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« Sex-positive sexual ethics | Main | Another failing argument about gay marriage »

May 13, 2004

Comments

Joel

This phenomenon of the open gay relationship is probably the top reason why I am celibate. The author notes that men can have sexual relations without intimacy or emotion. This appears to be attached to the western theory of the human male as some poor creature captivated by some primal urge to insert himself into as many recipients as possible. So, we condone, no, even esteem the anti-heros that have legitimized and capitalized on this theory. Pornographers are accepted into polite society (the prime example of Hugh Heffner) and people bat an eye to male infidelity. This behavior has a long history of tacet approval.

So, the nod towards open gay relationships stems from social phenomenon that originally never thought of a gay component to the male fantasy. Men are expected to sleep around and receive only a slap on the hand when families fall apart due to this. It's disgusting how hypocritical the larger society is on this issue.

For myself, I refuse to think of my sex as common with wild animals. I happen to believe in the preposterous idea that we can rise above our apparently animal origins and actually be considerate of ourselves and others. In a time when gay rights is still in a fledgling stage, it boggles my mind that we would want find excuses for this relationship style. Praising non-monogomous styles send a clear message to our opponents. It screams that we are as ridiculous and hyprocritical as the straight man who cheats on his family and runs years of deception. It doesn't matter whether or not this is true (most likely it is!). It matters that we triumph a demoralized and pathetic state instead of trying to be better.

Emotional destruction is a regular visitor to open gay relationships and it is largely due to jealousy and feelings of comparative worthlessness. The idea that it is a healthy and natural alternative for gay couples is false.

Saddened,
Joel

Joe Kort

Joel,

I have grown to believe that there are many points of views out there and that no one holds the answer to what is right or wrong for others. I think if you wish to remain celibate, monogamous or otherwise that should be your choice. However, to make a sweeping generalization that everyone "should be" anything is exactly why gays have trouble to begin with. My hope would be you would state simply that for you and those you surround yourself with are either celibate and monogamous and let others live and let live.

Hopeful about differences,

Joe Kort

Corey

I agree this is sad to praise something that is so clearly derived from the rejection of a spiritual standard that challenges us to focus singularly on another person and the power that can be created through nurturing that love. It’s not spirituality if there is no standard. And standards are not something to be discarded simply because they are difficult or require us to seek validation from a more positive source. We as gay men love and need to be loved, perhaps because for so long we have been told that we are unworthy of it or imperfect. But that is not the reason to find it in every crevice and every set of blue eyes we find. Intimacy from one person can be enough. And yes, fulfilling the complex earth shattering potential of monogamous love is hard, taxing and, amazing. But we’re worth the effort.

Hugo Ball

We didn't slip through a trap door into natural history. As much as we might sometimes wish to think so, each of our physical bodies has an ancient past, and is only the latest instantiation in a long history of forms profoundly acted upon by evolutionary forces. To deny this is to pretend that reality does not affect us, and to bury our heads in the sand. What we DO with these ancient urges is where our choice comes into it. Thank you for writing this article! We need more frank discussion along these lines. Particularly in a society as deeply sexually repressed as ours. Cheers. :)

Adam and Mark

I loved this article as we are fascinated with the gay culture's views on nonmonogamy. Personally, we believe that each couple has to do what works for their relationship and their situation. the funny is, even though we give that respect to other gay couples, the same is not given to us when we say that we are totally monogamous to each other. (and by monogamy, we mean it is only us, emotionally, physically, sexually).

We've met other gay couples who are monogamous or so they say, but then later are suggesting that we have a foursome with them. This boggles our minds because we are very clear on our stance on monogamy.

We came together after failed relationships where our partners were unfaithful. I was even talking into believing that a threesome would save our failing relationship... he cheated 6 weeks later. Both of us felt hurt, jealous beyond belief and hurt when we felt or knew our partner was with someone other than us.

