I run into something common in discussions now that I have a boyfriend and we are monogamous with each other. There are many conventional people that talk in such a way like I have finally “seen the light” and abandoned my inferior values as “ethical slut.” Such erotiphobia needs to be addressed, I may be monogamous right now which is a change from being “non-monogamous” but no, I still have the same values and still think monogamy (specifically in the context of being a normative expectation) needs to be dismantled as an institution. Sex positivity is not a movement about immoral sexuality or lost souls who don’t know how to have loving relationships. It’s about deconstructing toxic and unhealthy cultural ideas around sex and promoting an attitude of celebrating it as a life affirming and positive thing in the many diverse ways it manifests itself. This includes the entire spectrum from monogamy to polyamory to open relationships to closed ones to just being a proud ethical slut and any other identity you can think of.
Before I met my current boyfriend, I was exploring myself by practicing “non-monogamy” in my own unique way. I was not nearly as sexually intense as some of my friends were, nor was I interested in traditional ideologies around love and sex either. I was just experimenting with having sexual/intimate experiences with people without putting any expectation that sexual interests had to result in the goal of monogamy to be legitimate ways to enjoy sex and intimate interactions with other guys. Some guys can get a lot out of the anonymous hook up way of sharing their sexuality with others…but I didn’t find that personally fulfilling or particularly interesting for the purposes of what I wanted of my own Willful consent. I just liked getting to know other guys with no expectations around what we were or weren’t going to do sexually and just enjoy the experience of meeting other gay men. If the chemistry felt right as we got to know each other it might result in something sexual. Or it might just of been a person I had the pleasure of getting to know and going out with a few times in my free time. It was like a grey area somewhere between dating and hooking up as people conventionally understand the two concepts. Frankly that was one of the most liberating and fun times of my life. We grow up in a heteronormative society with strictly defined roles between men and women in dating, and limited cultural norms around how the interested parties can interact with each other in terms of love and sex. We never take the time to explore other ways of consensually and healthily sharing sexual experiences and emotional intimacy with others. This was precisely what I was doing and why I often said to people up front “monogamy is not for me, I am not really interested in it.”
People reacted to this in many ways, they assumed that meant I was having wild orgies all the time and engaging in wild promiscuous sex like some Whore of Babylon. Well, I certainly think it’s perfectly healthy to have orgies amongst consenting adults who (let’s hope) are using protection. I suppose in the strictest definition simply because I was not defining myself within rigidity of traditional monogamy that made me technically “promiscuous.” Also, I frankly love the Whore of Babylon as a Pagan, to me she’s synonymous with the architype of Mother Mary except she embraces sexuality as a beautiful thing worthy of sacred regard that does not make someone “impure” in her eyes. But all that said, I actually was quite vanilla in how I expressed my sexuality and shared it with consenting other men. I frankly also probably only got laid once a month to three times (on a good month lol). In some more competitive sex positive individuals that makes me an amateur (which is a word I will gladly accept because it defines someone who does something for the love of doing it as opposed to trying to live up to professional standards), in others eyes it makes me some sort of Whore of Babylon (again another thing I will gladly accept because frankly I worship her image and architype as a Pagan and think she’s awesome). I was not trying to compete with anyone or frankly or tone myself down to make myself look unthreatening to traditional monogamous prudish limitations. I was really just trying to be a free spirit and do what made me happy. Frankly I have a personal history with being sexually abused by someone that was religious and would preach monogamy and slut shaming. So embracing a sex positive view of sexuality and leaving behind the limitation of traditional monogamy was not only healthy, it was both healing and empowering to realize I could have intimacy and sex with other guys consensually without a corrupt idea that monogamy and people who practice it are somehow “morally superior” to those that don’t. My life experience seems to prove the opposite in fact.
