The Questions I’d Really Like to Ask on First Dates

1)Do you have mommy issues?

2)What’s the worst thing your last partner would say about you?

3)What is your STD status?

4)Are you in therapy?

5)If so, how concerned is your therapist that you are dating right now?

6)From 0 to 100, what is the percent change you will cancel or change a given plan rather than follow through?

7)What is your Kinsey score?  Decimals are acceptable.

8)Can you describe in detail how you typically act during a really nasty,soul-crushing fight.

9)On a scale from 0 to 10, with 1 being completely vanilla and 10 completely kinky, where would you fall?

10)Have you ever taken an MMPI, and if so, can I have a copy of the results?

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Eat Mangoes Naked – On Becoming Myself… Again

View from Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

In some ways this post is a follow-up to Where’s My Parachute:  Lessons in Love and Loss, my mini-autobiography.

In college, a female mentor introduced me to Sark and her classic book Succulent Wild Woman.  If you’ve never had the pleasure, Sark’s work is like a playful, engaging little kick-in-the-ass that feels like a soft pillow enticing you into a lazy, afternoon nap.  Sark inspires you to envision a more expansive life and take the risks to get there.

Some of my favorite gems that I go back to again and again from SWW:

-“Traveling Alone for Women.”  Sark inspired many trips small and large for me, including a month-long, cross-country road trip by myself where I struck up conversations with strangers of all kinds.

-“Marrying Yourself.”  This is brilliant stuff, folks.  Everyone should marry themselves, everyone.  Go out there and “become the person you want to find!”

– “Investigating the Dark Places with a Flashlight.”  Sark is all about facing our demons head on, with plenty of naps and treats in between, of course.

-“Importance of Being Crabby.”  Duh.

-“Radical Self-Acceptance.”  In college, I actually put little post-it notes all over my dorm room that said “permission” in keeping with Sark’s advice to “fly permission flags.”

-“Importance of Vibrators.”  I will never forget how Sark describes getting her first vibrator as a teen on Easter morning.  She bounds downstairs exclaiming joyfully, “Happy, Happy Easter!” after using it for the first time.  I often think Happy, Happy Easter to myself after a particularly satisfying time…

It’s incredible how life sends you something, and then brings you back to it again and again  offering a fresh perspective each time.  When I first read Sark, I was doing very hard emotional work.  Sark helped me take myself less seriously, give myself breaks, and accept myself where I was.  Part of that was accepting I was really far from being emotionally ready for serious intimacy, including sexual intimacy.

At the time, Sark’s advice about learning to be alone, taking emotional risks, and facing dark feelings felt so on target, but other things were very foreign back then.  Sark talks about “living juicy,” “succulence,” and “sexual blossoming.”  She has another book entitled, “Eat Mangoes Naked.”  Looking back, what Sark was getting at was eroticism – taking hold of erotic energy and utilizing it to live a richer, more vibrant life.  I was so far from “eating mangoes naked,” the best I could hope for at the time was protecting myself from further emotional harm.

In 2005, I traveled around southern Africa with a close friend of mine.  It was one of the three most important experiences of my life.  I had met Seth only two months prior.  I was allowing myself to take risks with intimacy that I hadn’t before.  The friend I was travelling with kept looking at me like I was someone different she’d never seen, as I spoke about Seth and my feelings for him.  Looking back, it was a time of succulence for me, one of the first I had ever allowed myself.

I spent a lot of time on my own during that trip; reflecting on my mother’s death just a few months prior, grieving, but also exploring my feelings for Seth, realizing I was in love with him, and considering what that meant for me.  I remember walking across Table Mountain in Capetown, looking out over the stunning coast and shimmering ocean.  That was my ocean, the one I’d learned to walk next to, but at the opposite end of the world.  At that moment, the sun felt like it was shining on parts of me I hadn’t even known existed.  While my mother’s cancer kept me closed off and hidden, her death left me raw, exposed, with a lot of open spaces ready to be filled.

This week I found myself eating mangoes naked with a lovely, witty, sexy woman from Cape Town.  I had a little chuckle to myself, for Sark, for how far I’ve come, and for the way we grow in circles, revisiting the places we’ve been so we can see the view from where we are back to where we were.    That day, I again found myself somewhere I never could have imagined I could get.  “Living Juicy,” as Sark would say.