Monogamy works for us and has done so for 8 years. We are happy and more in love today than ever before.
I still believe that each gay couple should do what works for them. But might I add, gay couples who are open or play together should be mindful that not all of the heterosexual community as are open minded and will use anything against us. So while we are still battling for equality, I say don't aid fuel to the fire.

charlie

I have been in an open realtionship for 18 months & am now finding it difficult. My partner has suffered from depression recently so his libido has suffered but when I am away he has sought sex with other men. He tells me that its because I'm not here & he felt horny, otherwise he would have had sex with me......I find this hard to deal with when he hasnt really been interested for a while. I am beginning to think that his desire for an open relationship stems from compulsive promiscuity & not just the fact that I am absent. We have discussed changing the rules so that we only play together & we are working that out. as mentioned before,open gay relationships seem to be ever changing as with mine but I am learning that to cope with feelings of insecurity, jealousy etc., I can only be honest and try to deal calmly with the issues. Most of all, we need support from each other to be able to weather the storms to be able to maintain an individual sense of respect & care. Nothing is ever black & white and the only in life that is guaranteed is change. we need to learn to embrace change & move forward to be able to survive, hard as that may be.

charlie

Alec

My nine year relationship is unraveling slowly at the seams. All the hope, dreams, time and energy that I put into this relationship is fading away. When my partner (37 at the time) and I (23 at the time) met 10 years ago - we entered into a monogamous relationship because I could not be in a open relationship. He has been in this monogamous partnership for all that time because he loved me and I loved him. Now with a small, but significant mid-life crisis that's affecting him, he would like to open the relationship as his relationships had been in the past. I'm left with my own refusal to comply. Even though my love for this man knows know limit, I have to bow out. Sadly I have found my limit - it was tested and I know who I am. I can not see myself in a relationship with anyone who would want sex to be as casual as an intimate handshake. We are human, not animals, surviving on primal instinct. There is cause and effect to life. I truly believe in the positive effects of monogamy. My issue has been that I choose to be with a non-monogamist man for so long out of love for him, and vise versa. I knew his views and he, mine. Our love for each other lasted 9 years and I’m thankful for every year. I wish him the very best that life has to offer him. I hope to meet a man in the distant future that has the same core values as I do.

Jeff

I had all but given up that gays could be monogomous (emotionally, sexually,etc.) but reading some of your comments here as re-ignited the fire of my hope. For those of you still seeking to justify immoral behavior, no amount of arguing will convince you...Alec, I share your values:)

Joe Kort

There are two important books for straights and gays on monogamy by Helen Fisher. 1. Why We Love and 2. The Anatomy of Love.

Fisher is a sociologist who studies and researched couples and indivuals along with other researchers finding that humans and mammals are not wired for monogamy.

We all can definately *choose* monogamy but that we are not wired for it.

I say never give up on the type of relationship you want. Monogamous or not, you should be in the type of relationship that is right for you.

Warmly, Joe Kort

pennyjane hanson

i, too, am saddened by this respect given to non-manogomous relationships. they most certainly are not marriages. my wife and i have been married for 28 years, neither of us has ever considered "cheating". what i have is hers and what she has is mine. oh, our marriage has survived transsexualism..no...thrived during transsexualism. there is that place deep down in me, where love and sexuality are concieved as one that belongs only to her. i trust her so, i know it's true for her as well...that makes us married.

Joe Kort

It is interesting that the first thing people think of about non-monogamy is cheating. When I refer to non-monogamy regarding the couples I see is they have a mutual contract to have an open relationship. The love is still there and very strong. They have emotional fidelity and are true to an understanding about sexual openness--not cheating.

Cheating involves secrecy, lies and breaking of a contract.

This world would be a much better place if people would stop judging what others do and say, "For me that would not work" rather than adding, "And it would not work for anyone else either!"

Who are you or anyone else to make that judgment about anyone else?

Joe Kort

pennyjane hanson

gosh, i didn't realize i spoke for anyone but myself. where did i say "it would not work for anyone else either?" your thesis is as judgemental as is my response. you said this is what you think, i said this is what i think. some people can function in an open relationship, i could not. and i am of the opinion that sexuality is paramount to relationships. that's just my opinion, you may disagree but you really don't have to dispairage. good luck to you. with much love and hope, pj

Joe kort

Pennyjane,

You said this:

"I, too, am saddened by this respect given to non-manogomous relationships. they most certainly are not marriages"

That is speaking for other marriages. It makes sense that for you it would not work. It would not work for me either. However, for some of my clients and friends, it works.

It is my judgment "to each his own". So you are correct that I am being judgmental in that way. I don't speak for other's relationships.

Not sure what you think was dispairaging about my post. I was simply challenging your notion that "non-monogamous relationships are not marriage". That may be true for you but it is not for many others.

