Meeting New Play Partners

Having pretty much given up on dating apps, I’m always looking for more ways to meet potential partners IRL. I’ve met a few through my dance community, but I also have concerns about “messing things up” within that community, so I’m proceeding with caution. And regular (non-poly) events pose other thorny issues, not the least of which: “why is this dude with a wedding ring hitting on me?” 😳

Enter “Poly Cocktails” and other poly mixers. Here in NYC there’s a standing monthly Poly Cocktails event that’s free to attend and draws a respectable and respectful crowd from the poly community. There are also “munches” and other vanilla events for the community to mix and mingle with like minded folks, without the pressure of a play party. Jeannie and I have been to a few and we’ve met great folks, but really never actually met a new play partner.

That all changed recently.

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A Confluence of Conversations

We are constantly having a flurry of conversations with others… and with ourselves. Even if it’s just in our head. And, despite the fact that there is only one person involved in such discussions, they, too, can be contentious or at least less than straightforward.

For our first date outside meeting at the BDSM party, Austin came over to our apartment for a scene . I was clear with him up front that I didn’t know if I would want to have sex with him. He was okay with this, so we agreed to proceed. That evening, we had a four-hour scene with rope and sensual play, taking turns as Dom/Mistress and sub. Things did become very physical, but I deliberately chose not to engage in penetrative sex because I didn’t really know him and I wasn’t sure where things were going with us. Was this date simply a one night stand?

I was still unsure what I wanted to happen on our second date, but knew that I wanted to get to know him better. Thus, I requested a non-scene date. He offered to cook me dinner and go to a paint and sip event near his apartment.

We had a lovely dinner and then snuggled and kissed for a bit afterwards before heading to the art event. We then returned to his apartment and got cozy on his bed. Things progressed with time and we were eventually both naked and enjoying each other’s bodies, but I told him that I wasn’t sure I wanted to have sex. As we continued to tease and turn each other on, I began to have an in-depth conversation in my head.

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More Non-Sexual Intimacy

After my amazing and intimate experience dancing the other night, I was looking forward to my next date with Justina just three nights later. She’d been really busy and I wasn’t feeling as closely connected as before, so I welcomed this alone time to reconnect. She made it clear to me earlier that day that she wasn’t in a very sexy mood. And since we’d mostly planned on cuddles and snuggles, I was fine removing sex from the menu. Especially at a time when I was channeling so much non-sexual energy, it seemed everything was aligned.

We spent most of the evening snuggled on her couch watching a movie. We also talked and caught up on lots of things simply because we hadn’t had time over the last few weeks. This was all quite nice, and very relaxing, but things didn’t really click (for me at least) until it was getting quite late. This was a “school night” after all!

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Non-Sexual Intimacy is Sexy!

It’s been a relatively quite two weeks since A Kinky Reset, and I’m pretty sure I needed it. I had a much anticipated date with Justina cancelled cause she was sick and while I was disappointed, it seemed for the best for everyone. Sometimes we have to focus on ordinary life, self-care, etc. Without a solid grounding for ourselves, how can we share with others?

I appreciated the “quiet” time, but was also getting a little anxious about various activities and partners. Despite allowing myself to properly recharge by doing the things I needed to do for myself, I was feeling disconnected from others – especially my friends. I couldn’t put my finger on why and sometimes the why doesn’t really matter. This may be one of those times.

In a mildly depressed emotional state, I entered into a weekend with a lot of friendly interaction on the calendar.

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And, I’m back!

After the exhaustion of the previous three weeks and the weird House of Love party, I was confused. What was next and what did I really want to happen? I was just about to give up and take a break, but fortunately life had other plans, putting me back on track and back into my body.

I kicked off the week with a friend for happy hour, setting the stage for a good mood all around. Then, on Tuesday night, we had plans to go to a BDSM Party with T. I was so thrilled to be embarking on this journey with her, shepherding her exploration. We all set intentions on the subway there, putting forth three desires each. My desires were: 1) to stay awake (since I had been up since 3am); 2) to play in some way at the party; and 3) to interact and flirt with others.

As we walked into the venue, I was overcome with anxiety, but tried to push past it. We were immediately welcomed into the event and soon met a number of people, actively engaging in various conversations. I saw that T was taken care of as she talked at length with the organizer and I knew that Viktor could fend for himself, so I relaxed and enjoyed meeting new people and observing a few kink scenes from the sidelines.

