I think I first learned of polyamory about 15 years ago, when an acquaintance showed me Loving More magazine. He was a polyamorist, and, like me, didn't much like the idea of "dating". We both figured that people just hang out, they maybe go to movies, have tea or coffee together, maybe go for a walk in the park..., and if they like each other as potential friends they take a friend path, and if they want to snog [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ited_States#S]
at some point, well, they just do -- and all without ever really "dating". Dating, as this acquaintance-slash-friend would have it, was "checking someone out to see if they fit a preconceived niche in your life". He thought it was an unkind way to be with people.
Being queer (bisexual, bi-affectionate), and having a boyfriend at the time, I wasn't much in a position to be "normal" about love and sex, anyway. And, anyway, I've always been a misfit in "Normal Land". I simply think too much for Normal Land and myself to be a good match. And so polyamory resonated with me those years ago, even though I hadn't had any experience with it. My partner at the time was pretty monogamous and so I was monogamous with him, by default. That was fine, for as long as it lasted--, which is to say before the crash and burn. But the crash and burn wasn't as a result of our monogamy. But most people go through these sooner or later; this one was just especially destructive to my, at the time, not so resilient soul.
For a brief while, I hung out with West coast Radical Faeries. A boyfriend (short term) introduced me to them, and at first I was appalled by their strangeness and wildness, and then I got over it and had a really good time being with them in the woods, letting it all hang out. I got to kiss and cuddle with some of the cuter ones, even! But it bothered me that so few of them wanted to have enduring and committed relationships. Many or most of them looked down on anything with the slightest hint of or association with "monogamy" with disdain. Most were highly promiscuous. Sex seemed to be elevated over loving relationships. And I knew that wasn't for me.
All I can say is that over the years the monogamist in me mutated at some deep psychic DNA level. I ended up rejecting both extremes: the extreme of monogamy and the extreme of commitment phobia and reckless promiscuity. And by "reckless" I mainly mean reckless with regard to hearts and souls rather than reckless about STDs -- which is another matter. I like loving and being loved, and like to include nakedness and kisses in it. The loving is the cake and the snogging (etc.) is some icing on it. What is it when you have just icing and no cake?! Nothing I need or want, that's what.
Gay/queer men very often don't think like me at all on these matters. Lots of us queer guys seem to hop from one disposable sex partner to another -- often with an unwritten and unspoken agreement never to see one another again, or speak to one another if they do happen to bump into each other on the streets. I think this is just sad. Love is so much better than mere sex, and sex with love is as good as it gets.
I'm glad I found myself, gradually, where I am now -- free to love whom I will and how I choose.