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July 25, 2009 9:27 AM   Subscribe

POLYAMORY 101

polyamory in the news

Books and movies about polyamory

New Relationship Energy

Jealousy
posted by kathrineg (121 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first rule of Polyamory Club is that you always talk about Polyamory Club.
posted by Artw at 9:32 AM on July 25, 2009 [188 favorites]


I came across this article years ago, a really well-written piece about jealousy and relationships polyamory and the black pit at the core of our psyches. I had it bookmarked about 5 computers ago, and in the pre-Time Machine days, the death of a hard drive (for me) meant losing just about everything. I've been searching for it for years, but either cannot remember enough about it for my Google-fu to work, or else it has disappeared from the interwebs.

Thanks for these other links. I was hoping one of them might be that one I've looked for all these years, but no. Does anyone have any idea what I'm talking about?
posted by hippybear at 9:42 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh no, that's not depressing. Not one bit.
posted by johannahdeschanel at 9:43 AM on July 25, 2009


hippybear, can you be more specific? there are about 8 billion polyamory focused articles about jealousy
posted by kathrineg at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2009


For those lacking the time and/or patience to read the articles, see Reason contributing cartoonist-correspondent Peter "Hate" Bagge's account of attending the third annual alternative lifestyles "Building Bridges" conference to get a feel for the subculture.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:51 AM on July 25, 2009 [17 favorites]


I would have a problem fitting in with a lifestyle that is so self-conscious about itself as a "lifestyle."

As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

Any lifestyle that requires an FAQ is a little repulsive to me.
posted by jayder at 10:03 AM on July 25, 2009 [14 favorites]


katherineg: well, jeez. The title was something about confronting the darkness within or something... it was lengthy, several pages printed.. the author's last name may not have been European-descended... It was a much more philosophical article than simply "here is how you handle jealousy", but instead explored topics of abandonment and ultimately got into some very spiritual places.

I know, it's not enough to be helpful is it? I was hoping the whole "darkness within" or "black pit" mentions might spark some memories in someone.
posted by hippybear at 10:04 AM on July 25, 2009


jayder: As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.


You're joking, right?
posted by applemeat at 10:07 AM on July 25, 2009 [50 favorites]


Sorry if that came off in a negative or dismissive way, hippybear. That wasn't my intention! Thanks for the clarification. I don't think I've seen it but hopefully someone else has and can link to it here.
posted by kathrineg at 10:08 AM on July 25, 2009


As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

You may not have the conventions (although Promise Keepers seems to come close), but the websites, best practices, and FAQs are called "the dominant culture". Polyamory is the outlier in this country, and as such gives birth to a subculture as participants seek to learn that they are not alone, they are not crazy, and that they don't have to reinvent the wheel.
posted by hippybear at 10:08 AM on July 25, 2009 [31 favorites]


see Reason contributing cartoonist-correspondent Peter "Hate" Bagge's account

Um, or don't, since it doesn't actually seem to have anything to do with the subject of the articles. "Swingers?" Come on.

to get a feel for the subculture.

I feel like I need to say that people don't need to belong to any "subculture" to benefit from thinking about the content of the FPP. There are a lot of people practising non-monogamy - in fact I might even guess most of the people practising non-monogamy - who don't consider themselves part of any "subculture." They just don't really think monogamy should be the default, and that's it. (Personally I find the in-your-face-polyamory people just as annoying as the I'm-demonstrative-in-my-amusement-at-your-non-monogamy people).

As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

There are entire industries devoted to maintaining monogamous relationships. You've never read a mainstream relationship advice column, or considered seeing a couples counselor, or wandered through the relationship help section at a bookstore? You've never watched television, or movies?

If you found yourself plopped down in the middle of a culture where monogamy wasn't the standard - and they do exist - you'd need some FAQs to show people interested in trying it out too.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:09 AM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


kathrineg (I misspelled your name last time. apologies!): I didn't take that at all negatively. I know my description is foggy. My Google-fu is usually strong, but fails in this case. Thanks for asking for more info hoping you knew about it!
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on July 25, 2009


posted by jayder As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

Oh, sure we do. Just Google "wedding" and you'll find thousands of websites and conventions and self-appointed leaders. As far as "best practices" are concerned, we just had a big debate, right here.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:09 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was hoping the whole "darkness within" or "black pit" mentions might spark some memories in someone.

that sounds more like alt.gothic than alt.polyamory
posted by pyramid termite at 10:10 AM on July 25, 2009


pyramid termite: yeah, it was one of those articles which starts out being about one thing, morphs several times in process, and ends up being very deep and insightful. it WAS about Poly and jealousy, though. It wasn't one of those emo cakes that cut themselves.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 AM on July 25, 2009


Hippybear, I find that the xeromag refrigerator essay covers some of what your're mentioning, but isn't the same thing.
posted by custardfairy at 10:26 AM on July 25, 2009


look, someone discovered that internet thing.
posted by krautland at 10:28 AM on July 25, 2009


"As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

Any lifestyle that requires an FAQ is a little repulsive to me.
"

But your lifestyle qua lifestyle is no different from theirs. It's just that you have certain benefits that they don't: You were indoctrinated into monogamy from a very early age (and so had a long time to learn he rules). You have lots of examples in your life and entertainment that you can model. Products and advertising are geared toward you.

Which is to say you have all of the typical advantages of a majority group that sees itself as some kind of proper, default state. They don't, so they need to be more proactive and vocal in forming and defending their identity.

Put it this way: I find it odd that you are repulsed by the notion that a group which is a small minority of the population finds it helpful to make talk about itself and to form its identity explicitly. Would you have been repulsed by the similar projects that women and racial minorities have undertaken?
posted by oddman at 10:30 AM on July 25, 2009 [15 favorites]


GOD DAMNED MORAL RELATIVIST SCUM!

Ahem, excuse me. Carry on.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:34 AM on July 25, 2009


custardfairy: well, now I've sent out emails to the other 3 or 4 people I'd shared that article with those years ago. Maybe one of them will respond with something fruitful. I'd love to pass it along into this thread.

Thanks for searching, though... and that's a great article too!
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on July 25, 2009


POLYAMORY 101

This is all pretty basic stuff. Are there any upper division courses?
posted by Avelwood at 10:44 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Any lifestyle that requires an FAQ is a little repulsive to me.

