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Multiple Partners Survey

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Relationships | Posted on 19-03-2008

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Would any of you who are involved with mul­ti­ple part­ners, or who have been so involved, whether or not you iden­ti­fy as polyamorous, be will­ing to take a research sur­vey? You don’t have to give any indi­vid­ual iden­ti­fy­ing infor­ma­tion at all, if you don’t want to.
Mul­ti­ple Part­ners Sur­vey
From the site:

Thank you for your inter­est in par­tic­i­pat­ing in this mul­ti­ple part­ners sur­vey. For this project we’re explor­ing the dif­fer­ences in atti­tudes, beliefs and prac­tices between peo­ple who open­ly call them­selves polyamorous and those who engage mul­ti­ple sex­u­al part­ners in a more inde­pen­dent, self-styled way. We want to explore whether the “cul­ture of polyamory” (e.g. atti­tudes, beliefs and prac­tices) has pos­i­tive­ly impact­ed the expe­ri­ence of con­sen­su­al mul­ti­ple part­ner rela­tion­ships. To par­tic­i­pate in this study you must be (or have recent­ly been) in mul­ti­ple (simul­ta­ne­ous) rela­tion­ships where­in your oth­er part­ners knew you were (or could have been) involved with some­one oth­er than them. You may also par­tic­i­pate in this sur­vey if you are (or were) involved with some­one who is/​was open­ly involved with oth­ers in addi­tion to your­self. If you open­ly prac­tice polyamory your par­tic­i­pa­tion is cer­tain­ly wel­come as well. Do note that the infor­ma­tion you share here will remain com­plete­ly anony­mous; your per­son­al answers will be dis­closed to no one. Please try to answer every ques­tion as best as you can. If a word or phrase could have more than one mean­ing, please inter­pret it accord­ing to your own usage. Pre­lim­i­nary results will be shared at the Soci­ety for the Sci­en­tif­ic Study of Sex­u­al­i­ty Meet­ing in San Diego on April 11, 2008. The prin­ci­ple inves­ti­ga­tor for this project is Anthropologist/​Sexologist Dr. Lean­na Wolfe who is based at Los Ange­les Val­ley Col­lege. She may be con­tact­ed at LAWolfe@aol.com.

Happy V-Day!

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Health, Holidays, Relationships | Posted on 14-02-2008

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Hap­py Valentine’s Day to all, whether you’re part of a cou­ple (tri­ad, quad, etc.) or not 🙂

Sam­bear brought home truf­fles and flow­ers! And iTunesi­ness! And then he went and cooked deli­cious steaks for din­ner!

My baby girl’s sweet­ie has mono. Ewww. They had to put off their spe­cial din­ner tonight ’til after he’s feel­ing bet­ter. Hope­ful­ly he’ll get over it more eas­i­ly than she did a few years back! Since she and I have had some sort of flu-thing that we caught from him, I know the poor guy is hav­ing rot­ten luck. Flu, then mono? Ick!

I spent a ridicu­lous amount of time look­ing at the pho­tos Char­lie over at The Dai­ly Coy­ote. I don’t think it would have occurred to me to call a coy­ote “cute,” until I saw this. He’s a very well-behaved coy­ote, raised with lots of help from a cat. ‘d love to show you one of Charlie’s pho­tos here, but I don’t want vio­late his Mom’s copy­right. Go look!

In the not-fun part of the world, the CDC says that at least 82 kids have died in the US play­ing “the chok­ing game.” I will admit that I ini­tial­ly assumed they were talk­ing about acci­dents involv­ing auto­erot­ic asphyx­i­a­tion, but those are actu­al­ly count­ed sep­a­rate­ly. Who­dathunkit?

The play­ers are most­ly ath­letes and well-behaved kids who want to get a “high” feel­ing with­out drugs or alco­hol. Those who have died were all play­ing alone. The researchers do state that the sta­tis­tics aren’t reli­able, because there’s not a sep­a­rate cat­e­go­ry for coro­ners to use to dif­fer­en­ti­ate sui­cide from a pos­si­ble “game” gone wrong, but the expec­ta­tion is that the prob­lem is being under­stat­ed rather than over­stat­ed.

