Posts Tagged ‘polyamory’

Are we really mono-poly?

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 16, 2008 at 9:04 pm

By Janet Kira Lessin, printed in Loving More Magazine #22, Spring 2000

Doctors Hal and Sidra Stone teach us that we have many "voices" within ourselves. We each have our own set of voices, be they the Inner Critic, the Inner Child, the Inner Pope, the Inner Aphrodite or any of a myriad possible combinations.

At different times these voices battle for dominance within us. We each have inner dichotomies — poles of opposition vying for the upper hand. The Inner Catholic conflicts with the Inner Atheist, for example.

Where we find ourselves in any given point in our existence, we tend to throw stones at our opposites. In life we tend to attract to us, to "hire" in a sense our "disowned selves." We see in others what we least like about ourselves. These "mirrors" act as a reflection to us of those parts we need to incorporate into our being, in order to feel whole and complete.

As we seek to come to complete integration of our many selves, or subpersonalities, we strive to come to our center, or as we say in voice dialogue, to develop an "aware ego". Many books have chronicled this search for enlightenment.

Two complete opposites, almost universally, are our Inner Monogamist and our Inner Polyamorist (loving more than one in an intimate relationship). Never before has there been such debate, especially in this Judeo/Christian culture. Why does it seem that so many polyamorists are attracted to and marry so many monogamists and vice versa? If we were to imagine the center for this dichotomy, what would we find? Could it be a combination of the best of both worlds, that which I refer to as Mono-Poly?

As we observe the world around us, it doesn't appear that mankind is truly monogamous; with our incredible divorce rate that is rapidly heading towards sixty-five percentile for us "baby boomers". That's not counting our infidelity rate, which is staggering. Add on top of that the "happiness factor", those who stay together only because of the kids, the bills, the family, habit, etc. and the figures really get alarming. What's going on here?

Despite all of the above, it does appear that we humans do tend to "pair bond". Even at the east and west poly conferences last year, it was observable; twos seeking three, couples seeking couples, even those "expanded group marriages" within them appeared to have groupings, two by two! Lets now examine the pros of each lifestyle.

With monogamy, one can embrace the creation; man/woman, Adam/Eve, two by two, the dyad, romanticism. Many find it fashionable to trounce romanticism, but face it; romance is fun! It gives one that chemical rush, that "high" of a new love, NRE (New Relationship Energy)!

Monogamy reinforces the security of a stable home, Mom and Dad, someone we can turn to in thick and thin, loyalty, commitment, our "best friend". Monogamy provides that special someone to whom you can confess your deepest, darkest secrets; that person with whom you have that "special" something that only you two know and share.

Monogamy resonates the feeling the feeling of forever, security, safety, warm fuzzies. It provides that person to whom you return when your poly adventures turn sour and they "dump" you.

Spiritually it resembles "the split-apart", the "twin flame", symbolized in the yin/yang. The twin flame is that one special person that for some inexplicable reason you feel this incredible bond that transcends time and space. When you meet that person, it bowls you over. You connect, not just on one or two chakras, but on all chakras. You realize how you never really completely connected with anyone else before and if they left, you would never go this deep ever again. It is a merging; a oneness with Man/Woman/God/Goddess/Universe.

Historically, says Dr. Helen Fisher (Anatomy of Love, Norton: 1992), monogamy insured at least two people stayed together and committed to their child's survival; staying together until he was "weaned" and somewhat self-sufficient before parting (about 4 years).

Now that we've shown the virtues of monogamy, what possibly are the the pros of polyamory?

Obviously the first thing is "variety is the spice of life".  In polyamory we have sexual variety, which is very exciting and attractive to many of us. We also have more than one person with whom do things with, so one person is not trying to meet all of our "needs", which is virtually impossible.

In polyamory, one has many mirrors in which to reflect; many points of view in which to learn and grow. In a poly household, there are many hands to accomplish tasks, to pull resources together.

Polyamory resonates the security of the "tribe"; the memory of which resides deep within many of us. With numerous to defend the women and children and assure their survival, the survival of the tribe, the children and continuance was assured against predators and foes.

