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Jan 10, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@322 I'm not sure that it's as clear cut as you put it. Sexuality has a lot of gray area. Both desires and actions can have an affect on how people define themselves. Over time, I have come to believe that labels should only be self-applied. What I call bisexuality, to take an example of a term which has been frequently disputed, is not what many other people call bisexuality. Whose definition of the word should we use, when there is no consensus in society at large?
Jan 10, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
EricaP@313 It most certainly does! I realize I am arguing semantics, and perhaps that's petty, but it's a pet peeve of mine. Your wording was very careful with "(many) men / women," and I thought that was great. I don't have a problem with "many people/men/women" because "many" is a subjective term, dependent on the person's own experience. "Most" seems to presume a level of knowing about everyone everywhere... but I also might be crazy... the latter is likely true.

I do agree that many people find the idea of sexual freedom attractive if it only applies to them and not their partner. But whether it's most people... I couldn't begin to presume :) In any case, I think the idea and the reality are two very different animals, and while some people may find that idea appealing, they may not actually like it in practice anyway.

ankylosaur@315 makes a very good point. The frequency of these types of attitudes or people in the population at large are far less relevant than those in each of our respective lives. The problem I have with "most" generalizations... in general... (ha!) is that they can lead to false assumptions. It's all well and good for me to make a generalization based on the small subset of people I interact with in the world. It becomes a problem when I then assume that other people follow this model elsewhere, when I don't have the data to back up a comparison of the two populations. Hmm... maybe I've been doing statistics too much lately.
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Jan 10, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@307 You've made some very judgmental statements there. I don't see a problem with the couple/boyfriend example above, as long as all parties have given full consent to the situation. It sounds like they all enjoy it. It's not abuse if the husband understands, enjoys, and in fact was even the one who requested it.

I think making "most men" and "most women" statements is really problematic, as most people (yes, I just did it) are only qualified to talk about their own experiences and social circles. In my case, many of the guys I've talked to about my relationship seem excited at first "You let your husband sleep with other women?!" but then it gets more real when they understand it goes both ways. The majority of men (and women) I have talked to have said they wouldn't want that sort of relationship themselves. To each their own.

Your statement that most women only enjoy non-monogamy until they find that "right guy" - what are you basing that on? How many times have you seen that happen? If the comments in this thread are to be believed, many women are happy in non-monogamous relationships for many years (myself included, thank you very much). I am too much of a cynic to believe that there is only one person in the world for everyone, and somehow linking up with that person will make sunshine and rainbows appear and suddenly the rest of the world doesn't matter. Granted, it may feel that way at the start of a new and exciting relationship, but I have never seen a case where that feeling didn't eventually lapse (note: I am not saying it is impossible). If you're lucky, it will turn into a stable and lasting relationship founded on love and mutual respect.
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Jan 10, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
Re: the EricaP/mydriasis dispute on marriage vows - I think you both make good points. Vows should not be made lightly, and they shouldn't be broken lightly. Hopefully, a couple has been honest with each other (and themselves) about their expectations upon entering a marriage. But as EricaP points out, sometimes things change, and it heads into an ethical gray area. Some vows matter more to some people than others, and the point about lying about sex vs. lying about smoking is well taken. It's down to the people involved to determine what really matters to them. There's no cookie-cutter response to that.

I would think that if both people agree to change the type of relationship they have, then that's fine whether or not it meshes with the vows they took. But if there's a disagreement on that point... well, it's unfortunate. I'd generally suggest therapy, to discuss what a mutually beneficial solution could entail. People do grow and change, and sometimes people grow apart. It's sad, but true. Personally, I think it's better to get a divorce than stay in an unhappy marriage. But in our culture, many people do jump ship at the first sign of trouble rather than trying to work it out first, and that's no good either.

EricaP, thank you for sharing your story. I think you seem like a strong person, and I hope you can make things work. From what you are saying, I think you will. Only you can answer your question about the significance of the smoking lie, and I hope you can encourage him to be more honest with you in the future. The explanations already posed by others (@296/301/302) seem plausible, but only he can tell you what the truth is. I wish you all the best.
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Jan 10, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@265 (mydriasis) I apologize if I came off as rude. Tone can be tricky when it comes to quick comments in these sorts of threads. I think you've raised some interesting points, some of which I disagree with. The comments you refer back to @209/213 do not mesh with what I was saying @255. You are saying (and I'm sure you will correct me if I am wrong) that nonmonogamous people can choose to "pass" as monogamous, but they will be unhappy. While I am sure that that can be true in some cases, it is unfair to generalize and say that people inclined towards nonmonogamy will either "pass" and be unhappy, or cheat. Many of us, as these comments show, enjoy nonmonogamy but do not NEED it. I wouldn't be unhappy in a monogamous relationship, and neither would my husband if I am to believe what he says, and he has never given me reason to doubt him in the ten years I've known him.

