Finally, after incredible struggle, the manuscript for my memoir The Game Changer is finished and in copyediting. You can preorder it now on Amazon.
Writing this book has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I’ve been thinking of it as The Big Book of Franklin Gets It Wrong, because it tells the story of the most awful things I have ever done, the greatest mistakes I’ve ever made, and the various ways I’ve hurt people close to me in the quest to figure out how to make this whole polyamory thing work. It’s been written and re-written and re-re-written (I went through four complete drafts and numerous smaller revisions and edits, prompted in large part by the incredible support and comments I’ve received from people who looked at the early versions).
Right now I think the poly community has come to a place where we can either content ourselves with talking about respect and consent the way the BDSM community has, or we can work to make it a cornerstone of the social groups we create. I look at the kink scene and the path it’s taken, and I’m afraid. I don’t want the poly scene to become like that.
In the book More Than Two, Eve and I talk several times about compassion. The word appears 100 times in the book. Compassion, we say, is a necessary part of a successful relationship.
On another forum, someone recently asked, “So what is compassion?” And it occurred to me that we talk about compassion assuming everyone knows what it means, but we don’t really talk about what compassion is, or how we exercise it.
So maybe it’s time to fill that gap.
I am blessed today with a life that is extraordinarily filled with love and connection. I find it easy to connect with people and to find love, warmth, and intimacy, and that has let me create a rich, joyful personal life in which I feel cherished and supported.
In the book More Than Two, Eve and I talk about the abundance model and the scarcity model of love.
I’m typing this blog post in front of a huge picture window overlooking a temperate rainforest in rural Washington state, which means I’m back at the cabin where Eve Rickert and I wrote our polyamory book More Than Two. The cabin kitty, Whiskers, has been happy to see us, and has scarcely stopped begging for treats since we got here.
This time, I’m here to write my memoir, The Game Changer, about my relationship with my partner Shelly and the many and varied ways it changed my life.
Some time ago, I wrote about dating black belts. I prefer to date people who have already demonstrated the skills required to treat others well in a relationship–that is, people who are black belts at relationships.
It’s a common misconception among folks who’ve never done any martial arts that a person with a black belt has mastered the techniques of his discipline. That’s not true; in fact, a black belt merely shows you’ve got a handle on the basics, and are now ready to start learning the more advanced stuff.
There is a concept in sex-positive circles of “sex negativity.” Sex negativity is the notion that sex is intrinsically bad, dangerous, dirty, or wrong, unless it occurs within certain tightly prescribed conditions (for example, in marriage for procreation).
Sex positivity, by way of comparison, isn’t the idea that sex is always good, but rather the notion that it’s not intrinsically bad–there are many ‘right’ ways to have sex, and sex doesn’t need to be fenced in or constrained in order to be a positive force.
There’s a common theme to the problem-solving approach we see in many poly relationships: bringing things down to the same level instead of building things up to the same level.
For example, when a new relationship starts, it often comes bundled with a lot of crazy sexual energy. This sexual passion can be intimidating for someone in an existing relationship, and often, people try to deal with feeling intimidated by trying to put dampers on the new relationship. Don’t have sex in that position! Don’t have so much sex! Only have sex when I am watching, even if you aren’t an exhibitionist! Don’t have sex unless you include me, even if you aren’t into group sex!
Way back in 2003, I proposed a “secondary’s bill of rights” for polyamorous relationships. This Bill of Rights, much of which was written by my partner Shelly, came out of our attempts to navigate the hierarchical relationship I was in at the time with my ex-wife. My wife and I had radically different goals in relationship (I am intrinsically polyamorous, whereas she identifies as monogamous; I wanted to be free to let other people in to my heart, while she preferred to be the only person I loved, or, failing that, the one I loved the most), and the hierarchies we had in place were our clumsy attempt to negotiate those differences.
A couple of months ago, I was presenting at a poly event. We were talking about consent, and someone used a phrase I’d never heard before, but which the linguist in me (who’s basically an eight-year-old squeeing over the neat things people do with language) was absolutely delighted by. She and her partners had, she said, shelf-stable consent.