Silence = Death

We have acquiesced ourselves into believing there is relative safety for the LGBTQ community, even with news showing quite the opposite. Is it because we feel it doesn’t directly impact us? Perhaps it may be the mentality that it only seems to happen in certain parts of the country and is being blown out of proportion? Or simply it may be that you haven’t seen anything in the media recently that would give you pause to wonder the state of affairs for our LGBTQ community. Whatever it may be, this Pride season is the time that we stand up and be visible. We need to, now more than ever before, let this country and its leaders know that we are tired of the constant violence, lack of respect, and silently removing of our rights.

ClaireLegato

Since in the five months since this year began, we have seen five transwomen of color killed. In May alone, there have been three. Cleveland has one of the three that have been killed. That’s 1/5ththe murders of trans people this year have happened here in our fair city. About 4 a.m. on April 15th, Claire Legato was shot in the head after an argument broke out between her mother and the suspect, John Booth. The argument ensued after Legato’s mother claimed that Booth stole her tax return check. The argument moved outside of the house and escalated. At which point Legato intervened and Booth shot her in the head. Legato was in the hospital for a month, but her injuries were to severe. Legato passed on May 14th. A warrant is out for Booth’s arrest for felonious assault. Legato was the third victim of murder against transwomen.

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The fourth victim taken this year happened May 18th, Muhlaysia Booker was found lying face down with a gunshot wound near a golf course in east Texas. Her murder came just one month after the viral video of a “mob violence” attack against her and authorities say there does not appear to be a link between the two incidents. Dallas Police arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas in relation to the attack but was later released. There is no apparent reason for the murder and, currently, no suspects. Booker’s cellphone had captured the attack that happened shortly after her car was hit in a parking lot. The video was used to identify the man repeatedly punching Booker in the face as Edward Thomas. The video also showed a crowd of men kicking her while she was on the ground and shouting anti-gay remarks. Her friend, Jessica Anderson, said this was not the first time in which she have been beaten for simply who she was. Anderson said that Booker was tired of being beaten down and not allowed to live in peace as who she really was. Currently there are not charges against Thomas was charged with aggravated assault and his current whereabouts are unknown.

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Michelle “Tamika” Washington was shot and killed in Philadelphia on May 19th. Washington was a 40-year-old transwoman of color and lived in the Franklinville neighborhood of North Philadelphia. Police responded to sounds of gunshots and found Washington with several gunshot wounds and was transported to Temple University Hospital and pronounced dead. Washington was known as a beloved sister and a “gay mother” to the neighborhood. Washington is no the fifth victim. Monday morning, May 20th, Troy Bailey was arrested in the 1100 block of West Venango Street of the Franklinville section of Philadelphia. He was arraigned on Tuesday for murder and other firearms related charges. Currently, the murder is not being investigated as a hate crime and the police feel it was not motivated by Washington’s gender identity.

 

These are the cases that are known about, unfortunately, the sad fact is that in many cases the gender of the victim is misidentified and leads to longer times in identifying the person or the nature of the crime. The current administration has made it easier for a culture of violence to grow unchecked. Many states still do not have protections in place for LGB people, let alone trans people. This administration has denied the ability for trans people to serve in our military. They are also granting rights of discrimination to large groups of people under the guise of religious freedoms. There has to be a point at which we draw our hard line in the sand and say we will not take any more of this sub human treatment. We must rally with our sisters for female rights, that too are being stripped away. The abhorrent nature of the small minded, radical, right wing zealots has to be changed. They count on us believing that our numbers are small and that because of that we will not stand up and fight back.

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Remember that this year, Pride in the CLE will be a march. This is the time to make yourself visible. LGBTQ or Advocate be there and be counted. Show that you will not take this kind of hatred towards anyone, LGBTQ, POC, women, immigrants, those that are incarcerated, or any minority that is being subjugated by those in positions of power. Letting them know that we stand in support of one another. I would like to end this short article with two quotes.

 

“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

Thomas Jefferson

While there is debate over the effectiveness of the electoral college, what is important to note is that the more people who turn out to vote and vote with knowledge can, in fact, change the course of the election. If you are not registered, what are you waiting for? You can do that online at Register to Vote (https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote) and then get out there and vote.

 

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.”

Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

While many attribute this quite, in some variation, to Thomas Jefferson, there is no proof of this as an actuality. It was written by Alan Moore for this movie. The movie speaks volumes to the current situation of our own political situation. We have a figure head in place who is convincing the people of a preset ideal that they hold. Then goes about enacting laws to enforce this ideal, telling us how bad other groups are and how his administration will be the protecting force and does so many good deeds for its people. It is a ruse, one that many dictators have used countless times to control the masses. In V for Vendetta, one man stood up against the system and made his impression known. It was the spark that lit the powder keg of a revolution to overthrow the regime. And proof that it is not illegal to not support your president or those in an administration. Exercise your rights, protest that which you do not approve of, and let your voice be heard. You could be the spark that is needed to start the next revolution.

 

Too The Streets… We March…

“In the early hours of June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City.” a quote from the article Stonewall Riots on History.com. This year marks the 50th anniversary of those very riots and Pride in the CLE will be honoring the event with a return to the march. Sure, many will just see it as a Pride Parade and not understand the difference, but it is that difference that makes it important, especially now. You may know the story or just parts, but this is the year to revisit our roots and understand where it all started and why the fight is not over. And why our “gay bars” were and still are important cornerstones of the community.

The Stonewall Riot was a culmination of events that erupted in the early morning hours of June 28th. Since the Great Depression, bars in America had become less and less welcoming to the LGBT populations. Laws were put in place in many states that made it illegal for bars to serve LGBT people. The laws included means of being able to identify who were the subversive element, they included that you must wear at least three pieces of clothing to the gender you appeared to be, could not over fraternize with other same sex patrons, and in many cases dance together. In the Christopher Street part to New York City, the bars had been raided for almost a decade. Anyone that looked as if they were a homosexual were dragged out of the bar, beaten, thrown in the back of police wagons, and hauled to jail. There were bars that had popped up to allow LGBT people to visit and be able to drink, they were never the cleanest bars, and many did not have working bathrooms or running water. They were simply dark places that allowed for the congregation of our community without intercedence of local authorities. 

Stonewall was ran by the Genovese crime family in New York and had paid informants in the sixth precinct to all them to know ahead of time if there were raids coming for the bar. This allowed the owners to hide the alcohol being served, ensure that the men were not dancing together, and stop any other illegal activities. On the morning of June 28th, the tip off did not happen and the local precinct showed up with a warrant in hand and in full force, to raid the bar. The police entered, beat many of the patrons, arrested 13 people, including staff, and any that did not comply to the three-garment dress code. If they suspected someone of being a “crossdresser,” they would take them into the restroom and perform a physical check of their gender. One lesbian patron was hit over the head with a beer bottle by an arresting officer, at which point she tried to incite the crowd into action, asking if they were going to stand and allow this to happen. At which point, in a massive wave, the crowd erupted and started throwing objects at the police, yelling at them, and beginning to circle the arresting officers. Within minutes, it was a full-blown riot. The protests escalated and lasted for almost six days in total. The first ever targeted and focused  push for equal treatment of LGBT people and became the single galvanizing moment that pushed gay rights into the modern era.

Both sides of our country had similar marches, annually, afterwards. Harvey Milk set up a Pride Parade in the Castro district of San Francisco and the Christopher Street March was held in honor of the events that happened. These marches put some of our biggest activist like Marsha P. Johnson and Cleve Jones in the spotlight and they were also the catalyst for our achievements going forward. Putting us front and center in the eyes of the media with banners like “We’re here, We’re Queer, Get Used to It.” As the movement progressed and victories were won, our marches slowly became the Pride Parades that now blanket our country. Starting on June 1, as the beginning of Pride Season, and ending in September. During these times, our bars where the places of organization of these events, a place for us to feel safe from the persecution we endure constantly, and our safe zones after we won them back from constant police intervention. They were, in fact, our homes and our family.

 

In the fifty years since Stonewall we have seen a lot of advancement in LGBTQ rights and equality. We have seen larger focus on healthcare targeted towards us, inclusion of our spouses in our company provided healthcare, and numerous reforms of laws that prevent us from being fired or losing our homes for just being who we are. That being said, the last four years has shown a lot of ground slipping. This administration has now  made it legal for the military to openly discriminate against trans people. We are seeing legislature change for the safety of our jobs and healthcare, that would allow companies to persecute against us based on perceived religious freedoms. Hate crimes are rising to levels that we haven’t seen in several decades. And most recently, same sex couples are being targeted more for trying to adopt babies outside of the country, the government is stating they cannot bring a child in unless going through more hoops of proof of marriage than our heterosexual counterparts.

