Polyamorous Conversations With Monogamous People

My relationship styles have changed consistently over the years, always ebbing and flowing with what I needed, or thought I needed, at the time.  I’ve been monogamous, poly, and even a somewhat interesting combination of the two which I think Facebook has termed something like “It’s complicated”, and right they were.

There are very unique qualities to these types of relationships, where if you haven’t lived as each at some point or another, you really can’t take a step back far enough to be able to say just what those are.  A recent conversation with my sexy running friend really brought this into focus for me last week. We were texting one night, and as most of our conversations go, who knows what it even was really about.  Texts are like highlights of mental processes kept brief for efficiency.  It’s like reading the Cliff’s Notes of a real conversation.  Somehow in the midst of this texting, the subject of this girl who had been none to shy with her advances towards him came up.  Seeing as he didn’t seem to be rebuffing, I asked him if he had designs on fucking her. If I’m going to be fucking someone, I like to know who else will be playing in the pool, and I made that known.

The conversation that followed my query was a very clear example of the uniquenesses between monogamous and polyamorous people.

polyI admit that I can be a judgmental person.  Fuck, we all are.  I think it’s dishonest to not admit that on some level, everyone is, no matter how much they plead otherwise.  This girl is a stripper.  Having known an acquaintance friend who was a stripper, and hearing stories from her and her friends first hand, I know strippers sling ass like diners sling pancakes on a Sunday morning.  That’s cause enough to make me reconsider even jumping in the pool if I know she’ll possibly be sharing too.  For that reason, I asked him to let me know if he did, and I added, that I would offer the same courtesy as well if I have sex with someone else in addition to him.

His response? “lol I don’t mind.  I have no claim on you, and we haven’t done anything yet really”

My response? “It’s not about claim, it’s about health.  Hello? STDs?  You’re already claimed lol”,  to which he replied, “I assume you will be as smart and as safe as possible.  But yeah, if you get an STD, tell me”

Say what? “If” I?  I don’t want to be in that position.

I was really bothered by that, and the more I thought it over, I realized why.  I was trying to have a very normal, run of the mill, polyamorous conversation with a monogamous person, and there in lay my problem. In a polyamorous relationship, when adding lovers to the mix, it’s done with full disclosure to pre-existing partners.  Since I am inches away from dropping my panties, I figured I would ask beforehand.  Polyamory, when done well and right, is about honesty and choice, and how those two meet.  communicate

Now, I am all for multiple partners, but I like to know who the players are.  Too may people in the pool make me uncomfortable, and yes, that is where my choice comes in.  I have ceased being lovers with people in the past when I felt they were sleeping with too many people at the same time, or felt the partners they chose were out of my comfort zone for the same reason. I like being healthy, and would like to stay that way, thank you.  This was, to me, a very basic conversation to have when multiple partners are involved. 

I realize now that this is incredibly hypocritical of me considering I am ready to take a man to bed who is doing so behind the back of the current lover he has.  It’s more than kind of foolish of me to expect honesty from someone who is being dishonest to his own girlfriend.  She isn’t getting the same curtsey, so why should I dare to expect the same?  Perhaps these are questions and quandaries that are unique to a polyamorous mindset.

What I found very interesting too was this idea of “claim”, and how in my wanting to know, or my desire to inform, about additional sexual partners, must be about some sense of ownership.  How does open disclosure equal claim?  It’s not necessarily a uniquely monogamous thought I suppose, seeing as in some poly situations there is the potential for veto power from existing partners, so what then? Why claim? And then it dawned on me, that sometimes monogamy can be confused with control, and in that control, ownership of the individual you share the relationship with.  They are yours and no one elses sexually.  It’s not meant to be, because it’s based on a mutual choice to be  exclusive, but humans by nature are territorial creatures, and sometimes that animal comes out even in the best relationships.

