Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Polyamory Does NOT Necessarily Mean Closed Polygyny or Casual Sex

I like to point people towards introductory and basic explanations of polyamory and being polyamorous. The Frugal Vegan offers “My Take on Polyamory.”

She took exception with a man portrayed on a documentary as a polygynist who was restricting his partners from seeing other men.

He is my worst nightmare as a male: one of those typical straight guys who dreams of being surrounded by women, what a joke. And these women who agreed to it, have put feminism back 50 years. It made me so upset I was almost yelling at the screen. :)

I can understand where our vegan friend is coming from, but if that is what he wants and if that is what each of them wants, they should be free to have those relationships. But that should never be portrayed as the typical model of polyamory. Within polyamory, there are polygynist males who appreciate that the women they love also love others.

Then I started thinking, what if I tell people I am interested in or want to befriend that I am poly, they Google it, perhaps find this documentary and think: “Hey, this must be her life!”

That is a problem with limited media portrayals. Polycules can be all female, all male, more females than males, more males than females, or an even number. They can be open or closed, dyadic or all-with-all. There is a wide variety. And pointing to a Hugh Hefner or Charlie Sheen and saying “that’s polyamory” is a misleadingly narrow view on an extreme level.

We need more media portrayals of polyamory. Realistic portrayals, with the prejudice they face, the good, the bad, the moments that touch your heart, the funny moments… everything.

I’ve actually dated less people than a lot of serial monogamists (and lying monogamists who cheat which is fairly common) and probably have sex less often than they do too. Just because I am poly, it doesn’t mean I get in the sack with every hot person I see or try to date anyone who gives me a little attention. No thanks! I’m not interested in this because my primary needs for any kind of friendship or relationship are cerebral, not physical.

Yes, there are many kinds of attractions between people and bonds people may form: intellectual, emotional, sexual, etc. Your dance partner might not be the person with whom you share a residence.

One person even asked me how I was able to cuddle with someone without wanting to have sex with them. I was FLOORED at his ignorance. Seriously?? Wow. So this person had no concept of intimacy and obviously linked any kind of intimate acts with sex acts. If you think cuddling should lead to sex, you have serious issues. Cuddling is cuddling.

I can see where he’s coming from, actually. Most men always have their engines running, so to speak, and if we’re cuddling with someone who falls into our attraction category (if you are a heterosexual male this can mean most adult females), you probably want to have sex with her, too. Most women are different than that. That man she cites probably has never had any kids of his own with whom he’s cuddled. Otherwise, he might be able to understand how that can also be possible between adults. There are many minds out there that have much opening to do. Some people can't imagine dating more than one person at a time, even if there is no sex involved; they're not going to understand cuddling or a marriage polycule so easily.

So if someone tells you s/he is poly, don’t freak out and run for the hills because you think they automatically want to date you. Maybe they just want to hang out! And ask them how they live it, don’t rely on internet information because Polyamory is lived differently by everyone, there is no one formula. We all develop it to suit our own needs and personalities.

Well said! I mean written. I am happy to see she is willing to talk to people about being polyamorous. We need more people willing and able to talk about it.
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