Polyamorous and sex-positive essayist, poet, and over-thinker.

Redefining love, romance, and sex

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So then what then drives us, if not romance, if not that hope of something more beautiful, more powerful than we can fathom? What keeps us going?

Do you have a story that turns romance on its head and redefines it?

A story that challenges the way you were taught you should do relationships? A story that, instead, empowers you and your partner(s) to do things in a way that feels true and right for all those involved?

“If Not Romance” is now accepting submissions from writers who are changing the definition of romance, sex, and love. …

But first, she rejected me

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After my boyfriend Drake suggested we open our relationship five years ago, mostly to satisfy me, I thought it a nice gesture to return the favor and connect him with a beautiful woman I met online.

I met Michelle on OkCupid, which is where I met almost all of the partners I’ve had since we opened up. …

If this isn’t romance, what is?

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I’m tied up in bed. Just my legs for the moment, together, like a mermaid. The red rope is wrapped from my feet to my thighs, and then I’ve added a length of black rope so it can come up over my hips, where they are knotted and secured.

Why am I here? I don’t know, just wanted to.

But that’s what sex is, right, a series of intuitions that bring you to the ultimate pleasure?

It’s a practice of doing and learning. …

Guaranteed to pull you out of your slump

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I’ve been dreaming of lovers. Or rather, of men that, in my dream, I want as my lover — but for one reason or other, they’re just out of reach.

Pandemic nightmares take on so many forms, don’t they?

I tried to give myself the love I craved, grabbing my vibrator from the bedside drawer. It wasn’t so simple. I missed the stimulation, not just the orgasm.

So I watched some porn.

This isn’t something I do. In fact, I didn’t even watch porn at all until college, when I saw maybe a minute of it before turning it off.

Put simply, body parts just…

And other elements of my female humanness my boyfriend wasn’t into

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Saying my boyfriend G was a neat freak is an understatement. His place looked like a catalog — the living room with its carefully folded afghan on one couch cushion, the kitchen counter with nary a crumb, and the bed always made, sheets tucked into tight hospital corners.

I enjoyed being a guest at his impeccable place — it felt like staying at a fancy hotel. That was, until his requests to “please not do that” became too much to deal with…

First, it was “Please don’t put your shoes on the furniture.”

That was reasonable. I had mistaken the chair (which he’d placed all alone, directly next to the front…

He asked if I’d give him instructions on how to give head to another guy. I did.

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When Luke and I met, we quickly fell in love, in the big, red, candy hearts surrounding us kinda way. During the few months we were together, our vision was filled with a rosy fog that made it hard to see each other as anything less than perfect.

We developed elaborate fantasies of what our future together might look like, as is the nature of new relationships, but we always returned to the reality of what was.

I knew from the start that his plan was to travel the world, just as soon as the pandemic allowed for it. When…

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I’m standing naked in the bathroom. Hot water is pouring from the showerhead and the mirrors are beginning to steam up.

I’m about to step into the warm water, let it pour over my body, cold from the winter walk I’ve just returned from, when I think, Hydration.

I leave the bathroom, walk (still naked) into the kitchen where Drake is making us some lunch. I fill a glass with water from the pitcher. He doesn’t look up from the skillet where he has two grilled cheese sandwiches frying.

“Whatcha cookin’?” I ask, still naked.

“Grilled cheese,” he replies, glancing…

Or is it transitioning to something new?

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I dab perfume on my wrists and then behind my ears, as much for myself as for him. Gabriel — the man I started seeing right before the pandemic, who’d made the whole thing so much more bearable — doesn’t have a strong sense of smell. I on the other hand have a super keen nose.

The perfume is a new thing. I can’t remember ever wearing any when I saw him. I don’t wear perfume often, but like many things I left by the wayside during this pandemic — make-up, nice clothes — I’ve ditched perfume altogether.

As I…

There are many ways to achieve pleasure… I don’t want to forget that

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I didn’t get my first vibrator until I was in my late 20s. It was a Valentine’s Day gift from my boyfriend at the time, Barry.

Barry and I struggled with our sexual relationship. He had trouble getting hard which ate away at my confidence which only made the original issue worse. Eventually, sex and orgasms were hard to come by (no pun intended) for both of us.

We cared about each other, so we worked on this issue. One way was through his vibrating gift.

He brought me to my neighborhood sex shop.

It was my first time in a sex shop, and my first time expressing…

How we are breaking free of gender and power dynamics through role play

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My boyfriend Luke is the same height as me, so I never wore heels when I was with him. I didn’t think about how this was subconsciously playing into gender norms, I just habitually put on my flats each time we had a date.

Then one day, I was talking to him about how I don’t wear heels much because I’m tall, and he told me, “I’d be okay with you wearing heels when we’re together.”

I suddenly realized what I’d been doing: I was making myself appear as short as possible to avoid challenging his position of power as…

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