If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

It is axiomatic that in the world of personals ads, be they for normal one-on-one dating, wacky sexventures, or poly love, that unwanted responses will be received.

Are you looking for a single bisexual girl to fulfill your threesome fantasy? You’re going to get responses from single dudes.

Are you looking for another couple with whom you can swing or have a more serious relationship? You’re going to get responses from single dudes.

Are you looking for a young,  pretty, non-op transsexual with whom to cross some personal sexual boundaries? You’re going to get responses from single dudes wearing stockings and wigs.

Sure, sure. You can put a “no single men” caveat in your ad or profile. If you’re using a personals site you can usually set your inbox preferences to reject messages from people who don’t meet your criteria. But they will find you, these single dudes, and they will not only message you, but they will include bathroom mirror pictures of their torsos, a dick pic, and a bad picture of them at a bar or a beach.

I will say now that single men are not the bane of the wacky sex world. They absolutely have a valid place in the poly mindset. We were all single once, right? That was how we met someone, right? But that’s not really the point of this ramble. I am simply using them as an example of the many kinds of unwanted responses people receive when they place ads… for anything.

So what do you do when you receive responses from someone to whom you are not attracted, be they male, female, or somewhere in between? Do send a polite form letter thanking them for their response which lets them down gently? Do send a snarky reply, alerting them to the amount of their time an yours that could have been spent otherwise? Or do you simply… say nothing?

Here are some ways to properly handle a variety of inbox undesirables without being an utter asshole:

Basic Etiquette

  1. Never, ever, ever send a reply to someone who is rude, cruel, or filled with hate speech. Even if the person who e-mailed you said something offensive you should never respond in kind. We’re here to spread love. Remember the part about not being an asshole?
  2. If you don’t have anything nice to say, why respond at all? There is no rule that says you have to respond to every single reply you receive. Be it through e-mail or personals site, you don’t owe that person anything. Just delete their message and move on.
  3. Protect your identity. Personal ads and profiles should never reveal your real name, phone number, or address. You aren’t obligated to post pictures of your face, either. It’s easier to ignore unwanted responses and attention when you know you’re anonymous. I also recommend using an anonymous e-mail address with a user ID that is not in any way connected to you. You’d be surprised at what a little intelligent search engine snooping can turn up!
  4. If you must respond, be honest but not hurtful (refer to #1.) You might receive a well-written response from a very nice person who doesn’t float your boat. Don’t make things up and say you’ve found someone when you haven’t. It is acceptable to say there is not an attraction, but not to say, “you are not attractive.”
  5. Trust your instincts. Sometimes the wrong people come in the right packages. If something seems fishy, it probably is. There is no need to call someone out on deceptions. Just walk away.



Menagerie of Objectionable Persons

Over the years we’ve encountered a few archetypes of people who respond to our ads who really shouldn’t respond to our ads, or whom we wish hadn’t responded to our ads.   Here they are, in all of their non-glory:

Picture/Story Collectors

How to spot them: Long, drawn out, back-and-forth e-mails with no meeting. These people might seem great in the first few e-mails, but once you start suggesting a meeting they become flighty. You’ll never pin them down for a date, but they will just keep demanding more and more photos of you.  They will even ask you to describe your experiences in graphic detail. While typically not malicious, picture and story collectors will waste your time and cause a ton of frustration.

Their motive: They just want to get off to some dirty amateur pictures and nasty stories.

How to get rid of them: Collectors are sneaky, so you might be deep into the interaction by the time your warning bells go off. The easiest way to get rid of them is to state a date, time, and place you’d like to meet and wait for them to respond. When they waffle, you tell them you’re looking for people who are serious about meeting.

Men Pretending To Be Women

How to spot them: That slutty bisexual model who is stripping her way through college just sounds too good to be true. That’s because she is. The great thing about men who pose as women is that they are typically bad at it. They write with too many exclamation points and smileys and are far too enthusiastic and confident about everything. Real women tend to use more adjectives in their writing, and show vulnerability or insecurity soon in the interaction. It is more difficult to detect men who are posing as their wives, for obvious reasons. See the “Married Men Who Think They Can Talk Their Wives Into It” section for more on men and their wives.

