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April 27, 2023 36 mins

Damon moves into a Tudor mansion in Holmby Hills—quickly dubbed The Sanctum Mansion—where he both lives and hosts the parties. Damon declares his newly discovered non-monogamous status to Melissa, which ultimately leads to their breakup. But what ended their relationship actually made others stronger. We explore how sex clubs like SNCTM can provide a release valve for the pressures of monogamous relationships – even with the jealousy and anxiety (and a skyrocketing lube budget). But in the search for sexual enlightenment, Damon’s reality doesn’t reflect what he had imagined.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:03):
School of Humans. Sanctum Unmasked is about a sex club
and describes various sex acts. Please use discretion where and
when you listen. Damon Lonner is sitting by his pool,

sipping a cocktail and thinking there's a handful of young
women swimming naked, playfully splashing each other. A busty brunette
jumps performatively on the giant trampoline in the yard. Damon's
trying his best not to get too distracted, though, because
he has a lot of work to do. Later this week,

he will be hosting a special event for a man
who paid him fifty thousand dollars to curate a custom
sexual experience. So he's busy brainstorming, and with another sip
of his drink, he comes up with this. The scene
would begin with the man blindfolded and tied to a

wooden beam in Damon's mansion. Then three naked nymphs with
antlers would remove his blindfold and release a kaleidoscope of
live butterflies into the room. Think florist fantasy vibes. The
nymphs untie the man and then taking turns hand feed

him lobster chocolate and vintage dom Perignon, then they have
their way with him. Damon thought this was a pretty
good idea, but he wanted to try it out for
himself first, you know, for professional reasons. So he calls
up three of his performers from the club and ask

them if they want to come over to swim, hang
out and you know, rehearse. Sure enough, the girls show
up and the four of them spend the afternoon doing
research and development in the form of an orgy. At
one point, Damon stacks the women on top of each
other so he can fuck them from behind, one after another,

like going down a fuck ladder, until finally he feels
satisfied that, Yep, he was right. This is a great idea.
This is a pretty normal day in Damon's life.

Speaker 2 (02:23):
I had so many girls at my house all the time.
It was like a playboy mansion kind of a setup.
At that time, the idea of monogamy was insanity. I
had just gotten out of a twenty year monogamous religious like,
I'm not going to get attached to anybody. I mean,
at my parties, I would have sex with three.

Speaker 3 (02:40):
Or four or five different people.

Speaker 2 (02:41):
I was on fucking fire.

Speaker 1 (02:44):
It's twenty sixteen, Damon's now living by himself in the
newly dubbed Sanctum Mansion. He's a bachelor now and he's
leaning in.

Speaker 2 (02:53):
I mean, my doorbell would ring, and you know, some
girl that I met at a party would come over
with three of her girlfriends.

Speaker 3 (02:59):
You know, can we go swimming?

Speaker 2 (03:00):
You know, can we jump on the champoline in? And
I was like, yeah, come on in, you know, and
like I mean, it was just wildness.

Speaker 1 (03:07):
He was now fully embarking on a journey of sexual
self discovery, and it was something he felt like he
had to do alone, or as alone as you can
be if you're almost always literally inside someone else. But
you get the idea. Welcome to Sanctum Unmasked. I'm your host,

Carl Schortino. Breakups are rough, even when it's the right decision.
They're sad, lonely, destabilizing. They forced you to question everything
you did wrong or could have done better. But something
I feel like we don't hold enough space for is
just how embarrassing breakups can be. Like, never have I

ever acted more like a psycho than while going through
a breakup. You're like crying at the deli counter. You
fuck some idiot, from the subway under the guys that
it's empowering you cut bangs. When we left you last episode,
Damon and Melissa were going through a breakup of their own,
and they were each experiencing their own very different versions

of coping.

