Archive for July, 2010

I was enjoying my breakfast the other morning when an upcoming segment on a popular breakfast television program caused me to sit up and take notice. The segment was about monogamy and involved an interview with the author of the book, “Sex at Dawn”, Christopher Ryan. This should be interesting I thought to myself. The program’s presenters, as pleasant as they were, really didn’t seem to have much of a clue as to Ryan’s book or what it was about, instead preferring to turn the interview into a juicy confrontation with a man representing family values. Ryan did his best to clarify that he was not attempting to make a moral judgement regarding people’s lifestyle choices despite repeated attempts from the interviewer to portray him as someone seeking to corrupt society’s values. He was simply stating that based on his research he didn’t believe that monogamy came naturally to the human species. It was more of a scientific opinion yet the man representing family values continued to bash away regardless. Ryan hardly got a word in and was left shaking his head at the conclusion of the interview, as was I.

On the program’s website they had posted a forum question in relation to the segment titled, “Is Monogamy Natural”? As I scrolled through the comments I was appalled by the lack of understanding on the topic and the eagerness of many to not only declare monogamy to be natural but that it was also the best choice and the only way to ensure stability and harmony in our society. Natural? I wonder if these people had been so exhaustive in their research as Mr. Ryan. The term, “cheating” was bandied about frequently and men, in particular, were copping a lot of flak for their infidelity. Did anybody actually read the question? The question didn’t ask whether or not you thought monogamy was a valid lifestyle choice. It asked if monogamy was natural. I felt compelled to comment and this is what I said:

“This is not a moral question. Monogamy is a choice. Is it natural? I don’t believe it is. We all feel attractions to other people no matter how much we love our partners so if we decide not to act on those feelings then we are making a conscious choice. We call it free will. The question is not whether monogamy is good or bad, just whether or not it’s natural. Temptation challenges our human nature constantly. Just look at the rate of divorce and infidelity in our society.”

I find it curious that polyamorists are accepting of different lifestyle choices and sexual orientations, including monogamy yet many people who believe strongly in the model of monogamy are quick to condemn anyone who chooses otherwise, often labeling them as immoral or perverted. I personally identify as poly amorous and believe in ethical non-monogamy but I am at the same time understanding and respectful of other’s decisions to pursue a monogamous lifestyle. From where I stand it seems we have a long way to go towards total acceptance.

So let me put the question out there again. Is monogamy natural? Let me know what you think.

Footnote: I am yet to read “Sex at Dawn” but it sounds like a fascinating book. 🙂


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After years of frustration, torment, and confusion I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m poly amorous. It’s not as if I woke up one day and became that way. I believe that I’ve always been poly but could never understand the conflicting feelings and emotions that have plagued me for so many years, until recently.

My poly awakening occurred around two years ago when a woman whom I’d been acquainted with but never became close to contacted me on MySpace, (yes, remember that social networking phenomenon that was all the rage before Facebook)? I had only known her from making small talk when she’d come into the business where I worked and I would always wave or say hello if I saw her in the street. We were both married at the time and living in a small country town and though I’d always found her attractive I had never contemplated taking things further. When my marriage dissolved I left town and moved up the coast a little to begin a new life.

When this woman, who I’ll call Mel, contacted me I was already in a committed relationship with a woman on the other side of the world who was awaiting approval of her visa so that she could move over and we could settle together. Mel had recently left her husband and moved to a seaside village only ten minutes from where I was living. We both had free time on our hands and thought it might be nice to get together for coffee and a chat. I told my partner, who I’ll call Annie, about Mel and she encouraged me to meet up, after all we were seperated by distance and she didn’t think it fair that I should just be sitting around so I went ahead and set up a date.

Well, we had coffee, we chatted a lot and we found we shared much in common. When it was time for her to leave it was clear that there was a chemistry between us and it was all I could do to restrain myself from wrapping my arms around her and kissing her full on the lips. Things took off from there as we saw each other every day, spoke frequently on the phone and it wasn’t long before our friendship developed into a sexual relationship. In the beginning I thought it might have just been the fact that she was here and now, that she was perhaps just filling a void until my partner arrived. Mel knew all about Annie and they corresponded via the internet and also became friends.

