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Into The Big World – Debunking Myths About Polyamorous Relationships

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Those who have stepped on the path of publicity might know the effect of rumors and myths halo emerging around them. But they are not only celebrities who can be veiled by the haze of rumors: the said phenomenon may also refer to abstract notions - say, the type of relationship. Polyamory, for instance, is surrounded by a cloud of guesswork, tall tales and “the stories that I’ve heard”, so that before coming to see real polyamorous relationships one has to dispel the myths and have the mist of mythic information dissipated. And in case you have made up your mind to learn more about polyamory, the implicit belief in the very first thing seen and heard may obstruct the way to the plan accomplishment or even hinder making the first attempt.

Preventing a person from trying a thing that he or she might like equals to doing something that could have resulted in our eternal staying in the Gardens of Eden, locked within sperm cells and ovules without apples and internet – the unborn children of Adam and Eve. Therefore I suggest that we lift the hazy veil of assumptions and myths to see polyamory proper.

They are born polyamorists

Extreme adherents of monogamy very much enjoy the myth that tells polyamorists to be born this way. Yet the idea of a certain generation ‘p’ that has some specific gene mutation and is from its early years aware of the desire to have a family of more than two does not look anything like real stories shared by polyamorists. One may believe Franklin Veaux who represents himself as the one who’s never been in any monogamous relationship to be a born polyamorist, but he is rather an exception, not the rule.

In the book Ethical Slut the authors of the polyamory “bible” Catherine Liszt and Dossie Easton draw real stories about people who were for many years practicing monogamy before they ventured trying new type of relationship. The same very position is conveyed in the Polyamory: Married & Dating series that is a kind of reality show telling about formation and principles of several polyamorous families.

As for genetics, this is what they say about monogamy:

- Monogamy and the ability to recognize the partner that they have spent many years with is inherent in less than 1 % of animal species.

- A non-monogamy hormone does not exist; yet there is a monogamy-hormone – vasopressin – that inhibits aggression and secures patience in respect of each other.

- In terms of evolutionary strategy the mission of monogamy is to secure the offspring survival. During the period of her being attached to the baby a female is not able to feed herself since carrying a young and searching for food is very difficult.  She needs a daily breader, and thus monogamy takes the principle of “sex for food”– the strategy that was relevant in the preindustrial society - as its underlying idea.

Polyamory is a product of the XXI century

The word “polyamory” is fairly new one indeed. However the type of relation that this word implies – the consensual or ethical non-monogamy – is far from being fresh. One can see evidences of consensual non-monogamy existence in historical, fine and even religious literature dated back to different centuries.

The examples of non-monogamy with mutual consent can be found in the literature of Ancient Japan (The Tale of Genji, 8th cent.), Ancient India (Mahabharata), Mesopotamia (Code of Hammurabi), Ancient Greece (Homer), Ancient Rome and Egypt (The Bible  – the bibliographies of the prophets Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon).

Ethical polyamory is the paragon of relationship evolution

The idea representing ethical polyamory to be the best type of relationship and depicting polyamorists as the most advanced people is the same very extreme as that of worshiping monogamy. This view is often supported by those who have seen too many lies in monogamy and thus consider polyamorists who make honesty their cornerstone to be the knights without fear and reproach.

Yet polyamorists are no super humans; they are not perfect and they speak openly about it: in every film or series dedicated to polyamorous relationship and in every book written by a polyamorist you may find someone who overcomes the pangs of jealousy and deals with other crises and vagaries in relations with other people.

It is not only in case of beginning polyamorists but also in experienced polyamory activists that jealousy may occur; for instance, in his blog dealing with polyamory Franklin Veaux has a separate section dedicated to jealousy and insecurity. While, on the other hand, the world knows many instances of close-knit and united monogamous families.

Polyamorists are ex sex-crazed

You might have probably heard that polyamorists prefer “perverted” sex and therefore organize polyamorous communities in that one may practice whatever one wants. Debunking such myth is obviously a tough job since no one has ever made any statistics on what is exactly the way that polyamorous families have sex. The only thing that can be assessed is the motives of shifting into polyamorous relationships of those who dared a coming-out. And in terms of public polyamorists motives analysis one can hardly find any statement telling that the purpose of having a family for more than two was the practice of kinky-sex (find more about kinks in article "Why Do Unicorns Love Kinks? World Of Sex Games").

I see objections coming and alleging the adherents of polyamory to hide their true motives from the general public, but there is no escaping the fact that the global number of kinksters is larger than that of polyamorists. The summary statistics of Pornhub search queries on kinky-sex is many times as large as the number of polyamory groups members around the world. There are obviously enough partners for kinksters who are looking for unusual sex so that they don’t need to be involved in “poly-marriage” in order to live their fantasies out.

Polyamorists make nothing of fidelity

There is a popular belief that only those incapable of commitment turn polyamorists. But consider the term ‘polyfidelity’ that’s been described in many poly-blogs and that literally means “multiple fidelity”. A group of polyamorists who have adopted a rule of “remaining faithful within the family” is a common phenomenon. They often use polyfidelity solely for the purpose of eliminating anxiety about unsafe sex with partners from the outside, while it is compersion – the ability to feel joy regarding partner’s feelings to someone else – rather than proneness to adultery that comes as one of the basic motivating emotions underlying the desire to start a family for more than two.

Faithfulness within polyamorous community in no way means that the family shall never be subject to extension, it’s just that new partners shall be added with consent of all existing members of this relationship. The only thing abandoned by the adherents of polyfidelity is casual sex, and this is done for the sake of each of the family members’ safety.

Stepping into the real world of polyamory

Any myth is not just an absurd idea that emerges by chance and cloaks a popular issue in the way a soft veil does - they may turn into extremely disturbing factors. However not everything that stands on the way of a fantasy or idea fulfillment is a myth. Just like in any other sphere of life, the truth about polyamory is hidden behind a cloud of gossips, rumors and amateur opinions. Polyamory, just like any field of knowledge, has its own experts whom one can easily see. They practice what they preach, they found time to get a field-specific degree (in sociology, psychology) and they don’t use coming-outs for boosting their own popularity but invest their effort in throwing light on the darkness of unwarranted speculations.

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