Do Polyamorists Sleep with Friends?

In this series, Poly Rules, I’ll discuss various topics that poly couples (in dyads, triads, and quads) choose to institute rules about in order to manage their relationships respectfully.

 The Question of Friend Fucking

Some people living the poly lifestyle agree with one another on this one right off the bat. Whether or not that’s the case for you and your “primary” partner(s) (if you have them), laying this out as a rule is sometimes a measure that poly people in relationships take. It’s important at least to discuss how you feel about it, since eventually one or more of you will want to fuck a friend.

This shouldn’t be surprising. I believe that we pick friends with almost identical criteria to that which we choose our partners, just sometimes minus the crushing out part . . . at least initially. If practicing polyamory is new to you, you will likely find there are lots of people you’ve carried with you in your life who you might call “friends” but for whom you may have always felt sexual desire. If the interest is mutual, and the friends are single or poly too, then you will suddenly feel like a kid in a candy store.

The prospects are exciting, as they should be; this is one of the amazing freedoms of exploration that polyamory provides. However, there are some details that should be discussed here before anyone jumps off the deep end. I might be excited to fuck one of my bffs, but what if my partner’s got his eyes on her too? And if I put my foot down here, does it mean that his tennis partner is off limits to me?  Is what’s allowed between partners and friends qualifiable? And how is any of this in accordance with a poly-friendly philosophy?

The short answer is that actually, it’s not. The whole idea of polyamory is to be able to love other people freely, and limiting your partners in whom they are “allowed” to be with reeks of jealousy and possessiveness and control. The concern could be stated differently – ie. “I’m afraid that if you sleep with my best friend, it will change the relationship I have with her and she is someone really important in my life.” It’s true that this could happen, I suppose.

Stating fears out loud should be enough in a loving, considerate relationship. I don’t mean that your partner should heed your words and move past the bff in question, but that your insecurities are natural and should open up a dialogue – one that may also include your friend! Often, airing your feelings is a healthier way to building loving relationships – especially when laying down rules can equate to, “Now we don’t need to discuss this again.”

In the end, having rules limiting our partners’ partners is the choice of the relationship participants in question. I won’t criticise how people want to structure their poly agreements, as long as it’s all consensual and above board. I will, however, caution those entering into a poly life as newbies: if you decide to lay down the law at first regarding sleeping with friends, you may soon find that without lifting the ban (once everyone’s comfortable), you’re also limiting yourselves to people you don’t (yet) like enough to call your friends . . . and you might be missing out on some amazingly hot and caring experiences.

Read Poly Rules: Contacting a Third

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