Sunday, 29 May 2016

Not Jealous? Not So Fast!

I often think that I’m not a jealous person because I feel such intense compersion when Flick is connecting with someone else in a sexy environment or when he’s fucking someone else, either in front of me or on a date. Hitting the 18-month mark on our non-monogamous relationship has taught me about a few jealous triggers that still get me.

Curse you, green-eyed monster!  I was so smug that I'd beaten you. Turns out you don't go down without a real fight.

When Flick is fucking or interacting sexually with a new partner, I'm so on board. Makes me incredibly hot to watch it. I have, in fact, orgasmed lying next to him at the exact moment he's entered someone else. But when Flick is lost to kissing or touching a new partner in a more casual setting--smooching someone else in line in the buffet at Desire Resort & Spa or coming across him making out with our girlfriend in the kitchen when they were supposed to be getting drinks--I am really surprised to feel hurt rather than wet.

That quiet intimacy is so much more painful than sexual intimacy somehow. And it's weird because I want him to feel connected and intimate with his partners. I love that our lifestyle gives him more of that intimate connection, especially as we become more polyamorous in our relationships. Maybe I just don't want to have to see it outside the bedroom because it reminds me that I tend to be affection-averse in public and it’s hard to see him with someone who isn’t. It also reminds me that some of his relationships are so much more than sexual and although it’s awesome, it is a little scary.

It’s tricky to have such paradoxical feelings. Instead of seeing public makeouts as a confirmation of a perceived ‘ice queen’ failure on my part, I want to be able to be glad he’s getting something he enjoys from someone who also enjoys it. I also want him and Iris to be able to enjoy a smooch when they want without feeling like they’re using ‘getting drinks’ as an excuse to sneak off and have fun without me.

My other main jealous trigger is when partners I have extremely limited time with are paying attention to other people in a play party situation or on a sensual, tropical, swinger vacation. We're all there to have a bunch of great experiences with many people so it only makes sense that they’d be engaging with others. It's just difficult to not feel that the other/new person is the preferred person, and that maybe my paramor isn't that into me after all, no matter how much evidence I have to the contrary.

It's easy to fall into the trap of worrying their affection for me might be displaced by their feelings or connection with someone else. I always have such a powerful jealous reaction to women I think are cooler than me, or seem a lot like me without all the crippling anxiety--like Kat 2.0 upgrade.

Although it's not impossible for a partner’s feelings to change in an instant, my fear of immediate replacement is pretty silly. I connect well with new people regularly, and it doesn’t change how I felt about my current people. It is also kind of insulting to the people I care for that I view their feelings as so changeable, and it’s pretty selfish to want to deny them the pleasure of sexy attention or experiences.

Monogamous thinking tells us that if something is shared, it is no longer valuable. It’s tells us the only true relationship or love is shared between two people, and if there is even a single blip of emotion or sexual connection for another, that relationship was a failure, a lie, or never 'real'. I don't believe that to be true at all, yet when someone I really like is smitten with another, I doubt our relationship, and wonder if what we have is ‘real’.

Most important for me to remember is that jealousy is only a feeling and it doesn’t have to mean anything more than any other feeling. It doesn’t even mean anything is wrong. It is most useful as a gauge as to whether my needs are being met. Not surprisingly, in the relationships where most of my needs are fulfilled, I feel the least jealous. When my needs aren’t being met, jealousy and it’s pal insecurity have a lot more power.

Focusing on getting those needs met rather than attempting to ‘cure’ myself of jealousy will go so much further in helping me experience the fulfillment, happiness, and sexy fun in my relationships.

After all, aren’t fulfillment, happiness, and sexy fun why we signed up for this wild ride?

Friday, 13 May 2016

I Love You. It's No Big Deal.

I am feeling way too much at present for someone who is not interested in feeling the same way about me. I know he cares about me. He has even said that he adores me, but he wants to keep an emotional distance due to our physical distance.

I get that. It's hard not to pine for someone when the feelings are strong but you can't be together regularly. But somehow the distance would feel easier to me if I felt really secure in what his feelings for me were. I really should be able to simply hear the words he's said and accept them as meaning what they mean, but then I don't hear from him for a few days and all the old doubts are back.

