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Saturday, February 26, 2011

How much is too much?


Every day we meet interesting people in our lives. Some are more interesting than others and some are even uninteresting. Take for example some of the folks in my poly discussion group. There was the guy, estranged from his wife, living with his girlfriend, and dating her husband. Though that may not seem that strange the story he told about how he came to be in such a position was an adventure in drama I hope to never experience. There was a somewhat boisterous gentleman happily sharing his experiences. And among the wonderful discussions were the two ladies who seemed very physically friendly with each other whose only interest seemed to be in discussing the physical traits and abilities of their lovers. We also had the epitomic hippie living a somewhat communal lifestyle and growing her own food. Obviously a wide variety of interesting people, not surprising given the alternative lifestyle focus of the group.

The one I’m focusing on here though was a young lady attending with her husband who was very open about the rules in her relationships. Now, I don’t dislike this person despite how my writings here may sound but something she said struck me as odd at the time. Reflecting back now I finally realize why it bothered me at the time. She roughly said, “I insist on STD testing from anyone who wants to sleep with me. And since they no longer give you a printout of your test results, we WILL be going to the clinic together so I can HEAR their test results from the doctor”.
Apparently noticing the surprised look on more than a couple faces in the room she went on to explain that she has never had an STD (even any HPV strain! Uh huh) and never will if she can help it. To further protect herself she takes on new lovers only after they have established trust in a friendship over time.

Not to be crude but at the time my first thought was; Do you really think what you have between your legs is so wonderful that someone would jump through those hoops? I realized that wasn’t so much crude as rude. I had to applaud her effort and determination to be disease free and ensure her partners were as well. But something was still setting off a bell in my brain.

Later I realized what it was. She insists on building a trusting relationship with potential lovers first. Then going with them for STD testing to hear the results? Wait a minute. If I have built a ‘trusting’ relationship with someone before sleeping with them and STILL insist on going to the doctor with them to hear their test results then how trusting of a relationship do we really have? If I can’t trust that you will tell me the results of your STD test, so much so I have to go with you to hear them, what kind of relationship are we really talking about? In my mind that is a huge indication that I don’t really trust you and at that point I wouldn’t be considering sleeping with you anyway.

Of course, the crude thought that resulted was; After jumping through those hoops what you have between your legs better be solid gold honey! I was also disappointed in myself that I hadn’t ask the even more obvious question which was; Are YOU going to take the same tests at the same time and let me tag along to YOUR results review with the doctor?

What this quite interesting young lady did do though was make me think, once again, about my feelings toward ‘safety’ and as much as it can be had, ‘safe sex’. I’m not fool enough to think I’m invincible, that’s for sure. And yep, I make dangerous mistakes from time to time and try to learn from them. Am I against STD testing? Not in the least. I think it is a very good thing to have done. But do I require verified test results from every potential lover I may have? No. Would I be willing to be tested along with a potential love before we sleep together? Of course. Do I try to build a friendship with a potential lover first and assess their lifestyle for risk? Absolutely. But if I ever question the honesty of a potential lover to the point that I require them to prove their STD test results two things will happen. I will pull open my pants and see if anything has turned to gold.
And if nothing has, I will walk away.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movie review: The Freebie

The Freebie, 2010

The Freebie is a film based on the concept that a married couple, Annie and Darren, are going to open their marriage for one night. Each can have a one-night stand in the hopes it will bring sexual excitement back to their otherwise wonderful relationship.

They have the requisite talks ahead of time and are open with each other about what will happen. Ground rules are that they will each have a one-night stand, nothing more, and they will not talk about what each of them has done. Basically a one-night free pass to sleep with someone else.

Things go pretty well until after the night comes and they each supposedly have their affairs. Then the doubts and jealousy kick into gear and things get ugly quick. Neither wants to believe the other when they start fighting and they both imagine more than may have actually happened. This is supported by the film showing us both of them heading out on their dates for the night, becoming physically involved with another person, but not revealing whether they actually had sex or not.

Unfortunately, I'm making this film sound a lot more interesting than it actually is. Most of us have probably heard this story before so it is nothing new. The film doesn't really add anything to the story to make it more interesting than hearing it from a friend. It doesn't take a unique perspective or add any variety to the story. In the end it almost feels like a documentary of how not to try and add sexual spice to your relationship. Or maybe a primer on things to avoid when opening up your relationship.

The film is slow moving and lacks the emotion you would expect considering the topic. Acting was bland from both Aselton and Shepard though a few bits of comedy helped. And by the way, the film is billed as an Indie Comedy which it most definitely is not. I would classify this as a Drama or Indie Drama more than a comedy.

