July 29th, 2011
It’s been a long time since I posted my reflection on the first section of The Ethical Slut, but I finally made it back to Part Two. It’s been a busy week, so I didn’t manage to get a post done on time. I’ve divided the quotes up into four sections, here is the first set. The topic is Polyamory and Boundaries.
“One of the things people get out of multiple relationships is the chance to be all of their various selves. … Being different things to different lovers, we might find ourselves having different boundaries, limits and relationship styles in different circumstances.” (123) I’ve talked about this before, how I have different relationships, boundaries and dynamics with all of my partners. Poly, for me, is a chance to explore all the different sides of myself.
“Forget about fairness.” (123) “Fairness does not mean equity.” (194) “We have to learn to give freedom to our partners if we’re going to get it for ourselves.” (174) For me, these quotes are about making agreements that work for everyone. In poly, not everyone is going to have the same boundaries or rules, things don’t have to be equal and fair, so long as everyone agrees. And it’s important to remember that sometimes, letting your partner have a little freedom will help them feel comfortable giving you a little freedom.
“You may believe that you have to take your share away from somebody else… if someone else gets something, that means there must be less of it for you.” (125) “Time is the biggest real-world limit we encounter in trying to live and love as we like.” (127) “This is not a contest, this is not a race, and no one is the prize.” (157) These quotes are around the ‘economics of starvation’ that many of us learn growing up. Dividing up time in poly is often the most difficult, it’s important to use your time wisely and well, because it is so limited just by life itself. And that goes for non-poly relationships, too. One of the easiest ways to counter starvation economics thinking, when one is being rational and not in the middle of an emotional freak out, is to remember that having more kids in a family doesn’t mean you love the first (or second, or third) less than the newest edition. Love and affection do not run out, they only grow.
“It is impossible for anyone to predict what depth of feeling may potentially exist in any sexual relationship.” (158) “Relationships change, people grow out of them, people change.” (166) “Remember that your soon-to-be-ex-partner is still the same terrific person you used to love. (171) These quotes are about the inevitable changes of people and relationships. You cannot predict when you will fall in love, or out of love. You cannot predict how long a relationship will last, or how it could change. Some relationships last lifetimes, some a few days. Sometimes people fall in love, get married, fall out of love, get divorced and then are the best of friends. Sometimes people never speak again after a relationship is over, sometimes they become play partners or close friends. Sometimes people don’t speak for a year or more after a break up, and then get married a few years down the line. Life is crazy, people and situations change. It can get a bit quantum sometimes – things defined by the way they are observed, even though they are in an ever-changing or undefinable state.
“To be an ethical slut, you need to have very good boundaries that are clear, strong flexible, and, above all, conscious.” (117) This quote is about being clear about yourself and your boundaries. You need to know your boundaries, discuss your boundaries and make sure everyone involved is clear and accepting of them. Some think that poly people have no standards, no boundaries, they just do whatever they want. But that’s not sustainable. You have to take care of yourself and your relationships, or neither will last.
January 23rd, 2011
Since you first developed an interest in kink, have your interests/perspectives changed? How so?
One year after joining the local community I wrote this. I have grown in so many ways. When I first got into the community and people asked me what I was into, I’d respond with bondage, spanking and nipple pinching. Just look at the list I posted on Day Two. I have come so far, and am still moving forward. I have learned a lot about myself and what I can do, and what I like. When I first developed an interest, I thought I was weird and strange, and alone. But I have found acceptance, love and support. Those things have made all the difference.
January 6th, 2011
I am woman, hear me roar?
So many things in that one little phrase and the way I typed it. I am woman – identity. Hear me – communication. Roar – emotions. Question mark – insecurity. I am secure in my identity, especially as a woman, but it is those other three things that trip me up. On a fairly consistent basis.
I am a writer, I communicate well through the written word. But that is almost always an impractical form of communication in the real world. I cannot write things down for my day job. I cannot sit with a notebook with my friends. I cannot use a whiteboard when I am talking to my loved ones. But, as I have posted over and over again on this blog, communication is of Utmost importance. In life, in poly and in kink. And in most of these cases, it needs be Verbal Communication.
Here is where the other two things come into play for me. Emotion and insecurity.