As souls we appear to be created in soul groups that find one another lifetime after lifetime. We have many "soul mates" that we have loved through many lifetimes; that we have loved in various fashions time and again. As souls we know that we have an endless, boundless capacity to love. Polyamory brings our natural state of loving oneness and that ability to love all into the physical.

Statistically it appears that our marriages and dyadic relationships seem to last on the average of 3.5 to 4 years. Currently there are no real statistics available on poly relationships. We can only speculate as many remain hidden to protect their lifestyles and their families.

In my poly group, I have seen first hand the trials and tribulations of loving more than one. It is certainly not an easy path to undertake, no easier than monogamy, it appears. Broken hearts happen here as well.

Recently, I heard one staggering statistic from a local Hawaii talk show host, Kevin Hughes, which made me stand up and take notice. He said that swingers stay married on the average of 23 years! Wait a minute… 23 years! Let's take a look at that one! So I did.

I had noticed in conversations on the Internet that there are many who define themselves as "swingers" who are actually couples seeking other couples with whom to love. They just don't have any other models. They've never heard the vocabulary. Perhaps they really are poly?

I had noticed that I myself had been passing judgement and throwing stones at swingers, if only to myself. I wanted to observe things first hand, see what was really going on. So, I asked my husband, Sasha, if he wanted to check out one of the swinger's parties. After some debate, we decided the best course of action was to open up invite the local swingers organization to have a party at our house. This way, we would be able to make the most scientifically accurate observations. With some reservations and much anticipation, the party began.

What we discovered from our party is that swingers traditionally do not allow any single men in their functions. Parties are strictly couples with once in a while the occasional single woman, who is usually bisexual.

They do what I call "inclusionary lovemaking". One man told me, "I would never imagine going somewhere and making it with anyone without my wife. We are a matched set. Love me, love my dog".

In swinging, there doesn't appear to be any "mini-monoging; that little mini-affair away from home, discreet, unseen, separate from one another. Swingers seem to love together, in parties, with another couple, in the same room, or out of the room but not very far out of site from one another. They always remain connected in some way; sensing each other; feeling each other. Rather sweet, huh?

I'm not advocating that swinging is "THE MODEL" for all of the world. It is just that I no longer throw stones at them and I'm now taking a deeper look. I see the love. Many swingers develop lifelong friendships with those whom they engage in sexual play.

One thing to notice is that there are only about 200 in attendance at each poly conference each year where there are more than 3,000 who attend the Lifestyles Conference for the whole time with approximately 10,000 additional attendees for the daily events attending the workshops visiting booths and exhibitions.

I feel that, in the final analysis, we act from "choice." Even if we define ourselves as belonging to one relationship type, it appears that life throws a wrench at you; someone comes into your life; you respond with love; and soon you find yourself somewhere else along the continuum. After all, the only thing constant in life is change.

Perhaps that's truly what Hal and Sidra Stone talk about when they speak of centering oneself and the "dance of the selves" as the path to awareness and wholeness in life.

As we seem to go from lifetime to lifetime experiencing being every religion, race, color and creed, we find within our soul group that we have experienced being every imaginable configuration of friends, family and lovers. We do this dance time and again, hurting and being hurt, until one day we, find that we have completed all karma, our soul group reunites in bliss and we return home to "go out no more". Bless free will. Enjoy the adventure.

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When one lover is not enough

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 16, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Source: The Dominion Post

Honeys, I'm home, calls Zachary as he walks through the door. Three kisses for his partner Mary, sitting curled on the couch – one, two, three. Moving to the other end of the couch, he deposits three kisses on Anna's lips, one, two, three – and then a fourth.

Back to Mary, another kiss to even it up – and then another. And so on. "Sometimes Zachary spends a good 10 minutes going from one to the other," laughs Mary.

Zachary and "his girls" are a ménage a trois.

Zachary and Mary were married for about six years when they met Anna and invited her to move in. They have been together for a year. Both women are bisexual; the relationship is known as a triad.

"You really have to have your shit sorted to do this," says Zachary. "But if it works, the advantages are just incredible, and I'm not just talking about the sex. It's just this is an interesting household."

