Saturday, May 30, 2009


When people are thinking about polyamory, something that runs through almost every thought are the possibilities that are inherent with each choice, each connection, each emotional bond. "What if __________ happens?" holds a lot more interest as a mental exercise when there are more balls to be juggled.

One of my partners went out last night, had a good first date. That's exciting! It's easy for me to get into "cart before the horse" territory though, and start wondering where things might go, and how that connection may impact the status quo. Staying out of that space and just letting it be whatever it grows into, or not, is really where I need to put myself.

In the same way, I have plans to be out this evening, as you may have surmised from S's most recent post! There's about a gazillion things that I would be open to happening tonight, if other things line up to allow them to manifest. There's this tricky little issue though: Other people have free will too! I know, massive surprise here. That means that maybe the person I tap to participate in my fantasy of being fisted in front of a group of eager watchers won't be interested in playing. It could mean that I will say "no" to others that are seeking my participation in a given scene, or maybe that I'll end up exploring something totally unanticipated.

Staying flexible and open to the possibilities is what gives the greatest freedom in whatever decision making process one is utilizing. Sometimes the options I am presented with don't seem to be what I would have chosen, but they lead to the most amazing places. Places that I hadn't considered, hadn't dreamed big enough to allow for. If I'd charted the path ahead of time, I might have missed the unexpected turn.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tuning Out, Turning On, and Ditching the Screenplay

This weekend is the 9th Annual Portland Masturbate-a-Thon. Raise your hand if you plan to attend? Yes, I saw the delay in your typing and, yes, PF and I plan on being there.

This year, Darklady is putting on a circus motif. You come in costume, bring some canned green beans, and you're in the door for half price - what a deal. Masturbation as this event is loosely defined, of course: pretty much any sexual act that could be conceived of between you and anyone else except fucking... well, until midnight, then the safety-fairies leave and then you can do whatever you damn well please, so long as it's safe, consensual, and sane, which are - again - loosely defined.

Last year there were stage shows, kink play areas, sybians, mattresses for the willing, and - as Austin Powers would say - "senszual ma-ssahge" stations, yeah, baby, yeah.

There were plenty of people who got into the event in a very carnal way and PF and I were naturally one of the first couples to hit the mattresses. PF enjoys public play and I enjoy showing her off as she has several natural "wow" factors associated with her sexuality - she's a squirter, and if angled just right, there's a certain "Stargate" effect that can be seen from clear-across the room. Well, as the Gunnery Boy, it's really just an exercise in physics: ballistics, pressure, angle, paths of least resistance... I gotta say that it's pretty cool to pull the big "O" on a gal then have the 30-or-so guys watching suddenly go "WOOOHHHH" like I was making a free-throw from center court. Ooo Do the wave! And later, a some guys would come up to us and say, "God - I saw you from across the room and I wondered if I was really gay!"

Ahhh Good times, good times... I couldn't have done it without her and I'm looking forward to the weekend. Mentally, though, there's some prep-work to be had to an event like this, or even stepping out to a swinger's club for the evening. As you're having dinner, sharing pleasant conversation over some bread and cheese, chances are, in the next couple of hours, you're going to have to watch this person that you dearly care about touch, lick, suck, spit, moan, jerk-off, cum, fuck, and kiss a lot of people who ain't you, and she's really, really going to enjoy it, like, as if she were with you kind of enjoy it. And not only will you and she be participating in this parade of lust, but maybe 30-50 spectators will also be participating (in their own, private, very personally-satisfying little way).

Yikes! Now we guys may play coy at this. Oh no, this doesn't affect us, not in the least. Sex, spectator's sport - surely, no problems. We can even take the multiple parties getting of on this girl. We can so take it. We've emotions like steel. We're wrought iron-solid in our sexuality.

And it'd all be a lie.

Really, inside, as the date gets closer, there's this little tiny voice talking to you (and my tiny little voice is actually Scottish), saying things like, "Oi! Heey youuhh! You are so _not_ the man! You barely are able to make her happy, laddy, she has so many other options. Youh are just a temporary pass-time; you might as well find a new hobby like golf, or, like badminton. You're not big enough. You're not long enough. You're just a wee little man with big ambitions. You're just a squirly tyke, a loooosseeer!"

No, seriously, there's this voice inside of every guy's head and it gets louder and louder as the event draws closer. Of course, you're putting on this very manly outward persona that refuses to give any hint of your fear. You're wearing the Stud Mask, and it says, "I can handle this. I am so the Adonis of Masculinity", yet on the inside, that little voice is screetching, "Nooo, ya looozer - you are so the hairy, dwarfen Leprechaun of Sexual Comedy, that's whatchyou are, yeah!"

No, seriously: every guy has to reconcile with that little voice and get over their own inward bout of conspicuous insecurity before diving headlong into public play. If they're unable or incapable of wrestling that little Scottish bastard to the ground, then they become one of those guys on the sidelines eating popcorn and sharpening their pencil. Myself, I've found that public play is a commitment of the mind - you have to convince yourself that all of your flaws, all of your insecurities, and all of your self-perceptions are totally irrelevant at this moment. It's learning to divorce yourself from watching the porn to being the porn, and I have to admit that it's not the easiest trick. That little Scottish dude is always back there, waiting to seize upon that moment and remind me of how ridiculous that I look, or act, or seem.

