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25 August, 2009

What's it to you?

I know it's two posts in as many sleep cycles, but I'm curious. What is polyamory - or some other branch of non-monogamy, if that's your sphere - about, to you? For me, the "duh" definition is that it's about love, but there are any number of ways for love to enter the equation. Beyond that, it's about love with personal responsibility. Maybe you've heard the phrase "You are responsible for your own orgasm." Take that and magnify it, and you start to get the virtues of polyamory. If your partner doesn't want to have the kind of sex you do, who's responsible for seeing that you're satisfied? Not her. If you want to feel a certain way and someone you're dating doesn't inspire that feeling, is that her problem? If you're jealous of her other significant other, it's up to you to figure out the root of the problem. (But that doesn't mean our gentle reader has to work it out alone, O.S.O.! Most things are best solved with the aid of loved ones, especially when the conclusions affect them.) And, of course, if you want to be dating someone it's your responsibility to be aware of what you have to offer them. I've overcommitted before, and believe me, if you don't have enough time or interest for seeing a new partner, it's better not to get that person's hopes up. From orgasms to emotions and all the way on through, it requires serious responsibility.

What about for you? Have you thought about it before? What makes polyamory polyamory, and why?


  1. For me it's about freedom more than anything else: freedom to make whatever rules make sense for a particular relationship. There's nothing worse in the world for me than being constrained by rules I didn't agree to and don't believe in.

  2. Agreeing with all of the above. Having the ability to let a relationship take its natural form, instead of trying to squeeze into the mold of a "normal" monogamous one - it doesn't have to follow the expectations of the standard "we're dating" model. Relationships that make their own rules.

  3. Ages ago, when I was just starting in the poly scene (despite having known I was poly since about eleventh grade) I stumbled across a quote that pretty much defines poly for me:

    I think it's impossible for one person to be everything I need or want. Instead of putting that kind of pressure on one person I get different needs and wants (not necessarily sexually, either) from different sources.

    Soyeah. My one boyfriend shys away from kink, and my other doesn't dance. Both are things I consider to be crucial* to dating partners, but having multiple partners keeps me from having to be emo about the glaring flaws my boys have.

    Or something like that.


    *You know. After that whole "healthy communication" and "mutual respect" nonsense. ;D

  4. For me it's about trust. If my partner thinks he has to put me under lock and key to preserve my love for him, does he really think I love him? Likewise, if I have to put strict boundaries on my partner's interactions with his friends, do I really think he's in love with me? Do I really trust that love? Do I really trust him to want me, love me, and prioritize me just the same way no matter what happens? Making new friends doesn't mean you have to lose old ones, and becoming closer to one friend doesn't mean you have to "break up" with your best friend. It's a fragile relationship that has to be held together by chains.

    When I say "I love you" to someone, it's because I want them to know it, trust that truth, mull on it, and be happy, not because I'm looking for a scripted "I love you" response. The boundaries that I do like to put on my relationships are more common-sense than anything else: I'm interested in open mono-amory, so to avoid sending the wrong message or getting entangled in really awkward situations, it's usually best to avoid below-the-waist activity outside of the relationship.

  5. Sonia, I love your answers. (And, you know, you.)