Consensual Non-Monogamy in Media


I think Mayim Bailik is a perfectly fine actress and I hear she’s a passable scientist as well. That’s great. However, as a person, she has always rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t go out of my way to watch her talk. And yet, videos and stories about her come up from time to time on my social media. It’s always something horrible. She is constantly talking about ideals that went out in the 1950’s.

Example: During the #MeToo movement, she did a video that I saw reposted where she said that she had always dressed conservatively to avoid harassment. She went on to say that people weren’t nice to her because she dressed conservatively. Then, she said that obviously she was right all along because other girls trying to make it as actresses had been harassed. Her basic point? Dress like a whore and you deserve to get harassed.

It was slut-shaming, and it was disgusting. I was deeply sad that women with influence still say such shitty things.

So, when a video of her bashing my lifestyle came up in my feed the other day, I was pissed. It turns out it was an older video, but it still made me mad enough to post about. She went on and on about how unsettling she finds polyamory, and how we (poly folks) don’t have “real” relationships.

See for yourself exactly how shitty and clueless it was:

She literally tries to invalidate me and the way I live by saying that as a woman, I can’t possibly be in an open relationship without being wrong. Women, according to her, can’t possible care about anything but making babies. We need to “lean into our biology” by only having sex with men that we want to procreate with. I can’t tell you how offended I am that her narrow view of biology and relationships is being projected onto me. Plus, she acts like people in open relationships are the ones who are spreading STIs. That’s is the exact opposite of the truth.

Monogamous people are the ones who are constantly cheating by having one-night stands with strangers. If you don’t plan on an open relationship, then you cheat “by accident.” Statistically monogamy is an illusion. If you think your wife or husband doesn’t cheat on you, then statistically, you’re probably wrong. These one-night stands are how STIs are spread, because those people aren’t thinking at all about what they are doing. They are acting on instinct.

Meanwhile, people who are poly tend to be much more cautious about sex.

For example: the idea of a one-night stand with a stranger seems insane to me. I don’t need to get HIV or that flesh-eating STI going around in England. I don’t want to put my husband or any of my secondaries in danger! I have responsibilities, and I would never take that lightly.

So in the poly community, we talk about sex in mature ways and get tested before adding a new partner to our cluster. There are exceptions sometimes, but they are carefully considered exceptions, not one-night stands in a club bathroom.

Monogamous people cheat even when they are happy. And, because they are sneaking around, they are more likely to engage in irresponsible hookups that spread Sexually Transmitted Infections. The data is in: Monogamous people are spreading the STIs.

Anyway, later Maryim Bailik tried to fix her terrible video by posting this:

She does apologize for being a close-minded person. However, the way she does it is pretty rude. She says “It’s all so complicated” as if it’s too hard to understand us, so that it’s not worth it.

I get that she was doing her best to apologize for being ignorant, and I appreciate that she tried. However, she can’t really be that sorry about promoting her 1950’s values because she has always done it, and she still is.

At the end, she gets mad at us. She says we “make her feel boring” about being a person who chose to marry, be monogamous, and breed. It makes me really mad that anyone would expect me to be responsible for their choices! If she feels boring, then she should make different choices. However, she should not blame people who lead more interesting lives.

I guess I’m just tired of how we always get portrayed as immoral sluts who cannot feel love. And then, if we work hard to justify our lifestyle, then they still find a way to be down on us because we make them feel bad.

Dating Separately vs Dating Together

My husband and I live on an isolated island, so we don’t have much opportunity to date. We’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s a very small community. (Thankfully we move to Oahu at the end of this year and so this forced monogamy is almost over!)

However, when we have the chance to date (everywhere but here), we usually do it separately. He does his thing; I do my thing. And then we meet up and share thoughts and feelings together.

On rare occasions, we have been lucky enough to find someone who was interested in both of us. One of the amazing humans who we had played with when we lived in Korea came to see us recently, and we all spent a week together. And, I guess I am just thinking about how sometimes that can work out.

I mean, it’s harder.

If I date someone that my husband does not date, that is one relationship.

If he dates someone that I do not date, that is a second relationship.

