When I was younger, I just assumed that all romantic relationships were monogamous, and that as soon as you had the boyfriend / girlfriend conversation you would only be with that person. Because that’s the reality that society, TV, and the film industry sells to you.
I did have a couple of relationships in my early 20s where my boyfriends would ‘let me’ do stuff with women – presumably as they weren’t threatened by them (I don’t tend to date women – a blog on that coming soon), and also one of them liked us having threesomes with other women. But I wasn’t really allowed to do anything with other men. This was a massive double standard on that guy’s part since I would literally let him fuck other women in front of me. But anyway…
I think I’ve actually always been polyamorous. Around that time of late teens / early 20s, I was unfaithful in a few relationships, and although I knew logically it would hurt the other person, I also didn’t see why I couldn’t be with two people at the same time.
When a boyfriend cheated on me at the age of 19, I was a bit annoyed, but not massively. I went to visit him to try and ‘sort things out’, we all went for a went for a walk, and me and the other woman swam in fucking sea together in the middle of the night. Didn’t even try to drown her once.
She did tell me I could slap her in the face at one point when I was talking to her in her room (they lived in the same block), and I did, and I enjoyed it. But that might just be the kinky side of me. In terms of jealousy, I don’t think I felt what society told me I was supposed to feel. If anything I found the jealousy kind of hot. (The story of me and him in general is far more complicated than I have space for here – but I thought that anecdote was relevant to mention).
The boyfriend I dated for a year and a half, 2014 – 2016, was very much into monogamy to the point where he said that if I even kissed anyone else, male or female, he would break up with me. This took me to new extremes of monogamy – on a female friend’s birthday night out, she went to snog me, as we often did while drunk, and I had to literally stop her and apologise that I couldn’t do it anymore. (Yes I could have just kissed her anyway and not told him, but I didn’t).
I did start to wonder whether monogamy was for me, and whether I wanted to live with all these restrictions in my relationships. After that relationship ended I decided I wanted to be monogamish. Where you are mostly with one person, but you’re allowed to have the occasional kiss or shag etc (using condoms obviously), and it doesn’t have to ruin the relationship.
This came a lot from seeing so many people in relationships cheat on their partners. I’m sure there are some people who are truly monogamous, and would never cheat no matter what the circumstances, like that particular ex, and if that works for you, then great, but I do think total monogamy is unrealistic for a lot of people.
Why can’t we just admit that we find other people attractive and sometimes want to act on that? Instead of pretending you don’t and then making things worse when you deceive someone. I feel like relationships would be a lot better if we were just more honest with each other.
I tried to put this ‘monogamish’ into practice with the ice skating guy, but admittedly I did find it difficult. In theory we were not exclusive, and when he went to Madagascar to stay with a friend he used to fuck, I told him it would be okay if he wanted to have sex with her. And I did mean it, and would have been fine with him doing it, however in practice, when I was faced with the opportunity to sleep with other people while he away, I myself turned it down – three times! From two past fucks and one potential new one. Because I actually did feel a bit guilty about it – like it wasn’t the right thing to do while I was dating him.
The potential new one was a guy who I had amazing chemistry with, who was about to move to a different country, and I just know we would have had such great kinky sex, but I didn’t do it. I fucking wish I had now.
After it ended with me and ice skating guy, I vowed never to put all my eggs in one dickhead again. And not just aim for monogamish, but more like full blown non monogamy or polyamory. Potentially dating / seeing several people at once. Not only because you miss out on experiences when you restrict yourself like that, only for them to fucking break up with you anyway. But also to try and quell my habit of getting too attached to one person, scaring them off and getting hurt. I wanted options. Which I think is probably quite an unusual reason for Polyamory, but actually one that seems to be working out quite well. Which I will go on to explain.
Around this time, something that helped me through the feelings after the break up was that I reread The Power of Now. And actually started putting it into practice. It’s basically all about intensely living in the present moment. You can think about the past and learn from it, and you can plan for the future, but you have to remember that all we really have is the now, and that everything else is an illusion. I have a tendency to get carried away with future plans when I like someone, and I think that polyamory is the height of mindfulness, because it doesn’t see relationships in terms of one attachment to one person – it’s more about that particular time you have with that person at that moment in time.
Something that has stuck out in my mind for about 14 years is when I read ‘ A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters’ by Julian Barnes. There’s a chapter called Parenthesis all about love where he quotes a writer called Mavis Gallant who said ‘The mystery of what a couple is exactly, is almost the only true mystery left to us.’ At the time I didn’t really understand, but as I’ve got older, I’ve come to realise what he meant. Being in a couple is quite a weird thing really. And it’s different for everyone.
But back to being in the moment. Why should you limit yourself?
If you have different friends to go out for drinks with or go to the cinema with, then why can’t you have different people to have romantic and / or sexual experiences with? The thing is that when it comes to sex, some people like to have this possession or ownership over someone else, and that can be where problems arise from.
I also like the idea of a spectrum. So maybe you have lovers that you also have totally non sexual moments with, but also have friends you might share a sexual or flirtatious moment with. Polyamory is more of a way of life with self contained interactions and not trying to get everything from one person. It means that if you’re dating someone who is not into a particular kink that you are, then you can always do that with someone else instead. Polyamory also suits my lifestyle because as a stripper, and a massive flirt, it means I can do all this and not worry about someone getting jealous or possessive.
So a few weeks after I decided I was going to try it out, a guy messaged me on OkCupid and we started chatting. He was in an open relationship and we agreed to meet for a drink. As soon as I saw him I fancied him, plus he was really easy to talk to. We kissed in the pub and were getting along really well. He wasn’t really taking the piss out of me as much as I like, but as soon as I told him that’s my thing, he definitely got into it.
