Comments

1

No having sex with multiple men until Debrorah Birx gives the call clear.

2

Join a nunnery.

3

"Picture and video attached strictly for verification purposes. (And thought you could use the pick-me-up!)"

Holy moly. I hope both of these men consented for those pictures and videos to be shared with others, because if not, then on the scale of "dick move[s] on [LW's] part", this dwarfs the question of which of the guys she fucks first. And it certainly doesn't sound like they consented, because consent requires awareness, and the way LW phrased her letter implied that neither of the men were aware she was writing to Dan.

4

So glad you answered my question Dan, thank you. I would like it on the record please that my original sign off was an Abbott and Costello reference, 'WHO'S ON FIRST', so curious readers who have not heard it can listen and hopefully have a laugh :).

5

No dicks were harmed in the sending of this email! No faces or identifying features were included, and both gave me explicit consent to share with girlfriends. I thought Dan qualified under the circumstances, and he has never to my knowledge posted pictures publicly without checking with the LW first, which I would have refused. Thank you for your sweet concern :)

6

“Dan - please help me brag publicly. Here’s my ‘problem:’ my pussy is about to be too sore from all the awesome sex I’m going to have. Also, my wallet only holds ten $100 bills comfortably, and there isn’t enough room for both me and my big swollen head in my diamond-encrusted Ferrari.”

7

First question, Do either of the men assume/think that they have exclusive access to your pussy. Not being ale to be a couple does not preclude exclusivity, Since her old fuck buddy is in a sexless marriage, they have feelings for each other, and he is, apparently, exclusive to her, he may assume the reverse is also true.

Always the pragmatist. The simple solution is to have a threesome. Most men would not object. To be fair have them cut cards to see who gets to do what first. If a threesome is not an option, another solution would be to have them cut cards to see who gets first shot at your pussy. If there are scheduling issues for the men or you Ask each man when is the earliest they can be available, then first cum first served.

8

Some suggestions regarding sore pussy. Take a really hot bath, before and as often as necessary, to increase elasticity, Take sitz baths to relieve pain and soothe your bottom and private parts,

9

7 redux Do the men know that you currently have more than one fuck buddy?

Just some things to consider

10

@5 Unilaterally deciding that Dan qualifies as your "girlfriend" despite being neither a girl nor your friend is way more liberties than I'd personally take with other people's nudes that were sent to me with specific conditions attached to their distribution, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.

11

I'll try the hot baths right before, thanks!

12

Literally just choose one of them and see/fuck them exclusively RIGHT NOW. And then fuck the other one later. Problem solved!

13

Gotta go have my caviar salted with virgins' tears now, thanks for the feedback guys, stay safe out there!

14

Just scroll past the troll, @13. That's what we do, as I suspect you already know. "Something beyond either of our help."
Thanks for checking in here! I'm going to be you do know these guys well enough to know what they meant by their permission, and it's not like Dan is sharing. And FWIW, I agree with Dan.

15

@6 co-sign. what insufferable awfulness.

16

What a lot of sourpusses today! Go watch puppy videos or something.

17

I'm with @10 UpAndOver, consenting to showing it to girlfriends isn't the same thing as showing it to Dan Savage. Do better.

Go with LongTerm first. I say that because you don't know what's going to happen with NewFellow the first time you're together. Enjoy the known quantity, get your sea legs under you, then meet up with NewFellow however many days later.
And you don't need to tell either of them about your schedule with the other do you?

18

LW, Dan, and everyone else: whether intentionally or not we promote sex negativity when referring to genitalia in such manner. It is especially glaring here when “a dick move” comes from a woman who appreciates penises and the men they’re attached to, and an advising gay man we assume shares both.

If you're staying away from “cunt move” because it may be offensive to some, or stopped describing vagina as an open can of spam tossed off the third floor like you used to for those same reasons, then please consider avoiding mentioning penis or dick this way.

If you think it’s ok because men can shrug it off then don’t be surprised if those men aren’t capable of showing emotions. They must have sensed the expectations and blocked themselves long ago.

19

You're welcome. My suggestions and comments were rhetorical in nature.

You also consider doing Kegel exercises. What are the benefits of Kegel exercises?

Kegel exercises, also called pelvic floor exercises, strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. Kegels keep the muscles fit and help keep you from accidentally leaking pee or pool or farting. They can even improve your orgasms.

What are the benefits of Kegel exercises? - WebMD

https://www.webmd.com › women › what-are-the-benefits-of-...

They are for more than just pregnant women. The improved orgasms may be of particular interest to you.

20

@14 You know and I know that if this were a male LW playing fast and loose with nudes of his female FBs and the recipient was a heterosexual man, there'd be no mercy shown in the comments (and rightfully not).

21

Nathan @ 12 Unless she self isolates (i.e. cohabits) with one of them, your suggestion is a non-starter. We are supposed to minimize social interaction and physical contact for now and it will still be a good idea until there is an effective vaccine or drug treatment that actually works.

The wife would have to sign off (unlikely, particularly if they have children) for her husband to cohabit the FIRSTUP or FIRSTUP cohabiting with them. Cohabiting with a complete stranger is seldom a good idea.

It used to be that all you had to worry about was catching a STD or getting pregnant. Those days are probably gone for ever, as if they ever were, most people didn't really think about catching communicable diseases before

22

I don’t get the concern for “who gets to rail me first ‘til I can’t sit on a hard chair for a week?” You gonna tell one of them, “Sorry, Bob, but you’re gonna get sloppy seconds”? Also, I do believe I detect a bit of humblebrag, Laurenadenna. Congratulations on your enormous dick dilemma. Also, a pro tip... my girlfriend prepares to take “Moby Dick” by inserting an avocado the day before we do the horizontal bop. Stretches her out nice, plus we get to have guacamole afterward!

23

When did the world become so damn complicated?

24

Speaking of enormous dicks...
A boy sees an elephant’s penis at the zoo and asks his mom what it is. Embarrassed, she says, “Oh, that’s nothing. Let’s look at the monkeys!”
Later he asks his dad, “Why did mom say “that’s nothing” when I asked her about the elephant’s thing?”
Dad replies, “Son, I’ve spoiled that woman...”

25

Invite them both over and just let them Eiffel tower your ass! No need for your snatch to get sore cause you can always give up the butt hole.

26

Seriously, is this the Savage Love comment section or the we hate when people have fun sexy problems zone. The hate on for the "humble brag" is unreal. It reminds me of those incel comments any time anyone mentions sex, where they reply "at least you have sex"

Come on people, we're better than that!

27

You do realize you can have mind-blowing sex without anyone’s dick coming near your vagina, right? There’s nothing stopping you from PiV with your long-term partner and a hot 69 with the new guy. Or whatever floats your boat :-)

28

What is a pandemishegoss? Did her cat step on the keyboard as she was writing this letter?

