With the innocent days of key parties and free love behind us, Not Your Mother’s Playground: A realistic guide to honest, happy, and healthy open relationships is a how-to guide for navigating today’s very different world of modern-day non-monogamy. From swinging to polyamory, it walks readers through the many ups and downs they may encounter along their journey. Samantha injects the honest story of her own open marriage throughout to provide readers with insight, humour, and refreshing personal experience. Whether you are new to non-monogamy or an experienced veteran, Not Your Mother’s Playground is sure to challenge your mind and validate your heart.
CLICK HERE to learn more about getting a Kindle, PDF, or print copy of the book.
I’ve never been into the concept of “forever.” It’s always felt like a hetero-normative, monogamous fairy tale. Forever is what you should aspire to when growing up and imagining your prince/ss is taking you away. You’ll meet, you’ll fall in love, and then you’ll live happily ever after … forEVER. Barf barf puke glitter everywhere barf.
To be frank, forever sounded like a curse, more than anything. You make a choice, and then you’re stuck with that choice for the rest of your life, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Never mind if it turns out to be the wrong choice; it’s more important to save face and pretend that it’s the right one because, hey, you’re in it forever. Who the hell knows from the beginning if a choice is the right one or not? You have to live with a choice for a while to learn that truth, not expect to be an expert on something you know nothing about at first.
It’s this kind of reasoning that keeps so many people in relationships that they shouldn’t be in, with people that I’m sure they love dearly, but aren’t right for them. I’ve known plenty who have been too afraid to leave their relationships for fear that their community, friends, and family, will look down on them; they’re more worried about being judged or dealing with the mess of a breakup than ripping off the bandaid to examine their happiness.
I think there’s a valid reason that a lot of people don’t ask themselves if they’re truly happy, because they would likely find out that they’re not.
The thing about happiness though, is that it’s ok not to feel it all the time. It’s ok to feel frustration with your partner, and long for days of the single life. You’re not a failure if you’re not happy 24/7 in your relationship. You’re also not a failure if you realize that you need to end your current relationship in search for a more fulfilled you. I think that (some) people who leave stagnant situations are brave self-aware souls. (Acknowledging that yes, some are just greedy dickheads.)
This is what I’ve determined to be a key ingredient in a realistic forever. My husband and I have been together now for almost 14 years. Yesterday we celebrated 8 years since we first opened up our relationship, and in one month we celebrate TEN years of marriage together. Once I get over how old all of that makes me feel, there’s something that really sticks out for me. I never thought that we would make it this far. That doesn’t mean that I thought we would break up, just that I only ever saw us in the here and now. I objected to thinking about us in forever terms, because it made me want to barf on a pile of Cosmos. When people would ask me “What if you fall in love with someone else?”, I would always start with “Well first, that’s happened, but if we find someone we love more, then I guess that’s where our paths will lead us.”
I don’t feel that anymore. I think it’s a combination of putting in the time and talking realistically all the time, but I feel very forever with Steph now. I used to worry that if we separated it would be this big deal that the girl who talked about successful non-monogamy had failed. It would be very public, and I was terrified by that notion, but now? Now I feel this amazing weight of certainty that keeps growing year after year. We are forever. Other lovers may join us and become forever as well, we don’t know for sure until it happens. It’s wise to start any new relationship thinking about how you’ll treat each other when it ends, because inevitably, every one does end in some way, but we’re in it literally until death do us part. (Fuck, I hope that I don’t have some sort of random car crash tomorrow and this post becomes a weird premonition. I guess I wouldn’t know though, right? Hmm. Anyway.)
So, what’s the secret? Well, it’s pretty simple, but still seems impossible for many people. We talk about things. We talk about the things that we’re happy about; we talk about the things that we’re longing for; we acknowledge what we’re great at; we acknowledge where we fail. We’ve had to learn to live with the fact that maybe, on some levels, we are terrible for each other, while recognizing the areas where we are the strongest team you’ll ever know. And the truth is that sometimes, just being able to acknowledge “Hey, this sucks and we’re not very good at it” is enough to make things ok. Are there things that we both want and need that we might not always get at home? Absolutely, but we’ve made peace with them.
We also talk about the things that ARE great, and not just once. We constantly talk about them because good things make you feel good. We also talk realistically about wants and desires and discuss things like my fantasy of living with my husband AND another man like it could become a reality (which I can’t deny I really really want.)
It might seem scary to admit when and where things fail in your relationship, but on the flip side, after some blood, sweat, and tears, the rewards can be huge.
