So, what am I, anyway? I am complicated when it comes to the subject of monogamy. Personally I don’t think I’m one of nature’s 100% monogamists, but I’m not fully cut out for full bore sharing.
A recent fetlife thread asked readers to justify monogamy, which I think is a good leaping off place. Why pair off when you can have many people?
I’ll start be saying how you set your relationships up are your own business. When it comes to polygamy style serious relationships, rather than more fluidity on who can do what to whom, the practical reality is that even in cultures where polygyny is normal and accepted (and the ones where polyandry happen are eeny-weeny and generally involve marrying several brothers) the majority of couples still live in monogamous pairings. In that case it’s usually due to division of resources, much how we associate having a mistress in the infidelity sense with a certain sort of wealthy male.
Of course poly as what us kinky folk get up to appears not to have the serious drawback of polygyny cultures- which is that an artificially maintained woman shortage makes controlling access to wives come at the detriment to the development of the women as individuals. Poly kinksters, on the other hand, tend to be well educated egalitarians who like to have complicated sex, not tribalist patriarchies, although the all too common ‘one penis policy’ phenomena is what I’d call seriously suspicious. I’m looking at you “yes you can fuck all the woman you like and me too!” dudes.
But, not digressing the point is that even in cultures with no barrier to stacking spouses, is that it tends to be the less common model because it’s harder to pull off.
Poly is perfectly valid and viable- for some people. I think if I were critical of anything it’s that multiple serious, equal significant others is really time consuming!
Now the argument is of course that love multiplies and that love is not finite, and I agree with that. However, as much as we use kids or friends as an example, plenty of people have a favoured child even if they don’t want to admit it, or a best friend among their friends.
Me going poly boyfriends means that I would need to split my needs and energy between one or more additional persons. This on top of having friends, a job, hobbies, etc. The statistical odds of having two people who also get along with each other, who meet my needs the way I want, etc… are so vanishingly slim I don’t think of it the way that I don’t plan my life around becoming a Member of Parliament or winning a lottery. And if I have a someone, I won’t be particularly obsessed with making sure we have a someone else set up just in the dynamic I envisioned. No ‘looking for a bisexual girl to complete our family’ here.
But in my personal life, I fall somewhere into the muddy waters of not purely tied up with one person for all sexual activity but not into a fully open, no questions asked deal. For one thing I have some fond, long term play friends. Technically that makes me poly in the way that all the women I’ve had sex with makes me bisexual. To be precise I have a long standing friends with benefits relationship with three people, actually. That has transcended all three of my couple relationships and given a couple more years will be longer than my longest dating relationship. Hell, my friends were extremely eager to bring Wildcard on board (and horrified I might be lost to vanilla land if I did get a boyfriend after Strong) so I gather they like me too.
And I think that we all set our limits on a spectrum, even people who ID as mono- for example some couples do not allow for porn, while others do. Of course some couples don’t allow for opposite sex friends (and some couples don’t allow for any friends at all and those ones are CRAZY!). Some couples do threesomes only. Myself, I am mostly focused on emotional fidelity and the really complicated issues of my own jealousy.
On a purely fetish perspective I like the idea of whoring my male partner out. This ranges from sending him off on his own devices, to handing him off to women on loan, like property. “You, look after her needs!”
A sticking point I’ve seen come up is when the guy has tastes that are decidedly not you, but it’s only happened to me under odd circumstances. The Ex hated my often wild witch hair and disapproved of my lack of STEM major, but I don’t think a new woman or an alternative woman is what he wanted as much as inevitable annihilation of me as an entity with a personality. Strong, on the other hand, had a major red head fetish, and his anxieties about that pretty much were the problem more so than me never having a desire to dye my hair, even if he wanted it- I didn’t feel worried about competition, but he was in a constant tizzy about how sooner or later I *would* be jealous. It turned into a case of having to ask if the person was having a relationship with me, or with their anxieties, with me serving as a prop to justify them.
In the end, in that case, after having the red head thing be brought up to the point where it was actually starting to grate on my nerves, the hardest part there was possibly not having permission to actually you know, feel something about it because I was being preemptively accommodating to someone feeling bad about me feeling bad in a hypothetical future. This, while being perfectly happy to have Strong go out on jaunts to hook up with other women for his non-sub side.
I guess for me the point of jealousy is whether or not the person was into me and the degree they are- like there is always going to be an alternative that is always appetizing to that person- and this won’t even always be sexual. Like people will have friends, and hobbies, and jobs, as I was talking about earlier, and I’d be a bit miffed if I lost out to a minecraft server or the like. The point where I will get insecure includes- where I think the person wishes I was X while I was Y (latest soul crushing fear: wishing I had a particular appearance characteristic, but putting up with it for my generous personality and stunning brain); and if their fondness for X precludes me, as in the case of something being more important than me.
And yet, I can’t do the “get X need met outside the couple!” Like, there’s plenty of cases of seeing other people get what they want outside the boundaries of a relationship, either they have a kink partner in a vanilla marriage or a sexual partner to deal with an asexual significant other, etc… But for me I end up feeling if that’s a deal I’m being offered I’m liable to start looking very pointedly at the door.
And yet outsourcing doesn’t bother me if it’s a partner going elsewhere. I just want to be wanted, but i can be more flexible about their needs than how mine get met.
It’s bizarrely complex, isn’t it?