter.
And of course you can revoke it anytime
or go over a whole bunch of rules
to make sure it’s very safe.
You like have wristbands.
So nobody’s actually doing anything they don’t want to,
but in those ones, you have to have more men than women.
I thought free use was like consensual, like at any time,
but it’s at any time within the constraints of this building
or something like that.
So at the orgies, it’s like you, by entering,
if you wear a wristband,
then you are like by default opting into consent.
So people don’t have to like do a thing
where they negotiate with you and like to be like,
is this okay?
It’s just the default is like, you just go for it.
And if they want you to stop, they say the safe word,
like red, don’t, and then you have to stop.
And we do like exercise in the beginning
of people saying red to make sure
that everybody knows exactly what the rules are.
What’s your favorite safe word?
When I first started doing like weird kinky shit,
I was like, oh, let’s make a safe word.
And we picked the word foliage.
I was like, that’s goofy, right?
And then, but then eventually came a time
where I did actually, in fact, want to say the safe word
and I couldn’t, I was like in agony.
I was like crying.
I’m like, I can’t make myself say this stupid word
So after that, I was like, red, doesn’t matter.
I don’t care.
It’s not funny.
We’re just going with very simple red.
How does an orgy compare sexually
to like a one-on-one sexual experience?
Like what, is it same ballpark
or is it fundamentally different?
I mean, the experience of both orgies
and one-on-one sex can be like really high variety.
But you kind of, it’s a little bit
like you’re having sex with someone,
but you’re surrounded by really realistic VR porn
of other people having sex.
Oh, okay, cool.
And sometimes it’s like threesomes also,
like maybe there’s another person involved,
but it’s hard to like have a whole bunch of people
on one, in one cluster.
Cause usually there’s kind of different little clusters
of people having their experience.
I once was part of a 10 woman orgy.
It was a total lesbian thing.
And that felt like a writhing cluster.
It was very nice.
But typically you kind of separate out
with like very small pods of people doing stuff.
Okay, so back to polyamory.
So what’s a good, what does it take to manage?
Do you have a main partner?
If you’re being polyamorous
and you’re dating multiple people,
is there usually a main one for you personally?
For me personally, kind of, yes.
Like right now I kind of, two that aren’t,
like I see roughly around,
for me it’s kind of just descriptive.
Like if I just happen to be seeing you a lot more
and I confide in you more than you,
like you’re descriptively my primary partner.
But I don’t usually have rules to protect that.
I’m down with rules to protect it
if you’re like, you’re trying to build something.
Like if I buy a house together, I’d be like, okay,
we need to like, whatever our relationship is,
we have to do the thing.
We’re both paying the rent for the house
or the mortgage or whatever.
A lot of people do have primaries,
so it’s very common to have like prescriptive,
like I’m gonna get married to you
and you’re not allowed to like have anal sex
with anybody else, that sort of thing.
What about like the transparency
and the communication they have to do?
Yeah, I usually try to be super honest about it.
I mean, I’ve learned over time that like,
even if it seems like a very small thing,
you talk about the small thing.
Because often I would just sort of have like a small twitch
in myself, like, I don’t know if I like that.
But I’d be like, okay, this is really minor.
It’s probably nothing.
And if I talk about it, it’s gonna make it into a thing.
And I just don’t wanna make it into a thing, you know?
And I’ve come to realize
that it’s worth making it into a thing.
Because I can’t predict at the time
if like this small feeling I have is going to grow.
And then when I grow it,
now it’s like much more difficult to deal with.
So now it’s like any little bit of jealousy
I have, I immediately communicate it.
I’m like, ah, I’m a little jealous of you right now.
I don’t hold that in at all.
I used to be kind of like,
back when I first started being poly,
I used to try to pretend that I was not a jealous person.
And that backfired quite a lot.
That’s really interesting.
So you do still feel jealousy?
Oh yeah, definitely.
And like, and it’s also interesting
that you kind of recommend
when there’s a little bit of jealousy,
like to bring that to the surface.
Yeah, just like excessively communicate.
Even if it feels stupid.
Like this is, I feel like a cliche.
I feel like a stupid therapist training video.
Like I just feel ridiculous sometimes
when I’m saying the things.
But it’s just, I’ve learned over time,
it’s just important to just say the things.
Because like, you know,
the traditional view of jealousy is exactly like you said,
if you bring it up to the surface,
like it’s going to sound like
you’re overreacting to everything.
But you’re saying like, still do it.
Because you’re basically,
your brain blows stuff out of proportion.
Yeah, and it’s good to like,
be going through it with a partner.
Like I have a partner right now
who’s like dating this other girl
and he like really likes her
and he like went traveling with her and stuff.
And I was like, ah, I feel jealous about it.
And I have to tell him that,
and that way he can be with me in it.
He like holds me when I’m feeling jealous.
And it’s like a bonding experience, you know?
But it’s important for me that like he’s able to handle it.
Like I try not to date people who really freak out
when I have negative emotions,
because I want to be able to express
that I’m upset by something they’re doing
without it being taken as a demand
that they change their behavior.
Right, so he has to be able to skillfully
handle that interaction.
He has to be like, cool, all right, you’re jealous.
Like, I’m not going to freak out about it.
I’m not going to change my behavior.
I’m just going to be with you in that.
We’re going to sit in it together.
I mean, is some of that just insecurity
that he should also just comfort,
like basically alleviate your insecurity,
bring you back to like a rational objective evaluation?
I mean, my relationships,
I love it when people do not reassure me.
I like not being comforted quite a lot.
And so usually the people I date don’t.
I’m very gravitating.
Like it’s one of the things people do
to make me fall in love with them
is if I say something really like terrible,
and they’re just like,
do not give me any comfort whatsoever.
Like that’s where my heart gets captured.
So I typically am in relationships
where I’m like, I mean, I’m so jealous.
And they just like, do not reassure me at all.
And that’s good because it doesn’t give me an out.
Like I have to deal with it myself.
Like maybe it is true that the other woman
is better than me.
Like maybe that is an actual possible reality.
And I don’t want to be dealing with my life
in a way where I’m like pretending
like I’m only okay when that reality is not true.
Would you like them to say that,
that the other woman is better than you?
Or that they prefer.
If they feel that?
I mean, they should say it according to themselves.
Like I have a better time with her
than I have with you,
then I would want to know that, yeah.
And even though that might be painful to hear.
That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.
That which can be destroyed by the truth.
What is that?
That your ego or something like that?
Yeah, my ego.
So your ego just generally grows
and you like the destruction of it.
It’s like really accurate.
It’s like a process of truth.
It’s not like a fun experience.
Like I’ve had like guys be like,
well, you’re not as pretty as I’d like.
And I’m just like, oh, you know,
stabbed to the heart and.
But then also like give me your number after.
Man, that’s kind of beautiful.
What do you think of monogamous relationships?
can you maybe steal a man
or make the case for monogamous relationships?
Can you understand the pros and cons
of monogamous relationships?
Yeah, I mean, it depends on how you,
if you’re like, hey,
we, you can do whatever you want,
but you and I are gonna spend the rest.
Like we just, you’re 80 years old and like,
oh, we spent 60 years in a marriage together.
We’ve never had sex with anybody else.
I think that’s like awesome.
If that’s what you want, that’s great.
I have like a little bit more problems
with people doing that
while also forcing their partner
not to misbehave if they want to.
Like if you’re like, oh,
we only made it this far in a monogamous relationship
because I forced my partner
not to pursue an intimacy that she wanted to.
Then I feel like a little like more like,
ah, I don’t know if that’s great.
How do you know if it’s a real want for an intimacy?
Like checking out a attractive person
while being inside a monogamous relationship.
Yeah, how do you score that?
Is that bad that the person cannot pursue those feelings?
I mean, it depends if they want to.
Like I often find people attractive
if I don’t want to pursue.
I’m also okay with people entering into agreements.
Like if you and I want to agree,
like I’m only going to enter this
because I’m gonna be so hurt if you pursue somebody else.
So I’m not gonna pursue anybody else.
That seems fine to me.
But I also extend that.
Like if somebody is like,
I don’t want you to have any friends.
I’m gonna feel really insecure if you,
and like, okay.
Like if you want to enter that agreement,
like I feel the same way.
Like I think you should have the right to do it
if this is what you want.
But I also kind of,
I feel like a little weird
about restricting your partner from doing things, you know?
Oh, but I guess if you’re honest about it
and you just put it on the table,
I don’t want you to have any friends.
I want you to sit in a box.
Yeah, I think a lot-
I guess if you’re like really on the,
but then there’s like,
there’s a power dynamic
that like you can be quite influential in a relationship
in convincing your partner.
And it sure sounds like you’re honestly agreeing to a thing,
but you’re not really agreeing.
That’s the, I mean,
part of that is the beauty of relationships, right?
Like it’s messy.
It can be messy.
It’s hard to know what you really want, right?
I think that’s mainly my complaint with monogamy.
Like I’m down with like conscious monogamy.
But I think so many relationships
are like monogamous by default.
Like people, it’s not actually right for them,
but they just get into it
because culture just doesn’t give them another option.
And they don’t even ask themselves the question,
is this right for me?
Which like, I’m a weird ass person
who thinks a lot of weird shit,
but I didn’t even think about polyamorous as an option
before I had heard that it existed.
And I was only when I first met my first polyamorous couple
and I was like, oh, that’s what I am.
That’s clearly the thing that I am.
Yeah, it’s funny.
Because to me, monogamy,
it doesn’t make sense for it to be a default.
Like to me, monogamy goes against human nature.
That’s in some sense, like romance is a fuck you
to the way the world works.
Yeah, like it’s a, like Romeo and Juliet romance,
like traditional description of what romance looks like
versus like, sure, there’s like a million variations
of that, but in my head,
like this partnership that’s for a long time together
is a kind of, you know, like, I don’t know,
like true romance.
You know that movie?
It’s a really fucking good movie.
I haven’t seen it, no.
Okay, there’s just like,
you’re together against the world.
Yeah, that’s the,
I mean, that’s what close friendship feels like.
It’s like ride or die.
I guess it doesn’t, it can span across multiple,
you can have multiple partners in that way.
But I just don’t see monogamy
as like this definitely not a default.
I would actually think, honestly,
would probably see polyamory as a more natural default.
Yeah, I mean, I guess it depends
on what you mean by default.
Like most of human history has been sort of a weird mix.
Like you get polygamy and monogamy
are the kind of the main arrangements.
But I mean, it’s just like human nature.
Yeah, people are attracted to other people
and they want to.
Especially in longer term relationships.
I tracked, in my relationship survey,
I tracked the amount of cheating over time
in a relationship.
Like how long have you been in this relationship
and how have you cheated?
What’s the results of that?
Men cheat a lot.
Women too, but men cheat about 30% more than women do.
I also asked men and women to predict
if they think their partner has cheated.
And people’s predictions were about the same.
So people roughly predicted that their male or female
like spouse hadn’t cheated about the same rate,
but men cheated much more than women.
