Tag Archives: assumptions

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Wilder Shores of Love — FREE call 4/10, 5:15p Pacific

What’s relationship success? Is your relationship a success or not, and how do you tell? How can you use “creative relationship design” to create a successful relationship tailored to your needs, and those of your partner/s?

Please join Francesca Gentille and me (Dawn Davidson of Love Outside the Box) this Thursday, 4/10 at 5:15pmPacific for the FREE INFORMATIONAL CALL about the Wilder Shores of Love!

UPDATE: Here’s the link to the recording!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zoIaBrfBMQ

On the Web join online here:http://apps.calliflower.com/conf/show?guid=75e9680b5da6fdf796f36cd276d54d25a73a6951

Dial in number: 415 376 1329
Your Conference Code: 1282710

While this is a call where people can ask questions about our upcoming in-person class (see below), it’s not just a sales call — we are committed to providing value to everyone who joins us on the call! We plan to discuss some issues important to relationship success… starting with the question of what IS relationship “success”, and how do YOU measure it?

So join us on this FREE call, find out more about the Wilder Shore of Love, and share your ideas about creative relationship design!

Hope you can join us… because Love is always ok!

~♥ Dawn

PS: For more information about the in-person event that’s happening on April 26th:
http://www.wildershores.com/events.html

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

Heart sculpture by Friedrich Lohmann, via Wikimedia Commons

Solo Poly

One of the concepts that crossed my desk a while back was that of “Solo Polyamory.” As I sat unexpectedly alone on Christmas eve, and was reading some discussion on one of the polyamory lists I’m on, I realized that this is the style of polyamory that I’m apparently now practicing.

Many people feel that “solo poly” is an oxymoron.  After all, how can you be single and “love more than one”?  Seems incompatible, at least from the monogamous/couple paradigm. So what the heck IS it?

On one of the lists, one person had this to say about solo poly, in response to another writer in the forum:

First, solo poly is not about single people only. It is a way of approaching poly that claims to be valid for singles, as equally for each individual in a couple, triple, quadruple, or any tuple you care to think of.

Solo poly, which is not my own take on poly, and which I only know from a single presentation followed by a group discussion, shares with yourself a strong critique of couple privilege and of couple-oriented thinking.

[...]

Solo poly is saying remember you are at the centre of your life, not some other person who you label a primary partner.

It is reminding you that when partners ALL let you down, your truly primary resource is yourself (whether it is expenses, housework, or any of the other rhythms you list).

It is reminding you that all your relationships (no doubt to varying extents) only augment the care that ultimately is your care is your self.

For more information on solo poly, you might want to check out this article by researcher Elisabeth Sheff:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-polyamorists-next-door/201310/solo-polyamory-singleish-single-poly

Another great resource for ideas and posts about solo poly is the blog at http://solopoly.net.

As my own relationship map changes and shifts in this new year (the only constant is change!), I find myself resonating even more with this concept of solo poly. Four years ago I wrote a list of Agreements/affirmations for myself. And I’ve been thinking it might be time to revisit them.

What do you think about this concept?  Does “solo poly” make sense to you? Resonate? Seem ok, but only for someone else?  Seem like a contradiction, or nonsensical?

As always, feel free to comment here, or in Facebook, or to write me privately. I’m always happy to discuss these things more!

Wishing you happiness and all the love you could want in this new-ish year!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m still running my “winter specials” – reduced prices on coaching packages.  Get ‘em while they’re hot!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

(Over-)Communicate, Communicate, Communicate?

Communication

The poly mantra, as they say, is “Communicate, communicate, communicate,” hereinafter represented as “C^3″ for brevity in this article. :)  We all know (or we learn quickly), that polymory and open relationships take a LOT of communicating.  In fact, a therapist friend of mine, Cat Maness, said yesterday, that her top 5 skills for poly/open relationships are:

  1. Communicate
  2. Communicate
  3. Communicate
  4. Communicate
  5. Scheduling

And I’ll add that the most common thing to communicate about is… scheduling!  We do a lot of talking and writing around here. It’s just part of the process.

