I got into a discussion on a poly list about how online dating services develop specific rituals, and if you deviate from these, it often means no dates. I wrote up the following advice list for poly men who are looking for poly women on OkCupid, which is the situation I am most familiar with.
Your mileage may vary, and probably does. I would love to hear about what works differently for you, especially if you are in a different gender search arrangement.
What sex education?
(a paper I wrote for a contemporary sexuality class possibility TMI)
I did get a sex education – it just didn’t come from where it should have. Aren’t parents and teachers supposed to teach you about relationships, contraception, and sex? Mostly, I learned about sex the hard way, by trial and error. And there was a lot of error but after about fifteen years of playing with sex and sexuality, I think I have it figured out. I learned about contraception from parents and teachers, and random chance led me to figure out orgasm, but it was my partners along with television and the internet who taught me the mechanics of sex, along with polyamory and BDSM.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection, and there is a lot of information and misinformation about it floating around. Recently, I had an illuminating discussion with a gynecologist who claimed to be up on the latest research, and her basic answer to a pile of interesting questions was, “we don’t know”. This seems a little ridiculous, given that the CDC claims that “at least 50% of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives”.
Last weekend was the 39th annual celebration and parade for San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride. The celebration is enormous and overwhelming; despite my best efforts I only managed to participate in a small fraction of activities. My week started out with a night out for drinks with several other queer grrls, followed a couple of days later by watching Bi Request at the Frameline Film Festival with a lover. This year’s Bi Request, a collection of shorts either by or about bisexuals, was especially good. Friday night I spent at the Queer Playground play party at the Citadel, where Grin sutured a lovely decoration on to me that he had created himself, shown in the picture above.
Saturday I spent picnicing and marching with friends and lovers at the annual Dyke March, went to dinner, and then made it to another play party.
Sunday I somehow managed to get up and march in the Pride parade as a Contingent Monitor with both the Bay Area Bisexual Network and the Polyamory contingents; again, I was with friends, lovers, and community. Although I did not march with the leather contingent, I supported them in spirit, by wearing Grin’s decoration from Friday night to Sunday night. Afterwards, I wandered around around the Pride celebrations with a friend visiting from out of town, met up with more of my community at the Faerie Village, dropped by the Citadel for their post-pride social party and then made it to one more wind down party where a lover of mine and I pretty much collapsed in exhaustion.
In what city other than San Francisco is all this possible? I count my blessings daily.
I recently attended a workshop entitled “Making Friends with Jealousy” being taught by Dossie Easton at Poly Living West. As usual, Dossie led an excellent workshop; even though a lot of the ground she was covering was material I already knew, it’s always good to get a new perspective on it, and to reexamine it in light of one’s current life situation.
One of the really cool things she mentioned, however, was related to the technique of taking a “timeout” before jumping into a confrontation with a partner. Let’s say you hit a sudden landmine in your relationship (either due to jealousy or some other triggering event), and at least one of you is ready to explode with grief, anger, panic, or another strong emotion. Instead of attacking, you each go and spend at least fifteen minutes on your own, doing whatever works to calm you down. Exactly what is best differs from person to person; she mentioned activities varying from dancing out the feeling to sitting calmly working on a crossword puzzle.
Sometimes I have a strong craving to be hurt, to receive pain. It’s not an endorphin high I’m seeking, instead it’s an actual desire to feel an extreme sensation. I am lucky to have sadistic lovers in my life, but what to do when they’re out of town or otherwise occupied?