You might even say they can last a lifetime.*
*Yes, I fully acknowledge that life can change and something can happen that could change everything, but the feeling that I feel deep within me is stronger than anything I’ve felt before so for ONCE, I’m going with it.
So, I think there’s something wrong with me.
I’m not sure I know what it is though. I know I’ve gained weight lately; working at home and not having access to all my gym equipment temporarily has taken its toll on me. I have a little more cushion than I did before, so obviously I’m less desirable in the eyes of the dating world. I’m a little bit squidgier, I suppose.
Or maybe, if I stop fat-shaming myself – which is hard lately because I’m not strong like I used to, and my eating and moving habits are currently TERRible – I’m simply too authentic? Maybe people aren’t used to talking to a woman that knows what she wants, is vocal about it, and is generous with compliments, time, and affection when she likes someone. It doesn’t fit into the societal narrative that women are supposed to be chased, at least by men. We’re not supposed to be excited to meet someone, or to want to adjust our schedule to make time to do so. We’re supposed to be hard to get. We’re supposed to be challenging. We’re supposed to play dating games and make you wonder if you’re doing it right, but still have to pretend that you think you are, because that’s how gender roles work. You chase us with pure confidence and we make it challenging until you finally get through and you’ve “won.” Tee hee and all that.
That’s a whole lot of bullshit right there, isn’t it? I’m digressing a bit.
I’ve now had six dates with six different guys all fall through, in the last couple of months. I’ve been stood up the day of. People have been “sick / busy” and asked to reschedule but then when I get back in touch to do that, they’ve disappeared. People that were super communicative with me up until we were supposed to meet have just walked away. It’s easy to walk away from a woman who’s already married. She’s obviously not going to be upset, right? o_O
Honestly, I can’t figure it out, but it makes me think there’s something wrong with me. I’ve never had dating luck like this before, but my life is in a different place now, so perhaps I’ve changed and am too weird to date.
In my perfectly reasonable and logical mind, I know that’s not true. Lots of people say wonderful, great things about me all the time. Lots of people throw sexy compliments my way about me as a person (duh!), and my face (which I love) AND my body (which I currently am in a fight with), and that’s lovely and I’m grateful, but it doesn’t take away from that awful feeling that comes from having all of that anticipation and build-up – those days or weeks of excitement – turn into nothing. One of my less self-defeating theories is that people seem to think they like the authenticity but when it comes right down to it, they’re not used to someone as upfront as me. So they run. Because it’s easy to.
Yesterday I was supposed to meet someone I’m ridiculously excited about. Right now, he’s the main guy on the radar. He’s lovely and kind and handsome. Considerate and dominant and all around great. I could fall for him, easily. He was sick though and we had to cancel. This is a perfectly, completely valid reason to cancel, but when every single date that I’ve had lined up for months has cancelled the DAY OF, I cried. I definitely cried out of frustration for my entire summer (and because, let’s face it, the last two weeks have been really, really shitty in the world.) I cried like an idiot who shouldn’t have been crying, but did anyway because shut up with your shoulds and should nots.
Because eventually, even when my Vulcan brain tells me that there’s nothing wrong with me and I’m either dealing with a) valid excuses from kind people or b) shitty excuses from shitty people that I shouldn’t want around anyway, my Betazoid brain just wants to weep. Weep mostly because I’ve got so much buildup and need for submission inside of me, and so many unfulfilled promises of spankings and instruction and being held up against the wall. 5 out of 6 dates have definitely had conversations about kink wrapped up in them and, to be honest, at this point I just need the release. It’s been a frustrating summer (year), and I want (need) to fall into the arms of a not so gentle, gentleman. (or pretty lady!)
Thankfully, Steph (husband) has been really wonderful lately. When I fall down, he picks me up. When he can’t help with something, he supports me finding someone/thing that can. And because of him, and our upcoming TENTH wedding anniversary, I can easily say that I’m definitely marriage material.
Always the bride, never the slutty girlfriend?
(This can’t be true. Is this my new reality??)
Hey guys, a sexy TV show is doing some casting in Toronto and the production company has asked me to help find them some brave and interesting people of all genders and sexualities to join their cast of characters and do some fun things on camera (end of August to mid September.)
I’m meeting with one of the producers tomorrow to offer a bit of an education about some of these things (as I’m not super fond of some of their initial wording and descriptions that were sent over to me), and to confirm that they’re going to be presenting everything from a healthy and supportive angle, instead of fetishizing people and using them to shock their audience. (I will try and remember to add an addendum to this post once I’ve met with them.)
If you fit any of these descriptions and you’re interested in applying to be a part of the show, please let me know by sending an email to email@example.com. ALL of your emails to me will remain strictly confidential and I will only send your information to the producers with your full consent.
