Open Relationship Mini Interview with Nayland: “I finally am having the sorts of relationships that I’ve wanted all my life”

Nayland Blake, naylandblake.net

1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?

That it’s entirely alright to discard the terms boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse. I’ve found that when I start thinking about someone in those terms that I screw things up, usually by letting my fear lead me into dishonesty. That it is indeed possible to set the terms of a relationship to reflect what I actually want, so long as I have the courage to do that from the beginning, and understand that rejection, when it happens in a context of honesty, is not failure.

2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?

Capitulating to other people’s (those being people outside of the relationship) definitions, even if those are coming from “poly” people. I don’t have primaries, secondaries etc; I have co-conspirators who all know about each other and in most cases know each other independently of me. It works for us, but we still feel pressure from other folks to come up with a more regular model.

3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?

Sharing the tales of our mutual adventures, and helping each other to have more of them.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m now in my 50’s and it’s only been recently that I feel like I finally am having the sorts of relationships that I’ve wanted all my life. I have more sex and a richer emotional life than I’ve ever had before. I think I’m proof that it is possible for things to get better, if you are willing to keep exploring.

“Reading erotica is a GREAT way to explore your sexuality.” Tristan Taormino Interviewed Me On Sex Out Loud

Laura Antoniou & I were guests on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud podcast this past Friday, and the show is now up & available to listen to online.

This week’s episode of Sex Out Loud has two different guests talking about their work giving voice to sexual minorities, specifically the leather & BDSM communities. Laura Antoniou, one of the most published female writers of the queer/BDSM erotic genre, will discuss her popular Marketplace erotic novel series as well as the publication of her first mystery novel, The Killer Wore Leather. Sinclair Sexsmith is the kinky butch top behind the the popular Sugarbutch Chronicles. They’re also a writer, storyteller, and performer who studies critical feminist & gender theory, sexual freedom, social change activism, archetypes, and the tantric and buddhist spiritual systems.

Check it out!

Where I’ll Be in Spring 2013: Leaving Marks, Fucking Forever, and Other Workshops in Toronto, Seattle, New York, and More

Greetings from Texas! I’m back in Houston visiting Rife, and I’m booking working traveling emailing and trying to get my next few months of spring travel solidified.

In addition to doing workshops and classes at colleges and toy stores, I’m available for private sessions in any of the cities that I’m visiting. I finished a year-long training in 2012 to see people privately for sex and intimacy coaching, and as you can imagine my specialties within that include BDSM, topping and bottoming, power exchange, D/s, gender explorations, leather, Daddy identity, and … well, basically everything that I write about here. I’m glad to tell you more about what those sessions are like or what I’m available for, and if you’re interested in booking time with me when I’m in one of these cities, contact me and we can talk about it, mrsexsmith at gmail.com.

More information about my private coaching sessions is available over at mrsexsmith.com/coaching.

Of course, I’m available for individual and couples sessions—sex and intimacy coaching—via Skype or phone, too, but doing it in person is a lot more fun.

Here’s where I’ll be in the spring as of now:

January 9-16, TBA, Houston TX
January 11, Sex Out Loud Radio, 5 pm PST/8 pm EST on Tristan Taormino’s radio show on The VoiceAmerica Network. Call in to talk to me and Tristan LIVE: 866-472-5788.
January 17, Advanced Cock Confidence, Wild At Heart, Seattle
January 18, Talking Dirty, The FSPC, Seattle
January 20, Leaving Marks, Wild At Heart, Seattle
January 25-27, Celebrating the Body Erotic II for Women, Body Electric Retreat, Albany
January 31, Queer Porn TV #pornparty! Free! Three scenes that I’m sure will be hottt.

