Monogamy. Polyamory. BDSM. Bisexuality. Swinging. And the list goes on. Some women will cringe at the mere thought of anything beyond monogamy. But who are we to decide what happiness should look like for others? Whether it is for you or not, as a community, we must open our hearts and minds to embrace everyone in it. You can decide it is not for you without judging or attacking another for deciding otherwise.
We cannot espouse and advocate for marriage equality, LGBT rights and inclusion while simultaneously oppressing others in our community. There is no homogeneous gay template. We do not go pick up our daily “gay thought” for the day. We are as diverse as any other group of people. As such, our richness is in that very diversity. The key to our unity is in broadening our awareness, educating ourselves and climbing off of the high horse of judgment.
I am sure most of us can tell stories of those who have been wounded in our community, by our community, just for being different--Shame on us. I have friends who are bisexual; I know of women who identify as butch/stud/masculine and are attracted to other butch women; I know of couples who are swingers; And I know of couples who are polyamorous. Unfortunately, many of them can tell stories of being grossly judged and in some cases mistreated and alienated from the gay community.
My question is what makes us do that? Is it the fear that somehow their beliefs will spill over to us? Is it the fear that somehow they will taint the perception of what it means to be gay? Or is it simply the fear of the unknown? I’m not sure of the answers to those questions. But what I am sure of is that the resolution is in education, awareness and openness. To that end, I have included some definitions to get us started in opening our minds and hearts. You may disagree, you may feel confused or anxious but at least you will have the information to begin to understand:
- POLYAMORY: Polyamory is emotionally connected relationships openly involving three or more people. It is about honesty, integrity and respect. Some examples of polyamorous relationships; a couple who live together or are married and have other emotionally connected sexual relationships, three, four or more people can all live together as a family, raise children and have emotional and sexual connections between all or different combinations within the group. (from www.lovemore.com)
- SWINGING:Swinging, also commonly referred to as, “The Lifestyle” or as the, “Swinging Lifestyle”, is a type of sexual practice that usually refers to couples having consensual acknowledged sex with other couples or an individual, usually a woman. Swinging can be very recreational and
- BDSM: BDSM represents a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission, role-over whether a BDSM or kink sexual identity also constitutes a form of sexual orientation. (definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM)
- KINK: In human sexuality, kink describes a range of practices which overlap with BDSM: spanking, tickling, bondage, dominance and submission, sadomasochism, cuckoldry, fisting and sexual fetishism. Kinky practices go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners. Some draw a distinction between kink and fetishism, defining the former as enhancing partner intimacy, and the latter as replacing it, while others define "kink" as lesser (possibly socially acceptable) form of fetishism. Because of its relation to "normal" sexual boundaries, which themselves vary by time and place, the definition of what is and is not kink varies widely as well. Practitioners are sometimes considered to be "perverts" by "outsiders".(definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kink_(sexual)
These definitions simply offer a beginning overview and insight into alternative ways to have relationships. I do not have all of the answers, but I do have lots of questions and a genuine desire to be educated. I hope you join me in that sentiment. I also believe that sexuality exists on a continuum. And the more we try to box ourselves into someone else’s myopic view of who we should be the more misery we will create for ourselves.
If you are in Atlanta, SharRon and I invite you to join us in person for a grown-woman conversation on this very subject. If you are not in Atlanta then I encourage you to start these conversations in your community, or with your circle of friends. Either way I wish you great success on your journey to Create Love.
Imani Evans, MA
Join us for a great discussion
LOVING OUT LOUD: The Many Ways to Create Love
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Little 5 Points Community Center
Atlanta, GA 30307