… so, by definition, all sex is the best sex of my life.
All love is the best love.
All relationships, ditto.
(All chocolate, although that probably goes without saying.)
Now, whether all sex is the best sex of my partner’s life is up to them. But one can hope…
What won’t you do for love?
And what doesn’t your partner want you to do?
There’s a big difference between those questions. Maintaining healthy boundaries — knowing your preferences and limits, and not letting them be violated — is basic to a happy, healthy life, and not just in relationships, but everything.
But there’s often a blurred distinction between boundaries and rules, and going beyond that, to the (often dreaded) relationship veto. So, as an unrequested public service, I tried to make it all simpler. To wit:
- Boundary: I won’t do X or allow anyone to do X to ME.
- Veto: I won’t allow YOU to do X or anyone to do X to YOU.
- Rule: WE won’t do X or allow anyone to do X to either of US.
(Rules being the most flexible of the bunch in meaning and effect.)
A veto can be included in rules, so long as they are negotiated and agreed to. But instituting a unilateral veto — or any unilateral rule, like the dreaded One Penis Policy — is a sign of a troubled relationship.
So build your walls where you will. Just don’t let anybody build them for you. Because those are the ones designed more to restrict than protect.
How do you decide?
As previously noted here, monogamy is a beautiful relationship structure; so is polyamory. Each is about doing proper justice to relationships with however many partners for whom you have the time and resources. For many people, that’s one. For others, it may be more. But I think two points are key: Being open to where love leads, and not making commitments you can’t sustain in the long term.
I have come to love the first clause and chafe at the second.
In the Facebook era, “friend” has become a verb.
It has also become a disposable noun; with the click of a button, we make a “friend”; with another, they are de-friended. That’s not much of a friendship.
Recently, one of my partners described me as her “lover.” And the younger person to whom she was speaking said, “Nobody calls them that anymore. Say ‘friend.'”
Leaving aside the lack of poetry and clarity in using the word thus, in the dating world, there is the concept of friends with benefits, a term that is so widespread it needs no further explanation. Except, perhaps this: There is an important difference between friends with benefits and friends because benefits.
If the benefits go away and they do too, they weren’t friends.
That distinction may not be important to some. But to those for whom a deeper connection makes for better sex, it’s vital.
Physical attraction may come and go. Friendships, though, endure. When you can have as much fun together doing whatever you do, and be as connected clothed as naked, that’s the good stuff. And it can’t be erased by a click.
"I will never understand why completely polysaturated people like you, who have so much love in their lives, still occasionally get the craving for an experience with someone new," I said to the mirror.