Negotiation, Race, Polyamory, Power, and Divination

Hello beautiful beings,

I write to you from my apartment in Austin, my partner napping in the other room, on our weekend a month where they are at my place. We are polyamorous, and they live with their spouse and child half an hour away, and their spouse has another partner as well. We’ve structured it in such a way that weekends are on rotation – one weekend me there while her spouse is at his partner’s place, one weekend with my partner here, one weekend where it is the married couple together (like it is most weekdays), and one weekend where all 4 of us are at their house. We do what gets called “kitchen table polyamory,” where everyone shares one table, knows each other, is close – which is not the structure for many folks who are physically and emotionally non-monogamous. It is but one format, and a format that works for us. 

Talking with Devyn Stone, another sexuality educator, they brought up that when we layer polyamory with power exchange, it can get complex. Does my Ma’am’s spouse have authority over me? What dynamic do I and Sir’s submissive have? Just as every polyamorous dynamic is different, so it is with power exchange and authority transfer – so this week’s Wednesday discussion will be on that intersection.

This past week’s discussion on naming power imbalances in culture as we engage in power exchange dynamics and play had over 100 attendees on a Wednesday afternoon. Such an engaging and intense discussion, and I want to express gratitude to everyone who held space, spoke from their heart, and lovingly steered the course of conversation on this very tender topic. I promised folks there that I would share the handout I used as the base for the discussion, so here is the PDF for you to enjoy as well. Naming that we each have different advantages/points of privilege is important, because if I don’t say “you pay for my housing” I may not feel safe saying “no” in negotiations, for example. If I do not name “I am White and you are Black and you want to submit to me,” I am not looking at the history of the power traumas that our culture has experienced concerning that dynamic.

One of the other pieces that was discussed during the class was an essay by Mollena Williams from my anthology “Spirit of Desire.” She named it “Another Dead N****” – except all the letters are there. Due to its painful history of people with bodies like mine using that word, I do not feel comfortable using it. In the essay, she talks about doing a consensual race-play scene that went wrong, woven between stories of her own understanding of her race as a black woman. It is an intense read. I told those attendees that I would share it as well… so here you go. Let me be clear though: Both I and Mystic Productions Press stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and is sharing this emotionally charged piece by a fantastic Black author as a way to highlight the complexities of race, power, and inequity in sexual desire and in the world at large. Please support the work of Mollena Williams here, she is fantastic.

This coming week I am doing not just the polyamory and power exchange course but two other courses I am incredibly excited about. This Sunday is a course on negotiation skills that I love sharing with folks new to exploring their kinky sexuality as well as those entering new relationships, trying new kinks, or wanting to learn new tools to connect for examining their own desires (and those of their partners). The other is on divination decks that I have a deep passion about. I will be helping folks deciding which tarot and oracle decks are right for them and how to connect with the ones they already own (or are about to acquire). I occasionally offer divination readings/sessions, and actually just listed a new option on Patreon for monthly coaching, discussion, or divination sessions too – over the past year I’ve definitely submerged myself back in this passion.

To check out other classes I have coming up in June, visit my Upcoming Appearances page to learn more. They include courses on sacred kink… and more to be announced soon.

Much love to you all and see you soon!


Lee Harrington


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

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