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consentToday, I attended a Consent Workshop by The Consent Crew. There were some interesting discussions amongst the attendees and organizers about some great topics.  I want to reiterate some of the points that I feel are most relevant based on my experiences over the past two decades.

IT’S OK TO SAY NO

How many of you are guilty of trying to giggle your way out of an uncomfortable situation just to be polite?  And how many of you have compromised your own boundaries just to wake up the next morning filled with regret?  Western cultural values have taught us to be excessively polite, but that shouldn’t be at the cost of your own personal boundaries.  If somebody is doing something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say no.  And, although you don’t have to justify your reason for saying no, saying it in a way that is polite and respectful will go a long way towards diffusing what could become a confrontational situation over hurt feelings.  Here are some of my favourite ways to say no:

  • No thank you (smile on face).
  • Thanks for offering but not at this time.
  • I’m not into that, but thanks anyway.
  • You seem like a great person but I’m not interested. Thanks anyway.

 

IT’S OK TO HEAR NO

When you hear no, you may feel hurt, rejected and generally bad.  Why?  Because our culture has taught us that “no” is a bad word when in reality, “no” is just somebody’s way of expressing their own personal boundaries.  Usually, the no you are hearing has very little to do with you and everything to do with the person saying it.  Perhaps they are there for a different reason than you.  Maybe the timing is just off.  Or, it could be as simple as they like blonds, and you’re a brunette.  Whatever the reason, remind yourself…“getting a no is no big deal”.   Here are some of my favorite ways to respond gracefully to “no”:

  • I’m not hearing a clear yes so I’ll take that as a no.
  • No problem.
  • Thanks for letting me know. I appreciating knowing your boundary.
  • Thanks anyway.

 

GET CONSENT

Obvious right?  Easier said than done.  Consent is complicated.  Often, expectations surrounding consent are firmly rooted in cultural values, gender values, family values, or even the environment we are in at the time.  At Club Eden, the expectations are framed by the use of signage, marketing, and agreements.  This is a great foundation for consent.  But even with all of this, there is still room for interpretation based on an individual’s unique perspective formed over the course of a lifetime.  This is why it is also important to say no when you feel like your personal boundaries are being compromised.  In my experience, most people want to do the right thing and DON’T want to maliciously or deliberately compromise your boundaries.  They just don’t realize they are doing it.   Here is one of my favorite personal stories to reflect how cultural expectations can create a misalignment between boundaries:

While working in an office environment, one of the long term vendors and friends of the owner approached me saying “it’s nice to finally meet you”.  He then stepped in and gave me a hug and then a kiss on my left and right cheek.   My background is British and back then, I was a bit of a cold fish.  His background is South American and to not step in with a light hug and kiss on the cheeks would be considered an insult.  He didn’t get my consent but conversely, because of his cultural values, he didn’t think he had to.   This illustrates a great example of how easily consent boundaries can be accidentally crossed.

When at Eden, remember these four points to help you navigate consent:

  1. Play within the rules of the framework provided (signs, agreements, marketing messages).
  2. Politely say no when your boundaries are being crossed;
  3. Politely hear/accept no when somebody tells you.
  4. If your no is not being heard, then it’s ok to find the organizer or one of the staff to help you diffuse the situation.

When attending other sex positive events remember to familiarize yourself with their unique framework.

I hope this article helps you find your voice for consent.  Play safe, have fun and respect your own boundaries and the boundaries of others.

Eve, Founder of Club Eden and Co-author of Sex Get Over It

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If you’re considering ANY type of open relationship, or are already knee deep in one, Opening Up – A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino is a must read.  The book gives clarity on the different styles of open relationships from partnered non-monogamy to swinging to polyamourous to mono/poly combinations and everything in between.

You’ll learn how to design your open relationship, strategies for survival, how to overcome common challenges, tips for coping with jealousy and and other itense feelings, and you’ll read about the experiences of other couples along the way.

Although this book is not a step by step how to guide, it will give you great insight into the bigger picture complete with lots of “aha” moments and “ohhh…that makes sense” realizations.  By the time you’re done this book, you’ll be armed with all the terminology and insight you need to map out your journey.  You’ll have a better understanding of what makes an open relationship work, what doesn’t and potential pitfalls to avoid.  But of course, given the nature of the content, this book is best read together.

