Goddess Worship

Goddess Worship is our new term for the common phrase “gang bang.” I do not like that term because of its connotations with violence, coercion, and rape. Goddess Worship (GW) more accurately reflects the spirit of a multiple men-one woman encounter for us: it is mutually desired, it is about one woman being pleasured by many men, and also about the woman’s desires and fantasies (including her fantasy of getting many men off at once!).

J and I had no idea this was a “thing” for us before we started all of our conversations and opening up six months ago. Since our two MFM experiences, we have had sexy pillow talk about inviting more men into the encounter, leading to multi-amazing orgasms. We need to make this happen.

What? J wants to do it too? YES! J gets so turned on watching me with other men, and gets so turned on just thinking about it! Sperm competition theory may explain this reaction: evolutionarily, men want to get in on the action so their sperm stand a chance of impregnating the lucky lady. A Billion Wicked Thoughts did a decent job of discussing this theory, and how it explains the popularity of “gang bang” porn among straight men. Sex at Dawn nails its discussion of the theory as well.

The idea of this happening again brings up issues related to casual and intimate sex. We decided that our need to be comfortable with a man is greatly reduced in this situation. Unlike in an MFM where the second M is joining our play, in a GW, it is more about the numbers. I definitely wouldn’t want to invite any skeaze-bag into our encounter; I definitely want and need a high level of respect and attraction. But I don’t need to want to hang out with a guy or know what he does for fun on the weekend. You need numbers to make a GW awesome. And right now we are shooting for 5-8 other men.

I have gotten off so far on just the thought of this happening… now that it will happen soon I have been trying to evaluate my reaction. Will I actually like it? Will I feel bad turning someone away? Will I be able to effectively communicate what I want to do? Will I be weirded out with men I don’t know very well? Will J be as turned on in the moment as he is when he thinks and talks about it? All signs point to a positive experience so far, and I am excited to see if it really is the fantasy I have made it out to be and what new things it brings up for J and I to talk about!

The Inequity in Vanilla Dating

The past week of the online-dating scene has brought a light to bear on the strangeness of the vanilla dating world… A world that both J and I had left a while ago and had forgotten about.

Why are there (seemingly) SO MANY single men out there, and so few single women? And what is the deal with the inability of women (generally) to respond to well-written and thoughtful messages? And what is the deal with men (generally) sending one-line “wanna fuck” messages? Why is there such a disparity in the way that (vanilla) single men and (vanilla) single women seem to communicate when it comes to dating? 

I really think it has to do with how we are socialized around dating: it is a dance, a constant detective search for “the one,” where women are told to play hard to get, while men are told that they must act as the aggressive predator. Men always want sex. Women never want it. Sex is something sacred to hold on to, so women, guard your cooter. Alpha males are the supreme. Women only want someone to settle down with. Blah, blah, blah.

Being “out there” for a week has made its toll on J and I, albeit for different reasons. I am utterly sick from the inconsideration that online dating lends itself to. An online profile generally means there is a real person behind the profile, and that person deserves respect, regardless of your interest: this means if someone sends you a message, it warrants a response (most of the time), even if it is just to say “thanks, but no thanks.” It also means that you shouldn’t initiate contact with someone with a “wanna fuck?” message.

I am also just fascinated by this whole experience on so many different levels: why would a young woman say she was okay with open relationships, open to having one herself, open to dating someone in one, only looking for a 1-3 month relationship, and then flake out on that exact opportunity? It just doesn’t make any sense! Why does a guy who isn’t (seemingly) down with open relationships initiate contact with me? What is the psychology behind this twisted communication style and sense of honesty? Why aren’t people honest about what they are looking for and good at communicating that to others?

