Part II: Rejection in the World of Non-Monogamy

In Part I, I talked about how in a monogamous driven society, rejection is something that we try to avoid.  It is not something that is viewed as a necessary skill-set to have.  Instead, it is something that we accept as part of our adolescence but strive to avoid it in adulthood.  We do not regard it as a very important piece of the adult emotional repertoire.  But, as I mentioned at the end of the piece, in the world if non-monogamy things are very different, because not only is rejection unavoidable, but it is a skill-set that you have to be more than proficient at using.  Rejection becomes a natural part of your relationships, and you must be ethical in how you reject others, and emotionally stable enough to handle rejection in return.

At this point, I am going to make a bold statement.  That being non-monogamous is far more intense for your emotional spectrum than monogamy is.  And further, to actually flourish in non-monogamy, you need an emotional IQ that is far more developed, especially comparison to the requirements of monogamy.  And why do I feel this way?  Because, the road traveled in non-monogamy is filled with heartbreak, rejection and requires a heightened awareness of your wants and needs and of all those you want to interact with.  And quite honestly, if you cannot handle that, you are not ready to explore the amazing world of multiple people, even if it is just for sex.  While I am not specifically trying to scare people off, I hope that those who cannot handle their own emotions, take a moment here for some serious reflection.  Even if you have the ability to turn off your emotions when it comes to sex, there is zero guarantee that your partner or the people you are intimate with are doing the same.  And if you cannot handle that fact, then you have zero business opening up your body or mind to others.

I recall reading on a swingers forum a few weeks ago, a post from a guy who said that he could no longer swing because he had just been ghosted by a woman he and his wife were seeing.  The rejection was just too much for him and his marriage, so they were quitting the lifestyle.  He made a choice to avoid negative emotions and the only way to actually accomplish that was to walk away.  And when I read that initially I judged him pretty harshly.  Don’t worry it was only in my head.  But then I realized, it takes a huge amount of emotional intelligence to understand what he could and could not handle in his life.  And rather than trying to pretend that non-monogamy could be a perfect little world free of heartache, he took the more realistic and quite pragmatic view.

And for many when entering a lifestyle filled with more than one person, you become attracted to the shiny and new, and forget to take into consideration all the bad or negative, with rejection being incredibly high on that list.  Just think about the singles dating pool, and how many people you just were not attracted to.  I dare say that you had a connection with 1 – 5 % of the people you met?  Now shrink that pool almost infinitesimally, and try to make a connection, physical attraction or even an emotional spark.  There is a very slim chance that things are actually going be 100% great right from the get go.  And thus, you need to be mature enough for both you and your partner to politely decline people.  While at the same time remembering that it is a small pool, so you do not want to be an ass about it and get a bad reputation.  Nor do you want to be in a position of taking one for the team, or doing anything you are not absolutely on board with.  It’s difficult to navigate.  And for those who hate rejection or try to avoid confrontation at all costs, will find this part of the lifestyle incredibly challenging.  And let’s face it, ghosting is never OK, so there is no way to avoid this.  You just cannot sleep or engage with everyone just because you cannot say a polite, “no thanks”, that would be pretty unreasonable.  So guess what?  You have to toughen up a bit and both accept a “no thanks” with grace, and learn to give the same with courtesy and compassion.  It’s important to dig deep and develop those skills that we often wish we could just avoid.

After reading this, you may ask why in the world would you ever subject yourself to a lifestyle where you are constantly setting yourself up for heartbreak.  Honestly, because the highs are so amazing, it supersedes the pain.  Most people would agree, that the joys of falling in love far outweigh the heartache in trying to find love.  You would be missing out on amazing things if you tried to just avoid being in pain or causing pain, and thus the brave among us, rip off the Band-aid and put ourselves out there.  We open up to the possibilities, despite the potential downfall.  Non-Monogamy is a high, a rush and a bliss that while I could always remember my life in monogamy as sacred with my partner, I instead chose a life where I live to put myself out there, pain and all, for the chance of butterflies or a new connection, and I do it with my partner lovingly by my side.  I accept that in non-monogamy rejection is unavoidable and I take great pride in handling it, and being kind when I have to flex that skill and I hope you do the same.

