Starvation or Abundance?

Last October I posted a six-part blog-series Untapped Worlds in which I shared the many abundant ways for humans to find, tightly grasp, and experience the marrows of life, a fuller more impactful, vibrant, attaching life. Today I want to address a very specific part of this human experience.

For a few different reasons in different settings both in the past and lately, I have been in conversations, listening, and reading about a subject that effects all of us, every single one of us. It is very intriguing to explore and examine the various perspectives of What makes quality human intimacy. Quantity inevitably enters the discussion in some form and this is where I find the most fascinating definitions and points of views about love, sex, intimacy, and the mindsets people create for themselves. More often than not, two love-models or paradigms eventually appear. Due to my schedule this weekend, I want to just share a lens to these two models from two excellent resources on the subject of love, sex, and intimacy…

Many traditional attitudes about sexuality are based on the unspoken belief that there isn’t enough of something — love, sex, friendship, commitment — to go around. If you believe this, if you think that there’s a limited amount of what you want, it can seem very important to stake your claim to your share of it. You may believe that you have to take your share away from somebody else, since if it’s such a very good thing, someone else is probably competing with you for it (how could they!). Or you may believe that if someone else gets something, that means there must be less of it for you.

We want all of our readers to get everything they want. Here are some ideas that might help you over some of the obstacles on the path.

We call this kind of thinking “starvation economies.” People often learn about starvation economies in childhood, when parents who are emotionally depleted or unavailable teach us that we must work hard to get our emotional needs met, so that if we relax our vigilance for even a moment, a mysterious someone or something may take the love we need away from us. Some of us may even have experienced real-world hunger (if you didn’t grab first, your brother got all the potatoes), or outright neglect, deprivation, or abuse. Or we may learn starvation economies later in life, from manipulative, withholding, or punitive lovers, spouses, or friends.

The beliefs acquired in childhood are usually deeply buried and hard to see, both in individuals and in our culture. So you may have to look carefully to see the pattern. You can see it in a small way in the kind of complaining contests some people engage in: “Boy, did I have a rotten day today.” “You think your day was rotten—wait till you hear about my day!”—as though there were a limited amount of sympathy in the world and the only way to get the amount due you was to compete for it. Or remember how you have felt looking at the last piece of a very good pie, the secret salivation that made you greedy and territorial and a “selfish” person. When is it okay to want anything? People may think that if you love Bill that means you must love Mary less, or if you’re committed to your relationship with your friend you must be less committed to your relationship with your spouse. And then how do you know if you’re Number One in a partner’s heart?

This kind of thinking is a trap. We know, for example, that having a second child doesn’t usually mean that a parent loves the first child less and that the person who owns three pets doesn’t necessarily give any less care to any one of them than the person who owns one. But when it comes to sex, love, and romance, it’s hard for most people to believe that more for you doesn’t mean less for me, and we often behave as if desperate starvation is just around the corner if we don’t corner some love right now.
— The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

bigger-tableAn additional lens…

When they approach romantic relationships, people often fall into one of two patterns. Some follow a starvation model, and some follow an abundance model.

In the starvation model, opportunities for love seem scarce. Potential partners are thin on the ground, and finding them is difficult. Because most people you meet expect monogamy, finding poly partners is particularly difficult. Every additional requirement you have narrows the pool still more. Since relationship opportunities are so rare, you’d better seize whatever opportunity comes by and hang on with both hands—after all, who knows when another chance will come along?

The abundance model says that relationship opportunities are all around us. Sure, only a small percentage of the population might meet our criteria, but in a world of more than seven billion people, opportunities abound. Even if we exclude everyone who isn’t open to polyamory, and everyone of the “wrong” sex or orientation, and everyone who doesn’t have whatever other traits we want, we’re still left with tens of thousands of potential partners, which is surely enough to keep even the most ambitious person busy.

