A Unicorn’s Survival Guide

Rhonda Perky goes under the covers to discover how to survive as a single in the Swinger’s Scene.

A ‘Unicorn’ is so called because they are mythical creatures: the single female (or male) who appears to fulfil a couple’s erotic fantasy, and then disappears, never to be seen or heard from again.

Couples seek out Unicorns for many reasons, most commonly for threesomes, but also to venture into the polyamorous scene or as a step towards opening their relationship. Ideally the Unicorn will be bisexual, not looking for romantic attachment, and available at the couple’s discretion. The important thing for the couple is that the Unicorn poses no threat to the relationship.

I spent the better part of a year playing Unicorn for several couples. I wasn’t seeking a relationship, but wanted to explore my sexuality. Thrilling and unpredictable, I learned there are some very sound reasons why Unicorns are difficult to come by, but that it is possible to get your needs met, provided you set your boundaries and keep your expectations in check. The following are just a few of the things I wish I’d known before I donned my horn.

1) Sexuality

Having been in a heterosexual relationship for most of my adult life, when it came to women, I was a virtual virgin. Meeting with couples gave me an opportunity to explore my bisexuality without having to date or take the sexual lead. However not all couples seeking a Unicorn are bisexual. I once found myself being ‘gifted’ to a husband by a straight woman. It can feel pretty hollow when someone is acting a part for the benefit of their partner. Make sure you ask in advance if this is important to your satisfaction.

2) Voyeurism

The bedroom is one of life’s most intimate settings. By entering someone else’s, you will see what usually remains hidden, from the perfume bottle on a bedroom dresser, to the secret words whispered between the sheets. Like real-life pornography, you can watch how each partner gives the other pleasure, only what you witness isn’t staged. Being a voyeur means also being exposed to the couples’ metaphorical unwashed socks and bathroom grime: the niggling insecurities, tensions and resentments. Tread carefully: if you want to be invited back, be respectful of the couple’s privacy, know when not to look, or to simply walk away.

3) Cut those strings!

What better way to experience a threesome than when you’re not the one risking a relationship? Being a Unicorn is a great way to get some hot kinky sex without emotional entanglement. You need not fear your couple wanting more than you are prepared to give: in most instances they will want you gone before the sun rises, and if things don’t work out, a simple, ‘Sorry, my situation has changed,’ will do, because the Unicorn’s presence in a relationship is expected to be temporary. The downside: you could easily find yourself leaving them to snuggle up in their shared bed, whispering sweet nothings, while you stumble to your empty apartment wearing last night’s dress, stilettos in hand, wondering where you left your panties.

4) The relationship in crisis

Sometimes couples look to a Unicorn to patch up a rocky relationship. Perhaps there has been an infidelity, or the couple is hoping to shake up their tired sexual repertoire. Your presence in the bedroom can stir up underlying jealousies and resentments. No one wants to feel like a marital aid or the suddenly unwelcome interloper, so ask why your couple is seeking a Unicorn, and what experiences they’ve had already. A couple who has played on the scene for a while is more likely to have ironed out their insecurities and learned to identify and communicate their boundaries. There is also a better chance they will be experienced enough to let you establish and communicate yours.

5) The unwelcome Unicorn

Breaking into the scene can be a challenge. On paper, Unicorns are in demand, but try turning up to a Swingers’ party as a single female and you might quickly find yourself relegated to the position of Wall Flower instead of the Butterfly you had hoped. The Swingers’ scene is essentially a matriarchy. Partnered women are in control and you can’t approach them, you have to be invited in. Attractive single females can be seen to pose a threat to existing relationships, and tend to be ignored, while single males are rarely allowed through the door. Try grabbing a Unicorn of the opposite sex to pose as your partner, perhaps an existing play-partner. That way you are less likely to be met with hostility by other women, and if you don’t find a match, you can always head home with your date. Once you’ve broken into the scene and proven that your motives are benign, you are more likely to be welcomed back, and even shared among couples in the scene.

6) Their threesome

The Unicorn is expected to appear when the couple calls, and disappear when they don’t. Approaching them can result in a swift revocation of your sexual access. Unless you negotiate your terms, this situation can leave you feeling discarded like a used tissue. This can be as simple as a conversation setting out your availability and expectations from the encounter, and asking if they have any rules you should follow. Establish in advance what activities are in or out. Don’t expect more than they can offer, sexually or emotionally. Similarly, make sure your needs will be met and your boundaries respected. If not, walk away. The encounter should be mutually beneficial: it isn’t only their threesome.

