A lot of people think that there’s some definition of polyamory that’s the final word on the subject. I’d like to address that a little. Technically, this article should be about three words long:
“There isn’t one.”
Once you get past the concept of “willing to have more than one sexual/romantic partner”, you start getting into a lot of debates about what polyamory is or isn’t. All of us do tend to quote our favorite literature on the subject, and that’s okay.
Back when there were one or two writers on the subject you still got a level of disagreement. Now?
There’s a lot of poly writers out there. A whole bunch. Off the top of my head1 and in no particular order, lemme name some poly writers:
- Debrah Anapol
- Catherine Liszt and Dossie Easton
- Ryam Nearing
- Morning Glory Ravenheart-Zell
- Franklin Veaux
- Anita Wagner
- Noel Figart
This list is hardly even a sample, and many of my readers will probably slap their foreheads, say, “She missed Book X and Blog Y. My God, how could she have neglected to mention that writer!”
You’ll find that these people all have their own views and are unlikely to agree on everything, or even a majority of ideas. That’s okay. Multiple points of view are really useful when exploring a complex topic like polyamory and the more literature we have on the subject, the better. Every one of these writers probably has had readers at some point or another think they’re total whackjobs who have no business contaminating the purity of poly literature with their ill-thought-out and foolish ideas as well.
That’s okay, too.
When you’re going to read about polyamory, I really encourage you to read widely. Don’t take your whole philosophy from a single writer. Hell, don’t take your own point of view from literature only in any case. Test ’em against your life. What works, what doesn’t? Why?
And don’t say that “The Polyamory Community thinks X”. Defining what the polyamory community is would be hard enough. I assure you that other than the fact we mostly think non-monogamy is okay, you’re going to find such a range of opinions. I often wonder if part of the reason polyamory is unlikely to “catch on” is merely because marketing to the “polyamory community” would be a non-trivial problem at best. You can’t break it down to a useful consumer demographic. My bet is that the media will likely ignore us except as a curiosity for for the fun of scandal.
But the real point here is that there isn’t a final word on polyamory. There can’t be. Oh sure, I’d love to think that my writing is the ultimate in what practical, sensible polyamory life and living is.
But it’s not, and I know it.
And neither is anyone else’s.
1If I left you out, please understand that this is a list off the top of my head with no real thinking involved, not because I think your work doesn’t count. Do feel free to add yourself and a link to your work in the comments. I hope you will, as I need to work on my blogroll.