how many in the hot tub, and who?

poly/open/sexy/honest/wft you wanna call it:

Some notes on what i like about open relationships, and neither understand nor trust about monogamy. None of these elements negate my insecurities, nor immunize me to relationship failure in any way, but they feel true today. Some of these are not entirely thought out, nor tested for accuracy, but they all made enough sense to type.

  • In short, I don’t believe in monogamy. It does not describe a natural way for nearly any animal to exist, and the way humans do it is particularly constructed and limiting. To be more descriptive, the massive amount of power and importance we place on oft-presumed fidelity is neither reasonable nor honest. If we attempt the level of perfection that some monogamists expect, we can only fail. Never thinking of another person as sexually attractive is not possible for a large number of people. When does thinking become cheating?
  • We are all in love with other people all of the time. Why do we limit that love to certain types of physical interaction, while not limiting the emotional interaction?
  • If monogamous couples could limit emotional connection between their partners and other people, should they? What allows for the difference between emotional and physical limitation and control (folks in favor of it might call it something else, like abstention), and should we allow for it? Who does this truly serve, and how?
  • With all of the terrible ways humans control one another, i am not interested in supporting ones that feel unnecessary and unnatural. Particularly those that are not regulated by secular-law, and therefore are much easier to explore and deconstruct.
  • Deconstructing power is important for me. In any and all forms possible. I prefer to live by rules made by myself and people in communities i respect.
  • We all likely have one life to live and i have no interest in limiting a partner’s experiences through their life. I would prefer that my partner gain the experiences that help make their life make sense, and feel as good and full as possible.
  • I can not be all things to all people. Partners grow and change, and trying to do that in a way that works together will take work. I do not believe that I will always be the only person my partner will want to sleep with, nor that I can fulfill all of the sexual desires they may have or develop. Other folks know more than I do, have different bodies/spirits/minds, and have unique skills.
  • As partners we may want to learn from or experience a sexual interaction that the other is not interested in. We may also want to watch. We may want to hear about it later, or see a video. We may prefer not to know about what is shared with other people at all. This is all to be decided, and likely to evolve with time. I don’t ask partners to get all of their emotional needs met by me, nor physical. This includes sex.
  • Despite the possibility of deep jealousy, i believe that an open relationship is more honest because it shows love beyond ownership. It allows partners to find deeper connections because they are bound by fewer social contracts.
  • Openness forces us as partners to remain interested and/or interesting/engaged, and can help to foster/maintain kindness. With fewer social and legal contracts we have to remain the positive and supportive force in one another’s lives. I have no need or desire to marry a partner, and non-monogamous relationships take the social and political bonds out of a relationship. The only thing holding it together is the love that the partners have for one another, in all of the ways that love will change, tide, and hopefully grow. Openness may create space for a horizontal sharing of power that allows everyone to be more authentic as they explore relationships.
  • If any of us wants to be with someone else and seeks out another partner through our open relationship there is room for a dialogue about what that means for us. In a monogamous relationship this shift might only look like a failure of the relationship, rather than an opportunity for partners to explore life with other people while loving each other.
  • Monogamy can promote cheating and lying because there is often no room to discuss feelings toward other people. Silencing feelings can create resentment, occasionally making people more comfortable with acting in less thoughtful ways than they want to.
  • I like to be challenged by my relationships with people, and open relationships have proven emotionally challenging in the past and present. The easy route is never the interesting one.

Occasionally we get to gift ourselves and partners something that is free. Something more salient and plausible than a box and bow. I wish that everyone could give their partners the loving honesty of a conversation about how they interact with other people, and if they need the lines to be drawn, and where those lines might lie.

~gerow