Is Non-Monogamy just Sleeping Around?

Two non monogamous couples, two men and two women, smiling at the camera

People…I like to fuck around. Both literally and figuratively. But sometimes it’s easy for people to confuse the idea of fucking around with ethical non-monogamy in general. Are they the same thing? Is ethical non-monogamy just a free pass to make a pass at any passing stranger? 

Well, the answer is a little more complicated than you might think. 

Just sleeping around

If you’re not in a relationship with anyone and your goal is to have sex with a high volume of people with no emotional attachment, then it sounds like what you’re after is a good old fashioned fuck around. Ain’t no shame in that. 

Is it part of the ethical non-monogamy framework though? Well, not really. If you’re intentionally not forming connections with the people you’re banging, then you’re not practising ethical non-monogamy. You’re just sleeping around. And that’s fine - as long as you’re being really clear with your sexual partners about what you’re doing. 

Don’t confuse people by saying that you’re looking for something you’re not - even if you think lying might make it more likely to get you the outcome you want. 

Non-monogamy, but there’s nothing ethical about it

If you’re in an established relationship, and you’re sleeping with other people, that’s cool - but there’s a couple of things that are required for it to tick all the “ethical” boxes in the “ethical non-monogamy” checklist. 

First of all, does everyone in your established relationships know you’re seeing other people? Cos if your partner or partners don’t know you’re playing the field, well that’s not really cricket is it? In fact, I’m pretty sure the usual term for that is just ‘cheating’. 

Secondly, do the people you’re sleeping with know you’re in a relationship? 

Now this one can be a bit tricky, because arguably there are situations where it’s not relevant. When I’m at the orgy and have seventeen different sets of genitals in, on and around me, I’m probably not going to stop play so I can share my relationship status with all involved. But if I’m planning on seeing one of those sets of genitals a second time, I’ll find a way to mention my partner. 

If you’re building your dating profile, it should either mention that you have a partner or that you’re only interested in no strings attached - otherwise you’re not communicating your intentions clearly to the other person. 

Ethical non-monogamy, but there’s no sleeping around

It’s important to remember that many people who practise ethical non-monogamy can end up in long-term committed relationships with more than 2 people, that are closed to others. For instance a polaymorous triad or quad; 3 or 4 people, all in a relationship with each other, but no one else. 

Equally, many people who are ethically non-monogamous are also asexual. They’re not sleeping around - or if they are, it’s in the very literal sense of having sleepovers and trying out other people’s mattresses. Respect. 

Other people who practise ethical non-monogamy can be in several long-term relationships, never ending up single for any period of time. This can mean they don’t indulge in hook-ups or fuck-arounds, because they’re not looking for anything more than they already have. 

The beauty of ethical non-monogamy is that there are just as many ways to have relationships as there are different kinds of people to have them with. And every person has different needs and boundaries. Some of those involve sex, some of them don’t. 

Sleeping around ethically non-monogamously

And yes, of course, there’s also those of us who like to fuck around within the framework of ethical non-monogamy. And, like everything, it’s all about communication

If we’re in a relationship, it’s not a surprise to our partner(s) that we’re sleeping with other people. 

If we’re unattached, we’re clear with the people we’re sleeping with about what we’re looking for and what we can offer. 

Because if we aren’t - it’s not ethically non-monogamous.

1 comment

  • Blue262


    More than a month ago

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