Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



January 27, 2008

"When Three is Not a Crowd and the Fifth Wheel Spins Smoothly"

SexHerald.com

An article explaining and discussing polyamory has appeared in the online magazine SexHerald.com, "The Adult Entertainment and News Authority."


...The question of polyamory comes along while the country is at, tritely put, a romantic crossroads.... Years of skirmishes on sexual and gender issues between the left and right appear to be degenerating into a full-scale — and possibly much needed — war. Throwing polyamory into this combustible and tangled heap of traditional family values, religion and individual freedoms would be like dropping napalm on a four-alarm blaze.

Why is polyamory offensive? There are the usual religious objections, as well as the fear of anything new and outside the accepted norm. But maybe the most telling reason is that it makes people explore their own relationships and the fears that reside within.

To those in a monogamous relationship, polyamory can be an uncomfortable subject because it's impossible to dissect a multiple partner relationship without that same probing light beaming back at their own alliance. Questions may arise. Does my significant other feel this way? Is there a side to him or her that I've never seen? If they don't dismiss followers of the polyamory lifestyle as “perverts,” “sluts,” etc., then it's too much like looking in a mirror.

...And perhaps the most serious issue is what place do children have in a polyamorous society? The same place they have in a traditional monogamous relationship. There is a vast trove of literature dealing with polyamory and children, and the basic attitude is that if the adults do not act like their living situation is a shameful, embarrassing secret, then neither will the kids (Not to mention how much it eases the burden at parent-teacher conferences.)

Children, of course, can and will adapt to everything. Is it bad to have another parental figure around who may teach and nurture them? The argument is made that this also means there is another adult in the home who may treat them poorly and abuse them, but polyamorists fire back that this sounds suspiciously like a traditional family structure.

Whether you believe polyamory is immoral, a perfectly logical lifestyle or rather harmless, get used to it, it's here to stay. Scores of polyamory websites, such as Sexuality.org and AltPolyamory.org, inundate the Internet, almost all with vast tables of contents, informative FAQs and many members' stories. Many also hold meetings, classes and socials for those who are already in the lifestyle or are interested in learning more about it. TriState Poly [NY, NJ, CT] alone has over a dozen gatherings each month.

Will polyamory ever be accepted? Well, when hard pressed for precedents, polyamorists point out the bonobos, a primitive tribe of chimpanzees that substitute sex for aggression. That point may be all too telling. The bonobos may be facing extinction in the near future.


Read the whole article. The article is undated, but Google cached it on Jan. 14, 2008. The site is porny and Not Safe For Work.

There's some careless reporting here. That bit about "a vast trove of literature dealing with polyamory and children" just isn't so, unless you mean anecdote, hearsay, and internet discussions among those involved. The last genuine study of outcomes for children raised in multipartner households that I know about dates from 1973 [1]. Its conclusions match what people generally observe in the poly community today: that poly relationships are either neutral or positive for kids in a household where the parents are good parents. But there's a crying need for objective, scientific studies to document that this is so — or to uncover any problems that we need to understand and address. (Hey, if you knew the answer beforehand, it wouldn't be research, right?)

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[1] Constantine, Larry L. and Constantine, Joan M. Group Marriage: A Study of Contemporary Multilateral Marriage. New York: Macmillan, 1973.

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3 Comments:

Blogger May said...

If only there was a little less anger :(
Awesome post, as always!

January 27, 2008 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mention that the reporting here is sloppy; I'd expect nothing else: sexherald.com doesn't pay its "reporters" anything at all. It's written by a skeleton crew of kids just out of college who need clips for their CVs.

January 28, 2008 9:41 AM  
Blogger Anita Wagner said...

For a bunch of college kids, the author at least has an impressive grasp of important subtleties here - I wonder whether they are perhaps a member of the poly community. For years now I've been saying publicly exactly what is said in the following paragraph:

"To those in a monogamous relationship, polyamory can be an uncomfortable subject because it's impossible to dissect a multiple partner relationship without that same probing light beaming back at their own alliance. Questions may arise. Does my significant other feel this way? Is there a side to him or her that I've never seen? If they don't dismiss followers of the polyamory lifestyle as 'perverts,' 'sluts,' etc., then it's too much like looking in a mirror."

January 28, 2008 6:05 PM  

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