Orientation Series: Poly vs Mono

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So far, we have talked about Kink Orientation and Gender Orientation. These are things that occur on a spectrum, where there are rarely absolutes.

In my experience, being polyamorous or monogamous is also an orientation. And, like other orientations, it is on a spectrum.

You might say: How can that be? You either sleep around or you don’t, right? However as always, the world is full of all kinds of nuance.

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Example One: Katie is only interested in sleeping with her boyfriend. She doesn’t like to date, and she doesn’t want to have sex very often. This is not a reflection on who she is with. She just has a low libido. However, she knows that her boyfriend loves her and she is not insecure, so she doesn’t mind that he sometimes sleeps with other girls. He always tells her about it, and he never brings them home. This makes it easy for Katie to feel comfortable with dating a polyamorous person even though she is monogamous. She is monogamous but open.

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Example Two: Sidra really loves her husband. He is her favorite person and she cannot ever imagine her life without him. She doesn’t want anyone else to be in their home, and she doesn’t want anyone else raising their daughter. She is happy with everything about their life. However, she loves the feelings of falling in love. She loves the feeling of people finding her attractive. She has a high libido and really wants to have sex with the attractive men who flirt with her. Her husband only has eyes for her, and he is fiercely in love with her, though his sex drive is low. Thankfully, he understands that she has needs. He may not want to sleep around, but he doesn’t mind of she does. She is respectful and never brings the men home where her family might have to meet them, and at her husband’s request she doesn’t talk about what she does. They refer to it as her going on a “mini-vacation.”

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Example Three: Jack is bisexual. He is married to Jill, whom he adores. However, she is a girl, and he is bisexual. Thankfully, Jill is bisexual as well. She understands that sometimes Jack needs to be with a man. After all, sometimes she needs to be with a girl. Jack and Jill both occasionally date. They only date same-sex partners, though. It would hurt Jill’s feelings if Jack slept with another woman. And, it would hurt Jack’s feelings if Jill slept with another man. They know that some bisexual people are monogamous and choose a partner of one sex or the other and just settle down and be happy. Neither of them are able to do that, but that is okay because they are consenting adults who are happy with their non-traditional arrangement. They tell each other about their experiences with same-sex partners, and they both actually think it’s a really big turn on.

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Example Four: I am pansexual, which means that I like to have all kind of sex. Threesomes, orgies, exhibitionism, kink, whatever. I have sex with men, women, transsexuals, and virgins who have no idea what they are yet. My husband is also pansexual and doesn’t really seem to care what experience he is having as long as it is new. We have lots of sex with each other. But, we also have sex with lots of other people. Sometimes together, sometimes separately. We tell each other about it, because we both enjoy imagining each other with other people (or watching each other with other people.) Last summer he had sex with my friend, who is very straight and not interested in a girl seeing her naked. I was disappointed that she didn’t want me to be involved, but I didn’t want to deny him the experience. So, they had sex a couple nights in a row, and I hung out online. Sure, I was a little jealous. But we both have moments when we are jealous, and we recognize and manage our jealousy because we don’t want to deny each other new and exciting experiences.

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These are just a few examples of different ways in which people can be varying degrees of polyamorous or monogamous. Just remember that the key is always consent. You need to be honest with your partner about what you are comfortable with, and then make sure that they are someone respectful enough to stay within your boundaries.

Remember, it’s not cheating with consent. As long as you have consent and are respectful of boundaries, then its just good fun.

Note: I still haven’t figured out how to do Valentine’s Day, so if any of you have suggestions, feel free to let me know.

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Orientation Series: Introduction

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There are a lot of components to a person’s sexual identity. I have watched a lot of people go through various struggles as they tried to sort out who they were, and I have gone through my own as well. So, I thought it might be fun to do a series on the various aspects of a person’s sexuality.

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Kink:

Some people are not kinky at all. We call these people vanilla. However, this is actually a pretty small percentage of the population. A lot of people are only interested in specific fetishes, but they are still some shade of kink. We’ll explore this more in the post about kink orientation.

