Oh Mom

My parents were in town this past weekend and I thought I was going to come out to them as bi. I also thought this might lead to a conversation where I would come out to them as open. Neither really happened (unfortunately)- well I guess one sort of did.

Situation one: We’re in the car. I tease my parents for having a bottle of Menage a Trois. My mom says, “Such a nasty name for a wine!” I was not prepared for the deep, visceral reaction I had to what she thought was a benign and acceptable comment. I felt so upset, offended, and angry that she would associated a threesome with “nasty.” Really? It sounded like a very off-the-wall comment, one that she had never really thought about. The way she associated extra-dyadic sex with deviancy and immorality just made my skin crawl. And I didn’t feel like I could say anything to contradict her without outing myself. Yuck.

Situation two: At a family BBQ. My cousin’s otherwise very smart girlfriend says, “I don’t think bi exists. I think you are either one or the other. I think people just have to choose.” Cousin agrees, saying he thinks bisexuality “is just a phase people in their young 20s go through.” I wanted to say- hey, there are three bi girls here right now. And none of us feels like it is a phase. What I did say was- umm I don’t think so.

Situation three: Sunday morning brunch after the BBQ. I tell my mom about my conversation with cousin and cousin’s girlfriend. I say, “Yeah, what I wanted to tell them was that there were three bi girls right there so it’s obviously real.” I watched my mom’s forehead sort of crinkle. She nodded and agreed with me. Later that day I found out from my sister that my mom asked her about it- so K was talking about herself, you, and cousin? My sister confirmed. My mom didn’t ask me anything more. So, I indirectly and sort of came out to my mom I guess? Didn’t happen exactly how I wanted it to, but oh well…

Situation four: At the Pride Parade. I really wanted to come out that day; I felt like it would be a good way to broach the subject. But I just didn’t have the courage to have an explicit conversation about it. Gah!

I can’t wait to get up the courage to just talk to my parents about everything. It will feel so good at some point to have it out in the open. 

I Found It!!

I finally found J’s p spot! And brought him to spectacular orgasm! YESSSS!!! 😀
This must be what it feels like for a partner who finds his/her partner’s g spot. It was incredible!
I loved the whole experience- lubing him up, giving him an awesome blow job, dirty talking, and slowly working my fingers into him. As I stroked his p spot he became more and more aroused, I could feel his p spot getting bigger and bigger until finally I watched him cum. It was absolutely crazy how much it felt like fingering a vagina. Really similar orgasmic contractions, only way stronger.
We invested in a couple new toys for him- prostate massagers. We haven’t used them yet, as we are still working our way up to them. But we also got Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Pegging (which is something we both want to do very badly!!), which has had some really helpful tips so far for anal play. Such as the fact that the prostate is about 2-3 inches inside the rectum- I wasn’t successful in locating it until now because for some reason thought it was much closer to the opening. And seeing actors in positions that work for them to stimulate the prostate was also really helpful. I love educational porn! Totally helpful, and puts me even more in the mood, because I’m like “Oooo I want to do that!” 😀
Yay. 🙂

PhD in Human Sexuality… Next Step??

Okay, so I literally just last week passed my oral comprehensive exam for my masters program. I need a breather. I am exhausted from school and I need a change of pace.
But.
I think I really do want to apply for a PhD program in Human Sexuality. But the only accredited program in the US is at Widener in Chester, PA (they have two tracks- education and clinical; I would do the education track). So far away from friends and family!! But just looking at the classes and focus areas and faculty and dissertation titles makes me so incredibly invigorated and excited! I definitely need to talk more with staff there and get more information. It is so clear to me that I would totally enjoy that kind of program.
Just look at the sample curriculum! Gah, I want to do it.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to study what makes an individual satisfied with nonmonogamous relationships? Or what makes for a “successful” (definition TBD) nonmonogamous relationship? Or why there seems to be many more (out) bi women than bi men? Or what an educational intervention on relationship diversity does for college aged people in their own relationships? Or how relationship differ among those primarily in the kink versus open or poly communities? Or how motivations for nonmonogamous relationships differ among those in the open or poly community? Or documenting the infinite variety and difference among the negotiations, histories, and stories among those in nonmonogamous relationships??
Here are other graduate programs with emphases in human sexuality for anyone else totally taken with this idea (haha!); I think the Institute for Advanced Study in Human Sexuality in San Francisco may also be something I can look into; I also love the Kinsey Institute:
Graduate Programs                                                              
1Program reflecting training primarily as a researcher
2Program reflecting a practitioner model/clinical skills
³Program reflecting general sexology
American Academy of Clinical Sexologists2
Maimonides University – North Miami, FL
Ph.D. – pastoral clinical sexology
Prepares students for sex therapy certification in Florida (a requirement in FL if wanting to practice in this state).  Emphasizes the importance of religion in providing therapy.

