openess

2017 Relationship Vision, Values, and Goals

Somehow Maximus and i missed reviewing our Relationship Vision, Values, and Goals last year–that should tell you just how chaotic last year was! We’ve never missed a year, so this was a big deal.

Values

We started with our values. As before, we brainstormed values and i wrote them on Post-It notes. We came up with quite a lot!

2017-values

We came up with:

  • Travel *
  • Friends
  • Fun
  • Entertainment (Parties, Movies, Theatre) *
  • Adventure
  • Fitness *
  • Family
  • Learning
  • Work
  • Financial Stability
  • Home *
  • Support (emotional, physical) *
  • GOT *
  • Health
  • Mindfulness *
  • Patience *
  • Contentment *
  • Happiness *
  • Balance *
  • D/s *
  • Sexuality
  • Honesty *
  • Disclosure *
  • Communication *
  • Accountability *

Then i compared them with what we came up with in 2014. A * indicates a new value from last time. i stacked duplicates and added what we felt were relevant from 2014:

  • Faith
  • Organization
  • Compassion
  • Cleanliness
  • Autonomy
  • Selflessness
  • Creativity
  • Spontaneity
  • Order

We then worked on ranking them as to their priority in our lives together. As we went along, we realized several were supportive of major values, so it ended up as a tree of sorts. As always, this process lead to a lot of discussion on meaning and level of importance–which is just as important, if not more so, as the exercise itself!

2017-values-ranked

Here are how our values worked out for 2017. It’s a bit more complex than last time. The bold text is a major category, supporting values are bulleted beneath. It has surprised us both times that faith has come in last. i think that the events of 2016 really influenced us, in that health ranked second this time, above family and career.

 

 Our 2017 Values

Our GOT Relationship

  • Support
    • Emotional
    • Physical
  • Patience
  • Mindfulness
  • Compassion
  • Selflessness
  • Autonomy
  • Accountability
  • Communication, Honesty, Disclosure
  • Sexuality
  • D/s

Health and Fitness

Family

Work, Career, Lifelong Learning

Financial Stability

Home

  • Cleanliness
  • Order
  • Organization

Fun

  • Friendships
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Adventure
  • Spontaneity
  • Parties
    • Vanilla
    • Kink

Faith

So going forward, these are the values we will use to guide our decision making processes.

Relationship Vision

Now that we’d completed our values, we looked at our existing relationship vision to make sure that it still applied. And we found it did:

GOT – a lifelong, harmonious, loving, committed relationship together.

There was some discussion about this as Maximus thought it should simply say, “GOT,” but i need it spelled out.

Goals

We started by going through our 2015 goals since we hadn’t worked on 2016 goals and reconciled 2015. Turns out, we did a pretty good job of completing our 2015 goals. We noted that some were completed in 2016, so while we hadn’t written down goals for 2016 we did have an idea in our minds of what we wanted to accomplish based upon the task two years ago.

i’m not going to include the goals here as i have them in an Excel spreadsheet that i use to track our goals on a quarterly basis.

It feels good to be back on track with our Values, Vision, and Goals. It is a nice way to start a new year, knowing we are on track with each other and have things to check ourselves on.

new-year1

 

Categories: BDSM relationship, communication, D/s, openess, Reflection, relationship, relationship needs, Relationship Vision, Values | Tags: | Leave a comment

A Breakthrough

heartbrain

Yesterday Maximus and i worked on our couples questionnaire for Fern. i had already filled out my answers and forwarded the questionnaire for Him to finish, but Maximus requested that we go over His answers over the phone and have me type them out as writing is my strength and speaking is His forte. i thought this was an excellent idea as i was pretty sure the intention of this questionnaire was that the couple complete it together.

This was an amazing process for us! We had breakthroughs when we did this and i wonder how much of the questionnaire was for Fern and how much of it was to get us to talk about things. i’m going to include the questions and our answers here and then talk about the breakthroughs.

Describe your previous individual or couples counseling experience if you have had any.

