There’s a particular aspect of my personality that I think is one of the most significant and simple reasons why I often feel weird about the idea of traditional monogamy. It isn’t really about cultivating multiple relationships, per se, but it’s about something that traditional monogamy, at least, does not allow for.
You know when you get really excited about something and you excitedly run to someone to tell them all about whatever it is because if you can’t share the excitement, you’ll explode?
You just have to tell someone about it.
Well, sometimes I have to kiss someone about it.
Some feelings are too visceral to be effectively communicated in words. If words are the only thing I’m allowed to use, I feel like I’ve left some part of what I’m feeling unshared, which is really unsatisfying. I want to be able to use all of the things I sometimes want to use, physically, to express emotion the same way I can use words to.
So that when I have a new girlfriend, and I think, as a friend of a friend of mine once said, that her bees’ knees are the cat’s pajamas, I can say something like, “I have a new girlfriend and she’s awesome and cute and adorable and awesome. And it’s awesome. But that’s not how I really feel; this is how I feel.” And you’ll really get it. In a way I never would have been able to share otherwise. It won’t be about cheating on her at all, even though in a traditional monogamous relationship, that’s what it would be—it’ll be about celebrating her.
The first time I ever put a girl into subspace, I was so excited about it after the scene that I immediately called up a friend of mine and we walked around campus while I told her the story, and I paused the story approximately every five nanoseconds to excitedly hug her before going back to the story. At the end of the story, she told me she was uncomfortable with the hugging because she was in a relationship. This caught me off guard—it hadn’t occurred to me to consider the hugging as a gesture that might be interpreted as encroaching upon her relationship space. I hastily apologized and stopped doing it. The limit caught me by surprise in particular because the hugging wasn’t really about her except insomuch as she was a person with whom I felt comfortable sharing the emotion it enabled me to express.
Kissing and all the myriad activities “beyond” are more traditional limits, but they all blend together for me when I’m thinking about them in the context of sharing emotions. I like sharing how I feel, and I like being able to do it with all of the tools at my disposal, and sometimes the best ones are the ones that, for monogamous people, are reserved for SOs.