Polyamory

(75 Posts)
HelpMeRhondaYeah Fri 30-Apr-21 08:28:15

So Willow Smith says she's polyamorous.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-56852099

My first thought about these labels is that they always seem driven by males. But in this case, I wondered whether possibly polyamory actually does benefit women more... evolutionarily, this isn't ideal for men in all ways - they can't know a child is going to be theirs (so allocate resources accordingly). Also, it's women, not men, who get more sexually bored by monogamy. I'm sure this has been covered before, but I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts.

OP’s posts: |
lazylinguist Fri 30-Apr-21 08:30:18

I'm just wondering when Newsbeat decided to focus so much on celebrities and whom they like having sex with tbh.

LadybirdDaphne Fri 30-Apr-21 08:36:19

I don’t think polyamory is necessarily driven by males. After all, monogamy is aligned with the patriarchy in that it reinforces men’s ‘right’ to control women to ensure paternity. It’s possible that monogamy became the rule with the discovery of agriculture - because then there started to be a surplus of wealth that men wanted to ensure was passed down to a legitimate son. This is a controversial reading of prehistory and much debated, but it’s certainly a possibly. The book Sex at Dawn explores these ideas (I know it’s a book that has been criticised by some academics and it should definitely be read with a critical mind).

WorkingItOutAsIGo Fri 30-Apr-21 09:37:09

I cannot quite believe we are in a world where ‘I like to sleep around’ is a) a news story and b) an identity one needs to announce to the world.

I am sure it is an identity which means she is subject to huge amounts of oppression. (As if being black and female weren’t enough already, so on that point I am sympathetic).

No doubt my comment could be seen to be polyphobic. My bad.

lazylinguist Fri 30-Apr-21 10:48:47

Well quite, WorkingItOutAsIGo.

Forgotthebins Fri 30-Apr-21 10:58:05

Exactly WorkingitoutasIgo. I guess every generation thinks they are the first to discover sex.

I have yet to see any of these articles explain how you juggle polyamory with kids, full-time jobs and caring for elderly relatives, especially if you’re commuting. I’m glad the young ‘uns are having fun though!

HelpMeRhondaYeah Fri 30-Apr-21 11:23:08

Very true, @WorkingItOutAsIGo. We could certainly do without more bullshit identity labels.

Haha, @Forgotthebins, could a dedicated Polyamor fit some polyamory in on the commute? Not sure how it would fit with covid travel regulations, though.

OP’s posts: |

Advertisement

LibertyMole Fri 30-Apr-21 11:28:18

A global pandemic is not great time to be in a polycule.

Forgotthebins Fri 30-Apr-21 12:02:04

Haha HelpmeRhonda “Commuting” did sound weirdly exotic and exciting as I wrote it!

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Fri 30-Apr-21 13:11:37

I have yet to see any of these articles explain how you juggle polyamory with kids, full-time jobs and caring for elderly relatives, especially if you’re commuting.

I've been involved in poly relationships for a while and this is one of the benefits imo.
It makes it much easier to set up more unconventional and flexible relationship structures that don't require the energy or commitment of a 'full time boyfriend/husband' while getting a lot of the benefits.
That said, the poly community can be incredibly up its own arse at times.

EmbarrassingAdmissions Fri 30-Apr-21 13:29:40

It makes it much easier to set up more unconventional and flexible relationship structures that don't require the energy or commitment of a 'full time boyfriend/husband' while getting a lot of the benefits.
That said, the poly community can be incredibly up its own arse at times.

I have several acquaintances in polyamorous relationships. However, a number of them are married to one partner, have 'commitment ceremonies' with other partners - and then there are what would be counted as ONS partners as well.

Some of the additional caring benefits are obvious - in other ways, it all feels very performative and it's sometimes distressing for the children when there are ONS people sloping around whom they don't recognise (they do recognise the married partner and partners with whom there's a longer-term commitment whether or not there's been a commitment ceremony).

BodyMovin Fri 30-Apr-21 13:33:01

My first thought was that in my teens and early twenties, everything about sex and outward presentation that earns you a special label today, we were doing. We did have labels of course but they were more to do with taste in music and way way way less prescriptive.

However there was loads of sexual assault, eating disorders etc so hardly perfect times.

In my head I can see the logic of this approach although it's probably not for me as my partner relationships tend to be quite intense. What puts me off the idea is usually whenever I watch programs about it tbh! It seems so akin to an earnest belief in gender identities and 100 sexualities and kink in terms of the rules and the boxes. It just comes across as extremely fussy and un-sexy! The other off-putting thing from the poly relationships featured in TV programs (Louis Theroux?) is to an outsider it often seems painfully obvious that one of the participants is not into it but doesn't want to lose their partner. A lot of the statements about being so happy when their partner is off shagging another partner come across as trying to convince themselves as much as anything.

