Savage Love | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Savage Love 

Just like successful monogamous relationships, poly relationships have limits.

I've always identified as a straight male into typical relationships. I've realized, after multiple unsatisfying long-term relationships, that monogamy isn't for me. I would like to have a main, fulfilling and committed relationship without limiting myself sexually or emotionally. I don't want to cheat on anyone. I just want the rules to fit me so that I don't have to be considered a cheater. Do you think this is something I should disclose to family and friends? I feel like this is an issue that activism isn't addressing, and while polyamory seems more common, I don't see anyone who is "out."

Pondering Over Life's Yearnings

If you're not seeing anyone who is poly and publicly out, then you're not watching Showtime, which broadcast two seasons of Polyamory: Married & Dating, and you're not paying attention to poly activists who are out — like Diana Adams, an attorney who specializes in nontraditional family relationships.

"I applaud POLY for considering boldly coming out as polyamorous," said Adams. "We need more people to come out in order to destigmatize polyamory."

Adams recognizes that not all poly folks can be out — some work for conservative employers, some could lose custody of their kids. But "for those of us who have the privilege to be out, I encourage us to speak our truth, which will support a cultural understanding of healthy relationships beyond monogamy — and, of course, help us find like-minded partners. In POLY's case, I urge him to learn more about poly first. Link up with groups like Loving More and Open Love NY, and follow people like me on Twitter (@dianaadamsesq), and he'll get tuned in to the nationwide activism that's happening. He'll also get tapped into resources for creating successful poly relationships."

About those relationships: Just like successful monogamous relationships, poly relationships have limits — sexual and emotional. But instead of coming to an agreement with one partner about those limits, you have to hammer out agreements with two or more partners. "Poly may not be easier to maintain than his monogamous relationships," said Adams. "Poly works for emotional ninjas who possess tremendous emotional awareness and communication skills to create their own agreements with their partner(s). If POLY is ready for that level of effort, poly may work for him so well that he'll want to tell the world."

I'm a straight guy, and I've been in a monogamous relationship with an awesome girl for four years. Our sex life is healthy, although it has lost some steam since the first couple of years — but that's normal, right? For the last year or so, every time we have sex, I find myself fantasizing that I'm with someone else. A cute barista, an old fling, that MILF on the bus — but never my girlfriend. Am I cheating on my partner? Is this a bad sign for our relationship? Should I admit this to my girlfriend?

Mind Fucking Other Women

If fantasizing about fucking someone else while you're fucking your partner is cheating, then we're all adulterers. It's not a great sign that you're doing it every time — you might wanna will yourself to focus on her at least every other time. As for telling her, that depends on how secure she is. If she's realistic about the fact that you're both attracted to other people, perhaps you can broach the subject — or even share your fantasies during sex. But that means you'll have to hear about the baristas, flings and DILFs who turn her on, too. Which raises another question: How secure are you?

In the wake of the killings at Isla Vista, and all the #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen hashtag campaigns, I want a change in the dialogue. I want to hear the story of the man who warned a woman after he found out a friend planned on drugging her, the man who dropped a friend when he found out his friend had assaulted his girlfriend. Can you ask readers to send in stories that will give women hope that men understand and are standing up for us?

One Sad Woman

The #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen were not concurrent, complementary Twitter hashtag campaigns.

After Elliot Rodger decided to murder the women who had rejected him, millions of women began tweeting under #YesAllWomen about the sexism, sexual violence and misogyny they experience on a daily basis. When some men began responding to those tweets with variations on "We're not all like that!" the #NotAllMen hashtag was born, and it was a critique. As Phil Plait wrote at Slate: "Why is it not helpful to say ‘Not all men are like that'? For lots of reasons. For one, women know this. They already know not every man is a rapist, or a murderer, or violent. ... Instead of being defensive and distracting from the topic [misogyny, sexism, violence], try ... listening to what the thousands upon thousands of women discussing this are saying."

I'm hesitant to invite men to share their stories, because I agree with Plait: Maybe men should shut up and listen? It's also possible for a guy to do the right thing on one occasion, and then turn around and do something deeply shitty. Men shouldn't be encouraged to think that one noble act frees them from our collective responsibility to fight sexism and misogyny. (A quick note to my fellow faggots: What's in fighting sexism and misogyny for us? Homophobes hate us because they perceive us to be like women — we're effeminate, we're cocksuckers, we're penetrated. Homophobia is misogyny's little brother, and a less misogynistic world is a less homophobic world.)

But I'm running your letter, and inviting women to jump into the comment thread and share your stories about men who've done the right thing. This is not meant to exonerate men of their responsibility, or to minimize the problem, but to give men examples of what it looks like when a dude fights sexism and misogyny.

On the Lovecast, orgasm control and toe curling:


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