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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Monogamous? Poly? Please Take This Poll

Decisions, Decisions, Or Otherwise Known As Adventures In Relationships

Back in the summer of 2004 I went out to California for a workshop on love, sexuality, and intimacy.  There were multiple levels of this workshop series, and the 3rd level just happened to be out on the west coast that July.  Now, this post is going to be tricky because when you take these workshops you promise not to divulge what happens during them or who was in attendance, so as not to color a possible participant’s experience, but there is just no way to write this without breaking that promise, so here goes nothing.  I will try my best to be vague where I can be.

At the time when I made the decision to travel to California to do level 3, I had just started dating someone casually about a month prior.  We met while I was re-taking level 1 earlier that April.  Re-taking levels is not as powerful an experience as it is the first time you take a workshop, mostly because you know what’s coming and can plan your choices around that knowledge.  In short, you can manipulate your experience to suit your desires or needs.  Meeting Peter in that workshop influenced a lot of my choices.

When I met BackPeter I was in an open relationship with someone else.  I wasn’t in love with that person, and truth be told, he was a real dick.  He was, however, convenient, and was my rebound relationship.  These two things I know in hindsight, but was not fully aware of at the time.

Peter was in an open-marriage, and oddly enough, his wife was dating one of my FWB’s.  This was how I came to be introduced to him.

Confused yet?  Welcome to the wide world of sports…open relationship style.

On the evening of my first date with Peter, he confided to me how much he hated being in an open marriage, and that as much as he loved his wife, he really didn’t want to be sharing her with other people.  It was because of this that he had decided to divorce her.  He felt he was only being poly as a drastic measure to keep his marriage, but that it was very much not what he wanted.  He wanted monogamy.  Whoa.

It’s important to know this backstory just so that what I am about to share resonates on the level of WTF? that it should.

So fast forward to July.  By this time I had stopped dating jerk boyfriend and was only seeing Peter.  We were still not what I considered to be monogamous, or at least we had put no such declarations on our dating one another.  Especially seeing as he was still married, and even if he was no longer having sex with his wife,  I wasn’t putting all my eggs in his basket.  However, things between us were in that wonderfully sweet NRE stage (new relationship energy).  You know, the stage where you’re totally enamored with each other, love even the annoying things one another does, and are shagging like rabbits every chance you get?  Yep, that was us.

I had planned to go to California on my own.  Those plans were made long before this thing with Peter became a “thing”.   My flights were booked, and I was set for adventure.  Peter had been trying to convince me to do some other workshop he had done, and off the cuff I had said “Why don’t you come to California and do level 3 with me?”, never expecting that he actually would.  And then he called me at work a few days later to say he was going.  My response was “Going where?” Ha!  That was how much I didn’t expect it, and yet, now I was excited that he would be joining me.  Even more so because I had planned it so that I was playing tourist in northern California for a few days once the workshop was over, so now I had a travel companion.  After all, in the very short time we had been seeing one another we had managed to do the first 2 levels of this workshop series together.  I guess it seemed to just click into place.

polyNow, in keeping with the title of “love, intimacy, and sexuality”, the workshops can get rather intense as they progress through the levels.  The evening before we were to head up to the workshop, we had been forewarned by someone we had met that had done it previously that when they say “If you came with a partner, you might want to check in with them and see if you want to do this next exercise together”, that it was in our best interest to ALWAYS do those exercises together.  It was because of this advice that we started having a discussion about our relationship boundaries, and from this talk, we decided two things:  1) we would always do those exercises together as suggested, and 2) we would be monogamous  with one another while there.

For me, I remember thinking that it made no sense to possibly ruin a potentially wonderful relationship by having a fling with someone who lived 3,000+ miles away from me.  For Peter, I am guessing he based his decision on his feelings over non-monogamy with his wife.

I almost immediately regretted this decision.

The workshop began on a Friday night, and would conclude on Sunday morning.  Here we were, nestled in this beautiful northern Californian mountain range just north of the Napa Valley, surrounded by lush forrest, in a tiny town that most people have never heard of, secluded far from our daily lives.  The workshop was held at a clothing optional retreat center.  It was very easy to feel almost removed from what you knew your life to be while there.

