Rachel Lark: “I’m a relationship anarchist”

rachel larkHow did Dixie de la Tour lure you into writing ridiculously bawdy songs?

It was an accident. I’ve only written bawdy songs for the past two and a half years. I wrote tortured, angsty songs for years, and that was my thing. I’ve always been a kinky weirdo sort of person in the sex-positive world, but I never expected to be writing this kind of music.

The accident was that Dixie had a cancellation for Bawdy storytelling (a tremendous storytelling shows with live storytellers telling stories related to poly and kink, a powerful and loving experience). Minx: it’s like the Moth Radio Hour with sex. She always likes to have a music guest, and she was supposed to have Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was the night of the show, and someone I’d met at Harbin Hot Springs had a hunch and told Dixie, who asked if I had any dirty songs about fucking. At the time, I had one dirty song that I wrote as a joke called “Fuck My Toe.”

I played this funny little song that I’d never played before, and everyone freaked out. And I proposed to Dixie I write custom songs for her themes. And two years later, it’s most of what I do.

How do you self-identify?

The only reason I hesitate to self-identify as poly is that I don’t know if I have enough experience to say I’m poly. I’m good friends with people who are so well-versed. And also, to me, polyamory is about having multiple relationships, not just having an open relationship, and that’s not an experience I’ve had. I’ve identified as a “relationship anarchist,” and someone told once me, “I think that’s just single.”

What appeals to me about polyamory is that it’s about recognizing that things change and we figure out how we continue in this world relating to one another. And with relationship anarchy, promises are virtually impossible to keep. Intentions, yes, but “I will love you this way forever” is hard to fully commit to. So with relationship anarchy, you can accept that this could change, but you’re not attaching your identity to this outcome.

It’s not that I don’t believe in commitment; I do. But when we say “forever,” does that mean sharing a bed or a bank account for the rest of our lives? When we attach lifestyle stipulations to what that means… there’s some level of love that might be there forever, but we might want something different in the future.

The relationship I’m in now is unique. I’m dating my best friend of the past nine years. We have such a solid basis in friendship, and we both feel so confident in the friendship being the priority.

I think what stops a lot of people from dating their best friend is fucking up the friendship. But with lots of things, you kinda have to go with the momentum and can’t get too intellectual with your pros and cons list and just go with what’s happening.

Are all your songs bawdy now?

rachel lark hungIt gets the most attention. Dan Savage took an interest in my music and commissioned a song, which prompted a Christmas album called Hung for the Holidays. It’s also pay-what-you-want on my BandCamp page–you can download for free. I do have another set that is electronic live looping that is dancey and experimental. I also have a song that I wrote for Bawdy called Flowers Fuck that is all about flower sex.

What is your favorite song from your sexy sets?

I just wrote a new song called “Shut Up and Hit Me,” which was a custom song about spanking that was a reward for one of my Kickstarter campaigns.

To hear the full interview with Rachel Lark and a special performance of her song Born This Way, listen to Poly Weekly episode 428.

PW 428: Naughty songstress Rachel Lark

A chat with bawdy poly songstress Rachel Larklarkafterdark

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1:00 Announcements

3:00 Poly in the news

6:35 Interview: Bawdy Poly Songstress Rachel Lark

Rachel Lark, Bawdy Storytelling’s naughty songstress, shares tales of her poly life and how she got into writing and performing naughty songs. Her song for us is called Born This Way (26:30).

26:30 Born This Way

33:30 Feedback on episode 425

Pete writes in to give feedback on 425 Dating at 37, recounting that he got all this same self-help advice before being diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum

36:15 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!

Is there poly over 70?

Cunning Minx, host of the Polyamory Weekly podcast, interviews poly geezer Ken Haslam on polyamory over the age of 70

Ken, tell us who you are.

I’m an 80-year-old failing polyamorist settling down into a more conventional lifestyle in a retirement community. I was a poly activist for 15 years and ran about the country lecturing and ultimately set up the Kenneth R. Haslam Polyamory Library at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University about six or eight years ago now.

