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Guest Blog: The Case for Better Polyamory Representation

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

by Race Bannon

A friend of mine, Stormy Styles, related strongly to a recent post she saw on Facebook. She copied and edited the text a bit to add some of her own thoughts, then posted it to her Facebook timeline. The reaction was remarkable. The post was quickly shared and copied and widely discussed. I copied and shared her post too and the reaction was equally viral. It struck a nerve.

 

That nerve it struck is the frustration so many of us polyamorous (poly) people feel when the topic of our way of loving and configuring relationships is discussed outside of our own poly circles. Yes, poly is slowly becoming a viable alternative to the traditional two-person or monogamous choices, but it’s nowhere near to being widely accepted. We’ve got a long way to go.

 

To nudge that acceptance along, here are some of the reasons why us poly folks feel positive representations of our relationships are so important. I’ve modified the language used by Stormy somewhat to be more widely applicable and included some input I saw when it was posted. If you can think of others, or wish to discuss this topic, feel free to comment.

 

Why do I want better polyamory representation?

Because when someone doesn’t want to date me because I’m poly it’s “understandable,” but when I don’t want to date someone because they are monogamous it’s “ridiculous.”

Because all relationship advice tells you that if you have feelings for someone else while you’re in a relationship you’re a bad person.

Because even feminists try to slut shame (but believe me, all types of people try to slut shame).

Because when I tell people me and my partner have an open relationship they assume it’s because we’re going through a rough patch.

Because people equate “multiple partners” with “predator” and think everything I say is an attempt to get in their pants.

Because I am fed up that love triangles are easy plot devices in media.

Because the LGBTQ movement is so desperate to show “allies” they are “just like everyone else” that they shit on everyone with a non-monogamous dynamic.

Because when a monogamous couple have sex with each other every night it’s having an active sex drive. When I have sex with a different partner every night I’m a nymphomaniac.

Because people assume polyamory is just about multiple sex partners instead of multiple “loving and committed” relationships and instead conflate polyamory with swinging when they’re totally different lifestyles.

Because people think that monogamy equals validity, always.

Because monogamous heteronormativity is so ingrained that I don’t even feel like I can dance with someone without telling them the complete logistics of my love life.

Because people genuinely believe that raising a child communally is damaging to development.

Because when I say “I could never be monogamous” I get dirty looks.

Because too many people have tried to confide in me when they’re cheating because “I thought you, of all people, would understand.”

Because I can’t talk about my relationship troubles with my monogamous friends because “I always have something to fall back on.” As if my relationships are meaningless.

Because being polyamorous isn’t an “alternative lifestyle.” It is just how I choose to live “my” life so I can be happy.

Because being polyamorous does not mean I’m afraid of commitment. I’m able to commit to many types of relationships. And love more than one person.

Because it’s unfair to ask any one person to be your or their everything.

Because needing multiple or different kinds of energy or chemistry does not make me greedy or selfish.

Because if I talk about a relationship problem, it will be assumed that our non-monogamy is the problem. (Therapists, take note of this one. Too many therapists default to misconceptions about polyamory.)

Because jealousy is a symptom that needs healing, not a proof of love.

Because my family isn’t comprised of what I was born into, but rather what I create with intention and integrity.

Because I’m tired of people saying to me “I could never share,” as if there is a limited capacity to love others. Yet, if you press them on loving their kids, relatives, parents and best friend, they say “oh that’s not the same.”

Those are just some of the many reasons why poly people want to see more positive representations of who we are and what we do in the media and wherever the topic is discussed.

A Black Queer Couple Candidly Explores Polyamory in '195 Lewis'

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Colorlines

“Rae and Yaani constantly joke that, when they moved to Brooklyn [from the South], they weren’t used to experiencing what they saw here,” Pearson says. “They pulled from new experiences with these things, like polyamory, open relationships and radical honesty. And I certainly pulled from my experience navigating polyamory for several years.”

What Really Happens During "Young Swingers Week" at a Clothing-Optional Resort

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

PopSugar

"I'm not sure, but I do know this: our trip reminded me what I like about nonmonogamy in the first place: the potential it has to make me see my relationship and self anew, to feel free and committed at once. And for that, I would highly recommend Young Swingers Week to anyone, monogamous or not. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. Sometimes, it takes an atmosphere of total liberation to remind you of that."

