People Are Calling Out 'Alex Strangelove' For Confusing Polyamory With Pansexuality

11 June 2018, 16:05

Alex Strangelove
Picture: Netflix
Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

Umm what did she just say?

Netflix's latest teen movie Alex Strangelove is getting a lot praise for its LGBTQ friendly storyline but some are puzzled by the way it discusses polyamory.

If you haven't seen the film already, the story follows Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) who is determined to lose his virginity to his girlfriend. However, after he meets Elliot at a party, he starts to question his sexual identity. The film has received largely positive reviews and people are fawning over Alex and Elliot on social media. But there's one line in the film that mentions polyamory that has left people confused.

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As most people know, polyamory is the practice of engaging in multiple emotional or sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved. Yet some people feel that when the subject of polyamory comes up in the film, the writers might have gotten the definition wrong.

Alex Strangelove | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

The scene goes a little something like this: Alex walks into a bedroom at a party and meets Elliot and his friend Gretchen for the first time. Alex wrongly assumes that they're in a relationship and comments that they're cute together, to which Gretchen responds: "I think so. If only Elliot were straight or bi...or poly. Then at least I'd have a chance."

"What's poly," asks Alex.

"It's some new things that some kids at our school are experimenting with. Polyamory", Gretchen responds. "Except this one. Sorry, ladies."


Just because Elliot is gay - rather than bi or straight - that doesn't mean he couldn't be polyamorous too. The line in this context doesn't make much sense.

People are now questioning whether the writers have confused polyamory with pansexuality - when a person is not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity.

So what the hell is going on?

Some people have suggested that this is might be clumsy writing rather than a total misunderstanding of the definition of polyamory. Perhaps the writers added 'polyamory' to that line to mention Elliot's relationship preferences, as well as his sexual identity. Or perhaps Gretchen was supposed to be confused on the difference between pansexuality and polyamory? Unfortunately, it just looks like they are conflating two very different things.

Despite this, there is still a lot to love about Alex Strangelove and we would recommend that people watch the movie - but it might be wise to make sure you have the correct definition of polyamory first.

Do you think the writers got the definition wrong or is this just a clumsy scene?