We're joined by Kenya K. Stevens, one of the founders of the Progressive Love Academy, to talk about her work with coaching members of the polyamorous community and her take on non-traditional relationships. To learn more about Progressive Love Academy, visit its website here: www.progressiveloveacademy.com, or follow @progressive_love_academy on Instagram. For access to Kenya's free gift lecture, visit www.multiamory.com/polyamoryonfleek.
Our theme music is Forms I Know I Did by Josh and Anand.
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Jase: On this episode of the Multiamory podcast, we're speaking with Kenya K. Stevens. Kenya K. Stevens is a relationship expert, coach, best selling author, wife, and mother of three. She graduated from Howard University in Washington DC with a degree in education and child psychology. Not only did she scoop up a degree but she also met and married fellow Howard student Carl Stevens. Kenya and her husbands are the founder-- Her husbands? Wow, I threw a pearl in there. Kenya and her husband are the founders of Progressive Love Academy, which has certified over 150 coaches and tantra practitioners.
Dedeker: Kenya, thank you so much for joining us today.
Kenya: Thank you so much for having me.
Dedeker: Now Jase, it's pretty funny that you put a plural with the husbands thing because Kenya, on your Instagram, I see you do refer to your partners as like husband number one and husband number two. Is that right?
Kenya: I do. I think that's cute, but then some people say that's hierarchy.
Kenya: I was with this one first, that's number one, and then this one second, that's number two.
Dedeker: I see, yes.
Emily: Do like husband one and husband A or something.
Jase: It's funny how if you call them husband one and husband two, it sounds like the one is the primary one, but then if you say husband 1.0 and husband 2.0., it seems like the second one's a better one.
Emily: Oh, there you go.
Dedeker: I like that. Okay, so I'm just going to dive in here. You have been practicing polyamory, you've been coaching others, and you've also been training other coaches for over a decade now. In the course of that time, there's definitely been an explosion of interest in non-traditional relationships. We've been running the show only for five years and even for us, in the last five years, we've really witnessed some major changes. What do you think has caused that?
Kenya: Well, I think that--
People talking about it in the closet. I'm the first person of African descent, the first woman of African descent in this country to openly live a polyamorous lifestyle and to advocate for it openly. Now of course, there are so many people living polyamory. Many don't even know it, but I think what's causing it now is that movies and social media and mainstream media is catching up and utilizing those themes. For instance, she's dating the president. The president is married. These mass media polyamorous scenarios cause people to catch up with the timeline that hey, monogamy is not really working for the majority of the citizens in this country.
Dedeker: Yes, we recently had that interview with Willow Smith that came out, which I think was huge.
Emily: Yes, but I saw that you talked about it on your Instagram.
Kenya: Oh, it was lovely. I was so happy to see Willow because I think the younger generations can really do this more easily and with more stealth than those who have been in traditional views for so long and they judge themselves based on traditional views.
Dedeker: Right, definitely. Now I do want to segue that a little bit and talk about what you see happening in the future and whether that's the future of society as a whole or the future of specifically what the younger generation is going to do or maybe even what you see your own kids doing as far as carrying these values or really abandoning the more traditional values around this.
Kenya: Sure. I look for a society where we really step into a new paradigm. There should be no reason why human beings are not free in general in every way. Polyamory is just one of those stops on that train towards freedom. The concept that I can't do what I want with my body just because I'm married, or just because I'm a man or because I'm a woman, these things hold us in the old paradigm.
The old paradigm is not really productive for the creativity that we need to solve the world's problems. We have serious concerns right now in our society, and to resolve them, we have to move beyond that which created those concerns. That is lack of freedom, lack of mental acuity, lack of expansion. That's where polyamory is going. It's expanding us as a species and helping us to really develop the kind of society that we really want to live in.
Dedeker: Right. Definitely. Again, thinking about this more philosophically going into the future that I think that for so long, the primary-- I don't want to say obstacle. Maybe the primary resistance to the idea of freedom, for a lot of people, is this notion that freedom equals chaos.
Kenya: Why is everyone so afraid of chaos? It is from chaos that we grow. Just everything could be considered chaos because it's the unknown. Chaos is the unknown, and every day we wake up into the unknown. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Why are we so afraid of having the human experience? Why are we so afraid of the earth school? Why are we so afraid to grow and to realize our power through that growth? There's nothing to be afraid of as we walk into the unknown, which is what you consider to be chaos, right?
Dedeker: Yes. Well, I don't know. That is the kind of funny thing is that I think you can see it or we see it all the time and I'm sure you see it all the time with your clients also, that on this micro level, that fear of the unknown can be so paralyzing to people of like, "I don't know what it's going to be like when I open up my relationship. I don't know what's going to happen if my partner can go on this first date with someone. I don't know what's going to happen if my partner can have sex with someone or if I get to have sex with someone." It's like you can see on this micro level how the fear of the unknown really creates this paralysis around moving forward.