"Dick move," haha. Yes, choosing either would be a literal dick move. This woman is funnier than she thinks. At least this one had a practical reason for focusing on the size of her partners' appendages. I agree she should prioritise the bird she has had in her hand; if New Guy can't accept that prioritising someone she has an existing bond with over a new shiny makes her a good person, and a better partner for him in future, he's not worth her time. However, in return perhaps Mr Established Partner could show his appreciation by going easy on FIRTUP, focusing on non-PIV activities, knowing how keen he'd be in Mr New Shiny's shoes? Normal service will return soon and with practice, FIRTUP can work her way back up to marathon sessions with both men.

29

Another question is whether Mr New Guy is virtual-dating anyone else he could bestow the honour of First Post-Lockdown Shag upon. Non-monogamy solutions to non-monogamy problems.

30

Laurenna @5, thanks for checking in, and don't mind all the commenters who don't know what the "ethically" in "ethically non-monogamous" means. Yes, Skeptic @7 and @9, I mean you. We can assume FIRTUP is open with her partners about her other partners, since that is, in fact, what "ethically non-monogamous" means. I don't think most straight men would be into the threesome idea; I think more would prefer to wait a couple of days and have FIRTUP for themselves than share her with some guy they've never met. Straight men, what say you? (I'm presuming both these men, or at least one of them, are straight.)

I don't think most men, or even most women, would mind a photo of their disembodied genitals, which they had specifically said it was ok to share, would mind them being sent to the world's most famous sex advice columnist. I think people are only making an issue of this because they are jealous. Transparent af, people, grow up. Can't take that not everyone in the world is as miserable as you are right now, hmm? Anarchist @26, word. Donny @22 and @24, thank you for the much needed lightening-up.

31

@28 Pandemishegoss = pandemic + mishegos (Yiddish for craziness)

32

BDF My redux comment was an after thought. .My understanding from Urban Dictionary is that specific ethical non-monogamy generally applied to extant couples. So far she hasn't fucked the new guy for real. So wouldn't stating being NSA in general terms be sufficient to be ethical without being more specific/explicit as to who or how many she is currently fucking. I am currently fucking more than one guy versus there is no expectation of exclusivity.

More to the point is that she wrote "He would be supportive if I told him I wanted to see the other guy first but I'm worried a little part of him would be hurt." It got me thinking, probably over analyzing, just how much information she has shared with them. How much information does she owe them? Does she even have to tell either of them that she made a choice? The only quandary would be if they are both available at the same time. As soon as possible could just mean at the first opportunity that the men can arrange/schedule after it is possible, not the absolute first moment that it is possible to fuck.

Since FIRSTUP apparently responded to me @11 (Thanking me for telling her to take a hot bath) and she did not take issue or offense, why should you? I say apparently, because slomopomo @14, may or may not be saying that Laurenadenna @13 is a troll, but thanks her @5 for checking in.

Being in lock down, I have way too much to rumminate

33

what type of person talks about salting their caviar with virgins’ tears. Agree with Anky @17, neither men will know what you’re up to LW. Weird way to make yourself feel worthwhile writing this strange story. Then we live in strange times and some are going a little looney.

34

NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!

First of all, LW, thank you for sharing this delightful dilemma with us in this stressful time.

SEE THE GUY YOU WANT TO SEE FIRST.

It's NOT THE OTHER GUY'S BUSINESS if you see someone else first! Don't even tell him! WHY WOULD YOU TELL HIM?? I know you're friends and want to honor you relationship, which is great! That includes things like:

1) don't sleep with his brother and then lie to him about it

2) basically don't lie to him, generally

3) if you get engaged to someone else, consider letting him know personally instead of letting him find out via instagram

It does NOT include:

1) Doing ANYTHING sexual that is not the free expression of exactly whatever the fuck YOU want to do sexually.

DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO SEXUALLY. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF FREEDOM.

Worrying vaguely about the possibly hurt feelings of a person who you care for deeply but who HAS A LITERAL SPOUSE is not a basis for a free woman's sexual decision-making!

HE HAS A LIFE PARTNER TO TEND TO HIS FEELINGS. YOU ARE NOT HIS SEXUAL CONCIERGE.

OH MY GOD!!

35

"file this one under "good problem(s) to have.""

I think that was the whole point of this letter. To humble-brag.

@6 Centrists Rule the World today

Exactly. (p.s. centrists suck)

@26 The Happy Anarchist
You're right of course, it was kinda fun and feel-good. I'm just envious. I much preferred it to some of the horrific letters Dan gets.

@33 LavaGirl
"what type of person talks about salting their caviar with virgins’ tears"

Someone who gave us the gift of some much-needed light entertainment!

36

Skeptic @32, no, ethical non-monogamy means that you are open and honest with all your partners, not just one of them. It would not be ethical to lead either partner to think that they were the first person she'd banged after the lockdown when they were not. In the current situations, nobody has any plans whatsoever, so I think we can presume each of the three people involved would have immediate availability as soon as the lockdown is ended.

I take issue and offense on behalf of all the unfairly dissed poly folk of the world, you should know that by now! ;)

Also, Slomo @14 was addressing the OP and telling her to ignore trolls, not calling her a troll. Not sure which troll they meant; @2 is a definite candidate, but @6 and @12 qualify too.

Lava @33, the kind of person who has a much lighter attitude to being insulted by strangers, and who has her pick of two massive cocks. :)

37

@5. Laurenadanna. No, Dan is not a 'girlfriend'. You could hurt either of these guys' feelings if they found out where their pics--even their torso-and-tool pics--went.

Otherwise, I think your heart and your pussy are on the same page. Go for the new guy. It may not be true, anyway, that the married guy is not getting any other sex.

@10. Up and Over--yes. Right.

@28. Bi. She's plenty funny. It's as if commenters now require diagrams or computer code for problems, not metaphors or words.

37

@34 SarahTheUnstoppable
That was a delightful comment, thank you!

But it's kinda besides the point of the letter, which was only to entertain us with a wonderful (but as you wonderfully point out false) dilemna. I still feel like pretending it's a real dilemma, just for the joy of envying her, to enjoy the intended entertainment.

38

Skeptic @32 re Sarah @34, and you thought -I- got unduly offended!?? ;)

Sarah @34, ethical non-monogamy is NOT "freedom." This should be a learning opportunity for you. People who have more than one partner, people who don't live with their partner, are NOT necessarily uncommitted. FIRTUP is a good example of this. Ethical non-monogamy IS about consideration for partners' feelings, about prioritising people you have a long-standing, emotionally connected relationship with, over your own genitalia. FIRTUP, you've got your priorities exactly right. Sure, she could just bang whoever she wants and not be honest about it, but obviously she's chosen a different relationship structure to "bang whoever you want and who cares if they have feelings." She's conscious that she should treat her partner the way she wants to be treated; good for her. I hope your comment will provide a useful compare-and-contrast for people who don't understand that poly and uncommitted aren't the same thing. (Note, if you are practising a "bang whoever you want" relationship style, aka relationship anarchy, nothing wrong with that, but there's nothing wrong with FIRTUP's either and her dilemma did not merit that freakout, wow.)

39

@4/Laurenadenna: Only the Indianapolis 500 starts with the call "Gentlemen start your engines." Your pussy is only sore for a couple of days, not weeks, and one of your lovers will be none with wiser that the governor of your state has lifted restrictions on access to your vagina.

