I'd like you to meet some more of my polyamorous friends. This week it's Alan and Marie, thirtysomething zombie-film buffs. Marie is a slave to the cubicle farm and a wrangler of large databases. Alan runs a textile import company.
How long have you been married/together?
Marie: Almost 19 years total. We met in high school, got married young, and we just had our 16th wedding anniversary.How did you decide to be polyamorous?
Alan: We started experimenting with open sexuality about 10 years ago. We both came from religious families, so it was a big deal for us. We put our very first "couple seeking bi female" ad right here in The Stranger, as a matter of fact. Then we dabbled a bit in the swing club scene, and while that was fun, it was not really what we were looking for.
Marie: We started calling ourselves polyamorous about five years ago, when Alan started dating someone that I liked as a person, but who I didn't want to have a sexual relationship with.
How do you configure your poly style?
Alan: We tried having triad relationships, but found that it was far too much effort to manage a relationship with three partners. Especially when that new person will never have as much shared history as the two of us, and therefore will always be a junior member of the relationship. These days we are very happy with a primary and secondary partners arrangement. Our relationship is primary; we get the lion's share of our emotional needs met by each other.
Marie: I like that Alan's secondary partner has her own primary partner. We both really enjoy and respect them as a couple, as well as individually.
Alan: I think a primary/secondary system makes the demands of maintaining two intimate relationships manageable. No one is put in the role of being the sole provider of all the emotional support of two partners.
What are some of your important rules and guidelines?
Marie: Our rules have changed over the years; things that used to be hard limits have become less and less sources of concern. For example, we used to have a strict "no overnight dates with other partners" rule. Then we came to a place where we were both agreed that this was really not an issue for us any longer.What has been the most challenging thing about being poly for you two?
Alan: Time. The human heart has an infinite capacity for love, but there are only 24 hours in a day. On the other hand, because you know the time you do have to spend is limited, you focus on making sure it's quality time. If I only have one night to spend with my secondary partner, I'm not going to waste those hours.
Have there been benefits that you didn't expect?
Marie: The quality of our communication. Being poly, you have to discuss everything and constantly reevaluate what your needs are in the relationship. Sometimes it can be really tiring, but in the end it makes things clear.
Tell me about a moment when you realized how totally cool being poly is for you.
Alan: Probably when I decided to tell Marie that I was in love with my secondary partner. Rather than being upset or jealous, her response was to calmly say, "Yeah, I know." When asked if that was a problem, she responded with a smile, "No, why should it be?"
What advice do you have for other people who are considering trying polyamory?
Alan: You will always have difficult moments. Moments when you feel jealous, insecure about what your partner might be doing. The thing to remember is that they are just that, moments. Have faith, practice good communication, trust in your partner, and they will pass.
THURSDAY 11/3COCK RING NIGHT AT RAIN CITY JACKS
The private, men-only JO club hosts a night devoted to wiener rings. Bring your own or get one at the event. Membership required, raincityjacks.org or firstname.lastname@example.org, 6:30–9:30 pm.
FRIDAY 11/4ORAL SEX WORKSHOP AT REDMOND RANCH
Hot tips, live demos, and audience participation for both genders. Single men must RSVP for the waiting list. www.redmond-ranch.com or 425-868-8169, doors at 7 pm, $45 for couples/$25 for single women.
SATURDAY 11/5CHASTENWOOD DINNER
Spanking enthusiasts eat, socialize, and discuss the pleasures of the well-reddened behind while meeting in a discreet, no-pressure environment. Newcomers welcome. E-mail email@example.com for location or see www.chastenwood.com, 7 pm.
TAKE CHARGE! A CLASS FOR WOMEN
Jennifer from Libido Events teaches erotic female dominance. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, women only, 1–3 pm, Wet Spot membership not required, $20.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS GAME DAY
Billed as "Seattle's largest geek gathering ever," EMP's Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day celebrates the kinkiest nonsexual activity in human history, with games, music, and tons of sublimated lust. Experience Music Project, 325 Fifth Ave N, 367-5483, noon–9 pm, free.
SUNDAY 11/6ROPE BONDAGE 201
Learn about types of rope, knots, bondage positions, and pacing and showmanship for bondage scenes. Hands-on exercises in a low-pressure environment. No previous experience required, all genders and orientations welcome. www.bondagelessons.com, 2:30–5:30 pm, Wet Spot membership not required, $30.