New Blog from Deborah Anapol

There is a new blog about polyamory starting up, from a high profile author. Debora Anapol is credited with writing one of the two earliest books on modern poly, Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits. She is now a new regular blogger on Psychology Today’s website. She also has a new book coming out, mentioned in the blog.

I considered reading her previous book, opened it up to a random page and found that single page dripping with anti-mono bias. She is very New Agey, and polyamory is literally her definition of being enlightened. Soon the whole human race will be enlightened enough to be poly just like her; won’t that be great? So I set the book back down.

I can’t say I’m impressed with her first column either; while she gives polite lip service to intentional mono living, her philosophy is still “polyamory is enlightenment” with a thin veneer over it. Let’s take a look at the following, with an eye toward what her words reveal about her systematic counseling assumptions (this is in the context of defining precisely what polyamory is):

To me polyamory is a philosophy of loving that asks us to surrender to love. Polyamory leads us to ask, “What is the most loving and authentic way I can be present with these people and with myself at this time?”

While there’s nothing inherently untrue about these sentences, they (along with several badly worded references to mono throughout her first column) reveal to me an ignorance that Anapol is still apparently carrying around. Saying “polyamory is one way of living out a philosophy of loving…” will fundamentally change her starting point in relating to non-poly people. But that, I strongly suspect, would be a fundamental shift away from a major bias she has. Without that phrase, the author is making invisible anyone who does not identify as poly and has done the work to commit themselves to the transformative power of love. Since she’s writing this blog to a mainstream audience who will represent many relational orientations and be overwhelmingly mono, this will be a liability to her communicating effectively.

And while the second sentence is certainly true for many people, it’s also unnecessarily narrow. There are all kinds of life experiences that get people asking that question, and a poly nature is not required to do that work. The sentence structure still reveals that Anapol is not expanding past her own specific truths to find out how non-poly people love… that’s a shitty place to start a philosophy that’s supposed to apply to everyone, and it’s a dangerous blindness for a woman who markets herself as a relationship coach.

Still, a blog devoted to polyamory on a mainstream health website is pretty cool. I suppose.

Here’s the link: New Blog: Love Without Limits

Daddying

It’s taken me a couple of months to write this. Talking about age play and how it works for me makes me feel quite vulnerable, and knowing it’s a kink that bothers some folks makes it even more difficult at times. Luckily Elizabeth had another moment of brilliance and wrote some amazing things that helped shake the words loose for me. If you’ve not yet read Elizabeth on Age Play then please go do so. No really, I’ll wait.

Got that done? Well, here’s what she helped me to figure out about what it means to be a daddy and to be her Daddy.


While not our primary dynamic, being Elizabeth’s Daddy and her being my babygirl are important parts of our relationship. Explaining those roles, though, and how they fit into the rest of our relationship feels very elusive. It’s just… who we are. And who we are together.

Identifying the energies that we’ve come to know as her two little personalities came early in our relationship, and we’ve spent the last 2+ years naming them (Grace and Lucy), fleshing them out and getting to know them. I’ve learned how to be Daddy to each of them, how to spot them, what they need and want from me, and what I need and want from them. It’s been intense and beautiful and amazing. Despite her having multiple littles, I’m the same Daddy to them both. Obviously we interact in different ways, but the energy comes from the same place in me, whichever I’m tending to.

So why age play? The simple answer is that it turns me on. Being her Daddy makes me hard. That’s the biggest drive behind it. There’s an area of my and of her sexuality that is best reached through embodying these parts of ourselves with each other. Age play was a fetish of mine before I ever got the chance to act on it, though. Before it became this deep part of my relationship with my partner it was an unfulfilled fetish. I devoured Daddy/Girl erotica and I fantasized about roleplaying the scenarios. I understand that for many people age play isn’t necessarily sexual, but that’s not how it works for me. Even cuddling one of my little girls and watching a silly movie turns me on. Why? Who knows. It makes about as much sense as finding stockings with seams to be hot, only it’s stronger because it’s the intimate interaction of people.

So what does it mean to be Daddy? As uncomfortable as it may be to say so, I learned how to be Daddy to a large degree from my own father. To be Daddy is to be gentle and loving, offering guidance but only being stern when it’s needed. Daddy is playful and loves cuddling, and is protective of the fragile parts of his girls while letting them experience bumps and bruises when they can handle it. All of this is then filtered through my life with Elizabeth and my sexuality and it’s become this integral part of my sexuality.

