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Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered!

Name: Jean
Gender: female
Age: 36
Location: New Haven, CT
I’ve been with the same man for 14 years. We both decided to become Christians about a year ago. Now he’s not interested in sharing the same bed and not interested in having sex with me. It tried to overlook this hoping it was some kind of phase, but it goes on and on and he still doesn’t want sex. He’s the only man that could ever satisfy me sexually. I dated a few guys, four to be exact, before we met. I still love this guy but he won’t acknowledge my feelings. I feel like I’m losing everything, my best friend, my partner, my lover …and my sanity. I’m happy we’re still together, but I’m frustrated to the point of exhaustion without my sex life. Any ideas what I could do to turn this around?

What an unhappy tale of woe you have you have to tell, Jean. The Christian conversion thing didn’t quite work out like ya thought, huh? Well maybe it has less to do with Christianity per se, and more to do with the Joe you converted with.

I’ve heard similar complaints from other people whose partners have unilaterally decided to make a radical life-change for themselves. Often these new zealots fail to appreciate how their life altering decisions impact on the wellbeing of their mate. And because they are so damn single-minded about their new passion — as every zealot is, there is rarely any talking to them.

Two former clients come to mind. First, there was George, a gay man in a 10-year relationship with this other really sweet guy, Robert. Eight years into the relationship Robert had a heart attack. Despite a full recovery and living a much healthier lifestyle after the hear attack, Robert got it in his head that if he were to have sex again, it would kill him. There was no reasoning with him. No sex ever again, period. This otherwise blessed relationship ended painfully. Pity that!

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Another client, Melissa, discovered long-distance running two years into her marriage to Allen. She became like a woman possessed. Running consumed her. Her career, her friends and family, her social life all suffered. But no one took the brunt of her newfound craze more than her husband. At first sex was out of the question because there was no time. Then all that body-punishing running radically changed her metabolism. She even stopped menstruating. Her libido virtually expired. Even the imminent demise of her relationship didn’t alter her running routine. So basically old Melissa just ran away from her marriage. Simple as all that!

In your case, Jean, your partner appears to have bought into the some of the worst sex-negative messages of Christianity. I suspect that there’s no turning this around and, unless you wish to continue to sacrifice your sexuality on this unworthy altar, I’d suggest you make peace with the fact that life will never return to how it once was.And what’s all this about he being the only man who could satisfy you? You’ve had only 4 other partners, for christ sake! And most, if not all, were crummy lovers. Am I right? You’re not the kind of gal that quits shopping for shoes after trying on only 5 pair, are you?There is a whole world of men out there that would be happily give you what you aren’t getting at home and some of them may even be good lovers. If no accommodation can be made with your husband about fulfilling your needs, than I suggest you beat a hasty exit.The longer you stay in this unhealthy environment the greater the chance will be that you will become more and more embittered. God gave us the gift of sexuality for a purpose. It was meant to give us pleasure and enhance life. Your sexuality is in danger of becoming just the opposite of what nature intended. Do yourself a favor and choose life and happiness. You’ll be glad you did…so will God.

Name: Pete
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: Ohio
dr dick: I am gay and i have no idea how to break it to my family. and they say all the time when they see a gay guy look at that fag glad he’s not my kid. i would disown him. just wondering if u could help me.

Ain’t it a bitch being surrounded by a bunch of yahoos! Coming out is rarely easy, but doing so to ignorant, fearful, bigoted people is the worst.

Pete, you should know that all bigotry is deeply rooted in the bigot’s own fear about him or herself. It stands to reason, all irrational fears and hatred, like homophobia, are more indicative of the troubled psychological make-up of the one with the prejudice, rather than the people he or she abhors.

Often people will use religion to back up their prejudice. It’s particularly galling when non-religious people do this. But it’s safe to say that authentically religious people don’t need to persecute or ostracize those who do not believe as they do. Any more than authentically heterosexual people need to persecute or ostracize people of other sexual persuasions. Let that be the standard by which you judge the worth of any message coming from a religious dogmatist or a moralizing heterosexual.9e.jpg

Before you start in on the self-disclosure thing with your family, Pete, I suggest you first try to clear a path for that discussion. Begin by challenging those around you who shame or denigrate those who are different. Ask them why they make such ridiculously uninformed and hurtful statements. Ask them if degrading other people makes them feel superior. And if it does, what does that say about their inadequacies. You could suggest that their intolerance of gay and lesbian people proves they have some hidden, unresolved sexual issues that they need to address. I mean — “me thinks you doth protest too much” — and all that, right?

