taiWelcome! I’m Tai Fenix Kulystin (previously known as Scarlet Lotus), I am a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and my pronouns are they/them. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the joys and pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

Outside of this blog I am currently finishing up a Master's degree to help me launch into my career as a Gender & Intimacy Coach and Somatic Sexuality Educator. I am passionate about working with people of all bodies, genders, sexualities, and relationship styles to help them move toward experiencing the (sex) life of their dreams.

Archive for the ‘Introspection’




I’m just plain tired. I’m tired of having to explain how I identify, especially to the same people over and over again. I’m tired of people making assumptions about me rather than letting me make my own definitions and letting them know what my labels are. I’m tired of people thinking I’m straight because my partner is cis male or that I’m a lesbian because I enjoy women. I’m tired of people thinking I’m a woman because I dress femme. I try not to let it bother me when someone mislables me, but it hurts every time.

It’s difficult to inhabit middle identities while living in a binary world. There are many days when I wish I could just feel “one or the other” instead of seeing all the wonderful options out in front of me and wanting to have one of every flavor. Call me indecisive if you want, but when I can see the beauty and joy I could get from every option I can’t just pick one, it’s not in my nature.

I’m not straight or a lesbian, I’m queer. Bisexual, maybe, though I don’t like the binary aspect it implies and prefer other terms. Queer is the best description I have. Really I tend to be attracted to other queer people regardless of their gender and specifically because of their intelligence and/or personality. I’ve used intellisexual for quite some time, sapiosexual also fits which is a slightly more common term. I am attracted to people’s brains more than anything else, and usually those brains have to be queer in some way shape or form.

Similarly I do not identify with the term woman. It’s simply not a word that I identify with nor is it a way I see myself or desire for others to see me. While I may often wear feminine drag that does not make me a woman (or any spelling variation thereof). The same goes for girl. My gender identity is genderqueer regardless of the gender expressed within my gender presentation1. My gender presentation is always drag.

While I do associate with the term femme I embrace it as part of my gender presentation. I embrace the gothy glittery drag femmeininity that is all mine most days, though not all days. Femme is my presentation more than anything, but there are also days when I wear my too-small-sports-bra-slash-makeshift-binder and present as fagette. I do think that my “fagette” presentation confuses some people, however, because it still some femininity in it, dressing in boy drag is not a spectrum-banging event for me. I am realizing more and more, though, just how much femme and fagette go hand in hand for me. There are no days when I am femme that I am not a fagette, and no days when I am not genderqueer.

Recently I’ve begun using gender neutral pronouns when I am able and it makes my entire being sing. A friend of mine referred to me using ze and hir without my first requesting it and it nearly brought me to completely unexpected tears to be seen in a way that aligned with my own gender. I catch myself internally wincing when words and identities other than my own are thrown at me in conversation, but often I don’t have the energy or desire to confront the misconception of me in the eyes of others, which just ends up perpetuating it.

I’m trying to get to the point where I am not looking for the validation of others for any of my identities, but it’s difficult not to want that. I want to be seen rather than assumed away as something else. I realize that I am responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others and do not put the responsibility of figuring me out completely on other people but I’m so damn tired of having to correct people. It seems like a petty difference to ask someone to not refer to me using certain language, and yet it cuts me deep whenever it happens. I just haven’t gotten to the point where I am comfortable asserting my gender identity, perhaps because it is such a fluid work-in-progress.

  1. I’m using gender identity and gender presentation to mean two different things. Someone’s gender identity has to do with the internal gender feelings the person has, whereas their gender presentation is the outward gender they show to the world. These do not always go hand-in-hand. []
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Learning How to Follow

The other night Onyx and I went out swing dancing with Sinclair and Kristin at the most awesome Century Ballroom here in Seattle. Sinclair and Kristin have done lots of swing dancing, I’ve done a small amount many many years ago but have done a fair amount of dancing in general, and Onyx had never done any before1. There was a short lesson before the band got started to teach us some very basic steps and we were divided up into “leaders” and “followers” (which was nicely gender-neutral terminology and not surprising for Capitol Hill).