We have been told by organizations that claim to have our best interests in mind that we needed to  fight for marriage rights, instead of women’s rights, minority rights,  prison reform, healthcare reform and numerous others. We were convinced that marriage should be first, and the rest would fall in line. This administration shows they have no regards for that fight or even the law that repealed DOMA and allowed us to legally marry. What did we gain from it but the ability to wave around a piece of paper that says we are legally married to our partner? The benefits that should come with that paper seem to have been misplaced in the information given to us when we got our licenses. We are slowly starting to realize that our fight never ended, we were only shifted off the mark. We are also learning that it is “WE” who must fight for our rights, again. It is great to have supporters and advocates, but at the end of the day we are the ones still losing in this battle. We are again burying our brothers and sisters for the murders spurred from hate crimes.

This year, Pride in the CLE will be hosting a march, this is the time for each and every one of us to come out of the closet, yet again, and take to the streets. Be visible and show that we are still here and fighting for our very futures. We will not be forgotten, and we will not be torn asunder. This is the time to make your banners and hoist them up alongside our community, whether you are marching or standing on the route in solidarity. It cannot be expressed enough that your voice does matter and needs to be heard. If you choose to march, visit the links above and register. Let us make an example so that we do not lose more of the rights we have fought for. June 1st join us to stand together to honor the memories of those visionary activist and not let their fights be in vain.

Nudism and Body Positivity

Previous posts have touched on body image especially the one where I bared it all. But it is a topic that needs a bit more addressing, to be honest. I am very hard on myself, like many of us are. I see myself in the mirror and reflect back to a time when I was thinner. When I do this, it is often with revulsion, again as I spoke to in that post above. We know that any magazine that has pictures of models in them are touched up so much that the model rarely looks completely like themselves. We watch movies, television, and yes porn and we are forced fed an ideal body type. The rub of it is that you will also see PSA after PSA that talks about how we need a better body positivity. That we need to stop body shaming people and learn to embrace our differences, they expect us to do this when Hollywood and the media paints those advertisements with thin beautiful people. How can we learn when what we are being given still rings of the problem?

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Here is a bigger flip. I love being nude whenever I can, that is the honest truth. When I leave from work, all I can think of is how I will soon be home and I can strip out of my clothes and just be free. Much to my roommate’s dismay, if they found out, I walk, lay around, and do housework nude as often as I can. That doesn’t mean that I am comfortable being naked around them, that is a harder part. However, the nudist lifestyle does appeal to me a lot, but what I dislike about it is their quiet form of body shaming. Oh sure, I see nudists messaging me now, leaving comments saying that I am out of line and that isn’t the case. They will continue to express that they are accepting of all body types, people, and sexualities. Then there will be the argument that naturists are much more accepting. Before I get to the differences, lets finish this up and end with an experiment. If they are so accepting, they why is the majority of the marketing and advertising out there only showing those of a thinner body type? Here is the challenge… Google Nudist and Naturist. Look at the first 100 images for each and notice the body types that pop up. Just from looking you can see that at least 60-70% of the images are of younger fit people. Sure, I get it sex sells, but that feeds into the stigma of body shaming.

Indeed, there are differences between the two terms, naturist and nudist. But that can also depend on who you ask, so let’s clarify by the common differences. A Naturist is one who pursues it as a lifestyle choice. It is a spiritual and health choice. They go to resorts, spend time in nature, and their daily life naked. A nudist is one that primarily hangs around in the nude, at home and doesn’t go for the deeper connections, typically. Nudist also tends to have a more negative connotation. In effect, the terms are often interchangeable, depending on the people. ““[Naturism] is about creating situations where there is psychological, emotional equality between people and you can’t do that if one person is dressed and the other is nude,” Stephane Deschenes, a nudity law expert at the University of Toronto told theCBC in 2016, according to an article on CottageLife.com.

