Open marriage in Indonesia
Non-monogamy has always been common across cultures worldwide, say anthropologists. But now the relatively new idea is spreading, generally from the Western world outward, that consensual, equal, open, honest versions of non-monogamy — done with respect and care toward everyone concerned — are at least possible. Sometimes. Though they often have to stay hidden.
This article appeared in an English-language newspaper in Indonesia:
The Polyamorous Love
By Agustina Wayansari, Contributor
...Open marriage, loosely defined as a marriage in which partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without being regarded as infidelity, is barely a novelty in what is a seemingly conservative society like ours, although it gained less notoriety than the case of polygamy, which has been accepted in the country for decades.
But some people just don’t want to admit that open marriage is an accepted practice in the country, believing that it could only happen in a more open society such as the US, where it is known by its other name, polyamory. Newsweek magazine in its July 2009 edition reported that polyamory, relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners, has started to gain a following. Those who practice polyamory insist that they are not swingers or looking only for casual sex.
...Among a small number of people who agreed to talk to The Jakarta Post is a couple of ten years, Lala and Rama, not their real names.
This couple has its own definition of marriage. “We love each other and we are both happy with this kind of arrangement, but I believe other people would not see things the way we see them,” she said....
“It’s better to be labeled as a cheater rather than being found to have this type of arrangement,” said the 39-year-old businesswoman. “People will call us sick. What do you think? Do you think I am sick?” she asked, chuckling.
...Irwan Martua Hidayana, an expert on sexuality and gender at the University of Indonesia, said the open marriage arrangement is a fact of life in big cities such as Jakarta, where nobody could have control over other’s people lives.
...Irwan said that open marriage could also be the by-product of globalization, which rendered old values irrelevant. Exposure to Western values, known to be more tolerant of sexual freedom, had resulted in a change in notion of sexuality and relationships.
...He said that individuality was valued more in modern society, and if an institution such as marriage stood in the way of realizing individuality to its fullest, people could have the freedom to leave it. Irwan said from a gender-study perspective, women nowadays have equally strong positions as men.
“The privilege of having more than one partner is no longer the privilege of men. Now, for some husbands, they can easily accept when their wife has affairs with other men,” he said....
Read the whole article (July 25, 2010).