the story of a secondary

Well! Alright! O_O

I've mentioned that Clay has three partners that he sees about once a week each -- those people are me, Izzy, and Nikki, who I hadn't yet mentioned by name. While he and Izzy have a serious, ILU type thing, he and Nikki are more casual. She's married and IDs as open, not poly. Still, things have been getting more intense between she and Clay lately, so who knows.

Nikki and I are both going to an event that Clay is running tonight. I messaged him to ask if his bed was already spoken for afterwards. He said that Nikki had expressed an interest in being in it for a couple of hours before going back to her place for the night, but that maybe all three of us could share it. I said I would be interested... she and I certainly don't know each other well, but we worked together to set up for another event last week, she seems very nice, and she's definitely hot. He checked with her, and she's interested too. She actually might also be interested in our kinky-threesome scene idea, we're all going to talk about it.



I guess we'll see!

(is it weird that the pseudonym that I originally decided to give her was Veronica, but that seemed too long so, in my head, Nikki is her pseudonym nickname?)
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Follow-up to my last post --

The party that night was a learning-focused event, with a happy, diverse (always nice to see) crowd of people having fun and helping each other. Clay was still running the door when I arrived. Once he was free, he spent some time with me (we drew a small crowd), then spent some time with Nikki (they drew a large crowd, the stuff they were doing was much more unique and interesting, I don't have the skills for it yet). Good time management, Clay. ^_^

When his scene with Nikki was done and everyone else had cleared out of that particular room, Clay suggested that perhaps she and I would like to spend some time talking. We agreed that that seemed like an excellent idea, and he left us to it.

It was a great getting-to-know-you, negotiation conversation. I felt like we really laid everything on the table. She laid out a boundary or two relating to how she wanted to be touched, we each agreed that there were no jealousy issues to be concerned about. We spent a fair amount of time each discussing what we liked about our interactions with Clay (her dynamic with him is *very* different than mine). And we talked about the kinks we each wanted to engage in, and how we might manage to mesh them. It managed to be both a very relaxed and a very exciting talk.

All three of us went back to Clay's house. At first he was suggesting that we let go of one of the things Nikki had wanted to do, just for one evening, since it was going to make things more complicated. She and I were unanimous in insisting that we could incorporate it just fine, and I'm pleased to say that we were right. There was a lot of giggling, a lot of kissing. I went from thinking she seemed quite nice to actually really, really liking her... she was just so fun and playful and happy. :)

Suffice to say, we all had an excellent time. I may or may not post about it in more detail on my tumblr, I wrote her a message today asking if she'd mind if I did (in addition to Clay, another mutual acquaintance follows my blog, so I figured there was a chance she'd be uncomfortable with me describing our activities), and I'm waiting to hear back.

After it was all done, Clay walked her out, spent a few minutes taking to her (he reported back that she shared the same feeling as he and I did, that it was a splendid experience, and this was confirmed in a message she sent me the next day). Then he and I talked through what we'd done together before falling asleep in each other's arms.

In the morning, we made love. It was nothing but perfect, until about halfway through when he said something that I thought was out of line based on what we had discussed me being ok and not ok with. There was some blurriness there, it's not like he crossed a bright, red line, but I was still surprised and unhappy at the choice he'd made. He could tell immediately that I was upset and we paused what we were doing so he could apologize and we could spend a minute talking it out.

We kept fooling around after that, and parted very warmly, but the incident stuck with me. He messaged me a couple of hours later, and one of the first things he did was apologize again. I expended a lot of words explaining why, exactly, I'd been upset, and explaining my dilemma as to whether or not I wanted to ask him to never do that again. He took it on himself to pledge not to, which was really, in retrospect, what I think I'd wanted and needed -- for the issue of better protecting my limit around that particular topic to be something he actively chose, not something I had to request of him.

