Polyamory 101
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  • No scientific studies (re: the swinger studies of the 70s) Loving More’s survey first attempt.
  • 74.1% of females bisexual 62.5% of males heterosexual
  • Poly females most likely to consider themselves Kinsey twos while poly males mostly likely to see themselves as Kinsey ones. Meanwhile, swinger males are most likely to claim they are zeros and swinger women equally distribute between ones and twos.
  • Seeking the approval by one’s partner for sexually engaging a new lover is often considered proper etiquette at swing parties and thus was selected by 64.4% of the swingers . In that poly people may function more like free agents in their social-sexual lives, with 22.5% of males and 14.8% of females reporting having sexual encounters without their partner’s knowledge, partner approval was only expected by 35.7% of the poly men and 58.4% of the women. This rather dramatic discrepancy between males and females may again be indicative of women’s higher verbal skills in regards to intimate communication. For some poly people, approving of a partner’s new lover might have huge implications in terms of expanding one’s family circle. If a new lover has had little exposure to the culture of polyamory, appears to be emotionally demanding and/or is very sexually attractive, red flags may go up.
  • Secondaries involved with primaries...
  • It would be more in the realm of people who have clandestine affairs for a spouse to believe that their partner very much loves them while they are actually completely smitten with someone else.

Polyamory 101 Polyamory 101 Presentation Transcript

  • Polyamory 101 Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D.
  • Definitions
    • Polygamy - More Than One Spouse
    • Polygyny - More Than One Wife
    • Polyandry - More Than One Husband
    • Monogamy - One Spouse
    • Serial Monogamy - One Spouse at a Time
    • Swinging - One Spouse; Multiple Playmates
    • Polyamory - Multiple Committed Loving Relationships
  • Polyamory’s Origins
    • Group Marriage (Constantine, 1973)
    • Hot & Cool Sex (Francoeur, 1974)
    • Intimate Networks
    • Utopian Swinging
    • The Kerista Commune (polyfidelity)
    • More University
    • Human Awareness Institute (HAI)
      • communication processes
    • Oneida Community
  • The Oneida Community
    • 19th c. 500-person group marriage founded by John Humphrey Noyes
    • Coitus Reservatus
    • Complex Marriage
    • Banned Pair Bonding
    • Ascending Fellowship
    • Stirpiculture Breeding Program
  • The Kerista Commune
    • SF based intentional community
    • 25 years (early 70s -- mid-90s)
    • Compersion (invented the word)
      • no jealousy (Pines & Aronson, 1981)
    • Polyfidelity
      • starling brothers and sisters
    • B-FICs -- Best Friend Identity Clusters
  • Poly Culture
    • Support Groups / Pot Lucks
    • E - lists/groups
    • Loving More Magazine
    • Conferences
    • Honesty
      • Complete Honesty
    • Safe Sex
      • Very Safe Sex (viral and emotional)
  • Poly Players
    • Science Fiction Aficionados
      • Heinlein and Rimmer (1960s)
    • Utopian Swingers
    • Frustrated by Monogamy
    • Independent Idealists
    • Socially Challenged
  • Research Overview
    • 58 males
    • 82 females
    • Peak Baby Boomers
      • male median age -- 45
      • female median age -- 43
  •  
  • Race and Education
    • 94.3% White
    • Highly Educated
      • 98.3% of males and 100% of females had attended college
      • 39.7% of males and 40.2% of females had graduate degrees
  • Poly Configurations
    • Independent Single
    • Open Couple
    • Primary and Secondary Partners
    • Multiple Primary Partners
    • Triad -- V or
    • Quad
    • Intimate Network
  • Table 3 – Relationship Types Open Monogamous 14.3% Polyamorous with a Primary Partner 34.1% Polyamorous with Multiple Primary Partners 13.2% Polyamorous with Primary and Secondary Partners 18.7% Polyfidelitous Triad 5.5% Polyfidelitous Network 1.1% Monogamous 2.2% Single and Dating 4.4% Other 6.6%
    • Altogether 48.4% could easily be considered “open couples”
    • Poly residential patterns differ substantially from the 2000 U.S. Census
  •  
