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I was enjoying my breakfast the other morning when an upcoming segment on a popular breakfast television program caused me to sit up and take notice. The segment was about monogamy and involved an interview with the author of the book, “Sex at Dawn”, Christopher Ryan. This should be interesting I thought to myself. The program’s presenters, as pleasant as they were, really didn’t seem to have much of a clue as to Ryan’s book or what it was about, instead preferring to turn the interview into a juicy confrontation with a man representing family values. Ryan did his best to clarify that he was not attempting to make a moral judgement regarding people’s lifestyle choices despite repeated attempts from the interviewer to portray him as someone seeking to corrupt society’s values. He was simply stating that based on his research he didn’t believe that monogamy came naturally to the human species. It was more of a scientific opinion yet the man representing family values continued to bash away regardless. Ryan hardly got a word in and was left shaking his head at the conclusion of the interview, as was I.

On the program’s website they had posted a forum question in relation to the segment titled, “Is Monogamy Natural”? As I scrolled through the comments I was appalled by the lack of understanding on the topic and the eagerness of many to not only declare monogamy to be natural but that it was also the best choice and the only way to ensure stability and harmony in our society. Natural? I wonder if these people had been so exhaustive in their research as Mr. Ryan. The term, “cheating” was bandied about frequently and men, in particular, were copping a lot of flak for their infidelity. Did anybody actually read the question? The question didn’t ask whether or not you thought monogamy was a valid lifestyle choice. It asked if monogamy was natural. I felt compelled to comment and this is what I said:

“This is not a moral question. Monogamy is a choice. Is it natural? I don’t believe it is. We all feel attractions to other people no matter how much we love our partners so if we decide not to act on those feelings then we are making a conscious choice. We call it free will. The question is not whether monogamy is good or bad, just whether or not it’s natural. Temptation challenges our human nature constantly. Just look at the rate of divorce and infidelity in our society.”

I find it curious that polyamorists are accepting of different lifestyle choices and sexual orientations, including monogamy yet many people who believe strongly in the model of monogamy are quick to condemn anyone who chooses otherwise, often labeling them as immoral or perverted. I personally identify as poly amorous and believe in ethical non-monogamy but I am at the same time understanding and respectful of other’s decisions to pursue a monogamous lifestyle. From where I stand it seems we have a long way to go towards total acceptance.

So let me put the question out there again. Is monogamy natural? Let me know what you think.

Footnote: I am yet to read “Sex at Dawn” but it sounds like a fascinating book. ūüôā

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After years of frustration, torment, and confusion I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m¬†poly amorous. It’s not as if I woke up one day and became that way. I believe that I’ve always been poly but could never¬†understand¬†the conflicting feelings and emotions that have plagued me for so many years, until recently.

My poly awakening occurred around two years ago when a woman whom I’d been¬†acquainted¬†with but never became close to contacted me on MySpace, (yes, remember that social networking phenomenon that was all the rage before Facebook)? I had only known her from making small talk when she’d come into the business where I worked and I would always wave or say hello if I saw her in the street. We were both married at the time and living in a small country town and though I’d always found her attractive I had never contemplated taking things further. When my marriage dissolved I left town and moved up the coast a little to begin a new life.

When this woman, who I’ll call Mel, contacted me I was already in a committed relationship with a woman on the other side of the world who was awaiting approval of her visa so that she could move over and we could settle together. Mel had recently left her husband and moved to a seaside village only ten minutes from where I was living. We both had free time on our hands and thought it might be nice to get together for coffee and a chat. I told my partner, who I’ll call Annie, about Mel and she encouraged me to meet up, after all we were seperated by distance and she didn’t think it fair that I should just be sitting around so I went ahead and set up a date.

Well, we had coffee, we chatted a lot and we found we shared much in common. When it was time for her to leave it was clear that there was a chemistry between us and it was all I could do to restrain myself from wrapping my arms around her and kissing her full on the lips. Things took off from there as we saw each other every day, spoke frequently on the phone and it wasn’t long before our friendship developed into a sexual relationship. In the beginning I thought it might have just been the fact that she was here and now, that she was perhaps just filling a void until my partner arrived. Mel knew all about Annie and they corresponded via the internet and also became friends.

What I noticed though, was that despite my growing feelings for Mel I still felt exactly the same for Annie. My love for her had not diminished in any way even though the distance prevented any physical contact and the fact that I was seeing Mel on a daily basis. I was confused. Mel was confused. All I could think of was that I had to decide between the two, that I had to give my love fully to one and withdraw it from the other; and yet I couldn’t. It was at this point that I began to question my beliefs and social conditioning. I asked myself if it was indeed possible to love more than one person at the same time, after all, that’s exactly what I was feeling. I started scouring the internet for information and discovered that there was a name for what I was feeling; polyamory. Suddenly, everything was making sense to me and as I started to recall the conflicting feelings I’d endured in previous relationships my whole life now seemed so much clearer.

