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

May 13, 2010

"Polyamory is the fastest growing style of relationship"

Intelligent Life online

The Economist in Great Britain, possibly the world's most respected newsmagazine, has a quarterly spinoff called Intelligent Life — a "lifestyle and culture magazine" (per its FAQ) that's sold in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, though not America.

The magazine's online version, "More Intelligent Life," has put up a long, positive overview of polyamory as something that its supposedly upscale, savvy, trendy readers ought to know about:

Love and Polyamory

By Catherine Nixey

..."Finding the right partner is hard," says Erich, a polyamorist (who prefers not to disclose his surname). "Finding the right partner whose partner is also right..." Erich shakes his head. "Now that's really hard."

...Unconventional though it may sound, polyamory — or "many loves" — is becoming more prominent. In America the poly-pride movement holds large rallies; last year Britain's first poly website was launched, and recently published poly books, such as "Open" and "The Ethical Slut", are promoting polyamory in print.... Polyamory is hardly common, but its adherents are seemingly multiplying.

Maxine Green, a 28-year-old artist with pink hair, explains why she is a polyamorist. "Monogamy just never made any sense to me," she says. "I just couldn’t imagine being with one person forever." After a moment’s thought, she says she has "two and a half" partners, including Erich.... "It's a bit like ice cream," she explains. "I love chocolate ice cream. But I wouldn't want to eat nothing else for the rest of my life."

Yet one is not usually in a position of comforting a chocolate scoop after a night out gorging on strawberry....

...Surely such arrangements invite feelings of jealousy, or insecurity? "Not at all," says Erich. "On the contrary, I feel more secure now, because I am not defined by being one half of a couple: I am complete as myself." Or, as Maxine puts it: "The knowledge that my partners return to me because they want to, rather than because they know they must, gives me a wonderful boost." Though both concede that "Polyamory is not for everyone. Some people can't cope with it."

Some argue that polyamorists have a particularly healthy approach to dealing with inevitable romantic pratfalls. "They haven't eliminated the problem of jealousy," observes Andrew Samuels, a professor of analytical psychology. "There are of course still difficulties within polyamorous relationships...but they are dealing with it rather than denying it. I have been extremely impressed by the amount of thought, care and attention that polyamorous couples expend on their relationships."

...So convinced is Erich of the virtues of polyamory that he feels it will, one day, become the norm. "Fifty years ago pre-marital chastity was unquestioned," he says. "Now it seems little more than a peculiarity...."

...The notion of polyamory is still widely greeted with scepticism. Joan Roughgarden, a biologist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, [has] serious reservations about the lifestyle. "The likelihood of being able to successfully raise children in that context is very limited," she says, "My guess is that it's not an evolutionary advance, but a liability."

Samuels would disagree. "What children really need for mental well-being is love, consistency and boundaries. The sexual behaviour of the parents has absolutely no impact on a child's mental health," he says. "Indeed, if anything, the polyamorous relationships I have seen provide a more favourable environment for children because the polyamorous parents, aware of their unusual situation, think so carefully about every aspect of what they do." He is convinced this lifestyle is spreading. "Polyamory is the fastest growing style of relationship," he says....

Read the whole article, and join in the comments.

Maxine in the article writes in the comments,

Well it's a positive toned article, just a shame that so many of the quotes are incorrect or made up. Erich most certainly never said anything about "Finding the right partner whose partner is also right..." as that's nothing to do with how we do poly, and just perpetuating a popular misconception, and I certainly didn't say I couldn't imagine being with someone for the rest of my life - I certainly can, I just don't see why that means I can't love more than one person at the same time.

I can see why you did it, Catherine, in an attempt to make it easier for folks to understand, but it's just not accurate!

There is a better description of how we actually organise our relationships on my blog, emanix.livejournal.com, and here, xeromag.com/fvpoly.html....




Blogger Miranda McKennitt said...

I guess they were confused by the prefix POLY and read POLYGAMY instead of POLYAMORY (it happens to everyone, because we don't read words letter by letter but scan them like ideographs). Maybe even subconsciously and it biased the article. Anyway, if you actually care about your representation in the media, you should AUTHORIZE interviews!

May 14, 2010 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with good old-fashioned heedless sex? Why must so much thinking have to go into sex and relationships? Seems to me that the American trend of "friends with benefits" is more relaxed.

May 15, 2010 9:34 AM  
OpenID emanix said...

Hi Miranda,

That's a good point, but not always practical, and while a lot of journalists (like Catherine) do write in good faith they still manage to misunderstand important aspects, so quotes get mangled or placed out of context quite unintentionally.

The bit that got cut out of my response above was my intention to write more of my own articles, and encourage other poly people to do the same so that instead of relying on journalists and other writers from outside our community to represent us accurately, we get to represent ourselves.

May 15, 2010 5:09 PM  

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