Polyamory (and so much more!) in Pictures

(Book review #5 – original post @ Cannonball Read 8)

KimchiCuddles-AskMeAboutPolyamory

Fair warning: I’m going to pepper this review with a few actual strips from Kimchi Cuddles, because pictures are awesome and I love being able to use the actual author/artist’s art to drive a point home. 

That being said, here; have a comic!

Kimchi Cuddles #300 - "The Scandalous Truth" from KimchiCuddles.com

Kimchi Cuddles #300 – “The Scandalous Truth” from KimchiCuddles.com

Yup. Welcome to polyamory. I’ve been a practicing polyamorist for close to 15 years now and this might just be my favorite book on the subject. And that’s saying something because while there aren’t nearly as many books on the subject as I wish there were, there are still a goodly amount and I’ve read most of them. This is not an easy relationships style and while it is incredibly rewarding and wonderful, it also, in my humble opinion, takes a lot of self-awareness, communication, and emotional maturity. I’m working on ’em. It’ll likely be an ongoing quest, but I’m glad to have people like Tikva Wolf to help with the journey for the past few years.

I’ve been following Kimchi Cuddles as an internet comic strip for a while; her semi-autobiographical strips sometimes make me laugh and sometimes chop a clear path of understanding right through a problem that I was having trouble with, and sometimes, just make me feel not quite so alone. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can be polyamorous and feel alone or lonely. You can totally be polyamorous, have multiple partners, and still feel really alone and lonely sometimes. It’s kind of like how you can be going through the sadness of a breakup but also be happily married. Oh hey, btw, there’s a comic about that:

Kimchi Cuddles #301 "Sci Fi Marathon Time" - from KimchiCuddles.com

Kimchi Cuddles #301 – “Sci Fi Marathon Time” from KimchiCuddles.com (another thing I love about this is the note on Facebook when this was posted was that the author/artist likes to watch “Hedwig & the Angry Inch” after breakups. All Of The YES.)

This kind of thing is what makes polyamory so magical. Honoring the complexity of life and feelings and actively celebrating it all with people. Through polyamory, I’ve been able to grow more than I ever thought possible, come (mostly) to terms with anger, be a better communicator, open my heart to uncertainty and loving outside of social norms. And Kimchi Cuddles has helped me navigate all that. Tikva Wolf has a very open, nurturing way of handling the myriad challenges of polyamory and even when she’s struggling with her own demons, she helps others by sharing that struggle through her art. And as you may’ve guessed, there is a comic for that, too:

Kimchi Cuddles #326 - "Appearing Perfect" from KimchiCuddles.com

Kimchi Cuddles #326 – “Appearing Perfect” from KimchiCuddles.com

Being out of the closet is important to me, too, as is being able to write about my life. And I love being able to support artists and authors and musicians who help me along my path, so when I found out there was a kickstarter for the first compilation of Kimchi Cuddles comics in physical book form, I was SO on board. And so grateful I had the money to support this fantastic endeavor.

Random note: This book smells really good. I admit it; I love to open a book and stick my nose in center and inhale. I embrace my weirdness. Therefore, this comic seems appropriate:

Kimchi Cuddles #274 - "Queers" from KimchiCuddles.com

Kimchi Cuddles #274 – “Queers” from KimchiCuddles.com

What’s even more nifty about this comic, as you might be able to tell from above, is that it doesn’t just talk address poly issues. The book is divided into six sections (parenthetical notes are mine):

  • I. Discovery Polyamory (All Poly, All The Time)
  • II. Practical Living (the practicality of poly including family dynamics, sleeping woes any triad or quad (or more) poly person will recognize, and something I like to call “eating habits: you just can’t win with that many diverse people”)
  • III. Successful Relationships (I love this section because there’s so much relationship advice. It asks the big question: What makes a relationship successful? It also deals with metamours, love, intimacy, openness, support, and encourages discovery)
  • IV. Troubleshooting, Transitions, Taking Care of Yourself (a rougher chapter to get through, but so worth it. Touches on difficult things like jealousy, misogyny, relationship transitions, conflict, compersion, and fear)
  • V. Dating Scene (fantastic chapter about poly dating, NRE, labels or the lack thereof, LDR, Mono/Poly, Cowboys, and Unicorns. A very fascinating chapter, indeed.)
  • VI. Identities (Including: Trans, Genderqueer/fluid, Asexual and Sexual, Queers, and Pride!)