And then, since we are seeing each other, that makes a total of three relationships.

However, when you have a triad, there is so much more going on. You have each individual relationship on it’s own (his with her, his with me, me with her, me with him, her with him, her with me.) But then, you also have the overall dynamic when you are together. It’s an added layer of complication that I don’t usually opt for. I mean, I like to keep things simple. Extra stuff tends to make things more complicated.

But, I just want to celebrate the fact that sometimes it works out. With this one amazing, special, beautiful unicorn, it has always worked out. It’s never awkward of weird; just happy.

Those moments when things really go well are so rare and so awesome that I am just glad, and I just wanted to give a shout out to all the people who like to date couples and who blend seamlessly into what is already going on. Thank you for existing.

A Unexpected Conversation

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Part of my month-long vacation this summer involved going to see some old friends from college. After some adventures, we ended up sitting at a Denny’s late into the night and talking about “how we really are.” When the girls found out that I was in a poly-amorous relationship, they immediately unleashed a torrent of jealously at me.

I should note, these are not kinky girls. They are what I would consider to be pretty vanilla and normal (all things considered.)

And yet, when I mentioned that my husband and I occasionally slept with other people, they were overcome with wonder and asked me how I managed to convince him to allow such a thing.

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Now of course, that is just silly. I didn’t have to “convince” him and he doesn’t “allow” it. It is just who he was when I met him. It is also how I am, and so it worked out nicely for us.

At that Denny’s at 3am, the more the girls described their experiences with their husbands, the more I became convinced that being poly is an orientation. My college friends are hard-wired like me, to want multiple partners. And unfortunately, their husbands are not.

This made me curious how common it is in each sex, and so I did a bunch of digging. It doesn’t seem that the topic has been studied yet, so if you know a social scientist looking for a thesis idea, please suggest it to them. In the meantime, my anecdotal evidence will lead me to suspect that it is more common in females.

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If being poly truly is an orientation (as many have suggested,) then I guess that means it’s something you can’t talk a partner into if you want the relationship to last. You either have to find someone who is, or become comfortable with being monogamous. At least, that is how it would seem to be.

It’s funny because when I first realized I was poly, I suspected that everyone was like me, but they were all pretending not to be. I held on to that belief for a long time, and used to get annoyed when people told me that they just couldn’t imagine it. I would blame their religion or their upbringing, and imagine that they were being held back from something they really wanted deep down.

However, after years of running workshops and counseling people on everything to do with sex, I am convinced that some people really aren’t into sleeping around. They just want one human to call their own, and consider that to be enough. I think that is really just how some people are.

Thank all the gods both living and dead that I found a mate who wasn’t monogamous.

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Orientation Series: Review

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We have taken a look at several orientations.

There is the spectrum of Kink to Vanilla (and everything in between.)

There is the spectrum of Gender Orientation (and all the possibilities there.)

There is the spectrum of Polyamorous to Monogamous (and all the funny quirks of that.)

And finally, there is the wild and wide variety of Sexual Orientations.

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All of these things are components of who you are. We as human beings are extremely complicated, and there are so many components to a person’s personality; (all of which determine important aspects of who you are.)

This can be beautiful and fun, but it can also also make you feel helpless. I know a lot of people who worry that they are “so weird that they will never find anyone who fits them.” I understand that. I used to feel that way. Everyone fit with me in one or two ways, but not completely. All I can say is that these days, with the Internet, there is hope.

To quote a friend of mine:

“You may think you are hopelessly weird because you can only get off if you are fucking a guy in a donkey costume with a vibrating strap-on. But honey- with the Internet you can find someone who wants to be that donkey.”

Take it from a pansexual guy in a girl’s body who is kinky beyond all reason and polyamorous by nature: If I found someone who fits with me, anyone can find a match.  Good luck to all those still looking.

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Polyamory Series: Conclusion

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Over the last several weeks, I have been writing a series on polyamory. Here are the posts in order in case you want a single link to share with a friend:

1. The Introduction: This is about what polyamory is, but also about what it is not. I find that defining things is a really useful way to start out a discussion about them, and the introduction hits all the key points (in my opinion) so that an informed discussion can follow.