I was searching for poly or alternative lifestyle themed films when I stumbled across this one and have to say I walked away disappointed. The film just seemed to lack serious energy from most every aspect.

If you are an Indie Drama fan you might enjoy this one more than I did. If you are thinking about opening your relationship this might be a good film to watch first to give you some ideas of things to avoid. For everyone else, pass on this one.

Katie Aselton (Annie), Dax Shepard (Darren), Lenora Gershman (Lea), Ken Kennedy (Ken), Joshua Leonard (Dinner Party Guest), Sean Nelson (John), Ross Partridge (Bartender), Frankie Shaw (Coffee Girl).

Katie Aselton also Directed the film.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Positive or Negative

Recently I’ve heard more than a few discussions from people who are seeing something termed as “sex negativity” in the Poly community. Sex negativity is the idea that Poly people have become so sensitive to being labeled as promiscuous or easy that they avoid discussion of sex altogether. In conversations about their Poly lifestyle they will either avoid the topic, or overreact when the topic comes up and begin vehemently defending themselves before even being attacked, taking the position that sex has nothing to do with the poly belief system. In all fairness, I have to admit I have fallen into the mode of sex negativity, it having been pointed out to me recently. That has caused me to evaluate my behavior with the hopes of becoming more sex neutral. At the same time it has made me more sensitive to the topic of sex in general as I try to watch and learn how others deal with the topic of sexuality.
By the way, when I say "sex neutral" there shouldn't be negativity with the term. It should simply indicate someone who is neither afraid of nor determined to talk about sex.

In observing others I’ve noticed a polar opposite to sex negativity which I’m going to call sex positivity. This is the position some people are taking which seems to be “my sexuality will be in your face”. Rather than avoiding the topic as with sex negativity, they seem to want to discuss their sexuality in detail whenever possible. Being around these people results in conversations continually being turned in a sexual direction, often with completely off topic comments. When the topic of sex negativity comes up around these people, they are quick and loud with their response which is essentially; "Why should I have to hide my sexuality. It is who I am, I should be free to express it!" I have also noticed that these sex positive people seem to be starting to gel as a community or sub-community and organizing to promote sex positive events and gatherings. They even seem to be a bit cliquish and uninterested in people who aren't broadcasting their sexuality constantly.

I do think sex negativity is a problem. I know I've seen it in myself, in others I know, and in the real life as well as online poly community. My feeling is that sex negativity is the absence of sexual expression by people. Overcoming it is simply a matter of more openly expressing sexuality and overcoming the fear of being stereotyped or labeled as promiscuous.

In contrast, though I do think it is becoming just as big a problem, sex positivity is the polar opposite. It is an over abundance of sexuality rather than a void. I tend to think overcoming sex positivity requires realizing that beating someone over the head with sexuality doesn't make it right for them, nor will it prevent them from labeling you which I think is one cause of sex positivity.

I think of it this way; I'm a computer geek and if I never talked about computers nobody would know I work with them and like them. I probably wouldn't have many friends who were computer geeks. On the other hand, if all I ever talked about was computers I probably wouldn't have many friends with interests beside computers because they would all get sick of hearing about computers and avoid me. The solution in my mind is neutrality; not being afraid to talk about computers, but not talking about computers all the time.

Do you fall into the sex negative or sex positive category or are you sex neutral? Have you seen the trends I mentioned or do you think none of this is much of a problem? How do you deal with people who are sex negative or sex positive as I've explained them?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm shy. . . in daylight.

I think I find people so interesting because there are some that I just can't figure out. No matter how hard I try, what passes for logic in their brains just doesn't translate intelligently to mine.

A friend of mine and I were talking about her sex life the other day. This woman is quite sexual and currently has 2 full-time male partners and a male/female couple she is seeing. She shuffles between two of the males, living part time with each of them, and sees the couple as she has time in between. This sounds like a busy schedule, but add to it that this lovely lady has a sex drive that would make a porn star blush. As if that weren't enough, her tastes in sex are a bit on the wild side. Her current goal is to enjoy a DP (dual penetration) with two guys. This is a conversation we have fairly regularly since she has had this fantasy for a while but been unable to see it fulfilled. (Apparently a lot of guys out there "wither" at the idea of their manhood being in such close proximity to another man). It probably helps that I have some interest in the topic so I'm willing to discuss it with her from a male perspective.

After a bit the conversation changed to a local "play party" that is coming up, and this is where things got interesting. I ask if she was going to the play party and she said no. When I ask why her response was, "I'm too timid to go to something like that."

