27. A favorite picture, song and/or video you associate with non-monogamy.
Cute and generally representative of the people and community I have found through non-monogamy.
I know this is the same one that I used the last time, but I would not have inked it on my body permanently if it didn’t mean a lot for me. We are all different, but linked together we form a circle that never ends.
26. A resource you’ve found especially helpful.
Just see the books and site from the post from the 25th. There is also a forum site called Polyamorous Percolations that I found very useful in my early wanderings into non-monogamy, but I do not know if it is still used, as I haven’t been on in years.
I also have linked a few other useful resources to read in my links in the sidebar.
Another important resource has been the people in the community around me. Seriously, as problematic/dramatic as they can be, I highly recommend finding at least one online community to talk to – local is a bonus, but not really necessary. Heck, I recommend more than one, just in case you need to vent about someone who is in one group, but not in the other. I found mine through friends and kept up through Facebook. Having an online community helped me realize that the problems and joys I had were not just mine alone – that there were a lot of other people, even in my area, who dealt with the same sorts of things, and may be willing to help me wrap my brain around an idea that I am having some issues understanding.
25. Your favorite Non-monogamous blog/tumblr/site/book?
Online: The Polyamorous Misanthrope (linked in my sidebar – I’m too lazy to find the link now).
The author does not take any bullshit from anyone – she owns up to her failings and is honest about how poly can be, especially for those of us who have been doing it for awhile. Sometimes challenges pop up for fogies too, and she is good about handling them and calling letter writers out on their bullshit.
I chose not to do the More Than Two website, as awesome as it is (it is actually tied for my favorite, for very different reasons), because they have it all in hand-dandy book form – see below.
On paper: More Than Two by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert
Close second: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
I never thought that a book could bump The Ethical Slut off the top spot, but a couple of the authors from the More Than Two website managed to write the book that did it. Heck, if anyone could have, it would be them.
So, I know that Opening Up by Tristan Taromino is supposed to be the Bible of non-monogamy books, but I never much liked it. Her style never really hooks me, so I found it a drag to get through (and I’m not sure I ever actually finished, despite having started it more than half a dozen times already). I didn’t find it very applicable – I was not opening up a relationship (I never have) – and a lot of the stuff seemed really couple-centric to me.
More Than Two is a good combination of The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, with a little bit of Sex at Dawn (by Cacilda Jetha and Christopher Ryan) thrown in. I have heard that The Ethical Slut can be a bit intimdating to newcomers or people who aren’t overly sexual or aren’t into non-monogamy just for the sex, and More Than Two turns down the volume on that. It does deal with many different styles of non-monogamy and presents different structures in an equal light. They are honest about the upsides and downsides of each style and not judgmental.
24. The stupidest argument or comment you’ve heard about non-monogamy, either for or against?
How about both?
For: That it is so-called natural (and monogamy isn’t), so everyone should be doing it (and not monogamy).
Any argument that contains the idea that everyone should be doing something is bullshit by me. I don’t necessarily disagree with the first part – it, like monogamy, is something that can be found in nature – so it is, therefore, natural. Heck, it seems to be the dominant relationship structure in some of our closest primate relatives, with whom we share a lot of our DNA.
However, we have social structures that are beyond what our DNA could have predicted. Monoamory works for some people, like my parents, so good on them. I’m happy for all of them. As long as they choose that without societal pressure (distinct from influence) and are aware of other options, should it start to not feel right to them, then I have no beef with that. I do have a beef against the idea that, because a lot of people are monogamous/monoamorous, that everyone should be, but that’s just the other side of the coin.
Against: Oh, there are far too many for me to pick the stupidest. Maybe “God made us to pair up into twos”?
Well, any religious argument is going to rate pretty high on the stupid for me. Why do you want me to be unhappy? Organized religion has never made me happy (at most, neutral) and I am pretty sure that I don’t believe in your god, nor am I sure that any such being exists (leaning towards no, but there are still some unanswered questions for me). So why do I need to follow your religious beliefs about relationships when I don’t follow your religion.
