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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, 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 02-15-2010, 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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Old 02-15-2010, 03:48 PM
sunnydee sunnydee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetmama View Post
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.
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.
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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?

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?
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.

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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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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 02-16-2010, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sweetmama View Post
...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 I’m 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.
I am worried that you think to have the same approach as you boyfriend does towards sex. You don't at all. You can stand fully in your own belief about it and feel proud of who you are. We are all different and there is a wide continuum of comfort levels where sex is concerned...

It really kind of bugs that anyone would try and convince others out of their comfort zones in regards to sex... as if they have the monopoly on what is best for others... I see this kind of thing often right now in my life and it might not have anything to do with yours.

Just be rest assured that there is no need for you to change and put yourself in danger if you feel that you would be compromising your values. What is the most important thing is that you feel undamaged and mentally healthy. If you don't feel like that with your boyfriend then it may be time to take a good long look on whether or not he is worth spending great amounts of time with anymore. Perhaps he is best as a FWB, and intimate friend, secondary, tersiary... who knows maybe there is someone out there that has the same values as you do who would be pleased to devote his time to you in a way that you understand. I see nothing wrong with that.

I personally feel physically ill when it comes to some kinds of casual sex. I think that far too often the precious nature of being close to someone is destroyed by casual fucking. To me, and in my experience, the line between appreciating women, their bodies and their personality and nature and giving them a good fuck because it would be fun to get off in some chics hot body, is far too close. The line is blurry to me and I fear it sometimes.

As we have gone over in other threads, and as I have said before I think that women forget that they need to check into their bodies, their minds, their values of themselves and their loves. How they feel about the person that is pursuing them (are they charming me because they want to get laid? or are they actually caring about me) and whether or not it is all around a good idea to have sex with this person in terms of their other relationships.

It sounds like you are soul searching. Good luck with that... I wish for you to stay true to yourself first. Then it will be the right thing, always.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:01 PM
polytriad polytriad is offline
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Quote:
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetmama View Post
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.



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!
1+ on what MONO said.

It sounds like you need sit down and decide what you want. When it comes to things like this you have to have definitive and solid ground to stand on. This will make it easier for you and your partners to see those lines and decide if they can deal or not. nothing sucks more is gettin to know someone under a one premise of one thing then having to decide then if they can deal. Some things are bound to happen like this but the is one of those things that you should be clear on with yourself first.
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:15 AM
sweetmama sweetmama is offline
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Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG View Post
Here's a link to the sharing of my discovery.

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

Take care
Mono
Thanks for the thread link and for sharing your perspective. It seems that you and I have a lot in common so I always enjoy reading your thought process.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I am worried that you think to have the same approach as you boyfriend does towards sex. You don't at all. You can stand fully in your own belief about it and feel proud of who you are. . . .

It sounds like you are soul searching. Good luck with that... I wish for you to stay true to yourself first. Then it will be the right thing, always.
Thanks for bringing this up. It is definitely an area where I need to stay aware of my own personal boundaries and make sure I'm not compromising anything at the core of my self or belief system. I am doing some soul searching for sure in the hopes of finding out if this is in fact one of those core values issues or if it's just another of those things that's been programed into me. Over the past few months I have been shocked repeatedly by how many new things I am learning about myself and how many things have changed in terms of my outlook. Things that at the beginning of this process I was completely certain were just part of who I am turned out to be something else entirely. So in the interest of exploring my feelings and figuring out exactly what my beliefs and boundaries are and why I have them, I am willing to sit with the discomfort for a while.

polytriad:

I agree, defining boundaries is key here. As this is my first poly relationship, and still a fairly new one, it is a work in progress for me. It just isn't something I've had to think about until very recently. But I can certainly see how it complicates a relationship to start out on fuzzy terms boundary wise. The last thing I want to do is put my boyfriend in a position where he feels pressure to change or accept boundaries that don't fit with his needs because of an attachment that has already formed. But like most of life, this adventure into polyamory wasn't exactly expected, so for now I'll have to work with where I am.
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