Here’s The Real Truth About Polyamory In The Black Community

Share

“I don’t believe in rules. Rules are about trying to wall off an insecurity.”

by Damona Hoffman

[F]irst, let’s get a few ground rules straight. The polyamorists I spoke with do not want to be seen as sex hungry monsters who swing from partner to partner. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of polyamory is the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time. So for clarity, we are talking about emotional and physical intimacy here, not just sex.

“Polyamory, Swinging, Open Marriages, Open Relationships, Monogamish and more all fall under the umbrella of non-monogamy but people who are polyamorous are more interested in the relationship and don’t just want to have sex with people,” says editor of the online magazine BlackandPoly.org, Crystal Farmer. “However, a lot poly people have sexual relationships while there are also people who don’t have sexual relationships, who are asexual or don’t have a need for a sexual connection, but consider themselves polyamorous because they are in emotional relationships with other people.”

Are you following? This means you can be polyamorous through sexual relationships or non-sexual emotional relationships or, for most polyamorous people, something in between. The bottom line is that you don’t belong to just one person.

Crystal defines herself as “solo-poly.” “I consider myself my primary partner,” she proclaims. Other than her 7-year-old daughter Crystal explains that she doesn’t want to live with someone again although she says she’s open to having relationships with men, women and gender non-binary individuals.

She was first introduced to the lifestyle by her ex-husband, who wanted an open marriage but asked her to maintain a “one penis policy.” This means that he could bring other women into the partnership and she could have relationships with other females but men were off limits.

Author and speaker Kevin Patterson, founder of the blog PolyRoleModels.tumblr.com, has a very different point of view. He and his wife, who have been together for 16 years, have both maintained relationships with girlfriends and boyfriends with complete trust and transparency.

“I don’t believe in rules. Rules are about trying to wall off an insecurity,” Kevin told me. “When I’m triggered, it inspires me to ask where the insecurity is coming from.” He feels that his partners should all have autonomy.

In his forthcoming book, Love Is Not Color Blind, Kevin discusses what it is like being a Black polyamorous man just as he has done in speaking engagements around the country for years. Borrowing Mahershala Ali’s quote on the Black American experience, “We move through the world playing defense, we don’t have the capacity to play offense,” Kevin says he feels like he’s always defending the legitimacy of his marriage and his decision to be polyamorous to family, the church, and the Black community.

Denika, a 41-year-old polyamorous woman, also felt ostracized from her family and community for choosing to live her life in this way until she discovered the Black polyamorous community online.

A quick search of Meetup.com in my own city of Los Angeles yielded 19 options of polyamory groups to join. But just how diverse are these groups? Crystal, who is based just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, says that the groups she attends are predominantly white.

She is open to dating someone of a different culture but she admits that she feels more comfortable when there are other people of color in her poly groups.

In addition to meetup groups, OKCupid seems to be a popular date source for the non-monogamous.

“I am a happily married man in a polyamorous relationship” is the first line in Kevin’s dating profile. He finds it easier to date in circles where they already know about your lifestyle so you don’t have to “edu-date” a partner about how non-monogamy works.

Writer/director Alicia Bunyan-Sampson, 29, began using dating sites when she was new to the polyamory community but quickly found that her Blackness was exoticized among the couples on her polyamory dating site. She thought the first message she received, with the subject line “Ebony Seeking Ivory,” was an anomaly but when her inbox filled up with 200 similar messages, she retreated from the world of polyamory.

Although she still feels she is polyamorous, Alicia says in her essay “Diary of a Polyamorous Black Girl” that “white is the face of polyamory and has been for quite some time. It more than likely will remain that way. The face of the world is white – why wouldn’t the poly community be the same?”

Crystal sees there is more shame around polyamory in the African-American community because of our roots in Christianity and conservative values.

Denika recalls a time when her sister asked how her relationship with God played into her decision to be polyamorous. Denika sees intimacy and religion as two separate things yet that doesn’t stop her from noticing a look of disapproval when she tells people in the black community that she is polyamorous.

I turned to intimalogist Dr. Kat Smith to understand the psychology behind the polyamory movement. She sees it as a return to our evolutionary roots. “It goes to show how animalistic humans really are.” If you look at many animal packs, the leader is able to have sex with multiple females. “We are sexual beings first,” says Dr. Kat.

Her concern, however, is that women are ‘going rogue with sexuality.’ She warns, “It’s one thing to claim your freedom and sexual liberation. Another thing to put yourself in harms way by not respecting your body.”

Crystal was met with this sentiment so often that she wrote a blog about it for BlackandPoly.org. She wanted to make it safe for other people who feel like her. “I like having sex but that doesn’t mean that I’m compromising my values or putting my life in danger just for sex,” Crystal declares. “I’m a polyamorous person and I’m proud of it.”