- Erotic Wrestling - A new couple plus an experienced couple, along with “background wrestlers.”
- Puppy Play - new couple plus an experienced couple, along with “background pups.”
- Trans Sex – A couple where one person is trans and wants to try out their new “equipment” with their lover on camera.
- Pregnant Sex – A pregnant lady in her second or third trimester, and her male partner.
- Cuckolding – A married couple in which the husband wants to watch his wife have sex with another man.
- Skype Orgies – Male and female couples and singles who participate in this.
- Daddy Play – A daddy domme and his younger “daughter” girl counterpart. This couple should roleplay 24-7 and be willing to show all aspects of this roleplay on camera.
- Race Play – A couple who will roleplay in a raceplay scene.
- BDSM Family
- Sex Club Demos
- Liquid Latex - Man and woman to demonstrate.
- Insects - Someone to demonstrate and an insect wrangler.
Public speaking isn’t usually top of the list when thinking of “fun activities”. What about if we narrow it down to be public speaking about your sex life? Even worse, right? Well, somehow we’ve managed to bring together at least 100 people monthly to watch others do exactly that, and let me tell you, it’s glorious.
It was January of this year when my friend and the Art of Blowjob all around wonder-lady, Sophie Delancey, had just returned from California where she attended the wonderfully successful Bawdy Storytelling. Bawdy is a curated sexy storytelling event that features some of the biggest names in the sex/uality education/entertainment communities. Check them out here. Sophie posted something online about wanting to do a similar event in Toronto and, of course, my non-stop project creating brain, had already been thinking about it so I replied. Within a matter of weeks we had our first location The Beaver (now, all events are at the Gladstone Hotel), prizes, a theme, and a Facebook page. Tell Me Something Good (TMSG) was born!
Unlike Bawdy’s curated show, TMSG offers everyone, from the experienced to the newbs, the opportunity to become a part of the storytelling magic by opening up the floor to the room. We kick the evening off with our own stories, and then hand the mic over to our judges to share theirs. Realizing quickly after our first month that we needed our judges to be more than just scoring machines, we also give them the opportunity to play a little American Idol style feedbacking, complete with score boards. While we realize that for many it’s their first time on stage, and even more frightening, their first time talking about their sex life publicly, the judges add an extra element of humour and togetherness that really helps make the event feel safe. We’ve been lucky to have so many great judges from all over the sex-positive community from porn stars and directors to educators and playwrights. Some even come from different communities and bring an entirely new perspective to the evenings!
It’s their role, along with ours as event hosts, to entertain the crowd in between stories and to make sure we give props to people for sharing such an intimate part of themselves with us. It’s also our role to enforce our very important rule, “Don’t be a dick.” That means no phobic language, no racism, no slut/fat-shaming, no generally hateful behaviour. If the butt of the joke is at someone else’s expense, we don’t want it on our stage. We’ve been very lucky so far, after 7 events, to have not had any bad experiences and hope that this trend continues.
Every month has a different theme and so far in seven months we’ve covered so many things including first times, pride, porn, voyeurism, and the very popular “Butt Stuff”. Last night’s “all things kink” theme did not disappoint and we had another full house with some very talented and sexy storytellers turning me into a puddle in my chair.
Nobody knows who’s going to end up telling a story, and that’s part of the excitement. Potential storytellers put their names in the box and we draw 10-15 of them over the course of the evening to come up and tell us something good. There’s no requirement for people to tell stories if they don’t want to; TMSG is as much for the audience as it is the storytellers.
What I personally love about TMSG is the energy in the room. It’s why we put the event on as a passion project every month. The audience is made up of people for whom these types of stories are old hat and others who are hearing some sexy language for the very first time. Everyone is there to be a part of the experience together and we’ve – so far – had some of the most supportive audiences that any event hosts could ask for.
On a personal note, I used to be the girl that wasn’t comfortable giving people compliments, even on things as insignificant as the shirt someone was wearing. I didn’t want the recipient to end up thinking “Oh geez. Is the fat girl flirting with me? Gross.” And so it took a lot for me, at first, to start talking about my sex life on stage. (Doing it here on my site is one thing. Telling a room full of people that I masturbate? Another.) I was scared at first to “gross people out”, especially when I look up and see so many people in the room that I have mad crushes on. Then something quickly came over me, and it’s the realization of how normal it is for us all to have needs, wants, and desires. However I feel about my own body, or my dorky self, pales in comparison to how powerful it can be to help others normalize their own fantasies or activities. I might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but who says I need to be? So every month I get on stage and talk about my sex life like it’s a normal thing, because it is. Because everyone’s is. Because yours is.
