Posts Tagged ‘gay’
ARE WE REALLY MONO-POLY? by Janet Kira Lessin
Doctors Hal and Sidra Stone teach us that we have many “voices” within ourselves. We each have our own set of voices, be they the Inner Critic, the Inner Child, the Inner Pope, the Inner Aphrodite or any of a myriad possible combinations.
At different times these voices battle for dominance within us. We each have inner dichotomies — poles of opposition vying for the upper hand. The Inner Catholic conflicts with the Inner Atheist, for example.
Where we find ourselves in any given point in our existence, we tend to throw stones at our opposites. In life we tend to attract to us, to “hire” in a sense our “disowned selves.” We see in others what we least like about ourselves. These “mirrors” act as a reflection to us of those parts we need to incorporate into our being, in order to feel whole and complete.
As we seek to come to complete integration of our many selves, or subpersonalities, we strive to come to our center, or as we say in voice dialogue, to develop an “aware ego”. Many books have chronicled this search for enlightenment.
Two complete opposites, almost universally, are our Inner Monogamist and our Inner Polyamorist (loving more than one in an intimate relationship). Never before has there been such debate, especially in this Judeo/Christian culture. Why does it seem that so many polyamorists are attracted to and marry so many monogamists and vice versa? If we were to imagine the center for this dichotomy, what would we find? Could it be a combination of the best of both worlds, that which I refer to as Mono-Poly?
As we observe the world around us, it doesn’t appear that mankind is truly monogamous; with our incredible divorce rate that is rapidly heading towards sixty-five percentile for us “baby boomers”. That’s not counting our infidelity rate, which is staggering. Add on top of that the “happiness factor”, those who stay together only because of the kids, the bills, the family, habit, etc. and the figures really get alarming. What’s going on here?
Despite all of the above, it does appear that we humans do tend to “pair bond”. Even at the east and west poly conferences last year, it was observable; twos seeking three, couples seeking couples, even those “expanded group marriages” within them appeared to have groupings, two by two! Lets now examine the pros of each lifestyle.
With monogamy, one can embrace the creation; man/woman, Adam/Eve, two by two, the dyad, romanticism. Many find it fashionable to trounce romanticism, but face it; romance is fun! It gives one that chemical rush, that “high” of a new love, NRE (New Relationship Energy)!
Monogamy reinforces the security of a stable home, Mom and Dad, someone we can turn to in thick and thin, loyalty, commitment, our “best friend”. Monogamy provides that special someone to whom you can confess your deepest, darkest secrets; that person with whom you have that “special” something that only you two know and share.
Monogamy resonates the feeling the feeling of forever, security, safety, warm fuzzies. It provides that person to whom you return when your poly adventures turn sour and they “dump” you.
Spiritually it resembles “the split-apart”, the “twin flame”, symbolized in the yin/yang. The twin flame is that one special person that for some inexplicable reason you feel this incredible bond that transcends time and space. When you meet that person, it bowls you over. You connect, not just on one or two chakras, but on all chakras. You realize how you never really completely connected with anyone else before and if they left, you would never go this deep ever again. It is a merging; a oneness with Man/Woman/God/Goddess/Universe.
Historically, says Dr. Helen Fisher (Anatomy of Love, Norton: 1992), monogamy insured at least two people stayed together and committed to their child’s survival; staying together until he was “weaned” and somewhat self-sufficient before parting (about 4 years).
Now that we’ve shown the virtues of monogamy, what possibly are the the pros of polyamory?
Obviously the first thing is “variety is the spice of life”. In polyamory we have sexual variety, which is very exciting and attractive to many of us. We also have more than one person with whom do things with, so one person is not trying to meet all of our “needs”, which is virtually impossible.
In polyamory, one has many mirrors in which to reflect; many points of view in which to learn and grow. In a poly household, there are many hands to accomplish tasks, to pull resources together.
Polyamory resonates the security of the “tribe”; the memory of which resides deep within many of us. With numerous to defend the women and children and assure their survival, the survival of the tribe, the children and continuance was assured against predators and foes.
As souls we appear to be created in soul groups that find one another lifetime after lifetime. We have many “soul mates” that we have loved through many lifetimes; that we have loved in various fashions time and again. As souls we know that we have an endless, boundless capacity to love. Polyamory brings our natural state of loving oneness and that ability to love all into the physical.
Statistically it appears that our marriages and dyadic relationships seem to last on the average of 3.5 to 4 years. Currently there are no real statistics available on poly relationships. We can only speculate as many remain hidden to protect their lifestyles and their families.
In my poly group, I have seen first hand the trials and tribulations of loving more than one. It is certainly not an easy path to undertake, no easier than monogamy, it appears. Broken hearts happen here as well.