Now before you monogamous people get all offended at that last statement, let me repeat what I said at the beginning for your lack of reading comprehension skills. “I am in a monogamous relationship and quite happily so.” I am talking about people who believe monogamy is a morally superior or a healthier way of life for all people. People who expect the entire world to conform to a limited view that monogamy is a superior way of life and if only all people conformed to this, the world would be morally superior to its current state of sexual promiscuity. If you believe that, then I flat out disagree and think you likely are sexually repressed and probably have hooked up at some point in your life (or will at some point). In that reality you want to pretend that never happened and harbor some sort of sexually repressed guilt that you want to impose on other people that are more sexually liberated then you. If monogamy was practiced in a healthy way, it wouldn’t need to impose itself on others as a “superior way of life.” People would just mutually agree to it without being expected to do it because it’s right for the individual people involved in that decision. Not because you or society expects it.
If you just come up for a little air out side of the brainwashed cage of what we’ve been told to believe our whole life about sex and love…you might find the possibilities are limitless really and relationships are about consensual and mutual agreements not Disney’s subliminal toxic messages. (Much though I love Disney…all I am saying is question what you are exposed too instead of accepting it blindly). When I first met my boyfriend, I had no interest in monogamy. I told him that upfront, like I did all boys that approached me with some sort of implied interest. He accepted that but still wanted to take me out on a date anyway. Besides as a military man he had just finished his previous stationing and had three weeks or so until he had to move to his next stationing. In the meantime, he was in his home town for the winter holidays, so it was practical to just have a guy to go out with and see where it goes for a short term romance. It was sweet and romantic. It was without the pressure of a long term expectation we got to just enjoy what came out of what we shared together.
Without that expectation we found we just simply liked being around each other, I felt so at ease and comfortable with him that before long he had the code to my garage and was staying at my house while I was gone at work and spending the night with me instead of his family (which he still would visit from time to time while I was at work). We fell in love, not because we expected too and were looking for some idealistic “prince charming.” But simply because that’s what happened without the pressure of some idealistic naïve idea about what love is. After all we are told to think love has to have this looming pressure to have an end goal of marriage and raising kids…and people naively accept that blindly and never give themselves the pleasure of getting to know someone and letting love happen on its own without pressure for the other person to either fit that expectation or “you’re wasting my time.” Before long I asked him to be my boyfriend, because I liked him in my life and wanted to keep that connection alive. Not because I wanted him to be the father of my children or because I was making some sort of long term investment in expecting him to be something in my future. Just because he walked into my life and we got to know each other and it just simply felt right. No expectations that because we went out on a date or shared something sexual that, that had to mean something about what we had.
So to all those people that give me a smug look when they say “and to think you use to ‘not believe in monogamy.’” No, your comprehension of what I was trying to say is intellectually deficient, and I am still the same person I was then with the same values. Just because monogamy is what me and my beloved navy boyfriend agreed on, does not mean I have somehow converted to a better way of life because I have “seen the light.” I still promote ethical non-monogamy, I still surround myself with polyamorous communities, ethical sluts, and think sex workers are awesome human beings deserving of respect. Not because I have any intentions to break the agreement I made with my boyfriend to have an exclusive arrangement sexually between the two of us. But because I believe in a world that is liberated of erotiphobia and ignorance around sexuality and the social structures we perpetuate around it that are toxic.
I think monogamy is no more or less legitimate or so called “moral” then great consensual sex with a one-night stand. What is immoral in regards to sex and relationships are rape, breaking the agreements you make with someone, disrespecting someone’s boundaries, or expecting them to conform to your expectation of who they “ought” to be. If you are monogamous and like that way of expressing love and sex, I think that is great. After all my boyfriend and I are monogamous and it works for us, and who knows that may change some day as our relationship matures, or it may not and we may stay happy with being sexually/romantically exclusive. Either way that’s not up to you to decide or society, it’s up to him and myself and what we are mutually most happy with. I love him and respect his feelings and he does mine. We both came to the conclusion we were in love and wanted to express that through being exclusive in sharing our sexuality together. I stand by that agreement and would not dream of breaking it, and that agreement could be renegotiated at a later time in our relationship, or it very well could stay the same. That does not mean though I renounce my sex positive values or that they were ever at all in conflict with making this kind of decision with someone. I still believe that within the context of “consent” and “respect” that “the possibilities are limitless” as stated in the ethical slut.