February 4, Leaving Marks class at Conversio Virium, Columbia University, New York
February 7-10, Feminist Politics of Topping at the IvyQ conference, Yale, New Haven CT
February 14, Guest speaker at the 50 Shades of Grey course at American University, Washington, DC
February 15-17, Protocol in D/s Relationships, Talking Dirty, Fucking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships, Write Better Smut at Dark Odyssey Winter Fire, Washington DC

March 1-3, Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic for all bodies workshop, Body Electric, Philadelphia
March 7, New College of Florida, Sarasota

April 4-6, Feminist Porn Awards, Toronto
April 7-9, Queering the D/s Dynamic, Talking Dirty, Cock Confidence at Come As You Are, Toronto
April 10-11, Sex Week at University of Tennessee Knoxville
April 18-21, International Ms Leather Contest, San Francisco

May 15-17, Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women, Body Electric workshop, New York, NY
May 23-26, Saints & Sinners Conference, New Orleans

Woah crazy right? I’ve never been to Florida so I’m especially excited about that one, I’m going to be judging the IMsL contest so I can’t wait for that adventure, and I’ve never been to the Feminist Porn Awards! So many firsts and exciting things in the works.

I’m still booking more places and filling out my schedule in the next few months. Want me to come visit? Get in touch and give me ideas about where I should pitch!

As usual, you can subscribe to my events/appearances feed through RSS or through iCal. And it’s all online at http://www.mrsexsmith.com/appearances/—that’s the first place that gets updated when I get booked, so you can always see my most up to date schedule there.

Queer Porn TV Free #PornParty January 31st

QueerPorn.TV & I are throwing another FREE #pornparty on January 31st. Want to watch some smutty queers doin’ it with us?

What is a #pornparty, you ask? Well, it’s a worldwide gathering on Twitter of folks who like queer porn. Simply tune in, press play, and then follow the hashtag #pornparty while you watch for commentary and discussion. If you want to join in, make sure you have your own Twitter account, too (and make sure it’s unlocked for the evening if you want others to see your tweets!) and tag your posts with the hashtag so we’ll all see them.

We’ll be watching something through QueerPorn.TV, and viewing this film will be completely free. You don’t have to buy it or download it or purchase VOD minutes to watch it with us. You simply login using the access code (to be announced) and that will give you access to these scenes.

Here are the scenes we’ll be watching!

QPTVbanner

About Queer Porn TV: Our porn reflects the true sexual desires of our performers, the Queer Porn Stars of the world, when we ask them to choose who they want to work with, what they want to do, and how they want to do it. We believe we don’t need to order our performers around in order to make hot, marketable porn – we think the fantasies, and realities, of these incredible people are better than the stereotypes and formulas of your run-of-the-mill porn. We are QueerPorn.TV, and we think that anybody can be a Queer Porn Star!

Sara Vibes & Deana

In this highly anticipated QPTV NYC scene directed by Tina Horn, Sara Vibes brings Deanna Cannonball to the edge in an intense and beautiful play piercing scene. This video is edited into three vignettes: First, Sara puts her knife all over Deanna’s body and punches and flogs her to warm her up. Then, the middle of the scene focuses on the piercings, as Sara punctures Deanna’s skin up and down her entire arms to create a beautiful bind. Deanna experiences the edge of consent, and begs Sara to take them out and fuck her. The third portion of the scene has Sara fucking Deanna with her hands and a giant strap on – the orgasms Deanna shudders through seem to be laced with the pain and pleasure of being edged and bled by one of the absolute best in the BDSM community, Sara Vibes.

James Darling, Tina Horn, & Quinn

So a trans male fag, a cis male femme fag, and a lady fag walk into a living room … I can’t remember the punchline but I think it has something to do with stilettos, sucking, spanking and squirting.

Courtney Trouble & Mr Gray

Courtney Trouble tries her hand at retail, working for leather king Mr Gray at Aslan Leather. Mr. Gray is an unforgiving boss and soon Courtney finds herself in the middle of a new kind of training day.

Mr. Gray demonstrates the use of a leather arm binder, leather wrist cuffs, and rope bondage on his trainee, taking full advantage of her in these compromising positions. Courtney is forced to her knees to suck Mr Gray’s big cock, then gets hand fucked until she squirts all over the floor. Mr Gray also deals out plenty of tit torture, ass punching, and rough handling, getting off in his leather pants over and over.

