“Only You. And You. And You.” by Jessica Bennett

I found this article online (yay Google) and after reading it, decided I wanted to share it with you my lovely readers.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/07/28/only-you-and-you-and-you.html

Jessica speaks with a Seattle based polyamorous family (four males and two females). The majority of the article focuses on the inner workings of this particular family. Overall their story didn’t capture my attention, and was quickly glanced over.

What I actually found interesting, however, were various studies that Bennett quotes along the way. Bennett  explains, “Researchers are just beginning to study the phenomenon, but the few who do estimate that openly polyamrous families in the United States number more than half a  million, with thriving contingents in nearly every city.” However, she doesn’t sight where she obtained this research. It is difficult to know whether or not this is an accurate estimate without knowing the details of the research; especially when compounded by the fact that there hasn’t been much research into the polyamory lifestyle yet.

The article claims that most polys don’t have a political agenda (mainly because they don’t have the time). I happen to be one of those poly people that does want to be an advocate for legal rights concerning polyamory, as well as other forms of non-traditional, non-heteronormative loving relationships. Bennett goes on to state that advocates of gay marriages and gay rights are fearful that the poly lifestyle will negatively affect their platform, and therefore tend to steer clear of overt associations with poly groups.

Some, like Andrew Sullivan, a columnist for the Atlantic, suggest that poly people don’t deserve the same rights as gays because they have the choice to be poly, while homosexuals do not have the choice to be gay. He writes, “I believe that someone’s sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express the orientation with.” I vehemently disagree. Yes, some people have chosen this lifestyle for one reason or another, but not all. I didn’t “choose” to be poly. I have always been poly as long as I’ve been interested in relationships. When i’ve been forced to adhere to a heterosexual, monogamous relationship (because it’s the right thing to do), I continually failed because I was never fulfilled by just that one person. This led to me cheating on most of my partners. That’s not healthy or normal. It’s only when I’ve been allowed to truly be myself with my partner, meaning I’m “allowed” to have multiple partners, that I can find happiness and be a good partner to my significant other(s).

Bennett quotes biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. Fisher believes that poly people are fighting against human nature because we are jealous by nature (see my post “Jealousy”); but polyamorists claim that they (we) are not immune to jealousy, they (we) simply have open communication with our partners to try to asuage guilt.

Bennett finishes her article by discussing the major poly concern being parental rights; especially parents losing their rights if the public discovers they are poly.

While she attempts to put a face to the concept of polyamory with the family she writes about, because she doesn’t fully develop her ideas  of legalities, parental rights, etc., the article leaves little to be desired in properly informing the monogamous majority of America’s population. However, I have to remember that this is a Newsweek article, and is meant to be a short blurb to entice readers on a subject. It’s meant for “informative entertainment,” not scholarly research.

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