Maybe it depends on where you live. I live in NYC and most people I encounter are at least familiar and to some degree accepting of (meaning that they accept it works for others, but not necessarily themselves) swinging, wa-a-a-y more than polyamory -- which most have never even heard of. And then they're puzzled by the love part.
Example: I had a recent conversation with a friend of mine (ex-boyfriend from eons ago), in which I told him that I was beginning to see two people. He asked, "Are you sexual with both of them?" I said, "Yes. Don't worry, I stay as safe as I can," to which he brushed it off, shrugging, and said, "Oh, I'm sure. Well, good for you." Then he paused, with a concerned look in his eyes and asked, "But what if you fall in love with one of them??!!" And I laughed, telling him that indeed love was the goal, but with both of them, not just one! And that while I am enjoying casual liaisons now, I am hoping to cultivate multiple loving relationships that are long-term and committed, blablabla. He looked a bit horrified, and blurted, "Shit, I have enough trouble managing one relationship! I don't know how that's even possible!"
Clearly, he was totally understanding that I fuck more than one guy in my life, but the fact that I want emotional involvement as well blew his mind.
And he is a rather conservative person when it comes to certain things, and would NEVER find himself at a swing party, or even dating more than one woman. But his response is not unusual, in my experience, even in the big liberal city where you think most folks would have come across it more in their everyday lives. Most people are familiar and accepting of monogamy, cheating, of swinging... but poly? Nuh-uh! Loving relationships have the impression of being hard work (yeah, they often are), so who really wants more of that? (that's how most people think, I think)
But again, this seems to be veering off-topic. Sorry, OP!
Last edited by nycindie; 03-27-2011 at 12:46 AM.