It took over a year…

But I finally feel like I have my open support system. It is amazing to know all of these wonderful, open people, and to feel like I can reach out for the compassion and support and perspective that I need, and to also know that J is similarly supported and loved.
THANK YOU to all of the beautiful people in our lives!

What Do We Want & Can We Get It?

J and I admittedly have been going through a rough patch in our relationship. And because this blog isn’t the space where we go through our experiences in fine detail, I am not going to describe the specifics. Because the deeper issue is much broader, and much more important, than the specifics.

Do we want the same thing in our relationship? Or, mostly similar things? What does our Venn diagram look like? Where do we overlap and where is there room for negotiation? Are there things that neither of us will be able to get by being with each other? Are those non-overlapping pieces so important that we shouldn’t be together?

J wants us each to have a solid vision of what our relationship looks like. And then he wants us to come together and talk about our visions, our goals, our wants, needs, and desires. What things are non-negotiable? What things are we comfortable exploring and what things aren’t we comfortable with? I am down with this idea. Although it is difficult for me because I have felt like we have been on the same page since we started on this journey over a year ago, and it feels disheartening for me to know that J doesn’t feel that we are.

Part of why he feels this way, I think, is because I have had to do a lot of active, and oftentimes difficult, work becoming comfortable with reaching a new place in our relationship. Many of the principles that I think we both agree on in our relationship seem to come second-nature to J, and so I think it can be challenging for him to see me where I’m at emotionally and understand my perspective on a situation.

Negotiating our open relationship, and how to make it mutually satisfying, has become more difficult lately. Which has created amazing stress and tension for both of us. Which makes the communication process and negotiation process even more difficult. Learning how to be honest and communicate compassionately in the midst of this stress and tension is so hard.

My stomach has been in knots for almost a month now. A lot of food makes me nauseous and I have a hard time keeping anything in my stomach for very long. I know that I can’t handle this kind of emotional stress for much longer. Thinking about my life without J is incredibly sad to me, and while I know that neither of us would die if we broke up and both of us would move on, it’s something that I can’t fathom. And so it’s been insanely difficult to handle the thought and all of the accompanying emotions.

I feel peaceful thinking about the incredibly rewarding and positive aspects of our relationship, and about all of the work that we have both done in becoming stronger, happier, and more fulfilled individuals. I feel hopeful thinking about the foundation that we have, and the strength that I feel when I look back on our relationship and the love and excitement I feel looking forward. 

How I am experiencing love right now

-Having J touch my shoulder when I know it’s so hard for him to do
-Driving through the night to reach family and watching J sleep in the passenger seat
-Feeling honest and being honest
-Hearing J’s honest feelings
-Feeling scared out of my mind
-Sex in the early morning hours that reminds me of how bonobos might have sex after conflict: intense, thirsty, feeling drained and peaceful afterward
-Remembering and focusing on positives in our relationship
-Trying to feel grounded and sane, and remembering to eat

Really, Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” is how I feel in my relationships right now

This is the most disjointed and unclear post I have ever written/posted. It’s more helpful to me than anyone else. But that’s okay, yeah?

Sex Education Training

I attended a sex education training, meant for people who work with you in sex education settings. Since it’s something that I hope to actually do some day, I thought it would educational to attend. Overall, it was a well put-together training and the facilitators were awesome.


Being in an open relationship, though, definitely gave me some extra food for thought during the training. On the evaluations, for example, I wrote that it would be positive to me to hear about how to address relationship diversity in sex education. It was so interesting because the next day, one of the facilitators reviewing the evaluations from the day before said “Oh yes, well we will be discussing that today.” But what she thought of when she read “relationship diversity” on my evaluation was LGBTQ relationships. So I clarified my point again on the second day’s evaluation. Hopefully they understood the second time when I mentioned I meant it in relation to monogamous and nonmonogamous relationships. Just doing my part to spread awareness. One sex ed training evaluation at a time.

