Monogamy as “the norm”. Will we ever get away from this idea?
Personally, I am not sure if we will. At this point, it is so culturally ingrained, despite the fact that non-monogamy is gaining popularity.

What is monogamy?
Most people accept that monogamy is a given when starting a romantic relationship, but there is no conversation surrounding it. Is watching porn considered cheating? Is having sexual thoughts about other people considered cheating? Boundaries are different in every relationship.
I have friends that consider themselves monogamous, but flirting with, and kissing, other people are acceptable behaviours in their relationship. Another couple I know would completely consider that an open relationship.
So what is monogamy?

Ebb and Flow in Non-monogamous relationships
Personally, I find that if I have a secondary partner that I experience less sexual ebb and flow in my primary relationship. Being out with my secondary always makes me want to come home to my primary, I want to share with him! But also, I am always reminded of all of the qualities I love – why he is my primary.

Monogamy in a non-monogamous relationship
I have to say that I am fairly monogamous in my non-monogamous relationships. I originally wanted an open relationship because I like to kiss people when I am intoxicated. From there I started reading about different relationship styles and forms of non-monogamy and have now settled on a type of hierarchical polyamory.
In the ten plus years that I have been with my husband I have had sex with exactly two other people. One a very casual encounter, and the other is very much a romantic (albeit, long-distance) relationship.

Intentional vs unintentional
The irony was not lost on me that there are so many people who are unintentionally in non-monogamous relationships.
That is all.

Masculinity should not be demonized and femininity should not be victimized.

I am pretty sure I could write a whole post on just that sentence. It is fucking amazing!
There is so much to unpack in this conversation that there is no way that I will ever do it justice…. so just a few of my thoughts.

Throughout this whole podcast the focus on language is fascinating.
Helpless versus Vulnerable
Gentle versus Passive
Justice versus Retribution
I often get accused of being just a little bit pedantic – words mean words – so of course I find this interesting. Subtle differences in meaning or interpretation that can drastically change a persons perception. The idiom “Don’t mistake kindness for weakness” comes to mind here. It can be particularly relatable in terms of femininity – femininity is kindness, but it is not weak.

I had a bit of a personal epiphany at one point when the conversation is about having conversations about sex with friends, specifically in high school, in that it was easier to talk to their male friends about sex; because there was not the same judgement or competitiveness that was present when having the same conversations with female friends.
This made me think about my own life… I have always been more comfortable around men. I am still more comfortable around men than I am around women. It is true, I don’t feel as judged by men as I do by women. Sometimes it is weird passive-aggressive comments when a women learns that I am in an open/poly relationship, things like, “Oh, I better not let you be alone with my husband.” Seriously? I am (probably) not going to try and fuck your husband. And I am definitely not going to try and steal him from you.
Whereas, with men, this doesn’t happen. Men don’t immediately assume that I want to fuck them when they learn about my open relationship.

And, while we are on the topic of men wanting to fuck women.
It’s true, men are often afraid to compliment, or even speak to, a woman for fear of the reaction. I see it in online forums all the time where a woman is complaining that a man spoke to her and complimented her on [whatever], and she tried to shut the conversation down by saying that she had a boyfriend/husband.
Maybe the guy was just bored and making conversation. Maybe he did find you attractive, but had no intention of pursing it because he is in a relationship. Maybe lots of different things…. but the level of narcissism that some women display is astounding! Just because a guy talks to you doesn’t mean that he wants to fuck you.

On to dick size…
Are there actually women who care about penis size? It seems so fucking weird to me. To be fair, most of the men I have been with have been average sized, although my ex was quite well-endowed. In fact mutual friends of ours still (ten years later) ask me if it is true.
Sex has been enjoyable with any size penis. Depending on the exact structure certain positions were better with certain people… For example, with my husband I enjoy being on top or missionary (and variations thereof) but if he fucks me from behind it is not at all enjoyable for me, in fact it is quite painful. On the other hand, with my lover his penis curves up a bit and it is fantastic when he fucks me from behind. The downside to that is, is that it makes is a thousand times more difficult for me to deepthroat him during oral sex, whereas, I have no problem with my husband.

