Nonmonogamy is most definitely not just about sex. But, for me, it’s a pivotal part of the journey I’m on. Love, relationships, lust and sex - not to mention the the variety of permutations, combinations and disguises they come in - can be confusing.
And because it’s important, I want to talk about it.
I want to talk about all the different parts of sex – the good, the bad and the ugly. I want to explore, in person and in writing, the things that turn me on: my fantasies - realised or not. I want to talk about exploring unconventional relationship styles because I fundamentally believe that monogamy is flawed. And I want to document my journey of sexual exploration because I think we SHOULD talk about sex more. I’ve been talking about sex a lot recently and I’ve been enjoying it; but perhaps I’ve also been enjoying it all the more because I know I’m not “supposed” to enjoy it as much as I do...
However, that said and with all things considered, I have still chosen to conceal my real identity and write this under a pen name. Perhaps this is the 21st century equivalent of writing at all (think back when all women authors wrote under a - male - pseudonym just to be allowed to write.) Jokes aside, I’m worried about writing openly about sex. I am pretty sure that this blog alone would be grounds for a slap on the wrist at best, possible dismissal from my job at worst. Neither are things I want to have to deal with. But neither are they things I should have to deal with for indulging in an interest outside of my working hours.
As a woman, working in a “respectful” profession, am I expected not to enjoy sex? Or is it ok if I do, as long as I keep it private? And are there parameters around how much I should enjoy sex, or how much I should push my sexual boundaries because of my job?
The layers here are hugely complex. I deal with a large amount of deep-seated guilt surrounding sex anyway. Add to that the layers of guilt due to my career and it’s a brick wall I have to attempt to scale. And surely, as long as the barriers around the two worlds don’t overlap, what is the harm in it?
Sex – for me, anyway - is difficult to talk about openly outside of certain ‘safe’ situations. It’s everywhere but nowhere at the same time. It’s something the vast majority of people do, it is the means by which we perpetuate our species and it is used to sell the most innocuous of products. But to admit, as a woman, that you enjoy actually having sex and want to do so outside of a monogamous relationship? That’s something that still opens up a whole can of worms.
Talking about it now, as I approach my mid-thirties, also seems somewhat frivolous. My friends are settling down, getting married and having babies. I am not. I don’t want any of those things right now, perhaps ever. Instead, I am actively choosing to embark on a journey of sexual discovery.
Why didn’t I do this in my twenties? The honest answer is because I was too scared to. I was too bogged down with the shoulds and too intent on working towards getting the marriage and the babies that I thought I wanted. I was also less confident in myself and certainly less confident in my body.
And now, speaking to people – specifically men - about sex, with a view to exploring it in person with them, is a minefield. How do I come across? Am I being too forward? Should I send that photograph? Will they view me derogatorily if I do? If we met, would they be respectful, even if what I wanted sexually wasn’t particularly respectful? Is it even safe to meet?
So far, though, the conversations I’ve had with relative strangers in the online world have been remarkably positive. Kink, it seems, is not all talk. The values it requires - respect, trust, communication - are embedded very deeply into the interactions in a way I have genuinely not experienced before. It’s a far cry from the world of Tinder and the conventional dating I’ve tried in the past. It’s also very human. There is little ambiguity, rather an exchange of openness and honesty: “Here’s what I’m into. How do you feel about that? Is it something you’d like to explore?” Honestly, it’s refreshing.
So yes… In a nutshell, I want to talk about sex. I want to talk about sex badly. So I am going to. And I am going to try and do it as unashamedly as I can.
You can read part one of Eleni’s series here.