Trust seems to be the highest priority among all the poly individuals I spoke to. Denika notes, “I need to be able to trust people. Sometimes it can be hurtful but I will be upfront with you so you’re not mislead in the end.” She clarifies that she doesn’t do hookups. “If all you want is sex then you need to be upfront with your intentions but don’t waste my time,” Denika explains.

Is polyamory “right” for African-Americans? You will have to draw your own conclusion. What I can say is that the polyamorous people I spoke with all seemed happy with their decision to live life in this way. It’s evident from the growing popularity of sites like BlackandPoly.org and PolyRoleModels.tumblr.com that there is at least a curiosity and an openness to exploring non-traditional relationship options.

Denika’s advice is to “know yourself, explore your sexuality, intimacy, sense of self and be open to something different.”

Complete Article HERE!

Share

Caught in the modesty bind: Why women feel shy to consult doctors for their sexual well-being

Share

By Aditi Mallick

“I was 17, when I first got sexually intimate with my boyfriend,” says Kriya (name changed), a 23-year-old IT professional from Hyderabad, while speaking to The News Minute.

“Later we were very scared, as it was the first time for both of us,” she recalls. She missed her periods that month. The 17-year old who had never once been to hospital alone, was scared and unsure of what to do next.

Trying to glean more information online just added to her worry over getting pregnant. Finally she discussed the issue with her boyfriend, and both of them decided to consult a gynaecologist.

“I was already very scared. After I told the receptionist my age, she kept staring at me. It made me so uncomfortable. While other patients were called by name, when it was my turn, she said ‘Aey, hello.…go!’ I felt so bad.

I expected at least the doctor to act sensitive. She first asked me what happened. When I told her, she started lecturing to me about our culture, and how young I am. It was a horrible experience. After the check-up, once I reached home, I burst out crying,” she shares.

From then on, Kriya has always felt too scared to discuss any sexual health problem with a gynaecologist. She is now 23, but in her view, nothing much has changed.

“Last month, I had rashes all over my vagina right up to my thigh. I just could not walk. It was painful. In the beginning, I used anti-allergic medication and antiseptic cream. But I was finally forced to go to a doctor. But even this time, I was ill-prepared for those weird looks.

The receptionist first asked for my name, then my husband’s name. For a moment, I panicked. After a pause I said, I am unmarried.”

Kriya feels that such unnecessary queries have nothing to do with a particular health problem and should not be asked: “We are adults and should not be judged for such things. After all, it is my decision. But society does not think so.”

Dr Kalpana Sringra, a Hyderabad-based sexologist agrees:“Doctors should not interfere in a patient’s personal life. But sadly, some do. A few are open-minded. They do not care whether the patient is married or not. We do at times have to ask about how frequently they have sex to ascertain the cause.”

Kalpana believes the rigid cultural restrictions and undue secrecy about anything related to sex are what makes patients uncomfortable sharing sexual health issues with their doctors.

Prapti (name changed), a 21-year old second year engineering student says: “Ï had  quite a few relationships, and faced initial problems like bleeding and pain during sex. I sometimes lose interest while having sex, due to this immense pain in the vagina.”

But she does not want to consult a doctor: “I prefer advice from friends. At least, they will not judge me.” She remembers the time she had to consult a doctor two years ago, when after having sex, the pain persisted for a whole day.

“The doctor did not even try to explain the reason. I kept asking her whether it was anything serious. But she deliberately chose to ignore me. Later I heard her murmur ‘this generation….uff’! When I shared this with my friends, I realised they too had been in similar situations.

According to Kalpana, only ten percent women come forward to consult a doctor for sexual well-being, of which the majority are planning to get married soon and want to get themselves checked for infection and related advice.

No woman ever goes to the doctor for this, unless it is absolutely avoidable. Not just unmarried women, but even married ones are ignorant in this regard. Young unmarried women are only more hesitant to ask or seek medical help, fearing society and parents, she says.

“Both married and unmarried women are not comfortable. They mostly come with their partners. To make them feel comfortable, we talk to the women alone. After a while, they open up about their problems.”

She also claims that 20% of women who suffer from vaginal infection like UTI and rashes after marriage too feel shy to discuss it with the doctor: “Men seem more comfortable discussing their sexual problems. 90% of our patients are men. But they tend to come alone.”

That was not the case with Jayesh (name changed), a 27-year old. He used to earlier hesitate to talk about his sexual health: “It was only a year back that I consulted a doctor for premature ejaculation, something that I suffered from the age of 23. I used to think if my friends get to know, they would make fun of me.”

The common issues that men in the age group of 18-80 are premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. “Most men confess that they force their wives to use contraceptive pills, as they do not want to wear condoms,” Kalpana says.

Gaurav (name changed), a 29-yearold unmarried man insists that he has never forced his girlfriend to use contraceptive pills, but they do sometimes prefer pills over condoms.