40

If Mr LongTerm has an emotionally substantive, reflective relationship with her, he understands that the moment will come when her NRE will come to her prioritising someone else's dick over his. Their (her long-term partner's and hers) relationship will endure and deepen as she finds one or more new significant others. If at any level he hankers after sexual exclusivity in their relationship (not having sex with his wife, it seems), then the relationship will not necessarily be one she wants to hold onto long-term. (Further, it's not obviously the case that she hasn't had other lovers apart from the guy-in-an-open-marriage while she's been with him. She could well have had flings or relationships, which have fallen away before this period of pandemic seclusion).

She craves the new guy's cock. Let her enjoy that. She owes her long-term lover nothing but honesty and kindness.

44

The thing that seems most false to me about the LW's dilemma, is the presumption that who she sees first will be known to both partners. As SarahTheUnstoppable@34:

"WHY WOULD YOU TELL HIM??"

Does she feel some compulsion to tell them which order they cum in? Do they feel some compulsion to ask/know? (In other words, must this even come up?) If so that could be the only real issue to address.

Pretending for a moment it's a real problem, I would understand that during this time her thoughts might obsess like this, and in this difficult time she might have an emotional need to connect with them about this silly made up dilemma. But presumably even then they could all deal with that they can't both cum first. I would think that people who can deal with poly in the first place could deal with something so elementary.

I relate to and enjoyed SarahTheUnstoppable@34's exasperation with regard to letter were it to be taken seriously. Which it isn't.

So, Laurenadenna, perhaps you can come up with some creative pretend solution? (Or maybe your sister Roseanneroseannadanna could suggest one?)

How about some kind of contest? Pick a number between one and 69 and whoever comes closest cums first?

45

Yes to everything said by Happy @26 and BiDanFan @36. Perhaps Dan could publish a letter from a real villain so some people can unload and unwind.

46

@44 - OMG, you know my sister! What a small world!

47

Curious @44, why would she tell him? Creativity contest, what other excuse is she going to give him for being unavailable for the long-awaited conjugal visits they've both been chomping at the bit after for weeks? A headache? No, the end to the lockdown is like a landmark birthday, everybody who's important to you will want to see you on that particular date, and if you mysteriously aren't available they'll each know it's because you're boinking someone else, so you may as well just say so. If she hems and haws, they'll figure out she's hiding something. Honesty is the best policy here.

Actually, I have changed my mind. She needs to get on a zoom session with the both of them and flip a coin. Problem solved without hurt feelings on anyone's part.

48

Harriet @40, doesn't owing him kindness mean seeing him first? That's what it would mean to me.

49

Wow, I'm amazed at the comments today. Why is everyone in such a horrid mood? I blame the coronapocalypse.

It's a real, if minor, problem, because the shelter-in-place order will be lifted at one point in time. Everyone will want to go play as soon as that happens. Putting someone off a few days is going to stick out a lot more at this moment than it ever normally would.

Speaking as a female, if I sent pics of any bits of me to a guy, and gave him permission to show some friends, that would imply permission to show one very sex-positive discreet advice columnist, too. People who are chill at that one level are very likely to be chill at the other, and presumably LW knows that. Y'all need to calm down.

Many points for Bi @38. Ethical non-monogamy works when people are honest and considerate. Good for LW for trying to be, good for Dan for coming up with the right answer. Good for Bi for pointing out that this is a far cry from "free to do whatever I want."

@43: Of course "most" is relevant. Since none of us know the individuals involved, all conversation and debate has to be based on reasonable guesses, i.e., what "most" people would feel.

As for this @43: ""Ethically non monogamous" is female-from-an-expensive-college-code for "fuckgirl"." You're goddamn right it is. Too bad that attitude means you're unlikely to ever fuck one, we're a delight.

50

@49 is my favourite fuckgirl now, read my mind.

51

@47 BiDanFan
"the end to the lockdown is...that particular date"

Ok, maybe everyone will treat it that way. And maybe as an at-risk person in an insane country I'm blowing off that notion with extra wind.

But it seems to me that the end of the lockdown is only a particular date to the people for whom this is about following rules, certainly in the UK and the USA where it's looking like the end of the lockdown will occur at a time when there's still an enormous amount of risk and precautions to be taken.

A prudent person locked down long before idiot officials decreed it, and no one should expect them to unlock-down the moment insane idiot officials decree that we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of the almighty economy. What's right to do is what's right to do; and in practice that's a personal decision, not something that all happens on one particular date.

(I'm absolutely feeling irritated by the historic ineptitude of our officials, and the fact that their initial monstrous desire to simply let the deadly pathogen wash over our countries means a clusterfuck so immense that for me personally a lockdown will be required through most of next year.)

In other words, I see no reason for suspicions if one isn't available on The Day because it needn't be regarded as any such thing.

As such, as always, if someone proposed a date, one proposes a counter-date; does doing so need to contain an explanation? If poly people need it to, yet can't deal with the truth, isn't that the actual problem?

So I would hope this letter is just for fun. I would hope they're either mature enough to tell the truth and be fine with whatever, or not even bring up that which they know they can't deal with.

53

Ciods @49, applause, you win this thread.

Curious @51, Laurenna can speak for herself, but she didn't mention that either of these men is in a high-risk category. In her shoes I'd be eagerly awaiting the all clear, and in fact, the first possible day that I can see the partner who's been self-isolating since before it was cool is the first day I am going to. They have clearly both been discussing "as soon as we can, I'm going to bang your brains out." I see every reason for suspicion if that date is announced and all of a sudden there's an excuse. Why make an excuse when she is openly non-monogamous? Lies have a way of catching one out, and being ethically non-monogamous is the whole solution to the problem of having to sneak around behind a lover's back to see another one.

Based on Laurenna's comments, her primary objective was indeed to brighten our days, and it's a shame so many people refused the brightening.

54

@52
"Ethical monogamy is only relevant here if there have been promises of total honesty regarding all partners AND their timing."

That's what I was thinking, but if she had made such a promise (which wouldn't really be a feather cap in any of their caps)...

"If single woman sets store in any such mutual promise to married loverboy, she is maybe bit of a chump, but even then she doesn't necessarily need to hurt any feelings by revealing her exact sex schedule to him."

Then doesn't promising to reveal timing very much promise to reveal exact schedule?

In any case, it was nice that we were able to take a letter intended as light entertainment and also divert ourselves with some thinking about it.

55

@52 BiDanFan
No one has to be in a high-risk category to make a personal decision about when to unlock, instead of only being locked because it's a rule.

56

@55 p.s.
I feel like we're talking past each other a bit here.

Please know that I'm not saying anyone shouldn't take The Day as The Day, I'm saying her partners shouldn't expect her to.

So even if in her mind she regards The Day as The Day, she could make the whole issue evaporate by just shutting the fuck up about that.

Oh, maybe they're all feverishly saying they want to (regard The Day as The Day) right now, but a sober view of reality will, particularly in our benighted countries, likely end up being a lot more complicated than that fantasy, both in terms of necessary precautions and our internal judgements of the situation.

