Mono Vs. Poly

PolyinPractice

New member
I was discussing the concepts, oh, I wish I remember who posted it now, but basically breaking mono and poly down the following way:

Monoamory: emotional/romantic connection with one person
Polyamory: emotional/romantic connection with more than one person at the same time
Monosexual: physical relations with one person
Polysexual: physical relations with more than one person at the same time (not necessarily in the same bed)

If you think of it like that, instead of monogamy and polyamory; it opens up a lot more. Polyamory means a variety of things to different people. But using the above options gives a lot more flexibility. I think in a lot of cases people think of monogamy as "monoamorous" + "monosexual" and polyamorous as "polysexual" + "polyamorous." I think a lot of the confusion arises when people mix them up, though.

Like, when people say poly is all about sex. I think it's because what they've seen is "monoamorous" + "polysexual" and people feeling the need to choose either the poly or mono label, when truthfully they're both. So, yes, in that case being "poly" IS all about sex. Because the portion of poly they're associating with is the "sexual" and not the "amory" part.

Guess my point is you can be polypoly or monomono, but you can be monopoly, too :)

Did that just come out as utter nonsense?

Edit: I know my definitions weren't exactly the same as the original ones, but I think they're close enough.
 

InsaneMystic

New member
Wait for the confusion when you tell someone that you're asexual and poly, so it's not about the sex at all for you...
 

Eponine

Member
The way I see it, polyamory is about emotional/romantic connections by definition, but since the vast majority of people are sexual, multiple romantic connections almost by default means multiple sexual connections as well. I don't think "polyamorous + monosexual" is very common.

On the other hand, "monoamorous + polysexual" is pretty common, and some of these people misuse the polyamory label, which causes the misconception "poly is all about sex." There's another label for them - sexually open.
 

Tonberry

New member
True. I guess you should really add an option for "asexual" and...."a-mory" (not capable of loving any?)

aromantic is the word you're looking for. Aamorous would be too confusing, since amorous means loving, plus aromantic (aro for short) is already an established term.

Don't forget polygamy/monogamy (number of actual partners, physical or not). Being polyamorous doesn't mean you have several partners (or even any) at the moment.
 

london

Banned
I feel that people tend to (mis)apply the "polysexual but monoamorous" label to people who don't appear to want to commit to them or anyone else. Commit by their standards, anyway. The truth is, like others have said, someone might not be in the right place to develop (additional) relationships with the features of traditional romantic commitment but it doesn't mean they won't ever be and it might just mean they don't feel they are compatible with you for that type of relationship.

Poly doesn't mean that every single relationship you choose to pursue involves or even had the potential for involving romantic love.

I do agree, however, that some people who genuinely want polysexuality with monoamory feel compelled to adopt the polyamory label due sex negative stigma. The apparent focus in polyamory on love and it not being simply about wanting (dirty/sinful/shallow) sex with loads of people purifies non monogamous desires for some people so they stray to this relationship style when NSA swinging would possible be a better fit for them.
 

PolyinPractice

New member
Poly doesn't mean that every single relationship you choose to pursue involves or even had the potential for involving romantic love.

I'm assuming this means every single sexual relationship? Not friendships or other relationships.

If so, I absolutely agree that someone can be both poly and open, or identify as poly and pursue casual sex. I'm primarily interested in poly relationships, but I like to have fun, too. As long as you are clear with your intentions with that person-- wanting a poly relationship or a casual encounter-- I see no issues in one being both.
 

london

Banned
You can't always say whether something will start casual and become more serious and/or long term with more entanglements.
 

nycindie

Active member
. . . I absolutely agree that someone can be both poly and open, or identify as poly and pursue casual sex.

There have been some hot debates about that on these boards over the few years I've been coming here!

Many polyfolk feel that "it ain't poly if you're just fucking around." They call that polyfuckery. Most polyamorists, it seems to me, tend to agree that there should be some sort of loving quality to relationships in order to be considered poly - but they also recognize and accept that one can have that and casual liaisons with others as well.