A large part of it is just letting go of the mental porn screenplay in favor of just being in that moment; you gotta ditch the script and just enjoy the moment. Actually, the Scottish thing is a trick - if I can convert my subconscious ridicule to something that sounds like a bad riff from "Braveheart", then I'm able to chuckle a bit while I'm watching my girlfriend going down on someone and remind myself, "Hey, I'm okay, she's okay, nothing's changed, she's a gorgeous sexual creature and I can be, too." And BANG! - You stop worrying and get back out there to play!

Looking forward to the weekend - cheers.


Letting go

Earlier this month I talked about letting go of a desired level of connection and style of poly with my metamour in the "Breaking up with a metamour" post. A few weeks later, I thought it might be nice to look at how that's gone.

It's been good. The metamour in question was relieved and thankful to be out from underneath a perceived burden. For me, I've truly been able to let go of the sense of being vested in how that relationship is going, and just allow my partner to move it in any direction that makes sense to them.

It's been obvious that my letting go has released some back-pressure within that line of connection, in a way that has stopped obscuring the scenery for my partner. This seems to be helping him see things more clearly and find a path more easily.

This lack of connection with a metamour wouldn't be my first choice, but it seems to be working out well in this particular situation. I'm glad I was able to let go of trying the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result, which is, I've heard, the definition of insanity. ;)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


When poly people talk about things that they like about being poly, one of the things that is usually on the Top 3-5 items, is compersion. Some may also refer to this as "frubble". It's that lovely feeling one has when the person you love is enjoying a connection with another, you know, the feeling that is the polar opposite of jealousy. They happier they are, the happier you are. The more satisfied they feel with their outside connection, the more warmly you feel towards the metamour in question.

PG and I were having a discussion last night about compersion. He's noticed that it's something that I really crave as part of his additional relationships, and that it seems to be pretty heavily tied into how much interaction the metamour has with the rest of us, not as a lover, but as a part of life. Why does it feel different to me when I don't see the metamour?

I realized that, for me, it's a very different experience. Compersion where the metamour is removed from the rest of his life is like reading something on a page, a story with no pictures and no punctuation. It's intellectual, but not emotionally resonant, even if the words used are pretty powerful. In contrast, when a metamour is hanging out with us every so often, I have the opportunity to experience compersion as a fully sensory experience, with color, sound, tastes, smells, and touches. To directly observe the connection he shares with another in person ups my experience of compersion to a whole new level! It's something I can more easily get behind and feel positive about, rather than think positively about.

Of course, I recognize that not everyone is going to be interested in being a part of our nutty little pod. It can be a level of complexity that is daunting to some. Certainly, it's not a condition of employment for anyone interested in dating S or PG. That said, I sure do love getting that glow of satisfaction when I see them light up as their sweetie reaches for their hand, leans in for a kiss, shares something they enjoy with the kids, or brings their favorite dish to dinner, though!

Let's hear it for technicolor compersion! Show me the Honey!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Patented Five-Step Process


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Friday, May 22, 2009

Does pain=value?

Common wisdom would have us believe that the best things in life are hard to get. There is value placed on pain within our culture. "No pain, no gain!" is flip, but often perceived as truth. In relationships, we see people struggle, fight with themselves and their partners, and push against the predominant culture. Poly can be seen as something that has pain intrinsically tied to the value of growth and having so much love available to it's adherents. The price of playing poker.

Have we really bought into this load of crap? Where is the value in being stuck in a place of pain? To prove we can take it? Is it the idea that the greater rewards that are on the line mean greater sacrifices? That sounds like some seriously flawed programming.

Speaking for myself, healthy, low-drama relationships are infinitely more rewarding than the ones that require huge amounts of emotional effort to "get to the good stuff", or the ones that see conflict as necessary to reach towards growth. I'd rather enjoy an amicable conversation with intimacy building moments, and skip the anxiety-provoking "does this person really care about me?" passive-aggressive crap. I don't want to have Make Up Sex, I want to have I Am Really Into You Sex.

In my real job, I'm a massage therapist. I LOVE working with complex issues and all sort of body types. There is one exception to that. I don't like working on body-builders. I'm not talking about people that are physically fit, I'm referring to the people that are in the gym lifting weights 2-4 hours a day most days of the week.

Why, you ask? Well, here we have people that are pushing past their limits, through the pain, actually damaging their own musculature to achieve a specific aesthetic, a look, a feel. Worse yet, they are addicted to their own endorphins, unable/unwilling to back off and rest injuries. Working with body builders in the past, I've noticed that their muscles, although they appear to be most impressive, are full of scar tissue and damage, inflexible and prone to injury.

In the same way, it has been my experience that people in relationships that are built on pain, extremely intensive in effort, and highly consuming of resources, might be able to produce something that looks pretty good, but underneath the surface, there is so much damage that was involved in the creation of the relationship that the product is flawed from the inside out. It lacks flexibility, and readily falls apart under strain.

The people within these relationships might even be able to recognize that they are participating in something that isn't terribly healthy, but are so addicted to the relationship endorphins produced by that pain, that moving on doesn't feel do-able.

The question that remains is: Do you want your relationships to be easy, flexible, pleasurable entities that help you grow stronger by lifting you up? Or do you buy into the idea that pain=value in your personal life? Being able to do emotional heavy lifting can seem pretty impressive, but it comes at a cost.