We weren’t too far into the beginning of the workshop when it became obvious that a short, Australian, blonde girl similar in age to me (29) had taken a real interest in Peter (42).  It went above interest to almost a level of competitiveness, as if she felt she was looking to “steal my man”, which I found a tad odd for the kind of workshop we were in, but she exuded that energy nonetheless.  Peter, well, he was totally loving the attention, and wasn’t at all shy in returning flirtations with her of his own.  Dare I say, he was very encouraging.

As for me, I saw what I wanted the moment we arrived and were in line to check in.  He was everything that catches my eye: tall, confident, broad shouldered, with dark wavy hair and almost icy hazel eyes, and I immediately needed to know him.  This is where I regretted my previous decision of monogamy because, oh my god, I wanted to climb that man like a tree.  Of course, I am also practical, so I reminded myself that a fling with someone who lived on the other side of the country from me wasn’t as important to me as the possibility of what I had going with Peter, and also, I had no idea if this bronze statuesque man was even available for that sort of thing.

As it got later into the first evening of the workshop, Peter and I did our own thing, sitting together when we were all in a large group, but off on our own for various exercises.  We had yet to encounter those “check in with your partner” ones yet.  Nothing was uncomfortable.  Nothing except this girl’s relentless pursuit of Peter while she eyed me.  Who knows, maybe she was looking for a foursome?  She did come paired with some skinny, somewhat effeminate gay boyfriend, who I just assumed with my “Gaydar” was more “friend” than lover.   Perhaps he was bi, but he sure seemed to love her competitiveness with me.  Peter seemed to be soaking it up.  It was this kind of energy that just made things feel weird.

I kept a safe, across the room, distance from the man I had eyes for.  If he came towards me, I went the other way.  At some point, somehow, it was revealed that he was indeed, poly.  Obstacle one, removed, only made me want him more.  To this day I still cannot remember his name, and I wish i did.

The workshop concluded for the night at around 11pm, and Pete and I decided to go up the hill to the more private pools for a swim.  I remember walking about the hill, along the paved road, under this blanket of navy blue velvet sky, gazing up at the hundreds of silver stars that decorated it, and having this deep discussion about what was going on with this girl and him.  All the while I never said anything about my desire for Mr. Tall Dark and Delicious.

Peter talked his way through all the thoughts that he was having about this Aussie lass, and her obvious pursuit of him, and how he wouldn’t mind returning those advances more fully and having a dalliance with her, but how he felt it would mean pulling away from me, and he didn’t want that.  He was there with me, and this all was momentary anyway.  I breached a sigh of relief in some ways to hear we were on the same page as far as that went.

I remember mentioning my same thoughts over  the guy I’d been eyeing.  He seemed quite opposed to that.

What I found most interesting, somewhat hurtful, and in some ways, most hypocritical, was that for someone that seemed to be so staunchly non-monogamous, he seemed to be very easily swayed.  I mean, honestly, don’t chastise your wife for wanting to be poly and insist that you don’t, when you’re really way keener on the idea than you let on.  And I guess you could say I was hypocritical for having the same feelings and desires, but the difference for me is that I was not the one who proposed the rules for our workshop participation, but I did agree to them.  I was also, how shall I say, much more subtle with my admiring of others.

So, now we have really come to the question I have been pondering lately, why do we choose the things we choose?

Fast forward to Saturday morning’s workshop exercise…still not one of “those” exercises, but still to this day ranks as one of the sensuous experiences I have ever had.

The men were lead out into another room, and all of us women stayed in the main room.  We had no idea what is being said to the men while they were away, we were just laying there on the floor waiting for them to return.  There was some soft, New Agey type music playing and I’m sure the workshop facilitator is saying something of importance, but I don’t remember it.  When the men were let back into the room, they were told to pick a female partner and kneel down beside her.  I am having some mild ambivalence about who will pick me, only because you never knew with the nature of these things just what would be happening, but then he knelt down beside me.

