taiWelcome! I’m Tai Scarlet Kulystin, the creatrix of Purveyor of Pleasure. I am a somatic sexuality educator, occultist, professional harlot, and gender & relationships coach. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

I identify as a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and prefer the pronouns ne/nem/nir or they/them. I spend a lot of my time thinking about sacred sexuality, sacred kink, relationships, the body, queer theory, depth psychology, erotic psychology, sexological bodywork, and so much more. I'm in a long-term live-in relationship with my partner Onyx, and I also have a few other relationships and lovers.
Read more about this site & me→



Shifted to Poly

For a large part of the last year Onyx and I were monogamish. There was occasional makeouts and things with other people, but even though there were a few people we were interested in I couldn’t think of venturing out into another relationship at the time. I was a wreck and thoroughly closed to myself. I could barely let Onyx in and the idea of a new relationship was daunting and terrifying.

Since Onyx and I got together we have never been strictly monogamous. Our flavor of non-monogamy has shifted many times over the years, but more often than not we have only been in a relationship with each other. When we first got together I had another long-distance relationship I was in, though that was not particularly healthy and stopped before we moved in together. For a long while after I moved in with him we were monogamish or poly-theoretical. We were not monogamous, but we weren’t actively seeing anyone else or seeking out additional partners. We flirted with a long-distance N-style relationship with a couple friends of ours at one point. Then Marla came along. We shifted into the triad and then to polyfidelitous together. Once that ended, and after our time apart, we have basically been in an open/non-monogamous relationship. We have played with/had sex with people, but we haven’t really been in any other relationships besides the one between us. This began to shift a few months ago.

At the end of September I met a couple of people at a weekend ritual workshop and began to date them. The concept of meeting someone or wanting to play with someone at the ritual was so out of my head that Onyx and I didn’t even have a conversation about the possibility beforehand. It was unexpected, sudden, and intense with both of them in completely different ways. Luckily, even though the ritual was in Portland, they both live in the Seattle area and so we have been able to continue seeing each other. More on them in other posts, though.

In light of those new relationships budding another friend and I started dating as well. She and I began talking about dating before my father died, but due to that happening it got postponed until recently. Due to extremely busy schedules and both of us having multiple partners we haven’t been able to spend too much time together, but we are working on it.

Onyx recently began dating another person as well. This is someone I am close with and knew before he did. I introduced them, which is amusing to me. It has been really lovely to watch the two of them beginning their relationship, especially since I have much love for both of them.

Historically in our relationship he has been much more open and relaxed about me seeing other people than I have about him seeing other people. He has also had more interest in the last year or two for other people than I have. For a while after the triad, once we got back together, we were primarily wanting to explore new relationships or play partners together rather than separately. I didn’t know why it was so daunting to me at the time, but there were many things going on with me and it was difficult to play with someone else with him. It has been really good to have this shift to poly happen with me finding multiple people to build relationships with after not feeling much interest for that. Having the experience of being the first one to venture into a new relationship has helped me be comfortable with his new relationship as well.

Our communication abilities are the best they’ve ever been (and I hope to continue to be able to say that as our relationship progresses), so we have been able to talk about any issues, jealousies, envies, or whatnot that come up. Because of this our experience with poly this time is much different than the last.

Each of us seeing already-poly people who have at least one (usually many more than one) other partner is really helpful as well. We aren’t exactly new to polyamory and non-monogamy, but neither Onyx or I had much positive experiences with it before now. Being in relationships with people who do have positive experiences with it, who can handle their shit, who have good communication skills, and who are seeing other people so they aren’t focused exclusively on one of us has been exceptionally good.

I currently only have express consent from one of the new people mentioned in this post to give them a name or talk about them in depth on here, so look for upcoming posts about him. More consent will be asked for, so eventually I will not have to only speak in generalities. For now, though, know that there will be more poly-focused posts in the future.

Expectations and Rituals

Note: I’m posting this in October of 2013, but I’ve backdated it to over a year and a half ago because that is when I wrote it and when the experience happened. I just found this in my drafts folder and didn’t want to just delete it.

