Sunday, May 2, 2010

Are Open Marriages More Successful Than Traditional Couplings? A New Generation Tries Swinging, but Leaves the Leisure Suits in the Closet


To many, "open marriage" is a phrase so laden with 1970s nostalgia that the idea can't be considered without imagining its practitioners leering at each other across shag-carpeted conversation pits, their chest hair spilling out of maroon polyester leisure suits.

While many of today's adherents are aging swingers from the old school, a new generation -- well organized and committed to legitimizing a lifestyle -- continues to push traditional notions of marital fidelity by having sex with people other than their spouses.

But do marriages -- fragile institutions traditionally built on the fidelity and sexual intimacy of two people -- work when the doors of the bedroom are thrown wide open?

"That's like asking if monogamy works," Deborah Anapol, a psychologist and author of "Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits" told ABC "Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. It depends almost entirely on the people involved and their willingness to tell the truth and do the work."

"Polyamory," which literally means "many loves" is a new name for an old practice.

"There were a few studies on open marriage in the early '60s and '70s, but the phenomenon seemed to die out and it was just called cheating after that," said William Doherty, a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota.

"It resurfaced as polyamory, and some groups have imbued it with a spiritual side. They see it as a pathway to personal development. They see it as a high road; it's not cheating, it's growing their relationship," he said.

In 1972, George and Nena O'Neill published "Open Marriage: Love Without Limits," the first book to define the practice and counsel couples on how to grow their own relationships by creating friendships and sexual relationships with other people.

Ten years later, acclaimed journalist Gay Talese would publish "Thy Neighbor's Wife," an experiential look at American sexual mores between the sexual revolution and the AIDS epidemic.

In the book, Talese describes operating a massage parlor in New York City, attending nudist camps and having an extramarital affair.

Though Talese told ABC that his 50-year marriage to his wife, book editor Nan Talese, was not open, the popularity of "Thy Neighbor's Wife" led many Americans to re-evaluate long held ideas about sexual morality, obscenity and fidelity.


Do Open Marriages Work?

It is difficult to determine just how many married people are involved in open marriages. A study from the 1980s suggested it could be as many as 6 percent of all couples, but most experts believe that number is excessively high.

"At least 95 percent of married and cohabitating Americans expect sexual exclusivity," said Judy Treas, a sociology professor at the University of California at Irvine.

As for the success of open marriages, "there have been no scientific evaluations of how well open marriages work," Treas said. "The jury is still out."

Despite the small niche, there is a thriving industry built around the polyamorous. Self-help books, specialized marriage counselors, and retreats, which include everything from courses in Eastern philosophy to the chance to hook up with strangers, are targeted at people in open marriages.

Traditional marriage counselors typically tell polyamorous couples who are having problems with their marriage that it is the sex with other people that is causing their problems, but therapists like Dossie Easton who co-wrote"The Ethical Slut," disagreed.

Easton said polyamorous marriages were no more or less successful than monogamous marriages, but at least the polyamorous were never surprised to learn their spouse was cheating.

She said openly married couples saw her "for the same problems that traditional therapists deal with. Only traditional therapists tell polyamorous couples if they gave up being polyamorous, then they'd be happy."

Problems, she said, occur when spouses have different ideas about how polyamory should work.

"Sometimes one wants to have sex with strangers, and the other wants more meaningful relationships outside the marriage. Others want to join groups of likeminded people, [which] I call pods or constellations, where sometimes child-rearing responsibilities are shared."

The biggest challenge polyamorous couples seem to face is jealousy.

A whole chapter of "Open Marriage," the first polyamorous handbook is devoted to managing feelings of jealousy.

"Jealousy is inevitable just like anger is inevitable. All couples get jealous often for no good reason, but jealousy can be managed. If people are emotionally intelligent they work to manage their jealousy," Anapol said.

Polyamory, Polygamy and Friends With Benefits

Open marriage differs from polygamy in that it is legal, except in those states with extremely rigid anti-adultery laws. Unlike polygamy, in an open marriage both spouses agree to allow each other to have extramarital affairs and relationships can extend to people outside of a formally bound group.

