With traditional modes of sexual of conduct tossed out the door, we as a culture are more open to explore different ways to go about our bedroom business. That is a good thing because women are finally able to enjoy sex whereas before, sex mainly served men’s physical needs and women’s procreative ones. However, many couples can get bored of the monotony of monogamy and stray. For some, there is an itch that somehow cannot be scratched with the same partner night after night, year after year.
As such some couples try to spice it up by bringing another or others into the bedroom. Polyamory (from Greek πολύ [poly, meaning many or several] and Latin amor [love]) is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved (Thank you Wikipedia). Also called ethical non-monogamy, this trend is on the rise. Swinger clubs have popped up in just about every major metropolitan city. There are local facebook groups, online magazines (www.lovemore.com), books like “Open” by Jenny Block, the poly-bible “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, all set up for people to meet, swap and exchange in and outside their relationship. With the puritanical church stepping aside, we are able to do just about anything with anyone as long as there is adult consent.
There are only a few animals on earth that are naturally monogamous and humans, fortunately or unfortunately, are not. Polyamory subverts the notion to death or boredom do you part. It sounds good in theory though it does takes a very high level of consciousness in order to navigate the very difficult terrain of jealousy, insecurity, illusion, and compatibility that comes with bringing another into your bed. We are human after all, and with that, we all come with a lot neuroses and anxiety whether we like to admit it or not.
It can work for couples but the only way that you can make this arrangement succeed is through sincere, honest, regular communication and trust with your primary partner. You will have to be brutally honest and aware of your feelings in a way that can be uncomfortable for a lot of people. Bringing others into your relationship can be enormously exciting, but like anything, if it is too hot, you can get burned.
I remember a line from Arrested Development where Tobias said to Lindsay, “I have never seen an open relationship work. But maybe it can work for us”. It’s a funny line and rings true. I think that most people crave exciting intimacy (and fear boredom) and thus, are more willing to experiment.
For some, polyamory could be a way of avoiding other issues in the relationship- for instance, boredom, inability to commit, or a latent homosexual desire. For others, it is a real social experiment to see if they can in fact release their egos and celebrate an individual experience while learning more about themselves (sexually and otherwise) through a variety of partnerships. We have been sold monogamy since the dawn of time. Man plus woman equals marital bliss, so says the Church, Government and even Walt Disney. Though in reality, 50% of marriages end in divorce and of the 50% who stay married, even fewer would site that they are happily so.
I have heard from some couples that it is the best thing that could have happened to their relationship and for others; it has caused the demise of what was once a loving, vibrant connection. Whatever you do, tread carefully. I am not saying Polyamory is a good thing or a bad thing. It is certainly not my place to get into your bedroom with my thoughts and opinions. Though if you are thinking about it, take some time to really think it through.
Once you have crossed the line, it can be challenging to navigate backwards while maintaining the integrity of the relationship.