Honestly I don’t need a lot of sexual partners, but I don’t put limits on what can happen in my relationships. I DO need a variety of people in my life. I am attracted to men, and not just in a sexual way. It is easier for me to talk to men and to start friendships with men than women. In previous monogamous relationships, it was difficult to form and maintain relationships with men – because it made my partner uncomfortable.
If monogamy were the only option, I would choose to be single. Yes, you heard me right I would live alone and be celibate. I will NEVER again be in a relationship where it is my obligation to have sex with my partner. It is my choice to be celibate rather than be obligated to have sex with anyone.
As it is, I have lots of sex, with people that I love. I have sex with people who don’t expect, nor require, me to have sex with them as part of our relationship agreement. It is interesting how much more I like sex when it is not my responsibility.
We have dates for outings, events, kids activities, home cooked meals, cuddles, deep conversation and sleepovers. Sometimes sex happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Everyone seems to be quite happy with that arrangement.
I do not limit who else my partners can have sex with, although I expect absolute honesty about their other sexual partners and their safer sex practices. They can do whatever they choose to do with other people, but I reserve the right to make my own decisions about my sexual health and safety. I may decide to use a different level of protection with a partner who is not practicing safe sex with someone else, or I might have to stop having sex with him all together. The point is that it is my choice. I am also upfront with all my partners about who else I am intimate with.
Everyone wants to know if I have sex with my partner’s partners. In short: no. While there is no reason NOT to, it has never been a thing for me, nor my metamores (my partner’s partners). There are some triads or quads where this happens – every relationship dynamic is different. I do try to be friends with my metas and we all hang out together sometimes.
Is it like swinging? NO! there is so much to say about this that it will require another article.
Are there big orgies with the whole poly family? Unfortunately not – that might be fun.
Are you worried about STDs? Yes and No. The polyamorous people in my community tend to be very aware and careful with their bodies. The use of barriers and frequent STD testing helps. Also, polyamory is built on hard core honesty. It is vitally important that my partner knows he can trust me. This means that I don’t keep anything from him. For example: If I slip up and don’t use a condom with a partner, it is my responsibility to tell my other partners. They might not like it, but they will appreciate me for my honesty and know that they can trust me. If someone in our network of lovers tests positive for an STD, we all get tested ASAP.
There are some statistics that show that people in monogamous relationships may actually be at higher risk. Serial monogamists (most of society date one person at a time and have many partners over a lifetime) never or rarely get tested, or use condoms. As you know, the statistics for cheating are high. Guess what? When someone cheats, they rarely use condoms, they don’t talk about STD testing, they don’t get tested and certainly don’t make a point of telling their partner about their test results and their safe sex practices with other people.
Yes, there is some risk, but the risks can be minimized with careful safer sex practices.
Currently, I use condoms with all of my partners and get STD tests every 3-6 months. I expect all my partners to do the same. Many polyamorous people choose to be fluid bonded (to not use barriers) with one or more of their long term partners. When choosing to be fluid boded with one partner, it is considered ethical to notify your other partners since your risk for STDs is now slightly higher.