Monday, November 17, 2014

Sex, Truth, & Open Relationships (Adventures in Datingland)

First off, I'm bragging celebrating a bit.


It's true what they say; it IS like riding a bicycle; all the muscle memory comes back to you.

It is also true that if you're not accustomed to it, either activity can leave you more than a little tender in certain spots. So you might want to take it easy before engaging in marathon sessions. (Not that I always take my own advice.)





[Note to self: Consider investing in some sexy underwear, unlike your everyday, white cotton, yeast-infection-resistant ginormous granny panties, Because sexy panties just might make undressing time a little less angst-ridden.]




OK - Get Lost


So, my OKCupid experience, plus that of Meetup, has been... interesting.

I've met or chatted with some handsome, smart, sextastic men. Apparently my age and weight issues are still not chasing them off.  (This means, ladies, if there's hope for me, there's hope for you.)

I've been messaged by some men who are... losers not sympatico with what I'm looking for at this time in my life. Seriously, dude, if you are a conservative, strait-laced Republican who lives in Oklahoma, we are not going to be a thing. And if your follow-up to my polite blow-off message is to beg that I please, please, give you another chance, because you are willing to relocate, this does not make you sound more appealing, it sends up my stalker alert flags.

Seriously, if you are a man or woman who would want people to date you or have sex with you, not because they wanted to, but because they felt guilted or pressured into it, because they had weak boundaries and didn't know how to firmly say no... Take a look in the mirror. You are part of rape culture.


Guys, if you are reading this, this is why you send out messages and usually never hear anything back; too many women have tried to "be nice," to let a guy down gently, and ended up having to deal with creepers.  Or dick pictures.  DO NOT EVER, EVER SEND DICK PICS, UNLESS A WOMAN HAS SPECIFICALLY SAID, "Yes, I want to see that."

It's not easy for us. Most women were raised to be "nice." I really don't want to hurt anybody's feelings, and am still learning to protect myself, rather than assume social responsibility for everyone else on the planet. Most of us have also dealt with persistent, unwanted admirers, or even been stalked, attacked, or raped by somebody we've barely smiled at.

We'd rather be considered just another heartless bitch, than stalker-bait.

Better yet, we'd rather live in a world where our bodies are respected as belonging to us, not to be assumed to be the property of the nearest male, be he a legislator or some horny dude who wants some.

This is why women walking the streets of New York (and many other big cities) may avoid eye contact and not respond to "friendly" greetings. Btw, if you have time, please look up the Twitter hashtag #DudesGreetingDudes, it's wonderful.


Another reason I have mostly stopped sending out "Thanks, but no thanks" messages is because one of the guys I was chatting with told me this was actually cruel. That from his POV, guys would see they'd gotten a message back, get their hopes up, and then get hurt all over again by the rejection, however kindly worded. That being totally ignored did not sting nearly as badly as getting back an "I'm just not that into you," email.  (YMMV.)



Consent Means Asking Clearly for What You Want, & Accepting the Answer


Here's a fabulous video that clearly explains, again, what consent is, and what it isn't.  Note: brief glimpse of dildos & sex toys.  Also, language near the bottom of this post will be quite frank and explicit, if not erotic.




Good relationships (sexual and otherwise) are all about respecting the autonomy of the other person. The goal should always be not to satisfy yourself, while the other person feels used, betrayed, or hurt (Win-Lose). The goal should be finding a way to satisfy your own needs while the other person also feels satisfied (Win-Win), whether than is in selling a car for a fair price, or entering into a polyamorous relationship.

Again, No = Thank You for Taking Care of Yourself

This means that, as much as I'd love to post the juicy details of my newly revived sex life here, I need to get the permission of the people I've become involved with, or am about to get involved with, on exactly how much personal info it is okay to share.

I will say this. The sexytimes. Woo-hoo!

Via Catskill Archive

via Wikimedia Commons


via rfs.world.com



via Wikimedia Commons


The beginning - and end - of a recent date.

That said, I've already experienced some trickery and deception in recent connections, and have decided not to go forward with them. Because what kind of a relationship, even a FWB one, can I have with someone who is willing to lie to me to satisfy short-term needs?


