A Post About Reason

Harmful Comment or Compliment: You Decide

After nearly a decade of living, researching, and blogging about non-monogamy, I decided it was high time to share a little bit of what I have learnt with the masses.  And thus, I am creating a series on Medium.com whereby I am writing a how to “non-monogamy” guide.  It is an exciting endeavour and so far, the responses have been overwhelmingly positive.  And, if you’re thinking that I am going to rant about a negative review, have I got a surprise for you!  No, this post is about something that surfaced when I queried a local Facebook group for input on future articles. (Which if you would like to add some suggestions I would love to read them!)  And after I go off on my side of things, I am going to show a completely different perspective of the same events, and then I am going ask you to decide where you sit on the issue. No, it’s not a test, and you don’t have to publicly share your answer.  Instead, I want you think about how your intentions are coming across on social media, especially in light of the #metoo movement, because for better or worse, it has changed the tone of how we relate to each other, and more importantly our ability to reason. 

So without further ado, I present harmful comment, or compliment: You Decide!

Yesterday, I was asking a group of lifestyle people on Facebook for their suggestions on future articles in my non-monogamous how to series.  A female member of the group requested that I write a piece for a male audience, and when I asked further what she meant, it turns out that she has troubles opening or even saying hi to a person in the lifestyle.  In short, she explained that she was looking for more of a how to guide with starting conversations with other people in non-monogamy, and agreed this would be beneficial for both sexes.  I graciously thanked her, as this was exactly the sort of thing that should be included in a series like this.  Now, here is the point of contention, a male commented with the following using our thread:

I think all you would need to do is say “hi”. Pretty sure it would get your point across if he’s from a LS group.

My Side

While I kept my reply fairly mundane, in my head I was reeling, and I rushed to type out all of my thoughts. Firstly, a female asked me for help.  It was specific to my article, and yes, although it was a public forum and everyone is welcome to add their input, we were in the middle of a question and answer thread.  In short, a guy butted into a place that added zero value.

Second, she specifically said she was having troubles just saying hi.  So random guy ignores that, and just suggests that she say hi anyways?  What point does saying “hi” ubiquitously get across, even on a lifestyle site?  Hi, is not consent, negotiation, or really anything other than a pleasantry.  And listen, if a “hi” on a LS club is like some secret handshake, then honestly, there needs to be a very bright neon warning sign for all of us who were unaware of this fact.

Third, this woman was a very good looking brunette, and my Spidey senses went off in a flash of an objectifying nature. She asked for help, and the guy turned around saying, no, you don’t need to do anything but show up and all is good.

This in general, is why, I reasoned that women have difficulty asking for help publicly where men are, and why so many of us have private groups for sharing our thoughts and expressing ourselves.  I hate writing pieces with such a strong gender bias, but in the social media realm world this exists all the time and the word mansplaining had to be coined. 

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Flip Side

But now, let’s flip perspective. Let’s remove my biases, and just try and put ourselves into the male writers, or readers shoes.

Firstly, the guy was just trying to give a compliment.  He saw a woman asking for help, thought to himself, nah, she doesn’t need that, look at her! She is already amazing, and he wants to tell her so.  Completely benign, harmless, and ripe with good intent.

Second, he honestly thought offering her words of encouragement would make her feel better, and boost her ego.  Ergo, he was being helpful, and thoughtful.  At the end of the day, he is a really great guy, and wanted to tell her that in a way that has worked for decades, the negging method. 

Third, he is being completely honest in that he imagined receiving a message from her, and was expressing that truthfully, no further work was needed beyond the initial interaction.  He would take it from there. A woman just saying hi, is hot, confident, and should be encouraged.  That’s just what he was trying to do.  No ill intent meant, and he would be happy to take the lead, after her initial interest.

In summary, he is doing what he has always done on social media.  He has typed a comment based on his gut reaction and impulse.  Perhaps he cares little for how it is interpreted because he is just being himself.  That freedom to do, say, or type whatever you want is what makes online interaction so fun and easy.  He doesn’t see her body language, reaction, or any idicators to show whether it worked or didn’t and this he is going to continue acting in the same manor until he is told otherwise. And if she does respond, but not in the way he wants, no sweat, she doesn’t get him and will move right onto the next person.

