i enjoy developing friendships with people who, like me, are highly sexual and open to the possibility of us having sex - whether once, semi-regularly, or regularly. One of the advantages of being in an open nonmonogamous relationship1 is not having to worry about sexual play with non-partners inherently endangering one's existing intimate/romantic relationships2.

What about the issue of sex hurting, or even destroying, the friendship between the people involved? Well, something that nonmonogamy has taught me is to be more open to letting interpersonal relationships "find their own level". Having detached the concept of "having sex with someone" from "being in an intimate/romantic relationship with someone", a universe of possibilities becomes apparent, possibilities which mononormative society tends to claim either don't exist, or aren't workable/sustainable. My lived experience is that this isn't necessarily the case. i have friends with whom i have had sex, and it hasn't altered the friendship one whit; it's just another good time we've had together. We might have sex again in the future, or we might not; either way, it's fine.

So it will come as no surprise that, increasingly, i'm seeking friendships with other nonmonogamous people who are open to sex with friends - because if there is sexual attraction, it doesn't have to be kept under wraps, or denied, thus creating a death-spiral of unresolved tension. Instead, it can be explored. If it works out, great; sexual play becomes just another thing that friends do together, like sharing a meal. If it doesn't work out, that's okay too. But what if one person is sexually attracted to the other, but the reverse isn't the case? That's also okay, at least for me; if i was sexually attracted to a friend, but the feeling wasn't mutual, i would accept it (with some disappointment!) and enjoy the friendship for what it is. And in the reverse situation, i would hope that the other person would take the same approach. Yes, it's possible that this issue might prove to be insurmountable obstacle, and cause the friendship to end. Yet friendships can end for all sorts of reasons; and of my friendships that are no longer extant, issues related to sex have only rarely been the cause.

i want to be friends with people i can relax with, people i can be myself with. i feel far more relaxed when i'm naked, and so want friends that don't mind me being naked around them. Similarly, i feel far more relaxed when issues of sexual attraction have to be avoided, or can be talked about but not acted upon. So i want to be friends with people with whom i can let the friendship "find its own level" - and if that level includes sex, that's a wonderful bonus. :-)

1. As distinct from closed nonmonogamous relationships, e.g. polyfidelity.

2. i say "inherently" because there are certainly situations where such play can, and does, negatively impact on one's intimate/romantic relationships. For example: having sex with someone in a way that breaks the safer-sex agreements one has with one's partners. In some relationships that might be something that can be apologised for and worked through; in others it might be a deal breaker. But either way, the issue isn't that someone has played with someone else, full stop; the issue is the specific person one has played with.

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The second piece in my "poly 101" series for Gonzo Times is now up: "Poly logistics: The times of our lives".
The first piece in my "poly 101" series for Gonzo Times is now up: "Polyamory: Ethical consensual nonmonogamy".
Dear host of a certain entertainment venue,

i and my partners have, over the course of several years, both regularly attended your venue and recommended it to others. After the events of last Saturday night however, we will no longer be doing either, and you have only yourself to blame.

  1. You referred to a former partner of your husband's as "a Jewish bitch". Yes, she sounds like an unpleasant person. No, using Jewishness as an insult is not acceptable. Strike one.

  2. You said that poly parents and carers of young children are wrecking those children's minds and lives, using the same sort of language used when people claim that single parents or same-sex parents are bad for children. This is also not acceptable. Strike two.

  3. You proclaimed that i am not a woman whilst i still have a cock. In doing so, you provided two things: a) an example of the size of your ignorance when it comes to issues of sex, gender, hormones, in utero development and so on; and b) strike three.

  4. Bonus strike: You insisted on calling me by the name i was given at birth, rather than my chosen and legal name. Oddly enough, i find this to be incredibly disrespectful.

The fact that you were drunk whilst saying these things is no excuse. But i am glad you got drunk, because the alcohol loosened your inhibitions enough for you to show your true colours. From now on, i'll be actively avoiding, and recommending other people avoid, a business and environment run by someone who is such an ignorant bigot.
Okay. i am very angry.

i have a message that i need to scream out to the world:


By 'cheat' i here mean "agree to have one relationship style with your partner and then break that agreement - especially on the sly".

This issue has come up a few times in my life recently. Essentially, the scenario is: "i want to have a relationship with someone other than my wife. She hasn't agreed to that, but i'll do it anyway. i'm polyamorous."

Since WHEN has polyamory been simply another word for cheating? The fact is, IT'S NOT.

You know, i've been forced to reconsider my position that polyamory doesn't include the concept of casual sex. i note again that i wholeheartedly endore the concept of casual sex - i just haven't believed that it's part of the concept of polyamory. But someone said something today that made me reconsider that. i'm not entirely convinced, but i'm certainly reconsidering my stance.

i will NOT, however, change my opinion that polyamory involves behaving ETHICALLY and HONESTLY.

And i will continue to get furious at people who help perpetuate the notion that "polyamory is simply cheating" by cheating and then trying to hide their poor behaviour behind the shield of 'polyamory'.
Small suggestions for guys who think that polyamory sounds like a grand old gig:
  • Polyamory isn't just another word for swinging. Polyamory involves committed emotional relationships. Are you interested in polyamory, or are you just looking for casual sex, or a fuck buddy?

  • Before you go off thinking how cool it would be to have multiple partners, ask yourself: How will you feel when one of your partners hirself gets (an)other partner(s)? Did you actually consider that possibility? Have you actually imagined the scenario, in as much detail as you can? If you haven't done so, do so now. Are you sure you're okay with it?
These suggestions brought to you by your local "Think before trying to get your end in" bureau.
"Polys need to be from Mars" - because the length of the Martian day is longer than the length of the Terran day. Not by much: a Mars day is approximately 24 hours and 40 minutes long. But maybe even having a little extra time each day would allow those of us with multiple partners to spend more time with them. :-)

One of the (many) interesting things i've encountered through being poly was that, freed from constraints on how many partners i could have, i became rather over-optimistic about how many partners i could sensibly have in my life. i already have two wonderful life partners, who i both consider to be 'primaries'. And yet i still meet people that i am strongly attracted to, that i could imagine myself falling in love with; and the relationship arrangements that my partners and i have are such that i am free to pursue relationships with such people. But i am very much in love with both my current partners, and i want to devote time and energy to them and to the relationships i have with them. So i have to be careful that any putative relationships i might have in the future don't significantly impact on those i already have and enjoy being a part of.

In practical terms, that means that another primary relationship is most definitely out of the question. A secondary relationship is certainly possible, but i wouldn't enter into it lightly, given the commitments i already have: i wouldn't want to put myself, my current partners and my new partner in a situation where any one or more of us felt that they were being neglected.

All this has in turn meant accepting realities of time and resources. Although i can be in love with more than one person at a time, being in a relationship with more than one person at a time requires me to commit time and resources to all those relationships - time and resources which are, unfortunately, very noticeably finite, especially given my health issues. Because i believe that not accepting those realities would be unfair on all those involved, and might eventually result in one or more people getting hurt - and i have no desire to be part of either scenario.
Congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] naked_wrat and [livejournal.com profile] anark1 on becoming partners! i'm very happy for both of you. :-)


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