Not signed in (Sign In)
This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
    @magnulus, woah, hey, didn't mean to sound snipey. I thought you were just being intentionally hyperbolic and so I didn't take offence. I actually thought you covered the stereotypes of the common perception of both sides pretty well and was just using that to elaborate is all. "meet the Love of Our Life and stay with that person for ever and ever and ever and never look at another person with lust ever again. Ever. For even a second" is pretty much how I've heard monogamy described to me and "get to the genitals and engage hydraulic pistons!" is a way I've pretty much heard polyamory described. Both are sort of this mocking hyperbole that is more black and white than what it actually is.

    I have a feeling that apologies and clarifications will be coming up a lot in this thread. And I think it won't be uncommon for people to have their defences instinctively go up right off the bat. It's a touchy subject for a lot of people considering past experiences with proponents of different styles of relationship structures that rubbed us the wrong way. Already with what I've posted I had a few moments afterwards thinking "was that alright?". But then I remembered that Whitechapel isn't like the rest of the internet and we can actually talk about this and be respectful while at the same time not being afraid to state when something offends us.

    And on that note, if I'm being an ass, PLEASE tell me. I could be doing it without knowing it and I won't learn if I'm not called on it.

    As an aside, someone suggested that I read the Ethical Slut and it really rubbed me the wrong way. I got the impression that the authors were really pushing the "This is the evolved thing to do, why wouldn't you do this?" view, which I didn't appreciate. The best education I got on poly relationships came from either discussions like this or actually seeing friends of mine maintain polyamorous relationships. I'm not suggesting to hide in the bushes and watch them or anything, but seeing the obvious love just threw out all that theory stuff I read and brought it home for me.

    I have some work and some much needed rest to get out of the way before I put brainpower in a post, but I will be contributing to this with my personal bits as well.
  1.  (11148.2)
    Oh definitely asexual people, or those in an asexual phase can be kinksters... (yup, personal history, pre/early DP, I'm very ... dominant, without that necessarily being about sex for me. power, yes, I have been described by one friend as 'a well socialised pyschopath').

    I grew up being poly. I (now know) formed friendships and associations very differently from those around me. I just didn't know it had a name, any sort of formal study or structure or whatever Until I got to uni and studied anthropology. even then I didn't actually apply it to myself and, indeed, the way I was living as it was presented to us as a sexual/procreative format only (classic taught by a mono white academic thing, with hindsight). My brain is wired... well 'wrong' is a comment I used to get as a youth, and have had more recently...

    I could say that I fell into monogamy with DP, but not on purpose, just following the societally approved curve etc etc. Even then we didn't exactly 'follow' it. I have always had a ridiculously strong sense of self and a determined to the point of fault nature, hence why I managed to bury a lot of who and how I was for the better part of 15 years. DP and I never had 'the discussion' because I never hid who I was in the early years, and I long assumed that he had noticed and had full knowledge (I now know that he was completely impervious to it, my 'flirtatious nature' was one of the things he loved, and he (rightly) assumed I was only actually conventionally sexual with him so... gah! so much that could have been avoided).

    For me, this happening was ultimately mentally and in all sorts of ways devastating. Its only in very recent years (I describe it to me as 'since I remembered me' or 'woke up' which was around a whole tonne of shit where our relationship had broken down completely) that I've come back and accepted that I don't response in the 'usual' way. Its really quite hard to express, but at its most base its that if we become friends nothing is ruled out as an ever possibility, even where there is no 'spark', I have my lines in different places... actually I think of it as 'falling in like' and whilst I'm incredibly good at looking just like everyone else, I do tend to have many more people that I would consider aquaintances, I've never found myself able to enter into the sorts of casual friendships that are apparently the 'norm'...

    Not expressing myself well here. damn. rambling horribly. argh! further thoughts in a while...
  2.  (11148.3)
    The other vanilla-related line I carry around comes from a friend who, when "accused" of being vanilla, countered that she was French vanilla. Which I think is a great term for anyone who's got just a little bit of kink in their recipe.
  3.  (11148.4)
    Oh, polyamory.

    It's been a part of my life so much--and in each case, worked so wonderfully for me emotionally--that I have a soft spot in my heart for it.

    That said, I was raised religious and my community would absolutely shun me if I went for it as a lifestyle. I gave it up. I miss it, but I must confess that I don't think I'll ever find a partner, much less more than one, who wants a religious household with nonmonogamy as a part of it. I have been in a couple of lovely quads and triads, and I enjoyed them, and I moved on and now I'm with one wonderful woman, and I enjoy that too.