If your family environment doesn’t improve with that tactic, you may find that, at least in the short run, discretion is the better part of valor. Sometimes coming out to one’s family is best done only after you’ve come out to friends and co-workers. This strategy will provide you a bank of support that you can fall back on if the family disclosure things turn out badly.

My counsel to those just starting the coming out process is to reserve the good news about you and your sexuality for the audience best situated for receiving it. Celebrate your queerness with open-minded people first. Nowadays there’s much more acceptance of alternative lifestyles in the popular culture then ever before. Particularly younger people seem to have more tolerance for diversity. But however you choose to handle this difficult but important developmental task, don’t sink to the lowest common denominator. Don’t cave into the bigotry that surrounds you. Don’t let it intimidate you into a life of shame, repression or self-loathing. Live authentically. Pete, and live proud! Because when you do, you are a shining example of a happy, healthy, integrated and well-adjusted human being.

Finally, just remember you are not alone. Sex positive and gay positive organizations abound. If you need help with any of your coming out, if you’re feeling isolated and alone — turn to one of them. They are there to help. And there are even support organizations for your family members too. Turn them on to: PFLAG (parents and friends of gays and lesbians).

Name: Bob
Gender: Male
Age: 54
Location: Laguna Beach
As an older man, I’ve started having performance problems. Unfortunately there’s no decrease in my libido. I think some of my problem is psychological. I’m also HIV+. And I find myself worrying about transmission even with condoms. But some of the problem is physical. I do wear a cock ring and that helps I guess. Is there anything else I can do to increase my performance to match my libido?

Your concern is a familiar one, Bob. Men regularly present this problem in my private practice and I also have a personal familiarity with the issue in my own life.

Diminished performance, at least in terms of a perpetually stiff dick, is a natural occurrence as we age. There was a time when I thought this was a major problem. I don’t think like that now. These days I’m helping my older clients (and myself) appreciate the full range of sensuality that is the unique purview of us more seasoned lovers. I’ve always felt that as gay men we are too genitally focused, especially when it comes at the expense of all the other pleasure zones our bodies have been gifted with.p.jpg

The rushed, hormonally driven sex of my youth has matured into a slower, more relaxed and sensual sexuality that I am thoroughly enjoying. This has been one of the very best gifts of the aging process. It’s even having an effect on my younger partners and they are appreciative.So I no longer equate performance with a stiff dick. For those times when I absolutely need a rock-hard hardon a cock ring does just fine. I’m aware that I may need more time to achieve this kind of erection, but I’m not just twiddling my thumbs while I’m waiting, if ya know what I mean. I am no longer frustrated by this natural phenomenon, because I no longer have unrealistic expectations.

I realize that many men are experimenting with an erection-enhancing medication such as Viagra, but I suggest that this be reserved for those who are truly experiencing erection dysfunction.

I’m also concerned with the alarming rise of younger men, men in their 20’s and 30’s who are using Viagra or another similar drugs recreationally. This is very troubling. If your young body is having difficulty producing an erection, then you need medical attention ASAP, or maybe you just need some sleep. However, if you’re abusing Viagra just so you can have an erection that lasts for hours that’s a real bad idea for several reasons. Not least of which is your body will habituate itself to that stuff and you will find that, in time, you won’t be able to get it up at all without ever increasing doses of Viagra.

This is gonna fuck up your cardiovascular system big time. In fact, you may very well be inducing the very sexual dysfunction the drug is supposed to help. Consider the person who overuses eye drops or lip balm or any number of otherwise innocuous health and beauty products. Their body will stop making the natural substances that these over the counter products are intended to assist. It’s counterproductive and it’s ill advised. If this is a problem with relatively harmless over the counter products, you know you are playing with fire when you’re abusing powerful prescription meds.

