A puppy pile is perhaps the only thing that rivals my love for monogamy…

I have been thinking a lot recently about polyamorous relationships, so bear with me folks, because this is going to be long and ranty. I’m an XoJane.com addict, and in the past week two articles have surfaced—one from Jessica on not understanding open relationships, and one from Kate (Ladycrush alert! Look at her adorable pixie haircut! Swoon.) on how she is dating a couple.

But the site has a plethora of articles about the topic, including a series from one woman whose boyfriend wanted to open the relationship. Readers watched the couple open it (well, read about it) and saw the relationship fail  “epically” as a result.

I enjoyed reading all of the different takes on monogamy, polyamory and open relationships, and sometimes—especially when reading about people who seem so much more emotionally evolved than I—I worry my passion for monogamy is a bit archaic.

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What!? You asked?!

“I stopped counting once I needed more than two hands,” said a girlfriend when the topic of numbers came up. You know—numbers. Depending on your stance, numbers is that topic you dread going over in a new relationship, joke about over drinks with friends, brag about or agonize over alone to yourself.  Regardless of where you stand in regard to your numbers, I am sure you stand somewhere. Perhaps  you constantly rationalize them—if it lasted less than a minute it didn’t count. If I can barely remember it, it didn’t count. If it was with two people at once, they cancel eachother out! I once had a male friend tell me “if I didn’t come, it didn’t count.” I shot back, “well in that case the only person I’ve had sex with is myself.” (Not true, but nearly!) I had another male friend tell me he (gag) keeps a Word document of the girls he had sex with so that he “remembers.” Here I have to assume  that there have been so many ladies in his life (bed) that there is no way he could keep track without organizing them. However, it is probably a great way to track an STD, should he ever get one.

Anyways, there is definitely a stigma regarding numbers. The more women a man has been with, the more studly he is—that’s why most men round their numbers up. And for a woman, the more partners she has had, the trampier she is—which is why women generally round their numbers down. You ever heard of the term recycling? I am not talking cans here. I mean when people sleep with their exes or old flings because they want to have sex but don’t want to tack another number to their list. Due to the stigma around numbers, it is women who recycle solely for the reason of keeping numbers down. Talking to some male friends, I garnered that mostly if they are going to sleep with someone they have already been with, it’s because it is easier than going out and finding someone new. It’s good old fashioned guaranteed lazy sex. I am sure women find this appealing too, but from my research (and by research, I mean asking my friends really personal questions halfway through happy hour), I didn’t come across one guy who was at all concerned with keeping his numbers low. I’m a big fan of recycling, as long as you’re still on good terms with the ex and it ended amicably. Otherwise, my rule of thumb is don’t swim in a pool you already pissed in.

A study by Lavalife.com polled singles to find out if this stereotypical standard was true. The results revealed that  79% of single men and 94% of single women agree there is still a gender bias going on here. To make matters more interesting, when asked if they were comfortable dating someone who has been with more people than they have, 7% of men and 77% of women answered “yes.”  Yikes! Who has insecurity issues here?

I remember a really awkward conversation with an ex when he asked how many people I had been with. We had been together for a while now, and this conversation had been looming over my head. Normally, I am not at all uncomfortable with laying my numbers out to someone I have been dating, because I believe them to be modest and am secure with myself and the choices I make. However, this issue was bothering me because I knew how many people they had been with—one. Me. So even if I had only been with two people, that is already doubling their numbers. It wasn’t going to be a fun conversation. When I told them, their eyes got all big and they sputtered “Wow.That’s a lot.” I tell you, it was NOT a lot! Don’t you look at me like that! Still, it was pretty awkward.

The bottom line here is if you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question. And what if someone pops that question on you? Well,  I only answer when I think it’s their business. When is it their business? If we are going to be sleeping together. But, if you aren’t comfortable, or don’t think they have a right to ask, you can avoid the question by addressing what the underlying concern is—or should be. “I am diligent with contraceptives and have been tested, so if that’s what you’re concerned about, then don’t be.” (Because you ARE diligent and HAVE been tested, right? RIGHT!?!)

Or, you can get their answer first and then tailor your response to theirs. But honesty is the best policy here, people. I have a girlfriend who always lies about her numbers. She tells people she has been with six or seven people when I can think of sixteen or seventeen people that I KNOW she has been with. If you get caught out in a lie, you’re screwed. And not in a good way.

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courtesy of Roland Darby

Recently I discussed how I am a bit of a serial monogamist and don’t enjoy being single for long, as I am really pretty bad at having casual sex. Well, the sex is usually good, but I’m pretty terrible at keeping it casual. Anyway, if you are a rational person you might think that not liking casual sex is akin to not liking to feel slutty! Oh, how you are wrong!

I actually love feeling slutty. You see, most people don’t realize that slutty and “easy” are too very different things. Important note: There is nothing wrong with being “easy!” Sleep with whoever you want, whenever you want! No judgements. But easy and slutty are two different things. One who is easy is, well, bouncing into bed with ease. One who is slutty is uninhibited, a master of their bedroom prowess, playful, creative and confident. Someone who is easy can still insist on the missionary position with the lights off—they just may insist on doing it with the better portion of their college football team and/or the first girl that looks in their direction on any given Friday night. Again, non judgements! Sometimes going home with the first acceptable candidate is a terrific idea… But someone who is slutty may only have slept with a small handful of people, or just one person!—yet is into trying new things, showing off what they’ve got and looks at sex with the same sense of curiosity and gusto they would any other aspect of their life.

