That moment when you realize that you are really into that single but not-polyamorous girl…

So, you know that trope about the guy who is into the straight guy (or girl who is into the straight girl)?


So, people who are not really familiar or comfortable with polyamory, or who explicitly say they don’t think they can or want to get involved with polyamory themselves (whether their reasons are well articulated or not), are perhaps the kind of people in whom it might not be smart to become interested.  Especially if you have any reason to believe that if you were not polyamorous, and you were single, they would potentially be into you.  Also if you are really attracted to them, and you somehow cannot help but keep talking with them knowing all that is the case.  You know, because we are always rational and wise beings, with our ability to control of motivations, who we’re into, and all that jazz.

You see, sometimes when you are in such a predicament, you get to that point where you realize that you are being sucked into that hole; you know that hole where under any reasonable set of circumstances you would feel happy, elated, giddy even.  Except in this case, rather than cutesy giddiness you end up feeling like the only response that makes sense is to stare blankly at the wall (or computer monitor or whatever) and say to yourself “well, shit, this is going to suck,” while you secretly, deep down, hope that it will not.

You know, that delusional part of you deep down where neither love, lust, nor respect are ever unrequited.

But also in there, perhaps deeper or perhaps of similar depth but like to the side or something (my knowledge of depth psychology is obviously not, ahem, deep) you know it probably is just going to end up with a (figurative, hopefully) kick in the stomach.  You know that it’s probably a terrible idea to keep hope alive for any romantic, sexual, or even heavy-make-out-esque relationship, but you also know ridding yourself of such hope will be quite difficult and painful.

You, of course, have already made it clear what your goals and desires are, and they have respectfully rejected the proposition and you move on to talk about other things.  Other non-romantic or sexy things.  You have told them that you are attracted to them, you talk about polyamory a little and they are uncertain (at best) about it, and then you go on and have a friendly conversation with them.  Because you really do like talking with them and you can have a good time as platonic, non-sexual, friends with them…or something.

Because you totally can just pretend that you don’t find them very sexually attractive and just be friends.  Because you are a decent person who doesn’t need to have sex with someone just because that’s what you want…like what you really, really want…and be just a friend to them because you like them and they are a god person and because you have stuff in common and because that’s the decent thing to do, dammit!


So, Wes wrote about being friendzoned recently, and I agree with what he said pretty much, but this situation is different than what he explained there.  This is a situation where the intentions of both parties are clearly stated, but still one finds himself (it is me we’re talking about, after all) with a friend, and not a lover.  And while I am happy to be friends, there is that moment when I realize that the attraction is a little bit more than merely physical, and there is nothing I can do about it.

It’s one of the things that really sucks about being polyamorous in a monoamorous-dominant world.  Because it’s one thing for someone to not be into you, but it’s quite another when they might be into you, but it does not matter because you have other women (or men, or both) in your life.  It makes one ponder what the world would be if we all were polyamorous, or at least poly friendly.  It makes me, specifically, yearn for a world where polyamory was not so strange, so uncomfortable, so radical.

Then there is that little voice that, in the back of your mind, whispers little things to you like “just wait, she’ll change her mind” or “she really is into you, she’s just not sure about the poly thing; she’ll get over it!”  But, that’s a tricky road to navigate, because it’s probably a delusional little voice.  While that voice might keep that flame alive, that flame might just burn you as well as a potential friendship unnecessarily.

Then there is the other voice, the one that says “dude, you are just infatuated.  Even if she changed her mind you would have like a month of really hot sex, and then what? Can you expect a monoamorous girl to first get involved with you then accept the potential role of being your close friend who you used to have sex with a lot? perhaps even still do occasionally? That’s a lot to transition to from a monoamorous worldview.”  And that voice, while possibly also wrong (because who knows? she might end up being a long term girlfriend!), has a point.  Because a friend who I have sex with is not a stretch of the imagination for me; a polyamorous, sex-positive, slut.  But for someone who has a different set of experiences, that might be destructive, hurtful, and it might preclude the possibility of a friendship continuing.

It’s so much easier when all you’re interested in is sex, because in that case when the rejection comes you can just move on and not worry about it.

