Poly and (Very Very) Picky

Hello, lovely readers! Wow, it’s been a while since I updated here! Sorry about that, guys – it’s the end of term, so I’m currently in the middle of the ‘desperately getting everything handed in’ and ‘all nighters in the computer cafe’ stage. I am TIRED. Much as I love university and love my course, I will be rather happy when all this work is handed in at the end of the week and I can have a bit of a break.

Anyway, on to today’s post!

*   *   *

‘You’re bi and poly. What’s the problem?’ I was once asked by a person who was interested in me when I very nicely turned down their advances.

What a horrible situation that was to be put in. I’d tried to frame it really kindly, stating that I simply wasn’t ready for a new relationship at that time (which was, for the record, absolutely true.) When that wasn’t accepted as a good enough reason to say ‘I’m flattered, but no, thank you,’ coming out and saying that I just wasn’t attracted seemed kind of…. harsh?

They grew increasingly aggressive. The implications became that if I would sleep with anybody who looked in my direction, why not them?

This little story, which was now long enough ago that I feel comfortable writing about it, got me thinking. Identifying as polyamorous seems to come with the assumption that I’m up for indiscriminate sex with absolutely anyone and everyone who offers. That my life is essentially one big orgy with hundreds of different people. Which is, obviously, not true.

Confession time: if we’re talking about full intercourse, I have had exactly two sexual partners in my entire life. Both I was in love with, and one I was engaged to. Talking about all the myriad of other possible types of sex out there, the number doesn’t increase by that many. There is one main reason for this, and that is that I actually find it quite difficult to find people I’m attracted to, and especially people I’m attracted to and also click with on a deep enough level to be able to develop any kind of romantic relationship. (I don’t do casual sex. At all.)

I am poly, and I am incredibly picky. Too picky for my own good, I’ve sometimes been told, though I’m not sure what that means. I don’t want to jump on everyone I see, contrary to popular belief about bisexuals and poly people.

It’s about a year since I made the decision to stop doing casual sex – but even when I was open to more casual types of connections, I found myself being incredibly choosy about who I would get involved with (which is not to say I always made good decisions – I made a couple of rather bad ones.) On more than one occasion, I’ve encountered situations where people – both within poly community and outside of it – have completely lost interest or stopped bothering with me when it becomes apparent that getting to sleep with me will take far more effort than they’re willing to put in, and even then probably won’t happen.

Another confession: sometimes I find it quite frustrating. Sometimes I wish I didn’t find it so difficult to meet people. Sometimes I even wish I was emotionally wired to be able to have casual sex. But I know that this is the way I am, so I work with it.

What do you guys think? Any experiences to share?

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9 thoughts on “Poly and (Very Very) Picky

  1. Emy says:

    I’m not polyamorous, but I am bisexual. When I came out as bi, I had a steady boyfriend, and no one around me seemed to understand that one did not exclude the other.

    “But you have a boyfriend, aren’t you just straight?” is something I heard a lot. My boyfriend also thought that it meant that I would be open to the idea of a threesome, which wasn’t true in the slightest. :/

    Sometimes I think that coming out as bisexual (or poly, for that matter) is harder than coming out as gay. At least, if you come out as gay, no one questions your motives or thinks you are a slut.

    (This is Emily, by the way. In case you couldn’t guess.)

    • missamaranth says:

      Hey Em! Thanks for reading and responding.

      Oh, yes, I’ve encountered some of those assumptions around being bi, too. I was in a long-term relationship with a guy when I came out as bi, and I got every response from “well as long as you stay monogamous that’s alright!” to “so you have threesomes?”

      Definitely coming out as poly and/or bi is hard….. especially when it’s both together! Both bi and poly, individually, are seen as ‘greedy’ and ‘slutty’ and ‘indecisive.’ Some people now think I’m the greediest, most indecisive slut ever!

      Hope you’re okay and your work is going well :) x

  2. > coming out and saying that I just wasn’t attracted seemed kind of harsh

    Not at all, it’s a perfectly good reasons and one no right-thinking person should be afraid to hear. I’ve had more than one intimate loving relationship with someone where, for one or both of us, it just didn’t click on a physical level – nothing wrong with that.