That said, there comes a time when some folks feel that C^3 is OVER-communicating.  Recently, for instance, in publicizing the second workshop I’m doing with Kathy Labriola, MORE Jealousy First Aid, I sent out a couple of invites, and Kathy send out an invite, and at least some people on both lists have started to feel like it’s OVER-communicating.  (Theoretically, having Infusionsoft is supposed to help with this, but I’m such  relative n00b at it that I’m still figuring out how to use all the fancy bells and whistles.) The fact, is though, that one person’s “communicating” is another person’s “OVER-communicating.”  People have different preferences, and different levels of comfort with communication.  And that’s natural, too.

One way you can mitigate the mismatches in communication styles is, of course, to make some Agreements about them. :) Here’s where you might want to check into my newly-available “beta” version of my KISSable Agreements Workbook, or to check out Cat Maness’ online Agreement generator.

Another thing to remember, is that sometimes someone may be “over-communicating,” because they aren’t getting a “handshake” from you. There may be a simple fix in making a specific, verbal acknowledgement of the message received. Then they can rest assured that you’ve received the message, and can stop delivering it “just in case you haven’t.”

What’s your comfort level with communication?  Do you believe in C^3? Or do you have other ideas about communication? No matter what, I hope your communications are helpful in whatever sort of relationship/s you have. Because no matter who or how many you love…

Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Watch for more from both me and Cat Maness, by the way. We’ve got some collaboration in the works for world domination, er… helping everyone we can through consciously co-created Agreements. :D

PPS: I’m out of town this weekend, teaching at the Church of All Worlds Conclave in Cotati. If you decide to purchase my KISSable Agreements Workbook beta version, it might take me an extra day or two to get it to you. I will do so, never fear!

PPPS: If you can’t be on the live call for the MORE Jealousy First Aid Workshop, don’t worry.  Sign up anyway! You’ll get information on how to access the recording later. :)

 

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Is Polyamory All About the Sex? (Or, Reality TV vs Reality)

Polyamory: Married and Dating TV Show

Opening screen from Showtime series

Those of you with cable will probably know that Showtime’s second season of Polyamory: Married and Dating started in August. Based on early reports of “more diversity,” and the producer talking to “families from the heartland,” I had had higher hopes for this season than last.  I haven’t seen the show myself yet (viewing parties are being scheduled!), but I have heard from some of my friends, and frankly, they weren’t impressed.  “You’d think all we poly folk ever do is have sex, or talk about having sex,” was more or less the comment from one of my friends who’s actually seen all of this season’s shows so far.  Since that was pretty much my complaint last year, I have to say I’m not shocked by my friend’s assessment. The show isn’t a particularly representative sample of differing poly relationship styles, unfortunately. Of course, this is a “reality” TV show, not a documentary, so we do have to take that into account. Sex sells, and sales drive ratings, after all.

As usual, Alan M. of Poly In The News is covering the show in detail, including some clips and a lot of analysis.  Alan’s opinion seems fairly favorable (again), though that’s not without reason.  The San Diego group, and Kamala in particular (in my opinion), have pretty good communication skills, and really are interested in showing the world that polyamory can work — and how their version of it works, in particular. Kamala often says things that I agree with wholeheartedly, such as this quote that Alan M. reports:

“You need a tribe. You need a community. It’s so much better than trying to do this alone.”
Kamala Devi, as quoted in Poly in the News

It’s not that polyamory is never  about sex of course — I myself have said that polyamory is just as much about sex (or not) as any monogamous relationship. Sex is part of the vast majority of adult human romantic relationships. It just so happens that their version of polyamory involves a lot more sex than the versions of most of the people *I* know! This clip from episode 3 encapsulates some of my sense of Michael’s heavy focus on sex:

He seems to have a hard time separating sex and closeness. His new partner Rachel seems to have a hard time understanding his difficulty:

Rachel, bemused: “I’m trying to understand the way this conversation is going.” Getting into bed with her lover’s wife is not how she usually thinks of “going deeper” with a lover, she explains.
– as quoted by Alan M. in Poly in the News

So what’s the harm in portraying polyamory as primarily about the sex? Hard to say. After all, it’s actually true for some percentage of poly people. On the other hand, as my friend expressed to me, if this were your only exposure to polyamory, you might get the wrong idea, or at least a very skewed one, and think that polyamory is always primarily about sex. [Hint: It's not.] I myself have a suspicion that my having suggested that an old friend watch the show (before I saw it, last year) might indeed have contributed to said friend’s sudden cessation of contact shortly thereafter. Certainly he seemed to think I wanted something much different than I actually did.

In my opinion, the real concern, though, is that all this focus on sex contributes to the cultural ideas that lead to “Michael Carey” on Slate writing this excellent article “Why I’m Still in the Polyamory Closet.” As “Michael” writes:

I have never, ever been out as poly in a workplace. Start trying to explain consensual non-monogamy, and some people—a lot of people—are going to think you’re obsessed with sex. (Never mind that I’ve been with my wife, Rose, for 10 years, have been married for three, and in all that time the two of us have dated fewer people than plenty of serially monogamous singles I know.) Some co-workers may avoid polyamorous colleagues because they’re paranoid that they may be on the prowl. Others will become distrustful because they think that poly is an attempt to re-label behavior that they consider cheating, and cheaters aren’t trustworthy.

Exactly. The assumption is that polyamory is all about sex, whether or not that’s actually the case.  It’s stereotyping. So again, what’s problematic with portraying polyamory as being “about sex”? Here’s what:

“…you don’t know if your neighbors are poly (or whatever other term they may use), because they’re still afraid that if they don’t hide that aspect of their lives from you, something bad might happen. Those potential consequences range from having all future interactions feel awkward to having authorities take away their children.”  — Michael Carey, in Slate

(Note that that link he gives above is to the relatively old April Divilbiss case, but many more recent instances of polyamorous people losing their children in custody battles have occurred, enough to cause there to be several polyamory legal defense funds and organizations created. It is definitely still an active concern for many polyamorous families.)

So this, then, is why I remain somewhat skeptical of the show and its impact on real polyamorous people. Polyamory is big enough to command a TV show all of its own now, and that’s definitely progress.  But the heavy sex emphasis contributes to some negative stereotypes with some very serious potential consequences indeed. It’s progress with a price, at the very least.

I’ll watch the show, and I won’t tell others not to watch it… but I WILL recommend that you keep firmly in mind the fact that “reality TV” is a whole lot more about “TV,” than about “reality.”

~♥ Dawn

PS:  The teleseminar I did with Kathy Labriola on Wednesday was a rousing success!  So much so that we’ve scheduled a second one for Thursday afternoon September 19th at 2:15pm Pacific time. We’ll cover several more tools for dealing with jealousy in yourself, and in your partner/s!

Did you miss the first one, or do you want to listen again? Fill out this form!  You’ll be able to listen to the recording for FREE, and you’ll get notified of the second teleseminar, as soon as we have details available.  We’d love to have you join us!

 

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

 

Polyamory and Christianity: Strange Bedfellows, or Loving Companions?

Poly & Religon

Series title at ModernPoly.com

With the recent legal changes and affirmations around same-sex marriage, the conservative right is grappling with their own predictions of doom and gloom and the slippery slope.  The unthinkable has happened, so what could be next?

Those of us who are polyamorous are quite aware that we’ve long been painted as “the bottom of the slippery slope,” so it comes as no surprise to us that fundamentalists, especially Christians (e.g., the Christian Broadcasting Network), are looking to interview poly people on the topic. But while we polyfolk aren’t finding the conservatives particularly surprising, apparently WE are surprising THEM.