The sneaky thing about both models is they’re both right: the model we hold tends to become self-fulfilling. If we have a starvation model of relationships, we may tend to dwell on the times we’ve been rejected, which may lower our self-esteem, which decreases our confidence…and that makes it harder to find partners, because confidence is sexy. We may start feeling desperate to find a relationship, which decreases our attractiveness further. So we end up with less success, which reinforces the idea that relationships are scarce.

When we hold an abundance model of relationships, it’s easier to just go do the things that bring us joy, without worrying about searching for a partner. That tends to make us more attractive, because happy, confident people are desirable. If we’re off doing the things that bring us joy, we meet other people there who are doing the same. Cool! The ease with which we find potential partners, even when we aren’t looking for them, reinforces the idea that opportunities for love are abundant, which makes it easier for us to go about doing what makes us happy, without worrying overmuch about finding a partner…and ’round it goes. We think our perceptions are shaped by reality, but the truth is, the reality we get is often shaped by our perceptions (Cognitive scientists talk about confirmation bias—the tendency to notice things that confirm our ideas, and to discount, discredit or not things that don’t.).

These ideas will also influence how willing we are to stay in relationships that aren’t working for us, both directly and indirectly. If we believe relationships are rare and difficult to find, we may not give up a relationship even when it’s damaging to us. Likewise, if we believe that relationships are hard to find, that may increase our fear of being alone, which can cause us to remain in relationships that aren’t working for us.

Naturally, there’s a fly in the ointment. Sometimes the things we’re looking for, or the way we look for them, create artificial scarcity. This might be because we’re doing something that puts other people off, or because we’re looking for something unrealistic. If you’re looking for a Nobel Prize–winning Canadian supermodel with a net worth of $20 million, you might find potential partners few and far between. Similarly, if you give people the impression that you’ve created a slot for them to fit into that they won’t be able to grow out of, opportunities for relationships might not be abundant either.
— More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory

The model we hold tends to become self-fulfilling.” I could not agree more!

Returning to the point of my six-part blog-series Untapped Worlds, the majority of scientists, especially sociologists and psychologists, postulate not as a “theory” but available mechanisms of innumerable abundant ways for an intrinsic and extrinsic nirvana if you will, WITH OTHERS! Getting there is not a myth or Mount Everest! Simply rewiring and remapping the mind and body in more balance is the first step.❤

Would you agree, add to, subtract, or disagree? Share your comments below.

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Swinging and the Single Male

John and Jackie Melfi are the owners of the popular Open-Swinger Clubs colette (Dallas & New Orleans) and the Blog-writers of! Please go checkout their websites; whether you are curious about the lifestyle, you and your partner/spouse are looking to explore the many benefits of the lifestyle, or are regular veterans… there is always something great the Melfi’s have to offer; I promise!

I asked John and Jackie if they would be kind enough to write a Guest-post here for my blog not only on the subject of the Open-Swinger Lifestyle, BUT the significance or importance of the single male within the lifestyle. More importantly, I asked Jackie to speak some on the topic of single-man etiquette in our lifestyle, at the clubs, and/or at private Meets/Munches. This is what Jackie had to say. Many many thanks to you Jackie and John for your willingness to share and educate!

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By: Jackie Melfi

Can a single male successfully navigate his way through the swingers lifestyle? The answer is yes, but this success will weigh heavily upon whether or not he applies some simple yet effective guidelines.

Flirtatious young girls staring at handsome guyAs owners of some of the most successful swingers clubs in the United States, my husband and I have witnessed the victories and pitfalls single men encounter when entering the swinging community.  

It’s been my experience as well as others I’ve communicated with that some of the most basic protocol is overlooked by men who want to be part of this diverse and sex positive lifestyle. It’s also been my great pleasure to be surrounded by an equally genteel group of men who value not only themselves but others who partake in this rich and uniting way of life. What separates these two groups of men? I’ve compiled a top five list for both in the hopes of educating single males who regularly find themselves in the pitfall category as well as to reinforce the actions and behaviors that keep a percentage in the upper crust level.