We have not had any previous couples counseling together.

gabriella had couples counseling, primarily solo, toward the end of her second marriage, as her spouse was not interested in going to counselling. He went begrudgingly twice, once with each one of the two counselors she met with, trying to find someone he would feel comfortable with. The second counselor advised me, after a few sessions and after meeting with my spouse, that i needed to consider whether this was a marriage worth continuing. i ended my counseling relationship with him then and then, eventually, the marriage.

Maximus was in individual counselling 3 times a week for three years, 1998-2002, at the end of His first marriage and after their divorce. He went to four times with first wife, but it was of no use, as the marriage was too far gone at that point. In 2003-2004, He was in couples counseling with second wife prior to their marriage. His last experience in counselling was 2011-2012 where He was in individual therapy related to the separation and divorce from His second wife.

What would you most like to get out of our work together?

gabriella would like to stop raging. she would like to restore her ability to trust in a relationship and believe that Maximus has chosen to be with her, and not question that.

Maximus would like gabriella to realize that there is a commitment in the phrase He presented to her, GOT (Growing Old Together). He would like for her to deal with her rage and jealousy issues so that we can get back on the same life path that we were previously on together.

Attraction Phase:  Describe falling in love with your partner.  What were the traits they possessed that made you decide to connect with them.

gabriella never intended to be in a Relationship again and really didn’t think she would be in love with someone again. Maximus and i had known each other for several years, had been friends in the swinging lifestyle, having met each other with our respective spouses in that arena and played together (although our spouses did not like each other at all!!). Maximus and i got together after both of us had our divorces, not to start a Relationship, but to reconnect as friends, enjoy sex with each other, and divorce support. We both really understood what it was like to be twice divorced and during conversations, discovered that we had both come to the place where we just wanted to embrace our Ethical Slut, enjoying that lifestyle, enjoying friends, cultivating fun relationships, realizing that marriage just wasn’t our thing.

We also share a common passion for endurance sports, Maximus being involved in that for most of his life, gabriella more recently. Maximus was very supportive of me.

The traits i love about Maximus that made me fall in love with Him, despite my belief that i was not ever going to be in love or in a committed relationship again were:

  • Complete openness and honesty in communication. We talk for hours and hours about our pasts, about our current feelings, at a level i had never experienced with anyone before. We call this a principle of over-communication and it has been a big part of our relationship.
  • Common interest in non-monogamy, swinging, high sex drive, adventurous sexually
  • No interest in polyamory, complete agreement and understanding of emotional monogamy
  • Amazing fitness level, supportive of my time requirements for training
  • Professional, educated, intelligent
  • Wonderful social being who lights up the room.
  • Financially stable.
  • A neat freak like me! This was a huge issue in my second marriage.
  • He’s my biggest fan. i’ve never had that before.
  • In love with life, “Life is Good!” attitude
  • A desire to travel and travel together
  • And despite me telling Him that i was not ever going to fall in love or be in a relationship again, He had the courage to tell me He had fallen in love with me and asked me to reconsider.

Maximus: There has always been a connection with gabriella. We met through mutual friends at a swinging party. Whenever we attended parties that these friends hosted, we always looked for each other, and when we were both there, at some point, we always got together–and it was always more than just sex to Me. I was unaware of what she did for an occupation and I was also unaware that at the time, that she was 70 pounds heavier than she is now.

gabriella reached out to me in 2012 when she heard that I was separated. she reached out to me as a friend, there was no sexual intention to that contact. The relationship started as we started to get to know each other. I invited her up to My home to stay during an athletic event she was participating in, as two friends; that’s when I learned about her occupation, her leadership, all these things, that she’d lost all this weight, and she was into triathlons and working out. There was a shared view of work, in other words, we are both leaders, and we had a lot of discussions about this. her business philosophy was very impressive, and she had the extra barrier of doing that in a male-dominated field. Because I have three girls, I have always championed women breaking glass ceilings.

The sexuality was spectacular. her experiences were right aligned to Mine. I was looking for a partner in this area.

I learned, after the race, her intelligence, how smart she was, and more about her. I didn’t really know a lot about her until then. I thought, she’s cool, athletic, professional, sexy as hell, and she’s been married twice, no intentions of being married again–finally I find someone who was a kindred spirit to where I am now. I cannot think of a time that I didn’t enjoy her company.

