"What We Can All Learn from the Poly Lifestyle"
More poly-positivity in the gay world, this time in a spiffy looking gay magazine published in Denver. The title above is the cover line. From the article inside:
Sharing is caring: Monogamous couples could benefit from polyamorous communication skills
By Shanna Katz, M.Ed, ACS
Gone are the days of marriage defined as “between a man and a woman.” For some, also gone are the days of a relationship refering to just two people. From swinging couples who enjoy a fun night of partner swapping to polyamorous triads, quads and moresomes, the concept of consensual non-monogamy is gaining force.
There is still little research on consensual non-monogamy and on the LGBTQ community as a whole, and what has been done has usually been done with a huge bias in mind. Assumptions frame the studies, which are full of hinky approaches: That clearly, gay men are hypersexual. Let’s prove this by showing that they just can’t stay in a monogamous relationships. It’s hard to track how many LGBT people live non-monogamous lifestyles, and how – or why – they choose it.
Like the word queer, consensual non-monogamy is an umbrella term that can refer to a slew of different relationship constructs.... But for all, the number-one priority is communication, according to relationship and intimacy therapist Dr. Jenni Skyler of Boulder.
“Those who already operate from a place of non-monogamy, or are making the move to do so from a place of safety and trust, often find great benefits in the relationship as it pertains to communication,” Skyler said. “In short, non-monogamous relationships force partners to communicate deeply and to work with jealousy.”
That’s hardly something driven by lust. Dr. Skyler argues “monogamous couples could take some lessons in communication from successful non-monogamous couples because all of us can benefit from deep, transparent communication.”
...For David Washburn, 50, of Lakewood, the idea of loving multiple people was one that developed from a much younger age. He shares, “I lived most of my life knowing that I felt love for more than one person at a time, and yet felt societal pressure to choose, and to hide my bisexuality as well.” Despite these social norms, 12 years ago he perused a relationship with a bisexual couples and ended up meeting his wife. Six years ago, they opened up their relationship. By choosing consensual non-monogamy, he has also been able to experiment with and accept his orientation; “I feel the primary benefit of being non-monogamous is being able to live my life truthfully. I have been able to have a couple of relationships with men … I reconnected with someone whom I had loved during my first marriage.”
It’s important to note that non-monogamy, while a very valid choice for many folks, is not without its pitfalls....
...Whether you decide to stick with just one partner or to open up your life to a variety of lovers, partners and friends with benefits, it boils to communication. In the world of sexuality and relationships, communication is always key.
Shanna Katz, M.Ed, ACS is a Colorado native, fierce femme and board certified sexologist. She believes strongly in open source, accessible sexuality education, and loves teaching adults how to optimize their sex lives.
Read the whole article (June 20, 2012).