Recently, I heard one staggering statistic from a local Hawaii talk show host, Kevin Hughes, which made me stand up and take notice. He said that swingers stay married on the average of 23 years! Wait a minute… 23 years! Let’s take a look at that one! So I did.
I had noticed in conversations on the Internet that there are many who define themselves as “swingers” who are actually couples seeking other couples with whom to love. They just don’t have any other models. They’ve never heard the vocabulary. Perhaps they really are poly?
I had noticed that I myself had been passing judgment and throwing stones at swingers, if only to myself. I wanted to observe things first hand, see what was really going on. So, I asked my husband, Sasha, if he wanted to check out one of the swinger’s parties. After some debate, we decided the best course of action was to open up invite the local swingers organization to have a party at our house. This way, we would be able to make the most scientifically accurate observations. With some reservations and much anticipation, the party began.
What we discovered from our party is that swingers traditionally do not allow any single men in their functions. Parties are strictly couples with once in a while the occasional single woman, who is usually bisexual.
They do what I call “inclusionary lovemaking”. One man told me, “I would never imagine going somewhere and making it with anyone without my wife. We are a matched set. Love me, love my dog”.
In swinging, there doesn’t appear to be any “mini-monoging; that little mini-affair away from home, discreet, unseen, separate from one another. Swingers seem to love together, in parties, with another couple, in the same room, or out of the room but not very far out of site from one another. They always remain connected in some way; sensing each other; feeling each other. Rather sweet, huh?
I’m not advocating that swinging is “THE MODEL” for all of the world. It is just that I no longer throw stones at them and I’m now taking a deeper look. I see the love. Many swingers develop lifelong friendships with those whom they engage in sexual play.
One thing to notice is that there are only about 200 in attendance at each poly conference each year where there are more than 3,000 who attend the Lifestyles Conference for the whole time with approximately 10,000 additional attendees for the daily events attending the workshops visiting booths and exhibitions.
I feel that, in the final analysis, we act from “choice.” Even if we define ourselves as belonging to one relationship type, it appears that life throws a wrench at you; someone comes into your life; you respond with love; and soon you find yourself somewhere else along the continuum. After all, the only thing constant in life is change.
Perhaps that’s truly what Hal and Sidra Stone talk about when they speak of centering oneself and the “dance of the selves” as the path to awareness and wholeness in life.
As we seem to go from lifetime to lifetime experiencing being every religion, race, color and creed, we find within our soul group that we have experienced being every imaginable configuration of friends, family and lovers. We do this dance time and again, hurting and being hurt, until one day we, find that we have completed all karma, our soul group reunites in bliss and we return home to “go out no more”. Bless free will. Enjoy the adventure.Namaste
BISEXUALITY, MONOGAMY AND POLYAMORY by Jillian Page in The Montreal Gazette
One of the biggest misconceptions about bisexual people, I am learning in my
exploration of the subject, is that we are all polyamorous, that we have open
lifestyles that see us engaging in multiple sexual relationships. Note the word
“open” in that sentence. People who engage in polyamory, in theory, have the
full consent of partners, as opposed to people who have “affairs,” in which they
don’t have the consent of partners and are basically cheating on them.
And then, apparently, there are some who think being bisexual is all about
having sex, sex, sex and more sex with multiple partners. It’s not, of course.
Being bisexual doesn’t mean we are all “swingers.”
The fact of the matter is, bisexual people are mostly monogamous, from what I am
reading. We have the capacity to love men, women and gender-variant people — as
in, love transcends gender — but when they fall in love with someone and settle
down, they do the traditional mating thing and are faithful to each other and
yadda yadda yadda . . .
Note that I started the last sentence with the personal collective pronoun “We”
and switched in the middle to “they.” It wasn’t a grammatical mistake. I am a
polyamorist at heart, as well as a bisexual. But just because I embrace
polyamory in my heart doesn’t mean I actually practice it: I don’t, because I
have never had a significant other (SO) who accepts it. Every SO I have had in
life would have dumped me if I actually engaged in a polyamorous lifestyle.
Sigh . . .
I’ve also been reading that bisexual people face a fair bit of discrimination,
known as biphobia, from not only some heterosexual people, but from some gay and
lesbian people, as well. Yes, you read that correctly. It kind of startled me,
too. Apparently, many gay and hetero people believe you must be either
heterosexual or homosexual. There has even been talk of removing the “B” from
LGBT. I’m still researching all of this, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this
sort of biphobia is rooted in monogamy and the incorrect belief that bisexual
people are compulsive swingers.
