Coming Out: Polyamorous

Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!

So. I am polyamorous. This is a very new discovery. I’ve only realised this in the last couple of months.

Some misconceptions about polyamory.

1. I’M NOT A SWINGER.
Swingers have sex with other couples/partners in a non emotionally intimate way. Poly-amory literally means many-loves, and although my partner and I will ‘play’ with people we’re not emotionally attached to, that is not polyamory, and the people that we are polyamorous with mean something to us. I care about these people deeply. I offer, and receive from them, the same level of emotional support and care that I offer and receive in my relationship with my live-in partner. I am open to the potential of a live-in relationship with more than one other person.

2. IT IS NOT A CHOICE.
I like to call it ‘relationship orientation’. Like sexual orientation, it is not something that I’ve chosen. Like sexual orientation, it fluctuates and changes throughout my life. Many people would not be suited to intense emotional and romantic relationships with multiple partners. But to me, discovering that I am polyamorous is like coming home. I’ve always been a very tactile person and a very loving person, and always had an excess of love and loyalty to give. Having multiple partners allows me to give and receive as much love as I have always wanted to without holding back. It’s just right for me, in the same way is it feels right for me to be with both women and men.

Politically….polyamory is difficult. Simply put, society seems to view polyamory these days in a similar way to how it viewed homosexuality thirty years ago. We have no legal rights. Our marriages are illegal. Our practices are frowned on. Being in multiple relationships is regarded as cheating, when actually, central to polyamory is being open and honest with all partners about outside relationships.

My opinions of marriage have changed as well. I’ve suddenly been given new insight into how it feels to be outcast from society’s narrow ideas of what the main ‘acceptable’ idea of relationships are. And it makes me angry. Marriage doesn’t mean much to me, with its’ history of religious and ownership connotations. However, it means a lot to society, and having your relationship denied by society, when it’s a consensual loving relationship, is intolerable.

Coming out as polyamorous is harder than coming out as bisexual has been. I’m still not fully out because I know that judgement is rife against polyamorous relationships. Mainly because of misconceptions I think. Still, I’m not ashamed of who I want to love, and how I want to love, and whatever the reactions are to my lifestyle, I won’t be shamed out of what is the best expression of who and what I am.

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Coming Out: Bisexuality

Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!

This is now quite a historic piece of writing, which I never posted when I first wrote it. But I didn’t want to not post it. So although I’ve come a long way concerning my sexuality since this post in terms of experience, etc, I still present as a straight woman most of the time, so the issues I talk about here are still (I think) relevant to the person I am now.

So. Bisexuality. When I had the idea for doing a series of ‘Coming Out’ blog posts, of course, the first one had to be about my coming out process as bisexual. I want to give this series a political touch whilst remaining centred in my own experiences, so I’ll be discussing my own sexuality, and understanding of it as well as the wider implications of being bisexual, and the difficulties bisexual people experience in coming out.

I grew up in a fairly understanding setting. My parents aren’t homophobic, and from the age of around 12, my close female friends and I found ourselves explore our sexualities through sexual games etc. In fact, my first kiss was with a girl. Growing up close to Brighton meant that being gay didn’t seem a terrible or terrifying thing – however, I was of the first generation that used the term ‘gay’ as a negative adjective; ‘Your trainers are gay’, ‘That band you like is gay’, ‘My mum’s so gay’. This meant that, although non-straightness wouldn’t, in serious conversations, be thought of as an awful thing, ‘gay’ was weird, and odd, and defective in our normal parlance, and our ideas of gay people were of exclusively men that were incredible camp/transvestites.

I worried hugely when I first felt attracted to another girl as a young teenager, and worried even more when I confessed my attraction, freaking the other girl out so much that she wouldn’t speak to me.

After that, I decided I liked boys and just got on with it. I continually found myself attracted to women, watched female-only porn and experienced mini crushes on various female friends, which I viewed as intense friendships.

As I got older, I privately started to explore my feelings about women, but only really in my head and on computer screens. I did that fake lesbian kissing that girls do in clubs when they want to turn boys on, but never felt ready to explore my feelings towards women.

When I did feel ready, I joined a dating website and looked for both men and women. I even went on a date with a woman. But then I met my partner. We are perfectly suited to each other, and they understand and support me in a way in which no one else has ever done. I also fancy them a lot, and we have great sex 🙂

My partner, though, is a man.

In fact, despite all my feelings, explorations and sexual curiosity towards women, I’ve never been in a relationship with one. And this is the problem with being bisexual. Bisexuality is so invisible, so easily deniable, because it isn’t based upon behaviour. I am attracted to all genders, but all that anyone sees is a straight girl (or if I was in a relationship with a woman, a lesbian girl).

Being seen as straight, being assumed to be straight, has its benefits. Unlike gay and lesbian people, I can walk down the street with my partner and be accepted by the strangers I walk past. I don’t have to be scared for my life just because I want to hold hands with my loved one. My bisexuality is very easily hidden.

But being easy to hide doesn’t mean that my identity isn’t a challenge.

Common responses to telling people that I’m bi?

“It’s just a phase”
“It’s greedy”
“You’re just not ready to come out as gay”

It’s pretty exhausting to have this invisible sexuality. But I will never regret knowing myself well enough to be sure of who and what I am, and being proud of that, despite whatever misconceptions and stereotypes people throw at me.

Been a while…

Wow, it’s really been a while since I’ve been on here…

So what has been going on with me? A lot has been going on with me…

Firstly, I got used to my antidepressants, started counselling, finished counselling, and got sane again. Tried to go off the antidepressants recently, got insane, went back on them, got sane again.

Now I’m reassessing my sanity. It’s not something I’ve had, consistently, without extra, medicinal ‘help’, since I was a child. So why am I trying so hard to get to a place where I can be sane and stable, all the time? It’s not something I’ve ever had. It’s not my fault. My brain doesn’t produce enough ‘happy’ chemicals for me to be on an even keel without help. But maybe that’s ok.

Right now, I’m on a low dosage, I’m stable. I have ups and downs that feel natural, and I have worries and sadnesses and self consciousness that comes and goes, just like a normal person. I look at when I last posted to this blog. I wasn’t sane. I wasn’t happy. I felt nothing, everyday. I felt nothing, or I felt like I was about to die with sadness. I had no idea what my issues were or how to cope with them. I had no idea where my negative feelings were coming from or what had caused them in the first place. I felt guilty all the time. I felt awful about myself, and never thought I would know how to feel good about myself. Counselling gave me the tools to understand myself and forgive myself. But that doesn’t mean it could magically fix my brain chemistry. That’s a lifelong journey, and it will probably never end.