Easier Said Than Done


Infidelity, Monogamy, Polyamory.. OH MY. Why is it so damn hard to openly communicate in intimate relationships?

I want to start off by stating that I have never been married so I have no clue what it takes to keep a marriage together. I have been in only 1 long term relationship, and that I am 24 years of age. This is just my opinion/reaction/thoughts to current events.

My first reaction to the John Edwards scandal was "Shocking" (insert sarcasm here), my first reaction to the Tiger Woods scandal was "No shit". Sometimes I really don’t believe that I will ever be able to be in a long term monogamous relationship and sometimes it seems impossible for a large percentage of the population. I have heard every side of every story. Those were are monogamous and couldn’t be happier, those who are happily monogamously married with kids, those who have open relationships and still.. GASP, stay together and those who simply just do whatever the hell they want.

One thing I do believe in is communication. I have always been the one to prefer having the "awkward" conversation and putting it all out there. I realize that this can cause confusion with "acceptable" and "unacceptable" comments. The whole "always tell the truth" seems ridiculous. If the truth telling causes immense pain, is it necessary? If a person in a monogamous relationship cheats, should they tell their partner? Would it depend on if it is an ongoing affair or just a one night stand? Does that even matter? The trust has been broken. Some think that admitting to it would only hurt the person cheated on, so why bother? Is it really selfish to tell the truth in these matters?

Why can’t the conversations happen before the cheating? Why can’t a partner tell their significant other, "Hey, I’m wondering if we can discuss opening our relationship up." If you are a person that thinks one day monogamy might not work for you perhaps you shouldn’t get involved with someone who wants to be monogamous. But, alas, what if you change your own mind during the relationship? Bollucks. It doesn’t seem like we can ever win.

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I have only been in one long-term relationship. The two main reasons I ended it were 1. We weren’t acting like lovers, only like friends, and this affected other parts of the relationship including sex and 2. I wanted to be with other people. I don’t mean I wanted to be with other people at the same time. I just wanted to be open to explore opportunities with other people. Plus I was only 22 and in my mind that means.. C’MON there are more people I need to be with first. Was I in love? Yes, I believe I was. But if I wanted to explore other options, is that love? Did the love die out or just evolve? Who knows. No one can really answer that question. Love means so many different things to so many different people. And honestly, I still wonder what love means to me. I think love can be very fluid and changing.

But seriously, I am getting real tired of hearing about "famous people cheating". I mean that is their business and their partner’s business.. and frankly the people they are cheating with’s business. Yes, it is absolutely devasting how children and lovers end up getting emotionally hurt by this. I think we can all agree on the effects that divorce has on children, so I know infidelity can’t be far behind. Also putting a partner at risk for STDs, especially life-threatening diseases is inexcusable. For the love of evolution, tell your partner, PLEASE before anymore damage occurs! Why is that so damn hard?

Pertaining to John Edwards. Seriously dude.. No condom? The girl wasn’t on birth control? I mean, c’mon. You knew this could go bad, right? You have a family. I simply don’t understand it. I do understand the sexual urges that humans possess though. Was the desire for an orgasm so great that you couldn’t even think to check for birth control or perhaps grab a condom? Or did you honestly think even discussing those things would result in loss of desire? Which actually would have been the best thing. Then you could have gone to your wife and discussed your sexual desires beyond the Edwards household.

Tiger- young, handsome, popular, talented. He had sex with women on the road?!?!?! WHAT!?!?!?! I mean, duh, right? Is that just too damn cynical to think? Who knows what conversations Tiger and his wife have had behind closed doors. We are hearing stories from his mistresses, his wife.. but I mean who honestly can know what goes on behind closed doors. Did the Woods have a conversation about these things? Marriage has vows and bonds. Are these just assumed when you tie the knot? Does no further discussion need to take place? Does it depend on your marital views? Does religion matter? Sheesh it is a lot to think about.

