Living by the lake is awesome. Yesterday a friend and I lounged on the sloping grass, lakeside, comfy on a thick blanket and just let our minds fly. She is just turning 25, (I am finding a new bond with the Taurus tribe) and it was great to have our thoughts bounce off one another. We got to talking about the different types of intimate relationships people are able to have. She made the point of saying that a lot of people wish they were able to be polyamorous, but just can’t do it. I agreed. I also said a lot of people wish they could be monogamous, but just can’t seem to pull that off either. I mentioned to her this third option that isn’t discussed too much, but a conversation I had last weekend crystalized the construct for me: an autonomous intimate relationship; which is when a person is only truly intimate with their self.

As we lay in the sun, mindful to flip or turn our bodies to even out the exposure, we identified 3 intimate relationship modes: autonomous, monogamous and polyamorous. What if we really really believed we had those options? What if we threw out judgement of ourselves and each other in order to fully acknowledge where we actually are in our ability to connect intimately? You should be monogamous is the default. But I call bullshit on that. I try to get rid of the “shoulds” in order to see the sparkly shiny reality that I am in.

She is surprised to find herself in a monogamous relationship, pleasantly surprised that she is so satisfied and still so excited about her one partner. And she expects the relationship to change and evolve over time and is totally willing to have the conversations about opening up again if either one of them wants another lover.

My observation is that their monogamy is a choice. It is with informed consent that they are only being intimate with each other. We talk about consensual non-monogamy, but what about when people are in non-consenual monogamy? When they really aren’t able to have the conversations that identify what which makes them happy? We are too ashamed, we are too afraid, we are too resentful.

Which is why understanding the option of autonomy is important too. Are we more satisfied with a rich fantasy life? Are we more devoted to work or art or family than to a romantic partner? Maybe we feel like we shouldn’t be, but if that is where we are, than why not see it as a viable option just as accepted and respected as monogamy? Or as exciting and explorational as polyamory seems to be? I find that kind of devotion and dedication incredibly sexy and inspiring. Being autonomous feels different than the label of “single” to me. Being single has the connotation of not being paired, of still looking for “the one”.  Autonomy feels like an acknowledgement of what is getting you off. Like, yes this is me doing me and it’s fucking hot.

I feel capable of all three relationship modes, and I have experienced all three. I feel like my ability to connect and sustain intimacy is fluid. Consent is the key. Consent takes away assumption. Consent reduces compulsion. Consent identifies expectations. Consent removes the “shoulds”. My friend said that was the quote of the day. Get over the “shoulds” and enjoy your reality.

Tagged on:             
  • Barbara

    I think I’m gonna have to agree with your friend and say, yes, now THAT is the quote of the day and that this post should be a part of some kind of curriculum. Communication is such a big factor in sexual contentment. You have to be able to communicate desires to a partner if you’re gonna have one, and as you pointed out, more importantly, we have to be able to communicate honestly with ourselves.

  • airial

    Thanks Ms. B! Stay tuned for the Masters thesis!! It is the idea of honest communication that is so important. I am so inspired by people that can just be real with where they’re at and who they are.
    Much love you to my friend!