Poly (un)Perfect

Sometimes polyamory is wonderful. Sometimes it is about love and sex and hot tubs and meeting your metamours. Sometimes it’s about kissing people when you feel like it, and that not only being okay, but hot.

I talk a lot about the great parts of polyamory, and kink. You see it all over my blog. But the truth is that life is life, and sometimes people make mistakes, and sometimes the timing doesn’t work out, and sometimes people change. And sometimes that shit hurts.

Sometimes polyamory is about not being able to reconcile schedules. Sometimes it’s about drifting away from some people and closer to others. Sometimes time management just fucking fails. Sometimes I am afraid to kiss someone because I don’t want to make a partner jealous or uncomfortable, and instead of talking that out, I just avoid it altogether. Sometimes I run when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I don’t speak up when I should. Sometimes I feel rejected. Sometimes I feel jealous. Sometimes I feel alone.

I actually feel alone a lot more than you’d probably think.

Sometimes polyamory means I pressure myself to look perfect. For my relationships to look perfect, from the outside and inside. There’s no room for mistakes for Athena, because that means the vanilla world might see polyamory as problematic. I’ve spent the past ten years of my life being a social advocate for ethical non-monogamy. I deeply, truly, believe that it is a viable relationship structure.

But I gotta tell you, I’m only feeling marginally polyamorous at the moment. I am probably polyfidelitous as I’ve suspected all along, but even that I sometimes doubt. Yes. I doubt. It hurts to admit that. I’m scared to admit that. There are times when I question what the fuck I’m doing.

But this is real. these are real people, real lives. just like any monogamous relationship, polyamorous relationships have their fluctuations. I need to let myself accept that. I suspect that the only person expecting perfection from me…is me.




I visit my family. They ask my sister how her boyfriend is. No one asks about my partners.

I go to see my cousin play at a bar in the Haight. Helo accompanies me, he dances with another woman in front of the stage. I am holding my drink, smiling. My uncle leans over and says, “So is this what polyamory is all about?” I can’t tell if he’s being snide or sincere. Either way, my answer is, “yes, definitely.”

Sharon buys a small leather strap to hurt me with. I shiver in delight, I love leather. The next day she emails me a photo – the tables have turned!

Chief and I kiss in the kitchen. And then again. I mouth his shirt. “You smell different.” He shrugs. “New detergent?” “Ah.”

Gaius goes to a wedding with Cally, her mother’s second marriage. Gets a call that makes him think a funeral is not far away for his family.

I go to a wedding with Helo. I don’t know hardly anyone and his ex (my semi-metamour) doesn’t want me meeting all their friends. Helo and I dance, drink, laugh, and chase toddlers. During the reception we sneak away and skinny dip in the resort’s hot tub. We miss the cake. No one catches us.

I pull together a bar crawl with some kink-friends, days after returning from vacationing with Samuel. I am grateful when so many people make it out. I feel a sense of joy, something clicking into place, as we troll the Mission looking for a new venue (and find a great place).

Maya and I have sushi for lunch. I watch her pack for her move. I drag Maya to sushi again next week. She is one of the strongest people I have ever met. 

Gaius and Chief go to bed at 1:30; Athena’s bedtime is hours before that. I get tired of falling asleep alone, so I cross the bridge. Helo falls asleep before I get to his apartment. I ring the bell & the phone, and finally text his sister. She somehow hears her phone and lets me in. The next morning I hear noise from her bedroom, I text her, “You ok? Can’t tell if laughing or crying thru walls.” She catches me in the living room, “Definitely laughing!”

What is family?

Athena’s Wish List

It’s been a year since I joined the kink community. A year ago, I walked into happy hour at Delirium. I was so nervous, but I threw myself into the fray, introducing myself, meeting all kinds of interesting and wonderful people, and feeling absolutely electric on the bart ride home. Incidentally, this was also the year that I realized I’ve made the transition from introvert —> strong extravert!

The best thing about the kink community is the people. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with gratitude I feel at finding a home among the kinkfolk. I remember feeling apprehensive, even frightened, of “falling down the rabbit hole” – without the certainty that I’d be able to climb back out.