One of the most important things I’ve learned from Kimchi Cuddles is that there are a plethora of ways to love. I mean, I kinda knew that going in to reading this comic, as I’d been polyamorous for over ten years by the time I first encountered this comic. But I was still very enmeshed in hierarchical modes of thinking and feeling about love. Kimchi Cuddles helped me deconstruct that and see the fear that has been living underneath. By asking (and attempting to answer) questions like “what makes a relationship successful” and “what does love mean to you”, I’ve been asking myself those things and coming up with some surprising answers. And it’s cool to see characters in the strip go through a similar growth process as they seek the answers to questions like this and more. When I read books, the ones that stay with me often are the ones where I can relate to the characters and feel like in a parallel world, they’d be real. Characters I’d want to talk with, date, be friends with, get into arguments with, cuddle with, admire. This is what the cast of characters in Kimchi Cuddles is like for me. What’s even more brilliant is I may or may not know some of the characters that the people in the strip are based on. Cause it’s a small world, after all.

And that small world, even with all the love in it, and all the possibilities, can get scary. Love is the ultimate emotional vulnerability and it can be hard to navigate that with one person, let alone many. In the end, though, I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty, open my heart, and allow love in in whatever form it takes without trying to obsess over labels (though I still maintain they have their place and can help understanding, when applied judiciously). I’ve come to much of this new found understanding and peace with the help of Kimchi Cuddles, and for that, I’m entirely grateful. And with that, I leave you with one more comic in the author/artist’s words and pictures:

Kimchi Cuddles #93 - "Ask Kimchi from KimchiCuddles.com

Kimchi Cuddles #93 – “Ask Kimchi from KimchiCuddles.com

Fucking February and All The Feels

Fair warning disclaimer: This post is going to be long, all over the fucking place, full of links to blogs I’m finding helpful, free-association lyrics, fast-forwarding and rewinding, and just a whole bunch of stuff I’m trying to extract from my brain and heart.

For some reason, over the past four years, February has had a habit of kicking me right in the feels. Without fail, by the end of the month for the past four years, I’m inundated and overwhelmed by whatever has happened in the few weeks of this brutal, brilliant, abbreviated month. I mean, for fuck’s sake, it’s the shortest month of the year…how does it ALWAYS manage to pack a gut punch and a half? It probably doesn’t help that Valentine’s Day, with all it’s socially trappings and expectations, is in there, along with my wedding anniversary. Which my husband did the sweetest thing as an anniversary gift. At Wicked Faire this year, he had the DJ tech person play our wedding song during the Later Night Atrium Dance Party so we could dance to it. (Cue the chorus of “awwwwws”).

All told, it was a mostly good weekend for us personally, except for the one night he fucked up a promise. That hurt. But we’ve discussed it, he’s apologized, and we’ve moved on. And the next night’s anniversary present helped. But I’m glad that it didn’t affect him hanging out with his girlfriend and that he got to spend one of the nights with her. Long distance relationships suck, especially when you only see each other a few times a year and you’re also working during those times.

Anyway, this year, February’s Fucking Feelfest snuck up on me. I though I could escape the flood and was dealing with the past and present well. And maybe I am. But it all finally overtook me last night.

This year, there were good things on the horizon early on in the month and exciting things that happened and I made strides that I hadn’t expected. For instance, I got my ass back up on the burlesque stage, went completely topless for the first time on a public stage, pushed myself in some ways within my own relationship only to find it really didn’t need pushing at all and was completely fine, stood up for myself when things were not going as promised and mostly handled it productively.