I feel like that's just got to be mirrored on the macro level as well of, we don't know what it's going to be like if someone could just date whoever the heck they wanted. For a lot of people, it's so much easier to just stay stuck in what's known and comfortable, I suppose.
Kenya: What we're saying is it's much easier just to continue to allow persons with penises to have a pass, a unseen and invisible hall pass to continue to live as a natural human, which is a non-monogamous species, and to go and to have all these affairs, and to then have the woman be very upset and constantly influx and constantly wondering what her husband is doing because he is doing something. That is the western paradigm. This has been normalized, that men are persons who will have affairs. Just accepted, this is what boys do. That's more palatable than actually-
Emily: That's the kind of relationship I was born out of. Yes.
Kenya: Right? All of us. That's not chaotic? Is that not chaotic? Our mothers were depressed. Our mothers were not orgasmic. Our mothers were unhappy. Our mothers were constantly worried. Why is that not chaos?
Dedeker: That's true.
Emily: I like that take.
Dedeker: I think that's something.
Kenya: We can't play these games. It is time for us recognize where we have been, and how it doesn't work if there's a 55% divorce rate. If your child came home to say I got a 55% on this test, that's a F.
Is that a F? That's a F. If we don't resolve ourselves to understand that we need to fix this with something that is workable for everybody, persons with penises and vaginas, then we're living in chaos either way.
Dedeker: Yes, definitely.
Emily: I want to take it back just for a minute because we started to talk a little bit about media. I saw something about she's got to have it on your Instagram and we talked a little bit about Willow and various things. There is a huge increase in media coverage about polyamory, about non-monogamy. I wanted to ask, what do you think the media is getting right about all of that and what do you think the media is getting wrong or still has a long way to go on?
Kenya: Well, I wrote to Spike Lee about seven years ago, and I told him, that he needed to redo, because he was the first person of African descent to cover polyamory. She's Gotta Have It is an old movie. Came out in the early '90s, or late '80s. That was visionary of him. What I think the media is doing right is like Spike Lee listened to me and he redid, She's Got To Have It. They are not doing anything wrong, nobody is ever doing anything wrong.
Everything is perfection, that's my view, but what they could improve upon, and move more quickly, on is really dealing with the people who are in polyamory, bringing their stories out. Why are we making up Big shit? I live here with my two husbands and our children, where's the camera? You understand? Why not show the real thing? We've been up for a reality series three times, and each time the media tells us, the top executives say, we can't put this on TV. We cannot show a woman who doesn't have the drama, who is a CEO, who is intelligent, who has brown skin living in a freeway, because this is going to influence-- You understand? Media influencing all of us. I don't know how quickly they want it to come about, but I wish that they would provide the tools because it's coming about either way.
Dedeker: I think that's always the struggle with real-life portrayals in the media because I know something that we've come up against that a lot of our friends have come up against who are approached by producers or approached by people who want to develop a show. Essentially, we've seen a lot of disappointed producers when they realize there's not quite as much drama as they thought there was going to be. Once they realize, "Oh, this wouldn't-- Okay, we would have maybe two episodes worth of content as far as drama goes, and then it's just like really quite normal." Then it becomes like, "Oh, well I guess we got to go find some people having much more drama trying to work out their polyamory."
Kenya: Or create fiction. I don't understand it.
Jase: Yes, even with monogamous relationships, a show about a healthy well functioning monogamous relationship with people who are happy, people probably wouldn't watch that because it's just sort of like, it doesn't get made. Maybe that's too bad, maybe it'd be great if we did watch that, but I feel like we just don't. The stuff that gets put on TV and made into movies has to be like there's drama, there's stuff going wrong, everyone's hurt, everyone's upset and then maybe finally they are happy at the end. You know what I mean?
Kenya: Right, one thing that you guys talked about was chaos, and moving out of that chaos is removing our addiction to drama. Most of my clients including myself, I was addicted to drama. When I got married, the day went by and we didn't have a flare-up, I would think this was a weird day. I myself was addicted, it's a hormone, it's a chemical, that magic. You understand, you've seen What The Bleep Do We Know? And the movie is about who are creating a chemical to match every emotion, so you can be addicted to the chemical that matches sadness or extreme anger. That takes time to undo and those are the types of things I do with my clients, but I don't think the American public at large has done that yet, and there is a drama addiction.