Columbia University – Mailman School of Public Health1

New York, NY
M.P.H. – sexuality and health
Equips students with skills needed to address health issues, e.g., reproductive health, and child and adolescent health, related to sexuality through interdepartmental studies.  (Note: Students applying for the program are expected to have worked for 2 years in the field of public health, which can include undergraduate volunteer/practicum experiences).

Hofstra University – Interdisciplinary Studies/Marriage & Family Counseling2

New York, NY
M.A. – interdisciplinary studies/marriage & family counseling (plus family counseling certification)
Provides skills needed for marriage/family counseling and introduces students to sexuality education, counseling and research.

Indiana University – Kinsey Institute1

Bloomington, IN
Ph.D. minor – human sexuality; majors include counseling, education, health behavior, psychology, and sociology
Offers research programs investigating a variety of sex topics and a summer institute for students who are not involved with the university.  Houses one of the largest library holdings on human sexuality, as well as a sexuality art museum.  Hosts seminars on sexuality and holds special events.

Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality3

San Francisco, CA
M.A., MPH, Ed. D., Ph.D., DHS (Doctor of Human Sexuality), plus certification options – human sexuality
Seeks to train sexologists.  Offers long-distance learning.  Certificate programs are unique to the Institute, e.g., erotology.  Also, the Master’s program allows students to travel to Paris or China for a cultural perspective on public health.  
San Francisco State University Program in Human Sexuality1
San Francisco, CA
M.A. – human sexuality.
Provides foundation for sex counseling, teaching and research.  Specializes in gay, lesbian, and bisexual studies.  Houses the Institute on Sexuality, Social Inequality, and Health, the National Sexuality Resource Center, and the Center for Research on Gender and Sexuality, plus has a summer institute. 
University of Connecticut – Center for HIV Intervention & Prevention – Psychology Department1
Storrs, CT
M.A., Ph.D. – social psychology with a specialization in HIV prevention
Conducts HIV risk dynamics and prevention research.

University of Guelph – Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition1, 2

Guelph, Ontario, Canada
M.Sc. – couple and family therapy; Ph.D. – family relations and human development
Emphasizes child/adolescent development, social/personality development, parent-child relations, social gerontology, human sexuality, and marriage/family therapy.
University of Hawaii – Human Sexuality Program – Department of Social Work; Pacific Center for Sex and Society – Department of Anatomy and Reproductive Biology1, 2
Honolulu, HI
M.A., Ph.D. – specializes in human sexuality counseling
Houses the Pacific Center for Sex and Society, which provides research opportunities. 
University of Minnesota – Department of Family Social Science1, 2
St. Paul, MN
M.A., Ph.D. – family social science; M.F.T. certification for clinical track
Specializes in marriage/family and sex therapy.
University of New Brunswick – Department of Psychology1, 2
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Ph.D. – psychology
Prepares students for clinical or experimental psychology involving human sexuality.
University of Quebec – Department of Sexology2
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
B.A., M.A. – sexology
Focuses on sex education.  Master’s level encompasses sex therapy and research, plus more advanced sex education. 
University of Utah – Department of Psychology1,2
Salt Lake City, UT
Ph.D. – clinical psychology
Emphasizes human sexuality in research and clinical work. 

University of Wisconsin – Departments of Psychology & Sociology1

Madison, WI
Ph.D. – psychology or sociology
Focuses on human sexuality, especially sex research.  Is part of a consortium where a student may study at University of Chicago, University of Minnesota or Wisconsin.

Widener University – Human Sexuality Program2

Wayne, PA
M.Ed., Ed.D., PhD – human sexuality education/clinical sexuality
Prepares professionals for sex education, consulting, research, and counseling. Also offers joint degree programs with Social work or Clinical Psychology. Program is both distance and work friendly in that human sexuality courses are offered on weekends. One semester course is generally two weekends. Also provides opportunity to study abroad.

Menage a trois?

 Alright, why didn’t I know about this before??

J and I were trying to figure out the literal definition of menage a trois. We knew trois meant three, but what the heck does menage mean? Turns out, it means literally, a household:

“Ménage à trois… is a French term which originally described a domestic arrangement in which three people having sexual relations occupy the same household – the phrase literally translates as “household of three”. In contemporary usage, the meaning of the term has been extended to mean any living relationship between three people, whether or not sex is involved, but because it has also been extended to refer to the actual sexual act between three people, otherwise known as a threesome, the term retains its suggestive quality.” (From here).


