NY Post: "Meet the New Swingers"
To boost its low Sunday circulation, the New York Post a scuzzy Rupert Murdoch tabloid has just added a glossy, gossipy Sunday insert: Page Six magazine. The September 30 issue has a four-page article that portrays polyamory, or maybe swinging, as the hippest new trend of New York's Beautiful People. Or something. Judge for yourself:
Meet the New Swingers
They're beautiful, urbane and possess multiple degrees and multiple partners. How a group of young New Yorkers are reinventing sex in the city.
By Melissa Lafsky
"We spend a lot more time ensuring that we have a lot more sex than the average person," brags Joe, a man with sandy-blond hair and a perma-grin. "An average person has, say, 15 to 20 partners by the time he hits 30. The average poly person more likely has in the hundreds."
Welcome to the Poly Hour, an invitation-only monthly mixer for polyamorous or "poly-curious" men and women in the five boroughs. Around 50 twenty- and thirty-somethings are mingling in a West Side bar, ordering drinks with names like "Yes You May" (a pinkish blend of vodka, melon liqueur and cranberry juice) and "The Threesome" (Captain Morgan, Bacardi and peach schnapps) and greeting each other like old friends. A lot of them are in fact, some have slept together, sometimes in groups, or even traded wives or boyfriends.
Tonight women dominate the scene, outnumbering the men almost two to one. "The guys are more carefully curated," says Reid, a blond, tan surfer guy and professional sex educator who co-founded the party seven months ago. "It's a bad scene when you get some horny jerk in a space where women want to feel safe."
Once you get past this introduction (and the headline and the dim, cheesy make-out photos), the article is useful and informative:
...The term polyamory, literally meaning "many loves," is based on the idea that relationships can be conducted with multiple partners at the same time. Casual sex is allowed, but the focus is on bonds and feelings. And unlike the swinging culture of the '70s, it's not only about sex. "The point is to date more than one person with honesty, and give them the positive experiences and respect they deserve," says Diana.
Beyond that, the rules how many, how much, how often are up to you. "Some people have hierarchical structures, with primary, secondary, tertiary, etc.," says Tessa, a 34-year-old psychologist and New York native who is currently juggling four relationships, two of them long-distance. "I have multiple partners who are all equal for now."...
Poly has particularly picked up recently among younger women. "Each meeting is a record breaker. The last was almost 70 people," says Birgitte Philippides, leader of Polyamorous NYC, the largest poly organization on the East Coast....
Simply having sex, however, isn't necessarily the goal. "The outside perception is that [poly] is about lots of partners. For me, it was just about having the option," says Marcia, who lives with Reid and considers him her primary....
Safety is a must: "Use latex with everyone," [Marcia] explains. "And we get tested every six months." Beyond that, they have general guidelines for choosing partners: "Don't pick up people who are high-maintenance or really needy. If you're afraid to say something, that means you need to say it. The main rule is 'no drama' if you have emotional stuff, it's yours. No blame allowed."...
"[Poly] is trendy right now, and there are people doing it badly," says Marcia. "It's common who hear about people who cheated and got caught, and then said, 'Well, I'm poly, I need to do this.'"
As for the age-old question of marriage and children, poly women say their lifestyle lessens the anxieties surrounding the search for the One. "For me, it's about not wanting to reach my late 20s and suddenly be in a husband chase," says Diana. "I know I want to have a child eventually, but I don't want to spend all my time screening the perfect mate. Poly lets me try out more than one person at a time."
Still, poly is hardly an escape from the work of relationships and it's not for those seeking an easier alternative....
Read the whole article (PDF image of the pages).
The author, Melissa Lafsky, talks on her blog about writing the piece:
It’s about New York women who practice polyamory (no, it’s not an exotic new kind of yoga). I doubt I’ll ever delve into the lifestyle for more than observational purposes (I can barely skirt the cliff of dysfunction in one relationship, let alone five) but I figured people who can keep multiple sexual/emotional bonds going at the same time without going all Son of Sam must have some wisdom to depart to the rest of us. And they do.