July 11, 2015
I’m finding that the difference between my husband dating a woman I don’t know (which can be nervy for me, I admit, just because of all the unknown), and my husband dating my best friend is… there is so much love to go around. Elisa is enjoying getting to know and care for Michael (and him for her, of course), but she’s also very focused on being respectful of my feelings and boundaries and on making sure that I’m comfortable and still okay with their relationship (I am, hon!) There’s already explicit trust between all of us, and it makes the complications of our poly arrangement that much more worthwhile and the little ups and down that much easier.
Actually, the hardest part of this relationship has to do with how comfortable we are all with each other. Or, more accurately, what that comfort leads to. For example, Elisa was hanging out with Michael the other day when his mom called and said she was in town. Want to do lunch? We’re still pretty poly-closeted, mostly for the comfort and ease of the people around us, so when they went to lunch, it was strictly as (apparent) friends. And my poor mother-in-law was… let us just say confused. Why is Michael spending so much time with my beset friend lately? She’s got her suspicions, I think, and she’s fighting as hard as she can to convince herself that her son would never cheat on his wife. And he wouldn’t. But she’s also not exactly wrong.
Likewise, I just got a text from my next-door neighbor who was trying to find a subtle way to let me know that he’s seen my best friend’s car around the house a lot when I’m not home. It’s natural in our society for people to see a married man and a woman hanging out a lot and assume the worst of those people. I just wish that saying “Yup! They’re dating and it’s great!” wouldn’t make things even more awkward with people around the edges of our life. (Bonus fun: our neighbors across the street are famous all up and down the block for top-of-the-voice fighting about the boyfriend’s cheating ways.)
March 9, 2015
One of the fun things about poly is that it opens up the definition of the word relationship. Not that it isn’t broad already! I have a relationship with my mom, one with my brother, ones with colleagues and acquaintances, and they’re all very different beings and mean different things! But what about my… personal life? What about Relationships with a capital ‘R’? That’s pretty cut and dried, right? What about a one night stand? Is that a relationship? What if you’ve got a fuck buddy that you don’t interact with in any other way except when you’re horny? Does that qualify? What about a group of friends who all “mess around” with each other? Are those friendships or relationships? Are they both? Does it matter?
A friend of mine, who is also poly, recently told me about a friend of hers. They’re dating, but my friend is the only one who knows that. Once a week they go out for dinner and a movie, great conversation, and joyful companionship. He’d tell you that they’re friends who just enjoy hanging out alone together. She enjoys what she considers dates, is perfectly happy with the relationship exactly how it is, and would cheerfully murder anyone who clued her (friend? boyfriend? date buddy?) in and maybe ruined it.
Can you really be dating someone and only one person knows about it? It’s a question I’ve been pondering lately, along with questions of consent, ethics, and how relationships and attachments get defined, by whom, and whether they truly have to match. If I am getting what I want and need out of interactions with another person, does it matter if they define our relationship the same way that I do?
The difference, for me, is in the effects it has. If I was in my friends position and that guy was single, then I’d date away without a worry in the world. But if he was in a relationship already, then my feelings about our dates might matter to his other partner, and that is a secret that I just wouldn’t feel right keeping, even if it cost me my relationship or forced me to redefine it. Which is why, when I recently found myself in a similar situation, I decided that I had to come clean. It remains to be seen whether things will have to change, but I’m glad I didn’t continue to behave in a way that feels sneaky to me.
Life is complicated, but fortunately it’s beautiful, too. I hope your complications are glorious, and worth every twist and turn!
February 14, 2015
…and that’s awesome!
My word, it’s been a long time since I’ve written here! Partly that’s because Michael and I have been fairly low-key about seeking partners, and partly there was simply too much else on my plate, but there’s been a recent development that’s quickly getting serious.