Buy now from Chapters.ca.

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If you and your partner have decided to take the plunge and invite other play partners into your fantasy realm, you absolutely MUST read my “8 simple rules to enjoy safer sex in an open relationship…”

Rule #1 – Don’t floss your teeth.

Don’t tell your dentist I said this, but please don’t floss your teeth within 24 hours of playing with a new partner.  If you’re going to be engaging in oral sex (which most of you likely will), flossing the teeth opens up the gums and provides a direct line to the bloodstream which can put you at risk for some of the nastiest STIs including HIV.

Rule #2 – Learn how to put on a condom.

If you’ve been in a monogamous relationship for a while and haven’t had to put on a condom, you may actually be out of practice. It’s important that you put the condom on the right way to minimize the risk of the condom breaking and to ensure that it’s not overlooked in the heat of the moment.  And ladies, don’t just leave this up to the guy.  You’re equally responsible for recognizing potential hazards to avoid putting yourself at risk.    Click here to learn the right way to put on a condom.

Rule #3 – Get tested every year.

Once you’ve chosen to be non-monogamous, do the responsible thing…get tested for STIs annually to be aware of your personal sexual health and that of your partner.  Some STIs have no visible symptoms, but many can be cured on early detection or at least managed to mitigate the risk of serious infection or transmission to your primary partner.  www.STDresource.com has a clinic finder that lists STD clinics in BC.

Rule #4 – Wear gloves – they’re smooth as silk.

For many, the use of gloves during sex may be reminiscent of your last trip to the doctor, but despite their unattractive appearance, they actually come with some easily overlooked, very sexy benefits.  Not only do they protect your sex partners from tears, fissures and rashes caused by hang nails and calluses, they actually feel better than the naked hand.   Add a couple of drops of lube and they will feel smooth as silk when you run them along ALL the naughty bits…perfect for hand jobs and penetration.  Oh, and don’t forget, putting on a fresh glove is so much faster than running to the bathroom to do a wash-up when you’re in the middle of that sexy threesome and want to pleasure more than one partner at the same time.   And that brings me to my next rule – don’t double dip!

Rule #5 – Don’t double-dip.

And I’m not talkin’ about a lottery ticket here.  When you’re in the middle of that sexy threesome, foursome or moresome, most get the condoms right when it comes to penile penetration, but regretfully, they forget about the other body parts…particularly hands.  Hands are on him, hands are on her, hands are in her and then before you know it, they’re in a different her along with the body fluids of her #1…ack!  Guys, please wash your hands vigorously with antibacterial soap before double dipping.  Or better yet, see rule #4.  And gals, if you don’t know where your play partners hands have been, ask politely, or have him wear a glove…trust me…you’ll be in ecstasy (safely) and won’t even notice the glove.

Rule # 6 – Trust your senses.

Look – Before playing look for any open sores, blisters or rashes around the genital area, anal area or mouth.  These can be possible signs of STIs and are not worth the risk.

Smell – if it smells funky, it probably is…and even if it’s not an STI…why would you want to take the chance.

In either of these situations, find a way to politely remove yourself from the situation.  If you’re too shy to say something or ask, then it’s still safer to find a polite excuse than to just “grin and bare it”. My favorite..”Sorry, I have to hit the ladies room…darn bladder always gets me at the most inopportune time”!

Rule #7 – I’ll be damned!

Dental dams aren’t just reserved for the dentist anymore.  There’s another type of dental dam on the block that’s perfect for safe oral sex.  A dental dam is a small protective sheet that’s made from the same material as condoms.  It’s lightweight, easy to use and comes in different colors, flavours and scents just like condoms.

As always, when trying a new safety “toy” for the first time, practice on your primary partner first and become a sexpert to avoid any of those awkward moments with arms length play partners.   Simply place the dam over her naughty bits to maximize your protection during oral sex.  Add a little bit of lube to the under side and voila…you’ll have her screaming in ecstasy in no time.  And if you want to increase her pleasure and have more control, have her hold the dam in position leaving your hands free to wander.

Rule #8 – Tell your partner EVERYTHING!

The biggest risk to your personal health, safety and well being will be when your partner finds out that you’ve been hiding something from them.  “Relationship” is the most important word in “open relationship”.  It’s about experiencing this together so be sure to tell the one you love everything.