Peace, love and integrity to you as well.

Joe Kort

pennyjane hanson

they most certainly are not marriages as i see them. why is my opinion judgemental and yours isn't? are you the final arbitrar of what marriage is or isn't? that you fall back on using the old label "judgemental" on me for differing with your opinion is dispairaging. i put "cheating" in quotes, it's how i see it. i spoke of my marriage, what has worked for us.

i am not as educated as you, i'm a highschool dropout. but i have been in a 28 year marriage that has not only suvived what would easily kill most, but thrived. that experience entitles me to post an opinion, ancedotal as it is. we believe that monogomy is one of the properties that make relationships survive. that's a judgement of course, we all judge all day every day, we're human. to dismiss an argument as "judgemental" because it is not your argument does nothing to further debate nor understanding. you have your experiences and i have mine. as uncomfortable as it seems to make you my opinions may be wrong, but they are valid and worthy of more then the old "judgemental" dissmissal.

relationships fall apart in our community at a staggering rate. there are many reasons for this, primarily i believe it's because they aren't sanctioned by state nor theology in most instances. but that we don't respect the sanctity of sex as a marital act is another. it is my ancedotal belief that couples who commit themselves exclusively to one another sexually are more likely to develop the trust and intimacy it takes to carry a relationship beyond the "'tll we find another" stage. that's just my opinion, but what do i know? i'm just a girl. thank you and good luck. much love and hope, pj

pennyjane hanson

well, today this got talked about a little in a class before church. not specifically, but what was said seemed quite relevant. we were discussing the association between contract and covenant. i think there's something to be said about this in your paradigm, joe. you repeat over and over about the contract between the two. of course a contract can be a part of a covenant but the latter is so much more. i think this might explain the difference you and i seem to have in thinking about marriage, i view it as a covenant, you see it as a contract.

unfortunately, at least as i see it, too many people accept your idea and not mine. it is impossible for me to see marriage through the lens of sexual...promiscuity...for lack of a better term. i can see it from your view, the marriage is a contract, an individual contract by which all is negotiable. there are no standards, just whatever two people may agree upon. from my perspective, the more "covenant" view, there are standards for what marriage is. it is between two people who committ themselves 100% to each other. they make certain promises to each other and one of those is sexual exclusivity. that may be the primary difference between a covenant and a contract in a marital relationship.

don't blame this attitude of mine on religious conviction. i came from an agnostic family and was a practioner of same myself for most of my life. it was only about eight years ago i became a christian. my view of marriage has not changed. i believe we do need to extend the santity of marriage to include two people of whatever gender they may happen to be, but i also believe that by changing the fundamental concept of what it is won't be helpful to any of us.

why is it so many of us on the side of the same sex marriage argument insist on the word "marriage" and are not satisfied with "civil unions"? could it be because we see the difference between marriage and contract? that we think marriage is so much more and the marital relationship cannot be satisfied by legalistic contracts? i think there's a lot to be said for this idea. for many of us, not all, but many feel like sexual exclusivity is a fundamental part of the marriage covenant, if you remove that you change the whole concept. it does become no more then a "civil union". for some that's enough, but...contracts are written to be broken, marriages are santified for life.

i do believe that marriage is "under assault" in a lot of ways in our country. same sex is not one of them. marriages are far too contractual and far to little spiritual. the pre-nuptual contract...a presumption of failure. sexual non-exclusivity, a virtual guarantee. lots of people with lots of ideas, but the proof is in the pudding. gay relationships that are open and succeed for long periods are as rare as albino alligators. hetersexual "marriages" with pre-nups are just as odd. marriages with sexual exclusivity endure at a far greater rate.

i'm not making any judgement other then what seems to work. no morality involved, just human nature. contract or covenant, what's more likely to succeed? much love and hope, pj

Frustrated

Thank you for the information here. I have found it very insightful.

I am going through a rough patch with my partner. I am 42, he is 24. We met and both coming out of bad relationships, we clicked immediately.

During the early stage of our "courtship" and before the "will you be my boyfriend" question, I met a guy, had him stay over, we got naked, but nothing happened, I felt guilty and couldn't do anything. This guy and I chatted on line after this for several month.

My new partner moved in with me, at my invitation after we had been seeing each other for about 4 or 5 months.

