Punk Pals.

July 31, 2011 at 9:29 am (Real Life, Sex) (, , )

In the early 90’s, before the internet started becoming accessible to the common man, there were zines. I was an avid collector and participant in zine culture, and among my favorites was one called Punk Pals. For a buck or so you could submit an ad, and a while later receive the next issue with a hand-drawn cover and a typewritten interior, filled with ads from punks, prisoners, and other ne’er-do-wells from across North America. I met some fascinating people this way, and for a couple years spent a good part of my meager earnings on stamps, corresponding with over a dozen people at a time.

This is how I met Shawn. He was a Canadian punk with a wilted, bleached-out mohawk, a skater’s build, and a big sense of adventure. We took a shine to each other. He lured me into phone sex, which for my still-inexperienced self was crazy erotic. It didn’t take much longer for him to decide to hop on a Greyhound and come visit me.

He arrived in the wee hours of a Saturday morning. We walked down to the river, killing time, waiting for a restaurant to open so we could have breakfast. Eventually we made our way to a friend’s apartment, where I had made arrangements for us to hang out, since I was still living with my parents. In a borrowed bed, with the sun coming up burning through homemade orange curtains, he undressed at the offer of a massage.

It was amazing to me, to touch a man that way, to feel muscles, broad shoulders, smooth skin. When he turned over and pulled me down for a kiss, he was erect. Very erect. Is it just inexperience that makes him seem so large in my memory? I hadn’t seen many erections at that point. He was long and thick. He asked for a condom, and I had to sneak into my friend’s bedroom to find one.

I was bedded, skirt was lifted, and he was prodding between my thighs. He didn’t kiss me again. He didn’t undress me or touch me. He had difficulty getting inside of me. I was dry, and it hurt. He pushed harder, and it hurt more. I don’t think he ever was fully inside of me, and eventually I just went numb. It was enough for him, and he finished, and went to sleep beside me.

He stayed for two more days, went to parties with me, criticized American beer, charmed my friends, but never touched me again. He went home on the Greyhound and I never heard from him again.

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July 26, 2011 at 8:15 am (Polyamory, Relationship) (, , )

I’ve read a lot about polyamory – why it’s a good idea, how to handle jealousy, how to juggle time and obligations, etc. One thing I’ve not read about is the experience of falling in love when you’re poly. I’m going to attempt to do that subject some justice.

I first met the boyfriend in March. I didn’t expect to fall for him; I just thought he seemed like an interesting person, and he was openly poly, and I was curious to talk to someone about it. After exchanging a few emails, with talk of meeting, I let the correspondence lag, but he called me out on it.  He pushed the right button; no one implies I’m chicken and gets away with it. So I inflicted myself upon him over coffee and tea. And here we are.

Now, I’m a limerance junkie, and I know the feeling very well; and while it’s a heady, euphoric experience, I know it’s not one to give much weight to. Poly people tend to call it New Relationship Energy (NRE), but I think that’s too heavy of a title to give to something that is essentially the hormonal surge of sexual desire and the giddiness of discovery. So, I went through several bouts of head-over-heels limerance while trying my best to appear calm and proceed with caution as we figured out what we were doing, and what was really behind it.

It has required (and continues to require, I think) a fair bit of figuring out for both of us. This is not a relationship configuration he’s been in before, and this is my first time pursuing a relationship in addition to the anchor who is my husband. So there’s been some tip-toeing, some hesitancy, and the use of very guarded language and meticulously chosen words even in expressing our developing feelings to each other. Neither of us had clear expectations, I think. We were just seeing if, when and where we’d fall.

One of the challenges I started mulling over was the inevitable question: “where are we going?” Relationships are supposed to lead up to something. Relationships are goal-oriented, and that goal is typically to find “The One” and live happily ever after. But I already have one and married him. I can’t currently legally marry another. So getting past the brainwashing that relationships need to have a goal was one hurdle.

I think I’ve become comfortable that there isn’t a goal; there’s no end, no destination. What we’re doing is about enriching each other’s lives. It’s about exploration, support, discovery. The pleasure of communication and of sharing differing experiences, ideas, paths and choices. (And hot sex.) If those things stop happening, then it should be taken as a sign to let our paths diverge.