Being Daddy to these two delightful girls isn’t something I undertook to re-write earlier experiences in a therapeutic way, but I’ve also seen ways that it’s helped me. I have a strong caretaker streak, and learning how to take care of Lucy and Grace as their Daddy has helped me learn how to do that in a healthy way. I’ve been able to strengthen boundaries and learn when it’s good for me to take care of someone and when I have to say no. I have a long history of unhealthy caregiving, and so this is a special gift that I wasn’t expecting when I first asked her what being a little girl felt like.

And I’ve seen my Daddy persona become more integrated with the rest of me. At times it becomes hard to define, because Daddy is Gabe, at least in relation to Elizabeth. That doesn’t mean that she’s constantly in little space, or that I treat her like a child, but I’m more aware of my affection toward her, and my protective streak. We could be doing something simple around the house, and I’ll tell her to stop if she’s about to do something that will hurt her. She may not be embodying Lucy or Grace at that moment, but Elizabeth is just as much my babygirl, and I will protect her.

Beyond our relationship I’ve begun to identify to some degree as a daddy-type dom. Daddy, as a name and a title, is part of my identity that is, at least right now, linked to my relationship with Elizabeth. The name and title “Daddy” doesn’t get used with anyone else but Elizabeth, but I can see similar tendencies in the way I top someone, or even in how I interact with someone with little girl energy. I’ve even had a play partner refer to me as “Daddy Gabe,” and that made sense to me, and was quite hot. Being a daddy-type is more of a descriptor of how I interact with some people. I’ve been wondering about why I gravitate to that word to describe myself and my style. Obviously it’s a very subjective word. In his Toybag Guide to Ageplay, Lee Harrington discusses universal, cultural and personal archetypes, and I think the differences in being Elizabeth’s Daddy and being a daddy type have some relation to those varying types of archetypes. With Elizabeth I fall somewhere between the personal and cultural, whereas with what I’m describing with a lower-case “d” daddy is somewhere between the universal and cultural. Sort of. As I said, pinning all of this down is rather elusive.

So then what do I mean when I say “daddy-type dom”? I can’t point to specific things I do or expect that make an interaction fall into that category, as it’s more about the way I feel toward the person. It’s a mix of tenderness, adoration, protectiveness, playfulness, control and certainly a few other things I’m not thinking of at the moment. It’s neither tied to nor divorced from SM, though daddying tends to focus a somewhat more on somewhat more conventional pleasures. The D/S element is strong, as my daddy side does put effort into remaining in control. But that control is often more focused on guidance than on punishment, and on the little one following willingly more than on her being pushed too hard. Even the SM elements that have been incorporated have been focused on nurturing, guidance or sheer hedonism more than punishment.

Guiding is a good word for the D/S element of ageplay for me. It requires meeting the person with whom I’m interacting where they are, without expectations of how their own energy will manifest or take them. It is accepting that energy and directing it in ways that best serve us both. Where and how I direct changes depending on who I’m playing with (or which alter ego I’m playing with), the moods we’re both in and any goals we may have. Elizabeth recently described that kind of guidance as “a love that doesn’t fully shield from bumps and bruises, but very specifically works at a person’s growing edges, the edges of our ability and draws us out further and helps us grow.” And I think that nails it.

An important element in accessing my daddy side is my trust in the other person’s maturity and ability to care for themselves. Being a daddy in an age play context is far removed from being a parent. I don’t want someone completely dependent on me. I don’t want someone who can’t take care of themselves. The littles that play best with this daddy are the ones who are, when they want or need to be, self-sufficient. If someone can balance their childlike delight or teenage awkwardness with their ability to be a grownup when they have to, then we are more likely to find common ground on which we can come together. If I can have that trust they they can and do care for themselves, then I feel more free to care for them myself.

With only two years of daddying behind me, I have a lot more to learn about what that means and how to do best function in that role. How will it change and expand over time or with different people? How integrated is the sweet, gentle daddy with the sadistic fuck who loves his little girls’ tears? There’s a lot to learn, and I look forward to it all. I love this part of my relationship with Elizabeth and this part of myself. And I’m so thankful to her for helping me grow and develop this way and to get to know this new part of me.