2. Not About Threesomes: Often new people will assume that we all go around having sex with each other. Of course, we don’t. Often poly people are only ever interested in having sex with one person at once. However, they enjoy having a variety of relationships because they can’t get what they need from only one relationship.

3. The Poly Community: This explains in a step-by-step way how many relationships are often involved in a poly community, and how important each of them is.

4. Poly and Kink: Not all Poly-amorous people are kinky, and not all kinky people are poly. However, there is a lot of overlap (which of course why a series about polyamory is on a kink blog in the first place.)

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And then of course, we come to the conclusion.

I just want to remind everyone that Polyamory is really not something that people ever seem to choose. You just are, or you are not. So if you have always been curious and your partner can’t stand the thought of it, please don’t think that a little convincing is all they need. They probably just aren’t poly, and no amount of force can change that.

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Polyamory Series: Not About Threesomes

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Last week I kicked off the Polyamory Series with a basic introduction to the idea of polyamory. If you have not read it yet, please do.

Today, I want to talk about my deep and unending annoyance with men who hear “polyamory” and think “I am going to fuck so many bitches and have all the threesomes.”

Polyamory is not about you sleeping around while your partners do not, nor is it about having threesomes. Poly-amorous people do sometimes have threesomes and even orgies, but that is absolutely not what it is about.

I am going to spell this out in great detail because I am sick of people getting this wrong.

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I have been on a lot of dates in my life. I tell guys prior to dates that I am married, and that we are poly-amorous. I always think that is quite clear, and then I hear nonsense like:

1. “My wife doesn’t know, but that’s okay, right?”

2. “My wife is only into it if you will have sex with both of us.” 

3. “My wife would have to like your husband.”

4. “We just want a unicorn so your husband is out.”

And a bunch of other offensive and ignorant shit.

Let’s talk about how sick to death I am of coupes who think it’s less complicated if they date a girl together than if they both have relationships they want.

*Sigh*

It’s just not less complicated. And the logic behind this misconception is often so tragic that it makes me miserable.

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Threesome logic for vanilla monogamous types:

Guy: I want to fuck two bitches at once!!!

Girl: I guess it’s not so bad if he sleeps with someone else if I am there? And you know, maybe she will be better at going down on me than he is… 

No! Just fucking no!

If you really think you want a unicorn (term for a girl that dates a couple) then you had better both be thinking about what YOU can do for HER, because there are very few women with the slightest interest in dating a couple and they do not exist to please you.

So please guys, get it out of your head that some beautiful girl is going to come along and think that your balding head is hot and that your fat wife is gorgeous, and about how she wants to take you both on at once.

This. Will. Never. Ever. Ever. Happen. 

I am so sick of self-centered men that I can hardly stand it sometimes. Even if you have six-pack abs and a 10 inch dick, you are not god’s gift. Trust me. I have one of those at home already, so don’t think you are all that and a bag of fucking chips.

I am not impressed.

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So first pet peeve is men who think polyamory is in any way related to threesomes. Just stop it, okay?

While we are on the subject of threesome though: Guys often act like they want it and girls don’t and it’s some goal to quest over. It’s always losers on reddit.com or 4Chan.org going on and on about how they just want to get two girls in bed.

Again: No one is obligated to give a shit what you want.

Instead, let’s talk about what women want.

If they want a threesome, it is probably with two guys. One of the most common straight female fantasies is to sleep with multiple men. So stop thinking about all those boobs you are going to grab think about what your girlfriend wants.

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Next, remember that a threesome is probably not the best course of action. If you want to sleep with other people then you should. However, it is ridiculous to expect your partner to agree with you on who to sleep with. That is why you should both choose your own partners and have separate relationships with them that are not part of your primary relationship.

You might want a threesome with two girls (not that any of you ever know what to do with them when you get them,) but your girlfriend probably wants to date a guy that is different from you because women like variety, too. So go date your different girl, and let your girlfriend go date someone else as well. Forget the threesome thing.

