PW 437: Talking about money

cost estimate dollars money add - Version 2That uncomfortable conversation topic: money

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1:00 Host Chat

4:45 Poly in the News

Are polyamorists too evangelical? Piece on polyamory in The Daily Beast, quoting yours truly!

9:20 Topic: Talking about money

Barbara is new to poly and in a 2-year, live-in relationship with her partner. She pays most of the bills because her partner was laid off and has some health issues. She has struggled with jealousy. Recently, he asked her for money for a date, which she refused, calling it “a bridge too far.” Barbara pays for meals when she goes out with him and thinks his new partner should do the same. The talk was uncomfortable; he left in a huff. What should she do?

22:10 Thanks!

Welcome Jennifer to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

23:15 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 436: Date your species

reidaboutsexHow to date your species with sex geek Reid Mihalko 

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

6:10 Kicking Poly Drama online course commercial

8:30 Announcements

11:00 Date your species with Reid Mihalko

The four-step process to dating your species with the original sex geek, Reid Mihalko! His great resources on dating your species, including video seminars on his dating your species classes, are must-watch! In four quick steps:

  1. Define your win-wins
  2. Define your deal-breakers
  3. Define your three-strike areas
  4. Define your “wiggle rooms”

41:00 Feedback

Credit where credit is due: the original impetus for dating your species came from Frustrated Femme, a 22-year-old polyamorist who is baffled that her boyfriends don’t understand her needing to date other people. Apart from dating your species to begin with (the better choice), the only other option is to take months or years to consider poly, keep having talks with the partner, and hope that one day he’ll be comfy with it (not recommended).

45:35 Thanks

Thanks to Lisa for her donation!

46:30 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Help! I’m insecure about my umet long-distance metamour!

monkey_with_ears1Minx:

I identify as monogamous and in a poly relationship. My boyfriend of several months has been in a long-distance open relationship with his girlfriend on the East Coast for nearly a decade. I’ve been working on my user manual and communicating my needs, but we don’t yet have the line of communication open with my metamour. Because I have never met her, never spoken to her, never even reached out and Facebook-messaged her, in my mind, she’s just this perfect goddess I can’t even hold a candle to. I make comparisons to her, and so I’m afraid that given a choice, my boyfriend will always choose her and I’ll be left behind somehow. How do I stop putting my metamour on an impossible platform and release some of those anxieties?

Insecure on the West Coast

Dear Insecure—

First of all, let’s acknowledge that you’re doing a great job of doing the work and owning your shit! You’re taking positive steps by writing your user manual and setting up regular relationship check-ins with your boyfriend. And you’re also acknowledging that your fears are probably unrealistic and might not have much to do with reality. Bravo! Those are all positive steps to dealing with your fears.

But let’s also acknowledge that you have a few things working against you: being monogamous in a poly relationship, being in a long-distance relationship and being new to polyamory are each significant challenges on their own, and you’re trying to tackle all three in the same new relationship! That is a lot to take on.

And you’re absolutely right: those voices that tell you she is prettier, thinner or more successful than you are coming from within you and typically don’t have much to do with reality. Those are your fears to own and most likely not spawned by anything external to your own head and past experiences.

While you’re already doing everything right, I do have two recommendations. The first is to take your fear cycle to its maximum ridiculous silliness by filling in the blanks:

I’m afraid that if ____ is the case, that will mean _____ and I’ll ____  and then ____.

If the last blank isn’t “and then I die alone,” add more blanks until you get to that point of silliness. Remember that your fears come from within you and typically have very little to do with reality, so let’s take this to the worst-case scenario to bring those silly fears into the light.  For example:

I’m afraid that if she is prettier and more successful than me, that will mean that I’ll always be second fiddle, and he’ll eventually figure that out and choose her over me, and then I’ll be single again, and then I’ll be heartbroken and pathetic and eventually die alone.

If your final blank isn’t something as final as “and then I die alone,” keep asking, “and then what?” until it is.

The second recommendation is to reach out to your metamour on Skype or Facebook or whatever in advance of a face-to-face. Skype communication is better than no communication and can help put the chattering monkeys to bed. And why not even be vulnerable and tell her how you are feelings–that you are insecure because she seems so pretty, thin and successful? She will most likely take it as a compliment, and you’ll feel better for having extended trust by being honest and a bit vulnerable with your metamour.

PW 435: Metamour fears

bottle_catWhat do you do when you’re afraid of your unmet metamour? Meet her!

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

3:30 Poly in the News

9:10 Topic: Metamour fears

Angie writes in to admit that while she’s monogamous and dating a poly guy, what she’s really afraid of is her metamour, whom she hasn’t yet met. Is she prettier, thinner, more successful? Will Angie be discarded once her boyfriend realizes that she’s not as good as his first girlfriend?

