How the “One-Penis Policy” Became the Most Hated Thing in Polyamory

Couples practicing OPP are often straight men and bisexual women. And considering the woman’s “primary” is a dude, she must have some attraction to men. Holding her back from experiencing sex with all the genders she’s attracted to doesn’t align with egalitarian poly ideals.

“It’s not my preference to hook up with couples that only date or sleep with other women. Those couples tend to be the most closed-minded and have the worst communication,” says Carly S. a 36-year-old queer woman who runs the blog Dildo or Dildon’t. “It’s not an immediate deal breaker for me, since everyone is allowed to set their own boundaries, but it tends to show that they’re unicorn hunters that are probably going to use me as an experience.”

Sometimes the one-penis-policy, particularly threesomes with two women and one man, are the gateway drug to open relationships that allow for couple swapping, sleeping with men, orgies, or even full-on polyamory. Other times, the woman is really, really bisexual, and feels that she gets plenty of dick from her primary. She’s down with OPP because when she’s going to take a night off work, sleeping, or away from friends to fuck someone else, she wants to sleep with a woman.

In the polyamory world, when it comes to open relationships, as long as it’s enthusiastically consensual, there’s never anything unilaterally bad. There’s a relationship format for every couple—ethical nonmonogamy is bespoke, not off-the-rack.

“I personally don’t see [OPP] as necessarily always a bad thing,” Vrangalova says. “It’s a case-by-case scenario. You want to understand what is going on. I have met couples where the woman actually has no interest in other dick. And I’ve met many where that is not the ideal scenario. She’s just putting up with it for the relationship’s sake.”

Ultimately, it’s up to each couple to decide what works best for them and their relationship. “Boundaries can be lopsided and present a double standard, but as long as everyone truly agrees with them without building up contempt and resentment, then the relationship has the chance to thrive,” Sprankle says. “There’s nothing wrong about a woman desiring only one man for her open relationship. Unfortunately, personal sexual and relational decisions are often the focus of online strangers to shit on—but we can’t base our lives around trying to please @PurePoly94 who spends 13 hours a day on Twitter ranting about one-penis policies.”

Maybe some women even get off on perceived lopsided power dynamics as part of a larger dominant and submissive arrangement. When it comes to other people’s relationships, you just never know.

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