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They do not love that do not show their love.  ~ Shakespeare 

Some people think that polyamory is just another word for sex addiction but no one would go through being  the maid of honor of the couple they are dating just for sex.  I participated in the wedding a few weeks ago and the whole experience was extremely awkward and difficult.  One thing that did help in the weeks leading up to it was meeting other people that have also been part of their triad’s wedding.  After talking with them, I do know that there are some relationships that can withstand and even become stronger after being part of a wedding, but our relationship did not.  I ended up breaking up with them after the wedding because I came to realize I was being used and not really loved.  

I want to give some tips to people in poly weddings-please take my advice and treat each other right. (These tips are directed towards triads, like ours was, but they can apply to other types too.)

1.Text/Call your third during your honeymoon.  Yes, I know this is your special time, but be considerate of what your third is going through.  No matter how much they love you and are understanding, they are also struggling with insecurity.  Let them know how much you still love and care for them and show concern for their wellbeing.  BTW, this should be common sense.  

2.Have a wedding party table, not a sweetheart table.  It is more fun to have the whole bridal party together than to separate the wedding couple to a table by themselves.  It is more considerate also.  The third should not be left alone at her own table; she may not know many people and being separated from her partners will cause undo loneliness and awkwardness.  For those already struggling with the hierarchical system, a sweetheart table can be painful and isolating.

3.Give your third a wedding gift, especially if they are part of the bridal party. It is common courtesy to give each member of the bridal party a gift for giving up their time and money to be in the wedding.  Even if your third is not a part of the bridal party, still give them something.  This is a potentially isolating time and a thoughtful gift of appreciation will help the other feel valued.

4.Plan a special event for the three of you together for after the honeymoon-you just celebrated the wonderfulness of two people, now celebrate the wonderfulness of three!

5.Above all, communicate and hold true to whatever the three of you discuss.  The keys to a good polyamorous relationship are honest, direct, open communication, tempered with kindness, compassion, and respect.  Check in with each other periodically throughout the whole wedding process to see how everyone is really doing and how to meet the needs of all, as much as possible.  Validate, empathize, and support each other-getting through a wedding is probably the ultimate testing grounds for a poly relationship and if there is not good communication and everyone does not feel valued, heard, honored, respected, and loved throughout the process, then it will fail. No relationship is perfect, but without considerate communication, the third will just end up feeling used, partners may grow distant, and jealousy, hurt, and resentment will win.

Fortunately, I can say that I am doing well.  I was hurt for a while but the moment I left the key to their house inside and walked away, I experienced closure and immense relief.  The relationship started out wonderfully but our dynamic changed a long time ago and unfortunately, it was unsalvageable.  I am still glad that I came out to my dad because I did not have to hide the break-up.  Being able to talk about my polyamorous relationship like normal with my family was incredibly validating and wonderful.  I feel so blessed to have a family, especially in the Deep South, that is accepting of my sexual orientation and lifestyle choices.  My family has shown me what true love and support are and I finally realized that I need my romantic partners to show me the same kind of validation.  I am actually excited to see what the future brings and I am enjoying having a little more free time. I do not regret my first polyamorous relationship-I learned a lot and had many wonderful moments.  I learned that I do want to be in a committed relationship and that I need to put more care in selecting compatible people: when I walked into their house the first time, I knew they were too messy for me to live with, but I didn’t stop dating them because I thought that was petty.  Now I know that I need to listen to my gut, stay true to my goals, and honor my needs.  Still, I am endlessly  grateful for what I once had and I cannot wait to see what happens next.  I will continue to write here about my awkward sexual adventures!