Speaker 2 (04:18):
Remember I got to the Sanctum Mansion and I pulled
Melissa aside for a talk. I had come to the
conclusion that I wasn't monogamous. It was like a revelation
for me at the time. It was like, there's nothing
wrong with me. I'm not a bad person. I don't
want to have sex with only one person for the
rest of my life. I'm now declaring my non monogamous status,

and I'm going to enjoy myself and not feel guilty
all the time because of these desires.

Speaker 1 (04:53):
Before the split, Damon and Melissa had been together for
twenty years. She felt like she knew him pretty well,
but even she was surprised by his rebrand.

Speaker 4 (05:03):
He was discovering himself as a hedonist, and he actually
said that to me. He's like, I'm you know, I
don't want to pretend to be some outstanding guy anymore.

Speaker 1 (05:15):
When Damon moved out, Melissa and their two young daughters
continued living together in the family's apartment, and the separation
was hitting her understandably hard.

Speaker 4 (05:24):
I was crying in the fetal position on my bathroom
floor every day, pulling it together, driving my kids to school.
The second they would get out of the car and
run into school, I'd be a bawling mess. If a
song came on the radio that was sad a fuck
adele Hello, that CD that came out nineteen was like

around that time, and I would just be a fucking bawling, crying,
blubbering mess.

Speaker 1 (05:54):
Meanwhile, at the Sancta Mansion.

Speaker 2 (05:57):
I mean, I was like, you know, high on Molly
and kocaine. This porn star that's like just fucking world
famous for her blowjobs makes her way in with me
to this room and we're by ourselves, and she just
says like, I want to suck your cock like it's
never been sucked in your life. And I'm like, and
I'm in the perfect state of mind to do it,
so I just like relax into this experience. And forty

five an hourly, I don't I don't know how long
this went on. I mean, my eyes were rolling back
into my head, like I'm on another planet for a while,
and uh wow, I mean that was that was quite
an orgasm.

Speaker 1 (06:35):
Until now, Damon felt like he'd been living in the closet,
hiding his true horny self, feeling shame about his kinky,
promiscuous desires. But he didn't want to hide anymore. He
was running a famous sex club for fock's sake, and
he was just embracing the character.

Speaker 3 (06:51):

Speaker 1 (06:52):
Did I mention that he converted his wine cellar into
a BDSM dungeon?

Speaker 3 (06:55):
Just trying to paint a picture here.

Speaker 1 (06:57):
Anyways, the Same to mansion was proving to be the
perfect accommodation for Damon's shifting lifestyle in some ways that
were pretty surprising.

Speaker 2 (07:08):
Interestingly enough, I would share that space with my two
young children on every other weekend, So the sanct dimension
became this like playground for grown ups when I did Sanctum,
and this unbelievable playground for kids when I wasn't doing Sanctum.
I would have sleepovers with you know, I mean ten

twelve kids, and I'd set up all of these like
blow up mattresses, and I had this huge while where
I'd project movies for them, and I had you know,
my staff that was doing my parties. I'd invite them in,
they would cook, they would make popcorn. There would be like,
you know, everything these kids could want, and then in
the backyard there was a big pool and a trampoline
and they would go fucking crazy.

Speaker 1 (07:53):
Sure he was a sex fiend, but most importantly, he
was a dad, and he felt like these two parts
of himself could exist in harmony.

Speaker 2 (08:01):
And the parents started to kind of know about what
I was doing, you know, And I know that some
of the parents were probably freaked out, but most of
the parents were like, You're the most amazing dad, Like
how the fuck do you handle all these you know?
And I just loved it.

Speaker 1 (08:16):
Melissa was less enthusiastic about this. She was in the
midst of a rebrand of her own. She'd become a
personal trainer, and she'd recently gotten sober. Damon, on the
other hand, was basically partying for a living, and no
matter how much she wanted to distance herself from him,
there wasn't really much she could do about it. He
was the father of her kids and also clearly not

the most discreet person in the world.

