I went to my first polyamory workshop last week. There were 13 people there. This topic on polyamory is so popular that the last workshop sold out very quickly.
The leader of the workshop told us all to introduce ourselves and tell everyone what pronoun we go by. All the women said they identified themselves as “she” and the men said they go by “he”.
I had done some research into polyamory, so I did know quite a lot already, but I learned something new at the very beginning of the class. When defining polyamory, the group leader said “Polyamory means not being monogamous,” which included swingers. My hand quickly went up and I said “I have read and heard that polys do not associate themselves with swingers because they’ll have sex with anyone without any emotional attachment whatsoever, whereas in being poly there has to be a true liking of someone before they have sex with someone–an emotional connection.”
The group leader said, “The definition depends on what poly person you talk to. There are many definitions, and a lot of polys would say swingers are poly as well.” She also said, “The polys who do not include swingers are actually snobs because they believe casual sex is wrong and it would be beneath a poly to have casual sex.” All polys there seemed to agree with the leader regarding swingers being accepted into the poly fold.
The class only lasted about 1 1/2 hours; it was interesting hearing each person’s own poly lifestyle. Some were lesbians, some were bisexuals, some had partners who were lesbian, bisexual and straight. Most were in the baby boomer age group: 43-61. Another, who is a stripper (YAY!), was much younger. She looked very mousy; the last person in the world you’d think was into an alternative lifestyle. The group was polite; very nice people.
I also must add: Most people think polyamory is all about sex. Not true. You can be in a totally platonic polyamory relationship. Loving isn’t always about the sex.
I did ask the group if they have two sets of friends: a mainstream group where no one knows they are poly, and their poly/kinky group. They all said they have two sets of friends and you have to pick and choose who you want to tell about any alternative lifestyle you’re leading. Plus, everyone you hang out with just doesn’t have to know.
That was very important for me to know. As I slowly and carefully pick my friends, I had made it a point to eventually tell EVERYONE I’m around that I am bisexual and a sex worker. Now, I think I will take their advice and pick and choose who I want to tell. I won’t feel like I’m leading a double life because those that don’t know, well, it’s just a matter of they never asked, so I never told. If someone asks me if I’m bisexual or ask about my job in more detail, I will not lie–no matter who asks. If I lose their friendship, so be it, but I’m not going to volunteer answers to my mainstream friends. So far, only one knows I’m an adult webcam sex worker. No one knows I’m bi.
Before this workshop, I discovered a poly group online that’s really cool and very friendly. I want them to be my foundation for my second set of friends–the non-mainstream, kinky ones.
Here’s my take on Polyamory:
I’ve heard about the many definitions, but the one about just loving many without even being romantic (and I’m not necessarily meaning sexual when I say romantic here), well, I find that definition odd to put it lightly. I mean if that’s the case, About 90% of the people in the world are poly. People love their family–siblings, parents, children…many loves there without it being a romantic relationship so that’s poly? Hmmmm. I love my cats without us being in a romantic relationship, so I’m poly with my cats?
For me, I wouldn’t define poly as loving without it being romantic, because that would make–by that definition–almost everyone in the world poly.
Then I go to this site where people post what it means to be poly, and one simply said “To love without fear.”… What?! OK, then I guess polyamory means anything a person wants it to mean. Monogamous people can say they are poly. If you simply say you are poly, then you are poly.
On the negative side, if our culture were dominantly poly I don’t know if it would be an ideal lifestyle for today. I think most people would be too irresponsible…too much jealousy, more crimes of passion because of jealousy, more unwanted pregnancies, and so on. I think the sex would be too big of an issue and take prominence over how polyamory is defined. But also, jealousy would be more of a major issue in our culture as well.
Maybe if our society stayed poly from the beginning (as many people said was the case)things would be great….But now, I think our culture couldn’t emotionally handle the poly life.
It’s like when we evolved/changed physically over the years, so did our emotions and behavior, but not necessarily in a more mature way.
But I believe there is a place for all kinds of lifestyles.
I think polyamory is the ideal lifestyle for many people, but I think monogamy is OK for people to be as well, regardless of whether it is because one is not being mature to handle being poly, not being open-minded enough, brain-washed by society, whatever people have called it.
I think just because things have changed in our culture, that doesn’t always mean it’s wrong for an individual to have changed along with it. It’s ultimately about how truly happy one is within themselves as an individual, regardless of whether there are outside influences or not.
I believe there are people miserable in monogamous relationships and people miserable in polyamorous relationships and why they choose to stay in either relationship instead of seeking another lifestyle to be truly happy is something they need to address from within.