The lap dance.

November 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm (Polyamory, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , , , , )


I’ve started dating someone new.  Funny enough, I never thought I’d date someone I met through Twitter, but technically that’s how it began. A somewhat-local follower (we live about an hour apart) whom I’ve been interacting with for several months, and we finally met in person at a poly potluck in October. Ah, chemistry. Ah, limerance.

This one has a particularly sweet flavor. I think it is because being the recipient of open, no-reservation affection is something of a novel experience for me. In a lot of my relationships, both parties have tried to play it cool, hold their cards close and stay casual, detatched, afraid to be vulnerable, or exposed. This one is developing with eagerness, though that doesn’t mean recklessly or without caution.  We put our cards on the table early and I’ve realized how much I’ve missed the freedom that comes from that.

I think of him as a young man, though a six-year age difference isn’t really young. He’s shy, but I think he has a determination to overcome his shyness, and somehow, I think I’m part of his motivation. It’s hard to describe what a wonderful feeling that is. It makes me want to be a better person and hope I’m worth his effort.

His shyness gives him a bashful, boyish quality, and I feel protective of him. But there are times when I’m reminded that he is very much a man.

On Saturday night, some friends from our poly group went to a strip club. (This might seem odd to some, but how it came about is a long story that really isn’t relevant to this one.) The group included both my husband and this new fellow. I has the pleasure of spending most of the evening sitting between the two of them, holding hands, sharing drinks, and watching the girls dance. That, in and of itself, would have made for a fun evening in terrific company. But it got better.

Our shy fellow found a reserve of courage and approached a cute dancer on the stage. For a tip, a girl would bend down and gyrate especially for a customer – rub her breasts across your face, briefly embrace you, shimmy her butt at eye level. He took a liking to one, a blonde with pretty, round, real breasts and pierced nipples. She had a fun attitude – not the weary, scheming or damaged look some girls tried to hide, but a kind of tomboyish, careless approach. I think she just didn’t take any of it very seriously, and that made her appealing. Lots of people liked her. Several people in our party approached her over the course of the night.

I have to admit I eagerly watched him stand at the stage and receive her little performance for the tip. In a way, I was proud of him for having the guts to go up there – I certainly didn’t, as much as I would have liked to. And I liked seeing the smile on his face that came from this brief transaction.

When she approached our group, he asked her for a lap dance, and I asked if I could watch. No problem there, and we both were a little giggly and giddy at the prospect. We followed her back to the semi-private dance area, and I was seated across from him for prime viewing position. We chatted for a moment about her nipple piercings, then she got down to the business of the lap dance.

Watching her slide around against him was a complexly emotional, exciting experience for me. It was probably the most erotic thing I’ve experienced that didn’t involve personal physical contact. But it also was an inner storm of emotions that buzzed like guitar distortion – some a little painful, but all worth the experience.

As with the stageside tip, I enjoyed seeing the smile on his face and knowing the pleasure he was experiencing. For my own benefit, I enjoyed watching a pretty, near-naked girl moving seductively a few feet away. Watching him touch her, the way his hands slid along her sides and up to her breasts, gave me a fleeting stab of envy that he would touch her that way before he would touch me. But I also watched knowing that this may be how he might touch me, with the warmth of anticipation. I felt grateful that he was comfortable enough with me, at this early stage, to allow me to watch him do this. In a strange way, I felt a kind of pride that I was with him for this experience. And when his eyes met mine over her shoulder, I could read the same feeling in them that I’ve been seeing every other time we connect. A happiness that I’m distinctly a part of.

It was unsettling, lovely, and strangely intimate. It’s something I want to remember.

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Sweet Little Fantasies

October 24, 2011 at 10:03 am (Sex) (, , , , , )


Perhaps it’s due to the change of the seasons and the onset of cooler weather, when I start feeling more domestic. The nesting instinct kicking in. Trying to settle the chaos in the house down to a dull roar and fewer piles, wearing more layers, deliberating when to turn on the heat. My erotic imagination turns to more tranquil scenes, sweeter intimacies.