In a society where monogamy is the norm, but adultery all too common, polyamorists say they have got it right. "Many people are torn between deceptive adultery and unsatisfying monogamous relationships. This is the best of both worlds, I guess," said Carl Turney, a researcher on the subject.

A Durex survey found only 43 per cent of people were satisfied with their sex lives. Another survey found 16 per cent of Kiwis admitting having an extra-marital affair.

Mr Turney says overseas studies suggest the number of cheaters is much higher – as many as one in two men and one in three women cheat at some time during their marriage. The American-born medical analyst has researched the subject around the world, working with support groups in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

He says the poly lifestyle is more common and varied than you might think. Many are discreet about their lifestyles, living as singles or couples, and chances are you wouldn't know. None of the people spoken to by The Dominion Post fit any stereotype.

They are people who believe monogamy is often an impossible ask, that no one person can be everything for another. They say while the rest of us philander and cheat, they are being honest.

Polyamory is very different from swinging. Rather than casual sex with strangers, which they tend to see as impersonal and mechanical, it is based on love. It can take many permutations, the most common being a V or a Zig Zag, where one or both partners have another partner. Sometimes the group is committed and exclusive, other times it is more casual, allowing outside lovers.

Mr Turney advises Polyamory Wellington, a monthly support group where about a dozen people meet to discuss issues and support each other. He says the lifestyle is often run by women.

People take on the lifestyle for many reasons – one or both are bisexual, the couple have a libido mismatch, one has an insatiable appetite for variety, or one falls in love with someone else but still loves their partner.

Aside from the sexual adventure, polyamorists say there are many other advantages – more money, more support, and at least one partner is invigorated, happier, and has more to give back to the relationship.

"When I have had romantic involvements with other women, it has also made me appreciate my wife more," says Wellington IT consultant Hamish, aged in his 30s, who has an open relationship with his wife.

They say it is an ideal arena in which to raise kids. With the growth of step-families, many children have more than two parents, but in this case, they all love each other.

The scope for jealousy is huge. Everyone who spoke to The Dominion Post admitted jealousy or insecurities had to be worked through.

One described the first night his partner went out with another man. "I remember lying in bed, my stomach was tied in a knot. I physically couldn't sleep. But it diminished over time, it becomes less important as you go through the issues."

Mr Turney said polys see jealousy as a symptom that the relationship is under threat and more communication is needed, in pairs and in a group.

Of course, there is no guarantee that your partner will not fall in love with someone else and leave you. Relationships break up, just as they do for other people.

But polys are also aware of what they call NRE, new relationship energy.

Hamish says with any new relationship, "there's a natural release of serotonin and other chemicals, similar to cocaine". In other words, you're high on love.

"Once you understand that, it's just a case of being aware and not doing anything significant," Hamish says. "No changes in your world that involve mortgages, suitcases or airline tickets. A real relationship doesn't start until NRE wears off."

Hamish says polys talk about "compersion", what they say is the opposite of jealousy, where a person gains happiness from their partner's happiness with someone else.

The idea that we can be so selfless, loving, sharing and forgiving might seem a little too optimistic, and indeed, Mr Turney says some come to the group and then decide it's just too hard.

But it seems those who are making it work, even if they've had setbacks, swear by it.

So is this the relationship of the future? The fact that none of those interviewed for this story wanted to be identified speaks volumes for how people think they will be perceived.

They say those they have told about their lifestyle were mostly supportive. But few had told everyone they knew.

Zachary says his local library refused to display the support group's leaflets in the library.

He likens it to the attitude toward homosexuals three decades ago.

Hamish thinks it will open up as the lifestyle becomes better known. "There's an opening in society for non-traditional relationships. It's honestly the logical next step."


Lindsay's 10-year-marriage ended after the pair tried polyamory and her husband left her for another woman. But she she says it put her "firmly on the poly path" and she would never again commit to just one man.

When Lindsay's husband first suggested opening their marriage, she thought "it sounded a bit strange".

A few years later, aged in her early 50s, she had another look. "I said: 'I'm not really sure that I'm happy about you going out with other people, but I'd quite like to'. He said that was fine. He had this desire to imagine me with someone else."

Her first attempt was too casual and she got bored. Soon though, she started seeing a married man. They went on dates and weekends away.

