What to say to people who assume poly = group sex?
This is kind of a non-problem, yet it's coming up in my life a lot lately as I am trying to be more open with friends/family about my dating life and to identify as poly.
The issue is, when I say "polyamory" people hear "group sex." To be truthful, that's what I myself assumed polyamorous meant when I first heard the word, several years ago.
Actually, I think the problem is the word itself. Yes, "amorous" does mean "loving," but usually we only use the word "amorous" as a comical euphemism for sexual/horny. Plus, the root "amor" really refers to explicitly sexual love.
(Also, the word "polyamory" has always sounded silly and awkward to me with its odd mishmash of Greek and Latin roots. But that's really a totally different gripe, only suitable for a linguistics conference.)
Anyway...there was a post on another thread today wherein a mono person mentioned that when she describes her partner's poly relationships, people are like, "Oh, you all get it on together, then." I guess this is just because everyone has heard of threesomes, but not everyone knows that people can date more than one person separately??? People know what swinging is, but can't envision just normal dating of more than one person?
Or is it that people can't imagine that you could be okay with your partner seeing other people--unless you were having sex with them too?
One of my personal experiences with this: For the last year, I have been trying to explain my dating life to my supportive but somewhat clueless mother. She and I used to be close, but it feels awkward when I try to talk to her about my dating life or my guy (whom she has met and likes). Only recently did I figure out that she was making all sorts of odd assumptions, namely that what I'm doing must be group sex/threesomes with my guy & his other women. Which is a pretty odd assumption, given that I have never been bi or into women! I guess I wasn't explaining it right.
(Also, if I was having group sex & threesomes, that wouldn't really be anything I need to share with my mother! I was trying to share my approach to relationships with her and to discuss my relationship style. She has met my guy several times, I expect him to be in my life for a while, and I had wanted to be honest with my mom about our open relationship....oh well. Guess I don't need to overshare anymore!)
Single, straight, female, solo, non-monogamous.