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Gender: 

In culture, gender is often portrayed as binary: male or female. However, there is a lot more to it than that. Transgender people, intersex people, and various shades of in between male and female are all part of the variety in our species.

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Mono/Poly Attraction: 

Some people really are only interested in one sexual partner. They enjoy mating with a single person for life. On the other hand, some people are are interested in having several sexual partners at a time. That is one aspect of a person’s orientation.

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Sexual Orientation: 

Again, culture portrays this as a binary situation: straight or gay. However, most of us fall of a spectrum somewhere in between, with a sexual preference but interest in both sexes. And of course, some people are asexual and just like to cuddle.

Over the next few weeks I want to explore each of these aspects of orientation in detail, and discuss various topics related to your orientation.

A Misunderstanding

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Recently someone who was fairly new to BDSM was chatting with me on fetlife.com. I mentioned that I was having some friends visit for Christmas-`a lesbian couple my husband and I knew in Korea.

He said it sounded like we’d be having some fun parties at my house at night- (implying that we were planning to have sex parties with our lesbian friends.)

The idea he was operating under was that everyone in the community just has sex with each other because he thinks that’s what kinky people do (in part I blame kink.com for this, with all of it’s orgy videos.)

 

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So let me explain something I think is very important to understand about the kink community: Because I am interested in bondage does NOT mean I will have sex with everyone else who is.

As far as I know, our house guests are monogamous. Lots of kinky couples are. That is not unusual and there is nothing wrong with that. Also, being kinky does not somehow transcend sexual orientation. To imply that my husband will be having fun with lesbians is to not understand what a lesbian is. They like women. My husband is a man. Being kinky doesn’t change the fact that lesbians are attracted to women, and men are not women.

I regret that I have to rant about this. I regret that some people do not understand these concepts.

But for the record, being kinky does not mean you immediately jump on anyone else who is kinky. Monogamous kinky people are still monogamous. Lesbian kinky people still only sleep with women. How we like to have sex does not transcend everything else that we are. That’s not how this works.

Sorry, but I just had to get that out.

Also, and Merry Christmas or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, and Happy Western New Year or Lunar New Year or whatever you like.

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Secrets and Lies

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After some of the shit I’ve seen lately, I think I need to start by saying I love my husband. Pet; you’re wonderful and I hope you realize how glad I am to have you. 

On to the topic of secrets and lies:

I can’t believe some things require saying, but life is full of weird situations and I understand that sometimes it’s hard to avoid things that you’d maybe rather not do.

But look; secrets and lies are bad.

I come from a very sex-positive mindset. I trade STD tests with potential partners and get myself screened every six months. I am in a happy, healthy, poly marriage. I am a straight-forward, no-nonsense kind of person.

With that said; not everyone can be this way. People find themselves in weird situations. For example, in the military it is very against the rules to have sex with someone who is of lower rank, because they could feel coerced and this is comparable to rape in the eyes of our armed forces.

But if you are of a high rank, and there is no one else around that is, what are you supposed to do? Star Trek TNG confronted this a few times. A good example would be the episode where Jean Luc falls for one of his officers and then has to send her into danger on a planet. They discuss the moral issues involved with that, and the emotional ones. And in the end they decide it isn’t worth it.

Now I don’t know if you guys are Star Trek fans, but I think if Jean Luc Picard can fall into a moral quandary over sex, then I’m sure the rest of us can too.

So what to do in these situations?

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Well the key BDSM rule is “safe, sane, and consensual.” I think that applies to all things.

But let’s look at an example or two.

There is a couple I am friends with who just broke up. And two weeks after the break up, the guy got married to a completely different and seemingly random girl.

Now, he swears that he never cheated in the 5 years he was with his girlfriend in a monogamous relationship. But I don’t know which is worse. Cheating is pretty bad (cheating as defined by lying to your partner about who you’re having sex with). But marrying someone you don’t really know after two weeks is also bad. So I’m not sure what’s up there, but it’s probably bad ju-ju all around.

