Minx’s guide to surviving Valentine’s Day

35380558_sIf you’re like me, Valentine’s Day can fill you with insecurity and dread. It can turn the most confident, competent, self-assured person into a blithering ball of sopping insecurities.

Having spent many, many years either solo or far away from partners for Valentine’s Day, I developed several techniques to help me cope with what some of us affectionately call “Single’s Awareness Day.” The kicker is, of course, that many coupled folks don’t even bother to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so in essence, its primarily function seems to be to make everyone NOT in a “primary” couple feel bad about their love lives.

But we are sex-positive, so we don’t need no crappy holiday to tell us when and how to love, right? Right. So here are my tips:

For solos

For those who are either without partners, solo, or in partnered relationships but unable to spend time with their partners for whatever reason, here are my tried-and-true tips:

  • Self care Above all, do something that makes YOU feel special, sexy and loved. This may be a bubble bath, a pedicure with friends or a Netflix marathon. But go through your list of your favorite self-care techniques, and take some time to indulge in those for yourself on this day. I love how I feel when I go dancing, so I make sure to find a swing or a salsa dance event to attend that day.
  • Socialize If you’re extroverted or simply feel the need for company, organize an outing. Go to the closest steam bath with a group of girlfriends; organize a mani-pedi party at the spa; go do one of those touristy things that you usually only do when family is in town: a wine tour, boat tour or go to the top of a local landmark. You could even just organize dinner and a movie with a group of friends, either out or at your own place. Instead of pouting, bring your support network to you! I’m fond of throwing a Valentine’s Day brunch and sharing stories over mimosas.
  • Give Whenever I’m bummed about my life (usually around the holidays), my foolproof trick has been to reach out and give to those less fortunate. I make a donation on Kiva, put together a goodie bag for the homeless or volunteer at a local charity. Helping others is a sure-fire way to stop obsessing about how much love you are or aren’t getting.

For partnered people

Even if you have a partner or partners, there can be pressure to create some perfect romantic evening and/or gift that is worthy of a Hollywood movie, complete with swelling music and tearful gasps as the gift is opened. But many of us are not gifted with a flair for the dramatic, or we simply don’t have time to spend weeks prepping a perfect evening, especially with multiple partners. So my advice:

  • Breathe Your partner(s) will love any thoughtful gesture you make. It really is the thought that counts. Worry less about perfection and more on what you and your partner(s) actually care about: being together. Sometimes, a lovely card and a phone call is enough. And here’s a tip: if your partner(s) have an Amazon Wish List and you can afford it, for goodness’ sake, take advantage of that and purchase them something you know they’ll like off the list!
  • Focus on who you are Most people I know aren’t romantic like in the movies. We aren’t perfectly dressed; we don’t say those pithy romantic lines that melt the heart; we are generally pretty dorky. So, if you’re planning a romantic evening, plan something that is reflective of you as a couple/triad/group. A group cuddle party watching your favorite movie? A whisky tasting at your local distillery? Indoor sky diving? Whatever is reflective of and special for YOU is best. I actually do enjoy an opportunity to dress up, so my partner(s) know that whatever we plan needs to have a dressy or costumy element to it for me to be happy.
  • Share If you are in a couple and don’t generally celebrate Valentine’s Day, consider loaning your partner out to a friend or other partner who does want to celebrate it. I’ll never forget the one year during my dating-but-solo-poly phase when one of my on-again, off-again’s partners’ wife said, “Take Minx out for Valentine’s Day; we don’t celebrate it, and she does.” What a wonderful gift!
  • Determine privacy If you have several partners and date separately, a group date might not be the thing. Talk with each partner about what he/she wants for Valentine’s Day, and do your best to accommodate them. Again, many people have very different ideas of what makes for a great romantic holiday, so don’t assume; ask! You may be assuming you need to make four separate dates for four separate partners, but that may not be the case at all. Ask everyone how much private time they need in order to feel special. And, of course, don’t forget to add what YOU want into the mix.

I hope this is helpful for you–let me know your ideas in the comments!