I had make loose plans to catch up with the guy I had over at a party and maybe fool around. At the party, I treated my partner in such an awful matter, as I was flirting with this other guy, kissing, etc. This of course upset my partner and made him inquisitive.

He ended up stumbling across my saved chat logs and read all the sordid details. We spoke about it, well I should say, he spoke and I listened. At the end of the conversation, I was told that our relationship would now be open. For the record in the 13 months since that has happened, I have probably had sex outside of the relationship 8-10 times, and rarely did I enjoy it.

This worked ok for about 6-8 months, then he suddenly decided to start invoking the open relationship to its fullest. Sometimes 4 or 5 nights a week.

Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to grasp the concept mention on this site about emotional and non-emotional sex - he likes to meet guys, chat, learn their life story, tell them his, have sex, then continue to talk. This usually ends up with his "casual sex buddy" becoming emotionally attached and him ending up having to tell them he is in a committed relationship, etc.

This past week, he met a guy at a sex-on-premises place, I was there with him. then for the next 3 night, he went to see this guy and each time they had sex. I had grown sick of being put to one side while he sews his wild oats, so we ended up having a big arguement over it.

I am a jealous person, I hate the fact that he would rather have sex with other men than with me, or even just spending time with me.

I told him that I did not want to be treated as a doormat, a house keeper and a flatmate who just happens to share a bed with him. In my frustration and at the white heat of the arguement, I told him to leave by the weekend.

After saying this, I immeadiately apologised and told him I deeply regreted saying it (which I do) and I really want to try and work things out. We both had a cry and told each other how much we love each other and that we always will. I knew we needed some time apart, so I jumped in the car and drove to a beach and smoked a packet of cigarettes.

His idea of having some space, was going to see the guy he had been with the past 3 nights.

Anyway, we have at least been civil to one another since and he suggested counselling and I would be happy to go along with that. I think we both have a few issues to sort out and hopefully, this will do it.

pennyjane

monogamy might be something worth thinking about for you. good luck and God bless.

Cavar

Assuming that as Mr Kort says about the writings of Ms. Fisher, that mammals, humans, are not actually wired for monogamy to begin with, it might be useful to contemplate why the institution of marriage is important, and came into being.

Obviously in the case of heterosexuality, one can see the importance of marriage with respect to children and the stable family environment.

In a relationship where there are no children (gay or straight), what might the other reasons be for the "marriage" commitment, or as some of the above bloggers have called it, this "sanctified covenant of exclusive monogamy"?

Could be romantic love, or sometimes when you meet someone nice, that you get along with, and that you are reasonably attracted to, you settle down with them, and settle the romantic/sexual side of your being, so that you can get on with the other parts of your life.

It's a complicated issue--open versus closed relationships, and I agree with Mr Kort, that different things work for different people.

For me, it has depended on where I am in my life.

I am 50 now, and for the last ten years, I became more preoccupied with "great sex." I think I went through my midlife crisis. Yes, I did have some exciting times (managed to stay safe through it all,) and I can still look forward to great sex when the opportunity arises.

Do I want to spend the rest of my life cruising for great sex?

NO.

Some of the best relationships I have had have been rather unconventional. I had a mentor/teacher who was fifty years older than me that I knew for almost 20 years. We had an affair at the beginning, which fizzled pretty fast---age difference, and she was a woman!, but then we remained friends, and had this incredible teacher student relationship that endured for years. We lived together on and off, and I took care of her until she died. I loved her dearly and it was like a marriage except that there was no sex for the most part. Looking back, the whole experience transformed me.

In another instance, I had to work with someone for years who I had a crush on and love deeply, very passionately. He loved me too, but not in a physical way, so it had to remain platonic. That was very difficult, but as he lovingly explained to me---sometimes you do not find everything in one person. We are still the best of friends, and whenever we see one another we have a blast. I sometimes think that I could live with him, and take care of him because I do love him, and if he doesn't want sex with me, I could find it on the side.

For me the moral of the story is--You do not neccesarily get everything from one person. If you do have that with someone, I think it's wonderful, but how many of us find the one love of our life, and how long does the "paradise" last?