10,000 page loads and still going strong!

I know this probably doesn't matter to anyone besides me, but I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that this blog has seen over 10,000 page loads now and over 170 posts! Visitors have been from places as far-flung as Africa and Australia. For a personal blog, that's pretty stellar.

As someone who is taking time to write these musings, ponderings, ideas, plans, issues and successes down, thank you for giving us an audience to bounce things off of!
Share your favorite posts with others, feel free to cross-post in other sites. Let's continue to make this a hoppin' place for poly folk to discuss and consider what is it we are doing, where we are going, what we are creating for ourselves!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Patience and Perspective

Since the beginning of the year, I've had to focus a lot of my spare cycles into work. I've probably taken on too much - work requires my attention almost daily; I'm working somewhere between 70 and 80 and sometimes 90 hours a week. At times, my commitments have taken me away from the home over weeknights and weekends. I'm blessed to have such good friends in PG and PF who help and support my efforts. Meanwhile, I'm also left with a couple of nagging thoughts... Thoughts about patience and polyamory.

Right now, you my be like me. Self-described poly-person with little time and important commitments. You may be otherwise embroiled in a primary relationship that presently requires your full attention. You might also be waiting - waiting to be asked out, waiting for the right girl, waiting for the right moment. You might be interested in poly, curious, but not foolhardy, and waiting before diving in. You may be between partners, exploring monogamy, divorcing, or in the midst of a battle for your health. You're not in multiple, loving relationships. Maybe you're in one, or two, or none at all. You are waiting. And you are struggling with the moment. You may be impatient: where is my time? Where may I find my other partner(s)? When will she arrive? Where is he? When can I move on? When will he understand? When can I turn the page? When can I have what she has? Further, the waiting moment is an agonizing metric - a feeling that time, opportunity, perfection, and happiness are slowly slipping away from you - and that may reinforce feelings of separation, isolation, confusion, and disenfranchisement.

Careful: we are in a rush to nowhere, and in that rush, you may be tempted to diminish yourself. Let it go; this is wrong, and, it's a lie.

Myself, I am learning to accept the moment.

Really, when you can do nothing, what can you do? You can struggle, mope, brood, lash out, and if we do so, it affects nothing and unsettles everything around us; our response is based on an illusion - a fantasy that exists purely in your mind about what you might have, could touch, possibly find, or will experience. We must accept the moment.

We must also appreciate the moment because this moment, right now, provides absolute clarity into who we are, what we like, what we don't, what we want, where we wish to be, how we wish to be. We get the cool opportunity to explore ourselves. Being in this moment is healthy - it qualifies us for the times when we're in relationships and might question, "Is this really what I want?" Being here, in this moment, gives you perspective. You will know the difference.

I have poly friends who seem to be in a rush. They want whatever they want now and are disappointed that they don't have "it" now. Meanwhile, I have poly friends who're in life transitions and are cautious about their first steps. I have met several people who I'd like to chat up and maybe get to know them, and I have poly friends who're dating, having sex, immersed in fun and exciting polyness - it's hard to dismiss that.

I would love to date more, snuggle more, be in secondary and tertiary relationships, and be deeply involved with my polypeeps. Right now, though, I can't.

Zen has a principle: the best of all possible outcomes is happening to you at this very moment; it's an optimistic view that helps shape the perspective that - no matter what your choices or hardships might be - this is the most perfect outcome the universe has prepared for you. If every event is the best outcome (instead of being the "worst" of possible things that could happen to you), you tend to spend time thinking about how fortunate you are instead of how miserable you're becoming.

So, right now, breathe, relax, wait. It's okay to be poly-single; poly-mono; poly-hopeful; poly-cautious; poly-skeptical; even poly-anxious. Learn from it. Say, "Thank you, Universe: I'm gaining perspective... to know what it's like when I'm otherwise preoccupied versus deeply in love, lust, or some serious like! I'm taking advantage of the moment to learn about myself and be better in the next moment."


Carpool or caravan- Part deux!

Another aspect of this analogy that resonates with me is the idea that there are going to be people that come into your life and parallel your course for a while. Those who you date, learn something from, gain insight with, often end up going in different directions. There is value in going in the same direction with someone for a time, even if you don't end up in the same ultimate destination.

NRE can be a lot like drag racing. You're driving style can get a bit nuts while you hurry to keep up with someone driving something flashy and loud. The person that pulls you ahead of the rest of your partners too far, or takes you off course, isn't going to be the best option in the long term. Listening to input of that nature from your existing partner(s) while in the midst of NRE would be advisable.

Tail gating is just as annoying in a personal realm as it is on the road. Let's say you have a partner that is on your tail all the time, urging you to speed up, to exceed your safety limit so that they can move faster. Do you slam on the brakes? Urge them to pass you by? Give them the finger and slow down even more? Remember that often those that pass others by on the road find themselves sitting at the next stoplight right next to the slow-but-steady drivers, having gained nothing but the ire of their fellow motorists!

Some of us like the scenic route, and others prefer to take the most direct route available to a given destination. Examining that stylistic difference, as it relates to relationship processing styles, is a very worthwhile perspective to have!

