A few years ago I experienced a kind of revelation about myself, or at the very least, a moment of self discovery that had been buried beneath the surface my entire life but for whatever reason.
I came to realize that my feelings and thoughts about love and sexuality and relationships were a lot more broad than I knew. That I'd always been this way but hadn't given myself permission to open up.
Caveat, for some of you may find this might be TMI. I'm going to do my best to reveal enough to be clear and not enough to scare anyone off.
I like some kink in my sex...it's not a deal breaker necessarily, but I strongly prefer it...and there are certain things involving rope and a willing subject that really work for me.
I also more and more believe in open relationships. This, you likely already know about me from previous blog entries but there it is nonetheless.
I believe that the greatest threat to love/marriage/relationships is rigid rules that have more to do with societal expectations and standards than they do with the human drives for love, companionship and sex. I've even half heartedly defended jerks like Mark Sanford on this blog...(However, John Edwards is indefensible. He's an ass of the first order and I am embarrassed beyond belief that I wanted him to win the Democratic Primaries over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But that's another story.) I believe that if we had more realistic understandings of the human heart, human desire we would be able to love eachother more honestly, with more compassion and more understanding and more maturity.
A few years ago I started attending a monthly meeting of polyamorists in New York, but not long into that I started working nights and so my involvement in the community faded.
One of the blessings of my recent unemployment is that my time has freed up and I've been able to attend some events that have enabled me to reacquaint myself with the "alternative" communities that interest me. I've also been lucky enough to win a LOT of freebies lately which I take a sign that I'm on the right track on a personal level.
One of the things I won was a free ticket to attend Mia Martina's workshop on open relationships at Shag, a new sex positive shop in the trendy section of Brooklyn known as Williamsburg. (Some of you might remember my walk over the Williamsburg Bridge last year into a part of this area and Greenpoint.)
I've been listening to Mia's podcast almost since the very beginning. I think at her third entry. It's been about 2 years or so I think. To me, it's an incredibly brave podcast. I think anyone that writes about their sexual exploits and adventures and mixes it with the bittersweet experiences of love and relationships are among the bravest people that can be. When I got onto Twitter I started following her there too.
A few weeks ago I actually got the opportunity to meet Mia at In The Flesh and was thrilled to discover that she is as sexy as her voice suggests as well as very sweet. She bought me a drink and we had a great talk. I've seen her twice since at other events and even got to meet her boyfriend once, who also strikes me as a rather excellent human being. So when I lucked out and managed to win a free pass to her workshop last night I was thrilled.
Shag is a terrific little shop. It's not like other sex shops you think of...if you don't look carefully as you pass by you would think it was just a nice little shop of hand crafted art and chachkes. A closer look or a glance at the wall where large graphic pictures of anime sex fantasies will clue you in rather suddenly though. I met Sam, one of the owners, a very nice and sexy woman herself and she led me downstairs where the workshop had already started (thank you VERY much G train for sucking even more than I had planned on).
Mia gave us handouts with brilliant recommendations on reading, podcasts and thoughts. She spoke about the nature of the communication one needs in open relationships and she defined the different types (with help from Tristan Taormino's book). She also handed out a sheet of questions regarding our own feelings and beliefs about relationships, emotions surrounding those beliefs. It was fun to see Mia read off some of the answers and discuss them.
There were a few other folks I know from Twitter there. And one I didn't realize until this morning. This made it even more fun.
I won't go into too much detail on the workshop itself...you should go to Mia for that and if you're in NYC you should attend her workshops which I am sure will be happening more frequently. Suffice it to say that it was great to meet others who are interested and to share experiences and notes and knowledge.
Mia's in open relationships of one kind or another for some time and she had great tips gleaned from her successes and misses and very funny stories about her own sexual/relationship journey.
If you're in New York, go to Shag...it really is marvelous and unique...and if you have an opportunity to hear Mia read her material DO SO. Subscribe to her podcast or listen to it from her website...But start from the beginning because there's an arc to it.
Below are books that are part of Mia's recommended reading. I concur. If you are at all curious about open relationships, whether casually or more personally, these are great books to read.