Season 3!

Episode 02-15: Our Favourite Kinky Book Club

Hey hey y’all!
This week we talk to M3ssalina from Reading Kinky about her journey in non-monogamy and about her amazing podcast/book club.

Where can you find M3ssalina & Reading Kinky?
– Instagram: M3ssalina, Reading Kinky
Reading Kinky Episodes
M3ssalina’s Patreon

We start this episode off by giving a recap of Poly Dallas Millennium and how dope it was! **Spoiler Alert** Jhen had a great fucking time.

Check out altplayground.net today and connect with more sex positive lifestylers from all over the country with a zillion different ways to identify yourself.

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Episode 02-15 Transcript

Jhen: Oh, my goodness. I have had a weekend. I’m not sure about you Sham, but I was hella hella busy at Poly Dallas Millennium. 

Sham: Yeah I don’t think my weekend can kind of compare to yours. 

Jhen: No, I mean, I know that you really wanted to go and you couldn’t go. So that was kind of like, Ugh, but I tried to represent for us despite being at the job with “the Man” or whatever we call them, you know, that what we call jobs now? The Man. I was there, I was at work. 

Sham: Even though attending, wouldn’t even compare to you, you know, being front and center. 

Jhen: Yeah. Yeah. Friday night was really dope. Was really, really dope. Pages and I really got to showcase our host chemistry. And, it was a fun night. It was like a happy hour. There were games, there was tarot reading. There was a live podcast, which was not us. It was Inner Hoe Uprising. They were cool. 

Sham: Wait, so this was all during your segment? 

Jhen: Yeah. Yeah. I’m just talking about the pre-show. I didn’t tell you about the after hours entertainment.  We had some burlesque performances,  performances by King Noire. Listen Friday was amaze-balls.

Sham: Sounds pretty, uh, lit as the kids say.

Jhen: Right. That’s what the cool kids would say these days.

Sham: Is that the kids? Or is it our generation? I can’t even tell anymore.

Jhen: It probably is us to be honest. It’s us. We’re kids.  

Sham: Yeah, the zoomers that are listening to this are like: “Ugh, these old people talking about lit, what’s wrong with them?”

Jhen: These old people. Right? Then Saturday is the day that I missed a lot of stuff because I was at work. And so I didn’t have my laptop with me cause we don’t have accessible wifi at work. For reasons.

Sham: The aforementioned Man.

Jhen: The Man. So I was able to watch the stuff on the main stage on my phone. So I watched the keynotes and the powerhouse panel, which was really, really dope. And then Sunday, I was glued to my computer all day, popping in and out of sessions and talking to people and really connecting and stuff and learning more. And I can’t wait for the recordings to come out for the sessions I didn’t get to go to because I definitely want to learn everything there is to learn.

Sham:  I hope everyone listening or the people listening got a chance to experience some of this, cause just from your night alone, sounded amazing. So I’m assuming the whole event was something special.

Jhen: Hella special, hella fantastic. Ruby and the Polycultural Diversity Alliance, or as we might know them: Cheri, Chanee, Jeri, Erin, Tre, repeat guests. They’re friends, and it was really, really great to be able to support something so huge for them and also be able to go to the event  for me. Because there’s some stuff that I’ve never thought about before that, this event opened my eyes to, and I felt the same way going to Sex Down South, just learning a lot more and connecting to a lot more people, and trying to understand more about myself, and about non-monogamy and about others. It was a whole ball of amazing, a whole amaze-balls.

Sham: That sounds like 10 different podcasts,  cooking up right now in Jhen’s brain. From all that she’s learning right now.

Jhen: I don’t know what you’re talking about. That’s just my innocent voice. Can’t you tell?

Sham: I’m just saying we’ve been here before. Jhen goes off and learns some stuff and comes back with brand new topics and brand new guests, but you know, no promises yet. I’m just saying I’ve got a feeling, like when your grandma says she feels something in her right knee, something like that. 

Jhen: Wait, do they say that? My grandmother never said that to me

Sham: Oh really? Yeah. That’s something like they can predict the weather with their knee or something like that.

Jhen: That’s just arthritis right? 

Sham: Yeah. But they could feel something in their knee like when it’s going to rain… does that not count? Psychic arthritis?

Jhen: Rheumatoid arthritis?

Sham: Let’s move on. Let’s move on. With someone from arthritis to psychics. 

Jhen: Okay, fine. Arthur, let’s move on from that. What did you end up doing this weekend? I know the weather was quite shit this weekend.

Sham: Yeah, no, this weekend was hiding from the rain, unfortunately, because there was a lot of it. Funny enough. There was a lot of it where you were too. I don’t know, the weather is doing the most right now. It’s spanning from Jamaica to America. Just both sides. 

Jhen: Yeah. We’re fucked on all ends.  Honestly, the hurricanes. The hurricane fucked up central America then decided she was like, nah, I’m not done.And then came to Florida as a tropical storm. She dumped over a foot of rainwater between yesterday and today.

Sham: [00:04:57] Eta is doing everything we want to do right now. Which is just travel and get drunk apparently, because the way she’s moving, she is clearly drunk. 

Jhen: She a gwan a way enuh dawg? She really really a gwan a way.

Sham: Not sure what she’s trying to do. And again, very jealous. I wish I could be drunk on traveling right now, but, you know, we can’t because of things. 

Jhen: Yeah, cause of the Rona. So instead I’m just drunk at home, not literally drunk right now, but you guys know what I mean? Just at home.

Sham: what, what is time these days? There’s times when you’re drunk and times when you’re not drunk, because I don’t want to do classifications right now. 

Jhen: Is it? I mean, there’s a time where I’m with the Man and working for the Man.

Sham: Those are the times that you are not drunk, I would assume. 

Jhen: No, not drunk at work, not drunk. That will be a huge safety hazard. Thankfully, I know better. I do believe that’s how my coworkers are doing drugs though. So that’s exciting and not the fun kind. 

Sham: Oh dear, oh no, lets not dive too deep into that. I don’t want to expose anybody. So how about we talk about our friends over at Altplayground. So as you know Altplayground, our friends, they do wonderful stuff. They’ve got a wonderful platform that you should be a part of, join up now. They’re growing every day,  and today I want to tell you that they’re all about inclusivity of  lifestyle. Because that’s why they’re offering nine different gender identities. So no matter what you identify as, (well, hopefully it fits into these nine) you can put that on your profile. Like any other profile like Facebook or any other thing, they’ll be like: single, married, male, female. Sometimes they give you an “other”. But no, we know that the spectrum of gender goes way beyond that. And I’ll play guns, trying to meet the needs of people who fall into the spectrum.That’s why they have those nine different gender identities. Back to the statuses. They’ve got nine different relationship statuses, which I can’t even think of nine different statuses in my head right now. So shout out to Altplayground.

Jhen: I can think of five.

Sham: Five really? I’m thinking. Let’s see. Oh, I guess there’s married, single, then there’s dating, and then there is…

Jhen: Open or maybe like swinging. I feel like there must be some classifications of things that we already know.

Sham: Something you’ve never seen on the form before. 

Jhen: Right. Honestly though, I don’t really fuss too much of that because my answer is always single.

Sham: I wonder if they have the one I’ve always wanted, which is married and looking because, you know, that is my status always. And then of course, we go over to sexual orientations. People fall under many of those. That spectrum is way less, easy to put in a box than anything else I would say. And they’ve got 13 different sexual orientations, which you can identify yourself as on your profile as who you are. So Altplayground is giving you a place where you can be the most yourself online. I mean isn’t that what you want? To go to a place where you can be yourself, truly not just as a non-monogamous person, as we kind of lean towards, but your sexuality, your gender, your relationship status, whatever it is.

