For ages and ages, I've said that my favorite episode of the Big Little Podcast is Number 9, Self-Esteem and Coming Out.

It's still true.  Do check it out.

I was on reddit this morning, responding to a thread on r/ABDL about how to come out to your therapist when I recommeneded episode 17, Ageplay and Finding a Therapist.  We recorded that thing waaaay back in 2011, seven years ago!


I'm solidly of the belief now that #17 is definitely my second favorite episode of all time, and that nine plus 17 equals a whole lot more than 26.

I remember it being good, but I hadn't listened to it in a while.  So I put it on.  Man, it sure is good.  First off, my friend Liz had super smart things to say about the physiology of the brain, and about telling a therapist about experiences of abuse.  My ex Kacie said wicked smart stuff about the reality of dating an age player and how it has nothing to do with actual kids, really smart, direct stuff.  

And then there's Andrea.  Andrea was so amazing on this episode.  She just was everywhere in the show.  Everything anyone had to say, she had support for, or great contrasting opinions.  She was raw, honest, open, and fantastic.

We're recording an episode of the show this week about grief & loss, during which Andrea will figure largely.  And it's been bittersweet and challenging, getting myself ready, writing up the list of things we're going to discuss.

Listening to episode 17 this morning gave me the warmest feeling about Andrea.  Listening to her wise words, lovely dirty innuendo, and caring talk just made me feel so good.  

There's this one moment, when I'm talking about my confused feelings around face slapping, due to childhood trauma, and I say something funny in the midst of describing it all.  And Andrea wanted to laugh, so much.  And I said it was okay to laugh, and she did.

Even though she's gone, she's still here with me.  

I've got this friend, Nanny Grace.  She's a sex worker, a pro-domme Mommy.  She's thinky, fun, and kind.  We're relatively new friends, and lately have indulged in that glut of "get to know you" talk where we discuss anything and everything.

She introduced me to an idea about sexuality, the "dual-control" model of sexual response.  Basically, it works like this:

Some things get you going, like pressing a gas pedal.  Other things hold you back, like a brake pedal.


What sort of things? All sorts of things.  Physical condition, social context, self-image, emotional well-being, the list goes on and on and on.  So, what it's like a math problem?  Gee thanks, Mako, you've reduced my getting off to an algebra problem.  

No, no, I swear it's not that bad.  Even though it seems overwhelming, clinical and awful, there's a hidden secret yet effective way to get on top of your sexual response.

Just ask Emily Nagorski.

Who?  I'm glad you asked.  She's a researcher, author and speaker who my friend Grace introduced me to.  Watch this.  It's going to be among the most useful, important 17 minutes or so of your life.  The basic premise is, context matters.

When you like yourself, when you recognize how awesome your body is, and all the different ways you have to use it to get off, and how good a thing that is, you stomp that gas pedal in your underpants hard.

Thanks, Grace.

AuthorMako Allen

Tonight, a good friend did something very special for me.  They went out to dinner with me to help me process my grief about Andrea’s death.


My Helpful Friend is something of a subject matter expert themselves on this matter, having recently had to deal with a death themselves. 

So we met. We sat.  We talked. I almost-cried a few times. I ate steak. It was good.  

One super helpful thing my friend described to me is that I would run into two sorts of pain in my grieving.  

  1. Punches to the head
  2. Punches to the gut

Type 1 punches are the things that make you think, that make you dig in, obsess, dredge up grief you thought you had already worked through and revisit it.  

Whereas type 2 punches are those quick, sharp, knock-the-wind out of you experiences.  Something catches you off guard, and you suddenly don’t quite know how you feel.

Here’s the thing though.  While experiencing these punches doesn’t feel very good, it’s normal and kind of good for you.

Andrea, she carved this special place in my heart, in my life.  I’m utterly, incontrovertibly changed by our friendship.  I don’t want  that not to matter.  I welcome  both the pain and the pleasure of how much she meant to me, and still means to me, even in her death.

I know that that’s uncomfortable.  I know that it’s not easy, not for me, and not for you.

 I’m grateful for the discomfort. And I’m grateful you’ve stuck around to share in it with me.

In a way, that was at the heart of my friendship with Andrea.  On the regular, we challenged one another, called each other on our bullshit.  My friend I had dinner with tonight helped me with some of that too, as we ate, commiserated, and connected.  It was damn fine.

I’m grateful for such good friends, those now gone, and those still with me.  


AuthorMako Allen

I’ve been friends with Andrea for over a decade.  If you listen to the podcast, you’ve heard her. (She’s on a number of them including my all time favorite episode, number nine.)

Andrea and I have this wonderful thing we do for one another.  We are sort of philosophical sounding boards for each other.

She lives far away, in Michigan, and we don’t see one another very often. But here’s how this process goes down. We won’t talk for months, sometimes even years, and then out of the blue, reach for one another again. Sometimes I initiate that, sometimes she does.

Then, when we talk, all the time and distance just fall away. And, weirdly, we each find that whatever it is that’s front and center in our life or mind, whatever thing it is that we are working on, the other person has something wise to say about it, or has just been going through it themselves.

Which is also why we are tremendously good at calling each other on our own negative habits. We will say to each other, “so, how’s that working for you?”  This is always followed by the person asked laughing (a little bitterly) and feeling grateful. 

My breakfast is on the left.  

My breakfast is on the left.  

Yesterday was one of those times. Even though I was here in Virginia, and she was in Michigan, we had breakfast together. 

We laughed together, ate eggs together, and caught up.  I’m so grateful for my friendship with Andrea. I love her very much.  

AuthorMako Allen