Poly awareness on campus
(McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario)
In her keynote speech at last summer's Loving More East conference, Diana Adams offered an ambitious goal: "that every college student in America will know the word polyamory and what it means within five years." Her idea was for TNG (The Next Generation) to hear that poly can be a workable option and that, when a relationship grows serious, exclusivity is something you discuss and deliberately choose, or not rather than assuming that nothing else is possible.
The crowd cheered. But I don't see any real action yet toward forming the kind of speakers' bureau, education materials, outreach to campus professionals, and national office that might make it happen. However, these are early days. Adams has cast down the gauntlet.
Meanwhile, college newspapers have run a smattering of articles about polyamory. A new one came out today at McMaster University in Canada. It has some interesting nuggets:
Sex and the Steel City
By Molly Horton
“Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error,” wrote George Bernard Shaw....
Helen Fisher, anthropologist and author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray argued, “You would think that more people would be [practicing] polyamory, because, evolutionarily, we’re built to have multiple relationships. We’re built to fool around.”
According to Fisher, while human beings may be “hardwired” to fool around, we still get attached and jealous. How do polyamorists avoid this unavoidable pitfall? Fisher revealed, “They’re honestly dealing with the fact that we’re not meant to be faithful. They accept that inevitability and channel it into ways that minimize pain and maximize joy. They attempt paradise.”
This attempt at paradise comes with rules. While rules many vary from relationship to relationship, there are some common conventions, such as complete honesty, safe sex, and no secrets....
[A 1998 article] cited a 20-year study conducted by Arline M. Rubin of Brooklyn College in which [open] relationships were found to last just as long as monogamous ones.
...While it is easy to argue that polyamory is not the perfect alternative to monogamy, any type of lifestyle that at its core stresses love, honesty and compassion is worth a closer look with an open-minded eye. Whether or not this option is a moral ideal, it is happening here and now — for a reason — the understanding of which might help us decode the complexity of human nature.
Read the whole article (Jan. 15, 2009).
BTW, here's the abstract and first page of that study by Arline M. Rubin on open vs. monogamous relationships.