Umm, hold on, you are trying to find two guys to do a DP with you but you are too timid for a play party? I mean really, "play party" doesn't mean there aren't any rules. No still means no, and if you don't want to see the funky stuff don't go to the play area.

Things got even more amusing when she said "I wouldn't know what to do at a play party." which actually made me chuckle. She went on to explain the statement saying, "I would go down on the guys, that's no big deal, they can just wash off quick beforehand in the bathroom. But I would want to play with girls and I'm not playing with a girl who has been playing with a guy." Which I totally understand but she felt the need to explain saying "Girls can't clean off that easy you know."

Okay, thanks, we can stop that conversation now, way to much information there.

Now maybe it is just the sick twisted logical half of my brain but the thought went something like this; my friend with effectively two husbands and a play couple on the side, who is seeking two men to help her fulfill a DP fantasy that I would actually categorize as mild sex for her, is too timid to attend a play party? Did I miss something in the fine print?

I'm really hoping someone can explain this to me a bit because seriously, I don't get it.

Now before you flame me, let me say a bit more. I completely understand that just because someone likes sex A LOT, and has sex A LOT, doesn't mean they would be comfy with strangers at a party. Fair enough. But this woman goes through sex partners like an 8 yr old goes through a box of Chicklets and has even said that maybe her DP partners need to be strangers to avoid the performance issues she has seen in past attempts. Not to mention she will know most if not all of the folks at the party.

So, maybe she is shy right? Yeah, no, not even close. Next.

Maybe she doesn't want to be seen having sex by other people? And at this party, she would be seen if she was having sex. Again, wrong answer. If anything the woman is an exhibitionist and is more than happy to have sex in front of strangers.

So tell me dear readers, what am I missing here? This really just doesn't compute for me. Do you have a theory based on what I've told you? If not I'm thinking there is something she isn't telling me since this seems so illogical for her. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Time for an oil change!


Well kids, it is that time of year again. Planning is well underway for Beltane, Lupercalia is right around the corner and planning should be done, Mardi Gras isn't far behind, and of course everyone is already starting to get anxious about all the summer festivals, celebrations, rituals, campouts, and parties. The holidays are over so all that gunk is out of the way. We can start to prepare for all the fun things we want to do instead of the holidays that are obligations.

Dust off your goat skin leggings, press your kilt, find your robes, dig out that mask, wash your sarong, and check your camping gear. And if you are like me the holidays add to your mass, so maybe do a few sit-ups or get outside and exercise a bit. Yes, I know, it is still winter, cold, and nobody likes going for pointless walks on the ice. But you want to look your best while shirtless and chasing nymphs through the woods right?

Those of you that are non-pagan are sure to be doing something similar. Planning family BBQ's, parties, Fourth of July bashes, camping trips, or just thinking about hitting the pool when it warms up. (See, the exercise suggestion applies to you as well!)

Yep, everyone is looking forward to warmer weather and getting out of the house to see friends and maybe make new friends. So why am I bugging you? It is time for your friendly Public Service Announcement!

While getting ready for all those yummy social events remember to be a good poly practitioner and dust off certain conversations with your partner(s). Many of us have rules or agreements by which we live our poly lives. Often those rules become flexible or are suspended during times of festivals, rituals, celebrations, or "play parties". Now is the time to find out if you are still on the same page, not the night before a big event or possibly after something happens and your partner explodes in your face.

Some of the things to refresh with your conversations, or just ideas to jog your memory:

-Casual sex is not normally practiced by you or your partners. Does that change at a "play party" or festival?

-Are there rules or exceptions for physical encounters during rituals, which can be sexually charged at times?

-Do you have a "Do Not Do" list of people who are off-limits in play situations? Has that list changed? Are there new additions or new information that might change the list?

-More activities means more opportunity to meet potential new partners. What are your agreed upon expectations? Is immediate communication required? Must the potential new love meet all existing partners first? Must they be approved? Do those rules change in a "heat of the moment" situation?

-Do you maybe have a new partner and have never been in a questionable situation with them before? Now is the time to play the "what if" game and define boundaries if necessary.

-In general, has your relationship status changed since last spring? If so, what new situations could you and your new partner encounter with warmer weather? Have you had the necessary conversations?

-Maybe you are now singled or unpartnered. Think about your expectations at the events I've mentioned. Are there situations you need to avoid? Specific people in particular situations? Think about how to keep yourself safe and what your goals are with new partners or new situations.

-Scheduling. Are there events you or your partners are determined to attend that need to be scheduled around? What about schedules in general, which can get busy during warm seasons? Can anyone put something on the calendar or does it require discussion first? Is free time without events more important to you than your partner? How will you schedule to accommodate everyone being satisfied?

