Jealousy: The Proverbial ‘Elephant in the Room’ for Many Alternative Relationships

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Jealousy is a natural human emotion.

It can be both a blessing and a curse…strengthening or destroying, our love relationships.

I think of jealousy as more of a “signal”…telling us when our boundaries have been crossed and when we need to check our own insecurities.

For those of us in alternative or polyamorous relationships, jealousy can (if not fully accepted and explored) become a dangerous and ultimately damaging force.

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Recently, I stumbled across a new book, “The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships,” by Kathy Labriola (Greenery Press, 2013) that thoughtfully deals with just this issue:

A counselor and nurse specializing in polyamorous singles, couples and groupings, Kathy Labriola has spent many years helping people to understand and manage their jealousy. This book is a compendium of the techniques and exercises she has developed, as well as tips and insights from the polyamory community’s top educators, therapists and authors. These accessible, simple techniques are designed to be easily implemented in the event of an intense jealousy crisis. They are even more useful if undertaken over a period of time before a jealousy crisis happens, to build a skill set that will be at hand to help managing jealousy when and if it does occur. (Available on Amazon)

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Reviews of the book are overwhelmingly positive:

Based on her work with the clients she has seen, it is by necessity focused on people with the problems that come with jealousy. This is only a subset of folks in open relationships, some of whom do not have the kind of problems she deals with. However, if you or your partner(s) are experiencing jealousy, this book is full of good exercises to help you through your rough spots. There are nineteen sections, containing forty-two specific exercises with well laid out instructions and examples from people who are experiencing the kind of problems you might be experiencing. (www.ejhs.org)

This book knocked me out! An essential resource on how to resolve jealousy in polyamorous relationships, and open-minded others. An excellent tool for finding answers that can lead to peaceful hearts and an abundance of love and connection. (Anita Wagner Illig, PracticalPolyamory.com)

For anyone struggling with relationship jealousy or insecurity, and especially for people with multiple loves… will guide you through the labyrinth of jealousy and bring you safely out to your widest possible selection of lifestyle choices. (Dossie Easton, MFT, co-author, The Ethical Slut)

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Given the tumult that jealousy can and will evoke if not honestly and compassionately dealt with, I think that this workbook is potentially an essential tool for anyone in open an relationship…relationships they wish to maintain as healthy, happy, and…MUTUALLY (for ALL parties) SATISFYING.

Love…sex…relationships…are never easy, and the more partners we include the more complex negotiating balance can become, but alternative relationships can also be very satisfying…it all depends (honestly) on how hard your willing to work, together.

xxx

dr.c.

HumpDay Reading: (A) Guide to Getting it On!

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There is a new sex-manual out (Guide to Getting it On, by Paul Joannides) there with some very “deep” (pun intended) intensions…this new edition includes:

15 new illustrations, five new chapters, 48 additional pages and 2,753 updates, this fully revised and expanded 6th edition of the Guide To Getting It On is the best ever. You will be hard-pressed to find a single page of this down-to-earth sex book that doesn’t bring a smile, a blush of crimson, or a moment of awe. Few books on sex are as satisfying. (Amazon review)

And the accolades continue:

No other how-to book on sex has won as many awards or is used in as many college sex-ed courses as the Guide To Getting It On.

You’ve never read a manual as warm, friendly,  liberating, thorough and potentially sex-life-changing as the Guide To Getting It On. Neither had anyone in our office, which may be why our copies keep disappearing. – OPRAH MAGAZINE

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AWARDS

I haven’t read this book…but I definitely intend to (and will provide my full review here)…if you are interested in purchasing the book, it is available through the author’s website (http://guide2getting.com) in addition to the regular avenues (Amazon, B&N, etc.). The author’s credentials are impressive:

Dr. Paul Joannides is a training & supervising psychoanalyst and author of the Guide To Getting It On. He is on the editorial board of theJournal of Sexual Medicine and was formerly on the editorial board of the American Journal of Sexuality Education. He also writes the As You Like It blog for Psychology Today. Paul is a guest speaker on college campuses and he is an NCAA-approved speaker for college athletes on human sexuality.

The manual certainly has the ingredients to be satisfying…I am excited to see if it lives up to the fantasy!

xxx

c.