Speaker 4 (08:40):
We were growing in such different directions, and it was
into health wellness, fitness, and he was further and further
into his role as the next Hugh Hefner. And so
for me, I don't want to say it was about image,
but I'm gonna fucking say it. It was about image,
and I just didn't want that image.

Speaker 1 (09:00):
If you remember, part of the reason they broke up
was because Damon wanted to experiment sexually outside of their
marriage and Melissa didn't.

Speaker 3 (09:07):
Their priorities were shifting.

Speaker 1 (09:10):
But it's not like he didn't want to be with
her or that he wasn't still attracted to her. It
was just at the club, he was seeing all these
examples of how an open relationship could potentially work, and
he thought maybe he and Melissa could try that.

Speaker 2 (09:22):
They started to watch all of these couples and they
sure looked happy, they really did, and you know, and
they were free and they were like fucking other people
and they had a commitment to each other. And I
was like, wow, that's that's a really interesting way of
doing things, and I wanted to try that.

Speaker 1 (09:38):
What Damon was essentially asking for is what the kids
these days are calling ethical non monogamy. So sleeping with
people who aren't your partner has become very fashionable in
recent years. Realistically, this has been happening since the dawn
of time. It's just that people used to call it cheating,
with some exceptions like hippies and swingers who called it

free love. But today, younger generations, full of open minded,
sex positive and gender fluid cool kids, have started a
larger cultural conversation about how incorporating some space and novelty
into your romantic relationships can actually be healthy and potentially
keep things exciting and sexy for longer. You want to

sleep with my bff, cool with me. Let's just share
a Google cal to make sure our schedule is align.
You've probably been privy to at least some of this.
The famous sex writer and podcast or Dan Savage has
aggressively brought the phrase monogamish into our lives. As he
puts it, opening the door of your relationship just a
crack keeps it from blowing off its hinges.

Speaker 3 (10:42):
I don't think I've been.

Speaker 1 (10:43):
To an it girl apartment in years without seeing the
book The Ethical Slut on the Shelf aka The Quintessential
Guide to Nominogamy. Also, I'm not sure if it's just me,
but it seems like roughly ninety percent of TV characters
are in open relationships. I'm exaggerating, but you know what
I mean. Now, I get it. Non monogamy does seem
like a potentially more progressive, more realistic approach to long

term relationships. But just because something's trendy doesn't mean that
it's easy, and just because something seems evolved doesn't mean
that it will drive you to the brink of mental collapse.
At Sanctum, Daemon had a front row seat to this
sort of personal exploration.

Speaker 2 (11:22):
I mean, I had many people tell me that Sanctums
saved their marriage by opening things up and staying together.
They were able to, you know, work through whatever it
was that was keeping them from kind of being horny
for each other, and that Sanctum was this playground for
them where they met other people. They were able to
have these discussions, they were able to explore.

Speaker 1 (11:44):
But for all the people who said the club enlivened
their relationship, Damon also saw some train wrecks.

Speaker 2 (11:50):
Specifically, I remember a couple that was non monogamous, but
the man snuck off and had sex with someone in
a bathroom and she found out about it, and she
was like, what the fuck are you doing, you know,
like we're here together, like we're being honest with each other,
and you sneak off and hide it from me. That
makes me feel like I can't trust you at all,

and that obviously fucked up their relationship. So, I mean,
this exploration is scary. It takes bravery, It takes a
little bit of craziness, you know, like you have to
be willing to like walk through some feelings that could
be really.

Speaker 3 (12:24):
Hard for a lot of people.

Speaker 1 (12:27):
Going to a sex party is pretty intimidating, even for
non monogamous couples. It feels like something you maybe work
up to. But actually these parties can sometimes be a
good first step for couples who are looking to explore openness.
This is according to sex researcher doctor Jana Frangalova. She's
the Human Sexuality Professor at NYU and she also specializes

in coaching couples into nominogamy.

Speaker 5 (12:53):
Sex parties are such a fun little way to introduce
some form of non monogamy. There are actually quite a
few circumstances that I would recommend a sex party for,
and it starts with people who don't actually want to
be non monogamous. But who just want some level of spark,

something that is sexual and can arouse some of that
sense of novelty that often gets lost in relationships.

