I just recently found out I’m polyam and I was wondering if there is anyway I can stop feeling disgusting and awful for being so? I know being polyam is perfectly fine and valid but for some reason I feel disgusting still, even when my only partner atm is ok with it,
Oh letter writer, I am so sorry that you are dealing with these feelings. It’s one thing to “know” intellectually that there is nothing wrong or disgusting about being polyam, but often our emotions can’t quite catch up to what we’ve managed to reason out.
Ask yourself: who benefits from me thinking like this? A lot of anti-polyamory sentiment that’s out there in the world comes from toxic monogamy culture, which wants us to believe:
That “sexual purity” is a thing, and something we owe to our partners
That having multiple sexual or romantic partners makes us “dirty”
That our bodies are objects that can be “owned” by another person
That ‘cheating’ is the worst thing we can do in a relationship
That people who are not “sexually pure” are disgusting and deserving of bad things
Those ideas are out there in the world for a variety of reasons:
If we see ourselves and our bodies as possessions that belong to our partners, then people can use that framework to use and manipulate us.
If we think that we “owe” purity to society, we’ll spend time and money and effort trying to attain that.
Fear and shame are powerful motivators, and if we can be made to feel fear or shame about ourselves or our sexuality, the people offering solutions to that made-up problem suddenly have a lot of power.
If we see “cheating” as the worst possible relationship sin, we’re more likely to accept or forgive things that aren’t “cheating,” like manipulation, neglect, or even abuse.
Being able to put someone down as “disgusting” based on their sexuality or relationships creates a social hierarchy that benefits those at the top. I could go on.
There are a lot of reasons those ideas are out there in our culture, and none of those reasons boil down to “because they are true.” Your feelings are reflecting a lot of internalized shame, not an observation or truth. It’s very worth it to spend some time working through these ideas and where they may have come from - your family, your religious upbringing, your peers in adolescence, media you’ve consumed - and giving yourself space to interrogate and reject them. I
I’ve also talked about this here and here and here - you’re not the only person facing this, and I give a lot more advice in those answers about seeking out polyamory-positivity and self-celebration resources.