interviews

NEW FOR VICE – What Is It Like to Date When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Originally published here.

Most people first encounter borderline personality disorder (BPD) on screen: It’s the condition behind Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction. It’s what Winona Ryder’s character was diagnosed with in Girl: Interrupted. It’s what Jennifer Lawrence may have had in Silver Linings Playbook, in which her character’s specific mental health condition went unnamed. The largely unfair stereotype that has emerged of BPD—partially because of some Hollywood portrayal—is that of a crazed, manic, uncontrollable woman.

To learn more about the condition, I spoke to Dr. Barbara Greenberg, who treats BPD, Thomas*, a 32-year-old who dates someone with BPD, and Karla*, a 29-year-old recently diagnosed as borderline.

*Names and details have been changed

VICE: So what is BPD?
Dr. Barbara Greenberg: It’s a personality disorder that’s really all about having very intense moods, feeling very unstable in relationships, and seeing the world in black and white—things are either all good or all bad. People with borderline feel empty, and they are always trying to fight off what they perceive as rejection and abandonment, so they see abandonment and rejection where it doesn’t necessarily exist. They’re so afraid of being alone, abandoned, or left, or people breaking up with them, that they sense it where it doesn’t exist and they need tons of reassurance. I think it’s one of the hardest personality disorders to have. And what’s really unfortunate is that there are males with borderline personality disorder too, but it’s the women who tend to get the label more frequently. I’ve always had an issue with that.

Do more women actually have it? Or is it a cultural stereotype that leads to more women being diagnosed for their emotional behavior?
I think it’s both. I think it’s primarily that women get the diagnosis because when women are upset, they get sad, depressed, and worried. When men have intense feelings, they act it out. They act it out in terms of anger, or hitting a wall, or drinking, or smoking. Women are wonderful torturers of themselves.

How does the fear of abandonment affect their romantic relationships?
When they are in relationships they get very intensely involved way too quickly. Men or women, whatever their [sexual preference] is, tend to really like [people with BPD] at first, because they are very intense, and very passionate. Everything they do is very intense—who is not going to be attracted to that? But then what comes along with it, a couple of weeks later, is: “Why didn’t you call me back immediately?” “Are you out with somebody else?” So [people with BPD] get attached very quickly, give [the relationship] their all, but then get disappointed very quickly. They start out thinking, “I love this guy, he’s the greatest,” but if he does a minor thing that disappoints them, they get deeply disturbed. Everything is done with passion, but it goes from being very happy and passionate to very disappointed and rageful.

How can that behavior affect someone without BPD?
Terribly, because most people aren’t trained to deal with it. They don’t even know that it exists. So eventually [people with BPD] do get rejected by partners because they’re just too intense. And it’s very hard for their partners to focus on other things in their life if their relationship is so demanding.

“Everything is done with passion, but it goes from being very happy and passionate, to very disappointed and rageful.” —Dr. Barbara Greenberg

Is there treatment available for BPD?
Absolutely. There is treatment and usually the women [seek] treatment because of relationship problems leading to depression or maybe self-harm behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy has a tremendous success rate in treating borderline personality disorders because it basically teaches them a set of skills for them to handle their emotions. [Those with] borderline somehow have the message that every feeling needs to have an accompanying behavior. If [non-BPDs] are mad, maybe they’ll keep it to themselves. We sit with it. But borderlines initially can’t sit with any emotion that is uncomfortable. They have to act on it. So that’s one of the things they learn [to manage]. They learn in DBT how to deal with and sit with negative emotions without acting on them. It’s a very Buddhist zen-like treatment. They’re also taught to “walk the middle path,” like don’t look at a person as all good or all bad, a person is shades of gray. Bad people have good qualities and good people have bad qualities.

What advice would you give to someone who is dating a borderline and wants it to work?
If they want it to work they need to either be prepared to give reassurance: “I’m not leaving you, you’re safe with me.” Or they have to suggest that that person gets some therapy before being in a relationship. Or if it’s too much for them they should get out of there sooner rather than later.

So do you think there’s any hope for the borderlines after therapy to have a successful relationship?
Oh yeah, oh yeah. I really, really do. I’ve seen a lot of them get so much better, I love working with borderlines. Because their emotion is all there, and acting that way is all they know, and then when you show them an easier way to be, and to act, they see how much easier life can be. Absolutely. There’s hope.

