Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of year state of the union


So the end of the year is upon us, with the usual urge for reflection and pondering of the year's relative value. Some years are more eventful than others, and this has been one of the most changing in my life. Frankly, I'm hoping for a bit more mellow predictability next year! ;)

Things that I have observed anew: Ownership of a connection is significantly more satisfying than ownership of a partner. Difficult discussions can lead you in directions infinitely more rewarding than ones you would have chosen of your own volition. Parenting ain't for sissies! Puppies create more poo than the amount of kibble they consume. There is an innate urge to think that the bone someone else has is better than the identical bone you currently have in your own mouth. Working out helps me feel centered spiritually, mentally and sexually. There are things that you know from life experience and intuition that are difficult to explain to others, but worth making the effort to communicate. I am a hedonist and an exhibitionist. My work is satisfying to me on multiple levels. My husband loves me, and shows me every day with his actions. S loves me too, and sees me in ways that reflect my best qualities, as well as the less flattering ones.

I lead a life surrounded with beautiful people that are helping me reach my best potential. Even with the challenges that are likely to await us in the new year, I am looking forward to manifesting the possibilities that await. Life and love are an adventure. Seize the day!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Domestic and non.


There are differences in the characteristics that are common to poly relationship types. One of the broadest gulfs is between domestic and non-domestic partnerships, or what some of you might think of as primary and secondary relationships.

When you are living with someone, there are more things to consider than whether you want Thai or sushi on your date, or how to find a convenient spot to snuggle up in for an hour or two of bliss. There are all the practical details of life that need to be covered and accommodated, chores, work, kids, being sick and paying bills.

Largely being a domestic partner currently, I find myself yearning for the free-spirited nature of the non-domestic partnership. It isn't that I want to divest myself of the responsibilities inherent in living with PG and S so much as wanting to "be the girlfriend" a bit more than the domestic engineer part of the time. I envy the urgency and wanting that is often part of non-domestic equation, when you don't see your lover often and are SOOOO ready to rip their clothes off and romp all that frustration off, and it's an event to spend time together.

How to work around that dynamic, or being able to manifest a portion of the sheer fun within the context of being the domestic partner can be quite a challenge! We do "dates", try to go out to events, show appreciation in small ways and significant gestures, but under it all things are just a little different.

The love that I have for the people I live with is complex and nuanced in ways that I haven't experienced with non-domestic partners. Continuing to stay conscious of that can be tough when it feels like someone else is getting something I want from my partner. However, there are pieces that I receive in return that are also unique to our connection. You can't have it all, all of the time. What I have I am grateful for though, all of the time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Faux poly types


There's a nifty web based poly drama that I'd like to turn you onto: The episodes are posted to YouTube and are totally free to watch.

The most recent segment was surrounding a dating partner of the main female character who is faux poly. He _says_ he's open with his wife and going to introduce them, but the reality is different. My first impression was that it wouldn't happen to me, since I generally require meeting any additional connected people before taking things to a intense level, but the reality is that almost all of us have been taken in at some point by something that is fuzzy in it's truthfulness.

There was a relationship that I was in several years ago where the woman said she was poly, largely because she figured out pretty quickly that I wouldn't date her if she was monogamous. It wasn't that she was concealing another relationship from me, but rather concealing the underlying expectation that if she loved me enough, I would come around to being exclusive with her, at least with women. This unspoken pressure to change each other into a different orientation lead to the dissolution of the relationship.

I was with a partner for 6 years who was married but cheating, somewhat like the character in the show. Although his wife knew about me, she didn't want to KNOW about the relationship. When I had started dating him, I was totally new to open relationships, so this rationalization worked for me. As I learned more about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, the "don't ask, don't tell" stopped working for me, and I needed to leave the relationship.

