Presentation on theme: "Polyamory: A Crash Course for the Curious By Psychotherapist/Sex Therapist, Nan Wise, LCSW, ACSW Author of “Outrageous Intimacy: Lessons from the Adventurous”"— Presentation transcript:
Polyamory: A Crash Course for the Curious By Psychotherapist/Sex Therapist, Nan Wise, LCSW, ACSW Author of “Outrageous Intimacy: Lessons from the Adventurous” www.OutrageousIntimacy.com 973-632-0625
Disclaimer Do not jump into Polyamory without serious consideration and lots of coaching (you can reach me at 973-632-0625 for a phone consultation) Monogamy is a valid love-style, and so is Polyamory Polyamory can be a problem-creating lifestyle if not done mindfully, and even then, there were be lots of opportunities for growth. Polyamory has all the problems of monogamy and then some. If you enjoy communicating, if complexity in relating is a turn-on for you, do consider Polyamory! If not, you might wish to stick with simpler forms of relationship. Traditional swinging is an alternative.
Speaking the New Love Lingo Polyamory: definition: from the Greek and Latin roots meaning “many loves.” First proposed by Oberon and Morning Glory Zell to replace “Responsible Nonmonogamy.” Generally refers to love-styles that involve more than one partner, openly with the knowledge and consent of all involved. Some argue that Polyamory needn’t include sexuality, and can refer to multiple loves without the relationships being sexual.
Characteristics of polyamorous relationships What the various forms have in common is that they are both sexual and loving—or sexualoving (Anapol,1992) —with no separation between sex and love— contrasting with casual, recreational sex. Polyamorous relationships involve consciously choosing a particular love-style rather than automatically accepting the culturally defined, prescribed forms of relationship.
The evolution of terminology: Nonmonogamy used to mean having more than one spouse during a lifetime. It now means having more than one sexual partner during the same time period. Traditionally, Nonmonogamy has often been non- consensual Consensual Nonmonogamy has been called Negotiated Nonmonogamy or Responsible Nonmonogamy Polyamory is one form of Consensual Nonmonogamy, Swinging is another Polyamory can include all of the following and more:
Polyfidelity Poly singles Open marriage/Open relationship v. Expanded Relationship, Open-ended Marriage Group marriage Multilateral marriage, Line marriage Intimate networks Triads/Quads Nonexclusive relationship Intimate friendship Inclusive relationship Couples who are currently monogamous who do not intend to remain exclusive
Polyamory: The Skill Sets The same skill sets necessary for traditional relationships are necessary for Polyamory. And you need to get really, really good at them. “Polyamory is a lot like monogamy, just with more people.” Ken Haslam, MD
Polyamory as a theory as well as a practice Five principal outlined by Emens in “Monogamy’s Law” 1) Self Knowledge as not only valuable, but necessary—the daily substrate of healthy relationships (Anapol). 2) Radical Honesty (Brad Blanton): a heightened emphasis on communication and truth-telling about nonmonogamy is the most distinctive aspect of Polyamory
More poly philosophy 3) Consent: Honesty forms the basis of consent. Partners make informed decisions after received detailed information. Negotiating and keeping agreements is a huge focus of poly relating. The emphasis is on “true” consent rather than “enforced” consent. 4) Self-Possession: Emphasizes autonomy in relationship (contrast with the couple-front) in order to avoid merging into one human being.
And most distinctly: 5) Privileging Love and Sex: particular to Polyamory is the idea that when it comes to love and sex, more expression and experience may truly be better than less. “Love is that condition wherein another person’s happiness is essential to your own.” Robert Heinlein
What’s triggers people about Responsible Nonmonogamy? The resistance of our culture to legitimizing responsible nonmonogamy as a lifestyle may be due to: Concerns about polygamy (more specifically) polygyny as being exploitive of women Eliciting of other taboos (fears), i.e., “what about the kids? (e.g., homosexuals as potential pedophiles). The Paradox of Prevalence (Monogamy’s Law, Emens, 2003). –“The widespread resistance to the idea of marriage between more than two people is actually the result of monogamy’s failure. The threat of Polyamory in a sense stems from it’s apparent prevalence.”
More reasons Polyamory is controversial –Most people may want to sleep with other people, but they resist the impulse. From this perspective Polyamory may seem indulgent or greedy. –Polyamory involves telling our partners what we are up to. We are then confronted with our feelings about our partners having equal rights to explore with others. We are challenged to confront our fears, jealousy, and insecurity.
Polyamory will become Polyagony without... Extreme Emotional intelligence Fostering connection and attunement Learning how to avoid emotional hijackings by constructively coping with JEALOUSY and managing NEW RELATIONSHIP ENERGY Becoming a master of Negotiating and keeping Agreements