Sexually & Emotionally Open Relationships: Boondoogle or Bliss….?

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Mention “open relationships” to most anyone who you try to initiate this subject with, and holographic images instantly start to spin around the conversation, full-color, dense, almost tangible scenarios of sexually-charged content.

Those things I can see you’re thinking,” you want to say, swatting at the steamy scenes buzzing like a persistent horsefly, “well, that’s more about swinging and sex than what I mean by open relating“.   But your words are already lost as you conversation partner has perceived they have become – intriguingly or scared-to-death – your sexual interest without you having any intention of the kind. If it’s not that – then the scenes are arising from their own repressed desires and un-fulfilled curiosities about partners – one or many – that they cannot possibly perceive they will ever experience.  With that realization, fear, resentment and despair cannot help but enter as they back off the conversation with a face full of mixed emotions.

Such is the state of broaching the “polyamory” subject with most folks – and it’s a sad statement about our increasingly distanced intimacy with one another in modern society- our inability to connect, discuss and share about things face-to-face  – intimate things we all think about but are too up tight with social politeness… or fear to put to words in sharing.

Waddya mean?” a few of you might say. “I’ve no problem talkin’ about that – in fact, I live it!”

Good for you – but if that’s true you are a tiny and perhaps fortunate minority in a sex-repressed, emotionally-damaged society of people who start and stay in relationships too often out of fear, self-doubt (better hang on to this, it’s the best i can do) or serious issues of low self-esteem.

I want to just tap lightly on this idea today – it’s been a 25 year part of my life – the path to the realization that humans – when not scared, repressed, emotionally damaged or filled with self-loathing or low self-esteem – are free-spirited, loving and fun spirits that love their love, sex and intimacy without the socially conditioned boundaries we all can let ourselves be confined by.

To come to this kind of loving space from our current western cultural conditioning is akin to recovering from a near-fatal car accident. The injuries are many and some deep.  They heal with scars that stop us from loving ourselves fully and thus being able to love one another at all.   The memory of “the accident” is a long, slow-motion time of pain and confusion as repressed childhoods drag slowly into adulthood and even more slowly away from the memories of that repressed childhood.

Even for those of us not drowned in fear and miserable treatment as children – those of us luckily with relatively happy childhoods – the memory and the recovery from the repressions inherent and hidden in the system, and the often inadequate way we were taught to relate to each other and the opposite sex, take years of conscious effort to sort out and to heal.

My partner, Sunna, and I met in 2001 in the midst of our daring personal explorations of sexuality, multiple partners, while we were immersed in the theory and practice of supported open relating.  We met at a experimental community called ZEGG in Germany where, in previous years, being monogamous was verboten and punished by constant social and peer pressure to concede to multiple partners.  It was no cult and there was no physical coercion, but there was a dogma in place roughly the opposite of the one on the outside world – that humans could only repair the world by repairing the relationship between men and women and to do that, men and women had to relate to as many other men and women – socially and sexually – as possible.   To repair the rift between men and women is not altogether an unreasonable or dishonorable concept – except that the hard German approach left me cold on my first visit there in 1993.

After a 6 year relationship traveling the world partnered to an eclectic German girl with mind-opening wanderlust, I found myself back a ZEGG seeking to finally – once and for all – deal with my curiosity/fear/confusion about sexual and emotional open relating – before I got too old to really enjoy it (I was 46 🙂 )

But that’s not the whole story how I came to explore, believe in and practice the ideas of polyamory. The path to ZEGG and the path since i’ll blog again about soon.

Here’s some good books to start learning about polyamory and open relationships – it’s a BIG learning and it’s very good to get as many viewpoints as you can – successes and failures only add to your knowledge and awareness about how to go about this challenging lifestyle with love and respect.

Opening Up
Polyamory in tth 21st Century
The Ethical Slut
Love in Abundance
Sex at Dawn

Interested in open relationships? Want to open some discussions about love, sharing partners or jealousy? Start here with your comment!

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