 

Beauty has no size.  Don’t be afraid to sparkle. ~ Anonymous

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I went to see Dita Von Teese, the queen of burlesque, perform at the Tabernacle.  This was my second time seeing her – I make it a point to see her when she comes to town.  What I love about Dita is that while burlesque may have started as a tawdry show for men, her shows feel more like body-love song to women.  Not just slender women, with nearly impossible bodies perform – plus size women perform too.  People are expected to objectify, hoot and holler every time a person removes an article, without exception.  As a feminist, I have been taught that objectification is bad but I would argue that at these shows, it is good, because we are celebrating the human body, how it can look and what it can do.  I marveled at Dita’s body and how her whole life must be dedicated to being fit and pale skinned but I marveled more at the plus sized women.  Dare I say it?  Yes, by our society’s standards, there were fat women on stage and to me, they were mesmerizing.  The first one is honored as Miss Nude                    Universe – imagine that!  A big woman being honored as having the perfect nude body!  My favorite was the tassel twirler.  She was fat, but gorgeous; sexy, yet loads of fun.  I can barely imagine the courage it must have taken when she first started performing – I know there must have been many naysayers.  Seeing her perform almost made me cry tears of happiness.  “Take that, Hollywood,” I thought.  “The human body IS beautiful, no matter its size.”

When Dita would perform, she had two male assistant dancers with her who danced in the old Hollywood cheese-ball style.  There was even one male burlesque dancer who performed by himself.  He was a matador who artfully hid himself behind a cape, slowly revealing more and more of himself, until all that was left was the shiniest penis you’ve ever seen!  He was wearing a g-string so blinged out, it was like having the great northern star between his thighs.  It felt good to yell at him the way men have yelled at women for thousands of years.

Of course, it is not good to think of people as objects 24/7, but I do think it is good to appreciate the human body – to see it as beautiful, as a work of art, as something sexy, as something fun.  There is something wonderful about consenting to objectification in a world that all too often objectifies without the consent.                                                                            

It was funny to note how the male dancer not only had a blinged cock but tiny, blinged out pasties on his nipples too.  I really want my own pair!

No, really, I do.  I hate wearing bras and even though I have a big chest, I go without a bra as often as I can.  I just find brassieres to be horribly uncomfortable.  My mom did find me some bras that are finally comfortable and so I wear them, but they are quite ugly.  I definitely do not feel like my sexy self while wearing them.  I need some sparkly pasties.

Before I found the ugly, yet comfortable bras, I experimented with going bra less.  This was good, except for not wanting people to see my nipples on days when I was wearing lighter clothing.  Not having pasties or electrical tape at the time, I tried wearing bandaids over my nipples.  This solved the problem, except that I definitely did not feel sexy.  Bandaged nipples is not a sexy look.  I tried to tell my boyfriend that when he wanted a picture of me but finally I took a picture and I think he was surprised at just how unsexy I looked.  “Don’t show that picture to me again!”  Taking off the bandages only gave my nipples a weird, wavy effect.

All this to say that seeing Dita Von Teese inspired me to love my body more and it heightened my desire for appealing underclothes.  I think I may go down to my specialty bra store and see if they have anything that sparkles, or at least something a little more attractive than big bandaids.

 

People don’t know the half of it but they don’t need to know it either.  ~ Anonymous

My mom was surprised that my dad responded so well to my coming out as poly but I really was not, although I was very relieved.  There are some things between us that I do not think my mom knows about – I’m guessing she does not know about the time my dad walked in on me after just having sex with my then boyfriend.

Yes, that boyfriend, the awful one that caused me to start this blog.  

At the time, I was still living with my parents.  The basement used to be our TV area but things changed and now the top level hosts our family room.  Naturally, b.f. And I wanted some privacy and privacy can be really hard to come by when you’re living with your parents.  We descended to the basement because my parents hardly ever spent time down there, especially when they were two floors above us watching television.  Surely, some sex between the two of us would be safe in the basement, right? Well, it would have been except that I am a slut (really.  I played Janet in Rocky Horror Picture Show for a year in 2005!) and I do not like to put my clothes back on immediately after intercouse.  

Why spoil the mood by putting clothes back on?

Fortunately, b.f. Did put his boxers on.

I say fortunately because as my b.f. Is sitting on the couch and I am curled up next to him completely naked, my very sweet father comes down the stairs and asks us if he can get us anything to drink.

I am mortified.  

The part of my brain that send words to my mouth malfunctioned and all I could say was, “oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.”

My dad, to his credit, immediately turned around and said embarrassedly, “Ok, you’re busy!” He rushed upstairs and needless to say, did not bother us any more that night.  I suspected then and I am positive now that he did not tell my mom.  Everyone involved was embarrassed and just wanted to forget the whole incident. Except, how can you forget something like that, really?  The moment is seared into my brain.