Sex Contracts - They're Not Just for Bondage Any More


Most people have heard of the infamous contract that kinkster Christian Grey presented to virginal Anastasia in 50 Shades of Grey.   While cray-cray in many respects, it's not a bad starting point for a sane woman - or man - to examine his/her erotic desires, and draw hard & soft limits (aka, boundaries).  And for us to be discussing these things, in popular culture, is a VERY good thing.

For example, let's say you're in a monogamous marriage. What does cheating mean, to you? And to your partner?  Is oral sex, or other forms of sexual contact that do not include PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex, cheating, or are they "not really sex?" (Thanks, Bill C.) Phone or cyber-sex? How about an emotional affair - there is no sex, nor even sexy talk, but your partner pours out his/her heart to another person who is not you. Is that cheating?

You may think those things go without saying, but many marriages have broken up over these kinds of affairs, where one person considers X "not really cheating," and the partner partner thinks it most certainly is cheating, and feels a terrible betrayal of trust.


If you're in an open or polyamorous relationship, either solo, or as part of an established group, what are the rules? Does everyone already on board need to approve every new potential partner before any sexual activity begins? Or is it DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell) - it's assumed you have activity elsewhere, but you are not to talk about it with your other partners? Is it a turn-on for your other partners if you bring home "bedtime stories?" Is it okay with your new lover to talk (or blog) to others about what you did in bed together? What are the agreements for STI testing and condom use? Dental dams (or Saran Wrap) for cunnilingus, a must-have, or okay to skip?



Assume = Ass + U + Me


As I begin this journey into Datingland, and exploring life as a solo polyamorous woman, I want to be careful both to protect myself, my current partner(s), and any partners I may be adding in the future, both physically, and emotionally.

That none of us has an extensive history together is is both a curse, and a blessing. It means that every single point of our relationships has to be discussed and negotiated.  This is more than a little overwhelming when I consider all the variants.

On the other hand, the fact that we have to build each relationship from scratch means I get to discuss with each partner or potential partner exactly what he wants from our relationship, what desires or fantasies we have in common, how he feels about me disclosing details of our relationship to other lovers or on this blog, if he wants to hear "bedtime stories," and most importantly, my own comfort level.

Are you happily married, or also adventuring in Datingland?
Have you ever had romantic or sexual assumptions bite you in the ass?
Your thoughts?


Related articles

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sex-Positive - It's Not What You Think

Or, maybe it IS what you think. Because I am not inside your head, so it's rather presumptuous of me to guess what you think.

My bad.

Here's what I thought: That being "Sex Positive" was thinking sex is great *raises hand,* promoting a wild & crazy sex life, and wanting to spread that belief to to the world.

Well, it kind of is, and kind of isn't. It's more about knowing who you are, claiming responsibility for your own body, being unashamed of it, and figuring out what you like, or dislike, based not on what others tell you is "good sex," but on what you decide for yourself. Those choices could include celibacy or asexuality, polyamory or swinging or monogamy, being gay or straight or "hetero-flexible," kinky or vanilla... you get to figure out who you are, and who you are not.




It's about being part of, and building, a safe community for all kinds of people to express their sexuality in a way that feels right FOR THEM. With vulnerability, but without shame.

[Note: I've joined a local, Sex-Positive group, read the materials and attended one orientation, which is not the deepest and most thorough knowledge one can have. So while I am striving to convey what I learned as accurately as possibly, it is entirely possible I have gotten something confused or am misstating it here. All such mistakes are my own, not the fault of SPLA.]


Sexy organizer Gabriella Cordova, who is "out" as Sex-Positive.

Here's what I learned at my Sex-Positive LA Meeting. (While you can be a Sex-Positive person without belonging to any formal organization, having that support can make this attitude a lot easier.)

Care, Consent, and Confidentiality


Let's take the last first: Confidentiality. Because there is such a stigma in current culture about sexuality  (something this movement aims to change), many members of this group use assumed names so that it does not affect them professionally, or with members of their family,  Therefore, no names or identifying photographs will be used here without permission.


