What insight about polyamory/open relationships would you share with your younger self?
My partner and I have been together for over 20 years and we’ve been poly the entire time. There have been a few times that we stepped back from having other lovers because we needed some space to focus on each other. I’ve had lovers & playmates, as well a few ongoing secondary relationships. So one thing I’d tell my younger self is that things will change, and then they’ll change again. Don’t expect otherwise- there will come times when you struggle against changes that will happen anyway, and fighting them only made it harder.
Something else I’ve learned from being poly is that it requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.
It’s also really easy to get smug about it. Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved or better than anyone else. If you think it does, you’re being a jerk. Don’t let it happen.
Yes, poly folks shouldn't be smug. But almost all of the people I hear from who believe that their preferred relationship model makes them better and more highly evolved—almost all the relationship-model smugsters I hear from—are monogamous people. I've heard a few poly folks claim to be more highly evolved, but I've never heard a poly person suggest that a monogamous commitment isn't really a commitment or that two people in a monogamous relationship don't really love each other.
"Women may want to check my phone for strange emails or calls when I'm not around. With Fujitsu's 'privacy mode,' they can't see that information at all," he said in an email. "The key is to give off the impression that you're not locking your phone at all."
Fujitsu's "privacy mode" is a layer of nearly invisible security that hides missed calls, emails and text messages from contacts designated as private. If one of those acquaintances gets in touch, the only signal of that communication is a subtle change in the color or shape of how the battery sign or antenna bars are displayed. If ignored, the call doesn't appear in the phone log.
The changes are so subtle that it would be impossible to spot for an untrained eye.
The problem? Those who continue to own these phones, those who do not upgrade to a smartphone, will eventually be exposed as players. The phone will itself say exactly who you are.
At 17, I was just a child. Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared.
Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore.
Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Marty Klein called bullshit on the concept of "sex addiction" in the July/August issue of the Humanist:
In thirty-one years as a sex therapist, marriage counselor, and psychotherapist, I’ve never seen sex addiction. I’ve heard about virtually every sexual variation, obsession, fantasy, trauma, and involvement with sex workers, but I’ve never seen sex addiction.
New patients tell me all the time how they can’t keep from doing self-destructive sexual things; still, I see no sex addiction. Instead, I see people regretting the sexual choices they make, often denying that these are decisions. I see people wanting to change, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel alive or young or loved or adequate; wanting the advantages of changing, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel they’re better or sexier or naughtier than other people. Most importantly, I see people wanting to stop doing what makes them feel powerful, attractive, or loved, but since they don’t want to stop feeling powerful, attractive or loved, they can’t seem to stop the repetitive sex clumsily designed to create those feelings.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the sex addiction movement—and certainly the most telling—is that it did not arise from the field of sex therapy or any other sexuality-related field. Rather, it was started in 1983 by Patrick Carnes, whose background is in counselor education and organizational development. He claims no training in human sexuality. “Sex addiction” has been adopted enthusiastically by the addiction community, and to a lesser extent by the marriage and family profession—the latter historically undertrained and uncomfortable with sexuality. You can, for example, become a licensed marriage counselor without ever hearing the words vibrator, clitoris, spanking, tongue-kissing, or panties during your education.
Almost thirty years after its invention by Carnes, “sex addiction” is still not a popular concept in the fields of sex therapy, sex education, or sex research. Of course, the media loves it, decency groups love it, and those who identify as some other kind of addict (alcohol, food, drugs) love it, especially if they’re fans of the Twelve Steps.
The whole piece is worth your time—and Klein rightly points out that almost everyone who takes the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST), which you can find at sexhelp.com (click the “Am I a sex addict?” link), qualifies as a sex addict.
“Rape culture,” as young feminists now call this, isn’t limited to India. It lives anywhere that has a “traditional” vision of women’s sexuality. A culture in which women are expected to remain virgins until marriage is a rape culture. In that vision, women’s bodies are for use primarily for procreation or male pleasure. They must be kept pure. While cultural conservatives would disagree, this attitude gives men license to patrol—in some cases with violence—women's hopes for controlling their lives and bodies. In October, responding to Richard Mourdock's incredible comment about rape, I mentioned an absolutely essential piece by The Nation's Jessica Valenti in a way I want to reprise here, if you'll excuse the self-quotation: "As Tennessee Senator Douglas Henry said in 2008, 'Rape, ladies and gentlemen, is not today what rape was. Rape, when I was learning these things, was the violation of a chaste woman, against her will, by some party not her spouse.'"