By this point I really know what “Eat Mangoes Naked” is all about.   The woman I was on my Africa trip was no longer terrified of love and loss, but the woman I am today is more than that, she is a real Succulent, Wild Woman.  The risks I am taking now feel easy and playful instead of like walking through a title wave.   I let all the big questions of identity and relationship negotiation melt away this week into the simplicity of brushing up against a stranger on a rooftop, an instant connection, and a lingering sense that this was what supposed to happen, for both of us.

My new friend is back in Cape Town now.  Saying goodbye is hard, but it also teaches us to embrace the present.  So I am left with the feeling of being amazed by life, and truly, almost painfully grateful.  Grateful above all else for the simplicity.  After the soul-searching, the over-thinking, the wading through other people’s fears and projections, this experience has been beautifully ordinary.  Not ordinary in a bad way.  Ordinary in a way that tells you in your gut that you knew who you were all along, and that new experiences don’t have to change the old ones, just deepen them.

As I sit here alone, picturing her in her apartment on the slope of Table Mountain, overlooking that same sparkling ocean I once did, I think about the incredible journeys life takes us on if we let it.  If we drown out all the noise, turn off the tv, ignore the naysayers, don’t let other people’s fear turn us off to our own internal compass…  If we don’t play by other people’s rules but allow ourselves to make our own, the ones we really need, life will take us exactly where we need to go.

I know there are many of you out there who feel like you can’t live your fullest, most succulent life right now for a variety of reasons.  The path may be long, can be slow, and I assure you there will be pain along the way.  But don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.  Don’t let anyone tell you you have to stop, that you are getting too old, too wild, too outside the lines.  Keep expanding, keep growing.  Eat mangoes naked.  Find people who will do so with you and let you go when you need to do so alone.  Why do we do anything other than let the ones we love live fully and succulently?  If someone loves you, ask them to set you free.  But you have to set yourself free as well!

Seth and I talked a lot this week about feeling like we should feel bad.  Feeling bad about not feeling bad. We have real fears, of course, but the ones that came from outside of us, we are letting go.   From here on out we steer our own ship.  We are accountable only to each other.  Never could I have imagined this depth of connection when I first marveled at having an intimate partner.  There is little more powerful in terms of an act of love than setting someone free, and little more exalting than having that person stay anyway, though the door is open and the whole world is spread out before him.   There is great power in watching your partner grow and live fully, putting your fears aside, and being happy for him.  The “poly” folks call this compersion.   I think Sark would call it succulence.

Yours in grateful exploration,


P.S. – Breasts seriously rock.






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40 Things I’ll Teach My Kids About Sex

There's way more to talk about than these guys!

A follow-up to my “Sex Talk” Way Outside the Box post, originally appears here at

1. Monogamy is just one way of doing things, it’s not inherently better or healthier. Make sure you make a choice about how to structure your relationships instead of defaulting to heteronormativity or compulsory monogamy.

2. Gay and straight are over-simplified terms. Most people are somewhere in between, orientation can change—and some folks don’t even identify as male or female.

3.  It’s okay to have casual sex if you feel clear and comfortable about wanting to. If you make a mistake, you will just learn from it.

4. Slut shaming is never okay, whether coming from you, or directed toward you. There is nothing inherently wrong with having sex, enjoying sex, talking about sex, etc.

5. No sex should be emotionally damaging.

6. Consent is the one thing you must have in any intimate encounter. There is no gray area here—and it is never too late to say no.

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The “Sex Talk” Way Outside the Box

Our daughters deserve to know about the rabbit!

I recently read this post on the wonderful Raising My Rainbow blog.  In it, “C.J.’s mom” talks about how she assumed her husband would be the one to talk to their boys about sex, until it became clear her gender variant son might be gay.  (Let me pause here to say that C.J.’s mom is one of my mommy and blogger heroes, and despite using her post as a jumping off point into the far reaches of my radical brain, I have nothing but utmost respect for her).

I think many of us approach the idea of talking to our kids about sex by following cultural scripts we don’t give much thought to.  If we stop and ask ourselves why, however, we may realize these scripts are not at all the best way to raise empowered, feminist children.  Why does a same-sex parent give the sex talk?  What message does that send?  Why a “sex talk” at all?  And what should be said in the talk?

