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  1.  (11148.1)
    @Nygaard:
    "while we all, in theory, speak the same language..." That's it in a nutshell. It's only ever in theory. Even if we're not talking about emotional abstracts, like "what do you mean when you say you love me?", it's problematic.

    Take the phrase "I'm a bit kinky." The spectrum there can go from "I like it with the lights on" to "I have a wide range of taboo paraphilias". This is where that whole communication thing comes into play, and it's difficult... even between people who are more-or-less on the same page.

    I'm incredibly lucky to have a lover of 19 years standing who's not just compatible with me in terms of what kinks we enjoy, but is also just as keen as me on talking about sex in general. And even we fuck up on the comms sometimes. Over the years, we've at least left the embarrassment stage (mostly) far behind, though... and when you're with a new partner (actual or prospective), that's a hard one to overcome.

    Our culture has made talking about sex a minefield, frankly - between holdovers of Judaeo-Christian taboos, schoolyard sniggering, the (vitally important, often badly handled) issues of feminism and patriarchal codes and the commercialization of desire, it's a wonder we can talk about this at all!
    • CommentAuthorflecky
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.2)
    @oldhat: Duly noted. I really need a cigarette after reading most of this thread.
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      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.3)
    We definitely all need to find a way that relationships work for US PERSONALLY. There's no one true way to do it, and even "poly" and "mono" - while useful shorthand terms - are not really all that helpful to the discussion unless everyone's on board with the vagueness of the two. Are you mono if you're having threesomes or if you do some swinging every few years? Are you poly if you're both FREE TO be with others but you just don't feel the need for a few years? Are you poly if you're allowed be with others but not allowed to talk about it even on a general level, or is that just "sanctioned cheating"?

    We all work out our own agreements in our own relationships and we can call it whatever the shit we like as long as everyone AGREES on what's happening. Often, you have to give in order to receive, that's what compromise is, and a successful long-term relationship will see a lot of compromise happen. Sometimes, when we're talking potential deal breakers like poly and mono, both sides have to ask themselves whether their (potential) partner is worth the price of admission. Perhaps you would hash out a deal to go one way or the other for about six months and through that period of time you discuss how it's working and how it's not working, and you can hash out a new deal (or agree to break it off) as you approach a "milestone" like six months or a year.

    Being "sexually compatible" is incredibly important to me, though. I'm not sure I could be with someone who was not happy with any degree of openness in the relationship at this point. We need to be able to find some kind of agreement (and I'm emphasising agreement to differentiate it fully from coercion, force or manipulation.) that serves both of us to some extent, otherwise I can't see it working. I was lucky that my wife and me evolved pretty much along the same lines throughout our relationship (maybe because we talk about absolutely everything, maybe not).

    Compromise is one thing, but me giving up that entire aspect of my sexuality is not a compromise, that's an imbalance. Either, it means I lose all control and will constantly be ceding to her demands on this, OR I could end up with that "give" as this one thing I have hanging over her so I could use it to unbalance other sides of the relationship by bringing that up whenever there's a disagreement (That wouldn't happen, because I'm not manipulative like that, but I know many people who WOULD have use that for all it's worth)
  2.  (11148.4)
    Is it gonna be kosher to talk about societal discrimination against poly people, or has this discussion got too real for that to be okay/not boring?
    •  
      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013 edited
     (11148.5)
    Even though I think it's actually being discussed, I think it's fine to talk about societal discrimination against all forms of related stuff (I'll be speaking a bit on being monogamous and kinda-sorta-non-sexual meself because hahahaha that gets some looks) so long as your not a jerk about it.

    Meaning that all people, regardless of preference, are not alike. So please keep that in mind.

    @flecky, I need a fucking carton.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.6)
    Reading everyone's posts with interest. Thanks for sharing, all.

    From my experience of poly-type relationships, a few more rules and boundaries, or different rules at least, might have helped. I don't even know if I'd count what I was involved in as a poly relationship, as for me that term conotes levels of responsibility, care and consideration that were largely lacking from the arrangement I found myself in during my mid twenties. Anyway, without wanting to get into too much detail, for brevity's sake as much as anything, I was for a few months in some kind of BDSM relationship with a girl, her husband, and his girlfriend. It ended badly for me, due to not a single one of us having the same expectations about what was acceptable, what was permissable, and what the other participants wanted. Not to mention way too many drugs. Anyway, in hindsight I can see that a few frank conversations early on would have helped. As others have said, communication is important.

