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Polyamory

So as to not take over the other thread.

I do have emotional relationships.  If something happened and I or my partner wasn't able to have sex, I could work around that.  If our emotional/intellectual relationship diminished, it'd be over.  For me, the "connection" is the most important thing.  Sex is important to me, but it isn't defining - although bad sex will end a budding relationship.  I can usually tell by kissing styles.  I tend to work on the "connection" with people who I think will be good sex partners, so it goes hand-in-hand.  In a relationship, for me, what makes us "us" is the overall bond.

I avoid casual sex.  There's a high probability of first-time sex being bad because partners aren't in tune with what the other person likes.  I'm likely to be sexually monogamous, because for sex to be good (for me) it takes a few times with the same person and that wanders into emotional monogamy space.  However, I don't feel necessarily tied to either casual sex or monogamy.  

I dunno why I don't have a problem with open-ish relationships.  If people continue this dicussion, it may help me put it in words.  

oye, i don't even know where to start with my reply.

first, and easy, my basics:
1. i think that safe, responsible sex is fine, casual or not. i don't believe that sex is something one "owes" anyone or that they should automatically be entitled to maintain for one person. we own our own bodies and if we want to use them sexually, we need to be responsible, no matter if you have 0 or 100 partners.

2. i think all relationships need to allow for negotiation/talks about what each person wants. i don't think that monogamy is natural, i think it is socially constructed and followed due to tradition. (don't argue with me on this - i'm a family sociologist and i'm not changing my mind)

3. i think people are capable of having different kinds of deep relationships with several others. i practice this in my own life and i think it is good and healthy.

i think a distinction should be made in how poly can work. poly requires a very high level of trust and openness in a relationship and a willingness to make it work/understand the emotions/doings of one's partner(s).

i can give example of what is NOT poly: two of my friends were in a poly relationship (both women). one slept with others (men and women) even though her GF was okay with her having sex with women, but not men (details, i don't know). she did not tell her GF of her sex adventures. on the other hand, her GF had one other woman she was "seeing" and this made lady 1 jealous/unhappy/upset. THIS IS NOT POLYAMORY. this is fucked up "poly" drama shit.

my own dating situation i'm in right now isn't monogamous and it doesn't bother us. we talked about it. we're both pretty queer in our ideas/ways and poly works for us. we don't talk in detail about what is going on (i don't really care to know the details honestly) but we're aware of things and its on the table. i think its a benefit for us. there isn't jealous. i feel i can be pretty open/honest with her about whatever i want because how i feel or what i might want to do are not off limits. she has someone else she sees once in a while, i know they have sex sometimes, and i'm okay with that. i know from our own relationship that it works for us, that we know what we're doing. i know if i wanted to hook up with someone or see a second, etc person that she would be okay with that. honestly, i'm too lazy for more than hookups, and those are rare. i think we don't expect each other to be each other's world. to some, this would be cheating, but it isn't. i think the only thing i worry about is disease, but we have talked about that some. i don't know. but it isn't like serial monogamy protects you from EVERYTHING.

i don't think poly is for everyone nor do i think those who practice honest monogamy are wrong. i have issue with compulsory monogamy, double standards, cheating and "fake" poly.

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I hope rdust or bp chimes in here.

I was right.

this.

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sirdidy... you and i are definitely eye-to-eye.
you explain everything so well.  and i didn't
think about the food comparison but it
definitely makes tons of sense.

see, this is why you're my husband-wife!

:)>>>

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bp... EVERYTHING you said.  yes.  thank you.

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2. i think all relationships need to allow for negotiation/talks about what each person wants. i don't think that monogamy is natural, i think it is socially constructed and followed due to tradition. (don't argue with me on this - i'm a family sociologist and i'm not changing my mind)

Since you're not willing to discuss, what would be something good for me to read (article, book, whatever) that supports this?  Especially the part that it's not natural.  I don't really know enough about it.  My general perception of it is that monogamy IS natural, evolutionarily speaking, in that it provides the greatest benefits toward raising offspring and securing a home.  I think polyamory is fine for single people who don't want kids, but if we extended that to the population at large, it would be chaos--children need secure attachment figures.  I think there is a natural propensity toward monogamy as long as there is the propensity to have families and pro-create.  But again, I'd like to read more about it, so if you have some suggestions that would be good.

Yeah, most of what I'm familiar with is the poly drama where someone ends up getting hurt or feelings get fucked up.  I would still like to learn about more couples who are polyamorous in the long term.  I think there is a polyamorous couple with a podcast about it--I'll look them up.

I still don't get it, but I'm following along.