A few days ago I woke up with the specific longing to spend the day in kneesocks and a cardigan, alternating between reading and fucking. This is rooted in an experience from over ten years ago, when the boyfriend of the time took me home with him for the weekend to his cozy little house in a small Ohio town. He undressed me upon arrival, and I never bothered to re-dress until it was time to leave. He was working, I was reading, curled up on the sofa or across from him at the table, and periodically he would reach for me. He liked the way the sweater covered my breasts but let the curve of my ass peek out, and he liked having only that simple piece of clothing to remove when he wanted more. I enjoyed keeping him company in this way, free to do what I wished with no responsibilities over my head, just the assumption of willingness to open my legs to him when he wanted. And he wanted often, burrowing into me in a nest of quilts spread on the living room floor, or guiding me to my knees as he leaned back in his chair. There was no question of denying that wanting when it arose, and it was a luscious weekend of comfortable silence and warm, friendly desire.

A hot shower also triggered another fantasy, also based in reality, of being bathed and pampered. I imagine a large, deep tub full of bubbles, and being scrubbed all over with a rough cloth until I am red from heat and friction. I would be rinsed, wrapped in towels and patted dry, then stroked all over again with lotion until soft and sweet. Taken to bed, I would be heated through with desire as this imaginary lover focused first on my breasts, sucking and biting my nipples, licking and caressing them like the objects of his deepest lusts. Fingers would then find my center and the hot, throbbing point, followed by lips and tongue, followed by hard cock and our bodies pressed together, and the enveloping heat of orgasm.

Such sweet, simple fantasies, yet so unlikely to ever be experienced. It interests me that in both, I’m rather objectified – an adored and desired thing, but one that serves a purpose of pleasure above all else. Cared for and caressed, but with no expectations or burdens. This speaks to a deeper, more difficult desire to escape a little from the daily weight of obligations and responsibilities, a longing to be a receiver rather than a caregiver. A need much harder to fill. But perhaps one that really needs to be heard.

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The Sexual To-Do List.

October 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm (Real Life, Sex) (, , , , , , )


I asked folks a question on Twitter about what’s on their sexual to-do list that they fear may never be crossed off. I was curious about those big hopes and dreams and fantasies that might not be achievable, or perceived as achievable. The discussion focused more on the sexual to-do’s themselves, though; achievable or not achievable didn’t really register for some.  Which is okay; it was a fun discussion anyway.

I’ve been thinking the past few days about those things I want to do, and whether any of my current partners would be willing to do them, and why or why not, and whether some of those things are important enough to me to seek out someone who would be willing to fulfill them. It’s a pretty entertaining train of thought, for the most part.

So for the record, and for the sake of my own failing memory, I thought I’d start a blog post for my sexual to-do list. I’ll probably come back and update it periodically, hopefully as things are accomplished, but also as new things occur to me.

I’ll note that the use of the word “sex” could include vaginal penetration or oral sex, giving or receiving, unless otherwise specified.

So, in no particular order, my list includes:

1. MFM threesome with double penetration.

2. Spend one 24-hour period as a slave or a pet. (There are very, very specific requirements around this, but it’s something I’ve entertained in fantasy for about fifteen years.)

3. Give a male partner a handjob in the balcony of Southgate House during a show.

4. Give a male partner a blow job in a parking garage (in or out of a vehicle).

5. Sex in a vehicle going through a car wash.

6. Sex outdoors in snow; in rain; in bright spring sunshine. Preferably all of the above (not at the same time, of course).

7. Participate in filming someone else’s sexual encounter (without being an active participant in the sex itself).

8. Be restrained and blindfolded in a situation where I would not know who was touching me (among a trusted group who understood my boundaries, but still unaware of specifics).

9. Describe a fantasy to a partner and for it to be fulfilled at a later time exactly as described. (I try to share fantasies with partners, but usually they forget about them, aren’t interested in them, or if they try to fulfill them they miss certain important details or make changes so it’s not really what I wanted. Yes, I’m high maintenance.)

10. Be set on fire. (Maybe this isn’t entirely a sex thing, but I have the opportunity to have it done next month and I am super super excited about it.)

11. Watch a male partner have sex with another man.

12. Participate in a porn-watching party/orgy.

13. Be beaten with a riding crop.

14. Have sex with someone I originally had sex with in my 20’s.

15. Meet and have playtime with some of my sexy Twitter friends.

I suppose this list will seem rather tame, to some. But it accurately reflects my current interests and desires. I sit at the milder end of the kink spectrum and I’m okay with that. Which doesn’t mean that, over time, I won’t add some rougher stuff, and there are definitely fantasies that involve rougher stuff, but most either don’t qualify as things I really, really want to do; or they’re things I’ve done already but continue to enjoy in fantasy.