    These days, I'm in a strictly mono relationship, and that is a ok with me. I'm not saying I'd never consider a different arrangement with a different partner in future, but that's not how this relationship is wired. I hope I never have to consider alternatives, because that would mean this relationship had ended, which would probably crush me. Of course I occasionally find other people attractive, and there are things that under other circumstances I'd like to try, but there's nothing I'd trade for what I have now. But of course, that's just like, my opinion, man.
  3.  (11148.7)
    Of course.

    What I wanted to mention--because this speaks to my own experience--is the way that society-at-large demonizes polyamory beyond all recognition. Of course, it also demonizes asexuality, which is another can of worms.

    But specifically, when I was thinking about whether I would continue living my life according to my polyamorous drives, one of the things that pushed me in a more mainstream direction was that poly networks with kids have a trend of having those kids taken away when CPS finds out about their lifestyle. I...have issues with that. Ones that go beyond the lack of social acceptance, which also frustrates me, but is nothing compared to this.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.8)
    Yeah, legislation around parenting is incredibly sex-negative, despite the fact that children brought up in successful (not necessarily ever-lasting, but conscientiously and respectfully conducted) poly constellations (a favoured word of the Ethical Slut writers) are often incredibly well taken care of as there's always someone who's able or willing to spend the time to give the kid a good upbringing. Interpret that in the same way as anything I say about poly being nice, ie: It CAN be nice, isn't always, and mono is just as nice if that's your thing.

    curb: Shit, that sucks balls. I'm sorry you had to go through that. One thing that some forget about but which is incredibly important is that guest stars/ secondaries/ squeezes need exactly the same amount of respect and consideration that the "core" people of the relationship give each other.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.9)
    Aw, you're a kind gent! Thankfully I seem to have gotten away relatively unscathed :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorallana
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.10)
    I don't think I've ever felt "demonized" or anthing like that. It's a thing to be tiptoed around, sure, mostly because any talk of sexual interest is a subject entered lightly upon. And occasionally as the woman in the het relationship people want to check with me to make sure I'm not being cuckolded by a womanizer. But I don't generally get negative responses. Lots of people seem grateful that I've opened up the door to the conversation.

    I'm sure Big Love and other Mormon-style poly representations aren't doing too many favours -- how about portraying adults that choose it intentionally, instead of doing it out of a sense of tradition? I want more "by design" representations. Maybe even some absurd sit-com scenarios would help, since it could probably still be done in a way that educates and covers genuine recurring problems. [Then again, all sit-coms are about absurd miscommunications anyways.]
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.11)
    A friend of mine has actually just asked me to be interviewed for a documentary about poly people. I really, really want to do it but me and my wife will have to think about it, especially about certain family members who currently do not know and who were not planning to LET know any time soon (or late). "It's just a docu, just don't tell them you're in it" works for MOST people, but if I inexplicably get a high profile with my acting, it will get dug out somehow at some point.

    It's not on my side of the family, so my wife will have to make that decision ultimately, but I hope she says yes. We have nothing to be embarrassed about and feel that I/ we could show a "normalised" and "well adjusted" face forward. I'm not worried about my career, as it's not like I'm going on there and talking about my conquests and showing them my sex toys (I hardly even HAVE any. How embarrassing would THAT be?! "So... uh... this is my massager... And, uh. This is lube." I'd be focusing on the same kinds of things I have here, not the "nitty gritty" details.

    What do you guys think? Should I do it? What do you think I should avoid talking about if I do it, what would you like me to touch on specifically? (I'm just mining you for ideas. Exploiting my friends. It's what I do.)
  4.  (11148.12)
    I would to think I am supportive of other people's lifestyles, but I am horribly conservative in mine.

    I cannot bear my doubts.
  5.  (11148.13)
    Allana- I'd love to watch a poly sitcom. Get on that. :)

    Personal view- I understand polyamory a bit but my girlfriend is strictly monogamous. I've had enjoyable sex with women I consider good friends, neither of us needing a deeper relationship with the other and both coming away happy, but while nice it wasn't necessary, either. My current (and hopefully permanent) relationship is necessary, so it's an easy choice to make.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2013
     (11148.14)
    James & Allana

    I've been kicking around ideas in the abstract for a sit-com/ drama-comedy series about polyamoury, actually! There is SO MUCH STUFF that can happen, and - unlike a lot of sitcoms and comedies - your characters don't have to be complete morons to make massive mistakes! :D
  6.  (11148.15)
    Friend or not Magnulus, find out which production company, who the producer, director are etc. and have a media plan in place knowing what you would do if xx happened, before either of you agree. Any hint that its going to go near any of the C4 strands or its RDF media (or one of its many many co-companies) my professional advice (press officer hat here, this sort of doc. is always treated as crisis management) would be to say no. Heck, with some of the stuff I've experienced in this sort of production, my personal advice is to say no. I'd make an exception for a straight up, face to camera, interview for academic research purposes. that's about it.