That is something else that “clicked” for me the other night as J and I lay in bed talking about all of this. I had forgotten how I thought a year ago. I forgot that I, too, would have been squicked out if someone in an “open relationship” tried to hit on me. I would have probably though, “Ew, gross, get away, you no-good-lying-cheater-weirdo!” I just had no conception of what “open relationship” might mean (granted, it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people actually in open relationships), but I basically just thought it was either a way to cheat by trying to appear honest, or some non-committed, non-serious relationship. I had just completely forgotten about my previous state of mind, and I forget still that the majority of our society thinks this way. It’s like my brain has been “re soft-wired” from one cultural paradigm to another (I suppose, to a sub-cultural paradigm). It is really difficult to try to bridge that divide with people in the vanilla dating scene: people are squicked out by us, or put us in a cage like at a zoo, completely fascinated by our strangeness (“So tell me, what is that like?!?). I have to say, however, part of my love for our open relationship is the drive I have to tell others about it and why and how it works. I love talking with people who have never talked to someone in an open relationship, and letting them ask questions and share their ideas, concerns, and worries about such a set-up. It is actually fulfilling for me to help broaden people’s perspectives on the ways that relationships can work and function successfully outside of our society’s monogamy paradigm. So I guess that is one positive aspect from our online dating experience.

In any case, the jury is out on this experience: it has been interesting, but not yet wholly positive. Maybe J and I will just go out to a bar and hit on attractive vanilla people that way…

The People That Inspire Me

I want to be like the 30-somethings and 40-somethings and 50-somethings that we have met through our open explorations when I am in my 30s, 40s, and 50s.

It is so inspiring to me to see and meet people older than I am who clearly prioritize their physical health, and for whom physical activity and exercise has been a priority for a long time. It shows dedication, a sense of balance, a deep sense of self-respect, and just plain sexiness. It brings me new-found peace thinking about aging; everyone must age, but we can do it while we take care of ourselves. I don’t have that many other role models who are older than I am who have clearly prioritized their health, and while it pains me to see close friends and family who are older than I not taking care of themselves, it brings me perspective and happiness to see and meet all of our new-found sexy friends that do.

Here’s to all of our sexy friends who look hot at 30, 40, 50, and beyond!

A Billion Wicked Thoughts

I read and thoroughly digested A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam.

I take one MAJOR issue with this book: the authors take the trends they see through their Internet research, and instead of saying, “Whoa! Look at what people like/desire/find attractive/find sexy, etc! Isn’t this crazy that no one talks about any of this! It’s clear more people have kinks and fetishes and more people watch porn than we recognize! Cool!,” they attempt to say “Whoa! Look at what people like/desire/find attractive/find sexy, etc! That means that female brains are designed differently than male brains! That’s why we are so different! No wonder women are jealous of emotional connections and men are jealous of physical connections! It’s part of the neural design!”

A message like the latter could not be more opposed to what J and I have learned and hold so dearly from Sex at Dawn. Males and females, while different sexes, are socialized differently. That is why we accept jealousy, controlling behavior, and possessiveness in our relationships. Not because we are hard-wired to feel that way.

Anyways, reading the book as a description of what people today are doing sexually, at least online, is fascinating. It is a good look at the kinds of porn, video and written, that people are searching for online, as well as the trends in sentiments toward different kinks, fantasies, and fetishes. Their research supports the trend in heterosexual women watching gay porn, men getting off on multiple men-single woman porn (also known as “gang-bang porn,” but I prefer J’s new name for it- Goddess Worshiping, or GW, porn) because of the sperm competition theory, the “erotical illusions” of straight men being attracted to male-to-female transgender porn (the guy gets both the boobs and the penis!), and the notion that male sexual desire “sets” sometime during adolescence while female sexual desire is fluid and ever-changing in response to cultural trends.

I found all of those trends fascinating, especially as they were depicted in popular search terms, OK Cupid survey questions, most-viewed porn, and most popular fan fiction, erotica, and slash. 

I found the authors’ backwards mentality disheartening: just because more women read erotica than watch video porn, and just because most erotica features alpha males that ultimately succumb to the beautiful heroine’s Magic Hoo Hoo and hers alone while professing their undying and singular love, DOES NOT mean that the female brain is designed to value emotional and psychological connections over physical ones. Similarly, just because more men watch video porn and just because most video porn features large penises, large boobs, and wild, raunchy screaming and yelling DOES NOT mean that the male brain is designed to value over-the-top physical cues over emotional and psychological connections. What it means, to me at least, is that this is the current cultural trend in online porn and erotica: more women read erotica and sexual fan fiction than watch video porn, and more men watch video porn than read erotica. And I personally think that the stereotypical characters presented in erotica (alpha males) and video porn (men with large penises and women with large boobs) are indicative of our culture’s current obsession (or preference) for these characters and images.

