If you have spent any time on my blog, you know quite well that I love sex. I have spent years working to understand my own sexuality and my desires, and how those two things interact with and are acted upon by socialization, history, queerness, religion, and gender. I believe that a human being has the capability to love more than one person at the same time, I believe that having sex with someone that is not your partner does not take away from your relationship, and I have struggled to align my beliefs with the overwhelming feelings of jealousy and fear that have surfaced when I have tried to buck my socialization and live life according to my own mores. I have led workshops and training sessions on the realities, complications, and joys of living a non-monogamous/polyamorous life.
In the end, I believe that people enter my life for a reason, and I want to be free to know, understand, and explore those reasons without having to fit myself into a social convention framework that dictates my possibilities and the limits of my connection with another human being. I have a partner that I love, but I don't own him nor does he own me. If our capacity to love outpaces our ability to quantify that capacity, then perhaps setting up artificial boundaries on love's capabilities is not only a disservice to oneself perhaps it is a non-dogmatic blasphemy. If one chooses monogamy because that is the right path for an individual that has thought carefully about it and made a choice based on his or her own feelings and beliefs, I can stand behind it. If one is monogamous because God, the Koran, Billy Graham, or his Sunday School teacher told him that is what he must be, then I heartily reject it and encourage that he make choices for himself instead of following outdated conventions by rote. You are your best and greatest moral compass. If your choice harms no one, celebrates life, and creates peace with you, then that is a better guide for decision making than a celibate priest or a book written two millennium ago.
I am not anti-religious or anti-faith. Quite the contrary. But, I also happen to believe that The Ethical Slut, one of the leading discourses on non-monogamy and polyamory, should be added right after Genesis in the Bible.
A few months back, April Donato contacted me on Twitter to let me know about a new social networking site that she was working to set up that celebrates sexuality and sexual openness. She invited me to check out a magical place where queer folks and straight folks, kinky folks and vanilla folks, trannies and bio kids of all shapes, sizes, sexualities and distinctions could build an intentional community where sex is an integrated and healthy part of the connections between human beings. That magical word is the Blackbox Republic.
I joined the site as a Founding Member, and I am proud to support its work and mission. I asked Sam, another co-founder, and April if they would be willing to do an interview for My Feet Only Walk Forward. They gladly agreed.
I encourage you all to check out Blackbox Republic. When it goes live, I encourage you to join up. The interview follows.
Interview with Two Sexy Beasts: April Donato and Sam Lawrence
Sam and April...talk to me a wee bit about how you two came to know each other/work together?
Sam and April: We peripherally knew each other when we both had totally different lives. Sam was an exec at a software company, I owned a boutique and we shared some social circles. Everything really came together at Burning Man 2008. That's when we came up with the idea for Blackbox Republic.
April, you write a sex positive blog that I love love love. Talk to me about your experience as a sex positive woman...in a world that still believes that a woman that owns and controls her sexuality is a slut (with a pejorative meaning)...how do you own your sexuality and put the positivity into a framework that says powerful, sex positive, brilliant women are here and need no stamp of approval or to make any apologies.
April: I make no apologies for who I am. Everyday is an intersection, everyday is a choice. Probably like everyone, there are some days I feel sleek, a bit sexier, and spunky. I have assertive, submissive and kid-like days. I guess I never got the memo that women can't have the power to control their own lives--emotional lives, spiritual lives and sex lives. I'm inspired by other women that strut their stuff and own who they are. There's nothing more attractive than that.
Tell me a little bit about how BlackBox Republic came to be...how does this jive with the way you move through the world?
Sam: April and I looked around and realized how sexpositive people are hard to find. I mean, could there be more fake profiles on the Internet? Between dating sites, hookup sites, and the harsh public spotlight of social networks, our personal lives are stifled. Even with all those profiles, we're still in neutral. We just want the freedom to be ourselves, whatever that is right now, and with other people who are real. That's not something you can do on eHarmony, Facebook, or Twitter. 140 characters, a photo album and a chemistry test won't get you there. The journey is just not that simple. We need a different melting pot. A label-free place to be the real you. Social networking revolutionized lives for millions. And that revolution has remixed dating, love and sex life. And the next generation of sexpositive people has emerged. Blackbox Republic is a place to let go. No matter where we are or what we're doing, we can instantly discover what we need today. Whether it be sex, dates, friends or a hot party. This is our scene and it grows with us. Sure. Sex will happen. It matters how you get there.
What is the mission of BlackBox...how is it different from every other hook up site out there in the world? How do you hope that BlackBox will change the fundamental dialogue that is available via the Internet about sex, love, friendship and how those things intersects.
April and Sam: Blackbox Republic is a new kind of online community that fuses dating, sex, and friends so that sexpositive people can get whatever they want whenever they want.
Let's talk about sex positivity in a time/world/place where HIV/AIDS is still very real and very present. And let's frame this way...in a world where sex positivity is looked on as dangerous promiscuity and HIV+ people are desexualized and sexually shunned in many circles, how does BlackBox Republic challenged those frameworks?
April and Sam: The big thing that Blackbox Republic does is bring people together who may not have mixed before. It unites people and phases of their personal life into a single home. From couples, multiples, singles, LGBT, straight, kink, poly, swinger, HIV/AIDS positive-- all these people will find a home. This new melting pot will reframe many things for many people and provide a dialog for these very things. Opening up the lines of communication between us, is the biggest thing we can do.
If a person wants to find out more about BlackBox Republic and your work, how can they best do that?
April and Sam: They should visit blackboxrepublic.com. We will be open for business in just a couple of months. In the meantime, they can add their name to the long list of people excited to get started. :)
Thank you Sam and April for doing this work and creating a sex positive place on the web for folks that are looking to make multi-layered connections with their fellow wo(men).