So, what to do? What do you do when you realize that being platonic friends with someone may be too hard for you, even if the friendship itself will almost certainly be rewarding in itself? I mean, I know monogamorous people deal with this all the time (and for them, I advise them to just get over it already and be polyamorous, knowing most won’t), but monoamorous people are generally used to suppressing such desires. That’s why cheating is so rare.  Right.

Ugh….  Having a conscience sucks sometimes.

It sucks because in such situations you really do want to be friends with them, but you also know that the attraction will sit there between you the whole time.  You can try and keep it away from your conversations with them, but it will poke it’s head out now and then to remind you, and possibly her, that it’s still there.

Of course, then you realize that you’ve had a couple of drinks and you are tired, and that is potentially skewing how you feel.  So maybe you should just sleep on it.  Perhaps tomorrow you’ll feel differently.

Yeah, that’ll work!

Well, good night then.

Shifting the standards of communication

I said this in a comment to my last post:

The standard social rules, as I understand them, privilege a worldview of monogamy, heterosexuality, and a stance leaning towards sex-negativity. I would like the standards to shift towards polyamory, pansexuality (or at least bisexuality), and sex-positivity. How far should the standards shift? I don’t know. That’s the discussion I want to have (Generally, not necessarily here and with you. Unless that conversation interests you).

This, I think summarizes my primary issue with the whole harassment policy/sex-positivity issue I have been talking about recently.

The way we communicate in this culture has been devised, probably organically, in a world of  conservative sexuality; hetero-monogamo-sexnegativity.  That is, the rules about how we flirt, express our desires, arose in a world where you had to first determine if the object of your desire is single, interested in your gender, etc.

In an ideal world, it should not matter.  If a person directly and respectfully expresses interest, it should not matter if they are married, monogamous, and like only people of not-your-gender.  It should not matter if they are asexual.  They can simply say that they are not interested, and the world simply moves on.

Granted, it is tiring having to say no many times (just like its tiring explaining what “atheism” and “Polyamory” are many times), but it is better than not expressing what we really want, clearly and unambiguously.  That’s my view.

If we get used to directness, it will eventually becomes as natural to us as our current standard of indirectness and politeness.  As Nietzsche said;

that may be a strange and insane task, but it is a task

Is there room for sex (or at least sex-positivity) at atheist/skeptical conferences?

So, the consensus that is forming on the atheist blogosphere seems to be that there should be significant distance between the world of skeptic/atheist conferences and the world of sex.  If you find yourself at a conference, you should probably put the possibility of hooking up aside.

You know, unless you really want to keep pissing a lot of people off.

Some quick context, in case you have not been aware of the various goings-on around the atheist/skeptical blogosphere recently.  I won’t bother trying to summarize, so I’ll just point you here, here, here, and most recently here (there are many others, but that is where I spent much of the last few days or so…).  Arguments have been had, flame wars ended in ban hammers being unleashed, and good times were had by all.  In the end it seems that a few people were educated, some minds possibly changed, and many others are still holding onto the opinion they came in with.

Oh, and a fair amount of frustration (perhaps related to lack of sex? Or is that joke not funny? Fuck it.)

Just another weekend on the internet.

(I also spent way too much time here, but that is not directly related to this post, but since I spent like 2 or 3 days reading and contributing to comments, I figure I would pass it along)

So, I’m a bit nervous to bring up some questions considering where things stand and what people have said, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I’ll claim that I was tired.  Perhaps drunk will work.  I’ll start drinking now….

So, this is a question that is of some interest to me, because I think, write, and sometimes comment about the intersection of issues related to sex-positivity and skepticism.   I’m an unapologetic slut who is not only quite comfortable with my sexuality, but who believes that sexuality is and should be a part of our lives in more integrated ways.  That is, I don’t think that we should pretend that it’s not a real thing that we think about day to day, assuming we are actually thinking about it.

And I know that many people don’t think about sex at all, much, or in most circumstances.  I also know that other people, such as myself, think about such things rather frequently, and I personally have to remind myself that this is not the case with many people.  So, what do we do with these facts when we travel near or far to go to a conference and find ourselves possibly interacting with interesting people whom we will likely not see again any time soon?