There’s also one really big glob of fears. I have a strong, committed relationship with a man who is a great partner, my best friend, and truly my life companion. Having been told all my life how hard it is to find your “match”, I fear I’m taking him for granted by even thinking I might find another match. I fear devaluing him and the place he has in my life. I fear I’m being greedy and selfish by even wanting the affection of someone else. And sometimes I just feel guilty. This is in spite of the fact that he has seen how happy I am, and that he’s happy that I’m happy, and he has seen me grow through this, and has wanted me to grow this way, and  is completely supportive of me in what I’m doing. But when one-man-one-woman has been drilled into your brain, it’s hard to let go sometimes, even when you believe otherwise.

And I have this really incredible person over here who is bringing me so much joy in the newness and discovery. He’s approached his life much differently than I have mine, and he helps me see things differently. Consciously or not, he encourages me to grow, and that’s a trait I treasure in anyone. And I fear those differences could become barriers. I fear asking too much of him. I fear that, as much as I want to give him, it won’t be enough. Or, it might be too much.

Is this really any different from any blossoming relationship? Maybe not. I know my patterns in relationships and what I feel, how I peak out and when I start the slide back down. I don’t see a plateau yet, and that’s a good sign of strength. I feel like we’ve established a foundation of openness that will serve us well as we figure this out.  And all we can do is keep falling forward, one step at a time.

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Desire is so much worse than need.

July 22, 2011 at 10:39 am (Uncategorized)

This post is inspired by a Tweet from @writebastard. He said, “DESIRE is so much worse than NEED”. To be exact.

One thing I love about Twitter is that random things like this pop up that coincide with how my brain is already churning. I’ve been muddling over desire and need this week. I am settling into a pattern of seeing the boyfriend on Mondays, and it seems that at least one topic of conversation tends to become my meditation theme for the week.  Then, this Tweet appeared in my timeline and reinforced the course of my thinking. I enjoy how these things happen.

In short, what I’ve been pondering is a discussion on our differing needs for time together. We agree that quality is the most important factor. For me, especially in the early days of wooing, I crave time in the physical presence of a new partner. It’s part of the discovery process. While I enjoy other forms of communication, especially written ones, and those can help maintain a close feeling with someone, I want the face-to-face interaction, the physical engagement, the ability to observe him and touch him. It’s about more than sex. In some ways, it’s recording a person to memory. I want to study him. I take what I learn and spend the week sorting through it, absorbing it, learning from it. I learn about both him and myself this way.

If I could have more of his time, I would take it. Logistically that’s not very feasible.

He told me that his needs are different; that he probably would be comfortable and satisfied even if we could only see each other once a month or so, with a fair amount of communication in between.

This was said with kindness, as a simple statement of the fact of our differences. It doesn’t mean anything more than what he said. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy my company, or doesn’t care about me, or doesn’t find me lust-worthy, or doesn’t want to see our relationship grow. It just means he acknowledges his need to be in my physical presence is different from my need for his physical presence.  And, gently, he was asking me to acknowledge it, too.

Seven or eight or ten years ago, this kind of comment would have crushed me. I would have read War and Peace into it. I would have concluded all those negatives and rolled up in my carpet and flown home to wallow in self-pity: I know I’m unlovable… message received loud and clear, loud and clear… and I would have gotten drunk on weird vodka things and sulked.

But, y’know, I’ve grown up a little since then.

I desire his time and presence. (I desire a lot of other things about and/or from him, but those are other stories, other posts.) Desire can be strong, and it can be greedy, and it can easily overtake you and rob you of your senses and leave you propped up bleeding in an alley where the bums go to piss. Desire is absolutely worse than need. I think it’s important to separate desire from need clearly in my mind, just as I carefully separate limerance from love.

I don’t need to see him as often as I desire to see him. In all relationships, a degree of faith and trust is required, and I have faith that, with seeing each other on the frequency we currently do, and even if it were to become a little less frequent, we’ll be able to continue to develop this thing we’re doing, explore each other, and each be enriched by the time we spend together. He’s not going to forget about me or how he feels about me if we do have 14 days or even 30 days between our jointly shared hours. I’ve entrusted part of my heart to him, and I have faith he’s not going to lose it. He won’t vanish from my mind, heart or life in the gaps, either.

