My friend, who used to swear by monogamy, leaves an ecstatic message on my voicemail: “I’ve had three dates with three different girls in the past two weeks! Maybe I can do poly after all.”
I’m about as pro-poly as you can get, but this kind of comment makes me worry about the downside of polyamory’s current trendiness.
I am concerned that many people end up in multiple relationships when all they want is to sleep around, and might be better suited to a practice called polyshagory.
Some folks seem to think that practicing polyamorous relationships is like having your cake and then having more cake —endless cake forever and ever.
I’m all for the cake buffet, but polyamory involves negotiating agreements, processing with multiple lovers and honest communication, too —not just as much cake as you can eat.
Polyamory is when you want more than one relationship where all your lovers are aware and consenting to each other. Polyshagory is the act of flirting and sleeping around, sometimes for its own right and sometimes in pursuit of finding The One.
I’m not trying to get all uppity about semantics. I just wish that folks would question what they want and not confuse the pursuit of multiple relationships with playing the field.
If you want to sleep around, by all means go for it. Be safe and have fun.
Just do it with pride and call it what it is.
Knowing what you want is among the most charming of traits. And communicating what you want is even better.
If you are honest and upfront about your intentions, you might be amazed by how much support your lovers will give you.
The only problem with my tidy equation of “just be honest” is when people don’t know what they want, which is exceedingly more common than dishonesty.
Being honest about not knowing is a better response than making false claims. Own up to your indecision and at least decide what you want right now. Don’t equate relationship talks with renting U-hauls. Talking about honest preferences prevents hasty merging and unwieldy expectations.
Still confused? You might be polyshagorous if…
1)Your goal is to add another notch on your belt.
2)You are doing poly because you think it is politically progressive or emotionally evolved. There is no need to relearn how politics should stay out of the bedroom.
3)You try to have one-night stands, but you always end up in a relationship.
4) You are a New Relationship Energy Junky: When all you are after is the chase and thrill of novelty —that’s the part that causes daydreams of glitter and unicorns.
5) You are indecisive about the multiple people who have asked you out and use poly as a way of figuring out who you like best.
6) You love drama and use poly to generate more drama.
7) You are a compulsive cheater and you think poly will turn your ‘issues’ into strategies. You might be hooked on lying, not on maintaining multiple relationships. Don’t forget that you can still cheat while practicing poly, by breaking an agreed upon rule. The beauty of poly is that we can make up our own rules. So don’t make rules you don’t want to keep.
8) You are afraid of being single, so you end up being a compulsive dater.
9) You absolutely dread processing and you think that that absence of communication defaults to being in an open-relationship.
10) You are commitment phobic. Polyamorous people make more commitments, not fewer than monogamous people do.
If anything on this list describes where you’re at, own it, but don’t call it polyamory.
I’m glad my friend is having fun. I support her in dating as many women as she has time for. Your sexual practice can be whatever you want it to be.
Just be careful when you ask for multiple relationships when what you actually want is multiple shags.