Speaker 1 (13:27):
Perhaps pause this to search Yelp for the highest rate
of sex parties in your neighborhood.

Speaker 5 (13:32):
When couples want to explore, there's a lot of fear
around what is introducing a third or a fourth person
going to do to our relationship? Is that gonna ruin
what we have in some way? Is it gonna lead
to a lot of jealousy and conflict and all of that.
So in those cases, I often recommend people to go

and check out a sex party where they don't actually
play with anybody else where, they just go observe, watch
other people play, maybe get naked themselves, maybe play with
each other. So there is that voyeuristic component that can
be very arousing and fun. There can be that exhibitionist

component and still done in a way that doesn't actually
invite that third into the relationship.

Speaker 1 (14:22):
So you remember Claudia who worked as an atmosphere model
at Sanctum, Well, she experienced exactly this. She met her
husband back when she was working with the parties, and
she invited him to come along to Sanctum within the
first couple months of dating.

Speaker 6 (14:37):
The first party I took my husband to, there were
these girls totally naked, and they had these lamp shades
on their heads, and the lights were on in the
lamp and one girl was holding like a jar full
of pins, like little like lapals and one set of
voyeur and another girl was holding a different thing and

said participant. And there are a lot of people that
just and I think they got excited and they took
that energy home with them.

Speaker 1 (15:06):
Claudia described her husband as a quote good Midwestern boy,
so all this naked lamp woman, mansion orgy stuff was
very new to him. Obviously, Claudia worked at Sanctums, so
it was familiar to her, but she had never been
to a sex party as a couple, and she realized
that it was a totally different experience.

Speaker 6 (15:26):
He was like, I've never even had a threesome before, like,
let alone this kind of party. But it just made
us open minded. So I think for us, like the
first couple of parties were like, huh, this is hot.

Speaker 1 (15:37):
Together, they realized that Sanctum's sparked conversations that they wouldn't
have had otherwise.

Speaker 3 (15:43):
And that was.

Speaker 1 (15:43):
Really exciting and made them feel connected.

Speaker 6 (15:46):
You know, your partner is like, Okay, well we saw
this person getting whipped. Is that something you're into? And
what if You're like hell yeah, you know, and like
that opens up a line of communication for you and
your partner that you've never had before, and that leads
to other life of communication and it just keeps growing
from there. There's nothing we can't talk about now regarding sex.

There's nothing that's tabooed, and I feel like that's where
a lot of relationships fail is there's desires that are
never discussed until they go explore these desires with either
somebody else or behind their partners back.

Speaker 1 (16:19):
She's right, the stuff you feel comfortable talking about even
with strangers when someone in the background is being fucked
over a railing. It's definitely a step up from your
casual dinner party combo.

Speaker 6 (16:31):
It completely shapes your relationship. I mean, how do you
go to something so open minded and then go home
and just like turn that off. I don't think that's possible.
I walked into it thinking it was going to be
a job, and I had no idea it would literally
flip my entire life upside down in a positive way.

Speaker 1 (16:50):
Basically, some people went to Signing Tom because they were
horny little goblins. For others, it was offering an avenue
for exploration within their marriage, and apparently that's where thousands
of dollars a ticket. But as we'll see after the break,
it's not always a walk in the park for everyone.

Non monogamy comes with many challenges. For one, there's a
real stigma around it. Sure it's having a hipster rebrand,
but in most polite company, if you tell someone you're
in an open relationship, they look at you like garislut
or an idiot, or some combination of the two to
be perhaps too frank. There's also an issue I've found

with no monogamy where some of the people in the
lifestyle can be kind of well, annoying.

Speaker 2 (17:43):
I did it in a way that was like kind
of righteous, you know, like this is who I am.
You just need to understand that, you know, the way
society has set things up is just all wrong, and
marriage is all wrong and monogamy is all wrong. There
was no empathy. It was just like everyone else is crazy,
and I'm sane. I'm enlightened.

