My longtime readers shouldn’t be shocked by the knowledge that I enjoy an open relationship with my husband. That is, we have sexual liasons with people outside our marriage/pairing. This was true for our relationship from the very beginning. It has, in fact, been a part of every serious romantic relationship I’ve been in. While it’s not true that I feel some perpetual need to sleep around, it’s not something that I feel takes away from a relationship. That is, I view sex as an activity separate from emotion. By my estimation, this puts me in the class of people known as swingers. I don’t depend on having a strong emotional bond to have sex with someone, and I engage in sexual activity outside of my emotionally bonded primary relationship.
I also identify as bisexual. Those with any experience in alternative sexual orientations may know that bisexuals (along with TG/TS folk) face a special kind of prejudice. The criticism of the homosexual community is that bisexuals weaken their case with the het community. When a bi person can bounce between sexes so easily, it weakens the argument that a gay person will always be gay. Bisexuals have worked very hard to make sure they’re included in sexual orientation politics, and it wasn’t easy. One common misconception (which sprouted a pretty amusing website) is that bisexuals will fuck anything that moves…that they’re just really horny people. Another misconception is that bisexuals are just being trendy. And yet another is that a bisexual is a homosexual too scared to come out of the closet. These misconceptions have some basis in fact, as misconceptions often do. I’m sure there are people who identify as bi just because it’s trendy, and I’m sure there are people who have used the bi label on their way to being gay. It bites that bisexuality hurts the case for homosexuals, but in reality, that’s an overhanging problem with the basis of the argument. It shouldn’t *matter* if it’s a choice or genetic; the point is that there’s no reason to stop consenting people from loving and fucking in whatever combinations please them.
What I’ve noticed is that swingers are as screwed as bisexuals once were. To express this in the format beloved by the SATs, swinger:polyfolk::bisexual:homosexuals, if you forgive the form mismatch. The terminology isn’t quite in alignment, but the attitudes certainly are. I am very tired of the swinger being viewed in poly circles the way I used to see the bisexual viewed in gay/homo circles. I’m tired of being treated as a poly that isn’t quite “there” yet. I’m tired of being viewed as immoral because I made the same mental leap away from the norm as the polyfolk and have simply applied it differently. There’s nothing immoral about an honest open relationship, and there’s nothing superior about a poly relationship. In fact, simply for the sake of argument, I’d argue that if anything, the swinger is superior. I see it as greatly superior to remove emotion from the sexual equation than to stay tied into the traditional notion that you have to love to fuck (and vice versa). I also think the world would be a better place if everyone removed the emotion from the sexual equation and viewed it instead as an act, like fencing with someone…fun, dangerous unless you’re smart about it, but you can do it with anyone, and you don’t have to direct emotion toward them to do so (although it might add to the fun if there is emotion there). All you really need is the proper safety equipment and sportsmanlike attitude.
I make this argument only to show how ridiculous it is for poly or swingers to act superior to each other. It’s one thing if in your own head, you feel like your way is the best way. I think we all, in our own heads, feel like if everyone did things our way, the world would be better. Actions are different. Action needs to consider the higher reasoning, which is to jump on top of that base “my way is the best way” impulse and instead look for a way that is amenable to most if not all. That is, the truly superior thing, IMO, is to say “My way is the best way for me, but your way works for you, and just as I want my way allowed, I want your way allowed, too.” (More on this in a bit…I’m being inspired on a separate topic.)
At any rate, the attitudes I run into among polyfolk have darn near convinced me to blow them off altogether. Polyfolk have their own bad spokespeople, but this is conveniently forgotten when dealing with an interloping swinger. And quite honestly, if you’re the kind that desperately needs to love me to fuck me, I probably don’t *want* to fuck you, because I take no joy in emotional fuckwittery, so stop acting like I’m trying to get into your bed. Being a swinger doesn’t mean I’m trying to get into the pants of anything that moves.