Sunday drivers who putter along enjoying the scenery are likely to be a bit frustrating to those who get car sick on winding roads, and would just like to make it to the next rest stop. Similarly, people who like to emotionally drive "straight on through" are going to have a tough time convincing those who prefer a set limit on "miles per day traveled", that it's a great idea to move straight from monogamy to live-in polyamory without exploring many interim stages. Sure, you'll eventually get to Florida, but you'll stink, be tired, and disinterested in spending time together when you get there!

Bad weather counts! There are times where what is going on inside the vehicle is pretty secondary to the wind, rain, snow and sleet, of outside events. Recognize that there are times where moving a relationship forward at full speed isn't safely possible due to outside events. If someone has just had a baby, gotten a divorce, changed jobs, moved, had a significant illness, etc., this is a good time to move at the slowest comfortable pace, until conditions improve. The really nifty thing about moving more deliberately for a while is that, when the pace picks up, it often feels like you are making amazing progress by going the "speed limit"!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Carpool, or caravan?

By this point, you've probably gotten the idea that I like to play with imagery and analogies when looking at poly. One of the ideas I had this past weekend was surrounding the complications of poly in long-term planning. How does one do that with their partner(s)?

In the usual conventional marriage, there is a tendency to wrap things together, to make retirement plans, children, housing decisions, bank accounts, etc, into a single package. This is like "carpooling". You are in a vehicle with someone else, going to the same destination by mutual consent.

In a poly model, what might work more easily is a "caravan". You and your partners do decision making together, decide on a destination, but you take separate vehicles, either following the same route, or heading towards a given destination by whatever route seems most viable to each of you.

The advantages in carpooling are that you get to expend a little less individual effort, as it's easier and less time consuming to manage resources in concert. There isn't as much duplication of effort, and it's nicer to either take turns driving, or let the person who enjoys that task handle it.

The downside is that if you find that there is something that you don't agree on, it's a little tougher to get out of the car and find alternate transportation to a new destination. This is why you often find financial planners recommending that couples have a "His", "Hers" and "Theirs" monetary strategy, for example. This can simplify things in the event of a split, either in the relationship, or on a specific issue.

When one is part of a caravan, there is more autonomous capacity to stop and take a break when one wants/needs to, to use the type of vehicle preferred, and to plot an independent course toward a given destination. You just get to do it alone, and under your own steam.

For PG and I, we've opted to do a lot of carpooling together. Our financial and parenting philosophies are closely aligned, so there isn't a lot of risk getting in that car together. S, PG, and I have opted to carpool on housing. That "destination" fits our needs. There may be times where we discuss which route is best to get there, or if one of us needs to take a break from driving for a while, but we're still going to same place in the same vehicle.

S talks about going back to school again for his doctorate. This would involve some significant changes in life, and it's probably one of those things where I'll be happier driving a back-up vehicle than being in the same car with him. Supportive, but not in a directly responsible way.

I like to date in concert at times, while PG prefers a more independent vibe, so while we both have a destination that involves outside connections and relationships, we take different vehicles to get there. This works better for each of our personal preferences.

Whether you choose to move on the same path in the same vehicle, or to follow your own inspiration to similar places, the goal is still to remain informed and in sight of each other. In the event that there is a breakdown in transportation, it's comforting to know that you will either be with your personal team, or that someone will be pulling up shortly, offering a safe ride to the next destination.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Walking in, I shut the door, closed the blinds, and we stripped and ripped away the blankets from the twin bed in the spare room. I forced her on her back and buried my head between her legs. She writhed. She drenched me, my face soaked in cum.

Five hours. Spring air blowing past and into my palm. Sun was out; it was eighty degrees. My music was loud and consuming. Ancient green trees cast long shadows over the road. The road curves, the car leans and tilts, and the water stretches on to our right for miles into the Sound. She laughs.

Fire, in its place, the corner of a living room, and her before it - sprawled, nude, exhausted, flawless; womanly curves in a foreign space of light and shadow.

Shoot. Forgot the steaks. We leave the resort. Sunlight cascades across the water and through the tops of trees in a sea of evergreen. Eastward, to the Indian casino, the road lead on, but all they had were panini's. Another ten minutes, the clerk said, and we'd be in Sequim - "Squim", it sounded like; it was a funny word. Squim. Squim. Squidy-Squim. We giggled and Squimed and fetched the steaks.

It was the fourth time and the blankets were soaked and flesh was raw and her flesh was hot and flushed, and I collapsed on the bed to her right; the fire had made the room so balmy. I needed to open the sliding glass door. Cold water.

She hates the pictures in the room. They're too bland, too institutional.

Coffee. Orange juice. Breakfast with all the things I like. Her in a transparent red nighty that barely covers her ass. Sunrise on the porch. The light is blinding. We talk about poly.

I greased the grill with a touch of olive oil and turned on the gas. She poured the Merlot. Spices: salt, pepper, garlic. A little onion. The steaks: lean, juicy, savory - asparagus, she told me, takes three years to grow. I didn't know that.

Grabbing my bag, I left my bedroom and snagged my camera because I didn't want to forget it. I tucked it into my travel case. I had everything I needed - finally, the vacation can begin. I sat down at my PC and prepared to get a map. "I already have the directions," she said, and held up the printout. She smiled, big white teeth flashed between fully ruby lips. "Let's go." Enticing.