I was suddenly struck and unsure of which side to go on. Every time I had done swing or any partner dancing in the past I’ve always been a leader, but since Onyx was coming (he wasn’t there yet, he had to work late) I decided I would learn it from the follower’s perspective so he could be the leader.I’m sure he would have had no issue with the opposite generally if it were just the two of us, in fact I’ve lead him in partner dancing when we’ve gone out before and neither of us feels strange about it, but since it’s a social event I thought it would be a nice for me to get experience in the follower side of things. After all, I could always switch later, not to mention I would get experience with both sides either way.

We all got in a large circle of pairs and learned the very basic six count rock-step and step-step as well as a couple turns and there was great emphasis in leaders learning how to lead and followers learning how to follow. Since basically all of my experience has been as a leader I had some issues giving up control.

Surprise surprise.

Yes, I actually am talking about swing dancing, but of course this is an excellent analogy for all the problems I’ve had as a submissive. You know, just in case you didn’t already figure that out (though you probably did, I’m not discounting your intelligence I just have a tendency to over-explain. Anyway.)

I really enjoyed myself, and because the instructors had the followers switch partners every few steps while we were all going through the brief lesson I was able to dance with a number of different people, three of which asked me to dance later on in the night. I only ended up dancing with one of them because first I was catching Onyx up on the dancing technique as he had missed the instruction and then I was nursing the ankle I rolled while dancing (ouch), and by the time I was dancing again the two who I declined at the time were busy with others or had left.

I learned, however, something that I’ve been learning a lot in the last few months, especially since I got back from Juneau, and that is that I can follow and I can do a damn good job at it too when I allow myself to. When I trust that the other person is able to lead me I am able to allow them to do so, though it does take a lot of practice especially since I’m also quite a strong leader myself.

Onyx did exceptionally well as I taught him how to lead, especially for someone who claims to have no rhythm, it took a little while but he got the basic steps down. He’s agreed to take classes with me, which I am extremely thrilled about and plan to hold him to.

I was amused at how much like in the beginnings of our power relationship I was again teaching him how to lead me so that I could adequately follow, though not doing a great job at it myself. I’m sure with enough practice as well as much help from others he will become an excellent leader to my follower just as he has off of the dance floor.

I’ll still be leading with others, though, whenever I can.

  1. Onyx thinks he is completely without rhythm and body coordination despite having learned both while he was in the Norwegian army and being able to dance at the local goth club when we go out–granted goth dancing isn’t about rhythm, but anyway… []
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International Cane-A-Slut Day 2010

Tomorrow (or today for some of you–June 6th) is International Cane-A-Slut Day, pretty much purely because we have decreed it to be so. The idea was Onyx’s originally and it was supported by @Saynine, @Mindcryme, and myself. When reminded of it a few days ago I decided I would make a webpage, twitter account, and tumblr for it and start promoting it all over. So far it’s worked.

I created a FetLife event page for it as well, which has (currently) 28 people attending and 13 people maybe attending, which is pretty good for something that I started putting out there two or so days ago. It helps that it’s not something people have to “go” to, but something we all can do in our own homes (or wherever you choose to participate).

It’s pretty much just pure silly fun, and Onyx is endlessly amused that I took his half-joking tweet and turned it into a reality. When talking to a friend about it I mentioned making a website for it because “that’s what I do” and I realized that is very much the case. I get a good idea (or take a great idea from someone else) and turn it into a project. While this one doesn’t take up a lot of time like some other projects of mine it’s just a fun annual event for one and all. Already planning for next year

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The Big Question

Found here, it’s actually a shirt (and I bought one)

That is, What Am I Doing With My Life?

Oh, yes, that question.

My last protected post (leave a comment here to get the password) was all about my unsuredness regarding going back to school in the fall for theatre at Cornish here in Seattle. I discovered that because I already have an undergrad education I would not be eligible for financial aid at Cornish and since a year there is ridiculously expensive1 there was no way I could go there. They do not have graduate degrees.

So, I’ve been wandering around somewhat aimless for the last month and a half, applying for jobs, looking into places to volunteer, but ultimately without a greater goal in mind like I had with going to Cornish or, before that, getting my Body Piercing License. I need a goal to work toward. I need a five-year plan. This is how it’s always been and, I think, why the last two years since I graduated (it’s really been two years hasn’t it? Damn.) have been so weird and aimless.

