All Women And Never Men: A Rant On A Polyamory I Dislike

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 8.442% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

“Baby, we’re poly; you can date all the women you want.  But no guys.”
That’s the kind of polyamory that drives me crazy.
Look, if your guy is such a brobdignagian studmuffin that after shuddering in the shadow of His tremendous cock you need no others, then great!  As the woman, you’ve made the choice not to seek other menstuffs.  I support that.  What I do not support is the polyamory model where the guy, majestically, allows his woman to date all the chicks she wants, but never men.
And it’s fucking everywhere.  As a blogger with a reasonably sizable audience, I usually enstate a cooldown time between “a friend of mine does something that vexes me” and “the day I blog about it,” just so they don’t feel like I’m picking on them.  But it never stops.  Every other fucking week, I have a good pal who meets a guy who’s wonderfully encouraging, because he wants her to have all the loving relationships she can handle – as long as they have boobs!  And no penis.  That penis is scary, y’all.
It’s so everywhere, and I just fucking hate it.
Now, not every poly relationship is the same, and I’m sure that YOUR poon-but-no-peen relationship is based on factual evidence that men are the crushers of dreams.  But what I usually see, when I look at these restrictive gardens, is a monstrous selfishness: Oh, you can have all of the sex you want, so long as it turns me on.  I think lesbian sex is the spice, and maybe if I’m lucky I’ll end up as the filling in your slut sandwich, so go on and have your fun.  Besides, we all know that women’s relationships aren’t nearly as deep or threatening as guy relationships, so it’s fun to indulge you – it’s like watching two kittens play!  You girls are so cute.
The reason I hate it is because that’s a form of polyamory, but more often than not it’s one that’s selfish, misogynistic, and dysfunctional.  It’s often a way of saying, “Everything in this relationship needs to serve my needs.”  Because I’ve talked to a lot of those women while their man is out on a date with a new girlfriend, and it’s not like they don’t get the usual poly-quivers of jealousy and terror (as these dude-types are invariably a) arrow-straight and b) always willing to find just one more woman to fuck, as long as she’s cute).  The women sit at home, not at all turned on by this new potential threat to their relationship, trying bravely to be fair because, “Well, this is an open relationship, this balancing of affections is just part of how it works.”
Except it doesn’t.  Does he ever sit at home, worried about her on a date with a guy?  No.  It’s a one-way street because when she’s flirting with a hottie male at the club he gets all OMG HIS COCK WILL SUPPLANT MINE, and that shit is just too terrible for any man to deal with – so no, just fool around with harmless little women.  (If you’ve read some of my previous rants on how dumb guys approach penises, you’ll know what I think of the whole ubercock routine.)
Look, my wife dates other men.  Is it always easy on my ego?  No.  But even the best polyamory involves a few inadvertent shots to the self-esteem.  There are people who will tell you that good polyamory involves never being jealous or insecure, and I’ll say fuck those inhuman robots right in their crankcase.  Poly has a lot of benefits when it works – but even the best of relationships will occasionally have these monkeybrain down times of, “If she’s having a really good time with someone else, can she really love me?”
Yes.  Yes, she can.  But walling off a whole fucking sex just so you don’t have to have your dark night of the soul is selfish.  Just go fucking monogamous, dude – there’s nothing wrong with that.  But no, you want your hot threesomes, and you want to sex up as many chicks as you can, and she’s conveniently bisexual so you can just let her have her explorations as long as it’s not threatening to you.
I shall repeat: If you’re the woman, and you really don’t want any men, then I say that’s great.  (As witness this excellent essay a friend of mine wrote on her trouble with “The ‘H’ Word” over on FetLife, which should be required reading.)  But if the reason you don’t want any men is because he’d melt down in jealousy, then that’s a marker of potential problem – and one where, in my experience, the woman will jump through hoops to avoid bruising his ego, but when he eventually finds someone who threatens her, suddenly he’s all “Baby, you’ve got to learn to be more open-minded!”
Generally, that means, “You have to be more open-minded about doing only things that make me happy.”  And “All the sacrifices in this poly are going to be yours.”  And “Women can’t really get attached to other women in a meaningful way.”  And I hate that.  Hate all of it.  Hate it, hate it, hate it.

