"The Perks of Polyamory": a free-agent feminist tells of her grand life
So far I've posted more items in April (18) than in any month since I began Polyamory in the News in 2005. Recently I speechified to Atlanta Poly Weekend that as poly awareness grows and its borders widen, the borders are coming in contact with ever more people, so more and more interesting things will be happening.
For instance: The ancient and once venerable London Evening Standard (now a freebie giveaway owned by a former KGB agent) gave space in its magazine section ES magazine to a poly feminist for a 1,500-word, first-person feature article about her life.
The perks of polyamory
How many partners do you have? Just one? How boring. Polyamory — loving multiple people — is a growing moment with its own set of rules. Zoe Stavri charts her journey from romantic exclusivity to five-in-a-bed romps.
I’ve found that my capacity to love is limited only by the amount of time I have — and the size of my bed
By Zoe Stavri
The alarm goes off and I don’t want to get out of bed, but it’s a work day so I have to. My lover to my left grumbles sleepily in protest. The one to my right shifts slightly. Reluctantly, I disentangle myself from the bundle of limbs and drag myself out of bed. As I leave, I kiss both of them goodbye. ‘See you very soon?’ I ask. Both nod enthusiastically.
After work, where I campaign for an NGO, I have a date with a regular companion. I tell her all about the night before, that glorious tangle of limbs, and she grins with approval. ‘Not too tired, I hope?’ she asks. I answer honestly that I’m not in the least too tired to give her my full attention tonight.
If you’d asked me five years ago if I thought my life would end up this way, I would have laughed. But things have changed, and now there is a word for the things I once fantasised about: polyamory.
Polyamory — or poly, as most of us end up calling it — is the recognition that it is entirely possible to love, fancy, and form meaningful relationships with more than one person at a time. There are a lot of different forms that poly relationships can take: some of us have a regular partner and also see other people; some of us live in three-, four- or more-way relationships; some live in big tribes of partners and friends. The possibilities are endless.
I’d fantasised about polyamory ever since I was a child. I wanted lots of husbands and wives and things. But it was only four years ago, when I was 24, and reading about it on a feminist blog, that I realised this was an actual thing....
As I got more involved in radical and feminist politics, I met — and dated — more poly people, although the community is far more diverse than the little corner I occupy. I think I’m reaching saturation point with poly women on the dating site I use, as everybody I am a high match with turns out to be someone I already know socially. We hold conferences and events, we talk to each other on Twitter, and there’s even poly speed-dating. Outside major cities, the scene is smaller, but I don’t doubt that there are poly people everywhere.
...By following a few basic guidelines, I’ve found that my capacity to love is limited only by the amount of time I have — and the size of my bed. Obviously, the key to making any relationship work is good communication. When relationships are in the plural, communication is just as crucial, if not more so. As a child, my favourite book was a lovely story called Six Dinner Sid. It told of a cat called Sid who lived on a street where nobody spoke to each other and everybody thought they owned Sid, so he was fed six times a day. When all six of Sid’s owners found out about each other, they started limiting Sid’s food, which made him sad, so he left. Eventually, he found a new street, where everyone talked to each other, and they were all cool with Sid’s culinary preferences.
This is basically how poly communication works. It involves everyone being as honest and upfront as possible about what it is they want, so as to ensure everyone is on the same page and can address any problems that might come up.... Sometimes conversations can be gruelling and difficult, and it can be hard to find words to say, or even work out what it is that you want. Sometimes I need to force myself to say, ‘Hey, this isn’t OK’.... I know that it is just as important to be honest about the bad as about the good, and I know that being honest is the only route to me fulfilling my needs — intimacy, passion and liberty — and being sensitive to my partners’ needs is the only way I can do this....
Read the whole article (April 26, 2013). Zoe Stavri also blogs as Another Angry Woman.
She writes us about her experience with the newspaper:
Hi Alan! On the whole, I found the experience quite positive, although it was interesting to see how little some people know about poly life; both in the editing process and the reception, I've had lots of questions. I'm glad, because I really want poly folk to be more visible! My one minor quibble is the picture the ES used. Felt cliched, and it annoyed me that all of the feet in the picture were white!"