These were the normal ups and downs, with some extra awesome thrown in. For example, seriously, so happy about performing at the last Wicked Faire. This song was floating in my brain most of the day Saturday:

I don’t know why I’m frightened
I know my way around here
The cardboard trees, the painted scenes, the sound here
Yes, a world to rediscover
But I’m not in any hurry
And I need a moment
The whispered conversations in overcrowded hallways
The atmosphere as thrilling here as always
Feel the early morning madness
Feel the magic in the making
Why everything’s as if we never said goodbye
I’ve spent so many mornings
Just trying to resist you
I’m trembling now
You can’t know how I’ve missed you
Missed the fairy-tale adventures
In this ever-spinning playground
We were young together

“As If we Never Said Goodbye” – Sunset Boulevard

But there were also some crazy, head-exploding moments from the weekend, including seeing someone in an entirely new light and trying to reconcile all of that then freaking out a little and doing my best to not run in the opposite direction for fear of fucking everything up, having him laugh at me, not knowing the current style of his relationship with his girlfriend and not wanting to inadvertently hurt her which would suck because she’s amazing, and just generally it took a lot to keep that together and to myself and sometimes I failed spectacularly. Added to that was the fact that I still had to do my job, and had that performance I was just talking about, and for some reason, decided this was the event I was going to experience the party side of the nights so I got into two room parties I’d only ever heard of previously. Wound up having some intense, awesome experiences and conversations. The more I opened up, I found, the more there were awesome people around to further the amazing experiences, from an really cool guided imagery massage that helped me sober up to a really interesting conversation about poly and couple privilege that has rocked my brain a little and given me a perspective on it that I never considered before.

Woman, open the door; don’t let it sting.

I wanna breathe that fire again.

-“Read My Mind” by the Killers

And there’s a part of me that’s just aching to breathe the fire I’ve felt before again. To rise from the ashes and explore feelings I get so rarely. And I have to temper that with other people, distance, time…life. But it ties into me wanting to get back into playing and unearthing my kink drive again, which has been dormant for way too long. Sure, she gets out and makes a quick walk around the block sometimes, but on a whole…I know I can go deeper. I have gone deeper. I need to go deeper again. Thankfully, there are a few interesting prospects on the horizon, but it’s coming back down to a game of hurry up and wait. But I am grateful for those people in my life who are there and want to explore and play with me. They are some truly excellent people.

Then there’s the thing where all of the people and things that are happening currently remind me or touch on some part of my past. The metamour who might be core monagamous or poly-friendly, but there’s no real way to know yet is dredging up some things from how I used to be when I first got into poly which is, in turn, pointing out some glaring mistakes I made that I now regret. Part of me wishes I could tell that to my two exes, but since they’re not talking to me, it’s a moot subject. Well, maybe not moot. Just I only get to have internal realizations and not apologize directly.  And really, there’s so much more to it than the mistakes I made anyway, but those are the only things I can control and apologize for. And god, I would apologize for the apparently standard practice of poly newbies to create rules up the wazoo in a fucked up attempt of protecting the primariness and specialness that I was so desperately afraid of losing. In my case, and in many cases, from what I’m reading and have read over the years, it tends to have the opposite affect of and instead pushes people away. Also, knowing now how better to handle jealousy and where it comes from, this article that I read years ago on the subject makes so much more sense.

Really, jealousy is just a fear of something being lost or taken away. It’s a feeling that points out where you feel there is an imbalance. And the “feel “part of that is the most important, to me, at least. Because it’s not always the case. Something isn’t necessarily being taken away. Sometimes it is. But sometimes new and wonderful things can be there to replace it if we let them. But for me, I’ve finally learned that when I’m feeling jealous, it generally doesn’t mean that I want the other person to stop what they’re doing, but that I’d really like some of what they’re doing, maybe at some point in the future.

For example, when I get jealous of the screen of emojis I see my husband texting to a love interest, it doesn’t mean he has to stop sending emojis or stop texting that person. It means I tell him that I’d really like to get some of those at some point, too, to spice up our texts. It has nothing to do with limiting or controlling his behavior anymore, in an attempt to reinforce that I’m The Most Important Snowflake Ever. I come from a place of love and knowing that he can send emojis to more than one person and it’s okay. But it’s equally okay to say something in a non-accusatory way about trying to get some sweet, sweet emoji loving, too. But on the flip side, if he’s doing that during a pre-set date night with me, then that’s a problem and I’d ask him to stop and let his sweetie know that we’re on a date and he can sext her lots later or tomorrow. In that latter case, it’s not about controlling my partner’s behavior, but both of us honoring and respecting the time and attention of the partner we’ve agreed to spend a certain amount of time with.

