Chris from the United States
(Editors note: Chris sent in his story and while it is not exactly childhood, it’s a good example of how we never stop learning and developing. Also, it’s a great example of how things in our childhood, both the good and the bad, can have a very long lasting effect on us.)
There’s plenty of resources out there on fully embracing your inner slut. So why would I write this article? Because the devil is in the details, because each story of transformation is beautiful and unique, and – mostly – in the hope that my story will be an inspiration to someone a bit later in life who wishes desperately to cross the internal divide of their own history and be the slutty slut slut they’ve always been meant to be.
The first keyword I’ll toss out is one that comes up frequently on this site: Catholic. Twelve years of Catholic school education (propaganda) cemented the concept in my brain that traditional, monogamous and vanilla were the keys to the kingdom of heaven. To ensure the cement is rock solid, let’s sprinkle some “heartland” midwestern values on top of this icy, restrictive block. Without two “divine” interventions, I reckon I’d still be at the crossroads of America with a wife, two kids, and some kind moderately satisfying job that was tangentially related to my dreams but most definitely not my actual dream.
So what were those two divine-in-quotes events?
First, at the tender age of 18, I discovered a priest with whom I had an extremely close, mentor-like relationship was fucking my first ever serious girlfriend. Given that it was very much consensual on her part (though certainly tinged with #metoo male power dynamics) I got a nice double-whammy betrayal. Honestly, my world turned upside down and I was devastated.
Second, at almost exactly the same time, I saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I’ll never forget the feeling of unfettered joy as I was surrounded by these beautiful midwestern freaks, singling along as Frank-n-Further told us “Don’t dream it, be it.” I suddenly felt a whole lot more OK somewhere deep down in my soul surrounded by these folks who, like me, seemed to be strangers in a strange land. If the cement described above had been a little weaker, the story of my journey would probably be much shorter. But the Catholics and the midwest had done their duty, and I would dream it but not be it for many more years to come.
Still, the combination of these two events catapulted me towards the remainder of my very charmed life. Soon I had left the midwest for art school on the west coast, and was (at least) surrounded constantly by even freakier freaks and feeling a lot more at comfy as a person because of it. Things were moving in the right direction, but it would take a few more decades more before I could say proudly, “I am a slut.”
Now, let’s add a new keyword into the mix: Adopted. I could honestly go on for hours and hours about the ramifications of this upon my life, but here’s most minimalistic version: being separated from your mother at birth induces a kind of PTSD that will have you looking for Mom until the day you die. In my specific case that meant that I fell in love. A lot. Because every women might be “her.” That’s all well and good for a slut who has embraced their true nature. But, even though I had made a crack in the cement by surrounding myself by free-spirited, wacky artist types, that nasty concrete block was as imposing and heavy as ever. For several years to come, I would continuously attempt to follow the plan Catholicism and the midwest had laid out for me, committing what I now consider to be the only true “original sin”: denying my true nature.
So, I got married and entered into a relationship that was by agreement monogamous. But my adoption trauma was still in action. I’d frequently see women on the street or on the subway or at parties or everywhere that I was attracted to. My partner noticed, and it was hurtful to her. I tried to explain that it didn’t mean I didn’t love her, but – at least at the time – she couldn’t hear this. (To be fair, even I didn’t yet realize my many attractions in relation to my adoption.) There was a lot that was fantastic about our relationship, but this was a painful thorn that returned over and over again.
Along the way somewhere, I learned about a local enthusiastic-consent based sex-party. My partner was a bit reticent to go, but said she’d do it for me. We only participated as voyeurs; she let me know (and I’m glad) that getting physical with each other or someone else in that context was not right for her. But I knew, to my bones, that being in that situation felt glorious to me, and I wanted to participate like crazy.
In the days, weeks and months after, I should have made a point of saying that this discovery was crucial, but I didn’t. I was afraid of what I wanted because it was so counter to everything I’d been taught was “right”. I was afraid because being who I was meant that I would, in all likelihood, lose this woman I loved very deeply.We worked hard to make it work as a monogamous couple, but in the end we broke up after 17 years together. There was a whole slew of deeply meaningful reasons beyond my sluttiness that led to our dissolution. But, in the end, the big story is that I let fear guide me on that topic, and hopefully we all know that’s the ultimate recipe for disaster when it comes to self-fulfillment.
A couple of years later I started what would turn out to be a six-year relationship. I was honest about my experience and interest in the sort of sex-party situation I had encountered just that once. But when push came to shove, and she asked me “but are you a swinger?” (with an unspoken parenthetical “because that’s not right for me”) I was all “Oh, no no no… you know I just love sex and sexy situations. I want to be with just you!” So, with fear still at the helm, I ended up in another monogamous relationship where my constant attractions led to strife and conflict and hurt. I convinced her to go to the same party with me. We had sex next to a couple that were doing the same, and I’ll never forget holding the other woman’s hand and looking deeply into her eyes as her partner fucker her to climax. Oh. My. God. I’m home! I mean, really, it was SO right for me. But for my girlfriend? Not so much, hurumph. We never went back together and, as to be expected, eventually, we ended it.