I real­ly hope my daugh­ter knows that even tem­po­rary loss of oxy­gen to the brain can cause brain dam­age, but if she didn’t before, she will by tomor­row. She isn’t in the prime age group for this but of crazi­ness, but it’s eas­i­er to talk to your chil­dren than to bury them. I know, just 82 in how many years? But that’s 82 young peo­ple who might be alive if they’d had a bet­ter under­stand­ing of phys­i­ol­o­gy, at the very least.

Poetry: Michael Blumenthal

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Poetry, Reading, Relationships | Posted on 29-01-2008

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For my Sam

A Mar­riage
You are hold­ing up a ceil­ing
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, ter­ri­bly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceil­ing
will soon col­lapse.

But then,
unex­pect­ed­ly,
some­thing won­der­ful hap­pens:
Some­one,
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arm up
to the ceil­ing beside you.

So you final­ly get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flow­ing back
to your fin­gers and arms.
And when your partner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.

And it can go on like this
for many years
with­out the house falling.

From Against Romance: Poems by Michael Blu­men­thal, Pen­guin Books, 1988

I hate it when that happens

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Blogging, Family, Health, Home, News, politics, Relationships, Sex | Posted on 17-01-2008

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I had an entry almost com­plete­ly writ­ten, and it was good. Then I hit some­thing bad­ly with my numb hand, and my brows­er backed up a page. Now the entry is all gone. Yes, I should have saved some­time while writ­ing, but I was on a roll.

So you’ll have to set­tle for know­ing that I spent the day recov­er­ing from yes­ter­day but my body is still pis­sy at me. Oth­er­wise, I think the ACLU is very con­fused about what “pub­lic” means. Accord­ing to the APA, I am not myth­i­cal (which is a big relief), and researchers at the Uni­ver­si­ty of San Diego say that same sex rela­tion­ships may be health­i­er than oppo­site sex cou­plings. Final­ly, the Queen is firm­ly “low­er­ing the ‘chav’ fac­tor” at Roy­al Ascot, which is sure to make the world a far safer place. Or some­thing.

Romance and Roleplaying

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Family, Fun, Geekery, Relationships, RPGs | Posted on 12-01-2008

5

Sam has talked about this sub­ject in sev­er­al of his pod­casts, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried to address it. I may fail mis­er­ably, but I’ll try.

Sam and I had one of our twice-week­ly “date nights” tonight. That means that from about 7pm ’til we go to bed, we do noth­ing but have fun with each oth­er. The girl amus­es her­self oth­er­wise, or goes out, and we do what­ev­er we like. Usu­al­ly, that means we spend some time gam­ing.

The Three Love Systems From Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Reading, Relationships, Sex | Posted on 27-11-2007

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From today’s Delancey Place newslet­ter:

In the ter­rain of the human heart, sci­en­tists tell us, at least three inde­pen­dent but inter­re­lat­ed brain sys­tems are at play, all mov­ing us in their own way. To untan­gle love’s mys­ter­ies, neu­ro­science dis­tin­guish­es between neur­al net­works for attach­ment, for care­giv­ing, and for sex. Each is fueled by a dif­fer­ing set of brain chem­i­cals and hor­mones, and each runs through a dis­parate neu­ronal cir­cuit. Each adds its own chem­i­cal spice to the many vari­eties of love.

Social Intelligence by Daniel GolemanAttach­ment deter­mines who we turn to for suc­cor; these are the peo­ple we miss the most when they are absent. Care­giv­ing gives us the urge to nur­ture the peo­ple for whom we feel most con­cern. When we are attached, we cling; when we are care­giv­ing we pro­vide. And sex is, well, sex. …

The forces of affec­tion that bind us to each oth­er pre­ced­ed the rise of the ratio­nal brain. Love’s rea­sons have always been sub­cor­ti­cal, though love’s
exe­cu­tion may require care­ful plot­ting. … The three major sys­tems for loving—attachment, care­giv­ing, and sexuality—all fol­low their own com­plex rules. At a giv­en moment any one of these three can be ascendant—say, as a cou­ple feels a warm togeth­er­ness, or when they cud­dle their own baby, or while they make love. When all three of these love sys­tems are oper­at­ing, they feed romance at its rich­est: a relaxed, affec­tion­ate, and sen­su­al con­nec­tion where rap­port blos­soms. …

Neu­ro­sci­en­tist Jaak Pansepp…finds a neur­al corol­lary between the dynam­ics of opi­ate addic­tion and the depen­dence on the peo­ple for whom we feel our strongest attach­ments. All pos­i­tive inter­ac­tions with peo­ple, he pro­pos­es, owe [at least] part of their plea­sure to the opi­oid sys­tem, the very cir­cuit­ry that links with hero­in and oth­er addic­tive sub­stances. … Even ani­mals, he finds, pre­fer to spend time with those in whose pres­ence they have secret­ed oxy­tocin and nat­ur­al opi­oids, which induce a relaxed serenity—suggesting that these brain chem­i­cals cement our fam­i­ly ties and friend­ships as well as our love rela­tion­ships.