Sooo, now I’m wondering about the discrimination faced by polyamorists, or
would-be polyamorists. Suddenly, instead of seeing sexual orientation as
heterosexual or lesbian or gay or bisexual, I am seeing a bigger picture with
monogamy vs. polyamory, and I am getting the sense that polyamorists may face
more discrimination than all of the others combined. Sure, polyamorists can be
heterosexual or lesbian or gay or bisexual and face discrimination for those
orientations, but then we face even more discrimination from HLGB people because
we are polyamorous . . .
Hmm . . . Interesting, though I am not going to lose any sleep over this. But my
new exploration has now expanded to include polyamory.
|The stimulation and energy was so intense that I thought I’d pass out from excitement. I rode the waves of my orgasms higher and higher and higher. I’d never experienced so many types of orgasms; they were so awesome they amazed me. Unlike any I’d ever experienced before, they came in so many variations increasing in frequency and intensity as the night rolled on.Feeling the different and diverse energies of the four penises that freely flowed in and out of me was extremely stimulating and erotic. I connected with something deep and ancient within me. I thought ‘‘this is the true nature of woman; this incredible ability to experience this depth and intensity of erotic joy, love and bliss’. I felt that in that moment, I represented all women throughout all time. I knew that the experience I was so blessed to feel that night is every woman’s birthright, if she so chose. I knew deep inside that feeling many penises and the love and adoration of many men at once is the natural state for women. I knew that there were other times, other worlds, other universes where females were free from inhibitions and shame.For that moment in time, I was totally free of any fear and inhibitions. I shed a lifetime burden of repression. Once free, I became aware how cumbersome that pain, guilt and fear was upon my soul. The weight, once realized, is so impossible to bear. How have I been enduring it all this time? It’s a wonder any of us survive it.Periodically we seven lovers took a break and moved to the hot tub. We needed to slow our hearts down now and again for fear they’d explode. But we were so hot, we continued loving each other wherever we were.
We were beyond control. Even when we stopped to catch our breath and drink fluids so as not to dehydrate, we’d fondle each other. I remember smiling as I watched Stan slip up behind Jill and enter her, their hips gently pulsating as we paused momentarily to talk.
I felt intense love for everyone. I’d died and gone to heaven; or perhaps for that moment, we’d brought heaven to Earth. We’d dived in a pool of love which completely surrounded us, immersing us in divine love and sacred spiritual sexuality. We felt the oneness of all, experienced universal consciousness and connection to God herself.
I looked over and saw Jill riding Sasha’s lingam as he lay beneath her, a silly grin frozen on his face. I thought how cute he looked and felt such love for the two of them. Jill was moaning and singing, rocking, deep in a trance, obviously in a state of extended, full-body orgasm. Suddenly, she moaned and let out an incredible sigh of release from deep within her soul. She rolled off Sasha like a limp, wet doll, collapsed and instantly fell asleep.
Sasha was still erect. We have a relationship agreement that he saves his ejaculate for me. He nodded and I crawled up on top of his still throbbing lingam and eased it deep inside me. I groaned. He felt so good. Sasha loves nothing more than to service his Goddess, his beautiful wife, me.
I looked into his eyes, my beloved, my twin flame, soul mate, the other half of me. The connection was complete. I was so highly aroused I hadn’t realized that I was simultaneously in my body and above it, experiencing and observing all that had happened. As I rode Sasha harder and faster, I zeroed in on his left eye, the God eye, and found myself again amidst the now roaring waves of pleasure. I grabbed his astral hand and rode on home back to source while sending energy in a circuit up my chakras, through his chakras and back again through mine. I sent my full consciousness to my genitals, connected with my power chakra and felt the deepest most intense orgasm I’ve ever imagined. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh.
Acetylcholine (ACH), that delightful body chemical that makes one fall asleep, raced through my body and began to overcome me. I felt myself relax. I stopped moving, sensed my body and expected to collapse into dreamland as Jill had done shortly before. But relief did not come.
I was still aroused! I looked at Sasha and he nodded and smiled. I went at it again, riding his lingam. I moved faster, harder, faster, harder. I felt myself rising, higher and higher. We merged completely. We became ONE! We flew outside of time and space. The orgasm I felt was so intense my brain exploded with stars in a cosmic display of creation. The energy blew out the top of my head, cascading in a thousand invisible lotus blossoms all around us. Chemicals rushed through every molecule of my body, clear to my fingers and toes. I heard myself sing the lover’s song of bliss while Sasha let go his familiar regal roar as he released the seed he’d accumulated from the whole night of building up and holding back. His love juice poured deep inside me. It felt so warm and loving as his fluids filled me. His love poured from his heart and consumed me. I was eaten alive as I gobbled up every morsel of him. Yummmmm. I kept coming and coming, so much I thought I’d never be able to stop. My body pulsated with creas, those kundalini energy waves and pulsations that look like a petite mal seizure but feel exquisite to the one experiencing it. Sasha and I gave God a high-five as we looked her right in the eye!
