alan7388's picture

Polyamory: No such thing as bad publicity?

Infinity heart

Conservative media have had a sudden spate of hysteria about polyamory in the last two weeks.

It began when Fox News picked up the topic, working from a sympathetic article in Tina Brown's online magazine "The Daily Beast." The article described the touching commitment ceremony of a triad of lovers in Hawaii. Several Fox News hosts pounded the subject for a couple days, decrying the obvious slippery slope from gay marriage to poly marriage to, as Bill O'Reilly warned, marrying turtles. O'Reilly has also warned that people will soon be marrying goats, dolphins, and ducks.

Fox's mini-jihad brought polyamory to the attention of Chuck Colson of Watergate fame...

lovemagician's picture

Better Latent Than Never

(Image courtesy of The Silhouette)

The Heart of Polyamory

By Millie Jackson

I am sure that there are more polyamorists than we can ever know.  Considering the risk of persecution for openly living this love-style of consensual multi-partner relating, most poly people are not lining up to be counted.  Consequently, polyamorists have been called the last sexual minority still in the closet, but how in the minority are we really?

Aside from innumerable closeted polyamorists, there is a good possibility that some people who are unfaithful within monogamous relationships are naturally polyamorous and are struggling with the commitment issues and sexual boundaries of monogamy.  How about serial monogamists who inevitably become interested in someone else and end the established relationship to pursue a new one?  What about some bisexuals who go back and forth between male and female lovers as they try to balance an attraction to men and women while maintaining a monogamous existence?

alan7388's picture

How Many Bis are Poly? How Many Polys are Bi?

My Hunt for Bi-Poly Statistics

By Alan M.

Compared to other alternative sexualities, polyamory is only starting to get much scientific and academic attention. (Polyamory means having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and free consent of everyone involved.)

Many polys are completely hetero. On the other hand, in the poly community you'll find more bisexuals, and more bi-friendliness, than anywhere else I know. This is despite the fact that in most poly partnership groups, only some of the interrelationships are sexual. The others can be anything from brotherly or sisterly life companionships, to housemate friendships, to cordial acquaintance between people who meet each other rarely if at all. Though often the links do involve full sexual triangles ("equilateral triads") and larger geometries.

You might imagine that in a three-in-a-bed situation, at least two people have to be bisexual. Not so. It's common for two men, or two women, to share cuddles and sex with a beloved third, and warmth and touch between themselves, without having an interest in each others' genitals. It can be quite a revelation that intimate loving companionship does not have to lead to orgasm or require a particular sexual orientation. (Hey, ask the early Christians.)

Nevertheless, bisexuality is abundant in the poly world and does help provide ties that bind.

How abundant? Guesses abound, but I've managed to round up some data.

Annabelle River's picture

Where are all the Poly writers?

Last week I attended a polyamory book club meeting to discuss interviewed the playwright and actor Tony Fiorentino, and published it on her podcast, Polyamory Weekly. (Which podcast I highly recommend in general, and thank you Minx.)

But early in the meeting, we determined something funny about the poly book club discussing this play: The play showed a deeply cynical view of polyamory. And yet there we were, about a dozen active polyamorists, discussing it for three hours.

Now that the play has closed, this review will contain spoilers. Yes, the central character is a woman who claims polyamory as an integral facet of her identity, and she has two boyfriends, and she is a sympathetic character. But one of her boyfriends makes it very clear that he hates polyamory and is barely, painfully sucking it up to avoid losing the girl - and the other boyfriend turns out to be lying to his wife about very important things. Throw in our "heroine's" deeply disturbed teenage daughters and her metamour's infertility, and these characters spend most of their lives screaming and/or crying. New layers of dishonesty and heartbreak are revealed in every scene.

lovemagician's picture

The Good Bi Girl

The Heart of Polyamory

By Millie Jackson

After 18 years as an out and proud lesbian, it surprised many members of my LGBT community when I started to identify as bisexual.  Given that this also coincided with my transition from living a monogamous lifestyle to pursuing polyamory (consensually concurrent, intimate relationships), I suddenly and unwittingly became perceived as a double threat within my community.  For years I had assumed I was among an accepting and inclusive population.  I was unprepared for and disillusioned by experiencing a backlash from other LGBT’s.

Being polyamorous defied the “we’re monogamous just like them” argument for same-sex marriage, and transitioning from lesbianism to bisexuality challenged the notion that “we can’t change our sexual orientation”.  I was a triple threat when you factored in bisexuals who were cringing at the possibility of me reinforcing stereotypes that bisexuals want to have sex with everyone and can’t really ever settle down.  It was as if they were all wishing they could quietly usher me back into the closet from which they had worked so hard to break free.

Serena Anderlini's picture

What is Polyamory? Interview with Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio

This interview was conducted via email between Aldo Cicolella and Serena Anderlini-D'Onofrio in preparation for her invitation to Tatami, a talk show about new cultural trends hosted by Camila Raznovich on Italian public TV RaiTre, February 15, 2009.

1. How would you define Polyamory in a few words?

Polyamory is the style of love that involves responsible forms of non-monogamy.  Polyamorists believe that one can genuinely love more than one person at a time, and choose to do so honestly and with full disclosure among partners.  Polyamorists replace jealousy with a different emotion.  It’s called compersion and it corresponds to the love, empathy, and compassion we feel for our lovers’ lovers and for the joy they bring to them regardless of us.  Transforming jealousy into compersion is a demanding spiritual exercise which is very salutary for the soul once you get the knack of it.  Polyamorists do not discriminate based on gender, with women just as entitled to multiple partners as men.  Polyamorists emphasize relationships, and have ways to categorize various levels of involvement, including what they call primary, secondary, and tertiary relationships.  Many individuals in poly communities define themselves as bisexuals and most have, at one time or another, experienced some form of bi attraction or erotic play.  However, the two orientations are independent of each other.

arvan's picture

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Polyamory Movie

Recently, I attended Clarisse Thorn's Sex+++ Film Series at Hull House in Chicago.  This feature was a film on polyamory, entitled: When Two Won't Do.  The film is a documentary created by two people exploring polyamory for themselves.  There was a discussion group afterward.  The response to this film series has been overwhelming and Tuesday was no exception, with upwards of 70 people crammed into a room that expected maybe 40.

I do not practice "poly" and am largely ignorant of it.  My initial brief exposure to the subject so far, was when my wife asked me what I thought about it.  She attends a lot of Sc-Fi / Fantasy events and poly is well rooted in those communities.  My initial reaction was panic!  I thought my wife had met someone or that I was no good in bed or some tragedy...that centered around me.  (Typical Aries male response, I must confess) Since then, I have had a great deal more adult and measured conversations with my wife.  It turns out, she really wanted to only know my opinion on the topic and was inviting me into a real conversation.  Oops.

lovemagician's picture

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

The Heart of Polyamory

By Millie Jackson

I admit that I am an idealist who believes that love can save the world.  I agree with Jimmi Hendrix who said, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will finally know peace.”   As a polyamorist, I am thrilled to be involved in a paradigm shift that expands our capacity to give and receive love.

So, what does polyamory have to do with love?  The literal translation means “many loves”, and it is the concept of being open to having more than one intimate relationship at a time with knowledge and consent of all partners involved.  Considered to be a love-style more than a life-style, polyamory (often simply called “poly”) views love as an abundant resource.

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