Sex and all things sexual

EdenFantasys Store
  • Rebel Love: Unconventional in Denver

    September 30, 2010
    Rebel Love: Unconventional in Denver
    For this installment of Rebel Love, we meet two men who describe how their romance bloomed in a climate of multiple sexual relationships.

    The Lovers: Israel, 24 and Damon, 31, in Denver, Colorado

    Damon: Two years ago, I moved back to Denver. There’s a bike, punk, queer community here that my brother and best friends are a part of, and Israel’s part of that, too. One of the first things we connected on was sex work. I mostly do erotic massage and some escort work.

    Israel: I was working in a house of domination before I met Damon. Now I’m mostly an escort. I do a little bit of video work on the side.

    Damon: We’d give each other advice and vent, but it wasn’t that one of us mentored the other.

    Israel: We started hanging out a lot. Being cute and flirting. I knew I had strong feelings for him and really liked him, but I just allowed him to feel that out for himself because I didn’t really know where he wanted us to be. It’s been a long, slow romance. I was in a relationship with another person at that time, a couple of other people, actually.

    Damon: I was in and still am in other long-term, committed relationships. The other two people I’m in relationships with are women. I have a long-term partner that I live with here in Denver. Israel and I don’t live together but we live close. I have another partner in Tucson. I learned sex work from her.

    Israel: I have quite a few consistent sexual partners. In my circle of friends, we all romance each other, and sleep with each other. Some of us form stronger romantic attachments than with others.

    Damon and I have never defined out relationship in specific terms. But I witness it by our actions towards each other. We try to spend a lot of time together. We make dates and we text and we talk, which I do with other partners too: keep in fairly constant contact and reach out to them more consistently than I do with my friends. I don’t use the “primary” or “secondary” to refer to my relationships.

    Damon: I don’t either; they’re shifting. Even the word “partner” is fluid for me. Sometimes I use it for my best friend who I’m helping raise a kid with, but he and I have never been lovers. In my relationship with Israel and most of my relationships right now, I’m trying to frame it around desire because sometimes long-term relationships are framed around commitment and obligation instead. I don’t feel jealous. Through processing and talking and emotional work, I’ve sort-of let go of that.

    Israel: I have felt jealous in the past but it’s mostly been when I’ve been in monogamous relationships, which all of them were with women. For the past year, I’ve had pretty open feelings and the fluidity of all of our relationships make it easy to not be jealous.

    Damon sometimes goes to Tucson and I feel fine about that. I feel fine about having space from him for long periods of time, and it doesn’t concern me. I know that he’s going to be in my life. If he needs to go to Tucson or anywhere else, I want him to do that.

    Damon: I think our relationship was formed knowing there would sometimes be big geographical and temporal spaces. But the consensus is that we’re going to be a part of each other’s lives. It’s a part of the way we’re building the future.

    Israel: I’ve met both of Damon’s partners and I like both of them a lot and we get along pretty well. But I don’t think we’ve ever had sex with each other’s partners.

    Damon: It could definitely happen, I imagine. [laughter]

    Israel: We’ll probably all end up sleeping together.

    Damon: My partner in Tucson sleeps with a lot of people. That’s sort-of her getting-to-know-you process. And I think sex for her—she’s a sex worker, too—is not romantic in the way it’s framed in traditional representations of sex. She basically likes to give her friends orgasms. And in some ways, that’s the context of most of our relationships. We’ll fuck most of our friends.

    Israel: We’ve never explicitly set up any boundaries about that, I think because of how our community works. We all sleep together sometimes. For the most part, everyone handles it maturely. I’ve never had issues arise within my relationships because of sexual exploits with my friends.

    Damon: The only thing that comes to mind as a transgression would be issues around sexual health and safety. It’s a rule for me that you communicate if you’ve been exposed to something or if you’ve had sex that wasn’t latex-barriered in every way. Then we could evaluate our level of risk together. So if someone weren’t communicating in that way, that would be a transgression.

    Israel: It comes down to complete honesty, which sounds easy in theory, but I’ve met a lot of people who promise that and couldn’t follow through.

    Damon: I think everyone should break up. I’m really into that right now. I just told my parents they should break up because they’re going through a hard time. I’m surrounded by people in relationships who are totally limited by them. When I say, “break up,” I mean consider the possibility that your commitment doesn’t contain you and you can do something else with your life.

    Israel: I don’t have anything more to add. That sounds great.

    (If you and your partner(s) would like to be featured in this column, please email us with “Rebel Love” in the subject line.)

    Continue Reading "Rebel Love: Unconventional in Denver"

    Comment (0) Permalink
  • Rebel Love: Bi-Sexual in the Big Easy

    August 16, 2010
    Rebel Love: Bi-Sexual in the Big Easy
    (Editor's Note: This is the debut of Rebel Love, a new column focusing on unconventional relationships that work in spite of social ignorance and public judgment. Each month, a nontraditional couple—or not couple—will share insights into how they’ve managed to stay happily together while not fitting the mold.

    If you and your partner(s) would like to be considered for an interview, please
    email us with “Rebel Love” in the subject line.)

    The Lovers: Jonathan, 30, and Crystal, 32, in New Orleans

    Jonathan: We met online back in 2000. I was running a literature website where I posted my own poetry, short stories, and so forth. Crystal contacted me through it. We started talking in June of that year and by August I was flying out to Louisiana to meet her face to face. We did the long distance thing for about six months and then we moved in. I say that I knew it was love the first time I hugged her.

    Crystal: We became serious about each other fairly quickly. I don’t think either of us saw anyone else or dated after we started talking online, really.