And that’s the beauty of TMSG. There is no real “normal” in the world, but in a room filled with freaks of all sizes, shapes, colours, backgrounds, sexualities, and so on, there can be the most wonderfully validating solidarity buzz that sticks with you for days and days.
Be sure to check out our next event on September 3rd at the Gladstone Hotel and stay tuned for the TMSG podcast which we think is currently in development! Until then, check out the very special Sex City Radio edition of TMSG featuring myself, Sophie, and some of our favourite past judges / winners, Wil, Tynan, and Elle!
Join TMSG on Facebook // Follow TMSG on Twitter // @nympsam (that’s me) // @sophiedelancey
Humans aren’t often very good at getting their needs met. It’s easier to let ego take over, to pretend that everything’s fine and that you’re impervious to the world around you getting you down. To admit that you need, to admit that you feel, to admit that you struggle; isn’t it just easier to say “I’m fine”? Nothing can bother you when you’re fine, because if something was bothering you, well then you wouldn’t be fine. And that just doesn’t line up now, does it?
I’m sure anyone who’s read any of my posts before or even knows just very little about me will already know that I’m not really an “I’m fine” kinda’ gal. I don’t believe in the pretense of false contentment. I will always choose the path that allows me to have my needs and struggles open for the world to see. A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, as I heard the other day, and I tend to believe it.
As a person who’s very aware about what I need from the world and the people that exist in mine, I’m also acutely aware of what it’s like to not have those needs met whether it’s due to oblivious behaviour, intentional malice, or simple ignorance. Frustrating would be one word for it. So here’s some thoughts on how to deal with things when you’re needed by another.
Self-care and knowing your limits is important
If you can’t help? Say so. If you’re burnt out? Say so. Put that ego aside and be as clear as you possibly can from the get-go about where your head’s at. There will be times when it might be required of you to sacrifice your own needs for a while, but make sure that if you do, you’re aware of your limits. Because if you reach those limits and don’t convey that to the other person, and they think they can lean on you when you have nothing left to give, you’re looking to create a disastrous situation for everyone involved.
You don’t deserve a medal for choosing the wrong thing
If you’ve been told clearly what a partner needs, (whether it’s emotionally, physically, sexually, or otherwise), you don’t deserve praise for choosing an alternate path of action just because you feel it’s a better option. If it comes down to a simple misunderstanding, maybe you didn’t hear them right or maybe they didn’t clearly communicate the specifics well enough, that’s one thing. But if you’ve been told “I need this blue pill at 6 pm every day” and you provide them with the green pill at 5:45 because you think it’s close enough, you might as well not bother.
Good intentions aren’t an excuse to be lazy
When we’re offering help to another person but that help doesn’t line up with what’s required, it can be easy to feel self-gratification because “Well, at least I tried.” And yes, trying to help is good, especially if the other person is either incapable or hasn’t had the opportunity yet to relay their needs to you. Trying and putting in effort is good. Wanting to help is amazing. But that doesn’t mean that just because you’re trying that it’s enough. What’s the point of trying to help if you’re not bothering to find out what help is required?
You don’t get to be defensive for getting it wrong
It’s not helpful to make a big stink and get your back up when the person needing help tries to clarify with you what their specific needs are, especially if they don’t line up with the help that you’re offering. Yes, it’s great that you tried, but if what you’re offering just runs parallel to what they’re looking for and the two never intersect, then you have to find a way to work together to line up your assistance and their requirements. If you don’t meet in the middle, you’ll constantly be feeling as though you are helping, and they’ll constantly be feeling as though you’re not listening. Accept the fact that it’s ok that you got it wrong and try to listen to them as they explain again what they’re really looking for.
It’s ok to get it wrong and it’s ok to have needs in the first place. It doesn’t take much to meet in the middle and have everyone feel supported and heard. A little effort, patience, and understanding can really go a long way.
I haven’t visited NYMP or written anything in almost two months. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to say; in fact there have been countless blog posts at the ready, but I just haven’t been able to share them. It’s embarrassing to see the site where it is, with that last post about Alex and optimism and everything working out fine, just sitting there. To have to come back and admit that, well hey, everything actually didn’t work out and things have been really, really shitty for the past two months. That’s not fun, but it is the truth.
Despite what I had hoped, things with Alex died quickly. Not because of me, but because he broke up with his long-term non-monogamous partner and needed alone time. I was totally supportive of this time; if he needed to not be with anyone else, then fine. I could wait. He seemed worth waiting for. Eventually I realized he’d just unfriended me on Facebook and that was it. I was, and still am, disappointed. I liked him.