That’s because Altplayground’s mission is to provide a fun and inclusive environment for all non-monogamous and sexually open people. That sounds a lot like us right here. All of you, wonderful people listening to that podcast right now. I think you’d fit under that classification right there. 

Jhen: Yes you guys do. You guys are one of us, and we want to share this inclusivity and this fun and amazing environment with you guys, which is why you should sign up today! At Altplayground.net and make sure you hop on over to our community. Come find us. Come over there. I mean, we also post our podcast episodes there in the podcast corner, which is very useful. I think if you’re  out there making connections on Altplayground, you can also listen to us and set the mood. I’m on board with this, y’all should be doing that. So sign up today. 

Jhen: And with that being said, I am Jhen. 

Sham: And I’m Sham. 

Jhen: And we’re Monogamish. Sham, tell the people what we’re talking about today. I want you to let them know because I am too pumped. Sorry. I think I had too much coffee today. 

Sham: You’re pumped. You’re primed. You’re ready to go. All that wonderful stuff. 

Jhen: Yeah. All those things, all those things that we talked about before I started recording, I am pumped. I’m primed. I’m ready to go. Tell them why I’m so pumped. 

Sham: I don’t think I can respond with the appropriate amount of energy that you’ve given me, but the reason why Jhen is so pumped and I am less pumped about slipping on myself is that we have a wonderful interview with M3ssalina today. M3ssalina is a fellow podcaster. She hosts Reading Kinky. I give you two guesses as to what that’s about. 

Jhen: Uh, cook books?

Sham: Um, you’re half right. I mean, depends what you mean by “cooking”. I’m sure there’s some meat involved. 

Jhen: Ooh. Okay. Now we get nasty. I like it. Keep going.

Sham: Something in an oven. Um, sharp utensils. I’m dropping the metaphor anyway. It’s like a kinky book club, I believe. She’s one of the hosts and we have a talk about her podcast, about her life being kinky. And of course, as we usually do, her journey into non-monogamy. How she got there, how she identifies. All that wonderful fun stuff. It’s a great conversation because that’s all we have here. Jhen of course would be more inclined to, this guest because she’s more of the reader and I’m the dumb one. She’s the smart one. But she’s also the cute one, which means she’s also all of them. This is like the worst boy bad ever. 

Jhen: But at least I’m not like Justin Timberlake.

Sham: Oh, boy. Do I want to know in which way you’re not like Justin Timberlake?

Jhen: I mean, there is the most obvious way. I’m not a blonde.

Sham: Well yes, you’re not a blonde. But was he the cute one? I don’t, you know, I’m not going to get into that.

Jhen: No, it was definitely JC Chasez, but now that we’re here, now that we’re NSYNC…

Sham: See, you’re just nice. So you’re going to start a civil war between artists’ names right now. Who was the cute one? Who was a good one? All that good stuff. But back to M3ssalina. It’s a  great little chat. I hope y’all enjoy it as much as we did talking to her. So listen up right now to us and M3ssalina.

Jhen: On today’s episode of the pod, I have another podcaster here. So we’ve had a couple other podcasters on board before, we’ve had Zach from his ABM/Angry Black Man podcast. We’ve been featured on other podcasts. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff. So today we’re having another podcast guest with us and it’s M3ssalina of Reading Kinky.

I know what you’re thinking. What could her podcast possibly be about? Well, it’s a mystery. It could have something to do with reading and something to do with kink, but  we bring guests here who practice non-monogamy so there’s another little special component there. So that’s where M3ssalina everyone snaps. I can only snap with one hand.

M3ssalina: Thank you.

Jhen: Great. Awesome. Thank you so much for being here tonight. We really appreciate you rocking with us.

M3ssalina: Thank you for having me. This is really great. You’ve got a  great show. I’ve been following you for a little bit and you know, this is wonderful. I’m glad to be here. Happy to be here. 

Jhen: See, we have a real fan guys. It’s not just all of our friends that we’ve paid to say they like our podcasts. They’re real fans too. 

Sham: Okay. They do exist. 

M3ssalina: Yeah, actually, I’m trying to remember exactly how I found out about your show. And I think I found out about it through it was either another podcast that follows me or my personal account, not entirely sure. There’s a couple, I think there’s a couple of kinky people that follow me that also follow you and you may have shown up in my recommendations. 

Jhen: I like being recommended. We tell everyone all the time, recommend us, tell your friends about us. We are important and cool too. And I am exceptionally funny and you guys should know that.

M3ssalina: Absolutely.

Sham: That’s good. The word is getting out there. 

Jhen: She knows about us. So let’s just have M3ssalina introduce herself a little bit since we’ve hyped up this whole thing a lot on the outside. She can tell us a bit about her and then we can dive in straight from there. Take it away.

M3ssalina: Well, I’m M3ssalina. You can call me M3ssalina, or you can call me M3ss. I accept either, friends usually call me M3ss, and I’ve been on a journey of kink and ethical non-monogamy for I would say about officially three years. 

I’m based in North Carolina in the United States. Formerly I’m a New Yorker, but I moved and relocated when I found my husband, and we’ve been married for six years now. So it’s been a while. Hi honey! I’m sure he’s listening. Or he will be listening to this. So after being in this area for a while, I got involved in the local scene and I had an idea about a book club for a kink, polyamory, sex, relationships, marriage, open marriage, BDSM, fetish books. The concept was that we would get together in person as a group and read books together. As luck would have it, another person in the scene had the same idea at the same time. She and I got together. We met online at first and then we met in person to plan it out.

And then from there we had a couple of events. Then one of our long time attendees said, you two should really have a podcast. And at first we were like, Oh no, we are both very busy people. She is a parent. I am a wife and, and I have a job, a full-time job, obviously like everybody else does. And at first we were very kind of  not  really about getting one more thing we had to be responsible for. I actually for a past project of mine, had all of the podcast equipment already in my possession. And I knew how to edit audio and video from my media career.

So I already had that knowledge and she said, fuck it. Let’s just do it. And the first episode is actually is entitled “Fuck y’all We made a podcast”. That was our first episode ever, which was almost two years ago. And from there, it just kind of went. Then we slowly started getting away from in-person events to doing the podcast and just having that be kind of like our book club structure, and now we’re completely virtual.

So we’ve been doing that for almost two years and it’s been going really great. And yeah, we talk about a lot of different polyamory books. I’m all game about talking about those and you want to talk about those. A lot of the books we read are about polyamory.

Jhen: I don’t know if you guys know this, but Jhen, that is me, loves a good book. All I do is read. So this is perfect. They know, they know. So you guys have probably figured out why I brought M3ssalina here right? He’s probably figured it out by now. Not only is she beautiful and interesting. She likes to talk about books. And what better excuse do I have to torture you guys with my book knowledge then to bring someone else on the podcast who enjoys books? Thank you for that really great, cohesive, coherent, short, long enough run down of your life. I’m just throwing words out there. Now I forgot what words mean. 

Sham: I love those origin stories. By the way of, Oh, I was thinking of starting a book club. My friend was thinking of starting a book club. Hey, you started a book club. Someone was thinking of starting a podcast. But I happen to have podcasts equipment right here. So it all just worked out. 