I think my insecurity is related to the imbalance of feelings between us. I'm in love with him and sometimes that love feels like it's destroying me.  Feeling it, but keeping it to myself is its own special level of hell. Other days, I'm able to have the emotional distance that I can feel my love for him and simply enjoy it. It's nice to be in love. Except when it fills me with despair.

I have such a fear of letting him know my true feelings. I know he doesn't want it. He specifically told me at one point not to tell him I love him or we'd need to have a serious talk about where our relationship was headed. It was said as if in jest, but I know it wasn't entirely in jest, and I'm pretty sure he'd run if he knew my true feelings. It feels more loving not to put that on him, though there are days when I'd love to just put it out there, slam my hand down on that big red button, and see what's left when the smoke clears.

There's a great article by Carsie Blanton talking about casual love - The idea is that if love weren't this big deal, this life-altering event, we could fall in love without so much of the drama attached to what can be an awesome feeling.  I love you. It's no big deal. 

These two paragraphs speak to me like crazy. "The big advantage for the lover is that falling in love will feel less scary, life-threatening, and crazy-making... If we interpret this particular set of feelings and thoughts as an epic, life-changing event, we’ll have no choice but to get really, really attached to our beloved. We’ll throw a lot of expectations at them (“Love me back! Love me only! Love me forever!”), and feel hurt and resentful if the feeling is not mutual."

"The big advantage for the beloved is that being loved will feel less like an attack, and more like a gift. The little-discussed fact is that it’s super uncomfortable to be loved when the feeling is not mutual...We panic, we get distant, we deny any interest or care for the other person, we stop returning their texts. But that’s not an aversion to love, or to the lover; it’s the attachment and expectation being hurled in our direction with such intensity. If love was casual, we could take it as a high compliment, say “thanks!”, and feel some warm fuzzies."

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Swinging in the Deep End Part 2: Anxiety Strikes Back

A recent trip to Portland to see a favourite long distance play partner found me in the midst of a giant play party linked to the local polyamory conference. I was very nervous about the party because I’d never been to anything like it before and I would also be attending with Will rather than Flick. Several days before I headed south I’d awoken to a feeling of dread and panic about the party but after talking through it with Will, I felt calmer and ready to tackle the challenge. Creeping into my brain regularly was the failure at the play party at Desire Resort & Spa in November, so wanted to get this one right. Spoiler alert: I didn’t get it right.

We were staying in the house where the party was located and Will and I discussed how we’d attend together. I’d be his date and we’d find some fun together, but as opportunities presented themselves, we’d play separately as well. I knew it was going to be tricky since I am much more insecure with people I don’t see often. Although I was excited for him to connect with people and have sexy experiences, I knew the jealousy thing would be more of a factor than it is with Flick, and it was. I felt extraneous and in the way of him finding fun so I pulled way back, and essentially avoided him. It was not the right call for me.

There are so many little pieces that contributed to the night turning into a disaster for me.
  • I was in a new space in an unfamiliar city
  • The party was huge and full of people I didn’t know
  • The first guy I met was creepily sexual
  • The ‘house’ rules for play were confusing with regards to where and how you could play - and then most people seemed to ignore the rules
  • There was a speed meet-n-greet instead of relaxed welcome circle
  • I was drained from peopling more than I normally do from previous 2 days
  • We’d been running from event to event without time for adequate meals or downtime
  • I felt insecure with regards to Will’s desire for me versus his desire for new experiences and new people.

I didn’t want to be sloppy drunk or unable to consent, so I watched my wine consumption a little too carefully, but I did a pretty good job of socializing at the beginning of the night. I chatted a bunch with people in the kitchen who I’d connected with the previous day and I expressed my clear interest in playing with someone who had been flirty over the course of the conference and he was an enthusiastic yes. I joined in as my group headed to the hot tub under the giant cedar trees outside and had an hour of fabulous conversation with new friends, but when we eventually headed back inside and I spotted Will with his arms around a gorgeous woman, panic began to set in. I had to get out of there.