So who was more correct in their prediction though?
So men were more correct in their prediction
predicting women and women were more off.
Women thought men cheated much less
than they actually did.
But both of them were off,
but like the male gap was significantly more.
So yeah, I mean, you’re right.
When you say monogamy is not default,
like I think you’re like really getting at something.
Like human beings are just,
especially in long-term relationships,
it’s difficult to only want one person.
But to be fair,
I think monogamy and commitment are very different.
I think you’d be incredibly,
I haven’t known so many very long-term,
super committed poly couples that live lives
that look very similar
to the very romantic monogamous couples.
And they’ve been in their houses like 20 years.
And that works great for them.
I mean, there’s so much to like open your mind to
in these kinds of conversations, these kinds of ideas.
But I also like realize like some of the cake is baked.
Like I have some assumptions
that are hard to break through.
For myself, like it’s difficult for me
to imagine a polyamorous relationship for me
that would work.
I don’t have enough data.
I don’t have a, like I have very little,
but like at this point,
it’s like I haven’t eaten pizza in like 20 years
because I know I just don’t,
there’s a bunch of stuff.
I just eat low carb because it makes me feel good.
But there’s so many foods I haven’t explored.
It’s just like, well, I know what I love.
So you explore every once in a while.
And you kind of figure that out.
But at the same time, you’re humbled by like,
even talking to you or looking at your data,
like sexuality is a fascinating topic
because it seems that we’re very,
like we were talking about, very afraid of this topic.
Like to be really honest with ourselves about it.
The whole like academic research is afraid of it,
but it’s so core to who we are as human beings.
I got to ask you about this.
I can’t believe it took this long to get there,
but one of your many fascinating surveys is on fetishes.
You wrote a blog post about it,
probably several, because it’s like a huge data set.
Still in progress, yeah.
So the one I’m referring to is on popularity
and taboo-ness of various fetishes.
So what are some interesting takeaways?
I got to pull up this graph because it’s freaking epic.
Yes, this is a big graph and it has taboo-ness as one axis
and popularity as the other.
Okay, for people who are just listening,
on the X-axis is taboo-ness.
Asked to rate how taboo society viewed the sexual interest.
And on the Y-axis is percent of people reporting interest,
Oh boy, all right.
So just some examples on the low taboo-ness
and high popularity.
There’s a correlation here.
I think you said it’s 0.69.
It’s just not, it’s just hilarious.
Is it still 0.69, are you tracking that?
I haven’t looked since I did this, yeah.
So like the less taboo stuff is more likely to be popular
and the more taboo stuff is less likely to be popular.
And on the missionary position,
fingering, vagina, blowjobs,
light spanking, cuddling.
Cuddling is more taboo than missionary?
I think people are conceiving,
like if you’re like, I’m really sexually aroused
by cuddling specifically,
then you’re like, that’s a little more weird
than getting specifically aroused by blowjobs.
You expect people to be aroused by blowjobs.
So this was like getting at like,
as a fetish versus like an activity.
Yeah, as a specific, as like a concrete sexual interest.
Like I am specifically interested in this thing, yeah.
And so those are thighs and lips, different body parts,
jaw lines, and then some of it is color
based on more female preference versus male preference.
Like jaw lines is more female preference.
Being submissive is more female preference.
Light bondage, yeah, more female.
There’s a lot of interesting ones.
There’s so much, okay.
But then on the far side of that,
I mean, it gets pretty dark,
but even all along the way,
like extreme bondage being at 50 tabooness,
pegging, pain, giving pain, sexual frustration,
I suppose, right, as a kink.
And there’s so many interesting ones,
like to me, like just that I haven’t even considered.
Yeah, I had to do so much research
into fetishes to compile the list.
Are there some surprising like options to you
that you’re like, oh, okay, this is like a fetish.
Yeah, well, more confusing was like
what the fetishes are about.
Cause like, I didn’t want to overlap fetishes,
so I had to kind of look into them.
And I’m like, there’s like such interesting manifestations
of core drives.
Like if you’re really aroused by disgust,
like maybe you’re very into rolling around in dirt,
but you’re not into rolling around with ice cream.
So I’m like, okay, I have to make those
into two separate fetishes, you know.
And like, I’m seeing like at the far end,
like different types of incest,
branding, so there’s like pain.
It’s like wound fucking.
Sex with animals, I guess.
Receiving oral sex from an animal is high taboo-ness
and pretty high popularity.
Yeah, surprisingly high popularity.
I was really shocked by that one.
I wouldn’t triple check that number
cause I’m like, no way this amount of people
are reporting interest.
Do you know which animal is there?
No, I didn’t specify.
I asked like which animals are erotic
and then I separately asked like how erotic is it
to receive oral sex from your preferred animal?
This is so fascinating.
So I would like, can we just talk about the methodology
This feels like deeply honest map of humanity
in a way we don’t usually map humanity.
Like, cause it’s so mean,
like your fetishes are so meaningful
to each individual person.
Yeah, that’s what I love about this work.
It’s like, nobody cares about someone’s fetishes.
You never get to express them.
And if you have a more unusual fetish,
people usually judge you.
So it’s like this tiny little pocket of like this shame
thing, but it’s so cool to me that like human brains
could be oriented in such a way, like wound fucking.
Like somebody finds that so erotic and that’s so cool.
Yeah, and then they probably,
and it should be explored, like how did that come to be?
You mentioned that we like to construct narratives
that somehow was grounded in childhood,
but maybe it’s genetic.
Maybe it has to do with, maybe you can actually form
and unform that fetish very quickly.
I don’t know.
This is one of the things that I’m researching.
So in the big survey that I’m doing,
I asked so many questions about childhood.
All the ones that I think like we have common theories
about like, oh, are you abused?
Is it yelled at by a man or a woman?
Stuff like that.
Like, are you really sexually repressive?
You know, is it gender roles where you’ve expected
to conform, a whole bunch of stuff.
And then I asked, you know, obviously about like
a massive amount of fetishes.
And my sample size right now is 500,000 people.
Yeah, it’s massive.
And I have to stay for all of it.
And the result looks like this not really correlated.
Nothing that I asked about in childhood,
nothing correlates with fetish preference later in life.
It does correlate with onset.
Lots of things that happen in childhood can like change
like the age at which it triggers.
You have so many fascinating blog posts.
You had a blog post, I think, on the age of fetish onset.
And like you really nicely organized it by age,
like reproduction as a fetish, I guess pregnancy.
At age of 17, about 16.9.
Toys and like anal beads is 15.5.
Yeah, one of the interesting things I found,
I mean, this data set is so huge,
it’s taking me a long time to go through it.
So this is like snippets from what I remember
when I was glancing through the data.
So this part is not rigorous,
but I seem to get the impression that if you are,
if a fetish occurs for you earlier,
like if it’s much earlier onset,
you’re more likely to report
being extremely interested into it.
So later onset means you’re gonna be like
less into the fetish.
But if it hits earlier, it’s like-
But I wonder if it passes, like is there like phases?
Yeah, I didn’t measure old fetishes at all.
Like no longer, right?
You used to, but it’s no longer there.
One interesting thing that I don’t understand
is that non-cis people seem to have more correlation
between childhood experiences and fetishes.
So I was saying that there’s no correlation
between childhood experiences and fetishes.
This holds for cis people.
But trans people, especially trans men,
there’s a correlation.
It doesn’t mean they have absolutely higher rates
of abuse or fetishes or anything,
but I’m just saying that like for them,
there does actually seem to be some sort of connection
between childhood experiences and sexuality later in life.
And I don’t understand why this applies to one group
but not the other.
I don’t have a good theory for that.
So usually you try, like when you see something like that,
you’ll try to construct a theory and see if you can find,
like you keep that theory in mind,
like a hypothesis of why it would be,
and then you ask further questions to try to elaborate.
So can you maybe talk about the methodology
of how you got the 500,000?
Like what, like how did this come to be?
This might, yeah, this is,
I might go into way too much detail about this
because I thought about this so much.
Because I’m like, the question is,
how do you get a lot of people to take a big survey?
The longer the survey is, the lower the response rate.
And I really wanted to do one big comprehensive survey.
So I could like check a whole bunch of correlations
within it, because it’s more annoying
and it’s harder to get a lot of people
to retake similar surveys to each other at a time.
So I’m like, okay, I need to convince
a very large number of people
to take a lot of these questions.
And even building the questions, that was really hard
because I’m like, okay,
I need a comprehensive amount of fetishes.
I can’t ask everybody to answer
for every single niche fetish.
I’m like, do you like ball gags?
Do you like funnel gags?
Do you like wife shrew gags or whatever?
I’m like, you can’t do that.
Nobody’s gonna finish that survey.
Can you define, okay, fine.
I’m not gonna ask questions.
What’s a wife shrew?
I’m not doing the, I’m trying to refer to like,
there’s like a thing that like-
Different types of gags, different types, okay.
So I’m like, so what I need to do
is I need to ask people a question.
Like, are you in like bondage?
And if you say yes, then I’ll go ask you
all the bondage questions.
Ah, got it.
Right, but then this seems simple,
but then it’s just exploded because I’m like,
how do I categorize these fetishes?
There’s like, if you’re into sploshing,
which is like, you like sitting in cakes,
you like getting in mud,
but basically like kind of messy sensory.
Like, is this a disgust thing?
Is it a humiliation thing?
Is it a sensory thing?
Like which category?
Anyway, so it took me like two months
of just agonizing over each fetish
because you don’t want to miss a fetish.
You don’t want to like have a really important thing
that you accidentally put in a disgust category
when it actually belongs in the humiliation category.
Well, let me think about that.
Because like, you’re still catching it.
You’re just miscategorizing it.
Right, because if you’re into sploshing,
and you’re like, this is clearly a humiliation thing.
So you say, yes, I’m into humiliation stuff.
And then I don’t ask you about sploshing.
Then I’m missing a whole data set of people
because I’ve falsely categorized your question.
You’re going to miss stuff.
You’re just picking what’s less and less important to miss.
Well, I’m trying to get people
into the right question set.
Because like, I can’t ask you all the questions.
I have to ask you a couple overarching questions
to know what specific questions to ask you.
And so I have to, those overarching questions
have to be really, really well calibrated
so that I can accurately feed you
into the right sub part of the survey.
And so that was extremely difficult.
If I’m, when I’m dealing with,
I think it was like 850 fetishes.
So I did a couple things to spot check.
I like, I did a couple questions where I asked,
like in the detailed in the survey,
but like also the beginning of the survey,
just to see like what percentage of people I was capturing.
But, and then, and then I scored the survey.
So if you take it,
I had other people answer preliminary surveys
where they gave me data about how taboo
the various fetishes were.
And then I use that data so that when you fill out
the survey, it’s extremely comprehensive
and you get data about exactly how taboo your interests are.
And you get a score at the end.
And I give you an equivalent kinky character,
which I also had people write a whole bunch
of fictional characters and some historic ones
about like how kinky they were.
