I am curious if you guys have any advice for married couples going to Burning Man. Me and my wife are going and we have decided that we have to lay down some ground rules for the event. Any good hints, or does or don't's?
Wed, April 27, 2011 - 10:52 PMHave you read the Relationship Survival guide? It's part of the First Timer's guide, which you should be reading in its entirety!
There ya go. There's also some really great threads here on Tribe from years past about relationships & burning man. Try using the handy search function that works sometimes and othertimes is a piece of shit like much of the technology here on this poor site.
There's also a great Single Person's Heart Guide to Burning Man (do a search for that) that's hugely applicable to coupled people as well for the most part.
Thu, April 28, 2011 - 12:27 PM"The Single Person's Heart Guide was the best. It should be renamed, how to get the best out of Burning Man."
Exactly. This year will be my 8th year in a row, and I still re-read the Heart Guide every year (it's been around for a few years now, I wish I had had it for my first year!)
Thu, April 28, 2011 - 1:20 PMBrody, I thought I'd dust this off (pardon the pun) for all of us.
A Single Person's Heart Guide to Burning Man
Wed, August 15, 2007 - 12:10 PM
original post by "OH TONY" a great post
As a single, hetero man, I know from experience that Burning Man can be a wonderful and crushing experience. Usually both, often at the same time. I can hardly think of a single guy who has shown up at the playa alone and not wanted to hook up with someone. The fact is, this desire can ruin your BM experience (actually, it just makes you think that your experience is ruined). I have found that there are lessons that I have had to learn multiple times. After last year, as soon as I got back, I made notes to myself for this year, while the experience was still fresh in my mind. Now, as the burn approaches, I am taking what I have learned this year and adding to last year’s notes. I thought to myself, “I wish someone had told me this stuff before I went to Burning Man.” So, I decided to post it here. Many points have been offered by other people at one time or another. This is just my collection.
This is, in my opinion, the most important thing. As in the default world, all we really have at Burning Man is the now. You can’t even say that you will have 7 days of nows, because anything could happen. So, just experience every single moment fully. If you find yourself thinking about how sweet it would be to hook up with that hottie you just met or how it would suck if she didn’t show up when you guys were supposed to meet, stop. Look around. Burning Man is happening all around you right now. Experience it. Now. This is why you came. Don’t miss it. If you put being at Burning Man above getting laid at Burning Man, you will have a far richer experience. And, you will increase your chances of getting laid at Burning Man.
When in doubt, say “Yes”
When offered anything, material, interactional or spiritual at Burning Man, unless you think that that this would be a “bad thing” for you, say “yes”. Yes opens up new possibilities. Yes is fun. And, Yes is usually sexy. Conversely, if you don’t think it’s a good thing for you, then definitely say no. Multiple times, and loudly if need be.
Have no expectations.
Expect nothing, not even a good time or a shitty time at Burning Man. Expect nothing from others. Especially, do not expect to have sex at Burning Man. Even if you go with a lover or possible lover, do not expect to have sex with them, or anyone else for that matter.
The other side of the expectation rule. Understand the difference. Do not expect to hook up with someone, but be prepared if you do. Bring what you need. Get tested, if you haven’t already.
Give your time, your attention, your trinkets, your love, your admiration, your beer, your energy, your opinion, your hand, your heart, your enthusiasm. Give everything you can think of.
Talk to as many interesting people as possible. Then, talk to some people that you would normally talk to. Always have a notepad and something to write with. Take pictures of people and take notes to go with them. Get email/phone numbers.
Use alternatives to sex
You don’t have to have intercourse to be intimate with someone. Massages are, of course, a good option. One of my favorites is the foot bath. Bring a small tub and some nice soap and lotion for after. Also, there is cuddling, eye-gazing, you get the point. Often, it is the non-sexual play that leads to other things. If not, well, it’s all good anyway.
Take responsibility for your joy
If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t want to be in, don’t not blame others. Blame, anger will probably not make anything any better. So, take responsibility for your attitude, your survival, your joy. Remember that you always have three choices: Accept the situation, change the situation or leave the situation. Pick one of the three, then be at peace.
For example, here’s a personal tip. I set a waiting time for meet-ups. For me, it’s 15 minutes. If someone says that they will meet me at a certain time, and they are not there, or we miss each other for whatever other reason, after 15 minutes, I’m free to do whatever I want (including waiting longer). In any case, it takes away any anger or disappointment. It puts me in control. And, while I’m waiting, I am fully experiencing the moment.
In your dealing with people, make sure that you are clear in your intentions. Make no assumptions. Ask the questions you need answers to. Be tactful, but direct. Clear communication is sexy.
Use drugs wisely
If you use drugs, then plan your drug usage ahead of time. Consider doing no drugs at all. There’s nothing worse that happening upon a possible playa buddy, then being too fucked up to have any fun.
Keep a journal
A journal will prove invaluable to you, even if you never go to Burning Man again. It is so easy to forget all of the thoughts you had on the playa. Don’t wait until you get back to camp to write. Jot a quick note down in the moment.
You cannot go to The Deep End every afternoon, then go out dancing every night. You must plan for down time. You should not dance until sunrise unless you can sleep late the next day. Get plenty of sleep before you drive home.
Don’t fuck people in your camp.
