The New Swingers

Polyamory is the latest “alternative lifestyle” grabbing headlines these days for its titillating (to some) approach to love and commitment. The latest article comes from the Boston Globe:

Adherents call it responsible non-monogamy or polyamory, and the nontraditional practice is creeping out of the closet, making gay marriage feel somewhat last decade here in Massachusetts. What literally translates to “loving many,” polyamory (or poly, for short), a term coined around 1990, refers to consensual, romantic love with more than one person. Framing it in broad terms, Sekora, one of the three founders and acting administrator of the 500-person-strong group Poly Boston, says: “There’s monogamy where two people are exclusive. There’s cheating in which people are lying about being exclusive. And poly is everything else.”

Everything else with guidelines, that is, although those vary according to the agreed-upon needs and desires of the people in the relationships. After all, this isn’t swinging, in which a couple seeks out recreational sex. This isn’t even the free love of the ’60s and ’70s, characterized by psychedelic love-ins. And despite the shared “poly” prefix, this certainly isn’t the patriarchal, man-with-many-wives polygamy that has earned increased public attention with the HBO show Big Love. Polyamory has a decidedly feminist, free-spirited flavor, and these are real relationships with the full array of benefits and complexities — plus a few more — as the members of Poly Boston’s hypercommunicative, often erudite, and well-entwined community will explain.

“With affairs, you get sex. With polyamory, you get breakfast,” says Cambridge sex therapist Gina Ogden, citing a well-known poly saying.

Throughout the article, however, “poly people” — as they call themselves — keep saying it’s not about the sex, but about the emotional connections and the fact that one person can’t fulfill all of their needs.

But if it’s not about sex, then what ever happened to close friends and the networks of meaningful relationships that should round out our lives? Are we now incapable of having genuine friendships that don’t include sex?

(Ht: Billy C)

 

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Zoe Romanowsky is writer, consultant, and coach. Her articles have appeared in "Catholic Digest," "Faith & Family," "National Catholic Register," "Our Sunday Visitor," "Urbanite," "Baltimore Eats," and Godspy.com. Zo

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