And Alex just seemed to be one area where nothing was going right. In my professional life, the job I thought I had turned into a non-job, slowly and painfully, and I wasn’t really sure about it until some time had passed. I found myself suddenly without any income and then with a sick cat and $2700 in surprise vet bills. Relationships I thought were great all went weird. So many of my first summer days were filled with more anxiety, confusion, and hurt than I’ve ever experienced in full years; I didn’t think I would make it through.
I became somewhat addicted to Tinder and OkCupid again. I found myself constantly searching for someone new to talk to, someone new to give me compliments, and hopefully someone new to fuck my face and call me a good girl. Once realizing that I really needed this after James and Alex, everything felt so frustrating as I was going without it. I started talking to a BUNCH of new guys, almost so many that I would get them confused. It seemed everyone in the city had an 8″ penis and wanted to dominate me. I had future sex dates planned with a ton of guys, but no extra-marital sex seemed to be happening. Everything was all talk. Everything was all frustration. Everything was dick pics but no dates. My sex drive was (is still) revved up to the max, but stuck on a Nascar style loop. I had a nice hang out with Ethan, but it wasn’t sexy, and I wonder(ed) if he’s even still interested in that.
Throw into the mix the fact that I was stood up a couple of times, and I’ve been feeling low. It’s felt impossible to work on business projects when everything (besides, thankfully my marriage and wonderful friends) was disintegrating. Work was failing. Non-monogamy was failing. Kink needs weren’t being met. Anxiety was rising. Depression was returning. I’ve felt lost, like I was constantly taking one step forward and two steps back.
There’s no point in getting into detail about all the people I’ve been talking to, stopped talking to, wanted to talk to, and so on. There’ve been some good developments and there have been some bad developments, but I’m coming out of it now. I had a successful first event for The Tiki Sea. I’ve found a terribly boring work-at-home-alone freelance job that at least pays the bills until the end of the summer when I might freak out again, but it’s good for now. And I’m going to meet my new Daddy tonight who I’m genuinely really excited for and think might actually work out. Yes, I realize that I said that about the last one, but I will fight my cynicism with a healthy dose of realistic optimism every single chance that I can, because that’s how I get through the day.
Oh, and then there was the out of the blue rock star story from the other night as well. I won’t share that with you, but I will tell you that it was enough to convince me that hey, maybe life is on the upswing again. Maybe things will be rad once more. Maybe I can get back to writing about good times soon enough. I think we’d all like that!
Ok. So maybe I was a little bit dramatic before. When I wrote about things ending with James/Daddy, I was sad. I was across the ocean, stuck in gloomy weather, and starting to notice that our flirty messages that I was so excited for weren’t so flirty anymore. For such an intense start, things fizzled pretty quickly, thanks to his anxiety about the whole situation. And it sucked! Despite the infidelity on his part, I thoroughly enjoy him and enjoyed our sexy time together. And calling someone Daddy, while maybe easy for other people, was a pretty huge deal for me.
When I landed back in Canada last Friday, after a week and a half away, my internet connected and all the notifications showed up on my phone. One of them was him on okCupid saying that he was shutting down the account and that basically wrapped it all up neatly, and far too quickly for me to feel welcomed home in any way, shape, or form. (The first “email” was a bit harsh but now we’re friendly and emailing each other occasionally, and that’s it, outside of hopefully lunch in the future, and it’s ok because it has to be.)
But where does that leave submissive Samantha? Well, if my past couple of years are any indication of the next chapter in my life, I’d be right back at the start. I’ve had countless examples of great things entering my life whether it’s romance or work related, but being unfortunately short-lived, so I assumed this was going to be another one for the books. And I assumed that submissive Samantha was probably going to go into hiding again, since it would be unlikely that I’d find someone else to trust to dom me anytime soon. Read more »
In Part 2 of my sinnovation review series, I take a look at the Warner’s Cheeky Panty and Unwire Bra, available now at Ohhh Canada. I’m sure you’re thinking, “But Samantha! How can there be innovation in underwear??”
Just wait! I’ll tell you, dear reader. Read more »
Recently, while filling up a grab bag of goodies at Ohhh Canada, I decided that my new next review series needed a theme, and that theme would be innovation, or sinnovation if you want to use a cheesy word, and I do. As I pondered over the many toys and accessories I could play with, my eyes led me to the Jimmyjane Hello Touch Massager. I’d seen this around and for a while dismissed it as a gimmick, and not something that I, lover of all things Hitachi, could ever actually use to get myself off.
But in the interest of science? I persevered. It’s a tough life, I tell ya’. Read more »