Daniel Gole­man, Social Intel­li­gence: The New Sci­ence of Human Rela­tion­ships, Ban­tam, © 2006 by Daniel Gole­man, pp. 18

Def­i­nite­ly a book that I intend to read! I found Emo­tion­al Intel­li­gence quite good, but had some­how missed this new­er book.

I strong­ly rec­om­mend the newslet­ter, which brings inter­est­ing excerpts from an incred­i­ble vari­ety of books to your mail­box every day.

What do you think? Is it all about the opi­ates? Do you have, or have you had, a romance in which all three sys­tems were go?

Reading

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Education, Family, Home, Homeschooling, Parenting, Reading, Relationships | Posted on 21-11-2007

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So, the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas want me to talk about what read­ing means to me or my child. How about both?
Katie reading
You might have noticed that I talk, a lot, about read­ing. I think Now Read­ing shows at least four five of the books that I’m read­ing right now, and that’s a fair­ly nor­mal num­ber. I don’t include my text­books, because they’d be there too long!

Read­ing is one of the things that I can still do, most of the time, despite the fibro and oth­er crap. I can’t always man­age to read on a screen, or fol­low some­thing like a text­book. For­tu­nate­ly, though, fic­tion by some of my favorite authors — espe­cial­ly an old favorite nov­el, like Part­ners in Neces­si­ty — is eas­i­er, and is a very good way to dis­tract myself from the pain for a while.

I haven’t talked about it much, but Katie has had increas­ing health prob­lems over the last year. Her migraines are no longer man­aged, despite tak­ing high lev­els of pre­ven­tive med­ica­tions. The res­cue med­ica­tions aren’t work­ing well because she has to take them too often. She had anoth­er round of sleep stud­ies, too, and a new neu­rol­o­gist has been try­ing dif­fer­ent med­ica­tions to help her get a decent night’s sleep (which should help the migraines and oth­er prob­lems). So far, any­thing that helps her sleep despite severe rest­less leg syn­drome leaves her zomb­i­fied the rest of the time. Provig­il, even tak­en twice a day, can’t keep her awake and aware enough to func­tion in school. She’s lit­er­al­ly sleep­ing like a cat, 14 – 18 or hours a day, just nev­er deeply. Her dark cir­cles have cir­cles, now.

But she can still read, too. Slow­ly, some days, and going back to re-read some pages, but she gets the same com­fort from it as I do. You know she’s mine when you real­ize that she’s nev­er with­out at least one, and often two, books in her purse.

I start­ed read­ing to her dur­ing my preg­nan­cy, along with talk­ing and singing and play­ing music for her. I read out loud to her from her first week out of the womb, too, some­times while breast­feed­ing, oth­er times while just being with her. She talked at an ear­ly age, and was very clear. She learned to read quick­ly, too, and has always been very opin­ion­at­ed (where did she get that?) about her choice of read­ing mat­ter. One of her favorite things about leav­ing the pub­lic school sys­tem was being free of that damned Accel­er­at­ed Read­er pro­gram and its ridicu­lous restric­tions!

It’s no sur­prise that I hope my nephews and niece are read­ers, too — although that’s far less like­ly, since their par­ents aren’t, real­ly. My broth­er used to brag that he’d nev­er read any whole book, even those assigned for class­es. (I nev­er under­stood that being a point of pride, even if he did get good grades.) My sis­ter has nev­er read any­thing that wasn’t required. I don’t know their spous­es very well, but I’m fair­ly sure they aren’t recre­ation­al read­ers, either. At least the grand­ba­bies have our moth­er (their Nana), who got me start­ed read­ing, and will sit for hours with any child, read­ing book after book (or the same book, over and over) patient­ly.1 I’m not close to my sib­lings, geo­graph­i­cal­ly or oth­er­wise, so I don’t have many chances to influ­ence the babies. I can give them books, though, and hope to catch their fan­cy so they ask to have them read!