We laughed, wiped the tears of joy from our eyes, collapsed and at last fell fast asleep and dreamed the well-deserved dreams of angels.
Despite recent advances for marriage equality, the rights and protections associated with that ancient institution remain reserved for pairs. Folks whose romantic and sexual relationships include more than two are still widely scorned in popular culture, so much so that same-sex marriage campaigns often emphasize that the couples they represent are “committed.”
But commitment is not the sole purview of monogamy. For those who practice polyamory (and it does take practice), the challenges inherent in holding space for and communicating with more than one person are outweighed by the opportunities for personal growth — and, to be fair, getting laid.
THIS IS WHAT POLYAMORY LOOKS LIKE
Take Kyra Fey, 42, and her partner Earthquake, 54 (not their real names). The couple is currently laying the groundwork to open up their relationship. Because each has been in a polyamorous relationship before, they know that ethical non-monogamy takes work.
“I understand why Kyra Fey is seeking another primary partner, and that it may take a long time for such a relationship to arise, with lots of dating and possibilities between now and then,” Earthquake says. “Nevertheless, we have already made plans to adjust our lives to include this person.”
These adjustments may include taking stock of one’s needs, talking about boundaries, and, eventually, sending out a signal about the change in relationship status.
“I don’t think I could be in a monogamous relationship anymore,” Kyra says. “As I’ve explored my sexuality I’ve learned that I have needs that by definition cannot be met by a single person.”
While others may describe their diverse and diverging needs in vague terms, for Kyra it’s clear and specific.
“My kink requires me to be poly,” she explains. Because she identifies as a dominant-leaning switch, Krya says she wants both a full-time submissive partner and an occasionally dominant one.
Whether connected to kink or not, polyamory appeals to a desire for freedom, wholeness, connection, and growth. Contrary to popular (and contrasting) images of free-loving hippies and religious zealots with a harem of sister-wives, polyamory can elevate both commitment and equity.
OPENING UP TO INFINITE POSSIBILITIES
Jake (a pseudonym) is 34 and currently considers himself “single.” But he is involved in a matrix of relationships, ranging from deep friendships that occasionally get physical to “flovers” (between a friend and a lover) and lovers with whom he shares physical and emotional intimacy.
“I don’t think I can ever be fully monogamous for a long period of time,” Jake says. “I’ve seen mine and others’ ability to love multiple people, and it’s transformed me for the better.”
Unlike those who hold out for their “one true love” or put their partner on a pedestal, polyamorous folks don’t expect their partner be their everything. This frees them up to act on other chemistry and connections while taking the pressure off to be all-providing.
Polyamorous relationships can take many forms and may shift over time. Rachael Palmer, 32, and Devon Chase, 30, have been married/partnered for seven years and each has casual secondary partners in addition to their primary relationship. Devon’s current secondary partner also has a primary partner and family of her own.
“The nature of our polyamory has changed a lot since we first got together,” Rachael says. “We used to only date people together and that came with its own set of rules that changed with who we were dating and, again, what made us both feel safe. For example, originally we would only date/sleep with people together and we wouldn’t interact romantically with said date without the other person around, but as we got more comfortable that changed, too. Now we date people together and separately.”
CONTROL VS. SAFETY
Though people often cite jealousy as the reason they prefer monogamy, those who practice polyamory are not immune to its effects, nor do they expect to eliminate it completely. Instead, poly folks strive to recognize, understand, and address jealousy within themselves while creating and maintaining healthy relationship boundaries to protect their physical and emotional safety.
“I do experience jealousy. I think there is a common misconception that if you are practicing non-monogamy that you don’t,” Rachael says. “For me it’s all about allowing myself to feel jealousy but taking my time in thinking about how I want to react to it. The end goal [is] to eventually not experience it, but until then I tend to try and work through it on my own. It has really forced me to rationally focus on my emotions and desires, which has led to a lot of personal growth and a strong focus on emotional self-care.”
As a result of that self-reflection, Rachael has the tools to identify and assert her needs, working with Devon to establish boundaries that respect and affirm them.
“Boundaries for me have a lot to do making sure you and your partners feel safe within the relationship — the relationship they are having with you and the relationship they in turn have with your other partners,” Devon says. “It’s all based on love, intention, communication, and treating everyone in the situation with tenderness.”
