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Freaked Out That Your Partner May be Polyamorous. Here’s What You Need to Do

Freaked Out that Your Partner May Be Polyamorous?  Here’s What You Need to Do

They’ve been talking about how cool they find the idea of inviting someone else into your bed for a while now but you never really took them seriously until they handed you a copy of ‘The Ethical Slut’ to read.   Now you are completely freaked out that they will want to bring some other woman or man into your bed and might even want to have a relationship with that new person as well as with you.  You always took your monogamy for granted.  You felt safe because you knew that you were settled in a good stable monogamous relationship.  OK so maybe sex wasn’t as much fun anymore and maybe you didn’t have sex all that often.  But you get along well most of the time and you are happy with your life together.   The idea of adding another person and being polyamorous is petrifying.

Maybe the idea of having more than one partner appealed to you in the past or maybe it even appeals to you now, but as soon as they bring it up as something you might actually do, you freeze.   Sit down.  Take a deep breath and don’t panic. Many of the people I have helped had the same reaction you are having.

Here’s what you need to do:

1 Educate yourself about polyamorous relationships.

Non-monogamy comes in many forms from monogamish where you are monogamous except for one particular thing (like kissing one person or inviting one person to come play with you once a year on their birthday) to polyamorous where you have multiple romantic, sexual and emotional relationships to polygamy where there is one husband and many wives (or one wife and many husbands).  There are a couple of books that I recommend: The Ethical Slut, Re-Writing the Rules.  Read my other blogs on the subject.   Listen to my podcasts (1, 2, 3, 4) on polyamory and to my series of podcasts called sex love stories for some individual stories about non-monogamy in all of its different forms.

2 Journal.

To make the best use of your education, start a journal.   Take notes about what you are learning.    Pay attention to your feelings as you are reading and listening and learning.  Are you interested?  Excited? Worried? More freaked out?    Write all of this down.

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3 Own your feelings and work on them.

If you are feeling angry then own this.  If you don’t acknowledge your anger, it will play out in passive aggressive ways that destroy relationships.  If you are able, try to figure out exactly where your anger comes from.  Anger often comes from fear.  If this is where your anger is coming from, what information do you need to allay your fear?  It might be re-assurance that your partner still fancies you.  It might be clear information about what your partner is actually proposing.    You might be feeling jealous, frightened, sad or a whole host of things.    If you don’t have a regular way of soothing yourself and working through your feelings, now would be a good time to do some individual coaching to help you work through the feelings but also to teach you some practical skills to help you work through emotions as they arise in the future.

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4 Once you have worked through some feelings, decide if this is a deal breaker for you.

If you are unwilling to even consider opening up your relationship in any way, it is important for you to acknowledge this so that you can discuss it with your partner. Some people decide to become monogamous in a polyamorous relationship. If you are really good at communicating and able to own and manage your own feelings (especially jealousy and anger), then this is an excellent option.  The clearer you are on your own needs and limits, the easier it will be to talk with your partner about all the options.   If you are having difficulty thinking things through on your own or talking them through with a friend who can be neutral, this is also a time to speak with a coach or therapist so that you can clarify your own needs and limits.  It is best to speak with someone who is poly friendly so that the whole range of options is easily open to you.

 

5 Have a conversation with your partner to find out exactly what they are proposing. Polyamorous? Swinging? Something else?

Ask what triggered this desire now and be prepared to hear any answer.  Before the conversation starts, create a safe space by making sure you have plenty of time to talk and that no one will interrupt.   Make it a non-judgemental space and manage your emotions even if something they say is upsetting to you.  If you want them to talk honestly to you, you have to be willing to truly listen.   Consider recording the conversation (with agreement of course).  Taking notes is often really difficult during an emotional conversation.  You are recording so that you can both make sure to catch any ideas you have about moving forward in a positive manner.  If you have never been able to talk about difficult subjects well or if you never manage to resolve any issues together, this is not the issue to try to start on alone.  Agree to go see a poly friendly sex and relationship therapist or sex and relationship coach together and start the dialogue there.  Having someone who can help you to stop and reflect instead of ending up in the same negative communication loop is invaluable when you are looking at making major changes in your relationship.   Make sure you are seeing someone who knows about non-monogamy who can bust the myths and provide you with good solid information.