Being a flu­ent read­er gives one more of an advan­tage that any oth­er skill you can give your child. Read­ers can use that skill to learn absolute­ly any­thing else. They can explore math, sci­ence, crit­i­cal think­ing, his­to­ry, cur­rent events, art — you name it. If you teach them to read, get them in the habit of doing so, and teach them to judge their sources well, you’ve giv­en them an incred­i­ble start on life.


1 Mom (and I!) did read to my sib­lings, but nei­ther of them ever want­ed to sit still long.

Solved! One Mystery of Geek Dating Problems

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Fun, Geekery, Humor, Relationships | Posted on 30-10-2007

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XKCD Strip 306 Orphaned Projects - His date works for Red Hat, who hired a coach for her, too. He advised her to 'Rent lots of movies like Hitch. Guys love those.'

Midnight? Already?

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Parenting, Relationships, RPGs | Posted on 29-10-2006

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Wow.

It’s been almost as fun lis­ten­ing to the kids (Katie’s gang, here for her birth­day par­ty) game as it would be to be part of a game myself. Maybe I will play Vam­pire some day. I sup­pose I’d trust Sam to run just about any­thing.

They’re watch­ing some­thing now — Mir­ror­mask, it sounds like. I couldn’t believe that her Wolfie hadn’t seen it, as it’s so very much her kind of movie.

The house is clean­er than it’s been in a coon’s age. I’ll mark that up to being large­ly (not quite) done with the semes­ter and to mak­ing prepa­ra­tions for the par­ty. Sam and Katie were both mar­velous about clean­ing up.

The girl has been so exhaust­ed that she missed dance yes­ter­day, so I was a bit wor­ried about her. She’s still going strong, though. She slept well past noon today! With her health con­cerns, she’s always run­ning at the edge of her ener­gy, even with catch­ing naps where she can, so I sup­pose her fatigue is to be expect­ed after she stayed out ’til (mum­ble­ty-mum­ble) Tues­day night/​Wednesday morn­ing.

Yes, on a school night. The one thing she real­ly want­ed for her birth­day was to go to the Dres­den Dolls con­cert, and the only night they were in town was a Tues­day. She man­aged a TMBG show on a week night last year with­out a stum­ble, so we final­ly gave in.

Some­where between the time I bought tick­ets online for an “all ages” show (back in August) and the time I picked up tick­ets on Sun­day, it changed to an “Adults only” show! Well, that was a sur­prise. I asked around a bit, and we decid­ed that we were still cool with her attend­ing. For­tu­nate­ly, she and her friends had no trou­ble get­ting in. The rea­son for the rat­ing was a bur­lesque show in the open­ing act. God­dess for­bid that teens see boo­bies in pasties!

I still remem­ber when birth­day par­ties were all-girl affairs with lots of pink­ness, games and bal­loons and crafts and squeal­ing. They weren’t bet­ter than this, by any means, but time does fly.

Sam is try­ing to lure me back onto Sec­ond Life now. Dread­ful man. I sup­pose we might as well go be even nerdier at this point.

The ManDiet

Posted by Cyn | Posted in Relationships | Posted on 28-06-2006

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I have referred to The Man Diet sev­er­al times as some­thing I have done and rec­om­mend. After explain­ing it sev­er­al times, I’ve decid­ed to write it up here and just refer peo­ple to the arti­cle.

I call it the Man Diet, but that’s real­ly a mis­nomer. It should be an SO Diet or Rela­tion­ship Diet or some­thing like that. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, so just take it as giv­en that I’m refer­ring to women, men or who­ev­er you would nor­mal­ly have romantic/​sexual rela­tion­ships with.

There was a time when I went from one rela­tion­ship to the next. If I didn’t have one or more SOs, I felt incom­plete. I didn’t have incred­i­bly healthy rela­tion­ships, but I was sel­dom alone! I derived much of my self-esteem from being in rela­tion­ships with oth­ers.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, that led to “set­tling” for peo­ple who didn’t real­ly meet the stan­dards I thought I want­ed in sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers, and often to accept­ing treat­ment that ranged from unpleas­ant to down­right abu­sive.

Right now, I do not tru­ly remem­ber what trig­gered the real­iza­tion that I’d nev­er have a tru­ly healthy rela­tion­ship if I felt that I absolute­ly had to have a rela­tion­ship with some­one oth­er than myself — that, in fact, cul­ti­vat­ing a healthy rela­tion­ship with myself, being com­plete in myself, was vital.

