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Is polyamory a sexuality?

Jan 31, 2024

Is polyamory a sexuality?

This is such a loaded question because I think that often this comes up in a debate around whether polyamory is a version of queerness, whether you are queer if you are polyamorous, whether polyamory fits under, belongs under the LGBTQ+ umbrella.

And the reason that it’s often heated and very loaded to discuss is because for a lot of people who are queer or trans, there is a ton going on for them all the time that is about danger, about attacks culturally and politically, and sometimes it can feel like folks who are not already under that umbrella in other ways are trying to like somehow steal something from those folks or somehow takes something from that community by identifying as it when they aren’t.

And it is true that sometimes people use identities like their queerness or their transness or being nonbinary as a shield when people are talking about them having done something that is racist or ableist.

And so, I get where those concerns come from.

I think that for me, I don’t know that I care about the answer to this question because I think I care much more about why somebody is asking it.

If we are asking, is polyamory a sexuality?


Are we trying to say, are people who are polyamorous, people who experience discrimination or oppression on the basis of the way that they do relationships?

If that’s the question we are asking, the answer is yes.

People who are polyamorous are discriminated against legally.

They are discriminated against socially.

They often lose friends, family.

They get into tough custody situations if there’s a divorce.

It’s difficult to set up legal structures to support people who are polyamorous.

So if we are talking about whether they experience discrimination and depression, the way that someone who is queer might for the way that they do relationships and sex then like, yes, it has that similarity.

Are we asking, is polyamory a sexuality to see whether it deserves protection?

Again, I would say like sure, yes.

The thing is, when we ask this question of like, is polyamory a sexuality?

I just wonder like what does it mean if we say it is, what does it mean if we say it isn’t?

I think that for some people, they are more oriented towards polyamory in terms of how they are.

For instance, I just have a very slutty heart.

I am bad at monogamy.

It does not work well for me.

I don’t want to cheat on people and so I would much rather be able to be honest with everybody about the fact that I like to like multiple people.

I like to have sex with multiple people.

That just works so much better for me.

I think some people just don’t trend towards that.

That’s just not how they work for whatever host of reasons and I don’t think that either person is more right or wrong or enlightened or any of those things.

If we are asking whether polyamory is a sexuality to see like whether it is valid for someone to need that in a relationship or to need it in their life, then like why are we trying to debate whether it’s valid for someone to want or need that?

I think that when we start getting into debating the validity of people’s need and choices, we are really in dangerous territory there because the only person who knows what someone wants or needs is that person.

In terms of like, do poly people belong at Pride?

Should there be a polyamory float at Pride?

I think a lot of times when I see people talking about this, I just get super confused because I know very, very, very few cishet polyamorous people.

The majority of people who I know who identify as polyamorous or who practice polyamory, even if they started polyamory as a cishet person, they tend to end up not so cis and/or het.

I don’t know very many cis straight polyamorous people.

I think that there’s just a ton of overlap with queer communities that the majority of folks in polyamory world are often queer and/or not cis.

This is not necessarily always exactly the case in other nonmonogamy communities.

Swingers for instance are often more aligned in terms of cishetness so you tend to see a lot more people who identify as cis and het within swinger communities.

The women tend to identify as bisexual but haven primarily hetero romantic relationships or practices and so it’s kind of closer to cishet ideals and values.

But again, I don’t know very many cishet polyamorous people.

So if we are asking like, should there be a polyamory float at Pride?

I mean it’s not worse than the Bank of America float. So like is that what we want to be upset about?

I’m much more upset about cops at Pride than I am about polyamorous people at Pride.

And I think that there is this way that sometimes when we are in a marginalized community and we feel like someone is like “stealing” our valor in terms of that marginalization that we are kind of getting into this weird gate-keepy protective place that I don’t know is always super helpful.

Who is harmed if polyamorous people start identifying as a sexuality?

What is the harm that that creates?

Again, if we are using it as a shield, as a defense when they have done something that is harmful to a different type of marginalization then like that’s bullshit.

But that’s bullshit whether we say as a sexuality or not like even if someone is gay and they are like, “Well, I can’t be racist because I’m gay,” no, you can.

You often are.

And so, I guess this is going to sound like a tangent.

It probably is.

It has been a couple of months for me that have been kind of weird.

I recently watched this docuseries about the garden and the subtitle of the docuseries is like is it a cult essentially?

And the thing that struck me in watching that docuseries is that is this a cult, was to me the least interesting and important question to ask because is it a cult?

If it’s a clear yes, tell us a lot about how healthy or toxic that environment is, right?

But there’s a whole lot of stuff that isn’t a cult that still sucks and is harmful to people and is toxic and shitty.

And so like, is it a cult, is one question we can ask but it’s not always the most important or relevant question that we need to be asking or looking at and it’s not always going to actually give us the information that we are looking for.

And so again, when we ask like, is polyamory a sexuality, why?

Why do we care if it is?

Why do we care if it’s not?

What does it mean if it is?

What does it mean if it’s not?

Who is doing the asking and what is their goal?

I don’t think that’s that most important question.

I think for some people, it very much may be something that they experienced as a sexual or relational orientation.

For some people, it may very much be a choice that they make. And I don’t care if someone is oriented polyamorous or choosing to be polyamorous.

They should be able to make that choice regardless.

They should have legal protections and not be treated shittily by people in their communities just because they are polyamorous.

Whether they are choosing to be polyamorous or they are born polyamorous does not matter to me and I don’t think it should matter to any of us.

The same with people who are trans, the same with people who are queer, I don’t care if people are choosing.

They should still get the same protection.

They should still be treated well.

They should still not be discriminated against even if it’s a choice because who are they harming with the choice?

So, is polyamory a sexuality?


It depends on how we are defining sexuality.

It depends on why we are asking the question.

It depends on what our values around the answers to that question and around the definitions of those terms.

And so if you think it’s a sexuality, cool.

If you think it is absolutely not a sexuality, cool.

We are probably using those terms differently.

We are probably thinking about those terms and what they mean and what they are intended to do in different ways, and that doesn’t make anyone necessarily more right or wrong.

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