MEANT TO BE READ IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE LAST ENTRY
Eva reads all my blogs (except the political ones) before they go live. The last one, which took a lot out of me in the writing, she assessed as "powerful...but not clear". Also, she informed me, I was labouring under a misconception. An eight month affair, says Eva, is not casual sex.
"But I went for the sex, and I kept going back for the sex. Sex was the be-all and end-all of that relationship. Judy and I had one Scrabble game: the highest point total (547) I've ever scored at Scrabble, before or since, and I lost. That game took place in my bedroom, of course, and led to incredibly hot sex, of course."
Judy, says Eva, was a fuck-buddy. Which isn't casual, quite. Casual is a one night stand, a random hookup...which is something I've never done in my life. I think I intended Judy to be a one night stand (it being easier to hide one incidence of cheating than an ongoing affair)....but I succumbed, again and again, to the draw of a relationship based almost entirely on sex. And when love made an appearance in that relationship, I bolted. Which sounds almost...(almost...) the backwards of something I would do today.
But my wife tells me I've never done actual casual sex. Thank you, love, for offering me that out if I choose to take it.
The truth is I've lumped fuck-buddies and "friends with benefits" (ugh, I hate that phrase) in with casual sex and devalued the whole thing to pretty much zero for more than twenty years. Anything that didn't involve a mutual commitment was, in my mind, tainted. More than tainted, actually: outright disgusting. By extension, the people who engaged in casual sex were also tainted and dirty, if not outright disgusting.
I see now that I'm blaming casual sex for my own shitty behaviour surrounding casual sex. I was a jerk. I cheated, repeatedly and unrepentantly. I hurt not one but two women, badly. They're far from the only women I've hurt in my life, but the nature of the hurt really imprinted on me and I vowed never to let lust get in the way of an "honest" relationship ever again.
This, of course, is a knee-jerk reaction, and I'm famous for those. If somebody tells me I'm pulling too far to the right, my instant reaction is to lean as far to the left as I possibly can, which has damn near capsized me more than once.
What I SHOULD have done was break up with the live-in girlfriend (she was never meant to be: all three of us, the third being the man who was her boyfriend before me and who still IS her husband now, suspected as much.) The relationship with Judy still would have happened. It might well have ended differently; it might not have. No matter, I could have done what guys in their early twenties are supposed to do, and play the field. Had I done that, I wouldn't feel the need to look down my nose at people whose behaviour reminds me even slightly of my own back then.
In short, I was a typical immature young man. I offer no excuses for my pitiful behaviour and the only defence I can muster is that I resolved to do better going forward. And I largely have. I try very, very hard not to hurt anyone anymore if I can possibly help it.
Some people are undoubtedly reading this tell-all and drawing conclusions about my polyamory. After all, more than a few cheaters seize on poly as a way to justify cheating, don't they? And isn't the poly community kind of obsessed with casual sex, to the point where there's pressure to call ANY kind of ethical non-monogamy "poly"?
True and true. But in telling you about Judy, I haven't told you about Mel and Pam and Pat and (before them) Danielle and Nicole and Laura and (after them) Tina and Jennifer and send in the trumpet...
Theirs are completely different stories. Nary a whiff of sex, licit or otherwise, casual or otherwise, in any of them. And I've only named some highlights: I could go on and on, right up to the present day and many of my readers might find THEIR names in the list. The only thing this list of women have in common is that I've loved them, or still do. Deeply. Some of them, to this day, have no idea how deeply. Some of them suspect. A choice few know.
I've committed to myself, and sometimes to them if I've figured out they'd understand, that I'd be there for any one of them in any way I could, as long as I know them. There are some of them I'm intensely physically attracted to, and about five I can think of right now that I'd kill to spend a night just cuddling, no sex necessary. Highly unlikely any of that will happen: some are in committed monogamous relationships, others have made it clear they don't feel the same way about me (which doesn't lessen my love for them: I love people because they're loveable, not because they love me back). This is why I'm trying to date within my species. It's hard to get attention on dating sites, given that I'm lacking the requisite vagina, but I'm trying, with the loving support of my wife.
That's polyamory for you. I see it as an opportunity to let love blossom where it will. Where I drew the line -- unjustly, I see now -- is when it came to sex. I felt sex without love just had to be cheap.
It is possible to be polyamorous, to have more than one committed relationship, and to engage in the various levels of casual sex. Possible? Pretty common, actually. Can't Help But Fly (The Poly Song) has this to say on that:
there's no better way to love me then through honesty and trusting
it's not indiscriminate fucking, it's indiscriminate loving
Nothing dirty about that at all.
You've got your random hookups, your fuck buddies and friends with benefits (still hate that phrase: I have many close friends I don't have sex with who nevertheless are huge benefits in my life) and your comets. That's a newly coined poly term I really like to describe the kind of intense periodic relationship you have with someone you actually see relatively rarely. None of these are bad IF THEY ARE APPROACHED HONESTLY FROM ALL SIDES.
I used to think, up until about yesterday, that all of that was in the realm of Things I Just Couldn't Do. If I'm really being honest with myself, though, I could. I just have to get past how I did what I did last time, because how I did it was not the way to do it.
Whew. Thanks for reading that. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Breadbin.