Critical polyamorist blog
WARNING: A Critical Poly sex & dating post. It can't all be profound social theory!
The Critical Polyamorist has a predicament. I find monogamous men more attractive than poly men. Why? It is nothing inherent about polyamorous versus monogamous men, or people. Polyamorous men are not objectively less attractive than monogamous men. “Attractiveness” cannot be objectively or universally defined.
What I mean is that poly men and people generally are drawn disproportionately from a certain race/class of people who cultivate ways of being—and, in turn—bodies that I find less sexy based on the cultural standards for sexiness inculcated in me within the rich cultural world of my own non-privileged background. Standards of “attractiveness” are situated, and my standard does not synchronize with the situated community of polyamorists in my middle-American urbane milieu. From my standpoint as a small town girl turned cosmopolitan, woman-of-color feminist intellectual, poly men are less sexy and compelling to me precisely because of reasons I’ve raised in earlier blogs. They come disproportionately from middle-class, highly educated, WASP backgrounds. In their privileged lives and histories they have disproportionately molded themselves into pale, skinny, soy latte sipping, yoga bendy techies, New Agers, or sometimes renaissance faire-going kinksters. To each his or her own, but for me, a skinny white boy dressed in an inauthentic kilt or wearing leather and flogging his submissive woman or getting flogged by a mistress is not my cup of tea. (Stay tuned for a future post on the race and class politics of BDSM in which I will give the community a fairer and more in-depth treatment.)
I come from a place that I have both hated and loved: A USA/AIM/tribal flag flying, vet worshiping, pickup truck driving, Waylon Jennings-singing-out-the-car-window-surrounded-by-cornfields-small-town. Maybe twenty streets crisscrossed in an all too finite grid beneath the brightest infinite sky. All I saw growing up were the roads and river leading out of town. I never understood how anyone could not take to them. And I did. Now I'm here and I find myself only really relating to men who can relate to that kind of place, to the land and peoples I come from. Where are they who have made a similar journey? I’ve struggled to get here and now I’m stuck with some skinny-ass, urbane poly guys?
I want men with meat on their bones—who fill out their jeans and pearl snap shirts. There is nothing sexier than a bit of belly. I want sex positive, feminist men in cowboy boots. I don’t even mind if they fly flags as long as they understand why I refuse to, men who understand when I say, "this country is not this land." Yet who will dance with me and feel it deep in their bodies too some classic Texas country in a dance hall, or wailing out of speakers in a garage furnished with a sagging couch, tools and half rebuilt cars. I want men who call me Princess because they are amused that I get like that sometimes, and who can handle it just fine—who are not threatened by my knowledge of safe sex, and my frequent flier mileage account. Who stand up to me as I stand up to them: Eye to challenging eye, body to strong body, who will neither kiss my ass, nor dominate me.
Good luck, Woman.
When I do get a date with one of those hunky guys who share my love of Waylon and Willie they often don’t know the difference between ethical non-monogamy and just sleeping around until they find the new right ONE who will move in, warm their bed, and their food. Several times I’ve heard “So are you REALLY serious about this non-monogamy stuff?” Those ones tend to know little about sexual techniques past quick missionary style sex. Although to be fair, some want to do better. But I’m pretty vanilla and I still feel like I could do a two-week sex education course for these guys. And, you know, I would! But on top of that, a disproportionate number of them cannot keep an erection with a condom on. You can tell they haven’t used them much. Not a good sign on any front! And indications are they take it as sluttiness (I’m not a fan of that word even in a sex-positive meaning—it’s inherently negative) and not a courageous intellect that I have both medical and social knowledge about sex techniques, safe sex practices, and disease rates in different populations. Polyamorous relationships—due to the emphasis on openness and communication about sexual practices can actually result in more physically healthy relationships when one accounts for the unsafe sex practices and lack of communication about sex among unfaithful so-called monogamous people.
It’s enough to drive Critical Poly back to monogamy. But wait, what I’m looking for isn’t out there in mono world either, is it? And that is the fundamental predicament. In addition to there being too few ethically non-monogamous people in this world yet, there are too few sex positive people period—monogamous or non-monogamous. Not only are we dominated by compulsory monogamy in our society, but we are hounded by its pal, sexual shame. Both are tied up with our capitalist systems of private ownership and control not only of land but women’s bodies—all bodies. We who try hard to live sex positive are not drawn proportionately from the full, colorful, contradictory array of humanity. Not everyone has the resources to walk this talk. In boots.
But I keep hoping. Where are you feminist, meat-on-your bones, humble, swaggering men who will dance in a honky tonk with me—and not as hipster voyeurs but as homeboys there? And who would be equally comfortable flying to Stockholm, Tokyo, or Fargo? Or happy to stay home taking care of their own business, but just fine that I hit the road regularly?
I was out recently in some trendy patio bar in my glass-towered downtown with some super-cologned-up guy. He leaned forward with his white teeth and his perfectly pressed $200 Italian button-up shirt. He whispered across the wine glasses and arugula, “What is your fantasy?” I responded with a quizzical look: “I don’t have fantasies. Anything I want that is possible to bring into being, I work on that. If it is impossible in this world, I don’t bother fantasizing about it.” I don’t think that is the response he was looking for. He had identified himself to me earlier as a dom and Critical Poly isn’t into having her butt paddled or her neck collared. Our date ended early. But now that I’ve written this, I realize that I do have a fantasy. And no matter how far-fetched it may seem, I’ll keep searching for those most contradictory of humans: feminist (preferably NDN--but I’m negotiable on this one) country boys who have the skills to take on the city, and me.
The Critical Polyamorist
p.s.: Since I first drafted this blog post several months ago, I found a big old handsome, car repairing, book reading, idea slinging, axe wielding, ethical non-monogamist firefighter to fill a friend/lover position. Oh my god, he is the sexiest thing.
 American Indian Movement
 Voxxi. “STIs: Why Polyamorous Relationships Can Be Physically Healthier Than Monogamous Ones," Polyamory in the News, January 19, 2014.
 “Dom” is a male dominant within the world of BDSM. Whereas “domme” is a female dominant. According to anthropologist Margot Weiss BDSM “is an amalgamation of three acronyms: B&D (bondage and discipline), D/s (domination/submission), and SM (sadomasochism).” Practitioners prefer SM (for sadomasochism) to S&M (sadism & masochism). “Many practitioners feel that SM brings the S and M together” thus emphasizing the “mutual necessity for both as well as the consent involved.” Margot Weiss, Techniques of Pleasure (Duke University Press, 2011): vii, xi.
 NDN is shorthand for “Indian,” a term Native Americans use to describe ourselves. In my experience, the use of the term by Native Americans both acknowledges the colonial genealogy of “Indian,” but insists on continued use of the term in a way that connotes an insider’s familiarity with its usage.
Photo credit: Short Skirts and Cowgirl Boots by David Hensley
The Critical Polyamorist, AKA Kim TallBear, blogs & tweets about indigenous, racial, and cultural politics related to open non-monogamy. She is a prairie loving, big sky woman. She lives south of the Arctic Circle, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. You can follow her on Twitter @CriticalPoly & @KimTallBear