I approached Will and his sexy companion, but instead of feeling like I’d be a welcome addition to their circle, like I belonged there, deserved to be there, I felt like an intruder, especially as she moved off almost immediately. I told Will I was feeling overwhelmed and was heading to our room, and asked him to check on me in a bit. He agreed to do so and we had a quick kiss before I essentially sprinted from the room.

This was the big opportunity to have done something very different and had a very different outcome than the panic attack spiral. Thanks to messing it up royally, though, I learned a valuable lesson, which should have been more obvious from the previous night when Will had bent me over the bed for a hard and fast fuck before we rushed off to dinner.

“Do you feel more centred?” he’d asked me as we quickly rearranged our clothes, hearing our host on the stairs.

“Oh yes!” I’d sighed happily, no longer in my head but relaxed and settled thoroughly in my body.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the play party, I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask Will to ‘Kiss me back into my body’ so I fled the room before my building panic became tears.

I dodged through the maze of bodies in the large open space outside our room and realized the lovely french doors did little to dampen sound. I put in earplugs then my headphones and watched a loud, silly movie to drown out conversation and moans. I felt so ridiculous hiding in the giant king size bed alone and let the tears come hard and fast. You’re a voyeur! I told myself If nothing else, go watch what other people are up to. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. The panic was too strong for any sensible thoughts to cut through.

I took a sedative, figuring I could just knock myself out, but unfortunately, all that did was knock me out for long enough to be asleep when Will to checked on me, so I didn’t realize he had, and when the movie ending woke me up, I saw the time and was all hurt that he hadn’t checked in. He probably did while you were sleeping and didn’t want to wake you. You know there’s no way he’d abandon you, my sensible brain told me. I’m all alone. Why doesn’t anyone want to be with me? Anxious spiral brain countered. You’re the one that is hiding. How can anyone be with you while you’re hiding?

Many more tears ensued until my need to pee overrode my fear of running the gauntlet of bodies outside my door. I even eyed the travel mug next to the bed rather than risking the dreaded world outside my room but apparently not peeing in a cup trumped risking people. I could hear Will and a woman chatting so I crept out, seeing him lying back on the couch as one of the gorgeous gals I’d been perving on all weekend knelt on the floor before him. They spotted me and called out but my face was so tear streaked, I sprinted to the bathroom before they could really see me. I heard them complimenting my robe and talking about how cute I am as I closed the door behind me and began to weep so hard I thought I might vomit. What the fuck is wrong with you? They’re into you. Go out there and join them. Nope.

Bladder emptied, face washed temporarily free of tears but quickly gaining new ones, I arranged my hair over my eyes and hoped I could get back into the room before they saw me.

“Kat. She was just talking about you,” Will said with a smile, but I just couldn’t. I laughed a ‘sure she was’ laugh and closed the door behind me on his, “Okaaaaayy.”

Now they hate you. Great job.

The weeping turned to wailing at this point so I put a pillow over my head to dampen the sound, though the blaring music would likely have covered any noise I could have made. Cut this out. You haven’t ruined everything. They want you there. Get over yourself! All the Nope! I shouldn’t have come. What was I thinking telling myself I could do this? I can’t do this! I have to cancel all of our upcoming trips including Desire, and break up with all my partners, because clearly I’m not cut out for non-monogamy. I’m so alone!

When Will came to bed I was cried out and the panic had abated enough that I had dozed on and off. We snuggled for a bit but once he fell asleep and rolled over I was left to my thoughts in the giant bed. We talked the next morning, and had some good connected time during our final day together, but both of us were kind of quiet and subdued. My brain was lying when it said that I wrecked everything between us but it definitely changed things.

I’ve revisited the events of the evening over and over and over (and over) in my brain, trying to figure out how to fix it all. Alas, fixing past fuck ups isn’t possible, but I did learn some important lessons.

If I am going to an event with someone other than Flick, I need to ensure we have a clear plan for connecting with each other and talk about it in detail, and check in regularly. If I’d done so with Will and been reassured of his desire to spend time with me and play with me with others, I wouldn’t have been as primed for panic as I was when things began to go off.

“Anchor me!” This is the phrase I’ve come up with to ask a trusted someone to help me get back into my body, either through kissing or biting (or perhaps even fucking if that is an appropriate option). I’m going to teach it to my various partners as an anxiety safeword. For situations where my closer partners aren’t around, I’m planning to use the phrase, “Kiss me back into my body” to request assistance to derail the panic spiral.

