Polyamory – a personal account

Polyamory - a personal account

Found this blog entry and immediately thought it was a pretty honest and balanced account of polyamory. It’s a personal story which shows how one can question monogamy early on, then move through some other non-monogamous practice such as swinging, right into polyamory later.

For those on their sexual and intimate life journey this can be a good support material. For those wanting to comprehend polyamory from outside, it’s a good primer.

“People don’t realize that it can take years to acclimate to polyamory. You can’t just wave a magic wand and de-program decades of social norms. Also, monogamy has one built-in rule: Don’t be intimate with other people. Polyamory is much more challenging, because you get to make your own rules, the list of which can be long and must be discussed often. Open and honest communication is the key to polyamory. That means pushing past the fear and saying things you are afraid to say. You have to replace the fear with love.”

‘I want a life of a million lovers’

'I want a life of a million lovers'

Here’s a lovely poetic plea to human connections, to love in all its forms, to being close without any demands, to polyamory in its widest sense of being able to love many. As I see it this is writing as an ode to the wondrous manifold manifestations of the human yearning to connect, to passionately discover each other beyond categories, to behold the other with tenderness and love. Thought it was wonderful, full of zest and levity.

Just a short quote, please go to the original for its full length version.

“I want a life of a million lovers.

I want to love you.

I want to love you if you are male or female, young or old, single or married…

When I see you we will embrace and hold a hug long enough to glimpse some insight from each other’s heartbeat.

When we walk down the street we shall link arms, pause frequently, and turn our toes and noses towards the other to speak directly without modesty.

I would like us to share the couch together, rather than creating a “do not cross” line where we may as well be sitting on brick blocks seated four feet away. Give me your knee, your foot, your thigh—let your body dangle on top of my body so I can know you the way litters of kittens know each other.

I want to show up to you and look into your eyes instead at your eyes. I want to feel your hand and be consumed by it until the rest of the world ceases to exist. I want to be in your presence and be in want of nothing.

I would like you to leave our time together feeling loved and free and full of your most vibrant and luscious hue of you-ness.

Please do not get confused: I do not want to have sex with you—whether you are male or female.

I have no sexual agenda, as you know, because we laugh at the freedom we feel to speak to strangers for reasons other than because we have to or because we’re hitting on them.

For me, sharing sex with someone requires a certain alignment, and I do not take that lightly. My sex requires that I can possibly foresee living with a person and combining all my stuff with all of their stuff (and I mean physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual stuff—the stuff that just feels heavy if it’s not the right fit, but feels buoyant beyond imagination when it is). It is delicate, it is careful, it is not presumptuous or impulsive.

And I do not think that our connection is somehow weakened because we do not share our bodies with each other….

Feminism and compulsory monogamy

I agree with this wholeheartedly. Breaking compulsory monogamy will be to the benefit of women and harbors the possibility of breaking new grounds in equality between men and women.

But it isn’t that simple. Polyamory with equality at its heart is only possible when a certain level of equality is already achieved. But then it is time to break with the shackles of compulsory monogamy.

Should feminists be critical of compulsory monogamy?

“As feminists, I believe we have an interest in supporting, rather than condemning, egalitarian polyamorous relationships. These relationships reject male ownership of women and offer a challenge to traditionally gendered expectations for monogamy. In turn, they have the potential to disrupt gender roles in an even broader sense. We all stand to benefit from supporting relationships that serve as a model for less patriarchal, less hierarchical ways of intimately relating to one another.
It would be unreasonable to argue that all feminists should reject monogamous relationships, just as it is unreasonable to suggest that all feminists should reject heterosexuality. Monogamous, heterosexual relationships can be wonderfully egalitarian, too, and certainly not everyone has the desire or the inclination to be in multiple romantic relationships simultaneously. But just as one can be straight and still critical of compulsory heterosexuality, it is possible to engage in monogamous relationships and yet still be critical of the institution of compulsory monogamy. I hope we can begin having a dialogue about this institution, examining what it is and how it functions, and envisioning a future without it.”

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Pregnant women and new mothers dismissed from work

About half of women in Australia still lose their jobs or get heavily ‘restructured’ after falling pregnant or giving birth. Many get small payouts in return for never talking about it. This is unbelievable.

Is this what we want for women in the 21st century in Australia? If you have a daughter or sister would you want them to suffer the same fate? Can you imagine men enduring this?

This is almost what happened to me. Some of you know my story and many haven’t heard it yet (but I’m most definitely going to keep talking about it for decades to come!). In the end I gained my job back within a few weeks by working with my union and the HR department of my employer.

I still don’t know what will happen when I return from maternity leave. I suspect I’ll be treated with a mixture of contempt and ostracism. So I guess that other 50% doesn’t really fare well either: well paying and satisfying part-time jobs are difficult to find or maintain (don’t I know this too!) and the rest of us simply have to put up with being treated as less important creatures, as workers who aren’t really serious about their job (I got this accusation already), or we simply have to make do with whatever restructured position we can sustain.

Just be happy you still have a job, get paid and don’t have to accept conditions that are completely out of balance with your experience and expertise. Right. Better suck it up, right?

“There are two times in which these redundancies are most likely to happen,” said Kamal Farouque, principal of employment & industrial law at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. “When the woman is on a period of maternity leave or soon after she has returned to work.

“The employer thinks that it’s a lot easier if they restructure, make the person redundant and get rid of the perceived “problem”’.

You don’t have to spend much time around new mothers to hear stories of “restructures” that just happened to coincide with them getting pregnant and taking parental leave.

Fifty per cent of the women in my mothers’ group were made redundant soon after they announced their pregnancy or while they were on maternity leave.

‘Women’s role in child-bearing supports all of us. I urge people to look at it in the broader context. Children represent all of our futures and it’s incumbent on all of us to support mothers.’

Broderick says that both male and female employers need to ask what they would want for their own daughters.

“Do you want them to be an engaged mother and be in paid work? If that’s what you want then we need to all support that in the work environment,” says Broderick. “If we can’t accommodate mothers then we’ll lose them and Australia cannot afford to lose their skills and experience from the labour market.’

Unlawful dismissal isn’t just another aspect of motherhood to be endured in silence. It’s an assault on women’s collective power and wellbeing and damaging to the nation as a whole.”