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  #21  
Old 06-06-2010, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by DD123 View Post
This is the gf of the OP again. I'm curious about this, because I've had a lot of discussion over respecting other people's feelings about my actions. Where is the line between respecting and simply giving in? See, I grew up with poly, and I honestly see sex as ....... a way of communicating or communing with someone, like a hug. It can certainly be much more intimate and real, but it can also be just a very enjoyable different kind of hug. How do I respect the fact that other people see it differently? How do I respect their boundaries without feeling caged in?

This wasn't such a big deal with my last boyfriend, but since then I have developed some casually sexual relationships -- with my ex, with my roommate and her boyfriend, with my Boston crowd. Sex is an important part of how I relate to them. (And there are probably some deeper psychological reasons for that, but regardless I don't think it's completely unhealthy.) So if I'm in a more serious relationship with someone who's bothered by that .... it feels like there's no right answer. What do you think?
You raise some very interesting questions and I am delighted that I have actually heard them asked before for the same reasons. Delighted because I think it is so great that kids are being brought up in poly like households! So inspiring in raising my own child!

My friend is currently struggling with this same dilema. She has also grown up poly in that she began her relationship life that way. Her parents did not identified that way as she grew up, although her mum does now and is exploring the possibility after her daughter came out as such.

My friend has fallen deeply in love with a man and has started a LDR with him. He is 20 and she is 25? 26? somewhere in there. She met with Mono and I a few weeks back to talk about mono relationships because she has no idea how they work and she wants to work on her relationship with this man.

The flavour of them is different and there are different considerations. She did similar things to you in that she is still dating other people, was about to hook up with someone for the first time, is in a triad, has a very casual sex life in a lot of ways in terms of parties, etc.... a whole bunch of other sexual encounters that I am not privy to I'm sure. So what does one do when they come from that back ground and are used to that way of life and then fall in love with someone who isn't poly and not used to it?

Mono gave her a good idea of what mono means to him and how he has been able to manage my polyness, but really bottom line, I have made huge changes to my thinking in order to accommodate our love for one another. As has he. We made that choice.

Some might see me as a sell out for it... sacrificing my freedom for someone else's needs. He might be seen as someone who has sacrificed the so called "safety" of a mono relationship complete with the value set that comes along with it for someone else's needs.

To us? We have created our own version of what it means to us through a lot of hard work.

To me? I have tons of freedom in being bonded to him and being his girlfriend... he is dedicated to me only, I am treated like the queen bee by him. He is not willing to ever search for more, because I give him everything and I feel safe within that. I don't ever have to worry that he will stray else where (and I say "stray" because in his mono way of thinking, that is what it would be). His focus is all me and I am rich with his attention as a result... huge benefits I have grown and been healed in his love. He has taught me what I am worth and what my body is worth to me and those I share it with.

To him? and I am talking for him, he can answer for himself and change what I say if he wishes.... he has benefited from increased communication, being a part of a family that loves him where his family has abandoned him, his freedom to go of on his motor bike if he wishes for as long as he wants without thinking that I am alone (not that he does ), spending free time on his own to do his own thing and heal from his past, and being able to tangibly grasp that I am dedicated to his needs... he can see that in my actions as I tell men I am not available. In a mono relationship that is a given, in our relationship that is HUGE as it is something that I have chosen that goes against my nature to a certain extent. I have found freedom in saying no and choosing his love over casual sex.

This could be a life stage thing too though.... he has raised a child to 17, I have a child, we have both been married, we have both owned houses and things, had careers and still do, but they are in management rather than obtaining them... I think things would be quite different if we met 20 years ago... I would not of considered him for one second due to his nature, mine and where we were at. We might of loved each other, but it would of died due to conflict and different life values and understanding of relationships.

So, in a nut shell, No, I don't think you are unhealthy, and yes I think there is no easy answer and really it all boils down to where you are at, where he is at and how much you love each other and if you want to try something new and rearrange your thinking around your sex/relationship life.

You never know.... maybe one day you will think monogamy is just fine and settle down to having a marriage and kids and blah blah blah.... I did that, but then realized I just needed to adjust my way of thinking about my life rather than give up on what I was doing in order to have the typical stuff that people want to have...

Life is so changeable and I don't think we can ever expect that we will always have the same needs... just go with it and listen to yourself.. what is your gut saying to you about someone, about yourself? What do you want for your future? What are you willing to let go of and what is most important to you...? What are you willing to explore?

