Tag Archives: Relationships

No, I Haven’t Read “The Ethical Slut” Yet.

One of the many things that I enjoy about my new college is that when I come out as poly the response I get is rarely one of discomfort or a blank lost stare. Instead I’m far more likely to receive a blase “That’s cool” and then them asking if I’ve read The Ethical Slut. The answer I give is that I haven’t read it yet at which point it’s assumed that I have some major moral/philosophical/ideological beef with its authors. In all honesty I have nothing against Dossie Easton or Catherine A. Liszt, I just don’t have a strong desire to read it.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a quick overview. (For you queer and/or poly people who hang with other queer and/or poly people you probably know plenty about this book and you should feel free to skip this paragraph.) The Ethical Slut has kinda become the de facto bible for poly communities since it was published in 1997. Billing itself as “a guide for infinite sexual possibilities” it is the main how-to book for poly/open/non-traditional/etc. relationships. Its cultural weight is so big that even when I was a teenager up in rural, no where, isolated northern Vermont I was familiar that this book existed. (I didn’t really know what “polyamory” was but I did know about this relationship book for open relationships.) In short it’s the book that every poly seems to expect every other poly has read.

Like I said earlier, I’ve got nothing in particular against T.E.Sbut reading it just isn’t high on my list of things to-do.

The big thing is that if I want to know what the book says I can just ask one of my fifty billion friends who has read it. Seriously I’ve got friends who can probably quote from that thing like a nun can quote from the Holy Scripture or I can quote from The Uncommon Reader (the number of times I’ve read and re-read that novella is actually so high that I’m embarrassed to share.) What’s the point in reading it when I could read something I know nothing about?

For all my glibness in this post there is a kinda serious reason I’ve delayed picking up T.E.S. For better or for worse I’ve kinda connected it in my mind to a particular form of polyamory that I’m just not a fan of.

Over the past year I’ve begun to feel that there’s a dominant type of polyamory that I’m just not into. Do I have a clear example of this? Well no but I can give my impressions. It feels white; queer but the sort of queer that doesn’t view transwomen as, you know, women; privileged and like it’s actively trying to show the monogamous world that we’re just like them! I guess it feels like Dan Savage…

This dominant type of polyamory is the one that seems to be putting pressure on me for my polyamorous relationships to be a certain type of polyamorous relationships. I feel as though I’m expected to have a “primary” and then date on the side. There’s also the nice cozy triad model with optional dating on the side but I’m not allowed to form long term relationships with the people outside of my triad. Hey monogamous people, we’re not that different after all! Accept us!

My relationships need to be nice and clean and something that the New York Times can easily write a piece on. My relationships need to be stable and it would be great if I could live in Brooklyn or in the Bay Area and eat organic produce because I can totally afford it. Whenever I enter into any sort of new relationship it needs to start with a formal meeting about limits and boundaries and we need to have this written up in contracts and also it would be great if this took place in a carbon-neutral, vegan, free-trade coffee shop. Also I need to talk about the T.E.S. whenever I talk about being poly.

So yeah, I’ve got nothing against T.E.S. but in my head I’ve linked it to the poly communities that I am actively trying to avoid. I’m sure that it’s a lovely book but I spend enough of my polylife trying to push back against expectations put on me by a dominant poly narrative that in my free time I try to avoid any contact with anything I associate with this narrative. At some point I’m going to read The Ethical Slut and when I do I bet there will be parts I agree with and parts I strongly disagree with in how they relate to my own poly identity. Until that time comes I’m just gonna keep answering,”Have you read The Ethical Slut?” with a smile, a shrug and a vague “It’s on my to-read list but you know how long that it is!”

Stop Being So Fucking Condescending (Polyamory edition)

I identify as polyamorous (check Wikipedia if you’re confused) and there are few things that I find more irritating or upsetting in my personal life than having to tell someone that I’m poly. Actually it’s not the “coming out” that I hate it’s the follow-up conversation that I hate because almost without fair I am immediately told some condescending things that make me want to scream.

In an effort to make my life just a bit more bearable I’m going to give a “typical” response that I get to saying, “So I’m poly.” and then I’m going to follow with my own response.

“You haven’t met the right person to settle down with.”

Oh my god, stop. Please just stop right now. Stop it. Before you go any farther I want you to think about polyamory. Think about the idea of being in a poly relationship. You know that emotion you feel when you try to picture yourself being in a poly (or even open) relationship? That feeling of confusion and discomfort? It probably feels like you’re trying to jam a square peg into a circular hole. Well that’s how I feel when I think about being in a closed monogamous relationship. Trying to imagine myself being in a monog relationship is just like you imagining yourself in a poly relationship but the difference is that your relationship has been declared “normal” by your society.