In the open marriages of the 1970s, couples would often set rigid rules about whom they would allow to engage in sex with their partners.

Couples would meet in sex clubs or private parties and swap partners. These relationships were almost always purely sexual, and temporary lovers were rarely introduced to spouses.

Contemporary practitioners of polyamory have changed the rules, and in many cases thrown them out all together, said Dossie Easton.

According to Easton, polyamory is as much a reflection of changes in '70s-style open marriages as it is a reflection of broad changes in attitudes about casual sex. "There has been a real change in attitudes," Easton said. "We used to make a huge notion that if you picked up someone at a singles bar and didn't want to marry them in the morning you shambled out of their house."

"Nowaday, we have all kinds of open sexual connections with people that we call friends that we are not auditioning for marriage."

Copyright © 2009 ABC News Internet Ventures

Cheese Fetish

You would think after all of this time, I would have heard it all. However, apparently that is not the case. I recently received this email from an anonymous fetishist.

This is my fetish, and what my fetish is, is considered a food play fetish. What that means is food is use in either a sexual or non sexual way to provide sexual stimulation and or arousal and pleasure. I like when cheese is use in a sexual manner to provide arousal and pleasure, specifically Swiss cheese, although I am open to any cheese as well.

I love the way Swiss cheese feels against my penis. Either as slices of Swiss cheese being wrapped around my penis or a chunk of Swiss cheese being rubbed against my penis. I love even more when a woman uses the Swiss cheese to pleasure me. Or simply wraps Swiss cheese slices around my penis and allows me to hang out with her as I wear the cheese.

I prefer Swiss cheese over normal sex as a way of gratification because of a childhood condition. I had self esteem and weight problems as a child, that lead to lower self confidence and social treatment, out of which I had a hard time forming relationships with girls, or making friends.

I have a big heart, and it was crushed time and again by the opposite sex, that and a very strong sex drive, well I am lucky I never became a rapist. My fetish grew out of desperation for sex with a woman. I started to compare girls to cheese due to their milky complections, girls are soft, smooth feeling and tend to like dairy products more. That and typical advertising, always using a girl to advertise dairy products. So cheese is what I started to use as a replacement for having sex with girls.

I tried many different kinds of cheese, like American, Provolone, chez whiz, jack, and cheddar, but settled on Swiss as the best. First and foremost, if ever a picture of cheese is used, most of the time they use a representation of Swiss cheese. But also because of it's eye patterns, texture, and the way it feels against my penis.

So why you may ask do I want a girls to wrap Swiss cheese around my penis, well I still want the attention of girls, more so however is that I find a girls hands very sexy and it would provide arousal for me, as well as girls being attractive. I however enjoyed hands more so. The features I look for with a girls hands are long slender fingers, and milky complections, also I prefer small to medium hands, over large muscular hands. So if a girls hands fit what I was looking for, even if the girls was over weight or curvy, or even average looking, perfect hands is what I preferred. That also went both ways, a girl could be smoking hot, but if she had ugly hands, no way did I want her.

So combine attractive Swiss cheese, that's Swiss with a good pattern of eyes, sexy hands from a girl, who may or may not have been cute, being cute was always a plus, that and blond or red head, and I would get so hard it would hurt. If I managed to convince a girl of that caliber to do my fetish, then the feeling I would get from asking her, to her doing it for me, to me wearing the cheese, and final climax was like dying and going to heaven.

I did later manage to go out with girls, and had normal relationships and normal sex, and I did like to have them do my fetish for me as well, but I have been doing my fetish for so long before hand, that it just felt better then sex. Also when I was younger I have more stamina, the cheese provided better pleasure then sex. I was able to wrap and wear a good 1 ½ pounds of Swiss cheese against my penis, and wear the Swiss cheese for hours at a time, before I would climax from just having the Swiss cheese on my penis.

Some of the crazy things I used to do, was wrap a pound of slice Swiss cheese around my penis, wrap a bag around it, and secure it to my penis with rubber bands, then put my pants up, and go to local malls to check out the girls there. It was always my hope that a group of girls or a single girl would come up to me, and ask me about the bulge in my pants, in which I would tell her it was Swiss cheese, and ask if she was interested in doing it for me. It never happened tho.

