1. Is it possible to be in a polyamorous relationship and be married to one of your partners?
Absolutely! People do ethical, successful non-monogamy in a seemingly endless variety of configurations. Many folks don’t open up their relationships until they’re already in a committed marriage to another person, and poly folks with multiple partners definitely get married! I would say that the latter relationships more often than not resemble what’s referred to as “hierarchical poly”, where the individual has a “primary” partner that they probably share certain unique levels of commitment and stability with (a shared home, shared finances, the majority of their time, children, and/or a marriage). They may also have “secondary” and “tertiary” partners that could resemble anything from loyal partnerships that they see on a regular basis (albeit less often than the time spent with their primary) to the occasional no-strings booty call. Basically, as long as you’re being honest and intentional, both with your partner(s) and yourself, anything is possible.
2. Will you be having a second class on Flirting (“phase #2”)?
I hope so! I’ve yet to put together a curriculum for one, but I definitely have the incentive and the demand. Now all I need is that elusive “time” thing…
3. As a trans guy, I worry about hitting on someone without them knowing my gender because I don’t always get perceived as a guy…
This is totally legitimate. Even in 2016, it can still be a scary world out for gender non-conforming folks. I wish I knew what gender identities you were attracted to (as well as how long ago you began transitioning), because my advice would probably vary wildly (ie if you were into cis people, particularly cis men, I’d tell you to exercise much more caution than if you were pretty strictly into queer women and/or other trans folks – sadly there’s a way higher risk of violence from cis men acting out on their own insecurities about their identities). But generally speaking, I would rely on the following ways on meeting potential partners until you feel confident and comfortable disclosing your gender identity readily in person: a) Online dating/dating apps – super easy and low-stress to identify yourself as a trans guy, and people can decide to swipe left/right or message you based on that, b) Folks you meet through close friends who can vet and vouch for them (both the quality of their character as well as their trans-savviness) ahead of time, and c) Folks you meet at overtly-queer events. If you go out to a dance party at a queer bar in the Castro, for example, the cutie you strike up a convo with has a MUCH better chance of being chill and knowledgeable than someone you meet at a sports event or at the grocery store. Good luck and stay safe!
4. I’m pretty new to kink. I’ve read a bunch online, but where do I get started and meet people? Or at which point do I clarify my kinks?
Congrats on coming into your kinky identity! It’s an exciting lifelong process, so don’t rush it – just sit back, enjoy the ride, and know that you live in the BEST city in the United States to explore this community. I’m going to dump a bunch of resources on you, so here I go:
Kinky educational videos for purchase online: KinkU.com & KinkUniversity.com
Social networking site for kinky people: FetLife.com
Events: “BENT” (18+ sober play party at The Citadel in SF – happens quarterly, hosted by Shay & Jade) & DarkOdyssey.com (larger scale events that take place in hotels and campgrounds on both the East & West Coasts – “Surrender” in SF in November is very popular!)
Finally, here are the notes from my class on the kink/BDSM section we didn’t have time to cover!:
Kink Community Specifications
The issue of “assumed consent.” We’re all members of the same community, and
not just any community – a community where we’re intentionally talking about, exploring,
and celebrating human sexuality, an otherwise conventionally taboo theme. This shared
identity can forge a feeling of intimacy between individuals that isn’t always genuine.
Basically, talking about sexy shit makes us all feel closer to each other than we actually
are (or have a right to be!), and that can present a consent issue. You may think it
easier to pick someone up at a kink event, but truthfully, we actually have to be extra
careful to stay respectful, considerate, and tuned in to people’s physical and
conversational cues. Because many of us are revealing our “true selves” at these
events, letting parts of our identity that we typically keep hidden shine, we’re also often
at our most vulnerable. We’ll talk more about consent in a minute.
Power dynamics and flirting: I think displaying acts of chivalry if you’re a top, and
service if you’re a bottom, are other flirty techniques, especially in the kink community.
Suggestions: opening doors, pulling out chairs, offering to carry bags, retrieving their
drink from the bar, helping them with their coat (or shining their latex…), etc
2. If you’re a stereotypically bashful kinkster: Find nonverbal ways to start conversations if you’re shy at talking. If you’re at a kinky event (suggest BENT at The Citadel on Friday – 18+, $20 at the door), you could wear a t-shirt that says “fresh meat” or “single and on the prowl, wanna play?” or flag a hanky in your back pocket. Apply or enroll yourself as a presenter or performer, and put yourself in people’s paths in a public way . Cruise attendee profiles online ahead of time or during. Find the method that feels the most empowering to you and have at it! Keep in mind that just because someone is shy in one-on-one settings in-person doesn’t mean they’re shy in other arenas.
5. Sometimes I can read that someone is interested in me but they are shy and/or intimidated by me so they shut down. Should I take this as an opportunity to make up for their bashfulness or should I take it as a signal to not flirt with them?
When you say “shut down”, do you mean that they totally disengage and stop engaging with you? Or do they merely get quiet and shuffle their feet around with a crooked smile? If it’s the former, I’d say respecting their signals and letting them go their way is the best option. If it’s the latter, I think it’s totally appropriate to gently pursue a flirtation in the most transparent and least intimidating way possible (to ensure that you aren’t misreading their signals and/or crossing any boundaries). For example, be careful to still leave ample personal space between the two of you and gently inquire something to the effect of/some variation of, “You’re so cute when you get all quiet! I want to make sure I’m reading you correctly – I’d love to keep chatting with you, but would you like me to give you some space?” or even, “Is it okay if I get a little flirty with you? I think you’re super cute.” Then make sure you’re being present and really listening to their response. Godspeed!