Onyx and I had kind of lackluster sex the other night. A great part of that was my fault, I think, or maybe it all was my fault. We went to see A Dangerous Method earlier in the evening, which I thought was excellent. Anyone with an interest in psychology, especially Jung, and who doesn’t mind (or really enjoys) watching some hot sex scenes and spanking1 should see it. I found it quite arousing and have been really craving some rough treatment for quite some time so I was hoping that would be sparked by the movie at least a little bit.

Really all of my problems could have been avoided with some simple direct communication, which is clear in hindsight but sometimes in the moment it just feels like the last thing I could possibly do. Doesn’t make it right, though.

When we got home I removed his coat and shoes as usual, as soon as that was done we both were in need of food, he grabbed an apple and promptly sat down at his desk and became absorbed in his computer. I think what irritated me at that point was just that we had both talked about the movie and how stimulating it was on our walk home, but when we got home there was little interaction between us and I was hoping for more. I set up expectations but did not really do anything to help them happen.

As a slight aside, I’ve become a little irritated with our preparation ritual–my putting on or taking off his boots and coat before/after he leaves the house. It was originally implemented as a way for us to connect and it has become just that thing that we do, no longer a ritual but a habit. Not even that, despite how often we have been doing it with some regularity it is also sometimes forgotten. I believe some of this would be helped quite a bit if I were to simply up my enthusiasm for the act, and I have tried to do so today with some success. Perhaps we could add something to it to make it fresh and new again.

I grumbled and bratted, for some reason unable to voice what was going on with me or to make it clear what I wanted, and so we both remained unfulfilled. We were able to talk about what happened and our individual frustrations about it, but we were not yet able to get to the place of either of us getting what we wanted. Why is that? What is stopping us? Why can’t we just get what we want?

  1. though not enough of them, imo []
11.28

2011

Six Years

I missed my annual x-years-since-we-met post which would have been six and on July 28th like I did for five, four, and three (sorta, a little late on that one). I have talked about our anniversaries quite a few times over the years and wanted to make it a bit of an annual post, but this year I’m a little late for our meeting anniversary or our moving-in-together anniversary (August 26th).

The 19th of November, however, happened to be our (re-)collaring anniversary, the date he first collared me six years ago and the date he re-collared me last year. Saturday night we both took the night off and spent it together, although it didn’t quite turn out the way we were planning. There was going to be dinner at home, movie watching, snugging on the couch, beating, begging, and ass fucking, but many of those didn’t happen. Instead, Onyx came down with a horrible migraine complete with nausea, and at one point I also had an upset stomach and was otherwise generally low in energy. It wasn’t exactly the best night ever.

Still, we made the most of it, mostly just lots of snuggling on the couch while watching various things and some making out when we were both feeling better. At one point I put a blindfold on him… but that was to help with the migraine.

Despite the lackluster night we’ve been pretty great lately, really we’ve been great since March 2010 when I came back from Juneau. Sometimes I wonder how it can be this good, to be honest, so one unexciting night is to be expected every once in a while. One of these days I’ll get around to writing about the after work tradition we’ve started1, but until then I wanted to make up for my lack of yearly post.

We’re in our seventh year, which seems pretty remarkable, especially for someone who had never had a relationship last longer than about six months prior to this relationship2. We’ve both made mistakes, continue to make mistakes, will make mistakes, but it is our ability to get through those together that has kept us together. That and the massive amounts of work we’ve put into communication.

I love you, Onyx, and I look forward to every day I get to spend with you, my Owner, my Love, my Daddy, my friend.

  1. for those of you who don’t know, Onyx gets home from work around 7:30am, and I am usually fast asleep… feel free to imagine what we may have started doing. []
  2. that would be me []

Check-in

Every once in a while I wake up and realize that something I used to be passionate about has become a chore and that new passions have taken over for the old ones. While writing is still a passion for me the idea of having a schedule for it or “needing” to do it is just simply tiring. I’m not sure how to fix this at the moment, but it’s something I’ve been meditating on.