I tried to fill that void with a new relationship, threw myself in to that with abandon and although it didn’t work out I learned a lot in the process. I have been applying for jobs like crazy but am in that fun limbo of overqualified to jobs I have experience in because of my degrees and inexperienced in jobs my degrees may qualify me for. It, in a word, sucks.

Being in this strange limbo and without knowing people here in Seattle who would be able to help find me a job I have been defaulting to making money however I can. I should mention, while I was in Juneau I was working part time and offered a full time position as well. While I don’t regret leaving as being with Onyx trumps everything else I do wish I had the same opportunities here that I did there.

I would still love to get my BP License or do theatre, I have strong interests in both, but they’re less of an option right at this moment as I don’t know a reputible piercer here in Seattle and a relationship like that takes time to develop and the grad theatre programs around here are already full-up this Fall. I like these careers in theory more than in practice, though, I think, because I can still do both of them on an amature level (I love play piercing, and I’m hoping to volunteer with GreenStage here in the summer). So, this brings us back around to the original question.

Oh yes, that question.

How am I supposed to answer this? I read an article about the 20something (white middle-class) youth of today viewing career as not just something you do for a paycheck, viewing it as a core part of self-expression, and I instantly related. I see my time as valuable and think if I’m not doing something I love than I shouldn’t be doing it. This is definitely a position of privilidge, and that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump at the chance to work at a coffee shop tomorrow for minimum wage so I was making some money although I know that is unlikely to happen (though, luckily, I do feel like I’m contributing something to our income since I’ve started selling ads on my websites).

What I have a passion for, though, is sex education. More broadly I have a passion for teaching. I don’t want to teach in a school, though, too much politics and I’m not all that big on kids. I love the idea of sharing knowledge and helping others learn and grow. I said a few years ago that my ideal work situation would be to do workshops and classes, travel all over to do so, go to conferences, etc. Presenting in front of an audience is kind of like doing theatre work. I feel mildly awkward with this desire as my sister is currently doing the same thing in similar/the same field.

At Sex 2.0 this weekend, though, there was a lot of talk about sex educators and the need for them as well as some specific advice I needed to hear2. The weekend previously Onyx and I went to an astrology workshop which had already sparked some ideas into my head. Those two experiences combined with various other ideas has made me come to the conclusion that I need to stop talking about it and start doing it. If I want to teach workshops and classes I need to write up an outline for a class, find somewhere to do it, and do it! What have I been waiting for?

I guess I’ve been waiting for something to inspire me, something to point me in the right direction, even though I had the initial direction down all along I just didn’t know how to do it, or the timing wasn’t right, or something. I also have a deep interest in astrology and have taken many classes on the subject. I also have the great opportunity to go to the Northwest Astrology Conference (NORWAC) this weekend here in Seattle, so I’m hoping to gain lots of information there.

I have some ideas on how to go forward with this. I am also interested in learning hypnosis, there are a number of interesting schools to get certified in that. There are also a number of astrological certification programs, not many that are accredited anymore (RIP Kepler College), but lots of options there as well. All of these things seem to go right along with my degrees as well, funny how that happens.

On the other side of things, I started working on a professional portfolio-type site, I’m writing up ideas for classes and workshops I would be interested in and able to teach3 and once the ideas are done I will start working on outlines. I want to start presenting in the next few months, maybe start doing some free introductory audio classes and then some paid ones, maybe start doing teleconferencing lectures which could then be archived and downloaded (an idea from Sex 2.0). I could also doing personal sexuality coaching, one-on-one emailing/chatting/phone conversations answering sexuality related questions for a small fee.

I have lots of different ideas and interests brewing inside me, including a class/lecture on Sex-Positive Astrology or maybe just Sexy Astrology, combining both sides of these money-making ideas into one.

I want to be an educator, to teach topics that are interesting, to help expand people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics. I feel like I have knowledge enough to do this on a basic level plus I am open to learning more each and every day.

Honestly, it is scary for me to express this desire, to admit to these plans I have in my head. The other ideas I had were comfortable, becoming a body piercer or going back to school for theatre, there wasn’t much personal risk involved. Just the idea of announcing this publicly on my blog scares the shit out of me4, and that’s one of the many reasons I know it’s right.