Metafilter has a FAQ.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on July 25, 2009 [26 favorites]


jayder: As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

I think that a lot in the polyamory think the conventions and FAQs and manuals are a virtue, not a psychosis. Isn't it better to have everything discussed out in the open than just relying on customary practices that may not match quite as well as you assume?
posted by fatbird at 10:50 AM on July 25, 2009


Remember HBO's Real Sex? Whenever they'd have a segment on some sort of polyamorous or polyamorous-like group (be it spiritually oriented, pure swinger, whatever) 99% of the people there would be really, really gross middle-aged baby boomers. Just thought I'd mention that.
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:56 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Give me a garden-variety, sneaking-around-behind-my-spouse's-back affair any day, over this self-consciously "open" polyamorous stuff. Yuck.
posted by jayder at 10:58 AM on July 25, 2009


Give me a garden-variety, sneaking-around-behind-my-spouse's-back affair any day, over this self-consciously "open" polyamorous stuff. Yuck.

So...let's just ignore what's been said upthread, then?
posted by invitapriore at 11:02 AM on July 25, 2009


Remember HBO's Real Sex? Whenever they'd have a segment on some sort of polyamorous or polyamorous-like group (be it spiritually oriented, pure swinger, whatever) 99% of the people there would be really, really gross middle-aged baby boomers. Just thought I'd mention that.

Exactly. The real-life swingers and polyamorous people I have seen profiled, are invariably dumpy and unattractive.

There is really a tragic, sad element in people's attempts at sexual liberation. The sexual bounty afforded to swingers and polyamorous people is the sexual equivalent of a cheap, all-you-care-to-eat buffet: you get excited at the prospect of eating as much as you want, but once you're there, none of it is very appetizing.
posted by jayder at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


Give me a garden-variety, sneaking-around-behind-my-spouse's-back affair any day, over this self-consciously "open" polyamorous stuff. Yuck.

The former might be more romantic, but it's also really expensive.

Open polyamory is a cost-savings approach, measured in both dollars and heartache.
posted by rokusan at 11:05 AM on July 25, 2009


So you'd prefer being dishonest and betraying your spouse, over having an honest and sincere discussion about how to make each other happy?
posted by oddman at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2009 [10 favorites]


Polyamory, in the form of serial monogamy, is the dominant culture. True monogamy is an exceedingly rare thing.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 AM on July 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


The real-life swingers and polyamorous people I have seen profiled, are invariably dumpy and unattractive.

Presumably because it took many years to become bored of the "usual" ways of life. That period happens to (almost?) everyone, and probably around the same ages (after twenty years or so of monogamous sexual activity? Ten for some? Thirty for others?). These people act on it in a "non-traditional" way, when compared to jayder's model, which has been the norm in our society for a long time now.

Similarly, kinks skew to older demographics, too. Same reason. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Consider also that "polyamory" is also the default state in many very young groups, but that is never counted in the statistics. It's only when it's older people, people from whom one "expects" monogamy, that it becomes a defined demographic group.
posted by rokusan at 11:10 AM on July 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.

Any lifestyle that requires an FAQ is a little repulsive to me.


Hate to pile on, but do you read AskMe at all?
posted by grobstein at 11:11 AM on July 25, 2009 [9 favorites]


Give me a garden-variety, sneaking-around-behind-my-spouse's-back affair any day, over this self-consciously "open" polyamorous stuff. Yuck.

Seriously? While I don't live or really even understand the polyamorous approach to relationships and sexuality, I'd much prefer folks not willing to commit to be up-front about it. I suspect that you're just being brash and lulzy here, but think about it a bit - the poly approach, while inscrutable to me, at least attempts to minimize the pain of broken monogamy by never building it in the first place. The approach you've championed here is one of inevitable hurt for spouse who is snuck around on. Would you feel the same way about relationship dynamics if you were the odd man out in the scenario you describe?

In short, if we learned anything from the Juggalo thread, it's that knee-jerk judgments of an entire sub-culture are lazy and easy and boring. It's much more fun, interesting and enlightening to try and understand a sub-culture than to condemn it. Avoiding condemnation doesn't mean that you agree with their lifestyle and wish to embrace it - it's possible to recognize that a chosen lifestyle is not your own, as it would not work for you, and that your lifestyle is not theirs, as it would not work for them.
posted by EatTheWeak at 11:15 AM on July 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


I'm sorry, I did not mean to derail the thread with my comments. I am sincerely disgusted by these efforts to innovate sexually, but I don't claim my disgust is well-reasoned or justifiable.
posted by jayder at 11:17 AM on July 25, 2009


To someone who comes from a land filled with purple cows, brown and black ones would seem rare and exotic.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 11:23 AM on July 25, 2009


Holy shit. I can learn something from that Juggalo thread that I ignored?

(Opens new tab...)
posted by rokusan at 11:33 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am sincerely disgusted by these efforts to innovate sexually

You mean like turning the lights on?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:34 AM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Jayder: I am sincerely disgusted by these efforts to innovate sexually, but I don't claim my disgust is well-reasoned or justifiable.

For most people, realizing that a visceral reaction is neither well-reasoned nor justifiable would be cause for re-evaluating that reaction.
posted by fatbird at 11:35 AM on July 25, 2009 [29 favorites]


My anthropology professor (lo these many, many years ago) had done a lot of field work in a traditionally polygamous society. She said that what really surprised her was that despite the fact that all the people in that society had grown up regarding polygamy as "normal" and fully expecting to end up in polygamous marriages (multiple wives, not multiple husbands), the way the women would speak to her about their experience of the marriages never seemed particularly "well-adapted" to the institution. That is, raging jealousy and vicious competition for priority between the wives was the norm.

Of course, I'm sure an anthropologist from a polygamous society would be equally struck by how ill-adapted we seem to be to our putatively monogamous culture.
posted by yoink at 11:38 AM on July 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


99% of the people there would be really, really gross middle-aged baby boomers

Middle age is about the time in life when you overcome the self-consciousness of being different enough to "celebrate your lifestyle" by talking about it in public, but don't yet realize that no one cares what makes you a special snowflake, including what you do in bed.