Didn’t you run the Poly Geezers list?

I am a founding member, along with another fellow, who is now dead. That’s one of the problems of getting old–sometimes you die. The Poly Geezers list died a natural death. Old polys get it; they don’t have much drama; they don’t have much to talk about!

What do you do if one partner gets dementia or is unable to have sex?

The first thing you do is to have that conversation when you’re both younger, and your brains and bodies are working well. You have these conversations before you get sick–before the age of 50. It’s important that you sit down with your partners and talk about this kind of thing. What happens when one of us gets Alzheimers? And you take it from there. You do what you always do in a poly community: you talk. You extract the information you can from each other about what you want.

Maybe a yearly Alzheimer’s checkin?

It’s not a pleasant thought, but it’s out there, and it’s occurring because the population is aging. And all those young polys out there in about 10 or 15 years are gonna be old.

What other issues could an aging poly run up against?

Divorce. Some people just bail out because caring for someone old and demented is a problem, and it’s very burdensome for the healthy partner. And people with these disease can take years to die. So you have this dilemma: what am I supposed to do? I’ve been married to this person for 20 or 30 years, and now they’re failing. I don’t have an answer for this. I think that polyamory is a way to deal with this problem of being there for a failing partner but still get your own needs met.

What about people who weren’t poly to begin with, like someone who at 50 just doesn’t want sex any more?

I can think of one example of a couple in Illinois, where he went off on his own and went to swing clubs as a single man and went to parties by himself. And his wife stayed home and felt sorry for herself. And after a year or two, she ultimately joined him, and they now have a very happy, adventuresome poly/swing lifestyle. And they go to swinger conventions all the time, and they’re in their 70s!

What about people who discover bisexuality in their 60s?

Many people don’t discover their homosexuality or bisexuality until they’re older, when all of those programmings we have when we are young tend to go away. And you say “gee, I’m really attracted to same sex!” Well, you need to sit down with your partner or partners and tell ‘em. And that’s one of the beauties of polyamory, that your partners would be supportive of your needs.

What if you were monogamous until you discover your bisexuality?

That’s what lawyers thrive on. Sometimes, great relationship fail. And they can fail even after 40 or 50 or 60 years. That’s one of the beauties of polyamory–there are lots of options open to you if you keep an open mind and are flexible.

To hear the entire interview with Ken Haslam about polyamory over the age of 70, as well as poly news coverage and happy poly moments, check out Poly Weekly episode 427: Poly Geezers.

PW 427: Poly geezers with Ken Haslam

kenhaslamWhat you need to know about poly in your 60s, 70s and beyond from poly geezer Ken Haslam

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1:00 Poly in the news

3:45 Interview: Ken Haslam on poly geezers

Ken Haslam, founder of the Poly Geezers email list and of the Kenneth R. Haslam Polyamory collection at the Kinsey Institute, talks about how polyamory works after the age of 60.

28:50 Feedback on 423

  • Raven writes in response to episode 423 to ask how to feel special when being an introvert with chronic depression?
  • George writes in response to 423 about her disability and her need to stop punishing herself for being “wussy sometimes” due to it
  • D calls in about 423 on the real loss of being someone’s “one and only”

39:05 Happy Poly Moment

Ariane shares a happy poly moment about her metamour, when marrying Ariane’s partner, insisted that Ariane spend the night with her partner

40:15 Thank you!

Thanks to Alan of the Poly in the News blog for his donation!

41:00 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!