I'm still a little surprised at his mistake. But I also think I understand what he was thinking. Moreover, he's human... it's easy to paint him as perfect in my head when I've given him so much control over me, but nobody is. I'm proud of myself for speaking up, proud of him for admitting fault and taking responsibility for change, and proud of our relationship for being a safe space for us to talk about hard things. Can't wait to see him next week when he gets back from his trip.
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Well. Izzy took it upon herself to post on a public forum about what happened to her. I wasn't going to ask, but of course I'd been curious. Mainly, I'd wondered -- was it a client who hurt her or someone else?

Turns out it was a partner, someone she was living with in a triad. Mainly the abuse happened to her other partner and she ended up watching it. Lots of emotional badness, some physical near the end. She and the other partner finally left the abuser and live together just the two of them now.

I try to imagine how I'd feel, what I'd do if someone were hurting Gia or Davis or Clay. Then I stop trying to imagine that, because it's way too upsetting. :(
Davis IDs as straight. Not narrow in the least, but 100% with the only-liking-ladies-ever. This has always been just a little weird for me... since I don't feel entiiiiirely like a woman all the time (not like a man either, idek), it's felt sometimes like his love for me is conditioned on something that I only qualify for based on a technicality.

I've brought it up once or twice over the years but haven't made a big deal of it because I haven't wanted him to feel like I don't respect his orientation. The other night, in bed together, we had this conversation:
"So, you only like women."
"Could you like a woman with a penis?"
"It'd be kind of weird, it'd take some getting used to. But yeah, I think so."
[in a voice that conveyed that he wasn't sure why this was a big deal] "Yeah."
"So, you'd still love me if I had a penis?"
[a little annoyed at me now for being so dense] "Yes, I'm not *shallow*."

<3 <3 <3
Gia and I had a date to go to a class together on Sunday, with a couple of hours at my place budgeted afterwards. The class was pleasant. Afterwards, in my kitchen, I made us a snack and and we chatted about this and that. Finally, I asked the question that had been on my mind for days. I was pretty sure I knew the answer.

Me: "So, do you wanna go up to my room?"
Her: "Not this date, honey."


No, not ok.

Me: "So, I was thinking about it and I realized it's been more than 6 months since we had sex just the two of us, not in a threesome. And that makes me really sad."
Her: "... I hadn't realized it had been that long. :("
Me: "Do you think maybe you made a mistake? When you said all those things, at the dance party the other month, about desiring me again?"
Her: "No, that wasn't a mistake. It may have been stronger then because it was just starting but it's real."

She went on to tell me about how much anxiety she's been having recently. About how it's so much worse because I mean so much to her. How she had to force down multiple panic attacks to go on this date at all. How she's here because it's exactly where she wants to be but it's so hard. It's easy with Dexter because it doesn't mean anything in the end. They don't talk about feelings. He's moving out of the country some time this summer. She's very calm with him, and of course with Eric. So, when they're there it's easier to engage with me too.

She thinks I'm beautiful, she wants me, but she needs plenty of time to relax into my presence in order to be physical without freaking out, and we rarely have that time. Knowing how much it means to me makes it worse. Everything that makes it important, makes it meaningful, also makes it worse.

We talked about some things that could make it easier. Scheduling longer dates. Doing more S&M play (it both relaxes her and turns me on, kind of ideal). Being very explicit and specific about small steps (ex. "Would you like to cuddle and maybe make out a little?" instead of "Would you like to go to my room?"). She's going to try a new anti-anxiety medication soon, that may help.

We ended up cuddling on my bed and kissing a little as we talked things through, with the very clear understanding that nothing else was going to happen that evening. I drove her home, then hung out at her place for a while, and we continued to talk. We explored what makes this relationship worthwhile for her, for me. Is it too hard? In what ways is what we're going through similar to things she and Eric went through (a lot of ways, as it turns out)?

In the end, she said that she has to take it week by week, that she can't talk about the future of our relationship because she feels like her life changes too rapidly. I said that I accepted that, but that I have faith in her and in us, and would polygamously gay-marry her tomorrow if she wanted (and if that were legal). She smiled very sweetly at that.

