Friday, April 6, 2012

Push Here to Open

[thanks Emmy S.]


How's it hanging, love-tunnelers?


Well.  
It's been touch-and-go for years, but it's official:  


I finally love Chicago.




I really, really do.


When I first moved here, I hated it.  


The cool green streets of Minneapolis were fresh in my mind, and all my friends were there and everything fun was there and everyone was queer and you could bike without a nagging feeling that Audis were aiming for you and every coffee shop had not only soy milk, but a mini fridge staggering under the weight of almond, rice, cashew, and hemp milk cartons.    
[The May Day Cafe]


Chicago, after that, seemed grey and menacing.  


I couldn't, for some reason, find the lesbians. 
It was always cloudy. 


Alleys smelled like piss, and the homeless lady on my corner would say "Bless you, baby" if I gave her a dollar and "Cheap-ass bitch" if I didn't have any money. 


I hated it here. 

But I wasn't trying!  I wasn't open to the possibility that Chicago could rule! I had already made up my mind that Minneapolis was perfect...and after that, well, what was left?  



There wasn't space in my heart for Chicago.

But this city is wooing me.  



It's like a dyke firefighter at the lesbian bar -  it doesn't even have to try.


Chicago knows it's the shit.  
Its heavily-tattooed girls, seriously feisty old ladies on the bus, weird little corners, hot dog stands, scads of queer kids, beaches, dive bars that make cocktails out of grape soda (yes), and crumbling, high-ceilinged apartments have been steadily working on me.
[The California Clipper, by Laurie Chipps.  The drink is called a Purple Martin, btw.]


The other day, my friend Jen and I were in Rogers Park, a neighborhood way up north, when she pointed out something I'd never seen before - a library-looking building with white flags flapping outside.  


Upon closer inspection, the flags had a big black boot silkscreened on them.

And you know what it was, homos?  

Do you know what we had casually happened upon?


It was...the Leather Archives and Museum.  


A vast museum.


Dedicated to the leather community.  
Owned, bought, and run by queers.


In the middle of a residential area, no signs around it, no fanfare - juuuuust a massive leather museum, hangin' out in the neighborhood,  with two little girls playing hopscotch next door and a downstairs devoted to hard-core kink and fetish.


Of course Chicago has this.  


What the fuck doesn't Chicago have?
[thanks Sir Mike]


As I looked at the leather museum's flags snapping in the breeze on that quiet, unassuming street, Chicago-patriotic tears welled in my eyes and it hit me: 


I love it here. 
[Danielle via Bike Fancy]


Anywaycomevisithere...


weren't we talking about open relationships?
[thanks kameko]

I believe we were.


It's Part II of our two-part Open Relationship mini-series, and today, we're talking specifics. 

[via overdoz]


Today ima tell you some of the ways CJ and I, and a few other couples we know who are in open relationships...doooo it.  
Heh.


Now, alas, I don't know anything about dating couples or living as a polyamorous threesome, so if you do, weigh in, kay?
[thanks Beck]


I can only talk about what works for me and CJ, in our date-other-people-while-remaining-committed-to-each-other lezzer relationship, mmkay?


Mmkay.


So: You maybe wanna be in an open relationship.



First things first.  


If you're dating someone:  Does your partner, um, actually know you're interested in opening things up?   
[thanks pillowtalkmpls]
For serious: do they know you want to be in an open relationship? 


Have you brought it up?  Have you brought it up more than once?
Have you brought it up in a way that doesn't sound jokey or seem like you're kidding?


Because before you go another step further, it's time to figure out how bad you want to be in an open relationship. 


Bad enough to lose your partner over the issue?  
[thanks Maggie and Charlotte]


'Cause, um, it might happen.  
Sometimes it does.


Especially if you just spring the idea on them.


You have to be willing to accept the fact that you're already in a relationship with a person who has their own ideas about what being together entails, and they may or may not be interested in being in an open relationship.  


Whether you think it's unfair or snap-judgement-y or not, they have a right to say "FUCKNO. CASE CLOSED" to an open relationship when you broach the subject.
[thanks NatFranzia]


You could be dipping your dainty lil' toes into BreakUp Territory waters, and it is absolutely within your partner's rights to say "this is a deal-breaker for me" and tell you that they will break up with you if you wanna be in an open relationship.

Opening it up is a big deal.  



Wanting it bad enough to be willing to accept less-than-great consequences is important.
[thanks Liz]


Now, if you're single and dating people:  Have you told your dates yet?  


For me, because I have a partner and am dating, I tell potential dates about my sitch immediately.  


But if you're single?
[thanks Wendy M.]


I mean, you probably don't need to be telling casual first- or second-dates that you're looking for an open relationship, unless it comes up. You guys just met - nobody's that invested yet.  


Yay for being upfront and all, but you're queers - you have ages upon ages to process later.  
[thanks theresa e.]


Find out if y'all like each other first, hmm?


However, if the dates are getting into that nebulous sort of "heeeey, we're sure seeing a lot of each other now..." area, it might be time to have The Talk. 
[thanks Amanda]


The "I'm-interested-in-being-in-an-open-relationship"  Talk.


Also known as OMGLOLZ the most fun talk ever!!!<3 <3


The Talk is totally unpredictable.  You just never know how it's gonna go.
[thanks Rachel W.]


