Welcome to Lorotica’s new series, where we learn about our customers’ lives and share their stories with you. Our first chat is with our customer Angel, who has opened up her world and love life over the last few years by embracing polyamory.
What’s your background? What was your life like before polyamory became a part of it?
My background was very typical in my 20s. I wanted very much to meet a great guy and ideally have children before I hit 30. I never questioned this desire. It seemed like the natural, normal thing that most women want.
What led you to embrace polyamory?
I had a lot of insecurity that was expressed through jealousy and avoidance. I thought that I was confident, but in truth, I didn’t like my body and I felt a sense of competition with every woman - even my friends.
I was married for more than a decade when my marriage unraveled. Infertility cracked our foundation. We grew apart and immersed ourselves in other relationships, hobbies, and work, and eventually the marriage crumbled.
I wanted companionship, but I wasn’t ready to commit myself to the intimacy and obligations of a conventional relationship. So, dating couples was a nice way to dip into the intimacy of a relationship for a day and then hop back out into my own life, without the same responsibilities and weight of a traditional relationship. Dating couples also let me explore the idea of being intimate with a woman. This is something that I’d fantasized about but had never really tried. Doing it with a couple gave me a mental safety net. I already knew how to please a guy and that guy already knew how to please her, so it took a bit of the pressure off of me. Being with both a man and a woman at the same time is like having a burger and fries - both are delicious and they’re even better together!
Over time, I wanted something more serious, but marriage didn’t feel like the right path for me. A commitment grew over time to certain partners - and now, instead of casually dating, I have multiple simultaneous relationships that are meaningful, loving, and contribute greatly to my overall happiness.
In the past, one person was my sole source of love and companionship - but now, each person has a different role in my life. This allows each relationship to grow and evolve organically. There’s no milestone or next step in the relationship that I feel a need to push for. The absence of pressure and obligations has actually helped each relationship flourish and become stronger than I could ever imagine.
I’ve learned how to love so deeply that I can root for my partners’ happiness selflessly even when that means that they might spend more time elsewhere for a while. We encourage each other to explore attractions and connections without shame or guilt and even share the excitement of new relationship energy (when one partner starts dating a new partner) with each other. This type of honesty in a relationship is refreshing and makes us closer.
You’ve had polyamorous relationships over the past few years. Can you tell us about the dynamics of those relationships?
We practice a cozy version of relationship anarchy where there is no hierarchy. We think of our polycule - all the people in our non-monogamous relationships - as a constellation, because everyone is a star.
We are all important to each other in different ways. One of my partners is about to move in with his other girlfriend. They don’t refer to each other as primary partners, but they’ve lived together before as friends - and right now, it just seems to make sense for what’s going on in their lives and relationship. We just constantly ebb and flow with each other as our lives and relationships evolve. This is sometimes called kitchen table polyamory which means that we can all sit at the kitchen table with each other and our partners’ other partners and have a pleasant conversation the morning after sexy fun. It's not all about sex. It’s about the warmth, support, laughter, and companionship we give each other.
I have two relationships that have been going on for two years and one year respectively. Both of these guys mean a lot to me. They are very different people but I feel deep happiness when I’m with each of them. The two of them know and like each other and we can travel and hang out together. Each of them sees other girlfriends as well and I get along great with their other girlfriends too. We even quarantined together for a bit at the start of the pandemic. There is another guy who’s more like a comet in that his orbit intersects with mine less frequently. He lives farther away so we only see each other 2 or 3 times a year. I also recently started seeing a woman who I’m really excited about. She is married to another woman and they have an open marriage. It may sound like a lot but it works for us. We check in with each other a lot to make sure everyone is feeling happy.
Each relationship brings a special, unique joy to my life. I share different hobbies and interests with each partner but I no longer expect (or want) one person to be everything to me.
How has your sex life changed since becoming polyamorous?
Honesty and open lines of communication are absolute requirements for polyamory to work. If you’re keeping secrets or lying to your partner, that’s just promiscuity and cheating. Being honest lets me express my fantasies and helps me stay open to hearing their fantasies too. I love exploring new dynamics and kinks with my partners.