Having the Kink Academy posts to write each week has put into perspective how little I write on this blog anymore. I start dozens of drafts but either end up scrapping them or writing over them with a different draft idea that rarely comes to fruition. Hell, my oldest drafts are from 2008.

The same could be said for my review blog. I have dozens of products to review right now, most of which are far overdue, and yet I am having difficulty focusing on them and actually getting anything out. I am still passionate about sharing my experience with and knowledge of toys with other people, but I think having so many toys to review just became exhausting, I never felt like I was getting anywhere, just producing post after post.

Perhaps that is the problem with blogs in general, even when a post is finished there is the next post to think about. It is an endless pull at my mind at all times: thinking about what I want to write about next.

I’m getting more passionate about creating and organizing, making space for others to share their own voices and for me to share my knowledge and experience with others. I am starting to see beyond the scope of me and into the we in a way that I’ve always wanted to but not had the ability to do before because I had too many of my own stories in the way. It is quite exciting.

So, this is my check-in, I’m thinking about my projects and figuring out how to make them better. I have something big in the works as well as lots of little improvements on everything else. I have people interested in making art with me and am figuring out how to do it. I am still committed to this writing project specifically and am excited to begin bringing aspects of myself into it that have not been seen before.

Growth requires the temporary suspension of security.

Aphrodite Temple

Life is moving along at such a pace lately that it’s difficult to keep up with writing about all the things I want to write about. Not that I’m complaining, really, but this hasn’t happened to me in a while. Nearly a month ago Onyx and I attended a Living Love Revolution Aphrodite Temple. It’s all been a bit of a whirlwind, but in a wonderful way. The temple was absolutely phenomenal and transformational in so many ways.

This was a two-day retreat, essentially, at a remote location outside of Seattle. There were somewhere between twenty and thirty of us there. We had been told about it before we went, of course, including having some of the activities described in a good amount of detail, but I don’t think either of us were really prepared for everything that occurred. In a good way.

I could feel a very noticeable energy shift in me from before the temple to after. I have felt far more open as well as more radiant, which often go hand in hand. I feel less timid about expressing myself however feels authentic for that moment, less anxious about what other people will perceive and more content with what I have to offer. I feel in touch with love, which was at least part of the point.

There was great emphasis on embodiment, autonomy, safe consensual touching, and getting what you need. It is all about getting your needs met and learning about how to ask for those things you need. It is about finding the beauty in yourself and everyone around you. It is also about Aphrodite, of course, and all these activities just aid in connecting with her more.

While we were there I felt somewhat disconnected with Onyx, or like I had to disconnect with him in order to be seen the way I wanted to. It’s something I didn’t experience at the play party we went to on March 4th 1, which says to me I may getting through that little blockage. It’s something I’ve held on to for quite some time, this notion and worry that I will be seen as less queer because I’m with him, when that’s really just silly. I have tried not to be ruled by it, but at the same time I have been.

I wasn’t opposed to the disconnection in the moment, exactly, but I saw it as a necessary part which irritated me. I think going through the experience of the temple, though, allowed me to let go of that and be able to connect with him more ever. I’ve been allowing my shy masculinity to shine through ever since I wrote about it and more and more since the temple itself. I think I experienced what it was to be seen for me in the moment which has just made me want to be seen like that more often.

I also didn’t experience any jealousy or anxiety about being disconnected and each of us being touched and caressed2 by other people, which was fantastic. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do with that going into it. It was remarkably easy, and though we were in the same room we rarely interacted with each other during the activities. I’m excited to see what happens in the future.

I loved it so much I’m now in the Priest/ess training program for it and Onyx and I will be going to the one being held in April. I want to go to the July and November ones as well, and would be surprised if that didn’t happen. I’m beginning to work quite closely with the high priestess, not just for the training but doing classes and workshops with her as well as working on websites for her. This is only the beginning.

