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



August 26, 2010

"Queer Polyamory for Lesbians"

Autostraddle

There's the idea that lesbians are way less interested in multi-relating than gay guys. Maybe so, but not always. The online magazine Autostraddle — "an intelligent, hilarious & provocative voice and a progressive online community for a new generation of kickass lesbian, bisexual & otherwise inclined ladies" — presents an interview with a couple of poly girl girls.


Do you have a girlfriend? That’s fine. I also have a girlfriend. But I think you’re cute, and you think I’m cute, and let’s not waste all this cuteness and attraction just because we both have girlfriends. I’m sorry, did that come off a little harsh? It wasn’t supposed to. It’s just what a conversation might sound like in a world where monogamy wasn’t the norm. Contrary to popular belief, monogamy and fidelity are not one in the same....

LAUREN: You guys, I’m a real lesbian! I think U-Haul jokes are trite but true, I can’t help but make cooing sounds at babies and small animals, I love Tegan and Sara like whoa, and oh, right, I like girls. I’m just like any other lesbian — but I don’t believe in monogamy.

KATRINA: A lot of people right now are beginning to see a shift in the definition of what it means to be in a relationship, and that definition is no longer contingent upon monogamy. The concept of polyamory is nothing new, of course, but the concept of serious, loving, and functioning relationships that are also sexually open sometimes seems to be.

LAUREN: Because let’s face it, most of us can’t really seem to get down with the idea of a true, real, loving, and open relationship. I’ve been there! I used to be one of those preachers too: monogamy and self-control and don’t you ever think about cheating....

KATRINA: I get it, the idea of straying from monogamy is scary. I know that when Sara Quin first sang “I’m not unfaithful, but I’ll stray,” all of our lesbian hearts stopped as we resigned ourselves to believing that if Sara Quin didn’t believe in monogamy or happily ever after, then none of us ever had a chance at falling in love again. Ever!

It’s no surprise that we feel this way. “Monogamy” is most relationship’s #1 Rule. Straying from that is like falling down a slippery societal slope which eventually leads to women getting the right to vote and gays wanting to get married....

We are inclined to cling to monogamy as the defining factor of ‘serious relationships’ because society values it above all else. It’s more important than trust, honesty, stability, reliability, or emotional availability....

LAUREN: My new outlook on relationships has been vague and life-changing, kinda like when I came out to myself as a non-hetero. ‘Monogamous’ is yet another mold I don’t fit into, and its one that I’ve been trained to see as wrong, immoral and just plain “unnatural.” And if you do do it, you’ve gotta be a gay man, because they’re the only ones who can get away with it.

KATRINA: ...Much like coming out to yourself as queer (I hear a lot of us around here have done that), coming out as non-monogamous isn’t just about sexual freedom, it’s about sexual honesty.

It’s important to us not just as queer women, but as WOMEN. Men have monopolized the idea of multiple sexual partnership for all of time: from the pre-feminist acceptance of men having mistresses to how lesbians have been repeatedly left out of same-sex couples’ polyamorous movement. We’re mired in ideas like “men want to fuck, women don’t.” “Boys will be boys.” But it’s not fair to ignore this desire in women.

Sex does matter to us. It’s not an obligation and it’s not for procreation, and we do it for love, yeah, but we do it for fun too. ‘Cause it feels good, ’cause we wanna, and ’cause we can....

LAUREN: If you don’t fit into the box, it’s okay to let yourself out of it. And it’s okay to stay in the ‘box’ if that’s what makes you happy. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with monogamy; just that we’ve observed that the pressure put upon it makes room for some nasty things, like being overly possessive and jealousy.

...LAUREN: I actually ended up in an open relationship on accident. Me and my partner let an elephant out of the room when we finally had a conversation about how we both found the same girl attractive, and admitting this out loud to each other brought us closer, actually, rather than jealousy pulling us apart.

Things opened up. We saw each other as people with independent sexualities instead of just each other’s girlfriends. Of course it was more comfortable to tell myself that she only wanted me, forever & ever, and that we’d live happily ever after, but that would be lying to myself about what I really wanted and about who she really is.

KATRINA: ...Exploring polyamory for me is almost like exploring a new kind of queerness....

We shouldn’t expect to get non-monogamy right the first time we try to understand or execute it. We still might not get it the second time, or even the third. But maybe it’s not because monogamy is the only way that works, but because there are an infinite amount of ways for relationships to succeed or fail or rework themselves before it’s right.

...This is the generation in which it’s becoming possible to grow up gay. To be able to come out and live without alias or excuse. Maybe our sexual revolution is a revolution of exposure and presence. And although the ultimate goal that some chase is normalcy, we are in a period now where being out means that sex and sexuality are intrinsically tied to your identity, whether that’s the way you perceive it or the way others perceive you. Being gay forced us to honestly consider the possibilities of our sexualities; being non-monogamous forces us to honestly consider the possibilities of our sexualities as they relate to others and re-evaluate the forces that make our partnerships special and honest above all else....


Read the whole article (Aug. 24, 2010).

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My partner was poly for a long time, and she's lesbian. She had a difficult time in the poly community - if she came to an event with two partners, she'd get stared at.

We tend to avoid a lot of poly functions because a) poly folk tend to be dramatic, and b) we don't want to get stared at.

August 26, 2010 4:31 PM  
OpenID joreth said...

Anonymous:

It's a shame that you've experienced that situation. Not all poly groups are like that. The ones I've attended certainly weren't. In fact, one of them was started by a lesbian triad more than 15 years ago. The one I attend currently meets at the local LGBT center and has a large representation of the gay and trans communities.

It doesn't make any sense to me at all why a poly group would act negatively towards a woman showing up with two partners. Isn't that sort of the point of polyamory?

My suggestion is to keep looking until you find a group that better fits your style. We're not all like that. In fact, no one is "all like" anything.

August 26, 2010 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Avidao said...

Ugh. Thank you. Where do you ladies live? And can we be friends? Lol

I am all of these things- queer woman, poly, etc. Although, most of my adult life, I assumed that "queer" was an identity that trumped "lesbian"... being such a fierce trans ally, and understanding the gender constructs can be just as debilitating as ones around sexuality, I resisted the term, "lesbian"... and so did my long-term woman partner. When we heard U-Haul jokes, we'd look at each other, laugh, and say, "uh... we're not THAT gay"... we never moved in together and had a 5 year relationship. (altho, towards the end, I wanted to and she couldn't afford it, but that's a longer story).

Anyway, I've been a raging Queer solo-polyamorist, and love it. Though since the end of my aforementioned relationship over a year ago, my life has been somewhat saturated with masculinity, and I'm craving femininity so badly, that I've recently admitted to myself, holy shit- I'm a lesbian. (Which is so much easier than explaining, "well, I'm queer, but all of my long-term relationships have been with women, and I anticipate future relationships only with women, but I play with people of any gender. Or, "well, yes, I love women, but I prefer the term 'gay' instead of 'lesbian' because. . . "). So then I started googling... can I be a "Queer Lesbian"? Hmmm... sure, why not.

But meeting lesbians who are also poly is very hard. Meeting lesbians who understand trans and gender queer issues is hard. Meeting lesbians who are all of the above and are also kinky or into bdsm is even harder. All this when you're not living in a major metropolitan city. Sigh... time to move ;)

July 24, 2012 4:24 PM  

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