April 18, 2015

Why Robin Rinaldi was NOT in an “Open Marriage”

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:06 am by Kathleen

The headline makes me wince: “I Slept with 12 Strangers with my Husband’s Permission”, it screams, and I instantly feel that sick twinge in my gut because I just know that this is going to be another story of disastrous monogamy-gone-astray that gets touted as polyamory and, thus, depicts poly as dysfunctional and inherently ruinous to the inexperienced reader.

Sure enough, the article, promoting Rinaldi’s book The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost, goes on to describe a year in which she and her spouse lived separately (while spending weekends together) in order to explore other relationships and, at least in Rinaldi’s case, find her sexual awakening independent of her spouse.

That, my friends, is not poly (or an open marriage), that is an amicable trial separation.

Where they Went Astray
There are very few “thou shalt nots” when it comes to poly; every relationship is different, every couple (or group) handles relationships and rules differently, and every person can (or wants to) handle a different level of information about their partners’ partners.

But some rules, you just don’t break:

Communicate!

  • How to handle it: If you’re unsatisfied, talk to your partner about how the two of you can best meet your needs. Define clear boundaries and expectations, and keep the lines of communication open throughout the process to ensure that the existing relationship doesn’t grow apart.
  • How they handled it: Don’t ask, don’t tell. They established rules, but didn’t communicate when those rules were broken, experienced intimacy with other people without sharing any of that with their spouse, and based on how surprised they were to find themselves two very changed people at the end of the year, probably weren’t communicating/working on their own relationship during their weekends together, either.
  • Mind the Rules

  • How to handle it: Negotiate clear rules with your partner(s) and be mindful of those limitations at all times. Rules are how you protect yourself and your partner(s), and your established relationships. They’re a matter of respect and yes you are cheating if you break them, even if it’s a rule that seems silly to you or that no other poly people you know follow. If you and your partner(s) have agreed that you can only have sex with people in clown suits and that’s no longer working for you, go back to #1 and communicate your changed circumstances.
  • How they handled it: The article mentions two rules: no sex without protection and no emotional intimacy (God, I hate it when people think they can legislate their partner’s feelings!) Robin Rinaldi developed an emotional connection with the man she eventually left her husband for. Oops. Her husband, meanwhile, had a six month affair with a woman (emotional) and allegedly was not using condoms. So much for rules.
  • Respect your Partner(s)

  • How to handle it: Ask your partner what they need. Discuss what needs are not being met, and find respectful, mutually work toward solutions, and be willing to acknowledge when needs are simply un-meetable (for example, a person working full time and going to school full time and sleeping part-time only has so many hours, and “I need to see more of you” isn’t going to work short term; instead, these partners could discuss how things will change in the long term, and exactly when they expect to be able to re-negotiate their circumstances.)
  • How they handled it: Robin handed down an ultimatum (I am GOING to go have sex with people!). Her husband spent six months actively flouting the rules they’d laid down together, and the only one he willingly followed was “keep your mouth shut”. These are not respectful behaviors on either end.
  • I am not hating on Robin Rinaldi!
    Please don’t mistake me; Rinaldi is a grown woman who saw that her needs were not being met within her marriage and took steps to place herself in a situation that was right for her. She had lots of sex (awesome!) and opened up to new aspects of herself, and ultimately seems to have landed in a situation that is more comfortable for her.

    But the way she did it was NOT by having an open marriage. She and her husband physically and emotional separated themselves from their commitment to each other and dated other people while they tried to figure out if their marriage was fixable. It’s not an uncommon end to marriage, and it wasn’t, by outward appearances, a particularly devastating one, but to call it polyamory (or open marriage) is to portray consensual non-monogamy as ruinous and dangerous–a last-ditch, wild-oats patch on an already failing marriage, and one more likely to end that marriage than save it–and that’s not fair to those of us who, with the blessing (not just “permission”) of our partners explore intimacy, love, and yeah, plenty of hot sex with other people.

    Blessings,
    Kathleen

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    June 3, 2012

    Defining Relationships

    Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:19 pm by Kathleen

    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.

    Blessings,

    Kathleen

    June 1, 2012

    A Call for Submissions – Alternate Reality Erotica

    Posted in Call for Submissions tagged , , , , , at 9:42 pm by Kathleen

    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: polykathleen@gmail.com

    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

    Finally Getting Out There

    Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:44 pm by Kathleen

    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.