Takeaway

I hope you have made it to the end of this post.  Because what I am about to say gets to the real heart of this two perspective issue.  Times have changed.  Our online social interaction is, impacted by the #metoo movement.  We have all felt it, in one way or another.  We have seen even the most innocuous comment get blown way out of proportion, as some of you may think I have done.  We have also seen the flip side, of people using humour, or negging, or just saying absolutely anything to get noticed in an interweb where it often feels like you have no voice and have to shout incredibly loudly to be heard or stand out.  Any attention is good attention right?  Type as fast as you can, and do not spend even a moment to think about how your words will come across because we only have a 3 second attention span, and you need to be noticed above all, good, bad, ugly, it doesn’t matter.  Trolls seem to have more followers and interaction than anyone right?

Wherever you initially were sitting on this little choose your own perspective piece, the main thing I hope you takeaway is, right now, everything you put online is being interpreted from different biases.  We are not in a place where we are just getting along, and existing in bliss amongst a multitude of diversity and opinions. Instead we are clashing, clamoring, and crying out foul whenever our biases are superseded by that which makes humans so unique, our ability to reason. We keep asking How Should We Behave, but we are not actually doing anything to listen to the answers.

So, pause, and think about how your words are going to be viewed and interpreted online.  Decide what your intent is when you type those words on a page, and if they are not received the way you intended, tweak them next time.  Change your tone.  Find a new way to stand out in this new world of social interaction.  Don’t waste the ability to reason and think.  There is more to life than just being right.

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A Rant: Respecting the Word No

No means no!

I’m feeling raw and vulnerable, because it happened again.  It always seems to happen.  Here I am, trying to be open, fun, and authentic and then boom, some jackass takes it too far.  They stop respecting when I say no.  And they try… wait… they do push my boundaries, simply because they believe something inherently false, that women do not know what they want.  That I, do not know what I want.  Why?  Because they have their best intentions at heart and I can trust them.  I have heard this argument so many times in my life, that it really has done a mind fuck on me.  And yes, there is a time and a place when this may be true.  I.e. when you are in a committed relationship and your partner knows you better than you know yourself.  Or when there is an established, vocalized, and consent based trust that they will not ever push you into a place that would harm either of you.  Then, of course, there is an exception, and perhaps the good intentions hold true.  But even then, if I or anyone else says no, the demand is that it be heard.

Good Intentions VS Perceptions

But that’s not where I find myself right now.  I have numerous people in my life with whom I have to keep re-iterating my boundaries.  How many times can I say, “no, I don’t want a hug” or “no, I don’t want to have sexualized conversations with you, because we don’t have that type of relationship”.  It becomes exhausting steering the conversation away from sex or relationship topics or even something as simple as talking about my personal life.  That nice guy adage of talking about your feelings will make you feel better is bullshit.  I’m not playing those games or letting you into my mind!  It makes you feel better to see someone hurt or vulnerable, not me!  How many times do certain men need to be shot down before I have to up the ante, and get really mad or worse, cut them out of my life completely?

There is a huge difference between being playful, flirty, and fun, versus just pulling out all the stops and ignoring the word no.  If I say, no, I demand that to be respected.  I know myself.  I know my body, and I know my comfort levels.  On and on this note, body language plays a huge role in this too.  If you reach out to touch someone, and they do not reciprocate the touching, it’s time you took a pause and ask them if they are OK with it.  I think we all know what that uncomfortable hug from someone you don’t want touching you feels like, and when you’re in an emotionally vulnerable place it is so much worse.  You begin to dread having to ever see them again.  You need to get consent before you touch someone, and crush that part of you that thinks your touch someone is more important than their answer.  And no, it not OK to look crushed and hurt or make them feel guilty for whatever their answer is.

Why Do I Feel Raw?

Now you may ask why I opened with feeling raw and vulnerable because I seem to have a very clear picture of what I want.  But the truth is I am getting very tired of feeling that this is my fault.  That writing this blog, sharing sexy pictures on Patreon, or posing for Instagram with my beer and boobs, somehow means I deserve to be ignored.  Or that I must be open with everyone.  Or that I identify as a sex positive individual and therefore, I want to talk sex all the time, and be touched by everyone.  Or worse, that you think you are special because you read my work, understand me, and now feel that you somehow are a part of my intimate life.  Let me be very clear, I share what I want to share, and I want to be free to continue doing so.  I do not owe you anything, and I do not have to expand on topics for your own delight.  And again, if I say I don’t want to talk about it, respect that.  Do not give me your puppy dog eyes, and put your hand on my thigh, telling me that you’re always here if I need you.

