Today's post is brought to us by the brilliant and organized mind of my friend J, who is another of those remain-anonymous-causes-and-charities-below-the-post folks. All of this should become clear from context within the piece, but just for absolute clarity, J is an ethically non-monogamous asexual-spectrum Asian-American man currently involved with one partner.
As a person on the ace spectrum (grey, demi, fully ace? It’s yet to be settled upon) the most positive part of non-monogamy has been the lifting of the pressure to perform sexually. The two really came into my life hand in hand: discussing and agreeing to try non-monogamy came simultaneous with accepting that my general lack of sexual desire was perhaps not a flaw, but just an expression of who I am. Western patriarchy places great emphasis on virility as a symbol of masculinity, and that’s doubly true for people who are typically seen as less manly, like Asian men. This being so, I always felt a great disconnect from my picture of myself as an accomplished, successful, and generally well-adjusted man due to my immense lack of interest in sex most of the time. For the longest time, I thought this was a flaw, until my partner and I began to discuss non-monogamy and I began to see that if I didn't have to expect myself to be all things at all times, life could be so much easier and better, and rather than try to fix something that wasn’t broken, I could just adapt into a role that made both of us happier.
As with many other things, I was conditioned to accept monogamy a priori. Even after meeting many non-monogamous people and befriending them it never seemed like the kind of thing that was “for me.” But, given to questioning social constructs as I am, it became clear after learning more that fundamentally, non-monogamy makes just as much if not more sense than monogamy, and gives us more choice while removing none. No one’s forcing me to have more than one partner after all; it’s just an option now. I expected to be more jealous than I actually am; my lack of jealousy is the most surprising thing about the whole experience.
The dynamic of my relationship with my partner has improved greatly because she’s free to explore ways to satisfy her needs and desires, while I’m now free to also pursue my own self-actualization with greater honesty than before. Maybe when the pandemic abates, I’ll consider exploring having additional partners myself, but for now, there’s new vistas to be discovered internally, behind doors that I’d held shut out of fear and self-loathing before non-monogamy alleviated my fears. If you’re wondering “what would an asexual person get out of non-monogamy” I guess the answer is: all of the things I’m not “a,” (I’m not aromantic, for example) and also a relief from the things that I am “a”. It’s also an opportunity to become my own partner, in a way. I’m learning how to like (even love) myself in ways that I couldn’t before, and to be kind to myself. I don’t think that would have been possible had I still been laboring under the impression that asexuality was a character defect and that even if it wasn’t, that it would forever be a wedge in my relationships. Non-monogamy means I can say “This is who I am,” without having to add “but I’m not this and that means you can’t have it.”
If you appreciated J's piece, his perspective, and want to consider giving to some great causes, he suggests the Southern New England Socialist Rifle Association's Food Drive GoFundMe, and the Portland Protest Bail Fund.