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Oh! I’m Sorry, Was the Live Sex Boring You?


This is not a post that I ever thought I would write, in fact, people may not even believe that this could actually happen inside the sexy walls of a sex club.  But the story I am about to relate speaks to a rapidly growing dissociation that is going unchecked in our society. We have become immune to the realities around us, in essence our technology is desensitizing us.  And I will be honest, seeing that first hand at a sex party of all places, brings into sharp relief just how widespread this problem is.  And we have got to act now!  Because it turns out even with rules and warnings in place, we cannot break free from our phones even with sex on the line.

Saturday night I went to a swinger’s club where there is a fantastic area that has an open door play room, that we shall call the red room.  Meaning people can walk in and out, and there is almost always live action of some sort going on.  And that night, was no exception.  We found a spot on the farthest couch so we could start watching the show, and get playful ourselves.  With a little whipping scene, to get the ball rolling the clothes started to fall off and the room was getting heated.  Picture about 6 or 7 couples all on the peripheral couches and two sex loungers beginning to get a little action in the middle, plus spectators and the dominatrix show, just to set the stage.

My partner and I were starting to get very handsy beside a couple you may remember from my Foursome in the woods post.  So, our night was ramping up fantastically.  And on one of the sex couches, a guy was getting the royal treatment.  Oh yes, 5 girls, one guy!  The thing of myths right before our eyes.  The room was exciting.  Well, for everyone but the group of 5 guys who must have been the partners of the women giving the show.  You see, those 5 guys, were standing right to my left, inside the room, shooting the shit.  The conversation was something similar to what you might hear at a pub.  Some goading, a little teasing and basically a general lack of interest to anything going on in the room.  Did I mention there was a wait list to get in?

I mean come on!  When sex becomes so common place that you don’t even care, find a new hobby.  Not only is this incredibly insane, but you are taking away from the experience of those around you who are trying to lose themselves in the moment.  But of course, your selfish needs take priority right?  You don’t get to see your friends much, so by all means, just stand around in a very active dungeon, taking real estate that people are sexily eyeing up, to just stand around, chatting.  And we are not talking a few brief moments.  We are talking upwards of 20 minutes of trying not to listen to frat boy types talk about their lives and even a little shoving of each other in the most juvenile manor imaginable.  “Well, my chicks busy, so I’m just going to stand around acting like a dumb punk, waiting till she’s done”.

This in of itself was annoying, however things were about to get a little ridiculous.  My partner and I were really getting heated, having just acquired one of the coveted sex loungers.  So naked, and excited we started getting really down and dirty.  The man of the hour beside us, was now down to two chicks so the group of irritating men had thinned down.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a guy who was wearing far too many clothes, and a silly hipster hat, had plunked down with his partner on the couch we had previously occupied.  And I didn’t think too much of it, until it happened.  The guy pulled out his phone and started texting someone!  Not some hot looking sort of sext, but the whole, I’m bored so I’m going to pull out my phone mindlessly sort of move.

And to make matters worse, he seemed generally surprised when I asked him to put his phone away!  Picture the scene.  Me laying on my back, getting pounded, so blissfully happy.  Then bam!  Brought out of the happy red glow by some damn cell phone screen!  And after I asked him to put it away, he just sat there, motionless.  Like he didn’t know what to do next.  You’re in a freaking swing club!  Have some hot sex!!!  Have we really become that dependent on phones that you cannot have one evening without it dictating your life?  And further to this, a few minutes later his partner asked for her phone!  Thankfully he told her no, it wasn’t allowed in the club.  But do you know what her reaction was?  Grabbed the phone out of his hand and stormed out of the room.

