I’m going to Burning Man this year for the first time with my partner and I want to make sure our relationship doesn’t implode. What are some things we should watch out for?
– Playa Bound
Dear Playa Bound,
Burning Man is a weird and wonderful place where all sorts of mind-blowing stuff can happen. However, some things are predictable. Here’s what to know ahead of time.
You will fight and it will probably be because you’re dehydrated. If you catch yourselves fighting doesn’t assume it mean the end of the world, and instead check your self-care. My camp has a rule that if you saw two people getting snippy with each other, separate them and make them drink water and sit in the shade for a bit. This rule saved several relationships that I know of. Make it your own.
Time works differently on the playa. When you’re making dates with your sweetie, try to schedule them according to the sun, rather than the clock. It’s much easier to meet up back at camp “around sunset” than to try to do something at 4pm. Clocks have little meaning in an environment of immediacy, and you’ll only cause yourself frustration if you try to keep both of you on some sort of schedule.
Expectations will fuck you up. If you think something is going to be a certain way, or your sweetie is going to do a certain thing, you will almost always be disappointed. It is far better to set some intentions, do the best you can, assume others are doing the best they can, take responsibility for getting your own needs met, and then roll with whatever shows up.
There will be eye-candy. Lots of it. Sweaty, scantily-clad eye candy. Get clear ahead of time what is and isn’t okay, and what your intentions are in regards to this eye candy. Do you want to make out with strangers together on Threesome Thursday? Look but don’t touch? Plan one day where you go your separate ways and whatever happens happens? Talk ahead of time about what you each want, but don’t push each other’s boundaries. Burning Man is a strange, magical place, but you want to be on speaking terms when you leave. Respect your boundaries and agreements.
You will need lube. It’s the desert. When it’s time for the two of you to make sweet, sweet love, make sure you have lube, water, condoms and baby wipes ready to go.
For more handy tips, check out the Burning Man Relationship Survival Guide.
Talk things through ahead of time, but stay flexible and spontaneous. Be nice to each other and enjoy the ride!
photos courtesy quantamlars and michael holden via flickr