This book is a fairly quick read, and I recommend it with a grain of salt. Take it as a current read on our country’s sexual temperature, and you will find some fascinating tidbits!

Exhibitionism Explorations

J and I have known for a little while that I am an exhibitionist. I got off when roommates walked in on us having sex during college. Our first night to our favorite sex club we went at it in the couples lounge, where other couples and single women can watch couples (or moresomes) having sex. I loved it that first night, and I still do. We have had same-room play with other couples while people watched. 

Recently, J convinced me to dance in a cage in the middle of the dance floor at our sex club. We were with some amazing sexy friends, and had been having a great time already. I went in with the two other women, and LOVED IT. I thought a little bit about the idea of being bisexual while I was dancing with these (mostly) straight women. It felt so low-pressure and just fun, and I think part of that was because I know at least one of them really really well, and also because I didn’t feel any pressure to “perform:” neither of these other women wanted to kiss or fondle or grope. A little grinding up on each other did happen, but it was more hilarious than sexy. After a little while, I came out of the cage, and J told me I should take off my dress. It was just a matter of time before I did. The minute he mentioned the idea, I was like omigodokay. 

I haven’t felt a similar rush and excitement since we first visited the club six months ago. It was simply amazing for me. I don’t really understand this side of me. I am generally a modest person, and fairly shy when meeting new people. Body image issues have also sort of kept me from being more of an exhibitionist (but all of the compliments I, and J, received on my dancing abilities made my self-esteem soar sky high!). A year ago, you couldn’t have convinced me that I would ever dance in a cage in a thong and bra. But I did! And I LOVED IT. I can’t wait to do it again!

I actually started reading A Billion Wicked Thoughts by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, and I will be writing a full post on that book once I am done with it. (So far, it’s not the best, but definitely food for thought). One interesting piece they have included so far is the female desire to be desired. Part of the female sexual brain, they conclude from their research and from other research, is the satisfaction and fulfillment females get from the knowledge that they are desired by others. I definitely think part of my high from my dancing-in-the-cage experience was from how I felt desirous. It was delicious watching people watch me, and also delicious seeing people walk up to J, desiring at once to have me and be him! J and I have talked about how we have had moments where we think we have sort of reached the end of the line in our sexual explorations, and then BAM! there’s something new to discover, explore, and get excited about!

The New World of Online Dating

We both recently put up profiles on a popular dating site, mainly to try to find some potential cuties for J. Neither of us have ever really “dated.” We had boyfriends and girlfriends in high school (and does that really count as dating??), and then met each other three weeks into college. J has described his desire to simply date other people to gain some experience and perspective into the dating world, even if it doesn’t lead to the sexual variety that he is ultimately looking for. 

I decided to put up a profile mainly as a way to give potential cuties the ability to see that yes, J’s girlfriend is normal. We thought it might be a good way to reassure vanilla girls that this open relationship stuff doesn’t make us crazies. 

One piece of this is that J isn’t quite ready to be “out” at school, but there are several individuals from his class that are on this site. It sort of seems like a matter of time before someone stumbles across his profile where he is very explicit about being in an open relationship, and then sees mine where I mention the pleasure we take in going to sex clubs… 

I have been pleasantly surprised so far in the number of people who are on this site and in an open relationship; all of these folks seem to have really similar experiences and perspectives as we do. I wasn’t really expecting at all to run into sexy friends through online dating, but I think we have!! Which is awesome, because the world is an even better place with more sexy friends 🙂

We might try an experiment where J puts up a profile in another comparable city without the mention of his open relationship status. He has not had very much luck yet in hearing from potential cuties, and we are fairly sure it has to do with his open relationship status. I mean, he is also messaging really cute girls, and I know from my past few days on there, I have received a bazillion messages and profile hits. I think it’s probably a little overwhelming for many girls doing online dating, and even if super hunky J messages them a really sweet and lengthy message, it can be difficult to message back. Not to mention again the open relationship thing. So we might just see what kind of responses J gets when it appears to just be his hunky self and amazing smile in the picture, without my presence as part of the package.

