I have been in ‘the lifestyle’ for about 10 years now. I started sharing my experiences through writing in one form or another for about eight, maybe slightly longer. During that time I was always worried about being on the receiving end of some on-line attack from people who had some kind of moral problem with my sexual choices.
Strangely I have never really had any vilification either on line or in person. Due to my profession I am quite careful about what I share about my extra-curricular activities. People are weird about how they expect teachers to behave in their private lives. That, and people find it incredibly had to understand the concept of minding their own business. Almost as hard as they find accepting that other people don’t make the same relationship choices as they do. Having said that I have always had a lurking doubt that my on-line exploits will one day draw the attention of a troll and I will become the victim of a narrow -minded keyboard warrior.
In the real face to face world I am quite careful about who I discuss my lifestyle with. As a general rule I don’t share any details unless they have confirmed in some way that they are open to the idea of non-monogamy by expressing a desire to practice it or that they are trustworthy enough that they will not turn on me. I spend a bit of time in the world of pole dance and burlesque. I have been a practitioner of pole fitness for slightly less time than I have been a swinger. I have blogged about it here and I am sure some other posts as well. I have found myself becoming part of a pole studio community that has muddied the waters between my two worlds. It is a weird crossover. Of course you would expect this from people who want to take their clothes off in front of others or explore the conflict between body and gravity, skin and metal that is pole dancing. I have encountered several people who sit somewhere on the spectrum of alternative relationships and they have made me feel more comfortable about myself and my relationships. Those who are still chasing the monogamy dream are usually open minded enough to go with the flow.
In this place where I have made vanilla looking friendships with non-vanilla people and learned volumes about accepting my body as it is I did not expect to encounter judgement. But I did. In spades.
It came from a woman much younger than myself. Someone who has only been learning at this studio for a very short time. I don’t walk around at pole class openly talking about my lifestyle, most of the time. Sometimes though it slips out. When I am there I am as if I am at home. Other class members talk openly about their sex lives or attempts at one and so I feel comfortable to do so myself from time to time. So when I made a full disclosure during one class I was not prepared for a sneak attack. I guess when a member of the class took the opportunity to let me know how she felt, thankfully in private, I was taken by surprise.
I was too stunned to respond. I am still smarting from her words. In the style of a truly judgmental person she shot first and didn’t even bother to ask questions. She didn’t give me the opportunity to respond or to defend myself and quite honestly that was probably a good thing. I don’t think I would have said may constructive things in that moment. I was left to contemplate her comments. She accused me of judging her, not about her relationship choices but some behavior she had done. As is my nature I have spent the last few days considering her statements. I guess I am judgmental and now I find myself second guessing every negative comment. That is a process I will work through but the wash up of her comments on my lifestyle have led to a re-assessment of my approach.
I thought I had found a real world place where I could safely share some information about myself. It turns out I was wrong. This whole experience has left me thinking that the on-line confessional booth that is this blog is the only place I should share.
Although this does not follow the prompt for this week. I have included this post as part of this week’s Wicked Wednesday group. The prompt for this week is “Astrology” make sure you head on over and see what other bloggers are writing about.