Loves of a Sex Geek

Sex-Positive Counselor

Posts tagged polyamory

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Anna Baxter, LAPC

I’m so excited to announce my new counseling practice! I’m offering counseling and therapy for individuals, relationships, and families in the Atlanta area, specializing in LGBTQ, BDSM, and polyamory (but I can help with anything!) Please like and share my new Facebook page to help spread the word.

To celebrate the launch of my new venture, I’m cutting 50% off my rate for the first 25 people to contact me! Contact me by email (ABaxterGA@gmail.com) to schedule an appointment.

Filed under counseling therapy atlanta lgbt lgbtq bdsm kink poly polyamory non-monogamy couples triad quad

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Favorite tweets from Atlanta Poly Weekend 2014

I spent this past weekend at an event called Atlanta Poly Weekend (APW) where a bunch of polyamorous people came together to live, love, learn, and have fun. I go to at least 2 conventions a year in my town and consistently I come away having learned a little something (or a lotta something) about myself and my passion in life (doing therapy around relationships and sex). This year’s APW was a particularly exceptional experience. 

Each year at APW I’ve livetweeted panels that I’ve attended because I wish I could be in 2 or 3 places at one time and I know there’s other people at APW and the greater community who feel the same. So I like to carry the wisdom and experiences shared within those conference room walls to the world at large so we can all learn. Last year from those of us who livetweeted panels and communicated about the event, #APW2013 was a top ten trending hashtag in the Atlanta area that weekend. I don’t know if we were trending this year, but I know more of us were tweeting this year, and the content is particularly juicy. I’d like to share with my Tumblr followers some of the really juicy bits. So here’s my favorite tweets from APW2014:

General comments:

Atlanta poly folks are ironically polite at a burlesque show, and monsters at Cards Against Humanity
From @FranklinVeaux and @EveRickert’s panel on Consent Culture:
Consent includes access to your body, your mind & your emotions—not just physical. Absence of “no” is not consent.
Let’s use affirmative consent = anything less than enthusiastic yes means a no, not doing anything. = Yes!
It’s easy to be the hero of your own story and consider bullies to be “other people,” not something you’d ever be capable of.
We are all capable of crossing boundaries. We have a society that creates power differential.
Violations can’t happen if there are not enablers. Let’s empower people to step in to stop and prevent violations.

From @franklinveaux’s presentation on how to make your relationships suck:

At 's session at on making relationships suck. Here’s a link to the PDF: http://www.morethantwo.com/practicaljealousy.pdf
"Instead of questioning your feelings, I highly recommend questioning your value." - How to Make Your Relationship Suck
Assume your emotions are infallible. Remember feelings are always true. Use them to control your partner.
Speak in riddles and ALWAYS look for the hidden meaning.
Comparisons can be a great tool for sabotaging your self-esteem and your relationship.
If you get what you want & discover it doesn’t make you happy, make sure to blame your partner.
Make every relationship critical, you can’t leave! Eliminate your ability to say yes, and no.
Always keep score. Otherwise, how do you know who’s winning? Bonus points for written lists & spreadsheets

From Sarah Olivia’s keynote Bringing Sexy Back:

Sexy isn’t a prescription you take every morning.
The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be - “Pretty”.
Two words highly associated with Sexy: Confidence and Power. Self-power, not power over others.
is pro-sexy: Defining our relationships gives us power.
Challenge: When someone compliments you, practice saying, “Thanks! I do look great!” and Stop!

From Sterling Bates’ class on How personality type affects relationships:

types process experience differently, their brain is wired differently.
Communication: prefer to think while they talk. They do their best thinking when they’re talking.
prefer to think then talk.
Problem solving: type prefers to consider cons first. type prefers to consider pros first.
For thinking preference, give them negative first, they’ll be more likely to hear the positive when it comes second.
types get energy from planning, think a suggestion is a plan.
Judging types dislike surprises. Perceiving types prefer to keep as many options open for as long as possible.
Where personalities differ, it can cause conflict or can compliment each other.

From MsNoel and NCMaster’s class on Bridging the Gap between generations:

Older generations dealt with oppression and reacted with firm determination to do things their way.
Younger generations grew up in an era of open mindedness re: and . Affects interactions with others.
Problems arise when we expect the other generations to behave the way they do. They are not being disrespectful.
If we dismiss and isolate each other, we’re all going to die out. We need each other.
Older gens have some wisdom to share and it can make younger gens path a bit easier to travel.

