I was recently asked if I’d consent to an interview, but the questions were pretty good and basic, so I’m posting them here:
1. What are common misconceptions you have found with polyamory?
Probably the most common is that partners are disposable or interchangeable on some level. The culture that surrounds the monogamy paradigm also has a subtext of One True Love. We see it in movies, books and what have you all the time. In this context, if you’re going to have more than one partner, those partners aren’t quite as valuable.
The thing is, people are unique individuals. Your individual relationship with any human being is unique just by virtue of that fact.
Besides which, polyamory or not, seeing a human being as disposable or a commodity is just nasty.
2. What do you gain from this lifestyle?1
I’m not poly because I necessarily hope to gain anything. I’m poly because the logic I’m usually given behind reasons for sexual exclusivity don’t scan for me. I don’t have a religion, so the religious reasons don’t make sense, I don’t believe in One True Love, so that reason makes no sense. As far as sex itself? I believe that sex is moral or immoral by the same standards that any other act is. For the life of me, I cannot separate that particular activity off as being somehow “different” than any other human activity. In that context, sexual exclusivity makes no sense.
I feel no particular responsibility to run out and have bunches of relationships to hold up the side, mind. Relationships take time and energy, and I like to have time to write, knit, swim and lift weights, too!
3. Whats the main differences between swinging and polyamory?
One activity gives a certain subset of the polyamory community an opportunity to feel smug and self-righteous!
Sorry, my snark-o-matic was left on last night. Seriously, the usual answer given is something along the lines of, “Swinging is about sex and poly is about relationships.” I don’t agree with that, entirely. It is my opinion that this debate is usually engaged in by people who feel guilty about having more than one sexual relationship and need some context where it’s okay somehow. It reminds me of the girls in my high school who would sneer at other girls having sex, but were okay with doing it themselves because they were “Really in love.”
4. Are there any other resources that you would recommend?
My blogroll and recommended reading have most of what I’d say are good. Believe it or not, the best books on relationships are usually about business relationships.
5. What do you want people to know most about polyamory?
Keep it about love. I’m not very fluffy, and Ceiling Cat knows I’m a bit on the stern side, but if it ain’t about love, you’re probably doing it wrong.
1I’m answering this as an individual because there’s just no way in the world to answer it for the whole polyamory community. I can think of a dozen answers other people might give, and maybe can work that into a column. But I wanted to give my own here.