Notes on Non-Monogamy. An interview with Luna Faye (she/her)

Notes on Non-Monogamy. An interview with Luna Faye (she/her)

Can you tell us about your journey and about yourself in combination with romantic relational dynamics?

My name is Luna Faye (27) and I am Spanish. I am a woman of trans experience, as well as a writer and an artist. The last six to seven years have been the most significant in my transition journey, which has had a profound impact on my sexuality and romantic relationships. Although it's not necessary for people to talk openly about their bodies or transition experiences, I believe it's crucial to my story.

Fifteen months ago, I underwent sex reassignment surgery, which was the second most significant step in my transition after hormonal treatment. This has greatly influenced my approach to romantic relationships. I've been in a non-monogamous relationship with my partner (34) for three years. We decided on non-monogamy at the outset with my encouragement. Before this, I had little experience with non-monogamy and knowledge on how it could fit into my life.

What are the parameters of your non-monogamous relationship?

Generally, I've experienced how parameters in relationships often shift over time. In my case, the parameters and boundaries of my non-monogamous relationship have significantly evolved since we started. This is primarily because our trust in each other has deepened, and we have become more comfortable with each other.

We now have a set of boundaries that we both trust and agree upon. Trust, honesty, and respect are just as crucial as they are in monogamous relationships, and any violation of these deal-breaking conditions is unacceptable. However, our boundaries are not fixed and rigid but are instead very fluid and adapt to our changing feelings and circumstances.

My partner and I have a primary partnership with a hierarchical dynamic, and we live together. While we date other people casually, we don't explore building other partnerships with them. This is a choice that we both feel comfortable with, given our current circumstances.

What is your experience of being in a non-monogamous relationship? What have you found confronting/difficult? What has been most fulfilling?

The initial phase of embarking on a non-monogamous journey was incredibly challenging and emotionally charged. It required a level of vulnerability and introspection that was both raw and visceral. As I navigated this new terrain with my partner, I had to confront some difficult questions about what this relationship meant for us and where I fit in. With no rulebook or set guidelines to follow, trusting my intuition was not always easy.

Initially, my partner had suggested that we have a "no questions asked" boundary when dating other people, a dynamic he was familiar with from his past. However, I realized that this approach was not authentic to who I am and how I live my life. I wanted to be able to share the nuances of my experiences with him and know what was going on with him in return. It was essential that we have open and honest communication while respecting each other's boundaries. It required finding a fine balance between wanting to know the details and having a supportive intention without controlling the narrative.

Navigating through the early stages of our non-monogamous relationship required sensitivity, compassion, and empathy. I had to confront my anxieties, fears, and low self-worth head-on by seeking support from like-minded individuals and creating an understanding community. Lola Phoenix's quote, "Having complicated emotions doesn’t make you 'jealous.' And being jealous doesn't make you a bad person," resonated deeply with me and helped me understand that it's okay to have complex emotions.

How do you define Modern Love?

When I think about modern love, I don't see it as something entirely new. Dating multiple partners, queer and trans relationships have existed for a long time. What is new, however, is the ability to choose our relationships and their structures. Love is now the reason for coming together, rather than marriage for familial lineage or other societal reasons.

The other modern aspect of love is the medical advancements that have allowed transsexual people to exist. Medically transitioning through surgeries and hormonal replacement therapy has given them the opportunity to affirm their gender and create the bodies they feel most comfortable in. This newfound freedom of choice and opportunity for change is what makes modern love truly modern.

How has your relationship with your body evolved through your transition?

I have been through a significant journey of self-discovery and exploration in the last few years, and I have experienced a lot of changes in terms of hormonal fluctuations, appearance, and sexual pleasure. Having a consistent partner whom I can trust and feel comfortable with has been a privilege for me, especially as I navigate this journey of self-discovery. It’s been only a month or two that I feel sexually comfortable to explore my genitals without so much fear, and instead with acknowledging that this is an ongoing journey that will continue for a long time.

How has your transition influenced your relationship with your partner?

I have witnessed how incredibly respectful my partner has been throughout my transition. He has never questioned my choices, nor expressed his own opinions. From the beginning, he understood that this was a journey that I needed to undertake for myself, and though it was frustrating at times, he recognized that it was my decision to make.

My medical transition has involved numerous extensive and risky surgeries, with lengthy healing periods that have taken a significant emotional and physical toll on both of us. During these times, my partner has taken on the responsibility of caring for me, our home, and our needs almost entirely on his own. This was undoubtedly a difficult task, and I am incredibly grateful for all of the effort he has put in over the years.

Recoveries, changes, healing, and transitions. There is so much people don’t see and no one’s process of healing is identical. What was this process like for you?