Failing agonizingly hard at the play party was yet Another Fucking Opportunity for Growth. I keep hoping I won’t have to learn these lessons so painfully, but it’s the painful ones that stick. If there’s any chance anyone else can learn from my fuckups, even better. Sharing is caring.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Fuck Me Like A Person: Sexism in the Lifestyle

One of the most surprising things to me as I began exploring non-monogamy last year, particularly the swinger lifestyle, was the amount of rampant sexism flowing through the community. I’d expected that a group that had shrugged off the societal rules of marriage = monogamy would be far less willing to embrace the sexist gender roles and rules shoved down our throats at every turn.

I know. Feminism, such a fun topic. And believe me, I feel like a killjoy discussing that rather than my umpteenth threesome this month, or the hot young man who nailed me through the mattress earlier today, and I wish that sexism was so non-existent that I wouldn’t even have to bring it up. But other than the great job Life on the Swingset the website and podcast do to make progressive strides in swinging attitudes, misogyny is ubiquitous in swingtown.

One of the most obvious places I see it is in the theme nights at my local club (and at Desire Resort & Spa, so I’m exceptionally happy our Swingset crew is coming up with the themes this year) such as Bunnies and Millionaires. I get it. The bunny ears and little outfit with fishnets is cute & hot. But the whole power imbalance between men and women as the default in the theme is so frustrating and revolting.

I’m all for a lovely negotiated consensual power imbalance in playtime with nicknames, infantilism, roleplay whatever that two or more people want to do. But with a Bunnies & Millionaires theme, we’re harkening back to a time that Playboy bunnies had to go through regular measurements and weigh-ins, and would be fired if they didn’t stay within those strict guidelines, just to please the rich white men attending the Playboy club? Sickening, not sexy!

The next place I see it is the use of ‘girl’ for woman without the corresponding use of ‘boy’ for man. Again, it’s cute, and when a certain someone calls me a ‘sexy girl’, I feel all fluttery, and also incredibly conflicted, because it’s a throwback to a time when women weren’t considered to be adults the way men were. Women couldn’t make medical decisions for themselves such as getting their tubes tied without their husband’s permission. My mother-in-law (a grown-ass woman) couldn’t get a car loan at one point, despite having a job that would easily pay for it, without her father as co-sign, because she didn’t have a husband.

The weight of that historic oppression smothers the cuteness related to the word ‘girl’. So when I saw ‘girls only orgy’ on the schedule with ‘guys welcome to watch’ at Desire in November, I just couldn’t bring myself to participate, as much as I’d have loved to be in that wonderfully writhing pile of women.

The most insidious place I see it is when men in the lifestyle ask permission of other men to do things to their wives/partners, rather than asking the women directly, as if the women don’t have the agency to speak for themselves. I know that it is a holdover from monogamy, for fear that the partnered male might get violent with another guy approaching his woman. This is 100% related to the fact that women were once property and men will violently defend their ownership of said property. Any guy who has pulled that ‘I was just being courteous’ crap with us has been shut down immediately. By me. The patriarchy has no place in my pussy.

Maybe it seems like I’m overreacting, and if it were a single little thing, I would agree, but it isn’t. It’s so omnipresent that we don’t even see it most places. Every ‘Treat her like a princess, Fuck her like a whore’ meme just reinforces the desperate need to overreact until the new normal for memes reads:

‘Treat her like a person, Fuck her like a person’

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Reconnecting with Sexy Friends: Weekend in Seattle

We met so many amazing people at  Swingset Takes Desire trip in November, yet very few of them live anywhere near us on the wetcoast. We were thrilled to find out that Wes and Raina, a couple we clicked with very well at Desire Resort and Spa, were coming to Seattle, only a couple hours away from us. Hooray!

After having an intense connection when we met, Wes and I had been texting almost daily, having Skype dates when we could, and building a poly relationship. I occasionally panic at how quickly things have progressed, but really like him, so work to keep my natural resistance to ‘feelings’ in check.