  1. yet another thing I should write about… that one might fall through the cracks, though. We’ll see. []
  2. and in his case a little more than that []

Delving Into Power

Two weekends ago Onyx and I attended a Delving Into Power Intensive with Lee Harrington, an intimate1 three-day workshop focusing on power exchange within relationships to “create the non-egalitarian relationship of your dreams!” Going into it I felt rather content with our relationship as it was with the knowledge that there was, of course, room for improvement and was startled at what was brought up in me. I introduced our relationship to the group as an Owner/Brat dynamic, which is close to the truth. I’ve been thinking of replacing Cunt with Brat in the normal way I describe my role with Onyx, but that’s another post.

A lot of the information presented included things I had thought about before that Onyx had not or things that Onyx had thought about that I had not or things that we had talked about in our previous relationship with each other2 that we hadn’t explicitly talked about in this one3. It was especially refreshing to be around other kinky people, something that has been missing in our lives for the most part as we’ve been focusing more on the occult community here rather than the kinky one4. We were both able to get some perspective on our own desires and feelings by being in such a group.

There was so much wonderful information I won’t even go into it, mostly I want to talk about some of my reactions and the changes in our relationship since then. I love to be a brat and part of that love is to elicit a firm hand in dealing with me, basically forcing Onyx to reign me in (consensually!5), but something that came up over the weekend was my equally strong desire to submit and be of service. The latter is not something we have been exploring in our new relationship as much as the playful force that bratting brings in at least in part because of our failure to implement it in the old one. We had such difficulty with trying to view service in a particular way and trying to include that in our M/s relationship but now that we’ve in an O/b relationship6 for nearly a year and we’ve gotten comfortable with that the service and submission aspects need some focus.

We had a long talk on Saturday during a break between class and dinner/play party time that was most wonderful. We both expressed some things that had been building up within us and were able to come to some conclusions as to what we each wanted to include in our relationship. I was having trouble that day because I was feeling like I didn’t fit in for various reasons7 and because I felt like I was failing Onyx8 partially due to lack of explicit instructions. Onyx doesn’t like giving out explicit instructions but I need them, something we have had lots of trouble with before.

There was a lot more we talked about, including the spiritual path we are currently on and our own issues that we have each been dealing with. We expressly communicated about the things we each need and want and ways for us to begin getting that. It was refreshing and amazing, exactly what had needed to happen, and took us one step further in our relationship. Realizing my service desires that I had been squelching with him for so long was freeing. I had doubts then about our ability to actually implement some things that we were wanting due to our past experiences, but those doubts are nearly gone now.

We haven’t had the time to talk too in-depth about our power dynamic since the weekend long workshop because of work and then going to another workshop this past weekend that was not kink-focused9, but we have been able to begin some practices that have not only worked to shape the new dynamic that is forming between us.

The primary practice we’ve been putting into action is a daily checklist so I am accountable for the work I do. I’ve previously complained about feeling like I never get anything done or I don’t get enough done even when I do get things done. I’m still working on figuring out this self-employment stuff. I’ve also been a little lax at my cleaning duties. This daily checklist allows me to feel accomplished when I do get things done and for me to be sure I am doing something for Onyx every night as well, plus I have a fetish for lists10.

I’m excited to feel like we’re moving forward into uncharted (by us) territory. We have new ideas and a great many things we want to include in our relationship as it goes forward. There will be plenty of road blocks ahead but I feel like we will be able to encounter and move through them all. Along with the workshop this past weekend, which helped me release some things I have been needing to for quite some time11 and I believe the same thing happened for Onyx as well. It has been a transformational couple of weeks.

There has been a general shift in our dynamic because of the communication, interaction, and introspection we were able to do both individually and with each other. I feel so much more connected and in tune than we were before, and this last year we’ve been so much more connected and in tune than we were before that! It seems like we’re just getting better and better, which is truly amazing.

