This Is What a Queer Family Looks Like

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It was at the beginning of Tortorella and Meyers’s relationship when they realized their love didn’t need to be sanctioned with names or labels. Even when they lived together as a couple in Los Angeles, they never called each other “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” (“We’re family,” Tortorella says.) That was when, they both admit, they knew their relationship was something much more evolved, much more enlightened, and much more real. They credit meeting each other with finding their destinies in life. After all, it was Tortorella who introduced Meyers to yoga. Now she’s one of the preeminent fitness influencers, known more for her gorgeously tattooed and butchy beautiful body than her relationship. Soon, she’ll be launching a new fitness at-home app designed for women called Be.Come.

“Labels can be very frustrating,” Meyers says. “They’re evolving because people always make new words. Part of me wants to say we’re going to move to a label-less society, but I don’t know. Maybe [in the future] we’ll just have more words.”

Admittedly, Tortorella and Meyers are still inventing the constructs of their relationship, and labels are the least of their struggles. The duo don’t live together. (“We live together great but we live better separately,” he says.) The biggest hurdle, thus far, is other people.

“I tried to create a relationship along these lines with other people I’ve dated,” she says. “We’re still figuring it out.”

“We’re still figuring out the best way we can bring other people into our relationship,” he 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! We’re so down to hear stories because these stories aren’t told often.”

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.”

Despite the depth of their love, they share this notion: It’s impossible to get everything they need — nurturing, care, support, sex — from the other person alone. For example, Meyers makes it clear Tortorella is the person she goes to when she needs a dose of encouragement, but not necessarily the person to whom she’ll spill her guts when she needs a good venting session. She can find that elsewhere. And that’s OK with him.

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. If some dude wants to fuck this girl but she wants to do something else, that can be an issue.”

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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.”

In spite of what Tortorella’s Instagram photos may suggest, he is quick to say that, at 29, he too is still trying to discover his own empowerment when it comes to sex.

“I don’t think I’ve hit my sexual prime at all,” he confirms. “As sacred as I look about sexuality, I’m so obsessed and passionate about learning more about sexuality. I’ve been talking about making The Love Bomb into a TV show and what it would be like. Right now, what it looks like is me going into the field and looking at all sorts of different types of sexuality and energy connections with people so I can get a better understanding. I don’t think I know enough, I don’t think I feel enough, and I don’t think the world knows enough of it.”

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. He’s one of the first actors who plays a straight leading man and love interest on TV to come out as bisexual. It was an epiphany that came two years ago after becoming sober.

“In the last 50 years … for somebody like me, that plays more of the leading man role, there has been an unwritten set of rules that exist,” he says, arguing that gay and bi actors have been limited in what TV producers have allowed them to do. “To be honest, I think when I got sober two and a half years ago, I took a look at my life, and what I represented in Hollywood. And what I wanted to represent outside of Hollywood. I [decided] there’s no room to not be myself in all of this. If people are going to be having a conversation [about my sexuality] for whatever reason, if that’s even a possibility, I’m going to be the one leading the conversation. If there were somebody when I was growing up talking like we’re talking, things would’ve made so much more fucking sense.”

He thinks kids today can eschew labels because LGBT leaders have been so successful at making a place in the world for them. He can talk about this for hours he says, but insists, “I think that if we all just saw each other for people and individuals and didn’t try to give each other these [labels], the world would be such a more beautiful place. 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?’”

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