I have recently started dating a guy who identifies as poly. I never thought I'd be into that lifestyle, however after meeting this guy, I found myself open to the idea. Intellectually, I can totally get my head around the benefits of a poly lifestyle. And while I have no moral judgements about the lifestyle, I also have zero personal experience dealing with the unique issues that are bound to come up.

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So, help me out with the Unicorn thing.

My partner has been super gentle and patient and hasn't pushed me into anything uncomfortable.So far our sex life has been great but it hasn't included anyone else and he's not actively dating anyone else at the moment. Neither of us is into same-sex sex; we are fully heterosexual. He's communicated that multi-partner scenarios is something he really loves, I want to please him and I'm ready to venture out a bit. I also have zero experience with multi-partner sex. We have decided to go to a swingers club and experiment. He described the club as a couples-only venue. I checked out the website and it actually allows couples AND single women while prohibiting single men.

My boyfriend explained that Unicorns—I just learned the definition—are allowed but if single guys were allowed it would just be a bunch of men jerking off. "Not sexy" he says. Well, not sexy for who? This feels like a double standard perpetuated by a patriarchal view of the sexes. Why is it that women can be Unicorns but there is no male equivalent? Why can't the swinger community accommodate single men but welcome single women? I mean this club has all sorts of rules, why not make rules to mitigate the propensity for a circle jerk and allow everyone equal access to the experience?

I'm new to all this so I'd LOVE to hear your insight, advice and opinion on this topic.

Opposing Dubious Double Standards

There is a male equivalent to unicorns, ODDS. They're called "men."

Straight and bi men who are willing to sleep with a couple, or sleep with the woman while the male half of the couple watches, are relatively easy to find. There's nothing all that special about them. Women who are into swinging or open to sleeping with established couples, on the other hand, are a hell of a lot harder to come by, come on, and come in. They're so hard to find, in fact, that swingers and couples looking for a regular third long ago began joking about how these women are mythical beasts, aka "unicorns." And the term stuck.

What accounts for this disparity?

Well, women open to sexual adventure have a lot working against them—from the very real threat of sexual violence to slut shaming and other forms of social conditioning that leave many women feeling less in touch with their desires and even more women feeling less entitled to act on their desires.

As for the "no single men" rules at almost all swingers parties, ODDS, your boyfriend is right: a swingers party that allowed single men to attend would quickly be overwhelmed by single men. Even if the club enforced rules against groups of men surrounding single women or MF pairs or MFF triads and jerking off while they watch—or, worse yet, single men clumsily attempting to insert themselves into the action—most women wouldn't feel comfortable attending a party where there were three hundred men and thirty women. Too much male energy—too many single men without the social skills to find (or rent) a female friend or lover who wants to attend a swingers party with them—would result in women fleeing the swinging party/club/scene en masse.

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So while it may seem like an unfair rule, ODDS, and while it may indeed be an unfair rule—unfair to single men, unfair to women who might like a 300/30 ratio of male-to-female party attendees—the organized swinging scene would collapse without it.

Finally, ODDS, not allowing single men to attend swingers parties isn't about perpetuating "a patriarchal view of the sexes." It's about controlling for those patriarchal views. Single men* at swingers parties often misbehave because, like men in so many other situations, they feel entitled to be there, entitled to touch, and entitled to take what they want... because, you know, patriarchy and patriarchal views and toxic masculinity and testosterone is a derp serum.

* Not all single men. I realize. There are good, respectful single guys out there who could be trusted to behave themselves at swingers parties. But the ratio thing would still be a problem, as would misbehaving/clueless/entitled single males.