The experience was "mind blowing". "I said: 'it's great, I've got one person to talk about this with, and another to talk about that. This is just too good to be true'."

She felt it was unfair on her husband, so she said he could meet others too.

Before she knew it, he was getting serious with another woman. "I was in a bit of a sulk. I wasn't happy about it."

Two months later, he told her he was moving in with his girlfriend. She was devastated. "If you're poly, the last thing you expect is for someone to leave you . . . Why would they leave you, when they can have both?"

She went through months of "bloody hell".

Now, she's settled. "I don't have a partner and I couldn't care less either, but I don't think I could go and commit to one person ever again."

"It seems blatantly obvious that one person will never be everything for me. They can never do everything, or be everything, or fulfil everything."


Hamish and his wife have an open marriage. They both date other people, although he says it is easier for women than men. They have both had to work through jealousy but he says they gain happiness from each other being happy.

Hamish, aged in his 30s, first read about polyamorous relationships in a book when he was 10, but he never thought it was possible.

About eight years ago, his wife of eight years admitted to him, eyes brimming with guilt, that while he was at work, she had been visiting Internet sex chatrooms. "I said 'that's cool', I was fine by that."

The pair, who have a young son, came to an understanding. At first they were limited to Internet contact with others, but no one in the southern hemisphere. Over time, they have progressed, slowly, as his wife has grown more comfortable.

He says his wife was motivated by sex drive. "I'm less sexual than she is. I don't have her level of drive. For me, it's part of a bigger picture."

Her first involvement was hard. "Intellectually I was OK with it, but emotionally I was really tripping out."

He has read extensively on the subject, knows the pitfalls, and has worked through his jealousy.

"Now, I'll come home from work and they've been having sex. Her boyfriend is still there. We sit in the bedroom and have a chat."

The pair have always focused on being fair.

He says it is not a lifestyle for the faint hearted. "If I had to give advice to people getting involved with it, to quote my favourite book: Don't.

"That said, I think the rewards are huge. In our case, I think it's been excellent."

Zachary, Mary and Anna

Mary, Anna and Zachary live in a menage a trois. Mary and Anna are both bisexual and the three of them plan a commitment ceremony later this year.

When people first learn Zachary has two "wives", he can tell what most of them think.

"You can see their brain ticking over – they think it's a total sex fest 24/7".

Zachary, Mary and Anna have lived together for a year, and they say the benefits extend way beyond sex. "It feels weird when we don't have three of us," Anna says.

Their sunny Wellington house has a woman's touch – or women's touch. One of the girls, who snores, sleeps in one room, the other two share the other. But there's a fair bit of bed hopping.

They all agree there were plenty of teething problems.

"It's not smooth sailing by any means," Zachary said. "We had to do lots and lots of talking."

Now, their relationship seems very relaxed. They talk in unison and laugh a lot. They work hard at being egalitarian in their affections. If they hug one, they hug the other.

They plan a commitment ceremony soon and joke about finding a third wife, or second husband.

They rewards, they say, are immense.

"For me, because I'm bisexual, I'd always go from wanting a man to wanting a woman to wanting a man," Anna says. "This situation balances me out."

They say there is extra strength and support in their group. "Every woman needs a wife," Mary jokes.

Zachary adds: "The best thing for me is if Mary wants to go shopping, Anna can take her . . . That really is every man's dream."

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The new rules of polyamory

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 15, 2008 at 11:17 am

Source: The new rules of polyamory,

Peter lives with his girlfriend, Joanne. He also has a boyfriend, Tom, who lives with Lucy, who also goes out with Peter. And Joanne goes out with all three. Keeping up?

They are all enthusiastic fans of polyamory, where you have relationships with more than one person. It's wrongly compared to swinging – polyamory is more about romance and domesticity than suburban sex parties.

Peter, 36, met Tom, 40, and Lucy, 47, (already a couple) at a bisexual convention 11 years ago. 'All three of us were in a relationship until 2002, when we met Joanne. She then joined us.'