But never mind all that, let's pretend I'm just playing, let's say there will be a particular day chosen by wise leaders on which we can all heave a great sigh of relief that all is truly normal again. Yes, on that day they could both find (assuming also their forgetting everything else in her life) her not meeting them on that day to mean she's meeting her other lover.

To which I would still say the letter would hopefully be mere entertainment, because I would hope poly folks can face such a situation with straightforwardness and maturity.

58

Throw a big orgy, invite all your friends, now you have replaced this etiquette question with new and different ones amenable to even more joyful dearpenthousing!

59

@36, I'm certainly not going to read this entire comment thread, but the idea that one must stay away from their significant other during this period merely upon the technicality that they don't live together is ridiculous.

60

@59 Nathan
"the idea that one must stay away from their significant other during this period merely upon the technicality that they don't live together is ridiculous"

Welcome Nathan; in recent weeks many of us have gone on at great length agreeing that that's true. (And your word "merely" recognized well that there can be many complications.)

One way of looking at it is to acknowledge that the masses need rules in such a complicated situation. Whereas I think it's entirely valid for those who can fully process and properly judge the complicated situation to spit on the rules and jump directly to doing what's right.

p.s. Towards that end I'll re-paste a helpful data visualization:
"Can’t I please just visit one friend? Visualizing social distancing networks in the era of COVID-19"
http://statnet.org/COVID-JustOneFriend/#7_lessons_learned

61

@59 co-sign. it's self righteous and cruel quite frankly. exceptions include high rises where the elevators seem like pretty good transmission vehicles. but if you are driving over to your SO's house, effectively merging your households, and all parties are cool with it, only the most awful of the internet self righteous absolutists would find fault. of course, most of them post here regularly.

62

@61 psd
"pretty good transmission vehicles"

All indoor spaces are good transmission vehicles, given that in early numbers (and for other coronaviruses we're seen triple the early COVID-19 numbers) for COVID-19 we know it's viable "for up to three hours in aerosols"(1). I heard a scientist remark that outdoor spaces are a different matter because "the atmosphere is essentially infinite" (so dispersal is quick if there's wind, be aware of wind).

Which is why for the purposes of discussion recently I've simplified hypotheticals by talking about (quoting fubar) "hermetically sealed" transportation, and imagined doors that open directly to the outside. People without doors that open to the atmosphere are in a whole different situation.

As I've remarked, I think nobody's gonna listen to anyone else's risk calculations anyway, but my personal approach for the general (not to mention my own) welfare would be quite conservative.

(1) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200320192755.htm

63

@49 I don't think the bad mood is the coronapocalypse. I think it is seeing that this is not bringing humanity together, or to take care of each other, and that the fascists are using it to stoke nationalism and hatred in so many countries (China, USA) even though that's going to make it 10x worse.

@60 love the statnet illustration - useful! thanks

64

I was going to suggest a fencing duel, but then I recalled Heathers.

As for whom to boink first (and has it even been established that the matter is entirely dependent on LW's choice?), Mr Savage has laid out neatly the question of where lies the greater risk. LW herself can assess how the future relationships might be affected. No to proposing the threesome if there's significance attached and the question would have be out of left field - one might say yes and one no.

Ms Fan - Ms Sarah seems stuck in high YGG gear.

Ms Ods - You skip over the main point. Back when I still had an acceptable waist size of 30" (which I include only to indicate that the results of the exercise were not grotesque/of a sort to evoke the response LMB), I was the subject of various photographs intended and indeed shared for, shall we say, personal enjoyment. They were shared among friends of like tastes. Had one been sent to Mr Savage enclosed in a letter similar to this for his personal enjoyment, that would have been acceptable. But it never had to be spoken that they were NOT to be distributed to DS women, whatever their tastes. That LW's partners gave permission for the pictures to be shown to girlfriends may reasonably be taken to include a discreet advice columnist, but, especially as LW intended the pictures to bestow personal enjoyment, can't really stretch to an SSM without asking.

Because I cannot myself derive personal enjoyment from pictures of any portion of a known DSM, I'll leave the question for now of whether it's right for an SSM to do so in general.

I’ll give LW the benefit of the doubt and presume she was not intending to call Mr Savage a “girlfriend”. I shall also give the good women of the assembled company credit for knowing not to call anyone gay that except by explicit invitation.

65

Gonna agree with cockyballsup @52: it's ridiculously easy to say "yeah, I've got a lot of stuff going on for the next few days, so we're gonna have to meet a bit later." This woman is either daft or just humblebragging (questionbragging?) about the fact that she has two big-dicked guys she can fuck.

But on the off chance she's really just daft and legitimately wondering, I'd agree with SarahTheUnstoppable @34. The guy's married, and not to you. Don't make a priority of someone who doesn't reciprocate the notion. You're his bit on the side, and he's yours. Giving him higher priority in your life will just lead to grief and resentment when it finally hits home that the feeling isn't mutual. Bang your new thing and get it out of your system.

66

@36 - I guess “wryly deriding the premise of the letter” = “trolling” now? Pfffht

67

People seem to be missing one of the big benefits of ethical nonmonogamy, vs cheating, namely that you don't have to make excuses or pretend you are out with family or lie and keep things in the down low.

68

@49 "People who are chill at that one level are very likely to be chill at the other, and presumably LW knows that. Y'all need to calm down."

Well, by the same token, people who contract the coronavirus are "very likely" (on the order of >95%) to survive it. So why are we all freaking out and closing down the economy and hiding in our houses, then? Because when they stakes are are high as they are, even 5% becomes too big of a risk to take.

In many jurisdictions, sharing pornographic images without the consent of the subject is a felony. By fudging the rules a little bit and rounding Dan up from advice columnist to girlfriend, LW is rolling the dice on a high-stakes bet where mathematically speaking she's "very likely" to win (if I had to guess, I'd say roughly the same 95% odds as surviving COVID), but if she's in the other 5%, the damage could potentially be catastrophic. Whether that's a good bet is a decision everybody's got to make for themselves. I'm just saying if I were in her shoes, I wouldn't be anywhere near as cavalier as she's being.

69

@67 The Happy Anarchist
None of those things are relevant if, a I mentioned @51, the other party suggests a date and one replies with "how about X day". I'm certainly not in the habit of including an explanation in my counter-proposal, and it seems to me healthy poly wouldn't ask for one.

70

@69 p.s.
(I dedicate this @69 to all 8.3B humans on the planet.)

And, as I went on about @42, I don't think it stands to reason that there's no un-suspicious answer if asked why one isn't un-locking-down on The Day the syphilitic mass-murdering imbecile elected to be in change decreed one can.

71

BiDan@47~ ...Or maybe rock, paper, scissors...

72

Cocky @57, happy to help. Polyamory requires openness and honesty. If a partner makes some vague excuse as to why they can't see me instead of just coming out and saying they have another date, it's obvious that the reason they're making some vague excuse is that they have another date, and the whole point of having a polyamorous relationship is that there is no reason they can't just say that. If they hem and haw when they could be telling the truth, I wonder what else it is they are hiding. I start to think I can't trust them. I wonder whether they're being honest about practising safe sex with other partners. If someone lied to you about X, wouldn't you wonder what else they were lying about? So disclosure mitigates jealousy because what I fear is the unknown, and if my partner tells me what they're up to there is no unknown to fear. I can analyse and deal with any potential (real or perceived) threat to our relationship by knowing what that threat is. The truth is that there are a lot of unethical, selfish people out there, people who would cause drama, people who would attempt to undermine an existing relationship. How do I know whether my partner is dating one of them if I have no idea who it is they're dating?

