The Demise and Resurrection of My Open-Relationship

Cat Damon—Slutever’s newest over-sharer—chronicles the demise of her open-relationship, and what made her come back for more… briefly.

“You don’t want to do that,” I said as Mark reached down and slid his hand up my calf at the bar where we had met for dinner. We were eating nachos and drinking margaritas, hammering out round two of negotiations for his open relationship. “Our relationship,” he kept correcting me. 

“Why not?” he asked, staring at me wide and unblinkingly as he continued to travel up my leg.

“Because I haven’t shaved in about two years. It’s pretty rough down there,” I said.

“I don’t care,” he breathed, refusing to break eye contact.

“I care. I don’t want to have to take you to the hospital for stitches.” I won the staring contest as he withdrew his hand from me. I hadn’t planned on getting fucked that evening, so I had worn Laura Ingalls Wilder chambray separates. I gave an involuntary shudder when I thought about the tangle of pubic hair spreading like Virginia creeper down my thighs, threatening to join with my leg hair.

This was our third time seeing each other after nearly two months apart. Our relationship had ended spectacularly at a house party in early September. It had been a beautiful evening— dancing, tequila, introducing him to my friends, introducing myself to cocaine. Around 3 in the morning, he abruptly left because his girlfriend, upset with him for his lack of communication, decided to board a moving train and was stuck on it thirty minutes away. The absurdity of the situation hit me head-on; “Dawson’s Creek bullshit” was what I snapped at my friends as I sweated out coke, dancing aggressively by myself in the living room.

I ended things a few days later, yelling at him on the phone as he tried to persuade me that things could work out and that I wasn’t really unhappy. We spent two months apart as I embarked on a long-distance and ill-advised text relationship with a long hair I had been friends with in undergrad who now lived in New York. As I sat in the long hair’s basement in Williamsburg, listening to him fart and play rap songs he’d produced, I missed Mark. He had a girlfriend who he wanted to marry, and definitely had bad taste in almost everything, but he was kind and thoughtful and wouldn’t make me listen to Mazzy Star covers with shitty synth parts. Mark might be vaguely unintelligent, unbelievably optimistic, and obsessed with calling my vagina a snatch, but he was loving and handsome and open. He was familiar, and didn’t require me to re-make a Facebook to get back on Tinder.

After the not-relationship quickly dissolved with my friend in New York, I got back in touch with Mark to see if the rules were still the same. The rules had changed, and were constantly changing—he didn’t tell me that he and his girlfriend had closed their relationship until after I confessed my longing to fuck him on our first-second date, and he didn’t tell me that it was also open enough to permit him grabbing my waist and trying to kiss me in my kitchen a week later. I felt tossed around, irritated and strung out, but also like my skin would peel off if I didn’t have sex soon.

I took him back to my house and took off my clothes. We had kissed the week before, and it felt full of promise and exciting and familiar. But when we were back in my apartment, and I was naked, all of the things which had made me feel like maybe he wasn’t my ideal sexual partner came back as soon as we started fumbling around. The distance from him had allowed me to spin a beautiful cocoon around our sex, our connection. It had been easier to think about his cheekbones and fondness for face-touching than his truly horrifying dirty talk or his natural tempo of snoozy, uneven poking. In September, before his girlfriend went train-hopping, I remember telling my best friend that even if Mark was single, I didn’t think we’d be a good fit— it had made me feel less desperate to re-imagine our relationship as a dramatic and sexy romance filled with tacos and bite marks instead of boring conversations about beer brewing and my “tush.”

This was ex sex. I wasn’t re-entering a passionate love affair, I was begging to get choked out for the sake of convenience and comfort. It was unenthusiastic, half-erect, filled with excuses and confusion on both of our parts. I felt that he was as disappointed as I was. There should have been build-up, tension, release, but instead there was laughter and awkward rhythms. “Please stop making the predator face,” I accidentally asked while he made intense eye contact with me, thrusting shallowly at my direction. He didn’t come, and it wasn’t even a remote possibility that I would.

While he was fucking me, I was overcome with the urge to clutch him to me and say, “My buddy!” I loved Mark, and I wanted to touch him, but I wanted to give him a big hug and kiss his head. I wanted to touch him in the most platonic of ways, in a way devoid of eroticism or romance but with appreciation. Like you would a friend. A friend with a perfect jawline and freckle-dusted shoulders, but a friend. Ideally a friend wearing clothes and not trying to suck out my soul through intense corneal penetration.

I walked him to his car and felt like a traitor to my itchy need for sex and his unending enthusiasm. He started talking about when we would see each other next, and how we could make the new rules work, and I had a glued-on smile. “How do you think that was good?” I wanted to ask. He must have known it wasn’t great, but his unwillingness to admit it seemed so representative of his general attitude. I usually think of closure as a bullshit construct, but I felt so much more sure of things than I did in September when I thought I wouldn’t be sleeping with him again.

I hugged him goodbye and started brainstorming ways to smack myself around as foreplay.

Read Cat Damon’s previous post for Slutever, “Is it Possible to Hatefuck Yourself?” HERE :)

Main image by Nobuyoshi Araki



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