Peter and Joanne, 26, live together in a flat opposite Tom and Lucy's house in south London. How did they decide who lives with who? 'It just worked out that way,' says Peter. 'Tom and Lucy have always lived together and I live well with Jo. I often wonder what the neighbours make of us when we go back and forth all the time with food and the tumble dryer.' Erm, the tumble dryer?

'There's only one between us – actually it's Tom and Lucy's,' Peter laughs. 'And we're all quite affectionate in public so that probably confuses them, too.'

Why choose?

Aside from the odd twitching curtain, Peter says life is bliss and wonders why more people aren't doing the same. 'In the TV show, Lost, everyone's always asking if Kate will choose Jack or Sawyer. Why does she have to make a choice? Why can't they come to some sort of an arrangement?' Guesses have been made as to the number of people in such arrangements but it is impossible to estimate.

At last year's Poly Day, an event held in a London pub for members of the poly community to celebrate their way of life, 200 people turned up. Other sources claim there are as many as 2,000 Britons living with multiple lovers.

And now, thanks to Academy Award-winning actress Tilda Swinton, unconventional relationships have been put under the spotlight again. Last month, she appeared at the Baftas with artist Sandro Kopp, 29. The pair live with her long-term partner, 68-year-old director and artist John Byrne.

'It was nice for the poly community to see someone such as Tilda not conforming either,' says Peter. 'We do feel like we're invisible sometimes.' Although Peter has often been in a poly relationship of some form, others just can't help who they fall in love with. Minx (her nickname) had a turbulent start to her new lifestyle.

'I fell in love with a guy who is poly, so I had the choice of either adopting his lifestyle, which I always thought was a great idea – I just didn't have a word for it – or not dating him at all. I took the plunge. I made a lot of mistakes. We all did; him, his wife and me.'

The right to veto

The 39-year-old public speaker has recently reunited with another former boyfriend who now has two other partners. She says the green-eyed monster does tend to rear its head now and again. 'Some polys will choose to give a partner “veto power”, which means that partner has the right to reject a new partner,' Minx explains.

'But normally, if an incoming person causes ripples, the existing partners will talk. It's easier to deal with issues such as “I'm worried because she's prettier than me” or “I'm threatened because he has more money than me” than the ultimatum of “him or me”.'

Never enough time

The biggest downside is time; sometimes there just aren't enough hours in a day to give all your love to lots of other people. 'Love is infinite – time isn't,' says Minx. 'Most of us quickly find our “polysaturation point” – when we no longer have the time, attention or focus for new partners.'

Peter says schedules are vital in the poly community. 'It's important to set some time aside for everyone. Not even for sex but just to chat. We use an online calendar so we can all look at it and see who's free. And when Joanne is on a date with one of the others, I can play my computer or watch TV.' How very civilised. Considering a large proportion of people struggle to stay faithful to one lover, maybe we'll end up indulging in poly trysts.

Minx thinks so: 'Humans are good at forming pair-bonds and then philander discreetly. But naturally monogamous? No.' Peter disagrees: 'Lots of people are in perfectly happy relationships with just one other person. Good luck to them.'

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Internet Pushes Polyamory to Its ‘Tipping Point’

In Too lazy to assign a category on March 4, 2008 at 9:42 am

Source: Regina Lynn for Wired

The internet is famous for hooking people up for everything from blind dates to political activism.

For people into polyamory — a way of life in which participants engage in multiple intimate relationships simultaneously, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved — the internet provided a handy label for their lifestyle and a launch pad for injecting the concept into mainstream consciousness.

"Around 1990, we found this nifty name to call ourselves, instead of 'responsible, consensual nonmonogamy,'" says Dr. Kenneth Haslam, a retired anesthesiologist and curator of the Kenneth R. Haslam Collection on Polyamory at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. "About that same time, the internet came along — and it was at exactly the right time. The internet is a tipping point for polyamory."

From its somewhat murky etymological past to 1992's creation of the alt.polyamory Usenet newsgroup, the term has swept to mainstream acceptance: Polyamorist, polyamorous and polyamory made the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, and these days, polyamory (poly for short) is more visible than ever.

The Washington Post ran a long feature on the subject for Valentine's Day, while actress Tilda Swinton's relationship status — she's part of a poly triad — seems to have garnered as much press as her Oscar win.