Sometimes the person you're dating will heave a huge sigh of relief and go "Ohhh good, that's what I want toooooo" and then off you go on your merry slutty way together.


But some people are...less than thrilled when you say you want to be in an open relaysh.  


And then they don't want to date you anymore. 


And...both of these are fine. 
[by thweatted]


Eeeeeeverybody is allowed feelings about open relationships.


Nooooone of the feelings are stupid or less valid or less cool than others. 


But OK!  All systems go!  Green light!  You've got a live one!
[thanks Jennifer J. of jifener25]


You're going to be - or are now in - an open relationship.


Um.  Now what?


Well! The first thing you want to do (you'll get really fucking used to this) is TALK ABOUT IT.


[thanks Anna R.  Haaaaay]


Get on the same page with your partner in sex-positive fuckery.


What do they think an open relationship entails?
What do you think?


Maybe they think an open relationship means you get to have one-night stands with strangers only.



Meanwhile, you're over here thinking you get to have several romantic girlfriends at once.


Not good, gays.  
Not good.
[thanks Anna B]


Lemme tell you right now, homos:  


There are a million different ways to have a fun, working open relationship, and my way isn't better than anyone else's, but this is the key to your successful sluttery:



YOU NEED TO AGREE.



You need, need, need to agree with your partner on EXACTLY what your open relationship means.  
[thanks pillowtalkmpls]

Decide your boundaries.  

Make some rules. 


And then - here's what CJ and I do - write down what you decide and put the rules somewhere you can get at them, like a kitchen drawer, so when you're having what my parents call a "loud talk" about something open-relationship-related, you can grab the rules and point to them and be like "Ha HA! Number 4!! This is why I'm mad! Look at Number 4! That's not allowed!"
[Thanks Elise]


Your rule list can be as long or short as you please.  


Maybe your rule is "there are no rules."  (Good luck with that one, sugar.) 


Maybe you'll be like my friend Cody* and her partner.  
They live apart, both need lots of alone time, and have a "Don't Ask Don't Tell" rule. 


Maybe you'll be like CJ and me and have quite a few rules.  


But make some!  


Boundaries, faggettes! They're your friends!
[thanks Lou Mc]


Together with your partner, decide: 


WHO can you fuck?


Can you fuck strangers?
Can you fuck men?
Can you fuck your best friend?  Someone in your immediate shared friend-circle?  Friends of friends?  Acquaintances?  Couples?  Someone from work?  Way older women?  Way younger ones?  The barista you have a crush on in the coffee shop you both go to every day?  


Spell it the hell out.

Even if it seems obvious or you're laughing with each other about some of your definitions. 


You're laughing now.  Let's wait a few months, shall we?
[thanks Emma B]



WHEN can you fuck?


Weekends?  Weeknights?  Only on Tuesday nights?  Only during Pride? Only when you're out of town?
[via iamnattee]

I have several friends doing the only-when-you're-traveling open relationship.  



One couple jokingly calls it their "20-Mile Rule," i.e. they're monogamous when they're within 20 miles of each other.


Cute.


WHERE can you fuck?


At the house you share with your main partner?  Only at your apartment where you live alone?  Only at the new person's place?  Only in public places, like the alley behind the gay bar the beach?  Only at hotels?  Where?
[thanks Isabella C.]


HOW can you fuck?


Y'allfags, this one's really, really important to nail down.


Can you use the toys that you share with your main partner?  Can you have oral sex with a new friend, or is that off-limits?  Can you go on real dates with someone else?  Can you fall in love with a new person?  Can you spend the night? 

What do you guys consider sex?  What do you consider cheating? What about just making out?


CJ and me, we know the answer to all of these questions. 

AND THEN SOME.
[thanks Guen M. Hiiii]


Baby jesus in a jam jar, we have incredibly specific rules.

Here are some I don't mind sharing:


* Safe sex - with both of us agreeing what that means - every time.


* No texting dates when CJ and I are spending time together.


* You have to say when you're going on a date, say if you might 
spend the night, and negotiate a good night to do that.  (I hate doing this, I don't know why.)


* You have to say when you've had sex.


* Wash. the. sheets.


* No sharing details about having sex with other people.  Unless it's hilariously bad, like "she belched and blew it at me in bed" bad. 
[via enuffsaid]

We have a list of places that are 'our' places that we can't bring new dates. 


We have a game plan for what to do when, say, I'm out on a date with someone new and CJ randomly runs into us.


We've talked this muthafucka out.


And...you can't plan for everything.  
Sometimes you have no idea what crosses a boundary until you cross it.  
[thanks Shushu A.J.]


We learn as we go. 


I am really, really sorry, sluts, (mostly for myself because I hate talking about relationship shit) but:


With open relationships, get used to communicating.


'Winging it' is a very, very bad idea.  
And an awesome way to get dumped!

Open relationships are a lot of negotiation.  

[thanks Rachel M.]


There are fights.  There are nasty fights.  


There's jealousy.  
You learn what really makes you jealous, and sometimes it's not at all what you think it might be.


Sex?  Pshaw.


It turns out CJ gets jealous when I make dinner with someone at their house.


It turns out I get jealous when CJ goes out with a girl who dresses femme-ier than me.
[thanks Kelsey F.]


Who fucking knew?