            • Table 8 – Current Religious Affiliation
    • Loving More Wolfe
    • Pagan/Wicca 30% 29%
    • Buddhism 9% 8%
    • Christian 28% 12%
    • None/Atheist 29% 15%
    • Other 4% 19%
    *40% do not attend any religious services or rituals
  • Poly in Print
    • The Polyfidelity Primer (Nearing, 1992)
    • Love Without Limits (Anapol, 1992, 1997)
    • The Ethical Slut (Easton & Liszt, 1997)
    • Loving More Magazine (early 90s - present)
    • Plural Loves (Anderlini-D’Onofrio, 2005)
    • 40+ mainstream newspaper/magazine articles
  • Poly Speak: The Language of Polyamory
    • Compersion
      • loving empathy for one’s partner being loved/engaged by others
    • New Relationship Energy (NRE)
    • Other Significant Other (OSO)
    • Primary, Secondary, Tertiary
      • maintain social family hierarchy
    • Polyfidelity
      • sexually faithful to one’s family
  • Poly Cultural Challenges
    • Integrating romantic love and non-possessiveness in a Western context
    • Letting go of Western culture’s celebration of “the one.”
    • Preventing new lovers from displacing long time partners
    • Accepting differences between partners’ emotional and sexual styles.
  •  
  •  
  • Safer Sex Practices
    • Fluid Bond Agreements
    • Over 80% use condoms
    • Women (84%) much more concerned than men (55%) in discussing STD and birth control status with a new lover.
    • Partner Approval
      • 64.4% of swingers
      • 58.4% of poly women
      • 35.7% of poly men
  • Visiting Other Lovers
    • Agreements (written, unspoken, subject to renegotiation)
    • Half report their partner spends 10 nights a year or less visiting other lovers
    • Typical visiting patterns were between once a week and twice a month
    • Only five respondents reported visiting patterns of two-three times a week.
  • Are There Favorites?
    • NRE is regarded as an explanation for why a new lover may feel like the favorite.
    • 50% of women reported loving their partners equally.
    • 62.5% of men reported they had a favorite lover.
  • Regarding one’s partner as a favorite lover largely parallels feeling like one is one’s partner’s favorite lover.
  • Compersion
  • Compersion Measures
    • Watching a partner being sexual with someone else
    • Being Watched by One’s Partner…
    • Feelings about partner spending the night with other lovers
    • What happens when partner returns…
    • Impact of poly dating on home relationship
    • Change relationship agreements?
  • Compersion Index
    • 11 point scale
    • Median 9.12
    • Only 7.9% less then 7.
    • Compersive thinking is largely the norm for the people who participated in my survey
  •  
  • Statistically Significant Correlations
    • Males more compersive than females
      • greater number of partners per year--less attachment--sense of abundance
    • Those who report that they love each of their lovers equally
      • embrace poly ideology
    • Heterosexuals who masturbate frequently
      • more substantial inner life
  • Actualizing Compersion
    • Developed Inner Life
      • masturbation, spirituality, meditation
    • Full Plate Life
      • busy with work, family, lovers
      • Extended Family of Choice
    • Gullible
      • believe in poly ideology
    • High Serotonin Uptake
    • Fears of Loss not actualized.
  • Polyamory as a Relationship Strategy
    • Long term monogamous couples eventually differentiate
      • Their NRE diminishes--they have less interest/need for sex with each other
    • Polyamory addresses this sexual emotional vacancy with a NRE enhanced new lovers while maintaining the comfort and security of home and family
  • How Jealousy is Negotiated
    • New loves do not replace or displace in place partners.
    • Belief that there is not just one “one”
      • Go for broke romantic love discouraged
    • Celebration of “starling relationships”
      • Compersion embraced
    • Full Plate Lives
      • High serotonin levels
  • Is it possible to be in love with more than one sweetie?
    • Its very possible to be in lust with many partners
    • Its possible to be in the attachment phase with multiple partners
    • The attraction phase may be a mono-experience
      • easily provokes high levels of jealousy