Everything You Need to Know About Poly-Open Relationships (Part Two)

Discerning Daddy

Before my husband, Alex, and I met our boyfriend Jon, I met three men living in a triad. I was intrigued by the idea, but I couldn’t help but think the whole thing was a little ridiculous.

I remember saying to Alex, “I would never want to be in a relationship like that.”

The truth is, the idea scared me. I imagined Alex and the other guy falling more in love then they were with me. I imagined them leaving me and running off together. I imagined myself alone.

When we met Jon and decided to try making something work with the three of us I created all these rules: rules that I now know, were intended to protect me from being left, to shelter me from my fears.

We weren’t allowed to fuck unless we were all there. We only communicated in a three-way chat. The list of rules went on and on, but in the end you can’t protect yourself from other people leaving you. You can’t control how they are going to feel.

Eventually, the rules began to slip away, and I learned to trust Jon and Alex, to trust myself and the three of us, but it wasn’t always easy.

I always say that three-way fucking is really great, but three-way fighting really sucks. And there was plenty of both, thank God there was more fucking then fighting, but adding a new partner (s) won’t magically make everything perfect and beautiful.

There is suddenly this whole new person that you and your partner have to learn and navigate, with all their feelings and beliefs and fears.

But it can also be really beautiful.

In part one I talked about what poly relationships are, how do you know if it is right for you, about jealousy and disclosure, and about the importance of communication. In Part Two I want to talk about some of the things that will help you maintain a healthy, happy, and sexy poly relationship.

1. We’ve met a guy, and we want to make him part of our relationship. How do we bring in a third (or 5th or 6th)?

I can’t stress the importance of clear and honest communication. Before you even begin this journey you have to be clear and honest with yourself, and then with your partner. If you guys are clear about what you want and what you are capable of, it’ll be that much easier to express those expectations and needs to your new partner (s).

When Alex and I decided to move Jon into our home we made a clear choice: Jon was going to be one third of this relationship. He was an equal member. This wasn’t easy. Alex and I had two years of history before Jon. We had a way of communicating with each other. It took time for all of us to navigate this but we did it successfully because we were willing to talk to each other. A lot.

Regardless of how you choose to bring in your new partner (s), or if you are bringing in a “pup” or a “sub” or “dom” or just someone to date while maintaining your “primary” status, knowing this upfront and being able to express those expectations and limits to your new partner (s) is crucial.

One suggestion I have is be open to change and try to let go of control. You will be amazed at the possibilities that can happen if you aren’t trying to control everything and everyone.

2. How do I be a good 3rd (or 4th or 7th) to an already established partnership?

I have been the third for a few (Maybe more than a few) couples, and the key is being attentive to both partners. There are things we will like or be attracted to in each person, and it is important to focus on these things, and to be open to all people in the relationship. If I am more interested in one than the other, or only interested in one, I tend to back out. It never goes well. It’s about making sure we all have fun and we are all included. I try to bring as little drama as possible.

Jon was truly successful at this. There was never any doubt in Alex or me that he loved us equally. He might have loved us differently, but he loved us both, and wanted us both. That made us both feel safe and secure and desired.

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was going into a three-way with a couple who both wanted to fuck me, but I was only interested in one of them. I was so into one of the guys, but the other one was not my type at all and I would never have hooked up with him if I hadn’t of been into his boyfriend. I figured, what could go wrong, two dicks, one really hot guy: pretty much a score, right?

I was wrong. The whole time the boyfriend I wasn’t into was fucking me or kissing me I wanted to scream. I wanted to push him off and run out. It wasn’t his fault. He is a totally cool, handsome guy, and really sweet to me, I just wasn’t into him.

Half way through I made up some dramatic excuse and said I had to leave. I literally did this while both their dicks were in me.

Whenever I see these guys out they ignore me. I probably deserve that.

But here’s the thing: you’re going to fuck up. You’re going to make a mess. That’s part of being human. But as long as we are willing to be honest about our needs, and open to our partners’ needs, and try our best to clean up our messes, then we will be okay.

And also, cut your partners some slack. They are doing the best they can too. That doesn’t mean you stay with a dude who is a complete dick, it just means that even as you’re leaving him or them, or her, you remember: they are doing the best they can with what they have. And none of it is about me.

3. How do I balance my needs, the needs of my partners (sexual and romantic) and maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Jon and Alex and I spent a lot of time in relationship counseling. Our Therapist, Beverly Hills based Jorja Davis, would talk about what she called “emotional resources”.

The idea behind emotional resources is pretty simple: how much time and space do I have to give to my relationship (s) and still maintain a healthy balance for myself and my partners? At what point do I run out of resources?

There is always a balance in a relationship between making sure your needs are being met and the needs of your partner and the relationship. If your needs aren’t being met, not just by them but by you, if you don’t have the space to grow and explore and live your own life separate from them, then, in my experience, you won’t feel happy or fulfilled, and in the end, neither will your partner (s).

While I was with Alex and Jon I took on a boyfriend all of my own, Conner. I fell in love him and would go spend the night with him once or twice a month. I also had other fuck buddies. There came a point where I realized I wasn’t giving Jon and Alex what they needed, I wasn’t as present as I wanted to be or as they needed me to be so I had to scale back. There comes a point when we run out of emotional resources and our relationship to our partner (s) and ourselves can be affected. It’s about balancing our needs with the needs of those we are in relationship (s) with.

4. How do I know that my non-monogamous relationship is no longer working?

This is something you, ultimately, will have to answer on your own. There is no easy answer to this. But I think if you are clear about your needs and your expectations, and about what is going on with you, then you will be able to open a healthy and productive dialogue with your partner (s).

Relationships change. They evolve. After years of being in a poly-triad with Jon and Alex I decided I needed something different. It wasn’t an easy decision, but the three of us found a way to make this new evolution work. Alex and Jon decided they wanted to stay together.

Really, all that happened was I moved into my own bedroom, and they stayed in our bedroom. Alex and Jon remained my best friends, my brothers, my family.

I truly believe as long as you are honest about your needs, and open to hearing your partner (s) needs, and willing to explore new ways of being together then in the end, everything will be okay.

At least that has been my experience.

There might also come times when you realize you just might want to close things up for a while and focus on your primary partner (s). Alex and Jon and I did this a few times. It helped us to get clear again about what our needs were.

5. I’ve always believed in Soul Mates, or that one true love. Is it really possible to love more than one person?

Without a doubt it is possible to love more than one person, and loving someone new does not mean that you will love your partner (s) any less. In my experience the more I loved the more love I felt for everyone.

Love is expansive, the more open to it we are the more there is.

If you think about it, this is true in every aspect of our lives. Just because I love my mom doesn’t mean I don’t love my dad, or my brother. If you have kids, does loving your second kid mean you love your first kid less? No. Love is not some finite thing that we run out of.

That’s a really beautiful thing to learn and experience. It changed how I saw life and how I treat the people around me.

And here’s the thing: loving people, and being loved, feels really good. Way better than hating them. So go out there and love as many people as you can. And let them love you. I promise, it will make your life feel really fucking amazing.

Like I said earlier, this is your adventure, and you should enjoy it and experience it to the fullest. Whether that means you are monogamous or monogamy-ish or open or poly, in the end all that matters is that you and your partner (s) are living your lives as big and as loud as you want.

Have fun with it. The cool thing about being queer is we don’t have to limit ourselves to hetero-normative values or restrictions. We get to explore and play and build our own families and relationships the way we want.

How fucking amazing is that?

Also, I’d love it if you checked out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon. Any support you can give would help a lot!

Everything You Need to Know About Poly-Open Relationships (Part One)

Discerning Daddy

For about four years I lived in a Poly-Open-Triad with my then husband, Alex, and our boyfriend Jon. And while our relationship grew and changed into something else, these two men continued to be my family, my brothers and my best friends.

That sense of family, and of a continuing and evolving love, is one of the biggest pros I have for polyamorous relationships.

But none of it came naturally to us. I didn’t know many people who were doing what we were doing, and many of the ones I met didn’t seem to share my fears or jealousies, fears and jealousies I’ve come to think of as being totally normal.

Watching my husband, Alex, fall in love with Jon while I too was falling in love with Jon was a beautiful and excruciating experience. We had no language for what we were doing, no way of knowing how to express what we were feeling, so we often made mistakes, we fought, we got jealous, but we always found a way to talk to each other, and to walk each other through our fears and insecurities, and once through them we always found ourselves at the same place: this amazing love.

I think I was always afraid that I wouldn’t be able to love Jon as much as I loved Alex, and if I did, did that mean I didn’t love Alex as much as I thought? What I learned was that love was infinite, it was not limited to just one person. I learned that I was capable of loving Alex with all my heart and soul, and that I was also capable of loving Jon with the same intensity.

We are always told that we can hate as many people as we want, we can hate whole nations, whole groups of people, but we can only love one person. That’s bullshit. The more I opened myself up to love, the more love I had.

But I also don’t think that non-monogamy is the more “enlightened” path. I think that however we choose to express our love, whether it’s monogamy, monogamy-ish, open or poly, it is all valid.
We have the freedom to be and love who we want, in whatever way we want.

I also think relationship styles can change from relationship to relationship, depending on who we are with and where we are at in our lives. I also like to think we can be fluid in our relationships, opening them and closing them as we need. It’s just about communicating.

Everything comes down to talking.

Here are five of the most common questions I get asked on my website about Poly-monogamous-open relationships, with five more to continue in Part 2.

1. What are Monogamy, Monogamy-ish, Open and Poly relationships?

In many ways these words are open-ended, kind of meaning whatever you want them to mean, but I will provide you with my basic understanding of each one.

Monogamous usually means that we are only with each other, sexually and romantically. In my definition of monogamous this also means that we aren’t having three-ways.

Alex and I started out monogamous. We spent a year focusing on each other and getting to know each other. I tend to like to start all my relationships this way because it allows me to build up a sense of intimacy as well as security and safety with my partner.

