For feminists: "So You Want to Try Polyamory"
The modern poly movement has been feminist from the start, in ideology and in most of its leaders — from its founders in the mid-1980s, through the bold new women spokespeople and organizers who continue to emerge year after year.
Factoid: of the 37 nonfiction books about polyamory published in the last 30 years, women authors and co-authors outnumber men 3 to 1.
This morning, the online magazine Everyday Feminism posted a big, thoughtful Poly 101 article by Ginny Brown:
So You Want to Try Polyamory
Source: Showtime, Polyamory: Married & Dating
So you’ve been reading about polyamory and have decided it’s something you want to try. Or maybe you’re still thinking about it, but don’t have a clear sense of where you’d even begin....
Questions to Ask Yourself
Partly because it’s outside of our cultural norm, and partly because it involves coordinating the needs and preferences of so many people, being happily polyamorous pretty much requires the ability to reflect on what you want and communicate it with your partners.
1. Why Do I Want This?
What great things are you expecting polyamory to bring to your life? More sex? Someone to go with you to movies that your partner hates? A warm, loving community of friends and lovers?
...If you’re opening up an existing relationship, it’s good for you to know what your partner is hoping to gain and vice versa.
Articulating why you want to be poly will also help you navigate the times when it’s tough: You can look back at your goals and assess whether you’re moving toward them overall and whether working through the hard stuff is still worth it.
2. What Would an Ideal Situation Look Like?
This will likely change with time, experience, and the people you meet, but it’s still good to set a baseline expectation.
Does the idea of a big house with five or six adults sharing love, sex, and household responsibilities sound awesome or alarming? Would you like to have a lot of partners that you see occasionally, or just two or three that you focus on?... Would you prefer to be friends with your partners’ partners, or keep relationships separate?...
3. What Are My Insecurities and Fears?
Seeing a partner enjoy a loving relationship with someone else has the potential to bring all of your insecurities to the forefront, so it’s helpful to get in some work on addressing them ahead of time.
...Whatever your personal buttons are, polyamory will almost certainly push them....
4. How Will I Handle Jealousy?...
5. What Are My Boundaries Around STIs and Protection?
...The vast majority of the poly community are strict about using condoms for intercourse with new partners, at the very least. Beyond that, it’s a matter of personal comfort.
Do you want to use condoms and dental dams for oral sex? How often will you get tested for STIs?....
6. How Will We Handle Dates and Scheduling?
...If you’re opening up a relationship, you’ll want to set expectations about logistics....
How to Meet People
...OKCupid is overwhelmingly the most popular site for non-monogamous people.... Another good way to meet people is to go to poly meetups....
Mistakes to Avoid
1. Being a Dating Hound
A lot of people decide to be poly, connect with a community, and immediately start flirting with or asking out everyone they think is cute.... By jumping immediately to “Who here can I make out with?” you’re taking the focus off building friendships. And building friendships with other poly folk is helpful on multiple levels.... I recommend giving at least as much energy to making solid friendships and finding the people who will be your poly support network.
2. Getting Swept Up in the NRE....
3. Letting Fear Determine the Course of Your Relationships
Setting rules and boundaries is important, but it’s also important to make sure these are being set for the right reasons.... There will be times when it’s hard and scary, and times when it’s exhilarating and life-giving. It can take some time to figure out how — or even if – polyamory works best in your life.
Embrace the process.
Ginny Brown is a writer, speaker, and educator specializing in sexuality and relationships. She recently completed her M.Ed in Human Sexuality and teaches college courses in health and sexuality. She also writes at www.polyskeptic.com, a blog about polyamory, atheism, and culture....
Read the whole article (April 7, 2014).
Also at Everyday Feminism:
Love Without Boundaries: The Practice of Loving Many by Ichi Vazquez (Aug. 10, 2013; a sweet piece reprinted from The Indypendent).
More Than Two: Examining the Myths and Facts of Polyamory by Laura Kacere (Oct. 15, 2013).
● Why Women Are the Catalyst and Foundation for Polyamory, by Manning Haile (Nov. 18, 2013).
● A 17-minute Mimi Schippers video on polyamory at The Feminist Wire (Sept. 13, 2013).
● Angi Becker Stevens' feminism series at The Radical Poly Agenda. Excerpt (July 25, 2013):
I think that poly without feminism can potentially be a rather dangerous thing. If polyamory is just a means of reproducing traditional sexist dynamics in relationships with multiple partners, then we’re stepping dangerously close to everything that’s wrong with traditional patriarchal “one man-many women” polygamy. I see polyamory veering close to this in relationships with the so-called “one-penis-policy,” for example....
● My previous items tagged "Feminism" (including this one; scroll down).
In other news:
It's less than three weeks to Loving More's Rocky Mountain Poly Living conference in Denver, April 25–27. This is the first-ever Poly Living in that region, following the growth of Poly Living East that Loving More puts on every February in Philadelphia.
And by the way, each of Loving More's owners/leaders in its 28 years of existence have been women: Ryam Nearing and Deborah Anapol, then Nearing alone, then Mary Wolf, then Robyn Trask.