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Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

There have been more pushes to include more body positive messages in these two lifestyles, but just from the few groups I follow on Twitter, it still sways heavily to the side of thinner body types. Why is there still the stigma around it? The same kind of questions could be asked why is there still a stigma around the ideal of Naturist/Nudist. We are taught at an early age that the body isn’t to be shown publicly, at least in most of the world. Our parents may let us run around naked as children, but as we grow, we realize that those actions are only in our own house and we start to develop the mindset that it must not be accepted. If our parents are the first influence that tells us we aren’t a baby anymore and must wear clothes, we wonder why. Is the body to be feared, is it shameful? Just about every, if not all, states in the United States have decency laws that prohibit and punish public displays of nudity. Sure San Francisco has the Folsom Street Fair and California has no laws for public nudity unless it is a lewd act. And most states laws are vague on what public nudity really is, they revolve around not exposing yourself as a means to lure someone into a sexual at, no forms of masturbation or public sex are included. For most naturists/nudists, being without clothes is not meant as a sexual nature, and therefore only vaguely fit into otherwise vague laws the sad part is that in almost every state it is illegal to be naked on your own property if it is in view of anyone else.

This combined with an upbringing that tells you how bad it is showing your body in public, make it very difficult to view yourself in a positive light. And yes, we are surrounded by so much media that changes ideals of what is beautiful by the minute there is no way to compete. That is completely fine, you shouldn’t compete. Everybody is different, just as every person is different. For me, it has been helpful to get naked and stand or sit in front of the mirror and just look at myself. It’s hard not to pass judgement, but instead I try to find things or parts of my body that I do like. For example, I have nice calves, decent upper arms, great eyes, and awesome hair. I don’t qualify those remarks, I simply state that they are good. The first few times I did this, I felt absolutely silly, but it has caused a subtle shift. I don’t have to like every part of my body, the stretch marks, the belly, and whatever else. Not liking them is completely fine, they do not define myself worth and they shouldn’t yours either.

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Remember to be honest with yourself but don’t be shady. If you have stretch marks from childbirth, be proud of the fact that you carried a life inside you and brought it into the world. It is an amazing thing and remember there are those who cannot have those stretch marks you despise. We all hate getting on that scale and seeing it spin around a couple hundred times before it comes to rest on the number that ruins our day. Why do we allow ourselves to have anxiety over it? It is only a number and the truth behind it is that it only shows our relationship to gravity, not our own worth.  If you choose to take on an exercise plan to modify the weight, do it because it will make you healthier, not the mindset it will make you more attractive to others. That is only setting yourself up to fail. If it is an illness, disability, or whatever making you feel that way, know that it does not equal you being weaker than another person. The fact you struggle daily with how you feel only shows your character and strength.

This is not an article that will tell you how to fix yourself, its only showing you that there are other ways to view things. You are a beautiful person, on your own. If you are with someone who isn’t valuing your worth, then they are not worthy of you. This is why the previous articles of self-care are important. Learn your value and your worth. Do not let them be limited by judgements others place on you or by what they deem attractive. It does start with you.

 

Self-Care TedTalks

Today, I thought I would share some Ted Talks about self-care. We often overlook it in our lives because we are taught that it is considered selfish to worry about our needs above others. In truth, both need to be tempered. Too much focus on anyone aspect can leave the other one seriously lacking. Sure, there are plenty of new age info out there about how to love yourself and etc. But sometimes it’s just the simplest thing of listening to your inner monologue or paying attention to your body. After all, those are extensions of you and pretty good indication when something is not right.

 

First up is Guy Winch who explains why “emotional first aid” is an important part of our daily lives and routines. We go to the doctor when we have physical pain or worried about the flu, but we forget that we can also talk to those specialists when we are having feelings of loneliness, guilt, and loss. Those feelings are just as influential to our health and wellbeing. Here is Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid” by Gus Winch.

 

 

Lastly, we will take a look at Andy Puddlecombe who asks us when was the last time that we absolutely nothing for 10 minutes. Put down the phone, turn off the tv, no talking, or focusing on any specific though for ten minutes. Just be in the moment, being present and aware of what is going on. Here is “All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes”by Andy Puddlecombe.