From @Joreth’s 5 Love Languages derived for poly people presentation:

. gets applause for calling Mars/Venus book bullshit.
Personality categories are “fuzzy” boxes, not rigid ones.
People often compliment women on appearance and men on accomplishments, but many women are tired of hearing those compliments.
the presence of other people doesn’t diminish the value of time spent together
If you find yourself getting yelled at for giving advice, try asking “Would you like advice?” before trying to give it.
And on the flip side, if you know you just want to vent not get advice, preface your vent by saying so.
For people who value independence, unsolicited acts of service can be condescending and unwelcome. Ask!
Yes! points out that Golden Rule is crap. Treat people how THEY want to be treated
If receiving meaningful gifts means a lot to you, tell your partner what you like. Don’t expect them to divine it.
If your love language is words of affirmation, it can be really hard to ask for that when you need it.
It can come across as insecurity rather than simply what you need to be loved. Though I’d say there’s nothing wrong w/ insecurity.
But I wish there were more acceptance of the fact that many people are insecure to some extent & it’s not a personal failing.

From Sterling Bates’ and @Joreth’s class on Breaking Up in Polyamory:

Mission: It is advantageous for all of us as a community to break up as friendly exes.
Breaking up in mainstream: relationship is obliterated. Let’s consider that break up can mean a transition?
Break ups are not a one size fits all solution. Each relationship needs a uniquely designed process.
Two main factors determining quality of breakup: intensity and effort
The question is, how are you going to be your best self?
4 pillars of a healthy relationship: attraction, compatibility, space, and respect
Don’t tell them what you hate about them in breakup speech. Tell them what you love.
Be honest, but be kind. Honesty doesn’t mean recklessly hurting people
Instead of trying to assign blame, use this time to accept your responsibility in the relationship.
Give people space. If you follow them when they try to leave, you can irretrievably damage the relationship
"I’m sorry for…. This is wrong because… In the future, I will… Will you forgive me?" Apology script.
When you’re being a decent, compassionate person, you’re not doing it for others. You’re doing it to be the best person you can be.
Don’t beg. It takes two to enter a relationship, it only takes one to end it. Begging may damage future transition.
It’s ok for breakee to ask for definition of new relationship. It’s also ok to ask for things you need.
We will replay the break up conversation in our heads. Let’s enjoy it.
Consider: Break up conversation as a moment to reminisce about the good parts of the relationship.
The community is too small to be dividing up social lines based on break ups.
Our brains will rewrite our memories to fit how we feel about the relationship, so try to end the relationship well
Being your best self in break ups benefits those in relationship and carries out to the community.

From @wfenza’s discussion on Relationship Anarchy:

offers total freedom and flexibility, with ethics and consent. Setting expectations vs. making promises.
means building in some uncertainty because the future is uncertain. No blame when expectations aren’t met.
Rules don’t keep partners from hurting each other. Does your partner really *want* to hurt you? Unlikely.
A promise is “past you” trying to control “future you” to do something that’s not in your best interest.
Asking a partner to make a promise can imply that you don’t trust them to take your needs into account otherwise.
Spectrum of Relationship Control: All relationships involve control. It can be done ethically or unethically.
As you trust each other more, you control each other less.

From @Franklinveaux and @everickert’s discussion on Ethics in Relationships:

When we see bad relationships behaviors, we should judge the behavior, not the person. Non-judgmentalism enables bad actors.
Being ethical means taking responsibility for your own emotional reactions.
If the answer cannot be “no,” it’s not a request, it’s a demand.
If you’re exploiting another’s weakness or ignorance to gain consent, it’s not really consent.

From Dr. Kieran’s Cinderella and the Glass Therapist presentation:

A relationship with a therapist is a safe place to address concerns freely bc they are not invested as our friends & family.
Therapists aren’t one size fits all. Interview your potential therapist to determine whether they’re right for you.
Therapists job is to poke, prod, push, and pull to help clients grow. With empathy and compassion.
Good therapy looks completely different than the movies, old school stereotypes. It’s supportive and challenging.

From Elisabeth Sheff’s session:

Social dangers to unicorns: stigma, less social power than the couple, suspicion from others (“bearer of promiscuity”), stalking.
Couple privilege: “When a couple acts as a unit to preserve & enhance their primary dyad above all things.”
is objectifying, classifies someone by a role, not who they are.
Couples new to polyamory usually still have a monogamous mindset founded in couple privilege.
Statistically very unlikely to find someone who’s equally compatible with both members of a couple.