[EDIT: I just wanted to add, I know it won’t be easy and I know it will be a lot of work, and I don’t expect it to happen immediately either. This is my five-year (or longer) plan. This is just the start of the process, the beginning spark of deciding What I Want To Do, marking it out, going for it, and starting to think about how I can make this happen. I’m ready.]

  1. read: $27,000 []
  2. “How do you get into sex education? You just teach a workshop!” []
  3. and apparently I think that every class/workshop should have a title with a subtitle. It has to be something like “Oh My G: Getting to know the G-spot & Female Ejaculation” gotta have that colon in there! []
  4. I was going to have this password protected, but it’s more of a risk to do this publically, maybe you will hold me accountable to my own hopes and dreams if nothing else []
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Sex 2.0 Update

Sex 2.0 is an unconference about the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality. This is my second year attending. Much like last year’s Sex 2.0 update I’m updating in the middle of the conference, though unlike last year the middle of the conference is Saturday evening (it was only one day last year). There are a few sessions tomorrow, including quite a few I’m interested in and excited about.

So far it’s a very different conference than the one I attended last year, but partially also because it’s where I currently live as opposed to being far away, not to mention this time it isn’t overshadowed by meeting a long-distance partner (though Onyx just left for Norway today–not for a fun reason, though, to go to a funeral). I’ve been very flattered a number of times so far this weekend, people knowing who I was when I didn’t think they would, or being actually excited by my presence. It’s been a great experience so far.

I’ll for sure be writing a longer more detailed post about the conference. You can check out my twitter feed to read what I have tweeted thus far about it (which has been a lot, I’ve basically been tweeting my conference notes rather than taking them any other way) and to follow what I will be tweeting tomorrow.

The sessions I attended today:

  1. Standing Up to the Neighborhood Bullies of the Internet by @JulianArancia
  2. Media Whoring – Tips from the Pros a panel with @ReidAboutSex, @veronicamonet, @maymaym, @cunningminx, the PR manager for @castlemegastore, and @fiercekitty
  3. Out: the Challenges and Rewards of Being Sex Positive to Your Family, Friends, Job, and Culture by @ropecast/@graydancer
  4. Online Sex Coaching and Education by @inaradeluna
  5. The Need for “Peermanship” In Meat-Time: Flying Your Freak Flag At Conferences, Why It’s Important to Hit On Your Peers, and How To Handle Your Conference Crushes…” by @ReidAboutSex

I figure you can click-through their twitter pages to their websites more easily than I can link all their websites and twitter names and make it look good.

Just like last year I will have a more detailed post up after the (un)conference is over!

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I used to think I was an exhibitionist. I still do think that to a point, but lately I’ve been so reserved and worried about the way others perceive me I can hardly call myself an exhibitionist. I’m more self-conscious now than I have ever been before in my life. I’m less outrageous, trying to blend more, and just generally unsure of myself. Recently I had two separate conversations on different topics that lead to this point, I’m letting my ego get in the way, my anxiety take over.

Even though it seems like this is the opposite of the ego’s job, it’s still part of the same mold. The same part of you builds yourself up that will knock yourself down. The ego is responsible for the worry and anxiety and stopping you from being you just as it can be responsible for the arrogance and puffed-out chest of confidence. Either extreme isn’t desired, but, as with all things in life, I seek to find a balance, a happy equilibrium within myself.

This might sound crazy coming from someone who blogs about her life, who routinely informs others about her sex, thoughts, and feelings, but especially lately I seem to have a difficult time believing that other people are actually interested in hearing what I have to say. I’m not talking about on here, but in person, when I meet new people or interact with known ones. This was especially true the first few weeks after I got back to Seattle.

When I was in Juneau I was much more comfortable. My motto for Juneau is basically “it’s Juneau, nobody cares,” and I would say it whenever there was a question of etiquette, appropriate dress for an event, or pretty much anything. This isn’t really true, though. Juneau is a small town and there is tons of gossip. Despite thinking it was super liberal when I grew up (and it is compared to the rest of Alaska) there are still lots of non-liberal ideas and people who live there, and it isn’t comfortable to express everything there.