I am an emotional person and I am not entirely at peace with that. I cry when I’m upset or angry, and I am certainly not at peace with that. I have been working on both of these things. Accepting my emotional reactions, and letting them manifest through tears. I started to type there “when necessary” or “when appropriate,” but that is the trouble. I try to judge my emotions and bottle them if I think them too much. Now, it is a given that crying makes it harder for me to verbalize, and that is another reason I try to stifle it. However, that does nothing for communication. My emotional reaction, my tears, are part of communication. If I am upset, stifling the tears only stifles the communication of my reaction. If I hold it back, bottle it, and do not react, I am not honestly communicating how I feel.
This leads into insecurity. Sometimes, I feel like I am overreacting, or that my reactions are wrong. I let myself feel like my reactions, wants or even needs are not as important or are inappropriate and therefore do not deserve being communicated. I worry that my words won’t come out right and won’t communicate what I really mean or am thinking. I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing and offend someone. This also leads to me not asking questions when I am not clear. I feel like I should be clear, or I should work it out myself, or I’ll upset them by questioning them because I should understand what they said. It’s a vicious cycle that needs breaking.
So, where does this put me?
Thanks to a conversation with him this week, I was at a breaking point. This time, however, it’s a breaking point where I have found the leverage for positive change. This time, I’m taking the peak emotions and using them to move forward instead of curling in on myself. Through meditation, writing and discussion with him. I am able to see these problems more clearly than ever before and create a path to growth.
One, I need to ask questions. I need to trust that people do allow for my crazy. And if I need it to get the question out, I can always say, hey, this sounds crazy, but… because sounding crazy in the moment, and getting it solved, even if it is hard, is far better than holding onto it. Because that can lead to assumptions and false stories that only eat away at me.
Two, I need to allow myself to react. I need to not judge my reactions because that only leads to bottling and unclear communication. Tears are not bad, they simply are a reaction. Obviously, if I’m crying, then something needs to be talked about. Not allowing that reaction out simply allows the problem to continue, perhaps unnoticed.
So, let’s try that first sentence again, with feeling, confidence and sincerity.
I am woman, hear me roar!
October 23rd, 2010
Written on Thursday.
What happens when a relationship stops growing? What happens when you can see no romantic future?
I name him Lover here because I love him. Because the romantic notion of extramarital affair, without all the lying and deception those words usually imply, seemed to fit our relationship. We love each other. We find time to be together, for play and for sex. We have dinner and go to movies. But we do not live together, we are not creating a family or a future together. Yes, we are creating our own futures. Yes, we help each other create those futures. But our futures are not intertwined with each other.
I have always felt an inequality of emotional attachment in our relationship. It has always bothered me on some level, but Lover has always said that it does not bother him. He accepts what I can offer him and is grateful for whatever that might be. He has accepted any and all changes to our relationship that I have brought to him. I almost said graciously there, but it hasn’t always been gracious or clean, but he has accepted them. Because he wants me to be happy and he wants me to have whatever I want to have, wherever I want to have it.
He and I have been “together” for over two years now. We started playing in July of 2008. When we starting dating, or having a relationship is a bit more fuzzy than that because of the confusion on my part. It happened, I say, some time in Spring of 2009 when I started having Sunday nights with him, though others say it started much sooner than that.
My life is in a state of turmoil and self examination right now. This week, my focus turned to my relationship with Lover. It started with a disagreement and some upset, and spiraled into a lot of upset and consideration of the relationship as a whole. None of the upset is relationship ending. We communicate better than that, when we put our hearts and minds to it. And this week, we did. I feel like we talked through all the upset and the trouble. But that does not negate my wondering if I’m peeling the nipple tape off slowly instead of ripping it off.
Lover asked me today, what if the next two years went like the last two? I responded that our first year was full of exploration and growth and excitement and that this past year, it has been moving backwards. That has been my doing, I accept that responsibility. I took things away from our relationship, imposed limits that were not there the first year. So, if I look forward, I see things continuing on that trend, our romantic relationship becoming less and less over time. If that’s what I see, then is it fair to keep dragging us both forward? I don’t think it is.
He is a wonderful friend and I have no intention of giving that up. But I do think it is time for me to step away romantically. He asked me this morning if I wanted to take a six month break. I think putting a time frame around something like that is silly. I think if we break up and two months down the line we decide it was a mistake, saying oh no, we have to wait six months is silly. I think if we break up and it works really well, having that six month time of, oh, we have to revisit it at such a date is equally silly.