Here’s the weird thing that I am only now realizing in the recall of that terrible event – how my dad reacted brought us closer together.   He kept my confidence and he respected my space.  He did not try to shame me but recognized that I am an adult who deserves intimacy and privacy.  Perhaps he learned the importance of knocking.

A few months later when I announced that I was pregnant, neither of my parents shamed me or got upset.  We accepted that I needed an abortion and we treated it like a logical medical decision because I believe, that is what it is.  Or at least they did.  Unfortunately, the breakup, the hormones, my already too high anxiety, all made me spiral out of control and I spent the next year trying to pick up the pieces.  I eventually was able to pick them up and make my life better but that was only after a lot of misery and heartache.

I guess what I’ve learned is that awkward moments suck in the moment but if handled respectfully can bring two people closer together.  Respect for intimacy earns trust and so I trusted that my dad would accept me.  

I’m still not going to tell my mom about what happened though. Some secrets really are best kept secret.    

 

                                  

 

Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.  ~ Margaret Wheatley

I have good news!  As it turned out, I did not need to get out a flogger in order to convince my bad roommate to leave!  She left a few weeks ago and I couldn’t be happier!  No more walking on eggshells!  I can now turn on my vibrator as loud as I want during the day (and I do).  Bliss!

Another wonderful thing that happened is that with the stress of bad roommate off my mind, I could finally think about telling my dad about my poly relationship.  The other two are going to get married in a few months and the longer I wait, the more awkward it’s going to be when my dad finally finds out, so the day that bad roomie moved, I told my dad over breakfast.  

It was not even awkward at all!

You see, I have been practicing telling my father in my mind and with my therapist for months.  While I love being able to share awkward stories with you all, the anxiety of awkwardness really is not a lot of fun.  I practiced telling my dad about my relationship in a lighthearted, non dramatic way and the day when I felt so positive because B.R. (Bad roommate) was leaving, I knew I was ready.  

Here is how it went, in case you ever need to tell someone you care about about your loving, non traditional relationship:

Hey, Dad, you remember that time about this time last year, when I had a panic attack at my girlfriend’s house and you had to pick me up? And you remember how you spoke to a man on the phone but you didn’t know who he was?

*Pause* – yes…

Well, I wasn’t ready to tell you then but I’m ready now – that man is my boyfriend.  I have a girlfriend and a boyfriend.  It’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in and the longest one too.  They’re really good people.  

*That’s great.  I trust that you can pick out good people!  I’m really glad you told me.

(Here’s where my brain turned inside out.  WHAT?!  Doesn’t he remember my past relationships?! How about the relationship that started this blog so many years ago, you know, the one that landed me in the mental hospital and prompted an abortion?!  I think he trusts me more than I trust myself!)

And Dad, here’s where the relationship gets even more out of the ordinary – the other two have known each other longer and are getting married in a few months and I’m going to be their maid of honor.  I know most people wouldn’t be able to handle this kind of relationship, but for some reason, I’m fine with it and am very happy.