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After you have had your freak out, breathe deep and start working your way through the steps above until you reach clarity.  Whatever you decide – polyamorous or monogamous, this relationship or your future relationships will ultimately be much richer and more exciting as a result of the emotional work that you do.   For more information, book a free discovery session with me here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Practical Primer for Overcoming Shame

We experience shame when we cannot own something we have thought, felt, or done or some part of ourselves. Guilt can be appropriate when we have done something we know is wrong and harmed ourselves and/or others. It serves the purpose of getting us to look at the wrong and highlighting the wrong so that we can make amends, change our behaviour.

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Turning Pain Into Pleasure: From OUCH To Oooooo…

For most kinky sex and BDSM beginning bottoms, pain is not an instant turn on.  You may have read plenty of articles waxing lyrical about how hot pain is and how many stratospheric orgasms you can have if the beating is just right… but the first time that hand, paddle or flogger comes down on your ass all you feel is ‘ouch’. Most of the time, no one teaches you about turning pain into pleasure. Consequently, the fear of the ouch, causes many people rule any pain out.

Jane was one of those people.  She started by saying ‘I don’t do pain’ and told the tops she was playing with and the dominants she was starting relationships this each time.  Because she was a submissive, she was willing to take some pain and discomfort in order to please her dominant. Then she met Aaron.  Aaron was a tall drink of water, about 6 foot 2 and slender.  He had a rich deep voice and soulful brown eyes with long lashes.  She thought she would do anything to listen to him for a bit longer.  Aaron and Jane agreed to use ‘red’ as a safeword.  But he asked Jane to trust him and use ‘yellow’ to tell him that she was close to calling telling him it was too much and give him a chance to push her a bit more.   They negotiated a spanking.  Jane had never managed to last more than a couple of minutes in a spanking before calling safe.    Aaron started slow, with lighter spanks all over her bottom.  Jane felt her body heating up.  She was turned on already.

Sweet Spot Spanking

Aaron knew the first rule of turning pain into pleasure: Start slow.

Starting slowly to give your body time to warm up and then to heat up.  As you get excited, your body will begin to release all the chemicals that make you sing.  If you are a bit frightened, your body will release some adrenalin too which will add to the intensity. Once Aaron could see that Jane was enjoying herself, he increased the intensity of his spanks but not the speed.  Now the pain began to bite in just a bit.

 

Aaron talked Jane through the bite with the second rule of turning pain into pleasure: Breathe into the pain.

Pulling away from pain intensifies the negative sensation.  Breathing into it allows it to wash over you and transform.  This can take some practice.    Most of the time people hold their breath when something painful is going on.  Unfortunately, all this does is intensify the pain and make the experience longer.   Deep breathing helps you to relax your muscles.   Deep breathing doesn’t make the pain go away, it changes the way we perceive pain which is how we can change pain into pleasure.  Deep breathing techniques can be found in many places.  Here’s one that I like which is combined with meditation and mindfulness.  Practicing these techniques when you are not experiencing pain will help you use them when you are experiencing pain.

 

Aaron began to spank Jane harder and focused on the ‘sweet spot’ lifting her bottom up with each spank.  This brought into play the third rule: Focus on the places where there is already likely to be a mix of nerve signals for pleasure and pain.  The sweet spot is the bottom of the bum rolling into the top of the thigh.  The pain and pleasure signals here can become more easily crossed.   To Jane’s surprise, her heat had increased.   The theory is that this area is fed by the same nerve group that feeds the genitals and this is why the sensations mix more easily.

 

Aaron ran his hands all over her body, stroking her nipples, lightly using his nails.   This is the fourth rule to turn ouch into ooooo: Vary the touch to include arousing sensual touch.  Varying the strokes during a spanking or a beating will quickly increase the level of arousal.   The higher the level of arousal the more quickly ouch moves to ooo.

Aaron pressed into Jane and she could feel his erection.  She let out a deep moan.  He whispered in her ear ’Take 10 more for me and we will count them.   The last 5 will be the hardest’.  Jane agreed and got ready to count.

Ouch to Oooo

The fifth rule of moving ouch to ooo: Prepare the person for the ‘worst’ of the pain and let them know how much more they need to bear.  By doing this, the bottom feels a great sense of accomplishment when they make it to the end of the spanking.   By this point, endorphins should be flooding their bodies making the ouch feel delicious.

