Never be That Guy™. You always know when you’re being That Guy™, and you need to stop it. Just stop it, Guy

I don’t often write about polyamory. I have my reasons.

Firstly, when I initially heard of polyamory, it was from people who found it difficult not to talk about polyamory. They found ways to shoehorn it into almost any conversation, and I found it more than a little grating. I don’t want to be That Guy™. Secondly, I know that in a mainstream sense, poly is still a relatively new idea. Some people find it intimidating, challenging or even uncomfortable to think about. I get it. I often did when I first heard about it. Rest assured that I don’t follow these bullshit Gold Star Poly mantras of thinking that it’s the be all and end all. I firmly don’t believe that poly is for everyone. I think that people navigating their relationships in a variety of different ways is healthy, and if a system works for you, that’s a personal thing. I also don’t believe in prescriptivist shit. If there’s some combination of systems that’s your sweet spot, I’m glad you’ve found it. Today though, I want to talk about poly, because it’s given me the best dating advice that I wish I truly understood much earlier.

Be genuine.

It sounds simple, it’s not. I know that when I started dating, I had this internal scarcity model dictating my actions. It felt like having sex, being in a relationship, these were things I was missing out on, and I desperately wanted to enjoy them. The efforts I went to were staggering. I’d constantly think about my interactions, and how I wanted to present myself. I’d focus on whether or not a situation was potentially romantic, and if I saw an inkling of it, I’d lean in. I wouldn’t lie in the pursuit of having sex, but I’d definitely lessen aspects of myself in order to agree with people more. To try and put our compatibility on a pedestal. I’d worry about what I said, and whether this would make people like me less. I’d fret about what to wear on dates, the implications of my clothing choices and what they said about me. I’d be swept away on a wave of anxiety if I thought I’d messed up. In my mind, the risk of losing out on something that could be more was a tragedy. People who were interested in me were a rarity, and if I missed out, chances were that an opportunity wouldn’t come around again any time soon.

There’s a lot that was very wrong about the above. It’s not like I didn’t care about these people, but I definitely objectified them. I turned them into a goal I pursued. Of course I wanted to spend time with them, get to know them and grow closer, but also I was very much driven by a fear of being perpetually alone. Also at a base level I was diminishing myself, trashing my self-confidence. The underlying idea was that I was not worth affection, and thus I needed to trick and scheme my way into someone thinking I was. Gross all over.

I no longer operate on a scarcity model. I’m older, more relaxed, and confident [a reminder that we stan the Oxford comma here, when it makes sense -Ed]. Poly has enabled a lot of this change in behaviour. I know that I have someone to come home to. I’m in a stable, loving relationship and I’ve stopped seeing my value in whether or not I’m dateable. I know I’m dateable. I’ve been dating someone for over five years. Being in this relationship has assured me time and time again that all of my little oddities and eccentricities are features, not bugs. I’m a lovable dude to the right people. However, I’m not gonna find the people who like my specific strangeness if I act like someone else.

It’s entirely changed the way I navigate potential romantic connections. I don’t try to appear more appealing by changing myself. I’m okay having disagreements, because I don’t try to force things down a romantic path. If we’re not compatible, that’s okay. There’ll probably be other people who we will be compatible with. I’m done with spending time around people simply because I’m attracted to them, and hoping that I’ll fall for their personalities. I don’t prioritise sex these days, because being able to have connections where I’m able to be my genuine self means that sex is a bonus. The real goal is increasing the amount of time I get to spend having great conversations and doing neat activities with people. I don’t try to date anymore. I just have adult friendships. Sometimes those friendships become intimate, and that’s the cherry on top. I let these connections be what they are. There are a number of people with whom I’ve shared kisses. Some of these may end up resulting in sexual connections, some may not. I don’t mind. Getting to know someone you admire, hearing about their lives, and seeing what the world looks like through their eyes is a real reward. If sex is going to happen, it’s gonna happen when you’re both ready, comfortable and enthusiastic to do it. Why rush that timeline? If you’re both being your most genuine selves, and you’re each attracted to those genuine aspects, it’s probably more likely that things will get intimate. Far and away, I’ve found these connections so much more rewarding than any I had when I was dating out of fear.