*As long as it makes you happy, that’s the important thing!

~~~

And that was that!  I am out and accepted by both of my parents now and B.R. Is gone too!  I feel so free!

My mom had been worried that the news would stress my dad out but he accepted it fine.  I think all of our previous awkward sexual conversations have prepared him for today.  By now, he knows that I am sexually and romantically adventurous and he seems to have accepted it.  What blows my mind is for the trust he seems to have in me – that is a gift that I do not take lightly.  If you ever visit my recovery blog, Hope Is Real!, then you know that I have worked hard on myself and I guess that work shows.  It’s a very gratifying feeling! 

I am so lucky to have parents that are open and accepting.  I don’t want children but if I did, I have two wonderful role models on how to parent nonjudgmentally.  It is also a gift to me that my dad and I can converse so healthily now – we used to have a rocky relationship and we even went to family therapy because all we did was fight. Even though I was an adult, I was stuck in the child’s role and my dad was stuck in the lecturer role.  I hope that can give some of you some hope that family dynamics can get better with time if the people care.  However, I am aware that not all family members do care and if you’re in that kind of situation then I hope you can find satisfaction in living the life you want without them.

Practicing a hard conversation ahead of time is a great skill I’ve learned over the years.  So many people want a quick fix to all their problems, but I have found with my anxiety, that my problems usually get better over time with lots of practice.  Practicing can be miserable sometimes but it also can be fun, especially when what you’re practicing involves floggers and rope.  Have fun practicing whatever your relationship needs, whether that be a hard conversation or fabulous sex!

 

Dear Lord, please keep awkward conversations at a minimum today. ~ Anonymous

My “bad” roommate is still living with me and I really want her to move out.  I overheard her today talking with a prospective landlord, which made me happy, although not too happy, as I do not trust that she will be out soon.  The truth of the matter is that I have no idea when she will move out, except that it will be sometime this year, and so I must take every day as it comes and be glad that she spends most of her time in her room.  It also reminds me of a sexually awkward conversation with my mother when I was getting ready to move into where I live now and so I will finally share a funny sexually awkward story with you all.

Probably unsurprisingly, I am into BDSM and I used to be involved with a BDSM support group.  When I broke up with my first dominant, the group was great at helping me feel more confidant as a single person trying to explore the world of bondage.  I also love rainbows and a friend from the group once gave me a flogger made out of rainbow colored yarn.  It’s pretty but not very useful, as it’s thin pieces of rope make it more of a sting-y type of pain and I prefer more of the thud-y type.  (In case you don’t know, “sting-y or thud-y?,” is a common question in the BDSM world to masochists.  I prefer a harder type of hit, because it hurts less to me and when done the right way, actually feels almost like a message.  Try it, if you do not believe me!)

I have a small file cabinet in my room and I keep the flogger in the lower drawer.  This is good, because the drawer looks boring and so other people, like parents, are unlikely to look inside.  

Time travel to three years ago:

 I am so happy because I am finally moving out of my parents’ house!  My parents had been very good to me, but it is time to go.  Hello independence!  My mom is helping me pack and I do not think to volunteer to look through my own filing cabinet….

“What’s this?” She asks, holding my flogger with the multi-colored strings in her hand.

*Oh. My. God. Does she really not know what it is? I can’t believe I have to tell her!*

Gulp.

“It’s a flogger,” I explain, in a quiet voice.  “I don’t really use it.”

“What do you use a flogger for?”

*OH.MY.GOD.*

“It’s used in BDSM….”

In a louder voice: “Why we don’t we look through another part of the room?  I’ll take care of the filing cabinet later.”

Fortunately, my mom let it go and we continued to pack, never mentioning it between us ever again.  My mother does know that I practice Bondage, Domination, & Sadomasochism, but it’s not something we talk about.

*****

My “bad” roommate and I barely talk and although I doubt I would find a flogger in her things, I hope I do not have to help her pack when she moves out.  I will if I have to though.  I wonder what she would do if I asked her which she liked better, sting-y or thud-y? I imagine she would want to leave even sooner – maybe there is a reason for this brightly colored flogger after all?!

                                     

 

Another person’s judgment of your lifestyle or your passions says more about them than you.   ~ Colin Wright

Do you remember that quote from my new roommate that I gushed about?

Well, the good book says to love your neighbor and I figure I’ve got enough stuff of my own to worry about, that I don’t need to worry about anyone else’s.

Turned out it was not so nonjudgmental.  Turned out that my roommate does think being bisexual, having a girlfriend and a boyfriend, is wrong and she told my other roommate so.  I am so thankful that my other roommate defended me and told the judgmental roommate that she was not a good fit and that she needed to move out.  