A lot of people don’t need that and will start out non-monogamous. Some people will just spend a few months, or maybe their whole relationships monogamous. Like I said, in the end, it’s all up to you and your partner (s) to find what works best for you.

Monogamy-ish expands on monogamy to include three-ways, or group play, or outings and adventures to spas or sex clubs or sex parties, but usually together. I know some couples who would say monogamy-ish includes some independent play as well, but for my purposes that would fall more into an open relationship.

When Alex and I decided to be Monogamy-ish what we were really saying is we wanted to explore three-ways and group play, but it was always something we did as a couple. A shared adventure.

Open relationships tend to deal with sex and not love. I’ve always defined my open relationships as we can go out and fuck other people together or independently as long as we follow whatever rules we’ve set up.

As I’ve gotten older I find that I tend to like regular fuck-buds over anonymous sex so that is something I’ve had to express to my partners.

I need a little bit of intimacy for my dick to get hard, but if the rules state that we don’t date or fall in love with other people, and if we do we stop meeting them, then I do everything I can to safe guard my primary relationship from my breaking the rules. And I am honest about that with all my partners.

It doesn’t always work, that’s the risk of bringing more people into your relationship, but if you are honest, and willing to grow and evolve with your relationship, I have found your relationship can survive (and usually joyfully) almost anything.

I think being clear about what we expect and what we need is the most important thing in any relationship, but it becomes even more important as we begin to explore opening things up.

Poly opens the door to allow love and dating and extra-relationships and multiple partners into your primary relationship. When Alex and I decided to ask Jon on a date, and not just over to our place to fuck, we had made the decision, after literally hours of talking about it, to invite Jon into our relationship.

This decision changed, I believe for the good, everything for us. It opened us up to more love, more sex, and more support: to an amazing family.

2. How do I know if it’s time to start talking to my partner about opening our relationship up?

There’s no one answer for this. The time to have that conversation is whenever you are feeling like you want to explore new things with your partner. Remember: you are doing this together. It’s both of your adventure and can be full of joy and fun and love…and potentially lots of amazing and new kinds of sex. The most important thing here is that you talk honestly with each other about your needs.

3. How do you deal with jealousy?

Jealousy is no joke. I can be a seriously jealous guy. I remember reading in one of the books on polyamory something about how jealousy was a sign of someone who wasn’t enlightened and therefore probably not cut out for a poly-relationship.

I thought I was fucked.

But here’s the thing, jealousy is normal. Sometimes we get crazy. Sometimes we say stupid things and do stupid things and just act like total dicks. If you can accept that, in regards to yourself and to your partner (s) then you’ve mostly dealt with jealousy.

Feeling jealous does not mean you are a bad or unenlightened human being. It’s just means you’re human, and you have something you are afraid of losing. And that’s the most important thing: I have found that when I am jealous it’s because I’m feeling threatened: afraid that something valuable to me might be taken from me.

So I express that. I talk to my partner (s) about what I am feeling. I try to get really honest with them and with myself and usually this helps. A lot. Just talking with the men I love has helped me to calm the fuck down.

But sometimes it doesn’t. And I act like a dick. And I have to apologize later. And that usually sucks for everyone.

4. How do we tell our friends and family that we’ve decided to open our relationship up, or to bring in a 3rd or 4th or a 10th?

Disclosure is totally up to you but not necessary. When Alex and I decided to start fucking other guys and having group play, we didn’t feel the need to run out and tell our moms. I talked about it with my close friends, people I knew would be supportive but I didn’t see the need to go running around announcing our decision to the public.

It’s really important to be selective. Not everyone will support the choices you’ve made. I find, at least initially, it’s best to go where the support and love is.

That being said, when we decided to bring Jon into our lives, our relationship and our home, we decided it was important to tell our friends and families. Jon was a full part of our relationship and it was important to us that he felt that way.

We decided to introduce Jon to everyone at our wedding. I think maybe we could have been less dramatic, but it did have a kind of flare we enjoyed, and we are lucky, our friends and family are all pretty liberal and open.

Like I said, choose carefully, and look for the love. And the more comfortable you are with your situation the more comfortable other people will be.

And if they aren’t, well, fuck them. It’s your life. You deserve all the love and happiness.

5. What are the most important skills to practice in a non-monogamous relationship?

Communication. Honesty. Listening. Clarity. These four words will be your best chance at having a successful, loving and sexy adventure through non-monogamy. The fifth skill, and sometimes the hardest, is really respecting your partner (s) and their needs. Really hearing them and approaching them with love. Remember who they are: that you are in this together.

Like I said earlier, there is no one way to do any of this, and whatever you choose, you get to change your mind, and you get to explore and try out anything and everything you and your partner (s) want. Have fun with it. And if you choose non-monogamy be playful with each other. I loved watching Alex and Jon as they were fucking another guy. I loved watching the two of them make out while I gave them blowjobs. It made them incredibly sexy to me. And it made me love them even more.

And really, that’s the whole point, right?

Also, check out my book, Accidental Warlocks, on Amazon! Your support makes all of this possible!

TRIAD LIVING PART SEVEN

Triad Living

There is no space. No where to go, no place to find that can be your own. That is the hardest part. Maintaining yourself and still being a part of the relationship. That is true of all relationships. Finding a place that you can sit quietly and just be. We live in a three bedroom house. We have two guest houses. Every spare room is rented out: either on airbnb or to friends. It is how we subsidize our lives. How we afford to live.

And yet there is no space. Someone is always moving about. Always shitting. Always doing laundry. On the phone.   Someone is always washing dishes or sitting on the couch, people are talking, laughing. Rarely are there ever times when it all stops. And then there is work. Or having to take care of the car. Or the bills. Navigating outside relationships with friends. Family. Dying mothers. Ageing fathers. There is Facebook and the phone and tumblr and blogs that have to be maintained.

There is no space. No one can breathe. Everything private occurs publicly. Witnessed by someone. Even if we didn’t rent the rooms out there would be no space. There are three of us. There are three cats and one dog. There are groceries to be bought. In the space of just these few paragraphs someone has walked past me four times. My computer has alerted me, in the upper right hand corner, that someone is trying desperately to tell me something on Facebook Messenger. I have events coming up. It’s someone’s birthday.

There is an endless amount of things that must happen. Right now.

This morning I broke down. I ended up back in bed, after having been up for half an hour, sobbing. Uncontrollably. Sobbing so hard it hurt in my stomach and lower back. The weight of everything spilling over. I realized: this is just what it is. This is life.

A few weeks ago Paco, our little dog, jumped out of our bed and did something to his spine and couldn’t walk anymore. We had to take him outside to pee, expressing him by pressing on his bladder. He shit in his bed at night and didn’t know it. One of our cats began pissing blood. He had crystals in his urine. My mother tried to grow her hair back but it fell out again. She doesn’t like the chemo infusions. She says she can’t sit there like that, for endless hours, having chemicals pumped into her. I’ve had bronchitis for the past six weeks. At night I find it hard to breathe, like a great pressure pushing down on me.

Laying in bed, the blankets pulled over my head, I wondered: can I do this? Is it actually sustainable? Am I capable of this? Outside I knew Jon and Alex were fed up with me. Tired of my tantrums. Maybe I should leave. Even though I say we are broke I could leave. The money would be there if I needed it: plane tickets and a new life. An allowance to buy me some time while I re-figure out who I am. The money is always there when I need it. And I’ve done this before. Disappearing into new cities, leaving everything behind. Maybe that is what I should do now. Just disappear. I’ve failed at this life. Maybe it’s time to make a new one.

Ten and a half months ago I got married. We are discussing buying a new house. Laying down roots. More roots. More restrictions. More shackles. And I think about freedom. I think about space. I think about escape. I think about who I am and who I am becoming. 13 months and a few days ago Jon moved in with us. Taking up more space in my life, in my head, in my heart, and in the bed, on the couch, using the bathroom and his shirts and underwear taking up room on the floor and in the dresser. In two weeks Alex will go back to work, in six weeks he will leave for six months. He’s barely been here at all. I feel like I haven’t even had the chance to spend any time with him: because there is no time between the loads of laundry and the doctor and the constant negotiating of all the aspects of our lives. He just got here and now he is leaving again.

I look around my house. I look at all the books. At everything I love. And I feel the burden of things that are trivial, empty, meaningless: and yet all those trivial, empty, meaningless things grow into one giant weight, while the love seems to lose whatever power it once had to help elevate me.

There is the car honking outside. There is the neighbors fighting. There are all those bills: endlessly appearing and subtracting what I have. From my bank accounts. From my relationships. From my self.

I find myself thinking a lot about “a room of one’s own”. A quiet space where I can disappear for a while. I’ve been talking about going to Berlin or Madrid. About living in those dark, poetic skies in Kreuzberg, or on the Chueca Square. Of quiet and space: lying on the floor, no noise, no people, just thinking…my thoughts flying away from me, forever spiraling into new dimensions. Of going for long walks through strange new neighborhoods: a life of discovery.

Of being alone.

There are so many of us. There are so many socks and shoes and shirts: so many different feelings and thoughts and needs: there is never a break: never a moment when you can sit back and just be.

Or at least that is how it feels. The truth is: this is all wrong.

When I am frustrated or upset instead of getting sad or quiet or asking for help I yell. I get mad. I am conflict driven. I work it out through fury.   This can be exhausting for those closest to me. For those who have to suffer my bursts of unexplainable rage. I like to blame everything else around me for the inadequacies I feel inside: the amount of people in the house at any given time, the laundry, the noise, Alex and Jon laughing or talking, the lack of money, the constancy of bills, the political climate and the whole fucking world. The problem is always outside of me. And I start punching.

The truth is simple: there is never time for myself unless I take the time. I know this but I don’t do it. Instead I am constantly caving to the endless chatter of Facebook and the New York Times: the constant call to pay attention to things that don’t actually matter.

Time and space and individuality are, for me, the biggest challenges in this relationship triangle I find myself in. All I want to do is be with them and all I want to do is get away from them.

