Did You Know You Had Options?

Open Options, Beth Pelletier, polyamory, short film, open relationships

The Open Options movie poster

When it comes to the kind of romantic relationship you get into, that is? If not, you should! And my friend Beth’s new film does a fine job of introducing you to some of these options and to the people that are living these experiences.

I went to see the premier of her film, Open Options, in February at IndieScreen and it also debuted at the CineKink film festival this year. In a mere 14 minutes, it did a great job of presenting the sorts of open relationship options that are out there and did so in a very casual way: with a few friends sitting on a couch and chatting about their experiences over food and wine. And may I just say….the lighting looked really good! (by my friend Deacon, I hear).

But on to the content… Continue reading

Sex Party Drama

Nicole Kidman, Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise, Sex Party, Stanley Kubrick

Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut

If you’ve been on the sex party scene for long enough, chances are you’ve gotten involved in some drama, or you’ve created some drama, or you’ve at least witnessed it. On a scene where sex, kink and polyamory are involved; emotions, jealousy, STD scares and relationship negotiations run high and the occasional sociopaths, narcissists and drug addicts are free to run amok, it’s bound to happen. The difference is that, if you stay on the scene and keep going to the same events, you’ll keep seeing the same people and will keep acting out the same dramas or getting involved in new ones. Sometimes you’ll find yourself mediating other people’s dramas. Other times, someone will have to mediate yours.

Everyone tries to get “the asshole,” banned from the party when pretty much everyone has been “that asshole” at one point or another. We’ve all hurt people, dumped people, slept with people we shouldn’t have slept with, abandoned people when they expected something more, been abandoned when we expected something more, etc. The thing about the scene, though, is that a lot of people will keep rolling in the same circles and dramas will keep rearing their ugly heads. And particularly on the sex party scene, not only will you keep seeing the objects of your unaffection, but you might be seeing each other having sex, as previously discussed in my EX Factor post.

But this post isn’t just about ex drama, it’s about all kinds of drama. And here I want to talk about…. what’s necessary and unnecessary when it comes to sex-party drama? And, then again, who’s to judge? (Certainly not I, I’m just putting these questions out there…). Continue reading

The Slut-o-Meter (a fun survey)

sex surveyWhen I was bored at home one night a few weeks ago, I decided to tally the number of sexual partners I’ve had. I’ve done this before, of course, but this time I did something different. I decided to ferret out how many of these partners were people from the poly, sex-positive, fetish or whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene(s). And I was surprised to find out that only about 1/4th of my total number* came from the related scenes.

I then shared these findings with my friend, P, who vaguely estimated her own numbers in her head and said that the same would be true of hers. Conclusion? We were both slutty long before getting on to any of these scenes. Then we decided to conduct a survey among other scene people to see if the same was true of their numbers. Continue reading

Growing Pains (& Gains)

Trevor's Hipster Journal (by none other than Trevor himself).

Trevor’s Hipster Journal (by none other than Trevor himself).

Although I might complain about how my experiment with polyamory blew up in my face, and in the lovely visages of some of my friends, I can’t deny that there are open relationships out there that have worked for a long time. My friends Trevor and Vanessa,* for example, have been together for almost 20 years and have been open, in theory or in practice, for the majority of that time. But, like many couples in open relationships, they’ve encountered some difficult roadblocks along the way. Though Vanessa says she appreciates the lessons they learned from it and how these lessons helped them navigate other tricky forks in the road.

Vanessa is pregnant with a baby that’s due this winter and while the couple had decided earlier in life not to have kids, they recently re-negotiated on that agreement and changed their minds. Namely, Vanessa found that she actually wants a child and convinced Trevor to do it. And Vanessa says that learning, earlier in their relationship, to negotiate around poly-related issues where the two of them wanted different things, in a way, gave them the tools necessary to work through other such things. Continue reading

Big Kids “R” Us

While transcribing several interviews with friends from the various alternative scenes, be it the BDSM world, or polyamory or what-have-you, I often come across the question of, “who knows about this in your daily life?” People like your parents, relatives, non-scene (I hate the term “vanilla”) friends, co-workers, etc. And I’m not asking it in any kind of moralistic way, like “OMG, do your parents know you do this crazy stuff??!?” I do this crazy stuff myself, of course, so I’m usually just curious to what extent other people are open about it and how they go about deciding who to tell or not tell or how to tell them. Continue reading

Oops, I Did It Again

I went to a sex party this past Friday, even though I wrote previously about no longer going to them and haven’t been back in exactly a year. Thing is: I’m not, and never was, morally opposed to them or anything. I also tend to never say never. It’s just that I feel they no longer serve a purpose in my life since most of the people on that scene are polyamorous and I’m no longer interested in pursuing that lifestyle, as it’s been well documented in my previous posts.