    Blessings,

    Kathleen

    August 11, 2011

    Haven’t stopped shaking yet…

    Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 3:08 pm by Kathleen

    Whew! Just took a risk and even though it didn’t pay off, it wasn’t so bad. Yesterday I briefly met a young woman, around my age, gorgeous, friendly, and possibly flirting with me. And then I left. I was very tired and didn’t think until after that she might have been not-straight (I have a habit of presuming that every woman is straight until proven otherwise).

    I happened, coincidentally, to have a way to probably reach her. So I tried it. I called today, and said “this may sound crazy, but were you maybe flirting with me?” She sounded shocked, a little pleased, and very amused, but the answer was no.

    And guess what? I didn’t get stabbed through the heart. I didn’t lose any fingers or toes, and no matter how scary it was, it wasn’t painful at all, even when my gamble didn’t pay off.

    So maybe next time you see that perfect guy or gal, and you’re too scared to take the risk… ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen, and then ask yourself what’s the best? Maybe going out on a limb could really be worth it.

    May 9, 2011

    Sometimes…

    Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 10:10 am by Kathleen

    Sometimes poly is beautiful and wonderful and almost perfect.

    Other times the guy you’ve had a crush on for almost a decade starts dating your step-sister… whose husband gave permission, but is, in fact, not okay with it.

    More later… 😛

    September 3, 2010

    Being a One Cock Lady

    Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 9:26 pm by Kathleen

    I am poly, no doubt about it. I had casual sex with a lady friend last year without a regret or a second thought. But I find it more and more likely that I am a one cock lady nonetheless. It isn’t that I am disgusted by men or by the penis, or even that I don’t enjoy male attention. In fact, over the years I have had more male friends than female in general, and I’m happy with that. But whenever things start to look like they will head in the direction of intimacy, I get squeamish and start to lose interest. It took me a while to figure out why that was.

    That’s not to say that I will never have sex with another guy. I really don’t know what will happen in the future, and there have been one or two extremely rare cases where a guy has had HUGE attraction for me. The fact that both of them looked a lot like my husband in several key features might or might not be relevant here. 😉

    The fact is, you don’t have to want to sleep around to be poly. I may or may not enter a relationship with a woman eventually (I would like to, but I am SO BAD at knowing when women are flirting with me), and I probably will not date anymore men. I’ve given thought to closing our relationship given the fact that neither of us has much interest in seeking partners, but it feels like closing the door on some intangible wisp of a thing that is forming just over the horizon. I don’t know what the future holds, but for now, there’s just one cock for me.

    August 9, 2010

    A Free Sexy Story by Yours Truly

    Posted in Story Link tagged , , , , , , at 2:21 pm by Kathleen

    If you’re interested in kinky sex, check out my short story at The Erotic Woman. Hopefully there will be more coming soon.

    March 30, 2010

    When it Rains

    Posted in Matt, Pet tagged , , , , , , , at 8:43 pm by Kathleen

    It sure has been pouring in my life lately! After three years of being poly, I officially have my first boyfriend, Matt. We went on our first date, and although we are both super busy people, we’ve been tickling our schedules into submission. I get to see him again on Friday (we think). He’s going through the final negotiations with his lady wife tonight. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing, probably just hanging out again.

    My romance with him is going nicely, so of course now is also the time when  I finally find a playmate worthy of enjoying in the BDSM club. My husband tops me, but I am a switch, and boy have I been in need of a chew toy. Or maybe a scratching post. Whatever it is I need, Michael is just very glad that I have found Pet and no longer feel the need to gnaw on him at every opportunity (yes, I’m odd, but you already knew that).

    Pet was very nervous and almost didn’t show, but I think that we are both glad he did. The dungeon was hosting a sampler night so that people can see demos of various methods of play, and he showed a lot of interest in caning, which was neat. He also got a little doe eyed at the sight of my flogger, and asked me to play. Woohoo! He can take a good amount of pain, is willing to go for more, and is the perfect sub for taking out my sadistic tendencies. Plus he is totally new to kink, so I get to train him up from scratch.

    I was also messaged out of the blue by a sub that I had talked to months ago. He was sort of a creep and he vanished, but now he’s back and ready for action. He has been blocked. Two good men are quite enough for now, especially since they are both new to me. Anyway, men who love drama are just… ugh.

    Blessings,

    Kathleen

    March 13, 2010

    Lizzie’s Brand of Selfishness

    Posted in Matt tagged , , , , , , , , , at 12:30 pm by Kathleen

    Matt’s wife Lizzie is selfish. There isn’t a question about it, it is just who she is. Because of my experiences with Becky as well as some older childhood programming, I have very, very negative feelings toward selfish people. Matt thinks that this is undeserved, and that I need to rethink my feelings on selfishness. The thing is, I see a vast difference between being selfish enough to care for yourself, which is healthy, and a refusal to put anyone else first except perhaps in the most extreme circumstances, which is, in my opinion, not.  Lizzie falls into the latter category.

