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Last week, I uploaded pictures of my boyfriend to Facebook.
For most people, this isn’t a big deal. Your friends “like” all the pictures, you get told how cute he is (he is cute…), people tell you how happy they are for you. Fairly typical. For me, however, it was a bit different since I am also happily engaged and have been for two years.
Yeah, you read that right. I have a boyfriend and a fiancé. I am what the kids these days are calling polyamorous, and I happen to think that I am one of the most fortunate people alive. But more on that in a second.
I was, shall we say, aware of posting the pictures of our hiking trip. Polyamory is one of those things that people (a) aren’t quite familiar with yet or (b) tend to have strong reactions toward. An online acquaintance called poly people “psychotic” and “unbalanced” in a thread I was on. As a woman, I can face a lot of backlash for sleeping with more than one man at a time, regardless as to whether or not I love them both.
I also have a fairly conservative Christian family whose patience I continually test with my Pagan, sex positive, living-in-sin ways. My mother’s infidelity with my father and the never-healed scars it made in my family also weighed on my mind—despite the fact that she lied and cheated and I have the full, enthusiastic consent of my partners.
So, yeah, I was a bit of aware of this particular event. I was braced for a bit of backlash. I wouldn’t, however, say I was nervous or afraid.
How does one “come out” as a lover of many people in a slut-shaming world and in the midst of a family with a somewhat narrow view of a proper life? Simple. I told the people closest to me, those who I thought needed to hear it from me and I knew trusted me to make decisions that were good for my own life. Then, I invoked the honeybadger.
I didn’t bother to hide it. I had nothing to hide. I called myself polyamorous, made references to my boyfriend in my writing, and just carried on living my life. It wasn’t until this week, on the photos of my boyfriend (with my cat, naturally), that my cousin commented, and I made the first explicit statement about it that I had ever done.
And you know what? Honeybadger don’t care, and when honeybadger don’t care, neither do anyone else.
The people who judge me know I don’t care about their judgment. They know they won’t change my mind, so they don’t waste their energy trying to make me feel bad. The people who don’t judge are excited to ask me things. I am more than happy to tell them about a development in my life that has made me happy and fulfilled—not to mention incredibly busy!
I know that my relationships are positive, healthy, and consensual. I am living according to my principles of honesty and integrity. I do not fear being shamed because I have nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by people who care intensely about me—from my close family, to my friends, to my romantic partners. They are all dear and special to me, and I am blessed to have them in my life.
So, yeah, kids. I’m poly. Expect more obnoxiously cute pictures of me and my boyfriend, me and my fiancé, me and my cat, me and my friends and family. Look for them next to my progress with Thoughts on Liberty or my next sewing project. It’s just me, living my life. I’ll let you know when something noteworthy happens (Did I tell you about my new boyfriend?).
What questions do you have for me? I am hardly an expert on poly, but I would be happy to answer any questions you have about my life, my relationships, or point you to some great poly resources!
Gina Luttrell is an almost-anarchist, polyamorous, Druid, sex-positive, social justice advocate who leads a team of amazing libertarian women writers at her online magazine, Thoughts on Liberty.
Great article Honeybadger! :*
Danko bebe. :*
Throughout this post you talked a lot about how happy YOU are being polyamorous….but how do your fiance and boyfriend feel about it? Would they be comfortable being with you at the same time in public? I mean, infidelity has always been frowned upon from both sexes, and polygamy(amory) as well. And how would you feel about your fiance having a girlfriend? In polygamous relationships, its historically been men with more than one woman, and there were always jealousy issues. Sure, I can see it working out for you, but are you advocating these types of relationships to become the norm? Personally, this is not for me, and I can see this trend being advantageous for women more than men.
I can see these types of relationships creating a lot of issues, and gender disparities. If anything, its not about equality at all.
My fiance has a friend with benefits and someone he would like to be romantically involved with soon, and I am very happy for him! I love seeing him aglow and alight with the new energy of finding someone with whom he is compatible.
My fiance is happy for me as well. He smiled at me and hugged me after listening to a brief conversation between my boyfriend and me on the phone and hearing how absolutely smitten I am with my boyfriend. My fiance and I made the decision to be open together, and it’s been good for both of us individually and our relationship as a whole.
When my boyfriend and I first started seeing each other, he had to take some time to reflect if being in a relationship like this is something that he wanted, and he decided he was okay with it. I have to trust that he is an autonomous adult and capable of making decisions that enhance his life. 🙂 And I do. If he is hurting, I trust him to come to me with that hurt instead of hide it from me, and if and when there are conflicts of needs, the three of us work things out together. Openness and honesty has always been central to my relationships, and an open one is no different.
There are many folks who like to say that poly people do relationships “right” and they are expressing true human relationships blah blah blah. I am not one of those people. I think that poly relationships should be accepted as a legitimate kind of relationship, but I think that relationships in general are what the partners make them to be. You do your relationships the way you want to and the way that makes you happy. 🙂
How do you feel it is more advantageous for women than men?
While I respect others decision, there are many pitfalls with polyamory. It may just be an excuse to hide deep psychological issues. Also, some are genetically more likely to practice polyamory.