So the girl went all Carrie Underwood and wrecked all his stuff.

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First: Ladies, let’s be classy. What kind of person does ridiculous shit like wrecking another person’s car or setting their things on fire? Come on. You are better than that. And while I’m at it, don’t hit guys either. Just because they probably won’t hit you back, doesn’t make it okay.

Second: Guys, c’mon. Really. Don’t do shit that is going to get you in trouble. If you have negotiated a monogamous relationship then don’t cheat. If you don’t want to be in a monogamous relationship, then don’t negotiate one.

I know that for a guy, it’s considered crazy to turn down a girl who wants to have sex with you. But look; it’s all about the greater good. Secrets and lies blow up in your face eventually and it never ends well. Having sex with co-workers, cheating, and other devious shit is bound to get you in trouble.

I know there are grey areas and sometimes it seems like you can have ALL THE THINGS and not get caught. And I know sometimes you just give in to impulses you can’t help and think “Oh fuck it, what’s the worst that could happen?”

But don’t be surprised when things get all fucked up because you lied. And yes, lying by omission totally counts.

If you want to be with someone who needs a monogamous relationship, then you should commit to it.

And well, if you’re like me and you just want to be wild and free; have the courage to tell people that. Defend who you are and your lifestyle, and stand up for yourself. Because if you hide who you are you will become ashamed and full of self-doubt. It’s not a good way to be.

Secrets and lies are bad. And I can’t believe I have to say that, but apparently I do.

And one last note while I’m on a role: Ladies please stop planing your life around guys you just met. It’s weird. Seriously. If you’ve known a guy for a few weeks, or even a few months, do not start naming the kids you want to have together or altering your whole life to be with them. People can get tangled up really quickly. Stuff ends up at the other person’s house, things get borrowed, etc… Don’t get tangled up any quicker than you have to. Be your own person. That’s really important.

If it happens too fast, it’s probably not healthy.

Oh, and for the love of all the gods living and dead, leave me out of it if you’re going to lie.

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What About Love?

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I have posted several blog entries about how poly relationships work. But I guess I mostly only talked about managing jealousy and having safe sex. I never talked about love.

A recent article a friend posted on Facebook suggested that you can only love one person at once. This is one of the two vanilla stereotypes that make me crazy. There are two:

1. You can only really love one person at once.

2. There is a ONE perfect person out there for you, and you must search for “the one” where everything just “feels right” with them.

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First let’s talk about loving more than one person at once.

I love my husband and he’s currently stuck in school where I can’t be, so I have to spend a lot of time chatting with him online and making skype dates. And it’s more than that; I troll the internet searching for naked pictures of hot Asian women in bondage gear to send him. I save links to articles he would enjoy and send them to him when he wakes up. I think of him every moment of every day and I think of ways to make him happy.

I also maintain several boyfriends who are long-distance. I keep in touch with them because we dated and it was fun, but then we had to move away for work. And now we live apart, but I didn’t stop loving them and they presumably didn’t stop loving me. So we e-mail and text and keep in touch. I call these “to be continued” relationships, because if we lived in the same place, we would presumably pick up where we left off.

In addition, I have two boyfriends here in Oregon. And while neither of them are long-term material for various reasons, I can’t have lots of sex and fun moments and cool adventures with someone without growing to love them. I’m not made of stone.

 

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I even have an ex that I am still ridiculously in love with and talk to all the time. (Yes, my husband knows.) Usually no one achieves “ex” status because I move around a lot and when I have to leave a place, I don’t stop loving the people there. You can’t break up with someone without a fight, in my opinion.

An ex involves a breakup. And Mr. Geek and I had a break up; maybe the worst one I’ve ever had. We even fought, which I don’t do with most people. And that doesn’t change how I feel at all, cuz I still love him to death and he knows it.