I’ve been struggling with this concept of poly with no rules for a while now, but it’s making more sense to me. The more I let go of my fear with my husband and begin to open up to the people he wants to explore with and the people I want to explore with, the more I find this ringing true. But it’s still struggling with my hierarchical core. But what I’m finding more and more is that once I transcend the fear of abandonment and realize I will be okay whether or not I have a primary, the stronger my primary relationship gets and the happier we both are pursuing the feelings and desires we have outside of each other. It’s a weird paradox, kinda like that quote about taking a leap and building your wings on the way down. And it’s come with its fair share of tears, anxiety, confusion, and loneliness. But it’s also been balanced out with a joy and openness and relief I didn’t expect. Also, I still think “no rules” can coexist with hierarchy, but it can get complicated.

Along the lines of where my head is kinda at right now, there’s this article that focuses more on solo polyamory, but has a quote I adore:

“…falling in love doesn’t equate to inhibiting your freedoms or my own. When I fall for you, it means you mean something to me, and I ultimately want to be a part of your life that makes you happy and builds you up. I’m not expecting anything from our relationship beyond the present moment, but I’m also not closed to the idea of a deeper connection developing. I want to see what happens when neither one of us is pushing or angling for anything.”

SO MUCH THAT.

Man, love is fucking complicated.

And just like in that article, I had to learn the hard way that love does not equal compatibility, nor does it alone solve relationship problems, nor does it mean I have to sacrifice myself endlessly in the name of love. These were hard lessons to learn. Four years ago in February, a day after Wicked Faire ended, I woke up and asked my now ex-husband a question that was the catalyst for us all (I was in a triad marriage) to begin the long, painful process of ending a relationships/marriages that had stretched from 10 to 13 years.

And it sucks because even though there are multiple reasons why it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to me and I’m better off now, and they are, too, it still hurts. There’s the part of me that wanted my first real love to want me more than anything else. Want to stay with me forever. “true love” was supposed to be in my favor. I started out as the primary, after all.

How sad and sweet it is that I actually felt that way. My understanding about the nature of love has evolved so much over the past four years that it’s kind of staggering and I have to catch myself up sometimes. Remind myself that what feels familiar is not what I actually believe anymore. Remind myself that there’s so much of the stuff in this article that I used to do because I was so afraid. Demotion, displacement, intrusion…well, I tried not to do too much of the intrusion. But god…I was a wreck when we first opened up our relationship. In between being in love with our then girlfriend, I was a goddamned wreck. My boyfriend’s chemistry with her was palpable, and for an empath who hadn’t even begun to learn much about being an empath, that just fucking wrecked me. I couldn’t feel her in the same way as I felt him and her. I now know, since hindsight is 20/20, that that also had to do with the fact that I was a cuckquean, but had no clue about that word or what it entailed way back then. This all created some intense drama and difficulty that was sometimes balanced with moments of poly clarity and brilliance. Sometimes balanced.

Fuck, it’s been a long road.

More than anything, I’m really happy to have discovered this piece about Casual Love by Carsie Blanton because it sums up my feelings about love. I used to think it was this precious commodity that came with specific things that I should have or get or that other people should do to ensure my primacy and specialness. Now I endeavor to understand and embrace love in all it’s messy glory. For friends that are awesome even when they’re annoying, for family even when they cut you so deep you examine everything about who you are, for lovers who make really fucking huge mistakes, and for all the good that all of the above do, and all the experiences that we’ve shared and could share in the future.

It’s funny; a friend and possible D/s partner texted me recently to tell me he had an odd realization about me that he wanted to share. Apparently, he feels I don’t have a mean bone in my body and I have an openness and kindness in my face that’s apparent.

Upon reading this, I was struck with two conflicting reactions. Being touched and outright laughter.