Emily: Yes, just even realizing that is incredible, and you saying it out loud, that, that tends to just be what I think most people are used to in their relationships. It's like you need that fix, I guess, of that drama in your life, or else it's not exciting, it's not worth it, you should move on to the next one.
Dedeker: Yes, well, I know you've talked in your content a little bit about family trauma that you can carry on into your relationships and I know something that I very much carried into my relationships because when I was growing up, I never saw a fight that was resolved or a conflict that was resolved. I never saw a repair happening. I only saw these borderline toxic fights and that was all I knew. That was just like that's what a relationship is. It's like you have the honeymoon phase, and then you get ready to gear up to just have occasional toxic fights maybe once a week, or once a day, or whatever.
That's a whole heck of a lot of people carrying that same thing into their relationships now and the idea of a relationship where repair is really easily accessed, or trust is easily accessed. If you actually get that as a model from your parents, like you are such a tiny shiny glinting, shimmering star in this deep vast darkness of space, with its rarity is what I mean.
Kenya: Right, absolutely. One thing that I stress with my clients is that you cannot go into polyamory without that kind of self-awareness. If you don't understand what the purpose of a relationship is, if you don't understand that you are attracting your mirror, if you don't understand that your trauma is unhealed, and these relationships are going to bring them up for healing, then you really don't understand relationship in general. Then how can you be in poly? Now you are going to have all of these trigger points. You cannot manage that without that kind of self-awareness. Which is why I teach them all in every talk show, it feels like you guys understand that. To me, that's the crux of poly.
Dedeker: That's our hope anyway, I think for myself personally I had to learn the hard way that it's like, oh, yes. Doing this is going to shine a big old spotlight on every little trigger, every little crack, every little insecurity, it's going to bring it all out into the light. That's not a bad thing, it's a very good thing, but you got to be ready for that. When I first started I wasn't ready for that. When I first started I wasn't ready for that. There was no part of my brain that conceptualized that that's what might happen.
Kenya: Yes, right, good. That's what we do, we start with the foundational freeness that the purpose of a relationship is growth and the benefit's love. If you've never been through that challenge with your lover, and you got to the other side, then you've experienced what love is. It has pushed you and made you a new person. That's what love is. We start with that, and we move on to the other principles of premisses of progressive love. Polyamory, you need tools and that's what we provide.
Dedeker: I want to shift gears and talk a little bit about community. On our show, we often encourage people to connect to community, and in your own content, you've also reiterated that community is necessary if you are polyamorous. Now, you've also talked about the fact that at the same time, western culture teaches us that it's possible to be 100% self-reliant, and we can get our community needs met either by no one but ourselves or just by a very small handful of people. I remember in one of your videos you even said that it's dangerous to attempt a none monogamous relationship without community. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Kenya: Yes, because you have to vent. Your ego is going to come up. Your animal is going to come up. It's going to be aroused, your animal is going to wake up. It's going to be pain, there's going to be depression, problems, sadness, and you need people to go and vent to. I have a whole process of my newest book Up Level, talks about a communication process, but the biggest part of communication is allowing your ego to express itself. That's something the West does not like. If you're at work, do not say that you don't like your boss. In polyamory, you have to say it.
You have got to get this stuff out of your body. We suggest that people have a large community so that they can have people to share that with in a safe container, and always be processing and moving through emotion without always dumping it on your partner. Your partner can't always handle it because they are going to take it personal because they are in their ego as well. Community is vital.
Even if your partner is with somebody else, you need to hold someone, if you are experiencing jealousy, you need to be able to ask someone for what you need. If you have no one around you, what are you going to do beyond call your partner, and curse them out saying "Get the hell home, because I'm not feeling well." Well, you need somebody else to help you feel well. He's out.
Dedeker: Yes, do you mind sharing a little bit in your own personal journey, becoming polyamorous. What was it like for you finding community or connecting to a community?
Kenya: Well, my personal journey into polyamory was hell, and I try to make that really clear, you are going to go through many deaths. I don't play games, I'm like a rapper. I'm going to tell it how it is, you're going to die many times, I mean, because what's dying? A part of you that was holding on to specialness. A part of you that was holding on to all of these concepts that are not really real, and they are not really relevant for your life. You are going to die to those and that hurts, it's painful, but in terms of what you asked, I forgot what it was but you asked about that.
Dedeker: Your own in connecting to community and how you found community?
Kenya: Luckily enough, when my husband and I got married, I was 21. I'm now today 35. When we got married, I was 21, we actually came directly into community. We had been initiated into the African spiritual culture. So that was all about community. We grew up in community, I just understood it to be a vital part of our lives.
When we were fighting and going through things, we would call the elders, they would come over our house, they would talk to us. This was in Washington, D.C. We had created that here. I just knew the importance of it. Most may not have had that experience, but ultimately you have to get into it, it's a community.