Due to some health stuff, my sex drive has been practically nil for a couple of years now, but between knowing he could get his physical needs met elsewhere if necessary and simply being a very wonderfully patient guy, Michael has been fine with it. That’s changing lately, but until very recently, I used to love to joke that it would be highly convenient if he and my high-sex-drive-but-dates-jerks best friend hooked up. After all, they get along great, have interests in common, both like sex (yay!), and she is a person I trust completely.
At first she was almost horrified; she accepts our choices, but she’s pretty strictly monogamous, herself. Well, until now, she has been. After her last boyfriend turned into Mr. Hyde, she confessed that she was sick of losers and was really hungry for a little physical intimacy with a guy she didn’t have to worry about betraying her. And I told Michael. And he sent her a text. And they started discussing it…
Elisa is still nervous as hell, but she took the leap, and I’m hopeful that their friendship is going to blossom into something really fucking awesome. In the meantime, I just kissed my hubby a very sexy goodbye and sent him off to my best friend’s bed (footnote, they haven’t had sex yet, but they’ve fooled around and actually slept together), and I am SO okay with that.
Compersion? Yes! And not a speck of jealousy or ill will. AND I get the whole damn bed to myself tonight. Win-win-win!
June 3, 2012
I love my husband. But we don’t have sex. And if I don’t have sex with him, and we sleep in different rooms, then how are we different from roommates? And if we’re “just” roommates, then what significance can our relationship really have for us?
I know this is sort of non-sensical, but it’s some of the stuff that’s been knocking around in my skull lately, and it’s really throwing me off balance, so let’s get it all out, shall we?
What I’m really questioning, deep in my psyche, is what our relationship is, and how sex or lack of sex may have redefined it. After all, normal married couples have sex, so if we don’t, does that make us less married? Less in love? Less able to care for each other. Of course not, but my fears are the ones in the driver’s seat right now emotionally, so I’m trying to squish them. And that’s where defining relationships comes in.
For example, my brother and I share an undeniable bond. We hated each other growing up, but once I moved out things changed radically. We’ve become allies, friends, and companions, and although we disagree sometimes, argue, and get frustrated with one another, I’m still driving something like 14 hours with him to help him move out of state. Because I love him and he loves me, and we are Sibling. So what is sibling? It isn’t just about growing up together, because I know plenty of siblings who don’t have a special bond or even much of a bond at all. It was a decision that we both reached pretty much simultaneously around the time we came of age. I’ve got your back.
And maybe it really is that easy. Michael has my back, too. We don’t just live in the same house, we’re there for each other, and there’s an understanding, both stated and quietly understood, that we always will be. Like my brother and I, Michael and I have made a decision. I love you. You love me. I’ve got your back.
June 1, 2012
Okay, community, I challenge YOU! Send me an amazing alternate reality story… and make it poly friendly!
Like a Trip Through the Mirror: Alternate Reality Erotica
Deadline:July 15, 2012
Ever wondered what’s on the other side of the mirror? From Alice stepping through the looking glass to Mirror Universes, exploring other versions of reality can show us the weird, the wonderful, and the strange twists on the things most familiar to us, especially when it comes to sex and sexuality. Step through the right dimensional door, and there is a universe where your particular kink is commonplace or your ex-lover finds you irresistible. Do you know someone who has created a fantasy world, where she has her own harem of sexy studs? Let’s hear all about it! We want to see accidents of magic and fate that lead us to a sexy new world, experiments in physics that open new doors to places with erotic potential, and technology that takes us into worlds of our secret imaginations. Anything that takes us outside reality as we know it is fair game as long as it turns us on!
All sexualities and gender expressions are welcomed.
LIKE A TRIP THROUGH THE MIRROR will be edited by Kathleen Tudor.
For more details on how to submit, keep reading:
Length: Our preferred length is approximately 3500 to 7500 words, but we will consider the range from 2000 to 10,000 words.
How to Submit: All submissions must be made via email to Kathleen Tudor, editor, at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions sent to other addresses/other editors at Circlet Press will not be considered. Standard manuscript formatting rules apply even though sending as an attachment (MS Word .doc or .rtf preferred). Please note that this means your name, address, and email contact must appear on the manuscript itself and not simply in your email message. (If you’re not sure what standard short story submission format should look like, Google is your friend.)