Whoops, sorry Bob, I went off topic there for a minute. It’s just that every opportunity I get to put out a message that will dissuade someone from hurting himself or herself, I just launch into it.So back to you. It is clear from what you tell me, your performance problems do, as you suggest, also have a psychological component to them. You have a fear that, despite being responsible in your sex play and even though you play safe, you could accidentally pass on HIV.

It’s true; one’s brain can indeed override almost every function of our body. For example, we draw each and every breath we take without even thinking about it. However, if a situation dictates our brain can and does override that essential pulmonary function and we can hold our breath. The same is true with our sexual response cycle. Sometimes we can become sexually aroused without really thinking about it. However, if for one reason or another our brain assisted by our conscience interferers with or even shuts down the sexual arousal, then that’s pretty much all she wrote.

Your scruples about the possibility that you could accidentally pass along HIV are interfering with your sexual response cycle. No cockring or an erection-enhancing medication is going to change that darlin’!In other words, the problem is not in your cock, the problem is in your head. This is something you’re gonna have to wrestle with and finally resolve. This tension between your head and your dick is actually a good thing. Your body is providing you an opportunity to align your moral values with your sexual performance. How will this resolve itself? I couldn’t say. But I know for sure resolution is possible.

I do suggest, however, that you not try to do this in a vacuum. Reach out to a HIV support group or a sex-positive therapist for the help you need in making peace between your head and your cock.

Good luck, ya’ll

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Know Thyself!

It’s 2006 people! The internet impacts on nearly every aspect of our lives. We have more immediate access to more specific information about every conceivable thing under the sun — an access and availability unparalleled in history. We have the collective knowledge of all humankind at our fingertips, both literally and figuratively. Despite this super-available wealth of information, many of us still live in the dark when it comes to our bodies and how they work. We are uninformed about our anatomy, unaware of the mechanics that make us tic, and oblivious to our own sexual response cycle. This sort of ignorance and estrangement leads to all sorts of troubles.

Hi Richard
I really only had my first male sexual encounter in September (which I enjoyed!). We tried oral. He was cut and I’m not. I didn’t enjoy receiving it though as the head my dick is sensitive to the point of being sore when the foreskin is pulled all the way back. I only do that in the shower when I’m cleaning down there. When I self-pleasure, I do it in a way that the foreskin never goes full back, just halfway. I’m not sure if this is a common problem with uncut men.
I do like the idea of anal sex and I’m looking for a patient top for my first time. But I’m just worried about the whole sensation and preparation, etc.
Wayne

Wow, Wayne, new to gay sex, huh? I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying yourself. Yes,b4.jpg the prospects of fully enjoying your newfound sexual interests must hold great allure. Congratulations!

As to your issue of your hypersensitive dick head — let’s just say that’s part of the joy of having an uncut dick. Many uncut men report similar sensitivity, especially when they haven’t had a lot of partnered sex. Some of the discomfort will dissipate on its own with the more cock-play you have. However, you can also hasten the desensitization process by retracting your foreskin and leaving your unsheathed dick in your underwear for an hour or so at a time. You could also try masturbating with your foreskin completely retracted. This will, no doubt, feel a bit odd and perhaps even uncomfortable at first, but like I said, this will subside. The object of these exercises is to take the edge off, so to speak. You don’t need to concern yourself with thoughts of total desensitization — there’s no likelihood of that happening. But you do want to get to a point where you can enjoy some great head without worrying that you will be sore afterward. You might also want to encourage your cock sucking friends to be especially careful when they’re chowin’ down on your tender meat.

In anticipation of finding that patient top you seek; you can prepare yourself, and your asshole, for the enjoyment to come. During your own private sex play — masturbation — be sure to include your sphincter and prostate. Familiarize yourself with your whole hole-area. Use your fingers and/or a small dildo to test the waters, so to speak. Take your time and use lots of lube. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push the limits a bit. The more that you know about your own ass, the more you will be able to inform future partners on how best to pleasure you.

