Today is an exciting day because the latest episode of Ruby Rare’s podcast has just come out – and I’m on it! Yes, you can hear me chatting about my experiences with non-monogamy and the importance of community. So, here’s a little insight into what you can expect from the podcast, what it was like to contribute to it, and I also take this opportunity to tell you a little more about my friendship with the wonder that is Ruby.
So, who exactly is Ruby Rare and what is her podcast all about? Ruby (she/they) is a sex educator, artist, and body-positive champion. Her work explores the intersecting experiences of being a queer, non-monogamous, dual-heritage person while also providing personal and professional insights into the realms of pleasure, self-love and relationships. She also happens to be a wonderful friend of mine.
Ruby published an insightful and amusing book, Sex Ed: A Guide for Adults, in 2020 and then last month launched her new podcast series, In Touch with Ruby Rare. So far, the podcast has covered various topics such as nudity, kink and sex education in our younger years. The latest episode, out today, is all about non-monogamy and features some brief segments from me. Plus, you’ll also hear from others such as Leanne from Poly Philia and the psychotherapist, DK Green, talking about jealousy, dating, and metamours.
I strongly recommend listening to the previous episodes because they are equally great and hitting subscribe so you can hear the future ones too.
What was it like recording my part for Ruby Rare’s podcast?
I remember the day we recorded my segment for the non-monogamy episode of the podcast very clearly. It was a Monday in October last year, and I’d just spent the weekend staying with a lovely partner who lives in Margate. This meant I could stop by Ruby’s house and record our conversation in person, which felt like a real treat (as we’re all a bit done with Zoom now, right?).
I had been prepared to chat a bit about my journey through non-monogamy and the event that I now co-run (more on this below). What I hadn’t been prepared for was how reflecting on the past few years of my life would make me feel.
My conversation with Ruby made me realise just how far I had come on my journey with polyamory in the two years since she and I started living together. Much of the discussion was about events that Ruby had witnessed as my housemate and friend, so she not only knew what questions to ask but reflected back a deep understanding of what I had been through.
By the end of our chat, I experienced a surge of joy as I realised I had made it through the extremely tough early years of transitioning out of monogamy and was now starting to have a genuinely positive experience of polyamory. I left Ruby’s place, jumped on the train back to London and immediately messaged all my partners and metamours to express how grateful I was to have them in my life.
Obviously, what you hear on the podcast is just a tiny section of our discussion. But if you’re interested in hearing more about the kind of conversations Ruby and I have about non-monogamy, you should watch our discussion about commitment.
How did I become friends with Ruby Rare?
Ruby and I initially connected six years ago when she sent me a wonderfully supportive message on Instagram about women and drag after seeing me perform at one of Sink The Pink’s parties.
Flash forward to late 2019, and I was desperately looking for somewhere new to live – and as it happened, so were Ruby and her friend Diz. It was very exciting as we were all queer and non-monogamous, and it felt great to set up a new home with two other colourful, like-minded people.
About six months after we all moved in together, the pandemic hit London. We then spent a year navigating the head-spinning, mind-blowing difficulties Covid unexpectedly brought to everyday life while living together. Not surprisingly, we all had a challenging time. But, the good news is: we made it through.
When you experience extraordinary circumstances with another person, you get to know each other on a much deeper level. So, by the time Ruby decided to relocate to Margate a year ago, I realised that our friendship had been forged on a level I usually associate with some of my formative connections.
Ruby is one of the most wonderful people I know, and I am deeply proud to call her my friend. We’ve bonded over the fact that we’d seen each other go through something extremely difficult and have come out the other side with an enhanced amount of love and respect for each other. Which, if I were looking for any positives from the past two years, I would definitely see this as one of them.
Why did we talk about the importance of community in non-monogamy?
When Ruby and I first moved in together, I wasn’t in a great place. Only a few months earlier, I’d come out of a 10-year relationship, and launched myself headfirst into polyamory, only to be temporarily vetoed by a new partner while in the heady grip of New Relationship Energy.
What made this all the more difficult was that I had very few non-monogamous friends and received pretty mononormative advice from everyone around me. What I needed were people who understood me. So, moving in with Ruby and Diz suddenly gave me a support structure I was lacking in my new polyamorous life.
The lows and highs of this situation gave me an insight into why non-monogamous friendships are an essential part of navigating this lifestyle. Too much focus in our community is about finding new partners when we dearly need people outside of these relationships who understand and support us when we hit a speed bump.
I became increasingly passionate about building community, and as I began to make more non-monogamous friends, I realised that I wasn’t the only one wanting it. Everyone seemed keen to feel a little less alone on this journey.
When I connected with Jacqueline (who also features on this episode for Ruby’s podcast) after we both appeared on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour radio show last May to discuss polyamory, I found another new ally for creating community. Together with my friend Erin, we launched the (now extremely popular) Non-Monogamy Drinks in London.
The seed for these drinks was actually planted by Ruby, way back before the pandemic. In our excitement after moving in together, we naturally discussed the kind of play parties we would throw (ones that sadly never happened, thanks to Covid). Ruby suggested that before we invited everyone over to get naked, we should have a cocktail party; some drinks for non-monogamous folks so that people could get to know each other first.
Jacqueline, Erin and I (now with the addition of the wonderful Aida) have really expanded on this idea, creating an event that isn’t about dating, hooking up or hunting for new partners. Our Non-Monogamy Drinks are very clearly not about this. They are about making friends, forging connections and building community because this is what will strengthen all of us as we grow our lives in imaginative, loving, non-traditional ways.