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and similar to what bp was saying, i was thinking about this last night while i was working (pizza delivery gives me a lot of alone thinking time).

i just kept getting really mad at the comparison that the difference between a best friend and a romantic partner is the sexual/physical side.

my wife is FAR more to me than a best friend i have sex with.  my wife and i could never have sex again and she's still be my romantic partner.  we could completely stop kissing and any sort of physical touch that would be "romantic" like and we still have a different, far deeper connection than that.  i have always disliked the idea that sex is owed or expected.  anytime i was in a relationship with someone who treated it this way, i left them.  i cannot handle that way of thinking.  it makes me feel like my crotch is more important than my mind... or even equally important, and i don't feel that it is.  sex is SO LOW on my list of important qualities for a romantic partner.  if brittney said that she never wanted sex again i'd still love her and it wouldn't change our status.  if she said that she wanted sex with other people, how does that affect me?  if anything, she'd be less grumpy.  she needs to get laid.  haha.  and it would boost her self esteem and she'd have her fun social time and probably feel better about life in general.  (not that this is supposed to be a "cure" for anything... just my own thought about brittney only)

but like bp said, we own our bodies.  just like no one could tell me what can or cannot grow in my body (abortion issue), no one can tell me what i will or will not eat, no one can tell me what sex/gender i will be romantically involved with... just like all of that, no one should be able to tell me that there is a limit to my love or affection.  if my partner is not comfortable with the idea, then out of respect i stay loyal and follow her wishes to make her comfortable.  but that's only the physical part.  that doesn't change the fact that i currently have many crushes who i would like to pursue romantically.  i just don't see the difference that the physical stuff makes.  brittney and i have talked about this many times.  she always says she's interested in "trying it" but i know her and i don't think she's ready.  when we first met she agreed with some of you.  she told me, "that's dumb.  those aren't REAL relationships".  she has since changed her mind after meeting several people who have "real" relationships with more than one person.

and i have been in love with more than one person at once.  it didn't take from the first love. 

and i mentioned that heidi and i had a relationship together and we each had at least one actual relationship (not "hook up") with other people.  i said it was mostly casual flings, but my relationship with kat was not casual.  she and i were together for a while.  i wouldn't say i loved her in the same way that i loved heidi, but it was definitely more than the love i'd have for a casual fling.

one of my ex girlfriends had an interesting living situation growing up.  she had four parents.  her dad, who didn't live with her, and then the three parents at home.  her mom, step dad, and step mom all raised her.  they were all in love with each other.  all three of them were very committed to each other and lived life just as any other family would.  they are still together and have been together for... close to twenty years at least?  this is a sorta poly relationship in the sense that there are three of them, HOWEVER they are monogamous to the relationship between the three... so it's sort of a hybrid.

maybe i also love differently in general.  i love EVERYONE.  even people i don't like.  i have a certain level of love for all living beings.  this is the base level love i have for the homeless person on my street and even child molestors in prison.  it's the baseline love and respect i have just for them being living.  then as i know someone, i develop different kinds of loves.  acquaintance love, friendly love, crush love, romantic love, family love, coworker love... even people i do not like get some sort of love out of me.  i know most people don't do this, but i love everyone.  even all of you on vw who i've never met.  if i've talked to you a lot then that love has matured to a more familiar love, but i love all of you regardless.  i don't put a limit on my love.

i disagree that this doesn't compare to any other sexual orientation.  even at pride this weekend they had a group of polyamorists who were walking through the parade giving out "free group hugs".  how is it not a sexual orientation?  it is how you feel sexually, isn't it?  or even emotionally and physically?

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i dont' think that monogamy is natural.  at least not natural for me.

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 I think polyamory is fine for single people who don't want kids, but if we extended that to the population at large, it would be chaos--children need secure attachment figures.  I think there is a natural propensity toward monogamy as long as there is the propensity to have families and pro-create.  But again, I'd like to read more about it, so if you have some suggestions that would be good.

read my post below yours.  i address a family WITH kids.

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what about cultures where the children are raised by the "brood" moreso then say, a father/mother type household.  That being said, i don't know how the sexual relations work in such an arrangement (is sex something that's freely given or is the sex monogamous but the child still raised by the brood?)

I agree that there are most certainly definite advantages to raising a child in a typical nuclear type family but, the advantages - in and of itself - do not define that relationship as "natural" - it's still culture, a culture that works for that given type of society.

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also... heidi and i had a daughter and we were poly.  layla has three parents.  i don't feel that she is lacking in parent stability.

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the advantages - in and of itself - do not define that relationship as "natural" - it's still culture, a culture that works for that given type of society.

EXACTLY, thank you.

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  I think polyamory is fine for single people who don't want kids, but if we extended that to the population at large, it would be chaos--children need secure attachment figures.  I think there is a natural propensity toward monogamy as long as there is the propensity to have families and pro-create.  But again, I'd like to read more about it, so if you have some suggestions that would be good.

read my post below yours.  i address a family WITH kids.