    I told him that I’d been in a relationship previously with a woman but that I wasn’t looking for that again at that time. But we started exploring the idea about 6 months after I moved in, by going to a strip club. I’d denied being bisexual prior to that even though I’d been in a relationship with a woman, but that kind-of opened up doors. Then the discussion started: “How can we incorporate this more?”

    Jonathan: Prior to Crystal, I’d only had very romantic ideals about relationships. I loved the idea of being with one woman—flowers, candles, water falls—all of that stuff. I’m pretty sure the two-women fantasy crossed my mind at one point but it wasn’t something I was actively pursuing. I’m pretty serious when I say that she convinced me to pursue this rather than the other way around.

    When Crystal told me she’d had a relationship with another woman, she [said] it started as a threesome with her then-boyfriend and her best friend. Then the relationship with the former best friend and lover continued afterward. She positioned it as something that was a one-time thing, and she was past it.

    I accepted it and moved on, and didn’t think about it—until we began living together. I started to notice inklings and tendencies that way. Initially, I tried to get her to admit she was bisexual, which was a stupid thing to do, but at that time, for me, it was about: Be yourself. Be who you are. It’s not going to change anything between us! Which was very naïve.

    Crystal: It actually caused a lot of problems because I was denying half of my sexuality. It made me very jealous, trying to live inside of what I thought a relationship was supposed to be: one woman, one man. That’s the way I was brought up.

    Jonathan: The first time we went to a strip club, we had a miserable time. It was way too crowded and we swore we would never go again, but Crystal was determined make a return visit. We picked a Tuesday night and had an absolute blast. It started out with us becoming regulars. We did nothing but strip club visits for a couple of months. I don’t recall a moment when she flat-out presented the idea of a threesome to me. I think it was the evolution of an idea that started in a pretty safe and tame place and grew out of that.

    Crystal: I’m a very fair-minded person and [my bisexuality] was always something I wanted Jonathan to be a part of. I cared about him, and I didn’t want him to have to give up anything, like I had been suppressing part of me… I was excited, but also nervous. I wasn’t sure how, once we got into a moment, I would feel about seeing him with someone else.

    Jonathan: I don’t want to say I was being intellectual about it, but I was being very analytical about my feelings. It was a combination of excitement and a little bit of fear at the same time. I knew at this point that Crystal was truly, without a doubt, bisexual. And I knew that she was probably more lesbian than straight. The obvious fear is Maybe I can be replaced. Maybe I’m not what she wants. But she did a great job of talking with me and soothing those fears, so I don’t remember any large moments of panic.

    We started going to the local gay and lesbian scene. We were in a small town in South Carolina then, so there wasn’t much in the way of swingers, but we met a girl there and ended up going on vacation for about a week.

    Crystal: She was a really good and lucky choice for us. She knew that it was our first time with another woman in the relationship, and she stopped and made sure everyone was comfortable. She asked if she could do this and that.

    Jonathan: It lasted about six months, but she was in another city. So we only saw each other a few times. Over the years, we’ve had about three or four serious girlfriends and I would say eight or nine more temporary partners.

    Crystal: We’ve always gone into it with the notion of someone to become part of us. We’ve just never found the right fit.

    Jonathan: When we first started, we sat down and wrote out a set of rules. We made a pretty big deal about it. The first was safe sex only, which for us, means condoms. We probably should be more careful about dental dams. That was something we overlooked.

    Crystal: But it’s something we only learned about recently and didn’t have much of a chance to explore. Growing up, I was in a very strict religious household, so any type of homosexual sex was wrong and I didn’t even know it could happen until I was in my late teens.

    Jonathan: The second rule is nothing behind the other’s back, ever. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same room, but everyone has to know what’s going on. The third is that if something is bothering you, say something. Instantly, call a stop to the action. The fourth rule is that if the other person signals that something is bothering them, stop and retreat to talk about it. The fifth rule is that this is about having fun. If it ever creates problems, we stop doing it.

    Crystal: I’ve always stayed optimistic that we will find that girl who fits with us, but we’ve taken breaks from looking for girlfriends when we have trouble in our relationship, because we don’t want to bring someone into something that’s broken. That won’t fix it. It will just make it worse.

    Jonathan: There have been a couple times after a really bad breakup when we did take some time away from the scene, but I don’t think it was a lack of optimism. It was a genuine need to focus on us.

    Crystal: Most of the issues we’ve faced in out relationship have nothing to do with whether or not we’re dating a girl or looking to date a girl. Most of the issues occur whenever we get stressed or busy, and the communication between us breaks down. Then we have to rebuild a little, but it has nothing to do with the lifestyle. If I’m not feeling good in the relationship or not feeling confident and happy, it just doesn’t work to bring someone else in. I don’t even want to try.

    Jonathan: I’d say we’ve been the happiest and healthiest when [we’re] participating in the lifestyle. If we’re not in a place where we can at least enjoy talking to women, we’re not in a very good place. The sources that have had a greater impact are stress, money, job issues, general malaise—the usual pressures of being with someone for 10 years.

    If you’re looking to start swinging, start in a controlled environment. We started in a strip club and that worked out really well because you know certain things can’t happen.

    Crystal: And you get to explore some of the emotions of seeing your partner interact with someone else.

    Jonathan: I tell people—and I don’t exaggerate this—the amount of time we spend talking about how we would feel about things that take place in the bedroom with another woman outlasts the time we spend in the bedroom with another woman! You cannot over communicate.

    Crystal: The only other thing I can think of is: Don’t do it for your partner. If you’re not into it, and it’s not something you want to try, don’t do it for somebody else.

    Continue Reading "Rebel Love: Bi-Sexual in the Big Easy"

    Comments (3) Permalink