‘It’s just about having lots of sex/threesomes/orgies’
Non-monogamy isn’t solely concerned with sex - although obviously, sex can form a part of it. Asexual people (those who do not or rarely experience sexual attraction) are just as able to swing, be open or polyamorous as straight, gay or bisexual people. And although some non-monogamous folk enjoy threesomes and orgies (just as some monogamous folk do) the two are not synonymous.
‘It’s young people that do it, they’ll grow out of it.’
We have never heard this statement applied to heterosexuality or monogamy. The idea that people will ‘grow out’ of a sexuality or their approach to relationships is a little insensitive. We all have exploratory phases in our lives; and although for some people these phases are temporary, for some they are permanent. Non-monogamists come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no age limit!
Even if you believe non-monogamy is just a phase that a person grows out of, expressing that opinion to a swinger, a poly or open person is a little unnecessary. Enjoy non-monogamy as a phase or enjoy it forever - whatever works for you.
‘It’s not right.’
What this is actually saying is, ‘It’s not how I do it, and so it shouldn’t happen.’
If it’s not hurting anyone or anything, if it’s not affecting anyone other than the people involved, then it can’t be wrong. From a historical perspective, people have been engaged in non-monogamy for thousands of years - the Greeks and Egyptians were all about sexual liberation and freedom, with open and polyamorous setups commonplace. From a scientific perspective, only 3% of mammals practice monogamy. Who’s to say what’s right and wrong anyway?
‘It’s for people who are scared of commitment.’
Swinging, open relationships and polyamory, just like monogamy, can sometimes be used to avoid issues that people don’t want to or aren’t ready to confront. But the vast majority of non-monogamous people aren’t practicing these kinds of relationships because they’re afraid of commitment; the relationship model just suits who they are and what they want better than monogamy does.
To clarify, non-monogamous folk can be as committed to their partners as monogamous people, and sexual fidelity doesn’t always mean commitment. Commitment is defined differently depending on who you speak to, and non-monogamous folk create their own ways of committing to their partners.
‘Non-monogamous people are just sluts.’
We wouldn’t be talking about non-monogamy if we didn’t get down to some good old slut shaming! Calling someone a slut is shorthand for, ‘I don’t like how you’re having sex.’ And actually it’s nobody else’s business how you’re having sex, the frequency that you’re having it, and who you’re having it with.
This myth also works on the assumption that non-monogamy is all about sex. There is nothing slutty about these kinds of relationships. Monogamous people often have more than one friend - non-monogamy is just a romantic or sexual extension of that.
‘You just haven’t found the right one yet.’
At one point, this was an oft-heard refrain by gay men and lesbian women, who were forcefully told that their sexuality didn’t exist, that they were confused, and that they just hadn’t found the right partner of the opposite sex yet.
Just like LGBT folk, most non-monogamous people will have had to do a lot of emotional and mental work to figure out their identity, and the relationship model that suits them best. There’s no need to undermine how they feel by claiming that you know better. Non-monogamous people don’t need to find the right ‘one’ - they’re finding the right ones!
Challenging the idea of 'The One'