I don’t often go to conferences, being generally broke and not being invited to speak at them and all.  But when I do go to such events, I would be lying if the presence of hundreds, if not thousands, of smart, funny, sexy people is not something I will notice.  I’m attracted to smart people, and I feel no shame in feeling that way.  I’m not merely objectifying a person by finding them attractive if part of what attracts me to them is a combination of their thoughts, sense of humor, and of course their body.

We are always objectifying others.  We are doing so in the technical sense of other people literally being objects (but not mere objects), but also in the sense of making judgments based upon mere appearance, even if more information will eventually provide a more substantial judgment after we have a chance to get to know them better.  The question is whether we are merely objectifying, or are using multiple criteria of judgment to view a person.  I think it’s only honest to admit that this is part of our humanity, and not pretend that this behavior did not exist or that it was wrong per se.

It seems to me that part of this desire to cut out flirting, hitting on, etc at such events verges on doing just that.  In an attempt to create a safe space (and I cannot emphasize enough how important safe spaces are), I worry that we may be cutting out part of our humanity, a part of our humanity that means a lot to me and many other people.  I wonder if we are forgetting that part of creating a network of people, if we care about sex positivity in our culture, must involve our sexuality in all of its diversity.

Religion has done too much to squash and make sexuality dirty and immoral.  I am left with a bad taste in my mouth that the hetero-normative concept of sexual ethics has made too much of an impact on our culture, even among skeptics and atheists. I want to live in a world full of sex-positive skeptics who embrace their lustiness openly and unapologetically.  Perhaps my definition of sex-positivity goes beyond most people’s.  I think that is quite likely.

Now, I don’t suggest we schedule orgies at conferences, or that we consider this desire for sex positivity over the concerns of people’s safety, but I think that in this conversation we need to keep in mind that some people at such conferences, while not there for the sole purpose of sex, are quite interested in finding potential partners for such activities.  And whether we extreme sluts are an extreme minority or not, the fact is that recent discussions are going to make us avoid such interests.

And while I think those safe spaces are ultimately more important than this concern, I don’t want this concern to be ignored.  I don’t know what role sex-positivity can play in the networking and growth of this community pf reason, but I hope it is not left behind completely.

That said, I am quite shy IRL.  I rarely openly flirt with people I don’t know, I have never directly propositioned anyone at a conference whom I had not already known and interacted with prior to then, and I do attend such things primarily for the lectures and opportunity to meet people in non-sexual ways.  I don’t go to conferences to hook up and I have always tried to be completely respectful to speakers, guests, etc as people with minds, and not as mere bodies.

But bodies we have, and we cannot forget that nor the fact that they can be quite distracting at times.  I find a wide variety of bodies, especially when they contain brains which house intelligent minds, quite attractive.  I am left wondering if there is room in the conference world for this sexuality, or if it will have to be something left behind when we attend such things, perhaps finding it by accident in rare cases, but never intentionally pursuing it.

The fact is that if you want to find hook ups, there are places for that.  There are singles bars,  clubs, and swingers cruises for all those interested in such things.  But is there room for setting aside a time and place for people who might be interested in sexual activity at such conferences? Could we designate an arm band system, a specific location and time, where such flirtation is not only acceptable, but set aside for?

And if this were to be arranged, would it end up merely attracting the creepy people none of us wants to hook up with?

Ugh, there just does not seem to be an easy solution here.  Perhaps it would be better to leave it out of the conference atmosphere, but I hope not completely so.  Guidelines at very least are important, and we need to continue to educate ourselves and one-another about what a safe space looks like, as there are still many who don’t understand this idea (hell, I’m still learning and I think about this stuff all the time).

It seems that we, as a community, will have to adjust to the fact that many people (perhaps most?) simply don’t want to mix their business/activism with that kind of pleasure.

And while I understand this, the side of me that wants a more sex-positive world can only look on with some small measure of frustration and disappointment.  Despite what I would ideally prefer, I am forced to admit that there are too many issues of social justice between where we are as a society and where we will need to be before we can have gatherings where enough people are respectful, safe, and mature to allow our freaky flags fly en masse.

I hope I get to see it before I die, but I’m skeptical.

Being ‘just friends’ with lovers

I am still in love with a woman I went to college with.  Erin. I have not seen her in around 5 years, maybe 6.  We dated for 2 years in college, and it was with her, and another, that I discovered polyamory.  After some time of being apart from her and my feelings not dissipating, I knew I could never just be friends.  I loved her a way that made just being platonic impossible without great tension and frustration.  It’s easier that I’m not around her, because being in her presence was intoxicating.

