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The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love
Smart Girl's Guide > Reading Set 4: Chapters 6 & 7

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Zyriel | 31 comments Target reading for Set 4 is pages 100 - 145, which is Chapter 6. The Second Biggest Question: Sex & Chapter 7. Land of Love-Craft: Crafting Your Relationships from the Group Up

Zyriel | 31 comments * Pg 104 Sex - "Good sex is made up of many moving parts." This made me laugh. I love it.

* Pg 104 Sex - "Good sex is not only physically pleasurable, but mentally and emotionally as well." This statement has my vote wholeheartedly on a personal level. But I recognize that, for some people, good sex exists without one or the other.

* Pg 105 Sex - "Masturbation can be not only an important aspect of self-care, but yet another means of getting to know yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally." I really like this perspective on masturbation. I never thought of it as either really, but I certainly like the point that it's an aspect of yourself to get to know in your self-awareness journey.

* Pg 106 Sex - "Contemporary research and observation on brainwave frequencies find that women experience just as quick and enthusiastic response to erotic images as men do. In this case nature, rather than nurture, has trained women to abstain from consuming the same amount of pornography as the average male."
* This logic is gappy to me. The research in question discusses neural response times to erotic imagery and how erotic images differ from other types of images. Neither the piece, nor Dedeker speak to HOW that imagery is processed and what is done with it. The fact that my brain responds to erotic imagery doesn't mean that it does the same thing for me as it does for someone else. And more importantly, what Dedeker is missing here is all of the sorts of erotica that women DO partake in, in significant amounts, such as romance novels and fan fictions and other erotic writing.

* Pg 106 Sex - Dedeker challenges us to try new things with our masturbation and I find this interesting. She's right in that I do think I know myself. I know what works, and I know what I don't like. "What new or different things could you try?"

* Pg 108 Sex - I am amused by her comment on the topic of pornography as primary sex education in the US. "Imagine learning how to drive when your only educational resource is the Fast and Furious film franchise." What's weird is I heard this same statement in a TedTalk a few days after I read it, I think by Jameela Jamil.

* Pg 108 Sex - "Most people find their sexual spectrum widens with exposure to their partner's desires, preferences, and fetishes. If you have multiple sexual partners, you will quickly find a vastly different array of kinks and quirks, ranging from vanilla to the unconventional." I have certainly found this to be true for myself, and observed it to be generally true in the communities I participate in.

* Pg 109 Sex - Dedeker's treatment of sexual orientation in regard to gender is unfortunately binary. Even in her question about men cross-dressing she demonstrates a lack of awareness about the exact nebula of sexuality she's trying to describe.

* Pg 110 Sex - Her definition of bisexual is wrong. Note that she doesn't cite her source on this one. Bisexuality is not gender binary. It is same and other, not A and B. This is perpetuated in the larger Bisexuality section. I find this very frustrating.

* Pg 112 Sex - I found Dedeker's Kink focus on D/S and Cuck to be interesting choices. D/S I get, but Cuck... it doesn't seem like a prolific thing within poly or kink, it's just sort of... one in a crowd. Is she bringing it up because of the aspect that brings another person into the situation? Or is this maybe more common in her circles than in mine?

* Pg 114 Sex - Her "worst case scenario" is pretty naive. I think the worse case scenarios to "just try dating your metamour if you like them" is a nasty blow-up that hurts your relationship with the hinge partner, or at minimum leaves you unable to be collaborative and civil with your metamour.

* Pg 120 Sex - The Pre-Sex Talk is an interesting thing to me. In theory, yes, I support that. It makes sense, I think everyone should do it. In practice though, I find myself with a sense of commitment surrounding that conversation. Having a pre-sex talk implies that sex is inbound. And there's a component of that to me that feels like committing to have sex with someone before I'm even in the position to do so. It simultaneous feels like it takes some of the romance out of it, and feels like I'm locked in if I discuss it. Because of that, it's a difficult thing to think of doing if I'm unsure I want to or plan to have sex with someone. Or if I'm unsure when I might want to approach that with them.

* Pg 128 Crafting Your Relationships - I appreciate that she talks about pulling the pieces from any "defined" relationship types that speak to you and applying what works for you, the bits, not necessarily wholesale. I liked her suggestion to be aware when reading about the different forms of relationships, about how you react to them or aspects of them.

* Pg 129 Crafting Your Relationships - She lists an N configuration as a form of Quad, which I disagree with. An N isn't any more a quad than a V is a triad. It's interesting she calls the dual couple situations and X because I think of it as a square. And I think of a square WITH an X as a complex quad or full quad.

*Pg 130 Crafting Your Relationships - I appreciate that she lays out how many relationships are actually involved in a simple quad, and how issues in any one impact the others. I wish she'd have pointed this out for Triads as well though.

* Pg 130 Crafting Your Relationships - I'm not digging Kathy Labriola's definition of "Multiple Non-Primary Model", describing the persons relationships as "casual or less committed". I think the inclusion of these definitions muddles what Dedeker is trying to say about solo polyamory. She does seem to maybe understand that Solo polyamory doesn't mean all relationships are casual and lack commitment, but the way this is laid out implies it. Conversely, in my opinion, she got Relationship Anarchy completely right. (at least in this section, I have different opinions for a later chapter)

* Pg 132 Crafting Your Relationships - "Labels are useful, but they can also force you to put your relationships into a box made by other people." I like this phrasing for this concept a lot. And she gets to the point, but I wish she'd flat out stated the distinction between prescriptive and descriptive, regarding labels. Which she does very well on the next page when discussing Hierarchy.

*Pg 135 Crafting Your Relationships - I'm thrilled at Dedeker's definitions of Rules, Boundaries and Agreements. I agree with her, and I think she included what needs to be said.

*Pg 136-139 Crafting Your Relationships - I liked her treatment of rules well enough. I think it speaks well to the people who might be considering using them. I wish she'd included a bit about the concept of "A partner who can't be trusted to meet your needs can't be trusted to follow your rules.", which is a direct quote from More Than Two, but it's the concept I'm referring to including.

*Pg 140 Crafting Your Relationships - "A boundary can only be established by you, be applicable to you, and be enforced by you." YES, succinct and true. Thank you for including this, I want everyone to understand this clearly. Similarly, "boundaries are placed on yourself; they are not the yardstick to keep everyone else in line"

* Pg 140 Crafting Your Relationships - I appreciate that in her steps of determining boundaries, that you might already be tolerating something you don't want to be.

* Pg 140-141 Crafting Your Relationships - I like that she points out that boundary enforcement should not be punitive, and can be as simple as choosing not to let something slide.

* Pg 141 Crafting Your Relationships - I don't agree that boundaries aren't flexible. I think they can have a grey area

* Pg 142 Crafting Your Relationships - I'm in a weird place about how Dedeker treats Agreements. On one hand, I appreciate that she's really driving home the fact that Agreements aren't rules, they don't have punitive responses, and they can be renegotiated. On the other hand, a lot of her examples still sound like rules rather than a point on which two people agree they have shared values. I think agreements are a method of communicating and agreeing on expectations, values, needs, and intent. Some of these seem to still be dictates.

* Pg 143 Crafting Your Relationships - Her section on "Trust, not fear" is excellent.

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