I do think that, for the most part, people in Juneau don’t give a shit about you unless they know you, however, and that’s where my motto came from. I never really got invested in Juneau people. Growing up there I did tons of activism in the high school, I was in many theatre productions, people knew who I was but very few people actually knew me, and I liked it that way. Going back was very similar, only I knew even less people. I knew people could recognize me, and people did quite often, but if they had any preconceived notions of me it didn’t matter, or maybe it mattered less.

Some of this goes back to what I was talking about in Relational Assumptions. I’m worried about what people here will assume about me, I haven’t been able to adopt the same nonchalant attitude because I actually want to be invested here, I want to gain friends and not be a loner like I have been previously. I want to be more outgoing and social, but I need to stop caring so much about what other people think, because I want people to like me for me and not for anything else.

I like being a multifaceted individual, but sometimes it’s exhausting because I’m too worried about other people to express myself fully. A friend, in one of the conversations I mentioned above, mentioned she had learned to instate a complete honesty policy in order to encourage compatible friendships and discourage ones that could turn sour down the road. I think I do this too… to an extent, anyway. I will answer questions honestly but don’t always offer up information unasked, but I want to change this.

I’m trying to shed the trappings of my ego, acknowledge them and move past them, to stop being so self-conscious. Care less what people I don’t know think about me and more about feeling comfortable within myself and expressing myself however that happens. I want to start volunteering information about myself, start realizing that people care what I have to say and actually have an interest in hearing it. Part of the beginning of this change in me came in dying my hair from the reddish brown it has been the last few months back to a bright purple, the rest of it will come soon.

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Vaguely Artistic (Wanton Wednesday)

The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival (SEAF) is this weekend, and Onyx and I already have our passes. This will be the first SEAF we have attended and in honor of that and the first Wanton Wednesday I have participated in our shots this week are our erotic art.

Truthfully, I was taking quite different pictures when Onyx got home and interrupted my photo session so we took these instead. I quite like how they turned out. I recently re-dyed my hair purple and wanted to show it off, but only one of the pictures where I was trying to do so actually turned out.

Pictures are below the cut.

WW is the brainchild of Dangerous Lilly (who I was fortunate to meet last weekend and is fantastic!)

To see all participants or participate next week click the button.

“Do you feel like sometimes you want to be a little more than just half naked? A bit more than just slightly suggestive? For the weeks you want to play with the wicked & wanton crowd, feel free to join us on Wednesdays. Rules? Just one. Put that button up there in your post, link to here and most importantly let us know you’re playing along each week by commenting on the current WW post! Other than that…..have fun ;)”

more →

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Doublethink Over Dissonance

Onyx and I have settled in to a remarkably comfortable D/s dynamic. We have talked extensively about it, but the difference this time is that it just clicks, for lack of a better term. All the background issues that were making so much noise the last time we were trying these power roles have been resolved, thanks in large part to the many things we learned through the trial of the triad. I find myself enjoying to do things for him, and he is now more able to push and guide me than he was before. It is, in a word, wonderful.

I have noticed that I am hesitant to share this power dynamic with others, even on here to an extent. I believe this is in part due to it still, in some ways, being so new and foreign but mostly it is because it is still private and vulnerable. Despite the abundance with which I share my private feelings and thoughts on this blog (less so now than I have before, but I’m working on writing more when I don’t have writer’s block) I have an extremely difficult time sharing personal things with others, especially in person and especially those I don’t know very well. Hell, I even have trouble expressing things to Onyx sometimes which I would have no issue writing to him.

The last couple of weekends while going out with amazing people I’ve noticed myself being slightly more comfortable but still not all that comfortable with expressing my submissiveness, and that was with fellow kinky perverted people who have read my blog including stories of me being slapped and dominated and fucked. I don’t mean showing my submissvieness to them, but just talking about it.

I see others so secure in their submission and happy to proclaim to the world that they are submissive and I find myself having trouble with that. Perhaps it is because I am a switch. I can’t fully embrace my role as submissive because, although I feel submissive to Onyx, I do not feel wholly like a submissive. I cannot throw myself into submission with complete abandon because I am also a Top. Or, that is the roadblock I come to in my mind.

