I know you must often wonder: what is polyamory? Well here's a (nonsensical) guide: "Polyamory - What it is and what it isn't." Aside from being awkwardly written (avoiding some common contractions, but using one in the title, for instance), the essay is dull and boring. Plus, it's not based the slightest bit in reality. Anyway, what is "polyamory"?

Polyamory has been defined as the philosophy and practice of loving more than one person at a time with honesty and integrity. Synonyms for polyamory are responsible, ethical, and intentional, non-monogamy. Because those descriptions are somewhat clumsy, the term Polyamory was coined in the late 80's by a pagan Priestess, Morning Glory Zell, and defines a range of different lifestyle alternatives. In most cases, but not all, this involves some sexual or at least intensely intimate sensual behavior.
Let me summarize: you have sex with lots of people, but there won't be any complications if you all love each other.

The authors purposefully confuse all sorts of different meanings for "love".

Polyamorists say that love is an infinite, not a finite commodity. An example of this is with children. When my oldest daughter was born, I loved her with every ounce of my being. When my son was born, I found that I didn't have to give them half a love each, I could love them both fully. My third child is loved as much, if not more, than the other two.
It's absurd to assert that people love their children in the same way they love their spouse/whatever. You may as well say "I love pizza and I love hamburgers; in the same way, I can love both Jill and Heather." There are all sorts of different kinds of love, as I think we're all well-aware.

The authors also appear to have no understanding of what love really involves.

This also applies to friends - when you meet someone new, you don't have to think about who you are going to drop off to make them fit. As a woman said when explaining why she chose polyamory - "I refuse to accept the myth that I have to stop loving one person before I start loving another."
There's only so much time in the day. I'm sure we've all lost contact with friends due to lack of time. It's absurd to think a person could invest the amount of time necessary for a truly intimate loving relationship with a large number of people. In fact, most humans can't even maintain one healthy relationship (judging from the divorce rate).

And then, "falling in love".

Polyamorists say that love should be unconditional, rather than the monogamous proposition that "I will love you on the condition that you will not love anyone else" - "forsaking all others" is how it usually is put. And as shown by history, monogamy and marriage are no safeguards against falling in love with someone else.
And there's no way we can possibly control our feelings, is there? We're doomed to fall in love with other people and destroy our marriages! Except, of course, that loving someone is far different from "falling in love" (as we say). Loving someone involves a conscious choice, whereas "falling in love" is merely an emotional phenomenon.

The authors blather on a bit and then try to refute the idea that polyamory might displease God by quoting two atheists.

It is sinful - God doesn't like it.

"Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others." Oscar Wilde Chameleon.

"Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error." George Bernard Shaw

The sinfulness and wickedness of sex is based on the assumption that God doesn't like sex. This poison has its roots in Ancient Assyria, and the religions of Mythra and Zoroastrianism, which first put forth the idea of "the obscenity of the flesh." The sex drive, being one that cannot be denied, becomes a rich source of implanted guilt and shame, used to manipulate and degrade the individual. Therefore any sexual (natural) feelings need to be accompanied by shame, and therefore kept secret.

Of course, there's no real indication that God dislikes sex, so they're beating up a straw man. As they note, much of the Bible was written by polygamists. However, the authors aren't advocating polygamous marriage, they're advocating committment-free sexual liasons. The Bible makes it pretty clear that God wasn't thrilled with the idea of polygamy (see Solomon's downfall and Paul's instruction that church elders have at most one wife), even though he doesn't condemn it, but polygamous marriages laid responsibilities on all parties involved identical to the responsibilities in monogamous marriages. They weren't sexual free-for-alls.

Ok, there's a bunch more stuff I won't address directly. It's repetitive.

Their last point is the most absurd. After discussing jealousy at great length, they then ask an apparently rhetorical question that implies monogamy has no biological basis.

If monogamy is so natural and hardwired, why is there such a large relationship industry - the "How to make it right" of magazines, books, TV shows, marriage guidance, etc.?
Hm, could it be because we want successful monogamous relationships, but have trouble making them work? Maybe because we keep "falling in love" and never make a real decision to actually love someone in spite of our frequently fluctuating emotions? Could it be because nonsense like this polyamory paper twists and distorts people's understanding of love?

(HT: Random Walks.)



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