You might want to experiment with douches too. Over the counter stuff is ok, but a simple solution of warm water and a bit of vinegar or lemon juice works even better. It’s cheaper too. When it comes to fucking, a clean ass is a happy ass. Remember when you bottom, your anal hygiene is your responsibility. The more you know about anal health and hygiene, before you give up your ass for the first time, the more likely both you and your top will enjoy yourselves.

Good luck

Hi again Richard
I appreciate you taking time to answer my questions and for the advice you’ve given me. I still think an uncut cock is a curse though! LOL Each time I read your suggestion about rolling back my foreskin, I have to cross my legs. So I just need to get over that. 🙂
I will try a dildo and some lube for exploration. The nearest I have come so far is to try a finger wrapped in tissue paper. The reason this worried me was because even after a BM, sometimes it caused gas to be released and once or twice even “forced” another movement.
When being topped, does the cock go past the “squishy” muscle that I can feel with my finger? And how would one apply a water and lemon juice solution?
Wayne

Hello again, Wayne,

l1.jpgYou’ll never convince me that an uncut dick is a liability. I firmly believe that, in most circumstances, body parts are best left in their natural state.

Learning to care for an uncut dick is something else indeed. There are plenty of resources on the internet for uncut men like you. I suggest doing a search with word strings like: Sex Information or Health Information and Uncircumcised. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the wealth of information available.

One word of caution, have your wits about you when reading through the information you find on the net. For example, you will probably notice that the American medical industry has a very strong bias toward circumcision. For some reason, our culture would prefer to mutilate a cock instead of teaching the cock’s owner, be it boy-child or grown-up man, how to care for and clean his pecker in its natural state.

Wait a minute; you’re wrapping your finger in toilet paper before sticking it in you ass? That can’t be fun or comfortable. Listen, partner, your ass is your friend, it’s the source of loads of pleasure. Shit also comes out of your ass, but it’s not the end of the world if you get a bit of it on your finger during exploration. It’s soap-and-water soluble, ya know. Rootin’ around in your bum or someone else’s bum can and often does produce some interesting byproduct. No surprise there, it’s an asshole after all.

Washing your hands after butt play, as well as keeping them away from your mouth until they are washed, will help keep things sanitary. May I suggest you get a copy of: Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men and Women by Jack Morin, Ph.D. It’s an excellent primer for the anal novice. You can find it online.

My, you are uninformed about your own anatomy. The squishy muscle you speak of is your sphincter muscle. And yes, one would hope that a top’s dick would go past that muscle to at least the depth where his cock can stimulate your prostate. Unclear on where your prostate is? You’ll find plenty of information online about that too. Do a search with word strings like: Prostate and Health Information and Anatomy.

Here’s some more homework for you. Do and internet search using the words: Anal Douche. You will find all the information you need about the care and cleaning of your asshole. You’ll also find a vast array of implements designed for just this purpose. Have a ball!

Good luck

Dr. Dick,
Please help me. I am an attractive 21-year-old guy. I have no problems with meeting women nor do I have a low libido, the problem is that I suffer from hemorrhoids. This is really embarrassing as I don’t even let a girl touch my ass. And you know how girls like to play with a guy’s ass these days. I know there are cures for hemorrhoids, but none have worked and my doctor said it is useless to cure them because anal sex will cause their return. Please, please help…I am dying of frustration and fear.
Regards,
Jay

Dear Jay,

You are not alone. Many men and women suffer from hemorrhoids and, as you say, itfingerfuck02.jpg can be frustrating, even embarrassing. But there is hope.

The first thing you ought do is look for another physician. If you are accurately reporting your doctor’s comments about butt fucking and hemorrhoids then he’s got a problem. What he told you is simply not true. You needn’t live a life of frustration and fear just because you have an ass-phobic doctor.

Do an internet search with word strings like: Hemorrhoids and Health Information and Anal Sex.

It’s hard for me to imagine a case of hemorrhoids so bad that it couldn’t be helped or cured by one of the many new and sophisticated therapies and interventions currently available. And with regard to butt fucking, there are many people who would believe that light anal stimulation can actually help relieve and even prevent hemorrhoids from reoccurring.

