Originally published at
Gather ye round little poly chillun, ’cause Mama Java has about had it up to her eyeballs wit da nonsense.
Polyamory is not about:
Let’s start with nudism. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand that a lot of people who are really hard core nudists/naturists feel that liking to run around in the altogether is a freeing experience. Fine. Enjoy. Just don’t try to link it with polyamory, ‘kay? Mama Java likes her salwar kameezes and isn’t stripping down around non-intimates. Mama Java doesn’t want to consider all the world her intimates, either. She thinks the general run of humanity is worthy of kindness, yes. Respect and dignity, certainly. Only her intimates get to see her boobies. ‘Nuff said. Doesn’t make her any less poly.
How about Tantra? Friends, Tantra is not about having more or even better sex. It is a spiritual practice for which you do not, I repeat do not have to be polyamorous. Many, many monogamous people practice Tantra. It is about honoring your partner and making a spiritual connection. Certainly one can practice Tantra and making connections as a poly person as well as a monogamous person. This does not mean that one has to be either to practice it.
In fact, no spiritual practice is necessary at all to be poly. Polyamory is not about Wicca, or any other form of neo-paganism! Yes, I’m a Heathen, myself, but polyamorous people come from all sorts of religious paths. I personally know Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, and Atheists who are poly. Early Gnostic Christians were poly (yes they had spouses in common, look it up), the Old Norse weren’t. Don’t hang poly on your religion, kiddies, and don’t try to hang your religions or spiritual practices on poly. They’re not one in the same.
Heinlein… I should have put this particular peeve first as it is one of my strongest. Most of the people who try to base their philosophy of polyamory on Heinlein have read one book by the man — Stranger in a Strange Land. Was it a brilliant book? Oh my word, yes! But it seems to me that most people who try to base their idea of polyamory on the book just plain didn’t understand it or what Heinlein was getting at in general with his work, according to letters he had published about the subject. Heinlein wrote over forty books, and his philosophy clearly had evolved over a career lasting nearly half a century. It is also necessary to remember that Mr. Heinlein himself commented that his first objective in any fiction he wrote was to entertain. While many people, including myself, found his work philosophically profound, he himself was horrified at anyone trying to live according to his fiction. “I was not giving answers. I was trying to shake the reader loose from some preconceptions and induce him to think for himself, along new and fresh lines. In consequence, each reader gets something different out of that book because he himself supplies the answers . . . . It is an invitation to think — not to believe.”
Polyamory is not about any specific political movement, either. I’m a pretty hard core Libertarian and I live in what is essentially a commune, and I am politically active. The only thing this has to do with poly is trying to get marriage and family law expanded to the point where there are more options available to poly people. But, I don’t assume that a poly person shares my political views. I’ve dated Socialists, and know plenty of poly pacifists, as well as some militant sorts I just plain wouldn’t wanna cross. Believe it or not, there are plenty of politically conservative polyamorists, just as there are plenty of politically conservative monogamists. Honey, polyamory is not the answer to World Peace, and isn’t going to make people stop fighting each other. It doesn’t make people stop acting like people!
What polyamory is, or should be, is about being able to love more than one person sexually or romantically. That’s it. Not complex. Not saving the world, no incense (though I could do with some good sandalwood right now!), you don’t have to take your clothes off, and nobody has to live in a nest where we’re all water-brothers. You get to pick your own path.
Just don’t be trying to tell me I oughta be walking with ya to be poly, ‘kay?