Furthermore this has nothing to do with me “settling down” with anyone. I can settle down with two people or six people or HOW EVER MANY PEOPLE I END UP BEING IN A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH.  This is not swinging or cheating or whoring it up or about “shallow” relationships. This is me having sincere and real and true emotions/attractions to people and being honest about it.

And let’s  talk about the fact that you’re telling me this is a phase. Ultimately this is one of the most painful things for me to be told. At it’s most basic level you are stripping me of my legitimacy to say that I know who I am by telling me that I am incorrect. So let’s just leave this bullshit in another room.

I will not deny that there is a possibility that I will end up in a long-term, committed and monogamous relationship. As a matter of fact I am open to this potential future, I just don’t think it’s likely at all. Like most aspects of human emotion/attraction/sex/romance/life I do believe that there is a spectrum between polyamory and monogamy and I think it’s possible for us to travel along the spectrum throughout our life.  Consider this for your own life. When you ask me to be open to a potential future in monogamy I will ask you to be open to a potential future in polyamory. Just as I might meet a person who I will end up being monogamous with you might end up meeting people with whom you share a deep love with and you need in your life as romantic partners.

So next time I or someone else brings up the fact that we’re poly please don’t be a condescending dick about it. Accept it as that’s who this person is then do research if you’re confused (I’m making a list of resources that I’ll link to when it’s done.) The important thing is that as a poly person we’re frequently told that our relationships are wrong or not valid/legitimate or creepy or abusive and we have enough shit to deal with besides yours.

Speedy Book Reviews

(In an effort to improve my book reviewing skills I’m trying to post a review of every book I read. Right now I’m a bit behind so instead of three long reviews I’m going to do three shorter reviews.)

Moab is my Washpot 

Stephen Fry has been fairly well cemented as a secular saint and if you’re reading my blog you’re probably familiar with him. Moab is a moving autobiography  and Mr. Fry’s love of language makes it such a joy to read. Even if you’ve never heard of Stephen Fry I still highly recommend reading his autobiography. Do it, you’ll be thrilled with the results.

Stephen Fry, copyright 1997, Arrow Books

Shooting Victoria

When I first saw Shooting Victoria I immediately thought, “520 pages about the eight attempts on Queen Victoria’s life? Well that’s probably over-kill and only going to be interesting for a very narrow audience.” My second thought was, “I need this book more than I need my lungs.” Yeah, it turns out that I’m not bad at predicting things because my first thought was actually really wrong. Yes, this book is big enough to kill a child but it’s definitely not over-kill. Paul Thomas Murphy took the eight assassination attempts and used them to show how Queen Victoria’s reign began the transition into the modern monarchy. Well written and accessible and an all around wonderful read. Particularly recommended for fans of the British monarchy, European history and the Victorian era.

Paul Thomas Murphy, copyright 2012, Pegasus Books LLC

America Again

Friends, you know that I’m not Stephen Colbert’s biggest fan. Actually, you probably don’t know that. I’ve got nothing against Mr. Colbert, I’m just am not a huge fan. Reading America Again  was like watching an episode of his show. Yes, there were some moments that made me laugh pretty damn hard (which Americans he would eat if he needed was one of my favorite sections) but for the most part I found it to be mildly amusing. If you’re a fan of Stephen Colbert then yeah, I’d recommend it.

Stephen Colbert, copyright 2012, Grand Central Publishing

NSFW/18+: e[lust] #45

elustheader

Photo courtesy of CreativNooky

Welcome to e[lust] – The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust].  Want to be included in e[lust] #45? Start with the newly updated rules, come back April 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Week’s Top Three Posts ~

Bringing Toxic Sex Toy Facts Out of the Attic

How Do I Get My Wife to Dominate Me?

I Need This

~ Featured Posts (Molly’s Picks) ~

Speaking the unspeakable

#safetytipsforladies

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Easy Come Easy Go: A Look at Orgasm Control
I came before I was ready
Relationships and age difference
PolyAnna’s Musings: Different is Good, Right?
Seriously Proud Queer
Spanking Kink of the Week
How to Be Good in Bed
A Thousand Small Unhappinesses
What’s in a Number?
The Absence ofHow to Tell if a Man is Gay
Stop Shitting on the Bottoms

Sex News, Interviews, Politics & Humor

It’s Not Misandry, You’re a Douchebag

CatalystCon

Catalyst: How it Inspired

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Caning: To count or not to count
Slavery and Social Death, by O. Patterson
His Eyes Hungry. His Body Pleads: Use Me!
Toilet Whore
And then, I apologized.