This scene is heavy on BDSM, bondage, impact play, humiliation, and verbal domination. Stay tuned for Part Two, in which Courtney is fucked until she squirts all over the leather sling.

So how do you tune in and watch this video for free with us?

NOTE! If your Twitter account is private, we won’t be able to see your #pornparty tweets show up under the hashtag. If you want to join in on the conversation (hope you do!), you may have to unprotect your Twitter account.

So all you have to do is:
1. Log in with the QueerPorn.TV access code (TBA before the 31st)
2. Tune in Thursday night, January 31st at 6pm PST, 9pm EST
3. Enjoy the film with us!
4. Follow & contribute to the Twitter discussion with the hashtag #pornparty

You can also follow me (@mrsexsmith) as well as some of the porn stars in the film, like @courtneytrouble, @aslanleather, @tinahornsass, and of course our fabulous #pornparty host, @queerporntv on Twitter.

So, are you game? Who’s in?

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Charlie Glickman: “Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved”

Charlie Glickman, www.charlieglickman.com, www.facebook.com/charlie.glickman, gplus.to/CharlieGlickman, @charlieglickman

1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?

My partner and I have been together for over 20 years and we’ve been poly the entire time. There have been a few times that we stepped back from having other lovers because we needed some space to focus on each other. I’ve had lovers & playmates, as well a few ongoing secondary relationships. So one thing I’d tell my younger self is that things will change, and then they’ll change again. Don’t expect otherwise- there will come times when you struggle against changes that will happen anyway, and fighting them only made it harder.

Something else I’ve learned from being poly is that it requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.

It’s also really easy to get smug about it. Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved or better than anyone else. If you think it does, you’re being a jerk. Don’t let it happen.

2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?

Well, scheduling used to be one of the hardest, though google calendar is a big help. :-)

Sometimes, the New Relationship Energy I feel with a new partner can make things tricky for my partner. Fortunately, I’ve gotten better at managing that initial crush phase, in part because I know that it doesn’t last more than a few months. Sometimes, it deepens into a new dynamic and other times, the connection ends when the NRE does. I’ve learned how to let it take its own shape and be present with it, without letting it spill out into my partner. Usually. And when it doesn’t, she knows that she can tell me to take a break from talking about it, which makes it easier to manage.

3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?

At this point in my life, I rarely have sex with people I don’t have a heart connection with. Having said that, I have a lot of people in my life who I love. Some of those people are lovers and some aren’t. Each of those relationships is unique and each offers different gifts, pleasures, and delights. For me, whether we have sex or not is really less important than whether we can be open with each other about what we think, feel, and want. Being poly has been a lifelong practice in how to love each of these wonderful people in the way that works for that dynamic. It’s like I get to have all of these different flavors of love, some of which have been in my life for years and others are more fleeting. And the more I practice it, the more kinds of love come my way. It’s really quite delightful.

Being poly is also a really great way to make room for different desires and interests. I don’t expect to be able to give my partner everything she might want, so I like to create the space for her to get it elsewhere, and vice versa. That has given us much more freedom to enjoy the many things we do offer each other because there’s no resentment forming as the result of unmet needs.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

There isn’t any one way to be poly. That can be challenging because you have to figure out what works for you, which means making mistakes along the way. You’ll feel hurt sometimes, and you’ll hurt others. Learning how to apologize and reconnect with people is essential. Don’t expect perfection- plan for bobbles.

Don’t keep secrets. That doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone everything, but if you’re withholding something that you know someone would want to know about or that they deserve to know about, lean into the fear and do tell them. Withholding leads to secrecy and resentment, both of which kill relationships. There’s plenty of room for privacy within a relationship, but not for secrets. So if you can’t be honest about what you want or what you’re doing, either stop doing it or learn how to be honest.

What Dyke Looks Like: Photographer Kristy Boyce is Visiting NYC

When Kristen & I were in Toronto for the Unholy Harvest kink conference in October, we had a photo shoot with Kristy Boyce who is doing a project called What Dyke Looks Like. She’s a professional who had a vision, and Kristen and I were at her apartment and out in an alley in many different settings in front of many different backdrops with all kinds of light and flashes and fancy things to help her complete her vision. We had a blast.