Ok, you might be saying right now, damn it!  I would never in a million years do something like that.  What is wrong with these people?  Who could be distracted by their phone with all that sexy stimulation going on?  Or forget that they were in a swing club, and start treating it like a pub?  If you’ve been a regular reader you might even say, that I have some really bad luck and this must have been just a bad night.  But the thing is, I watch everything going on around me and at the clubs, I just want to quiet that voice.  I want to get lost in the moment.  But how do you ignore, 7 ignorant and flat out rude individuals who selfishly cannot pause their habits for even one night.  A few hours?  To put this into perspective, 7 individuals out of 150 were in this room, acting like they were bored of being in a sex club.  That’s almost 5 percent.  That’s freaking huge!  Can we not unplug from this silly device even in a swing club?  You paid to be there, as did we.  That doesn’t give you the right to detract from mine or anyone else’s enjoyment which is exactly what these people were doing.  Now show some common courtesy for those around you who are actually enjoying themselves or get out!  And please, if you see something like this happen, even in the real world, stand up and say something.  We cannot keep ignoring ignorant and selfish behaviour because quite frankly it is getting out of hand!

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Is it OK to Flirt When You’re Married?

One of the social constraints that monogamy places on a relationship is the notion that once you are married any sort of flirting is suddenly taboo.  That you must close off your sexual identity to everyone except your life partner.  I can see the beauty and sanctity in the ideology behind this thinking, and more I used to subscribe wholeheartedly to it.  You found your soul mate, and all your love should be saved for them.  On paper, it’s sweet, endearing and a fantasy that many of us longingly thought about in our youth.  But, is this practical, real world behavior?  Does this actually make the relationship healthier, and stronger or does it instead plant a seed of jealousy and possessiveness?

Depending on if you are a monogamous or a non-monogamous reader your relationship biases are going to play a major role in answering that question.  The beauty and trust in knowing your partner will never flirt with another human could be an integral part of why you got married.  That idea that you never have to worry, can be incredibly comforting and allow you to explore many other facets of your relationship.  Pair bonding is an incredible experience and not something I want to diminish the importance of as it’s critical in all partnerships.  I fondly remember how incredible it was for me, to tell people, that my first boyfriend and I were each others firsts and only sexual partners (well until our first breakup around year 6 anyways).  We were fully committed to each other in every single aspect of our lives.  And that was a really significant factor in us staying together for 9 years or so.  It gave us something extra to stay together for, something meaningful and gave our relationship an almost added importance.  Additionally, in the no flirting when married school of thought, I must add that many people hate dating and flirting, so they were all too happy to give that all up with marriage and not think about it again.

Now let’s talk briefly about the other side of the issue, the married people who think it is OK to still flirt.  And there are tonnes of us out there, many who would identify as monogamous too.  These are the people, who like me, absolutely love to flirt.  To push the envelope of friendship just slightly past the normal everyday pleasantries.  I for one, see, just how freeing and liberating it is to flirt.  How much a part of my sexuality comes alive when I get to talk, and be playful with new people.  It not only invigorates me, it also revitalizes my relationship with my partner.  Any swinger will tell you that often, they have the hottest sex with their partner when they come home from the club or a date.  So, the idea of flirting actually strengthens many relationships in direct conjunction with a solid foundation.  Having been in long term relationship on both sides of the spectrum I believe flirting, even when married is a true sign of a relationship that trusts, and ultimately has their shit together.

But the reality is that, what I think doesn’t matter.  What really matters is what we as a society publicly do or say.  And that is where I think the meat and potatoes really are because as much as you may agree with me in your head, what you support publicly is what gets noticed.  Take a fellow blogger, who shared her experiences with “bigger than friendship” feelings for a married man.  The public outcry from her followers, on Twitter, was predictably close minded.  The shame, finger wagging and instant judgement that she crossed lines by even talking to this guy, because he was… wait for it… married, was quick and very decisive.  And further that he was in a moral obligation to never have a female friend outside of his marriage, period.  Of course, there were a few open-minded comments speckled in, but until she came out with the piece called Aftermath the critics were outraged.  Was she and the married man engaged in some form of flirtation, how scandalous!  But was it harmless?  Well that depends on your prerogative and what you have negotiated as your own personal marriage terms and boundaries or your base belief system.  Wait scratch that… it actually has nothing to do with anyone but him, his wife and Lucy.