Now a days I prefer my fetish solely is because I am a diabetic, and as a diabetic I have developed erectile dysfunction. Even tho I can take medication for it, I simply can't get sustained erections to have normal sex, just hard enough to have my fetish.

Now some may think, why not just get treatment, so I have less desire, well I need testosterone to keep my blood sugars in control, but it also increases my sexual desires, to not use it would cause me to have high blood sugars.

Now I am just addicted to it, like a smoker is addicted to cigarettes. It's like a drug, that I simple can't get enough of. Everything leading up to asking a girl, to having it done is the high, then once I cum, is the low, but the low satisfaction is short lived. That is why I like to have girls wrap cheese around me, and allow me to wear it and hang out with them, it extends the high I get from the cheese being on my penis. I would much rather know a couple girls and have them do it to me as much as possible, I simple can't get enough, however as of late my fetish has been getting me in trouble, because it seems the only girl I can get to do it for me are prostitutes. With the way the laws are set up around where I live, finding them has become nearly impossible.

Now I did find a women who does my fetish for me, but she simply is not available enough to take care of my needs for Swiss cheese sex, also I do like kissing, and am still into normal sex as well. She only provide me with fetish services, also I like variety, so I want multiple partners to give me my fetish. Sometimes I get bored of the same person all the time. I like the reactions I get from new people doing my fetish for me, but they are just so hard to find these days. But I can't live with out my fetish. So sometimes I will compromise with a women, give her sexual pleasure in return for doing my fetish on occasion.

So now you know, it's just so hard sometimes to talk to people, most of the time, I don't even get the time of day from someone, but at least I am open and honest with my desires. As for me I will continue with what I like, given that it's perfectly normal, odd but normal. Everyone has fetishes. One last note, I do not like cheese, except for mozzarella, and that is the one cheese I have never used on myself. So no I do not eat the cheese after I am done using it for pleasure, it is discarded. I am always asked that question too.

Polyamory—relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners—has a coming-out party.

Terisa Greenan and her boyfriend, Matt, are enjoying a rare day of Seattle sun, sharing a beet carpaccio on the patio of a local restaurant. Matt holds Terisa's hand, as his 6-year-old son squeezes in between the couple to give Terisa a kiss. His mother, Vera, looks over and smiles; she's there with her boyfriend, Larry. Suddenly it starts to rain, and the group must move inside. In the process, they rearrange themselves: Matt's hand touches Vera's leg. Terisa gives Larry a kiss. The child, seemingly unconcerned, puts his arms around his mother and digs into his meal.

Terisa and Matt and Vera and Larry—along with Scott, who's also at this dinner—are not swingers, per se; they aren't pursuing casual sex. Nor are they polygamists of the sort portrayed on HBO's Big Love; they aren't religious, and they don't have multiple wives. But they do believe in "ethical nonmonogamy," or engaging in loving, intimate relationships with more than one person—based upon the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. They are polyamorous, to use the term of art applied to multiple-partner families like theirs, and they wouldn't want to live any other way.

More Ways Than Two
A history of multiple-partner relationships, from polygamy to polyamory

Video: Love—Polyamory Style
Video: Making Poly Love Work
Terisa, 41, is at the center of this particular polyamorous cluster. A filmmaker and actress, she is well-spoken, slender and attractive, with dark, shoulder-length hair, porcelain skin—and a powerful need for attention. Twelve years ago, she started datingScott, a writer and classical-album merchant. A couple years later, Scott introduced her to Larry, a software developer at Microsoft, and the two quickly fell in love, with Scott's assent. The three have been living together for a decade now, but continue to date others casually on the side. Recently, Terisa decided to add Matt, a London transplant to Seattle, to the mix. Matt's wife, Vera, was OK with that; soon, she was dating Terisa's husband, Larry. If Scott starts feeling neglected, he can call the woman he's been dating casually on the side. Everyone in this group is heterosexual, and they insist they never sleep with more than one person at a time.

It's enough to make any monogamist's head spin. But the traditionalists had better get used to it.

