Jealousy Survival Guide by Kitty Chambliss

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 67.]

A couple episodes ago I interviewed the author of this week’s book—Kitty Chambliss. The interview was informative and a thoroughly enjoyable the experience. We covered some information from the book I won’t be discussing in this review (since it’s been covered on the show), as well as other things about polyamorous relationships and unhealthy information we receive about what the ‘ideal’ relationship looks like from the media.

Her book—Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy, and Secure in an Open Relationship is incredible and I’m so happy to be reviewing it. I received it for free, but I’m so glad I did.

Before I get started—there are two books out there with the title Jealousy Survival Guide—so be sure you get the one written by Kitty Chambliss.

There is a boggling amount of information in this book. It’s only a hundred and six pages, but there’s a lot going on: psychology, interpersonal communication and life coaching. It’s impressive how much happened in so little space.

The author is a life coach by profession (her site is lovingwithoutboundaries.com) and it comes through in her writing—her enthusiasm is palpable. There’s a chapter that’s basically about getting your life on track through your relationships. It’s about figuring out your life goals and then seeing if your relationships align or further those goals.

I’m not sure if that’s something most people do—think of their personal goals first and then their relationships and feeding those goals second. We tend to place relationships as above our own personal happiness or worth—women do, anyway. But of course you’re going to be happier and thrive if you figure out what you most want in life—where you want to go—and then only involve yourself with people interested in helping you get there or going on that same path.

There were several moments of, ‘Well, that’s a different way of looking at it, but it’s so obvious now,’ in this. I love books like that. Show me a new way of looking at the world that makes everything clearer, makes everything make more sense.

Though the book is short—it’s not really meant to be read in one sitting. There are exercises made to be practised over a period of time. For starters, there’s a contract you make with yourself. Regular listeners know how much I love my homework and I LOVE contracts. The one you make with yourself is useful for setting your intentions.

I took many, many notes and it’s difficult to decide what to talk about—it’s one of those books—so that should tell you something there.

One thing the author talks about and is important is that jealousy (and I found the technique works for anxiety, as well) is just an emotion. We try to escape discomfort quickly rather than examining it, but it’s not going to kill you.

There’s a technique, where you just have the unwanted emotion, examine it, and deal with it constructively. It’s a whole section on it’s own so I don’t have time to go into it, but that section alone was worthwhile. Jealousy isn’t a huge problem for me—at the moment anyway, but anxiety is. They’re both human emotions that are going to happen at annoying times and you have to cope with them.

This book is written for people in nonmonogamous relationships, but the advice would work for just about anyone trying to conquer out-of-control emotions or get their love life on track with their personal goals.

There are practical communication strategies—it’s not just worksheets for yourself and theory, either.
And there are moments where I felt seen. The author gets it. At one point she says:

I have realized that many of the fears that creep up for me are related to the unknown or to expectations of how I think things should be or predictions that I make.

Oh. Yes. Hello. Are you me?

For dealing with overwhelming emotions there was a concept called Defusion or Cognitive Defusion or Cognitive Deliteralization. It’s:

Observing then questioning our thoughts and detaching from them when possible.

The purpose of defusion is to see thoughts and feelings as what they are, not as what they say to us they are.

You’re not mad someone was late home, you’re scared they were in a wreck, for example.

There were strategies upon strategies for dealing with things. One of the communication techniques was non-violent communication, which Kitty talked about in the interview. It’s pretty involved and could take it’s own book or episode, but the chapter on that was useful and covers the basics.

Then there was this quote, which warmed my Stoic heart:

Be the person you truly want to be in the world. Every day you get to re-invent yourself, and be a better version of yourself. Who do you want to show up as? In terms of the subject of this book, do you want to be a frazzled, crazed, drama-creating, stressed out person who gets in a jealous rage and potentially damages your relationships? Or do you want to come from a compassionate, loving, understanding place, practicing patience with yourself and others, and create inner peace for yourself and a feeling of safety for others?

Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide is a slim volume, packed with information and worksheets useful for dealing with any toxic emotions (not only jealousy) that could threaten a person’s wellbeing—in or out of polyamorous relationships. Her expertise as a relationship and life coach is apparent—there is much wisdom contained in these pages. Wisdom and practicable knowledge. This is already a go-to resource I recommend to my listeners and anyone looking for advice on how to take control of the emotions that threaten their happiness.

Definitely a 5/5.

Being Honest About Your Kink with AccidentalFlirt

BDSM is all about communication.

Okay, so, it’s not all about that, but the best time will happen between people who are honest with themselves and one another about what they want, how they want it and who they want it with.

AccidentalFlirt is going to break it down for us today about just why all of that’s important.

Be Honest About Your Kink

IWannaPlayWithYou: I read your profile and I would very much be interested in seeing if we could get to know each other with a view to play…

I tootle off to check his profile and notice that approximately 90% of his groups and fetishes he is into involve one thing: humiliation and degradation.

And this guy supposedly read my profile in which I clearly state humiliation as a hard limit.

Me: Thank you for your interest. I see you are heavily into humiliation and that is an absolute hard limit for me, so we would not be compatible. Good luck in your search.

And that should be that. Or so I thought.

IWannaPlayWithYou: Humiliation is only one of my kinks. I can live without it.

Er… excuse my presumption, but if 40 out of your 50 kinks include the words “humiliation,” “degradation,” or “verbal abuse” I am going to assume that it is a big deal for you.

Or if your username is IWantPiss, I am going to assume that piss play is something you cannot live without.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t care that you got your rocks off by hurling abuse at women or wanting to shower them with gold… if that’s what they’re into. But by telling me that you can live without it, when your profile is peppered with multiple mentions of a particular kink, I am hearing one of two things:

1. You are after an easy lay and telling me what you think I want to hear
2. You are hoping that you will be able to convince me to “push my limits.”