So no, it’s not poly advice, but I doubt I’d have learned it if I wasn’t poly.

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If we’d mixed in tobacco, I could’ve called it a spliffy day

What a swell day.

My girlfriend had a swell day yesterday. Positively spiffy. We were locked in for lunch with her mother at 1pm. I wanted to get in and do my writing. Put it out of my mind for the rest of the day, y’know? She wanted to have sex, and she won. I don’t mean this in a braggy way. We’ve been in a relationship for over five years. I’m sure it’s a well known phenomena that in long term relationships, you’re usually not having as much sex as you’d both like. Both of us get busy, or aren’t in the mood, or get bogged down by mental health stuff. Of course it doesn’t mean we don’t want to, it just gets harder to prioritise. Of course it’s important, to keep up that kind of intimacy within a relationship. Keep those good chemicals flowing. I can only imagine what having kids does to a sex life. But we did it, we did each other, and it was honestly a fucking great way to start the day.

Then we went out for lunch with her mum. Don’t worry, I showered first. It was nice. Her mum is doing keto at the moment, so we went to a keto friendly place. The food was basic, but tasty. The Simple Kitchen. It’s the kind of place I would’ve loved when I did keto for a few months. All the ingredients are displayed openly, and they have concessions for different dietary restrictions. They do a variety of coffees like mushroom coffee and buttered coffee. It kinda sucks, because the pilot coffee they stock there is decent, but the coffees they made were middling to meh. Go for the tasty, filling food. Go elsewhere for coffee. We don’t catch up with my girlfriend’s mum all that often, but she’s a warm, kind woman. It was neat, actually. She’s started making changes in her life, discovering things. She recently went on a trip, and realised just how much that new town resonated with her. It felt like home, immediately, and she’s considering moving there. She has an RV, so it’s entirely possible for her. Imagine that, you’re retired and your children have gone off elsewhere. You decide to upturn your dietary habits, you consider moving somewhere else. Breaking established patterns at that age takes a lot. It’s fucking cool to see. We had a nice lunch, did a quick walk around Roncy (to find better coffee, truth be told) then went home. She’d knitted us a cute little pumpkin, which also kind of looks like a plump orange. It’s perfect, ’cause we can use it all year round.

As an aside, our coffee machine has been iffy lately. It’s been using half the water, and we have to turn it on again. I figured it was slowly shitting itself, and I was kind of okay with that. I didn’t pay for it, who cares, right? Then I thought wait a minute, that’s totally not sustainable, and why am I treating something nice as disposable? That’s why we got into this whole mess in the first place. I looked the error up, and it turned out it just needed to be descaled. I read the instructions and it was simple. but then I couldn’t find white vinegar and got discouraged. Again, in my head I left it to rot. Then my girlfriend pointed out that we did have vinegar, and it wasn’t as much of a process as I thought it was. It was easy enough to do, it just took time.

So we had a quiet afternoon. She chilled out on her phone, I played Magic, did a load of washing, ran the coffee machine about five times to descale/clean, and then we were ready for our evening. We were gonna get stoned, have snacks and watch Between Two Ferns. A while back I picked up a packet of gluten free brownie mix for a special night. We went to the supermarket to load up on snacks. We got some chips, gummy worms and soft jubes, and ice cream. We got those brownies in the oven, lit up, and sat down with snacks and a film. Part way through we finished baking the brownies, I drew a big peen on half, then we split the toppings between sprinkles and sea salt. It was a wonderful night. We got to snuggle and pig out, and the movie was absurd amounts of fun.

More days like these, please.

They specified 20ml of pee. I was like “I have so much more to give”

We have a quiet day, so I’m taking a little field trip to the Hassle Free Clinic.