Relationships aren’t about equal balance. It’s not a list of credits and debits that have to remain aligned. Desires won’t always line up. Needs won’t always march in perfect order, either. I think if you’re going to play the poly way, that has to be something you respond to with emotional maturity, and say, “Okay, I accept that. I’ll appreciate the time and attention you can give me and make the most of what we have together. I’m responsible for filling my own needs, and I’ll find other ways.”

It might be easier to pout and whine and try to make him feel bad for not wanting to spend more time with me. It might make me feel momentarily powerful if I could do that. But that kind of behavior would very, very quickly wear thin on both of us. We have lives; we have jobs, friends, responsibilities. We both have other partners. Why play games? Why exert that emotional energy? I’d rather focus my desire on making sure we both walk away from every meeting feeling lighter in spirit, more connected, and made better by having the time together that we did.

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July 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm (Real Life, Sex) (, , )

The last time I went to bed with a significantly younger man was before I met my husband, so a little over five years ago. I was going through my last great wild phase, taking pretty much any offer. I’d ended a long distance relationship that had been keeping me in misery, but the misery hadn’t left me yet.

But I digress.

He sent me a picture of him standing front of one of the Egyptian pyramids. He was in college, a big name school, but I’ve forgotten which one. I think he may have been 22 or so. I was 34. He was honest about seeking a fling with an older woman. When I asked him why, he said his friends were becoming sexually adventurous and having fun little affairs, so he thought he should, too. Fair enough.

He was pretty – really strikingly attactive, and not the kind of boy who would have had the slightest amount of interest in me if we had been the same age. He smiled a lot and talked to me about college, his parents, his sumer internship, when we met in the coffeeshop around the corner from my apartment. He was also clearly waiting for a signal from me that I would be taking him home, and finally just asked outright. Why not?

I didnt expect one so young to have so much body hair – he was lusciously furry. But he wanted to be in control and didn’t give me much of an opportunity to explore or even look at him. His kisses were sloppy and wet. He had no idea where my clit was located, and just wiggled his fingers around between my lips like he was fishing for a lost screw. He kept smiling, and sometimes giggled. He didnt last long. As he lay beside me for a few moments, I could almost see him sorting through the experience and working it into a story to tell his friends.

This is the first time I’ve told his story. I wonder how many times he has told it.

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Primary, Secondary, Tertiary & Worthless.*

July 15, 2011 at 10:19 am (Polyamory, Relationship) (, , , , , , , , )

*Title stolen from a Tweet by @BadPolyAdvice.

I know there is no right or wrong way to “do poly”. There’s no rulebook everyone must adhere to. I’m not going to say that poly people should all think the way I do about how they refer to their relationships. I’m admittedly new to poly and doing a lot of thinking, exploring, and wondering, so I’m no expert at the practical application of the poly philosophy to real life. That said, I do have a point I want to make, and I think it’s valid. Regarding relationships and labels, we need to think carefully about why we use the labels we do, and what that says to others, and how it affects our thinking.

Many of us are resistant to certain labels, or labels of any kind. But there are some benefits: labels serve to identify people and things in ways that can be commonly understood, and I don’t think that, as a society, we’ll ever stop using them. I do think that we need to use all labels with care, because the words we choose can sometimes say much more than we mean. And by using words that carry so much weight, we may be limiting our thinking about the things we are labeling, and this applies particularly to polyamorous relationships.

The way we label our relationships is troublesome for me.  In poly relationships, it’s very common to refer to your partners as primary or secondary.

Primary: first or highest in rank or importance; first in order in any series, sequence, etc.; first in time; earliest.

Secondary: Next after the first in order, place, time, etc. belonging or pertaining to a second in order, rank, etc; derived or derivative; not primary or original.

There are a lot of reasons to use the primary and secondary labels for your relationships. It sets a clear rank and hierarchy; it establishes who is most important to you, and therefore who will get the most of your time, which is a finite quantity; it helps manage expectations among everyone involved; it establishes boundaries. Frankly, it’s just handy to put your lovers in order. Right?