This isn't about restricting her freedom. This isn't a question about whether it's okay for her to see this other guy. Of course it is. The question is about priority, and I agree with Dan that an established partner has earned the right to priority over a new interest who may or may not last.

This is different from abuse in the same way a DADT is different from cheating: because both (all) parties involved agree with the philosophy that honesty and disclosure are the best policies; and because the partner is not pressing for full disclosure while hiding things themself. They have both freely agreed that this is the way they want to conduct their relationship, and accepted that the price of knowing what their partner is up to is telling them what they are up to. If you don't want to be monogamous, you don't commit to a monogamous relationship. If you don't want to disclose your other relationships, you don't commit to a poly one. Pretty easy. What people in these types of relationships are obligated to disclose is down to a negotiation between the people involved, but generally, once sex is happening that's the trigger for disclosure.

Nathan @59, did you miss that the partner lives with his wife? If they both lived alone, I would agree with you. We also don't know whether either of them, or the wife, is working. Presumably the two have decided they shouldn't have contact for good reason.

Philosophy @61, so would you suggest she shack up with her partner and his wife?
"internet self righteous absolutists" - including those who would say use of the word "intact" renders one a misandrist? Still waiting on an explanation behind that one, since you seem to be checking in again.

Curious @62: "I think nobody's gonna listen to anyone else's risk calculations anyway." Amen to that. These people have deemed it prudent to not swap air or fluids. Suggesting that they solve their problem by breaking the lockdown is silly.

Venn @64, that's a good point. Has New Guy been self isolating? How many people have the two men come into contact with? The person who has the least risk of passing CV to everybody should get the first crack at FIRTUP. (Though it's presumed she'll be seeing both regularly once she can, so this may be a moot question.)

Centrists @66, yes, deriding a letter is exactly trolling. Well done.

Anarchists @67, exactly!!!one1!

Curious @69, yes, and under normal circumstances that would make sense, but you keep missing that these are not normal circumstances!!!one1! I think I can deem myself "healthy poly" for the purposes of this discussion, and I would absolutely not think twice about saying "the 6th? Sorry, I have a date with Y" to the second partner who asked me for a date on the 6th. Why would that be a bad thing to say? Why would I need to be vague about "sorry, I have plans" when the whole premise of my relationship style is that X knows I'm dating Y and has no problem with it? I mean, sure, I could say "sorry, I have plans," but the point is there is no reason NOT to say what the plans are, as Anarchists @67 expressed well.

73

@72 - What do you call repeated longwinded posts on every fucking SLLOTD? I call it spam. You’re like the person at a party who drones on and on about the same old shit. The pedantic bores like you (and the dull polyamory etiquette hour that Dan’s columns have become) are why I comment once every blue moon and prefer Slate’s How to Do It column, where they discuss actual sex questions.

74

@72 BiDanFan
"you keep missing that..."

From my perspective I'm not missing anything...

"I would absolutely not think twice about saying "the 6th? Sorry, I have a date with Y" to the second partner who asked me for a date on the 6th. Why would that be a bad thing to say?"

I'm not saying it would be a bad thing for you to say. Or for anyone to say unless they wanted to create the problem the LW is pretending she has.

She could instead just cool it with her mouth-flapping and simply chirp cheerfully "how about the 8th?". She needn't add anything to that. No need to mention "because I'm gonna barely be able to walk until the 8th from the other giant dick in my life".

She needn't explain why not the almighty 6th either. Perhaps I can skip the lengthy explanations this time about why there's nothing mysterious about not being available on the 6th, but to summarize:
That's just the day some lunatic imbecile decreed everyone could, and probably has no relevance to when one should (be expected to, since a respectable approach is to do things because they're right not just because of rules). Particularly given that acting like one should that day would be understandable fantasy, but I don't expect practical reality. And (as someone wrote upthread) there could even be activities on the 6th and 7th that took priority over either giant dicks.

But let's say the participants create the problem the LW is pretending she has. Let's say that, insanely, despite pretending to worry that one of her giant dicks is gonna be emotionally hurt if his dick doesn't cum first, she proceeds to cause this very problem by telling (or continuing to tell) them both that on The (imaginary magical) Day a giant dick will be fucking her. (One giant dick to rule them all, for LoTR fans.)

Yeah, then since she's caused her own issue, the giant dick that hears "how about the 8th?" might then (if he's as self-destructive as she's pretending to be) ask "What the hell are you doing on the magical 6th?!". Do I want her to lie? Of course not:

One.
I would want her to tell the truth, and would want them both to be capable of dealing with climbing that mountain. (As poly mountains go, isn't that far from being Mt. Everest?)

Two.
I would want them to never even get to this point, because arriving here entails them both causing their own problem.

Big picture, while everything you say about ethical poly is correct, and I love reading it on these threads as much as I've loved reading some great books on the subject, does being great at poly necessarily demand doing everything the LW and her pair of dicks can to actually cause the problems they would hopefully be great at solving?

(Which is how I would also characterize the rule purely imagined in some debate upthread that she is under an agreement to disclose date and time of one dick to the other.)

In other words, while I love nothing more than talking/reading about poly ethics, and love reading you about it, for the reasons I went into above I think we needn't make /this/ an opportunity to talk about poly ethics (if the parties involved simply refrain from causing the problem the LW is pretending to have).

75

@74 p.s.
But what if she's absolutely compelled to cause her own pretend problem by offering the truth about why she's not available on The imaginary magical Day?

(And hey, I would totally respect that, I absolutely get that the joy of full freedom of disclosure [while as I've been arguing one might want to set aside in order not to cause one's own imaginary problem] might move one to avoid ever not disclosing anything.)

That seems obvious to me. Give honest explanations in advance to avoid ever being asked that "why not the magical 6th?".

76

@48. Bi. Maybe she should see MrLongTerm first, then?

The person whose balance of mind I'd care most for in this dilemma (unless, of course, they are all happy and well-adjusted people) is Mr LongTerm's wife. The lw thinks his marriage is sexless. Maybe, during this enforced lockdown, Mr LongTerm and Mrs LongTerm are both champing at the bit, as the English say, waiting to get away and get some hay (!)--that is, both have outside sexual partners they're looking forward for boning (/being boned by) when the time comes. But on the chance that Mr LongTerm is sexually active and his wife isn't, I'd think it may (just may) be a bit of a bummer for her to be locked-down with a guy hankering to go out and make his girlfriend. So this is a reason I'm plumping for the correspondent's new guy as her opening-up-times dick pick.

I like the happy, fun story, anyways.

77

@75 p.p.s.
"you keep missing that..."

I still don't think I've missed anything.