What’s on your list?

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Healing.

September 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm (Real Life, Relationship, Sex) (, , , , , )


I’ve reached a point in therapy where I need to go deep into an old wound. I need to do so with compassion, the objective being to forgive myself for something I once did, something I am ashamed of, which I believe to be the root of a lot of my issues. This is that story.

When I was twenty-two years old, I married a man I’d met about a week prior. Actually, I’d known him for several years, but we had never spent a moment together until then. He had been in prison, and we’d corresponded with letters and tapes. He professed to love me. No one else ever had. I didn’t think I would find someone else who ever would. I liked being wanted, being needed.

I wasn’t attracted to him. I was pretty uncomfortable with him, actually. But I had promised to marry him, and I did.

I am deeply, deeply ashamed of that. I should have known better.  But he had crossed the country to be with me. Actually, he’d broken laws to be with me, which led to our first few years being a pretty fucked-up mess. At the time, I didn’t think there was any way I could have said “no”. Deep down, I may have felt that the risk of saying “no” was greater than the risk of continuing. I chose to continue.

The marriage lasted seven years. It was about two years into it when he began using heroin. He’d been a junkie before, and I knew it. I pretended not to realize what was going on for another year. By then, we were deep in debt. The first time he overdosed, I called 911 and we went to the hospital for him to be revived. The second time he overdosed, I just sat on the bed and waited to see if he would come around or not.

Eventually, he went back to jail for a few months, and somehow I found the strength to tell him he couldn’t come home when he got out. He did anyway — he had nowhere else to go. It took about a week of constant fighting, and an OD suicide attempt, before he got it through his head that I was serious.  He packed up and moved out of state, and he has never come back.

Except in dreams. For years I dreamed about trying to get him to leave; dreams where I would come home and he’d be there, acting like he belonged there. I’d have to convince him all over again to leave.

And there were dreams about a panther lying on my chest, patiently waiting for me to make one wrong move so it could tear my throat out.

I still have these dreams sometimes, over ten years later.

I did a lot of work to get past this, to build up my self-esteem and re-enter the world as a strong, confident, single woman. I did a pretty good job of getting my life back together. Except for one thing. I still blame myself for those seven years of hell. I put myself into that situation. I let it continue. I let myself be abused both emotionally and physically. And I’ve never forgiven myself for that.

And there’s one more thing. The night before he left, we had sex. At this point, I truly hated him, but was so relieved that he’d finally relented and was leaving. I had no desire for him, but he knew how to touch me, and I gave in to him. I had an orgasm.

Let’s pause for a moment and think about that.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I have difficulty with reaching orgasm with a partner. Now, truthfully, he was not wholly responsible for this orgasm, but when we had sex we frequently used a position where I could reach my clit while he was inside of me. So not only did I let him fuck me one last time, I brought myself to orgasm while he was doing so.

I feel sick to my stomach every time I’ve thought of this in all the years since. I despise myself for allowing that to happen.

I’m starting to realize that somehow, deep down in the festering heart of that wound, I may have decided that I would never be allowed to have an orgasm with a partner again. That my body’s refusal to orgasm through a partner’s stimulation is my punishment on myself for doing something that so disgusts me to remember.

The first man I got involved with after the marriage ended told me, directly and explicitly: “I am not your ex.”  I took that to heart, and I’ve never again projected my distrust of my ex onto any other man. I don’t have trust issues, I don’t expect every man to abuse me, and I can stand up for myself in a relationship.

But I certainly don’t trust myself. And I’ve never forgiven myself. And in order to move on, I need to learn how to do both of those things.

 

 

 

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Passion, Intimacy, Commitment.

September 17, 2011 at 10:01 am (Polyamory, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , , )


The great trifecta – or Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love – has been on my mind a lot lately. Passion, Intimacy and Commitment. The ideal, of course, is to have all three, but many relationships settle into a state where two are stronger. My marriage is definitely on the Companionate side of that triangle (see link above).