A Modest Proposal for the “Vanishing American Jew”

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

HEEB

"Michael, 27, and Leah Abrahams, 27, who consider themselves “Conservadox” Jews, were married by law last spring. They have postponed getting a ketubah so they can figure out a way to conduct their relationship with a third partner, Miriam Miller, 24, without violating Jewish law. The Abrahamses note that the Torah defines adultery as a married woman having sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband. It does not say anything about a married woman having sex with another woman (lesbian sex is not acknowledged by the Torah) nor does it say anything about a married man having sex with a woman who is not his wife. So long as Leah Abrahams keeps her poly relationships restricted to women, they reason, the Abrahamses and Miller are not violating Jewish law."

How movies brought polyamory into the mainstream

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Non-monogamous relationships used to be portrayed as disastrous in film. But with Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, is there a shift towards greater acceptance?

The Guardian

Experts feel this may represent a real-life shift towards greater acceptance. “Things are changing slowly,” says Barker. “When I started studying this area 15 years ago, virtually all the reporting around polyamory was sensationalist and negative, saying it could never work, or it was ‘taking all the fun out of affairs’. Now we have a wealth of research on just how common polyamory is (about 5% of people in the US are openly non-monogamous), and about how positive polyamorous families can be for children.”

Four men have been arrested for ‘spreading gay pictures’ in Indonesia

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Pink News

A reader who contacted PinkNews said: “Today, my friend was put in jail in Indonesia for taking pictures when playing BDSM with his submissive."

“The picture doesn’t even have genitals in it. They think it’s porn because they simply don’t understand BDSM, and they hate gays.”

Donate to NCSF using Amazon Smile

on Saturday, 18 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

When you shop online for the holiday season, please use Amazon Smile's charity link and they will donate a percentage of your purchase to the NCSF Foundation - the Institute for 21st Century Relationships!

Guest Blog: Protecting Your Privacy

on Tuesday, 14 November 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

By Benjamin Schenker

When using dating apps, I’ve often seen a question to the effect of “Would other people be shocked by something you own?” Personally, I don’t know, but I am sure that I have some things that I’d rather people not see that I own.  In general, my friends are not rooting through my cupboards and closets.  However, there are situations where they could be!

One thing that people, especially younger people, might not consider is the possibility of an accident. Something bad could happen and you could wind up in the emergency room. Do you remember your mother chiding “Make sure that you wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident”?  Whether it be a car crash or an accident on the job, accidents happen.

The question is what would happen if you were in an accident and were incapacitated for a substantial period of time? Someone would have to make arrangements for bills to be paid while you’re out of commission, and while it’s possible that friends could be understanding about you not being able to pay, professional landlords, utility companies, student loan lenders, and credit card companies are unlikely to be forgiving.

When a person becomes incapacitated, people close to her might be able to file for “guardianship” during the incapacity. This means that someone closely related to you would petition the court to allow her or him to be the guardian over your person and/or your property. (See Md. Estates and Trusts Section sections 13-102 et seq; D.C. Code 21-2001 et. seq.) That would mean that they would have the power to pay your bills and handle your affairs; it also means that they would have significant access into your personal affairs.

A similar situation happens when a person dies without a will. A family member would petition to be the personal representative of the estate, and then would have access to personal accounts and personal property. (Md. Rule 6-101 et seq.; D.C. SCR-PD Rule 403 et seq.).

However, by acting ahead, you can control who these people will be.  Who do YOU want looking through your cupboards and bank accounts (and browser history!)?  The equivalent of clean underwear in an accident is to prepare in advance a durable power of attorney and a will (which, by the way, is a good idea to do for a variety of other reasons!).  You cannot plan to avoid accidents, but you can plan to ensure that your very religious aunt is not the one sorting through those battery-operated devices in your nightstand!

Addendum: These documents are not just important for protecting privacy, but they can be helpful for a variety of reasons. One of them could be to help same-sex couples. Even married couples can be subject to people who don't want to recognize their marriage (Kim Davis is a famous example of this). Maybe "religious freedom" laws can protect people who discriminate because people are married, but having these documents can prevent the discrimination. A power of attorney can be granted to anyone, so even if someone wants to discriminate because you are in a same-sex marriage, they won't be able to do so if you have a power of attorney (or, at least it would be more difficult).

 

Disclaimer: Nothing in this post is intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. If you have any legal concerns, please contact an attorney qualified to practice law in your state or district.

 

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