Sex podcaster Drue Michael launched their show right after a big move, and right before the pandemic kicked off. They decided to turn their quarantine pod into a makeshift recording studio, planning a podcast centered on silly sex talks and raunchy stories, called Make Sex With Me.
Aria Vega [00:00:00] [Voiceover] This podcast contains explicit content. Listener's discretion is advised. POV by Lustery explores culture, politics and creativity in the sex industry, one point of view at a time. I'm your host, Aria Vega. Drue Michael is a sex podcaster based in South Carolina. Their show Make Sex With Me is a pandemic-era production featuring explicit opining on sex and dating with a rotating cast of characters, often close friends of Drue's. Here's a clip from the show's introduction.
Drue Michael [00:00:38] [Clip] I moved from New York City to the American South about two years ago, and since moving here, my life's been very different. For one, I don't really have sex anymore, and I don't have anybody to talk to about sex. You see, I miss those Sunday morning brunches with dear friends, and mimosas and eggs benedict, and conversations about fisting, and am I going through menopause? And what the heck is a throuple?
Aria Vega [00:01:11] [Voiceover] Drue released that trailer on March 9th, 2020. It was just before we all began yearning for the gossipy brunches with friends that we'd taken for granted. Having the podcast as a platform to talk about sex became extra essential for Drue once going out and having sex became a health hazard. But they had desired the space for open and honest conversations about sex since long before the pandemic. Raised with three older brothers in their Midwestern hometown, Drue was discouraged from exploring queerness for a long time.
Drue Michael [00:01:44] [Interview] It was one of these things where homosexuality was not good. I definitely knew of it, I guess I didn't fully understand it. By the time I actually came out, my whole family was totally fine with it, which is like, kind of fucking comical. But the message that was received was that, It's not good, and we only are willing to deal with it if we have to. And there was never any message about gender non-conformity. My dad used to ask me at a young age, he'd see me doing things that were more feminine, I guess, and then being like, Son, do you think you might have a gender identity crisis? And I was like, What, what is that? What are you talking about? I just want to play with Barbies! Like that. So it was there, but I guess I guess the main thing was just that it wasn't good. You didn't want to be queer. My brother, one time his friends and him, they started calling me "queer-fa-gay," which was a mixture of like queer, fag, and gay. This was when I was like, nine, so I didn't know I was gay. They didn't actually think I was gay. It was just like, you called someone gay to emasculate them.
Aria Vega [00:03:06] When did you begin to take ownership of that part of your identity, beyond the teasing and suspicions of your of your family members?
Drue Michael [00:03:15] I guess I started to realize that I had an attraction for people with penises, or people that look masculine.... I'll just say men, because at the beginning it was just men. I guess I had had some dreams, some weird dreams leading up to puberty that were like sexual in nature, and I was like, What was this? And there was a whole year where I didn't tell anyone anything about my feelings. I was raised Catholic, and I didn't think I was going to burn in hell, because like the Catholicism that I knew was like Catholicism-lite, but it was a thing of like, It's a sin to be gay, and I know that, so I'm living with this idea that I'm sinning. Or at least, you know, I haven't even acted on it yet because I'm so young, but I'm feeling something that's sinful. And then ultimately I decided that it was not me that decided to be a homosexual, but that this is how I was made, and if it was going to have any connection at all to my religion, like I was just going to have to say like, God made me this way. And of course, now I'm not a Christian anymore, but I do believe that I was meant to be the way that I am for a reason, still.
Aria Vega [00:04:41] [Voiceover] Drue's confidence was readily apparent by the time I met them in 2014, when we were co-workers in a cramped soap shop in downtown Manhattan. Drue had wanted to work there really badly.
Drue Michael [00:04:52] [Interview] Well, I've always had an obsession with soap, so...
Aria Vega [00:04:56] Why?
Drue Michael [00:04:57] I don't know! I mean, from the time I hit puberty, I showered way too much. I don't shower it nearly as much now, but I still love a good shower, a good bath. I love some good smelling products, it really amplifies your experience. I'd actually been trying to work at that store forever, and they finally hired me. I'd applied to several locations, it was all I wanted. I was definitely getting groomed for a call. Basically, it all was just it was a really fascinating time in my life.
Aria Vega [00:05:37] What else was fascinating?
Drue Michael [00:05:39] I don't know. It was fascinating because I was like living the life. I was like having sex, then I was like working and looking cute at work, american Horror Story: Coven came out and we were working there. I was wearing crystals, we were listening to Beyonce like every day, like the full album, cover to cover.
Aria Vega [00:06:02] Yeah, we were.
Drue Michael [00:06:03] It was fun. It was so fun.
Aria Vega [00:06:05] [Voiceover[ This romcom-esque memory of New York City stands in sharp contrast with Drue's current life in conservative South Carolina, where they've been since 2018. At first, the culture shock was real. It's even affected how Drue perceives their gender.
