Poly Land by Page Turner

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 68.]

The review this episode is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner. A more apt title for a book there has never been.

I received this book for free, but you know me. Get set for what I think.

Do you enjoy reality television?

The kind where they find people you wouldn’t want to spend time with but are weirdly compelling to watch? The kind that have entire threads on Twitter with their own hashtags—maybe you have a pool at work to see who’s going to flame out first?

Then this is the book for you!

Seriously, I did enjoy it, but talk about a dumpster fire in the middle of a clusterfuck.

While I was reading it someone on Twitter asked if every book on poly was an example of what not to do and I was like: The one I’m reading is. I like it but everyone needs an interpersonal communication class.

The author, @PolydotLand, liked that tweet and agreed, saying she thought everyone could use several communication classes.

It reminded me of Dan from Erotic Awakening. He says that he and dawn spent their first two years of polyamory just doing polyamory all wrong. Reading this book was like watching that unfold before me and being powerless to stop it or help.

People. Books are your friends. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton. Jealousy Survival Guide by Kitty Chambliss. They can help you.

I wanted to live tweet it. Seriously. ‘Oh, NOW this has happened. … I mean, of course.’

It would be an interesting read for a poly group. The discussion would be… lively. It was definitely an object lesson in the variety of ways to avoid communication and the disastrous consequences of doing so.

Between chapters about the author’s life, which charts a course from a less-than-stellar monogamous, patently unhappy marriage to something infinitely better after going through reality television-worthy hell, there are chapters called Poly Signposts, which cover important things to know about ethical non-monogamy. Including things like the difference between the poly scene for dudes and for women (because it’s very different). And New Relationship Energy—or NRE.

I’d be reading these signposts thinking, ‘All right, clearly you’ve learned a lot—are we going to see that growth in the book because the people in your life are yeesh. Run awaaaaaay. You’re better than this.’

I’ve never heckled a book before. I’m telling you, the Twitter hashtag would be incredible.

But it was very, very useful. And entertaining. I looked forward to getting back to the drama (something I avoid like the plague in real life) to see how else people could communicate badly.

There are some bad communicators out there. In ways I hadn’t imagined.

Look folks—if you want to be in the ethical non-monogamy crew, you have to talk to other people about your needs and wants. I hate talking about my feelings, too, but I just have to suck it up. That’s the ethical part.

Speaking of ethics. This book demonstrates that it is possible to cheat within polyamory. And it’s not cool.

There’s also a sexual assault near the end of the book. It’s handled delicately and isn’t graphic and it’s recounted briefly, but it’s there—the author does mention it in the copy so it’s not a surprise. Props to her for that.

The people in her life dealt with it better than I would have ever imagined. So it wound up being… not positive, but it turned out okay. About as okay as anything of this sort could turn out. It was a demonstration of the best way to handle a terrible situation.

Earlier in the book something happened where someone had to … well, they didn’t have to, but they had sex with another person’s wife into order to be able to have sexual access to the husband faster because the wife was strict about access and it was a faster route. Maybe I’m being asexual over here, but … The wife in question was a real piece of work, let me tell you.

The author is a bisexual woman with a high libido and a kinky streak and an interest in telling people what she feels so, you know, she should be having the time of her life in the poly scene, but the initial bunch of humans she’s dealt are some seriously entitled dudes and women who refuse to have straight up conversation using understandable language.

She has her own flaws, which she doesn’t hide, but in many ways, Turner seems made for polyamory, and just needed to get through the initiative test of the first few years.

Yes, it’s one of those ‘here’s how not to do poly’ books, but it’s entertaining (if enraging because who ARE these people) and if you’re already in healthy relationships it will make you appreciate them more.

Granted, this book sort of made me not want to try to date… so that’s bad. But I certainly know what to look out for when I get out there. I also know what I won’t stand for and what I need—two things that weren’t in abundance when the author started her poly journey.

Style-wise, the author is real. It reads like someone telling their story and sharing occasional letters and chats. It’s not highly polished, but also not so ‘human’ so as to be unreadable.

If you’re looking primarily for information on how to do healthy ethical non-monogamy, go for Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. If you’re looking for help dealing with specifc, difficult emotions, try Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide. If you’re looking for what happens if you fling caution to the wind and date whatever random shows up—what it’s like out there for people who don’t prepare themselves—go for Poly Land. It was a ride and a half. If she writes a sequel, I would absolutely read it. I give this 5/5.

[The author has a website, Poly.Land, with quizzes, resourses and writing about polyamory–it’s pretty cool.]

Episode 068: Poly Land

Episode the sixty-eighth; Wherein the Pageist tells the story of meeting her Ultimate Hero and also shares some good news. The book reviewed is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • New listeners in the Faroe Islands, which was a brand new place to me and was fascinating! Welcome!
  • Two survey responses that I really needed to see–thank you! You can take the survey here and make my day, too!
  • Big squashy hugs to Joanna, my first PayPal donation person! Hey lady!
  • We’re working on the shop for the site, with the plan to launch it in the next week or so! Much excitement!

6.47 My Submissive Life:

  • This episode’s segment is about why I appreciate my listeners and why you shouldn’t meet your heroes.

16.48 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner.
  • It is creative non-fiction about the author’s journey from an unhappy, monogamous marriage, into her early years doing poly all the wrong ways–with some of the worst communicators ever to stalk creation. Hilarious and infuriating, it was highly entertaining, if an excellent example of what NOT to do. The book also includes useful information about ethical nonmonogamy.
  • I’ve never heckled a book before.
  • Check out the author’s site, which includes writing, quizzes and poly resources, Poly.Land.

23.52 Closing Remarks:

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.

Episode 065: Kitty Chambliss

Episode the sixty-fifth; Wherein the Pageist has an utterly delightful chat with the unspeakably exuberant Kitty Chambliss about jealousy in non-monogamous relationships and how to deal with it.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Still no announcements because this intro was recorded very early in preparation for my husband’s brain tumour surgery.

4.11 Interview:

41.05 Closing Remarks:

Opening Up by Tristan Taormino

(source)

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

This week’s book is Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino.

Though the title is about open relationships, the book covers anything that isn’t monogamy.

Opening Up is geared both towards people new to non-monogamy and people with experience; those who want to open up an existing relationship, those involved with someone who wants to open up an existing relationship, and single people who identify as poly.

Included are personal stories about every kind of relationship—there are quotes throughout chapters, then a longer interview with a couple or group of people in a relationship at the end of each. It’s always nice to get a real life take on how non-traditional lifestyles affect the people involved. Seeing how people navigate their relationships makes them seem more manageable and less nerve-wracking for those of us who are nervous about exploring the unknown.

The Introduction includes the methodology for the people Taormino interviewed. Woof—methodology. The respondents were largely US-based and it wasn’t a scientific study, but still provided a nice array of personal stories.

Early on, the author says that in writing the book she realised there is no formula for creating a successful open relationship. There were often similarities, but each was unique, so Opening Up is more of a general guidebook than a strict recipe.

The first chapter covers beginnings—the history of swinging and other non-traditional relationships, as well as gay and lesbian contributions and communes.

Chapter two is concerned with myths about the non-monogamous folks. That’s a good one to wake you up in the morning if you’d like to get your blood pressure up.

Chapter three aims to help the reader decide if open relationships are right for them. This includes reasons people do the poly thing, as well as reasons people should not give it a shot. One of those reasons is in order to ‘fix’ a current relationship. Which seems sort of obvious, but okay. I mean, it’s not going so great with the two of you so let’s add an entire other person (or more) with their own emotions and needs into the mix.

Why not buy a house, move across country and have kids, too? That will fix everything forever.

I kind of get it—you’re not happy and think if you can see other people that will help because the problem is you’re bored or stuck or whathaveyou, but… no. You’re just inflicting your awful relationship on other people, which isn’t polite.

This chapter includes questions to ask yourself to ascertain your current beliefs about relationships (we all know how much I love homework—and there were several assignments throughout the book).

One of the reasons people have multiple intimate relationships was stated this way:

People in open relationships enjoy exploring different dynamics with different people—sexual, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. Non-monogamy gives them the opportunity to create unique relationships that nourish and support each other.

This is what I am here for. I know people who think married men shouldn’t even hug women who aren’t their wives. The idea that the person you are legally attached to having to not only meet every need, but also not being allowed to explore a variety of connections with anyone else is nuts. How possessive can you be?

Within the concept of different types of connections—the author talks about people in bi/straight, vanilla/kinky or even Dom/Dom pairings. I hadn’t considered that last one, but that must be something else.

Taormino is very kink-friendly and, if a topic can have a kink-related issue, she addresses it.

This isn’t surprising, as she edited The Ultimate Guide to Kink, but still, it’s nice to see, since that’s most relevant to my life.

In this chapter she says:

My mission in sex and relationship education has always been to empower people to explore all their options, discover what works best for them, and go out and get it.

