4 Non-Monogamy Success Tips For Beginners

Woman with multiple partners

Opening up a relationship from monogamous to consensually non-monogamous is a life changing decision, with the tools and skills necessary to navigate this transition often unknown. Through my experience engaging with this relationship dynamic as well as through witnessing friends partake in it, I’ve discovered several key points that are extremely important to grasp if you desire to set out on this journey in a way which can mean all the difference between a traumatising or beautiful experience.

Couples who practice polyamory
Image: Polyamory

Boundaries and agreements

Being clear on what is and isn’t ok to you is the only way you will be able to express your boundaries to others. This requires a certain level of self-enquiry and a process of discovering what actions and behaviours you are in alignment with.

  • What are your values when it comes to relationships?
  • What do you require from your partner in order to feel safe and fulfilled within your relationship?
  • What are the deal breakers?
  • Why do you want to open up your relationship and how do you want that to look for you both?

Before opening up your relationship, I believe it is extremely important to know your boundaries and to have a relationship built on a solid foundation of love, trust and respect. These are non-negotiables in my opinion. It is also important to remember that there will be times when boundaries you didn’t know you had will be made clear (i.e. your partner does something and causes you to realise that you are not ok with that). Some things we will never know if we are ok with until they happen so be kind to yourself and make sure you take note of my next point…

People who have multiple relationships
Image:

Communication

I know that the importance of communicating gets thrown around a great deal but that is for a very good reason. Communication is vital in any relationship regardless of whether it is monogamous or non-monogamous. When you are including other people in your intimate relationship, you have a whole other level of emotions and challenges that will arise so learning to communicate clearly and effectively will mean the difference between it working out well or not. So what does good communication look like? To me, it starts with avoiding naming, blaming and shaming your partner or another and taking full responsibility for your experience and emotions. Being able to express ourselves and speak of what we are experiencing in our lives-the beautiful, the pleasurable, the painful and the ugly-is so important. Good communication in a non-monogamous relationship may look like:

“I felt really insecure when you were out on that date. I felt worried that you were going to fall in love with her and leave me. Can we spend some time together this evening to discuss this further?”

As opposed to:

“You are such an asshole for going out with her, you made me feel so insecure, you have to stay at home tonight with me.”

People in an open relationship
Image: Casual Relationship

Honesty, truthfulness and respect in a relationship

If you do not trust your partner or if you cannot be honest with each other, I believe that non-monogamy is going to be really f**king hard and painful. Being able to share your absolute truth when navigating this relationship dynamic is as important as being heard and supported when challenges arise. This could mean the difference between moving through issues or being stuck in pain and suffering. Respect seems like an obvious one but you would be surprised at how many people treat their partners like their enemy with no respect for them or their feelings! Your partner is supposed to be someone you actually like, am I right? So when you like/love someone, treat them with the same respect you would like to receive yourself.

Man with multiple partners
Image: Multiple Partners

Remember to enjoy the journey!!

If you find yourself in a relationship where you are not enjoying each other’s company because of all the “hard work” that comes with opening up your relationship, then it may be appropriate to reassess what matters to you. Yes, all relationships do require a certain input of time and energy to work effectively and this is especially true for open relationships. Challenges are unavoidable in any context and are to be expected in any relationship. However, at the end of the day, spending our lives with someone is intended to make our lives more enjoyable. I believe that if doing consensual non-monogamy comes at the expense of how satisfied you are in your relationship, it may be time to reassess whether non-monogamy is the best path for you both. It is also important to feel supported by other people on this journey so if you are encountering struggles which cannot be rectified between the two of you, reach out and get support. As well as through struggles, it feels really good to have people around who not only support your relationship choices but who understand where you’re coming from.

I understand that consensual non-monogamy is not for everyone. However, there are many people that with the right foundations in place, can really expand in their relationship with themselves and their partners through the path of non-monogamy.

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

Self Help For Heart Break

Binge eating

Breaking up is not the end of the world. The sudden ending of a relationship can be heartbreaking and sometimes soul-destroying. It feels like we will never be able to love again, open up again or even that we are maybe not even worthy of being or feeling loved.

If it wasn’t bad enough that we have been dragged through the emotional ringer, we insist on prolonging our pain by going through all of the things that we could have done that could have saved the relationship. And sometimes we go as far as trying to convince the other person that we are worthy of their affection and attention.