Drue Michael [00:06:21] [Interview] I've been speaking to this lately on my podcast and in my Instagram Lives and everything, I've been saying that I literally feel like I'm coming out as a non-binary person. Everyone I know from before is like, Well, you were always non-binary. And I'm like, No, I never thought of myself as non-binary. I don't know what I thought of myself as because I was never challenged when living in New York. I was always surrounded by like minded people... I never even had to see this many Trump supporters ever before. But it's just crazy, I actually feel like I have to represent all queer, trans and non-binary people every time I leave the house living here. And that just wasn't the case in New York.
Aria Vega [00:07:08] Have you experienced more interpersonal violence since you've lived down here?
Drue Michael [00:07:16] That's a hard one for me to answer, because I think I'm still in a place of like, I downplay the kinds of things that happened to me, or I pretend they didn't happen. You know, once as a child, my mother and I... I was I wasn't a child. I was like a young tween or teenager. My mother and I went into a Target and she just looked at me and she looked super sad. And I was like, "What's going on?" And she was like, "How do you do it?" And I was like, "What are you talking about?" She's like, "How do you deal with all the people staring at you all the time?" And I was like, "I didn't even know people were staring at me." And part of that is like, maybe I did it, but I probably had already learned to turn them off because, how can you live a life like that where you're constantly being aware that people are looking at you with malice, possibly? So a big part of me protected myself by ignoring it. But sometimes it's not possible. I've had things thrown at me.... Not a lot. One time I got hit in the hand by something, I think it was like an acorn. I couldn't tell if someone had thrown it at me or if a bird dropped it on me. But like awkward situations like that, where like, Oh my God, did I just get hit with a bottle? And then you're like, No, no, it was not a bottle. Was it a seashell? Was it an acorn? I mean, shit's flying around by the beach.
Aria Vega [00:08:45] Right, like other people wouldn't ask themselves that question, they would assume that something had just fallen. Whereas you have to wonder, did somebody throw that at me?
Drue Michael [00:08:53] Right.
Aria Vega [00:08:53] Would you say that those experiences have contributed to your desire to be outspoken about about queerness, about relationship structure, identity, gender identity? You know the the topics that anchor your creative content?
Drue Michael [00:09:12] Yeah, definitely. I mean, obviously I'm a huge like law of attraction person, and I know that like realizing the things that you don't want, it really makes you realize what you do want. My mother is like this eternal optimist and I get that from her. I just am like, I've got to do something, and I've gotta make something out of what I have in this moment, because I have I just have this knowledge in my mind that there are things that I'm meant to do. You can't have this much passion, you can have this much desire and not believe that there's really great things in store for you. So, yeah, a lot of what I've experienced has made me want to do my part to change the world and make the world, you know, it sounds phony, but like a better place for future generations. I'm already looking at like the Gen Z-er and just being like, Oh my God, they're living like their best lives.
Aria Vega [00:10:24] [Voiceover] Drue's podcast Make Sex With Me is just as cheeky and irreverent as its title implies. Here's another clip from an episode entitled "My Body, Suck a D*$k."
Drue Michael [00:10:35] [Clip] I like when I'm in a relationship, or like if I'm regularly having sex with one person or multiple people, I don't like ever need food. I can go hours without even thinking about food if there's sex on the table. And the reason is because, certain foods and sex, they stimulate the same part of your brain.
Priscilla [00:11:02] Oh, so you're very horny!
Drue Michael [00:11:02] I mean, I just like pleasure. I like pleasure, and I bet you if I if I just thought, I'd love some ice cream and I said, Nope, why don't you just go on Scruff or Grindr and find a fuckboy? Then it could save me from myself. Of course, then I could get chlamydia again.
Priscilla [00:11:26] [Interview] Something I really enjoy about your podcast is how closely you bring in your close friends, because it gives it that eavesdropping-on-a-phone-call vibe. And I love that, because uncensored conversations about sex between trusted friends can be some of the most interesting to listen to. So was that aspect always a part of your vision for the show?
Drue Michael [00:11:48] It was. I hate to like name drop every single time I talk about my inspiration, but my favorite podcast is My Favorite Murder, and they were just two friends that loved to talk about murder, and that's exactly what I wanted. I dream of having the time and the money and the ability to do like this just gorgeous audio journalistic masterpiece, but it just isn't where I am right now, and I'm also hugely into comedy. So for me, I draw to myself other people that love funny shit, and we just make jokes and we are silly and we allow ourselves to be wrong. It was always in my intention to make it conversational and as candid as possible. I do very little editing. Obviously, I want to make sure that it flows well, but also it's supposed to be fun. Like you said, like you're a fly on the wall hearing a conversation. However, I try to limit anything where we're like, we're talking about an experience we had and we're not inviting in the listener. We can't just be like dropping inside jokes left and right. We've got to be explaining it to the third party as much as possible.
Aria Vega [00:13:18] [Voiceover] In addition to their podcast, Drue also utilizes Instagram to broadcast their ideas. Their Instagram is a thorough catalog of their aesthetic, as shown through outfits, makeup and filters. Drue also shares feelings and opinions via Reels and other videos, like this one from last November.