Their motive: They just want to feel pretty, and are probably picture or story collectors in disguise.

How to get rid of them: Like collectors, these guys are tricky, and have probably reeled you in with their web of lies. Hell, they could have fake Facebook pages for their slutty bisexual model. Also like collectors, the quickest way to end the interaction is to try to pressure them to meet.

Married Men Who Think They Can Talk Their Wives Into It

How to spot them: This is my favourite category of objectionable persons because they will blatantly tell you that they are married men trying to talk their wives into a threesome or foursome. The most common scenario they present is for you to meet the couple in a bar and pretend it is the first meeting ever. The husband says he will get his wife drunk, and then she will turn into the sex slave of his dreams and everyone will ravish her.

Some of these men have a devious side, however, and instead of telling you their plans they will pretend to be their wives. Husbands and wives are excellent at impersonating one another in writing. It might be several messages before you discover what is going on.

Their motive: They want to have wacky, multi-partner sex but their wives aren’t really ready or interested in it. They truly believe they can “talk” them into it. OR they want to fuck other people outside the marriage, but want their wives to condone it.

How to get rid of them: You have a few options with these guys. You can choose not to respond. You can send a polite e-mail that gently exposes the error in their thought process and suggests ways to have a healthy conversation about sex with their wife. Or you can ask to have a phone conversation with the husband and wife. We have had a few interesting conversations about our sex life with couples who are new to wacky sex after sending polite and educational e-mails to husbands. Sometimes they really don’t know any better.


How to spot them: They send pictures and are very up front about their whole deal.

Their motive: They want to be pretty girls. Oh how they want to be pretty girls… but not really. And they want to have sex with you. All in all they’re a perfectly nice lot, but we aren’t particularly interested in them.

How to get rid of them: This one is up to you. These are just normal people who like to wear clothing of the opposite sex. You might not want to get rid of them.

Single Men

How to spot them: They say, “I know you’re not looking for a single man, but here’s why you should keep reading…”

Their motive: They want to make sweet, tender love to anyone that will let them.

How to get rid of them: We usually don’t respond unless the fellow seems super duper nice and desperate, in which case we’ll offer some suggestions for how he can find people to pick up what he is putting down. We’re always up for friendly conversation.


How to spot them: Sometimes it’s in the user name, sometimes it’s the way they casually slip their collection of knives into the exchange… and sometimes it’s the serial-killeresque gleam in their creepy-ass eyes. Creepers make your skin crawl, and not in a good way. Yes, that implies that there is a good way in which one’s skin should crawl. Don’t judge me.

Their motive: They want to make sweet, tender love to anything that will let them.

How to get rid of them: DO NOT ENGAGE! DO NOT ENGAGE!


How to spot them: Wuld u lik me 2 elabrate?

Their motive: Honestly, they just want to get laid like the rest of us. It’s not their fault their stupid.

How to get rid of them: Throw something shiny in the other direction to distract them, or just don’t respond to poorly written e-mails.

Mean People

How to spot them: Any e-mail that contains abusive language and judgmental statements or makes you feel bad about yourself  was composed by a mean person.

Their motive: These people want to crap on your parade.

How to get rid of them: I wholeheartedly believe that saying nothing is the most powerful reply.

The Over-Zealous Responders

How to spot them: You receive a response. Forty-five minutes later you receive another response from the same person asking if you got their first message. Six hours later you find you have seven more messages from the same person. Each message is more impatient, or urgent, or desperate than the last. They can even turn nasty. Don’t these people have jobs and lives?

Their motive: Most of the time they don’t realize how pushy they are. They have smart phones and they will use them… constantly.

How to get rid of them:  If these seem like people you’re interested in, you can reply to one of their messages. Gently tell them you appreciate how excited they are, and that you don’t check your inbox every thirty seconds. However, if you’re like me and incredibly turned off by this behavior, you should thank them for their enthusiasm but frankly state that you’re not interested. If you don’t respond, you will continue to get messages from the Over-Zealous Responders. Mark them as SPAM if you like, but they will never stop.

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


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