PW 353: Polynormativity

Is there a polynormative model in the media? And if so, what issues can that create for poly newbies?

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1:00 Announcements and host chat

  • Had a great time at Conflation; thanks to everyone for making us feel relaxed and welcome!
  • Content Creation for the Online Activist on Sunday, March 17th at 10:30 AM in D.C. at CatalystCon ( #ccon )
  • Want to help send Minx to SXSWi and CatalystCon this year? We just need 10 $96 donations so I can eat! And we LOVE $69 and $96 donations!

Interview: Andrea Zanin on polynormativity

Andrea’s longish essay on the problem with polynormativity is here. You can find Andrea’s essays on her Sex Geek blog.

Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY (our new number!). And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? :-) Check out PolyWeekly at Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

6 comments to PW 353: Polynormativity

  • Laura

    Thank you for this great and insightful podcast. I am a solo poly, involved with a married man. Being a secondary partner has been a struggle for me for more than a year. It is a challenge to feel valued and treated fairly in the normal hierarchical model as you describe. And it is a challenge to find people to talk to who did it successfully.
    I want to send a message of peace: as much as I’ve suffered, and resented my couple for holding onto their privileges and hurting me, I know that they are good people in heart, they have good intentions. It took me a long time to see that they are terrified to screw up their marriage because there is a lot at sake, and that fear is so big that it often prevents them from thinking clearly I think. That need for such protectiveness didn’t make any sense to me for a long time, as their relationship looks very strong from the outside. Now I see their mistakes more as a result of a biased view, than as a lack of consideration for others.

  • thank you

    i agree with your broad cast and enjoyed it very much

  • Mycenae

    I don’t think you can impose one standard on everyone. Some people might like having a triad, or a v, where everyone is equal. The majority of poly people, though, prefer to form primary couples, while having secondary relationships with other people. This doesn’t mean that secondary partners aren’t valued, or that the relationship is less important than the primary relationship. It just means that the relationship with the primary is recognized as having attained a greater degree of intimacy than the secondary relationship.

    It also doesn’t make much sense to divide primary and secondary partners into separate classes, because there may also be people who are secondaries for someone who is in a primary couple, who also have their own primary relationships. (I know this isn’t your preferred model, though.)

    And finally, I think most poly people are smart enough to make our own decisions, and people who prefer primary-secondary relationships aren’t just brainless drones being mind-controlled by the media. They’ve made a choice about what works for them, and that’s all that matters. I wish the person interviewed would be more respectful toward other people’s choices. It’s important that in discussing the needs of secondary partners, we respect the rights of people to have primary relationships.

  • I agree with this and it’s really enjoyable. I will be following this from now on.

  • Great article, but I think there are complexities that are unmentioned. When my wife was reluctant to let to of a long term affair, I made a disastrous attempt at (non-consensual) poly from which we have not yet recovered. Disastrous for primary and secondary partners. Published a novel about it – “Angelicus – when hearts hold lifetimes of secrets, solving a mystery can be murder”. Free preview on Amazon.

  • […] I did dabble in it for a little while and got pretty badly burned. Andrea Zanin’s post (and interview with Cunning Minx on Polyamory Weekly) were really helpful to me. Finally, someone was saying that […]

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