I Was Treated as a Disease Vector: Why There Are So Few Gay Men in Pansexual Polyamory

a closeup of a mosquito on human skin
Image by dfataustralianaid / CC BY

Today’s post is a guest blog post from Fluffy.  Fluffy’s experiences with polyamory fascinate me as their history diverges wildly from my own. So I pestered them for weeks to share some of it.

In addition to being my bestie, Fluffy is a current researcher of transgender issues in the workplace and one fiendishly good knitter and tie dye artist.

Check out what Fluffy wrote for Poly Land:

I Was Treated as a Disease Vector: Why There Are So Few Gay Men in Pansexual Polyamory

At best dating in the pansexual poly community is an exercise in frustration for gay men. At worst it is dehumanizing and horrific. There are very few gay men in “pansexual” communities, despite their supposed openness. There are many reasons why.

While I am not a cis gay man, I am read as one. Dating a pansexual man showed me some of the reasons people like me (what I call “gay-male adjacent” people) are so sparse.

I Am a Human Being

However, I was treated as a disease vector. I was celibate when I started dating my boyfriend and had been for years, but you would think that I was still hooking up with older married dudes off craigslist.

Still, his web (since he dated multiple people who dated multiple people) was somewhat scandalized and shaken by my appearance. Suddenly new rules of conduct appeared, widely applied to all members of the web who just so happened to be one straight cis man, my boyfriend the pansexual cis man (though at the time he identified as straight; part of the scandal), one queer trans man, two queer cis women, and two lesbian cis women at the time. It was clear this was meant to make things “fair,” but it was just as clear that I was the reason they happened, especially because five of the eight members would never interact with strangers with penises and one of the three that would only wanted to interact with mine.

The funny thing about it all is that shortly afterward a semi-credible STI “scare” happened which was blown scarily out of proportion in the group in which I was completely uninvolved. They were already on edge, and I was the reason why, so it almost felt like I was responsible even for that.

The Goal of These New Rules Was to Stop Me from Being Able to Date (Or to Chase Me Out)

I know that it was probably not intentional, but it was both the functional goal and the result. What I found was that not a single other bisexual or pansexual man wanted to date me. Not because they were not interested. Why, then?

I was already dating another man.


Because I was a gay man, dating a man, I was too “risky” despite the extreme restrictions on activities even in my relationship with him and with any others. Despite the fact that I was the only gay man involved in any of these proceedings. Too many men having sex with men is risky, don’t you know? Even when it is as sanitized and cisheteronormative as possible.

A gay man in pansexual poly spaces must remain essentially monogamous or date only gay men was the overwhelming message I received.

Trying to date gay men went even worse.

“Wait you are not even allowed to kiss?”

“Yeah. I have to know the person and have been on a couple of dates with them first.”

“Dude, what the fuck are we supposed to do? Cuddle? Good luck.”

Gay men wanted nothing to do with me since there was no chance of even kissing in the first two weeks of knowing them, no possibility of oral sex in the first month and a half, and no chance of anal sex for months. I got cursed at multiple times for even suggesting dates, and in one instance a man ditched me before our food arrived and left me to pay for his meal.

I Was Essentially Cut off from Dating Anyone Else

My sole source of romantic, emotional, and physical need fulfillment had to come from my boyfriend despite our relationship being a necessarily casual and light-entanglement affair.

Eventually, there were disruptions in the web. As the number of people lessened, the restrictions on activity reduced. We could kiss sooner. We could have oral sex, but only with condoms until we knew the person an extended amount of time. No anal sex until that point either.

In effect, nothing changed for me. Bisexual and pansexual men still weren’t interested and still cited the fact that I was involved with one other man. The web did not understand why I was still unhappy. My boyfriend felt for me but also really didn’t understand. Eventually, we broke up amicably so that I could pursue relationships that were more fulfilling, date in less heteronormative ways.

You Say Pansexual, I Say Cisheteronormative

I’ve dated around (even flirted with dating bisexual men in the pansexual community again), but it’s been heaven operating without the restrictions and cisheteronormative expectations of dating.


Thanks, Fluffy!

We’re definitely on the lookout for different perspectives on polyamory and relationships in general.

If you have an idea for a guest blog post that you’d like to run by us, you can write us here.

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  1. Can I apologize on behalf of, well, everyone?

    I have known the pain of being treated as a disease vector in a poly web. It was not nearly as bad or as overt as Fluffy’s case.

    My desire to be physical with my partners (especially new partners) often left me tagged as a slut or a horn dog. My partners’ friends, family, and doctors would let my partners know that I was an undue risk.

    And, yes, under the guise of “being careful” they would add rules that limited how I could interact physically with new partners. It was not pretty.

    It should not be this way. After a recent breakup, I’ve been poly dating again. Happily I’ve found partners who are much more at ease with the topic of disease. Not that any of us have any real experience of disease. Partner selection is key, and through sheer luck at the moment I’m avoiding partners of the “I’m clean and want to stay that way” variety.

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