In particular, in his recent (and not yet released) interview, Dave Doleshal (founder of the Academic Polyamory Conference) reported that the interviewer for CBN was extremely surprised that there are many Christians who are also polyamorous.  According to Dave, this

“…seemed to make his eyes bug out. It seemed like this was a possibility he had never considered.”

As many of us who are polyamorous already know, there are indeed many poly* Christians.  (By “poly*” I am including those who identify as polygamous as well as polyamorous in this case, as the two groups are certainly overlapping in some ways, though not in others.) There are some who are devoutly Christian, and also poly*. In my practice as well as my personal experience, I have met some that believe that they are fulfilling God’s commandments (e.g., “Love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31) by being poly*. Some consider themselves to be following in the footsteps of Old Testament leaders, such as Kings Solomon and David, who each had many wives, or of Jacob, who famously waited 7 years to marry Rachel in addition to Leah. There is strong precedent for multiple wives (though less precedent for multiple husbands), in the Bible.

Note that we are not talking here about the Unitarians, who have a strong polyamory contingent. Nor are we limiting the discussion to Mormon splinter sects.  Many Christians do not consider either of those groups to be Christians, strictly speaking. We’re talking about Catholics, Episcopals, Lutherans, and many, many more from the mainstream Christian denominations. Some are closeted, and some are open with their Christian communities.  All are Christian AND poly*.

For those of you who might be Christian, but feel the call to being poly* as well, here are a few resources on the topic. [Note:  I have not explored all of these deeply, so this does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of any particular beliefs, practices or politics; just a link to a few places to look to convince yourself that you are not alone!]

Article on Modern Poly site:

Liberated Christians:
http://www.libchrist.com/

http://www.christianpolygamy.com/

Facebook Group for Poly Christians:
https://www.facebook.com/christian.polyamory

For those who may not know, I myself come out of a conservative Christian background. My ultimate choice was not to stay within the Christian Church, but to pursue Love as a spiritual path.  However, I do understand the mindset and the choices that those who are called to both might face. If you’re ever interested in discussing your own situation with me, feel free to book a free or half price session. I’m happy to listen, and to share any wisdom I can offer, because, as many of you already know, I truly believe that

“No matter who and how many you love, no matter their gender, their body shape or size, their race or the color of their skin, their political affiliation, their talents and abilities, their spiritual or religious leanings, their education…

Love is ALWAYS OK.”

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Have you signed up yet for the FREE teleseminar, “Jealousy First Aid,” that I’m doing on September 4th at 5:45pm, with Kathy Labriola? It’s gonna be great! We’ll run through two tools you can use to reduce feelings of jealousy, and also tell you how you can get her new book The Jealousy Workbook (and hopefully also how you can get MY new book, the KISSable Agreements Workbook!)  Sign up now, so you can get the information on how to call in, and how to get the recording later!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

The Edge of the World

The Edge of the World

a poem by Dawn Davidsonwarning sign above Furzy Cliff

when do you know you’ve come to the edge of the world?
is there a sign
carved into stone
into wood
into hearts?

does it hurt when you fall
off the edge?
wind whistling by from the speed of descent
into shadow and depths?

how do you know
you’ve left the path
ventured too far
to turn back
without leaving marks
from your passing?

where is that invisible line?
the chain
the rope
the whisper
beyond which lies
all things changed and changing?

–Dawn Davidson
© 5/23/09

A recent post in Facebook by Veronica Monet spurred me to post this poem I wrote a few years ago, about boundaries, in particular that “liminal space” where things are changing from one thing to the next.  Veronica referenced the article “Monogamous, Except Online” and asked the question “What about you? Do you consider online sex to be “cheating” or is it harmless fun?”  My answer there:

“Cheating” is breaking one’s agreements, whatever those are. So if you and your partner/s have an agreement not to have sex of any kind, even virtually, with someone else, then yes, it would be cheating. For me personally, I don’t have that sort of agreement, and it’s more about whether I feel like I’m hiding something from my partner, or vice versa. If I am able to be open with my partner, and not feel that “oh, I’m doing something wrong” feeling, and if they are able to hear about what I’m doing (online or elsewhere), and be ok with it (possibly even enthusiastic!), then it’s not “cheating,” and I know everything is ok. If they have a negative reaction, or if I feel “weird” or “furtive” about what I’m doing, then it’s a call to be in better communication with my partner.