In Las Vegas, September 2012, I verbalized what had been occurring in my heart. I was being transparent and honest. We had talked enough that I thought she would understand. I don’t think I knew her as well then, but I wouldn’t change a thing. Because it’s real. A little later, I came up with GOT and that was it.

I just love gabriella and love being around her. We have so many things. It’s hard for Me not to get a little pissed off about what’s happened. We shouldn’t be having this conversation because I just love her so much and am totally committed to her.

I never thought I would fall in love again. I wasn’t opposed to it. I love the concept of having an emotional relationship. I feared I was toxic to people. Falling in love with gabriella was a wonderful thing that’s happened, the sexuality is extremely powerful, but you can’t fuck 24 hours a day, there has to be a connection with someone. Conversations are just natural and wonderful. I have no jealousy.

I enjoy talking about her. I enjoy sharing about her.

I don’t have to entertain her. she is self-reliant, self-confident, doesn’t need me to find things for her to do—this was a problem in my second marriage.

Power Struggle: (Things changed when…)

For gabriella, things changed when we went from Friends with Benefits to a committed relationship. i told Maximus i was terrified when He shared that He had fallen in love with me and wanted to have a committed relationship together, because i realized i hadn’t done any work to prepare for having a Relationship, only had worked on restoring my ego or self. But, i realized i was in love with Maximus, He was in love with me, and i thought that would conquer all. i believed, at the time, that these wonderful traits of Maximus, the fact that He was in love with me and my biggest fan, would automatically make me feel secure and trusting. i truly believed that.

i had not felt insecure about any of the other women Maximus had been with, including Ms. W, when we were FWB (friends with benefits)—not even an inkling. It wasn’t until we were in a committed relationship that i began to question His relationship with Ms. W, and particularly her, not any other women He was with sexually or socially. She has been my focus of insecurity and jealousy.

Maximus says…with the rage. There are four particular cases.

What do you imagine it is like being in an intimate relationship with you?

For gabriella, i think it’s difficult to be in an intimate relationship with me. i am impatient, headstrong, over-analytical, require a lot of communication. i think a large part of my desire to never be in another relationship was my fear of being lied to and taken advantage of. On the good side, i am 1000% committed to the person i’m with, give them a huge amount of attention, pay attention to their interests, desires, needs, wants, take time to find special things and gifts from my heart, things that often surprise them due to their specificity to them, and am their biggest fan in the world. i will defend them to the end of the world, am their champion. And i am enormously passionate, of them and sexually.

For Maximus, you have someone who will love you unconditionally, will accept you, will hold you when you cry. I will spoil the shit out of you, money is meaningless, if I want to get something I will and if it’s directed to you, so be it. A relationship with me is also a relationship with my profession and my kids and swimming (working out). At times, that 4 legged stool is balanced, and other times it is not. There is competition for my time. I try to balance that. 

What are the strengths of this relationship?

Despite some very ugly and hurtful episodes of raging from gabriella, Maximus is still here. i think that is amazing and truly says everything about His commitment to this relationship.

We are communicators, about EVERYTHING.

We are on the same page sexually, desire the same things in our relationship and in our sexual relationship.

We both have a desire to be in counseling. We actually talked about doing this four months ago, before things got to this point, and weren’t able to due to things going on in our lives.

Maximus says,

Communication

Communication

Communication

The only thing is, at times, communication can be two sided sword. I always want to be transparent. When I tell her, she gets jealous, or she misinterprets. Should I not communicate and we not have a problem? I don’t want to do that, don’t want to withhold anything. 

Is there anything else that would be important for me to know about you and/or your relationship, past experiences or your current challenges so I can be of most help to you?   (Use the back of page as needed.)

gabriella has included journal entries about this.

From Maximus,

gabriella can be very social, but her power meter goes down in that environment and she is expending personal energy. To recharge, she needs alone time for solar recharging. I am the opposite. When I’m by myself, I’m happy, but the battery is running down. Mine charges up so quickly from people.

We had a recent episode meeting another couple and I got completely energized and engrossed, fed by the social interaction, but failing to get signals and hear gabriella saying she was not connecting with them and wanted to end the meetup. she could have stabbed me in the thigh and I wouldn’t have noticed. We need to figure out a better way to communicate so I don’t repeat that. This was a raging event that I can’t blame her for.

