"The Issue With Spicing Up Your Love Life" is an IG Post. This is the accessible text-only version.
Far too often, those of us navigating plural relationships - polyamory in particular - run across those looking to "spice up" their love & bedroom life. A lot of times it is brought up afterwards that they were simply looking for something to bring more inspiration to their relationship. So for those who do this - what is the big deal right? why is this an issue for those in the community, especially if you are simply exploring your options?
The Lack of Consent
The lack of transparent communication of expectations and goals means you never got consent. If you already knew what you wanted and sought out a person or persons out for it without explaining what was happening - you did not give them the opportunity to consent. If you are seeking to add some spice - whether in the form of romance or intercourse in your life - using the polyamorous community as a means for that can be unethical. Imagine someone volunteering your personal time or your services without checking in with you? Or misleading you into doing something you would typically not do? This is the same as pursuing people in a community for your personal gain without telling them your intentions.
Some Things Can't Be Fixed
If your relationship is already suffering from infidelity, bad bedroom chemistry, declining romantic interest, etc - "adding" someone to it will not fix it. Sometimes the remedy to a failing relationship is simply breaking up / uncoupling. Other times it is receiving professional relationship counseling.
But if you have chosen the pursuit of adding another person as a way to "fix" it - you're just making it worse.
Objectification of People
Aligning with the lack of consent is the objectification of someone without their consent. Seeing someone as a tool for bringing life back into a relationship usually means their desires and boundaries will not be respected. They will be expected to forego their comforts for the betterment of the relationship - aka your relationship. This unethical behavior can be detrimental to someone.
What Can Be Done?
If your intentions are not to be purposely misleading or unethical, there are some things you can do to add "spice" to your relationship with the consent of additional parties. There are people in the non-monogamous community who are comfortable with playing the "spice" for a relationship as long as they are aware and can consent. It may take a bit of an extra step in communication and searching but it is well worth the investment.
Talk About What You Want
Communicate with your partner (or if solo, trusted friends and mentors) on what you actually want. Having long discussions about what you are seeking can help find the exact community you can start your search in. When you are seeking a fling in the amongst polyamorous people - you might find one. but if you are packaging it as a relationship, with all the bells and whistles but not the commitment or value - that's misleading. You may realize that your preferences lean closer towards the BDSM, sw*nger, or open relationship community more so the polyamorous community. Know what you want and then find the community that aligns with those ideologies.
Just Say It
If doing the research to figure out which community works for you is too much labor (/sarcasm), just say it. Tell someone when you meet them exactly what you are seeking - even if you are fearful of rejection. you may be suprised who is okay with being in an experimental situation or a casual fling. "We are just looking for someone we can hang out with, go on dates, and share ourselves with - but the relationship is just casual."