That night, I wrote a very long tumblr post, reflecting on all the ways that I know she loves me and I love her. She re-blogged it and affirmed that she really does.

Oh, sweetheart. I wish I could take all your burdens from you. I only want to make your life better, never harder. I can't change the fact that touch is my primary love language, I can't pretend it doesn't matter to me and I know you wouldn't want me to. I hate the thought that I might make you feel pressured. I love you, love you so much. I believe that we will work through this. I believe that we will only get stronger. Things have already gotten so much better than they were a year ago or two years ago. I believe that we are worth it to each other. I love you.
Annabel, I really empathize with you. Best wishes.
I think it's awesome that you keep rolling with things, and fight down disappointment and focus on the good stuff. My primary love language is touch, and my husbands is anything but, so I think reading this latest post about Gia helps remind me that it's OK, if not ideal, to not be able to connect to partners in the way you want all the time.

Also *envy* at all the funsexytimes, I'm finally dating somebody who has some overlap in the kink interests I have, but I'm saturated at 3 partners and I'm even now more aware of all the things I like that I just might never get. I don't think you're not aware how lucky you are, but I just wanted to point it out again :D
Annabel, I really empathize with you. Best wishes.

Thanks, Evad.

Gia has an on-and-off physical condition that's exacerbated by stress. The other day, it went into overdrive to the point that it's kind of incapacitating her with pain. She should be better in a few days, but... ugh, wow, I know there's other stuff going on with her, that stuff with Eric stresses her out, that being unemployed stresses her out, but I also know that our conversation stressed her out a lot, and, yeah, guilt. :( I mentioned it, she said it was ok, that relationships have their needs. If I'd thought I might be contributing to the way she feels now, I would've found a different time/place/way to talk about it. :( :(
I think it's awesome that you keep rolling with things, and fight down disappointment and focus on the good stuff. My primary love language is touch, and my husbands is anything but, so I think reading this latest post about Gia helps remind me that it's OK, if not ideal, to not be able to connect to partners in the way you want all the time.

Also *envy* at all the funsexytimes, I'm finally dating somebody who has some overlap in the kink interests I have, but I'm saturated at 3 partners and I'm even now more aware of all the things I like that I just might never get. I don't think you're not aware how lucky you are, but I just wanted to point it out again :D

Thanks! Yeah, we're not always going to match up perfectly with our partners... it's one of the things that I like best about poly, feeling like it takes the unrealistic pressure off of a romantic relationship to be perfectly fulfilling in every way.

It would be impossible for me to forget how lucky I am. :)

I was thinking about Clay earlier today, and how I could half-believe that the universe just decided that we'd been doing good work lately, and gave us to each other as a mutual reward.

Three partners really IS enough, imho. That said, if more partners are off the table, one could still fit in a casual encounter every once in a while, eh? I do hope you can find a way to try the things you haven't yet tried.
At my suggestion, Clay and I are experimenting with anal play. I just posted about our first foray in great detail on my tumblr. It's... wow. I didn't expect to enjoy it so much. Afterwards, I felt so incredibly close to him. Like if I found just the right way to line my body up with his and hold him, we'd click together like two puzzles pieces.

As we were falling asleep, I started touching him, running my hands along his body, gently squeezing, exploring, taking his skin between my teeth and applying just enough pressure for him to feel me doing it, running my fingers through his hair and holding without pulling. I asked him, as I started doing these things, if it was ok, and he told me it was wonderful, that it made him feel sexy and loved. Every inch of him is so precious to me.

Occasionally it still feels crazy to feel so much love and devotion for someone I've known for two and a half months. Mostly, though, it just feels good. I know I'm still idealizing him, and this, I must be. This is NRE still, and it'll mellow in time. For now, though... the way he laughs, the way his mind works, the attention he pays to things, the way he says my name, how fucking skilled he is at the things he's set his mind to, the way I can see the tension melt out of him when I touch him, how grateful he is for it, how much focus and intensity he gives me...