PW 466: A Life Less Monogamous, a new fiction novel

Finally, a novel about non-monogamy!life less monogamous cover

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1:00 Host chat

  • Join our email list by going to polyweekly.com
  • We’re working on a dating profile ebook
  • Also a how-to ebook on writing your own user manual for the fall
  • Kitty Chambliss has a podcast: Loving Without Boundaries

3:30 Poly in the News

More poly news coverage based on the recent OKCupid change allowing couples to link their profiles whilst searching to date others

7:15 Interview: Cooper Beckett about his new fiction novel, A Life Less Monogamous

Cooper Beckett joins us to discuss his new fiction novel about new non-monogamists, A Life Less Monogamous. Use code MINX for a 10% discount! Our text interview with Cooper is here.

30:00 Happy Poly Moment

An asexual lesbian writes in to share her happy poly moment.

32:45 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!

PW 465: Rules about beds

What are the sticking points of sex in your bed24446326_s? And why?

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1:00 Host chat

  • We’ll be at InfinityCon! Use code POLYWEEKLY at registration for a 10% discount!

Poly in the News

More poly stories out of Brazil

Topic: Rules about beds

A listener writes in to ask what kind of rules people make about beds. Is your bed just for sleeping? Is sex with your partners OK? What about with their partners? What if you’re not there? Who cleans the sheets and when? The results of our poly bed poll are here.

And if you’re not protective of your bed, is there some other area you are protective of—like your car or your kitchen? It’s always good to be aware of where your boundaries are.

Today, LustyGuy and Minx talk through what you need to consider about bed etiquette and, if you are going to make any rules, to prepare for them to be broken at some point.

Happy Poly Moments

  • M wrote in to share a wonderful mono-poly happy moment. As the monogamous partner who got pregnant, she was bowled over by her metamour’s consistent support of her throughout the pregnancy and after the birth!
  • Speaking of beds, A wrote in to say that once they got a king bed, everything was a million times better!

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 464: Building your poly community

Neil Wehneman and Karen Hill of Poly Columbus share their tips for building your communityKarenHill

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

1:00 Host chat

3:15 Poly in the News

8:30 Interview: Neil Wehneman and Karen Hill of Poly Columbus on how to build your poly community

PolyColumbus started with under a dozen people and have built a community of nearly 80 participants. Organizers Neil Weheneman and Karen Hill share their tips on how to build and grow your poly community. Their tips:

  • Use Meetup rather than Yahoo groups for better discoverability
  • Partner with the kink community to leverage crossover
  • How and why to create a board of directors
  • How to deal with feedback as your community grows
  • They post all their policies on their website under Creative Commons Attribution Only license, so please feel free to use them with attribution.
  • Ask for help!
  • Avoid burnout by saying “no” and remembering that you still need time to actually BE poly!

38:00 Thank you!

Thomas both donated this month. Thank you!

39:00 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!

Q & A with A Life Less Monogamous author Cooper Beckett

life less monogamous coverCooper S. Beckett is the founder of Life on the Swingset &  host of its swinging & polyamory podcast. He speaks and teaches classes on pegging, swinging, polyamory, play parties, and non-monogamy. He is a graphic and web designer, photographer and voice over artist; has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast and is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He has written two books, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory and A Life Less Monogamous and is working on two more, The Big Book of Swinging, and Approaching The Swingularity.

Why did you decide to write A Life Less Monogamous

Procrastination. I was supposed to be writing The Big Book of Swinging, a how-to manual, and I came across the opening chapter of an unfinished novel about swinging, based on a screenplay I’d written before I started Life on the Swingset. I decided to give the NaNoWriMo method a try and see what came of it. A month later I had a pretty solid draft, containing what I think is some of my best writing on the subject of non-monogamy.

Whom do you want to read this book?

I think I have the makings of a book with enormous crossover appeal, outside our non-monogamy communities, into the world at large. Like 50 Shades, but well written and understanding the community it’s about.


Why would the Poly Weekly audience want to read your book?

I believe it contains many universal truths about relationships, jealousy, desire, and exploration, and doesn’t just go the sex route with swinging, instead it recognizes the very real bonds we create with our partners and playmates in this style.

