Opening Up

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I was recently read a book called Opening Up but Tristan Taormino.

If you are in an open relationship, or if you want to be in one, I think this book is an excellent choice for reading up on how to do it. There is some very useful information on effective communication, as well as some balance sheets that (if you really think about your answers) can help you decide if an open relationship is for you or not.

Obviously in theory it sounds great to be able to have sex with different people. We’re all curious and we have all had that moment of attraction with a stranger that makes us desire to be daring and try something new.

And of course, as I have mentioned before, cheating in “monogamous” relationships is a real problem, which is one of the many reasons the book gives for considering an open relationship.

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However, the author also covers the many reasons it may not work for your relationship. There are lots of things to consider, such as how your are affected by jealousy, and how willing you are to own your feelings (rather than blaming a partner for them.)

It is rare to find a discussion of a topic such as this which is sex positive and overall well thought out. I must say this book contains both of those things in spades. It really is a useful tool to help anyone determine how they feel about an open relationship. and how to make it work.

A lot of us in the kink/sex-positive community struggle to define boundaries and to make the rules as we go along. When you step out of the traditional paradigm, suddenly it can be hard to know where to go from there and how to know what is “normal” any more.

This book gives guidelines and points to ponder that will help you find your way, and help you cope with a situation outside of the comfort of clearly defined boundaries and social conventions.

It is a worthy addition to my bookshelf, and I hope you’ll all consider reading it.

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I Don’t Cheat

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As I have mentioned before on my blog, I have an OKcupid profile. I have met some interesting people over the years through OKC, but it takes a lot of sifting through assholes to find them.

Recently a guy messaged me saying he was on Guam for work and asked if I wanted to hang out. He said he had read my profile and my blog, and that we had a lot of similar interests.

However, I already had stuff to do on both of the days he was in town, and I didn’t have time to go meet him.

As his messages got more and more desperate, he told me to blow off my husband, my friends, and my job interview. Obviously, I would not do any of those things. He was a jerk for asking.

But here’s the thing that really pissed me off: He admitted that he had a wife and kids and was in a monogamous relationship.

imagesWhen I said I wasn’t cool with cheating, he said; “But you’re doing it too.”

*Sigh*

I am going to make this point again, because I guess I don’t say it enough on this blog: Being poly-amorous is not cheating. Unlike this asshole’s poor wife, my husband is not in the dark. I share conversations with him often with folks I talk to online, and when I go meet people I tell him about it.

We negotiated this as the way we want our relationship to be set up. Often, some new detail will come up and we will have to revisit some aspect of our relationship in light of new feelings (turns out I wasn’t okay with him sleeping with a former porn star because she was broke and car-less and expected me to drive them on a date and have him pay.)

See; we discuss the situations we find ourselves in and we decide what we’re okay with and what we’re not okay with. It’s okay for those things to change, but it isn’t okay to sneak around and lie.

Cheating is when you lie to your partner.

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Every relationship has its own rules, and only the people in that relationship can decide what they should be. We have decided that it’s okay to sleep with other people. That is how our relationship is structured. And again, every single relationship is structured differently.

I once dated a married guy who said his wife was fine with sex outside the marriage, but he couldn’t stay the night. At various key parties or group events, there are sometimes folks with rules like “no kissing” or “no penetration.”

Everyone makes their own rules. I am not cheating on my husband by talking to various guys and girls online, because he knows and we feel that it’s okay. But the guy who wanted to sleep with me while he was in town was cheating, because he and his wife agreed on a monogamous relationship and he was lying and breaking the rules and her trust.

You can perhaps see the important distinction there that he could not?

I seriously considered taking a screen shot of the conversation and of his picture, and posting it on reddit or somewhere else, in hopes that his wife might find out. After all, I do not like to see innocent people lied to. If he tried to cheat with me, then I am sure he has cheated with other women and that is putting her life in danger. He could contract HIV or Syphilis and give it to her.

However, I don’t generally butt into the lives of others. So, I just quietly hoped that his wife would find out in some other way, because it’s unfair to her for him to behave the way he is.

My point is: don’t lie to people if you love them. Respect the boundaries you negotiate for your relationship. And, as I have said before, if you’re going to lie, don’t bring me into it.

Cheating

For A Vanilla Friend

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A friend of mine whom I have always considered vanilla got sushi with me a few weeks ago. She expressed interested in whips and chains and things. And I was surprised. I know some kink folks go around assuming that vanilla people WOULD be kinky if they were a little more gutsy or a little less sheltered. But I have never thought that. I know quite a few people who tried kinky stuff just to see how they felt about it, and decided it wasn’t for them. Ergo, I never presume to know what someone is like inside their own head.

But this friend of mine asked about a few things, and I thought I would do a basic overview of each of them.

First, responsible sex.

I have written about this topic before when discussing poly relationships, but I think a quick summary here would be beneficial. My friend expressed horror about getting STD tests from people. But as I have said before, one little cell can ruin your life and skin to skin contact can transfer cells; condoms or no. If you’re interested in being poly, understand that getting an STD can ruin the lives of a lot of people, and learn to take this seriously and not to be afraid of it.

Yes, vanilla people often avoid openly talking about this kind of thing. Yes, some of them see it as a lack of trust when you simply want to use a condom, never mind trading paperwork. But if you get into the kink community then people expect this, so don’t be shy about asking!

Second, where to go. 

I have found that the best way to find kinky folks where you live these days is to go to a fetlife.com munch. I know us kinky folks have our issues with fetlife from time to time. But let’s be honest, before that web site came along, finding freaks in your town involved walking up to scary people and asking them in person. I did that back in the early 90’s when I moved to L.A. and I am sure it wasn’t safe.

So make a profile (dear god don’t use your real name!) and find a munch near you. Choose one in a public place where the dress code is listed as “vanilla.” Then just go and talk to people. Most munches will include folks who can tell you where the dungeons are and the good clubs to hang out at.

Third, what to do.

It’s not like you have to jump in with both feet. If you’re nervous about getting started, just keep dating vanilla people, but ask them if they ever thought about trying kinky things. Practicing with another person who is mostly vanilla can be fun and harmless. Get one of those silly kinky “starter kits” they sell these days as sex shops (due to the popularity of a certain series of shit books) and try things out. You don’t need to be part of the community to be kinky. It can be nice to have the support, but if it’s too overwhelming at first, then don’t do it. You should never do anything that makes you unhappy or uncomfortable.

And remember the BDSM mantra: Safe, sane, and consensual!