There are other reasons too – we quickly learned that this roommate has a negative personality and is very hard to live with.  Life has been tense here.

The other day, I woke up from a nap in my room when I overheard her talking loudly on the phone that she was being forced out because of her “faith.”

They knew I am a Christian, so why are they upset?  The Bible says it’s wrong – I’m not being judgmental.

I was so angry to hear her talking about me that I packed up a few things and spent some time at my parents’.

I am not going to talk about everything in those statements that made me angry, but this:

Christians are not defined by their judgment of LGBT people.  

In fact, LGBT feminist people can be Christian too.  

I am.

There have been a rise lately on “religious freedom” laws that grant businesses the right to discriminate based on their religious beliefs.  This offends me to the core.  According to my faith, God is Love.  Anything in the Bible that does not support that I feel justified in throwing out.  Even Jesus subverted scripture to support loving all.   Like the old song says, we are supposed to be known to be Christians based on our love, not our rules.  I am worried about LGBT discrimination and laws like these being on the rise with Trump as president-elect.  That is why I am writing to my governor tonight to praise him for standing up to these laws in the past and to continue doing so.  Just because Trump will be president does not mean that discrimination has to unilaterally win.

Last night, as my two partners and I hugged together, I thought to myself,

How can this love be wrong?

Like I have said before, polyamory is about having more people to love and as long as that is done in a healthy way, there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, to quote a cheesy often sung this time of year:

What the world needs now, is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.



The ultimate test of any civilization is how we treat the most vulnerable…what we do to our children. ~ Ravi Zacharias

Today is National Coming Out Day and coming out is still awkward for me.  I find it is often times easier to come out to strangers or friends than to family.  For many other people, coming out is not just awkward but dangerous.  It is illegal to identify as homosexual in many countries and my transgender friends tell me that this is the worst they have seen this country react towards them in the last twenty years.  

Total marriage equality has not happened in the United States – I am painfully aware that polyamorous relationships are not allowed to become marriage.  Like Christina Crosby in her book, A Body Undone: Living On After Great Pain, posits, I think it would be best if the government had nothing to do with marriage and marriage was simply a beautiful ceremony about love and committment.  

It is my belief that the way you determine either an individual’s or a country’s character is how they treat the most oppressed and the most vulnerable.  It makes me sad when I see so many “Christian” people espousing tough love that can become cruel.  The only way anyone can pull on a bootstrap is with other people’s help.  We aren’t born wearing shoes.

This is why I love Pride!  Atlanta Pride is during October, which I know is odd, but it makes me happy, as our summer sun is too punishing for a parade.  This year, I marched with my church in the parade and it was lovely.  There was a moment when the street became narrow for us because there were so many people in the street yelling, “Happy Pride!”  A woman ran forward, got close to the kid holding our banner, and said, “Kid, you are awesome!”  Seeing people make points to high-five and give words of affirmation and appreciation to the kids made my heart swell.  The feeling of love towards all was palpable.  Every type of person was represented and all were there together to welcome an oppressed group in love.  In that moment, I experienced heaven.

I believe we can bring heaven to Earth by welcoming the oppressed and by wholeheartedly showing the Holy One’s love to each other.  This requires dialogue, compassion and a willingness to see the holy in the other.  Some people think that seeing all the open sexuality on display during Pride and the declarations during National Coming Out Day as a problem – I see it as the solution.  We need a planet where everyone is loved and welcomed home.

Being in the closet sucks for the person who has to hide out of fear of rejection, but it also sucks for his/her family and friends who miss out on the precious gift of loving someone who feels safe, completely whole, and free to be who they are.  ~ Anonymous

One of my roommates has moved out.  We are sad to see her go but we must move on.  I made an ad and it was promptly answered.  One of the potential roommates came over to look at the room and we really hit it off.  We had a really pleasant conversation and she seemed like a good fit, so when she asked if there was anything else she should know, I told her about my relationship.  I told her that I am bisexual (I didn’t want to explain pansexuality) and that I have a boyfriend and a girlfriend, although I usually go over to their house to be with them.  

I didn’t think she would have a problem with me but I wanted to know for sure before she signed the lease.  She responded in a really sweet way:

Well, the good book says to love your neighbor and I figure I’ve got enough stuff of my own to worry about, that I don’t need to worry about anyone else’s.

I just wanted to give her a hug.