She’s my kind of individual.

Chapter Four is What Makes an Open Relationship Work?

The same things that make kink work—consent, communication and self-awareness for starters. This chapter is full of excellent advice because just because you’re aware of what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it it doesn’t make the jealousy (or whatever) disappear.

The ever popular Non-Violent Communication makes an appearance—you know, the one where you use ‘I’ statements and own your feelings—that one.

Other things that make open relationships work: trust, honesty, boundaries and fidelity and commitment. Taormino delves into all of these in depth and explains why they’re important and how to implement them into your new, awesome life.

Then we get into different styles of non-monogamy in chapters five through nine, which include partnered nonmonogamy, swinging, polyamory, solo polyamory and polyfidelity.

Each chapter provides a definition and other information specific to that style, as well as pros and cons and why you may choose that particular style.

I wasn’t familiar with all of those, so, in case you aren’t either, here is how the author defines each:

Partnered nonmonogamy is for committed couples who want a relationship that is erotically nonmonogamous, where each partner can be involved with other people for sex, BDSM or other erotic activities. The BDSM play may or may not include genital sex.

In other words—you can do sexytimes, but can’t date or get romantically attached. This is what I personally think of when someone says they’re in an ‘open relationship’.

Swinging gets its own chapter, even though it’s a type of partnered nonmonogamy, because there’s a lot going on there. Even within the swinging community you have options galore. I interviewed Cooper S. Beckett in episode eight, where we discussed swinging (amongst many other things) if you’re looking for more information specifically on that.

Polyamory is next and Taormino defines it as:

…the desire for or the practice of maintaining multiple significant, intimate relationships simultaneously.

The relationships don’t have to include sex, but they can.

Solo Polyamory was one I hadn’t considered but made sense once the idea was introduced. This is when someone doesn’t want a primary partner. Legally they’d be considered single, but they’d have multiple intimate, varied relationships that overlapped or coexisted.

The final one mentioned is Polyfidelity, which is when multiple people are fidelitous to one another. Like a sexy, loving sports team.

In the polyamory section the author includes non-sexual poly relationships. I was surprised (happily) that they were not uncommon—according to Taormino. Perhaps poly people are more accepting of non-traditional sexualities and different types of relationships.

That section also covers hierarchical poly and non-hierarchical polyamory. The first is when one relationship is considered primary and takes precedence in one way or another over any others and the second is when all relationships are equal.

After that is a chapter on mono/poly hybrid relationships, which was of particular interest to me, as this is the style I’ll be entering and it has its own challenges and stigmas even within the poly community.

The chapter also addresses how to deal with lop-sided feelings of jealousy—in most open relationships people can look at it like, ‘My partner is going out tonight, but I have a date tomorrow so it’s fine,’ but that doesn’t apply in hybrid configurations, as well as guilt on behalf of the partner who is ‘getting everything they want’.

It’s going to be a good time. I’m looking forward to it.

As a sidebar—something I realised about myself in reading this is that I would like to eventually live with both my husband and D-type. Somehow, my brain hadn’t presented that as a possibility before, but learning that there are people who are co-husbands (or two men involved with the same woman and quite happy about it) made me think, ‘Baroo?’ I could very happily—I think—live with a female D-type and Walter and do the housework during the day while they went off to their respective jobs. We’d all have our separate rooms and it’d be swell. She could date or whatever, but I’m the sub, hmph.

Chapter eleven contains guidelines on how to design your open relationship, starting with things like whether or not you need to share an emotional connection with anyone you’re involved with, whether you can see yourself married/committed/partnered to more than one person or disliking hierarchy. Amongst other things. These are only general guides—every situation is going to be unique, of course.

This section goes into a great deal of detail so you can try to work out what you want—the author says she’s tried to think of everything for you, though you can’t plan for everything—you can be as prepared as possible.

Some of the particulars to consider are Who, meaning gender, coupled status, age, D/s status, etc. There are checklists. You know how that gave me heart eyes.

Then there’s what—as in, what you’re looking for. Safer sex, romance, BDSM activities. Be specific about all of these.

When: Frequency, Specific Days or Times.

Where: Geography, Events, Home—are you allowed to only see other people when travelling? Are you allowed to have sex with someone else in your shared bed?

There’s a chapter that specifically addresses jealousy and other intense feelings like envy and fear of abandonment and other things people write songs about. Then a chapter about compersion, which is the opposite of jealousy—when you get the warm fuzzies because someone you love is happy.

Chapter fourteen is on common challenges and problems and how to deal with them like New Relationship Energy (or when your partner is being really annoying because their brain chemistry looks like a meth lab), Time Management (because they haven’t invented Time-Turners) and Agreement Violations (or visits to the Not-Cool Zone).

Fifteen addresses something that’s important to keep in mind for kink relationships as well—continual communication. It’s called Opening Up Again: When Something Changes.

A relationship isn’t a static thing designed like a house and works perfectly just the way it is. Things change—people change—needs and desires change.

Sometimes people move from one type of nonmonogamy to another. The chapter includes this quote:

People’s self-judgment can be exacerbated by criticism from other nonmonogamous people. Some polyamorous people believe so strongly in polyamory as a lifestyle that they see other styles—even other styles of nonmonogamy—as inferior.

Sigh. The Judgersons. They are legion. It’s important to feel superior to someone, isn’t it?

There’s also this:

If you’ve explored your options and chosen monogamy, remember that your choice is valid. You seek a relationship style that fits your needs, and for some people that style is monogamy. Take all the relationship skills you learned from nonmonogamy and apply them to your monogamous relationship.

I’m not sure how I feel about the word ‘chosen’ there, but I agree with the sentiment as a whole. The more I think about it the more I think people are naturally monogamous or nonmonogamous. They can choose to behave monogamously or choose to try to be nonmonogamous, but won’t be entirely true to themselves. I’m 100% on the side of being true to yourself if you’re not hurting anyone else so…

I guess what I’m saying is, I’d phrase it: If you’ve explored your options and realised you’re monogamous, remember that’s valid.

Of course it is. There are also completely straight people in the world. I’m sorry this is how you had to find out.

The following chapter is on coming out—the hazards and benefits. Why are people so threatened? Nevermind. I know why. They think nonmonogamous people are having orgies in the street and if they were allowed to then they would suddenly partake, too. For some reason. Because sex is evil and irresistible. Or something.

People are insane.

There are chapters on the unsexy but vital topics of STIs and safer sex, raising children in non-traditional familial arrangements and legal issues.

The chapter on STIs was the most out-of-date (the book was published in 2008) and we know more now, but the how to have safer sex information was still accurate.

That last chapter was the most infuriating one of the book, as non-married partners have no legal standing in the eyes of the law without investing time and money into legal services.

Even then, in some ways, non-traditional relationships are still discriminated against.
For example, though many groups are protected under fair housing provisions—people can’t discriminate based on religion, race, disability, sexual orientation, and so on—poly relationships aren’t protected.

Another was that, in some places, it’s illegal for more than a certain number of unrelated adults to live on one property (I suppose to keep it from being a hotel? Who knows.)

So if you’re in a group who all wants to live in a massive Victorian together—check the zoning regulations.

That’s insane! It’s just grown up human beings choosing where to live!

I suppose because the idea of loving more than one person—or being involved with more than one person—has always made sense to me I don’t get what the big deal is. I also don’t get why it took me so long to work out I’m poly, but that’s a different thing.

I was looking at reviews on Goodreads and one person went on a bit of a tear about something this book espouses, which is that no one person can’t be everything to anyone else so it makes sense you’d want to be involved with other people to get different needs met. This makes perfect sense to me, as that’s what I’m all about. The person who was unhappy with this assertion says that makes other people into need-providers rather than separate, complete humans.

Oh. Right. That’s a fair point. What if they stop providing the thing you originally bring them into your life for? Do you cut them out again? Do they become disposable? Yeah. How much of a dick do you have to be to see people that way? It’s one thing if you only have one thing in common and you drift apart if one of you loses interest in that one thing, but if I had a Domme and our relationship moved from power exchange to friendship I hope I wouldn’t be, ‘Oh, well if you’re not my Dominant then I don’t want to know you.’

If I like you enough to serve you then I should hope we can still play board games or talk about books or watch films or, freakin’ something.

Anyway, the book has notes and resources galore, for people who’d like further information, and the book also has its own website OpeningUp.net.

This is a must-read for people considering or those interested in improving their non-monogamous relationships. I would even recommend it over Ethical Slut, though I think both are highly useful this one covers some areas that one doesn’t. 5/5

Episode 038: Opening Up

Episode the thirty-eighth; wherein the Pageist (briefly) returns to her roots, explains why your neurotransmitters LIE and shares some exciting news about the site. The book reviewed is Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino.

