Consensual Friend F*cking
Johnny (not his real name) was a pretty good friend of Marc’s when I (Mimi) met him for the first time. The plan was for a group of friends to go see a band. I was especially looking forward to meeting and going out with Johnny because Marc told me that he was pretty attractive and predicted I’d be hot for him.
Marc knows my taste in men—he was right about Johnny. The chemistry between us was palpable. After a few drinks, and a lot of flirtation, I leaned into Johnny’s ear and whispered, “I think we should have a torrid affair.”
Not yet knowing the ins and outs of my and Marc’s relationship, Johnny pulled away and looked at me with surprise. I smile and, after a moment, Johnny smiled back. “With you, I would.”
The next time the three of us hung out together, my desire for Johnny and our flirtation was in full throttle with lots of lingering eye contact, knees touching, and sexual innuendo. Marc enjoyed the flirtation, but, except for a few suggestive comments, he generally played spectator.
I knew I wanted to be Johnny’s lover and had a pretty good idea that Johnny was game. Before really making a move, I asked Marc what he would think about me having sex with Johnny. Marc was ambivalent about the idea. He expressed some concern over how it might affect his friendship with Johnny, but also said that he wouldn’t mind watching. He didn’t say “no”, but he didn’t say, “yes,” either.
When Johnny invited us to spend a night at his beach house on Grande Isle, Marc and I discussed it again in the car. I told Marc that I really wanted to have a threesome with Johnny. Marc said that he doubted Johnny would be into it but that I could have sex with him one-on-one if I want and the opportunity arose.
The first night, the three of us went to a dive bar on the main strip. I sat between Johnny and Marc, and as the conversation and drinks began to flow, I found my hands on both of them and their hands all over me. We didn’t quite make a spectacle of ourselves, but there was no doubt what was going to happen when we got back to the beach house.
And it did…happen. It started as a group grope, but Marc eventually extricated himself from the action. The next day, things were a bit uncomfortable between the three of us, but no one broached the subject. Marc and I had planned to stay only one night, so when we left that afternoon, we hadn’t discussed any of it.
The next time we saw Johnny, he ended up sleeping over. We’ve traveled with him and he has visited us, and all three of us often sleep in the same bed. Johnny and Marc are still close friends and, though we see Johnny infrequently, I would say that he and I are, on occasion, lovers.
What are your ethics around sleeping with each other's or mutual friends?
It was a big step for me. I had been good friends with Johnny for a while, and I was definitely concerned about how this would affect our friendship outside of Mimi. I hung out with Johnny more often and had more in common with him than did Mimi, so I was concerned that our time without Mimi around would be awkward, or that Johnny wouldn’t want to hang out with me because he felt like he had somehow betrayed me, and we’d never be able to get over that.
I was relieved to find that it really didn’t affect things. We had a good talk soon after the first time, and he had physical intimacy with Mimi a few times where I was in another city or another room, and each time, we just discussed it, and I let him know that I was ok with it, and as long as he was ok, there was no problem.
I think Johnny will be a long time friend, and if anything, due to the experiences we’ve had and he has had independently WITH Mimi, there is a bond between us that I don’t have with other male friends. I don’t necessarily think this bond will make or has made us BETTER friends, but it hasn’t hurt (as far as I can tell) our friendship, and that is refreshing.
If you’re seeing a consistent thread through much of our narrative, it’s the openness and honesty we engage in when it comes to these potentially divisive issues. Had I not given Johnny a call after that first interaction that involved Mimi, it would have been easy to drift apart, each of us making assumptions about what was wrong with us and our friendships. Instead, we all talked about it, and agreed that it can work.
The more people who have read our blog open up to me, and contact me to open a dialogue about these issues, the more common this whole “sleeping with a friend” ends up being in THEIR stories. I think that especially for couples who are just beginning to try this open relationship stuff on for size, having a first or relatively new experience with a friend can either be an easier transition into all of this because there’s a level of trust that doesn’t usually exist with a stranger, OR it can become sticky (which may not be such a good thing). Again, the more communication, and the more honesty, the more likely it is that this can work out and possibly even strengthen friendships.
