By Loryn Stone
This article here is probably going to be the most personal thing I’ve ever put on the internet. While I try to lead a fairly transparent existence (of letting my readers know I’m a garbage person who talks about tits and boners all the time and jokingly considers Pennywise the Clown my celebrity crush), there’s other aspects of my life that I prefer to keep private. From my sexuality (bisexual) or my political views (to the left) down to my religion (Jewish, which if you admit online is an instant loss of Twitter friends, that’s a statistical fact), I sort of keep a lot of traits on the down-low. But today, I wanted to take it just a bit deeper and talk about Monogamy.
You know- the exclusive keeping of only one partner.
I’ve been sort of building the courage to discuss today’s topic since at least November-December, but the fruit on that tree wasn’t ripe enough to eat. Finally it is, and I want to share with you not only my theory on monogamy, but where I identify with it at this point in my life.
For the last ten weeks (as of this writing) I’ve been on the Keto Diet. I’ve been very successful and I’m truly enjoying this experience. I’m re-learning what I know about food and it’s fascinating to see how my body is changing. I look better than I have in two years and I feel super confident and sexy.
But with the dieting experience, something clicked in my head that relates to monogamy. When you’re on a diet, you’re restricting the variety of food you consume. The idea is that with this limited amount of food you’re putting inside of you, you’re nourishing your body and ensuring that your intake is the best possible fuel source. The same can be said about monogamy. The idea is that one singular person can satisfy (therefore nourish) all of your needs.
Now, if you’re on the correct diet, that’s true. You’ve removed the bad stuff and the food you eat is good for you. But sometimes, you hit a plateau. You get frustrated. And what happens on a diet when someone gets frustrated? That’s right- they’ll eat an entire fucking cake. And a party size bag of Doritos. There’s no in-between. Instead of going insane and eating something that will make you go into diabetic shock, perhaps all you needed was a small treat, a tiny sample bite of ice cream to restart your metabolism and make you not feel guilty in the life-ruining way.
Something to make you realize how great your diet makes you feel like, 95% of the time.
Now, on the Keto diet, drinking is my treat. I don’t have cheat days. I don’t make the Keto baked goods from almond flour, liquid stevia, and Lilly’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips. I just don’t- to me, the imitation isn’t worth the carbs and calories. But some Bacardi and diet cokes or vodka and diet root beers? Yeah, I’ll hit that every week. Because knowing I can get a little boozy, for me, is the treat I need to stay on this damn train for the rest of the week, every week.
I view monogamy the same way.
But I didn’t always used to.
Before I met my boyfriend-to-husband guy, I did not practice monogamy. At all. I had the adorable catchphrase Monogamy is for Quitters™ and I spouted that shit to any ear (male or female, though men seem to find me funnier than ladies do) stupid enough to listen while we mutually checked each other out and then made out on a golf course at midnight. I would hook up with multiple partners, sometimes two-three in one day, and give zero fucks. In fact, the idea was hot as shit and to this day, it still is. Knowing that that many people gave me their sexual energy and I gave them mine in return. Just mingling together all over me. That’s just how I function.
But then I met him- the one who walked past me at a bar and I turned to my friend and said I was going to marry him. Which I did, three and a half years later. I got married at twenty-five.
And I was good for a while. A long while, actually.
But back in 2015, when my daughter was only four months old, my mom suddenly died of lung cancer. It was aggressive and undiagnosed until it was too late. I was only thirty years old when she died. When you watch your parent die young, when you’re still young yourself, it fucks with your head. It fucks with your head because you know that you’re next and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Life must be lived.
Her death was the catalyst that made me take the leap into internet writing. And when you’re someone like me who out of nowhere had a writing platform with Twitter buddies saying nice things to you all the time, it starts making you feel pretty cool. And when you’re feeling pretty cool, it manifests sexually.
For me at least, anyway.
Feeling pretty cool, I took that sexual energy to the market. Like literally, the supermarket because that was the only place I went because I had a tiny baby and my social life was still in the tank. I gave everyone the fuck-eyes. They gave the fuck-eyes right back. I started wondering what it would be like to kiss the smirking young man putting my groceries in the car. Some of the girls in the Sailor Moon Club. Who else was secret garbage? Who was sex obsessed like me? Who was going to be in on this secret game of cat and mouse? It was a mystery. I felt like a teenager all over again, obsessed with putting my face on someone else’s face.
