Queer guide to polyamorous London

Polyamorous London CREDIT ATC Comm Photo from Pexels

If you’re beginning to explore the wonderful queer world of polyamorous London, then here’s my guide to all the dating apps, events, podcasts and parties that you’ll probably want to know about. I’ve been active within London’s polyamorous community for two years, so I’m still new to it myself and will keep updating this list as I come across exciting things I think you should know about. While this list is obviously London-centric, it’s also useful for a lot of people exploring polyamory across the UK. Either way, no matter what form on non-monogamy you practice, there’s definitely something that will interest you below.

🥰 Meetups and workshops

📱 Dating apps

👋 Facebook groups

🎧 Podcasts and blogs

👯 Sex-positive events

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Polyamorous London events Ruby Rare's Guide to CREDIT Sophie Cunningham
Ruby Rare. 📷: Sophie Cunningham

Polyamorous London meetups and workshops

If you’re interested in meeting other poly people as friends and to discover a sense of community, then here are some of the meet-ups and events that take place in London.

Ruby Rare’s Guide to Non-Monogamy

If you’re just starting out, be that opening up a mono relationship or trying to explore it solo, then Ruby Rare’s Guide to Nono-Monogamy is a wonderful intro event. Bubbly and colourful Ruby gives a really great overview of the many categories and terms you may come across and speaks from her own experience about open relationships. Ruby is bisexual and has a non-binary primary partner (full disclosure: she’s also my housemate), so she gives a really inclusive perspective on the world of non-monogamy. Follow her on Instagram to see more about her work as a sex educator and a champion of body-positivity.

In addition to her workshop event, Ruby also runs a Non-Monogamous Sharing Circle. These events are less about her talking to everyone but rather everyone talking to each other. Attendees are divided into groups and given topics to discuss, which is really interesting as you get to hear a variety of perspectives. Both these events are also a great way to meet other people interested in non-monogamy, both in the sharing circles and during the breaks. Be bold and say hello – most people would love to make some new friends in the community.

The London Polyamory Meetup Group

This Meetup event takes place on the first Tuesday of every month at a Wetherspoons pub in central London. Doesn’t sound very sexy right? That’s because it’s not meant to be. These very casual drinks are meant for poly people to chat and make friends with others in the community.

I was really nervous the first time I went to these drinks. I thought it would be full of lots of creepy people and I promised myself that all I had to do was stay for one drink and then could run away. What I discovered was a whole load lovely friendly people who were just there to have a quiet drink with other like-minded non-monogamists. It’s never felt like a predatory environment and I have really benefitted from being able to chat to other people about my poly relationship experiences each month.

It can be a bit nerve-racking the first time you turn up as there are a lot of people and it can be really hard to find a chair sometimes. You really just need to sit down anywhere, say hello and meet the people around you. However, I know for some people that new social situations like this can be quite intimidating. Perhaps try one of their smaller meets first, like the poly women, boardgames or coffee meet (great for people who don’t drink), and make some friends here first.

Poly Day

This annual event takes place in London every October and apparently is the largest of its kind in Europe. I went to my first Poly Day last year and really enjoyed it. Held in a very low-key venue in West London, it’s not the glamorous poly event you’ll attend but it has a great sense of community. I was especially heartened by the fact that this volunteer-run event is co-ordinated by so many LGBT+ people and professional relationship therapists. The sessions were genuinely interesting and were focussed mainly on group-led discussions with nuggets of wisdom from the speakers. It’s my favourite day of the year in the polyamorous London calendar.

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Polyamory London CREDIT Dimitar Belchev on Unsplash

Polyamory dating apps

One of the easiest and most transparent ways to meet other non-monogamous people in London (and beyond) is on dating apps. While there sadly aren’t any great poly dating sites currently, there’s a range of apps that allow you to be very upfront about your relationships. Luckily for you, I’ve pretty much tried them all so you can read about the best and the worst ones below.

OkCupid

Widely considered to be one of the best apps for open relationships and non-monogamous dating, OkCupid works on a platform that matches people based on their profile categories (such as sexuality, gender identity and relationship status) and their answers to questions about your life, giving people a percentage match based on their algorithm of compatibility.

I find OkCupid the best app for exploring polyamorous London because there’s a lot of non-monogamous people on there and you can filter out anyone who identifies as straight. As someone who only dates other queer-identified people, this is a huge benefit for me, so I don’t have spend hours scrolling through straight men. Plus, you can link your profile to one (yes, just one) of your partners, which helps build a clearer picture of your non-monogamous status. Also, if you aren’t into apps or are trying to spend less time on your phone, their website is just as great for connecting with people.