All this is what your lovers need to hear, so that they can make their own plans. This to me is how you respect their boundaries and don't feel caged in at the same time... the thing is to say these things often and in such a way as to educate them. Let them in on what is going on in your mind as it happens... Don't scold or make them think they are less than you because they are different and have different ideas about what they want in their lives. They are entitled to their own path.

They also need to know that you will not engage in a conversation with them if they are in it to convince you of something different than your beliefs... one can say that assertively and still be respectful.

No one way is right, there are just different ways and we can all learn from each other. This kind of attitude is respectful and not giving in on yourself or them.
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  #22  
Old 06-06-2010, 02:41 AM
saudade saudade is offline
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bfDD123,

Here's your first question to us in at the start of this thread:
Quote:
So I am looking for similar feelings/experience from poly ppl. What is too much? What is the line where the cost out-weighs the benefit? is she looking to boost her self-esteem by people pleasing? When is a "slut" too slutty?
I've only ever felt uncomfortable in sexual encounters when they were with people who weren't already friends. I did the truly casual thing once or twice, and it was physically enjoyable, but it didn't do it for me. Relatively new friends in a group sex context, wherein everyone's respectful and enjoying themselves, have been wonderful. I also enjoy sexual friendships, and just keep cultivating them it seems... Sexual friendships and sexual relationships are among my favorite relationships in the world these days.

That said, I'm that weird person in The Ethical Slut, the slut who is wondering why 'you' (the hypothetical reader) are the only friend of mine I haven't slept with yet-- at least if there's no barriers to it. My hetero female and gay male friends, not a question. My monogamously attached friends, not a question. Everyone else... I'm patiently enjoying the nonsexual friendship, and watching to see what happens. My constellation is very out of the closet, so anyone looking to explore in our circle of friends knows there's no harm in asking.


gfDD123:

Here's your question from page 2 of this thread:

Quote:
I'm curious about this, because I've had a lot of discussion over respecting other people's feelings about my actions. Where is the line between respecting and simply giving in? See, I grew up with poly, and I honestly see sex as ....... a way of communicating or communing with someone, like a hug. It can certainly be much more intimate and real, but it can also be just a very enjoyable different kind of hug. How do I respect the fact that other people see it differently? How do I respect their boundaries without feeling caged in?

This wasn't such a big deal with my last boyfriend, but since then I have developed some casually sexual relationships -- with my ex, with my roommate and her boyfriend, with my Boston crowd. Sex is an important part of how I relate to them. (And there are probably some deeper psychological reasons for that, but regardless I don't think it's completely unhealthy.) So if I'm in a more serious relationship with someone who's bothered by that .... it feels like there's no right answer. What do you think?
I actually got into a conversation with RedPepper about this on another thread. Here's what I wrote about what works in my relationships:

Quote:
It's actually my policy not to move at the pace of the slowest person even in an 'existing relationship with an issue' situation, wherein the 'issue' is the involvement of a third person. The rule of thumb I go by instead is: what's reasonable in this situation for the parties directly involved?

For example: one of my partners, Z, has had trouble adjusting to me taking on a friend with benefits. There are parts of my having a friend with benefits in which Z is an involved party: who I sleep with at night; how much time this friend spends with both of us (he's actually friends with the whole constellation, not just me); who I sit next to when they both are in the living room; PDAs in front of Z; the degree to which a new love brings everyone an STD risk; etc. In those issues, Z is directly affected, and how he's doing with the thought of sharing me with this friend in this particular way is a major part of any decision on the topic. However, there are other parts of my relationship with this friend that have nothing to do with Z (like whether we talk online, what we do sexually --once we've agreed on STD issues--, and how we celebrate his birthday), and so we're not going to move at Z's pace on those issues, even if he's the one struggling the most in our constellation with the whole thing.
http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...?t=2858&page=2

That doesn't have to be it for you, but I completely understand the desire to be autonomous. I let myself get stuck in a situation about five years ago where one of my primaries controlled how I interacted with my other primary, to the point of severely limiting the sexual aspect of our relationships. My logic at the time was that once primary 1 (came first chronologically, and I see no desire to identify him on here) was comfortable, we'd loosen things-- which he and I both discussed at length. The situation continued for two and a half years, because none of us were ready to walk away from the unbalanced, unhealthy situation. After that, there was no way I was ever going to be willing to relinquish my control of my loving again.