While having multiple committed partners is not a new concept, many polyamorists have told me they felt lost, guilty, alone or freakish until they came across the word polyamory on the internet and for the first time had a context for the way they felt about love.

"You can argue that before the internet, the poly community didn't exist," says Franklin Veaux, author of What, Like, Two Girlfriends?, a respected polyamory FAQ. "There's no question that the rise of the internet and the rise of polyamory coincided, although poly does predate the net by 6,000 years or so."

Geeks have not traditionally been viewed as relationship experts, yet as a subculture, we are open to alternative ways of life. We immerse ourselves in science fiction and fantasy, imagining other cultures and experiencing relationships not necessarily bound by puritanical traditions.

"I remember thinking that the fairy tale doesn't make any sense, because if the princess lives in a castle, why should she have to choose one of the two princes? Castles are big and there's room for all three of them," says Veaux, who was raised in a Nebraska town of 275 people, with not a poly role model in sight.

"I grew up in middle-class suburbia unaware of any alternatives but one, very negative: monogamy or slut," says Sharra Smith, one of Veaux's partners. "I tried to be monogamous and failed miserably; after a very bad relationship, I said, 'That's it, no more, I'd rather be a slut.' Then I learned there's a middle ground."

Cunning Minx, creator and host of the Polyamory Weekly podcast, says she's seen a significant change in how the mainstream media treats polyamory in just the three years since her first episode.

"Poly used to be so alternative you had to adopt this entire different culture [to participate]," she says. "While it's definitely still an emotional and spiritual upheaval for many people to shake off the paradigms of monogamy that are so ingrained in us, now you can meet poly people in a group and talk about it in a safe place."

Polyamory is just the kind of thing you'd expect in an era of love without borders, where time and distance no longer prevent us from finding true mates, and when no one has to live alone with their kink, desire, fantasy or love style — because someone, somewhere shares it.

"A lot of people are trying [polyamory], but we don't have any models for this kind of relating," says Anita Wagner, author of the Practical Polyamory blog. "There's a tremendous demand for resources, information, guidance, help."

Wagner and Minx both praise OKCupid, a mainstream dating service that has adapted its profiles to include polyamorists, and Wagner says Meetup has been invaluable in helping people find one another.

"Google polyamory and a city, and you find that major cities have sizeable poly communities," Wagner says. "In the vast majority of the country, it's very small still, but people are meeting each other in smaller towns…. Social networking has worked really well for poly people, who sometimes establish long-distance relationships because that's where the people are who they are compatible with."

Beyond the obvious benefits of online community, the language's internet-speed evolution continues to give polyamory a boost. When poly or poly-curious people stumble across the polyamorous lexicon, the discovery can help validate their worldview.

"We need to get away from the idea that there's only one right way to live," Veaux says. "That idea has arguably caused more destruction and more damage to more societies over history than any other single idea you can name."

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Polyamory and the maintenance of autonomy

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 23, 2008 at 8:08 pm

I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot lately and have figured something out about the difference in views about relationships that poly and non-poly folks have. Through conversations with friends, colleagues, etc. I’ve noticed that what bothers a lot of people about non-monogamy is not so much the fact of there being more than one simultaneous relationship in the life of one or both partners, but the maintenance of autonomy within “the couple.”

What I mean is that there seems to be an unspoken rule in many exclusive relationships that, in exchange for the emotional security and intimacy that one receives, one must give up their individual autonomy and identity. ALL decisions, big or small, ranging from a night out with friends to whether or not to get a tattoo, must now be made by THE COUPLE: this new unit composed of two parts.

When I tell people that I date that my view of a relationship does NOT include the loss of my sovereignty over my own body and my own life, they run away screaming (metaphorically). Actually, it’s more like they back away slowly with big round eyes.  When I tell them that if I ever live with someone again, we will each have our own rooms because sometimes I prefer to sleep on my own, they think I’m a freak. I also tell them that, if I’m invited to a party or any other event on a certain night, I will not call them to check if we have plans before I accept. Why? Because if WE had plans, I would know about it, right? Why would you (my hypothetical partner) make plans FOR me without consulting me? If WE are invited to a party and you are not there, I will accept for myself and tell people that I will inform you of the event and that you will be free to accept or decline, even if I know you well enough to know that you will probably accept because you love parties (ooops, almost wrote panties hehehe). And I expect you to do the same. Therefore, neither one us makes plans for the other. I call that respect of individual autonomy. Some people call it lack of respect for the unity of the couple. Go figure.

