My first experience with nonmonogamous relationships took place at the age of 25, when a friend and I were seduced by a married couple after a Christmas pantomime. It was terrifying. It was intriguing. It was hydraulically taxing. But most of all, it was educational, exposing me to a community I didn't even know existed, at a time when said community was just starting to ease its way into the public eye. Now, close to a decade later (sigh), consensual nonmonogamy is more mainstream than it's ever been. The internet—including us here at VICE—covers the same points every few months (Open relationships exist! Young people do it! There are very few moustaches!) It's become the subject of countless books, films, and TV shows. It has developed its own vocabulary and identities, involving, things like compersion, polypods, soft-swaps, full-swaps, and even unicorns (bless them).
But no matter how much reading one does, there comes a point when a couple (or an individual) considering nonmonogamy has to take the plunge, a moment when one has to cross the threshold that separates the (sexy) sheep from the (sexy, sexy) goats. Sometimes it happens by accident. Sometimes it's after much deliberation. Rarely, it's after you've watched people in drag sing holiday-themed versions of Top 40 songs. Entering that world can be scary af. And it's not for everyone. It involves a lot of difficult conversations, and confronting a lot of insecurities along the way.
Collected below are a few tales from between the sheets, stories of the first times from those who have chosen to take the plunge, and jumped in with both feet. Some involve tears. Some involve other bodily fluids. But all of them—like that fateful holiday pantomime—were the first step toward something new.
Because everybody has to start somewhere.
Even the sexy, sexy goats.
NOTE: All names have been changed.
My first time was a little bit terrifying. I'd just started seeing a guy who was a bit older than me, and he was nonmonogamous, and we'd been talking about exploring that for probably six months. We hadn't really done much exploring—maybe made out with a few people. And we'd been to a sex club, but hadn't been sexual with anyone. Just to test the waters. It was all new to me. But we had these friends who had been together for more than ten years. And they were nonmonogamous, and we'd hung out with them a whole bunch of times. And they were nice, and we all got along, so it felt like a safe first experience.
So finally, one night, after a bunch of back-and-forth, we decided to go over to their place and make it happen. And I wasn't really that interested in him. It was more of a pride thing for me, because my boyfriend had always been really attracted to the woman, and for whatever reason his ex—who had also been nonmonogamous—hadn't let that be a thing. So I got to be the Cool New Girlfriend who was going to make it happen. I was willing to take one for the team. Although I had no idea how much I was going to have to take...
I remember the moment of the unveiling. We were all in their bed fooling around and getting naked. And he took off his pants, and he had this—it was like this horse cock. And I mean that sincerely. It was like, I went to Mexico when I was a kid, and there were all these horses... That was the image that immediately went through my head. There's a point where a big cock stops being hot, and just becomes scary. I remember watching him with his wife, and she was blowing him, and she was this tiny person—like 5'2"—and she could barely fit this thing in her mouth, and I thought 'How have you been doing this for more than a decade? Where do you put it all?' And the thought went through my head: 'Oh, God. I'm next.' And when we finally ended up swapping partners, I remember watching him apply this mammoth, Magnum-sized condom. And by then, backing out didn't seem like an option. Nor did I want it to be. I thought, Whatever. I can do this. I can do nonmonogamy. I can handle this fucking Sea Monster in my face. So I just kind of laid back and went, It's fine. Everything's fine. Just take deep breaths. I think eventually I just dialled in, and really focused on making sure he was having the best possible time, so that it could be over as quickly as possible. I mean, I wasn't having a bad time. I just wasn't necessarily having a good time.
And so that was all a bit overwhelming. I think I had a little bit of a cry on the way home. Overall, it was a good experience, and I'm glad it happened with those people in that situation. And my partner and I went on to a lot of other nonmonogamous situations. We're still nonmonogamous now. And I mean, well done on his part. Well done on the appendage front. Lots of girls like that. But that was definitely the only time I ever had sex with him.
My first nonmonogamous experience is going back probably 13 or 14 years. My girlfriend and I had been together a couple of years before we had the conversation about playing with other people. At the time, I was working for a company, and there was a girl I was flirting a lot with, and one day it came up that this was going on, and that I kind of wanted to do something with her. My girlfriend was extremely resistant to the idea, obviously, as people typically would be. But it quickly flipped around, and the more that she thought about it, the more it turned her on.
And it got to a point where she was talking about it more than I was, which ended up making me uncomfortable. Nothing ever happened with her, but it got the conversation started.
At the same time, we had a set of neighbours who were also friends of ours, about our age, and my girlfriend had been chatting with the female half of the couple about it. And it turned out they were a Lifestyle couple themselves. And they'd engaged in a bunch of full-swap-type situations in the past. And the two of them had been talking about all four of us maybe doing something. But nobody had mentioned it to me.
