By Anne Hunter
Just last week I bumped, once again, into the surprising (to me anyway) myth that polyamory is all about sex. I was talking to a couple I’d only just met, who made the mistake (if you’re poly-phobic) of asking me what I do. I was explaining polyamory in the context of my relationship coaching. Despite my earnest attempts to explain that it’s not, for me, primarily about sex, I think there must have been five or six different ways in which they kept coming back with uncomfortable innuendos about what my satisfaction in life comes from. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE fabulous engaged sex with luscious intimates. It’s just not the primary reason I’m poly.
It reminded me once again of how many myths there are about polyamory in wider society. Some I can think of off the top of my head are:
- You get all your sexual needs met.
- You get all your emotional needs met.
- It’s the same as cheating or sleeping around.
- You’re never lonely.
- It’s less emotionally evolved – people are only poly because they ‘can’t commit’ to one partner.
- You’re permanently sexually available to everyone and you have no taste – you’ll sleep with anyone. All poly people are having sex with everyone in their group/community.
- You can’t be trusted because you just want to use people for your own sexual gratification.
- Only a tiny, weird fraction of the community is polyamorous.
- Loving a second person must diminish the love available for the first person.
- All poly relationships have to be equal.
- If you feel jealousy you can’t possibly be polyamorous.
- You obviously don’t really love someone if you don’t feel jealous about them.
There are a couple of myths I occasionally find surfacing within some parts of the poly community as well, such as:
- There must be a particular structure and ethical framework for it to ‘count’ as polyamorous.
- You have to be in more than one relationship to identify as polyamorous – if you’re single you ‘can’t’ be poly.
- Poly people are more evolved and enlightened than the general population.
The reality is so much more glorious, I find. Poly allows so much variety and freedom of expression. Poly relationships encompass so many diverse structures, styles, flavours, levels of self-awareness and maturity, and forms of love. I love wandering through the forest of my poly friends and seeing the sturdy old relationships, the tender new green ones, the spreading relationships who welcome in and nurture others, the vines with tendrils that run everywhere, the ones in flower and the ones with bare branches.
The only things I know of that all poly folk agree on about polyamory are honesty, multiplicity, and love.
So I’m curious to hear from you. What myths have you encountered about your relationship/s?