Unicorn Hunting as a Widely Recognized Thing
Posted to a Facebook poly group:
Wish we could find someone near [town], NV, there must be a lady out there somewhere that is looking for a loving couple. I see all the other comments from other couples looking for the same situation let me tell you there is probably more chance of you winning the lottery.
ANY bi lady AT ALL out there want to start the new year in a new direction with a nice, kind, attractive couple? PLEASE let us know. Don't know ANY other way of finding her....... :(
Craigslist, Sunnyvale CA:
POLYAMORY LESBAMORY Looking for open minded woman to join our relationship/marriage. Must love babys and dogs....
From Ohio, on Reddit:
We are a married couple that I at least feel we are decently attractive. ... We have tried every dating app and site that I can find even several dedicated specifically to the polymarorous lifestyle. I am getting rather discouraged as is my wife who is very eager to explore with another woman. We just want some advice on what we are doing wrong.
An answer to that question, downvoted to oblivion:
The only advice I can give you is patience. My Fianceé and I are keen on triads ourselves and have had moderate success due to two things. Patience and staying away from online poly communities who have a strict enforcement of their interpretation of how non monogamy works.
For some background to better explain, I'm an emotionally detached ex special forces man who is so straight shooting that 65% of people don't like me because quite frankly I don't give a fuck what you think if you did something dumb we need to fix it and that's okay. ...
On Craigslist in Nevada:
We are a very happy stable couple of 12 years.... You have to be willing to participate with both of us...one on one and together and u must be willing to ensue a relationship with us.... female is 33, 5'8 size 10-12....
|Kimchi Cuddles, used by permission. Click to embiggen.|
Newcomers to the poly world, and there are lots of them these days, are often confused or offended by the community's reaction to "unicorn hunters."
A unicorn, of course, is an unattached hot bi woman ready to join a couple and slot into the role they have pre-designed for her — stereotypically that she will love them both equally, have sex only with both of them together so one won't get jealous, have no other relationships, and maybe do housework and childcare. And be dumpable at any moment by both of the couple if one of them gets the wibbles.
Some women who've been around this loop swear never to fall in love with a couple again.
Happy unicorns exist. Some women, and the occasional bi guy, find that being a couple's secondary or friend-with-benefits fits into their life well. But they take care to maintain their independence and autonomy. They tend to be fearless about rooting out unexamined assumptions and spreading them on the table under a bright light for discussion. Such intentional unicorns are on the nice side of a severe supply/demand imbalance, so they can take their pick. And/or have as many couples as they want.
● The wider world is starting to notice the poly unicorn trope and write about it. For instance, in the mainstream Business Insider:
What it means for couples to go 'unicorn hunting' — and why it usually doesn't end well
...Sometimes couples try out polyamory naively, especially when a straight couple wants to find another bi woman to join them. This is called "unicorn hunting," and it's something of a cliché in the poly community.
... But it's not as simple as finding a third person you both fancy. In fact, according to Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, expert witness, speaker, and coach of polyamory and author of The Polyamorists Next Door, straight couples often come into the polyamorous community expecting to find a bi woman to join them. This, she said, is called "unicorn hunting."
rawpixel.com / Unsplash
Sheff's former husband introduced her to the idea of polyamory with exactly this intention. He wanted another woman to sleep with, but he didn't particularly want her to be able to meet other men. Apparently in the poly community, this is quite a cliché.
"She's known as 'the unicorn' because she's so rare, and almost mythical," Sheff told Business Insider. "He thought he was so edgy and out there, and we could have a wife the two of us together.
"As it turns out, it's every straight boy's fantasy. It doesn't fly well in the poly community. And when he didn't get what he wanted, he had a tantrum, and didn't want to do it anymore."
When couples can't find a unicorn, Sheff said it's common that the woman has actually started to quite enjoy the freedom of polyamory. She may have been reluctant to try it at first, but turns out to be the one who enjoys it more.
"The woman of the couple finds other people to socialise with, and the man realises he's not the centre of attention that he [expected to] be, and thinks 'This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be," Sheff said. ...
Remember — everyone has feelings
Alex* is in a polyamorous relationship with his wife. They were monogamous for a long time, but ended up making friends with many polyamorous people, and it turned into quite a normal thing in their social circle.
He told Business Insider he's not aware of a situation where a male-female couple actively seeking a bi woman has worked out well.