Yesterday I blew up. I was sitting at my desk: which currently sits in the middle of the living room. When Alex is in Spokane and Jon is working and everyone is out of the house it is my favorite place to be: just me surrounded by all my books. When everyone is home it is chaos. As I sat there, frustrated because I couldn’t write, listening to Rene’s Mexican pop music and Jon and Alex giggling on the couch at Tumblr gifs I began thinking about how impossible my life was. How I had no space, no time: that I could not write and it was their fault. Everything was their fault.

I started huffing and puffing, stomping around: I was mad and they were going to know it. Everyone was going to feel what I was feeling.

Part of what happens, I know, is I pre-fight in my head. I work up a good fury before I even take it to the people. I imagine all the things I am mad at, all the wrongs done to me: I see how no one else is living up to my expectations of them. How everyone else is fucking up my life. I talk to them in my head. Hold lengthy monologues where I tell them how they are fucking up. In my head my arguments always make sense, they always add up: I am always totally justified in what I am feeling and in how I express it. I am always right.

Of course, none if it went as planned. Because they are there too: they are not the them that live in my head: they are real people with their own inner dialogues and their own expectations: their own needs.

I was hysterical with fury and panic. What started out as “I can’t think. I need space. I can’t write.” Turned into a discussion about our entire relationship and whether or not we should even continue. Five hours dissecting every aspect of every possible problem. When all I was really upset about was not having a space to myself. But they had their own upsets. Their own complaints and worries and fears: they were their own universes with their own needs and dogmas. Their own internal monologues. And it all ended up being dumped right there on the floor in front of us.

Alex and I discussed divorce. We discussed my just leaving for six months, moving to Amsterdam or Barcelona, where I could finish my novel. We discussed just giving up sex and opening our relationship up. I was melodramatic. I made them each promise not to leave me right away if we broke up.

I always wonder at people. At their relationships. At how they behave with each other when there is no one else there. I wonder at people beyond Facebook and the bars: I wonder at the truth. I wonder do they go as crazy as I do? Do they ever get angry and yell and scream? Do they say unforgivable things to each other? Do they worry that they are more Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woof and less Love Actually? Do they ever think about all the shit that keeps piling up, suffocating whatever love is there? Do they fight endlessly about nothing, worrying themselves down to the sharpest nerve? Or are they calm and quiet and perfect? Do they live in houses cluttered with clothes and books and the debris of life or are their floors clean and swept, white curtains blowing eternally in the gentlest wind? Everyone else always seems to have their shit together and I always seem to feel like it’s all falling apart.

We didn’t get divorced. We didn’t “open up”. We also didn’t necessarily solve any of our problems: in truth I’m not even sure exactly what our problems are. I’m still trying to figure that out. We all left the bedroom a little broken, a little sad: those kinds of conversations never really work out. I’m beginning to think “talking it through” might not always be the best idea. Maybe sometimes the best idea is just walking away. Getting a little space. A little time for yourself. Maybe a hike in Griffith Park. A walk to Larchmont. Sit in a café and read. A matinee alone. Sometimes we are so up in each other’s faces we can’t even breathe anymore.

I am realizing something about myself: all this talking isn’t about the talking: it’s about fear. About being afraid that I am no longer loved. Or enough. That no one wants me anymore. All this talking, this fighting, this round-about endless dissecting has very little to do with solutions. I want everyone to stop and just pay attention to me. I want them to all be happy and behave exactly how I want them to behave. How I expect them to behave. And that is the fucking endless problem. My expectations of how they should be behaving. My expectations of how life should be: how my life should look. My endless expectations of how everything and everyone around me should behave.

And so I am endlessly let down.

I want space but I want you to always want to be around me. I want time alone but I want you to be always thinking of me, always wanting me: content to just sit around waiting for me. But I also want you to go out and work: just in a way that is convenient to my needs. I want Alex to be successful but I don’t want him to go away for six months: so I get mad. I want Jon to write but I don’t want him to sit in the living room writing when I want to write: so I get mad.

I want the world to conform to me and it will not. It absolutely will not. And that makes me fucking furious.

I am like a five year old kicking and screaming and demanding that everyone listen to me: give to me: save me.

And even knowing this I still think that everybody would be much happier if they just did things my way: if everyone just did what I said. I’m smart. I’ve lived a pretty crazy life. And I’ve survived it. I know what the fuck I’m talking about. I’m pretty sure I know better than everyone else how they should be living their lives.

People should fucking trust me.

This morning I was talking to a friend of mine on Facebook Messenger. He and his husband recently opened up. I asked him how it was.

“Fine.” He said. “Less than I thought.”
“Less how?”

“I’m still not getting laid.”

He was mad at his husband. They hadn’t had sex in a month. They kept fighting about it. Talking about it. All the fighting and talking had begun to make the idea of sex seem not just unsexy but kind of repulsive.

“I don’t even want to fuck him anymore.”

I’d fuck his husband. He is hot. While listening to my friend I found myself imaging me fucking his husband. See, if we were open, I could fuck his husband. It would be okay.

Then I wondered if Alex would fuck him. Who would Alex fuck? And Jon? And I started getting mad. I could feel it building. It’s okay if I fuck the world but you better not want to fuck anyone who isn’t me.

Alex and I share a tumblr account. We post pictures of guys (mixed in with pictures of the three of us) that we think are hot. Recently Alex reblogged a picture of some hairy muscle daddy. I kept going back to that picture. Staring at it. Trying to divine what Alex liked so much about it: fine, it is obvious, the guy is hot. Hotter than me. And that was the problem. I didn’t mind if Alex reblogged chubby older white guys: but lately he’s been reblogging younger guys, muscle guys: super fucking sexy guys. And I didn’t like that. In fact, it made me fucking pissed. Because he shouldn’t want them. He should want me. Why isn’t he taking pictures of me and reblogging them (For the record, if I were honest: he is…it just isn’t enough…but then it is becoming clear none of it is enough)? Why isn’t he texting me and talking to me….and honestly, why does he jerk off in the shower? Why does he even jerk off at all? Why can’t he always fuck me? Why does he….and on it goes until the fury builds and I am ready to fight. To tear it all down. To fucking destroy everything.

“Do you and your dude still fuck?” I asked my friend.

“No. But that’s why we decided to do this. He says he isn’t in a sexual space, whatever the fuck that means. He isn’t horny. But I know he’s fucking other guys. I’ve gone on his phone and looked at his Scruff account. If he isn’t feeling sexual why does he even have a Scruff account?”

“Do you have a Scruff account?”
“Of course.”

I told Alex and Jon if we ever opened up I didn’t want to announce it on Facebook. I didn’t want to know about their adventures. I didn’t want to see it.

But here is something I have learned about me: I can start out adamantly against something, and I can begin to reason with myself.   Begin to see where maybe I have been wrong. I can be opinionated and arrogant and judgmental, but I am also willing to change. To see other sides of the argument. Maybe not while the argument is happening: I am designed to fight to win, but after the battle is over: I begin to think about it. To consider it: to let the opposing sides in. So maybe I would want to know about it: maybe their adventures would become my fantasies. Maybe this could become the new tool in our sexuality. A way to flirt with each other.

Because I want to be involved. I want to be included. Not just because I am selfish and greedy and want the world to revolve around me (all basically true statements) but also because then it feels healthy, it feels like we are still intimate on some level: participating in each other’s sexuality.

Sex matters to me. I believe sexual intimacy is important…maybe even essential to what I want from a relationship: but I’m also beginning to see it doesn’t have to be limited. Maybe being open is a way of allowing all of us to explore what we need, and then bring those experiences back to the relationship. A way to learn more about ourselves.

Alex used to say, when we were first dating, that he didn’t want to limit my sexuality. So much of who we are and what we need or want gets limited: restricted: inside a relationship. But we don’t necessarily have to give in to that. We can step out side the constraints and try something new.

And still be us.

Life is not easy. Often it is hard and messy. Sometimes it feels designed to oppress us. To hold us down. To keep us trapped inside our narrow worlds. But we can step outside those boxes: walk around our self-made prisons, consider life on the outside.

I believe that the only limitations we have are the ones we place on ourselves. That doesn’t mean I will become a world class Opera singer or president: but it doesn’t mean I have to live a small, narrow life either. I can go big if I really want to. I can go as big as I allow myself.

And the other thing I am beginning to realize: all those things that are driving me so crazy: my cellphone bill, my car insurance, mortgage payments and the constant people who are always around me, loving me: wanting and expecting things from me, little Paco and our cat Ash, Henry and Dorian, all these things that are driving me so fucking crazy right now: they are blessings. Things I have fought for. Things I have built. Things I love. I love my house: our home. I love my books and the computer that Alex and Jon bought me for my birthday. I love our crazy little world of animals, I love the two men who sit on the couch and giggle and whisper to each other: even when we forget that we are friends and not enemies, I love them: I love the car my father bought for me when I met Alex and was embarrassed to tell him that I was recently sober and had lost my car along with my house and everything else: I love my father who never stops supporting and loving me, my dying mother who has beat the odds over and over again: I love this life that just three and a half years ago, drowning in drugs and alcohol, seemed so impossible, so far away: I love the way sunlight plays across the wood floors: all these annoyances and distractions are mine.

I have fought hard for this life. And I am lucky. I can remember so clearly living at 1036 Sanborn Ave, high on oxy and whiskey, standing naked in front of a mirror screaming at myself: hearing voices telling me to jump out the window: to die: telling me I was alone and I would always be alone. Forever.

But that was just a lie. I am not alone. I am surrounded by love. Even as we disappoint each other, even as we save each other, even as we scream and yell and cry: if I can just remember: this is mine. It is what I have always wanted.

