Q: Dear Jamie. I’m definitely polyamorous by nature but it’s hard enough for me to date one person at a time, because I’m so shy. I’ve tried going to a few poly play parties, but everyone was so extroverted.
I’ve always been a quiet reserved person, but that doesn’t mean I’m repressed, or that I’m wired for monogamy! I can be very passionate, and I have love to give to many women. I just don’t like crowds or a lot of noise and commotion. What advice do you have for shy guys who want to explore the polysphere? – Marcus, 28
A: Hi Marcus. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being poly, it’s that it takes all kinds. We are all ages, all cultures, all personality types, all interest groups, and both kinky and vanilla. We don’t have to always pathologize our nature and try to be someone else.
There’s a tendency to try to make shy people “come out of their shell.” One of my besties is a quiet, intense, shy guy and once when I was trying to convince him to come with me to a big party, he said, “I’m not in a shell. Just because I’m not like you doesn’t mean I need to be fixed.”
Whether you’re monogamous or poly doesn’t matter—the issue is that it’s harder for shy men to meet women because dating requires meeting and greeting, and conversations with strangers. To date means making contact with many in order to choose a few or one.
The good news is, being a quiet or reserved person doesn’t mean you can’t talk to other people. Most shy people just don’t like aimless chitchat and flitting from one person to another. They prefer meaningful conversation with a small group or one on one.
In my experience, this is what many people looking for love and sex want too!
Poly play parties can be super fun, but they’re not the best venue for shy people, just like a loud party at a nightclub might not be the best birthday. A late-night walk through the city, or a quiet drink sounds like a better way to get to know someone new.
Take advantage of email and text. Many shy people express themselves best behind the scenes, in writing.
Be up front in your online dating profile, finding the best way to phrase your issues, concerns, ideas. You can explain that you are a quieter person who doesn’t thrive on chaos and loud noises. You would like to meet poly people who share or value these traits. You can express the kinds of dates you prefer—a visit to an art gallery, a hot hotel hookup—and the kinds you don’t want, like noisy clubs.
You don’t have to “overcome” your own nature, but it doesn’t hurt to develop skills that don’t come easily. Loud extroverted folks should learn to listen better. Shy people can learn to initiate contact.
With a bit of practice, self-awareness, and the realization that many poly people prefer tight-knit relationships with a few over a life of hopping from one date to another, you’ll find the dating confidence you need to meet the women you are looking for!
Are you a shy kind of guy, or someone with a shy girl? Tell us how you navigate the polysphere!