Dedeker: When you transition into a polyamorous relationship, was there any friction with your home community in that regard?
Kenya: Sure. Yes. My mom said, "Leave that man. Leave him. That's not right." Everybody had a thing to say, but I could easily shoot back at them. "Well, all y'all husband have had another partner. All of you. My grandmothers from both sides, my mother, all of them. His mother. Everybody. People got divorced about it. People have been fighting about it. Are y'all serious? No, I'm not leaving. Now, I actually have the freedom to do what all persons with penises have done for 1,000 years. Why would I leave?
I'm in Canada. I crossed the Mason-Dixon, I'm not in the South anymore, I'm free.
Jase: There you go.
Kenya: I don't believe in throwing away humans, like why would I need to do that? I don't need to throw my best friend away because he wants to make love with other people. Why?
Jase: I know for a lot of people that's such a struggle though when they become polyamorous. A lot of times it feels like they lose their community. They get cut off from, whether it's their family, or just their friend group, or they feel like, "Now I can't come to these people because no matter what I come with, they're going to go, "Oh, your problems are because you're doing that polyamory thing." It's just such a hard thing for people.
Kenya: I have seen it. They're not creating a new community.
Jase: Well, they end up needing to. I think that transition, that gap in the middle where you lose the one before you've built the other can be a real hard time to figure out how do I do that?
Kenya: Yes, that's very true. How can you do that? It just has to be done. One thing that I am is a warrior, so I just kept pressing forward with those people. I would taunt then and tease them, be like, "Hey, y'all, serious, da-da-da-da. Look at you. Your husband cheated 20 times and every time you--" My grandmother actually told me when I told her I was Poly. She said, "Every time your grandfather cheated, I cheated back and I never told.
Emily: Oh, my gosh.
Kenya: They started really telling me the secret and I'm like, "Why would you raise a daughter, my mother and not tell her that?" You see what I'm saying, like, "Why are we not teaching--?" It was a whole thing that came out. You have to be powerful to be poly. That's what
Dedeker: That's so interesting about the secrets coming out, though. I'm sure you've experienced this many times. It's like when you're the only person in the room or in the community or in the conversation willing to openly talk about these things like your own desires, or yourself as a sexual being or whatever, it's like often the reaction can be both this revulsion or this pulling away but then also, there's just a lot of people who just immediately, like it all comes spewing out. There's so many people where, I just mentioned in passing, like, "Yes, our podcast, we talk about polyamory or whatever." Then they're like, "Oh, my God. Six months ago, we had this threesome and it just went horrible. This is what I thought was going to happen. This is what she thought was going to happen," and then she's like, "That's what I thought." I'm just like, "Gosh."
Emily: You feel like, "Don't care, bye."
Dedeker: It's not that I don't care, sometimes I'm like, I do this for a living, so I can only take so much of this. On the other side of it, I'm like, clearly, it was like there were these floodgates holding things back. Clearly, this is stuff that people want to be talking about. Even if they are not polyamorous, they still want to be talking about just the fact that like, "We're attracted to more than one person over the course of our lifetimes and that we are sexual beings or stuff like that." I don't know. Y'all have experienced that.
Kenya: That's the beginning of your formulation of community.
Emily: There you go.
Jase: That's true.
Kenya: It's vulnerability. You're vulnerable, you will create community around it.
Dedeker: Like that.
Jase: Okay. I'm going to pivot us again. A lot of your content talks about how important it is to be honest, and transparent and vulnerable with your partners, and being able to honestly and authentically share your desires and your fantasies and your needs, and all of that. However, for a lot of people, they've never done that and they feel like they can't.
From the beginning of their relationship, there's like, "These are things I can't talk about, because maybe they'll leave me or they'll judge me for it, or they'll use this against me, or whatever it is," even if that's just in their own head. It's like, "I can't be honest." I feel like our culture teaches us that. It's like, there's certain things you just don't share with your romantic partners, or at least not with the ones you really care about and that that's just normal.
For someone who's maybe listening to this podcast, or he's checking out your Instagram, and it's like, "Oh, my God, the idea of being honest and authentic sounds amazing, but how would I even get there? How do I get to that?" Do you have any advice for someone who's like, "How do you take those first steps when you don't feel like you can."?
Kenya: I really let my clients know that I never think about how. How is not a real question. I think about why and what? Why would I do that? Why would I say something that might make my wife leave me? Why would I do that? Oh, my gosh, because of my what? Because I would like to have a certain level of freedom. I would like to be able to express myself fully. Like, what do you want? If you don't want that, if that's not your what, then there's no reason to do that. You understand?
