Though Tortorella and Meyers fight to live their truth beyond labels, they understand the world’s necessity for words. Identifying as “more of a pansexual,” Tortorella embraces calling himself bisexual to help battle bi erasure. “I can be emotionally, physically attracted to men. I can be emotionally, physically attracted to women. The ‘B’ in LGBTQ-plus has been fought for, for so long. I’m not going to be the person that’s like, ‘No, I need a ‘P,’ I need another letter!’ I stand by people that have paved this way for somebody like me."
He says he originally thought "the term bisexual very much so lives in the binary of gender, and which I don’t believe in." Most bi activists argue bisexual simply means attraction to your own and other genders.
"I believe in the spectrum, the full universe of gender and sexuality, and probably I fall more into the pansexual fluid terms which fall into the umbrella of bisexual in LGBTQ-plus," Tortorella says. "I think when I was first having this conversation, I didn’t like the term bisexual because I think it was a little dated for this generation; people weren’t using it. It kind of puts people into this box. [But] I respect the term bisexual. I use it because I respect it.”
Meyers identifies as gay (“I know more women who call themselves gay than they call themselves lesbian,” she admits), but also embraces the queer label. She says Tortorella is the only man she can imagine having a relationship with.
Love and sex, says Tortorella, are just two different things, though Meyers’s family tends to disagree.
“That was the hardest thing about coming out to my family,” Meyers recalls. “When I did it, I broke up with my girlfriend and then decided to come out. So because I wasn’t in a relationship, it was like, ‘I don’t want to know what you’re sleeping with.’ They didn’t talk to me for a long time, this is years in the making of things, but that’s when I was like maybe I should have done this when I had a girlfriend, just to feel validated. It’s so annoying that in your sexual preference that a relationship needs to make you feel validated.”
Tortorella agrees, adding that nobody imagines straight couples, like Meyers’s brother and sister-in-law, having sex; but if the person is queer, it’s a different story.
“No one thinks about them fucking,” he says. “But the second I tell them I’m dating a dude, the first thing he thinks about is my dick in his ass. It’s disgusting. Like what the fuck is wrong with you that that’s what you’re thinking?”
“Whereas you’re not like, ‘Oh, you guys are getting married?’I bet he’s going to stick his penis in her vagina,” Meyers jokes.
Tortorella says, “We need to get our head out of that place. I really think that that’s the biggest harm that we have done. Even the word ‘sexuality.’ What’s your ‘sexuality?’ It shouldn’t even be about sex. Sex is a by-product.”
Despite Tortorella and Meyers’s understanding that jealousy is part of being human, for them it’s different. In fact, 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.
“I really want to be pregnant,” she says. She plans on freezing her eggs in the next few years.
Tortorella turns to her and adds, “I think if you’re dating another woman and you talk about adopting a kid, or using [my semen] to have a kid, outside of us, yeah, I totally can get behind that. But the thought of you getting pregnant from another dude that you were dating, I don’t know, it hurts in a different way.”
When the first episode of The Love Bomb was recorded, Tortorella was in a relationship with another woman. He starts off the first episode with a poem he wrote: “This isn’t selfish, it’s free. I’m not gay. I’m not straight. I’m me.” Ultimately, he admits, that relationship crumbled because there was no space for him and Meyers in it, though he thought (or hoped) there would be.
The love they have is evident in their charged glances, which have likely gone unchanged since the night they first met at a college party in Chicago. It was their confidence that drew each other at first. From there, they were on and off again for years, never actually breaking up officially (though he attempted a half-ass breakup when they started dating, it lasted only seconds).