Jealousy in ethical non-monogamy

Inquiry about non-monogamous relationships and why am feeling jealousy about one particular submissive whom I play with on infrequent basis, yet we communicate daily, with frequent exchanges through out day. We have been at this for over four years. Signed Lazy-pants

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I believe that jealousy isn’t necessarily backed in reason. I think of it like a warning system. Your mind/body/soul is reacting to something happening in your life, but it might not necessarily be clued in to all the details. You have a long, ongoing relationship with this partner of yours, but just because you communicate regularly doesn’t mean there isn’t room for jealousy to seep in.

I don’t believe that jealousy is something you can just win at. Like any other emotion, jealousy can sneak up on you, surprise you, and come and go depending on the seasons. You may become better at recognizing and handling jealousy. This can be helpful if you often find yourself in situations that trigger that jealousy.

Jealousy can take residence in your mind for different reasons. The two that I discuss the most on my blog are envy or fear. Envy might be that your partner is having a good time without you and you want to be involved in that good time. Fear might be that your partner has such a good time that they decide to stop seeing you. Compersion is often described as the opposite of jealousy – a feeling of happiness that your partner is satisfied or taking pleasure in another sexual or romantic relationship. Compersion is often discussed in books about polyamory.

I am not sure what it is about this one particular partner that has made you more jealous. Has this jealousy been specific with them for the duration of your relationship? Is it new? Was it triggered be a specific event that happened? There are all kinds of ways to speculate without knowing more.

If the goal is reducing the jealous feelings that you’re having, I would recommend figuring out what makes those jealous feelings worse, and practicing finding some peace with those feelings. In some cases, discussing the issues you have with your partner can help avoid those triggering circumstances in the future.

If you find jealousy is a reoccurring issue in your life, you might benefit from the jealousy workbook.

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

 

Baseline of Behavior: Your partner is inconsiderate and you’re happy they’re home

The other day I overheard an interesting conversation between a girl and her friend at the coffeeshop. Let’s call the two girls Emily and Anne. Here’s a paraphrasing of the conversation.

Emily: So I just moved in with my boyfriend and I feel like I am always nagging him to do the things that he should be doing anyways

Anne: Like what?

Emily: Like taking out the trash or cleaning the dishes. He just leaves them.

Anne: That’s horrible.

Emily: I know. But then when he does take out the trash I feel like completely overwhelmed. Like he did this amazing thing. But he should have been doing it anyways, you know?

Anne: I did notice he is kind of a slacker

Emily: I just feel like he’s not really present or there in our relationship. He doesn’t do the things he should be doing and I feel like it’s my fault. Like maybe he doesn’t know how important they are to me. But I hate telling him to do them. I just want him to do them.

Anne: Is everything else in your relationship okay?

She then went off to briefly discuss other ways in which her significant other was not really present or aware in their relationship. They got up and left, but I sat there thinking about it for a long time. In how many relationships that you’ve been in have you experienced this?

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I started to think about behavior reinforcement. When Emily praised her boyfriend for doing something that he should have been doing already, she may have been saying “thank you for doing this fabulous act, I am thankful for you going above and beyond” when really her reaction meant “I am happy that you are contributing because I am not used to seeing it happen.”

The baseline of behavior in a relationship should not be bare minimum. Simply going through the actions of being a partner (offering support, helping out, doing ones fair share) should not be rewarded as something extra. This can happen in any relationship, between any gender, between any number of people, between a relationship that is romantic in nature or not.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate our partners for what they do. There is a difference between appreciating and praising. I appreciate that my partner helps me do the dishes after I cook. I appreciate that he helps take out the trash and tidy the apartment. I appreciate that he listens to me when I am sad. I appreciate that I know that I can call him to come for me when I need him. These, I feel, are basic functions of a healthy relationship.

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“Always give more than you take.”

Emily found herself nagging her significant other to do things he should already be doing. How did Emily and her boyfriend get to that place in their relationship? I don’t know the details. Maybe that’s how it always was, or that’s where it went after they began living together. There are a lot of ways in which that kind of behavior can start (on either, or both sides of the relationship) and there are a lot of reasons why it might persist.

Talking to your partner about expectations is extremely important. Don’t make the assumption that you’re on the same page. Be honest with your partner about what kinds of things you expect in a relationship. Some people require very little “relationship maintenance” and don’t necessarily need their partner there to help provide emotional support. Some people don’t split up chores or other tasks. Because all relationships are different it’s important to acknowledge those differences but it’s also important to not let your relationship just slide into whatever is comfortable for the other person.

Never feel like you have to hassle your partner to be a human being. Never feel like you have to hassle your partner to be there for you, to care for you, to offer their part in the relationship. If you begin to feel that way, or if you feel that the balance is off and your partner is doing more work than you, there is always time to correct the path and figure out how to make things better for each other.