But many of my close friends are people from that scene and it was nice to see everyone in one place and re-connect. It was like cocktail/social hour amidst a bunch of scantily clad, sexy, naked bodies, a wax scene over here, someone getting fingered over there and what-have-you. Continue reading

Years, Yardsticks, Yins & Yangs

yin and yangAnother one of the criticisms on my poly rant post, I believe, was something about how “you’re always going to get upset if you judge the success of a relationship by its longevity or potential to be a life-long one.” I feel like a lot of people still judge relationships and whether they are “working or not” on their ability to last forever. And the truth of the matter is that very few do these days.

My friend Sara, who is monogamous and broke up with her boyfriend of three years some time ago, once alluded to this and said that just because she and her boyfriend broke up, it doesn’t mean that it was a “failed” or “bad” relationship. “Three years is a pretty good run, after all. That’s a pretty successful relationship,” she said. And I’d tend to agree. A relationship may have worked very well for a number of years and then maybe one or both of you changed or grew in another direction or needed/wanted different things in life or whatever the case may be. And just because you broke up, doesn’t mean  the relationship was a failure. Continue reading

Responding to Critics on Poly Post…

emerson quoteI figured I’d get an avalanche of hate mail/commentary on my Let’s Talk About Polyamory post/rant, so I thought I’d dedicate a whole separate post to respond to critics (there will always be critics, of course, regardless of what you say, but I at least want to clarify some points). So in no particular order, here are my thoughts on some of the issues that were raised: Continue reading

Let’s Talk about Polyamory (a rant)

There have been a lot of articles floating around lately about how polyamory is gaining speed and open relationships might actually become the norm in x number of years. (See here, here, and here, for reference).  Though I’d beg to differ and think a lot of the journalists writing these articles are probably not involved in the lifestyle and don’t really know enough about it to ask the critical questions, so they are getting a lot of this “polyamory marketing/PR” from their subjects. And are also probably late to the party.

Many of my friends and I have experimented with open relationships and polyamory over the years and the model has failed for us, some have chosen to depart and go back to monogamy, some haven’t, but the fact remains that the idea isn’t “all that and a bag of chips” after all and usually doesn’t work for sustaining relationships in the long term.

A number of my friends have asked me what my personal beef with polyamory is about, so I thought I’d share it here. I was in a three-year open relationship with a trans woman. It was my first relationship with a woman and my first attempt at an open one. She was the one that requested it. Prior to meeting me, she had just gotten out of an eight-year-long monogamous relationship/marriage, she was new to New York, she had recently started transitioning, so she was at a point where she wanted/needed to experiment with her sexuality more and didn’t want our relationship to thwart that, which I understood so I said OK. Continue reading

Sex Party Dropout

Sex parties, orgies, naked bodies

Photo by Archbishop Tutu

A couple of gals’ journey into, and out of, the sex party scene in New York.

(First of all, I want to write a song with this title to the tune of Beauty School Dropout from Grease. Although I haven’t written songs since high school and am a bit rusty. All I’ve got so far is “Sex party dropout/go back to dancing” for the refrain, instead of “Beauty school dropout/go back to high school.” Anyone want to help with the rest of it? H? C? In the meantime, I’ll write the post and maybe it’ll help inspire the song).

My friend Jen and I caught up over brunch recently, as we do on summer Sundays, and talked about how we’ve largely dropped off the sex-party circuit in New York. I’m not sure about her, but I haven’t been to a proper sex party (I will discuss later what this means) since October. We both found that the parties no longer have a place in our lives or are giving us what we need. Continue reading