Saturday, February 25, 2006


Compersion n: The feeling of taking joy in the joy that others you love share among themselves, especially taking joy in the knowledge that your beloveds are expressing their love for one another. Coined by the Keristan Commune in San Francisco whyich practiced Polyfideltiy.

What an amazing concept. I’ve heard compersion defined as the opposite of jealousy and that works, too.

I’m at South Plains Leatherfest this weekend presenting on two topics, BDSM and Humor and Polyamory. Yesterday my BDSM and Humor workshop we4nt over well (another posting perhaps) and today my Polyamory class was a huge hit. As usual I come away from these workshops having gained as much as I give.

Much of what I said has been said before and many of the participants were already active poly, so much of my workshop was ‘preaching to the choir’, so to speak. But when I brought up ‘compersion’ as usual it was a concept that few had heard of. I’m always amazed that a concept so profound and of such importance to those in the poly lifestyle is still so obscure.

As I talked about comparison and how it manifests in my life I was thrilled to see the participants eyes light up. I’d hit on something big. One woman who had seen my family at Leather Leadership two years ago in New Orleans shared that not only had she been impressed by Jennifer and I cuddling under a blanket during the weekend, but that she had been profoundly touched to witness my watching of Jim suspending Jennifer and how it was very obvious how much in love I was with both of them. She was obviously moved by the retelling and I was even more moved by her sharing.

As I’ve mentioned before, we never know when our lives touch others, I was thrilled that someone had witnessed me in the midst of compersion.

After the workshop I had several people come up to me just to give me a hug or to thank me and offer to me that I had already made a difference in their life.

Wow, how cool is that?

Well, I’m off to the dungeon party to play with a very cool gay Top who is an expert with singletails. Lucky me.


PS: You can read a bit more about my poly family in Mistress Matisse's column in this week's Stranger.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Sex Positive Renaissance

The original Italian Renaissance supposedly began around the end of the 14th century and was in many was, in response to The Dark Ages and the control of the Church in all things to do with art, science and learning. The word renaissance (rinasciemento in Italian) literally means "rebirth", and the era is best known for its renewed interest in the culture of the classical antiquity. While it eventually had far reaching consequences on all areas of science, art and learning, it had little immediate influence on the majority of the population. The initial changes were concentrated in the elite and involved a relatively small number of people. However, the efforts of those few brave souls was ultimately far reaching in it's scope and the affects of the Renaissance still shape us to this day.

I truly believe that we are in the midst of a Sexual Renaissance. And like the Renaissance of the 14th century a small number of people are ultimately going to shape the way the world looks at sexuality. This is not to be confused with the Sexual Revolution of the 60's. The Sexual Renaissance is not about revolt and protest, but rather about creation and a bringing together of like-minded individuals in response to the repressiveness of our modern society. The Medieval Renaissance was in response in many ways to the repressive Byzantine era that preceded it. I wouldn't hesitate to suggest that our current Sexual Renaissance is in response to the repressive backlash to the 60's Sexual Revolution and the fear that the AIDS crises created in our world. Some of you may feel that our world (especially this country of ours and our current administration) has gotten more and more sexually repressive and while it may seem so, I believe it's a natural response to what is really happening in the world of sexuality. Sexuality is powerful and those in power want to keep the power unto themselves. It's dangerous to allow the power to belong to the masses. And we, of the Sex Positive Movement are bringing sexual power to the masses.

And it's not as hard as it would seem. Our population is ripe for change in the realms of human sexuality. One only has to look as far as the recent commercials and shows we see on Television and the abundance of cable stations that have gotten more and more sexual (and not the premium stations like HBO, either). Spike TV the "men's channel" is a prime example and another is the Comedy channel. But even the main public stations are taking more and more risks. Check out Desperate Housewives or even the majority of the Reality shows. And of course, the CSI series (especially CSI Crime) are full of kink and sex of all persuasions. And commercials! Damn, some of them are incredibly hot. The ads for Axe deodorant "how a dirty boy gets clean" are filled with kink and sex. Have you seen the one with the plumber pulling stuff from the drain, ending with a crop? And of course the Dannon Yogurt (pool boy joey and the French maid bit) commercials in the last few years have been overly suggestive. And my favorite is the new "dominate winter" advertising campaign for the MINI Cooper. These are just a few examples of the changes that are happening within the mainstream regarding sexuality.

This is an exciting time to be an activist and educator in the world of Sexuality. The Sex Positive Movement is gathering momentum and those of us at the forefront are beginning to get noticed and not always in a bad way. My friend Teri Ciacchi has been interviewed on the Today Show and recently was interviewed by a New Zealand Television show. My partner Jennifer gets press all the time up in Vancouver, BC and I'm becoming more well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest and speaking at colleges and beyond on a regular basis. I've even been able to speak several times at a local Jesuit college (Seattle University), most recently about the movie Kinsey and even got to create a diagram of the G-Spot for a bunch of University students. And we're just three of the many who are moving our world forward toward sexual freedom and exploration. What a wonderful time for all of us. We are truly blessed to be part of this New Sexual Renaissance.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Happy Endings

Sometimes I am amazed at how people end their relationships. The vitriol and acrimony is so damaging and in most cases so unnecessary. I have some friends whose short marriage is on the rocks. And while I won't allow them to say anything about the other to me, I hear from mutual friends that there the usual "he said" "she said" shit and they are both so angry when just a few short months ago they were pledging their love to each other. It's all so sad and unnecessary. What an incredible amount of energy it takes to stay angry and be unreasonable and to create the pain and agony that goes along with typical relationship endings.

