On Non-Monogamy by Kristen

April 27, 2012  |  journal entries

A piece by Kristen about our open relationship, dating other people, sex, a leather family vision, and BDSM. Follow her on Twitter @kitchentop.

You know where some of my fear came from when we dipped our toes into polyamory last fall? That Sugarbutch readers would make all kinds of judgments about me, think I’m some kind of doormat, judge our vision and our path for our relationship. But we came to poly from a place of deep strength, not out of weakness. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been difficult; it’s been very difficult, but that’s because we’re intense people with high standards for our lives and big dreams. And what makes it the hardest is not jealousy, it’s that there’s little support for dating other people while you have a long-term partner in this culture. We have to build on the narratives that people before us have created—and create our own.

And in fact, as soon as I looked around, I saw examples of sparkly poly couples—many of whom we already knew—who quietly date multiple people. And I probed deeper, and I realized there’s an entire network of kinky queers who fuck each other and each other’s friends, if you just look below the surface. Sinclair sent me a link about cabins to rent in New York, and I got a vision of five or six or seven of us, cooking and fucking and lazing around near a lake, and I thought, “Maybe that’s what people mean by ‘leather family.’ That’s the kind of adulthood I want.” Because for many of us, that white picket fence—even a gay white picket fence—just isn’t in the cards.

And y’all, I like sex too much to limit myself. I love fucking. I LOVE it. It keeps me grounded and helps me fly all at once, and I can’t really imagine fucking one person the rest of my life, as amazing as the person I spend most of my time fucking is. You’ve met a few guest stars (there have been about eleven in the last three and a half years, not counting erotic energy retreats) – and I would like to continue doing that. I was surprised, yes, when Sinclair’s interest in rife expanded beyond a one-time fuck, and I was even more surprised when that connection went beyond a sexual one. But it’s been just over six months since we had that first conversation, and I’m sold. The details are complicated, and the growing pains have been difficult, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t choose poly. What it actually means is that we are so steeped in monogamy in this culture, and the cultural walls around monogamy are so rigid, that it took me months (and fucking someone else, if we’re gonna be really honest here) to feel really solid.

We need MORE support around this, not less. Think about when you came out: I, for one, had many years of culture telling me queer was wrong, and I needed backup from homos around me reminding me it was okay to be a big dyke. After a few years, it was no big deal, but I teared up at my first pride parade. Maybe I should go to poly pride. Or maybe I should just have a lot of poly sex and I won’t need a parade. Or maybe after I have poly sex I should wave my hands around spirit fingers style and give myself a parade.

So what’s it like? It still feels sort of dangerous, honestly, because I still have a little bit of this “traditional relationship” lens that tells me fucking someone else is cheating. But it’s not—it’s consensual—and it’s incredibly exciting. What’s fun? I flirted before, but flirting with the possibility of actually playing with someone else is different. It challenges me to see myself more independently than I did before, and that’s both fun and nerve-wracking. (It’s much easier to fuck someone else when your Daddy arranges it for you than when you’re in a bar with your friends and you have to make the first move—or when you’ve played with someone once and you want it to happen again.)

Here’s the other thing: before I met Sinclair, dating was a lot more desperate, because I have a really high sex drive and I wasn’t getting fucked especially well. Now that I’m dedicated to my boyfriend but looking for people to play with, I can be very selective about who I choose, and I’m much narrower in what I’m looking for. I’m not going to go home with someone randomly because they’re the best option and I want to get laid, I’m going to hone in on exactly what I’m looking for and see what I can do to find that. I have much, much better boundaries, and I’m able to fuck friends or become friends with someone I’ve fucked (Hi Gabrielle … and the rest of y’all). Part of that is just maturity, but it’s also about a redefined vision of relationships. We don’t have to love everyone we fuck, or maybe we do, but it’s a different kind of love. Love is bigger than “date them fuck them live together get married pop out babies.” Sometimes when I’m feeling stuck between two options, Sinclair tells me, “There are always more than two choices.” This is a lovely example of that concept. There are always more ways to live than you might think. And it is so fucking beautiful that we get to redefine how we love. Our relationship gets to evolve, and we get to go through the hard stuff together, and we get to play with space and restrictions and sex and pain in a conscious, consensual way—which is far beyond what I’d ever imagined.

P.S. The BDSM in our relationship is a slightly different topic (and an old conversation), but rest assured, our relationship is consensual. For what it’s worth, I love getting punched, and that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me or us. It comes from a place of very deep trust.

 


21 Comments


  1. Welcome to poly! You get a free toaster. It has four slots.

  2. Wow, that guest post was fast to arrive! Uh, you were probably writing this while I was writing my comment on the last love letter, and you totally said everything I was thinking.