It’s been a long long time since I last had a sexual health check-up. I think they’re vitally important for most anyone to be aware of, but especially if you’re seeing multiple partners. I would hate to think I was unintentionally transmitting a condition to anyone. The thing is, once you’re engaging with more than one partner, the knock on effects grow exponentially. You’re no longer just worrying about how you’re affecting a partner, but you’re thinking about their partners too. And if your multiple partners also have multiple partners, your responsibility grows. I’ve been lax, and I’ve felt shitty about it for a while. For so long, I didn’t have other partners, so it felt like I could let it slide. That’s less of the case now. While I happen to be using condoms and other contraceptives, that’s still not 100% preventative. It’s been difficult finding the time to drop in, which has been awfully enabling. Sometimes if it’s important, it’s more about making the time. Sex is great, I want to keep doing it and sharing that experience with others, so it only makes sense to check that the experience is all I’m sharing. It’s far from my first checkup, and it won’t be my last.

I’ve never had an issue before, but I think it’d be obnoxious at best to assume I won’t. I want that information to make informed decisions and own any potential conditions I contract. I’m very fortunate that I haven’t been made to feel stigma around my proclivities, which I’m sure is a gendered thing. The last time I came here (which, after signing the drop in sheet, I discovered was 2013! Jesus Christ), the guy was like “you have only had one or two partners since your last checkup, and you used condoms. I’m not sure this is that necessary”, but as a medical professional he did his job anyway.

It’s pretty packed in here right now, and the wait is probably around an hour. In the office staff’s words, it’s quiet at the moment. For years I felt kind of iffy about what my previous tester had said, but I get it. There are a ton of vulnerable people who need this service, and if I have alternative places to go where some of these folks might feel unsafe, then I’m gumming up the works a little. I could go to my GP if I booked an appointment. I mean, I’m not gonna leave right now, but he had a point. Last time I visited I didn’t have a GP, but I do have that option these days. If the system is to work best, I’d better serve it by exercising my options.

If my last checkup was any indication, I’m likely to be asked about my sexual activity. They’ll probably ask about partner genders, and specific styles of intercourse we’ve engaged in. They’ll get me to pee in a cup (and boy oh boy, have I got some urine locked and loaded), and let me know of anything to be aware of. To be totally candid, I’m getting interested in exploring how my attraction to same sex individuals manifests, and it would be cool to gather knowledge of what I should consider. Sure, that know how is all on the internet, but it feels easier to digest when obtaining that info from a medical professional.

Oh geez, I’ve been called already. Hassle Free indeed.

I hope you have a fucking great time, sincerely

Fair warning, I’m gonna talk about some sexy type stuff today. If that’s not your thing, enjoy the rest of the internet until tomorrow. ‘Cause it’s not like there’s anything sexy on there, right?

I haven’t talked about sex in a long time. Why? I’m not entirely sure. It might be that my parents sometimes read, and gosh forbid they know I’m making whoopee. Really though, that’s not it. Am I afraid of tarnishing my image as an irreverent little scamp who makes puns and talks incessantly about 90s pop culture? Not quite. Am I too busy clutching my pearls to type the word “orgasm”. I’m not. Am I constantly scrambling for topics to write about day by day? I am. This however, is not an act of desparation. I had a couple of chats over the weekend, and I feel like I’ve got some stuff that’s worth hearing for some people.

Sex is weird. People are weird, therefore bringing multiple people together to simulate making more people is exponentially weirder. Also sex is tied up in so many bullshit social morasses that it gets tricky to keep your head above the mire. The muck is fine, sex can be wonderfully dirty, and that’s can be great. Not here to yuck anybody’s yums.