Just, wow y'all.
Just because I feel like I'm not done talking about him:
His eyes are more than one color at once.
He's short, very short for a man, actually just a little shorter than me and I'm short for a woman.
His build is slight but well toned. He's strong and flexible, but he's not heavy and solid the way so many men are.
His skin is fair and smooth and patterned with beautiful freckles, especially over his shoulders.
His hair is soft and fine, sandy-blond, cropped to a couple of inches.
He speaks softly. He has a lot of thoughts, but he doesn't chatter. He pays close attention and he says what he means.
He loves me.
He loves me.
He loves me.
Last night, I accepted a last-minute invitation to watch Bee while Gia and Eric went to see a show that she had worked on the technical aspects of (got paid and everything!). For once, I didn't have anything else planned on a Saturday evening, so I was very happy to jump in, very happy to see Bee, very happy that she got a chance to see her work in action. Bee had his fussy moments, but on the whole he was delightful, randomly kissing me, flopping on top of me when we were lying in bed together.

When G&E got back, Gia was in so much pain from the condition she's been dealing with that she could barely focus. It was pretty upsetting to see her like that, though I kept my reaction under control, not wanting to make her feel worse. A day in severe pain is bad enough. Five days straight? Not ok. She's taking a LOT of pain medication (under a doctor's supervision), and it's not helping. I know it's not "my fault" just for mentioning that I had unmet needs, but there's a part of me that feels awful nonetheless, knowing that I did contribute to the stress that's put her where she is right now.

It's so odd, to have such wildly conflicting feelings in two of my relationships right now -- deep and settled love, lack of physical fulfillment, sadness and guilt and concern in one VS. new and evolving love, intense physical fulfillment, happiness and pride and excitement in another.
I've mentioned here, very briefly, that Clay has done sex work before. I didn't ask him much about it at first.

Izzy, the partner he's been with the longest, has been an escort for five years. I was totally cool with that in theory, but when Clay brought up the possibility of us going barrier-free at some point, my immediate reaction (not that I said it to him in this way, exactly...) was "NO WAY I WILL GET ALL THE DISEASES BECAUSE OF IZZY." So then, in an attempt to be the rational, non-prejudiced person I like to imagine myself to be, I had to slowly back off from that reaction and examine it objectively. I still don't know if I'll choose to go barrier-free with Clay or not, and don't feel rushed about the decision, but I've done a lot of reading and learned a LOT about STI transmission rates, it's been very interesting.

I've also had to confront some prejudice that I didn't know I had. When I thought about Izzy's work more deeply, really imagined her with her clients, I had some icky feelings. I've been attempting to understand more about her line of work in order to see how much of those feelings have anything at all to do with my real beliefs, and how many are just lingering prejudices that come from being raised in a society that paints sex workers as disposable, dumb, damaged, disease-ridden jokes. I've been reading blogs written by escorts, and finding great resources like this video -- it's SO GOOD, if you're at all interested in this topic I highly recommend it --

I've slowly felt the vast majority of those icky feelings sloughing off, it's been nice. It's still not an occupation I would choose for myself, but, then, there are LOTS of jobs that I wouldn't choose to do if I had other options available.

I told Clay about the reading I'd been doing, and it prompted a larger conversation. He told me more about the sex work he'd done -- very occasional pro-dom stuff, involving some sexual activity, all for one particular male client. An odd-job that he'd stumbled into, basically, one that he found taxing but not entirely un-enjoyable, and that paid very well. The last time he'd seen the guy was in the fall, many months before we'd met.

Well, as it happens, Mr. Client contacted him again just the other day. And he's going to make the appointment. So, I'm now no longer dating a former sex worker who also dates a sex worker, I'm actually dating an active sex worker (if one who only works every once in a great while).

