January 27, 2013
"Jealousy is all the fun you think they had." Erica Jong
I came across that quote in a chapter on jealousy in the Darrell Ray's insightful and very helpful book "Sex and God; How Religion Distorts Sexuality" (a better title might have been "God versus Sex!"). There were many definitions of jealousy offered by other famous people through the ages and discussed by Ray, most of which came down to the need to control your partner. None of that felt right for me--I really don't seek to control Ellen, and after 20 years together, I know any attempt would be futile, anyway--but Jong's quote rang true. I'm jealous of the pleasure I think Ellen had, or more to the point, jealous that I couldn't be a part of it, even as a voyeur watching as she played with others. Oh, I do get vicarious participation through our post-play night conversations and great details from Ellen's blog, which I love, but not being present and enjoying her enjoyment in the moment is where a lot of my discomfort and, yes, jealousy comes from. It's selfish, I know, which is why I'm not asking Ellen to stop going alone, and it comes from my own notions of sex and pleasure and sharing within a committed relationship, notions that have been programmed into me from a very early age.
Ray's book was a great and very timely read for me. Although I wasn't raised in a religious home, and even though the church we occasionally attended and where I went through confirmation was pretty liberal (I don't recall ever opening a bible during confirmation classes), I still got a lot of what Ray refers to as programming from the general culture and from school mates. Homosexuality was bad (although I never really bought into that), masturbation was shameful and no one did it (I was afraid of being caught, not keen to talk about it, but in general I wasn't ashamed, although for a little while I vowed not to jack off on Sundays. It didn't last long). As I grew into adulthood I was able to leave behind most of the sex-negative bullshit and have had many friends who were/are gay, lesbian, Bi, and otherwise fairly open-minded about sex. But my programming also included a very romanticized notion of love and sex, programming that came from pop music and TV shows, from plays and musicals, from movies and books. Everyone was seeking, or finding, or losing their one and only, the love of their life, their soul mate! Sex was totally tied into the relationship and to romance, and the implicit message was monogamy now and forever. Of course, the reality was much different, as the high divorce rates, the cheating and heartbreak in my friends' relationships, and the themes of most country music (Your Cheatin' Heart; Jolene; Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, etc.) made clear. Now, in my teenage years, I also read lots of porn and erotic novels (thanks for not hiding your stash very well, Mom and Dad) so that helped expand the programming, but the romanticism was much more hard-wired into me. I still tear up at happy endings of romantic movies, certain songs touch me at surprising times, I've even sobbed through pages of novels. Ellen thinks this is a bit odd, but then, she's not a romantic.
This degree of self-discovery is welcome, but it is also painful at times to shake off and leave behind these pleasant and comforting. if inaccurate notions of the soul-mate with whom you spend your life in monogamous bliss. And ironically I never really looked upon Ellen as my soul mate exactly. She was too different from me for that to really feel true, even though I expected--and still expect--to grow old with her. We are good together, and much better than we have been in recent years thanks to our opening up, both our marriage and our communication. But we are still very different, and some of these differences are much more evident now in how we view sex and play with others, and how we interpret each other's reactions to the experiences we have together and apart.
Fortunately we are learning to recognize and deal with some of these differences. Ellen spent last night out at the club again, the same day I got back into town from a short six day trip (as we had already planned), and texted me twice while on her way to make sure I was okay with her going alone again. I assured her I was, and that I was dealing with my "stuff" and appreciated her sensitivity and concern in asking. I'm not 100% okay, but I'm making progress.
Something else I learned from Ray's book is the concept of New Relationship Energy (NRE), which describes an emotional and physical euphoria that I remember from my early days with Ellen and many relationships before her, but for which I never really had a name. And this morning, I had a revelation. Not the kind that comes from a disembodied sky god, but a revelation that emerged from the depths of my very embodied stew of emotions and intellect. So here it is.
Ellen is awash in New Relationship Energy.
Okay, for any experienced Poly reader, that probably yielded a shrug and a muttered "yeah, no shit." But for me it's an "Ah ha" moment.
I was out walking the dog after a typical Ellen's-away sleep-interrupted night. I always seem to wake up in the middle of the night when Ellen is going solo and the brain gets going and I toss and turn for a few hours, wondering what Ellen's been doing and wishing I could have been with her. So on my walk, I was mulling over my thoughts and emotions and the ideas from the Sex and God book when it hit me. Ellen's chemistry with Ron is NRE. The way she melts into him, leans into his kiss or touch (in ways she hasn't with me in a long time), and her enthusiasm for fucking him are sure signs of NRE. They share a physical passion for each other that I have found discomfiting and somewhat intimidating.