 

 

These are just a few of the shots—there are many, many more and I’m excited to show you even more. Kristen looked so hot and there are so many of her in lingerie and a bomber jacket and looking badass and epic.

All this is to say, Kristy is coming to New York City! She’s shooting folks here this week, 8-15 January, and is specifically in need of subjects who are dyke-identified. If you might want to have your photo taken, contact her directly to make an appointment: [email protected].

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Alphafemme: I Create My Own Sense of Security and Safety

Alphafemme, alphafemme.net

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

The way I ended up in an open relationship (and we haven’t agreed on it being an “open relationship” per se, but rather we have an intimate/romantic/sexual relationship that is completely undefined and has no specific rules or boundaries and we haven’t really ever had specific rules or boundaries) was catastrophically messy. I won’t get into the details here, I’ll do that on my own blog soon, but there are many things I wish I had done differently or insights I wish I’d had earlier on. I think the main one is that however uncomfortable and scary honesty is, it is critically important. I have always been someone who only ever wants to please others, accommodate others, make others feel happy and loved, and I had to learn how to come to terms with letting go of the need to please everyone. I can’t both take on everyone else’s happiness as my own responsibility and have integrity at the same time. I think that open relationships require real gut honesty and real commitment to hashing things out, and it is scary as fuck but also worth it. I was so scared of my own emotions that I ended up needlessly hurting one person (my ex-partner) and losing the trust of another one (my lover’s ex-partner) in a way that could have been avoided had I been more emotionally honest with myself (and, then, with others). Now, my commitment is to always be candid and intentional, and take the time with myself to understand my own emotions in order to be able to state them clearly.

I also wish I’d had more faith in myself to be okay, no matter what. That no matter what, no matter how hard things are, no matter how messy they become, no matter how impossible they may feel, I will be okay.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?

My current relationship has never been a closed, partner relationship. It has always been a flying-high-in-the-sky-fuck-the-parachutes-are-broken-shit-we’re-gonna-die-omgomgomg-ok-no-actually-we’re-ok kind of relationship. It is an intense relationship with a lot of processing and a lot of emotions and a ton of trust-building work. I think the hardest part for me is sometimes feeling like there are no walls and ceilings that are protecting me from the elements. I think I’m forced to confront scary emotions (fear of abandonment, fear of hurt, fear of pain, jealousy, etc.) a lot more than in my prior monogamous relationships, and work through them on my own. What I mean is, in my monogamous relationships, I have relied on the safety of the relationship and the boundaries of the relationship to take care of the scariness of being vulnerable and intimate. I have avoided working through the sources of those fears because the monogamy was the safety net. In this open relationship, it can feel as though that safety net isn’t there and so instead I have to just let those emotions and fears in and sit with them, become acquainted with them, make peace with them, and even send them on their merry way – and I can do that with my lover’s support and understanding, but she doesn’t do it for me and she doesn’t fix it for me by eliminating the source of the fear for me. And that part is hard and takes a lot of emotional energy. Buuuut the flip side of the coin…

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

…is that the hardest thing is also the best thing. I feel like this relationship has helped me become so much more aware of my resilience and my capacity to get through difficult emotions and land on my own two feet. And this in turn has meant that my ability to trust – to trust her but also trust myself – has deepened immensely. It’s really gratifying to know that I can create my own sense of security and safety and don’t need to make rules for the relationship that are based on fear. And I have learned a LOT about how to communicate my emotions responsibly and when is a good time to stop and take space. It’s not easy, and I can imagine at some point not wanting an open relationship anymore, but for now I have no desire to change anything.

