My first experience with non-monogamous relationships took place when I was 25. A friend and I were seduced by a married couple after a Christmas show. 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, consensual non-monogamy 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!). 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 non-monogamy 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. 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 show—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 non-monogamous, 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. 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. We had these friends who had been together for more than ten years. They were non-monogamous, and we'd hung out with them a whole bunch of times. They were nice, and we all got along, so it felt like a safe first experience.
So finally, one night, after going back and forth, we decided to go over to their place and make it happen. I wasn't really that interested in the guy. 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 non-monogamous—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. He took off his pants, and he had this horse cock. And I mean that sincerely. 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 large penis stops being hot and just becomes scary. I remember watching him with his wife. 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? The next thought that went through my head was: 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 non-monogamy. I can handle this 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 dialed 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 cried a little bit on the way home. Overall, it was a good experience, and I'm glad it happened with those people in that situation. My partner and I went on to a lot of other non-monogamous situations. We're still non-monogamous now. 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 non-monogamous 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 she thought about it, the more it turned her on.
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 the girl at work, but it got the conversation started with my girlfriend.
At the same time, we had a set of neighbors 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 swingers, too. 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 drinks, 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 so quickly. Back then, I didn't know anything about non-monogamy. I don't know if that label even existed back then. I didn't even know they'd had these conversations. So all the talking about it beforehand—that was the scary part. Way scarier than when it's 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 long—for reasons not related to non-monogamy—but it started a trend. My current relationship actually started out non-monogamous. So, it's influenced a lot of my subsequent relationships. I grew up in a small town where that sort of thing wasn't prevalent. But since all of this happened, I've learned so much about non-monogamy and polyamory, and it's really opened my eyes.
For my husband and me, the road to our first non-monogamous 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 spiraled 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. 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 each other. 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. Suddenly, we had to fight for this marriage and try to make it work. And we'd been talking about [non-monogamy] for a while in a very sort of exploratory sense. One day, he just said: "Why don't we just go for it?" This was the first time he'd totally jumped onboard, 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 OK 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 people, and most of them are experienced couples. There was a nude hot tub in the back. 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." Then we made sure everything was cool between us and decided that non-monogamy wasn't for us at the moment. 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 Plenty of Fish, 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. I mean, I grew up in a small town. 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. 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. 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."
Once we all met, I felt this instant attraction. I didn't have a super solid connection with him, but I had a very strong physical connection with her. We all talked and flirted for quite a while. This was over the course of a month, and they'd even send me video clips of them having sex. Eventually, they came to my house one night, we shared a bottle of wine, and 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, she and I was really good. He 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 non-monogamous 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.