And yet, I've encountered a little bit of criticism and been pooh-poohed because some people think that what I want in my life is not really poly, since I mostly want lover-friends (my term for FWBs) in my life, rather than more entangled partnerships or boyfriends - as if that can't possibly be loving or I couldn't possibly fall in love with someone with whom my relationship has more casual parameters than most would expect. That is poppycock, of course (not that I care one iota whether or not my life meets someone else's criteria for poly, anyhoo).
 
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PolyinPractice

New member
some people think that what I want in my life is not really poly, since I mostly want lover-friends (my term for FWBs) in my life, rather than more entangled partnerships or boyfriends - as if that can't possibly be loving or I couldn't possibly fall in love with someone with whom my relationship has more casual parameters than most would expect.

Of course FWBs or relationships you go into with solely sexual intentions aren't "poly" relationships....but where do people think romantic, long term relationships come from, anyway? And sometimes you go into something, insisting it'll only be physical, and then feelings develop....

*off my soapbox now*
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Of course FWBs or relationships you go into with solely sexual intentions aren't "poly" relationships

I would agree that purely sexual associations aren't what most people would qualify as polyamory, and rightly so. However, conflating "friends with benefits" with casual, no strings banging is not necessarily accurate. Some people use the term FWB to refer to casual sex buddies but FWB starts with "Friends" which is important.

Not all loving romantic relationships need to be partnered, sharing expenses, interdependent, etc. I treasure my friends, and a friend I am sexual with is something FAR different from casual "solely sexual" associations.
 

PolyinPractice

New member
I would agree that purely sexual associations aren't what most people would qualify as polyamory, and rightly so. However, conflating "friends with benefits" with casual, no strings banging is not necessarily accurate. Some people use the term FWB to refer to casual sex buddies but FWB starts with "Friends" which is important.

Not all loving romantic relationships need to be partnered, sharing expenses, interdependent, etc. I treasure my friends, and a friend I am sexual with is something FAR different from casual "solely sexual" associations.

In movies and stuff, FWB is presented as casual, no strings attached...but everyone has their interpretations and yours is legitimate to your situation.
 

nycindie

Active member
some people think that what I want in my life is not really poly, since I mostly want lover-friends (my term for FWBs) in my life, rather than more entangled partnerships or boyfriends - as if that can't possibly be loving or I couldn't possibly fall in love with someone with whom my relationship has more casual parameters than most would expect.

Of course FWBs or relationships you go into with solely sexual intentions aren't "poly" relationships....but where do people think romantic, long term relationships come from, anyway? And sometimes you go into something, insisting it'll only be physical, and then feelings develop....

Excuse me, never did I say that my intentions were "solely sexual" in pursuing lover-friendships or friends-with-benefits arrangements. Hello? Friendship takes emotional investment and I am very selective about whom I call a friend. I love my friends, and my relationships with FWBs are very loving and important to me for much, much more than just sex. My lover-friends are not required to bang me in order to spend time with me. Having casual relationships is not the same as having casual sex. While the parameters I prefer for relationships are rather casual, that does not mean I want "no strings" and no heart involved. I have turned down men I was very interested in because they thought that my wanting the freedom to be in multiple, casual relationships meant it was "no strings." A very incorrect assumption! Sheesh.
 
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Eponine

Member
I would agree that purely sexual associations aren't what most people would qualify as polyamory, and rightly so. However, conflating "friends with benefits" with casual, no strings banging is not necessarily accurate. Some people use the term FWB to refer to casual sex buddies but FWB starts with "Friends" which is important.

Not all loving romantic relationships need to be partnered, sharing expenses, interdependent, etc. I treasure my friends, and a friend I am sexual with is something FAR different from casual "solely sexual" associations.

Friendship takes emotional investment and I am very selective about whom I call a friend. I love my friends, and my relationships with FWBs are very loving and important to me for much, much more than just sex. My lover-friends are not required to bang me in order to spend time with me. Having casual relationships is not the same as having casual sex. While the parameters I prefer for relationships are rather casual, that does not mean I want "no strings" and no heart involved. I have turned down men I was very interested in because they thought that my wanting the freedom to be in multiple, casual relationships meant it was "no strings." A very incorrect assumption! Sheesh.
Totally agreed. To me, the core of polyamory is multiple emotionally intimate relationships. They don't have to involve practical commitment (living together, sharing finances, etc.), nor do they have to be romantic (which means aromantics can be poly too).