 

 

Self-Care takes a change of mindset; we have to reassess the things that we have been taught and find better ways to care for ourselves. It is essential as maintaining your physical health. If you aren’t feeling right, there are those that you can talk to for assistance. We need to understand that it doesn’t make us weak asking for help. Start by those closest to you, increase your friend base to those that are loving and supportive, turn to them when you feel there are issues to be addressed. After all, as RuPaul has made famous “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love someone else.”

Non-Monogamy Relationship Styles

With speaking about relationships, the last couple weeks, I felt it appropriate to end this week talking about non-monogamy. This was a decision based on some of what I had been writing combined with ideas friends have proposed and a couple comments on a singular post. I want to make it clear that I do not advocate for any specific type of relationship, it is something I am still navigating. I still have the storybook fantasy of finding someone to spend my life with, even though I realize it is a fantasy and also an ideal that is implanted by society. I do not agree with the line of thought that monogamy is a modern invention, there is a lot of historical proof that shows humans have pair bonded long before the church and its influence of marriage and commitment. So, let’s see what we can turn up in this article.

The focus of this article will be the distinction between open relationships versus polyamorous relationships. To do that we need to establish some definitions and groundwork to help clear the waters, as it were. Psychology Today published an article titled Seven Forms of Non-Monogamous Relationships.  They are defined as Cheating, Polygamy, Open, Swinging, Monogamish, Polyamory/Polyfidelity, and Relationship Anarchy. Obviously the two we are focusing on are in this list, but the others do bear some consideration. Monogamish is a term that Dan Savage help popularize, and while is a form of non-monogamy, still holds to some tenants of monogamy. The difference is that is still has aspects of an open relationship with more strictures in place. They could be things like only a one-night stand is allowed or only while one partner is out of town. Polygamy bears a special note of definitions; it is simply a relationship or marriage of more than two people. Polygyny is a one of its forms and where a man marries and is committed to multiple women, at the same time. No partners are sought outside the union, unless they are to become a new additions to the unit. You can read more about Relationship Anarchy on the link above. With these in mind let’s move on to the topics of focus.

An open relationship is loosely defined as consensual non-monogamous relationships based on a committed couple.It essentially means that both partners in a relationship agree to sexual relationships with other people. This is not the same as polyamory, the reason is based on the fact that in an open relationship, there still is a committed couple. They simply agree to not be exclusive with one another. The previous article I wrote did speak to how gay men who are in committed relationships do advertise as an “open relationship,” often times without prior knowledge or consent of their partner. This in fact is cheating and still considered a non-monogamous relationship. The foundation of it being a committed relationship does not change, only the function of being allowed to include outside partners under specific guidelines that have been addressed. People who identify as an open relationship say that it can be group play that includes both partners, could be sex with friends or strangers, engaging in a specific kink that the other partner may not share, or variations on them. The point is that it is based on a committed relationship dynamic where communication and ground rules are important. You must be clear in your communications and understandings or it may lead to tension and issues later.

A polyamorous relationship is loosely defined, by Merriam Webster, as “the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.” Others would go a step further and say that it is a  relationship style that allows people to openly conduct multiple sexual and/or romantic relationshipssimultaneously. The core difference is there is no one set committed couple that this is based off of. It allows multiple people to engage and interact openly and consciously of the fact there is no exclusive nature to the dynamic. Typically, all participants are aware of and agree to this. That doesn’t mean that you cannot revisit the same partner multiple times, it only means that the intimacy shared is during those sessions and doesn’t require a deeper connection. That also doesn’t mean that a large group of people can’t continue to create and emotional connections with those involved and maintain relations, therein. In fact, in polyamorous relationships this is called polyfidelity. Attachments can even form by those affected by the poly relationship and are often called polyaffective. The article linked above goes into better descriptions of those aspects.

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At first glance, you are probably sitting there and saying that you don’t see a difference and I agree that it can be a bit convoluted in trying to understand the differences. Let’s try an easier way without all of the technical terms. An open relationship is something a couple usually decides to do or try. It could be done for a way to spice up the love life, allow for pleasure to be sought in a relationship where one person cannot provide it anymore, maybe due to medical concerns or etc.,  but both still have a committed love for one another, or to offset for a particular fetish or kink one person has and the other cannot accommodate. Most would say that polyamory is a lifestyle for them, they simply aren’t hardwired to be with only one person. They could argue it isn’t a biological choice for them. As such, they will never have just one person they settle down with. Poly people may even develop a small circle of ‘friends’ that they rotate between due to trust and feeling safe, but it isn’t exclusionary. They are free to move to others at any time.

