More Than Two: Examining the Myths and Facts of Polyamory


We live in a society in which monogamous pairing is the norm.

We’re taught to desire and seek one other person – namely, our “soulmate,” the one person who will make us whole and happy. And supposedly, when we find that person, we will no longer have desires for others.

This kind of thinking is what Dean Spade calls the “romance myth” – the heterosexual monogamous romance that all women should naturally desire.

Because we are socialized in a culture that teaches us that monogamy is right and natural, monogamy is often not a conscious choice for people, but is more of a default for how to be in relationships.

But just as folks have been challenging structural and cultural heternormativity, more people are coming to question monogamy as natural, and exploring opening their relationships to polyamory. 

Often described as “consensual and responsible non-monogamy,” polyamory can characterize anyone who engages in intimate relationships with multiple people in a way that is consensual and communicative of all relationships. (That is, cheating on a partner doesn’t count as polyamory!)

These definitions are broad, and polyamorous relationships come in all different shapes and sizes.

Some people have a primary partner while still engaging in other relationships (sexual, romantic, or otherwise), while others may engage in multiple relationships with each one being equal. Some are in three- or four- person relationships.

The ways of organizing relationships are endless – and so are the myths surrounding it.


Myth #1: With the right partner, you only need one person.

This myth can also sound a lot like “Polyamorous relationships aren’t real relationships.

We’re taught by movies, music, our parents, friends, and marriage laws what kind of relationship we’re supposed to be in, and what a real relationship looks like – a two-person (usually heterosexual), monogamous one.

And the idea is that when you find that one perfect person, they will fulfill all of your needs, and therefore, you won’t desire anyone else.

This is what real love looks like, they say. If your desires do not fit into this ideal, then there is something wrong with you.

But is there really anything wrong with not finding yourself completely fulfilled by one partner? Can we ever truly have all of our emotional and physical needs met by one person? Is it really fair to expect this of someone?

Putting these unreasonably high expectations on one person can often lead to the end of a relationship – when we’re left feeling something is missing, we might bolt to find the person who can satisfy all of our expectations and desires, only to find the same situation set up time and again.

And while many people find that creating an entire network of support that includes family and friends is enough to alleviate this pressure, many others have found relief from this expectation in polyamory – not just from having to find everything in one person, but also relief from having to be everything for their partner.

You can’t be everything for one person, and that’s okay. You’re not supposed to be.

I’ve found, as have many others, that when the pressure to be everything is lifted, there is more space for me just to be me.

Myth #2: Polyamory means you love your partner(s) less.

Many polyamorous people find themselves continually combating the cultural myth that having sexual and/or romantic feelings for more than one person means you don’t love your partner.

This just isn’t the case, and this assumption has cost a lot of people a lot of happiness.

Certainly you’ve been here before: You’re attracted to someone else, and your partner can see that. They’re hurt by this, thinking that you don’t love them.

But it so often has nothing at all to do with your partner or your feelings for them.

Being in love with someone doesn’t mean you’re unable to love – or at least be attracted to – other people.

Our monogamous culture lives on the assumption that when it comes to romantic love, there is a love scarcity – that there isn’t enough love to go around.

And yet, notice how we don’t apply this to family or friends – because it just isn’t true.

If anything, there is a love abundance, and it can even multiply. Sometimes, the more people around you to love, and who love you, the more love you have for others in your life.

Myth #3: Polyamory is for people who “just want to sleep around” and avoid attachment and intimacy.

Poly people are greedy and selfish, I’ve heard people say. They want to have endless amounts of sex while avoiding real intimacy.

While this may be true of some people (poly and monogamous), polyamorous people tend to engage in very intimate and attached relationships.

Polyamory requires a lot of trust.

Trust that your partner(s) will communicate and share with you what’s going on with their other relationships. Trust that your partner will be considerate and respectful of your feelings and your needs.

Polyamory also relies on setting up clear boundaries.

Calling your relationship polyamorous doesn’t mean you have to be okay with everything your partner wants to do.You set the boundaries – what you’re okay with, and what you’re not.

Negotiating how you want your relationship to look and what your needs are is an incredibly important part of being poly, and can serve to strengthen your ongoing bond with a partner.

Slut-shaming is an unfortunately unsurprising part of the cultural attitudes against polyamory.

The idea that you should only be (and want to be) sexually active with one person has led to a lot of shame and sadness around our desires.

Being polyamorous often means being sexually active with multiple people, but when it does, it ideally happens in a way that values communication as well as consent around emotional and sexual desires while also respecting limits.

Myth #4: Polyamory is for people who don’t get jealous.

