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)

For All My Goddesses

“…but there was something else. An intelligence. A knowingness in his eyes. It was as if, when he looked at her, he knew exactly what she was and what she was like. A witch. A goddess. Someone not of this earth but not apart from it either. A woman to be loved and feared and adored.”

(Witches of East End, by Melissa de la Cruz)

Happy Friday to my goddesses, and those of us who love them! xxx c.

A New Read: With an Appropriate HUMP DAY Theme

In my quest to ever evolve around notions encompassing the erotic (nymphobrainia), I have just started reading a non-fiction work, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, co-authored by Christopher Ryan, PhD and Cacilda Jethá, MD (a married couple, no less, 2010). In 2011 the book was rereleased with a new subtitle: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, which does seem to more accurately capture the heart of the book. The work itself attacks notions of monogamy and mainstream sexual ideals head-on, taking an evolutionary approach that is truly refreshing. Kate Daily from Newsweek wrote:

This book takes a swing at pretty much every big idea on human nature: that poverty is an inevitable consequence of life on earth, that mankind is by nature brutish, and, most important, that humans evolved to be monogamous. … [Sex at Dawn] sets out to destroy almost each and every notion of the discipline, turning the field on its head and taking down a few big names in science in the process. … Funny, witty, and light … the book is a scandal in the best sense, one that will have you reading the best parts aloud and reassessing your ideas about humanity’s basic urges well after the book is done.

For me, the introduction certainly rang true:

Deep conflicts rage at the heart of our modern sexuality…The campaign to obscure the true nature of our species’ sexuality leaves half of our marriages collapsing under an unstoppable tide of sexual frustration, libido killing boredom, impulsive betrayal, dysfunction, confusion, and shame. Serial monogamy stretches before (and behind) many of us like an archipelago failure…And how many of the couples how manage to stay together do so by resigning themselves to sacrificing their eroticism on the alter of life’s irreplaceable joys: family, stability, companionship, and emotional, if not sexual, intimacy? Are those who innocently aspire to these joys cursed by nature to preside over the slow strangulation of their partner’s libido? (p. 11-12)

Expect to hear more about the dualities that this read instigates…and clarifies, and of course I welcome your feedback along the way :-).

xxx, c.

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