Care. Being sex positive means caring for yourself, your family, and the others in the community. It means being responsible about being regularly tested for STIs, if you are in a non-monogamous relationship, AND using condoms; it means emotionally and physically caring for one another.

This is not a group to join if what you want is to cheat on an unsuspecting spouse or partner. Coercion, trickery, and lying are NOT caring, nor respectful. Not to your spouse, not to your partner, and not, actually, to yourself.




Consent


While morons and rapists may argue that "sometimes no means yes," no NEVER means yes with active consent.

Too drunk or whacked out with a head cold to say no, does not mean yes.

Cajoling or badgering until the other person gives in and says, "Okay, I guess," does not mean yes.

Only Yes, or, in some cases, Hell, yes! means yes.

Gabriella and the others emphasized that permission must be obtained for everything, not simply for what we typically think of as sex, but even things like a touch on the shoulder.  Every single time. And that bodily autonomy must be always respected.

But what about seduction, about romance? Doesn't this kind of thing spoil it?

You don't read much romance, do you?

Few things are sexier than the almost kiss. The two leaning toward each other, and then, just as their lips are about to touch, he whispers, "May I kiss you?"

She whispers back, "Yes, oh yes!" and their lips meet, ever so softly, tongues flickering to tease each other's top lip, bottom lip, dancing together, bodies pressed so tight against one another, for long, slow, sweet moments, until her nipples grow hard and her knees grow weak.

She pulls her mouth away from his, locking his eyes with her own. "I want to take off your shirt, and rub my nipples against your chest. And then I'd like you to lick them, and suck on them. Is that okay with you?"

I could go on, but I think you get the point (as our heroine will, shortly). Consent is sexy.


But What If You Get a No?


If someone tells you no, the kindest reply is, "Thank you for taking care of yourself."

Think about it. Much of the time, problems in relationships come up because Person A thought Person B wanted or liked X, but he didn't, and bad feelings were created.

When someone says no, it is because s/he has checked inside, decided s/he was not comfortable with what you were requesting. This means that YOU don't have to guess, you don't have to take care of her/his feelings; s/he is taking care of her/himself. And when you get a no, that means when you do get a yes, it is a genuine, enthusiastic yes.






This Group Is Not For the Intolerant


For myself, I am uninterested in a "Red Room of Pain," a la 50 Shades. This does not mean putting down people who are, nor going all judgey on people who don't like the things that I like.  Kinky is okay, vanilla (or, French vanilla), is perfectly okay.

In fact, I understand there are people in the group simply to be touched, held, and snuggled. Who will never be pressed to "take it to the next level," but are welcome to attend events built around the things that make them feel comfortable. Welcome are all LGBT people, the disabled, those with fetishes... Whatever your "thing" is, if you can't help make this a warm and welcoming place for everyone, it's not a good fit for you.


Orientation Not Optional


In order to join this group, you must attend an orientation. At the one I attended, besides Gabriella and the other organizers talking to us, showing us a short film clip, and a break for potluck refreshments, we shared a little bit of information on how we would label ourselves. Later, we practiced some lessons on boundaries, on saying no, on negotiating, on complimenting one another. And enjoyed a five-way hug.

I even got another compliment, later - one of the women who hugged me was very petite, had laid her head on my breast and enjoyed it very much. I probably should have replied what I was thinking, which was "I get that a lot" (especially lately from the littlest kitten), but I simply smiled at her, happy that I had made her happy.




















I was also pleased to hear some people referencing Robert A. Heinlein, who often wrote stories including non-traditional love relationships. He's one of my all-time favorite authors, and while Time Enough for Love is my favorite (perhaps because it was my first, and I'm sloppily sentimental that way), I also love I Will Fear No Evil, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, and To Sail Beyond the Sunset. I found Friday kind of sad, though the group marriage concept was interesting.


Will I be back?

Probably as long as they'll have me. And I will continue to share what I can, without breaking the agreement for confidentiality.

http://www.sexpositiveworld.org/

Have you ever attended a Sex-Positive event?
What did you think?
Your thoughts?