In our private counseling practice at a certain point in the
therapy session, my husband Sasha and I ask couples to go back in
time to the moment when they fell in love and tell each other
about that special experience. It always brings a tear to my eye
as I relive it with them. During those times, I think to myself,
"who in the world would think of my story as sweet and
Only, perhaps, the
I had heard of Drs.
Joan and Alex Lessin, "The Poly Advisors", long before I
met Alex. Our Honolulu-based polyamory group, "Pali
Paths" had a hot-link to their site ( http://www.aloha.net/~alessin/polyamory.html).
Many times folks in our group would encounter difficulties trying
to establish poly relationships. While no one I knew actually had
gone to the Lessins for counseling, it still was comforting for
us to know that they existed.
I almost met Alex
long before I actually did. My boyfriend tried to convince me to
fly over and see them, join their community. "Look, Joan and
Alex have even added a third, a girl named "Sasha", Bill
pointed out to me. He had spent over an hour talking to Alex on
the phone. "Lets go see them now", he implored. I
resisted, "I dont want to join someone elses community.
I want to form my own."
Back in 97, my poly dream died. Id helped Joan, my wife and
beloved of 18 years, coax her young boyfriend, Ophio, from
Michigan to our four-story jungle home in the West Maui Mountains.
Our agreement: Joan
would sleep three nights a week upstairs loving me, two nights
downstairs with Ophio, one evening out with her other boyfriend,
and one day and night in our group love-in, with all three of us
guys and the other five members of our poly family. Daily, Joan
assured me, "Ill never leave you."
But when Ophio
arrived, Joan moved downstairs with him, didnt come upstairs to
me at night, and stopped making love with me. After four months,
she invited me to a Christmas Day date to make love. I said,
"Thats what Ive prayed for every morning for
She met me
Christmas day but said, "Im too important to you. I havent
really been in love with you for years, but I didnt know how to
tell you. I told you Id never leave you because thats what
you needed to hear, but I need a divorce." My Christmas was
Summer of 1997, my mother was actively trying to exit this world.
Living in Hawaii was and still is expensive. A trip back east was
going to cost a pretty penny. I dreaded the long journey and the
emotional turmoil I would experience. On top of everything else,
my poly relationships were difficult; one was an alcoholic, the
other unappreciative. I decided if I had to do this hard part, the
very least I could do for me was to treat myself and attend the
Summer 97 Loving More Conference--at Mt. Madonna, Santa
Cruz--on the way home to the death vigil with Mom. It seemed like
I had enough time.
For several months, I tried living on the floor above Joan and
Ophio. Whereas before Joan cut me off, Id enjoyed seeing her
and Ophio loving, now I wept when I saw them touch, kiss, exchange
loving looks. Consequently, she, Ophio and our other housemates
begged me to go on the road and make a new life for myself. I said
Id leave, but would return in a year.
I had to make arrangements in a hurry. The only way I could get
from the San Francisco Airport to the was to hitch a ride with a
former lover and arrive the day before the conference. As a neat
aside, I discovered that Alex Lessin was doing the poly
Pre-Conference on Tantra!
Though I felt like a poly casualty, off I went anyway to the West
Coast LM Conference in Santa Cruz, to lead the Tantra Workshop.
Just before I left, an Oahu woman, Janet Smith, who lacked funds,
called and asked me if Id wave my fee and admit her to the
Arriving early I would have nothing to do. So instead of just
sitting there twiddling my thumbs, I emailed Alex explained my
circumstances and asked him if he could cut me a break on the
fees. I was amazed when he wrote back to me, a total stranger,
"I wave my fee entirely."
I was frustrated as
planes were late and thus we arrived late. I dumped my bags in my
room and raced into the seminar, which was just beginning. I took
the only remaining seat, directly across from Alex. "Oh, thats
Alex Lessin", I thought. He introduced himself as Sasha.
"Oh", I chuckled to myself as I realized the mistake our
group had made.
Janet entered the seminar late and sat opposite me. Petite,
slender, pale, wide-eyed; inquisitive about tantra and polyamory,
she commanded my interest.
During the introductions, Sasha asked each person to share their
poly vision with the group. When it came my turn, I described my
personal vision of community and how I would go about creating it.
The last person to share was Sasha and his vision matched mine. I
made a mental note. That piqued my curiosity.
During the first
break he came over to me and introduced himself to me formally.