Gaurav who is sexually active does not feel ashamed or uncomfortable consulting a doctor, but that is not the case with his girlfriend: “Four years back, she once started bleeding after we had sex. Honestly, I was clueless how to handle the situation and whom to contact. We did not go the doctor, fearing prejudice.

My girlfriend is not at all comfortable consulting a doctor. She usually avoids going to a gynaecologist, as they ask whether we are married or not. It makes her uncomfortable. It happened a few times with us in Hyderabad. That’s why sometimes she prefers to use emergency contraceptive pills rather than consult a doctor.”

“Sex jokes are allowed, but people are otherwise shy talking about sex. Parents do not talk freely on the topic. It is still a taboo for Indian society,” Gaurav remarks.

When Preeti (name changed) -who is now doing an event management course- was in her final BCom year, she led an active sex life:

“I went for a party and got drunk. That night my friend and I had sex. I did not then realise that we had forgotten to use a condom. After missing my periods, I freaked out. I was confused and went to see a doctor. They first asked if I was married. I lied.”

She also admits to feeling uncomfortable while buying I-pills, condoms or pregnancy test devices: “Once a medical shopkeeper asked whether it was for me, with those around giving me judgmental looks.”

Fearing societal disapproval, several unmarried women tend to take medications, after consulting the internet.

“They go to medical stores or send their partners to buy medicines without consulting a doctor. Emergency contraceptive pills have several side-effects like, dizziness, vomiting etc. Some even try to abort through pills, which is life-threatening and can affect their health in the long run,” warns Kalpana.

Complete Article HERE!

Share

SEX WISDOM With Toni Newman — Podcast #299 — 09/21/11

Share

[display_podcast]

Hello sex fans! Welcome back.

Holy cow, I’m giddy with excitement, because I have an extraordinary program in store for you today. I am honored to be welcoming my first transgendered guest to the show. Just to be clear, it’s not like I haven’t reached out to other transgendered people in the past; I have. It just that I was never was able to seal the deal.

So when I contacted Toni Newman, the author of the groundbreaking: I Rise – The Transformation of Toni Newman, I kind of expected the same kind of noncommittal response I got from the other prospective guests. I was so pleasantly surprised to find that not only was Toni willing to come speak with us, she has an inspirational story of survival and triumph over the most amazing odds to tell.

But wait; that’s not all! This show is a twofer, don’t cha know. My guest, our conversation and the themes discussed in this podcast easily fall into both the SEX WISDOM series and the Sex EDGE-U-cation series.

Toni is, of course, among the movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality; who are making news and helping us take a fresh look at our sexual selves. But she’s also a former sex worker who honestly and forthrightly speaks about her life on the streets and as a tranny dominatrix. Hold on to your hats, sex fans, you’ll not find a more startling and revealing interview anywhere on the net.

Toni and I discuss:

  • Being the first African-American transgendered person to write a memoir;
  • The unique perspective of transgendered people or color;
  • Transgender/transsexual;
  • Gender and genitalia;
  • Being shunned by other sexual minorities;
  • Transgender and sexual orientation;
  • Her life before her transition;
  • The difficulties she faced in her transition;
  • The phenomenal expense of a transition;
  • Being a sex worker.

Toni invites you to visit her on her site HERE!  She’s on Facebook HERE! And enjoy her twitter feed HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Toni’s book.)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

Share

Who Can I Turn To?

Share

Hello Dr. Dick! I have a serious question for you. I’m relatively new at this, so here goes. In trying to meet and make gay friends, I find that none want a friend. The only interest I find is for sex. Is this typical and is it a waste of time seeking gay friends?
— C

Dear C,

Thanks for your message and question.bw1.jpg

I’ve been hearing a lot of similar complaints from guys all over the country lately. Some are just coming out; others are just weary of the constant sexual competitiveness among gay men.

Let me begin by saying, yes, what you report is pretty typical. And, no, you’re not wasting your time looking for gay friends. That being said, you should also know that making friends in the gay community is often very different than making friends in the straight community. For the most part, the “getting-to-know-you” phase among gay men almost always has a sexual component to it. Is this a good thing? I’ll leave that for you to decide.

Personally, this does not put me off, but that’s only because I understand the ground rules. If you’re approaching gay friendships with a heterosexual mindset, you’ll no doubt encounter some frustration. If, on the other hand, you accept the fact that casual sex is, at least for some, a legitimate means of getting to know someone, and is as good a reason as any for making friends, there will be less disappointment.

This can be very challenging for those whose sexual mores are not that open-ended. On the other hand, this can be an opportunity to open oneself up sexually and to learn to appreciate a wider range of sexual expression from the very casual to the deeply committed.