It’s awkward to come out like that to someone who’s practically a stranger but it can be much more awkward coming out to someone you already respect and are close to.  I laughed to myself that night about how silly it seems to be able to come out with relative ease to someone I barely know and yet still be petrified about coming out to my father. 

I am working with my therapist on how to tell my dad and brother. I know that I am probably making this out to be much more than it really is.  Unfortunately, we are not taught how to have awkward, honest conversations in school, although I think what would make America great would be for all of us to learn how to engage in thoughtful, authentic dialogue.  Now, more than ever, do we need to talk with each other in caring, attentive ways.

We wouldn’t have to “come out” if it wasn’t assumed that we’re straight to begin with.  – Anonymous

How do you come out as having a girlfriend if you don’t want to make a big deal about it?  

Answer: I don’t know.

I recently went on a wonderful summer beach vacation with my extended family – all seventeen of us!  

Obviously, I can’t come out about being in a poly relationship if my dad doesn’t know but I thought I could come out about having a girlfriend.  Now, all of my immediate family and a few others know that I am bisexual but not all of my extended family knows.  I thought and thought about how I would let them know without causing a movie scene.  It seems that one sees the big dramatic announcements when people are not sure if they will be accepted – fortunately for me, I know I will be and already am accepted by my family.  Sooo, I do not feel the need to make a big announcement with some dramatic pause.

I thought I had a stellar plan – I would just talk about us some times and slip in the words, “my girlfriend, _____.”

EXCEPT there is a generational thing I had not thought about – older women refer to their girls who are friends as “girlfriends” much more often than younger women do and so THEY DID NOT CATCH ON!!!   It was so frustrating.  At times, I felt like screaming, “Do you want me to cause a scene?!”

I finally spelled it out for one of my aunts.

It is hard living in such a heteronormative world and I think I finally know where the stereotypical gay drama comes from – we have to be or else we’re invisible.

I don’t have any answers.  I tend to hide from big drama and so I don’t want to do the stereotypical thing.  It seems like it would be very awkward.  But I guess a little awkwardness sometimes is what’s needed.  Maybe next time, instead of saying, “my girlfriend,” I’ll say, “my lover.”  Surely there can’t be any second guesses then, right?

 

People are not possessions.

Polyamory just means more people to love.   (Me)

There is nothing more awkward to me than fighting between the people I love.  I am a people pleaser by nature, which can sometimes get me in trouble.  I struggle with standing up for myself, setting boundaries and being assertive, although I am getting better.  Two stereotypes I encounter often are that life within a triad is somehow magically free of jealousy or that our times together are nothing but wild orgies.  Neither are true.  What IS true is that we have made a committment to always stay with each other, even when times are tough and to be willing to talk things out.  We are compassionate with ourselves and each other.  We are willing to acknowledge jealousy and yet not let it be the end.  I really don’t understand why people say so often to me that they could not do what we’re doing because they would be too possessive or jealous and I feel like protesting, “but people aren’t possessions!”  I really do not see the morality in jealousy.  Jealousy is used as an acceptable reason for why someone should not be polyamorous, but to me, it is a weakness to work on.  To me, a far more acceptable answer is just to say that one is not interested.  That’s okay to me.  People are allowed to have different interests in different lifestyles – I guess I just don’t see polyamory as being so wild as I see it being so loving.  

Another awkward thing is meeting a significant other’s family!  On the Fourth of July I had a great time with my people.  One of the things we did was go to see my boyfriend’s family.  Now he and my girlfriend are getting married, and as some of his family is very conservative, I had to be introduced as the close friend.  It was weird – I felt like an awkward teenager all over again.  The family was very warm and accepting.  They asked no questions, which surprised me!  I ended up having a pretty good time but I couldn’t help but wonder what they were thinking some times or whether I would be out one day in the future.  I try not to dwell in those personal questions too long though, as there is no answer yet and it is really not any of my business to know the future or what other people are thinking about me.

As the two of them talk about marriage and I am faced more and more with stereotypes and the supposed conflicts of religion, I want to offer First Corinthians 13:4-7 from the Bible.  This is the Bible verse probably used the most at weddings and I just do not see how it does not also apply to relationships with more than two people:

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Now some say that this verse really applies to our relationship with Christ and not towards romance, but if we are called to be like Christ towards one another, then I don’t see the difference.  All relationships should be based in love, no matter what kind of relationship it is and there is no limit to the amount of love that one is supplied, except by our own human biases.

Treat everyone with lovingkindness.  Seek for greater understanding.  Continue to draw respectful boundaries where need be.  

Blessed be and Goddess bless.