Last month, I did a panel on polyamory at Skepticon 9, moderated by fellow Orbiter Stephanie. My co-panelists are all people I like: fellow Orbiter Benny (who also did an amazing talk on the science of medical transition that weekend), Joshua Hyde, and Nola Olsen. It was fun to back on the main stage there.
There was a Q&A, but some questions weren’t addressed and some I feel I can answer better in writing. So here they are, in all their glory! Continue reading “Answers to Your Skepticon Polyamory Panel Questions”
Content Notice for What It Says on the Tin. NSFW.
Inspired in no small part by the grand tradition of Captain Awkward, and written back in August 2015, when I was still at Freethought Blogs.
Other Round Ups:
Continue reading “Search Term Round-Up #5: Polyamory & Kink”
This post partly grew out of a conversation with my friend Wesley Fenza, who writes at Living Within Reason. Wesley has a companion blog post with his more measured take on this issue.
Through the lens of mainstream media depictions of polyamory, I am the poster child for Bad Poly (and Bad Non-Monogamy, generally). Posturing for respectability is not for me and never will be, and I am not the least bit sorry.
Continue reading “Bad Poly’s Poster Child: A Navel-Gaze”
Fairly standard in Polyamory 101-type guides is some sort of discussion about what reasons make for a good or a bad start to a non-monogamous relationship style. Such lists, written by experienced non-monogamists, often seem prudent to peruse, each item apparently self-evident in its validity.
Who could disagree that reluctantly engaging in multiple relationships because your partner wanted to when you weren’t really feeling it is a bad thing? After all, people should not do things they don’t want to do.
Who doesn’t agree with the idea that having an open relationship because your partner cannot fulfill all of your needs is a good thing? It sounds so much better to add more partners than to replace the one you have, if you love that person.
The problem with this sort of reasoning is that it represents a One True Path style of thinking that is relatively ironic given the relationship paradigms that non-monogamous folks claim to reject.
Continue reading “Are There Good & Bad Reasons for Non-Monogamy?”
At a Los Angeles film meetup, I once met a Christian who claimed that she was oppressed for being a “woman of faith.” Why? Because most of her friends are non-religious, she is sometimes assumed to be an atheist, and she is outnumbered at social events to the point where she feels uncomfortable with the idea of challenging the mockery of religion that is part of the conversations there.
She didn’t take my suggestion that she move a few mile down south to Orange County, home of the Trinity Broadcasting Network and some of the nation’s largest megachurches (and now home to overtly-religious city councils), too kindly. Though there was some baffled sarcasm in what I said, I wasn’t wrong: even LA County has its share of megachurches. She is hardly outnumbered or oppressed in any real sense of those words.
That she is not actually oppressed for being a Christian who chooses where she lives, works, and socializes is readily apparent to any person, secular or religious, with an understanding of how much of the world exists in its current state. However, plenty of people make similar — and similarly ridiculous — claims of oppression about matters as personal as shampooing to issues as political as veg*nism and non-monogamy. Continue reading “Are You Mainstream? Then Act Like It.”
No discussion or mention of polyamory would be complete without a monogamous person chiding the polyamorous person to not be “preachy” about their “lifestyle choice.” There will often be an accompanying anecdote about how the monogamous person once met a polyamorous person who was very “pushy” with them. “I don’t care what you do in the bedroom,” the monogamous person will assert, “But I wish polyamorous people wouldn’t be so judge me for my choices when I don’t judge theirs.” Even articles ostensibly about non-monogamy do this.
Though I don’t doubt that monogamous people have had experiences that left them feeling judged, and it is a fact that there exist some rather smug-seeming polyamorous people, I don’t buy the idea that they are as common as monogamous people make them seem. Rather, it is more likely that monogamous people are picking up on and picking on polyamorous people in an absurdly disproportionate way.
Continue reading “Why Are Those Polyamorists So Damn Preachy?”
Among more progressive types, much is made of the smug polyamorists who declare themselves to be more skilled at communicating, better at relationships, and overall more evolved than their monogamous counterparts. As I’ve said before, I’m not on board with that. Poly is my relationship style, not an indicator that I am somehow better at anything than a monogamous person, let alone everything. Being poly is no guarantee against any kind of hurt or pain and can even introduce novel forms of pain into one’s emotional life. Poly is not a shield against any and all harms; given my journey to my current relationship style, I have never have believed it to be so.
Reading through the comments on others’ Facebook walls in response to my last piece on polyamory has reminded me of all this. Many of the comments invoked poly smugness, claiming that (1) responding with “it’s not for me” is a preemptive strike against poly evangelizing, (2) defensiveness is only natural when someone makes an unnecessary mention that they are poly, or (3) both.
I honestly feel a bit at a loss. Continue reading “When the Monogamous Bait Poly Smugness”
For most people and most relationships, the mainstream monogamous relationship model fits and there is no need for them to question it overmuch. The mistake is not doing what works for you if monogamy is what that is, it’s assuming that mono-to-poly relationships are the only ones where the terms of the relationship change.
I’m not just saying this because I’m poly and tired of my relationship style being treated as the only one where painfully-common problems arise (though yes, I rather am, thank you). I’m also saying this because a lot of wholly-avoidable issues come up in relationships of all kinds when people don’t acknowledge those changes for what they are. Continue reading “Everything I Know About Monogamy, I Learned From Polyamory”
Not long ago, thanks to awesome friends of mine, I became aware of Kat Blaque. I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything that I’ve seen from her so far, so this is me using something she said as a jumping-off point.
Recently, an older video that Kat made on polyamory was captioned. The type of polyamorous relationship she talks about the most in the video is the kind where the relationship starts out monogamous, one partner wants to be non-monogamous, and the other person reluctantly goes along with it because they want to retain the relationship. The issue, she says, is the changing of terms in the contract of the relationship.
Kat’s mention of how difficult it can be when one partner wants to change the terms of the relationship but the other doesn’t rang true for me…. except that my pain came from going poly to mono rather than the other way around. Continue reading ““Polyamorous” Problems Are Relationship Problems”
A born loner, bookworm, and nerd, I looked up “sex” at the library when I was nine years old rather than asked my peers about it. In the ensuing pre-teen and teenage years, I encountered all kinds of sex and love related things online (they were textual rather than visual, since I was only allowed to use our crappy dial-up for an hour a day and I feared getting caught with images or video). One of those things was the concept of non-monogamous relationships.
And so, before I had even had my first kiss, I was well-read and -versed on poly terms, concepts, and theory. There was one thing that all the poly websites, books, and podcasts didn’t quite prepare me for: how much more devastating a poly break-up can be to the dumpee’s self-esteem.
Continue reading “Polyamory: What No One Warned Me About”