Speaker 7 (18:04):
You know.

Speaker 2 (18:05):
I was drinking the kool aid.

Speaker 1 (18:07):
Sometimes identifying as nominogamous can come with this holier than
now energy that's not so appealing. I've encountered many men
with CNM in their hinge bios, standing for consensual nominogamy,
and all of them want to preach for four hours
about how birds or squirrels or whatever are polyamorous. I'm like, yeah, dude,

they also eat dirt, So let's move on. I'm being harsh,
but this is a personal trigger of mine. Sorry, So
exploring openness is going to involve navigating some of this
type of personality. And then, of course, there is the
whole jealousy issue. Damon experienced his firsthand when he tried

to open his relationship with Melissa. Remember he had a threesome.
She fucked her Equinux trainer, but it didn't bring them
closer together. In fact, it did the opposite.

Speaker 2 (19:00):
Her having sex with another man was so devastating to me.
As soon as she came home, I was fucked up
in my mind. I was thinking about it. I was imagining.
There's jealousy, there's insecurity, there's anger, there's a feeling that
the ground you're on is now like shaky. There's so
many feelings that come up when your partners with another person,

and I didn't know how to deal with them or
handle them. I mean, I owned this thing, and I
was supposed to be the guy that knew all about this,
but I didn't. I'd never delved into non monogamous relationship,
so I didn't know what the fuck I was doing.
So I just like thought, oh, wow, this looks easy,
and it's not. But it's not like that at all.

Speaker 1 (19:39):
Speaking of someone who has been in multiple open relationships,
I'm intimately familiar with jealousy, and it's a nauseating cocktail
of suspicion and threat. I understand that jealousy is part
of being human and a little bit can be considered healthy,
but it's also embarrassing.

Speaker 3 (19:55):
It can feel desperate.

Speaker 1 (19:57):
Clingy, and unattractive, and frankly, it just feels basic. I'm like, wait,
I thought I was a progressive, free loving, a reference millennial.
Shouldn't I be above jealousy? Well, nonminogamy can see them
appealing intellectually or politically. In practice, it's like, oh wait,
my feelings don't care about politics.

Speaker 2 (20:19):
You know, you can step into it with this feeling
like okay, I'll fuck her, she can fuck him. We
can do this. I feel good about this. This couple's
really cool. And then you know it's happening and she's
moaning a little bit louder than she does with you,
or maybe she's having multiple orgasms and the wife hasn't
had an orgasm in ten years, you know, and it's like, oh, oh, man,

like why are they making such a great connection? What's
going on here? So you open up that door. You
never know what's going to happen.

Speaker 1 (20:48):
But for some freaks, a little bit of jealousy can
actually be a good thing. It's well known polylor that
a primary virtue of being open is that it prevents
you from getting lazy or taking each other for granted.
So basically, if you're open, your husband's less likely to
get a beer gut. To that point, seeing your partner
with another person at a sex party can be motivating.

Speaker 2 (21:10):
For some couples, something else happens where it's like they
do that, and then they go back home and they
fuck their brains out because they're like, did he fuck
you better? You know, like everyone is on their game,
because man, this is scary territory. Now, you know, I'm
gonna fucking suck his cock like that young little girl

at the club, Like you know, I'm gonna show him
who can suck dick, and like all of a sudden,
their sex life is on fire.

Speaker 1 (21:37):
Last year, in twenty twenty two, the award winning journalist
Rachel Krantz wrote a book called Open, an uncensored memoir
of love, liberation, and nominogamy. In it, she chronicles her
first experience in a polyamorous relationship, and part of what
she talks about is jealousy's potential benefits. Rachel met her
boyfriend back in twenty fifteen when she was twenty seven.

He was significantly older than her and was literally a
professor of desire, like he studied the psychology of romantic
desire and had been in multiple previous poli relationships.

