There’s a prevailing belief out there that bisexuality is incompatible with monogamy. I wanted to challenge this idea in my writing, by depicting not one but two bisexual characters who don’t get into more than one committed relationship at a time. But I also didn’t want to perpetuate negative stereotyping of polyamory. It would have been too easy to slip there by accident. When we insist “stop stereotyping bisexual people as polyamorous!” it’s only a short hop to “depicting polyamorous bisexuality is bad.”
I decided that the best way for me not to do that was to depict a polyamorous character who is not bisexual. So I created Eshvat, the fortysomething businesswoman who unwinds by finding men for spur-of-the-moment sex dates. She has magical powers that presumably keep her safe from pregnancy and violence, although I never went into specifics, and she has no inclination to pair-bond.
Once I decided she was aromantic, I realized I also wanted to fight the idea that lack of pair bonding would lead to loneliness. So her strong lasting relationships are her platonic female friendships — with women across the class divide from scullery maids up to, well, royalty eventually. She’s not lonely at all; she just doesn’t associate sex with anything other than casual fun. (In fact, a friend of mine suggested that she’s ‘solopoly’ — i.e. her primary partner is herself. I think Eshvat would approve of this idea.)
She’s a non chaste, non-committed, older female character with no desire for children who doesn’t meet any kind of a sticky end. I feel good about that. She’s also got a fully-developed personality outside of her sexual role in the story. Her life doesn’t revolve around sex — it revolves around her shop.
I hope that reading her few scenes make some of my readers feel good. I found her fun to write, and someday I’d love to write more about her.
art by Rebecca Schauer