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My life in sex: the ethical non-monogamist | Sex

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I’m a woman who’s always been interested in ethical non-monogamy (ENM) – all partners agree to seeing other people – but had only been in monogamous relationships. Then, a year ago, mine ended and I was free to explore.

I began using an ENM dating app, at first fearing people would be aggressively sexual, or show a lack of respect. In fact, 99% of people I interacted with were emotionally intelligent, open-minded and kind. Now, I’m happily dating four people – two men and a male-female couple. They are aware of each other, and adore me in different ways.

Since March, I haven’t spent much time with anyone apart from my housemates. But I’ve stayed in contact with everyone, and made plans for picnics soon.

How can we expect one person to meet all our needs? Sexually, I enjoy playing with different power dynamics; seeing multiple people allows me to do that. Yes, it’s harder to stay on top of your calendar, and there is more room to disappoint multiple people when you’re not honest with what you can give, sexually and emotionally. But I could not go back to monogamy. I now prioritise myself more, and am able to evaluate what someone can bring to my life and what I can offer in return

• Each week, a reader tells us about their sex life. Want to share yours? Email [email protected]. All submissions are published anonymously, and subject to our terms and conditions.

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Three commonsense dinner-party dishes from Colin Fassnidge | Australian food and drink

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Cabbage and fennel slaw

Serves 6-8

Crunch and texture. Texture and crunch … A good slaw is a fantastic and simple way to give yourself a vegetable boost. You can pair a slaw with pretty much anything. In this recipe I’ve included fennel and silverbeet for a twist on the classic cabbage slaw.

Cabbage and fennel slaw
Cabbage and fennel slaw. Photograph: Alan Benson/Plum

6 silverbeet leaves, finely chopped
200g red cabbage, finely sliced
2 red onions
, finely sliced
1 fennel bulb
, trimmed and finely sliced from top to bottom
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
, leaves and stalks roughly chopped
300g whole-egg mayonnaise
, plus extra if needed
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Combine the silverbeet, cabbage, onion, fennel and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Stir through the mayonnaise, adding a little more if you prefer a wetter consistency.

Transfer the slaw to a serving bowl. Add the lemon juice, season well with salt and pepper and drizzle over a little olive oil.

Memories of vinegar chips

Serves 6-8

Our kids love these roast potatoes and they’re often top of the list of dishes they ask me to make. The vinegar is a play on chips and malt vinegar – a trend Australia has been missing out on for years. I strongly encourage you to try it!

Salt and vinegar roast potatoes
Salt and vinegar roast potatoes. Photograph: Alan Benson/Plum

8 to 10 desiree potatoes, peeled and quartered
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
, for roasting
1 garlic bulb
, unpeeled, cloves smashed using the side of a knife
1 bunch of thyme
1 bunch of rosemary
100g salted butter
, roughly chopped

For the vinegar
300ml white wine vinegar
1 bunch of rosemary
, leaves picked and chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar

To make the rosemary vinegar, combine the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200C (fan-forced).

Place the potato in a large saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Slowly bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the potato is just starting to break up. Drain the potato in a colander and allow to steam dry for about 10 minutes.

While the potato is cooling, pour enough vegetable oil into a roasting tin to cover the base and place it in the oven to heat up. Once the potato is dry, tip it into the roasting tin (be careful as the hot oil will splatter) and spread out in a single layer.

Roast for 10 minutes, until the base of each potato is golden brown and crisp. Turn the potato over and add the smashed garlic cloves, herbs and butter. Roast for a further 15 minutes, turning the potato frequently to crisp each side, then remove the tin from the oven and strain away any fat. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the rosemary vinegar into the bottom of a serving dish, then gently place the roast potatoes on top and serve.

Roast rib-eye and yorkshire puds

Serves 4

This is a classic that never fails to impress. The trick to getting perfectly risen and crisp yorkies is to get the oil sizzling hot first and avoid opening the oven door during cooking. The yorkshire puddings can be frozen once cooked and cooled. They will keep for up to three months. Simply reheat them from frozen in a low oven.