In any case, this kind of stuff is what seems to scare people away. Not so much the “simultaneous sexual and/or emotional relationships” aspect but the “maintenance of individual autonomy” aspect. Interestingly though, for me they go together. The right to establish other relationships of different natures outside of my “primary” relationship is, to me, a question of autonomy. I know that there are polyamorous people with agreements such as veto power, etc. but that kind of negotiated agreement does not indicate a loss of autonomy to me because it’s verbally laid out and negotiated whereas the clause that stipulates loss of autonomy within “(stereo)typical” monogamous arrangements is unspoken and unarticulated until broken. And even then, it’s articulated with difficulty.

Source: Jacky's Place

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Is Polyamory Not Such A Retarded Idea After All?

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 23, 2008 at 7:56 pm

So like, sometimes I want to tell you guys about a story that's, like, too nuanced and complex to distill into a cynical one-liner. And then I think "pageviews!" and just skip it. But what the hell: it's about a small polyamory convention going down somewhere in exurban Pennsylvania, and it kind of — I know, I know — made me reexamine my prejudices (?) a bit. I mean, polyamory is one of those things it's all too easy to associated with, like, free-bleeding and Xena conventions and other subcultures too dorky, too fully occupied by people who are just too completely divorced from the desire for mainstream acceptance, to really want to examine in a way deeper than "not that there's anything wrong with that," right? But the story, while rife with harmless little digs at classes with names like "Hap-poly Ever After" and "Threesome, Foursome and Moresome," actually poses a striking question: is poyamory actually maybe a utopian ideal borne of a courageously humanistic mix of selflessness and pragmatism?

Maybe so!

Read the rest of the article and the comments over at Jezebel: Celebrity, Sex, Fashion for Women. Without Airbrushing.

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There’s always room for ‘more love’

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Imagine this: Melissa and John have been in an intimate relationship for two years. They are perfectly happy. One day, Melissa meets Michael, and begins to develop a deep attachment to him. She brings Michael home to John. All three sit down to talk and by the end all three are content with the outcomes.

Melissa is now in two relationships-one with John and the other with Michael.

Wrong? Unnatural? Plain cheating? Perhaps to some, but for those engaged in such relationships, it is simply the most natural and right way-that is, to polyamory, the practice of multiple relationships.

"[Polyamory] is the belief in having open relationships, but having your partner know about these various non-monogamous relationships," said Susan Stiritz, professor of women and gender studies. According to Stiritz, the practice is grounded in the belief that humans are not inherently monogamous and that the limitation to only one relationship is unnatural.

For Michael Brown, coordinator for LGBT Student Involvement and Leadership, polyamory goes as deep as to question what a relationship is.

"It's really rethinking intimate partner relationships and asking what intimacy is," said Brown.

"Polyamory simply challenges the whole concept that one person has to be with one person, that this is the only kind of intimacy, and that anything outside of this must not be intimacy," said Ellman.

Read the rest of the article at Student Life. The Independent Newspaper of Washington University in St. Louis since 1878.

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Washington Post Sends Big Valentine to Alternative Lifestyles

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 15, 2008 at 8:47 pm

Triads. Quads. V's.  No, it's not a math lesson, it's the terminology used to describe relationships by polyamorists.  Not sure what those are?  Lucky you have the February 13 edition of The Washington Post's "Style" section to enlighten you. And if you read far enough into the copy you'll also find a game plan for redefining marriage. More on that in a minute.

In what can only be described as a Valentine to immorality and provocative behavior, the Post ran a 2554-word feature on polyamory that describes a practice most readers – even the liberal fans of the Post – would find disturbing. Sometimes called "swinging" or "wife swapping," polyamory is the practice of openly having several sexual partners, regardless and sometimes in spite of, marital status.