And ladies: Please try to have the self-esteem to not be used and pushed around. Don’t be talked into a threesome that you don’t want because the unicorn can always tell. Trust me.

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Anyway, the point of all this is:

Stop confusing threesomes with polyamory. They are not the same thing. They are often mutually exclusive categories, in fact.

It’s very important that you understand this. Polyamory does involve dating more than one person at a time. However, it does not mean having sex with more than one person at a time.

(Sometimes it is easier to explain something by what it is not.)

Polyamory Series: Introduction

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Polyamory  is typically the practice of, or desire for, sexual relationships where individuals may have more than one partner, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.  It has been described as “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.

So first, let’s talk about monogamy. This is a relationship between two people that is sexually exclusive. A lesbian couple, a gay couple, or a heterosexual couple; may fall in love and decide that their relationship should be exclusive and not include anyone else.

Hallmarks of this kind of behavior are jealousy, restrictions and rules for spending time with people outside the relationship, and an idea that the other person is “all you will ever need.”

Does this mean that Poly couples don’t ever get jealous? Of course not! You can have three boyfriends and a girlfriend and still be jealous if your husband wants to spend Valentine’s Day with someone else. And yes, the relationship webs that can develop in a poly community are often very complicated. I will get into that later in the series. For now, I just want to explain some hallmarks of Polyamory.

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First: Consent.

This is the most important part and so I can’t possibly stress this enough. In a poly relationship it is extremely important to be up-front about everything, be aware of your feelings and ready to discuss them, and never lie to your partners or knowingly date someone who has a partner that they are lying to.

Make sure all relationships are always with the consent of everyone involved!

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Second: STDs.

You can’t “just trust” a new boyfriend when you have other people whom you are in love with who can be hurt by your bad decisions. This means that trading STD tests becomes very important before sexual contact. I know the vanilla monogamous folks just hook up in bathrooms and parking lots and sometimes that can sound hot. However, that’s not how a responsible person behaves. Well, not unless they want to wait six weeks before any play with any other partner and then get an STD test to show that they didn’t pick up any parasites.

Remember: Condoms are not 100% effective so use them, but also be responsible and get tested!

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Third: Talking.

I am not saying you have to talk all the time. You can play scenes and hook up and go on dates and not think about things a lot. However, you do need to make sure to check in periodically with each person you are dating. You need to make sure that the people in your lives are not holding any resentments inside that could explode and cause drama for the rest of the community. It is the responsibility of every person in the community to head off problems before they happen by making sure that everyone they care about is okay.

Remember: No one likes the guy or girl in the community who is always surrounded by yelling and drama.

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Forth: Tertiary Relationships.

There are going to people in your life that are not there by your choice. For example, I am sort of a wild card because I don’t have a type. I am pan-sexual and I am known for appreciating whatever someone is unique for. I have dated guys who were dumb as a post because I liked the way they deferred to me. I have dated both a rocket scientist and an experimental particle physicist. And, I dated a girl who is a professional translator and is out-of-this-world smart. None of these people have anything in common. They have different genders, intelligence levels, sexual orientation, kink orientation, and disposition. As you can probably tell, I want to try all the things! So anyone I date seriously has to be willing to handle the parade of random humans that marches through my life.

Let me be clear: You don’t have to be friends with everyone that your partners date. You can be, and often that will happen naturally. However, it’s fine if you’re not. You just have to be alright with them being in your life, because if they are dating your partner, then they are in your life. You will hear about them and see them around, and that is just how it is.

 

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Fifth: Perspective.

When you are in a poly-amorous community, you have to remember to keep things in perceptive. Your opinion matters, but you can’t be self-centered. Everyone has a different perspective, and it’s important to respect all of them.

I am always really grossed out by people that only make statements about what they want and what they thing and how they feel. Unless you live alone on a deserted island and never have any friends, you should probably grow up enough to lead with questions and express interest in others.

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In conclusion

These are just a few key points that highlight some things you should know about polyamory and the people who practice it. Over the next few weeks I want to talk about issues that come up a lot in e-mails I get and interactions I have which relate to the topic of polyamory. So, I felt an initial introduction would be a good place to start.