I'm really, really, really, really glad I did all of that reading and working on my thoughts and feelings before Mr. Client got back in touch. 0_0

I'm curious to see how much he'll want to tell me about the appointment.
What I need to know afterwards -- if he's ok.
What I want to know afterwards -- every single detail.
The ideal amount of information for me to know afterwards -- whatever he wants to share.
FWIW, there are, apparently, a (very) few escort agencies that are actually legit, where the women are expected to be dates and no sex takes place. And they prefer to hire ordinary-looking women, instead of the sexy models with fake boobs you usually see in escort ads, so that they are believable as wives and gf's for these men who (hard to accept that this still happens these days) are pressured in their careers to be "settled down" and straight. I've looked and gotten a lead, but have not found a way to contact this one that was recommended.

I just thought you might find that interesting.
FWIW, there are, apparently, a (very) few escort agencies that are actually legit, where the women are expected to be dates and no sex takes place. And they prefer to hire ordinary-looking women, instead of the sexy models with fake boobs you usually see in escort ads, so that they are believable as wives and gf's for these men who (hard to accept that this still happens these days) are pressured in their careers to be "settled down" and straight. I've looked and gotten a lead, but have not found a way to contact this one that was recommended.

I just thought you might find that interesting.

I do. I've found that thinking hard about sex work prompts me to think hard about work in general -- the different ways that we sell our time and our bodies and our selves.
I do. I've found that thinking hard about sex work prompts me to think hard about work in general -- the different ways that we sell our time and our bodies and our selves.

Regarding work (of any kind), I strive to live by the words of Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet: Work is love made visible.
My life is crazy this month. I'm rehearsing non-stop for an upcoming play, dealing with stressful stuff at work, prepping for a weekend kinky camping trip with Clay, planning a week-long solo trip out of state next month. It feels like almost too much. The solo trip will be good for me, I think. An opportunity to recharge, relax, and spend quality time with my primary partner, the one person who I know will always be with me... myself. :)

What about my other partners, then?

Davis joined me and Bee on a trip to the diner the other day. It was the first time that he and Bee have spent any length of time together. He did a good job of helping out, and Bee was well-behaved. It was a big deal for me, because in the past he's avoided Bee like the plague -- he dislikes babies -- and I didn't like feeling like those two parts of my life couldn't intersect. Yay!

I find myself thinking of Davis more as a best friend lately than as a pseudo-partner. He told me, very calmly, that if Clay and I stopped using barriers then he and I would need to start using them again. All I could think was that perhaps in some way that might help him move on, and that that would be a good thing. *sigh* Still not sure if I'm doing the right thing by staying in his life. I wish I could look into an alternate universe in which I'd cut off all contact with him, and see whether he'd be better or worse off in the long run. I know that's a pointless thought.

Gia and I have a date coming up this weekend. We'll have a nice, long chunk of time together. I'm very much looking forward to it, and feel unconcerned about the question of whether or not we'll have sex. Maybe that'll change as the date gets closer, but for now it's good to feel like it's really just about spending time with her.

This past weekend, at the dance night we go to, she gripped my jaw hard and spun me around, kissed my deeply, manipulated my body. I felt intoxicated by her nearness and her force. She's feeling better physically, which is a huge relief.

Clay and I went about a week and a half without seeing each other, and I was so busy that I didn't really have time to miss him. It was nice to anticipate seeing him next without feeling like I was aching over it.

We finally saw each other last night, at a small kink event he runs. Both of his more serious partners, Izzy and Nikki, were there, along with some of his more casual play partners as well. Once again, I felt like he did a great job of splitting his time and focus. We did some fun, relatively mild kinky things together, and also just lazed around and chatted with his friends.

I spent some time talking to Izzy's live-in partner, June, and we got along very well. I've gotten along well with all of Clay's friends and partners so far, actually, he has good taste. :) I was really impressed, at this particular event, to see that one person could have so many of "their people" in one place without it seeming overwhelming. Everyone just has their own things going on... Clay is a part of their lives, whether large or small, but he's not a critical centerpiece, and this seems to work out well for all involved. The interconnected-ness within this scene (one could say incestuousness) coupled with the lack of drama (that I've seen yet, anyway) is a truly beautiful thing.