Erotic Fiction

Wicked Wednesday: A little bit of confusion
The Moment
Detached
Waxing Lyrical
The “L” word
Gorge
Lolita Twenty-Thirteen, Part Three
Difficult

Erotic Non Fiction

Girl on Girl
The Moment I Felt Owned
Tasting Her
Acting on Instructions
Final Cruise
Quickie
A Lazy Sadistic Orgasm
I had 8 days of sex.
An hour together 
Cheerful Disappointment
What is Erotic?
The Coin Flip
Playing with Adam
A Trip to the Hardware Store
Fall From Grace

 Eroticon

A Somewhat Different Eroticon2013 4~part Post

Poetry

The Dark Place

[NSFW/18+:] e[lust] #44

Welcome to e[lust] – The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust].  Want to be included in e[lust] #45? Start with the newly updated rules, come back April 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

 

~ This Week’s Top Three Posts ~

 

Everyday D/s

Honesty sometimes feels like manipulation

Blood, life, sex

 

~ Featured Posts (Molly’s Picks) ~

Grief and Sex

Bringing Others into a Dom/Sub Relationship

 

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

 

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Adventures In… Lube-land
ORAL SEX, AS STANDARD AS THE WHEELS ON A CAR 
PolyAnna’s Musings: Radar Love
A productive morning
Livia Has a Crush
Terms of Fatness

 

Sex News, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Thoughts: Feminism, Sexism and Submission

 

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Deep subspace – sexy or scary?
Django Unchained: the suffering black female 
What the hell is ‘NORMAL’ sex anyway?
Before
All About the Collar
Dirty Little Secret
Honesty

 

Erotic Fiction

Master’s Valentine’s ToDo List
The Passion of First Encounters.
Ma’am’s Turn (First Meeting Part 3)
Nipple torture and girl love
The Boundary
I’m in the Mood
Skin
Memories
Lolita Twenty-Thirteen, Part Two
Want
A Quick Preview

 

Erotic Non Fiction

Lindsey’s Orgasm
Blog Jammin’
Postponing the Inevitable
Watching Has its Own Rewards
A Farewell Torment
Writhe
I want to lick your pussy
Cap D’Agde 2012 Foam Party
Dirty Hot
Eighty-Five Minutes
Saying Goodnight
Hundreds of orgasms
our open marriage- mina’s date
1+1+1= My first threesome
Writing Sex Scenes
Beginnings and Endings
Glass Bottle
One Cole the Dane + One WeVibe Salsa = Orgasm

 

Blogging

Epiphora’s beginner’s guide to sex toy review
Very Inspiring Blogger Award

 

Eroticon

Erotic Eroticon
Finessing Sex- A Snippet Of Fiction
Eroticon Highlights
Bite Me

 

Poetry

In the Back Seat of the Bus
Transmogrification
Gelüste
Oiled Seduction

Review: “Trans/Love: radical sex, love & relationships beyond the gender binary”

I don’t know when I first heard of Trans/Love but I do know that at some point I got it into my head that it was a collection of beyond the binary erotica. Last week a friend met me for coffee and they lent me a copy for my train ride up to Vermont. I read the first story somewhere South of Brattleboro, Vermont, and went, “Meh.” As I plodded through the second story something clicked in my head and I went back to read the introduction. I was entirely wrong: These were not erotic stories but rather personal essays of, to quote the subtitle, “radical sex, love & relationships beyond the gender binary.” In that moment everything changed. I had been reading as if I was reading erotic stories designed to get me off and once I realized that these were non-fiction essays I found them intensely more engaging.

I’m not going to review every single essay in this anthology. Frankly I think that these essays work together to create a beautiful entity. I’m not saying that there aren’t any that can stand on their own but as a whole these essays weave tell stories from the East Coast to the West, from people of varied ethnic backgrounds, from privileged and not-privileged backgrounds, and from a variety of identities. There are 29 stories, the majority only a few pages long, and they touch upon almost any non-binary gender and sexual identities you can think of. From this highly enjoyable collection I’d like to showcase a few that I found to be particularly wonderful.

You know what we need more of in our progressive and positive communities? Acceptance and representation of “other” bodies. Joelle Ruby Ryan’s “Fat, Trans and Single: Some Thoughts from an ‘Othered’ Body on Control, Alientaion, and Liberation” talks about their experiences as a “fat, single, genderqueer, transfeminist, writer, teacher, [and] activist.” Beyond discussing the experiences of fat or otherwise differently bodied queers they also do an excellent job of addressing bi- and asexual erasure.  For some this essay might be a wakeup and for others it might be a reminder but no matter what it’s a damn important essay.