Have I been living under a rock? Or did other people not know this? I just think it is crazy that “menage a trois” is a colloquial phrase for a threesome, but originally meant basically more of a poly relationship among three people. It seems like these days three people sharing sexual relations and a house would be referred to as a triad. Hmm. What happened in language and culture that our society lost a shared understanding of what a menage a trois used to look like? Fascinating.


Also: Menage a Trois wine is shown in the documentary preview about the polyfidelitous gay relationship in New York. J and I were so excited to find it at our Costco! So we bought it, and guess what? It tastes like regular, red wine. But still fun! (I don’t know what I expected- maybe a threesome to pop out of the bottle? Haha, again- obviously my cultural understanding of a menage a trois is that I am going to get laid, and not necessarily share a house and home, with two people! Haha) AND! My parents had it at their townhouse- so now I have a conversation starter! Hahaha 😀

The Feminist Porn Show

Gah!! The Feminist Porn Show was so much fun! Tristan Taormino was informative and funny, and an awesome tour guide through the show she created.
 
Tristan’s definition of Feminist Porn is as follows:
“Feminist porn both responds to dominant images with alternative ones and creates its own iconography. It strives to represent a diversity of gender identities and expressions, sexual orientations, fantasies and desires, sexual roles and activities, races and ethnicities, body types, and historically underrepresented and misrepresented minorities. It challenges cultural norms of beauty and sex appeal, heteronormativity, race and class stereotypes, and the very definition of what “sex” is and what it should look like.”
See Tristan’s perspectives on FP here (this is also the link from which I took her definition).

Her show consisted of feminist porn from the 1980s until 2011, and she organized it based on the focus of the clip: Ladies First (those that showcase women’s desires and sexual agency), Well Lit Stories (those that use story lines, artistic and flattering lighting and filming), Queer Factor (those that focus on sex among queer partners), Hot for Teacher (porn that teaches about particular sexual acts, such as oral sex or pegging), To Be Real (porn that focuses on actors who choose their partners), Upside Down (I forget the theme of these clips- whoops!), Trans Triple X (focusing on trans actors), Dangerously Diverse (focusing on racial and ability diversity), and Artcore (porn that uses highly artistic means, such as nonlinear story lines).


The most memorable clips for me included:
-Two men going down on one woman (so funny in light of mainstream porn focus on having two women go down on one man!)
-A different kind of gangbang in which the central woman uses men, who are slaves, to fulfill all of her sexual and erotic desires
-Tristan’s “Chemistry” series in which actors are together for 36 hours in one house and choose who they do and how
-Tristan’s “Rough Sex” series, in which the actor chooses her rough sex scenes and partners
-A woman in a wheelchair discussing how she has just as much want and desire as otherly-abled people
-Buck Angels’ Sexxing the Transman, in which he interviews and films a transman discussing his sexuality


One thing that caught my interest was the fact that there is virtually no age diversity in mainstream or feminist porn. I asked Tristan about this, and she said there are basically no porn actors over 35. It seems potentially like an untapped market! Well, maybe. I don’t know 🙂 There is also a gap in all porn when it comes to trans porn.


Also, I am incredibly turned on my gay porn. I should just buy myself some.
Woot!

TRISTAN TAORMINO!!!

Oh. Em. GEE.
J and I had the privilege of seeing Tristan Taormino speak tonight on open relationships. She workshopped the most common challenges in open relationships, discussed ways to address those challenges, and took questions. Afterwards? Ice cream and book signing. And I told her I presented to a Human Sexuality class using her book (Opening Up) as a guide! It was so fantastic!!

