Polyamory. It’s a woman’s world.
Don’t look at me like that. 😛 I’m not hating on men! I have character witnesses that will testify that I (enthusiastically) love me some men – despite the strange looks I’ve gotten from some of my friends.
That’s the problem, really. The curious double standard. How much more desired females seem to be in these circles and how much people are disproportionately threatened by male sexuality. For instance, I saw a woman (who considered herself straight but mysteriously attracted to me) for a few months who was engaged to a man, who knew about me and had no problem with us seeing each other but expressly forbid her from seeing men. I’ve heard this policy flippantly referred to as “no penis, no problem.”
It’s a fairly prevalent trend where I live (though to be fair swinging couples in Eastern Maine seem to outnumber polyamorous couples 10 to 1), relationships that are open to women but closed to men. The cause is probably multifactorial and varying widely from individual to individual – potentially as a result of defensiveness resulting from sperm competition, the popular fetishization of female bisexuality, the desire of women in heterosexual relationships to experiment with same gender ones while still having the security of a long-term partner, vaginal fluid’s lower risk profile for the transmission of STDs when compared to that of semen (though still certainly possessing risk), or any of countless other reasons. Whatever the case, the feminist in me rears up with a vengeance – irate at the notion that somehow sexuality between women is less threatening or counts less than sexuality between a man and a woman – that somehow heterosexual sex is more “real” than lesbian sex. I’ve been there, and (for me at least) it’s bull shit.
The bias against men was even seen in the reaction from friends of mine who are a polyamorous couple (I dated the woman briefly before deciding we were incompatible) who were extremely judgemental when I started to become involved with a gasp bisexual man! Not only did my new flame have a penis, he was attracted to other people with penises! I could (and had) make out with 10 women in a single night without an eyelash batted – and indeed with some lauding the behavior – but the moment I chose to make out with a bisexual man, I was recklessly promiscuous and needed an intervention for my risky behavior. The part that floored me with this blatant bias was that the sexual acts performed were identical (and very mild).
I have watched repeatedly as my behavior as a shameless flirt earns me the title of “charismatic” or “sex kitten,” and men flirting with a similar volume are disparagingly called “collectors” or “pigs.”
When a close polyamorous friend recently got a boyfriend she fell madly in love with, she was apologetic and said, “I couldn’t help it. I really wanted a girlfriend, but this just happened.” Even so, her husband places extremely strict restrictions on the physical activities she can perform with this beloved partner of about a year now (much more strict that her rules for what she can do in general with women) – although her husband has had a number of relationships with women where many of the acts were performed with his partners. She’s openly (understandably) frustrated by this but says, “I can’t blame him. Guys are sketchy,” and expects that explanation will suffice.
When I first got together with my boyfriend, as much as it pains me to admit it, I struggled with feelings of guilt I had for falling in love with someone for purely selfish reasons – who would probably have no sexual or romantic benefit to my husband whatsoever. It felt so good and yet so wrong in a deep, conditioned sense (this despite the fact that my husband has had relationships on his own and has no problem with my dating men).
Well I’m done. No more.
As much as I love all sorts of different kinds of people (female/femme, trans, genderqueer), I want to take this opportunity to shamelessly proclaim how much I love men, how much I love penises, how much I love masculinity, how much I love and support men who love other men or are at least comfortable enough to be around other men in sexual situations – to declare I don’t have a one-penis policy – and I like it this way!
I love you guys.