There are a lot of different ways to have relationships, and a lot of names for the kinds of relationships we have; this is especially so in the land of ethical nonmonogamy. One of my favorite non-monogamous relationship designators has long been “comet.”
A comet is someone who isn’t a regular part of your orbit, but who appears intermittently to light up your sky before continuing merrily on their way back into the black. …
One thing that I’ve seen a lot of people really struggle with when they’re first starting out with the whole polyamory/ethical-nonmonogamy thing (and even when they’re not just starting out) is forming and maintaining healthy, positive relationships with their partners' partners.
There’s some good reason for that: those relationships can be complicated and can occasionally get pretty fraught. But I think a major cause of this challenge is that we don’t go into it with a good image of what that relationship is supposed to look like.
We know what a friendship looks like for us, and we know what…
— “I’ll never fall in love with you,” I warn them
Some laugh, some smile, some walk away
But what I mean is:
I will not love you more tomorrow than I did today
— My love is not a flame:
It will not scorch,
It does not smell of smoke or passion
It will not sweep through you like wildfire
— My love is a space heater:
Adjust it to your comfort
Put it away when the season isn't right
And dig it out when autumn falls
— My love is not a whirlwind:
It does not appear unbidden
So you have a new person and you’re trying to suss out whether not it’s a good idea to spend some naked time together. What do you ask each other?
Well, you’re both responsible people. You know to ask if they currently have other partners, and when the last time they got tested was, and how thorough their testing regimen is (because you know that you also need to get site-specific swabs done to be safe). …
You have not earned it. You aren’t special enough, or smart enough, or good enough, or needy enough, or pitiable enough to have extracted it from me. I do not like you enough to be kind to you, and there’s nothing you could do to change that. I am not so better off than you that I feel compelled to be kind, or so worse off that I feel compelled to curry your favor.
I have no duty to treat you with kindness or respect. I have no obligation to care about your wellbeing. I needn’t imagine your needs or…
These are dark days. As we sit at home, doing our daily risk assessments, doing our best to strike the balance between being responsible and staying sane, anxieties run rampant. Uncertainty abounds. The days blend together; the nights are dark and full of terrors; time loses all meaning. In short: we’re all struggling right now.
But what exactly is the shape of that struggle? What is the structure of our anxiety, of our fear? And how does knowing that help us? This one is pretty heavy on the philosophy, so let’s strap on in.
The philosopher Heidegger (who for all…
In the midst of the most disruptive global event we’ve seen in decades or generations, looking at where we are and how we got here, I’m struck by a thought I just can’t seem to shake.
The United States of America has enjoyed a long period of staggering prosperity, together with a concomitant period of growing wealth inequality. For a very long time now, with only a handful of exceptions, America’s ceilings have risen and its floors have fallen. Its focus has been hyperproductively narrow on some axes and self-destructively absent on others.
It’s become something of a truism that progressive groups self-sabotage with factionalism and backbiting and purity testing.
When any new progressive rises to prominence or gets some time on the mic, there’s an immediate clamor of “but they’re problematic!”, and the concomitant rejoinders of “there’s no perfect candidate,” or rough analogues. We do the work of tearing down our own ostensible champions.
Now, I’m not about to exhort you to accept problematic public figures or get behind platforms you don’t support just to spite the conservatives. …
If you’ve spent much time on various dating apps, especially if you have the “nonmonogamy” filter on, you’ll have come across a lot of profiles belonging to couples. Many of these, you may have noticed, share three traits: the pictures are almost exclusively of the woman, the profile is run by the man, and there’s a line in there somewhere about how they date or “play” together. Maybe the profile I’ve just described is yours.
Now, I’m not here to shit on unicorn hunters or couples who look like unicorn hunters.
I write a lot about how persistent, unexamined narratives lead us to do ourselves harm. Today, I want to turn to look at how certain persistent, unexamined narratives harm our society and some of its most vulnerable members.
In this piece, I’m going to be talking about sex work. Ultimately, the only people who can talk about sex work with any sort of intellectual or moral authority are sex workers themselves; I would encourage you to seek out those voices (and I’ll be providing some links throughout). …
Lawyer and translator of legalese into plain English. Also a cishet white dude trying to unlearn a bunch of baggage.