Good luck

Richard,
I really do appreciate your taking the time to respond. Yes, I am finding it difficult to navigate the gay waters. I’m not completely out and the primary reason (one could argue other reasons) has to do with what I see in the gay community. I don’t see the warmth or open friendliness I see in the Black community for example.
I recently moved to a new city in Indiana and joined a local predominately Black church. Even though I didn’t know anyone I was welcomed with open arms. The people there often invite me to events and gatherings. I have done the same in the gay community and it seems so cold and icy. I have attended a predominately gay church, joined a gay support group, etc. In none of these gay environments did I ever feel welcome. Few, if any, made any attempt to say hello let alone invite me to anything.
Without fail, each time I try to make a gay friend it’s unsuccessful because either they aren’t attracted to me or they are attracted to me but I’m not sexually attracted to them. But I have always welcomed the friendship.
Of course the most insulting thing happens when they ask for a face picture of me (those I meet on the Internet), even though I make it clear I’m only interested in friendship. Though they claim they are only interested in the same, in most instances once they see my face PIC they lose interest. Now, please explain to me why what I look like has anything to do with becoming a friend? Now, I may not be attracted to that person physically, but I would never not want to be a friend because of someone’s looks.
So, it seems I have few choices. I can sleep with someone I have absolutely no sexual interest in just in hopes of having a gay friend. Or, I can forget the gay friendship thing all together and accept the fact that having straight friends is the best way to go.
One more thing, it never fails that if there is someone I find very attractive, they are never interested in me. Never fails. I always attract guys that are 5 feet tall or 300 lbs and out of shape or 70 years old. Just once I would like someone around my age, my height and in relatively good shape. LOL! It seems the easiest thing is simply to find a gay male prostitute and pay him. Keep it all clear, business like and to the point. No games or issues. If I were rich that would be a great option.
I won’t even go into racism within the gay community…it’s just a mess. Most white guys won’t give a Black guy the time of day. <G>
Now I know what straight women go through. Gay men are even more superficial, so small wonder that relationships just don’t last and the ones that do are always, “open”
Okay, I’ve vented enough. LOL! Again, thanks for giving me some of your time.
— C

Dear C,

I kinda figured you were still in the closet. And, yes, that does have a lot to do with howblackcock.jpg other gay men perceive you. I mean, how would you respond to a fellow black man who was trying to pass himself off as white?

I’m glad you brought up the warm reception you are receiving in your black church. You are welcomed there because they recognize you; you are familiar to them. No big stretch for either them or you, huh? I wonder though, would they be as welcoming and inclusive if they knew you were a big ol’ gay homosexual? Probably not! Sexual bigotry can and does trump even the strongest bonds that shared race and ethnicity engender.

Your reception in the gay community is similarly determined. Ambivalence about one’s sexuality, like ambivalence about one’s race, sends a strong message to the community at large. It declares to the group that the individual is not to be trusted, at least not until he proves himself worthy of that trust. Seems to me, you’re expecting more of a stretch from your gay sisters and brothers then you’re asking of your black church. And that double standard adds to your alienation.

Despite your protestations to the contrary, you do discriminate for superficial reasons, just like most of your gay (and non-gay) peers. Check it out, your words betray you. Apparently there is no room in your circle of friends for effeminate men, guys who are much older than you, or, god forbid, anyone who is out of shape.

Ahhh the heartland, beautiful Indiana! There’s another big part of your problem right there. Even I know that Indiana is not a hot bed of big ol’ gay homosexual-ism. Most of the guys you’re trying to relate to, there in the Hoosier State, are probably closeted or semi-closeted just like you. That kind of stultifying atmosphere breeds fear and mistrust. It also militates against intimacy and openness. But don’t underestimate the resilience and adaptability of us gay folk. Even in deepest darkest Indiana there are gay couples successfully living out their lives together with pride and love in very long-term relationships.

You conclude that you now know what straight women go through. How very insightful! Solidarity with women and others who have been sexually oppressed or objectified does us men a world of good. It should help keep us humble.

So bro, high marks for your critique of the gay community. (Although, how difficult is it to point out the obvious?) Lucky for you, I have a sure-fire way to immediately improve the status quo. Get off your pity pot and jettison all those bogus reasons for remaining closeted. Nowadays, coming out is not optional; it’s a fundamental developmental task that each of us must face, even those who live in god’s country. Failure to address this basic responsibility to yourself will stunt your growth as a human being, because you’ll never be able to live an authentic life. You, and most of those around you, will always know you’re living a lie. Coming out will make you a better person, improve your local gay community and make the world a better place to live…because one more person — YOU — are being true to yourself.

And while you’re working on the task at hand, don’t be so hard on yourself or your gay brothers. None of this is easy. Each of us is fighting our own demons, and sometimes that battle is so fierce that we don’t immediately recognize the folks around us who could and would be our natural allies.

Good luck

Share