Minx recognizes the difficult situation: new to poly, self-identifying as monogamous and long distance to boot! And recommends taking the fear cycle to its maximum ridiculous silliness by filling in the blanks:

I’m afraid that if ____ is the case, that will mean _____ and I’ll ____  and then ____.

If the last blank isn’t “and then I die alone,” add more blanks until you get to that point of silliness. Remember that your fears come from within you and typically have very little to do with reality.

And on the practical side, it’s OK to reach out to your metamour on Skype or Facebook or whatever in advance of a face-to-face. Skype communication is better than no communication and can help put the chattering monkeys to bed.

20:00 Happy Poly Moment

  • A listener shares a wonderful HPM about coming out to her mom!
  • And another had a wonderful story of a brunch made with two lovers

23:15 Thank you!

Thanks to Sylvia for her donation, and welcome Joe to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

24:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Should we support this poly family in trouble?

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 3.40.07 PMMany of you have forwarded this IndieGoGo campaign regarding this poly group’s rather lengthy, rambling and emotional plight. They are a poly family fighting a legal battle to keep their children, some of which have already been removed from their home.

The group and their claims have been vetted by some folks of the Poly Leadership Network. Long and short of it: these  are real people, the factual claims and court cases are documented, and the amount of legal fees they claim to have spent already is reasonable considering the circumstances. They have been encouraged to contact National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) to help with their case.

Additionally, you should be aware that this family is one male in his 30s, with all female partners quite young, in their 20s. There are no other male partners. They have 10 children and two more on the way. (Some of the children are by the man’s ex-wife.) They also have an extensive collection of firearms, which is legal in Texas, but which some might find troubling. And they do not appear to be active in any local poly communities.

Due to the people’s lack of ability to communicate their position clearly and concisely and their lack of a clear legal strategy apart from “throw money at it,” I’d recommend donating to NCSF rather than to this family directly. If the NCSF takes their case, it will be with a defined legal strategy designed for maximum effectiveness, and you can be assured your dollars will go to that end.

PW 434: Five things that suck about polyamory

Let’s talk about the things that really suck about being polyamorous!this-sucks-lolcat

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

Podcasty stuff

Buzzfeed win So proud to be on Buzzfeed’s list of Top 40 Places to Hear Everything You Never Learned in Sex Ed Class!

Kicking Poly Drama class update Want to take Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass but have three people in your polycule? We’re now offering the 3-Person-Polycule option for the class for just $169! Lets you share your login with up to two partners.

Trans follow up After my Bastyr chat with a male previously identified as FTM trans, a great book on JUST ONE OF THE GUYS? How Transmen Make Gender Visible at Work by Kristen Schilt, UCLA

10:45 Poly in the News

15:15 Topic: Five things that suck about polyamory

We all love our orientations, whether they be monogamy, swinging, non-monogamy or polyamory. But let’s face it: there are a lot of things that suck about self-identifying as polyamorous. So let’s just acknowledge that!

5. When it’s great, it’s great. When it explodes, it blows up HARD.

4. Communication drain

3. Finding like-minded people

2. Not having enough time to spend with partners

1. Living in a monogamous culture

23:10 Happy Poly Moment

PolyDoc wrote in to share how she had an opportunity to let an 81-year-old patient in a sexless marriage know about polyamory and consensual non-monogamy.

25:45 Feedback

Vlad figures the math of polyamory. Poly Weekly Dork Stamp Award!

29:15 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Dealing with a poly breakup

When your metamour leaves, how do you comfort your husband when you yourself feel ambivalent about the loss?

37920142_sMost listener questions that come into the Poly Weekly inbox aren’t unique to polyamory. However, on last week’s podcast, we dealt with an issue that is unique to polyamory: how do you support your husband through the loss of his girlfriend when the girlfriend was kind of unkind to you?

Sarah has been married to David for 5 years, he has a girlfriend Julie for two years. They all lived together. Girlfriend Julie left abruptly, saying that it was because Sarah wouldn’t be in a sexual/intimate relationship with her. Sarah is trying to empathize with David’s loss, but she also feels frustrated and unappreciated because she did offer emotional, financial and professional career support to Julie. Her question: how do I offer support when I feel frustrated and hurt at times by the person whose loss he’s grieving?

