how do you (general you) deal with the thing where you become poly so now there is no excuse to say no to sex with anyone who asks? i miss being monogamous because i didn't have to have painful, frightening sex with acquaintances, but i am dating 2 people and don't want to break up with either. but random guys i'm not attracted to ask me politely for sex, i feel like saying no is bullying, i dissociate my way through sex and want to die. i wish they were rude so i didn't feel bad saying no
Hey. So: first I’m going to say some things you already know: sex is not something you need reason to refuse. You should not be having sex you don’t want. Those guys, if they are decent people, when they ask about sex, are hoping you are into them and want to have sex with them; they are not hoping that you’ll be unable to say no and then disassociate through it. You said you were okay with refusing sex with people who were rude. Well, okay. One of two things is true: either these guys are terrible people, in which case feel free to say no to them, or they don’t want to have sex that is frightening and painful for you either. The current situation is really bad for you and really bad for everyone else.
It sounds like you don’t know how to say no. It’s not just that you feel bad saying no, you can’t do it. Declining sex with perfectly nice people who you don’t want to have sex with is not a skill you have. No one starts out with skills by magic; we have to pick them up. You need this one.
Here are some things you can say:
“Sorry, but I don’t enjoy casual sex and I’m not looking for a new relationship right now.”
“Thanks, but I am not looking for new partners.”
And here are some things you can do:
You can tell your friend group “I don’t like being asked for sex in person, because I’m bad at saying ‘no’.” Lots of people will ask someone’s friends how to ask them out, and if your friends know how to look out for you they’ll be likelier to say ‘don’t ask them out face-to-face, they find that really stressful’.
You can find a friend, or ask one of your existing partners. Have them pretend to be a perfectly nice guy who you don’t want to have sex with. Have them nicely ask you for sex. And turn them down. It’ll probably feel awkward and silly and contrived, but you literally need practice at saying these words. And your brain needs reassurance that when you say those words the other person might be disappointed but they will probably not snarl ‘you monster! how dare you exist while not wanting sex with me?’
And if they do, then they’re not good people and you can reject them with a clear conscience.
(To be clear, you should have a clear conscience about rejecting people anyway; there are lots of lovely people in the world and I want to have sex with practically none of them and that is entirely okay. Eventually I hope you won’t need an excuse. But in the meantime please please pick one and practice using it.)