You don't learn how to not have jealousy; you learn to recognize it and still love each other and work around it. 


Gayelles, if you both want it and are willing to work for it, an open relationship can be awesome. 


[thanks Mary L]


Fulfilling!  Exciting!!  
With guest star appearances by really cute people you can fuck!


Spelling things out, rules, and communication are your friends here!


Maaaan, I know this is a really long post, but I feel like I could talk about this stuff forever.  
[by femboi via queerbrownxx]

What did I leave out, y'allfags? 


Got any tips for Opening It Up?

88 comments:

  1. I've done this before.t was the healthiest relationship ever, but we broke the rules, and the trust was broken, and that ended it. So, in other words, ladies..my biggest tip is..

    DO NOT BREAK THE RULES. FOR ANY REASON. ADD TO THEM IF YOU NEED TO. IF YOU CANNOT AGREE, CLOSE THINGS UNTIL YOU CAN AGREE.

    Looks like you and C.J have nailed it. My biggest rules are safe sex, no men. There are others, but of course that is the part that is specific enough to where it will vary from couple to couple widely.

    I am definitely looking for an open relationship. Monogamy is not for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding..it is not that I CAN'T do monogamy.If I am totally into a chic and the open thing makes her recoil, fine. However, definitely PREFER open. Funny how things change..when my self esteem was suffering, I absolutely refused to do open again. It was a dealbreaker. Now it is a preference again. Sorry to spam, Krista, but I, like you, could talk about this forever.

      Delete
  2. My big one is remembering (I always forget!) how different it is to be doing "queer-poly-casual-dating", in which an entire scene's worth of queers are mixing it up like molecules in a chemical reaction with loads of sex and drama, and your positioning is always a bit tenuous, vs "aha, hello, you are now my partner-queer, and we have Rules". Queer-poly-casual-dating comes with a lot of averted glancing and complicated, mostly-unspoken negotiations of space ("ugh I don't want to watch you make out but that is totally my shit to deal with") while partner-queer scenarios come with a LOT MORE talking. Looking-away is not generally a scenario for success for me in actual Relationships.

    Of course, agreeing on when/if your shagging has transitioned from queer-poly-casual-dating to something where you Talk About Stuff is the magic trick. People will go and have all wildly different expectations of what qualifies as a relationship, and when. Good times!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Finding common ground and boundaries is important with all the people you're interacting with. I feel like a lot of people forgot that setting up situations where one relationship has rules which interfere with another relationship is a *really* *tricky* *thing*.

    For instance, if you have a rule about not texting to other partners during time you're spending with a certain partner, you better also not have a rule about answering the texts of a certain partner unless you want to seriously privilege one specific relationship and the certain partner in both those rules are the same person.

    Rules are tricky. When they get too tricky, communicate about them loudly, honestly and openly.

    Be flexible gayelles. Communicate a lot. Reality won't wait to turn the tables on you. So make sure everyone's prepared to dance on the tables as they turn. Rules are great, but rules that can survive change might even work.

    Love,
    A girl who started casually dating another girl who was in a committed long term (and newly opened) relationship with this dude and then suddenly she fell in love with this other girl and the other girl felt the same way and whoops a change and then suddenly maybe the other girl is no longer really even with the dude anymore and whoops there's another change and then fucking geography happened and now there's a lot more miles of distance in between them and oops there's another change and holy shit remember those rules you originally made? Weren't those funny? Yeah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh. Also one specific type of rule you might not want to rely on to actually work no matter how good and comforted and warm and fuzzy it might make everyone feel are rules about not falling in love.

      Maybe it's just my personal experience, but there's one I definitely wasn't able to keep. We told each other we wouldn't fall in love with each other and then reality made liars of us both.

      Monogamous people have the same problem FWIW. One of the advantages of being poly/open is having a much better shot at being able to take the challenge on (and yes, communicate about it) when (if? I guess? Maybe?) it comes and deal with it instead of deciding which beautiful wonderful relationship needs to be destroyed.

      Delete
  4. I don't like the word 'rules', as it seems that rules can only be enforced with power, and if I do have power over my partner, I don't want to use it.

    The way that negotiation works for me is that one side states wants and needs, and the other side makes choices to meet or respect those wants or needs, or not, and that all that is done explicitly.

    So instead of a partner extending rules over me, the partner states what they want/need, and I offer them things based on that, for example, "So you like to know whether someone's gonna show up at our house late at night. How about I always call you before bringing a date home?"

    It sounds a lot like 'rules' but it feels very different to me.

    The focus on wants/needs also makes it easier, I think, to focus on the spirit of the situation, not the letter of it. I think that, "Well, it wasn't *technically* against our rules..." is rarely a good conversation. :P

    At the same time, I recognise that the absoluteness of 'rules' can be really, really helpful to some people, as described in this post on polytical.org...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Omg this has just confirmed I never ever want to be in one of these relationships. All I'd do is cry all the time :S

    ReplyDelete
  6. And you know what it was, homos?
    Do you know what we had casually happened upon?

    It was...the Leather Archives and Museum.

    A vast museum.

    Dedicated to the leather community.
    Owned, bought, and run by queers.


    BUTBUTBUTBUTBUT!

    Did you go in?! YOU MUST GO IIIIIIIIIN.

