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Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio: Reading and book signing 9/15/09

Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio @ 8pm.

Il Trapezio Cafe/Gallery on 09/15/09

120 Franklin Ave., (near Harrison St.), Nutley, NJ 07110


Gaia and the New Politics of Love: Notes for a Poly Planet by Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio, PhD

"A world where it is safe to live is a world where it is safe to love"

A Reading Hosted by Daniel P. Quinn, Producer Early-Bird Special includes book and standard order

Gaia and the New Politics of Love explains how to practice the arts of loving as a form of the arts of healing, which includes creating and sustaining amorous communities through shared amorous resources. Practicing the arts of loving activates the cycle of oxytocin in the human brain (the so-called "cuddling" hormone) that enables people to trust each other, display amorous behavior with one another, and cooperate in solving problems, thereby creating sustainability in their environments and communities. Through the practice of these new politics of loving we can transform hatred into love, fear into hope, and scarcity into abundance.

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May Touch Redeem Us

This poem is from a beautiful little book about loving sexuality by Bill Noble called May Touch Redeem Us; Poems of Love and Eros and is printed with the author’s most

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Defeating Love with Negative Body-Image


By Judith Brisson

My sweet new lover is back at it again, disparaging the way he looks and comparing his looks to mine. I once told him, “You know, being good looking is really an overrated quality”.  For one thing, it often attracts the wrong kind of attention. Regularly getting the “piece of meat” treatment is extremely annoying, not to mention the fact that implicit in that treatment is the belief that one does not have a brain.

My new friend has pointed out that I spend a lot of time trying to prove how smart I am, and as unpleasant as that arrogance might be, I am sure that it stems from my pretty younger years where I constantly had to prove that I did, in fact, have a GD brain. I still haven’t outgrown that.

And then there’s the doubt that perhaps one’s lover is only attracted to one’s body, and not to the human being inhabiting it. Second wave feminists might refer to this as objectification of the female body.  It’s reminiscent of the feeling one gets in the wake of a coital act where, once over, there isn’t really anything to say or any reason to stay in the same bed. That I’ve outgrown.

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From Guilt to Compersion

Abandoned industrial building on Washington Ave. in Kingston, NY. I don’t think it was the scene of a fire, unless someone installed a new telephone in the building after it burned down.

Any definition of compersion that you read will tell you that it’s the opposite of jealousy. That is useful, but it doesn’t tell you how to get there. I have another idea, which is that it’s the opposite of guilt. Of course it’s a little crude to define something by its supposedly opposing force, but this adjustment may help orient the concept in a way that makes it more accessible.

I’ll start with an example. Let’s say I am with a lover and our agreement includes her having the freedom to explore sexually and emotionally with whomever she chooses. I will handle that two ways. The first by having the confidence that she wants me in her life; that what I have to offer, she cannot find anywhere else. In part, compersion is based on trust, and it’s based on having a strong relationship to someone. To a meaningful degree, compersion is based on self-confidence.

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Holding Space for Love as Freedom

Photo by Eric Francis.

Guilt is something we discovered we have in common: a long legacy of guilt. I learned that in the few days before our Thursday night adventure, she had been wracked with guilt about the potential for having to choose one of us; for having to hurt one of us. And some guilt for being able to have both of us – the strange guilt you feel when you love someone and then feel something for another person. That emotion needs a name, so we can identify it when we feel it.

This is the same guilt that makes it difficult to make a simple decision; the guilt we feel for enjoying life; for doing something for ourselves; though here, when we reach the branch of the road where we may choose to love, to actually love who we will, I think we’re pretty close to the core source of this emotion. Here, we are looking at one of the deepest divisions against ourselves.

Like any philosophy, guilt has a history: we can find its origins in the innovation of Judeo-Christian religion. I don’t believe that guilt as we experience it today existed prior to strict religious patriarchy. We see evidence today that this is one source of the problem, but we don’t generally identify it as the root of the problem.

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The G Tales Tale # 3: Five: Or, a Constellation of Books, Bi and Queer


by Serena Anderlini

“when bisexuality is “real” (in both a symbolic and a material sense), then the nature of love changes too . . . from an exclusive, dyadic system to an inclusive one that expands beyond the dual and into the multiple” from Bisexuality and Queer Theory, “Introduction” (forthcoming)

There’s news about G. She has been enjoying the tropical summer and has been reading.