People in polyamorous relationships do experience jealousy, sometimes quite often – but instead of avoiding feelings of jealousy, poly folks (just like all people in healthy relationships!) are pushed to confront jealousy head on.

It’s important to recognize that it’s okay to feel jealousy! There’s nothing shameful about it. It’s just a feeling.

What is important is what you do with that feeling, and how you come to understand and deal with it.

There are strategies to survive and even work to unlearn jealousy. These can often be applied to other areas in our lives.

In this way, confronting our feelings of jealousy can serve to make us stronger people, strengthening our foundation, our internal security, and our relationships, too.

Myth #5: Polyamory is for enlightened people.

While there are a lot of prejudices against poly people, there can also be a romanticization of it, seeing polyamory as the truly evolved way to live.

The truth is, poly people are not perfect. People hurt each other in polyamory just like they do in monogamy.  Poly relationships can fall apart just the same.

Polyamory comes with its own set of challenges, requiring a process of unlearning and challenging our cultural conditioning around love and relationships.


Fact #1: You are already complete.

Too often, the cultural understanding around monogamy rests on the assumption that you are not enough, that you need another person, your “other half,” to complete you.

But you don’t have to look for someone with whom you can hole up, turning into that all-encompassing two-person unit, closed off and turned inward.

You are already complete.

Coming into polyamory requires seeing yourself as already whole, facing outward and open.

Fact #2:  Valuing all of your relationships.

How often have you found yourself losing touch with your friends when you start dating someone?

Or maybe you’ve noticed it in friends – they start dating someone, and pretty soon you don’t see them anymore, or when you do, they always bring their partner.

We’re taught to prioritize our romantic relationships over all other relationships. And there tends to be a strict distinction between the two.

Sometimes monogamy can close people off because of how the parameters of all other relationships are defined – the relationships that aren’t romantic are denoted to “less-than.”

In polyamory, the distinction of a new relationship can be blurred and less defined, allowing more space to nurture new friendships.

Another way that polyamory opens us up to valuing all of our relationships is changing how we view time.

In monogamy, because sex is only shared with one person, we tend to use sex as currency. Sex is how we show value, how we differentiate one relationship from the rest.

But in polyamory, because you may be engaging in sexual relationships with multiple people, you distinguish relationships and show value through the use of time instead.

The more time you spend with someone, the more value you exhibit and place on that relationship.

Time is a factor in platonic relationships as well, and because poly people may have a different sense of how to allocate time, they often come to recognize that they need to share value and affection with friends and lovers alike.

Fact #3: Other people are not your competitors.

When we see love as scarce, we are taught to see others outside of our relationship as potential competitors. Often, these are people of our same gender.

Women, especially, are conditioned by our culture to see other women as their competitors.

But we don’t have to see others in this way.

In polyamory, there is ideally a freedom from this way of thinking that can also be very liberating.

It can be hard to do, especially at first, but when you work to humanize the people your partner is interested in, seeing them as allies rather than rivals, you are liberated from having to be territorial and can come to see everyone around you in a different light.

Seeing those of the same gender as potential enemies is also politically harmful.

Competition amongst women, fueled by our patriarchal cultural conditioning, is incredibly detrimental to our fight for gender equality.

When we work to liberate ourselves and those around us from seeing other women as competitors, we work to strengthen the feminist movement.

Fact #4: You have the right to choose.

No one should ever feel pushed into polyamory by a partner or by those around them – that choice should always be completely yours.

Unfortunately, we don’t usually have models in our lives for building trusting and open polyamorous relationships, so it can take time and work to figure out what you want your relationship to look like.

More people are coming together to support other poly folks, so look in your area for poly meet-up groups. Or start your own!

Check out online poly resources too, like Practical Polyamory, Polyamory Online, and

And look for Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy’s incredible book, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, & Other Adventures

Ultimately, the questions to ask yourself are these: What do you truly want from a relationship? What do you value in connecting with others? What kind of relationship will allow you to thrive?

What you need and want can change for you with time, context, and experiences.

What’s important is that you feel open to new experiences, that you’re able grow with others and within yourself, and that you feel empowered to explore.

More Than Two: Examining the Myths and Facts of Polyamory

Oh Joy Sex Toy’s Excellent Fetlife Infographic!

If you’re poly, and you’re not part your local poly community, join Fetlife! You’ll find lots of people just like you!

Here’s a link to a great explanation of what Fetlife is:

Oh Joy Sex Toy’s Excellent Fetlife Infographic!!!!