Elizabeth on Age Play

Gabe and I do age play, and have done so since we began dating. Despite our prolific writings on our sex life, we haven’t written on this subject yet. Part of my hesitation is that it’s a sacred and vulnerable thing for us, and is difficult to put into words. Part of it is certainly that this subject has a high squick factor for a lot of people, and is sometimes misunderstood as a dangerous “slippery slope”, and personally I haven’t yet wanted to deal with the potential responses. But I have eventually wanted to find a way to share.

So, here goes. I have two personas that I will occasionally inhabit (one at a time): Grace is 5 years old, and Lucy is 12. I have been surprised to see how nuanced both of them have become as personalities. Gabe has one persona: Daddy, that plays with each of us separately. Grace is very playful, and very much about joy. She likes soft blankets and making forts with them. She likes making up stories, and making animal sounds. Gabe can tell from my giggle when I’ve fallen into Gracie headspace. Being Grace is a delight, in so many ways. She is an altered state of effortless eagerness and pleasure. Lucy is 12. She is both a child and a grown-up. She’s trying everything on, and everything is new… and she is beginning to shape her opinions of it all. She enjoys romantic gestures and romantic movies. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras are two of her favorite holidays. She likes both pajamas and sexy lingerie, and has been known to really like wearing make-up. Gabe can often tell from my word choice that I’ve gone into Lucyspace, without any other cues.

Part of the challenge of finding words is a fear of spoiling what is preverbal about our age play. They are each a near-complete shift of consciousness for me. There is an immediacy that is unique to our interactions as Daddy and Babygirl (a nickname for all of me) that bypasses the usual analytical and heady elements of our relationship. The sensations I receive as Gracie are very different than the sensations I receive as Lucy, and the sensations I receive as my overarching identity Elizabeth. Since I’m not sure that I can describe the difference, or want to right now, I’ll leave it at that.

Some element of both Grace and Lucy is what I call “redemptive lying” — together Gabe and I create an alternate universe where I am having a much more pleasant 5 year-old and 12-year old experience than I actually did. Lucy especially has been a great gift to me in that regard. When I was actually 12, I was already the primary caretaker for my mother, who is deeply mentally ill and yet passes for functional. I secretly had a terrifying home life at the time, and everything related to being a teen has had a thick veil of dread around it that I have slowly fought to tear away piece by piece. With Lucy, I can effortlessly be a different me, and experience the both/and teen years in a place of being loved into great personal strength, and being cared for when overwhelmed. I don’t have to start in Elizabeth’s constant starting place for adult relationships, and work my way out of that hole. I can be Lucy, be lighter and freer. My previous trauma is not the reason for her existence; she was born out of something more life-affirming than that. But it is a healing that Lucy gifts me with. Grace is a similar outlet, a way to step outside my usual heavy use of analysis and careful attention to boundaries and others’ needs. None of those things are bad; in fact I adore them all. But occasionally stepping outside them leads me to experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have. It makes me feel more whole as a person, and gives me insights I can bring back into my Elizabeth self.

Both Grace and Lucy are stories we tell with one another that bring out a different experience of joy and pleasure. They’re two whole new palettes of colors to paint with in creating our sex lives together. Some will say that their age play is not always or not even primarily sexual. I have occasionally been Grace or Lucy without sexual play (if you’ve seen me coloring at events recently, I’m often in one little space or another). But for the most part it’s a very sexual connection, specifically with Gabe. Yes, Daddy and Gracie have sex, and Lucy and Daddy have sex. It is very much about the sex for Gabe and I, where we can touch those parts of me that interact with those parts of him, and bond them in a sexual way. It is NOT in any way about violating real-life childhood sexualities. It is about exploring something very much in the context of adult sexuality. I can relate one part of this dynamic to the way memory is created — my memories of being a child now are heavily shaped by my adult experiences. In the same way, my alternate experience of being 5 and 12 can only be understood through my adult self, and my adult sexuality. They are facets of me and my full adult self, my connection to my life force and to Gabe, and so they are naturally erotic in nature. They are stories I am writing, and I make them sexual. Gabe does not play the role of a biological father, but of a caregiver to me as I surrender certain specific parts of myself and take up other parts. I can’t speak to others’ experiences, but incest has little to no draw for me. Age play is a far different kink.