See the thing of it is, us non-monogamous folks, we talk about these things like is flirting ok when we get married.  There are no assumptions made in a healthy and communicative partnership.  We negotiate and re-negotiate our wants, needs and our boundaries.  And what’s more, we implicitly understand that all the people we interact with in the community, are doing the same.  So, we don’t make assumptions for their relationship boundaries either. We ask, we talk, we respect what works for them.  The monogamous world, doesn’t do this.  Instead there are harsh guidelines that public opinion dictates as a result of whomever speaks loudest or often who presents an argument that involves the most public shame, and that becomes the standard.  Protect the sanctity of marriage even though we don’t talk about what that actually means!  Nowhere did anyone ask or suggest, that Lucy, and the married man have a discussion about their friendship boundaries or if that that worked with the wife.  Instead, Lucy, developed feelings, understood that having feelings for a married man was wrong, shameful and ended things.

But what if there was another option?  What if it was permissible to flirt in the married couple’s relationship?  And further what if as a standard for monogamy the conversation about what cheating actually entails occurs?  What if public opinion did not dictate relationship norms, and instead we embraced the idea that each partnership is unique, respected and we went on with our merry little lives?  What if, it is OK to flirt when you’re married?

Curious about Lucy’s story?  I highly recommend you giving this 3 part blog post a read, not only because @LucyGoesDating said I could share!  But also because her blog is super fun to read, and so completely opposite from mine that I adore it. So here is part 1 to get you started, Married Man Part 1.

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An Unbalanced Gender Culture

I wrote a post in 2013, discussing the loss of male identity, and I highly encourage you all to please give this a quick read before continuing: A Push for Individuals.

I wrote that piece after a particularly difficult genders studies course in University.  Our professor was discussing rape culture, and the variation of machoism throughout our world.  How in some cultures men are encouraged by their male counterparts to cat call, grope and fondle passing women as a signal of how masculine they are.  While there are other cultures where men are the main caregivers, and they are taught to take care of, educate and play with the children while the women sew, farm, and make the political decisions.  What I found striking about all these cultures is that men and women seemingly had their gender specific place, putting aside natural outliers for the moment, but gender roles served their society.  The cultures existed and thrived based on gender specific traits that were cultivated and taught for generations.

Ok, so where am I actually going with this?  I have been cautiously waiting for the gender breakdown to occur in our own society.  And right now, before all of our eyes, it’s happening.  And I am nervous, anxious and trying to find a place of hope.  What do I mean by that?  Well, women in the 60’s right up through the 80’s gave a very hard push for equality.  Everywhere they looked they felt inferior and less valued in society, and they rallied together to change that, now known as the feminist movement.  A push for a female identity that was equal to men.  And the only way to do that successfully was to overshoot the target.  Woman not only proved that they were equal to men, but in many ways reached further to show that woman were and are actually better than men in many areas.  This was a revelation.  Women were not lesser, but rather had strengths and weaknesses, and enriched our culture outside of the home as well as in.

Are you with me so far?  Because here is where I get a little nervous.  Women united as a feminist movement with a clear goal of seeking equality.  And not only was there a vision, but there were real monetary and social checks that would show when we had succeeded.  To be clear there was a specific goal, that goal was clearly defined, with a finish line so to speak.  To be treated and receive the same rights as the husbands, fathers, brothers and coworkers.  Just one clear example is the wage gap, a clear monetary goal, that once achieved, we would get satisfaction and could do our jobs with security and certainty.

But now we have run into a little snag.  In all the focus on raising women up, to an equal place with men, we forgot that many men would feel that they have to come down to achieve gender equality.  That in order for the scales to find balance, men will not get to keep their status quo, the position of power and dominance.  And do you remember what I mentioned in that piece I asked you to read about men being breadwinners, etc?  That is a fundamental part of their male identity and it is being taken away.  So, in order for equality to be achieved there is a real give and take.  And the thing is, if the men are not willing to give, the women are fully prepared to take.  All personal opinions aside for a moment, the tides are changing, there is no stopping this forward movement, and there is no telling where the new shore will be.