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Hindsight Isn’t 20/20 When You’re Crying, Dude

I haven’t been dating anyone at all. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to get a few things going with some gals on OKCupid but suddenly they stop talking to me and I don’t know if I’m supposed to pursue them, wait, or what. As a gal, I don’t even know what I like. I can’t even offer myself support and advice in this arena.

Mr. Amazing has been seeing someone since the beginning of the year. He pursued her from Tinder, she constantly turned him down, or made plans and then rescheduled, but finally did meet him and found out how awesome he is. Unfortunately she hasn’t been comfortable with the fact that he’s married, nor with the idea of meeting me, and most of her issues stem from a bad relationship with a poly guy who kind of fucked her over, and some close ties to her very conservative family. That, combined with the Mister’s inability to spontaneously just see her whenever she likes because we have things to plan around, namely me and my needs, have caused difficulties for them the entire time they’ve been dating. But they genuinely liked each other and I think she made the Mister happy.

Here’s where I come in… with all of my crap.

I’m not comfortable with him dating someone who doesn’t want to meet me, or someone who is uncomfortable with poly. This was his first real datey-thing after the relationship opened up and it got emotional really quickly, and I wasn’t comfortable with that either. I, for some reason, had this delusion that it would be just like seeing people for casual sex stuff and gradual feelings would grow. But, no, when you date someone you like with the knowledge that you like them and want to spend time with them, then you are going to have feelings like, “I want to spend time with this person that I like who is new and exciting and about whom I have all of these fun new chemically-induced crushy feelings.” You’re not going to just hold them at arms length until your spouse grants you permission to start caring about someone else. But that made me uncomfortable, and insecure, and feel awful, and it all made my chest hurt.

So why am I insecure? What’s the deep, dark, personal bullshit that seems like it’s ripping my marriage apart? Well, a lot of it comes down to the fact that I am chronically ill, and that means that I don’t feel that I look my best all the time. I feel bad about my appearance, which leads to poor self image, which leads to depression. The medication I’m on fucks the way I sexually function, which is a huge part of my identity, so I feel insecure and unfeminine, and, worse… distracted during sexy times. I can’t contribute to the household the way that I would like to because of my condition, so I feel like an inadequate partner, and some things happened over this time period that I feel painted me as an inadequate partner. Take all of that and roll it up under the label “Insecurity” and you have your answer.

Another issue is that I am on medications that magnify my emotional states exponentially. I cry at everything where I used to only cry at maybe…. 75%? I don’t know. I’m not an accurate judge here. But when I get upset, I can’t just talk about how I feel like a rational human being. I blubber like a baby and get all funky.

We set some rules and I asked for some things and I didn’t feel like the rules were followed well or that I got the things I needed and I reacted badly.

Basically it’s been a communication cluster fuck since the turn of the new year up in this piece, and I’m the keystone of said cluster fuck. Yay me!

We haven’t established any clearly defined rules about the big stuff. We have rules about showering and brushing teeth, about not scheduling dates same day, and… clearly defining friends versus people we are dating and not messing around with friends aka, “no surprises”. But that’s kind of it. We haven’t done a good job and since the relationship opened up in October I feel like I’ve been floundering, lost, and miserable. I miss the good old days of going on dates with couples with my husband, and maybe it works out and we see someone for a while and there is sex and we are friends… or more.  I miss that.

We went to our first Poly munch. We’ve been to BDSM munches and events and have not been impressed, but the Poly munch was very organized and populated by intelligent and reasonably attractive people. My takeaways from the conversations at the munch were:

  • I need to take ownership of my feelings. It is not enough to say, “I feel this way because you…” I have to say, “I feel this way because I…”
  • Writing things down is a valid way to gather thoughts and to communicate and could help me avoid being emotional when I need to convey important information about stressful or upsetting topics
  • We need to establish rules, boundaries, guidelines, SOMETHING before we get involved with other people so that we are fair to those people and to ourselves. I think that we should write these things down, and include a date in the document on which we will next review them an a clause that they may be reviewed whenever it comes up/as necessary.

After six weeks of turmoil and talks and arguments and crying and feeling crappy and being angry or sad or worried, and genuinely trying to help the Mister keep his relationship with his gal going, I had to ask to take a break. We didn’t spend it as fruitfully as we could but it gave me some breathing room to go, “Okay, he cares about this person and you want him to be happy and the things that make you unhappy are feeling insecure in your relationship and feeling threatened by her insecurities. Can you deal with this and move on?”

The answer was no, and more crying and fussing happened and I don’t even recall what THAT was about. But, regardless, I am trying really hard to do the things I need to do to be a good partner. I’m just not very good at those things so it’s a struggle. Saying I’m not good at them is not an admission of defeat, but merely an admission of fault. There are things I will never be good at, and there are things I can learn to be better at. And maybe I don’t know the difference between those two things yet.

