Courage Fulfills: The Many Rewards of Mindful Exploration

As part of the Alternative Lifestyles blog-posts migration over to the new blog The Professor’s Lifestyles Memoirs, this post has been moved there. To read this post please click the link to the blog.

Your patience is appreciated. Thank you!

46 thoughts on “Courage Fulfills: The Many Rewards of Mindful Exploration

  1. I have been giving this a little thought lately, and my wife and I have talked about it, and we also have local friends that are swingers. The only problem I’ve seen with them is he started secret rendezvous with others she was not aware of. He’s fallen in love a few times and their marriage has been quite rocky lately. Obviously you and your partner must have some established rules and open dialog about this. I would think that is key to have the trust that you’ll have each other no matter what. Thoughts?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jim,

      I also hear about some of the bad-choices or the irresistable chances to be abusive and irresponsible by individuals. If there is a positive side to your friend’s dishonesty and dishonoring of his “Love” or spouse it is showing her his true nature or lack of integrity. Would she have otherwise found this out about him if they remained monogamous? Perhaps. Probably? Give him 20-40 years of faithful marriage and my answer would be probably so — it is the lifestyle that has outted his real nature, yes? Now she knows a LOT MORE about her decision(s) to be with him and learn from them! Now she knows what to avoid in the next relationship and what to consider more closely. A popular analogy to this type of configuration or understanding would be imagine if there were 24/7 video surveillance of ourselves EVERYWHERE we went, even the bathrooms, and those recordings were easily/readily available for viewing by your partner/spouse — like a fly on the wall all the time. Would our behavior and what we said while we were apart from each other change!? If so, why? If not, why? Think about it. 24/7 honest accountability, to self and your partner! Isn’t THAT what the marriage/relationship SHOULD BE anyway?

      If it isn’t, then is it based in reality in the first place? 😉 🤔

      Liked by 6 people

  2. I’m not sure I’d have the emotional capacity to participate in swinging. I think for it to work and be a healthy thing, a couple has to be superb communicators and very emotionally secure with each other. I admire those who can do this because it certainly opens up doors to A LOT of fun adventures.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I totally understand your natural hesitations Jeff. I really do. We are certainly more vulnerable to predators out there, BUT those predators and abusers are not exclusive to our lifestyle either. In fact, I’d say our lifestyle EXPOSES them much quicker for who they are. 😉 For me, I’ve always thrived in an edgy, in pseudo-uncontrolled environments, some with crises around every corner. That’s most likely why I loved and thrived so well as a goalkeeper in soccer/futebol — always trying to better perfect my game and defense against losing and allowing 1 goal into my net! Hahaha! But it was exactly that type of high-pressure cooker that helped me understand myself in all my glory as well as all my faults, flaws, and hangups.

      Today? I’m damn near PERFECT now! Almost God’s gift to women!!! 😎😈


      P.S. That last line was a complete joke and evidence of my Delusions of Grandeur!

      Liked by 6 people

      • Oh, I wouldn’t be worried about predators and such. I just worry about my own jealousies and such. I’ve not been in a serious relationship in some time, but, my main worry would be me not being able to not be jealous or uncomfortable with sharing. Thing is, the sexual kink and arousal of the whole idea is quite awesome, and now that I’m old and wise, it intrigues me quite a bit. As well, I imagine those who enjoy this lifestyle are, for the most part, pretty intelligent and open people. Seems like a lot of kinky fun to be had be all. My imagination is very, very active and I’ve done A LOT of fun stuff in my time, just not whilst sharing a partner in a group setting. Anyway, seems like a great lifestyle. $Amen$

        Liked by 4 people

        • I do get it Jeff. I was there at one time with my own jealousies and/or paranoia/fear. For me, I eventually realized after too many “exclusive” relationships and two monogamous marriages (that were never truly faithful anyway) that I never had control over another person’s deepest wishes and desires in the first place. People will do what they want to do whether it is bluntly known (hyper-INsensitive?) or kept secret. I finally just said screw it, let’s at least have everything way out in the open so that there are better chances of genuine self-portrayal!!! Everyone deserves to know exactly who and what you are… all the time!