78

@59. Nathan & @61. philosophy school dropout. But that's just what it means. It's responsible right now to stay in your household. If you're in one household, even a single-person household, and your monogamous partner is in another, you shouldn't visit. One way of looking at it is a natural penalty for not being married and/or cohabiting.

80

BDF@38

Relationship anarchy doesn't mean you "bang whoever you want" with no regard for anyone's feelings. It means that you consciously reject hierarchical relationship structures. So for example you may choose to live with someone, or several someones, but it doesn't mean that your live-in partners' wants and needs automatically trump those of your other partners or platonic friends. Or that longer/ more established relationships are more important than newer ones. Relationship anarchists favour decentralised relationship structures and non-hierarchical language (eg. "nesting partner" instead of "primary"), but it doesn't mean that there are no emotional considerations or commitments. The idea is to judge each situation and each person's views and feelings on their own merits. To use a hackneyed phrase, anarchy doesn't mean that there are no rules, it means that there are no rulers.

I don't see any reason to assume that the LW and her partners subscribe to a hierarchical view of non-monogamy, and therefore her "established partner has earned the right to priority over a new interest who may or may not last". If anything, the evidence is to the contrary ("I don't want to hurt either's feelings", "He would be supportive if I told him I wanted to see the other guy first").

I think the ethical thing to do would be to open a considerate discussion with each of the men: "You know that I've also been seeing X. I really like both of you, and don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but practically-speaking I can only see one of you first, when this is all over. It doesn't mean that the other person is less important and it wouldn't have been an issue at all if it wasn't for the lockdown. Have you given this any thought? Would it hurt you if I saw you a few days after seeing him?" It wouldn't be an easy conversation, but poly folks have these kinds of conversations all the time. It gives all partners a chance to consider this, instead of the LW making a unilateral decision with input from Dan and bunch of randos in the comment section.

If her relationships with these men are more casual and it's not the sort of thing they discuss, I'd advise giving it some time and then playing it by ear when she is able to do so. The lock-down orders will be in place for the next few weeks at least, and this dilemma may solve itself due to any number of new developments.

81

Centrists @73, thank you for sharing your highly valuable opinion. This time anyway, Cocky literally asked for an explanation from poly people about why disclosure can mitigate jealousy, therefore my answer was not spam.

Curious @74 et al, we both have opinions, I think we've both expressed them thoroughly by this point.

Harriet @76: "@48. Bi. Maybe she should see MrLongTerm first, then?" Yes, that's exactly what Dan suggested and I seconded.

Margarita @80, yes, relationship anarchy does not mean "bang whoever you want and who cares about their feelings." Apologies to the relationship anarchists. But it does come much closer to meaning "freedom" than polyamory does, which is the distinction I hoped to convey. I've realised I have such a bee in my bonnet about this because when I was in my 20s, I was what today might be considered a relationship anarchist but back then was just considered a slut. In my 40s I am poly and there is such a huge difference that it irks me when people conflate the two. Sure, FIRTUP should talk to each of the guys about her dilemma -- perhaps leaving the big dicks out of it -- and see if they can come up with a solution. But she probably already knows that, and we've all just completely ruined her effort to get all our minds off Covid and onto something more fun by taking her question so damned seriously. :)

82

BDF@81, I dunno, I think a lot of people today consider "polyamoury" to be an umbrella term, with "hierarchical poly", "egalitarian poly", "closed poly", "relationship anarchy", "solo poly", etc. as different relationship styles under that umbrella. At least that's the impression I get from poly forums and conventions. I remember someone did an informal poll at London's Polyday a few years ago, and a lot of folks, especially younger ones, said they identified as polyamorous and their preferred style was relationship anarchy. But I think you're right in that historically these were two distinct communities. The term "relationship anarchy" originated in the anarchist communities, back when polyamorous communities were dominated by people in hierarchical arrangements with primary and secondary partners. But it's not the case anymore.

For me, the sluttery of yore is more akin to "solo poly", in that your primary relationship is with yourself and you don't necessarily seek any kind of coupledom or relationship escalation. This is the poly style I identify with the most, although my current situation is more monogamish.

83

The core question is: how do I engineer this situation to ensure that nobody is unhappy about the choice I make? The answer is simple: you can't, so stop wasting energy trying. Make a choice, these men will have whatever reactions they have, and you deal with whatever their reactions actually are. And their actual reactions are unlikely to be negative because they have no good reason to know whom you hook up with first anyway, unless you tell them (in which case, your desire to engineer conflict is the problem, and I'd advise both men to dump you).

Granted, I think this is a brag/stroke letter rather than a serious question, because there isn't actually a problem (or at least not a sex-specific problem - possibly the LW has issues exercising agency in general, which is a task for a therapist to tackle), and the big dicks of the lovers are irrelevant (having penetrative sex for literal hours on end, as is apparently the plan, makes pretty much anyone sore, irrespective of the size of the phallus or orifice, just from eventual chafing, even with copious lube; my recommendation there would be to not fuck until you're sore in the first place).

84

@81 - Sorry, you're right. I take it back. Your comments aren't spam. That's not fair. At over 2,000 total words in this thread alone, they technically qualify as a novella. For reference, Dan (you remember Dan, right?) penned a response in just a little over 400 words. Hmmm. All right, I'll let y'all get back to barfing of words at each other.

85

Good god, I was not expecting what I meant as a light-hearted question of etiquette to generate such a response. It's great to see that an alternative relationship structure has received generally positive or neutral feedback, with the criticism aimed at how I am manipulating within it. I remember when this wasn't the case, and my choices were seen as cause for shame by many - cheers to a brave new world!! (Speaking of, get your hands on a copy of Huxley's Brave New World when you can, it's an ever-more-possible cautionary tale and food for thought on where humanity is heading).

Focusing in on the silver lining: the, in my opinion, correct judgment of my sending pictures without specific, explicit consent for the receiver. I was wrong. Mea culpa. Thanks to the person who brought up this point, and to Dan for clearly outlining his position on this going forward. I considered it an incredibly low-risk choice that might bring a smile in a very stressful time to a person who has brought me many smiles. But I was taking the risk not with my own feelings, but someone else's, and I shouldn't have rolled the dice on that. I hope my public mistake might change the culture just a little bit for the better.

86

Not counting this Comment I've written 2,086 words in this thread already.
Sorry!

87

@85 Kudos for taking ownership. If my comments made it seem like I was fanatically zeroing in on a minor issue, it's because it hits close to home for me in that a dear friend of mine was the victim of having intimate images shared without her consent. I don't like to use the term "revenge porn", because the range of motivations/causative factors isn't limited to just revenge; many times it happens through an honest misunderstanding of what the recipient is and isn't allowed to do with the images or whatnot. One can never be too careful.

88

I don't think you were being fanatical, appreciated the feedback. I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

90

LW- will you please also consider refraining from expressions such as "dick move"?
Thanks.

91

Hachacha @89: You're painting with broad strokes there. Probably a bit too broad. You're also putting words in LW's mouth, with quotes no less. Please don't do that.

ENM can be a lot of work, and can sometimes be angst-inducing, but lots of people make it work. In my experience, it gets difficult when mono people gallop in, thinking they can lasso their new, openly non-monogamous love interest, and drag them out of the poly herd.