I’d wager that socialisation plays into how we feel about sex a lot more than we may think. Sure, the media and advertising shapes a huge amount of our views as to what we find sexy, ways to have sex and what good/bad sex looks like. My guess is it goes a lot further than that. I can’t speak to womens’ experience, but it seems like there’s a gratuitous amount of pressure placed upon image. Hell, I’m listening to a podcast right now where Allie Ward talks to an expert on Beauty Standards (the study of which is called Kalology, apparently). The ins and outs of it are more than a litte absurd, and I’m sure all women know intimately more about the struggle than I do. I’m not here to talk for them. It’s not like men are entirely exempt, and I’m sure Marvel Studios have done wonders in making men feel inadequate too (remember the surprisingly buff Chris Pratt workout pic?). Equality, this is what we’re shooting for, right?

Look at me, vamping like a food blog. What I want to talk about today is partnered orgasm pressure from a male perspective, and how it’s letting us down. Because I don’t think us men talk about it enough. This is also probably gonna be a very het-oriented view. I apologise.

As men we’re often told that our sexual prowess is one of the many things that defines our masculinity. We’re supposed to be virile, dominant, borderline animalistic. Raging horndogs with big ol’ dongs. That’s male sexuality, apparently. If you’re a good partner you fuck good, your partner’s eyes roll back into their head, they cum buckets with ten orgasms, and your sperm is so mighty that your partner instantly has quadruplets. That’s the manly thing to do.

Unsurprisingly, this creates a ton of pressure. Here’s the thing about arousal, it’s all mental. If you’re all stressed about having to be a certain something in the bedroom, there’s a high chance that will affect performance. It’s tricky to get it up and keep it up when you’re anxious about whether you’ll be able to get hard enough. Or if you’ll be able to sustain it. Or if she’ll enjoy it. Or like, what if your dick is weird? Or too small? Or you don’t feel dominant and animalistic? GOOD LUCK, BUDDY.

I’m gonna take the charitable assumption, and guess that whoever I’m talking to wants their partner to have a good time. That most want congress to be a mutually fulfilling, satisfying and pleasurable jaunt. So I’m gonna share something I heard a while back that helped shift my perception.

NOBODY HAS EVER GIVEN ANYBODY AN ORGASM.

It was from famed sex educator and porn star extraordinaire Nina Hartley. She said that orgasms aren’t given, they’re facilitated. You can be the sexiest goddamn entity in the world, you can be physically doing everything you can, you can tap into all your partner’s favourite sensual triggers, and they can still not orgasm. It’s because you’re not making them orgasm, they are.

Remember when I was saying arousal was mental? No matter what you do, if your partner can’t bring themselves to a place where they can let go and access their orgasm, it ain’t comin’. It’s not necessarily because of what you’ve done or haven’t done, but sometimes it’s out of reach for all of us. It happens. Releasing to the point of orgasm isn’t always accessible, and neither does it define the experience. I’ve had many bouts of amazing sex that haven’t resulted in an orgasms, both for myself and/or partners. That hasn’t stopped it from being amazing sex.

Take from it what you will, but the important nugget that I took from this lesson was to get ego the fuck out of there. It’s not about you. The be all and end all is how you can help your partner access a place where they can let go. Any concept of virility or value tied to an ablity to “induce” orgasms is fucked up and unhelpful. Get that shit out of there.

Make your partner comfortable. Ask them what they want. Your “job” is to help them have the experience they’re looking for. They’re connected to their own nerve endings, chances are they have an idea of what makes them feel good. Do you have go to techniques that “always work”? There is no “right” way to do things. Everyone is different. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily apply across the board. Listen to your partner, look for body language and try to interpret what that means. If you don’t know, ask. The socialised notion that we should all “just know” is super fucking harmful, and likely holds so many of us back from more fulfilling experiences. If you’re gonna ruin the moment by showing genuine interest, maybe you both could do better with different people.

If they have an orgasm? Great. If they have ten? Great. If they have an excellent time? That’s what we’re looking for. If we’re all enjoying sex, maybe we won’t be so scared of whether or not it’s happening the “right way”.

Why do they call them anniversaries, and not birth-dates?

Happy anniversary to us.