But why? Everyone has different motivations, but it boils down to feeling like we are not a whole person without them. That we have pinned all of our hopes, dreams and happiness on the future that we have imagined with this person. Do we do this because that’s what we see on TV or in the movies? Women pining for the person that has walked out. With elaborate plans to win them back and getting their fairy-tale ending. Here’s the reality check. Life doesn’t work like it does in the movies. Your original expectations of becoming an independent person may be different from the results that are achieved.

But if you take a step back and remove the emotions from the situation, you’ll find that there are benefits, growth and opportunities that can come from a breakup. Here’s 5 crucial steps to get over a break up:

Learn to live without

This is your chance to learn to be a “me” not a “we”. I have friends who are always getting their hearts torn out then run straight into the arms of the next person who shows interest. It’s like a revolving door of rebound relationships. Not realising that the relationships aren’t working because they have no idea of who they are outside of trying to be the “perfect” partner.

You are worth more than what someone else thinks of you. Learn to love choosing what to watch on Netflix, cooking dinner for one (or having ALL the leftovers to eat), going out where and when you want, singing loudly in the shower, and more importantly pleasuring yourself.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

There’s never been a truer word said. Resilience is a life skill that’s not given enough opportunity to develop in my generation and the ones that have come after. It has left us to try and fumble our way through a world that can be extraordinarily cruel, as underequipped adults.

Take this heartbreak and use it as an opportunity to build your resilience to life’s crappy moments. Remember that the empathy that you develop can help you help others that end up in the same situation that you found yourself in.

I’m walking on sunshine

Probably not something that you’d be thinking about straight away, but you’ll find after a little while, you’ll learn to appreciate the light moments. Those giggle-snorting, wetting your pants hilarious moments when your friend tells a joke so bad that it’s funny or that moment when you step outside into the morning sunshine after days of rain.

It’s the light that will help you pull through the dark periods, like the ones at 2am when you’re lying in bed alone with you mind racing around in circles. Wondering what we could have done differently to change enough to fit whatever ideal that our ex may have had in their head.

Perfect

Hey, guess what?! Those trivial things don’t seem to matter so much anymore, do they? Having your heart trampled can help you find some perspective in life. Suddenly realising that not getting X-amount of likes on that Facebook post, having a full social calendar, or wearing makeup because someone made a comment about you looking tired without it.

No more having to spend all of your energy trying to be perfect for someone else. Freeing up mental energy, time and money so that you can do things that remind you that you are perfect, just the way that you are. Time to spend with people who build you up, not use your insecurities to tear you down.

Get back up again

Always wanted to buy that Groupon voucher for a boozy night of painting and vino? Planned that trip overseas, but the ex didn’t want to travel and made you feel guilty for wanting to go with friends instead? Found that beautiful little kitten at the shelter, but the ex only likes dogs? Gone out for dinner and wanted dessert, but the ex looked at you sideways and told you that you were looking a little fat, so you didn’t order it?

Guess what? You can do what you want to do now. Paint naked men, while drinking copious amounts of wine with friends at that art and wine class. Book that overseas trip to the place you wanted to go because you now don’t have to spend every last hour of your annual leave visiting his family interstate. Snuggle on the sofa with your fluffy kitty and order all of the diabetes-inducing sweets that you fancy.

Post-breakup is a time for self-care and self-discovery. Especially at the end of a long term relationship where you may not who you are without the other person. But, take a word from someone who has been there and experienced that, you will pull through and if you can learn to be whole without someone else, then when the time comes to venture into another relationship, you will be a stronger person who knows what you’re looking for and what you need to compliment your life and how you live it. If you are finding it extremely complicated, you may just need to break up with love addiction.

Breakup meme
Image: Men vs women after a breakup

Author: Mia is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

Jennifer works marketing at Adultsmart an online sex toy shop. She has a non-judgemental approach to sex, sex toys and sexuality. Her favorite saying is if it feels good and right and is not illegal then why not!

She’s A Slut And She Knows It

Sex In The City quote from Samantha

Slut

Slʌt/

Noun

Derogatory: A woman who has many casual sexual partners.

Synonyms: Promiscuous woman

Dated: A woman with low standards of cleanliness.

Slut is a profoundly polluted word carrying judgements of shame, fear and disgust. Even writing about embracing it feels like an incredibly edgy place for me. What must people think of someone who claims this aspect of themselves?  Even today where sex sells and explicit pornographic material is one click away, the shame around sexuality is still rampant and no other archetype is judged more harshly than the slut.

