In a continuing discourse on Sexuality and our cultural views towards it, I would like to present a post by my dear friend and colleague William Fennie who, among other things, is a Management Specialist, specializing in Population Research Data. William, as well can take credit for being a technical business & educational systems manager. I am pleased to present his article for SOC called “Everyting Old is New Again.” -Calvin
By William Fennie
Olivia Goldhill has a long article in Quartz detailing the latest iteration of what I knew in the 70s and 80s as the “Open Marriage” philosophy. (If by “know” we mean “heard of from some other people who tried to explain it to me.”) She writes :
“Polyamory is defined, very broadly, as ‘ethical non-monogamy:’ Essentially, anyone who dates multiple people at once, where all partners know and are comfortable with this. Beyond that, the details vary. In the 1990s, when swinging was more popular, there were internet-forum debates that attempted to distinguish sex-focused swinging from relationship-oriented polyamory, but today plenty of people ignore this differentiation. Couples who are in open relationships—meaning they view each other as their primary partner but have sex with or date other people—are considered polyamorous. So too are those who refuse to have any one primary partner, but are in ‘non-hierarchical relationships,’ meaning they view all their partners as equally important. A ‘triad’ is a non-hierarchical relationship where all three people date each other, with equal commitments all around.“
This current iteration seems different, though, in that a) there are more people doing the experimentation; b) it’s “out” in a more overt way; and c) there seems to be a generational element that is promising for the future.
We remain, as a society and surely as a world, very primitive in our attitudes about sexuality - not so much even the actual experience but the social categories that surround it. If being “poly” the way it is described in this article had been an option when I was 20 years old I most probably would have missed out on a whole boatload of misery.
June Singer wrote, in 1978, that the society of that time was in no way “ready for social and political androgyny.” Looking at repressive movements around the world and in the USA the situation does not seem to have changed much. But this article gives me hope that a quiet revolution is underway.
There’s a lot more to Goldhill’s article - a lot. Well worth a read.