If you have a what, and then you understand you have a why, "Why would I want to do that? "Because it will feel so good. I will finally feel like I'm living my life. I will be happy," then that's what you need to be going for. Who's not going for their own happiness? But never think about how because how will be revealed to you. How is a revelation, how is a goddess. How is a goddess. Think about what you want, and why you want it, and then you will be given the hows.
Dedeker: I know I can call them like my own experience, which is the only experience I can really speak from. I think about way back in the day, coming from this place of just automatically assuming like, "Yes, I know, this is what I want. This is what I desire. This is what I fantasize about," but telling my partner that is not going to feel good, because there's no way my partner can love me if I've been that open and honest and vulnerable with them.
I feel like I see a lot of that. It doesn't even necessarily have to be about polyamory. I think it could be about just as simple as a weird sexual fantasy you have. I think that it's even precluded by this idea of like, there isn't someone out there who's going to love me, even when I'm this vulnerable with them. I feel like I've come up against that a lot.
Kenya: I totally understand that. I just am a roughneck. I'm from Detroit. When my clients come to me, what they're going to experience is opening up and getting into what they want, what do they truly desire? I really, as a coach, that's what coaches do. If I'm coaching a basketball team, I'm going to, "Get on your ps and qs. Get up there." I'm going to tell my clients, "Say what you want. There's nothing wrong with what you want. There's nothing wrong with who you are." This person's not going to leave you, and if they do, it's their loss. I get in there. You don't have time for this like playing around. We don't.
Dedeker: I'm just curious, in your work with your clients, what are the most common obstacles, or the most common sticking points that you see people stumbling over on the path to opening up?
Kenya: Communication, that what you're talking about. They've not been taught to express their animal and their ego and their highest self. They don't know which one is speaking. In my book, I talk about the fact that if you're going to speak, you have to tell us who is speaking. If I'm going to speak to you, let's say Emily, "Emily, I really have something on my heart. I have something on my mind. Do you have a space to hold for me right now? Can I share this?" It's actually about you.
Kenya: Thank you.
Emily: Let's do this.
Kenya: This is just my ego speaking is probably all lies because all the ego does is lie and I know everything is to grow me, so I just want to share this and get it off my ego's chest. Then I will share what I want to share. I'm going to fire at you, "You're doing this with my partner. I let you be with my husband and now you want to be with him four nights a week and I told you it's only two nights a week?" Now I'm going to stress that and after I finish is, "Thank you for sharing. How can I support you?" I have a whole list of things, it's like a flowchart of how to communicate, but most people just don't have the space to hold for each other, and I teach people how to hold their space for each other.
Dedeker: I like this role play because so you talked about speaking from the ego and I think, you also mentioned speaking from the animal or the higher self. Can we roleplay those two? I want to see them.
Emily: Animal and higher self, I know. I want to do all of those. Well, I just want to know also, what each are.
Kenya: Sure. The ego is the mediator between your higher self and your animal, your animal is your feelings. It's feelings, all raw emotion is animal, " I want to kill you." or, " I'm upset." Whatever you're feeling is your animal. You are an animal, I don't know why humans get away from this.
The ego is mediator, it senses what the animal is doing and then it says, "Well, this is how we're going to present that to look good." The ego always wants to look good. Well, I don't feel that this is appropriate behavior for polyamory. The ego is so funny, I'm constantly laughing at how the ego shapes what the animal's feeling and presents it so you don't look vulnerable, you don't like you're mad, "Oh you're mad?" "No, I'm not mad." The ego is so fake, so fake. "You are mad."
Kenya: The higher self is that which knows, "All is well, nothing is wrong. All things serve to further, everything is perfection. I am growing." That's the higher self, but in this culture, we're not taught to understand the difference between those three voices, so we just talk. We think "This is my truth." No, it's not, that's your animal, that's your ego.
You have to know who's speaking and that's what my book really teaches, because if you're going to be a polyamory, tell us who's speaking, do not just start talking out your mouth. That’s not fair, so that you know.
Dedeker: I really like that. I started working with clients in the last three, relatively new for me. I do feel as they're starting to be a little bit more cultural literacy around polyamory and I think, especially, within the polyamorous community, there's a little bit more literacy around best practices and worst practices and like, "Here's some, maybe, good morals and values to ascribe to, and here some, maybe, toxic ones."
As there's more literacy around that, I think, what you're referring to as the ego, I've seen a lot of clients also get really good at using the ego to dodge those things. Things like, "Oh no, we can't admit to being jealous because jealousy is the bad thing." That's the bad thing, that's toxic polyamory.
Emily: It's like, "Let's be honest, clear, and vulnerable as you said.”
