Non-Monogamy and Me

When I was first investigating non-monogamy, my main method of research consisted of devouring all the personal stories I could find told by non-monogamous people. I read about swinging, listened to podcasts about compersion, tracked the polyamory Tumblr tag and more.

I was, as always, insatiable.

I’d accidentally fallen into non-monogamy when I’d “cheated on” [read: been groomed and coerced into Skype sex by an adult, while I was fifteen] a long-distance boyfriend. With no vocabulary at my disposal, I had awkwardly explained that I wanted “to date both of” them, “if that’s even possible”. It had been wild conjecture as I’d tried to solve the problem of loving both of them and not wanting to lose either.

Surprisingly, they were both on board.

That mess fell apart within months for a whole host of reasons, but it planted a seed. I now knew what it felt like to be cared about in abundance. I knew what it was to feel endlessly secure. I had experienced the relief of knowing that my boyfriend wouldn’t leave me for a redhead – he could have both! Me and her! (That’s not a very nuanced or healthy take on things, but we’ll get there.)

However, I met a boy who wanted an exclusive sort of thing, so, being sixteen, I promptly and deliberately forgot about the seed altogether.

It took two years and me moving in with this boyfriend for me to admit to myself my interest in non-monogamy. It started with an intense, existential sort of sadness at the apparent permanency of our relationship – or, more accurately, at what that signalled. A thought I had far too often was, “I might never kiss a girl again.”

Gently, I introduced the idea of an FMF threesome. (At this point, I was still masquerading as a girl.) Then came the idea of us seeing other people, but only same-gender people. We talked about it and worked out ground rules.

Then that, too, fell apart (disastrously; like, I-was-sleeping-on-sofas disastrously), but by this point, I was fascinated. I wanted to hear the insights of every non-monogamous person under the sun.

So, for anyone in the same position: here are some of mine.

  1. Non-monogamy makes me less jealous, not more.

This is only true now that I’m in healthy, communicative relationships, but it is true. I have a long-distance girlfriend who sees whomever she likes, and I have my Daddy, who theoretically could date other people but is super busy, and who wouldn’t take another submissive or start something new with somebody without talking to me about it first. Similarly, my girlfriend doesn’t mind who I see, and in what capacity, but I’d talk to my Daddy before I interacted sexually or romantically with anybody else, and I wouldn’t have another dominant in most capacities.

The rules are different because the relationships are different. My girlfriend and I are close; we’re also aware that we’re each irreplaceable to each other. I could have dozens of brilliant, sexy people in my romantic or sex life and I still wouldn’t be able to replace her. She’s just… her. Hearing about her romantic and sexy encounters fills me with joy, knowing that she’s living her life and I get to cheer her on. It also has the happy side effect of making me less convinced that the distance will tear us apart, because I know that she can find things that she’s missing where she lives. She doesn’t rely on me for every cuddle or orgasm or nice date or movie night, and that takes an enormous amount of pressure off us both.

Meanwhile, things with my Daddy and I are newer, and on some levels, more intense. I feel compersion when he flirts or does more, just like with my girlfriend, but I also freeze up with jealousy. Part of this is socialisation: I grew up thinking I was a girl, and girls are taught that men are a finite and precious resource, one for which we are always in competition with each other. As soon as anybody (but especially feminine-of-centre people) gets close to my Daddy, romantically or sexually, I feel threatened.

But! This isn’t to say that he shouldn’t be getting close to people. Experience keeps teaching me what I already know in the context of my girlfriend and I: human beings aren’t replaceable. I know, in theory, that people aren’t items and that no person is better than another (with obvious exceptions like non-Nazis are always better than Nazis, etc.), but non-monogamy has forced me to actually absorb that belief.

Through a combination of a lack of pressure, the knowledge that I don’t have to be my partners’ be-all-end-all, some CBT techniques and confronting my fear of being replaced, I’ve become way less jealous than I ever was in a monogamous framework.

2. People are gonna be ignorant, but well-meaning

Educating people on things that are at the core of your identity can be pretty emotional-labour-intensive. It’s sometimes satisfying, but sometimes exhausting, to explain to the seventeenth person this week that no, I don’t hate my girlfriend’s boyfriends and yes, it is kind of like hippies and free love and maybe, you should talk to your partner if that’s something you’re interested in.

I’m already queer, disabled and AFAB. I spend a lot of my time explaining and justifying my existence. However, I’m white, middle-class and well-educated, and I probably have an easier time justifying non-monogamy to bigots than a person of colour, a working-class person or a less educated (in the restrictive academic sense) person would have, and I feel like it’s important I use my Kentish little voice to educate.