To Me, I have the best relationship, I am proud of it. I have introduced her to the kids, and they love her. My brother’s heard nothing but great things from my kids about her. What’s not to like and love about her? I’m proud of that. I enjoy bragging about her. I love telling people about her kicking My ass, a beating, when I took her to Kona to train. I have no desire to compete with her. I enjoy time together. Few people could keep up with her. I was glad to complete the things I did. I am happy about that. I don’t have to beat her. It’s something we can do together.

I think for gabriella, there is the fat chick in this hot chick’s body that can’t believe I chose her. And she’s waiting for me to see the fat chick and leave, confirming it.

Our Breakthroughs

The breakthroughs for me were about how Maximus fell in love with me and the things that attracted Him to that. And that He felt there had always been a connection with me, even while we were still married to others and without future divorces on the horizon. It made me tear up. I was actually kind of amazed that we’d never talked in depth about this and realized how important it was. And despite everything, He is still absolutely in love with me and still my biggest fan.

For Maximus, the breakthrough came at the end of the questionnaire. When He made the comment about being fearful of over-communicating and that perhaps He should just withhold stuff as to not get Himself in trouble, i shared with Him that i need the over-communicating and that my raging was not because He had been honest and open with me, it was because i had taken that information, over-analyzed it, and distorted it into something completely different. The problem was within me, not Him–He’d done nothing wrong! Failing to communicate fully and openly would just prove my fear of things being hidden from me.

He asked why i was doing that and i explained the history of how ex-husband, OneGuy, used to hide information and when i discovered things and wanted to talk about it, he absolutely refused to do so, going to extremes by not looking at me, not acknowledging my presence, not talking to me, including not answering the phone or texts, for periods up to a week. i was constantly lied to, including lies by omission, so i had to use other means to get the truth, including body language, phone history, etc. i got very good at picking up on non-verbal cues about OneGuy’s lies.

Maximus asked when i started raging and i told Him it was after living in this environment that i started raging at OneGuy. i felt like i was being treated as a prisoner, behind bars. After time, being ignored this way, i just started to yell, scream, stomp my feet, banging things against the bars to try to get the guard’s (OneGuys) attention, just like prisoners do. i think this is human nature, and is even shown in the Zimbardo Prison Experiment in the early 70s, a psychological experiment i had even studied with fascination prior to my relationship with OneGuy. i turned into an inmate, and i’ve never dealt with that.

During this discussion i shared with Maximus that during these past two weeks, as i have recalled the raging events, the things i’ve said, i’ve come to realize that i am still raging at OneGuy. In fact, the things i have yelled and screamed about to Maximus are not even things He’s done–they are things OneGuy had done. The feelings of being taken advantage of, being trapped, ignored, lied to, used financially, are all feelings i had with OneGuy; Maximus has not done any of those things. i am screaming at Maximus for what OneGuy has done.

This last part was the big breakthrough for Maximus. He has been just devastated that He could not figure out, for the life of Him, what He had done to cause me to rage at Him–it wasn’t making any sense. All He could see was that i was bat shit crazy and coming up with things out of thin air. He couldn’t understand my rage and what He’d done wrong. It makes sense to Him now as He can see that i have been projecting my anger from my last marriage upon Him. In His gut, He had a feeling that i’d had unresolved issues from my divorce.

Maximus shared, “Today I took a huge step toward you. I feel closer to you now since our trip to Las Vegas. And I feel very good about that.” He shared that He has all the confidence in the world that i’m working on this an not going to fuck this up. This breakthrough removed a huge chunk of the toxin He’s been injected with. And i shared that it my toxin he was suffering from.

“This is what I want,” He continued. “I’m willing to take a chance.” And then He shared,

Love bears all things,

Love believes all things,

Love hopes all things,

Love endures all things.

Love never ends.

