The Best Gift I Ever Gave Myself
I am polyamorous. When I turned 45, the gift I gave myself for this “big birthday” was figuring out this whole messy big beautiful wonderful thing. (Of course, if my mother saw this article, she would ground me for life, despite my age and the distance of an ocean and half of Europe between us. This is a serious infraction of “the rules,” you know.)
Throughout my life, sex has played an important role and had a place of prominence. From being introduced to it in a perverted abusive manner when I was too young to really understand sexuality, to being taught that unmarried sex was dirty and wrong, yet it would be a beautiful thing within a sacred marital relationship, to knowing, deep inside, by the time I was in college that I was emotionally capable of having sex without being “in love” (however, admitting that would have been disastrous in my circles.)
Compulsory monogamy, with all the cultural and religious expectations that go with it were, for 45 reasonably normal years, the only thing I knew. I didn’t even know the concept or word polyamory existed. I certainly didn’t know that this life, with its possibility of multiple, connected, loving, relationships carried out at the same time, with the full consent and knowledge of everyone involved, was even a “thing!”
Polyamory, as I practice it and understand it is: The possibility of multiple, connected, loving, relationships carried out at the same time, with the full consent and knowledge of everyone involved. (Please understand this is a very simplified statement.)
Now that I am familiar with the term, I have come to understand how well it fits. It suits me beautifully. The first time I tried it on, I felt amazing. I felt almost as beautiful as I did when I tried on my wedding dress for the first time, turning from side to side, admiring the fit in the full legth mirror. It just makes sense for me. It puts into perspective all the years I was happily single, and enjoyed dating, enjoyed multiple sexual relationships, both with and without “strings.” But the fact that I could cheat on someone, despite caring about them and despite hating the dishonesty, was something I hated about myself. I was truly unaware that there were ways to have these relationships, in an honest, open way.
I didn’t get married until I was 40. I would never have admitted this then, but I was terrified by the idea that I would never have another first kiss. Knowing that I would never touch a another person’s body sexually, that the fun and excitement of flirting, getting to know someone, falling in love, and having this particular closeness with a person other than my husband, was devastating. But I could hardly let myself feel that. I couldn’t acknowledge my feelings about this, because after all, I was marrying the love of my life, my soul-mate, “The One,” right? He would meet all my needs, and be there for my every thought, wish, and desire. So how could I even worry about never having those other things again?
After all, I was marrying the love of my life, my soul-mate, “The One,” right? He would meet all my needs, and be there for my every thought, wish, and desire.
Ultimately, and only two short years later, we didn’t get divorced because I cheated. We didn’t even get divorced because he cheated. That is a whole other story too long for a blog post. (You’ll have to wait for the book!) I actually, I loved being a wife. I loved being strongly “pair-bonded.” I loved all the little things that go along with domestic bliss. (During the times that there was bliss.) My marriage relationship was actually my first truly monogamous, serious, romantic relationship. It taught me a lot about myself and is now a cornerstone of how I view myself in relationships. (Despite being divorced, experiences that teach you more about yourself, are never bad in my estimation.)
But now, a little more than three years after the divorce, and after traveling the world (Literally! I’ve been in more than 40 countries during this time!) I have come to so many new conclusions about life, love, relationships, and sex. I guess you could say, I am a seeker. A learner. I never met an experience I didn’t like. I have been called an experience junkie, and while the person using that term meant it in a negative demeaning way, I choose to claim it for the wonderful gift that it has been for me. Exploring polyamory and kink, choosing to be open in my relationships, allowing them to develop naturally, and living as sex-positive a life as I can, has been an amazing wonderful gift to myself.
Exploring polyamory, exploring kink, living a sex-positive a life as I can, has been an amazing wonderful gift to myself.
Reading, learning, feeling, and doing have all been helping to shape this new understanding. I never like to “be” something that I don’t really understand. Lots of books, lots of discussions, and plenty of relationships, have helped me to form the foundation of this new life. Writing about it is, for me, the most logical next step. I write about everything in my life, so why not this?
Well why not, is actually a loaded question. Societal norms, discrimination, among other things, being a woman living a life that many will misconstrue as promiscuous, certainly has a distinct set of challenges. Writing about it exposes me to those small minds, and people with opinions.
Despite those challenges, I aim to open the discussion, talk about the progress, and maybe even tell you a few sexy stories along the way. Won’t you join me?