Sometimes it can be as simple as “I didn’t know what I was doing wrong!” and sometimes it can be a much harder to hear “We’re just not compatible.”

Life, travel, summer, and the curiosities of sadness.

I’ll start with a refresher. My summer has been packed with things. So many things. I have never done so much. I’ve never felt so much. I’ve been so lucky to develop real, solid friendships this year. With people who I feel know me. With people I am constantly wanting to get to know better. Movie nights and game nights and BBQs and picnics, dinner parties, long walks, days at the park, nights with live music, new drinks, new recipes, so much fun. It’s an introverts nightmare but I’m learning to find the balance. You can’t use who you are as an excuse not to be who you want to be.

Last night we took a walk looking for answers.

I wore a sweater and clutched it around my side. I wished it was raining so it would smell like the sky and the trees and the grass. When it’s summer I reach out. My arms grasping the sky to bring the sun closer. To hold it tighter. I lay out on rocks like a lizard and dry my bones of all the sadness of winter, only to wish it back so desperately a month later.

He had talked to me, so I talked to him. Things I keep locked away somewhere. A recycling of the same worries over and over again. Money, family, school, work, friends. Money, family, school, work, friends. Money, family, school, work, friends. I said I wished I didn’t like myself so much because, lately, that had just become an excuse. I said I wished I didn’t find such beauty in all the little things because that just kept me idle. Stopping to smell the flowers, laying barefoot in the grass, sipping coffee cup by cup until the machine made that crackling sound like it wanted to brew more but simply couldn’t.

We sat on a park bench and I cried because I’d held it all in. The regret of not feeling good enough, but feeling good enough being that way. What a trapping feeling. A girl across the park was crying too. She was wheezing and crying. She was nearly screaming. I pressed my face into his chest and asked if they were breaking up and he said no. So we listened to her cry while I cried and the bench rocked back in forth in my mind like some temporary oasis. Whatever we say here stays here, and we can go home without it. That other girl must have felt the same way.

Can you have sadness in paradise? Can you have tears that hide in dimples? We held hands and walked back past the arcade, with the flashing lights, the sound of pinball breaking through the concrete walls. A woman sat on the curb and smoked. A man crossed the street with his receipt, staring at the twisting white paper curiously as he went. A group of friends stood outside a restaurant as the night ended. And we went home.

What I’m Reading Today, and a QUESTION:

online:

obama signs executive order to protect against lgbt employment discrimination.

moving on from a non-relationship relationship.

the new yorker is free online this summer. Read some quality work in your spare time.

spooning after sex and your relationship. I’m a fan.

sex work as labor.

bryan fischer is sad about the, uh, sexual deviancy.

pirated sex toys and what it means for you.

bad sex advice from fox news. Almost as good as Cosmos “what does his emoji mean?” article this month.

sexy black dresses ought to be a part of every summer wardrobe. This weekend I wore a black slip with my converse.

curious article about being a successful woman blogger. Be pretty, find your lady niche, stay away from drama? Hmmmmm.

weird sex (book list)

more than two reading at SheBop coming up. This book is still on my wish list.

Books: 

  • Tenth of December
  • Where Men Hide
  • Alice Munro: Selected Stories
  • Conversion

What I want to know: 

Where did you meet your significant other? Online? What site? Through a friend? At an event? At work? School? If you’re currently single: where have you met past partners?

Submit Now: Sex & Love Advice

My queue is empty, which means it’s a great time to submit your questions about sex and love! Haven’t asked before? It’s pretty easy. You ask me a question, I answer it on my blog.

You can ask about:

- Sexuality (Ex: I’m not sure if I’m bi or not!)
- Sex (Ex: I want to try this new thing in bed, how do I do it?)
- Gender (Ex: Why am I treated differently at my workplace because I’m a woman?)
- Love (Ex: Things have been weird in my relationship lately, what might this be caused by?)
- Ethical non-monogamy (Ex: I’m trying to work through my jealousy, tips?)
- Language (Ex: What does ____ mean?)
- General advice (Ex: This situation happened, what should I do?)
- Life/education (Ex: I’m in college and I don’t know what to do)
- Psychology (Ex: I’m feeling sad, what are some ways to feel happy?)
- Portland (Ex: I’m visiting the area and need to know what the best club to go to is!)

Or, anything else you think I might be able to help with!

You can also ask for resources (ex: where can I find _____?) toy recommendations, or simply give me a prompt for something you’d like me to write about. This site is in part run by you guys, and what you want to hear about. So I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

You can submit anytime 24/7 from the top bar by clicking ask advice. For your laziness, here is a submission box in easy typing distance.

Talk to you soon,

st.

QUESTION: Can you see a woman fake orgasming?