Although I don’t consciously think this is true, there is a part of me that thinks embracing submission fully would mean giving up the parts of myself that are not submissive. Call it internalized binary programming that says I have to be one or the other but never both. The way some people say someone can’t feel Dominant and submissive at the same time, but I highly disagree, I say I am always both and it is the people I am with and situations I am in that bring each out in me.

However, I don’t have any hesitations about expressing my dominant side. I think in part this is because it is less vulnerable, less private, in a way. I am more comfortable with it, but also because it seems to be less normative. It’s more “okay” to express because it somehow shakes up the expectations.

I feel the same way with sexuality and gender, I’m far more comfortable expressing my desires when they have to do with cis-females or trans-people than when they have to do with cis-males. Essentially, I’m far more comfortable expressing my queer sexuality than what would be seen as a hetero-sexuality, as if expressing desire for cis-males somehow makes me less queer. Of course, in some minds it does. In some minds it would completely invalidate any other expression of queerness.

Similarly with gender I have been desiring lately to express my masculine side, the personae (yes, plural) I designate as Quyn or Sebastian sometimes. I used to dress more masculine and drifted to the feminine and now I’m working on finding the way to be both or neither, to dress as I please. While I’m more comfortable expressing my femme drag queen gender identity I think because that, in some ways, is the one that is less normative, despite being assigned female at birth, but that’s a whole other post.

Perhaps in the same vein expressing submissive desires could somehow invalidate any expression of dominance. I’m not saying this is the case, but I do think that Aristotelian logic is so ingrained in our culture that it is difficult to work against. If we express ourselves as being on one side of a cultural binary we are not only saying what we are but we are saying what we are not. By this logic when I say I am submissive I’m also saying I’m not dominant. It works for everything, really: power, sexuality, gender, etc. All the identities I hold middle ground on, certainly, and others as well.

I’ve talked about this many times before, I know, and read about the phenomenon. It’s not new, but it is significant. The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that I’m more comfortable expressing one aspect but not another on these supposed binaries (and I should point out that I do not see power dynamics or sexualities as part of a binary system, but they are largely seen culturally to be so which makes operating outside of them difficult and that is why I am referring to them as binaries), and my comfortability seems to be backwards. I am comfortable expressing the non-normative desires, those outside what is culturally expected, when it’s usually (or so I think) the opposite.

I want to be just as comfortable expressing and embracing all of my identities, and the first step just like with anything is acknowledgement. I have internalized binary and aristotelian logic programming. I have internalized power dynamic programming. I can actively work on acknowledging this programming and work to move beyond it, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Instead of thinking of these socially contrary ideas in terms of conflict and feeling dissonance over them I want to get to a point of doublethink, where I am comfortable with embracing these identities that seem to be contradictory and am, further, comfortable in my own skin. That’s what it’s all about in the end, anyway.

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Amazing Weekends

The last three weekends have been pretty spectacular, really ever since I got back to Seattle things have been, but that’s beside the point. As I have written about, three weekends ago we played with Terra and Storax and saw Tristan Taormino. The last two weekends have been sex blogger filled and exceptionally fun. I briefly mentioned these as upcoming on my events list post, but now they have happened!

Two weekends ago Amber and Em made their way up to us. I made my famed curry bake at Amber’s request and she gave me a bike which she doesn’t use anymore! It needs a little bit of fixing up before I can actually ride it, but that fixing up should be cheaper than getting a new one, so I’m extremely happy with how that worked out.

There was much cat petting game playing, and fun that was had. Next time we’ll have more of a structured outing in mind, I think, what happens when four easygoing people go out is that no one makes solid decisions! It was amusing, really. They brought two Wii controllers with them so the four of us played quite a bit of Mario Kart, a game Onyx and I have become rather addicted to (it’s not all sex and relationship babble here all the time). When we first got our Wii and tweeted about it both Amber and Em enthusiastically told us that they love Mario Kart so we all knew we would play it when they got up here.

We all went first to Cupcake Royale and shared a six-pack of delicious cupcakes before heading to one of our favorite dive bars slash mexican places Bimbos Cantina for some drinks and, eventually, nachos. It was definitely a delicious food-filled evening. After a bit of indecisive wandering in the sprinkling rain we headed back to our place for more Mario Kart. They were both amazingly adorable the entire time and I loved meeting them. After breakfast the next morning they were on their way back home.