After the event, we all went back to Izzy and June's place and hung out for a little while. Izzy's other partner, Royce, was there too (I seem to know quite a number of people with three main partners each these days... three is the magic number, it seems!). Everyone was just so smiley and relaxed, and we had plenty of interesting things to talk about (mutual interests, politics, local news). Izzy seemed especially eager and sincere in her attempts to connect with me. I really appreciated that, but I was also really tired, so I'm not sure if I showed it or not. I look forward to hanging out with her (and June and Royce) more at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Clay and I went back to his place together that night. On the drive, he said how happy it makes him to feel that what we have together is really "A Thing -- capital A, capital T". So cute!!! XD

It's funny, I've always thought he was hot, but he's become absolutely gorgeous to me as our bond has deepened. I told him this and he reacted with embarrassment. I let it go at the time, as it was very late and we were both tired. The next day, though, we talked some more and it came up. He thanked me for my compliments, and shared a very personal childhood story related to his difficulty in believing that he could possibly be attractive. His vulnerability with me makes me feel so protective and even more deeply in love (who knew that this could continue to get deeper??).

Hopefully, he and I will have a just-us date this weekend -- I'm waiting for confirmation from him that he'll be free. And then, of course, as I mentioned in my opening paragraph, we'll be camping together for a couple of nights in just two and a half weeks -- fuck, it'll be so good to fall asleep and wake up with him multiple nights in a row.
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It's different, being with someone who has so many people in their intimate network (I'm talking about Clay, in case you couldn't guess). When I think about the other people he's involved with, I feel... hmmm, it's complex. A drop of jealousy/envy (he's seeing that person that night? but what if I'M free that night? I'm not, but what if...), a hint of fear (will he still be as interested in me if he starts getting more interested in someone else?), and a lot of curiosity (who are they? what do they care about? what do they give to him, what do they get?).

These aren't intense feelings, mostly I'm quite chill, but they are occasionally... distracting. Getting closer to Clay's other partners seems to help. Sleeping with Nikki, hanging out with Izzy, both seem to have accomplished the same effect of making them more like real human beings to me, rather than simply mysterious figures that take up space in the life of this man I love.

It's an interesting lifestyle that we're all living. I guess you could call it solo poly? Or just non-hierarchical poly? It feels a bit like living on the edge -- no safety net of a life partner who's promised to have you and hold you, through sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, as long as you both shall live, nor even the goal of finding one. No set schedule, no long list of rules. Just a web of independent people, living and loving and touching, holding each other tightly and then letting go, over and over.
I feel like I've introduced a number of new characters pretty quickly lately, and that that might make this confusing to read. So! Here are two hopefully-not-too-identifying facts about each of the people in my signature line, in order to help flesh them out (and because it was just fun to make this list).

Annabel: Hairy for a female-bodied person. Bikes a lot.
Gia: Curvy like woah (aw yeah). Possesses a strong sense of social justice.
Clay: Was in a band for many years. Will call you out if you deserve it.
Davis: Has a floppy mohawk. Former military.
Eric: Strong cheekbones. Rarely smiled before he became a father.
Bee: Blond and blue-eyed. Loves all doggies unreservedly.
Dexter: Developing a bald spot. Likes to send long, poetic text messages.
Helen: Queen of the shy smile. Doesn't seem to quite believe it when people are nice to her.
Izzy: Tall and slim, like a bean pole. Kind to stray animals.
Nikki: Perky and bouncy. Dislikes cats.
June: Broad-shouldered. The biggest nerd you may ever meet.
Royce: Pleasantly rotund. Usually stoned.
I appreciate the cast list, although I wasn't having trouble following the show :)

Just wanted to say--as a fiction writer and teacher, I am really impressed by your character descriptions in this list! Quirky & original physical traits paired with quirky & original personality bring these people to life in two short phrases. Like a good author should! I could use something like this as an example in my creative writing classes. Good job!

And thanks for this blog. I admire how you're living your life and the success you're having.