So what about you?  How do you know that you’ve come to “the edge of the world”?  What kinds of Agreements do you have … or not?  Do you prefer fences? a sign? guards? a guided tour? or complete freedom? As always, I’d love to hear your experiences, either here, in Facebook, or in email (LoveOTB@gmail.com).  And if you’d like to talk about Agreements as a path to safety, or any other topic related to polyamory, love, and relationships, feel free to drop me a line. I’m happy to share my experiences and tools with you.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m running a summer coaching special, so now’s a great time to contact me by email, or call me (510-686-3386), and save 30% on a package. Find out how to make your relationships happier, safer, and more fulfilling! :)

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Owning Ourselves, Our Loves, and Our Desires

 

Who owns YOUR bed??

Who owns YOUR bed??

Today I ran across an interesting article, about one woman’s journey of self discovery.  You can read it under the title: Finally Embracing Desire.

The author, Monique, chronicles some of the changes taking place within her, as she moves her consciousness from the compulsory-monogamy paradigm, toward the idea that she (as the original title apparently said), can “own her own bed,” (http://www.purpleclover.com/relationships/576-finally-owning-my-bed/) and make her own choices about with whom she shares her bed — and her life and love:

…I watched myself as many old beliefs dissolved. The first to go was my need to feel like I’m “special.” This need had fogged my desire for love and acceptance, preventing me from offering my true self in relationships. I’d preferred to disguise myself as whatever I thought my partner desired so that he would make me the most special love.

I think the original title gets to the heart of some of the changes necessary in making this shift from compulsory-monogamy, into other ways of viewing relating (e.g., open relationships, open marriages, polyamory, etc.) A reliance upon external authority is gradually replaced by an understanding of personal responsibility. Ownership and control of partners (e.g., in marriage) is replaced by respect for individual needs. The dichotomy of Dependence/Independence merges toward freely-chosen Interdependence. As Monique shifts from others “owning her bed” (e.g., partners, religious authorities, or the government through marriage), she takes on more and more of her own authority — and her own power — to make her own choices, and to live with the consequences of those choices, thoughtfully and responsibly.

(BTW: If you’re interested in exploring these topics — ownership, primary privilege, paradigm shifts –  further, you can find a few more paradigm shifts within the report called “Is It Over,” downloadable for free on my website (with your valid email). I’ve also made a few other posts about primary/couple privilege, and the concept of “ownership” in relationship, which you can find here: http://blog.unchartedlove.com/?s=primary+privilege. I’m also always happy to discuss these concepts with you in a free exploratory 30 minute session if you’d like to go a bit deeper.)

Monique concludes her essay by saying:

I never thought I would actually place myself, at forty-five, on a new road to self-discovery that would challenge something so core to my way of being. But I’ve decided that being myself and honoring the call to be sexually expressed as a sensual woman is not only okay, it’s paramount.

What paradigm shifts have you experienced in your life? Which ones have most affected your poly/open relationships? What values are of of “paramount” importance to you, and honoring the call to be fully yourself? What choices and actions might take you away from your true self?

As always, you can comment here, or on my Facebook page, Love Outside the Box.  Or drop me a note via my LoveOTB Contact form.

