Until you can again get consent from every person you interact with…
I try not to speak out against people in the swinging community, for one simple reason, I think it is more beneficial to show the good in the community. However, right now there are podcasters, even organizers, and club owners who are basically shining a horrific bright light on the community, and I all I can think is “you do it to yourself!”. It is heartbreaking, because I spend countless hours each week trying to dispel taboo’s, and talk about the great points of non-monogamy. Dispelling myths is absolutely my jam, and while I don’t have a huge reach, I feel that what I do is valuable. But here I am, watching people I follow like @CooperSBeckett and Steak&Tequila speaking up, and I feel compelled to join them, by saying Swingers, stop swinging.
I won’t mince words here with my point. There are swingers right now who are putting their sexual lusts ahead of the good of the community and that makes me sick to the stomach. I am not OK with hotel takeovers during this global pandemic. I am not OK with sex clubs being open, claiming that they are only open to consenting adults who know the risks, because there are just no get out of jail free cards here. I recognize that the club owners need to keep their livelihood, but the cost is just too great here. I have empathy for every small business owner out there, but you cannot put people in harms way for profit. You just can’t, it’s wrong.
I am going stir crazy at home. I hate not being able to go out and meet new people in person like I used to do. I miss dancing, flirting, having sex in front of a group of consenting adults. I hate the isolation, and yeah, my libido feels like a caged animal right now. I even broke my favourite vibrator due to over use. But, my love of my fellow man is more important. These are small sacrifices in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve said it before, but when you go to a sex party during a pandemic, you are putting the cleaning staff, uber/cab drivers, liquor store clerks, grocery store clerks, and each and everyone of your family members at unnecessary risk. Why? Because you selfishly need to get laid! Often these innocent bystanders are lower income, and don’t have the choice to say no to work. But guess what? You, have the choice to put your sex drive on pause, for the good of others.
There has been such a push for consent, and if you’re a swinger I know you have heard the word. Well, consent isn’t just about sex. Consent is a norm that should be extended to all humans we interact with. And let’s face it, there is no way you are telling your elderly parents that you can’t see them for 14 days because you have to isolate after sex with strangers. There is no way, you are telling your babysitter that you are wearing a mask to drive them home, because you have just had your face in a stranger’s crotch. While swingers are more adept at hiding their lifestyle, if no one is supposed to be going out in groups, you stand out like a sore thumb! Just stop it!
I want to get back out there in 2021. But the more I see about people saying, bring your parties to Florida, we have no restrictions. Or emails saying, the hotel takeover was sold out in record time, and we are looking for a bigger venue. Or advertisements of podcasts driving across the country bringing the parties to you! I am just… tired. So tired. And sexually frustrated, and there is no end in sight.
If you are reading this, and feel it is a stretch and I am drawing ridiculous conclusions, I actually feel very sorry for you. In fact, I think I am under reacting, because the damage you are doing to the integrity of the non-monogamous community is heartbreaking. When this is over, we may have to go back underground, hide in shame, and stop using the word ethical. That crushes my soul. It’s a loss I am not prepared for. So please, cancel your events. Stop taking risks in the name of sex. And follow this simple rule, if you’re not willing to be open and honest in seeking consent when putting anyone into contact with you, you probably shouldn’t do it!
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I posted a rant a while back on the subject of Hookups, Couples, and Swinging, and honestly I thought I did a pretty great of expressing my dislike for the whole hookup culture. However, it turns out, I kinda jumped the gun thinking that I would only ever be dating as a couple…. Whoops! So now that I am putting my feet in the dating pool in a more solo driven capacity, and accepting solo men (Please be terrified for me, because I know I am) I’ve realized online dating and reading comprehension do not go hand in hand. In fact, more often than not the idea that I want a FWB or a hookup because I proudly state I am non-monogamous is a hurdle I keep having to jump. And well, they just don’t give me enough characters in a message to say what I really feel about this… Non-monogamy is not code for hookups or FWB.
Now, I know that the majority of my readers have already been exposed to the word non-monogamy, but if you haven’t, then I am about to blow your mind… the diversity within the word non-monogamous is vast. In fact, I have tried to write about the definitions outside of monogamy so many times, and always come up short. Many call it a spectrum and I urge you to go and look one up if you haven’t already. Suffice it to say, pretty much any relationship outside of monogamy is possible including: polyamory, swinging, triads, FWB, foursomes, don’t ask don’t tell, ethical non-monogamy, and when you factor in all the gender diversity too… well, it turns out that there is no solid assumption you can make when you read someone identifies as non-monogamous.