M3ssalina: Yeah. It’s funny how that really had happened. We had this really weird, almost cartoonish kind of exchange in her house where after all the guests I kind of left, we were cleaning up and she was like, can you believe that person came to us and be like, we need to start a podcast? She’s like the nerve of that person! I was just like, I may or may not have microphones at my house. And she’s like, are you serious? And I’m just like, and I also know how to edit audio. And she’s like, what? And I’m like, yeah, 

Sham: Straight out of a movie, where it would be the first part where you’re explaining how you got there. No it sounds like it went the way to perfectly. Well, I guess sometimes it does happen way too perfectly. And I love that first episode name. 

M3ssalina: Yeah,  I’m not gonna even lie and say they get a lot tamer. They don’t. We don’t really hold back on the show. We’re very opinionated people.

Sham: Ain’t nothing wrong with that. Ain’t nothing wrong with it. Be true to yourself and your sales got opinions. 

M3ssalina: Absolutely. 

Jhen: That’s what we do. That’s exactly what we do. So I’m not gonna dive into the podcast book club stuff yet. You guys know it’s all coming. So just like, if you want to just skip ahead to that part of the interview, just skip ahead. It’s fine. Until then we’re going to actually ask M3ss about  her journey to non-monogamy and polyamory. You’ve been married for six years, and so one day you guys were just like, you know what, fuck it. We’re now monogamous. Is that what happened? 

M3ssalina: No. We both have a kink traits and we both have fetishes and things like that. Sexually we are, I would, say highly compatible people. We have kind of the same tastes. We’re both kind of on the spectrum of not heterosexual. So, it worked. And then it was kind of like, I don’t want to say natural because it definitely was a lot of stress to get things to where they are now. But I feel like it was kind of a natural trajectory of our relationship, where we were very different people. We love being together. Obviously we love each other very much, but we also contain multitudes. I’m this person who likes art, tech, movies, comics, hiking, circus arts, exercising and I like weird posters from 1950’s France that advertise wine. I like all of these and I contain multitudes. Like I have all these different interests and the natural kind of evolution is that you think when you get married that this one person is supposed to be everything to you and you’re supposed to be everything to them.

And sometimes for some people that’s fine, but sometimes that’s just not practical. I feel like it is a lot of pressure on him to be everything to me. And it has a lot of pressure on me to be everything to him. I can tell you, like it is a lot of emotional labor and pressure for it to be a whole ass wife all the time, and then try to be a professional woman, a good daughter, a good sister, a good cousin, a good friend. Having your own life dreams and goals and things like that, it’s just a natural kind of trajectory for a lot of people. And I feel like it needs to be normalized a little bit more because it’s just this pressure, this idea that I have to be everything to him all the time. That’s a lot to ask of somebody. Sometimes it works for somebody, but for me, and for us, it didn’t really work. 

Sham: I’m right there with you. Not even just in the relationship context, but just the “it’s hard to exist sometimes”. All these different hats you have to wear. And it’s like, Oh, I’ve got to be good in a relationship and also in life, and also in my family. Even if people can’t understand the non-monogamy of it all, they can at least understand it’s hard being all these things and sometimes you gotta find a way to cope.

M3ssalina: Yes, absolutely. I don’t know about anybody else, but for me, it’s kind of unfair for me to ask that my partner be into every single thing I’m into. I want to share some things on a romantic or intimate level with people that… I don’t know, maybe I feel too much, but I want to share certain experiences and things with other people on an intimate level. And I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing them to be there for that. I know that might seem kind of strange until I get into the nitty gritty of sex in the bedroom, and everything like that. But for me, an intimate experience can be a meal or it could be going to a museum or it could be making art together. And those are some things he might be into, but he’s not as into it as I am, and I don’t want him to be there cause he feels like he needs to be there. I don’t like that. You know how you go to the mall and you drag your significant other there and they just sit there holding your purse. Kinda like that. I don’t wanna make him feel like his entire life or  half of our relationship is just him holding my purse while I’m trying on shoes. 

Sham: It’s funny that there are so many relationships that are stereotypical husband and wife, the wife wants to do something, and the husband is just following around because he has to, or the wife wants to go to a show or something specific. And the husband is just there because he has to, because she’s your wife. You’re supposed to do that. But what you’re saying makes way more sense. Don’t make somebody half ass want to be where you want to be, even if you want to be there with someone. So you’ll find somebody else. That makes more sense to me, but I guess I’m also living the lifestyle. So it would make more sense to me. What you’re saying is completely logical and more people should really consider it. But that’s why this podcast exists.

Jhen: Yes as a not married person here, what you’re saying sounds like it makes sense as well. I’ve had that conversation with someone about how in olden times, before we were all so hung upon being the one for everyone, we had different communities to fulfill. Different things in our life. If you wanted religious stuff, you went to church, you had your church friends, you had your Bible study, you had whatever he wanted to do there. If you want to knit you have a knitting club. If you want to cook, you have friends who cook. And there is this idea that once I don’t know when it happened, but over time, things shifted from people using these individual intimate social connections to fulfill certain needs into “Well, we’re married”. So if you want to cook, you have to be there. If you want to knit, you have to be there. If you want to go to church, you have to be there. Nah, I’m a bitch who likes my bed, so probably not. Sounds great. Let me know when you get back. So that’s my general stance on that and that’s my single person input of the night, Pew, Pew, that’s it. 

M3ssalina:  And it’s not too much different from me saying, now that we’ve gotten over the hump of the initial emotional baggage, the jealousy and the toxic behaviors that we inherited from our parents. Cause I’ll  start on that in a second, but it’s really great and refreshing for me, even as a married woman to be like, you know what, I want to just be on my own and be at the house and eat a brownie. And you go out with your girl and you have a great time and you go to Chuck E Cheese or whatever you want to go to. Wherever you want to go. Oh, you want to go camping or whatever? I’m not a bitch who likes to be outside. Okay. Y’all want to do that. Y’all can do that. I have no hate for that. Or alternatively, he wants to go do something that I want to do. And she doesn’t like it. He can say well I’ll just go deal with her. The pressure is not there to be everything for somebody. It becomes easier to stay at home and be comfortable in my own skin and not try to stretch myself to be something that I’m not. 

Jhen: 1000%, 

Sham: I won’t say a hundred percent, but you just had to one up me right there.

Jhen: Unintentionally. It was an accident. I just liked the number of 1000. So there we go. 

Sham:  I get you. I get you, you, you, you love it 1000. 

Jhen: or should it be 3000? 

Sham:  I can definitely say I have similar experience. I know we’re not getting into the nitty-gritty of the kink yet, but even then, there are some things that my wife is into that I’m not as into. It’s not that I won’t do them, but even she herself is like I don’t want to make you do this, or I don’t want you in there to say, I don’t want to make you do something just because you love me. And because you know I will do whatever she wants, but I can understand her, wanting to know if she wants someone who will know that this is actually their personality, that this is their kink. God if it’s not my kink, why fake it for sake of faking it. I think, go get you some real, whatever you need out there. And I’m fine standing on the side, if that’s what it needs to be. 

M3ssalina: Right. Absolutely. I agree. 

Jhen: So I want you to tell me a bit about some of the early conversations you had with your partner when you were figuring this out. Cause I guess, since you obviously decided not to wake up and decide you’re both non-monogamous at the same time. I guess that required some conversation. So tell us a little bit about how that went at the beginning, who brought the idea to who. 