    The biggest obstacle, after my desire for a future within my religion, was jealousy. My relationships that were monogamous have actually never sparked so much jealousy as the poly ones, and I have to argue against this notion that poly is for people who don't get jealous. I got jealous, my partner(s) got jealous, and cheating was still a thing that could happen. Poly doesn't simplify those rules. It makes them more complicated. So we talked about it, and nurtured each other, and tried to put out the little fires when they started.
  4.  (11148.5)
    One thing that I do find utterly impossible, is not being able to not broach non-monogamy when you do meet someone. I'm honest to a fault, just can't not discuss that sort of thing, and much prefer it when the people in my life know each other! But then recent wanderings have been a) few and b) in two cases of three with people I was already friendly with. thankfully because they are still friends (and fairly close ones I think) now. I don't do secrets, I think that the DL (unless its agreed to be that way!) is just mean on all concerned. Maybe its where I have the advantage of having children, in that at least its assumed that they have a father in the picture, which makes the whole 'nope he's still in 'the picture'' much less strange to broach?
  5.  (11148.6)
    @oldhat: Yeah the Ethical Slut writers are preachy, but I see it as a toolkit not a new religion... nick what works, bin what don't.

    @Littlepurplegoth - thanks for joining the discussion. I've been around BDSM scene folk who've played asexually and it's been lovely to behold... a certain purity of intent.

    @Jason A - the ex liked "whole-bean vanilla" as a term there - though in practice she was a dominant sadomasochist. Like it was said earlier, graduations of kink vary: is it kinky to use a feather or only if you use a whole chicken, as the joke goes.

    John S: may I ask which faith? Always interested in how people of strong faiths which frown (generally) on non-standard sexuality deal on a personal level. (It's another of my blind spots - my beliefs are strongly pro-sex and even pro-kink, so it's a perspective I totally lack.)
      CommentAuthorJohn Skylar
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
    @Cat Vincent: Judaism. There's even a mailing list called "Ahava Rabah," which "big love" but more accurately to "great love" or "many loves" that helps poly Jews deal with life. The general feedback I got from lurking that was "Yeah no, you're looking for poly JEWS? Better luck next time, go date a pagan and don't tell your parents."

    And while I stand by how awesome it can be to go date a pagan and not tell your parents, I also like the idea of having a religious home with a couple of little Skylars running around. Call me a sentimentalist.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    Oldhat: No no, don't worry. I was just checking to make sure I wasn't inadvertently breaking my own rules and being a dick. :) Yeah, I was putting a super-fine point on it with my description of monogamy, though I have met several people who hold that up as the gold standard of mono and for some reason can't understand why their relationships keep failing as a result of breaking those rules.

    Rules are like steel. If you make them too hard, they won't just break, they will SHATTER. If you make them too soft, you might as well be cutting tomatoes with your finger. Find a point where rigidity meets flexibility at a balance that works for you, and you'll be making your way through tomatoes, shoe soles (for no reason) and the ends of cutting boards in no time!

    Kind of a dreadful analogy, but I tried!

    I will definitely put this as an addendum to anything I shall be saying as well:
    "if I'm being an ass, PLEASE tell me."

    I do find it interesting that the Ethical Slut was doing that for you. I've noticed several times that they specifically say that monogamy is another fine choice of life and that whatever works for you works for you, whether it's being mono, screwing around or a constellation of sluts, as long as people are honest about their intentions, needs and desires.

    I get the idea that they're saying "Look, anything you want is fine. However, since you're reading this book I'm going to assume that you're at least to some degree interested in open relationships so we're now going to tell you the many joys that can come of polyamory and also the pitfalls." So maybe it isn't such a good book to give to people who are not really interested in BEING poly but just want to see where their poly friends/ family/ acquaintances are coming from.

    Come to think of it, I haven't seen any books like that. Perhaps that's a gap in the market: A book on poly for monos who don't have any interest in transitioning. Actually, a series of books on VARIOUS things called "WTF are they THINKING?!" would be great. Like, books that try to explain where people on the opposite end of the spectrum are coming from without trying to convince you to convert. A book for pro-lifers and pro-choicers. A book for anti and pro gun people. Etc.

    Loving French Vanilla. :D
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    Wow. What a great start to this thread.

    As someone who was in a decade long poly triad that ended about 6 years ago, I'll throw my experience in the mix as well.

    Cat did a bang up job of summing up the triad dynamic. It is nearly identical to how I've described it before. I usually add that while it was wonderful and I was deliriously happy while it lasted, we all put in A LOT of effort to make it work. It probably should have ended earlier, but we were all so damned committed to making it work that it carried on a little too long. I feel like I should have some sort of honorary degree in relationships after all of it!