    I did! And they have a whole room full of leatherdykeabilia including

    drum roll

    ORIGINAL HOTHEAD PAISAN COMICS PROLLY STAPLED WITH LOVE BY DIANE DI MASSA HERSELF!

    I know, I know, pictures or it didn't happen, right? No problem, I got ya covered.

    ReplyDelete
  7. C.O.M.M.U.N.I.C.A.T.I.O.N.
    That's my biggest have-to for open relationships. But you already nailed that one.

    For my partner and I, we're "open from the waist up" on an anytime anywhere basis. Literally. Out of town, free game; on the couch next next to my partner, free game.

    Our rules get a LOT more specific from there (detailing sex, who, where, etc). Basically, if it's more than "the waist up," it's on a provisional basis that must be cleared before any action can occur. This works awesome for us, and it's something that we figured out after a good deal of trial and error.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I don't know anything about the actual topic under discussion except I hope the thing about dyke firefighters is true! Because I am newly out, getting divorced and have no game whatsoever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is. Use it :)

      Delete
    2. I need all the help I can get. X(

      Delete
    3. The fire fighter at the dyke bar idea made me grin like a moron! You are already so awesome... You will never need any game. Just say "Hi, I'm (name), I'm a fire fighter" Which will be followed by "wow! really?!!" which will be followed by getting laid :D

      Delete
  9. I have nothing of substance to add - but am coming here to congratulate you on working a Care Bears image into a post that includes a leather museum and a detailed discussion of open relationships. The conservative Christians who created Care Bears will be appalled. So - WELL DONE. Heh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Take that, Care Bear creators! I'd rather watch MLP any day ;-)

      Delete
  10. I misread fulfilling as falafel-ing. I think that shows the extent of my inclination towards monogamy...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. * Love* the comment about falafel-ing!! On a completely different note, I promise I mean no disrespect whatsoever, but I would genuinely like to know if this open relationship phenomenon is prevalent within the lesbian community. I fully admit my ignorance on this topic; I am new to the community...have been dating men for years so my parents won't be disappointed that they have another gay child...

      Delete
    2. I don't think that its *more* prevalent in the lesbian community because lesbians like poly.
      I think its a matter of women going "Oh, well, my relationship already breaks allllll of the Rules about how and who I should fuck, I can disregard all the rules about relationships and just do what makes us happy."

      I'm in an open long distance relationship. We don't really have rules, maybe we'll make rules when the distance closes and we see more partners.

      My partner is trans, and we're both Muslim, and we both dream of one day him taking more "wives". I love taking an idea that makes stuffy white feminists recoil in horror and turning it into a queer happy poly household.

      Delete
    3. I know bunches of lesbians in open relationships, and I like them myself.
      I'd say if you want monogamy you can find it. Open relationships are great, but not for everyone.

      Delete
    4. In my experience, having dated men and women, it might have something to do with women always talking about everything all the time. It may just be the particular individuals that I've dated, but for some reason it has come up more often with women than with men.

      Delete
  11. Krista, I'm afraid you missed something important. When you have The Talk there are more than two possible responses.

    There's "YAY! Me too!" and "OMFG NEVER!" but there's a ton of tricky in-between territory.

    Such as:

    "Yeah, I guess we could try that."
    "Hum... I never thought about it. Maybe?"
    "Whatever you like." (I'm afraid to lose you if I say no.)
    "Sure thing." (I hate that idea, but I can probably draw out negotiations long enough that by the time you realize how I really feel you'll be too invested to break up with me.)
    "No, I tried that once and it was awful."


    Probably most people (particularly if they're new to the idea) will have some sort of waffly in-between stance. Figuring out how they really feel, how they will feel once it's real, and whether they're being honest with you or themselves about their feelings is tricky as all hell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Having been in a spectacularly failed open relationship that started with "Sure thing." (I hate that idea, but...) I can tell you that it is really important to turn those mushy statements into firm ones as quickly as possible.

      Even if it's a statement like "I have no idea how this is going to make me feel, but lets take baby steps towards an open relationship and if we can't come to an agreement on how open this relationship should be in the next 4 months then we'll agree that we should probably just be friends, although we may keep fucking until one or the other of us has found someone more romantically compatible because this is the best sex I've ever had."

      Delete
  12. Ok, So I am one more person who can talk about this forever, but my first two comments were kinda negative so I wanted to add something positive too.

    I am currently in a very successful open relationship. It started with me knowing exactly what I wanted, monogamy-wise, and my partner being theoretically pro-poly but unsure about her ability to deal with actual real openness and control/deal with her jealousy.

    We started out with something along the lines of the above statement "I have no idea how..." and three years later are still going strong.

    We have a fairly simple set of rules that serves us well, which I'd like to share:

    1) SAFE SEX ONLY!
    2) Always be honest and forthright. About everything. Always.
    3) No sleepovers in our bed. (Unless someone is away.)
    4) Always say if and when you are sleeping with someone else. Additional details as requested.
    5) Call/text if you will be out all night.
    6) Always be considerate of the other person's feelings.

    #6 is the most important rule. Aside maybe from numbers 1 and 2. It's a catch-all that is purposefully vague and flexible.

    It covers things like not making dates with someone else on your birthday. Being willing to end a secondary relationship that is causing particularly unbearable pangs of jealously. Making sure no one is felling neglected (be it because of dates with other people or workoholism.)