..."The stereotype at least is that unicorn hunting couples are looking to treat a partner as an object in their relationship," he added. "They want someone — maybe anyone, reducible to their gender, sexuality, and availability — that fits into their lives and fits their relationship without thinking about the needs and human perspectives of the person they're looking for."...
The whole article (Nov. 29, 2017).
So if you're a well-meaning couple with genuinely big hearts who's looking, what should you do?
Make friends. Lots of them! Lively, thoughtful, socially unconventional friends. Be the kind of friend you want to attract. Seek out your local poly groups, sure, and go to poly cons. But this is not about finding a hole-filler for your marriage. It's about making intimate space for friends who, if cupid's arrows fly, might like to become more.
● Splinter, part of the Gizmodo Media Group of online magazines, goes deeper: Bisexual women don’t want to be your sex ‘unicorn’ (July 19, 2016)
By Lux Alptraum
...Holly’s an open-minded, adventurous sort, interested in exploring all sorts of kinks and adventures, particularly with other people who are as queer as she is. But one thing she’s not interested in? Being the third in a random heterosexual couple’s threesome.
...Despite the fact that Holly explicitly notes that she’s very particular about her group sex experiences, she still gets message after message from couples who clearly haven’t read her dating profile, desperately hoping that they’ve finally found their unicorn.
The term is a familiar one to bisexual women like myself — and it may become known to a wider audience thanks to a new web series called Unicornland, which offers a celebratory vision of what it’s like to be a woman seeking adventure in the arms of couples. The series stars a 28-year-old divorcee named Annie who decides to explore her sexuality and expand her relatively vanilla horizons by dating couples looking for a third.
But missing from the show’s premise is a darker truth to the concept of the unicorn. ... As any bisexual woman who’s spent time on a dating app knows, she’s a fantasy come to life, a person willing to show up for a night of excitement and quietly disappear immediately after, a third who’ll ignite a couple’s passions without complicating their emotions. A unicorn is a creature who’ll bring all the sexy fun without creating any drama, baggage, or need for emotional work—and the reason she’s called a unicorn is because, quite frankly, she doesn’t exist.
What does exist, however, are leagues of unicorn hunters: couples on the prowl for the girl of their dreams, the one who’ll bring their fantasies to life without asking anything in return. And though there’s nothing wrong with a couple experimenting with group sex, or using the internet to seek out someone to play with, so many of these couples end up reducing bisexual women to fetish objects, treating us as interchangeable playthings rather than actual human beings. ...
...Lost in all of this, of course, is what bisexual women need, or want, or desire. Because while being a tourist in someone else’s relationship can absolutely be a good time, it can also be exhausting, stressful, and emotionally trying. A couple that hasn’t fully prepared for the reality of bringing a third into the bedroom ... is a magnet for drama and disaster, which can easily spill over into the life of an unwitting third. Even if you’re interested in joining a couple for a sexy night of fun, that couple needs to be able to treat you like a person, not a means to an end. Most unicorn hunters don’t seem to have thought enough about their threesome fantasy to realize that.
And there's always been loads about the topic in the poly community itself. What follows is a very partial roundup.
● A deeper, more radical analysis gets to the root on The Mouthy Non-Monogamist's blog: Why couples looking for a third drive polyamorous people stir crazy (Jan. 1, 2018):
Hetero couples seeking another woman to “add to their relationship” represent what happens when people steeped in toxic monogamy culture encounter polyamory. Polyfidelitous triads are seen as a “safe” way to engage in polyamory without having to embrace a full-on rejection of toxic monogamy culture.
...Network polyamory [on the other hand] is inherently feminist. That is, it fully requires that we reject women being property. It also requires that we respect women as autonomous people able to make their own decisions about their sexuality and relationships and to pursue intimacy for its own sake decoupled from the need to form a family and have children.
Polyamorous people reject a whole lot of Western mainstream premises about love, such as:
– true love exists and that it’s only with one other person
– relationships’ value is based on the length of time involved with them
– the only way to show commitment is through exclusivity
– one romantic partner must fill all of your needs
– jealousy is an acceptable way to show how much you love someone
– jealousy is a good way to control your partner
– the only natural outcome of love is marriage and children
...It’s a pretty scary thing, to give up all of these ideas of what love and relationships should be. ... It’s also a radical idea that women can pursue equal and open romantic and sexual relationships with other people. ...
