This week, my dear friend Brandie appeared in a wonderful article entitled “I Just Can’t Decide” about polyamory in the May June 2011 Issue of Industry Magazine. As a sex educator, writer, and openly polyamorous person myself, I want to continue to advocate resources and awareness for poly folks or for people who are interested in learning more about the dynamic.
Polyamory, by definition, means “many loves”, and it appeals to me because of its intricate and freeing nature, its exploration of what is possible within the complicated realm of love, sex, intimacy, romance, and friendship. It engages and challenges the traditional concepts of what a relationship is, or has to be.
Having multiple partners allows a person to open up to worlds of possibility, empathy, and understanding. This dynamic engenders enormity (yeah, I know…) of perspective and encompasses forgiveness. It also forces an individual to look so far outside of their own self that they begin to focus that much more objectively, intuitively, and critically, in.
Socially, this helps define and shape a person within a reciprocal community and heightens the sense of responsibility within that community and even questions gender normativity in the process.
In this way, polyamory challenges the American ideology of loneliness and replaces it with a strong sense of self-worth, purpose, and affirmation. This doesn’t mean that polyamorists don’t get lonely, it just means that we generally have a larger network of people to reach out to for support and that our weight does not bear down on one person alone. It gives the individual space to learn, to make mistakes, to be malleable, to be patient, to be kind, and to change.
It also means that we get to explore all sorts of fun and safe sex play with new partners. This might be my favorite part, but please, emphasis on the safe sex play!
It also means that there can be drama, too, but that drama tends to be addressed quickly due to the radical honesty and communicative nature polyamory builds from, which enables the dynamic to work in the first place.
I hope to see more public discourse and articles about polyamory in the future, and I hope, like the article in Industry Magazine, those discussions continue to break social norms and stereotypes of what polyamory is, who practices it, and why.
Below are links to some great resources on polyamory and open relationships. You can also feel free to ask the staff at Early to Bed any questions you might have about the subject. We are here to help!
Peace & Good Lovin’
Poly and Open Relationship Resources:
- Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino
- The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Harding
- Poly Oly Oxen Free! (a fabulous, fabulous collaborative zine!)
- DirtySurface.com (a very intricate crash course addressing some of the more complicated nuances and relationship roadblocks of polyamory)
- OKCupid (an excellent resource for online dating! I am serious. Very poly friendly.)