Plus, for those younger than middle-aged, having multiple partners is generally called "dating".
posted by elfgirl at 11:39 AM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


That is, raging jealousy and vicious competition for priority between the wives was the norm.

Was that really caused by the polygamy, or because it might have been a culture where women had less power and fewer options? In that kind of situation, jealousy and competition for limited resources within a marriage is one of the few places where a woman could speak out and act. (That was my impression when I lived in a place where polygamy was normal, at any rate -- my sense was that polygamy makes exactly as much or as little sense as monogamy, and the flaws of each come through very clearly in situations where one party -- usually women, in our world -- is systematically disenfranchised and constrained.)

Polyamory, in the way it's discussed on the internet at least, has always struck me as a bit over-earnest and not all that much fun. But I don't see how it actually harms anyone, least of all me as someone totally external to it. As long as everyone is an adult, and is consenting, then more power to them.
posted by Forktine at 11:47 AM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had a bad experience with polyamory, but that was the fault of the people involved (including me), not the concept.
posted by kmz at 11:49 AM on July 25, 2009


That is, raging jealousy and vicious competition for priority between the wives was the norm.

Any institution that requires scarcity of resources is going to create competition. Polygamy has many wives, but only one husband. The expected outcome would be competition amongst the wives to get access to the limited time of the husband, especially in light of the fact that in most polygamist cultures the husband wields all the social power.
posted by elfgirl at 11:50 AM on July 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Here's a thing we seem to be tiptoeing around in this thread: The societal standard for sex has a number of components, but one we rarely pay much attention to is spontanety. We really, on a deep level, feel that sex is icky and gross and embarrassing, and so it is only OK if we are overwhelmed with passion and thus we get a pass for our ensuing actions. Passion absolves us but planning makes us complicit.

Surely this is the only explanation for why people get squicked by the existence of a FAQ for an activity that is almost completely universal. It's not that the polyamorists are screwing multiple people, it's that they are planning to do it in the safest and sanest manner possible, maximizing pleasure and minimizing fallout. Because when you get overwhelmed by feelings and throw away your career to follow your mistress to Argentina it's all romantic and funny, but when you buy condoms first and make sure your wife is okay with it and generally act responsibly instead of like a dog in heat you're a pervert.
posted by localroger at 11:50 AM on July 25, 2009 [70 favorites]


You know the parrot logo kinda reminds you about another internet parrot photo phenomenon. But I guess it's not so unwise as say using a rose with fingers spreading the petals, or even that time cover.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:50 AM on July 25, 2009


I have experience with polyamory. We (polyamory and I) weren't right for each other. I was too jealous.

But also? I didn't really fit in with the other folks who pursued that lifestyle. There is a lot of outward lipservice to ideals of ethics and communication that I found really wasn't practiced nearly as much as it was preached.

Given the two or three poly communities I've experience of, this seemed to be the rule, not the exception.
posted by kalessin at 11:53 AM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


As a monogamous straight person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.
posted by desjardins at 11:59 AM on July 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Polyamory always struck me as one of those interesting bits where if you need to have it explained to you, you won't get it anyway, and if you get it, you don't need it explained.

The compulsion to explain it is therefore puzzling.
posted by Pragmatica at 12:06 PM on July 25, 2009


Andrew W. K. weighs in.
posted by Scoo at 12:08 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know attractive, well-adjusted people in polyamorous relationships, where boundaries are discussed & mutually respected. They're not wild "Anything Goes" affairs.

I've seen someone get Royally Pissed Off on her partner's behalf for the way another of his partners dumped him. That's pretty awesome (if also bewilderingly alien) to me.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:11 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


OKCupid is an excellent dating/friendship resource for polyamorous folks, not least because they allow one to select "married / seeing someone" as current relationship while also allowing one to specify one is seeking dates. Further, a number of the self profiling questions allow classification in the "honest multi-partner relationships are acceptable to me" local minima. Finding other people who share this minima is pretty simple -- just look for low "enemy" ratings.

And, FYI, looking at the results of searches under this scenario puts the lie to this absurd "99% gross boomers" bullshit. A great majority of poly folks -- on OKC at least -- are attractive, intelligent, thoughtful, and well groomed people of a wide range of ages.

Most complaints sound like "sour grapes" to me. Because, not only do I have a lovely, sexy, smart wife, but I also go out with other women if I choose to do so -- and tell my wife all about it. Or, perhaps she would even like to join us if she finds my date suitable. Conversely, she is free to do the same with other men or women as she chooses.

No, jealousy isn't a problem. Because if she were to ever fade away from me in preference to someone else, I would be sincerely glad that she's found someone who is a better friend for her. I don't think I'm a saint, I just love her enough that I want what's best for her. Following this logic all the way through then, the only way for me to be at all secure in my relationships is for me to strive constantly to be the best friend and partner I can be.

And that, to me, sounds like a situation where everyone wins.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:17 PM on July 25, 2009 [28 favorites]


Dang, I totally read polyarmory and clicked the links wondering what polyarmory could possibly be.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:20 PM on July 25, 2009


And that, to me, sounds like a situation where everyone wins.

Fair enough. It's fair to say, though, that few people actually find this idea possible to live up to, though, isn't it? The story of "alternative" communities, free-love communities etc. is usually one where the high-flown ideals crash pretty hard into the rocks of jealousy, bitterness and regret.

Of course, that's true of many (most?) people's experience of "unfree" love as well, so maybe it's not such a startling observation.
posted by yoink at 12:21 PM on July 25, 2009


I'm another person who thinks that polyamory is a sensible concept that I'm totally, entirely wrong for. My bits think its a fabulous idea to sleep with multiple partners. Some days (after these 11 years of monogamy) my bits can hardly think about anything else. Thankfully, however, my head doesn't let my bits do the thinking.

My head knows I'm an intense, deeply intimate pair-bonder who's got a great thing going with another intense, deeply intimate pair-bonder. What I get mentally and emotionally in return for monogamy is a more than fair trade for not getting to have sex with whoever I want. But as the Boy and I were discussing last night, we know a number of older, primarily single people who wouldn't be able to sustain and wouldn't necessarily even benefit from the kind of commitment we have.

