Nick, here’s another thing that you’ve failed to take into consideration because you don’t really understand what you are trying to comment on: polyamory comes in many different forms. It’s not just individuals finding other partners on their own, although many people do do that.

As I’ve already told you numerous times, James and I only play with others together, which means when I’m having sex with someone else, he is too, or in the case with straight guys, we are all still three in a tangle, even if they aren’t doing anything with each other. Some couples do what used to be called wife-swap, where they switch partners and go off alone with them but a lot of couples do threesomes or foursomes. Some like the more orgy-style scenarios, although I don’t really care for those because there isn’t enough energetic connection with anybody in my opinion.

There’s a fair amount of group sex in polyamory and a lot more bi-sexuality than is typical in the rest of society, because there are no inherent rules. The only rules are the ones you create with the people you are engaged with, and mostly people do talk about boundaries before getting naked with anyone. It’s not a free-for-all hook up culture and most people participate in it with respect for the other people involved, which is more than can largely be said of dating in general.

And as I stated above, it’s not just about sex. We moved across country from Nat and so I pretty much don’t get to really see him anymore, but that doesn’t make him any less my life partner. The people in your family don’t become any less your relatives, just because you haven’t seen them in person in a long time.

We also have sex with people we don’t have that much emotional connection to, although that has become rarer and rarer for us. At this point we both really value having good quality on-going relationships with partners that we care about and really respect. So this image of the poor, now cuckolded, guy who agreed to polyamory sitting home alone while his voracious, ungrateful wife goes off and fulfills her unmet sexual appetites is just kind of patriarchal paranoia. It’s the worst thing a guy who is all about domination hierarchy can envision. He’s lost control of his woman (because you really do need to control her); he’s been sexually supplanted by another man who is more dominant than him (because that guy is more desirable in some way) although he feels no cumpunction to try to work on his own desirability by being a good partner to her because she belongs to him and so he shouldn’t have to bother with that any longer. Honestly, this nightmare says a lot more about the man who is afraid of that than about the actualities of polyamorous relationships.

In polyamory, you stay with partners who have earned your caring and respect and who continue to do so. If they don’t do their part to keep the relatonship vibrant and healthy, you move on, although since not any one person has to tick all of the boxes, you might stay with someone who meets your emotional needs but not your physical ones, and have a different partner who handles that.

Part of your issue with not truly understanding all this is that you are trying to put a round peg in a square hole by inserting monogamy constructs into a world that is very, very different than that. You are also trying to insert dominance paradigms into a more cooperative one. You can only envision a scenario where either the man is up and the woman is down or vice versa, and that is not how polyamory works — not even in dominant/submissive relationships, but that is a whole other topic, which I won’t go into now.

So now that you’ve had a full 101 course on poly life style, please don’t come back with a “yeah but” response. I know it’s tough for you guys who are constantly worried about pecking order to concede that someone else has a good point or knows what they are talking about, or has taught you anything — especially when that person is a woman, but geez dude….. I mean really!

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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