Monday, February 28, 2011

A Polyamorous Mother Explains

Nathan J. Comp presents a great interview with Kimberly Stenerson about polyamory. It begins with her explaining that being poly is part of who she is.

“I think I was always poly,” she says, referring to polyamory. “It’s like when people ask, ‘When did you know you were gay?’ It’s the same as knowing you’re monogamous and heterosexual. You just always knew.”

She cautions that, more than a lifestyle, polyamory is a state of being, and therefore isn’t for everybody. “It’s not just sex with other people,” stresses Stenerson, who lives in Spring Green with her daughters and partners. “It’s also love, trust and communication, like you’d have in any relationship.”

She explains what she sees as the difference between the kind of poly that lends itself to polyfidelity, and open marriages.

Well, an open marriage tends to be sexually oriented. So you can swing. Sometimes they have arrangements where there’s certain level of sexual activity involved and other things that are not. Like, some people talk about doing a full swap, where you and another couple might get together and mess around but end up with your significant other. So it’s more sexually oriented, but not in a bad way. It’s very good for the marriage, for the folks that like it.

Poly is more emotional. You have multiple people that you love. Like, when a man and a woman are married, and he happens to be bi, and he has a lover and so it’s like a V – that’s an easy way to imagine it. Those people are committed to more than one person. So, my husband and I may have a girl, and she may or may not live with us, and – in swing it’s called playing, but in poly it’s more serious. So he and she would spend time together, she and I would spend time together, he and I would spend time together, and the three of us would spend time together.

Poly is not cheating…

Well, I don’t commit adultery, even when I’m poly. Adultery is cheating and cheating is lying. So I don’t lie. If I’m committed to you, and I’m committed to Sam, and I’m committed to Josie, and maybe Josie’s your wife and Sam is my husband, so we’re all committed, we have an understanding the same as monogamous families have. If you step outside of that understanding you commit adultery. For me, the definition of adultery is to betray one’s vow or promise.

She talks about misperceptions some others may have about poly people...

The biggest misperception that monogamous men have about poly women is that they’re hoes, that because your poly you must swing and you swing, therefore you must fuck everybody. They see it as they don’t have to be nice to you. Woman tend to see poly women as sort of betraying any feminine achievements we’ve had over the last 40 years, because if you’re one girl amongst many, you must not have any self-respect, you must be unable to get your own man, and if your one girl amongst many men, then you’re a hoe or have been abused or have a sexual issue or have low self-esteem.

It’s a great interview. Go read the whole thing. Poly people should be free to be ourselves and, if we so desire, to get married to the people we love.
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