New Horizons
by Somerset

Somerset is a man in his seventies who has only recently begun to search for compatible women for open relationships. He prefers sexual variety and treasures his independence. This series, Polyamorous Possibilities, is the sequel to his Potentially Polyamorous series exploring open relationships. Both this series as well as the first one are archived for reference.

  1. “Be careful what you pray for; your prayers may be answered”
  2. “When the student is ready, a teacher will appear.”

This article begins a sequel to my Potentially Polyamorous series. Its inspiration comes from experiences I’m having as a result of finding a new lover, whom I name Shirley. I spoke of her in my Overture article of the previous series. You may remember that I said there, “She says she is not a jealous person and doesn’t want either of us to fall in love or feel tied to each other but feel free to have other friends.”

Shirley’s preferences came to me as a total surprise, to say the least. My upbringing had unequivocally spelled out for me a rule that gentlemen and ladies do not have unmarried sex. They fall in love, become engaged, and have sex together only after they are married. Because of this rule, my wife and I were virgins at the start of our honeymoon. To say that we were novices is a gross understatement. I was clumsy, she was nervous. We remained exclusively sexual for about thirty years.

In deciding to experiment with polyamory in my older years, I naturally expected that the only difference to that rule was that a man or a woman might fall in love with and become committed to more than one lover. By then I had accepted the common opinion that a man may sometimes give love to a woman if she gives him sex, whereas a woman may sometimes give sex to a man if he gives her love.

But now I’ve found a woman who is prepared to have sex with a man without love, one who in fact is stipulating that there will be neither falling-in-love nor the making of any major commitment during any relationship that may develop. I asked myself, “How can I have sex with someone I am in-love with but who is not in-love with me? How can she have sex with someone with whom she is not in-love?”

The first blow to my preconceived ideas came when Shirley started objecting strongly to my protestations of love. When I asked her why, her response was blunt: “Because you’re full of BS, you haven’t even begun to know me, so how can you possibly say you love me!”

Despite my confusion I was glad to enter, enthusiastically, into sexual relations with Shirley. However, I assume as a result of my upbringing and confusion, I found that, even with help from Shirley and Viagra, I had great difficulty is getting and maintaining an erection during intercourse.

That difficulty is gradually dissipating as Shirley and I open lines of communication between us and find that we are able, frankly and honestly, to examine the circumstances of our lives to this moment -- my past had conditioned my expectations along ultra-conservative lines; hers had conditioned her along very liberal ones.

In fact, her conditioning has been very liberal indeed. For a number of years she has been a member of the New Horizons Club, at, billed as “The Pacific Northwest's Finest Swingers Resort, of Lynnwood, Washington USA. “

I find that I have fallen for a woman who practices open sex, a lifestyle that is as diametrically opposed to mine, to date, as I could imagine! I want to learn more about her choice.

My education in this regard really began with this quotation from a book by Daphne Rose Kingma, titled The Future of Love (1998): “… adults are constantly evolving, moving through ever-advancing stages of psychological development. This evolution occurs in our relationships because we’re intuitively drawn to the person who has what we don’t have, what we lost, what got hurt, or was never developed in childhood. And we establish a relationship with someone and stay connected to that person because we want to develop that missing component in ourselves.”

The differences between swinging and polyamory are not well defined. Some are noted by Polyamorous Percolations, at . However the essential difference, it seems to me, is that a polyamorous person is one who has more than one lover with whom he or she is friendly and has a committed relationship at some agreed level; a swinger is a person who has many lovers who may not feel any commitment towards each other except for mutual sexual satisfaction.

And so my questions and their answers begin to emerge:

How does a member of New Horizons Club decide to have sex with another member (or more than one member at a time)? I find that members must behave reasonably decently and discretely or are debarred. I find that any two (or more) members who find each other to be attractive in some way are free to have sex with each other provided there is no coercion involved.

Is that all it takes, or is there more? What, typically, happens? I find that, relatively speaking, there are few rules. Except for “open house” occasions, a member must bring a partner to any event. A member may pair up with another, for example by way of a touch, a glance, or a word. If one decides not to pair up with the other, one may decline by simply moving away or by giving some other indication. If the couple decides to pair up, they may move together “upstairs” -- to a bedroom or similar facility where they may share sexual pleasures privately.

What about STDs? One condition of club membership states, “We feel that it is the responsibility of all members individually to practice safe sex. We do not screen new members or guests for STDs nor do we require any sort of health certificates. We do provide condoms and encourage everyone to use them or some other form of protection.”

What personal experience has Shirley had? She has been a member of New Horizons Club for several years and participates fully in sexual activities with other members. She says, “if I have even the slightest feeling that a person is not totally STD free I won't even consider playing with that person ... if I was with someone I didn't have a good conversation with ahead of time I did insist on a condom.” While an active member of the club she arranges that she will be tested for STDs regularly -- at intervals of about six months. She adds, “It’s a totally different lifestyle than you see anywhere else … if a person has a very open attitude towards sex it's a great place .... if you have any sexual hang-ups then not a place to go.”

So what about my sexual hang-ups, what about my preconceptions? I feel I'm breaking through into different dimensions, into altered states of being, into paradigm shifts, and exploring, yes, “new horizons”. I’m re-examining old opinions and convictions. In a different context I said this, “We all tend to gather evidence that supports our preconceptions and we all tend to discount evidence that discredits our beliefs. As a result we tend to defend, sometimes strenuously, sometimes irrationally, those of our convictions that form the foundation blocks of our cognitive systems. In order to become more healthy we may have to undergo experiences that will undermine existing, less healthy systems.”

So far, I've entered into "explorations of the mind". Gaining new insights is one thing; deciding whether or not to do something with them is quite another matter. Upcoming articles will outline my thinking and actions as I go about making those decisions. I have no idea at all about where my explorations will take me or will take Shirley. For the present moment we're happy to go with the flow!