I've also known some people who though polyamory sounded very promising, but ended up being really hurt by it. I think maybe everyone's bits long for variety (we're wired to reproduce after all) but only some people's heads and hearts can handle it. Is it just part of the human condition, I wonder, to be evolved to simultaneously want to have maximum sex and also to not necessarily be very good at sharing?
posted by mostlymartha at 12:23 PM on July 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


I would think a major problem would be, uh, attractiveness disparity. I guess this fits under a simple open-relationship heading, but I remember many years ago encountering an older woman (older at the time; I'm about the same age now she was then, mid-thirties) at a bar; this was a woman I was really attracted to, had casually known for a little while. Anyhow, it seemed to me I was just about to go home with her, but then I saw a guy sitting across the room who I had a vague idea could be her boyfriend (no, that's not where this story's going). She saw the look on my face:

"Oh, it's okay. He's okay about it. This is what we do. He can have anybody he wants."

The guy was about forty, dumpy, obviously wasted, a baseball hat pulled down low. He wore the smile people wear when they're really fucking miserable.

"I, um...I really don't think he can, actually..."

He turned the awful smile on me. It seemed to say, Go ahead, champ! Fuck my girlfriend! Fuck 'er GOOD! It didn't look at all like he was planning to drink Dran-O, by which I mean, it totally looked like he was planning to do just exactly that.

So anyhow, yeah, I excused myself and did a quick fade. I think their relationship might have worked out better if they'd been equally likely to score other partners, but....
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:25 PM on July 25, 2009 [12 favorites]


Is it just part of the human condition, I wonder, to be evolved to simultaneously want to have maximum sex and also to not necessarily be very good at sharing?

Well, if that's not the case, then just about every novel, poem and film I've ever seen is barking up the wrong tree.
posted by yoink at 12:26 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


99% of the people there would be really, really gross middle-aged baby boomers

Also, let's not forget that people you don't find attractive are still allowed to have as much sex as they want, and even talk about it. There are few instances in which you are required to listen. If you end up trapped in a long conversation with Great Aunt May all the mind-blowing sex she's having with her two boyfriends next Thanksgiving, you have my sympathy, otherwise you're on your own.
posted by smartyboots at 12:27 PM on July 25, 2009 [16 favorites]


I know a lot of people that have tried polyamorous relationships, and one woman who was actually doing a full study on them. Many people/couples try and fail miserably. But there are rare individuals or couples I have met that seem to be really, impressively good at them. But it's been my experience that those individuals generally take a year at least to get it right. Longer if they're changing primary partners. It certainly isn't for everyone, but it's not impossible, either.

Also,

Polyamory always struck me as one of those interesting bits where if you need to have it explained to you, you won't get it anyway, and if you get it, you don't need it explained.

This is completely the opposite of what I've seen. Being good at polyamory - better at communication than the best of the population, very careful with time and scheduling, handling jealousy/possessiveness, being open to sexual and emotional sharing - is something that is, from what I've observed, learned and not necessarily something that comes naturally. Our society prizes monogamy, and learning to operate a different way - even if that way feels more natural to some - isn't exactly easy. It makes perfect sense to me that there would be resources to guide people through the process.
posted by lunit at 12:29 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges: funny. But I remember seeing that logo back in the early '90s.

I think localroger has this exactly right, sex is supposed to be bad so we consider rational planning about it icky. A friend was trying to set me up with a co-worker a while back, and we were chatting in a bar, and this person brought up an ex who liked kissing her feet. She said that she totally understood if he was just caught up in the moment and passionate and just had to kiss her feet, and she thought that was kind of hot, but, she said, if he had asked her if he could, she would have considered him a pervert and said no. I was just an ounce of self control about lecturing her about that being the kind of bullshit prudery that causes date rape and all manner of avoidable emotional scarring. I mean, really, as a guy I am supposed to expect that if I ask nicely the answer will be "no, you perv", but if I just do it without asking you think it will be hot? Fuck you. Seriously, that is just stupid.

The funny thing is, most of the people I have known that identify as "polyamorous" are no more promiscuous than the "monogomous" folks. I have known so many long term couples who are "poly" but just haven't had any action outside the relationship in ages. And then, on the other hand, are the folks who are "monogamous", but have secret hookups on the side.

And then don't get me started on the folks who say "polyamory doesn't work, someone always gets hurt", I mean have you ever seen a single sexual relationship of any kind where nobody got hurt? It has been years since I had a girlfriend, but I'll take the knowledge of the fact she's gonna be on a date and how far that date went and what kind of protection they were using over "surprise I'm leaving you and get tested for the clap" any day.
posted by idiopath at 12:30 PM on July 25, 2009 [11 favorites]


Pragmatica and kalessin: Exactly. The one set of people I knew who just did it without all the self-conscious process were doing great the last time I saw them. Every single person I've known who makes it a huge philosophical/lifestyle deal ends up in huge toxic relationship blowups. Groups of three seem to be especially bad, perhaps because they usually form when one person in a monogamous relationship gets into polyamory (or just likes someone else) while the other partner is not actually interested.

This recently happened in my co-op. New member shows up, quasi-partner moves cross country to be in the same city. Old member and new member end up in relationship along with quasi-partner of new member. Often incredible tension in air when all three present in single room. Everything blows sky high, I can't come home late at night without running into them have intense conversations in the public areas, new member moves out, stops talking to old member or coming to the house, other house members squicked out by the whole thing, etc, etc... Blech.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 12:35 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with mostlymartha. This is one of those concepts that appeals to me a lot in theory, but would be horribly wrong for me in practice. Fortunately, it doesn't even appeal to my husband in theory, which keeps temptation in check.

I've seen it work for some others, and I've seen it go up in flames, but many of my monogamous relationships also went up in flames, so it's not necessarily the polyamory that's the problem.
posted by desjardins at 12:45 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I find the subtext of "polyamory = sleeping with whomever you want" to be an interesting one, especially since it is not at all what polyamory is about. Swinging, hooking up, whatever, is NOT really what most of the links at the top of this thread are talking about. Neither is an "open relationship".

