I’m not sure exactly when I began to enjoy watching.
Thinking back now, I wonder if it was my naive 18-year-old self in her first “threesome,” which I put in quotations because it was really more the fellow with one girl while the other girl watched, with no interaction between females. It was hardly three people participating at any one time.
6Perhaps it was watching a friend fool around with her boyfriend, finally culminating in exhibitionistic sex while I calmly watched. Whenever it was, it took a lot longer for me to realize it was a part of me than it did for me to enjoy it.
My first adult relationship involved at least two threesomes, though it was several years later before I admitted my attraction for women. Up until, and even after that point, each sexual encounter involving another woman was airbrushed onto permanent canvas in my brain, hung in the small gallery of fantasies and ideals that was always open for tours, even if it operates on a conservative power budget.
Related or not, I’ve never had much issue with jealousy. My Nana told me often, “When you stop looking, you’re dead.” That was often her justification for ogling my gymnastic coaches, who I’m sure were definitely eye candy for the bored women waiting in the lobby on their charges. Despite my boundless insecurity, something about that mantra seem to really strike me, and I would cheerfully repeat it when partners caught me gazing lustfully at someone else. I always made sure to reciprocate, drawing their eyes to particularly buxom and scantily clad college girls walking to class, a shapely ass on a passing shopper, or whatever their personal aesthetic tended towards.
It just didn’t occur to me to feel threatened by a random passerby. I even followed the thought through to see if I could pluck some logic from it. Would that partner look at the earthbound goddess, walking on her way somewhere and realize they should dismiss me in the humbleness of my exterior, only then to chase down and reproduce with this pinnacle of symmetry? Hardly a likely scenario. The odds were good that unless the person was truly spectacular my partner wouldn’t even remember them a week later. Why, then, would it be worth my time to introduce divisiveness into my relationship over an act (passing admiration of another female) as natural as breathing?
My default setting is to watch, to appreciate, even to be sexually stimulated by a partner being intimate with another. Perhaps that intimacy comes in the form of impact, perhaps in the form of intercourse. Either way, my response is to appreciate rather than to compare.
Sexual exclusivity is not required in order to create a relationship which thrives. If my partner desires someone besides me, there are only three options: forego the the possibility of another; find a way to create a coexistence; or leave me altogether. If the choice is not me or someone else, but rather finding a way to bend the situation to a workable polyamorous structure, I’d choose the more challenging path. Most people will. We like having our cake, but also being able to eat it.
It helps, though, that I am odd in my thought processes. Contemplating my partner’s behavior with others is exciting, and enticing rather than a turn-off. Many of the people I regularly interact with in the poly community do not feel the same way I do. Perhaps they want the perks without the details, or need to regulate the incoming information because they know their level of comfort with jeaously-related behaviors.
I find no need of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I happen to believe it will fail in the scenarios as relationships progress. I tend to prefer a more “tell me all the details” sort of arrangement. The physical aspects are sexy to hear about and imagine if I am not permitted to watch directly.
Emotional voyeurism is less fun for me. While physical aspects of relationships do not trigger a response of jealousy, having a partner develop strong feelings for someone else can still create insecurity. Often, as imperfect mammals, that is our first response to a new situation. It is up to us to refocus that energy where we choose, creating positivity in situations where it didn’t hold sway sway.