23 Comments

  1. Eli
    Jul 16, 2012

    Perhaps in return for “letting” their female partners be with all the women they want the guys can be allowed to be with all the men they want. If that number happens to be zero since they consider themselves straight that’s their choice, and if they want any other partners they’ll just have to open their mind 😉

    • freestaterocker
      Jan 17, 2014

      You, sir, are a genius. I like the cut of your jib. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    • The Misogynist
      Sep 25, 2014

      Did you really just pull the: “Being gay is a lifestyle choice” card? The tea party would love you!

  2. Baily
    Jul 16, 2012

    I understand this rant far better than I should. I absolutely hate the one-penis-policy and everything that it represents.

  3. Milla
    Jul 19, 2012

    Thank you. Thank you ever so much. And you know what? For the one interesting AND willing woman I might meet along the road I am approached by a dozen guys. Lesbian/bi poly women are not that abundant, not at least around these quarters

  4. Jen
    Jul 27, 2012

    I’m a horrible person, because I am so freakin’ paranoid that I almost have a one pussy policy…

  5. Craig
    Sep 18, 2012

    I know too many people like that. Most of them won’t explicitly make it a ‘policy’ but will continually criticize the other men (only to the women, of course).
    It’s manipulation and bad poly all in one package!

  6. Flamingougly
    Mar 25, 2013

    I appreciate your post & have had many discussions with women about this very topic. I am currently in a “discussion” to put it lightly about my own polyamorous relationship with its instituted “one-penis policy.” He tries to tell me things like “you can do what you want, but I’ll find you less attractive” and then when I do, and tell him about it as I should, he blows up & picks on anything that makes me look like I was being disingenuous despite having done the same things himself (such as telling him the following day I actually had sex rather than that night when he’s also out on a date & I’ve said I was going out on a date earlier that evening). This insecurity & inequity drives me up a wall! He also says because it’s easier for me to get laid, it’s unfair for him. All of these things are ridiculous arguments, in that case it’s like saying you can attempt to see many more people because you’re unattractive & have a harder time getting any. I’m so frustrated beyond belief at rehashing the same arguments, I would like to know if anyone has any suggestions for overcoming this kind of barrier?

    • Rowan Badger
      Jan 14, 2014

      You may not want to hear this, but the barrier I’d be looking to suggest you overcome in this case is the one between you and the outside of this relationship.
      This isn’t about him overcoming insecurity, or jealousy, or any normal, realistic pitfalls of a poly relationship. This is about him controlling you. He sets up unrealistic expectations and double standards — because, be honest with me, if you’d called him while he was on that date, to let him know you were going to or had had sex, how likely is it he’d have blown up at you for intruding on his time with the other woman and accused you of ‘ruining’ his evening?
      I’m just an armchair on the internet, so to speak, but your post manages, in 206 words, to throw up enough red flags to hold a semaphore convention. You need to do a serious self-evaluation here, and that needs to include a frank exploration of the possibility that he is emotionally abusing or at the very least manipulating you. There is passive aggression, there is sexual control, there is shaming, and there is the underlying threat that whenever you step wrong, you should be punished. None of these belongs in a healthy relationship.
      I don’t want to frighten or alarm you, but if he has a short temper, or if he tends to get more aggressive when he drinks or uses his intoxicant of choice, or if he has ever made you feel physically unsafe, even for a moment, the likelihood that he will hit or rape you as punishment for an imagined sin someday is, well, statistically significant. And even if he never turns physical, a man who claims to love you but tears you down and shames you when you try to act as his equal can damage your psyche badly.
      Now, if there are things here that you’re not saying, like that this is a three-week blip in a long ten-year relationship of loving, supportive equality, then counseling is an option. But unless there are some serious mitigating circumstances, just walk before it gets any worse.

