Dayne is an alternative model, and an erstwhile anthropologist. She lives in Denmark with her husband of one year. Her hobbies include cosplay, gardening, polyamory, and reading sci fi and fantasy.
We speak to Dayne about polyamory. Polyamory is the practice, desire or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Polyamorous arrangements are varied, reflecting the choices and philosophies of the individuals involved.
Sex is not necessarily a primary focus in polyamorous relationships, which commonly consist of people seeking to build long-term relationships with more than one person on mutually agreeable grounds, with sex as only one aspect of their relationships.
Let’s get started…
Do you really know how many other partners your husband has? Does it matter to you? Does he know how many you have?
I always know, and he always knows. It hasn’t been an issue. We like to meet each other’s partners and also try to make time for them on our own.
What has been the hardest thing about polyamory, and how have you overcome that?
The hardest thing is time management, but you have to accept the other person doesn’t exist entirely for you and to fulfill your needs when you are bored. You are born alone, and you die alone, and everything else that you get with other people is a bonus. Treat it like a bonus so you appreciate it properly.
Tell us the craziest sex adventure you had.
I once had sex with a girl I was hooking up with in bed while my husband slept. He was simply very tired after a night of drinking with friends, and I, well, wasn’t. We had a carte blanche to use the space as we wished while he slept, so it was all consensual.
What makes great sex for you?
I think the hottest thing with sex is affirmative consent. When someone says “yes, let’s do this” I feel great, and the encounter is usually great. One of the greatest things I have learned from both feminism and polyamory is the importance of being verbal in the bedroom. Asking, “can I touch you there,” is important to me now, and it automatically leads to a greater degree of trust, rapport, and intimacy, and, therefore, better sex. If anyone wants to know more about this, Google “enthusiastic consent,” and “sex positivity.” There is some great advice out there on feminist dating blogs and forum about how to have really hot sex that everyone feels good about in the morning.
What makes you attracted to a guy?
I’ve always loved men who are somewhat effeminate and a bit shy. I also love fellow geeks who are in to sci-fi and fantasy, as we always have something to chat about.
I have a tonne of friends and connections in the gay community, being bi myself, so I tend to find bisexual men attractive because they understand me better. I tend to like men with progressive politics who will respect people regardless of race, sex, or orientation because those are my values, and those values are fundamental and not open to compromise.
If a guy has a good relationship with his mother and sister, often that speaks to a good respect for women in general.
But there are lots of things; attraction is so intangible — you either feel it or you don’t. It’s never worth forcing. I’ve never really continued feeling attracted to a man (or woman) if the feeling wasn’t mutual because I don’t find much hot about torturing myself over impossible prospects. It’s so much better to find that “spark” with someone, where you know the fireworks are mutual.
I think the key to finding success in love and dating is approaching other people with honesty and integrity, and openness to being friends if it doesn’t work out in a more intimate way. Believing in gender equality is a big part of that. All of this bullshit I have been hearing about the “friend zone” lately kind of bums me out. Men who have lots of female friends also have lots of chances to get to know women as people, and also lots of chances to be set up on dates with friends and coworkers of those women who know you so well.
I think men who want to date women in particular must be conscious of the fact that women deal with a lot of harassment, and abuse in normal day-to-day situations, and we bring that baggage with us to the dating world sometimes.
Personally, I had to quit OKCupid because I was getting some pretty abusive and ‘negging’ messages every day that just made me feel down. There are whole sites like An(n)als of Online Dating that document what it can be like for women to put ourselves out there. Sites like Fat, Ugly, or Slutty document the abuse women face when we do male-dominated things like gaming. If you want to meet women who share your interests, create genuine friendship and dating relationships with women then create safe spaces to do that.
Don’t let your male friends be pigs or treat women badly; do your part to create a culture where women feel comfortable and liberated expressing their sexuality — no doubt you will be much happier in that kind of world!
What would you say to those people who say that you are only in this type of relationship because you don’t love or find your husband attractive enough?
Honestly, I hear this question all the time, either implicitly or explicitly, from people curious about our relationship. It’s less a question than an accusation. I think that with people like that, we just have a fundamentally different understanding and experience of love. To some people, love means committing to a person monogamously, and also having a say in how they feel about other people. To those kinds of people, when you fall in love, you find that mythical “other half,” like in Aristophanes’ dialogue in Plato’s Symposium. That is fine, but it’s not how I think about or experience love.
To me, I’m a fully-formed being, and so is my partner. If I am to love him as the individual he is, that means loving all of him, and refusing to “own” him in any way. This is the way of polyamory. His sexuality and his heart are his and his only. I trust him to love and respect me, but I don’t expect to tether him to me. The reality is, I could die young, something horrible could happen to me. I don’t want him to face that kind of thing alone.
It might be hard sometimes to share him, but I am comforted by the fact that he is beloved of others and not just me. There is a sense of safety in that. He has struggled a little bit with that as well because we are so crazy about each other, that yes, it’s hard to share at times, but in the end, I think that his love for me is rooted in a deep respect for my independence and individuality, and asking me to love him and only him would compromise those things, and probably make liars out of both of us.
How did you work out what you wanted and that you were different in terms of the type of relationship you wanted?
I tried monogamy, and I was a very jealous person. This isn’t true of everyone but, at least for me, jealousy came from a place of not feeling worthwhile, and feeling like I was in competition with other women for my partner’s attention. It also negatively affected my relationships with other women. When I had my “feminist awakening,” so to speak, I realised that I was depriving myself of the opportunity to have meaningful friendships with a lot of women, in particular women whom I found beautiful, or who I was intimidated by, because of my issues with jealousy with my partner.
I read about polyamory on the Internet a lot while trying to work out why I felt so jealous and low all the time. Honestly, I think it was because I am not meant to be monogamous. I was like a gay man trying to stay married to a woman; my relationships weren’t right for my orientation. I haven’t felt jealousy like that since I have been in open relationships. I get little niggles of it sometimes, but I try to turn it in to what polyamourists call compersion, which means empathetic joy. When my partners feel joy with other people, I try to engage my empathy and also feel that joy.
Jealousy is a fundamentally selfish emotion that I think people — even monogamous people — are capable of transcending when we really and truly care about another human being. In some ways, you are looking at your partner as an object you own when you get jealous, and I don’t believe you can own people. Of course, this happens differently in monogamous and polyamorous relationships but, on the whole, we should just be more honest and compassionate with one another.
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