Defining Our Own Sexual Liberation

By Hong, Y. K.; Rivera, Ingrid | Colorlines Magazine, Winter 2004 | Go to article overview

Defining Our Own Sexual Liberation


Hong, Y. K., Rivera, Ingrid, Colorlines Magazine


We believe it makes sense to live a life that allows us a right to enter into multiple intimate relationships. The notion of finding everything you've ever wanted in one person, whether a friend or lover, is a huge expectation for any person to ask for or fulfill. This is our story of how we met, found community and are building a vision together.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ingrid's Story

I began exploring my non-monogamous sexual self after breaking up with a woman I had spent five years with. The last year of our relationship, we mutually decided to "open it up." Our life together had been very fulfilling, but we had come to the conclusion that our love for one another did not diminish the lust, attraction and need for other queer people in our lives. We embarked on a journey that most of our friends had only whispered about. It was a process that seemed natural to us but also unfamiliar. We struggled, and I believe our break-up had much to do with the lack of information and community support around this lifestyle.

Despite our foiled attempt at an alternative relationship, I was not deterred. I knew it would be difficult, but monogamy was a societal construct I did not want to be controlled by. I was called a "whore," and had my mother-hood questioned because I was supposedly setting a bad example for my daughter. I was told I would get sexually transmitted diseases and eventually live a lonely existence because of my selfishness. Regardless of these roadblocks, I continued to explore. I ventured into other open relationships, being "single" and dating several people and experimenting with primary partners and swinging.

YK's Story

My relationships have always been unconventional in some ways, whether because of my queerness, my gender identity or my color. This is one of the reasons I began a self-evaluation process to find out what felt right to me outside of the limitations of what I was told to feel, think and do.

My personal exploration of non-monogamy came about as I began to recognize that my attractions for many people were not validated when I was in relationships with one person. I felt strongly that it was healthy to name, express and pursue desire when I felt it. This desire was never limited to one single person, yet I was told by society and laws to limit myself to desire only one. Everyone was supposed to find one person. I had many different types of relationships that I cherish, that made me happy and taught me lessons. Yet through all of this, I realized society's constructs were limiting me by controlling my body, mind, sex and sexuality.

As a person who strives for personal liberation in all aspects of my life, who constantly struggles to grow and change, I want to find my own path, create my own relationships and define my own ideas of sex, sexuality, love and relationships.

Finding Community

When we met, we had been traveling our separate paths along an unwritten script of non-monogamy. As with any situation that is unknown, we had been learning through trial and error and self-exploration.

We met through our political organizing work and found that we had many things in common, including being queer people of color who are political in their non-monogamy. To us, non-monogamy is political because it strives to break from social constructions of what it means to be in any kind of relationship. It aims to break from the mentality of "I own you," which we believe comes from a capitalist idea of ownership and property.

What Is Polyamory?

Most people have many different kinds of friends--friends that are supportive, friends that you hang out to have fun with, friends that offer community and friends that give you love. We have many friends because we have many sides to each of us. Friends touch upon and access different aspects of our personality, background and experiences.

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