So do yourself a favor. Get a second opinion, a third if necessary. Find a sex-positive doctor. You can even do an internet search for Sex Positive Doctors. Or you can get a referral from a local gay hotline. Or look for a proctologist at a local university hospital. You’re more likely to find an open-minded practitioner there.

Your current physician has given you very poor advice indeed. He has done you a great disservice. Don’t let him have the last word.

Good Luck,
dr. dick

36 Questions That Make Strangers Fall In Love

“One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” – Aron, Melinat, Aron, Vallone, & Bator (1997)

By Justin J. Lehmiller

In order to develop a close, intimate relationship with someone else, you need to be willing to open up to that person—to let your defenses down and become emotionally vulnerable. As you may have found in your own personal experience, this process sometimes takes a very long time to unfold. However, research suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to.

In fact, scientists have found that it’s possible to generate a significant degree of closeness between strangers in as little as 45 minutes by asking a series of 36 questions. These questions are divided into three sets that escalate the degree of self-disclosure required as time progresses.

These questions allow people to become “fast friends,” but they also have the potential to lay the groundwork for romantic attraction.

To get a better sense of how this works, check out the video below from our friends over at ASAP Science. The full list of questions appears beneath the video.

Want to learn more? Check out the original study here.

 

Set I:

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? 

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way? 

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you? 

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Set II: 

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?

15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life? 

16. What do you value most in a friendship? 

17. What is your most treasured memory? 

18. What is your most terrible memory? 

19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?

20. What does friendship mean to you?

21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?

22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?

24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

Set III: 

25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … ” 

26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share … “

27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.

28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.

29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.

30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.

32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about? 

33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet? 

34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?

35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?

36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.

Complete Article HERE!

Maybe Monogamy Isn’t the Only Way to Love

By

In the prologue to her new book, What Love Is and What It Could Be, philosopher Carrie Jenkins is walking through Vancouver, from her boyfriend’s apartment to the home she has with her husband. She wonders at how the romantic love she experiences firsthand is so different than the model presented by popular culture and academic theory alike. “If indeed romantic love must be monogamous, then I am making some kind of mistake when I say, ‘I’m in love with you’ — meaning romantically — to both my partners,” she writes. “I am not lying, because I am genuinely trying to be as honest as I can. But if romantic love requires monogamy, then despite my best intentions, what I’m saying at those moments is not, strictly speaking, true.”

Her book examines the long, sometimes awkward legacy of philosophers’ thinking on romantic love, and compares that with a new subfield in close-relationships research — consensual nonmonogamy, or CNM. While singers and thinkers alike have been riffing on a “one and only” for decades, she argues that space is being made in the cultural conversation to “question the universal norm of monogamous love, just as we previously created space to question the universal norm of hetero love.” These norms are more fluid than they appear: In Jenkins’s lifetime alone same-sex and cross-ethnicity relationships have become common.

When I asked Jenkins to describe how it feels to have both a husband and a boyfriend — she rejects the “primary relationship” moniker altogether — she said that it’s like having more loving relationships in your life, like a close family member or friend. She and her boyfriend, whom she’s been with for about five years, used to work in the same building; he was teaching creative writing on the floor above her philosophy department, though they didn’t meet until they matched on OkCupid. While both men have met each other, they’re not close; Jenkins describes the relationship as having a “V shape,” rather than a triangle. Both helped in the development of the book: husband refining philosophical arguments; boyfriend editing the writing, and helping her to sound like a normal person, rather than an academic.

Still, CNM faces lots of stigma; even the study of it is stigmatized. Yet in the limited yet rich vein of research out there, the evidence suggests that it’s a style that, in some populations, leads to greater relationship satisfaction than monogamy. In any case, the researchers tell me, the insights into what makes more-than-two relationships work can be applied to any given dyad, given the communicative finesse required when three or more hearts are involved.

In a forthcoming Perspectives in Psychological Science paper, Terri Conley, a University of Michigan psychologist who’s driven the field, defines CNM as “a relational arrangement in which partners agree that it is acceptable to have more than one sexual and/or romantic relationship at the same time.” That’s distinguished from the “polygamy” practiced by some religious groups, where it’s not always clear whether wives can opt out of the relationship.

