Saturday, November 17, 2007

Three's Company

Polygamists of Colorado City, Utah, you're not alone. Seems quite a few people are poly-marrying out there (only, doing it with people who are of marrying age—Warren Jeffs, take note!).

Leave it to Babble to find Miriam Axel-Lute, a "polyamorist" with a wife, a husband, a baby, and an essay called "And Baby Makes Four." She is keen to stress that her family is just the same as anyone else's. And she doesn't get why people always want to know about the sleeping arrangements.

To wit:

It used to be that the most common questions we got when we explained our relationship involved jealousy (not a problem, but an understandable question) or sleeping arrangements (why this is so often the first thing people think of is beyond me).
I know, Miriam. Wacky weirdos we are wanting to know about those sleeping arrangements when what we really should be asking is who takes out the garbage and how the health insurance plan works.

Now I'm not judging the three-way. Not judging, just laughing. Hard enough to find one person committed enough to you in life, but two? You've got to be seriously foxy-looking for that one, thinks I. But Miriam has a little purple hat on when I find her picture. And well, you all know how I feel about purple.

Still. A free world. You are free to wear purple and triple-commit and multiply fifty ways from Sunday. For now. But I hope the law will soon tighten up on this sort of thing. Because it's immoral. Indeed, I dream of the day when purple will be outlawed in America.

p.s. Apologies for blog-neglect. Terrible illnesses abounding in this home. Stay tuned for upcoming report on how Crabmommy accidentally killed the Precious "Bangy" (security blanket/lovey thing). And Monday sees new posts at Cookie, yadda yadda ya.


Matter Of Fact Mommy said...

it's okay, crabs - we still loevs you. :p

Y.H.N. said...

Actually polyamory is mostly about communication scheduling and more communication. We actually use google calendar to keep it all straight.

Sleeping arrangements

Crabmommy said...

Y.H.N., thanks for pointing me to your site. I got excited by the "sleeping arrangements" link but sadly, it wasn't as exciting as a monogamist might reasonably hope.

I must say you polyamorists make getting it on with multiple loves sound about as a exciting as a ...Google calendar. I think you'd have more people digging your scene if you told us less about communication and calendars and shared garbage duty and more about how you don't have to live a boring life in bed with one person until death do you part. That's the part I want to hear. The rest doesn't exactly whack my wick. If I had a wick.

CRUSTY MOM-E said...

Feel better in the household of sickness!!

I agree with you about the fasination of "bedmates"..we're only human after all!!

Anonymous said...

I agree, Crabmommy -- I have to admit I was hoping for some dirt, like who hogs the covers or has the worst morning breath.


Anita Wagner Illig said...

OK, let me see if I have this right. Polyamory is immoral, but you still want to hear about the sex.

This explains very well why we poly people make such a point of explaining our lives in terms of the more common aspects of our relationships. Sex to us is no more or less important in our relationships than it is to you in yours.

Polyamory is just like monogamy, but with more people. It's about love and family.

As to sleeping arrangements, the biggest issue involving three sharing a bed is who gets to (or has to) sleep in the middle. I find it too hot myself, and too inconvenient in terms of getting up to go to the bathroom.

crabmommy said...

No, Anita. I didn't say polyamory was immoral. I said wearing purple was. Sorry for the confusion. :)

crabmommy said...

I did however imply that polyamory sounded disappointingly boring. Google calendars and communication...where's the sexiness in that?

Anita Wagner Illig said...

Oh! OK then. Thanks for clarifying, and for being so open minded. Many are, but many aren't. And yes, there really are those who condemn us as immoral while seeming for all the world to get a kick out of speculating about our sex lives. What we don't always appreciate is the expectation that it is appropriate to ask about our sex lives, when asking a monogamous couple about their sex life would be considered rude in the extreme.

That said, so as to make it clear that I'm not totally without objectivity, it's understandable that there is a lot of curiousity about how we organize life in the bedroom.

As to Google calendars and so forth, getting life organized facilitates the sexy part. (Smile) Someone I know says that the mating call of polyamorists is "get out your calendars!" This especially applies to people who are partnered with others with whom they don't share hearth and home. There are many of those, too, but they still spend a lot of time with each other and each other's families.

Inky Ink Inc. said...

Waitaminit--you KILLED the BANGY!?!?! Ohhh jeez-- not good. Not good at all. The mind doth boggle...

LizLSB said...

I don't think polyamory is immoral. In many ways, it actually makes sense to me. However, I do think it's too much damn work; one spouse is MORE than enough, thank you very much.

Er. I mean...being married is great.

Anonymous said...

"But once I became pregnant, things changed. No matter how traditional the person or how new the idea was to them, we'd most often get a pause, a misty-eyed look, and then, 'That sounds like a good idea. I could have used an extra parent.'"

Hmmmm, somehow I really doubt this is most people's automatic response. I find it amusing how often people (and I mean ALL kinds of people, because I have nothing against polyamory if it works for you) feel they have to resort to propagandist tactics if they are swimming against the current with their beliefs. I mean, come on, "misty-eyed"? I guess I just don't get why the author feels she needs to sell you on her lifestyle. Isn't acceptance good enough?

Alexis--long-time lurker, first-time poster

Crabmommy said...

