Bi and Poly Nico Tortorella: "This Is What a Queer Family Looks Like"
|Luke Fontana / The Advocate|
This Is What a Queer Family Looks Like
Nico Tortorella and Bethany Meyers are reinventing what it means to be family.
By David Artavia
From the outside looking in, Nico Tortorella doesn’t seem all that different from the straight cisgender character he plays on the sweetly addictive hit comedy Younger, which had its fourth-season premiere in June. ... And as the show has grown, so too has Tortorella’s public openness.
...Tortorella is also the guy behind the super popular podcast The Love Bomb, now in season 2, where each week he interviews one of the many, many people he loves. He’s committed to shaking up norms around gender and sexuality. His decade-long polyamorous romantic partnership with Bethany Meyers, a fitness and lifestyle entrepreneur (who identifies as gay) is proof. It’s a different kind of queer relationship, they admit, one that is thoroughly open and modern and enduring.
...Tortorella — who has been described as queer, bisexual, demisexual, and sexually fluid — and Meyers — who usually dates women, calls herself “gay,” and admits Tortorella is the only man she’s ever had intercourse with — are open with each other and the public about their romantic relationships with other people. ...
...Tortorella and Meyers have been in love for over a decade, and their relationship seemingly has but one rule: to love each other. Boundaries are more or less nonexistent when it comes to having additional relationships outside their own. It’s an idea founded on trust, and a notion that has yet to be fully understood across the cultural mind-set. Even they don’t have a word to describe it, except for possibly being “witnesses” to each other.
...The first episode [of The Love Bomb] sparked a much-needed dialogue on what it means to be part of a polyamorous arrangement as well as the fluidity of love and sex.
...Polyamorous relationships have been around for centuries, yet it’s only now that people are becoming less afraid to speak openly about them. Tortorella and Meyers's relationship is 11 years in the making and survives on what they refer to as a “day by day” pace, knowing that no matter what happens they’re always going to be in each other’s life. As Tortorella explains, this type of trust needs to be sealed before exploring such nonconventional avenues. It doesn’t happen at the beginning: “It’s not like you can jump on Tinder and look for a Nico or Bethany,” he says.
Meyers also admits that due to a lack of examples of similar relationships, she had to teach herself how to navigate the rules....
...They told me they never get jealous when the other is dating someone of the same sex, like Tortorella’s highly public relationship with Los Angeles-based hairstylist and Instagram star Kyle Krieger. It’s only when they’re dating someone of the opposite sex that jealousy intervenes, mainly because there’s a chance of having a child, and they both desperately want to have a baby together.
...“We’re still figuring out the best way we can bring other people into our relationship,” [Tortorella] agrees. “I think we’re in the best place now [that] we’ve ever been, but we’re definitely still on an amateur level.” Then he urges, “If anybody is reading this and wants to give us some advice, and has been living this way for a long time, seriously, we’re sponges! [Hey folks, that's a hint! --Ed.] We’re so down to hear stories because these stories aren’t told often.” [Where have you been?]
Luke Fontana / The Advocate
The truth is Tortorella and Meyers know their relationship is a threat to others. “[Past partners] didn’t fully realize and understand who we are and what we mean to each other,” Tortorella admits. “Like, ‘OK, you have Bethany, [but] where do I fit into the puzzle?’ ‘Am I ever going to be as important as Bethany is?’ And what’s the answer to that? How do I best answer that question?”
“So many people have this idea that if you can love this, you cannot love this,” she adds. “And I don’t understand, because I do. I can have feelings for two people. There are different kinds of feelings, they fulfill different needs. I don’t find it very realistic to think that I’m going to get everything I need out of Nico.”
...Their sexual needs exist along the same lines. Tortorella says he’d rather wait to have sex until the love blossoms in a relationship, while Meyers has no qualms about her love of casual sex. The best part is, despite their contrasting approaches, their goals are ultimately the same: to reach empowerment, fulfillment, and satisfaction. So what if they happen to take different avenues to get there?
“For me, sex is such an explosive exchange of energy between two people that if you’re not connected, energetically, before you have sex, it can be damaging,” Tortorella says about the rising hookup culture on apps like Grindr and Tinder. “If you open yourself up to somebody on that level it can be damaging to yourself and damaging for the other person if there isn’t trust there. … That being said, I totally understand people who want to have casual sex. I think what you have to do in this scenario is stay in your lane. Find people who want similar things — physically, energetically, and emotionally. ...”
Meyers, who was raised in an ultra-conservative Christian family, has a different opinion: “I think sex can be really fun and really empowering. I think for someone who’s raised in a culture where sex is so bad and you can’t orgasm… I find a lot of empowerment. And I do think there’s a lot of responsibility to be up front and honest. I’m proud that as I’ve aged, I have been [honest]. I think women haven’t gotten to feel super empowered with sex for a very long time.”
...They’re both still learning how to navigate this brave new world, they admit. But as a Hollywood leading man, one of the most valuable lessons Tortorella has learned was about his responsibility now that he has this place in history. ...
“...There would be so much more love if we just saw each other. As much as I love getting worked up in these conversations, imagine how much energy we’d save if we weren’t having them, if it didn’t exist, if we were all just people and we could love [who] we wanted and it wasn’t an issue. Granted, is that some utopian idea? Yeah, sure, but what if? What if we allowed ourselves to just be ‘me?’”
Read the whole article (July 5, 2017).
Tortorella is indeed a star; his life and ideas have been getting lots of attention all over.
For instance, to pick one story that went around more than most, a couple weeks ago the tabloid New York Post ran this: ‘Younger’ star Nico Tortorella talks polyamory, hallucinogens and Hollywood. With video (June 22).