In the larger picture, I think that the GLBT population has a bit of a challenge, because our unions are not taken seriously, nurtured, celebrated, or legally recognized by straight society at large, as are straight relationships. It's as if from the get go we have been labeled "freaks", promiscuous, perverts, relegated to shadowy places--the closet, and bars, bathouses, sex clubs, internet cruising sites, where it becomes easy to get addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex---not to mention the insidiousness of internalized homophobia.

For so many of us, we cannot totally be who we are in the full light of day, in our normal everyday social environments. Sure we get off on the wrong foot. It would be a dream come true,if someday we were embraced and celebrated by society, and taught from an early age (as are straight kids), how to date, relationship skills, and how to put sex in perspective. The only good thing about being socially unaccepted, is that indeed, we do have the freedom to define and create relationship parameters for ourselves.
Having such freedom is a blessing, but also a responsibilty, requiring discernment and self control. It is here that I have faced some of my greatest challenges, and I have felt that at times I was getting "out of control" with sex.

My goal in the immediate present is to be in relationship with someone nice, not neccessarily perfect, where there is some emotional and physical chemistry. I prefer a monogamous relationship, and even though I am strongly sexed, if I am emotionally committed to my partner I am able to be monogamous. I love sex, and I have a wild side, but I would rather be with one partner for the obvious health concerns. Also because I can better sublimate the sex energy into emotional aspects of the relationship, as well as into creativity, and other facets of life, when I am with one person.

Ultimately, being in a relationship would allow me to share my life with another soul, and to become a more whole human being.

For now, however, I am solo. That's OK with me too. Maybe I'm right where I should be at this time in my life. Thanks for all listening, and for sharing.

pennyjane

cavar. what an intelligent and moving piece. you brought some vague conceptions into clearity and i thank you for that. may i also say that i hope you do find that one relationship that fullfills all your needs.

i think of all the good points you make here, a couple really stand out for me. lgbt children are not taught how to prepare and sustain loving relationships. all the reasons you mentioned tell us from an early age that family, as we know our own, is not in our future. so yes, we're off and running on the wrong foot.

the second point is that you aspire to monogamy. that tells me that you are willing to "settle" for non-monogamy. the truth is i believe that you aren't very different than most of us.

i think it's true that men and women are wired differently when it comes to sex drive. generally speaking, and i hope no one takes offense, men have a greater need for the actual sex act then do women. here i think mr kort is right. so monogamy might be more of a challenge for men then it is for women. maybe what's missing in the traditional gay male relationship is the natural pull towards monogamy from the female libido. but that brings me back to your desire for monogamy. it tells me that the need exists in you and that it's just not being thought highly enough of in the community to push you into it. i think somewhere the balance between carnal and spiritual needs has to be redefined, not celebrated as is.

there is a lot being done for that cause right now. when we do, as you suggest, begin to bring esteem and social acceptance to the gay marriage that intital concept of family will be changed forever. we really do, as the right wing conservative activists so loudly lament, need to change the basic concept of family. we have to encourage families of another origin to flourish as well as traditional families: that is learn to respect family for more then the sum of it's parts.

thank you again for this piece, it's a thought provoker. much love and hope, pj

Jim Davis

My thanks for Alec for relating his relationship story. He's been fortunately enough to know true passionate love. Even though his relationship is coming to an end he knows no bitterness only the joy of having 9 wonderful years with a man he truly loves.
At this time I find myself in a similar situation. For my partner when the excitement finally left, he felt it necessary to find it elsewhere. I've tried to save this relationship for the past 3 years. But deep inside like Alec, I know it is over. Maybe my love was unrequited....I may never know the answer. What started out as monogamus is now completely open. This is where I bow out. I just have to find a way to let go.
Love can solidify a relationship. If a couple is truly in love their relationship will remain monogamus. I've seen relationships end at the point when they become open... even if it was a mutual decision.
After 16 years with my partner I too hope to find someone else who shares my core values. Again thanks to Alec for the inspiration!

ned

I think from a spiritual perspective monogamy is definitely the best option for the body. I think there is a reason why monogamy -- and lifetime monogamy -- is recommended by most spiritual teachers.

The reason is very simple. Human sexual love is very limited, whereas spiritual love is unconditional and unlimited. If you base a relationship purely on a bodily need, that relationship will never stand the test of life's trials and tribulations, and will certainly never meet the demands of unconditional loving. What if your partner is, God forbid, hurt in an accident, or becomes terminally ill, and is not able to have sex? Does that mean you will immediately seek gratification outside the relationship or selfishly leave your partner? Well, certainly someone who is not very spiritually mature would do those things, as they would still be trapped within their own ego and would not have opened the heart-center and developed the soul much.

