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Old 02-15-2010, 06:58 AM
sweetmama sweetmama is offline
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Default Casual Sex - Discussion

I am in my first poly relationship, and though I am wired fairly mono, Iím finding that I really like a lot of aspects of polyamory. I love the openness and am really enjoying getting to know my boyfriendís other girlfriend and her boyfriend, and even sharing about other people we are interested in or dating. Iíve had very little jealousy in that area at all, despite what I expected going in.

However, I am struggling with a strong discomfort (not sure jealousy is the right word here) over some casual sex/nsa type encounters my boyfriend has had since weíve been dating, and more generally the number of people he is involved with. It just doesnít feel good, and on some level I feel like it devalues our relationship.

Iím trying really hard to just sit with it, stay open, and look at this intellectually, identify my insecurities, etc. Iíve read Ethical Slut. Iíve read through the articles at xeromag. Iíve read through posts here. Iíve talked to my boyfriend about it and shared how I feel (heís been very supportive , opted out of an opportunity recently, and essentially given me veto power though Iím not comfortable using it at this point). But for now at least the discomfort is there and fairly strong.

Iím wondering if anyone can share their perspective on casual sex, or how It has played into your relationships, or anything else that might help me sort through my feelings and find some peace around this issue.
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:02 AM
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That's easy..casual sex is not a part of my relationship. It has no place in "my approach " to multi partner relationships.
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Old 02-15-2010, 11:09 PM
sweetmama sweetmama is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
That's easy..casual sex is not a part of my relationship. It has no place in "my approach " to multi partner relationships.
This has my general philosophy toward sex in general in the past. Iím a lot more relationship oriented and usually connect sex and intimacy. Until very recently I never imagined any relationship in my life might have room for casual sex. But then Iím experiencing (and enoying) all kinds of things that until recently I had never imagined could be part of my life.
Can you explain a little more about your own reasons for making the choice you have?

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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
What sort of casual sex/nsa encounters are you talking about? Are these more like one night stands with people he doesn't really know or is it more like having a some friends or other people he knows that he plays with from time to time?
Both. He has one (and potentially more) fwb/casual dating friends. He has also had a one night stand with someone he met online. And I imagine there are all number of possibilities in between that he would consider.

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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Hi SweetMama,

My opinion - 'casual' sex is no different than casual dining

I'm one who happens to believe that sex is 'just sex' and as long as it's kept in that perspective it's a lot easier to talk about where it fits in. It disconnects a lot of emotional reactions that cloud good judgment.
Where a lot of people get into trouble is when they can't disconnect sex & love - then the waters get very murky.

GS
I think my boyfriend is of a similar mind. He can separate sex and love and is comfortable enjoying sex the same way he would any other recreational activity. I can understand this perspective intellectually, but on a gut level sex and emotions are still very connected. So Iím able to understand and respect his sexual encounters with people he is emotionally involved with, but have a hard time making peace with those that are purely recreational.

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Originally Posted by sunnydee View Post
Hard to tell from this what you are having an issue with. For instance, does the number worry you because of the exposure/health concerns it raises or are you, deep down, maybe, making a moral judgement about it? Nothing really wrong with that, but it would be worth your notice.

I know, for me, it's absolutely certain that my relationship, whatever it is, with one person, does not devalue my relationship with another. They have nothing to do with each other at all. For me, that's one of the essential elemental truths about being poly. I have found in talking to new polyfolk that once they have experienced that reality for themselves they are more comfortable with the poly relationships of their partners. (In other words, if you get a chance to feel attraction/love/whatever to someone else and can feel that it does not diminish your feeling for your boyfriend, you might feel more comfortable with his relationships.)

This is not to say, of course, that one relationship can't diminish another, but that's a different dynamic and a different discussion.
My concern is not so much about health concerns as I trust that he is making good choices in that area. I suppose there is an element of moral judgement involved. I am still trying to figure out exactly what my underlying beliefs are in that area and why Iím feeling so strongly.
ďI have found in talking to new polyfolk that once they have experienced that reality for themselves they are more comfortable with the poly relationships of their partners. (In other words, if you get a chance to feel attraction/love/whatever to someone else and can feel that it does not diminish your feeling for your boyfriend, you might feel more comfortable with his relationships.)Ē
I have not quite made the step towards getting involved with someone other than my boyfriend, although Iím open to the possibility. I do, however, fully accept that itís possible to be attracted to and/or love someone without it changing how I feel about my partner. I am totally comfortable with his emotional relationships and the sex they include. Itís the negative gut level reaction to casual sex that is causing the trouble for me. I know logically that the same principle should apply Ė what he does with one person has no bearing on how he feels about me. But as I think about the list of people he is involved with, and the element of casual sex included in it, I still feel like somehow it makes what we have less meaningful. Iím still not totally clear on those feelings or where they come from. . .the heart of my problem, I guess.


Thanks to everyone for all the great replies!

Last edited by NeonKaos; 02-16-2010 at 01:03 PM. Reason: merge posts
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Old 02-16-2010, 03:25 AM
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MonoVCPHG MonoVCPHG is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetmama View Post
This has my general philosophy toward sex in general in the past. Can you explain a little more about your own reasons for making the choice you have?
My journey has taken me the other direction. I was always the person preaching the concept of sex just being a physical activity to be enjoyed like skiing...more hills meant more fun and experiences...I had a massive shift in my own relationship that is a complete turn around for me...for me...for me...for me...so no one tries to engage in a long debate I don't try to convert others to my opinion or want to change my own.

