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The Truth About Polyamory in 4 Real-Life Scenarios

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Alright peeps, I’m going to give you the straight scoop on the poly lifestyle.

All these goons be out here trying to play like poly is 100% sunshine and rainbows. “Thank God for shared calendars! Hee hee!” Too many of us are out here trying to make a case that polyamory is a perfectly legitimate, equally valuable lifestyle choice. But you know what? It is. That should be obvious by now. It’s 2017. There’s more than one way to be miserable with other human beings with whom you want to rub genitals.

Taking for granted that polyamory is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle choice, here is what it’s really like being poly.

Scenario 1: Your partner is fucking someone new. Your thoughts, in order:

1. “Is she hotter than me?”

You might run down everything she has on you, including breast size, cellulite content, and body fat percentage. If your anxiety is high you get into the shit you rarely think about, like leg length.

2. “Is he eating her out any longer with any more enthusiasm than he does me?”

You immediately feel bad about engaging in zero-sum thinking. You remind yourself that tongue is not a rivalrous good, harkening back to what you learned studying free-market economics. How much brain he gives her has no actual impact on brain you receive.

3. “Maybe he’ll learn some new tricks.”

But then you immediately feel guilty about thinking that their fuck skills could be any better than they already are.

Scenario 2: Your 31-year-old boyfriend tells you he wants to fuck a young twentysomething.

1. “What the fuck, dude?”

You’re righteously indignant that he’d uphold the misogynistic idea that women cease to be fuckable (and therefore worthwhile, of course) after 25. I mean it’s true that he’s literally only fucking women over 25 right now, including you and also two women in their forties. But still, patriarchy.

Scenario 3: You’re getting pounded by a 21-year-old hardcore drummer. Your thoughts, in order:

1. “I think I’ve lost the moral high ground.”

2. “God, he is beautiful.”

3. “Why you didn’t I value smooth skin and a hard, fat-free skater bod when they were abundantly available in my appropriate age range?”

You remember that you were monogamous and engaged at 21. And you think back, again, to economics. Scarcity, my friend. Value is in part derived from perceived scarcity. The older you get, the fewer visible abs there are to be fondled.

4. “He’s choking me. How does he know how to choke me at 21?”

Kids these days. They grow up so fast.

5. “He’s actually really good in bed!”

I suppose it makes sense that a drummer would be able to keep a rhythm. Thank God he mentioned he was a skater while he drove the Uber to your date two weeks ago with another dude.

Scenario 4: You’re hungry or bored and considering what to eat. Your thoughts, in order:

1. “When am I going to have sex next?”

Bloat doesn’t look good on a 5’3” frame.

2. “How fat am I?”

You’re 100% body positive. For other bodies. But for you, being allowed to fuck 21 year olds with 0% bodyfat (and whose rational decision making, unlike your partner’s, isn’t beset by sunk cost fallacy) isn’t that useful if none of them want to fuck you.

So there you have it. That’s the truth about poly, straight from the horse’s mouth. It’s a massive time suck and requires you to get extremely real with yourself. But if you enjoy confronting your own insecurities head-on, feeling like a failure, and self-soothing by applying principles from free-market economics to sex and dating, I think you’ll really enjoy it.

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Bougie-Ass Cathy

Bougie-Ass Cathy

Cathy Reisenwitz is a SF-based writer with a focus on sex, politics, and technology. She is Editor-in-Chief of Sex and the State.