For conventional dating, the three word phrases that usually send people running are “I love You” and “Ass to Mouth”. In the world of nonmonogamy, there is a different three words that go bump in the night:
One Penis Policy
The OPP; also known as polygyny, hareming, or the “Highlander-Cock Rule”. I’m talking about the relationship style that is a form of a cis-heterosexual coupling that is non-monogamous. The stipulation to their non-monogamy being that while the man is allowed to have whatever outsider partners he likes, his female partner may only have relations with other women.
You might have known some people with an OPP (One Penis Policy), you might have even been one of those couples. I know I was.
It was when I was a young, scared, and still recovering from being a monogamist. And fuck me running if it didn’t make me feel secure to adopt a lifestyle that’s incidentally one of the most desired male fantasies in existence. As a crutch, having an OPP eased me into polyamory just fine. But now that I’ve spread my wings (and have them tested regularly), I can fly free in the winds of non-exclusivity and I look back on where I came from and see the real issues with it. Firstly and simply, it’s not fair to the woman in the relationship. It’s also dismissive of the connections that are built between women. Ultimately though, it’s not really a necessary step to being truly open with each other.
Being truly open relies on being fair. It relies on having a realistic understanding of the expectations you have for your partner. I encourage guys to try playing with their own asshole before they try anal with their girlfriend. I encourage guys to try body waxing before they expect brazillians. It’s good to know what it’s like to be on the receiving end before you buy a pretense. In this case, I’m talking about being on the receiving end of somebody else’s nonmonogamy with a heterosexual partner.
While some guys might feel like the only way they could be nonmonogamous and secure is if their girlfriend was with another woman. If that’s the case for you, you’re letting your greed and insecurity undermine your partner’s pursuit of happiness; which fundamentally opposes nearly all the virtues of polyamory. And to tack it onto the historical practice of polygyny as a tool for female oppression, the OPP has no place in modern polyamory. Modern polyamory is also feminist polyamory. Modern polyamory cannot exist in a space where men are explicitly given liberties not also offered to women.
To be blunt, the OPP is misogynist.
To be extra blunt, the OPP is misogynist and homophobic.
Having the policy doesn’t make you Jerry Falwell, but it does dismiss the legitimacy of connections built in the absence of heterosexuality. I didn’t feel like I was being homophobic when I was doing it. Hell, I felt like I was a champion of the queer movement for allowing my partner to indulge her bisexual desires. I fancied myself to be the great liberator, imparting my superior male blessings upon her playful acts of want and carnality.
Like I said, I was young. Did I say stupid? I was stupid too…
The OPP is not an ally of the queer movement. It’s quite the opposite. It’s tantamount to telling your partner:
“I’m possessive of you and feel threatened by the idea of seeing you build a heterosexual connection. I recognize that you are more secure in our relationship, and can abide the limitations I am neglecting to extend also to myself. Because I consider homosexual relations between women to be novel and trivial, I will allow them.”
The OPP fundamentally relies on the idea that a sapphic encounter is somehow not “real sex.”
I assure you, it is. And girls can be just as territorial and possessive as boys when it comes to romance. So if there’s a worry that a another man will somehow upstage the relationship dynamic, then a real solution is to avoid nonmonogamy altogether. If you’re new to nonmonogamy, set whatever boundaries make you feel comfortable. But I implore newbies to avoid having a long term OPP.
Even if you don’t have an official OPP, you’ll probably end up with a de-facto OPP. For several of my partners, I have been their only male partner. It’s not because I’ve established a set of rules preventing anything otherwise. It’s because of an underlying truth about modern courtship:
Dating guys sucks.
Trust me, I’ve done it. There’s a reason I’m on the straighter end of bisexual. There are lots of reasons, actually. Women don’t mind taking things slowly. Women are more willing to talk about their feelings. Women are self lubricating. My partners and I have mostly dated women simply because it’s generally a much more pleasant experience. Making a policy for it is unnecessary and functions only to perpetuate the marginalizing of women and queers.
If you’re a standup guy, then you’ve set the bar for the quality of gentleman that your lady will desire. Lesser basic bros will be turned away by her having a confident man in her life. If there’s a worry that being open to other men will somehow invite the creepers to start making their advances, I can understand that. But for those of us who have seen the modern dating market, we know that creepers will make their advances regardless of how your relationship is identified. Even if the man in a given relationship was out of the picture, and the woman was on the dating market as an asexual lesbian only looking for distance partners, she would still be accosted by straight male creepers. She’d also probably get accosted by couples with an OPP…
Anybody here ever have an OPP? How did it go for you? Post in the comments!