I was surprised to discover how common it is: A 2016 study of two nationally representative samples of single Americans — of 3,905 and 4,813 respondents, respectively — found in each case that about one in five people had practiced it during their lifetime. A 2016 YouGov poll found that 31 percent of women and 38 percent of men thought their ideal relationship would be CNM in some way. Other research indicates that around 4 to 5 percent of Americans in relationships are in some sort of CNM, be it swinging, where partners have sex with people outside their relationship at parties and the like; an open relationship, where it’s cool to have sex with other people but not grow emotionally attached to them; or polyamory, where both partners approve of having close emotional, romantic, and sexual relationships outside of the couple itself. People are curious, too: From 2006 to 2015, Google searches for polyamory and open relationships went up. Other data points to how sticking to the boundaries of monogamy doesn’t come easily to lots of people: A 2007 survey of 70,000 Americans found that one in five had cheated on their current partner.

Jenkins says that as a tenured philosophy professor at the University of British Columbia, she’s in a unique, privileged position to openly talk about being in a nonmonogamous marriage. She’d been interested in being in more than one relationship ever since she can remember, but it used to seem like some sort of impossible dream situation — she didn’t realize it could be an option in her real life until she was about 30. (She’s now 37.)

Jenkins met her husband, Jonathan, who’s also a philosopher, back in 2009, at a philosophy workshop that he organized at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland; they later got married in the same hall the conference took place. They took one another’s last names as middle names.

Now married for almost eight years, they talked about polyamory early on, though defining the relationship that way came later. As philosophers are wont to do, they soon wrote a bit of a manifesto about their arrangement. They observed that even if their wedding guests were woke in any number of ways — not batting an eyelid if a colleague was gay or bi, eschewing heteronormative assumptions, and the like — there’s still the shared assumption that a nonmonogamous relationship is less sexually safe and less committed than a regular ol’ monogamous one. “Even our very liberal pocket of our relatively liberal society is massively — and, to us, surprisingly— mononormative,” they write. “Acquaintances, friends, and colleagues are constantly assuming that our relationship, and indeed every relationship that they think of as ‘serious’, is a sexually monogamous one.”

To Jenkins, the biggest struggle with polyamory isn’t from managing multiple relationships — though Google Calendar is a crucial tool — but rather the strong, sometimes violently negative reactions that she gets, especially online. When I spoke with her by phone, she was struck by a comment to a YouTube interview of hers, where a pseudonymous user invited “everyone” to read her column in the Chronicle of Higher Education about having multiple loves.

“THIS WOMAN IS A DISGUSTING ANIMAL,” the troll wrote. “Every bit as twisted and queer as the Mormons with their multiple lives [sic]. This femme-pig is the spectral opposite of Trump; a far far left-wing freak that desires to completely overthrow Western Christian Civilization.” Jenkins walked me through a deep reading of the bile: Bundling in politics — the “left-wing freak” bit — with the monogamy norms signals to her that there’s a judgment of what it means to be a good person in here, since politics is about living correctly, collectively. Plus “if you’re an animal, you’re out of the range of humanity,” she says. She’s also gets a lot of “get herpes and die, slut” suggestions, she says, which speaks to the hypersexualization of CNM. Nonmonogamy leads to lots of sex, the presumption goes, and with that STIs, and it proceeds from there. The way news articles covering CNM tend to be illustrated with images of three or four people in a bath or bed doesn’t help, either.

“The way we normally think about romantic love, we don’t imagine that it’s entirely about sex,” she says. “For a lot of people sex is a part of it; if we’re just having a hookup or a friend with benefits, we don’t call that romantic love. When it comes to polyamorous relationships, if you’re in love with more than one person, the same applies — to fall in love with someone is not the same as to sleep with them. We’re clear with that distinction in monogamous relationships, but in CNM that distinction between love and sex gets collapsed.”

