So I was amused the other day that the Jellicle and LL were having fun with bondage in the living room. So I tweeted all sorts of humourous comment, such as “Conversation in this house leads me to conclude that bondage fans are the model railway nerds of kink.” (well I thought it was funny).
At some point well into the afternoon my sixteen-years-old-this-year cousin tweeted and I remembered that she followed me. This led me to wonder whether I should feel guilty (oh and in The Princess’s eyes – that’s a big yes by the way). I didn’t, she’s pretty much an adult and certainly should be aware that people do and talk about sex things. If she doesn’t want to know then she can choose not to follow me (and she has done actually), if she does want to know (I don’t mean about the sex per se, I mean about the fact that I do not think I need to be any more ashamed about my lifestyle than her married parents do) then I’d rather it was me than the Princess explaining it. Of course the Princess is sensible enough and definitely better known than me by the cousin in question, and will almost certainly be the one explaining should said cousin ask.
However, it got me wondering – how would I explain poly to a sixteen year old when it seems like a great many people have the reaction “Well multiple people means you must be cheating.”
(If people would like a reminder of my basic rules of conduct they can be found here.)
So…here goes nothing.
Cousin Luvlymish, you appear to be cheating on the Jellicle with Weasel…
I’m not. The Jellicle is my girlfriend and Weasel is my boyfriend.
Cousin Luvlymish, because I’m a voice in your head and not your cousin I’m going to ignore the trans stuff and concentrate on the poly. What do you mean you have a girlfriend and a boyfriend…how does that work?
Well, a long time ago I was in a long distance relationship and I cheated on my boyfriend. I was really upset about that because it wasn’t a nice thing to do, so I decided that I wasn’t going to have another boyfriend again. But I still wanted to have sex with people because I enjoy that.
Ewww! I don’t want to know about your sex life! You’re my cousin!
Well, frankly, tough, I’m not going to tell you details because it’s none of your business but I’m thirty years old you can’t have imagined it wasn’t a factor. It was sex that I decided was the thing I didn’t want to miss out on from being in a relationship.
But that’s just wrong…
I don’t think it’s wrong to want to have sex with lots of different people. I think what’s wrong is lying to people about that being what you want to do. Since I decided that cheating on my boyfriend was wrong I have not cheated on any lovers of mine, they’ve all known that I wanted to be with a wide variety of other people.
I should also point out I don’t think it’s wrong to have an exclusive monogamous relationship with one person, if that’s really and definitely what you want to do.
Does that mean you don’t just have the Jellicle and Weasel then?
At the moment I do. The Jellicle and I got together as partners nine years ago this December and we said from the beginning that we were going to be polyamorous. The Jellicle wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just about the sex though, the idea is that we have friendly and good relationships with the other people in our lives.
So why did you bring up sex then?
Because for me it was important.
Doesn’t that make you kind of…um… slutty?
If a boy told you he liked sex would that make him a slut?
I’d probably avoid him to be honest. You talk about sex a lot.
Yes, I do. I think that if people don’t talk about something then it becomes an unknown and leaves a lot of people feeling that they don’t know enough about it or how to handle it. I think it’s possible to have dangerous sex and I don’t just mean the sort without condoms.
Here follow my personal rules regarding STDs, these have been my rules for the past twelve years.
1. Use condoms all the time. (With men.)
2. Do not share toys. (Men and women.)
3. Visit the GUM clinic each term and encourage everyone else involved to do so. (nb. this has changed to currently, once a year)
You have sex with girls?
We actually covered this at my sister’s hen do.
Yes, I remember this but you’re projecting an awful lot of stupid into this voice in your head.
Ok. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have sex with both girls and boys as long as you do so safely (and this includes the emotional safely of talling everyone exactly what you are up for ie. monogamy, not monogamy, a bit of fun.
Most of the adults who talk about sex do so in the context of secure emotional relationships. They also mention love…which you haven’t…actually at all. I mean you might not be ashamed but I don’t think you’re being a great role-model here.
Ok, now you’re starting to sound like me. First, I’m not trying to be a role-model, I am just trying to be me as best I can.
Second of all, sex can be had in a loving and emotionally secure relationship. I’m pretty sure that’s a damn good idea for a first time. Sex can be an intensely amazing emotional experience which links conciousnesses and spirits together. Your first time can also be a massive disappointment if you’ve built it up, and (especially for girls) painful if you both don’t really know what you’re doing. In any of those cases it’s better to have that experience with someone you know really well, and who you care about and who cares about you.
Most people do not get it right first time, it takes practice.
It can also be fun, not that I’m trying to say the first way I described it isn’t fun – it is, it’s just incrediby draining. Sex can be a purely physical experience in pursuit of orgasm, it can also be a game. And I should point out you can have all of these different experiences of sex with just the one person, I just like to have different experiences with different people.
If you aren’t sure who you are or what you want then having sex with a lot of different people isn’t a great idea. If you’re looking to rely on other people for your emotional security then having sex with a lot of different people isn’t a good idea…unless you have a really tight group of friends.
As for love, if The Jellicle and I didn’t love each other we wouldn’t be in a relationship, we’d have just done the sex thing. Relationships are about communication, respect and wanting to be with each other.
It’s the same with Weasel, I started things with him because he looked like he’d be fun in bed and I didn’t want a big emotional entanglement (did I mention I find those things draining?) eventually we got into the falling in love thing and it was really nice.
So…you’re just with them at the moment?
At the moment yes, and it’s unlikely that I’m going to have another big emotional relationship for a while, however, the fact I like sex means I shall probably continue to have other lovers.
Thanks. That was a whole lot about your private life I didn’t want to know.
That’s ok, I didn’t really tell you and nor would I unless you asked. I just put it up on the internet…
You didn’t actually address the part where you swapped from no relationships to two…
The Jellicle and I got locked in a living room until we decided what we wanted from each other and he said ‘polyamory’ (and then explained what he meant).
Male pronoun for the Jellicle?
You’re ignoring the trans stuff remember?
So this poly stuff is all down to The Jellicle?
Hey you know how according to those responsible grown-ups you should have sex in the context of loving and supportive relationships? Well this is how mine works for me. And yes, that’s down to The Jellicle, whatever pronoun’s I’m supposed to be using that cat is wonderful, caring and responsible for my emotional security right now.
K. Glad you’re in love. Not sure why you need to tell the internet.
Because if I don’t then people don’t understand and the mass media takes generalising sweeps to be the status quo.
I need to get this way of living out there, to encourage people to ask questions because if they don’t then that’s a whole lot of lack of understanding that I feel responsible for.
Yeah, I am so glad I unfollowed you on Twitter.
Sorry about the bondage stuff.