And while everything comes at a price: it is never so high to make it not worth it. And so maybe my white curtains never seem to flow as perfectly in that gentle warm breeze as I would like, and maybe there are dishes in the sink that no one seems to be doing, and Paco is always barking, and Jon is doing the fucking kitty litter box again, and Alex is watching some stupid video, and maybe Facebook keeps reminding me to wish some asshole I don’t know happy birthday, all of these things…are mine.

I have been given the chance at a new life. Most of you never knew me when I was high. Will never know how far I fell. How desperate and scared and ugly it got. How fucking alone I was. How in those moments late at night I would have sold my soul for the life I have been given.

And then I remember: this is magic. I listen to a lot of people talking about how horrible the world is. How mean humans are. How terrible and ugly everything is. And I know: life is what I want it to be. Even as my mother dies she goes to book clubs and she has lunch with friends: even as she coughs up blood she tells jokes and makes dinners for the people she loves.

There can be so much ugliness and despair and hate. But all the things that seem to hurt so much are all the things I have loved so deeply.

A few days ago, driving down Fountain Avenue, I pulled over on the side of the road and began sobbing. My mother had been telling me about a book she was reading. I could see her there in her apartment, Don asleep, shadows surrounding her, it would be cold outside: and she would be both frail and endlessly strong: she would be this woman who was sick and old and she would be my mother, young and healthy and beautiful, a woman famous for the parties she threw, famous for the artists she knew, my mother standing on the banks of rivers conjuring ghosts. After we hung up I pulled over to the side of the road, alone, and sobbed. I screamed at God. Because if he existed he was a monster. My mother did not deserve to suffer like this: she did not deserve this ending to her life. She did not fucking deserve this pain. My mother did not deserve this and fuck God and the Universe and fuck everyone who lived on this miserable ugly planet.

And then my phone rang. It was my mom calling again. I picked up.

“I forgot to tell you!” she said, her voice raspy from coughing.

“What?” I asked, trying to hide the fact that I had just been crying.

“Just how grateful I am. You know, I’m not grateful I got cancer, but I am grateful for what it showed me. I keep thinking how every thing I’ve ever done in my life was selfish. I left you and your brother, I’ve cheated on so many men, I’ve been selfish and petty and yet tonight, all these women came over and made dinner with me and we watched Sherlock and then we laughed and gossiped till after midnight. I mean, think about that. And I am grateful for you. And for Damon. I don’t think I deserve the life I’ve gotten. I am the luckiest person I know.”

I do not think I deserve the life I have gotten. I have cheated and lied and betrayed those I love. I have squandered the gifts I have been given. I am rarely grateful and when I am it is usually a prelude to wanting more.

And if there is a God I’m still pretty sure I do not like him. Not one fucking bit.

“We are blessed, you know.” My mother said to me. “You and I. We have been blessed. Kissed by heaven. My whole life I’ve been giving God the finger. I’m glad he has been more tolerant of me than I have been of him.”

 

TRIAD LIVING PART SIX

Triad Living

No one can prepare you for the amount of fucking that goes on in Berlin. But I will get to that in a moment.

The thing people don’t seem to get, or that they struggle with, is that Jon is not our toy. He is not some thing we took for a period of time that we will one day send back into the world. He isn’t a solution to some problem we were having.   Jon is one third of the equation. An equal component. That’s the part most people don’t seem to really understand: that we are one relationship with three people.   Each person equal. Each person essential. In the beginning Alex and I were the “core relationship”. It had to be that way. We were bringing someone else in. We were the established couple. In the beginning “We” were dating Jon. But that isn’t sustainable, not in the long run, not in a real relationship. The structures had to be torn down and rebuilt. The way “We” did things had to change and grow to accept this new person. In some ways “We” were dissolving and the three of us were becoming.

And that is not easy.   We often fought against it. Sometimes we still do. Alex and I had to learn to allow parts of who we were to dissolve while maintaining the core of who “We” were. We still get to exist. We have been together for almost three years longer than we have known Jon. We have a whole life together. A whole world of shared events. And that doesn’t change. It doesn’t go away. And none of us, Jon included, want that to go away. It’s what helped draw Jon in. Our love, the way Alex and I loved each other, is part of what attracted Jon to us in the first place. We aren’t going to give that up.

Jon is not our puppy. He is not our boy. He is not our fuck toy (though to be honest, I kind of see both Alex and Jon as my fuck toys, but I think that’s okay. I think they like it). Jon is one of Us. Just like I am. Just like Alex is.

We are a family.

The other thing people don’t seem to understand is: just because we are a triad doesn’t mean we are sluts looking to fuck the world (though, sometimes, that might be true. Often it might be true. My point is: we have rules.) Just because I have two boyfriends (well, a husband and a boyfriend) does not mean I’m going to suck your dick in the bathroom. It doesn’t mean we are “open”. It doesn’t mean any of your fantasies about a Triad are true.

Now I’m sure some of you will throw this last paragraph back in my face when I get to Berlin and the endless asses and dicks we encountered there, and for that matter, all over Europe, during our honeymoon. I’m not pretending that we live a conventional kind of life, or that we want a conventional relationship…it’s just…some guys seem to think because I am in a Triad they can say and insinuate and do anything they want. It’s like they’ve watched so much porn they forget that we live in the real world with consequences and rules and feelings and that we still pay our bills and have to go to work and sometimes would rather stay home and watch TV and eat ice cream than go to your lame chem sex party at the Holiday Inn Express in Silverlake. To be honest, I’m pretty sure we’d always rather stay home than go to some random hotel sex party. But then again, who knows? I guess it depends on who’s throwing the party and who’s going.

We don’t like to be limited either.

Rules are the corner stone of our lives: it’s what makes all of this work. We aren’t free flowing sex liberals always on the hunt for our new lay. We aren’t burning sage all day long and chanting sex positive affirmations. We are just three dudes. And sometimes we can get really horny and go a little crazy. And other times we want to eat pizza and watch the Golden Girls. Sometimes we are dogs on the prowl and sometimes we are all emo wrapped in blankets and hiding out from the world.

I still role my eyes when I read posts on Facebook from guys who go on and on about how they don’t need just one person, they can love an endless amount of guys, and when one love is over they can let it go, easily, and move to the next. I want to say: if it’s so easy than maybe it isn’t love. Because losing Jon or Alex would be devastating: soul shaking: world destroying.

I’m not in this to love the world. I’m in this to share my life with these two very particular, very specific guys.

And that brings me to the word Poly. Alex is always telling me we aren’t Poly. I think, by default, because we are more than just two, we are Poly (polyamorous). According to the dictionary polyamory is: the practice or condition of participating simultaneously in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship.

That is us. Almost. Sort of. Are we polyamorous? I don’t feel like that is us. We are not participating in more than one serious romantic or sexual relationship (sure we have fucked a lot of other guys together, but I’d like to point out that word serious: none of them were serious. Some were seriously hot, but none of them went beyond fucking. A few of them might even be friends, but again: that word serious sounds pretty fucking serious, it has weight, meaning.).

Alex, Jon and I are participating in one serious romantic relationship: our relationship. The three of us. We are one. So maybe being in a Triad doesn’t make us Poly. Are we Poly because we sometimes go and fuck other guys? If that were the case than, whether people know it or admit it, most of us are poly. Cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend makes you poly. The random blowjob at the gym or in the back of the car when drunk that you never intended to happen and doesn’t really mean anything about the person you happen to actually be in love with means you are poly. If I go by the idea that having sexual -relations with more than one person equals poly then the word becomes kind of irrelevant.

The urban dictionary adds a twist: it implies that everyone involved must know about the other sex or romantic partners. I guess that sort of sounds like us. But again, not really.

Maybe I believe that all of us, to one degree or another, have the ability to be Poly. I learned after we met Jon that my capacity for love is larger than I ever could have imagined: that it was not limited. I have learned that just because I fuck another guy, or Alex does, or Jon does, it doesn’t mean I don’t want the guys I am in a relationship with. It just means that my sexuality is large: it encompasses many things, and I am willing to explore that and be open to it.

I want to explore the boundaries of love and sexuality. I do not want any of us to be locked inside a box: a prison made out of societal constructs on what relationships and sexuality are: but I still am not sure that makes the three of us poly.

I am in one relationship with two guys. The three of us form one unit. Us.

And then there is Berlin, and that infamous Laboratory, and Barcelona with the sexy Columbian, and Madrid…Madrid and all those outrageously sexy guys. I guess those stories will have to wait.

But I don’t think any of that makes us Poly. I just think it makes us humans. With really big sexualities.

Or maybe I am just really against being defined by someone else’s words and the weight that comes with those words. Maybe I think we should all just be allowed to live our lives how we want: monogamy or open, couple or triad or in some communal love den, or single, building different alliances. In the end as long as we are loving it’s like a win-win situation, right? As long as we are taking care of someone else, holding them, loving them, while also taking care of ourselves, and allowing them to hold us, what’s the problem?

I love Alex. I love Jon. And I get to be loved by them. Before we leave the house we huddle up. We kiss each other. They are taller than me so I can look up when they are kissing and see them. Their eyes closed, the way they move in, close: the openness of it. There is something so endlessly beautiful in that moment: something that has captured me and made them mine.

And then we hold each other and I know we are safe. I know that we can go out into the world and that we will be okay.

Because they are my family.

 

THE STORY OF US PART FIVE: FAIRY TALES

The Story of Us

None of it was easy, not in the beginning, but looking back on it now I realize it was just life doing what life does: spinning endlessly and wildly: always a little too fast, a little too intense, so it was hard to catch up: hard to see what was happening. So many things had happened, so many changes and new additions to my life that I had no idea how to incorporate this new love, this whole new idea of who we were into that madly shifting existence.

I remember when I found out my mother had cancer. I was in the middle of my drug relapse. I was at a job in Hollywood and I walked out into the alley in the back, off Wilcox, just below Hollywood Blvd, standing a few feet away from a street actor dressed like Michael Jackson and a strange alien-esque looking Trannie in hot pink lycra pants and a silver top smoking a joint.

My mother’s voice was calm at first. And then it wasn’t.