Sunday. 5:30 the morning. The bed's headboard strikes the wall. Repetitively. I wonder if the people above us could hear that? And at 6:30, hmm - I wonder if they heard _that_?

Fuck - cops everywhere on the road today, but KnightRider is tailing my ass and wants me to go faster. He follows, closes, and backs off, then does it again. And again. He makes me nervous. A curb and turn-out lane. I pull over and let Kitt go past me. Young guy, early twenties, thick sunglasses, and a fast car. He is alone. He doesn't see what I see in the road; he doesn't feel what I feel in the drive. He is ignorant of the moment. His dark sunglasses peer at me, a void.

She reads. I write. It's now 9:04am. What to do... what to do? We will Squim.


Thursday, May 14, 2009


Part of the discussion on "coming out" at group this week went into the idea that the poly community should hold back on increasing visibility within the larger society to allow the gay and lesbian movement to achieve their goals without "muddying up the waters" of public opinion with our polyamory issues.

This got me to thinking about what I've heard from people within the gay community about poly. One of the common opinions that have been shared with me on more than one occasion is the idea that poly people are just flat out greedy! "We're just trying to get equal rights, you people want something special!" This is very similar to the concern with bisexuals who enjoy the societal rights and privileges of straight life, but also get to indulge their less conventional gay inclinations as well. Double dipping.

So, are we in fact, just flat out greedy? Maybe. The portion of that word that I take issue with is a sense of entitlement. That being poly gives us "rights" to anything in particular. This is sort of silly. As far as I can tell, being poly gives us the right to put a lot of conscious energy into building communication and relationship skills. That's about it.

However, within poly, there is a feeling that might be considered greedy by the estimation of many. The idea that I'm putting this much effort in to earn the "right" to be just like all the other people that are sleepwalking their way through life is ludicrous! I want WAY more for myself and my partners than what passes for normal in our society! That's why I'm doing this. It isn't to be average, it's to be exemplary. It's not to have the same rights as everyone else, it's to carve out special territory that isn't available to those who don't pay their dues. The status quo isn't enough. I want my life and loves to be exceptional, not merely acceptable.

Yep, I guess I'm greedy. I want more than what the gay community is working towards. Settling for being just like the conventional herd beast, passing for normal, isn't what I'm shooting for. The strength of the poly community is in our diversity, and that means being different from the run of the mill. Broad acceptance isn't something that anyone else is ever going to hand us. There will be no societal sanction for those who dream and live big. So I'll be "greedy" and enjoy a life that many won't even know enough to dream of.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


There's something that I'm wondering about: Do relationships that are connected to your own, either directly, or via a metamour or friend, "reflect" on each other? If one relationship is going well, does that impact those nearby, that aren't directly linked, positively? Does the inverse happen, when a rash of breakups or restructuring seems to sweep through a node of the larger community? If so, how can we be conscious of that trend to mitigate damage, and maximize happy outcomes?

It seems like this might be related to the support system that we cultivate within the poly community. If someone we know and care about it going through a challenging time, we're there to help, to lend a listening ear, to provide a shoulder to cry on, give advice, or whatever is needed. That energy then goes home with us, to our partner(s). What if we haven't taken the time to clean it up? All of a sudden, it gets easy to project what's happening to someone else onto our people.

That very sense of empathy that works in our favor when we're supporting another can lead us to see issues that might not exist within our own relationships, because we put ourselves into someone else's emotional shoes to be a good resource for them.

In the inverse, when our whole circle of acquaintance is healthy and strong, it is easier to feel optimistic and energized about what is going on within our own relationships, because we see positive examples modeled all around us. There is a "full cup" feeling that is apparent when our emotional surroundings are full of support and enthusiasm. This seems like something to cultivate!

Ironically, the very steps we take to support others through tough times, meant to help us all get to the "good stuff", can lead down a much different path, if sufficient conscious attention isn't focused on keeping "my stuff" separate from "their stuff" during difficult times. Have any of you experienced this phenomena? If so, what helped? What didn't?

Saturday, May 9, 2009


While it may not be a real word, it's an idea that seems to be of concern in poly relationships. The idea being that, while you share your partner(s) with others, it still feels good to have a few things that are symbolic of the relationship that is between you, not inclusive of others.

Here's an example from our household: A couple years ago, I gave some cologne to PG that I REALLY like. A lot. In a way that makes me want to rip his clothes off and have my wicked way with him. It's also been discontinued. I've requested that he reserve that specific cologne for dates with me, because it's special, and in limited supply.

"Oh, but you're controlling your partner, and depriving someone else from enjoying that cologne on him." This is one of those cases where I think that's ridiculous. If I were saying that he couldn't wear any cologne with other people at all, perhaps so. It wouldn't be a deal-breaker- relationship-severing transgression if he decided to wear it elsewhere, but I would feel disappointed and hurt.

Let's take another example: S and I had a date that was extremely special and emotionally resonant early on in our relationship. We've agreed that the particular set of venues involved are ones that we will be keeping between the two of us, as a way to honor our bond and renew it on occasion. In the same fashion, I won't be taking S to the hotel that PG and I honeymooned at. At best, it would be tacky and in poor taste.

