"Getting familiar with polyamory in Wisconsin"
An online magazine "for Madison and Dane County" interviews a Christian poly lady who explains the basics, as she sees them, and tells how people have reacted to her and her partners.
By Nathan J. Comp
If you think having one relationship is tough, imagine nurturing two or three or four all at once. But that’s how Kimberly Stenerson, 42, prefers it, explaining that monogamy isn’t for her. Instead, Stenerson, who performs with the Spring Green-based performance troupe Camp Burlesque, has for most of her life sought out fully committed relationships with multiple people simultaneously.
“I think I was always poly,” she says, referring to polyamory. “It’s like when people ask, ‘When did you know you were gay?’ It’s the same as knowing you’re monogamous and heterosexual. You just always knew.”
She cautions that, more than a lifestyle, polyamory is a state of being, and therefore isn’t for everybody. “It’s not just sex with other people,” stresses Stenerson, who lives in Spring Green with her daughters and partners. “It’s also love, trust and communication, like you’d have in any relationship.”
Stenerson spoke with Dane101 about the dynamics of poly relationships, how the lifestyle squares with her Christianity and how it differs from swinging.
What’s the difference between poly and open marriages?
Well, an open marriage tends to be sexually oriented. So you can swing. Sometimes they have arrangements where there’s certain level of sexual activity involved and other things that are not. Like, some people talk about doing a full swap, where you and another couple might get together and mess around but end up with your significant other. So it’s more sexually oriented, but not in a bad way. It’s very good for the marriage, for the folks that like it.
Poly is more emotional. You have multiple people that you love... people are committed to more than one person.
So, you’re a Christian. How does that square with the adultery thing?
Well, I don’t commit adultery, even when I’m poly. Adultery is cheating and cheating is lying. So I don’t lie.... For me, the definition of adultery is to betray one’s vow or promise.
What kinds of jealousy issues arise?
If the person has been poly their whole life, it’s completely different than for someone new to the lifestyle. Because the same way if you’re monogamous, you watch your parents deal with all the issues that come up in a relationship. If you grow up poly it’s easier to deal with the jealousy issues. I always suggest, if you’re taking on a new lifestyle, give yourself a year to learn and explore before you get into any heavy-duty commitments.
...You don’t love someone more; you love them differently than someone else.
What are the biggest misperceptions monogamous people have about poly?
...It depends on whom you talk to. Talk to a couple. It’s interesting; they’ll both act like it’s perfectly fine until you get them alone. You’re talking to them [together] and they’re, ‘Oh, that’s just fine. That’s wonderful. That’s interesting,’ until you get them alone and the guy says, ‘Hey baby, ya wanna swing?’ And the girl’s like, ‘How can you do that? What about your children?’...
Read on (Feb. 23, 2011), and perhaps leave a comment there.