An interview with the members of a new polyamorous blog based in St. Louis called The Collection! Meet Charlotte, Nora, The Reverend, The Rabbit, J, Darling Niki, and Pussy Pie…
The Beautiful Kind: Well you all were a big hit at the SEX+STL happy hour, and PoDGE is praising you. We’re so glad you’re a part of the St. Louis sex-positive scene! Where have you been all our lives?
Nora: The short answer: hiding. I think with The Collection and SEX+STL, I finally found a community with which to be my true self. I, like many others, have been navigating my way through a world that advocates shame and guilt when it comes to our sexuality. It really is unfortunate that something so significant and enjoyable has to be relegated to our private lives. I want to change that, and that can only be done with the support of like-minded people. Basically, I’ve been waiting for SEX+STL all my life!
TBK: I’m confused – how many people are part of The Collection?
Charlotte: There are eight core members. J is the first man I dated when we decided to try polyamory again this year. Niki is the woman he was seeing at the same time as he was dating me. Westley is the man I dated after J moved away. Pussy Pie is the ten year lover of Rabbit, who is my boyfriend. Rev is my husband. Nora is his girlfriend. We all became friends at one of our salon nights. We gather people from all walks of life in our sitting room to discuss topics of varying interests. Turns out everyone clicked, in spite of or maybe because of our shared pasts.
TBK: What made you decide to come out as a poly blog?
Charlotte: I got sort of kind of got known for a mom blog I created many years ago. I was ready to launch a new blog project and my desire to get creative coincided with my desire to come out as poly to my friends, and ultimately, the blog audience that still had an interest in my story.
I am proud of my lifestyle and was tired of hiding. Reverend Matt is my husband. Nora is his girlfriend. The Rabbit is my boyfriend. We are slowly forming a quad. There is so much love and respect between all four of us. Reverend and I have children and Nora and Rabbit are a huge part of their lives. We have a happy, loud, fun home. When everyone is here, it’s amazing. It’s the family life I always wanted as a child but never experienced. I wanted a home filled with love and warmth and laughter. Now I have that.
I wanted people to know that yes, poly can be quite sexy, but it’s also so incredibly loving. I wanted to show that it’s about balance. That you can exist in this lifestyle and still have healthy, happy, well adjusted children. My relationships in the quad are some of the healthiest I’ve ever experienced.
The blog felt like a comfortable first step in coming out. And to be honest- I didn’t want to carry the workload myself, hah! I am such a busy person I needed help with the project. My friends are fascinating story tellers and one day it just clicked. J had nicknamed our friendship group The Collection. The friends seemed interested in participating. The blog shortly followed. Now here we are!
TBK: Whoa now – how are you guys able to put your faces and location on your blog? Have you experienced any repercussions from coming out as an alternative lifestyle group?
TheReverend: I have my reservations about being publicly out as poly, but am at a point in my life and career where I’m willing to allow the chips to fall where they may. I am more concerned about family than about work, frankly.
Rabbit: I tend to get away with a lot. Perhaps I’m being a bit over-confident, but I feel comfortable being visibly nonmonogamous and sex-positive on the internet. I can be much more reserved in person.
Charlotte: My audience from the mom blog still follows me and yes, I did lose a few followers as a result. I also had many of my more conservative friends come to me and say, “This wouldn’t be my choice as a lifestyle, but obviously your kids are well taken care of and so loved. You are happy. That makes me happy.”
I used to get recognized at Target for the mom blog. I’m just waiting for the day when someone asks while buying shampoo if I’m Charlotte Times! Kind of hard to hide when you are covered in tattoos and have magenta hair.
J: I’ve been recognized in public (at work, no less), and it has definitely altered a few people’s outlook on me….In the words of someone who’s opinion I trust, it both intimidates and intrigues….people want to get close enough to watch, but they are wary, and most assume I’m only out to fuck.
Niki: I didn’t really see anything wrong with putting my face out there. SO far my experience has been nothing but good things. I have met many a new and amazing person due to them checking out the blog. I have had many a questions about my lifestyle but mostly to see my perspective cause it is something they wanna try. I am so glad that we decided to come out as a group.
Pussy Pie: I’ve decided to remain anonymous for the time being because I’m married, have young children, and a job that isn’t conducive to being both openly poly or openly queer.
TBK: Do you have jobs? How do you pay your bills?
TheReverend: I work in IT.
Nora: Yes, I have a career that is very important to me. I’m open on the blog about being a librarian, but I am not open at my job about being poly. I know it’s a possibility that people will find out, and I’m ready for that if it happens. I’d say it’s like the killer who wants to get caught, but that would be implying I did something wrong. Unfortunately, that’s how much of the world views us.
