Figuring out you're poly, the awkward way

Posted by mouthyb | Posted in , | Posted on 5:22 PM


In high school, most of my friends were male. For reasons I didn't really understand, I tended to attract the attention of nerd boys en masse. We were all awkward; me because I had no clue why they seemed to want to be around me. They were awkward for their own reasons, many times because, like most boys their age, they weren't sure what to do with me either.

Two boys my age were rather persistent at asking me out. I wasn't sure I wanted to date either of them, but I enjoyed spending time with them. Because of social conditioning, I kept expecting them to take control of the relationship, and they were both waiting for me to let them know what I wanted, the original awkward stalemate in relationships.

I enjoyed listening to them talk, liked feeling the desire in them both which lay safely unexpressed, though I wasn't sure what to do with them. I was not, at this point, a virgin, but my experience with sex had been fairly submissive, though not out of preference. I hadn't had any more 'normal' relationships, only possessive, aggressive, dominant boyfriends who were older than I was.

Daddy issues, table for one, please. I came by it honestly.

Hanging out with these boys was oddly refreshing, if sometimes frustrating. What were they looking for, exactly? Who was driving this car, anyway?

I alternated days hanging out with them during the summer, titillated by being the focus of desire. My family, of course, espoused the opinion that I needed a revolving door on my bedroom. No proper girl would hang out with two boys at once.

One of the days I was supposed to go out with one of the boys, the other called me. I told him I was hanging out with another person, and he said to bring them along.

I did, warning him that it was another boy. He paused, briefly, and told me to come anyway.

In his bedroom, they eyeballed each other, unsure what to say. I didn't know what to say, myself. What were we all going to do? Normally, I watched movies with both boys, or went hiking, or ran errands for their parents, or just hung out in the park, talking and playing on the equipment.

Neither boy had ever tried to force me into any sort of position. I felt it was a shame, not yet understanding the need for consent, and the idea that I could be an agent in my sexual life.

I sat down on the edge of his bed, scuffing my feet on the carpet. There was something about having them both in the same room, something about them both standing there, looking at each other and looking at me. Something I didn't quite have words for, but that was oddly comforting. I wanted them to both cuddle me. I wanted one of them behind me, and the other in front of me. I wanted their arms wrapped around me. I wanted to feel safe.

The boy whose house it was cleared his throat.

"So, I guess we should watch a movie." He reached over to the television on his chest of drawers and flicked it on.

"Sure." I scooted back on the bed to allow other people to sit there. After a brief, very tense moment, they sat down on the corners, knees and torsos turned away from each other. I scooted back to the headboard, mounding the pillows behind me.

To this day, I can't remember what the movie was. I was too busy watching those two boys, sitting on the edge of the bed, my heart hammering in my chest. The boy whose home it was drifted up the bed, to curl up beside me, eventually moving so that he was spooning me, his breath in my hair and arm wrapped around my torso.

I could have died of pleasure, right there, my breath stuttering in my chest. The second boy turned his head, seeing the two of us, and stood up, turning to face us. I opened my arms.

"You can come here, you know."

I could feel the boy behind me tense up, body rigid with the question.

The second boy blushed, and came forward, to lie rigid in front of me. Over my head, they stared at each other.  I made a pleased little moan, and snuggled down between them.

"God, I feel so damn safe here, between the two of you." And I did feel wonderfully safe: completely, totally, encircled with warmth. Why shouldn't it be, I thought. Why shouldn't I be able to come to bed and sleep between two others, to be a part of something larger than the relationship my parents battled through?

The silence stretched like taffy, sticky. The second boy coughed and said, "I'm just going to... go."

I made a sad little whine, I'm afraid. "Why?"

"This is too weird for me."

Behind me, the boy whose house it was relaxed a little, arm tightening around my waist. We lay there, air conditioner kicking on in the tense silence, as the other boy left. He said nothing. I said nothing.

I had no idea what to say, what to do about that desire. Was it immoral of me? Was I terrible person for this desire, the desire to be a part of something larger than two?

Was I a terrible person for wanting to be touched like that by these boys, so unlike the men who dated me before?

It's taken me some time to believe that it's okay for me to want that. And still, in idle moments, I occasionally ask myself-- am I ethical?

That was, I'm afraid, not my most ethical moment. Am I ethical now?

To the best of my ability, I try.

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