Researchers who have studied stigma around CNM have found lots. In a 2012 paper, Conley and her colleagues found that monogamous relationships were better rated on every metric by different sets of the population, including nonmonogamous people. When 132 participants recruited online read relationship vignettes that were identical except for one being monogamous and the other not, the CNM was seen as riskier sexually, more lonely, less acceptable, and having a lower relationship quality. People in CNM were also seen as worse with non-relational things, like making sure to walk their dog or paying their taxes on time. Amy Moors, a co-author on the paper, says it had some of the biggest effect sizes she’s seen in her research. Elisabeth Sheff, a leading polyamory researcher who left academia for lack of grant funding, now frequently serves as an expert witness in custody battles; she says that often a grandmother or a former spouse will find out that a co-parent has multiple relationships, be scandalized, and demand to take the kids — even though her longitudinal research, reported in The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, indicates that kids who grow up in polyamorous families aren’t any more screwed up than average American children.

That same paper finds that there were no differences in relationship functioning between monogamous and nonmonogamous couples. People in CNM had lower jealousy and higher trust — yet also lower sexual satisfaction with their partner. Polyamorists were more satisfied than people in open relationships, perhaps because it’s hard to block of feelings for people you sleep with frequently. Polyamorous people were a special case, with higher satisfaction, commitment, trust, and passionate love than monogamous individuals, though they had lower sexual satisfaction. CNM people also had higher sexual satisfaction with their secondary partners than their primary partners, though that difference fell away when controlling for relationship time, with primary relationships averaging three times the length of secondary relationships.

“Overall, the standard for human responses for relationships is habituation,” Conley says. “That involves a loss of sexual attraction, and we can tell that from stats from therapy. And to the extent that a couple is frustrated sexually, it spills over to other parts of life.”

There are other explanations for high satisfaction scores for polyamorous people, she adds. It could be that they’re just acting out a social desirability bias, given that they’re participating in a study about CNM and want the lifestyle to look good; it could also be that people who enter into polyamory have self-selected themselves into a hypercommunicative population — all the poly self-help books emphasize the importance the need to explicitly talk things out. “People interested in polyamory are more relationship-y than the average person,” she says. “They like thinking about relationships, talking about relationships. That’s great in monogamy, but needed in polyamory.”

All this suggests the kind of people that are the right fit for CNM. Beyond being relationship-y, a Portuguese study out this year found that people with a high sociosexuality, or disposal to casual sex, had less relationship satisfaction when in a monogamous relationship, but those effects disappeared if they were in CNM. Still, they were just as committed to their relationships — signaling that exclusivity and commitment may not be one and the same. Harvard sexologist Justin Lehmiller has found that people who are more erotophilic — i.e., that love sex — will be a better fit for CNM; same with if they’re sensation-seeking.

Amy Moors, the Purdue psychologist, has found that people with higher avoidant attachment — where you’re just not that into intimacy — have positive feelings about and a willingness to engage in polyamory, but they were less likely to actually partake of it. While a correlational study, Moors explained that from a subjective perspective, it makes sense: “When you have avoidant attachment, you like a lot of emotional distance, physical distance, time by yourself,” Moors says, which is not a fit for the relationship-y remands of a poly lifestyle. Also, there’s reason to believe that folks who have relational anxiety, and are thus sensitive to separation, might be prone to the jealousy that’s known to flare up in CNM, though it’s not like that doesn’t happen in monogamy, too.

What motivated Jenkins to write What Love Is, she says, was a gap — or silence — in the philosophical literature, that polyamory was rarely discussed or even acknowledged as a possibility. “Noticing these philosophical silences and denials, while simultaneously being made aware of how society at large viewed me for being a polyamorous woman, made me realize there was something important here that I needed to do,” she says. “To do it meant bringing my personal life and my philosophical work into a conversation with one another. The familiar slogan says that the personal is political, but the personal is philosophical, too.”

Two key themes emerge from reading the book: that love is dual-layered, with social scripts overlaying evolutionary, physiological impulses. And that the “romantic mystique,” like the feminine one before it, assumes that love is mysterious and elusive and corrupted from examination — a sentiment that protects the status quo. But with investigation, and conversation, the mechanics of love reveal themselves, and norms can change socially, and be tailored locally. Like Jenkins, you can custom-fit your relationships to your life — if you dare to talk about them.

Complete Article HERE!

“Coming out” as a parent of a gay child

By Alison Walsh

My elder son David was fifteen when he told us he was gay – not that he had actually intended to tell us quite then.