    I love this. I think it’s articulate and strong, and I think and feel a lot of what you’ve written here about poly and kink and commitment and my sex drive and needs.

    Bon courage, fellow poly femme :)

  3. Great post, Kristen! And Sinclair–“There are always more than two choices.” Seriously, every time I stop by Sugarbutch it changes me.
    Hugs,
    Giselle

  4. *snaps* very well said

  5. That is a FANTASTIC description of poly, Kristen! Thank you so much for really putting it into simple and direct language. I’ve been working with my poly-energy in a relationship with a mostly mono-butch for 5 years. We make it work through communication and patience and love and deep trust. Slow and steady seems to work best for us.

  6. Growth is painful. It hurts. But if you ask the butterfly, he’ll tell you the wings were worth it.

    Practicing BDSM/polyamory/anything outside the “norm” is an exercise in courage. Stretching boundaries until you feel you might snap is not for the faint of heart.

    It also means there are those (too many, unfortunately) who will not understand. Who will chastise. Who will question. Even those in the community here who (you would think) should know better.

    But they’re learning, too. We all are.

    In order to breathe the rarefied air, one must climb arduously.

    It’s not easy.

    But then again, most beautiful and precious things aren’t easy to attain. That’s why they’re so valuable.

  7. Very well written. Thank you Kristen

  8. oh this is lovely, and you are lovely. thanks so much for this post!

  9. Awesome, you said it so well!

  10. well put. i love you two, separately and together. the love you two have for each other is partially what gave me hope that i would find something even close. though i’m not poly, nor involved in bdsm, i appreciate everything you said here. it’s all about negotiation.. and strength, and what the two [or three or four...] of you decide what’s right, for yourselves. :)

  11. Incredible. So wonderful to read your take on it, and just identify so strongly with it, most especially the vision of family. I have always said to my Dax (my Master and Daddy) how very much I want and need a tribe around me. “I got a vision of five or six or seven of us, cooking and fucking and lazing around near a lake, and I thought, “Maybe that’s what people mean by ‘leather family.’ That’s the kind of adulthood I want.” That exactly…you hit the nail on the head.

    It give me such a sense of, well, relief, to know someone out there can feel this way too, and can believe it can work, and does happen. Our poly family is soon to be expanding to 4 women in one house (2 Dominant, 2 not so much) so I often say our House needs a whiteboard and a Venn diagram to explain, but we love it, and wouldnt have it any other way.

    We are actually going to give a “class” about poly in August, and if you permit, I would love to quote you there…

    Thank you for sharing this. All of it, and go on wit yer bad self!

    Blessed be,
    sweets

  12. Kristen, my love….. PLEASE WRITE MORE!!! Please. This is beautiful and funny (jazz fingers,) and loving and smart and fierce. Actually, when put that way it’s quite obvious: this is YOU. And it’s fantastic! And I am very, very, very snobby critic. <3 <3 <3

    ps – I remember the first time we met you asked me about being poly….strange, wonderful, roundabout world, huh?

    I love this and you.

  13. “There are always more ways to live than you might think.” Love this! Thank you for writing about your experiences. I hope we get to hear more from you.

  14. Good on you both! Keep doing what – and who – you love. :)

  15. Great post! When I was exploring poly, I one day had a sudden realization. It was like all the monogamy pictures I had begun to crack and I had space for new relationship pictures. I looked over at the woman I was with (friends+play partners), listening to her talk about the scene she just had and other non sexual things about this other beautiful woman, and once I saw the light in her eyes I finally understood. She was happy. And I wanted nothing but to see that light always and her relations with someone else didn’t mean there was no light for me. I realized jealousy isn’t a necessary tool too!. There is so much more than that. But personally, poly might suite me too.The poly door cracked open for me during that time with her. It is in no way crossed off the list, but with time I’ll find my groove to rest in. This just brought this fresh to my memory….

  16. That was absolutely beautiful. We all have different wants, needs and desires and they don’t always match with the “norm” society has created… When it comes right down to it, being happy with who we are and what we do is the important thing. Eventually society will catch up or give up.

  17. I’ve loved hearing your perspective Kristen. Thank you for writing about it. Lately I have felt that a lot of Sinclair’s prose about poly and her writings about Rife sounded like a lot of self-justification and rationalization for what she wanted to do. I wondered where you really were in all of this. So happy to read that you are an active, and not just a tolerating partner, in the whole exploration. Would love to hear more of you on the blog.

  18. So great to hear from you on this blog! Thanks for voicing your perspective!

  19. Yes! I love this. Especially the parts about leather family, flirting and independence, and a different kind of love. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  20. *spirit fingers for your parade*

  21. You are so lovely.
    Thank you for your groundedness, courage and openness.
    All the best to you

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