My inner slut is an aspect of myself which has carried much shame over the years partly because of beliefs around this part of me being unacceptable and unlovable. Until I consciously began exploring the darker aspects of my sexuality, a slut to me was connected to sexual promiscuity, recklessness and drama. Being called a slut is in many cases intended to shame, humiliate and condemn a woman for her sexuality or sexual behaviours. Being a slut had connotations with being destructive hence my reluctance to even acknowledge let alone own this part of myself once upon a time.

When parts of ourselves are shunned and ignored, they end up having a power over us regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. A slut in the shadows can be destructive and manipulative, using her sexual energy for unhealthy and damaging motives. An unconscious slut can be reckless towards others, leaving behind heartbreak and pain in her pursuit to fulfil her needs.

The Unhealthy Seductress

She can come about as the unhealthy seductress-luring men in with her looks and charm, sucking the life force out of them to feed her, leaving them drained and depleted. You may have seen it before-the burnt-out man clutching at his seemingly “sexy” woman, appearing like a walking zombie as she radiates life force. In this scenario, she manipulates the men/man in her life to fill her up and make her feel good about herself, leaving him less than energised but unable to stop going back for more.

Woman seductress
Image: Seductress

The Unconscious Slut

An unconscious slut can also come about as the woman seeking outside herself for validation of her worthiness. Being sexual with men to feel “loved”, consistently crossing her boundaries and disrespecting herself in the hope that she will feel good enough one day. This path of expressing her sexuality in unconscious ways can lead to a great deal of pain and self-harm.

Acknowleding The Slut Within Us All

Calling a woman a slut has been intended to insult in the past however there are many women who will proudly own this part of themselves because they understand the truth of what it means.  When the slut inside us can be acknowledged, owned and loved, she can be a beautiful aspect of ourselves to embody.

Woman biting her lip
Image: Lip biting

The Empowered Slut

An empowered slut is a woman confident in herself as a sexual being. She understands the power of her sexual energy and uses it in a way that brings about a more joyful, pleasurable and abundant existence for herself and others. An empowered slut is loving and authentic, carrying good intentions for the expression of her sexuality. She directs her sexual energy with consciousness and awareness and embraces pleasure as her birth right.

My empowered slut comes alive for love and pleasure. She is generous with sharing herself with others and desires nothing more than to love the whole world in any way she can.  My inner slut does not accept the social norm of needing to contain and stifle sexuality. She has made a point of being open with sex and invites others to do the same. Touch is her language and with full consent and respect, she desires to touch and be touched by others.

Happy couple kissing
Image: Happy couple

My empowered slut is able to feel safe expressing herself because I have done much work on developing healthy boundaries. I believe boundaries and respect to self and others is key to healthily expressing this archetype. Once we know what is and isn’t ok with ourselves, we can communicate that clearly leaving so much freedom to explore our sexuality in a safe and positive way. When your boundaries are clear, you can be sexual with 1, 10 or 100 people and have it be done from a loving and joyful place rather than destructive or harmful.

A powerful shift occurs when we are able to come to a place of acceptance of those parts of ourselves we have kept in the dark. When we can acknowledge, own and eventually love these darker parts of ourselves, we gain back our power and freedom. It is from this place that we can healthily explore the slut archetype within, which is incredibly fun and pleasurable. Embodying the slut archetype with ourselves, a partner or lover is a beautiful experience when done with full awareness. It could be the first step to understanding your sexual personality.

Consensual foreplay
Image: Consent

Author: Stephanie Curtis, Sexologist

Meet the newest member to our team of experts. Stephanie Curtis is a sexologist with a huge capacity to care. Involved in spirituality and tantra her articles are professional, articulate and interesting. Enjoy Steph’s writings at the adultsmart sexual wellness and health blog.

Tragic Story Of The Man Child

Woman fixing relationships

You can call me “Misses Fix it”. I stayed in bad relationships constantly trying to fix something that was already broken, but here I am trying to understand what put me in that situation to begin with.

After being recently single for the past few months I have become aware of the types of men I seem to attract. After making a joke out of it to a few friends and work colleges I decided to use Google to find out if this actually is a thing or if it’s all in my head.