Either way, I will never ever be comfortable playing with you, even if you promise not to indulge in your favourite kink. I will always be waiting for that pressure cooker of need to explode in a stream of degrading insults that will leave me in a messy puddle of insecurity, self-doubt and mistrust.

It works the other way too.

You tell me that you are not really into impact play, but “I’ll do it for you if you like it.” Nope, that isn’t going to work for me. This thing that we do is all about mutual enjoyment, it’s supposed to be fun, so if you’re going to give my ass a half-hearted spank, I’m only going to get half-hearted enjoyment. If I feel that someone is doing me a favour and indulging me in one of my kinks, I won’t get anything out of it. I am just not wired that way.

One of the great things about this site is the sheer number of kinks you can add to your profile. No matter how obscure your kink… maybe you are into drinking unicorn pee so you can shit rainbows… whatever it is, chances are there is a group, a thread, a discussion and probably a few members with “unicornpee” in their username.

Whatever your brand of pervery, you’ve probably got a fair few kinky compadres who share your deviances.

So don’t lie about your kinks. Don’t pretend to be something you are not, or not to be something that you are just because some random profile photo gave you a hard-on.

If you are into humiliation, pee play or erotic asphyxiation, then we won’t be compatible as play partners.

By the same token if you are not into orgasm control, hair pulling and spanking we ain’t gonna be playing.

We can’t all be compatible in our kinks, and that’s okay. That’s the beauty of the diversity of the kink scene. It’s okay to say “sorry, but I don’t think we want the same things.” You may not have found a new play partner, but you never know, you may just have made another kinky friend.

30 Days of Kink Day 22: Healthy Relationships

From Etsy shop Dragosh.

From Etsy shop Dragosh.

Day 22: What do you think is important in keeping a BDSM relationship healthy? How does it differ from a vanilla relationship?

Communication. Everything about BDSM seems to be about communication from both sides. If you’re trusting your life, mental health and physical safety to another human being (or accepting the responsibility of someone else’s life, mental health and physical safety) you have to be self aware and honest with yourself and your partner.

I don’t think this differs from vanilla relationships.

One mode of communication between Dominants and submissives that personally appeals to me is where a submissive is encouraged to keep a journal the Dominant has access to. This can be an online, private journal/blog or a physical journal.

There’s a bookbinder on Etsy who makes journals that would be make excellent sub journals, dragosh. Every journal is unique and is made to your specifications. (They’re also leather-bound, so you get the leather fetish as a bonus, as well.)

Regular journaling as a mode of communication is attractive because it keeps you both focused on the relationship—on both what’s going well so you’re not only thinking about the negative, but also how to improve whatever needs working on. It allows those who are uncomfortable expressing their emotions a more relaxed atmosphere in which to lay down their thoughts, as well as gives the reader/responder time to digest what the other person thinks. In verbal conversation, we often formulate our answers rather than listen to the other person, so having their words on the page in front of us to read through more than once, if necessary, is useful.

Regular journaling will also give you a document of your growth as a submissive and as a D/s couple that you’ll be able to look back on and see how far you’ve come, what you’ve learned and whathaveyou. For those days when maybe you’re not feeling very submissive or you’re failing as a Dominant/submissive.

Consent isn’t Just About Tea

Me, most of the time. Meaning if I'm conscious. (Image from Buzzfeed.)

Me, most of the time. Meaning if I’m conscious. (Image by Sian Butcher/Buzzfeed.)

Emily Nagoski (PhD), (the woman who wrote Come as You Are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life) wrote a post entitled: The one reason I haven’t shared that tea/consent thing.

This is what she’s talking about, if you haven’t seen it or need a refresher:

The text of the video (with some spiffy illustrations by Sian Butcher) can be found here.

Emily… Dr Nagoski? She seems like the sort of person who’d say, ‘Please, call me Emily.’ So. Emily, makes a few very good points.

One is that many perpetrators of sexual violence don’t care about consent–they know the other person isn’t interested but feel entitled to the other person’s body. Gross. But that’s correct. Those people think their tea is so amazing you’re going to have it no matter what.

And the other was that even when people don’t necessarily want sex (I’ve just typed tea there) they want what goes along with it so they’ll accept the sex in order to get the other things. A person may say yes to sex when what they really want is just to be held or a relationship or an emotional connection. Or something even more complex like they want to be able to say they had sex with a particular person.

To my mind, the sexual act has been bestowed such importance that any other physical affection is viewed as precursor. (I’m approaching this from a vanilla point-of-view. I think kinky people should have the self awareness and communication skills to be able to express exactly what they want and are hopefully mature enough to honour their partner’s wishes.)

I think that, many (vanilla) people don’t know how to ask for just a back rub or a cuddle or to have their hair brushed and to say, ‘This doesn’t have to lead to sex,’ because they expect to have to put up with sex–even if they don’t want it–to get the closeness or whatever it is they want. That’s what Western culture has taught women and men.

We teach men that touching is bad–men who touch other men are gay and weak (which is terrible!). Touching someone is only allowed for fucking and fighting.

So if a romantic partner initiates contact the non-initiator will often think it’s the go-ahead for sexytimes. I mean, you chose to start touching me/asked me to touch you, so clearly you want the touching to be everywhere. Or in the swimwear region, at least. Touching is for fighting or fucking and I don’t want to fight you (though we can if you don’t want the other one.)

Nope. Sometimes people just need a back rub or a cuddle or they want a control scene. Sorry, I know this was supposed to be about the vanillas, but people can want one specific thing and not every other thing.

The point is, genitals are not the only way to be close to another human being. I know. It’s surprising.

Western culture has lied to you, men. Western culture has lied to us all.