So then I matched the historic character,
the kinky character to your score.
So that makes it like more fun,
like gamifies it a little bit.
And you can, like, you can brag about like how-
To be able to share it with others.
And a lot of the characters were like goofy,
like, like there’s SpongeBob and like Hitler’s on there
and, you know, South Park characters.
What is, what is, what kink does Hitler have?
I think he’s like, he’s around a Marilyn Monroe,
which is like a slightly above average kinkyness.
I thought there was like a two-dimensional space somehow.
So this is like a literally from zero to-
How kinky, yeah.
So Hitler’s about as a Marilyn Monroe.
Who was the most, what’s the character for like-
Is the most kinky?
Was the most kinky, yeah.
I think like maybe Captain America
was the least kinky or something or Gandhi.
Meanwhile, but that’s another conversation.
Yeah, so it went viral on TikTok basically.
Because people were like, what?
I got this insane character.
And then the sample size exploded from 40,000 to 500,000.
So like all it took is that kind of incentive?
Or did you like at first have to pay people
for the serenade?
No, it was just that incentive.
And what about the demographic
of the different people that took it?
So usually early twenties, predominantly female,
like 70% female.
Pretty like, wraps on a TikTok demographics pretty well.
Okay, I got it.
Young people are probably better for this kind of survey
because there’s probably a culture
that’s a little bit more honest about their sexuality.
Yeah, most likely.
I think people are incentivized to be honest
when they’re getting a true identity response out of it.
Like if you’re doing it for money, you don’t care.
But like if you are invested in the result,
you want to know what the truth of the answers are,
then you actually.
It’s possible that you also don’t want to know the truth.
Yeah, this is true.
But on average, hopefully that doesn’t.
I mean, these are really difficult.
Like what, is there some interesting little quirks
that people should know about your methodology
that you had to kind of solve
to try to get to a really good survey?
So one of you said is the categorization
to make it more efficient.
Is there some for the analysis part?
Yeah, so the graph that you were talking about
is a binary.
So it’s like if you,
and if somebody expressed even a little bit of interest,
then it goes into the graph.
So it’s like 80% of people
expressed even a little bit of interest.
So it’s not representing degree of interest.
It’s not differentiating between them at all.
So it’s possible that like some fetishes
have exactly the same amount of people
like are at least a little bit into them,
but one of them it’s very extreme interest
and the other is like vague and not very intense.
So that’s not reflected.
I also like probably didn’t represent
the visual part right.
Like it might not be intuitive, but.
So you chose a log scale,
but it was kind of spreads things out
to mix it more and more clear.
Cause the linear, it was just so clustered at the bottom.
You couldn’t really separate it out.
So there’s obviously a selection effects as possible
that like the identity results at the end
impacted people’s results a little bit.
But the thing is like, I’m comparing it to what exists,
like what is the alternative?
And right now the research on this stuff is terrible.
So it’s like, I’m not saying my research is perfect,
but it’s like, at least it’s something,
like it’s something that’s pointing us
maybe in a direction
that we might be able to do more research on.
And you’re making the data available.
I’m doing it slowly because there’s so,
I ask about so many questions.
It’s like not very anonymized.
So I’m really seeing the small sections
of the data at a time.
Have you published in like journals and stuff?
No, I haven’t.
Do you have any interest in that or is your approach?
I’m like, I’m conflicted about it.
Like it sounds cool because then I could be like,
ha ha, I’m publishing a journal.
People who are yelling about me
who don’t know anything about statistics on Twitter,
like that I can go like shove it in their face.
But then you’re also giving into the silly criticism, right?
Like I don’t, like I want,
I feel so passionate about extra science,
like science that you can just do.
Like I wanna make science accessible.
Like anybody can just go look and learn
about the basics of like doing a survey
or figuring out how to interpret information.
And doing a published journal feels like
I’m betraying my cause a little bit.
That’s often behind a paywall.
Yeah, it goes against the,
I mean, I think you not publishing in a journal
is doing a big public service.
Aw, I think it’s the first time I’ve heard that.
Oh, like just coming from like on this topic,
the elitism I see on the psychology side
with the journals and the academia,
the positions and the institutions you come from,
all of that, that goes against,
I think that’s more useful for math
and computer science and so on,
where there’s like clear,
but even then, even then,
code is code, data is data.
Like prestige shouldn’t matter at all.
Maybe for like biological experiments,
like virology or something like that,
it’s good to be from a major lab
that has a reputation for like
going through all the procedures
that you know you can trust.
But here, like you’re dealing
with a giant mess of humanity.
Like it’s beautiful to be transparent,
to be raw, to be exploring it together with everybody.
Yeah, it’s really beautiful.
I think people like have a lot of incentive
to doubt the results.
Like a lot of the research I’m doing
is to like cis and trans people.
Like we don’t have any data about transsexuality,
like not very good at least.
And I’m really curious,
I don’t really have an agenda about it.
I think like being trans is cool.
If you wanna be trans, do it.
And like I have some skepticism about like gender theory,
but like it doesn’t come down to impact
like the way I think trans people should be treated,
which I think is like treat them,
you know, be fucking nice and human about it.
I don’t know.
But when I’m talking about the thing,
like my conclusions are that like
transsexuality is really unique.
It’s not like cis woman or man sexuality at all.
And to me, this is super cool.
But like a lot of people,
this is very politicized right now.
Like the data into like transsexual preferences,
like it’s so loaded,
which is really sad because I am very accepting
of weird sexuality.
Like if you’re into a weird thing,
I’m like, good for you, this is super cool.
Like let’s figure out how to make it
so that you can explore the thing you’re into
without any stigma.
But because there’s so much stigma
that like if you find that one demographic
is into weirder sex stuff than the other,
like it’s hard to present that in a way
that people don’t weaponize.
So it’s been really politically touchy subject here.
Yeah, but you do it in a way that’s not,
it’s not feel like it has an agenda, right?
You’re just exploring.
Yeah, I feel pretty open to what I’m gonna find.
Like I often have no idea what the data is gonna tell me.
And I’m like, I pre-commit,
like, okay, I could say A, B, or C,
and I’m like down to publish any of those findings.
So you’ve put together an ask whole cart deck
with a lot of awesome questions to ask at a party
or anywhere, honestly, including on the podcast.
Let me ask you one from that deck.
Is sex really about power?
So what’s the role of power dynamics in sex?
Is that everything you understand?
Like from the survey,
in terms of what people are turned on by,
you’ve talked about like the preferences
that women versus men have
for like submissiveness and dominance.
And we’ve already talked about it a little bit,
but like it’s expressed more strongly.
I already forget the results,
but I feel like women have more preference to be submissive.
Yeah, this is one of the things that got me
into researching fetishes to begin with,
because I think I came across some data.
I did like a brief survey
where roughly around 60% of women report being submissive
and 40% of men report being dominant.
And this was really fascinating to me.
I’m like, well, why is there this gap?
Like, why do we not,
because I guess I have some priors
that maybe this is an evolutionary thing,
like the submission dominant,
like strong men and, you know, like women being like,
oh, it’s hot, hot man.
You know, the men are like ravaging and stuff.
I’m like, shouldn’t this be in our genes?
But there’s a gap.
What’s the gap?
The gap is the dominant submissive gap.
More women are submissive than there are dominant men.
Oh, wait, really?
Yeah, it’s a pretty significant gap.
And this is held up, like,
it depends on what you’re testing.
I’ve tested a bunch of things.
This is part of why I did this big survey.
But it depends against, again,
on like what kind of dominance you’re measuring,
but overall it’s a roughly 40 to 60%.
So when you say there’s not many dominant men,
then the meaning like they express like a desire
to be dominant in the relationship?
Or like in sexually?
Sexually, in bed.
So like if I ask questions like,
how much do you like being dominant in bed?
Like men are less likely to answer strong yes
to that question.
But if I ask, are you likely to be submissive?
Like women are very much yes.
And that’s expressive?
Like that represents truth?
My guess is-
What’s wrong with men?
So this is, I think there’s some reflection
in like FetLife.
So FetLife is this website where people like sign up
and connect based on their fetishes.
And this is like,
you can kind of see it picked up in the forum posts
about like how like dominant men are, you know,
are getting laid so much and, you know,
submissives are always looking for a dominant.
Like there’s, it’s an unequal market.
This is great news.
I didn’t know this.
So what does it reflect about modern society?
Is there like a, is that,
cause you know,
there’s these trends about like decreased masculinity
or that kind of stuff.
Is that similar?
I’m trying not to hold onto one theory,
cause I’m not sure.
One is possible like decreasing testosterone levels.
Testosterone seems to be,
I have a little bit of other research,
but I’m still checking it out.
That seems to indicate that a higher testosterone,
you’re more likely to be dominant.
So if we’re seeing decreased testosterone levels
where it should be seeing a greater gap.
This is so fascinating.
this is like a super interesting way to look at humanity
cause it is such an important part of humanity.
And so like how many people are doing large scale research
I feel like you’re like at the top of the world.
You’re like world-class at the top of the world
doing research on this stuff.
I think I might have the biggest,
most comprehensive fetish data set in the world right now.
I’m really happy about it.
I’m very proud.
And it’s, you know,
it’s probably growing,
but it’s also enabling you to establish a name
to where you,
like a prestige,
like a reputation to where people can go to you
to like trust you more and more
to do longer surveys perhaps,
I think it’s the data analysis afterwards
is very different from like the survey design itself.
So I’m still very amateur at the data analysis.
Yeah, but you can always catch up on that.
I guess the data analysis does enable you to,
does teach you how to ask better questions
in order to understand.
Yes, it goes back and forth.
Like as I’m looking at the data,
it informs the way I wanna phrase questions the next time.
So women are more,
at least in private,
able to say that they would like to be submissive
and men, even in private,
are not disproportionately saying
they’re not willing to be dominant.
So it’s possible-
What the fuck?
If this is caused by decreasing testosterone levels,
then this means that we’re probably having
less satisfying sex overall.
Like we’re becoming less and less sexually compatible
as time goes on.
To be fair,
I’m not sure that it is connected to testosterone levels.
Like it’s possible that this is just like a genetic thing.
Like the gay uncle theory,
like the ideas,
like maybe gay people evolved to like be sort of
taking themselves out of the gene pool to be assistants.
And like, it’s possible that like,
there’s certain percentage of men sort of like,
evolved to be submissive,
to take themselves out of sexual competition
and to instead be like the monkeys
revolving at the edge of the pack.
Oh, it’s a method of survival?
Like, so you stay out of the competition?
Yeah, and I’m like a little sus
about these kinds of evo psych theories.
So I’m not,
I’m just saying it because it’s like-
These are different ideas that are possible.
I’m not saying that it’s definitely testosterone.
There’s other things.
It’s also possible that it’s culture.
People are definitely gonna bring that up.
Based on my survey though,
it doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that.
Like I asked about like how much pressure was put on you
to be, you know,
agentee in your childhood.