Speaker 8 (22:11):
Before we even kissed, he told me he was non
monogamous and really framed it as like, this is about morally,
how I believe I want to be towards a partner.
It's not so much about me being with other people.
It's just I don't want to restrict people's freedom.

Speaker 1 (22:27):
And then came another piece of information.

Speaker 8 (22:29):
He revealed early on that he basically had a hot
wife in kink where his fantasy was to see me
with other men, and brought up a sex party as
a place where we could explore.

Speaker 1 (22:40):
That hot wifing. This is basically a cousin to the
more widely used term cuckolding, but minus the intended humiliation part. Basically,
hot wifing is when you're turned on by watching your
partner have sex with someone else, but where you're also involved,
like in a threeesome for example.

Speaker 8 (22:57):
Interesting He had been to this party in Brooklyn called Chemistry,
and he was like, I think it would just be
really interesting for you to see I had. One part
of me was like, God, can I handle him being
around all these other naked women and seeing the desire
in his eyes for other women. But then another part
of me was like, all right, I'm glad he's pushing me,

because going to a sex party, you know, it was
on my bucket list ever since I was you know,
a preteen masturbating to eyes wide shut on HBO late
at night. It was like, obviously you do that at
some point, like a fully evolved person goes to a
sex part. Whatever my idea was.

Speaker 1 (23:38):
I've actually been to that sex party. For context, Chemistry
is kind of the anti Sanctum in terms of vibe
and aesthetic. Think less champagne and ritual sacrifice and more
craft beer and stick and poke tattoos. Basically everyone looks
like they were born and raised at Burning Man. Rachel
did pay to get in, but it was less than

one hundred bucks to Sanctum six figure memberships.

Speaker 8 (24:03):
It was Brooklyn. It really looked like any sort of
hipster loft party, except that in certain corners, like people
were fucking. After one of the parties, we did get scabies,
which was something I didn't even know to be afraid of.

Speaker 1 (24:18):
That's Scavy's anecdote isn't relevant to the story, but I
had to include it because it's truly an orgy worst nightmare.

Speaker 3 (24:24):
Anyway, back to the point.

Speaker 8 (24:26):
A man approached me who was actually like pretty good looking.
I ended up sleeping with him. He came super quickly.
But what was fun was that during it I felt
all these people watching us. Even though I didn't think
the sex was that great. Adam was like totally transformed
into just this kind of beast feeling like very primal

energy of reclaiming me instead of me sleeping with whoever.
I wanted being something that diminished my lovability or my
value you. It was something that only made Adam desire
me more.

Speaker 1 (25:05):
Kind of reminds me of how Damon turned into a
literal lion when he thought about Melissa fucking her personal trainer.

Speaker 2 (25:11):
Ah ah no, and my you know, like, no, you
know this is fucking I'm fucking this. You go fuck
something else.

Speaker 1 (25:20):
For a lot of people, it's uncomfortable to imagine their
partner on a date touching pinkies at the movies, followed
by slow, diptyque candle sex, and that's what we all imagine, right,
But part of the appeal of a sex party is
that it's impersonal, like a networking event, but for threesomes.
So to see your partner banging a relative stranger at

a random party and then go home with you, for
a lot of people, that's way easier to handle. Here's
doctor Johanna again.

Speaker 5 (25:49):
The sex there is often much more in the casual
side of things. Sometimes you can call it sport fucking.
Not necessarily that it has to be that way, but
there is more more of a detachment. So those worries
that people might have about oh this person falling in
love or my partner developing feelings with these some of
these people that we hang out with, that's reduced.

Speaker 1 (26:11):
Ultimately, it all goes back to personal preference in terms
of opening up. Going to a sex party can actually
be a way of testing the waters together. Damon came
to this realization for himself, but after the fact.

