A Question about Polyamory, Romance, and Sex

I’ve been wondering something, when I read accounts of polyamory and polyamorous relationships.  I understand that people come to polyamory for a variety of different reasons–it might be about sex, it might be about relationship style, it might just be about relating to the world or about beliefs.  I tend to see a lot of accounts, though, that focus specifically on sexual openness and having sex with multiple people, which I find interesting.

I wonder how many people do come to polyamory because they are interested in having multiple sexual partners, specifically, or because they find sexual exclusivity untenable.

Polyamory can be about sexual relations, but it can also be about the freedom to let each interpersonal relationship in your life be exactly what it is.  It can simply be about the freedom to be romantic or affectionate towards a friend, a drive that many people naturally experience.

In a recent Poly Weekly podcast, Minx and Graydancer were talking about female sex drive.  I hadn’t thought much about low sex drive, but I realize that the impression in the poly community is often that your sex drive is low if you’re not having regular sex with multiple people.  I wonder if maybe poly people as a group tend to have a higher sex drive, and how that affects those in the poly community who have a lower sex drive or simply have less sex.  Is it harder to get involved in the community if this is the case?

Any thoughts on the issue would be more than welcome in comments.

This post was originally published on the blog Sex Positive Activism, which has now merged to become the sex & relationships section of Queer & Now.

Relationship Questions: Lessons from Polyamory

One thing I’ve seen a lot around the feminist blogosphere, when talking about relationships, is an emphasis on communication and honesty.  No big surprise here, though feminist bloggers tend to take it a little further than Seventeen magazine, borrowing from the BDSM community, anti-rape activists, and other groups to promote a communication style that’s a lot more explicit (especially about sexuality, but about other topics as well) than what mainstream dating advice sources suggest.

These are my number one principles in relationships as well, and every adult relationship I’ve had (since a good college example of How Not To Do This) has been based on a pretty intense level of openness, honesty, and communication.  Part of what it means to live by those principles is to have frank, up front communications about how a relationship is going, and what the people involved want the relationship to be at the start.

Now, I think this kind of conversation is good to have for anyone, whether poly or monogamous, both at the start of a relationship and as it progresses.  But I was wondering if perhaps monogamous couples might have something to learn from the kind of questions poly people often take for granted in a relationship. Continue reading Relationship Questions: Lessons from Polyamory