It’s funny – a lot of people in response to this question I noticed said that the best thing was being able to have sex or play or be involved with other people, and the bounty of love that invites. And that’s just not where I’m at with it right now. Maybe someday I will appreciate that but for now I’m not even really interested in that. For now it’s all about the emotional work and trust-building.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Someone I look up to recently said to me that she thinks we should all take the “ship” out of “relationship” and just focus on relating to one another. Relationships are not one size fits all and often when we enter into capital-R-Relationships we enforce an agenda on them that just doesn’t work for every relationship. That really resonated with me and that’s my M.O. with my lover right now. For us, we go day by day and make decisions that work for us based on what we want, and we arrive at those decisions based on working things through on our own and together and trusting each other a lot, and trusting ourselves. Easier said than done (see my answer to number 2!) but ultimately I feel like I’m growing in really important ways right now.

Hey Seattle: Strap On Skills, Dirty Talk, Leaving Marks Workshops in January

Just come.

Advanced Strap On Skills
Thursday, January 17, 8-10pm
Wild at Heart, Ballard
$20/Individual, $30/Pair, $40/Triad
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/140978136049188/
Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/events/139379

Know how to strap on? Great! Are you looking to increase sensation for yourself and your partner? How can you enhance sensation, both as the giver and the receiver? What size is your cock, and what size should it be? What positions work best for what outcome? How can you get the most out of your harness and toys?

Join us for a “harness-on” workshop where you’ll get to strap it on and try out tips, techniques, and learn new skills for strapping it on. We ask that you bring a harness and toy which you would like to work with. Don’t have one? Stop by ahead of class and we’ll help get you set up in style.

This workshop is open to all regardless of gender, orientation, or relationship status.

Registration through Brown Paper Tickets: http://straponskills.brownpapertickets.com/
Join us for the workshop and get 15% off your purchase that night!

Talking Dirty
Friday, January 18th, 7pm
The Foundation for Sex Positive Culture (FSPC) Annex
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/387927971299018/
Cost: $20
Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/events/144922

Talking dirty in the bedroom can be terrifying at first, but once you unlock your tongue, you’ll find yourself saying all sorts of delicious things! Come to this workshop and we’ll figure out what’s tying our tongues in the first place, what’s holding us back from being more free with our language in the bedroom, and what the heck we should say to enhance our sex and intensity our sensation. The brain is the biggest sex organ, after all, and the more we can turn on our minds, the better our experiences will be.

Leaving Marks: Biting, Punching, Cutting & More
Sunday, January 20th, 7-9pm
Wild at Heart, Ballard
$20/Individual, $30/Pair, $40/Triad
Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/events/139380

Leaving marks is one of Sinclair Sexsmith’s favorite things. Marking a submissive or bottom can be a strong bonding practice that enhances your power dynamics and deepens your connection. A mark on someone’s body be it temporary or permanentcan lead to a feeling of possession and power, of vulnerability and ownership. Come to this exploratory, interactive demonstration and see some examples of leaving marks on your partner. We’ll explore leaving bruises through biting, punching, and other percussion implements; permanent marks like piercings, tattoos, cuttings, and brands; and temporary options like permanent markers and body hair.

This workshop is open to all regardless of gender, orientation, or relationship status.
Registration through Brown Paper Tickets: http://leavingmarks.brownpapertickets.com/ Join us for the workshop and get 15% off your purchase that night!

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Roxy: In Love With the Whole World

Roxy, http://uncommoncuriosity.com/

1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?

That they exist. I was “younger” at a time (mid-80s to early-90s) when bisexuals were treated with suspicion by just about everyone (my nickname at the local LGBT Center where I volunteered was “straight girl,”) and so I wasn’t hanging out with folks who were exploring anything other than 1) dating a lot of people without commitment or 2) full monogamy. In the suburbs it’s pretty easy to go your whole life just drinking the kool-aid and never knowing there is anything else out there.

Now that my eyes have been opened, I continue to be amazed at all the different ways folks “do” poly. Sometimes it’s easy for me to get stuck in an idea that there’s a wrong way and a right way, and I have to keep reminding myself to keep an open mind along with the open relationship.

2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?