While prevailing opinion is split as to whether having things that are "special" enhance a bond, or create an artificial sense of exclusivity within poly relationships, it seems to me that it's just another way to acknowledge that each one of my partners is unique, each relationship is it's own entity, and there can be sacred space created within a larger poly structure that doesn't negatively impact the whole.

Me, Me... Me

>rant /on

Several of my poly conversations lately have revolved around the problem of perceived disassociation and unbridled selfishness. Here's an example.

Say that George and Cindy are dating. Further, Melody is dating George.

Some poly people would suggest that Cindy has no bearing on George and Melody's relationship, and that any actions taken by George and Melody should have no impact on Cindy. If Cindy, for example, was to have a problem with something George and Melody were doing, this is obviously a problem between Cindy's ears; George and Melody have no obligation or responsibility to coddle Cindy. Cindy is disassociated with the George/Melody connection.

Frankly, kids, this is a most wacky, ridiculous idea that one connection does not influence the other and that connections exist in isolation. It is the simple idea of "connectedness" that gives poly its core tenant: multiple, loving relationships. If you're invalidating another human being's existence because it's inconvenient, that's simply selfish and small-minded. It refutes the principle idea of poly of there being a community of lovers and friends. Connections do not live in a vacuum nor in isolation - they exist in a larger context of a community.

If you want monogamy, go get monogamy. If you want multiple, loving relationships that co-exist at the same time, that's call polyamory. Like, duh?

What you say and do in the context of another connection does and will impact other connections around you - even metamours of metamours - simply because we are a community. Feelings aren't rationally segregated cleanly between partners; saying so seems profoundly ignorant of the human condition if not cruel. Cindy, in this instance, is not to be dismissed or invalidated as a human being simply because you're spending time with Melody. I mean - fuck people - this person, Cindy, apparently means something to George. George can't take Cindy's objections, feedback, feelings, or observations and neatly put them into a trashcan by suggesting that, hey, I'm not responsible for those. That's Cindy's trash. And while I'm here with Melody I can shove it all under a rug and let Cindy deal with it later.


At best, that's denial; at worst, it's dismissive and inconsiderate. If one partner makes a humble suggestion that one restaurant has a special place in her heart between a couple and asks not to take another one of his connections there, that is just an honest plea for maintaining something sacred and special in that connection. It's not weakness. It's not a flaw. It's not a problem that exists solely in the mind of the requester. It's an honest appeal to maintain a unique characteristic about their relationship. That's not bad or wrong - that's something to treasure! Somebody in your life thinks that moment, with you, was so important that it's to be sacred.

You are appreciated! That moment is appreciated! It's a really simple request from somebody that you care about.

"Nah, that's her god-damn hang up and _imposing_ her views on my freedom, man." SNNNNIIIFFFFF "Woh, let me take another bong hit and try to reconcile that, dude. What I mean, like, to say, dude, is that I can do whatever I want, when I want, because I, like, am so _me_... man."

How completely liberating it must be to those who ignore the thoughts, feelings, and concerns of others who love him when it benefits him. How convenient it is to forget what others have asked for or suggested. How pleasant it is not having to remind himself that there is pain in his circle of friends as a result of his own actions, and how righteous it must be to remind himself that those aren't his problems and require no concern.

Shameful! Poly people who espouse that connections are insular, separate, and independent, seem - to me - to have lost their way. They have forgotten about the importance that community plays, that respect and love plays, in their holistic approach to relationships. Indeed, how nice it must be for them that the label polyamory has so conveniently become a license to selfishly get what you want and bears no consequence for the direct outcomes of their own greed.

>rant /off


Friday, May 8, 2009

Dead Flowers

Oddly enough, I've been thinking a lot about plants lately. Last weekend, there was another dog incursion into my garden. Shortly after that, there was a disturbing dream I had where I pulled this weed directly out of my skin that had this incredibly deep and penetrative root structure. And my most recent experience was staring at a vase that held a bouquet of dead flowers on a table. (Not the same ones in the photo.) So, I guess this post will dove-tail somewhat with PF's last plant-themed post.

But out of all the above experiences, the one that I continue to turn over in my head is that vase of dead flowers. Last night, I visited my Heart Keeper. She and her ex-husband have been divorced for a few weeks now and tomorrow he will be moving out of the house they once shared. The life of every one in that family is going to have a different rhythym.

But yes, the flowers. As I waited for my Heart Keeper and her ex-husband to talk about last minute logistics and child care issues, I sat at their table. On that table was a vase of flowers that had died fairly recently. Although the flower petals were withered and half had fallen off, the stems and most of the leaves still seemed healthy enough. I touched the green, waxy leaves to confirm that feeling. I had the fleeting illusion of hope. Surely these flowers could recover if something was done with them? But of course not. They had no roots. Without roots it's just a waiting game. Death is assured.

But that's the thing with cut flowers, isn't it? They can still bloom for days and show you their glory, yet be dying inside. How long had it been since their relationship lost its roots? I certainly can't say. And I'm sure it's a nearly impossible question to answer. But I grieve for them -- for all of them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dig Deep, or Reach Higher?

There was an analogy that I really liked, so I'm going to rip it off and play with it some more. The basic premise is that during times of difficulty and challenge in relationships, like a tree, it is good to be deeply-rooted, to dig in and draw from the foundation. When things are going well, spreading one's branches and reaching higher towards the sky makes sense.

