My dating skills are a little rusty, having properly isolated for both my mental health and safety for pretty much the entirety of 2020 and beyond. Taking an entire year off of kissing, and new relationship butterflies, did something strange. It made the fireworks of a few first kisses with new people pretty much off the charts. And well, that confused my little soul. Was the chemistry the start of something real, and intense? Or simply the result of being in isolation for so long, and my bodies way of responding with heightened sensitivity? Or, are these the remnants of being open for so long, or maybe the first polyamorous inklings in a long time!
I’m not really looking for an answer, but what I am discovering is underneath all of that, was a part of me that I thought could have been damaged beyond repair, my ability to explore my polyamorous side again. I had someone very dear to me, ask if I could go back to non-monogamy, and my only answer at the time was “I don’t know”. I spoke out of a place of hurt, and damage. And believe me when I say I have put a lot of effort into healing those deep wounds. Being both gender and relationship fluid, I have always been open to the possibilities, but, I was expecting that someone else would take a bit of that lead. That I would fall in love, and, the natural course of life would occur.
But, here I sit, wondering if I am about to take the reigns. If perhaps I am going to take control and guide the next few men or women in my life towards something that I desire. 2021 is all about me taking back ownership of my life, my home, and my future. That being said, I have loved the fantasy of being swept off my feet. And that has me wondering, if perhaps, I am about to sweep myself off my feet. Is that even a thing? Can I be happy in control of my relationships? Is that a dynamic that will bring me joy? I have no clue, but after kissing a new guy, I desperately wanted to go run and share the moment with someone special. And I have not felt that desire in a long time. Having had to be closed, and keep my own secrets for longer than I care to admit, made it the default that I am now questioning.
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Does this post even make any sense? Maybe it’s not supposed to because I am in a place of change, growth, and more importantly, I have felt more happiness in the day to day, than I have in years. And the only thing I can attribute that to is the hope I have with some amazing people, and the fact that I have shut off the one big burden that closed me off. Which is a state of being I never want to experience again.
The feelings right now are subtle. Those little butterflies building for multiple people, and wanting share everything I’m doing with them feels strange, and a little uncomfortable, but in a good and hopeful way. And without the protective comfort of a long term, stable partner to come home to, I think is where I’m a little baffled. I’m taking the role of the stable one, and providing the inner strength all on my own. I feel empowered to vocalize what I want. To do the check-ins, and not settle for the person who just let’s me flounder. I have a funny feeling these next few months are going to be very interesting…
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Over the past few weeks I have written some pretty great rants for my blog. And then I read them over, and realize that nope, they are not for public consumption. Instead they are tough conversation starters that I need to have at home. And it’s funny, that that was why I started blogging in the first place, writing out the hard questions (It was called question everything). Before I developed the skills to talk about the hard stuff, I would write them down, in an ambiguous way and then just hope that the person they were about would read them, and just intuitively decode the message and we could talk about things. Spoiler alert… it NEVER happened.
But, I did get practice writing rants, raves, and general queries out to collect my thoughts. Which turned into better clarity when talking about all the difficulties in my relationship, and of course led to real changes or realizations that things had to be accepted or move on. So why am I sharing this with you? Because my friends, that is who I am. I am real, and raw and ready to tackle 2021. So get ready because I am about to start blogging about solo polyamorous dating.
For those wondering if you missed some huge breakup post or drama filled lament from me, you didn’t. Why, because there was no need to write one. I am just not a fighter. In fact, in a decade of being together we have had one screaming match… ever. I am talking one big fight, and it was after we were already broken up. I would call it an airing of our drunken grievances if nothing else. So, again, do no hold your breath for some drama fuelled I hate him post, because it just isn’t how I roll. Calm and rational to the end (well in person).
I am going to make a tonne of mistakes, because this is a whole new world going it alone in non-monogamy. In fact, I am making one right now that I am kicking myself for (new post coming soon on that one). That being said, I have a sneaking suspicion that this go around in my relationship exploration, there are going to be a lot more posts about peoples reactions to me, and the situations they find themselves in a result of meeting yours truly. There is zero ill will intended, and in a perfect world, everyone would automatically be on the same page as me and we would have great sex and live happily ever after. But, of course we cannot have nice things, especially after 2020.
So, in true me fashion, I hope you enjoy (probably more than I will) the real and raw journey of my solo polyamorous tales going forward. I anticipate bouts of monogamy, dating tales, and well, I don’t even want to guess at all the pitfalls because I might lose my nerve to think of them. Haha! Oh, and I would love to hear your thoughts on using the term ethical when it comes to non-monogamy. For better or for worse, this is going to be a theme I touch on a few times over the next little while, because the word is already becoming problematic. But I will save that for a future post. Welcome 2021 and my continuing saga of breaking away from monogamy my way.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped fuel me through 2020 on my Patreon! Hopefully the bonus content this year will be even better with sneak peaks of new podcasts, and all the behind the scenes photos you’ve come to enjoy.
As 2020 makes its miserable leave of our lives, I am surprised to say, that I am actually hopeful. Not only for the vaccine, and humanity coming together again in the near future, but for completely selfish reasons, me. I have been dealt blow after blow, as I am positive many of you out there can relate to, and while the temptation to be bitter is just under the surface something much more prominent is brewing… hope. In my short lifetime, I have given my heart to many people and have had it stomped on and thrown right back in my face. I have been mentally, emotionally, and physically abused more times than I care to admit, and perhaps it would be easier if I just retreated into my shell, yet, I am inextricably driven by hope. Hope for a future with love, passion, and all the amazing adventures that I absolutely know are out there for me.
I don’t know why I believe this is a part of my future, because the evidence definitely speaks to the contrary. But, here I sit, writing with this calm sense of knowing. Somewhere, there is a match. Someplace right now, there is a person who will love me for all of my flaws, and my randomness. Why? Because I know I can love them in return for all of their imperfections. The pain I have lived has shown me this boundless capacity for love.
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It’s strange. A few years ago, when exploring polyamory for the first time, I was faced with the intriguing concept that humans can love more than one person. I instantly understood that, and I sought to find friendships that went beyond just superficial drinking buddies. I can say with certainty that I have a group in my inner circle that I love. That friendship goes far beyond what I knew was possible as a child. And while I won’t be getting naked in front a room of strangers this year to ring in the New Year, I am hopeful that in year to come, I will get more intimate and equally exhilarating moments sprinkled throughout.
And now, with that same sense of wonder, I approach 2021 with hope. Maybe this year won’t share with me my true love, but I will be damned if I will be harnessed by the bitterness of my past experiences. I just don’t have that in me. If I let those shadows take me, even for a few moments, I know I would struggle to get out. So, instead, I am accepting that I have skeletons in my closet, of which I will deal with, and not allow me to remain frozen in fear of rejection. For 2021, I have an open arms and an open heart and I truly with the same for everyone reading this. Cheers to a 2021 filled with hope and opportunity!
And a huge thank you to every single person who fuelled me with beer money to get through 2020 on Patreon. You are my hero’s!
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!
To all of you buying me beer or coffee on Patreon… thank you! Your generosity, no matter how small helps fuel my blog and writing endeavours and I am forever grateful!
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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