Word selection and nuance are super important in managing open relationship communication. One simple example has been wrestling with the difference between jealousy and envy. Another, more recent revelation, has been the difference between equal and balanced.
One of the most important aspects in our open marriage is that neither Jeannie nor I are looking for partners to replace each other. Instead we’re looking for partners that supplement or compliment our relationship while fulfilling some individual needs or desires. For example, Jeannie likes some aspects of impact play, but not all the same ones that I enjoy. Therefore, my partnering with Justina to play with canes, for example, complimented my relationship with Jeannie. It allowed me to satisfy a craving I cannot satisfy with Jeannie while taking nothing away from Jeannie and me.
This, is balance. This is what open relationships should seek.
I was recently asked to write a guest post for Dr. Marie Thouin’s blog: What is Compersion?. It was a pleasure to have met Marie and learn about her research, which she completed as part of her Ph.D. studies. I enjoyed sharing my story with her along with my thoughts on this complex topic.
For those unfamiliar with the term compersion, it originated in the 1990s in the context of ethical non-monogamy to describe feeling joy or happiness at seeing one’s partner happy as a result of their connection with another partner. In other words, if I am compersive (read my post to find out if I am), then I should derive pleasure at seeing Viktor happy when he spends time with an FWB or a new paramour. This is a very simplified version and I would highly recommend that one check out Marie’s blog and research to learn about compersion in much more depth.
While Viktor and I have written about compersion before, this was an interesting exercise for me as I examined my current state of mind regarding compersion. In this regard, I found it useful to look at a broader application of the term because, for me, compersion can be applied to other connections and relationships beyond romantic partners.
As previously shared, I met Brady back in April and we had a fun first date. We bonded over cocktails, which led to an intense (and inappropriate) make-out session at an uptown lounge. When he expressed his desire to go out again, he indicated that he would prefer to go somewhere with more privacy (so as not to shock fellow patrons again) and shared that he wanted to spend more time with my sexy persona. I readily agreed and we picked a date for the following month given our mutually busy schedules.
We arranged to meet at an upscale bar (initially the Roosevelt Hotel rooftop lounge, which turned out to be closed for renovations), to give us the opportunity to reconnect after the four-week hiatus. I had been more casually dressed for our first date, so I made up for my error with an overtly sexy, black and nude, lace cocktail dress, which very much met with Brady’s approval.
Over drinks, Brady brought up the topic of a safe-word and stated that it would be… safe-word. I knew from our first date that he was into spanking, but we hadn’t discussed much else in the way of D/s play, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Plus, this was only our second time meeting each other, so I was both excited and nervous at the same time, not knowing precisely what was in store.
While I left most of the planning for our fourth date up to Tim, I knew at least part of my attire for the evening would be the beautiful AP stockings he had gifted me on our third date. They were black polka-dots, so I paired them with a black garter belt and a new matching bra and panty that was black with white dots. During one of our text chats, Tim had expressed interest in seeing me in a tight-fitting, short dress, so I perused my closet for something that fit the bill and pulled on a black knit dress to wear over my lingerie.
I also knew that I had to make sure that the new sex toy was adequately charged and that I generally knew how to use it (or at least brought the instructions with me). Once it was ready, I turned on the small vibrator and slipped it into the pouch provided in the underwear included in the toy’s set. I then tied them on over my sexy, ouvert panties. The vibrator was in place (sort of), but slipped further into the pouch as I walked to the subway.
On my way to meet Tim, he texted me to make sure I remembered that we were meeting at the James Hotel in Nomad, not Soho, and then he sent me a photo of the cocktail menu so he could order my drink for me and have it waiting upon my arrival. Very classy and appreciated!
For our third date, Tim asked if I wanted to go somewhere trendy or more sedate. I chose trendy and we arranged to meet at the rooftop bar at the Dream Hotel Downtown. The weather was perfect and I found Tim sitting at a table on the balcony, with amazing views of the New York City skyline.
It had been a few weeks since we had seen each other and we warmly greeted one another and then Tim presented me with a gift… stockings from Agent Provocateur. It was a sexy start to the evening.
We enjoyed a few drinks and had fun catching up with each other. Then Tim suggested that we go to dinner and offered me some choices in the neighborhood. We decided to go to Buddakan, headed over to the restaurant and proceeded to have a delicious meal.
After dinner, we started walking back to the hotel. I was a little tipsy and wasn’t paying close attention, thinking that we were going back to the rooftop for another drink or two. Then suddenly I realized that we were heading to a room. Beautifully executed!