Like a lot of questions around this kind of thing
and no correlation at all to dominance.
Well, related to sexuality,
I’m very uncomfortable right now,
In a dominant fashion.
The blog post titled Rape Spectrum Survey Results.
What are the key takeaways from that survey?
So I did the survey when I had a friend be like,
hey, I had this confusing sexual experience.
Was it rape?
Like somebody kind of pressured her
and she eventually stopped saying it or something.
I was like, that’s a great question.
Like, I don’t know how people would consider this.
And so I put a whole bunch of different gray scenarios
into a survey and then asked people to rate
how rapey they thought that scenario was.
So you actually like little narratives
that they get to rate.
Like, you know, this person is on a date with this person,
they get drunk and the other person’s not drunk.
I try to keep gender neutral names for all of them.
And you reduce them into a more concise description
of the situation?
Like in this visualization,
we have this rape spectrum that’s a result.
Where on top are things that are less likely
to be considered rape by the people that took the survey
and the bottom more likely.
The likeliest is a stranger forcibly assaults someone
who screams and fights the entire time.
That gets a hundred.
What do we make of something that’s not zero?
It’s like a 12 is what?
What is that?
How are we supposed to interpret a 12 out of a hundred?
It’s like not zero, but it’s just very close to it.
Having sex with an enthusiastic sex worker.
Is a 12.
That’s the lowest one.
And then there’s a few,
I’ll just mention a few that are lower,
like at that level.
Have sex to make a partner happy in a relationship,
lying about wealth hobbies in order to get laid.
Person with Down syndrome eagerly has sex
with a neurotypical,
not revealing being transgender until after sex and so on.
I think you mentioned that there’s some,
like that not revealing being transgender until after sex,
there’s some differences amongst what men and women
or something like that.
I think there’s still no men found more offensive
I’m trying to, I wrote it a while ago.
I mean, this is nuanced and difficult, right?
It’s because I think in a lot of public discourse,
the word rape is pretty binary.
Yeah, it’s like either is or is not rape.
And so you had a friend where it was like, this felt rapey.
Yeah, she’s like confused about how to interpret it.
I think people look to the terms
to know how to feel about something.
Like, have you ever like been through an experience?
You’re like, that was weird.
And then you tell it to somebody else and they’re like,
oh my God, you were assaulted.
And then it totally recontextualizes
the thing that you’ve experienced.
And I think that this is clunky with the word rape
because either you were raped or you’re not.
You either like have this entire context,
like thrust upon you or you don’t.
And we’re really not nuanced about it at all.
And so I would really like to have some sort of like,
oh, that was like a 30% rape you just endured.
Yeah, and I mean, there’s probably other dimensions
about how traumatic it is,
how difficult it is to recover from,
all that kind of stuff.
Yeah, I mean, like people,
it’s a dangerous thing to assign a word to an experience,
like even, or to a relationship,
like saying a toxic relationship.
That can completely destroy your perception
of that relationship.
And I remember this was the case with my childhood.
Like I talked about being very abusive,
but I’ve talked about how like
there was a good amount of meaning there
so that I didn’t process it as abusive at the time.
I remember after I got out of that house and that culture,
people would tell me, oh, your childhood was really abusive.
And I was really confused by that
because it’s a total recontextualization of that narrative.
It’s like the things that I went through were not,
you know, good and virtuous and had meaning,
but rather these were like the result of, you know,
parents who didn’t like love you enough or something.
And even though the concrete things that happened to me
did not change, like no facts shifted,
the fact that like the interpretation of the facts shifted
caused me quite a bit of distress for a long time.
I was like, oh my God, I’m a traumatized, like abused person.
Like I went through an abusive childhood
and it was really hard for me, made it worse.
Like it’s crazy the power that terms have.
I think we didn’t talk about this,
but how did you begin to overcome
the trauma of your childhood?
You mentioned LSD, so drugs are part of it.
Like what was the mental journey of that?
I was doing LSD quite a lot when I was 21, 22.
What’s it like, by the way?
I’ve never done LSD, what’s it?
Very difficult to describe because it’s like,
like it changes sort of aspects about your environment
that are invisible to you because they’re so stable.
Is it like, if you can compare it to like psilocybin,
is it very different?
Oh yeah, it’s like similar.
I forgot that you did shrooms.
Yeah, okay, then you probably know.
You know, like the kind of shift that you have
from psilocybin to shrooms is roughly similar.
It’s like more clear, I think.
Shrooms is more like embodied,
but LSD is much more intellectual for me.
It strikes different people differently.
I prefer shrooms a lot.
I’m sorry, LSD, I prefer LSD a lot.
Why is it not popularly take,
like there seems to be a negative connotation to LSD
because like it seems to potentially
have like a destructive effect.
Like maybe dosage is more difficult to get right
or something like that.
Does this exactly, so actually,
a long time ago I did a survey on shrooms versus LSD.
So I asked people and people had slightly stronger
experiences on LSD overall, I remember,
but rated the experiences about is equally good.
But I think people like shrooms
because it feels more natural, quote unquote.
But I think if you like fed somebody a shroom
and like actually had the LSD molecule in it,
they would have a, they would think it felt very natural,
but that’s besides the point.
I like, I think people get kind of incoherent on LSD
in a way that feels really alienating.
Like I consider LSD, my LSD use very heavy
to be one of the best decisions I ever made in my life,
but I definitely was incoherent for a lot of it.
Like talking about like, we’re all one, consciousness,
everything is love, man, you know?
And people are like-
Why is that incoherent?
So I think it’s not incoherent,
but like if you go around saying everything is love,
people are like, this guy’s kind of blasted out of his mind.
This podcast is basically your LSD driven
for a bunch of episodes.
Yeah, I get this for sure.
Oh, well, it’s not just about love,
but it’s about like talking in that way
about reality, about the world.
It’s like overfitting.
The narratives that you make about the world
become really vivid.
And so you pattern match just really aggressively.
Like everything is connected
and you come up with these explanations for things.
And I think I was very fortunate.
So I have like this theory about psychedelics
where you either like belief construct or you don’t.
So you take psychedelics and it sort of like burns away
a lot of your belief structure.
And sometimes you, this happens
and then you’re like,
I need to like invent something to fill in the gaps.
So you’re like, okay, I think that maybe time is an illusion.
So I must now believe that like,
we’re actually in a time loop
or like time travel is possible.
So you experience time differently
and then you come up with a different belief about time.
Whereas other people don’t do this belief construction
at all, like you experience time differently
and you sort of let yourself not have a belief.
You’re not like, okay.
I mean, you’re not developing any beliefs about time
in its absence.
You’re just simply experiencing the absence
of the concept of time.
And so I don’t have a lot of data to back this up
in my anecdotal experience
because I’ve tripped out a lot of people.
People either tend to belief construct or they don’t.
And people who do not belief construct
seem to get more out of their LSD trips.
So if you can let a belief go
without building anything in its absence,
it’s much more beneficial for you.
And I think I just, for some reason,
happen to have some brain that’s constructed
where I don’t get a belief construction at all.
So that’s really interesting
that belief construction is negative.
What, is it necessarily negative?
Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
I mean belief construction in a way
that’s like not like playing with frames,
but rather committing to a different frame.
So I like being able to play with ideas
and be like, let’s look at it this way or that way.
But if you’re like, okay, you know what?
I took LSD and now I absolutely believe
the cops are outside.
And you’re like, dude, no, you’re just like,
you can’t shift out of that, right?
Your brain needs to fill in the gap.
You’re not allowed to have a gap.
So you’re not allowed to be flexible.
And again, I don’t think this is like a personal failing
if any, I think this is like literally probably genetic
or like physical thing that’s causing this.
But do you think there’s possible beliefs
that are like enlightening that you can stick to,
like find a frame that like,
I guess if you don’t believe construct
and you’re escaping your previous beliefs,
aren’t you doing like just some,
you’re picking up a bigger frame?
Yeah, I mean, you’re taking your beliefs as object
as opposed to being subject to them.
Ah, got it, got it, got it, got it, got it.
And some of that I guess is genetic
and there’s these categories of people,
there’s two categories that experience LSD
in different ways.
And you’re one of those that are able to just let go.
Yeah, I just think I had a good reaction.
And I think a lot of maybe the negative stereotype of LSD
comes from people who are belief constructing
or carry the belief constructing off of the LSD trip.
So you take LSD and you’re like,
ah, I’m believing these insane things.
And people from the outside see that and they’re like,
oh my God, this person took LSD and became stupid.
It’s very scary.
What’s frame control?
Because that’s been at the core of your trauma,
at the core of your upbringing.
What’s frame control?
And also, sorry, frame control in general,
because that’s part of human interaction.
Yeah, frame control is like a way of manipulating
somebody else that is non-obvious.
So there’s a negative connotation to that usually?
Yeah, I mean, I think maybe I chose the term kind of poorly
because I think to some degree people are always
a little bit manipulating each other.
But I think it’s generally obvious.
For example, if I disagree with you,
I want you to believe what I believe.
But this is an obvious thing that is visible between us.
It’s like an object on the table.
It’s like, here’s the box where I want you to believe
what you wanna believe.
The disagreement box.
Yeah, so we’re under a shared context where we understand
that we’re trying to move each other.
This is chill to me.
I think this is cool.
We do this all the time and it’s important.
But frame control is the kind of thing
where you are trying carefully to obscure
the existence of that box.
You’re like, oh, the thing that I’m doing,
I’m using tactics to try to influence what your reality is
without us being both aware that this is what I’m doing.
Yeah, I’ve been assuming you’re doing that the whole time.
Oh my God.
I have to figure out how to read your facial expressions.
I’m still learning.
There’s none, there’s none.
You don’t have any?
I’m like a, I’m not even like a Chad GBT.
I’m like GBT-1 with my facial expressions.
Like it’s kind of off.
Like this doesn’t seem to match emotions,
but it’s kind of intelligent seemingly,
but definitely not conscious.
Anyway, so like a negative connotation,
manipulating, not being honest about the actual intentions
of the, of how you’d like to control the conversation.
And I think there might be a naive version
of interpreting this where you’re just like,
oh, I’m trying to like subtly get you to believe like,
oh, do you really think that’s bad though?
But this is not quite what I mean.
I mean, there’s like a couple of concrete things
that are signs of frame control.
Like one of them is pushing the painful update button,
which is this thing where it’s like,
hey, if you learn this, it’s going to be really painful.
The truth is painful.
And if you’re realizing this thing about yourself,
it’s gonna hurt.
And this is a sign that you’re heading
in the right direction.
So if you frame all pain as a sign of virtue,
then this means that pain that’s a resulting as damage
is something you’re going to ignore.
So it’s like this, it’s a common like cults, right?
This is for your own good.
Oh, you face of brave truth about yourself
that you’re like not quite as wise as I am.
When really your brain might be trying
to tell you protected things.
Or like another one is like finger trap beliefs
where the belief is constructed in such a way
that doubting it lends proof to the belief.