    I'm still with one of the people that I was in the triad with and I had a child with the other (right at the very end of our relationship), so while we're not "together" anymore, we're definitely still in each other's lives. We co-parent well, but there's a reason we're not together anymore.

    We've had a few more forays into poly-ness of sorts, mostly with close friends, but are mainly monogamous. I imagine we'll stay that way ... until we don't anymore.

    Oh yeah! My triad family was on MTV's "Sex in the 90's" show about polyamory. The episode was called "It's a Group Thing" and they followed us around the tiny town we lived in at the time, causing much "scandal." I couldn't find any versions of it online anywhere, but the internet's got everything, right?

    I'm also jumping on the "French Vanilla" bandwagon. Genius.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited

    Rules are like steel. If you make them too hard, they won't just break, they will SHATTER. If you make them too soft, you might as well be cutting tomatoes with your finger. Find a point where rigidity meets flexibility at a balance that works for you, and you'll be making your way through tomatoes, shoe soles (for no reason) and the ends of cutting boards in no time!

    Not that dreadful. Pretty much everyone I've ever talked to on this subject have said the same thing in one form or another. :D
  6.  (11148.11)
    @skylar oh heck.. yup I can see where you are coming from there... (whistles) I'm not but there have been... complicated vague involvements with peeps on the cultural end ... in some ways easier, in another way harder. (and this post may end up altered later 0-0 )

    In this household, the only rule is that we tell each other before something becomes complicated. which is as much as a loving brake to any tendancy that I have towards falling in like too fast when I do. and... well its currently changing a bit. its a bit less 'to make a space for a no to be said' as a 'heads up' these days. What @Glukake (?) said about 'can't see you tonight am out with someone'

    This thread is the first time that The Ethical Slut has been mentioned as a worthwhile read by someone who is not also an arse (urgh, sorry, creepy people have been the only ones to mention it before in my hearing/sight... odd isn't it, how you can picture people on here and think in terms of being in 'sight' where other places its there, but not present?) with a clear agenda...

    @jason. french vanilla. Madagascan vanilla. Turkish. Greece. Floridian. Barbadian... vanilla grows in so many places and each has a really distinct taste and texture difference... (and with me, ultimately, everything descends to food or alcohol... gah!)
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
    My agenda should be clear, it's to make everyone poly so I can FUCK THE LOT OF 'EM!! Especially since poly people fuck EVERYTHING and EVERYONE so they must then want me. :D (Not gonna lie. I have a few friends I wish were poly, mostly because the sexual tension is palpable, but also because some of them found a mono partner and promptly left me in the dust without so much as a "thanks for the good times")
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013 edited
    Hmm..... some really interesting points/discussions here.

    I dunno. I've always thought that while much of what societal norms throws at us can be restrictive and hypocritical, people can get too worked up on what can sometimes be simple human needs - companionship, sex, etc.

    For me I guess I'M a bit like John Skylar in that I was lucky in who I found to be my life partner. In terms of upbringing, we were religious but sex and alternative lifestyles was very much a taboo subject and no one in my family talked about it. Gender/monogamy issues was something that happened to other people. I pretty much had to seek out my own information. also living up in a rural place meant that there were things expected from you in terms of encounters/sexuality. Getting drunk trying to pull someone. You never cheated on your partner, but many did. For me, there was never any real experimentation with my own desires until i left home and went to uni.

    Through my teens and '20s I have experienced, or have "fallen" into, a varied number of encounters and situations with all sorts of people (for example I found out I was strongly attracted to trans people across the spectrum). However, possibly in a way that I was brought up, while i eventually started seeing people, i tended to keep a lot of the stuff I did to myself. I would "compartmentalise" it so to speak and no one in my family knows what i've got up to. it wasn't till much later (When I moved to Iceland actually) when speaking/drinking with friends that I was open about some of the stuff I've done/kinks i'm into. I think I kind of weirded them out a bit at one point...

    As for relationships themselves, I guess for me the idea of open/undefined relationships seems fine on paper, but i don't think that it's for me. Or rather i don't know if it's for me, whether or not i would be up for it emotionally. The fact is that until recently (in the last 5 years) I've never actually known any couples who have chosen that type of relationship, and all the partners I've been with in the past have always insisted on monogamy.