True love -- spiritual love -- is unconditional, universal, and equal to all. It makes no distinctions, and it is impossible to abuse anyone or let anyone abuse you if you develop the inner capacity for true love. By contrast, human sexual love is the easiest thing to abuse on the planet, is based on personal preferences and desires, and is usually just reduced to a frightened egotism. This is why it is necessary to limit sex right from the start.

Sexual love can never be universal. How many people can one really have sex with and treat with respect and equality? Two? Three? At most, five I suppose? Spiritual love is about union with the ENTIRE universe, not just a handful of people. The sex-impulse simply can't achieve all the things that the soul can.

This is why my rule of thumb is: "Monogamy for the body, polyamory for the soul." The physical body is limited; the soul is not. Lifetime monogamy is recommended precisely so that we learn to love for love's sake alone, and not for the sake of any bodily need. Sri Aurobindo, a great Indian sage, writes:

"For monogamy may be the best for the body, but the soul that loves God in men dwells here always as the boundless and ecstatic polygamist; yet all the time — that is the secret — it is in love with only one being."

This said, different people are at different places in their lives and will act accordingly. There is no formulaic solution to the world's problems -- do X, and you will be saved. However, there are some general principles that do help us progress spiritually, and sexual self-discipline is certainly a time-honoured tradition.

One additional point is that this is obviously an area where lesbians and gay men differ due to some biological differences between male and female sexuality. In general lesbians want monogamy and stable relationships. By this I don't mean to stereotype -- I know many wonderful spiritual gay men who are in steady, monogamous relationships -- but I do think this is something that people might want to ponder more carefully. Biology is not destiny -- especially not for those of us who believe our true Self is the Divine -- but it is important to observe and understand our biological conditioning if we have a shot at transcending it.

ned

I'm really not sure how one can contribute an article to this forum, but I've been wanting to write one from my perspective as a devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother. I couldn't find any e-mail address where I could write. Could someone let me know who to get in touch with if I want to contribute an article? Thanks!

Clayton

Ned, that would be great! Contact me through the form on MyOutSpirit.com: http://www.myoutspirit.com/index.php?pag=cms&id=10&p=contact-us.html

ned

Clayton, I've dropped you a note through that form. Thanks very much!

Kelly

My partner and I jointly insisted on a monogamous relationship when we frist met and became parters. After 12 years of my monogamy it turns out he was cheating of me almost from the beginning. I was devastated. Felt rejected and lost my self esteem. That was five years ago and during that time we have tried to get back on track and each time we do he cheats again. He always promises me he will be fiathful but is not. Yesterday, I refused to give him another chance to promise me again. I am very sadly moving on. I will always love him but can no longer take the pain he casuses me. Kelly

pennyjane

oh dear kelly, i'm so sad for you. you must be feeling an awful sense of betrayal and hurt. but please don't let this affect your self-esteem. it's not your fault and it doesn't say anything about you or your value as a lover or a human being. the fault lies with the betrayer. he has betrayed you and he will betray the next one too. you deserve better and perhaps this is God's way of letting you know that; by making you move on. keep your head up and don't settle for any less then the love and respect you deserve. much love and hope, pj

Kate

I just don't understand how people can be in open relationships. The idea of being with more than one person literally makes me sick to my stomach. Yeah, my partner and I argue sometimes, but I could NEVER have sex with anyone else. Yeah, sometimes when we're out at a lez bar I'll meet someone I'm attracted to, but the idea of having sex with anyone other than my wife just feels so wrong. I just don't get it. It's all the same as cheating to me. If you really love someone why would you want anyone else?

pennyjane

thank you for this comment kate. it truly is wonderful to find so many more of us celebrating the better angels of our nature instead of the simply lustful and destructive ones. you express the simple truth of it, "if you really love someone why would you want anyone else?"

maybe instead of talking about how "smart" non-momogamy is we might talk about how damaged is the love process in those who practice it. perhaps teaching those that they can love and they deserve to be loved and not used as a sex object might be a better expendature of our resources. anyone who is satisfied with being and seeking sex objects and doesn't understand how that damages the love within them needs our help and our love, not our reinforement of their negative self image. all of us are better and more then that. indeed, if you truly love someone, why would you want another? much love and hope, pj

ned

I want to mention a couple of things I've learned from experience. My partner and who have been together for almost three years and are long-distance. I always wanted us to be monogamous, but probably not for the right reasons (it was mostly due to jealousy). She was more open-minded about trying polyamory or an open relationship. We sort of considered it, but I freaked out completely and she promised she would never go there.