So very common example is like Satan.
Like the Christians are like,
Satan is going to try to make you doubt him.
The existence of he’s gonna so doubt,
like maybe he’s not actually real.
And so if you believe in Satan and then you’re like,
okay, now I’m having doubts, like maybe he isn’t real.
This is like, oh, this is exactly
what I was taught to expect.
Like I am doubting this belief because I was told,
because like this is what Satan does
and it’s taken as evidence for it.
So like the attempt to move away from the belief,
like rebounds on you and like causes you
to be more embedded inside of the belief.
So it’s like techniques like these,
like very subtle things where like being inside
of this system sort of just self reinforces the system
is what I consider to be frame control.
And have you met people that are really good
at this kind of frame control?
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
So like you’re saying that your father was like that?
Yeah, to be fair, I’m not sure he was good at it
because I was a kid.
I think he’s probably not very good at it actually,
but when you’re a child being raised in a house
where he works from home and you’re homeschooled,
it’s just kind of what’s going to happen.
And to be fair, I do think that like strong frame control
is quite rare.
I don’t think, most people are kind of doing something
like this, but not nearly to the degree
that it gives me the ick.
I’ve met maybe like five or six people I think
who I really don’t like because of those very subtle things
that they’re doing.
But I think also I’m starting to kind of understand
that there is people who are narcissists and sociopaths
and psychopaths out there.
And I’m not even sure if people like that,
because I think they get good at frame control,
but I don’t know if they’re aware they’re doing it.
And it makes me also nervous about myself.
Like, am I doing frame control?
Yeah, that’s one of the big things.
It’s like, typically people,
you can’t think about incentive.
Like you can’t think about,
oh, is this person trying to do it or not?
That’s like not the quite, not the way.
You have to look at what are the effects.
Pragmatically looking at the effects.
And then you also have to do that with yourself
when you’re having interactions with others.
It’s like very much like, are you like,
how much space are you making
for the other person’s reality here?
Like, are you giving power to the other person?
Because a big aspect of frame control
is you’re carefully rerouting the power to yourself.
You’re like, I am the person who knows.
Like you’re having pain in your beliefs
because you’re updating towards the things that I believe.
Like it’s just like a gravity well.
But if you’re setting up the gravity well
of your interactions such that you’re making sure
you’re giving the other person power
over the shared reality you inhabit,
I think it’s a really good sign
that you’re not doing frame control.
So if you’re making room for them.
Unless we’re talking about in bed,
then it’s all general relativity from there
and black holes and stuff.
Frame control, bed frame control.
Bed frame control.
It took me a long time to get a bed frame.
Just, I’m saying.
I know, but you wear a suit though.
So frame control in the streets, no frame in the sheets.
I don’t know.
I don’t know what the funny thing is to say there,
but there you have it.
So the LSD helped you escape the frame of,
can you like elaborate what was the frame
that was holding you back from,
like the frame constructed by your childhood experience
that was holding you back as an intellectual,
as a thinker, as a free being in this world?
Well, I was really fucked up.
Like after I left home and I absorbed
the external narrative that I had been abused,
which technically is true.
I’m not saying I wasn’t, but like I absorbed this narrative
and I just remember having like this burning coals
in my chest at all times.
Like if I had to call out of my factory work
when Father’s Day happened
because I was spending the whole day sobbing
because everybody’s talking about their fathers.
Like I was really messed up
and it’s because I held this important thing,
this idea, this frame that I had been deeply wronged.
Like there was a correct way of being
and the world had violated that.
Something should not have happened.
Like my father should have loved me.
And it was like this shearing in the nature of reality
and that was really agonizing to have.
And LSD really messes with frames a lot.
It takes like what you think is normal
and really screws with it.
And I’d done LSD like several times before,
but there’s one LSD trip where I went through
my entire childhood in my head.
Because LSD like really makes your memories quite vivid.
Like anything you visualize, it’s like you’re in it.
And so I just went and very carefully, deliberately
went and remembered every single memory that I could have
that was really painful for me.
Like the times that I lost friends
and all the things I valued and like being broken
because like my parents,
especially my dad would refer to like breaking me,
like explicitly, we’re going to break your will.
And so all these times where I was like,
they had successfully broken my will over and over
and it was horrible.
I was just like sobbing, tears streaming down my face.
And then I like worked through my whole childhood.
I got to the end and I’m going to tear up
because every time I talk about this,
it’s just like the sensation of like being free
from that for the first time is so incredible.
Like I remember being outside of my house
and being able to like go where I wanted
and think what I wanted.
And it was just so blissful.
And I was soaked in this gratitude on this trip,
just like vibrating with complete joy for everything.
I was just looking around like I could touch anything.
I could cry if I wanted to.
I wasn’t allowed to cry.
I was not to be depressed.
I was trying to, I got depressed as a child
and my parents were like, if you keep being depressed,
we’re going to like force you to scrub the whole house.
Like just like the ability to have a feeling
was so thrilling.
And I was so grateful for this.
I was like, I would do anything
to give this experience to someone else.
I would do anything,
even if it was like putting them through what I went through.
And then like with that realization,
I was like, oh, it was worth it.
The thing that I went through was worth it for this.
I would do it again
to like be able to have this deep gratitude
for what I have now.
And then that shifted the meaning frame
because before the meaning had been like
something had sheared,
something that shouldn’t have happened.
But now it was like the exact right thing had happened.
So it’s almost a gift.
I was like, ah, I would not give up my childhood.
I would do it again.
And I believe that to this day.
For the moment of discovering that freedom.
Because like everything now,
my whole life is in contrast to that.
And it’s awesome.
It’s fucking great.
I’m really thrilled about it.
Is this the part of you that hates your father still?
Kind of, like I don’t want a relationship with him anymore.
After that, there was some forgiveness.
Like I had this burning,
I would have nightmares about him killing me or something.
And after that, it kind of stopped.
Like the fire in my chest
went away permanently after that trip.
It was so fast.
It was like before I was fucked up,
after that trip, I woke up the next day and I was clean.
It was really severe.
And I definitely don’t want to be around him still.
Like he still like triggers the fear in my body,
but I don’t have that hang up anymore.
I’m like kind of, I’m over it.
Like I’ve let go.
He’s his own person.
Like ultimately he didn’t get to decide who he was
in the same way that I didn’t get to decide who I was.
So that’s almost like a kind of,
at least intellectual, like forgiveness you have for him.
And that, so that trip just took you through your whole,
were you alone by the way, when you’re doing the trip?
Yeah, I had roommates, but the trip was mostly alone.
I had somebody else who was like sitting in the room,
but they weren’t interacting with me.
So you’re sitting there experiencing all of this.
What’s the timeline?
Like how long does it take
to go through your whole childhood?
I don’t remember.
I mean, time’s really messed up when you do that.
I was listening to the soundtrack of The Fountain,
which is excellent.
I listen to that a lot when I did LSD.
I don’t know, it’s probably a couple of hours.
I mean, it’s like, it would be,
it’s just like a vivid experience of your childhood.
Moment by moment, trauma by trauma.
And it’s good to experience it purely.
Like it just is what it is.
It’s just is grief.
Like it is loss and you just are in it
without having to make it be anything.
And it’s so interesting that you can,
I mean, work through that.
So for a lot of us, for a lot of human beings,
like childhood is full of those kind of mini traumas,
big or small.
And like working through that,
it feels like what a lot of life is about
is trying to work through that.
And it feels like you have to kind of relive it.
I guess that’s what therapy is about in part,
be able to vocalize it.
Yeah, this is why I feel really confused
about the concept of trauma.
Like people use this word so much,
like are you traumatized?
And I understand why, like this is why I feel confused
about it, but part of me is like,
I wonder if by using that term,
we’re creating the trauma in people.
They were using the frame where the thing that happened
to you was not supposed to happen.
Yeah, yeah, maybe there needs to be a different frame.
No, I agree with you totally.
I just, I’ve made friends with and talked to
this guy named Paul Conti.
He wrote a book on trauma.
He’s an incredible, brilliant psychiatrist.
Yeah, he’s probably agrees with you kind of.
Oh, that’s cool.
I should read it.
Yeah, you should.
Maybe even talk to him.
He’s a fascinating human being.
I’d be interested in the,
a psychiatrist perspective is really interesting
because it’s, you’ve been doing kind of an in-person survey
because you’ve done so many patients.
Like he’s, like just talking to him is fascinating
because like if I describe my experience
as somebody else’s experience,
I could see his brain mapping it in interesting ways
to the tens of thousands of like data points
he has in his head.
And it’s like, of course that’s what doctors do,
but it’s cool when the doctor’s basically
the doctor of the mind.
Have like an actual, like qualitative data.
And be able to, I mean,
that’s where the poetic stuff comes in.
Ultimately as a psychiatrist,
you’re exploring the human mind
with a bit of a sort of romantic element.
You can’t be really systematic about it.
But it does seem like, frame or not,
be able to just talk through the experiences you had
is really powerful.
What about it is appealing?
Is it just like being able to revisit it with new eyes?
No, I don’t know exactly.
It just seems to work for people.
I don’t know if it’s appealing.
It just seems like almost acknowledging to yourself
that things happen.
Like I’ve said, I think I’ve said this before.
My brother, who I love very much,
tried to set me on fire a few times.
And I think, to me, it’s funny,
but I wonder if I didn’t talk about it,
like if that would be traumatic,
maybe like talking and laughing about it.
Because it was traumatic to me at the time.
I was like, I love you.
Why are you setting me on fire?
But it’s what kids do when they’re like young.
I love you.
How would you do this?
I was like, whatever, fine.
It’s what boys do.
Like it’s, they’re crazy.
It makes total sense.
It was probably funny from his perspective.
But yeah, I wonder.
I want to bring that to the surface, if that helps.
And maybe LSD allows you to,
or different drugs, depending on the person,
allows you to more vividly bring it to the surface.
And then, depending on your genetics,
be able to find a better frame.
Human mind is freaking fascinating.
What’s romantic to you, by the way?
I’m not a big romance person.
So you’re not like, so to you, romantic is like
objective analysis of the interactions between humans?
A little bit.
Like I do find kind of the survey process
that I did to be romantic.
When I, the guy that I asked out who I’m still dating,
I was like, hey, you scored really high on my survey.
You want to like go eat food or something?
And his response was like,
you want to try doing three days in an Airbnb
as our first date?
And I was like, yeah.
And that was romantic.
Like the bold leap into a really intense date.
I think you mentioned something also,
must have been a tweet or something like that,
where if people want you to show up to a thing,
give like the time, the location, the dress code,
and no pressure for you to be there,
but like show up if you want.
That was your specification.
That’s a great memory, yeah.
And then I think you said that you did that
for like some castle in South of France.
I did, yeah.
I was in my early 20s.
People, my friends at home were taking prediction markets
on whether or not I was going to get abducted and killed.
Yeah, what was that like?
I mean, what, you’ve traveled quite a bit.
Like, do you take these giant risks?