Having more than one partner means I have more variety and pleasure and am less likely to get into a sexual rut. You know how you have different friends with whom you have interests in common? It’s kind of like that. I have a wild sex life with one of my partners, while the other relationship is more traditional. And my relationship with the woman is just getting started. Having relationships with both men and women have helped me become more confident. In fact, in learning how to make love to women, I learned how to love my own body. And I learned how to look upon another woman without feeling jealousy and anxiety but instead feeling desire and admiration.
How have you and your partners incorporated Lorals into your sex life?
I first tried Lorals over a year ago with one of my partners. He and I love to experiment, and we started fooling around with Lorals and loved it. I’ve never been a shy person and I love receiving oral sex, but sometimes I get ingrown hairs and can get preoccupied with them. I liked the coverage of Lorals, so I didn’t wonder, is he grossed out by that ingrown hair? We really wanted to “kick the tires” with the product, and we tried to see how many fingers we could get in (a lot). And then we actually succeeded in penetrative dick-in-vagina sex - so much fun! I was also new to rimming and it was great to go ass-to-mouth without having to think about it, and no excessive prep beforehand.
And since then I’ve introduced Lorals to the rest of my constellation. I’m fluid-bonded with one of my partners, but not others - it’s a matter of trust. For the partners I’m not fluid bonded with, we use barriers like condoms and Lorals so there isn’t fluid exchange. I’m SO excited about the future of Lorals as an STI protection device - it will be a HUGE help for people like me who rely on STI protection with our non-fluid-bonded partners. I also use Lorals when I don’t want to be fully naked during oral, or when I’m with a new female partner who feels that way. So one or both of us will wear Lorals, and we can feel sexy and comfortable.
What are some challenges of polyamory?
There have been weekends where both of my boyfriends are on dates or weekend getaways with other people. In those moments, negative thinking can occur. It’s easy to go into a dark place wondering, “am I not important to them, do I even matter?” I have to talk myself off the ledge in those situations. These are feelings of insecurity that I dealt with even when I was monogamous, and sometimes they can be amplified in polyamory. I’ve become better at self-soothing, doing things like taking a bath, reading a book, or roller skating.
COVID has been a bit of a challenge. To a certain extent, the effect of COVID on polyamorous people is similar to the effect on friend groups that want to hang out and families that don’t all live in the same house. Suddenly these people you used to see all the time, you might not see for months. Yet with my romantic partners, the promise of sex and intimacy makes us hyper-motivated to be very careful about quarantining to minimize my risk. We use a combination of careful quarantining and frequent testing to make sure we’re staying safe.
If someone is reading this and thinking, “maybe polyamory is right for me,” what are some resources you’d suggest? What are some questions you’d recommend they ask themselves?
If you’re thinking of trying out a polyamorous relationship structure, ask yourself what are the things you like or don’t like about monogamy?
If you’re in a relationship, talk to your partner. Together define and agree on guidelines that will help you feel safe, loved, and supported. Talk about goals and expectations before, during, and after encounters with other partners. Being polyamorous won't save your relationship any more than being monogamous will save your relationship. So if there are underlying problems, try to address those issues before engaging in additional relationships.
If you’re single, bring up the idea early when dating new partners and have an honest conversation about your hopes and fears.
Polyamory Weekly Podcast - a great podcast with episodes that talk about healthy ways to communicate with your partners, dealing with abandonment issues, and techniques for processing jealousy in a more productive way.
The Ethical Slut - explains how love and sexual fidelity are not the same thing and can serve as a guide for creating ethically and emotionally sustainable relationships that are non-monogamous.
Sex At Dawn - If you’re worried that monogamy is natural and polyamory is not, this book will help you unpack the anthropology and cultural history of monogamy and why it might not be as natural as you thought.
Thanks so much for these beautiful and moving thoughts, Angel!
Want to share your intimacy story and be featured in our next customer spotlight? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.