This of course brings me back to a Sex and the City episode where the four ladies are discussing "the right one". When people do not believe in the "right one" or "soul mate" does that always go out the window when they meet the "right one". If I meet someone who I completely fall in love with, will all of these questions be answered and I would find it ridiculous to be nothing but monogamous with them? No, I honestly don’t think that will happen. But once again, what do I know. In my mind the "perfect" relationship has 100% open and honest communication about desires, fears, wants, needs. Once again I am not saying 100% honesty about EVERYTHING! But sex, that needs to be discussed.

Look at the divorce rate… I mean sheesh. Are people just not made for monogamy? Are people giving up too easily? Marrying too young? Too many shot gun weddings? I am a firm believer in comprehensive sexual education in schools. I’m talking comprehensive too. Communication needs to be on that list. Teaching kids how to talk openly and not be afraid to bring up uncomfortable topics could be very valuable. Life is uncomfortable but it can feel less so if we get some things off our chests.

That is how I created my catch phrase "be tHe awKwaRd" which basically means.. "be yourself" but with additions. Take the risk, say the thing you aren’t supposed to say, bring up the awkward conversation, address the elephant in the room… be sexy, be safe, be bold!

Just my ending tidbit: If you are having sex, get tested at least once a year for STIs and HIV/AIDs. I suggest getting birth control and the Gardasil Vaccine. Lets talk about all the controversy with birth control causing blood clots and how vaccines are just the govts way to control us!

News Law and Policy

Three Crisis Pregnancy Centers Served for Breaking California Law

Nicole Knight Shine

The notices of violation issued this month mark the first time authorities anywhere in the state are enforcing the seven-month-old Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act.

The Los Angeles City Attorney is warning three area fake clinics, commonly known as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), that they’re breaking a new state reproductive disclosure law and could face fines of $500 if they don’t comply.

The notices of violation issued this month mark the first time authorities anywhere in the state are enforcing the seven-month-old Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act, advocates and the state Attorney General’s office indicate.

The office of City Attorney Mike Feuer served the notices on July 15 and July 18 to two unlicensed and one licensed clinic, a representative from the office told Rewire. The Los Angeles area facilities are Harbor Pregnancy Help Center, Los Angeles Pregnancy Services, and Pregnancy Counseling Center.

The law requires the state’s licensed pregnancy-related centers to display a brief statement with a number to call for access to free and low-cost birth control and abortion care, and for unlicensed centers to disclose that they are not medical facilities.

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“Our investigation revealed,” one of the letters from the city attorney warns, “that your facility failed to post the required onsite notice anywhere at your facility and that your facility failed to distribute the required notice either through a printed document or digitally.”

The centers have 30 days from the date of the letter to comply or face a $500 fine for an initial offense and $1,000 for subsequent violations.

“I think this is the first instance of a city attorney or any other authority enforcing the FACT Act, and we really admire City Attorney Mike Feuer for taking the lead,” Amy Everitt, state director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, told Rewire on Wednesday.

Feuer in May unveiled a campaign to crack down on violators, announcing that his office was “not going to wait” amid reports that some jurisdictions had chosen not to enforce the law while five separate court challenges brought by multiple fake clinics are pending.

Federal and state courts have denied requests to temporarily block the law, although appeals are pending before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In April, Rebecca Plevin of the local NPR affiliate KPCC found that six of eight area fake clinics were defying the FACT Act.

Although firm numbers are hard to come by, around 25 fake clinics, or CPCs, operate in Los Angeles County, according to estimates from a representative of NARAL Pro-Choice California. There are upwards of 1,200 CPCs across the country, according to their own accounting.

Last week, Rewire paid visits to the three violators: Harbor Pregnancy Help Center, Los Angeles Pregnancy Services, and Pregnancy Counseling Center.

Christie Kwan, a nurse manager at Pregnancy Counseling Center, declined to discuss the clinic’s noncompliance, but described their opposition to the state law as a “First Amendment concern.”