I personally think this is why men are having such a difficult time with the consent movement.  Not only are women telling the men that they are no longer allowed to grope, or touch females without their express consent, we are going back in time to show example after example of when men crossed a huge line.  Now, my issue here, is that although its obvious now looking back what that line should look like, it wasn’t so clear back then.  We have told men that sexualizing women without permission is a crime, but we have not offered any solutions for them to fix the behaviour other than to stop it, change overnight and in fact somehow go back in time and stop their past from doing what they did.

Feel free to pause here for a moment and yell and scream at me if you want.  Men should never have objectified women in the first place.  When a women says no, or looks uncomfortable or is in a position of lesser power such that her future and livelihood depend on pleasing the male at the top, men should have recognized that this was a problem and stopped.  But they didn’t, they were in fact often encouraged to continue by their fathers and peers, and now here we are.  In a turbulent time, filled with apprehension and discord all around.  In a perfect world, I wish  men could change over night and undo their past indiscretions.  Obviously that cannot happen, and women are so angry that nothing is filling the void we feel.  No apology is good enough, no career damaged enough, no action heartfelt enough to sooth the injustice of male dominance over our bodies.

It’s bad out there, and I think it’s going to get worse.  The male identity is lost, and they are going to get angry and push back.  Female equality feels so close to our grasp, and yet, there is so much past pain, that when we finally have it, in every single part of our lives, are we going to be content or do the scars run just too deep.

From my personal perspective I do not feel a part of the feminist community.  Instead, I feel like I align more closely with the humanist movement.  One free of genders, or biases, and one filled with individuals working together for a common good, the expansion and survival of our beautiful species.  I envision a world where we break free from gender norms or roles, where the boxes that contain us are broken apart.  I look for a world beyond equality, a world where we just exists in peace, love and unity.  For now though, I want to bring clarity to the real issues.  Men fucked up.  And women, we need to figure out how to educate them on how to treat us, and figure out a way to move forward after a harrowing past.  So keep spreading the #metoo movement, and explain why consent matters, that all people are equal, and autonomy over our bodies is a positive thing for both men, women and all future generations to come.

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No Means No

I wrote a post in 2012 called, Saying No Can Be Difficult as a Woman, and to date it is in my top 5 list for most popular post.  I received quite a few messages from woman, identifying with my thought process and sharing stories of their own.  It was both encouraging to have dialogue and incredibly depressing that so many have felt this social constraint when it comes to saying no.  We as a gender feel conflicted in many cases, feeling that it is rude or aggressive or just plain not feminine to say no.  As I mentioned woman are socialized to please, to be peacekeepers and to find passive ways to solve issues rather than use the simplicity of no.  And to have it heard, understood and instantly accepted.

As a result, we do not use no effectively.  As controversial as this will sound, when men hear woman say no, often they think we are playing, being coy, or that we just don’t truly mean it.  Why? Because we do not use the word with conviction.  We are not used to saying no flat out, so when we do, it is with apprehension, nervousness, or even a touch of ambiguity.  Woman do not practice saying no in the same manor that men do.  Our body language does not always match the words coming out of our mouths.  We do not say no with confidence, we say it with the subtle or emotional mannerisms and  language that we use in our normal social interactions.

I need to be very clear here.  Just because woman are not socialized to use no, or use it without assertion does not mean that men should ever ignore us when we use it.  And there are massive campaigns out there right now, emphasizing that No Means No.  And this is necessary and correct and positive!  Each individual should know without a doubt the meaning of No and Stop.

However, woman, we need to do better.  We need to raise our children to practice the word no, regardless of gender.  We need to emphasize to our teenagers that when you use no, you mean it.  In a perfect world it would effective on its own, but we do not live in perfection.  So we need to incorporate a firm body language, stoic stance, remove playfulness from our voice and say no whenever we need or want to.  And then have it heard, clearly the first time, every time.

I have written before about the way we are trained to be coy.  And to that end I have worked hard to rise above my old wishy washy way of subtly saying no, and to start to say no the moment I am uncomfortable and to educate, report and block people who cross lines or ignore my use of the word.  If we all work together we can bring back the meaning of no.  By understanding how we educate our children, reinforce these behaviors in our teens, and finally take full and complete ownership of the word as adults we will make this a better place.  End rant.