I’d done my best to avoid him when I could, but there was nothing I could do now.  He had chosen me.  Mr. Tall, Dark, and Delicious was kneeling next to me looking into my eyes, and I could not escape, and I didm’t want to either.  Oh, it should also be noted that we were both naked.  (Almost everyone was naked, or in some half-dressed sort of state.  At the beginning of each day they offer you the choice to be naked, and every day I chose this option, as did most people)  I was so thrilled he had chosen me, and never once did I wonder who Peter chose.  I was fairly certain I knew anyway.  In this moment I was completely captivated by this man.

The instructions came that the men were to take the small bottle of nail polish they held, and to begin painting our nails.  He had chosen this pearlescent pink-white color, which I thought oddly matched me perfectly.  No words ever passed between us.  The whole room was instructed to remain silent.

He held each of my long, slender, fingers tenderly in his hand, and one by one, painted each nail slowly.  Each long, languid, stroke became like a well-placed caress painted across my skin, and he held my gaze to make certain I knew that was his intention.  His eyes would travel the length of my body, and then return with hunger.  A hunger he found reflected back from mine.  It wasn’t a ravenous hunger, no restrained beast was  being reined in.  His eyes, his touch, his hands, all said he would take his time with me.  His ravaging of my body would be a slow, sensual feasting.

He repeated the same gestures with my left hand.  The entire experience then, and when I recall it now, all seemed to be almost dreamlike.  It seemed to both go on forever, and yet, pass by far too quickly.  It was like being lost in another world, and not necessarily wanting to return.

And just like that, the exercise was over.  Voices returned to break the silence, and the dreamlike bubble I was existing in with this man, dissolved.  Shortly after this, we broke for lunch.  We all made plates indoors from a buffet at the back of the room, and then took them to sit outside on the deck where sunlight filtered through the trees and blue skies hung above.  Peter and I ended up sharing a round patio table with several other people, one of whom was my sensual nail painter.  It was a quiet lunch, even though I remember we all enjoyed talking together.  I remember admiring my nails and thanking him for doing such an impressive job, and I remember wanting to say more, but instead being lost in that quiet, wordless gaze that happens between two people when they’re not sure just what or how to say it.

Even to this day, I’m not sure I ever really shared with Peter just how deep and sensuous that experience with that man had been for me, or how I had really wished it had been more.  We both kept our agreements to one another during the rest of the workshop,, with some minor bending which we both agreed to.  He told Aussie girl to cool her jets, and she did.  I kept myself in check with my own interest.

As for the “check in with your partner” exercises, there were two, and I was exceptionally thankful that we heeded the advice of that previous attendee.  One of them, and by far the most intense, involved stimulating your partner to orgasm via her g-spot.  That could have gone SO badly had I been paired with someone else.  In fact, unless it had been my nail painting friend, I know I would’ve opted out, because I don’t like being touched by people I am unattracted to, let alone let their fingers have a play date in my vagina. Whoever that guy was that gave us that advice, I am eternally thankful to you, my friend!  I was also thankful that fate had it so Peter ended up in California with me for that workshop.  That was not something, nor was the 2nd exercise of similar risk that followed, I had been been prepared to be open to experiencing with a roomful of strangers present.

All of that aside, it doesn’t even really begin to speak to how either of us would have felt emotionally had we not listened to that advice, and instead chose different partners.  What if I ended up with a partner that I didn’t want to do the exercise with, and what if he ended up strumming Aussie girl to her edge while I sat on the sideline?  What if he chose not to do the exercise for some reason, and I ended up with Mr. Tall, Dark, and Delicious making me thrust and squirt all over his fingers?  I’m fairly certain when I say this that neither of us would’ve been the least bit okay with experiencing that emotional torpedo.

So, obviously, some boundaries are in place for good reason.  We choose some agreements in relationships that make sense, and others that leave us questioning.  Years later I find myself wondering why we even bothered choosing to be monogamous at that point in the first place.  It was obvious that each of us had desires that lead elsewhere, but that we quelled.  And while I suppose at any time we could have decided otherwise, we still chose to not follow them.

In weighing out all the possibilities and the consequences, real or perceived, I think we all make the best choices we can in the moment we have to make them.  The question remains, why do we?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wolves and Women

Wolves are monogamous creatures. I never knew this. I don’t know about you, but I kind of just expected that a creature that howls at the moon and races through the woods under the cover of a moonlit night to hunt it’s prey, would be anything but.

