Polyamory is “pie in the sky”?

In response to Dr. Berman’s article in the Sun-Times on men’s threesome fantasies (why only men, I always wonder?), my letter to her and the editor:

Dear Dr. Berman:

I believe that the beliefs that you present in your recent article, “Three on a Match Can Be Dangerous,” are a bit biased and show a lack of full research that do your readers a disservice.

First, in answer to your question, “How are you going to find a cache of willing participants to keep the fantasy fires burning?”, there are a variety of resources available for the non-monogamous among us, including www.polymatchmaker.com, www.okcupid.com and a plethora of swinger and polyamorous sites, clubs, educational groups and more. A quick Google search would have revealed that–did you do one before you came to this conclusion? And while I agree that finding an emotionally and sexually compatible partner does take some effort (as it does when one is monogamous), it is not “like a casting call for a Hollywood B-movie, or a full-time job.”

I also agree that bringing a third, fourth or fifth person into your relationship isn’t by any means simple, but most relationships aren’t simple to begin with; even a monogamous relationship takes a great deal of work long-term to keep its participants connected, happy and fulfilled. And you’re also correct in stating that jealousy and insecurity are issues to be dealt with. But aren’t those issues in many monogamous relationships as well? I wonder if you advise all your monogamous readers to do away with their relationships because they are sometimes jealous or insecure. To me, your advice sounds akin to “Well, when you work downtown, you sometimes have to deal with traffic, so you should quit and be unemployed.” Every relationship suffers from its participants’ insecurities and jealousies at some point, but I doubt you advise that monogamy “doesn’t work” because its practitioners sometimes get jealous.

And as for your statement that “Polyamory, that pie-in-the-sky idea that you can love and bed more than one person at a time, ultimately doesn’t work. Rather, it’s a much better idea to find ways to spice up your sex life a deux,” I would also suggest that this characterization of polyamory does your readers a disservice. If you would like, I’d be happy to connect you with thousands of people for who polyamory is not “pie in the sky” but a satisfying relationship lifestyle of five, ten or even thirty years. And you didn’t give any basis for your belief that polyamory “doesn’t work”–how exactly did you, as a doctor and journalist, come to this conclusion? While polyamory isn’t for everyone and certainly shouldn’t be used as a band-aid for an ailing monogamous relationship, for many of us, it is indeed a much more satisfying lifestyle than monogamy.

Dr. Berman, I applaud for bringing polyamory to the mainstream and undoubtedly sending people rushing to Wikipedia to look up the term, but I am disppointed that your research seems one-sided and incomplete.

minx

Cross-posted to my journal, and

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