The introduction to my ebook essay collection Sex & Cupcakes is called "Writing What You Know When You Write About Sex." That I think does apply to personal essays, which make up the bulk of the book, but in my work as a sex columnist, I'm primarily writing about other people's sex lives.
To research my recent polyamory and metamour column, "Love the one you're with - and the one they're with, too," I posted a question on a polyamory forum and someone asked me if I identify as poly. It's complicated, and there's more on that in my essay "Monogamishmash" (in Sex & Cupcakes) but the short answer would be no. I'm in a monogamous relationship right now, although I wouldn't say I truly identify with the word "monogamous" as a way to describe me. But that's part of why I was all the more interested in exploring polyamory. I may be doing monogamy right now, but I still hate the way monogamy is shoved down our thoughts from the youngest of ages as the one and only way to go about love, the biggest goal, the most glittering trophy. Metamours seemed like a way to link that to Valentine's Day to keep it timely and offer some different POVs on the topic.
There's a gap between my experiences and those of the people I profiled, and I value that. I learn from that. Always. I don't think I could bring myself to write essays about myself and my sex life every day, or even every week. part of what keeps my mind alive and alert is talking to other people, being professionally nosy, and then, on a personal level, processing that information back into my life, figuring out what I can learn from people who are different me.
Certainly, when I finally get around to zeroing in on my biggest experience as a metamour, it will be nothing like that column. It will be dark, ugly and messy. It will be about my lowest, in a way, moment, a rock bottom that I think about often as a way to stabilize myself and remember how I do not want to behave. It's something I'm not sure I'd say I'm ashamed of, or even regret, but that was deeply impactful in all aspects of my life. I remember it like yesterday, which is probably why I feel this need to write about it three years later.
It calls to me because I'm often dark, ugly and messy, and always deeply, deeply imperfect. I will never be otherwise. But I think what I try my hardest to do is both write about my own experiences when a piece calls for it, but also look beyond my own experiences, because they will always be a narrow, singular, strictly subjective view. I'm honored and grateful to have the opportunity to write these sex columns, and if they end tomorrow, I will have been proud of the work I've done on them. So with that, Happy Valentine's Day, one day early.