First, let’s define our terms.
Monogamy ~ One sexual partner at a time
Polygamy ~ Married partners in which both partners can have multiple marriage partners, otherwise called group marriage
Polygyny ~ Husband has multiple wives
Polyadnry ~ Woman has multiple husbands
Polyamory ~ Having many loves, open relationship between consenting adults
For this we will be talking strictly about Polyamory. There are dozens of myths about this sexuality practice, and choosing just five was hard. If you think I missed any or think you have heard one that is totally off the wall, let me know in the comments.
- Only guys want it – This one straight from the mouth of Jenny McCarthy, and yeah, I know, she’s not my favorite either, but it’s a perception that’s valid and it’s simply not true. There’s a lot to unpack here, and we get into words like feminism and patriarchy, and such. Here’s my take – As a woman, any time you get to set the parameters of your relationships, you are doing feminism right. As a woman, I can say that poly groups tend to have a good mix of males and females. I can assuredly tell you that woman are just as much ‘into’ it as men.
- It’s for people who don’t get jealous – I actually know people like this, and its true, they find poly to be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. They are emotionally healthy and in good relationships. Now for the rest of us who struggle with jealousy, let me assure you that it exists even in the polyworld. Ethical non-monogamy is not an easy road, and communication is key. Everyone gets jealous, but with the right partner and good communication you can work through it.
- Poly people aren’t as happy as monogamous people – Look, people, no one has this all figured out. In fact Psychology Today says “the common arguments in favor of monogamy – including the illusion that it offers protection from jealousy, sexually transmitted diseases, and divorce have been shown to be purely speculation, and unfounded speculation at that.” This means no matter how you are doing it, there are going to be things that make relationships difficult (because that’s the human condition, y’all). In fact, the article It concludes that “you may as well go with what feels best to you – and your partner(s)” Well, can’t argue with that.
- Sex, sex, sex everywhere – I hate to burst the bubble that poly people are a bunch of people having orgies and group sex everywhere, but I feel I must. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it doesn’t seem to happen any more or less than other types of relationships. Again, polyamory is having relationships with more than one person. That can mean something as simple as meeting for sex all the way up to the complexity of sharing a home and finances with your partners – and everything in between. Poly people can be kinky, but not always, and a great many have never had anything but straight, hetero-normative sex.
- The children! Won’t someone think of the children!? – Polyamory isn’t going to damage your children. Lying to them about sex, about your relationships, and keeping things from them – that stuff surely will, however. In the book, Polyamory in the 21st Century, the author discusses both research and anecdotal reports which indicate that if anything, children in polyamorous families or open marriages do better than children in conventional families. This doesn’t mean you should open up your marriage because your kids will be better off; it means that children from these types of parents do just fine.
Here is a caveat- It is important that I am talking about polyamory here (also called ethical non-monogamy). Please do not confuse this with the type of relationships that are formed in Fundamentalist Mormon circles. Those arrangements are oppressive to women, creepy, and wrong. If you don’t why it’s different, and want to have that discussion.
There you have it, five myths about Polyamory. See you next time!