And remember:

Love is an amazing thing.  It can be a wild tempestuous journey, or a sweet, quiet smile between friends. It can make us feel the best and the worst that we ever feel in our lives. Love is often a teacher. Sometimes it’s a spiritual journey… or a crucible of change. We often don’t choose who and how we love, even though we can choose how and when to express that. But no matter what makes your love special, no matter how long or short that love is, no matter who and how many you love…

Love is always OK.  And so are YOU. — Dawn Davidson, in “Love Is OK”

~♥ Dawn

PS: Want to talk more at length about designing your own best relationship/s? I’m running a Summer Special right now, where you can get a free hour if you purchase a 6-hour package.  And as always, I’m happy to do a  FREE 30 minute, or a 1/2 price 60 minute phone session with you. Contact me via email, or call me (510-686-3386) to set up a time for a free intro session!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Our Cheatin’ Hearts

According to the National Opinion Research Center, women in the US are catching up to their male counterparts.  Not in making money, leading companies or accumulating wealth, alas.  No, we’re catching up in the percentage of women who have “extramarital affairs.” In the last two decades, the per­centage of wives having affairs rose almost 40 percent to 14.7 percent in 2010, while the number of men admitting to extramarital affairs held constant at 21 percent.

But is this a good thing, or a bad thing?  Fellow PLN member Franklin Veaux thinks that there’s a good side to all of this (as quoted from email):

“In all seriousness, without being flip, I think it [statistical increase in women vs. men engaging in infidelity] IS progress. It shows that we’re moving away from a woman-as-possession model of marriage toward a woman-as-self-motivated-agent model. The cheating thing isn’t good, per se, but the reasons behind it are.” — Franklin Veaux

I’d have to agree with that. It seems that the double standard around who gets to sleep around may be starting to abate. Women are, more and more, making their own choices around with whom to have sex. But is there more to this than meets the eye?  I think so.

Tale a look at some more “infidelity” statistics, as quoted in http://www.statisticbrain.com/infidelity-statistics/ :

Marriage Infidelity Statistics Data
Percent of marriages where one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional 41 %
Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 57 %
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 54 %
Percent of married men who have strayed at least once during their married lives 22 %
Percent of married women who have strayed at least once during their married lives 14 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to having an affair with a co-worker 36 %
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity on business trips 35%
Percentage of men and women who admit to infidelity with a brother-in-law or sister-in-law 17 %
Average length of an affair 2 years
Percentage of marriages that last after an affair has been admitted to or discovered 31 %
Percentage of men who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 74 %
Percentage of women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught 68 %
Percent of children who are the product of infidelity 3 %

800px-Divorce_for_men_onlyI notice several things.  For one thing, that 41% figure contains both people who have actually had sex with someone other than their spouse, AND those who had emotional affairs. Compared with the usual US standard of counting “infidelity” as “sex outside of marriage,” though, this significantly inflates the numbers. Also, from this table, we can’t tell the percentage of men vs. women who engage in either form of infidelity. I bet those numbers would be interesting, too.

For another, there is no room in this chart for polyamory, open relationships, or ethical non-monogamy. If presented with this poll myself, I might answer “yes” to questions about historical infidelity going back to the time before my marriage.  I might also answer “yes” to either emotional or sexual “infidelity” depending on how that term is defined.  It’s certainly true that I’ve had sex AND emotional intimacy with more than just my husband.  *I* don’t call it cheating… but those writing this survey might.

It’s also interesting to me that the average affair lasts about 2 years… just long enough for the “Disney chemicals” to wear off, and the infatuation to fade. Hmmm….

However, on the whole, I’m forced to conclude that the data isn’t particularly firm here, and doesn’t actually say much.  It is, as the saying goes (attributed to Mark Twain), “Lies, damn lies, and statistics,” raising as many questions in my mind about the research, as about the results.

On the good news side, given that it does seem to indicate an increase in people (of any gender) willing to talk about their “infidelity,” this probably bodes well for transparency and honesty in relationships, which in turn probably bodes well for fulfillment within the ones that last — or even the ones that don’t. If people are happier by pursuing outside relationships, and that happiness leads to them choosing new partners, then that would be reflected in the oft-quoted 50% divorce rate — but that might also indicate that people feel more free to pursue what actually makes them happy and fulfilled in relationship, even if that means having sex with someone other than their spouse, or even divorce.

