I really debated with myself whether or not to reply to your post as you have been given some very good information by some Poly smart people. After some consideration I thought I would contribute to the pool of comments for a couple of reasons. I wouldn’t mind receiving some feedback on my views and I thought perhaps you may glean some insight from my “take” on your post.
In the mono world the status of sex is (imho) a sadly distorted, forcefully imposed, barely recognizable shadow of what real sex should be and can be when given by people with an open heart, mind and soul. I found it very difficult to dig my way out of the pile of rubble that, for me anyways, represented the emotions, fears and laws that the Judeo-Christian ethic has forced upon mankind for many centuries and continues to this very day. One of the first things the J-C ethic imposes on people is the concept of “ownership” of your partner, particularly for men. We are conditioned to believe that our spouse is our “property”. It is very difficult to get past the conditioning and takes some work to realize the truth. We no more own our spouse than we own the wind. What she/he gives to you is of their own accord and that makes it even more beautiful when one considers that another human being is freely giving part of themselves to you. Keeping in mind all of the variables and that this is my own opinion I think that this is what you are representing with your rule about your car. You are finding a way to retain ownership of something. Most definitely not a judgement on my part, simply an observation from a distance and my ass might be blowing bubbles. Again, imho, don’t worry you will get past this stumbling block if you continue to keep an open mind and seek advice from the wonderful people on this forum.
My spouse and I have had many long heart to heart discussions on Poly topics and one of the things that has become clear to me is that I want my partners to be the very best person they can be in this life. I have an altruistic reason and a selfish reason for this view. If I love someone I want them to be happy and fulfilled for their own sake and when they are happy and fulfilled they shine better on me.
I said selfish remember.
The rules you speak of are, imho, simply asking for respect. Well, perhaps in this case “demanding” respect but you get my drift. I empathize greatly with your desire to stay below the radar. Neighbours, co-workers and in some cases family members have no need to know about our private lives. Indeed, in some cases, the outside world can become very damaging and hurtful towards Poly people and I think most Poly people have witnessed the attacks from the religious right. We stay below the radar in our Poly life and intend on keeping it that way. Our choice. Asking for respect from your spouse in such a manner is closing the door to trusting in her own ability to make that judgement herself and has the sometimes unintended consequence of closing the door on communication. If we truly respect our significant other we would perhaps think to ourselves, “I sure would like to have sex on the hood of the car in the afternoon sun but maybe I’ll run the idea past my s/o in case I am missing something here.” This only happens when people have open, free communication without fear of judgement or conflict. Many people have said it here on the forum and I will repeat it because it should be the mantra of Poly people. COMMUNICATION IS KEY. Without it our relationships are doomed to failure.
So there you have my two cents on the topic. Laying down rules is an admission of fear, of unresolved questions and asking for respect. People sharing their hearts, minds, bodies and souls are about as sacred as anything this life has to offer imho. Where, when and with who are decisions we make ourselves. The road to becoming Poly is exactly that, a road, and we all travel down it at a different pace and we are all prone to becoming stuck, taking a wrong turn, having a wreck or turning off the road entirely. Communication is the fuel that moves us down the road.
Now that my reply has turned into a small novel I would like to be clear and say I in no way judge you or anyone else on the forum for that matter. The foregoing is simply my contribution to attempting to understand a complex issue.