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Saturday, December 18, 2010

I now pronounce you Poly.


Sometimes the poly community seems painfully small. In my community it seems I pretty much know everyone and even when I meet someone new, usually they know someone I already know. A search of poly oriented singles in my area on dating sites reveals pretty much the same thing. The dozen or so who appear, I already know. Now seriously, I'm not that popular. I try to stay active in the poly community, attend socials and events, and regularly check the message boards. Yet the poly world seems huge. Even in my community which feels somewhat small, all flavors of polyamory can be found.

There are the older, hippie types who have something of a "free love" mentality and think the youngsters are all doing it wrong. There is the middle-aged group who seem to be looking for longer-term, stable poly-fi relationships though a few of them still hold onto the fetishes from their younger days. Speaking of fetishes, there is a good sized fetish crowd for whom poly seems more about finding a complimentary fetish and not committing to anyone. And there is the younger crowd who seem to still be trying to figure out exactly what poly means but they damn sure know that nobody else is going to tell them what it means either.

I am perpetually intrigued by the variations, consistencies, flavors, and styles of all the different types of polyamory practiced by this diverse community. They constantly remind me to challenge my beliefs, adjust my perspectives, modify my behavior, and evaluate my expectations. Because of this I am almost thrilled beyond belief when I find a new flavor of polyamory which is exactly what happened recently.

I won't go into the long conversation I had before I understood what I was being told. And in retrospect, I really question why it took me so long to understand what the person was saying. What I found was a polyamorous couple who don't believe in premarital sex.

I'm really wondering if you are as surprised as I was to hear that.

Let me make sure you heard it right. The couple, who has well defined the type of partner they hope to add to their relationship, does not believe in having sex with that new partner before an official commitment union or "marriage" of some type is performed. Their plan is to find, date, and eventually propose marriage to a potential new partner as a couple.

Now, they are fully aware a legal marriage is probably going to be impossible as they, the couple, are already legally married and group marriage isn't a legally recognized union in our state. What they do expect is a ceremony resembling a handfasting or something similar which will serve as binding commitment between all three parties. Really, that doesn't surprise me much since it is the goal of more than a few people I know.

What does surprise me is the premarital sex perspective. I have never before met someone who labeled themselves as polyamorous that was openly opposed to premarital sex. I know many who insist on establishing a relationship first, or even on completion of STD testing prior to sex. And I'm surprised that I'm surprised. Many people, maybe even most, are raised to believe that waiting to have sex until married is the ideal. Religious views are also often opposed to premarital sex. Not that long ago waiting to have sex until being married was the norm rather than the exception. But in my community of polyamorous folks, this couple appears to be a most interesting exception. The next time I talk to them I hope to discuss why they believe as they do.

What about you? Do you know any poly people who don't believe in premarital sex? What would you say is normal in your community, premarital or post marital sex? Have you heard of other relationship paradigms that avoid sex for unusual reasons?

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