Wow, again I am in awe of all the great input I'm getting. Already you guys have made me re-think some of my own pre-conceived notions of what it means to be poly as well as having a partner who is mono. This is definitely an education process with a huge learning curve!
I know it's a bit surprising that I would be the one to set the p-i-v restriction with the secondaries, so I guess a little background is in order. Both "A" and I grew up in strict religious households (he was a fundamentalist Christian--I can't remember which specific sect and I was raised Roman Catholic--complete with 9 years of parochial school). As you can imagine this whole poly concept flies in the face of what we were each taught and believed about relationships and marriage while we were growing up. To complicate things even further, I had no idea until very recently that I am a poly -- when we married we were both mono and promised each other lifelong exclusivity in our vows. It wasn't until I Googled "Can I love more than one man" that I found a plethora of information about a lifestyle that even has a unique name to it! I knew it wasn't "swinging" as these growing feelings are not just desire for a casual sexual hookup. I love all three of these men very deeply, which from my understanding of swinging is a big no-no.
Anyways, part of the process of *my* coming to terms with the potential of being intimate with a man other than my husband, without the pejorative label of "cheating" or "adultery" slapped on it, was asking myself what is it about "A" that makes me want to continue to stay married to him while pursuing other intimate and loving relationships. It was the realization that there is very little chance I'd ever again meet such a perfect counterpart to *me*. As the cliche goes, neither one of us is perfect, but we're perfect for each other. And of course neither of us wants to end the marriage--we want to remain life partners forever. My still-new-to-this-idea perception was, that being my life partner (even in the legal sense), I *had* to put him on the proverbial pedestal above any others...show him that he is still my #1. And the first thing I thought of was to allow him something that is uniquely *his* (although I hadn't perceived this as possessiveness at the time) -- something I wouldn't share with any other potential partner. The first thing that came to mind was the p.i.v. sex -- perhaps part of my rationalizing mind thought that if I didn't do *that* with any other partner, then you really can't call it "adultery" can you (see the Catholic influence?) But of course after all the lively discussion over the past couple of days, I am able to see the flaws in my logic, despite the realization that this updated position of mine sends "A" and me back to the proverbial drawing board with our negotiations--I keep wanting to change the terms, dammit! Or maybe I'm beginning to understand and appreciate just how much work and commitment it takes to make a poly relationship work so that all of my partners feel that they are *the* special one in my life--which they are--all of them.
You guys helped me to understand that by doing that and imposing this "no p.i.v. sex rule", I am really disrespecting the other two men I purport to love by throwing it at them and expecting them to comply without question. And then Magdlyn pointed out the proverbial (and pardon the hell out of this pun) "slippery slope" of defining specifically what's in and what's out. And of course I was trusting that I'd always be able to pull myself back from the edge of plummeting into the "danger zone". Short of wearing a chastity belt, that probably takes more willpower than I'd ever see in my lifetime.
Yikes, things got complicated REALLY fast!