Now have fun…and play SAFE!

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Without question one of the most popular fantasies amongst our readers is a threesome. For whatever reason, this is the fantasy that appears safest and easiest to comprehend and therefore the one many choose to explore first.

If you are looking to fulfill a Threesome fantasy, remember that it is possible that the play partner you’re interested in is attached to someone.  Convincing that fantasy partner to join you and your partner for a ménage-a-trois may be tricky business.  While there are couples that are OK playing apart or having different play opportunities, the last thing you want to do is make their partner feel like they aren’t good enough to participate or that they “just don’t do it” for you.

Before approaching a prospective threesome play partner, rehearse your “pick-up” lines first and ask yourself how you would feel if you were approached in this manner.  Remember to always focus on the positive/sexy aspects of what does work for you rather than pointing out what doesn’t work for you about the other person, or if you’re new to the scene, simply stick to the facts by communicating your limits and where you’re at.

Consider the following statements when negotiating a threesome fantasy:

(assume some flirting and conversation has already occurred to break the ice and you’re now ready to propose/negotiate your fantasy)

Statement A:
My partner and I are really turned on by you (looking at female partner) and would love to play together.   We’re just not sure we’re attracted to your partner.  Do you (female partner) want to go upstairs for a threesome?

Statement B:
My partner and I find you to be a very sexy couple.  We would love to head upstairs together, however, we’re not sure that we’re ready for a foursome quite yet.  We’re wondering whether or not the two of you play separately or only together?

In statement A, there is a good chance that you may offend the male partner and that he will feel excluded.
In statement B, there is a much better chance that both partners will feel included and sexy, plus, you are able to communicate your fantasy in a non-threatening way by asking about the other couple’s play styles.

If someone were to approach you and your partner for a threesome, which statement would you rather hear?  If you chose option A, then you’re on the road to creating a long list of offences.  If you chose option B, then you’re well on your way to fulfilling your fantasy of a threesome, and making new friends.  Just be sure to try this approach during your next encounter and of course…have fun!

Follow up feedback worth sharing…

We recently received the following additional suggestion from one of our readers and thought it was worth sharing.  Thanks NinjaCouple!

“I enjoyed your sex ed post regarding threesomes company… and Tricky Business. I wanted to provide some of my own possible advice as approaching someone inside a couple is difficult but I’ve successfully worked this situation before and think this tactic could help others out there. As you’ve stated, you don’t want to alienate or offend the fourth partner especially as it will generally ruin your ability to fulfill this fantasy. My recommendation would be to add a third way to approach this situation… when approaching someone who is part of a couple and only wanting the threesome for whatever reason I would suggest inviting that fourth person but to be an observer. Many times a foursome is enjoyable for some not just to play but watching their partner be pleasured… Why not invite them to watch their partner in a threesome fantasy show? This includes him, allows him to be in the room and near his partner and provide some added comfort while also not physically including the extra person until you’re ready for that experience. Just my thoughts on experiences I have had and some possible ways to improve the likelihood of fulfilling this fantasy.   Have a great night –NinjaCouple

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Have you ever felt that pang of jealousy over the cute waiter at the restaurant who seems to be “flirting” with your partner?  Have you ever found yourself fuming at a request from hubby to go to the peeler bar for a night out with the boys?  Or, do you ever wish that just once, your partner would get off the internet and spend some time with you?

If so, then you’re like millions of other Canadians who have come face to face with the big Green Eyed Monster – JEALOUSY!   Jealousy typically rears its ugly head when it finds a gap in your personal armour.  It finds your weakness and takes control of your emotions.

But alas, you have the power to take control back and even slay the monster…with the right weapons!  If you find yourself being overcome by jealousy, you need to get past the volatile emotions at the surface and dig deep to understand the root cause of your anger and hurt.

For example, it may be possible that you’re feeling jealous over your partner’s harmless flirting because he or she never shamelessly flirts with you anymore.  Or perhaps, you don’t want your partner to watch exotic dancers because you perceive that to mean your partner finds them more attractive or more appealing than you when in truth that thought never crossed his mind.  Or maybe you want your partner to get off the internet because you just want to spend more time together.   So in truth, jealousy is not about the other person or object of your partner’s interest.  It’s actually a sign that you just need a little more of your partner’s time, love, desire, attention, shameless flirting, or otherwise.

