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-   -   Explaining to a non-poly friend... (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=21104)

PolyInFL 02-08-2012 05:01 PM

Explaining to a non-poly friend...
 
...that it isn't about spicing up our sex life!

I just had a frustrating conversation with a friend who knows (recently) that DH and I are poly. A little background - neither DH and I are currently involved with anyone else.

It went like this, over coffee:

I was venting about the fact that we (DH and I) have had sex less than a dozen times since our daughter was born 4 years ago. DH and I have had many conversations recently that have resulted in knowing that he just is not interested in sex lately (or for quite a while) and though it has nothing to do with me, it of course effects me directly since it means I am not having sex either. Although we identified as poly more than 5 years ago, we have not done much about it due to a busy life, moving, kids, etc.

Anyway, my friend (I will call her Jane) is concerned that DH isn't really going to be okay with me having a BF and that we just need to "try new things" and understand that it is totally normal to have less sex after kids and blah blah. I love Jane dearly, but I was getting a little fed up with her assumptions about what my DH is feeling (she doesn't know him THAT well) about our relationship and potential poly lifestyle.

I explained that although DH would have sex tonight if I asked him to, it would purely be to make me happy and not really something he was wanting. Well, she says, what is wrong with that?

Um, let me count the ways. Why should DH have sex if he doesn't really want to? Why should I settle for a willing but uninterested partner? What would be the long-term effects on our relationship? DH and I love each other very much, we each want the others happiness.

Jane admitted that she and her DH rarely have sex and that although she was often too tired after their second child was born, she had sex because he wanted to.

Ah, do you all see what I am getting at? I guess typing this out has brought me to a certain conclusion. Jane and her DH have made choices for their sex life that my DH and I do not want. Jane, perhaps, is not comfortable with the idea that there are alternatives to what they have done?

I just wanted to scream "you aren't listening" when she kept saying that DH and I just need to spice up our sex life. She offered to babysit for crying out loud - to give us an opportunity. Like that explains it? We have been celibate for a YEAR because we didn't have a babysitter?

Lately I have been contemplating "coming out" to friends and family. I guess Jane's reaction is just a taste of what I can expect.

NovemberRain 02-08-2012 05:14 PM

Hi!

I think it's good practice that you had, coming out to one friend. I encourage you not to put too much of that experience on to all your other friends. You may have some who get it, and some who don't.

I have recently come out to...almost everyone close to me. I present it like I have the best secret in the world to share with them, like I got an extra slice of cake. 'I have two boyfriends!' Which I realize is not your situation. But when you present both at once, your cake and your problem, it sounds like you're having cake to fix your problem, do you see? And it sounds to me like what you wanted her to understand is that poly is cake, it's partly your identity.

Because I see your problem (lack of sex) as separate from that. (I dunno, maybe it's not, but that's what I see you presenting) If poly is to fix the problem, I understand from reading 'round here, that it might likely not.

I also don't see anything wrong with having sex with a willing, but uninterested partner. But I approach it from a different perspective. My views are informed from The Courage To Heal (a fantastic book for survivors of sexual abuse). They talk about how willingness can lead to interest. It can be a form of communication. It can be an act of love. 'I don't have an interest in sex, but I want you to know that I'm still here and I love you.'

BTW, I can also totally relate to your wanting to just be taken. My men have the lowest sex drives of any man I have ever known or heard about. They're probably just this side of asexual. It makes me insane. My drive is not all that high, but it feels artificially inflated because of the absence of theirs.

ThatGirlInGray 02-08-2012 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NovemberRain (Post 123999)
I also don't see anything wrong with having sex with a willing, but uninterested partner. But I approach it from a different perspective. My views are informed from The Courage To Heal (a fantastic book for survivors of sexual abuse). They talk about how willingness can lead to interest. It can be a form of communication. It can be an act of love. 'I don't have an interest in sex, but I want you to know that I'm still here and I love you.'

I agree with this. I haven't read the book NovemberRain mentioned, but I remember looong ago my mom talking with me about how sometimes even if you're not interested in sex for sex's sake, you can make the effort to show your partner you love them and just enjoy the closeness and connection involved and be satisfied making your partner happy. Of course, degree of disinterest matters too. Being willing is a good sign, and I'd probably try to take advantage of that at least a time or two before dismissing it completely.

I'm sorry your friend was so close-minded, though. Regardless of her thoughts on the matter, you AND your DH have made the choices and decisions you feel will work best and she should be supportive, rather than trying to tell you what you "need" to do.

AutumnalTone 02-09-2012 04:47 PM

I imagine Jane is tone deaf (not listening to what you're sayiing with any empathy) because most folks tend to be tone deaf and superimpose their own situations and reactions on what other people say. She would only consider sex with somebody else to "spice things up," so she projects that on you.

It's not that she has something against polyamory, per se, it's that she's only considering your situation as if she were in it. I suspect further discussion where you make clear that the polyamory has nothing to do with the lack of sex would help her into your headspace and out of her own.

Magdlyn 02-09-2012 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AutumnalTone (Post 124120)
I suspect further discussion where you make clear that the polyamory has nothing to do with the lack of sex would help her into your headspace and out of her own.

But it is about lack of sex, at least partly, is what I am getting, from PolyinFL!

And it sure is for me. I mean, miss pixi and I have sex, quite often, but being pursued and taken eagerly by my testosterone-filled male lovers... mmm, it's great.

In poly, if one lover is lacking in some areas one is interested in, whatever that area might be (B movies, video games, singing, cooking new foods, hiking, etc etc., and/or sex and kink), we get to fill it with others. What could be better than that.

AutumnalTone 02-10-2012 02:48 PM

They identified as poly more than five years ago and saw the disappearance of sex in the last four years. That means sex wasn't an issue when they IDed as poly, which is evidence it wasn't a strong motive for becoming poly.

bassman 02-12-2012 03:36 PM

I think that if you told Jane about the lack of sex, and about Poly at the same time, she may have automatically associated the 2?

PolyInFL 02-13-2012 06:42 AM

I do think that the timing has contributed to Jane's idea of our non-monogamy as a result of lack of sex. She and I had another chat and cleared up some confusion. There is a lot about polyamory that she still doesn't understand, but she is very open-minded and non-judgmental. I also gather that her DH is far more comfortable with alternative lifestyles. Not because she is close-minded, but because she had a more sheltered upbringing.

She commented to me, "I don't think I could do that [polyamory] because I am too jealous." She has made similar statements before, and always saying "I" and not "we" so I have begun to think that her DH would like a poly lifestyle, but they have not explored it due to her lack of comfort. He has openly said that he likes the idea of living together with another couple, but he made it sound like a financial arrangement more than a relationship option. Makes me wonder if we are not the first poly couple they have known...

Tinkerbrat 02-16-2012 01:31 AM

[QUOTE

In poly, if one lover is lacking in some areas one is interested in, whatever that area might be (B movies, video games, singing, cooking new foods, hiking, etc etc., and/or sex and kink), we get to fill it with others. What could be better than that.[/QUOTE]

I think this is what most people don't get. It's like "oh you are selfish" or "you must be a nympho". When it reality it is that I love both my partners very much and I want them to be happy and fulfilled. It truly is about loving someone enough to want their happiness. It's about being mature enough to accept you don't have to love co-ed naked bungee jumping if that's what your husband is into. You might get lucky enough your boyfriend is and you get to take the pictures.


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