I’ve learned so much about myself in the past year… but I find that what I’d really like to think about/talk about/realize is what I still want to learn! And all the ways in which I can still challenge myself! When I first got into the scene I had lots of ideas about what I wanted to do and try… but more than that, I didn’t have many preconceived notions about the way kink is “supposed to” work. I want to explore that, more.

It’s hard for me to talk about what I want. It’s hard for me to ask for what I want. I have a ridiculously high sex drive which I used to loathe. My sex drive takes away my sexual agency. I don’t often initiate sex, even though I actually have no trouble/enjoy initiating sex… because the frequency with which I would do it would be too much for most people. I worry that my sex drive is a burden to my partners. I worry that they feel a sense of pressure to obligate me, to fulfill my needs, that it takes away from the mutuality and delight that good sex should have. And so I wait. I am quiet. I take sex when it is offered to me, and I am grateful. But the fear of wanting, asking, needing too much remains.

I want to change that. I don’t want to see my sex drive, and, by extension, the things that I want to explore, as a burden. I want to celebrate these things about myself. I want to find creative ways to indulge. I want to be curious, and I want to ask.

And so, in that spirit, a non-ordered, anxiety-provoking, and honest examination of things that I like/want to explore, presented without expectation but open to commentary/discussion:

  • A kitty (or fox?) tail. Yes. I identify as a kitty, and though it’s not really a part of my sexual identity or play, I have so much fun with it!
  • Plugs in general. Never tried them. Too embarrassed to ask. I especially like the idea of wearing one all day in preparation/remembrance of a partner.
  • Sexual objectification. I love being the meat in my sadist sandwich (Sharon & Helo). I feel cherished and objectified and it’s super sexy! Other ways this plays out are being offered to others by my close partners or lovers for their sexual gratification/use.
  • Dressing up for someone else’s pleasure, such a turn on.
  • role play? I’m not sure if I can get into this. I have several role-play type fantasies but have trouble imagining how those would play out irl. Interestingly enough, what little interest I have in age-play appears here. ~age 15-16. Most notably: 1) school-girl. Something about being the slutty school-girl who gets caught sucking cock/eating pussy and is disciplined by the professor (in all her holes!) …but we know she really wants to be a good girl. 2) incest roleplay. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. Most notably brother/sister (sibling), though I have a new and vague interest in exploring daddy/daughter. Again the theme is of the slutty little sister whose sexuality can’t be controlled so (jealous?) big brother has to take things in hand… I think this was my teenage brain’s way of slut-shaming and I’ve turned it on it’s head and made it extremely hot?
  • Really hurting someone.
  • Making a girl cry.
  • Women. I am attracted to women/feminine energy but often get lost in the initiation department. I am afraid to be too aggressive (a problem I don’t have with men) and I am not particularly oral sex oriented (with an important exception). At this time in my life I am more interested in penetration, with either women or men. That means strap-ons! Except again, too nervous to try or ask about, and I want to give and receive!
  • D/s. this one I’m still figuring out. There are things I like and things I definitely do not like, and I’m still collecting data. Doing the dishes and getting coffee for my lover? Hot! Punishment and having my decisions/ criticized? Not hot! However, power exchange still remains one of my hottest turn-ons, and I love that I continue to discover new things I wouldn’t have expected to be sexy… like going to the gym when I’m told, or taking off shoes without using my hands.
  • service submission. I like to do this. Didn’t see that coming, but putting a hint of sexy into doing laundry, getting someone a drink, or cooking dinner makes those activities extremely enjoyable. And it’s not just the sexual component, there’s a non-sexual deep pleasure I taking in seeing to someone else’s needs. This only seems to apply to the bread of my sadist sandwich, though ;)
  • oral sex as servicing – this plays into my sexual objectification kink AND my service submission kink. It’s actually something I fantasize about a lot but have an awful time asking for (so much hotter if I’m told to do it).
  • a fight for control/dominance that isn’t predetermined.
  • mutual sadomasochistic sex.
  • finding ways to use my sex drive to my advantage – fun rules or games that won’t exhaust or pressure my lovers but acknowledge/utilize my sexuality.
  • exploring verbal control over someone – meaning not physically forcing them but telling them what they’re going to do and receiving obedience.