As I haven’t dated in almost seventeen years, I don’t advocate for any specific side. I think emotionally, each of us has different needs at different times. Those needs evolve as we mature and can change with the people we meet and learn more about. What is important is what works for you and communication with those you come into contact with, no matter your relationship needs. Discuss expectations with your partners, let them know where you are coming from and listen to them. It is not a one and done communication style, you have to have that revolving doorway. Life is to be lived and experienced, without it you will never know what you like or dislike. Do it responsively, as with all things.

Can You Have Intimacy In Casual Relationships?

Looking at how “relationships” have changed over the years is an interesting study. As we move forward, now, it seems that casual relationships and open relationships are becoming much more common. Is this the new way of human interaction? Do we get what we need from these random encounters that don’t for any kind of attachments? Is Intimacy still important and can we even get it from these more casual interactions? There are still a lot of things that have to be considered in how these proceed or how they work for each person involved.

Intimacy is defined as: close familiarity or friendship; closeness or an intimate act, especially sexual intercourse. As broad as this definition is it still speaks to a closeness and close familiarity. Intimacy comes from repetition and understanding of the people involved. Psychology Today wrote an article titled The 7 Elements That Define An Intimate Relationship and discussing how it is different from a casual one.  Let’s take a look at the steps they outline in their article. 1.Knowledge – it is the sharing of information, we hold dear to us, with another person without judgement. With someone we trust we share deeper information that we do with a person we just meet and sleep with. But why is that? Can we not open up more to even those fleeting encounters? Many people fail to take the time to learn about the person they take home for the night and make it as quick as possible. 2.Interdependence – is a reinforcing dynamic where choices and desires are based on the dependency of the people involved. Think of it as your actions and reactions influence the person you are with and in turns influences you to make choices based on them. 3.Care – showing concern over the other’s well-being, how stress is affecting them, and safe keeping. This relies on communication that happens once routines and trust is established.  4.Trust – this is the backbone to any relationship and is a must for all seven of these tenants to hold together. It is hard to give trust, but when we do it can become very implicit. It is what allows us to let someone become very close to us, to know us at our very core. 5.Responsiveness – recognizing, supporting, and understanding the needs of the other person, during times of stress or happiness. 6.Mutuality – This is the point where the closeness changes the couple from “me” to “we” in how they relate to things. 7.Commitment – Ah the big “C.” The word that can strike terror into people and send them running. The word that people feel can limit a relationship from being more. But commitment isn’t all bad, it allows the other tenants to grow and strengthen. It gives us a sense of safety and surety. A shelter in a storm and the strength to continue when we think we can’t.

Are these all indicative of a monogamous relationship or can they be achieved in a casual one? There is no right answer to that, unfortunately. None of these tenants will guarantee that a relationship with the same person every day will last and be perfect. These are only tenants that an article states are part of an intimate relationship. If commitment is the biggest reason you pursue an intimate relationship, then you may be doing it for the wrong reasons. Each one is just as important as the other but not all have to be there for an effective relationship to happen. Intimacy can happen in casual relationships just as well as in committed ones. It comes down to the types of casual relationships you may have. The website VeryWellMind helps define some of them in an article they call, Casual Relationships: Are There More Than One Kind? They list four types: One Night Stands, Booty Call, Fuck Buddies, and Friends With Benefits. We will only look at a couple for this article. Fuck Buddies and Friends With Benefits both come from people who meet more frequent than just a hookup. These are people that you aren’t in a committed monogamous relationship with, but you also know will be there for you, when it is needed. You have that trust in knowing that you both know what the other likes and how they think. You can be responsive to their needs because you know them deeply and can support their choices healthfully. Many times, these relationships fill the very void with have without the strings that may come from a more committed relationship.

Booty Calls, Fuck Buddies, and FWB all give us the intimacy we need while allowing us to remain open to other relationships, as needed. And also allows both parties to see each other in non-sexual terms and maintain a friend base with other people. These types of relationships can be beneficial for someone who has a high stress job that requires a lot of travel, the type of setting that would not be conducive to creating a family. Not being home can create a stressful situation for the other person involved. Not having them there when times are rough or needed support. A FWB can be the needed assistance to help manage those situations. It is important to point out that these types of relationship are completely normal. If both parties are aware of the boundaries, it can be a great place to experiment, have fun, and be satisfying.