He said he was meeting someone but was evasive as to who this might be? I forced the issue never expecting to hear that this was some guy he had met on line through a gay website.

Alarm bells rung at the possible danger!

David must have guessed we might find the news of him being gay difficult as he kept repeating, “It’s OK Mum, there’s nothing wrong”.

My husband’s first thought was “I love my son. I don’t want to lose my relationship with him”.

As for me, I have an unfortunate knack of sometimes putting my big feet in things.

Whilst reeling from the shock, thankfully I avoided saying anything that my son would feel hurt or rejected by.

We both understood that what mattered most was for David to stay believing in himself and to know that our love and support was unconditional.

David appreciated the way we had accepted his sexuality and to stop us feeling anxious, he agreed to cancel the internet date.

David and Alison

Having “come out” to his friends and immediate family, David visibly looked happier by the day.

Now the ball was in our court. Was it our turn to “come out” as parents of a gay son? Would that be fair to David? Was it for him to decide who and when to tell others or not? At the young age of fifteen, we felt it was. That made it much harder because I wanted to feel accepted too.

Up to the point when David told us he was gay, I had no knowledge or experience of what being LGBT+ meant.

My head was full of fears which were further fuelled when I went on-line and came across far right materials discounting LGBT+ as wrong and blaming being gay on abuse or an unhealthy mother-son relationship.

Was I a bad Mum? I feared being judged. I was worried now how David would be treated. Would his school teachers who had praised him as a role model now think less of him?

Would he find himself rejected as unsuitable to be an RSY Summer Camp Leader?

Having brought my boys up to feel strongly Jewish, I now felt anxious that this might not sit comfortably with fully accepting and supporting David’s sexuality.

My Jewishness is all bound up in family and home, celebrating Friday night and all the family traditions. So for validation and support, I turned to my Jewish roots. As I said, I wasn’t ready to “come out” publicly and so like my son before he “came out”, I turned to the privacy of the internet for help. I tapped into Google “Jewish Mum of gay son” and up came “Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians” with a number you could phone in confidence.

Going for the first time to the group “Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians”, I was scared as to quite who I would find there.

The wonderful thing was how unbelievably just like the two of us the other parents all were. They could have come straight out of any Shul – parents anxious to do right by their children. We were no longer on our own.

Hearing from other parents and sharing our own story in a Jewish group in which we felt understood and accepted, helped us feel better. The first pernicious lie it immediately destroyed for me was the idea that being gay had anything to do with upbringing or by extension anything I had done or not done. It was a fact of life, period.

A Dad said that the last thing he would ever wish on his son would be to be imprisoned in an unhappy marriage hiding his sexuality. That hit home and made me rethink the dream I had been nurturing of one day seeing my son under the Chuppah with grandchildren to follow. My son had his own life to lead. I just wanted him to be happy and true to himself. And so in the group we parents chatted on into the night. We discussed why it was that so many of our LGBT+ children were going to Shul less? Did our LGBT+ children no longer feel they could count themselves as proper members of the club?

Perhaps like me before I became aware of LGBT+, our kids assumed by default that within Shul life their sexuality was taboo and that they would not be understood or accepted unless they hid their sexuality.

To be fair, if I joined any club, I would want to feel that there was someone there a bit like me and that I wasn’t just going to be tolerated, but actually wanted by the club.

My journey has been much easier than for some as being of my own making – struggling with my own prejudices. Thankfully the positive attitude of both our Shul and my son’s school explains why David has never felt ashamed of his sexuality and why both his friends and our Shul friends when told have had no issues.

In the twilight zone before feeling ready to come out to the world as a Jewish parent of a gay child, it helps to share feelings in the trust of absolute confidentiality with likeminded parent souls who understand. I am now Co-Ordinator for the parents’ group, “Parents of Jewish Gays and Lesbians” which helped me so much and which I would like to see there for other parents.

It is a really important group not just for the parents but also for LGBT+ children as “happy parents make happy kids”. Unfortunately the group is hardly known about so if you get a chance to tell others about the group, I would ask you to please do so.

Complete Article HERE!