…to be continued, I’m sure!

Parade Day

Folsom is crowded. I hate how crowded it is. Helo has volunteered as a top at the spanking booth. I go along as an assistant. I am probably supposed to be more helpful, but I stay with Helo as his personal support. I had been dreading it – 2 hours in the street, with the crowds watching. Watching Helo hit other people. But it was… beyond my expectations.

I love watching Helo. I love seeing the way he connects to the people who come to us. We share the experience of the beating together. Our eyes meet often, sharing thoughts – she’s hot! that wasn’t even hard, he likes it! this is hilarious. I talk to most of the bottoms, hold some of their hands, coach them through it. I scan the crowd, pick out two or three who I know need to be spanked. I see the echoes of a yearning I once felt, torn between need and fear. I convince two of them to donate to a good cause and get a good flogging. I watch their faces and indicate to Helo when he should go easier, when he should check in, when they need more. It is unbelievably sexy, and the two hours pass quickly.

We are exhilerated, wild, alive. We roam the crowds, meet up with D’Anna. She is tired and her feet hurt from her sexy heels. We are too high to slow down. We get close to one of the stages and lose ourselves in the beat, the dance. We are kissing, making out in the middle of the crowd, and I pulse, I feel, I am.

Violet & Athena play

Helo and I go to a pre-Folsom party/orgy. I meet an amazing woman who likes to hurt people. A real sadist! my favorite. I say that I like to play with people who make me cry. She lights up, gets her toybag, and a few minutes later we are negotiating. This is my first ever (and, to this date, last) pick-up play* with someone I don’t know. Violet beats me hard and fast – the most brutal I have ever taken from anyone aside from Helo.

Helo watches us from the back of the room, his expression dark, hungry, approving & appreciative. It feels visceral and tuned into me and I often find myself seeking the connection of his gaze.

Violet is mean, god, and she gives me no processing time between strokes. i am crying and she keeps going (which I love), keeps working me. I know I am at her mercy, I feel it. I touch her face, her hair, beseeching, but if my hands get in the way, she hits them, too. I have a bruise on my pinky for a week after that. She is sexy, and I am afraid. I start to lose myself, the edge of the precipice I seem to find when playing hard, with the barest hint of panic. Helo senses this, I think, moves closer and stands next to me. His presence anchors me and I am able to take more.

When Violet finishes with me, I fall into Helo, my face pressed against his shoulder. I don’t know it, but the mascara I have worn for the party has run and I am the poster shot of the destroyed little girl. 

Helo takes me home, snuggles me into bed. Lying there, I still feel the… something – it’s still stuck from the play. I’m not done, and I cry a little more. It feels like popping a bubble in my chest. We fall asleep.Image


*pick-up play is play that is unscheduled/unplanned; it can be with people you already know or people you have just met at the play-party. It’s tricky to pull off and many people find it uncomfortable/difficult.

goddess incandescent

It is hot, sticky. Samuel and I are sharing a tent at Fetfest in Maryland. I’ve told my co-workers I’m going to a “family reunion.” It doesn’t feel like a lie. Samuel knows everyone, wanders everywhere. I am gripped by my old foe, social anxiety. I make it to the femdom munch, get fed champagne, strawberries, and chocolates by older, submissive, grateful men. The champagne loosens me up. I feel a little lost, like I’ve stumbled onto a parallel landscape.

I meet the Horned God and his Consort, they are magnetic and remind me powerfully of an angel and a demon from my past. Later, a feisty, redhaired succubus joins us. I look around, then up. All three of them are taller than me (a mean feat, I am 5’9″) and I revel in feeling delicate, small, treasured.

I am wearing a long white dress and nothing else. Eternal day slants into cool, damp night. I am barefoot, wandering the camp, my feet cold in the wet grass. My lovely deities hunt me – I am the White Doe, the Sacrifice. Their tent is ringed with faerie lights that make our skin glow. I lie with them willingly and let myself love and be loved. I celebrate the transient nature of our connection.