What did you learn from writing this book?

Some mistakes are made by our newbie couple over the course of their journey, and in the original screenplay, I went hard in one direction as to “fault” but as I wrote this, I realized that the opposite was actually true, and I came to a much deeper understanding of culpability and the gray area that surrounds almost all conflict. Seems deep, I know, but it was a pretty wonderful bit of catharsis.

What’s next?

I’m prepping production on an audiobook version, though the My Life on the Swingset audiobook nearly killed me. As for next projects, though, I’m going to try and knock out a quick and short non-fiction book about sexy vacations, before returning to this novel’s characters for a semi sequel that takes place on a sexy vacation in Mexico.

About A Life Less Monogamous

We all come to a point in our lives where we finally ask the ever-looming question, “Is this all there is?” And most of us coast along afterwards, just accepting that the answer to that question is probably, “Yes, this is it.” Sometimes, though, we’re lucky. Sometimes we run into the right people at the right time.

Ryan and Jennifer are at that point in their marriage, asking that question. Luckily, tonight at a friend’s holiday party, they’re about to run into those very right people at exactly the right time. Bruce and Paige have successfully crossed the Rubicon into the realm of “what else there is.” They’ve discovered delights and a way of living that Ryan and Jennifer have only ever dreamed about.

Their secret? Bruce and Paige are swingers. And very soon now, thanks to a chance meeting and a new friendship, Ryan and Jennifer will close their eyes, clasp hands, and jump into the deep end of life, exploring the untold wonders of sexuality. Hedonistic pleasures that they can’t even fathom yet, threesomes and sex parties and a deep connection with friends and with each other. The swinging lifestyle.

Today is the day they proclaim: “There is more.” Today is the day they change their lives. 

To find out more and pre-order the book, visit http://alifelessmonogamous.com

PW 463: The Game Changer

Franklin Veaux talk about his new autobiography, The Game ChangerGameChanger final front cover - full 

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1:00 Host chat

4:00 Poly in the News

9:00 Interview: Franklin Veaux on The Game ChangerFranklin Veaux author photo

Poly author and ethicist Franklin Veaux talks about his just-release autobiography, The Game Changer, including why he wrote it and what you can learn from his poly journey.

32:45 Happy Poly Moment

F writes in with a sweet happy poly moment about being accepted by his girlfriend’s mother over the holidays.

34:05 Thank you!

Charles and Sarah both donated this month. Thank you!

37:25 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 462: Are hierarchies getting a bad rap?

Minx and Koe Creation ponder whether hierarchies can be helpful
11122934_s

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

1:00 Host chat

2:10 Poly in the News

6:40 Topic: are hierarchies getting a bad rap?

Self-identified secondary and youth correspondent cohost Koe Creation shares her thoughts on hierarchies, wondering whether many folks’ disdain for them is unfounded. What’s the difference between a hierarchy and simply acknowledging that a person with whom you share children and finances is different from someone you date twice a month, after all?

34:10 Happy Poly Moment

L shares a delightful happy poly moment about her experiences with self-identifying as asexual in the poly space and finding a partner and a metamour that work well with her.

37:25 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 461: Designer relationships

Designer relationships with Mark A. Michaels and Patricia JohnsonMarkandPatricia high res

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1:00 Host chat

7:45 Poly in the News

Remember that Brooklyn poly housing project Leon Feingold put together? Here’s a video showing how it turned out!

Designer Relationships8:15 Interview: Designer relationships with Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson, co-authors of Designer Relationships, are a devoted married couple. They have been creative collaborators since 1999, and their critically acclaimed titles have garnered numerous awards. Michaels and Johnson are the authors of Partners in Passion, Great Sex Made Simple, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality. They are also the creators of the meditation CD set Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep.

In this chat, we discuss the relationship between poly and tantra, the different types of relationship structures, why people fear discussing open relationships and answering Time’s question, “is monogamy over?”

35:15 Feedback

Mexican George writes in response to episode 437 on starting over at 37, and he recommends Models: Attract Women Through Honesty by Mark Manson.