    Poly sit com/drama... I'd love in, if this was a possibility... one of the things I've been writing this year (straight up chick lit, it aint literature, and who knows if it can be edited to be 'good') just happens to have poly. (ish) as part of the character make up. Its pretty much incidental as well. Anyway. Its something that I'm interested in exploring art-wise.

    There's an advert on TV here at the moment. Female voice over - 'my husband...' 'my girlfiend...' (with a female to female kiss, shot with enough angle that you'd see lips or cheek kiss depending on your person expectation I think) '...and we...' its for insurance I think and turns out to be 'twins' in the end, but just might not be. its that last shot of the ad where they are all sat around a cafe that removes that element, sadly. but its definitely quite 'positive' in feel ...
  7.  (11148.16)
    Magnulus touches on another of the complications of poly in a nominally mono world - there's usually several levels of "need to know" you have to navigate.

    Example: trying to explain why Darling Wife & I were living with another woman (and her relationship to our son) was somewhat problematic in terms of the school - not that we were under any significant risk of having the kid taken off us, but it terms of why partner 3 could be trusted to collect son from school if she wasn't a relative, stuff like that. And then there's how much you trust acquaintances with the information... we ended up running different edited versions of our life story and keeping track of them was an annoyance, and (since I was legally married to Partner 3 at the time) had an unpleasant side-effect of negating now-Darling-Wife's value in others' eyes.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVornaskotti
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2013 edited
     (11148.17)
    Jealousy seems to be one of the missing pieces in my mental toolkit. I was living in an open relationship for over a decade, almost ending up in some sort of poly stuff, but then people moved around and life changed. There was a mutual permission to have fun on the side, with some common sense restrictions like safe sex and no bullshitting anybody, and a few out of bounds people. Against all evidence I'm not too social, so that permission didn't get used too often especially in the latter years, but more so in the beginning.

    After the relationship status change a year and a half ago, I orbited one poly situation a bit last year, and I found it a bit surprising to find myself thinking that it sounded a bit too cumbersome. Not because of any jealousy or ownership issues, but just because of a degree of social exhaustion that made me think Too Many People.

    The current relationship is monogamous and I'm a bit surprised that I don't feel any need to really open it up. I'm happy as things are now. If the other party would want, I wouldn't mind giving her permission to go on adventures, but although I of course have the occasional infatuation, I find myself having zero need to do anything at all about them.

    Guess I'm all settled down then :)
  8.  (11148.18)
    Magnulus, I guess a lot of it depends on how bad the worst case scenario is. It's kind of like putting things up on the internet (in that it will invariably end up on the internet), once it's out there, it's out there.

    Littlepurplegoth has some good points. What sort of say do you have and how much trust in the production company? Can you be removed if they decide to cut the interview in such a way that everything is taken out of context? Does your friend (who you presumably trust) have final cut? Will they send you the questions ahead of time so that you can prepare your answers or even decide if you want to be on camera saying "I don't feel comfortable talking about that?"

    It looks like my initial reaction is a negative one. But if you do it, let us know what it's called so we can track it down and be all like "hey, I internet-know that guy!"
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2013
     (11148.19)
    I've flagged up some of those concerns to her, though one thing that should be added is that she is a good friend of a mutual poly friend (through whom we met) and she is ALSO in an open relationship herself. So there's that. :) (and she has final cut and is completely willing to cede final decisions on my portrayal to myself)
    •  
      CommentAuthorVornaskotti
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2013 edited
     (11148.20)
    Oh, I'll definitely second listening to Dan Savage's Savage Lovecast and reading the columns. For a bunch of people I've known and met they've been a great eye opener in one way or another, and usually for the good. Not necessarily about poly/monogamish stuff, but generally to be more accepting with the kinds of their own or others. Sex at Dawn is also definitely worth a read, the only piece of evolutionary psychology dealing with human sexuality that seemed to have some sense in there.

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