Sure there are those aspects to some of the relationships, but at its core, polyamory is about striving to form long-term partnerships with more than one person, perhaps even all the people together. (Although I know poly relationships where one party is involved with two individuals, who know each other but who are not striving to be involved themselves.)
posted by hippybear at 12:59 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


ok, I havent read this whole thread but please

The real-life swingers and polyamorous people I have seen profiled, are invariably dumpy and unattractive.

you're just not hanging out with the right poly/swingers sweetie, if you knew my friends a lot of your assumptions would be very seriously challenged.
posted by supermedusa at 1:01 PM on July 25, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hey jayder, maybe if straight, monogamous people were more self conscious about their "lifestyle", there would be more of them who were actually happy together and/or getting laid on a regular basis.
posted by hermitosis at 1:23 PM on July 25, 2009


maybe if straight, monogamous people were more self conscious about their "lifestyle", there would be more of them who were actually happy together and/or getting laid on a regular basis.

You're just trolling him, right? Because there are tons and tons of more or less happy straight monogamous people on the planet who are getting laid often. What are you even saying?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


you're just not hanging out with the right poly/swingers sweetie, if you knew my friends a lot of your assumptions would be very seriously challenged.

My assumptions are open to revision. You're going to memail me for your friends' next meetup, right?
posted by jayder at 1:42 PM on July 25, 2009


For me, the highest value I've gotten out of polyamory is simply learning to talk with my partners, a lot about what we both/all need. If you discuss things, look at all the possibilities, and decide being exclusively monogamous is the right decision for you both, hell yeah, good for you! At least you've talked about it and made a conscious decision to go that route. But don't fall into "monogamy-by-default" (or any other particular relationship pattern!) just because it's the societal norm or the expected thing. Give it some good, hard thought and discussion first.
posted by browse at 1:45 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd much prefer folks not willing to commit to be up-front about it.

depending on what you mean by the word "commit", this is exactly what polyamory isn't. in fact, it's about the deep sort of commitment that says, "i love my partner and he loves me and we aren't going to break up over a crush or a random fuck or dating or even loving someone else." not to say we might not break up someday, but we've made a lifelong no-matter-what commitment that is working out very well, thank you very much.

i am always appalled when my friends break up marriages w/children over their partner developing a silly (and even impossible) crush on a co-worker or a random drunken fuck.

i knew someone who had a crush, then felt the need to "confess" and then somehow came to the conclusion that said crush must "mean something" that resulted in the necessary dissolution of a years-long commitment. A completely unnecessary tragedy, if the marriage participants could talk about extra-partnership romance and sex with any sort of maturity.

at any rate, the biggest problem i have with being in a poly relationship is that when you *tell* anyone about it, they get this screwed up look on your face and feel perfectly fine saying immediately, "That DOESN'T WORK." Yeah. i've been with my partner longer than most marriages. And the *freedom* to have sex with someone else most definitely does not mean that we *do*. actually i think that having that freedom takes away a lot of the charge that lying and sneaking around does.
posted by RedEmma at 1:57 PM on July 25, 2009 [16 favorites]


I must say I'm impressed with the number of MeFites who seem to have personal experience with polyamory. Personally, I can't imagine how people find the time. It's hard enough to make room for a meaningful relationship with just one partner what with children, work, family, friends, etc. Overall, I'm mildly baffled, delighted to have just the one partner, and reminded again of how wonderfully varied this world of ours is.
posted by Go Banana at 2:08 PM on July 25, 2009 [7 favorites]


Good point, RedEmma - I reckon that people with varying approaches to the relationship riddle are also likely to have differing definitions of committing to a partner.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:25 PM on July 25, 2009


Something that I'm surprised and quite pleased to see not crop up in this thread is the overwhelming smugness I tend to get from poly people. The idea that they think that they are superior because they've conquered jealousy and have found a way to work with their desires, etc. and therefore are better than me with my singular pair bonding and shitty experience trying a poly relationship. The idea that everyone should be poly, if they only were better people.

Maybe that idea has faded from the poly community. I really hope so. Or maybe the poly people here on MeFi are just more rational people who don't get off on feeling superior to anyone (except republicans, which is perfectly reasonable).
posted by Hactar at 2:51 PM on July 25, 2009 [4 favorites]


Personally, I can't imagine how people find the time. It's hard enough to make room for a meaningful relationship with just one partner what with children, work, family, friends, etc.

Ditto. but then again, when I hear about friends who cheat, I feel the same way. It just seems like a lot of work--maybe even more work to conduct relationships on the sly and keep them hidden than to openly communicate about multiple relationships. Either way, it seems like more work than I have time for. But more power to people who can keep multiple relationships functional; you've got more energy than I do!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:57 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do think it's kind of funny to read the comments saying most polyamorous couples are ugly. In the poly relationship I was in a few years ago, we were all pretty hot (IMO) and all under 25. When I left that relationship I came away feeling like it wasn't polyamory I disliked, just the drama the people I was with seemed to love to cultivate. They alienated our other friends by talking about our relationship constantly and acting like they were weird for not wanting to be in a poly relationship. So, Hactar, it does still exist but I'm happy to have shed that relationship in order to preserve friendships that really enrich my life. I admire the people who can make it work because it does require extra effort and care and maturity.
posted by Mouse Army at 3:05 PM on July 25, 2009


I saw the above-the-cut post- "POLYAMORY 101"- and cringed. MeFi, for all that it tends to be "woo liberalism!" tends to approach sexualities and identities that are outside of the norm in what can be a really fucked-up and nasty way. While there's a small bit of that going on here, this has mostly been a fairly reasonable thread, which is awesome.

I remember reading an essay on polyamory that somebody linked me to and the whole time going "yes, right, absolutely"; it was weird and amazing to realize that the way I felt about monogamy and jealousy didn't make me some lone freak. There were other people- and a fair few of them, too- who felt similarly and I didn't have to feel like there was something wrong with me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2009


...though in all honesty, furries say the same thing, soooooo
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:39 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


jayder: As a monogamous person, I don't have websites and annual conventions and best practices and FAQs and self-appointed leaders and so forth.
This is the best invisible knapsack quote in the history of ever.
posted by verb at 3:43 PM on July 25, 2009 [18 favorites]


While this sort of lifestyle is not really for me, I can understand it on some levels. I've seen and been in relationships that have imploded, usually due to boredom with the same person year after year (in some cases, months). I'm not certain that humans are hardwired for monogamy, at least not since the second half of the 20th century.

I suppose if both partners are willing and up front about it, it could work. Why not? But, that would mean that BOTH partners are truly committed to the understanding. I've had boyfriends that have suggested threesomes with another woman. But when I would suggest a threesome with another man, they are not so hip to the idea.