Through all of this the one person who didn’t seem perturbed was Annie. She was very understanding and I was surprised to learn that she embraced the concept of ethical non-monogamy. Like most people I was hesitant in the beginning to disclose just how close I’d become with Mel for fear of hurting Annie and possibly losing her but I was determined that if we were to have any chance of a successful future together then honesty was paramount.

For the record, Annie and I are now happily married and have a wonderful, open relationship based on trust and honest communication. Mel and I continued to see each other until she found herself a “real” relationship with a man who insisted that it was unhealthy for her to maintain her friendship with me. She has since moved from the area and contact has been rare. To say I was hurt would be an understatement but as I’ve begun to understand, if you’re a poly person in a relationship with a mono then you certainly leave yourself open to risk. But, hey, there are no guarantees in this life, especially when it comes to love and relationships. I’m grateful for the time we spent together and also for opening my eyes to the concept of loving more. The other beautiful thing was Annie’s reaction to my heartbreak. She felt my pain at losing Mel and comforted me when I needed it and just gave me space if that was what I desired. I had finally seen what unconditional love in a relationship truly looked like.

As I discussed in a previous blog I don’t like to define myself with any one label but poly amorous is certainly a description that fits me well. For my wife and I the journey has just begun. We’re still learning and connecting with people who share our philosophy and struggling to explain it to others who have trouble thinking beyond the social norm.¬†¬†I’m happy in myself and grateful for the opportunity to share through this blog. Spread the love!

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It’s funny the different stages we go through in our lives. I remember a time when I believed I was the stereo-typical male who thought with his dick and all I wanted was sex, and then more sex. After my first marriage ended I couldn’t wait to get out there and enjoy my new-found freedom and experience as much sex as possible with as many different women as would be agreeable. I soon realized though, that all the sex I was having, as enjoyable as it was, just wasn’t fulfilling me. After all, it’s just sex. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but I was craving something more.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently who had not long¬†ended his marriage of some twenty plus years. He told me that he was more turned on by the prospect of getting to know someone he found interesting than looking at them with a view to having sex with them. That’s not to say that his dick has gone AWOL on him. He wants connection, emotionally and physically and though he’s been propositioned isn’t looking to entertain the idea of sex for it’s own pleasure. I personally found that while I was in a bad marriage where everything was lacking I thought that it was just the sex that I was wanting, only to discover later after the marriage had ended that I was, in fact, wanting so much more.

I’ve enjoyed sex for sex sake both as a single guy and with my wife when we’ve been swinging and while it’s all good fun I can certainly relate to my friend and his desire to form intimate relationships. My wife and I knew that we both wanted more than a conventional¬†monogamous marriage offered and initially decided to test the water¬†at a local swinger’s club. After a few experiences we’ve both come to the conclusion that what we seek is not just sex but emotional and intellectual connection as well. I actually found myself fantasizing about having a romantic dinner and wine with a woman I’d just met the other day as opposed to getting down and dirty between the sheets. Wow! I was having a non-sexual fantasy about a woman. What’s happened to me? Am I no longer a member of the “men’s club”? Maybe I’m evolving as a human being. Perhaps my friend is too. Or maybe more men want intimacy with their partners than we give them credit for.

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When scouring the landscape for a potential partner we pick our mark and make our move armed with nothing more than our charm and a few questions designed to quickly discover whether our potential target is, in fact, worthy of further pursuit. (Okay, maybe you’ve got more than just charm in your arsenal ;)). But are they the right questions?

I got to thinking about this after I was approached recently by an attractive woman who I noticed had been looking my way while I was out one evening. I was alone and as she was leaving with her friend when she stopped, turned and came towards me. She was attracted to me and was clearly in a hurry so she shot from the hip.

“Excuse me, may I ask if you’re gay”?

“No, I’m not”, I replied matter-of-factly.

“Oh, that’s good. ” A broad smile appeared on her face. She straightened her body and threw back her shoulders as she launched into her next question.

” Are you married”?

“Yes, I am”, I smiled back and before I could say another word she was gone with a sigh, shoulders slumped as she vanished into the night.

“But, but, but…..”, I stammered. It was too late.

I didn’t get a chance to elaborate on my answer. Had she asked me if I was available the answer would have been a resounding “yes”. Now, she still may not have been so keen to get involved with a married man albeit in an open relationship. It depends what she was looking for. But we’ll never know because she didn’t ask the right question. It’s not that easy for people to get their head around the fact that you’re available while you’re still married. This woman may have been looking for a non-committal relationship but wasn’t comfortable with the idea of going behind someone’s back. I get that. Hence, when she heard the word, “married”, she was out of there.¬†Most women automatically assume that a man is cheating ¬†on his wife if he’s looking to get involved with another woman while still married. There lies my¬†dilemma.