Thanks!

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and there are many societies that raise their kids in that brood sort of way.

and are we forgetting mormons?  i know it's usually one man and several wives, but they do that BECAUSE they feel it's best for the children.  the husband and his wives will have their own way of dealing with the romantic situation, but a common one i've heard is that they sort of alternate who sleeps with who.  i mean, i guess some of them might have a "tuesday" wife situation, but i remember a specific family who just did the sleeping arrangement in whatever way felt natural for that night and that could even mean everyone piles into a bed all at once.  i know the huge families get a bed reputation, but that family was one man, two or three women, and two or three kids.  they all had genuine love for each other.  they were not mormon, i don't think, but they were polygamists and so i grouped them with the mormons in this paragraph.  the benefit for the children was that there was ALWAYS a parent around so they didn't have to go to daycare and they had a lot of love and support coming from all around them.

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maybe i also love differently in general.  i love EVERYONE.  even people i don't like.  i have a certain level of love for all living beings.  this is the base level love i have for the homeless person on my street and even child molestors in prison.  it's the baseline love and respect i have just for them being living.  then as i know someone, i develop different kinds of loves.  acquaintance love, friendly love, crush love, romantic love, family love, coworker love... even people i do not like get some sort of love out of me.  i know most people don't do this, but i love everyone.  even all of you on vw who i've never met.  if i've talked to you a lot then that love has matured to a more familiar love, but i love all of you regardless.  i don't put a limit on my love.

OK!!! This is an awesome statement and takes a lot of courage to just put out there like that.  Sincerely, i just can't begin to say how much i respect the bravado and honesty in the statement above.  Thank you for sharing that.  It's honestly, one of those inspirational snippets (if you will) that will just *stay* with me!

Oh crap! I thought you were supposed to be the wife that I didn't like? Now i'm confused? hehehe We're supposed to like one another too? Well, ok - it's back to the drawing board to hammer out a whole new plan i suppose - ha!  More, ...I'm your "husband-wife"? Hmm, i've never been someone's wife before - this could be interesting. Mind if i bring a pen and paper to take notes though, i'd hate to think i'd get anything wrong.

KMK - i get the sense that you're looking for a logical rationale for what essentially amounts to an emotional based sentiment? IMHO, trying to provide that is like trying to explain to a blind person what the color "red" looks like. If you're brain is not wired to receive information in a certain fashion - there's not really a way to make you just "know" red, it's either something you see or you don't.  I hope that doesn't come across as crass, it's certainly not intended to.

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hmmm... I was thinkin' about this thread today.

I think my views line up most closely with hh's, but I'm not sure I could do anything other than monogamy, personally.

I have questions, though.
KMK: In terms of friendship and differentiating it from romantic love, I don't think I hold the same views as you. Personally, there are a lot of things I look for in a partner that I do not care if my friends have as qualities. Maybe I am just not very selective with my friends (this IS true... I don't have a lot of friends so I buddy up to all kinds of people), but I don't understand how one can have as many criteria for friends as partners.

To me a partner is someone that you share a lot of different connections with... emotional, physical, mental, biological, etc.

BP: you say that sociologically we are not monogamous. I am also interested in references and such for it, as I also know more about the biology that KMK speaks of which makes sense to me.
Ohhh, but at the same time, in KMK's last post (I am way too lazy to quote) she said that she thinks evolutionarily monogamy is natural, which i disagree with. Since we mostly evolved when we had small (tribes) communities, parenting was more of a communal effort, no? I don't think having two parents that loved one another had much baring on whether a child was raised with what they needed materially + love.

I think it really boils down to trust. But I guess, to me, this seems to be what hh is trying to say. You kind of have one emotional partner that you trust and do all the normal partnerish stuff with and they may or may not have sex on the side, just as you may or may not have (casual) sex on the side. I think that if I were at the initial stage of a relationship and someone indicated to me that it was something they were interested in, I would probably try it out, I just don't know if it would work for me. I really do kind of just think that some people are "wired" differently when it comes to these types of things.

I had so many things I was going to comment on but my head has lost them all.

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Oh crap! I thought you were supposed to be the wife that I didn't like? Now i'm confused? hehehe We're supposed to like one another too? Well, ok - it's back to the drawing board to hammer out a whole new plan i suppose - ha!  More, ...I'm your "husband-wife"? Hmm, i've never been someone's wife before - this could be interesting. Mind if i bring a pen and paper to take notes though, i'd hate to think i'd get anything wrong.

hey!  just because i LOVE you, that doesn't mean i have to LIKE you!  so we're all good!  no worries, put that hammer down!

also, yes... husband wife.  since i only have wives.  but it works for you too since you have wives... so we can be wives for each other.  but you're specifically the only husband-wife.  and take notes!  that's fine!  it shows that you really don't wanna mess up too much.  haha.  or something like that.