It’s an incredible compliment to be considered so open and kind. It’s also hysterical that people don’t think I don’t have a mean bone in my body. I’m human, for fuck’s sake. As I told him, I believe everyone has a light and dark side, including me. I just try really hard not to indulge or dwell in it. All humans have both inside.

Granted, I’ve spent the better part of two decades trying to over-correct for the mistakes I saw people making around me when I was growing up, like racism, homophobia, xenophobia, fear of any new experiences or people or things. I respect and honor my dark side and work my ass off not to let fear run my life. It doesn’t mean I don’t feel fear, or that I never have mean thoughts, or that I haven’t done stupid, thoughtless, bad things. Again, see HUMAN. But I over-analyze so much about relationships and people and that includes myself, so I prefer to err on the side of joy, wonder, and discovery. This quote from Rainer Maria Rilke is one of my favorites and it’s kind of my motto:

“We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible in it. That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm…But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished the existence of the individual; the relationship between one human being and another has also been cramped by it, as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence.”

I think this approach to being open to enigmatical things was what led to me exploring my first ever casual sex experience at Wicked Faire last year. (again, y’know, February). Which was great, but I still kinda went stone butch in that I had no problem giving sexually the person I was with, but wasn’t able to accept sexual reciprocation. I’m not disappointed; this person gave me some AWESOME and totally fulfilling sensation play that I was craving.

But now I’m trying to sort through some even more mysterious feelings and trying not to get too far ahead of myself, because there are other people involved and I’m states away and have a lot on my plate and it’s just got levels of complexity and…yeah.

It’s a lot to sort through and last night, after talking with the new person, I just got off the phone and needed to drive. And cry. And sing. At the top of my lungs. The open highway called me and I just let it all come in. Felt it all. The past, the pain, the sensation, the burlesque and creativity, the love, the loss, the moving on, the fear, the desire, the concern…just so much to feel and process.

And just some bonus content…a playlist of songs I can’t get out of my head lately that fit various parts of all this:

  1. Read My Mind – The Killers
  2. Just Enough – Charlotte Sometimes
  3. I Get Off – Halestorm
  4. Dreams – Brandi Carlile
  5. All This and Heaven Too – Florence + the Machine
  6. Amazed – Poe
  7. Epoch – HUMANWINE
  8. Holding On To Good – Delta Rae
  9. Fearless Love – Melissa Etheridge
  10. Independent Love Song – Scarlett
  11. Suddenly – Les Mis MPS
  12. As If We’ve Never Said Goodbye – Glee version, from Sunset Boulevard
  13. Arsonist’s Lullaby – Hozier
  14. Have to Drive – Amanda Fucking Palmer
  15. Time Ago – Black Lab
  16. The Winner Takes It All – Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia
  17. Fake Plastic trees – Radiohead
  18. Wild Awake – Tylan
  19. Under Pressure – Queen/David Bowie

Just how ‘open’ do you wanna be…?

The past few months have brought me to the crux of an interesting quandary. The title of the post says, or rather, asks it all. Just how “open” do I wanna be? About my life. My path, proclivities, feelings, loves, desires.

Years ago, after the first Susie Bright book I read (Full Exposure – OMG, go read it), I felt positive I wanted to be like her. Around that time, I offered to and wound up giving a talk on polyamory at a friend’s local convention. I was green beyond belief but I was, as Linda Ronstadt sang, “Willin'”.

Willin’ to walk into a space with people I (mostly) didn’t know and talk about the fact that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with loving (and potentially sleeping) with more than one person. In fact, if I remember correctly, I was there with my then boyfriend and girlfriend. (Now ex-husband and ex-wife, but hey, that’s for another day.) And not only was I there to talk about how there wasn’t anything wrong with it, but ways to do it, books about it, conflicts that might come up (Hey, Jealousy…apparently, I’m writing in song titles tonight), compersion, etc. I was terrified to do it, but also high as a muthafucking kite when I was done. I was a poly activist! I was fighting the good fight and spreading the word about opening up relationships.

*sigh*

I was so young.

My heart was in the right place(s), though. A few people came up to me after the “class” to thank me. Ask questions. And while I did my best to answer them or point them in a good direction, I never really went anywhere with it. Or my dreams to write.

