Sex Without Borders: Public Response

Every time I agree to a new very public appearance about my personal life I have to question my sanity. With the recent Toronto Life article in their February 2013 sex issue, I’m re-evaluating my position on a few things related to my now – even more public – persona.

I am sort of a poster child.
I’ve hated this term for so long because I don’t want to be seen as some sort of leader or ideal when it comes to polyamory. Everybody’s relationship is different, with its own set-up, rules, issues and ideals; why should mine be the example we look to? There’s plenty of people who are “more successful” in areas of poly that I / Steph / we fail at sometimes / always, but I’m accepting that how I view my relationship and how people who are new to the entire concept see, it is quite different.

Therefore, if I need to be a person that someone from the world of monogamy looks to as an example of successful non-monogamy, I’m ok with this role now. Everything starts somewhere.

I kind of have an agenda.
Not admitting to having an agenda was cute before I was really serious about finishing my book – which, reminder to self, is a freaking guide on how to be successfully non-monogamous – how much more agenda-y can I get?? There was also the time before I decided to be a life and relationship coach, where I didn’t believe in sharing my advice with people. Who was THAT silly woman?

Now that I’ve gotten to know my own strengths and weaknesses, I have accepted the fact that I do have a goal, an agenda, an end game. In short? I want people to be truly happy, whatever that means for them. I want to challenge the status quo / traditions / mediocrity and help people discover the world around them that they may have been unaware of before. It doesn’t mean they have to step into it; often knowing something is there is enough.

It’s important to me that people know just how normal this all is, which makes me an activist for the mainstream poly people out there. We’re not going to try and sleep with everyone because we’re open, just like gays don’t want to sleep with every other man on the planet. My agenda is not to convince everyone that monogamy is dying and to join us “free-loving modern hippies” under the covers. My world is small enough already without having to worry about everyone jumping on the polyamory bandwagon. Ick, my brain already hurts thinking about that possibility.

I don’t know how else to be.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; while everyone is telling me that it’s amazing / brave / crazy to put our personal lives so very in the public eye, I really just don’t know how to not do that. “Oh, but the hate mail!” – Ok, sure, yes. The big scary hate mail, from people who don’t know me / don’t understand / don’t want to learn. There will always be people in an uproar about how I live my life, but how does that matter to me?

I’ve already lost jobs (heresay only) based on my “lifestyle”, so I’ve dealt with that fate and frankly, I’m better off for it. I have people saying that I’m a heathen occasionally. Even some poly people disagree with how Steph and I run our lives together. Haters are always going to hate, that’s life as we know it especially in the internet age – (is that an expression? I feel like I just dated myself). I’m not going to hide in the shadows because of haters who have no ownership on the contents of my heart. I put myself out there because my life, and how I run it, is perfectly normal to me and I am not ashamed. Besides, like I’ve always felt about acknowledging the fact that I’m fat before others do, I’m out there telling people that my husband and I see other people. How can you use it against me when I’m telling you first that it’s true?

Sometimes, we get lucky.
This recent article in Toronto Life is probably the best press experience we’ve had. Courtney Shea was wonderful to work with, very open about how everything in our lifestyle was new to her and that she couldn’t relate, but she wrote a fair and balanced piece. Admittedly, a huge chunk of the article is just facts about our relationship with no need for sensationalizing. We spent hours on the phone with the fact checkers, and I’m thrilled to see that they really listened to what we were saying.

Sure, it’s still nerve-wracking to put our personal lives in the hands of journalists. We never know how our words are going to get twisted, making it a lot easier for the haters to have material against us, but it’s also exciting. It’s thrilling to be able to be a voice for people who still have to hide in the shadows for their own personal reasons. It’s rewarding to know that I’m doing my small thing in the world to make other people feel less alone. And I am honored that people still let me keep doing it.

So, thanks. Thanks for your feedback, your love, support, heck, even thanks for your hate. It’s all part of a beautiful cycle, hopefully moving us toward a more evolved and happy world.

Sex Without Borders appears in the February Issue of Toronto Life Magazine, available now on iOS and in print. Read the online version by clicking here.