One of the things I love about having a great long-term relationship, like the one that PG and I share, is that the root system of our relationship is deep, wide-spread, and pretty comprehensive. It reaches throughout the vast majority of my life as an adult person, in ways that are not apparent from the outside, but are known in the many small gestures, habits, and the way we can read each other's body language as an unconscious competence.

There are the times when I can rely on my "root system" to do some rapid growth, to be able to reach a new spot that would be a bit scary if it was just me. Spending some time swaying in the upper branches can be exhilarating, but the comfort of coming down to earth is also satisfying in it's own ways.

Let us not forget those who join us on the journey! There have been many times where I have allowed the connection with S to support and nurture me to feel more comfortable with PG going through a growth phase and vice-versa in various directions.

The spreading of branches is showy, and gets a lot of attention, but it is the base, within oneself and/or within existing partnerships, that allows that growth to happen. Forgetting to nurture the base is contrary to the goal of being to able to reach higher without toppling over.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Being an Outlier in The New Normal

You are an outlier.  We're an outlier. I'm an outlier, too.

In statistics, an outlier is a value outside the median range - it's on the extreme edge of the curve. Being an outlier, you have taken on risks that others have deliberately avoided through concealment, denial, or ignorance. You, my friend, are the future.

Ideas used to be contained to geographic regions. Telecommunications and, in particular, the Internet, have allowed thought, ideas, and expression to radiate outward in all directions. Ideas concerning love, marriage, lasting relationships are now under critical inspection - all kinds of notions that found the bedrock of what western culture calls "love" is being re-evaluated by individuals and for themselves. 

When we look at alt.relationships like polyamory what we're looking at is the freedom of ideas. The digital age has brought us a new age of enlightenment, and with it, the ability to openly discuss, meet, express, and collaborate with others, on ideas that would otherwise have been repressed or taboo just 30 years ago. 

As an outlier, I feel I'm on the fringe of the "new normal" which removes predjudice and moral thought control in favor of freedom of thought, ideas, and expression. You can't stop the flow of ideas. Polyamory, or any form of alt.relationship, is the "new normal"; we are the new idea.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Our dog got a haircut today

Disclaimer: This, alas, is not our dog, nor our lovely friend. Boo-hoo. They're both cute though!
Yep, I know. "Dog gets a haircut" doesn't sound like a great lead in to a poly topic, does it? Wait for it...

You see, our smallest dog, Donna, is a half lab, half Scottie mix. Over the past 8 months, she's grown out about 4 inches of wavy fur, which, with her long body and stumpy little legs, has been leaving her looking like a sea otter with a bad hair day. So, I took her in and got her clipped, bathed, and had her nails trimmed.

When I brought her home, our other pup, Bella, who had been moping around the house missing her "sister", was freaked out. She didn't even recognize Donna, her constant companion since infancy! This stranger was sleek, smelled different, and Bella was absolutely convinced that I'd brought home a new dog that needed to be shown who the boss was! She spent the next hour or so knocking Donna down and standing over her, or with her nose buried by Donna's tail, as it slowly began to dawn on her that this was, in fact, the same dog she knows and mostly loves.

In the same way, it can be pretty off-putting when our partner(s) go through major changes, changes that can lead us to believe that maybe this isn't the same person we've known all this time, that they don't know what the rules are, and will need to be shown the ropes. When it finally becomes apparent that, although some things look different, they still smell the same underneath it all, changes are easier to relax into.

In addition, being able to see our partner(s) in a different light can be transformational within existing relationships. When you break free from patterns and assumptions, it clears the way for additional growth to happen, and to appreciate different facets that might have been previously hidden.

We all need a new look on occasion, don't you think?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ten Reasons Why Polyamory Works for Me

A brief treatment on ten reasons why polyamory works for me.

1. I'm a workaholic. 

Anyone who knows me would probably say work is my passion and it's difficult to distinguish between when I'm working, playing, or just hanging out. I run my own business, I teach, and I'm just immersed in what I do, so I don't have a tremendous amount of time. Polyamory allows me to, well, timeshare, so that my partner's needs are met and she doesn't feel otherwise totally neglected. I enjoy that kind of flexibility and, I would imagine, so would anyone else with a similar preoccupation or passion - that they don't need to devote themselves to either career or relationships but can balance the needs between them.

2. I'm an extroverted and flirty person.

No, really: I am. I like being the center of attention and I like hanging out with women so I naturally gravitate to polyamory. There's almost a license to flirt in this lifestyle. I can't imagine going to a casual social event with a monogamous wife and then chatting up or just friendly-frisking another woman... I mean, I dared touch fire thus she'd chain me to a rock and my liver would be torn from my body and fed to the vultures. Luckily, not only does PolyFulcrum let me touch fire, she _hands_ me the fire. She says, "Here, juggle the fire", "Play with the fire", "Burn with the fire". That kind of encouragement is extraordinary and really represents an insight into my personality and a permissiveness that only comes with total confidence in our relationship. That's pretty cool.