It seems very illogical to expect modern relationships to be "until death do we part". When that concept became part of our marriage ceremony life expectancy was no where as long as it is now. Things happen, people change. People get married or move in together for all kinds of reasons. Not always just because they are "in love". Sometimes they even get married when they know they shouldn't be getting married, but the invites are already mailed or it would be just too embarrassing to call it off. Whatever. Relationships don't always last. Well, let me rephrase that. Many relationships that are happy, healthy and ethical (notice I didn't say monogamous), don't last, for a variety of reasons, the least is not loving each other. However, many bad relationships where people stay out of pride, because of the children, because "God" said so or just because they are to lazy, mean or ignorant to leave, last for years and sometimes for the lifetime of the participants. How sad is that?

I firmly believe that in this day and age that expecting to stay together forever, without changing the relationship in some major way is naïve and very difficult. I have been married four times (I like weddings and I like being the center of attention. . .so I keep saying yes). I can truthfully say that I ended all of the relationships on pretty good terms. And while I don't know where my first and third husbands are any more (it's been many years), nor do I see my second one often, all my interactions after we split up were more than civil. And that is because I am determined to not waste my time and energy on anger, hate and bitterness. I have better things to do with my time. Just because I can't live with someone for some reason (even a nasty reason like infidelity) doesn't mean that I quit loving someone or that I can't leave the relationship with class and style.

What about my fourth husband? Steve and I are still wonderful friends. In fact, we have a dinner and hot tub date planned in a couple weeks. He has recently hired one of my partners to do some work around his (formally our) house. One of my other partners sees him occasionally also. And while we no longer have sex or do BDSM, we still maintain a warm and loving relationship.

It didn't happen by accident. We actually planned it this way. Neither of us quit loving each other, we just didn't want to live together anymore. After 11 years of marriage our lives took different paths. It was that simple. (Well a tiny bit more complicated than that, but that's another post).

One of the things we did when we separated was to create a separation document that not only dealt with the objective issues that faced us (housing, money, etc) but with the more subjective issues that we were encountering. The following paragraph was written by my ex and was part of the separation agreement that we both signed and had notarized. Later when we divorced, we had the full agreement put into our divorce papers. We have a commitment to each other that didn't end when the marriage ended.


33. Steve and Allena understand that many details of this Agreement will only be possible to carry out if both parties are fully cooperative. It is the intention of Steve and Allena, as life-long friends that are deeply respectful of the other's needs and expectations, to find solutions to all problems that may arise in as a cooperative and respectful way as possible. It is our intention, no matter what happens with our house and our status as a legally married couple, that our relationship will last all our lives as a loving and caring friendship. The eleven years we have spent being married have been completely worthwhile. Steve said to Allena in their marriage ceremony on September 22, 1991 that Allena was the "best thing that ever happened" to him. Steve and Allena believe to this day that this marriage was the best thing that ever happened to both of them. Their ability to make this transition to living apart and separating certain aspects of their livelihood is testimony to the depth of their caring relationship. We love each other very much.


Reading it today still brings tears to my eyes.

My plan now is to write a book, called Happy Endings. It won't be just about me and Steve, it will also be about others who also have altered and changed a relationship with style and class and in ways that are life affirmative.

To that end, I ask you, my readers (if anyone's out there) to send me your stories. Have you a Happy Ending to share?



Saturday, February 04, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog

Well, as anyone reading this can tell, I'm not much of a blogger, yet. However, my dear Jennifer recently wrote me and basically ordered me to post a blog, so not to be one to go against my sweetheart, I'm blogging.

This is an odd thing for me. My life is an open book. If you meet me on the street, strike up a conversation and ask me the most intimate of questions, I'll answer truthfully. However, it's odd to be writing about myself and my thoughts on a computer screen that is posted to a web site that anyone could read. I ask myself; just what makes me think that I have anything to say that anyone would want to read? And then (when I have time to kill, which isn't often) I read some random blog and realize that there are a whole lot of people out there posting a lot of crap that a lot of other people read. To me that's totally amazing. That's not to say I haven't read brilliant blogs, I have. It still amazes me.

So, I guess, if I'm going to do this, I don't always have to be scintillating and fascinating and titillating and . . . (put in your other favorite –ating word here)

So, here's my pledge to Jennifer (and anyone else who cares) I promise to blog at least three times a week. That's all I can promise.

This post doesn't count. My week starts on Sunday.

For today, thaaaaaaaats all folks (in the words of my favorite pig...I'll tell you about my pig collection at another time)