No simultaneous submissions (that is, don’t also send your story elsewhere at the same time, and don’t send it to multiple Circlet editors, either), and no multiple submissions to the same book. One story per author per anthology, thanks.
All stories must include explicit sexuality and erotic focus. Romantic content is welcome, but in a short story remember to keep the details on the action and its effects on the main character’s internal point of view. We favor a strong, singular narrative voice (no ‘head hopping’). For more details on our editorial preferences, see the general submission guidelines on circlet.com. We highly recommend reading the guidelines, especially the “do not send” list, to increase your chances of sending us something we’ll love. Try to avoid cliches. Fresh and direct language is preferred to overly euphemistic. Sex-positive, please, no rape/nonconsensuality/necrophilia or other purposefully gross topics. We do not publish horror.
Originals only, no reprints. We purchase first rights for inclusion in the ebook anthology for $25, with the additional rights to a print edition later which would also be paid $25 if a print edition happens. Authors retain the rights to the individual stories; Circlet exercises rights to the anthology as a whole.
May 28, 2012
Saturday night was ladies night at a local gay club, and I am finally feeling so ready to meet people…
My night started a little too early when only a few couples in their fifties were at the club, shortly after opening. I hung out downstairs and chatted with a man I met, instead. He was definitely gay, but I guess a little lonely and he kept buying me drinks. I spent more time than I meant to listening to him talk (even if I tried to talk, he wasn’t really listening back, so I let him chatter). Eventually, I managed to get away. Upstairs was wild by that time, with loud music and women’s bodies moving mostly to the beat on the dance floor. I was tipsy already, so I waded out into the dancers and started to move to the music on my own. It was exhilarating and fun, and soon a woman waved me over and we danced together.
I’m completely new to clubbing, so there are still things to learn. Like how to gracefully switch partners if you spot someone more your type. I did manage to extract myself from the clutches of two different Very Drunk Older Women by claiming a need for water, but I’d float away if I did that every time I wanted to switch partners. 🙂
I danced until I was drenched in sweat, and then made my way outside onto the patio for some air. It felt great, and I soon found myself chatting with a trio of friends. The one I was most attracted to was straight (damn!) but soon the two straight women had drawn off into their own conversation to give me room with their friend. She wasn’t what I am normally attracted to, physically, but she was sweet and interesting and had a tattoo very similar to mine, which was intriguing. We chatted and flirted and I explained my home situation to her and she explained about her cheating ex. We ended up kissing, and it was not the best kiss of my life, but it turned me on in a pure, physical way that I have been missing with Michael for a while now. His kisses are affection and comfort and love, but they don’t stoke that fire in me. Hers were pure arousal and it was exciting to find that.
In the end we exchanged phone numbers, but in the morning light I realized that I was much more interested in her as a friend than as a potential girlfriend, and her self-esteem issues were a HUGE red flag for me. I asked her out for coffee to be polite and to keep from damaging her fragile self further, and she politely shot me down because in the end, she wants monogamy. What a relief!
Yes, I still have a lot to learn… but it seems like I’m going to have some serious fun learning it.
May 24, 2012
Michael has been chatting with a nice young lady (she’s a year younger than me, so I think I can officially call her that) on a dating site, and the time has come… They’re going to meet! It has, you may have noticed, been a LONG time since either of us has dated any, so this was a sort of big deal and I am getting emotionally used to the idea, again, of sharing him. Their first meeting is to be a get-to-know you while our kid (4) and hers (5) play together, no hanky-panky.
And suddenly it occurs to me what a convenient solution that might be for them – let Kathleen watch the kids, after all, they play great together! And we’ll go have a romantic dinner. My first, intense, knee-jerk, nut kicking reaction is “OMG NO!” And this before the idea has even been conceived of by anyone but me. Pretty intense, but upon further inspection, not unreasonable. (And before I get too much farther into this post I just want to say, I’m not saying I’d never watch her kid, but it would have to be after I had gotten to know and like HER, and after she and her child were an established and steady part of our lives.)