DH and I have been talking about this. We’ve had sex a whopping three times in the past seven days, which is unusual. It’s comfortable, familiar, satisfying in its own way. But it distinctly lacks passion. There is no anticipation, no lust, no longing for sexual contact. We mainly have sex in the morning as an extension of cuddling. It’s an act of affection, but not necessarily one of desire.

I miss desire like crazy. I miss lust. I miss longing to touch someone and be touched, and I miss anticipating fulfillment of those needs. This puts me in an awkward position right now. The boyfriend was very effectively filling those needs, but we’re currently on a sexual hiatus while I work through some issues. I’m trying to be all Zen about it, and feel and acknowledge the desire without fulfilling it. Sometimes that approach is effective, and even somewhat pleasurable. Sometimes it is not, and I have to resist firing off a text message that would probably result in rejection.

I’m also struggling to accept the reality that the passion in my marriage is gone. Oh, I know, there have been thousands of women’s-magazine articles written on how to revive the passion in your marriage, and I’ve read a couple dozen of them. The problem with their advice is, both partners have to be willing to invest time and energy in reviving that passion.

DH is okay with the lack of passion. He does not want to put time and energy into games, dress-up, sexy love notes, or any of those other “put the passion back in your marriage” ideas. He values companionship and emotional intimacy over passion, and I do agree with him on that point… a lifelong partnership has a better foundation if intimacy and commitment are strong. I also think he doesn’t experiences passion the way I do, or sees the need to express it the way I do. It’s just a fundamental difference in perspective that is unlikely to ever change, like our difference of opinions regarding the moon landing (old joke, I’ll explain it some other time).

This is sometimes difficult for me to accept. I want that trifecta. I know that the lack of passion doesn’t devalue the other pieces we have, and I struggle not to diminish or overlook the value of those other two parts, because they’re worth immeasurable amounts. If I seek out fulfillment of my need for passion in another relationship, it’s also a struggle not to let that overwhelm and thus devalue the intimacy and commitment I have with my husband, because the passion is that longed-for missing piece. It’s the new toy on Christmas Day that makes you forget all your other, once-favorite toys. Passion is an oooh-shiny distraction for me, and I need to learn how to take it in measured doses, keeping my head about what it is and what it does for me.

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Getting my shit together.

September 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm (Family, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , , , , )


This is a long post that has been written, re-written, deleted, written again, and finally posted with a deep breath. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share what’s been going on with me, but I’ve decided that, like other issues I’ve blogged about, maybe someone somewhere will read it who has shared my experience. Maybe someone will feel a little better to know they’re not the only one. Maybe I can give someone else a bit of hope.

Several weeks ago, I had an emotional breakdown. It was in public, and it was humiliating for me and an embarrassment to my husband. It led to a very long night of crying, and involved feelings of anger, betrayal, abandonment and loss. It was a breaking point. I was the one broken.

I’ve been feeling this coming on, and some warning signs I saw clearly and acknowledged, while others I willfully ignored. I take responsibility for that. If I had stopped and reflected on how I was feeling sooner, I could have asked for help sooner. But for a number of reasons, I didn’t, and I let myself continue on a destructive course.

A really big part of this has been caused by the stress in my working life. I take my job very seriously, and very personally. This year I’ve gone through two manager changes, a major organizational shift, and have been under a great deal of pressure from a heavy workload. For months, I’ve been telling everyone who asked that I’m overloaded, but no one seemed willing to help me re-prioritize or shift any work, they just added more. I felt constantly several steps behind and frequently overwhelmed to the point of immobility.

This brought to the surface a long-standing issue I’ve struggled with through most of my life – a sense that I have to prove myself worthy, and that no matter what I do, I am unworthy. That’s become a big issue in my working life, in my stress over incomplete or insufficient output, my fears of being thought of as slacking because I was struggling to maintain my output, an increasing defensiveness whenever anyone questioned what I was doing or where my time was going or why something wasn’t done yet. As someone without a college degree working in a field where degrees are the norm, I’ve always felt I had to work harder to prove myself up to the job. The pressure really has been coming from inside me, though, and the voice telling me I’m not good enough for this job has been getting louder and louder.

This is a very old issue for me, going back to my childhood. I’ve always struggled to see my own value as a person and have always tried to find it by seeking to keep others happy. I’ve tried to work on this issue, and over the years I’ve found some coping mechanisms and ways to defeat the negative self-talk, but lately those attempts to control my inner critic have not been working. I reached a point a few months ago where I stopped trying. I had a similar emotional breakdown while on a business trip in early June, and ever since then, I’ve felt increasingly out of control. What were occasional bouts of depression that seemed to be PMS related started lasting longer. That inner critic would pop up at any time, even without provocation, to tell me I was worthless and unlovable.

