“Can you get Jamie pregnant instead of me?”

My fiancé, Ella, is only half-joking. 

“You can only date her if she has our babies. You know how scared I am of childbirth. And you’ve both got such good genes! They’d be so pretty!” 

At moments like these I realise why our friends think that we’re going to start a cult. 

“Why the hell do you want to have two girlfriends, dude? That literally sounds like a nightmare. One girlfriend is more than enough for me,” says my abrasive American best mate Carla.

I’m still struggling to figure out why I actually want two girlfriends. Typically, when people ask Ella and me about our polyamorous relationship, they’re asking, in disbelief, about how we’re okay with our partner being with another person, why we don’t feel jealous, or mining for vicarious details about the ins-and-outs of our situation.

The response is typically rehearsed.

We first started talking about polygamy a few months into our relationship, and we kept talking about it for a long time before we actually moved forward with it.

We started out with something a lot closer to plain old swinging – the occasional threesome with a close male friend, some awkward encounters with other couples that we’d met on the internet, some drunken adventures to sex clubs.

2 Girls, 1 Me: Can You Make A Polyamorous Relationship Work In Your 20s?

It continued to evolve.

When it comes to guys, we’re more interested in casual, slightly more pornographic encounters, whereas we’re more interested in establishing close, romantic relationship with girls.

But when Carla makes me think about why we’d want to have multiple relationships from a more pragmatic, selfish, logistical point of view, I’m slightly stumped.

“Whatever, dude. Just make sure you don’t end up with no girlfriends.”

The idea of one partner, for life, has never seemed entirely natural to me. As a teenager I was cheated on by my first girlfriend – we broke up because it was what you were supposed to do – but I was confused by the lack of jealousy I felt.

That lack of jealousy persisted into my adult years, and it wasn’t until I interviewed anthropologist Christopher Ryan, the author of the book Sex At Dawn: The Prehistory of Human Sexuality, that I started to think that maybe I wasn’t so strange after all.

Ryan believes that human beings are naturally polyamorous, and that it wasn’t until agriculture arrived that we started being sexually possessive.

“The advent of agriculture introduced private property, accumulated resources, hierarchical governments, specialisations…” Ryan told me.

“It’s a radical transformation of human social organisation. Very different from the way we had lived, more or less in a steady state, for hundreds of thousands of years.” 

2 Girls, 1 Me: Can You Make A Polyamorous Relationship Work In Your 20s?

This all seems totally sensible – until you realise that you’re now living in a thoroughly post-agricultural world, fighting against millennia of social, cultural and religious conditioning. Yes, as Carly anticipated, juggling the romantic needs of two women is an absolute nightmare.

Enter Jamie, our first attempt at a serious relationship. An incredibly beautiful, free spirited young woman with massive commitment issues. In some ways, a perfect match for an engaged couple.

If you’re terrified of commitment, then surely your perfect partners are going to be the people who are already having their needs for commitment satisfied elsewhere? 

The problem is that, actually, flexibility and commitment are, paradoxically, totally necessary when you’re choreographing the ballet of emotions and logistics that come along with a prolonged Ménage à trois. After several months of equal parts sexual tension, emotional devastation and exciting, wild romance, Jamie decided to call it quits. We were all exhausted. 

So why, after such a difficult and heartbreaking first attempt, are we still determined to continue in our search for extra-marital romantic fulfillment?

Because it’s exciting. And all that sexual energy and lust that you’re feeling from a new relationship feeds right back into your old one, reinvigorating you chemically and reminding you just what it felt like to be freshly in love. 

Life is a great journey, and while Ella and me are determined to undertake it together, forever, we’re also determined to pick up as many merry travellers as we can on the road of this crazy old thing we call life.

2 Girls, 1 Me: Can You Make A Polyamorous Relationship Work In Your 20s?

Obviously, I’m lying.

By now you’ve figured out the truth. I’m not in this for the deep, personal connection with the people I know. I’m not really overflowing with love, kindness, and affection.

I’m in this for the power, man. I’m playing the long game. I don’t want two girlfriends. I want fifty. Fifty girlfriends. And one hundred and fifty boyfriends. Ideally strong ones, with military training.

This isn’t about polygamy. This isn’t about Christopher Ryan’s Sex At Dawn. This is about my lifelong dream of growing my tree of relationships so large that I find myself at the centre of an army of sex-mad polygamists, all indoctrinated by my own insidious teachings.

I want to become rich and bloated on religious donations. I want to be the sexual equivalent of Emperor Palpatine.

I’m going to own my own island nation. The ATO won’t be able to touch me. ASIO’s spies are going to be caught at the border and flayed alive as a warning to any other agencies who think they can infringe on my sovereignty. 

There are two possible outcomes here: I achieve my wildest dreams, buy one those old forts in England’s Thames Estuary that were used as pirate radio stations in the seventies, and slowly but surely build my Empire of Erogenous Excitement and Evil.

Or, more probably, as Carly predicted, I’ll just end up alone, eating baked beans out of a tin, with no girlfriends. I’ll get back to you.

Artwork: Jeanne Vadeboncoeur.