Still, I get some real humdingers, so here’s a quick FAQ:

  • Don’t you get jealous?
    • As outlined above, not as much as I would in a monogamous relationship.
  • Do you prefer one partner over the other?
    • Obviously not, because then I wouldn’t be dating both of them.
  • How does it work?
    • If you’re asking about threesomes, that’s rude and you should stop. If you’re asking about logistics: group chats and shared Google calendars are your friends.
  • What do your parents think?
    • My dad didn’t think much of anything even when he was alive on account of all the whiskey. My mum thinks it’s great that I have more lovely people in my life supporting me, though she’s very faceblind so she struggles to keep track of people (especially since I have a penchant for tall guys with dark beards).
  • Is it really love if you fuck/date other people?
    • I’m pretty sure I’m aware of and familiar with my own feelings. Do you still love your uni friends when you hang out with your hometown friends? Does all your fondness for pizza dissipate when you eat egg fried rice? Dear God, I hope you don’t have more than one sibling.

3. BUT there are so many things to love about non-monogamy.

When I was drowning in jealousy living with a boyfriend who spent more time on OkCupid than he did talking to me, I wondered why I’d chosen non-monogamy – why anybody would choose non-monogamy. I felt discarded and inferior, and I cursed myself over and over and over again for allowing this obvious liability into our perfect relationship.

Lads, I was doing it wrong.

The list of things that I, personally, love about non-monogamy includes:

  • Compersion! So many other people have written great things on this subject, but compersion is, in essence, the joy you feel at regarding your partners’ other relationships going successfully. It’s a unique mix of pride, excitement and contentment, and it’s not a feeling I’ve found in any other setting. Would recommend.
  • It encourages you to communicate so. Much. More. All the advice you find online about moving into non-monogamy is centred around communication because it’s so beneficial to non-monogamy, but it’s also beneficial to relationships at large, and non-monogamy can create built-in check-in points (like after a first date, after a threesome, etc.).
  • Also, once you learn that the mythical bitch-who’s-gonna-steal-your-man is actually a human person who likes Power Rangers and oysters, you can start to communicate to your partners about your insecurities in a much kinder, more insightful way. Instead of, “I’m scared that slut is gonna steal you from me,” you’re naturally more likely to say something like, “It makes me nervous that you and Rebecca have Power Rangers in common and I don’t even know what a zord is.”
  • As soon as your partners have partners, your social circle is instantly wider, and it’s usually richer. Your partner’s partners are called ‘metamours’ and you can have some incredible friendships with them – and you have a head start in befriending them because you two have something pretty major in common: a partner!

    Are you non-monogamous? Or are there aspects of it you’re still curious about? Leave a comment down below!

3 Misconceptions (and Corresponding Truths!) About Threesomes

Recently, whilst rereading my own old fanfiction (a masochistic practice in its own right), I came across an author’s note wherein I came out to my readers as bi and announced that I had a new girlfriend. At fourteen, already braced for biphobia and objectification, I asserted that, “No, I’ve never had a threesome and I never will.”

Fourteen-year-old Morgan was wrong, because nineteen- and twenty-year-old Morgan went on to have a lot of threesomes.

Fourteen-year-old Morgan also carried with them a host of misconceptions about the nature of threesomes, so I’ve decided to unpack a few of them here for y’all, in case you still hold them, or you know a fourteen-year-old fanfiction writer who does.
Misconception no. 1: Threesomes are “porny”.

I can’t think of a more refined way to phrase this notion – that a threesome will always be like the ones you see in mainstream porn, featuring two skinny, conventionally attractive cis girls worshipping the cock of a muscly, conventionally attractive cis dude. There’s usually an undercurrent of objectification (the patriarchal, unnegotiated kind, not the deliberately kinky kind), and the idea is that the dude in the scene is such a stud that he can “obtain” and pleasure two girls at once.

Obviously, some threesome setups do involve two cis girls focusing their attention on one cis guy, and they can be fun and hot (as long as they feature more communication and fewer jelly dildos than your average PornHub stock). But, if there are elements of “porniness” that put you off, there are ways to threesome without them. You can, in fact, bang two people at once without bad jazz playing in the background, and it is possible to fuck people without objectifying them – or with consensual, negotiated objectification roleplay.

Additionally, you can have threesomes that aren’t the typical FMF deal you’d find in bad mainstream porn. Which leads nicely onto the next point…
Misconception no. 2: Only bi/pan people can have threesomes.

First of all, hypothetical misconception-haver, you have overlooked one possibility: three people of the same gender all threesoming together. Just a big ol’ pile of boobs, if you’re a lesbian, or a cornucopia of cocks if you’re a gay dude. It is very possible to have a threesome wherein everyone involved identifies as gay.