Dedeker: Again, like you were saying, the ego, that the ego is going to come up with that, like, "I don't think that's appropriate." Or, "Well, I don't think that's quite within our agreements." That's a really wonderful way of laying it out there because yes, we do that all the time, I'm definitely, not perfect in that regard either, but that's a really good name for a phenomenon that I've been seeing, of how the ego is always going to find this slippery way to still look good and still seem really rational, presented and composed.
Kenya: Act like you're right. If your ego is ever saying, "We have these four sayings; no shame, no blame. No victims, no villains. No cop-outs, no dropouts." If your ego is ever blaming anyone for anything, then you know you’re in ego. All the ego does is find out who's right and who's wrong, which is a lie because nobody is right, nobody is wrong.
Even if you stand up like, "You have broken our agreements. I feel a sense of sadness that you aren't respect--" That's all ego, it's a lie. You see what I'm saying? That's what the tricky point that I have mastered in getting with my clients because we don't play that game either.
Emily: Do you ideally want your clients to go more towards the route of just saying what they feel, and then moving on like, taking away the bullshit essentially, and just being like, "Okay, these are the emotions that I'm having. Let's talk about them." Then ultimately, while also knowing, "Things are going to be okay over here."?
Kenya: Right, this is growing me. I teach my client to start with animal, move up through ego, let everything expressed, that's the only way you can get to the higher self. If you're always hiding your animal, and telling your animal-- What happens to an abused animal? When you tell them, "Sit down, shut up. Sit down, shut up," the animal starts to go crazy, the animal starts to really be malfunction. Do not abuse your animal, we have to love our animal, let your animal express, let your ego express, reveal yourself, get naked free.
Dedeker: That's the only way trauma comes out either.
Kenya: That's it. Then you can get to the higher self. We even have a thing in my book called a simulation, where, "Okay, if my ego expresses itself, Emily, I don't like how you were with my man, I told you, da-da-da." And you say, "Oh, thank you for sharing. How can I support you?" I might say, "Emily, I would like a simulation, would you simulate guilt? Because my ego just wants to hear you admit the truth."
Emily: I like that though because yes, sometimes you just do need an acknowledgment in your specific way from another person, that's fascinating. Oh my Gosh, I really like that.
Kenya: Hallelujah. It's a game because your ego is just a gameplay you can play, that's the technique that I give for polyamorous.
Dedeker: What was it in Starship? The Kobayashi Maru?
Jase: The simulation? Yes.
Dedeker: So you're like, "I need you to step into the Kobayashi Maru with me. Simulate guilt or simulate whatever."
Emily: There you go.
Jase: What was the name of the specific simulation in the Starship bridge simulator thing?
Kenya: Such a tricky, I love it. I've never thought of it.
Emily: Okay, I want to talk about your Instagram a little bit which, by the way, we're reworking our Instagram and I used yours as like, "This is how I want it, to look similar to this because it's gorgeous." It's also like, you see it and you're like, "Okay, I know what I'm looking at here. I understand what this is all about." It's just really well done, so I do love that.
On there, you recently posted this video where you're explaining why female-male-female threesomes are not polyamory. We talk a lot on our show about things like one penis policy, unicorn hunting and how they can definitely, be at least, ineffective or at worse, destructive and harmful. But when we talk about things like that, we do, sometimes, get push back from people in one penis policy or unicorn hunting relationships. They just insist that they're practicing like a different form of polyamory and that people-
Kenya: What form is that?
Emily: Exactly. Well, and that people shouldn't be so judgy and gate keeping. With all of that, what are your thoughts on this? And if you can even go a little bit into the reasoning why you said female-male-female threesomes are not polyamory for the audience.
Kenya: Absolutely, yes. This is just my ego speaking, but we're not playing this game because our higher self says, "It doesn't matter what we call each other, it doesn't matter the labels. Who cares?" That's the higher self, but for my ego sake, and for the sake of coming out of a system of a thousand years. Well, why don't we recognize what women were a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago? Let alone women of African descent.
Let's not play games, it's slavery. We're not playing a game where polyamory is like, "Oh yes, we can be poly, but it still means that a woman does not have a choice of what she does with her body." That's not polyamory. Polyamory is many loves, nowhere there does it designate that a man should have many loves and a woman should not. They need to make up another name, swinging or something else.
When I think of polyamory, I think of a whole new paradigm where humans are free to make choices for their own body, I don't care if they have a penis or vagina, that's how I think of polyamory. I don't know why I have clients come to me and say, "Oh, well, me and my wife are going to have threesomes. We’re interested in polyamory." I say, "Oh, she can have who she want and you can have who you want." "No, we're just going to have threesomes with women." "That's not polyamory. I respect you, but that's not what that is."