Wes and I had a bunch of fun chatting online, picking a hotel, though room and bed configuration were tricky. We were definitely getting separate rooms because a) they were travelling with another friend who would not be part of the shenanigans and b) I’m a super-introvert and would likely be huddled in a corner rocking and sobbing if I spent that much non-stop time with people over a weekend. We wanted to spend one night together with the 4 of us in one room, so we eventually decided on queen sized beds, since though kings are fun for the sexing, 4 people in a bed are not going to get any sleep.

Flick and I packed a huge bag of toys, condoms, gloves, dams, throes, lube, and harnesses. I felt some pangs as always about crossing into the US with that stuff. I have no issues being a pervert, but I have worries about being denied entry into the US (possibly forever) for being a pervert. “We don’t need your maple-scented filth here, ma’am!”

Did you not know Canadians smell like maple syrup? Because we totally do.

We arrived at the hotel several hours before Wes & Raina, and managed to stay awake late enough for a quick kiss and cuddle with them before we separated to pass out for the night. In the morning, we met them and their friend Connor for breakfast, enjoying mimosas and tasty food as we planned our day of touristy adventures.

I have to confess that I was super nervous about spending intense time with other people over a weekend. I need a lot of solo time after a busy work week to recharge my introvert batteries. When we’d gone to Whistler in the fall with Hot Mama, her hubby, and baby, I kept having to go for walks in the woods to stop from going crazy from all the people. I’m not my best self in that environment and can get rather hostile. Highly motivated by sex with Wes and Raina, I was willing to give the trip a go despite my nerves (our Whistler trip had been sex free due to cock-blocking baby, other than for Flick and Hot Mama while both myself and Hot Papa [and baby] were out on separate introvert walks).

The four of us had a great time playing tourist in Seattle the way I never have previously. We did the Underground Seattle tour and it was fun hanging out and holding hands with Wes as we walked. I don’t do much in the way of PDAs at home, since it’s a pretty small city and chance of running into someone Flick & I know is pretty high. I realized as I instinctively touched and smooched Flick as well as Wes, that perhaps the other people in our tour group might have been wondering what was going on with the four who seemed to be swapping cuddle partners regularly. Well, they were probably thinking (accurately!) that we were a bunch of dirty perverts.

We headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon to clean up in our separate rooms before our 4-way sexy date. Taking Dan Savage’s advice to Fuck First, we planned to get our sexy on before going for a late dinner.

Once Flick and I were clean and ready to go, I was suddenly very nervous again. It seems to be a phenomenon for me before dates that I kind of freak out for a bit, start trying to think of reasons to cancel, how I could get out of it, flee before anyone gets there.  I just thought it happened before solo dates and when Flick has been around to witness it at home, he thought it was something I had against him. When he saw it happen even before a duo date with people I’ve slept with before, he realized it was just part of my process. He ran to the liquor store across the street for some wine to calm me the fuck down.

Some deep breaths and some blessed vino got me to a better headspace and once Wes and Raina arrived, mouths and hands quickly stripped me of my nerves, and my clothes, and fun, happy Kat was back. Once we’d worn ourselves out with the orgasms, we drove into downtown Seattle for a really nice dinner, then returned to the hotel and snuggled up two to a bed for sleep. It was the first night I’ve spent with a partner, which was kind of a big deal. As I lay awake reading (sleeping? Who me?), I heard three sets of breathing change into light snores and I got to reflect on all the choices and coincidences that brought us all to that place together. It was a pretty great place to be.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Guys are like Ah and Gals are like Oo

“being bisexual and having different feelings when ur attracted to guys than when u are to girls is so hard to explain bc being attracted to a guy is like “ah” and being attracted to a girl is like “oo” but that doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me” -

I don’t know how to flirt with women.

From what I understand, this is a very typical experience for pan/bisexual women who have mostly dated men. Our heteronormative sex and dating lives don’t teach us the skills to connect with women beyond friendship. Everything we’re exposed to in media and culture also emphasizes how different men and women are in our communication and sexual desires, and although I really appreciate direct sexual advances, I’ve been taught that other women don’t. Maybe that’s not true, though, but I don’t have enough experience to know better.

