I got my first ideas on sexuality from reading my mum’s Cosmopolitan magazines. That gave me a very strange view on women and relationships. My earliest relationships were short and unsuccessful because I was trying to act the way described in those magazines as a “perfect” man, which ended up being the kind of man that no woman actually wanted. I was trying to act like a man that I was not and be someone that I thought others wanted. Yes, I was unfulfilled and frustrated.
Something that never escaped my attention was that I never ever stopped finding other women attractive while I was in a relationship or pursuing a relationship. Of course, I suppressed those feelings and did things such as turn my head away and consciously ignore them in order to avoid those feelings. It was a guilt thing. I knew that I was wrong. Everything I’d ever read told me that. Every film I’d ever watched told me that.
For a long time – most of my life in fact – I thought I had a psychological disorder. I just never disclosed that to anyone. I just thought it was something I had to deal with and hide in order to function normally in society.
I remember telling a girlfriend that the reason I’d never told her I loved her was that I never felt love as portrayed in such films. What I didn’t tell her was that I didn’t think I could love because while I was in love, I could feel the same for others at the same time – so of course, it couldn’t be love.
After that, I had my first experience in group sex. It was with my ex and a couple that were close friends with us. It was a very erotic experience and also eye-opening. It started with outrageous flirting and a strong attraction between myself and my friends girlfriend. The charged atmosphere changed to action as everyone tacitly agreed to swinging. Even after the event, the flirting and swinging continued irregularly. There was never a problem with it between us. Their relationship was never harmed and they ended up getting married.
However, friends in our circle who found out about it were less accepting of it. Okay, they weren’t outright hostile, but the judgement and disapproval was in the air. Strange, I thought, since it didn’t affect them and wasn’t really any of their business.
That experience taught me that it was possible to be non-monogamous, as long as everyone involved agreed to it. It also showed me that despite agreement, others outside the picture could still disapprove. I never thought about it at the time, but a homosexual relationship was completely accepted without question, but a relationship involving more than 2 people was not.
So, the question still remains of how do you obtain consent when it’s not acceptable to ask…