M3ssalina: It was me. I was the one. We had, at that point we had been in the scene, me more so than him. He’s a kinky person, but he’s not a kind of person that is looking for kink as a community. And I was the person that was looking at it as a community. So I was going out, I was making friends, I was going to parties, I was going to lunches. I was like, “Hey, what’s going on?” I want to beat my ass later? who? Let’s connect, exchange numbers. And  the party scene is not his scene. He’s the kind of person that likes to interact with people in small groups, one-on-one, and that’s cool. That’s fine. He understands that I’m a lot more social than he is. So then the time came where I like playing, I like to play. And now we’ve gotten over this hump where I can play with other people, but now I want to explore more and I want to actually have relationships with people that I meet. I would actually want to make a connection with somebody. And that was like, whew! I came home one day and it was, it was not pretty. I’m not going to try to sugarcoat it for anybody. It was a conversation that unearthed a lot of insecurities that we both had about ourselves. He thinks that I am the most beautiful thing in existence and that he sucks. He doesn’t really think very highly of himself. And when you have a person like that, and we all kind of experienced that in our lives, we don’t really think the highest ourselves. We never see ourselves in the eyes of other people. We see ourselves in this kind of warped mirror where we’re hyper-focusing on our faults and our mistakes and our flaws and our scars. I know I do. And he does it to a much further extent than I do. So that unearthed a lot of stuff that we actually had to fix to just make their marriage better. I think that we wouldn’t really have had an opportunity to address it, if this conversation hadn’t come up, which was really remarkable. It was jealousy.

It was the idea that I was going to leave. It was the idea that I wanted something better than that. And he couldn’t offer me anything. It really shocked me. The shocking thing to me was,  maybe I wasn’t doing enough to affirm his place in my life up until that point. But he really did not know why I loved him. And he really didn’t understand what was keeping me around. Cause like I’m a type of woman who I don’t need to find somebody else to leave you. If I’m not satisfied with you, I want to leave. I don’t care if he has the ring. I’m not the kind of person to, and I never have, and nobody, no woman in my family really is. If we want to bounce, we bounce. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been together for 10 years or 20 years or whatever. So the idea that he thought that I wanted somebody else to make me happy, instead of wanting to add to my happiness and add to my joy that I experienced with him, that was something that really stuck with me because I realized what I needed to do. I needed to affirm that love for him first. Before I could even think about sleeping with somebody else or being with somebody else or dating or whatever I needed to affirm. Like, Hey, I’m your wife. I’m not going anywhere. You’re my husband. You want to leave? That’s fine. But I don’t want you to go anywhere and you have value in my life.

That was really an important conversation. And we actually use this really great book called the Jealousy Workbook to have these conversations. I think I have a post of it on my Instagram, if you want to see it. It’s by Kathy Labriola, it’s called the Jealousy Workbook and it’s exactly what it says. It’s a great workbook full of exercises that you can do with your partner. It’s designed for you to do with your partner, to figure out the ins and outs of  how you deal with jealousy, and how you deal with anger. It’s just full of a bunch of really great exercises that I think even a monogamous couple could do and get a lot of value out of. Because really it took working on our monogamy to get us to the point where we could be non-monogamous effectively.

Sham: We’ll have links to that in the show notes, you know, may or may not because, you know, it depends on if Jhen remembers.

Jhen: Hey! I am the person, once the episode is edited and uploaded to our server, I listen to the episode before it is released, so I can make sure my show notes are accurate. I do not appreciate being attacked in this way Sham.

Sham:  I’m not attacking. I’m just trying to gauge the expectations of the listeners. But I mean, you’ve already heard the name of the book, we just  may or may not make it more convenient.  

Jhen: I’ve never actually worked through that, but I’ve seen it around before. It’s been a thing, but I’ve never actually looked at it. Probably just because jealousy is a weird thing for me personally. I’m friend jealous. I’m not relationship jealous. And I generally figure out if there’s a relationship jealousy thing happening. What’s going on? This is an insecurity of mine. Why am I insecure? And I figure that out and I kind of move from there accordingly. Which is something that’s happened recently in the past six years or so. I haven’t always been this way. There are times I’ve been jealous in the past, but once I even started drilling down into non-monogamy and polyamory, I was like okay, yeah, I realized I don’t really feel this way about romantic partners. Is it that I don’t like them enough? Or is it that I am just secure in my awesomeness right now? And usually it’s, yeah, I’m awesome. I’m good. It’s fine. 

Sham:  Of course. When you’re that awesome you’re gonna be secure. I got to say the story really highlights something that we’ve talked about before, which is I don’t even know how to say it. If you’re non-monogamous you need to be effective and non-monogamous. You need to have communication in your relationship. Whereas, you can more or less, let me not say you can’t, you can be monogamous without communication but people manage to do that. But if you’re going to try to step into non-monogamy, you have to communicate, you have to share your feelings. You have to do all of that. And for some relationships that’s better because it opens up conversations like the one that you had. Where some of those things you said you might not have even thought of, or even thought to discuss before this. And it sounds like it made the relationship better overall outside of even opening it up, but just things that came out. That is a definite benefit you can see  in action. Trying non-monogamy or the very least communicating. I don’t know if it wasn’t anything more in your early days? 

M3ssalina: We simply had these different hangups. It’s strange, cause when Jhen, when you said like, I get friend jealous, but I don’t get like “that’s my penis!”  I don’t get like that either. But there are some things that are really weird for me. I get hung up a lot on the sex acts themselves when I get caught in a jealousy kind of zone. But I don’t really get caught up in the actual sex itself. Does that make sense? 

Sham: So you wouldn’t be jealous that they had sex, but you’d be more jealous what they did during a particular sex act. You might be jealous over one than the other?

M3ssalina: [00:37:06] Yes, that’s exactly it. My thing is I had to unpack that and it turns out, *Magic* Oh my gosh! Can you believe it? It was because of my own insecurity about my ability to do that thing. So it wasn’t about the other person doing that thing. It was them possibly doing it better than me, or them being a better lover than me.

And I had to tackle that on my own. After we did baby steps. So it was all right, well, I’m going to go on this date now. All right. Cool. Well going to go get the STD testing. We’re going to go together. Are you going to go? I’ll go separate. Cause I got to work that day. Okay. And it was just little baby steps to where we are now. And now as it would turn out, I have ended my relationships outside of our marriage, but he still has one relationship that he has. He has a paramore that he still talks to, and he’s still in a relationship with, and that’s fine. I never thought about it as a zero sum game. I think  certain people will be like, well, if I don’t have nobody, he can’t have nobody either. That’s not what this is. Just because my luck is bad, it doesn’t mean that he has to have a bad time. He can enjoy himself and have a good, healthy relationship with somebody who’s giving him things that he needs and is being nice to him and fulfilling him and being a person of value in his life. That doesn’t mean that I’m less, and it doesn’t mean that I’m a failure either. That’s a big thing that I had to come to fairly recently actually. 

Jhen: I feel that. You’re not a failure if things don’t work out guys. Let’s just throw that out there for everyone to hear it, feel it, receive it. You are not a failure if something does not work out for you, it just means the thing didn’t work out. It has nothing to do with your competency, usually. Let’s just say it usually doesn’t involve competency, nothing to do with that or whether or not you deserve the thing to work at because we all deserve goodness in our life. I mean, and I could put the No*  asterix underneath except for rapists murderers, you know, but you know what I mean? We all deserve goodness in our life. And if something does not work out, it does not mean that you are somehow the failure and the worst person in the world. It just means that shit didn’t work out for whatever reason it didn’t. We got to figure out what that is. We heal from it. And then we just try again because we’re human and that’s what we do.

Sham: Today’s wise words, courtesy of Jhen. 

M3ssalina: Yes. Yes. I’m clicking over here now. 

Sham: It’s like the Bible, our daily bread. We need our daily Jhen. That drop of knowledge.

