Issue June 17, 2014

Advice: Savage Love

Pondering poly

Q: I’m a fairly boring person by your column’s standards in that I’ve always identified as a straight male into typical relationships. I’ve realized, after multiple long-term relationships that were unsatisfying, that monogamy isn’t for me. I would like to have a main, fulfilling and committed relationship without limiting myself sexually or emotionally. I’ve struggled to remain faithful in the past and don’t want to cheat on anyone. I just want the rules to fit me so that I don’t have to be considered a cheater. Do you think this detail is something I should disclose to my family and friends? I don’t want to cause unnecessary awkwardness, but I also want people to love and accept me for who I am. I feel like this is an issue that activism isn’t addressing, and while polyamory seems to be more common today than in the past, I don’t see anyone who is publicly “out,” as is the case with most of the queer community. I’m also not too deeply involved with that community, so maybe I just don’t see the activism happening.
Pondering Over Life’s Yearnings

A: If you’re not seeing anyone who is poly and publicly out, POLY, then you’re not watching Showtime, which broadcast two seasons of “Polyamory: Married & Dating,” and you’re not paying attention to poly activists who are out — like Diana Adams, an attorney (dianaadamslaw.net) who specializes in nontraditional family relationships.

“I applaud POLY for considering boldly coming out as polyamorous to his family and friends,” said Adams. “We need more people to come out in order to destigmatize polyamory. I came out as poly in the national media six years ago, and I built my career as an attorney advocate for queer and polyamorous families.”

Adams recognizes that not all poly folks can be out — some work for conservative employers, some could lose custody of their kids — but she believes that poly people who can be out should be out. “For those of us who have the privilege to be out, I encourage us to speak our truth, which will support a cultural understanding of healthy relationships beyond monogamy — and, of course, help us find like-minded partners. In POLY’s case, I urge him to learn more about poly first. Poly has become a major subject of media attention, with profiles of out poly people published practically weekly. Link up with groups like Loving More (lovemore.com) and Open Love NY (openloveny.com), and follow people like me on Twitter (@dianaadamsesq), and he’ll get tuned in to the nationwide activism that’s happening. He’ll also get tapped into resources for creating successful poly relationships.”

And a word about those successful poly relationships: Just like successful monogamous relationships, poly relationships have limits — both sexual and emotional. But instead of coming to an agreement with one partner about those limits, you have to hammer out agreements with two or more partners. So when you say you want to be poly so that the “rules fit you,” POLY, you better be using the plural “you” and not the singular. “Poly may not be easier to maintain than his monogamous relationships,” said Adams. “Poly works for emotional ninjas who possess tremendous emotional awareness and communication skills to create their own agreements with their partner(s). If POLY is ready for that level of effort, poly may work for him so well that he’ll want to tell the world.”

 

Q: I’m a 27-year-old straight guy, and I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with an awesome girl for four years. Our sex life is pretty open and healthy, although it has lost some steam since the first couple of years — but that’s normal, right? For the last year or so, every time we have sex, I find myself fantasizing I’m with someone else. A cute barista, an old fling, that MILF on the bus — in my mind, I’m fucking all kinds of people but never my girlfriend. Am I cheating on my partner? Is this a bad sign for our relationship? Should I admit this to my girlfriend? Should we try an open relationship?
Mind Fucking Other Women

A: If fantasizing about fucking someone else while you’re fucking your partner is cheating, MFOW, then we’re all adulterers. It’s not a great sign that you’re doing it every time — you might wanna will yourself to focus on her at least every other time. As for telling her, well, that depends on how secure she is. If she’s realistic about the fact that you’re both attracted to other people, perhaps you can broach the subject — you may even be able to share your fantasies about others during sex. But that means you’ll have to hear about the baristas, flings and DILFs who turn her on, too, MFOW. Which raises another question: How secure are you?

On the “Lovecast,” orgasm control and toe curling: savagelovecast.com.