“I’m on my way…”
So this is one of those weeks when I don’t have time to tie my shoes (for which I have an elegant solution), but I wanted to post very quickly with this article for anybody who missed it. It’s unique for two reasons. First, it’s a very positive coverage of poly lifestyles. Second, it’s the first time I’ve seen a major publication treat it as anything other than a weird thing that some weird people off in weirdland do. This article comes pretty close to acknowledging that poly is becoming a common American lifestyle for normal middle class people. And it mentions Tristan which amuses me.
For my part of course, I have strong feelings. When divorce became acceptable in the 1950s and 60s, I think it was a “great leap forward” (apologies Chairman). But also a pretty profound negative. I mean, let’s all cheer, we don’t have to have one miserable relationship till the end of our lives. All we have to do is be willing to hurt the people around us and fuck our lives up, and make a horrible choice between the new sexual adventures we are driven to, and a partner we love and care about. The divorce rate suggests just how much people were willing to pay for that little bit of freedom. But…it’s like abortion. It may be better than the alternative, but nobody thinks it’s a particularly good thing, except maybe Marla Singer (sue me I feel literary today).
So now we’re finally coming around to the idea that it might be healthy to have multiple relationships that support multiple needs. That the roles of romantic lover, source of security, indulgence, disciplinarian, partner can all get juggled around. It seems like a no-brainer.
At some point I’ll share my amateur sociological ramblings on why this is good, and why we can do it today but couldn’t do it in 1740 (and how the fact that some people did anyway generally proves the point). For now, read and enjoy:
It’s enough to make any monogamist’s head spin. But the traditionalists had better get used to it.
Researchers are just beginning to study the phenomenon, but the few who do estimate that openly polyamorous families in the United States number more than half a million, with thriving contingents in nearly every major city. Over the past year, books like Open, by journalist Jenny Block; Opening Up, by sex columnist Tristan Taormino; and an updated version of The Ethical Slut—widely considered the modern “poly” Bible—have helped publicize the concept. Today there are poly blogs and podcasts, local get-togethers, and an online polyamory magazine called Loving More with 15,000 regular readers. Celebrities like actress Tilda Swinton and Carla Bruni, the first lady of France, have voiced support for nonmonogamy, while Greenan herself has become somewhat of an unofficial spokesperson, as the creator of a comic Web series about the practice—called “Family”—that’s loosely based on her life.