Danish print and TV do it right
The second largest newspaper in Denmark explains polyamory to its readers, at length and in depth, partly through a young, confident bi feminist (photo). Here's a large part of the story, translated with help from Google Language Tools:
Sometimes one girlfriend just is not enough
The polyamourøse movement is gaining ground as alternative to divorce and adultery.
PHOTO CAPTION: Physics researcher Di Ponti is living with two girlfriends. Previously she was the girlfriend of a man and a woman in a couple. "For me polyamori is a mixture of ethics and desire. We want to be deeply involved with each other."
By Stephanie Surrugue
Once she was waiting, like her friends, for him to come. The Dream Man. The one and only.
Di Ponti and her classmates had learned that the story goes: girl meet boy, girl and boy marry and live happily ever after.
But life is not a fairy story. Reality is an unmanageable hugeness full of doubt and desire, longings for both freedom and love — with love and conflict, fascination and frustration, big emotions and big egos too, jealousy and all that.
So Ponti wrote her own story. And when the 28-year-old scientist goes home from the Niels Bohr Institute, where she just completed her doctoral thesis at the Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science, she goes home not to a husband and children. She goes home to one of her two boyfriends.
"It is a great liberation. We share love, respect and honesty. I have no secrets in my love relationship. I live with a sense of standing for myself, and I sleep well at night. For I will not give up being happy," says Ponti.
She grew up in Portugal, in a large family with six siblings, grandparents.... Her childhood was full of people, and even as a schoolgirl she wondered why you could love as many family members and friends as you wanted, but had to love only one partner. Yet she tried to act correctly:
"For many years I fought with my inner princess, who just sat and waited for the prince on the white horse to come and find me."
...Today she lives in a relationship with two people, one of whom has a second girlfriend — who, incidentally, also has a second girlfriend.
But no... it's not about the freedom to have sex indiscriminately, emphasizes Ponti:
"I've never had one-night stands. I respect people living monogamously, and people who constantly change sex partners, but neither is anything for me. I tried living monogamously, but I felt trapped, both sexually and emotionally. I strive for a pure love relationship, where we are honest about our feelings and dreams," she says.
"Many people live in relationships that are full of taboos. Some choose to live with suppressed emotions, infidelity and secrets. Others choose to live in open relationships where it's hard to withstand the jealousy.... But basically jealousy matches one's own insecurity. If you can't talk about these things and work on them together, it is very, very difficult to live in love relationships with other people. For me honesty is the biggest difference between the 1960s 'free love' and today: Without communication, and personal development in the broad sense, polyamori is impossible."
The dilemma is old, but the word is new.... The polyamourøse movement is gaining ground in the West, where organizations, blogs and books on the subject roll onward in both the U.S. and Europe, not least in Denmark, where books like To Whom Are You Unfaithful? (Hvem er du utro?), A Woman, Three Men (En kvinde, tre mænd), and A Pure Connection (En ren forbindelse) — which comes out on Monday — extend the polyamourøse message....
...There are virtually no statistics or figures on polyamori.... In 2007... Compass Communications asked more than 5,000 Danes about their relationships, and the numbers tell the story... 45 percent have tried to be unfaithful and 26 percent of us have been so more than once, while 48 percent would like to try a sexual relationship with two people at once....
Few, however, have taken on the love bonds of author Carsten Graff. He has lived for seven years with his wife Chandini, his girlfriend Anne, his wife's boyfriend Jonas, and the family's three shared children.... Their bid to create a modern form of nuclear family can be seen by Danish television viewers tonight in the documentary "Carson, his wife and their boyfriends" at 8 p.m. on DR 2, as part of the show "When one lover is not enough" [which portrays four poly groups]....
[Graff] concedes that polyamori is a complex exercise: "The more people who are in a love relationship, the more difficult it is. It's like juggling: Four balls are harder than two. I usually say that polyamori not something you should try at home without adults at home, because you can get hurt emotionally."
But what is it that makes everything worth it?
"There is a freedom in releasing the ownership of other people.... Sex takes on a spiritual dimension, when I for example have a love affair with two women who love each other. Everything just released life in all its dimensions," says Carsten Graff.... And there is the feeling of being part of something bigger, like dragons: "The other day I sat at home with the kids while Chandini and Jonas were out together. I did not feel lonely, I felt happy."
...The same view is shared by American psychologist Deborah Anapol, who has been on the polyamoriens front lines for decades. Most recently she published the book Polyamory in the 21th Century, for which she is touring in Europe in coming weeks. Anapol believes that the idea of the one and only destroys many people and relationships:
"The most important thing in life is that we keep open to let love prevail. We should not write off our quest for happiness and harmony as a legacy from the hippie movement or as a slippery sexual apology. It is a universal mission."
Di Ponti has a dream: A family consisting of a small core of people, two or three or four who are deeply linked. A nuclear family who live together but have freedom to love, live and travel alone and with others.
She smiles almost shyly as she talks about her dream. And Dr. Anapol herself? At 58 she has chosen to live monogamously.
"I have experimented with everything that was to experiment with. I have reached an age that is about wanting to go in depth with one other person. I can surely say I now understand what my teachers said to me in the beginning: It is not the form that is crucial."
Read it in Danish (Sept. 18, 2010).
Here's the one-hour TV documentary that the article refers to (Sept. 18, 2010). On the same page are links to what seem to be four documentaries on poly and open relationships. Only one other seems available to North American IP addresses, at least for now; one of the shows is set to air October 3rd.
When one lover is not enough
If you are a modern man, and if you learn the art of having several love affairs at once -- is it the alternative to today's infidelity and divorce? Tonight's theme: we meet Danish couples where both husband and wife have other girlfriends, and we see how they tackle the difficult jealousy that arises when more people share the love.
Carsten, the wife, and their lovers
Author Carsten Graff has for 7 years formed a family with Chandini, who is also the girlfriend of Jonas, who is the father of her youngest daughter of 2 years. We follow the family's lives closely and see how it goes when Chandini, who is struggling with jealousy, meets Carsten's other, Anne, for the first time. [Watch here. (The same link as above.)]
It's so lovely to go together
Claus and Marie are young, very much in love, and getting married. But they do not feel that love is reserved for only one, so they live in an open relationship where it's okay to have sex with others. [Watch here. My God they're sweet, even if I can't understand a word they're saying.]
I love you. And you. And you
In the western world the polyamorøse are moving forward -- families who thrive on having equal love relationship at one time. In this American documentary, we follow two families; the program examines whether this life is a relevant possibility for future relationships.
Lina and her young lovers
The desire to realize the free love has no age limits. Lina, who is 73, lives near the beach in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and here she is enjoying life and her young lovers.