    > have completely lost interest or stopped bothering with me when it
    > becomes apparent that getting to sleep with me will take far more effort
    > than they’re willing to put in

    Boy, do those people suck. Sometimes I get to know someone because I would like to sleep with them (I have no issues with casual sex), sometimes just because I’d really like them as a friend. If the potential sex partner is just interested in being a friend – great! If the potential friend one day morphs into a potential sex partner – even better! Trying to cultivate a friendship just to get some and then dropping them when it becomes obvious it’s not going to happen breaks the universe’s fundamental rule, “don’t be a dick”.

    • missamaranth says:

      Hey David, thanks for your comment!

      In principal I absolutely agree with what you say! Saying “I’m flattered but I’m not attracted to you” sometimes just is the truth…. but it is very difficult to do when someone is becoming rather aggressive and resorting to manipulation and guilt tactics when you turn them down!

      Heh, yes, I agree completely – those people do indeed suck. I can’t imagine wanting to get to know someone purely because I wanted to sleep with them. Generally, knowing and liking them as a person comes first…. wanting to sleep with them comes later, when there is already a connection there! Just the way I work, I guess.

      “Don’t be a dick” is a good rule for life :)

  3. sweetopiagirl says:

    Reblogged this on Inspiredweightloss.

  4. B.Minstrel says:

    This is a topic that’s quite close to my heart at the moment and is one I’m currently mulling over posting about myself.

    Until a month or two ago I’d never had anything approaching a casual relationship or casual sex. I’d never had a relationship last less than a year, and I felt happy with that. Maybe even smug.

    I’m not really wired for casual things for many reasons, but a recent break-up of a very deep relationship left me wondering whether perhaps I was ruling them out for the wrong reason. Like you say — sometimes it’s frustrating and it would be convenient to be wired differently. One accidental casual relationship (and that was a casual relationship, not casual sex) later, and I’m back to ruling them out with (admittedly limited) evidence that they really aren’t for me.

    There was a sense of “You like sex, I like sex, we like each other, why not?” about things which intellectually stacks up. In practice the answer to the “Why not?” turns out to be “Because this isn’t really what I associate with sex.” It’s a bit clichéd to talk about the need for an emotional connection but in essence that’s what it’s about. The revelation, if any, is that the emotional connection doesn’t necessarily have to be a Love Of My Life sort of thing, but there has to be more than “we both like sex.” To me sex is at its heart a thing shared — something unique that develops out of the uniqueness of the interaction between the people involved. It doesn’t do anything for me if it’s seen more as a pair of recitals which just happen to need another person to be involved. “This is how I do sex, this is how you do sex. Let’s do our sex things together.” Or perhaps let’s not.

    • missamaranth says:

      Hey B.Minstrel, thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences!

      Your answer to the ‘why not?’ question actually makes a lot of sense to me. I think that’s basically it for me – that isn’t what I think of when I think about sex. Maybe because all my first sexual experiences were in a deep and committed relationship. Maybe because I’m just wired that way. There definitely has to be more than ‘we both like sex.’ Yes, I like sex…. with someone I love and am emotionally connected to. I rather envy people who can separate the two, but it’s just not how I work!

      Thanks again for sharing. Definitely some food for thought there. I might need to do a follow-up post to this, specifically about casual sex and casual relationships, at some point!

  5. Byghan says:

    Good Post.
    Whilst I personally have never actively been confronted with the attitude that assumes ‘I want to have sex with you because I am bi and/or poly’ I am aware of its existence and baffled by it.
    I have two partners who happen to be different sexes but that doesn’t make me automatically sexually voracious.. just like being straight and monogamous doesn’t necessarily mean you only ever want to have sex with one person. I’m not anti people wanting sex (even with me) I’m just anti people assuming something about someone else because of a label/lifestyle choice/love habits.

    I think there is still a perception that poly is always equivalent to wanting sexual variety rather than emotional openness but I’m not sure how that perception can be changed.

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