February 26, 2008

Polyamory is not Swinging

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 12:02 am by Kathleen

I don’t feel like writing today, so I guess it is a test of my determination to post every day. If you are reading, please comment… I really would like to know that I am not talking into a void.

So, poly vs. swinging…

When I first got started, I had NO IDEA what swinging even was. I had to have a friend explan it to me, but I promise that I have since done a bit of learning on my own.

Swinging refers to having casual sexual encounters within an established relationship. This means that you may be married, but you and your spouse are both okay with sexual encounters with others as long as those encounters remain purely sexual in nature. (Please note that I said “you AND your spouse”. Swinging without your SO’s permission is cheating, which is an entirely different topic.

Swinging pretty much excludes relationships that go beyond casual, with people preferring to keep the intimacy of an actual relationship within their primary relationship, and to allow something fun, like sex, with others.

This is great for people who can separate sex from their emotions, but not a few people tend to become a little more attached after a sexual encounter. There are also people who want to experience other kinds of intimacy outside of their primary relationship, including emotional intimacy, which does not fall under the swinging category.

This is where poly comes in, folks. Polyamory means “more than one love”, and although that term is used broadly, it generally refers to many different kinds of “open” relationships. A poly couple can call themselves poly, and still never have outside sex, since emotional intimacy and “being in love” do not have to include sexual activity. So if swinging is all about the body, then you could say that poly is all about the heart. That is not to say that there are not poly people out there who just want lots of sex. There probably are, but in general, that sex is with close friends or a circle of “fuck buddies”, who provide affection at the very least.

I know that this is really vague, but going into poly in depth is rather difficult because there is no clear definition. There are “fluid bonded” relationships, in which the group is allowed to have sex with their own group, but not with outsiders (or they are required to use protection with outsiders), there are poly families, which may raise children in a household with several parents, and there are poly couples that experiment outside of their primary relationship. Some poly people only experiment together with their partners, while others venture out on their own to enjoy life separately. Poly has as many definitions as there are poly people out there.





  1. Temptress said,

    Hi Kathleen…

    Welcome to the world of blogging. We have read your initial posts and are looking forward to hearing more from you as you journey and process.
    Hope you don’t mind, but we added you to our blogroll.

    Temptress ~et all

  2. Kathleen said,

    Not at all! Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for adding me!

  3. grooveback said,

    We’re here and we’re reading! Keep going girl!!

  4. bakerboi said,

    Whoa, just stumble upto your blog. I learned something new today. Very informative. keep up the good work. You have to be a special type of person to separate sex, love and emotions to be able to pull off a poly relationship, don’t you think.

  5. Leela said,

    I find this so fascinating , and I’m really glad that I have found this blog. My question however is, in these relationship is there a formal seal? Or marriage? Can two couples marry each other? And if so what does it mean? you have two heterosexual ppl married to each other, (if no one in the relationship is bi) but what I want to know are the roles to the same sex partners? Do the two men call each other husband lol? And I’m not trying to be funny I just want to know this. I’m actually writing a fictional story about this.

    In the story:

    Two men, who have known each other for years, and are both business partners and best friends, have always been attracted to the other’s wife. And one day one of the friends confesses this. Meanwhile the wives have also had small crushes on the other’s husband. Yet the women don’t really put that much thought into it, as they simply flirt with the other man when they are alone with them. And simply use the attention to boost ego/self-esteem. They love their spouses very much as they all feel like the ones that they are with are their soul mates.

    Yet they can no longer ignore the attraction that they have had for the other couple (meaning the male being attracted to the female in the other marriage). So what the men decide is that they are going to seduce the other’s wife. They agree, to not tell there wives and take it from there, as they are both sure their women are just as attracted to the other guy as they are to the other woman.

    They do this act of deceitful seduction. And both parties enjoy it. They enjoy it to the point that it comes out that the men planned this and they all agree that they can do this as often as they like. well because of the two couples’ close friendship in the beginning they find that, this is more then swinging, as they have emotional attachments to both men/women in their lives, and it soon evolves to a two couples love/romance.

    They buy a big house together and they have a private and unofficial ceremony with the four of them in their backyard. Soon one of the women gets pregnant and no one knows who the father is. Once the child is born its then clear who the father is. And it’s not the official husband. This makes thing a bit uncomfortable as the legal husband has no children yet the other husband already had two children from his legal official wife. So now this man has three children and the other has zero. And because of this, the man without children is clearly disappointed and hurt.

    This is about all I have of my story so far, as the first part of it is sexual situations as I love writing erotica.

    While I truly feel like humans are not by nature monogamous beings, I can’t help but to think that being a two couple marriage is complicated. It just makes life simpler when it only two ppl. And I want to ask you, is it really worth it? Are the rewards that great, that you can withstand being the odd man out at times? Because one way or another someone is going to feel left out every now and again. Weather it’s the lack of attention or the lack of having children. For example one of the women might be unable to have children. This could cause jealously over that. One is watching the other is having children with both men. I know that would be hurtful for me to witness if I was barren.
    So I remember you saying that this type of relationship is about thinking outside of yourself, and being happy that your loved ones are happy, and that should be enough. But I think I would have to disagree. Or at least say that , that’s easier said then done.

    • Kathleen said,

      To the first part of your question, it depends on the couples. A relationship can look like whatever the “group” wants it to look like.

      To the rest… I am actually kind of horrified at the idea of someone who has admitted that they don’t agree with poly or think it can work writing a poly story. That’s like someone who has never seen a penis writing gay porn, and I pray that you will never seek publication for this piece. If you are really interested in the last few questions you asked then feel free to let me know, but your closing statement says to me that you don’t really care what I think, because you’ve already decided that poly is unfair and can’t work.

    • Kathleen said,

      Honestly, in re-thinking this, I think that the best thing for you, your story, and the world would be not to avoid publication, but to consult with a poly person before publishing. If you’d like to email your story to me when you’ve finished drafting it, I can give you an opinion as a poly person, writer, and editor.

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