#open

I discovered the #open dating app after the founders were interviewed on the podcast Multiamory. I was really impressed to hear that not only is a dating app that is specifically for the sex-positive and non-monogamous communities. They also don’t share anything with Facebook – so no linked log-ins and therefore no dating sharing.

This app is still in the early days of development, so there aren’t loads of people on here yet but there’s still enough to make it worth the effort. One of the interesting things about #open is that it’s based around hashtags, which means you can search for people with the same interests or kinks. So whether you’re into jelly or pegging, you can easily find people like you.

Feeld

This app was originally launched as 3nder, positioning itself as the Tinder for matching couples with people interested in threesomes (or moresomes). Since rebranding as Feeld, this app is now quite popular with people interested in ‘polyamory, kink, and alternative sexual preferences.’

Feeld is one of my favourites apps for meeting people in polyamorous London as it lets you swipe left on someone but still be able to see them again. It’s only if you actively hit the minus (-) button that you never see them again. So you can build up a shortlist of people you may want to connect with but aren’t sure yet. Perfect for anyone as indecisive and picky as I am. Another plus is that you have the option to link your profile with one (yes, just one) of your other partners so you can indicate that you are non-monogamous – or just mention it in your bio. The biggest downside for me is that you can’t filter by sexuality, so most of my time on Feeld is spent scrolling through the predominantly large amount of straight men.

Her

This women-only dating app recently updated their app to make it more inclusive of different identities and relationship models. This was definitely a great move towards making Her a lot more relevant for queer women, and while I’m yet to meet anyone great from this app, I really appreciate that everyone’s profiles are now a lot clearer about what they currently have and what they are ideally looking for.

Taimi and Fiori

I’ve listed these two apps together as they appear to be useful for the trans community (from what I can tell as a cisgendered person).

Taimi was originally launched in 2017 as a dating app for gay men but quickly increased its scope to include all LGBTQI+ people. Still, it feels quite skewed towards gay men as you’re asked to identify if you’re a top, bottom or switch when you create a profile. Once I joined, I was surprised to discover loads of people who… didn’t really look that queer. After much confused swiping, I realised that the app attracts a lot of straight men who are interested in women, both cis and trans. If you’re a trans woman and would like to share your thoughts on this app, I would love it if you could comment below. Otherwise, I didn’t find Taimi to be that diverse and after only a couple weeks of exploring it, I deleted this app.

Fiori only launched in early 2020 but already I’m quite impressed by it. This dating app is for transgender and non-binary people plus their cisgender allies. Unlike Taimi, this app feels genuinely inclusive. I’ve even seen some cis gay men with profiles on here saying that they joined because they wanted to be part of something that was queerer than other apps. Having only recently launched, it still doesn’t have loads of people on there but I recommend giving it a try. As someone who is quite skoliosexual, I really liked that Fiori lets you filter everyone and only see those who identify as non-binary. If you’re trans and/or non-binary and have used this app, I would love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments as well.

Tinder, Hinge and Bumble

Ah, Tinder. It’s a very open playing field. The best thing about Tinder is pretty much everyone is on there but it’s also the worst thing too. Be prepared to do a lot of swiping to find before you’ll find anyone great. People don’t add much info to their profiles and rarely read yours before they swipe right, so it takes a lot of work to find people who are ethically non-monogamous. However, it’s still worth a shot, especially when you’ve exhausted the apps above.

For me, Hinge isn’t that different from Tinder. The profile set-up does mean you have to add a little info about yourself but aside from that, the app has a pretty similar structure with a broad pool of people that you can’t filter apart from gender. That said, I have seen a couple of non-binary celebs on there recently (a certain drag queen and another model) so it clearly is becoming more popular with the queers.

Regarding Bumble Date, I say don’t bother. Even though the app has quite a feminist ethos (only women can approach men), the whole app is structured around the gender binary. It’s overwhelmingly straight and I don’t think it ever tried to match me with a woman. I’ve heard good things about Bumble BFF though if you’re looking to make new friends.

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Polyamory London CREDIT Vonecia Carswell on Unsplash

Polyamorous Facebook groups

There are a couple of Facebook groups that are good for both dating and making connections in polyamorous London. Some of these are related to IRL meet-up groups and others exist solely online but either way, they are a great way of meeting like-minded people online.

