Monday, June 11, 2012

Being Open About Being Open

This past weekend, Gin and I had the great experience of joining the rest of the podcasters from Life on the Swingset in San Francisco. We've always had a great time when we traveled to San Francisco...and this past weekend didn't disappoint.

The highlight for me was watching the Swingset crew do their first ever live podcast. It also happened to be the first time that they were all in the same room, having recorded scores of episodes virtually in the past. The chemistry didn't disappoint and they led a lively discussion about "progressive swinging" among an audience that largely identified as polyamorous. 

Ginger is such a rock star. I feel great compersion when she shares this with others as freely as it flows, without hesitation. She is happiest when serving others--emotionally in this case, but yes, sexually too. In the course of the discussion, Ginger challenged us to be true to who we are and to represent this freely to others. An audience member commented that a woman wearing a harness and sporting a dildo is not a common sight at a swinger party. To which Ginger replied, "Fuck them. Put your harness on and be proud. I do." 

In fact, she does. 

Tristan Taormino was in the audience and supported the importance of "progressive swinging" to improve the rights and protections that we share with all non-monogamous people. She also noted that the research shows many more swingers identify as being conservative in their politics. Again, Gin made a great point that she takes every opportunity she can to open the minds of our conservative friends--that we should engage them in the shared worldview of sexuality and find the "teaching moments" to challenge their politics in other areas. 

In fact, she does this often too. 

She does all of this and yet, she cannot be completely open about who she is. This kills her. Though in true Ginger fashion, no one would ever know it. The reality is that she does it to protect me. Like many, the risks of coming out are simply too great for our situation. It literally brought Ginger to tears during the OpenSF presentation.

Someday, baby. I promise.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fill Your Vessel

There is no better place from which to blog than from one of the beach side beds at Desire—where we happen to be parked at this very moment. Professional bloggers? Absolutely…as long as we are constantly surrounded by naked people who inspire us to write!

Without fail, John and Allie from Swingercast have pulled together a great group—familiar friends and many more newly created. We also re-met many people who are not part of the group, but vacation here the same time every year. We’ve received some very sweet feedback on our writing, which always inspires more.

One friend commented on one of the most recent posts, Sexy Is as Sexy Does, and shared that it helped her overcome some of her own hang-ups and branch out. It’s easy to write about how to move beyond our self-limiting thoughts, but to do it takes real courage!

(one hour later) Ok, so one of the hazards of writing at Desire on the beach beds is the impromptu discussions. Ginger and I just had one of the best this week with Earl and Lynna, who are new(er) to the Lifestyle and on their first trip to Desire. They’re clearly in harmony with each other, they’re smart and have it together…just the kind of people we love chatting with. Ron and Melina the other day at lunch. Bill and Kiersten (who we have about a thousand open conversation threads to tidy up in the next couple of days). Joe and Kathy. John and Rickie. And many more to seek out and keep connecting.

So many of the conversations have touched on themes that inspire us…to look deeper. Reflecting on where we are and what we are continuing to create. What’s held us back and what other people seem to struggle with regularly.

Out of many of these discussions and observations we’re imparting a New Rule (in the vein of the comedian Bill Maher): Self-limiting thoughts must never get in the way of what (or who) you want. That is pretty nerdy. Let’s try this variation: If you find yourself wanting to be different and you don’t have the chance to fix it right then, you have to let it go or else it’ll inhibit you. Hmmm, better but still not very simple.

Criticism kills. That's something we can remember.

It kills your confidence if you’re critical of yourself. It kills the mood. It kills your connection with your partner. Left to fester, it kills relationships.

When you hang out with naked people all day, it’s easy to be critical, particularly of yourself. There is always somebody that has something that you may wish you had. Body type. Size. Et cetera. Sadly, we see that even when people have taken matter into their own hands, or entrusted a surgeon to “fix” this or that…sometimes, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. They could have the perfect body on paper but lack all the self-confidence to be sexy in it.

Sometimes those types of enhancements or high intervention changes can bring about an improvement in self-confidence or mindset. The trick is not to count on it. Owning exactly what your body is, in every iteration, knowing that your sexy is deep inside and shines through regardless of the vessel truly sets you free.

