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A little while back I read a blog post that is no longer available about polyamory and swinging myths, it was a great post and it inspired me to talk about another type of alternative relationship model, non-monogamy. I wrote the article below for that blog, but later on in the week I would like to share another post about a more specific non-monogamous experience and I think this post is a perfect preface to that one, so I am taking the opportunity to share it with you now.
For me, non-monogamy is both an umbrella term and a more specific way to describe my own relationship without using a descriptor that could be a little misleading. Myself and Bakji both identify as non-monogamous, both as individuals and within the dynamic we have together.
Doesn’t That Just Mean You Are Polyamorous?
This is a common response to our being non-monogamous. We are definitely polyam adjacent, but we are not actively seeking or inclined toward forming romantic connections with others. This often leads to the next comment being, ‘Oh, so you’re swingers then?’ Again, we have been to swinging events, but we don’t always play in a way that constitutes swinging.
When we go to fetish events, or private parties our non-monogamy means we can play with others as we choose to, so long as we are mindful of any boundaries we each have in place. This means that sometimes one of us might play with others, and the other one might not. It might mean we have a threesome of some kind, or that we play with another couple. It can also mean that we are open to private play dates as individuals with others should we so choose to.
Non-monogamy allows us to explore our kinks and sexual interests with trusted friends without the pressures and expectations that can sometimes come from a more traditional relationship model. In couples where kinks and sexual appetites don’t always align, non-monogamy can also be a blessing in that each partner can explore their own interests while being able to return to each other knowing you are loved and supported.
‘Does That Mean I Might Be Non-Monogamous?’
You very well might be. I have honestly lost count of the number of people who have declared they are polyamorous, only to discover it isn’t quite what they expected and then decided they must be monogamous after all, because they definitely don’t want to be a swinger.
First of all, swinging isn’t the stuff of car keys in a bowl or seedy clubs where you have no choice in who you play with. It’s a valid lifestyle and can be a lot of fun, and as a bonus can have huge social aspects to it as well. So I always warn people that they might want to try it, or at least research it before they suggest it’s polyamory’s less respectable side piece.
Second of all, it isn’t polyamory or monogamy. This is why I love the term non-monogamy in and of itself. As an umbrella term, it encompasses all the non-monogamous types of relationship; polyamory, swinging, open relationships, essentially any relationship that doesn’t conform to the convention of monogamy. As a personal descriptor, it means that Bakji and I play with other people while also having a romantic and sexual relationship with each other.
If you as an individual or you and a partner would like to involve other people in your sex, kink or romantic life then you could very well adopt the term non-monogamy for your dynamic while exploring a wide range of more specific types of non-monogamy such as polyamory, swinging, open relationships and many more.
‘So You Guys Just Do What and Who You Want?’
Yes. And no. Embracing non-monogamy as opposed to polyamory isn’t a crafty way to behave badly. Non-monogamy isn’t an excuse to cheat or disrespect your partner’s wishes. Bakji and I have very clear boundaries of what play is and isn’t appealing to us, and above all else, we are each other’s main concern. Getting to play with others is amazing fun but not if it comes at the cost of hurting your partner.
For us, the point of non-monogamy is to allow ourselves the freedom to make additional connections without worrying that we will lose what have built together. I also found that in my early days of exploring under the assumption I would be polyamorous, I felt a lot of pressure to form bonds I wasn’t ready for because I essentially didn’t want multiple romantic relationships.
‘You Really Think You Won’t Ever Catch Feelings?’
Actually, I’m almost certain that at some point either Bakji or I will develop feelings for someone outside of the two of us. As it stands we only play with people we are friends with, so all our additional plays partners are people we have a great deal of affection for. One day that might start to veer into romantic feels for one of us and that’s okay. Identifying as non-monogamous isn’t a blanket no to ever exploring polyamory.
Using sexuality as an example. Most of us have come to understand that sexuality is a spectrum, some people stay firmly at one spot along the spectrum, while many of us ebb and flow over our lifetimes in terms of how we express our sexuality. To my mind non-monogamy is no different. You can identify your relationship as one thing overall while still enjoying other dynamics within the spectrum. In a community with so much diversity, why are we so often presented with either/or decisions?
‘Are You Saying Your Way Is Best?’
Yes. I am saying my way is best, for me, at this moment in my life. However, I do not agree that all strands of non-monogamous folk should be battling it out for their way to reign supreme. Do not misunderstand me, the vast majority of non-monogamous folk I meet are delightful and very open to other kinds of non-monogamy. As with all aspects of life though there are elitists and extremists.
The problem is that much of the wider world doesn’t quite accept non-monogamy as a valid lifestyle yet. Being openly polyamorous is still something that many polyam people can’t do and most swingers aren’t going to tell all their friends what they get up to at weekends. So if we can’t confide in and trust monogamous folk to raise us up and support our choices what hope do we have if we can’t gain that from each other either.
I personally think that non-monogamy needs to become the umbrella beneath which we all stand; polyam, swingers and group sex alike united in our desire to explore alternative relationship models, not divided by the differences those various strands of non-monogamy might have.
If you were hoping for something a little more erotic for this week’s Masturbation Monday then you should definitely check out the other submissions. There is always a whole host of sexy written for Masturbation Monday.
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