Forgive me if my posts seem a little bipolar. I’m usually inspired to write either right after I’ve had an orgasm or when it’s been too long since I’ve had one. I guess it had been too long yesterday. Anything much longer than 24 hours seems too long these days. I’ve become spoiled.
The thing is I have two “boyfriends” at the moment. I know Ben probably wouldn’t appreciate being called my “boyfriend,” but I don’t mean anything by it other than the fact that he’s a close male friend whom I have sex with on a regular basis. He also happens to be my roommate and the best friend of my official boyfriend, Brad, who is the father of my child.
The three of us have been living happily together for 2.5 months now. Even though Brad and I have had some of the worst fights of our 5.5-year-relationship, this is already shaping up to be our best year together by far. And even though poly people keep telling me polyamory is not all about sex, our new and improved sex lives are a big part of our overall relationship satisfaction.
Brad had a really hard time with me having sex with Ben at first. I was spending the night in Ben’s room about every other night for a while, and it was killing Brad to wake up without me in the bed. But, over time, he realized that me being with Ben didn’t make me want to be with him any less. In fact it made me want to be with him more often.
Before moving to Asheville and opening up our relationship, a little over a year ago, Brad and I were having sex about once a week, if we were lucky. And most of the time neither of us was really into it – it was just something we felt like we better hurry up and do, so we could mark it down on our mental calendars. Otherwise we’d have to admit something was wrong with our relationship… because you know what the experts say – if you can’t stay sexually interested in each other for 50 years, something is definitely wrong. You probably need therapy and a copy of the book Passionate Marriage (what an oxymoron).
I was extremely frustrated and I know he must’ve been too. We went back and forth blaming each other about our lack of desire for years, until we started having sex with other people.
Over time, we started to notice a pattern. Each time one of us had been intimate with someone else, our interest in each other was rekindled.
Brad’s had sex with four other women in the last year, and I’ve had sex with with three other men. For me, the draw toward him is immediate. As soon as I find out he’s been with a woman, I want him right then and there. Even the idea that he might have sex with another woman drives me wild.
For Brad, it takes a little longer to recover from the shock, but once it wears off, he gets excited by the idea of “re-claiming” me. (By the way, I mean “re-claim” in the most playful and way possible. We both understand that we do not own each other’s bodies.)
More is Not Less
A lot of friends and readers have privately messaged me asking how they can get their husband or wife on board with polyamory or swinging. It seems people are afraid that their partner having sex with and/or falling in love with other people means less sex and/or love for them, or perhaps they’ll lose their romantic partner altogether.
It’s a normal fear, but one that we’ve been ultra-conditioned to feel in a culture that tells us we can only love/have sex with one person at a time.
My advice is this. Having sex with or falling in love with other people will most likely not make your partner want to have sex with or love you less. At least that’s not my experience. And it’s not the experience of most poly people I know.
While there is a period of time in the beginning of a new relationship – called the NRE or New Relationship Energy phase – where your partner might seem temporarily obsessed with their new partner, it wears off.
I’m only two months into my sexual relationship with Ben (we’ve been friends about a year), and my once-wild emotions for him are already slowly returning to homeostasis. Don’t get me wrong, I still like him A LOT and our sexual encounters just keep getting better and better… but because we live together, we see the good, bad and the ugly. We’re starting to become family, like Brad and I are. And the more familial things start feeling, the harder it becomes to maintain desire and passion.
Like Esther Perel says – we desire the people we want (don’t have), we love the people we have.
But I’m getting off track. My point is, in my experience loving a second or third person, has only increased my love for the first. And the same goes for sex. Like my new friend Gracie X said, I think having sex with new people prolongs the natural lifespan of sexual desire for your original partner. New people add spice, new life and other nuances that keep things interesting with existing partners.
Additionally, the sexual freedom and novelty has given me a new appreciation of the deep friendship, familial bond, history and emotional security I have with Brad.
Why Sex Matters
Oh, and why sex matters – because contrary to what the sex doctors say, there are lots of monogamous couples out there who insist it doesn’t bother them that their sex lives have slowed way down or are virtually non-existent. That’s great, and if that’s true for you, or you are asexual, I am NOT knocking it.
I, however, am a very sexual person. To function at my optimal happiness level and to get along well with my life partner(s) and child, I need to be having good sex frequently. I have never been able to maintain the level of sexual interaction I desire in a monogamous relationship for more than a couple of months. And I’m sure most of the men felt the same frustration. Unfortunately we thought that meant things had to be over.
Now I know that’s not true. I don’t have to end a relationship with someone I love and care about deeply just because sexual desire has waned. I can have it all. The end 🙂