So you see, I get to feel super slutty whenever I want, within the comfort of my own relationship, and without the feeling like I may or may not be contracting Chlamydia!

Let me stop my incessant rambling… here are a handful of ways you can be a super slut without being super easy. Or you can be both slutty AND easy. More power to you.

5 ways to release your inner slut:

1. Be Open. A slut is up for just about anything and looks at new experiences as a challenge to be met. Whether you take direction from your partner or come up with your own fresh plan of action—propping a mirror at the foot of the bed for a racy visual, dirty talking in a false british accent (hot or annoying? You tell me!) or playing with a new toy—a slut is unpredictable and spontaneous.

2. Exude Confidence. Sluts don’t hide under the covers—they are comfortable in their skin. Hanging around in the nude or stomping about in lingerie and heels should make you feel super-saucy—even if you’re alone. And don’t forget dudes can be sluts too…maybe no heels, but put on whatever makes you feel hot. Suspenders for a little Magic Mike action? I donno, whatever gets you!

3. Get Verbal.
 Sluts aren’t only having sex, they are talking about it too. Whether that means amping up the dirty talk while in the bedroom, dishing about it with friends or telling your man(or woman!) friend what you want to do to them later—verbalizing your sexuality is a good thing. While sipping coffee at a cafe or having dinner with your friends/lesbian god-mother/parents, quietly telling your man what you plan on doing to him when you get home. Ooh, and I love drunk sexting.

4. Be Mistake-Free.
A true slut will never look at a past sexual experience as a mistake; it was something that seemed fun at the time, and you learned from it—or at least had a really awesome time. No regrets for you!

5. Love Being Slutty. Unlike someone who feels embarrassed or insecure about their sexuality, a slut is proud of who they are and what they want. They enjoy taking chances, exploring new outlets and being free to do what (and whom) they choose. For instance, a slut never feels obligated to perform any sexual favor… They either don’t do it, or they do it with a naughty grin on their face.  However, and this is key, a slut knows their limits. If there is something you truly are against doing—anal sex or that threesome with your college room mate your boyfriend keeps suggesting—put your slutty little foot down. No means no!

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Aww. Vomit.

I am always in a relationship. I’m a serial monogamist. Seriously, when it comes to partners, I’m a bit like a hermit crab. As soon as I’ve shed one shell (read: significant other) I scuttle around all naked feeling and awkward looking in search of the next suitable shell. I’ve done this for a decade now—never spending more than a 6 month period not in a monogamous relationship.

While I admit this is probably not the healthiest behavior, I have come to terms with it. Someone (probably a therapist) once pointed out that my hermit crab analogy implies that I need a significant other for protection, and to feel whole. Blah blah blah,  psycho babble. I LIKE being in a relationship. Plus, I  have tried to change it, getting out of a bad relationship and saying to myself (and the rest of my friends/drunken bar patrons) “That’s it! No more relationships! I am going to enjoy being single!”

But the truth is I don’t enjoy being single. I like having someone to come home to, someone to call when I need help, someone to take care of if I feel the need to nurture, and someone who can take care of me when I need it! And of course, don’t forget the cuddling!

And then there is the real reason I don’t enjoy being single: I really like sex. What? Single people have tons of sex! When I am single, and I want to have sex, that means having at least somewhat casual sex. From totally casual one-night stand deals to laid back friends-with-benefits situations, casual sex makes me down-right anxious. I have been in situations where I sleep with someone who I am attracted to but whom I would never ever actually consider dating, and then all of a sudden I am running around wringing my hands and wondering why they aren’t calling me! I go from collected and self-assured to spazz status. I fight an inner battle with myself going “but you don’t even like them!” and responding with “but..they should be calling! Or texting! Facebook chat!” I end up hyperventilating while resisting all urges to contact the sexer for fear of coming off as clingy.

Or worse, I end up dating someone who I only planned on sleeping with once or twice. Perfect example is the guy I dated for an entire year during college. Aside from the fact he was adorable, I slept with him because I had just gotten out of a relationship, and this dude was a total stoner, did nothing but play video games all day and had his mother help him with his class assignments. I am still not totally sure if he showered regularly. Totally un-datable. The perfect candidate for a short-nothing-type fling. Except then I got involved, and then we were dating, and then I spent 9 out of the 12 months we were together trying to break up with him only to change my mind every time when he burst into tears. Damn you, sensitive side.

One of my room mates in college was convinced that my inability to enjoy singlehood would be solved if I only had an array of sex toys ala the Dresden Dolls ‘Coin Operated Boy’. Her self-proclaimed ingenious method was that she would go to parties and flirt with whoever she wanted to, knowing she wouldn’t take them home because her vibrator would do a better job anyways. To further ensure she would go home alone she would stop shaving. (She was Italian.) She was often found at 2 p.m. yelling down the stairs “do you have any AA batteries?!” as I cozied on the couch with my mancandy, allowing her the room to herself and…herself.

I revel in not only the satisfaction but also the feeling of connection that goes along with sex, something that cannot be quenched via an orgasm from a piece of buzzing plastic. Not that I am bashing masturbation, not at all! But I imagine after a handful of weeks playing solely with myself, well I would get a bit lonely! But I could be wrong. The next time I find myself naked and shell-less (read:single), perhaps I will order a plethora of new sex toys instead of finding someone new to date. Pfft…who am I kidding?

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