Researchers are just beginning to study the phenomenon, but the few who do estimate that openly polyamorous families in the United States number more than half a million, with thriving contingents in nearly every major city. Over the past year, books like Open, by journalist Jenny Block; Opening Up, by sex columnist Tristan Taormino; and an updated version of The Ethical Slut—widely considered the modern "poly" Bible—have helped publicize the concept. Today there are poly blogs and podcasts, local get-togethers, and an online polyamory magazine called Loving More with 15,000 regular readers. Celebrities like actress Tilda Swinton and Carla Bruni, the first lady of France, have voiced support for nonmonogamy, while Greenan herself has become somewhat of an unofficial spokesperson, as the creator of a comic Web series about the practice—called "Family"—that's loosely based on her life. "There have always been some loud-mouthed ironclads talking about the labors of monogamy and multiple-partner relationships," says Ken Haslam, a retired anesthesiologist who curates a polyamory library at the Indiana University-based Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction. "But finally, with the Internet, the thing has really come about."

With polyamorists' higher profile has come some growing pains. The majority of them don't seem particularly interested in pressing a political agenda; the joke in the community is that the complexities of their relationships leave little time for activism. But they are beginning to show up on the radar screen of the religious right, some of whose leaders have publicly condemned polyamory as one of a host of deviant behaviors sure to become normalized if gay marriage wins federal sanction. "This group is really rising up from the underground, emboldened by the success of the gay-marriage movement," says Glenn Stanton, the director of family studies for Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian group. "And while there's part of me that says, 'Oh, my goodness, I don't think I could see them make grounds,' there's another part of me that says, 'Well, just watch them.' "

Conservatives are not alone in watching warily. Gay-marriage advocates have become leery of public association with the poly cause—lest it give their enemies ammunition. As Andrew Sullivan, the Atlantic columnist, wrote recently, "I believe that someone's sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express that orientation with." In other words, polyamory is a choice; homosexuality is not. It's these dynamics that have made polyamory, as longtime poly advocate Anita Wagner puts it, "the political football in the culture war as it relates to same-sex marriage."

Polys themselves are not visibly crusading for their civil rights. But there is one policy issue rousing concern: legal precedents concerning their ability to parent. Custody battles among poly parents are not uncommon; the most public of them was a 1999 case in which a 22-year-old Tennessee woman lost rights to parent her daughter after outing herself on an MTV documentary. Anecdotally, research shows that children can do well in poly families—as long as they're in a stable home with loving parents, says Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist at Georgia State University, who is conducting the first large-scale study of children of poly parents, which has been ongoing for a decade. But because academia is only beginning to study the phenomenon—Sheff's study is too recent to have drawn conclusions about the children's well-being over time—there is little data to support that notion in court. Today, the nonprofit Polyamory Society posts a warning to parents on its Web site: If your PolyFamily has children, please do not put your children and family at risk by coming out to the public or by being interviewed [by] the press!

The notion of multiple-partner relationships is as old as the human race itself. But polyamorists trace the foundation of their movement to the utopian Oneida commune of upstate New York, founded in 1848 by Yale theologian John Humphrey Noyes. Noyes believed in a kind of communalism he hoped would fix relations between men and women; both genders had equal voice in community governance, and every man was considered to be married to every woman. But it wasn't until the late-1960s and 1970s "free love" movement that polyamory truly came into vogue; when books like Open Marriage topped best-seller lists and groups like the North American Swingers Club began experimenting with the concept. The term "polyamory," coined in the 1990s, popped up in both the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries in 2006.

Polyamory might sound like heaven to some: a variety of partners, adding spice and a respite from the familiarity and boredom that's doomed many a traditional couple. But humans are hard-wired to be jealous, and though it may be possible to overcome it, polyamorous couples are "fighting Mother Nature" when they try, says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, a professor at Rutgers University who has long studied the chemistry of love. Polys say they aren't so much denying their biological instincts as insisting they can work around them—through open communication, patience, and honesty. Polys call this process "compersion"—or learning to find personal fulfillment in the emotional and sexual satisfaction of your partner, even if you're not the one doing the satisfying. "It's about making sure that everybody's needs are met, including your own," says Terisa. "And that's not always easy, but it's part of the fun."

