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Old 05-11-2012, 04:01 AM
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idealist idealist is offline
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Default swinging and poly

From what I have noticed....swingers are swingers for a variety of reasons. One is because they don't want the emotional drama that comes along with emotional relationships. Including NRE and jealousy. Sometimes they are just trying to protect the primary relationship (usually a marriage) by labeling themselves as swingers. The swinger identity seems to say "we're not looking for a lot of emotional turmoil".

Now- because we are human, after a while, purely sexual connections eventually can seem flat. So- there are a LOT of swingers who are looking for "friends in and out of the bedroom". These swingers are in a grey area- they are not saying, we want to fall in love with you- but they do want more than just a sexual connection. AND- inevitably love happens sometimes despite the labels. Many swingers find themselves falling in love with their partners. At this point, they may or may not change their own label from swinger to poly.

On the other side- there are many poly people who have a deep desire for multiple loves and they are seeking it. In the process of dating, there can be lots of sexual encounters which do not end up in a loving connection. So they find themselves in the grey area also.

So- whether a person is labeling themselves as poly or swinger, they do engage in sexual activity with perspective partners. Those sexual connections that do not evolve into close loving intimate emotional relationships are the same for both.

In my opinion, the labels have very little effect on what actually happens in life.

A question for everyone engaged in this discussion.....Do you think poly people fall in love more and experience more love than swingers?
The key to life is in being fully engaged and peacefully detached simultaneously and authentically in each moment.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:32 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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I don't know if poly people fall in love more than swingers do, but I would think that polyamorists actively seek relationships that they believe will be more conducive to love, emotional investment, and loving feelings. They want that, they pursue it, they are here to find ways to make it work. And loving multiple people is, by and large, exactly what swingers don't want.

HOWEVER, CdM, I believe it is true that there has recently been a noticeable increase on this board in the folks who come here focused on sex and hooking up rather than developing relationships and "romance." It seems that, lately, the newer members come here and post without reading much of the board before doing so. They Google some key words about sex and find us, and start posting. They haven't stopped to see what this community is about, and many of the members that were here last year and regularly posting their very relationship- or family-oriented perspectives (and problems) aren't posting here much anymore. The sex-focused demographic appears to be much younger, too, it seems to me (but I could be wrong about that).

I find myself in a weird position about it. I'm not into recreational sex but I don't have a problem with more loose and casual relationships, and most of mine start with sex before developing into friendship or love. But I have a very encompassing definition of love, and feel I could love someone even if I knew I would only be with him for one night. My current relationship might not "qualify" in the Rule Books as poly, and I am happy to have multiple lovers rather than partners, but I still find it rather noteworthy that there has been an abundance of recent posts where casual sex or swinging-like activities are the central theme. I wondered if I was the only one who found this somewhat... off-putting? Not sure what word I would use, actually. I feel like I have asked twenty new posters in the last few months if they are sure they've really found the appropriate forum for their issues because none of what they wrote about seemed like it was related in any way to polyamory. Granted, sex and sexual issues are, of course, a big part of any relationship, but when posters seem to focus on strategizing for the chance to have as many emotionless NSA sex partners as possible rather than cultivating multiple caring, loving, committed (whatever that commitment may be) connections, then it does feel like this online poly community is becoming splintered philosophically.

Of course, if we read old posts here from the beginning, sex has always been a part of the discussions and I am sure no one who is poly and/or open and/or swinging has been shunned here for that. I feel we can still be inclusive, but how do we get back to loving relationships as the core of what we're striving for here? Or is that what we want? I wonder -- are the members who don't come here anymore staying away because they want less of a focus on casual sex and more of a focus on building poly relationships? Or are they staying away because we were trying to define poly too narrowly and seemed to be judging them? Hmm.
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Last edited by nycindie; 05-11-2012 at 05:58 AM.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:53 AM
km34 km34 is offline
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Originally Posted by idealist View Post
A question for everyone engaged in this discussion.....Do you think poly people fall in love more and experience more love than swingers?
I think swingers control their feelings a lot more than polyamorists. For example, if a swinger starts to have romantic feelings towards a person she swings with, she would generally cut off contact with that person. Or at least stop the sexual aspect if it is a friendship as well. Why? Because that is "threatening" the core relationship, or at least the core value of having only one loving partnership While a swinger may be capable of loving more than one, they choose to have a relationship with only one therefore they willingly shut out other potential loves.

Whereas a poly person who happens to develop deeper, romantic feelings for a casual sex partner would more than likely talk to this person and see if a loving relationship is an option.

I would think people probably fall in love (or COULD fall in love - I know I personally can stop myself if I recognize the signs early on) at about the same rate, it's just whether or not they act on it that changes. So, I bet poly people experience more love since they are more receptive to it even if they don't necessarily fall in love more often.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:05 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I think it ebbs and flows, I wouldn't say I've noticed a general, ongoing trends towards sex over love.
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:22 PM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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nycindie found the way to express what I am feeling in far better words than I did. Thanks!