VICE: When did your girlfriend tell you she had BPD?
Thomas: My girlfriend didn’t receive an official, medical diagnosis for BPD until a number of months in to our relationship, and the scenario surrounding the diagnosis itself was particularly unpleasant—as had some events which occurred in the months prior to the diagnosis which, considering things now, led to the diagnosis in the first place.

Before you knew the diagnosis, was there behavior that made you wonder if something was amiss?
Before her diagnosis with BPD, I understood my girlfriend to have some form of depression as well as social anxiety, which I believe she still may have in some capacity in addition to her BPD. She had grown up in—and was still living in—a particularly volatile and negative family atmosphere where she was treated quite badly. Frankly, witnessing that firsthand, I believe that if my girlfriend didn’t have some mental illness as a result of it then she’d be a true anomaly. However, many of her mood swings (which of course I can now link and identify with her BPD) before the diagnosis were difficult for me to understand, and for the most part, I assumed it was something to do with me being difficult for her to be with. I didn’t know anything about BPD before my girlfriend was diagnosed with it and certainly had no awareness that my girlfriend had it. I had no real idea of what BPD was before then.

“I see Borderline Personality Disorder as an illness about pain, fear, and struggling to cope with all of that.” –Thomas

How have you educated yourself on BPD?
Since my girlfriend’s diagnosis, I have done some considerable research on BPD, mostly as a means to better understand and to protect her. I’ve done research on the internet and read various articles.

What do you find to be the biggest misconceptions about BPD?
I think BPD is entirely misunderstood (if people are even aware of it at all) and sufferers are seen as “crazy” more than anything else. As a personality disorder, I think it’s seen in much the same vein as Antisocial Personality Disorder or even sociopathy and the likes of that, where it really isn’t comparable to those. There are a lot of nuances, complexities, and lines to be read through with BPD, but mostly I see Borderline Personality Disorder as an illness about pain, fear, and struggling to cope with all of that. It’s almost like a wounded animal, as I see it. But the common conception is just [that they are] crazy, which is an extraordinarily damaging misconception to those who suffer from it. They aren’t crazy, they’re hurting.


VICE: How have romantic partners reacted when you’ve told them you have BPD?
Karla: I am a picky girl when it comes to romantic relationships. I usually only have flings here and there, so I did not deem it necessary to let them into my mental world. One, however, did stick around. During these years I had suffered BPD unknowingly, and then knowingly. We dated on and off for about four years. He knew about my anxiety and mood depression disorders, diagnosed back in 2013 into 2014. When I told my ex-boyfriend Aaron* about borderline, he had zero clue of what it meant, or what it means to live with it or be close to someone who suffers in it. He did hours of research on borderline. Even before this, a year or two ago he had researched anxiety disorders to get a better understanding. It was impressive that instead of him running away in fear, it shed light on many aspects of the not-so-great parts of our relationship. Aaron helped himself comprehend how difficult it must be, and reiterated multiple times that was is in full support of whatever I needed at the time, as long as I was open with him, which I always was—perhaps to a fault.

How do your BPD symptoms affect your relationships?
My BPD symptoms affect my relationships with family, friends, and lovers almost all the time. It would be impossible for me to explain all of the ways my symptoms do, so I’ll give an example. One of my friends was having a get-together before we went to our favorite pub. It was a small party of about four girls and six guys. When I feel as though someone is secretly attacking me, I will get on the defense, become overly emotional, moody, and dramatic, and perhaps will call them out on it. In reality, [they] may have just not been aware whatsoever. In this case, I acted on my symptoms. It was not so much of a big deal as it was an embarrassment for me, to me. I doubt my friend had any idea. Some people with BPD label people as “good” and “bad” friends (black vs. white) when one small thing happens. I have unfortunately done this in the past.

Are you in treatment? Is it helping with your relationships?
I am currently in DBT therapy treatment. When it comes to relationships, I have certainly seen progress, but I cannot wait to see and feel more.

If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from Bordering Personality Disorder, learn more about treatment options here.

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Is My Sex Life Emotionally Scarring My Cats?

I wrote this for Broadly. Image by Kat Aileen.