I was googling as to why I always seem to attract the same kind of men, even to the point where I can guess exactly the type of guys who have “swiped right” on Tinder. I was very against Tinder but after some pressuring from friends I decided to give it a go. It has actually become a game to me to see how many I’ve guessed correctly (I know this isn’t the specific use of Tinder but hey it’s fun).

I attracted heavily tattooed, muscles on muscles with a criminal history. The bigger the bad boy the more they seem to be drawn to me. Maybe I attract other types of guys but these ones seem to be more hesitant in approaching me or starting a conversation.

Now, I am not saying that all tattooed men, or men with muscles are bad, I am saying that if there is a bad one in the bunch (or multiple) they have their high beams on me. For example;

  • Man-child number one: A self-confessed bad boy, heavily tattooed with tattoos on the face, a serial liar and all his ex’s are apparently crazy.
  • Man-child number two: Again heavily tattooed, rides a motorbike, a self-confessed bad boy, very quick to over sexualise me, got rather angry and resulted in name calling when I did not match his sexualised talk and “brushed him off” nicely of course.
  • Man-child number three: Gym junkie, seemed normal, lots of muscles, pictures at the beach, decided early on after “hey” that I was in fact a piece of meat only…

I think you get the picture…

Man with tattoes
Image: Tattooed man

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and not everyone is attractive to the whole world, but when it comes to dating judgment initially is always based upon looks. It doesn’t matter if that person has substance; personality or a sense of humour, all that matters first is the level of attractiveness.

In fact, after a recent study found that 50% of people preference to faces were rather unique. Whom we find attractive is strongly influenced on our life experiences. Basically the study is saying that;

“If you were to rate faces [for attractiveness] and I were to rate the same faces, we would agree about 50% of the time”

Says study author Jeremy Wilmer, an assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley College whose new research was published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

The whole point of the study was to understand why we find certain people attractive and others not; do life experiences and our view on life alter the way we define people. Prior research has found that we compare characteristics from positive people in lives with new people we meet and we automatically see them as attractive. Basically, who you find attractive is less about the demographics in which you grew up and more about your life experiences and your own unique journey through life.

Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

The truth is that you don’t ATTRACT the wrong men, you ACCEPT the wrong men

And then it hit me… I was so blinded by all the wrong ones that I never let myself dive deeper for the nice guys. The ones who aren’t up front and show pony like. The ones that stand back in the shadows of mystery and wait for the others to go first… the gentleman. This could be the real difference between bad guys and good men.

Dating isn’t about committing straight away, it’s about getting to know someone and being able to walk away if they don’t treat you right. The truth is you’re going to attract lots of men, and most likely 95% of those men are going to be the wrong men. But you don’t have to accept them.

I crave stability, I crave normalcy, and I crave unconditional love and support… wouldn’t anyone?

It’s your job as a self-respecting woman is to leave and walk away if you’re not being treated correctly, it’s your job for your own dignity to put yourself first and don’t let someone else dictate the happiness in your life. There is no point in beating yourself up…. That’s going to get you nowhere!

Stop investing your time, emotions and life in men who refuse to give you the love, security and consistency that you deserve.  It is actually your fault that you attract these men, would you like to know why?

Because you think that your chemistry is powerful enough to change your broken relationship.

Save yourself the days, weeks, months, years of heartbreak and pain! Stop accepting anything less then what you KNOW you deserve.

It all starts with you!

Remember who you are, remember what you deserve and remember to learn to love and need yourself again. Once you realise this you will stop accepting and fixing because you will finally know that while you’re fixing someone else you will be destroying yourself.

Always thank the wrong man, because of that man you have realised your self-worth, because of that man you have realised you need to start to change yourself. He highlighted to you what you needed in order to fix yourself, to find your true happiness and what you truly deserve.

The wrong man always leads to meeting the right man, because you are strong enough and smart enough to know who is right for you.

Morgan x

Author: Morgan is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

Although relatively young Morgan has lived a life filled with experiences that have made her grow as a person. She has completed and is a product and interior designer who is a strong believer in equality between sexes and speaks out against violence. Working in the adult industry has allowed her to grow as a person and come out of her emotional and sexual shell.

How Adoption Shaped My Intimate Relationships

Adoption in Korea

The older I get, the more I realise that we all have individual issues that affect our ability to meaningfully connect with others.  For me, however, I find that the emotional issues that are tied to my adoption and growing up in a regional area where I didn’t fit in are the most prominent.