I slip my white dress back on and kiss them farewell, the visiting Goddess, a fleeting vision, before returning to the tent I am sharing with Samuel. I curl next to him happily and we swap adventures. I am content, centered. I don’t see them again.


Athena Asks

Helo is packing for a trip, and I am watching him, sitting on the bed. I ask if I can help with anything. I am told I can do the dishes, but later. For now…

Two minutes later I find myself in the “downward dog” yoga position, my ass in the air, back arched, toes pointed in and heels out, with an egg timer balanced precariously on the small of my back. This, Helo assures me, is helping him keep track of time while he packs. I can hear him moving about the apartment. He has thoughtfully laid out the yoga mat – last time my elbows got some pretty bad rug burn. He pauses once and a while to adjust my posture and lift my hips. I love the feeling of his hands on my hips, pulling me up. At first, the position is easy, but after not much time, my arms begin to ache. My legs can hold the position forever, but my upper body strength is somewhat lacking. “Breathe!” comes the call from the other room, and I do, I try, but keeping the position for this long really hurts. “Can I switch to dolphin, please?” I ask. He agrees, adjusts my hips again, and keeps packing. I lower myself onto my forearms and rest my forehead on them. My arms shake. I vow to put in more time with the weight machines at the gym.

Finally, Helo is done packing and gives me a break, but not much of one. I am back in downward dog, this time with my panties (lacy, white) pulled halfway down my legs. He paces behind me. I know he’s got the cane. “What do you say?” he asks, the opening words of our ritual. I do not disappoint in the answering. “Please, sir,” I say clearly, bracing myself. It stings, it hurts, and then it burns. I breathe. I do not make a sound. He waits, but not for long. The cane taps across my skin, prompting, waiting… I take a deep breath. “Please, sir.” The pain slashes across the back of my leg, stinging. Only recently have I begun to realize the precision and skill it must take to wield a cane well. My lover is good at it – though tonight he pauses to inspect my skin, to make sure it hasn’t been broken.

We continue in our ritual. At some point I dissolve into dolphin pose again. My arms begin to shake. “Please sir, my arm is going numb…” Helo repositions me, on my knees, back arched, head down and arms stretching out in front of me. This position is more painful, somehow; my body cannot move with the strokes as much to diffuse them – I cannot run.

Instead, I flinch away. Not often. Helo always pauses, waits for me to get back into position. He doesn’t have to say anything… I do it on my own. I want to obey. I want to make him proud. “You asked for this,” he reminds me, once, gently. “Yes, sir,” I say between sniffling. It’s hard to feel poised and beautiful when you’ve started weeping into the yoga mat. But he’s right. I did ask. It’s sometimes hard for me to ask for things like this, because I suppose I am afraid the answer will be no. I wanted Helo to leave marks on my body, marks for me to remember him by, so I can feel him, while he’s out of town.

The strikes come faster now, or at least I perceive them to. I’m tapped out, I usually am when I begin crying, but one of the thing that I love about our ritual is that it’s not up to me. I don’t get to decide when my beating is finished. And I can take much, much more, not for myself, but for Helo. That sense of panic, of feeling lost, adrift, that can set in with others, is thwarted by the knowledge that he is there to catch me and pull me back.

He stops. I remain in position. He goes into the other room, comes back, pulls me to my feet. It wasn’t the meanest beating I’d ever had from him, but we were pressed for time, and I hadn’t been expecting to cry. Foolish. I bury my face into his shoulder, crying, and he holds me for as long as I want. His arms feel good around me, his body against mine, his jeans against my bare skin, the way he smells… everything dulled and heightened at the same time. “Thank you, sir,” I say shakily.

“Would you like to see your marks?” I nod, and we walk to the mirror. “Oh,” I say, looking at the thick red lines, some of which have welted up. My skin feels like it is on fire. I caress them gingerly, smiling. The thing I notice the most, though, is how unbelievably aroused I am, my upper thighs slick with wetness. It’s shocking to see it in the mirror, though I am not sure why.

I follow Helo into the bedroom for the second part of our ritual…

Afterwards, before we leave for the airport, I still find time to do the dishes.