Have you read this interesting article on human sexuality by Richard Dawkins?
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/richard_dawkins/2007/11/...

I'm absolutely fascinated by the interaction between the instinct to jealousy and the instinct to promiscuity. What's your take on polyamory?

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I'm all for anything as long as people can maintain a mature relationship. The moment it degrades into anything less it becomes unhealthy.

On a somewhat related note, my best friend was recently in a 5 (yes, 5)-some, himself and four women, and my girlfriends Baptist friend was so appalled and quickly started insulting him.

I was very unhappy. She assumed he was a cheating bastard who had diseases. Even worse, I said one of the women was his ex-fiancee and she said "wow, no wonder she broke up with him." And the truth was, it was the other way around.

Polyamory for the win. I dont subscribe to it (although I have), but see no problem with it.
There should never be a problem (as far as our society is concerned) with this kind of relationship, but in MY experience, the old adage ultimately holds truth - Two's company, three's a crowd. I do know people who have maintained a poly-amorous relationship for several years. It just might not be a welcome suggestion for a couple who've been together for awhile. C'est la vie...
I feel as if I have an odd take on polyamory (and relationships in general). For me, interpersonal relationships exist more on a continuum, as opposed to specifically cordoned off areas with strict lines (just dating/boyfriend/fiance). Every relationship you have, sexual or non, is different. You become closer to some and further from others, in a near constantly shifting web of connections, as time goes on. Coupled with that, every person's ideas of what those connections can and should be are also different.

Polyamory (at least many of the people and situations I've read about) seems to just take those old ideas of "this person is extra special" and remodels them into a more "cake and eat it too" situation. It is certainly a departure from monogamy, but I'm for throwing the whole notion of seperation out the door. Consider me a sexual deconstructionist.

What did it for me was looking objectively at the difference between a "boy/girlfriend" and a "best friend." The only difference really is sexual contact. So why don't people have sex with thier best friends (given sexual orientation matches and all)?

As for jealousy in situations with multiple partners or what have you, I tend to draw parallels with regular friendships. Does liking one of your friends somehow make you like another friend less? It just doesn't work like that, at least for most reasonable people I know. So why would it be the different for those same friends if you happen to be engaging in sexual activity with some of them every once and a while? The only response to that I've heard is "it just is."

And I of course am not advocating random sex with strangers constantly. Sex is a social bonding ritual. It causes the release of chemicals that form stronger bonds with your partner. So would sex with friends not make you closer to them? What drawbacks would exist? The primary response I've heard is that "you just can't have sex with your friends." Yet noone can explain why, given you have no intention of bearing children and are intelligent and safe about your methods and practices.

Though I'm sure this is preaching to the choir, I must mention The Ethical Slut. A must read.
I'm so glad that that book exists. Although I didn't learn anything I didn't already know from it, I really liked its "starvation economy" metaphor for how people generally conceptualize love/relationships. I use it frequently.
I wish I still had my copy of The Ethical Slut so I could review what it was about it that I didn't like, and what it was that I did. The term "slut" is still a pejorative, so that was probably the biggest thing. You can't put a bow on a turd to gussy it up. It's still a turd.
I apologize in advance for the length of this. I was going to try to summarize and it just didn't work. I don't think my views on polyamory can have context without my whole story.

I certainly have a view on this as I was in a polyamorous relationship for two months. It started on my birthday in April at a weekend BDSM retreat at a private campground. I wasn't in the BDSM lifestyle at the time (I am now), but I was invited by a friend and thought it would make for an interesting birthday. They had an interesting bead system there where everyone would make a string of beads with different colors, each representing a like or fetish. One type of bead represented poly. In the setting it was really closer to swinger, but everyone knew what it meant.

My first night there, I met a girl who had been in the lifestyle for 11 years. She had a poly bead and, in that setting, I didn't even really think to ask much more, and we hit it off really quickly. After we hooked up that first night, we bumped into each other again the next day and ended up hanging out again all day. I found out a little more. She was married but her husband was on a business trip in India. They were in an open relationship. It wasn't completely open all the time, but in certain settings, such as we were in at the time, they threw the rules out and just let each other have fun. By the time the retreat was over, we had fallen for each other hard. I had never believed it was possible to fall in love with someone in such a short period of time, but it certainly happened to me. We exchanged information and agreed to stay in contact. Neither of us were sure if it was just the situation causing our feeling or if it was something more real. It was most certainly real.

