Do you have strong views about Sex, Monogamy, and Polyamory?
Monogamy or Polyamory: False Dilemma?Notice the reaction in your body when you read the headline of this article or when you listened to the podcast by my ex Mark PostMasculine on this subject (PostFeminine is not affiliated with his site). Sex, Monogamy, Polyamory, False Dilemma & the Possibility of Consensus. You already have an opinion about this, right? Most likely in your eyes, monogamy is right or polyamory is right, and there is nothing in between. No third path. Just like those political debates that are totally exhausting because regardless of whether people are pro-life or pro-choice, nobody is really looking below the surface to the fact that none of the political positions make any sense and none of them are internally consistent.
Well, there isn’t much point in you reading this article unless you are going to be open to a new perspective. In the past, I have written very controversial and polarizing articles on the subject of sex, monogamy, and polyamory. PostFeminine has a new intention. I sincerely believe that when we go deeper than our cliched personal opinions to the deeper values that we all share, that we will escape from our false dilemma and arrive at a magical place called consensus. So I ask you to read this article with fresh eyes and an open mind.
I have thought deeply and holistically about the monogamy and polyamory debate, and I am convinced that what people actually want in their heart of hearts is neither monogamy nor the cliched and problematic promiscuous version of polyamory that we usually see. Because my new intention is consensus, I will listen to all the comments and then write clarifying articles about the monogamy and polyamory debate from there. I also give full disclosure up front that I have been mostly celibate for the past eight years. I have had enough relationship experience, however, and enough deep thinking about these issues, to know what I am talking about. In every area of life, I believe that when we think things through in advance with clarity, we can set the stage for deeply fulfilling and enduring relationships that take us to levels of happiness never before seen on this planet.
This article is just a start on this discussion of monogamy and polyamory. Let’s turn this into an ongoing conversation where we can consider all perspectives on our way toward consensus.
Definition of Monogamy and Polyamory
For purposes of this article, we will define monogamy as a relationship between two people who have agreed they will have sex and physical intimacy only with each other. Usually these are blanket agreements with no exceptions.
To define polyamory is a little more complex because people actually have very different views of it. It could range from rampant promiscuity with no strings attached to a fairly committed relationship that is open. For now, we will define it as a totally open relationship, meaning two people together in a relationship who have agreed that they can still have sex with whomever they want with no restrictions.
From this working definition of monogamy and polyamory, we want to move on to see if we can develop a consensus about a new kind of relationship agreement that would serve the deeper values of both conventional monogamy and conventional polyamory.
Deeper Values Behind Monogamy and Polyamory
Drawing on principles from empathy (non-violent communication), let’s consider what are the deeper values that tend to be served by a conventional monogamous or conventional polyamorous relationship as defined above.
Monogamy Deeper Values: trust, consistency, continuity, commitment, predictability, simplicity, deep emotional bonding, co-creation, physical affection, emotional understanding, empathy, security, safety, sense of belonging and purpose.
Polyamory Deeper Values: freedom, adventure, variety, exploration, diversification of risk, physical affection, emotional understanding and bonding (sometimes).
There are probably more values than the ones I’ve listed for each type of relationship. Feel free to share yours in the comments section.
Downsides of Monogamy and Polyamory
Jealousy and Other Downsides of Monogamy and PolyamoryHere are some downsides that people tend to associate with monogamy and polyamory. We are not saying these downsides always appear, but they are very, very common. These downsides are more common than most people would like to admit. Again, I am sure we did not get them all here, so feel free to add yours in the comments section of this article.
Downsides of Monogamy: boredom, feeling trapped, stagnation, lack of growth, lack of sexual fulfillment (very common), incompatibility over time, sacrifice, exclusion of others, dishonesty and cheating (extremely common), painful breakups, co-dependency (it’s very rare to see a non-co-dependent monogamous couple but that’s another article entirely)
Downsides of Polyamory: insecurity, jealousy, fear of sexually transmitted diseases, lack of commitment, lack of trust, lack of continuity and longevity, too much complexity and “juggling,” conflicts, possibly social ostracism
Monogamy Would Be Considered Absurd in Just About Any Other Area of Life
Now, I would like you to consider drawing an analogy from the sphere of sex and relationships to other areas of life. In my experience, we can stabilize our romantic relationships by drawing on areas of life where there tends to be more trust, accountability, and integrity, such as financial relationships.
It is “taken for granted” in our society that people will mostly end up in monogamous relationships. It is a very common pattern, for example, among the male population, to “sow their wild oats” for a few years and then eventually “settle down” with one woman. We do this because we are running on unconscious, unquestioned programming. And I dare to say based on the divorce rates, that we know the traditional model does not work. So why is it that we continue to follow it without questioning it?
Think about it – Virtually nobody would agree to “monogamy” in these areas:
* Nobody would want to own a house monogamously (meaning, you can never invite guests over to share dinner with you)
* Nobody would make their toilet monogamous (meaning, your friends can’t use your toilet when they come over for dinner)
* Nobody would agree to be monogamous to just one restaurant (BORING)
* Nobody would own their car monogamously (meaning, nobody can ride in your car except you and perhaps your partner)
* Almost nobody would run a business where they were monogamous to just one client (this is generally seen as a very bad idea, because there is no diversification of risk)
Even when I had a full-time job, which many people treat as monogamous and I think is generally co-dependent, I started a business in my weekend and evening hours. Thank God I did not have a monogamous relationship with my job, it would have severely limited my life options.
Before you have a knee jerk reaction, to what I am writing, I want you to be honest with yourself about this. In just about ANY area of life other than sex, you would consider it SHEER INSANITY to agree to a monogamous relationship.
So here is the cliffhanger of the day: Why is it different with sex?
Okay, this is just part one of this article. I have lots more ideas to share with you, and I want to hear from you in the comments section.
Erika Awakening, High Priestess of Miracles at TAPsmarter
p.s. If you have not yet experienced my transformational videos, get started here for free.
About the Author:
Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening
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