From @Franklinveaux’s Closing Keynote about Creating Ethical Communities:

The decisions we make in one relationship can affect our other relationships in major ways.
We have a shared responsibility to learn from others mistakes, develop best practices, to be accepted.
This is a critical time for . What happens in next few years will affect our trajectory for decades
We are all imperfect, have faults, and we are all inherently decent. No one is evil.
Number 1 ethic: Treat people as people, not things.
Our society is surprisingly comfortable with casual consent violations across the board.
Differentials in power exist in every aspect of human interaction. Let’s be cognizant of it.
"Consent is a radical idea. It is not something we are taught." Our society breeds coercion.
"Consent is only valid if I can say no, and only valid if I can withdraw consent. Consent must be reevaluated."
Evil begins when we believe we can’t get what we need without controlling other people.
Courage can guide us toward ethical behaviour when nothing else will.
It’s easy to rationalize why not to speak up. To have , we need to have the courage to speak up.
It’s on all of us to make happen. Polyamory is changing, huge influx of people. Has to happen now.
"I recognize the agency of my partners & the people in my community." "My partners have the right to leave."
Principle 3: There is no right way to do things. People are not roles, archetypes.
"That doesn’t mean all things are right. That there’s more than one right doesn’t mean there’s no wrong."
"Unethical behaviour can happen in my community." Am I creating a safe space? Am I speaking up?
When we fail to judge we create safe spaces for predators.
Small consent violations matter. Boundary testing is a primary tactic of predators.
Particularly important for people in privileged positions to speak up. e.g. men need to call out other men.
Be someone other people can talk to. Don’t trivialize, validate, justify. Don’t say what they should have done.

Franklin Veaux’s powerful closing remark:

If we resolve to move in the direction of courage every day, that makes all this easier.

After the con:

Lots of happy tears and laughter are the best way to end a conference.

Filed under polyamory community ethical behavior consent culture growth relationships poly convention therapy ethics violation courage anarchy compassion apw2014 freedom

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There is no one standard approach that works for everyone in terms of expressing love, and we’re all in a constant state of flux in terms of where we are with our personal growth, our desire to reach out or withdraw, and our intimate relationships.

The term polyamory, however, seems to describe an attitude rather than a set of behaviors, and for that reason I have found that I’m comfortable with it. It emphasizes the way an individual thinks and feels rather than a prescribed way of behaving, allowing the freedom for each to find their own way of expressing the love that they feel…

But I’m also a romantic at heart, something I know isn’t true of everyone—although there are plenty of us in the world. Not the roses-and-chocolates type of romantic. No, I’m the more dangerous, intense kind—the romantic who longs to merge body and soul with the beloved and swear eternal fidelity. Part of me has always wanted that deeper, longer, journey with another, where you learn to weather the storms together, share the joys, understand each-other deeply and grow together. I’ve always valued that journey of expressing and deepening love through a shared commitment with a significant other. I’m drawn to that ‘deep dive’ into the chaotic—yet constant—world of long-term intimacy.

And so, in my world, these two forces have to co-exist—my ability to love openly and freely, and my desire for that deeper journey… Polyamorous monogamy?…

A few years ago the description would have been different, as I’m sure it may well be in the future again, depending on how my road through life twists and turns. My heart is definitely polyamorous but my choices about how to express that nature is colored by the others I exchange love with, and my journeys with them. Not everyone wants to share love in a demonstrative or sexual way, for many reasons. And there are times when it doesn’t feel right for me to do so either. And then there are times when it seems to be exactly what the moment is asking of me and what fits with my circumstances.

Freya Watson (via nothingimpossibletoyou)

(via allthechocolatesinthebox)

Filed under Polyamory commitment Romantic Love nonmonogamy

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Solo Poly/Single People: Please participate in this survey!

AggieSez is one of the awesome new(ish) bloggers on the polyamory scene over at Solopoly.net, quite possibly my favorite blog at the moment. She’s working on writing a book with Lily Loyd about nonstandard relationships: “relationships that are somehow off society’s standard relationship escalator norm: strictly monogamous, lifelong cohabitating partners (married or equivalent, perhaps with kids) or relationships that are clearly progressing toward that goal.” She put together a survey seeking first-person experiences and data for the book. She’s had a great response so far but needs more data from people who aren’t part of a primary couple. So if you’re poly and aren’t primary partners with someone else, please consider adding your voice to her (anonymous) survey!

Filed under polyamory solo non-primary relationships nonstandard