I’d apologize for the delay since I last blogged, but there was good reason for it; a thing happened, and I needed some time to process it. Having done so, I’m just going to make a few points:
1. This should go without saying–but as the saying goes, even a slut gets to choose their own sexual partners. Likewise, just because a person says yes once, doesn’t mean they mean yes every other time the option of sex is on the table… so anytime a person starts assuming there’s some sort of previously-given consent, at a time when their partner politely indicates they’d rather not shag, it’s a slippery slope.
2. Any time a person says, “If you don’t do A, I won’t do B,” that’s coercion; and it has no place inside any equilateral relationship. That kind of setting of boundaries, of actions and consequences, of options and rewards, belongs in a different relationship dynamic: parent/child, teacher/student, Domme/sub. And in the latter situation particularly, express (and regularly-reaffirmed!) consent is an absolute must.
3. A thing happened recently, and although I was in no physical danger (and did nothing against my own wishes–in the end) someone gave a darn good try at manipulating me into doing something I wasn’t so keen on. Like I say, it was a near-miss rather than what could have been an act of coercion and/or abuse… but that’s because I’m lucky and was with other people I could go to with the situation, and also, because I realized (in a kind of vague, I-just-won’t-do-that-and-will-analyse-it-later, way) that I was uncomfortable with a “suggestion” made by someone else, and so just didn’t do it. Good stuff, right?
But the fact remains. Not once, but twice in a span of a few days, someone gave me a sexual ultimatum and/or didn’t take no for an answer the first time I said it (and I allowed myself to be talked around, rather than being forced–but it’s still not a pleasant experience, lying there and weighing up the pros and cons of just going along with something, or standing up for yourself a little more firmly). Yesterday, I managed to work it all through in my head, and I had a little cry, and I’ve come away and done a little blog post now, and I feel significantly better for both of those. Mostly, though, I just think it’s shitty any time one person thinks they have some sort of proprietary relationship over anyone else’s sexuality.
Some people might think that the above situations are only the natural result of daring to live my life away from the boundaries of established convention–after all, if I’m living outside society’s rules, how can I expect them to protect me?–but that’s not the basis of polyamory AT ALL. On the contrary, polyamory is absolutely about choosing ones own sexual partners, every time, in every situation, and never feeling like you have to express love in a sexual way unless you really, truly want to, with that person. And if someone consistently refuses to play by the rules–because there *are* rules, in these kinds of relationships, the most sacred of which is respect for the people involved!–then maybe it’s time to let that person go.
After all, there is no romantic relationship model in which Person A has some unspoken right to choose whom Person B will have sex with… that’s a different dynamic again, and we call it the pimp/whore dynamic.