Building a Sex Positive Brand

Building a Brand, while marching to my own drum!

What You’re Not Supposed to Talk About: The Lows

On July 30th I will be celebrating 8 years of blogging and as I have written a few times, I have certainly learned a lot and grown into the Sex positive soul that I am today.  But there is one key point that we, as content creators are not allowed to talk about, and that is the low’s of building a brand.  And that is just what my writing has become.  It has evolved past my own words, and into an identity all of it’s own.  It is a blog, a website, a coaching business, a podcast, and a place that has grown far beyond what I ever could have imagined at its conception.  And the reality is that it was incredibly hard, and I have shed countless tears over it.  And yeah, here I go again tackling another taboo subject, building a brand and what you’re not supposed to talk about, it sucks and is hard.

Social Media Skews Reality

For whatever reason our society has decided that social media is a place where you can freely share all the joys, highs, and amazing points in your life.  By extension, the same is true of starting your own business or brand.  We want to build this illusion that we are successful right from the onset.  Fake it till you make it is the rally cry we here.  If you want to get funding, support, accolades, or any sort of exposure you need to be unique, successful, and solve people’s pain in a way no one else can.  And yes, these factors definitely play into building a brand and are important for growth and success.  But, this is only a very teeny tiny fraction of the truth behind any creation, company, product, or in this case a brand.  The truth is, it is 99% percent blood, sweat, and so many tears in the beginning, and very few ever find success from all that hardship, and yet, we keep up with this smoke and mirror anyways because we cannot let go of our dream, or our what if.

But you see, I am not supposed to talk about this.  By sharing with you that blogging about my first open relationship, all the trials and errors of non-monogamy, and all the hardships I have faced by publicly sharing nude photos will give you doubt about my abilities as a writer.  It will make you question why you follow me, interact with me, or share my work.  If I go out, into the world showing the entire picture, I will be showing the truth behind the magic.  And then, what am I?  Just another hack, pushing and prodding, waiting for my next big break.

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The Creators Myth

I am supposed to tell you that I blog for fun.  It’s my hobby and if I ever make it great, but if I don’t that’s fine too. I love what I do.  And I will be completely honest with you, this statement is true.  I adore what I do.  And I am the entire embodiment of this brand I have built.  It has been worth almost every second I have put into it, and it is my passion.  That my friends though, is not the entire story.  The passion is the fuel that allows me to write a little more every day, and create engaging content, or photos.  But, you cannot feed yourself on passion alone, actually you cannot feed yourself at all.  And that my dear friends, is what we are not supposed to talk about.

I have a very dear friend who has created an incredible product, and has received awards, accolades, and international exposure for his invention.  People are constantly telling him that they love what he does, he is on the cutting edge of something big, and that they will support him any way that they can.  So he tells them that he needs funding to build the next prototype.  Guess what happens when the investors hear this…?  You guessed it, crickets!  Now again, I am not supposed to share this, and he is not supposed to share this pain.  Instead, we are all supposed to keep fighting the good fighting, wishing and praying that one day our ship will come in. Hard work always pays off we tell ourselves.  And yes, someday it will.  However, when you are in the thick of things, treading water, desperately hungry, and trying to fuel yourself with dreams, it gets…. disheartening.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Are you going to see a huge Go Fund Me link at this end of the post because I have guilted you into paying for the content that I offer?  Nope, that would feel weird, coercive, and honestly challenge my whole identity and belief of free flowing information.  While there will always be an affiliate link and a Patreon offer with each post, your interaction with those offers will not change the content I love producing.  This post is more directed at the other content creators, inventors, entrepreneurs, etc.  I want you to know I hear you pain, I feel the loneliness of hearing nothing but crickets post after post, and I acknowledge you wanting to throw in the towel and say screw it this isn’t worth all the shit, and abuse we get online daily.  We aren’t supposed to talk about the pain of building a brand, so I say screw it, let’s talk about it! 

Sharing is Caring!

I want to hear your stories, so please write a post and link it in the comments, or link it to my twitter feed (with a note it’s OK to share) and I will add it to this post!   It’s OK to talk about the bad.  It’s human, and we need to feel safe to do more of it!