What I noticed though, was that despite my growing feelings for Mel I still felt exactly the same for Annie. My love for her had not diminished in any way even though the distance prevented any physical contact and the fact that I was seeing Mel on a daily basis. I was confused. Mel was confused. All I could think of was that I had to decide between the two, that I had to give my love fully to one and withdraw it from the other; and yet I couldn’t. It was at this point that I began to question my beliefs and social conditioning. I asked myself if it was indeed possible to love more than one person at the same time, after all, that’s exactly what I was feeling. I started scouring the internet for information and discovered that there was a name for what I was feeling; polyamory. Suddenly, everything was making sense to me and as I started to recall the conflicting feelings I’d endured in previous relationships my whole life now seemed so much clearer.

Through all of this the one person who didn’t seem perturbed was Annie. She was very understanding and I was surprised to learn that she embraced the concept of ethical non-monogamy. Like most people I was hesitant in the beginning to disclose just how close I’d become with Mel for fear of hurting Annie and possibly losing her but I was determined that if we were to have any chance of a successful future together then honesty was paramount.

For the record, Annie and I are now happily married and have a wonderful, open relationship based on trust and honest communication. Mel and I continued to see each other until she found herself a “real” relationship with a man who insisted that it was unhealthy for her to maintain her friendship with me. She has since moved from the area and contact has been rare. To say I was hurt would be an understatement but as I’ve begun to understand, if you’re a poly person in a relationship with a mono then you certainly leave yourself open to risk. But, hey, there are no guarantees in this life, especially when it comes to love and relationships. I’m grateful for the time we spent together and also for opening my eyes to the concept of loving more. The other beautiful thing was Annie’s reaction to my heartbreak. She felt my pain at losing Mel and comforted me when I needed it and just gave me space if that was what I desired. I had finally seen what unconditional love in a relationship truly looked like.

As I discussed in a previous blog I don’t like to define myself with any one label but poly amorous is certainly a description that fits me well. For my wife and I the journey has just begun. We’re still learning and connecting with people who share our philosophy and struggling to explain it to others who have trouble thinking beyond the social norm.  I’m happy in myself and grateful for the opportunity to share through this blog. Spread the love!

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It’s funny the different stages we go through in our lives. I remember a time when I believed I was the stereo-typical male who thought with his dick and all I wanted was sex, and then more sex. After my first marriage ended I couldn’t wait to get out there and enjoy my new-found freedom and experience as much sex as possible with as many different women as would be agreeable. I soon realized though, that all the sex I was having, as enjoyable as it was, just wasn’t fulfilling me. After all, it’s just sex. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, but I was craving something more.

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently who had not long ended his marriage of some twenty plus years. He told me that he was more turned on by the prospect of getting to know someone he found interesting than looking at them with a view to having sex with them. That’s not to say that his dick has gone AWOL on him. He wants connection, emotionally and physically and though he’s been propositioned isn’t looking to entertain the idea of sex for it’s own pleasure. I personally found that while I was in a bad marriage where everything was lacking I thought that it was just the sex that I was wanting, only to discover later after the marriage had ended that I was, in fact, wanting so much more.

I’ve enjoyed sex for sex sake both as a single guy and with my wife when we’ve been swinging and while it’s all good fun I can certainly relate to my friend and his desire to form intimate relationships. My wife and I knew that we both wanted more than a conventional monogamous marriage offered and initially decided to test the water at a local swinger’s club. After a few experiences we’ve both come to the conclusion that what we seek is not just sex but emotional and intellectual connection as well. I actually found myself fantasizing about having a romantic dinner and wine with a woman I’d just met the other day as opposed to getting down and dirty between the sheets. Wow! I was having a non-sexual fantasy about a woman. What’s happened to me? Am I no longer a member of the “men’s club”? Maybe I’m evolving as a human being. Perhaps my friend is too. Or maybe more men want intimacy with their partners than we give them credit for.

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