It's a slippery slope, that's for sure. And while it may work in the beginning, it might not have enough legs to stand on as months or years go by.
posted by mnb64 at 3:55 PM on July 25, 2009


I just want to say how much I love the title of this post.
posted by moss at 4:11 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Regarding the explaining and FAQs thing: it seems to me that the personality types that are most capable of rationally examining their own and others' emotional responses, hence successfully conducting a polyamorous relationship (and possibly other controversial or emotionally difficult activities) correlate almost totally with the personality types that explain things to others, and also those who read and listen to such explanations. Whether that's because the "organizer/explainer" personalities control their jealousies and attractions more fully, or just don't feel them as strongly to start with, I don't know.

Being that type, I'm pretty sure I could conduct a polyamorous relationship. The thing is, assuming the same physical characteristics, I don't like that personality type in that way. I like the lively, fiery, fun, unpredictable and intensely emotional personality type. I'm very skeptical about their ability to manage their own jealousy, and their ability to deal with my own lack of jealousy over their own extra-marital activities, and if they happen to not be jealous, in my experience of that personality type, it's because they don't really give a damn. That makes me skeptical about their commitment to me.

I could be wrong about that. I'd love to be wrong about that. The idea of a polyamorous relationship is definitely attractive to me (at least as a threesome or foursome, but beyond that it just becomes group housing with sex, which appeals a lot less), not just for the sake of sexual variety--although that is nice--but also for the gestalt effect of shared lives. Stable couples do better in life on the average than singles, because someone else is contributing to the "household" (defining that as the financial, medical, and emotional fortunes, and child raising and care). Stable multi-adult groups (for example, grandmother, mother, father, children) get better outcomes in all these, on the average, than couples. So purely from a pragmatic perspective, it seems like a good idea as long as all are committed to it, and the process for getting un-committed is clear and unmessy.

What it comes down to is a feeling that sexual happiness and pragmatism are somewhat at cross-purposes, for me at least. Once again, I'd love to be wrong about that.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:27 PM on July 25, 2009


i am always appalled when my friends break up marriages w/children over their partner developing a silly (and even impossible) crush on a co-worker or a random drunken fuck.

That's the appeal of open-polyamorous-whatever-you-call-it-ness.

The idea of being defined by what your partner forbids you from doing, as well as the idea of a relationship-or-marriage being so ?delicate that it could be threatened by, as you say, a random drunken fuck, that's strikes me as the height of silliness. (This American thing of politicians resigning from public service over some detail of their marriage also boggles me. It's just sex, people. Get over it.)

A marriage-or-relationship can be bigger than that, so that your random drunken fuck doesn't have to be a threat. Something I have noticed myself, too: when the candy bar is no longer forbidden, it's not so damn appealing, but if you say there's one thing I cannot do*, thinking about it going to consume me until I either act on it or get resentful about it.

I think I'm far LESS tempted to have (or desire) random fucks when I know they're "allowed". Maybe I'm odd that way, but isn't that pretty much human nature?

(I realize this isn't polyamory in the textbook and linked post fashion. It's more of an open-marriage/relationship rant in response to some other comments. Forgive me.)

(* Note: not Tracey Jordan.)
posted by rokusan at 4:28 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


The story of "alternative" communities, free-love communities etc. is usually one where the high-flown ideals crash pretty hard into the rocks of jealousy, bitterness and regret.

Well -- sure. That's because saying, "I know this group of polyamorists, and -- and it all seems to be working out pretty well for them, actually" isn't a story. People aren't interested in anything until it's gone wrong.
posted by webmutant at 4:35 PM on July 25, 2009 [8 favorites]


My wife and I know a polyamorous triad.
It it made up of one woman and two men. They all live together and have three children. I'm not sure of the paternity of each child, but suffice it to say that both men are genetically represented. As far as I can tell they are well adjusted and quite happy living this way. Incidentally they are some of the smartest people we know and their children have already learned multiple languages at a young age.
posted by brevator at 4:36 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


MeFi, for all that it tends to be "woo liberalism!" tends to approach sexualities and identities that are outside of the norm in what can be a really fucked-up and nasty way
...
...though in all honesty, furries say the same thing, soooooo

I have to say that I'm enjoying the irony that rises up from the vast cognitive chasm between these two statements.
posted by hackwolf at 5:45 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


I assure you, hackwolf, the second post was made in full cognizance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:59 PM on July 25, 2009


I am sincerely disgusted by these efforts to innovate sexually

*laughs*

Riight.
posted by mediareport at 6:21 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now that homophobia is frowned upon and gay jokes don't work the way they used to, furries have taken their place in more liberal circles.
posted by idiopath at 6:25 PM on July 25, 2009


I don't think it's safe to say that ONLY furries have taken queers' places with respect to being objects of derision and unkindness. Certainly furries have taken their share of that stuff, though.
posted by kalessin at 6:33 PM on July 25, 2009


Outside of a small subset of whackjobs, furries are generally fans of anthropomorphic characters, not people who identify as anthropomorphic characters.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:29 PM on July 25, 2009


I am sincerely disgusted by these efforts to innovate sexually,
posted by jayder at 11:17 AM on July 25

My assumptions are open to revision. You're going to memail me for your friends' next meetup, right?
posted by jayder at 1:42 PM on July 25


Wow. I assume that the answer to your question is going to be a categorical "fuck no."
posted by the_bone at 8:08 PM on July 25, 2009


Wow. I assume that the answer to your question is going to be a categorical "fuck no."

Somebody needs to grow a sense of humor.
posted by jayder at 8:13 PM on July 25, 2009


Somebody needs to grow a sense of humor.

*really laughs*
posted by mediareport at 8:22 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not getting married is a perfectly acceptable, albeit often frowned upon, lifestyle choice.

Not sure why poly folks need to invent a whole ideology to justify themselves.
posted by bardic at 9:54 PM on July 25, 2009


Married people can be, and sometimes are, poly.

Not sure why it's so hard to read the links and/or comments before posting.
posted by rtha at 10:21 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not sure why poly folks need to invent a whole ideology to justify themselves.