How do closed MFF triads attempt to have their cake and eat it too?
[Among many other ways:] One single home remains the site of family and reproduction, and closed MFF triads just become nuclear families plus one — rather than imagining alternate kinship networks.
I think that newbies in search of closed triads drive many of us polyamorous people crazy because in many ways we’re trying to create an intimacy revolution. Meanwhile others think that they can take a shortcut and not do the mental groundwork to change their assumptions, and still get all of the benefits. For me it’s a wish that these newbies would dream bigger....
● Here's a gentle, respectful, but long piece to give to that sweet new couple who mean so well: So, someone called you a Unicorn Hunter? It's a friendly but thorough explanation of the dog poo they just stepped in.
By David L. Noble
...Common issues when opening a relationship
People can actually be perpetuating unhealthy, dysfunctional standards and practices while being completely unaware that they are part of the problem. If anyone has ever described the idea of societal privilege to you, it’s kinda like that. The core of it is, you can be a good person, doing things that seem reasonable from your perspective, and still be part of a problem. It really does take some education, some communication, and a lot of forethought to get this one right. ...
● And of course there's endless snark, such as Franklin Veaux's Flowchart for Couples Looking for a Third.
● A rather bitter perspective in xoJane: Beware the Unicorn Chasers, and Other Tips I've Learned in 10 Years of Polyamory (Aug. 12, 2015)
By Vae Drennan
...In the polyamory community, there is a common desire, especially from married couples who want to "add some spice," for a third. This third is almost always young, female, slender or fit, conventionally attractive, interested in both members of the couple, and completely new to the world of polyamory, with no compass to guide her. If she's lucky, she'll have other poly friends, but this is usually not the case....
If this sounds like a midlife crisis, you're not far off the mark. Usually, the couple is only interested in their secondary for purposes of their satisfaction. They don't care about what their third wants — or maybe they care, but they don't care enough to provide for her emotional needs or to put her "ahead" of the primary partner even temporarily.
In my first polyamorous relationship, I was the unicorn. My exes loved that they'd finally found a bisexual, thin young goth woman with a high sex drive and a willingness to try about anything. At the time I was still recovering from my first relationship....
● A matching pair of articles by Chelsey Dagger on Polyamory For Us: To Unicorns, From an Ex-Unicorn, and To Unicorn Hunters, From an Ex-Unicorn
There are plenty of women who are excited to do threesomes, or live in a triad, as the partner of both a man and a woman. I should know, I’m one of them! But there’s a difference between wanting to be in a triad and Unicorn Hunting.
The main difference is that Unicorn Hunters tend to look at the third partner as an addition to their relationship, instead of realizing that you’re creating a brand new relationship, with three people instead of two.
● Page Turner, book author and Poly.Land blogger, tells of the time she and her husband were hunted by a unicorn. It went rather well; she tells how.
She's also written a little book, A Geek's Guide to Unicorn Ranching: Advice for Couples Seeking Another Partner (2017). The idea is don't hunt them, attract them. "To attract a unicorn, you’ll have to create a sanctuary. Become unicorn ranchers." If that sounds a bit creepy don't worry, Page is good.
● Lastly, because I'm a word geek: Who invented the term unicorn hunter and when? On Facebook's Polyamory Discussion group, Mike SantaCruz claimed that he was there (posted April 8, 2016):
I'd like to share my recollection of how we came up with the term unicorn hunting. Back in the '90s we had mailing lists like Polylist and Triples, as well as Usenet's alt.polyamory. And like Old Faithful, new members would join and immediately declare that they were a couple looking for a Hot-Bi-Babe. This would become wearisome, and many folks would attack the new members as objectifying their desires.
Then some lists formed a militia that would handle these new members quickly and directly without an all-out war. On one list we called them Wanna-Warriors.
One of these Wanna-Warriors likened their request to seeking out a unicorn, a mythical beast that doesn't exist. And from that, we began to call these couples unicorn hunters.
Calling someone a unicorn hunter was a vast improvement over the derision offered in previous years. It was a rhetorical device that was designed to enlighten the couple instead of chase them away. Some people still feel this is too mean, but when used correctly it does have its intended effect.
|Kimchi Cuddles, used by permission. Click to embiggen.|