There are so many little ways to tweak with the ethics surrounding polyamorous relationships that learning all the permutations can take time, and most of all, experience to learn. If you're really lucky, you learn by reading source materials on poly, or have experienced people that you take advice from. Some of the subtleties only become clear in the trenches, when you've already stepped on the mine and you're going to have something blown off any way you slice it.

Still, it's worth your time to do the research, talk to others, and continue to refine your own perspective to determine what ethical non-monogamous relationships look like _to you_. With all the different styles of polyamory, defining your personal style, boundaries, rules, deal-breakers, and preferences is hugely important.

Being able to communicate those concepts to prospective partners is a vital skill to cultivate, since knowing something in your head and heart, but not being able to share it with others, makes that information pretty much moot.

So we plow forward, making mistakes and good calls, correcting our course as we go. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Be afraid of getting locked into poor decisions, or not realizing that something that seemed a good call at the time might not stay that way in perpetuity.

Saturday, December 20, 2008



So last night S and I went out to a Darklady event to have dinner and watch porn together. There was some play space available as well, so I was pretty well primed to get out and enjoy things, especially after a week of excessive parenting! The weather was still snowy, and this was the first event of it's kind, so the turnout was a bit disappointing, with 20ish people in attendance, but I was glad to be there and add that extra something special that S and I bring to events.

You see, I am an exhibitionist. Yes, I know that those of you who have met me in person may be shocked to hear that... I revel in exposing my unholy rabid lusts to others. I like being watched. It really turns me on to know that people are watching me, getting aroused, noticing as I gush my way through orgasm after orgasm. Getting loud in a public venue does it for me. There's that little wisp of shame that I'm being so slutty as to allow others to look at me when I'm doing something very intimate, which just makes it that much hotter.

So we played, we romped, we enjoyed some of the erotic potential that is part of our connection, and people thanked us for it. Thanked me for sharing all that pleasure and energy with others in the room. Thanked me for making it feel okay to explore in public for the first time.

I realized that it's one of the main ways I contribute to the local sex positive community. Being very sex positive in front of others. Leading by example. Almost always being the first one naked, or writhing in orgasm. Once the barrier has been breached, others join with their own dynamic.

Interestingly, I find myself still in a space where casual play with others is something I push away. I guess I just don't have the bandwidth to juggle any more unique personal energy at this point. It's good to know one's limits, right?

So for now, I shall continue to exercise my sense of the spiritual in my own way. With gasping breath, spasming muscles, explosions of moisture, and a deep appreciation of sharing that with someone that I love. While I am polyamorous, I am also, unequivocally, an exhibitionist.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pile of poly puppies

Today I am sitting next to my little pile of poly pups, Bella and Donna, previously immortalized for nose gnawing and various other crimes against the peeps in the house, as I type. They are seriously, ridiculously cute. Cute in that way that makes you reach for bacon strips reflexively to combat the cuteness.

Bella and Donna have two daddies. It sounds like a bad gay parenting book. The reality is slightly different, but I get a kick out of seeing the two guys I love get all mushy about the puppies. PG lets Bella romp all over his head (probably why he had the issue with the nose gnawing) and lick it's bald contours as she wriggles in a proxym of delight. S will stop working more readily to pick up Donna for a snuggle than he will to grab a kiss or do something for one of the kids. ;) The pups have figured out who the toughest parent is, and while they give me the props due my position as Alpha Bitch, they do enjoy the slightly more permissive parenting from the dog dads in the house.

Yes, it's another snow day. It's looking more and more as though this week before Christmas is going to be a total wash for any uninterrupted time during the day for me. I'm sure that S is also feeling a bit of a crunch from the squalls of sibling rivalry that swamp the area regularly. PG, who works outside the house, is enjoying life fairly well as usual. Typically, I think he's the one that envies we home office types, but the past few days, well, let's just say that I think the commute is looking better. ;)

The snow is lovely outside, very festive. I'm really enjoying seeing the blanket of white covering the trees, watching our curious pups enjoy their first snowfall as they snorkel through the yard. Bella actually was living up to her moniker of the "Dumb Blond" by barking as the first flakes were swirling down on us. The kids are outside building a snowman/person/thing and expressing their own sense of creativity. Let's hear it for outdoor activities! My time here is short, as I must return the vacuum to the shop. This would be the third vacuum casualty since we moved in. This time, it's under warranty! Apparently, we have bad vacuum karma here so far. Does anyone have any good small appliance rituals to apply?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Person or parent?