The thing is, when Michael and Becky were dating, I was a facilitator. My needs became secondary as I smoothed the road and made sure that all obstacles to their togetherness were removed where possible, despite the fact that this was neither my responsibility nor my role (or should not have been). Becky, who claimed all the “poly experience” should have known better and asked me to back off, but that is neither here nor there. The fact is, babysitting a kid I barely know so that my husband can go have a romantic evening with a woman I barely know… It’s wonderfully convenient for them, but unless she’s paying me $10 an hour, it’s definitely putting my needs and wants below the establishment and growth of their relationship.
Logically, we have kids the same age and if I’m watching one kid, why not two? But emotions are a very different matter, as are perceptions (I don’t exactly want my husband’s new girlfriend to see me as the nanny or the pushover or the person to use for her convenience!) And for that reason, unless she becomes a serious partner of Michael’s and unless she and I (and her KID and I! And her kid and MY kid!) get along, she’s just going to have to call a sitter.
Heck, logically we should all just live with our parents for the rest of our lives and save the money on rent, but sometimes you just have to think of yourself. 🙂
March 21, 2012
I was just going to ignore your comment, but upon careful reading it seems to me that you were trying to actually be helpful, not snide, so I decided to write back to you.
So, to address your first pop-psychology diagnosis:
hm to be honest it sounds more like you have a phobia to the penis rather then being a lesbian. and if you do have that phobea its called phallophobia.
I don’t know where you got this idea, since I’ve never stated that I am afraid of penises. Far from it. I’ve watched and enjoyed m/m gay porn (I’d love to know what diagnosis that might net me in your book!), and I still sometimes touch or stroke my husband’s penis because I enjoy the feel. If he’s lucky he even gets a happy ending. 😉 However, I am almost instantly turned stone cold OFF by the idea of inserting said penis of the man I love into my body. Trust me, this has been frustrating for me, but it isn’t a matter of not loving or being intimate with my husband, it just does NOT appeal to fuck him. Or any man. In fact, penises attached to men who are NOT my beloved husband tend to seriously gross me out if I have to touch them. No scare, just icky.
Here is a question for you. are you physically attracted to your husband as well as men? meaning do you find your husband attractive? do you find other men attractive?
Yes. And NO! I think my husband is handsome. I think other men are nice to look at sometimes. If I try to imagine kissing them, it’s almost the same kind of grossout factor I get if I picture kissing my brother. (Note: I meant kissing strange men. I actually still enjoy kissing my husband because I love him, but it doesn’t turn me on at all.)
I just wanted to take this moment, by the way, to say that I am super offended by someone else (who I have never met or even spoken to!!) trying to tell me whether I am gay or not. For future reference, that’s really, really bad manners.
at one point you said you two were very sexually active? what happen? do you think you might be sick of the open relationship. because in all honesty, i think knowing that you man is fucking other women can take the intimacy out of your sex life. and while you say its ok, being woman, i think we are far more attracted and attached to the emotional aspect of sex then men are.
I covered this in the post you are replying to, but since you didn’t get it, I will touch on it again, here. First of all, I’m 26 and only figuring out I’m gay. That indicates a certain level of repression, which is not surprising (entirely) considering the number of other things I’ve suppressed from my rocky childhood. Let’s say unintentional emotional abuse/damage and leave it there. Part of this damage involved some abandonment issues, and I used sex as a tool (subconsciously; this was not intentional manipulative behavior) to bind my husband to me. In a way, the inner logic was probably something like this: “The more we have sex the more he’ll want me and owe me, and then he won’t want to leave me!”
