Two Is Company, Three Is More Fun: a Study of Polyamory

Topics: Polyamory, Polygamy, Open marriage Pages: 7 (2244 words) Published: June 20, 2010
A typical suburban house nestled on a cul-de-sac, a green lawn and a well maintained garden, obviously taken care of but not obsessively so. Three cars in the driveway, and two children playing in the sprinkler set up in the front yard. Sitting on the deck enjoying a glass of wine is the owner of the house and grandmother to one of the girls. Her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend are arguing over the order of meat on the grill, his wife is scolding the soaking girls for running into the house without towels before she walks over to the grill to mediate the argument and help the two to kiss and make up. Confused? Trust me when I say that you wouldn’t be the first. No this is not the intro to some strange horror movie, nor is it the newest shock drama on television. This is “Real Life”, and actual people. They subscribe to a lifestyle called Responsible/Ethical Non-monogamy also called Polyamory. Polyamory is the philosophy and practice of maintaining more than one intimate relationship simultaneously, with the full knowledge and consent of all involved.

What is Polyamory?

Derived from both the Greek word for many and the Latin word for love, there is some contention to how the word came into being. One theory is that it was coined by Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart, a pagan priestess, in the late 1980s (McCullough & David S. Hall, 2003). However, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, who added the term in 2006, the first appearance of the word was with the formation of the alt.polyamory newsgroup in May 1992 (Matthesen).

Polyamorists say that their lifestyle’s foundation is built on the theory that love is infinite. An example of this, which can be understood by most, would be how a person feels when his or her second child is born. They do not love that child any less than the first, there always seems to be enough love in a parents’ heart for all the children they have. Taking this theory further Polyamorists believe that they do not need to stop loving one person to add another love into their lives. Anais Nin wrote in her diaries, “I have the right to love many people at once and to change my prince often.” (Anais Nin Quotes, 2010) As with any relationship making polyamory work in the real world takes work and no two relationships as with people are ever alike. However one thing all polyamorists can agree on is communication. Only with complete open communication jealousy and negative emotions will wreck a relationship faster than an ice cube melts on asphalt in the summer time.

History of Polyamory
Throughout history the list of those who have maintained a non-monogamous lifestyle is as myriad as the types of life in the ocean. From Egypt, to the Americas Non-monogamy was practiced by many cultures over the course of time. Polygamy or the practice of possessing more than one wife at a time was clearly stated in the bible as an accepted practice. In Genesis chapter 16 verse 4 Abraham’s wife Sarah gives her maid Hagar to her husband as a wife, so as to relieve their childlessness. (The Bible )

In Judeo-Christian history there are many incidences of multiple person relationships among the major figures, David and Solomon just to name a two of them. In fact although David was chastised for his infidelity with Bathsheba; it was his betrayal of Saul, and not the desire for another woman that God was chastising him for, as shown in 2 Samuel 12:8 “I (God) gave you his (Saul's) house and his wives and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. And if that had not been enough, I would have given you much, much more” (The Bible ).

According to Anthropologists 83.5% of all human cultures sanction polygyny (one husband with multiple wives), 16% permit only monogamy and .5% allow polyandry (one wife with multiple husbands.)” (Pasternak, B., Ember, C. & Ember, M., 1997)

Forms of Polyamory
Polygamy is having more than one spouse at one time. This encompasses polygyny and polyandry as well as group...

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