Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: seattle (Page 2 of 4)

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!

Quyn (HNT)

While I was in Juneau I bought a sports bra which is smaller than recommended for my breast size. I bought it for the sole purpose of using it as a binder, turning my large breasts into a still-large-but-slightly-smaller chest. I wore it while performing in Julius Caesar and quite a bit around Juneau in general.

I haven’t worn it too much since I’ve been back in Seattle, partially because on days I know I won’t be doing much outside the house I tend to wear things that are comfortable and loose, partly because I have been feeling rather femme lately whenever we have decided to go out, and partly because I’m not completely comfortable showing off this masculine identity to the world yet.

The last few days, however, I’ve been feeling more and more like binding, packing, changing my gender presentation to one that is more masculine. I woke up this morning and just knew I was going to bind.

I’m still not comfortable enough going out here. Juneau was more comfortable, but less comfortable for other things. I don’t know this part of myself well enough to show it to people here yet, but I’m working on it.

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Relational Assumptions

I came to a realization a few nights ago regaring something I’ve sort of mentioned in a previous post. As the baby of the family I was constantly reminded growing up that I was known to some only by my other relationships. I was her sister or his daughter or so on. Since then it’s always been a little bit of an irritation for me. I don’t want to be known by my relationships I want to be known as me, as a whole person, as myself.

I discovered when leaving Juneau for the first time that I had that opportunity. I was no longer bound by the familial or other relationships I was locked in to in my home town. I could be as flamboyant and outrageous as I desired, or I could safely lurk in the shadows, and no one would be the wiser, they wouldn’t have any information about me before I gave it to them.

When I moved to Salt Lake City to be with Onyx I fell back into that role. I was Onyx’s girlfriend, known by my relationship, known by association. Needless to say it irritated me again, and that irritation (among other things, really) kept me from getting to know some people I wish I had. I didn’t see the whole picture.

Upon deciding to return to Seattle I worried quite a bit about being known by my relationship again. In the few months I was gone (and some in the previous year) Onyx developed or strengthened a number of friends and acquaintences and I have been wondering how I will or won’t fit into those. I don’t have to fit in to all or any of them, but I’ve been wondering about it and wondering how my meeting them through him, being known by association, would affect my relationship with them. I realized, though, that this is more my issue than anyone elses.

When going to Tristan Taormino’s workshop at Babeland on Making Open Relationships Work, afterwards when I was able to talk with her, I introduced myself to her in relation to two things: I reviewed her awesome porno Rough Sex, and she knows my older sister. She also recognized me from Twitter as I @replied her regarding attending her workshop. Thinking about it afterwards I wondered why, when I spent so much time worrying about being known by association, why would I knowingly and purposefully put myself in that situation?

What I came up with was a bit of a happy revelation. First, specifically for that situation, she had other ways of associating me other than my sister, which made it a little safer, but I also knew that would be something which would help me stand apart. It was a way for her to remember me, being a help to me rather than a hinderance.

This is only the most recent example, and the rest of the events of the day definitely contributed to this as well, I think, but this is what made it snap in my head.

I’m responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others.

It seems so simple, it seems ridiculously simple, it was one of those “duh” moments where I would have smacked myself on the forehead if I had not been lying in bed in the dark next to Onyx when I wanted to be sleeping but my mind was too buzzy to turn off yet.

What does it mean, though, really? It’s more than just what it says, because I knew that, but it’s the way that sentence applies to this situation that I hadn’t yet put together. Basically it means I need to stop assuming people have preconceived notions about me, stop worrying about what they might possibly already think about me or what they might possibly assume, and actively work to make sure they see me as a person if I care enough to do so.

I mean, I knew it was my responsibility to do so, but instead of embracing that as meaning I should stop worrying and just do it I let my worry overtake me and stop me from even trying to make myself a whole person because I was pidgeonholed into this role. In reality, while I’m sure there are plenty of people who do see me “just” as Onyx’s partner or “just” by my familial relations or whathaveyou, the assumption that someone I don’t know my own self would do that is vastly unfair.