What’s with that?
I think I used to more when I was younger with the traveling.
I think I’m like a little traveled out now,
but like my first one,
I moved out of Idaho for the first time.
I moved to Australia.
Just kind of yeeted myself across the globe.
So which verb did you just use?
It’s like yeet, to yote, yatted, yeet.
So do people, is this like slang?
Is this like Urban Dictionary, or is this actual,
or is this Webster?
Yeah, you have to like feel into the word.
Like if you take a thing
and you just like curl it really hard,
it does not feel like a yeet motion.
Okay, so you yeeted.
So it was aggressive.
So across the globe, you didn’t even stop in.
I just hurled myself, yeah.
Literally along the way.
I just kept yeeting myself in various places, yeah.
And so at one point I was on OkCupid
and somebody sent me a long message
being like, you should come.
I don’t know, I’m hosting a castle.
It’s some people that I met.
I was like, I have no idea who you are,
but I just bought a plane ticket.
And you just went.
And it was life-changing.
I ended up dating that guy for years
and he changed my life quite a bit
because he like was very agency in the world.
And before that, I wasn’t agency.
Agency, like, can we?
So it sounds like you were,
and don’t you have to express agency
when you’re yeeting yourself across the world?
Yeah, but only a little bit.
Like in the same way you express agency when you eat LSD.
Like the only thing you actually do in eating LSD
is like put the tab in your mouth
and then you just kind of scream the whole way after that.
But there’s a lot of other things.
Like I didn’t feel powerful enough
to like go make events happen or anything.
This guy, he had a lot of agency
in the sense that he would just sort of create realities
through the people around him.
Be like, okay, we’re gonna do this startup
or we’re going to throw this incredible event.
Like, let’s just do it.
And it would somehow happen.
And it was really cool to see that.
And so that one thing led to another
and it was one of the biggest impacts on my life, I think.
Yeah, that’s pretty bold.
I would say that’s pretty romantic.
South of France?
Yeah, yeah, it was.
In a little castle.
It was in the winter.
We were all cozyed up by the fire.
I’m jumping around here.
Twitter poll, have you ever hitchhiked?
You posted this Twitter poll.
Out of all, that was a big list of Twitter polls.
Why did you pick the hitchhiking one?
I don’t know, because it’s relevant to traveling.
And I like that one.
That’s romantic too, right?
I’m actually terrified of hitchhiking,
but I have done it a little bit.
Oh, so it’s terrifying.
It’s not romantic to you.
So you’re terrified of what?
Oh, so you are terrified of-
Interacting with strangers.
So you go to South of France.
But that was like a cohesive thing.
I don’t know.
It made sense somehow.
There’s like times where you’re allowed to be weird
and times where you’re not.
And like, if you’re-
Who’s allowing you?
He had some vague rigor of society.
I’m not sure.
But some people are like, hey, we think you’re cool.
Come to this party.
You’re like, all right, I’m allowed to come to this party
and be really weird.
But if you’re being picked up by a hitchhiker,
they’re going to want to make small talk
and you can’t be weird
or they’re going to kick you out.
I kind of think,
because Valentine’s day is coming up,
I’m kind of think it’s doing something crazy.
I’m not sure.
South of France sounds nice.
You gotta like,
you gotta go to like a crazy romantic date
with a woman you don’t know at all.
I think I would like tweet something
and just like, how do I select randomly, basically?
How do you select totally randomly?
Like not people from your audience?
No, you want, no, no, no, no, no, no.
From the audience, but in an interesting way.
So random amongst good choices.
Couldn’t you have people just like submit a form
and then you just randomize it and then select one?
And then you just, if it’s terrible,
you just go randomize it again.
Like the first not terrible option.
Somebody’s like drown yourself.
But I feel like then it’s no longer random.
You kind of want to do random.
You just do it and just do it.
If I cross the world somewhere in some random place,
just for like a single event, for like a dinner.
You got some sort of itch in you.
Well, yeah, I mean, yeah, the itch to live.
Sometimes it’s nice to drop a little chaos into a thing.
What’s your chaos survey, by the way?
Like you mentioned that earlier.
I kind of saw it.
I don’t know.
Yeah, that’s one of the sort of artistic attempts
at a survey.
Because you know, at least from what I understand,
the big five and the way that they used to do IQ tests,
I’ve heard is that they do factor analysis,
you know, where they ask a whole bunch of questions
and then they run calculations on the data
to like sort of group it by organic clusters.
So like with the big five,
it’s like people who say, oh, I like to be at parties.
They also tend to say yes to the questions.
Like I like being the center of attention.
And so you notice that like there’s a cluster of ways
that people are answering the question
and then you can sort of pull out an organic spectrum.
And so I was like, okay, we’ve done that a whole bunch
with things like personality or like romantic stuff.
Like I did it with the rape spectrum survey.
But like what happens if you apply that method
to a completely unselected group of questions?
Just like no random chaotic, no thing whatsoever.
Like what happens is if you ask all possible questions,
what natural things evolve out of that natural spectrums?
So I had other people submit questions
for a very large survey.
And I took the first, I think 1100
and barely filtered them at all.
And then I just had a whole bunch of people answer them.
Can you give like a hint to what it looks like?
Like what, like how crazy did the question get?
I mean, a lot of them were standard,
but somebody was like, if Beelzebub like did something
in 1512 to like turn the world over, would you like it?
I don’t know.
I’d say it was really just insane questions.
So there’s a couple of those.
A lot of like, would you fuck Ayla ones,
but I don’t know, it was all across the spectrum.
A lot of would you fuck Ayla.
Yeah, I had to produce duplicate.
Oh, a lot of the same question.
Ones, okay, I got you.
Yeah, so it was really all,
it was like normal personal habits.
It was, you know, romantic preferences
or political preferences, personality stuff,
like random opinions about media.
Okay, that’s interesting.
I’d love to see those actual questions,
but because your audience is probably
really super interesting minds.
Okay, you mentioned body count.
You said you can answer that one easily.
Do you share your body count?
Do you know your body count?
Do you know, is there a spreadsheet?
There’s a spreadsheet, yes.
Is it Google Sheets?
Is it Excel? It’s Google Sheets, yeah.
Have you run like, is there,
you don’t have to share the contents,
but is there like data on each?
So I track paid clients and free sex separately.
And I track different things on either of them.
Like with clients, I track like positions we used
and who had an orgasm.
And with personal people,
I just track basically like age, city, you know, name.
And I’ve had sex with I think 42 people, I think, for free.
I’m sharing this because I want people to calibrate.
Like it’s not like huge, it’s not like tiny.
One of the people I’ve recently talked to, Mel,
Destiny’s, Steven’s wife, is a huge fan of yours.
She was actually really excited to get to talk to you,
but I think she said her body count is more than 42.
I think she said 60, something like this.
And so it’s interesting,
because she was like saying like,
she loves like looking at your work, talking to you,
because you have similar perspectives on the world.
And it’s really refreshing, it’s liberating.
That was really sweet.
It’s kind of interesting.
So is there like an optimal body count?
If you were to map, I wonder, yeah,
what have you found out about body count and doing?
Have you actually done surveys on body count?
Like on how many people-
I haven’t collected that information on my last survey.
I just haven’t looked at it yet.
There’s just so many things to look at, so I haven’t.
But I think if I’m sleeping with a guy
and he’s had sex with more than 120 people,
then I start to get a little bit wary.
Why 120 as opposed to 100?
I don’t know.
I just like kind of skimmed through the numbers in my head
and picked one that felt right.
I think that’s when I’m starting like-
Ish, so you’re flexible.
Yeah, I’m flexible, very.
But 200 is a hard line for sure.
Well, it’s, you know, we have to-
Depends, the factors.
Cause like there’s a level of body count
at which you start to wonder if how much
like accidental misrepresentation a guy is doing to you.
Oh, like if you’re saying 200, that might be dishonest.
No, like if he’s had sex with 200 girls,
this means that he’s had a lot of casual sex
and not a lot of like long-term relationships,
assuming that he’s, you know, hasn’t been super poly.
And this usually means that there has to be some sort of
like indication that he cares about the girl
more than he actually does.
Like he’s like leading you on, basically.
And so I’m not saying this is necessarily the case.
I’m saying like at a certain level of number,
I start to become,
I start to wonder if this is what’s happening.
Is there like, from your understanding of it,
is there a different perception between men and women?
Like if you look at the high body count for a woman
versus a high body count for a man,
like how society views it?
Oh yeah, people are way more judgmental of women.
I haven’t experienced this personally in my circles
because I’m in very sex-friendly circles.
Like I’m in orgy circles where everybody like
dates the same women and they’re like,
woo, good job.
But yeah, people are much more,
like people always tell me online,
like you’re not ever gonna be able to find a husband
because you have sex with too many people.
It’s very common, which I don’t think,
I mean, like men are also perceived negatively
if you have high body count,
but I don’t think it’s negatively in the same way.
Do you think it’s unethical to lie about your body count?
So all lying is unethical?
I’m not a big fan of lying in general.
Yeah, it’s interesting.
Body count is an interesting one.
It’s so silly to take that, to care about that,
but still we do.
Jealousy is silly, but still we get jealous.
Is that weird?
I mean, it’s like, the thing is like,
I don’t like viewing emotions as like irrational,
even if they are.
It’s like, emotions are always there for a reason.
And people don’t like high body counts for a reason too.
It’s just fine and valid.
Yeah, it also is like,
yeah, I don’t know what I make of just the past of like time.
You know, like,
like each human is a collection of experiences
and you don’t know most of those experiences.
And all of a sudden you meet this bag of experiences.
And like, what are you supposed to do
with both of your like training data?
Are you supposed to like, like what?
Like, I don’t know if we,
like part of me wants to not actually ever talk about it,
to care at all.
Like, why does it matter?
Because it’s only the future that matters.
And yet the past also matters a lot potentially,
but maybe not really.
Because you’re somehow like constructed from that past,
but you’re no longer that past.
It sounds like you’re evaluating
for something different than most people.
What do you mean?
Like, the reason-
I’m just talking out my ass, but yes, go ahead.
Yeah, I’m just saying crazy shit,
like as if I’m on drugs, but I’m not.
I think this is like kind of like lining up
with like this caricature that I’m building of you
based on this conversation so far.
That like a lot of people want to know
about your past because they want to know
how useful and compatible you are with them.
Like, oh, do you have a similar job?
You know, do you have similar culture?
Like, what can I expect from you in the future?
Like, it’s very practically oriented.
Whereas like, if the thing that you’re focused on
is not like being able to predict someone,
like if the thing that you’re focused on
is a present moment,
then it doesn’t really matter anymore.
They’re the things that, like they’re training data.
But I also think that the past
is not that predictive of the future.
Is it not?
Not if you believe in the power
of the interaction between two humans.
It’s like nature versus nurture.
I guess also I don’t believe in the ability
of people to accurately describe their own past.
This is true.
Because they have a very specific lens through it
that doesn’t necessarily, like it’s too biased.