When you take control of jealousy by understanding the root cause, you can communicate your needs to your partner rationally.   For instance, when jealousy takes over, you might be inclined to demand that your partner not go and watch strippers and your partner may react by saying “you’re just trying to control me”.   But when you’re in control and understand the root cause, you may be more inclined to tell your partner that it hurts your feelings when he goes to watch strippers because you feel he doesn’t find you attractive anymore, and that it would help you feel more sexy and confident if he could express his desire for you more openly.

In the second statement, you have something tangible that you both can work with.  The real issue is not about your partner going to see strippers, but is in fact that you are feeling less attractive to your partner.  So what can you both do to resolve the true issue?  Perhaps you can put on your own sexy little strip tease at home while your partner watches, all the while showering you with attention and telling you how sexy you are.  Or simply having your partner tell you daily how hot you are and what they find attractive about you will help to rebuild confidence.

Over time, as you become more confident from the extra attention, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be more comfortable with your partner going to watch exotic dancers.  In fact, you may even want to go with him.  Because you’ll know with certainty that your partner finds you attractive in every way and you’re not going to lose him to a 10 minute piece of eye candy on stage.

Whatever you do, it will be critical that you both work together.  If you’re the one feeling jealous, you are responsible for understanding the root cause and effectively communicating it to your partner in a manner that is tangible and does not lay blame.  If you are the partner, you will need to be open to listening, and may need to overemphasize the positive statements and actions as an investment in your partner’s confidence.   And both of you together are responsible for coming up with fun and creative solutions.

But remember, the green eyed monster is always lurking.  The amount of time it takes to build up your arsenal will depend on how long you’ve been feeling this way, how much resentment has built up and what caused the feelings to begin with.  Just remember to communicate openly, honestly and always in the positive to slay the green eyed monster and overcome jealousy once and for all.

Eve

Eve is the founder of Sugar, Spice and Sex Advice and the co-founder of Club Eden – A Fantasy Club for Couples.  She is a professionally trained communicator with over 14 years experience managing sensitive issues for major national clients and has spent the past three years focusing on the realm of couples and relationships.  She is dedicated to helping couples achieve healthy, happy, sexually satisfying relationships through effective communication, education and sexploration.

***Sugar, Spice and Sex Advice proudly supported by Club Eden – A Fantasy Club for Couples***

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The illustrious “threesome” fantasy  is one that many dream about, but most just don’t know where to begin.  In fact, 95% of the hundreds of people who have taken my open relationship seminar admit that they’ve had the fantasy of a threesome – yes, I know it’s not a random sample, but an indicator none-the-less.   While only 23% of Canadians have admitted to actually having a threesome according to the “2005 Durex Global Sex Survey

This article will cover off the basic techniques for fulfilling your fantasy of a threesome (from a couple’s perspective).  To begin with, I’ve made the assumption that you and your partner have already discussed this fantasy and have agreed that you are both willing to fulfill it together (if you haven’t already had the open discussion, stay tuned for an upcoming article on “How to know if you’re ready for an open relationship”).  For starters, if you’re hoping to have a threesome simply because you’re not sexually satisfied in your current relationship, a threesome is NOT the answer.  It will only lead to heartache.  Bringing a third person into your fantasy play can be highly erotic, but it can also result in insecurities if not done right.

Step I: Communicate, Communicate, Communicate some more

Once you’ve both agreed that you’re turned on by the fantasy of a threesome and would like to move forward, remember to keep the lines of communication open at all times.   Start by defining very clear expectations.  For example, some couples have a no kissing rule or no penetration rule.  Others have a rule that threesomes must happen offsite (ie. not in their own home).  While others are uncomfortable with the fantasy partner staying the night.  Whatever rules you set, DO NOT break them.  But remember, rules can be refined over time so long as the lines of communication remain open.  In addition to having clearly defined rules, it will be critical that your partner feels like #1 and that they rock your world!  To help overcome fears and insecurities, you need to go above and beyond the call of duty.  Remind them every day how much they mean to you, how hot they are and how much you are turned on by them, and of course, never ever take them for granted.  And if this seems a little onerous, you’re right, it is, but it is by far the best investment you can make in your relationship when you’re considering bringing someone else in for fantasy play.   The final part of communication is non-verbal.  When you make a threesome connection, be sure to make regular eye contact with your partner during the moment of passion.  There’s nothing hotter than looking into your partners eyes wile he or she is being pleasured by another partner.  It will create an unbreakable intimate bond and you’ll feel as though your partner is thinking only of you.