The down sides can be when the friendship and sexual line gets murky. There is also the aspect where one person may start to develop deeper feelings when the other does not. While it can be a good break after coming out of a long-term relationship, the cautions must be navigated to prevent hurt feelings. It is important that you have an open line of communication to the partner(s) you are with, be open with the person, share your feelings with them, and respect them for the person you and they are. It can provide sexual satisfaction and the needed intimacy you are looking for in a relationship.

The problem with intimacy, causal relationship, open relationships, and commitment all stem from beliefs we have been taught at a young age. We are told that random sexual encounters are about engaging in carnal lust and not what a “good person” should do. That we should be looking for a partner to settle down with. Then we are taught that affection should be saved for that all elusive person and relationship. So casual sex becomes furtive and quick, feeding a need then getting out before you have to get invested in the person. Who says that is the way it needs to happen. Sex is intimate, by its very nature, opening yourself up to another person to assist you in feeling pleasure takes a lot of trust, so why not go all the way. Look them in the eye, take your time for foreplay, cuddle with them, and take time for after care. It is how we want to be treated, so offer the same courtesy. Take time to see how they respond to your touch and kiss. Watch how their bodies respond, breathing changes, and be in the present. Intimacy will come from that because you are taking the time to share something so personal with them.

Intimacy comes from you as much as it does the other person involved. It can be achieved but you must start with communication. That is the key to any relationship. Understand what you want and what they want and talk about how you both can contribute to each other. You both are individuals seeking similar things, so treat them with the respect you want and expect. Be honest with yourself before you start and as you go along. No one can tell you what your relationship is or what is the right kind. Most of it is by trial and error but know that there are two people involved in it and can get hurt just as easily.

Have Relationships Evolved?

Have Relationships Evolved?

Are relationships, as we used to know them, a thing of the past? I will be 46 this year, that is hard enough to face, and I realize that my ideas of love and relationships are quickly becoming outdated. A quick glance through most hookup or dating apps will show you a buffet of people who aren’t looking for anything serious or just dating. And there is an increasing number of people that say they are in open relationships. As I am scrolling through all of these profiles on an early weekend morning, I am left wondering who these people really are and what is it they are looking for out of their lives. Then as I am thinking this, I am left to wonder what I am looking for and if my ideals are the problem.

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Fairytale Beginnings

I would say that most of us have gotten our ideas of love and relationships from those that are closest to us, that would mean our parents, mostly. Whether their relationship was good or bad creates our jaded view of how we perceive love. Throw into the mix fairy tales, Hollywood, and our friends experiences and it becomes a hodge podge, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Is any of it right or wrong? How do we differentiate what is or isn’t? It all starts with how we see ourselves, what we see as our ideal mate, the traits we find desirable, and how we want to be treated. The truth is that there will never be that perfect or ideal mate. To understand what we want in both a relationship and a person requires us to do a bit of soul searching and it feels that many of us no longer want to take that requisite time. Instead, we see the world changing before us in so many ways and feel that we need to evolve and catch up, but we haven’t even decided what we are catching up to.

Why have we moved away from relationships, is it a fear of intimacy? Or is it a fear we may miss our perfect match/better match? Honestly, these two things are as old as dating itself, it just seems that they are larger now. And I somehow always meet the overly cliched guy that says he is way to evolved for a relationship. His spirit is too wild to be held down by just one person, that kind of modality is too boring for him. What, exactly, does that even mean? It means you have no care of anyone else’s feelings just what your cock is telling you to do. Hell, just say “My name is Stephen and I am an unhinged slut,” I would respect you more. Sometimes, I would like to peek in their head and see what chain of events led him to this point. It’s the instant gratification syndrome, probably had a parent that constantly gave into their very whim, told them just how amazing they were, and no one would be good enough for them. Or they were constantly rebuked by their parents and were left not being shown enough love that they felt their only way to justify themselves was by getting those feelings from as many as they could. A constant hole to be filled, yes pun intended.

