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 tire 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 polyamorous 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.