Apr 14 • 4M

Toxic monogamy

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Welcome to Sex and the State, a newsletter about power. I’m a writer working on decriminalizing and destigmatizing all things sex. I synthesize empirical evidence, stories, and personal experience to interrogate existing power structures to propose new, hopefully better, ways of relating. To support my work, buy a subscriptionfollow me on OnlyFans, or just share this post!

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In a shocking turn of events absolutely no one could have anticipated, I’ve broken up with Mr. Alabama Monogamy. Well, I think it’s more accurate to say it was mutual.

Listen, I can handle monogamy. When it comes to being free to have sex with whomever I want whenever I want, consent and applicable laws already constrain me considerably.

But he made our romantic relationship contingent upon me never spending time alone with anyone I’ve had sex with or who I might would want to have sex with if I weren’t monogamous or who might want to have sex with me.

As a hot bisexual horny slut, this eliminates the majority of humans I’d want to be friends with. How do you have a friendship with someone you can never be alone with? How are you never going to go to their place or have them over or be alone in a car together or have a private conversation alone in a room at a party? Why does he get to be alone with his friend just because they’re both straight men but I don’t get to have friends because I’m bisexual?

Even just cutting out people I’ve had sex with cuts out 90% of my friends. There’s no dick magical enough to be worth cutting out 90% of my friends.

Imagining a life where I could or would be able to hew to this stipulation requires imaging having never left Alabama. Even here, though, most of my friends were men. Even here, my then-husband couldn’t have given two shits about who I spent time alone with. He trusted me to not have sex with anyone else. And until I was ready to get divorced, I never did.

I must admit I don’t understand the thinking that says “My partner can’t spend time alone with someone she might have sex with if we weren’t monogamous because then she might have sex with them and then we might break up. So instead I’m going to break up with her proactively unless she agrees to never be alone with someone she might otherwise have had sex with.”

I’m going to be very blunt here, contra my normal MO. I think his way is a dumb, narrow, misogynistic, heteronormative, toxic, controlling, impoverished way to live.

It’s also just very contrary to what I believe love means. To me, when you love someone you want what’s best for them more than you want what’s easy or convenient for you. You don’t ask them to chop off their arm so you can spoon more comfortably. I’m sorry, but asking me to give up my friendships so you feel more confident that I won’t have sex with any of them is astoundingly selfish. My friendships are worth a lot more than your false sense of comfort. It’s false because if I’m going to cheat, no amount of social isolation is going to stop me. And if I’m going to hew to our agreement, it will take more than having friends for me to fail. It takes a tremendous amount of self-importance to believe your comfort is worth more than my entire community.

As angry as I am about his choices, I also don’t think he has much of a choice. He likes what he likes. He feels how he feels. He values what he values. And the same is true of me.

The thing that sucks the worst is fearing that when he finds someone who’s happy to hew to these limits he’ll never spend time alone with me again. As important as sex is to me, it’s not something I think anyone should lose a friend over.

And I guess that’s something that’s changed for me over the years. My friendships have become almost everything to me. They’re just barely below my values and purpose in life. Sex and romance are wonderful. I think and write about them all the time. I’m obsessed with them. I want them very, very badly. Enough to be monogamous. But they’re also entirely optional for me. I can have a fulfilling, meaningful life without sex or romance. It’s friendship, for me, that’s mandatory. I can’t live without community.

Sex isn’t the defining feature of any of my important relationships. If I love you, then I love you whether or not we’re fucking. And I expect you to love me regardless of whether we’re fucking or who else you’re fucking.

Some people are in your life for a season. Not every friend is a lifelong friend. Sometimes people come and go. I’m trying to wear life as a loose garment. I’m trying not to grasp too tightly to people or relationships. Rather, I hope to be available to the people who love me. And accept the people who, for reasons that make sense to me and reasons that do not, can’t.