Read the rest of the article and reactions on NewsBusters. Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias. It is a reaction on Pares with Spares, mentioned in my previous blog post.

Note: at least their bias is pretty obvious. Heh.

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Pairs With Spares

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 15, 2008 at 8:40 pm

For Polyamorists With a Whole Lotta Love, Three, or More, Is Never a Crowd

Polyamory isn't about sex, polys tell you. It is about love. It is about loving your primary partner enough to love that they have a new secondary partner, even when their New Relationship Energy with that person leaves you, briefly, out in the cold. It's about loving yourself enough to acknowledge that your needs cannot be met by one loving person. It's about loving love enough to embrace it in unexpected form — like maybe in the form of your primary's new secondary! — in which case you may all form a triad and live happily together.

That kind of love.

And so some 100 people, a small fraction of the 15,000 polys on the mailing list of convention sponsor Loving More, have gathered at a Holiday Inn off the Pennsylvania Turnpike for two days of seminars with such titles as "Hap-Poly Ever After: Long-Term Poly Partnership" and "Kids and Poly Relationships: A Human Relations Primer About Melding All Your Loves."

Read the rest of the article over at Anita, who commented on Polyamory, Sex and Jealousy, here on this blog, is portrayed as living a 'typical poly story'.

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Polyamory, Sex and Jealousy

In Too lazy to assign a category on February 10, 2008 at 2:23 pm

While browsing posts around Vox tagged with 'poyamory', I came across the post Love and Sex by Paxton, who was linking to my posts tagged with 'relationships', portraying me as an advocate of polyamory. I wanted to comment on the article because in my opinion he overemphasises the importance of sex. Unfortunately commenting was disabled, so I sent him a private message, with some random thoughts that came up:

Polyamory is the idea that we should shuck the old shackles of matrimony and jealousy, and feel free to create bonds with multiple sexual partners in a non-exclusive arrangement.  It has some very well-spoken proponents.

I just now ran into your post where you are linking to blog posts of mine. As I can't comment on your post, I feel compelled to send you a private message and I might post about this on my own blog.

In the above, and in the entire post, in my opinion, you emphasise the sexual aspect too much. Polyamory isn't about sexual partners per se, although there always is the option to make a bond sexual as well, and for poly people excluding sexuality feels unnatural. It is however about creating long term lovin g relationships with more than one person, where all parties involved are aware of the situation (no cheating). Swinging is more about sex, and not always long term, although some couples swing with the same partners  over periods of years and years.

One can run into the same problems as within a monogamous relationship, and the situation is perhaps more complex, as there are more people, with their emotions and insecurities, to keep in mind. Poly people are usually very committed … to several people.

Bonding may occur in some without jealousy.  People who respond this way to our chemicals are probably rare, but would be excellent candidates for polyamory.  For most, though, the two go hand in hand and jealousy is unavoidable.  I think this is why the truly polyamorous – experiencing bonding and love without jealousy – seem to be a very small portion of the human population, despite the utopian ring that it has.  Human biology can't be changed by adopting a philosophy of a jealousy-free life.

Polyamory doesn't do away with jealousy. Poly people do recognise the feeling of jealousy. Nobody is immune to jealousy. It's like being immune to fear or hunger or anger. Some people may be naturally more jealous than others, but anybody can feel jealous.

Jealousy itself is an interesting emotion, because jealousy is a composite emotion, that is based on other emotions. It's a second-order emotional response–something happens, that thing causes you to feel threatened or to feel insecure or to feel something negative about yourself, and then that fear or insecurity makes you feel jealous. For that reason, the root of jealousy is often surprisingly difficult to pin down and understand.

Instead, what happens is that people look at the event which is the proximal cause of the jealousy and assume that that event is the source of the problem. "My partner kisses another person, I feel jealous; therefo re, it's the kiss that makes me jealous. The way to deal with the jealousy is to tell my partner to stop kissing people."

It doesn't even have to be sexual. Imagine your partner having a very close friend (perhaps of the same sex) and spending 5 nights a week with that person. Even though nothing sexual has happened, you'd probably feel jealous. Probably even rightfully so.

Yes, jealousy is unavoidable. However, there are several ways to deal with jealousy.

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