I love all the questions you're asking. You and I are very similar in what we hope to have in our non-mono lives. And I love that you're calling it "not-quite-poly." You also hit upon some important points, for me. Basically, the whole aversion to couplehood and all the expectations placed upon anyone who has a regular lover. It's like the whole world is expecting me to move my relationships in a particular direction.
I don't have a ton of friends, though I do have a lot of friendly acquaintances. I'm not one of these people who collects friends wherever they go, so my deeper friendships are very dear and special to me. To be able to connect physically with one of my close male friends to whom I happen to be sexually attracted is something that is also incredibly meaningful to me. But do I need to turn that into marriage or him into a boyfriend? Hell, no!
This is the distinction I see between having casual sex and a casual relationship. Casual sex is just about getting off, while casual relationships are so much more. They can be genuinely caring and affectionate, full of deeper feelings, and yet allow for space, distance, and autonomy. I wrote more about that in another thread, here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showt...2&postcount=10
And, yes, I also feel that the basics of polyamory can apply because we would ideally be managing multiple of these wonderful lover-friendships - but we probably have less rules, LOL.
I shared something about this awhile back in my blog. I stated:
"I want lovers who are friends, who accept my love but don't freak out or want to build some structure around it. I don't want a partner who has a say in how I run my life. I don't want just casual sex and complete detachment but I know I don't want a primary. I want a level of commitment, but not to partnership... I have long had this vision of being single, solitary, and strong. [In my vision,] the joy [my lover-friends and I] feel with each other is genuine, there is no expectation to be or move toward anything more than what we are to each other... When we're together, each of my lovers has my full attention and feel no lack or sense of competition. There is love, sex, intimacy, sharing of feelings, deep thinking, and treasured moments, but no demands that we fulfill any roles for each other. Just "loving who we're with." ...I think maybe what I want is somewhere between a FWB and a boyfriend. Wondering how to adjust my OKC profile to reflect this, heh... I just don't know what to call it, how to ask for it, what to project into the world so that it comes to me."
SourGirl had responded and gave me the idea to start calling what I want "lover-friends," which fits so perfectly. She also used the term "Love-NSA." I really liked that.