But I’m willing to learn, and I think that is the important part. I want to have a happy, polyamourous relationship. Right now it feels like it’s choking me and it’s really yucky and I don’t like it and I just want to be in bed in my new fuzzy robe.

The sad icing on this ever so pleasant cake was spread today. Apparently, over text I think, the gal that has been at the center this controversy ended things with my husband. Dating a married man was not for her. Polyamoury was not for her. These have been the ever-present albatrosses. My husband says he’s okay. He indicated that she’s been kind of flighty with him recently and it’s been annoying. He was supposed to see her tonight, but I guess she cancelled as part of the relationship-ending.

I’m very sad. I’m sad that someone told my husband that they couldn’t see him anymore because he’s married. I’m sad that someone chose the easy road rather than the awesomeness that is my husband, because he’s really wonderful. I’m sad that this person, who has manipulated and lied and jerked my husband around has been the catalyst for so much unhappiness in my home and now when I’m just finding a more peaceful place with her, she peaces out. I’m sad that my husband and I have been through this experience and that it has made me so unhappy with poly-dating stuff in general. I’m sad that I can’t give my husband a hug because he’s at work. Like I said, I think he’s okay, but a hug never hurt anyone and I feel really bad. I never wanted him to have to lose something he liked.

The grand plan in my head is that there will be all of these people who either live with us or that we date or what have you and we all know each other and we’re just family. Regardless of how the inner-workings of the romantic structures go. I just want to connect with someone, and have that someone be someone who can be friends or more with my husband as well. My family is an important part of who I am and I have been happiest in situations where the people that I love outside of my primary relationship felt like part of the family.

I don’t know that I’m actually going to post this, but I needed to write some shit down. I just want my family to be happy, myself included. I can’t see that happening without polyamoury, obviously. It’s how I love. I don’t know if dating openly works for me. I know my husband likes it. We’ve been trapped in it a bit because he was seeing this person, but now he isn’t and there is suddenly this out. But do I want out? I don’t know. The easy path is yes. The difficult path is to pause, and reflect, and make some guidelines, and try to approach this thing like intelligent human beings instead of like monkeys like we did in October. Silly, silly monkeys. We can’t make rules up as we go. I have to have rules before, and if we relax the rules as we go that’s cool, but I need rules. I like structure and knowing things. We had rules when we started fucking people way back when, and those rules got relaxed over the years. I feel like this should work the same way, or will work the same way. I also feel like this is it’s own separate thing, unlike dating people together, although we need rules for everything. I don’t know, I think we can do it. I want to think we can do anything so long as we’re doing it together.

I said, “doing it.”

More Than Two | Polyamory: Common Mistakes

Dont assume every problem you encounter is related to polyamory.

When youre involved in any non-traditional relationship model, it can sometimes be tempting to blame every problem you may encounter on that model. This seems particularly true in polyamory, where it might be easy and tempting to blame the polyamory for whatever trouble you may encounter–\”If we werent poly, we wouldnt have to deal with this!\”But thats not necessarily so. Even traditional, monogamous relationships face their fair share of challenges and difficulties.For example, if youre in a poly relationship and you feel that you arent getting enough of your partners attention, it might be tempting to say, \”If you werent also involved with so-and-so, I wouldnt be feeling neglected.\” But in any relationship, situations exist that may distract your lovers attention–work, family, and so on. The problem in this case isnt really polyamory–its time management.Isolating the root cause of the problem, rather than simply blaming the problem on polyamory, is an excellent way to resolve relationship difficulties.

via More Than Two | Polyamory: Common Mistakes.

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Things To Do While Your Husband is on a Date with a Younger Woman

  1. Noxzema mask facial
  2. Your nails
  3. Body hair maintenance
  4. Girly TV show marathons
  5. Drink wine
  6. Eat ice cream
  7. Drink wine while eating ice cream with Noxzema on your face
  8. Hang out with friends/pets/your kids
  9. Board games!
  10. Porn?
  11. Drink 32 oz of water
  12. Talk to random strangers on the internet
  13. Go on your own date!
  14. Obsessively count calories
  15. Masturbate (you can do this while wearing the Noxzema on your face. Noxzema masks are so awesome for your skin!)
  16. Facebook stalk anyone you like
  17. Fill out dating profiles
  18. Experiment with new hair and or makeup looks
  19. Enjoy long bath and a new book
  20. Do not do chores!!!
The Black Flower

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One couple's wacky, multi-partner sex adventures and quest for poly love.


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