Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another Polyamory vs. Monogamy Debate

The Mancunion, “Britain's biggest student newspaper, serving Greater Manchester,” has printed defenses of polyamory and monogamy. Isabelle Dann touts polyamory… sort of. The piece includes some four-letter Anglo-Saxon words you can’t say on US FCC-regulated airwaves.

Firstly, the assumption that polyamory is a strictly enduring desire is ridiculous, considering that, as the author observed, its proponents “are mostly young people” – the logical and pragmatic quality behind a polyamorous twenty-something life in preparation for a potential lifetime of monogamy circa thirty-something is obvious enough to require minimal explanation.

Yes, some people practice polyamory while younger, and become monogamous later. But there are people who are inherently polyamorous who will always be polyamorous. And there are also people who will, after being monogamous (happily or unhappily), find they are more suited to polyamory as they age.

At the same time, the wish to experience all your own personal sexual desires by no means necessitates a permanent aversion to commitment.

For many, polyamory does involve commitment.

The difference is that, at the end of the day, you have nobody to answer to but yourself.

Uhm, for many polyamorists, it is the opposite. They have multiple people to “answer to.”

You’re free to ask out that cutie from class and share a goodbye make-out at the end of the night.

Not necessarily. It depends on the agreements, if any, with others.

Just when I think the writer is equating polyamory with “sleeping around on a casual basis,” there’s this…

It should also be noted that a desire for polyamory is definitely not a desire to sleep with as many people as possible; you can sleep with the same person for months or nobody at all and still be polyamorous because the desire is defined by the attitude and personal freedom rather than the practice.

Thanks for that. Here’s what James Haslam wrote favoring monogamy. The problem is, he starts by talking about one person who favors “open relationships” and believes that “marriage is finished.” But there are many forms of nonmonogamy that are not open relationships or that do involve marriage, and there are many people involved in some form of nonmonogamy who want their relationships legally recognized as marriage, but are discriminated against by their own government.

It is perhaps difficult to attempt to defend monogamy when there are so many variables that govern relationships, but I want to base my thoughts in the notion of love as a binding factor between two people, something that can be degraded or snuffed out if one or both partners are unfaithful (whether open about it or not); since how can one trust another who would openly stray, or who has to be with more than one person?

This does not follow. It isn’t straying to have a mutual agreement. And why couldn’t a person who was being that honest and open about their needs and wants, and abiding to a mutual agreement, be trusted?

I don’t think either person did a great job promoting their position.

As always, I will say that monogamy is best for some, but it isn’t best for all. Monogamy isn’t the best thing for everyone. Forcing it or favoring it in law is harmful to society, rather than helpful. That is just one reason we need full marriage equality, so that an adult can share love, sex, residence, and marriage with any consenting adults, having the relationship of their choice.
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