Polyamory. Its definition is right there in the word… many.
But, how many is too many?
Before I got married, I had had 10 sexual partners including Viktor. Some of those were one-night stands, but most were in the context of a dating relationship. And that was over a period of seven years. So, once I was a married, monogamous woman, I figured that number would never change, nor did it matter.
But, obviously things have changed. When we first opened up our marriage, sex (specifically intercourse) seemed so scary and I considered it to be a Very Big Deal. Thus, my play was limited to outercourse. Then, a few months in, with Viktor’s blessing, I chose to have sex with Jack during our first full swap.
Since then, I have had sex with several other partners, with the expectation that there was some sort of ongoing relationship with the person. In some cases, this didn’t turn out as expected, but you can’t plan for everything.
Now that the number of partners is growing, I am feeling uncomfortable about the number. Like really uncomfortable. And, I have been trying to figure out why am I feeling so uncomfortable. Why should I care about a number? Do other polyamorous people think about such things? It’s the nature of being polyamorous that the number of partners will not stay constant.
I have been questioning myself, wondering if I am being too permissive with my body and have a lot of “shoulds” swirling through my head. I should be more… (discriminate?) I should be less… (of a slut?) As I continued to think about it, I realized that while there is some validity to my concerns, more truthfully, this is simply shame rearing its ugly head again! [Oh shame, I really thought I was done with you; guess the joke’s on me!]
The question is: How do I reconcile a sexual lifestyle that focuses on the many with my desire to not feel such shame around my choices? I think that there is no black and white answer to this. Rather, I need to be clear with myself as to what I want in the short term and long term. And, to be true to myself at all times.
So, what do I want? I want connection; I want stimulating conversations; I want ongoing relationships. And, I want intimacy, real intimacy. I don’t want to sleep around for the sake of sleeping around. I don’t want to feel used. I had started to put together a list of qualifiers, but I really don’t think that makes sense; to set parameters such as having at least one real date is arbitrary and not really the point.
So where do I go from here? First of all, no more counting. Numbers don’t matter; they just mess with my head! Rather, intention matters! Authenticity matters! Desire matters!
The only thing I want less of is shame; that’s the only thing that counts!