Student poly stories
Sacramento State Hornet (CA)
Portland State Vanguard (OR)
Smith Sophian (MA)
Time for another roundup of polyamory discussions in college newspapers.
● In today's Whitman Pioneer at Whitman College in the state of Washington:
Partnered Monogamy: Is there an alternative?
By A. Cuard
...The form that these relationships take can vary greatly. Some people may form a fairly traditional relationship between two people but designate it as an ‘open’ relationship.... Some people form ‘primary’ partnerships and then pursue secondary relationships outside of that. Others pursue and form several long-term and short-term relationships with multiple people, without designating any as primary or secondary.
...For people who choose non-monogamy as a permanent relationship choice, it may involve levels of commitment similar to long-term monogamous relationships.
So why bother with non-monogamy?
Under the current model of monogamy, we accept that there is a natural difference between ‘relationships’ and ‘friendships’ that allows us to treat our romantic partners differently than our friends. As a friend, I have very little control over who my friends form relationships with and the shape those relationships take. But this changes with ‘romantic relationships’....
As opposed to friendships, there is apparently a limit on how much romantic love or intimacy a person can occupy at one time, and it is assumed that if you are in a romantic relationship with one person, you cannot be in an equally meaningful relationship with someone else....
This idea of ownership or ‘belonging’ to one other person might feel comforting and natural for many people, but for others, including myself, this type of possessiveness and jealousy limits my ability to function as a self-determining individual.
...Non-monogamy offers a way for people to find intimacy and commitment in relationships regardless of whether they involve sex. At the same time, it lessens the pressure to be jealous and possessive, because individuals in non-monogamous relationships don’t ‘belong’ to one other person the way that monogamously partnered couples do....
Read the whole article (April 28, 2011).
● At Cal State Sacramento yesterday, on the website of the State Hornet:
Oral Exam: Open relationships
By Brittany Bradley
...When a friend of mine recently told me she and her boyfriend were considering evolving their monogamous relationship into an open polyamory relationship, I was instantly curious.
Polyamory is an arrangement revolving around the idea that a committed pair of lovers seeks sexual satisfaction with multiple partners outside of the committed relationship with the absence of jealousy and possessiveness. It means that the couple can see and involve themselves in as many sexual or emotional relationships as they choose as long as both are open, honest and communicate efficiently.
However, this recent bout of enlightenment got me wondering ... whatever happened to the threesome?... Are we seeing the dawning of an age in which the threesome has been replaced by complicated relationships with varying levels of commitment?
...Group sex, like all sex, must be approached with responsibility.... If you play your cards right, sex will take on a new existing outlook and your intimacy can survive the whole outcome. Sex can be as much fun as it was when you first got together and the person involved can be someone you've chosen together.
The only issue? Like any other relationship, non-monogamous or otherwise, communication and honesty are the real key to success. If you or anyone involved becomes concerned or uncomfortable, SPEAK UP. Otherwise you'll end up re-enacting a scene from "The Human Centipede"....
...Even if you don't have the taste for polyamory or open relationships, there's no doubt you know or will know someone who does.
Dive in, experiment, push your limits to wherever seems comfortable and you may find you learn more about yourself than you ever thought possible....
Read the whole article (April 27, 2011).
● In the Portland (Oregon) State University Vanguard:
By Kat Audick
Polyamory. A term with which I was completely unfamiliar until moving up to Portland.... For a while I let this mysterious concept sit on the back burner in my mind, until I realized that this polyamory thing is perhaps more common than I thought.
Is it just sleeping with a lot of people? Or labeling multiple individuals as your "significant other" or "significant others," for that matter?... Ask around and you'll likely find that depending upon whom you talk to (who identifies as polyamorous), the meaning can differ quite a bit.
...There definitely seems to have been a strong resurgence of the concept only recently among college-age folk — at least from my observations. Portland happens to be one of the cities across the U.S. that is embracing it with open arms....
Before you get too excited, polyamory is not just an idea that means "free sex for everyone" and without obligations. Poly individuals have a similar basis in morals when practicing consensual relationships — they just happen to hold these relationships with more than one person.... Instead of committing to just one girlfriend/boyfriend, they choose to romantically commit to several. If anything, they are over-committal....
Running all over Portland State's campus, I stopped random individuals and asked their thoughts on the subject. Out of a hundred students... 71 said that polyamory didn't bother them. It's also notable that 25 people couldn't present an opinion on polyamory because they had absolutely no previous knowledge of the subject, and only four flat out said that they thought every aspect of polyamory wasn't just wrong for them personally, but that it should not be practiced by anyone. [See poll results chart].
...With how many 20-something friends and acquaintances that I know who identify as polyamorous, it's easy to question if it's just a fad. Much like being a little bi-curious in college can be thrown around as a stereotype — having its heyday when Katy Perry's song "I Kissed a Girl" hit the radio. Polyamory may become more well known and talked about as time goes on. Maybe Perry's next song will be "I Kissed a Girl, and a Boy, and Another Girl, and We All Liked It."
Read the whole article (April 1, 2011).
● At Smith College, known for a strong lesbian community, in The Sophian:
Sex and the Smithie: Hear me out, I'm polyamorous and proud!
Have you ever fallen in love with more than one person at once? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that jealousy might be kind of dumb? Have you ever been sexually attracted to another person while already in a relationship? Congratulations! You're not automatically a bad person — you might just be polyamorous.
...It means "loving many," and although it might seem wrong to combine Greek and Latin roots, it's a legitimate lifestyle choice for many. The basic idea of polyamory is that it is acceptable to have more than one romantic or sexual partner at once, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved.
Mind-blowing, scandalous, I know. Disgusting. Counter to the very idea of a relationship. Slutty. An excuse for cheating. Mormon-y? Awful. I'll admit, when I first heard of it, I found it sickening. But hear me out just a little more.
In my, at first rather incidental, education on polyamory, I learned a few things that polyamory is not.
It is not cheating. All partners must be aware of the situation and are involved in creating boundaries for the relationship(s). For this reason, it is also called consensual non-monogamy. It is not a cult plural marriage; partners may be married, committed or just passing through - and many, if not most, polyamorists are not
Polyamory has strong feminist and freethinking roots that allow both men and women to have multiple partners, and all involved parties set guidelines for the relationship that they want, not the one that society dictates.
...In addition to describing a relationship status, "polyamorous" can also describe an orientation. I, for example, currently only date one person, but consider myself poly by orientation and would like to have another partner or two. And my partner is aware of this.
Sound confusing? It is. If you thought monogamous relationships were bad, try balancing two or more partners. Three Valentine's Day cards? Two sets of feelings? Four pains of being in love? Yikes. But all the joy of love is multiplied as well....
...I'm poly. But here's what I'm not: I'm not a slut. I'm not a repressed cult member. I'm not a liar, or a cheat. I'm not sick, immoral or evil.
Here's what I am: I am a devoted girlfriend. I am open and honest in a way I've never been able to imagine before. I am flexible - and I don't just mean physically. And, yes, let's face it, I am countercultural. I am free. I am polyamorous.
The whole article (March 10, 2011).
P.S.: Guess what! I'm interviewed on Minx's current Polyamory Weekly podcast: episode #270. Listen here.