We spent YEARS working on these mental/psychological traumas. Painful, hard, tearful work that resulted in my mental health and self-esteem improving steadily. And my sex drive declined in what we now see was almost PERFECT proportion. The less I needed sex as an offering, a tool, or a bargaining chip, the less I wanted it. At least with my (male) husband. And yet I kept having it because I felt like as his wife I owed it to him. I didn’t HATE it, exactly, it just did nothing for me, even when I came. (And don’t tell me I haven’t had a real orgasm.)
Currently what is the status of your poly relationship? is he still seeing Becky? are you seeing a man or woman? To me, and I know I don’t know everything about you and your husband, but to me this doesn’t sound like that much of a intimate relationship. I mean how could it be, if there are other partners?
Again, if you had continued reading you would have seen that his relationship with Becky ended when she went wacko about six months in. I have been on a handful of first dates with men, but couldn’t get really interested in any of them (for reasons that I hope are obvious by now.) I had one VERY fulfilling one-day fling with a female friend about two years ago. That is the last time either of us had sex outside of each other. Not because we can’t, but because we’re very happy together and it takes someone really special to make either of us want to go there with someone else.
1. close: having, involving, or resulting from a close personal relationship
2. cozy: quiet and private or secluded, enabling people to feel relaxed with each other
3. private and personal: so private and personal as to be kept secret or discussed only with a close friend or relative
As you can see by definition intimate, means close and private. How private can it be with more then one lover? And I know that poly relationship can be intimate yet I don’t really get that feeling when I read your blogs. More then once you have stated that you feel like the odd man out. How can this be? If your relationship is intimate? Either way I don’t think you’re a lasbian because you used to enjoy sex with him before. Something happened. I think you both need to dig deep and figure out what it was.
Intimate means close OR private. Not both at the same time. To drive this point home, I invite you to look up the word “stool”. One definition applies at a time. Sorry, you fail. Our relationship is and always has been close. Otherwise called “intimate”. It’s pretty obvious from your comment that you just skimmed my blog but did not read in depth, or you would have seen some of the reasons for my feeling like the “odd woman out” in Michael’s relationship with Becky (which was a combination of getting used to the idea of people poly, having to do a lot of processing, and Michael behaving a little irrationally, which he has since recognized and thinks he can correct). And for the record, what I enjoyed about sex with him in the beginning was likely the sense of security it gave me, like hugging a blankie.
one last question, you say your Bi or at least you thought you were bi…yet a Bisexual person once told me, ‘If you can not picture yourself falling in love with both sexes, and being able to be happy with just that one of them, just as much as you are with another sex. Meaning you can be fulfilled sexually, emotionally and everything by either sex. If you can not say you can, then you are not bisexual. Being Bisexual mean more then being sexually attracted to both sexes. It mean you can be in love with either one as well, and not yearn or want for anything outside of that relationship. Again being able to be intimate with that one person.
Since you like official definitions, here’s the definition for bisexual:
For the record, the definition we’re using here is #2 (because, as you now know, only one definition needs apply.) Amusingly, I do not fit the definition of bisexual not because of a lack of ability for romantic feelings (I am in love with my husband – he’s that awesome), but because I am not SEXUALLY attracted to him. Romantically AND sexually, I can only see myself falling for a woman.
So to be honest I think you and your husband are just having the typical intimacy issues that most married couples go through, depending on how long they have been together. Well I hope this comment helps as I’m pretty such I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been there, (meaning I’ve been in a relationship, that I no longer want to have sex with…not the bi thing or poly thing lol). Either way talk about it, and try to push through because its obvious that you love this man. You wouldn’t let him fuck other women if you didn’t.
I’m sorry, I know you mean well, but I am so truly offended. Do you want to know where I was before I wrote this blog post? I spent two hours in bed with my husband, snuggling, giggling, and holding each other while talking about our days. There may also have been a tickle or two. That’s pretty normal for us, and the fact that I am not sexually attracted to him hurts and bothers me way more than it does him. I know this because – since we are so intimate – we talk very regularly about how we are both feeling and handling things with regard to this revelation. Well, and with regard to pretty much everything else in our lives.
Please, please don’t go around telling people they aren’t gay.