Given that I drank gallons of the kool-aid, it’s been hard to reframe what relationships can be if you’re not following the Princess Bride, one true love, model. Despite all of the wonderful work that’s been written about poly, there still aren’t a lot of role models who are successful and happy in popular culture, either in real life (astonished and scandalized reactions to Tilda Swinton come to mind as one of the few) or fiction. Living in a socially progressive, but still pretty relationship-conservative, area means that I spend a lot of time either trying to explain all of poly in one sentence (“It’s like telling your partner they can cheat, right?” “Oh, I could never do that. I get jealous.”) or just not speaking up and feeling very isolated. It helps to have a strong virtual community of friends who are navigating some of the same issues and challenges.

A lot of other interviewees have mentioned communication, which is very, very key, but also one of the hardest parts for me. I’m constantly amazed that other people know themselves well enough to express it in anything other than questions – I find myself stumbling through sometimes, just trying to work out what’s right for me and what’s not. Frequently something will seem like a great idea in my head and then turn out to be an absolute disaster in practice.

Another issue is that I *am* a romantic, and that can be very scary, because there’s a lot of pressure in the scene to be easy-going and laissez-faire like the cool kids. It’s so dangerously easy to give in to internal pressure to be ok with a lot that I’m not really ok with, afraid of being labeled – *gasp* – clingy or needy, or being rejected altogether. Thankfully, I’ve been involved with two wonderful partners who love me for the person I am, not the person I sometimes wish I were, and I’m learning to ask for what I need, no matter how intimidating it feels. From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that it’s much less messy to admit to having needs up front rather than simply falling apart into a mess when you manage to break your own heart.

Putting that into practice remains an ongoing project for me.

Oh, and jealousy? *Sigh* Still working on it.

3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?

At its best, it’s like you’re in love with the whole world. You feel supported and loved and beautifully fulfilled. For me, NRE lasts as long as the relationship, and I love being in love, and I adore people. Each partner offers precious new surprises and new ways to look at the Universe, and so there’s just that much more to be amazed by.

At its worst, it offers you a real-time education in patience with yourself and everyone around you.

Each extreme has been a gift.

Poly is a crucible that burns away extraneous distractions and demands your presence, attention, and full participation. I’ve learned to use words like “space” and “support” without snickering. I’ve learned to consider and express feelings, and that alone is a miracle. Despite an excellent education in the sciences, I managed to avoid maturing emotionally beyond about 14 years old, and it went unchallenged for decades. The past 4 to 5 years have offered me the (sometimes unwelcome) opportunity to develop skills I never had before, and I am very grateful for that opportunity, despite my occasionally quite pitiful thrashing at the time.

Stepping outside the box affords a view of the world that can be daunting, but liberating, and full of possibility. Having to sit down to negotiate parts of life many take for granted gives you the chance to create something new and wonderful. The price can be high, but the rewards are beyond what I would have imagined.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

I am *so* thankful to everyone who contributed to this series. The relationships I’m involved in have been changing recently, and I’ve been struggling with where my future might lie. Reading about all the myriad choices and flavors that others have chosen is opening my mind to new possibilities for myself, and I feel a lifeline of connection to everyone else who’s exploring this brave, new world.

Open Relationships Mini Interview with Ashley: Love is Infinite

Ashley Young, http://indigostheory.wordpress.com.

1. What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?

I would definitely tell myself not to be so cynical and that love is real, no matter how confusing it might be. Oh and I’d also tell myself ‘you aren’t going to end up a lonely spinster in the woods writing books like you planned’. When I first started to attempt poly, I didn’t even know it was possible until I had a loving partner to encourage me. I think if I could go back, I would give myself permission to explore love, sex and relationships, despite how overwhelming and scary it might be.

2. What has been the hardest thing about navigating multiple relationships, and how have you overcome that?

There have been a few things that have been hard about being poly. At first it was jealousy. Seeing my partner with other people was hard but when I started to see the benefits of sharing her with others – these benefits being my partner’s happy and poly being a full expression of herself – I got over it. Once I realized jealously had nothing to do with my partner and had everything to do with my own insecurities, I started to deal with my relationship shit instead of dumping it on my partner.