Roast rib-eye
Roast rib-eye. Photograph: Alan Benson/Plum

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 x 4kg rack rib-eye of beef
2 onions
, halved
2 garlic bulbs
, unpeeled, halved horizontally
4 carrots
4 desiree potatoes
, quartered
1 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
100ml vegetable oil
Grated horseradish root, to serve
(optional)

For the yorkshire puddings
vegetable oil, for cooking
4 eggs
200ml full-cream milk
40g plain flour
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 220C (fan-forced).

Heavily season the outside of the beef (this will ensure a beautiful crust once it is roasted).

To sear the beef you can either use a large heavy-based flameproof casserole dish or a barbecue flat plate. Heat either the dish over high hea, then add the beef and sear on all sides for 10-15 minutes, until well browned.

Place the onion, garlic, carrot and potato in a large roasting tin and lightly season, then position the herbs on top. Drizzle over the vegetable oil. Sit the seared beef on the herbs and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 160C (fan-forced) and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the core temperature of the beef is 57C on a kitchen thermometer. Remove the beef from the oven and allow to rest, covered, for at least 20 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 220C (fan-forced).

Meanwhile, to make the yorkshire puddings, pour enough vegetable oil to half-fill six holes of a large muffin tin, then place in the oven to heat up.

Whisk the eggs, milk and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a large bowl, then rain in the flour and whisk vigorously to beat out the lumps. Season and set aside for 15 minutes, then pour the batter into a jug.

Carefully remove the muffin tin from the oven and evenly pour the batter into the oiled muffin holes. Return to the oven and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes, until risen and golden.

Squeeze the garlic halves into the roasting tin and stir to mix through the vegetables.

Slice the beef, grate some horseradish over the top, if desired, and serve with the vegetables and yorkshire puddings.

  • This is an edited extract from The Commonsense Cook by Colin Fassnidge, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, photography by Alan Benson


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Water: Brides-To-be pay attention! Here is how you can glow like a goddess on your D-day

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As the lockdown took place, everything went for a toss. Suddenly, everything came to a standstill. Just like every other activity, wedding too, got affected. All the to-be brides who had plans of making their D-day the most memorable one, went down the drain. But slowly and steadily things are getting back to normal. Though it is still mandatory to maintain precautions, but things are getting better. Due to the lockdown most weddings are pushed to next year, though this delay can bum you out a little, but guess what, this gives you more time to indulge in pre-bridal skin care routine. Dr. Simal Soin, AAYNA Clinic, has some basic pre-bridal beauty which will help you getting the beautiful bridal glow during your wedding.

According to Simal, deep cleaning your sin at least once a week is important. This will keep acne and all sorts of skin issues away. “Make sure to deep clean with a hydrating and gentle face wash. Apart from that, once a week, you can indulge in the masks or scrubs according to your skin types,” says Simal.

Apart from using beauty products, sleeping for 8 hours will also help you enhancing your face. “Clock 8-10 hours of sound sleep every night to leave your skin looking fresh. Good sleep helps in stabilising your nervous system and reduce stress,” says Simal

Another important ingredient that Simal highly recommend is water. Water keeps your system clean and toxin-free. “Drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids like watermelon juice and coconut water to your diet for flawless skin. Herbal teas are great ways to reduce anxiety and makes you feel relaxed,” says Simal

Eating right is particularly important too. What you consume in your day to day life reflects on your face, so a good diet is mandatory. “A balanced, nutritious diet devoid of junk food can go a long way in giving you glowing skin,” says Simal.

She also suggests brides-to-be, to get a hydra-facial done before the D-day. “In less than 40 minutes, the active serums used in this unisex treatment cleanses and removes dead skin, unclogs pores, extracts hidden impurities and hydrates at the deepest level to reveal the healthiest layer of your skin. Sign up for youthful and wedding-ready skin in a jiffy with this treatment,” shares Simal.


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Signs your relationship can turn violent because of a toxic partner

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Toxic partners in a relationship can emotionally and physically destroy you. Often they are mentally unstable and extremely toxic. Their basic instincts are to dominate and manipulate their partner so that only they can keep them forever.