I could clearly see how this was impacting my relationships, but I felt helpless to do anything about it. I was becoming increasingly dependent on my husband for emotional support. He’s a very calming, soothing presence for me, and when I would spend evenings alone, I’d find my inner critic rambling out of control, and anxiety would start gnawing at me. On more than one occasion, I chose to combat this by drinking, which was an old habit I’d broken more than six years ago. Allowing myself to use that crutch again was very disturbing, but I struggled to find another way to comfort myself that wouldn’t be equally unhealthy.

During this same time, I’d been making an attempt to build a my first polyamorous relationship. I fell in love fast and the emotions have been very confusing. I’ve struggled to understand the terms and structure of a poly relationship and how to express my needs. Really, I’ve been uncertain if I was even allowed to have any needs, or if such would be a betrayal of my husband, or if I’d be looked down upon for asking for any needs to be filled. I found myself hyper-sensitive and worrying constantly about this relationship. Did I say or do the wrong thing, am I asking for or expecting too much, am I expressing too much affection, and on and on. I needed frequent reassurance, was scared to ask for it, but clung to every piece given, while the anxiety built up and spilled over into other areas of my life.

Essentially, the stress from my job and the stress over my relationships were feeding on each other, becoming a painful mess. I started feeling like I was being crushed by the weight of my insecurities, fears and responsibilities. I didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone about what I was feeling, because that would mean admitting that I was failing. I just let it continue until it exploded in a very messy, very public way, and I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

I still feel, essentially, like a broken thing. I’ve failed. Yes, I managed to decrease some of my work-related stress through a very frank discussion with my boss about my emotional state, and that has given me some relief. On the relationship side, my husband felt strongly that we should close the marriage for a while, to create a safe place where I wouldn’t feel threatened by his attention to other women, so that he would be able to give me some additional emotional support, and so that I would be able to direct most of my emotional energy towards myself and working on these issues.

That was not an easy decision. I’ve been investing time and energy into building this other relationship that was very important to me. But I also knew that my feelings about that relationship were unhealthy and needed to be reworked. I knew I wouldn’t have much to offer him emotionally while I worked on myself. I knew I could use sex and affection to avoid working on those issues, so I couldn’t allow myself that distraction. The reassurance that I am a valuable, worthwhile person has to be re-discovered from inside me, and I was relying far too heavily on his affection to tell me my own worth.

I knew all this, and I tried to explain it, but I probably did it too quickly, too soon after the sleepless night of tears. I didn’t explain it well, and as a result I’ve alienated my lover and lost what could have been a source of support. This has weighed heavily on my heart the past few weeks, but I’ve not been given the opportunity to make it right. I’m not sure at this point if I’ll be able to.

So that’s the story.

The concept of emotional health is relative. We all have our issues, and we can work on them, and learn ways to manage them, even rise above them. But over time, your life changes, your place and perspective changes, and you grow. And the coping mechanisms you learned or the way you figured out how to function in spite of your issues may no longer work. You have to revisit those old fears or inadequacies and learn a new way to find contentment in spite of them.

That’s what I’m trying to do. I’ll probably never be one of those super-confident people who believes wholeheartedly thst she deserves all the best in life and won’t settle for anything less. But I can get back to a place where I no longer feel unworthy, at least. That has to come from within, but I also need to learn how to accept support from others without depending on it or needing it too much. I’m learning how to walk that tightrope once again.

And that’s what I call getting my shit together. At least I’m trying.

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I’m going away for a while.

August 14, 2011 at 11:46 am (Real Life)


Not physically. I’m going to stop blogging and disable my Twitter account in a few days. I’m also disabling my OK Cupid profile, and putting a wonderful blossoming relationship on hold. I am closing my marriage.

These are not easy decisions. But I know that at this point, this is the best thing for me to do.

