Ask Polyamory Paradigm

Check out my new question and answer blog!
AskPolyamoryParadigm

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You are not helping things!

If ignorance is bliss, arrogance must be downright spiritually orgasmic.

Listen to the following and tell me what you think. With the idea of promoting polyamory awareness to the general public, who may still be confusing polyamory with Mormon polygamy, what kind of message do you think the following statements send?

"Poly conferences and tantra confabs provide participants perfect places to contact potential lovers and tantra buddies."

"you can meet and quickly get to know people with whom you might fall in love--or at least in attraction enough to know if you want to consider as possible intimates."

"Some folks are monogamous most of the year but celebrate polyamory and tantra at conference time." (Okay, we know what they are hinting at with that, right?)

"The seminars at a conference . . . offer . . . cuddle parties, group massage and yoga classes where you can talk to, touch and interview like-minded folk who, like you, seek tantric friends, multiple lovers. . . "

"The seminars teach you how to advertise yourselves on the internet…"

"...leads us through get-to-know and flirting exercises…"

Sounds like a lot of fun doesn't it? But, doesn't it send a message that whatever is happening here is very sexually focused? If you were telling a monogamous friend about polyamory would statements like those above help you explain things, or would your friend think polyamorists are basically just looking for sex?

Let's try a different exercise. If you were telling that same friend about polyamory and they ask for the name of websites to get more information would you think one named "World Polyamory Association" might be good?

Guess what (you are smart and probably already guessed) all of the statements above are from the World Polyamory Association.

Yes kids, someone who had the arrogance to proclaim themselves a WORLD-wide association with a name implying they are the authority for polyamory are the same ones making those sexually focused statements above. And actually, if you read most anything from the WPA, the statements above are mild compared to how sexually focused they are most of the time.

Let's try one final exercise. Your same friend checks out the WPA site and then comes to you to talk about polyamory. The first thing out of their mouth is how polyamorists are just sex starved people looking for a justification for their carnal desires. I double-dog dare you to try and argue with your friend because as soon as you do they are going to say "But I learned this from the World Polyamory Association!!"

Done. You are just done. Your friend isn't going to listen to you at this point. You might as well tell them that the Earth is flat and money grows on trees.

Now I don't have a problem with sexuality. Personally I think a lot of it is a good thing! And I have no problem with tantra, new-agey, granola flavored, spiritually centering, happy things like that even though they aren't for me. But it does raise the hairs on my horns when someone not only implies they are *the* authority for something, but *the* authority for the WORLD!

I've bit my tongue for a while with different things I have read from the WPA and their "association", which really appears to be only two people. I figured I was misunderstanding what they were saying, or I hadn't heard enough of what they say and I was seeing an isolated incident, or maybe I was seeing only a particular speaker for the "association". Well those days are gone. Sexuality, and plenty of it, without much regard for safety or common sense is the order of the day, century, and lifetime at the WPA.

I simply ask one thing. I beg it. Please. World Polyamory Association, please, pretty please take the world "Polyamory" out of your name. I'll find a way to live with your proclamation that you are a "World" authority somehow. But your inclusion of the word "Polyamory", in consideration of your openly sexual focus, is doing absolutely nothing to further the cause of polyamory or it's acceptance into mainstream society. Making a guess I would say it is only helping support the perception by many people that polyamorists are simply in it for the sex and nothing more. Personally, and I think I'm pretty open minded about polyamory, I shudder to think that if I told someone I was polyamorous they might see the WPA website and associate what they find there with my lifestyle. The two are about as similar as oil and water from what I can see.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Maybe some of you feel the same way, and maybe some don't. I'd be interested to get some input on this one so I know if I've gone off the reservation again. Regardless, I'll leave you be for a bit as I'm off to create a new website:
"The One and Only Definitive Source for Polyamory in the Universe Ever Association Non-Profit Incorporation Limited, LLC, All Rights Reserved, Trademarked, Copyrighted, and Patented Forever and Ever."
Coming soon to a web browser near you!!

Love well,
PP

15 comments:

  1. You are too late. The WPA also owns: "The One and Only Definitive Source for Polyamory in the Universe Ever Association Non-Profit Incorporation Limited, LLC, All Rights Reserved, Trademarked, Copyrighted, and Patented Forever and Ever."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the smile Kameshwari :)

    PP

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with you. So, you aren't off the reservation. Of course, I guess we could just be out there together.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lovingmorethanone, thanks!
    And after getting some feedback on the article I'm beginning to think we may have a lot of company :)

    PP

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes had a look at their site and I totally agree with you - it doesn't help.
    For me polyamory is to do with the quality of the relationships rather than the quantity of sex. It is a type of relationship which happens naturally as a result of honesty, mutual respect and love.
    It is most definitely not a bunch of courses in how to better group sex and partner swap, which can be great, but not the point.
    Like you say it is hard enough to try and explain this to people (especially if you ask them to be honest with themselves) without the likes of these sites.