  7. Joseph
    Aug 2, 2013

    Very good article! I’ve listened to some Podcast on polyamory and decided that it’s just not for me. Seems to be a lot of selfishness on both sides and no less complicated or problematic than “Vanilla”, monogamous relationships.
    What’s also unfair for the women is that bisexualityl seems to be mandatory.
    What a woman is ONLY a Cock fan?

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 7, 2013

      Yeah, the whole “let monogamy be monogamy” was a separate rant. I know I’ve done it.

    • TheFerrett
      Aug 7, 2013

      Sorry; not monogamy; heterosexuality! I’m too tired.

    • Joreth
      Jan 18, 2014

      Since polyamory is “no less complicated or problematic than “Vanilla”, monogamous relationships”, it doesn’t make any sense to me to give up on polyamory or choose monogamy for that reason. One of my pet peeves is when people see bad examples of polyamory and blame the polyamory but who see equally bad examples of monogamy and blame the individuals but monogamy gets a free pass. One should choose not to be poly because one simply does not love more than one person at a time, not because there are some jerks out there who call what they do “polyamory”.
      There are also plenty of straight women who are poly and plenty of men who are not insecure OPP enforcers. Since I’ve been actively poly for 14 years, and I’m straight, that’s 14 years of dating men who are cool with me dating other men.

  8. TDN
    Mar 9, 2014

    Don’t like OPP, don’t do it. There are thousands of blogs written by frustrated people. While the OPP is living it up, you are here weeping on your keyboard. OPP isn’t a law, it isn’t forced, and it isn’t your business. As long as it involves consenting adults, and everyone is thriving, there is no harm. Sounds like you are distorting this issue and trying to push a misandrist agenda. Fair doesn’t always mean equal and what works for some may not work for others. How arrogant for you to assume the role of the woman in the OPP, completely dismissing her voice and desire to stay in an OPP. There are some OPP’s in which the woman wants other women and so the man compromises expanding the relationship by having FMF.

    • TheFerrett
      Mar 10, 2014

      Fair doesn’t always mean equal and what works for some may not work for others. How arrogant for you to assume the role of the woman in the OPP, completely dismissing her voice and desire to stay in an OPP.
      Nope. What I outlined explicitly here is an unfair situation where the woman is often not happy. Of course there are some one-penis policies where the woman chooses, in which case it’s clearly not what I described here.
      Basically, you’re the kind of idiot who says something moronic like, “As long as it involves consenting adults, and everyone is thriving, there is no harm!” while overlooking the examples I provided in the essay where it does harm – most likely because you’ve got one and want everyone to buy into it.
      And hey, maybe your OPP works. It does for some. But the blitheringly dumb ability you’ve demonstrated here to overlook places where it breaks down to go, “It’s all good, mang!” as though OPP was universally a balm to the world indicate you need some recto-cranial surgery stat.
      It’s not a law. But your asinine thought that hey, it’s not a law, so you can’t complain! breaks down when you consider it’s not a law for me to post about my dislike of a common practice, either… and yet suddenly when you decide to complain, it’s a valorous thing to do. Be consistent, be smart, be elsewhere.

  9. polyinjersey
    Mar 12, 2014

    I am tired of these my poly is better than your poly posts. Here is a simple set of questions. If answering NO to any of them. I would say you have no credibility to even cast judgement on many other relationships, which is exactly what you are doing right now. And simply casting judgement is harmful and against what I consider to be Poly Ideals.
    1, Have you lost your wife or long time partner to a male-friend?
    2, Have you had to help your wife or long term partner through a pregnancy (or pregnancy scare) that wasn’t your doing?
    3, Have you had to deal with a STD scare brought into your circles from the ‘statistically much higher risk’ cock-sex?
    4, In all your years can you honestly say navigating through your partners dating of other men is just easy as her dating women?
    5, Are you a totally straight guy? Meaning do you feel different about issues involving men because you are sometimes attracted to them?
    While it seems like you know your stuff, I really tire of all these posts proclaiming the poly purity of relationships that have yet to be tested in ways other people have. And if you have been tested more power to you. Instead of cutting down other men who are trying, or don’t even yet have the emotional equipment to tackle these issues, Why not write a post about how to navigate these complicated emotions and offer real-world actionable steps and input that might help.
    Of course does not give the ‘okay’ for manipulation, jealous control double standards etc. But you cannot paint everyone with the same brush.