It is a strange kind of heart break listening to your mother cry and know there is nothing you can do. You are powerless.

Life is barreling toward us: full speed: a train roaring through the night and we stand, star struck by some simmering light in the sky, unaware that we are about to be hit, smashed, destroyed and left behind.

And afterward we find a way to stand back up and climb our way back into some newly precarious situation: mesmerized again by some startling little piece of beauty, walking endlessly off the cliff.

I have said this before: Jon was supposed to be a trick. Just some sexy dude from Orange County who was going to come over and fuck me with my boyfriend and then go home.

Alex and I were excited. Finding tops is not easy in this town. Mostly Alex and I fucked other bottoms together. Jon was a rare and magical find: that second top.

We pre-met at the Faultline where I was working the door. We went into a small back dressing room and made out. It was sexy. I remember the way my heart beat, pounding inside my chest: nervous and excited. I had to help Jon walk through the crowd: it was busy, sweaty, half naked men everywhere: the music invasively loud: porn playing on video screens through out the large open space: I remember moving men out of the way for him. People know me there. They tend to move out of the way when I am coming through.

I like to look back at moments.   To see the truth of them. But of course, looking back at the moment and assigning truth is like telling a lie: creating a story: a fairy tale re-remembering through vastly different lenses then the ones we were looking through in the present. I like to think I fell in love instantly with Jon. That I knew, in that moment, somewhere in my pounding heart, that Jon was special.

Maybe I did. It’s possible. Or maybe, like most things in the present, I was so lost in the swirling chaos and the rabid fury of my thoughts that I noticed nothing: life seems to hold all it’s meaning in retrospect, never in the moment.

Here is what I do know: it is a fact, an actual truth: we made plans to meet again. I can’t say for sure if my motives were two dicks or potential love (though, for those of you who know me I’m sure you are all thinking the same thing: two dicks) but either way, we made a plan. David Bowie’s Cracked Actor Documentary and Pizza. And then Alex was going to show Jon our assortment of butt toys. And what he likes to do with them: to me.

I wonder, looking back and trying to find meaning, if everything had gone perfectly: if they had fucked me in that relentless fashion I was hoping for: holding me down and grounding me, centering me in that way that only seems to happen when you are being thoroughly fucked: if we had actually broken out the toys, if we had that hour and a half of porn quality fantasy inducing sex: would we have ever seen Jon again? Maybe it was the flaws: the nervous dicks, the anxious kisses, the awkward fumblings of three men trying to find a place for themselves on that bed: maybe it was the lack of “truly amazing” that first time that allowed the door to crack open onto something better: a glimpse at who we really were: strange and awkward and insecure, nervous and scared and hopeful: wanting and needing and funny. There was an energy there, a kind of crazy and creative magic that I do know I felt because each kiss burned bright in my mind: each time the three of us held hands, the taste of sweat, the overwhelming body heat: there was a kind of emotional intensity to each contact, each passing moment.

We all came. And afterward we lay there, kind of stunned. I was trying to piece together what had just happened: empirically speaking it was not the best sex I had ever had, but those last few moments when the two of them were lying next to me, touching me and kissing me while I jerked off: I felt like I was on fire: burning through my life: lit up in flames and exploding.

There is a kind of sex that is for one night stands and there is a kind of sex that is for the building of love. One night stands are intense and brilliant because they stand alone: they are chemical: animal: they are connections without the burden. There is something beautiful and violent and magical about those experiences.   And then there is the kind of sex that builds: it grows and expands: it lives inside you even when you aren’t together: it merges into your daily thoughts and living: it is a slow burn, an expanding, growing kind of hunger.

I have laid in bed, Jon and Alex kneeling over me, kissing each other, their hands rubbing my belly, stroking me while I watch them, playing with me: and I am lost inside the two of them: the love I can see in those kisses, in the way they hold each other; when Alex is inside me and Jon holds me, kissing me, looking into my eyes: watching me: seeing me: pinning me there in that moment: that present that extends out beyond the three of us into some kind of eternity we can only catch glimpses of like flares shot over a dark and endless ocean or comets shooting through a vast and eternal night, disappearing faster than they appear: lighting up the whole world only to fade, leaving shadows and memory.

In those moments, when the two of them are inside me, I think I can see the whole of it: I can feel my skin, my body, my soul all collapsing.

And then there are times when I want to break it all. Because lets be real: I can be a fucking brat.

Recently Alex came home for the weekend from Spokane where he is working on a TV show, ZNation. Jon and I have been living alone. Seeing Alex for weekends once or twice a month. The three of us struggling to maintain the three of us: and mostly succeeding. Doing impossibly well considering that one third of us is gone six months out of the year.

There is a thing that I like to do. I love to give them both head while watching them make out. It drives me crazy. It is sexy beyond sexy. I can see everything in those moments: I can see the love and the passion and the desire: I can see it all in how they kiss each other.

But for some reason, that weekend, I was feeling insecure. I was angry. I was in my head: terrible deracinating thoughts about abandonment and failure and betrayal. I imagined all the ways they would leave me. I saw, in those kisses, while I was sucking their dicks: true love: more love than either of them could ever feel for me. I saw a passion I suddenly decided they didn’t have for me.

Now, if I were being rational, if I were thinking in any kind of sane way I would have seen how crazy this is: I am the bottom in my relationship to Jon and Alex. I am the object of desire. I am sucking their dicks. I am jumping on them and kissing them and they are always touching me and hugging me and saying sexy things to me: I am so loved it is almost unfair. And: I want them to be in love: I want them to feel all of those things for each other: without that: without all of us loving each other this can’t work. It can’t survive: it is essential.

But in that moment I wasn’t thinking rational. So when it was my turn to take my place between them, the two of them cuddling up to me, while I began to jerk off: I stopped and jumped out of the bed and said:

“Forget it. I’m not going to cum.” Then I looked at the two of them and said, “You know, I like when people kiss me too.”
What was I even talking about? I had been lying there for about three seconds, they were just beginning to touch me, just beginning recover from the blowjobs I had given them: if I had given them a few more seconds I know what would have happened: they would have kissed me and touched me and guided me and I would have had one of those amazing explosive orgasms that only seems to come when the three of us are all together.

But it wasn’t possible. Because I had allowed the thoughts to poison me way before we ever go to that moment. I had been pre-fighting with them for hours. This is a game I like to play: where I hold whole conversations and fights in my head: trying out every angle, every possible terrible outcome.

So even though we hadn’t fought, even though nothing was wrong: I felt like we had been fighting for hours: and in the end, that is how I reacted. Toward them.

That moment turned into one of those endless arguments were we broke up, I kicked Jon out, stood outside till sunrise not letting Jon leave until finally, exhausted, we all fell asleep.

Like I said: I can be a real brat.

I’d like to say this was a one time thing: but it isn’t. I’ve done this exact thing a few times. It’s what happens when I start pre-thinking. I think a lot about the power of our thoughts. I am pre-disposed to certain aspects of magical thinking. But what is undeniable to me, what I can not escape: the way I am thinking does effect the shifting contours of my life. If I had been thinking about love and how lucky I was to have these two guys then I would have gotten them off in one of my favorite ways possible, and then been able to get off with the two of them next to me, kissing me and touching me and it would have been hot and intense and amazing. Instead, the whole experience turned into a six hour fight and I never came.

There is real power to our thoughts. I have suffered whole days of terrible insidious jealousy and insecurity that if I had been thinking clearly I would have seen was not in any way backed up by the facts. But again, that is only knowable in retrospect: in the moment I am often too lost in the swirling chaos to have any idea what truth would even look like.

So here is what I would like to say: in that moment, in the small dressing room at the Faultline, when I first saw Alex and Jon kiss, when I first kissed Jon while Alex held my hand, when the three of us pulled in tight, into our circle, hands held, eyes closed, breathing each other’s breath: taking turns kissing: I would like to say I knew that this moment was a foretelling: it was a prediction of something beautiful, something wonderful: and in my mind that is the truth: that is what I know. I mean, what else is the truth than what I remember it to be? If you were to show me a picture of that moment I know this is how it would look: the three of us connected, eyes half closed, hands holding on, pushing into each other, safe. Real.

And yet I know there is another truth: a darker truth, and yet no less beautiful: that I was scared. That I am still scared. Because I have no idea what any of it means. That there are no guarantees.

My mother didn’t die of cancer like they said she would. She fought. She didn’t beat it but she’s held it at bay, its chopping gnashing teeth just inches from her face: never gone, always there, but not destroying her.

Life is relentless like that. It is beautiful and violent and it is kind and terrifying and it holds secrets that we can catch only vague shadowy glimpses of: candles blowing out in a discordant wind, flares across a broken sky, in the way we kiss and hold each other, the sweat off his back pressed against my chest, the way he cries in front of us, the palm of his hand over his face trying to hide: knowing that we can see him.

Whether I knew it or not in that small dressing room: destiny was occurring: regardless of my fear, of my insecurities, regardless of all the fights and the despair: something beautiful happened in those moments: something that would grow in spite of us: because of us: through us.

I am predisposed towards optimism. I am predisposed to believe my life will always turn out well. And I can’t help but think that is a kind of magick all its own.

THE STORY OF US PART FOUR

The Story of Us

THE STORY OF US PART FOUR

It is important to explain that Alex had been gone for six months. He came home, in October, from Season One of Znation. Our focus was supposed to be on our wedding. That was supposed to be the only thing we thought about.

We decided that I would fly to Spokane and meet Alex and we would drive North to Vancouver and then slowly, over three weeks, back down to LA. It was a strange period in my life. It was almost a year ago that I had found out I was HIV positive. Alex had been gone for six months. I would be getting married. Life was changing in strange and mysterious ways. Just three years ago I was still a drug addict. October is a heavy month for me. It is the month I got sober and the month I found out my status.

In a strange way I like to link these things to Rosh ha Shanna and Yom Kippur. I am not religious and I certainly don’t believe in the kind of God described by Judaism, but there is something healing in the idea of a new year and redemption, forgiveness.