Here is the gist of what she talked about:
Common Challenge #1: Not a real “yes.” Meaning, you or a partner agrees to something, whether that be your relationship or a rule/agreement, but you or a partner doesn’t truly mean the “yes.” Solution? Informed consent. Get all of the information you can, know yourself, honor yourself, honor your partner(s), and make an informed and honest decision.
Common Challenge #2: New Relationship Energy (NRE). She says that the solution is as follows: Acknowledgment of the NRE on the part of all partners, patience on the part of the existing partner(s), compassion on the part of all partners, and channeling NRE into existing relationships.
Common Challenge #3: Time. Time in finite, unlike love or lust. She said that it is the number one challenge she hears about, even above jealousy. Solutions? Organization, making and keeping a schedule… and Google Calendar. She is convinced that a poly person working at Google came up with the app 🙂 Also, she discussed that time often has emotional baggage associated with it for many people- that is has significance in some way. And so this also means that if a conflict is arising over time, it can sometimes be managed by addressing underlying fears or insecurities associated with time.
Common Challenge #4: Miscommunication and misunderstanding. Solutions include a variety of things most of aspire to do well: communicating clearly, being honest with ourselves and our partners, communicating boundaries, and trusting our partners. She describes honesty as “Telling everything you know,” which I liked.
She said that it is critical to distinguish a challenging situation between a miscommunication or misunderstanding and the next challenge, agreement violation, because this will inform partners’ reactions and ability to manage the situation and move forward.
Common Challenge #5: Agreement Violation. Sometimes an agreement violation occurs because an agreement is not working. Sometimes it is because a partner never intended to honor the agreement. Sometimes it is because a partner constantly wants to push the boundaries. Agreement violations can be extremely challenging and difficult to work through. One of her solutions is renegotiation, but that depends on a lot of factors. A relationship and situation needs to be amenable to renegotiation. 
Common Challenge #6: Jealousy. Tristan believes that jealousy is both an innate and learned emotion, so while it is something that we will probably always have to acknowledge and manage, we can unlearn a lot of what culture has taught us. She walked us through the constellation of negative emotions that make us feel jealousy:
-Envy: she describes envy as thinking the “grass is always greener”- that our partner’s other partners are always “more” something or “better” than us in some or many ways. Solutions: self-awareness, self-examination, and giving yourself a reality check. You are awesome, too!! And people are people: no one is Super Man or Wonder Women.
-Competitiveness: We are taught that we are always competing to be number one. This is detrimental to learning and engaging in a “both/and/poly/open” relationship style, where ideally and hopefully no one is competing for anything. Solution: recognize that “It’s not about you.” Recognize your self-worth. Reality check!
-Possessiveness: Recognize you can never and never will own, colonize, possess your partner(s). Tied to this idea are the concepts of scarcity versus abundance mindsets. There is an abundance of love, attention, support, etc in the world, and your partner engaging in these things with other partners does not mean there is less for you. You don’t own your partner(s) and they don’t own you.
-Feeling excluded: My personal most noticeable emotion during a jealous time (and apparently pretty relevant to Tristan’s personal experience as well). Solution: plan your own social events, and schedule to see others, when your partner is busy with someone else. This one is so simple to manage, given you have an adequate social network and support system that can distract you when your partner is with another partner.
-Obsessiveness: The spiraling out of control from other negative emotions. Stalking partner’s partners online. Thinking the situation is 20 steps further along than it actually is. Solution: get a friend to talk you down. Reality check.
-Insecurity: She believe that most jealousy experiences are related to insecurity, and the final issue (fear). Solutions include: asking your partner(s) for reassurance, getting support from friends and/or a therapist
-Fear: We all have basic, base fears. Fear of abandonment, of being alone, of not finding someone else who will love us, etc. We need to address these fears, and become comfortable with our worst-case scenarios. Follow your fear to your absolute worst-case scenario and get comfortable with it. Most likely, it won’t ever happen. 
Common Challenge #7: Change… she actually ran out of time and didn’t talk about this one unfortunately!!
Common Challenge #8: Love. Solution: Love. ❤



Alright. So….
My absolute most worthwhile moment from tonight was this revelation: Someone asked about compersion, and what would she say to someone who thinks that only true poly people experience compersion (if you don’t remember, compersion is often thought about as the opposite of jealousy- many poly people describe as feeling joy for their partners when their partners experience joy). Her answer brought me confidence, happiness, and peace with where J and I are at in our relationship: Compersion can be your goal, it can be your ideal vision of yourself. But not all people experience it. And that is okay. If you experience tolerance and respect for your partner and their experiences, and your relationship is working for you, then that is great. Having a relationship marked by tolerance and respect is miles ahead of other couples who would scream and tear their hair out if they knew their partner wanted to sleep with or fall in love with someone else. I had felt many times over the past year that if I wasn’t able to truly feel joy and happiness that J was sleeping with someone else, then there was something wrong with me, that our relationship wasn’t yet “successful,” and that as a result I didn’t feel comfortable coming out to people who are not as familiar with open relationships for fear of being pointed as another “failure.” But thank god. I now feel completely successful and comfortable with where I am, and we are, at. I don’t have to feel joy and happiness and a floating sensation when J comes home from playing with someone. I can feel acceptance and respect. And that is fine. Our relationship is working, we are both satisfied, and we love each other.

So, tonight was amazing. And now we have plans to go Tristan’s US premier of her Feminist Pornography show- I am so excited!! There will definitely be a blog post on that to come…