I have just discovered the poly world. I’m a girl seeing a guy and I think we’re both comfortable w the concept and might explore it. But I’m afraid I have the wrong idea, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. What I truly want is for me and my guy to be a couple while occasionally bringing other girls into the mix. Not even relationships, just sex partners. Is this truly polyamory then, if there’s no commitment or long-term partners, just occasional fun? I don’t want the girls to get hurt either.

While I constantly tell people on here that I’m not the arbiter of who gets to use the polyamorous identity label, I’m going to be a little bit of a hypocrite about this: I wouldn’t say that’s polyamory, necessarily. Swinging, perhaps; an open relationship; non-monogamy with a sexual focus; or just a couple who likes to have threesomes. You’ve got options!

That said, if identifying as polyamorous helps you and your partner understand what you’re doing, communicate openly, and identify and meet needs, then that’s totally fine! Resources about being “polyamorous” could be really helpful, and you may feel that identifying as polyamorous gives you two what you need to do this in a healthy and fulfilling way.

However, I would caution you to be really, really, really clear with all your potential partners about this. Saying that you are “polyamorous” without defining what that means to you can cause serious problems if the person has a different definition of “polyamorous” than what you mean. Assumptions and miscommunications like that are how people get hurt.

So be sure that you are very up front and clear about the fact that this is a sexual thing for you two, and that you’re looking for someone to have a threesome with, not commit to emotionally or involve in any other aspect of your relationship.