This can be a challenging situation. You want to be supportive, but you have your own emotions about the situation that don’t match his. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Own your own shit

Your emotions are yours to own, and his emotions are his to own. You don’t have to feel the way he feels, and he doesn’t have to feel the way you feel. Both of your sets of complex emotions can exist in the same space, and everything that each of you feels is OK. You do not need to come to a consensus or agreement in order to support each other through this time. It’s 100% OK for you to feel ambivalent or resentful or hurt, and it’s 100% OK for him to desperately want her back.

Take care of yourself

If you need a sympathetic ear and your husband can’t provide it, find someone who can. Turn to a friend or a therapist who can listen and provide support. Treat yourself to journaling, a bath, a massage, a mimosa brunch with friends or whatever else will help with your grieving process. Do what you need to do to grieve your loss and cope with your emotions.

Ask for what you want

Tell your husband what you need in terms of support from him and ask him what he needs. If you can’t provide him with what he’s asking for–for example, listening to him figure out how to get Julie back–then provide him support in other ways that you are comfortable with. Make him dinner, give him a ride home from the bar with the guys, get him a new video game. You set your own boundaries for the the support you can provide. If he asks for something you can’t give, it’s OK to say you can’t do that, and it’s up to you to find another way to show you support him.

If you do decide to listen to him during his grieving process, try responding to the subtext of what he’s saying rather than the actual words. If he says, “I have to get her back,” for example, respond to the subtext, which might be something like, “I am hurting because I love and miss her.” To which you can reply, “I’m sorry this is so hard on you. I know how much you still love her.”

Resist dwelling on the given reason

As I’m sure you’ve experience in your life, the reason a party gives for ending a relationship is rarely the full story. It’s entirely possibly that Julie herself may not be aware of the real reasons for the breakup and may not be for another 20 years. So avoid dwelling on the given reason and work to accept that the relationship simply wasn’t a good fit for making the people in it better versions of themselves.

PW 433: Breaking up is hard to do


breakuplolcatHow do you cope with a breakup with a partner/metamour when you and your partner feel differently about the person who left?

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Host Chat

  • I visited my mom, one year after coming out
  • Decided to be the loving, supportive family member I wanted them to be
  • Gave her credit and lots of positive reinforcement and ignored the rest
  • Set boundaries for the next visit

8:10 Announcements

11:00 Topic: Dealing with a poly breakup

A listener wrote in to ask how to deal with comforting your partner over the loss of his partner/your metamour when the metamour was not so nice to you? Is it OK to feel ambivalent or even angry or resentful when he just wants her back?

  • Own your own shit Everything you feel is OK; everything he feels is OK. You don’t have to reach consensus with your reactions.
  • Take care of yourself If your partner can’t be the one to guide you through the loss, find a friend or therapist who can. But do what you need to do to grieve your loss. And if you can’t be the one he confides in, support him in other ways—make him dinner, drive him home, bring him flowers.
  • Ask for what you want Tell him what you need for support (maybe you take turns). And it’s OK to set your own boundaries if you can’t listen to him as he mourns—again, support him in other ways.

23:45 Poly movie review: Design for Living

Joreth’s review of Design for Living AND a new podcast devoted 100% to poly movie reviews!

29:30 Feedback

  • Vlad called in about marriage arrangements discussed on episode 130. Has anything changed?
  • Three people called in about gender-neutral third person pronouns discussed on episode 394; my updated take is on episode 430 at 1:00
    • Eleanora said Swedish has adopted the new gender-neutral third-person pronoun “hen”
    • Stephan suggested “co”
    • Jacqulyn said she abides by style guides as well!

37:30 Happy Poly Moment

Ellie Mac shares a happy poly story of challenges resulting in everyone becoming better versions of themselves and of a poly commitment proposal!

41:30 Thank you!

Thanks to Badger, Roy and Christel for their donations this week!

42:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Polyamory and BDSM FAQ

FullSizeRender (1)Last night, I was a human “book” on polyamory and BDSM for Bastyr‘s Human Library event. It’s always fun to see what questions naturopath health care providers have about alternative lifestyles, and last night was no exception.

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions from the four groups of students I had the pleasure of chatting with last night.

What is polyamory?

The practice of having more than one long-term, loving, committed relationship with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved.

I don’t know anything about polyamory. What do I need to know?

