Talking Openly about Polyamory and Sexuality

Inappropriate Conversation, Appropriate Conversationalists

I was at a sexuality conference last weekend, and it was amazing. There was lots of polyamory talk, pornography talk, BDSM education, trans/queer workshops and discussion, impact/energy play lectures, and even a sexy storytelling segment. It was marvelous to attend.

But I have to say… when I spoke, I did not speak shyly. I was proud of my polyamory, my work as a pornographer, and as a sexually liberated man.

And by the end of the conference, there was a running joke being told in my name: “yeah, we know you do porn and are very open, sexually!”

It was funny, but at the same time, I found it a bit unsettling that, even in a sex-positive environment, there can STILL be people who are not as equally prepared to listen to the level of sexuality and intimacy you may want to bring to the table. And this discrepancy has to be addressed, or the miscommunication and intention of the gathering may be totally missed, and the elephant in the room may stay unseen.

Where is it appropriate to speak about your polyamorous lifestyle? And what level of your self do you choose to reveal to your peers?

Can you speak about ALL your relationships and desires and dreams with your friends? With your peers? With your family? With your enemies?

It’s not very often that we are given the space to express EVERY level of passion and hope and sex and fantasy we feel. And this can really be problematic with particular people, especially those who are not used to internalizing and compartmentalizing their emotions and intentions.

To find people who both SAY they can hear your truth, and who REALLY can listen to it without judgement or shame or blame, is rare.

Even our own polyamorous friends may not be in the same place or near the same amount of connections and partners, and this can lead to a miscommunication gap. You think you are able to express certain secrets and particular truths to someone who you think is comfortable and capable of accepting your reality, but be careful. This may not be the case. Polyamory is an infinitely fluid lifestyle, and it’s possible that no two people are practicing the same type of polyamory.

I ended up feeling a bit weird and distanced from my polyamorous community to be honest when a few people declared it hilarious that I was taking pride in my lack of sexual shame, and that I was articulating my pornographic career when appropriate, while also NOT promoting myself. I didn’t appreciate the comedic tone taken by some people in response to my comments and contributions, and it was quite the revelation to learn that, even amongst polyamorous, sex-positive and friendly people, there can be minor discrepancies of perception and understanding, and even basic judgement. I didn’t feel ostrasized or like my words were expunged, but I did feel misunderstood and underacknowledged while also feeling accepted and heard. It was interesting.

A few tips…

Just because you are with polyamorous people, doesn’t mean you will agree on everything!

Be aware of this, and act accordingly.

Don’t expect everyone you think lives like you to understand you.

Just expect yourself to be at peace with whatever you choose to share.

Let them negotiate the difference between who you are and who they think you should be!

Polyamory should never be something to repress, when you are around those who understand it!

Speak up, express your emotions, and shout it out loud!

In love,
Addi Stewart

Find poly people to connect with at!

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