Is polyamory a sexual identity or not?

I’m going to add to the “Is being polyamorous a sexual identity or not?” debate. Lovers are gonna love and haters are gonna hate, so here we go.

My opinion: Being polyamorous is not a sexual identity. I think that what gender you are sexually attracted to is sexual identity (gay, straight, bi, queer, etc.). How many people you want to be having a sexual relationship with at any given time is a relationship type identity or a relationship choice. How someone identifies depends on the person because polyamorous can be something that you innately are or something you do.

For instance, I have never thought monogamously. Not for one moment in my post-puberty life. From the moment I started “noticing” girls I have never felt monogamous-minded. In high school I almost always had more than one girlfriend and they knew I had other girlfriends and sometimes they even knew each other, and in one case they were best friends.

After high school I tried to do the socially expected thing and get married and be monogamous. Sometimes I wasn’t so good at it, and when I was I was miserable, feeling like part of me was missing. I wasn’t being true to myself by being true to the path society expected of me.

So for me, being polyamorous is an identity. I am a straight male (sexual identity) who is innately polyamorous (lifestyle/relationship identity). I don’t “feel” monogamous, and I have never expected it from a partner unless it was agreed upon (such as in my first marriage). I didn’t have to bend my thinking to be polyamorous, it’s just who I am. So it is a type of identity and it’s a valid identity.

However, some think monogamously but try to be polyamorous for their partner or feel it’s how they want to live, even though being polyamorous isn’t a deep-down burning desire and need. They have to change their thinking to be polyamorous. These people “do” polyamory.

This is why I think that being polyamorous can be both an identity or something you do, it’s just not a sexual identity.

  • Several folks have started calling polyamory a relationship orientation. I think it fits as a way to describe polyamory as being an identity, while differentiating it from the sexual identity spectrum.

    I’d also like to note that there is another way people ‘do’ polyamory. Just like there are people who are bisexual, there are people can be happy in either monogamy or polyamory, depending on the people they are in a relationship with.

  • Interesting article, but is it not possible that you’re romance-flexible? Simply because it’s more of a choice for you doesn’t mean it is for everyone, right? I felt like I was trapped and living a lie when I’ve been monogamous – just the same as when I was pretending to be heterosexual. For me, and for many others, it is definitely an orientation.

  • nericay

    Cool, I ID as polyamorous as well, because I’ve never understood monogamous in my life. If someone asks what that means I tell them I’m interested in having multiple partners once I’m ready to date. I don’t consider it a sexual orientation, no. I don’t consider myself queer for being polyamorous, no. I’m queer for being polysexual, rather. But it’s still an identity to me.