-Are you saving money for a particular festival or trip? Maybe poly week in Club Med? Are you on track with your saving? Does everyone agree that a portion of your savings is earmarked and off limits?

-What about house rules when you are the one throwing the party? Is your bed off limits to everyone? Are there certain "house rules" that should be reviewed by everyone living in the house now, before the party date arrives? Maybe your house now includes more or less family members. Does that require a change to your house rules?

Those are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head. The possibilities are as endless as the number of different relationship designs and differences in partners. I'm not trying to create a finite list here, but rather help you to think about conversations you may have had over the past year. Assuming those conversations went well and everyone is happy, that's great! But people change over time. Their opinions are altered, their tastes change, desires wax and wane, goals are formed or achieved, and for no reason at all sometimes they will change their minds. Even though you have had a conversation before, it doesn’t hurt to review it again.

No, you don't need to have the same conversations again word for word. Simply tell your partner that you would like to do a quick review to keep things fresh in your mind. Give them a quick summary of the conversation you had or of your understanding from the conversation. Ask them if you got it right. Then, ask them if there is anything they would like to change. Do they have the same understanding? Let them know now is a good time to renegotiate rules or expectations if they would like. If you aren't sure you're both still on the same page, do some "What If's" and gauge things that way.

Just like checking your summer gear for preparedness, doing a quick relationship check-up can save you troubles down the road. And once it is done, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy all the fun the warmer months bring while knowing you prepared as best you could.

Do you have annual or even semi-annual "maintenance" you do with your relationships? Are they just conversations or something else? What types of things would you suggest be put on a relationship maintenance list?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Once a year lover.

Well, it is that time again. A new year is here bringing new challenges and dreams. But for me, one thing never changes.

This will come as a shock to some of you but once a year I get in touch with a lover of mine and for a few short months we have an intense physical relationship. Yes, I know, many of you are sitting there thinking "What the hell? That totally contradicts everything PP says!!" And you would be right in many ways. Yet in other ways, despite it being physically casual, the relationship is very fulfilling.

Maybe I should back up just a bit. I don't just call my lover out of the blue and say; "Hey, wanna hookup?". We both know well in advance the day is coming, and I think we both actually look forward to it. I know I do. Yet at the same time there is a tinge of fear in my heart to imagine once again being intimate with a lover I see only a few months out of every year.

The fear however is quickly replaced by anticipation and excitement. I think about the things we will do and how they will make me feel. I think about how much time we will spend together and contemplate how that will impact other things in my life, other loves. I try to prepare mentally and physically but, physically our relationship always leaves me spent, sore, and feeling somewhat inadequate regardless of the satisfying results.

When the day comes that we will get together it is almost ritualistic for me. I start mentally preparing early in the morning. I think about the things I want to do and how I will do them. I remember past experiences that I would like to relive, and a few I wouldn't. I dust off my hopes and dreams making them fresh and new. Then the actual preparation begins. I choose my clothing very carefully, intent not on creating an impression but rather on functionality. The things we plan to do together will dictate what I wear. Sometimes clothing that can be shed easily as the heat rises between us is required. Other times it is more about protection. This is simply a physical relationship after all. Speaking of protection, that is another focus during preparation. Things between us can be explosive at times requiring extra diligence. Safety is a very high priority as I get ready, properly preparing to ensure my physical and emotional well being.

One of the things I often have to prepare for is a threesome, or moresome. Yes, I know, some of you just gasped again. I do myself sometimes when I realize what is about to happen. Sometimes I know ahead of time that it will be more than just the two of us. Other times I don't know until the last minute. So again, preparation is key.

This year I knew when I was preparing to expect a threesome. I even knew who the other partner would be. A strong, aggressive partner I have experienced before that almost always leaves me sore and sweating. Even the sounds she makes explode in my ears, staying with me for days. In the past I've had to actually coax this partner to perform but not this year. This time she was ready, willing, able and delivered just as I expected.

When I saw the two of them I actually shivered. Their sleek curves leading to functional form that was obviously designed with a single purpose in mind. I couldn't wait to get my hands on them, to feel their curves before gripping them tightly and getting down to business. I knew I would test them both, push them to their limits and maybe even beyond. I would demand they perform in every way, just as I knew they would demand the same from me. We would create a harmony of physical action that would literally change the landscape around us. We would be a force even nature would have to respect.

At last, the moment was here. I walked over to them and grabbed a hold of my lover. I remembered the feel of her shape and weight, how well she fit in my hands. I pulled her to me, ready for what was about to come. Turning away, I looked back over my shoulder and said seductively to the snow blower, "You are next" as the snow shovel and I headed out the garage door to explore the depths of six inches of snow together, once again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Poly oriented dating site!