It's complicated, to say the least: tending to the needs of multiple partners, figuring out what to tell the kids, making sure that nobody's feelings are hurt. "I like to call it polyagony," jokes Haslam, the Kinsey researcher, who is himself polyamorous. "It works for some perfectly, and for others it's a f--king disaster."

Some polyamorists are married with multiple love interests, while others practice informal group marriage. Some have group sex—and many are bisexual—while those like Greenan have a series of heterosexual, one-on-one relationships. Still others don't identify as poly but live a recognizably poly lifestyle. Terisa describes her particular cluster as a "triad," for the number of people involved, and a "vee" for its organization, with Terisa at the center (the point of the V) and her two primary partners, Scott and Larry (who are not intimate with each other) as the tips of each arm. Other poly vocabulary exists, too: "spice" is the plural of "spouse"; "polygeometry" is how a polyamorous group describes their connections; "polyfidelitous" refers to folks who don't date outside their menage; and a "quad" is a four-member poly group.


It's easy to dismiss polyamory as a kind of frat-house fantasy gone wild. But in truth, the community has a decidedly feminist bent: women have been central to its creation, and "gender equality" is a publicly recognized tenet of the practice. Terisa herself is proof of that proposition, as the center of her cluster. She, Scott, and Larry have all been polyamorous since meeting in the Bay Area in the '90s, where they were all involved with the same theater community.

Terisa and Scott started dating first. Both were getting out of long-term monogamous relationships—Terisa had been married for six years—and knew they wanted something different. They fell in love, and though they were committed, they began dating around. Two years in, Scott introduced her to Larry, a pit violinist and mutual acquaintance. When Larry was offered the Microsoft job in Seattle, he asked Terisa and Scott to go with him. "We were like, 'Wow, are we really going to do this?' " Terisa remembers. "And we sort of just said, 'Well let's jump in!' "

It wasn't long before they realized there was a thriving community of Seattleites living the same way. There were local outings, monthly poly potlucks, and a Sea-Poly e-mail list that served to keep everyone informed. Larry even found a poly club for Microsoft employees—listed openly on the company's internal Web site. (Microsoft declined to comment on the message board, or whether it still exists.) The trio has been together ever since, and they share a lakeside home in Seattle's Mt. Baker neighborhood, where they have a vegetable garden and three dogs. They often go on walks along the lake, hand in hand in hand. "I think if we were all given a choice, everyone would choose some form of open relationship," Scott explains, sitting in the family's hillside gazebo overlooking Lake Washington. "And I just like variety," Terisa chimes in, laughing. "I get bored!"

The trio have had emotional moments. Scott had a hard time the first time he heard Larry called Terisa "sweetie" nine years ago. Larry was nervous when Terisa began semiseriously dating somebody outside the group. There are times when Scott has had to put up with hearing his girlfriend have sex with someone else in the home they share. And there have been moments when each of them have felt neglected in their own way. But they agreed early on that they weren't going to be sexually monogamous, and they are open about their affairs. "So it's not as if anybody is betraying anybody else's trust," says Larry.

There are, of course, some things that are personal. "Terisa doesn't tell me a lot of the private stuff between her and Matt, and I respect that," says Scott. When there are twinges of jealousy, they talk them out—by getting to the root of what's causing the feeling. "It's one of those things that sounds really basic, but I think a lot of people in conventional relationships don't take the time to actually tell their partner when they're feeling dissatisfied in some way," says Terisa. "And sometimes it's as simple as saying, 'Hey, Larry,' or 'Hey, Scott, I really want to have dinner alone with you tonight—I'm feeling neglected.' We really don't let anything go unsaid." As Haslam puts it: "It's all very straight forward if everybody is just honest about what's going on in their brains—and between their legs."

Larry and Terisa married last year—with Scott's permission—in part for tax purposes. Larry owns the house they all live in, and Scott pays rent. Household expenses require a complicated spreadsheet. Terisa, Larry, and Scott all have their own bedrooms, but sleeping arrangements must be discussed. Larry snores, so Terisa spends most nights with Scott—which means she must be mindful of making up for lost time with Larry. Terisa and Larry only recently began dating Matt and Vera, after meeting on Facebook, and now every Friday, the couple bring their son over to the house and the three of them stay all weekend. Matt will usually sleep with Terisa, and Vera with Larry, or they'll switch it up, depending on how everyone feels.