If you can avoid it, “Don’t shit where you eat.” Understandably, sometimes, you just gotta do what you gotta do. But, there are thousands of other people in BRC. Inter-camp hook-ups usually end up badly.
Read, then keep “The Four Agreements”
If you haven’t read “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, I highly suggest it. It’s a quick, but invaluable read. If you aren’t driving, you can probably finish it on the way to Burning Man. If you are driving, get the audiobook. In any case, it puts you in a great headspace when you hit BRC.
Don’t forget the art
Burning Man is one of the most amazing art exhibits in the world. Experience as much of it as you can. Interact with it. Take pictures of it. Talk about it with other people who are experiencing it with you. This is one lesson that I forget every year.
Do you realize how lucky/blessed you are to be at Burning Man? Then give thanks, to the the people who sell you ice, to the Rangers, to your campmates, to the stranger who is now a friend, to (your dogma here) for creating the playa, the sky above it and the mountains that surround it. Give thanks, verbally and in your heart. You can’t do it enough.
If anyone has any other tips from the heart for Burning Man, I would love to read them.
Thu, April 28, 2011 - 3:54 PMMy wife went for the first time last year (it was my 12th time). It was difficult but rewarding, and she's coming back this year.
So, IMHO, the most important thing is to start communicating about your "rules" for the playa. Just as we keep saying at BED (Bureau of Erotic Discourse), get clear about your desires and boundaries. The conditions will be stressful, so it would be a bad idea to wait until then to establish some clarity.
This is not the same as building expectations, since the insane serendipity of the playa must be embraced. Rather, it is about gaining an understanding about how much time, and what kind of time, you want or need from each other. How much intimacy is going to be reserved for just the two of you, and what things can be shared with others. Which camps you definitely want to visit and which camps might be a bit much.
An example is that when we went last year it was very clear that supporting my wife was job #1 for me. And we have a long-standing rule about staying monogamous. But being silly, being naked, hugging friends, and the like were all OK, and even encouraged. I marched in Critical Dicks, we both showered and changed in the open, and we camped with an equally casual crew. And we talked and talked about what we were doing and feeling. So, that's a sketch of what worked for us.
Stay rested and shaded and drink lots of water.
Thu, May 26, 2011 - 2:05 PMMe and my husband started going to burning man when we we're still dating and now we've have been married for 3yrs and still go together... It really just depends on what type of relationship you have with your wife at home already. We don't lay down any ground rules, we know what we are okay with and what we are not okay with. Just go with a open mind and have fun. Don't over stress the "couple" thing out there. I will say that if you are a couple that fights a lot, expect a lot of that out there.. The heat and everything can get to you and you do take it out on you better half. Other than that have fun with each other!!! Burning Man is a wonderful place to experience with your husband/wife. We have some of our fondness memories out there together. In fact we are renewing our vows out there this year :)
Thu, May 26, 2011 - 4:05 PMThanks for the advice. I do expect some fights.,lol. An open mind can get you in all types of trouble,lol. Nah, we do expect the climate and weather to get to us. We are trying to keep an open mind about the event.
Mon, June 27, 2011 - 1:16 PMFrom our camp manual, which has so far been extremely good:
Relationships at Burning Man
Burning Man is notorious for destroying relationships. Any cracks in a relationship often get exacerbated to extreme degrees due to the combination of environmental stress, close living conditions, exciting things happening all around, and differing expectations. In the history of our camp we've had 7 previously established couples come. Of those, 4 have broken up at Burning Man, directly before Burning Man, or directly after. Generally speaking very new couples (first few months) tend to be immune to this effect. The standard advice given at Burning Man is that you should break up before the event and then get back together after. (Foxy sez: get tested before, *and* after the event.) You can also chose to camp separately from your signficant other by having them go with a nearby camp. Consider this carefully before deciding to come as a couple. If you do decide to come with your significant other, consider the following advice.
First of all, a big cause of problems is expectations. The classic example is when one person wants to run around and explore and see all the awesome and new stuff out there, often by themselves or with other friends, while the other wants to share the experience and be a close couple. This often leads to intense problems. Make sure that you both know how you expect to relate to each other as a couple, and that your expectations are compatible.
Second, there's the space issue. There's often very little private space at Burning Man, with all the shared tents and thin walls. Make sure you have some kind of private place (even the middle of the open desert might work) and respect that space for each other. It's important to be sure that your partner can run off on their own if they feel like it. It's okay to run off separately if somebody wants!
And third, Burning Man is a sexually charged place. You by no means have to have sex with everyone in the world out there, but at the same time there's nudity and freedom. Make sure you're clear about the boundaries you as a couple have at Burning Man. It's your decision if you want to loosen those boundaries temporarily... or not. Take your pick, but make sure you're both clear on what you want and expect to have happen.
Finally, remember that the environment is difficult. It's easy to be dehydrated, to sugar crash, or to be sleep starved. That's a recipe for turning otherwise reasonable people into maniacs. If you get into an argument with your significant other, stop for a moment. Take a drink of water, eat a bit of food, get yourself into the shade, and even consider taking a nap. You may find that whatever it was isn't nearly as important. If you're prone to getting irritable when you're tired or dehydrated or hungry, you WILL get irritable. Factor this in.