Rabbit: I currently work an unfulfilling entry-level job. It keeps me busy, pays my bills, and forces me to interact with the general public more than I would prefer.
Charlotte: I am a stay-at-home mom and housewife, and taking care of the children and home are my priorities. I am also a professional voice over talent, which means I read out loud for a living for commercials, voice mail, anything that needs a female voice. I work when Reverend is home from his job.
J: I’m pretty lucky to have a seriously amazing job that not only is ok with and open-minded about such things (one of my managers actually, after a short conversation about it, immediately went and grabbed her iPad and bookmarked the site, using that damnable “intriguing” word again…), but if used for nefarious purposes could prove quite the launching point for blogworthy adventures…
Niki: I worked in the dental field for 8 yrs but recently got laid off. I pay the bills with unemployment for now.
Pussy Pie: I work a laughable six to ten hours a week as a therapist to a child with autism. For the most part, I’m a homemaker, a dreadfully dated label, but one that I’ve grown to embrace. Some may think it’s too domestic or traditional, but no one can deny that there is something inherently erotic about a woman who isn’t embarrassed to don an apron and whip up a casserole.
TBK: Do you have kids?
TheReverend: I have wonderful kids. They are the smartest, best looking, cleverest, funniest, most talented children ever. Not that I’m at all biased.
Charlotte: The Reverend and I struggled with some heavy duty infertility issues. Our entire 30s was about trying to have kids, adopt kids, and keep myself and the babies alive. It was a trying, scary, rewarding time of life. We worked hard for them and they are everything to us.
J: Sure do 🙂 Oscar, 3 years old
Niki: Yes, a daughter she is seven.
Pussy Pie: I am the mother of a one-year-old and a three-year-old.
TBK: The blog is less than a month old, right? It will be awesome to be reading it from the beginning and watching it evolve. Do you mind being watched like a soap opera or reality show?
TheReverend: The spotlight is nothing I’ve ever sought, but as a minor cog in the greater group I’m comfortable contributing what I can.
Nora: Ooh, I’d love it! I am an exhibitionist after all.
Rabbit: I find it more interesting to follow artistic endeavors from the beginning, whether it’s watching a musician mature or seeing a drama’s relationships evolve. Context adds a lot, especially when it comes to emotional impact.
J: There is a serious element of…a hunger for fame, no matter how small or localized…in my persona. I never would have agreed to do this if I didn’t think it couldn’t lead to some interesting places, or at the very least exorcise a few of my secret demons on paper somehow.
Niki: I don’t mind being watched at all. I think it is neat and I am interested to see where everything goes. I have nothing to hide about myself and I am glad to share it with the world.
Pussy Pie: Since I’ve chosen to remain anonymous in this endeavor, at least for the time being, I really don’t feel that exposed. In fact, this blog serves as a perfect venue for me to tell the stories that I don’t usually get to share, which is quite the turn on!
TBK: How long have you been poly?
TheReverend: I’ve been open to the idea since I was a teenager. Throughout college I harbored fantasies of having a stable poly relationship but did nothing to pursue it. When I met Charlotte we were both very upfront about our interest in living a poly lifestyle.
Nora: For me, it’s like sexuality; I’ve been poly for as long as I can remember, whether or not I knew what that meant or practiced it. As far as really accepting it as something I am and want in my life, it’s been about 1 year.
Rabbit: I’ve been experimenting with relationships, love and sex for as long as I can remember. My first nonmonogamous relationship was in college. In addition to the occasional threesome, we both pursued our own sexual and dating lives. Since then, I’ve had all sorts of relationships, from casual to serious, monogamous to polyamorous, vanilla to BDSM. I don’t necessarily look for a particular type of relationship, but follow where my life leads me. I’m currently involved with Charlotte & Rev and I find it very fulfilling.
Charlotte: I discovered I was poly in junior high school. There were two boys who were best friends and they both wanted to date me. One night we ended up on a trio date. I held hands with both of them. I kissed them both goodnight. It felt perfectly natural. The three of us were a triad for a few weeks before one got cold feet and moved on.
After that I tried to be monogamous but it never worked out well for anyone involved. I did the forced monogamy because that’s what society encourages until it ended my first marriage. Then I met the Reverend and admitted I was poly. He admitted it back. We decided to create a custom relationship based on our needs. 14 years later… here we are! Now we did put poly on hold for ten years when creating our family. Only recently when we decided on no more babies did we decide to attempt this lifestyle again.
J: Honestly, I think I’ve always had a pretty open mind about relationships…I don’t think I started incorporating those ideals into actual connections until fairly recently….I still hold out hope that I will meet that person that makes everyone else fade into background noise though, that is the real dream.