Grace and Lucy have not yet played much with others, at least not to the knowledge of others around. I’m very protective of them. I suspect it will eventually happen, but can’t really speak to the future. They both live very much in the present moment — another gift they give me.

(For a brief but thorough introduction to age play, I suggest Lee Harrington’s book The Toybag Guide To Age Play. It is a very quick and informational read.)

Mono/Poly – Questions To Ask

Are you mono, and considering dating a poly person? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

How often have you sought out therapy in your life?  How much work do you consider to be a typical amount for maintaining a relationship?  Communication and steady work are essential to maintaining any healthy relationship, and bad poly relationships are more noticeable than bad mono relationships.

What demonstrates love and commitment to you?  Physically write it out. Make a list.  Be specific. Regular physical affection?  Words of love?  Acts of service?  (You may want to explore the 5 Love Languages as one tool for unpacking your style and needs). Continue to explore further.  What daily interaction is important?  What kind of participation in your emotional and/or spiritual life do you need?  What kind of sex life do you want?  Finally, how important is sexual exclusivity to you?  Is it necessary, preferable, or not necessary?  If everything else you need is present, including a fulfilling sex life, would your partner’s sex life with another person affect your sense of being loved?

Do you expect a partner to complete you, and fulfill all your needs?  Or do you expect to have a fulfilling life and nourishing relationships outside your bond with your partner?  If you find the former to be true, a structure where your partner has full romances outside your bond is a recipe for disaster, despite any fond feelings you may have.

Do you believe that (somebody else) being polyamorous is possible? Healthy?  Ethical? Mature?  Do you expect a poly partner to stop being poly at any point?

Now, about the person you’re considering a relationship with:

Are they supportive of your mono nature?  Or will they be threatened by being your only partner? 

Can they trust you to honor their poly nature?

Can they trust you to name your needs?

Are they willing to be supportive in your process of getting to know how poly works, and take the time you need?  Are you ready to start that process?

Has your partner’s past behavior or current language emphasized “equality” among partners, like equal feelings between various individuals, or equal number of partners on either side?  Or is there room for more diversity of shape? A mono/poly shape is going to be “lopsided”, not “equal”, and a certain level of comfort with that will be required of all parties for success.

How skilled is this person at providing reassurance when you need it?

How many other partners does this person have? How much time can they commit to your relationship? How much time do you need?

(This post is part of the mono/poly resource list, which can be found through the link at the top of the page.)

Mono/Poly Resources – Coming Soon

Since starting this journey with Gabe, I have had constant dissatisfaction with the mono/poly resources out there. I’ve yet to find a single one that fits my needs. There are many resources that have been useful to me on a variety of other topics, like jealousy or time management. But there are only a handful of resources aimed at mono folk in poly relationships, and to a one, they have all been foreign enough to my experience that they might as well have been written in a different language.

First, I have not been committed to someone for years before learning they are poly and not mono. I chose to enter knowingly into this bond with my poly honey. This means that many important support groups out there talking about rebuilding trust and dealing with deep grief responses and shattered hopes bear no resemblance to my needs. I am glad they are there for others, but they’re not for me.

Secondly, we did not enter into this with any deep revulsions of each others’ orientation, nor any notions of changing each other. This appears to describe the audience for the other half of mono/poly resources I come across. If those resources are useful to you I’m glad. But for myself, a basic focus on all the potential faults of a relationship, and beginning from an assumption of distrust and lack of faith is counterproductive to the work I want to do next on my journey.

I don’t look at my partner’s poly nature as an unwanted burden, nor am I traumatized by my partner’s desires and wish to change them. This leaves me with no place to find handy lists of insights to ponder, no uniquely affirming writings to review periodically, and no basic introductory texts or quickguides to my kind of mono/poly relating. I am most definitely looking for insights that help me grow past the “ick” – the fears, anxieties, jealousies, and limitations that come with being human and having a past… but that’s only one small part of the journey for me. I want to creatively build my bond with my honey, with the basic understanding that I am constantly learning how to love more fully, live more joyfully, and offer more of myself.