.48 Intro & Announcements:

  • A new Facebook follow: Welcome to Richard! And a new like from Darkling. Hellooooo!
  • The listener in Djibouti makes me laugh because he reminds me of me.
  • The show & site has a new Patron: BIG thanks to Barrett! Check out the perks of supporting the show over here.
  • The mobile version of the site is getting a swanky upgrade next month! I am very excited!
  • If you haven’t already, check out The Cage. I reviewed the site here.
  • Episode thirty-five–where I talk about dealing with depression and how the site and podcast have helped me enormously.

4.58 My Submissive Life:

  • A sample of my original accent and how changing the accents we’re born with is similar to challenging unhelpful beliefs.

9.45 Book Review:

28.33 Closing Remarks:

My Life on the Swingset

(source)

(source)

 

[This is the book review from episode 30 of the podcast]

The book this episode is My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory by Cooper S. Beckett, which I received for free, but I’m incapable of lying about … pretty much anything but certainly how I feel about books. I talk about why I believe in being honest in book reviews on episode four, which is also an episode about spanking, so you may want to listen to that one anyway.

But first, listen to this one. I’ve previously reviewed Beckett’s novel A Life Less Monogamous in episode five and then had him on the show in episode eight.

This one is non-fiction—it’s a collection of essays that started as blog posts from his website, which he began writing a year and a half after getting into the swinging lifestyle. It covers the first five years of writing about non-monogamy. When putting the book together he edited many of the posts and added some notes so it’s not just a repackaging of writing you could read for free.

If you read his novel first, like I did, you’ll probably notice some…similarities between his personal stories and some of the things that happen in the novel. For example, his first swinger lady friend is quite a bit older than he’d ever expect to be attracted to and had red hair. Well, well, friend. I steeple my fingers and raise my eyebrows in your direction.

The book is broken into sections, with several essays in chronological order in each.

I can’t necessarily tell you the theme of each section. Coop has a tendency to wander—something he would readily admit to. He also loves a parenthetical within a parenthetical within a parenthetical. It probably would have been easier to deal with if reading the pieces as they were being posted on a website, but back-to-back in a book I wanted to tell him to get to the point—enough with the parentheticals already, there, Proust.

I’m glad I read his fiction first. And I’m stoked for the next book in his series, which is called The Swingularity. And if you’ve read this and are hesitant to try A Life Less Monogamous—give it a go.

That said, as the book is in chronological order—the reader witnesses the author’s growth as a writer and a swinger/poly-person/bisexual male. There is much to be gained from these essays. Accompanying him on his personal journey as it’s happening—the pieces are like journal entries in a way—is… intimate. Sometimes very much so—we’re talking about a person’s actual sex life, but also about how a person relates both to the world and to himself.

In the first essay of the book—the first paragraph, he says this:

I’ve alternately been a nerd and a geek as long as I can remember. You know, the kind of person who discovers something cool like swinging and rather than bask in the light of it and suck the marrow from its bones, builds a website and podcast to talk about it. That kind of uncool.

Look man, I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s the coolest thing you can do. Sniff. Ahem.

At the start there’s a lexicon of frequently-used words and phrases so new people won’t feel confused about all the new lingo. I do like a lexicon. Because I am a very cool person.

And Beckett explains why he started his podcast and website:

We wanted to provide a safe haven in a sea of repressed attitudes, to show others that it’s okay, comfort those who are nervous, applaud those who are bold, thank those who provide support, and strike forward into a future where open sexuality may become more and more acceptable.

We’re on the same page there.

Beckett covers several topics—including the titular swinging and polyamory. One of which was a prostate orgasm or a p-spot orgasm. This is the description:

She became more aggressive, moving her whole body in rhythm, gripping my thigh and arm at times, putting her hand on my chest to gain leverage, to hold me down, to push the energy right into me.

Somewhere in there, it started.

I’ve always achieved small spasms during prostate play, the kind of spasms you hit as your cock is being played with, those early signposts that you’r going in the right direction. With prostate stimulation, these moments were usually brief but very pleasurable. But on that bed, with this expert, I found these spasms elongating and coming closer together, becoming tremors and full-body shaking. Bigger and bigger, closer and closer, until the gap between them disappeared.

Here’s where it all gets fuzzy and dreamlike. Once the gap vanished it was like a wave rushing toward shore that wasn’t breaking, and the shore just moved back at the same speed as the wave. On and on the shakiness rolled, spasming, rocking my body. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think.

“Shh, don’t clench,” she whispered to me, running her fingers along my very tense legs. My hands were indeed clenched into tight fists. I opened them and put my head back down.

“Just breathe.”

This continued for the better part of an hour. At least I think so. I honestly have no idea because time had fractured and lost meaning. I may have been orgasming for decades or only a minute. I’ve since been assured it was almost fifty minutes from the beginning of the “clearly orgasmic” portion of my time on that bed to the end.

When I threw the flag down and tapped out.

I thanked her, words unable to accurately reflect my gratitude. She assured me that I had indeed progressed through many and varied orgasms if my face and body were any indication. As I lie there, basking for a while, a curious thing happened. An aftershock tremor hit, causing me to curl up my knees to my chest–an ecstatic moment of orgasmic delight.

This by itself was surprising enough, but when these tremors continued during the walk back to my room, during the shower before dinner, while getting food from the buffet, (I had to ask a friend to get me a deviled egg because I couldn’t hold the tongs steady) and through on to dessert. Only after sitting at dinner for an hour or so did the tremors finally begin to subside.

A nearly endless orgasm with the vast capacity for more. Without the standard feelings of “Okay, I’m done.” A whole new world. How thrilling that is. After all, I’m no longer chasing the possibly mythical prostate orgasm.

Now I’m just chasing the very real next prostate orgasm.

O, happy day!

If dudes spent more time chasing these, wars would end today. Spread the word, let’s get on it. We must find the people who know how to facilitate this—they can teach classes to others and we’ll work outwards from there. We’ll have world peace by the end of next year, tops.

I’ve had a hypothesis for some time that many men hate women because of the whole multiple-orgasm thing, but this… come on. 2016 has been the year of complete bullshit. 2017 can be the year of world peace and men who never leave the house. We can do it.

One of the topics the reader watches his journey through is male bisexuality in the swinger scene, which is evolving, from what Beckett says. He starts out a bit nervous to bring it up and winds up a vocal advocate for bisexual men to own their desires.

Another key topic is safer sex (we’re similar in our germphobia). And this is where I get to say something to Coop because I know he’ll listen to this episode. He has a whole writing about someone who didn’t like kissing with tongues. That was a line too far, intimacy-wise for that person. Coop thought no kissing was fine, but kissing without tongues was pointless.

Coop. Man. Friend. Man-friend. Do you know how many germs there are in the mouth? (615 different types of bacteria.) Is sex pointless if there’s no penetration? (I know you don’t believe so because you wrote an essay about how letting go of that changed your whole experience.) You’ll cover yourself head-to-toe in latex for everything else because germs! (And I am so with you.) But the mouth is the dirtiest part of the human body. It has the largest amount of bacteria of anywhere outside the body and comes into contact with more bacteria than the rectum.

Back to everyone else.

Beckett covers topics that will be familiar to people in the SOP (Swinging, Open, Poly) lifestyle like jealousy, new relationship energy, the terror of your dick not cooperating, and compersion (when you are happy because your love is happy). I don’t mean this in a ‘yawn, it’s so done’ sort of way—but a ‘he’s been there and can relate and may have some new advice for you’ sort of way.

On jealousy—because you really can never have enough advice on it—he makes this observation:

Like anger, jealousy is based in fear. The difference is that while our society helps teach us how to manage our anger (you know, take a breath, count to 10) we’ve been encouraged to nurture our jealousy.

There’s also advice on topics like getting sex toys through airport security. Like so:

Confidence that what you’re carrying is awesome can make the more otherwise awkward moments better too. Like on our way to Mexico, when the agent monitoring the x-ray called not one but two other agents over to point and whisper about what was in the toy suitcase. I gave her a wink when she made eye contact.

Other advice is on how to rock a sex party, how to navigate different levels of attraction when your partner is more into a member of a couple than you are and how to hide a sex swing. We’ve all been there, right?

There’s also a call for inclusion for all types of kinks and SOP folks, which I can get behind and some quite interesting writings on kink itself including a piece about an evening of switching between Dom and sub. During our interview, Coop informed me that swingers who are kinky are called swinky. Which is outstanding.

One thing I found really interesting—well, there were several things that were new to me as someone who isn’t a swinger—but this bit in particular:

…the swing community is heavily weighted with people in their forties through sixties, and under twenty-five. It’s rather telling, in fact, that the generation that grew up hearing that sex could kill you (twenty six-through thirty-eight) is finding itself underrepresented in the non-monogamous community.

He’s a funny guy and funny things happen to him—there’s a particularly hilarious story about trying to hookup with someone when their vanilla relative shows up. And sexy things happen to him—there’s not one particular story here… just… lots of things happen.