    Basically, it means doing your best to predict how your actions will make your partner feel and acting accordingly. Asking them about it if you're not sure. And being sorry when you mess up.

    And of course, you will mess up. The injured party has to be understanding of the fact that that is inevitable and recognize that you're both doing your best.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yay to this! And yay to saying that, if you do broach the subject of an open relationship to a partner and they are not receptive, this does not make them a bad person (though it may mean the relationship need be reconsidered, if it's an important enough issue to either partner). I had a partner in a closed relationship of multiple years decide to try and pressure me into an open relationship.... right in a down period of my life, when I was for all intents and purposes financially and socially dependent on said partner. And while I might have no issue with an open relationship under different circumstances, I knew I couldn't handle it then. Too emotionally fragile at the time.

    Which sucks for everyone! It sucks to support a partner through a hard time. It sucks to not get what you want. It also sucks to feel like you're keeping someone you love from something they want. But it's still better than lying and saying you're comfortable with a lifestyle shift that you really aren't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. omg this happened to me, but because I was down/dependent, I felt like I had to agree to it (DUMB). I think the jealousy and insecurities were a million times worse because I was semi-depressed and going through a tough time while my girlfriend was out looking for other girls. It was kind of a nightmare.
      I'm not against open relationships, but I do think it is *
      really* important to constantly assess how each person is doing emotionally, just with sh** in their own life.

      Delete
  14. I don't think I'd be into a non-monogamous relationship because I'm not a person people find instantly attractive. If I was with someone who wanted an open relationship, I don't think it would work for the both of us. Does one of you get more sex/dates than the other? would that cause you to be jealous?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in a relationship with that dynamic right now. My partner is very shy and has only gone on a handful of dates outside of our relationship, whereas I am pretty attention-needy. Most of our rules revolve around my partner feeling loved and secure and important. We also have two days every week that we hang out with just each other, and I don't text my girlfriend then, and I always let my partner know if I am coming home or staying at my girlfriend's in advance. I love hearing juicy details when they happen, but I am not to share mine. Yes, I get more sex and dates than my partner, but I did before we were together anyway, they get more now too! Maybe I can just paint a rosy picture from this side, but it works for us even though it's not totally equal in the extra-curriculars.

      Delete
  15. This leather-kinky-open post reminded me of Sinclair Sexsmith. Anyone who doesn't know about her needs to go to sugarbutch.net RIGHT NOW.

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  16. Thank you for the post about Chicago, I'm really missing home right now =]

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have nothing witty to say, I just wanted to say that I loved this two part post because you have been eluding to your own relationship forever and it's nice to read about the dynamic (:

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have no tips, just plain appreciation for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Maybe it's just my age (41) and the fact I have the perfect woman, but I don't understand it. She's everything I want, and don't need to go looking elsewhere. And for some reason 'Wash. the. sheets.' just made me want to cry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nah, not your age. I am only a decade younger than you are, and I LOVE open relationships. Just means it's not for you, and that's perfectly cool. :)

      Delete
    2. I agree with you, Andy. don't give two hoots if other people are in open relationships, but the idea that my significant other will one day want one frightens me, if only because I know that it will inevitably cause a lot of anxiety, jealousy and time-management frustration that I would just wish to avoid all together. I think I could tolerate some forms of open relationships (something along the lines of the '20 mile rule') but the thought of diving into a whirlpool of poly queers with lots of feelings wears me out real quick...

      Delete
    3. Nah, I don't reckon its your age.

      I'm 26, and gave poly and open relationships a DAMN GOOD GO. I dated couples, single members of existing poly couples, other people while I was in an existing couple, had casual flings etc etc etc...

      And a few months ago I fell head over heals in love with this amazing woman. We both have a history of open relationships, and even so, I said 'Hey, you know what babe... I want you all to myself'.

      I can't stand the thought of her with someone else, and I don't want anyone else. I have CRAZY crying fits when ever I even think about opening things.

      Thankfully she's really understanding, and we're leaving The Talk until we get some of the infatuation out of our systems... if that ever happens. :)

      Delete
    4. Not just you, I'm 21 and don't understand this at all. Nor do I want to. I mean, you do you and whatever, but it sounds very lonely, sad, and complicated to me.

      Delete
  20. "The Talk" is SO important, but it's also "just [talk]" until you really try things out (note: this is the stage I'm currently in). I admit that I'm nervous, since I'm the one most interested in opening things up, but I know where (and to whom) my love and loyalty lies - if it doesn't work out, then that answers that.

    Congratulations on (finally) falling in love with Chicago (home sweet home for 11 years); right by that museum is one of the best leather shops EVER (6410 N Clark) - and definitely go to IMF this year! (and any/all parties of... not just for the boys ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I have a question for the ones who know here:
    How do you bring it up on your dates?
    And has anyone ever refused to be one of your dates once they knew they would only be the side salad of your main love dish?
    And i suppose you have to talk about all this (your rules etc) with your "side dates" too for none to be hurt? I sound so naïve here -surely because i am...

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  22. Not to suggest that you didn't do an awesome job in this post, but if people want more about open relationships, Dan Savage writes lots about them. He even has a category called "monogamish."
    If you want to read more about this from a gay male perspective, his weekly column and blog posts can be found at thestranger.com under "Savage." (He also talks about a lot of other good shit too)

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    1. Sadly, I won't read anything by him, because he's a raging asshole to asexuals and many other people.