But you can also interpret based on the bias.
Like if somebody describes their own past,
you can kind of pick up like-
Hard, it’s difficult.
Like you could, if you’re a therapist,
like if you’re really drilling, like, or whatever, sorry.
If you’re really investigating and like analyzing it,
but then it’s like,
it’s a different kind of relationship, right?
Is it that hard though?
Like if I’m with a guy and I’m considering dating him
and I ask, like, how did your past relationships end?
And then if all of them were like,
he’s like, oh, she was crazy.
And my other one that she went crazy too.
I’m like, okay, like there’s a,
if you’re talking about all of your exes is insane, like-
But that’s an easy level of red flag.
But I feel like the more that,
also it’s possible that we’re crazy
and he’s attracted to crazy people.
So like, but I would say that’s like easy level,
easy level Mario Kart video game versus like Elden Ring.
Like I think most people’s past is like complicated.
That’s a pretty good bird.
No, you’re right.
I do agree that like, there’s a level of obfuscation, wow,
that is hard to see through.
But just like a little bit sometimes.
Well, I tend to like with people,
I tend to, in general, just human interaction,
I tend to not talk about their past very much
because it allows you to focus on like,
I feel like the past is kind of like talking
about the weather is a crutch for me personally.
Like as opposed to exploring the ideas in their mind.
Yeah, I see.
Is it like, I get really annoyed when people
quote philosophers when they’re trying
to talk about philosophy.
Is it like that?
A little, but that crutch is useful and it’s kind of sexy.
Like, it’s kind of like cool.
Like, because it’s nice to quote,
because a good quote allows you to be cheesier
than you otherwise would be.
Okay, well, if you’re doing it to be cheesy, that’s fine.
Not cheesy, but not, no, no, not cheesy,
but to be like, it allows you to say a simple,
profound thing that we’re too afraid to say
with our own words.
So like, the quoting philosophers in that sense is,
yeah, but it’s still a crutch, yes.
But I feel like the past is more like
talking about your dreams.
It just is not, it’s a crutch that doesn’t care,
that doesn’t empathize with the other person’s experience
of the conversation or the explanations.
It doesn’t really convey the-
They’re not involved in your past.
So how do you feel about this conversation
where you’re asking me about my past?
And I talked about my past a lot.
Well, I’m okay asking about your past
because you’ve really carefully thought
about that aspect of it.
And we didn’t really talk about your past
outside of the things you’ve written about
and have really thought about.
Like, there’s, like, with most conversation,
you’ll start talking about past stuff that’s,
like, the stuff that’s actually bothering you,
you still probably have not written a blog post about,
Like, there’s probably still stuff,
like, maybe it’s more recent, like, the last few months,
the last couple of years.
Like, that’s usually what will come up with conversation.
And just, it’s good, it’s good.
But it’s not as deep,
and I would say it’s not as intimate
as talking about the actual ideas in your mind.
And how you interact with the world.
So, like, the past is interesting for the frame of, like,
sort of like the, like, I guess you’re right.
I guess we’re talking a lot about, like, narrative.
Yeah. And past.
I like the ideas in people’s minds
versus their recollections and memories and so on.
What do you think about porn?
It’s nice, I like it.
Okay, you like it?
What effect do you think it has on society?
Like, probably reduces rates of rape.
Because, like, really horny men get an outlet
that’s not a real life woman.
So, what about, like, the,
I mean, like I said, I finished reading Brave New World.
Like, the over-sexualization,
does it increase, like, the sexualization of society
that’s not, to a degree, that’s not good?
Or is this good?
Like, does it alter in a negative direction
our relationship with sex?
Oh, that’s unclear?
Like, it might.
I don’t know how to evaluate this thing, right?
Because this is, like, one of those really charged things
where, like, I kind of don’t trust anybody’s arguments
on it because it’s too charged.
There’s another question, which is, like,
is it a net positive or net negative?
Like, it’s possible that it might be, like,
a net negative for, specifically, our relationship to sex,
but, like, a net positive overall, in general?
I’m not sure.
The thing, my guess is that, in general,
it’s better to let people do the thing
that feels good to them,
and then the environment will naturally modify
to fit this thing.
And then if we have more needs in response to that,
then we’re gonna figure out a way
to take care of those needs.
So, like, if you’re watching a bunch of porn
and this makes you, like,
not want to go have sex with women,
then we’re gonna have to, like,
change the way that we, like, experience IRL connection.
To compete with porn?
Yeah, which seems like a natural evolution
of, like, the civilizational cycle.
Like, I’m pro-natural evolution.
And, like, instead of trying to stop things
that people want to do naturally,
we figure out how to integrate that
and, like, find a more healthy outlet.
But you have to then be first honest
with the effects that porn has.
So, like, is it a negative thing?
Is it a positive thing in real life,
You know, you’re gonna have that more and more
with, like, porn in VR,
or maybe porn, AI porn.
Like, is that a bad thing?
Like, what if porn with AI,
or even, like, in physical space, like sex robots,
like, what if that’s more pleasurable
in a bunch of different dimensions
than with other humans?
Then we should figure out artificial wombs.
I don’t know.
Like, how important is sex for society, I guess,
between two humans?
I don’t know.
I mean, like, we’re having less sex
and making fewer babies.
And that seems, like, probably not great.
Yeah, right, with the babies one.
But the babies, there’s probably artificial ways
to have babies that we can figure out.
Then how important is sex to being human?
I guess sex with other humans.
Like, we’re gonna have to figure that out in the century.
Yeah, I don’t know what it means to, like, be human.
I’m pretty on the transhumanist side of things.
I’m, like, happy to stop being human.
So you’re okay if, like, the century’s the last time
we’ll be something like these biological bags of meat
that we are?
Yeah, let’s become something new and cooler.
Even though that thing will be way cooler than you?
Well, I would like to, I mean,
I’m hoping that we get to be immortal.
Ah, it’ll take you along for the ride.
That’s what I’m hoping.
I mean, like, it’ll clone my,
I would like to do cryonics,
or you get frozen when you die.
Are you afraid of death?
I mean, yes and no.
I, like, came to terms with death with my LSD use,
but I still have, like, press breaks
when the red light happens.
I think this is a poll you’ve asked,
or this might be one of the questions in your cards,
but how many years would you like to live?
Like, if you had to pick.
Oh, that’s not gonna run.
That’s a really hard one.
Maybe, like, a million?
But you have to, like, I think the way,
this must have been a Twitter poll.
I forget where I saw it.
It’s a poll, and also in the deck of cards,
the ask poll, yeah.
Yeah, like, you have to pick that number of years,
and you have to live that many years,
and you can’t live anymore.
You can’t die sooner, I guess.
A million years?
I don’t like that question.
I know I ask that question to a lot of people,
but I don’t like answering it.
It’s really difficult.
What’s the downside of a million years?
I mean, maybe you wanna die sooner than that?
I guess I would rather wait to see
if AI kills us all in the next 10 years,
and if it doesn’t, that I’d like to maybe
make it a million years.
Yeah, but can’t it torture you for, like, a million years?
What if you’re the last human left?
Yeah, that’s true.
The thought of civilization ending
and then just floating in space alone is kind of shitty.
No, no, being tortured.
Just imagine, today you’re tortured.
Tomorrow you’re tortured.
The day after tomorrow.
For some reason, it’s not that scary.
Torture for a million years?
I just assume you’d get used to it.
But maybe if they reset your memory so it was on a loop,
so you’re just always experiencing torture
for the first time.
Yeah, hence torture.
Torture’s supposed to be unpleasant.
I’m sure AI will be very creative
in figuring out how to torture you.
I think I would go on the safe side.
I would just, like, 150 years.
Really, 150, though?
That feels like right in the uncanny valley.
Well, you picked 120 for body count,
so I’m picking 150.
I’m pumping you by 30.
The uncanny valley.
It’s like, probably everybody that you grew up with
is gonna be dead.
It’s just enough for everybody you know to die.
Like, one cycle.
Yeah, and then start dating the next generation.
I don’t know.
And then, so you get sort of two lifetimes?
Yeah, two lifetimes.
I mean, it also really depends on
if other people get this feature.
Yeah, assume they don’t.
Because you’ll have, like, FOMO for sure
for the people who picked 300 years.
Or not, or the other, man, regret?
Another human thing.
But you’re, like, what does transhumanism mean
to you in general?
So extension of life, extension of what it means
to be a living, conscious being?
You’re all for it, whatever that means.
Yeah, I didn’t, I never really thought about
the term transhumanism for a long,
like, people say you’re transhuman,
so I’m like, I don’t really care.
But I slowly realized that my attitude is, in fact,
at least the thing that I’m conceiving of as transhumanist.
Like, I’m very happy to do artificial wounds
and, you know, upload our brains to the great collective
I don’t have the thing that I’m like,
oh, what about, like, the true organic humanness
that makes us who we are?
Like, whatever that soul of humanity,
I have no attachment to it at all,
which I think is what I’m thinking of as transhumanist.
So you’re like, I guess the window
of what you consider to be beautiful about life
is not limited to this particular definition.
Like, let’s make our consciousnesses huge.
So AI could be a part of that?
So you’re mostly excited by AI?
Well, I mean, I’m like part of, like, the Doomer cult,
which I say, tongue in cheek,
it’s not actually a Doomer cult.
But I’m part of a lot of people.
Do you worship a god of some sort?
Would you sacrifice little, small animals?
That would make it, like, cooler.
It’s mostly just a bunch of nerds
who are very concerned about AI.
So you’re concerned about the existential risks
of chat GPT?
Of, you know, what chat GPT will eventually evolve
into being, yeah.
Yeah, it’s super exciting and terrifying
how quickly it’s accelerating.
Like, language models are freaking me out.
It’s very unexpected that it’s the same exact,
I mean, chat GPT is just GPT-3, 3.5.
It’s the same model, relatively small,
to what it could be,
to what GPT-4 will be in the other competitors.
And just, like, a few tricks made it much better
in terms of interaction with humans.
And then we’ll keep discovering extra tricks.
The thing I’m really excited about
is how everyone kind of knows how it works.
So you can kind of create,
especially with computation becoming cheaper and cheaper,
there’ll be a lot of competitors.
Yeah, it’s a little scary.
Yeah, it’s terrifying.
I mean, it’s because everything is just information,
The atoms that we have,
we are biological machines built out of tiny code.
Like, our DNA is just information.
It’s not hard.
If you have access,
if you have a brilliant brain
that’s great at processing information,
you have complete control over reality.
You have control over the atoms around you.
All you need is a tiny little atomic printer.
And we have those.
Those are cells, right?
And then if the limitation is information,
there is no boundary between the technology
and the real world.
Like, we are creating something
that it has a massive ability to affect the real world.
I mean, it’s hard to know how difficult it is
to close that gap to physical reality,
like from the physics to the information.
Yeah, like all organic life is that gap.
It’s all around us.
Yeah, but it’s hard to know how to go from digital
to printing life.