I did write a book way back in 2007. (Paperback Writer…I wish. More like Still Editing and Once You’re Done Maybe If You’re Lucky You’ll Be a Paperback Writer…The Beatles were SO right to go with the title that actually pops.) As the parenthetical says, I’m “still working on it.” I’ve done other things. Wrote a non-fic polyamory piece about how the Sims 2 was NOT a poly-friendly game. (Srsly. For short: it’s basically considered cheating if you take up with anyone who’s not your steady person and then, a FUCKING 6′ TALL BUNNY appears OUT OF NOWHERE, that ONLY YOU CAN SEE to prove you’ve gone insane from crying at the betrayal. That’s NOT OKAY, MAXIS.) for a close friend/mentor’s event magazine.

Tried my hand at the YA short story game after I wound up being introduced to an incredible person/now colleague and (most importantly) friend. Published six short stories, commissioned and paid for and everything. It in no way paid the bills, but it was totally the first time I’d ever been paid to write things that meant something to me. Lesbian polyamory. Asexuality. Internalized misogyny. YA pregnancy. Coping with a parent’s alcohol addiction. (Man, the tags on this post are turning into word salad.) I suppose this can all be considered “building my portfolio”, but it’s never really felt even that cohesive or important when I think about them all individually. After all, I wasn’t

  1. being offered a publishing contract
  2. in print, (beyond a non-circulating event magazine that doubled as the Playbill for the event)
  3. writing regularly
  4. making enough to earn a living from it.
  5. remotely famous

Amanda Palmer, in preparation for writing her book, (The Art of Asking – another OMG just go read it and then go read this article/interview about it from Brain Pickings by Maria Popova) I think, asked people how they knew they were successful. How/when they felt like “real” artists/writers/singers/actors/creators. It got written into her book like this:

There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to university, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.

It’s so simple and true and yet…and yet I still felt that thrill the first time I was in print, yet without pay. And then when my writing was liked by people. And then when I was paid for online writing. And most recently when the online writing I was asked to do was liked by people AND I was published in print and given a contract for my short story. It was like a beacon to forge ahead with those dreams. To do those things that I’ve been aching to do for years now but just never really knew how.

Sure, I had a few secret blogs that I thought I would just see if they “took off”. There are also a few secret blogs I kept secret and locked for reasons or to specific people. There’s also a not-so-secret other social networking site that I’ve been on and writing on for years. But recently, I’ve begun to tire of this cloak and dagger game of hiding who and what I am. Of being ashamed of my evolving sexuality and desires. Fuck, we’re living in the 50 Shades of Grey era. The good Christian housewives and stylists in the Southern salon where I had my hair did earlier this year were talking about kink and sex, for fuck’s sake. So when someone I’ve worked with as my gig doing programming for Jeff Mach Events asked if I’d be up for doing a guest blog post on kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com about being in the asexual spectrum and being into D/s, I thought, FUCK YES I’LL DO THAT THING. The next thought, when she asked if I had a blog or website I wanted to link up to the post was, FUCK YES I NEED A BLOG OR WEBSITE TO DO THAT THING. (BTW, you can read that post right here on my blog now, too!)

So I looked at all the myriad tried and failed attempts at making something of my dreams and realized they were either too specific and not what I wanted to do or behind barriers I couldn’t open up myself, so I set up this blog to blow open my own barriered writing. I started rebranding a lot of my social media presence (“presence”…if it can be called that…I mean, I’m not Jen Lancaster, The Bloggess, Amanda Palmer, Tristan Taormino, Lori Duron, Cecilia Tan, Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy, or Susie Bright, but they’re the stars I see in my eyes I look up for guidance of who I want to be and what I want to do. A little piece here and a little piece there…more on that later) to fit who I am and what I want to write about and stand up for.

And now, here I am, with a newly published short story in the First Annual Geeky Kink Anthology, a guest blog, and my own brandy new blog with some new stuff and some relevant writings from the past few years that I posted other places.

I’m terrified and excited all at once. This puts many things I’ve only begun talking about exploring (demisexuality, cuckqueandom), mixes it with things I’ve been doing for 15+ years (poly and kinkery) and sees what happens.