Dating is terrifying and breakups are agonizing, but thankfully humans have friends and the pharmaceutical industry (actually, cats have that too) to help us get through it all. I live with two marmalade tabby cats, Major Tom Cat (Tommy) and Mama Cat. You’ve got to be a very attractive person to lure me out on a Friday night when I could be home with them and a plate of nachos. Recently I went through a rather traumatic breakup and am back in the saddle (OkCupid). I know I eventually will be fine, but what about my cats? Are they doomed to a life of personality disorders and abandonment issues? To learn more, I spoke to Elise Gouge, MPH, owner of Pet Behavior Consulting, LLC and certified animal behavior consultant and trainer. I refrained from asking her about why Mama Cat sometimes tries to curl up on my legs when I’m using my vibrator, as I assume it’s simply because she wants a massage too.

Broadly: I co-adopted Tommy with an ex-boyfriend, who was a major part of his life until recently–how can divorce/break ups/the absence of one partner affect cats’ behavior?
Elise Gouge: Cats form strong attachments with their caretakers, and the loss of one or both can have a profound impact on behavior. It’s not uncommon to see grief behavior and distress such as vocalizing, searching behavior, restlessness, loss of appetite, changes in litter-box or grooming habits, and general malaise.

In the past month my cats have taken to licking and swatting me awake at night– is there usually any cause for this behavior other than wanting food?
Changes in behavior may be due to wanting more attention or needing more enrichment. If the cats were used to a certain level of activity, and that has now decreased due to one person leaving the home, they could be frustrated or stressed. The licking and swatting could be attention-seeking behavior or stress-related to the changes in the environment.

Can cats pick up on your emotions–in this case being very sad and hurts with lots of crying because you were dumped?
Absolutely.

If you are single and bring different men home, can the influx of strangers affect a cat’s mental health?
It depends on the cat. If a cat is by nature a social and friendly feline, then meeting multiple people will be exciting and fun. If you have a cat with a more reserved or shy temperament, having multiple strangers enter the home will be increasingly stressful.

It seems new partners can almost make a cat jealous! Is this a thing?
The concept of pets feeling jealousy is widely debated by animal behaviorists and consultants. Some feel that pets absolutely feel jealousy, and others believe that jealousy is a term that carries a lot of negative stigma that should be separate from how we define our cat’s behaviors. It is true that if your cat is used to spending 100 percent of his time with you and suddenly another person is occupying your time and the cat now only has access to you 50 percent of the time, he will most likely show some stress behaviors.

For cats, vying for your attention through vocalizing, knocking things over, scratching, etc. can be common. From the cat’s perspective, he is simply doing things that result in the desired goal of getting more attention from you. If a cat (or any creature) does a behavior and it creates a desired result, the cat is going to do it more often. This is called positive reinforcement.

When cats watch people having sex–do they know what’s going on?
Cats would be sensitive to the smells, the changes in energy, the sounds and motion. Sexual contact, heightened levels of emotional or physical arousal, are all things that can impact a cat’s behavior.

My older cat Mama has now had two different “fathers” (ex-boyfriends of mine) do such changes–along with moving apartments–have a detrimental effect?It depends on the cat’s temperament. In general, cats are not fans of change. They prefer things to stay the same. Some are better than others in adapting and changing as the environment requires.

My cat has seemed to like some men more than others! Should I consider this information when deciding to get serious with someone?
If you are a dedicated cat owner and plan to have cats in your life for many years to come, then I would advise making sure you pick partners that share your love of cats. Your cat will be happiest with a person who is genuinely fond of, delighted by, and interested in him or her.


It depends on the cat’s temperament. In general, cats are not fans of change. They prefer things to stay the same. Some are better than others in adapting and changing as the environment requires.

My cat has seemed to like some men more than others! Should I consider this information when deciding to get serious with someone?
If you are a dedicated cat owner and plan to have cats in your life for many years to come, then I would advise making sure you pick partners that share your love of cats. Your cat will be happiest with a person who is genuinely fond of, delighted by, and interested in him or her.

Why You Make Art When You’re on Ambien

Latest for VICE.

Sometimes I can’t sleep for an entire week. I’ll feel like an alien; anything will make me cry, I’m paranoid, I hallucinate. It is insanity at its finest (and a choice torture method).