  1. there were 16 of us total I believe []
  2. the years before the triad []
  3. since I returned from Alaska last March-yes I consider the post-triad relationship to be a separate one []
  4. eventually my hope is to be part of a kinky queer occultist tribe, which is starting to happen []
  5. or, lately it has been consensual []
  6. I am not defining the differences here at the moment, but I am sure I will be talking about them soon in another post! []
  7. all in my head []
  8. or I was being set up to fail []
  9. which I will also be writing about []
  10. both making and crossing things off of []
  11. you will just have to wait for the other post for more on that []

Kink Academy Student Blogging

Unfortunately I was unable to participate in the first round of Student Bloggers on Kink Academy but I eagerly read along with the first batch of students as the first semester progressed and came to a close. Every day since I’ve been watching their twitter stream for the important announcement: registration1 for semester two is open! This semester I have the time and ability to dedicate to this position and I’m really hoping to be given the chance to participate.

Aside from thinking that Kink Academy is awesome, why would I be interested in becoming a student blogger in the first place? I can’t say that I’m not attracted to being paid to blog, of course, since paid gigs are wonderful. But even if there was no money involved I would be applying. Why? Having videos I have to watch and a post I have to write every week about them and my experience after watching them not only gives me great blog fodder but also the opportunity to get even closer to Onyx. Let me explain.

Kink has been in my life for may years but has seemed to come in waves. The waves that kink has come in the last few years has more to do with my relationship status than anything else. For quite a while after the beginning of our relationship Onyx and I were pretty regularly engaging in kinky sex and in a D/S relationship. When I moved in with him something switched in our relationship dynamic, and then later we switched.

Relationships are constantly changing, and we both knew that, but we just weren’t fitting together the way we had before and so we tried out different roles and activities to try to fit together again. Through much communication and exploration we came back together, and then started drifting apart again, and it continued in that pattern for a few years. We would get closer, then we would get farther apart. In the last year, however, kink has been on an upswing due to the better connection we have after facing the possible end of our relationship and I’m dedicated to keeping it that way.

I’ve been talking a lot about kink around here recently since starting the 30 Days of Kink writing prompt. Looking at my kinky desires and activities in order to answer the prompts has lead to more communication with Onyx about it and has lead to greater kinky harmony in our lives. It has become something innate lately rather than something we have to work on, which is amazingly wonderful, and unlike some times in the past we aren’t finding ourselves in a rut. Part of the trick to keeping our dynamic exciting is partially our connection which has never been better and part playing and experimenting with new things. This is how Kink Academy would help us get closer.

While I would say I know a good amount of tips and techniques related to kink as well as sex and sexuality I also have a lot more to learn. There is always more to learn. Even now our activities aren’t terribly varied, although they’re lots of fun, and being able to explore the vast amount of wonderful Kink Academy videos would help us explore new activities including those we have been wanting to do for years but haven’t due to lack of knowledge.

I’m really quite excited about this opportunity. I followed the first semester of student bloggers eagerly and enviously and now I’m hoping to be part of the second round. Someday, once I’m teaching sex ed classes of my own, I hope to work with Kink Academy as part of the faculty, but one thing at a time. For now, delving in to the wonderful wealth of sex-positive videos will help my knowledge and experience grow.

  1. or, perhaps more accurately: application []

30 Days of Kink: Ethics

This is the eleventh of my 30 Days of Kink, coming after quite a long hiatus. I will be answering each of the thirty questions in different posts. I thought these would be interesting to answer and (hopefully) interesting for you to read. These will be posted in order, but not always back-to-back (as I have shown).

Day 11: What are your views on the ethics of kink?

I’ve been stuck on this question for a while now, partially because I don’t know where to begin there is so much that could be covered with this question so I’m just going to start anywhere and see where this goes.

First, I have to define ethics. Ethics are a type of moral philosophy. In the realm of kink/BDSM/WIITWD1 it can apply to a variety of things but mostly I’m going to talk about the moral philosophy of kinky activity in general. That is how we make sure that the play we engage in is itself ethical.