It's not really about justifying themselves to the outside world. It's about discovering that one is not alone in the universe in their worldview, passing along lessons learned from others who have gone before, and striving to find clear language with which to express their worldview. The philosophy, if there is one, is honesty, trust, and willingness to communicate. These are good qualities in any relationship, but when trying to create a multi-directional relationship pod (and coming from the dominant monogamy-centered culture), there are a lot of unconscious pitfalls and psychological traps into which a group might fall. Many poly practitioners aren't looking to have the rest of the world accept them; they're largely resigned to understanding that the greater culture will not do so. Instead, they are hoping to avoid the common mistakes, to discover quality relationship approaches, and hope that their relationships will last as long as possible.

Basically, everything any couple getting married today hopes to achieve, only each extra member beyond the culturally-approved two increases the chances for misunderstandings and pitfalls. It's difficult to buck the dominant paradigm. Even more so when sex and personalities are involved. We barely train our young, maturing adults in how to keep a partnership together. Hell, we anti-train them with all our poisonous soap operas and jealousy-based film and television plots. The only way to undo all this programming is by coming together virtually and actively seeking to reeducate.
posted by hippybear at 10:31 PM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


... Not sure why poly folks need to invent a whole ideology to justify themselves.

I suppose to distinguish themselves from, say, swingers. Or any other people who don't get married. They don't want to be lumped in the same set as "That guy who thinks marriage is like prison and wants to hang onto the club scene forever."
posted by voltairemodern at 10:53 PM on July 25, 2009


Drama-Factory instruction manuals...
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on July 25, 2009


I met my wife in our early twenties. A few years in to our relationship -- we were living together, but didn't get married for about seven years -- I had a somewhat unintentional one-night stand with a woman who I had been flirting with a bit online. I was a bit bored and thought we were doing a late night diner run, but she had other plans... and drove me up into the hills, and basically insisted or else I'd have to get out and walk.

It was kind of messed up, really. But the thing is, I didn't entirely regret it, and didn't say no. I told her about it the next day, and told her that as upset as I was about what happened, I didn't really trust myself that if it happened again, I wouldn't do the same thing.

My (future) wife didn't take this very well. I caught her having an affair a few months later.

Ordinarily, this kind of crap would kill a relationship, but we still cared about each other and didn't want to break up. We were separated for a little while, but somehow, we talked it out and stayed together.

Basically, f*cking up and learning more about ourselves is what led to us gradually becoming polyamorous. I say gradually, because we started "in theory", without a whole deal of looking and without much of a social scene back in the early 90's where we were to support it. I was pretty reserved and shy, in retrospect, but got to know others who are poly, and gradually got more comfortable with being affectionate to others. That said, I spent about five years feeling like I would never find what I wanted.

That's when I met my other partner. Surprisingly, I wasn't shy around her and we hit it off. Most important of all, we were absolutely dedicated to making things work out, even though she lived about 120 miles away. A year later, she moved in with us, and we've all been living together for nearly five years.

There are a lot of things about the polyamory scene that I find annoying. There's a lot of new-agey woo, for example. There is also a lot of people who seem hell-bent on dating -- or having sex with -- everyone and anyone, to the point that taste and discretion fly right out the window, people are left feeling like pieces of meat, and previously existing primary relationships are slowly sacrificed by partners who spread themselves too thin, with people who are just too damn selfish and self-indulgent to make relationships work.

I believe that long term relationships require work and communication, and that's generally a good thing. It's worked well for me for nearly the last six years, which is pretty impressive by poly standards, with no end in sight.

General advice? Well... most of it is pretty applicable to any relationship, really :

1> Internalize "how to f*** up". Everything else you read about poly is weak in comparison, because I've seen the great majority of poly relationships die because of ignoring these rules.

2> Make a commitment with your partner(s) to quality date times, AND to quality downtime. Do a regular date night, but also make sure you have time together to do the little things, like shopping, cuddling and watching a movie, talking, etc.

3> Remember the little things. Spend a little time with each partner before they go to bed. Get them a cup of tea. Give them a backrub... let them know you're committed to them, that you're not going to leave them lonely or bored, take them for granted, or treat them like a third wheel.

4> If one partner has a problem with another partner, try to get them to talk things through without being made the middleman on everything. Every relationship needs to work out in a poly household, whether those relationships are as friends or lovers. That means a lot more communication is necessary, with everyone talking to every other partner... and to the household as a whole, in order to stay on the same page. Lots of talking required!

5> Don't spread yourself too thin. (See above.) You can be poly merely by having sex with multiple people, but if you want multiple working relationships, it helps to know your own limits, and to repect -- and ideally meet -- the needs of your partners.

6> Know yourself, and know your partners. If you don't know what you want, it's pretty unlikely that you're going to find it... and if you do, it might be something entirely different than -- and potentially disruptive to -- your existing relationships. Likewise, it pays to know what your partners actually want in life, and where you fit into the picture.

Those should get anyone through the worst bits, and are good advice, no matter how many partners you have.
posted by markkraft at 12:05 AM on July 26, 2009 [17 favorites]


This is my very respectful "Yet Another Special Sexual Snowflakes Thread on MeFi" face.
posted by paulsc at 2:03 AM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have been pretty much polyamorous my whole adult life. It wasn't until my present relationship that I started reading about it. (I didn't even know there was a name for it, until then.) I wish that I had that information much earlier, it would have saved a lot of pain for myself and others.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:15 AM on July 26, 2009


Elise's posting of "how to f*** up" is great. I'm so glad to know her. How wonderful.

That said, I saw these things happen so often (and certainly did many myself) during my uncomfortable time with polyamory (and, as Elise says, when I was more involved in other people's monoamorous relationships as an advisor, friend or confidant) that it's hard not to start thinking that this sort of thing will happen to everyone.

Maybe it's all bred of distrust and insecurity.
posted by kalessin at 5:05 AM on July 26, 2009


Exactly. The real-life swingers and polyamorous people I have seen profiled, are invariably dumpy and unattractive.

That's true for most monogamous people, too. Most people are a kinda plain, a little lumpy, maybe could use a haircut...
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:58 AM on July 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


"Exactly. The real-life swingers and polyamorous people I have seen profiled, are invariably dumpy and unattractive."

Fox and the grapes.