Five years is a decent milestone (or kilometregram, for anyone outside North America), so how did we celebrate? Simply, my friends. I feel like there’s definitely been a shifting tide in the relationship in the past few years. It’s probably a very normal and healthy part of most relationships. We don’t celebrate with the same desperate fervour, because it feels less like these situations are finite. Three months in, a year in, three years in, there’s definitely a sense of holy shit, I can’t believe we made it this far. Five years comes with a lot less shock. After three years or so, it’s sorta felt like well obviously, neither of us are going anywhere. It’s not such a crazy idea that we’ve lasted five years, because we’ve both assumed we’ll last a lot longer. We’re used to each other, in that we’re each a huge part of one another’s lives. Her concerns are my concerns and vice versa. We’ll each extend the same considerations to the other in a manner we would to ourselves. Not because we’re especially thoughtful (though she happens to be), but because it feels natural to do so. If this sounds boring or passionless, it’s not. The passion is still very much there, and we haven’t become a homogeneous blob either. We’re both still individuals with very different interests, perspectives and lives, but there’s a point in the middle where that blurs, and we’ve taken on something from one another.

So last night, we didn’t hit the town, rent a hotel and turn the jets up REAL high. We stayed home and cooked. It was fucking great. Because of varying (and often conflicting) schedules, it’s been so long since we had the chance to just spend abundant time together and eat decadent food we prepared. We shat the bed on planning, this can’t be understated. In fact, while declaring that today was gonna be our day to go out and do awesome anniversary things, we’re still kinda cobbling together a plan (as of midday or so). Earlier in the week, she said she wanted to cook at home, and wanted that to include stuffed mushroom caps. Great, I was on board. We tried devising a meal that would work around them, but I got distracted with a Garfield shaped pizza tangent. I’m gonna call her the fuck out for suggesting we arrange corn tortillas in a vaguely Garfieldesque shape and put toppings on. That was a dumb idea and she’s smarter than that. But as it turns out, we arrived at the supermarket yesterday with no ideas beyond the stuffed mushrooms. We cobbled together some notion of the stuffed caps with a roasted garlic brocolli/zucchini “melange” (I don’t really know what to call shit that’s chopped up and tossed together), baked sweet potatoes and baked maple soy salmon. Then ice cream for dessert.

At home I prepped the salmon marinade and chucked it in a ziplock in the fridge. We ruined our appetite with chips and fucked around on our phones, then realised time was slipping away. I hastily pricked some sweet potatoes, slathered them in oil and tossed them in the oven. I realised I’d forgotten to set a timer, so guesstimated they needed another 40 minutes. We kept fucking around on our phones, and time kept marching on. In a panic 20 minutes later, we jumped to action. I chopped veggies, she prepped the mushroom caps (gutting a sausage to get the mince inside for stuffing purposes). I also got distracted trying to make Manhattans. We each had one sip and felt drunk already. It was all kind of a clusterfuck. While everything needed about a 20-15 minute roasting time, we got things into the oven with about 13 minutes left on the clock.

Turns out everything was excellent. The mushroom caps were dense and filled to the brim with umami. The salmon was sweet and soft. Maple soy has long been one of my favourite marinades. Hers came out better than mine. The veggies were light, but flavourful. The sweet potato was soft and buttery, lifting straight out of its skin. We had low light, candles, and whiskey jazz playing away in the background. It was truly special, relaxing and decadent.

Then we had sweaty summer sex, watched Amélie and ate ice cream (though not all together). It was a very happy anniversary.

Heart reacts only, friends

Over five years ago, I met a very cute person at an event. We hit it off, smooched a bunch, then went home with other people.

Three months later, maybe a week after coming out of a tumultuous whirlwind relationship, I ran into the aforementioned cute person at another event. We picked up where we left off, and kept going.

Five years later, we’ve been through all manner of adventures together. These have spanned several continents, the New York justice system, and IKEA while stoned.