First thing, I want to say… I got my husband to start listening to Whore Rapport! Win!

I found this episode fascinating, but I am having a hard time articulating my thoughts. So I apologize in advance if this post ends up a bit scattered. So here we go…

Taboo versus shame versus confusion.
Since I was young, I have fantasized about anal sex, at the time, I felt that it was super taboo and as a result felt a lot of shame around that aspect of my sexuality. I remember being at work one day, talking with a good friend who was only a year older than I was (we were probably 17/18 at the time) and she was like, “yeah, I’ve given up my Brown Belt. So what?”
I was absolutely shocked that she was so open about it and didn’t care what other people thought. Of course, this only increased my shame about my own thoughts…. why couldn’t I be as confident as her.

The conversation surrounding confusion versus shame was interesting. I could relate.
In high school I felt a lot of confusion around my sexuality, I was very sexual and enjoyed sex, but I was also a “good girl” – good grades, honours classes, extra credit, math geek. It is like the high school version of the Madonna-Whore complex. Good girls don’t have sex in high school. Good girls don’t enjoy giving blow jobs. But I did.

Shame in attraction
While I am talking about high school…. I started dating my ex-husband when we were 15. At that age, I didn’t realize that ethical non-monogamy was a thing, I believed that monogamy was the only acceptable relationship style. But I was always attracted to other people and I felt a lot of shame around that, why wasn’t my boyfriend good enough?
I ended up deciding that I was attracted to other people because my boyfriend was the only person I had ever been with, while he had dated other people. But there was still so much shame around even that.

Now, is there ever any shame about the people I am attracted to now?
Yes… and no.
I am often attracted to younger men, specifically because I find the idea of being dominated by someone younger than me hot as fuck. I love the humiliation aspect of it.
Is that shameful? I don’t know… I don’t feel shame about it. I know who I am and I am okay with it.

My last thoughts….
Love when Anya talks about having similar experiences to her father about subversively pushing societal norms. I feel the same way.
I am very open about being in an open relationship, and I do love the little moment of panic I see in people as they try to process.
I was at the doctor one day and asked for a full STI screening. My doctor is a lovely older gentleman and when I asked he said, “But you are married, right?” I confirmed that I was. He continued, “…in a monogamous relationship?” And I said no. He was speechless after that, but did do the STI screening. Sometimes I wonder if he thought I was cheating on my husband, or if he even considered the idea of ethical non-monogamy.

I have committed to writing about each episode because I believe that the things Anya and Erin talk about are so important and that we all need to be having these conversations much more openly. And the selfish part… most times when I am listening to an episode, my own story comes to mind and I want to share.

This episode was different. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I found it fascinating, it just didn’t resonate with me in the same way. I am not entirely sure why.

It did make me think… back to my childhood, what kind of unrequited love or crush did I have on a celebrity or authority figure, and nothing striking comes to mind. But that got me thinking, do we use these childhood fantasies to “practice” for real relationships when we get older? I mean, I think that is a good thing. For the most part, unless the fantasy becomes too all encompassing and creates an unrealistic expectation in future relationships.

I did resonate with the whole Romeo and Juliet thing and reasons why people can’t be together. Yes, it all comes down to timing. There is nothing physically keeping my lover and I apart (actually that isn’t true, Covid is definitely keeping us apart at this exact second), but family life and kids mean that we can’t be together the way we want to be right now. Not without ruining other lives. That being said, neither of us are unhappy in our current situations.

The only real thing I have to say about this episode is that it comes down to the fact that there are many different types of love, and many different ways to love someone. Romantic love is not unique.