Because even if you aren’t sleeping with — or even hanging out with – your partner’s partners, you’re still in a relationship with them on some level. Which is why, even when straight folks practice ethical non-monogamy, there’s something inherently queer about it.
LGBTQ … P?
In some ways, polyamory seems like the next frontier of relationship politics. A bill that would have allowed children to have more than two legal guardians made it to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk in October, only to be vetoed over concerns regarding unintended consequences.
While the bill wasn’t presented as a measure to protect poly families, but rather to prevent children from going to foster care when a biological or stepparent could take custody, it is a step toward recognizing diverse family structures.
“I know some amazing triads and communal relationships that I believe deserve the same legal protections and responsibilities to property, hospital visitations, and taxation as dyads,” Jake says. “If I end up in such a relationship, I would certainly hope to be able to visit my beloveds should they be sick and have the ability to make important legal decisions with regard to them.”
If Jake’s call for relationship protections sounds familiar, it may be because many poly-identified folks are also queer. A 2012 internet survey of 1,100 polyamorous individuals conducted by a researcher at Simon Fraser University found that 68 percent of poly women and 39 percent of poly men identified as bisexual (3.9 percent and 2.9 percent identified as exclusively lesbian and gay, respectively). The survey — which is the largest of its kind to date — may not be a representative sample, but it reflects anecdotal perspectives.
“We’ve already had to step outside of our social programming in order to express our queerness — gay, kink, trans, fill in the blank,” Jake says. “That gives us the experience of being able to face our fears and embrace ourselves more fully in order to reclaim our sexuality, our power, and our identities while shedding guilt and shame.”
Despite that increased openness, however, many people are still closeted about their polyamorous lives. Coming out as queer may be challenging enough for friends and family to understand without throwing multiple partners into the mix.
While Jake doesn’t think his parents could wrap their minds around polyamory, Rachael decided it was important to share that part of her life with her family, for the sake of her partners and simply to clear the air.
“I think for people who don’t know much about polyamory it is easy to assume that my primary and I are having problems and that’s why we are sleeping with other people, when in actuality it’s the opposite,” Rachael says. “We fuck other people because we want to be together for a long time and indulging our fantasies and desires keeps us happy and healthy.”
MY POLY ADVENTURE: POLYAMORY, BISEXUALITY AND ME by Alexandra Caldwell
Forward from the Daily Loaf
While being bisexual, lesbian or gay seem to be slowly gaining acceptance in “mainstream” America, there is one part of my life that still begets misunderstanding or hostility from even those within the LGBT community. Yes, not only am I bisexual, I choose to be polyamorous as well.
Some people don’t understand it at all. Others mistake it for other lifestyles, like swinging. A band of bisexuals feel angry towards people like me because they think we perpetuate the idea that all bisexuals need both a man and a woman, that we’re easy, that we can’t be monogamous or other such fears.
I recently began talking with a beautiful woman (and my new crush) who poignantly wrote about why she chooses to be polyamorous. This inspired me to examine my own reasons for and perceptions of polyamory.
I had never even considered polyamory until last year but mostly because it had never occurred to me. I am extremely loyal in all of my relationships, and I would never want to cheat on someone or betray them. In our society, the only time I had heard of people dating more than one person were under such conditions. I hadn’t thought of people loving more than one person at the same time, everyone knowing about it and being okay with it. But when my husband mentioned it, it seemed both so natural and obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.
Also, the timing seemed right. I had just figured out that I wanted to kiss girls. Initially, it had seemed I’d only had two choices: I could stay married and try to ignore this new, huge part of me or I could get divorced so I could exclusively pursue relationships with women. All of a sudden there was an appealing option three: I remain married AND I date girls — either together with my husband or separately. For me, the last choice was by far the best option.
Any one of those options is a valid, respected, good choice for people in varying circumstances. I do not think that polyamory is for everyone. It’s not. People have different tastes for music, food, and movies or whether they prefer men or women, outgoing or reserved people, adventurous types or homebodies — so it makes sense that not everyone would go for polyamory — or for monogamy. People make this choice for different reasons, but both can produce beautiful, loving relationships. People have already proven that it is possible to love similar beings at the same time. We have multiple children, pets and friends that all demand our attention and love at the same time, and we generally balance those loves well.
Polyamory comes in countless forms, but there is no “right” way as long as there is good communication, respect, honesty — crucial ingredients to any poly-relationship. Some people have a primary lover and then a number of secondary lovers, who are all separate relationships but who all know about each other. Sometimes the primary and secondary lovers are intimate and connected, too. Others are in poly family groups where there is a group of lovers and everyone is connected to each other and live together — sometimes that means everyone is intimate, other times there are various combinations of people who are intimate while sharing a close, platonic love with the others in the group. There are both open and closed relationships. In open relationships, everyone involved is allowed to see other people outside of the core relationship, whereas in closed relationships, people within a specific poly group are exclusive to one another. The terms and definitions seem end less.