For a lot of reasons, I have a general resistance to hierarchical definitions. I find them belittling. To see them used in terms of intimate relationships irks me. To me, it says, “I have compared Partner B to partner A, and Partner B comes up wanting. Partner A is better.”  This seems like a value judgment; and because A is primary, he/she gets the most, and B gets a little less. Do value judgments and comparisons have a place in polyamorous, open relationships? I don’t think that they do.

Ranking implies a decrease in value the farther down the rank you go. It also implies there is less to give for the lower ranks. With time, yes, we are all limited, and we have to make choices between work, self care, chores, friends, lovers. But is love a finite quantity? Do we have less love to give each successive partner?

Isn’t that what we’re arguing against by being poly in the first place – that starvation mentality, that there’s only so much love to give and then it’s used up?

I also wonder if using the primary label closes one off to possibilities. If I say to each new potential partner, “I have a primary and he’s most important”, that does help towards setting expectations about the amount of time and attention another potential partner could receive. But to me, it could also say, “I’ve already compared you to someone, even though I don’t know you as well as I know him, but I already know that you can’t measure up to him, even though I don’t know you as well yet.” That immediately erects a wall: you can come in, but only this far. It could restrict how that relationship might grow.

But the fact is, I don’t know what might develop with a new partner.  I may have met my primary first, chronologically, but it’s certainly not inconceivable that there might be another person out there who is also compatible with me. And I could potentially have – gasp – my primary become my secondary. Ouch for him! (1) So do I use the primary label to protect my chronologically first lover from outside threats?

Is it inconceivable to have peer relationships, with equivalent amounts of love being exchanged?

Polyamorous: pertaining to participation in multiple and simultaneous loving or sexual relationships.

That’s a really fundamental definition, but I think sometimes it’s good to go back to the fundamentals. Multiple and simultaneous. Not greater/lesser. Not superior/inferior. Not primary/secondary. Multiple, simultaneous. No ranking of one against the other. No comparison. Just concurrent.

Human beings have value. It can take a while to discover exactly how much value any given person brings to your life. My argument against using hierarchical labels is that it creates a barrier that could prevent you, and your new/potential lovers, from experiencing organic growth in a relationship. When you tell them from the outset that the possibilities are limited, regardless of what qualities this new person might bring or what potential they might have, you’re closing yourself off. That’s not loving behavior, to me.

Being open means being without limitations. When I use words that erect a hierarchy, I’m setting limits. I’m not open.

I’m sure there are many arguments to the contrary of what I’ve expressed here. This is all my own opinion, based of course on my own limited experience. For me, personally, I know labels of some kind are needed, and I’ve taken up the terminology suggested in this article from Loving More: anchor and ancillary. They feel less loaded to me; they’re not as commonly associated with hierarchy, but still carry weight. I like them, and you’ll see these terms used in this blog in the future.

(1) To be honest, however, I admit this is unlikely. Since I’m married and have the legal, financial and other entanglements that come with marriage, I’m not sure how logistically my husband could become a secondary partner. I suppose we could remain married but live apart; or we could have additional partners live with us in a group marriage. But knowing myself as well as I do, I feel like these configurations would be unlikely, at least anytime in the near future.

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This is how to do it.

July 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm (Real Life, Sex) (, , , )

Cuff me, hands together, over my head.

Put all your focus on my breasts. Stroking and squeezing, teasing lightly around my nipples. Then pinching, twisting, fierce and hungry sucking.  Caress them as my gift to you; abuse them as worthless things.

Kiss me after a while, and I’ll keep stretching up to you for more, wanting to drink from you, wanting to take you in through your lips and tongue.

All the while my hips are grinding, thighs clenched together, trying to generate just a little pressure, just a bit, to relieve that throbbing point.

Until finally, you reach down, slide your fingers in, soaked with wetness, and stroke just right, just so, and it takes me over and claims me, hips arching up, up, reaching for it, then expanding, contracting, flowing heat finish.

I knew we would figure this out eventually.

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