Step II: Break the Ice

Whether you’re trying to pick up a female for an FFM threesome, or a male for an MMF threesome, “breaking the ice” is generally the toughest part of the pick up.  But when you’re a couple making a pick up, your wife is the best “wingman” you’ll ever have.  Here’s why…from the day you gentlemen were born, you learned everything you could about how to pick up chicks and “get in their pants”.  All the while he ladies were learning all the different ways to shut you down.  So when a lady in a club sees a guy walking towards her, she’s often already predisposed to turning you down.  But when she sees another lady heading towards her in the bar, she thinks nothing of it.    Now imagine the reaction when the wife heads on over to “break the ice” with your potential new fantasy partner.  She saunters over and starts a conversation that is as simple as this…”Oh, I love that top you’re wearing.  Where did you get it?…” and bam, before you know it, the door is open and the two ladies are chatting like old school mates.  As the conversation swells, the gentleman heads over and the wife makes the introduction into the conversation.  As the conversation progresses, you can always ask to buy her a drink, or to join you both on the dance floor.  Now that you’ve broken the ice, it’s up to you to use your charm, sex appeal and wit to get her to go home with you.

Now if you’re trying to pick up a guy for an MMF threesome, once again, we still recommend sending in the lady.  Gentlemen are used to having to take the lead in the pick up scene so when a lady approaches him confidently and picks him up, he tends to be much more open and you’ll likely be able to bring up the topic of a threesome more quickly than with a lady.  His biggest concern will be about being in the same room with another guy so depending on your preferences, be ready to stick handle those questions right up front.

Step III: It’s all in the Numbers

Most people are generally so afraid of getting rejected that they simply don’t ask and they miss out on the opportunity.  But honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen?  So they say no and look at you like you’re a complete pervert.  Does it really matter.  You’re not trying to find someone for a relationship.  You clearly already have a fantastic and secure relationship  because you’re out on the town with the person you love the most actually trying to pick up a threesome together…who knew.   So what do you really have to lose by asking the question?  And, the more people you ask, the greater your chances.  Ask 50 people in the bar and you’re bound to pique the interest of at least one of them.  Remember those stats above…23% of all Canadians have had a threesome so your chances are pretty good if you just keep asking.  In fact, why not have a little friendly competition with your partner…whoever does not make the pick up that night is required to lavish their partner with sexual favours the next day.  I guarantee that even if you don’t pick up a threesome, you’ll have so much fun on your sexy adventure that your night is sure to end with hot, passionate sex together.

An extra tip…If you want to be a little bit more discreet, create your own “flirt” cards.  Pick up blank business cards at your local supply store and print out your own sexy message like “threesomes are more fun” or “my husband and I think you’re sexy, can we buy you a drink?”.  Then, when you go out to the bar, leave the card on the table of a potential fantasy match while he/she’s up dancing, then stand back from afar and watch their reaction when they get back.  If the reaction is positive, then you’re in.

Step IV: Attend Lifestyle Clubs

Lifestyle or Swingers clubs offer a safe and discreet environment for couples looking for threesomes and other forms of multi-partner play.  Just be sure to do your homework on the club first and find out who they cater to.  For example, some clubs allow in “quality single males”.  If you’re looking for an MMF threesome, then you’re sure to find your match.  Other clubs only allow in couples and single females.  If you’re looking for an FFM threesome, then you’ll have to be extra charming as the competition is greater.  There are generally only a small number of single females who are in hot demand.  However, there is another option…you may be able to negotiate a threesome with another couple.   This means that the lady from the other couple joins you for a threesome and later on, you return the favour.

Step V: Show respect and appreciate for your fantasy partner

When the lady joins you and your partner for a night of passion, be respectful and appreciative.   If you enjoyed the evening, offer to take her for dinner and get to know her a little bit better or call/email the next day to follow up and make sure she’d doing ok.   The “afterglow” is just as important as the night of passion.  Treat her right, and you may just find yourselves with a regular fantasy play partner.

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