Porn and Polyamory: My Dirty Little Secret

It’s time that I come out about something. I am out in the community as an educator and a member of the kinky queer community. What I need to come out about is my ambivalent feelings about porn, and ultimately polyamory. My sexual education was a strange intensive that took place in the first three years of college. When I entered, I was a straight virgin, who was in possession of a promise ring (that’s right, before the Jonas Brothers brought it to the limelight of the more sexually progressive and blissfully unaware).

During my orientation at  Antioch College part of the orientation was on the Sexual Offense Prevention Policy (SOPP) and where to get safer sex supplies and ultimately how to use them. The idea of having to ask for consent before proceeding with sexual activity was just PROPOSTEROUS. So they immediately gave us an example of how to make negotiation sexy. It was two queer women eating strawberries and writhing on the stage, breathing heavy and saying yes. . . And they showed us the “duck method for fisting. (This was the highlight of the presentation because it seemed like a novel idea and a clever name)  I was introduced into the world of radical queers,  sexually active people, and a comfort and sense of experience everyone else seemed to exude. It was sort of survival of the fittest, and I had to learn quick about sexuality and how to navigate the awkward social impacts it has on your life. Luckily, I was learning about sex positivity before I was learning the real struggles of love and relationships. I started to explore my sexuality, I learned how to masturbate, and I started to learn what I wanted to have. Sex Positivity became a love affair with me, and it helped me explore my sexuality and realize that the dick I was imagining was made of silicone, and I might be the one on top. . .

I was surrounded by the sexually enlightened and I had the opportunity to learn about the beliefs behind polyamory. When I first heard about people having more than one partner, I was horrified, how was that safe? How was that consensual? How was that healthy? And when I started learning more I realized they were all very good points. There is enough love in the world, infinite amounts, we don’t have to worry about people in our lives giving their love away to other people, because it’s a bottomless ocean of love and desire. Polyamory allows for change, which is inevitable, in both the relationship and the individuals involved, and ultimately it breaks the possessive nature that relationships had in my mind. We don’t belong to each other, and while that’s scary, it’s also empowering because we can know that our partners are there because they want to be.

I loved this concept. The world is my oyster and damn it I’m going to fish the hell out of it! Of course, I was a virgin, awkward as hell both in my sexuality and my gender, and apparently cute enough to win a few hearts. My first relationship was an open one, and it ended terribly. I was away at school and my boyfriend at the time was living in San Francisco. A few weeks before I was supposed to move in with him for a 4 month internship, I got a call in which he told me that he had made out with a friend of his. Well, actually he had had sex with her, in his bed (the one I was supposed to move into).  I tried to remain calm but there was something so wrong about it. I didn’t feel safe in that space, and I didn’t feel safe in our relationship because he had been so awkward and indirect when he told me about his hook-up. We talked and argued up until the day I landed in SF, going to a friend’s house to stay, still not sure what was going to happen to that relationship. We broke up, and I quickly convinced myself that he was the scum of the earth and I was much better without him. (which I was).

When I found my current partner (and fiance), we discussed what we wanted in our relationship. I told him right then and there that I wanted it to  be monogamous, or if not, I just wouldn’t open up as much with him. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but now that I had found True Love, I no longer felt safe in the universe. It just felt like someone was going to come along and be more beautiful, more funny, more everything than I could ever be, and that I would be left again. It’s a terrible trap to be in, because even if you are in a monogamous relationship, these worries are still there. Just because your partner isn’t fucking other people, doesn’t mean that they don’t have desires, fantasies, and the possibility of growing equally strong bonds of friendship. It has been a long hard journey to alleviate some of those worries and have faith that the Universe is about abundance, and not lack.

While I still believe in my heart that I function best in monogamy, it’s the monogamy that also allows for conversation and possibility. While I still worry about connections that can happen over the internet (where’s the line between sex and masturbation? If you are communicating in real time, isn’t that still an intense intimate connection?), in porn (it’s a small community, and you probably know a few porn stars already), or even the back room in porn stores (what if someone’s cruising?) I am working on the underlying issues that are at the heart of this discomfort with porn.

I need to remind myself that just because my partner is turned on by something else, doesn’t mean he isn’t just as turned on as he always has been by me. Whether it’s through porn or a chance meeting, there are infinite possibilities for a partner to cheat (which might be why it’s so hard to believe in the one path of fidelity) and ultimately I need to have faith in my partner to be honest and direct if anything like that happens and to trust that the ultimate decision will be in the best interest of our relationship.  It feels so shameful to admit that I am afraid that my partner will stop loving me one day, but if I’m really honest, it’s because I’ve watched it happen before. I watched as one day my parents were together and the next they were divorced, and while that is a somewhat typical story, I also watched as my Father gave up on his relationship with me. And if a Father, family, could stop loving you, what’s to stop someone who chose to be with you before they saw all your dirty little secrets and annoying flaws.

Ultimately, I know that my love of porn and poly will return. What’s not to love about it? And along the way I’m learning how to love and have faith in myself.

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