          And here’s a little factoid on the subject: if there weren’t already so many people in the world that are hyper-sexual or above-average sexual, then the sex industry, and porn, and sales & marketing using sex, dating websites, marriage websites, cheating websites, romance novels and films, etc, etc, all would not be growing and thriving as long as it has! As a society anywhere in the world, WHY do we try to downplay this, or pretend it doesn’t exist, or worse, make it illegal or abusive!? Why the conspiracy of silence and distortion?

          Liked by 3 people

  3. Reading the Pros and Cons of open relationships was fascinating. Jim and Jeff helped illuminate the importance of honesty, communication, and trust. I’ve experienced both open and committed relationships, and these three issues (and more) have always become problematic eventually. I’m heterosexual, so I can’t speak to relationships with men; but, the women I’ve been involved with didn’t seem all that concerned with honesty, communication, or trust. I’m over-generalizing here, but they all were more interested in using the relationship with me to satisfy some desire of theirs. I always felt that the quality of myself, as a unique individual, was less important to them than what they were seeking. Very often, I feel glad that I never married.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand Robert. I’ve heard cases like this before and as I shared with Jim and Jeff above, there are positive ways to spin your experiences too — you learned some very valuable lessons from those committed relationships, yes? You at least learned what needs identifying as far as strong and weak qualities for the next relationship(s), right? 😉 And I’m not saying they must be open-swinger. Just remain open for the next opportunities.

      For me, all of my euphoric experiences and those difficult times… all have been useful and utilized for my current relationship: The Meaning. And we both encourage each other to be our natural, flirty, extroverted, respectful selves to others we find chemistry with and both look forward to hearing about those experiences if we’re not there together! They teach us more and more about each other and ourselves, each time! It is amazing! The silent, fearful, monogamous lifestyle (for us) will never come close to the rewards the open-lifestyle has given! Bar none. Period.

      I hope you’ll remain open to possibilities Robert. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • Open but jaded, Professor. I’m adaptable to most situations and am very tolerant of others. What I can’t handle is deceit and being manipulated or abused.

        Once, I had a lady friend in another state. I’d visit 5-6 times a year. We’d go out to dinner, enjoy the nightlife, and have sex of course. This relationship was mutually agreed upon from the very beginning. It was a lot of fun for a few years. Then, something happened. I arrived at her place one time and she gave me a very stern ultimatum – “marry me or get lost.” I was shocked, and asked why her attitude had changed so dramatically. She said I must be stupid to think that she would give sex for nothing in return! So, I limped back home with my head spinning in confusion.

        Liked by 3 people

        • As Jeff appropriately expresses, “ouch”! 😦 Sorry man.

          I wish I could wave a wand and everybody just DROP all the unnecessary pretense, dishonesty or silence/omission, and ignorance about themselves and what others (society) want to hear/see, and just be a raw human, being themself, true to self! Ugh, but alas… :/

          I’d strongly urge you though Robert to NOT let her define the rest of your life or who you are or will become! 😁 I want to hear you scream:

          “I AM ROBERT!!! HEAR ME ROAR with LIFE and DEVOUR its MARROW!!!” (start the primal drumbeat around the fire!) 👹💪🕺

          Liked by 3 people

        • And a third “Ouch” coming up…

          I’m quite with you on the ‘jaded’ aspect, though sometimes I think it’s just paper armor. In reality I like men far too much and am far too likely to latch on to the good in people to keep up the ‘mean lady’ persona once one makes an effort 😛

          But if I may offer a female perspective? Not excusing that specific woman’s behavior, which was low and uncalled for. I do think I have an inkling what may lay beneath, though.
          It’s that stupid idea we get drilled into our heads from early childhood – that men only ever want one thing, and if we allow them to use us that way, we’re stupid. That we need to make them ‘own up’ because they’ll never respect us if we just give sex without strings.

