Poly and Single

Tristan Taormino wrote about "solo polyamory" in her book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships. She describes solo polyamorists as those who are "dedicated to polyamory but...choose not to have a primary partner." She writes that they're a group of people who intentionally deviate from the cultural expectation that "everyone wants to be and should be part of a couple." (Pg. 87)

Looking from the outside at my life and how I spend my time, it could seem like I'm a solo polyamorist. I'm currently dating five people (if we don't count the folks who live far away and who I see when we're in the same time zone) and none of them are primary partners. There are a couple of people I've been seeing for a few months, one who I've known for a bit but just started dating, and a couple who are new. I'm different degrees of serious with all of them, but there's nothing I'd put into the "committed" category. I spend a lot of time on my job and on learning things for myself, experimenting. I live alone. I'm financially independent.

I think, in fact, that when I say I'm polyamorous a lot of people assume that means I'm not looking for a relationship. It's kind of a rare thing to find someone who's polyamorous and single. There are far more halves-of-couples and determined bachelors (of all genders). Not as many folks are single in the "more traditional" sense of not being in a partnership and looking for one.

But that's what I am: poly and single. I'm not in a committed relationship, not in a couple, but I want to be. I want a primary partner. It is, in fact, near the top of my priority list. I came to this polyamory thing on my own, not as part of my journey with anyone specific, and I'm looking for someone to share it with.

That's not to say that I'm trying to force every relationship into a primary space. I strongly believe in letting things develop organically and letting every relationship grow into a place that feels comfortable. That's one of the major benefits of polyamory: I can have different relationships at different levels and it's all okay. I am hoping, though, that one of my relationships turns more serious, and I'm ready to nurture anything that goes in that direction. I want to fall in love.

I think these desires give more depth to my meaning of the word "single." When I have the option of saying I'm a solo polyamorist and instead choose to say I'm single, it's more meaningful. I'm not just saying "I'm not in a relationship with anyone right now," I'm saying "I'm looking for a serious relationship along with the other less serious relationships I already have." Which is different. That's all.

Why I'll Never Be an Adult

I know this webcomic by blogger Allie has been making the rounds, since it's so applicable to just about everyone I know. (At least those who are nearish to my age or in my generation as a whole.)

But I wanted to mention it again, because it's just so awesome. This graph

largely explains the weird, large gaps in posting here. I mean, it's depression-related. But this cycle is something that I definitely feel. I'd love to post every day. I'd love to do my laundry every week or two weeks so I don't get the bajillion-pound pile that's now sitting in my room and staring at me as it waits to be carried to the laundromat. I'd love to remember to check in with all my close friends who are near and far on a frequent-enough basis. I'd like to clean ALL the things.

I wonder if everybody has some set of basic chores or interesting tasks that are beyond them to do. I know that most people I've talked to seem to. And from the response to the full webcomic, it seems the internet is full of folks who do. What about you?

Play Piercing

When I was 18, or maybe 19, I went to a house party put on by San Francisco Sex Information. I had just figured out that I wanted to be involved with sex education and I was doing everything I could to meet people who worked with sex in a serious way. When my contact invited me to the party to talk about how I could help at the hotline, it seemed like a perfect opportunity.

Predictably, this party was filled with sex positive, polyamorous-or-close, kinky types. It was a group of people firmly entrenched in the community that today I'm a part of but was then just finding for the first time. I did what I like to do at house parties, flitting from one conversation and new acquaintance to the next. It was so novel to be around people who had a vested interest in sexuality.

Novel, and a little shocking. Someone pulled out an impact toy at one point that was shaped like a metal ruler, but thicker. There were a bunch of people passing it around and trying it out on themselves and each other, talking about how thuddy it was, versus stingy like a regular ruler. That was the first time I encountered those terms. There was a computer in the living room, and the screen saver showed photos of women in various stages of bondage and torture. I was sitting next to a woman and her play partner when they started talking about knife play and prostitution role playing. As cool and collected as I wanted to seem, I'm pretty sure my eyes were as big as saucers.

At that point, I was only theoretically interested in BDSM. I knew I had fantasies of being tied up, and I knew I liked spanking. That was about it. I had an open relationship with my boyfriend, but neither of us had yet dated anyone else. I'd never slept with a woman, though I knew I wanted to. I'd met kinky people, but my impression of them had largely been related to the fact that they were much older men leching in my general direction. I was pretty shy about it all.

I was telling a story to one of my new acquaintances (I don't remember who) about how I'd worked at the Renaissance Faire on my 18th birthday and a friend, to accentuate how popular this made me, gave me a pin to wear that said "Legal" on it. My new, kinky, poly party friend said "I bet you'd look great wearing just that pin and nothing else."

I was taken aback by this. The memory is fuzzy, but I might've had to ask him to explain what he meant, that the pin would be piercing my skin. I'd told him earlier in conversation that I was possibly interested in BDSM but hadn't explored much. I know he was trying to get a rise out of me. I said something along the lines of "Oh, I don't know about that," and tucked the idea away on my list of Really Kinky Shit that was probably only for special, experienced, and rare Heavy Players.

Fast forward to the other night, September in New York City. I did my first play piercing scene in the basement of the local BDSM club, tied topless to a bondage table and ignoring the people standing around to watch. Today I'm feeling the itch as the puncture marks from the needles and staples heal and I'm enjoying the bruises on other parts of my body from the rest of the play that we did.

It's funny how far we can come in the space of five years.
On living, loving, learning, and fucking with the materials I've got at hand.

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