"Lust Life: Polyamory"
The New York Press (circulation about 100,000) calls itself "New York's premier alternative newspaper." In its issue for Oct. 1824, 2006, "Lust Life" columnist Stephanie Sellars describes her discovery of the polyamory-awareness movement.
The first time I heard the term polyamorous, I was on a date with a guy who was simultaneously on a date with another woman.... That was two years ago....
Literally meaning “many loves,” polyamory includes: couples who have secondary committed relationships, triads, quads, group marriage, open marriage, intimate networks and singles with multiple romantic partners. Whatever the configuration, the common defining elements of polyamory (also known as responsible non-monogamy) are honesty, openness and consent among all parties. Liars and cheaters need not apply.
Most people find it shocking that there’s actually an ethical way to have your cake and eat it too. I never had the desire to be a deceitful whore.... Birgitte Philippides, a thirty-something artist residing in the West Village, has been polyamorous all her life, but officially only in the last three and a half years. She says, “There is one model in society for relationships—monogamy. The other is cheating... it’s more socially acceptable for me to have a boyfriend and cheat on him than it is for me to openly love more than one person.”
Many polyamorists remain closeted for that reason: not only is it more acceptable to cheat, it’s more acceptable to be gay than for a straight guy to have a wife and a girlfriend. Justen Michael Bennett-MacCubbin, the founder of the group Polyamorous NYC, says, “Saying you’re not interested in the traditional monogamous relationship is a significant burden, especially when children are involved. It challenges other people’s ideas of what a relationship can be. It’s so far from their understanding that it’s scary for them. We, however, embrace an idea that we view as slightly different, but much more honest and realistic to actual human behavior.”
...It’s not for the faint-hearted. Is this just a revival of hippie free love? No the difference is responsibility. You have to be willing to confront your fears and become a master of communication. “It’s not just about multiple booty calls and doing whatever you want. It’s about agreements you make with your partners, honoring those agreements and having integrity in relationships,” says Philippides.
When I learned there was an official term for how I was living my lust life, I confess I was slightly disappointed to discover that I was not unique in my libertine ways. That’s a minor tradeoff. At least now I know there’s a community of people who don’t think I’m crazy for eating my cake and loving it too.
It's nice to see such a clear explanation for the public that gets the basics just right, at least from the "independent actor" point of view (that is, the "singles with multiple romantic partners" variety of poly, as opposed to the "family formation" variety). Read the whole article. Then send a letter to the editor: editorial (at) nypress (dot) com.