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First Blush & Diving Into Polyamory

Do you remember the first time you felt attracted to another girl? That feeling that almost indescribable, turning your face bright red. That’s the feeling encapsulated in the film, First Blush, when Nena meets Olivia for the first time.

For Nena’s surprise birthday party, her husband Drew had their friends invite over a bunch of people to their small apartment. Nena was not thrilled, to say the least, but appreciated her husband for the effort. However, Nena spots Olivia from across the room and it’s clear there’s instant attraction there. Later on, Nena goes outside to smoke and Olivia bums one from her (because who doesn’t love the lesbian smoking cigarettes meet-cute trope?) This is the moment Nena has her first blush, realizing for the first time she is attracted to another woman. From that point on, Olivia would live rent free in Nena’s mind.

When Nena tells Drew about her feelings towards Olivia, he really has no reaction. Nena presses Drew for details on how he’s feeling and he says, “horny.” Yuck. While Drew will redeem himself later on in the film, it’s important to note here how straight men sexualize lesbian relationships. Even men that seem accepting, identify as allies, can still be a part of this stereotype. Drew does not represent the whole, but his reaction to Nena declaring she has feelings for someone else triggered him to be aroused, rather than upset that his wife may not want to be monogamous anymore, and that speaks volumes to how lesbians are sexualized. However, Drew pushes Nena to explore her sexuality because ultimately he wants her to be happy, rather than for the sake of gratifying his girl-on-girl fantasy.

Eventually, the couple has Olivia over for drinks and the three of them have sex. It’s actually quite tender and beautiful, as they all three are experiencing something new and fun for the first time. Another first blush. Although the next morning, Olivia bolts, leaving Nena in a panic about what to do. It’s clear that Nena considers this to be more than a one-time thing, despite Drew thinking it would be; Nena has true feelings for Olivia, and it’s honestly pretty cute. Drew ends up going to Olivia and asking her to come back, saying that he really enjoyed their time together. From there, Olivia becomes the couples girlfriend. After awhile, they ask her to move in.

One month later…

After a month of living together, it’s clear that this relationship has turned romantic. Drew also has developed feelings for Olivia, and the two end up having sex on their own, as Olivia fulfills a need for Drew that Nena couldn’t. Once this occurs, however, Nena is not happy and ends up pushing both Drew and Olivia away. Nena was jealous of both of them, because she’s in love with both of them. Unfortunately for Nena, it’s difficult to navigate polyamorous relationships, especially when still discovering your sexuality and how you truly feel about being bisexual.

First Blush hits on all the major themes involved in being a thruple – from sexual discovery to navigating new relationships, it has it all. While it isn’t the lesbian film of the century, it does have its own super gay moments. As Nena and Olivia kiss for the first time, smile and laugh together, it does make our lesbian hearts swoon. They allow themselves to feel their feelings and be open about them in a way that is empowering; Nena never hides anything from Drew, and takes him along for the ride instead.

Throughout First Blush, the film normalizes the idea of being in love with more than one person at once, while also highlighting bisexuality in only a positive light. Both Nena and Olivia have joined into a relationship with Drew, and their bisexuality is never questioned. This normalizes the idea that women can in fact be bisexual without any judgement, or claiming that it’s simply a phase or experiment. Throw in the fact that Nena is discovering her sexuality at 30, it also rules out any kind of “lesbian college experiment” stereotype as well.

While Drew does sexualize the idea of his wife being attracted to women, once he is part of the thruple he becomes part of the story, rather than an observer. Thus, this mellows Drew’s image, and you discover he ultimately just wants them to be happy. Olivia fulfills Drew’s needs in a way Nena can’t, almost mending Drew and Nena’s marriage by becoming the glue that holds them together. In doing so, it becomes clear that Drew isn’t sexualizing them as much as he has become part of them, without throwing any judgement towards their sexualities.

Likewise, First Blush also draws attention to just how regular polyamory can truly be. Drew and Nena never expected to question their monogamy, nor did they think it would be possible that the two of them could fall in love with someone else; especially the same person. Olivia rocks their world, as both of them are attracted to her and eventually fall in love with her. What’s beautiful about this is that they never question it. It’s normal to love who they love, and they simply accept it and move forward into learning how to navigate it. Thus, First Blush highlights what it really is like to be in a polyamorous relationship.

First Blush may have a male-element to it that takes away from the lesbian experience, but it still has those first-moments; feelings we can all relate to. Falling in love with a girl for the first time. Questioning your sexuality, discovering yourself throughout your first time with a woman. Accepting yourself for who you are, and allowing yourself to be 100% yourself. All of these things make First Blush a movie worth watching, because at the end of the day, it’s all about love. What more could you ask for?

First Blush is available on demand February 2, 2021 on Amazon, iTunes, Apple TV and others.

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