Approaching the Swingularity by Cooper S. Beckett

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 54, which includes a reading of one of the steamy scenes.]

This episode’s book review is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.

I received this book for free and Coop runs swingset.fm, but I auditioned to read the part of Paige in the audio version of this and didn’t get the part. So, fuck this guy. This book is a piece of shit.

I’m kidding. Cooper is the sort of author who would want an honest review anyway and he can take criticism. With that as a preface, I don’t have a great deal of negative to say except, like in A Life Less Monogamous, the first book in the series, everyone appears to be drinking, all the time.

But I’ll get to that in a minute.

I was going to review this on the show long before there was any plan to join the network, because I loved the characters of Paige and Bruce from A Life Less Monogamous, which I reviewed in episode 5.

To recap that book—Ryan and Jennifer are a youngish couple in a lacklustre, monogamous marriage. They meet vibrant, older couple Bruce and Paige and zoom into swinging. And they all drink a whole bunch and almost never seem to get drunk unless they need to be for the plot.

That was one of my quibbles with the last book. I said you shouldn’t read that one if you struggle with alcohol because I don’t usually have a problem saying no and I wanted a drink.

This book takes place some time after that one—not years, but it doesn’t pick up the next day, either—and all four of them have gone off to a swingers’ resort in Mexico, Xanadu X, along with one hundred and eleven other couples.

That’s a lot of genitals to possibly interact with.

That’s also many characters to juggle. Which the author does admirably.

The book is broken down by day—the holiday lasts a week—then, within each day there are chapters, each are told from the point of view of various characters.

Some chapters are by Ryan, Jennifer (who now goes by Jenn), Bruce and Paige, then we have new people, including the person who has run the get away for ten years, Raymond and whose partner has recently left him. He’s not exactly in an orgy-mood, as you can imagine, but has to put on his party face for the benefit of the other attendees. There are chapters by Alejandra and Crista, Xanadu’s first lesbian couple and all I have to say is Coop seriously knows some lesbians, because he’s nailed what lady relationships are like.

Crista also has a reactive libido, rather than proactive, meaning that it’s a special flower that needs careful nurturing. He uses the book to educate on many subjects including things like reactive vs proactive sex drives, but also things pertaining to poly and swinging and has his characters demonstrate safer sex and kink negotiations as well as STI and STD conversations. And the conversations come across as quite natural. It’s obvious this was written by a person who actually does these things.

In terms of ‘doing these things’—people did a lot of things. There were many sexual activities experienced including a gang bang and an orgy and pegging and a lesbian foursome and a standing sixty-nine and… just… so many things.

But the book isn’t just one scene of debauchery after another—each of the characters are going through their own woes because obviously your week-long orgy isn’t going to happen when life is going perfectly, is it? At first I was thinking, ‘Jeez, is anyone’s life going well?’ but then I realised that of course life is going to happen to you when you just want to get your junk out on a Mexican beach.

There are some profound moments and some heart-wrenching ones, as well.

There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, too. Someone gets stung by a jellyfish at one point and a Mr Helpful type comes running up the beach to pee on the poor bastard in a scene that had me cackling… That’s an urban legend, by the way. Don’t pee on someone who’s been stung by a jellyfish. It doesn’t help. No one’s in the mood for watersports just then.

The people narrating the story aren’t the only ones around, either. The author isn’t enough of a masochist to attempt to introduce us to all one hundred seven other couples, but some other people are regular players.

There’s Strom and Kitten—the podcasters—who start out obnoxious and … well. They’re fun.

Then there’s Will and Madison. We’ve all met a Will. He’s that guy you want to shoot into the sun. We’ve also all met a Madison. Where you think, ‘Why, girl? Why him?’

There’s James and Debra—the much older couple who’ve been to every Xanadu since its inception. I loved James and Debra. They appeared to be the only couple who weren’t having some sort of relationship or personal crisis. That reminds me—fuck you, Coop. I know you’re reading this.

Xanadu had its first triad—in the form of a gay guy, bi guy and straight woman—Rory, Terrence and Marley.

And finally, perhaps my favourite character, Lydia. The person Ryan has his first thuper kinky experience with. (It’s the steamy scene I chose to read at the end of the episode.)

There were a few others who appeared by name, but those were the big ones—the ones with plotlines.

