My Wednesday post noted that the standard high-drama relationship as glamorized in movies or television provides poor guidelines for real romances. I want to add to that a little.
I crushed one of my fingers yesterday morning, so blood-pumping activities like sex were not really that attractive to me. We decided to meet for dinner and movie instead. Ever since BG mentioned “The Birdcage” (1996) some while back, I have wanted to see it again. The movie aggressively stereotypes — particularly homosexuals, drag queens, and Republicans — but does so with a lot of humor and still shows great love and friendship among the characters. I remembered loving the film, and yet had forgotten so many fun parts of it!
Sometime last month, SwingBot and I were out running errands. He had been in a foul mood and I was helping him slowly come out of it. So, he bore a stronger “people suck” state of mind than usual. I assume that he was feeling a touch of “us against the world” when we had this exchange.
On a sex discussion site, someone asked, “Can men and women be friends without a sexual agenda?”
To which I respond, “Really?” with disbelieving exasperation.
Even better, some women actually responded with answers along the lines of, “Every man I have ever befriended/known has wanted me sexually.”
To which I respond, “Really,” with disbelieving coolness.
I get jealous easily, though I think that I handle it pretty well. (SwingBot and former boyfriends might now be mopping the drinks they just spit onto their monitors after having read that.) My initial reaction, when surprised by an interest or attraction that my partner has for another person, is to feel some sense of possessive jealousy against the previous unknown. That changes quickly, though, to enjoying the idea of my partner having fun with the other, once I get over the initial shock.
I previously noted that, before I even heard about the idea of polyamory, I often questioned the one-for-one model of romance. My imagination is limited; my thinking, fantasies, expectations, etc. generally fell along the lines of what society dictated: one woman + one man = one romance. However, I still had niggling doubts, some that could form into full questions or concepts, but some that hinted at ideas I could not express.
This topic is probably making SwingBot sweat and BG run for the hills. So, my dears, let me preface this by saying that it is not about our current activities, and not about changing our arrangement. Please relax.
In case swinging does not have enough potential causes for anxiety — having to find compatible partners, performance anxiety, risk of STDs/pregnancy, being outed — there is a niggling worry in the new swinging couple’s minds: Will s/he find a better sex partner and leave me?
The most important concept, I think, for swingers to remember is that sex does not equal love. It is funny that, while we are single, many of us freely give our bodies over to no-strings-attached play in the form of one-night-stands, but once we have committed partners, such enjoyment becomes taboo. One could argue that those one-night-stands might develop into something deeper, I suppose, but I think the dichotomy owes more to societal standards. Just as a man who has many partners is a “stud” (good) while a woman who has many partners is a “slut” (bad), so it holds with singles versus couples: singles may pursue others while couples are supposed to be only with each other.
I recently found a relationship discussion thread started by a man who had cheated on his girlfriend and wanted to know whether he should tell her or not. In his post, he stated that the GF was “the one” (his words) — though their relationship had only been for six months — and he did not want to lose her. His cheating involved a premeditated meeting for oral sex. He claimed to feel terrible about it afterwards, that he knew beforehand he would feel terrible about it, and noted that the woman with whom he cheated was “ugly” (again, his words). His argument for not telling his GF was that he knew he would never cheat again and he saw no point in hurting her. The thread then saw a lot of hotly contested debate on what he should do, including many speculations that the cheater did not genuinely feel remorseful about his actions.