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  23. I really like the idea of an open relationship, but I know I'm too jealous to pull it off with someone I really care about. I def think it's a good idea to talk about every single possible scenario and how to handle it.

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  24. I really didn't like the open relationship I was in. My (ex)partner's (now ex) wife seemed like a bitter, controlling, and toxic person and I didn't like having someone like that anywhere near to me if I didn't have to. Plus I thought it was sad she didn't see anything wrong with her partner's behavior. It got really old pretty quickly for me to deal with their various rules and her personal problems that spilled into our relationship and affected us. To this day it's the only relationship I really regret.

    Not to say it can't be cool for other people etc

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  25. As a kinky queer in a relationship with a non-kinky gay woman, I have learned the importance of clear and open communication channels. We've only been together for about 8 months but we've been making leaps and bounds (IMO) in order for both of us to be comfortable with the situation and for me to be able to get out and play.

    I think Krista brings up a very good point in that sometimes a trivial thing for one partner is a big thing for the other as far as boundaries and jealousy is concerned. A good example of this is that my girlfriend views making out as a very intimate act, and as a person who views kissing as a recreational activity, this was news to me and a very important piece of information so as to not upset her by doing something I view as a fun, friendship-building activity with other people that are not her.

    Also there was the whole "I don't want to be polyamorous with you" discussion where the flavoring of the kink relationships could be, so I have friendship-based ones rather than romantic-based interactions. The biggest was discussion what acts where sexual for me and which, if any of those acts, she would be comfortable with me performing with other people and what restrictions (ex: foot worship, play piercing, and fisting).

    Yesterday was the first time I've played heavily since we started dating, and I would say that it was a huge success and that I am truly lucky to have such a wonderful woman who knows what she wants and can communicate effectively with me.

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  26. Question: Do you mind sharing in more detail exactly what IS the "game plan" for when you two run into each other while one (or both) of you is on a date?
    Like, do you feel out the situation with your date to see if she would be comfortable knowing that that's your lovey? Or do you kiss on the cheek so you could conceivably be construed as friends? Or do you have a hand signal for "Quick, duck out of the room as soon as possible without acknowledging me in any way"? So many possibilities...I'm really curious about this!!!

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  27. My boyfriend and I entered an open relationship without fully talking things out first. It's going to be an excellent cautionary tale one day.

    If your partner wants to "try" having an open relationship, don't get involved with anyone you want to have contact with once they change their mind.
    Even if your partner is the one who encouraged the relationship between you two.

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  28. Is it weird to be 26 and not want to be with one woman for life? I like the friendship and dating part, even the intimacy part, but the constant talking does my head in. I was considering an open relationship, but it seems like more talking!! I want to be honest with myself, and I'm very paranoid about diseases and casual sex, but I cringe anytime my phone goes off, and my eyes are always wandering and wondering what if that girl over there is the right one... Or what if I end up ALONE FOREVER??

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    1. this is totally NOT weird for you to be thinking this way. some women love the (over)processing, but i have a limit for it. i like silence a lot and if we are on the same wavelength anyway (which is most desirable for me), tons of talking is just not necessary. not saying communication is not important, because it most certainly is, but if the woman you're with does it a lot, maybe this is not 'the one' for you. you will never be alone forever if you are confident in who you are and what you want and do things you love to do. the rest just falls into place.

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    2. good answer! i really appreciate that :) thanks

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  29. The whole communication thing is super important in open relationships, but I also think it's just as important in any relationship. The necessity is more evident in open relationships, due to how complicated they are, but seeing other people isn't the only thing that your partner might have issues with.

    To give an example, I am a friendly, and often flirty, person. I don't mean anything by this, but it can make my girlfriend feel uncomfortable. This is especially true if the person in question is say, a girl I don't know in a club. So we have talked about it, and figured out some basic guidelines to make us both feel at ease. She doesn't worry about my flirtatiousness meaning interest, and I don't worry that she's secretly uncomfortable with the way I act.

    But this is just one of an infinite amount of examples. Maybe one person in the relationship could be uncomfortable with the amount of time apart, or how often you have sex, or the speed you drive your car, or how you always buy a certain brand of cereal.

    Celebrate openness and honesty guys!

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  30. Ok. I get it now.
    I'm going to have THE TALK in about 2 hours then. I really want it that badly and I think I would be perfectly suited for it. I'll report tomorrow.
    Wish me luck.

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  31. As a 20 year old newly out gayelle at a private university in the South, I'm just impressed and inspired that people can find enough sex to justify an open relationship. In two semesters of awfully hard work I've managed to root out five queer girls who are either dating each other or highly uninterested. If anyone wants to come share the bounty, please do. Or just if y'all have hints for finding ladies that would also be cool.

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    1. haha! I was thinking the SAME thing!!! Where does one go finding all this side sexxxxxx?!

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  32. As a 31 year old shacked up gayelle, I can't say that open relationships would work for me - though, that's not to say they don't work well for others (nor do I judge others in them - if you can make it work, well done). There seemed to be a lot said about the communication aspect with the main focal partner, but I'm really curious about the communication/talking points with the ladies you pick up. Surely, it's not always fuck and walk away, normally there's curiosity and that always leads to conversation, and potential over-sharing of emotions. Any tips on communicating and what to (or what not to) communicate to the non-focal/temporary partner?