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KMK - i get the sense that you're looking for a logical rationale for what essentially amounts to an emotional based sentiment? IMHO, trying to provide that is like trying to explain to a blind person what the color "red" looks like. If you're brain is not wired to receive information in a certain fashion - there's not really a way to make you just "know" red, it's either something you see or you don't.  I hope that doesn't come across as crass, it's certainly not intended to.

sirdidy, this is why i love you.  you are so great at explaining things!  that's a perfect way to explain why it might be hard for someone to understand something even after having it explained.  especially since there isn't usually a lot of logic in love.  if there was then we would never stupidly love people we shouldn't.  haha.

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(disclaimer  - several posts (7) were made while i put this together over making dinner. i'm not editing per new posts)

umm, i don't know of anything off the top of my head that talks of this. likely because i don't read a lot and sociology (esp family studies) is too whitebread to spend time on this topic. sexualities covers it more, but monogamy et al are more written on. it just goes to say that EVERYTHING (imho) is socially constructed.

i am, however, reminded on some early marriage stuff. marriage (i.e. monogamous or polyandrous) started to protect men's interests. in patriarchal society, it was important to have "the lines" of inheritance in check, esp for the elite class (the ones that rule things and set the rules). as you noted, many societies across time practiced polyANDRY, or men having more than one wife. there has always been the sexual double standard in relationships. just how men who get women preggers and don't care for them get off while the women they knock up get stigmatized, esp in the lower classes. monogamy (esp women not sleeping around) best serves the interests of male dominated society.

interestingly, some proponents in changing marriage suggest that poly would be a better normative model. as it is set now, families break up when the ideal relationship doesn't work (monogamous, sexual, friendship). they suggest to add people and allow for openness so people can have their needs met by someone who can do it. under this model, if we were socialized to accept multi partner situations, it could actually benefit children. what HURTS children is a) fighting/discord and b) income losses that result from marriages breaking up (assuming 2 breadwinners). having non-normative family arrangements don't hurt children unless they are being done in a way that hurts kids. a lot of children live in extended/blended/postmodern families and thrive. i don't think we can discount the value of rethinking things. why wouldn't having more than just mom and dad (or whoever) to love and provide care for a child be a bad thing? does it matter if the relationship is blood, legal, or tied in some sexual way? for example, would DR and I raising a child together be a WORSE situation than two people raising that same child who had a sexual/romantic relationship? i think the real issue is how we (as a society) champion some relationship forms as "best" when, in reality, it may not always be the case. maybe sometimes, but not always.

the final note to add is that, as a post modern kind of kid, whether or not monogamy and our tenancies for it/against it are true, either way the knowledge claims made by either side are going to be highly suspect.

also, if monogamy is programed or biological, then why wouldn't people be happy with one partner and not cheat/divorce/etc? most people don't practice true monogamy (one sexual partner). they do serial monogamy, which is essentially polyamory separated by time and space.

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I have questions, though.
KMK: In terms of friendship and differentiating it from romantic love, I don't think I hold the same views as you. Personally, there are a lot of things I look for in a partner that I do not care if my friends have as qualities. Maybe I am just not very selective with my friends (this IS true... I don't have a lot of friends so I buddy up to all kinds of people), but I don't understand how one can have as many criteria for friends as partners.  

What do you mean?  I never said I had lots of criteria for friends.  You mean my list?  No, that's not things I do with all my friends, that was just compare/contrast best-friend vs. romantic partner.  Like, where do you cross the line from best friend to romantic partner?  That's what I was thinking about.  I don't really have criteria for my friends.  Friends are friends.  They just are.

also, if monogamy is programed or biological, then why wouldn't people be happy with one partner and not cheat/divorce/etc? most people don't practice true monogamy (one sexual partner). they do serial monogamy, which is essentially polyamory separated by time and space.

I think it's because we are poor, as a whole, at communication in relationships.  People don't know how to discuss their sexual problems, or their personal conflicts, and so it's easier to just let it out elsewhere by cheating.  I think there are peripheral issues related to the way that we navigate our relationships and related to the way society portrays monogamy which affect this.  More than an intrinsic "monogamy is not natural."  Don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

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I think it really boils down to trust.  (...)  I really do kind of just think that some people are "wired" differently when it comes to these types of things.

i definitely agree with this.  i think most of us agree that without trust any sort of relationship (monogamous, poly, or whatever) will not work.

and everyone is wired differently at least in some aspects... or we'd all be the same!  like most of us  (on vw) are wired to have compassion for animals to an extent where we actually go out of our way to not eat them, wear them, etc... and we all know that not everyone else has that same wiring to feel that way.

just as veg*nism isn't for everyone, neither is polyamory.  or monogamy for that matter.

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