“I’VE HAD SEX WITH SOMEONE ELSE AND MY WIFE’S DELIGHTED” Our polyamory columnist opens up
In the third instalment of his column, Jack* finds that popping his polyamory cherry isn’t as simple as it sounds
Acouple of months ago, a polyamorous lifestyle was thrust upon me by my wife of nine years. It’s been, shall we say, difficult. I’ve clocked up one pleasant but chaste date, and another ‘disaster date’ that led to a blip of depression and arguments at home. My wife, Lucy*, on the other hand, has had more success initially, managing a date with a good-looking guy in his twenties, which ended with ‘good sex.’
I wouldn’t describe myself as a competitive person. I’ve never been a big one for races or team sports. But when it comes to poly, I’m beginning to find it difficult not to ‘keep score’ with my other half. Turns out those evolutionary theorists know their stuff – competition in the sex stakes really is hardwired into the male psyche. Lucy thinks I’m being ridiculous, but if we’re counting conquests, I’m one-nil down.
This said, slowly but surely, our marital sex life is hotting up – just as she said it would when she first announced this new chapter for our relationship. Whereas before poly, somewhat shellshocked from the daily demands of three small children, sex was virtually non-existent, now Lucy and I seem to be rediscovering each other. The freer availability of sex with (in theory) whoever we want seems to be turning up the heat in the bedroom.
But there’s still the small matter of popping my poly cherry to attend to. I’m beginning to think Tinder is not necessarily the right place to find likeminded people. So many conversations end abruptly the minute I highlight the ‘non-monogamous’ line in my profile. A little online research reveals that OKCupid might be a better fit for someone experimenting with polyamory, and I decide to give it a go. Sure enough, poly seems to be, if not the norm, then certainly popular. I’m quickly matched with a few potentials.
One such woman is Vicki.* Within a few days, we are exchanging dozens of messages a day on WhatsApp. She and her husband have only been polyamorous a few months, so, already, we have that in common.
I decide to go all-out for our first date, buying tickets for a gig and booking an Airbnb near the venue. The evening goes better than I could have imagined. After a few large G&Ts and dinner, we head towards the gig venue. On the way, we kiss… and Vicki asks me if I fancy doing a ‘backwards date’ by heading to my ‘place’ first, and the gig later. I don’t need asking twice.
Within half an hour, we are naked between the sheets in the upmarket bedsit I’ve rented for the night. Sex is passionate and fun, if lacking in any real emotional connection, which is hardly surprising since we’ve only just met. It’s also slightly weird that our respective spouses are at our respective houses, blissfully aware of what’s happening. Weirder still is when, after a second round, Vicki starts texting her husband…“Just to let him know I’m OK”. ‘Fine,’ I think. ‘That’s sweet.’ I do not do the same.
Vicki tells me that she is currently seeing two other men and a couple. She also enjoys going to sex parties. My mind is reeling. Then she suddenly starts getting dressed and gathering up her things.“Oh, I never like to stay out all evening,” she says. “My husband and I have agreed we always come home before the end of the night.”
Just as soon as it began, it’s over. I’ve had sex with someone else, and my wife thinks that’s fine. I feel happy and free. Because of the consensual nature of the arrangements, there are none of the feelings of guilt I’d associate with cheating. Because it’s not cheating. It’s polyamory.
The next day I get a text from Vicki… ‘Hey. Things have been a bit fraught this end, sadly.’ ‘Oh, why?’ I ask, now tense.‘My husband wants us to stop being open.’ Given the way Vicki had thrown herself into the whole sex-with-otherpeople set-up, I can’t say I’m that surprised. Her husband, by her own admission, had taken some convincing to go non-monogamous in the first place. She seems genuinely sad to finish it so soon, although a part of me does wonder… is this just the way all polyamorous relationships end? After all, it’s a ready-made perfect excuse: it’s not you – it’s him.
The Polyamory Diaries continues in the next issue. Read the other instalments at Cosmopolitan.com/uk/polyamory-diaries
“After sex, she starts texting her husband”