Another day, another kinky lesson. The “alternative” community we will be focusing on today is polyamory and swingers. I must admit. I am completely monogamous and look for/require a monogamous relationship. In other words, I ain’t sharing shit. Hey, that’s how I roll. But I don’t push others in the corner because their lifestyle choices are different than mine, and neither should you.
I’ve been invited to a few swingers parties, but I declined all the offers. *shrugs shoulders* To each his own. However, last month I attended the Exxotica Expo in Chicago and went to a workshop on Swinging. Yeah I know. I go to workshops on EVERYTHING. If there is a workshop on swinging from a chandelier then doing a back flip to land on a dick and ride like a cowgirl…I’m there! But I digress.
During the swinging workshop there was one theme. A common component that was important for swinging to work. COMMUNICATION. Hmmmm, now that is something I can get behind. One of my many guilty pleasures is watching the Showtime reality series Polyamory. And guess what common word comes up all the damn time. COMMUNICATION. It is mentioned damn near every freaking episode.
Could relationships that seem so out the box be based so simply on something we should all be doing? Well I know my one class, declined invitations, and reality show does not classify me as an expert enough to talk on the subject.
So this week, our guest is Sunny Megatron. She is a sex blogger, pleasure advocate, adult sexuality educator, and star of the Showtime series Sex with Sunny Megatron. And she was on the infamous human sexuality panel at Northwestern University that caused a huge controversy when a woman was brought to orgasm with a fucksaw. Ooh did you say orgasm?? Sorry got distracted.
But enough about controversy and orgasms, let’s talk about sharing.
Okay take it away Sunny.
Everyone’s talking about polyamory and open relationships. Every major news publication has run features on it, it’s all over the internet and now there’s even a reality show about a poly families on Showtime.
People on the outside looking in often think there’s some special magical set of rules that need to be followed in order to make an open relationship work. It seems so complicated and other worldly.
Nope, not really. There are only two basic things needed for any type of non-monogamous relationship to be successful: 1. kick ass communication skills 2. the ability to be brutally honest— with others and yourself. If you are thinking about opening up your relationship (and I mean any sort of non-monogamy from traditional polyamory to swinging, a casual open relationship, an occasional threesome, etc.) be prepared for lots of feelings sharing and self therapy.
My partner, Ken and I have an open relationship. We are also sexuality educators and teach a non-monogamy class. Every time we teach that class it’s packed with people desperately trying to find the secret key to polyamory. Many of them are surprised to hear the skills you need for an open relationship are nothing revolutionary or exclusive to an open lifestyle.
Communication and honesty with a good dose of self awareness? That’s it?
In class we work on skills that monogamous couples and singletons can benefit from just as easily. As human beings we tend to gravitate toward those who are fair, honest, easy to talk to, are good listeners and who are self-aware. Those are the qualities most of us look for in lovers, friends, co-workers and the attributes we try to emulate ourselves. Those are the same qualities poly people are continually working on.
To give you an example of what I’m talking about, lets go to the one thing I’m constantly asked: “Don’t’ you get jealous!? I could never watch my partner date someone else, I’d be way too jealous!”
People in non-monogamous relationships get jealous. It happens all the time. The difference in a non-monogamous relationship is how it’s handled. Jealousy is a bunch of different emotions all bottled up together and for everyone it can be slightly different. Usually it’s some combination of anger, sadness, fear (of the unknown, of abandonment, loss, etc.), a feeling of inferiority, etc. When we get jealous we almost always assume that if someone is getting attention or love from our lover, it takes love and attention away from us. We also often lash out blame our lover for our reaction.
In a non-monogamous relationship, when a partner is jealous, all involved parties talk . . . and talk . . . self examine . . . and talk some more. They dissect the reasons behind the feelings, try to get at the core emotion (i.e. fear, anger, etc.) and learn a lot about themselves and their partners in the process.
Impromptu group therapy and self-work is ongoing in polyamory. But shouldn’t it always be anyway? Whether we are partnered or not, we should always strive to be more compassionate human beings. We should have people close to us we can tell anything to and turn to for advice. None of us is perfect; we all have something more we can work on.
Think about how many arguments (or divorces) could be avoided if couples talked more about their feelings and acquired the skills needed to have difficult conversations. What if instead of lashing out or getting even when we got jealous, we worked through the situation together? What if we didn’t have to sneak around and cheat? What if we simply felt comfortable enough in our own shoes to honestly examine our knee-jerk emotional reactions and motivations? If we spent more time doing this, whether we have multiple partners, one or none— we’d be a heck of a lot happier.
So lemme get this straight. To be in a successful open, polyamorous, swinging, or similar type “alternative” relationship/play then you need to communicate and be honest.
Holy shit! Thanks Sunny. This is ground breaking. Fantastic. Wait. Wait. WHAT THE HELL?????
EVERYONE SHOULD COMMUNICATE AND BE HONEST. Thank you Sunny for reminding us of that. It seems like you guys have figured it out. Us monogamous folks need to get with the program.
Communication should be at the center of any and all relationships. Let me give you the kinky diva definition of communication.
Communication – volley and relay. You say something (volley) the other person responds letting you know they received and understood what you said through verbal and non-verbal cues and responses. (relay).
An important element is listening. It seems what works in polyamory is not just that someone communicates their jealousy but their partner(s) listen to their feelings and respond accordingly. The back and forth. The Edusexual calls that conversation. That is what happens when people communicate.
For those of you who do not have the necessary components to communicate, self reflect, be self aware, be honest, and share….I suggest therapy. No really. These are all things that are important and if you cannot do it on your own find a degreed professional to help you. These components are so important to having any healthy relationship – friend, parental, love, etc. Why not find help if you struggle.
This was an awesome eye opening topic. Thank you so much Sunny. To find out more information about Sunny Megatron check out her website http://sunnymegatron.com/
Although she covers various subjects, Sunny’s specialties are the female orgasm and alternative sexuality— from LGBTQ topics to swinging, BDSM, nontraditional relationships, extreme toys, g-spot techniques and more. She particularly enjoys helping those curious about adding a little spice to their sex lives that aren’t sure where to begin.
On any given weekend you can find Sunny hosting Red Light District Sex Tours and bachelorette parties for Weird Chicago Tours http://www.weirdchicago.com/sextour.html . She also teaches various sexuality workshops around the country.
I have been on the Red Light District Tour and it is awesome! So anyone in the Chicago area I suggest you take it. The best way is to get a group of about 15 together and do a personal customized tour (then you can bring liquor.) And if you are visiting the Chicago area, add the Red Light District tour to your calendar of “Things to do in Chicago.”
Oh and for those of you who don’t know about the controversial Northwestern class. Check out the link about the controversy and Sunny weighing in on the panel. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5bUd-qmU_U
If you take nothing away, take this – learn to communicate and be honest, with yourself and your partner. Easy to say, sometimes hard to do. But it is worth it to have a healthy relationship.
Until next time…Be Free, Be Safe, Be Loved,