It has been interesting for me since I put up my profile, because I am amazed at the sheer number of people who have visited my profile- and the craziest part is that most of them have really low match percentages with me! I don’t think I would even look at someone’s profile if we didn’t have a fairly high match, and yet guys who have a 50% match or below are viewing my profile and messaging me. It’s also been interesting because I honestly don’t know if I would actually want to find anyone online. Like I said, I am mainly on there to be an aid to J. I am into MFMs, but I think that situation might work better if I meet someone in person and get comfortable with them before thinking of them as a potential second M… as opposed to trying to find second Ms online, especially on a more vanilla dating site. I might be interested in separate dating at some point in the future, but I don’t really think I am right now.

Anyways, it’s always fun to see how this open relationship stuff evolves and changes and flows. Who knows how long we will try the online dating world, but so far, so fun! 🙂

Letting Go: NRE, Jealousy, & How Relationships Change

I think one particular message that was taught to me growing up was the idea that relationships are meant to be forever. My parents and sister. My best friends. My boyfriend. My partner. With opening up our relationship comes new territory about what it means to have a “successful” relationship with someone else. Dan Savage says it’s not about how long you are with someone that dictates whether or not your relationship was successful; it’s about the quality of that relationship, and what the effects of that relationship were for the two of you. Even though I am not friends with everyone I was friends with in junior high or high school doesn’t mean those friendships were “unsuccessful.” Just because I am no longer dating the boyfriends I had in high school doesn’t mean those relationships were “unsuccessful.” They were meaningful and each unique relationship taught me something new about the world and about myself.
Since meeting so many other open and sexy people in the past six months, I have attached myself in various ways to each of them. Letting each unique relationship be what it wants to be has been interesting, liberating, and a little bit painful for me. Interesting and liberating, because I have been accustomed to sort of molding each of my relationships to the particular “type” I thought it should be: the best friend, the close friend, the band friend, the yearbook friend, the go-get-coffee friend, the shopping friend, the rebellious friend, the church friend, the boyfriend, the guy friend. Now, it doesn’t matter who is what: the personalities and the unique desires and expectations of each person tells me what kind of relationship we can have together. Painful, because sometimes, just like with “vanilla” friends, our expectations and desires don’t quite match up, leaving someone feeling unsatisfied or unheard. I am trying to figure out how to be the best communicator I can be so that I do not create these problems, and also learning how to let go of relationships that aren’t matching my desires and letting those relationships be what they can be.
NRE stands for New Relationship Energy, and it can be described as that feeling of exuberance and happiness you feel when you feel connected with a new person (think about dating and that “fly-in-the-sky” feeling from being so giddy with someone you like). It has been so exciting to experience that feeling with new people, and also interesting to see how that energy shifts over time because of new circumstances and situations, and then how that relationship may or may not continue. However, just because a relationship that started with a good dose of NRE may not continue indefinitely into the future doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a “worthwhile” or “successful” relationship.

I also wanted to talk a little bit more about jealousy in this post, since I am focusing on the ability to let go. I want to let go of jealousy and insecurity. I don’t want to feel insecure and little about J’s potential new partners, or when J has separate experiences from me. I want to be rid of jealousy. And I know that part of continuing to create a healthy and dynamic relationship with J that lasts like we both want it to means that I need to continue to work on letting go of these feelings. Relationships change, and part of that feels good, and part of that also means facing uncomfortable feelings so that I can experience the amazing and fun parts of my relationship with J to the fullest. Letting go of jealousy and culturally prescribed relationships means that I can continue to create a meaningful relationship with J, and with other partners, friends, and potential partners.

