Why don’t you have more partners if you’re poly(amorous)?
NSFW (a tiny bit)
Fall journal, September 23rd, London
…It is a question I often get, true, mostly from monogamous folks. People might be also surprised to find out I don’t have that much sex, or that I am not extremely social either. There are more factors that converge towards this effect (like being a nomad, not staying much in one place, not finding likeminded people in Eastern Europe, to name a few), but today I’d like to discuss one reason in particular. For me sex is a particular type of conversation and as such, it’d better have the potential to be great in order for me to want to engage. Running the risk of being perceived as either arrogant or extremely demanding, most people I come across are terrible conversationalists and by this I mean:
- Utter lack of interest in and attention to the other person. I find most people do not care at all about the person they start a conversation with, but merely look for mirrors to reflect themselves in, either to project forth their good aspects, or to feel better about their bad aspects (for whatever chosen values of good and bad). Most people are not interested in listening and only wait for an opportunity to hear themselves speak, vent their frustrations (I am, however, aware of some hypocrisy here), admire themselves and collect confirmations. Of course, some are better at pretending than others; over the years I have become quite adept at spotting those over the first cup of cappuccino or glass of wine. The anticipation of the cannibalistic act, which I loathe profusely, of the moment when the other drops the pretense, in order to indulge in the only thing they are truly interested in, which is their own person and their egotistical satisfaction, stops me cold in my tracks. I often find the openly hedonistic BDSM practices a more honest approach, as everybody knows what they offer and what they get out of the exchange.
- Posing and unwillingness to be open and vulnerable. If I need to spend time bouncing off your walls, I can drop any hope of real connection right at the door (lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate, Dante’s Inferno says). During a recent conversation, a friend stated that sex is the moment when people are at their most vulnerable. I disagreed. Of course, sex can be a great opportunity to experience being open and vulnerable, yet so few take the risk. Rather, I sense that for most it is just an occasion to try their best party outfit, with their best Venetian mask, while pretending they don’t also have fluffy bunny shoes or grannie panties in their bag. In sex, this translates in unwillingness to truly communicate yourself, admit that you don’t know, and try to find out what the other likes. In fact, a lot of people are interested in what the other likes only to the degree that it doesn’t present them in an (supposedly) unflattering light, such as when admitting they have no clue what they’re doing. Plain and simple example: a lot of guys declare they like to receive instructions about how to go down on me, but as soon as we get into the exchange “Even softer than this?! Yes. Less pressure??!! Yes!”, they pout, give up and withdraw. In fact, they only like the idea of being perceived as giving, and as soon as I pose the slightest challenge to their imaginary sexual skills, they take it as a personal offense and shut down. That is the opposite of being vulnerable (before you start pitying me, I do get lucky every now and then: my newest sex partner asked me to imagine that his mouth is my pussy and show him with my tongue and lips exactly how I like someone to go down on me. How freakin’ awesome and hot).
- Sticking to the surface-y banal. Some say there’s nothing wrong with casual conversations, or casual sex for that matter. I never understood the idea of casual sex, TBH. There’s nothing I can choose to leave at the bedroom door, be that party outfits, fluffy bunnies, unflattering underwear (except if we’re playing sexy aliens, which is an entirely different matter), or all my emotions which propel me forward at every moment. In the same logic, I never got the idea or purpose of casual conversation. Look, we’re all uncomfortable now and then, why not go through the uncomfortable and possibly discover something meaningful about one another instead of going through the same inane motions? This is one of the reasons I interacted with so few people at Nowhere 2015, just because I was tired of answering the same questions over and over again.
I cannot stand small talk, because I feel like there’s an elephant standing in the room shitting all over everything and nobody is saying anything. I’m just dying to say, “Hey, do you ever feel like jumping off a bridge?” or “Do you feel an emptiness inside your chest at night that is going to swallow you?” But you can’t say that at a cocktail party”.
-Paul Gilmartin, The Mental Illness Happy Hour
And now off to Lisbon, to the Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies conference, with lots of poly friends I haven’t seen in ages 🙂