That is not all the relationships I am maintaining. There’s more. But, those are just the main ones. And this does not include friends, family, or the 300 Christmas cards I send every year. This doesn’t include lots of people who take up my time. I have never had sex with my drinking buddy here, but we still go out to lunch and spend lots of time together, so it still counts as a relationship that takes time to maintain.

In the article written by the judgmental vanilla guy, the claim is that you can not love more than one person at a time because really loving someone takes all the hours in a day.

Well, I have been in that kind of relationship. The kind where you ignore your family and friends and spend all your time with ONE person. You blow off girls night out and D&D (or whatever you do for fun) and you just spend all your time staring into the eyes of “the love of your life” all day. It is very unhealthy to behave in this manner. We all did it in High School and remember what happened? Remember how inconsolable you were when you broke up with your High School sweetheart?

Love like that has no balance. When one person is the focus of all your energy you become obsessive, jealous, paranoid, and delusional. Your imagination runs away with you every time they smile at another person. You worry about where they are when they are not with you. You insist that you would kill yourself if they died because you could’t live without them. This is not healthy behavior. This is High School behavior, and you’re meant to grow out of it.

 

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Part of growing up is learning to maintain more than one relationship at once. This means you still see your friends even when you start dating someone new. You still call your mom. You still participate in your hobbies (whatever they may be.) You don’t loose yourself in every new relationship, because as you get older you learn that you need to keep your life in balance and never let one aspect of it overtake the whole.

And yes, some people never get as far as balancing more than one intimate relationship. For some, one is all they need and all they can handle. And that is okay. I am not judging that lifestyle.

But for some of us, it’s not like that. Some of us love more than one person at a time. And neither of those lifestyles is more valid or “real” than the other.

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And now to say just a few words about “The One.”

This is a concept that is constantly reinforced all over society. You see it in movies and sitcoms and you hear people say it. “She wasn’t ‘The One.'” or “Well if he’s ‘The One’ you should get married.”

Look people; this is a mythical idea created by Disney and its not okay. You do not have ONE person who is the other half of you and that you must search forever to find. And when you find them it’s not going to be all magical and easy because love is hard work if you want to keep it, no matter who you are in love with. Love that lasts requires always courting the other person, and you must never stop bringing flowers and telling them that they are beautiful. You must never stop thinking of them when you are apart and finding little ways to show them you care. Because if you stop maintaining a relationship with anyone, no matter how compatible you are, it will die.

There certainly are degrees of compatibility. I am not terribly compatible with a football fan who is vanilla and doesn’t like to hike or watch geeky movies. Meanwhile, give me a goth kid who is a freak between the sheets, intelligent, and likes to ride roller coasters and I melt into a puddle on the floor. I swear I swoon every time I see Elon Musk speak. A D&D geek who builds spaceships is maybe the sexist thing on Earth!

So, you know, you are going to be more compatible with some people than with others in terms of interests and such.

 

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And then there is chemistry. You’re going to have it with some people and not with others. Scientists speculate that it has to do with a woman’s ability to smell a good genetic match, and that “chemistry” is the feeling of someone you would make healthy babies with. That may well be a big part of chemistry. Who knows? But it’s a thing you won’t have with everyone, even if you may like the same movies and have the same interests.

So there are people you fit better with than others. And if you’re going to get married you should certainly choose the one you get along best with. I married my best friend and we have great chemistry and similar ideas about the world, as well as a few common interests. We have great conversations and we’re able to reason through rough patches without fighting.

But that doesn’t mean that I am going to build it up in my head and say that my husband is ‘The One’ because that is nonsense.

Here’s what you do; you pick someone and you say “I want you.”

That’s all.

There’s no big secret and no one person that is perfect for you. You just pick a person and you decide to make it work with them, and then you do.

Maybe those of us in the BDSM community are farther removed from the Disney ideals. I don’t know. But my friends know this stuff, and it isn’t until I watch a sitcom or talk to some vanilla folks that I even remember this stuff is out there.

So please, can we just admit that love, with anyone, needs to be maintained to last? And if you really love more than one person, you can put in that maintenance. It really is that simple.

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