Anapol: "Five Things You Might Not Know About Polyamory"
"five things" articles about polyamory. Seriously though, her piece is worth the full read.
The Good Men Project ("a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century") has become a widely read online men's magazine. It claims to be "not so much a magazine as a social movement. We are fostering a national discussion centered around modern manhood and the question, 'What does it mean to be a good man?' "
Five Things You Might Not Know About Polyamory
Poly educator [and early movement organizer] Deborah Anapol addresses some common misconceptions about the polyamorous lifestyle.
Thirty years ago there was plenty I needed to know about polyamory, but not so many places to learn it. In fact, the word polyamory hadn’t been invented yet, so I’d adopted the unwieldy but descriptive term responsible non-monogamy when my first book on the topic, Love Without Limits, was published in 1992. By the time my latest book, Polyamory in the 21st Century, was published in 2010 there were nearly two million Google entries for polyamory, not to mention dozens of books in a multitude of languages, hundreds of articles, a little scientific research, and even some reality TV shows.
We also have more new language for alternatives to monogamous (or serially monogamous) relating. Consensual non-monogamy is the preferred term in the academic world, and New Monogamy is being talked about in the marital therapy world. But whatever it’s called, it adds up to the same thing. Our cultural obsession with monogamy is going the same way as prohibition, slavery, the gold standard, and mandatory military service. In other words, lifelong monogamy is pretty much obsolete, and for better or worse, polyamory is catching on. Here is the latest information from the relationship frontier.
Travis Hornung / Flickr
1. There is no evidence that monogamy is better in terms of relationship longevity, happiness, health, sexual satisfaction, or emotional intimacy. There is also no evidence that polyamory is better. So you may as well go with what feels best to you — and your partner(s).
...[T]he common arguments in favor of monogamy — including the illusion that it offers protection from jealousy, sexually transmitted diseases, and divorce, have been shown to be purely speculation, and unfounded speculation at that.
...If you’re not sure what would work for you, I suggest you find out — before you get involved in a committed relationship if at all possible, since compatibility is the name of the game.
2. Women are not necessarily in favor of monogamy. They just don’t like being lied to, treated inconsiderately, and expected to go along with a double standard....
...The bottom line is that everyone wants to be treated with respect and to have their needs honored. Both genders have dysfunctional conditioning to overcome whether they choose monogamy or not. Win-win relationship agreements that are fulfilling to everyone involved and allow for intimacy with multiple partners, are just as appealing to women as to men. In fact, all of the early leaders of the modern polyamory movement were female.
3. Gay men are more likely than heterosexual couples, lesbians, or bisexuals to practice consensual non-monogamy — but they still struggle with jealousy.
...However, if [anyone's] relationship is basically healthy and if additional partners are found to enhance, rather than detract from, the satisfaction of all partners, jealousy can usually be managed successfully.
4. Children raised in consensually non-monogamous families have been shown to do at least as well on many measures of health and achievement as children in monogamous (or serially monogamous) families.
It’s not news that many adults project their fears onto their children.... In my book Polyamory in the 21st Century I discuss both research and anecdotal reports which indicate that if anything, children in polyamorous families or open marriages do better than children in conventional families....
5. Polyamory is not necessarily easy, especially if family of origin issues and skill deficits are not addressed.
Polyamory isn’t a solution for a floundering relationship, but it can solve problems of unequal or different sexual desire in an otherwise healthy and happy relationship. The tantalizing pleasures of expanded intimacy can also be a great motivator for stepping up to the plate to do your personal work. Polyamory requires emotional literacy, as well as the ability to communicate well, set and respect boundaries, and keep agreements. Beyond these basic skills, polyamory is also a very rich opportunity to address dysfunctional patterns inherited or acquired in childhood....
Read the whole article (April 11, 2013).