This is a bit of a continued thought from the previous post. Last night we had a little family meeting, called by my daughter. She was sharing that there was a level of discomfort on her part with the live-in arrangement, including things like the level of affection that S and I show each other, and some differences in parenting styles.

While I am glad that she feels comfortable enough to speak directly with all of us about how she was feeling, this isn't a democracy. The parents will form the course of action. It becomes incumbent on us, as parents, to help devise ways to improve comfort-zones, or grow skills in coping with uncomfortable feelings. While one does not cease being their own person to become a parent, one cannot cease being a parent in pursuit of their own personal growth. This is equally true for mono and poly parents.

In my work, I spend a goodly amount of time talking with a wide variety of people. What I've heard repeatedly is that disaster awaits when one sublimates their own needs in the raising of children. Even if your relationship makes it to the time that the kids are out of the house, the likelihood of it thriving, in the face of empty nest and having no clue who you are as a person, is extremely low. Well before becoming poly, I had decided that parenting was a role, but it wouldn't become my life.

On days like today, being an individual is pretty tough to see. It's a snow day. S and PG are out of the house. I am it. This is one day though. On Friday, I will be going to a party with S to view porn and enjoy some public play. I have a weekly date with PG on Sunday. I am looking forward to a soak in my tub later on and curling up with a book. There are still massages to be done, people to help heal. There is a person inside that parent that is important to nurture, and it's my job to be mindful of that, even in the face of family meetings and snow days.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poly mom guilt


This is something that comes up over and over again for those of us with children in poly relationships. What about the children? You can look at things logically and know that there is a positive nurturing environment for the kiddo(s) in question, but when you get the: "Why are you going out with him again? I want you to stay and spend time with ME!" or "Why is Daddy always gone?" or other such blatant over-blown statements about your six girlfriends (? I'm sure I would have noticed that!) it can feel squidgy as a parent. You wonder if your choice of being poly is imposing something damaging on your child. Surely time spent on your weekly date is outweighed by the fact that there is almost no time spent in daycare anymore? Aren't the sibling experiences you're providing going to serve them well in the future? What about the part where they'll likely always feel a little different than their friends?

I've spoken with adults that grew up poly. They're responses to my questions about how they felt about it had a lot more to do with the relationship and personal skills of the parents in question than the specific state of the environment being polyamorous. Just as in any household, it seems that the love, caring, communication and negotiation skills modeled are really the main matters of import in shaping how one feels about the family of origin. I think we're on the right track for most of that.

No matter the relationship style, it is made up of imperfect people. We'll make mistakes. We might even repeat them from time to time. The strength here is that we are all interested in continuing to improve. The focus is on next year being a stronger and healthier experience than the previous year. Not just in our personal relationships, but within the family structure as well. That is something that I can give these children for the time they are with me: the firm desire and resolution to put in continuing effort to improve myself, both as a parent, and as a person.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The bedroom shuffle


When we moved into the new home, one of the questions we were thinking about was who would be sleeping where, how often, with whom? Specifically, how often would I sleep with PG or S? For me, this question has not a lot to do with sex, and a lot to do with snuggle time and the conversation that happens when the lights are out and I'm drifting off to sleep.

We tossed around the concept of a schedule, and both S and PG put the thumbs down on that as being too inflexible. So we've been working with a pretty amorphous concept. I decide where I sleep each night, unless someone has a particular need that they verbalize to me. To this point it's been working pretty well. The first couple months I felt a bit anxious about it. What if someone wasn't feeling like they were getting their share of my time spent drooling onto my pillow and snoring softly? Then I realized that they could just ask anytime, and that I should, in fact, trust them to be adults and do just that. Wow! What a relief!