What I learned from 10 years of poly podcasting

What y’all have taught me about polyamory, community and myself

minx speaking ccon west 2013

Minx at CatalystCon West 2013

It’s hard to believe that Polyamory Weekly has been going strong for 10 years! When I started, it was to try out this new technology called RSS and to test this new content delivery system. But what topic should I cover for that test? In 2005, I’d been polyamorous for all of two years, and my partner, metamour and I had hit every relationship land mine in the book. As a result, the first year or two of our poly adventure was fraught with drama, tears and intense relationship discussions. So why not podcast about the drama we’d experienced and the lessons we’d learned? And so Poly Weekly was born. Over the years, both my own relationships and my awareness of poly’s place in society matured. When I first started the podcast, the only media mentions were thrilling tales of swing clubs being infiltrated and busted by undercover cops and juicy exposés of the crazy sexual libertines who might be living next door to you. Nowadays, coverage of polyamory in the media typically takes the form of a personal essay describing the lifestyle with a representative configuration, almost more like a how-to article, presented more as a life coaching piece than sensational journalism.

What I’ve learned from 10 years of poly podcasting

So for our anniversary episode, I thought it would be fun to both find out what others wish they’d known before diving into polyamory as well as what I’ve learned from engaging with podcast listeners and seminar attendees over the last 10 years. Listeners called in with a variety of lessons learned, from the hilarious “always buy twin sheets for the king bed so the person in the middle can get out in the middle of the night” to the heartbreaking “I wish I’d known that treating everyone equally is impossible and unfair before it destroyed our relationship.” As far as what I’ve learned from being your podcast host for the last 10 years:

  • Many voices are more powerful than one While my experiences are common and relatable, not everyone is like me, so the more voices we share describing both poly joy and poly issues, the better.
  • Respect and tolerance win the game While it’s not uncommon to run across intolerance and politics in poly forums and discussion groups, that is not representative of the community. When you treat others with respect and a tolerant mind, you get respect and tolerance in return. In 10 years of podcasting and blogging, I have never once received hate mail. Never!
  • Joy should be celebrated Despite the fact that much online coverage relates to relationships in the midst of implosion, happy poly moments flourish and should receive as much attention as the relationships in need of advice.
  • There is a lot I don’t know My fans have made me aware of a plethora of trends, communities and phenomena ranging from slash fic to transgenderism to asexuality. I hope to learn exponentially more over the next 10 years.
  • There is a lot I DO know Like many people, I suffer from the self-worth syndrome of “if I know it, it must not be that valuable or difficult.” Developing podcast and seminar content over the last 10 years has taught me that there is a lot that I do know that is worth sharing. For example, the key to happy relationships lies in four key skills: the ability to know yourself and explain your reactions to others, emotional intelligence, the ability to own your own shit and the ability to ask for what you want.

So, after 10 years, I have to thank all the listeners who kept it real. You have taught me far more than I ever taught you.

PW 426: What YOU wish you’d known about poly

For our special 10-year anniversary, what you wish you’d known–and what I’ve learned from youLol-Cat-picture-Party-On

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1:00 Topic: What do YOU wish you’d known about polyamory?

To celebrate 10 years of Poly Weekly, what do YOU wish you’d known about polyamory?

  • David shares that if you sleep three to a king bed, put twin sheets on it so the middle person can get out in the middle of the night! J Also that your fears are usually worse than reality, so just talk about them.
  • Amber Love shares that PW inspired her to get off her butt and write more and publish her first book!
  • CageyCate shares that you fall in love with real people, not theories or convenient ideals
  • Eve Rickert learned that every experience is new and never to make assumptions and a lot about boundaries and consent
  • Franklin Veaux learned that OK to be poly and you don’t need to conform to every rule as a concession for this terrible lifestyle
  • SpiderGirl learned that you don’t have to do poly and kink and everything all at once
  • Poly is real—congratulations!
  • Thanks for 30 years of monogamy
  • Jackie wishes she’d known that poly doesn’t’ mean everyone needs equal time and shares a happy poly moment
  • Guillaume learned that trying to convert people to polyamory is not the way to go and that he’s better off going to the poly community instead of converting from the general population

14:00 What I have learned from YOU

  • While my experiences are common, not everyone is like me, and I need to be more thoughtful about language and inclusion
  • With respect to community, the intolerance and politics you see in the poly forums is not the only way–when you treat others with respect, you get respect in return. Never once have I received hate mail. Never!
  • Happy poly moments abide, despite the fact we read the opposite online all the time
  • There is a lot I don’t know
  • There is a lot I DO know
    • knowing yourself, emotional intelligence of owning shit and asking for what you want
    • 90% can be solved with “did you tell/ask him/her that?” be honest about your feelings
    • typically it’s a concern about someone else acting a certain way, when all you need to do is ask yourself what you want and need and then ask that person for that

22:00 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!