Casual vs. “Intimate” Sex. Also- Performance Issues

I was inspired to write this post after speaking with a close “sexy friend” about what we were looking for in the lifestyle.  We were discussing the distinction between sex that is strictly based on a physical connection to the other person versus sex in which the people have some sort of connection besides a strictly physical connection.  I am trying very hard as I write this to not use language that seems to judge the inherent worth of these two different scenarios as I think that both can be great so long as it is clearly communicated and understood by all involved partners.  However, what I currently want out of this sort of “lifestyle” is both friendship and sex and I do not feel that I would ever be likely to enjoy a strictly physical encounter nearly as much as I would enjoy an encounter with someone that I was both physically and mentally attracted to.
A major part of sex for me is about pleasuring the person that I am with and while I would still get enjoyment out of pleasuring another person whether or not I knew them well, I do not think that it would be as satisfying for me if I did not know (or plan to know) them intimately.  Another aspect of sex for me is about the increased intimacy that I am able to share with people who I like; the great part about “sexy friends” is that I am able to know them both as friends and as lovers rather than one or the other.  This gives me the added flexibility of being able to share myself intimately with people that I already know and like.
Also necessary to include in this post is that K and I have only had one casual encounter with a couple and two casual encounters with singles; the point being that we do not have a lot of experience with “casual” sex.  Of these experiences the one with the couple was quite satisfying although we were slightly disappointed that nothing more ever became of something that seemed to be a good thing for all involved.  With the singles the sex felt good physically but it was certainly not “intimate” in the sense that it was merely about having one fun (and safe) evening with other consenting adults but it never materialized into anything more.  There was nothing “wrong” with this sex it just was not anything besides a good physical feeling with new and attractive people. 
I do not want to come across as criticizing “casual” sex as most of our experiences have actually been quite satisfying, but I guess what I am trying to get at is, sex is just sex unless there is something else underlying the sex that adds to the feelings associated with sex.  It is completely fine to have “casual” sex but for me I have to recognize that it may not live up to my expectations when it is with someone that I do not know very well and it is not going to be an ongoing thing.  My theory on this is. . . why end a good thing just because it is not new?!  The trade off in decreased excitement and newness is well worth the benefits of the increased satisfaction that I get from giving and receiving pleasure from someone that I am able to connect with as a friend.
Lastly I would like to discuss some performance issues that I have had since beginning our open relationship.  The reason that I want to discuss performance issues in this post is because the only time I have ever experienced performance issues is with a brand new non-vanilla partner. 
As a healthy, 22 year old that does not drink, performance issues were a completely foreign concept to me prior to this lifestyle. L OK, truth be told, I am not THAT sad about this because I recognize that it is a normal and natural part of being involved with new people that I (sometimes) hardly know.
When we were first beginning to open up our relationship I was very turned-on by the thought of being with new partners but when it came right down to doing stuff with other people, I did not feel turned on at all.  I didn’t feel turned-off at all; I just was not sexually aroused AT ALL.  When we began playing for the very first time with our first couple, I was sexually aroused but only so long as I was with K.  (Aside: This other woman, like all the women we play with, was absolutely gorgeous and it is an empirical fact that she is attractive J).  However, despite how attractive this woman was, I just did not feel sexually aroused.
Performance issues have since come up several times but 1) I have gotten better about knowing what works for me in order to avoid them and 2) they are almost always the first or second time that we play with a new couple.  I still cannot explain exactly why performance issues arise because I feel comfortable, happy, excited, and relaxed but I know that sometimes things just do not work!
I have since come to learn that performance issues in “the lifestyle” are quite common for beginners.  (Thankfully I was told this by the man from the couple that we played with our very first night we did anything and he reassured me that it was totally normal and common- THANK YOU J!) I can not explain why performance issues come up or how to avoid them but Dan Savage has actually referred to some studies in which it has been found that men, despite the common conception, are actually more comfortable with partners they know whereas women are able to be very sexually aroused by new partners. 
A related reason I think that performance issues have come up for me in “the lifestyle” is because the transition from a casual evening and conversation to sex is often very abrupt and. . . somewhat awkward.  This is quite different than “vanilla” sex in which things happen slowly and the transition from hugging to kissing to making out to touching to. . . well you get the idea, happens more slowly and naturally.  This is not to say that I do not like the abrupt transition from conversation to sex because, I actually do; we all got together for a reason and we may as well play at some point assuming that everyone is on-board and thinks that it would be fun and fulfilling.  However, this abrupt transition has the potential to bring up performance issues for me because it does not give me the chance to become slowly aroused in a more “natural” way. 

To wrap up, casual and intimate sex both have pros and cons and we have had great experiences with both types.  However, if given the option I would choose a lasting and meaningful friendship that also includes sex because it allows me to have 1) variety, 2) great friendships, 3) less/no performance issues, and 4) ongoing good things!