Speaker 2 (26:25):
What I learned subsequently is that the couples that do
this successfully, they do it together. They share this experience
with each other. They bring in someone, you know, maybe
it's a girl or maybe it's a couple. When they're
all together, there's lines drawn, you know, no intercourse, but
orals okay, and they dip their toe in the water
and they try it out and they see what works
experimenting together.

Speaker 3 (26:46):
How romantic.

Speaker 1 (26:48):
No, But seriously, and look, this kind of exploration obviously
isn't for everybody, and that's okay. And also it's not
the easiest environment for sex just generally. If you find
it hard to come with an audience of one, try
one hundred. But as we'll see after the break, if
you are the kind of person who wants sexual novelty,

bottling it up probably isn't the answer. Something I found
really interesting from my conversation with doctor Jhanna is that
a lot of our personal desire to engage with any

of this nonminogamy stuff or to avoid it at all costs,
is down to our brain chemistry. Literally, some of us
have a set of genes that make sexual adventure much
more appealing. Seeking novelty feels authentic and you get a
lot of reward from doing it, whereas for other people
with a different set of genes it can feel like
a traumatizing nightmare. But if you're someone who does want

novelty and you suppress that desire, that can cause problems.

Speaker 5 (27:59):
You have someone who is relatively high on that spectrum
of need for sexual novelty seeking, and you pair that
up with a long period of time where that need
was completely suppressed, then when you open that door, it
can be easy to just get lost in that world
and really overdo it and do it in ways that

are often not going to be healthy. You're not going
to be doing it in a way that's ethical for
everyone involved, simply because there's so much going on. All
of those things should be things that you think about,
as opposed to just letting it kind of take control
over you.

Speaker 1 (28:38):
Hearing that I can't help but think that's a pretty
accurate description of Damon. He didn't get his chance at
novelty in his twenty year relationship, a non monogamy wasn't
an option, so when the gates of sexual freedom finally opened,
he kind of went berserk, you know, the whole nymphs
with handfuls of lobster and assembling a fuck ladder thing.

By the way, that actually happened, Like, we didn't make
that up. I'm creative, but not that creative. For Damon,
after many months of surviving on a cocktail of sex, drugs,
and money, he was starting to feel a little empty.
He was coming to terms with just how seriously he
was grieving the end of his marriage and how much
he'd hurt the people around him. The journalist Mike Sager,

who followed Damon around in twenty sixteen for Esquire, had
an inside look at all of this. It's no coincidence
that his article was titled why the founder of Sanctum
Sex Club is so damn Unhappy. Here's him describing Damon
at the time.

Speaker 9 (29:38):
He's just got a creamy, loving center, good heart either really,
big balls are just so narcissistic that he can't see
the consequences of his own actions vis a vis the
people in his life that he loves, because therein lies

like the reason this story. Oh, it's so fascinating because
he's in betwixt and in between there's the devil and
the angel, and he's like trying to, like you know,
be a little to the Devil's side, and like it's
just never gonna work. If anything, Damon is a victim

of his own good intentions for himself and the world.

Speaker 1 (30:24):
By this time, Damon and Ambrose had become quite good
friends and confidants. Remember Ambrose was a longtime performer at
Sanctum who we met last episode, and he could see
that Damon was struggling.

Speaker 7 (30:37):
At the time. I really looked up to him like
an older brother type figure and really felt like we
had like a siblinghood, if you will. And I could
see that he was hurting and like was trying to
fill a void and whatnot. Through all these experiences, I
also did damage control.

Speaker 3 (30:56):
When he'd have dates.

Speaker 7 (30:58):
He would invite them to Sanctum, tell them nearly enough
at all about the party, and then just like throw
them into like the lions done, if you will, And
then while at the party, he's like caught an eye
for another woman already and is like spending time with her,
and then he's gonna invite her to the next party
into the exact same thing to her. A lot of

them resembled his ex wife. He'd always talk about her also,
and like wanting her back, and like how he fucked up,
and like stuff like that.

