Thursday, October 6, 2016

Interviews with Strangers--Josh

Growing up, I was a jealous person. This didn't change when I started dating. I compared myself to a lot of other girls, and my jealousy increased with every negative thought. Monogamy came natural to me, as a result. I never even questioned having more than one partner. I knew that those kinds of relationships did exist, but honestly, I thought they were very few and far between--the kinds of relationships used in television and cinema to create a good, dramatic story line. But as I've gotten older, I've found that a lot of people consider themselves to have a fairly ambiguous relationship status. A lot of people aren't committed to one person. A lot of dating sites and apps like Tinder and Grinder make it easy to date around. 'Playing the field' is pretty common for people in their late teens and early twenties. We date around until we find 'the one.' But what if you don't want just one? What if you could continue having new and exciting experiences with a plethora of people, while also feeling safe and committed? 

The site More Than Two describes polyamory in a great way:
"The word polyamory is based on the Greek and Latin for “many loves” (literally, poly many + amor love). A polyamorous person is someone who has or is open to having more than one romantic relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all their partners. A polyamorous relationship is a romantic relationship where the people in the relationship agree that it’s okay for everyone to be open to or have other romantic partners."

I had a fun time chatting with two different people about their poly-amorous relationships. The first is Josh, a male who is in a relationship with a married couple (heterosexual marriage), but also has a girlfriend (who is married to someone else!). The second is Kimberly, a female who is in a heterosexual marriage but has a boyfriend and two girlfriends. A lot of people do not like the idea of polyamory, and it makes sense. Our culture centers around monogamous relationships. Most of us are taught monogamous ideas from a young age. There are tv shows like 'The Bachelor' and 'The Bachelorette' that highlight people looking for 'The One.' One big aversion to it is the idea of sex. I think we can all agree that our culture as a whole is fairly uptight when it comes to sex (at least in the United States). Being seen as open and experimental in regards to sex tends to bring forth negative feelings. A girl who is very into sex is considered 'slutty' and a guy is a 'player.' But polyamory is about a lot more than sex. It is about having more than one committed partner with which you can share a satisfying relationship. Despite your own feelings about being non-monogamous, check out my interviews with Josh & Kimberly, and see if it changes your perspective even a little bit.

Alright, tell us about yourself.
"My name's Josh. I'm a 30-year-old tall, skinny redhead. I'm bisexual and polyamorous."

How many long-term committed relationships would you say you've been in?
"I have been in four relationships that I thought of as long-term and committed, including my current one."

How old were you when you lost your virginity?
"I was 15. I guess I'd say it was pretty average. She was a few years older than me and knew what she was doing, was patient with my curiosity and inexperience.

How many sexual partners have you had?
"At last count, I was somewhere in the high teens."

Can you tell me about your current relationship?
"Right now I live with my girlfriend E and her husband, N. N and I also have a mutual girlfriend, K, who has a husband of her own. E is definitely my primary partner and the person I describe as "my girlfriend" to acquaintances and co-workers who may not know the whole situation."

How long have you been with E & N?
"I met E and N at a sci-fi convention in the summer of 2013. They were friends of some friends of mine, and we hung out a bit together at the convention. A week or so after, E expressed an interest in some casual fucking. From there, things escalated, and by the spring of 2014, I had moved in with E and N."

Was this your first polyamorous situation?
"Yes it was, and it came as a pretty big surprise to me. All of my previous relationships had been monogamous, and while I had always had some interest in sex outside of those relationships, that was usually with either threesomes or sex with men (I'm bi but have only dated women) in mind."

How about for E & N, had they ever had a third before you?
"Yes, by a little bit. In the spring of 2013, N and K started dating, so they were pretty new to all this, but had enough of the basics down to introduce me."

Does it all work pretty smoothly? Do any issues ever arise?
"For the most part, it works pretty smoothly. It helps that we're a well-established group at this point. While we will occasionally play with other people, mostly it's E, N, K, and me. There have definitely been some issues with one partner or another feeling neglected when others are off on a date together."

How do you handle those issues? Do you talk it out as a group?
"Not usually. If there's one way in which we differ from "ideal" poly groups that I've read about, it's that we leave some things unsaid, or resolve things in pairs rather than as a whole group. Most of our whole-group communication focuses on scheduling dates and outings, and the usual friendly chatter.

In addition to dating these people, they're my best friends and the center of my social life."

How did your family react when they found out about your relationship(s)?
"Different family members reacted differently. Some don't know. I have an aunt and uncle in particular, as well as some cousins and my sisters, who know the whole story and are very supportive. My parents know, and while they had some reservations, they're doing better with it. Part of that one is my fault; I did a HORRIBLE job of telling them because I was so nervous about it. I just dropped it on them at the end of a visit as they were about to leave. Much of my extended family doesn't know."

Tell me about some of your fetishes and/or kinks.
"I've always been open and experimental. When it comes to kinks and fetishes, it is in some ways better to talk about what I won't do. I've got four hard "no" things, and have to give credit to Dan Savage for this list: Poop, dead things, children, and animals. 
I prefer to be submissive in bed, though that is not exclusive. I'm a big fan of anal play, both giving and receiving. I like pain, restraints, and being ordered around. I kind of shocked myself recently by discovering that I'm into sounding, too.

