Polyamory (or Please Sir, May I Have Another?)

God knows I've tried... monogamy I mean. Girl after girl, all of them possessing wonderful characteristics; many of which put together would make most guys bend down on one knee and pop the big question.

But not me.

I still want that special someone, don't get me wrong, but I want that someone to want more than just me. I want them to get off on that first time when you know you're interested in someone else and pursue it with the full knowledge that they have my approval and that it turns me on just the same.

Maybe I'll be there and maybe I won't but I want them to enjoy it just as much as I would when I'm in the same position next month.

Sounds simple, right? I mean, two people who are committed to each other should be able to explore various intimacies with other people with the full knowledge and approval of their partner, right?

It's anything but.

Polyamory, long the playground of swingers and their ilk, is still inextricably linked with infidelity and it's difficult to even discuss in an abstract fashion without someone asking whether it's just used as an excuse to cheat.

Never mind that cheating is entirely based in deception and issues of self-esteem; we still paint polyamory with the cheating brush or attach cultural and religious signifiers that have more to do with polygamy (think some kinds of Mormons).

Time and time again, I've met people who, having engaged in multiple-partner experimentation, have resolved to "grow up" and settle down because they have to "stop fooling around". Despite this stern resolve, they end up getting drunk enough to the point where they feel comfortable sleeping with their crush while simultaneously attempting to suppress the knowledge that their partner is most likely going to feel betrayed, if and when they find out.

I realize that my experiences may be entirely atypical but I've always found that my part-time partners have been very understanding when it comes to the boundaries of our time together. Sure, we all have fun together but we know who our primary partners are and we couldn't imagine having it any other way.

While not all folks might find polyamory to their liking (and God knows I'm not trying to be a cheerleader for "the cause"), I'm also willing to bet that most of them have not even considered the possibility that they might be polyamorous. One only has to glance at the local polyamory group to see just how many people are comfortable with identifying themselves as such. While I fully support the experimentation that occurs in the years between youth and young adulthood, I also believe that some of those people are determined to circumvent any possibility of taking the time to truly figure out where they stand on the spectrum of relationships.

Hell, multiple partners or no, I would imagine most relationships would benefit from more honesty and I'm not talking about the kind of truthiness that hurts but real, heartfelt responses about our desires in the context of said relationships. Judging from some of the few polling results that exist (thanks NOW!) Toronto alone is feeling some deep ambivalence with regards to the status of their relationships. Whether it's that morning blowjob or that cute neighbor, it would behoove us to be more open about what turns us on and maybe even try to fit it within the context of how we relate to that special someone(s).

It can't hurt anyway.

Photo: delia.logan

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