(Image from MyPolyamory.com site).

As a follow-up to my article about OkCupid! I wanted to let you all know about a new dating site: MyPolyamory.com

From their information page:
Polyamory central for individuals, couples & groups!
Ability to have couples on a single profile & join groups!
FREE memberships to be able to browse other members!
Comprehensive and easy to use web platform!
Wide variety of personal interest selections!
Straight foward activation and deactivation of membership!
PayPal subscription does NOT require PayPal account!
Password protect your photos with FREE membership!
Offering broad and in-depth resources! Send direct messaging/chat with premium membership!

They have been advertising pretty heavily on forums and message boards lately and the site is apparently pretty new. I signed up on the site and gave it a once over and things looked pretty good. The site is definitely poly oriented with the ability to put a couple on a single profile. Their personal interests section is fairly well detailed though it does appear somewhat sexually oriented with the ability to rate interest in things such as Anal Sex or Public Sex. There is also a Resource page with a large number of links to articles by Franklin Veaux.

I don't know about anyone else, but anytime I hear about a poly focused or oriented site I get pretty excited. There just aren't that many resources out there.

After a couple of days I went back to the site and took another, more in-depth look at things. That's when I became disappointed. Like some other sites, MyPolyamory.com likes to tease. Yes, you can sign up for free. Yes, you can search members with your free membership. You can even message other members with your free membership. BUT, only with canned messages. To have an actual conversation with someone you have to sign up for a "Premium Membership". (If I remember, this is the basic model PMM - PolyMatchmaker operates under).

Okay, "I'll bite" I thought, how much is a Premium Membership? $39.99 per month!!! If you want to pay for a longer period, say 6 months, they give you a break down to $119.99 which drops the price to $19.99/month if my math is right. (By comparison I believe Match.com is still about $30.00 per month, though if you can get them to tell you what a membership costs before you sign up you are ahead of most people). Add to that the fact that a search in my major metropolitan area for ANY females within 50 miles of my zip code reveals exactly 2 matches (neither of which has a complete profile) and my recommendation on MyPolyamory.com is a solid PASS. Head back over to OkCupid! or maybe PlentyofFish.com. Heck, even PMM - PolyMatchmaker.com is still only $5 per month and there are a lot more people on the site! (With the same search I performed above but a limit of 25 miles I get will over 40 results in my area).

In summary I'm sorry to say MyPolyamory.com just doesn't appear to be worth the time. The cost is higher than most sites and until the site is populated with users, even a Premium Membership isn't going to do you a bit of good.

I really need to stop getting excited about these sites.

Do any of you have suggestions? Do you know of any Poly oriented or focused dating sites? And if so, are they free or do they tease like the sites I mentioned?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

OkCupid is poly?

In the poly community, or at least mine, OkCupid seems to be a fairly popular site that is viewed as "poly friendly".

Recently, OkCupid (or OKC as it is often referred to) was acquired by Match.com. See the links below for a couple of news stories on the whole thing.

PR Newswire: IAC's Match.com Acquires OkCupid
http://www.prnewswire.com
/news-releases/iacs-matchcom-acquires-okcupid-115090674.html

TechCrunch: IAC's Match.com Acquires Online Dating Site OkCupid for $50M In Cash
http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/02/match-com-acquires-online-dating-site-okcupid-for-50-million-in-cash/?icid=main|htmlws-main-n|dl5|sec3_lnk2|198784

I've written about dating sites before, and will again, but I don't feel the sites are of much use. If I do a search on OKC with "poly" as a keyword I get exactly 11 matches within 25 miles of my location. Two of those matches I know fairly well, and two more at least casually. That leaves 7 possibilities, assuming I'm attracted to all of them and they reply to email. Which I'm not, and they don't. It isn't like I am in a small town either. I'm in a major metropolitan area. As you hopefully understand now, when I say OKC isn't of much use to me it isn't because their site or software don't work, it just doesn't provide me with a whole lot. At the same time, some of the "fluffy stuff" on the site like questions, surveys, or statistics can be somewhat entertaining. I also think OKC is easy to use and although I wouldn't call it "poly friendly", it doesn't specifically exclude alternative lifestyles either.

Despite all that, I do worry that Match.com will drive OKC to a paid member model instead of remaining free. Yeah, I know, right now they are saying things won't change and maybe they won't. But in my experience, they will.

Do you use OkCupid? If you do, what do you think of the site? Has it helped you find romance and relationships? Or is it just something fun to do at work when your boss isn't looking?