Those days are behind me, though, and now I'm struggling with a concept that has only recently bubbled to the surface of my consciousness.
In my family, we never talked about sex. It felt like something I discovered for myself, and a discovery that I had to keep secret from my parents, because if they knew about it, I was sure they wouldn't approve. And even though my parents were divorced when I was very young, I was raised with the same "spouse and 2.5 kids" ethic that most people my age were raised with. I was raised in Phoenix, and it is a deeply conservative place.
When I was a kid, my attitudes were very much shaped by my peers. The girls in my school all wanted to get married and have kids as soon as possible. Sure, we were all going to go to college, but that was really secondary. I kid you not, three girls from my high school graduating class were already married with children by graduation. One was in that state by junior year.
And like all teenage girls of my acquaintance, I thought of "marriage" as one man who was so in love with me that he was blind to the very existence of every other woman on the planet. Someone who would be so entranced with me that he would be unable to even formulate the concept of sex, let alone a relationship, with anyone else.
Let me just say that I got married and divorced three times before I found the one (and no, I don't expect him to be blind or inhuman - I've grown up since high school). And in between those marriages, I dated a lot of guys, and those relationships always involved sex. But the thing is that I never had more than one relationship going at a time. I just can't do that. It always seemed wrong to me. Like it was disrespectful to the other people I was dating. They had an expectation (or maybe they didn't and I was just assuming) that I wasn't seeing anyone else, and I had a lot going on in my life.
Now I'm being exposed to people who do not consider sex with more than one person to be a breech of loyalty. And I must say, my first reaction is one of sanctimonious superiority.
Is that right? It doesn't feel right. Suddenly it feels like that time that I found out that the woman whom I consider my spiritual mentor, a woman who has done more to awaken me to my own Buddha nature than anyone on earth, used to be a prostitute. I could never feel morally superior to her. She was in every way my spiritual superior, and I learned a valuable lesson from her.
But to me, that lesson was really clear-cut. I had made a blanket judgment about prostitutes and what sort of people they were, and she blew that out of the water. I guess my question is this: what assumptions am I making about people who brand themselves "poly," and on what are they based and what do they say about me? And what is the truth?
Just call me the elephant's child. Full of 'satiable curiosity. Just don't spank me.