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And honestly, that is one of my favorite things about being non-monogamous, the freedom to choose. The freedom over my body, my relationships, and sex life is pretty damn empowering. That I can love someone with all my heart, and still be able to explore things I am interested in sexually and emotionally. Ok, I know you have all read my little anthem before. I love being non-monogamous. What I don’t love is being told that I am only looking for hookups. Or that I am only worthy of a FWB. Or that I am a slut or I am unable to settle down, by extension that something must be wrong with me. Or that I my sex life is unfulfilling. (Again, people I haven’t even met have dared to say each and everyone of these things to me on various online dating sites).
My optimistic nature thought, and still tries to be hopeful in the idea that new people would get excited about my relationship fluidity. If someone is amazing, I will make an effort to fit them into my life. It could be a hook-up once a year, or something more ongoing. It could be a full-on relationship where we go out on dates, plan a future, and grow to love each other. It could be physical, emotional, flirty, honestly it depends on our chemistry and timing and all those wonderful factors that come into play. I am open to the possibilities and don’t want to pigeon hole myself into some ideal that won’t make sense long term.
Sex is important to me. And yes, I want to get laid as often as possible. But if all you are offering me is that? Well, I am going to hold out for someone who actually wants to get to know me, and not just my body, because right now… that is what I am looking for. Also, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time: my body, my heart, my choice!
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As a non-monogamous person, I spend a lot of my time working on relationships. Between strengthening the one I have at home, and the constant quest for new and incredible people, I humbly submit that I should get an A for effort. People are my passion. Relationship building is my forte. But, I will admit, there is a problem with my foundation, with me. While I have overcome many things in the past few years (with this last one being a real rollercoaster), there is something I need to put more focus on, loving me again.
A few months ago, I created a sex positive 30 day challenge, which was probably harder for me, than anyone else who joined in. Having to tell myself “I love me”, in the mirror brought me to tears. I crumbled. Not because I don’t love myself, but because I wasn’t in love with myself. I had not done anything of late to boost myself up. I had no new crazy or adventurous stories to tell. I had no new projects that I can excitedly get feedback on or bounce ideas about. I had put my inner passion for my ideas and creativity on the back burner.
And yes, I did this in on purpose. I finally took that long hard look at myself and realized that I needed to forgive myself for my past, heal up, and take a real break to recharge. Loving half a person is the most difficult journey I have ever endured. And I did it, for the last year (more to come on that in a future post). I would do it again in a heartbeat, but it changed me. As a creative and passionate individual with drive and dreams I would find myself snapping at life in general. Why do I have to do everything? Why can I not take a break, and have someone take care of me for a few moments? Why will these tears just not stop?
The answer? I put myself on hold for another human being. I was living at half my creative capacity, with the other half keeping my human… alive. (Watching a loved one battle depression is anguish.)
Reading that last thought, over and over again, I am not sure if using past or present tense is more accurate. That being said, I didn’t make excuses to type this morning. I simply poured my coffee, and started to type. And that, is a huge step. I didn’t feel obligated, instead I felt calm enough to start sharing. And that means I am feeling the fruits of the recharge. The drive is coming back, and you better believe that passion is too. I am starting to fall back in love with myself, because let’s face it, a whole human being is far sexier than half a soul right?
I will be challenging myself to post more photos on my Patreon page this month in the spirit of accepting and loving my body for the here and now instead of lamenting that it is not what it was, and I am grateful for all the support in this endeavour.
As much as I adore when people discover that there is a world outside of monogamy, I equally loath the stuff that comes out of their mouths (especially from those who have done zero research!). While I have ranted before on the judge first, ask questions later, this post is about people who claim that non-monogamy is merely a luxury. In fact, there was a person lurking on R/nonmonogamy who made a comment to this point and went on to say it should be easy to just discard it when faced with obstacles (like the current pandemic). And I feel that we are finally deep enough inside this year of hell, that I can talk about this subject without accidentally encouraging people to race out and have sex with a bunch of random people. My main message is still clear, non-monogamy must stay on hold. But, when it comes to people trying to just brand these relationships as a luxury, I, have many thoughts… AKA this post. So join me as I try and process everything that makes me cringe about this line of thinking.