All three centers referred questions to their legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an Arizona-based nonprofit and frequent defender of discriminatory “religious liberty” laws.

Matt Bowman, senior counsel with ADF, said in an email to Rewire that forcing faith-based clinics to “communicate messages or promote ideas they disagree with, especially on life-and-death issues like abortion,” violates their “core beliefs” and threatens their free speech rights.

“The First Amendment protects all Americans, including pro-life people, from being targeted by a government conspiring with pro-abortion activists,” Bowman said.

Rewire found that some clinics are following the law. Claris Health, which was contacted as part of Feuer’s enforcement campaign in May, includes the public notice with patient intake forms, where it’s translated into more than a dozen languages, CEO Talitha Phillips said in an email to Rewire.

Open Arms Pregnancy Center in the San Fernando Valley has posted the public notice in the waiting room.

“To us, it’s a non-issue,” Debi Harvey, the center’s executive director, told Rewire. “We don’t provide abortion, we’re an abortion-alternative organization, we’re very clear on that. But we educate on all options.”

Even so, reports of deceit by 91 percent of fake clinics surveyed by NARAL Pro-Choice California helped spur the passage of the FACT Act last October. Until recently, a person who Googled “abortion clinic” might be directed to a fake clinic, or CPC.

Oakland last week became the second U.S. city to ban false advertising by facilities that city leaders described as “fronts for anti-abortion activists.” San Francisco passed a similar ordinance in 2011.

News Politics

NARAL President Tells Her Abortion Story at the Democratic National Convention

Ally Boguhn

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates.

Read more of our coverage of the Democratic National Convention here.

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the story of her abortion on the stage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) Wednesday evening in Philadelphia.

“Texas women are tough. We approach challenges with clear eyes and full hearts. To succeed in life, all we need are the tools, the trust, and the chance to chart our own path,” Hogue told the crowd on the third night of the party’s convention. “I was fortunate enough to have these things when I found out I was pregnant years ago. I wanted a family, but it was the wrong time.”

“I made the decision that was best for me — to have an abortion — and to get compassionate care at a clinic in my own community,” she continued. “Now, years later, my husband and I are parents to two incredible children.”

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Hogue noted that her experience is similar to those of women nationwide.

“About one in three American women have abortions by the age of 45, and the majority are mothers just trying to take care of the families they already have,” she said. “You see, it’s not as simple as bad girls get abortions and good girls have families. We are the same women at different times in our lives — each making decisions that are the best for us.”

As reported by Yahoo News, “Asked if she was the first to have spoken at a Democratic National Convention about having had an abortion for reasons other than a medical crisis, Hogue replied, ‘As far as I know.'”

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards on Tuesday night was the first speaker at the DNC in Philadelphia to say the word “abortion” on stage, according to Vox’s Emily Crockett. 

Richards’ use of the word abortion was deliberate, and saying the word helps address the stigma that surrounds it, Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Vice President of Communication Mary Alice Carter said in an interview with ThinkProgress. 

“When we talk about reproductive health, we talk about the full range of reproductive health, and that includes access to abortion. So we’re very deliberate in saying we stand up for a woman’s right to access an abortion,” Carter said.

“There is so much stigma around abortion and so many people that sit in shame and don’t talk about their abortion, and so it’s very important to have the head of Planned Parenthood say ‘abortion,’ it’s very important for any woman who’s had an abortion to say ‘abortion,’ and it’s important for us to start sharing those stories and start bringing it out of the shadows and recognizing that it’s a normal experience,” she added.

Though reproductive rights and health have been discussed by both Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) while on the campaign trail, Democrats have come under fire for failing to ask about abortion care during the party’s debates. In April, Clinton called out moderators for failing to ask “about a woman’s right to make her own decisions about reproductive health care” over the course of eight debates—though she did not use the term abortion in her condemnation.