So we’re beginning a compilation of resources here, likely written mostly from my perspective. This may include a list of the benefits for a mono person dating a poly person, writings on the issue of reassurance, and questions to ask yourself if you’re mono and considering dating someone poly. In short, it will be the kinds of resources I see elsewhere, but written in a way that someone like me could find them useful. If you have any questions, thoughts, or things you’d like to see, please contact me at elizabeth@pornocracy.org.

Drop and Such

Somehow, we got ourselves quite a week last week. Monday night was a party friends of ours threw at a bar they own. Tuesday night was a discussion night with the major local kink group. Wednesday and Thursday Gabe’s girlfriend Red August (who lives an hour away and has been crazy busy this semester with school and work) got to stay with us. Friday was a kinky house party and Saturday was a party at the local dungeon. And yes, we participated in all of that.

As far afield as that kind of schedule is for us, it was surprisingly nourishing for me as it was unfolding. Yes, there was that slightly off-kilter feeling growing from not having an evening at home (and it all reminded me of what an important need the night at home is). But there were also powerful opportunities to connect with community, and deeply enjoyable chances to spend time with Gabe’s girlfriend and the two new people he’s dating now. So, the week spun by with joy. And, Gabe had an intense public scene with me, and a separate public scene with a new date of his, both at the Saturday party. This last is probably the largest single factor affecting our mood right now. If you don’t know, a couple days after doing a big scene, the participants can have a heavy emotional experience referred to as “drop”.

And we’re both crashing, hard.

My drop started last night, and unfortunately I was not in a space to handle our social obligation very well. It was Global Orgasm Day, and Gabe had organized a get-together, which ended up being at somebody else’s house. There are elements of our uniqueness in the community that played into my thwarted expectations for the evening, but I won’t go into all that now. I had a difficult time plugging into the energy of the evening, and when I eventually needed to leave, the circumstances meant that my desire to leave was a domino that knocked over two other people’s desires for the night. Gah. Messy and unpleasant.

Aside from a great big pile of new insights on a dozen different topics, I think the week is also leading to some insight on my part that I’ll have to learn some new social skills around saying no. I won’t second guess any decisions we made this past week. But I’m aware of two things:

1) There are lots of very pleasant activities that can present themselves as options, especially since Gabe seeks them out, that are not the ideal way for me to balance all my needs. Awesomeness of event is not the only criteria to use in deciding whether to do something in a particular moment. (The flip side is, I’m blessed to have so many wonderful ways available to me to enjoy my life).

2) Time management assumptions have to change now. Before, Gabe’s girlfriend actually took priority, though that wasn’t our explicit goal. Her schedule was so tight, that we both wanted to make the most of any time she had available. I rarely said no to being there, or to supporting Gabe in being there. I also took partial responsibility for planning. That all worked fine under those circumstances. I found balance of schedule, and the high level of participation from me was probably the best way for me to really get to learn poly. Now, he has two local people he dates as well. I have to get used to:

a) being a priority for his time (while this makes perfect sense with our commitments being what they are, it has a hierarchical feel to it that we have previously avoided, and which I have discomfort and a lack of experience with), and

b) me disengaging to some extent from planning and being involved with his time with others. I’m not sure I have adequate language for this use of my energy; it’s not necessarily about spending less time with his lovers (though it may manifest that way). It’s more about taking on less responsibility for his calendar. As much as I like all the people he’s dating, I’m nowhere near capable of dating two people, much less four. It’s not up to me to get their needs met. I have to let him figure out certain things. This feels oddly like putting him in an inappropriate position, even when I look and see the appropriateness of it. But I’ve got to find a way to shift from what I’ve been doing, at least a little. It’s one of the more exhausting elements of this past week that I was pouring so much psychic energy into supporting all of them, when it isn’t quite my place. LOL, maybe it would help if I didn’t like them all so much? Hey y’all! Stop being so damned cute and interesting!

All of my insights and the changes I’m aiming for are fine with him, you understand. The only delay is in me learning it.

“Everybody Here Is a Crowd”

I was in bed, after a very long and difficult week, and some members of my internal committee began a conversation.