When Marc and I opened our relationship, I had two stipulations that limited his “dating pool”. Never, ever could he pursue or jump in bed with one of my students, and 2) if he were ever interested in someone who I work with or is my colleague, he has to check with me first.
Outside of that, I do not have an issue with Marc pursuing or having sex my friends. To be honest, Marc usually isn’t interested in my friends, so this doesn’t come up often. However, it has been the case that he has been and is currently lovers with women who are mutual friends.
I have a very strong preference to be acquainted, if not friends with the women Marc is sleeping with. With very few exceptions, I always like them (Marc has great taste in women!), and I like being “real” to them—for them to get to know me a bit and to see Marc and me together. I suppose you could call it being territorial, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t trust a woman or man whom I’m dating and who isn’t willing to get to know Marc, and I feel the same way about the women Marc dates. If someone is uncomfortable with our situation, then that person isn’t right, and I believe more capable of being a “cowboy” (a sexist term used by some poly folks to refer to individuals who come into a poly situation and try to “cut the filly from the herd”—though, I do enjoy thinking of Marc as a spirited filly). If everybody knows each other, then his relationships with other women and mine with others is more a part of our life, not a step out of our life.
I’m not talking about being best friends; I’m talking about being acquainted enough so that things feel comfortable and copacetic if they come to a party at our house or if we run into them when we’re out. One of the things that will immediately turn me off to one of Marc’s lovers is if she ignores me when we’re in the same room or in the same social situation. And if one of my lovers does the same thing when Marc is in the room, I’m turned off to that person.
Marc having sex with people I consider “friends” is actually, the best-case scenario from my perspective. I’m deeply polyamorous, and Marc dating and getting to know other people who could become a friend is one of the perks of doing an open relationship.
Now, when it comes to me sleeping with Marc’s friends, let me say I have a thing (that’s an understatement) for spending time with Marc and another man—the three of us as a triad. We have travelled many, many times with one of many, many other men—rock climbing, cycling, mountaineering, and I absolutely love it. There is something about the close intimacy between Marc and his friends that just feels like home to me. I grew up with five brothers so I am pretty comfortable and can hold my own with masculine banter about sex, flatulence, work, climbing, and all the other things men talk with each other about (at least in my presence). I just love situations like the ones described above about Johnny--whether it's in a bar, taking turns belaying while rock climbing, or snuggled between them in bed--I love spending time with Marc and a good friend.
It’s also true that, if you think Marc has great taste in women, you should see the sort of men he chooses as close friends! They’re really fine men—in every sense of the word. I've travelled with many of them and, unilaterally, they are really fantastic guys.
I have developed crushes on some and not others and I’ve slept with some and not others. With only one exception, I have always asked Marc first (and trust me, asking is key here…perhaps we’ll blog about the one time I did sleep with one of Marc’s friends without asking first—talk about fuck-up!).
But I digress…
For as much as I prefer to get to know Marc’s lovers, as much as I love spending time with Marc and his close friends, and as much as I love when there is sexual energy coupled with that sort of friendship intimacy, I would love nothing more than for Marc and my lover Scott to become close friends.
This is a whole other dynamic--Marc becoming friends with my lovers without already being friends with them. Marc just doesn’t seem to feel the same way I do when it comes to being acquainted with each other’s sexual partners. I wrote a novel and am currently writing an academic book about this dynamic—love triangles that include one woman and two men--and I’m thinking it has a lot to do with masculinity and possessiveness. Despite the stereotypes of women being competitive with each other over the attentions of men, my experience tells me that women who choose non-monogamy and polyamory are much better at being friends with their partners’ lovers than are men when it comes to being friends with men who are shtooping their partner(s). However, it’s also true that it takes a special kind of man for Marc to really let him in and consider him a close friend no matter the situation.
I know that Scott is that kind of man, and when the three of us are together, Marc and Scott are relatively open to each other, and I can’t express how grateful I am that both of them are so good to and with each other. But deep down, I crave to be part of the friendship intimacy I’ve experienced with Marc and his close friends, only with Scott and Marc.
But I can’t choose Marc’s (or Scott’s) friends for him. I do think Marc could be more open to Scott in terms of building friendship, but hey, you can lead a coupla horses to water, but you can’t make them drink.