lotusWelcome! I’m Tai Quyn Kulystin, the creatrix of Purveyor of Pleasure. I am a educator, artist, occultist, harlot, and gentlefemme about town. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

I currently 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, queer theory, depth 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.
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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.

Self-Consciousness

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.

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!

Spiraling Forward

Well, I’m officially moving back to Seattle. I have a one-way ticket for March 17th.

This seemed like an impossibility at the end of November, the end of the triad, and part of me is surprised at the way things turned out, yet I’m also not surprised.

I still feel guilty for the way things ended, and I feel guilty for being with Onyx again when I was so sure that wasn’t going to happen. I allowed for it to happen, obviously, and I’m happy that we have come to a much better phase in our relationship, but I still have this gnawing sense of guilt. Why? Because I told Marla it wasn’t going to happen. I told her we would be with each other, I told her we would be together. I truly believed it at the time, but I spoke in absolutes not knowing what the future would hold.

I still miss her sometimes, lots of things remind me of her, and I wonder how it will be to go back to the apartment where the three of us lived. I wonder how long it will take before it takes on new light and I see it again as my home with Onyx and not where we three lived. I’m sure it will forever be both, but eventually the pang of longing will fade. I look back now and I see how we weren’t right for each other, I know what happened has been for the best, but that doesn’t mean the love I felt went away.

Things with Onyx are so different, so new, it’s almost like a completely new relationship in some ways, and our connection is now better than ever. We were both able to break down many of the walls between us after, in spite of, and because of what happened. We are connecting on a deeper level, I think, and in new ways.

Of course, reconnecting is bringing up old issues too, namely social, things I can just think about while I’m here and don’t have any way of fixing or doing anything about now. I’m worried about the way that we fit together in social situations, I tend to be quiet and even when engaging in a conversation I never seem to get a word in because I’m not a Conversation Top. I prefer quiet intimate settings to clubs or parties, but how does one get to the point of having a quiet intimate setting without knowing people first? I tend to feel left out and even, admittedly, anxious in social situations where I don’t know anyone, or even in social situations where I do know people just not well.

Sometimes I just wish I was more outgoing, but I’m not. I’m trying to change that as much as I can, but it’s not easy.

I’m also battling again with being a queer person in a heterosexual relationship. Maybe this shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is. Sometimes I feel like I am betraying part of myself to be with him, which is an odd thing to say.

I worry about falling back into the rut that we did before, or that we are idealizing each other due to being apart and when we are back living together the changes that seem to have happened will disappear. I don’t know if this will happen, obviously, but I definitely don’t know for sure that it won’t. I am trying not to have that expectation, though, and not encourage it to happen, but I do wonder.

We are at a much better place than we ever have been before, and we have been making plans to do things that we have talked about for a while but not gotten around to. Hopefully we will be getting memberships to the CSPC in addition to planning on attending SEAF, Sex 2.0, Element 11, and generally getting more involved in the community in Seattle.

Onyx will be coming up here on Friday for a week to see the play I am in as well to spend time with me. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of relationship blah-blah-blahing lately on this blog, so hopefully soon I’ll get back to writing some sexy stuff after he’s here!

Civil War

I feel as though I have warring factions within me, aching for battle and unsure of what to do, trying to figure out who comes out on top, but there is no “on top” to come out onto, not that I would have it if there were. In a world of innumerable options I can see them all and wish to partake in all of them, and not just one by one.

It is an ever-constant ever-changing process to become the me I wish to be, and so often I have no idea how to do it. I look at the past to help inform my present, to see what worked and what not to do, but I can only do so much without the freedom to explore beyond the limited space I am in now. I am made up of not just one but many dichotomies that are constantly at war and trying to figure out how to live together harmoniously.

As much as I don’t believe in binary systems for most things because these ideas are so solid in their construction it does often feel like I am being pulled in two directions. I must be one or the other at any given time as both cannot exist in the same moment or in the same space. It’s okay to have different aspects in yourself but for them to be existing at the same time seems to be something that is not believable.

I’m tired of rigid lines separating me from myself. I feel constantly torn, constantly at war with the sides I am told are opposites. They do not feel like opposites. I never am not one while presenting as the other, so how do I adequately express myself?

So I am exploring and learning, growing, changing, as much as possible but it never feels enough. I don’t know how to become who I will be, I only know how to be the me I am right now. The trick is to be okay with that and only that in the moment while striving for better.

01.18

2010

Protected: More Honesty

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If I Was Really Honest with Myself…

…what would I say?

This question has been running through my head over and over since everything happened in November. I’m still processing everything, but life must go on in the meantime as much as I want to pause it and analyze and figure things out before continuing I, unfortunately, do not have the ability to do that, so I’m taking everything one step at a time.

Ang just wrote a post on Things People Say about polyamory and what it entails, when she posed this question on twitter “Finish this sentence: “For poly to work, everyone involved must…………..”" I immediately responded “…communicate and be honest, especially with themselves.” These aren’t the only things that are required, but they are what immediately came to mind, specifically because they were our downfalls.

