If you were to pick one word to describe yourself, it would be: open.
If that sense of openness already extends to your sex life, congratulations! You’ve found your tribe.
But maybe you’re reading this thinking, “I wish I were part of that tribe, but I’m not sure that I belong.” We’re here to tell you: that’s okay, too. Back in 2007, we were where you are right now. It’s tough feeling like you’re on the outside looking in, but the fact that you’re here right now tells us that you’ve got an adventurous spirit, an open mind, and a willingness to learn.
And you couldn’t have picked a better time to join us.
When we first started exploring consensual non-monogamy, the online landscape was pretty barren. Nowadays, there plenty of amazing, sex positive people offering help and guidance for new couples. You can check out our resources page for a few of our favorites.
You’re welcome here whether you’re already comfortable with your non-monogamy and are looking to continue to grow your empathy and authenticity with your partners, or are just starting to explore the concept and are looking for basic information like:
- How do I talk to my partner about what I do and don’t want out of a non-monogamous relationship?
- How do I deal with any awkwardness or confidence issues that arise out of hearing what my partner may want or need?
- And how do we make sure that our exploration is both consensual and noncoercive?
Opening up can be an exciting, rewarding experience provided that it’s done right. We hope that the information that you’ll find here — gained over our last decade plus of experience in non-monogamy — will help guide you safely on the path to exploring this new dimension of your relationship with your partners.
About your authors
Hey, lovelies. Kira here.
When Mike and I first found each other, I had no idea that our relationship would take us on the journey it has. I certainly didn’t think that we’d end up happily non-monogamous.
I spent the first few years we were together struggling with my own insecurities, fearing that Mike would see my perceived inadequacies and find someone better. I tried not to let it show and, for a while, we were comfortable in our monogamy. But it was a guarded, possessive love.
All of that changed 6 years into our relationship when I let Mike in on something I had been feeling for years, but had never expressed — had never known how to express.
I was attracted to other women.
All the insecurity I had hidden away came flooding back. If I acknowledged this side of myself, what would that mean for us? What would our relationship look like if I wanted to explore? And, if I was going to explore my sexuality, could I fairly withhold that from Mike? If I didn’t, would he find someone else? Replace me?
Mike, for his part, was very supportive. His main concern was my safety. After he’d had a chance to think about how to ensure it, he said, “I want you to feel safe to explore. What would you think about trying a swingers club?”
We talked for a long time that night. And most nights, for months after. We started with our fears, something I realize now we’d never really discussed before. We talked about our desires, what we were hoping to find. We made a long list of rules we’d follow if we went.
After sufficiently psyching ourselves up (and nearly out), on November 17, 2007, we attended our first swingers party.
As I write this nearly a decade later, my insecurity is gone (At least most days. I’m only human, after all). Our list of rules is mostly gone. And in place of that guarded, possessive love we once had, we’ve grown an open, generous love.
What you’ll find here, dear reader, are the tools and techniques — rooted in honest, loving communication — that have made us successful in non-monogamy over the last decade. May the stories herein help you develop your own empathetic communication, and teach you to use it to create safe spaces to grow, change, and explore your sexuality — whether alone, or within and outside of your primary relationship.
We were 18 when Kira cornered me in the dorm hallway and asked me to come back to her room, “to help me change into something slutty,” to go out with friends.
I was shy and just a little bit oblivious. Okay, a lot oblivious. I totally missed the hint.
When we met by chance at a friend’s party later that evening Kira was… decidedly less subtle.
The next few weeks went by in a blur of bedsheets. Our sex almost certainly wasn’t great, but we gave it the old college try. And, for where we were in life, that was good enough. But, as time went on, we both began to realize that raw hormones wouldn’t sustain our relationship. We started to long for a deeper connection with each other.
We started collecting books on sex, communication, and relationship care. We bought a “sexy” board game where you took turns drawing cards bearing conversation prompts. We practiced radical candor in the bedroom before it was named and shoved into the boardroom.
Even with all of that, it wasn’t like we were always completely connected. When we got married at 23, we were still children with all the awkwardness and insecurity that entailed.
For as cocksure as we pretended to be about our communication, there were still topics that — whether out of fear or shame — we never broached. We knew each other well enough to know we were holding back. And the more we each withheld, the more alone we both felt.
After a night of fighting about our communication block, Kira decided to finally say what was on her mind. She told me that she was finding herself attracted to other women. And she told me that she still loved me, that this didn’t change anything between us.
I was glad she told me. We didn’t know what that revelation would change, but it was nice to be talking again.
Over the next year, we kept talking. I asked what she would want out of a relationship with someone else, how we could make sure she would stay safe, and how we would protect our relationship. After a lot of discussion, we decided that the safest way to start exploring would be to attend a party at a local swingers club.
Entering the club, we had no idea what to expect. To our surprise, everyone was just… normal. It was as if you took a cross-section of any town in America and said, “You’re swingers now”. We met teachers, construction workers, even a preacher. It was Everytown, USA without clothes.
It took us a while to get to any actual play. There were rules to be written, then unwritten. Pleasant conversations when everything went better than expected. Awkward conversations when things made us uncomfortable in the heat of the moment. But we never stopped talking through the process. And, even though there are sometimes hard conversations, a decade in our communication has never been better.
Especially around opening up, we spent a lot of time conquering our own insecurities and jealousy, and learning to communicate in ways that foster trust, understanding, and respect. If there’s one thing we can pass on to you here at Life Erotique, let it be this: You, as an individual and a sexual being, and your relationship both need care and feeding.
Like Kira before me, I bid you welcome. We hope that you’ll find the tools we give you here useful on your sexual journey.