The battle between polyamorists and swingers

Recently I was reading a polyamory message board I subscribe to and came across a post from a couple just introducing themselves to the group. This couple is looking for a poly relationship but have been discouraged because as they put it: “All that’s out there is swingers and polygamists”.

Wow. This is a stark reminder of the constant battle and differing views between swingers and polyamorists, both thinking the other is “wrong” or “unethical” or “immoral”.

See, many swingers get their panties all in a wad at the mere mention of feelings and intimacy developing between play partners. They recoil like a surprised snake ready to strike back. And often they do. I can’t tell you the number of times Mrs. Scribbens and I have been on the other side of a scared swinger loudly proclaiming that if feelings were ever to develop between their spouse and someone esle how it would end right there and yadda, yadda, yadda.

Of course this reaction is based solely in fear and insecurity. It’s the fear that if feelings develop they may get left for the other person or not be number one in their partner’s life or that their partner may only love them half as much.

On the other side is the polyamorists. Some seem to think they are an evolved species, far above the lowly, morally bankrupt and unethical swinger because they “love” their partners, not just have sex with them. It’s an arrogant and self-righteous stance taken by some to justify having sex outside their primary relationship; it’s okay because they are “in love” with their third.

Of course this reaction is based on the concept that only sex within a committed relationship is permittable, so they seek and develop several committed relationships to justify having a sexually open relationship. It’s also based in their deep-rooted beliefs from their upbringing that what they are doing is not right, so they proclaim their “correctness” loudly and proudly, demoting some in hopes of elevating themselves in the eyes of others and thus justifying their beliefs to themselves.

The fact is that there is quite an overlap between swinging and polyamory. Imagine if you will two circles, overlapping at one side. In one circle you have the pure swingers and in the other you have the pure polyamorists. However in that overlap area are the swingers that are open to polyamory and the polyamorists who are also open to the purely recreational sex that swinging provides.

Mrs. Scribbens and I fall in that overlap.

We see many other couples in this overlap also. Swingers who become “exclusive” with another couple or a single for quite a while (say 3 – 12 months) and polyamorists who practice what I call “serial polyamory” where they are in a committed relationship with another single or couple for a while (say 3 – 12 months) than move-on to another couple or single. The swinger couple won’t admit they are practicing polyamory in even it’s basic form and the polyamorists won’t admit that they are swinging in even the loosest meaning of the word. But the fact is they are both doing the same thing, just calling the same horse by a different name, and in some case throwing rocks at each other for doing it the way they do because it’s “wrong”, “immoral” or “unethical”.

Mrs. Scribbens and I subscribe to the idea that “Whatever gets you through the night’s alright.” Any form a happy, healthy, loving adult relationship takes is “right” because it’s right for the people involved. Nobody has a right to throw rocks at the other proclaiming that their way of living and managing relationships is any more right than someone else’s. And the people that do so are just as bad as the “traditional” relationship folks that anger them so for judging their alternative lifestyle.

For us, Gus from My Big Fat Greek Wedding sums it up best: “Here tonight, we have, ah, apple and orange. We all different, but in the end, we all fruit.”