Non-monogamy takes an insane amount of work. Yes, maybe you could draw a correlation that luxury items are expensive, therefore take a lot of money and effort to get, and non-monogamy has similar parallels. However, the truth is this is a correlation vs causation fallacy. Non-monogamy, while on the surface may seem like something unnecessary, the fact of the matter is that for many (myself included) it is an essential extension of who we are as sexual and social beings. There is no luxury to be found. Rarely do you get to just sit back and marvel at your new toy. Nope, you are constantly working, scheduling, talking, flirting, co-ordinating, and compromising. Sure, you have the incredible afterglow of a first meeting, sexy session, or incredible flirtation, but let me tell you, it is more like a full-time job, than an item we lust over.
Now, perhaps you think that it is selfish to be non-monogamous, as many luxury items often are. Why you ask, can you not just settle down with one person. One person is rational, level headed, but to seek more than that… sheesh? And I say to you… NO! What if you were in a sexless marriage? What if you loved your partner so much that you wanted to help them live out their fantasy? What if you believed in free love? What if you were just inherently polyamorous and recognized that loving more than one person was the most natural thing in the world to you? Would any of these questions be akin to a luxury item? Definitely not. So, whereas luxury items are not necessary, non-monogamy often is.
Having to pause a part of who you are for the greater good is not easy. I am a social person, who thrives around people and with physical touch and intimacy. That being said, I would never put myself, or my partner in jeopardy to fullfill these urges. And while the original person who got me riled up went onto explain how amazing it was getting back to monogamy, calling out everyone who swings, is poly, or practices any level of non-monogamy as a trifle want really pissed me off. I have had to close off a part of who I am, and how I engage with other people, for the greater good. This isn’t like giving up an extravagant trip to that upscale steakhouse, that I crave all the time. Or cancelling that yacht vacation that you had been saving up for all year. No non-monogamy is much more than that for me. And having people just dismiss it hurts.
There is one more thing that I will add. Luxury items are in essence a way to splurge, brag, or are simply an extravagance that enhance a moment, goal, or express a want. For me embracing non-monogamy has made me a better person. I am more open to situations, and far more loving. And if I am completely honest have become a much more passionate and expressive soul as a result of not having to hold anything back. While I cherish a few rings, and that bottle of champagne I hope to open this year, they are far removed from making me a better soul. And who out there can say the same about that fancy diamond?
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Around age five, I knew when I saw myself in the mirror it didn’t match what I saw on TV. People with white skin made the decisions, announced the news, led the adventures, and ran the world. People like me were barely seen and heard except for some recurring roles on TV shows or the occasional mention that this person was the “first” of our kind to be heading an important seat.
My mom made sure I got a good education because having a strong education background could make my life “easier”. I excelled in reading and other subjects. I tried sports, but the idea of playing in sports didn’t work.
My time in the military exposed me to the world and allowed me to parlay my abilities to show that I can navigate through any social circles. However, no matter the places I went to or the people I met; no matter my background or how I spoke; no matter my education or how well I could integrate between both the Black and Caucasian worlds I could never fully be included into their world. The systemic racism built into every part of our social construct would be a stumbling block for full integration and acceptance.
When I came into the Ethical Non-Monogamy world I hoped this could be a place for me to fit in without much effort. That wasn’t the case in this community either. Many times I find myself–like many people of color— as a person (or people) on the outside looking in. But the woman who was with me is White, Irtish/Scottish, and knew the scene better than I did. Without her, I think I’d be on a different path in the scene.
I could rail away about club owners or organizers not doing enough to integrate more and creating an equal space so no one was left out. Nor do I blame those who painstakingly tried to create conferences for ENM communities could flourish. I do believe there are people who try their best to include people of color in the mix. My thought is really listening and having an honest discussion on how the chasm can be filled between Whites, Blacks, and all other minority groups.
In light of the recent shootings and deaths of Black people around the country in the past few decades that include the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, the non-monogamous community must not just change but have some deep discussions about where we go from here. I think if we want the type of community Ethical Non-Monogamous people strive to have–one where everyone is equal, integrated, and striving for diverse relationships–it will happen when we start to discuss the issues facing us as a nation. It will also mean the White community must really listen to Black/Brown people about their experience in such settings.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio as a Black African-American we were never taught in school or home about the idea of having more than one person to love. Nor did we ever get lessons about enjoying having multiple partners in various scenarios or even find joy in our sexuality. No, my sexuality summed up by my mother’s stern warning to me at the time to not “make any grand-babies right now because I’m too old for that shit”. I was also the product of both the Catholic and Protestant churches where sex equated to purity and the right of passage once one is married. Sex outside of marriage–be it before or during– had no place in the world they wanted me to live in. The problem was I LOVE SEX and all the trappings with it!