In other words, only virgins can be raped—sweetly white-gloved, white-skinned virgins. Any woman who ever wanted sex—yes, that includes married women who unconditionally give permission when they put on that ring—deserves what she gets.
Go read the whole thing. And let's all recognize the purity rings, purity balls, purity pledges, and purity bears being pushed by rightwing Christians for exactly what they are: a threat to women.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM
Or is it... SATAN?
This is my favorite thing on the internet right now. Nothing does more to undermine the whole ex-gay fraud than an actual ex-gay opening his mouth on YouTube. There's more at the crazy ex-gay dude's blog.
The Lehi City Council recently approved a request to change the name of one of its roads... The city council unanimously approved the renaming of Morning Glory Road to Morning Vista Road in a December 11 meeting. The name change was requested by a company called Xactware, who is constructing a new building on the street. Lehi City Council meeting notes say that the company requested the name change to fit with their “International Corporate image.” In an article from the Daily Herald, Lehi Councilman Mark Johnson says the company was concerned about the term “morning glory” and its association with one of its unofficial definitions.
Hm... how long will it take the forcers of dorkness on the Internet to come up with a new meaning for "Morning Vista" that conflicts with Xactware's corporate Image"?
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Dec 24, 2012 at 10:54 AM
"No, not undersexed and overweight hairy gay men," says John at Americablog. "But rather, cute and fuzzy little white teddy bears that a girl can hug and cuddle with when she feels that special urge to kiss the hot stud down the street."
There's a special pocket in the neck of "Boyfriend Bear" where a girl can tuck letters, photos, and momentos. (And maybe something she wants to hide from her parents? Condoms? Birth control pills? Vibrators? Or is her Boyfriend Bear's neck the first place a chaste girl's parents would go snooping?) Girls are encouraged to "hug and cuddle" their bears while waiting for "future husbands" to come along. Boyfriend Bears:
The purpose of our Boyfriend Bear is to hold love, kisses, prayers, and a special letter! He is a visual and huggable reminder to stay pure, not just another stuffed bear to toss in the corner... We wrote a letters to our future husbands and tucked them away in our Boyfriend Bear’s secret pocket. It is our hope that you will do the same when you are ready. Some things we included in our letters were our current interests, a school picture, favorite Bible verses, and promises to Him. We can’t wait to give our Boyfriend Bears to our husbands on our wedding day and read these special letters with him.
by Dan Savage
on Fri, Dec 21, 2012 at 2:14 PM
What they said:
I'm not buying the "I made a terrible mistake" stuff. I think she wanted to do this, her husband approved or got off on it, and they're toeing the contrition line because that's what our puritanical culture and media require. And to those who are worried about her seven-year-old daughter finding out: blame the "reporter" at The Smoking Gun for that.
1. Apparently, if you want to search for porn on Google, you're going to have to try a little harder. Here's a tip: The dirtier you talk to Google, the pornier your results get.
2. Willow is coming out on Blu-Ray next year. You might ask why this information is in a post headlined "This Week in Sex," but I assure you that somebody out there in the world just had an orgasm while reading the previous sentence.
Some female animals are known to show a preference for mating with males they had observed coupling with other females in a phenomenon known as "mate choice copying." This allows them to evaluate the quality of a potential mate from a distance. For this study, the researchers set out to show that homosexual behaviour in the tropical freshwater fish Poecilia mexicana would similarly boost a drabber male's chances of heterosexual coupling.
"P. mexicana females increase their preference for initially non-preferred males not only after observing those males interacting sexually with females, but also when having observed them initiating homosexual behaviour.... As homosexual behaviour is regularly seen in small P.mexicana males, we speculate that it might represent an alternative mating tactic used by subordinate, and thus, less attractive males," the University of Frankfurt researchers wrote.
We have received numerous reports from different people that saw the same thing in the Cape Town area last night (11 December 2012). This is the first time we have gotten so many reports on the same UFO. Below are their reports. Can you spot the similarity? All of them saw a “cloud” with a bright light behind it.
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Dec 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Amelia Earhart was monogamish before monogamish was cool. Feministing:
Wondering what a feminist icon living in the earlier half of the 1900′s thought about love and marriage? Look no further than the document above, a letter from Earhart to her future husband George Putnam.
You’ll remember Earhart became famous as the first female aviator to fly a solo transatlantic flight, redefining expectations of women along the way. Then, she tragically disappeared during a flight in 1937 (only to reappear in a “carefully scrubbed” and “exasperatingly dull” movie in which she was played by Hilary Swank, but that’s for another post).