But he also thinks a lot. About many things. Communication, friendship, pegging. You know, the sorts of things that make life worth living.

And he’s such a geek! I love it!

He had me at this reference:

Over two decades later, I’m confident that if a Catholic hell does happen to exist I’ll be there to dine with you all. Because let me tell you, I’ve done my fair share of coveting my neighbor’s wife. Of course, I’ve also fucked my neighbor’s wife, so I guess there’s a special level of hell reserved for me. I mean, Dante told us that the masturbators get turned into trees and eaten by Harpies so… that’s weird.

The man got an Inferno reference in there. Ten points to Gryffindor.

It would have been useful if the essays had been presented with original published dates like Steve Lenius did with Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness. I would have more easily been able to track where Coop was in his journey. Sometimes he’d mention he’s been in the lifestyle six years or two years or something, but I enjoy watching a person grow—humans like stories and that’s part of watching a story unfold, I think—and original dates would have made it easier.

Still, it was worthwhile, educational, relatable and entertaining and I would recommend it for anyone interested in the SOP lifestyles, either as participants or just out of curiosity. 5/5

If you’d like to learn more about Coop, swinging, polyamory or all sorts of other sexy things, head over to Lifeontheswingset.com or check out their podcasts at swingset.fm.

The Evolution of Friendships and Polyamory

There was an excellent post on Medium recently about polyamory entitled The Bigger Picture of Polyamory by Jasna.

There were several things that spoke to me, one is that I agree that being poly is a personality trait and not necessarily a relationship choice.

She also put into words something I hadn’t been able to, but this is what I’m looking for–the reason polyamory appeals to me:

I love exploring the way friendships develop. When I meet someone new, I never quite know what form that friendship will take — in the beginning, the possibilities are limitless, and that’s simultaneously an exhilarating and remarkably comforting feeling. I love watching the shape of the friendship evolve and change and discover itself.

Sometimes, there are other layers to it. Sometimes it settles into a space that doesn’t quite have a good name. I have friends whom I cuddle quietly with. Friends whose hand I like holding. Friends whom I hold in my arms when they are sad, and whose forehead I kiss to comfort them. It is still a friendship, but if I were in a monogamous relationship with someone, this type of friendship would begin to blur the lines of what’s okay and isn’t okay.

And then there was this, which was the highlighted by many people, apparently:

Authenticity in life is one of the most important things to me. I want to relate to people in natural, genuine ways. I want to form friendships which feel comfortable for everyone involved. I have found that when I remove expectations for what a friendship should and shouldn’t be, it slowly begins to take its natural form, and becomes something even more beautiful.

I love the idea of allowing friendships to be whatever they are going to be. Rather than trying to prune them or force them into certain shapes due to current cultural mores. As long as everyone is supportive of one another, allowing relationships to take their own path teaches everyone new things about themselves.

The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

(source)

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 22 of the podcast.]

The book reviewed in this episode is The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.

Other books I’ve reviewed by the authors are Spanking for Lovers by Janet W. Hardy in episode four, and the book was amazing. Before I had the podcast I reviewed here The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book, which are excellent guides for people new to the scene. The Multiamory hosts took over this show for one episode and reviewed both of those books for episode seven, which turned out great.

So, I knew these ladies were kinky and was vaguely aware they had also written a well-known book about ethical nonmonogamy. I figured I’d get around to it eventually, just as I plan to get around to all areas of interesting kinkdom at some point.

But then I realized I was poly, which was blazingly obvious once I thought about it, and The Ethical Slut moved up Mount TBR. (Does everyone use TBR to mean To Be Read?) Mount TBR means the ridiculously huge stack of books I fully intend to read once I become immortal and have an endless supply of money (or free books, whatever).

The version I’m reviewing is the second edition, which the cover informs me has been expanded and updated. The original version was published in 1997—the second edition came out in 2009.

The book is broken down into four parts, with chapters in each part. Part One is entitled Welcome.

In Chapter one, which is called Who is an Ethical Slut, there’s this:

If you ask about a man’s morals, you will probably hear about his honesty, loyalty, integrity, and high principles. When you ask about a woman’s morals, you are more likely to hear about whom she shares sex with, and under what conditions. We have a problem with that.

And rightfully so! It’s not something I’d ever considered before, but it’s true. Double-standard-having bastards.

Something I really like about the book is that it has homework! I mean written exercises. Some are set off on their own, but there are also many, many questions within the text. If you answer all of those you’ll know yourself approximately 2,000 times better by the end of the book.

The authors define slut this way:

To us, a slut is a person of any gender who celebrates sexuality according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you.

Chapter Two is Myths and Realities and covers judgments, myths and realities surrounding sluts and includes this quote:

Kinsey once defined a ‘nymphomanic’ as ‘someone who has more sex than you’.

Chapter Three is Our Beliefs, where the authors say:

Most of our criteria for ethics are quite pragmatic. Is anyone being harmed? Is there any way to avoid causing that harm? Are there any risks? Is everybody involved aware of those risks and doing what can be done to minimize them?

On the positive side: How much fun is this? What is everybody learning from it? Is it helping someone to grow? Is it helping make the world a better place?

If everyone on Earth lived by this philosophy we’d all be much better off, let me tell you.

Then there was this: In a section called Rethinking Sex, :

Are you having sex right now? Yes, you are, and so are we.

This was news to me. Then they go on to compare sexual energy to food—something else I don’t care about. The metaphor was that people enjoy the look and smell of food, and the memories of nice meals in the past or what we may eat tomorrow become part of that enjoyment. So sexual energy pervades everything. You know what? I eat whatever is to hand when I’m hungry and I don’t think about it otherwise most of the time. I’m asexual and aculinarial. Or whatever. Maybe books would work. I like the look and smell and feel of them… Anyway. They say that since they’re writing about it and we’re reading about it we’re all having sex. Well okay. Then they say this:

More pragmatically, we have had long, intense intimate conversations that felt deeply sexual to us. And we have had intercourse that didn’t feel terribly sexual. Our best definition is that sex is whatever the people engaging in it think it is. For some people, spanking is sex. For others, wearing a garter belt and stockings is sex. If you and anybody else involved feel sexual when you eat ice cream sundaes together, that sex—for you.

And then it all made sense, for I am a kinky person and I certainly understand being fulfilled by things that other people wouldn’t understand as sexy. Also an intellectual or emotional connection can feel incredibly intense and is much more profound and important to me in terms of a power exchange than anything physical.

Chapter Four was called Slut Styles—the first subheading was Sluthood Today, which sounds like a magazine. Modern Slut.

The chapter covers how different groups of people interact—lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and heterosexuals. No pansexuals or other folks. Asexuals are later in the book.

This description of how gay males approach sex blew my mind.

Gay male sex, as a rule, starts from a presumption of equal power, without the dynamic of overpowerment and withholding that often pervades male/female interactions. Thus, men do not generally try to get consent from each other by manipulation and pressuring: connection is more commonly made by a gentle approach, meeting a gentle response and no need to ask three times. Gay men give each other a lot of credit for being able to say no, and for meaning it when they say it—this makes coming on very simple, since you are never trying to sneak up on anybody and you are not required to be subtle. It is always okay to ask as long as it is okay for the other person to say no. This straight-forward and admirably simple approach to consensuality cannot be recommended too highly.

That could not be more different from anything I’ve experienced or ever expected to experience with men or women. It’s like reading about social practices on a different planet.

Chapter Five is Battling Sex Negativity.

The authors mention a resource guide in the back of the book to help people protect their legal rights in case they’re not in a legally recognized relationship and want to make sure they retain access to funds, property or visitation rights in the case of an accident.

Chapter Six: Infinite Possibilities
This is where the asexuals are. Over with the celibates.
And this is what they have to say about us.

We do not see ‘celibate slut’ or ‘asexual slut’ as in any way a contradiction in terms. There are infinite ways of relating to other people—romantically, intimately, domestically, and more—and if you’ve opened your life and heart to as many of those ways as possible, you’re one of us.

I’m fine with other people declaring themselves ‘sluts’ but I think I’ll stick with ‘ethically nonmonogamous’. ‘Asexual lesbian married to a man’ confuses enough people, without throwing the word slut in there. I’ll spend all day explaining what that means. Forget ‘kinky’ or ‘service-oriented’. Just wait until I start topping dudes. It’s like that Joe Ancis saying that the only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well. That’s so true.

This chapter covers the permutations available to ethically nonmonogamous folks. One of which they call ‘Circles and Tribes’

‘Circle’ is a word we use for a set of connections between a group of people that actually might look more like a constellation, with some people near the hub and connected to several others, and others near the outside and connected to only one or two and, perhaps, part of another constellation as well. (We like the word ‘constellation’ for this, because in a constellation, everybody gets to be a star!)

