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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Let's have. . . The Talk

So you have decided you are poly. You know that part of poly is being open and honest. You know that communication is a big part of poly. And of course, you want to be the best poly you can be so you want to do things right. (You do want to be the best poly you can be, don't you?). You also realize poly is often misunderstood, particularly regarding the sexual aspects. And speaking of sex, you will probably have multiple partners.

Being the good poly you are, you know there are some conversations you may need to have with potential loves. You may want to discuss your current relationship(s) and how the new person might fit in. Maybe talk about labels you might have like Primary, Secondary, SO, OSO (Other Significant Other), Triad, Vee, etc. And sexual safety is probably important.

Some of the conversations I have found helpful:

-Assuming the person identifies as poly I ask them how they define Polyamory. It is surprising how many times someone else's definition is much different than yours. I've found after asking this question that people I had identified as potential loves were actually swingers, or interested in an open relationship, and even wanting a Don't Ask Don't Tell type situation. Possibly even more concerning are those who say "I don't care what my partners do, as long as I get time with them" or ". . .they come home to me" or ". . .we love each other".

-What does their ideal relationship look like? Is it a triad? Does it include poly-fidelity or is it more open? Would everyone be living together or maintaining their own households? Would there be a hierarchy of relationships? Would it look like a Cthulhu with them as the head if diagrammed? Answers to this one can also be surprising and reveal things like "I don't care how many others there are, as long as I'm Primary" or "Well, we would live together but I wouldn't want anyone else living with us".

-General sexual history. When did they become sexually active? Multiple-partner active? Fluid bonding? STD's, etc, etc, etc. What about sexual history concerns you and what do you need to know about. Ask those questions, weigh the answers as you see fit. This question usually leads into general sexual safety.

-Sexual safety. Just in case the previous question didn't bring it up. What do they believe is safer sex? What are their limits? Feelings on fluid-bonding? Are they a virgin? Last time tested? Oops, virgins and unicorns don't exist, right?

-And finally; What are their concerns about having a poly relationship with you? Are they afraid it will be to casual? To serious? Maybe they are worried about making your other partners jealous? A good open ended question like this will let them direct the conversation to their areas of concern which should probably be yours as well.

But what about the conversations you don't have? I've heard people say they don't even mention being poly when first dating someone. Is that you? Maybe you don't talk about sex for a while, or don't worry about integrating people into your poly family right away?
Speak up and tell us what you do and don't talk about!
If you don't speak up, nobody else will either, and nobody here will learn a thing. So c'mon. Share a little!

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