By this time in the story, it’s 2016, and I made my first attempt to talk about my feelings with my husband. It went terribly. I explained it badly. He took it badly. A few months later, I tried again to explain where I was coming from and what I wanted. This time, I explained it better (sort of, still using stupid, unclear language), but he continued to take it badly. By now, it was a topic that caused turmoil and fights regularly. Meanwhile, my online platform was only getting bigger. My writing was being read by more people. People were reaching out to me. A void was being filled. My husband and I weren’t communicating correctly. He couldn’t understand my feelings without taking it personally or yelling at me. He didn’t understand me, my sexuality, my needs, my lust, my flirtatious personality. But it’s not his fault- I was the one hiding behind some Mary-Sue hat, denying myself and needs for years.
I thought I wanted to be polygamous. Or open up the relationship.
It turns out I was just starting to resent him.
Without going into details, I did something. I disrespected him. I didn’t cheat on him, but I did him wrong. In his state of hurt and anger, he disrespected me right back. He did me wrong. It was a huge blow out. It was really bad. That’s sort of all the internet needs to know of the situation.
Finally, after the dust settled in the storm we created for ourselves and he sought out professional help, I was ready to approach the topic one more time. But instead of speaking out of anger, I brought it up calmly…rationally. And I said it one more time.
“I want to implement a kissing rule. I need to know that I can just kiss other people and it won’t ruin us.”
After two years of intense anger, resentment, and fighting…we both agreed that it was what we needed. A mutually agreed upon kissing rule that extended to both partners was exactly right to keep our relationship intact. It’s the titillation I need in order to continue appreciating my husband. To keep our spark going. To come home filled with raging sexual energy and lust that I want to take out with my husband because he knows me, my body, and I trust him to look at my body with love and treat said body with respect.
My husband also knows the amount of personal space I need compared to a lot of other people. I need to be social, but I need to be alone. That’s how my brain works. That’s how I’m going to be my best possible self during my limited time on this earth.
That’s my Monogamy Diet. That’s my treat. That’s how I stay on track. Because otherwise, I probably would have done something very, very, dumb.
That said, I’m still human. I wouldn’t just kiss anyone. That’s stupid and unsafe.
The Monogamy Diet differs for every couple. I think everyone needs to be respectful of themselves and clearly communicate what they want to their partner, not seethe and become angry. Partners, as much as it hurts, it’s up to you to listen objectively and understand there’s a very good chance this isn’t about you. Your partner’s extended needs aren’t a sign of your failures. Because you didn’t fail. This goes deeper and further than one person.
I know couples whose rule is the wife can have sex with other women, so long as her husband is allowed to watch. I have a friend who has been with his wife for 20+ years and he loves knowing that she’s fucking other men. I have friends whose partner is allowed to indulge in sex with numerous partners while the other does not or cannot. I’m acquainted with multiple sets of swingers. I have friends who are full-blown poly with these extending trees of partners or boyfriends and girlfriends. (which to me sounds far too complicated when you have young kids at home who you not only want to make sure are safe and protected, but ensure you have very, very little free time for any extracurricular activities). But all in all, these behaviors and activities are way more common among couples that we discuss, or than we know.
I think it would actually surprise a lot of people.
Now, some people think these rules need to be earned. Like only married couples who have invested the time and commitment/foundation are entitled to “treats”. (Yes, I call them treats, leave me alone). While I personally think everyone has the right to know themselves and lay down the ground rules off the bat of what will make them happy in their relationship. But it’s important to acknowledge that those needs change over the course of a relationship. It’s a long life together. While I was never monogamous before I met my husband, I was perfectly happy in my position until several life events and personal turmoil caused that to change.
Now, after two years of tension and fighting, my husband and I have a consensual kissing rule. A “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” kissing rule. It’s been in effect for about a month, and just knowing that it’s there has been huge for my mental state. Because really, staunch monogamy isn’t for everyone. It’s not for me. But it’s not a reflection of my ability to love. Nor should you be shamed if that’s how you feel. If you find a partner who understands you for who you are, someone who supports your dreams, holds your hand when times get tough, shows you beautiful things, makes your brain function in a new way, and maybe even breeds with you (more or less important depending on who you ask), they are your nourishment. They are the food that sustains you.
But if a treat can reset a plateau…
Why don’t we all allow ourselves to snack?
Follow Loryn on Twitter. She also has a personal blog. Her debut novel My Starlight, a young adult novel about anime, cosplaying, fandom, love, loss, and friendship will be released August 3rd, 2018 by Affinity Rainbow Publications.
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