Some days, I don't entirely feel like I fit in to this crazy world. Shocking, I'm sure. Being fairly open about being polyamorous usually puts me in a different section of the population. This “issue” has only been expanded over the past few months, as I find myself hanging out more and more with the local kink/BDSM community. They are a wonderful group of people, and are perfectly accepting of the whole polyamory thing. That was one of the reasons I hung around at first, though it has blossomed far beyond that in the past several months.
In contrast to what Technogeisha said in the 131st episode of the Swingset podcast, out here in the cornfields most of the kink community is actually non-monogamous. Honestly, I have a harder time coming up with the monogamous people in our area, though they do certainly exist. But even so, because a good amount of the leaders in this community are wonderful examples of non-monogamy, the monogamous couples seem to lack a lot of the jealousy and other odd relationship scripts that you find in the vanilla world. it has been made abundantly clear that flirting is not an attempt to steal someone away, so long as people are being respectful. That a scene is not a commitment. That “no” really does mean no, and it's okay to say that.
Spending more time with the kink community makes me feel the disparity even more when I'm not with them. Since now I'm much more consistently surrounded by people who seem to have a deeper understanding of relationships, gender, sensuality, and sexuality, I sometimes find myself having to check myself around more “vanilla” people to not overshare a radical opinion. Or I have to refrain from wanting to do what I think are simple things, like give someone a hug when we part ways. Or any number of other little things, trying to prevent myself from being TOO odd.
To some extent, I don't mind the occasional overshare. I think it's good to challenge other people's beliefs (and likewise I believe that other people should challenge mine.) However, it does provide me with a bit of frustration. Just this past night, I was listening to my roommate as she described some troubles in her current relationship. Kate was talking about how her new boy was having a bit of frustration in their relationship, and explained why to me. We both understood where the friction was coming from (something about believing that in healthy relationships, when you love someone you will make demands of them, that you should take happiness from your partner and not worry about making them happy, and that jealousy is a sign of a healthy relationship, among others.)
I will totally agree that you should be able to make requests or discuss deal-breakers with a partner, and that you should be responsible for your own happiness, and not be dependent on your partner. However, his views take it to the extreme; at least in my opinion. But what really bothers me is that this is far closer to the mainstream relationship scripts than my own beliefs. Sometimes, while I'm out here, I feel a bit solitary in my beliefs on gender, sex, relationships, and whatnot. I feel like “boys will be boys” is a terrible excuse for some of the terrible things that happen. And that poking and prodding and making fun of someone from a small town who is a stripper is plain rude. And that women who wear skimpy clothing are sluts is completely ridiculous. And that my belief that the entire Madonna/Whore complex is complete bullshit; that these opinions are the unusual ones. And that is what I find that to be a far worse crime than one single act of slut shaming; that slut shaming is tolerable, much less the accepted norm, bothers me to my core.
Sometimes, out here in the corn fields, I feel like a misfit toy. I'm different. Not unique, but not like the others. I like touch, and would rather give a hug than wave goodbye. I'd rather question the status quo than get crushed underneath it. Push boundaries. Experience life. See everything out there that I can see. But ever since I've hung out with the local kinksters, I feel like I've found the island of misfit toys. Sure, we break the mold. We believe that things like slut shaming are silly at best, and terrible at worst. Sure, some of us may be broken in one way or another. Or be odd. Different. But you know what? That's okay. Because we're a community. And that? That's pretty damn awesome.
So, my recommendation to all of you, my fellow poly folk and swingers, out there in your own “cornfields” or in your small towns: if you ever feel like you're the odd duck out, try hanging out with a group that follows an alternative lifestyle, like your local kink community. BDSM might not be your thing, but it may be a breath of fresh air, finding people with similar thoughts and views on sexuality.