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Old 11-15-2010, 11:56 PM
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Default poly friendships...

In poly communities, what is the difference between community members, lovers and friends... it seems blurred to me... or am I just being well, me?

Who are my friends? Who are just community members and how do people know the difference between lovers and the rest of people they hang out with when they have friends-with-benefits, tersiaries and intimate friends mixed in together.

Is it individual description? Is there a set sort of fall back definition like primary and secondary and does it kind of trickle down from there to people who are invested less in or that are acquaintances? How does one know where to invest their time and effort in terms of all this confusion? Or maybe I am the only one confused?
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:03 AM
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i don't know. sorry. i am still looking forward to going to a poly get together once the time is right.

i guess it's different from swinger parties & clubs, where everyone is just having sex!
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:42 AM
MyNameIsMaam MyNameIsMaam is offline
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Oh RedPepper - such good questions! I was just discussing this with someone I have started dating.

The world of polyamory has such breadth, and the people in it each seem to have their own personal definitions of even the most frequently used terms.

Some people seem to be using the term "poly" to indicate they will sleep with anyone they date. Some people use it to describe that they only sleep with people whom they have feelings of "love". Some people use it to describe intimate friendships that don't involved sex at all.

It's a little confusing to me too!
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Old 11-16-2010, 04:35 AM
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I think it boils down to outlook.

Some people feel a abundance of love, for anyone they encounter who is enjoyable, good, and brings positive attributes to their life. Love is love, and they drink it all in, from various forms.

Others like me, might see poly love as a direct link to being romantic-love oriented. I have a clear line between friends and lovers.

I don`t have romantic feelings for friends. I can love them dearly, but its a different kind of love.

So for me, it is easy to seperate friends, from acquaintances, from lovers, and so forth.

I might of made this more confusing,..hmmm.
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Old 11-16-2010, 06:53 AM
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Its a tough one no?

I really struggle with understanding it... much to Mono's annoyance I might add. And most people around me, ah well, what can I say, I like to figure things out if I can, even if it means just figuring that it isn't figurable.

I am like SJ, friends are friends and lovers lovers... the thought of intimacy with friends alarms and repulses me somehow. I don't want to see or be involved with them while they are getting off. I struggle to bring myself to think of what they would even look like. Not because I don't like them, it is just too close. To intimate a detail. I'm glad they have a private life... because its PRIVATE. ha! What the heck would there be to talk about if I knew so much detail. It would be like talking to a lover no? How do you talk to a friends when you are sexual with all of them? how could you possibly not reach some level of connection and depth if there is sex involved? Yet people do... bizarre and confusing to me...

Yet, I have a friend that I am intimate with and a boyfriend that I am not and several friends that I could see being intimate with, but likely it wouldn't happen, and others that I certainly couldn't... The ones I have sex with I am by far more close to... that is the line crosser for me... is it for friends that have sex together or do they just get on with their day as they would had they not had sex?

It is as bizarre to me and interesting as the whole mono/poly thing. How could peoples brains be so different? Or is it to do with experience and how they have gotten to where they are that they are where they are?

Do people who have sex with anyone that catches their eye have as much confusion as I do? I sense a lot of judgement and pride in their ability to be so "free?" "lose?" "open with themselves?" the balance seems to be out on that one.... maybe I'm wrong on that one, I don't know. There seems to be a lot of talk on that being sex positive when I see it as only a part of being positive... positive to me is being positive about ones own sexuality and boundaries, not about how many and under what circumstances one fucks...

Is that it then? Is this just how it is? or am I out to lunch?

I'm glad to hear others are confused.. maybe we can work some of this shit out?
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:32 PM
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Good thread!

This reminds me a bit of the conversation we had at the group where we talked about casual sex and poly. We ended up agreeing that people have different views on what we termed "recreational sex". Some people view sex as an activity (rather like dancing? .. I'm trying to think of an analogy that is physical and pleasurable that one does with friends as well as partners, here). Other people view sex as an emotionally intimate act that is something to be shared only with a select few: those who meet a certain level of emotional intimacy. Quite a few of us fall somewhere in between on this spectrum.

I have no idea why some people are wired to enjoy recreational sex and others aren't, but I suspect it's a complicated combination of experience, culture and possibly physical/chemical elements (similar to the reason some people are highly sexual and others don't have much interest in sex at all). My personal view is that it's all good, so long as people communicate their preferences to each other.

I'm one of those people who falls into the category of "someone who can be sexual with friends and not feel weird about it afterwards". I find sex deepens my bonds of friendship OR romantic love with those I engage with. However, I don't feel a need to be "in love" with everyone I have sex with. I view sex primarily as energy which is healing, healthy and pleasurable. I do not want to share it with everyone (because I'm not attracted to everyone) but I don't want to limit sharing it with only those who are my "partners".

I'm careful to ask people how they feel about sex before I engage in it with them. I'd rather keep a friendship than cause hurt or confusion by adding sex to the mix if it's not compatible with their beliefs or values. I value my own sexuality and the sexuality of others. I guess the closest I can come to describing how I feel about sharing sex is that it's almost a spiritual experience for me, though of course it's also physically pleasurable and is one of my favourite ways to express intimacy with my partners. Sex is sacred, but for me that doesn't mean it should be kept for only a few people. I feel a special connection with everyone I've had sex with, whether they are friends or life-partners. I just don't equate this special feeling with romantic love. It's more like a sacred love and connection (and this can coexist with romantic love, but it doesn't have to).. does that make sense? Surely I'm not the only person who feels this way!

I agree with Redpepper about the definition of "sex positive"; this has less to do with who you fuck and more to do with how you value your sexuality and others' sexuality. You can be sex positive and never have actual sex with anyone at all!

Oh, I also wanted to add that I don't have any trouble separating out friends from lovers/partners in my own mind. I just don't use sex as the criteria to distinguish between them.

Anyway, that's sort of rambly, but hopefully it helps add another perspective!

Last edited by geminigirl; 11-16-2010 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:30 PM
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In my own mind I don't have too much trouble distinguishing who's a friend and who's a lover. Although I tend to invest a lot into the friendships I have as well to the point of appearing to be a threat to partners of certain friends. It baffles me a bit. If I was interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with these friends I would have attempted to do so when I had the opportunity.

I have also been known to have deep friendships in the past that have turned into lover relationships. The relationship with my husband being a prime example. I haven't ever experienced going from lovers to friends though.

I wouldn't cross the line from casual friends to sexual friends. For me it's a trust thing. If I don't know someone well I don't feel comfortable being vulnerable with them. For me sex is a vulnerable experience which is a really good thing with the right person/people because it brings you closer together. But it's really not something I want to share with most of the world.
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