    I don’t want to blanket insult her, and I know that even the mildest of factual statements about some of Becky’s behavior was commented upon quite negatively, which I totally understand. Still, please know that while she doesn’t read this blog, I know what is said here, and I have to make nice with this woman as much as possible. This is as much for my understanding as anything, and a need to get it out and express my feelings on the situation. So, in short, no Lizzie-bashing in the comments, please, my dears. Thank you.

    I may go into their history later, but for now, just the recent stuff will do. About a year ago, Matt and Lizzie decided that they would be poly. They had poly friends to show them the way, and Lizzie had a big crush on one of these poly friends. This friend dated Lizzie for a few months, I believe, and enjoying a sexual relationship, she decided that she was deliriously in love with him. When she told him so, he said it was unfair to continue a relationship in which he couldn’t feel the same. In short, he dumped her because she wanted more than sex. I knew he was a jerk from the start and wasn’t surprised (he was also juggling two girlfriends with rocky relationships at the same time), but it was never my place to interfere. While the two of them were still cozy, however, I met Matt for the first time after chatting online for a while. We had a nice chat, along with their one year old baby, and he decided to bring me back to the family owned store to say ‘hello’ before I went home. Please note, this was not a date. Upon entering the store, I was hit with a backlash of violently negative energy from Lizzie. She was jealous and territorial both with the store and with Matt, and after glaring at me, ignored me until I decided to leave.

    Matt and I didn’t meet again in person until recently,  however we continued to be friends through chats and emails. I had decided that because of his wife, I would not date him. I tend toward being low drama, and that was quite enough for me.

    In the mean time, Lizzie had a brief sexual fling with an old college boyfriend, then hooked up with an old high school boyfriend, entering very quickly into sex and talk of love, and practically moving him in for half the week after only a few months of dating. I don’t know much about the guy except that Matt likes and respects him, so that is good enough for me. Again, NONE of my business. Throughout this year of dating exploits on Lizzie’s part, Matt developed emotional attachments to several women, none of whom worked out as a girlfriend. He did push the limits of their agreements once, and sexted with a woman, which caused a backlash with his wife later. Other than that, he was a perfect monk, but Lizzie claims not to trust him emotionally, manages his relationships, and has done her best so far to make our own budding relationship difficult at best.

    I could almost understand this behavior, if not sympathize, except that Lizzie is not precisely keeping Matt for herself, either. Why do I say this? I know from him that she rarely agrees to have sex with him, despite a raging sex life with her boyfriend even in the same house while Matt is in another room. He does very well not taking this out on Boyfriend, but he feels deprived, and since I care about him, that upsets me. In my experience, she takes advantage of him for babysitting, especially when she wants to be alone with Boyfriend, but forces him to beg and negotiate to get time to come visit with his current love interest (me). I’ve seen him exactly once this year, and that was on a “friendship” basis. We’ll be seeing each other again in a few days on a dating basis, and let me tell you, it was a hard road to get there.

    First, Lizzie demanded that we slow down because she can’t trust him. I pointed out to him that we have been perfectly well behaved over the last year, have had opportunities and desire to push the limits and did not, and that he has made only one indiscretion, which was not even explicitly forbidden at the time, and has been proving himself ever since to apparently no avail. I also pointed out that when we first met he was raring to date me, and I slowed things down because I realized his motives were not ideal (he wanted things to be “fair” – Lizzie was dating, so he wanted to, also). What more, I asked, do we have to do to prove ourselves, and what has she done to prove herself after falling into bed with three men other than her husband in the space of a single year?

    He spoke with her and came back to me with a tentative agreement that we could date. Eventually. But first we should meet as friends a few more times just to be sure of our chemistry. I flat refused, telling him that my own husband does not stretch to manage my relationships in that way, and that it was up to us to decide if we had chemistry and when to act on it. I refused to have my hand held by his wife. He sheepishly agreed and stated that it made him angry to hear me accuse him of being “managed”, but agreed that it was indeed the case. He went back for more talking.

    I won’t go through all the details or hoops – this post is already too long – but suffice it to say, many conversations and delays later, and we have freedom to make our own relationship decisions independent of his wife, and one date planned for next week. One that I am very much looking forward to. It seems I got drawn in despite the selfishness and drama.

    Blessings,

    Kathleen

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