Earlier this spring, I had one of these weeks. I tried all the natural methods you can think of: yoga, meditation, Valerian root tea. On the sixth day of no sleep, when I found myself scraping for Benadryl crumbs in my purse and chugging half a hard cider in the hopes it might give me an hour of shut eye, I knew it was time to see a doctor. He prescribed me Ambien.

And it worked, if I took my prescribed 10 mg and tucked myself in bed straight away. But if I got distracted and stayed up for whatever reason, the Ambien made me energized and creative. I’d stay up writing emotional love poems. As VICE has reported, Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) is a weird drug. An extreme example of its “paradoxal reaction” is the drug’s ability to wake up coma patients.

During one of my Ambien-riddled nights of Tumblr poetry, I started to search for fellow so-called “Ambien artists.” I met Ryan, a 30-year-old photographer turned iPad Ambien artist from Minnesota who takes 10 mg for chronic insomnia. “If I’m working on art, normally there’s a purpose to it. But when I’m on Ambien, the whole purpose is to pass time [until I fall asleep]. When I look at the art the next day, there’s a lot of emotion put into it. You’re seeing into that dreamlike state,” says Ryan. “What you’re seeing [on Ambien] and what you’re going to see the next morning are two completely different things, but I think that’s what makes it interesting. When I’m working on it, it’s like the greatest piece of artwork!”

To learn more about the unintended creative consequences of Ambien, I spoke with addiction psychiatrist Dr. Alkesh Patel of

 about the mechanisms responsible for my shitty love poems and how Ambien artists may have other underlying diagnoses responsible for our bad art.

Read the Q&A HERE.

weed Sophie Saint Thomas

Can Weed Really Help Addicts Recover from Alcoholism and Hard Drug Use?

I just browsed through my articles on here tagged “alternative recovery” and there was one one! I knew I had written more than that 😉 This was published on VICE not too long ago. 

Weed is having something of a moment. It seems all of my friends who used to spend their weekends drowning themselves at the bar have given up the bottle for the kush. And although the renaissance may have started out west, it’s rapidly spreading to the east coast. Jersey already has a medical marijuana program, and New York just released regulations for its own slated to start next year. With pot’s rising popularity, many people are wondering if we will see a corresponding decline in binge drinking and hard drug use.

study published last fall in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that states with legal medical marijuana had a 25 percent reduction in opiate overdose deaths. As a strong proponent of alternative recovery methods, I was eager to investigate. The internet is rife with blog posts and message boards about those who benefit from marijuana as an alternative to alcohol, or credit medical cannabis in their recovery from hard drugs and alcoholism. But despite legalization becoming an increasingly mainstream idea, stigmas have stuck around, and saying you’re getting clean by toking up can catch people off guard as much as announcing you’ve gotten sober through Satanism.

To learn more about weed’s use in recovery I spoke with Amanda Reiman, PhD MSW, author of the 2009 study “Cannabis as a Substitute for Alcohol and Other Drugs” in Harm Reduction Journal and manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance. After completing fellowships with the National Institute for Health, Reiman now continues her research on the effectiveness of pot as a replacement for hard drugs and alcohol.

VICE: What did you find during your research when looking at cannabis as a replacement for alcohol and other drugs?
Amanda Reiman: I started looking at the medical cannabis patient population. Anecdotally we had heard from patients that they were using cannabis primarily because they didn’t want to use certain prescription drugs; they were looking for medicine that had fewer side effects. But we also found there were groups of people that were using cannabis because they had hazardous use of other substances, like alcohol or opiates. I did a large survey study in Berkeley of 350 patients. We asked them if they were, in fact, substituting: “Are you choosing to use cannabis instead of something else?” What we found was that about 75 percent of them were using cannabis as a substitute for prescription drugs, about half of them said they were using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol, and about 20 percent said they were using it as a replacement for illicit substances. That study was replicated with an additional 400 patients in Canada and we found the same thing. Then it was replicated a third time in Canada with about 1,000 patients, and we found the same thing.