I’ve always been into women. Well, as long as I’ve known it was a thing for me to be possible to be into, I’ve known. And thinking back to my childhood of sneaking into my older brother’s room to look at the porno mags in his closet and get especially titillated by the gal on gal action, I was into women before I knew it was a thing.

Growing up in a small town in northern Canada I’d heard the term lesbian whispered by schoolmates but knew it didn’t apply to me because I liked boys. Boy, did I like boys! Clearly I wasn’t a lesbian, so I didn’t think anything of those ‘feelings’ I had. I had a lot of stirrings in my late teens/early twenties but it wasn’t until Flick and I started dating, and he was so open to me sharing my fantasies, that it became something I talked about, and the word bisexual* came into play.

*Little note here that I tend to use the term pansexual now, since gender is not binary, and I know many bisexuals say that the term bisexual means ‘more than one sex’, but the pedant in me can’t help but argue that Bi means two! Anyway, I’m cool with people using whatever term fits for them, pansexual is my preference. I was oblivious of the sexual/gender politics of all this until last year, when I burst forth from my monogamy bubble, and described myself as bisexual until very recently.

Flick was open enough to support me exploring with women in the early days of our marriage since we’d paired up so young that I hadn’t had the opportunity or confidence to do said exploration before we met. I spent a few nights with a couple equally curious friends, and it was fun and lovely and sexy, but once I’d settled the craving for the unknown, established that yes, I did like sex with women, but it wasn’t something I couldn’t live without, it was back to monogamy as usual.

When we opened up last year, it started with a threesome with one of our friends. It was awesome, so sexy, and I was really into being with her, but switching back to platonic when we weren’t in the bedroom has been effortless. The same goes with the other women we’ve played with. I think they’re super sexy, we have a great time enjoying each other’s bodies, but it’s never gone beyond that. I figured that was my level of queer--into sex with women but nothing beyond that.

I’ve definitely met a few women that I’m quite smitten with *waves at Elle and Raina*, but I find I’m kind of intimidated by them, and my brain goes into this “Pretty! *giggle* Can’t. Talk.” shutdown mode, and I haven’t figured out how to break through. If we went out on a date, I would have no idea what to say. I just don’t know how to talk or flirt with the ladies.

I tried going on a date with a woman from okcupid when Flick and I first opened up last year. It seemed to go fairly well, but she wasn’t into me so I concluded I was bad at women and decided not to pursue any further female dating connections. As everyone knows, if you fail once, you never ever try again. I’m pretty sure that’s the common theme in most Life Success handbooks... Anyway, I decided that although I was pansexual, I must be heteroromantic when it came to relationships. Men I was good at. I’d stick with men.

My whole paradigm shifted recently when I met Iris.

We met through the dating website Kasidie after Cooper Beckett, wingman extraordinaire, pointed her our direction. After the usual schedule wrangling, and delays due to the holidays, we met for drinks in our default date pub, and within an hour, the three of us were making out at the table as the rest of the patrons played Trivia Night around us. I felt a spark with her that I haven’t experienced with a woman before, enough of a spark to tamp down my discomfort with makeout level PDAs.

Our first sexy date occured under the cloud of all three of us suffering from an horrific cold virus. The sexual charge was strong enough that we decided we’d go ahead with the date anyway, and despite sore throats and hacking coughs, we had a spectacular time, and planned immediately for our next.  

In between our dates, Iris and I flirted and sexted like crazy, in a way I never have with a woman (Iris and Flick did as well, but that was much more typical for our fmf dynamic). It felt easy, in a way it doesn’t normally when I’ve tried to flirt with women, perhaps because she was flirting with me at least as much. I send saucy pics back and forth with the other gals I play with, and we chat, but this is the first time I’ve received messages in the middle of my day from a woman saying she was thinking about the taste of my pussy. Um, sploosh!

Our next sexy date was even hotter, day sex at our place with the added frisson of knowing we were having vanilla people over for a party that evening after debauching all afternoon. She made me come with her mouth mere minutes into the proceedings while I sucked Flick’s cock, and the vision of her looking up at me, come dripping from her chin, streaking down her chest is going to be spankbank material for a long time.

