I posted a rant a while back on the subject of Hookups, Couples, and Swinging, and honestly I thought I did a pretty great of expressing my dislike for the whole hookup culture. However, it turns out, I kinda jumped the gun thinking that I would only ever be dating as a couple…. Whoops! So now that I am putting my feet in the dating pool in a more solo driven capacity, and accepting solo men (Please be terrified for me, because I know I am) I’ve realized online dating and reading comprehension do not go hand in hand. In fact, more often than not the idea that I want a FWB or a hookup because I proudly state I am non-monogamous is a hurdle I keep having to jump. And well, they just don’t give me enough characters in a message to say what I really feel about this… Non-monogamy is not code for hookups or FWB.
Now, I know that the majority of my readers have already been exposed to the word non-monogamy, but if you haven’t, then I am about to blow your mind… the diversity within the word non-monogamous is vast. In fact, I have tried to write about the definitions outside of monogamy so many times, and always come up short. Many call it a spectrum and I urge you to go and look one up if you haven’t already. Suffice it to say, pretty much any relationship outside of monogamy is possible including: polyamory, swinging, triads, FWB, foursomes, don’t ask don’t tell, ethical non-monogamy, and when you factor in all the gender diversity too… well, it turns out that there is no solid assumption you can make when you read someone identifies as non-monogamous.
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And honestly, that is one of my favorite things about being non-monogamous, the freedom to choose. The freedom over my body, my relationships, and sex life is pretty damn empowering. That I can love someone with all my heart, and still be able to explore things I am interested in sexually and emotionally. Ok, I know you have all read my little anthem before. I love being non-monogamous. What I don’t love is being told that I am only looking for hookups. Or that I am only worthy of a FWB. Or that I am a slut or I am unable to settle down, by extension that something must be wrong with me. Or that I my sex life is unfulfilling. (Again, people I haven’t even met have dared to say each and everyone of these things to me on various online dating sites).
My optimistic nature thought, and still tries to be hopeful in the idea that new people would get excited about my relationship fluidity. If someone is amazing, I will make an effort to fit them into my life. It could be a hook-up once a year, or something more ongoing. It could be a full-on relationship where we go out on dates, plan a future, and grow to love each other. It could be physical, emotional, flirty, honestly it depends on our chemistry and timing and all those wonderful factors that come into play. I am open to the possibilities and don’t want to pigeon hole myself into some ideal that won’t make sense long term.
Sex is important to me. And yes, I want to get laid as often as possible. But if all you are offering me is that? Well, I am going to hold out for someone who actually wants to get to know me, and not just my body, because right now… that is what I am looking for. Also, I reserve the right to change my mind at any time: my body, my heart, my choice!
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Around age five, I knew when I saw myself in the mirror it didn’t match what I saw on TV. People with white skin made the decisions, announced the news, led the adventures, and ran the world. People like me were barely seen and heard except for some recurring roles on TV shows or the occasional mention that this person was the “first” of our kind to be heading an important seat.
My mom made sure I got a good education because having a strong education background could make my life “easier”. I excelled in reading and other subjects. I tried sports, but the idea of playing in sports didn’t work.
My time in the military exposed me to the world and allowed me to parlay my abilities to show that I can navigate through any social circles. However, no matter the places I went to or the people I met; no matter my background or how I spoke; no matter my education or how well I could integrate between both the Black and Caucasian worlds I could never fully be included into their world. The systemic racism built into every part of our social construct would be a stumbling block for full integration and acceptance.
When I came into the Ethical Non-Monogamy world I hoped this could be a place for me to fit in without much effort. That wasn’t the case in this community either. Many times I find myself–like many people of color— as a person (or people) on the outside looking in. But the woman who was with me is White, Irtish/Scottish, and knew the scene better than I did. Without her, I think I’d be on a different path in the scene.
I could rail away about club owners or organizers not doing enough to integrate more and creating an equal space so no one was left out. Nor do I blame those who painstakingly tried to create conferences for ENM communities could flourish. I do believe there are people who try their best to include people of color in the mix. My thought is really listening and having an honest discussion on how the chasm can be filled between Whites, Blacks, and all other minority groups.
In light of the recent shootings and deaths of Black people around the country in the past few decades that include the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, the non-monogamous community must not just change but have some deep discussions about where we go from here. I think if we want the type of community Ethical Non-Monogamous people strive to have–one where everyone is equal, integrated, and striving for diverse relationships–it will happen when we start to discuss the issues facing us as a nation. It will also mean the White community must really listen to Black/Brown people about their experience in such settings.