As a writer—respect to juggling all of that. I was mentally keeping up with how all of the 500 plotlines were going at any one point and whether they would or would not be resolved and how believable those resolutions would be.
Well-fucking-done, man. I’ve been going over various subplots in the days after finishing it and just wind up being impressed all over again.

Ryan is curious about exploring his bisexuality and his thoughts on this were really well expressed, as were Crista’s experiences as someone with a less-than-naturally-enthusiastic sex drive.

We learn more about Bruce and Paige—who, in the first book—seem to have this whole Swinging Open Poly thing down. We learn no one is perfect and people are just trying to make it work as best they can. And that even people who know swinging or poly is right for them can still have fears and doubts.

We also get to see how the foursome’s relationships have grown and changed in the time between books. It made me happy. That’s all I’m going to say. Dear god, a lot happened in this book. Not until writing this did I realise just how much. It didn’t feel like a Russian novel.

I highlighted lots of bits and pieces, but I really liked this one:

‘when does time ever truly allow for our desires in full? Instead, it keeps us humble, parceling out moments, making them precious.’

Yeah well, time’s a jerk. I desire more time to read and write. So, you know. Who wants to be humble.

Quibbles:

I read the final, pre-editorial draft, so there were more than the usual typos, but because I didn’t read the final draft I’m going to give Coop and his editor the benefit of the doubt—they both probably caught a lot. I’m just covering my bee-hind with this note.

As mentioned before, everyone drinks, all the time. Which may simply reflect the swingers’ resort culture, but, again, if you struggle with that sort of thing—wave off, wave off. I really want an espresso martini, though, and I can’t have either of those things without regretting my entire life.

That’s it. Which is a fairly short list of quibbles.

Overall: The author’s writing improves with each book—this is his best yet. Character, pacing and plot are all on point. This one is sexy, hilarious and full of heart and you might learn a few things, too. You don’t have to start with A Life Less Monogamous, but you might as well, as it’s a good one, as well.

5/5

Episode 054: Approaching the Swingularity

Episode the fifty-fourth; Wherein the Pageist gets another year older, makes her case for why kink is indeed an orientation for some people, explains what nonsexual kink is about and is finally well enough to read the sexy section from the last Antoniou book reviewed a hundred years ago. The book reviewed is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • TWO new Patrons! Welcome, welcome to Gray and James and bless your little cotton socks! You can support the show on Patreon by going to patreon.com/thepageist
  • My birthday post, with my wishlist and free ways to support the site and podcast.
  • Very very soon I’ll be firmly ensconced on lifeontheswingset.com. Oh boy!
  • One new Facebook like.

3.13 My Submissive Life:

18.55 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Approaching the Swingularity: Tales of Swinging and Polyamory in Paradise by Cooper S. Beckett.
    It’s the sequel to A Life Less Monogamous, which I reviewed in episode 5, and this picks up the stories of the two main couples in that novel Ryan and Jennifer (now Jenn) and Bruce and Paige, as they go to a Swingers’ resort in Mexico for a week.
    The novel is broken up into the days of the week-long holiday, with each chapter being told from the point of view of a core group of guests. The four mentioned previously and new characters–each dealing with their own relationship or professional struggles.
    A variety of genders, play styles and orientations are presented intelligently and compassionately and the author’s writing ability continues to improve with each book. This one was a sexy, surprising treat.
  • Coop was on the show for an interview in episode 8.
  • I also reviewed the author’s collection of autobiographical essays: My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging and Polyamory in episode 30.
  • You can follow Coop on Twitter: @CooperSBeckett
  • He’s the host of the podcast Life on the Swingset amongst others, which can be found on his website CooperSBeckett.com.

29.26 Sexy Segment One:

  • From Approaching the Swingularity. There were so many to choose from it was difficult. I opted for a scene involving kink. Because why not.

42.20 Sexy Segment Two:

  • From The Reunion, which I reviewed in episode 47 but was coughing far too much to even attempt to read erotica. This scene was between a character from a previous book and the ubiquitous Chris Parker and Lordy. Just… Lordy. If rough anal does it for you, then here you go.

49.36 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing Small Favors: Definitive Girl Porno Collection by Colleen Coover
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
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  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
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  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

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.

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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