The downside of #polyamory is it might not be right for you. Here is an account from one who has tried it and didn’t like it for many reasons.
The advantages of FWB (also known as F…Buddy) are:
1. It is not an avoidance of relationships – Contrary to some critics, having a fuck buddy is not the indulgence of some intimacy-avoidant, emotionally-stunted, horn-dog selfish clod. It is a different type of sexual and emotional relationship, perhaps based more on fondness than on love, or perhaps a “love” that is more fraternal.
2. It can be the combination of sexuality and camaraderie without the components of long-term romance and domesticity – For some people, such as those with long-distance partners, having a fuck buddy means having some in-person companionship for local outings and recreation, and even sexual expression, but without the commitment and domestic component of a partner/spouse relationship. It’s “relationship lite”.
3. Can be a coping strategy for long-distance relationships – Long-distance relationships can be a result of work projects (even overseas), which I see in my practice in Los Angeles for people away on TV or film set locations, or the result of school/training programs, health care treatment, caring for a distant relative’s health or settling their estate, or military deployment. Open negotiation of the ground rules during the absence is better than unilaterally violating a monogamy agreement without discussion, or abstaining and resenting the physical/emotional harm that can come with deprivation.
4. Can be a bridge between class or cultural issues that really might get in the way of a primary relationship – For some fuck buddies, there can be issues of class or culture that might make having a long-term relationship untenable or very difficult (think Sybil and Tom on “Downton Abbey”).
5. Is a collaborative way to get needs met that have inherent limitations; is an exchange of favors – So many human interactions involve a negotiated exchange of favors based on mutual needs, and each fuck buddy relationship has unique parameters that make it work.
6. Is not for everyone, but it CAN BE for some people; it’s ok to embrace it as much as it is to reject it soundly – Sexual self-empowerment means saying yes when you want to say yes, and no when you want to say no. If you want to say yes to a fuck buddy relationship with another consenting adult, as an autonomous adult with control and dominion over your own body, you get to make that choice (although if you have a primary partner, this must be a very frank discussion in order to avoid a ton of hurt, resentment, misunderstanding, abandonment, and even rage).
7. Supports a global benevolent idea of brotherhood …having a fuck buddy can be an example of benevolence, non-violence, and camaraderie in the Brotherhood of Man. This is all part of the solution, not the problem.
8. It’s practice later on for a “real” commitment, in incremental gain/baby steps … Having a fuck buddy might not be a “deep” commitment in romance and domesticity, but it can be a way of exploring relating to another person that is somewhere between being single and being partnered. For some people, these incremental steps help build their confidence to tolerate a commitment and equip them for a long-term relationship with mutual responsibility.
9. Self-empowering sexually, trying different things without feeling “embarrassed” with a partner; exploring one’s own body and likes/dislikes of sensation – While communicating with a primary partner is essential to a good sex life, having a fuck buddy can be an opportunity to explore your sexual interests and fantasies in a lower-stakes situation. Some people who are shy about telling their partner their sexual fantasies, especially the kinkier ones, might be more uninhibited with a lower-stakes fuck buddy. It really “shouldn’t” work that way, but it does, and we have to deal in reality. By being free to explore in a certain “sexual laboratory” situation, you can identify your likes and dislikes and not have to switch to “who’s-cooking-dinner” mode right after.
10. Can bridge differences in sexual orientations … having a fuck buddy can be a way for a man who is “straight” publicly or bisexual to get the “other half” of his sexual and even social needs met. This is particularly controversial, but all gay men have some idea about this. Many men can be ambivalent or conflicted about how they identify sexually. Some might feel a pressure to conform to heterosexual norms, others might quite selfishly want to ride the coat-tails of heterosexual privilege and have their, uh, “cake”, too … The fuck buddy relationship can also help a conflicted guy move closer down the spectrum to living as an “out” gay man, but in a gentle and gradual process that feels right for him.
11. Can help other specific situations – The fuck buddy relationship can be a resource for a gay man in early recovery from crystal meth, who is used to the “party-and-play” (PNP) scene, to practice having sober sex with a no-judgment, experimental, low-stakes, fail-safe atmosphere…. The fuck buddy relationship can also help someone with a disability or injury to be sexual again in their own way, even if they don’t have a primary relationship yet….This can be for guys who have been injured in a vehicle, sports, or industrial accident, or as a combat veteran who uses prosthetics.
12. Can allow for specific sexual interests (BDSM, fetishes) to be fulfilled — There are times when everything else in a relationship is great – the emotional, the sexual, and the domestic – but certain sexual interests go unfulfilled. Having a fuck buddy who provides a certain “outsourced” activity, such as BDSM or other kink play, can be a way for that partner to be fulfilled without burdening his partner to do something he really doesn’t like.
13. Can be a way to manage sexual incompatibilities – The fuck buddy relationship can also “outsource” situations where the couple gets along fine in most ways, but perhaps a strict top is partnered to a versatile bottom. For the versatile bottom to be able to top once in a while might require a fuck buddy who is happy to oblige. This can also be the case when a partner is fulfilled in every way in the relationship except perhaps wanting to fulfill his “size queen” interests. Outsourcing this to a well-endowed fuck buddy occasionally can fulfill the desire and then get back to regular domestic/sexual life. This prevents frustrations from building and can resolve tension or even unspoken resentments in a relationship.
14. [a f-buddy relationship] actually strengthens your regular [mono] relationship because one “sees what’s out there” and learns to appreciate the relief when [you’re finally back to your regular partner]. When you are together again after an absence, it’s all the sweeter to revisit the familiarity and intimacy you have built for years, and they never take each other for granted.
(1) If trying to figure out your sexual and relationship dynamics by yourself feels overwhelming or confusing, therapy or coaching with a gay-affirmative, sex-positive therapist/coach can help. For more information on how that works with me, text/call 310-339-5778, or email me at Ken@GayTherapyLA.com, and we can discuss your options.
“Don’t knock it until you have tried it.”
This phrase can be a double-edged sword. Here is what I have learned from my own meandering experience in the gay dating world. Many of the men I meet don’t want monogamy. Grindr, Scruff and the other gay apps are filled with men that are married (sorry ladies…most of these men are married to women, too), in a relationship, or in an open relationship. While I have watched all the documentaries on gay dating, polyamory, open relationships, everything from Real Sex to Polyamory, I have heard all the explanations and rationale about from those who explore those sexual modalities. I just have to call BULLSHIT!
Sharing of love and sharing a commitment have just been something that have gone hand in hand for me. Perhaps it is because I was married for 19 years prior, perhaps it was watching my parents who…
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