I think honesty was one of the big things missing from the triad. Ultimately, dishonesty is what ended up splitting us so suddenly, but it had been a problem for quite a while, and for all of us to an extent I think. I know there were times when I was dishonest, specifically to myself but through being dishonest with myself I was dishonest with the others. It is so easy for me to deceive myself, though I used to be much better at it than I am now as I’ve purposefully worked at eroding that skill set.

No one is able to be honest with themselves 100 percent of the time because that’s just not the way our brains work. What we think we want in one minute could be wrong, a distraction, or simply part of the process of moving us toward the ultimate realization. Or maybe it is what we want in that moment, we just don’t want it later. Our brains work in convoluted ways and often will not let us know the whole truth that is going on inside us until it is too late.

It’s often difficult to tell the difference between dishonesty and change in some cases as well. There were many times within the triad relationship when I was wondering about things, worried about things, or thinking about things in a way that was contrary to how I ended up feeling. Were those times when I was being dishonest or simply something that changed in me during the course of the trilationship? Probably a little of both.

I will be honest and say that there have been many times lately and in the past when I have wondered if I am still attracted to males. Aside from Onyx there hasn’t been another I have really been attracted to in a long time. Being with a female again reminded me of just how attracted I am to females. On the one hand I don’t want to limit myself, but on the other I find my understanding of my desires evolving as I do.

There was a period of a few weeks after the triad dissolved that I was feeling decidedly asexual, no doubt as part of a coping mechanism to the shock of everything that happened and the need for me to get space and take time. I used that time to evaluate a lot of things about myself and my desires, and realized while my desires have remained fairly constant my ability to articulate them has definitely changed.

For a long time I have called myself intellisexual but maybe not fully embraced the meaning. I’m attracted to intelligence and intellect, to individuals and all the things that make up an individual rather than the body that individual inhabits. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a bit of an indifference to genitals, by which I mean I don’t find genitals in and of themselves sexy or arousing. I can’t look at a picture of a cock or cunt and be that attracted to it without knowing the person behind it. This rang home for me when Onyx visited.

Before the triad split it had been a while since Onyx and I had sex, and the times we did after Marla moved in with us were not only few and far between but also often strange and unpleasant for one reason or another. There were a lot of negative emotions going on and a lot of things coming between our relationship with one another, so our sex as well as our relationship suffered from it dramatically. This was a major factor in my wondering about being attracted to males, I believe, since we weren’t fitting together and he is one of the only males I have any sort of attraction to the conclusion for my brain was to think maybe I should just give up males altogether.

When we were talking about him visiting I was nervous because of this, I didn’t know if I was going to be attracted to him again, I didn’t know if it was going to be a farewell visit or a reconciliation. After the split and before he visited there were instances when I was masturbating and he came to mind without my conscious invoking of him, which made me more secure in his coming up here. I figured one way or another something would be determined by his visit.

I still look at images of cocks and cunts and have very little attraction, but when he was here I was definitely attracted to him. There was a spark between us that I hadn’t felt in many years, since way before we moved to Seattle. We had amazing chemistry once upon a time, but the pressure we put on ourselves, getting used to each other, and getting to the point of taking each other for granted definitely changed our interactions for the worse. That chemistry was back full-force as the weight of the triad had been lifted from both of us and we both have been focusing on ourselves since everything happened. It was amazing once again.

For the moment I’m still sticking with the needing to be alone idea. We are pausing our relationship in a way right now in that we are separated by many miles, but still keeping in touch and planning on visiting each other regularly. For some people this would be a long-distance relationship, but that’s not what I’m comfortable terming it at the moment. I am taking time to figure out my life as well as analyze and discover aspects of myself long since forgotten, and I believe he is doing the same. We’re both working on rethinking the way we both approach our relationship so that we do not fall into the same traps and end up getting into a rut the way we have before.

We got too stuck in the idea of a relationship as the focal point of life rather than a support system or another person to create home together. We both need focuses outside the relationship more than we were getting before, and that is what we’re getting now being so far apart and not living together. He has been my home for so long, but we were going about it the wrong way. Instead of going off and having our own adventures so that we could come back together, share what we experienced and learned, and be stronger for it we got way too wrapped up in each other over the course of our relationship, especially moving to a new place together where I had trouble finding a job or an outside focus.

There was a long while when we talked a lot about needing to get out of our isolationist funk but we were having trouble doing it, which is when Marla came along and seemed to fill that need so perfectly. She seemed to fit in with us so well and came right at the perfect time, and although everything crumbled in the end the experience was extraordinarily valuable. Among many other things it showed me just how strong my bond with Onyx is, that I haven’t been willing to give him up despite the opportunity, which, quite honestly, surprised me.

There are still a lot of things to figure out, and for that I’m glad we have lots of time and space to work on everything. I’m glad to keep as many options open as possible, and do wish that things had happened differently, but I think everything has worked out for the best.