Can you believe it? Openlove101 is celebrating 8 years of life, love, and consensual non monogamy. While most of you are familiar with what we do here at OL101, I thought I would reach out to those of you who might be new to the family and give you some history. Join me as we take a trip down memory lane.
How did OL101 come about?
Back in 2015, John and I had opened our club, colette in Dallas. We wanted to get the word out about the club to the Dallas community and decided to do a few videos to introduce ourselves and clue people in to what the club was all about. Being new to the lifestyle myself, I also thought it would be a good idea to help other “newbies” with as much information as I could about what the lifestyle was all about. I wrote an article and with the help of our marketing director, Openlove101.com came to life.
Each and every week, John and I would put out a video or I would write (John too) a blog for the site. I remember well those first few “likes” and responses to the information we were delivering. People were actually reading the posts and watching the video’s. Had we tapped into a community hungry for information? Were there other couples just like us who embraced an open relationship but needed guidance? Apparently, we had and soon OL101 was reaching not just the states, but had gone global! What a beautiful moment.
What did you want people to learn from OL101?
That they weren’t alone. That there was an entire community of like-minded couples (and singles) seamlessly integrated into society. We were EVERYWHERE! Yet, somehow our voices had stayed in the shadows. I wanted those who lived a life of openness to be able to live just like that…open. I wanted couples and singles to be proud of the relationship model choices they were making. I wanted them to be confident in those choices and to stand tall in a partnership bathed in intention. I also wanted couples and singles to know there was a resource available to them for those times they struggled. Changing a relationship model comes with its own set of trials and tribulations and sometimes we are left puzzled by some of the difficulties. I wanted everyone to know it was okay to have questions, to struggle, to break free from outdated coping skills, and to create whatever relationship worked for them.
Who benefits from OL101?
Anyone and everyone. Look, OL101 isn’t just for couples or singles in the “lifestyle” or those in open relationships. Couples who are monogamous can also benefit from the teachings and communication skills required in more open marriages. OL101 is for anyone ready to get honest with themselves about where they want to be in life. For those who are ready to take ownership of their own behavior. To understand why we act the way we act and what motivates us and excites us in our relationships. Little did I know all those years ago when I’d first dipped my toe into the world of CNM, I would have grown into the centered and intentional woman I am today. The process of learning better communication skills, of dealing with my own hangups to finding my voice was all worth the effort and growing pains. To me, CNM is a fantastic tool of self examination, bravery, and joy. Oh, and the deeper sexual understanding is a true bonus!
When can CNM be incorporated into one’s lives?
Well, let’s see, for John he’d tell you he’s always been open. For me, I waltzed into CNM in my late 40’s. We’ve seen couples in their 20’s embrace the lifestyle and we’ve seen couples who’ve celebrated their golden anniversary with a trip to a swingers resort. The thing to remember about people involved in CNM is that we are just a slice of society. You’ll find every religion, ethnicity, gender, income bracket, size, shape, age and job. You’ll find politicians, bankers, plumbers, CEO’s, stay at home parents, every conceivable position is represented. So don’t ever worry whether you’re too old, too young, too short, too tall, whether you’re not sure if you’re pretty enough, thin enough, too small/too big (guys) or if you’ll be the life of the party or ignored. Believe me, you’ll be able to find your tribe within the lifestyle.
What lessons have you learned being in the lifestyle?
For me, the biggest lesson I learned was how to love myself. To find out what I wanted in life. To find my voice. To let go of stigmas from a religious background which left me lugging around a trunk full of guilt and shame. I learned how to get honest about habits I’d cultivated in my past that were no longer serving me. I learned that the CNM community is full of loving, gracious, and deeply empathetic people who also want to be the best they can be. For the first time in my life I learned what it felt like to be in a healthy and honest relationship.
I also learned I have a very healthy appetite for sex. I enjoy the variety, the connections, and the friendships formed. I like to try new things and be a-okay with my own sexuality. To be proud of my desires and to be open to moments of hedonistic pleasure taught me how to embrace the beauty of my individuality.
Last but not least, I’ve learned there are millions of people out there just like John and I. Whether through emails, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or meeting in person, the feedback and support we’ve received has been phenomenal! Openlove101 is making a difference. Those who follow the site are making a difference, and as a result the world keeps opening up to what our community has to offer.
John and I want to thank all of you for the words of encouragement, the endorsements and most of all the love you’ve shared with us these last 8 years. Let’s keep the momentum going!
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.