Growing up in Northeast Ohio as a Black African-American we were never taught in school or home about the idea of having more than one person to love. Nor did we ever get lessons about enjoying having multiple partners in various scenarios or even find joy in our sexuality. No, my sexuality summed up by my mother’s stern warning to me at the time to not “make any grand-babies right now because I’m too old for that shit”. I was also the product of both the Catholic and Protestant churches where sex equated to purity and the right of passage once one is married. Sex outside of marriage–be it before or during– had no place in the world they wanted me to live in. The problem was I LOVE SEX and all the trappings with it!
I would learn later in life about these things in a classroom from a trained human sexuality teacher that all the guilt and hang-ups I had with my faith walk were wrong and that sex is pleasurable and can be enjoyed regardless of where I was in life.
I needed to hear that from someone outside of the realm I lived in. Sadly, the marriage I had before was over and in hindsight was okay. If we both got a more informed background on practices like Swinging, Polyamory, or Open Relationships the marriage could at least have a chance to survive.
The crux of it all regarding sexuality and my race is how at the time the amount of good information was available to my community. We fended for ourselves trying to figure out what is out there in the world and what is acceptable by our peers. I didn’t know any Black men or women who took the time to read up and find out about such things to get proper information.
I identify as a swinger in an Interracial Relationship. With our first circle of friends we met in the club I was the only Black person in the group. They were great people and we were fortunate to pair up with them. However, they don’t realize some of the things they would say (“you are the whitest Black person I know”) really hurt me. Just because I carried myself well and have an interest beyond the Black world doesn’t mean I’m trying to be White, nor does it mean that White people are the only ones who have a command of the English language. What many don’t realize is we do this to blend into, to try and defuse any tension among my White friends and show my desire to be included in the world. Even at my best I still find myself on the outside looking in.
I was always curious about swinging and open relationships. But because of the heavy influence of the church in our community or just any sexual relationship other than monogamous relationship pursuing such activities would be seen as trying to be “white”. When I came to such settings in Swing clubs and House parties I found other people of color were finding this stuff out too. Unless a black person or couple found themselves in a good group many found themselves on the outside looking in.
The other thing which was/is hurtful and makes Black men invisible is the whole “Mandigo”, “BBC–Big Black Cock” troupe where every Black male is expected to have the mythical Unicorn horn length cock stealing white women from their white men.
Some may enjoy this fetish, but a lot of us want to be seen based on our personality, our desires, and who we are as people— not as a fetish.
And being a Woman of Color is also troubling as well. From what I observe, the frustration Black and Brown women in the lifestyle face range from being invisible to being treated by White men as a “trophy” instead of a person. Only they can tell their story more adequately, but I stand in solidarity that their desire for relationships would be treated not as “exotic” but natural.
Our current circle of swinger friends have enough people of color (and middle age persons and couples) where it is comfortable and a safe place for everyone to strive to connect on all levels. It really helps to feel like you’re not the only one in the group and you are included in the fun.
If you could see the group room sometimes where we “play” together it is a beautiful mesh of Black and White bodies enjoying one another. What is even better is we truly care about one another and want the best for each other–both in and out of the setting.
What do we do now that the world realizes what the Black community said about abuse, murder, and systematic racism is true? How do the Ethical Non-Monogamy communities as a whole do to create a better relationship with Black/Brown patrons of the lifestyle?
I hope Polyamory communities and sites will take up the challenge and delve into the hard work ahead. I hope Swingers groups will not avoid talking about it, but create such a safe space for couples and single people to share and talk about the issues which affect both worlds. I hope in time the communities will strive to pull together and be under one tent together growing the community as a whole and not be separate. This can only happen when both groups strive to meet together in the middle instead of just one group doing all the heavy lifting.
This will require bloggers, podcast hosts, group leaders, and even finding the right party to facilitate a moment to lay down the rules. And it may be even important for each of us to place in our profiles just how important it is to make sure that first #BlackLivesMatter and secondly make safe spaces to talk about such issues in relation to Ethical Non-Monogamy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that White America and the World are finally wanting to join us in the streets to protest and talk with us about how we enter under the sheets together in the bedroom. I think it is a talk we needed a long time ago, to be honest. However, I make no illusions that by the time I/we hang up our time in the Lifestyle or in the end of my life the World will look a lot better and a lot more connected together regardless of race. I do hope things will be better, people are treated with respect, and how and who we chose to pair up with we pair knowing where we came from and where we are going together.
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Here’s the post that I am positive is going to have my readers and followers drop right off, but I need to say it. I hate the hookup culture. I hated it when I was single. I hated it when I was trying to date single guys when I was in an open relationship and I really struggle with it while trying to date couples off of swinging websites. In my last post, I wrote about how chemistry is key, and I want to take that a step further now. While I fully admit, that I can turn off the emotional connection for a totally delicious yummy 10, the reality is, they are so few and far between that it’s almost not even worth mentioning.
