I’ve had a lot of issues with people respecting my boundaries lately. From my sister refusing to stop when I told her I couldn’t have the drama with her and her pushing to have a big argument with my parents included. From my dad last night who decided to sing the virtues of Trump as president on my Facebook wall and after I’d asked him to stop 5 times was still not getting it until a friend stepped in. To F, who repeatedly doesn’t respect my need for time and space or right to walk away from a conversation. It makes me wonder what I’m doing to attract people who are so disrespectful of boundaries. Is there something about our society that makes it OK to keep pushing and pushing, even when a person has clearly expressed their boundaries? We talk all the time about consent and how important it is. I have this talk with my kids daily, that “no” and “stop” are important words and we always listen to them. That we don’t touch someone in any way if they don’t want us to. Why doesn’t the same value for consent exist in verbal or written exchange? Why is a verbally established boundary regarding words or actions that don’t involve touch not respected in the same way? I don’t understand, but I wish I did.
In addition to this, I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about societal expectations. Societal expectations of relationship structure with expectations for escalation of relationships, expectations of monogamy, and the judgement of kink as well. I’ve had conversations about dress codes in schools and their inherent misogyny. I’ve had conversations about sex positivity and timing of intercourse and everything in between.
With regards to relationship escalation, I was talking to a single, monogamous guy that I met on OKCupid. He was curious about how relationship structures work within polyamory. I explained that we all have our own relationship structures and several of them are self-limiting. My relationship with A will never escalate past where it is now, because it can’t. He’s already happily married. So because of that, it’s not something I would ever consider or want. I suppose that now that I’m separated, if I and a partner wanted to escalate, we could. I’m not sure if I want that. Right now, I want my financial independence, a couple of boyfriends to fill the time and needs, and to enjoy my life – my career, my kids, and my loves. Relationships can evolve and I’ll deal with what I want as they happen.
Obviously, being polyamorous means I have a lot of conversations about my lifestyle choice. (Although I would argue that this is *who* I am over a choice). How it works, how I deal with the kids, whether I am really open and honest, and the good old “Isn’t it just a licence to cheat”. Living an “alternative” lifestyle will always bring nay-sayers and judgment. Mostly, I’m OK with it. It hurts that my sister hates my lifestyle choice so much that she’s turned it into an excuse to launch a character attack on me, and it hurts that friends have chosen F over me because of his victim mentality, but in general, most of the people in my life have been amazing, supportive, and if anything, curious. I truly believe that monogamy is a societal construct. It’s an accepted one that is absolutely the right choice for some. It’s just not the right choice for me.
Some men I’ve met on OKCupid ask the kink questions pretty quickly. Some are overtly inappropriate, some ease their way in, others (the ones I continue to talk to), let me bring it up first. I’m getting the sense that kink is way more common in my generation than I previously thought, it’s just that people don’t talk about it. But of course there is going to be someone who says it’s dirty or shameful or disgusting. My response to them is always that I can enjoy good vanilla sex just as much as good sex in a dom/sub dynamic. I’m versatile that way. 🙂
The dress code in schools thing comes up all the time. I have young girls and it pisses me off to no end that they are told what to wear at school. No spaghetti straps. Shorts only so short. It’s ridiculous. Like a 5 year old is going to offend someone by showing off her shoulders. Stop sexualizing my elementary school age children, thank you very much! Even then, other than for hygiene reasons, it shouldn’t matter if my child showed up at school naked at any age. It is not the job of the school to teach my child appropriate dress. It is the job of the school to teach my child the curriculum that is mandated by the government. My child’s understanding of appropriate dress and appropriate behaviour are mine and F’s to teach. No girl should be told that she has to cover up. Period. But especially not because “it will distract the boys”. Well, those boys, distracted or not, need to learn to control their own damn behaviour and not have my girls shoulders or knees blamed for it.
Then there was the sex stuff. I tend to break a lot of supposed dating rules with regards to sex. I like sex, and I have been known to be quite direct in my interest in it with new partners, I’ve had sex on the first date and had it result in a long-term relationship, I’ve never had a one night stand, except for with F, and that ended up lasting nearly 14 years. I tend to bring up sex in conversation with people and I’m not at all shy about talking about my desires or other people’s. I’m super sex positive. I just think that everyone should have great sex. In fact, I think that people who can’t get good sex on their own for whatever reason should have the right to hire legal prostitutes to do the job. It feels good. It’s good for people. More people should feel comfortable talking about sex. What they want. What they desire. What they need. How they get it. Shame has no place in this discussion.
Which is why when I talked about sex with one of the guys that I am talking to from OKC, and I had the thought that he might be the kind of guy that I have sex with on the first date, I was surprised with myself that I didn’t feel any shame or guilt about it. I just thought “it’s my prerogative to do so and if we are consenting adults, who cares”. It’s so freeing. Then that spurred a conversation about societal expectations and the role of shame in control of women and men in the pursuit of sexual satisfaction. Society needs to get the fuck out of all of our sex lives. From reproductive choices to sexual satisfaction, the only people who need to be involved are the people who are consenting adults playing naked together. This is a boundary that we all need to respect.