For those following along at home, these last few posts have been very reflective, but I promise that life has not been boring. The dating app did not disappoint in gifting me with a variety of adventures back in April, which I have been negligent in sharing. Most of these have simply been first dates that haven’t gone anywhere, but a few have the potential to become more interesting.
Jesse: As a wine distributor who was excited that I was drinking Pecorino (and not Chardonnay) when we first began texting, he seemed promising; at least there would be good wine on our dates. So I took him to my favorite, local wine bar, where we had a pleasant time. But after an auspicious start, the follow through was non-existent. He finally texted two weeks later, which I decided was two weeks too late.
Polly: She was our first female connection on the app and our first double (or rather, triple) date. We took her for drinks and both Viktor and I liked her, but she was too self-conscious about her size in comparison to mine and chose not to pursue us further.
Polyamory. Its definition is right there in the word… many.
But, how many is too many?
Before I got married, I had had 10 sexual partners including Viktor. Some of those were one-night stands, but most were in the context of a dating relationship. And that was over a period of seven years. So, once I was a married, monogamous woman, I figured that number would never change, nor did it matter.
But, obviously things have changed. When we first opened up our marriage, sex (specifically intercourse) seemed so scary and I considered it to be a Very Big Deal. Thus, my play was limited to outercourse. Then, a few months in, with Viktor’s blessing, I chose to have sex with Jack during our first full swap.
Since then, I have had sex with several other partners, with the expectation that there was some sort of ongoing relationship with the person. In some cases, this didn’t turn out as expected, but you can’t plan for everything.
Wow! I can’t believe that this past year has flown by. It has been such an amazing experience to go on this polyamorous journey with you as we pushed, prodded and pulled our marriage in new and exciting ways. Even more unbelievable is how much this has brought us closer together, increased our intimacy and dramatically improved our sex lives!
Early on in our marriage, when I was convinced that I was “broken,” you stood by your conviction that you would rather be with me without sex than be with someone else with lots of sex. I even encouraged you to find a mistress, but you chose not to pursue this option. Instead, we found ways to maintain our connection and bond, but it was frustrating for both of us as we endured an undersexed marriage.
It’s hard to believe that almost a year has gone by since that first, fateful party, catapulting Viktor and me into a new chapter of our lives. When we first decided to pursue this journey, we knew that it would be a positive experience, but that really doesn’t sufficiently capture the profound impact that this past year has had on us as a couple and on me and my sexual awakening.
Almost ten years ago, I served as the anonymous interviewee (Charlotte – #5) for an article on sexual frequency in marriage in Self Magazine, August 2010. At the time, we admitted to having sex about once a month, but in reality, I think it was even less. And, this was after 13 years of marriage, which had been undersexed from the very beginning. I was shut down sexually – filled with shame, a lack of libido, and a general sense that wives (aka good girls) weren’t sexual beings. Rationally, I knew that these thoughts didn’t make sense, but I didn’t know how to overcome their negative influence.
Thankfully, despite the lack of intercourse, we still remained close with shared intimacy – kissing, cuddling, hugs and a sense of being loved. This was never at issue or in doubt! Thus, I was eager to share my story in the magazine to let other women know that they weren’t alone. But, while I was somewhat at peace with where things stood in my marriage and sex life, I knew I wanted so much more. Continue reading I’ve come a long way, baby
On Friday, in my S Factor class, my teacher called me a Super Goddess and talked about how I had been revealing and, standing for, my truth over these past few months. It was perfectly timed feedback since she had also shared with us about the arrival of the New Moon that night and our ability to take advantage of that to set intentions for our future desires.
Coincidentally, when I got out of class, there was an email from Viktor, who had forwarded me a blog post about the New Moon from the Alchemist’s Kitchen. As I read the article, I was profoundly struck by this statement: “At the same time, we may be questioning what outmoded commitments and obligations are holding us back that we now need to break. However, this period is not about running away. Aries the Ram is confrontational, and we’re learning to face each other—to confront our feelings so we can work through the messier, illogical aspects of our lives and relationships.”
In addition to the New Moon synchronicity, this discussion was also apropos because I had reached out to Jay the night before. After everything that happened with Jay at the recent erotic party, I didn’t know precisely where things stood with him. I had followed up with him immediately after the party to apologize and received a brief response. Then, just prior to heading out on vacation, I asked him if I was persona non grata; he noted that he was not like that and wished me the best on our trip. However, I still didn’t know if he wanted to resume our relationship or not. And, frankly, I wasn’t sure what I wanted from him either. I just knew that things felt unfinished and I wanted to know his thoughts at the very least.