If we're creating a new paradigm, it has to be clear that there's freedom for all. Why can't we ever have a paradigm that's about freedom for all? What's wrong with that?
Emily: There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Kenya: What's the push back with that?
Dedeker: What tends to be your approach with those clients, who come in with that notion of like, "We've made up our mind and this is how it's going to go. She only wants to be with women so then, we're just going to decide, we're both only going to date women and that's going to be okay."? What tends to be your approach?
Kenya: I just let them know that I don't know if I'm the coach for them because I have thousands of clients. If you coach with me, you're very privileged, you have an opportunity of a lifetime because I'm the best at what I do, but I tell them, "Look, I don't know if I'm the coach for you, because the way that I will coach you, she will be able to tell you her authentic truth." And any authentic truth of any human is that humans are not monogamous creatures, and they want to be at choice whenever they walk into the world. They want variety, all humans; from children to adults, from every race to every sex.
I can't promise you that she will be following into that program, and I can't promise you that you will want to hold on to that program once you really get authentic and deal with your fears.
Emily: That's really hard for a lot of people here.
Jase: I feel like it's funny thinking about the ego trying to justify everything like you were saying before. I feel like I've heard so many of these different arguments of being like, "No, but we are equal. She can sleep with women and I can sleep with women. That's equal, right? I can't sleep with men, she can't sleep with men. That's fine."
Dedeker: She's happy with just being as the only penis. That's really how it is.
Kenya: Polyamory is at choice. Now if you are at choice in that relationship, let's see. Because if you are at choice and you have some new information and you have some new experiences, will you still choose that? At choice is a freaky topic.
Jase: Yes, for sure.
Kenya: Are you at choice or at you at conditioning or you have fear; if I do that, if I say I want that, my husband will leave me? That's not good.
Dedeker: That's a big one.
Jase: So much of it comes back to fear, I think. Fear of being alone or fear of being rejected or just fear of who you might be if you actually acknowledged all the animal stuff going on. What you were saying earlier about the three different parts that we're not taught to identify who's speaking; which of these voices is speaking right now?
It's interesting, I remember reading a book years ago that was about a similar concept, but rather than it being about like the animal and the ego and the higher self, it was based in neuroscience stuff. Saying that we are taught to think of your brain is like one unified thing that's always thinking or feeling, the one thing that it's thinking or feeling.
Actually saying, no your brain's more like a whole room full of a committee of people who all have different opinions and different feelings and they're arguing about it constantly and whoever happens to be winning or getting the most support or talking the loudest at that point is the one that comes out. I think sometimes when we buy into that illusion that our brain is always consistent and it's always thinking one thing, we can end up in these--
Kenya: Are those persons who built that theory listening to their thoughts?
Dedeker: Also, I feel like that completely disregards the fact that you have this whole nervous system below the neck that also weighs in on these things. It's not just what's happening up here. There's also all this down here that also has a say in a lot of these things.
Kenya: Just having a heart and a brain. Just those two elements, those two alone feelings versus thoughts, how can anyone not feel the divergent thoughts in the brain that are constantly happening together? Learning how to sort those and really understand where each is coming from and respecting each. That's what the Egyptians did. Persons would come from other countries and come into an indigenous place and these people be dancing, they're hallowing and let their animal act all crazy. Everyone say, "Oh, they're heathens, what are they doing?" No, they understood the animal has to express.
Then they're all sexual, their clothes are off and They understood the science that you have to respect yourself as an animal, as an eagle, as your highest self and they also categorize art types. You have all those art types within you. It is phenomenal the psychology of the indigenous ones.
Dedeker: Yes, seriously.
Kenya: That's where my work comes from.
Dedeker: That's powerful stuff. Speaking of your work, you were running us through the four-set phrases that you have at Progressive Love Academy and you cut off before the third one. Can you run us through those four really quick?
Kenya: There's no shame no blame, no victims, no villains, no cop-outs, no dropouts, and the purpose is growth while the benefit is love. That's four phrases. That is the basis. Those are our rules. We don't believe in rules. We believe rules are for fools.
Dedeker: That's like a fifth one, I like that.
Emily: That's another phrase, exactly.
Kenya: We believe in principles. Do we need rules and we have principles? The notion no blame, no cop-out, no dropout, all of that is how we start our client from the ground floor.
Dedeker: That's really pretty amazing stuff.
Emily: I love all that.
Dedeker: Although, I think if we start saying rules are or fools, we'd get a lot of push back.
Jase: Maybe we should. Maybe we should start a conversation.
