There was this guy that I talked to who was polyamorous (had a wife and a girlfriend, both of them very meaningful to him). We were just pen pals; we live way far from each other.
There was this time that I mentioned to him that I saw a lot of OkCupid profiles in which a poly couple said "You need to know now that I have a primary relationship that comes before all others. We are polyamorous." I said to him (my pen pal): "That's pretty wack. Poly couples telling other people 'you definitely can't hope to mean as much to me as my main partner. He/she matters the most.'
My poly pen pal replied, "Well, at least they're upfront about it."
And I said, "But who would want to be involved with people who say outright that you're not going to matter as much as the main partner?"
He said, "Well, to be fair, there are some people, who, at certain times in their lives, are just looking for something casual and don't even *want* to matter that much. Like, this guy I know...he's in grad school and too busy for a relationship. He *wants* friends with benefits."
There you have it. That's the protocol. Find partners who are only looking for something casual. Respectful, sure; affectionate, sure...
But still...casual. When your secondary partners are your casual sex relationships or your friends with benefits, it just ain't polyamory. It's friends with benefits and casual sex. IN MY OPINION!!!!!
Polyamory doesn't want the mainstream world thinking it's about casual sex. But if YOU ARE about casual sex (no matter how respectful, kind), how can you blame the mainstream world for saying you're about casual sex?