Ultimately, being a Unicorn wasn’t sustainable for me. After a year of playing on the scene I was ready for another relationship, and the difficulties began to outweigh the thrills. Still, I don’t regret a minute. I learned so much from putting myself out there, and perhaps I’ll hunt my own Unicorn soon. Most importantly I learned to keep my heart close while I enjoyed the ride, and can now relish the memories of my adventures.

–RP, retired Unicorn.

This post first appeared in Sex this Month magazine.

Posted in adventures, open relationship, polyamoury, relationships, sex, single life, swinging | Tagged | 1 Comment

Cutting the ties that bind

Adventure Girl learns the hard way that some things never change

‘I didn’t break contact because of the way he treated my mother in the divorce; I used the divorce as an opportunity to break contact. His behaviour at that time merely affirmed my decision.’

So I did it again. I saw my father. I’m not entirely sure why. I guess part of me never stops hoping it will be different. It never is.

The last time I saw him he was in hospital recovering from a mild heart attack. I wrestled with the notion of doing what was right, visiting him out of a sense of duty, and feeling like a hypocrite. In the end I went. I worried I would feel terrible if anything happened to him and I had chosen otherwise. It was a brief encounter. Typically he asked nothing of me; I was the audience to his ailment as he lapped up the drama of the blippy heart monitor, IV tubes, and hospital gown. He was in his element.

On this occasion, he contacted me. A cancer diagnosis will do that. My mum had offered to tell him so that I didn’t have to. Shortly after, I received a phone call. I answered, only because I was in the habit of picking up calls from unrecognised numbers, expecting various medical staff. Instead I heard an acerbic, ‘Hello. It’s me, your father.’ He wanted to know about the diagnosis. I told him what I could.

Before long the conversation was back on to him, his move to a bigger town to be closer to a hospital, his recent fall, his ‘death-sentence’ diabetes. Luckily my friend arrived, and I wiggled out of the conversation, but a couple of weeks later, he called again. This time he said he wanted me to visit him. I was in the car at the time, hurrying to get to an appointment, so I was unprepared and unable to push back. He made me promise to see him. ‘Let’s not leave it too long, say in the next couple of weeks.’ I didn’t want to, but I agreed. In the back of my mind I was wondering, why the insistence, the urgency? What if he was really sick? (That and my inability to say ‘no’ when put on the spot – something I still need to work on.)

‘What does one wear to meet one’s semi-estranged father?’ I asked the folks on Twitter. ‘A nametag,’ one person replied. This was more poignant than the author could know, my father having once declared me and my sisters ‘interchangeable’.

When I’ve met with my father before, I have been gripped with anxiety and fear, and afterwards, left choking on disappointment. Having begun radiation therapy, I had the perfect excuse to get out of the visit, but I didn’t use it. I didn’t even insist on going alone as I once would have, back when I still needed to prove to myself that I could.

Instead, my boyfriend joined me, and I realised I wasn’t frightened anymore – I was curious. I wanted to see how he would behave. Could he bring himself to care for someone other than himself, or would my diagnosis be one more drama for him to act out?

I also wanted to have my boyfriend’s observations, independent of a fraught history, to see if they aligned with mine. Sure enough, they did.

On the morning of the visit I was surprisingly calm. I realise now it’s because I was no longer hopeful, and therefore fearful of disappointment and rejection.

Before, I craved his love and wanted to be liked for who I am, to be seen and known. I yearned for acceptance, needing his validation, his affirmation. But a person can only give you what they are capable of, and I had to accept that it isn’t that he won’t see me for who I really am: not an object, but a person, it’s that he can’t. I had to accept that I would never get acceptance from him.

Only that didn’t stop the fear and the disappointment. Knowing that I would never find love, I wanted acknowledgement. Let him see that his lack of love had hurt me. Let him own that hurt. But when someone paints themselves as the eternal victim, and this is part of their identity, expecting them to acknowledge that they have hurt someone else is impossible. Too often I had watched him re-frame and re-frame everything I presented in terms of his core belief: that he was not responsible. He isn’t capable of empathy, so in the end I had to own the hurt myself and acknowledge that he would never see it.

