"There’s More Than One Way to Have a Lesbian Relationship"
If you haven't studied Franklin Veaux's Venn diagram of nonmonogamy even now that it's gone viral, you just have no geek cred at all. It may have inspired the flowchart of lesbian relationships that's gone up on Autostraddle ("news, entertainment and girl-on-girl culture"). Autostraddle is an online lesbian magazine that specializes in the brash, radical and sexy. A quality flowchart is brash, radical and sexy, and if you don't understand this you probably don't get xkcd either1, so there.
Start at the "YOU" box at center and see if you end up at "polyamorous." That's where the happiest choices seem to get you.
Here's the article accompanying it:
There’s More Than One Way to Have a Lesbian Relationship
...Perhaps you have, in the recent past, had an intense, intimate, friendly, semi-cordial relationship with another cute/hot/pretty/(insert aesthetic adjective here) person and are now wondering what it could possibly mean.
Hopefully it means that your life is about to get a lot more exciting, filled with lots of adorable chemical reactions that hopefully don’t leave you with any complicated byproducts. There’s no need to worry; hang out with this new girl, go to a concert, make breakfast, cuddle. You don’t have to give in to external pressures of labeling yourselves. You can enjoy yourselves without being monogamous.
...I mean, if the only ‘real’ interactions we had with people were serious relationships and we were otherwise alone, we would probably all be friendless, emotionally distraught hermits.
...Thus I have compiled some possible relationship (or friendship) types for all of you autostraddling lovers and friendlers.
Friendship: Filled with platonic cuddling, honesty, and wonderful adventures....
Ambiguous friendship with a straight girl....
Friends with benefits.... Who doesn’t love hooking up without consequences?
Open relationship: Through my own experience and friends’ experiences here’s what I have learned: open relationships are much like monogamous relationships in that both people deeply care for each other, maybe even love (scary, right?). However, this does not imply the demise of sexual attraction to other people. Thus, both interested parties are granted the freedom to pursue alternative, noncommittal, non-significant intimate relationships with other people....
--Type I open relationship:... If/when one member gets down and dirty with someone else, they come clean about it....
--Type II open relationship: Both people agree that they are allowed to hook up with other people; however, neither wants to hear about it.
Polyamory: Having both intimate, emotional, open, and consensual interactions with multiple people. Polyamory includes the idea that jealousy does not have to exist (for a more in-depth discussion, check out Autostraddle dot com’s ‘Polyamory 101’). Jealousy is hard to deal with. As much as I would like to pretend that I’ve never experienced it or never will it can be a pernicious destroyer of both relationships and friendships. But that is only if you let it.
Monogamous relationships: I don’t think I can go here until I’m older/mature/experienced/mentally stable.
Long distance: It better be fucking worth it.
Read the whole article (April 21, 2011).
The article references this earlier one:
What Do You Mean You’re Not Monogamous?
by Akwaeke Z Emezi
....Eventually I reached a point where I had to put my foot down, throw my hands up and say it: I don’t want to be monogamous. Never have. Ever. Ever. Just admitting that was step one, and step two meant that I had to get vocal about it from the jump, so that I wouldn’t end up dating monogamous people and mislead us both about what was possible.
Whoo, that led to some interesting conversations that raised my hackles. I’ve heard some blanket statements and generalizations about nonmonogamy that simply did my head in, so I think it’s about time we educate ourselves, open discussions, and learn from each other. Let’s tackle a few issues in bullet point, shall we?...
● Poly people just want to sleep with a lot of people. You can switch this up with ‘poly people are greedy,’ et cetera – any format where it just gets reduced to sex....
● Poly people just can’t commit. Oh, this one gets under my skin to no end.... This one usually gets linked to the first one: operating under the premise that it is impossible to commit to a person if you’re busy smanging other people, i.e. commitment always = monogamy. False.
● Isn’t this the same thing as being a cheater? No....
● What’s the point of being with someone if you’re going to continue smanging/dating other people? If you don’t want to be with a poly person, it’s simple. Don’t.... I’ve had a close friend get furious that I had the nerve to get married while nonmonogamous....
● What if you change your mind and turn out to want a monogamous relationship? #blinks. Then I’ll date monogamously.
● Did... did you just say relationship orientation?? I believe that for some people, being poly is innate and not a choice....
● Polyamory/nonmonogamy is just the newest trend. People started saying this about natural hair, did you know?
Feel free to add your own bullet points.
There are also a lot of myths that run in the opposite directions, such as claiming that poly relationships are ‘more evolved’ than monogamous ones, or that involve people treating monogamous people with disdain. Prejudice can run both ways in this case....
So now, I turn it over to you. What are some preconceptions you’ve had about monogamy or nonmonogamy? Have you ever encountered someone who is extremely anti- one or the other?
About the author: Born and bred in the south of Nigeria, Akwaeke Z Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil free love advocate, genderqueer Nutri-C addict, and natural hair aficionado... A current Brooklynite.
Read the whole article (March 24, 2011).
More lesbian poly on Autostraddle.
P.S., later: How could I have forgotten to include Franklin's flowchart snarking stereotypical couples looking for hot bi babes?
1 Okay okay, here's the joke. The scientists study 20 jelly bean colors. For 19 colors they find no acne causation at the 2-sigma level, meaning only a 5% chance that the result is a statistical fluke (p = 0.05), the usual standard for scientific publication. But look carefully at panel number 14: the statistically expected fluke happens. Scientifically illiterate media then go nuts.