92

@89: "you're in the company of scoundrels who make up a majority of your community."

I'm reminded of all the standard-relationship folks I know who have been cheated on or who cheated, with no attempt to be honest or ethical. So I'm gonna conclude that scoundrels make up the majority of most communities.

Also, "You knew I was ENM so don't be upset I slept with someone else," although completely irrelevant to this letter, is a perfectly rational sentence to utter. If you're the sort of person who doesn't want their partner sleeping with other people, don't sleep with enm folks. Simple. Your partner might sleep with other people anyway, of course, but at least if they do you can be righteously upset about it.

93

@92 ciods
"I'm gonna conclude that scoundrels make up the majority of most communities"

I don't have any scoundrel-data, but it seems to me that a population of people who engage in a relationship model which (from my reading) calls for an uncommon degree communication skill and emotional development, is likely to have fewer scoundrels per capita.

And if someone really wanted to take being a scoundrel to the limit, is seems to me they wouldn't choose a relationship model with ETHICAL (non-monogamy) right in the name but would secretly cheat while allowing their partner to think they're in a monogamous relationship so their partner would get that raw deal.

94

As a tangent, I'm really not a fan of the term "ethical non-monogamy". Agreeing to a non-monogamous arrangement doesn't make the relationship(s) ethical. I'm quite involved with the local poly community, and I've seen LOTS of shitty non-ethical behaviour over the years: playing metamours against each other, gaslighting partners over previous agreements, using current partners to "recruit" fresh blood for your hareem, etc. Worse, there's a strong tendency in poly social circles to think of ourselves as somewhat superior, more liberated, or more enlightened than mono folks. This creates a serious blindspot when it comes to problematic behaviours in our own backyard, and the term ETHICAL non-monogamy plays right into that.

Surely "consensual non-monogamy" is a better term?

95

ciods@92

No. I agree that this is not relevant in this case, but it's perfectly okay for a non-monogamous person to feel jealous. "You knew I was ENM so don't be upset I slept with someone else," on the other hand, is 100% an asshole move (is asshole move OK, CMD?).

The real litmus test of a functional poly relationship isn't whether or not your partner feels jealous. It's how they react when you tell them that you feel jealous (this goes both ways, of course). Do they react with compassion, listen, give you space to express your feelings? Mazel tov, good luck exploring with crazy world. Do they say silencing, crazy-making shit like "if you don't want your partner sleeping with other people, maybe you shouldn't date enm folks?" RUN.

96

curious @93

"And if someone really wanted to take being a scoundrel to the limit, is seems to me they wouldn't choose a relationship model with ETHICAL (non-monogamy) right in the name"

I can see why you'd think that, but you'd be wrong. This is exactly the problem I was talking about @94. That term is false advertising, and it plays right in the hands of every abusive shitbag in our community. This story is not uncommon:

https://medium.com/polyamory-today/i-was-in-a-polyamorous-and-abusive-relationship-for-7-years-heres-what-i-learned-5d87d6f57acd

"but would secretly cheat while allowing their partner to think they're in a monogamous relationship so their partner would get that raw deal"

You can still cheat on your partner(s) in consensually non-monogamous relationships. And you have lots more interesting options for messing with their heads.

97

@94 Lost Margarita
The more I think about your argument for the term to be CNM, the less sense I think it makes, both linguistically and practically.

I think your citing non-ethical behavior as a problem for the term needn't be persuasive: think of EMN not so much as descriptive as it is aspirational. In other words, that people don't live up to ENM doesn't mean ethical isn't a proper goal to commit to, does it?

If you need language to be descriptive, then are we not to call it "going for a bicycle ride" because for all we know both riding and falling off the bike will occur? No, we plan to not fall down.

Similarly, it's the very presence of the word ethical that provides a good thing to buy into.

From a certain angle if I squint, it might make sense to call it getting-on-my-bike-to-ride-and-fall because that would be more fully descriptive of history, but it would not be something to commit to as a plan.

So, let's just admit that it irks you (and me) that imperfect people do unethical things. Given that, I would think you'd join us in /wanting/ "ethical" to be in the name so that it will be true that they've failed to live up to their (I would call it) aspirational commitment, instead of making it more difficult to criticize them because they'd never committed to ethical behavior in the first place.

98

@96 Lost Margarita
(Ah, I see we were both typing Comments@96@97 to each other simultaneously.)

Like I said @93 "I don't have any scoundrel-data", but I think that, by splitting my sentance in half, you didn't fully address my rather conservative qualification "to the limit".

And you didn't even try to address my middle paragraph @93 that ENM

"calls for an uncommon degree communication skill and emotional development"

More evolved people are not greater scoundrels, period.

Of course less evolved people fly the ENM flag (and every other flag), but more evolved people, owing to being more evolved, would I think not be helplessly blind to their natures.

99

curious @97/98

This talk of being "more evolved" is exactly the problem. Non-monogamy challenges you in many different ways, which can be a positive thing for self improvement, but it doesn't make us more evolved. This is hubris, especially when it's used in statements like this:

"More evolved people are not greater scoundrels, period."

The greatest scoundrels are very intelligent, both emotionally and intellectually, and use that intelligence to their advantage. I've already given some examples of how this plays out in poly contexts. They are usually very popular and "good with people", and often move on to positions of power in poly-adjacent fringe communities (kink, body mods, tantra, paganism). This makes it easier to recruit new partners (often brand new to the community and easy to manipulate) and harder for victims to speak out. This is not rare. I don't have the statistics either, but there's no reason to suppose that abuse in non-monogamous relationships is any less common than in the general population.

"but more evolved people, owing to being more evolved, would I think not be helplessly blind to their natures."

Again, this is hubris. Anyone who believes that (and unfortunately many in the poly community do) is very easy to manipulate.

I don't know why CNM doesn't make sense "linguistically and practically", but I'm not a native speaker, so happy to take your criticism on board. We do have "consensual kink" though (it's in two of our three most popular acronyms - RACK and PRICK, aka Risk Aware Consensual Kink and Personal Responsibility In Consensual Kink).

100

@99 Lost Margarita
"Non-monogamy...doesn't make us more evolved."

I didn't say it did. I said it "calls for" them to be, then went on to say people "fly the ENM flag" without being capable of living up to it.

Be on notice that I do not sink to talk with people who twist my words.

"scoundrels are very intelligent, both emotionally and..."

I said "emotional development" (not 'emotional intelligence'). But you're right I did leap from that to move evolved. Being more evolved inlcudes other kinds of development that I might lump under the umbrella of spiritual development. (But I think I need to leave it there, I'm not prepared to go on at length about human development.)

And even they can be manipulated, but they absolutely are not "very easy to manipulate".

"I don't know why CNM doesn't make sense "linguistically and practically""

I made my case for that @97, and am honestly amazed it apparently didn't move you. I'm afraid that makes me think I would waste my time by engaging further.

101

Lost @ 95
You do have a very valid point. My guess is that ciods is on your side yet had to deliver a message in a manner graspable by the opposite camp.