Don’t fear yet so much. Not every lover ends up into a violent partner. But, you need to know that how much ever they may not go to such an extent, they won’t hesitate to physically hurt you if you defy them. Toxic partners can be really bad for you. Toxicity in a relationship is dangerous. Even if you love the person so very dearly, it’s not your place to stay with someone who turns love into a wildfire game. Obsession, insanity, jealousy are all such emotions that creep up the brain in an immensely negative way. The result? Your flame just doesn’t want to let you go.

“No matter how much you hurt me and I hurt you, I’ll never let you go.”


That’s a toxic lover. It’s very important to understand the difference between a sane and insane person. So, imagine this: your relationship is a happy one but midway you both realise that it won’t work out between you two. No matter how much you love each other, circumstances are not the same. The best possible decision here is to let go of each other. That’s sane. But, in the same situation, if your partner disagrees to let you go and starts obsessing over you like no other – that’s highly insane.

Hence, it’s important to realise if your relationship is taking a violent turn. Not all relationships start as abusive and violent but slowly pick up their pace. Toxic partners slowly turn violent because of the onset of negative and oppressive feelings.

So, start noticing the signs that can prove to be dangerous for you, later on.

Identify the red flags


It’s honestly hard to identify such people. Toxicity in a relationship as a whole or in a person can have alarming consequences. Sometimes, it may have glaring effects while at other times, it can destroy you slowly. Several marital experts have concluded that warning signs get pretty noticeable in very early stages of an ‘about-to-be violent relationship.’ Here are some of the signs:

1. Jealousy: If your partner easily gets jealous and makes a big issue of every time someone of the opposite sex talks to you. Jealousy and malice can ruin a relationship at any point in time. Toxic partners get obsessive and jealous a bit more than the healthy dose of jealousy everyone loves.

2. Controlling behaviour: Your partner may be good at controlling or manipulating you to do things according to his taste. They can trick you into taking care of them or doing things their way by emotionally distracting you with themselves and maybe, your previous happy memories. The human heart reacts to happy memories and thus, manipulating gets only easier.

3. Disrespect: If your partner blatantly disrespects and speaks to you in an unpleasant tone, then steer clear of them. Loud tones of voice or speaking while shouting can be quite frustrating as well. Verbally abusing is also a huge sign that your partner is very toxic.

4. Resentment: Unknowingly, your partner may harbour feelings of resentment towards you for variable reasons and lash it out on you later. Maybe an earlier incident left an impression of them, and thus those feelings may arise in a later argument or fight. The phrase ‘let the past be passed’ doesn’t really apply to them.

5. Dishonesty: Lies hurt the most, and if your supposedly significant other always lies through his teeth, then it’s time to rethink your decision. They may lie knowingly or unknowingly but it’s still a lie. Their everlasting habit of lying doesn’t really go away.

6. Lack of care: self-care is as important as taking care of your needs too. If your partner repeatedly fails to do that, then it’s a no-no. It’s alright to be depressed or get anxiety, but what’s not okay is to ignore all steps of recovery. They may avoid any feelings of self-care.

7. Alcohol: Excessive violent drinking habits can be a glaring sign that your relationship can turn violent sometime in the future. Even if drinking is considered to be an escape from worldly blues and grief, it can also have negative effects on the person. They can start to physically and emotionally abuse their partners.

8. Conflicts in the beginning: The first year of a relationship can determine a lot about the people as a couple. If both of them have constant fights and conflicts since the beginning, it’s more likely that it will grow to be even more violent later down the line. Domestic abuse can also take a turn.

These signs slowly seep through and can be clearly noticeable. It can turn deadly and you need to understand that you have to save yourself from such behaviour and thus, get out of the relationship in time. You may even end up crying forever in your life.

Find a way through the darkness.

If you feel that there’s still a way to go through the relationship, start by gently talking about your toxic partner. You may have tried it before, but still, try to calmly talk to them and make them remember good memories. These serve as a primitive instinct for long-lost happy feelings. You can also take the help of their loved ones to accompany you in making your partner understand. Otherwise, a therapist is also a great option because they are professionally trained to treat people emotionally and make them mentally stable, only through communication and good beliefs.

However, if all doesn’t work, you know what is to be done.


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