~ Corinthians 13:7-8

We are so blessed.

i could hear the improvement in Maximus’ voice, He has come back. Our phone calls ended with “I love you” again, and He’s texting and calling. We are recovering together. Patience, space, and guided communication has helped us. Maximus is my biggest fan, so incredibly committed to me and us…i cannot question His commitment. He is Maximus, not OneGuy. He loves me unconditionally. i get it. i will not fuck this up.

if he

Categories: balance, BDSM relationship, communication, conflict, counseling, honesty, openess | Leave a comment

Keeping the Bedroom Door Open

Maximus and i had some excellent communication yesterday morning; we are both very proud of how it went and have a lot of appreciation for each other about it.

Now, i’ve written about Ms. W before, and i really hoped i was done with any issues or conflict surrounding her relationship with Maximus. So i was disappointed with myself that something came up again. At first, i thought i’d just let it go, not bring up another issue, but then i realized that it really was affecting me and if left unresolved, would recur and cause me to harbor bad feelings, which was not acceptable for me or Maximus.

i was happy to hear Maximus was getting together with Ms. W and had no problem with that whatsoever. We have talked extensively about their friendship, how it differs from ours, and i really do trust that Maximus loves me. i had no heartburn about this at all, and that’s important for me to point out.

Maximus and i texted all day. It was the day i was consumed with my Fantasies, and we had so much fun with that (Maximus texted that my list, numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 15 particularly aroused Him; 15 so much so that precum soaked His underwear to the point He had to change them! “you swimming with the balls inside you, well that was too too much not to think about. Ultra hot. Lava hot,” He texted.). i didn’t know the particulars of their plans, but knew they would be getting together that evening. at 7:30 PM, i sent Him a quick text, “Kisses sugar,” to let Him know i was thinking about Him, but never heard back.

i awoke at 1:30 AM and checked my phone, finding nothing. i tossed and turned, mostly irritated at myself that it was bothering me. you trust Him, get over it, i berated myself. i apparently fell back asleep until i was awakened by a work call at 3:30 AM (not unusual). i was still bothered. After thinking about it, i realized that i was not feeling bothered that He was with Ms. W, i was feeling bothered that when He is with her i don’t ever hear from Him, He’s off the grid. This made me feel two things in particular, first, that i felt He was so wrapped up in being with her that i left His mind, and second, that perhaps He didn’t contact me when He was with her because He didn’t want her to know where our relationship was, making me feel illegitimate, like a mistress to a man in a cheating affair–neither of which were acceptable. i knew those were my perceptions, and probably not the reality, but at any rate, this trend was upsetting for me, having occurred every time. To make it worse, i realized that when Maximus and i are together, it is not unusual for Him to text Ms. W or even call her, which hasn’t occurred for me when He’s with her. i thought back to other occasions when He was with other friends, family, or even work associates, and realized that this did not happen when He was with them, that He contacts me with those people, making this absence even more striking to me. Moreover, when i am with others, i always make sure that i check in with Him at some point, especially if i’ve been involved with a sexual partner–it’s important to me that He knows that He’s important to me. In fact, when Mountain Man and Sunflower were here, Maximus asked to Skype when i checked in with Him before going to bed to sleep, and i gladly got up and spent time with Him–it was important.

i realized that i really needed to talk to Maximus about my feelings. i texted Him at 4 AM asking to talk at 7 AM. It was the only way i could try to get some sleep, knowing that i had made a step to talk to Him about it, that i’d done something. i did toss and turn the rest of the night and ended up getting up at 5:30 AM to do some work stuff to occupy my mind.

i did have some epiphanies of thought, however, was able to clarify my issues, and worked out how i was going to organize my conversation with Maximus so that it was calm, clear, and non-threatening. i did not want a repeat of my yelling episode, which, i realize now, i have not blogged about. It was horrible for both of us, non-productive, and extremely embarrassing to have behaved so badly that time.

i need to fill in some background history about Maximus here. As i’ve noted, Maximus was married (actually legally still is, as divorce proceedings are ongoing…more on that in a second) when we first met. i disappeared from the swinging lifestyle scene for a year or so and in that time, Maximus and His wife (JB) met another couple, Ms. W and her husband, Covert Ops. The two couples hit it off and really progressed into a monogamous relationship together. However, JB and Covert Ops began a relationship together, pushing Maximus and Ms. W out; in fact, JB worked very hard to convince Maximus to make Ms. W fall in love with Him in order to maintain her love relationship with Covert Ops without hindrance. This did not occur.

