From the Mailbag
It seems like in your circle there are mostly relationships that operate on hierarchy: primary, secondary, etc. What's your experience with the workability of polyamorous relationships where people throw hierarchy out the window?
I've met folks who arranged their poly this way, so it's possible, if challenging, to have two (or more) lovers to whom you are equally committed. The emotional aspect isn't the trickiest part; it's the choices you make about day-to-day life. Who do you buy a house with? Who do you have children with? Who goes with you to Christmas dinner at Grandma's? It's great if you can say, "both my lovers," to those kinds of questions, but not everyone can do that. That's why I think it's much easier to do primary/secondary. It's not about limiting how much one can love someone, it's about simplifying the structure of one's life.
I'm a college student who's moonlighting as an escort. I'm also single and dating. My sojourn in sex work will probably not be long, as I graduate from school in less than a year and expect to transition into my career field. I keep my escort stuff apart from the rest of my life—none of my friends know. Do I have to tell the guys I'm dating about being an escort?
Oh, this is a tough question, and one I had to wrestle with myself a few times. There are two issues here. One is sexual safety. If you sleep with someone, you have a responsibility to tell him that you have other sexual partners, and then the two of you can make whatever safer sex choices you deem appropriate. I don't think you necessarily need to tell all your booty-call boys why you're sleeping with other people. But it would be wrong to get into a serious relationship with someone and not tell him. I know that's a scary thought—when you start falling for someone, the last thing you want to do is tell him something that might make him dump you. But an ongoing lie of this nature is a time bomb waiting to go off. So you can quit working, or you can tell him and deal with the reaction.
If you don't want to either fess up or quit your job and live on Top Ramen for the rest of the school year, then keep your flings casual until you graduate and get a straight job.
Dear Mistress Matisse,
I recently came out as a lesbian and received nothing but love and support. However, an encounter with an otherwise open-minded friend took me aback. We were walking past a BDSM shop and he said, "Now that's just messed up." I find BDSM very sexy, and I was miffed by his comment. I was wondering if you had any advice on "coming out" as kinky?
Well, I sense that you're all fired up with enthusiasm about being out and about every aspect of your sexuality. Being in the closet definitely sucks. However, I don't think it's equally soul destroying to keep quiet about being into BDSM. So before you plunge in, I would ask yourself: Why do I really need to be out to this clearly kink-unfriendly person regarding my interest in BDSM?
But if you insist, don't start out with broad statements like "I'm into BDSM." If you say that, kink-unfriendly people will instantly visualize things like red-hot pokers and fountains of blood, when you mean you like to be tied to the bed and spanked. In a circumstance like the one you mention, one might shrug and say, "Oh, you think so? Because I think playing some games in bed would be hot." In my experience, that may well be the end of the conversation—most people will not want any more information, and you need to respect their wish not to know about your sex life. If the talk does continue, keep the focus narrow and the terminology gentle. Don't say "I'd love to be a slave," say "I enjoy having someone else take control in the bedroom." You're unlikely to change a lot of people's minds about kink—that's my job, honey—but at least you'll have let them know you won't support anti-BDSM statements.
THURSDAY 6/8HEAVENLY BURLESQUE
Orchestra L'Pow! presents Miss Exotic World 2004 Dirty Martini and local lovely Tamara the Trapeze Lady. The Heavens, 172 S Washington St, 800-838-3006, 8 pm, $12 adv/$15 DOS, $45 VIP seating, 21+.
SATURDAY 6/10PANSEXUAL BDSM NIGHT
The classic BDSM play party. All genders and orientations welcome. Wet Spot, 270-9746 or email@example.com, 9 pm–3 am, $15, members only.MEN'S RUBBER SOCIAL
Got a thing for latex? RUMPS (Rubber Men of Puget Sound) invite you to dress up in your tight and shiny best and strut your stuff tonight. Cuff Complex, 1533 13th Ave, 323-1525 or www.seattlemeninleather.org, 10 pm, $3 before 11 pm/$4 after, 21+.NEW HORIZONS GIGOLO NIGHT
Have a fantasy about getting paid by the ladies? Live it tonight at the luxury swing club. Ladies will get funny money at the door and "pay" the gentlemen for their services. Orientation required for all guests and new members, membership and party fees vary, www.horizonsclub.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for info and reservations.
SUNDAY 6/11EROTIC MASSAGE NIGHT
Sensual touch instruction for couples and singles, facilitated by David Longmire. No experience required. Wet Spot, 270-9746 or email@example.com, 5–9 pm (doors close at 6 pm), $10, members only.
WEDNESDAY 6/14HELLO, DOLLY!
Jerry Herman's Tony Award–winning masterwork of smut, concerning the amorous machinations of a friendly female pimp (here called a "matchmaker"), hits the stage in kinky, kinky Issaquah. Village Theater, 303 Front St N, Issaquah, 425-392-2202, 8 pm, $20–$48.