Jhen: Ha, our daily Jhen. Yes. Trademark pending. 

M3ssalina: Okay so I gotta come clean though. I came out as poly kinky and queer to my mother last year. And I did it at Thanksgiving, cause I’m a boss. 

Jhen: You were really  pushing for that M3ssalina weren’t you? You were working hard on that one. 

M3ssalina: I was able to read the room very well. She’s going to be listening to this as well. I already told her I’m going to be on the show. She’s really excited. Hi mama M3ssalina. M3ssalina the third as I call her. I’m the fourth. She’s the third. We had this really great moment where I was sitting on the bed and I was my typical neurotic self about to bolt out of the room/cry. And I started talking about like, “Hey, you know how I started dressing a certain way lately and carrying myself a certain way lately?” And like the thing that she said, I’ll never forget it, as long as I live.  She said:  “You think you’re a little gay?” And I was like, “Yes, that’s part of it.” And then I told her about the poly and about the kink. And she was just like, “Well, As long as you’re happy. As long as everything is alright, and everything works out and you’re safe and everybody knows what’s going on I support you. So it was really great, and I started crying and had a snotty nose and everything like that. Cause I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction actually. I was encouraged by that. So when you said the thing about our daily bread because my mom was very religious, that’s another reason why I wasn’t expecting this to go over so well, she’s a very religious lil woman. But she’s also very pragmatic and very practical. And I think that her interpretation of things, maybe a little bit different than the average Christian woman, I’m not sure, but for whatever reason, she’s been very supportive of me in my journey, in poly. She just asks questions. She asks about the books that I talk about. She wants to know what the titles are. She probably doesn’t read them. Uh, maybe she reads them. I don’t know. Maybe you never know. I feel like having that extra kind of level of support, like yay! Maybe she doesn’t understand it. And my other family members also know, and maybe they don’t understand it, but they know that I’m a responsible person. They know that I’m a person that is of value and that I treat others like they are of value and that they are worthy of love. And that this is not going to run me down a road that’s all of the different fears that the regular normal toxic monogamy arguments will  put you down. That our marriage is over, it’s a lie, we’re living in sin, et cetera, et cetera. I felt really uplifted by her reaction to that. 

Sham: Definitely big up mama, wherever she is, wherever she is out there. That was great. That was a great little coming out story. I love her first reaction of do you think you’re a little gay? 

Jhen: Just a little gay not a whole gay.

Sham: I’m coming down with a case of the gay.

M3ssalina: I love it. It was the last thing I expected to come out of her mouth, but she said it. I kinda just had this moment of “I can’t believe she said that”. And then I just went into it “Oh, well, yes.” She’s always kind of been interested in, for lack of a better word, Libertine life that I’ve built for myself, like traveling a lot and doing a lot of the things that she, as a black woman who was born in the South, she didn’t really get to do during Jim Crow. So I think that to a certain extent, the generations before us are living through us and seeing the world through our eyes and figuring out that a lot of these old things, maybe they’re old for a reason. Maybe we’re getting rid of them for reasons that are good. Maybe the idea that you stay married no matter what, even though you’re both hurting each other, is not a good idea. Maybe that’s not a good belief system to have. People getting divorced is sometimes a good and healthy thing for both parties. I feel like we’re doing the work of  undoing a lot of different toxic ideas that sustained a lot of people in society in the past.

Jhen: Toxic monogamy and patriarchy. Hello! These are the things that make it, and tie that into capitalism. Because a lot of this is also due to capitalism. Women didn’t have the opportunities that men did. And in order to progress, to excel and to succeed in a certain part of life, you needed to be married into a certain way.  Women couldn’t have their own bank accounts. They couldn’t own homes. There’s so many things they could not do for a long period of time, especially black women. Let’s not even get into the whole racial dynamic of it. Even though our podcast is pretty much entirely about race, in a way. There are a lot of things to consider there and it’s great that she was able to, I wouldn’t say set aside her religious beliefs, but able to accommodate and understand and love you for who you were. That’s probably the best way of putting it. I came out to my mom and stages, so I told her I was bisexual, that was over 10 years ago, poor thing. And she was like, “Is it because of stuff with your dad?” You know, very typical, Jamaican mother’s stuff. And I was like, “Nah, I’ve pretty much liked pussy since I was seven”. Without knowing that there were vaginas attached to it. “So, yeah, that’s fine.” Then, you know, she had to work through that in her mind for a while. She met a woman that I was dating, and she was like, “Oh, so you really like women? This is not just a, Oh, okay, got you.” And then when I came out to her as non-monogamous, it was, due to my tipsy behavior at my house. It was  a family event and the people that I was dating/hanging out with were there and I was a little bit too affectionate with them in front of the family. She didn’t say anything, but I knew that she clocked it. So let’s just have this conversation. Let’s just do this. So I told her that she was like, “Oh, that’s why they’re here all the time. Okay.” My mom lives in Jamaica. So when I go back to visit, they would always be at the house every time I was there. And so the last time I went home and I didn’t see them right away, she was like, “Did you guys break up? Is that why they’re not here? Are you sure they’re not leaving you because it’s just so strange? They did not show up within an hour of you getting home. Like they usually do. I don’t know. I think you need to work this out.” So precious, poor thing. 

M3ssalina:  Wow. 

Sham: So supportive, you gotta love a supportive mom.

Jhen: You gotta love supportive moms, that’s what we want. If you’re not a parent and you want to be a parent, we want to also raise kids who feel supported and loved and acknowledged. That’s what you want. I do like the fact that we, as younger people and as the world grows and we’re educated about a lot more things, and we’re learning and acknowledging traumas, et cetera, that we’re able to give the best version of ourselves to our children. And so they know that, hey, no matter what, You’re loved. You’re supported. We will take care of you, within reason. Because if you fuck up, then we’re going to have to give you away, like a dog. That’s fine. We’ll send you to the pound or something. 

Sham: This is why you can’t have kids. 

Jhen: This is why I don’t have kids. Right. I’m a great godmother. I’m a great auntie. But with children of my own, the idea of growing fat with child makes me upset. So that’s why I don’t have any of my own, but again, that’s my own personal thing. I think that as a people, we need to be moving towards acknowledging the differences that are happening in the world, whether it’s queer or kinky or non-monogamous or whatever doesn’t fit the binary. We need to be open to it and accepting and loving and caring. And those are all the nice words I have for today. That’s it.  

Sham: This is the end of your daily Jhen, but not the podcast. The podcast will go on just the Jhen segment is over. 

Jhen: Okay. So you’re into kink that’s the next obvious step to take here. You’ve worked out your serious stuff with your partner, but let’s backtrack to your kinky lifestyle. We just want you to know that October is kinktober. Inktobar is also in October, if you’re an artsy person. September is consent month. There’s also a bi-week that happened in September. Bi-visibility week, which I didn’t know was in September until I saw all these sexy bi-women. Anyway. Sorry. I’m getting distracted now. Let’s let’s focus, right? Kink. Tell us about your kinky lifestyle. 