Our exciting blogger meet-ups didn’t stop with them.

Last Saturday Onyx and I had the pleasure of going out with a group of other sex bloggers: Nadia West, CoyPink, Alec (CoyPink’s husband), Kyle, and Roxy. Nadia was visiting from her side of the country (she already wrote about her weekend here. ) and Roxy was up visiting Kyle, it just so happened they would be here at the same time so we all could go out together. We had met CoyPink, her husband, and Kyle before, but hadn’t seen them in a long while, and had not had the opportunity to meet Nadia or Roxy so it was exceptionally exciting.

We all met at The Honey Hole for dinner and drinks (a perfect place for sex bloggers to meet up at, no?). After much chatting about all manner of things we meandered our way to The Crypt to fondle sexy outfits and peruse sex toys. CoyPink found a couple of sexy pieces of clothing for the amazing photos her husband takes of her, one of which she has already posted photos of: Black Vinyl and More Black Vinyl. (CoyPink also has pictures of Nadia and her up which you should check out.) I picked up a red leopard cuff and a red and black houndstooth fedora, both of which will probably be making their way into photos here soon as well.

After The Crypt we all parted ways, but it was a wonderful evening to be sure. It was so great to meet both Nadia and Roxy, and it’s always a blast to spend time in the company of other like-minded sexually open people. I was, perhaps, a little too reserved, I’m just not all that good with this socializing thing, but I really enjoyed myself and hopefully they did too.

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Making Open Relationships Work

On Sunday after the rest of our weekend fun Onyx and I walked to Babeland here in Seattle for a workshop by Tristan Taormino. She called it Poly 201, basically the next level of information after her book Opening Up.

She talked about what does and does not make poly/non-monogamy work and started with a T-chart listing only what doesn’t make poly work on one side which included: New Relationship Energy, Time Management, Miscommunication, Agreement Violation, Jealousy, and Change. She then proceeded to address each factor individually and give the tools and skills to use to combat each of the potential issues. The following is her information both from my notes and as I remember it.

What doesn’t make poly work and the tools we can use to combat each of those issues:

  • New Relationship Energy: patience, compassion, communication
  • Time Management: organization, (google) calendars, negotiation skills
  • Miscommunication: honesty, full disclosure, self-awareness, communication
  • Agreement Violation: checklists, commitment
  • Jealousy: reality check, self-awareness, self-esteem, confidence, security, non-attachment, support/therapy

She stopped there to unpack jealousy a bit for us. Jealousy can be broken down into envy, competitiveness, possessiveness, excluded feelings, insecurity (fear of abandonment, not good enough, not valued, etc.), obsessiveness. Essentially “all roads lead to fear.” Jealousy isn’t about reason or using our intellect it’s about our reptilian brain overtaking us and it takes a fuckofalot to get us out of it. There is a lot of debate as to whether jealousy is innate or learned, but most likely it is some combination.

The following two situations can be both good or bad depending on the situation.

  • Change: the tools needed to cope depends on what kind of change is occuring
  • Love: compersion

Change can be welcome, or it can be difficult and unexpected. New love (and old love) can be a source of great happiness or something that catches us off guard. As Tristan said, there’s a reason why it is called “falling in love,” because most of the time you “fall on your face.” Or perhaps something came into your path that made you stumble and fall, not always in a good way.

When new love comes along specifically it can often trigger “old monogamous programming,” or the socialization that we all get in this culture to believe in monogamy. The best way to combat this is compersion. Compersion is finding joy and happiness in the happiness of your partner with another. It is the opposite of jealousy and a goal in most non-monogamous relationships.

Tristan offered “the selfish person’s guide to compersion” which essentially is for you (the selfish person) to remember that eventually the energy and excitement of the other relationship will come back and help to fuel your relationship. When a relationship is going well for someone they will feel good and that feeling good will bleed over into every relationship that person is in.

That’s the bare bones of what was covered. There was also a Q&A session at the end and after that we said hello to Tristan and got our copy of Opening Up signed. It was a wonderful workshop and was absolutely wonderful to see and meet Tristan Taormino. I highly encourage you to go to a workshop of hers if you ever have the chance!

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