How Do I Get My Partner to Explore Non-Monogamy?

This question, right here, is the question that has been asked over and over again, when a person discovers non-monogamy for the first time.  They ask it in earnest, as if, there is some magical answer that will allow them to keep their spouse and start sleeping with other people immediately.  And it is the most frequent query I personally get when advertising my relationship coaching business.  But for a long time, it was the most difficult one for me to maintain composure and give a thoughtful, well crafted response.  So, I decided to put into writing the best answer I can give, which I hope will encourage any of you asking this question to make healthy decisions and not ruin your current relationship because you discovered something shiny.

Step 1:

First things first, you have to know your partners communication style.  And if you don’t, don’t worry, most couples don’t, but they figure out very quickly what not to do over the course of a relationship.  Finding out both your own and your partners way of thinking, processing and talking is something that is necessary if you want a healthy non-monogamous relationship, because you are going to be talking, and communicating a lot!  If you think a relationship with 2 people takes work, just imagine what happens when you bring new dynamics into the mix.  You need a solid foundation whereby you can talk about safe sex, mistakes, wants, needs, and time management, and do it in a respectful and loving way.  A relationship is a partnership, and your success in non-monogamy will depend on your foundation.

Step 2:

Second, you have to have an idea about what you want in non-monogamy.  Be it simply physical connections (Swinging), dating other people (Open Relationships), or even exploring new relationships (Polyamory).  And here’s the big one, once you figure out what you want, you have to be willing to discuss, and even negotiate (in a healthy way) a relationship norm that will actually suit both of you and fit into your current lifestyle.  For example, if you have 3 kids, work 80 hours a week and barely see each other as it is, jumping into a polyamorous relationship may not be feasible.

Step 3:

Third, research, network and more research.  When I first discovered non-monogamy on date one with my current partner, I felt like I was plopped in a foreign world and I made every mistake one could possibly make.  It wasn’t until I started reading books on the subject, in my case open relationships and non-monogamy, and finding online resources that I began to understand it.  Shortly after I started blogging as a way of sorting out my thoughts and emotions and sharing the research that I learned along the way.  And I think it was at about year 4, that I started building a little bit of a community of more open minds.  Friends that I could talk to about what was going on.  And that was when the real turning point was for me.  Once I stopped feeling alone, had done enough research and figured out what I wanted out of non-monogamy our relationship was able to blossom.  So don’t overlook the background and research step, as it may save you many headaches.

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Step 4:

Fourth, time.  Let’s say, you have read the book, Sex at Dawn, and you are pretty convinced that humans are non-monogamous by nature, and this is now something that you need in your life.  Perfect, the seed has been planted.  You’ve researched, soul searched and you are ready.  But what about your partner?  An all too common thing I see, is someone rushing home excitedly to tell their partner about this amazing new lifestyle they want to explore and expecting the other person to jump right on board with the new adventure.  And, it almost always ends in disaster.  Why?  Because, we are raised in a society of monogamy.  Flipping a person’s life upside down can take a lot of time to process.  Without getting too much into the coaching side of things, it is an emotional roller coaster for the other person, and often they feel blindsided or worse when presented with the notion the first time.  While non-monogamy may have made perfect sense to you, it often does not immediately resonate with the partner.  And this is where you have to put your own relationship above the needs of your libido.  Giving time, space and allowing the person the opportunity to research, and build their own network of support if this is a direction that they are open to.

And if you get a resounding, Hell No! from the get go, put it on the back burner.  If your relationship started in monogamy, and those were the initial terms that you agreed to, then you may have to accept that that is how it will remain if you stay with your partner.  And remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side.  Non-monogamy is work, yes of course it’s play too, but especially at the beginning it is a lot of hard work and takes an emotional toll at some point or another.

Step 5:

Fifth, do not go into non-monogamy to fix something.  And by this I mean, fix the problem first, talk about it, address it, etc.  Do not, I repeat, do not, expose other people to your relationship issues or use them as Band-Aids.  The goal is to be ethical to yourself, your partner, and all the outsiders that you interact with.  Non-monogamy is not the same as cheating.  It is not a way to get your needs met on the sly, and it is certainly not an easy way to avoid having the tough conversations.  It things aren’t repairable in your relationship, end things before you start swinging or dating together.  Do unto other’s and all that jazz.  No one wants to be used, or find out they were a quick fix, or simply along for the ride in your relationship drama.