A Little Math to Help Clarify

Let’s put some math into this to help me explain.  Let’s say you have read 10 of my blog posts, and we have had 1 conversation in person that lasted about 10 minutes.  Do you think that in that short amount of time what you know of me, versus what I know of you is now equal?  Do you honestly think that somehow, magically, you have put enough work into building trust and a relationship that we are on equal footing and you can ignore when I say no?  Or to ignore when I blatantly brush you off, and do not reciprocate to a single one of your advancements?  If you’re wondering, each one of my posts takes at minimum of an hour of my time (keeping the math simple here as some take days).  So, from a simple algebraic formula can you get this to balance?  Remember, I have already put in 10 hours of my life, to your 10 minutes.  Are you seeing the inequality here?   

And let me tell you, I am sick and tired of men taking advantage of that and thinking they don’t have to put in any effort with me.  More to the fact, I am exhausted from working so hard to let me guard down, and then boom, feeling like I am faced with blatant sexual harassment that some how I feel is my fault.  Because I was open, sex positive, and shared my vulnerabilities publicly. 

In Short, Respect the No!

The world is changing.  The #metoo movement is real.  It is no longer acceptable for men to just keep pushing until they get slapped or the woman changes her mind, mind you that was never a great tactic but if you lived through the 80’s and 90’s you’ll remember that being pretty common.  Remember those days are over.  Wake up!  If you have ever had a woman claim that you crossed the line, you are the problem.  You need to change your tactics and never do that again.  Respect the no.  Do not push it.  And here’s the thing, even if a woman has been uncomfortable even one time, I have to re-iterate that you have done something wrong.  Woman should never feel uncomfortable.  It means you have not put in the time required to build trust, you are ignoring clearly established boundaries, and/or you are not respecting the person you are interacting with.  I don’t care how “good” your intentions may be in your head, your actions are clearly in violation of your intentions, you are not the nice guy that you think you are, and you need to stop that behaviour immediately!

End rant!

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Breaking Free of Labels in Non-Monogamy

Breaking Free of Labels

There is ample scientific evidence from both our past and present to support the notion that women are more fluid in their sexuality than men are.  And thus, this post may hit home with some more than others, depending on your current understanding of your relationship norms.  Either way, here goes, I have nearly broken free of all relationship labels in non-monogamy.  Why would anyone want to do that you may ask yourself?  Aren’t labels a good thing, that add definition and context to your life?  Well, let’s just call me an outlier, again, because I just don’t fall into a specific category and there is a really great reason.  And no, it is not because I just haven’t found myself or my place in society yet.

If you read my post on the labels that online dating sites place on people, you may already have gleaned that I am not a fan of labels or being part of a category.  But there is much more to it than just not wanting to be mis-identified or put into a little box.  As I get older, and more comfortable with who I am and what I want, I have really embraced the celebration of individuals and all of their relationship styles.  And in that, I want to explore a bunch of different ways of living, and just be that person who goes with the flow so to speak.  Ok, I’m not sure that quite drives the point home.  This is actually a little tough to explain, so let me try this.

I know some incredibly rad people, and if you caught my post on married men, you will know that I have a special attraction for them.  But here’s the thing, being attracted to them puts some very specific restrictions on me, and in almost every case I have a look but don’t touch sort of role.  And while I may whine from time to time that I wish I could have more, the truth of the matter is, being along for the ride in someone else’s relationship is a pretty unique experience.  I exist on their terms.  I am an extension of their dynamic, and I find that pretty intense.  It’s a unique opportunity to be in place where anything could happen, and I just don’t know when.  It’s an off kilter kind of sensation, which is exciting to a person who always strives for balance in their life.