Some people like their vessels shaped one way, others like vessels of all shapes and sizes, but we can agree that if it’s empty, we will be thirsty no matter what.

The good news is that it is as easy to accept as it is to criticize. It is a choice and we have to remember that. Constantly remind ourselves of it. The choice to accept is empowering. It helps us fill up our vessels.

With no leaky insecurities, we have more confidence in sharing what interests and inspires us. We can engage and interact dynamically…interesting and spontaneous conversations can erupt anywhere. Like here on the beach. Speaking of which, here comes someone now. Gotta go.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

All Over the Place

Prof and I have been all over the place. Geographically. Emotionally. Relationally. It is pretty damn cool.

The hard part about being all over the place is we haven't been here writing. The cliche that we ethical sluts have to be excellent time managers is true. You've heard this from me before here in the blog. But we will triumph over the time crunch! Prof and I have too much fun sharing our perspectives here with you to let it fall off the radar. And, indeed, we have evolved so much since we started this entertaining little diversion, if anything we want to share more here for our own reflection. If you enjoy in the meantime, all the better!

So geographically we have been indulging in travel that takes us to hotbeds of sexiness in the most literal way possible. With two upcoming trips to Desire, presenting at the Open SF conference and catching up with hotties at places like Trapeze, there is no shortage of fun to be had. The beautiful thing is Prof and I get to do all of this together. In our day-to-day dynamic vanilla lives (which we love every minute of!), we unfortunately are drawn apart often by circumstance. It is a choice we make everyday to embrace our lives as they are, but also to maximize our opportunities to have fun together.

So a trip to the Trap or your local club is awesome for each of you, I'm sure. For us, it takes on a whole other dimension, not necessarily an urgency, but a chance to both be at a place where we can let go of the world for awhile and just be. You may identify with this too. It is a demonstration of our commitment to each other that our relationship comes first.

As bizarre as that may sound to the non-swing set, the time when we can let our hair down together in the midst and company of 'our people' is when we feel the most at ease. When we can embrace our nature and cut loose together, Prof and I connect in the deepest way. The fact that we are flirting with other people, building other relationships, sometimes being intimate with other people and enjoying the compersion of the whole process openly helps us feel whole.

Which brings me to the fact that emotionally we have been all over the place. As we evolve and experience deeper and deeper immersion into the ethically non-monogamous world, it is getting harder and harder to keep up the vanilla facade. I'll speak for myself here: After six plus years of an awesome, beautiful, fulfilling open relationship, feigning vanilla seems more and more obsolete. I'm tired of telling most of the story.

I'm moving closer and closer to being ready to tell it all. (Much to the relief of all those friends we have who are out and have led the way for us.) Of course, I want to do it on our terms in our time frame in consideration of those around us that we love who deserve to hear it from us first. But as I recently texted to Prof: "We have nothing to hide." Our relationship kicks ass. We love each other deeply. We have other partners. And it is awesome and complex and simply how we roll.

I remember having a conversation with Prof when we were about nine months into our open relationship and saying, "When we have been doing this for two years it will be easy to say to friends and family, 'This is just how our relationship works. You've known us this whole time. We are no different. Take it or leave it.'"

And it has been more than six years now. Six years. As exhilarated as our relationship and our other relationships make me, the experience of not sharing that with those we are closest to has worn me down. As it should, really. Everyone deserves to be who they truly are with everyone they love.

With our evolution and maturity of understanding of what energizes us about our open relationship, now relationally we are all over the place. We have some amazing couple friends we have been close to for over five years and have continued spending lovely time with them. We continue to party with a fantastically fun cast of characters with whom we text and flirt and dance and flirt some more. We also enjoy and get an erotic charge from just having them in our lives. We have a network of geographically remote friends that enrich our lives that we look forward to seeing when schedules and travel allow.

And now Prof and I have both begun, almost by accident, to embrace the experience of having erotically-charged friendships individually while still keeping each other informed. The process we moved through to land at this place has contributed a richness to our already incredible relationship that is impossible to describe. It is mindbending to discover that we hadn't summited the mountaintop. And likely we still haven't, which thrills me.

Thanks for following us all over the place. You are truly excellent company. We look forward to sharing the next leg of the journey too.