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Ethical non-monogamy is something I knew very little about before joining the kink community. It’s then something I got involved in almost as a side effect of being kinky. In truth I never thought I’d truly identify as non-monogamous and I never imagined I’d be truly happy to see someone I was romantically involved with find sexual pleasure with someone else.
As time has gone on I have started to see the value in non-monogamy, not only as something others do but as something I want for myself. I have come to realise that sexual and BDSM non-monogamy is something I really enjoy, but romantically I’m still fairly monogamous.
I responded to a tweet on Twitter that got me thinking about the things that helped me to start enjoying non-monogamy as opposed to it being something that just happened. While I responded to the tweet with a very brief summary I thought it might be a useful blog post for those people who land here with an interest in non-monogamy.
5 Things That Have Helped Me Navigate Non-Monogamy
Initially I waded into non-monogamy having consumed no materials on it at all. When a non-mono experience got the better of me I decided I really needed to gain a better understanding of what it was I was dabbling in. Reading and listening to other peoples experiences and advice was one of the most valuable things I’ve done. Not only for my own personal development, but for the development of my connection with Bakji too. Everyone will have their own favourites and recommendations, some of the best resources that I enjoyed for non-monogamous adventures, covering everything from swinging to polyamory are listed below.
- More Than Two – Polyamory is the focus, but I found that a good chunk of it was really helping in re-framing my view of relationships, intimacy and sex.
- Poly.Land – I absolutely love Page’s blog, and both her books are also well worth a read. We were also lucky enough to have her on #ProudToBeKinky. So much of her advice is thought provoking and relatable.
- Polyamory Weekly Podcast – Another place that gave me so many actionable pieces of advice. Their back catalogue is a treasure trove of guidance for those of us who are new to the lifestyle and those who have been in it for a while.
- Mulitamory – Another great podcast with multiple voices that can share their experiences of non-monogamy with us.
- The Ethical Slut – I’ll be honest and say this one didn’t resonate with me as much.However I still recommend it as I know it has been extremely valuable to many non-monogamous people, for many years.
- Cooper S. Beckett – Another delightful podcast guest of ours. Cooper has books and a podcast for you to devour. All of which are wonderful, but his books are particular favourites of mine.
This seems like such a simple recommendation that I sometimes feel I’m insulting people by continually suggesting it. One thing non-monogamy has taught me though is that constantly evaluating and redefining what communication you need is invaluable. To my mind there are three things I am looking to get out of my communication with Bakji and/or anyone else I may become involved with. Honesty, Knowledge and Understanding.
Honesty – It’s not enough for me that we both agree that we’re non-mono inclined. I need to know his honest reasons why that works for him. I also need honest communication about who turns his head and what he’d like from a connection with them. I am a big believer in hearing painful truths over comfortable lies. So no matter what he has to say I want to hear it, as long as he is being honest with me I can deal with it.
Knowledge – We briefly and accidentally (due to lack of communication) conducted the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ approach to non-monogamy. I don’t doubt this works for many people, for me though it is a nightmare. I need knowledge and I need to be able to ask questions. That’s not to say he has to betray someone else’s confidences or privacy, but I do find I need the overall picture to feel secure.
Understanding – The sum of honesty and knowledge for me in understanding. I need to be able to understand what non-monogamy means to both myself, and Bakji but also to those we are playing with. I also need to understand what other people may or may not want from us, as individuals and as a couple going forward.
While the type of person/people who will be the right fit will vary from couple to couple, and from person to person, I think making sure you find the right people for you is crucial to whether or not non-monogamy will be a success; for those of us who are inclined to want that. For me that means finding friends. I like friends who we can relax with, party with, eat with, be silly with and also get sexy with. Having friendship as our foundation makes me feel giddy with excitement when that does flourish into something a bit sexy and/or kinky.
Being able to communicate honestly with whoever Bakji is playing with has proven to be one of my biggest factors in enjoying non-monogamy. I would much rather someone was upfront and honest about fancying him and wanting to fuck him, than being sly about it and trying to do it without me knowing. I don’t own him (not even in the sexy D/s way) he is free to succumb to the advances of anyone he wishes, however, I’ll never trust you or respect you if you do it that way. Purely because it’s hurtful and it makes me feel invalidated as his partner. Our dynamic might not be what you’re used to seeing, but it doesn’t mean it can be walked all over, or that assumptions can be made without checking with us first.
However if you befriend me as well as Bakji, and make your desires known, there’s a really good chance I’ll assist you in having your wicked way with him. His consent permitting of course.
Our most recent and most fruitful adventures in non-monogamy started with us playing separately but together. We made our way to a sexy sex party, with a sexy couple and with a bit of coconut oil and some massages to break the ice, partners were ‘swapped’ (for want of a better term) and sexy times were had. There were then other configurations of play, and play between Bakji and I.
Discovering that playing together rather than our explorations with others being behind closed doors was a real eye-opener for me. I want Bakji to be pleasured, I want him to explore his desires and revel in what he finds sexy. It was a real honour and a pleasure to watch him do those things. It is lovely to witness someone else seeing in him what I do and wanting to rip his clothes off and fuck him because of those things. To see him give and receive attention is highly erotic. It’s like getting to experience his sexual being from another angle.
I’ve also found that exploring non-monogamy in this way has paved the way for my feelings about playing separately and perhaps behind closed doors to soften slightly. I can now appreciate that there might be times when sharing intimacy with one on one with another person might benefit us, not only as individuals but as a couple.
It can be really easy to run before you can walk when it comes to non-monogamy. It’s something I’ve seen people do in my own social circle and something I’ve witnessed through many online platforms. Taking things slowly and being patient, not only with yourself but with your partner I gives everyone involved a better chance of enjoying what experiences you choose to engage in.
There’s a lot to explore with new people without going straight to ‘fuck me town’. There are also a lot of ways to explore non-monogamy and it might take time for you to find the way that works for you. For many of us there is also a lot of back and forth before we are comfortable with where we fall on the spectrum of non-monogamy. A position that will likely shift a little or a lot over time, but finding that first place of comfort seems to be a turning point for many non-monogamous folk.
These are the things that have helped me in my journey of non-monogamy. Your experience may vary entirely. It can be all to easy to try and fit into someone else’s mould when it comes to non-monogamy, purely because we look to others for examples of relationship models and successful ways to conduct ourselves. The truth is though making non-monogamy work for you really does seem to mean carving your own path and creating the relationship model that works for you and those you invite into your existing dynamic.
If you have different examples of things that helped you navigate non-monogamy then please feel free to leave them in the replies section for others to see. Including links to resources you enjoy or blog posts you might have written on this topic.
If you would like to read more about my experiences since exploring non-monogamy then you might enjoy these blog posts:
- Poly Ramblings From a Maybe Mono Mind
- Exploring New and Sexy Things
- Compersion, Trust and Brain Niggles
- Compersion: Buzzword, Or Beautiful?
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