It’s All About the Sex

Or is it?

Polly Wolly Diddle All Day, gekko said.

[If you haven’t been following this ongoing polylocution about boundless love, please read the first two pieces in the series along with gekko’s companion piece, On Betrayal, On Joy (Poly, Part 3) , for her take on spit-shining.]

I like sex. I like love better. And I guarantee the sex is better with a lover than with a sexer, something I did not know at 21. A question remains to resolve this week: one can have sex without love but can one have love without sex?

Polyamory, the Movement, talks about love and open communication and responsible non-monogamy. Polyamorists the people talk about the sex.

Important Note: Condoms break. Those involved in a polyanything relationships should plan regular bloodletting for the obligatory STD tests.

“Humans are the most sexual of all the primates, willing and able to do it just about anywhere, anytime, with anyone (and even with other species if the Kinsey report is to be believed in its findings about farmhands and their animal charges),” Michael Shermer wrote in Scientific American .

Old joke: Billy Bob and Luther were talking one afternoon when Billy Bob tells Luther, “Ya know, I reckon I’m ’bout ready for a vacation. Only this year I’m gonna do it a little different.

“The last few years, I took your advice about where to go. Three years ago you said to go to Hawaii. I went to Hawaii and Earline got pregnant. Then two years ago, you told me to go to the Bahamas, and Earline got pregnant again. Last year you suggested Tahiti and darned if Earline didn’t get pregnant again.”

Luther asks Billy Bob, “So, what you gonna do this year that’s different?”

Billy Bob says, “This year I’m taking Earline with me.”

Ba da boom.

Sculpture by Ania Modzelewski

Hugh (Call me Viagra™) Hefner, going strong at 84, opened the doors to the sex party in December, 1953, with a $1,000 loan from his mother and a 50¢ cover price. Since then, sex in person, on television, in the movies, and on the Internet gets more hits than God and Mephistopheles combined (Sex: About 656,000,000 results; God: About 476,000,000 results; Mephistopheles: About 1,060,000 results. Source Google™)

This week, while no-longer-androgynous gekko talks about lifestyle, I shall search for spit and spunk to prove that “it’s not just the sex.” Positive results under an alternative light source don’t prove love and the lack of bodily fluids doesn’t prove fidelity.

Over on the other pages, Nancy “came out.” Eleven years ago, she had sex with a man who wasn’t her now-ex-husband. She made the decision to cheat as well as to hide it from him. Sex.

The long-married Fred and Gwen Strong have Friday night date nights and have for a couple of decades. Sex. Fred and his girlfriend Carol spend every other Thursday evening at the Comfort Inn. Sex. Fred spends Saturday mornings sitting side-by-side with Bonnie in the comfortable chairs in the library visiting room; sometimes they simply read but often they talk. They usually hold hands. No sex.

Does there have to be sex to be lovers?

Intercourse always starts before coitus commences. When thousands of miles separate potential lovers, they could have months or years or millions of words before they have even one kiss.

Talking too close is far more dangerous than dancing too close.

Emily and Barny Feeler have had a kind of no worries online fling for years: proximity, immediacy, and blood tests not required. It’s fun and they could probably sustain it indefinitely — after all, they live thousands of miles apart. They get to play with words, play with ideas, and even play at sex. The new age way of touching someone without ever touching. No sex.

They have also learned enough about each other to become friends.

It’s all about the sex?

Were Nancy and her turning-point fling lovers? Were Fred and Bonnie? Fred and Carol? How about Emily and Barny as lovers?

The consensus view holds that having sex with a non-spouse is cheating but not having sex with a non-spouse is not, I wrote last week. The consensus view is frequently very wrong. If the poly relationship has no groping and panting, is it still what many call infidelity? I suggest that it is and not because Jimmy Carter ran into that attack rabbit or was unfaithful when lusting in his heart.

Relationships don’t fail because of sex present or sex missing. Relationships fail because the people in them stop liking each other.

Relationships succeed because the people in them do like each other.

Nancy and her brief crush probably weren’t lovers. They had a sexual attraction but she didn’t report on the bond she now understands she wants to feel.

Library Fred and Bonnie could be lovers. They have a long-term, intimate relationship, know each other’s children’s birthdays, and would go out on a rainy night to fix a broken down car.

Motel Fred and Carol meet the test. Carol has an intimate relationship with Fred that is similar to Bonnie’s. And, of course, they have sex every other Thursday.

