Polyamory and Friendships

I've gotten a lot more comfortable with the idea of being polyamorous in the last six months to a year. It's partly because I had a good relationship with someone who wanted it too, and partly because I've just gotten over some of my fear of rejection. I don't really care if people think I'm a slut or a freak; even if people are ignorant, it's an opportunity for me to push the limits of their open-mindedness.

There's a really great side effect to being "out of the closet" with my polyamory, one that I didn't necessarily expect. I knew it would be nice to be honest and ethical in my sleeping around and to pursue a primary relationship without cutting off my sexual exploration, but I didn't foresee the affect it would have on my friendships.

Jenny Block wrote about this really eloquently in an essay I found posted on the Chesapeake Polyamory Network's Yahoo group. I know, a lot of steps to get to the essay, but I can't link it directly unless you're a member of the group.

Here's some of what she wrote. I've cut this down to get to the parts I want to talk about:
I lived for 15 years in a monogamous relationship, before coming out as bisexual and polyamorous.

During that time, my friendships were strained and wary, because there was "the line". You know the line, right? The one you can't cross, because if you do you will be ‘on the slippery slope that leads to utter disaster.’

Here's the really strange thing about having a non-monogamous relationship - it's not the other sexual relationships that really change the quality of my life. It's the freedom I have in ALL my relationships, because there's no line to fear and avoid.

I now have several very close friends that I DON'T have sex with, but if we did it would be just fine, so we are free to express our love without concerns and fears.

From time to time, with a few of them, the physical affection extends to something decidedly sexual in nature, if it's appropriate and comfortable for all concerned. But it's not really important whether it does or not.

And that's the really surprising thing about non-monogamy - sex is just not as important. Monogamous people have to think about the possibility of sex with others in order to protect themselves against it.

Non-monogamous people just think about it a lot less. It is an element of a relationship, not the defining feature. Not even the most important element, either. I could have a life partner that wasn't a sexual partner at all, quite easily, because my life partnership doesn't depend on having sex, and my having sex doesn't depend on my life partner.
Okay, that's a long excerpt, but I felt like she said most things that I wanted to, and better than I would have myself. If you're interested in polyamory, it's worth joining the Chesapeake group to read this and other essays they've got posted up there.

I've noticed exactly what she's talking about. I have a lot of pretty sexually charged friendships, and I'm really okay with the fact that I'm not in bed or in a relationship with those people. I wouldn't have been okay with that in the past.

I think in the past I would have lost interest in someone I was attracted to if I didn't end up sleeping with them. I'd have found someone else to bang and all of my sexual energy would have gone into the new person. Without the sexual tension, the old friendship would have just fizzled out.

Now, I can live on that tense line between being friends and fucking because if I need to I can have a release elsewhere. It won't detract from the original friendship if I'm getting sex elsewhere, just like it needn't detract from my primary romantic relationship if I'm fucking someone else. The sexual charge, the sexual energy is still there. Sometimes it's even more fun because it's unfulfilled.

I can have as many sexy friends and hot lovers as I want or need. It's so freeing, not to feel limited in the amount of love and sex I can share with people.


Dee said...

That's a very cool realisation - and one I completely agree with! I really enjoy the relaxation that comes with not being worried that you're flirting too much, or crossing a line, or snuggling where there should be NO snuggling. It's all love and friendship and closeness, and sometimes more and sometimes less.

xx Dee

On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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