I wear my heart on my sleeve, an expression I learned from my mother when I was a young teenager. She often told me I needed to curb this tendency. I’m not sure if this was a belief she learned from her own mother, or if maybe she was doing her very best to shelter me from the scrutiny of others. Yet I believe keeping my heart on my sleeve has quite literally kept me alive – sustaining me through trauma and facilitating the human connections so vital in healing and shedding my sexual shame.
So here I am, deeply in love with a man who feels much safer keeping his sexuality tucked away from public view, which has led to me feeling he’s hiding himself from me. I want to be spanked and tied up, told I’m a naughty little girl, alternately that I’m a good girl. My love, he loves to make love. He loves to kiss and hold me all night, after making love he loves to listen to music, sip wine and fall asleep in front of the fireplace. He doesn’t love to talk about what we just shared, or what I want and need to share. I need to talk it through in order to feel safe, otherwise I crawl into my shell like a tiny hermit crab. I actually sleep with my head under the covers when I feel most vulnerable, a habit my young daughter finds hilarious and ridiculous.
In this relationship, I’ve wondered what the solution could possibly be. I’ve asked myself if I’m polyamorous, if I could express my kink with another lover, simultaneously sharing everyday partnership with my love. I do believe I can have tremendous feelings for more than one person at a time, but I don’t believe I can ultimately keep my thoughts or desires from anyone I share my body with.
My love’s scent and taste is like no other. Our skin and limbs entwined feels just right. I know what our babies would look like, little beach bum angels. My love uses words like “stoked,” and expressions like “right on.” I don’t feel silly saying “awesome” and “rad” all the time. We fit. We make sense in many, many ways.
We talk about his music with shared passion and understanding. He’s my rock star. He understands why I’m compelled to study what I study, believes the sky is the limit for me academically. But I want to read out loud the short stories I write, my outrageous and boundary pushing fantasies. I need to surrender to these fantasies in order to orgasm. I want to straddle the line behind pleasure and pain, submit to his requests, which are really just my requests.
I love him too much to force him to go beyond his comfort zone. And similarly, I’m often not comfortable in his zone without one too many shots of Johnny Walker Black Label. Not good. So how does this work itself out? I can’t imagine ever wanting to listen to the Allman Brothers with anyone else. I can’t imagine swooning for another man the way I have for him. I can imagine being in the arms of a woman with a shaved head and lots of tattoos, but I’d rather he be there next to us, or at least want to hear all about it.