It’s scary to think about being this open because things start happening like my dad calling me to congratulate me on my newly published story. My newly published, kinky, cuckqueanarific short story. I had that moment of panic thinking he’d actually read it when I realized that one of my sisters, who’s on Facebook, where I talk about things in a slightly more controlled manner, must’ve seen me being over the moon about the anthology (and subsequently terrified before the first public reading I did of it…but that’s also another story) and then told me dad. *exhale and graciously accept congrats.

Then there’s the conversation I had with my ex-mother-in-law-turned-dear-motherlyfriend (and yet another story for another time) who is…fairly conservative. But she did eventually know about and support her son’s relationship with two women. But still, fairly conservative. But as my new husband said when he joined us for lunch a few weeks ago (srsly, that WILL be another story for another time) she’s also delightful and loves me and when I decided to take the plunge and tell her about the short story being published…in the vaguest of terms…she was elated for me and asked where to find the book. I hedged and told her she might not want to read it since it’s erotica. To which she replied, “oh, please. We’re all adults. I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey.” I damn near fell over on the spot. But it just went to show me that maybe I wouldn’t lose the people I loved if I was out and proud and me. And, um, wrote about it.

There will, inevitably, come a day when someone calls me a slut for sharing these things. For loving more than one person and having an open relationship, for liking the thought of my husband fucking other people, for enjoying consensual pain and sensation play, and, ironically, for favoring all of these above random and/or casual sexual encounters. I dearly hope I won’t lose vanilla connections. But like the above-mentioned nine women I mentioned, I have to write about what I know. So there will be some (a lot of) poly in here. There’s some (a way whole bunch of) kink. Some art and music. Some gender issues. Some geekery. Some geographic, socioeconomic snark. Some mental health issues but finding the humor in it all with brilliant humanity and a lot of spunk and snark.

Those are my goals. Those are the pieces that touch me deeply so I hope writing about them will be able to touch others deeply. The art and music may come in the form of burlesque, the gender issues may not quite be a gender-evolving child, and I know nothing of Lululemon, but it’s the spirit of it all that I want to share. And here’s where I start finding my own little corner of that sky. (Cause BAM, I hadn’t thrown in a song title in a while. Oh, did I mention I’m kinda obsessed with music and musicals? Yup, that’s a passionate thing, too.)

Welcome to our world. Thank you for being here. ❤

Two great tastes that I can’t usually put together: a guest post on kinkyasexuals

(Originally written for kinkyasexuals.wordpress.com)

When I was around seven, my older sister was in the Concert Choir in high school. They had a fundraiser, as school clubs are wont to do, to raise money and did so with the most enticing of all things: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Seven year old me thought it was my birthday, Christmas, and Easter all rolled into one when case after case of the bright orange wrapped treats were carried into our house. I was given a strict lecture by my mom (and vague threats from my sister) to Not Touch The Candy. That if I wanted some, I had to ask because we had to pay for it all. And by “we”, my parents meant “they”. Seven year old me tried to contain the pure joy and desire of being in the same house as cases of Reese’s and do it up proper by asking when I wanted some. The problem was, I wanted them all the time and my mom had to keep telling me “no”. My solution to this was to steal a case, stow it under the crawl space of our front porch, and then proceed to sneak off to eat my way through it over the course of a weekend. (Side note: I do not recommend this.) More than thirty years later, I still cannot eat peanut butter and chocolate together. The smell of it makes me nauseous.

People often look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them I can’t eat anything with chocolate and peanut butter in it together. While most everyone I know considers the two to be “two great tastes that taste great together”, I can only enjoy one at a time. This may seem like a strange opening for a blog that talks about the asexual spectrum. But for me, kink and sex are like peanut butter and chocolate. Each are fantastic on their own, but rarely do I (or can I) put the two together.