I know some of you think you have many years before you answer these questions, but the truth is, we have to start when our children are learning to talk by teaching them the proper names for body parts in a casual,  natural non-shaming way.  I tell my two year-old daughter during diaper changes “I need to wipe your vulva.”  This is the very beginnings of her sex education, and my son’s as well.

So why “sex talks?”

Recently, a group of friends at a dinner party went around a talked about whether we had had a “sex talk.”  Turns out not a single person at the table had had one.  We were all basically “self-taught.”  So the fact that many folks who are parents now are thinking about and planning “sex talks” is admirable and important.

But is the “sex talk” enough?

In my opinion, if I’m planning a “sex talk” with a kid, I’ve already missed an opportunity.

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Help! There’s a 16 Year-Old Lesbian Trapped Inside My Body, and She Wants Out!

Also appeared in elephantjournal – check it out!  This post is dedicated to MF.

The following is an internal dialogue between me, Lyla (“grown-up,” married, mother of two), and my gay, teenage alter-ego. We’ll call her “Eve since,” as you will see, she spends a lot of time focused on, shall we say, forbidden fruit.

Lyla: There has to be a way to keep up with the laundry without doing some every single day!

Eve: Girls.

Lyla: Aw, my little boy asked a question, that must be a developmental milestone.

Eve: Girls.

Lyla: Seth is my soul mate, best friend, and life-long companion.

Eve: Girls.

Lyla: How do I know if my kids are adjusting well to pre-school?

Eve: Girls… and sex.

Lyla: Dental Insurance?

Eve: How do you pick out a strap-on?

Lyla: I can’t believe this, I didn’t think we had dental insurance, but we do! What a relief!

Eve: Dates… we should be going on them. With girls!

Lyla: I should probably talk to my therapist about this.

Eve: OMG.

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The Walk of Lame – On Regretting NOT Hooking Up

Right before I met my husband, I flew to another state for a graduate school interview.  After we landed, I kept running into the crew from the plane.  Turns out they were staying in the same hotel as me, including a very attractive man around my age, who I assumed was a flight attendant.  He invited me to dinner, and in a very uncharacteristic move (I had to get up early for my interview),, I agreed.  That was my idea of living on the edge!

Turns out the guy was the co-pilot and quite a hot, charming co-pilot at that.  After Cuban food and an excellent mojito, I went back to his room to see his “flight plans.”  Uh-huh.  So we were making out, and it was cool.  I didn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable, or any of those things “they” warn you about.  I was having fun.  So what did I do?  I excused myself and went back to my room to rest up for my interview (an interview, mind you, I didn’t really care about).  I think I am still feeling the sexual frustration from that night to this day.

Why did I leave my pilot friend (and myself) so unsatisfied?  I had learned somewhere along the line to assume that I would regret a casual hook-up.  I didn’t have any personal evidence for this.  There wasn’t anything at all about the situation to suggest I might regret it.  The guy was a perfect gentleman, and I really liked him.  And yet, regret was the only possibly outcome in my mind.  There was no part of me that considered the possibility that I might be glad I had hooked up with him.

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Why I’d Love a Four-Person Marriage

Originally Appeared on elephant journal.

A few years after finding and marrying each other, Seth and I found our couple-friend soul-mates. Over the few years that followed, in an entirely platonic way, we became more than just friends. When there was something going on in one of our lives, there were four people, instead of just two, who put their heads together and figured out what to do. Instead of Seth and me planning our social schedules together, all four of us would coordinate. When one of us was being bullheaded, there were three other folks there to gently but persistently provide an “intervention.” Let me tell you, it’s a lot easier to get your partner to hear feedback on his behavior when there are two other people there backing you up!

However, the biggest thing I took away from that experience was that the business of life felt a lot less like work during that time. Life felt less burdensome and more fun. With four adults facing the world together things just felt a bit less daunting. Spending time with friends stopped feeling like it required elaborate planning or impossible scheduling feats. There just seemed to be… time.

When our couple-friend soul-mates divorced, Seth and I were devastated. We all joked that Seth and I were more upset than they were, but I think in some ways we really were. We were losing this family unit we’d created, except we didn’t have any of the motivation for wanting to move on that they had. We were perfectly happy in our sexless, four-person marriage. We hadn’t signed on for divorce.