Final Thoughts:

And finally, don’t think you have to do it alone.  Many couples on online forums seem to feel all the blood, sweat and tears is more of a badge of honor that each relationship should go through on their own in order to be non-monogamous.  They went through all these mistakes, and you should too.  No shortcuts allowed.   Well, I am here to tell you that if coaching, podcasts, blogs, etc. were an option when I was first introduced to non-monogamy I would have taken that up in a heartbeat.  Learning from other’s mistakes can be as valuable as making them on your own, if you are willing to listen and really learn.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to ask questions, during your exploration and encourage your partner to do the same.  Sometimes all it takes is a little mentorship, or even just an ear to bounce your uncertainties off of to gain the insight you need to move forward.

So have fun out there, practice safe sex, and remember no always means no.

If you want to learn more about my non-monogamous coaching services, or would like some reading recommendations please check out my site, www.breakingawayfromrelationshipnorms.com.

My Online Dating Nostalgia

I may be dating myself here, but I remember a time when online dating was about making connections with someone.  A time when you used one site at a time, to chat, get to know someone, and then actually meet and hopefully go on a few dates.  Where messages consisted of a few paragraphs and not just a smiley face.  The time prior to online dating apps, the time of online dating websites.

In my single days, I would make online dating a big part of my day, an event actually.  When I got home from work, and had finished eating,  I would pour myself a glass of wine and log onto my site of choice.  I would take the time to read each and every profile that showed up in the “viewed me” tab.  I would take a deep breath and try and respond kindly to at least 50 percent of messages I had received and then I would open the message from the guy I was most interested in.  Spending real and meaningful time forming my witty response to him.  All the while sipping my wine, and envisioning the flirting that would ensue as a result of my message.  When I was satisfied, I would hit send, quickly shut off my computer and go and draw my nightly bath.

This was my ritual, and it had a purpose.  I wanted to allow him the time to read, formulate his response and write back to me.  I didn’t want it to look like I was online all the time as that would make me look desperate.  My time was valuable and I was not just waiting with baited breath for a reply.  So I would take that long, luxurious bubble bath, fantasizing about meeting him for the first time.  Building up some suspense and creating a bit a bit of longing.  I believe I even quit using the site on weekends for a while to create the illusion that I was a busy girl whom you had to impress to get a date with!  Ahhh… it was a time in my life that I look back upon fondly.

Yes, there was a lot of shit.  You would have dry spells, weeks, sometimes months with an empty inbox.  You would feel lost, and lonely and all these horrible revelations about yourself would float up to the surface.  Often online dating just plain sucked.  Or the times you re read your messages and realized they made absolutely no sense.  Or came up with something so much better to say the next morning, wishing you could delete that last message, kicking yourself for blowing that all important first impression.

But time has passed.  And I don’t remember the bad times as clearly.  I remember those sweet little moments in time when I couldn’t wait to get home to start my dating ritual.  When I would fall asleep with some sexy stranger on my mind and hope.  Just hope that I could play my cards just right, and he would finally want to meet me.  That we could make a real connection, in person.  Face to face.

Those days, are gone.  I don’t know if online dating can ever regain the charm that it once had for me.  Now it’s a game of swipe.  A game of fast retorts, with a rush to grab a drink before the next person swipes.  Its hurried, and impersonal and frankly pathetic.  I receive about 10 messages a day saying “hi”, or “hey” or “how are you”.  And yes that last one had an intentional omission of a question mark.  Why?  Because we are too lazy to even use punctuation when online.  Things like, hey u, are common place.  It quite honestly make me sad.  The ritual is gone, the sweet online seduction and flirtation does not exist anymore.  But at least I still have my bubble baths.

 

***If the post resonated with you, and you are ready to improve your online dating presence, and stand out from all the lazy swipe right people, I can help!  Check out my new coaching site for my rates!  Or contact me directly to see how you can be a guest blogger***