Sleeping is something I'm pretty picky about. I don't sleep well with others, just my primaries. It can sort of blow people away that I might be able to be physically intimate with them, but they'll get punted when it's time to hit the hay. PG and I have been sleeping together for 13 + years now. We have very well-established sleep patterns. It's very restful to be curled up next to each other and know that if I nudge him a specific way, he'll respond in a predictable fashion. With S, we're still getting the hang of it, but have different sleeping "short hand" developing. I like his mattress better. ;)

Here's to the bedroom shuffle!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Taking one for the team

PF pontificates:

How many of us can honestly say that we've never done it? Never done something that we know isn't right for us to try and make a partner happy? We swear up and down that we won't ever do that again. Our partners tell us that they don't want us to, and still the temptation is there to give someone else what they want, even if it's going to be a negative, or at best, neutral experience for us.

Why is that? Is the training to please others so deeply ingrained that we instinctively martyr ourselves? When the situation is turned around, and you can see someone else following in your past footsteps, it's so much easier to see why taking that course of action isn't likely to be a positive experience.

Back in the day, way back when we used to do more swing types of activities, the temptation to "take one for the team" was always present. I'm not sure if it was a more prevalent attractions for PG or myself, since he's more picky physically, and I, by virtue of gender, had more options. We both wanted to give each other what we _thought_ the other wanted. How many times did we decompress after making that call only to find out that the other person really wanted us to say no unless we could give a resounding "yes!" to the question at hand?

This concept can translate out into so many other things, like taking the kids for the night, when you really want to be going out instead, or taking on some extra responsibility that you feel really shouldn't be on your to-do list. So how do we break this habit? Time? Experience? Listening to our partners? Sheer repetition?

How about listening to ourselves? There was an article I read earlier today about people choosing a course of action depending on if it felt "warm" or "cold" to them. Your underlying gut response will show you which is closest to supporting you. This has a lot of appeal to me, but at the same time, there are a great many decisions that are outside the comfort zone, and therefore aren't likely to feel so warm, perhaps also learning to discern the icy thrill of anticipation as opposed to something that leaves you cold, would be a good thing also.

Here's what I know now: I don't want my partners doing things that make them uncomfortable, or humor me at their own expense. If something I am asking doesn't feel right, say no. Give me another alternative. Tell me it's something I should find someone else to enjoy it with. Help me see your point of view, because sometimes I am just that single-minded. Fortunately, I am pretty amenable to finding another course of action. Why? Because I want my partners to be happy too. I love 'em. I want to give them what they want. Hang on, isn't that where we came in on this topic??? ;)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How do you feel unique?

PF ponders:

There are so many things about living poly that I enjoy greatly. The additional support, time resources, loving, more types of activities to enjoy with different people, more ways for my partners to get support and learn new skills emotionally and practically.

The quest for me at times is to find a sense of being unique, of being the person that occupies a certain space in another's life and heart. On some levels, it hearkens back to the desire to feel important and special that we carry with us from childhood. What makes us different from someone else? What makes us desirable? What do you share with someone that is just "us" in nature?

In particular, I struggle with sharing things with metamours that were difficult to achieve with my partner. There can be a sense of ownership over something that took a good deal of work to open someone up to exploring or experiencing. My goal is to let go of having a sense of ownership over my partners, but does that mean I need to share everything with everyone, or vice versa? Is is counter to poly to have things that are unique to a given connection? Things that you don't share with others?

I'll be continuing to work towards understanding what is controlling versus feeling special, and how I can get that need met without restricting my partners actions or emotions. Emotionally, I know it's an apples and oranges equation, with who I am being unique to my partners in pretty different ways. The practical applications are what I want to gain more clarity on!