UK Poly Dating Classifieds is quite a good Facebook group with around 2.5k poly people from around the country. It’s has a very old school vibe, like newspaper classifieds with people advertising themselves as looking for new partners, with photos and a bit about themselves. The format really reminds me of the way people would advertise something else, such as a room for rent, which is quite funny but actually works well. Even though this group is predominantly straight, there are a lot of people looking for same-sex or gender non-conforming partners.

Similarly, the UK Polyamory Dating Group looks like it has the same format although I’ve never been a member. In both these groups, there are people from across the UK but there are a lot of people from the polyamorous London community.

Another UK-wide group is Solo Poly UK, for people who approach their relationships autonomously (without a primary or nesting partner) – like me! This isn’t a very active group though but if you’re interested in SoPo advice, try the much bigger Solo Polyamory Facebook group, which is run by Aggie Sez, who wrote the book Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator.

Some Facebook groups that are specifically for the polyamorous London community is The London Poly Women’s Group, which relates to the women’s meetup group mentioned above, and London Poly Vegans, for all the super ethical non-monogamists who also don’t eat animals. I quite love that there’s a group specifically for this.

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Polyamory podcasts CREDIT Minka Guides
Me binge-listening to polyamory podcasts

Polyamorous podcasts and blogs

Most of the polyamory content you will find online is created by North Americans. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with this as the US and Canada have large non-monogamous communities and many of these blogs and podcasts offer excellent guidance and advice about polyamory.

However, I’m keen to find more of a local perspective on polyamorous London and have been hunting for podcasts and blogs by people in the UK for some time, without much luck. The Non-Monogamous Help podcast (available on Apple, Google and Spotify) is the only one I’ve come across so far and, as it turns out, it’s hosted by North American who is based in London.

Lola Phoenix is a non-binary writer whose podcast takes an ‘agony aunt’ format, where they answer listeners’ questions (with the help of a relationship therapist). All the names in the letters are changed – so you’ll just have to guess which episode my question appeared in. Their straightforward advice is especially helpful if you’re currently experiencing poly drama, as they make it clear how to avoid things get messy.

Looking for more options? Check out my favourite polyamory podcasts.

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Sexy in things to do in London Pinky Promise CREDIT late night humans
Pinky Promise 📷: Late Night Humans

Sex-positive events in London

Aside from poly-specific events, London has a range of sex-positive events – from talks and life-drawing classes to play parties – that are often a great way to meet other non-monogamous people.

Discover more sexy things to do in London.

Please note: many of these events are postponed until further notice due to Covid-19 but some are still holding really amazing online events. Click on the link to their Instagram for more information. If no link is included below, you can Google their names (or email me for a link) if you’re interested, as I don’t link to NSFW content.

Kink community play parties

There are many play parties that cater to the general BDSM and kink communities, with Klub Verboten, Crossbreed and, of course, Torture Garden being some of the most popular. These parties are fun and have decent DJs, so you won’t feel pressured to take part in any kinky activities if you don’t want to. Make sure you check out the dress code in advance though. There are also a few kink-specific play parties for queers, such as Savage Dreams, and Bi-Kink Club.

Although I’ve been to many kink community parties over the last 16 years in London, I’m not heavily into kink so I can’t really comment on what they are like. However, the above parties are definitely the ones I hear about the most about.

Sex-positive play parties

While London has many overtly-hetero swinger parties, like Killing Kittens, Pleasure Island Parties and ZDR, there are some more queer-friendly ones too. Skirt Club is a very luxe international private members club for bisexual women that hosts some play parties in London. Risque is a relatively new cocktail night for non-monogamists that has a very queer-inclusive membership policy. They occasionally throw play parties for their members as well too. I’m also keen to check out the Camp Crumpet play parties, that take place quarterly in London.

The London branch of Kinky Salon (an international movement of social/artistic/sexual salon-style parties – quite like the film Shortbus) was a huge part of the queer poly play party scene for many years. While they sadly stopped doing parties a few years ago, they still do the occasional social event, so it’s still worth signing up for their mailing list.

Some of the founding members of the Kinky Salon’s London branch went on to create The Summer House Weekend, which I haven’t been to yet but I hear really great things about. This four-day event isn’t in London but in the countryside at a secret location that is accessible by train. Summer House is really popular with the non-monogamous community because it combines workshops, talks, hot tubs, parties and play spaces, which makes for a pretty amazing weekend apparently.

Other social events

Here’s a list of other events in London that are either creative, intimate/sensual, body-positive or queer and good for meeting other people who are non-monogamous:

If you have any other suggestions about polyamorous London, comment below or drop me an email to let me know!

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Queer guide to polyamorous London | Minka Guides

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