37 year old Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) is a long time lover of many. Having grown up with family acceptance and involvement in a "commune" and having been involved in two separate triad relationships and still forcing herself to committ to a monogomous (failed) marriage, Rhianon has finally begun to accept her own needs, wants and desires. Focusing on the communication and honesty necessary to navigate the shadows and the required humor needed when one begins to explore her deepest being; Rhianon Leto shares her experiences as she travels the many paths of self discovery. Come along and join Rhianon as she explores the whys, whos, wheres and politics of polylife.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

A Respectable Woman

Love swells up in my soul, overflowing my heart and mind and the beauty that exists in each gentle wave keeps me adrift on this sea of hope and desire.

I have been trying to understand my conflicted feelings about love and sex.

I have had many sexual partners, more than I care to admit and it puzzles me that I am so reluctant to address this even within myself. I believe in loving as it is presented, I believe that it is possible to love someone in a moment and never see them again. I believe that I can love many people at once, in different and same ways. I love men and women. I also believe all of these things about desire. So why should I be so hesitant to admit that I "practice" these things and not just believe them? Even to myself?

How is it that I can feel that I should be able to love anyone I choose and at the same time feel that loving too many makes me a bad person? I struggle with this as I attempt to explore the world and find a place that fits.

Passion and Intensity; these are the two words that I would chose to define my lovestyle. I have always known that I love differently than other people do. Much of my self image, self confusion, self exploration, self love and self disappointment come from the way that I love others.

I canít really recall hating anyone for a long period of time. I have a few people that disgust me and a few that I feel sorry for but I really don't think I hate. I love - I trust and forgive easily and I have spent much time and committed much self abuse trying to rid myself of these tendencies but I have finally come to understand that they are an integral part of my being. I could no more exist without them then I could exist without my heart or my brain. It's just who I am.

I have learned to take steps to protect myself from the unscrupulous. I have learned the hard way most times. I am careful with my personal info, I don't let people close to my children very often, and I use condoms. These are necessities for someone like me.

There are things in life that give me hope and joy and desire, mostly I really see the beauty that is around me, beautiful people, be it physical or beauty in the soul. I love someone for who and what they are. I am often attracted to tragic beauty. I want to believe that I can make it better by loving enough but I never do. Instead I have learned to make myself better. I have learned that sometimes it's best to walk away and be grateful for the beautiful moments that existed between the meeting and the leaving.

I know this is just another part of the process of my own evolution. As I have come to accept my faith in others, my unquenchable hope, I will come to accept my overwhelming desire and love of people, each one unique and special, each one beautiful in different ways.

I want to understand if I have just gotten sex and love so confused because of what happened to me when I was younger or if I truly am living a more enlightened sort of reality than others. Or is it really just my mind making excuses for why I act the way that I do. I don't feel as if I am doing anything wrong by loving, pleasing, wanting ... but I know that society sees it that way. And those that approach me specifically for sex annoy me - that is not all that I am about. Yes, I do desire that, yes I am very open but that doesn't mean I want to be with everyone in the world. Know me, see me, love me and then sex.

I am spiritual, intuitive, sensual, honest, giving and selfish, and compassionate. I am hyper sexual. I think that I can make this very apparent without saying or doing anything overtly sexual in nature. I just have that aura or scent or look or whatever you want to call it. I have been with men who would not normally be attracted to a girl of my body type. I have been with women who have identified themselves as "straight" before and after me.

I found this quote on a website about Worshipping Women as Goddesses and I understand what it is saying. I feel as if I am caged by society and the things that were ingrained in my mind when I was young. I really feel like I am evolving and growing and that this realization of my sexual existence is just a part of this.

"What women are realizing now - I am far from the only one - is that we have been deprived of the basic right of the combination of our spirituality and sexuality. We were once magnificent creatures, free as the birds. Our images were on the altars, and they were sexy. We were worshipped, we were honored. Instead of being pursued for our beauty and body parts as 'sex trade workers' and 'whores' to be used and then cast aside (denigrated, denounced, pitied) we represented all that humanity craved - the Source of Life. Men worshipped our breasts as food givers, our vaginas as the birth canal, our hips as the holders of new life, and our whole bodies were sacred. "

And I have realized; Why shouldn't I be a sexual creature who is worthy of respect? A woman who needs, is sensitive, amazing and gives of her soul in love, this is me. This is who I am. It is in holding true to who I am while still protecting myself that I am finding respect for this beautiful person that is me.

And the path I am on seems just a little different, not really sure how, but different none the less. And I continue on.

Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) ; April 09, 2007


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