          This starts with the dad standing in front of the door with his shotgun – a funny image, but if you think about it, it becomes sad. He’s protecting his daughter … from men like himself. Because he used to be the one the gun was aimed at, when he was after his daughter’s mother.
          And of course he must protect her from herself, because gosh, girls are incapable of being smart about sex (OK, looking at some of my contemporaries, and some of my daughters’ classmates, I’ll grant him that. But there’s an easier remedy- talk to the girl, dammit. Doesn’t take an Ivy League degree to explain about the hows and wheres, and how not to have babies unless you want to, how not to catch an STD, how to separate the fumbling but well meaning youngster from the abusive bastard).

          Then there’s this harebrained idea we’re not supposed to like sex. That our drive and enjoyment of it is naturally lower than any male’s, and if we feel otherwise, we’re whores, nymphos, all manner of bad, bad things. But certainly not ‘normal’, not ‘Good Girls’.
          This smoothly leads to the assumption that all men are dogs, and all women are victims (Daaad! Shotgun!!). As victims, we must of course defend ourselves, and since physically we’re usually disadvantaged, why not use the mean mens’ drive against them? Hello, manipulation for the sake of the Greater Good. Why, we’re doing them a favor, channeling their bad, bad, instincts. Leading them gently on the path to civilization (I kid you not, I had an auntie who was convinced men would descend into barbarism without the benevolent influence of Good Women).

          All this bullshit you’re taught if you’re a girl, and you’re not even a grownup yet.

          Then comes the dance to find a lifemate. Because an unmarried woman is a thing to be pitied, but unmarried men are free and to be envied. URGH.

          Oh, if I had a penny for every “Ohhh you’re dating X, when are you going to get married?” “Awww it didn’t work out? Seeing anyone new?” “You’ve been dating Y for 6 months now, do I hear wedding bells?”
          Sometimes I think the main reason I said ‘yes’ to Z was to get the vultures off my back. That, and you’re supposed to be deliriously happy when a guy kneels with a ring, not frantically search for an exit.
          [enter 16 years of relative peace and quiet… especially since I popped out two babies in short order. Saved me from those damn vultures switching to “Oh honey, isn’t your biological clock ticking?”]
          If I had a nickel for every pitying stare for the ‘poor divorced woman’, if I had a dime for every well meaning friend/relative asking “So, anyone special in your life again?”…
          Well, it would probably pay for my divorce. At least.

          I would place 50 bucks on the table right now, betting that the lady you were seeing had at least one friend, likely several, who explained to her that she was letting you use her, that she was not being smart about her assets, that it was time to smarten up and focus her energy on a man who’d ‘own up’ rather than string her along.
          Make it 500. My odds for winning that bet are astronomical.

          Still doesn’t make it right.
          The decent thing to do would have been to explain that the parameters had changed on her end (the old “It’s not you, it’s me” thing). That when you met she was fine with your mutual arrangement but she was ready to look for something more permanent. To offer you time to absorb that, and think about whether you felt ready to explore that possibility with her, or rather call it quits because you were moving in different directions now. But that would have required honesty and some self reflection on her part, rather than doing what was expected of her.

          You see, I doubt she was in it for marriage from the start. That undercurrent is almost always there of course if you’re a woman. Either because you’re conditioned/pressured (the goal is always supposed to be the Ring to Rule Them All, everything else are test drives), or because you pretend (unmarried woman enjoying sex! There are words for that) and then get tangled up in your own deception. But at some point it caught up with her, and the dramatic change happened. Leaving you as collateral damage.

          And that’s just a mild case (not trying to diminish your bad experience in any way, but at least you got out before becoming too invested in the relationship).

          From the female side, it takes some guts and/or a tough shell to break free of the conditioning and flip the bird to the moral warriors. To let the pity roll off you like water off a duck and realize you’re among the few who get the joke.
          From the male side I sometimes think a few more words wouldn’t go amiss, either. Not directed at you personally, I don’t know you well enough (not at all, actually) 😉 Just speaking from experience and observation. Lots of times there are shell shocked men who might have seen the explosion coming from miles away had they bothered to have one meaningful talk with their lady. About feelings and such scary things. About the dreaded “Where are we going, are we both still on the same page?”

