Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I'm poly, lets make babies!!
Do I ever get tired of talking to people about Polyamory? Never! Nobody has it down to a science so a lot of conversation about Polyamory is people testing their ideas with other people to see how they are accepted. Regular readers here will know I get into a lot of conversations but what you may not know is that often I just sit on the sidelines and listen. That is probably a bit confusing since you are reading a blog of mine so you know I'm fairly opinionated on the topic of Polyamory. (I'm actually opinionated on quite a few topics but this particular blog is about being poly). Back on point, the reason I often sit on the sidelines is that I enjoy seeing where a conversation leads without being influenced by my warped opinions.
This particular conversation was about the history of Polyamory, prior even to the word Polyamory being used. The conversation started out with a simple statement by one participant that science has generally proved monogamy doesn't exist naturally. Animals and insects, he said, are more poly than mono by nature.
This led to a happy lively discussion about Polyamory in humans. One lovely lady who was quite vocal on the subject maintained that Polyamory has been a means of survival for a very long time. Long ago, she said, polyamory was a means for survival because having multiple partners meant having multiple providers and a better chance at survival. This behavior morphed in time and children were added to the equation. Being poly meant having multiple caretakers for the children and again, multiple providers to ensure survival. Much like the saying "It takes a village to raise a child". Furthermore she said, poly keeps family together focusing resources to ensure family survival. It is time-tested, historical, and natural was her conclusion.
That is also about the time my big red flag appeared and burst into flame.
I talk to a lot of poly people, including you folks online. I regularly ask people how or why they became poly and get a variety of reasons. Generally the two common answers are people either accidentally became poly because of a relationship they were in, or they have been poly as long as they can remember. Not once, ever, can I recall someone saying they chose Polyamory as a lifestyle to ensure their survival. I've never heard anyone say they became poly for economic purposes. Nor have I heard anyone ever say Poly provided them a way to raise their child. And never have I had someone say to me "I'm poly for procreational purposes".
Is it possible she is right on some level? I believe so. It isn't hard to believe that the cavewoman found a new caveman when the one she had been with wandered off for a while. And when he came back maybe there was some type of sharing situation with the three of them. But is that polyamory?
Later in history it became more common for men to have mistresses which they took care of financially and (somewhat) socially. Could that have been a means of survival or elevating their social class for the women? Very possibly. But again, is that polyamory?
In my opinion those two examples are making a lifestyle choice for survival. Even if they could be called poly they weren't for purposes of love. The people probably weren't poly out of a desire to love multiple people, it was about survival. I have a hard time calling that polyamory and think 'parasite' might be a better word to use. And I don't think it relates to our current definition of the word Polyamory in the least.
Tell me what you think on this one. Do you think survival polyamory is the same as our current definition of polyamory? Do you know people who follow the polyamorous lifestyle for financial, survival, or procreational purposes? Am I off my rocker for disagreeing with the woman's statements mentioned or is she mixing apples and apricots?