    Having said all that the answer for me lies with MY OWN discrimination. The reality is that we will always get people that portray themselves as "authorities" and who try to make people think that they are more than what they really are; and lets face it the more authority people think you have the more right you appear to be and the more tickets you will sell.
    But if one of my friends came to me with the said view about polyamory thanks to the WPA or any other so called "authority" (except their personal experience) and if they could not be open enough to see beyond that very limited definition (as expressed by that "authority") I would not waste my time trying to explain, convince or argue with them.
    I've been there, done it and almost lost all my pearls, so nah!
    The ONLY true authority is experience, so my motto is, "they've got to have it already or at least be open-minded enough to really listen!" I really don't care if they adopt it as their philosophy or not, what works for one doesn't have to work for another, but if they can't hear my truth then i'm not going to waste my time.
    Why would I when I know that just around the corner there is always someone who actually wants to understand - I keep my truth for them who grok (-:
    As always Thanks for sharing
    L

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for the comment LP, you make some good points.

    I agree that if a friend had an unmoving view about polyamory thanks to the WPA it would be a waste of time to try and change their mind.

    I actually think people with any poly experience will look at the WPA and realize quite quickly it is a sexually focused organization. I don't worry about them.

    I do however worry about the general public and the face of polyamory being presented. The WPA in my opinion is doing a serious disservice to the poly community at large and is presenting their genitals rather than their face. That will only build a chasm of misunderstanding and discrimination that poly folks will struggle to overcome more than should be necessary.

    The only bright light I can find is that at least they are on an island far from the mainland. It always makes it easier to round up the loonies when they can't escape.

    Thanks for the comment!
    PP

    ReplyDelete
  7. P.S. The loonies comment was a joke but my "laugh" disappeared when it was posted.
    PP

    ReplyDelete
  8. It alarms me that more often than not when I say "polyamory" people automatically assume "wild orgies." Not that there is anything wrong with swingers, but it's not my bag. It's LOVE and multi-marriage I am about - but it does seem like I am already slapped down as a sex perv from the get-go. No wonder so many of us stay in the poly-closet....

    ReplyDelete
  9. convergencies,
    Thanks for the comment!
    I think you have a good point about poly folks staying in the closet due to social stigma.

    PP

    ReplyDelete
  10. I didn't even read much of anything, just looking at the pics on the site was enough to feel like they were trying to sell sex, not talk about relationships. Where did they get those models??? Most poly people I know are real people, not baywatch look-alikes!

    Also not liking the new agey stuff. It's fine if they belief that, hell I believe some of it myself, but it has nothing to do with polyamory and shouldn't be included in a website claiming to speak for poly people world wide, when many, if not most, polyamorous folks will not agree with their beliefs.

    Unfortunately, I've seen this kind of thing played out on a national level in massage therapy, and no one can stop them from proclaiming themselves a world wide organization.

    What could be done, if people had the time, energy and willingness, is to reach out to known and respected folks in the poly community, and suggest the creation of a real poly organization for the purpose of educating and informing, etc etc. I can think of half a dozen names off the top of my head that would be worth inviting to join in something like that, I'd bet those of you who have been an active part of the polyamorous online community longer then I have could come up with more.

    And such a group, organized out of a large number of known and respected poly folk, WOULD have real credibility, and with time could bury this ridiculous WPA, while doing a huge amount of good.

    WTH, if anyone thinks this is a good idea, contact me and maybe we can get a ball rolling.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Jessica,
    Thanks for the comment!

    I didn't even think about it but you are right. Not only are the pictures on the WPA site not representative of poly in general, they aren't at all representative of the WPA leadership from the pictures I have seen.

    I am actually try to build the ball in my area right now with the poly group I run. It will take a bit for it to get rolling but my goal is to lead the group to maturity as a community which will have outreach desires beyond our local area.

    Thanks again,
    PP

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think the poly community could generally be said to have a more positive view of sexuality than mainstream culture, but it should not be put forth as our raison d'etre. The famous swingers of the 70s cared little for interpersonal relationships beyond sex; that's not us. In my experience, poly people go into a relationship first and foremost looking for a caring partner, just like the majority. Our math is a little different is all.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nicely stated Rando, thanks for the comment!
    PP

    ReplyDelete
  14. Funny that, despite their constant push for creating "intimate spaces" at their conferences, they never have any safer sex workshops.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Greytweed,
    Excellent point!
    Makes me wonder in their "intimate spaces" what kind of sex they are having.
    Wait, on second thought, I don't want to wonder about that. ::shudder::

    Good comment!
    PP

    ReplyDelete