          I’m over-generalizing here, but they all were more interested in using the relationship with me to satisfy some desire of theirs. I always felt that the quality of myself, as a unique individual, was less important to them than what they were seeking.

          Not a uniquely female to male phenomenon. Plenty of women bemoaning the same thing in reverse.

          But I get your drift. It’s that stupid assumption we have that we need a romantic partner to complete ourselves when we don’t even yet know who we are or what we want. The root of the problem from the ladies’ side is again the “woman without man is incomplete and worth less, if not worthless” BS. So she latches on to the best available candidate, and he’s supposed to magically fulfill the needs she doesn’t even know she had. And if it doesn’t work, he’s not what a man is supposed to be/do. Just like with sex. He’s supposed to magically know everything, she’s supposed to be the shy virgin (oh, the rants I could go off on….).

          How are you ever going to be able to appreciate the unique male you bonded with, have fun with him, have fun exploring him, if he’s permanently under pressure to perform miracles? If he has been taught he needs to ‘be a man’ and won’t damn well just ask “So, whatcha thinking, boo? How ya feeling? Anything I can do?” Because he has to be Don Juan and Lord Byron and Caesar and Lancelot right out the gate, and Gods help him because no one else will.

          In reverse, I often find men latching onto one or two aspects of a lady, and constructing an idealized image from that, not bothering to delve into the complex being beneath. Setting themselves up for disappointment. Because not only is she already driving herself bonkers trying to live up to that standard, and that, and – whoops – the parameters have changed again, now she has to live up to an ideal she doesn’t even know about. Bugger.

          It’s a marvel we manage to get along long enough to perpetuate the species, when you think about it 😛

          Liked by 3 people

          • It’s that stupid idea we get drilled into our heads from early childhood – that men only ever want one thing, and if we allow them to use us that way, we’re stupid. That we need to make them ‘own up’ because they’ll never respect us if we just give sex without strings.

            Shia, that was a DAMN GOOD comment for Robert and all men! Hah, women too I suppose. 😉

            Wow! I am going to make sure I include you Shia on ALL of my O-S lifestyle and SSC BDSM posts! You ROCK! 🎸 🥇

            Liked by 2 people

            • Why, I’m honored, Professor!

              Here I was already pondering whether I should apologize for going off on a little rant – but I had a discussion with my girls about a rather similar subject yesterday, and I guess the dragonfire was still smoldering 😡

              And oh, that song! A prime example of the indoctrination a mother is up against, and with a catchy tune. Still, I must have done something right – because when it was on the radio once, younger daughter commented “If he liked it he’d have given it an orgasm. And made it pancakes.” (I wonder where her snark originates… *cough*).

              Liked by 2 people

            • LMAO!!! 🤣 Well, as one Neanderthal of our fluffy peacock-feathering gender, I greatly admire and respect women who DEMAND at the very least common courtesy… until it is otherwise forfeited by the inferior gender. 😉

              Snark On… Queen Snarkness, leader of the Snark Princesses! ❤

              Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow. I needed to let this simmer for a bit before wrapping my head around a comment… amazing post, Professor!

    It clearly and reasonably spelled out several things I’ve mulled over on and off for years. Sometimes consciously, more often by ways of a passing thought like “huh that’s odd, must add this puzzle piece to other information gathered, maybe I’ll get a picture other than a deformed rabbit one day”.

    Personally, the main attraction of this idea was always the honesty and clear communication. Not that I’ve tried – lack of opportunity and suitable counterpart/s, lack of time and energy to invest in searching for either – but the concept always made sense, and now does even more so. Your ship metaphor also struck a chord, maybe because I like the sea and exploring? 😛

    It also almost makes me laugh, looking back at a failed marriage that cost me 16 years (though I got two amazing children out of it, so I’ll not complain), and the absurdity of some of the things we’re taught.

