Entering polyamory was a gradual and conflicting process for me. Like most women, I grew up in a society that scorned expressions of desire and multiple sexual partners. It was perfectly normal for men to express their interests – be it verbally or physically or by catcalling or commenting on your body. Even that small pat on the bum was seen as a cheeky gesture to tell you that you were attractive. It was praised if a man had multiple girlfriends: “He has a big dick for sure”, “He must be so good in bed”, “He is really smart and clever”, “He is successful and wealthy. Women love that”. All great qualities that elevated the man’s status amongst friends, family and the wider society. Reverse the role and put a woman in the man’s shoes and she will get to hear a load of comments; “She is a slut”, “Sick nymphomaniac. She can’t control it”, “She has daddy issues”, “She wants to homewrecker”.
We women do it to other women all the time. I have done it and still catch myself doing it. There is internalized misogyny. There is a sense that there is something wrong (a pathology), or an evil intention, when a woman has multiple partners.
It was praised if a man had multiple girlfriends: “He has a big dick for sure”, “He must be so good in bed”, “He is really smart and clever”, “He is successful and wealthy. Women love that”.
Now let’s switch to the messages a woman gets if she had multiple partners: “She is a slut”, “Sick nymphomaniac. She can’t control it”, “She has daddy issues”, “She wants to homewrecker”.
For years I pathologized and whipped myself for being the bad one. Of course, I had monogamous relationships. I had long ones that dragged years on end – filled with boredom, unhealthy games and bad sex. I often fantasized about my exes, thinking that I had made a mistake dumping them. I felt that they were the right ones for me. I still play this mind game with myself at times but now I am more aware that the game is a construct and not the reality of who I am.
It took many years (a lifetime to be precise), and a few advocates of polyamory to make me come out. Come out from shame and guilt. The shame of asking for pleasure, of wanting to be desired, not by one person but by multiple people. I am still coming out. Even today I have moments of regret and guilt. I have spelled it out to myself, to many friends, strangers and dates that I am poly but as soon as I meet someone I like a little more, I start questioning myself.
I always feel I will lose them if I reveal who I truly am, how much I desire and how much I can love, not just them but everyone – I fear they will not feel special anymore and all I want is to make them feel special and unique. I am afraid that they won’t make me feel special in return.
I always feel I will lose them if I reveal who I truly am, how much I truly desire, how much I can love, not just them but everyone.
I enjoy the jealousy of monogamy on passionate moments of getting closer to my partners. It makes me feel desired when it is expressed but its fading scent makes me feel suffocated after they are gone, or when we have stagnated in the same relationships. I love it when someone is possessive about me but my need for autonomy and freedom is much stronger. And they come and go.
Nobody stays aside from me. I stay. I live in all my relationships. I keep them alive without them realizing that we are in polyamorous relationships. For them, we are not together anymore. I am their ex: “We are still friends “, “I spoke to my ex about it. They really understand me”, “Me and my ex are in touch”. For me they are still relationships that I hold dear.
I still love them the same way. I love them with acceptance of who they are, with or without me. I am still coming out as a poly and so are my feelings. I have so many. I have so much love to give. So much passion, desire, care. The sense of abundance is real and it never ends, just like coming out.
Check out our previous blog : My First Mistress