    The thing is that when I met Sigga, a lot of things just clicked into place rather quickly. The idea of committing to this one person for pretty much the rest of my life didn't seem that big of an emotional turmoil. it just felt... right. When i first started seeing her, I was at the time also seeing someone else, a trans woman called Issy who I'd known for a few years. It was an on/off thing for friendship and intimacy. It had been fine for a long time, but then i started to feel... guilt. It was not Issy's fault, but it was the realization that I had met someone who i loved enough not to break her heart and by seeing someone else, even if it was in an open situation, would do that. I broke it off with Issy soon after, and it was good that she understood why.

    I've not been with another person since then... and you know what? I'm happy with that. Sigga and I talk about our likes and desires, and I have been fairly open in what I've done in the past (I do admit that I've not told her everything though). But the fact is that we both still want to be with each other, and while there are many different types of people and relationships, this one works for me. Chug on that vanilla baby!!

    @Magnus - You did LAZYTOWN?? Jesus....!
  7.  (11148.14)
    I can see the huge attractions of monogamy - I lived it for a long time, but ultimately it was wrong for me. I'm really aware that I had a violent (internally) response to the 'idea' of DP stepping outside the relationship, but acutally I now know that it was me reflecting the mental violence I was doing on myself by trapping myself in that situation... wanting him to understand just what I had 'given up' iyswim? Oh so dramatic darlings! (rolls eyes at self and goes all noel coward!)

    Its just so utterly different to have the freedom that comes with expressing myself. I suppose its what drove me to out myself elsewhere, to support friends who were dealing with iffy circumstances, it just really damn hurt for who or how I am to be reduced (yup reduced, dismissed etc) as 'shag buddy' behaviour. and from someone that I am very much on the same page as parenting and politically wise. Utter lack of any sort of ability or knowledge on their part to be able to see that its not about the bloody sex. Which is fine and lovely when that happens, but I can count the intimate friends that I have (had - lets go back in time to teens) in small figures , but the number of them I've indulged in PIV with on less than one hand. But I choose the phrase intimate friends extremely carefully, as its things like physical contact in a context of care, or sharing a bed with (to sleep) and not avoiding each others presence, but not moving it past. ;snugling; (oh how terribly infra dig of me!). or .. anyone of a number of tiny variables and shifts. and all that.

    Yes Magnus. Long may your agenda live. SO flipping sex obsessed is 'society' that they really cannot see that maybe... argh now *this* is why I have problems with using 'poly' in a 'straight society' context !!!!
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    What a lovely thread.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    "The thing is that when I met Sigga, a lot of things just clicked into place rather quickly. The idea of committing to this one person for pretty much the rest of my life didn't seem that big of an emotional turmoil. it just felt... right."

    It's like you just described my relationship to my wife. :)

    And yeah, I did a stage version of Lazytown. Stefan Karl is a fuckin' legend, and I got to pretend to "be him" on stage twice a week for a year. I was pretty satisfied, if sweaty. :D

    I swear, sometimes your posts have so many abbreviations I've never heard of before it's like I swallowed the decoder ring I was supposed to get in my cereal. People say the same thing about about my references and allegories, though, so I guess I can't complain. :)

    It's really shitty how one subject wherein two people disagree vehemently enough can turn them from seeing each other as human beings to seeing nothing but everything they loathe about the kinds of people they perceive to have that dissenting opinion. "You're cool, and we like the same music and the same movies. We agree on tons of social issues and both have the same tactic for surviving a zombie apocalypse... What's that? You're pro-gun? WE ARE DONE TALKING! YOU RIGHT-WING NUTJOBS ARE ALL THE SAME!!"
  8.  (11148.17)
    My agenda should be clear, it's to make everyone poly so I can FUCK THE LOT OF 'EM!!
    Fair enough. It's why I'm trying to get all the hetboys and dykes to go bi. I'm willing to do them one at at time, though. ;)
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2013
    oh man Magnus, can you just read this thread out loud in voices for your next Telling Of Tales?
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2013
    *names will be redacted to protect the innocent* LOL
  9.  (11148.20)
    argh... my name is littlepurplegoth and I have a tla problem...

    oh sorry... three letter acronym... too many years of usenet before the lovely world wide web and its pictures and then broadband came along. Add in a dose of alternative and geeky culture and I don't stand a chance. sign. when it comes to adding in a whole sex-positive thing as well, there are lots and lots of new abbreviations and new words and different meanings for everyday words and when you are a language nut you can very easily get buried down deep and forget to come up for air.

    long may any and all allegories continue... this thread could easily get there, its a whole new language all in itself!

This discussion has been inactive for longer than 5 days, and doesn't want to be resurrected.