Whenever the two couples got together, JB and Covert Ops would play completely separately from Ms. W and Maximus, going into a different bedroom, closing the door, and staying together, intimately, bareback, the entire time; JB never slept with Maximus when Covert Ops was around. Maximus endured intense pain and anguish of being cut off from JB in this manner, having the bedroom door closed between them, denied access to His wife while she was with another man. JB refused to change her behavior despite Maximus’ feelings.

Eventually, JB moved out of their home and into Covert Ops and Ms. W’s house when Ms. W was away, pushing Ms. W out. Both Maximus and Ms. W are going through divorce proceedings, which have been ongoing for over a year now, full of turmoil. Maximus and Ms. W are still friends, don’t have a love interest, but play together, enjoy each others company, and stay in touch with each other about their individual divorce proceedings. Much of their time together has been spent discussing specifics of their divorce cases, especially lately as Maximus’ process is coming to mediation and potentially trial.

While thinking about how i was feeling and how to convey this to Maximus, i discovered that by His going off the grid, i felt like i was being closed off from Him. Maximus and i sometimes struggle discussing interpersonal issues as i talk in regards to feelings and He talks in data (this is something we refer to as Blue and 8–He asks for 8, a number, something quantifiable, and i respond with Blue, a qualitative intangible). For me, it was a virtual bedroom door. i realized that we had a shared feeling, something concrete i could give Him that would help Him understand my feeling. And it wasn’t that i was taking His previous experience and throwing it back in His face, i realized i genuinely felt like this.

Both Maximus and i feel, as i’ve mentioned before (see Who’s Your Daddy?), that sleeping together, not sex, is extremely intimate. Our rules indicate that while we can have sexual relations with others, we shall NOT sleep with others. However, i have agreed to an exception to this rule, that Ms. W can sleep with Maximus, for several reasons. Ms. W and Maximus have had a longstanding friendship which has included sleeping together, but it is not out of a level of intimacy that Maximus and i share. She lives in a remote location over an hour away and it would be unacceptable to force her to drive home in the dark, alone, on dangerous roads (i truly do believe this). Maximus is NOT in love with her, and if sleeping together ever led to changing these feelings, Ms. W’s ability to sleep over would end immediately. While i have agreed to this exception, it is an inequity. i will never initiate a relationship that includes sleeping over, while Maximus does have this ability in this specific situation. Life is not equitable, relationships aren’t equitable, and this is life. However, there needs to be a balancing to help address inequities. For me, the way to balance our inequity is to have connection with Maximus while He is with Ms. W. I trust Him, completely, i just need the door to be open when He’s with her.

Maximus contacted me at 8 AM, as He had not checked His phone until then. i described to Him how His behavior made me feel, including relating it to the bedroom door. i was calm and organized and He listened (Maximus is very instant and verbal, i need processing time, and during our previous discussions, i’ve become frustrated about losing my ability to present my point when He starts talking during my presentation, which completely distracts me). When i was done, He acknowledged my feeling and apologized that His behavior had caused me such anguish, especially since He could completely relate to it. He told me that He and Ms. W had gone to dinner and discussed important matters regarding their divorce proceedings, but then spent the bulk of the remaining time discussing His relationship with me, in its entirety. Because so much time had been spent discussing us, it felt to Him, that i was included, and He did not realize that He had not actually been in contact with me. He was also not aware and did not know why He’d not contacted me while with Ms. W in the past, nor did He realize that there was an inequity there, and promised to change this, being more aware of my feelings. The image of the bedroom door was very acute to Him.

We both came away from this feeling respected and listened to. This relationship we have, Maximus and i, has the best level of communication i’ve ever had in a relationship, ever. It is something we both value and i love Him beyond measure for this. i know with certainty, that we could not successfully venture into BDSM without this level of communication and the trust that comes from it. No matter what happens in this adventure of BDSM, i know that our relationship, the thing that it most important and primary, has the building blocks to sustain. BDSM is just a piece, it is not our relationship–the relationship is key.

Categories: BDSM, BDSM relationship, communication, conflict, D/s, Dom/sub, Dominant, openess, relationship, relationship needs, submissive | Leave a comment

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