Dan Savage urges poly outness, when possible
Dan Savage, possibly America's most important sex ethicist, devotes his advice column this week to three poly-related questions from readers. Parts of his responses to each:
...As for his current girlfriend: It's possible that your presence made her uncomfortable, AHW. It's also possible that she's socially awkward and you misread her signals. Or perhaps she's never had to interact with a partner's ex before. She's still a teenager — the whole concept of exes remaining on good terms and being there for each other during a crisis may be new to her.
If you and your ex are close enough to spoon during a health crisis, AHW, you're close enough to ask him a direct question or two about his current relationship. Is it open or closed? If it's open, are we talking open in practice or open in theory? If it's the latter, you may be the first "non-primary" partner — or the first ex-primary partner — with whom this girl has ever had to interact. Meaning: She may have been more comfortable with You, the Idea, than she was with You, the Person....
I consider myself one of the lucky ones: happily married for decades, with a long-term girlfriend. GF is at this point part of the family, and while it hasn't always been an easy arrangement to sort out, it has worked for over a decade. Recently, I've been talking with other nonmonogamous folk and find myself wondering whether I have any responsibility to publicly admit details about my multi-partner lifestyle.... Am I crazy to feel guilt for not being openly poly?
Not everyone who's poly can be out, NUNYA, just as not everyone who's gay, bi, trans, kinky, or poz can be out. But the only way to dispel myths about poly people and poly relationships — poly people are all burners, poly relationships don't work out for the long term, all nonmonogamous relationships ultimately fail — is for poly people to come out when and where they can. So if you're in a position to be out, NUNYA, you should come out.
And while your poly relationship isn't anyone's business, it's not something you should have to hide, either.
...When a person says she wants something sexual to happen "naturally," NEFH, what she means is "spontaneously." Three-ways don't happen that way. An opposite-sex couple that wants to have a three-way is gonna have to make an effort, NEFH. You'll have to take out personal ads, go to swingers clubs, and approach trusted friends or exes and carefully broach the subject. (A gay couple that wants to have a three-way? They just have to leave the house. Pretty much.)
Read the whole column in Savage's home paper (week of Nov. 12, 2014).
Beyond The Love poly con in Columbus, Ohio, last weekend, and I was blown away by how well the organizing triad and staff put the whole thing together. This was only its second year and they got about 200 people both times. One of the presenters was Billy Holder of Atlanta Poly Weekend. He led a session on why you should be as out about being poly as you can.
Short version: It's often easier, less stressful, and safer for you. It benefits other polyfolks. And it benefits a free society. You can read the whole thing on his blog: Coming Out Poly.
My favorite quote:
My wife says it best: ”You don’t have to wave a banner to carry it.” By that she means there isn’t a need to shout from the roof tops, draw attention and make a scene, but rather by living our lives quietly and openly we can make a big impression.