This is the second edition of my weekly question and answer column, True or False. If you’d like to submit a question, simply visit the link! I look forward to hearing from you!
Basically, this question is insinuating that polyamorists are just a bunch of indiscriminate hussies who hide under that title to avoid being singled out and labeled as big ol’ sluts. False! I will save my rant about reclaiming the word “slut” for the follow-up to my recent post on reappropriating derogatory term, but…I would like to emphasize that having multiple partners in no way indicates that a person entered into those relationships carelessly. Unless we’re talking drunken hookups or one-off threesomes, it is likely that a large amount of thought and effort was put into forging the way that those relationships work. Chance encounters and one-time-only interactions are a different story and, by most accounts, do not fall into the category of relationships.
Contrary to the sentiments expressed in this question, identifying as a polyamorist is a perfectly legitimate option. For those who don’t know, polyamory is typically defined as having multiple consensual, loving (read: physically or emotionally intimate) relationships. To clarify, a polyamorist need not currently be involved in any relationships in order to identify as such. It simply indicates an openness to arrangements involving multiple partners.
While some people consider polyamory (having multiple partners) to be the polar opposite of monogamy (having one partner), I prefer to think of those things on a spectrum. They are both just one way of operating within the context of intimate relationships. For example, under the umbrella of polyamory there are a wide variety of relationship formats, including, but certainly not limited to:
- Open relationships – Typically a primary pair who have one or more other partners
- Groups/Tribes – Networks or large groups of partners who interact with one another on varying levels
- V/Triad – One person who has two other partners or a couple who has one other partner
These are just a few. There are many, many other ways to format relationships. If you’d like to learn more about polyamory and how to navigate and negotiate relationships like these, check out The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy. It’s a great read, even for someone who is primarily monogamous.
Thank you for your questions! If you did not see your question this week, keep an eye out for it in the future. Keep ’em comin’!