Response To Ep 68 – Ch-Ch-Changes – Swinging, Polyamory, & Non-Monogamy Explorations

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Life on the Swingset Podcast LogoCooper here! We get a lot of awesome responses to our show and website, and many of them can be found on our Kudos page, but every once in a while, a response comes along that is so detailed and thought out it deserves its own post. The amazing response below came from friend to the site: Poly Man Whore – and I'll just let him take it away!

Hi, Swingsetters!

I loved ep. 68. It is nice to hear about everything that's going on in your worlds. I did have some thoughts, though, that I wanted to share. Some of the topics were a little button-pushy for me and my strong opinions! 🙂

The letter: Do I “do poly” all the time?

In Van's letter, he asks whether it's poly all the time. Absolutely, yes. For me, polyamory is not a lifestyle, it's an orientation. Poly isn't something I “do,” it is something I “am.” I can't turn it off when I'm at home and on when I'm out with The Girls.

Honestly, my ideal poly state is to have strong enough relationships with my partners so they can be part of the family. I love having them around at home, playing with the kids, ganging up with my wife to tease me. It isn't super hedonism every minute. Don't get me wrong, there is an awful lot of sex involved. But monogamous people have sex, too, and it isn't mega hedonism whenever a mono couple is at home together.

The Poly Experiment

This brings me to my discomfort with Ginger's “Poly Experiment.” I'll rephrase her question. “When,” asked Ginger,” is it not an experiment anymore? Where's the line? When do you earn your poly badge? Is it after your first… date? Sex?”

It's not an experiment anymore at the point when you realize that this is the way you want to live your life. The bisexual experiment ceases to be an experiment once you realize that you are sexually attracted both to men and women. It doesn't matter if you haven't kissed, fucked, dated, or loved a member of the same-sex. Once you go from, “I wonder if…” to “I like…” it is not an experiment any longer. Whenever you realize that you can love more than one partner romantically, whenever you realize that you want multiple partners in your life… that's when you've earned your poly badge.

Poly vs Swinging

I was really surprised to revisit my perhaps unjust position on poly vs. swinging. I used to think that swinging was much, much more “hard-core” than polyamory. I no longer think that is true. I have been poly for far longer than I was ever swinging, but I have had far more sexual encounters with far more partners in poly situations than in swing situations. I have been to a handful of swinging and play parties and was both turned on and turned off by some of the various hullabaloo that was happening around me.

After the first party, I was standing around the hotel's parking lot actually speaking to the women I was playing with. I got numbers. I saw them again outside of a swinging context. We had dates that did not include sexy times. I realized I was absolutely not a swinger, when, after another party, I asked one of the girls I was with for her phone number and she said, “Yeah, you're fun but I don't really need to see you outside of the parties.” Wow. That stung.

I guess I'm not a swinger. I get attached. I don't know how to separate sex from casual sex from relationshippy feelings. Let's say I have a fantastic shag with a girl at a party. I think I'll probably want to do that again. Do I actually like her, or was it just great sex? And if we shared something fantastic at that kind of level, why wouldn't I want to get to know her? I am not a point where I want to have sex with someone I don't care about.

The Becketts' Poly Shenanigans

Marilyn is in love with a couple! I am so happy for all four of you.

I'm especially proud of Cooper. These feelings can be really hard to conceptualize and before they actually occur, it's just theory. Being able to accept that someone you love so deeply can share love with someone else is a Big Deal! My experience shows that jealousy and weirdness around poly feelings manifests a lot from insecurity – is she still going to have a place for me? Can she still love me if she loves them? Does she still love me? Does she still want me? Yes! She does, she can, to all of these things!

As far as expecting the same sort of support in return… Look at my answer to Ginger's question. This is no longer an experiment. This is the way you guys are now. It's no longer a question of whether she can deal with it and support you. Now the question is, how can she best accept and assimilate these feelings and still support you? Even if something makes her uncomfortable, perhaps especially if something makes her uncomfortable, she has to be able to share those feelings with you and accept your decisions on how to deal with it.

You two are smart and in-tune with each other, and you are emotionally mature. There is a dimension to letting yourself love these people who can make the swing-poly transition all feely and difficult. But with everyone on-board, everyone talking, everyone sharing honestly about even the most uncomfortable of feelings, you'll all get through it and you'll all grow together.

On the difficulty of poly dating for men

I hear about how difficult it is for poly men to find dates. I hear it a lot, and every time it infuriates me! Don't forget, monogamous men think the same thing! “Women have all the power when it comes to dating,” and “women just reject me,” and “women don't understand what I do and who I am.” Sure, maybe what you do and who you are happens to be dating multiple partners and being a married man, but it's still the same stuff.

I think that Cooper has gone a long way toward disproving this myth. All of those women told him, “Why the fuck didn't you ask me out back then?” Don't be afraid, and look where you get! Cooper asked out and got dates with three women! Non-polyamorous women! This punches in the face the story that men can't find dates because poly girls are so scarce.

First off, poly women are everywhere! Second, as we can see, your dates don't all have to be with poly women! I admit, dating a monogamous girl in a poly situation can be challenging. There are lots of new emotions to explore and the relationship and dynamic will be, at best, non-traditional. But it still works.

All told, I am filled with happy thoughts, love, and compersion for all of you, Ginger, Prof, Cooper, Marilyn, Dylan, Tonya, Shira, Gavin.

Love,

Your Poly Man Whore

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About Cooper Cooper S. Beckett is the co-founder and host of Life on the Swingset: The Podcast since 2010, author of swinging & polyamory novels A Life Less Monogamous and Approaching The Swingularity, and memoir My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory. He teaches and speaks on swinging, polyamory, pegging, play parties, and coloring outside the boundaries of your sexuality. He is a graphic & web designer, photographer, and voice over artist, has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast, & is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He is currently working on two instructional non-fiction books, one about beginning non-monogamy, and another about pegging.

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