In this time, we’ve grown together and learned from one another. It’s no stretch to say we’re both more capable, compassionate and wizened human beings. We’ve had more than our share of problems and issues, but with the shared goal of finding ways to make it work, we really have. We’ve become a solid team, channelling our collective strengths and enthusiasm into making things happen. Our home is a monument to the warm and eclectic, wonderful trashbags we both are.

She’s a kind and emotionally generous partner. She’s absurdly considerate, often taking my needs and wants into account as her own. She’s bright, and covers for the many many times that I miss the obvious. She’s a fucking goofball, who not only tolerates my bullshit, but gives her own back abundantly. She also has the best butt in the world. She’s usually the last person I see before I sleep, and the first person I see when I wake.

It hasn’t always been easy for either of us, but that’s probably what’s made it such a blast.

I love you rainbows, Lioness, and I look forward to tolerating your bullshit for many years to come.

HUMPday is best day

I watched porn in a theatre. It was a blast.

That both is and isn’t reductive. One of my partners’ mutual friends (y’all, I spent at least 30 seconds deciding where to put the apostrophe. THIS IS WORK) bought them tickets to HUMP – Dan Savage’s amateur porn festival, a series of 5 minute curated films of a provocative nature. She suggested I should come too. Failing anything, it’s always great to see said mutual friend (who happened to matchmake this partner and I). He and I go way back. I figured it’d be a fun and sassy night out, watching ridiculous amateur films with a creative twist. I was sold after hearing a highlight from last year’s fest: Dildrone, a copter (cockter?) based superhero who travelled around solving sexual frustration. Silly, right? I expected a Dildrone or two, and oh HUMP delivered.

I thought two things notable arriving at the screening. 1) Looking around, I realised I was totally surrounded by perverts. Wall to wall weirdos. My tribe. 2) I had a ton of friends who organically happened to be going. I don’t think that’s mere coincidence. We were all giggling, feeling slightly naughty. Then the screening started and everyone went silent. Paint Party. A blacklight flurry of naked, painted bodies gyrating. Bodies of all types flowing together in an orgy of colour. It. Got. Sexy. Quickly. The silence spoke volumes, I cast my eyes around and everyone was engaged. Holding my partner’s hand, I could feel her heartbeat rising. I know mine was. The short film finished with a splash of paint faux cumshots. My friends and I turned to one another wide eyed, breathing heavily. Someone piped up “oh, once we find some body safe paint, We Are Doing This.” Ever the engineer. We were all very, very turned on. I straight up expected the festival would be a dorky and/or sweet time, I did not expect to get actively titillated.

The films were excellently curated. Some were funny and inventive (like the music video with googly eyes adorning butts, boobs, peens, pubes etc. You don’t quite realise what a googly eyed covered butt looks like being spanked until you see it), others were sweet and endearing. I fell in love with this short documentary that intercut queer folx talking about their experiences discovering porn through archaic pre-internet methods. It was so endearing and relatable. A selfie stick hiking trip with a couple became a frenzied mash of bodies and sweat, slow motion frond spanking and DUBSTEP. An animated tale, My Cathartic Scene was gorgeous and touching. Beautiful animation set to a voiceover from a woman narrating her experience with extreme bottoming. How she used physical release as a way to let go of trauma was utterly lovely. It’s never been my thing, but it was so wonderful hearing someone relate why a certain sexual activity activated something within them.

Not My Thing But Wow was a running theme. An extreme bottom slut video had a master command his slave to go food shopping, then one by one slather himself with the ingredients by a river. It was physically nauseating, such a mishmash of flavours. A true textural nightmare. Raw eggs, chocolate sauce, coffee grounds, alfredo and pasta sauce, all slathered across this little porn piggie’s body. I mean, he took to it with wild abandon, which was awesome to see. I noticed my body’s tension release as he stepped into the river to wash off. Another featured rosebudding, there was extreme anal gaping and some impressive fisting. I’m not here to kinkshame anyone, it was fucking great to see them getting what they loved.

As a big bunch of pervs, I think we all left feeling inspired and uplifted. Also, goddamn if it didn’t give us some ideas…