There *Are* Asexual Polyamorous People, You Know

it's the asexual flag, which is 4 horizontal stripes, top to bottom colors: black, gray, white, purple
Image by Public Domain (simple geometry) / PD

A lot of people assume that this idea that polyamory is about having loving, committed relationships is all a bunch of hooey.

Secretly, they argue, deep down inside, all polyamorists are looking for is sex. It’s about the sex. The ease of having more access to greater sexual variety. And the ability to have super adventurous experiences like orgies.

And you know what? It’s a funny thing. Because a lot of polyamorous people’s first response in the face of this is to say, “It’s not all about the sex!”

And this reflex is understandable because honestly, there can be so much more to living a polyamorous life. There’s a dizzying variety of close emotional connection that can be achieved once we stop looking to society to dictate to us what the boundaries should be and start intentionally negotiating those with people close to us.

But look, I’m gonna cut the crap. Are there people who seek out polyamorous relationships motivated by a desire for sexual variety? Yes. Absolutely there are. I personally know people who got into it for exactly that reason.

And although it’s worth noting that many of them went on to find that there were many other, more compelling reasons to be polyamorous once they started actually being part of those communities, there are likely others who really are still just into it for the sex. To claim otherwise, that it never happens, would be dishonest of me…to the max.

I think you’ll find that with any life choice, really. People being motivated by sex. I know a lot of people who started playing guitar hoping it’d get them laid.

But even setting all of this aside, there’s the fact that there are polyamorous people who don’t have sex at all. Period.

There are asexual polyamorous people, you know. There really are people who have multiple close romantic relationships but aren’t interested in having sex and don’t.

I know several.

Happy to Find A Place Where People Design Their Own Relationships

“My relationships just never worked out as well when I was monogamous,” one of my asexual friends said to me. “People would get so frustrated with me. Hell, I’d get frustrated with me. Because I just couldn’t give them what they wanted. Not in a way that wouldn’t also make me simultaneously miserable.”

While she may be asexual, she’s not anti-sex, she told me. “I’m actually fine being around people who are doing sexual things.” At a wild private party or in certain clubs she’s visited. “Sex is just personally not for me. Not something I enjoy or does anything for me.” She told me she tried to force herself for years, for the sake of people she loved, because she knew that if she didn’t have sex that they’d tired of her, move on, and then she’d be left alone without any companionship.

“Even partners who told me it was fine at the beginning would change their tune later,” she said. “I think they thought my disclaimers were part of looking ladylike, playing hard to get. Or they told themselves, ‘Oh I’m great in bed, I bet she’s just never had good sex,’ thinking they’d convert me. And lo and behold, nope, it actually stems from me.”

In any event, when she was monogamous her asexuality had always led to heartbreak. After heartbreak. After heartbreak.

It was only after she discovered the kink and poly communities that she finally found people who really started to hear her and understand what she was saying when she explained how she worked. And where it started just to be accepted and planned for.

“I was used to being treated as an odd-shaped piece, and standard puzzles just didn’t have a place for me. Luckily, I found a place where people design their own relationships.”

She’s currently in multiple emotionally fulfilling relationships. And nothing’s been the same for her since.

*

At the end of the day, you could absolutely say that for her polyamory is all about the sex. But it’s not about having it. For her, polyamory is all about not having sex but still having access to other things that make life and love so wonderful: Companionship, romance, commitment, emotional intimacy.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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3 Comments

  1. Can also be Asexual, Polyamorous and occasionally enjoy sex too. I just have absolutely zero sexual attraction, at all. Nil. Zip. Nada.

    But, I had similar issues whilst monogamous as described here, whilst I do occasionally like sex, I can happily go for months with nothing. And being pushed, pressed, pressured and forced when I’m in ‘down time’ was awful. It was like living day to day with a clock ticking over my head. If I give in tonight, I’ll be safe for a few days! If I go to bed late… If I wear extra layers… It didn’t matter how much pain I was in, I was being an awful girlfriend by not doing what I was meant to.

    But the more and more I forced myself into it, the more and more repulsed I got. It got to the point sex became super painful, (I visited a GP and got a super helpful ‘it’s probably mental’. Didn’t enquire what caused it, justjust told me it was in my head and sent me on my way. I still have issues to this day in situations I’m not fully prepped and wanted, like pap smears for example. Painful hell.)
    I was basically punishing myself with crazy hot baths and other destructive habits. I was miserable affectively.sorry for the crazy TMI.

    Now, I’m poly. My partners are totally cool if I go 8 months on just puppy pile cuddles. There’s no snide marks. No passive aggressive crap or downright aggressive. I discovered asexuality about 5 years ago now, it really was a light bulb moment Finally I understood years of confusion. One of my partners has also started to consider that they are demisexual too from me talking about ace related stuff.

    I’m so happy I’m asexual.. Its much better than what I thought I was before. Which was a broken, burden and doomed to end up alone. Now I feel happy, I live with my partners and fluffy critters and I don’t feel alone. 💜🖤💜

  2. This! So much this. A good friend said to me as I was leaving yet another failed engagement, “don’t make it about sex. Have sex just don’t make it about sex.” Wise words. I have taken sex with others off the table for almost 3years now. Prior to that there was talk with my former partner of Poly because he had health issues and if we married he may NOT be capable. So I started interviewing people in poly and kink communities. I loved him and still wanted sex Alot of people do find the community to be a good place to explore varied sex partners. But the underlying structures are based on forthrightness and openness in contracting. Heteronormative relationship iI find is still tainted with it’s roots in seeking marriage. Which is a contract. It used to be negotiated by family and part of property and resources exchanged. Then people wanted to choose for themselves. But they rarely contract as a conversation beyond a basic attachment and a living exchange. Hormones and pheromones attract and then everyone clicks into the life long thing called marriage. I am 47 and have had 3 failed engagements, lived with partners. And in doing so my very dear and invested friendships then had to be dropped. It was misery for me. As I pulled sex off the table with others to just explore with myself. These good contracting communities are a safe havens of respect culture, steeped with diversity and allow me to build a community of excellent communication and trust.
    I do not find that much with the “muggles”. There is a definite problem for me when sex is the first and last thing someone values about me. It’s such a small thing and so easy to do. Easy to just default and coast. Really investing time, care and learning in a balanced way each other and being present for your community. It’s gold. It’s wonderful to be respected as you are. Thank you for this article. Thank you poly community for embracing this unconforming normative human. ❤️

  3. Hello Page,
    yes, there is definitely both, and everything in between… I just went to a poly weekend where we had a lot of sex, which was absolutely great. But my partner is kind of greysexual und looking for more people for cuddling and just… loving. 🙂 And I also have a play partner who is asexual and to whom polyamory also seems to fit very well.
    In my eyes polyamorous people are just more open in many ways. I have never felt so free and so secure at the same time.

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