(Coincidentally, I'm rebuilding my friendship with primary 2, two years later, and we're so glad to be back in each other's lives in a healthy way. Cheers!)

No clue what the right answer is for you, and I honestly struggle with my answer, the one I gave RP, every single day. So does Z, and so does everyone else along with us. But we're committed to trying and working on it, and it's getting better all the time, so we fight to make it work.


Good luck thinking and trying, and I encourage both of you to keep posting on here-- I learn a lot reading along and writing in.
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Last edited by saudade; 06-06-2010 at 02:42 AM. Reason: clarification
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  #23  
Old 06-06-2010, 07:31 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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There are two kinds of casual sex.

The first is casual sex because sex is fun, it feels good to express yourself, it's a way to connect with people, etc. Those are positive reasons.

The second is casual sex because life is meaningless, sex gives you a sense of worth, makes you feel accepted and valued, helps you avoid your problems. Those are negative reasons.

A slut is "too slutty" if you're having sex for the wrong reasons. If having sex makes you feel worse rather than better. If you're doing it to take something from the other person rather than share something with them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DD123 View Post
I do in fact value that autonomy more than any relationship. I realize that may be a rather contentious statement -- "fightin' words", you might say -- so please remember that I'm a 19-year-old bi-lesbian college student with codependency and intimacy issues, and this death-grip on my autonomy is simply what I think is appropriate for me.
I don't think them's fightin' words... It's where you are in life, maybe your lifelong path, and if you're open and honest about it, then that's perfectly fine. About 4 years ago, I was in a similar place. I had been in a few serious, mono relationships, and was feeling the need for freedom to explore and express myself however I saw fit. So when I got together with my now-husband, I made it clear to him that I was going to maintain whatever other relationships I wanted, and if he wanted to be with me, he would have to accept that. So he learned to. Then it turned out I was so crazy about him that I didn't desire anyone for the next 3 years because my time, desire, and energy were taken up. Now we're somewhere in the middle - I'm still free to date whomever I want, but I no longer have the "get over it or move on" attitude, and if my actions were causing him pain, then it would be a serious issue to me and it would need to be addressed.

As long as you're upfront with your boyfriend that you intend to do whatever the hell you want and he has no say in the matter other than breaking up with you, and you're ok with that, then go hard!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
My sig file statement is concerned with nothing more than accuracy in description--that poly is different from open and swinging--and nothing more.

Anybody who infers anything different is bringing his or her own bias into the reading.
I think the key part of the sig is just fucking around ... i.e. if casual sex is the only form of non-monogamy that you're practicing, then that's not poly. But that doesn't mean poly people can't also have casual sex, in addition to multiple loving relationships. By analogy, an olympic cyclist can also go swimming, and even though swimming isn't cycling, it doesn't mean the athlete isn't a cyclist. But if all the athlete does is swim, then she's not a cyclist.
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  #24  
Old 06-06-2010, 05:28 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
There are two kinds of casual sex.

The first is casual sex because sex is fun, it feels good to express yourself, it's a way to connect with people, etc. Those are positive reasons.

The second is casual sex because life is meaningless, sex gives you a sense of worth, makes you feel accepted and valued, helps you avoid your problems. Those are negative reasons.
What about sex because you enjoy a good romp?...Like any physical activity, its just plain fun

I would say there are potentially 3 options...
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  #25  
Old 06-06-2010, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ariakas View Post
What about sex because you enjoy a good romp?...Like any physical activity, its just plain fun

I would say there are potentially 3 options...
Doesn't that fall into the category of "fun" ?

Edit: But maybe you meant, sex is good exercise, and a lot more awesome than going to the gym?
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  #26  
Old 06-06-2010, 11:08 PM
DharmaBum23 DharmaBum23 is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Doesn't that fall into the category of "fun" ?

Edit: But maybe you meant, sex is good exercise, and a lot more awesome than going to the gym?
I would actually argue against that point. I have NEVER had a pregnancy or STI scare with a treadmill.
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  #27  
Old 06-06-2010, 11:16 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I would actually argue against that point. I have NEVER had a pregnancy or STI scare with a treadmill.
But have you had an orgasm with a treadmill?
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  #28  
Old 06-07-2010, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
There are two kinds of casual sex.

The first is casual sex because sex is fun, it feels good to express yourself, it's a way to connect with people, etc. Those are positive reasons.