    I’m still not sure the whole package would be for me, even if circumstances should toss opportunity my way. I know myself fairly well by now, and I’m a territorial creature. I’m also an odd and exhausting combination of learned mistrust / extreme vigilance and almost naive willingness to extend trust in heaps, expecting nothing less in return. Not an easy person to handle, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg 😉

    The communication I could handle. Hell, I’d relish it. (“That thing with the trapeze could be tough, not sure my knee could handle it. But your other fantasy sounds doable. Weird, but fun.” “Should I get the cupcakes and the finger paint, then?” “Oh why not. You gonna chip in for the cleaning crew?”).

    The honesty – well, there I would have to unlearn some behavior. Too much honesty combined with fragile male egos equals bad experiences, and I’ve never quite managed to find any sort of workable balance (alright, the “I’m washing dishes! If you want to have a go, either say so or get out, but stop getting underfoot. Or better yet, grab a towel and help, and then declare your intentions. I’m no damn mindreader” was a bit harsh. But performance anxiety over a “Urgh! More to the left!”- really?). So now I just hold my tongue.

    The trust … see above. Lots of behavior to unlearn, plus natural tendencies which need to be balanced. So many people are dealing with abandonment and trust issues because their parents had messy divorces, and here I’m standing in the corner shouting “And what about me, huh? My folks have been married for 50 years and they’re awesome together! How about my issues? How about trying and failing to live up to that example?” 😛

    I do very much like the “Toujours l’audace!” approach. I’d rather sit on a porch one day, snowy haired and my teeth in a glass beside me, giggling to myself in my rocking chair, thinking of my many adventures and spectacular failures, rather than sigh and have regrets over roads untraveled.
    Some regrets are unavoidable, the human lifespan prevents us from taking every road that looks interesting. I just want the giggles to outweigh them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shiarrael,

      It is so good to see you again! 😍 You’ve been off galvanting far too long! Please send us more postcards when you do that, or at least a carrier-pigeon, got it!?

      Thank you for the compliment and feedback, especially sharing your thoughts and suspicions of the lifestyle. Your concerns are all very valid. I’ve heard them many times from many singles/couples in similar positions with similar backgrounds. You are not alone and if you are fortunate enough to fall into a group/community of O-S lifestylers that include incredible people like John and Jackie Melfi — and so many others I’ve met personally — you get such a positive encouraging support group to help! No surprise, the impactful proactive communication is indeed the hinge, the cornerstone of any type of relationship. The difference is that there are no ‘silent’ 500 lbs gorillas in the room annoyingly preventing us from being the expressive (sexual? not always) creatures we are naturally! However, let me be realistic with you as well. There will often be times when a person/couple are Newbies and are a bit on edge in the early stages. That’s natural; usually the case with EVERYONE! Be patient. Be encouraging with them and don’t be shy about the chemistry found with others — sometimes it has nothing to do with sex. 🙂

      And by the way Shiarrael, the giggles you speak of are plenty!!! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • Roger that 😉 and apologies for the abrupt absence, my day job can be a real canine of the female persuasion sometimes.

        You are not alone and if you are fortunate enough to fall into a group/community of O-S lifestylers that include incredible people like John and Jackie Melfi […] you get such a positive encouraging support group to help!

        Yes, I’ve actually ‘fallen in’ with a bunch of kinky Germans (quite by accident, I didn’t know many of them were into that sort of thing until a hilarious incident involving a dressage whip) and I can see how such a group can be immensely helpful. If I had the time, energy and inclination to invest in a relationship, they’d be a marvelous starting point I’m sure, never mind I could bounce ideas off them (being kinky they’d likely bounce ball gags back…)

        As it is, I’m content to count them as buddies and consider the opportunity to learn about new stuff an unexpected bonus. And who knows, one day it might come in handy.

        No surprise, the impactful proactive communication is indeed the hinge, the cornerstone of any type of relationship.

