Having three people in a happy, perfectly balanced sexual relationship is often regarded as the Holy Grail of polyamory. But in Arthurian legend, Galahad, the guy who actually reached the Grail, was a virgin who led a sinless life. Let that serve as an example of the difficulty and sacrifices usually required to make one's triad dreams come true.

Got the hots for one of those strictly monogamous people? Yeah, they're like puppies—really cute, but often a whole lot of trouble. They either toy with you until they get another mono partner, or worse yet, they'll try to make you be monogamous, too.

Being poly means seeing all the good movies at least twice—once with each partner. It also means you'll baffle restaurant servers if you frequently take your partners to the same places for dinner, either separately or all three of you together.

It's not uncommon for poly people to write down specific agreements they make with lovers—about things like safer sex, relationship boundaries, etc.—so that everyone is clear about exactly what's been agreed to. Sometimes people sign those agreements and call them a contract. However, it would be a mistake to think that just because a piece of paper exists, one's partner is barred from expressing anxiety, hurt, or anger about any of those topics.

One does meet up with the odd Republican in poly social circles, but polyamorous people are often rather liberal, especially in Seattle. Thus, poly people do not compete for status and sexual attention via dick size or bust size, but rather through a process I call the Social-Awareness Olympics. Pity the fool who owns a pair of Nikes, makes a less-than-laudatory remark about labor unions, or admits disliking tofu.

Yes, yes, you know all your partner's partners and they're all very nice people. Get an STD test anyway. And be aware that an unplanned pregnancy gets even more interesting when a woman has been sleeping with several men.

Never use the word "lovestyle." Ever.

Being poly is a crash course in time management and coordinating social schedules. Luckily, many poly people are total gadget fetishists who enjoy employing Google Calendar, PDAs, and text messages to decide who's sleeping where, and with whom, next Tuesday.

Question: Even if you only fuck people of the opposite gender, does being poly make you queer, in the social/political sense? Answer: Sometimes. There are queer aspects to poly relationships, but straight poly people still get hetero privilege, and unless one consciously examines and rejects that, it's presumptuous to label oneself queer.

If you can keep only one agreement with your poly partner, let it be this one: When you say, "it's fine," really mean that it's fine. Nothing sucks more than not knowing if you can take your partner at their word, or if you're going to walk into a shitstorm when you come home from a date with someone else. Sparing someone you love that uncertainty is nothing less than noble.

It is unethical to knowingly enter into a relationship as someone's secondary partner and then start bitching because you don't get the same rights and privileges as the primary. Seek your own primary partner for that.

Another dictum from the Sexual-Outlaw Language Police: Polyamorous is an adjective, not a noun. You are a poly person, but you are not "a poly."

Even if you and your partner say you don't have veto power over each other's other lovers, you actually do. You can veto with your feet, by leaving the relationship.

You don't absolutely have to read comic books or science-fiction/fantasy novels to be poly. But if you are not the least bit familiar with the works of Joss Whedon, Robert Heinlein, and JK Rowling, then a lot of poly people's conversational references are going to go over your head.

I have learned a lot about poly over the years, but frankly, a lot my experiences and the resulting lessons can be boiled down to one crude but pithy rule that I adhere to religiously: Don't stick your dick in crazy.


Kink Calendar

FRIDAY 10/13


As part of the weekend-long "Building Bridges" sexuality conference, author and former courtesan Veronica Monet teaches"Shelter from Sexual Shame—Toward A Joyful Sexuality." Liberation from sexual shame is the key to a healthy sex life. Join Veronica on a journey into your deepest desires. Red Lion Bellevue Inn, 11211 Main St, 425-455-5240, www.lovethatworks.org/conference.html, 8 pm—midnight, prices vary, preregistration required.


No cover for leather, bear, motorcycle, or rodeo club members with membership card or club colors. Also, no cover for those with Club Seattle or Basic Plumbing cards. Cuff, 1533 13th Ave, 323-1525, $3 before 11 pm/$4 after, 21+.



Kissing School is a safe, playful way to explore tantra and experience the kiss sublime. No previous experience necessary. Locale and preregistration at www.kissingschool.com, 10:30 am—5 pm, $325 per couple.


This year, the Haunted Trails course has been redesigned to provide additional activities while guests wait to enter the Frightening Forest. No more waiting in long lines! Bastyr University, 14500 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore, www.bastyr.edu, 7—10 pm, $10/$9 with nonperishable food donation.

SUNDAY 10/15


A clothing-optional "swim and be social" event at an indoor pool. The Longhouse in Redmond, pool@wetspot.org or 270-9746, noon—4 pm, $10, RSVP required, members and their guests only.


Learn to use your voice as an instrument of pleasure—create blushes, moans, and squirming with nothing but carefully chosen words. Wet Spot, preregesister at flirtsinc@metalcat.com, or contact Russell or Erika at 650-5234 or 669-5881, 2—6 pm, $35, membership not required.



Host Dane Ballard takes an offbeat, positive look at sex and sexuality. Hengst Studio, 1506 Franklin Ave E, 328-4758, 8:30 pm, $7/$10, 18+.