I recently weighed in at Bustle.com about something interesting — polyamory.
Polyamory can be as complicated as any other form of romantic expression, monogamy included — and it can also be just as simple.
Polyamory is the practice of being in a sexual and/or romantic relationship with more than one person at a time. It comes in various forms, each of which have their own unique set of challenges — just like every other relationship form. It works easily for some, takes work for others, and is totally not for many. And all that’s okay.
The key with any of this is to be honest about what works for you, be honest with who ever is relevant and involved, and don’t hate on other people’s ways of doing things. Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it works for everyone else. And vice versa — just because something is working for others doesn’t mean it’s right for you.
You can read the full piece here — “7 Little-Known Facts About Polyamory” (November 7, 2018) — written by author Eva Taylor Grant. As always, you can check out my full comments to the author’s query below. Enjoy!
Eva Taylor Grant: What do you think is most important for people who are unfamiliar with polyamory to understand about polyamory? Why?
DrCT: The most important thing for people who are unfamiliar with polyamory to understand about polyamory – and any “different” form of sexual or romantic expression – is that there is no universally correct, applicable way of loving or being sexual. As long as consent is present, the only force differentiating monogamy from celibacy or polyamory or whatever else are socially constructed norms.
We as a society have organized ourselves around certain behavior patterns we’ve set up as “normal,” but these norms could just as easily be focused on alternate patterns. In fact, there are many instances throughout history (including currently) wherein different romantic and sexual behavior patterns are the norm.
Though some forms of sexual expression may be more commonplace in various societies and/or more familiar to an individual, iterations of polyamory have been present throughout human history. From religion or human survival to cultivating social power or plain ol’ erotic desire, people have sought out multiple sexual and romantic partners for various reasons since forever.
In addition to understanding that there is no “correct” form of sexual or romantic expression, it’s also important for people to understand that these variable patterns work for different people at different times, but they also don’t ever have to work for you. Just because polyamory is unfamiliar doesn’t mean it’s wrong. At the same time, just because polyamory works for some doesn’t mean it has to work for everyone (read: you).
ETG: What are some specific facts/aspects about polyamory that you want people to understand?
DrCT: One key aspect of polyamory is consent, and the cornerstone of consent is communication. If a partner is polyamorous, but another partner is not aware of this, this doesn’t make the polyamorous relationship okay. In fact, it makes the polyamorous person kind of a jerk because the relationship is not consensual.
In the current iteration of our society, one of our most significant problems is communication. We struggle with it, and we really struggle with it when it comes to sex. Now, throw uncommon or unconventional forms of sexual expression into the mix, and you augment the problem.
Rather than shying away from communication about polyamory though – because it’s hard – instead, this makes communication within polyamorous relationships that much more important. This may make things bumpy, sure, but it will also make relationships stronger when all involved parties ultimately know where everyone is coming from.
(pictured: image via Bustle)
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