Maybe Three’s Not a Crowd: Polyamory Thoughts

Up until a few years ago, I knew I was monogamous. In fact, I knew my husband and I were both monogamous, and that neither of us was going to sleep with anyone else besides each other for the rest of our lives. Polyamory was not in the cards. I was curious about threesomes, about women, about playing with someone besides him, but not enough to really pursue it. We were never very possessive in our relationship, especially sexually, both of us appreciating hot people and sharing our crushes as they arose. It was understood that we each had an “elevator list” of celebrities, the people we’d guiltlessly fuck if we were stuck in an elevator together. And yet I knew actual play was off the table.

This changed a few years ago when, in a fit of voyeuristic indulgence, I bought The Threesome Handbook by Vicki Vantoch. My reasons aren’t noble: I knew Vicki Vantoch was Misha Collins’s wife, and I was curious about what this gorgeous couple had experienced with regard to threesomes. I knew I’d never actually have a threesome. I started reading the book, and a surprising thing happened: the philosophy of the book made sense. Everything Vicki was saying fell in line with my own beliefs: that sex doesn’t have to be connected to love, that there are many ways to enjoy oneself and still be ethical with one’s partner, that threesomes can be fun and joyous and not stressful.

Well, shit. I wasn’t expecting to believe all of this.

Even more shocking was a conversation with my husband afterward, where he said, “Sure, I’d have a threesome, no problem,” with a shrug. He reminded me that we’ve never been the “making love” type, instead showing our love in ways beyond sex. Sex, for us, is about kink and power and fun. So what would be the big deal?

Over the last year and a few months, we’ve opened up our relationship in certain ways. We each began sexting with people on kik. We had our first in-person encounter. We made other connections through the kink community, including close friends and one very close friend, leading to subsequent encounters.

I never imagined this was going to be my life.

This isn’t intended to be an exposé, though. I don’t want to out our sexual partners and I’m not interested in sharing sordid details. I do, however, want to share some thoughts about this fundamental shift in our relationship and what “going poly” has been like.

Stuff I Learned

I get jealous about unexpected things. I never thought of myself as particularly jealous. Jealous was for people insecure about themselves and their relationships, right? Well, it turns out that my jealousy got triggered by unexpected things. Watching my husband get a blowjob from another woman? No big deal. Watching him spank someone else? YES big deal. I realized that while sex felt pretty easy for me to share, I didn’t feel the same way about kink. I felt a strong ownership over him as a Dom that I didn’t feel about him as a sexual partner. Realizing this, I was able to work through it.

Introspection is both necessary and helpful. The theme of the summer has been “introspection.” I journaled extensively, I examined my feelings, I looked at the root cause of those feelings. When I got jealous, why was I jealous? What was I afraid of? Usually, any “bad feelings” were because of my own insecurities, which I committed to working on and through.

It’s all about communication. Communication, honest communication that’s vulnerable and truthful, is scary shit. Not only was I doing a ton of introspection, but I was communicating those findings with my partners. I learned how to share what I needed in order to feel comfortable and happy with the situation. I learned to talk about my doubts and fears, and then to listen to those of my partners.

I still have some body issues. I’m a body positivity advocate, and I’ve come so far from hating myself and going through starvation diets and bouts of self-loathing. Even though I thought I was over all my issues, the experience of being naked in front of a new person, especially one who wasn’t already in love with me, brought those issues right back up again. I have been able to move past most of those negative thoughts, but their resurgence was surprising.

I really AM bisexual. I had a sense of my own bisexuality, but being in a monogamous heterosexual relationship for my entire adult life left me wondering how much was curiosity and how much was legitimate. While I felt attraction to women, it was always markedly different than how I felt about men. I was worried that when it came to actually interacting with a woman sexually, I’d choke and wouldn’t be interested. That was the exact opposite of my experience. Once I began experimenting with women, I felt like I was tapping into an aspect of myself I’d never fully understood before. Mmm. Girls are hella soft.

Watching my husband with someone else is really hot. The first time I saw him have a true, sexual, intimate connection with another person, I was blindsided. The erotic energy between them was so intense, I couldn’t look away. I thought the experience would be fun, but I didn’t realize it would be really, really sexy. I still get squirmy thinking about some of the scenes I’ve witnessed.

It can’t always be about me. I didn’t realize how many selfish tendencies I had until we started bringing a third person into the bedroom. Then, my automatic response was to want everyone’s attention all the time. Through some kind, direct communication, I realized that I wasn’t being the best partner I could be, and I learned to identify when I was wanting to take more than give.

Cuddles are better with three. I love cuddling, but cuddling with an extra person is even better. There are too many limbs and everybody’s got hair in somebody’s face and somebody’s too warm and somebody else is too cold, but the comfort and casual intimacy and coziness is worth all that. I want sandwich cuddles forever.

There are lots of ways to “do” poly. My husband and I are still each other’s primary relationship. We aren’t in a triad. We aren’t dating other people separately, sleeping with random strangers, or partner swapping. We’re inviting other people into our bed now and then. Most importantly, our way isn’t the only valid way to explore these sorts of things.

New relationship dynamics are exciting and scary. My relationship is wonderful. I’m happily married and I love my husband. Deciding to start playing with others was a big step for us, and we made it with full intentionality, clear communication, and a desire for deeper connection. This process has been scary. We’ve both had to face our fears and insecurities, learn to communicate better, and figure out the depth of our trust. It’s also been exhilarating. We’ve tried new things sexually, invigorated our relationship, and made some profound connections with our other partners and with each other. We didn’t approach poly with a desire to fix anything in our relationship, because nothing was broken, but the process has still been like shining a blacklight into our subconscious negative patterns. We’ve become better partners, better lovers, and better friends as a result.

I don’t know what’s next for us. We’re having fun right now, with exactly what we’ve been doing. Maybe we’ll do more of the same. Maybe we’ll do less. Maybe we’ll fall in love with someone new and add that complex dimension to this adventure. I’m not sure, but whatever’s coming, I’m looking forward to it.

What about you, readers? Had any threesome adventures? Any polyamory experiments or lifestyle moves? Let me know what you’re thinking.

Recommended reading: The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy

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