A few more tips for turning pain into pleasure:

Rhythm is important:  Pain is easier to manage when there is a good rhythm.  When strikes are haphazard and the person receiving the strikes cannot sink into a rhythm, it is harder to manage the pain and the pain can feel more intense.

Pain perception changes depending on the day.  Our pain perception changes as our emotions do.  Some days physical pain is more intense than others.  Women who have their pubic hair waxed can attest to this – just before a period pain can increase intensely.  Emotional stress can also change pain perception.

Pain perception is different depending upon the body part. 

Anyone who has tattoos knows this is true.  Pain is more intense in areas of the body with more nerve endings.

Most people find certain types of pain easier than others.   Thud feels really different from sting and most people have at least a minor preference.  Trying out different types of pain will help you to determine what works best for you.

Jane’s relationship with Aaron only lasted a few months but those few months changed her life.  Now when a new partner asks her if she enjoys pain, Jane purrs ‘yessss’.

Any questions for your relationship about keys for turning pain into pleasure? Email me drbisbey@the-intimacy-coach.com.    Check out all of the fantastic articles on this blogfest #kinkysextips https://vivayourrevolution.com/kinky-sex-tips-blogfest17/

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When Pain Turns You On…

Miranda was experimenting with her first girlfriend when she realized that pain turned her on.

Her girlfriend bit her in the heat of passion and it was an instant orgasm.  At first she felt confused by this and then she felt ashamed.    Wasn’t pain supposed to turn you off?

When Pain Turns You On

According to current statistics, 1 in 10 people has tried BDSM at least once.  This suggests that pain turns people on far more than expected.   Biologically, pain is more related to pleasure than one might think.   A variety of chemicals are released in the brain in response to pain messages.  Endorphins are the ones that most people are familiar with.  These are the body’s natural opiates.  Anandamide is known as the bliss chemical and binds with cannabinoid receptors in the brain.  It blocks pain signals and brings on a warm, fuzzy feeling just like cannabis when it binds to the same receptors.  Adrenalin is also released and the raised heart rate adds to the feeling of excitement.

People who gain sexual pleasure from some types of pain are called masochists.  If you are a masochist, you will find that pain turns you on when it is part of a sexual and intimate experience.  Masochists do not find stubbing a toe exciting.  That pain just hurts.  It is the pain that is deliberately produced as part of an intimate activity that becomes pleasurable.

When Pain Turns You On

The pain is not simply turned into pleasure as some people have described.  The masochist feels the pain and is also turned on by the pain.  People talk about transmuting pain into pleasure.    If you are finding this hard to grasp, the easiest example is that of the serious professional athlete who practices and exercises until her body starts to signal injury or overexertion with pain.  If the person pushes on, she will begin to experience feelings of euphoria.  This has become known as a ‘runner’s high’. Masochists have the same experience during different types of sexual activity.  They seek out the pain which then turns into intense pleasure.  It goes beyond seeking an intense orgasm.  Many people seek out catharsis as well.

Barry Komisaruk from Rutgers University has done lots of fMRI research on pain and pleasure.  He has found a link between the pain pathways and the orgasm pathways in the brain.  He also points out that facial expressions made during orgasm are similar to those when people are in pain.

Even knowing that pain and pleasure are mingled in our biology sometimes does not diminish the shame people feel when they discover that pain turns them on.

You may feel when pain turns you on that there is something wrong with you.    The shame can add to the turn on for some people but for many others makes it impossible to enjoy feeling turned on.

Jan noticed she enjoyed pain when she was 14 years old.  Her boyfriend held her down while they were having sex and instead of being outraged, she had an intense orgasm.  Initially, she didn’t worry about this connection between pain and orgasm.  It was only after she told a couple of boyfriends who reacted with disgust that she began to feel intense shame around her desires.  After years of fantasizing about pain instead of being in safe and consensual relationships where pain was an integral part of the sex, she finally decided to seek some professional help.  Jan said she was tired of only feeling like sex was lukewarm.

After a few months of personal work, Jan was able to approach her desires with acceptance.  She began to date men who shared her interests and met Burt after a few months of dating.  They enjoy a committed relationship that includes lots of satisfying sex.

