I really can’t fathom, or maybe I can but still find a tremendous oddity in the situation VSK and I now find ourselves in. For quite some time, about 12 years really, we’ve taken our relationship “open” and begun a process of experimentation that I never would have expected in the earlier years of our marriage. Until then, neither she nor I “cheated” on each other (after we took our vows), and our sex life seemed not bad given that during the first ten years of our marriage 8 of them were filled with new and growing children. There was a major tragedy that happened during this time, which I’m not going to go into, and there was also a new home, new jobs, joblessness, debt, etc that we had to overcome. I wrote about our sexual history in a previous blog so I won’t go back over it here but its worth mentioning that the changes that began with my wife’s seduction by another man did not exactly happen overnight, something the word “open” can not sufficiently convey. In fact, our relationship has been anything but open for most of those 12 years. Most of the time we were as closed as a summer ski lift. But winter does come around regularly, and I’ve been know to bomb down hills on a mountain bike. Which gives the ski lift operator a new summer job.
This summer my job has been to let VSK go wild, mostly with me but often enough with others. Lately, we’ve been open, very open for us. It would seem that we have reached the proverbial “tipping point:” a moment in our relationship that while not easy, is never boring and always an adventure. VSK has found a personal space to inhabit that allows her to pretty much do whatever she wants, and still feel “normal” the next day. “Normal” is a shitty word, how about “horny?” I probably have always felt horny, every day seems like just about the right amount as far as sex goes for me. Not that I have had sex, even with myself, every day for more than a few weeks at a time. One year VSK and I (pre-open I think) kept a “batting average” whereby each day is an at bat and every sex act is a hit. Our average was somewhere around .700. We were in a contest with another couple, and we won. We are really winning a lot these days. Since the fourth of July, we are batting .878. Maybe this really should be called slugging percentage?
If we were also to find a statistic for others included in our “game,” it too would be sufficiently gaudy, for us at least, given the paucity (in my mind anyway) of liaisons prior to this summer. I like to lie in bed and try to come up with a number for the times VSK has played with others and it’s not that high a number. Maybe 40 times, if you count every little contact that could get you Lewinskied in our “I own your fuck” based society. It really does depend what you mean by “sex” and I pretty much liberally think it involves genitalia, manipulated for pleasure and not always (even rarely) done to paroxysm. And those 40 times, which VSK probably would halve given her level of involvement or her partner’s tumescence, have occurred with the same small staff of decidedly less that 10. Cut that in half pretty much too. No wonder some of us have trouble performing. All this cutting going on. Anyway, I know that I would like to chop more wood, and regularly curse my ax for ill-timed desertion.
But while I would like to say we were always moving forward or gaining experience, in our world this is not really how it has worked. Evolution, it turns out, comes in fits and starts which only appear gradual in the relationship record. I think only now can we say we have an “open” relationship. And “open” relationships have rules, just as strong as and maybe stronger than “traditional” ones.
The bigger point I would like to make is that our relationship is really just on a sexual continuum that includes monogamy and goes to polyamory with lots of kinky stops in-between, and is only functional, like all other relationships, in direct proportion to the amount of quality, useable, accurate and respectful communication we can muster. I find that words associated with “open” relationships to be totally inadequate to explain what is going on. It seems axiomatic that the words used to describe most traditional relationships are equally faulty and not up to the task of explaining the complexity of behavior that leads two people to marry and stick by that decision. I really love the decision I made, and the subsequent decisions we have made as a couple. Perhaps that is a better definition for an “open” relationship, although many “closed” marriages are certainly happy with their group decision. And many, very very many are not happy with their joint or what are actually individual choices masquerading as doing what he says (Let’s leave the gays out of this bit of thinly veiled feminist theory). But we are no better really than straight folks who communicate well, simply put we are probably more like them than not, if we can get past the genitalia. Which I can’t, except for this post maybe. More pulchritude to come! More coming pulchritude. The amateur philosopher is dead, long live the amateur pornographer.