This reminds me of an early series of the L Word—the first or second—where Alice Pieszecki (the Leisha Hailey character) made something called The Chart and connected all the lesbians she knew together by who’d they’d slept with. It looked like the biggest, gayest constellation you’d ever seen. Then I found out a friend of mine had done something similar with the lesbians she knew and it covered the back of the laundry room door. Lesbians.

Another quote from this chapter:

Couples new to nonmonogamy tend to spend a lot of energy defining their boundaries. They usually focus more at first on what they don’t want their partner to do—the activities that make them feel, for some reason, unsafe or downright terrified—than on their actual desires. Setting these limits is, for many couples, a necessary first step out into the disorienting world of sluthood. However, as a couple becomes more sophisticated at operating the boundaries of their relationship, they tend to focus more on what they would enjoy, and then strategize about how they can make it safe.

Then we’re on to Part Two: The Practice of Sluthood

Chapter Seven is Abundance—basically the idea that there’s an infinite amount of love and sex out there. We tend to believe that if we’re giving something to one person we’re not giving that thing to another person, but you can love all of your pets or kids equally—or in different ways, but you still love them. It’s not, ‘Well, I have a third dog now, I like the first one less and the second one I can’t even look at anymore. Not one single redeeming quality.’

The chapter addresses real world limits like time (Google Docs are your friend—everyone involved can see them) and something they call the tyranny of hydraulics. I’ll let the authors explain.

The ‘tyranny of hydraulics’ is Dossie’s phrase for the biological realities that govern many aspects of sexuality.

So, I’m in love with this phrase and will be using it for the rest of my life. The tyranny of hydraulics. Stuff just doesn’t work sometimes. No matter how much you want it to.

Then we’re on to Chapter Eight, which is Slut Skills. This includes the excellent quote:

Great sluts are made, not born.

I have different quotes on the back of my business cards and that’s going on the back of some in my next set.

Knowing yourself is important in, well, life, but it’s particularly important when embarking on a journey that isn’t traditional. The authors urge self-examination and ask the reader: What do you expect from this way of living your life?

Then there’s a section called ‘Earning Your Slut Merit Badge’ which consists of all the things the best sluts work at: Communication, Emotional Honesty, Affection (which includes most of the love languages), Faithfulness, Limit-setting, Planning, Knowing Yourself, Owning Your Feelings, Going Easy on Yourself & Telling the Truth. These are explained in detail.

Under ‘Limit-Setting’ the authors have this to say:

When you respect your own limits, others will learn to respect them too. People tend to live up to your standards when you are not afraid to set them. Only when everyone’s limits are out in the open do you become free to ask for your dearest fantasies, secure in the knowledge that if your friend doesn’t want to, he won’t.

This brings us to Chapter Nine: Boundaries.
The belief is often that sluts aren’t familiar with the concept of boundaries, but the authors say this:

‘…sluts get a great deal of opportunity to develop exquisitely sophisticated discriminations: ‘We actually have more boundaries than most folks because we have more points of contact,’ more experience relating in very different ways to very diverse people.’

This chapter is about setting boundaries—figuring out what yours are—and communicating effectively. The entire book has stories from other people, as well as Dossie and Janet. It’s always useful to see how various techniques have been applied in real life.

Then we have an Interlude entitled An Unethical Slut: A Rant.

Some people treat sex as a big-game hunt—trying to conquer the unwilling and unwitting victim, as though the object of their attention would never decide to share sex with them unless tricked into it. Someone who tries to use sex to shore up sagging self-esteem by stealing someone else’s is a pitiable object: this strategy does not work to build a solid sense of self-worth, and this poor starving individual will have to go on stealing more and more and never getting fulfilled.

I’ve never thought of it this way, but it isn’t the greatest sign of self-esteem if someone is going around using magic formulae in an effort to get someone into bed rather than just being themselves.

Then there was this revelation:

A friend of ours once discovered that a would-be lover of hers had already had sex with her mother and her sister and was hoping to complete the set.

I have only one thing to say about that: Ewwwwww.

Then we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming in the form of Chapter Ten—Flirting and Cruising.

The authors think that flirting should be it’s own thing rather than having to lead anywhere. I wholeheartedly agree but I’ve have so many people misinterpret my for-fun flirting—either men getting offended I didn’t want more or women thinking I did want more—that that’s not going to happen. I’d constantly be saying: ‘I’m not actually interested in anything happening, okay? Okay.’ And that wouldn’t be conducive to flirting. That’s the opposite of flirting. Whatever that is. Farting, maybe.

The authors offer this advice to heterosexual men when cruising:

Many a man has made the mistake of approaching a woman in the way he thinks he would like to be approached if he were a woman. If you’re not sure if women find your approach too heavy-handed, imagine being approached by a large, strong man using your exact technique and ask yourself how that feels. Successful male cruisers remain sensitive to verbal and nonverbal cues, conveying friendly interest and appreciation for the fascinating human being in front of them.

Also maybe imagine having some of the things you want to say shouted at you by several large, strong men when you’re just trying to get home at night.

Chapter Eleven is Keeping Sex Safe—fairly self explanatory title there.

Chapter Twelve concerns Childrearing and includes this quote:

Janet remembers a conversation with her older son when he was about ten: she’d just done a ‘birds and bees’ rap and had perhaps got a little carried away. At the end of her long speech, she asked him, ‘So, as long as we’re on this topic, is there anything else you want to know?’ He replied fervently, ‘Mom, you’ve already told me much more that I wanted to know.’

Yeah… Janet and I are similar. That’s totally what I’d be like.

Part Three is Navigating Challenges and begins with Chapter Thirteen: Roadmaps Through Jealousy.

One of their suggestions for dealing with jealousy is something they call Go for the Ick, which is just going right ahead and thinking about whatever your partner and their other person might be doing together rather than expending all that energy pushing the thoughts away. It reminds me of that scene in High Fidelity when the main character’s girlfriend has hooked up with the hippie-type guy who lives upstairs. He can’t stand the guy so, in his head, they’re having the most out of this world, kumbaya sex ever.

Chapter Fourteen is Embracing Conflict and contains suggestions for ways to deal with conflict rather than ignoring it or pushing it away.

One of the suggestions is to write whatever you’re feeling down in an email (without filling in the To: line) and saving it to drafts. Then leave it for a bit. Come back later and make sure you’re using I-statements rather than you-ing the person to death, after all, it’s about your feelings, not what the other person is doing. You may decide not to send it at all, but the authors said:

We usually delete sentences that begin with the words, ‘You shithead.’

Sound advice, I think.

Chapter Fifteen: Making Agreements.

‘Agreement’ is a better word than ‘rule’ because rules sound incredibly inflexible. They define it as:

mutually agreed-upon, conscious decisions, designed to be flexible enough to accommodate individuality, growth and change.

The chapter includes a list of sample agreements various people they’ve known have used to give you an idea of what to think about—many are mutually exclusive.

Chapter Sixteen is about Opening an Existing Relationship.

There is advice for each person involved—the person who wants to open the relationship, the ‘other’ person and the person who chose none of this.

There’s also an exercise called the Hierarchy of Hard which can be used to get from here to there on any goal, really. You break down what you need to do into progressively smaller steps and put those on index cards then take one card at a time and do what’s on the card. Proving what I’ve long known–office supplies can always improve your life.

We’re onto the final part—Part Four. Sluts in Love.

Chapter Seventeen is Making a Connection—or how to find people to date.
Under the subheading: Where? Is this:

We find a lot of ethical sluts exploring alternative realities: try your local Society for Creative Anachronism and other historical re-enactment groups, and know that many Renaissance Faires are practically sluts’ trade conferences.

It makes sense that people exploring an alternative way to conduct their romantic lives would also be into alternative realities in general.

They then mention PolyMatchMaker.com, which weirdly doesn’t have an app—doesn’t everything have an app? I’m surprised my cat doesn’t have an app. And there’s an ethical slut test on OKCupid [note: this is no longer available]. I took it but my results would come out wonky, because it was mostly sex-based and I’m asexual. Anything that had to do with history or future interest in sex made me look like a particularly prudish nun, as there were no options for—I’d partake in sex as an act of submission with the right D-type. My official result was:

Happy Almost-Slut Whoa! You scored 11 Sluttiness Points and 23 Ethics Points! The 23 Ethics points was higher than 81 percent of other participants,

which is a little unsettling, as I thought I was just being a decent person.

Chapter Eighteen: Couples covers NRE—new relationship energy—also known as limerence. A word that sounds as light and shimmery as NRE feels.

Chapter Nineteen is called The Single Slut and includes lists of The Rights of the Single Slut and the Responsibilities of the Single Slut—both very useful lists to keep in mind.

Then there was this quote, which fell under the sub-heading ‘Role-Constrained Relationship’

Sometimes your relationship may be defined by the roles you play together, roles that a person’s life partner may not want or enjoy. Your connection could be as simple as a love of watching football on TV or, perhaps more complicated, being the same-sex partner to someone in an opposite sex marriage. Your shared roles might be about S/M power exchange, erotic roleplaying, exploration of gender, spiritual journeying, or any other sexual sharing that the partnership doesn’t provide. Your shared role makes you part of a family’s ecology, part of what makes it run smoothly, and is both a joy and a responsibility not to be taken lightly.