Drue Michael [00:13:36] [Cli I don't know, and I'm almost finding so much more love for myself in being non-binary, even though it's putting me in some really uncomfortable situations where I have to deal with that. I go from feeling like a little boy who is hiding in his mother's closet, trying on her clothes and feeling like terrified that someone's going to catch me, to feeling like a gorgeous goddess who just is being loved and appreciated, and just glowing. You know what I mean? I got a glow up, if you will. I guess that's kind of my whole thing. Like, I get upset and I go on a rant, and I videotape it and I put it on Instagram. Or I just want everyone to know how beautiful the sun is shining today, or... I'm not the kind of person that's really good at pre-planning content, and I'm the same way with everything I do like. I have to be feeling it. And I mean, I guess I'm my own projects, I am my instrument, I am my art piece, so I use my image and I use my, what I'm wearing to really show people what I'm feeling and I love. I love a piece of clothing that just has a vibe. You know, you're just like, Oh my, what is that shirt?! That shirt makes me feel this, and I'm like, Yas! Especially when someone else is like, I feel that same thing when I look at that thing. Rhen you've got this connection, and that's really nice.
Aria Vega [00:15:17] Yeah, yeah. I love it. You're spontaneous. You live life out loud and you see connections through that temperament.
Drue Michael [00:15:26] And I'm ridiculous.
Aria Vega [00:15:27] And you're ridiculous!
Drue Michael [00:15:29] I'm a ridiculous person.
Aria Vega [00:15:30] Yeah, but in the best way. Have you ever done any drag?
Drue Michael [00:15:35] Yes, but not like professionally.
Aria Vega [00:15:39] For fun, tell me about that!
Drue Michael [00:15:40] OK, so I actually went to a boarding school when I was in high school. I went to four years at a boarding school, and it was an arts boarding school. And I started doing drag literally in high school there, because we were in an environment where literally you could be kicked out of school if you harassed somebody for being anything, everything was protected. It was extremely— they used to call it The Bubble for a reason because you were just so protected, they had a zero tolerance for hate. And that was in 2001, so it was pretty impressive. And that was also a reason why I was sent there because my mom was like shitting her pants over the idea of me going to a public high school. She was like, Oh my God, you're going to be murdered. So I started doing drag, and it was this thing of like, I was like one of the queerest queer kids at the school and I was super popular because of it. But I was also a little bit of a clown because I realized that, people thought I was funny, people liked me. I made people happy. But I also was like, I will always be relevant in any situation if I'm a clown, because people like having me around because I make them happy. So that was a big part of that stage of drag for me, was just like just being ridiculous and having people be like, Oh my gosh, it's Drue, he's so ridiculous, he's so funny, come over here Drue, come talk to us! But I was constantly just borrowing other people's clothes. I would be like, So-and-so would have some boot heels, and someone else would have like some like Spanx, I was borrowing makeup, and just all the girls and all the girls dorms would set me up, and then I would have this like, gorgeous masterpiece and we would just like, go walk around campus in drag. It was so ridiculous.
Aria Vega [00:17:33] Do you have any other grand creative visions in your mind's eye for future output on Instagram, for your podcast, a new medium> you just seem to be one of those people who's always overflowing with creativity and just looking for new containers for it all the time.
Drue Michael [00:17:51] I have huge aspirations of doing like more musical stuff. I mean, I went to school, I actually have a degree in music, so I would love to do queer music, I want to do comedy, I want to be doing stand up... That's something I'm working on now, and I want to be performing any way I can. Also I'm such a wannabe stripper slash burlesque performer slash, maybe I want to have OnlyFans? I'm really trying to be sexy.
Aria Vega [00:18:26] Yes, I support this fully!
Drue Michael [00:18:29] I want to do all of those things. I don't know if it's going to be like hardcore porn. Probably not, because I can't like show up and be, you know, rinsed out and ready every day. But I definitely would love to just have fun with this, and so see where it goes.
Aria Vega [00:18:48] That's Drue Michael, sex podcaster and soap fiend.You can find them on Twitter @Drue_Michael, and on Instagram @iamDrueMichael. That's Drue spelled D-r-u-e. I'd love to hear for more queer folks across the U.S. South: natives, transplants, those who have left and returned. Drue and I definitely aren't the only ones down here, and I'd love to hear about your experiences with building community and being out and proud in a conservative culture. If you'd like to talk about that, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org with an email or a voice memo. Or you can find me on Twitter @vegadreamcast. You can always remain anonymous. If you're into the show, please leave us a five-star rating and a review. POV is brought to you by Lustery, and this episode was hosted by me, Aria Vega. It was edited and produced by Kathryn Fischer and Adrienne Teicher, and our showrunner is Paulita Pappel. Lustery is the home of real-life partners filming their sex lives behind closed doors. If you're 18 or older, you can find us at lustery.com, and we're on Twitter and Instagram @lusterypov. Cioa lovers!