Alexis, welcome!

"Misty-eyed" did sound a bit much to me too, damn, another parent means another person to do the boring stuff! Maybe these polyams really do know how to sell themselves in the end, because dull as it sounds to get your calendar out for scheduled time with the other, another pair of hands makes hands-on parenting sound a lot better right about now! (i.e., maybe I need to get out my Google calendar after all, Anita! :))

In all seriousness (she says, tongue-in-cheek), what I like about these polyams is that, even if some of them wear purple drawstring pants (and I suspect quite a few of them do), they refuse to live on other people's terms. What I don't like is that it all sounds quite unglamorous and unsexy, all that talk about communication and scheduling. It also sounds kind of funny. I hate to say it but the notion of three of you treating each other as if all are equals in a relationship... somehow it just makes me giggle. Not sure exactly why.

But I realize there are lots of ways to be polyams beyond three-way marriage. For my part, I really only want to hear about the polyams that aren't interested in selling their lives as normal. Normal is boring, as we normal-borings know all too well. Normal is full of schedules and calendars and obligations. Why would you want to compound it?

Anita Wagner Illig said...

Maybe "misty-eyed" was the wrong term. In my experience certainly people in traditional monogamous relationships speak rather wistfully about some of the benefits of polyamory. Maybe that's what she meant.

As to all the boring stuff, what we have is differing communication goals. We poly people find that we are frequently villified for the sexual aspect of polyamory, and we don't like it. It isn't our primary reason for living as we do, and we don't like having our sex lives sensationalized. Surely this is understandable.

That said, OK, here's what's exciting to me. It's exciting to be loved by more than one person. It's amazing to have the ardor of more than one, have more than one who is happy to kiss you hello, happy to cuddle with you, and yes, happy to make love with you. It's very validating. And it helps a lot in that we don't end up in the rut many find themselves in in long term monogamous relationships, no matter how committed and generally satisfied we are with that partnership.

Especially when we are getting involved with someone new, we have all the same falling in love excitement (we call that new relationship energy). That excitement follows us home to our existing relationships and often recharges them as well. We are grateful to our existing partners for their generosity of spirit in being willing to share us, and that enhances the existing relationship even more.

And yes, making love with and being pleasured by two people creates a lot more sexual energy and powerful loving feelings than we experience with one. This is not to put that down, one-on-one sex has it's own charm and intensity and is plenty gratifying for plenty of people. Most poly people still have sex the majority of the time with only one person. Some never have sex with more than one and conduct their relationships separately. That's certainly true for me and my partner.

It's exciting to be in relationship with someone who doesn't want to own you and who doesn't have excessive expectations about your meeting all their needs all the time, someone with the confidence to give you the gift of freedom to love others without being threatened. It's not always easy, but those who succeed at this eventually get to that point, and it's a powerful bonding experience when they do.

After having been cheated on in a former marriage, it is also exciting to me to know that the trade off for sharing my partner with others is that he's never going to cheat on me and I don't have to worry about going through that kind of betrayal and heartbreak again. There's no reason for him to.

For some it's exciting to have an extended family, a "bouquet of lovers" as someone referred to it, where we and our partners gather with their partners for holidays, birthdays, commitment ceremonies, and so forth. It's sort of an instant group with whom to party and celebrate.

I'd be happy to answer more specific questions if you'd tell me what you want to know.

Daisy said...

I still wonder if this whole post was an effort to announce, and then cover up, the destruction of the Bangy.

Miss Awesome said...

Just found your blog through an ad on my blog. Love it here! Will be back soon :) said...


Anita Wagner Illig said...

Daisy said: "I still wonder if this whole post was an effort to announce, and then cover up, the destruction of the Bangy."

Um, were you referring to my post above yours? I don't know what this means - what is the Bangy?

Anyone know?

Crabmommy said...

Anita, "bangy" sounds sexy but alas, they are referring to my 3-yr-old's special blanket, which I lost and promised to post about. but I am still high and lazy on turkey tryptophan and haven't yet returned to blogging. People, stay tuned about bangy. I have to think of a way to make that story funny and interesting instead of just plain sad. And polyams everywhere, have a very merry holiday season (but please don't be wearing purple, now!). Good luck to you all and Anita, thanks especially to you for spreading the love here at Crabmommy and giving us the dish.

Unknown said...

Strange but in my neck of the woods, "polyamorists" means multiple lovers akin to the "swingers" of the 60's. Far from the commitment-centric marriages of Utah.

It's become quite trendy in this age of internet dating, dwindling leisure time and social networking. It makes sense if you think about Myspace, Facebook, and making lists of "friends". All for one and one for all.

Anita Wagner Illig said...

Hardy, a lot of people appropriate the word polyamory because they think they know what it means when they clearly don't. Some also think it sounds better than "swinger". Though I support swinging as a valid lifestyle choice for those for whom it works - and there are probably ten of them for every poly person - I've never really appreciated it when those whose sexual relationships contain little if any ongoing committed romantic relating decide to call themselves polyamorists. It confuses people, as you see.

Of course, there *are* polyamorists who also swing, i.e. enjoy recreational sex in social settings. Maybe that's who the folks you refer to are.