To him our relationship is a game, but he refuses to play by the rules. Worse: he flouts them and prides himself on doing so. If he manages to shift reality and put you off-guard, he has won. You can’t reason with someone whose sense of reality continually shifts, and who disregards logic. And there are only so many times a person can put themselves out there before the hurt and disappointment become too much. I had to learn that there is only so much fight in me. I no longer had the energy or desire to keep on struggling. I had to accept that my only option was to disengage.

This time when I saw him, I was an observer, understanding he will never provide the things I once felt entitled to expect from a father. I re-set my expectations, expecting nothing, and giving nothing away.

But still, I am not immune. I observed signs of humanity, of the loving father I would have liked to have. I saw some affection, some acknowledgement of stories from my past, signs that he at least took notice, but it was all bound up in theatrics. He took the opportunity of my going to the bathroom to show my boyfriend his ‘softer’ side, to play Concerned Parent, and hint at the causes of our rift – all my mother’s fault, and my wilful misunderstanding, of course. When I heard that he had asked after me, I was touched. But then remembered he had an audience. ‘That’s my girl,’ he had said, a delicate budding tear in his eye. I recalled that while he showed us his life, he asked nothing about mine. I doubt he knows what I do for a living, where I live, what I like. I wasn’t there out of his genuine concern for me; I was there so that he could show me his new life before it was ‘too late’, and so that he could have an audience for his play: ‘Father traumatised by absent daughter’s illness’.

As I drove the long way home, I reflected that I while I could have worn a nametag, he should have worn a costume and read from a script.

If nothing else I learned that I could engage and feel bemused, rather than hurt and disappointed. Having shifted my expectations I could play a role to match his, and use him the way he uses me: as fodder, if not in life, in writing.

Cheers to you, Dad, and another lesson learned.

–A.G.

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Learning my limits

Roberta Bust opens up about swinging solo

Since my last blog, my situation has changed. I am no longer in an open marriage; we decided that it was better to part ways. Now, I am separated and learning how to be single and independent again.

I am also slowly working my way through my tangled mess of no self-confidence and no sexual confidence by keeping busy, drinking, outrageously flirting, and agreeing to most activities my friends suggest, including a sexy party which I attended a few weeks ago.

Initially I was quite excited; I felt empowered and believed it was a good move to help rebuild my sexual confidence. I purchased a cute costume and went with what I thought was an open mind.

The night started at a house party, brimming with regular sexy party attendees. They all oozed sex and sexual confidence, something that I clearly do not have. The couple I attended with were more accustomed to this scene, and were relaxed and at ease, whereas I immediately felt intimated and self-conscious.

The first thing I noticed was how naive I had been with my costume choice. Whilst it was classified as ‘sexy’, it had an air of innocence. Here I was, my first sexy party, dressed modestly – a real virgin cliché – something I had subconsciously created. The people attending were all incredibly attractive: thin, tanned, perfect plastic people, and their sexy costumes and sexual perfection stirred an uncomfortable feeling within me.

I started questioning myself, my attractiveness, and tried to ignore my growing unease as I became increasingly aware of my lack of sexual confidence. We were served champagne, which I gratefully accepted, hoping it might calm my nerves, but then it was suggested we go mingle by ourselves. I was completely unprepared for this, and uncomfortable with the idea. I was not there to mingle in that way, and at the back of my mind, I did not want the people I approached to look at me like I was a new play thing for them. I wasn’t looking to be someone, or some couple’s, new toy, but that’s how I was starting to feel with every look and smile.

My internal thoughts went into overdrive: ‘Why did you agree to this?’, ‘You’re putting yourself in a situation you are not comfortable with’, ‘Will you be able to stop yourself if you don’t want to do something?’ And then: ‘Stop drinking… otherwise you will not have the courage to say, “No”’. Whilst the house was beautiful and the people quite nice, my insides were screaming, ‘Go! Get out while you can!’

This feeling of fear and anxiety was building in the pit of my stomach, which I could not quell by internal reasoning. It kept compounding until I was at the point of having a complete breakdown and fighting back tears. The actual sexy party was being held at a club, and none of the guests appeared to mind that it had started over an hour before, and were quite happy remaining at the house. This relaxed attitude terrified me as my imagination ran into overdrive: was this actually a swingers’ party? What if there is an orgy, how do I politely decline? Ultimately I wanted to leave, but was worried I would hurt my friend’s feelings or she would be mad at me for my reaction to the scene.

