“Hard work is painful when life is devoid of purpose. But when you live for something greater than yourself and the gratification of your own ego, then hard work becomes a labor of love.”
How can we help those who are interested in consensual non monogamy (CNM)? How can we offer information to those seeking a more open way in which to have a relationship with others? What tips and tidbits can we share that would help others navigate the lifestyle?
These were just a sampling of some of the questions rolling around in our heads before the birth of Openlove101. As owners of coletteclubs.com John and I knew there were thousands upon thousands of couples and singles in each and every community benefiting from being in a CNM relationship. We also knew there were thousands of others who wanted something different in their relationship but didn’t know where to turn or what was even available. They sure as heck didn’t know about clubs and it wasn’t like the local bookstore had a “swinger” or Consensual Non-Monogamy section of readily available content.
I knew from my own experience into the lifestyle that finding answers to questions meant a lot of searching. But even then I didn’t feel as though I was getting the answers to the questions swirling in my head. I couldn’t be the only one in need of answers? I couldn’t be the only one with questions and fears and in need of guidance? So, I made it a goal to learn as much as possible about the lifestyle. I poured over any book I could get my hands on. I read scientific articles on sexuality and monogamy and how men and women operate. I visited with authors and doctors in search of answers. Then with a unified goal of helping others, John and I, with the help of our business partner, set out to pay this knowledge forward. Between what we’d learned and decades of club ownership we birthed Openlove101.com
In the 7 years since it’s conception, Openlove101 has grown by leaps and bounds. In the beginning our little site relied on articles written by yours truly, followed by Youtube videos. I remember well the day we celebrated reaching 25 followers. I thought, ‘Oh wow, people are watching and reading our stuff.” Today, our Youtube videos have over 4.4 million views in 51 countries with thousands of couples and singles learning the ins and outs of consensual non monogamy.
Together John and I have watched Openlove101 grow to incorporate seminars at swinger events and CNM geared vacation destinations. We developed the ever popular “World Love Summit,” where we interviewed 17 experts in the field of open relationships. Openlove101 University was another teaching tool to assist those curious about CNM. I even wrote a book, “Swingers Lifestyle: The Questions You Are Afraid To Ask.” Our little company began to mature and soon John and I were being asked to speak about the viability and success of CNM to the rest of the population. Openlove101 was offering a safe space for those couples wanting to create a relationship of their own making, not a relationship set about by the masses, but something much more personal and meaningful. For those couples dealing with the growing pains of opening up their relationship, John and I also began to offer coaching. We were more than willing to share our experiences, growth, peaks and valleys with those wanting direction. We saw it as a way of paying it forward, a way for us to contribute our teachings to a whole new generation of students committed to bringing strong communication, honesty, vulnerability, and transparency into their marriage.
Openlove101 was breaking barriers and breathing heart and soul into a relationship model and way of life that for far too long had been relegated to the shadows. John and I watched as the rest of the world began to cast a gaze upon a way of life that for many felt normal and natural. For many in the community CNM, was about finally feeling as though they were home. Like so many in the LGBTQ community, we were reaching a place in the world where people could accept themselves and celebrate the way they lived life.
For me, it was watching this acceptance, this joy, this peace, this admission from so many in the lifestyle that made all the hard work, all the hours struggling to write an article, all those moments of self reflection, growth, fears, missteps, and a learning as we grew, that made every bit of the process worth it. To have a couple approach us at colette and tell us they are in the club because of Openlove101 makes me want to cry each and every time. To see those couples smiling and excited and eager for what the future holds fills me with gratitude and honor.
Openlove101 would not be where it is today without you! Each and every one of you, who have clicked on the site, read an article, watched a video, ordered my book, or took the time to send us comments, is why we do what we do. We love and appreciate all that the community has done to keep us inspired and it is because of you, our audience, that CNM continues to break barriers and grow.
So, let’s raise a glass in honor of Openlove101.com and to those in the community…may we continue to grow in love.
John & Jackie
John and Jackie Melfi are in a consensually non monogamous marriage. They have been featured in ABC News Nightline Special Report “Getting Naughty In N’awlins”, Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention, and CNN “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling. The Melfis are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. With over 20 years of combined experience, this powerhouse couple coaches thousands of singles and couples through their award winning blog Openlove101.com.