Niki: I have been experimenting with the lifestyle for about a year now.
Pussy Pie: I’ve been exploring polyamory since I was seventeen, which was ten years ago. The Rabbit introduced me to The Ethical Slut and something inside of me clicked; I knew that I had finally found people with the same thoughts, feelings, and desires that I had kept so secret.
TBK: As TheReverend, can you please clarify what the Christian bible has to say about poly and bi-sexuality? Isn’t it supposed to be one man and one woman procreating under the cloak of holy matrimony? What kind of Reverend are you?
TheReverend: Holy matrimony is an important part of the Christian tradition, though it only became strictly one man and one woman fairly late in the game and long after the majority of the texts of the Bible were fairly stable. Polygamy is approved of and codified in the Old Testament. The church began discouraging the practice as it fell out of favor in the general populace around 400AD. It should be noted that in the Bible it is only Polygyny that is promoted, not Polyandry. It should also be noted that the idea that a marriage was in essence a religious ceremony and that the church had to be involved in it only dates back to the 16th century and the Tametsi Decree.
Bisexuality/homosexuality are pretty uniformly condemned as abominations under God by mainstream Christian sects, primarily based on bad and politically motivated medieval translations of translations of translations of politically motivated intentional bad translations of the original texts. The best scholarship on the Bible makes clear that non-heterosexual activity is viewed as bad but no worse than any other sort of sex outside the context of marriage (e.g. premarital sex, affairs). Given that non-hetero relations are fairly common in the animal kingdom as a whole I contend that nature is proof that it is natural. The same book that condemns homosexuality as an abomination also condemns the eating of any shellfish as an abomination, both equally evil in the eyes of God.
The procreation point is an important one that is often overlooked. Any form of sexual activity that cannot lead directly to conception is a sin, according to the Bible. There are denominations that condemn infertility treatments as being against the will of God and that couples who cannot have children naturally should not try to thwart God’s will. By the logic with which they condemn homosexual marriage (e.g. it can’t lead to offspring) infertile couples should be forced to have their marriages annulled.
I am a Reverend in the Universal Life Church, hold a PhD in Irreligiosophy from the Fraternal United Corpus Kristi University, and am an Agnostic Athiest. I perform weddings, commitment ceremonies, relationship counseling, coming out parties (in both the debutante and the gay sense). No kids parties. Rates negotiable.
TBK: WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?! You’re supposed to pick sex OR children – you can’t have both, right?
TheReverend: You can’t have children without having sex, so obviously that’s not true. For children to grow up with healthy attitudes about sex they need to have positive models to work from. There’s a reason you don’t hear about sexual predators or serial killers growing up in homes with a healthy message on sex and sexuality.
Niki: Why can’t we have both? I have a daughter and yet I have a very healthy sex life. I do not expose my daughter to the sexual part of my life so that is all that matters. She has her mom who is funny supportive and always there for her. I have my sexual part of my life that is experimental, giving and exciting. so yeah you can have both there just needs to be a balance.
Pussy Pie: How do people think children come about? I have to laugh when I get rude looks or comments as I’m shopping for lingerie with a baby hanging on my hip. If it weren’t for a purple pageboy wig and a pair of patent leather stilettos, that baby wouldn’t exist! I see motherhood as an essential part of my journey to the woman I am today, and although the actual act of mothering isn’t a sexual one, the confidence I’ve found in myself as a result is!
TBK: How do you all keep from getting pregnant or riddled with STI’s?
TheReverend: Condoms, tests, and not engaging in casual sex with strangers.
Nora: Ha! How does anybody? In fact, from my experience, poly people are generally more responsible when it comes to safer sex than monogamous people.
Charlotte: My quad is strict about safer sex ALWAYS. Rabbit, Nora, Rev, and I get STD screened for EVERYTHING we can be screened for frequently. Birth control is also mandatory. Rev’s baby makers no longer swim thanks to the Big V. So I must be extra careful with Rabbit. He’s young, you know. Those boys are probably Olympic swimmers. I’m about to turn 40. That baby train has left the station forever, thank you!
J: Safety first, buddy. Usually :-O lol Do people really use dental dams?!
Niki: Well I believe in practicing safe sex all the time. SO i use condoms and take birth control and also get tested every six months. The only way to stay pregnancy and std free is to take control of your sexual health. If a partner I want to be with is not willing to practice the same safe methods then that is a union that is not going to work for me. If you are responsible then the poly thing can be even more enjoyable.
Pussy Pie: Personally, I choose quality over quantity. I may flirt with lots of people, but I really only pursue physical relationships with people I trust. Once that level of intimacy is achieved through friendship, safer sex practices become a non-issue. I don’t mean that we no longer take precautions, but rather that the lines of communication are open in a way that allow safer sex to become a natural part of our sexual behaviors.