The next few days, we talked on the phone for 3 or 4 hours every night and decided we had something going that we didn't want to end. That created an interesting scenario for us. As I mentioned before, she and her husband weren't generally open...only in certain circumstances. Him being in India when we met and for a few days after gave us a lot of time to build a relationship that might not have ever happened otherwise, but we were faced with a situation where they had never talked about poly and she really did not have any idea how he was going to react. She decided to tell him in stages so she wouldn't unload every on him all at once when he got back in country. Of course, when she started talking about the weekend and a little about me, he saw right through and everything ended up coming out quickly. He was a little taken aback by it at first, but warmed up to it much more quickly than either of us expected.

From that point, everything went really smoothly for a while. Us being 300 miles apart probably helped with that somewhat. Three weeks after we first met, she came and stayed with me for a weekend and it was an amazing weekend. Our worries that the feelings we had at the retreat wouldn't be as strong in the real world disappeared quickly, and we had an absolutely amazing time. It was a good calming factor for what was coming up the next weekend...a pagan camping retreat at the same campground, where her husband I and were going to meet for the first time. That's where the cracks first started showing.

Her husband and I got along great. We were joking and laughing like old friends in no time. There was definitely a stress factor there though. The first night, both he and I ended up dealing with the stress by getting completely shitfaced drunk. Not my finest moment by any stretch, but that's life. The next day went smoothly overall, but the jealousy instinct started kicking in a little, but it was not towards her husband at all. Due to their openness at these things, and her naturally flirty nature, she got a lot of attention from everyone. I didn't bother me in the least when I saw her and her husband together, but it did bother me a bit seeing her around other guys. Hypocritical, I know, as I was the other guy just a month earlier, but the nature was there and I was having trouble fighting it. The next day was fine except for the weather...a tornado hit the campground. We had a tent and a canopy destroyed, but no one hurt and there was no major drama that day. By this point I had started suppressing some feelings and hadn't really realized it yet.

The last full day, I was doing fine (or so I thought), but at some point, well after dark, I finally snapped. The ensuing discussion eventually ended with us breaking up a few days later, right about the time her husband went out of country again. We were both completely miserable after that. We finally decided we had to talk again a few days later, and within a day or two later, we were essentially back together in every way except for title. That lasted about three more weeks, and then about two weeks before we were going to see each other at a gaming convention, she grew distant and decided it was too much and she just wanted to be friends. That was about a bit over a month ago. We haven't really talked much since then. She was distant for a while, and when I asked her about it, she got defensive. I haven't spoken to her at all since then Before that, I never got a real answer about why she cut things off so abruptly other than "it's better this way," and while I do agree, it hurt to be basically cut off from someone who had become such an important part of my life.

For me, the polyamory itself wasn't a problem, but the situation just never worked out. I won't say I could never make it work, but just don't think I would even try again. I can't say it wasn't worth it. I treasure every minute of my time with her and I still love her dearly, but I don't think either one of us were ready for what we got into. Neither of us went into the situation expecting to fall in love and we just got swept up into the moment. I've moved on, but my entire outlook on love and sexuality is radically changed, because I now really truly realize firsthand how many different forms love can take.
A heartfelt, experience-ripe story. Thanks, man.
Honesty well put is never too long.
For those interested in learning more about polyamory, I recommend http://polyweekly.com/. It's a weekly podcast and blog. I've only been listening to it for about a month or so, and it has been interesting. Never been in a poly relationship before, but it is a type of relationship I would certainly consider adopting. Even if you're not interested in establishing a poly relationship, the podcast is still worth listening to as the advice on relationships is still relevant to monogamy.
Awesome! Thanks for the link.

I've only been in one poly relationship, and it was more due to the fact that I couldn't 'choose' between two guys and didn't feel like I should have to, than because either of them fully supported it. I have yet to find a partner who will consider going poly with me.

What I find really fascinating is that all of the (straight) guys I've been with have had no problem with me getting involved with another girl while I'm with them. Apparently it's only penises they're scared of.
Insecurity can be a bitch. But I am one guy that would have no problem with my partner being with another bloke. What's good for the gander is good for the goose.

Being in a poly relationship requires a great deal of security and trust in one's relationship(s). And that's the thing that most monogamous relationships hide - the insecurity and lack of trust - or at least attempt to hide.
Let's face it, most guys don't have a problem with their woman being with another woman because most guys think that's pretty hot.

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