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Houses and Hearts of Love

At the end of my emotional rollercoaster ride and my five first dates, I was exhausted. However, Justina, Viktor and I were scheduled to go to the House of Love party on Friday night. And, while I was a little nervous, I was very much looking forward to our first foray into the world as a polycule.

Our evening became a little more complicated when Gigi not only started dating Dan (who is now my employer as well as my friend), but also decided that they, too, would attend the House of Love party. We agreed to pre-game with them as is our usual plan with Gigi pre-House of Yes events.

In addition, friends Lane and Nolan who I had met on Feeld, but befriended instead, had taken me up on my invite and were excited, but anxious, to be there. Plus, my friend K, who had had an unhappy experience at the previous House of Love party, was giving it another go. So, there would be a big group of us there together.

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Getting Crumbs and Gaining Clarity

I generally go to my S Factor class or on Wednesday nights and, on occasion, will schedule plans for after class. The first time I met Eric we had arranged just that.

Unfortunately, on my way to class, the subway decided to be very wonky going local (or as I like to call it, SLOWcal) instead of express. Thus, I arrived downtown way too late to make it in time. I was very disappointed to miss class and texted Viktor about what had happened. He was sympathetic and invited me to meet up with him and his colleague for drinks at our favorite Champagne bar. I was able to join them for bubbles and light bites, having a fun time despite the frustration at missing class.

At that point, I still had plans with Eric, but we had not arranged where to meet. I was feeling somewhat annoyed and contemplated canceling when he texted to say that he was running late and would 8:50 work instead of our initial time of 8:30. Still on the fence, I consulted Viktor and his friend and we agreed that I would take a playful approach.

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The Alchemy of Emotion

It’s amazing to think about how much has happened in just a few weeks! In late September, I was hit hard by Viktor’s revelation that he was in love with his new girlfriend, Justina. I took some time to recover from the shock, further bolstered by our wonderful weekend away in celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary. I thought all was fine…until it wasn’t. From there, it was a deep dive into depression, with many crying jags, endless discussions and an emotional rollercoaster that truly threw me for a loop.

Eventually, I knew it was time to pick myself up and dust myself off, knowing that this painful place wasn’t where I wanted to be. I hated the selfish nature of what I was feeling and was very conscious about not derailing Viktor and Justina’s relationship. Yes, I was struggling with jealousy, envy, shame and doubt, but I knew that I needed to allow these emotions to move through my body if I was ever going to heal and move past them.
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Five First Dates

I am admittedly single minded when I have something I want and often approach things with a “to do” list mentality. Accordingly, ever since I decided that I wanted a boyfriend (and even more so in the wake of Justina’s arrival), I have been actively pursuing this goal. Yet, unlike “Buy bread” or “Pick up dry cleaning,” it is not so easily checked off one’s list.

My most recent pursuit centered on scheduling five first dates within one week, with the expectation that at least one would work out. My further thought was to schedule as many dates as possible and to schedule them close together so I could more clearly compare and contrast each one. I thought that their proximity to one another would provide clarity in knowing who/what I wanted. In the end, it was an exercise in futility and frustration. Honestly, it was too much, too soon and too tiring.

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I Love You! (or am I In Love With You?)

Jeannie recently posted “Emotional Rollercoasters and Shame Spirals: When Compersion Isn’t Enough” – It’s a very important part of our story and currently very raw and challenging. Yet, somehow, I’ve never felt closer to her; never more sure of our commitment and our bond. She’s struggling right now, having feelings or being discarded and used, and all I want to do is help alleviate those feelings. While I can provide a lot of emotional support, only Jeannie can process her emotions. Thankfully, because of our trust and communication, she hasn’t held back and has been asking me difficult questions. I may not want to hear them at first, but answering them has been so incredible helpful.

Before diving into the “love/in love” matter, I want to point out that there are at least two distinct things sending Jeannie down this shame spiral:

  • Disappointment in the lack of commitment from her partners (feeling used and discarded)
  • Dealing with my new found love for my girlfriend, Justina (jealousy and the painful potential that I might discard her)

I feel strongly that Jeannie was already concerned about the first point, but in reality it’s the second one that triggered the deep, dark, negative feelings she’s processing right now. And I get it, I’m sure I’d feel the same if she came home tomorrow and told me she’s in love with another. For this post, though, I’m separating the two and discussing only the topic within my control – my feelings toward Justina.

Continue reading I Love You! (or am I In Love With You?)