Jealous one: Gabe’s in the other room, and you’re here.
Rest of Self: Yup.
Jo: Did you see what he was doing at his computer when we left? He’s
talking to a girl.
Ros: *smiles* Yeah, I like her, she’s really cool.
Jo: He’s getting to know her, and getting all giddy about it.
Ros: I know, he’s so cute like that!
Jo: But! But, he might stay up late talking to her! When was the last time he stayed up late passionate about YOU?
Ros: *thinks* Well, actually we stay up late having sex pretty frequently.
Jo: BUT!… BUT!!…………….
Ros: *listens attentively*
Jo: …… I got nothing.

The title is a song lyric from Cloud Cult’s “Everybody Here Is a Cloud” from the awesome album Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes).

Poly Talk

Gabe has begun a poly interest group in town – currently the only one of its kind here. We’ve had several successful social events, the last being a discussion group in a private home. Several poly folks in the group wanted to get input from others on common challenges, and we had seekers come who were very new to poly asking questions to now more about it. There were a few moments that stuck out for me.

One was varying understandings of labels for various relationships. Gabe calls me his partner; I live with him and we have made a commitment to one another. If we used hierarchical language, I would be his “primary,” but we don’t like names like that. Gabe’s love that lives an hour away and that gets time with him a few times a month he calls his girlfriend. But when someone in the group heard him call me his partner and someone else his girlfriend, they assumed from the names that his relationship with her served like a primary, and that mine as a ‘partner’ was much more distant than it is. This was fascinating to me. Gabe realized that one difference is our influence from queer culture, where ‘partner’ bears some equivalencies to ‘spouse’. There is the other common use of partner, though, that is primarily based on a single event or series of events – a given person is a sexual partner due to certain activities pursued together. It was a reminder of how complex all the language is.

Another moment that caught my attention came after it was mentioned that I identify as mono. I was asked what it’s like, to be in a poly relationship “when I want a monogamous relationship.” This expectation that being mono must include wanting a monogamous partner is pretty interesting to me. I’ve written several times exploring my identity and why I use the label ‘mono’, but the question that crosses my mind is, is the reverse true? How often is it assumed that a poly person must want poly partners, either by the person hirself or by others? If you’re poly, have you ever considered dating someone who is mono? If you did, what would you look for to help ensure a healthy situation for yourself? If we’re giving each other freedom in our other relationships, wouldn’t that include the freedom to not have them?

I suppose the person who made the assumption of me might also be influenced by how very many mono/poly relationships are saturated with angst and grief. I facilitate a group on the subject, and have pursued conversations in other groups about the topic. While I look for and yearn for a place to honor the sacredness of this bond, and to explore and expand the joy, most of what I find related to mono-poly connections are folks feeling stuck in relationships where the rules changed, where neither party feels safe and movement seems impossible. Or, in bdsm settings, there are a lot of subs and slaves feeling forced into open relationship situations who don’t want to be, and don’t know how to empower themselves to ask for something different, or leave. While I certainly don’t begrudge these people getting any and all support to grow and heal and move forward, I am also in a fundamentally different situation. And I have not yet found language to distinguish myself from them in trying to seek out the community I want.

But then, my community has definitely been growing lately. And it seems connections based on demographic or ideological similarities have taken a back seat to connections based on common values, regardless of how they are lived – body-positivity, hospitality, boldness and compassion.

More Ponderings on Sex, Orientation and Other Good Stuff

First, let me say this. Any description of my relational orientation is going to start in an unnameable place. I don’t identify as poly because I don’t. It doesn’t feel true. I’ve met many different kinds of poly folks now, and been exposed to the stories of hundreds more. I know of no definition – seen, experienced or imagined – that captures any part of being me. I know some folks disagree, and insist my mono orientation is self-deceit or ignorance. That’s fine with me. The word poly still doesn’t fit. I’m not looking to defend my identity here. All I can offer is my reflections and what they mean to me. I don’t find the debate useful.

I don’t yearn for or feel capable of multiple romantic relationships. I have one. It rocks. Whatever fundamental part of me is engaged there, it only exists there. The uniqueness of that bond is broader than the individualized nature of any relationship between two unique people. The things that make it a romance – the passion, the level of intimacy, the level of commitment, the desire to interexist on some deep level – they are only and fully engaged for me in that relationship. I, me, personally, as this one individual typing this, I do not branch that stuff out any other direction. Intertwining my mono with Gabe’s poly in a joyful way (and I still have no other description than our old aquaduct and baklava imagery) is not something we can find any real models for. But we seem to be doing a darn good job of it.