So, recently, I have started listening to podcasts… which, considering I have an auditory processing disorder, I never thought I would do. There are only a handful of podcasts that I find interesting enough to commit to, but without question one of my favourites is Whore Rapport.
These lovely ladies have some open and honest conversations about some taboo subjects regarding sexuality. It is refreshing to hear that there are other people in the world who have views so aligned with my own. Of course, they somehow manage to articulate their thoughts much better than I every will be able to.
As I listen to each episode, I often feel that I should be sitting down taking notes. So that is what I have started to do, and each episode I will post a response with my own thoughts and some personal experiences. I likely do not have the time to go back and create a response for each past episode (although, I would love to), so here we are… starting with episode 22 on Sexual Friendship.

What is sexual friendship and is it really different than just… friendship? I don’t think so, but that doesn’t seem to be a mainstream cultural belief.
During this episode I had a lot of thoughts about the current (well, pre-pandemic) hookup culture. I will admit that I don’t have a lot of experience with it, I have almost always been in a committed (albeit open) relationship and have also looked for a bit more substance to my extracurricular activities. Lack of experience aside, I have dabbled and maybe it’s just not for me…. but I found it fascinating that men expected so little for sex. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for casual sex with no strings attached, but I am not just going to show up at your place and get naked. Let’s go for a beer first (with every intention of me paying for my own drink), to build up some of that sexual tension, and see if we have any chemistry in the first place. Or maybe to discuss boundaries and a safeword! But that seemed like too much to ask from the men that I was messaging.
I do think it is possible to have a sexual friendship where most of the energy is sexual and the friendship is minimal. I had a brief relationship with a FWB like that. We had the same circle of mutual friends, and the sexual energy between us was fucking hot, but we had different values and not a ton in common. He would come over, we’d have a beer, fuck for a while, then he would go home. There were times that we would be together at group events and it was fine, even once the sexual aspect of our relationship ended we transitioned back to acquaintances just fine.

I also found it fascinating that both Anya and Erin had sexual experiences pre-puberty with their female friends. While I also had pre-pubescent sexual exploration, it was with my male friends – we also called it “The Game”. It involved running around the pool table, stripping naked, then running around the pool table 3 times, then crawling underneath. The winner then got to decide what the loser would do – generally some type of manual or oral stimulation of the winners genitals. They boys that I engaged in The Game with were my best friends. We are still friends, hell, they are like my brothers. As we got older, there was never any sexual chemistry between us, they were just the people I explored with when we were children.
I do wish that I had girlfriends I could have explored with. I remember very vividly having the overwhelming desire to touch my friends breasts in grade 5. She was quite well developed for a 10 year old, and well, I was not; she probably had bigger breasts in grade 5 than I do now!

So I was ten when I realized that I was attracted to women. As a teenager, I used the drunk girl making out with other girls to explore that side of myself. At the time, I was afraid of being labelled a lesbian or bisexual, but I was clearly attracted to women. It was culturally acceptable to make out with other women while we were all drinking, so I took advantage of that as much as I could. There were a couple of occasions where it went further, but if she regretted it the next day, or didn’t seem into a follow up, I always could fall back on the, “well, we were drunk,” excuse.

Why don’t we have more sexual friendships?
Because culturally we close the door on the idea of it. There is a pervasive belief that sex is this taboo thing that changes everything between two people, which fits into the narrative that romantic love is somehow different than other types of love, and is somehow finite. How often are best/good friends attracted to each other, but too scared to say anything because they “don’t want to ruin the friendship.”

I’ll be honest, the end of the podcast was fascinating… talking about friendship, sexual, romantic, platonic, whatever, but when one person wants more. I really hope there will be a whole episode on it!
As for my own experience with this, I have been on both sides – I have been the one who wanted more, and the person who wanted to keep it more casual. So often, I would say almost always, the person that wants more lies (I don’t believe that it is usually a conscious lie) that “it’s fine, I can deal with it.” I imagine that some of the time “dealing with it” involves the thought process that the other person will eventually change their mind and want more too.
What I find fascinating though, is the idea that we have that the I person who wants to keep it casual is responsible for policing the other persons behaviours. I am very much looking forward to an episode on this to discuss it further.