For quite a while now, I have felt a heavy weight crushing me. It is partly from a great deal of work-related stress, which those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably observed. It is partly from reflection over my impending 40th birthday, pondering the progress I’ve made as a person in the past decade, and struggling with some disappointments over progress I felt I should have made but haven’t. It is partly from a growing sense that I need a change, a big change, in my life, but also feeling unable to identify exactly what that should be. Is is partly from a sense of being overburdened with responsibilities and having to carry everything and everyone around me. It’s a lot of stuff, really. It’s a depression I’ve been weaving in and out of all year, and it’s so complicated at this point I don’t know how to begin to unravel and make sense of it in order to fix it.

What I do know, and have long believed, that you can’t fully love others if you can’t love yourself. I’m struggling to love and accept myself. And if I continue down the path I’m on now, the things I’m doing will become unhealthy and destructive. That’s not what I want, for myself or the people I love. I don’t want to drag anyone down with me. I hope that by stepping back now and focusing on myself, I can come back to the self I used to know and love – a happy, vibrant, sexual, beautiful, confident woman – and be better able to uplift the ones I love as a result.

I appreciate the friendships and connections I’ve made through Twitter and this blog. If you want to keep in touch, please DM me to exchange email addresses. Supportive people are precious and I will be grateful for any who can help me.

Thank you for reading and listening to me. I’ll be back one day.

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I suck at this (but that’s okay).

August 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm (Polyamory, Real Life, Relationship) (, , , )


When I’m not making clever quips on Twitter or running around trying to be all poly and shit, I’m a corporate wage-slave. Yes, I have a capital-c Career and I read stuff like the Harvard Business Review. Today I read this article on cross-cultural communication and collaboration, which is Relevant to My Professional Interests; but it also got me thinking about relationships.

The article quotes an expert in organizational behavior who says, “There is a gulf between reading something and imagining something hypothetically and actually experiencing it.”  I am facing this head-on right now in my personal life. I’ve read a lot about poly; I’ve been contemplating it as a personal choice for the past decade, to be honest. Only now am I attempting to put it into practice, and in spite of all my years of reading and thinking, I feel woefully out of my depth already.

The author introduces the concept of this “cultural lens” we each have, based on our life experiences in our own culture, and how it’s a challenge to change that lens when working with people from other cultures. It feels awkward; it makes you unsure of yourself; and you have to ask questions you may never have thought to, or needed to, ask before. “What is the right thing to say? What is the right way to say it? What is my body language saying?” This is still true if you substitute the concept of a cultural lens for an emotional lens, and think about it in terms of your past relationship experience, or within the context of your current/primary/anchor relationship, if you have one. When you start to develop an ancillary relationship, it’s all new territory; you can’t communicate the same way, and the emotional terrain is completely different. You feel uncertain; you don’t know what’s too much, what’s not enough, where you fit in, how to fit in. There’s an awkward period of adjustment that’s necessary to go through.

This is why it doesn’t surprise me that I feel like I suck at being poly right now. I’m in completely new territory. I’m experiencing emotions in a radically different context and it confuses the heck out of me. I’m not even sure I know what I want anymore. The advice of our cultural experts rings true: I shouldn’t beat myself up for this. It’s part of the process.

There’s more good advice I can adapt from this:

  • Acknowledge the differences: admit there may be disparities. Put your differences out there. Don’t trot them out as a convenient excuse for bad behavior, but share your background, your reasons for why you see or do things a certain way. This gives both of you the opportunity to compare experiences and expectations, and reach a better understanding of each other.
  • Build trust and be curious: this is really important when you’re being open and honest about what you may be struggling with emotionally as you build a new relationship. Exposing your vulnerability can be scary. Do whatever you can to show your partner you can be trusted knowing his or her fears or weaknesses. One way to do that is to ask questions – not in a challenging, interrogative way, but by gently probing to demonstrate that you’re listening, and that you want to understand.
  • Decide what practices to adopt: in other words, find your emotional common ground, and use it to define the scope of your relationship. If you’ve put some time and effort into the first two points, you should be equipped to figure out what works for both of you. This may require a little compromise, but it should be done in a way that’s comfortable for everyone involved (and that includes other anchor or ancillary partners, as well).

It sounds like I know what I’m doing after all, huh? Well, I’m still trying to put this into practice. It will continue to feel weird and I’m sure I’ll feel like I don’t know what I’m doing for a good while longer. But I’m going to trust myself and my partner that we’ll figure it out and learn as we go.

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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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Falling.

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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