When pain turns you on you need to be careful about who you decide to share this with and how you decide to bring pain into your sexual life.  There is more danger associated with sex that involves masochism than there is in other types of sexual relationships.    Before agreeing to sexual activities that include pain and higher levels of physical risk, make sure that you fully trust the person you are inviting into your sexual world.  Take the time to negotiate the types of activities you wish to engage in, your boundaries (including hard limits and safe words).

Start gradually and take the time to talk about the experience afterward.  If the person you are engaging with is not staying the night with you after the experience, make sure that you have support available to you in case your reaction is not entirely positive.  With those precautions dealt with, relax and enjoy the experience.

If you want some help exploring how/why pain turns you on, schedule a free discovery session with me here.

Join me for my teleseminar with Lisa Steadman on 23rd August.   4 Secrets for Arousing and Igniting your Authentic Sexual Self.

What Turns You On?

I ask this question of clients a lot and surprisingly, people often cannot answer it.   Many people look to others to turn them on.  Their expectations are that partners will somehow know what to do.    Many people are still brought up to think of sexual self-exploration as shameful.  Women are often taught to attend to their partner’s pleasure and that if they make a partner happy they will be happy too. Sadly, though making your partner happy will make you feel good, it won’t often give you sexual satisfaction.

If you want to learn what turns you on, first learn to take responsibility for your own pleasure.

Serious as this sounds, it is actually lots of fun.  The first step is to pay attention to your body and notice the things that make you tingle, hum, or purr.    If you are not used to pleasuring yourself, you might find it more comfortable to have a partner touch your body in different ways while you focus on your response to see what makes you tingle, hum or purr.  If you are going to do this with a partner, start by telling them that you are doing this experiment to learn more about what turns you on, that you would like their help in doing so.  Tell them that you would like them to touch you sensually and sexually in a variety of different ways and that you will be focussing on your own responses.  Make sure that they don’t expect you to start focussing on their pleasure.

 

What Turns You On

If you are happy with masturbation and self-pleasure, explore on your own.  Take the time to stroke your body in different places, in different ways.  Use a variety of toys as well as your hands and notice your body’s myriad responses.  Pay attention to the sensations that make you take in your breath sharply and the sensations that cause you to say ‘ahhh’.  The goal is not necessarily to reach orgasm but rather to see what gets you so turned on that you are close.  Feel free to use erotica, pornography, other movies and anything that you find stimulating.  Spend this time with yourself daily over at least a week.    Notice how you feel about taking the time to just enjoy yourself.    Taking responsibility for your pleasure is empowering.  When you know what turns you on, you can ask for what turns you on.  When you are able to provide yourself with pleasure, you need not look to someone else to give you that sexual satisfaction.  You can choose to be with a partner to gain sexual pleasure or you can choose to pleasure yourself.    If you find yourself becoming turned on, you can see to your own needs.

Extend your exploration from noticing your reactions in your body, your feelings and your thoughts about what turns you on to looking at what turns you on in other people.  When you know this as well you will make better relationship choices.  What type of sex turns you on?  For many people the answer is many types of sex.  Pay attention to what you like and when you like it.  Give yourself permission to push your own boundaries and try something new.

So many people have been brought up with shame around sex and sexuality.

They have been brought up hearing ‘no’ repeatedly, being told that sexual feelings and activities are shameful, wrong and sinful.  So many women have been told that their pleasure is not a priority.  Sexual pleasure is not wrong or sinful.  Sexual pleasure is part of healthy sexual activity and relationships.    Your body is made to give you pleasure.  Give yourself permission to experience pleasure and particularly to experience sexual pleasure.

What turns you on?

Try to remember the first time you felt turned on.  Can you remember the event in detail?  Leslie said ‘The first time I remember feeling turned on I was about 10 and I was watching a movie with a really sexy actor. There was a scene where he was in bed with the leading lady. I felt tingling and my breathing was faster.  I didn’t really understand why I was feeling that way but it did feel good.  It felt so good that I watched the movie four times so I could feel that way again.’    Roger describes the first time he felt turned on.  ‘I was 9 and I was in bed and having a really good dream.  I woke up with my hand on myself and it felt really great until I remember the nuns telling us that it was a sin and then I was afraid I was going to hell.  I stopped for a while and thought about the nuns.  But the next night I was touching myself again.   This time I didn’t stop but felt guilty after.  It took a couple more years before I stopped feeling sure I was going to hell.’

Do you know what turns you on?  If you want some help exploring, schedule a free discovery session with me here