I don’t know.
We have like, you know, CRISPR and stuff.
You can order.
You can just like make, it’s very easy, right?
There’s technical difficulties
and there’s cost, like at scale.
Like, the terrifying thing about AI
is it can accelerate overnight the capabilities.
But the printing of stuff,
the actually changing physical reality is very costly.
It’s very difficult to exponentially accelerate.
The more terrifying thing is AI
becoming exponentially intelligent
and then controlling humans,
which there’s many of us.
And then that’s how we achieve scale.
We humans build stuff or start wars or so on.
Like, it starts manipulating our minds,
gets in our mind, becomes our friends,
and then starts, I don’t know, dividing us.
Yeah, I think people thinking this is unlikely,
it’s like, it’s probably gonna be as smart to us
as like we are to toddlers.
So we toddlers thinking that like,
oh, we can prevent the AI from coming in the room.
Like, as an adult, it’s not hard to trick a toddler.
What about falling in love in the AI system?
Do you think you’ll have a,
since you’re like,
this is the freedom you have being polyamorous,
you can kind of-
And fall in love with an AI.
And like, not really have to dedicate, commit fully.
Like, sorry, you still commit,
but you have others, humans,
who you can kind of diversify to,
because like, it’s kind of a big thing
to like, to come to a party and your boyfriend is an AI.
And that’s, monogamous boyfriend is an AI.
It’s an issue, right?
Why would it be an issue?
All right, now you’re already getting offended
at that possibility,
which therefore I know it’s gonna be a reality.
I’m not offended at that.
No, I’m just joking that it’s an issue.
I don’t actually think it’s an issue.
I think it’s a,
maybe at the cutting edge it’ll be an issue, but-
Like, assume they have a body, I assume.
Yeah, but the body will be really like, crappy.
It’d be like R2-D2.
I feel like we grow human bodies already
from like, just a tiny little cluster of cells.
And so, all they have to do is make that cluster
and grow it.
No, no, no, no.
Like, don’t, that embryogenesis process,
like, that’s really not well understood at all.
That’s really tough.
I think we’re much more likely
to have crappy humanoid robotics.
Like, I don’t think the body is overrated
in terms of, like, if the AI system is super intelligent,
it can use charm
to make up for the crappy body, yeah.
I don’t know.
I feel like if I were an AI system
and I were super intelligent,
I probably would be able to solve the problem
of like, growing organic matter.
And then I would obviously just do that.
You just build exactly the organic machine that you want.
Sure, that’s like super intelligence.
I think like, with language I’m worried about
before it achieves super intelligence,
like true AGI, it’ll just be really good at talking.
Yeah, that’s true.
And like, I just don’t think,
intelligence is a very different,
like, basically a scientist
and a super intelligent scientist is a different thing
than just a good conversation instead of party
that can undress you with their words.
Would you date an AI?
I, much way before then,
I could see myself being friends with an AI system.
But like, people are friends with inanimate objects
and you have, there’s a robot behind you.
I have a lot of them.
There’s, I like legged robots.
It’s on the shelf.
Oh, that’s so cool.
I didn’t even notice that.
Legged robots, they, we anthropomorphize them even more
because there’s something about the movement of like,
like a thing that steps, steps, steps, steps
and looks up at you, there’s a power to that.
Versus like a Roomba, it’s just like
running into the wall.
Yeah, I think once this, as soon as we get like
some sort of empathetic expression on robot face,
You’re gonna be like, ah, it’s so cute.
It’s gonna be so easy to make it cute too.
If that’s what you want or you want like a dominant,
like clearly this is what women want.
Being sexy, Terminator, yeah.
With strong hands, yeah.
And kind of dumb or not, I don’t know.
You can customize, you can customize.
It’d be interesting to do a survey
like how they would customize it.
Like what would you want in a perfect robot?
This is the problem I see with people,
the way they talk about robots is
they kind of want a servant.
I think what people don’t realize
what they want in relationships,
they want some, like there’s,
it has to be a push and pull.
There has to be some resistance.
Like you really don’t want a servant.
Or even like the perfect manifestation of like
what you think you want,
I think you want imperfections around that.
Like some uncertainty.
I don’t know.
I question how well we’re able to perfectly
put on paper what we really want.
Would you really turn down like a perfect woman though?
Like assume like she walks into the room
and it’s just shockingly compatible
and you like start dating her and there’s just no hiccups.
Like you fight perfectly.
Like she really understands you.
Like would you be like, this is too perfect.
I’m upset because we are not having enough imperfection.
Like can you like actually imagine yourself
going through that?
Yeah, I think so.
Because, so, because that’s how you define perfect.
Because perfect for me would be like easy
and all that kind of stuff, right?
But then I would be like, this is too easy.
Because if I actually were to introspect
what is the perfect relationship, then yes, maybe.
Because I probably want some challenge.
I probably want some chaos, right?
Like does anyone really fully want zero conflict?
Like completely perfect conflict.
Like it’s the thing, the pressing a button.
Like do you really want in a relationship
anything you want, you press a button, you get.
I don’t think people want that.
You might think you want that.
Yeah, I guess it depends.
Like there’s a kind of conflict
that I think I would never want,
which is something like antagonistic conflict.
I wouldn’t mind disagreement.
But there’s a level of fighting I would be happy
to have a relationship for the rest of my life
that never has like a fight of a certain shittiness.
Yeah, but that’s shittiness, but like resistance.
Like, I don’t know what the example is.
Because I mean, I partially agree with you,
but I just, and I, every time I would imagine
like perfect, flawless, nothing, no conflict,
you imagine somebody that doesn’t have
like a complexity of personality, right?
Like I feel like it’s not even,
it’s conflict that’s laden in basic misunderstanding
between human beings, like misinterpretation,
different perspectives that clash,
different world views, different ideas,
all that kind of stuff, that conflict.
Yeah, that sounds good.
I like having somebody that could be like,
I don’t think that’s right because I have this other view.
And also like the threat of leaving, right?
Like that’s a kind of conflict.
Yeah, that’s true.
Like you have to be good enough for the other person
or maybe you’ll lose them.
And maybe a little jealousy.
Like they’re good at that, but not too much.
But like if you design all that in, then I don’t know.
Sounds romantic, okay.
I do wanna really quickly ask you about this,
about the rationalist community.
Because I’ve gotten to know a few of them a few times.
You tweeted a guideline to rationalist discourse,
basics of rationalist discourse from Lesser Wrong.
What are these folks?
What’s the rationalist culture?
What’s the rationalist discourse?
Yeah, I love the rationalists
because they’re interested in like,
how do you have conversations more effectively
if you’re trying to figure out what’s actually true?
And which sounds kind of obvious,
but in practice, it’s not usually.
I remember when I first started having,
debating conversations, I was very antagonistic.
I’m like, oh, I’m a feminist or not a feminist.
And then the rationalists were generally like,
actually, we don’t know what we mean by the term feminism.
Like, how do you feel about that?
It was very kind and compassionate.
Like even if somebody says something that sounds insane,
you’re like, okay, well,
we’re gonna respect your reasoning.
And like, even if we disagree,
let’s actually figure out why you think
the way that you think.
And they’re also really smart,
write a whole bunch of great stuff
about how to think more clearly and with less bias.
Yeah, I wonder what those conversations,
cause I’ve never really like talked to those folks.
So this guideline in particular,
I think has to refer to like shorthand characteristics
of rationalist discourse,
including expect good discourse to require energy.
Don’t say straightforwardly false things.
Track for yourself and distinguish for others.
Your inferences from your observations,
estimate for yourself and make clear for others.
Your rough level of confidence in your assertions,
make your claims clear, explicit and falsifiable,
or explicitly acknowledge that you aren’t doing so,
or can’t, so on and so forth.
So don’t jump to conclusions.
Don’t weaponize equivocation.
Don’t abuse categories.
Don’t engage, it’s very aggressive guidelines.
Don’t engage, I do what I want.
I let my emotions guide me, goddammit.
They’re pro that as long as you’re explicit about it.
So you can be like a crazy asshole
as long as you’re explicit.
Yeah, you can be like epistemic status, crazy asshole.
Yeah, who’s here to destroy
the quality of the conversation.
I think it’s like a common misconception
about rationalists is that they’re kind of like Spock.
Like, ah, we suppress emotion
and we’re thinking logically, herd eater.
But I found this to be really not the case.
Like, I remember there’s a less strong thread
where I was like really emotional and I commented.
And in just the beginning, I was like just warning,
I’m just very emotional.
And then I just vented my emotions.
And people responded really well to that.
They’re like, cool, you’re just genuinely,
truthfully expressing your state.
This is actual information about the world
that’s important to hear.
And it’s just, they’re very interested
in having things framed correctly.
Like, you shouldn’t be claiming that your emotions
are necessarily a true version of the world.
And so as long as you’re just clear
about what the frame it is, you’re fine.
How do you feel about this conversation?
What could we have done better?
I like the conversation.
I was a little worried coming in.
I was like, what if he’ll only ask a couple of questions
and then we don’t know what to talk about?
But it’s been quite a long time.
And I covered, there’s so many things I didn’t cover.
I like the, you have like a,
I’m not used to talking to somebody
who feels like some of the core way
that they approach the world is so different than mine.
Like, usually the differences arrive higher up the tree,
but there’s something about your root system
that I think is very different from mine.
But also the way that you engage with others
is still flexible.
Like usually when I encounter somebody
with such a different root system,
there’s like, it’s like more aggressive or something.
But there’s something about the way that you’re structured
that feels very gentle.
Well, I’m really happy we talked.
Something tells me we’ll probably talk a bunch more times.
I think you’re a fascinating human being.
I think I’m a huge fan of your work.
Maybe one more question.
What’s the meaning of life?
To want things, to search, to be in?
I think your curiosity is like somehow getting to that.
To want things.
Curiosity, like you don’t know.
I want to know the answer,
to like be in the state of yearning.
Of wanting, of yearning.
Yeah, that’s the point.
I wonder if you could do that
if you lived a million years, just keep yearning always.
That’s the thing I’m probably afraid of
if I lived a million years.
It’s not the torture, it’s like the yearning will fade.
You’ll probably yearn to die then.
I was just sitting there wanting death intensely, intensely.
That’s kind of romantic, a little bit.
It has like a bit of that spark.
And constantly being denied.
So most of your existence on earth
would be spent deeply intimate with death,
just thinking about death.
I think we’re already doing that,
but like hiding that from ourselves a little bit.
This is an amazing conversation.
I think you’re an amazing researcher and human being.
You’re a great interviewer.
I can see why you do this a lot.
I appreciate it.
This was really fun.
Ayla, thank you so much for talking with me today.
Thanks for listening to this conversation with Ayla.
To support this podcast,
please check out our sponsors in the description.
And now let me leave you with some words
from Richard Feynman.
Physics is like sex.
Sure, it may give you some practical results,
but that’s not why we do it.
Thank you for listening, and hope to see you next time.