"Oh, youre much taller than I thought you were". He
hovered above petite me. "It must be your aura that makes you
I noticed during
the conference that Sasha was actively sleeping with three women
and there were at the very least three others hovering in the
wings, wanting their turn.
gathering", I thought to myself. I wanted no part of him. I
was attracted yet repulsed. "Stay away" my inner
guidance told me. Besides, I had vowed to myself that I was going
to be celibate this trip. I needed time to clear my head.
the conference and despite all these ladies in his life, time and
again I would come into the room to attend a presentation and he
would be sitting there by himself. Id look non-chalantly around
the room and even select a spot to sit, yet mysteriously my body
would go over and plop down beside Sasha. What was going on here?
Janet spent time with me on breaks in the seminar and throughout
the conference. We got to know each other. I asked her to join me
on Maui. Janet shed never leave Oahu for a man. Sadly, I took
my leave and left for New York City to see friends before the East
Coast Loving More Conference, Upstate in Parksville.
Janet phoned me and
said shed like to come to the East Coast Conference too. Could
I give her a ride if she got to NYC? I told her she could join me
the night before we left for Upstate at John and Nans house in
West Orange, New Jersey, and drive up with us. "Well be
having a love-in with some of my East Coast Poly Nest that night;
you can join or not."
Sash called me and invited me to meet him in NJ at his poly
friends house and drive up with their caravan to Parksville,
NY. Right before he hung up, Sasha said, "Oh, by the way,
theres going to be a love-in"
worry, there are other bedrooms if you dont want to join
A love-in, huh? Now
thats really going poly, I thought. My only poly experiences at
that point had been having two boyfriends simultaneously who didnt
want to meet or know very much about one another. This was going
to be interesting.
I took a bus from
PA to NJ; a long, horrid ride. I realized that I forgot to tell my
host, John, what I looked like. There I was standing at a bus
station in NJ with all these "characters" around me,
alone, and I started to get frightened. Had I made a big mistake?
Its crazy enough that Im even contemplating participating in
a love-in, and now Im waiting for someone who may never find me
in the poor sleazy side town.
"Hey, you must
be Janet" a friendly voice called from a distance.
"Yes, how did
you know?" I responded.
"Oh, I could
tell by your aura!"
I laughed and fell
into his arms, greatly relieved.
We went to the
airport and retrieved Sasha who was flying in from LA. It was a
month since we had seen each other. He was a pleasant, familiar
site in a very strange land.
John and Nan
welcomed me into their spacious home. Others started arriving.
There seemed to be endless hours of eternal chit chat. I got
increasingly more nervous. "When is this darned love-in going
to start anyway?", I thought.
hurts. Who would like to give me a massage?" I proclaimed as
I started taking off my clothes. Was that ME saying that? A huge
U-shaped couch was pushed together making an oversized bed.
Our hosts dismissed
themselves, didnt want to participate. There were three
goddesses left and two tantric gentleman. I soon found myself the
recipient of my first sacred spot work. All I had to do was lay
back and receive pleasure. Nothing was required of me. It seemed
rather safe. "I can do this", I thought.
The three ladies
lay head to head with our worshipers honoring us below. I became
concerned because Sasha, the object of my desire, was busy with
the other women, not me. I had a very sweet, nice enough gentlemen
doing pleasant things to me, but where was Sasha?
After a while, we
all began to wear out. I decided to take the spot at the foot of
the "bed". Sasha came up behind me and spooned me,
finally taking me in his arms.
At this, our first
embrace, all my barriers melted away. Time stood still as ageless
lovers reunited after eons of being apart. All reason was gone;
tossed to the wind. It was as though we were driven by some
greater, higher divine force. We didnt ask the normal
questions, about STDs, about birth control, about who we are?
We were just there, loving, in love. At the moment of our joining,
we were wed.
I woke the next
morning realizing I was home again. How could this be? I had given
up on love, trying to lose myself in polyamory and multiple
partners. How ironic that here, in the middle of a
"love-in", I find the mythical "one".
Sasha is the first
man that has met me on all levels, all chakras. We went on to the
East Coast Conference, and it was a raving success.
I did move, once
again for a man, this time from Oahu to Maui, and it was perfect.
Two weeks later we got married at Deborah Anapols Sacred
Sexuality Conference at Harbin Hot Springs, complete with a public
consummation ceremony! So much for celibacy!
Janet joined the love-in New Jersey. We connected. Weve been
together since. We married and performed a public consummation at
Deb Anapols Celebration of Sacred Sexuality.
Weve developed a
practice of inclusive polyamory Janet dubs "mono-poly"
that lets her feel secure: we date and love as a couple, keeping
psychically linked as we share sexually with others. It works. We