I can’t quantify what is different with Iris, and I guess interpersonal chemistry is one of those things that is about as un-quantifiable as it gets, despite me always seeking to figure out the whys of attraction. She’s amazing--beautiful, smart, funny, and sexy--but so are the other women I play with. For some reason though, I have feelings toward her that have previously been reserved for guys. I can see us out on solo dinner dates, holding hands as we walk down rainy streets, and having solo playdates, as well as the awesome time we have as a trio with Flick.

It’s confusing and new and scary but awesome, and I’m so glad that this non-monogamy adventure has given me the opportunity to experience yet another first, my first real requited feels for a woman. I love that I’m getting to explore new pieces of my sexuality and queer identity, with Iris as catalyst.

If you need me, I’ll be over here, sexting and squeeing, and getting ready for where this journey might take me next.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Coming Out Open: The Cost of the Closet

The Cost of the Closet: Coming Out Open

"So what have you been up to?"

"Oh, you know. Work, the usual..."

I had dinner scheduled with a close vanilla friend, and the thought of having to have this conversation yet again filled me with dread. I couldn’t do it anymore and after much agonizing, decided I had to come out to her about the change in Flick’s and my relationship.

Flick and I have been keeping our non-monogamous status mostly to ourselves over the past year, but I hate keeping a piece of me locked away from people I really care about.  It drove our conversations to a superficial place we could never break through.

I would have been comfortable sharing our new relationship status from the get go. I'm an open book (TMI, who me?) and my exhibitionism comes through my words as well as my willingness to share my body. I'm also nosy as hell, but almost never ask people questions, which can come across as disinterest, because I think that people, like me, will volunteer any information I should know. This has never (read: this has totally) caused confusion/problems in relationships. Flick was much more concerned with keeping things to ourselves, worried about the judgements of our friends and family (then in a fun twist, began telling people much sooner than I did).  

Thus began my year of, "You know, the usual...," which really meant pulling away from our social circle.

Pulling away had been made easier by our closest friends having a baby then moving to Scandinavia just as Flick and I had our gateway threesome. Several other friends were also in baby-mode or had new jobs so it was a natural time for our relationships to shift.

As I dug into the completely new-to-me world of online dating (didn't really exist pre-1994, the last time I was dating) my time was consumed by profiles and photos, figuring out what Flick and I wanted, considering rules and guidelines, and messaging with strangers who wanted to have sex with me. Oh, and having lots and lots of sex. Wheeee!

Something I didn't consider during this maelstrom of new was the cost of my closet to the people on the other side of the door. I'd been in my bubble of New Lifestyle Energy and hadn't thought about what it might be like for someone watching the snapshots of my life on social media shift so dramatically, showing my life was anything but "the usual" I was describing.

Most of the close friends that I've told about our non-monogamy have been surprised, but then immediately jumped to how it wasn't for them--I barely have the energy for one relationship--or asked the usual questions about jealousy or falling in love.  

When I finally decided to ovary up and tell my dear friend over dinner recently, her response was tears. But they were tears of relief for me letting her back into my life.

"I saw you had all these new friends and were going on vacations with them and had this whole new life and I thought I was losing you. I love you both and if this is what makes you happy, I'm happy for you."  We held hands and wept together over our dinners.

I'd been so nervous to tell her since she's been single for a long time and I felt like she'd think I was selfish for having a loving husband AND dating. Like I was stealing all the menfolk, even though I only date open people and she only dates single guys. Plus I knew she'd had a lot of creepers contacting her for threesomes online just because she’s a single woman and I worried she'd lump us in with the people I’ve heard her complaining about.

Basically, I locked her out of my life so she couldn't lock me out of hers.

Turns out, she wasn’t surprised or upset by my revelation, and it was such a relief for both of us to chat openly about what has really been going on in my life. I got to tell her about some of my relationships and have her gush over giddy feelings for new people in my life and commiserate over the very real challenges of non-monogamy. I felt so much lighter when we left the restaurant and so did she. We had a real friendship back.

It was a great lesson to learn as Flick and I enter the 2nd year of our adventure. The closet appears to offer protection (and is essential for people who live in places where their jobs or kids could be put at risk if they were out) but that protection comes with costs. There is risk in being open about being open, but the reward is a return to authentic connection with long-term friends.  I need that and I’m so glad to have it back in my life.