I didn’t think all that out so clear­ly at the begin­ning. I was just tired of the crap. I was tired of going from one rela­tion­ship to the next and hav­ing the same crap come up over and over again. I was tired of the mer­ry-go-round. I didn’t hon­est­ly count on hav­ing any more sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers. I just decid­ed that I was done. I swore off men for a year.

At the begin­ning of that peri­od, I felt anx­ious. I felt lone­ly. I felt more than a lit­tle des­per­ate, because hon­est­ly, I have nev­er been alone unless I chose to be that way. I’d spent my life using rela­tion­ships to avoid hav­ing to deal with my own issues in a deep way. If I hadn’t told sev­er­al friends what I was doing and asked them to help keep me hon­est, I don’t think I would have stuck with it.

In the next few months, I seemed to meet poten­tial SOs every time I turned around. It was tru­ly rain­ing men! That was dif­fi­cult. It was real­ly tempt­ing to just make a lit­tle excep­tion, because hey, he was just so nice! Or so smart, or fun­ny, or what­ev­er. But there’s noth­ing like true friends to kick your butt when you need it.

To be hon­est, I’ve nev­er had a prob­lem deal­ing with most prac­ti­cal things — bal­anc­ing check­books, basic home repairs, even sim­ple auto main­te­nance. I didn’t need a man to take care of any of that. No, I looked to SOs to keep me com­pa­ny, to keep me occu­pied, to suck up lots of ener­gy. I felt beau­ti­ful because they said I was, because they want­ed to be with me.

So I found oth­er ways to use my time and my ener­gy. I went out with friends as friends. I devel­oped new friend­ships that were much bet­ter because I wasn’t putting any­thing into won­der­ing whether or not the rela­tion­ship would move into oth­er areas. If nobody else want­ed to go see a par­tic­u­lar music event, I went alone.

I final­ly faced up to some of the issues I was avoid­ing when most of my ener­gy was going into inter­ac­tions with an SO — like why did I need a man around to feel worth­while? Why did I accept treat­ment that I wouldn’t want any of my friends to accept — that I had, in fact, told oth­er peo­ple to walk away from? Why wasn’t I hold­ing out for the kind of per­son I want­ed? Hell, why hadn’t I sim­ply become the per­son I want­ed?

While I was real­ly count­ing the days at first, by the end of that year I didn’t even real­ized it was done. I didn’t think about it until a cou­ple of months lat­er when a friend men­tioned it. Hey, it was over! I real­ized that I didn’t feel an urge to run out and start any­thing new. I was just fine with being me, with­out a man.

I won’t pre­tend that I’m all past all of that stuff. It comes back at times, but not near­ly as strong­ly. It’s much eas­i­er to insist on the kind of treat­ment I deserve from an SO, because I don’t fear being alone. I can be alone, and be hap­py. Not a prob­lem.

I think spend­ing at least a year alone as a tru­ly inde­pen­dent adult is a good idea for absolute­ly any­one. If pos­si­ble, live alone. Be sole­ly respon­si­ble for your­self finan­cial­ly. Devel­op a healthy social life that has noth­ing to do with whether or not you have an SO. Do any­thing you’ve been putting off. Were you wait­ing to take a vaca­tion until you had some­one to go with? Go now. Go back to school. Change jobs. Vol­un­teer. Learn to dance. Just do it, and enjoy it.

Dur­ing that year, prac­tice celiba­cy. That means not only do you not have SOs, but you don’t have “friends with ben­e­fits” or one-night stands. Just be with your­self. Hon­or your­self. Love your­self. Treat your­self as you would some­one you tru­ly trea­sure.

Tell some­body what you’re doing. Tell peo­ple you can trust to help you con­tin­ue on to your goal. If some­one isn’t sup­port­ive, dis­tance your­self from that per­son. I don’t care if that per­son is an imme­di­ate fam­i­ly mem­ber. You need to main­tain bound­aries, and you don’t need any­one tear­ing you down. Seek out new friend­ships with peo­ple who are sup­port­ive.

It may take some peo­ple longer than a year to get past the “ohmigod I’m gonna get old and be ALONE!” pan­ic. That’s fine. Take what­ev­er time you need. I promise that you will be health­i­er and hap­pi­er for it. The world, and all the men and women in it, will still be there when you’re ready.