This is what I’m looking for so to have it addressed so tidily lets me know it’s not uncommon for people to have someone in their life who fulfills a specific role, as opposed to having multiple traditional relationships, so to speak.

Chapter Twenty: The Ebb and Flow of Relationships covers breakups and how to handle them with grace, dignity and respect for everyone involved.

Chapter Twenty-One is entitled Sex and Pleasure. It addresses the sex-negativity pervasive in our culture and ways to educate yourself in order to have better sex. Under the sub-heading ‘Good Sex Starts with You’ is this quote:

What have you done recently that helps you feel good about the body you are inhabiting today? It’s hard to have a good relationship with our body when all you do is yell at it.

This is such an accurate description of many people’s relationship with their bodies…wow.

Chapter Twenty-Two is Public Sex, Group Sex and Orgies. Which is, bizarrely, a collection of brownie recipes and sewing patterns. Kidding. It’s exactly what it sounds like and how to navigate them with your partner.

The Conclusion is called a Slut Utopia and includes this quote:

When right and wrong are your only options, you may believe that you can’t love more than one person, or that you can’t love in different ways, or that you have a finite capacity for love—that ‘many’ must somehow be opposed to ‘one’, or that your only options are in love and out of love, with no allowance for different degrees or kinds of love.

We would like to propose something different. Instead of these simpleminded either/or arguments, consider the possibility of seeing, and valuing everything that there is, without viewing them as in opposition to one another. We think that if you can do this, you will discover that there are as many ways to be sexual as there are to be human, and all of them are valid. There are lots of ways to relate, to love, to express gender, to share sex, to form families, to be in the world, to be human…and none of them in any way reduces or invalidates any of the others.

Hear, hear.

One thing that I was looking for that wasn’t covered is when one person is poly and the other is monogamous. Often, advice people give is that when your partner is out on a date is to remember that you’ll be going out on a hot date soon, too, but if one of you is happy just being with your partner and the other is poly, that isn’t going to stop the monogamous one from being jealous or insecure occasionally and they won’t have the ‘well, I’ll be getting my own wing doodler done good soon’ to comfort them. By the way, ‘wing doodler’ is non-gender specific. Whatever makes you feel good is your wing doodler. For me, it would often be my brain. ‘Wow, that conversation was so intense and we were so on the same page my wing doodler is buzzing right now.’

Aside from that, it is easy to see why this book is considered to be a classic. It’s well written, by two people with decades of experience and a finely-tuned sense of humor. I would definitely recommend it to both people new to the land of nonmonogamy and anyone interested in learning new relationship skills. 5/5

[After the podcast went live, Janet Hardy let me know the next edition is in the works and will include more information on the varieties of asexuals out there, as well as information on poly/mono relationships. I look forward to that, which is set for 2017, I believe.]

Episode 022 The Ethical Slut

Episode the Twenty-Second; Wherein the Pageist tries a new app designed for kinksters, discovers a podcast for sexy thinkers and learns to be ethically slutty.

The book reviewed this episode is The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.

.50 Intro & Announcements:

  • Welcome to the new listener in Latvia!
  • Thank you to the new survey-taker. Mwah! Mwah!

1.35 My Submissive Life:

  • I tested the KNKI app. Their website is: here.
  • Also, Intellectual Foreplay is a new favorite podcast. Check them out here.
  • Review of Cooper S. Beckett’s A Life Less Monogamous: Episode 5.
  • Interview with Cooper S. Beckett: Episode 8.

5.22 Book Review:

  • Books by the authors I’ve previously reviewed: Spanking for Lovers by Janet W. Hardy: Episode 4.
  • Written reviews of The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy.
  • The Multiamory hosts took over my show and did their own (quite excellent) reviews of The New Topping and The New Bottoming Books: Episode 7.
  • PolyMatchMaker.com–a dating website for poly people.
  • The OK Cupid Ethical Slut Test mentioned in this episode is no longer available.

31.41 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing the first three volumes of Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
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Being Brutally Polyamorous with Ferrett Steinmetz

Ferrett Steinmetz (TheFerrett to people on Fetlife) is hilarious and honest about the highs and lows of polyamory.

In this week’s mentor post, he offers some advice to someone considering ‘taking it easy’ on the poly for the sake of their new monogamous partner.

Be Brutally Polyamorous

“I’m polyamorous, but my partner’s new to this. They say they’re okay with what I’ve told them about poly, but… I can tell they’re nervous. So I’m going to damp it down for a while just to be kind to them – I’ll go easy on the side-dating.”

Don’t do that.

Your kindness will rip ’em to shreds.

Because if you give someone an artificial trial period, one where you give them the faux-monogamous experience to make them comfortable, then all you’re doing is lulling them into a sense of “Oh, this is what it’s like.”

And when you start up the dating after a while, they’re going to be even more panicky. Because not only will they have the usual assortment of jealousies and insecurities that come when you transition into a multi-partner relationship, but also they’ll be thinking, “But… you didn’t date anyone for a year! Now you’re looking for someone else!

“What did I do wrong?”

And here’s one of the central truths about relationships: What usually scares people the most is deviations from the established norm. For example, I have a sweetie who’s a swinger: she goes to clubs and guzzles cock like there’s no tomorrow. She tells me about her problems organizing gangbangs. I think it’s adorable.

But that’s because I met her as a swinger. That’s who she was, and who she continues to be.

If my wife, who’s fairly conservative in who she sleeps with, suddenly started hitting the clubs every night, I would fucking panic.

I’d panic because my wife’s behavior would have changed, and I’d feel like maybe I didn’t know her as well as I’d thought I did, and wonder what I was doing wrong that she suddenly was into freaky anonymous sex. And whereas I know my sweetie loves me thoroughly because “gangbangs” were just part of our background noise, my wife attending ’em regularly would be different.

Not saying I couldn’t get used to it. I could adjust.

But that switch in behavior is what scares people.

Giving them a “trial period” and then dropping the big change of “Oh yeah, I date other people now” is going to hurt someone unfamiliar to polyamory more. Often, a lot more. You are doing them zero kindnesses.

Because what’ll happen by then is that you’ll be so much more attached by the time you find out the other person said they’d be okay with poly, but really, turns out they can’t handle it. It’s not like this happened in the first weeks of dating, when you were soppy with NRE but also shallowly attached – no, it’s been months, you’re both emotionally entangled. To discover after a year that whoops, this whole poly thing is actually a dealbreaker for your other partner hurts way more.

If you’re going to be poly, own it.

Mind you, I’m not saying to go out and date someone you hate to rip off the band-aid! If they’re the currently only person in your life, cool, drift with that. But for God’s sake, if you were dating other people before, keep dating. Don’t give your trying-to-adjust partner the illusion that this is trial period is what they’re signing up for.

They deserve to know what sort of effects dating other people will have on them. Some of them will be every bit as cool with it as they promised. Others will need some adjustment, and hopefully you can fine-tune your caring to give them what they need without selling out your satisfaction. And still others will freak out so much that really, your choices boil down to “be monogamous with them” or “break up.”

All of these things are better to know early on.

So yeah. It seems selfish, but… be brutal. Show them what they’re in for. Polyamory’s not for everyone, and going out of your way to give people the impression that “polyamory” means “occasionally you flirt but really, nothing happens” can demolish ’em once the first dating happens. And if you drop that hammer after they’ve come to rely on your love and support, you’ll be one of those poly folks going, “How could they not know I was poly? I told them! Why are they shocked now?”

They’re shocked because you told them that what you were doing was what they could expect, and it wasn’t.

So keep dating. Give them as much love as you can. Hug them and let them know that your love for them is a unique thing that’s not touched by other people.

But keep dating.

Though I found this writing on Fetlife, it is also available on TheFerrett’s blog.

A Life Less Monogamous by Cooper S. Beckett

This came from a Tumblr page that is no longer available.

This came from a Tumblr page that is no longer available.

This is the text version of the book review from Episode 5 of The Pageist podcast.

[I received this book for free, but book reviewer’s honor, I’ll tell you what I really think. Listen to episode four of the podcast for my philosophy on free books and the responsibility of the reviewer.]

Jennifer and Ryan Lambert are just over thirty. They were functionally virgins when they got together in their late teens and have a solid, if boring, marriage.

Sex is not really… not really.

They’re seeing one of those therapists that listens more than he talks and who has given them the sort of mantras that would make me roll my eyeballs right out of my head. Things like, ‘Today is the day we jump.’

The therapist was realistic. I wondered if he was based on a real person.

So Ryan and Jennifer are looking for a way to get their something back. Whatever it is that happily married couples are supposed to have. And the sex. That’s important.

