I am a mistress right now. I love my boyfriend very much, but I am very confused about everything that I have researched about mistresses and wives. Apparently, I am supposed to be a homewrecker, an evil temptress whose only desire is to take him away from his family. Nothing could be further from my mind–I even give my boyfriend advice on how to get along with his wife. The more I look around the net, the more I find sites that tell me how I am going to be disappointed because he will not leave his wife, because he uses me sexually, because I will not have an intimate emotional connection with him. But I do not want him to leave his wife, and if the affair was ever discovered I would call her and promise her that I would never see him again so that he can be with his family. I don’t get money from him, either; I don’t really understand how I am supposed to fit into the expectations society has of mistresses.
When I was a teenager, I figured that my sexuality made me a weirdo. I didn’t think sex was some special, magical thing to be shared only with certain consecrated people; nor did I believe it was dirty and polluting and had some special power to destroy my soul. I was attracted to men and women equally, was willing to try new things, and was polyamorous at a time and place where that term didn’t exist (we called them “open relationships”, and some of my older partners called it “free love”). The idea of jealousy made no sense at all to me; I didn’t care if my partners had sex with other people and I probably had more three-ways before I was 20 than more conventional girls have had sex partners of any kind. But society told me that was all abnormal; sex possessed some kind of magical mumbo-jumbo taboo energy which made it different from all other human activity, and if I had “too much” I would be “ruined”, and I should be angry and hostile and hateful and throw my relationship away if I discovered a boyfriend or girlfriend had slept with somebody else. I didn’t believe any of that crap, but I did believe that believing in it was “normal”; I was therefore a freak. By the end of my twenties I had a much broader outlook; I felt that everyone was different, and that my way of perceiving sex was no less “normal” than the more common view. But after 18 years of harlotry, I’ve begun to realize that my initial position was closer to the truth, except for big difference: I’m not the one with the freakish way of looking at sex; society at large is. Sex isn’t any more magical or holy or special than any other thing we can do with other people; it doesn’t have any unique power to destroy souls, and it isn’t “ruined” or “polluted” or whatever if one has it with multiple partners, or pays for it, or engages in it for reasons other than “love” or “pleasure”. Rape is not a fate worse than death, sex society brands as “illicit” is mostly harmful to young people because of the stigma society inflicts rather than because of the activity itself, and extramarital sex has no intrinsic power to “wreck” a home; it’s jealousy and insecurity which do that. The taboo/magical/possessive paradigm of sexuality is deeply sick and twisted, and has probably caused more evil, sorrow and destruction than any other single cultural construct on earth.
There’s an old adage that goes, “in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” but that’s total bullshit; as H.G. Wells illustrated in his story “The Country of the Blind“, the real response of a nation of blind people to someone trying to describe the concept of sight would be to conclude he was an imbecile. Were the hypothetical one-eyed man to peruse the (Braille-like) records of this blind nation, he might discover other cases of “sick”, “crazy” and perhaps even “dangerous” individuals who had claimed to possess this imaginary power called “sight”; he might even find analyses of why these people should give up their delusions of a fifth sense, and how they’d never be happy or fit into society until they stopped claiming to see, or possibly even descriptions of how such troublemakers had been sentenced to have their eyes plucked out to rid them of this twisted delusion of “sight”. What I’m getting at is this: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you or your way of looking at your relationship, but since you live in the Country of the Blind, don’t be surprised if the great majority can’t understand your gift of sight. And because they can’t, they will all try to convince you that you’re the one who’s wrong and sick.