Of course, we love her anyway for her courage and fierceness, and even moreso having stumbled upon this priceless prenup agreement. Reading through the document, one thing becomes very clear: this woman had a clear sense of what she wanted out of a marriage. And I find much of her marital vision compelling, even today.
A new Northwestern University study provides compelling evidence that human males are biologically wired to care for their offspring, conclusively showing for the first time that fatherhood lowers a man’s testosterone levels. The effect is consistent with what is observed in many other species in which males help take care of dependent offspring. Testosterone boosts behaviors and other traits that help a male compete for a mate. After they succeed and become fathers, “mating-related” activities may conflict with the responsibilities of fatherhood, making it advantageous for the body to reduce production of the hormone. “Humans are unusual among mammals in that our offspring are dependent upon older individuals for feeding and protection for more than a decade,” said Christopher W. Kuzawa, co-author of the study and associate professor of anthropology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. He also is a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. “Raising human offspring is such an effort that it is cooperative by necessity, and our study shows that human fathers are biologically wired to help with the job.”
“It’s not the case that men with lower testosterone are simply more likely to become fathers,” said Lee Gettler, a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Northwestern and co-author of the study. “On the contrary, the men who started with high testosterone were more likely to become fathers, but once they did, their testosterone went down substantially. Our findings suggest that this is especially true for fathers who become the most involved with child care.”
The new study’s findings also suggest that fathers may experience an especially large, but temporary, decline in testosterone when they first bring home a newborn baby. “Fatherhood and the demands of having a newborn baby require many emotional, psychological and physical adjustments,” Gettler said. “Our study indicates that a man’s biology can change substantially to help meet those demands.”
Northwestern's press release doesn't mention exactly when a new father's temporarily lowered testosterone levels bounce back to pre-new-baby, normal-ass-chasing levels, but... I suspect it's well before the kid turns 18.
A woman in western Sweden who was arrested after police found skeletons in her apartment has now been charged for using the bones as sex toys, a hobby she claimed was motivated by an interest in history.
If you're like me, you'll see echoes of Nathan DiPietro's lightly perverse landscapes in Mangan's deadpanning. I love the small oil and acrylic on panel Just Right, 2012. It feels like a sendup of Thomas Kinkade's paintings-of-light, in which each house glows a "heavenly" gold. Rather, this house rages. Somebody—or something—is crazy in there, burning the place up and pumping the heat out so hard through the ten chimneys that the out-of-doors is starting to melt around the home.
The nation's largest group of pediatricians is urging its members to write prescriptions in advance to enable teenagers to have fast access to the so-called morning-after birth control pill. "Emergency contraception is an important backup method for all teenagers," says a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Advanced provision increases the likelihood that teenagers will use emergency contraception when needed, reduces the time to use and does not decrease condom or other contraceptive use."
The faster you take it, the more effective the "so-called morning-after" pill is. But better than pre-prescribing it to teenagers, how about making it available over-the-counter?
My advice to the victims of this sex scandal is found in the exact way Grace Jones sings these words: "Don't cry, it's only the rhythm." Don't cry and be silent is what I have to say. But this position is not, I must admit, the very best. There is one that's even higher and more perfect than it. That position is expressed by the great American Billie Holiday in a tune she wrote called "Don't Explain"...
Quiet, don't explain You mixed with some dame Skip that lipstick Don't explain
What these lines clearly show, and what so many people failed to see in my own position (seeing it only as something to do with gender), is existential ice and resolve. Because it's not possible to control and predict the courses of life, it's best to form a philosophy for these vicissitudes. Holiday's philosophy is not like mine (silence and ice), but the silencing/icing of the betrayer. No stories, no tales, no excuses—all you must do is stop explaining, shut up, and go to bed. There is grandeur in this view of life.
You may have heard this story. Thirty-one-year-old Savita Halappanavar, who was visiting Ireland from India, was 17 weeks pregnant when she went to University Hospital Galway with back pain. They found out that she was miscarrying. According to the Irish Times, after spending a day in severe pain, Halappanavar started begging to have delivery induced, since there was no way the fetus could survive. She was refused, because the fetus still had a heartbeat. [According] to the hospital’s interpretation of Catholic theology and Irish law, preserving a fetus that could not possibly survive was more important than an actual, breathing, otherwise healthy and lively woman.
How in the world is that pro-life?
