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Considering Polyamory: A Thought Exercise

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Considering Polyamory: A Thought Exercise

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Travis Laurence Naught, a quadriplegic wheelchair user and virgin, talks about what love and relationships is like and his thoughts about polyamory and polyamorous agreements.

She was playing pool with the guy I saw her with last when I showed up. It’s not a new situation for me. No woman has ever been accompanied by me the way they deserve. Every single move I make is assisted by someone else. In order to move away from my computer right now, I would need to holler for help from the other room. She lifted my arm up onto my joystick so I could angle my wheelchair more directly to where the comedians would be performing.

I don’t feel like I have the right to ask someone to condemn herself to a monogamous relationship with me. I cannot perform the tasks necessary to satisfy anyone completely. No one has ever satisfied me completely. Just today, the only woman I ever said “I love you” to stopped by my house for a visit. She is through town frequently. I had not seen her in eight months. I was at her wedding. I get along with her husband well. There has never been any sort of physical relationship between she and I. I do not believe that it is fair of me to still harbor feelings for her. Yet, I do.

A friend of mine and I went to see Tommy Chong perform stand-up comedy several years ago. He and his wife were polyamorous. I believe he has had physical relations with at least two women who have denied me that experience. It’s not that they do not accept me as a man. It’s not that they do not like me as a person. It’s the fact that they do not want to undertake the physical experience of sexual relations with a man who is not able to satisfy them. And I honestly do not know if I could satisfy them or not. I would like to think I could. I believe I probably could not. This is the duality of being an unfulfilled, inexperienced human in those realms.

The reality is someone would have to help me put my hands on them. There is no way I can physically manipulate another. Meeting someone’s bodily requirements is out of my network, as they say. But I am still wired with the human desire for carnal touch. I fantasize about it constantly. A former gay porn actor told me that I had the highest sex drive of anyone he had ever met. That says A LOT.

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My friend and his (ex) wife, who is also my friend, are no longer together. It’s an uncomfortable experience for me watching two people who I care about separate. I know happily married couples who have folded others into their intimate relationships. That is an equally uncomfortable experience for me. The publicly open combination of humans confuses me. The fact that humans anonymously connect and then never reconnect confuses me. I am not a part of the community of lovers in the world. Earth has gone around the sun more than 21 times in my “mature” life without that sort of connection.

I went to a stand-up comedy show tonight. This is the kind of event that I attend frequently. I’ve been to at least 50 concerts and at least 100 paid comedy shows. There were sex jokes. One of the performers made jokes about the clitoris in front of his mom. Then, of course, there were jokes by one of the other comedians about the fact that he made those sorts of jokes in front of his mom. My mom is sitting in the other room as I write this, with the door open between us. She may or may not be able to hear me right now. I have only ever seen a vagina in person when it has been paid for. My guess is that my own mom would wish that I would see one, stimulate one even, for less capitalistic purposes.

No, I am not capable of fulfilling anyone’s entire list of desires. I do not know that I’m comfortable being the person sitting idly by while they are serviced by another. Still, in order to feel completely accepted by another, I believe more and more that it is imperative for me to be willing to accept a partnership with someone who is non-monogamous.

I do not know how to enter a relationship like that. I have been out on dates with women who let me know over dinner about their boyfriends. That immediately changed the mood in me from thinking I was on a date into thinking that I was just out with someone over dinner. Growing up, relationships between lovers were always modeled as sacred. Crossing boundaries terrifies me. No one ought to be made uncomfortable because of my desires. Some people have been made uncomfortable by my desires. The only ones I have spoken openly about my desires with have denied me. A history of failure is my biggest hurdle in broaching the subject.

I want to be the person that someone feels completely comfortable with. I want them to know I value their time and attention. I want inside jokes. My dreams are filled with tender looks.

This has all been about sex so far. That is such a small part of relationships. What I’m really talking about is intimacy. So many of my friends have belittled the actual act of fucking in conversations with me that I might actually believe it is unnecessary. What I cannot believe is unnecessary, no matter how hard I try, no matter the reality that I have made it this far without, is the complete giving over of oneself to a safe other.

I want to be the person that someone feels completely comfortable with. I want them to know I value their time and attention. I want inside jokes. My dreams are filled with tender looks. A soft kiss in the middle of an otherwise terrible day might be enough to turn things around. I want to know whether or not it would!

And I am not selfish enough to demand that this unknown partner not receive the same things from a more capable individual. It is possible, I believe, for me to find a woman who is willing to share all of herself with me while still finding fulfillment elsewhere.

This is not a perfect scenario. It’s a scenario that would likely make a large percentage of my friends uncomfortable for me, but it is a scenario that I am willing to ponder on lonely nights when anything offers a better set of circumstances than the nothing I already have.


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Travis Laurence Naught

Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Individual poems, stories, and various other material by Travis have been published online (Section 8 Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, Damfino Press, and others) and in print (Gold Man Review, Lost Coast Review, Empirical Magazine, and more). His first book of poetry, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), is currently out of print, but copies can still be found. Check out naughtapoet.blogspot.com for more information and original writing by Travis.

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