Finally people started organising travel to the club. I felt slightly relieved. We were leaving the house that made me so uneasy. I thought that maybe the club would be better. I tried to reassure myself unsuccessfully. We hopped into our car, but I still felt so uncomfortable that I was biting back tears. I went very silent and focussed on my phone. My friend asked if I was okay, and I made a non-committal response. In my mind I was thinking of ways to just leave and go home. ‘This is not me, this is not me.’ I wasn’t prepared and didn’t want to be part of this scene. I braced myself. I had already paid for the tickets, I should at least give it a go – I should not walk away. I thought maybe it would be different, but it wasn’t.

At this point, I want to say I honestly don’t have a problem with people wanting to participate in that scene. I envy their ability to express and embrace themselves and their sexuality, but I very quickly realised this was not something I was capable of, at least not then, and not in the near future.

I couldn’t enjoy myself, and I felt awful that I was ruining the potential fun of the couple I was with, so I quickly exited, bursting into tears and crying the whole cab ride home and then some.

Although emotionally I did not cope, and it didn’t help boost my confidence in the slightest, this experience did teach me about my likes, dislikes and limitations, which is something integrally important to my journey forward. I won’t ever rule out something like this in the future, but I need to be at a point in my life where I can embrace and be comfortable with myself – which I am currently not.

I also realised how important it is to have a connection with someone in order to embrace and increase my sexual confidence. This is something I can’t get from random hook ups. Whilst a one nighter is always fun, I feel pretty limited in my willingness to be adventurous, whereas my willingness to experiment with someone I know and am comfortable with increases exponentially.

Initially I walked away feeling like I had failed, but I guess nothing in life is failure. We all have good and bad experiences – it’s how we learn, by processing them, and using them to shape us as the people we aspire to be. One short night of pushing my boundaries and testing my limits has been a giant step in finding me.

–RB

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Holding on by letting go

Adventure Girl learns a lesson in unleashing her green-eyed monster

‘Relationships of all kinds are like sand held in your hand. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers. You may hold onto some of it, but most will be spilled. A relationship is like that. Held loosely, with respect and freedom for the other person, it is likely to remain intact. But hold too tightly, too possessively, and the relationship slips away and is lost.’ — Kaleel Jamison, The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power: A Book about Leadership, Self-Empowerment, and Personal Growth

I have always struggled with jealousy. Growing up I felt that there was never enough love, affection or attention to go around, that if someone else was receiving love or desire, it was at the expense of the love or desire shown to me.

I used to be jealous of pornography, of a pretty girl at a party, of a picture in a magazine. To me, the lust my partner experienced for another person was utterly threatening, because how could I compete? I saw myself as plain, nice, ‘unsexy’: entirely opposite to these vixens. Whenever I perceived a threat, I demanded affirmation, reassurance that my partner desired me and only me.

And it wasn’t only in romantic relationships. I was a jealous friend, too. If someone I considered my best friend suddenly started hanging out with someone else, I was terrified they would find my rival more entertaining, more popular, less me, and I would lose them.

I usually did. No one wants to be suffocated by a crazed clingy bitch who doesn’t know how to share.

Of relationships with men, my mother used to say, ‘You have to let them look or they will stray.’ I guess what she meant was, Don’t choke-hold your partner. Don’t cling so closely that they don’t have room to live, to breathe. Try not to control them. You don’t own them, nor should you.

Instead of helping me understand that desire is natural, and monogamy a struggle, I heard a message of desperation: you must do whatever it takes not to lose your man; and the subtext: you are not whole on your own. I wasn’t okay by myself. I needed to find and keep a man. Losing him was akin to failure, and loss took the form of him acting on his desire for someone else. That he would desire someone else was inevitable. My challenge was to somehow afford him sufficient freedom to desire while keeping him tethered to and desiring of me. I needed a kind of retractable love-leash.

But that very need, that feeling of not being able to be on my own, contributed to my insecurity. Because I couldn’t reassure myself, I grasped for reassurance from others, embodying the very thing I was warned against: I was clingy and needful. Worse, I was aware that this was the exact wrong response, that the tighter I gripped, the more likely my partner was to pull away. Fearing the effect of my own response, my insecurity was compounded: I gripped tighter still, turning my retractable leash into a choker.

Years on, I can look back and see what my mother was actually trying to say: that no one wants their fidelity demanded, the love wrung out of them, their reassurance requisitioned. But it was a long and arduous journey to get here. Along the way I put myself though 18 months with a partner who lied and cheated constantly, and I knew this. It was one of the reasons I stayed so long. I needed to test myself, to become desensitised. It was 18 months of hell, but I came out the other side with a new perspective, determined never be that jealous and out of control again.

