Polyamory vs Monogamy: Which is better?

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Sexuality is on a spectrum—for most people sexuality is fluid. I have friends who have many lovers. I have other friends that are totally monogamous. Both ends of the spectrum have their advantages. Most of us live somewhere in the middle range of the poly/monogamy spectrum. Given the statistics on affairs it is clear that even people who appear “completely monogamous” are making other choices.

Surfing the internet I have come across poly people giving long diatribes on the superior nature of non-monogamy. “People who try to own other people’s sexuality are wrong and limited”. A statement I might agree with, but then I surf to another website and hear monogamous people trashing poly as a ‘deviant lifestyle”. The truth is, sexuality is not a political issue—but it becomes political. Sexual freedom is our most intimate of civil rights. Having said that—our sexuality is not a static political issue or identity, and to hold it as such limits our freedom and choices.

Our sexuality both in identity and behavior can change. The changes are affected by stages of life, age, health, children etc. Labels are designed to give quick sound bites that answer the questions: What are you doing? Who are you sleeping with? This is fine—except for this. It’s all too complex and fluid to put into labels or sound bites. When people label you– they want to keep you in a static state. This is less frightening for them—when they knock on your door, they expect you’ll be doing that one freaky thing on your label.

But the labels don’t help us—they are for the other people.

My interest is in a state in which I get to explore all places on the spectrum. I want eroticism, adventure while also maintaining longevity, constancy, and depth. I am interested in innovative ways to set up relationships. I don’t want to follow relationship doctrine handed down from church, state, or for that matter, the latest hip poly website.

I want relationship agreements that reflect our current needs. There have been times in my life when it was correct to be monogamous. For a variety of reasons emotional growth, creating a deeper relationship foundation, having babies—that was what I chose to do. At other times I have opened my relationship. But even this terminology of being “open” and being “closed” isn’t the language I would use. I like to think of “relationship artistry”. This is a state wherein together, we explore the space between us, then shape it into a relationship. Artistry allows for fluidity and change. I approach making art with keen awareness and great love—with an intention to grow it. That is how I want to do relationship.

When we box ourselves in with terminology (polyfidelity, polyamory, swinging, open marriage, closed marriage and monogamy) we lose some of the nuance of what is possible. A couple can open their relationship “a little”. Just recognizing your separateness, hearing your lover’s fantasies, playing with those fantasies in the bedroom is creating openness. It all comes down to what are you trying to create in your relationship? If you are painting a picture together what would it look like? What colors are missing now? What are the most important textures and qualities you want the painting to reflect? The ultimate state is that of having choices and freedom to create agreements that help us thrive. If we label any point of the spectrum as “bad” we lose this possibly.

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