Taking one for the team… Being a sacrificial lamb. Supposedly no one does it, at least outwardly they say they don't, but it seems to be one of those dirty little lifestyle secrets that happens more commonly than I’d think. Maybe it is not a regular occurrence with every couple or individual, but it certainly happens. The four-way connection definitely can be elusive- and sometimes more elusive than finding a unicorn, in my opinion. Often, one person (or two or three, maybe even all four), will walk away from an experience feeling less than stellar about it and like they sacrificed themselves for the greater good.
In my opinion, gender seems to play a role when it comes to the notion of throwing yourself on the proverbial sword in order to have an “experience.” I've talked to MANY women who have said that they've gone through with a situation/person/people that they weren't entirely feeling good about, but I've heard very few men echo this sentiment. Maybe women are just pickier than men in general, maybe it is because women are sometimes less confrontational and don't want to rock the boat, maybe it is because women often tend to be pleasers. Maybe it is because I'm a woman and talk to more women about this. Whatever the case, you hardly hear of men feeling as though they have taken one for the team.
I’ve certainly fallen into the trap of martyrdom in both my unicorn experiences and in my experiences with Potential Stallion (PS). I definitely did not intend or want to be a sacrificial lamb, certainly not for PS, and not for myself either, compromising what I truly desired (or didn't want) just for the sake of sex.
What usually happens is that I find the woman amazingly hot (which if I was with PS, meant that he would too, as I was definitely the more selective one). I’d want to be with her, but I'd often be less attracted to the man and unfortunately they were a package deal. I can theorize all day about hot women with not-so-hot men, but I guess that is for another time.
Sometimes, I decide it's not worth it and pass, but usually I find myself doing a mental algorithm of her hotness vs his unattractiveness, weighing in personality, and potential for fun. Sometimes, it surprisingly works out, and the sum balance ends up being mostly worth it, and I walk away thinking, “wow, that actually turned out to be a good experience.” Unfortunately, much too often, in the midst of things, I realize I've made a grave miscalculation, but it's too late to back out and I’m forced to complete the task.
In best case scenarios, this can be negotiated upfront (girl-girl only, then we play with our own partners, is that okay?), but often I've found myself in the thick of things and it seems rude to decline the meat offering, at least in some form, especially if I genuinely like both people and their personalities. So to avoid hurt feelings and awkward conversations, I often suck it up (pun intended).
It's funny, I don't find myself doing this in the reverse. If I’m presented with the converse situation- where I’m not attracted to the woman, even if the man is hot, I'm far less likely to even entertain it as an option. Maybe it's because I think of beautiful girls as a rare and special treat, especially since when I am getting at least somewhat consistent and good heterosexual sex. When you have meat at home, the offer of a hot dog isn't all that exciting, but a slice of delicious pie? Yes, please! Oh, I also have to endure this hot dog in order to get my pie?? Sigh… Pass the ketchup, I suppose…
Of course, martyrdom comes at a price, so even if the experience with the woman is amazing, and even if the sex act (whatever that may entail) itself is good enough with the guy, if I am not attracted to them both, the total experience becomes less than fantastic. That’s when my brain starts buzzing and those lambs start screaming, so to speak. There's only so much closing my eyes and pretending I'm with Boris Kodjoe I can do, unfortunately. Seriously, can I please have a nice juicy steak with my pie every now and then?!
So what's the answer? I don't know that there is an easy one. The “right” answer is to speak up, say what you want, set boundaries that make you comfortable. Walk away if you're not totally feeling it. But unfortunately, the right answer isn't the easiest one, especially when you are dealing with someone else's ego, feelings, and emotions. And in the case of PS, if he was chomping at the bit, I didn't want to be the party pooper all the time. Besides, I'm sure I wouldn't like to be the one who gets told that they will be left out of play. The good couples, the ones who “get it” and who are committed to each other’s happiness, allow for veto power (which usually will be used by the woman). I heard one couple say that their code word for “nope, it’s not happening” is to reference a movie with Danny Devito, which I found hilarious! “Hey, have you seen Twins? Danny DeVETO was awesome in it, wasn’t he?”
Is the alternative- just going with it- better? It is easier, yes, but certainly less fun, at least for me. It is hard for me to balance my “pleaser” personality with the side that gives myself permission to only partake in experiences that I REALLY want. And I do have this weird fear of being seen as “less than” a swinger because I partake so infrequently.
Perhaps if taking one for the team (even if it is “team me”) is just an occasional thing, and doesn't happen regularly, it can be tolerated? I don’t know. I guess so long as the lambs don't scream all the time, and I get a steak every now and then with my pie. But I don't know, silencing those lambs seems like a better option now.