1) Touching without Permission: This for me is probably the biggest no-no I see committed by single men, and which I have personal experience with. My husband and I were travelling and stopped in a swingers club. We decided to check out the playrooms, and after selecting a quiet, private spot, we ventured onto the bed. The next thing I know, an arm was encroaching in on our moment and touching my leg. This intrusion instantly put a complete end to the romantic play I was envisioning with my husband. While my husband was quick to quell the advance, the uninvited contact was far from romantic and definitely did not assist this single man in a successful interchange with us.

2) Bad Hygiene: If you want to experience an evening in bed with a beautiful, hot couple or single, please don’t look like you just climbed out of bed! I’m always amazed at how easily this step can be overlooked by the single man attending a club. One of the basic successes in life is to put your best foot forward whether you’re applying for a job, attending a function and yes, even a swingers club.

Because physical attraction, more often than not, initiates an encounter in a swingers club, it’s vital that you look and feel your best. Putting on a clean pair of pants and a freshly washed shirt isn’t going to do you any good if you haven’t showered, styled your hair (yes, this includes facial hair) or brushed your teeth. Remember, the saying goes, “A good suit to a woman is what lingerie is to a man.” I know for me, there’s nothing more sexy than a man who cares about himself.

3) Stalking/Lurking: Part of a successful swingers club experience is the opportunity to meet couples and singles who are like-minded. You’ll miss out on this opportunity if as a single man you stay in the shadows. I know it can sometimes be difficult to work up the courage to introduce yourself, especially if rejection is in the cards, but it’s a step you have to be willing to take in order to meet others. This is another one of the more common complaints a swingers club will receive in regards to single men. The men who follow around a couple, keeping himself just out of reach or in some cases, as in no-no number 1, will cross the line and invade that space. Either way, rather than a romantic turn on for the couple, your behavior will come  across as creepy.

4) Masturbating in Public: News flash! This behavior just makes you look desperate! I’m not talking about in a group setting with another couple or single or a setting in which you’ve been invited and masturbating is part of the play. What I’m talking about is sitting on the couch or standing by the bed of a couple having sex in a swingers club when you were clearly uninvited. I promise you that no one wants to see you do this!

5) Taking the Conversation Straight to Sex: “Hi, my name is________, you are soooo sexy, I would really like to have sex with you!” If you want to be rejected, rest assured this line will do it every time. Think about it, you’re already in a swingers club, a place where the prospect of sex is hanging thick in the air and the atmosphere is charged in anticipation of things to come. There’s no need to address the obvious as an ice breaker. Take the time to actually have a conversation with either the couple (both the male and the female) or the single. The biggest fallacy I see when single men attend a swingers club is that every person in that club is not only wanting to have sex but wanting to have sex with them. So many couples who attend the club never ever take advantage of the playrooms or they only play alone. And others like the swingers atmosphere for the voyeur or exhibitionist setting. You would be safer erring on the side of caution when approaching a couple or single and striking up a conversation with a potential partner or partners. Be genuine in your interest in who they are and what they have to offer, whether you strike out or end up playing.

Okay, so you’ve read through the pitfalls and are making mental notes about what to avoid. You may even be patting yourself on the back for not falling into this pit of ills but still need some reassurance that the steps you’re making will lead you to success. I’ve found the following five steps or “Upper Crusts,” as I like to call them, will definitely move you closer towards the type of happy ending you’re hoping to achieve when attending a swingers club.

Baker taking out from the oven baked buckweat breadUpper Crusts

1) Well Dressed/Good Hygiene: Remember the quote from above: “A good suit to a woman is what lingerie is to a man?!” It’s not only true, but it works. I know I’m much more inclined to strike up a conversation with you if you’re dressed to the nines as opposed to looking like you just finished replacing the motor in your car. A woman puts just as much importance on the physical aspects of a man as a man does a woman. Take that shower, shave, style those locks, iron that shirt, brush those pearly whites and make sure to let us see that smile when we meet you. The single men who grasp this will take the effort to put their best foot forward, because after all, if you want the best you have to offer the best. Three cheers for the guys who take care of themselves…inside and out!

