Posted by mouthyb | Posted in feminism , relationships | Posted on 2:43 PM
I remember, early on, being very impressed by the fact that I was dating more than one person at once, ZOMG 11!111eleventy!!!11 I was completely sure this meant I was a bad, bad girl. Bad, bad, so bad, etc. Men and women! I was a threat to good people everywhere (start theme music)
Another advantage of age (number 50 billion) has been being able to get past, if imperfectly, the facile desire to think of it like an accomplishment to knock off my bucket list, the other people involved utterly incidental to my list of prospective sexy times.
To some degree, we're not encouraged to see the person we're fucking, instead of the confusing mash of stereotype and the desire we're supposed to have, the preset patterns of relationships popularized in the media and by upbringing, religion or custom. One of the hardest tasks for someone who would be a prospective lover of many is learning to see the other person, not what we wish they were or think they're supposed to be: to see failings and successes, able and willing to accept those, if merited, in one's lovers.
When people learn I have slept with more than one person at once, they are often titillated by that idea. A real live woman who does that sort of thing, a curiosity (though less as time goes on) to be questioned, a representative for the entire class of weirdos doing that kind of thing.
I have discovered, as I have lost my affinity for much of the culture and as I spend more time researching, talking to people who are in similar situations as I and reading websites which perform critical analyses of society, that the person I am sleeping with has become more interesting.
My lovers are wonderful mysteries: why this one is so reserved, the sound of their surprised laughter. Their fears, the things they hope for, the feel of their bodies against mine, the sound of their voice, their political beliefs and the way their voices soften late at night when we talk about what we would do with the lottery.
Their individuality is also a wonderful mystery, only highlighted by the time I spend with the other. I travel between lovers in a profound sense of gratefulness; time spent with one makes me think more about the other, appreciating their differences and generosity, at letting me see parts of their selves I might not otherwise notice.
To my mind, that's the difference: age has bought me generosity, mine and others. These relationships are a sweet generosity, for which I am grateful.