After that I forced myself to spend time alone, exploring multiple casual relationships with no expectation of fidelity and no obligation of reassurance. I managed to slowly establish some self-sufficiency while developing a very different understanding of desire and monogamy.

As well as breaking down my reliance on a partner, I worked to improve my self-esteem and build confidence. I learned independence and how to self-assure. I knew that even if I ‘lost’ a partner, I would be okay. It would hurt, but I didn’t need them to be a whole person. I had spent time on my own and not just survived, but thrived.

During that time I practised sex without love, and learned to separate the two, to compartmentalise sexual desire and see it for what it is: animal and natural. By acknowledging and experiencing the difference meant I could see the one as less threatening to the other.

I gave myself permission to be non-monogamous. This worked in two ways. Firstly, how could I be jealous of a partner sleeping with someone else, when I was doing the same? Secondly, by experiencing sex with multiple partners, I discovered that my interactions with each didn’t change how I felt for the others. Sometimes it brought clarity through comparison, but this was more of a catalyst than a transformation. If there was a solid foundation to begin with, having sex with someone else wasn’t going to change that. If anything, being with someone else made my feelings for my primary partner stronger as I acknowledged and appreciated how difficult it must be for them to give me that freedom. Knowing this allowed me to relax my grip: I no longer feared the outcome of them doing the same.

Most of all I learned to accept my green-eyed monster. It’s not something I am proud of, but it is a part of who I am and where I came from. It is a natural response that in and of itself isn’t a threat to my relationships: it’s what I do with that response that chokes or sets my partner free.

Now, I still feel the stab of hot and sick at the thought of a loved one being intimate with someone else, but it is less acute, and when it happens, it doesn’t tie me into a knot of hurt and rage. Instead of fighting my jealous urges, I try to acknowledge them, openly and honestly.  I step back, examine the feeling and where it comes from. I observe the insecurity, the fear that when my partner is with someone else, they are rejecting me. I tell myself that I don’t own them, nor should I, that the object of my desire is not an object at all, but a living breathing person with the same rights to freedom and desire as me. How would I feel if the situation were reversed?

Being more comfortable with myself, I can pause to play out the worst case scenarios in my head, giving me time to become comfortable with each. As long as I can unravel and objectify my jealousy, it can’t take the same choke-hold. That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt, or that I won’t lash out, but if I do, I am better able to handle it. I can reassert control, not over my partner, but myself. If only I had understood all those years ago that it wasn’t my lover I needed to set free, it was me.

–AG

Posted in jealousy, reflections, relationship dynamics, relationships | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My dirty little secret, or ‘just another coming out story’

Adventure girl learns a lesson on playing for both sides

‘How did you cope being in a heterosexual relationship for ten years?’

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a boyfriend. For longer than that, I’ve had fantasies about women. Not as one woman shagging another, but as a man shagging a woman – only I’m that man.

I used to fear that I was somehow trapped inside a man’s body, and yet I’m hardly man-ish, or even butch. I’ve never identified as a lesbian, because I still like men, and gravitate towards relationships with them. Being with guys feels natural, comfortable. And while women get my juices flowing, particularly in my erotic imaginings, very few of them turn me into a weak-at-the-knees clichéd mess the way a crush on a cute boy can.

To be fair, the boys I tend to be attracted to aren’t your meat-and-three-veg, pie-eating, beer-swilling, football-watching belchers. I like arty-types, nerdy-types, guys who are not so pretty as to bring their sexuality into immediate question, but definitely not someone you would run into on the rugby field.

As for my taste in women, I’ve never been attracted to ‘butch’ girls. I like women who are feminine, who are gender-stereotypical ‘girls’. The problem is many of these women identify as straight.

Growing up I didn’t know what to do with these stirrings. I wasn’t a lesbian because I still liked guys. I wasn’t straight, because I liked girls. The concept of bisexuality wasn’t something I had ever come across – it certainly wasn’t a box you could tick on any form the way it is today. Instead I took what I was experiencing and internalised it. I noticed women, thinking I wanted to be like them, and compared myself to them, forever falling short. The erotic response they stirred in me was what I pictured being stirred in the pants minds of other guys – guys I liked. How could I compete with that?