3. I'm convinced that not one person can satisfy all needs.

I've been down the serial monogamy road and I've married and I've cheated a couple of times. It was always that game of hiding your feelings or concealing your true nature to avoid scandal and disappointment. Cheating, by its sheer connotation, defies our base nature: we're not naturally monogamous but are culturally conditioned for monogamy. If we're to believe that one person satisfies all needs, then we presume that our needs are fixed in time and we never evolve or grow as a person. That's shameful. What's worse if we try to deny it, or, hide that base nature to present a face of moral self-righteousness to others. I openly admit to my base nature - I think that's brave; I think the cowardly conceal their true selves behind curtain of religion, social norms, and monogamy to spin perception. They lie - boldly - to themselves and others, and I think the hidden truth of their own proclivities eats them... painfully.     

4. I'm community-oriented.

I feel more at home when I'm surrounded my others that I know; not in crowds, mind you, but with friends and people that I can trust. I like participating in events and cooking for others. I like having 30+ people in my house talking, engaging, and laughing, and being who they are without compromise. I like discussions, challenges to thoughts and perceptions, open debate on what really matters. I am very motivated my people around me and I'm inspired by the daily heroism of my friends that would otherwise go unnoticed by media. My interconnections are meaningful to me.

5. I'm a critical thinker.

I've always questioned assumption and the mondo-awesome big ones surround the nature of thought itself: how society has shaped perception and values. I'm sooo into questioning authority and I really have enjoyed how polyamory has allowed me to step outside of the box and evaluate my socially-engineered preconceptions. I feel polyamory has liberated my thought to a new level - that I can transcend (mentally) above what is "expected" or "required" and critically examine, "What is right for me" or "What is right for them" without judgment or opinion. Polyamory allows me to perceive life more critically, more objectively, than I would ever had imagined. 

6. I like to push my boundaries.

I like to question authority and I like to question myself. There is a natural sense of unease when attending a 200+ person event and everyone is getting naked for sex and masturbation, whereas there's an equal queasiness when sitting down with your partner alone to talk about your feelings. I love - just love! - feeling that sensation, the twinge of something sour in your gut with anxiety and fear making your heart pump faster, and you hear that ringing in your ears, and you're flushed, and you're excited, fighting back the response to run away. I love feeling that, controlling it, and containing it. It directly applies to my love life and my ability to tolerate change in my career/workplace. Polyamory provides a training ground for testing yourself and training for important tasks yet to do in your life.

7. I'm into sci-fi, role-playing, and I'm a geek.

I always have been although one of my ex-wives tried to convince me that there were undesirable qualities in these passions, and I tried to change myself from my base nature. It's taken some doing for me to come "back" into these passions and try to find a good place for them now, but these things are at my core nature. I guess my central set of friends (PolyGestalt being one of them) had always known that. Meanwhile, like I mentioned earlier, these things are really prevalent in the poly community - it just seems like a natural fit! I can't deny who I am, Captain! And I don't have to ... not anymore!

8. I trust my friends and like reinforcing friendships.

My best friends are lovers. They always have been and why should that stop simply because I fell in love with someone? I appreciate the way that polyamory looks at friendship and sexuality as simply an extension and not a race to a finish-line like traditional relationship systems.  It's not about "bases" and "scoring" when it comes to polyamory. I really appreciate the long-term approach without assumption or precondition or expectations.

9. I enjoy to create relationships on my own terms.

I do like the idea of being able to create the idea of a "relationship" in my own terms and my own sense of expression, and that I don't need to follow a mold. When I can refer to my girlfriend's husband's girlfriend in a sentence, this is somehow liberating for me. I can look at people through a lens of relationships instead of a lens of ownership - who is owned by whom - which seems blatantly diminishing of the person. I see people for who they really are and not within the context of their manufactured legal and social presentation. 

10. The parties rock.

Truly, I have so been to the wrong parties in my life. I've been hanging out with the wrong crowd. These poly people... they host the right parties. People talk, flirt, relate openly through touch, critically analyze problems and talk about them, and often get naked, hit themselves with leather implements, and enjoy each other's company in a very natural and very exciting way - sure does put a spin on Saturday evening options. "Hey hun: dinner and a movie, or, dinner, snuggle, and play with James, Jennie, Jackie, and Jake?" Forget the mega pixels: polyamory is living in high definition, baby, yeah! 


Friday, May 1, 2009

Breaking up with a metamour

The past several years have seen several iterations of connection between myself and my partner's partner. We've been friends, lovers, Domme/sub, and care about the same person. One thing that has remained pretty constant has been that I've seen her as family, which isn't something I extend easily or often to anyone.

Over the past year there have been a lot of changes in her personal landscape, and the ways that she approaches relationships have shifted to the point where it doesn't feel like the "poly family" approach is working any longer. It seems apparent that I need to adjust my thinking to accommodate those shifts, and "break-up" with my metamour.

While we don't have a direct relationship with each other at this time, there is a sense of loss around this for me. I guess I am pretty attached to the ideal of sharing a bond with the people I have partners in common with, at least with one that is so close to the inner workings of our lives. She's also someone that I care for and respect, although we differ in many ways.

What does this look like? As far as practical stuff, not much. It's letting go of that sense of openness, of concern, the attempts to bring someone closer, and honor that they are perfectly content to be further away, and not involved in the "friends and family"model of poly by choice.

It's largely semantics, but there is a sense of closure that is important in the way that my emotional resources are spent and reserved. They'll continue to date however they choose, without investment from me in that dynamic.

I'm sad, but hopeful that this will bring a measure of ease that has been absent for quite some time with this person, and with myself.