Off they go to a Christmas party at the house of one of their few friends—the Lamberts’ lives are constrained in all aspects—there friends’ names are Noah and Barbara.

At this party they meet Bruce and Paige Shepard. The Shepard’s are older, vital and vibrant. Just charm personified. Bruce is the kind of guy Ryan wants to be and Paige is the sort of woman Jennifer wants to be and wants to do other things to. Much to her surprise.

The younger couple spends the party cozied up to the older couple—in mixed sex pairs.

When Ryan and Jennifer inquire after them after the party, Noah and Barbara inform our couple of the tepid marriage that Paige and Bruce are swingers. This of course is a surprise, because didn’t those all go the way of shag carpeting?

But the seed has been planted. Perhaps this is what they need. And the Shepards are human magnets—intelligent, attractive, cultured. You either want to do them or be them. Or do them until you become them. We’ve all met people like this. If you’re around them enough perhaps their magnificence will rub off on you. You just need to rub against them enough.

And so the swinging adventure begins.

It’s an adventure that involves emotional highs and lows, group sex, pegging, and a pretty impressive swingers’ party.

It’s written from both Ryan and Jennifer’s point of view—alternating between them—and moves as quickly as a film. I could easily see this as a movie. An NC-17 rated movie, but a romantic comedy for married couples…who like other married couples. There’s your tag line. Bam.

I thought perhaps it moved too quickly, at first. They’re having problems. They meet Bruce and Paige and within three days they’re swingers. (I really don’t think this is a spoiler—the title is A Life Less Monogamous.) And the novel definitely demonstrates why their tactic isn’t the best one to take.

But then I thought about it and… I don’t know. It makes some kind of sense. When you’ve been looking for some change in your life and working towards that and considering how quickly your mind works when something piques your interest…And your therapist is making you say, ‘Today I change my life.’ I’m going to give it a pass.

Beckett’s ability to capture two different people’s experience of the same relationship and situation is impressive. We also see inside Bruce and Paige’s minds on occasion, though not as frequently, and their thoughts are equally believable.

Beckett addresses the always present ‘myth of equality’. Where men in the poly or swingers community are surprised to find the woman they’re with has so many more offers than they do. This book was clearly written from the point of view of a person with experience in the lifestyle. It rings very true. I’d read certain sections and think, ‘This man has been in this exact place.’ And I don’t mean wedged between some dude and that dude’s wife. He talks about jealousy well.

He doesn’t address how straight dudes deal with other dudes’ dicks, though. Everything I know about swinging comes from this book and a couple podcasts, so not a lot. I’ll be having the author on the show so get set, my friend, because I have questions. I get that women being bi is great. Everyone in the free world thinks that’s hot. But in the scenes where everyone’s in one bed… That’s a lot of appendages in one bed. So many arms and legs and … everything else.

I kept expecting some kind of thought or comment on it and that didn’t happen. Aside from one moment where an extreme activity was proposed but I had the feeling Ryan responded the way he did not because of the nearness of other dude sausage but because of the ‘I didn’t know that activity existed five minutes ago, no thank you I would not like to try that. Run, Forrest, run!’

Speaking of learning about new activities. Something I always enjoy is learning new things and I learned some terminology from this book—soft swap and full swap. Full swap is ‘Here is my spouse and all of their orifices.’ Soft swap is, ‘You may have my spouse, but you do not have access to all of their orifices. No penetration for you!’

The book is pretty funny, too. The first time Jennifer goes down on Paige this is what goes through the older woman’s mind:

Jennifer’s aim and focus may have been erratic and sloppy, but that hardly mattered when she approached her task with such enthusiasm. There were moments when she wished that she would just focus on a spot and stick with it a while, but to complain that this lovely woman was eating ‘too much’ of her pussy? Nah.

I just know this is something Beckett heard from a female friend. This must have been an actual comment from someone. I’m going to ask him when I interview him for the show.

Another part that made me laugh out loud:

‘We don’t have to decide tonight,’ Ryan smiled at her. ‘Want to see what they’re doing tomorrow?’
‘Dinner at the Watkins’.’
‘Damned vanillas.’
‘We have to see regular folk occasionally, Hon,’ said Jennifer with a laugh.
‘Yeah, I suppose,’ said Ryan. ‘But put another way, do we?’

I’m with Ryan. Once you’re used to talking about whatever you want it feels pointless reining it in. (Hi Bean! Bean is my awesome vanilla friend I can talk to about anything. I don’t mean people like you!)

Back to the review, the novel has that wish fulfillment/fantasy aspect where the main character is an average person and literally everyone else is ridiculously wealthy. I noticed it because I used to write stories like that. No fault-finding, here. Just… how do they know these people again? That sort of thing gives people maybe the wrong idea about the financial resources of the general swinger. Unless swingers are actually rich, in which case, for the first time in my life, I may have some regrets about being an asexual lesbian.

As the story progresses, we learn about each of the main characters’ background and how they got to where they current are. I like books like that because it helps you remember in real life that everyone has a story that started long before you came into the picture and no matter where they are on their journey it’s valid. (That doesn’t mean you need to stick around for it if it’s a bad place for you to be.)

Yeah, the book is funny and it’s pretty light—it really is like a rom-com where the person trying to land someone else is already married and their spouse is on-board with the dating. But there’s some depth to it, as well. This conversation near the end of the book between Bruce and Ryan, for example:

‘You know why non-monogamy is scary?’ he asked.
Ryan shook his head. ‘Where do I begin?’
‘True, it is vast.’ Bruce laughed. ‘But specifically. In monogamy we have this feeling of control, right? That somehow the social contract will keep our spouse in check. That this thin membrane will keep the external scaries out.’
Ryan looked at his hands, nodding.
‘Non-monogamy appears to take away that membrane. When we meet newbies, you know what they ask us?’
‘How soon can we fuck you?’
Bruce’s laugh came out genuine this time, and Ryan actually cracked a smile. ‘Before that. They ask “What if my spouse/partner/whatnot falls in love with someone else?”’
This appeared to strike at Ryan’s core, because he focused on Bruce’s face.
‘And I ask them “What’s stopping them from doing that right now?” The answer is invariably that they’re not allowed to. Because monogamy. Like it’s a magic wand making people’s genitals only compatible with each other.’

So it’s fun, but there’s also more going on. I enjoyed A Life Less Monogamous, definitely, and would recommend it really for anyone who enjoys novels about relationships and sex. It definitely made me want to read his first book, Life on the Swingset, which is a memoir about being, shall we say, non-traditionally sexual. It’s also the name of his website—Life on the Swingset.com.

There is one type of person I would not recommend this book to and that’s anyone who has a problem with alcohol. If you’re trying to stop drinking or having difficulty moderating you really shouldn’t read this. That may sound like a joke to some people, but the characters in this book drink a lot. They’re not alcoholics—I just think Beckett knows an ungodly amount about alcohol. People are always talking about wines and scotches and Ryan makes a Pineapple Upside Down martini on more than one occasion and I want one even though there is literally nothing in it I can have.

I don’t drink because I have an upper GI thing where alcohol turns my stomach into a Mount Vesuvius of hydrochloric acid—so I have a visceral reaction to the very thought of consuming alcohol and even I was beginning to miss drinking wine and scotch while reading this book. I found myself thinking: ‘Surely one or two glasses… Oh right, I’ll want to die, right.’

His characters didn’t seem to get drunk as frequently as I would have expected for the amount they were chucking back, though. I was legless just reading it. It reminded me of E.O. Higgins’ Conversations with Spirits—another book where everyone was drinking all the time. I believe those people were functionally drunk, though. These characters seem fine nearly all the time.

Speaking of seeming fine, last week on the website I reviewed a film by Gaspar Noe called Love that took a decidedly grimmer view of non-monogamy than A Life Less Monogamous so it was nice to see a happier take on the situation, particularly since I’m at the beginning of my own non-traditional relationship fun-times. If you like depressing films with actual sex and threesomes and such (that you can watch on Netflix!) Gaspar Noe’s Love. Don’t watch it if you’re considering opening up your relationship.

In the coming weeks the author, Cooper S. Beckett will be on the show and I am definitely looking forward to chatting with him.

Episode 005 A Life Less Monogamous

Episode the Fifth; in which The Pageist discovers monogamy is neither for the characters in the novel she reads this week nor herself! She also discovers some fun sex toys and receives her first feedback.

00.55 Intro & Announcements:

  • I mentioned the gloriousness that is Power Exchange Summit (if you’re into power exchange) and pondered what I’m going to tell people I’m doing in Ohio. Perhaps looking at the Field of Corn sculpture. I’m sure everyone would buy that.
  • I also discussed my first feedback (people actually listen to the show!!) and talk about my new connection with Amazon. I’m holding off on getting too excited about my Amazon Affiliate status juuust yet. It’s complicated.