You have no idea how many good looking polyamorists there are out there, I suspect. (Many.) ... or how many very intelligent, successful people, for that matter. (Many, including lots of artists, musicians, and creative individuals, some of whom are household names.)

That said, many of the most attractive and successful don't really feel the need to go to the public gatherings, which are more the realm of the activist types and those still looking for others. They often have the most to lose by going public. But they do go occasionally to a the private, invite-only gatherings.

You know what's unattractive?! Ignorance. It makes your comments all dumpy and unattractive.
posted by markkraft at 8:12 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you're interested in these issues and haven't heard the This American Life show titled "Monogamy", it's excellent. The Dan Savage piece addresses the myth obliquely implied above that monogamous relationships are more successful than polyamorous ones (they aren't). I think the entire show might be one of the best things I've ever heard on radio.
posted by funkiwan at 10:27 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


markkraft, thanks for posting a more detailed version of what the comments were making me want to post.

For my poly relationship (me + two husbands) the two big things that seem to make it work are communication and forgiveness.

We've had arguments in which we've said things that we regret - and we've forgiven each other for that, because we know that what we say when we're angry, afraid, and stressed out is not necessarily what we really feel or desire. And we'd rather have the arguments to defuse growing dissatisfaction than have things fester until they turn into giant insoluble problems.

None of us is adverse to gayness, which helps a lot. We don't have to maintain any complicated sleeping rotas and ensure than all our partners get equally serviced but that no dicks ever touch; we just crawl into the same bed at night and grope and kiss each other on a pretty regular basis. Watching your lovers kiss is awesome.

And if one of us wants to have a fling... we can go do that, without it meaning the End Of The Marriage in the way it's supposed to mean in monogamous relationships. I won't lie, we're not always happy with some of the flings - but we can talk about that because it's out in the open, instead of being some hideous hidden betrayal. There haven't been too many of those, what with us all being on the upper side of our thirties and not full of raging hormones any more.

We don't consider ourselves part of "the poly community", we don't go hang out with people 'cause they're poly... we're just a triad marriage. A significant percentage of our friends are also poly, but that's not how we met them or why we hang out with them.

(Mostly, we met them through the furry community.)
posted by egypturnash at 12:22 PM on July 26, 2009


Goddamn did I ever post too soon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:48 PM on July 26, 2009


hamida2242, jayder, you know it is really fortuitous for you guys that poly people are all very fat and ugly and not really worth fucking anyway, because, you know, if they were actually attractive you might just... um, wait, why do you care again?

You made the decision to comment on a thread about polyamory, and I can't see why you showed up here other than to crap on the thread, and someone else's lifestyle choice. That the lifestyle isn't for you is no skin off anyone's back at all, but if all you have to say is OMG THEY ARE FAT AND UGLY AND THEY HAVE A FAQ LOLZERS than I would kindly ask you to shut the fuck up.
posted by idiopath at 3:41 PM on July 26, 2009


Has anyone linked to cortex's Venn diagram of polyamory yet? No? Okay, ">here you go.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:12 PM on July 26, 2009


Goddammit, borked the link.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:13 PM on July 26, 2009


You made the decision to comment on a thread about polyamory, and I can't see why you showed up here other than to crap on the thread, and someone else's lifestyle choice.

I thought this was a thread where we were discussing polyamory. I took the opportunity to say that I think it's a bit strange to have a lifestyle requiring an FAQ, and that from the looks of the participants, polyamory didn't offer much of an improvement over monogamy (instead of one dumpy partner, you have multiple dumpy partners). That was all I said that could have pissed anyone off.

You seem to think this is a thread where we are supposed to be supporting polyamory. Do you mean that those who find polyamory off-putting should not comment here?
posted by jayder at 6:48 PM on July 26, 2009


Jayder, we discussed the problem of people who are squicked by the idea that a lifestyle requires a FAQ. You probably missed it upthread.
posted by localroger at 7:20 PM on July 26, 2009


Why do people care about other people's sex lives so damn much? Could it be compensation. Maybe folks just need an outlet. This stuff is just a distraction. Somewhere along the way sexual freedom got substituted for real, actual freedom from tyranny, oppression and the economic engine that ensures few are wealthy while most have little. I guess as long you call it democracy a people can fuck whoever they want it's all good.
posted by IvoShandor at 11:54 PM on July 26, 2009


Jeez: not "a people" but "and people". ::slaps forehead::
posted by IvoShandor at 11:55 PM on July 26, 2009


Ivo, may I ask what you think of the GLBT rights movement? Do you look on that with disdain, also?
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:20 AM on July 27, 2009


Do you mean that those who find polyamory off-putting should not comment here?

Sure you can comment. You can keep posting about how poly people are stupid and fat and ugly and morrally reprehensible, and other people are allowed to post about how you're a rude, ignorant fuckhead.
posted by rodgerd at 1:12 AM on July 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Ivo, may I ask what you think of the GLBT rights movement? Do you look on that with disdain, also?

Actually my disdain is relative. Ideally, no one would care either way. Since people do care, GLBT rights, like polyamorous rights are needed movements. That said, I do think the issues serve to distract people from some of the things I originally mentioned. There are more important issues that affect far larger numbers of people is essentially what I am getting at, and I think they are being ignored so we can yell at each other about who's more moral than who.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:50 AM on July 27, 2009


I also believe the abortion issue is utilized in much the same way. Of course, you don't have to agree about any of this. But it's how I feel. Just my opinion is all.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:52 AM on July 27, 2009


and other people are allowed to post about how you're a rude, ignorant fuckhead.

It really needed to be seen again.
posted by mediareport at 7:48 PM on July 27, 2009


What happens if somebody gets pregnant despite precautions?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2009


I suppose that would be up to the people involved. I know of situations where it has caused horrendous drama and situations in which everyone happily welcomes a new member of the family. Of course, abortion is always an option.
posted by kathrineg at 9:50 AM on August 4, 2009


For most people, realizing that a visceral reaction is neither well-reasoned nor justifiable would be cause for re-evaluating that reaction.

Visceral reactions are never well-reasoned nor justified. That's what makes them visceral.

I'm really tired of everyone trying to be so damn logical about the very obvious animal component we have within our own bodies.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:55 AM on August 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


recommended reading : The Ethical Slut
posted by jojo-dancer at 9:39 PM on August 8, 2009


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