OpenPoly

Modern Relationship Types

An article on XDViral.com talks about the five types of modern relationships. It is an interesting view on how they have changed. The first is the Friends with Benefits relationship. Many of us are familiar with it, but it is becoming much more prevalent. It’s not confusing, it simply is what it says two people who have no true commitment to one another getting together for the simple act of sharing human connection. The problem is that at some point the relationship changes and often the friendship cannot be resolved. Next is the one they call Relationship Weekend. This one is a bit of a new term for me, but essentially, it’s a relationship with no real boundaries and only accessible by their free times. The downside is that there is rarely an emotional connection. Then we move into the Open Relationship, where the participants do not feel that monogamy should be the defining factor or love. It is the ability to have intimate connection with people that do not require the deeper feelings or emotions. The trust comes from where your feelings lie, not with interactions with others. Distance Love is the next type of relationship we are seeing more often. Basically, where you fall in love with someone that is separated from you by distance. These often lead to feelings of frustration and may only get together every couple of months to help satiate those feelings. The last one is what this calls the One Shot, more aptly known as the hookup. It is where you both meet and have some kind of response and decided to get together. Is anymore needed to describe this one???

Now before I go further, let me quantify this a little bit. I do believe there is a possibility to have a healthy open relationship and be committed to another person. That type of dynamic takes complete trust and love from the both people. It also requires a lot of rules to function at optimum level. At the same time, I have seen plenty relationships implode from being “open.” Especially if one partner starts to work around the rules and is getting attention in a way, they feel their partner no longer can provide. Again, it take complete love and trust, many of us are not in a place to be able to give or receive that. So, typically when I see open relationship the first thing that runs through my mind is that it is one sided open. What I mean is that the person proclaiming an open relationship is the only one who think it is, in fact, open. They are the ones that are saying they need you to host or “we are open, but we don’t tell one another.” That is the red flag, the fireworks exploding in the dead of night, the klaxon going off warning of impending danger. To quote Ghost,“Molly, you in danger girl.” Stop, drop, and roll the fuck right out of there. Don’t sit there in quiet judgement of me saying this, I did quantify it with I could believe that an open relationship can happen. But you also need the honesty of it all to make it work.

Molly

The reason for an open relationship is left to the couple to decide, only they know if it will work. Some will argue for an open relationship because being in a committed relationship cannot prevent them from being attracted to another person. If attraction is the only reason you want an open relationship, then neither it nor your current one will work. Attraction is a chemical reaction to a given set of circumstances, how we choose to act on them is a choice. It is true that you can’t stop attraction, that’s why you can be attracted to the smell of roses and also mint toothpaste. But you really can’t brush your teeth with a rose. Just because you are attracted to another person doesn’t mean you need to fuck them; you can appreciate them from afar. Hell, that is what they make museums, it allows you to appreciate art that isn’t in your own home. A variation on the open relationship, but without the commitment to just one partner is the polyamorous relationship. This would be where a person has many sexual relationships without the fully vested emotional aspects. Each relationship can be treated as equal but separate. This, like an open relationship, is a type of relationship works best when all parties involved understand the nature of the dynamic and have open lines of communication and trust.

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What’s the T?

Sometimes I feel many of us will get into a relationship out of fear of being alone. This seems to happen more the older we get. We don’t want to think about being older and alone, so we find someone we can tolerate and make a go at it. This type of relationship can often be another version of the open relationship pitfall. These are the ones that will talk about how they and their partners play alone, but know they are doing it. One of the partners may concede to this setup so as not to lose the safety of the situation. It is amazing how fear can make you do things that are not in your normal repertoire.

The end result is that somewhere along the way, we lost the dedication to love and being in love. We became a society of instant gratification and as such have been the worst enemy to ourselves. It is far easier to meet someone on a site like Grindr, go to their or your place, trade body fluids, and the go on your way than taking the time to learn what someone likes, show your vulnerable sides, and develop a bond with them. Many of us have forgot what those connections feel like and the states of euphoria they can cause. Are they for everyone? Surely not, they never were but they do not diminish what they are for those who seek them out. The foundation that remains important for any is communication, this is where we need to focus our intent. Talk to those we are involved with on any level. Express what you want and feel, talk about the differences and see if you have a mutual meeting point. If not, parting ways as friends isn’t bad either. Then end is that you have grown and learned something new about yourself.