Polyamory – how it may promote equality
August 10, 2013 § 1 Comment
I am seeing more and more people into polyamory. Or, maybe I am just in circles where I am exposed to persons who are open status in their relationships. It seems easy to poke fun at the religious extremists who use polyamory as some sort of inherent requirement of their oddity in thought and practice. It is another, almost attractive, concept when we see intelligent, non-fanatical and spiritually aware persons trying out the same partner swapping practice.
I discovered Jaiya Ma who represents a lifestyle of ope-ness, solid communication and her radio show, Sex with Jaiya, that reviews sex education and health and wellness products, a woman after my own heart. She received huge media coverage of her lifestyle as well as continues her lifestyle with integrity and now pays attention to her small child… life goes on.
The fact is, women are becoming much more powerful. I have learned this from my own tantra teacher, as well as reading this consistently in mainstream news. Stefanie Iris Weiss wrote a two part article on Monogamy is a Patriarchal (& Other things Your Parents Probably Never Taught You) about the subject of polyamory and speaks of women’s pleasure:
“Let’s get something straight: women are programmed for pleasure. It’s just society’s built-in misogyny that throws a wrench in biology’s plan for us. We’re not taught to value our bodies, our sexuality, and our desire enough. But no matter how important it is to honor pleasure, expecting hot sex to be the only foundation for a relationship is rather ridiculous. You can’t always build authentic intimacy with someone you’re desperately chemically attracted to.”
Honoring pleasure is something well understood in the tantra community. I do not think that it is the same goal in the religious community. Reverend Martin Elfert writes to Poly and encourages giving up the idea of polyamory, “…gosh, it sure sounds exhausting. If you talk to just about anyone north of, say, five years into a long-term relationship, he or she will tell you that it’s a huge undertaking to maintain the mutual respect, the careful yet truthful conversation, the empathy, and the love which allows two people to keep on seeing the spark of the divine in one another. In short, while marriage is a wondrous vocation, it is also a whole lot of work. I can’t even imagine how much harder that work would become if you tried to keep its delicate and awesome dance going with more than one other person.”
With religion or cultural practice of polyamory the case of equality is clouded. As suggested in this anthropological study of polyamory, Natalie Perry says ”Even if people choose to be involved in the poly community while not taking extra partners themselves, they always have that option. Another main difference between polyamory and the Mormon polygynist lifestyle is that in the poly community, sexual orientation is not an issue. When people take more than one partner these partners can be of either the same or opposite sex.”
Polyamory has the potential to create quality between partners, regardless of gender. While women may benefit moreso, many partners will be able to explore with definitions of intimacy and power and lessening rigidity in roles. When sex practice is coupled with communication and spiritual growth it can be extremely powerful, regardless of the number of partners.