Coming Out to the Roommate

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Anne and I have a roommate. Well, a landlord/roommate/friend that we live with while we attempt to gather funds for a place of our own. Over our time knowing him, Anne and I have talked to our roommate about all kinds of things. We are pretty open about stuff, especially with our friends. At some point he was bound to figure out that we were getting into or in the lifestyle. However, he found out sooner than we expected.

One night Anne and I had a bottle of Monogamy wine with dinner. We picked it up at the grocery store because, given the circumstances, we found it amusing. Thinking nothing of it, we left the empty bottle on the table. The next day, our roommate came into the room where Anne was writing a paper and I was reading a book and launched into a rant, which is not an uncommon thing for him. It began something like this: “You know that Monogamy wine won’t work. There are just genitals flying about all over the place.” His rant eventually spun down to a conversation about him being more promiscuous than he used to be, and how women had used sex to hurt him in the past. So, he wanted to be less tied down and just have fun.

At some point in all that, he brought the Monogamy wine up again. Instead of responding I just handed him the book I was reading. It was Opening Up by Tristen Taormino.  He paused for a moment looking at it.

“Is this for real?”

“Well, why else would I be reading it?”

“For real?”

“You know us well enough that that book should in no way surprise you.”

From there the conversation turned to how you can have multiple girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, whatever. He was struggling to grasp it because, as he explained it, he sees relationships, particularly sexual ones, as transactional. Meaning, he would do the dishes, and in return, she would have sex with him. He couldn’t get it through his head why he would be doing the dishes and someone else would get the sex. I told him he was free to read the book, as it covers most of that.

We then told him that we were more looking into it to be swingers rather than for finding boyfriends and girlfriends to which he replied, “I get it. Then it’s still a transaction.”

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An average suburbanite barely into his 30s, Jack has recently begun a more exciting secret sexy life with his wife, Anne. These experiences have led him to preach the gospel of sex positivity and safer sex to anyone who will listen.

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    Much of what society considers "normal behavior" in relationships (especially monogamous ones) is transactional. Give a little, get a little. Give a lot, get a lot. Hey, we live in a capitalist, commercialist society—it's not that surprising. That approach works fine in some situations, and there's definitely a time for sexual negotiations, but I've found that there is also something to be said for giving just because it feels good to make your partner(s) happy. If you expect something in return for everything you do for a partner, much of the spontaneity is replaced by bargaining. A transactional approach to relationships and sex relegates intimacy to the status of good that can be purchased.

    When I started doing this in my current relationship, the intimacy level fell sharply. When I returned to being a GGG lover, interested in pleasing my partner because it made her feel good and not because I was hoping to get something in return, our intimacy returned with a vengeance. I consider this attitude to be one of the stepping stones on the road to compersion, and perhaps the core value of someone who can have a great time doing the dishes while his partner is spending a romantic night with someone else.

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