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Out and Pansexual in the Suburbs

If only everyone believed in "NO LIMITS!"

During the past few weeks I have had the exquisite pleasure of:

-aggravating a group of middle-aged lesbians.

-confusing gay and straight people alike with my mystifying pansexual/married lifestyle.

-having a close friend refer to me as transgender (I guess she thinks that’s what I came out as?)

-Going to my first several events as an “out” queer woman.


-being told by both my husband therapist to essentially “tone it down.”

They say well-behaved women seldom make history.  I’m guessing women who fit neatly into existing movements and social categories probably rarely do either.  Having said that, not fitting neatly, or at all, can be lonely.

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In Defense of Labels

Please check out this post on Elephant Journal where your clicks here will help my rating during their “sweeps.”

In my feminist, sex-positive, queer-positive travels, I constantly hear folks complaining about labels.  Let’s just stop with all these labels.  If we could just get away from labels.  It’s the labels that are the problem.  When I hear this, I often wonder how any of the progress that’s been made to expand notions of gender identity beyond the binary and make space for non-heteronormative and queer forms of identity could have been made without labels.  How could we fight for gay marriage without the word “gay?”  How could we raise awareness that not everyone fits neatly into male/female categories without labels like transgender, intersex, and genderqueer?  I can understand the frustration with labels when it feels like they narrow who we can be and pigeon-hole us into existing categories, like male and female, for example.  But ironically, I believe the way to expand notions of identity and free ourselves from those limits is also through more labels.

I recently heard the phrase “Gender, Sexual, and Relationship Minorities” for the first time.  As someone who focuses my career in the mental health field on those very groups, I was so pleased to finally have found a quick and dirty label not only for the folks I work with but for myself, as a queer-identified pansexual.  However, after my initial excitement, I started to feel a bit sad.  Would this mean I would have to stop using the acronym I coined on my blog and have been using for over a year… LGBTQIAPK?

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Having an Abortion Can be Pro-Life

Part One of a Two-Part Series on Abortion – in honor of the upcoming election and in reaction to the raging War on Women – this one originally appeared on


When I hear folks saying they are pro-life, I wonder for whom, and under what circumstances.  You see being pro-life is far from the black and white moral distinction pro-life folks typically suggest.  On the contrary, there are many ways in which being truly pro-life can lead you into incredible gray areas.  For example, when a choice must be made between a mother’s life and a child’s, choosing abortion is still being pro-life, isn’t it?  It is being for a mother’s life.  Who decides that a child’s life is more important than a mother’s or vice versa?  And what aspect of a woman’s life are we willing to give up for a child’s?  Her physical body?  Her soul?  Her hopes and dreams?  Her chances to better herself and her family?  The well-being and potential of existing children, of future, wanted children?  We need to ask whose life and what kind of life are we fighting for?

Today I met with a client who is about to age out of the foster care system.  We’ll call her Alma.  Alma is 18.  She is 11 weeks pregnant.  I first speak to her case worker who explains that she was trying to convince Alma to accept a placement where she could live with her baby.  However, today Alma revealed she decided to have an abortion. As a mother, when I heard those words it was like being punched in the gut.   I had already seen Alma in the waiting room.  I had already seen her baby bump, unusually large for the first trimester.  In an instant, the image of that bump, the feeling of being pregnant, the knowledge of having a life inside me, the sweet faces of my twins, and the terror of ever losing them all flashed through my mind.

I sit down with Alma.  She is guarded and quiet at first, but after a while she begins to open up.  She has a sweet, almost surprised smile.  She seems caught off guard that I’m listening to her with respect.   Alma experienced physical abuse by her alcoholic mother and was placed with an aunt.  She recently decided she wanted more freedom and is now living in a shelter.  Alma’s story is nowhere near one of the worst I’ve heard.  For kids in the system, it’s actually one of the best.  Alma suffers no mental health issues, has an average IQ, a high school diploma, and while she is currently out of work, she has a marketable skill.  As I’m sitting with Alma, I have this wonderful feeling come over me that I’ve only had a few times in seven years of working with low-income and under-served kids.  She can turn this ship around!  Alma has a rare combination of the mental health status, intelligence, and drive to change the trajectory of her family’s life.

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