I have in fact hooked up with a cop, simply because of his
position of power, his body type, and the fantasy I had about who he
represented for my past and future spank bank and carelessly threw out the
window any and all conversation. Yes, I
am capable of doing this. But, I mean,
for me, all the work it took to engage him in a sexual one-time tryst just wasn’t
worth it. I mean, I am glad I did
it. But the repeatability factor of all
the time and energy just for the one hour or so, it exhausts me just to think
about. And the reason I mention this
fact at all, is that many studies say that women have a much harder time reaching
sexual satisfaction if there is zero emotional connection. And for the matter of this post, that is not
the reason I dislike hookups. Not orgasming
has never been my issue. Instead, it is
the quality and the time factor that really are the keys here, especially as I
get older (wiser).
Ok, let’s get back to the topic of hookup culture, which I sense is something that people equate swinging with, people including me. I do, in fact believe that many swingers are just looking to hook-up for one evening and never talk to the people they slept with again. There is an excitement and rush to that, so I would be wrong to say that I hate that aspect of things. What I am struggling with is the expectation of just hookups. The, all dressed up, so you might as well fuck me, mentality that many seem to have. Or the couples you chat with online who want a guarantee of action before they will commit to meeting for drinks. That’s just not my style. Sex is not, and should not be the expectation or a sure thing. Even typing that I cringe. And yet, when chatting with people on swingers sites, I find that this is very much the case.
So maybe I shouldn’t look to swinger sites to find couples
then right? When the dating pool is this
small, you go where the people are. And yes,
we have found a lot of people, just like us, navigating these murky waters
looking for a fit. I see constantly
posts about people who are in-between swinging and poly. They have no label, and no specific place to
find people. So they do what we do, cast
their lines out in hopes to get a nibble.
I do wish that I could attend a non-monogamous beer hall, where all the
people there have one thing in common, being non-monogamous. I think that would be an amazing thing to
start trending. But, as that will take
time, work, and a catchy name, for now we are left with munches, and swinger
parties. These are not a perfect fit,
but they are a start.
And well, the bottom line is, I want to get to know people. And beyond that, I love the idea that my partner and I could sleep with them too. And even better, that we could do it on a semi-regular basis, and hang out, and share our celebrations and be a part of each other’s lives. That’s what I desire in people. I want more than just their bodies or a quick orgasm. I want the whole person, the entire couple, the formation of a foursome, or even moresomes. I want it all. I want more than just a hookup!
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Am I fooling myself thinking society accepts non-monogamy?
So of course, just when I think people are starting to come
around to the acceptance of non-monogamy, I go ahead and read a few words of “wisdom”
from the real world. Ugh!
Let me preface this by saying proudly that I am exuberant over the love, support and acceptance I have found in my real life, and my social media world, look at this amazing sex positive community for example. I have worked hard to surround myself with educated and loving people, with whom I respect even at moments of disagreement and with whom I have convinced myself that they show the same respect for mine. But in the last few weeks, I have seen something that takes me back to a time before I found this incredible community and it’s heartbreaking.
There is a dating blogger who is sharing her story about being in her first open relationship (the specifics about committing to this or trying to run away screaming are not really relevant here). So, I will simply summarize by saying she is sleeping with a man who is polyamorous and engaged to another women, and whatever her actual motivations are, she is sharing this experience on her blog. And as such, I have been reading and following along, with a bit of nostalgia, going back to when I first met E, and all the ups and downs that I experienced learning about non-monogamy for the first time. And that was all well and good, up until I saw her comment section explode and I made the horrific mistake of reading a few opinions on the matter.
The majority of the male comments reflect the notion that
this guy is a creep and manipulating the dating blogger for sex. This sentiment is echoed by the female
majority saying things like, “run now”, or “I’ve been down this road and it
only leads to heartache”, and “why are you wasting your time on someone who
could never love you?”. All in all, it
is doom, gloom, judgement and criticism from a monogamous side of the world
that I don’t often see.
How is this possible, you may be asking yourself, given the
content of your blog? Honestly? I’m not 100 percent sure, so if you want to
weigh in on this, please be my guest (in the comment section would be
lovely!). What I do know is that my blog
didn’t evolve to non-monogamy, and thus I have never captured this broader
monogamous audience. I have been very
open and honest right from the get go about what content lies within. And whenever I write something controversial,
I try to do my research ahead of time, and aim to present a balance of ideas
whenever possible. Again, this really is
a point that you, dear readers are welcome to share your rational for coming back
week after week.