I’m a firm believer in RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and SSC (Safe Sane and Consensual) which are both familiar terminology in the BDSM/kink world. They are slightly different but essentially mean the same thing. Some people say RACK is better because some activities–breath play, for example–are rarely if ever “safe” but they can be done in a “risk aware” manner or you can do things to make them “safer”2. Basically this means not engaging in anything without consent or thought. The more you know about what you are doing the less likely you are to make a mistake and actually cause damage.

Consent and intent are what separates bdsm & kink from abuse. Which is also why I have a difficult time playing with anyone who is angry or who has been drinking, as it is far more difficult for the intent to be acceptable to me when either of those have occurred. Mollena wrote an amazing post about intent: “The intention of the person in a Leather or BDSM interaction is mutual satisfaction, whatever form or means that takes. Sometimes it looks so much like an abusive interaction that our only signal is context.”

I agree with her assessment, also, that intent matters far more than consent since so many of us, myself included, love to play with consent and push that line between consent and non-consent. However, if mutual satisfaction is not the intent of the interaction then where is the line between play and abuse? When does it become taking advantage of the other person? It’s called power exchange for a reason. Just like everything there is an exchange: an exchange of enjoyment, energy, pleasure, pain, satisfaction, power, etc.

There are outsiders who think of kink as horrible, wrong, terrifying, and so on simply because they don’t understand this simple difference. They assume that all participants must either have been (sexually) abused when they were a child or victims of patriarchal socialization (especially for female submissives & male dominants), that in order to engage in such practices there must be something wrong with us. Little do they know, playing with power and pain can be a way to empower ourselves, to break away from the socialization, to make up our own minds about what we want, to use a “base” tool (sexuality/sexual interaction) for a “higher” type of liberation3. Of course, not everyone is engaged in kinky activity in search of personal enlightenment but I do think it’s a by-product of it, or at least it can be. This topic is getting away from me a little bit, though, so I will bring it back to ethics.

Part of the appeal of kinky activities is often walking that line between consent and non-consent, between acceptable and too much, testing our limits and finding out if we can handle as much or more than we thought we could. The thrill of it is just as fun as the taboo. In order to play with the edge without going over it requires skill, knowledge, and communication. If the intent is negative or one-sided that makes it far too easy to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed or do negative damage.

  1. What It Is That We Do []
  2. just as it is now referred to as safer sex rather than safe sex []
  3. I put those both in quotes because I do not necessarily agree with all that connotes, but I do not have better language right now to express those ideas without writing many more paragraphs []

Blind Spots

I’m not sure if I’m doing a wise thing here, and the fact that I’ve not really shared it with Onyx is probably an indication of how not smart it is. I just have a blind spot when it comes to him. I’m not sure what to call him on here, though he might not mind his real name since it’s a pretty common one. I’m not sure he knows about this blog anyway. I am so torn.

He contacted me on Facebook after not speaking for two and a half years. He knew the date, I didn’t. We give great back and forth. There hasn’t been any fighting yet, or bickering. We used to bicker all the time, like old marrieds who had gotten into a rut and just pushed each other the wrong way. We did that.

I loved him once. I met him around the same time I met Onyx, also online. We would call each other up and make sweet dirty music together, and it was good. I just called him for the first time in two and a half years.

It’s strange, though we used to talk on the phone all the time, I was nervous. I remembered his voice and my breath did that cliche thing of catching in my throat before I could speak. He has far too much power over me. He knows how to play my heartstrings just right, whether intentionally or not.

The ball was and has been in my court. There is no promise for anything except talking. I don’t intend to start anything sexual with him, but I want to see how he has changed and grown. My curiosity is getting the better of me, because he seems less severe in some ways. I wonder how he and I will get along now. I wonder if there is more between us than the memory of what we used to have. I know that I still have love for him inside me, and it is more powerful than I was anticipating.

Am I loving him or what he represents? I’ve always had an idealized version of him in my head, the person he could be if he could only stop being so caustic. The person he was when he was with me when we weren’t bickering. This isn’t something I can just leave alone, I have to see what happens, and I’m trying to be as cautious as I possibly can.

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!