        The sad thing is – I’ve always known that. Instinctively, and from observing my parents. Not that my dad is much of a talker, but he’s succinct and honest, as well as capable of picking the important parts out of his wife’s long, energetic monologues. 😛 In their way, they communicate almost constantly.
        I suppose I’ve always subconsciously looked for that kind of dialogue, and tried to offer it, but had a bad hand at choosing my counterparts.

        At least now I’m consciously aware that I’m not only looking for it, but that it’s important for me if I’m even to consider a relationship again. So there’s that.

        There will often be times when a person/couple are Newbies and are a bit on edge in the early stages. That’s natural; usually the case with EVERYONE! Be patient.

        Personal dichotomy problem again 😛
        On the one hand, I’m about the least skittish, high-strung person you’ll ever meet. Edgy newbies are scarcely worth a raised brow when you work with things that actually, literally go boom.
        On the other hand, this part innate and part trained Zen gives the impression I’m more distant and more seasoned than I actually am – not to mention drama of any kind is a tiresome thing and my patience with that is limited.

        So I’ll keep the “be encouraging” advice in mind and shall try to find a personal balance here as well. A good opportunity for some personal growth, perhaps.

        sometimes it has nothing to do with sex. 🙂

        I like that idea. Puts my kinky equestrian German friends in a whole new light, too.

        the giggles you speak of are plenty!!!

        Now that’s what I call encouragement! 😀

        Thank you for the lovely reply and the great advice!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, Luda! So good to see you again! And welcome back you beautiful person!!! 🙂 ❤

      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Our lifestyle is not only open in the obvious and popular sense (sexually), but in all other human aspects as well — most often none of our human interactions, personalities, fears, joys, can be separated out and independent! Many of them cross-over, are fluid and flexing in ways that simply take time, patience, and learned articulation to understand. 🙂

      And to your last line, you are exactly right! When we stop thinking of partners/spouses as proprietary, and more as independent humans who DESERVE to experience life to the fullest… we actually create wider deeper forms of love, appreciation, liberty, all of the best human virtues. ❤

      Thank you so much for your feedback! It is always welcomed!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, PT. Love your creative input in all your brain work and kind comments. Lots of hugs, as always.
        Yes, I admire you and all the people that enjoy this life to the fullest. My hat is off to you.
        In reality, goodness, I guess I have a lot of learning to do. Hard to let go of the “proprietary spouse concept”. Hahaha. You will not approve, PT, but selfishly, being a really greedy girl, I refuse to share. Haha. Still laughing and can’t quite stop ;))))) For some reason, (maybe its the deprived temperamental soviet child talking-sort of like “Chucky” -never dies) I want my husband all too myself, LOL, LOL, LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Awww, Luda. There are several great noble qualities that are found in monogamous relationships. The one I will ALWAYS admire and applaud is the committment to stick-it out; find solutions and compromises to keep the relationship stable and/or thriving. That there requires all sorts of discipline, level-headedness, and determination; all fantastic qualities!

          But if I may be blunt and forthright here, for the sake of MY authenticity — and please appreciate it this way — a human being is NEVER our’s to always keep, or control. We only think (consciously or subconsciously) we are puppet-masters when in reality we are not. It is always THEIR choice and their choice alone to stay, to go, or something in between. Everyone’s needs and wants change throughout life. Now, in a positive light… if both of you HELP each other be and become better humans for self and all others, then that is always a fantastic symbiotic benefit for all concerned!!! Woooohoooo!!! But think about this…

          Earth is now at 7.5+ billion people — likely more women than there are men due to our long primal Neanderthal genetics to always fight and have wars (LOL) — and if all the human race was considerably MORE sociable, self-confident, extroverted, and not so afraid and paranoid of losing purpose and love (which could never happen!) — i.e. No Fear, No Horse-blinders, no tunnel-vision to life and others — we would easily find and run across many other Soul MateS in life that certainly enhance and better our short existence on the planet! And every single human being has that right to do so and the liberty to experience it fully as THEY see fit!

          But remember too, equally you do too! I personally find that infinitely envigorating!!! 🤩


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