Why I AM (Unapologetically) a Whore

She’s now the darling strumpet of the crowd,

Forgets her state, and talks to them aloud,

Lay by her greatness and descents to prate

With those ‘bove whom she rais’d by wond’rous

Fate.

From “A Panegyrick Upon Nelly”

Anonymous, 1681

I recently started, and have nearly finished, reading, The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and Kind Charles II, by Gillian Bagwell (2011), a historical fact-based fiction novel, set in 17th century London. It’s the true story of an oyster-seller, turned child-prostitute, turned stage actress, and in her final metamorphosis…arguably, the century’s most famous courtesan.

I am consuming this book (at a rapid pace), which caused a moment of self-reflection.

Give me the true story of a whore…made good (as in this work), or not (I am thinking of Emma Donogue’s touchingly raw, Slammerskin), and I am engrossed, mesmerized, and slightly aroused from…beginning to end.

Why?

Undoubtedly there have been times in my life where I felt like a whore. Not in the sense of being sexually promiscuous, rather I felt like a prostitute…being paid for intimacy—not necessarily sex, although these situations were always of a sexual nature.

A few times, when I was younger, I was paid to do a photo shoot (erotic) while a man paid to either watched or be included. Very often these involved nudity and touching, and sometimes the man would masturbate himself…or not. I was in school and needed the money, and thought, “It’s not like I’m having sex with them!”

But the feeling afterward, suggested something disparate…

SHAME.

Then (and now) I fought against that feeling of shame, which is why I never stopped repeating these interludes, again and again…over the course of my adult life…

At sex parties, as a hostess.

Working in the dungeon, as a dominatrix.

Even when I didn’t “need the money”…the desire compelled me to continue.

I enjoyed it.

I ENJOY IT.

A natural performer, an easy tease, and born hostess…I get-off, giving myself to another purely for pleasure.

I am a true prostitute.

A WHORE.

Setting the obvious socio-political differences between myself and someone who earns their living from prostitution aside, pleasing others for money adds to the emotional impact of the experience.

The understanding that my pay is contingent upon my performance…drives me.

It doesn’t make the feeling behind the act any less…rather it intensifies it…you, a stranger, are showing me that you value my time…my skill…my ability to bring you pleasure.

This tension, this agreement, is the reason I love to pay for lap dances in strip clubs…as the client, it secures my “hold” on her…it is power…hers or mine? It’s never clear who truly has the power in these exchanges of sexual gratification, only that this particular dynamic adds to the excitement.

And therein, in that moment of tension, is also where I believe the SHAME resides:

I enjoy this exchange, yet I know it’s wrong…which in turn makes it me wrong for wanting it…and therefore makes it all

SO VERY RIGHT!

It is the oldest profession, is it not?

And its dialectic continues to compel me…

Happy Whoring!

xxx, c.

(image by: Michelle Wild Photography)

A Fragmented Woman, Like Many of Us (Book Review)

Fragments by Richard Schickel is a rare opportunity to see into the unconscious psyche of America’s sex symbol…a collections of notes, doodles, poems, letters…this work attempts to capture Marilyn not as we would have seen her, but as she saw herself…it is amazing. I high recommend it…and images of the actual handwritten scrawls are included…beautifully compelling!…xxx c

A Love Story With Fire (Book Review)

I just finished Diana Gabaldon’s Firefly in Amber and found it a magnificent study of the human heart, of love, sadness…and that powerful force that draws lovers together…destiny? Desire? Magic?

Through this somewhat supernatural jaunt through 18th century Scotland to modern day this dense novel pulls the reader through tribulation and trial, through life and death, through reunion and separation and yet you never lose the sense that all of these forces are simply cyclical choices thrust upon us by life and answered by our will alone..striving for that….for WHO…makes us whole…and yet the realization comes slowly that with every sense of fulfillment a new barrier arrises…and the cycle continues.

Heartbreakingly touching…this is a novel for those who long to explore both sides of love…

I hope you enjoy it as much as I…xxx c

Marie Antoinette: Misunderstood princess & ill-fated queen (reposted via http://conchitasopenbook.tumblr.com)

Historical non-fiction, as related to royal-women of the ages, has always fascinated me. Their lives were lived in an indulgent manner as foreign to me as the countries they ruled and customs they followed. Still I repeatedly find myself picking-through the next Allison Weir…indulging in the fast-paced historical-fiction of Phillipa Gregory…plodding through the dense and well documented non-fiction biographies of Nancy Goldstone…I always come-back.

