Episode 127: Polyamory for Straight Dudes

Giving my best recap of what straight men might face when it comes to the lifestyle of polyamory.

That’s what’s on this week’s episode of Non-Monogamy Help.

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Thank you to Chris Albery-Jones at albery-jones.com for the theme music.

Podcast transcript

My [girlfriend] has hinted at a poly[amorous] type relationship. I have never been in one and she has. I would like to hear from a straight male and the experiences good and bad of this culture or lifestyle. I am open to learning, just not easy to find info.


So I'm a little bit confused as to why you have contacted me because I'm not a straight man. I'm not straight and I'm not a man. So I don't know why you're asking me about that perspective because I can't give you that perspective. What I can say from my experiences of… Have I dated straight men? I don't know if I have. I think that the men– I dated a man who – and I don't know if this person identifies as a man anymore – but I have dated someone who at the time identified as a straight man.

But anyway, my experiences are and just from the things that I've learned is that whether or not the culture or lifestyle suits you really depends on what kind of straight male you are. If you are a kind of straight man that very much is invested in stereotypical concepts of masculinity, stereotypical concepts of heterosexuality, and gender roles, then polyamory might be a struggle for you.

And that's mostly because when you break it down polyamory is specifically allowing both partners involved in a situation or all partners involved in a situation to date and sleep with and romantically be involved with as many people as they would like to be involved with. And men who are super super into gender roles, super super into what they think is traditional masculinity (which I would argue is not but whatever) don't tend to like the idea of the woman that they're with sleeping with other men.

And they tend to have these sort of rules where the woman that they're dating is not allowed to sleep with other men, but only other women and whilst that can work for some other women, and they don't tend to– there are sometimes women who don't just want the headache of arguing against that kind of like weird – I mean, it's not super weird. First of all, I understand why some men feel this way.

I understand that it's – and I didn't understand this actually, until I had a partner who was bisexual and was dating people of all different types of genders. And I realized that when somebody — when I shared a biological commonality with someone – it was a lot easier for me to compare myself directly to them. And I experienced a lot more anxiety than I did when my partner dated somebody who had less biological comparisons with me.

So I don't necessarily always think that when straight men in polyamorous relationships want what's called a one penis policy – where they only want their usually female partner to only date other women and not men (which has like a whole transphobic problem with it) but because they don't tend to, you know – I don't always think that it's because they don't see women as a threat or because they think women are not as “dangerous” partners. 

I think it sometimes it has to do with – it's easy to compare yourself directly to somebody and make that kind of contrast and then have a lot more fear when you have similar setups, let's say. But in general, I think that that tends to be something that a lot of straight men who are super invested in stereotypical gender roles are – have struggles with is that the women that they are dating, are allowed to sleep with other people and they tend to have a lot of feelings about that because of all of the stupid shit that society has taught them.

I think also that straight men will find it difficult to find partners sometimes because on a basic level – unless you are living in a city with a huge polyamorous community, generally speaking a lot of people who are in polyamorous relationships and are trying to date other people are trying to date other people who are, you know, not aware of polyamory and to put it bluntly, when there is a straight woman who is looking for men to date, she tends to find an easier time getting attention. 

Not necessarily getting quality relationships but getting attention because even if she is cheating, some of the guys that are giving her that attention, won't care. And of course, it obviously depends on the woman and lots of different situations. It's not the same for every single woman. I think for straight men, they tend to find a harder time because there are a lot of people that assume that polyamorous people aren't actually polyamorous. That they're actually cheating. And there aren't a lot of women who are interested in helping a man cheat but there probably are a lot of men who don't care about helping a woman cheat. I mean, it's a gross oversimplification.

That's not true in every single case. But I do tend to notice that straight men have a harder time finding partners within polyamory in general, not necessarily always. I think there are different challenges for different people. But that is something that I find. So yeah, I mean, I'm not a straight man. I thought that was fairly obvious by my name being on I mean, I don't know. I could be a straight man named Lola. I ain’t judging, but I think that I identify myself on my – I have no idea, but I'm not a straight man. 

But those are the things that I think that you may struggle with, depending on what kind of straight man you are. If you're the type of straight man who is uninterested in societal gender roles and expectations, if you're open minded, and you don't necessarily care about things like that, then you might have an easier time. But at the end of the day, like the main things that I tend to ask people when they have some interest in polyamory is – first question that I tend to say is could you monogamously date someone who has a time intensive career or hobby or does not intend on spending a large amount of their time with you?

Because at a basic level, regardless of what type of polyamory your girlfriend has an interest in, the sort of commonality between all types is that your partner doesn't spend as much time with you as they might do in a monogamous situation unless you were monogamous to a person who maybe had a time intensive career. If you don't even want to engage in a monogamous relationship with someone who won't be spending the majority of their time with you or as much time with you as you'd like then I think you would struggle with a polyam relationship outside of any emotional aspects of it. 

Because on a very basic level agreeing to non-monogamy is agreeing to a situation where your partner doesn't spend as much time with you as they might do in a monogamous relationship. So that's the first thing and then second thing I would say is like, is there any interest that you have as an individual in polyamory and to think about your ideal polyamorous situation? Do you actually have an interest in developing multiple romantic relationships with other people? 

Do you have an interest in sexual experiences with other people because even though polyamory is specifically about multiple romantic relationships, there are plenty of people who prefer to have one strong emotional and romantic connection with somebody and then have lots of different types of sexual relationships with other people that aren't necessarily as strong emotionally as the other relationship. But do you have some interest in any of that?

Or maybe – Are you super independent and like your alone time and so you don't mind that your girlfriend may not spend the vast majority of her time with you? So all kinds of considerations, all kinds of things to think about. I think you could check out my 101 article if you'd like to get a rough idea of what you might be interested in. 

However, that's my best approximation of what I can give you as someone who's not a straight man, who is a non-binary agender person who is read as a woman and treated as a woman by the society in which they live. So yeah, I hope that helps and good luck.

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