The second is casual sex because life is meaningless, sex gives you a sense of worth, makes you feel accepted and valued, helps you avoid your problems. Those are negative reasons.

A slut is "too slutty" if you're having sex for the wrong reasons. If having sex makes you feel worse rather than better. If you're doing it to take something from the other person rather than share something with them.
I really like this SchrodingersCat... it sums it up nicely for me... the thing is... in the last bit ,"If you're doing it to take something from the other person" it's hard to know if someone is taking it from YOU. This is where I was hurt.

I never took from other people, in fact I was quite giving. Too giving. But I was taken from. I was lied to in order to be used for sex. There was no thank you's, no respectful hug or laugh and meaningful kiss, just pants up and on to the next one. A couple of times they came back, a bit of time later, when they were horny again and wanted more! I even allowed it to happen again one time! I looked for a connection at the end, as I did the first time, only to feel abandoned once again.

How do you deal with that when you go into casual sex for the #1 reason, of being fun expressing yourself, and connecting without being used? I have seen this and had this happen to me time and time again! What does one do when one has GIVEN of themselves only to be tossed aside once they get off?

For me its a matter of not fucking friends. End of story. There is far too much chance of damage and I would lose far too much of what I have gained in terms of self love and empowerment. Besides, there is so much to be gained by sticking with a few good lovers and really developing what it means to really make their toes curl and teaching and learning from them what make my toes curl.

Thanks for this though
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  #29  
Old 06-07-2010, 09:04 AM
DD123 DD123 is offline
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Hi all! This is the OP (the BF)
Thank you all for your comments, my gf and I both are learning a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutumnalTone View Post
It sounds to me as if she's trying to suss out what appropriate boundaries are--and not only what she feels comfortable with, but what DD123 is comfortable with. I suspect she's trying to figure out if doing that sort of thing is going to work well within the relationship she has with DD123.
Yes we are trying to work it all out. right now our boundaries are blurry and fluid, and we are trying to decide what will work for both of us without either of us feeling hurt or trapped. and they are never set in stone, they are "just for today"

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
but really bottom line, I have made huge changes to my thinking in order to accommodate our love for one another. As has he. We made that choice.
... I don't ever have to worry that he will stray else where (and I say "stray" because in his mono way of thinking, that is what it would be).
... I tell men I am not available. In a mono relationship that is a given, in our relationship that is HUGE as it is something that I have chosen that goes against my nature to a certain extent. I have found freedom in saying no and choosing his love over casual sex.
personally I have definitely changed my thinking. In my previous relationships (they have all been mono until this one) I have had gfs that have cheated and slept around to spite me and hurt me and to expedite the end of the relationship. I know that is not the case with my gf now; she has NOT done it to spite me nor to end our relationship, which she continues to prove to me by not running away/pushing me away and by reaffirming me that her feelings for me have not changed/lessened.

The stray comment I completely understand. my gf encourages me to seek other relationships. I have once, and it was odd to say the least; partly because I felt like I was straying/being unfaithful to her (even though she tells me its not) and partly because it was my first experience with another guy (just to clarify: it was no sex just heavy petting)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
As long as you're upfront with your boyfriend that you intend to do whatever the hell you want and he has no say in the matter other than breaking up with you, and you're ok with that, then go hard!
she did say that she has a "death-grip on [her] autonomy" and I do respect that. she is her own person and she is the way she is and I cant change her. I do not want to break up with her simply because of that. I feel like I have grown and learned thus far in our relationship, like I said about changing my thinking. but I need to take it one step at a time, and yes I do have a slower pace than she does but she is pushing me to take bigger steps; although on rare occasions I feel its more of a leap than a step. But I am doing my best and hey thats why Im on this forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I really like this SchrodingersCat... it sums it up nicely for me... the thing is... in the last bit ,"If you're doing it to take something from the other person" it's hard to know if someone is taking it from YOU. This is where I was hurt.
I never took from other people, in fact I was quite giving. Too giving.
I have both taken, and been taken from. Ive even been in a situation where both of us were taking and neither of us were giving. needless to say, but all of these were very unhealthy relationships, and yea i got off, but it did hurt my spirit. this is not the case with my current gf; I give and I feel SO much more joy and love in giving than I ever did taking. but I do have a fear of my gf being "too giving" so that she is taken from. I know that it is her lesson to learn, but I have been there and it is not a fun place to be and if I can try and help her so that she doesnt have to go through that, hey Ill try
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