Here's a link to the sharing of my discovery.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=493

Take care
Mono
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Old 02-15-2010, 07:30 AM
Ceoli Ceoli is offline
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What sort of casual sex/nsa encounters are you talking about? Are these more like one night stands with people he doesn't really know or is it more like having a some friends or other people he knows that he plays with from time to time?
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Old 02-19-2010, 07:29 PM
Vexxed Vexxed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
What sort of casual sex/nsa encounters are you talking about? Are these more like one night stands with people he doesn't really know or is it more like having a some friends or other people he knows that he plays with from time to time?
I think this is a good question that Ceoli asked. There is a percentage of people in the local poly community that have more lovers. Also, some of them seem to have more casual sex with friends. As of yet, I don't know who is friends with benefits or not, but I know that I've seen some casual sex go on at a poly group party. In this case, they were all friends at the least, and no new people were in the mix. Hooking up with new people too frequently is more dangerous, obviously, and I can see how that could make a relationship feel degraded.
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Old 02-19-2010, 09:02 PM
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My wife has lots of casual sex with various partners. We're in an open relationship but I do not consider her poly because, like your boyfriend, she does disconnect sex and intimacy and love.

As she's been doing this, I find that I'm less and less interested in her sexually. I agree with you entirely. For me, sex is an experience, a joy. The twitches and the shudders and the changes in rhythm reveal things to me about my sexual partner. It's a form of deep sharing, an expression of intimacy and safety and surity. When I was strictly monogamous, I would have sex with my wife and I would get some of this, but it was pretty clear from her feedback verbally and physically that she wouldn't. For her sex feels good and that's pretty much it.

When we have such very different feelings about sex, I find it's less about sharing and more about getting off. And if I wanted to just get off, I'd masturbate.

That said, I don't think this is damaging our relationship. Just as couples disagree about finances and housekeeping, we disagree about sex.

The greatest things about my personal journey into polyamory are 1.) The realization that no person needs to fill all of the roles of my formerly monogamous relationship. Indeed, people being so varied and unique, I don't think any person COULD do that and still appeal to me as a vibrant, lovable individual. 2.) That any disagreement or issue can be shared and worked on within our relationship. Being in an open relationship makes issues rise to the surface pretty quickly. Years and years of subtle resentments and irritations come to a head in a matter of weeks or even days when competition for time and affection are added to a relationship. It's been almost entirely positive for me since it allows and demands that we address issues quickly and honestly.

So while I suggest communication with your boyfriend like everyone else, I also suggest some earnest soul-searching about your own values and what it is that you're expecting and needing from him. You might find that he's simply too different and incompatible but you might also find a freedom in letting go of certain relationship roles because they don't need to be present in every partner.

My two coppers.
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:41 AM
Vexxed Vexxed is offline
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Originally Posted by DrunkenPorcupine View Post
The greatest things about my personal journey into polyamory are 1.) The realization that no person needs to fill all of the roles of my formerly monogamous relationship.
Suppose that one of them is a very exciting and entertaining partner, and that you feel captivated by that partner because they keep you engaged in conversation. Then, on the other hand, your other partner does not engage you as well.

Could you then find being with the less entertaining partner to be equally satisfying?

I think that some people would overlook that spending time with one person is less satisfying and that they would still date the less satisfying person because dating that partner is somehow gratifying to them.

What say you to that?

Secondly, I hate that we can't be seen as "great" in the ways that we'd like to be seen as great. We aren't the judge of that. We can't read their minds either. We may never know the truth as to how good we really are at cetain things.
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Old 02-20-2010, 02:56 AM
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Suppose that one of them is a very exciting and entertaining partner, and that you feel captivated by that partner because they keep you engaged in conversation. Then, on the other hand, your other partner does not engage you as well.

Could you then find being with the less entertaining partner to be equally satisfying?
Yes, for all of the reasons that I care about the other person. That's more or less what I'm saying there, is that I value each relationship for what it IS rather than some ideal of filling all of those various roles.

Quote:
I think that some people would overlook that spending time with one person is less satisfying and that they would still date the less satisfying person because dating that partner is somehow gratifying to them.

What say you to that?
I think there's something wrong with the relationship or you if you start comparing them when you previously didn't. I could find a more interesting conversational partner down the road, but her presence doesn't detract from what is already there with people I'm involved with.

People don't become "less satisfying" to me because someone is better suited (by my definition) at a specific thing. My relationships take in a whole, complete person and everybody is so unique and different that it wouldn't be possible to compare them side by side in that manner.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:06 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hi SweetMama,

Outlooks on sex are a very personal thing. In time you will find your own. It's good that you're exploring as many aspects as possible - you'll understand better what feels 'right' to you and not have to theorize.

My opinion - 'casual' sex is no different than casual dining
At least in terms of where it fits in a relationship. The only discomfort I would have is making clear everyone is on the same page with health concerns. That's a given.
But what matters most is that you and your SO are talking and sharing your feelings & experiences about how it evolves. Because it IS likely to evolve over time. Both your attitudes about sex will change as your life changes - with stress, possible children, social/professional circles - lots of reasons.
I'm one who happens to believe that sex is 'just sex' and as long as it's kept in that perspective it's a lot easier to talk about where it fits in. It disconnects a lot of emotional reactions that cloud good judgment.
Where a lot of people get into trouble is when they can't disconnect sex & love - then the waters get very murky.
It's a perfectly natural biological desire and to me should be treated the same as where we'll eat tonight & what's on the menu !
And not to imply for one second that sex can't be MORE between certain people. But that's another subject altogether.

GS
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