PW 425: Dating anew at 37

How to start dating in your 30s after divorcing your only partner EVERlolcatdating

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

3:00 Poly in the News

5:35 Topic: How do I date again at 37?

A listener writes in to ask how, after basically only being with one person his whole life, he is to explore dating again? Koe Creation cohosts.

  • Scarleteen is great for everyone, not just teenagers!
  • Discard the shame. We are constantly evolving; embrace it
  • Love yourself first and be solid before you try to date.
  • Do what you love, and you’ll find people who will love you.
  • Be open and be curious
  • Ask for what you want; be shameless about acknowledging your needs

27:30 Feedback

Maggie writes in to share her new bisexual identity and the fond high school memories it is bringing up

29:10 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 424: My suggestion backfired! Now what?

lolcat_no_waiWhat to do when your well-intended relationship suggestion backfires

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

1:45 Poly in the News

4:00 Topic: My well-intended suggestion backfired. Now what?

A listener calls in to share what happened when he suggested Google Calendar as a solution to a relationship challenge. His partner, however, didn’t take the suggestion so well. So what does one do when a well-intended suggestion backfires or isn’t received in the spirit in which it was intended?

  • Focus less on finding better tools and more on improving communication.
  • Try listening rather than fixing.
  • Ask what she needs to be happy and healthy in the relationship.
  • Tell her what you need to be happy and healthy in the relationship.
  • Negotiate together—whoever turns down one suggestion has to offer the next one.
  • Slowly and sensitively explore her past baggage and yours.
  • Write your own user manual and encourage your partner to write hers.
  • Erin writes in response to episodes 420 on disabilities and identity to share a lifetime of dealing with disabilities while struggling with a poly/queer identity.
  • Doug writes in to share his preference for describing his son, who is on the autism spectrum.

12:05 Feedback on 420: Poly and identity

  • Erin writes in response to episodes 420 on disabilities and identity to share a lifetime of dealing with disabilities while struggling with a poly/queer identity.
  • Doug writes in to share his preference for describing his son, who is on the autism spectrum.

18:10 Happy Poly Moment

S writes in to share how episode 360 on crowdsourcing jealousy helped spawn a happy poly moment!

22:30 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!

PW 423: How to feel special

How to feel special when there is more than one partner involved?awesomedog

Download the mp3 directly

1:00 Host chat and announcements

9:50 Poly in the News

16:00 Topic: How to feel special

A listener writes in to ask how one goes about feeling special when one is not the one and only love. Cohosts Koe Creation and Minx offer their insights.

  • How does a second child feel special?
  • Know who you are as an independent and whole person
  • Know what you need and ask for it; ask your new partners what they need to feel special
  • Small kindnesses show care

30:45 Feedback

Marcie writes in in response to episode 420 on disabilities to say that not everyone prefers person-first language.

32:30 Happy Poly Moment

D calls in to share a slow road to polyamory.

38:00 Thank you!

Cagey and Doug both donated $69 each, which we invested in Portland strippers. J

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 422: Cooper Beckett’s Life on the Swingset

SwingsetbookCooper of the Life on the Swingset podcast shares a tidbit from his new memoir

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1:00 Host chat and announcements

5:15 Poly in the News

12:00 Interview: Cooper Beckett

Cooper Beckett, founder and host of Life on the Swingset podcast, has just come out with a memoir of his journey into progressive swinging entitled My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory. Join him for a special short essay reading from his new book! (There is even an audio version coming soon!) 

43:00 Feedback

46:15 Happy Poly Moment

D shares a sensitive, compassionate and patient road to polyamory.

53:45 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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