So we were all just hanging out one night, and after more than a few beverages, we suddenly ended up in their bedroom in a full-swap-type situation of our own. I didn't even have time to be terrified. Because things just escalated all of a sudden. Back then I didn't know anything about nonmonogamy. I don't know if that label even existed back then. And I didn't even know they'd had these conversations. So all the talking about it we'd done beforehand—that was the scary part. Way scarier than when it was actually happening. Because it was a place where we were comfortable, and with people we were comfortable with. It happened very organically. I didn't end up staying with that partner for all that long—for reasons not related to nonmonogamy—but it started a trend. My current relationship actually started out nonmonogamous. So, it's influenced a lot of my subsequent relationships. I grew up in the Okanagan, where that sort of thing wasn't prevalent. But since all of this has happened, I've learned so much about nonmonogamy and polyamory, and it's really opened my eyes.
For my husband and I, the road to our first nonmonogamous experience was a long one. We started our relationship being very: "Oh, let's not talk about our exes; let's not talk about other experiences." It was very much up on a pedestal, and it spiralled into a very fast moving-in-together, and a very fast marriage, and an equally fast breakup. From meeting to marriage to breakup, it all happened in the space of about four years. And we both went out on our own separate rampages, and we both ended up seeing a lot of other people, but we kept coming back and talking about it with one another. And we started going: "Well, why is this OK now, when before, I couldn't even know the name of your ex-girlfriend?"
We eventually got back together, and we were living in this delicate eggshell relationship, and suddenly, we had to fight for this marriage, and try to make it work. And we'd been talking about [nonmonogamy] for awhile in a very sort of exploratory sense. and one day, he just said: "Why don't we just go for it'?" And this was the first time he'd totally jumped on board, and I was like: 'Oh, OK.'"
The first night we went [to a sex club], nothing happened. I had very much been the driving force behind going in the first place, but when we got to the club, he was like: 'Hey, this is alright' and I was suddenly very panicked about the reality of the situation. It had seemed okay as a fantasy, but all of a sudden, the fact that it might actually happen was really shocking.
I mean, I walked in, there were all these attractive women checking out my husband, and I was like: 'wait a second!' It wasn't that I was against it. It was just overwhelming. You show up and there are 35 couples there. That's 70-odd people, and most of them are experienced Lifestyle couples. There's a nude hot-tub in the back. And we just sat back and thought: 'What the hell are we doing here?'"
Long story short, I ended up in the kitchen crying, because everything had suddenly just become a bit too real. When we left the club that night, it was a pretty quiet drive home. We kind of said: "Well, that was interesting," and then we made sure everything was cool, and then went: "It's not for us right now." And it was almost a year before we went back. But we did go back. And we've been at it ever since.
It all started through Facebook. A lot of us single Moms are part of Single Mom Facebook groups, and of course, we end up talking about dating. I was part of a conversation about PlentyofFish, and all the douchebags you find on there, and one day, one of these women asked if she could take me out for lunch. We went for sushi, and she told me about sex clubs, and swingers' resorts, and all this shit. And I mean, I grew up in small-town Saskatchewan. I'd been part of a 23-year monogamous relationship. But before I met my husband, in my early 20s, I drank heavily, and was much more promiscuous, so all of this was very interesting to me.
So, I became a member of Club Eden [a local swingers' club], and I joined the Facebook Group. I never went, but I was still on these dating sites. And one day, some guy messaged me on OKCUPID, saying he and his girlfriend wanted to have a threesome. They weren't exclusive, and were interested in finding someone, but they didn't know how to go about it. And he and I chatted quite a bit, and finally I just said: "I'd never done this before, but I'd love to meet your girlfriend."
And we all met, and I met this woman, and there was instant attraction. I didn't have a super solid connection with him, but I had a very strong physical connection with her. And we all talked and flirted for quite awhile—this was over the course of a month—and they'd send me video clips of them having sex, and then eventually they came to my house one night, and they shared a bottle of wine, and we ended up having a threesome. I remember we were all chit-chatting, and none of us really knew how to transition to the bedroom, so I finally just said: 'Uh, when do we go upstairs?' And they were like: "Oh, OK. Let's just do that now."
And it was really good. Well, her and I was really good. Him and I, not so much. I'd asked friends who'd done this sort of thing before, about whether I should go through with it, because he and I didn't have that same connection, and they all said, "It so doesn't matter. If you have a connection with the woman, it'll be good." I just jumped in with both feet. I'd never even kissed a woman, and I totally ate pussy that night.
I was only with them once. But it was great, because it gave me the courage to start connecting with people in the nonmonogamous community. I've met people who are really good friends of mine now that I started off going on dates with. I've made a lot of great friends, period.