Savita Halappanavar died because an entire country decided to sentimentalize every clump of dividing cells that might or might not be able to develop into a full human being. In fact, in this case, the clump of cells’ only actual effect was to destroy the life of its host, a real human being. As her husband told another newspaper: "How can you let a young woman go to save a baby who will die anyway? Savita could have had more babies.... It has been a terrible few weeks, very hard to understand how this could happen in the 21st century, very hard to explain to her family. If it had happened in the UK or India, the whole thing would have been over in a few hours."
And he told Reuters, "I am still in shock. It is hard to believe that religion can mean somebody's life."
But it can.
Go read the whole heartbreaking, infuriating thing. And remember to punch the next idiot who tells you that he wants to "get rid of" Planned Parenthood or that there's no need for a "life of the mother" exception—which Ireland has and Savita Halappanavar is dead anyway.
Dr. Scott Broadwell planned a romantic birthday getaway in Virginia for his wife Paula Broadwell but their time there was cut short when the media revealed FBI findings of an affair between Paula and former CIA director David Petraeus. Though Scott has made no public statement regarding the extramarital affair since it first surfaced to the public on Friday, ABC News reported that the radiologist and father of two might have a hard time forgiving his wife and moving past the whole incident.
Here is a great place to bring up my position on crying. Can you imagine the husband, a grown man, crying in front of his wife after learning of the affair, learning that the general has been fucking her behind his back? Can you really picture that? Crying in the presence of the person who betrayed you? He would look utterly helpless, hopeless, and sorry. With tears in his eyes and hurt in his voice: "You fucked the general. How could you do that to me." No, this will not do.
We know the husband cannot hit her—violence is much worse than crying. So, what are the options? Talking about it? Yes, that's better than crying. But even if you express your feelings well, there is always the danger of being dragged into a dreary Strindbergian drama—shouting, slamming doors, interrogating, demanding details: "Did he fuck you in our bed? And how did he fuck you? From behind? Did it feel good? Did you like it more than when I fuck you?" This sort of thing is pointless and unproductive.
What about silence? Saying nothing? Never even giving her, the one who betrayed you, the pleasure of knowing how you feel? Need I say more? Keep silent, keep it to yourself, never let a word out, and always say to your hurt heart: This, too, shall pass.
The look of the wife. As you can see, they do not look at all alike. One seems strong and sexually alive, the other modest and sexually asleep. But the truth that's beginning to take shape is that the general had lost interest in his wife long ago.
“Frankly my husband wasn’t really at my dinner table much of the last ten years,” [Holly Petraeus] told the [host of Where We Live].
But one wonders why she is so surprised by the affair.
CIA Director David Petraeus resigned Friday, citing an extramarital affair and "extremely poor judgment."
As first reported by NBC News and in a letter released to the CIA work force on Friday afternoon, Petraeus disclosed the affair, and wrote: "Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours."
Petraeus told President Obama of his affair and offered his resignation during a meeting on Thursday, a senior official told NBC News. In a phone on Friday, Obama accepted the resignation.
Let it be said: If you are the head superspy of the United States, and you can't even keep your own affair a secret, you probably should resign.
James Deen, "the adult industry’s biggest male star," explains his dismay over a newly passed law that requires porn stars with dicks to put a condom on those dicks while fucking on camera in Los Angeles County.
He has a point—there are already tons of safeguards in the big-time porn industry.
But the problem this law addresses isn't a problem in the sort of porn that Deen is in—porn that features "the adult industry’s biggest male star." Folks at the top of the business (the cream of the crop, if you will), they can afford to set those terms. You know, folks like Deen tend to have the leverage to require that his scenes get filmed outside of Los Angeles County. The problem is with low-rent porn that stars the amateur, semi-underground, and sometimes-poor young recruits who can't afford to set the terms of the deal. That's who this law is for.
I always tell myself "I can never-ever love the Babeland store any more than I already do." Then they prove me wrong. Tomorrow, in hopes of getting more people out to the polls, they're giving away 200 vibrators, plus other prizes. From Babeland HQ:
Red or Blue, conservative or liberal, if there's one thing we all have in common it's our right to vote. Get out and help choose our next President on Tuesday, November 6th. For your effort, we'll give a free Babeland Bipartisan Buzz to the first 200 voters at each of our stores in New York City and Seattle. From 1-5 pm, all stores will also be doing hourly drawings for winners to get a toy of their choice. Cast your vote to decide which toy should govern in the bedroom and you just might win it!
On a related note, they recently did a customer survey:
These are the results of a customer survey we conducted this fall that looked at how sexual behavior breaks down along party lines. Over 1,600 people responded and discovered some fun stats. For example:
The full survey results after the jump. VOTING IS SEXY!