So here I am, 52 years old, seemingly having learned nothing from these experiences, still clinging desperately onto values that I knew weren’t my values any longer, and feeling unfulfilled. What broke the dam? One courageous act followed shortly thereafter by a couple more “divine” interventions. (Like I told you, charmed life.)
I had dug in deeply to the “A” word in recent years. Some psychotherapy combined with several important books on the topic (listed as resources at the end of this article) made it clear to me: I needed to try to find my birth mother. With no small amount of trepidation, I set out to do just that. A scant eight weeks later, my social worker found her and delivered an initial anonymous letter from me. In that letter, I asked my birth mother if we could be in contact, and if she could tell me something about her. A few weeks later, I received the the most heartbreaking and beautiful nine page letter from the incredible woman who brought me into this world; a woman who had thought about me and prayed for me every single day since her parents had forced her to give me up for adoption. From the books I read, I knew intellectually that my dark assumption – that I was garbage to be thrown out with the trash – was almost certainly not true. But I now had absolute proof to the contrary, and I just wept for long time. After my tears, it was like a curtain was drawn and, right there and then I said “fuck you” to fear because I knew I was in fact someone to be loved. Upon making this declaration, everything shifted. The cement of my history did not vaporize, but it did shatter into a pile of far more manageable chunks.
Abandoning fear, an abandonment we should all strive to accomplish, leads to the denouement of my story.
I attempted online dating. Brushing off the rejection that I encountered as part of the deal was particularly instructive to me as an adoptee. But, generally the dates (and when it happened, the sex) were not terribly fulfilling and there wasn’t much of a connection with anyone. (Not enough freaks!) But I kept trying. It was date 4,123 (not really, but it felt like it) when I met X: a polyamorist mathematician who, after getting to know each other over a couple of drinks, suggested that we go to a “pop-up” sauna that was happening near the river. So, about two hours after we met, we were sitting totally naked together talking and laughing about everything. I was astonished by her ease; here was someone who was unabashedly solid when it came to carrying on multiple, loving/sexual relationships. It was normal, you know?
We shared a brief romance before falling madly into friendship. But it was during this time that, by example, this amazing woman taught me perhaps the most important lesson I’ve yet learned: “when I say what’s right for me, it says nothing about you.” She often did what was right for her, and sometimes that wasn’t right for me. At first, I sometimes felt sad or even attacked when she did so. But as we talked through my feelings, she helped me to see that this was not an affront. It was being true… it was the deepest kind of love for herself, and she asked me to join her in that love.
After this romance, I became reflective. While I somehow hoped to fully disperse the cement block that was my Catholic and midwestern background, in the end, I still wanted to be with someone – my number one, you know? I had learned from talking with X that polyamorism wasn’t right for me, if only because I don’t have enough time available in my life to give more than one person the love and attention they deserve. Because of X, I knew I would be able to tell my next lover “I love you and want to be with you. But I also want to fuck people with whom I share an attraction because it fills my heart with joy.” I could say this because she showed me that doing so could not possibly be an attack on someone; instead, it was an invitation to celebrate who I am. Finally, I had come to realize that the people who truly and deeply love me would always want to join me in such a celebration.
With that realization, everything was in place for me to be amazed.
As if on cue, BOOM! someone who is as nerdy, kind, loyal and slutty as me materialized right before my eyes. Someone who wants to go to sex-parties and gatherings like the Xplore festival so that we can be sexual adventurers together, but also wants just the two of us to cuddle up in bed or cook a beautiful meal together. It’s a one-night stand that has lasted two years so far, and seems certain to last longer because we declared ourselves and our true nature from the first moment we met. Never before have I felt 1000% free to ask without hesitation for whatever I desire (sexually or otherwise) because never before had someone loved me so much that their only desire for me was to fulfill the truth of who I am. I could go on about the incredibly satisfying, joyful experiences we’ve had together with other lovely sexual adventurers such as ourselves. but I maybe that’s the topic of another essay. Suffice to say that we are in a constant state of amazement and curiosity, and that I am truly blessed to have someone in my life who wants me to be exactly the person I am, just as I want the same for her.
Sexual awakening may or may not be an overnight occurrence. In my case, I knew the truth for a really long time but I hesitated to announce my truth all the reasons enumerated above. I don’t regret that really, because life is a journey and enjoying its twists and turns are part of enjoying the ride. But if any of this resonates with you, if you feel a tug in your heart (and perhaps other regions as well) when you read this, then just do it: say “fuck you” to fear and declare yourself. The people who love you are going to jump for joy when you do.
RESOURCES FOR ADOPTEES
“Journey Of The Adopted Self: A Quest For Wholeness” – Betty Jean Lifton
“The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child” – Nancy Verrier
“Coming Home to Self” – Nancy Verrier
“The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade” – Ann Fessler