I would learn later in life about these things in a classroom from a trained human sexuality teacher that all the guilt and hang-ups I had with my faith walk were wrong and that sex is pleasurable and can be enjoyed regardless of where I was in life.
I needed to hear that from someone outside of the realm I lived in. Sadly, the marriage I had before was over and in hindsight was okay. If we both got a more informed background on practices like Swinging, Polyamory, or Open Relationships the marriage could at least have a chance to survive.
The crux of it all regarding sexuality and my race is how at the time the amount of good information was available to my community. We fended for ourselves trying to figure out what is out there in the world and what is acceptable by our peers. I didn’t know any Black men or women who took the time to read up and find out about such things to get proper information.
I identify as a swinger in an Interracial Relationship. With our first circle of friends we met in the club I was the only Black person in the group. They were great people and we were fortunate to pair up with them. However, they don’t realize some of the things they would say (“you are the whitest Black person I know”) really hurt me. Just because I carried myself well and have an interest beyond the Black world doesn’t mean I’m trying to be White, nor does it mean that White people are the only ones who have a command of the English language. What many don’t realize is we do this to blend into, to try and defuse any tension among my White friends and show my desire to be included in the world. Even at my best I still find myself on the outside looking in.
I was always curious about swinging and open relationships. But because of the heavy influence of the church in our community or just any sexual relationship other than monogamous relationship pursuing such activities would be seen as trying to be “white”. When I came to such settings in Swing clubs and House parties I found other people of color were finding this stuff out too. Unless a black person or couple found themselves in a good group many found themselves on the outside looking in.
The other thing which was/is hurtful and makes Black men invisible is the whole “Mandigo”, “BBC–Big Black Cock” troupe where every Black male is expected to have the mythical Unicorn horn length cock stealing white women from their white men.
Some may enjoy this fetish, but a lot of us want to be seen based on our personality, our desires, and who we are as people— not as a fetish.
And being a Woman of Color is also troubling as well. From what I observe, the frustration Black and Brown women in the lifestyle face range from being invisible to being treated by White men as a “trophy” instead of a person. Only they can tell their story more adequately, but I stand in solidarity that their desire for relationships would be treated not as “exotic” but natural.
Our current circle of swinger friends have enough people of color (and middle age persons and couples) where it is comfortable and a safe place for everyone to strive to connect on all levels. It really helps to feel like you’re not the only one in the group and you are included in the fun.
If you could see the group room sometimes where we “play” together it is a beautiful mesh of Black and White bodies enjoying one another. What is even better is we truly care about one another and want the best for each other–both in and out of the setting.
What do we do now that the world realizes what the Black community said about abuse, murder, and systematic racism is true? How do the Ethical Non-Monogamy communities as a whole do to create a better relationship with Black/Brown patrons of the lifestyle?
I hope Polyamory communities and sites will take up the challenge and delve into the hard work ahead. I hope Swingers groups will not avoid talking about it, but create such a safe space for couples and single people to share and talk about the issues which affect both worlds. I hope in time the communities will strive to pull together and be under one tent together growing the community as a whole and not be separate. This can only happen when both groups strive to meet together in the middle instead of just one group doing all the heavy lifting.
This will require bloggers, podcast hosts, group leaders, and even finding the right party to facilitate a moment to lay down the rules. And it may be even important for each of us to place in our profiles just how important it is to make sure that first #BlackLivesMatter and secondly make safe spaces to talk about such issues in relation to Ethical Non-Monogamy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that White America and the World are finally wanting to join us in the streets to protest and talk with us about how we enter under the sheets together in the bedroom. I think it is a talk we needed a long time ago, to be honest. However, I make no illusions that by the time I/we hang up our time in the Lifestyle or in the end of my life the World will look a lot better and a lot more connected together regardless of race. I do hope things will be better, people are treated with respect, and how and who we chose to pair up with we pair knowing where we came from and where we are going together.
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