Poly surfaces in the Philippines
Another glimmer from the Ear East: one of the main newspapers in the Philippines prints a discussion with a young open couple who call themselves poly. This is notable because the Philippines, long under heavy control of the Catholic Church, has been one of the most sexually repressed countries at least officially. Until recently birth control was illegal.
“We are way more open about stuff, I think. When you trust your partner enough to tell them you want to have sex with someone else, I think everything else just seems kind of easier to talk about.” (Illustration by Rob Cham)
This Modern Love
By Stefan Punongbayan
MANILA – ...In celebration of Valentine’s Day, the nursery song “the more we get together, the happier we’ll be” takes on a whole new meaning this week here at Supreme. We sat down with a not-so-conventional couple who will henceforth be known as Craig (27, straight) and Michaela (22, queer) to explore polyamory, consent, threesomes, and everything in between. Whoever said that three (or more) is a crowd?
...When did you start dabbling in polyamory? What led you to this arrangement?
Michaela: I suggested it very early on, I think we weren’t even officially boyfriend & girlfriend yet, since I had tried an open relationship-type setup before. It’s something I already knew I liked, or at least was capable of, so I offered it to Craig in case he liked it too.
Craig: This is my first. She kind of convinced me to try an open relationship. Michaela figured that we were young and can’t help it if we end up being attracted to other people. Life is a long time. This was kind of a weird safeguard from cheating, too, which I think is way more devastating emotionally. She started it out when someone asked her out. I kind of winced and had a lot of anxiety around that, but it then turned out alright. From there it kind of escalated and I dated around, we slept around, it was fun. Always use protection and don’t hurt anyone. I always make sure to disclose to anyone I am interested in that I am in an open relationship. If they are cool with that, then we just see where it goes.
M: You can’t cheat if your partner is okay with you sleeping with someone else! At least they didn’t break your trust. Sex is the least offensive part of cheating, it’s the betrayal, the lying.
...Aside from the obvious, what do think are the advantages of polyamorous relationships over traditional romantic partnerships?
C: We are way more open about stuff, I think. When you trust your partner enough to tell them you want to have sex with someone else, I think everything else just seems kind of easier to talk about. Way more testing for STDs because we want to be safe and make sure that nothing becomes an outbreak. Way more spending on condoms. Way more spending on dates.
M: The communication is much better between people in polyamorous relationships, and not just about the sex stuff. Plus, there’s no pressure to hide your feelings or desire for someone else, and that helps your own mental health because you’re not racked with guilt.
But aren’t relationships — or love in general — supposed to be inconvenient? ...
M: The best relationships aren’t! Relationships already come with a lot of problems without all the arbitrary rules we place on them. Not to say that open relationships can’t be problematic, though. But you work through it, just like every other relationship, because you feel like it’s worth it.
How do you select potential dates? Is there a vetting process of sorts that’s peculiar to the kind of relationship you have?
C: It’s weird because Michaela is asked out more often and I usually ask out my dates.
M: I do a lot of asking out, too! I usually let Craig know the moment I’m interested in someone, or if someone asks me out. We usually don’t veto each other’s choices, but we probably would if we knew something bad or unsettling about the new person.
C: I just tell them I’m in this situation. I don’t try to spring it on them after getting serious. Always just at the start because it’s not going to turn out good at all if there’s that dishonesty. A lot of people aren’t comfortable with their dates seeing other people, and that’s understandable. So usually I end up with people just open to the idea, or are just okay with a fubu set up.
M: It’s pretty similar to dating when you’re single, except it comes with a disclaimer that you already have a partner. Sometimes you have group dates and more people cuddling in bed.
Are your friends and respective families aware you’re going out with other people? What do they usually ask you?
C: Friends, yes; families, no....
Read the whole article (February 11, 2017).