And how does it work as a substitute?
We started to look at the mechanisms. I conducted a very small study a few years ago in San Francisco where we had eight individuals who were methamphetamine users looking to practice harm reduction. They were using [marijuana] to stay within a bound of methamphetamine use. And we tried to figure out what it was about the cannabis that was helping them stay within their boundaries of methamphetamine use. What was really interesting was that when we talked to the participants and asked them, “How is cannabis helping you not use methamphetamine?,” they all said pretty much the same thing, which is that one of their issues in trying to keep their boundaries is that they didn’t have the mindfulness. They would get the urge to use methamphetamine and just act on that urge without really thinking. Cannabis gave them mindfulness. They were able to slow down and really think about what they were doing, and what their body was saying to them. They were able to think about whether they really wanted to engage in methamphetamine use, or if they’d rather smoke some pot and go to sleep.

That makes sense.
The obvious thing is that [cannabis] acts as a psychoactive substitute. You want to get high on substance A, but instead you’re getting high on substance B. That’s a pretty simplistic way to look at it. When you take a little further look what you’re seeing is that there are actual properties of the cannabis plant that can aid in getting off of other substances. When you look at the withdrawal symptoms of drugs like opiates and alcohol—things like nausea, tremors, trouble sleeping—these are all conditions which cannabis is really good at fixing.

So for someone who’s trying to wean themselves off opiates or alcohol, having access to cannabis actually may make it less likely that they’re going to relapse, because the withdrawal symptoms won’t be as severe. One of the reasons people relapse is that the withdrawals get so bad. So if they can use cannabis to help with the withdrawal symptoms, it’s less likely that they’re going to return to that drug that was giving them problems.

If I told people I wasn’t drinking but was fine with smoking weed, some would say I’ve simply switched one addiction for another. What’s your response to that?
That is one very specific framework of recovery: abstinence-based recovery. But that’s only one framework when it comes to recovery. There’s a whole other framework around harm reduction where folks would say, “Look, as long as life is where you want it, and you’re not getting into trouble with the law, and you’re able to keep a job, and your family situation is going well and you’re happy, then that’s the most important thing.” The goal of substance treatment isn’t necessarily to demand abstinence as much as it is to help someone manage their life in a manner where substances are no longer interfering in a negative way.

Sociopaths Confirm: They’re Great in Bed (But They Might Treat You Like a Houseplant)

I spoke to three diagnosed sociopaths for VICE about love & sex.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to relationship experts about what it’s like to date a sociopath for another VICE article. After the article was published, I received a few from actual, diagnosed sociopaths wanting to share their experiences. Writers are used to getting weird emails; I ignored them at first. But their words stayed with me, and eventually I gave in to curiosity and decided to hear what they had to say. I spoke to three diagnosed sociopaths—Jessica, Alexander, and Taylor—about what it’s like to date, fuck, and fall in love as a person with antisocial personality disorder.

Jessica Kelly is a transgender 30-year-old from the Midwest. Jessica runs the blog called Psychogendered and does not use a pseudonym. Alexander*, a 23-year-old man living in Los Angeles, proves that sociopathy isn’t binary, and that some sociopaths are very giving in bed. And Taylor*, a 40-year-old man living in Chicago, is in a happy and kinky relationship with his live-in girlfriend, whom he describes as a “budding sociopath.”

My conversations revealed that while the relationship experts weren’t totally off-point with their warnings, sociopaths are also very compelling individuals. They will probably make you come, but they also might view you as a houseplant.

VICE: So how were you diagnosed as a sociopath?
Jessica Kelly: My diagnosis story was a bit unusual in that I was diagnosed in my late 20s. My relationship with my ex-husband was fading fast. He gave me an ultimatum to either get help for what [we] thought was just simple depression, or get out. So I spent the past four years in therapy dealing with my own various mental health issues, and we noticed that depression just didn’t explain a lot of my traits. It didn’t explain my emotional indifference to other people, my inability to feel love, my various sordid experiences earlier in life, so on and so forth. [My therapist] had me read Confessions of a Sociopathbecause she wanted to introduce me to the possibility in a [gentle] manner. I read the book, I found that it resonated a little bit, and then we started exploring the possibility of antisocial personality disorder. As we started putting the pieces of my life together, it fit like a glove.

What has your experience with love been like?
It seems like love is one of those self-evident truths that a lot of people hold onto. Some people describe it as a pitter-patter or a deep conviction for another person. Whereas for me, it’s much more possessive. There’s no real emotional state involved, but there’s a feeling that it would be unfortunate if the partner would leave. It’s kind of alien, kind of like trying to explain color to someone born blind.

