The Tropes and Troubles With Unicorn Hunting

Hi, I’m Kale. Today I’m going to talk about the problems with unicorn hunting.

I’ll start with What the heck is unicorn hunting?

Generally speaking, here is what it looks like: A couple, who are progressive and open minded, have typically been together a while and have decided to open their relationship and try polyamory.

The man will be straight and the woman will be bisexual, and they will be searching for a bisexual woman that will be in a relationship with both of them.

This makes it an adventure they are going on together, they want to explore new things as a unit.

The idea is that this will feel safer, be more equal and fair, and negate jealousy. The bisexual woman and the couple will form a triad relationship and ta-da, they are poly.

The thing is, couples looking for this mythical woman is so common, that the poly community has made a name for it – they call it unicorn hunting.

So what’s the problem with hunting for unicorns? The thing is, unicorn hunting is not just cruising for casual sex. Here are few common tropes that make this behaviour problematic:

  • The couple will only want to explore with a woman, because society says it’s totally cool for women to explore their bisexuality, but that’s not a thing dudes should do.
  • The man gets to maintain status as the only penis in town, which is also so common it has a name: OPP or One Penis Policy, or also known as Patriarchal Bullshit.
  • The couple will only be looking for a bisexual woman, and assume she will be equally attracted to both members of the couple.
  • Only one man means the dude can rest easy, since he doesn’t have to be threatened by lady sex (at least his partner is not having sex with another man)
  • It might be presented as a chance for the woman in the couple to explore her bisexuality, but that doesn’t make it clear why the dude needs to be involved.
  • The unicorn, I mean person, will be expected to sleep with both of them at the same time, and be sexually exclusive to them.
  • The unicorn will be expected to be involved romantically and equally with both partners.
  • The couple will strive, above all else, to protect their relationship as a couple; the unicorn shall not come between them.
  • Her status inside the couple depends on her continuing to want to sleep with members of both sexes, something that might ebb and flow for people.

Is this starting to give you an ick kind of feeling in your stomach? Let’s talk about the problems of unicorn hunting.

First of all, what should be obvious is that it does not recognize the unicorn’s personhood – it reduces them to a thing (a bisexual woman to have sex with). So I’m going to stop calling them the unicorn and start calling them a human.

Human’s, not surprisingly, have thoughts and feelings and emotions totally independent of what other people tell them to do. Let’s take a look at their point of view.

  • They might only be interested or attracted to one half of a couple.
  • They might not be into group sex.
  • Like anyone, they can’t control how or when they start to develop romantic feelings.
  • They will still have a life outside of the couple, and if they are non-monogamous will likely want to have outside relationships.
  • At times they may want to have sex with just one half of the couple, because, you know, that is how people most often have sex. If this is off limits, it’s denying the person the right to choose what kind of sex they have.
  • Over time feelings might change, and they might stop wanting to have sex all together with half of the couple. If this isn’t allowed, they either have to have sex with someone they don’t want to have sex with, or lose someone they care about.
  • They might enjoy having a say in how their relationships looks, how they want it to run, whom they are allowed to spend their time with.

Looking for a unicorn to fit into this script reduces a person to a thing. It takes away their voice and their rights.

I should mention here that there are people who identify themselves as unicorns, and are looking to enter a relationship with a couple. There is power in choosing that label for yourself.

There are many pitfalls when unicorn hunting. If undertaken, it should be accompanied with a lot of self examination and forethought.

What if you’re a couple and you want to explore having sex with other people? I’m not saying you shouldn’t! Just that you should be very conscious of how you go about it.

Let’s talk about this from a relationship anarchist point of view. The basis of RA is personal liberty, and looking for someone specifically to be a unicorn is violating that liberty.

An RA would enter a relationship with a person trying not to have any expectations of how that relationship is going to develop. This of course includes expectations of who a person should be having sex with.

If each relationship is allowed space to become whatever both people want, it could very well grow into a situation where people are having group sex. But it wouldn’t be the goal or the endgame.

It would develop, through communication and mutual desires. With everyone having a voice about what happens, who is involved, and for how long.

I’m going to leave it at that for now. I’ve also added some great resources for you to check out. Come join our Facebook group for more discussion. Thanks for watching, bye!

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