She called me, “the summer has been beautiful” she said, “my first here, dressing up funny and enjoying a laugh with a bunch of local people.”

“What kinds of people?” I asked.

“All kinds, sexual diversity is exploding here, it must be the Spain effect, you know: Spain becoming so progressive in all kinds of queer issues. All across Latin America you can feel it: people are coming out, they are coming together, there is effervescence, excitement, thriving communities--I can’t believe it!”

“And what have you been doing?”

“Exporting bi and poly ideas, getting a good listening, feeling more situated, modeling three-way hugging and kissing.”

“And what else?”

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The Heart of Polyamory: An Open Book

By Millie Jackson 

I just finished reading Jenny Block’s 2008 book, Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage.  Many books on polyamory and other forms of nonmonogamy are instructional “how to” books.  Block’s book, however, follows her personal journey of owning and embracing her sexuality and designing a relationship structure that works for her and her partners.  

The “how to” books usually include short excerpts from case histories, interviews, questionnaires, and/or the author’s personal experiences, but none I have read have ever included a cover-to-cover story as comprehensive as Block’s.  Someone can read through the “how to” books and never quite grasp how this love-style/life-style can play out in a relationship.  Block paints a vivid picture in a very open, honest and real way.

Her story illustrates that it is a continual process to evolve as a sexual being and to tailor styles of relating uniquely accommodating to the individuals involved.  Although she is very content with how her relationships are going at the end of the book, Block acknowledges that they will continue to develop. 

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Trust and Compersion

Macro image of moss on the west side of the waterfall, on the Grandmother Land in New York. Photo by Eric Francis.

The land tells stories, and at the moment with my lover, I did not like the story that I was hearing. This, in spite of my love of her sexual freedom. I felt like someone had spilled dye into the pool of my emotions. My body and senses felt flush and like I was losing control. The feeling was sorrow. I was not sure where it was coming from but I was not in a position to question it.

Gradually as the day progressed I got a sense of my inner landscape. We talked about it there, at the waterfall, and then later at home. I am not sure I can reconstruct the conversation here. Nearly a week has gone by and I know more today than I did then.

The prior day, on the way out the door to visit me for the first time, she called up her other lover, invited him over and made love to him. Then, leaving two hours later than she planned, she got in the car and came to see me.

As I have explained, this kind of choice for her is in our relationship agreement. By mutual understanding we are free to express our sexuality and our affections as we choose. I specifically ask not to be ‘asked permission’, as I consider this parochial. Yet there is something else working for me, which is that I am attracted to people who consider themselves free individuals, and who live that way. I know many people. They are rare to find. Freedom is the freedom to love; I consider this the first and most important of them.

Compersion is the emotional and erotic process of embracing this freedom in the people we love. It’s about extending space within ourselves to love in a way that is noncompetitive. It’s often thought of as the opposite of jealousy, but I am growing into thinking of it more as a remedy for guilt. Jealousy and guilt are more closely related than psychology and spiritual theory have noted; both involve attempts to control the feelings and conduct of others; equally often we use them against ourselves, though the forms are sometimes disguised.

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I Miss You Lyrics

 Lyrics to I Miss You :
Sha-la-la-la-la, sha-la-la-la-la
You used to call me your angel
Said I was sent straight down from heaven

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For who I am

Onyx. Photo by Eric Francis.

I turned off the air conditioner and the room gradually drew warmer. Her sheer dress was orange, and it wrapped her frame carefully, holding onto her where it touched her.

As she sat down near me with her long legs extended toward me, I felt the inevitability of what would happen here, and it was lovely. Her expression was soft and unwavering. I reminded myself that this was a moment when I could go deeply. I reminded myself that in the abject silence of my loft she was my only witness. We are free. Therefore I could afford to be honest. Yet there were other times when it seemed no easier for having a witness; that was my own resistance at play, flirting with me to forgo it.

Some part of me thought, if she’s your witness, let her see. Show her and love that you can.

I looked at her mouth, now free to embrace the thought of her lips caressing him while I stretched my knees apart; while I breathed and relaxed into what was happening. It was easy to visualize her, and to embody her feelings as she did so, and to see the living expression on her face, now and as she loved him. Now, as she gently held a space for me to love myself. In truth I understood that their lovemaking created that space for me, created the inevitability that I would hold the experience in my awareness by loving myself.

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