Online Emily and Long Distance Barny are assuredly lovers. There is no sex but they know each other’s most intimate secrets from office gossip to menstrual cycle. They share everything and would do anything for each other including fly across the country to move a … bureau.

And that, dear reader, is making love.

[Editor’s Note: The rest of this series on Polyamory may be found here . Please also read gekko’s companion pieces, Poly Blogging , and the newly minted part 3, On Betrayal, On Joy , for her take and lots more commentary.]

“When there’s someone that should know
then just let your feelings show
and make it all for one and all for love.”

6 thoughts on “It’s All About the Sex

  1. Relationships fail because the people in them stop liking each other.

    Relationships succeed because the people in them do like each other.

    That’s so simple it sounds flippant and yet it is also true. Or at least, after a shave with Occam’s Razor, a relationship’s inflexion point can be so described.

    I’ve blogged and commented about the shifting dynamics in my long marriage. One of the factors that draws the process out so long is the fact my wife and I sincerely like each other. When (or if) I move along, it will only be because I am shifting the ground rules a little bit (have been for years and it was not conscious for many of them but now my eyes are fairly open) and after much open discussion she has determined she cannot align. That’s fair, nor will I say it’s just her choice because that wouldn’t be fair. But still we like each other, and it may be that the extant and ways in which we do NOT (and there’s also much not to like sometimes) will end up the remaining elephant in the kitchen that needs airing out. (Kitchen elephants are stinky.)

    Or maybe that won’t matter. Eh, prolly not. When it’s time, it’s time.

  2. Don: “…the shifting dynamics in my long marriage. One of the factors that draws the process out so long is the fact my wife and I sincerely like each other.

    There are a couple of different dynamics. On the one hand, a couple could still love one another but not like each other very much. In spite of the love, they probably will drive each other crazy and end their relationship.

    OTOH, It sounds as if Don and Mrs. Don like each other but have lost that lovin’ feeling. This may be more fixable since I reckon love can grow out of like far more easily than hot weasel love can spawn like.

    Don: “When (or if) I move along, it will only be because I am shifting the ground rules a little bit.”

    A little bit?

    People do change. Call it shifting the ground rules or learning new tricks or growing apart, it is part of life. A relationship, like any other Darwinian being, adapts or dies.

  3. A wise person once noted that a person is responsible for his or her feelings — no one else is.

    Time wears on relationships. Little hurts tear things down unless we’re alert to them and mend them. Things left unsaid, or actions done in the interests of someone else but which run counter to one’s own wants/needs/likes/whatever also serve to build up little resentments. And, as Professor Dick notes, people do change.

    TUFKAS’s adaptation to my changes was to take himself out of what he saw as an untenable situation: he could not be married to someone if he could not have all of their <em>eros</em> devotion. He was more than willing to share the other types of love.

    Other people adapt in other ways to changes. I know one couple where he cheated. She looked and continues to look the other way. Somehow it works. She has overcome her feelings of rejection. He comes home to her, stays by her side when she needs him most, etc. His lover(s) cannot say the same. I know another couple where he lives in ever-lovin’ mortal fear the missus will find out and will dump his ass. She knows quite well he’s cheating, and she tolerates it because she can hold it over his head in this way. She pretends she knows nothing about it. Still another where they divorced, then moved back in together each one dating others and one another. Happier that they don’t have the “rules” of marriage, happy that they can enjoy one another’s lives.

    There are other “adjustments” people make, not all of them nice.

  4. Unfortunately, gekko’s couple number two is typical of many marriages in America where one “partner” maintains control essentially by blackmailing the other

  5. Once again I’m going to recommend “Against Love: A Polemic” by Laura Kipnis. I have an actual printed copy of it I’m willing to lend — send me your address and I’ll mail it to you if you wish. I have the Kindle version on my iPod.

    It’s hilarious, and in spite of its title it’s not really _against_ love, it simply is a, well, yes a polemic concerning the various ways society has fucked people up when it comes to love, loving, and so forth.

    Also Sal shared a link over on FB that is intended to support the notion of gay marriage but which also speaks to any other non-traditional marriage: Traditional Marriage Perverts Tradition

    It’s a blog entry, but the writer has some historical background provided in there along with his opinion

    Gotta get busy. Getting deskbutt, here.

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