How Poly People Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Holidays can be complicated for anyone, with so many families competing for time that is often limited to one or two days. Valentine’s Day comes with its own baggage on top of that and tends to be one of the most reviled holidays.

I used to hate it too, feeling forced into romance or a relationship by commercial interests instead of personal ones. I’m less cynical now, knowing I can make what I want out of a day that celebrates erotic love. That said, it can be difficult to juggle social expectations when I have many lovers!

I wanted to know what other people do, so I asked.

“Valentine’s Day belongs to my husband, just like our wedding anniversary does. Whether or not we have other lovers and relationships does not detract or distract from the fact that we are primary partners and our love is the cornerstone of our lives. We don’t mind the cheese and commercial crap because we ignore it.

We simply accept that this is the day the world has put aside to celebrate romantic love, so we enjoy it. We both dress up and go to a candlelit restaurant, drink a lot of wine, and spend hours making out on the sofa when we get home. It’s a fantastic day!” – Greta, 40

“Valentine’s Day is the day I give the middle finger to traditional ideas about marriage and romance. I invite all of my poly lovers, whoever I’m involved with at that time, to a romantic dinner out of town and whoever is game shows up. (We leave town so any participant with secrets doesn’t have to fear being seen or running into neighbors or family.)

The idea is that we all flirt, neck, talk, and get romantic just like a couple would. At the same time, we raise a few eyebrows among wait staff and other diners—it’s a lot of fun.” – Mike, 27

“With six kids, two dads, and four wives in our circle, we’re busy farming, not worrying about a holiday imposed on us by corporate America.” – Gerald, 36

“I celebrate Valentine’s Day solo, even if I have one, two, three or more partners at the time. It’s when I annually remind myself that the idea of polyamory for me is to be faithful to the most important person in my life, to my own ideas and ideals, and to my own sexual needs and identity.

Because the holiday is a specific time to think about love and relationships, I’ve turned that inside out a bit to have a day set aside just for me. I think about my relationships and my relationship with myself—examine what needs changing, what I’m happy with sexually or not, what dramas I want out of, and whether I’m putting too much or too little time into a particular relationship. It’s like an annual check in with the most important lover in my life.” – Antonio, 29

“I LOVE Valentine’s Day. I plan sex and breakfast with one girlfriend, sex and lunch with another, sex and dinner with a third, and then hope for an orgy with all of them at night, wearing red leather and feeding each other chocolates. The last part is a fantasy lol—but having sex with three different women in one day is such a turn on that I’m hot all year long waiting for it.” – Paul, 31

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