This news also strikes a cord of irony with me because an ex-long term partner used to identify heavily with wolves, and mostly because he figured they were unbridled creatures who answered to no one, and romped as they saw fit while the female wolves stayed home to watch the kids.  He figured the wolf was the poster animal for polyamory.  Hah, jokes on you, wolfie.

No, the gray wolf is one of only a handful of animals that pair-bond monogamously for life.  You can read all about it right under the heading of Reproduction and Development in this handy dandy wiki.

I was 22 when I first heard the term “polyamory”.  Up until then I figured there were three types of people: monogamous, cheaters, and swingers.  Since then I have had a couple dozen or so (this might even be a slight understatement) of friends who identified as poly.  I, myself, have even identified as poly during different points of my life.  Usually this varied with each relationship I entered into.

Now, a lot of poly people will try to say that it’s completely different than swinging.  Not really having known anyone that identified as a “swinger”, I have to say that from all of the many polyamorous folk I have known over the years, no matter how much they proudly say it’s different than swinging because of the emotional component, it is still looks pretty much like swinging. This is what most people call “sleeping around” in their twenties: you kind of have relationships with varying degrees of commitment, they may or may not last for very long, but then eventually you find “the one”, and settle down and get married.  Some people just keep doing both at the same time.  Trust me, it’s never as much fun as it sounds, or as you think it’s going to be.  Also, a lot of people have a hard time understanding that the freedoms they expect in relationship are a two-way street. In other words, if it’s good for you, it’s good for me.  Everyone plays by the same rules.

I keep thinking to myself that I have learned unequivocably that I am a monogamous creature.  I’m not good at sharing unless I really am not emotionally invested in the person.  I get jealous.  Men want to point fingers at us women and make it like we’re the only ones who act jealous, but let me tell you from firsthand experience: men get VERY jealous.  They are not immune to jealousy like they would like us to think. howlwolf

I cannot tell you how many times I have been in a relationship with someone where we considered ourselves poly, and it was all fun and games if they were pursuing or being pursued by someone else, but the minute I was, suddenly the rules would change.  Usually this meant they would find something wrong with the competing male and would either deal with this by making disparaging comments about them hoping I would lose interest, or flat out beg me not to pursue the person/relationship. It was never a reason with any solid grounds.

It was those times when I would have to remind them what was good for them was good for me.  In fact, my ex-FWB even got jealous when I would go out with other male friends or potential partners, and all the while he would completely deny it!  One time he called me at 11:30 at night to “see how I was doing”, when I had just told him only 4 hours earlier that I was going out with a male friend for drinks.  When I didn’t answer, he called me again promptly at 9am the next morning.  And when I called him on his ruse in the form of a phone call that was really meant to see if I was home (and alone) yet or not, he flat out denied it.

I get jealous. I know this about myself. I’m not going to lie or pretend I don’t.  It doesn’t make me any less evolved as a person.  It’s a human emotion.  Own it, I do.

Still, in monogamous relationships where I have been generally happy, my mind has been known to wander, and I don’t just mean sexual fantasies.  When I was dating Guitar Man for example, I really, really wanted to have sex with this guy who was in the HAI workshop we took part in on our trip to California, but I didn’t because I knew it was a momentary thing with no possibility for more, and the real possibility would be that it might ruin what we were working to build.  Honestly, I still regret that I didn’t.  He painted my nails for me…long story…but it was one of the sexiest experiences of my life. *sigh*  Also, I’m pretty sure I hugged him while naked, but I hugged a lot of naked people that weekend, so it’s hard to be certain.

While in that same relationship with Guitar Man I also used to find all sorts of casual ways to see my ex-FWB Norris.  At the time I was even going to school and had designed a project around him, so I had guaranteed myself time to spend with him.  It was all very innocent because nothing ever happened, and I’m not sure I wanted it to because I have a pretty strong moral constitution, but still I needed to see him.  In my head, the intentions weren’t as innocent as I wanted to pretend they were either.  On the last day of the work we were doing for my project together (and just coming off the heels of Guitar Man treating me like complete shit)  I straddled Norris’s erection that was bulging through his pants and kissed him until my mind told me to stop.  I never told Guitar Man what had happened, let alone that I had been routinely seeing my friend.