Despite this it is my policy to always be brutally honest. So is it the question that’s wrong or am I giving the wrong answer?

I guess my point is this. You may be looking to hook up with someone and all you really want to know is whether they’re¬†available¬†to you. Then that should be the question, “are you available”? Simple. Fill in the blanks later. I’m still smarting letting a wonderful opportunity pass me by.

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It’s great to be in love. It’s wonderful to feel the sexual attraction, enjoy the friendship and companionship and all the goodies that come with being in a relationship. But somewhere along the line things change, the road gets a little bumpy and before you know it the fun has diminished and it’s become more like hard work. Hey, I’ve been there. Somehow I managed to “work” my way through eighteen years of marriage before we both finally came to our senses and called it a day.

You’d think I might have learned something after all those years but nope, you guessed it, I went and threw myself head-first into another relationship blinded as I was by physical attraction and great sex. It wasn’t long before we were arguing about anything and everything and I was looking for the nearest exit. Her response was: “you need to work harder at it”. It was then that it really dawned on me. Hard work? Who says that relationships necessarily have to be hard work? Surely not. In any case, I wasn’t hanging around to find out whether she was right or not. I had my own theory. Love’s meant to be easy!

And so began my quest to find true unconditional love. I mean, did it really exist or was it really the stuff of¬†fairy tales? You see, what I’ve found in the past is that once you get through all the initial excitement and newness and things get serious everything changes. Suddenly you’re presented with a set of rules and conditions. Change this, change that. Don’t do this, don’t do that. Oh, and those female friends of yours on My Space…..get rid of them, now! Insecurity, jealousy, expectation. One day you wake up and¬†realize¬†that the fun has gone and if you really want to keep this thing going you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.

I must admit I’ve never been a fan of hard work. That doesn’t make me a bad person. Slightly lazy, maybe? I just figured that there has to be another way. Surely I’m not the only person on the planet to feel this way. I must admit that I quite enjoyed my brief moment of “single-ness” after eighteen years of marriage. I discovered things about myself that I’d forgotten were in me. Passions that had long been buried. Freedom to think, feel and do whatever I wanted to. Wow! I didn’t resemble the married guy I used to be and I sure as hell didn’t want to lose him again.

So the question is this. Can you maintain your complete individuality and be in a committed relationship? I’m talking about total, unconditional acceptance of you as you are. Why not?

Well, I have news for you, folks. The answer is “yes”! I am now married to the most wonderful woman. We started as good friends and are now husband and wife. The difference is in our attitudes towards each other. We love each other totally and accept each other completely as we are. Neither of us have sought to change anything about the other. This is a second marriage for both of us and I think we both realize that life’s too short to waste it on fussing and fighting. The key ingredients are honesty, acceptance, and communication.

Before we decided to go down the marriage path again we laid everything out on the table. I mean everything. We both conveyed our life stories in detail to one another ensuring that there were no little surprises in store after we tied the knot, so to speak. We discovered some interesting revelations about one another that could certainly be perceived as “deal breakers”. She told me that she had been involved in the “swinging” scene with her previous husband and though apprehensive at the beginning had come to enjoy it and¬†harbored various fantasies involving group sex activities. As our relationship had been forged over a long distance I had developed strong feelings for a friend that I’d been seeing. These feelings had gone beyond friendship and we had been enjoying a sexual relationship. What I had noticed was that while these feelings were becoming stronger my feelings towards my future wife were in no way diminishing. I was confused. Could I possibly feel love for more than one person? Then I heard about polyamory and began to understand that this was, indeed, entirely possible.

So my wife wanted to swing and I was in love with two people. The important thing was that we were in love with each other. Love is love, not ownership. For the record, the “other woman” in this story was fully aware of my situation. We both believe in honesty and communication. We love and let live. We do things together and there are times when we both know that we need our own space. We don’t judge each other or attempt to impose restrictions on each other. The result is a beautiful marriage built on trust and honesty. We don’t keep secrets. There’s no need to. I love my wife and she knows that I’ll always come home to her. She lets me be “me” and I let her be “her”. Loving her is easy, the way it’s meant to be.

I know that this isn’t the way for everyone. It’s ¬†taken me many years and much soul-searching to reach this special place in my life. There are many blogs on this site from people sharing their experiences and I enjoy reading and relating to them. I just know that this feels right for me and we are both the happiest we’ve ever been. I look forward to sharing more in future blogs. Stay tuned!

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