We were having sex one night, and he asked me point-blank, “Do you care if I enjoy myself?” I told him, “No, it’s all about me.”

So then what is the appeal of a romantic relationship that is more than just sex?
I do value companionship, but it has to be on my terms. The analogy that I like to use is that those around me are like potted plants. I like to water them, I like to look at them, but ultimately if I don’t want their attention, I want them to leave me the fuck alone. What may set me apart because I was in therapy—I still am in therapy—is the approach [I took] in my marriage and the approach I would take now are vastly different. Previously, I didn’t really care whether or not my partner’s needs were met. I don’t want to imply that I care now, but I realize that there is a self-serving interest.

Another thing that is common with a lot of sociopaths is what I like to call “bait and switch.” A lot of people with ASPD will be on their best behavior during the courting phase of a relationship, and then once the relationship is secure, they just say “fuck it.” I don’t want to use the term “lazy,” but they kind of revert back to their antisocial roots. That’s what happened with my husband. I was on my best behavior until we were engaged and then I kind of went back to my potted plant analogy: He’s mine now, I don’t have to do shit.

How did the relationship ultimately end?
It’s interesting. The fatal blow—and this ties into sex a little bit—is that one of my flaws is being honest at the wrong times. We were having sex one night, and he asked me point-blank, “Do you care if I enjoy myself?” I told him, “No, it’s all about me.” I think that’s how sex is experienced for a lot of sociopaths, as a one-dimensional and one-party experience. If the other partner enjoys themselves, it’s kind of secondary.

—————-

VICE: Tell us about your diagnosis story. Did you always feel different?
Alexander: I think part of me has always known. I think back to times when I was really young and certain social interactions didn’t make any sense to me. They still don’t. I was in a theater camp and someone asked me why I wanted to act, and I said because I always acted, which was true. I didn’t realize the significance of that until probably around my junior or senior year of college, when I started taking my mental health more seriously and started seeing counselors. My main disorder is an anxiety disorder rooted in ASPD tendencies.

Are you dating anyone at the moment?
No, I am not.

When you’ve dated in the past, did you reveal your diagnosis?
It’s difficult for me because I’m not necessarily a romantic person. But I did end up dating someone for four years. We were more friends than anything else, but we were monogamous. And yes, she knew. I ended up telling her about a year in and we talked about it.

What was her reaction?
Well, she understood, which was good.

Will you elaborate on what you meant when you said that you’re not really a romantic person? How do you think your experience is different in a relationship?
It’s a difficult question to answer because a lot of my friends will say, “Oh, I’m in love and I can’t stop thinking about her.” These are things that don’t make sense to me. I don’t have that sort of attachment to people. I have friends and I will have sex with my friends. I do, from time to time. But I don’t have the need to be in a relationship with someone.

It’s not like I don’t want to feel connected with people. I’m a lonely guy because I can’t connect with people on this basis.

So what was the benefit for you in staying with the same person for four years?
It’s a matter of finding someone who understands. In my case, she—well, it comes down to mental health. She understood that I wasn’t doing well, and in effect she wasn’t doing well, and we ended up bonding over that and became close. It’s the benefit that I think anyone seeks: not being alone.

What do you think are some misconceptions of ASPD and the dangers of dating someone with such a diagnosis?
There’s this reaction that people with ASPD or “sociopaths” or “psychopaths” don’t deserve humanity, don’t deserve to have the connection. And, for me at least, it’s not like I don’t want to feel connected with people. I’m a lonely guy because I can’t connect with people on this basis.

It’s often said that sociopaths are manipulative. Is this true for you?
I mean, I can be manipulative. I have been in order to pursue professional goals. Never in my relationships, but that’s because I value my friendships so highly, because I have so few of them.

Let’s talk about sex. I’ve heard that sex with sociopaths can be one-sided. Is this true for you?
Oh god, it’s the exact opposite of it all being about me. Sex was actually the first time that I connected with someone on a personal level. Because before that, I didn’t have any avenue to connect with someone in a way that I could understand. The way my ASPD manifests itself is more the reptilian brain, the part of me that is angry or fearful, or that has a need for sex. That part is still expressed, but the rest of it is muted. It’s like I’m emotionally colorblind.