I once asked a Rabbi why the Jews blow the shofar at Rosh ha Shanna. He told me the Jews have a contract with God, and every year, for Rosh ha Shanna, we renew that contract. That each year mankind’s fate hangs in a sort of existential balance. Will this be the year God finally gives up on us? Or will he find something beautiful, something worthwhile in man, and be our King for one more year?

One of my favorite things to do is go listen to the Rabbi blow the shofar. The sound does something to me, conjures something up inside me: it reminds me of something I think I have forgotten. There is a magick to it. The Rabbi told me that we blow the shofar in order to cry out to God, imploring him, reminding him that we are worth another year of existence. Begging him not to give up on us: to renew the contract between man and deity. But it is also the cry of humanity into the great darkness, the void, the endless scream, howling for our creator: because we have been severed, cut off from the source, and the cry of the shofar is the cry of our pain, calling out to God to know us. To believe in us. To have faith in us.

In some strange way I believe this. The sound of the ram’s horn blowing, the Rabbi standing there, dark and mysterious and wrapped in cloth: it is desolate, full of despair and pain, full of loneliness and terror: the sound pierces me. For one brief moment, wrapped in that wail, I am the one standing alone, trembling, shaking, waiting for God to decide: am I worth it? Am I worthy of this existence?

In Seattle we fucked a sexy bartender we had met on Scruff. We had spent the night wandering around Seattle’s Capital Hill, eating dinner, checking out all the bars: we flirted with a sexy bear couple, watched a drag queen do karaoke, sat on stone walls and watched as people walked by, the endless parade of humanity that fills cities on weekend nights: are we happy? Is this fun? Is this it? Is this everything? Is there more? Can I be more?… a silent chant flickering in the eyes of everyone we saw.

We had seen the bartender at one of the many gay bars we had been to. I was unclear on how sexy I thought he was until he sent us a picture of his ass: he had one of those asses that you don’t say no to.

It was four am. We were staying in a studio we had rented on airbnb. Alex was drunk. I told the guy to come over, get naked, bend over the couch, and just let us do what we wanted. He seemed to like that idea. I went down stairs to let the guy in. When we came back, Alex was sitting on the couch, a drunken silly-sexy smile on his face, completely naked, hardon sticking up proud as ever. I fell so madly in love with him in that moment. He was outrageous and funny and ridiculous and stupid sexy all at the same time.

We fucked that bartender with the amazing ass until none of us could stand, and then we sent him home, Alex and I curling up in the small loft bed, the sun coming up, birds loud and obnoxious out the window, and held each other as we fell asleep.

I tell this story because it stands out for me as a visceral and gorgeous testimonial to my love for Alex. He was the first guy I was ever able to truly be myself with. In all aspects. I didn’t have to hide my sexual sides: the dirty dog who wanted to fuck some dude bent over the couch at 4am and than send him home, barely speaking two words, and then cuddling with my lover, wrapped in sweat and cum and ass funk, and laugh at how amazing our lives were. I could be vulnerable with him and stupid with him and scared: he has never rejected me, never looked at me like something was wrong inside me, never found a flaw with my desires or fears or insecurities, he has never made me feel dirty or unworthy. And it makes me think of that shofar: the two of us standing on a mountain top, the world vast and endless, the sky above us eternal: infinite in its alien intelligence, and suddenly I no longer feel so alone: together we will wail and scream and howl at the world, at God, at the terror: and together we will celebrate ourselves: in all our dirty, shit mongering, diseased, beautiful, disastrous ways.

And it will be okay. We will all be okay.

The next day we drove to Vancouver. We had rented an amazing one-bedroom apartment at the End of Davie, at the sea-wall, on the 18th floor overlooking the beach and the ocean in one direction, and the city and the mountains in the other. We spent three days in Vancouver eating bagels on Granville, wandering the City, meeting new friends and fucking on the couch overlooking that incredible view.

Then we drove the long drive to Portland: I don’t really get Portland as a City. It feels strangely detached and cold to me, sexless in an oversexed way, but the food was fucking amazing. Seriously, I’ve had some amazing meals in that town.

In San Francisco we became friends with our Uber driver: I still regret not inviting him up to our apartment and fucking senselessly: it was so obvious we all wanted it, but it just didn’t happen. He did meet us later that night and we’ve all become friends, but have no doubt: I plan to fuck that Uber driver into the ground the first chance I get (or maybe let him fuck me into the ground, Alex and Jon holding me down). We made out with a sexy bearded man at the Eagle, and stayed up all night sitting on the balcony of the house we rented in Twin Peaks and watched as the fog devoured the City, enshrouding it in a kind of ecstatic gloom. During the day we drank Phil’s Coffee and wandered used book stores and magick shops and bought a new dildo for me: I love the reverence Alex shows towards my ass, an idolatry toward it: this makes me want to show it off for him, put myself on display: offer myself up to him: when it is just us my whole being becomes focused on his pleasure: submissive and hungry and madly in love.

We decided on a wedding date. February 21. I had grand ideas about our wedding at first. I thought about renting a house in Cambria or Big Sur. I considered Ojai and Idylwild. Moroccan estates in Palm Springs. Beach front properties in Malibu. Then we decided maybe just have it at the house. We have this tiny but amazing 1910 craftsman with original detail in Hollywood. A cute little back courtyard. Why spend thousands of dollars on a wedding when we could save it all for a grand honeymoon adventure…we love travel adventures.

The future was open. We thought we knew the course of things. We had no idea that in a few weeks we were going to meet Jon, fall in love, and invite him in to our adventure.

The Rabbi told me another story. This is when I was 22, in the midst of a dark and heavy heroin addiction. I had been sent to him for counseling. Rehab and AA and therapy hadn’t worked. Maybe a man beholden to a mythical God could save me. He told me about a boy in a small Russian village who had been very sick and was dying. His parents went to the Rabbi and asked for his help. The Rabbi prayed and prayed to God, and still the boy was sick, dying. He brought together all the elite holy men of the village, and they prayed to God, begging for a reprieve, but the boy only got sicker. Then the Rabbi went to the other side of the village, where the thieves and murders and whores lived and he brought them to the boy’s bedside and together, with those thieves and murders and whores he prayed to God. And the boy got better.

“Sometimes, Jeff, it isn’t the good or the holy who save the world. Sometimes we need a thief to break into the kingdom of Heaven and get God’s attention. Sometimes we need a whore to remind God how beautiful we can be. This path you are on, it is your path. We can not judge you for it. We can not condemn you for it. It is the path that you must walk with your Creator. Find a way to make it wondrous, find a way to make it a testament to God.”

When people ask me why I write I think back to that Rabbi, and I think, this is my testament to God. Together my Creator and I wallow in filth and debauchery, in sex and in vile beauties, and together we redeem ourselves, and together we grow: hand in hand, each of us completely dependent upon the other.

TO BE CONTINUED….

TRIAD LIVING PART FOUR

Triad Living

My Best friend, Andrea, is a successful journalist. She writes for places like the New York Times and Huff Post and other big name venues. She gave me one piece of advice when I told her about my Vice article, “Don’t respond to the trolls who are going to attack you in the comments section. Read it if you want. Read all of it if you want. But don’t respond.” She told me to stay out of the conversations that were going to arise. On Facebook and elsewhere. If someone wrote me personally, or on Twitter, and they were being nice, or at least trying to be nice, respond. “But ignore the assholes. They aren’t talking to you anyway.” Andrea has a lot of experience in this. She’s waded into some pretty controversial territory. I trusted her.

And she was right. There have been some assholes. People who want to tell me why my relationship with Alex and Jon can’t work. Why it is wrong. Some talk about Christianity, some talk about exploiting gay marriage. Everyone has an opinion and they feel those opinions intensely.

When I wrote the piece for Vice my goal was not controversy. I was naïve. It didn’t even really occur to me that this piece, about love and friendship: about learning to be happy could possibly be controversial to anyone. I mean fine, besides the gay aspect, which is always controversial to someone, I just didn’t think most people would care.

I was wrong.

There was one scathing comment from a gay guy who lives in LA, someone I kind of know indirectly, who told me I was being selfish. That it was hard enough for him to find one decent gay guy in LA to date (he’s single) and that here I was taking two, and in the process ruining my marriage because there was no way this could work, as well as ruining his chances at finding true love. He told me my whole article was just selfish justification. Another woman said that no one will take gays seriously now. I was proving everyone right: that we were over sexualised, promiscuous, etc. Some people wrote, Ewww, or just Gross.

I was surprised at how mostly these people didn’t bother me. I felt sorry for the gay guy. He seemed really sad. I thought it was strange that he made my being happy about his being sad. But I could almost understand what he was saying. He was lonely. And the woman: well, I don’t really know what to say to her. Yes, I have fucked a lot of guys. Yes, the three of us have fucked A LOT of guys and honestly, I hope we fuck a hell of a lot more guys. Fucking is fun. I don’t know why anyone should feel ashamed of enjoying sex. It’s one of those rare win-win situations as far as I can tell. I’m also not a fan of slut shaming. If you want to be a slut, go be the best fucking slut in the whole world. I am incredibly grateful to some of the sluts I’ve met. I’ve really enjoyed them.

Monogamy is not bad. Trying to build that kind of deep, intimate, relationship is amazing. And I support that. I’m just not sure it’s right for me. I have been in enough relationships where I failed at it, or the guy I was with failed at it, and we all felt betrayed and sad and it hurt. We lied to each other. I became someone I didn’t want to be.

I’ve decided I’m no longer willing to be that person. I know who I am and I can accept that and be happy with it.

When Alex and I first started talking about all this stuff, he said to me, “I really want to honor your sexuality. I don’t want to make you be something you aren’t. I want to share in it.” And that is what we did. We aren’t open. Necessarily. Our goal is a version of monogamy. We fuck other guys together. We have fun. We share our sexuality, the three of us now, together. We explore together. Sometimes, based on circumstances, the rules are looser and sometimes they are tighter. We are fluid. We try to take everyone’s needs into consideration.