2) Communicate With Both Partners: These guys get it. The successful single man knows the couple is a complete package. They know to engage both people in conversation. The successful single man will know it’s just as important to find a common ground with the husband as it is with the wife. The swinging couple is in the club to enhance their relationship not to replace something. They want to intensify an already strong bond. The successful single man understands this and shows it by inclusion with both partners.

3) Setting Up Playtime: The successful single man will understand he’s more likely to engage in playtime with a couple or single before entering the play area. As a matter of fact, the successful single man won’t enter into the play areas unless invited by another couple or single. Instead of lurking in the shadows of the play area, the successful single man will spend his evening engaging in meaningful conversation with couples or singles in the reception area of the club. He’ll take the time to get to know his potential play partner long before the topic of playing is ever broached. He’ll set up the play date rather than lurching around the play area hoping to score.

4) Well Mannered: The successful single man understands how far manners will get him,  especially in the swinger environment. He’ll be courteous and polite, keep his hands to himself and respect everyone’s personal space. He won’t have any expectations about what could happen at the end of the evening because his goal is to engage in meaningful interaction with other like-minded couples and singles. He won’t shy away from introducing himself and will be well spoken. He’ll be able to discuss a wide range of topics, while able to read whether or not he has overstayed his welcome with a couple or single and then graciously move on.

5) Never Pushes for Sex: Some of my best single male experiences have been those in which  I initiated sex. These guys let me take the lead and were happy to follow. They may have made eye contact with me across the room and were clever enough to understand my body language. They understood that sometimes women like to take the dominant role.

When the man in the swingers club I mentioned above touched my leg, the outcome of that evening actually ended on a high note. After the intrusion, John led me back to the common area so I could take time to compose myself. While calming down, I noticed a single man not far from where I was sitting. There was something pleasant about his demeanor which piqued my interest. He wasn’t lurking, yet he wasn’t oppressive either. He was simply standing there smiling at me. I never moved from the chair I was sitting on. He slowly made his way towards me, never afraid to look away from my gaze. The next thing I knew, I was taking him by the hand and leading him to the play area with my husband in tow. Fortunately for me, I didn’t let the previous situation take away from what ended up being an extremely successful evening with this single man and my husband.

What I’ve found in all my years of being part of the swingers lifestyle is that the single male does play a vital role in playtime. They provide that additional play partner, that fantasy role in a threesome, the much-needed member of a gang bang, or on occasion, will be the partner in a separate play situation. I’ve formed incredible friendships with several single men I’ve come in contact with and enjoy seeing and talking to them, regardless of whether or not we end up playing. I believe most swingers will admit to enjoying, at one time or another, the benefits of having playtime with a single man. Yes, the single man can at times be dealt a pretty rough hand as a result of a few bad apples, but for the most part, those within the swinging community will understand the vital addition they provide to a plethora of play.

Not only is it up to the single man to put his best foot forward, but it’s also the responsibility of couples and singles to be respectful of these men. Something I’ve always tried to remember is that I don’t know someone’s situation until I talk to them. Who knows, maybe the single man in the club is a recently divorced swinger, or worse, maybe he’s the widow of a swingers couple and misses the companionship of the lifestyle. He may be new to the area and wants to meet  people who are more open-minded, or he could simply be new to the lifestyle and have no clue what his role is in this foreign arena.

Just like with a couple new to the lifestyle, there will be a learning curve as the single man adjusts to the environment. This is another reason why I think it’s so important to advise single men with tips and pointers while they navigate a successful route through swinging. Yes, sometimes, there will be those single men who come into a club and for whatever reason lose sight of how they’re supposed to act. These men on occasion will have to be reminded to rein it in, and in the most extreme cases will have to simply call it a night. With a loving and open arms policy, I believe the swinging community can come together in support of this empowering lifestyle and encourage ALL who are interested in learning the benefits of entering into a swinging relationship. We can become vital teachers in reaching those who are truly interested in creating the best possible life for themselves.

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