Nov 27, 2012
Stacy in Austin
commented on Is Polyamory a Sexual Orientation?
We're primates, and generally like to bone as many different people as we can, as far as basic biology goes. Most of society teaches us not to do this, and gives many reasons (some good, some bad), but I'd guess that a vast majority of the monogamous folks out there have gotten tingly over someone who isn't their partner- barista, porn actor, etc. The urge is there, but the moral code/cultural indoctrination/whatever you want to call it tells them to ignore or repress or sublimate the urge.
Polyamory is one particular variation of how to organize your sexual relationships. Monogamy, serial monogamy, cheating, and swinging (and I suppose contented onanism) are some other ways. You may be temperamentally pre-disposed to be good at any of these- you're not prone to jealousy, you might be good at poly. But I don't think anyone is born "a poly". It's not an orientation in that sense. Neither is religion, but there are definitely examples of different personality types fitting better with one religion or another, and religion is protected under the law. So I don't think it lessens the legitimacy of polyamory by saying it's not an orientation.
Personally, I think polyamory is a type of specialized relationship structure that takes a lot of skill to do right. Arnold Schwarzenegger does monogamy badly, and I've met plenty of people who do poly badly. You may like the idea, and you may have a good personality for it, but if you don't do a lot of work and get your relationship/communications chops up you're going to suck at it. The same is true of monogamy, by the way; monogamy is less complicated but farther from our natural state. Being good at relationships of any sort takes work, but poly is more of a challenge because most of us didn't grow up even realizing it was a possibility, so there's a lot of flailing around when you first start out. I think this is true in the personal sense, and in the cultural sense as a whole- I see the poly community as flailing around while it figures itself out. But I don't think there's any doubt that polyamorous relationships are possible, and work really well for some people. Eventually one hopes it will be as accepted as a legitimate option, and this talk of poly folks getting fired or poly families getting children taken away will seem as idiotic by the general population as it does to us weirdos today.