Originally, my husband and I set out to find a closed triad, where we would hopefully find a female who happened to fall for both of us and we’d be a happy little loving trio. While this is an ideal and many people set out to find this, we are also realistic. As in any relationship, it is a bad idea to be too rigid in what you are looking for, because ultimately reality will never live up to your expectations, and you could end up missing an even better possibility by being blinded by your supposed ideal. Also, we have to realize that the person we could find to date may want to pursue relationships outside of us, and we need to be open to that possibility. And, perhaps most importantly, it is unlikely that all three people would be equally as emotionally-attracted to one another all at the same time all at the beginning of the relationship.
Expecting everyone to fall in love with each other at the same rate is only asking for heartbreak. (Been there, done that.) Love and attraction grow at their own pace, and setting expectations too high can lead to pressure, awkwardness and far greater challenges than are necessary. Better to give the relationship some room to grow naturally and just see what develops. Triads are possible, and many people make them work, but I didn’t want this to be our only option.
Nick still holds onto the dream of the triad, but I tend to prefer we keep open minds and see what kinds of relationships come along. I think I prefer to start with dating separately and then see what happens. Nick and I have different dating styles anyway, and we end up at odds with each other or feeling frustrated by the way the other wants to date. I like to go a step or two slower than he does, so he ends up feeling held back by me, and I end up feeling pushed or rushed by him, and neither is a good way to feel at the start of a relationship. That’s when things are supposed to be happy, exciting and new. Dating separately allows us to pursue relationships at our own speed, in our own styles, and let attraction take its natural course. If attraction later forms between her and the other half of the other half of the couple as well, then great. But if not, then that is okay too.
Each relationship — or relationship attempt — teaches us new and important lessons. The biggest lesson I learned from my last failed attempt is that it’s important that our lovers have at least a friendly relationship with the other half of the couple. If Nick or my girlfriend has another significant other, then the same thing would apply. Anyone I date will have to understand that Nick is a huge part of my life, and we can’t just go about dating and ignore the fact that he’s there. It’s not a long-distance relationship where he and I live in separate places, so we all will end up being in the same place at various points in our relationship, so it’s important that everyone respects each other and can at least be friends. It is not at all necessary for everyone to be intimate, but I want us all to be able to watch a movie, have dinner or just talk without there be any weirdness. A bonus of learning these lessons is how exciting it then is when I find these important traits in another potential partner, this time realizing how special and crucial these traits are.
What polyamory is not:
Polyamory is not spouse-swapping or about casual, fleeting sexual encounters. It is an actual relationship, just like any other romantic relationship, just with more than one person. These relationships take work and commitment, and you have to feed the relationship — all branches of it — just as you have to with any successful relationship. It is not about one-night stands or casual threesomes or swinging.
That I am polyamorous does not mean that I am easy. Although sex can be a wonderful and beautiful product of such a relationship, it really is not about the sex. For me, I can’t be sexual with anyone, man or woman, without a strong emotional connection first. I’ve always been that way. Some people may think I’m strange and argue that a kiss is just a kiss, but I don’t enjoy or desire to kiss anyone without that little voice in my head saying “Hmm, I’m really attracted to and intrigued by you, and I would like to kiss you now.” Never mind anything else. And that little voice does not kick in on physical attraction alone — nor does it kick in just because you happen to be either a man or a woman. I have had very few sexual partners in my life, and I am proud of that fact. Sex is special and wonderful and something I greatly enjoy, but I don’t want to do it with just anyone.
Polyamory does not threaten monogamous relationships — for either straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual relationships. We in the LGBT community validly argue that our homosexual relationships (and our desire for marriage) do not endanger heterosexual relationships and marriages. They are separate but the same — we all are just two people who love each other and want to share our lives together. The same goes for polyamory — we are just a group of people in various combinations who love each other and want to share our lives together. Just because two women love making love to one another does not mean that is the only way for all women. And just because I am a bisexual woman who desires both a man and a woman in my life does not mean that all bisexual women want or need that.
Okay, so why poly?
The happiest times in my life have been when I’ve had a small but close group of friends with whom I can share anything and go everywhere. This has happened four or five times in my life, but as I got older, sometimes it was harder for people to realize why friends meant so much to me. They were all so distracted with boyfriends that friends would get ditched or bumped down a few notches. They never understood why I would be so hurt by this or why I didn’t think of friends more casually like they did. I think the problem for me was that I didn’t want those relationships to be lesser than the others. I didn’t see why one couldn’t invest in more than one relationship at a time, and because I was capable of that, it was hard to understand that others weren’t.
