Saturday, October 3, 2020

My Open Relationship in the Time of COVID

This post could have been written months ago, but it's something that's impacted me and that I'm just now writing down. 

I don't have many good things to say about the state of the world, the U.S. in particular, right now. We're living in the upside down, watching a raging dumpster fire--a shit storm of corruption, racism, threats to women's rights, environmental and economic crisis. Oh, and that little pandemic thing. And that's just the short list. 

COVID has fucked up a lot of things, I daresay most things. Sex though... that pleasure ought to still provide us with a lovely escape from the outside world. Right? Right?!?!?!? Yes, but it looks different now, at least different for those who take COVID seriously. 

These bizarre times have made many of us in the open/poly* community take a good long look at how we're engaging in extracurricular activities and reassessing the risks and what our sex lives must look like now for our safety and the safety of our partners. I'm seeing kinky Twitter friends bemoaning the lack of sex lately and wondering when conditions will allow them to return to multiple partners as usual. It feels confining. Restrictive. As if some folks didn't have enough restrictions in their lives before becoming open, now it feels like they're back inside a different sort of locked box with taunting memories of the free love, open sex lives they used to lead. 

It's changed for me, too. Pre-COVID, I had 3-5 partners I'd see on occasion. I've never been much of a one-night-stand, swinger party kind of girl. I consider my partners as friends (some closer than others of course) who I can hang out with, have great conversations with, AND have NSA sex with. I was already operating in a sort of safety bubble that felt good and right for me. When COVID became a thing, even this relative safe space didn't feel good or right anymore. Mr. Man and I take the pandemic very seriously. We mask, pulled our kid out of extracurricular activities and into distance learning, I moved to remote work only, etc. We are not playing with this thing. I/we had to consider how our open status impacted the safety of our family. 

Of my handful of partners, Joe was one who took COVID as seriously as I did, and he just happened to be the one I saw most often anyway. We had many conversations about the pandemic, the easy, drama-freeness of our thing, and what made us feel safe and what didn't. I trust his decision making and for now, he's the only one I'm seeing outside of my marriage. We've ramped up how often we hang out and it's been pretty much an every weekend thing lately. It's working out great so far, and while I try to only speak for myself in this space, I think it's safe to say that he's pretty keen on it as well. So far, I don't feel restricted--I feel safe and good about making what I consider to be a smart choice about my sex life.

How long will this last? Who the fuck knows. Nobody knows anything anymore, do they? I made a comment to Joe last weekend about wondering what my non monogamous life will look like after COVID. But really, what will anything look like after COVID? We're all trying to make the best of a shitty situation. I'd like to think that in the coming months things might look a bit closer to what they were before. But for now, I'm going to don my mask and run to the liquor store in preparation for a sleepover with Joe. My upside down looks pretty good right now, considering.

*I have never settled on a label that feels right for my particular situation. I guess "open" is as close as it gets. Or just simply "non monogamous." I'm not really poly. Definitely not a swinger. I'm just a married woman who loves sex with a few extra partners.

Photo by Crawford Jolly on Unsplash

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