Before I had the vocabulary to know that I’m demisexual and panromantic, I used to think I was a lesbian. In my teens, I was only interested in women, so it stood to reason. I met my first husband when I was 20, and that kind of turned my “baby dyke” identity on it’s head. We dated for a few years before meeting the woman we would later marry (and they would then leave me and marry each other.) I was sexually attracted to them, but rarely attracted to anyone else. However, after meeting and falling in love with my (now) ex­wife, I learned about the term polyamorous. I fell in love on a regular basis with all different kinds of people, but was hardly ever sexually attracted to them. Likewise with play partners.

I’ve been asked when and how I chose to be this way, to separate kink from sexuality, but it really was never a conscious choice. The bottom line is that kink rarely “turns me on” in a sexual way. Yes, I get breathless with the right Dom(me)’s tone of voice and adore impact play like flogging, but to be blunt, neither make me wet.

For example, once I was exploring vendor row at GKE (the Geeky Kink Event) with a friend and sometimes play partner whom I share an interesting D/s switchy dynamic. I had her on a lead and was primarily testing different toys on her willing backside. In my Dommely element, I picked up a particularly stingy toy and used it on her ass. She reacted with an arched back and tortured yet pleasurable exclamation. Things were going well. I was enjoying myself. And then she said something like, “god, I’m going to have to change my panties. That made me so wet.” On my end, it was like a bucket of ice water had been dumped on me. There was nothing sexual about this to me. I was not wet nor in need of a panty change and the thought of this being sexual made me want to stop completely.

The person who mentored me in many aspects of D/s and polyamory was a Dom figure in my life for many years. I read his book. It resonated on many levels…well, all but the parts on sex. We had myriad conversations about power dynamics, kink, polyamory, the nature of love and submission, healthy ways of practicing both, navigating through complicated emotions and situations, and so much more. But we never had sex. My connection to him was incredibly strong and his type of mental dominance hit the core of my service oriented submission and I think that if I had wanted to, we probably would’ve had sex. The only problem was I had no sexual attraction to him and our interactions never “turned me on” in that sexual way.

There were times I thought I was broken. Or repressed. I didn’t masturbate to kink porn. When my mentor would ask if I was wet from our interaction, the answer was, to the best of my recollection, always no. And while he tried to convince me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, that he still thought I was a worthy student and submissive, I couldn’t help but still feel less than. I wasn’t a “good submissive” or “good enough” because the only people I could mix kink and sex with were my then boyfriend and girlfriend. I wasn’t the nubile, wet, ready sex sub. I wanted sensation play. I craved mental dominance. I needed cathartic pain. But none of it came with a side or main dish of sex. ALL I wanted was flogging. Being told to kneel. Being thrown into a wall and ordered around. None of this ended or included sex in my mind. Scenes began and ended with the play, many times with me partially or fully covered.

For a while, I could hide behind the fact that my husband and wife’s boundaries when I dated or played with people is that it didn’t include sex. Since I was an un­named demisexual, this wound up being fine with me for the most part. Even after my marriage(s) fell apart and I began figuring out my own rules, I quickly discovered that while I wanted to pursue play partners, sex was not a big factor for me.

When I moved down South from New Jersey, I quickly searched for poly meet ups and a kink community. Imagine my delight when I found out that there was not only a local community and munches, but a dungeon! And not only a dungeon…a SEX FREE dungeon! I made friends in the scene who weren’t happy about the the fact that the dungeon was sex free but I was ecstatic. Finally, the pressure to have sexual relations and kink mixed together would be relieved. At long last, there was a place where I didn’t have to worry about expectations during negotiations, or being around other people having sex around me.

Thankfully, it hasn’t been difficult for me to find a few partners who are okay with the lack of sex. Some even prefer it, at least for right now. And while I still feel like the world around me always pairs their kinky peanut butter with sexy chocolate, I know it’s not entirely true. There seem to be more people who think sex is integral to their kink than not, but there are still people out there who can and do separate the two. I’m more comfortable than ever in my own skin and desires. Not wanting to mix sex and kink doesn’t make me any less kinky, or any less of a submissive, or any less of a Domme. I don’t need to play with someone sexually to command them mentally and I don’t have to be wet or down to fuck to be a “real submissive.” Just because chocolate and peanut butter is enjoyed together by many doesn’t mean that that’s the only way to enjoy the two, just like sex and kink.