And then there was my last relationship that I don’t speak much about.  I have done very well, without much effort, to delete all memories of it from my head.  It was someone I really truly loved, but still, there was FWB all the time in my head.  And then, just a week before a very pivotal moment in that relationship, I ended up having lunch with Norris and then kissing him in his car, parked in a school parking lot in the corner, while it poured rain around us.  It would have gone a lot further if he didn’t have people from his office calling looking for him to come handle things they couldn’t on their own.  I guess I should be thankful because that probably would have been a heavy transgression on my heart.

However, the disclaimer for the above is that Guitar Man had a roving eye as well for an Australian girl at that same workshop, and the man I was last serious with was polyamorous, but only one-sided, meaning anytime I wanted a new lover he always found something wrong with them.

So, I don’t know. Maybe I am not really monogamous at all, and I am just trying to convince myself otherwise.

One of my friends told me he thought I had issues with commitment based on the types of people I chose for relationships, but I don’t think I do.  I really think I have just not met the right person/s. Or, maybe if I met someone who I felt was fully committed to me, then I could be 100% fully committed to them. I’m actually a very loyal person when I feel I’m getting that loyalty in return.  The question remains though, is anyone really 100% commited to one love?  Does that even exist, or are we all just kidding ourselves?

I’m seriously jaded.

And sometimes, I am just a ravenous, desirous wolf who wants to howl.

Musings Of A Gun Shy Heart

In follow-up to my latest post “Reminders of An August Afternoon“, I sat down tonight to watch Take This Waltz, and was left with the following questions chasing each other around in my mind:  In no particular order…

Do I choose people who I know will leave me?

Do I choose people I know I will eventually leave?

Is every relationship, no matter how filled with fireworks and rainbows in the beginning, doomed to fall into the familiar slumber of boredom, leaving us/me/them to feel like something is missing?brokenheart

Is having multiple lovers really the answer to this, or the cause of more of these feelings of something missing?

What kind of relationships will my daughter have as she begins to grow up and out into the world?

What does lasting love look like?

Have I set a bad example for my daughter in that I have yet to find someone with whom I can find and sustain a loving partnership with?

Things I know about what I want for myself

I really don’t want to share or be shared

I don’t want to be with someone controlling

I don’t want a relationship without passion

I need intimacy and emotional connection

I enjoy sex often

The more I love someone, the more sexual I want to be with them

Physical affection is important to me

Intelligence turns me on and its important to me  (it’s always the first or second thing I say when I am asked to tell someone why/how I find someone attractive)

I like someone who can walk in both worlds; someone who likes the finer things in life, but also is down to earth

I want a man who is a man, and not a boy living in the body of a 40-year-old.  I do not want to be a grown man’s mother.

Honesty and integrity are valued highly by me, and I need them from anyone who would be a potential long-term partner.  I give it and expect to receive it.

My health is very important to me.  I want someone who values their physical health and their emotional one

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  If you think it’s good for you, and only you, and expect something different for me, you are sadly mistaken.

Does any of this even exist?

In Praise of Vanilla: Sexual Expression and Acceptance

Things on here have been seriously heavy on the kink side lately, so I think it’s time to dial it back a notch, and give some equal share time to the other tasty aspects of sexuality.  When I started this blog I didn’t want to focus on just the kinky aspects alone, because my sexuality has really run the gamut, and all of it has been a delicious and valid.  Actually, I think experiencing various forms of kink has made vanilla even better.  Maybe this is because my vanilla isn’t really vanilla, but who is to say for sure.  Sometimes vanilla gets a bad rap in the kink community, and I think unfairly so.  If we can hold space for everyone to have and enjoy their own personal kink of choice without judgement, then why can we not extend that same acceptance to those for whom vanilla is their lovestyle of choice?

Photo Courtesy of Make Better Food

I’m the kind of gal who likes to sample all the flavors, and my tastes are continually changing.  I find it difficult to pick a “favorite” anything.  I have certain things I enjoy more than others, and just what that “flavor” may be, vacillates depending on any number of variables.  I think it’s fair to say that the majority of us are also not static creatures; our desires and tastes ebb and flow, grow and change as we do as individuals.  I don’t experience and express my sexuality the same way I did as a teenager, or even as I did throughout my 20’s, because I’m just not the same person I was then that I am now.  What I think of as vanilla sex now, is definitely not even close to what I once might have defined it as, but that doesn’t mean that one is any less valid than the other.  My sexuality at each stage was congruent to who I was as a person, and where I was along my own path of growth.