Kenya: I don't mind push back because I know who is pushing. Your ego is pushing back, but the highest self knows that all literacy, all languages, all things are integrated and they're one, and they all fit together and there's nothing wrong. While my ego says rules are for fools, you see? If I understand who's speaking then you understand not to take that as a problem.
The whole thing we have in the western culture, everybody taking everything personal. It's like stressful, that's just our animal. You're taking a cat, you're looking at a cat and then dog, taking it personal. That's an animal.
Dedeker: That is one of the many drawbacks of having this extremely individualistic culture is that it really trains you into that mind space of it's always cycling back to what about me and how does this reflect on me? Which activates all of that.
Emily: It's all about me. Exactly.
Kenya: That is so funny. This culture is so funny. I don't see how everybody can be laughing every day all day.
Dedeker: Actually, what you are about to talk about in handling pushback from other people, we're going to talk about that a little bit in our bonus content. I want to put a pin in that, but before we get to our bonus content, can you tell us a little bit about this intensive that you have coming up later this week?
Emily: And your book.
Kenya: Absolutely. Uplevel Communication is the name of my book and it talks about that ego, animal, higher self. How to deal with that, how to set container, how to have a real conversation without just being stuck in the ego like most westers. We are moving beyond that paradigm. It gives us a new language. A new way to use language.
The conference is all about that book and practicing in the play shelf and really working on it, because some people will say, "No this not my ego, this is what I really feel. This is really true." We have to retrain it to say, "Are you talking about your perspective? Ego. Are you talking about how you feel? Animal. You see what I'm saying?
Most people don't want to stop utilizing the language in their abusive way. I call it a language of war. You don't want to stop using the language of war, then don't. What we're going to do is stop using the language for war. That's what we're hitting about. It really takes four days to get through that process. It starts with all the principles and we move into the language workshops and we move into tantra, then we dance. It's just going to be a ceremony. It's everything for a ceremony. That's what we're doing in Asheville in the mountains, in the crystal field mountains of-
Jase: Sounds beautiful.
Emily: Wow. Sure, it's gorgeous.
Dedeker: What kind of people are invited to take part?
Kenya: Everyone. We are very open to LGBT. I know sometimes people think persons of African descent are not open to LGBT. We believe in nine genders here at the academy. We're not like maybe most persons of African descent because we don't believe in binary gender. Anyone of any gender, anyone of any sexual orientation, anyone of any race, any age, we don't believe in race. Race is a false concept. We are humans and we are diversified into these colors so we can have these experiences that grow us.
Jase: That's great.
Emily: That's awesome.
Kenya: Anyways, everyone is welcome is what I would say.
Dedeker: Okay. We will definitely include a link to more information about the intensive in the show notes. We're also going to include a link where people can find more information about your book Uplevel Communication. You are also offering to our listeners a free gift lecture video. I made by far the best url our site has ever had and it's not even for our site, it's to redirect to this gift lecture.
If you go to multiamory.com/polyamoryonfleek, you will get access to Kenya K Stevens free gift lecture which is called Polyamory On Fleek, that's fleek with two E's if you don't know how to spell fleek.
Emily: Oh my gosh.
Kenya: That is the best because I explained why I'm polyamorous in there and it's about my mom and my dad and the gun. You guys going to get in there and read the story.
Dedeker: Color me intrigued.
Emily: Heck, yes.
Kenya: Thank you for sharing that. That feels really warm and welcoming. My animals are very warm and fuzzy with that.
Dedeker: I guess last thing. We're going to chat a little bit more in the bonus content. Before we go there, what's the best place that people can go to find more of you, your content and more information about all these things?
Kenya: Sure. Progressive Love Academy or Instagram and progressiveloveacademy.com is our academy. We have lots of free courses, but then there are also lots of initiations and paid courses but if you want something free, it's really fun. It's really a great place to go, to meet me and get closer, because I like that.
Emiy: Seriously, everyone go check out the Instagram. It is #goals for all Instagrams, it's amazing.
Dedeker: Can people support because when I first started following you, your Instagram was still under Jujumama and then it recently changed. Is that a complete like, rebranding for you? Do you still go as Jujumama in certain circles or what's kind of the story there?
Kenya: I still use Jujumama on Twitter, where I have 30,000 followers, but I rebranded on Instagram for Progressive Love Academy. You can follow either one, I like either one, but I have PR people who have their egos who say, I need to be Progressive Love Academy.
Emily: You're like, "Fine."
Dedeker: When we get to our bonus content, we're going to talk about a little bit that we covered already, but we're going to talk about expressing opinions on the internet. Spooky. Stick around for that.
Jase: Yes, thank you to everyone for listening. We would love to hear your thoughts on this. Did you find anything in this episode that was a wake up call for you?
Emily: Blew your mind.