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The other part of this is, it allows me to fully be attracted to individuals.  I don’t see gender as much as I grow up and experience the world.  In fact, there are an increasing number of females or androgynous type humans who I find my stomach doing a little leap for.  Because that is fairly new territory for me, there would be zero frame of reference, box, or label that I could put myself in should the next steps occur.  It would be uncharted territory, whereby, within the outside framework of non-monogamy in all my current dynamics, everything else would be fluid.

Yes, I think that’s how I can be describe this.  My relationships are fluid.  My breaking away from monogamy has brought me to the realization that a box or a label will just not satisfy me.  I’m an explorer, a lover of new things, different relationships, and people in general.  I am the eternal optimist, with whom, even when times are tough, I still believe that people are good, have so much to offer and can teach me things I haven’t even considered.  I have broken free of labels.  I live the mantra of breaking away from monogamy everyday, and I am loving it!!!

Now I feel it only fair to mention that there are moments that being so fluid, or going along with the relationships flow can be a challenge, especially for my partner.  Often, he asks me to be more assertive, and go for what I want.  Someone has to make the first move, and as I admittedly am the more picky of the two of us, I am working on being more assertive from the onset, and then backing off, into a role that better fulfills my desires.  It is a challenge, and as we are starting to get more active in dating together I am pretty sure I will be writing a post or two on how that is actually going.

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Opening Up About Not Being Active in Non-Monogamy

Opening Up – Non-Monogamy

I wrote a little while ago on Twitter, that I missed waking up with “random marks on my body from a passionate night of sexy shenanigans from the night before” (My Twitter feed is pretty random if you are not already following me).  It was a random comment that popped into my head as I looked down upon my pale legs, and thinking how strange it was for it to be summer and still without the dings of adventure, be it sexual or otherwise.  Further to this, anyone in a long-term relationship knows that sometimes life just gets in the way and you don’t just drop everything to jump on your partner, forsaking all thoughts of where, when, or how you will look or feel in the morning like you do when things are newer.  Shortly after posting this, I received a comment from a follower saying “this surprises me. I thought you were active”.   This response jarred the shit out of me.  He wasn’t wrong in his thinking based on my blog, and my non-monogamous lifestyle.  But it brought to light something I have been struggling with in my personal life, and that is keeping active in non-monogamy when I feel like my home life is a complete mess (feel free to scroll through some of my recent posts to see a few reasons why).

I firmly believe that I should be in a good dating state of mind, in order to meet someone new, and be ethical about pursuing something beyond a fling.  Please note that these are rules for myself, and myself alone.  I do not ever judge or criticize other humans for how they seek to find happiness.  Again, I don’t personally subscribe to the idea that I want someone to make me better or pull me out of my funk.  Instead, I want to be funky, awesome, and attract a person who see’s that light in me because it’s already glowing.  Not a person who wants to fix me, support me, or hold my hand through the tough times.  I approach that from a place of already having a partner, and if I am honest, when I was single and dating, I always attracted people who reflected my current mood.  It wasn’t until I started getting laid regularly from my incredible fwb, that I was able to meet my current partner.  I needed the sexual confidence and devil-may-care attitude to shine through, rather than the, holy crap, I will jump anything that moves mentality.

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So here I am, admitting, that while a little date here or there during this really rough winter may have boosted my energy and confidence, I just didn’t feel right about it.  Since our Christmas holiday, I think we have only visited the lifestyle club once, and gone on 2 couple’s dates?!?  Those number are really low for us.  And quite indicative of the mindset I have been finding myself in.  I just wanted to keep to myself, focus on breathing, and definitely zero interest in finding anything fun or relaxing.  You know that low, where you just don’t feel you even deserve to be happy or to take a break?  So yeah, obviously I was not keen on meeting new people.  And again, that twitter comment really hit me hard.  Why wasn’t I active?  Why was I stopping myself from having any fun?  How was that possibly helping me feel better?

So here I sit, puzzled over why I felt the need to punish myself.  And why I hold myself up to these incredibly high standards that I always have to be in an amazing place in order to meet people, and have fun.  Looking back on my life, I cannot think of a single time when I was prepared to meet the incredible people that I have closest to me.  They were random, unplanned, and un-calculated.  So, with this post, I am admitting, what many of those in non-monogamy already know, and that is life happens, lows happen, and that shouldn’t make you feel like you need to hand in your open relationship, swinger, polyamory, or all the beautiful relationships variations cards just yet.  I am still an active member of this community of sex positive people, even if my legs don’t show the evidence of all the sexy time’s I wish I was having.