Sometimes this is easy.  Sometimes it is fraught with peril.  But mostly we have  found it works, for us.

What amazed me about the negative comments wasn’t that they disagreed with me, or that they were uncomfortable with my choices, but that they were so sure I was wrong. They wanted to hurt me. Tell me we would fail. That I was gross. That my choices, Jon’s and Alex’s choices, weren’t acceptable.

Instead they could have just been happy because we were happy. They could have just believed what they believed but hoped for a better outcome.

But we are all fragile and hurt. We are all scared. Life has a way of breaking us down.

At first I was mad at the comments. Hurt. I thought, shit, if this upsets them wait till I write about being HIV positive, I’m going to prove them all right: Slut gets AIDS. Than I thought, this isn’t about me. What they are saying isn’t about me. I’m happy. This is my life. And look at how amazing it’s turned out. I got to marry the man of my dreams. I got to date this awesome fucking brilliant guy. The three of us get to live together in this amazing home in this amazing city and we get to share each other’s lives and be best friends and lovers and to explore the world and to grow together, not to cage each other, but to really support each other.

I suddenly realized: I am the luckiest fucking guy in the world.

And I got to do what I love best: I got to write and get paid for it and thousands of people read it. And the most amazing thing, besides the few negative comments, was the outpouring of love and acceptance and wonder. I woke up this morning to 57 emails thanking me and congratulating Alex and Jon and I. Asking me questions. Telling me their stories. Yesterday was 196! On twitter my account has 234 notifications at this moment. These are all wonderful, amazing stories, people saying the most incredible things.

A whole world of other happy people!

I am completely blown away. Straight people, gay people, young , old, people from all over the world. I met a triad who’s been together 11 years. Another who met in high school, all three of them, and they are still together 8 years later. They’ve shared their stories with me, their experiences and their truth: that this does work. That love does actually win if you want it to.

There is so much to hate in the world. And there is a lot of fucking pain and misery. It’s amazing to read these emails and think, Look, these people have found happiness, they found joy, they found a way to carve out a life of their own. Because this is our life. This is fucking it. And man, terrible things will happen. I talk to my mother, who has stage IV Cancer every day, and every day I get off the phone I sob. I literally sit there and cry almost hysterically. It isn’t fair, I think. That this amazing woman, this beautiful person, should suffer.

And then I think about all the amazing friends she has. About her partner, and all the people who come together and visit her and take her to lunch. All the love she has in her life. My mother would never say that it wasn’t fair. She says she’s lucky. That her life has been filled with love and friends and happiness.

She loves to ask me questions about Jon and Alex. My mother has no problem asking me intensely personal questions about our sex lives. She likes to hear me tell stories.

When I found out I was HIV Positive my friend Kevin drove me straight to Alex. I walked into the house and before I could even speak I was sobbing. I had no idea what was going to happen to me. To him. To us. To the world. And he held me. He wrapped me in those big arms of his and just held on, keeping me safe. And he cried with me. And he told me, over and over, “This is okay. We will be okay. We can do this. Together.” And he was right. We did. He went with me to my doctors appointments. He reminds me to take my meds. And he still loves me. I was safe. Even in all that fear about what was going to happen now: I was safe and he was with me, and together we were going to be fine.

There are no guarantees in this life. Life is exactly what it is. Maybe I just got a bigger, sweeter piece of the pie. Maybe Alex is right and I am eternally optimistic.

But one thing I do know, it’s something my mother once said, “You can’t control the shit storm that life is, so you might as well have as much fun as possible while dancing in the middle of it.”

I am definitely having fun. I got the biggest, sweetest piece of pie ever. And I have two fucking incredible men to share it with. And this whole thing, all of you out there, have just reaffirmed that for me.

Thank you for all the amazing emails and letters and comments. You have made my life just that much better. We are all fucking awesome.

TRIAD LIVING PART THREE

Triad Living

People want to know about the sex, or the sleeping, or does Jon actually live with us, and does he have a say in things? Who is primary? How does it work? All these questions are complicated, but they all seem to come back to an important idea: intimacy. How does it work. And to be honest, I have no fucking clue. I just know that it does work. Sometimes amazingly well, sometimes not very well at all, but it does work. I tell my friends, sure, three-way fucking is great, but three-way fighting sucks. One plus is that we have more money. There are three incomes, three people able to contribute. It means we can stay at nicer places, take more trips. It also means that sometimes we can’t all get seats together on the plane, and splitting deserts and cupcakes is a little more complicated, and we have to stay somewhere that has a queen size bed (this is my issue, really, I just need a lot of space when sleeping, and I’m a lousy cuddler), and it isn’t always easy to explain: people are more open now to the idea of a gay couple, but a gay triad? Seriously, we are pushing the boundaries.

Sleeping is a big issue for me. Lately I’ve realized, some nights, I just might have to go into the guest room to sleep. Not because I am mad or don’t want to be around them, but because sometimes I just want my own space, my own time, and one thing about being in a relationship that pushes the boundaries is, you start to realize: my needs are okay, even if they aren’t conventional. If I need space I get to take space. That’s okay. I like to say I’m going to the Spa for the night, even if really it’s just a tiny guest bedroom we have that has a futon and a bunch of books on magic and spirituality and philosophy. I like to go in there and read. I go in there to escape. To find quiet: because it’s not just the sleeping: it’s finding that time that is mine. That is hard enough to do with one other person, with three of us it can feel like an almost impossible challenge.

And that is the other thing. Whatever is hard for two is just that much harder for three. But, the opposite is often also true: whatever is amazing for two is sometimes that much more amazing with three. Again, I think about the sex. But then, maybe I’m just greedy. Fine. I’m greedy.

We have a queen size bed. I’m insisting that we get a California King. My original idea was two king mattresses and empty the bedroom of all furniture. Just mattress. Lots of space for me to kick and thrash. And space for those times when we have a guest. Because, like I said, I’m greedy, and sometimes a little more is just a little more fun.

There is the intimacy. I learned a word recently: it’s an ugly word with a beautiful meaning: compersion. The Urban Dictionary defines compersion: “A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.”

A lot of things I have read on triads and polyamory talk about jealousy. How you have to overcome it, or that it is bad. There are a lot of personal essays I read where people say they aren’t jealous. They’ve evolved beyond that. I am jealous.   I have not evolved well in this category, but remember, I am greedy. I want everything for me. And sometimes, it isn’t for me. Sometimes it isn’t about me. Sometimes it is about them. That is the hardest part, and the most beautiful part. The times when it isn’t about me.

When I tell you Alex is my soul mate, I am not doing justice to the truth. I have never loved or felt for anyone the way I feel for Alex. I have seen him fuck a lot of guys. We have shared a lot of adventures. But watching him fall in love, watching him be afraid or insecure, watching his eyes light up or the way he smiles when Jon walks into a room: this was new. This was beautiful and painful: it was devastating and gorgeous: it was beyond anything I knew how to feel. And falling in love with Jon, all that new dating, new emotion, new love feeling coinciding with my relationship to Alex, planning our wedding, our honeymoon all while falling madly in love with Jon: none of it made any sense to me.

I’m not completely sure it does now.

I fought against it, a lot, in the beginning. I was furious. I wanted to love them both and I wanted them both to love me but I didn’t think I could handle them loving each other. I remember a very dramatic moment in Vancouver when I fell out of bed and then flew into a rage, storming around the apartment we were staying in, going so far as to walk out, all the way to the elevator, furious and lonely and angry. I broke up with them that night. It didn’t last more than a few hours. I can be childish like that. I remember long, overly logical conversations I would have with myself, lying next to them as they cuddled in their sleep: trying to convince myself that everything was okay. I was okay. This was okay.

It wasn’t until I realized maybe it wasn’t okay that I was able to start actually finding my way through all those feelings. Maybe it would work. Maybe it wouldn’t. Yes, maybe one day they would fall so in love with each other that they would have to leave me. I’m also 17 years older than the two of them. My favorite game of torture to play is: what happens when I’m 57 and they are 40 (7 years younger than I am now). Some days I am aware of all the moments I don’t share with them. All the jokes that are theirs only.   The private moments. The things that, again, have nothing to do with me.

It is possible all the worst, ugliest things might happen. I mean, that is life, right? Sometimes bad shit happens.

But then I remember: Alex loves me. Jon loves me. And when we leave the house together we all huddle, arms around each other, and I can breathe them in: I can feel them. I know them. They are mine. And I am theirs. Together and independently. We belong together.

And that’s it, right? That is all that matters. The thing about being a grown up is knowing: maybe it will work out. Maybe it won’t. Either way, in the end, I will be okay. This isn’t always easy. But then, nothing really is. It takes work. It takes sacrifice. But, it also takes less work and less sacrifice than I think it should. If I can just shut up and stay out of the way it is way less complicated and hard than I think it is. Sometimes it’s actually kind of easy. Natural. I mean, really, it’s just me and Alex and Jon.

Just us.

THE STORY OF US PART THREE

The Story of Us

The day I found out I was HIV Positive I was working security at the Faultline for a Sunday Beer Bust. It was October 13, 2013. I’m sure there is some kind of numerological magic to the date. A testing truck was parked in the parking lot. I don’t know what made me think to get tested. It just seemed like the thing to do. The tester was bored. He wanted to be inside getting drunk. He looked at the results and then at me and he said,

“Oh, I’m really sorry.” Then he looked outside and waved to someone in the parking lot.

“Excuse me?” I said. Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so surprised. There had been clues. Choices made that should have made this less of a surprise, but still…I just didn’t think I would find something like that out from such an uninterested asshole in the parking lot of the Faultline.

I think it was the banality that upset me more than anything else. And the fact that he was so unattractive. It just didn’t seem fair.

“I’m sorry,” he said, and kind of shrugged. “The results are positive. Would you like me to make you an appointment with someone?”