M3ssalina: Well right now, to be honest, it’s not very exciting. Rhona has got us all locked inside and not necessarily with each other. People are starting to get creative nowadays and there’s been at least a couple of virtual swingers parties. And I don’t know how it works actually, but I digress.  So before the world shut down and we were all stuck at home, I would go occasionally to different parties. Some of the parties I went to were giant play parties. The local scene here is way more heavy in Durham. Which is  nearby talent that is outside of Raleigh, which is the capital of the state. And then there’s a lot of people in the Greensboro area as well, which is a little bit into the north of here. But every now and then,  I would say like twice or three times a year, there were these huge parties. And when I say huge, I mean hundreds of people and they’re giant kink parties or giant fetish parties. You can show up in your fetish wear or you show up with your play bag, which is a little toy bag, or some people have entire suitcases rolling up in there. They have all the bells and whistles and whips and chains and crops and a lot of crops. There’s a lot of crops, a lot of paddles. You bring your toys, and then you go to work. Either you bring a person with you, or the best approach honestly, is to hook up with somebody. Not hook up and like have sex with them, a hook up connection with someone. Either through FetLife, which I’m no longer on or through your own personal contacts or whatever other event and say, “Hey, would you mind beating my ass and then take me to a waffle house after? Is that something that would be amenable to?” My thing is Wendy’s, I like Wendy’s after I get my ass beat, but that’s just the chicken nuggets.

Jhen: Spicy nuggets though, right?

M3ssalina:  Yes! The spicy nuggets. I like the spicy nuggets. I’ll get spicy nuggets and a bacon, bacon burger. And I used to have Frosties, but now I can’t have Frosties anymore. So boo! I get hungry after I get my ass beat. I guess the endorphins are, I don’t know, big science, but I get really, really hungry after I get done with the session. Those play parties do exist, and then you have smaller play parties. Obviously out of people’s houses and things like that. That’s pretty popular around here as well. There’s a big rope scene here too, and I’m not really big into rope, but there is a really big rope scene and a lot of really great riggers in the area. My co-host Phoenix who is half of Reading Kinky. She was really big into being a rope bunny and being a rope demo for some of her partners. So that’s in the scene. So me personally, I’m pretty much meat and potatoes. I like actual emotion scenes. I like sensory deprivation. I’m really big into impacts and sensory play, I’m big into it. Forced orgasm, hey, I’m your girl.I have my little list of things, my little hard nose, soft nose. I’m into biting a lot. Play-fighting, I liked little play wrestling, play fighting. A little bit of DDLG, but not too much because I identify as a boy when I’m in my little space. I don’t do a lot of parties anymore. I wish I could do some of the bigger parties now. Obviously there’s no parties going on at all. But around this time of the year, around Halloween, I think there used to be a really big party around called PUSH, and I’m not sure of what they’re doing this year. If they’re doing something virtual, I’m not sure. That’s one of the parties I used to go to a lot and I would do open play. I would just get up on a cross and get someone to come and beat me for a little while and then rest up and then go get my Wendy’s.

So  it’s different for everybody. My husband obviously is  different. My other partners obviously had their other kinks and fetishes that were different from mine, but there’s overlap. And that’s really cool when you have a set of partners that have different kinks than you, but some of the kinks are the same because then you get to learn about those other kinks. That’s really cool. I really liked that. I can’t wait to have that again. I could talk about kink and impact all day, if you let me, so I will not talk anymore about that. I will not say anything else except I miss having bruises. 

Jhen: I mean that’s fair. That definitely sounds interesting and exciting. 

Sham: What a thing to miss. 

M3ssalina: Yeah. There’s nothing like it. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea and I don’t really play that hard. You got some real hard edge players out there that draw blood and all that. That’s a thing. I like what I like, and, honestly, I don’t even think I’ve taken out my toys in my toy bag in months. And that is a depressing thing to say on a podcast, especially for a person who hosts a podcast with the word kinky. 

Jhen: It is like that. I’m mutually acquainted with someone who isn’t a kink and they’re into rope. And they’ve actually just been practicing rope on themselves at home and making harnesses and stuff. So I get it. It’s disappointing to not be able to play with people and to actually get to use your skills with others. So when did you realize you were kinky? And I say realized because usually most people kind of know.  They kind of figure out once you’re young. We’ve interviewed Zach Budd, who’s a consent educator and sadist, and he’s a dom. He’s into kinkiness and into the scene. He was like, “When I was young, certain things excited me, and as I got older, I realized, Oh, this is what that meant.” And I wonder if that was a very similar sort of thing for you?

M3ssalina:  Actually, it was a video that my husband sent me before we were married. He sent me a porn video before we were married and we lived in separate states. I was like, “Huh, I like that. I don’t know why I like that, but I really liked that. That’s dope.” And that’s how I found out.  

Jhen: Thank you husband for introducing. That’s why we feature this sort of stuff. It’s one of those things where you wonder, did he think that it would turn out the way that it has? Right? When he sent you this thing  was he thinking,” Oh, she’s going to be so hardcore into kink?” Or was he thinking “Oh, well, it’s something, we can try every once in a while because I’m into kink. So maybe we can just do this sometimes.” 

M3ssalina: That’s a good question because  I have a very active imagination. I work in media, I’m a creative, I don’t do things halfway. I’m not a halfway kind of person. If I say I’m going to do something, I just throw everything I have into it. I decided I was going to start on an herb garden, even though I have never grown anything in my entire life. I am the kind of person, if I touch the grass, the grass will say no. I am not good at gardening at all, but this whole thing with COVID, I just threw myself into it. And now I have plants all over the apartment. It’s really nice. 

But, I don’t think he knew enough about me at the time. Cause it was when we were first dating, to know that I was going to take it to this extent. I think that he’s really impressed. Because I went out and I learned all these things independently of him on my own. And then I started a book club and then I started a podcast. And now I’m going to start blogging. It’s gotten to the point where I think that he’s really impressed. He listens to every episode of the podcast. He probably listened to this right now. Hi honey! He’s my number one fan. He’s my number one supporter. He’s just fantastic, but I don’t know if he ever anticipated that that video would cause this.  

Jhen: I can’t imagine.

Sham: That’s the spark that started the whole wildfire. I guess the easiest way to start it is gender reveal canon that started this whole wildfire of kink. Terrible analogy, but you know, it goes with what I could think of what is happening in the world.

Jhen:  It’s relevant to 2020 news. So you said that you and your husband were both not exactly straight. How has it been navigating that? As a CIS-het presenting woman? You present because you’re married to a man. People just automatically assume that you’re straight and there’s all this stuff that goes into that. So what is that like for you exploring polyamory? Do you have romantic intentions towards women? Is it just sex? 

M3ssalina: I’ve dated men. I have dated women. I’ve dated mostly men, CIS-hetero men, or just CIS men, not necessarily hetero. I’m open to finding a connection with anyone. I’ve been on a date with a trans person. I’ve gone out on dates with obviously women, and queer women. For me, there’s so many different types of intimacy. There’s something that Phoenix said one time on our podcasts that I thought was really profound and it stuck with me for a long time. And I realized it’s because it’s how I think. 

Cause we were talking about sex, and when I was talking about stuff, I was talking about coitus, like P in V.  And she was like, “there’s so many different types of sex in my vocabulary and in my world that is just genitals touching each other. It’s just part of the pie.” It’s just part of a bigger picture. There’s so many different levels of intimacy that I achieve with my relationships with different people of different gender identities, with people, with different sexual orientations. That narrow definition does not describe the abundance of “sex” that I have all the time. And I’m just like, “Huh? That’s a whole ass mood. That’s a vibe.”  I really liked that idea of, I’m going to like go date someone and I’m going to take them to a place I’ve never taken anybody else. I’m going to take them to a place where I went alone and I’ve never taken anyone else there, not even my husband. And just share that place with them and share what that place means to me with that person.  For me, that’s a type of intimacy. It’s pretty comparative to a sexual encounter for me. Sharing part of myself becomes such a private guarded person. I know it seems strange that a  guarded private person would have a podcast talking about kink. I’m so guarded and I’m so packaged in my regular life. My vanilla life,  that  any type of sharing of my authentic self is like sex to me, it’s a form of intimacy. It’s like a sexual act almost. 