36:20 Happy Poly Moments

  • M wrote in to share how her lovers and former lovers supported her beautifully through two difficult ER visits
  • Heather shares a wonderful happy poly moment of her partner working to get communication back on track after a stupid fight with the two folks in the couple she and her partner were dating

39:45 Thank you!

Alan and Dillon both helped us out with generous online donations!

40:15 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!

Ask Minx: How do I own my shit when I’m depressed?

Minx podcasting headshot 2013Hi Minx,

My partner and I have been together for nine years and poly for almost two years. Because of my depression, I don’t always feel very sexual. While this wasn’t the reason we decided to become poly, my partner feels like he should have other partners during these times to sleep with to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak. However, during these moments in my depression, I’m usually feeling incredibly volatile, and it’s at these times I feel my worst and most replaceable (not just in our relationship but in all aspects of my life), and I physically can’t go through the constant panic and anxiety attacks that means for me. I know one of the biggest aspects in the community is “owning your own emotions”, but how do you see one’s troubled mental health playing into that for continued success in polyamory? 

Depressed and distressed

Dear D&D:

While it’s true that we talk a lot about owning your own shit, there is another issue at play here. In the case of health issues, I’d recommend a slightly different tack. And I’m using the word “health” instead of “mental health” because in truth, there isn’t much difference between a physical and a mental ailment. It’s all biology, right?

It’s rarely a good idea to use polyamory to fix a problem in a relationship. (We call this the “relationship broken; add more people” model.) It’s unwise and unkind to try to use other people to “fill in the gaps” in your current relationship–and it almost never works out the way you think it will! Instead, I’d recommend working on two things: first, on managing your own health and second, on developing coping techniques for your partner.

First, the issue of your health condition. We typically recommend addressing any relationship and any chronic health issues before opening up a relationship to polyamory. As with dating monogamously, the goal is to present your best self as well as a happy, stable couple to prospective partners. So take the time to address and stabilize your health issues before trying polyamory. Work with your doctor to better manage your depression. As LustyGuy always says, “Biology comes first.” Your depression isn’t currently well managed, and that will only make dating and polyamory unnecessarily difficult, for you, your partner and your new dating prospects. As you say, you currently have no control over your emotions, and that’s not a good position to be in when dating (or when your partner is dating). It’s OK—nay, essential—for you to take care of yourself first.

Once you’ve figured out how to manage your condition and have developed tried-and-true coping mechanisms for any depressive episodes, you’ll be able to consider dating and having your partner date. But for now, please take care of yourself.

Second, there is the issue of your partner feeling something lacking in your relationship. Even when your depression is well managed, the fact that your partner feels your relationship is lacking from time to time is a separate issue. Please work with your therapist and your partner to figure out a good coping strategy for your partner when you have a depressive episode. LustyGuy, L and I each have chronic conditions that arise on occasional (and often inconvenient) times, and we each have strategies for coping with them when they arise. We each are able to express support and love to our partners while revising our own plans accordingly and relatively painlessly. You and your partner should strive to do the same. And before you know it, you’ll be handling your condition like a pro, and your partner will be supporting you merrily all the way!

PW 460: Top five poly trends of 2015

47541500_sHow did the polyamory movement change in 2015? 

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1:00 Host chat

3:30 Poly in the News

7:00 Topic: Top five poly trends of 2015

  1. More nonfiction books gave us more poly voices to relate to.
  1. More poly news snuck into the mainstream, including being satirized in The Onion.
  1. Political pundits gave us air space in the wake of the same-sex marriage legalization announcement over the summer and dissenting Supreme Court judges, political pundits wondered whether the polyamorists would want marriage rights next, which brought polyamory as a topic to the dinner table.
  1. The poly movement saw more diversification, including gay polyamorists, over-60 polyamorists and trans folks. Additionally, the issue of emotional abuse inside our community was brought to light, and relationship anarchy gained momentum.
  1. Poly Weekly kicked butt! OK, maybe this is only #1 for me, but LustyGuy and I spoke at more events than ever before; we exceeded 50,000 downloads a month; we launched an email newsletter, and we even made the Buzzfeed list of top 40 places to learn everything you never learned in sex ed class!

16:45 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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