Young poly news roundup
There's the new Modern Poly networking site, whose six energetic leaders are fundraising to travel to February's meeting of the Polyamory Leadership Network in Philadelphia. There was the MTV True Life documentary, which was made to happen by some of its subjects. From grad school at Boston University, Bitsy is building Openly Poly to collect coming-out stories, and these seem like they'll be weighted toward the young by the time the site goes live. Bitsy also used to run the biweekly TNG Munch in the Chesapeake Polyamory Network. A few days ago she posted on Modern Poly, in a discussion titled "Organizing in a multi-generational environment,"
I'm trying to keep a list of all of the under-[age]X groups. If you have any leads, I'd love to know what they are.
Pepper Mint put up a long, thoughtful, and influential critique of the age-difference problem in poly communities: "Age and Polyamory Organizing." He spotlights the need for social/ discussion/ dating groups where young people don't feel overwhelmed by people like their parents:
...I would always feel a bit out of place... even though I do date up to twice my age. Jen tends to relate well only to people within ten years of her age, and she had a much harder time....
The younger people tended to drop out quickly. I think in many cases this was due to the way the discussion went. One group discussion led by an older therapist managed to attract three couples in their twenties that I had not seen before. But apparently they did not like the way the presenter approached the topic of partner abuse, because all three couples left during intermission. In another instance, there was a very cool anarchist threesome that showed up and had some excellent political things to say, but they got hammered by a somewhat traditional older triad whose members had no problem expounding endless circular arguments. The anarchists did not come back.
Jen and I identified what we call “show up once” syndrome....
Meanwhile, here's a roundup of recent articles in college and youth newspapers.
From the University of British Columbia's The Ubyssey:
Polyamorists do it better — and more often
By Kirsty J. M. Cameron | Jan. 4, 2010
“I don’t really believe in monogamy.” I immediately confessed this at the beginning of my latest relationship. It’s best to get things like this out of the way before they start causing problems, like the problems that may arise when I sleep with other people.
My insistence on non-monogamy, polyamory, or what’s commonly known as an open relationship, came after years of trying and failing, with a number of different partners, to be monogamous....
I’ve always been reluctant to subscribe to the idea of the fairy tale Prince/Princess Charming. The concept that there is only one person for me and that I should want to love and have sex with just him/her seems more and more insidious as I get older.... The idea that polyamory is sinful offends me, because at my core, when I’m truly listening to myself and my desires, it feels untrue....
Does this mean I’ve made a clean cut between love and sex? Hell no.
...By allowing myself to be open and honest about my desire and pursuit of other people I get to strengthen our relationship by practicing honesty, talking more, not feeling like I have to hide my desires or affairs. The feelings of freedom and trust, along with the acknowledgement that neither of us owns the other, (possessiveness, jealousy’s conjoined twin diffused) have done nothing but convince me I’m in the most mature relationship of my life lived thus far.
...For me, it’s still early. I have no ideas as to what the implications of choosing to have open relationships will be for the rest of my life.... But, as I began, I cannot end. I refuse to stifle myself sexually for a partner again. No matter how nicely they ask or how much I love them, I know that one partner is not enough to last me the rest of my life. And after all, if you believe, as Easton and Liszt write, that “sex is nice and pleasure is good for you,” sharing this pleasure with only one person seems a little bit selfish, no?
Read the whole article.
From the Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin/ Madison:
Q: My girlfriend and I... are interested in the occasional swap of partners, whether bringing mmf, mff or mfmf combinations together. There isn’t a whole lot of latitude in ways to go about making this happen without awkward conversations, so we are exploring other methods to meeting similarly interested people....
A: Thankfully we live in a great city where a plethora of options are open for couples and singles who want to explore multiple partners. But before we go into the options available, we’d like to define some of the terminology for our readers.
Swinging is a term used to describe a kind of open relationship in which the partners may have sexual experiences with other people, but do not have intense loving relationships outside of the primary two-person couple....
Polyamory is beautifully defined at Wikipedia as “the desire, practice or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.” There are as many types of polyamorous relationships as there are people participating in them....
...If you and your girlfriend are into a polyamorous relationship, there is a group [in Madison] called PolyOut....
Clearly there are some considerations to keep in mind and discuss before sampling the goods in an open relationship. The first is honesty. Make sure you and your girlfriend are on the same page and happy with opening up the relationship. The next step is setting boundaries. Know ahead of time what you both want and don’t want. Perhaps she doesn’t want you kissing a dude’s toes but really wants to see you sucking his cock. Know what crosses the line for the both of you (and keep in mind that the third party may have some boundaries as well)...
The biggest consideration is safety....
Whole article (Oct. 6, 2009).
The same paper suggests how easily poly situations can develop unplanned in a school environment. (Note the cute signature):
Q: Throughout college I have noticed a strange phenomena within my close group of friends. We all somehow get intertwined with the same guys, and it has really started to get out of hand. Is it possible for a guy to like two girls at the same time?
Two Girlfriends and Cucumber Salad
Whole article (Oct. 27, 2009).
On Coming Out Day at the University of Kansas:
...Polyamory’s prominence in the media is increasing. Even so, it’s still in its baby stages compared to other sexual rights movements.
...Poly families consist of three or more people in a committed relationship — sometimes they all date each other, sometimes someone’s girlfriend has her own girlfriend and so on. Despite the argument about where polyamory fits in with swinging (partner-swapping) and open relationships (a relationship in which lovers can form outside romances), polyamory is a valid form of love, as are the other two....
Whole article (Oct. 12, 2009).
I earlier described a big, glowing San Diego State University story.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, the alternative Weekly Alibi with a young readership ran an interview with Dossie Easton:
Q: What do you feel is the most important thing that we can do politically to support lifestyles like polyamory?
A: I think our marriage laws were written to apply to an agrarian society and are basically obsolete. I would love to see us let go of "defining" marriage, as if there were only one way to relate, and move beyond the "one size fits all" approach to relationships. We need a legal and political structure that allows us to make contracts that deal with our legal and financial issues.
I do believe that we would be better off if the financial support of marriage were shifted to support those of us who are actively raising children or supporting other dependents, like our elders, whether or not we are married in any legal sense....
Q: What do you think of the sexual climate in the United States these days? Do you feel that we're making strides forward, falling backwards or stagnating?
A: I think we are actually doing great, despite some of the political back-and-forth about gay marriage and so on. It takes a long time to get the laws to reflect reality, but it gives me hope and courage to see how many young families are starting out to create themselves in new and more open ways.
The whole interview (Dec. 31, 2009). Reader Julian Wolf writes that the Alibi "is also the home to Carnal Conundrums, a sex-positive advice column that addresses polyamory fairly frequently. For Valentine's Day 2008 the feature article was on polyamory and the paper has had a very positive tone on the subject, even regarding articles, stories and blogs that I have nothing to do with. *smile* "
P.S.: With 2009 over, the year's Sex-Positive Journalism Awards ("the Sexies") are open for nominations. I think some poly articles qualified; I just nominated the Newsweek online article from last July. Other ideas? Here's the submission form.