    • TheFerrett
      Mar 12, 2014

      Why not write a post about how to navigate these complicated emotions and offer real-world actionable steps and input that might help.
      I’ve written hundreds of them. Try looking through my archives sometime.
      And frankly, I’ve seen the harm caused to women by the kind of bullshit OPP policies I’ve described. Now, I’m not denying there’s more risk with a guy, but look at how bullshit your first question is. “Have you ever lost your wife to a guy?” Because, you know, it’s perfectly okay to lose her to a woman, because – as I stated – dudes like this don’t see women as a threat. And you just pretty much showcased that.
      Admittedly, the concern of STDs and pregnancy is always an issue, and one worth raising. I’m glad you did. But the idea that “Hey, unless you’ve been through all of these, you have no right to cast judgment on a constant issue among your friends and acquaintances that many of them later wind up deeply regretting” is bullshit. When I posted this on fet, I had literally hundreds of comments from women who once supported the OPP, and now were thrilled to be out of it.
      There are OPP policies that work, of course. (There’s everything that works.) But the kind of OPP I described is usually a horrid power play that writes off female-female interactions as lesser, and that’s what you unconsciously did right at the start. So I’m not giving a whole lotta points here.

  10. O Town
    Apr 3, 2014

    Over the years I have had contact with many Poly folk- and what I see is that for 90% of them, their choice of lifestyle causes them an enormous amount of drama, jealousy, and heartbreak. Of course, that success rate is about equal to that of my monogamous friends, so it seems that neither of these options is working out well for people.
    The answer? I have no freaking clue…

  11. Bryluen
    Jun 18, 2014

    I am a bisexual woman who has been actively poly for the last ten years. My previous male primaries both had the same OPP. If I ever even mentioned that I was interested in other men I was immediately slut shamed. In my current primary, I have a husband who is kind, understanding, encouraging and supportive. We both have multiple female partners and at the moment what we call COPP: chosen one penis policy. My beloved gives me everything I want and need from a male partner. This all comes with the agreement that if either of us wants a new partner, either male or female, we sit down and talk about it. The OPP can work for some. It doesn’t, and shouldn’t, work for all, but it can work for some.

  12. thehaunted
    Sep 25, 2014

    Many good points made here. As a Dominant, I am happy for my sub to see anyone she chooses, so long as case-specific rules are adhered to. I trust her completely and this is a great way of showing it.
    Yep, sometimes it’ll sting – and as the author above suggested, this is not always a bad thing. I’m a firm believer that control of one’s own emotions is essential in a Dom – you simply set realistic, achievable parameters that work for you.
    And for the record, I don’t have multiple partners – only her 🙂 She is all I need 😀

  13. chickadee123
    Sep 25, 2014

    This perfectly describes what is going on with my marriage right now. I asked my husband why is it I can date other women(and I’m straight) but I can’t date other men, especially when he has the ability to date whomever he chooses. His reply? “Why do you need/want anyone other than me?” It is beyond frustrating.

  14. SickRose
    Sep 25, 2014

    I’m late to the party (followed a recent piece you wrote that linked here) but as a woman who happens to be in an ‘I can date/fuck other women only’ relationship…I love this. I’m one of those rare oddities that you mention. I actually chose the boundary, not him. I’m bisexual but I generally prefer women and I really don’t want a man besides him. However, I have seen so many poly relationships utterly fail because they do exactly what you describe here. Every time I have thought the same thing which is that if these men magically think a bisexual woman won’t get just as involved with a woman as a man, they’re deluded. If both partners can’t trust each other and have their needs met, what’s the point?

    • TheFerrett
      Sep 26, 2014

      And if you’re happy because you chose it, that’s awesome!

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