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Cheaters and Monogamy

Another Chapter in my Defining Monogamy Series

Cheaters and Monogamy


In my last post, defining monogamy, I compared how lenient we are will infidelity in the animal kingdom when compared with the strict social constraints that we have within our human species.  Now for a little bit of social fun, I created this little poll:

When I asked people on twitter if they would label a person who cheats as monogamous, non-monogamous, or other, it was instantly apparent that anyone could cheat and that the label of monogamy was just not valid.  And I agree with this entirely.  The reason I asked the question was to prove something that has always bugged me, non-monogamous people often get labelled as cheaters.  You can discuss ethical non-monogamy till you’re blue in the face, but there will always be someone who says that if you cannot be faithful to one person then you are not with the right person and you should leave.  Or that non-monogamy is just an excuse to get some strange and that you really are just a cheater or unfaithful at heart.  The whole negative pushback is real, especially in the real world, which is why so many of us hide it.  There are a multitude of people who, no matter what, will call anyone who is anywhere on the non-monogamous spectrum a cheater.

And this is a huge problem for me.  As Dr. Liz Powell tweeted “People who are monogamous or non-monogamous can all cheat.  Cheating doesn’t define your relationship structure”.  And this is the rub, cheating doesn’t define your relationship structure, but if you cheat, then you are no longer monogamous.  You are outed from that exclusive club.  Well, that is what is indicated by the above poll anyways.  Again, we are so quick to shout that if you cheat then you are not monogamous.  But how many cheaters still call themselves monogamous?  I would hazard to say most do.  They don’t want to label themselves in the category of non-monogamy just because they had an indiscretion.  That would almost be more than they could handle.  They must keep working to remain monogamous, and learn to overcome the mistake that they made.

I am always fascinated by inconsistencies in our society.  And in this case, hypocrisy is king.  Is it a common held belief that to own that you may not be monogamous could be worse somehow than admitting that you cheat?  Are there that many people out there terrified of a little self-reflection?  Is it true of our society that cheating is almost an accepted action, but non-monogamy is still the big bad taboo?  That we are evil outliers who are just having rampant orgies and sullying the sanctity of our bodies by sharing them with more than one person?

Let’s be honest here, if you are reading this post you are probably an enlightened sex positive individual, and I don’t make that statement to brag about me.  Instead, I am actually trying to give you a compliment.  You have taken the time to research something that you were probably not raised to believe, and you are now thinking outside of the box when it comes to your own monogamous upbringing.  Wherever you land on the monogamous or non-monogamous spectrum is irrelevant at this point, because you have already asked the first question in regards to something most people take for granted, that everyone in our society is monogamous.

Now, to show a balanced view, I had one person mention that non-monogamous doesn’t imply cheater (thanks @justinaaverydc) but I think he is in the minority.  Yes, on my filtered, sex positive twitter, many of us understand this.  But in the real world?  Nope.  In the real world, we for some reason are lumped in with the cheaters.  And in fact, I can shout ethical non-monogamy rhetoric until I am hoarse and still will get blank looks and snide comments that I am a whore.  Or someone who is unfaithful, with disbelief that my partner would let me sleep with other people.  This is part of the reason I no longer date single men, but that is a whole other topic.

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Now at this point, I would like you to keep in mind how easy a subject like this is to talk about.  We all have first hand experience with cheaters so we can talk at length about what our society feels is the correct thing to do with them.  But I ask again, if you cheat, does that automatically make you non-monogamous?  Why would we, on that end of the spectrum have to include cheaters as part of our subset?  Is it fair that they are automatically relegated to our spectrum simply because those in monogamous land don’t have room for them?  Are cheaters by definition non-monogamous?  It’s a two- way street here.  And it brings biases out, the whole which is worse? being a cheater or being non-monogamous with such labels as philanderer, slut, easy, and the list goes on and on and on…

So, I leave you with this one question, if you have ever cheated, do you still consider yourself monogamous?  At the end of the day, it may only be your label that matters.

As usual, I have posted a few sexy, behind the scenes photo’s on my Patreon!  Enjoy!