I am curious if you have seen any actual statistics on cheating, or the percentage of men vs. women who are monogamous. I haven't, so anything I say about it is pure speculation. I am not sure any extensive survey has ever been done, but if it has I would be very interested to see it. I was simply explaining that I suspect cultural bias may be a bigger factor than evolutionary biology. I tend to be very suspicious of oft-used vague explanations harkening back to evolution, but perhaps that is my own personal bias as a biologist.

As far as the "harem" model you refer to (I would call this polygyny if it involves exclusivity, promiscuity if not), I am not sure what point you are trying to make. Yes, some animals follow this model, while others (admittedly less) follow a polyandrous model, where one female has multiple male mates. When thinking about these mating systems, humans are typically classed as monogamous, with pair-bonding to facilitate child rearing. But hey, we're a complicated animal, and many of us don't like to fall into these clean-cut groups.
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Jan 9, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@203, I don't spend too much time worrying about STIs. My husband and I get tested every so often, and we've agreed to always use protection with anyone outside our relationship. Asking people up-front about if they have anything is also good practice. But it's not really that different from being single and dating, is it?
Jan 9, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@217/220 I don't think that it's fair to say that people (note I changed the gender bias - both men and women) who are inclined towards nonmonogamy will cheat if their partner doesn't agree. I'm sure that is true in some cases, but I find nonmonogamy works because it encourages complete open honesty, which I value. If I were with someone who didn't like the idea of an open relationship, I wouldn't seek anything out on the side. IMO cheating devalues a relationship. To say that anyone who likes nonmonogamy would be a cheater if they were with a monogamous person is really insulting.

I think this falls back to the question of why someone is choosing to be nonmonogamous. For me, and I think many others on this thread (see @188), stuff on the side is a bonus, but not required. If they're nonmonogamous because they can't be satisfied by just one person, then that could fit with what you're saying.

@251, I disagree that men are more likely to be nonmonogamous based on evolutionary reasoning. I think if it is more likely for men to fall into that category, it is because it is more culturally acceptable. Think about how male cheaters/"players" are perceived vs. female cheaters/"sluts". But in any case, I'm not sure it's true anyway. Think about the flip side of nonmonogamy - do you think men are more likely to be ok with their partners sleeping with other people?

As far as the whole hating-on-cheaters thing, some interesting points have been made. I am biased against cheaters. I certainly wouldn't say that all cheaters are bad people, but I do think the act in itself, is a bad choice. I have some friends who have cheated, and I view it as a mistake they made. Mistakes can be forgiven. But to say it's ok? It's dishonest, and hurtful to the person you're cheating on. How can that be viewed as something positive? Now, I wouldn't call it cheating if the other person knows about it. But if they don't know what you're doing, it is cheating, and no, I don't think it's ok.
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Jan 6, 2012 kase joined My Stranger Face
Jan 6, 2012 kase joined My Stranger Face
Jan 6, 2012 kase commented on Savage Love.
@178/127 (MarleyBarley) Amen!! I love the way you explain good poly/open/non-monogamous relationships.

Personally, I feel that having an open relationship with my husband is part of what has kept us happy and together (10 years together, 3 years married). Though neither of us has other partners (or the same other partner...) very often, the option is there and it's nice to have.

I think ultimately, it has to be left to the couple to decide what kind of relationship works for them. If it works for them and they're not hurting anyone, what's the problem? For some people, they would be too jealous of other partners, and in those cases monogamy works better. For us, and I think people who are wired similarly, we just don't really get jealous. In fact, it can be a turn-on.

My husband and I are fairly open about the type of relationship we have. Most of our friends know (though not work friends) and I told my mother about it right before we got married. She was very accepting, but asked me why we were getting married if that was the case. It was an understandable question, and one that I have been asked several times since. My answer is that marriage, to me, is a commitment between people that you will be there for each other for the rest of your lives (or I suppose the foreseeable future, given the prevalence of divorce). I love my husband, I want to have kids with him, and grow old together. But my commitment to him doesn't mean I would have a problem with another person being a part of our relationship, either temporarily or for the long-term.
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