Gwen Kansen asks, “Why is polyamory so popular now?”, but I could reframe the question as, “Why have numerous once-minority pursuits, beliefs, and interests spread?”, and the answer is the same, “The Internet.” That’s a true but not completely helpful answer, and it’s more specific to say that anyone with niche interests, unusual beliefs, or non-mainstream pursuits had a lot of trouble and friction finding one another before the ubiquitous Internet, and so niche beliefs stayed very niche. We know that plenty of women had group-sex fantasies, even before the Internet, from books like My Secret Garden by Nancy Friday. What people didn’t have back then were ways of finding one another and spreading ideas about niche interests. Niche interests aren’t purely a sex thing: you can view modern versions of political correctness or “woke” politics as a growth in a niche field, and, while I don’t want to activate people’s political identities with this post, it’s hard to imagine the White House of January 2017 – 2021 without the Internet. The Internet facilitates feedback groups in which persons with niche interests find one another and reinforce their beliefs about their niche, and thus drive more extreme versions of that niche.
Humans really like f**king, a point I’m not going to belabor and, if you don’t believe it, why are you reading this? The ones who really really like to f**k a lot, often want novel experiences, but those novel experiences often come with costs, including search costs, danger, reputation costs, and others I’m not imagining right now. Online, anyone who wants to can write about their sex adventures in a way that’s effectively anonymous, barring the interest of the NSA or someone powerful and snoopy. Anyone who wants to can explore the group-sex scene in their city. Anyone who wants to can download Feeld (today), or, back in the day, use other sites to explore non-monogamy domains. Put those things together, and it’s possible for large numbers of people to coordinate in a mostly anonymous fashion. A woman’s family doesn’t have to know that she’s hoping to get drilled by four dicks at a party. A man’s friends don’t have to know some other guy unloaded in his girlfriend, while he was deep in another guy’s girlfriend. It’s possible to take baby steps in these directions. Once a couple or girl get enmeshed in the network, their friends often learn about it. Probably the most powerful impetus that encourages new people trying f**k parties is friends who are already going. You can f**k and still be friends, but many people go to f**k parties and don’t f**k friends.