Jhen: Yeah, absolutely. I feel that, I understand that completely. That is so true. We’ve talked about different types of intimacy before on the show and how we build that and create that moment with people. We talked about it with Cheri Calico Roman and Pages Matam. Well, we also talked about being the avatar of digital sex, which is a whole separate conversation. But there are so many facets to intimacy. It’s not just about P and V. Like you said, there are so many other things that we need to consider. I’m really glad that you shared that with us because as extroverted as I think we both present, I think Sham is a bit shier overall than me. 

Sham: Very shy. I wouldn’t call myself introverted because I do select gold and stuff, but as a personality, I’m definitely very shy. I don’t know but somehow I’m here on this podcast sharing with the whole wide world.

Jhen:  Right. You know I think I curate. Yes, I do that curated image thing. So people feel as if they know everything there is to know about me, because I share certain key stories that make people feel. Sorry, podcast listener, but you don’t actually know everything about my life. 

Sham: You think you know, but you have no idea. 

Jhen: No, you have no idea about the real world Jhen, Sham and M3ssalina. So we’ve talked a little bit about your podcast Reading Kinky, and your co-podcaster Phoenix, who’s also into kink. Tell me a bit more about it. I know you gave us a little intro about it at the beginning when you were introducing yourself, but obviously now is my time to shine when we’re talking about books. Let’s talk about Reading Kinky for people out there in the world who are like you and I, who love to read. 

M3ssalina: You come to the right place and the right person, if you love to read, because I love to read about kink and polyamory. The thing about kink is that you have your core kind of books that everybody knows. You have SM101. You have the ethical slut, which is the blurred line between being kink and polyamory. Which is a 101 type of 100 level book that everybody in the world’s gonna tell you to read first. You have the topping book and the bottoming book. You have those really elementary books that are out there. But after you exhaust that list, it’s really troubling because there are so many different voices in the space, but there aren’t a lot of books that represent those voices. I know that we were running into a problem where we’re reading kinky but where’s the kink? It’s hard to find things that speak and say new things to the audience while at the same time, not presenting information that might be problematic or toxic. Cause that’s out there too. So the way that we put our list together, I think it surprised a lot of people. Because you expect to see the Ethical Slut and you expect to see Playing Well With Others by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington, but you don’t expect to see All About Love by Bell Hooks. You don’t expect to see Sissy by Jacob Tobia. You don’t expect to see Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel. But those books are also on our lists, and we’ve done podcasts and book club meetings about those books before. And I think that they’re adjacent to kink and BDSM. They are needed and just as essential to understand how to communicate in the realm of kink and BDSM. How to communicate in the realm of consent culture. I think it’s highly recommended reading, but a lot of people get caught up in the title of our club and the books that we choose may not be relevant to them. They don’t see how Bell Hooks in her whole book about love and how we interpret love is important in the realm of kink. When it really is. And it’s constantly trying to hunt down those different and new voices that are going to be relevant to the audience. So that was my half spiel, half complaining about choosing books and making book lists. But I really enjoy it. I relished the challenge. I like having these weird Amazon lists where I go on. Where I can make a note “Need to find a book about Primal Play”. It’s not actually a book cause there is no book. It’s just a note on my list, and that’s how I try to put the list together with Phoenix.  

Jhen:  I understand that. And you also make an effort to try to find people of color. I figured probably to include on these lists, because the publishing is, very very white. 

M3ssalina: Very white. Kink be white. Especially like academic kink. And when I say “academic kink” I mean the gatekeepers of the old leather and the old tomes of BDSM, like SM101 and things like that. It’s hard to find new voices. You really have to put yourself out there and try. This year’s book list is out. If you want to check our book list, you can go to instagram.com/readingkinky and look at our book lists. It’s in our pinned stories. This year I was angry. Because I was looking at our analytics for our podcasts, and looking for downloads, looking for who likes what, what are the most popular topics, what are the most popular books and the one with the least amount of interaction was Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. Which I thought was an amazing book. So I was very upset. And I channeled in my normal way, my normal M3ssalina way  into: “Oh, you don’t want to  listen to a podcast about a gay black writer talking about his experience as a gay man. Well guess what, we’re going to do an entire year of Black and Indigenous POC writers.” Because that’s how I respond to that. So this year starting with this month and going until next May, will be all Black Indigenous POC authors the entire time. 

Jhen: Amazing! I love it. On this podcast, of course, we try to focus things in a very POC perspective. We have had people who are non-POC, one time, in one episode, but that was for five minutes. But that’s besides the point, it was relevant to the topic, and that was important. But that’s why we have people like you on here. People who are not what people are used to seeing when they think of non-monogamy and kink and stuff like that. We want to amplify the voices of the everyday Black and Brown person doing this in this world. This is where we’re at. I definitely understand that. 

Sham: And change the narrative. Like the idea that kink and non-monogamy some white people shit?

M3ssalina: Oh, I get that all the time. All the time. Definitely.

Sham:  That’s one thing we want to change on this podcast and it seems you’re doing the same.

Jhen:  Yeah. You’re definitely doing the same thing. And do you guys do only non-fiction? I am a big romance novel reader, so I prefer indie romance of course, because the Black authors doing indie are fucking amazing and they cover a great bunch of topics, including polyamory, and kink and all that sorts of stuff. So I was just wondering, cause if you don’t, I have suggestions that will work that include lots of hot sex,  and also kink, and non-monogamy all at the same time. You’re welcome.

M3ssalina: We basically do everything except poetry at this point. We do fiction. We do nonfiction. We had an autobiography last year. We do international writers. Writers that are not American. We have authors across the entire spectrum of LGBTQIA. We have workbooks. We did Esther Perel’s Mating in Captivity, which I think is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. That book is fantastic. It fundamentally changed the way I look at my marriage. I recommend it to everyone I know. 

Jhen: Have you read State of Affairs yet? 

M3ssalina: Not yet. I’ve been meaning to go back and read it or to go back and read it.

Jhen: You need to read that one too. Trust me. I have both on my bookshelf. Sorry guys. Now we’re just chatting to each other, but that’s fine. You guys get to feel this natural interaction. 

Sham:  I’m just in the middle, like a tennis match. It’s like, Oh, yeah. I don’t know what’s going on here. It’s a book, book, book, I’m just sitting here in the middle, but it’s fine. It’s what I signed up for today. 

M3ssalina: I’m excited because I was breaking it down last night, thinking about what I’m going to say today.  Out of all of the authors we’ve chosen for this year, which means the 2020-2021 Reading Kinky semester from September until May, half of the writers are LGBTQIA, two of them are men, six of them identify as women. We have one young adult book. We have two short story collections. We have one dynamite fiction book that we’re reading through right now. It’s called Luster by Raven Leilani. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it is FIRE, go get it. We’re actually gonna review it in the next few days. We’re going to have an episode about it in the next few days, but it’s fantastic. We also have our classics, because we’re going back to read Another Country by James Baldwin. That’s a follow-up to Giovanni’s Room. We are reading Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown. I’m really excited about that, especially with November coming up. It was important that we have that book in there. We have Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body is Not an Apology, which is available in the local library which I’m very impressed by. We try to get at least one or two books a year that are available at the library, just because books cost money.  People got to spend money to get those books. If you can get a library card, for our local people here in North Carolina, but I’ll actually do my due diligence and look around and see which books are available in the libraries.

