It all started as an accident
My husband Steph and I were married at pretty young ages; I was 24 and he was 27, and we were convinced that we were perfectly happy living the status quo monogamous life; one house, two drunk obnoxious neighbors, and three cats. Not the standard white picket fence dream, but it was our little world and we loved it.
Then in 2005, when it was announced on the news that sex clubs were now legal in Toronto, we threw around the idea of going. We’d already had a couple of summer parties that had turned into drunken, spin-the-bottle messes — thanks to my coworkers’ hot friends — so we knew we liked the idea of experimenting, at least in theory. The idea that we could be considered sexy enough for a young swingers’ club, however, was far beyond our confidence levels at the time. Thinking of being rejected at the door, if they thought he was too nerdy or I was too fat, was horrifying for us, so back then it never came to fruition.
Then one afternoon, while I was working my mid-20’s life crisis job at Starbucks in 2006, a customer left a note on the counter addressed to me. It had a few paragraphs inside but the gist of it was, “I know you’re married, but I think you’re hot, and if you want to know what you’re doing to me on this side of the bar, email me.”
So, because I’m compelled to share things, I told Steph about the note that evening, and for whatever reason, he was complimented that another man wanted his wife. A male ego boost, perhaps? We ended up having a weekend of great sex, and renting a film about a bunch of friends heading up north to have an orgy, called The Cabin Movie. The story goes badly in the film, so perhaps it wasn’t the best choice, but we were young, foolish, and excited at the time and just wanted to see naked people branching out from the norm.
Cut ahead a few weeks and we were talking non-stop about open relationships. We had learned the term ‘polyamory’ by reading about it in The Ethical Slut. Non-monogamy was a new-to-us concept we that we had never really considered. To be honest, we never even used the word monogamous to describe our relationship, though it was how we lived. After it was agreed that I was going to flirt back via email with the Starbucks customer, nicknamed “The Professor”, a few weeks later I had my first experience being with him, and Steph was really supportive. We decided to both get an online “intimate encounters” dating profile and a few weeks later each had our own “strictly sex” date nights planned. Knowing we were getting it on at the same time, separately, was such a hot and sexy thought for both of us.
At first, fucking was all it was about. In the books we’d picked up, we had read about dating other people but were so horny to start with that we ignored the idea. Fucking other people, and then coming home to be with each other was so exciting already that it was enough for us at the time. Plus, dating seemed scary. Then we met another couple in an open relationship and developed a friendship. He told us of how he dated people, and it really blew our minds when seeing it out of the books and in reality. You see, we were total newbies to all of this when we first started, not like a lot of people I know now who are familiar with the concept of non-monogamy for years before trying it. When our friend explained to us that he became boyfriend-ish with girls he was seeing, sometimes not even fucking them, it really opened our eyes and we were impressed that they could handle it in their marriage.
We became much closer with them and ended up having a really intimate relationship for quite a few months. The wife was often joining us for threesomes, (what a life, right?), and in between it all I was dating a bunch of new guys, while Steph had another girl on the side. The first few months of non-monogamy for us were definitely as we’d hoped they would be: crazy, sexy, and cool.
Over the course of our years being open we’ve been through a lot: falling in love (usually me), group sex, jealousy, breakups, BDSM, single people, married people, young people, and monogamous people who thought they weren’t but sadly for us, were. We’ve been interviewed and featured in local, national, and international media, and have realized things about our identities, like being queer and accepting polyamorous as a label that fits us. Our time being open has brought us closer than ever before, given us more confidence as a couple, tested our personal stability, and opened us up to more new ideas, people, and ways of life than we ever knew existed. Had we remained the married, tragically boring couple that admittedly we were, neither of our personalities would have ever blossomed as they’ve been able to, and I believe that down to the depths of my soul.
Non-monogamy, whether you choose polyamory, swinging, or something in-between, isn’t always easy, as it takes time and experiences to learn how you really feel about situations and deal with unpleasantries that can come up such as jealousy. While our marriage gets stronger all the time, each day still brings its own unique challenges, and we are constantly working hard to stay on top of them and be happy.
I can’t say where Steph and I would have ended up had we not gone down this path. To tell you the truth, while I was happy on the outside before, underneath I felt at times like he and I were best friends, but not lovers. My sexual awakening that began about one year into being open might have never happened, and we could have continued as a status quo couple, like many other people. We might have been ok; we might have been awful. Who knows?
I may not have known what it was when we started and I may not always like what it is as we go along, but at the end of the day, being poly with him helped me to become the person I am now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.