Another interesting point during the training was a discussion about sexualization. We completed an activity where we identified behaviors or ideas with the so-called five parts of sexuality (sexual identity-composed of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender role; sexualization; sexual and reproductive health; sensuality; and intimacy… I don’t particularly like this model because it doesn’t mention relationship orientation and because it seems a little too simplistic to me… like it doesn’t mention at all other factors that might make up your overall sense of sexuality such as religious, political, and family influences or past experiences of sexuality). The behaviors and ideas and things that people pinned to sexualization were things like strip clubs and porn- things that I could tell the group thought were inherently degrading or bad in some way. I myself had associated one behavior with sexualization, but didn’t see it as bad- fantasizing about someone you know. There is no harm, to me, in doing this. Sexualizing something or someone is not morally bad. It’s a normal behavior, and I know I sexualize a lot of thins and people I encounter every day (and I’m pretty sure I’m normal?!). Talking to J made me realize that the difference is really between sexualization and objectification. Sexualization can have both positive and negative consequences. It can be integrated into masturbation or sex with partner(s). It’s also a normal desire to want to be sexualized by partner(s) or others. To me, sexualization is related to the feeling of desire and feeling desired. Objectification has terrible consequences for everyone, reducing whole people to body parts and influences sexual violence. Word. The question then becomes: do things like strip clubs and porn sexualize or objectify? I think the answer truly depends on the environment and other factors at play. It’s complicated, yeah?

Dependency, Autonomy, and Counselors

Ugh. So this post is less fun for me to write than the more recent ones have been.

Remember Kathy Labriola’s intimacy and autonomy scale? The one about identifying yourself on a scale of 1-10, and talking with your partner(s) about where you all fall and making sure to get what you need and respecting what your partner(s) want and need, too.

Well I am definitely a little bit higher on that scale than J. Which really doesn’t cause us a ton of issues. But being in an open relationship really brings personal weaknesses to the forefront, and forces us to work on them.

And mine right now is this: I have for as long as I can remember been dependent on those closest to me. Dependent in the sense that I tend to forgo my own wishes, desires, and happiness to make those closest to me happy. I tend to not do things I want to do if it means I might cause someone else discomfort. Or that I tend to be upset by someone close to me asserting their autonomy or independence because it shows me how other people seem to do their own thing so easily, when it feels so difficult to me. This, especially in the context of our open relationship, manifests to J as control over him and his relationships. So you can see how this creates some major issues for us.

Soooo… I have now found myself a new counselor to work with me on creating a more solid sense of self and independence in my personal life and within the context of my relationships. But that was an interesting process, because it was extremely important to me to find a counselor that was supportive of open relationships. The first three I called, though, sounded just fine and very supportive of my relationship. I made initial consultations with all of them, and met with all of them for 30 minutes. The first one had actually worked with people in open relationships before, individuals and couples, and was totally fine with my relationship status. The second simply didn’t care one way or the other- she just wanted me to be comfortable sharing who I am and was extremely clear in her support for me. The third, however, was a piece of work. She was clearly uncomfortable with me and both my sexual orientation and relationship orientation. One crappy quote from her once we started talking about my open relationship: “Well, I have worked with gay people before, soo….” Oh yeah? Whoopdy do.

It was crucial for me to find a counselor supportive of and open to my relationship orientation, because it will make my sessions so much more useful and relevant to me. The dependency/autonomy issues are some that I have struggled with my whole life, but our open relationship definitely brings them to light. I love our relationship, and even though it’s really difficult at times, I am so grateful for the chance I have to critically self-reflect and engage in continual growth.

Mind Melting!

Alright, it’s high time for this blog post.

Short story: I have been dating this amazing and beautiful girl. J and beautiful girl hit it off, too. We have the most amazing threesomes of my life. My mind melted.

Longer story: We invited D to go down to CA with us. J had been flirting with her the week before, and J and I had been having hot, hot, HOT sex fantasizing about having her with us. I didn’t think anything sexual was going to happen among the three of us, but J was certain of it. I am glad we didn’t bet on it, because J would have definitely won. 

Picture this: beautiful house, pool, hot tub, a king size bed. Menage a trois wine (corny but perfect, right??). Lots of flirting and good conversations. Beautiful, fit bodies. Naked in the hot tub. She and I start to kiss and touch each other. And then… I don’t even remember how it all flowed from one minute to the next. All I know is that it was one of the most extraordinary sexual experiences of my life. It felt totally shocking and gorgeous and fantastic. Like all of the stars in the night sky above us were swirling around and around and exploded in my brain. Seriously. It was that good. And then I was laughing so hard I almost started to cry. The happiness and satisfaction and love I felt made my heart and stomach and whole body ache and shudder.

Whew. And it happened again and again.

There are always other emotions and experiences and perceptions to any story, as there are for this one as well. But this post is dedicated to the beautiful craziness of the our amazing, amazing CA threesomes. (And I realize now that this post isn’t very long. But sometimes more words take away from a story. So here it is. Short and very, very extra sweet.)