Originally Posted by DrunkenPorcupine
My wife has lots of casual sex with various partners. We're in an open relationship but I do not consider her poly because, like your boyfriend, she does disconnect sex and intimacy and love.
As she's been doing this, I find that I'm less and less interested in her sexually. I agree with you entirely. For me, sex is an experience, a joy. The twitches and the shudders and the changes in rhythm reveal things to me about my sexual partner. It's a form of deep sharing, an expression of intimacy and safety and surity. When I was strictly monogamous, I would have sex with my wife and I would get some of this, but it was pretty clear from her feedback verbally and physically that she wouldn't. For her sex feels good and that's pretty much it.
When we have such very different feelings about sex, I find it's less about sharing and more about getting off. And if I wanted to just get off, I'd masturbate.
That said, I don't think this is damaging our relationship. Just as couples disagree about finances and housekeeping, we disagree about sex.
The greatest things about my personal journey into polyamory are 1.) The realization that no person needs to fill all of the roles of my formerly monogamous relationship. Indeed, people being so varied and unique, I don't think any person COULD do that and still appeal to me as a vibrant, lovable individual. 2.) That any disagreement or issue can be shared and worked on within our relationship. Being in an open relationship makes issues rise to the surface pretty quickly. Years and years of subtle resentments and irritations come to a head in a matter of weeks or even days when competition for time and affection are added to a relationship. It's been almost entirely positive for me since it allows and demands that we address issues quickly and honestly.
So while I suggest communication with your boyfriend like everyone else, I also suggest some earnest soul-searching about your own values and what it is that you're expecting and needing from him. You might find that he's simply too different and incompatible but you might also find a freedom in letting go of certain relationship roles because they don't need to be present in every partner.
My two coppers.
DP, thanks for this. I see a lot of truth for myself in how you approach this issue. Letting go of some of the mono beliefs about requiring/expecting your partner to be everything or fit some predetermined role does allow for a certain freedom to accept them just as they are and love them for it.
While I may never be a casual sex person, and will probably always have a certain level of discomfort about casual sex in general (although I'm learning to watch my nevers as they seem be coming back to haunt me. . .in a good way so far) I feel like there is the possibility that really embracing more of a poly lifestyle rather than just being a mono person in a poly relationship might create an emotional space where I am more comfortable with my bf's different approach.
Another thing I got from your post, if indirectly, was that I realized that what my bf does in terms of casual sex really isn't affecting our relationship. Unlike what you've described in your relationship, I don't feel at all that he is disconnected emotionally when we have sex, or that his ability to separate love and sex carries over into our activities. Any disconnect that happens would be because of my own internal struggles rather than something inherent in his approach.
Originally Posted by Vexxed
I think this is a good question that Ceoli asked. There is a percentage of people in the local poly community that have more lovers. Also, some of them seem to have more casual sex with friends. As of yet, I don't know who is friends with benefits or not, but I know that I've seen some casual sex go on at a poly group party. In this case, they were all friends at the least, and no new people were in the mix. Hooking up with new people too frequently is more dangerous, obviously, and I can see how that could make a relationship feel degraded.
In my rather limited experience with the poly community I have observed something very similar to what you're describing. It seems to be a pretty tight knit group where the lines between friendship, sex, and romance seem to blur quite a bit and there is sharing back and forth so that it's not all that uncommon to date your best friends wife or your girlfriend's ex husband. At first I found this dynamic a bit strange, but as I've seen it in action and gotten used to the idea, I do feel a certain safety in keeping it all in the family so to speak.
Generally it has been the times that my bf hooks up with someone outside the group, or someone I don't know of, that I get most uncomfortable. Partly, as you point out, because bringing in someone new ups the level of risk. But also, because for me at least, the more info I have the better I feel. When I know the person, or at least know of them and have some background on the connection/dynamic involved I tend to feel much better. Hearing my bf talk about why he's attracted to someone, or what their interactions are like lets me see those parts of him I love and appreciate coming out and find that sense of compersion rather than getting stuck in some imagined scenario of my worst fears.
Thanks again to everyone for all the great responses! It's helped a lot in my process of sorting through emotions and figuring out what I need. I'm not done yet and probably will never be "done" but I'm feeling better about things and making more sense out of what's going on.