Susan Bi Anthony writes about all things gay, straight, in-between, and outside of the box. You can follow her @SusanBiAnthony for snarky witticisms and updates on her adventures in non-monogamy.
I watched the cursor blink at the end of that unsent message at 6:30 in the morning. As I starred at Charlie’s name taunting me from a chat window, knowing he was awake and online, I wrote that desperate and final message, and waited for a more normal hour at which to press send.
I hadn’t seen Charlie for 2 months, and it had been about 4 weeks since the slow fade started. After our last visit things picked up for both of us, and not seeing each other became the norm. He was studying or working constantly and I was on campus 12 hours a day and out of town almost every weekend. At first, we would talk about how when this stretch ended we’d meet up again for some sexy times.
Ladies, gentleman and everything in-between. I come to you with a revelation that may surprise you. Now, as you may have intuited, I am an ass-kicking, card-carrying, take no prisoners or bullshit feminist through and through. I think men should be nannies and women should be president and anyone who wants to should wear pants or skirts or makeup or play with dolls or legos. Don’t get me started on access to birth control or the enforcement of Title IX unless you have time for a long lecture. And yet, here it is…
I love gender roles, even really specific gender roles, inside of my own relationships.
(Now, a quick rant on definitions: When I say gender – I am talking about the social constructs of men and women, not the biological sexes male and female. These are different, don’t conflate them ever again! I refuse to fill out forms on which the options for gender are male and female or the options for sex are man or woman. You can too!)
Okay, so gender roles – I love them. This is why.
After I posted last week’s column about threesome’s and how Charlie and I have navigated the waters of non-monogamy, I got some interesting feedback. A friend commented that he, “didn’t buy it.” He didn’t understand why I would want a commitment before having a threesome, why not just do it while it’s still casual? After a few back and forth comments via Facebook I finally said, It’s not something for you to “buy,” it’s my life.
That’s when I realized maybe people were taking what I was saying as advice, as some sort of guide for threesomes, instead of what it was: how I took honest stock of what I wanted, and shared that with my partner to help navigate our relationship. And an important morality tale of what happened when I wasn’t honest.
The last few weeks I’ve written about some touchy topics, and the feedback has been both fiery and interesting. So, I thought this week I’d take a nice, gentle stroll down a less controversial path…pornography. If you have thoughts or additions or want to call me an idiot, comment and I’ll happily respond.
So, porn. Let’s discuss.
My relationship with porn is like my relationship with Charlie: kinda gay, a little confusing, carefully navigated, and sometimes even a little sweet.
Charlie suggested a threesome in our very first conversation.
Since then, the topic has come up several times (so has a foursome, and a fivesome…what can I say, the boy likes to share – gold star for him). As he puts it, Charlie wants to have either “the good kind” or “the better kind” with me. I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.
I told him early on that a threesome was a relationship-level step for me, and he was very respectful of that, although it hasn’t stopped him from mentioning it from time to time. But this possibility, and the actual reality of non-monogamy, has really made me think.
I had sex* (*I define sex as all the things that two or more consenting adults may do to one another that could, when done right, result in orgasm – I am challenging your heteronormative presuppositions here!) with Charlie on our first “date.”
We met with the intention of hooking up, and there was no pretext or ambiguity about our intentions. We got together at a coffee shop, sized each other up, ordered our drinks in to-go cups, and got in his car to head to my apartment. As I put on my seat belt, I offhandedly said, “You’re not a serial killer, right?” Charlie responded, “No, but if I was, you’d be fucked.” We both laughed and were off.
When I decided to leave the stability of my career and the comfort of my home for the uncertainty and impermanence of graduate school in a new city, it was hard to admit whether I was running towards or away from something.
I had spent two-ish years getting my heart repeatedly smooshed by someone who didn’t want to commit to me, but wanted to keep me around. At times, it was wonderful (“I love you, you’re beautiful”), at others, it was downright abusive (“You’re disgusting and smothering me”). I was convinced this was it, and that no one aside from him would ever want me – in part, because he regularly said so.
I hate internet dating. Internet dating forces me to make choices I’m just not ready to make. I have to decide how to describe my 5’11” frame, built for carrying milk long distances or playing rugby, as full-figured or curvy. I have to decide if my hair is dark-blonde or light brown, if that picture from my birthday two years ago is too old to still be accurate, if I care if someone is religious or went to college…
But the worst part about internet dating, is I have to choose if I want to date men or women.
Yup. The dilemma of the modern bi-sexual…who am I looking for? I have to make a choice. Before my LGBTI comrades in arms get all uppity…I am NOT saying I am choosing to be gay or straight…I am saying I have to choose which sexuality to identify with, since most dating sites are not down with the Kinsey scale.
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