The next challenge was stepping up my communication with my partner. I used to be so afraid to say what was on my mind but when I realized sharing doesn’t actually make me explode or expire, I started talking. My partner and I both worked very hard on our communication early on in the relationship before becoming poly so I trust her. I learned earlier on that trust is key in polyamory. To maintain the trust, we in a sense created an intimate poly language that works for us and talk constantly and openly about our issues with each other first.

After I got over my jealousy and learned how to communicate, I started dealing with my own shit. Dating others has made me continue to confront fears of intimacy and acceptance and discover the power and beauty of my evolving sexuality. The biggest challenge has been accepting my poly, queer, kinky self and creating relationships that work for me. I’m still working on that one!

3. What has been the best thing about being open/poly?

I discovered I’m not a misanthropic and jaded as I used to pretend to be. I love people, I love bodies and I love sex. I love conversation and connections and being in a poly relationship has reaffirmed that for me. Plus, the more people I love, the more in love I am with my partner.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Love is infinite, not finite. Spread it.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Hawkin47: Freedom is Worth the Pain & Pangs of Jealousy

Hawkin47, http://hawkin47-randomactsofawesome.blogspot.com, http://promiscuouspersonsguidetoportland.blogspot.com

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

I wish I hadn’t had the equation of monogamy = true love so deeply ingrained in my head that I couldn’t define an open relationship as a loving one. The relationship I’m in now started as a completely open, Friends with Benefits who happen to live together and sleep next to each other every night sort of deal. The FwB part, which precluded the idea of monogamous, romantic love, made it easier to accept the knowledge that I was sexually attracted to other people, and so was he. And over the 3 years we’ve been together, we still consider ourselves close friends more than lovers. But over these years, I’ve learned that open relationships, when they’re done right and when they’re right for YOU, surpass any level of monogamous love I’ve ever seen. The freedom you give yourself and your partner creates this incredibly open, non-judgmental sort of love that is immensely satisfying.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?

Jealousy, bar none. I’m a jealous goddess, and you shall serve none above me or below me. My primary partner is also an intensely jealous sort, and being ex-military hasn’t helped control that part of himself. The green goblin has reared its ugly head multiple times over the years we’ve been together, and each time has been traumatic.

We still haven’t completely expunged jealousy from our relationship, and I doubt we ever will. I doubt I’ll ever be capable of being in an open relationship without a level of jealousy on my part.

However, we have developed very effective workarounds for both of us, that I think will work in most any relationship.

First, embracing the knowledge that freedom is worth the pain and pangs of jealousy, for both of us. That part was really important, because it put jealousy in its proper place, well below a number of other things.

Second, though we are completely honest with each other, we are NOT completely open with each other. I tell him every time I’m going on a date, generally where, and generally with who. But I don’t discuss my dates when I get home unless they’ve been particularly traumatic and I need some advice or a sympathetic ear. But if they were stellar? He doesn’t need to know. And I’m ok with that. He doesn’t date nearly as often as I do, but he doesn’t tell me the intimate details of the conversations he has with other women. I’m peripherally aware of his interactions with other women, and I give advice and commiserate when needed. But that’s it. And this has helped keep the peace more than anything else we do. I have never felt the need to lie to my partner, and as far as I know he has never felt the need to lie to me. And I kind of love that :).

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

For me, I’d have to say freedom. I feel like I’ve been unchained from years of repressive, unhappy, unrealistic ideals of love and sexuality. I have given myself permission to realistically and honestly explore parts of myself that I have never been able to express or understand. I have a primary partner who understands my needs and meets most of them, and then I have as many other partners as I need who help me explore facets of my sexuality and ability to love that my primary can’t. It’s taken the pressure away from having to be everything to one person, and wanting that person to be everything to me. When I was a young girl, and all my other friends were fantasizing about the man they’d marry and the type of wedding they’d have, I fantasized about marrying a sea captain. It took me a long time to realize that the reason a sea captain was my ideal was because he was gone 6 months out of every year, and I loved the idea of that freedom. I wanted to love someone desperately for 6 months, and then have the freedom to take lovers for the next 6 months. Being in an open relationship has helped me realize that ideal for myself, year round.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Something I’ve noticed, and thought about quite a bit, is that the truly successful open relationships I’ve seen (and been a part of) all follow a very similar model. It seems to me (and this may very well NOT be true for everyone) that people in a successful open relationship often sacrifice a level of depth in their relationship in order to gain a level of breadth in their relationships.