As for asshole- yes! I believe some of us have already discussed the matter and agreed that “asshole” is a non-discriminatory term for dick, cunt, bitch, Netanyahu, and the like.

102

Laurenna @85: "Good god, I was not expecting what I meant as a light-hearted question of etiquette to generate such a response." Welcome to Savage Love! You picked the right place to get only a minority of commenters slut shaming you; we're generally a sex positive group here. And yes, a number of us spend a lot of time interacting on these boards because questions of sexual etiquette and the like are far less depressing than the news or our Facebook feeds, and this was true long before the pandemic happened. I'd trace it to Trump's election, personally. Curious @86, no need to apologise! Anyone is free to skip long-winded comments, and I'd say anyone still checking in on a days-old comments thread to complain about comments is a bit of a hypocrite. :)

Laurenna, would you care to share your decision with us? If you want to, of course.

Glad Fubar, Ciods and Curious have responded thoughtfully to what I considered a trollish comment. Agreed that not everyone who practices "ethical non-monogamy" is ethical at all times, just as not everyone who practices "monogamy" refrains from all forms of cheating. Ahem. The idea behind the word is that it is not ethical to have sex with others while pretending to be faithful to one person, but it is ethical to have sex with others while being honest with everyone involved. Curious @97, I agree that "ethical" is a goal most of us aspire to, despite fucking up every so often because we are still human beings, rejecting monogamy does not make us a different species somehow.

Margarita @95 re: "If you don't want your partner sleeping with other people, maybe you shouldn't date enm folks?" That's a perfectly reasonable sentence. If this is something a person throws back in their partner's face when the partner expresses feelings of jealousy or insecurity, then that person is being an asshole, but that was not the context of Ciods's comment. It is entirely reasonable to say that people who aren't comfortable navigating non-monogamy should be monogamous. It is not reasonable to gaslight someone and say that committing to a non-monogamous relationship means they can't raise concerns, and in fact, the whole idea behind ethical non-monogamy is do ask, do tell, do discuss these concerns. If that was the point you were trying to make I'm happy to second it.

Margarita @97, so are you also going to use the example of the many abusive monogamous relationships to argue that monogamy is the problem? The abuser is the problem. That person would be abusive in a monogamous relationship or a non-monogamous one. That person would cheat if monogamous, break rules if non-monogamous. Like Curious says, every community has scoundrels in it. They may be more obvious than the ones who are striving to be as ethical as they can, just like the people who are protesting lockdowns are more obvious than those of us who are staying home as advised, but in both cases they are in the minority. I'm sorry you've had bad experiences.

103

@79. cockyballsup. Yup. And of course there are countless people who just want to be alone and are holed up with someone unsympathetic, maddening, even abusive. One has to hope that everyone will take this timeout as an opportunity to ask what they really want and to align their lives with whatever that is--more human intimacy, more freedom--when we can all socialise in person again.

@85. laurenadenna. I think everyone wishes you well--or at least hope they do. Thank you for your enlivening question. It's hard to predict which SLLOTD questions will garner the most responses. There's an element of people being responsible enough to sit out the big ones--because e.g. they turn on kinks, fetishes, relationship styles or orientations that are not commenters' own; because commenters see no point in repeating evidently sound and well-meant words; because commenters fear putting their oar in and having a bad effect in something of genuine moment, etc....

104

LostMargarita's English is pretty damn amazing if she's (she?) ... if she's not a native speaker.

I will ask for it and request the difference between SL and Slate's How To Do It. It's about 'what goes where', is it? ... no, it can't be...? (Hint: it all, always, eventually ends up in the butt).

105

I get to please Ms Cute again by paraphrasing Henry Tilney in asserting that, in matters of evolution, the height, depth or breadth called for, available or on display is pretty equally divided between different relationship types.

106

curious @100, oh I see, that bike analogy was ~the~ argument? My apologies. I thought it was a totally separate point from your first paragraph, as it didn't seem to have much to do with either linguistics or practicality. I assumed you meant that "consensual non-monogamy" didn't make linguistic sense in English, and just didn't tell me why. Which intrigued me, since we seem to have fairly well-established similar constructions, like consensual kink (another example that comes to mind is consensual non-consent).

FWIW, no, I didn't find your argument particularly compelling. Unlike ETHICAL non-monogamy, "going for a bike ride" doesn't contain any value judgement - it doesn't imply that you are good at riding bikes, aspire to be good at riding bikes, or that bike riding is a positive activity. It's just a neutral descriptor. I could kinda see what you were getting at with the whole "riding and falling" thing, but the analogy was just getting really tortured by that point.

IMO, the main defining feature of the sort of non-monogamy we're talking about here is consent (of all parties), not ethics. Ethics are subjective and context-specific. One could make an argument that keeping their spouse in the dark about their extramarital relationships is the most ethical thing to do (indeed, Dan has made this argument in favour of cheating under certain circumstances). Would you call this kind of "cheating with cause" ethical non-monogamy? I wouldn't. Conversely, someone could be in a consensually non-monogamous relationship, and yet conduct said relationship completely unethically. So if unethical non-monogamy (aka cheating) can be ethical, and ethical non-monogamy (aka poly+) can be unethical, then maybe "ethics" isn't the best qualifier for what we're trying to define? Ethics are a good thing to have in any relationship, but we don't call it "ethical monogamy" when two people are only intimate with each other, we just call it monogamy. The only reason we need a qualifier for non-monagamy, is to differentiate between cheating (non-consensual) and a situation where everyone has agreed to multiple partners. So why not just call it consensual non-monogamy?

That said, everyone is of course free to call it whatever they like. A quick Google search shows that both CNM and ENM are established phrases (66,900 hits for "consensual non monohgamy", 98,000 for "ethical non monogamy"), and both are included in the wiki entry for "non-monogamy". And yes, we appear to have reached a point of diminishing returns in this exchange, and there's no point in going round in circles.

CMD@101, yeah I think I vaguely remember that discussion. Tbf, I think in the UK (and especially in Scotland, where I grew up) people have different sensibilities when it comes to cunts, dicks, bawbags and the like, but I'm happy to keep it gender-neutral in this forum :)

BDF@102

"so are you also going to use the example of the many abusive monogamous relationships to argue that monogamy is the problem?"

At no point did I say that non-monogamy was "the problem" (that would be pretty funny, seeing as I am non-monogamous). And there's no reason to feel sorry for my bad experiences - I said I've witnessed a lot of bad behaviour, not been subjected to it. I was responding to curious's argument about non-monogamous people being "more evolved" because non-monogamy calls for greater emotional development and therefore we are bound to have less shitbags in our community (please don't bite my head off if I misquoted something, I'm not going back to page 1 to pull up citations). I disagreed with the premise, and listed a bunch of poly-specific ways in which shitbags are shitty in our community. Sometimes outsiders have this rose-tinted view of polyamoury, because they've read a bunch of nice writings, but haven't actually spent much time in real-life communities, and may not be aware of the abusive dynamics in this context. I said that there's no reason to suppose that shitbags are more scarce in the poly communities than they are in the gen pop.


    Please wait...

    and remember to be decent to everyone
    all of the time.

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