Hey Lorelei, Never had sex before (T_T). I also prefer solo porn, but of late this has been bothering me: is it possible to tell whether a woman fakes an orgasm or not by whether you can see visible contractions/pulsing in the vulva/vaginal/perineum/anal area? It seems like you can, as I’ve noticed contractions accompanying orgasm much more so in amateur solo porn than in professional porn shoots (though they’re there occasionally). That is, the pro porn star seems to be acting out a scene within a certain time period, whereas within amateur porn, it seems like they’re just videoing themselves getting off. Physiologically, do contractions always accompany a woman’s orgasm? And if so, shouldn’t those be visible during (and within a certain time period) orgasm? Maybe I’m just shooting the breeze, that porn actors will do just that, act. Thoughts?

Great question!

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Contractions do mark the female orgasm - but without the equipment scientists use to measure arousal, I find it unlikely that anyone would be able to tell if a woman was orgasming, or simply flexing those muscles herself.

I’ve written about fake orgasms in the past* - they’re a bad idea, by the way. But given that a lot of the physical results of an orgasm - being flushed, blood flow, heart rate, vaginal wetness, and vaginal contractions - can be misread or misinterpreted, it would be fairly easy to fake. This is especially true for professionals who take it upon themselves to give the audience the impression that they are enjoying themselves, even if that’s not always the case.

If you feel like you can’t enjoy the pornography because you’re being too critical of the performance - switch to some higher quality (or in some cases, lower quality) porn!

It is possible that those who are accustomed to faking would be able to spot the certain acting techniques of a faker, but I am not familiar with that craft, so you’ll have to watch the comments section if anyone has a say.

Hopefully any future partners you have will be open and honest with you and you can learn how to read your partners specific body language. As you have sex with someone you start to pick up on other factors associated with orgasms. How they tense up, the sounds they make, a flush or a phrase.

What do you think about fake orgasms?

Read some other related posts:

* Is there a good reason to fake an orgasm?

* Faking Orgasms

Have a question about sex or love? Submit to the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

QUESTION: How do you know you’re bisexual?

Hello! Straightish female with some questions about ‘questioning’.

So I’m attracted to men and have been experiencing that since at least as young as 6 years old (weird, I know, but my point is that’s something I’m very sure of… Actually, related question: is that weird?). Around that age I recall seeing certain women on television and thinking they were attractive on some level, and totally had a crush on Xena: Watrior Princess haha, but that dropped off completely in adolescence and was never something I experienced with a woman in person, that is until very recently at age 24.

I met this woman who I find very beautiful, and I find myself wanting to touch her and wanting her to touch me, but it still feels VERY different from my attraction to men, so I’m having a hard time figuring out what it is. With men I feel this overwhelming fiery passion, a need to rub all over them, I find their scent intoxicating, etc. With her it’s a much more quiet, peaceful feeling. She’s my yoga teacher so I guess that part makes sense, and maybe that’s all the touching desire comes from; the yoga adjustments she provides that might feel pleasurable but aren ‘t sexual? But then I’ve totally thought of her while masturbating so that seems pretty clear, but then I kind of did that on purpose experimentally, but it worked, but maybe that was just a result of the novelty? This woman is married to a man, and therefore almost certainly off-limits, so not someone I could experiment with expressing my sentiments towards, which only makes it more confusing.

So: – do bisexual people often report their attraction varies qualitatively based on the person’s gender? – why would it take 24 years for me to ever feel this way about a woman I know in person? Is it a fluke? Am I just exceptionally picky? I mean I see women naked all the time in movies and porn and locker rooms and never feel anything, and see them pole dancing in videos or running in sports bras and other things that are supposed to be sexy and just feel absolutely nothing. – Is it possible this is just my one weird same-sex crush and it won’t ever happen again? Then I’ll never know? Ahhh – Aren’t you supposed to be able to just know what your sexuality is without experimenting? – How would I know even with experimenting? Obviously if I pick a random woman to experiment with but I’m not attracted to her that won’t help me to know if I actually want that right? And anyone touching your genitals is going to feel good, so just getting physical pleasure won’t tell me anything… Or maybe it would? Maybe me thinking “anyone touching your genitals feels good” is a bisexual thing?

How do you politely experiment? I’d hate to end up alone and naked with a woman and THEN realize I feel nothing, because then how do you end it without offending them? “Oh sorry I saw your naked body and instantly realized I’m not attracted to, not just you but, your entire gender because of it.” Sounds kinda rude – Would bisexual people be offended if I started calling myself bi based on this one experience? Particularly a feeling I never even acted on? Like I could see how it could seem like just “some girl pretending to be bi to impress guys” even if that’s not the truth. I wouldn’t be upset about it if I was gay or bi or whatever, actually I think it would be great if I could open up my dating/sexual options a bit, I just want to figure this out. Sorry for so many questions! Just trying to wrap my head around things.