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    1. Always tell the "others" what the deal is.Always. They never need to get the idea in their heads that you want more, or that there is potential for this or that...definitely not cool. Be VERY OPEN with all parties involved.

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  33. why is being a lesbian so much about talking and sharing feelings? I'm super-gay and I don't think I have enough feelings or feelings and thoughts about my feelings to comment on them this much. Sometimes things need to be understood and boundaries are established by knowing that if you haven't discussed it, don't do it or don't assume it. My god, I prefer friendship and dating with worthwhile partners, and if it leads to sex awesome, and when we are both bored or the chemistry is gone we move on. Who has the energy to talk that much? Props to you on communicating, but not everything needs to be verbalized, nor do I believe anyone is that in touch with exactly what they are feeling or why.

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    1. OMG THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS.

      I'm queer and I feel the same way. I've dated boys and girls and the first huge difference I noticed is that all the gays love to "process", share their feelings, and talk talk talk. I guess I'm more like a guy in that respect, because sometimes words are not necessary.

      And sometimes, it's hard to put exactly how you are feeling into words, especially if you DON'T KNOW what you are feeling or if your feelings will change the next day.

      All that talking becomes exhausting to me at some point.

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  34. Wow, that was... Interesting. I'm 18 and in a relationship since a year ago, and although I had a phase in which I wanted to do a threesome with my girlfriend and another girl so bad, at the end we didn't do it. I think that it would be hard for us, specially for her, to be in an open relationship - She's older and very possesive when it comes to sex because I was a virgin before her and all that stuff, and I definietly prefer that my actual relationship is safe and sound than have it crumbling.

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  35. I'm totally ok with an open relationship as long as it's honest and fun. The only part about all this that can get awkward is when you are the third wheel, and the awesome super cool girl you've been so excited about tells you she's in an open relationship and you were just for fun. Ouchies... When should you bring your relationship style up? 1st date, 1st sleepover...when she says "I love you"? It also sucks when you agree on an open relationship and your girlfriend starts going on dates and you don't get any. Think about it before you ask for it..all I'm sayin.

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    1. The time to bring it up is when you ask her out for the first time. That's if you haven't managed to bring it up before then. Total disclosure. Always.

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  36. I'm currently in the longest relationship I've ever had. It's been three months (I know that sounds bad, but I had a late start, I guess).

    So I don't know what I want. But I'm hesitant to roll with an open relationship because what we have is still so new, and I'm afraid of being left behind for someone else.

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  37. Ugh, so many feelings on this! I'm bi, been with a guy for 3 years and he is sensitive/lovely/more of a lesbo than I will ever be...I'm pretty sure he's the one.

    But...I miss women. I miss kissing women, fucking women, and it's not because our sex life is bad, it's awesomesauce...it's just not the same. I also feel like I'm not really part of the community bc I'm bi-invisible with him.

    Add to that the "am I a walking talking slutty bisexual stereotype?" guilt and you get one confused queer. My guy is super supportive/aceepting of my bisexuality but I srsly doubt he'll be down with me going down on others. And he's enough...most of the time. Everyone tells me that growing up means making compromises and to stop being a kid in a candy store (I'm 28) but can I help it if I want to fuck everybody?!

    Maybe I should just accept my mostly awesome relationship and join a roller derby team or something...

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    1. I AM IN YOUR SAME BOAT AND IT TOTALLY SUCKS. I love my partner and I love our relationship, but I HATE feeling invisible and I totally miss being with women. I've yet to find a solution to this, but I wish you well comrade. I know it is a tough spot to be in. (oh, and funny story. When my partner and I first got together, I metaphorically kicked and screamed so much about "settling down" with a guy that I cut off all my hair and tried to join an all girls rugby team. I kept the short hair, but I'm such a little thing, the rugby dream was an epic failure.)

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  38. This blog is so good! I've just found it now. You're writing really makes me think :) I'm going to read the rest of it now!x

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  39. I'm a perpetual "other" for two open relationships. And seriously it is SO important for the "other" to have a working knowledge of the couples rules so that I can respect them just in case substances or generally getting caught up in the moment leads to some boundary crossing, I also have my own rules if I'm hooking up with someone in an open relationship, like no pda in front of the primary partner. So there's lots of rules and boundaries. Which leads me to my question....If you are an "other" (i just can't think of another word to use), whether a one night stand or a more regular thing, and you know or suspect that rules of the primary relationship are being broken what do you do? I don't really feel comfortable playing police, especially when it isn't my relationship (besides handcuffs hurt sometimes), but at the same time feel uncomfortable aiding in an indiscretion. Am I honor bound to tell the other partner who may or may not know who I am? There's a lot of fuzzy lines.

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    1. So, I'm in a primary relationship with a "third." And I am very vocal about wanting her to advocate for herself. No matter where the primary/secondary lines are drawn, I don't think it's ever one person's responsibility to fix something that's broken between the other two people. What you can do is be very clear to the person you are with about your ethical standards. I feel like in a healthy relationship, the person you are with will support those standards. and if they can't abide by the ones they've agreed to with they're primary and aren't taking steps to solve it, I'd question whether or not they're someone I'd even want to be having a relationship with. Hope that helps. cheers.