I have no need for a partner to show faithfulness to me through sexual exclusivity. Some certainly do have that need, and I don’t see anything wrong with that. I don’t need it. Gabe is faithful to me through his honesty of emotion and spirit, his commitment to his own soul, his daily care of me and reception of my daily care for him, and through many other actions that make up the authenticity we stand on with one another.

Now, the reverse is also true. I don’t feel a need to keep my sexual partners restricted only to Gabe. I don’t have a need to seek them out, either. Having multiple sexual partners doesn’t energize me the way it does the poly people I know. But when beautiful, resonant experiences offer themselves up, I often say yes. It’s so easily pleasurable, and I value pleasure in and of itself. Sex with others is fundamentally different than my sex with Gabe, beyond the uniqueness of being with another person. So far, I’ve had two kinds of sex partners – casual partners, and a friend of mine and lover to Gabe.

Casual sex can be exciting and adventurous. It also takes some work communicating, without much of a foundation built yet. The experience of a body outside knowing its history reminds me of the line from the Joan Baez song, “Love Song To A Stranger”:

All of your history has little to do with your face
you’re mainly a mystery with violins filling in space.

It’s a sacred thing to delight in another’s flesh, from a place of pure joy and primal drive. Given the right circumstances I could do that again.

Then there’s been sex with Gabe’s girlfriend. She’s bright, funny, sweet, caring, imaginative, and really fucking hot. She has a beautiful spirit. Being her friend leads to a closeness in the sex, the beginnings of intimacy. There’s enough knowledge there for our physical connection to include an affirmation and care for one another. We share a common bond with someone important to us… and if that’s sounds somehow removed, I need better words for it. It’s very embodied, to have a tender connection between us that interweaves with and reflects the tenderness he has with each of us.

The context of all this sex and how the chances arose is important. Gabe was always present for it, all of it, and the initiation of it sometimes included both of us and sometimes rested primarily on his shoulders, while I went along for the very pleasurable ride (or to get ridden). It’s involved a lot of pleasure, joy, delight, and freedom… built on my foundation with Gabe. He has a sex life away from me, though I won’t say it doesn’t include me. But I haven’t found any reason to have experiences away from him. These other experiences have been a delightful and holy addition to my life, but they don’t fill an inherent part of me. The balance in this dynamic is important to me, and something I want to understand better right now. I spend some time observing the dynamics of our sex drives as they interact with others, though I don’t know that I have hold of patterns to name yet. I do know that Gabe and I seemed to have reached an ideal threshold recently, where we’re being handed opportunity after opportunity to learn each others’ various rhythms, and how to make music together with them.

The past few months have had me focused on what I am capable of experiencing that I didn’t know of before, learning what’s pleasurable and what feels nourishing in the moment. This has led to some breakneck sprints through recent months — dancing on our growing edges, learning a lot very quickly and having a ball exploring. I think I’m shifting gears now, though, to focus more on what’s sustainable, finding my natural rhythms… finding growth and expansion from a place of balance.

I’m aware of a tendency toward quietness on our blog recently. I have all sorts of ideas of how that fits into the patterns I’ve seen us move through, but I don’t think that’s important to articulate. I still love having this blog, and sharing parts of our life with you. We’ll soon relearn how to integrate our presence here with the rest of our full sex life.

Making Room

I actually wrote this for my personal blog, as it deals with things like my faith and my politics, but I realize I can’t separate those things out from my sexuality. What I discuss here affects who and how we fuck. It informs the philosophy behind this site and why we think it’s important to put ourselves out there the way we do. So I offer this to you. I assume that most of our readers are neither Christians nor Anarchists, but I hope that you see where we’re coming from nonetheless.


I mentioned this on Twitter, but I think it bears further exploration. More and more my expression of my faith and my politics (Christianity and Anarchism) is in gracious hospitality. I’m not always good at it (either the grace, the hospitality or both), but making space for others seems to be the most true way that my beliefs take shape.