When I got your question I leaned over and asked my boyfriend: okay, I’ve got this really great question, do I break it up into a few different posts or do I answer it all at once? He said it deserved one big post. I agree. Your question is one that so many men and women have. It’s a question that I had for a long time, too. Actually, it’s a question that I still ask myself sometimes. For a while I will feel secure in my sexuality and then, every now and then, a question will appear. The answer for myself isn’t the same as the answer for everyone else, but sooner or later it always gets answered.

The all encompassing answer to your question is this: I believe sexuality is fluid. I believe sexuality exists on a spectrum. I think that we have all constructed a system to identify certain behaviors that do not allow for freedom of exploration or discovery. There is certainly no room for experimentation. Even the boxes that do exist (bisexuality, heterosexuality, homosexuality) are so rigid in their forms that we get questions like you asked above: what does being bisexual actually mean and what are the rules? There shouldn’t be rules! If you do something that isn’t in the bi-box you shouldn’t be kicked out of the club if thats how you identify. The boxes limit us and separate us, they don’t bring us together.

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My first piece of advice is always to imagine that the boxes don’t exist and simply be who you want to be, and do what you want to do. As long as you are open and honest with the people you wish to form relationships with, you’re good to go. I like girls. I don’t like girls. I’m experimenting because I’m not sure I like girls. The woman on the other side of this scenario has time to consent to whether or not she wants to be involved in a relationship with you depending on how it is presented to her.

When I was a little kid I felt something different when I watched Disney movies. I didn’t like Eric, I liked Ariel. It’s hard to say if that’s a crush. Children have sexuality, as much as people try to ignore it, and push it away. They have crushes, they develop feelings, they have a sense of gender and what gender they are attracted to. Children learn to touch themselves. The sexuality of children is not like the adult version of sexuality. We diminish children’s ability to grow and discover themselves by saying things like “little girls find princes and become princesses!” or “do you have any crushes on boys yet? don’t worry, you will!” We fret when children touch themselves or ask questions. Why? What are we afraid of? We don’t know how to talk to kids about sex in a way that is age appropriate. We don’t recognize that we can create boundaries for them and feed them information at a pace that they can handle.

Whatever you felt was real, but who knows what it means for you now? It might take some time to figure that out. It might not mean anything. It might take you a long time to figure it out both in part because sexuality can be a big deal, but also because of how sexuality is stifled and led in a certain direction throughout childhood.

Everyone I know who is bisexual reports different ways of experiencing bisexuality. Some people note very different feelings towards men and women. Sometimes they’re more picky with one gender than the other. Sometimes they don’t notice gender and it’s more about the person itself. Sometimes they go through phases. I think all of that is perfectly normal. If you want to explore bisexuality politely, do as I said above. Be honest with your partners about what you are experiencing, what you’re looking for, what you expect, and allow them to give you the same information. You’ll be able to find others out there like yourself if that’s where you want to start. (It is, perhaps, sometimes more fair to date/play with others who are similarly confused or similarly experimenting, rather than someone who feels solid in their orientation.) But, ultimately, consent. That’s the biggie. If you have an experience and you want to call it off because you realize it’s just not for you, that’s okay. You have that right. You always have that right.

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I feel like every day there is a new word to describe sexual orientation. The reason for this, presumably, is because people feel that the words that are out there don’t describe them accurately enough. It’s important to remember that the word heterosexual didn’t even exist until fairly recently. It wasn’t always there. Sexual history is happening right now. The words we use to describe ourselves put us in boxes, but before those words and boxes were there, those people still existed.

I picked some (mostly random) events from a timeline in a book I have on my shelf. I thought it might be interesting to visualize some of the ups and downs of sexuality in recent history. The point of this is to note that you’re not the only one figuring your sexuality out. Pretty much everyone is. We’re only just now understanding what people are capable of when it comes to love and sex. We’re becoming more open minded to this fluidity and the ability to explore in ways that aren’t traditional. These things may have been happening all along but now we’re talking about them. And talking about them – as I do on my blog – is what gets people questioning.

Who am I, what am I, and can I be something else?

1892 – Earliest known use of the word heterosexual

1930 – Hollywood Production Code banning references to homosexuality is adopted

1947 – Kinsey Institute Founded

1968 – APA revises its classification of homosexuality to a non-psychotic mental disorder (still a mental disorder)

1972 – First gay studies program

1972 – National Bisexual Liberation Group formed in NYC

1973 – APA removes homosexuality from list of mental disorders

1975- Bisexual forum founded in NYC

1990 – National bisexual conference held for the first time

1996 – Defense of marriage act passed

1997 – Conversion therapy is questioned by APA

2001 – Journal of Bisexuality first published

2004 – Antigay marriage amendments pass in 11 states

2014 – Nearly 44% of the U.S. population lives in a state with the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. SOURCE

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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