I love the idea of having a group of people to love and who love me in return, and to have that wonderful feeling of intimacy that I have craved and sought my entire life. I have my little tribe of friends, and we are wonderfully close — they’re just as much of a family to me than my family of birth. But there’s just something unique and different about the thought of that kind of closeness taken to the next level.
I adore being intimate with a woman. And not even just the sexy parts (although I absolutely adore those parts, too. All of them.) I love the emotional closeness of having a girlfriend as well. Women are so different from men, and having a girlfriend is so different from having a husband. I love them both — individually, uniquely. I love the different ways I connect emotionally with women. We have shared experiences being of the same gender, and it’s just… different. And wonderful. And as for those sexier parts? Women are amazing. I love their sweet fragrance, their silky skin, their soft curves. I love how when we hold hands, they are near the same size. I love how their bodies mirror mine but have so many exciting differences that are treasures to discover.
And I adore my man as well. We fit so well together, from our mutual geekiness to the way we work so well together as a team. From our love of German board games to the way he knows me so well. From the way I feel protected and safe when he curls around me at night to the sweet and thoughtful gestures he does for me. From his solid, manly physique to how when we hold hands, his hands are bigger than mine.
One unique aspect about me is that at least right now in my life, my desire for men and for women is off balance. I think it’s probably because I only recently discovered the wonderful world of women and it’s like I’m going through a second adolescence. My desire for men kicks in and balances out when there’s at least the prospect of a woman in my life. I hate that it’s like that right now, but that’s just how it is for me. I think this will probably even out later, after I have had more female relationships, but at the moment, this is how it is for me. I know this is not the case for many bisexual women, but I also know that I am not alone.
No one is making me choose, so why should I? Because I was raised in a society that tries to tell people that if you are a woman then you should be with a man and only one man? No thank you. That can work for you, if you like, but I choose another way.
My parents are supportive, even if my mom doesn’t totally understand it. I wish I could make her a promise when she says, “Well, just as long as nobody gets hurt,” but I can’t. It’s a relationship, after all. Has there ever been a relationship where no one ever gets hurt? It is going to happen, and it has. Love and relationships always leave trails of broken hearts, bruises and scratches. Unfortunately, that’s normal as you stumble towards figuring out what you want, who you want, and what works for you. But with each hurt comes important lessons — lessons that are crucial for the next relationship that comes around, as well as important lessons for what how things need to be to work for me and Nick, too. Each time we get hurt prevents even more hurt in the future.
With good communication, love and compromise, we can take on this exciting poly adventure together.
POLYCON 2012: Sample and/or learn how to make polyamory and bisexuality work well at the annual Harbin Hot Springs California World Polyamory Association Conference, July 12 (Preconference: Tantra for Polys), July 13-15 (Create and Enhance Multiperson Loving, starring Kamala Devi, featuring Janet Kira Lessin and Jorel Ed Elkin on Bisexuality) and Post-Conference, led by Evalena Rose) 808 244-4103
What do you do when you discover you’re gay after you’re already married?
I suppose a lot of spouses trip over themselves as they run to find a lawyer. I suppose others cry or yell or throw things. I suppose still more sprout feathers and thrust their heads into the sand. But not my husband. Actually, he was the one who told me that I’m bi.
No, it was I who sobbed into our bedspread until my eyes could hardly open. It was I who said “No, no, no” as my husband rubbed my back and told me everything was okay and that he still loves me. It was I who woke up the next morning and denied that night had any real meaning. And it was I for whom it took eight more months until I could finally learn to realize, then accept, then love the fact that I also love women.
But what then? I am married. I am loyal. I am … so gay.
Once again, Nick surprised me. First in the utter joy and relief he emanated when I finally realized that I like women, and then when he said, “This is an important part of who you are. You need to explore this and date women.” When I replied, “But I’m married,” he said, so what? He didn’t want me to deny a fundamental part of who I am or hold me back. And that’s when I learned the word, polyamory.
Now, I like monogamy. Never had I dreamed of dating more than one person at a time. I could never cheat on someone. Except, that’s the thing — it’s not cheating if everyone involved in the relationship knows about it and approves. Huh. Now that I could work with. That is, once I could admit that I like girls.