The relationship between a cisgender and a transgender person is often viewed solely through a sexual lens, but there are significant sacrifices, risks, and changes that are rarely discussed. Each person handles these challenges in their unique way, and it's crucial to find a supportive and trustworthy partner to navigate this journey with. The process of transitioning is incredibly vulnerable, with changes to one's body, appearance, and libido, including the significant change of genitalia. These changes are unique to transitioning and can play a significant role in the relationship. While everyone goes through transitional periods in life, this experience is distinct and requires compassion and understanding from both partners.

You mentioned that this was your first heterosexual relationship and your partner’s first relationship with a trans woman. What was this experience like for both of you?

I had never been in a relationship as a trans woman before, only as a gay man and that was seven years ago. It was surprising to experience so many déjà vu moments, when I would remember how I wanted to be or who I wanted to be in a relationship, but something felt off.

Now, those same gestures and situations have a completely different meaning, and I remember thinking, "This is what I was missing." My identity was incomplete because I still had a lot of changes to go through. Something as simple as sitting in my partner's lap carried a whole new significance. It was beautiful.

For my partner, it was a challenge at times. There were difficult conversations and uncomfortable coming outs with some of his friends and family. He had to debunk many myths and defend us in ways we shouldn't have to. It was hard not to let any transphobic reactions from close family and friends get to him. I was surprised at how maturely he handled it. He didn't doubt us and was firm with his family, who are quite traditional and Catholic. In the end, this not only made our relationship better but also his relationship with his family. We are lucky that the result has been positive. They understand that I am just a person whom their son loves.

What does being queer mean to you? What are the nuances for you when identifying as queer?

As someone who identifies as queer, I can see the similarities between the different groups within the queer community. However, I personally identify most strongly with the trans community, specifically the transsexual and trans-feminine communities. While we can and should come together to fight for our rights and protect one another, it's important to recognize and respect the unique needs and experiences of each individual group within the larger community. We shouldn't try to blend or generalize these needs and should instead be specific in our advocacy efforts to avoid erasing individual identities.

Should one fear the end of relationships, platonic and romantic? Why?

In my opinion, whether to end a relationship depends on the specific situation and dynamics of the relationship. It's understandable to feel afraid of losing something that brings you happiness and fulfilment, but sometimes it's necessary for a relationship to end or go on a break. This is especially true in cases of abusive relationships where ending the relationship is not only good but also necessary. Fear is a natural response to change and uncertainty, especially when we have grown accustomed to stability and comfort. While not all relationships are meant to last forever, we often hope they will endure.

What is self-pleasure for you? 

I find moments of self-pleasure so important. To love yourself and have some fun. I had to learn what I like about myself through self-pleasure, I had to learn that my body is healthy, fun to play with, comfortable… all through self-pleasure. It’s taken me a year and a half to really feel ready to relax and touch myself, without fear.

The most crucial thing was to listen to my body and avoid setting expectations on how it should feel or how it will affect others. It required patience and acceptance of the fact that maybe certain things were not possible at the moment, or that I needed to find new ways to approach them. It's an ongoing process of exploration and patience that I will continue to work on throughout my life, as things change with age and in different relationships.

How can we break the taboo of sexuality while respecting people’s freedom?

I strongly believe that sexuality should not be tabooed. It's concerning to witness the current sex panic. It's disheartening to see younger generations rejecting older queer individuals who are open about their sexuality. This is especially challenging for queer individuals, who have long fought for the freedom to openly express their sexual desires, openly express their enjoyment in participating in group sex, sex parties, one-night stands, and getting gang banged or other activities that may be considered "fetishized" by some. We need to acknowledge and respect these differences in sexual expression within the queer community.

How has your perception of intimacy changed?

My perspective has shifted significantly over time. I used to let people into my private spaces that I didn't really want there. This isn't related to my sex life, but rather to my personal space. During my transition, I kept everything very private and limited it to my bedroom. I created an environment where I could explore myself and my intimacy. Nowadays, my bedroom and home are sanctuaries that I value greatly. My home represents a place where I've built my identity, found safety, and established privacy.

Do art and creativity directly contribute to our sexual wellness and why?

I have conflicting emotions about sex in art. While it can easily turn into a mere aesthetic, devoid of real conversation about sex, I find myself appreciating depictions of sexual encounters in literature or on screen, particularly when characters I have an attachment to are involved. Representation of LGBTQ+ bodies on screen is crucial. It's important to see how individuals treat each other during sexual experiences, whether they're caring for one another or engaging in casual sex. In my opinion, it's vital for art to portray sex…and nudity!!

Should sexual wellness and pleasure be treated and seen as an essential part of our overall wellbeing and why?

Certainly, I've noticed that many wellness advocates also promote celibacy, but just like with anything else, too much of a good thing can become addictive. I believe the key is to find balance. With regard to sex and pleasure, it's crucial to have a positive attitude towards our bodies and our sex lives. I recently came across an Instagram video where a woman shared the things she did to prioritize her pleasure. The video was beautifully done, with a focus on self-care and she even mentioned masturbation, which pleasantly surprised me. It's important for us to have conversations about how healthy and normal it is to pleasure ourselves. We should have these discussions more often.

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