Discussions about sex go hand-in-hand with discussions about relationships - I would encourage folks to have them, and to use places like this to help resolve problems.

Also, the idea that swinging may be a "gateway to poly" for some is an interesting one, and I can definitely see how that could happen.

It's the posts about the NSA thing, or "my husband and I want a threesome, how should we go about making that happen" that make me wonder. It may well be that they are using the term "threesome" in a way other than a three-way sex romp, and instead mean a poly "V" or triad, but I don't get that feeling in most cases.

And if poly is going to be inclusive of the sexual encounter with anything else style of relationships, then that's fine - it's just not for me, and I'll just have to get used to finding my way through (what I see as) the clutter.

"Listen, or your tongue will make you deaf." - Native American Proverb
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:20 PM
strixish strixish is offline
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I think it's easier to talk about sex than to talk about feelings.

My poly life has actually developed out of my experience in an open relationship. (In a very queer scene, so it wasn't part of the swinger scene.) I found that I'm not really wired for casual sex, so I moved towards the polyamory model. The community of people I know who are poly also overlaps heavily with the open/casual sex/kink crowd, though I know some who are more conservative in their approach to sex.

I think that if you took a random sample of monogamous people who are available for relationships, some would be available for casual sex and some wouldn't be. Some who would like casual sex would not spend too much time in a FWB relationship because it would prevent them from being with a monogamous partner. Poly types don't really have restriction (depending on how they practice poly), so FWB relationships are just more likely to be an option.
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:40 PM
visrose visrose is offline
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I, for one, relate to the confusion between poly and open. I went from a relationship which was primarily poly-fi, and there were FWB, but they were emotionally very separate, to a poly relationship where my partner is very open as well as poly. In my old relationship we were a triad, and any play on the side was solely that, play. There were no deep emotions involved. The partner I have now is very different. His FWB are very close and dear to his heart. This blurs the line between open and poly for me. It is hard even for him to put a definition on what makes our relationship different from his other ones. It has shown me that the line between poly and open is not as clear cut as I once thought.

It also has been a cause of struggle for me. There is a sense of security in the black and white separation. I can see now that poly is so much more multi dimensional than I even thought! So, while some of us may feel talking about the issues with "swinging" and being "open" may not be polyamourous issue per se, (and there was I time I would have been insulted to see those things linked together) I see many poly folks do not like to draw lines (separation walls) between their committed poly primary partners, their secondary partners, their FWB, their non sexual loves, their one night stands... because there may be no limitations (per their individual agreements) to where any of those relationships could develop, or are developing to.

So, even though I am a strong believer in poly as dealing with the emotional aspects of loving multiple people, who is to say my definition is the only one? And many people find it hard to separate love and sex, or even emotional involvement and sex. Are the discussions here becoming more about sex and lass about relationships? Maybe, but I also think the group as a whole is opening even more to all the shades of grey between poly-fi and true swingers.

Hopefully, I didn't stray too far from topic...
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Old 05-13-2012, 02:39 AM
wildflowers wildflowers is offline
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Originally Posted by CielDuMatin View Post

Like I said, it's probably me, and I'm probably way off-base. Based on your response, and the lack of response from anyone else, it's more than likely just me...
Nope, not just you.

I can accept that some people are simply interested in sex, although that attitude doesn't appeal to me personally.

I think what throws me though is when people focus entirely on sex and don't even seem to realize it: they seem to think they are talking about an emotional/loving relationship but in fact the sexual aspect of it seems to be all that is really registering or all they are really pursuing. Just makes me feel weird or uncomfortable in a way I can't totally explain.

At the same time, sexual attraction or chemistry can have a powerful effect on building a connection and fostering a feeling of love; it's not always that easy to evaluate how much of that "madly in love" feeling is due to the pull of attraction vs other factors. To me this is also disconcerting (in my own life, not so much in the posts), in that it makes me distrust myself a bit.

Overall I agree with prev posters that gray areas cover a fair bit of ground.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:28 PM
polyq4 polyq4 is offline
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i know from our experience we started with swinging, and then the one couple we were doing it with morphed. Now after 4 years being together we have formed a very strong fourple. from my perspective swinging no longer fits what i want in life.
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:28 AM
luvsasmile luvsasmile is offline
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People are seeking out more online what they cannot discuss or find in real time. My conclusion. Unfortunately, it takes away from those who are seeking out relationships. People are wanting the immediate arousal versus the long term commitments or the "to be discovered" The mystery and the allure seems to have disappeared.
I miss they discoveries of learning about the person or persons that I would enjoy having in my life. There grows this more respectful mutual feeling between the parties.
My opinion. Maybe it's a generation age gap.
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