To complicate matters I grew up in a household where I was over-exposed to the sexually graphic material and sexually misogynistic attitudes of a father who had firm ideas on what a woman ‘ought’ to be: an object of his desire. Blonde hair, big boobs and brainless. Any woman who fell short was an affront and had no business existing in his narcissistic world. The result was a messed-up me: brunette, scrawny, nerdy, with severe body image issues and a fucked-up sense of what sex should be.

It took all of my eating-disordered teens and most of my over-weight twenties (I discovered body dysmorphia works both ways) to recognise and accept that it wasn’t that I wanted to be these women; it was that I wanted them.

But having admitted that much, I had no idea where to start. Finally I could talk about being curious, about wanting the experience of being with a woman. That in itself was no big deal – a lot of girls fooled around with other girls and it didn’t make them any less ‘straight’ – they just never fooled around with me. But whenever I had a crush on a girl or tried to approach someone, I managed to freak them out, presumably because they were straight, while girls who were openly gay always looked through me. I’ve never understood that look, except that it felt like an accusation: you’re not one of us.

I remember being at university – finally (but briefly) single – and seeing posters for ‘queer’ clubs, including for the ‘bi-curious’, but I never felt I belonged there. Not only had I never been with a woman, I was secretly scared of vagina. What if I had to go down on a girl? What if I didn’t like it? Surely that meant I wasn’t gay or bi? I had forgotten that I’d had the exact same reaction to seeing, touching and tasting a penis for the first time. And still there was this niggle: outwardly, I was straight as straight. I didn’t dress like someone who identified as ‘queer’, I wasn’t into protests and rallies and debating the finer points of the works of Michel Foucault, which is pretty much what the Queer Club looked like from the outside, at least at my university. It was the feeling I got in a lot of places – you’re not one of us  and it was enough to scare me back into the dress-up box.

Before long I had a boyfriend again, and then another, and exploring my sexuality was out of the question. I had almost opened the dress-up box when the lid was again slammed tight, and I was left cowering in the dark, carrying around my dirty little secret, ashamed whenever my wandering eyes betrayed me, whenever I felt I was perving as obviously as any guy. I was a freak with shameful desires, wearing a disguise that didn’t quite fit, because I didn’t fit in anywhere.

Ten years and a marriage later, I was looking to explore again. At 29 I was finally able to admit that I was ready to open the dress-up box and this time try a new sexual identity on for size. But I didn’t know where to start. All I saw were judging eyes from the women I wanted to accept me: you’re not one of us.

‘Lesbians don’t like tourists,’ I was told. They certainty don’t want to feel ‘used’ for a cheap experiential thrill, which is completely understandable. And even if I could find someone willing to accept my desire to explore as genuine interest, would they really want to carry my coming-out burden?

Eventually a lesbian friend offered to take me to a gay bar to see if my ‘fresh meat’ appeal could get me past those barriers, but by the time that plan came to fruition, I was coupled-up again, wearing a ‘straight’ costume once more.

At least my partner at that time knew about my desires. His problem wasn’t with me being bi-curious; it was a fear that I might act on that curiosity – a betrayal of our monogamous relationship.

It was only once I was finally single for an extended period of time, with no intention of getting coupled-up, that I began to talk more openly about my desires and tried the bi-curious label on for size. I was still faced with the same dilemma, however, of how to meet someone who would let me try them on, too.

A few months after setting my sexual preference on a dating site to ‘bi-curious’ I was filling out a survey that asked me to indicate my sexuality. I saw the different options listed and I hesitated. I didn’t want to tick ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ or ‘bi-curious’, because by then I knew I was more than that. The only option that seemed to fit was ‘bisexual’.

I ticked the box.

There it was, in ink, non-retractable. And it felt good, right. Finally I could accept this hybrid position of liking men and women, and knew it was okay.

That same week a woman approached me. ‘I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure you’re into girls,’ she said, ‘would you like to go on a date?’

Since then I have been approached by other women, mostly as a ‘unicorn’ for their coupled-up encounters, but also for one-on-one play-dates. From these I have learned the type of girl I like tends to be the type of girl who likes guys and girls, who identifies as ‘bi’ at most, but oftentimes ‘straight’ with a willingness and desire to venture into the sexuality dress-up box, just like me. It turns out that several of the guys I have been attracted to who are straight-identified are not-so-straight either, having also had experiences with men.

I belong here.