When I was married back when I was 22, my husband insisted that no one else could see me naked.  He went with me to a clothing optional campground, and although everyone else was going in the hot tub and pool naked, he told me I had to wear my bathing suit.  Why? Because I was his.  He didn’t want anyone else but himself to see his wife naked. I’m not sure why this seemed so dangerous to him.  I believe he felt that it was an invitation for others to want me, and the clothing was akin to a lock and a key on something he had captured.  To me nudity is very comfortable, very freeing, and I just don’t see what there was about it that was so disturbing to him for me to be naked in the company of others who were too.  I honestly at the time had no designs on straying, but I can tell you without a doubt that this was the first nail in the coffin of our relationship. I am not a thing to be owned.

I am not something to be controlled or tamed.  I certainly would not wish to inflict this sort of ownership on anyone else either.  This is where all relationships find doom, no matter how many partners are involved.

So monogamous people, please don’t feel I am saying you’re all a bunch of control freaks.  I know this is not the case.  You can have freedom even with commitments.  I know this and have lived this.  And polyamorous people, don’t think I’m saying that somehow you are loftier than monogs because of your honesty and candid disclosure, because I have firsthand experience that is not the case as well.

Thank you every day conversations for brining to light the differences between how people from different relationship styles communicate.

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What’s A Little Slut Shaming Amongst Friends?

It’s been a long week, and I’m glad that my life seems to be getting back to it’s usual even balance after some time of brief turbulence.  In short, teenage angst is just as angsty when you live with someone going through it, and my daughter had her fair share this past week.  I think they should make taking vacations mandatory for those parents who have teenagers.  Just sayin’.  I think that right there is the answer to world peace.

I’m a fan of words.  Wipe that silly grin off your face, I know, I know, it’s obviously so you say, because I’m a writer.  Well, I do, and yes, it is one of the reasons I am indeed, a writer.  First, allow me to say that after years and years of calling myself a writer, and feeling kind of like a fraud for proclaiming so since I hadn’t had anything published except two poems long ago, I finally feel guilt-free to call myself one again now that I have bits and blurbs of mine published here and there across the web.  Still, I long to have a book made of actual paper pages published one day.  Goals: word.

If you’re anything like me, you have an internet game addiction, or three.  This is one of the many reasons I can no longer fathom life without a smartphone.  What would I do with any shred of boredom in which I couldn’t stare idlly at my iphone to help get me through?  It’s a bad habit to be screen addicted, I know, but oh, how I loves me some technology.  And in that love of screen time, comes my love of games.  No, I’m not a member of anyone’s mafia, I don’t have an imaginary farm, and I haven’t mined pixelated ore in a long time, but I do have my vice: Words With Friends.  Yes, Alec Baldwin and I have something in common other than thinking he’s hot as hell.  Being a long-time lover of Scrabble, this online addiction to Words With Friends was inevitable.

Recently I have been playing several games with a male “friend” from my running club.  Although I have been a member of this running club for the better part of this year, I’ve only been to one official club event, and still have yet to meet this guy.  Most of my participation has been by going to race events and meeting people that way.  We “met” via the group page for the club on Facebook.  So, other than “liking” each others photos or status updates, or commenting on the occasional post, we have really had no other interaction yet.  I admit that from his profile photo alone, I look forward to meeting him in person.  I’ll leave your mind to wander around in that vagueness for a bit.

So, here we are playing these games of Words With Friends together.  Anyone who has ever played these type of word games knows how often the potential to play various words that one might consider eyebrow raising, comes up.  (Hah, pun unintended)  And it’s not that the words are really all that naughty, it’s just that they’re packed with innuendo, and that is enough I guess.  What happens between men and women seems to then take one of two distinct paths:  the courting or the shaming of the of the player.  I’m still confused as to why.

Courting usually can be either a friendly encouragement, a welcome advance if you will, or it can be a boundry-crossing, unwanted thwart.  This depeds on may factors, and is usually dependent (I feel, at least) on how well the two people know one another, as well as their existing relationship to one another.

Shaming, well, that’s easier to share with greater detail.