If somebody listening to the show can’t buy the book or whatever, please email us and we will help you. I want everyone to kind of get the value of what we are trying to do. And we don’t really pick books that are like hardcover just because of cost. So we keep it cost aware. We try to keep it aware of  different cultures. We have one African writer this year, which I’m really happy and excited about. We try to diversify and get some diverse voices out there as much as we can. And this year we’re just really going for it.  

Jhen:  Definitely cannot wait to be a part of that. I’m also reading too many books right now, but it’s okay. I’ll just squeeze one or two  more and it’ll be fine.  Are there any last thoughts that you want to share with the audience of monogamish pod? Tell them what you want them to know. 

M3ssalina: I want them to know that polyamory may not be for everyone, but knowledge and communication are. You can find things in different areas of life or different walks of life. If you’re looking, you can find value in how people conduct themselves in a polyamorous relationship or you can gain insight and knowledge from that. You don’t have to be polyamorous. People think that polyamorous people want everybody to be polyamorous. We don’t. We want you to be happy. We want you to be authentic to yourself. We don’t want you to be something that you were not. If you want to be in a monogamous relationship, go and get it. As long as the other person that you were with is consensual and they want to be with you where you want to be with them. What we don’t want is people living an inauthentic life and just pretending to be working at this whole relationship thing when there’s another option, and they can do better and have better. We don’t want anyone to settle. All right? And when I say settle, I don’t mean settle for a person. I mean, settle for a life that you don’t want. 

Jhen: Facts! All of that. I’m not trying to make you guys into being anything that you’re not. It’s all truth bombs, we’re all about it. So why don’t you tell people where they can find you and are your DMS open for things that are not podcast related? Are you open to people just sliding on in there being like ”Hey pretty mama,  I bet it would be nice to get to know you and I spend all the time getting to know one another.” 

M3ssalina: I mean, my DMS are open, but I will warn you that once you get in there, get ready, because it’s going to be all books and anime, just prepare yourself, for a lot of really nerdy conversations about stuff that you probably don’t even care about, but that’s just what it’s going to be. If you want to get with me, you have to get with all my nerdy hobbies and shit. That’s just how it’s going to be. There’s no exception to that. Everybody has to take a L right there. Other than that, I’m around on Instagram under M3ssalina. I like M3ss. I don’t show my face for obvious reasons and I have a wonderful co-host. Her name is LaBelle Phoenix. You can find her @Phoenixreads. We are Reading Kinky. You can find us @Readingkinky. New podcast was dropped today and I interviewed a Black burlesque performer about her experiences of being a Black burlesque performer in the South. I’m a huge fan of hers, Purrrl Van Dammit. Then we will be reviewing Luster this month. And also we are launching a partnership with Flixi on their blog Between the Sheets. You can find them at flixi.com. That series will be up in October.

That’s pretty much what we’re up to. Oh, and we were also on KinkyCast recently. It’s a podcast based out of Tennessee and we were on there recently. I think that the episode is probably going to be live next week, but just keep your eye out for that. And that’s pretty much where you can find us. Obviously Reading Kinky is on Spotify, Google podcasts, Apple podcasts, and pretty much everywhere you get your podcasts, we are there.  

Jhen: And just so you guys know it’s flixi.co. If you put a Y instead of an i at the end, you end up on a site that’s Korean. I may or may not have gotten lost before. Thank you so much for agreeing to do this and having this conversation with us. I really appreciate it. Just wanted to bring a fellow book nerd here and have a slightly nerdy conversation.

Sham: [01:20:25] Because I can see one person who can’t meet all the expectations. I can’t meet Jhen’s book expectations, so she had to have somebody else on here and you know what? I’m fine with that. 

M3ssalina: There you go. 100%. Yes. 

Jhen: I love seeing everyone happy. So thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Have a great night.

M3ssalina:  Bye everyone. Thank you for having me. Goodbye everybody. 

Jhen: And once again, thank you so much to M3ssalina for joining us. We recorded this episode a little bit ago because sometimes we do that. In terms of the interview portion anyway, but we were so happy to have her on the show and she and I are in the DMS all the time. So it’s fine. Like we’re friends and stuff. It goes down in the DMS. And of course you can find her on social media. Like I said, we gave me the links before, but all you need to know is that she’s @Readingkinky. You’d need to follow their whole podcast. It’s awesome. They have really great conversations. I’m all for it. I think y’all should be listening to some of our other amazing podcast friends out there. Speaking of which I do have an episode coming out on shelf love podcast soon where Andrew and I talk about polyamory in romance novels.

Sham: So it’s like this podcast except more book focused. 

Jhen: Well, it’s about romance novels in general. Andrea and I decided that we’re going to do an episode about non-monogamy and polyamory and how it is represented in romance. So super excited for you guys to listen to that. We’ll post it here when it comes out as well. So you guys can hear it and I hope you are as pumped as I am. There’s not a lot of great rep out there and poly-romance just saying yeah. We had a really great time with this conversation and talking to you. So why don’t I let you guys know about ourselves, right? You can find us on Instagram @monogamishpod, I hold it down over there. @monogamishpod on Twitter, Sham holds it down over there. You can find some Altplayground in our community, monogamishpod, super obvious. 

We have a Facebook page now because I have come over to the dark side and, Monogamishpod on Facebook, facebook.com/monogamishpod. I put the detailed show notes on our website, monogamishpod.com. We have a merch shop you can access through the website by clicking the little shop button or going directly to monogamishpod.threadless.com. And you should definitely find us on Patreon. We post bonus episodes and bonus content. That’s what we do. So it’s patreon.com/monogamishpod. You have to type it in like that because we are an 18 plus platform. You cannot just search for us on the Patreon and find us, which sucks. But it is what it is. We’re too sexy to be searched. So sexy. It hurts. Is that how it goes?  

Sham: I think so. Yeah. Search works.

Jhen:  Yeah, it works. I’m trying to think of where else they can find us. Oh, of course. We want you to rate us, review us and make sure you’re sharing it with your friends and subscribing to us yourself, especially on Apple podcasts, because those reviews and ratings help us a lot. We do post our most recent episodes on SoundCloud, just the latest three, just because free SoundCloud is a hater. Just throwing that out there into the universe. It is a hater, so we can only post the three most recent episodes. We hope you guys enjoy that. If you have a problem with that you can also support us financially by clicking that little support button when you go to anchor.fm/monogamishpod there is a support button. You can just give us your dineros… Dolleros…  Should I be a bandolero? 

Sham:  I thought you were meant for more money things, but yeah, that works. 

Jhen: In a desperate scenario. Yeah, I was on a whole other level with that. Woopsy, that’s me. I don’t think there’s anything else I need to share. Is there a Sham?

Sham:  No, I think we got it. Hope y’all enjoyed the podcast. 

Jhen:  Oh no, wait, I forgot one thing,cause it’s not about us directly. It’s about our friends at YuhTooBright. You guys need to be shopping at YuhTooBright. I have some amazing things from there. I will eventually debut them on Instagram. I’m just lazy and I don’t get dressed often, unless I’m going to work. So you guys need to go to YuhTooBright.com, and you put in code Monogamish and you’d get 10% off your order now who doesn’t love a deal. That’s right in this economy, we need to save. Every mickle makes a muckle. 

Sham: Oh, boy does it. 

Jhen: That’s all I have for you guys. Sham, Is there one last thing you want to add? 

Sham:  Well, of course, one last shout out to our friends over at Altplayground.net. Go check them out. Go check us out over there. 

Jhen: Yes, yes. Yes. We look forward to seeing you. I am Jhen. 

Sham: I’m Sham, and we’re Monogamish.