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  40. To me, loyalty is a much more important kind of fidelity than sexual exclusiveness.

    I've been with my primary partner for 10 years now. We have had an open relationship the whole time, and it's been a positive thing for us. Neither of us are particularly rambunctious on the dating scene, but neither of us has ever been really comfortable with monogamy. We have both had trouble finding other women to date who are truly comfortable with open relationships. So we don't end up exercising our freedom to date others too often, but it is a giant relief to both of us to have the option of other relationships if we want to pursue them - whether casual or serious.

    I think that to make any non-monogamous relationship work over the long term, you need the ability to recognize what you want and need and speak up for those things, the ability to listen calmly and carefully to what the other people involved want & need, and the willingness to find ways to meet everyone's needs (if not their wants, as well).

    Jealousy is just like any other emotion - it can rule me, or I can choose to let go of it. For me, meditation techniques have been really useful. Thich Nhat Hanh's book "Anger" describes some really great practical ways of dealing with strong negative emotions.

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  41. Actually, yes, there is one thing you left out (maybe requiring an addendum post on this topic? I'd love to hear your thoughts about it)...

    What about if you're the person dating/seeing/sleeping with someone who's in an open relationship? How have your other partners processed dating/spending a night with you? What if they like what they see and want more?

    Let us knowwwwww :)

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  42. Suppose for a self-delusional fantasy moment that society were totally accepting of same sex relationships. Taking into account that pregnancy and child rearing are entirely optional, how do you suppose the typical lesbian relationship would be structured if the couple chose not to procreate? And if the couple chose to be parental units? Would these relationships be all about sex? Is the open relationship appealing mostly to the under-30 set with the more restless hormones? Or are lesbians and gays more focussed on sex and less interested in romance and committment than vanilla straight people? The entire concept of an open relationship sounds like old timey Hugh Hefner Playboy philosophy in which some horny dude finds all manner of justification for screwing around and objecifying their partners as sexual playthings to be used and discarded like last seasons fashion. Not only is it not for me, I think the whole concept is demeaning to all parties involved. Krista, you make your relationship with CJ sound like handy dandy friends-with-benefits.

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    1. Personally I think you are simply degrading this concept simply because you do not understand it. You are no better than homophobes who degrade us. Once again, can't you just leave people alone and let them do what works for them?

      Monogamy is a very new social construct. It isn't for everyone. Humans are not naturally monogamous. For a queer person, you sure are closed minded.

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  43. I was in an open relationship with my ex-husband. I was newly out as bi and really wanted to experience being with a woman which was a chance that my very conservative life up until that point had never afforded me. We had it all planned out, the rules were talked about, it seemed like it was going to work well. But, as soon as I kissed my first girl, it was all over. I'm living with my girlfriend, happily identifying as a lesbian, and finally I feel happy with myself. Luckily for me, he has been my best friend for years and he was ultra understanding.

    I guess the point is that even if you set up rules, sometimes things will change and you need to be prepared for that potential. Granted, my situation was a little different as I was discovering my sexuality, but people need to be on the lookout for unexpected emotions.

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    1. Yes, you do need to be on the lookout for unexpected emotions, but your situation is waaayyyy different from the average one. Glad you figured it all out. :)

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  44. yay yay yay! my picture made it! i can die happy. lol. the 19th picture down is my beautiful girlfriend and i and as indicated by the adorableness of that image we are supremely happy. if i have my way, i'm gonna marry that girl someday. :) i love you, baby!

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  45. "I'm like an effing absentee father.
    I post regularly, I'm in your life, and then - *POOF* - I just vanish for a month. It's as if I went out to get cigarettes in the middle of a conversation about dental dams and never came back."

    This.

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    1. was just about to post this exact quote, but seems as if you've got that covered, so i'll awkwardly agree instead..

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    2. I appreciate your awkward agreement. :]

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    3. Aw man, it's coming, you mos!! Some months are busier than others! <3 <3

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  46. Come back and write more articles. I'm trying to procrastinate during finals like a good college student, and it's awfully difficult when my favorite blog is only updated once a month.

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    1. I posted something like this a few days ago and it was deleted. : ( Pretty disappointed in that.

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    2. Hi A! I never, ever delete comments! Sometimes Blogger just...eats them. Sorry 'bout that!

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  47. Hey, I know you said this is not a political blog, but... Any thoughts on that First Amendment thing? (yep, I'm rabidly political all right ^^)

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  48. FYI May Day Cafe is owned by a total creeper. South Side Cafe all the way!

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  49. I know I am way late to this party but I wanted to comment on the first part of this post as I could not agree more with the rest of it.

    I just moved here 3 weeks ago and I feel like you did when you first moved here! I've had an awful time finding nice lezzies that actually want to let me in to their friend group or talk to me when I walk in to a bar alone. I have found a couple of ladies that I can meet out sometimes but it is so different than home.

    How long did it take you to cope? Thanks for the post, it made my morning.

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  50. Awesome blog. I am in the process of maybe possibly opening my relationship up.it's crazy exciting and scary and a million other things at the same time. But I wouldn't have it any other way.
    Thanks for the advice!

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  51. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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