The first word of this nature to be played by Running Man (who shall be forever known in the rest of this post as “RM” for short) is “BUSTY”.  I smile, and reply in the chat window, “Saucy word there!”.  A few moves later I play the word “SOAPY”, and he tells me in the chat window, “Now it’s your turn to be a little saucy”.  This is innocent and cute, and in no way unwelcome.  I wasn’t even thinking, for once, of the “saucier” innuendo for that word.

It’s followed up shortly thereafter by RM with the word “BONED” in a separate game.  I type in the chat window, “Mmm-hmmm”, as if to say, “Really now”.  Now, call me crazy here, but am I the only one thinking the sexier meaning of this word?  I mean, yes, corsets are “boned”, chicken can be de”boned”, but when I see the word boned, all I can think of is the Steve Stiffler version.

I don’t think this makes me crass, I think it makes me human.  I write about sex professionally, so it’s natural for it to be on my mind.  He doesn’t know this.  I keep this aspect of my professional life private from most because of the stigma it might bring to other aspects of my life; both good or bad, but usually more slanted towards the side of bad.  He replies to me, “LOL I think your mind is shall we say, creative?”, and I type back, “Well, yes, creativity is my line of work, so LOL”

It’s seems so innocent, this kind of friendly banter, until I start to feel this slight taint of “ick” that creeps up on me. I notice that I start to feel like there was a backhanded compliment in there, but maybe I am wrong.  I have been wrong before, and it’s so easy to misconstrue words like this without seeing a person’s body language when they say them, or hearing their vocal intonations.  This is the pitfall of internet interactions.  To that note, he could have misread the same from me.

So then the awkward moment comes when I can play the word “ORGIES” in a new current game.  It will get me more points as it uses more of my letters, and I will hit a double word tile with it.  I kind of hesitated to play it, but then decided to.  I mean, seriously, why start shaming myself for using words like that anyway?  While I’ve never had an orgy, I have had a threesome, or two (or three), so who I am to judge language.  I play it and type in our chat window, “Don’t judge. LOL  It got me more points”.  He replied, “Nice :-)”

Still innocent.

This morning, a few turns after that play, RM plays the word “HARLOT”, and adds in our chat window, “nothing personal”

What?

First, I’m like “ha-ha”, and then I’m all haunches raised at this.  The meaning of the word harlot according to Merriam-Webster’s is “Prostitute”.  First, why would I take this personally, and second, have we just gone from friendly and innocent, to shaming?  Am I to think that, because I chose certain words and joked about the innuendos behind them, that this makes me akin to a harlot?  A strumpet?  A Jezebel?  Is it because I am a woman and thinking this way that it must make me “dirty”or less than, instead of if I were a bro, and we would exchange manly fist bumps with pride?

Now, like I said, I am the first to admit I could now be the one taking this all out of context, but it had a level of “ick” to it that came across as judgement or shaming.  Why in the year 2012 is it still considered a detriment to be a woman and be comfortable in her sexuality?  Why does it imply something “bad” about us, yet fills men with a sense of virile bravado worthy of appreciation?  This is why I have kept my freelance writing career private, and most likely will continue to do so with anyone other than close and trusted people in my life.  Yet I admit to feeling like a hypocrite because my aim is to shatter this notion, and in my hiding, I am counterproductive to my own cause.  I am hiding.  It’s like admitting there is something to be shameful of, instead of rally against.  Insert heavy sigh here.

I will continue to play Words With Friends with my “friend” RM, and someday we will meet at a race or club event.  Maybe none of this will matter.  Maybe we will see each other afresh and anew, and not have any linguistic baggage to color our perceptions of one another.  I really hope that I am making this more than it really is, and yet, that inital knee-jerk reaction remains; why would I take “harlot” personally?  I think I do, but not for the reasons you may think, dear RM.

Yes, I am a woman who owns her sexuality, and feels it’s a valuable part of my being as a whole.  I wish more women would feel this way, but it’s hard to in the face of a societal notion that good girls don’t like, or talk about, sex.

Ok, getting down off my soap box, and going to get “SOAPY” in the shower.  I have a lunch meeting to make.