Belle says to me last night sort of out of the blue, “I’m really glad you’re not polyamorous.” She’s making the correct distinction between having multiple loves versus multiple sex partners.
I’m about halfway through Sex at Dawn and it’s rocking my world. Pretty much everything the popular culture wants us to believe about human relationship is wrong. So much guilt and shame and bullshit piled up in an attempt to hold back how humans evolved to be. Not act. TO BE. It’s a remarkable read and I’m sure I’ll say more about it when I’m done.
But the thing that I keep thinking about is the difference between polyamory and promiscuousness. Humans are designed to be promiscuous, but are they designed to be polyamorous? Belle’s right that I love only her. And I do it deeply. But could I love someone else at the same time? I don’t really know. I suspect that if I did it would have a different texture than the love I feel for Belle. I suspect that multiple loves take on unique qualities based on the unique combination of those involved. I know I can’t feel anything like the love Belle gets from me for a man (as we’ve already discussed in length), but another woman?
I doubt it if only because I’d know how it would make Belle feel. Not that it’s going to happen, of course, but the merest whiff of the potential to hurt her would cause me to immolate any other potential affection dynamic. The term “affection dynamic” is interesting to me as I think about love in the context of what Sex at Dawn says about us as primates. The entire concept of one-on-one exclusive and eternal love might just be part of the big lie that I talked about. When Belle says she’s glad I’m not polyamorous I hear fear that if I was I might leave her. As if love is binary. I will never leave her. I will die with her. Period. But that fear based on the idea that one person is always with another single person is pervasive.
She said again it’s why she’d never want someone of her own on the side. She’d be afraid of developing entangling emotions for them. I would be shocked if she didn’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think she should if she wants to. I don’t fear her leaving me. I know what I am to her. Of course, if such a thing were to happen and I needed to find a way to share her, that wouldn’t necessarily be a straightforward process for either of us, but I do not fear it.
I’m just spitballing here. Not making any suggestions or saying anything will happen. But I am trying to process where cultural conditioning ends and real human behavior begins. If anything, Sex at Dawn makes me angry. Angry at the powers and individuals who are invested in and part of the industrial complex of enforcing the dominant paradigm of human relationship in Western culture. Angry at those who are judgemental and rigid and think my business (or yours) is theirs. Angry that we are so fucking hung up on sexuality that we can’t talk about it. Not the average reader of this blog. I’m sure we’re relatively OK talking about it. But all of them. The ones who have been taught that sex and desire are things to fight against. To resist. To minimize.
We are sexual monkeys. We were born to fuck. Perhaps even to love. But we traded that in for what we have now. And that makes me angry.