Before we begin, let me shed some light on my background. I was conceived and born in Seoul, South Korea, during a short relationship that had ended by the time my birth mother realised that she was pregnant. The reality of this situation was in the mid 1980’s, as it still is today, unacceptable to have a child out of wedlock, especially if that child was a girl. So, my birth mother did the only thing that she could do and put me up for adoption.

I was one of the lucky babies to be adopted from birth. My adopted family came to collect me from my foster parents when I was 4 months old, so they are the only family that I have ever known. I had an amazing childhood, growing up on the NSW Mid North Coast right on the beach. Having the freedom to safely ride my bike on the streets, head down to the beach for a swim and walk to a friend’s place or the park.

It wasn’t until my sisters were born (biological children conceived through IVF) and certain (extended) family members now treated me differently because my parents now had their ‘own’ children and I started to realise that I was different. After the initial shock (at the age of 2 ½ – 3) it just became the new normal, that is until we were all in primary school and people were in disbelief that my sisters and I were siblings.

That was when I started really thinking about my background and the circumstances behind my adoption. With this came the questions and the feelings of shame and guilt that seem to be synonymous with adoption.

It seemed to overtake my thoughts and seeded (what I realise now are) irrational thoughts such as:

“If my mother didn’t want me, no one ever will”

“I’m only worth as much as someone wants to pay for me”

“If my mother loved me so much and she walked away, that’s what everyone else will do”

… Irrational, I know.

As an Asian in a family full of model-like Danish blondes, I was constantly reminded that I really didn’t fit in and the taunting from my peers and older kids about not being the same and that my mother just threw me away, shaped the way that I viewed myself. Ingraining that belief that I would never be loved unless I looked a certain way, that was if anyone wanted me in the first place.

From what I have read of other international adoptee’s blogs and articles, it seems that I am not alone in my feelings of not quite belonging. Feeling like you need try twice as hard as anyone else to fit in.

Despite the affection given to me by my family throughout my life, I have always found it difficult to express and verbalise love. Being that one person who awkwardly hugs someone and then quickly pulls away, or the girlfriend that says, “me too” when their partner says, “I love you”.

I was also the person who leaves when it starts to get tough. The person who just shuts down and doesn’t know how to tell their partner what the issues are in case they decide to leave first. The idea of being abandoned again, to me was more confronting and stressful than just taking on all the emotional baggage and just walking away.

That feeling of worthlessness, I have now learnt, was the driving factor behind why I stayed in all 3 of my long-term relationships well past their use by date and why having friends with benefits worked better for me. Allowing me to keep people at arm’s-length emotionally. I feel as though it somehow helped to keep my fragile self-worth intact.

The types of people I was attracted to

It was also something that I had discussed at length with my councillor when I was younger, and up until recently, I didn’t understand how my adoption really did affect the type of people I formed relationships with.

Quote about self discovery
Image: Self discovery

But since the end of my last relationship, I have been on a life changing journey of self-discovery. I have realised that my ‘type’ seemed to be emotionally insecure men that had never really (emotionally) made it past puberty or their early 20’s. I somehow thought that by mothering these men, they would never want to leave me because they didn’t have the capacity to be on their own. Not really a healthy reason to start or continue a relationship. What I have come to understand is that these men, because of their inability to think for themselves or accept responsibility for their actions or how their words and actions effected the relationship.

How I am overcoming my emotional insecurity

For me, the turning point that took me from seeking acceptance from others in a relationship to being accepting of my own flaws and being worthy of having someone want me despite those flaws, was when I met a man that I had an immediate emotional connection with. He was the first person that I didn’t feel the need to try to impress with how much of myself I was willing to give up or hide. It has been such a liberating experience.

That connection has also allowed me to further explore my sexuality. It’s amazing how feeling safe and not judged allows me to pull down my walls that I have built and hand over the control of my emotions that I have held on to, that kept me locked in my little emotional bubble. It has also shown me that I don’t need to just settle for anyone that will pay attention to me, that I am worth more than that. The process has helped me understand what impacts my sexuality too.

Author: Mia is a consultant from Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centres

Jennifer works marketing at Adultsmart an online sex toy shop. She has a non-judgemental approach to sex, sex toys and sexuality. Her favorite saying is if it feels good and right and is not illegal then why not!