The child, meanwhile, has his own room. And he's clearly the most delicate part of the equation. Matt and Vera have asked NEWSWEEK not to use their last names—or the name of their child—for fear, even in liberal Seattle, they might draw unwanted attention. Though Terisa doesn't have children—and doesn't want them—she adores Matt and Vera's son, who calls her Auntie. Recently, the child asked his father who he loved more: Mommy or Terisa. "I said, 'Of course I love momma more,' because that's the answer he needed to hear," Matt says. He and Vera say they are honest with him, in an age-appropriate way. "We don't do anything any regular parents of a 6-year-old wouldn't do," he says. For the moment, it seems to be working. The child is happy, and there are two extra people to help him with his homework, or to pick him up or drop him off at school. They expect the questions to increase with age, but in the long run, "what's healthy for children is stability," says Fischer, the anthropologist.

It's a new paradigm, certainly—and it does break some rules. "Polyamory scares people—it shakes up their world view," says Allena Gabosch, the director of the Seattle-based Center for Sex Positive Culture. But perhaps the practice is more natural than we think: a response to the challenges of monogamous relationships, whose shortcomings—in a culture where divorce has become a commonplace—are clear. Everyone in a relationship wrestles at some point with an eternal question: can one person really satisfy every need? 

Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it's only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there's more than one way to live and love. "The people I feel sorry for are the ones who don't ever realize they have any other choices beyond the traditional options society presents," says Scott. "To look at an option like polyamory and say 'That's not for me' is fine. To look at it and not realize you can choose it is just sad."

Quote of the Week

“I love you sooooooo much!” My Beloved mouthed this to me, while he was banging our girl crush from behind, as she was eating my pussy.

I LOVE Pink Panty Bitches & Blackmail

I LOVE pink panty sissy boys.  I have been chatting with one for several months through phonesex.  The last time, I got him to put a clean pair of his wife's panties on his ass & a dirty pair on her head, with the cum stain right at his nose.  I then got him to jerk off his load in the clean panties.  I told him to place that pair on the top of the laundry, so his wife would find it.  He refused, placing it instead on the bottom of the hamper.

Several days ago, I was online & he IMed me, except it was not him, it was his wife.  He apparently left open his IM account, while he was at work & she decided to take a peek.  After she tried to get me to tell her who I was, I finally just said, I am a phone sex slut your hubby has been calling regularly.  I get him to jerk off, while wearing your panties."  She seemed stunned.

I then logged off.  The next day, Panty Bitch called & asked what was going on, because the wife had confronted him, with a few details, but not everything, I told him everything from my side.  He was stunned.  I then told him if he did not send me $100.00, I give his wife more details, if she contacted me again, which of course she will!

I LOVE Panty Bitches & Blackmail!

Beloved's Divorce

Beloved is in the process of getting divorced. If everything goes as planned, it should be finalized on Oct. 1, 2010. The process has been surprisingly amicable. Once they went into counseling, Beloved, finally told his wife the polyamorous lifestyle he wanted to live. Sadly, the lifestyle he wants to live was not the one he & his wife had agreed to when they got engaged. Although he told her he preferred to keep his marriage, as well as have additional romantic partners (not just sexual) during the therapy session, she rightly did not accept his philosophy. Why should she?
Although I have never spoken to her, she has my deepest respect. I was very proud of her for standing up to him & telling him she would not accept that arrangement. Many women would have blamed themselves or worse. In addition, she has help to create the man that I love. Without her, there would be no him.
I can only wish her the very best. I was completely charmed by her desire to have their marriage of 25-years annulled in the Catholic Church. Being a good little pagan, I wasn't even aware they still did that. Perhaps her intentions are to remarry. What a wonderful thought. I hope she finds someone who is worthy of her time, energy & love. I also hope she finds someone who has her same love style whether, monogamous or otherwise.