And now I wait, and do not post this, because he and I have not finished our discussion. I left him this morning, saying I do not know what I want, and I need time to think about it. Now that I have thought about it, I need to return to him to finish the discussion. Then I will decide if this gets posted or not.
October 21st, 2010
Today’s post has been written, but it will not be posted today. There are private conversations that need to happen first.
December 2nd, 2009
Some months ago, I wanted to cry and I was ashamed of that desire. Not just cry, I wanted to be Made to cry. I wanted to be pushed so hard that tears came bursting forth in and uncontrollable fury. But I was afraid. I was afraid that this was a ridiculous desire. That it was childish to want to cry for no particular reason. That wanting the release and cleansing of flowing tears was simply weakness. I was afraid that it would change things, too, with whoever made me cry. I had never gone there before and it looked terribly dark. I did not want that unknowable change in my marriage, and that was a difficult decision and a difficult discussion. My lover, more experienced than either myself or my husband, became the giver of those tears. It was the release I needed at the time, and nothing was changed or broken in the giving.
Since then, my edges and the darkness have been moved and pushed and shoved. Tears are no longer shameful to me, but they still have a specific place in my play. There is still darkness when I think of bringing them into my home. The tenderness and love between my husband and myself seems incompatible to a tearful scene.
My lover, more often than not, gets the tears through fear these days. Threats of freshly remembered intense pain or of heightening the current level of pain can drive me over the edge. (Nipple clamps of various varieties are usually present in these threats.) Tearfully begging for mercy or for the pain to stop. Sometimes he grants it, and sometimes not, driving me further into tears or into complete surrender where the tears stop and soft stillness comes.
My other partner has only brought out tears twice. Both were corporal scenes, but they had a heavy mental elements that had more to do with the tearful response. In both situations, expectations were set, and tears came when I failed to meet those expectations. The pain levels were high, but it was the mental game that was more costly.
In the first, I was given a task, an object that was not to be dropped. It fell twice and tears fell swiftly behind it, but were gone again when he gave me another chance after a few choice strikes for the drop. It was an incredibly intense scene, the tears just one more spice in the delicious flavor.
The second, was a flogging scene set to music, and the final song came on, and he said he would flog the whole song at the same tempo and strength. I soon began to falter under the heavy strikes, and tears welled up as I thought I would not make the entire song. As I fell down and stood back up several times, his strikes never missed. Tears were flowing freely as I fell the final time, turning slightly towards him, but my back still raised to accept his strikes. He stopped then, accepting my surrender and my tears. His acceptance washed away my tearful disappointment in myself, and I smiled when he said I would do better next time.
November 21st, 2009
I was asked recently what I would not offer freely. This got me to thinking about my limits. I had not explored them seriously in quite some time. Just random comments of, “no red,” or “you know that’s a hard limit” when things came up. Back when Husband and I first entered the community, I did a lot with lists. Filled out fetish lists, filled out like/dislike/limits lists. But it had been quite a while since I seriously visited the topic, and limits do change over time. My partners have challenged my limits, poking them gently here and there, never Leaping over the line, just prodding it until they made a hole to slip through. Or, in a couple cases, waiting until I changed my mind and Asked to try something.
So I now have three lists. Current Hard Limits, acknowledging that things do change. Previously Hard Limits that have been pushed to Soft Limits, acknowledging that these are still tricky ground, and often partner specific. And a very short Soft Limits list of two things I didn’t know enough to have put on my Hard Limits list in the first place.
Current Hard Limits
Animals(yes, this includes snakes)
Blood (except for sex during menstruation)
Cutting of the skin (does not include scraping/scratching or breaking from impact play)
Medical Play (specifically enemas, sounds, catheters)
Removal of my pubic hair
Bull whips (longer than 4 feet)
Significant Facial Impact (smacking, hitting, punching, etc)
Public sex (more than two other people present)
Willfully Breaking the Law (only exception is private play in a public area where there is reasonable safety of not being caught, (i.e. sex after dark in a car or park))
Previously Hard Limits that have been pushed to Soft Limits
Grabbing by the throat
Gentle face slapping
Single Tails(under 4 feet)
Sex while menstruating
Essential Flavored Oils