TBK: Doesn’t polyamory take a lot of work? Isn’t monogamy easier and safer?
TheReverend: All relationships take a lot of work. In poly there are multiple people you have to compromise with and communicate with and etc. There are also multiple people to help pick up the slack when necessary. I’ve had monogamous relationships that were much harder than poly and were incredibly dysfunctional.
Nora: For me, monogamy is so much harder. I can’t be everything to one person. I can’t take care of one person’s every need. That kind of pressure is hard. That has lead to failure in my monogamous relationships. Yes, new complications surface in poly relationships, but if you enter with the knowledge that this is going to require intense communication and trust, things seem to work out.
Rabbit: A lot of work? Absolutely. This relationship has involved more work than any other I’ve had. We have periodic State Of The Relationship talks which helps to make sure we’re clear on everyone’s wants, needs and fears. I have personally made some huge strides in the last six months. However, as far as monogamy being easier, I have to disagree. Having a third person in this relationship has been incredibly helpful. Everyone brings something unique to the table and the love often overflows.
TBK: What books or other resources do you recommend? What has helped you on your path to poly enlightenment?
TheReverend: Polyweekly, The Beautiful Kind, Tristan Taormino, Nina Hartley, Robert Heinlein.
Rabbit: Some of my personal favorites include David Deida, Tristan Taramino, Ron Warner and Daniel Goleman.
TBK: Are you accepting applications for more lovers or writers of The Collection?
Charlotte: As far as lovers go- The quad (We call ourselves Team Diamond) of Rev, Rabbit, Nora and I is now closed. Pussy Pie and her husband have an open agreement. J and Niki are now just friends and both are single and taking applications, hah! Writers? Anyone can contact us about becoming a featured contributor.
TBK: Do you have orgies every weekend?
TheReverend: Not that I am aware of.
Nora: *Giggle*, no…but I bet we do have a lot more fun than most other people. Sorry, it’s just the truth.
Rabbit: I’m still waiting for you to RSVP to my e-vite.
Charlotte: In my dreams where STDs and pregnancy and hurt feelings don’t exist. In reality, I find I cannot become aroused unless I have a connection with someone. But that’s just how I approach sex now. Team Diamond is currently working on our friendship and bond until we progress to that level. Reverend and Nora have only been together a month. They want to develop their relationship before bringing anyone else into the mix. Rabbit and I are chaotic and volatile and passionate and over the top. With the stress of the holidays and my upcoming (GASP) 40th birthday, we decided to put all explorations on hold and focus on our relationship and developing trust with Reverend and Nora.
J: If we are, I haven’t been invited! What the fuck, guys?!
Niki: No I do not have orgies every weekend ,but a orgy does sound fun lol.
Pussy Pie: I wish! I actually live about 200 miles away from the rest of The Collection, so I can only come to the bi-weekly orgy. 😉
TBK: A lot of men contact me who are frustrated, single, and not getting laid. Meanwhile, you have a wife AND a gf, wtf? Any tips for men on how to score with the ladies? What’s your secret?
TheReverend: I am at a loss to explain it myself. As my lovely wife is quick to point out, I have no ‘game’ as it were. I’m told it’s because I’m a nice guy, and that I’m good looking. I will note that having both a wife and a girlfriend doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting twice as much sex. There’s more emotional needs to fulfill, there’s more moods to learn to cope with, there’s more menstrual cycles to contend with, and scheduling is seriously the second biggest challenge in poly (after communication). So tips for the men? Treat people well. It will come back to you.
TBK: What is your favorite deadly sin?
TheReverend: Do you mean the modern concept of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride, or the ones actually listed in the Bible? Let’s go with the more common ones. It’s a toss up between Sloth and Lust. Lustful Sloth? Slothily Lustful?
Nora: Duh, lust.
Charlotte: Restaurant food. The kind that serve huge, high calorie portions. I have lost now 108lbs in a year via diet and exercise. Food is life. I love to eat. I love to eat fattening food in great portions. So I now limit dining out to once a week and REALLY watch my portion control. Boring! But necessary cuz I also like wearing sexy new clothes
J: Personally, I like a solid combination of sloth and lust. Nothing in the world better than spending an entire day laying in bed half-fucking and half-just >being<, together.
Niki: I would have to say lust hee hee!
Pussy Pie: I like them all! I want to take part in a glorious orgy while eating hamburgers and cheese fries cooked over a pile of money. Then, I’ll punch someone in the face because I wish I had their shoes and I’m WAY sexier than they could ever be. I’ll finish it all off by taking a 10-hour nap.