I am not a pimp, stud, or playa

Since coming out as polyamorous, I’ve had a few well intentioned friends call me one of the above or similar as compliment. That got me thinking, would my post have been as well received if I were a woman?

There is a greater stigma against women having multiple partners than men. We can see this in the terminology used: hoe, whore, slut, etc. Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy tried to reclaim the latter term in their book The Ethical Slut. But, despite the popularity of the book, the term “slut” is still generally considered derogatory. Even when these terms are applied to men, they are generally qualified, “man-whore”, “male slut”, and even then they often don’t carry the same sting.

Among the poly community there is even a term, (OPP, or One Penis Policy), to describe a practice (more common among newer polyamorists) where a couple opens a relationship, but both partners are only able to see other women. The common underlying assumption, spoken or not, is that another man would be more threatening to the relationship than another woman. Underlying that assumption is the assumption that a relationship between two women is not as serious as between a man and a woman. Such policies are generally frowned upon by the poly community and more experienced polyamorists tend to steer clear of such arrangements. Still it is common among those newly starting out. If that’s the natural inclination of the people in the relationship, that’s fine, but if that is the case, then a “policy” would be unnecessary.

In some ways, I wish my wife did have additional partner(s) when I was writing my coming out post, so it could dispel any assumptions about that it was just about myself having multiple partners. As of this writing though my wife is seeing another partner, and in looking for my first polyamorous additional partner I did seek out those already in relationships. Primarily it was because I wanted someone experienced to show me the ropes and correct me when I make invalid assumptions, but also in part to show that I wasn’t being misogynistic or hypocritical.

There’s so much more I could write about on the topic, but the goal of this post was to dispel any misconceptions about myself personally and to at least touch on the overall disparity between attitudes towards male and female. I left out discussions of gender nonconforming people simply because I’m not knowledgeable enough to talk about it, but I do want to at least acknowledge those people, even if it’s just to say that I didn’t talk about them.

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