I think this is a step toward becoming less isolated and more outgoing, caring less what people think, being more comfortable in social situations, and being more comfortable to be the real me.

Looking Forward

Onyx and I are making lots of plans for this coming year, places and events we are going to go to and people we want to see. Lucky for us there are many awesome events right here in Seattle this year that we are going to, and one in our former home of Salt Lake City. Once I get a job and start making money we may be able to afford other events (there are plenty I would love to go to, kink conferences especially), but for the moment we are sticking to mostly local events.

We are also extremely excited about Amber (of Divergent Dance) and Em (of Life in Transition) heading up our way in April. Onyx got to meet them in November (I think, maybe December?) while I was in Juneau which I was highly jealous about, and now it’s my turn! I’m sure I’ll be writing about the experience.

(Edit)
I also forgot at the time of posting this that Nadia West is coming our way in April. Lucky for us all she happens to be coming the same weekend that Kyle and Roxy are also planning on visiting the Emerald City and seeing us! The wonderful CoyPink lives nearby as well and I haven’t seen her since I left to Juneau, so the six of us are planning on going out. It should be an absolute blast!
(/Edit)

Some of these events are small workshops and such, some of them are bigger conferences. I will probably be writing about all if not most of them, so here’s a taste of what might be coming up post-wise. You can find information about each of the events by clicking on their titles (they’re all linked), or checking out the FetLife event page for each of them. I was going to write a little blurb about each of them, but I figure if you’re interested you can click the link!

I’m also interested to know if anyone of you are planning on attending any of these events, if so comment or drop me an email! (lotus AT scarletstsyr.com)

BDSM and Anal Play
March 27
CSPC (Seattle)
FetLife Event

Making Open Relationships Work
March 28
Babeland (Seattle)
FetLife Event

Seattle Erotic Arts Festival (SEAF)
April 30 – May 2
Seattle
FetLife Event

Sex 2.0
May 22 – 23
Seattle
FetLife Event

Element 11
June 10 – 14
Salt Lake City
FetLife Group

Servant’s Retreat I
June 25 – 27
Kenmore, WA
FetLife Event

What A Year

One year ago I wrote an introduction to Marla. We had already been talking for a few weeks previous to that. In so many ways it doesn’t seem like it has been a year, but in others it seems like it should have been far longer. Everything happened so quickly, she was living with us less than six months after I first introduced her, and then everything split apart just a few months later.

She once asked me if I planned on writing a post to commemorate our anniversary. This isn’t what either of us had in mind.

In some ways it makes me extremely excited for what the next year will bring. Where will I be in March of 2011? What will be happening and what will I be thinking? How will my identities and thoughts and passions have changed and grown and evolved?

In some ways it makes me sad that I have not posted as much this past year as I wanted to or wish I had, but I also know that was a product of the situation. I just couldn’t write about what I was thinking and feeling, for various reasons. I was highly distracted. I know I write about her quite often, but it’s difficult not to write about someone who had such an extreme impact on every aspect of my life as she did.

I will be moving back to Seattle in five short days, hoping that the situation I am coming back to will encourage me to write rather than the opposite, though I also hope to be far more busy so I may have to finally learn how to prioritize (and judging by the half-dozen drafts I have open while writing this that may take a bit to do). I am a different person now than I was a year ago, in so many ways. I’m looking forward to what the next year will bring.

My life is a series of changes, a series of hits and misses, ghosts and corpses. I’ve lost a lot and gained what I’ve taken. This time next year I won’t be this girl anymore, I’ll be something new. I’ll be a new image, a new collage in the making. But no matter who I become next I will always remember the people I’ve been and all the pieces I’ve kept. – We the Living Photography [image]

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!

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Peg-ass-us by Pack of Others

I’ve known John Leo for the better part of the last decade (eight years? More? Less?) though it’s been a good five or so years since I’ve seen him. We’ve been in touch recently via Facebook and I am super excited at the chance to see him and meet his partner Sophie and see them perform! They are going on tour with their show Peg-Ass-Us, a musical romantic comedy about pegging looking at “queer sex for straight folks.” How fantastic is that?!