What do you think about all this?  How would you answer a poll of this sort?  Do you think women’s “gains” in equality here are a good thing, a bad thing, or something else altogether?

As always, feel free to comment below, in my LoveOTB Facebook Page, or by contacting me via my web page.  And if you’e looking to talk to someone about creating your own creative and flexible relationship design, I’d love to hear from you.  For a limited time only, I’m running a summer coaching special, so drop me a note to take advantage of the free introductory session, and the extra hour if you buy a package. I’d love to help you avoid common pitfalls, navigate jealousy, and create your own best relationship!

May you always remember that no matter who, or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS OK!

~♥ Dawn

 

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

© 2013, Dawn Davidson

Positive STI Test? Don’t Panic! (Yet)

gamblingsign.phpShould you freak out if you get a positive [STI] test?  Probably not, depending on the number of “false positives.”  Here’s the mathematical reasoning, based on a disease with a 1% rate in the population, where the test finds the diseases 100% of the time, but has a 5% “false positive” rate.

http://www.businessinsider.com/controversial-math-problems-markov-chain-cantor-coin-flip-2013-5#-27

The “moral” of the story? Don’t freak out (yet); instead, get a second opinion.

Of course, the exact numbers will depend on how accurate the test is, and exactly what the false positive rates are. But mathematically speaking, a positive test is not something to freak out about, at least not until there are TWO positive tests in a row.  Preferably by different testing methods.

Picture of condoms in a rainbow of colors

This, by the way, is why you really shouldn’t “out” someone publicly who’s just told you privately that they got a positive test, and are awaiting re-testing (while taking appropriate precautions not to unnecessarily expose others in the meantime, just in case).  Because the HIGH probability is that the re-test will be negative. Making a big deal about whether they’ve told absolutely everyone yet is just going to cause drama that is likely completely unnecessary.  Giving them a little empathy about how challenging it must be to get this result and how hard it is to wait, on the other hand, would probably be really welcome. :)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

Want some help negotiating safer sex (or any other kind of) Agreements? I’m always happy to schedule a free 30 minute session (or 60 minutes for half price). Read what other people are saying about my work here. Or read more about making Agreements in my KISSable Agreements workbook entries. :)  Still got questions?  Feel free to contact me on my Love Outside the Box webpage.

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

Polyamory and Polygamy: Compare and Contrast

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Occasionally I get some interesting letters.  Recently, I was contacted by a High School Honors student seeking information for a paper. Here’s what the student wrote:

Hello, [...] I am currently working on a research paper on polygamy. I found your information on the lovemore.com website and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer the following questions.

  1. How does dating work in a polygamist relationship?

  2. Did you choose to be a polygamist? If so what made you choose to be a polygamist?

  3. Did you grow up in a polygamist family? If not how does being a polygamist affect your non-polygamist family?

  4. How do the children interact with multiple mothers?

  5. How does being a polygamist child affect childhood?

  6. Do you have to be a certain religion to be a polygamist?

  7. What are your feelings on Warren Jeffs?

  8. Do you believe that Warren Jeffs is the reason polygamy is illegal in some states?

  9. How does being a polygamist affect your day to day life?

  10. Why do you believe polygamy is illegal in multiple states?

  11. Does polygamy being illegal affect your day to day life?

  12. Is there anything that you think that I should know about polygamy in order to write my paper?

Thank you for taking time to read my email and answering my questions

This email, while clearly interested in the topic and asking some worthwhile questions, shows the vast gulf in understanding in the general public of what polyamory and polygamy actually are.

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Here’s my response:

Dear [    ]:

I’ve been debating how to answer your questions since your first message.  The issue, you see, is that you have contacted the wrong person to answer the questions you’ve asked.  I’m not a polygamist.  I practice *polyamory*. Here’s a quick definition:

Polyamory =
poly (derived from the Greek for ‘many’)
+
amory (derived from the Latin for ‘love’)

In other words,

Polyamory is the belief in and/or practice of multiple loving relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of those involved.