The inescapable draw being, I believe, the simple humanity that connects these very REAL women. Yes, they were queens…yes they lived lives filled with eccentricities that very few will ever match and yet they were also mothers, daughters, wives, lovers…they experienced great achievements alongside terrible failures…they celebrated and they grieved and they did so…much like ANY OTHER WOMAN…with all of their hearts.

The main difference, unlike other-women, their successes as much as their failures were witnessed and then judged by their entire countries, and for some, the world. So perhaps it is the magnification of human experience that intrigues. Many of these women chose lives in which decisions cost them blood…both loved ones’ as well as their own. And none so ill-fated a story than that of Marie Antoinette.

Antonia Fraser’s novel, Marie Antoinette: The Journey, based on the true events of Marie Antoinette’s life from childhood until her death at the age of 38, depicts the complexities of politics and culture that cast this French Queen as such a rebellious and infamous historical figure. I have Quoted the novel and film based-on-the-novel (Directed by Sophia Coppola) extensively here as well as in my other blog (www.nymphobrainiac.wordpress.com) and even attempted to embody Madame Antoinette for this past Halloween.

Much has been said about this notorious French royal and yet not much is fact. However, we have Antonia Fraser’s widely read (2001) novel to thank for illuminating much of the truths about this historically monumental woman’s life. As one might guess, Marie Antoinette’s life was not all indulgence and golden opportunities…rather as a foreign-born princess she was to forever to remain a political outsider to her people and political pawn to her family.

Volleyed between her duties as French sovereign and Queen of one of the wealthiest political powers of the 18th century and the political designs of her overbearing mother, the ruling Queen of Austria; Fraser describes for us a very young woman who early in her rule (beginning at the age of 14), caught between these two dialectical forces, chose to indulge in the superficialities of life. She was fashionable, she was fun, she threw great galas, she sang, she acted, she traveled, she gambled, ALL to excess.

And yet, she was also a great supporter of charities, particularly those that catered to women and children. Marie Antoinette was singularly responsible for the rise of fashion in Paris and supported all of the arts equally. She truly gave as much as she got. She was a “glittering star” of the era…and unfortunately, the perfect scape-goat for all that the common-people despised about the inequities of the French royal rule.

Enter…1789…The French Revolution.

Without an adept political voice to defend herself, nor the savvy to predict what danger she and her family were in…the fall of the French royalty was swift. Immediately The King’s power was stripped and much of the royal cabinet was imprisoned or be-headed; there were a few botched escape attempts of the royal family and then the final imprisonment of The King, Queen and their young children.

Their story is iconic and well documented in history books, however I believe that Fraser does a particularly good job of depicting a uniquely perceptive version of these events. We feel for The Queen and her naieve understanding of the political views that would eventually seal her fate, her undying commitment to The King…refusing to leave him even when she could have escaped safely alone…and above all her love for her children…a love that guided her every decision in her life…and at the time of her eventual death.

Fraser paints for us a woman…caught in the political circumstances of an extraordinary life…which perhaps seemed to always be just out of her grasp.

She was a lover of the pleasures of life and conceivably as a princess, not properly endowed with the adequate skill to navigate life’s many displeasures.

She did NOT say, “Let them eat cake!”

She DID say…to her sister-in-law, on the day of her beheading:

‘I have just been condemned to death, not a shameful death, that can only be for criminals, but in order to rejoin your brother (The King). Innocent like him, i hope to demonstrate the same firmness as he did at the end. I am calm, as people whose conscience is clear. My deepest regret is having to abandon our poor children; you know that I lived only for them and for you, my good and tender sister’ (Marie Antoinette, p.495)

Marie Antoinette is an honest portrayal of an alternately despised and celebrated character in our world-history. Let me re-phrase that, Marie Antoinette is a literary portrayal of a woman honest, to her heart. Thank you, Antonia Fraser…for your ability to weave historical fact with palpable feeling with the lightest of touch.

Great read guys…pick it up and DIG IN! xxx c.

(originally posted in: http://conchitasopenbook.tumblr.com/)