04.25 Diary Pages:

  • I talk about how Poly Isn’t Hard but yeah it kinda also is. But the Perverted Podcast people help make it a little easier to deal with. They talk about all sorts of other kinky things on their show–check them out. I finally get over my dislike of talking about the feels and discussed it and so the marriage over here is open and stuff.
  • Also mentioned in this segment was Hole Punch Toys because they are adorable and hilarious. And they’re dildos and butt plugs called hole punch toys. How great is that? I haven’t tried them but they come highly recommended by Erika Moen of Oh Joy Sex Toy and that’s good enough for me. (My personal fav is the Mother Interior.)

12.10 Book Review:

  • This episode’s book was A Life Less Monogamous by Cooper S. Beckett. Ryan and Jennifer Lambert are in a rut. A sex-free rut. Then they meet Paige and Bruce Shepard. The Shepards are vibrant and vital. They’re also swingers. They could be just what the Lamberts need to get their spark back. Or their relationship with the Shepards could destroy everything they have.
  • It’s a rom-com for married couples into other married couples.
  • I briefly mentioned the review of Gasper Noe’s Love from the previous week, as it was also about non-monogamy, though it took a decidedly grimmer view. Still, actual sex you can watch on Netflix. Classy porn.
  • Bonus: I mentioned a vanilla book if you’re into fiction that can give you a contact high from reading about people drinking all the time. Conversations with Spirits by E.O. Higgins. It was one of the best books I read in 2015.
  • Beckett’s website is Life on the Swingset. Lots of information here about swinging and poly and sexy sex.

26.20 Sexy Section

  • An entire chapter of sexiness.

37.20 Meditations for submissives

  • This selection concerned keeping your mind on what’s important rather than allowing outside distractions to pull your focus away from what you should be doing. Here’s a link to the text.

40.15 Closing Remarks

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • The next episode will include a review of The Slave–the second book in Laura Antoniou’s Marketplace series as well as reflections on my first full year being kinky. My kinkiversary was a good time.
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Poly Isn’t Hard with Stephanie Stevens

Poly (short for ‘polyamory’, meaning loving many) is generally known as being just the hardest thing to do without starting World War III. Stephanie Stevens (HisDesdemona on Fetlife) is here to explain why that phrase isn’t entirely accurate.

For the purposes of this writing, I’m strictly discussing consensual, ethical non-monogamy/Polyamory that does not involve sexual addiction or any other outlying conditions that may be considered within a frame of non-ethical non-monogamy.

I see the phrase “Poly is hard” on Fetlife and hear it from people’s mouths so often that it almost feels like a mantra. An expectation. A foregone conclusion. And the thing is, mantras end up becoming beliefs. So, I’m here to tell you something really, really important.

Poly isn’t hard.

You see, what most people run into when they dive into Poly is that it challenges them in ways that they’ve never imagined.

  • Think you’re emotionally secure in your relationship? Poly will test that.
  • Think you’re able to manage your time and energy well? Poly will test that.
  • Think you’re “not the jealous type”? Poly will test that.
  • Think you have really great communication skills? Poly will test that.
  • Think your ego is in check and your self-esteem is well developed? Poly will test that.
  • Think you have an exceptionally high level of emotional intelligence? Poly will test that.

Because in order to do Poly well, we must each look at ourselves with absolute honesty and clarity. To seek out and recognize the vulnerable, soft bits inside of each of our hearts and minds, and allow our longtime emotional wounds to heal. To recognize our scars, but not use them as armor or a reason to impede forward movement.

It requires us to examine the potentially weak spots in the emotional fabric of our relationships when we’d rather ignore the imperfections. To voice our personal needs, our limitations, and our desires in a way that may make us open to criticism and judgment. To question our worth and the depth of our partnerships. To be laid open and let the light into our dark corners.

But what you need to know is that Poly isn’t the problem. Poly is simply a catalyst for personal change.

What Poly ISN’T is a question of whether we CAN love more than one person. We all do that every single day of our lives with our children, our parents, our siblings, our friends. We have enough love to give. Always.

What Poly does do is to make us have to do ALL the growing up and in a way that can be scary and challenging and often more than we feel like we’re willing or prepared to handle. So we stay in our comfort zones and say “Poly’s too hard” and leave it at that.

What I suggest is that we should do the work to find ourselves before we decide to go looking for others. Poly or not. Because who couldn’t benefit from a solid sense of self-awareness and happiness? And if we’re already in a relationship, be willing to ask tough questions and truly listen to the answers you both share. Be open to becoming more (happy, aware, fulfilled, comfortable, secure) than you are today.

So no, Poly isn’t hard. What’s hard is facing our fears and the prospect of being more and/or something else than we are today. Once you’ve done that work, Poly is actually relatively easy because then it’s simply about allowing more people into our lives without handing them our emotional baggage at the door.

Happy travels, my friends.

Gaspar Noe’s Love

I didn't use any of the posters because they make me feel like this. You can see them here and here.

I didn’t use any of the posters because they make me feel like this. You can see them here and here.

I wasn’t looking at the screen when Gaspar Noe’s Love started—I was looking at my laptop—and the first thing I hear is Bean saying, ‘Well, dang.’ I look up and, on my Netflix-showing screen is a woman stroking a very erect dick with her face right next to it while a dude is enthusiastically fingering her. It wasn’t lit in a typical porny way—where you could do surgery—but, I mean. To quote Bean again, ‘No credits, no nothing.’

‘Well, dang.’ Indeed.

That went on for awhile.

I generally start my reviews with the plot, but this film did not start with plot. It started with a very erect dick and enthusiastic fingering first thing.

Then it got into the plot.

So here’s the plot.

American bro Murphy (Karl Glusman) is in Paris studying film. He starts off in a tumultuous relationship with Frenchwoman Electra (Ayomi Muyock). A sixteen year old, Omi (Klara Kristin), moves in next door to them and the three of them fall into bed. That scene was very hot. Kristin is rather limber. [The sex scenes were not choreographed. Props to the actors.]

The film jumps around in time and it’s not always easy to tell how much time has passed between events in their lives. But Murphy and Electra had experimented with group sex (sorta) at a club meant for that sort of thing, which had been recommended to them by a cop after Murphy tried to punch out a guy because he’s so American. It makes sense in the film, I promise.

So by the time Omi shows up (the actress was 22 when they shot the film for your peace of mine) the couple is already more open to the idea of being with others.

But then bad things happen because monogamy is best—Love is not really pro-open relationships. I’m not sure what this film is trying to say. On one hand, everyone is supposed to be open to doing everyone else and not jealous. On the other, when they do everyone else and get in touch with their sexuality, they end up screaming and fighting. It’s all high-drama and miserable.

Is it a French thing I don’t get? My sensibilities are very Anglo-American. Civil, quiet, let’s discuss this rationally if we have to discuss it. It’s a fundamentally different way of approaching … life. The universe. Everything.

Watching this film I was not seeing ‘love’. I saw ‘poor communication’ and ‘needless angst’. Both of which would make great punk band names.

The film tended to be either sex scenes or dramatic scenes of some general unhappiness or voice-overs of what was going through Murphy’s head (nothing good) as a result of his terrible life choices. And he made those choices because of love? Was that the message? Damn, that’s depressing. I would love to know what other people thought.

'Why didn't I stay in the States? French people are fucking crazy.' (source)

‘Why didn’t I stay in the States? French people are fucking crazy.’ (source)

Love is one of those long movies (2 hrs and 15 minutes) that feels long. The more of these I see the more I appreciate Lars von Triers’ ability to make a long film feel like a film of normal length.

Noe used different color filters to signify time, as the film jumps around between past and present, but it was still difficult to keep up with the timeline.

If you’ve ever tried to watch porn past the point of libidinous interest—that’s what the sex in this film is like. Bean summed it up nicely when she said, ‘They could have cut a third of the sex scenes.’ Maybe if the sex had been kinky or, I don’t know, just… something different it would have been less tedious.

My favorite part was during the threesome. Omi is between Murphy and Electra—she’s facing Electra and they’re having this sweet, intense connection and Murphy is behind her, humping away like a troll. It’s hilarious the difference in the expressions. Looking at the women it’s like he’s not even there and he’s all grrr hurf grrf ruuuff mrrrff.

Okay, he doesn’t make any sounds, but that’s probably what’s going through his mind.

Overall, I have to damn this one with faint phrase and say it was all right. It wasn’t the depressingness of it—I like a depressing film and I certainly don’t mind some American-bashing. I’m glad I didn’t see it in 3D, and it had a lot of same-y sex (which is different from same sex sex). And its depiction of non-monogamy left something to be desired. Meh. If you want to be able to see a lot of real (and very realistic) sex on Netflix wrapped up in a depressing story about people in messed up relationships —go for it.

Oh yes, there is an actual money shot. Right at the camera. Super up close. Guys, if you’ve ever wondered what a facial is like—this is going to be pretty close while still being hygienic.

3/5