Additionally, you can have a threesome that involves someone of the gender that you’re not attracted to without it magically making you bi or pan. I’d recommend you lay your metaphorical cards on the table very early on in pre-threesome discussions if that’s the case. For example, some girls won’t want to threesome with a straight girl and her partner; some people just plain don’t want to be in a sexual situation with somebody that can’t and won’t be sexually attracted to them. You have to give your potential threesome participants the chance to make an informed decision.

Assuming you’ve had a good ol’ communicative chat with the people you’re gonna bang, you have two options: to get sexual with the party you’re not attracted to, or to solely focus on the one you do fancy. Let me make one thing clear:

Touchin’ some genitals doesn’t make you bi.

Touchin’ some genitals doesn’t make you pan.

Touchin’ some genitals makes you this: a person who is touchin’ some genitals.

Maybe you finger a girl because your partner really wants to see you do that, and you’re not attracted to the girl (and have made her aware of this) but you enjoy having power over a person’s bits and turning your partner on.

Maybe you play with somebody’s dick because you’re spent, but you want to see a vagina-holding participant with jizz all over xir face.

Maybe you just interact with the person of the gender you’re attracted to, but having a third party in the room gives the whole scene a voyeuristic charge, and grants you a second pair of hands for anything that might need fetching, spanking, lubing, groping, etc.

Either way: people who are 100% straight or 100% gay can have amazing, fulfilling, incredibly filthy threesomes. The key is to be upfront and not a douchebag.

And, because I know firsthand what it’s like to feel insecure and Not Kinky Enough™, I would like to remind you: if you don’t want to have a threesome, with same-gender participants or with someone you don’t fancy involved, that’s fine too. I promise. And, if you have a threesome once and you hate it, it’s okay if you don’t do it again! There is an entire world of sex stuff to dabble in, and if you feel like threesomes and moresomes aren’t for you, you’re still Kinky Enough™ (whatever that actually means), you’re adventurous enough, and you’re entitled to your boundaries. Always.
Misconception no. 3: Threesomes are/are not as fun as they’re cracked up to be.

A two in one! This misconception has been cheekily slipped into a threesome article, but really, it’s applicable to so many sex/kink acts: the idea that you can glean – from porn, from other people’s shared experiences and from mainstream media portrayals – information about the inherent enjoyability of something without having done it.

Ya can’t.

Some people will insist that threesomes aren’t as great as porn etc. makes them out to be. There is a lot that porn doesn’t typically show us: you have to do twice the communication than for partnered sex, and with each added party, the chances of somebody getting elbowed in the face or headbutted by accident increases exponentially. Threesomes can be logistically tricky – where do I put my leg? How can I reach this person’s balls with my tongue? Where did we leave the goddamn aftercare snacks this time? – and I’d posit that a bad threesome is less enjoyable than bad partnered sex, simply because there are more potential points of failure.

People who rail against threesomes are usually speaking from personal experience, though sometimes they’re talking theoretically, because threesomes are a limit for them and they feel the need to justify it. They might be monogamously-inclined, they might be overwhelmed by the idea of more than one partner in a sexual situation, or they might have bought into the idea that a threesome is objectifying and misogynistic because of the threesomes you see in porn. They don’t owe you an explanation for their aversion to threesomes, but it’s worth considering that everybody’s life experiences are different, and it’s likely that you won’t feel the exact same about threesomes as this theoretical naysayer.

Conversely, you can’t assume a threesome is going to be awesome just because everyone says that they’re great. Like any other sex or kink thing, it depends on a huge number of nuanced factors: the people involved, the chemistry between those people, the headspace each participant is in, the location, etc. etc. forever. Mainstream porn is particularly bad for portraying threesomes as the height of cis male desire, but there are plenty of other places you might find threesomes put upon a pedestal.

The truth is, some threesomes are fucking brilliant, and some just aren’t.

Like any other sex experience (or sexperience… no? I’ll show myself out), a good threesome hinges on a combination of good chemistry and great communication. I’d recommend a group chat for pre-threesome negotiations, or at least all three of you meeting in a space that isn’t sexually charged, like a McDonald’s (unless one or more of you has a Big Mac kink, which is valid), and discussing Yes/No/Maybe lists, fantasies, triggers, barriers and STI statuses – at a minimum. The more y’all talk, the more you’ll get a read on your threeway compatibility, and (hopefully) the more excited you’ll all get about your upcoming shenanigans.

Have you had a threesome, or is it something you’re interested in? What other misconceptions do people hold about three-player adventures? I’d love to hear from y’all in the comments!