Although I don't have FWBs in the sexual sense, my two non-primary relationships probably look pretty "casual" and not different from "just friends" to many people, because we're long-distance, don't plan to move closer, and only communicate via emails. I don't mind calling them "friends with romantic/emotional/sensual benefits." I'm also very picky about whom I call a friend, and a friend can be as important as a partner on an emotional level. I hate the expression "just friends."
 
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PolyinPractice

New member
Oh yes, and we all know how accurately movies depict real life! :rolleyes:

Still based off the premise of commonly held beliefs, i.e. definitions of words. If someone said they wanted a FWB with me, well, they're my friends, I assume they hold some affection. But I'd think that their motivation was primarily physical, not emotional. Nor would I have any expectations that I would ever be near the importance of their boyfriend or girlfriend, or whomever, supposing they had someone else.
 

Tonberry

New member
Yeah, polyamory means several loves, and I interpret it to mean several loving relationships, but I don't see why friendship wouldn't apply. It's a form of love too.

Sure, some people use "FWB" to mean "some stranger I have sex with but FWB sounds better" but there are also people who use "my wife and I are polyamorous" when they mean "I'm cheating on my wife and there is no way she would be fine with this, but poly sounds better", so...

I'm not into casual sex but I can imagine having sex with a close friend. It's obvious to me the two are different.
 

PolyinPractice

New member
Yeah, polyamory means several loves, and I interpret it to mean several loving relationships, but I don't see why friendship wouldn't apply. It's a form of love too.

Sure, some people use "FWB" to mean "some stranger I have sex with but FWB sounds better" but there are also people who use "my wife and I are polyamorous" when they mean "I'm cheating on my wife and there is no way she would be fine with this, but poly sounds better", so...

I'm not into casual sex but I can imagine having sex with a close friend. It's obvious to me the two are different.

I usually interpret polyamory to mean romantic love. Friendship is a form of love, but then isn't everyone poly? Monogamous couples have friends, too.

Also, I'm not saying you have to change your opinion, but what IS the difference between casual sex and sex with a close friend? Can't you have a casual relationship with a friend involving sex?
 

london

Banned
Some people choose to use the label friend to highlight that regardless of how emotionally and physically close they are with said person, it is aromantic.

Others, use the label friend to highlight that despite their emotional and physical intimacy and despite the fact they feel there are romantic aspects to their relationship, they won't share practical entanglements or entwine their lives in a way that is typical of romantic relationships.

This difference is important for many people because it helps them to create expectations and fulfill expectations that is appropriate for that particular relationship. For example, I don't feel obliged to see a friend as often as I do a romantic partner, so a friend with benefits isn't in my routine weekly schedule. I don't feel disappointed or hurt by not being in theirs. If someone who is a friend needs more from me than I can offer friends, I know we are on different wavelengths and that needs to be addressed.
 

london

Banned
I usually interpret polyamory to mean romantic love. Friendship is a form of love, but then isn't everyone poly? Monogamous couples have friends, too.

Also, I'm not saying you have to change your opinion, but what IS the difference between casual sex and sex with a close friend? Can't you have a casual relationship with a friend involving sex?
I don't know if you ever read my thread "Dispensable" but I feel that is an example of me and Frank going from a casual relationship with (someone who became) a friend involving sex, to me now having casual sex with a friend. Our friendship may deepen, but it isn't going to climb the relationship escalator to a place where I would consider us boyfriend and girlfriend, although we will more than likely always have a sexual relationship too. We are Friends with benefits.

In the past, I've had fuck buddies. We didn't have or try to develop a friendship. We just had sex. Yes we would talk, laugh and exchange pleasantries but it was surface stuff, the relationship was only sexually focused. Remove the sex and there would be nothing left.
 
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