However I'd really love to hear from someone who has actually experienced poly relationships turtles? I am very aware that monogamy is flawed and I am not certain I'd do it again if I split with my current partner.

justawoman Fri 30-Apr-21 13:55:14

Yeah, many years ago when I was young and insecure I got myself into one of these set-ups: I (a lesbian) was desperately in love with an older bi woman and would to anything to try and keep her, including agreeing to a ‘polyamorous’ relationship in which we were both allowed to shag anyone else we chose. She ended up finding another woman and leaving me for her, after breaking my heart by having subsidiary relationships with another woman and a man, and I, well, just couldn’t find anyone I wanted who wasn’t her, so was exclusive from my perspective. I got quite badly hurt but have always been reasonably philosophical about it: the only person lying was me when I said I wanted to be polyamorous; actually I just wanted her. She was always clear with me that she didn’t want exclusivity. Even so, there was a level of power play in the relationship that I think she secretly enjoyed. I would not do it again.

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 30-Apr-21 14:06:48

Been there and done that. I'd take it over marriage any day for all the reasons daphne mentions but prefer autonomy to anything.

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Fri 30-Apr-21 14:53:31

What puts me off the idea is usually whenever I watch programs about it tbh! It seems so akin to an earnest belief in gender identities and 100 sexualities and kink in terms of the rules and the boxes. It just comes across as extremely fussy and un-sexy! The other off-putting thing from the poly relationships featured in TV programs (Louis Theroux?) is to an outsider it often seems painfully obvious that one of the participants is not into it but doesn't want to lose their partner.

I could write a book on the problems within poly communities, despite practicing it myself.
The main issue (I think) is that there's a smug belief amongst a lot of poly people that polyamory is the superior way of doing things and that those who don't want to are somehow just too conservative or need 'educating' or don't understand.
This is clearly daft because anyone with half a brain can see that monogamy clearly works well for huge numbers of people.
I'm in a few relationship anarchy groups on FB and I'm always tickled by the strong authoritarian bent to them.
There are an awful lot of 'anarchists' turning up to post that everyone else should be doing relationships according to their own very personal and occasionally batshit rules.
I think if you are interested in doing it you need to have very strong boundaries and be able to advocate for yourself quite clearly.
Doing it just because someone else wants to is always going to be a bad idea (same with anything sex-related, really).
Someone mentioned children as above, and I do think a lot of people are deeply irresponsible about how they behave with poly relationships around them, although you could say the same for mono relationships too.
That said, it can be great. If you can find partner(s) who aren't total dingbats, you can have all the autonomy, freedom and space of being single and also get affection, love, sex and support of a long term relationship.

crunchermuncher Fri 30-Apr-21 14:54:23

What's ONS? It means office of national statistics to me, but I can't see that being relevant (unless they're doing some analysis on non monogamous relationships)! grin

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Fri 30-Apr-21 14:55:44

ONS = One Night Stand

crunchermuncher Fri 30-Apr-21 15:11:37

(Facepalm)blush

Howzaboutye Fri 30-Apr-21 15:16:16

Sounds like a great way to get and pass diseases!

lazylinguist Fri 30-Apr-21 15:21:54

I just find it a bit odd that people want to organise their life around the desire to have multiple sexual partners tbh. It seems so unnecessarily complicated.

If I weren't happily married with dc and if I wanted autonomy and variety, I'd remain steadfastly single with a succession of no-strings-attached casual partners, not embroil myself in multiple concurrent romantic relationships. It sounds like my idea of hell tbh! It's hard enough to find one person you actually want to be in a proper relationship with, never mind lots!

Thingybob Fri 30-Apr-21 15:29:04

Is there a large poly community? I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who has been openly poly and can only think of two acquaintances, out of thousands of people I must have met in my life, who said they were members of the swinging scene.

Is being poly a class thing?

aweegc Fri 30-Apr-21 15:33:04

The Smith kids (and parents) see very intent on letting us know just how special and unique they are. Evolved even.

I guess Willow might get rather shock seeing a thread by a bunch of Mumsnetters saying "Did that before you (were born)." 😂

And YY to the poster asking why it's on Newsbeat. I don't see how this story is even newsworthy on a quiet day!

JustTurtlesAllTheWayDown Fri 30-Apr-21 15:49:43

Is there a large poly community?

I think its partly class but also geographical. I think its very 'in' at the moment along students and in particular areas. I imagine it's pretty predominant in Brighton for example.
I would classify swinging as something else entirely. That's more about multiple sexual partners while I'd say polyamory is more about non-traditional relationship structures.

Forgotthebins Fri 30-Apr-21 16:33:27

JustTurtles in your experience do they seem to be equal for men and women? Based on the one poly setup I know in real life, I just saw the woman being set up to hold the baby while the men had a wonderful time. I don’t know if my perception was true btw, I didn’t really know her well enough to ask how she felt but I read some FB posts that seemed a bit sad. I’m all for people living how they want, and it’s not something I would want for myself, but I am interested in whether 21st century poly actually sets women free or it’s just same old, same old.

CargoShortsAndSlippers Fri 30-Apr-21 16:48:16

I considered this for a brief period, but the man I was chatting to told me a harrowing tale of his wife experiencing a traumatic miscarriage, not knowing which of the 3 possible men was the father, her favourite second or whatever the phrase is (who was like an uncle to the main couple's 2 children) freaked out, his other female partner encouraged him to back out of the family dynamic and the miscarrying woman was distraught.

I was not keen to insert myself into something like that.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in