As we move through our lives, we continually meet people who will alter the person we know ourselves to be currently. Through our intimate connections with others, whether emotional or physical, or a combination thereof, we are transformed.  With the addition of each interaction, and the intensity and depth of the connection, we are inextricably changed.  Whether this change is conscious or unconscious, by choice or consequence, it is impossible to remain a constant in the wake of such forces.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical
substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed”  – Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

I think those of us who have been involved with either the kink community, or even just exploring kink privately, feel like we have been so unfairly judged, and wrongfully dismissed, by those who are purely vanilla, that there is some residual anger and resentment there.  We’re a little raw from being called “weird” or “wrong” by those who have a more closed-minded, color inside the lines idea of what sexual expression is, and so we tend to transfer all of those feelings of being rejected and sullied, onto the entire vanilla lovestyle.  Unfortunately, that’s a blanket judgement made about an entire group of people, when perhaps only a percentage of that group feels that way.  In reality, this is just as unfair to those who practice vanilla sex solely, as it is to those of us who are unfairly labeled for exploring and enjoying kink.  Those of us that do so are only perpetuating that same rigidity.  And that means that those of us who think we are somehow more open-minded, more advanced in our being because of this, are in actuality, hypocrites.

While I have been using the terms of “vanilla” vs. “kink” speaking about the expression of sexuality as if it were these two areas were polar opposites, it’s important to remember and acknowledge that there is a lot of gray area here in both.  It brings to mind the Kinsey Scale of Sexual Orientation in which Kinsey proposed that only a small minority of us are actually completely straight or gay, and that most of us are on a varying scale of degrees of bisexuality.

“Males/Females do not represent two discrete populations, heterosexual and homosexual. The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories… The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects.” – Kinsey, (1948)

These kinds of dichotomies can often be witnessed in other areas related to sexuality and relationships, such as in the great debate that exists between those who are monogamous vs. polyamorous.  The Poly community, while professing a more progressive stance on love and relationship, discounts those who would consider themselves monogamous, as people who are somehow emotionally or spiritually stunted in their understanding and expression of love.  The monogamy community, while not wanting to be discounted and belittled for their choice of a single partner relationship, condemns those who choose Polyamory (multiple-partner relationships with full disclosure), as unscrupulous and promiscuous heathens, who only seek pleasure for pleasure’s sake, at the cost of experiencing real emotional depth and connection.  Essentially, both communities want the same thing: to both be seen as valid and acceptable relationship choices, with neither one or the other being the superior choice.  Regardless, the argument between them still remains despite this, with both sides failing to understand that by invalidating the other, they also invalidate their own position as well.  It is imperative that both sides understand this in order to move past this impasse, and grow.

Photo Courtesy of The Cut AboveI do not ascribe my lovemaking to any singular definition. The expression of my sexuality is fluid, and without the confines of a if “this, than “that”” mentality.  I am neither vanilla or kink solely.  It may seem trite to say, but I am much more a connoisseur of “swirl”, when faced with the choice of either vanilla or chocolate.  I want the freedom to choose what I want sexually in the moment, instead of feeling like I have somehow backslid in my personal evolution because I don’t always want sex to include some level of BD/SM or kink play.  Sometimes, just two naked people, physically and emotionally, is pretty damn hot.  And sometimes two people with some wrists restraints, a spreader bar, and a paddle is too.  Both are equally capable of producing mind-blowing, ecstatically juicy results!

It’s important that we all recognize that sexuality and relationship born of consent, is an individual expression, and that no one’s personal expression of it is any more valid than any other.  We all bring to our sexuality a unique bouquet of biology, background, and experience, and that these are often in relation to who we are in that moment; no more or less progressive or evolved than another.  Embrace each others differences, respect each others boundaries, and be open to the possibility that sexuality is more than just how you experience it as an individual.