I’m not even going to take on how many non-monogamous relationships are portrayed in the Bible, because basically all of the male figureheads of the Abrahamic religions had more than one wife, and many had concubines as well. Heck, one could argue that the Bible is definitely in favor of non-mongamy, at least a very limited portrayal of it.
23. What, if any, involvement have you had with any groups or organizations? How did you find them?
I have had some involvement with groups on Facebook. I am even a moderator for a small private book club.
One of the general local poly groups I have been involved with since they had about 350 people and now they have over 1000 members. Amazing to see it grow and split and change over the years. Interesting to see people come and go. I have had a lot of time to assess my place in the group and rethink whether I still want to be part of it – I do, but the arguments in favor of that have become weaker over the last couple years. The strongest argument in favor being that I would not have met Diplomat or June, may not have met Lola, wouldn’t have gotten to know Star or Sparkles much more than tangentially, and none of that is cool by me. I also belong to a number (and moderate one) subgroup of this big group – it broke into subgroups, like the Catholic Church, awhile back, and everyone seems to be better off for it.
Another (not specifically poly, but definitely non-monogamous) group I belong to, is, well, X-rated. It is a group that organizes sex parties/orgies a few times a year, about 60% of which I go to. It is a great place to go and see pictures of cute people (sometimes even naked) and to organize sexually oriented events. I joined this group when it was first forming and had gone to one event before that fact (my first official sex party), but no one (unless they met me individually) seems to remember me – I had a couple people (including a moderator) ask if it was my first event with them. I got a bit of a shocked reaction when I told them it was actually my fifth (Fourth? Can’t remember) with them. Am I really that forgettable? Or is a matter of not being an extrovert, so I don’t really stand out? I don’t know.
22. A majority of non-monogamous people are also kinky – what are your thoughts on kink?
I definitely identify as kinky – generally I say I’m a sadistic switch. In a little bit more detail:
Bondage – switch (I burnt out on bottoming to hard core rope stuff, especially more decorative stuff, and I like topping more practical rope-work than pretty)
Discipline – not actually sure, probably bottom-leaning switch
Dominance/submission – switch
Sadism/masochism – I get more mental pleasure out of sadism, but I enjoy pain as a sensation (it’s more a sensation play thing to me).
I enjoy sensation play (other than super cold – that’s kind of a nope due to circulatory issues), both topping and bottoming. I like both topping and bottoming wax play, and bottoming to cupping.
I really like struggle play/play wrestling – not sure there’s actually a top and bottom for that.
I like sensory deprivation boxes. I could be very comfortable in one of those for a very long time, as long as it was well padded with something inoffensive.
I like bottoming to flogging and other impact play – I cannot top heavy duty flogging due to a shoulder injury, but other impact play is not off limits to top.
There’s more, but I think that’s enough for now.
21. Thoughts on fluid bonding?
My definition goes beyond sexual fluid exchange and into blood and other bodily fluids.
I am super picky about fluid bonding. I have been fluid bonded with two partners in my life and for both I required testing before we did that, even though we had been sexing for awhile, and I plan on continuing that testing requirement.
I will not do it before the six month mark – that is the absolute minimum. I need to have that time to figure out if I have absolute trust with my partner, their safer sex pratices, and their communication standard. Giving it six months also gives more time for some of the NRE to wear off, so we are both relatively sane (it’s all relative) when making the decision to forgo barriers.
I need to also have faith in my method of birth control. For the first time, we only ever occasionally exchanged fluids, so I wasn’t super concerned, even though being on the pill made me nervous about this. With the other, I already had my Mirena IUD and I have great faith in that, so that wasn’t really a concern.
If there’s any breaches in sexual practices – whether that be an STD/STI worry, a trust issue, a consent issue, or a problematic (for a variety of reasons) outside partner – then it is time to go back to using barriers until the issue is resolved, then talk again about whether we want to go back to being fluid bonded.