However, this episode brought my face to face with my egoic jealousy and possessiveness, and in dealing with it, in peeling the onion and confronting the underlying pain, I learned a lot about myself and about how my jealousy and insecurity was a result of a lack of intimacy with the Divine. In fact dealing with this jealousy precipitated another spiritual experience for me.

Jealousy and possessiveness are stupid reasons for monogamy. One should work on confronting and dealing with these impulses in any event. Here I think people who are in clingy, emotionally co-dependent monogamous relationships might learn a thing or two from people in ethical, restricted polyamorous relationships with a couple of people (namely a sort of healthy polyfidelity). It's probably the case that people who practice this sort of healthy polyfidelity are psychospiritually more mature than clingy, monogamous types.

Having said this, I think that the evidence is very good that a mature, non-clingy, non-egoic monogamy is really the best route sexually. This is for the simple reason that sexual love is extremely limited and it is a delusion to think that we can have sex physically with several people and treat everyone with *equal respect* and have an *equal amount of intimacy* with all of them. This is one of my major arguments against non-monogamy.

The second major argument is that sexual relationships by their very nature involve egoic emotional entanglements. This is unavoidable. The more people you add to the equation, the harder it gets to sort out melodrama (I've heard lots of poly people say that all they do is talk to each other). And the time wasted in working out emotional issues with each partner is probably much better spent being mindful and gaining awareness of oneself rather than being dragged down into human pettiness again and again.

I have a friend who is ex-poly, and you can read some of his thoughts on polyamory in this insightful blog post:
http://rubel.livejournal.com/121652.html

This is an EXCELLENT post -- it explains why sexual polyamory can NEVER compare to the universality of spiritual love, and why given the limited nature of the physical body, a mature, liberating sexual monogamy is the best bootstrap for the realization of truly universal spiritual love (unless you're already ready to jump into celibacy, in which case, lucky you ;-) ). This is not about prudishness. Lust is limited. Love is not. It's time we as a species started to face up to these facts.

Another good resource is a book by Robert Augustus Masters, a transpersonal psychologist, entitled "Transformation Through Intimacy: The Journey Toward Mature Monogamy". It's a bit hetero-centric but I think that he makes very good points and arguments against polyamory. The book's tagline says: "Immature monogamy entraps; mature monogamy liberates."

His website is here:
http://www.robertmasters.com/

It's worth checking out -- he is quite an insightful writer.

ned

Gosh, couple of typos up there. Forgive me, it's late and I'm sleeeepy. :-P

pennyjane

hi ned. well, i guess as is said somewhere in my good book, "all things in moderation." i am very jealous of my spouse and wouldn't have it any other way. i guess i am also somewhat clingy, again...thinking about it...i find that not to be so unhealthy either. i guess there is a line to be drawn somewhere but i don't think it's all the way on either side of the spectrum.

maintaining a long distance, longterm relationship must be disconcerting at times, but love, while maybe not conquering all, must surely conquer most. during our marriage i have found myself separated a couple of times from my annie for a period of but months. the emptiness of my arms at night had a way of imposing itself in the next day's activitites in ways i really hadn't anticipated, but other sexual or emotional relationships would not have filled the emptiness with anything more then guilt and betrayal, i'd rather be empty. i do hope for you though that this physical separation you and yours are enduring soon passes you by.

i don't know why the ego gets such a bad name. it really is no more then one's own sense of self. it can certainly be overvalued but is not necessarily. Jesus said, "you are the light of the world." i think it would be somewhat arrogant to dispute His words, rather i'd strive to make them be true and apparent. my great value is established in that He created me. it is my purpose not to undermine that but to sing it's praises and extole the virtues of His creation. i will be jealous and i will be clingy of my spouse as i am of my God, but in germain moderation. much love and hope, pj

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