They’re coming up here to Juneau and also to Seattle and Portland, so if you’re in either of those wonderful cities (and I know some of you are) you definitely need to check them out. They’re also based out of Brooklyn, and have performed in major cities all over, so even if you’re not in Seattle or Portland you should get them on your radar and see if you can see them next time they’re in your town!

There is more information on their website.

They’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and have their show listed as an event on FetLife for the Seattle show and the Portland show so you can get all social networky with them especially if you are able to go or even if you’re not!

The show information:

John Leo and Sophie Nimmannit, a real-life couple, have crafted perhaps the silliest, most heartfelt romantic comedy about strap-on anal sex ever. Their beginner’s guide to “pegging” (as coined by Savage Love readers) – complete with sing-a-longs, how-to’s, puppets and soul-baring striptease – offers a hilariously penetrating look at queer sex for straight folks. But as the lesson probes deeper, it devolves into a lover’s quarrel that tickles qualms, exposes scruples, liberates desire and comes to a climax where everyone gets off.

After a month-long run as Artists-in-Residence at Dixon Place in New York City, Pack of Others takes their sex-ed kink comedy Peg-ass-us on the road, spending February 2010 – “Creative Romance Month” and “Safer Sex Awareness Month” – on tour in the Pacific Northwest. Join us!

“a real audience pleaser; it’s frank, illuminating and theatrical, no matter how you like your bacon”
–“Stage Notes” by Tom Murrin, PAPERMAG

“Sex-Ed at its Best!”
-Drs. Carol Queen & Robert Lawrence
(featured educators, Bend Over Boyfriend video series)

“This little theatrical workshop on sex, relationships and intimacy was informative, amusing, clever, touching and sexy all in an hour.”
~Ty Stover, Indy.com

Tour Dates

Feb. 5th-6th – Juneau, Alaska
The Hangar (in the Wharf) Ballroom
Egan Drive, Merchants Wharf
Shows at 9pm
(includes Special Performances of Juneau’s
Off the Hook Honeys (Burlesque),
Snaptastic! (Buffoon) in “Your B*tch is Next”
and more!)

Feb. 14th (Valentine’s!)- 17th – Seattle, WA
Annex Theater
11th Ave at E. Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Shows at 8pm
Tickets $15 (general admission), $10 (students/seniors)
(Monday 15th, Pay What You Can)
Advance tickets: www.annextheatre.org

Feb. 19th-21st – Portland, OR
Someday Lounge
125 Northwest 5th Avenue
Portland, OR 97209
Shows at 8pm
Tickets $10 advance, $12 at the door
Advance tickets: www.somedaylounge.com

In case you need more convincing, here’s their youtube video too!

In the Year 2009

I refuse to reminisce about the past decade unless it's in a

The ever-so-popular year-in-review post, much like my In the Year 2008 last year. So, this is a little late, but I’m still posting it anyway! The new year is always a good time to reflect on the year before and look forward to the year to come, so here’s my reflecting.

In 2009…

Were there any other significant events in my life in 2009? Definitely, though that doesn’t mean I remember them all. Was there anything that I mentioned on here that you think should be included in this list and isn’t? Do you have a favorite post of mine in 2009? What were your significant moments of 2009?

And, since someecards has sort of gotten me on the subject… in the last decade…

  • I lived in Juneau, Alaska; Ashland, Oregon; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Seattle, Washington. I then came full-circle back to Juneau.
  • I graduated college, receiving a double Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and Gender Studies from the University of Utah.
  • I had lots of sex, some of it good, some of it bad. I learned a lot about sex in general.
  • I met Onyx in the middle of it (five years ago, it was December/November time I believe, so just over five years).
  • I grew into myself. My clothing style is much the same as it was in 2000 and I’m back in my hometown, but lots of other things are drastically different. I am still shy and social-avoidant, but I am more confident and self-assured.
  • I cut my hair shorter than chin-length for the first time, and dyed it for the first time both in general and an unnatural color.
  • I had at least four blogs (more if you count livejournal or diaryland) and a short-lived sex podcast under another pseudonym, this is the longest-running one of the bunch I believe.

Might add more as I think of them.

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