Q & A

Is Celibate Polyamory a Thing?

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Dear Jamie,

I came across a really interesting online dating poly profile for “Rebecca.”

The woman is a knock out in all her photos, but more intriguing is her statement that she is seeking “romantic companionship” and “platonic polyamory” rather than sexual liaisons.

If she’s not looking for sex, why would she be seeking out multiple partners? If she doesn’t like sex, why would she be polyamorous?

I have so many questions. I’d like to ask her out—we have many common interests too that she has listed. I’m poly, but I usually sleep with my lovers. Have you ever come across this? – Gareth

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Dear Gareth,

I’m wondering why you’re asking me and not Rebecca! Surely she can give you more insight into her needs and expectations than anyone else.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that some people view polyamory as a kind of orientation rather than a numbers game, like being gay for example. You might be celibate or not looking for sex but that doesn’t change your orientation. You can identify as polyamorous, even if you’re a virgin. And just as with folks seeking monogamy or same-sex relationships or relationships with anyone, a poly person is not necessarily looking for sex or hookups.

I can’t read Rebecca’s mind, and so you should read her profile more carefully in case you missed some of the answers to your questions. Then you should respond to her profile and tell her what you told me—that you find her attractive and that you have many common interests, as well as some questions. That is, if you are willing to go with her requests.

Don’t respond if you aren’t willing to date her without sex—the whole point of online dating is to meet folks according to your needs and what you’re looking for. She told you what hers were. Don’t assume you can talk her into sex or what you think she should need.

All that said, there are many reasons why someone who is polyamorous (or not) might want companionship and not sex. They might need or want affection, kissing and cuddling, but have promised the full monty so to speak to their primary partner. They might enjoy dating many men, but they find avoiding intercourse to be the safest sex.

A person might have genital herpes or HPV and hope to find lovers who will be okay with them keeping their knickers on. A monogamous person could find a mate with the same condition, but some poly folks feel they’re putting others at risk if they’re with many partners. She may be a pre-operative trans woman who doesn’t want her cock in the story.

Maybe she’s more turned on by restraint or attention, or she has a primary commitment with an arrangement to satisfy her social needs. Maybe she is in treatment for or recently went through something serious like cancer, and needs companionship to bolster her health and confidence but isn’t up for sex.

So you see, I don’t know her answer, but there are in fact a million reasons why a poly person might not be looking for sexual intercourse right now.

Let us know what you find out!

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