Sasha: Easy does it

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Dear Sasha,

My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year and a half. We're totally in love, committed to each other, have an open and fluent line of communication and plan to spend the rest of our lives together.

I'm bisexual and would love to share that side of me, and another woman, with my boyfriend.

In the beginning of our relationship it was such a turn-on for me to hear stories about him with past lovers and his attraction to other women, but now that our relationship has gotten more serious, I've become possessive and jealous when he expresses this attraction. It now puts a knot in my stomach.

My past has given me lots of trust and abandonment issues, and although I trust him 100 per cent, I can't help but feel threatened whenever I try to think of a threesome experience. I'm hoping you can help direct me to some resources/tools I can use to work through these issues, because I know that they are indeed my issues, and it makes me sad and frustrated to think that they're stopping us as a couple from exploring the many possibilities (sexually and otherwise) my bisexuality might provide.

Blocked Bisexuality

In her book Opening Up, Tristan Taormino uses the term New Relationship Energy -- the palpable, electric attraction that occurs between new partners.

Though the expression is often applied to the polyamorous relationship model to signify an intimate relationship that comes into an existing one -- sometimes eclipsing and/or threatening it -- I think the term also suits a variety of situations where deep feelings can be misrepresentative, unrealistic or scary. In other words, sometimes the NRE we bring into a relationship can end up scaring or threatening us down the road.

When you first hook up with a new lover, the chemicals conjured by great sex and fresh attraction can make you feel invincible. The general affirmation you receive from this makes you feel powerful and independent. All those nagging concerns, insecurities and unaddressed issues get glossed over or pushed to the back of the closet. You make wild, erotic pledges, elated with the thought of being the lover you've always dreamed of being.

This can all leave you in a pretty vulnerable way when you get to the part of yourself that isn't quite so bold. In a state of stupefied bliss, you went and shot your crotch off, and now you feel beholden to honour the lewd print.

First things first, Blocked (and I want you to imagine me holding your hand while I'm saying this): bisexuality is an orientation, not a parlour trick we whip out to amuse people at parties. Nor is it a carrot we dangle in front of people to suggest we are up for anything without reciprocation or complication. Your bisexuality is not there to provide experiences. It is part of you, of course, but it is, like any orientation, attached to complex emotions and experiences. It does not make you indiscriminate or devoid of a challenging history or insecurities.

I can feel your panic now about being abandoned unless you snap out of this "unattractive" state and behave in the way you first represented yourself. It's okay, honey, really it is. You've just gotten to some little dude stuff. Talk to your partner about this. Perhaps tell them that in your haste, you may have made a few suggestions that really did float the little man in the boat, but you need to put them on hold and tackle some more difficult feelings. How about, for now, taking the threesome off the table and maybe visit a sex or swing club with the goal of simply flirting and chatting with people?

It Gets... Something

For many years and across the globe, LGBT kids have been using the internet and YouTube to broadcast their stories of coming out, transitioning and simply being queer in the world, wherever and however that is for them.

These blogs, websites and videos are often incredibly raw and intensely personal. I'm always impressed watching them, not just for the stories they tell, but for the remarkable writing, performance and media skills those who make them demonstrate. I remember how creative and wily I was as an outsider kid growing up in the soul-numbing suburbs. I didn't have the internet, but my eyes and ears were always wide open for my tribe, and I made myself very visible in order to find it, often in the face of intense denigration. I learned to be a scrapper, a quality I still carry with me, for better and worse, today.

"It is true that the tyranny of high school doesn't last forever, nor does the trauma and drama that everyone experiences in adolescence," reads a post by Laurel Dykstra on Jezebel.com in response to Dan Savage's It Gets Better video project, "but it seems fundamentally flawed that what we are calling queer kids to do is hold on until the privileges of adulthood kick in, and for some, the greater privileges of race, class, mobility and education. Love, safety and acceptance should not be privileges."

They shouldn't, and yet for a very privileged few, they are. And for most of us, queer or not, blessed with obvious advantages from the outset or not, the shit doesn't end after high school. When I was suicidal last year, did people telling me it would get better help? Not whatsoever. In fact, this statement seemed like a cruel joke.

What did help? Finding people who were going through the same hell at the same moment and hanging on to them for dear life. Finding people who had no experience with what I was going through but just let me sit with them and smoke my face off, even for an hour. And most profoundly, realizing it was my vulnerability and not my well-honed ability to deny it that connected me most meaningfully with myself and with my tribe. Becoming open to people on this level is something I would never exchange for an easier life, but it is also something that requires constant work.

For me, sharing was a lifesaving action, but sharing by its very nature doesn't confine us to one story. When you host a potluck, many things come to the table. Dan may have brought the bacon-wrapped scallops, but that hasn't stopped others from bringing the strong homemade wine, the hummus, the bag of mushrooms or maybe a provocative and polarizing cheese plate.

"Better" can mean many different things. When I tell people I am better for surviving a few major shakeups, what I mean is this: I am a better person. Not always, but often. I struggle. A lot. And in doing so I can say for certain that those who consciously and lethally dismantle a person's self-worth will have to fight much, much harder to experience this. Rage is a powerful and blinding emotion, kids. Be very careful with it.

This column was originally published in NOW Magazine. Ask Sasha:

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