Polyamory and polygamy are not the same thing, though they share the same Greek root meaning “many.”  Polygamy, however, shares the root “gamy” with the word “monogamy,” which refers to human marriage customs.  (See more here: http://www.affixes.org/g/-gamy.html)

You can read more about my definition of polyamory at this blog entry:
http://blog.unchartedlove.com/?p=1147

If you’d like to know more about polyamory, you might want to look up some of the resources (websites, books, etc.) on this list:

http://blog.unchartedlove.com/?page_id=114

For more on the distinction between polyamory and polygamy, see the informative web page “Polygamy and Polyamory” a brochure by the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness: http://www.uupa.org/Literature/PolygamyComparison.htm
Best wishes on your paper,

Dawn

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In addition to that letter, I’ve also compiled a DRAFT of a table highlighting some of the similarities and differences between polyamory and polygamy.  I’ve been hesitant to publish it, in part because I haven’t yet run it by any representatives from the groups discussed (other than polyamorists, where I’ve run the paper by some researchers into polyamory, a few months ago.) So if you, dear reader, identify with any of these groups, and you find areas that you feel need improvement, please do bring the matter/s to my attention (gently, if you can!) I wish to provide this list as a starting point for thought and discussion, not as a prescription for division.  I myself am not a social scientist and do not claim to be an “academic.”  The references and suggested readings listed are also not meant to be an exhaustive list, but instead a starting place for further research.

 

Polyamory

Polygamy
(as popularly understood in US;
aka religious polygyny) (1)

Some similarities

Multiple adult partners Multiple adult partners
Deserving of human rights Deserving of human rights
Stigmatized and misunderstood Stigmatized and misunderstood
Lack of governmental or social recognition of family status Lack of governmental or social recognition of family status

 

Some differences

Egalitarian (shared power in relationship) Patriarchal (decisions and responsibility reserved to male head of family)
Structure not based in organized religion (though practitioners may be religious and/or spiritual) Structure originates in religious doctrine or belief
Any combination and number of genders in relationship structure Relationship structure limited to 1 man, multiple women
Mostly not prohibited in the US (2) Mostly prohibited in the US (3)
About love/romantic relationships About marriage relationships
Long-term commitment optional Long-term commitment a requirement
May be sexually open (individuals in the relationship may or may not have additional sexual relationships outside of the polyamorous relationship under discussion) Always sexually closed (individuals within the relationship may only have sex within the relationship)
Same gender sexual relationships may be allowed Heterosexual relationships only
Allows for gender fluidity and other non-normative gender expressions Binary gender expression only
Relationship focused (May or may not consider themselves part of a family) Family-focused

© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson

(1) Other forms of polygamy exist worldwide that are not based in religious doctrine or belief. This table does not address those and is not meant to imply that they either don’t exist, nor that they are the same as the religious form of polygamy discussed here. This table exists primarily to clarify the most common misperception of polyamory being “the same as polygamy,” as represented by, for instance the TV shows “Big Love” or “Sister Wives.”

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_polygamy and http://jezebel.com/5981095/polyandry-is-actually-way-more-popular-than-anthropologists-have-thought

(2) Cohabiting polyamorous groups may be prohibited by bigamy laws in some states, e.g., Utah.  See also http://non-monodiscourse.blogspot.com/

(3) Some Christian polygamy groups advocate marrying and then getting a legal divorce in order to create a “spiritual marriage” only. This form of polygamy (in essence, a form of serial marriage) would be legal in the US. (Source: http://www.christianpolygamy.com/)

For more information, see also:

“Polygamy and Polyamory” a brochure by the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness: http://www.uupa.org/Literature/PolygamyComparison.htm

 

Do you have anything to add to this table?  Any great references, important line items, or any comments or questions? As always, feel free to contact me on my Love Outside the Box webpage, to comment below, or to visit my Facebook page, LoveOTB. I welcome your discussion and feedback.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well,

~♥ Dawn

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∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]