It's not because I am currently my old polyamorus self. In fact I am more a monk than ever and I fear STDs more than I ever have. I think the latter is more about fears of getting "weaker" with aging and the former about not wanting to love or sex anyone without soul. But I do notice these fears narrowing my liberal views about sex and love.
I have always thought that sexual intimacy and love, if done right and ethically can be shared with as many people as one wants; as long as there are no "games" and addictions. I have always thought of jealousy and possessiveness as immature and childish urges: though natural. I think it is pathological to want to control a partner or "make them change" or "improve them". I've had those kind of monogamous relationships and basically they taught me that monogamy can be, in some cases, a form of emotional prison. Though, not enough to close me to the idea of a primary life partner.
So now I found in these authors, one bisexual woman and one lesbian woman a kinship with these central ideas. I'm not saying I agree entirely with all they have to say - I think sexual addiction and the spread of disease are monumental problems that pretty much trump their notion of being a "guide to INFINITE sexual possibilities" but overall, I can RELATE to where they are coming from.
For example: here are some myths they put out in chapter 3 with which I totally agree [including my comments]. If you want their explanations, pick up the book:
Myth #1 Long term relationships are the only REAL relationships - yet some well meaning people - including my parents - tend to innundate me with this extremely INSULTING concept. It insults me because it immediately invalidates some great relationships I have and continue to have; even a couple of platonic love affairs which I am currently in [in fact my platonic love affairs to date have been the BEST and longest lasting in my life - fuck those who say they are a form of unrequited desperation just because I don't need my dick to realize them]. Another good read for the gay take on kinds of alternative relationships is Berazai's Gay and Single, Forever?
Myth #2: Sexual Desire is a Destructive Force: yep more bible bullshit to control society. The notion that you can feel love and lust for more than one person shouldn't even be an issue in a healthy, non-possessive relationship.
However, when ever STDs and AIDS come up; I tend to buy into this one a bit by translating into: acting on that desire too many sex partners increases disease risk no matter what precautions you take. So I don't know how to reconcile that even after 20 years being out because I have seen so many people's lives destroyed even when they have been trying to have careFUL sex. And I don't trust condoms like I used to.
Myth #3: Loving Someone makes it OK to control his behaviour - yup those are the kinds I leave the fastest, ever since high school. Try to mold me into someone I'm not and you'll not have me there.
Myth #4 Jealousy is inevitable and impossible to overcome - Jealousy isn't an emotion I understand well because I don't usually have it. Being a bit of a voyeur helps :) Also, I don't have this illusion that I can provide EVERYTHING; knowing that there are other guys out there who can do that for me takes a lot of pressure off. As long as he doesn't dump me for someone else, that hurts, but only because I don't like being replaced; but sharing has nothing to do with being replaced. Being replaced is like him saying what I had to offer meant nothing; by sharing he still values what I have to offer.
Myth #5 - Outside Involvements reduce intimacy in the primary relationship ad impede problem solving - Oh really? I don't like anal sex. What if I love a guy who absolutely loves it but still wants me in his bed every morning. I say find him a sexy stud who will do him right so that I don't have to bother. As long as it is condom on and safe, I totally appreciate the "help". Now, if he says the other guy loves him more simply because he can do the DEED, then I say sayonara, because for me, it isn't the SPECIFIC act, it is the closeness you have doing ANYTHING in bed together. If my kiss is just foreplay, we don't play at all.
Myth #6 "Swept Away By Love" ie. good relationships don't have arguments and tensions - gawd that is so weird. I miss getting wrapped up in solving problems with a close friend or lover. I miss the struggle to promote each other's individual growth. I often miss having someone to bounce an issue off of when my friends are too busy. I miss being pissed off at him because I care. Tension is living life at your fullest.
They also discuss the notion of starvation economies: They don't put this as a myth but I would write:
Myth #7 (or #1 for that matter): there isn't enough intimacy to go around; ie. you are stealing intimacy from those you love by sharing.
Interestingly fucked up society that believes that HATRED can easily propagate and LOVE cannot. I find the more I love, the more connected to the world I am, and the more I fear and the less I touch others lives, the more miserable I am. Where I might disagree with these authors is that limiting that love to platonic is necessarily an unhealthy form of repression. But yes, intimacy is not some limited currency or resource like oil that is going to run out if you use it too much.
Where my skepticism comes in is that I am having problems believing that there are so many people out there who have expelled these myths. In all my years in the gay scene I have met so many of the people "sexually wounded" by one or more of these myths who, instead of hiding behind monogamy, are STILL sluts. Add to that the so many addicts and guys who are having sex because they actually ARE or WERE fucked up by abuse or just years of being gaybashed. The authors say that pathologicizing sexual desire is the new kind of mythical suppression, but baby I have been out there in the SCENE and there are a LOT of sluts who are walking wounded, addicted cold and distant after the sex is over that this trend, combined with the fear of disease, has pretty much turned me off being a slut. So I am curious to finish this book and see how these writers address the fast-lane gaysex scene where sluttiness and sexual liberation just hasn't worked, for many, any better than monogamy.