Page 5 - LCT December 2019
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PO involving couples who are seeking sexual experiences with other consenting partners. I say couples because the swinging scene is dominated by married, heterosexual couples who either attend nightclubs for swinging or who meet their other sexual partners online. Everyone is aware that both husband and wife are married to one another, and they are seeking to have sexual encounters with other people. Some swingers only swing as a couple, others attend parties or clubs together and pair off with other people, some engage in “soft swap” in which there is no intercourse, while others engage in “full swap.” It is generally understood that there is not to be a romantic or love connection with partners outside the marriage. Extramarital partners may be one-offs or regulars, and often swingers form groups of friends that they swing with. Emotional connection is not the goal
 LYThe significant difference between polyamory and swinging is that polyamory emphasizes the formation of emotional connections. Sex is also involved, but not always. It takes many different forms – there are as many possible configurations as there are people. Couples A may be polyamorous; however some single people practice “Solo Poly,” meaning that they are not in a dyadic relationship, but may have multiple partners – all of whom are aware of one another. There is even a name for a partner’s partner – metamours. Sometimes people form complicated “polycules” in which entire communities of lovers and metamours form a network. There are also triads – a grouping of three committed
in these relationships – they are more about sexual exploration.
partners, who may be male or female – and quads – a cluster of four committed partners. MPeople often ask me where “Friends with Benefits” or “FWBs” as they are known to figure in polyamory. Friends with Benefits is something some people choose; however, as with any polyamorous relationship, it must be with the full disclosure and understanding of anyone involved. Since emotional attachment do tend to be the focus of polyamory, it is considered bad form not to let someone know if Friends With Benefits is all that someone is seeking. Ethical consent involves the ability to make informed choices, so if a partner O finds themselves wanting something more profound, they should be informed of the other
partner’s desires to be FWBs so that they can choose someone else.
It is usually at this point in my conversation with people about polyamory that the questions begin. “How does this work?” is the most common response I hear when trying to explain polyamory to monogamous people. Our culture is set up on the notion of
Rcouplehood – that everyone will meet and fall in love with one and only one soulmate, and anything outside of that dyadic norm is considered cheating or dishonest. It is anything but that. It works through all partners communicating with one another and being
coY
mpletely honest about everything in which they are engaged. It doesn’t work without full communication and honesty. Some partners have complicated rules for their relationships,
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