Q&A: Is It Time to Quit Polyamory?

Dear Jamie,

I’ve been poly for years and enjoyed having open relationships. I like being with different people sexually, and experimenting with various activities to keep my partners turned on, but recent events made me rethink how I feel about all this.

I’ve been with Lily for years and we are happy and committed, and enjoy other partners ourselves or together in group sex. Lily has a new boy toy, a young twenty-three-year old guy she met in a night school course (we’re in our forties.) I’m fine with her having the time of her life, but I don’t want to personally be with him sexually.

Lily has always enjoyed telling me about her adventures while I jerk off, but when she started to tell me about her new BFs sissy fetish—how he likes her to use a strap-on dildo to penetrate his ass while she degrades his manliness—I started feeling sick about the whole dynamic. It didn’t turn me on at all.

All this time Lily and I liked swinging and pretty mild kinks for the most part. I am not comfortable with this harder fetish stuff, and now I’m wondering if I’ve been wrong all along about being polyamorous. What should I do? – Kenneth, 40

Thanks for your honest letter. Your question is one only you can answer, but I can help sort things out with you so that you can make the best decision.

Consider whether it’s polyamory that’s troubling you, or this particular kind of kinkiness that your partner is involved in. I think it’s the kink, since you said you have enjoyed swinging together for a long time without any issues arising.

How long lasting or central do you think this new relationship is? Ask Lily outright if she gets off on this kind of kink, or if it’s just come up now in the context of her new lover. We all experiment with different kinks when a specific person turns us on, and it might not be something of lasting significance.

If she was keeping secret some latent desires to sodomize you with a big strap-on, consider whether this is as horrible as you feel it is, or might be fun and exciting after all. There’s the old saying: don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Many men do find strap-on sex and role play in humiliation quite erotic. It doesn’t mean it has to take over from your usual routines or fantasies, but you might surprise yourself.

If you aren’t at all open to these kinks, however, don’t feel that you should be. You shouldn’t have to apologize for what turns you on and what doesn’t, anymore than kinky people should.

When you’ve thought all this stuff through, you have to decide what it means and what actions you should take. You can let Lily’s passion play itself out. You can ask her about a finite timeline for her sideshow relationship. You can ask her to enjoy herself, but to keep it to herself. You can ask her to give it up. You can leave her. Or you can leave poly and try to find a partner who never has fantasies or temptations that make you uncomfortable.

Only you can tell which of these options seems ridiculous and which seem right. Best of luck with all of it!

Do you have some advice to share? Please leave a comment!

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