“Other than you? Yes. Please.”

I made up some excuse to leave work. I think I said that the sink exploded at the house, or that Alex had set himself on fire, something outrageous. I had to get home. Away. Just for a few minutes. I had to see Alex.

If I could just see Alex than maybe this might make some kind of sense.

And I had to know if he would still love me.

We had guests staying at the house. I told Alex I needed him to come outside. I needed to talk to him. And I stood there, on our front porch, and I looked at him and my heart broke. I burst into tears. He wrapped his arms around me, holding on to me and he kept saying,

“Baby, what is it? What’s wrong?”

I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to answer. I just wanted to stay like that, wrapped in his gigantic arms, forever, safe.

But if I have learned anything in life, it is that the world will keep going: life will keep flowing, and that we are never safe from the inevitable. When I found out that my mother had cancer I learned about inevitabilities: everything I love, everything I hold dear, everything that I find beautiful and wonderful will one day die. That is inevitable. It is a rule of life. When I found out I was HIV Positive I learned that I too will die. Like everything else. One day I will die.

But I also learned something else. I learned that Alex did not pull away from me, he did not tell me to leave, he didn’t yell at me and he did not reject me: instead he held me tighter, and he cried with me, and then he said,

“Okay. We will be okay. We will take care of this.”

And we did. We found me a doctor. We learned that HIV never really leaves the body, it just hides out, in the belly or the brain, always vigilant, so I have to be vigilant too. Every day I have to take my pills. Every day at two Alex sends me a text to remind me. He has been doing this for a year and a half. Together we are vigilant. Together we stand guard.

And I made a decision: that day, October 13, 2013, will have power for me. It will have meaning for me. This thing that lives inside me: it will matter. I will let it change me. I will let it affect me and alter who I am: I will take my inevitable death and I will do something with it: because what is not inevitable is happiness, or success, or beauty: I could fail. It is possible to lose everything. To end up alone. I might relapse, shoot dope, become homeless: these things are all possible with a man like me. But I decided that the world would be different for me: even if I failed I was going to try, I was going to succeed in the doing: my life would have meaning because I was going to give it meaning.

I hear a lot that being HIV positive in this day and age doesn’t mean anything: it’s manageable, it’s not important: it doesn’t mean I will die or get sick, not anymore, and they are right. I am healthy. I am strong. I am not sick, and for today, I am not dying.

But it does mean something. It is like a sign along the way: a reminder: none of this is forever. My mother will die. Alex will die. Jon will die. You will die. Everyone will die. It sounds like such an obvious thing. Of course. But feel it. Really know it. And it changes you. At least it changed me.

I am lucky. I have always been lucky. I have a beautiful life. I am surrounded by love.   I’m happy. Happiness is one of those things that comes easily to me. I want to be happy. I like it. It feels good.

Recently, when the three of us are all together: Alex is gone right now, in Spokane, working on season two of the TV show he is on: But when we are all together I like to lay in bed and listen to the two of them while they sleep. Their breathing encases me, it wraps me in warmth and love. There is a magic in those moments, a power, that is another one of those signs along the way: Yes, you will die, but you will also live. This is living. This is it. Right now.

Sometimes all we are doing is watching TV. Sometimes I am sitting at the desk writing and they are on the couch showing each other stupid tumblr cat gifs and giggling: they do that a lot: look at cat gifs and giggle, sometimes we are arguing or we are fucking, sometimes we are eating ice cream and pop tarts till we are sick, sometimes we are cleaning up cat piss or dog puke or stressing the fuck out or going for a walk: sometimes we are doing nothing and I will see them, or I will catch the light as it falls across them, and I will think: I am the luckiest man alive.

This life is a kind of magic. It is a spell: we are like magicians: conjurers. My mother once told me, you have two choices in life: You either believe in magic or you don’t. It doesn’t matter if it is real. Just choose. Which seems more interesting to you?

Three weeks before we got married we asked Jon to move in. This, in retrospect, seems like a strange choice. Maybe we should have waited a few months, let married life settle in: not just for us but for our families. But things were moving: life was moving. So we kept going with it.

We decided that we would introduce Jon to our families at our wedding. This made a kind of sense at the time: I wonder though, if maybe a pizza night before hand would have been easier. I can still see Jon, in a corner, surrounded by all our family and friends, a little lost, so handsome, and people asking him, “How do you know Jeff? How do you know Alex?” And he would say, “I’m Jon. I’m their boyfriend.”

…TO BE CONTINUED

TRIAD LIVING #2

Triad Living

Recently I found myself in a discussion about sex. It was with a few guys talking about the kinds of sex they were having with their boyfriends: about opening their relationships, or closing their relationships, about movie nights and ice cream. They were sharing recent exploits and adventures. I, admittedly bragging a little, told them about this muscle bear Alex and Jon and I had gone to fuck together one night. The three of us all taking turns on him. He told us, when it was all over, that he had been so drunk on dick he had forgotten where he was. It had been a really hot night.

One of the guys looked at me and said, “When is it ever enough? Maybe the straights are right. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to marry. Soon you’re going to be living with twenty different guys. And then a hundred. At what point do you stop and say, ok, enough. It’s time to grow up.”

I was shocked. I hadn’t expected this outburst. Especially from a guy who had just told a story about him and his husband switching partners with another couple. I expressed this to him and he said, “Right, but it isn’t the same. Three-ways are now four ways. Four ways become five ways become fucking orgies. When is it enough?”

Later that day I called my best friend, Natasha, and told her the story and asked her what she thought. “Was everybody legal?” She asked. “Of course.” “And did you all have fun?” She asked. “Fuck yeah.” “Then who cares? It’s enough when you decide it’s enough. Fuck the whole world if you want. Now, can we talk about my wedding? I’m getting married in two weeks.”

I have had a lot of sex with a lot of different guys in a lot of different ways. Every time my boyfriends and I have sex it is a three-way. Sometimes we invite a fourth in. I’m really into the idea of finding another triad and having a six-way. Maybe I will want to fuck a hundred guys. Who knows? Who cares? That’s the question I’m left with. Who really cares and why do they care? I hope you get laid all the time if that’s what you want. I hope you find love and happiness and plenty of dick and butt. Why does anybody care?

Yes. I was bragging. But honestly, it was a good story. That line about being drunk on dick still gets me hard. It was a fun time. It was an appropriate story for the group of guys I was with. It was in context.

A few days later I ran into my friend who asked me when will it be enough. This is what he said,

“I think it’s just getting out of hand. Triads and Poly-relationships. Now guys are talking about forming packs. Guys are getting collared as pups. I know some guy in Long Beach who’s starting his own kennel. A fucking kennel of dudes who pretend they are puppies. What’s wrong with just getting married and staying married and being happy?”

“Nothing’s wrong with that. But what’s wrong with doing more if that’s what you want?” I found it strange that I was defending puppy kennels. I thought the whole pup thing was ridiculous: showing up at the Eagle in a $500 leather puppy mask and barking at people just looks idiotic. But if that’s what turns them on why do I care?

“What next? Real bestiality? Pedophiles suing for the right to marry little kids? Where does it all lead?”

I was stunned. I tried to see how my relationship, and the consensual sex we had with other consenting adults could lead to bestiality and pedophilia.

We have a profile on Scruff for the three of us. In it we state that I am HIV positive. A guy messaged us, attacking us for being whores and sex addicts and me for infecting others with my “sickness”. He said that if i really knew what love was I would go off by myself and die alone.  When I first found out I was positive I tried to talk to these people, rationalize with them, educate them, now I just block them. There is no point. They are upset about things I can’t even begin to imagine. They are furious and it has nothing to do with me.

But I still think: so what if we are whores? Why do you care?

“When do you start feeling ashamed of your behavior?” My friend asked me. “When do you start caring what other people think?”

Maybe I am a sociopath. Maybe I am amoral. Because honestly, I don’t really care what other people think. At least not when it comes to who I fuck. Or love.

I am thinking about shame. As a tool. As a device. As a weapon of control. Because that is what it is. My friend was using shame to try to control me. To try to force me to live in a way he thought I should live.

I’ve never understood gay guys who wanted to be straight, or to live a “straight lifestyle”. I like being gay. I like the freedom it gives me. I like feeling like I can create my world and my life and my relationships in anyway I want. I do not want to have to live according to someone else’s guidelines. That was never the point.

When Alex and I got married I had people telling me it was time to settle down now, time to grow up, time to behave in certain ways, as if it were them I were marrying. As if some how by getting married I was now giving something up instead of gaining something. I married Alex because I love him. Because I know he is the man I want to spend my life with. And because it sounded fun. And because it is political and because I want to be married to Alex. Not because I want to be married to an institution. It is our marriage. Our life.

When we decided to move Jon in people said, “So soon? But you just got married? Do you still love each other?”

Another friend told me that we should have our fun now, because he’s never seen a triad last. Then he told me they tend to ruin relationships. That they are indicative of some inherent problem.

Or maybe we are just sex addicts. Or maybe I want to infect more people with my disease. Maybe because we want to be in love and to be open about that we are monsters.

Clearly, because I took the time to even write this rant, I care what people think. I want to be accepted. I want to be okay with the world I live in and I want the world I live in to be okay with me. And I think for the most part it is. I am lucky. I live in a pretty tolerant world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live somewhere under the pressures of a society that did not allow me to be who I am even if it didn’t agree or like my choices.

No one has to agree with the choices I have made. They are my choices. I don’t necessarily understand having a kennel of collared pups. I don’t understand a lot of things. But that doesn’t negate those experiences.

I am probably not very tolerant of someone trying to shame me for being HIV positive, or trying to tell me I am diseased or infected. If that guy had said that to my face I would have hit him. I don’t claim to be tolerant. I’m just claiming to try.

And honestly, what is wrong with fucking six guys? Or twenty? Or a hundred? Sometimes a really slutty, over the top night is just what you need to get on with your daily life. I’m all for it. I think we should all fuck a little more. I know I’d like to.

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