I had to be her lover because that’s how I love her.

Some other exes since then I am friends with.  I still love them, but it is different.  I still am attracted to them, I would like to be with them sexually if it were desirable for both of us and it would not deleteriously affect other people, but I am capable of being friends with them, being aound them, without it being unbearable. The way I love them survived not being their lover, even if I would prefer it.  Although with at least one more, Jacque, that preference is close to overwhelming when I’m around her.  I suppose there is a continuum here.

But there are just some people that, for reasons of body chemistry, pheromones, or whatever that make it simply impossible to just be friends with them.  Being around such people is intoxicating and frustrating if you are not currently their lover.  I’ve only experienced this a few times in my life, and one of those times is now.

Just recently I wrote about New Relationship Energy.  This girl…she has an affect on me that is just out of this world.  I didn’t think it would be possible to have so much sexual tension, so raw and powerful.  I have never wanted anyone the way I want her when I’m around her.  To not be her lover is unbearable.  It is just too much.  The way I lust for her is akin to great art; to not be her lover is akin to Beethoven not composing music, a great chef not loving food, or a fat kid not to love cake (anyone else just love that lyric, or do you not get the reference?).  The attraction is simply unbelievable.

And we have never had sex.  We both want it, but for her a relationship is necessary for that to happen.  It’s much more conservative of a position than I am used to, but I just can’t help the way I feel.  When you love someone you just love them, balls to bones.

Now, it’s true that when I first met her the attraction was overwhelming and obvious to everyone–and two-way.  At first it was purely physical.  But as I got to know her, I saw more layers.  She’s intelligent, curious, dedicated, and just lovely in so many ways.  She’s also frustrating in many others, but I love how she makes me feel.  I have recently started to fall in love with her.  I have never told her this (she does not really read this blog, I don’t think, buit if she does then the cat is out….).

I asked her, just recently, to be my girlfriend.  Ginny is all for it, as she likes her too.  At first, it looked like it was inevitable, and a few days went by with the question hanging in the air.  The tension was building, I just couldn’t take it.  She needed time, I needed her, and she needed to think about it.  It is the polyamory, mostly, that is holding her back, although she and Ginny get along very well.

But then two days ago she said the answer was no.  Why? She was not convinced that I cared about her more than physically, and she was scared that if she allowed the relationship to form I would just lose interest.  I only feel this way because I want her so badly (I do), and that once I have it I’ll lose interest.  There is more to it than that, but it is complicated, and the details are not the point.

The point is that I have been telling her that I want more than just the sex, and that if she didn’t want to be in a relationship with me, I would still want to be close with her, to be friends. I really care about her.  But the point is not that I’d be willing to just be friends, it’s whether that is possible.  I could not just be friends with someone I feel this way about, could I?  Does it not betray how I genuinely feel?  I want to be her lover because that’s how I love her.

Yes, I’m willing to just be friends, but the fact is that it would be torture.  The passion I have for her is overwhelming, and this comes across as a bad thing because as a man I am obviously just after the sex, right?  A man who can’t just be your friend does not really care, right? No, I don’t think that’s always true.  Sometimes the attraction is just too intense.  To repress it, ignore it, or otherwise pretend it does not exist is inauthentic, in bad faith, and simply a lie.

I love this girl.  My sexual passion for her is not a sign that I don’t care about her or that I only care about one thing; it is part of how I love her.  I hope she will see that, eventually, because being around her is both intoxicating and frustrating.  I want so much just to love her as she is comfortable to be loved, but when the attraction is this powerful, it is difficult.

Sexual chemistry like this only comes along rarely.  I want to savor every drop and continue to get to know her, to love her, in many ways.  Love is a multi-layered cake, and the icing on top is hot, passionate, intense sex.

I don’t know what I’ll do if she wants to just be friends.  This chemistry is two-way, and while I admire her control over her desires, I wonder if she misses the beauty of this attraction we have.  Sex, after all, is beautiful.

So, here’s to being sex-positive, and to finding great lovers.

Here’s to a lovely girl requiting my love for her in all the ways that lovers love.