  • Nomenclature You may hear terms like non-monogamy, polyamory, swinging, progressive swinging or open. In general, “non-monogamy” is the more encompassing term;  “polyamory” is general used to describe long-term, loving relationships; “swingers” are generally couples that enjoy recreational sex. However, many people find that those definitions and categories don’t exactly fit their self-identifications. Since these words mean different things to different people, you should ask for more information. “Tell me more about what that means” or “Give me the quick tour of your relationships” work great.
  • Relationship formations Relationships take many forms, so don’t assume anything. Ask, “what does that look like?” or “give me a quick tour of your relationships.” You might hear the terms triad (three people in intimate relationships with each other), vee (a relationship formation in which A and B are together and B and C are together, but A and C are just friends), W (an extension of a vee), quad (four people in an intimate relationship with varying configurations), polycule, network or tribe. Feel free to ask for more information, since no two people use these words the same way.
  • Sexual orientation Polys might be heterosexual, heteroflexible, homosexual, bisexual, bicurious or anything else in between. Don’t assume that all non-monogamists are bisexual. Rather than asking “are you bisexual” (assumes a stereotype), ask “what is your sexual orientation?” I once had a gyny who casually asked, “Do you sleep with men, women or both?” I said, “both,” to which she replied, “good for you!” It was refreshing to have a health care professional that wasn’t making the assumption that everyone was straight, monogamous and vanilla.
  • Sleeping arrangements People pair off or have three-or-moresomes according to preferences and lifestyle arrangements. Each relationship falls to its own level, so don’t assume that everyone in a network is sleeping with everyone else (although that may be the case), and don’t assume that all sex is group sex.
  • STIs The rate of STI occurrence is actually lower in non-monogamous communities than in the general public, primarily because the issue is addressed openly and honestly. So please don’t assume that the people involved are at a higher risk for STIs (although some are).

How can I get patients to give me this information?

Design a question on your intake form that asks about the relationship structure and offers the options of monogamous, non-monogamous and polyamorous.

Orally, keep in mind that most polys won’t bring this up with a doctor because (a) unless you’re a gynecologist, it’s not really relevant or (b) there is a stigma that can lead to uncomfortable questions. So try asking, “What is your relationship configuration?” or “What is your relationship structure?” Polyamorists are used to everyone (including health care providers) assuming everyone is monogamous and are therefore more likely to see the question as a chance to open up about their non-monogamy.

What is BDSM?

Four initials represent three word pairings: bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; sadism and masochism. Participants in BDSM enjoy activities ranging from impact play such as spanking, slapping or flogging to bondage to fetishes such as medical play or age play. Power exchange dynamics in which one person consensually asserts power over another (dominance and submission) is quite common. I prefer the encompassing term “kink” to refer to everything that mainstream society sees as weird or fringe.

How do I get patients to confide their BDSM proclivities to me?

In most cases, they won’t. And I’ve never discovered a good way to ask about kink affiliations without it sounding like a come-on.

What if they have bruises? How do I distinguish between consensual play and abuse?

Most of us are taught to either make sure bruises don’t show or to make jokes about them. I usually just tell people the truth–that getting them was a lot of fun on date night!

But you can use the opener, “Were those bruises consensual?” which signifies to a patient that you’re aware of the idea of consent in BDSM activities. As you’re aware, most survivors of abuse will make excuses, whereas a kinkster will most likely smile nostalgically at the memory of the kinky play.

PW 432: Navigating a poly vacation

kangaroovacationHow do you navigate a great poly vacation with three or more?

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Under 18? Stop listening now and visit http://www.scarleteen.com

1:00 Announcements

4:45 Poly in the news

6:10 Topic: Tips for navigating a poly vacation

  • Share your priorities What do you need to have a great vacation? Share your priorities in terms of restfulness, time with partners vs alone and sightseeing.
    • Do you have any emotional baggage about past bad vacations? Share it now.
  • Lay out finances Be brave and have full financial transparency. Lay out the expectations for who will pay for what, and make sure that everyone is comfortable with the level of financial commitment. Ask questions such as:
    • If three people share a room and two share a bed, does the third pay ½ or 1/3 of the bill?
    • If someone requires a four-star versus a two-star or three-star hotel, is everyone comfortable with the additional financial commitment? Do they want any financial considerations in return?
  • Consider biology We are our biology! What does each person need biologically to have a good trip? Consider
    • Eating schedule
    • Sleeping schedule
    • Sex schedule
    • Privacy schedule
    • Medications and backup medications
  • Sleeping arrangements Let each person voice their needs and concerns of privacy versus access (both physical and sexual).
  • Negotiate activities Then we get down to the meat of the vacation: what do you do every day? Have a discussion about whether each person prefers sightseeing or adventure; snorkeling or sunbathing; birdwatching or cliff diving; hiking or boat touring.
    • What are the expectations in terms of group/paired/ solo activities? Is the expectation that everyone will always do everything together?
    • Is there a need for people to pair off for activities?
    • Does anyone need solo time to do activities?
    • How will you decide on any given day what each person or the group will do?

39:00 Thank you!

Thanks to Yang for becoming our newest Poly Weekly Playmate!

40:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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