I see women having a greater advantage because there is more demand for sex from women. I can see men being more willing to be the 3rd party than women in these types of relationships, for the fact that men are more tolerant in exchange for sexual favors. Its almost like a woman can have a husband for the financial benefits, and have a 3rd party male for her sexual desires. Men, unless he happens to have a baseline of status, dont exactly have this advantage, in which if polyamorous relationships became more prevalent, I can see creating gaps in the dating/marriage dynamic
I’m not sure I agree with this construction of the world, at the very least, not within my perview of it.
I am, for starters, completely financially stable with or without either of my partners, so that’s not really a worry or concern for me. I helped financially support my fiance when he got out of school. Financial “security” provided by a man isn’t really much of the norm for women my age as much anymore.
As far as the “demand for sex” explanation, that seems to me to be backwards. If men are more desirous of sex from women than women are from men, you’d see men benefiting from poly relationships more than women, not the other way around. I think the desire for sex is pretty equal among the genders.
I obviously can’t speak to poly from a man’s perspective, though. Perhaps my fiance would be willing to hop on and talk about it some. You can also read a great reddit community reddit.com/r/polyamorous and get some male perspectives as well!
The social exchange theory as it applies to the sexual marketplace is a well founded sociophilosophical point of discussion and many would agree with the view of demand for sex that I made. Also, slut shaming can be applied to men. This may be a new term, but “player” shaming is real, because most men really dont admire or celebrate men with multiple women the way many women perceive. In fact, a lot of men are in a tough position when coming out if they do or dont want to be polyamorous. If we dont, we’re accused of controlling women. If we do, we are seen as players and unfaithful. In recent years, male sexuality has been stigmatized in a way that inhibit men from truly expressing their sexuality, while women are being celebrated for expressing theirs. Also, with the demand for sex I specifically said “single” men desire sex from females with more intensity and frequency than women from men.
I totally agree and think that both male and female sexuality are denigrated unfairly in our culture, just more strongly in different places, depending on where you look. This is one of the reasons it’s important to me to be open about mine. There’s nothing to be ashamed of for wanting what you want, whatever that happens to be!
There are lots of social problems with Americans and sex that have a lot of historical context. I think these things keep us from being open and honest about our sexuality, which I think would solve a lot of the problems you’re discussing!
I *SUSPECT* that Gina’s choice to share what works in her own life is *NOT* a pitch or recommendation that it can (or even should) be a choice for a majority (or even a plurality) of others. I *SUSPECT* its simply Gina becoming so comfortable in her own skin that she’s choosing to express the unfettered, naked, adult and factual truths.
How does it work for her BF & fiance’? Well, so far we don’t have their writings to read, but I would assume that the odds are pretty strong it works just fine. After all, Gina Lutrell is neither anonymous, nor secretive… and being obviously quite intelligent it is extremely likely she flocks with similarly intelligent birds… so her lovers can be assumed to be no immature dummies.
If the shoe fits, wear it… if not, set it aside & find what does. I say good for her (no… *OUTSTANDING* for her… *AND* her beloveds!)
Thank you for the support David!
Thank you for the very kind words! Yes, my beloveds are rather brilliant, if I may brag on them a bit.
Hi, I’m Anthony and I’m the fiance mentioned in the article. I am very happy with the Arrangement and like Gina stated below it is a decision we came to together.
As far as being comfortable in public there’s no real problem for me there.
Neither me nor Gina advocate this type of relationship for everyone else, but it absolutely works for us.
On your last point, I am both male and polyamorous, and one of the reasons I’m polyamorous is specifically to avoid the competitiveness that I see among monogamous men. I think that I benefit from not having to compete with other males to get laid, and not having to worry about my relationship being threatened just because another man is more attractive. (This keeps me from being subservient to her, which is another problem I see with a lot of monogamous men.)
Of course, I’m fine if other people want to be monogamous. Everyone should build their relationships based on their own judgments and tastes. But for my part, I would much rather see my girlfriend hook up with another man, and have our relationship remain intact, than to have to worry about her attraction to him ruining the relationship.
Is honey badger a codeword for something?
Hi Cathy, thanks for the nice pic of the smallest member of the badger family. One is wise to leave it alone and don’t piss it off. I’ve seen it as the pic on Gina’s postings. The guesting is a invoking her honeybadger. Is the guest poster and Gina the same person?
Yes they are, if you look at the bottom of the article the blurb about the poster mentions her by name.
I think the problem a lot of people have with polyamorists (and it’s certainly not present in this article at all) is that many act like new atheists or vegans when they make the official decision to be polyamorous, talking down to everyone that doesn’t share that lifestyle. I think people should do what makes them happy, so y’know live and let live, but it’s frustrating to be told that I’m not as highly evolved or ethically developed because I don’t want my girlfriend to have sex with other dudes.
My only question with polyamory is where do you find the time to have multiple partners??? I barely have time to hang out with one girlfriend haha 🙂
Google Calendar helps out a lot.
As far as the rest I think that is a vocal minority type of issue. Lots of poly people you may not even know about because they may not even bring it up unless it is naturally part of conversation or you specifically ask.
I think some may feel the pressure since some monogamous people look down on how they live their lives to be defensive to the point of lashing out and attacking the monogamous lifestyle which, while not justified, is understandable.
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