Now, on New Years Eve, I enjoyed watching her respond to Ron in the Froggy Chair, enjoyed seeing her intense pleasure as he finger-fucked her and thrilled her G spot, enjoyed how she arched up against him and came over and over again as he fucked her. That I had no problem with--I was there and enjoying it. It was earlier on the dance floor where I felt a distinct difference in Ellen's reaction to me compared to Ron, one which troubled me a bit at the time. I had asked Ellen to dance and she agreed, with the caveat that there would be no dirty dancing (she always pulls back whenever I try to get naughty on the dance floor with her). I accepted that boundary at first, but soon Ron danced up behind her and started caressing and grabbing her and she obviously welcomed it from him. So I thought, "fuck that, I'm joining in" and started in from the front, from which she didn't pull away, and it wasn't long before Ron and I had Ellen sandwiched between us, rubbing and grinding to the music, and soon we were pulling Ellen's panties down her legs and flashing her ass to the people watching, and I held her panties up and twirled them around in the air and people laughed and applauded and Ellen let it all happen and even seemed to enjoy it. I enjoyed the entire scene, but a voice in my head asked why Ellen set boundaries for me on the dance floor that she didn't require of others.
Later that evening, as we watched the floor show of fire jugglers and fire eaters, and the threesome fucking and sucking in front of us, Ron and Nora again turned up and Ron's hand was soon all over Ellen's ass. She hadn't been very responsive to my touch and had once or twice expressed irritation at the way I was caressing her through her short sequined dress. Once Ron started feeling her up--he was respectful of the space for my hand, which I appreciated--I sensed her loosening up but also her own uncertainty about the different hands and her different reactions. Not too long after the New Year was rung in and kisses were going all around, I watched the deep, intense kiss between Ellen and Ron, and again was struck by how much more passionately she responded to him compared to how we had just kissed. Ellen soon asked if I was okay with her going off with Ron, and I said yes--I knew she wanted time with him and without me, but again, I felt excluded. Of course, I had no right to complain, especially since I had been invited by Mark--who had fucked Ellen silly at the Christmas party a month earlier--to participate in my first-ever Gang Bang, but that's another story.
So the intensity, the passion, and Ellen's willingness to do things with others that she is inhibited about with me are stumbling blocks for me. This idea of NRE really helps me understand at least the passion and intensity side of the equation.
And I had a second revelation close on the heels of the first. I realized this morning that Ellen is experiencing NRE not only with Ron but with the entire lifestyle scene. She is, in her own words, almost obsessed by it, addicted to it, and that helps her free herself of inhibitions. She gets an anticipatory rush days before she goes to a club, and basks in the postcoital afterglow for days afterward. I get to enjoy that afterglow, which has been a huge benefit to us, and we are slowly working through her inhibitions ourselves even as we work through my issues. It also explains the differences in our intensity of interest. I am interested and enjoying--for the most part--the lifestyle, the clubs, the fun. But Ellen is far more into it than I am, planning dates and looking ahead at schedules and figuring out months from now who can go where and when. She even encouraged me to check out a club in another state last week where I was helping my elderly parents get through a surgery--I was interested, but it just wasn't the right timing. Of course, I haven't yet found the person or people that arouse NRE in me along with the consquent passions and enthusiasm, whereas Ellen has, and I think that has a great deal to do with her near obsession and my own warm but not red-hot interest. Also, she has had great experiences and more experiences with hardly any negative moments, whereas I have had a real mixed bag due to my own performance failures, which I know is tied up with all of my emotional baggage and surprising insecurities.
These realizations have really helped me deal with some of the emotional turmoil that hits me when Ellen is off playing alone. Last night I enjoyed watching squirting porn and thinking--cautiously--about Ellen's most recent blog on the same subject. I still have some raw (and selfish) feelings about missing that night, about her willingness to go with the flow (pun fully intended) with Ron and Nora and Kelly versus her resistance to explore squirting with me when I'd raised it in the recent past. But the erotic and compressive feelings helped overcome the other stuff, and watching strange women squirt on pornhub.com helped me picture Ellen's face in the throes of G spot orgasm, Ellen's pussy as she erupted and squirted time after time. And I masturbated and came with both the view of the woman on the screen in front of me and the image of Ellen in my mind. I really want to be able to do that with Ellen, and with other women. Fortunately, Ellen is keen for me to gain the skills and find the right touch and thrust, too, and we've had at least one fun practice session.
So last night and today have been a bit easier, and have led to this outpouring of words which is also therapeutic. And I'm looking forward to hearing about Ellen's night and partaking of the long afterglow that I know can spark more fun.