Speaker 1 (31:29):
Now I personally know what it's like to distract yourself
with the sex rampage. Sex can be transformative and connective
and adventurous, an intimate and a million other wonderful things,
and it can also be compulsive and numbing. As my
therapist says, sex is a great way to distract yourself
from real life, but after a while, annoyingly, real life

has a tendency to catch up with you.

Speaker 2 (31:54):
I was in such good she I was in the
best shape of my life. I was meditating all this shit.
But I would be up in that room and I'd
be working out like a motherfucker, and then I would
just like break down and start crying, and that song
by Leonard Skinner Simple Man would come on, and I
would just like fucking start bawling my eyes out, as
I'm like curling, you know, I just and it sounds
I don't know what it sounds like. I don't really care,
but it's just it was such a hard time for

me because I had everything I wanted and I was
losing the most important things in my life, and I
couldn't figure out how to have both. I created the
kingdom and I had the key, and so I was
like constantly in between these two worlds of like, fuck,
I miss my wife, Like what am I doing?

Speaker 1 (32:39):
This internal conflict, the need for safety and stability in
a relationship while also wanting novelty and adventure is a
universal feeling. Most of us who have been in a
long term relationship can relate to this core idea, at
least on some level. Can you really have the best
of both worlds? Over these same months, Melissa had been

on a different trajectory. Her grieving of the marriage was
a media and all consuming soundtrack by Adele as you remember.
But now she was beginning to move through it, and
then she meets Billy.

Speaker 4 (33:17):
I ran into Billy, who was He was actually our
neighbor who lived across the street from us when we
had our house on Marmont, So I started to date
him and started to fall in love with him, and
he was such a natural, like he was a very secure,
grounded person. He's like a low hum and I needed
that that time, and he was so so great. And

so then I have Damon like this spinning crazy Tornida,
like doing sanctum and like causing so much pain in
my life. But then I had this other beautiful person
that was like giving me so much security and grounding,
and you know, someone listen to me that would understand.

Speaker 1 (33:59):
I call this the relationship pendulum swing. Like you break
up with a neurotic type, a overachiever, and suddenly a
stone surfer bro seems surprisingly appealing been there. After the
turbulence of her relationship with Damon, Melissa finally felt like
she'd found the calm in the storm. But when Damon

found out about Melissa's new relationship, unsurprisingly it was not
easy for him. When I spoke to Mike Zager, he
told me his favorite parable, and I think it sums
up Damon's position pretty well.

Speaker 9 (34:32):
There's a dog carrying a bone. He's walking across a
bridge and he looks down into the river and he
sees Courus his reflection. But to him there's a bigger
dog with a bigger bone, and he wants that bigger bone,
so he barks and then he loses everything.

Speaker 1 (34:55):
Next on Sanctum Unmasked, if you're auctioning something off that
it means that someone bought you.

Speaker 4 (35:01):
That's someone paid for you.

Speaker 5 (35:03):
So now what does that mean?

Speaker 7 (35:05):
Do they own you? It wasn't said outwardly like you're
going to have a threesome with them, but you could
tell that was like what was expected of you.

Speaker 2 (35:13):
There are a couple things I saved from that time,
and some of it is the blood of some of
these huge celebrities.

Speaker 1 (35:23):
Sanctum one Mast is a production of School of Humans
and iHeart podcasts, hosted and written by me Carly Schortino.
Italy's Perez is our lead producer and story editor. Amelia
Brock is our senior producer. Sound design, mixing and mastering
by Chris Childs. Original music composed by Jesse Niswanger, fact
checking by Austin Thompson. Local illustration by Linda McNeil. But

Heid Fraser is our recording engineer. Recorded at iHeart Studios
in New York City. Executive producers are Nick Stump, Jason English,
Virginia Prescott, Brandon Barr, Elsie Crowley, and me Carly Schortina.
If you're enjoying the show, help us get the word
out by leaving a rating in your favorite podcast. You
can keep up with Damon on Instagram. He's at Father Damon.
Tune in next week
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