I know I can – with the right person – be polyamorous. So I may identify as a poly person – but it does not mean all of my relationship are poly. I am more poly-capable than poly-all-the-time.
Poly means many. Amorous means love. Many loves is, at the root, what that word means. And while I may care about people – it does not mean I love them all.
You see, it’s like calling yourself a slut – it doesn’t mean everyone gets to ride that ride – it just means you can be a slut when you choose to be.
Same goes with poly. I discovered I can be poly but I don’t seek out poly. Why? Because it requires a degree of chemistry that isn’t simply found in a couple of dates and a couple of play parties. I have some great play partners. I enjoy being roughed up by them – I enjoy our energy – and I enjoy those moments in the scene. But there are things that would not allow for a relationship outside of that. And I’m fine with that. It’s all I need – and all they want.
And there are some friends I have that I consider part of my family – and who I consider myself poly with. I love them. I care for them. I have been through lots of shit with them. And things continue to evolve. I may not scene with them or have sex with them (often) or anything that makes it a boyfriend-girlfriend situation – but it is more than just a friend situation.
What I occasionally see my fellow self-identified poly people do is try to make eveyrthing poly. It’s like Poly becomes the lowest common denominator for them in terms of how they approach relationships instead of something less complex like friendship. This puts whoever they are with at an unfair advantage as they are entering into a poly situation without knowing if they are either poly or even capable of loving the situation.
It is like the label dictates the behavior and actions instead of the actions and behavior dictating the label. And, it’s like the label being permanently affixed instead of realizing it may be what is right now and not in the future.
So what do we do with these labels – like poly, like bisexual, like heterosexual, like pansexual?
We use them when it makes sense – but we should never allow ourselves to be defined by them.
They are things we are capable of – but they should never limit our growth – limit our possibilities – and limit our abilities in a situation.
And if you choose a label, don’t just use it – define it for you. I am very clear, for example, that I am a bottom, not a submissive. Can I be submissive? Yes. Do I look for submissive situations? No. When someone negotiates with me, I am clear about this with them. Want submissive with me, let’s play and see how things go. But do not demand it of me because I am not submissive.
Define it for you – but don’t let it define you.
Just like a label on a jar does not define what is in the jar – it simply names what is already there.
That’s what any label you use – in swinging, in kink, in BDSM, in an open relationship of any sort – should do for you.