Speaking of building inclusive communities- There’s a two-and-a-half page excerpt from Imani Henry’s play B4T (before testosterone) that tells of a non-binary sexual encounter between two people of color. Alright, it’s actually so much more complicated than that but I’m going to say that you need to read this piece to fully take it in. Jennie Kermode’s “Getting It Out In Public” tells the story of their discovery that they are intersexed. Their story is interesting as is but I highly appreciated their discussion of their intersex identity as I feel that this is an identity that is far too frequently left out.

It might be the fact that I’m baby/toddler crazy at the moment but I am in love with the two family-with-children focused essays in this anthology. “Milk, Please” by Patch Avery is a lovely meditation on fatherhood, queers in “traditional” family models, and being brown in America. “Out Loud and Pride Six Months Before Surgery” by Dee Ouellette is also lovely but focuses on her experiences as a “queer tranny […] mother” and her own process with adopting the labels that felt right to her.

“City Hall,” the story of Phyllis Pseudonym’s green-card marriage, gave me the warm-cuddlies all throughout my body. This snapshot of her life, the few hours in the morning that follow along with her wedding, was, well, well it gave me a hope for my own romance. Besides finding her writing to be enjoyable to read I also found myself envious of her relationship. Alright, maybe not envious since I’m happy with my life right now but it gave me comfort to know that there are other people in the world who are looking for the same sort of relationships that I am.

I don’t want to say that I had a favorite essay but, um, yeah, I’ve got two favorite essays. While I was touched and inspired and brought to tears and to laughter throughout this collection there were two that I found particularly relatable and significant. Don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet but I’m fascinated by the act of sex and how sex is important to us as individuals. “Made Real” by Sassafras Lowrey and “Resexing Trans” by Kai Kohlsdorf are both on this subject. Please just read them, they come highly recommended by me.

Look, I really think you should read Trans/Love. Buy it, borrow it, steal ( well, no, don’t steal it), do what you need to do to get your hands on it. This anthology is important, and not just for members of the queer community. There are so many topics and themes brought up that don’t receive enough attention from us, whether we’re queer or straight. For many of you this slim collection of the stories of people from a wide variety of marginalized sexual/gender identities will end up educating you and expose you to new ideas. Some people might be afraid of the words “radical sex” on the but if you can handle HBO or George RR Martin then you can easily handle Trans/Love.

Trans/Love; Morty Diamond, ed.; copyright 2011; Manic D Press, pub.

Your Friend Told You They’re Polyamorous and You’re Confused

Dear Samuel,

My dear friend (who we’ll call “Samuel” because that’s his name) told me that he’s polyamorous. The thing is that I’m pretty sure he’s European, what should I do? Should I show him his grandparents’ Ellis Island certificates or play along with his delusion that he’s from tropical islands? Help!

Love,

Samuel

 

Well Samuel, you stupid little twit, the word  you’re thinking of is “Polynesian” and that’s quite different from what “Samuel” actually said. So why don’t you grow a pair of ears, you miserable excuse for a human, and sit down so I can explain to you what your friend actually meant.

Considering that your friend and I are the exact same person I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what he was talking about. Your friend is using polyamorous to describe the fact that he can feel romantic and/or sexual attractions to multiple people at the same time. Samuel feels comfortable acting upon his various attractions even if he’s currently involved with other people. You need to understand that Samuel is not cheating as he has not entered into any relationship with the expectation that it will be monogamous. To achieve this Samuel places a premium on constant communication to ensure that all participants are informed and feel safe/comfortable.

Here’s some basic advice:

First of all it is not your place to question the validity of Samuel’s, fuck this I’m going to use first person pronouns, of my relationships. If I am in six relationships (long term relationships with two people, casually hooking up with three, just starting to date one- obviously this is hypothetical because in what universe can I get one date, let alone six) then I am in six relationships that mean as much to me as your one relationship. What I feel for each person is genuine and sincere and it is not your fucking place to tell me otherwise. If we’re close friends and you feel that there’s something wrong with one of my relationships because it just doesn’t seem healthy then please express your concern but the fact that my relationships might look different than yours means jackshit.

You might have some questions with terminology. Who is my boyfriend? Who is my make out buddy? Valid questions and they deserve valid answers: I’ll tell you who is who. If you’re confused then you can ask, “Hey, how do you refer to Steve? Or Belinda?” Be polite and I’ll be polite in return. It’s probably not a big deal but you’ll make it one if you obsess over it.

In trying to answer all the questions that I felt people would want answered I realized that what I really cared about was respect. Please respect my relationships and my feelings. When I act upon my attractions it’s because they’re sincere emotions that I truly feel. Furthermore I do my best to keep communication at the forefront of my relationships. Also, it’s not really your business. I mean, as long as everyone involved is freely consenting and know what’s going on then you can’t really complain. So fuck off?

If you have any questions about polyamory please ask. I’d be happy to answer them to the best of my abilities and provide resources that I’ve come across.