But back to the comment section of this particular blogger. You see, she is doing something incredibly tricky, which is to explain a situation to an unwilling audience, and that is what directly challenges their core beliefs about the evils of non-monogamy. It is so easy to use words like cheater, manipulator and user. So much so, that I believe if this guy ever found out about her blog, he would end things immediately. Some perceptions you just cannot come back from regardless of your intentions. So I sit here, reading comments and feeling heartbreak and shame that this is the world that open, polyamorous and swingers really fear. This judgemental, and hate filled place, shouting uneducated opinions and all manor of unsympathetic close-minded views really exists. For you see, this is a place were logic fails, and fear takes over. This is the black hole of the social media internet that all writers and bloggers fear. This is the place where your level-headed sanity begins to question things and your resolve wanes in the face of public opinion.
I want to tell myself that I should never read the
comments. But the reality is that I
needed that reminder that the world is not as advanced as I have been leading
myself to believe. My readers are
amazing. My supporters are
wonderful. But there is an entire world
out there that is going to judge first and ask questions never. When I finish writing my first book, this is
the world I will be facing. This is the
place I need to be aware exists and this is the land I need to learn to rise
In the meantime, thank you for reading, supporting and doing what you can to build the sex positive community. I need people like you and I hope on some level you need me too!
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Oh yes, I am definitely going there, and I truly hope that we get some discussion or debate rather than just the very easy like or block. Why is that? Because this is a subject that I personally have flip flopped a few times on in my non-monogamous exploration and believe is something that should be part of our dialogue when deciding to explore relationships outside of your primary one. So let me clarify a few considerations that went into me deciding if this is ethical or not for my own life, and share with you the actual thought process that I went through to reach my current leanings.
First, I think it is very fair to hypothesize that the current
generation of people we are interacting with were raised monogamous. With that assumption in mind, being that we all
started believing monogamy was the only relationship norms, then it follows
suit that at one point we were all dating someone non-monogamous when we ourselves
were of a monogamous mindset. And were
in fact converted, enlightened, or had an experience that made us want to run
away from monogamy forever!
Second, the point about disclosure. If we assume that we were all monogamous at one point, then the real point of discussion lies in the realm of disclosure. At when point do you tell a monogamous person that you are of a non-monogamous persuasion? Here, I believe it is a little different depending on the gender or the goal that you have in non-monogamy. For me, and for my safety and sanity, I disclose before I ever meet someone. My reasoning is, that I prefer to have the, no my lifestyle does not make me a slut, and no in fact, taking me out for a beer is not a guarantee of an easy lay, before meeting someone. Whereas, for my partner, it is much easier for him to have the non-monogamy conversation in person to feel out the person that he is meeting for the first time. He has been burned many times by women who claim they are curious or OK with non-monogamy and then turn out to be complete liars on this point. The only way for him to be sure, is to read their body language with a face to face conversation.
The take away? Disclosure within the first meeting or prior makes
dating a non-monogamous person ethical for me.
While I would never try and force non-monogamy, polyamory or open
relationships on anyone, I do feel that a monogamous person should be given the
same opportunity to explore a world outside of there raised standard that I
was. I would never have met my partner
if his rule was to ignore all monogamous women. While for me, I have been a lot
more successful sticking to already exposed non-monogamous men, I have certainly
had much more fulfilling conversations with those who are monogamous.
As a tiny little aside to this statement, men who are non-monogamous,
primarily want to discuss sex, fetishes, and all their kinks with me on a very
first meeting. It’s like they are beyond pent up and just erupt with overshare
the moment they meet me. Yes, I find this
intensely distasteful. I do not discuss sex with anyone within a first meeting.
Get to know me as a person first!
Whereas with monogamous men, I find they are much more keen to get to
know me, ask questions and share their reservations or interest level in a far
less sexualized context. I feel like
more of a person on a monogamous date, which is something I hope changes in the
next few years, because honestly non-monogamous dudes, you are ruining your
chances by this behaviour!!!
Ok, back to the topic at hand. Yes, I feel dating a monogamous person is completely ethical so long as you disclose right away. This is based on a few things, including my own personal experience, the fact that the non-monogamous pool is far too tiny to stick to, and currently, the men in that pool are not at a level that I find them attractive (with the exception of dating couples which is currently my preference).
Will this opinion change? Perhaps, especially if the trend of non-monogamy keeps growing at the current rate. In 20 years, it is possible that everyone will have been exposed to non-monogamy in some form or another and will have already made their fully educated choice on the matter. And at that point, it would be silly to date someone who had already made their monogamous choice, and open you up to intense heartache! But for now, it really is the only way to meet new people and have some great conversations and experiences!
I want to hear your thoughts ethically dating when non-monogamous, so join the conversation on Twitter, or show your support on my Patreon!