Are all of your partners kinky as well?
"They're all at least a little bit kinky, but I usually find myself wanting more kink than my partners, more often than my partners."

Any particularly memorable experiences or stories?
"Interviewer's choice. I'll flesh out one of these three:
A) The first time that K fisted me.
B) The time I cleaned a friend's house with a butt plug in, then she hung me from the ceiling and flogged me.
C) The time I participated in a triple-teaming of K with her husband and N. 

I like the ceiling one, sounds pretty exciting.
"Okay. This was with someone named S. She is E's very best friend, and pretty darned kinky. As E and I got to know each other, I also got to know S, and all of us were in favor of S and I playing around. The time in question, there was this really nice confluence of events: Her living room was being renovated, and had been gutted down to the studs. She was also going to be hosting a party that coming weekend, and needed to do the usual amount of house cleaning PLUS party prep PLUS clearing away renovation debris. I was curious about impact play, and that was very much her thing at the time. She had access to several different kinds of floggers and crops and things. She bragged about the beating she had recently taken from a baseball bat (thuddy as fuck was how she described it). SHE, meanwhile, was curious about my submissive side, especially the service part of it. She wanted to know (and I wanted to know, frankly) how much I could be turned on by service in a less-sexual context. So we decided to get together for some pre-weekend house cleaning and experimentation. Step one when we got together was just to dump out all our toys and see what we had. She admired my butt plugs, I admired her whips and floggers. Eventually, she handed me my biggest butt plug and a mop, and told me to put it in and mop the kitchen, naked (except for the plug). She didn't make me do the WHOLE thing myself; there was too much to get done, and we both wanted to move on to more fun things. The cleaning was very sexual, but also very not. I had a job to do, and I focused on doing it. The plug in my ass was fun, especially when I twisted at funny angles as I worked, but the best part was the head space I was in. I was very focused on everything I was doing, BECAUSE she had told me to do it. I am usually one to anticipate and think ahead and imagine, but in that moment, my entire world was whatever she told me to do. It felt safe and warm and clear and focused. When I was done mopping, she bent me over, teased me with the plug, put in a different one, and gave me another job to do.  Three or four jobs and toys later, the house was clean. She put some leather cuffs around my wrists, grabbed my dick, and led me to the gutted living room. she got me to the middle of the room, and pointed up to a heavy metal bolt driven through one of the ceiling joists. She told me to reach up and hook my cuffs to the bolt, which I could do--barely. I'm tall, but it's a high ceiling. Once she got me there, she spent about an hour on me, seeing what implements made me jump a certain way, what left certain marks, things like that. At one point she took out some hair sticks (I'm sure there's another name for those. About the size and shape of chopsticks, used to put up long hair), and had lots of fun scraping, scratching, stabbing and tickling me. When she was done with me, she told me to let myself down, and I remember being overcome by a need to cuddle, of all things. We cuddled, and talked about what we'd done and liked and not liked, and then we actually called it a night. Neither of us came or even did much of anything with our genitals. It was incredibly satisfying, and unlike any other sexy time I've had.

Do you think that being in a polyamorous relationship is a lasting thing for you, or do you think that you might eventually want a monogamous situation?
"I was about to say that I don't have expectations either way-that I could be happy in any kind of relationship-but I don't think that's true. I feel like polyamory is the way to go for me. Unless my basic attitude towards sex and people changes, I feel like this just feels more natural and comfortable. I don't feel like I have the visceral reactions of jealousy and possessiveness that a lot of people have. I know that bi people spend a lot of time explaining that they're not actually greedy, that they can actually make up their minds, but I don't feel any particular need to. People are beautiful and wonderful and I want to connect with them."

Have you ever discussed having children with any of your partners?
"We have a little bit. E is on the fence, leaning no, and also has some biological issues that would make it tough. K is a flat no, with any of her partners. I think I would like to have a child someday, but I don't know that I'm in a place to have one now. I also think that polyamory is not necessarily bad for kids, and is probably awesome for them if it's done well."

What would you say to anyone questioning the idea of polyamory, or to people who think it is unnatural?
"Question away. Questioning is good. I DO NOT advocate this lifestyle for everyone. I emphasize that it is entirely consensual for all parties involved, and communication is key. At the very basic, people gotta know who's doing what with whom, when, and what the protocol is for new people. And for fuck's sake, get tested. We all do once a year, and share results wit each other. If one of us is clean, we probably all are. 

To those who say it's not natural, I've got to disagree. Nature is full of some weird mating patterns, even if you just look at primates. I'll agree that it's counter to Western tradition (though incorrect) to lump it in with the radical Mormon sect kind of polygamy."

So, there ya go, folks. Not only are Josh's partners his sexual partners, but they are also his life partners, loving companions, and best friends. I want to put some emphasis on his last answers--polyamory is CONSENSUAL--between all members. Communication is necessary and should happen constantly. All members of a polyamorous relationship should be tested regularly, and most, if not all, practice safe sex. If you are interested in pursuing a polyamorous relationship, look into it a bit first. Read stories about other relationships, talk to people who have experience. A lot of communities even have groups that meet up occasionally to talk about non-monogamy, so go check them out. I hope you liked this interview. It was a lot of fun learning this stuff about Josh. Check back to read my interview with polyamorous Kimberly next!!