Even from the start of Jesus’ narrative, making space is important. No one made space for his parents just before his birth, so they made space for him where they could find it. I often seem to reference Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” when talking about my ideal of working in the world, and I’m going to do so again. In it he sings “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

We live in an inhospitable world. We live in a world of rigidity, of yours and mine, of control and institution. But in that world, there are always little places where the control is broken. Those are the cracks. When Mary and Joseph and whoever else may have been involved go and find a feed trough for the kid, they’re moving in those cracks. Maybe making new ones, holding old ones open or even making existing cracks bigger. They’re making space.

In my world making space means several things. One is the conventional idea of hospitality. I offer physical space to people. They have a place to stay, food to eat, etc. Even that, though, is bigger than it sounds. Making room for people means making sure that they have a place in which they feel comfortable being themselves. It’s only with actually doing that for people that it’s become so important for me. Being in my home is, I hope, a place where people can relax into themselves, not have to be on guard, and feel safe. Especially emotionally. I’ve done that more over the last year or so than I ever have before. I didn’t realize how nourishing it is to me until I started doing it. But whatever I may do to offer, I get back the joy of having real connections with other people, and knowing that I facilitated their connections with others. Hospitality is not a cross to bear. It’s a joy that I share with people. More of our political, ethical and religious practices need to come from joy.

But there’s something more than opening my home in making room for others. It means cultivating an openness to and grace when dealing with other points of view. This part is harder for me, but no less important. Making room for people in the conversation is as important as making physical space for them. Being open to receiving others is at the heart of hospitality. It is non-authoritarian at its root, as I’m not even imposing my reality on them. That’s a lot harder than cooking supper. But the source is still joy, as making room for others in the conversation is where you find those cracks that allow you to really commune with another.

When Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” he wasn’t speaking in metaphor. The people we open ourselves to are not acting as substitutes for God. It’s in those real, true connections that are only found in gracious opening that you experience God directly. That’s how the light gets in.

Going beyond opening my home and being open to the other, even when there are significant differences, there is the creation of the space to do this work. The blogs, books and conferences of the emerging church are doing this. I think Kink for All is doing this. And what I’m trying to do right now in starting a poly meetup is doing this. I have a need, and I think others have a need as well, to find connections over this common point, to offer and receive support. In creating a space for this, I am acting out my hospitality.

So, other than the non-imposition of worldview, what has this to do with anarchism? Making space is direct action. It is not relying on any power structure or institution to meet people’s needs. It’s saying “I see this need. I will meet it.” It is also mutual aid. The more we make room for each other, the more we offer to each other, the more we thrive without the need for coercion and force.

I’ve been worrying lately about how on earth I can live my faith and live my politics in a world in which I have material wealth (comparatively) and am privileged by society because of my race, gender and education. And everywhere I looked I found joylessness and asceticism as the solution. I found anger and self-hate over being born into a sin filled world. Kate Bornstein wrote in the preface to Pomosexuals, “it’s too scary to look at without some promise of laughter at the end of the read, some playfulness as a reward to all the painful self-inquisition.” That’s how a felt as I looked for ways to bring my beliefs into practice. All I found were indictments of myself for being born in a fucked up world, and no one seemed to want to work from the joy of existence to fix it.

It came to being in church yesterday, hearing a sermon with so much focus on sin, and being confronted with the sheer absurdity of letting a 4000 year old moral code dictate my ethics. I wasn’t there to hear about adultery, I was there looking for God. And then it came time for communion, and I prayed, “Please, just give me something physical, something tangible in the body and blood.” At this church trays are passed with the bread and “wine” and as I reached to pull the small cup from the tray I found it stuck. This is the second time recently that this has happened. I felt frustrated and thwarted in my search for that tangible connection, but just as the woman with the tray started to whisper “Try another one,” I gave the cup a slight twist and it broke free. As I pulled it toward me Elizabeth whispered, “You always seem to find the stuck ones.”

I laughed. It made sense. I don’t have to break down an oppressive world. I just need to make sure I make enough cracks to keep people from getting stuck in that oppression and hopelessness. I tried not to laugh as the bread dissolved on my tongue. When I want a tangible reminder of God, I only have to make room for that of Her in the people around me. If God is the light, I just need to keep living in the cracks, and inviting others into them. That is disregard for authoritarianism. That is faith in Christ. That is hospitality.