Now I have a boyfriend again. This time I know that I can establish rules outside convention, outside monogamy. The ‘price of admission’ for my partner, and for me, is that we can still see other people and that I can still explore my bisexuality. I don’t have to stuff that side of me back into the box of forbidden dress-ups and hide who I am. I can’t help what I desire, and I shouldn’t feel ashamed.

In coming out, in accepting that part of me, I feel like I’m finally wearing what fits. I have a confidence and a feeling of self-assurance I previously lacked. What finally got me there wasn’t a shift in the people around me, it was a shift in me.

The person I had to come out to was myself.

–AG

Posted in reflections, sexuality | Tagged , | 5 Comments

A busty confession

Roberta Bust opens up about opening her relationship

I never thought I would ever be in this position. I’m 29, happily married to an amazing man (let’s call him ‘Ben’). He is my best friend, my confidante, my whole world, and he’s the one person I truly trust.

I’m not a religious person, and until now I have embraced the values of marriage, of monogamy, of spending the rest of my life with one person. But lately, I have been feeling like something is missing. That it’s not enough, that I need and want more.  A longing that cannot be fulfilled by my relationship with Ben.

These feelings have been incredibly challenging for me physically, emotionally and mentally. They have made me reassess my values, and identify what I need, what I desire, and what I need to do to move forward.

It is said women reach their sexual peak in their 30’s. I never really believed that, or maybe never believed that it would happen to me. I guess over the years, I’ve made myself think I’m not a sexual person. Of course I had experiences in my teens (probably more than others at that age), but I met Ben when I was 18 and was married by 23, and so my sexual exploration has been limited, slowly stifled and diminished to Married Sex.

I have recently discovered how this progression has hit my confidence. On reflection, before I met Ben, I was confident, especially in the bedroom. I was open – not shy. I allowed myself to enjoy my encounters and I took control. I was not at all submissive. I felt sexy, alive. I loved my body and knew men desired me. I was fierce and not afraid to try anything once. I’m sure these are the qualities that Ben fell in love with too.

This has gone, replaced with extreme self-consciousness and loathing, towards myself, my body and my clunky sexual interactions.

I am told I need to be more confident, that I am sexy from the outside, but at the moment I am crippled by my feelings inside. Confidence is not something you can just get; it takes time, patience and a belief in yourself.

To help rebuild some of my confidence, I have been going out more, without Ben, and flirting with many men, trying to seek validation that I am desirable. In doing this I have discovered a sexual urge I haven’t felt in years.

After agonising over these ‘inappropriate feelings’ I decided the only way to overcome them, was to address them and my needs. I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but if I have these feelings, I’m sure Ben does too.

The subject of having an open relationship was broached, and we agreed to explore the possibility, to maintain the companionship, continue loving and building our lives together, but that if one of us feels the need to go beyond the boundaries of our relationship with another person, we understand and allow it, rather than restrict it.

The moment our conversation ended I felt energised and liberated. The flirting and fantasising about sleeping with other men had become a reality. My body immediately responded as well, and I was surprised by the reaction. Idle thoughts began to make me wet. Flirty messages, too. My body had begun to tingle with butterflies from the sexual tension that I needed to release.

Pretty soon I had the opportunity to act on these urges, but my first attempt with another man was not the most successful. I was so turned on by him, by his amazing body, his gentle nature, his sweet face and smile. Our sexual chemistry was incredible, especially when just kissing, but as our bodies moved and swayed, I allowed my self-consciousness to overpower the experience, resulting in clumsy fondling on my behalf and me second guessing myself. It was like the first time I ever had sex – I had no idea what I was doing and was at the mercy of the young man I was with.

14 years on I found myself reverting to that girl. I walked away thinking how terrible I was in bed. I felt physically sick. I wanted to cry. Why could I not attune myself to his needs and pleasure him like his mere presence pleasured me? What was wrong with me? Why was I finding myself so conflicted and unable to progress our encounter to the next level? I had let my mind take over, instead of listening to my body.

Surprisingly he has agreed to meet me again. Next time I am determined to take control, allow myself to enjoy the experience, release all inhibitions and hopefully regain my sexual confidence.

And in the process I am giving my marriage to Ben a fighting chance, maintaining our relationship, our friendship, and the trust and intimacy we have built over so many years. Because I love him, but I now know I need more.

–RB

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Clarity

It was the perfect intimacy void.
We could push each other away,
Use it to hurt ourselves.

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