I don’t know where I’d be if it hadn’t been for Nick and my best friend, Kim, through my difficult transition period. I could be still in the fetal position somewhere, rocking back and forth in a dark corner of my closet. But Nick paved the way eight months prior, and then Kim helped get me to the tipping point of acceptance in October 2009. Out of the blue, she casually mentioned that she had once dated a couple. My head snapped to attention at that moment. Wait, you can DO that? I thought. That was immediately followed by, but wait…she really likes boys. A LOT. I mean, a WHOLE lot. So, was the couple two men or… No. The couple was a guy and a girl. Huh.
For days I couldn’t stop thinking about that. I began to unlock dusty doors hiding in the shadows of my mind, allowing myself to sneak inside and, for the first time, explore the mental images and concepts that hid behind them. I remembered a dream that I’d had more than a year before that left a smile on my lips for days without knowing why. I had been in the middle of a Babylon 5 marathon with my husband, and I had dreamed about kissing Ivanova, my favorite character on the show. Played by Claudia Christian, Ivanova was the hot, no-nonsense, badass, Russian lieutenant commander of the space station who exudes strength and beauty, bravery but also humanity. And there were also subtle undertones of Ivanova being bisexual, as it appeared her character had a quiet relationship with one of the other female characters in the show, Talia Winters. This seemed like a safe place to start my mental exploration — with a fictional character who has already indicated that she would be interested in women.
When I discovered that I liked that, I dared to open more doors in my head. I imagined myself with a woman. A real one this time. Not necessarily anyone I knew, but imagining that this conceptual woman existed beyond the TV screen. There was just kissing at first. Gentle, sweet kissing. Over the next few days I worked my way down her body, bit by bit, surprised and delighted by how much I enjoyed each new mental exploration.
And then there was that other bit. I had never considered that someone would or could date a couple. Or someone who was part of a couple. I was dying to know more. I had to talk to Kim. Although her relationship was more just casual and fun, I was shocked that the more we talked, the more it seemed like such a normal and natural concept. Of course three (or more) people can be into each other — even love each other — and that could be a wonderful, beautiful thing. In fact, it sounded ideal. I could see how stable, warm and loving that would feel — three people in a happy, loving triad. Solid, like a triangle. Maybe I could be poly afterall. Parents can love their children uniquely and wholly without taking anything away from loving the others, so why can’t it be the same for romantic love?
Finally, in a rambling, stream-of-consciousness e-mail to Kim, I poured out everything I’d been thinking and feeling and sent her a real-time documentation of the moments when my denial melted into acceptance. “So, maybe sexuality is on a spectrum,” I rambled. “Maybe there are like the red people who are totally straight, and then there are the blue people who are totally gay, and then, well, maybe there’s this big other section. So, maybe I’m just kind of purple.”
Kim stares in shock at the cake Nick baked for Alexandra’s coming out party. Yes, I’m purple. Beautifully and wonderfully purple. I love my husband and his maleness, but I also distinctly love women. At long last, I was finally okay with being bisexual. Kim made me safe and normal and, finally, free.
My two champions and best friends threw me a coming out party. Nick even baked me a pussy cake. Yes. That’s right. A French vanilla cake with vanilla fudge frosting, pink sugar sprinkles and topped with fruit in the unmistakable arrangement of a vagina. A half a mango, raspberries, grape jelly and cocoa powder came together to create a beautiful, delicious … um, yeah. I don’t even need the photos Nick snapped to remember the look of delighted disbelief on Kim’s face when she realized what the cake depicted.
Then came the more challenging part. How in the world does one dive into the poly world? Nick and I found an amazing support network on FetLife.com, both for my bisexuality and for polyamory. It’s kind of a
Facebook for kinky people but with a great variety of topical message forums. FetLife is primarily geared towards the BDSM community, but it also attracts many LGBT, poly and other people whom mainstream America would consider “alternative.” The biggest gift it gave me was realizing that Nick and I aren’t alone. There are so many people out there who are bi and married. So many people who are poly. So many types of polyamory, even. And so many people who are accepting of us for exactly as we are.
So what do you do when you find out you’re gay after marriage? I don’t know what others do, but we take it one day at a time, walking hand in hand through our new adventures. It is definitely a learning process, and there are plenty of obstacles and challenges that cause us to stumble and bruise. But when it comes down to it, Nick and I are best friends. We are wonderful together. We make a great team, and we can’t imagine our lives without one another. We also know that I need a woman in my life, so we are working on fulfilling that need. We haven’t found the right woman yet or even what kind of situation would work best for us, but with good communication and trial and error, I know we’ll figure it out. We’re in this together.
And there is no limit on love.
Meet, vet, celebrate with other bi-polys at the Harbin Hot Springs California Polyamory Conference July 13 -15
Contact us at 808-244-4103 or 808-214-3442 cell firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com