But then when it comes to sex, it’s sacred. It’s one of those things that I thoroughly enjoy: providing pleasure. Being able to give someone something that oftentimes, because of the way we treat sex in our culture, people haven’t had.

——————-

VICE: So how were you diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder?
Taylor: I found out in therapy, in high school.

Did it come as a surprise? Had you felt different than other high school kids?
It didn’t come as a surprise when my psychiatrist said that. I remember being 13 and being asked what I was good at, and my reply was “manipulating people.”

Will you tell me about your current relationship status?
I’m dating and living with someone.

And she knows about your diagnosis, correct?
One hundred percent.

How did you tell her and what was her reaction?
It was an interesting thing. I was pretty honest from the get-go, and I sort of sensed it in her also. I wouldn’t say that she’s a full-blown sociopath, but she is certainly a budding one.

It’s the same with sex as it is with relationships: I pay attention more. If I’m pleasing them, they’re certainly going to be pleasing me.

Have you had any negative experiences sharing your diagnosis with previous girlfriends?
Absolutely. I had one tell me that I wasn’t a real person. That I was inhumane.

What is your perception of love?
I don’t have that surge of emotion that most people do. I feel things, but in a very quiet kind of way. The way that I look at it is that I do love her, but it’s about respect. It’s about seeing her and knowing her and appreciating her, I would say more on an intellectual level. But there is a romantic part to it as well.

What are some common misconceptions you’ve noticed about dating a sociopath?
One is that they’re trying to hurt people. I have the capacity to [hurt others] without feeling much regret or remorse, but it’s not something that I set out to do. Another is that we seek out weak-willed partners, someone that is easily manipulated. While I’m sure that’s true in some cases, I find myself drawn to intelligent woman with high self-esteem. A person that needs constant reassurance or can easily be beaten down doesn’t hold my interest for very long. It’s far easier to be with someone that knows how to accept a compliment and isn’t filled with self-doubt and self-loathing.

Can you tell us about your sex life? Some experts say that sex with a sociopath can be intense and passionate, but also selfish and one-sided.
Here is the part where I get to brag. I suppose that I certainly can be selfish, if I’m having a shallow one-night stand. But the things about sociopaths—at least for me—is that we’re very good at looking at people and seeing them and understanding them and using that to our advantage. On the other hand, when you actually can see someone and know who they are, you can prop them up as much as you can break them down. It’s the same with sex as it is with relationships: I pay attention more. If I’m pleasing them, they’re certainly going to be pleasing me. My current girlfriend and I have a pretty radical sex life. It’s incredibly kinky, and we’re very open. We have multiple partners. We don’t see other people but we see people together.

That’s a great set up. Have you used your sociopathic abilities to your advantage with sex and dating?
Absolutely. I mean to be honest I can’t tell you how many women I’ve been with. If you can have sex with someone and just blow their mind, they are certainly more willing to overlook other deficiencies. And it’s a good way to rope and reel them in.

SOBRIETY THROUGH SATANISM – LATEST FOR VICE

“Some find recovery in a church basement. Others need something with a little more Satan.” In a recent post for VICE I profiled Lilith Starr, head of the Satanic Temple Seattle Chapter on how she beat a nasty nitrous addiction with the power of Satan. Read HERE.

VICE – FLIRTMOJIS ARE EMOJIS FOR DIRTY SEXTING FIENDS

For my latest sexy-tech reporting; I made friends, interviewed, and sexting with the creators of Flirtmojis, filthy emojis that encourage safe sext (and have more than one skin tone!) From VICE:

Traditional emojis have been criticized for their race problem. Does Flirtmoji reflect America’s diversity?
Katy:
That’s obviously a problem we’ve had with the present emojis. It’s taking an aggressive stance by just having one skin color. It’s not good for people. It’s not good for feeling like you’re represented. You can see that we’re thinking and using a variety of skin tones that we’ve developed. We have a light, a medium, a dark, and then this sort of alien option—this green option. It’s non-identifying; it’s open to everyone.

[Flirtmojis] we’re planning on launching soon are genitals and body parts, each one in every color. So you could go here, you could see [different colored genitals]—we have 20 pussies for example. There are different types of vaginas, there are different labial folds, and they’re in each color. And that’s really important to us—this idea that you could go to the site and you could find your genital that you identify with based on your anatomy and the color of your skin.