That is not to say that primary partners don’t love each other deeply and passionately. But… but it seems like the role of lover is often less appropriate than the role of friend amongst primary partners. Acknowledging that sacrifice, if that’s how you see it, has been important to me. It’s helped me figure out what I really need from my lovers and my life, what’s truly important to me. The satisfying breadth of experience I’m given and allowed to take has more than made up for the inherent lack of depth that non-monogamy has meant to me. That may not always be the case, and it may just be my own lack of experience and knowledge talking. But it’s been a helpful sort of idea.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Becca Bee: Identify Needs vs Wants

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

That you need a support system of people who understand when you are just having a feeling that needs to be heard, but not necessarily by your partner. That they can listen and validate the feeling without worrying that your other relationship(s) are in jeopardy because you’re having a feeling. Crisis mode/intervention is not needed every time you have envy or even *gasp* jealousy.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?

That I’m awfully good at introducing my primary partners to their new primary partner. I’m currently working on this by not having a primary partner, and acting as in independent owner/operator. Which is very different for me.

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

Beefing up my communication skills with the world. Each relationship exponentially adds to the communication load of every other relationship. Updated calendars are a must.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Identifying your actual needs vs your actual wants. Sometimes they look an awful lot like each other, and the identification can be difficult. Also, letting your relationships know what things they provide for you that is unique and important to you.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with EK: I Wish I’d Had A Manual

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

Before I started an open relationship, it would have been nice for someone to tell me just how hard it was going to be. Hard in a sense that my oh so creative imagination was gonna death grip my balls and have me thinking and over thinking just about any possible scenario when came to my girl fucking someone else. I wish there would have been a manual to give me step by step guides on how to deal with the jealousy, the nights alone and the reconnection part that is oh so necessary once you have returned home and showered after a night out with someone else. But most of all, I wish someone would have told me that being in an open relationship is like walking a tightrope. One false move and you’ve disrupted the balance and you’re falling… falling fast.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?

I thought that the hardest thing going into the open relationship would have been controlling my jealousy and my possessiveness. I thought it would be hard to let my girl know that it was ok. That I was ok with it. In the end I overcompensated by suggesting people… like.. hey, so and so, they’re cute. I would totally be ok with you banging them. In the end I think I suggested the wrong person, and she ended up falling in love with him… which, disrupted the balance and I am now currently laying face flat on the ground.

But in general we knew it was going to be a trial… so we made rules. No sleep overs, no feelings, no breakfasts, no fancy dinners, no dating. This was not a dating game. This was a sex game and we lay down boundaries to help each other feel safe and secure.

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

The best thing about the open relationship was the freedom I felt. I could talk to women, I could flirt with women and I could touch them and not feel one tiny bit bad about it. I knew deep down that they could never match what I had for my girl, so I felt safe, and free to be myself. There was no pressure and a sense that I was in the best relationship in the world. I had it all.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

Open relationships really are not for everyone. To me open and polyamorous relationships are a whole different ball game. You need to be sure to build solid foundations, and build up slowly. Reassurance must be applied in the right doses depending on the different participants. So much communication… talk about it to death. Write down rules. Write down all that could happen and what you dont want to happen. And also know… that it could make or break your relationship. Mutual consent all round. Communication to all parties… I can’t stress this enough. Deceit only increases the chances of disrupting the balance. But most of all.. remember who you are going home to. Make sure your sex life is a healthy one before you starting opening up doors to other people. Resentment can build so fast and its so easy to falter…or say the wrong thing. I am no expert at these things, but I know what has gone wrong and I have a good idea why. Timing can mean everything, but mostly it is balance and communication. If I could go back and do it all again, I probably wouldn’t… given the outcome I was met with. But I’m not saying I wont ever do it again.