After a few drinks, I got hungry and we went to the shop, got sandwiches and then we broke into a park and ate food, and hung out and chatted more. I told him about one of my kinks (wet and messy fetishism) that I sometimes allude to, or even take part in, but often without having the full deep conversation about it.
I don’t always feel totally comfortable talking about it, but with him I felt like I could. He said he would like to try it with me, and his positive reaction has made me so much more confident in discussing it, in fact I’m writing a whole blog post on the subject. And some jokes.
Anyway, hanging out was really fun, and at one point in the park I’d said part of me wanted to just fuck him there and then, and then he told me about him and his girlfriend’s no penetration rule. (Which is a double shame as he also said he would like to be pegged). In fact not only, do they have a no penetration rule – they actually have a no pants completely off rule, and a no oral rule. Which basically means fingering / hand jobs only.
Apparently they are building up to it. They started the open relationship earlier this year as they both fancied people that they work with, so she has a guy from work that she sees regularly, but for him the woman from his work didn’t want to see him in the context of an open relationship. (Hence being on OkCupid looking for someone he could spend time with too).
His girlfriend also sees the wife of the man she is seeing from work, sometimes with him and sometimes without. So it’s an interesting set-up. They also can’t stay over people’s houses either. (They live together). It’s an odd concept in a way because the whole point of polyamory for me is not to have rules – but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect their rules. Also the fact that we can’t go too far makes it kind of hot. Like an affair without the guilt. Obviously I am hoping in the future that we can do more, but for now I don’t mind the tease.
The second time I saw him he came over to my flat. And this is where kink really comes in. Because when you can’t fuck, you’ve got to do other stuff. When I told some people he had come round, but that him and his gf have the no penetration and no oral rule – they were like ‘what’s the point?!’ but I can tell you now that I had one of the most fun nights of my life.
We drank wine and played chess. And he suggested that every time one of us loses a piece the other person can ask you to do something. He asked me to show him my tits, then asked me to do role play where I had to dress up like I would as a stripper, but try to talk him into a game of chess instead of a dance – which was both sexy and hilarious at the same time.
I asked him to slap me in the face, and then poured a bottle of water over him #standard. He ended up whipping me and dripping candle wax on me, and then we were asking each other intimate sexual questions, and it went on for so long that we had to just give up on asking for tasks and finish the game.
He forked my king and my queen with his knight, and I lost, which of course only made me more turned on. I ended up playing with my vibrator, and then his dick, and he came all over my tits. Shame it wasn’t on my face, but I think we decided to save that. The next day he texted me saying ‘I hope you’re still annoyed that I beat you at chess’. So. Fucking. Hot.
It’s definitely an unusual experience when someone else is in your ‘relationship’, because it’s literally already their relationship. Like he mentioned that he’d told his girlfriend about my wet and messy fetish, and I was slightly annoyed. But then immediately really turned on that he’d told her something so personal about me.
He said he would like me to meet her at some point, and that might be just hanging out, or it could turn into a threesome – it totally depends. I’m quite curious to meet her actually, and part of me likes the idea of sleeping with her too. Unfortunately he said she’s not that kinky – as the thought of us hurting each other really appeals to me. Perhaps he could just tie me up and fuck her in front of me. I like that idea too.
It’s been a real lesson for me in getting used to seeing someone, but maintaining a distance. Here’s the thing – I really like him – but I don’t spend all my time thinking about him. I don’t get angsty if he doesn’t text back straight way. And of course it means I don’t feel guilty about talking to other guys and setting up dates with them. (I have two this week). I can tell him about my other sexual experiences like when I fucked the 20 year old, and we can talk openly about it.
It also helps that he’s not a frequent texter generally. So he’ll text to arrange meeting or to say he had a good time, and a bit in between for a quick catch up. But the fact that I’m not expecting to hear from him every day, or even every week, has taken the pressure off so much.
I know that he’s thoughtful, and interested in me – he’s listened to podcasts I’ve been on and he reads my blog, but there’s no need to have some perfunctory conversation about how our day went all the time. One of the things that fucked me up with ice skating guy is that he texted so much at the beginning, so it was so noticeable when he didn’t text as much.
Ironically on one of the podcasts I was a guest on in February this year I talked about being monogamish, but not polyamorous as such. I even said that I hate it when guys online in open relationships message you because they want something extra, because I’m thinking I want to be the main person, not the extra. And perhaps that was how I felt about it at the time, but I’ve definitely got a different point of view now. A girl can change her mind, after all.
Being polyamorous has also changed my perspective on other people’s relationships. In the same way I’m training myself not to presume gender, race, sexuality, and so on, as well as not having heteronormative views on sex and ‘virginity’, I’m also not presuming monogamy. Admittedly the two men I was recently interested in who are in relationships, did say they were indeed monogamous when I asked them, (one said he would have been interested in me otherwise, the other one I’m not sure), but you never know. My mother always taught me if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t talking about polyamorous sex, but the point still stands.
My ideal situation is probably to have a few people that I see regularly for dates and / or sex / kink. Although I don’t have massive amounts of free time – so not sure how frequent each one could be. Perhaps there’ll be one that will turn into more of a boyfriend / girlfriend type thing, but for me that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop seeing this current guy occasionally as well, (which means obviously they would have to be polyamorous or at least monogamish too). I enjoy his company, and I shouldn’t have to give that up. He’s coming to one of my gigs soon, and I’m looking forward to him telling me which jokes of mine he didn’t find funny afterwards, possibly over a game of chess, and some wine…