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Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Vancouver - Polyamory: Triad: Asex­ual, or “ace”:

For monog­a­mous cou­ples, Valen­tine’s Day is easy: buy flow­ers, choco­late, wine; eat din­ner by can­dle-light; then re­treat to … the bed­room.

But for polyamorous peo­ple like mu­si­cian Cass King, it can be tricky. Should she spend the evening with her hus­band, who she lives with, or her girl­friend she’s dat­ing? And will her girl­friend or hus­band have another part­ner ask­ing for their at­ten­tion that evening?

“There’s this kind of Google Cal­en­der life­style that you kind of have to adopt,” she said. “Cel­e­brat­ing Valen­tine’s Day or New Year’s or any sexy hol­i­day is al­ways a kind of a ne­go­ti­a­tion.”

There are many dif­fer­ent ways for peo­ple to be polyamorous — “poly” — or non-monog­a­mous. Some do it as a cou­ple and call each other “pri­mary part­ners,” some nav­i­gate as in­di­vid­u­als who date a va­ri­ety of peo­ple at the same time but sep­a­rately, while some­one else might have mul­ti­ple long-term part­ners but not dis­tin­guish be­tween pri­mary and sec­ondary part­ners.

“I tend to form longer-term love bonds,” ex­plains King. “To me it’s re­ally a fam­ily thing. If we are in love, then you are a mem­ber of my fam­ily,” she said.

Nav­i­gat­ing the world as a polyamorous per­son can be fraught when monog­a­mous “cou­ple­dom” is the main­stream model.

“Things are cen­tred around a cou­ple, you know?” King said. “Even the de­sign of the car — there’s two front seats! You think of an in­ti­mate café; you’ve got two-seaters.”

And for Valen­tine’s Day, usu­ally only monog­a­mous cou­ples are in­cluded in our con­ver­sa­tions and im­agery, she said.

“We’re go­ing to have to make some ef­fort to in­clude peo­ple who are sin­gle, peo­ple who have larger-than-two re­la­tion­ships,” King said.

Hav­ing an in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with more than one per­son, with all part­ners aware the re­la­tion­ships are not monog­a­mous

Sim­i­lar to a cou­ple, but with three peo­ple

A sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion in which a per­son isn’t sex­u­ally at­tracted to any­one; how­ever they may ex­pe­ri­ence ro­man­tic at­trac­tion

In an ef­fort to re­fo­cus the evening of Valen­tine’s Day as “a cel­e­bra­tion of love, but not nec­es­sar­ily of cou­ple­dom,” King and her band, Cass King & The Next Right Thing, are play­ing a poly-pos­i­tive show open to every­one, in­clud­ing asex­ual peo­ple and even monog­a­mous cou­ples, whom she en­cour­ages to at­tend.

“You don’t have to worry about be­ing hit on by a bunch of rav­en­ous poly peo­ple!” she said jok­ingly. “It’s re­ally just a dance … not a swingers’ club.”

Be­cause King’s band is chock­full of poly peo­ple, they ex­pect a big turnout from Van­cou­ver’s polyamorous com­mu­nity. The band’s drum­mer, Adrian Buck­ley, has been polyamorous for 12 years and ex­pects to have “a cou­ple of part­ners” in the au­di­ence.

Typ­i­cally, Buck­ley said he doesn’t pay much at­ten­tion to Valen­tine’s Day, but “it’s so per­va­sive as a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non that you kind of feel like get­ting swept up in it,” he said.

“This show is kind of an idea on how to cel­e­brate Valen­tine’s Day,” he ex­plains. “We’re try­ing to take it and broaden it, rather than re­ject it” and cel­e­brate “love and the di­ver­sity within love. That’s what’s so beau­ti­ful about it, that it’s so di­verse.”

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