The thing about sex

The thing about sex is, once we get good at it, almost every encounter is special. Sure, there are some people we aren’t so compatible with; but as we gain confidence we can sense this early on and avoid even going there with people we aren’t likely to click with.

Creative relationships beyond the picket fence

Even when we rule out those folks we don’t have a natural rapport with, there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of people we can have beautiful sex with. Each one is unique, a magic moment that occurs when two energies meet and play. Each one is a dance of delights, an exploration, a journey, a mirror. Each reveals something about us and about the other, and each has the potential to activate something in us that may have been dormant before.

This talks to jealousy. I used to really struggle to imagine my loved ones having fantastic sex with other people. It felt somehow unjust that others could turn them on the same way as me. Gradually I realised that this simply isn’t how it is: others don’t turn my lovers on in the same way as me, they turn them on in different ways. Since each person has a particular energy that has a unique effect on others, it follows naturally that each new connection has a different quality. Why should it upset me when my lover experiences a new type of connection, when I know from my own experience how unique each of my connections is?

One of the hidden core messages from monogamy, which resides deep in our conditioning, is that we are a magic key to our partner’s secret lock: a place only we have access to. It is part of the wider capitalist machine’s indoctrination of us, and I believe that its sole purpose is to make us unhappy so we’ll remain in desire and buy more stuff. (This is a huge subject and I can only gloss over it here.)

By contrast, when we start to find our way beyond monogamy, one of the things we learn is that we are uniquely shaped puzzle pieces that fit together differently, and beautifully, with many other puzzle pieces. The shape I make with my girlfriend M_____ is totally different from the shape I make with my lover S_____, and different again from the shape I make with my playmate B_____. Each one is beautiful and each one can be celebrated and enjoyed, just as soon as we give ourselves permission to go beyond what we’ve been conditioned to believe.

There is something liberating about knowing that we can have great sex with so many different people. As someone who has practiced ethical non-monogamy for over than 10 years, I also know that great sex does not mean a great relationship: as Dossie wisely puts it, there are some people we love to play with at a club but we wouldn’t bring them home, let alone get a mortgage together. Each connection has an appropriate level that is just perfect; as soon as we break free of mono-normative thinking, that suggests that every connection must move towards love and marriage, we free ourselves to discover what is right for us in each connection.

Once we know this, we soon realise that the number of people we can have fantastic sex with is much higher than the number of people we can have beautiful relationships with. The ingredients of a beautiful relationship are many and varied. Great sex is one, for sure: I have never gone into a serious relationship unless the sex has been hot to begin with. (That’s important to me but I acknowledge that it isn’t for everyone; and I do question sometimes whether this makes for more incendiary, unstable relationships.) But there are many other things that are important too, including: how well we get along; how similar our taste in music, films, books and food is; how much our life goals align; whether we both want to have kids or not and so on. There are many factors that determine the depth and length that is appropriate for a certain connection. Once we know that the great sex is not an indicator of anything except great sex, we can look more objectively at what the connection wants to be and let it flow into its natural shape.

This is part of the reason why I believe that non-monogamy has the potential to liberate us so deeply. It forces us to question whole swathes of conditioning around love, jealousy and our sense of who we are. In doing so we begin to find out own way of being in the world – not just sexually but socially and personally as well.

This evening London Faerie presents Permission for Pleasure in Prague, an evening talk about non-monogamy. He is also available for coaching sessions with individuals and couples who are in, or moving into, non-monogamous relationships.

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