Last week, in the style of the wonderful Cunning Minx, I wrote myself a User Manual. The basic idea of the user manual is that you write about your emotional and sexual turn ons, your turn offs, your background and family history, basically anything that effects the way you interact with people; particularly things that are likely to bring you closer to someone you’re dating. It’s a great idea, and even if you don’t want to show it to potential dates, I found the experience quite self-revelatory.
The final section of the user manual is about turn offs, and writing this particular section got me thinking. One of my biggest turn offs is hearing about other peoples’ sex lives. I used to think this was to do with jealousy – and there may still be an element of that – or rather I used to dismiss it as jealousy, but as I wrote my list, instead of making assumptions about why I wanted to put this subject out there, I took a moment to really think about it.
The thing is, in terms of the sex my partners have with my metamours, yes, there may be an edge of envy at the very least, the type that just isn’t worth sparking; I don’t need to know what the man I love does in bed with his wife. That is just unnecessary and potentially disruptive information. However, jealousy or envy are not the root here (and as I’ve written several times before, I’m working on those emotions anyway). The truth is, I don’t have that much interest in anyone’s sex life unless it involves me. And that includes the couples I sleep with; their sex lives pretty much only interest me when I’m there too.
I feel kind of bad saying that: my sexuality is so ego-centric, that unless I’m involved in the sex, I find it rather dull.
Yes I still watch and enjoy porn, but in that situation I tend to project myself into the scene, and if I can’t, I tend to switch and watch something else. Erotica is different because when I read sex, I am more interested in it literarily than I am sexually; particularly as – and, oh my but this is a big omission for an erotic fiction author and occasional sex blogger – I don’t read it for the sex. (I read it for the eroticism.)
I’m speaking in generalities, of course; (but I think I’m allowed to when it’s about myself, right?). Of course I have heard stories about real-life-sex that aroused me, or read erotica where the sex really turned me on. But generally, most of the time, I just find it dull.
So what does this have to do with non-monogamy? Well, a lot of the non-monogamy that I see role-modeled is very openly and sexually expressive, as well as appreciative. Many of the non-monogamous (or even just sex-positive) people I know take a great deal of pleasure from hearing about each others’ escapades: there is a reason why sexually explicit blogs can become so popular; and I don’t by any means wish to undermine or challenge that. I think it’s wonderful to be able to share our sexualities and have them appreciated in a variety of different ways.
This does, however, leave me with a slight dilemma, or at least in a position of uncertainty. In such a sexually progressive community, I think we all try and push for the idea that no matter how your sexuality manifests it’s okay, so long as there is consent. We can play out rape fantasies, and we can engage in watersports, and participate in any number of activities which, to many, may be somewhat taboo. From this point of view, I don’t feel all that guilty about saying that in certain respects, my sexuality is very selfish; or at least ego-centric. I think I can allow myself that.
However, it does somewhat jar with my desire to achieve compersion. Or does it? If my partners’ happiness with my metamours makes me happy, is that compersion? Or does it need to go deeper? Do I need to find appreciation for the details of my partners’ other relationships? Perhaps in an ideal world I would be happy about all the little details?
In the end, I seem to be left with many questions, but particularly: where should we draw the line on the indulgences we allow ourselves, and what self-truths just need to be reassessed?