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Valentine’s Question: could you give it all up?

Timothy Kincaid

February 12th, 2010
    And after all the boys and the girls that we’ve been through,
    Would you give it all up, could you give it all up, if I promise boy to you?

    - Lady Gaga, Speechless

valentineThis Sunday is St. Valentine’s Day, a time for romance and love. And, perhaps, a time to reflect on the value of your relationship.

In a recent post, we analyzed the claims made about how half of gay marriages are not monogamous and found that the sample was not adequate to tell us anything whatsoever about gay marriages. But it did engender a lengthy and heated discussion about the prevalence of monogamy in the community. And various positions were argued from the perspective of the experiences of those opining.

As we saw, while the readership at Box Turtle Bulletin is very diverse, many readers experienced a very emotional connection to the commentary. Several shared their own relationship structure.

Which got me wondering: is your own perspective on monogamy set in stone? If your beloved came to you on Sunday and asked you to change your agreement, how flexible could you be?

If you strongly believe that an open relationship is healthier and that outside sexual release keeps you stronger, could you give it all up to please the one you love? And if you think that a relationship built on monogamy and fidelity is sacred and smart, how would you react to your Valentine if they expressed a desire, or even a need, to have extra-relationship experiences?

(Please be courteous to others and as respectful of their choices as you wish them to be of yours.)

Comments

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Ephilei
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

I am asexual; I do not have a sexual attraction to others. I believe morality questions should only be judged by those within the group, never outsiders who cannot comprehend the situation and can only respond in ignorance. We have seen what happens when heterosexuals judge homosexuality and when cisgender people judge transgenderism. Therefore, I have no opinion.

Mr. HCI
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

I’m a one-man man. My husband and I have been together a little over 16 years and are 100% monogamous. The thought of having sex with a man other than him is just not part of my mindset. If he were to die before me, I’m honestly not sure I could ever re-marry.

I know some couples have open relationships, but I honestly don’t understand it; I would think it would be full of emotional pitfalls. That’s not a criticsm, btw.

Burr
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

It’s not set in stone at all for me. It was mostly my partner’s prerogative to keep things open, which I found myself embracing easier than I initially expected, but if he changed his mind I’d have no problem keeping things between us, and likewise for him if I changed my mind. It’s all about what makes us happy and what works for us, and I can foresee that changing in the future. I don’t have any real overarching philosophy about it (and no prescriptions for others), just that both of us right now see sex as something that can be shared with close friends without issue.

Confessor
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

I would first ask my husband, “Which part of our agreement:

A) sexual monogamy or, B) emotional monogamy? We define it that way and we have good reasons for doing that.

We aren’t going near changing our emotional agreement. That would be the end of us. We are devoted on that level and I could not imagine altering that aspect.

On sexual monogamy, it has much to do with our age difference and my husband’s previous experience. He was in a relationship for 32 years before me, was the younger partner by 15 years in that relationship, and lost that partner in the last 70s. That previous partner died at age 75 but was seriously ill the last ten years (emphysema) and could not have a physical relationship.

They discussed the situation and they were open to my husband having a sexual relationship as long as the they, as a couple, attended to their emotional fidelity with great care. That was not a problem.

I met my husband, a few years after his other partner died, when he was 60 and I was 30. Fifteen years into our (now) 26 year relationship, my husband’s health declined dramatically due to heart disease. He is clinically impotent and has NO libido. But because of his own experience with his previous partner, as stressful as it is when one considers the difficult and mental anguish of having a sexual experience outside of a relationship, my husband understood that a man can love his partner without reservation but still have sexual experiences outside the relationship.

For my own part, it’s an anguishing prospect to consider because I’m pulled in two directions simultaneously. I love my my husband with all my heart. I didn’t start out that way, but that’s where I’ve ended up. I changed my last name to his for him (and me) and I love spending my days taking care of him. He has moderate dementia problems and is quite forgetful these day and is completely dependent on me for meals, and many different things. I NEVER felt so valued as I do being able to care for him.

Yet I’m 56 and he’s 86. I expected that we would arrive at a day like this and be faced with these challenges. My biological urges are still very much intact and I am mostly successful in ignoring and pushing them onto the back burner. But we have already had this discussion going on about my fulfilling that “other need” for at least a decade. It is a subject that is ALWAYS on the table, is not permitted to close, and ALWAYS requires full transparency. I couldn’t have it any other way.

We have benefited more from being honest with each other than anything else, like being allegedly “open”. It’s not an “open” relationship we have. It’s an Understanding Relationship. We both share the struggle and when both partners have a common struggle to deal with, that’s actually what strengthens us. I’m not alone in this. He’s there with me. He’s the best friend I need him to be, even if he just listens to me talk about how I long to have the physical feedback he could once give me. He’s an utterly decent friend so who could not love a man who trusts you so much that he knows I know, and won’t ever forget, where home is and where my heart lies.

Fdef
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

My partner and I have been together for nearly 22 years. There is a 14 year age difference between us. We both distinguish between sex and love and between emotional monogamy and sexual monogamy. We have been known to engage in play with others from time to time, separately or together. We don’t keep secrets but actually enjoy sharing our experiences. At my age it doesn’t happen often, but having the attentions of a another guy on occasion can be very affirming and renewing. However, the more I know of other men, the more I appreciate my guy and I know he feels the same way. I know there are those who say “Why go out for hamburger, when you can have steak at home.” We joke about having hamburger at home and going out for dessert.

BobbiCW
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

My wife and I have been together 43 years, and I would be devastated if she seriously wanted anyone but me. Part of that comes from my faith (which only permits monogamy) and part comes from how I was raised (by monogamous parents who were raised by monogamous parents back as far as the eye can see). For me it’s set in stone. When we committed we said it was the two of us together forever — and we meant it.

Muscat
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

I think there are healthy (and unhealthy) mono-amorous relationships as well as healthy (and unhealthy) poly-amorous relationships. I don’t think one is inherently healthier than the other, but I think one style can be a better fit for a particular individual and/or situation than the other.

I have both “opened” and “closed” existing relationships when a change was requested/initiated by a partner, so I guess I’ve the experience to say I would truly be flexible. And I suppose my experience has shaped my perspectives on this issue, although the reverse is also no doubt true.

On the other hand, if we’re talking not just about “open” relationships but various polyamorous relationship forms that may, for example, involve multiple committed partners, the idea of “giving it all up” to “please the one you love” doesn’t necessarily make sense.

Rossi
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

I think multiple partners, for some gay men, is potentially the one thing about gay relationships that will be a remnant of the ‘underground’ behavior of gay men that has dominated for generations.

Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan have long argued that marriage is a calming, stabilizing force. I think that’s surely the goal and the intent for many.

But I think it will be some time before a lot of gay couples discard their socially learned behavior (multiple partners and the inability to keep their dicks in their pants because no contract ever deemed it necessary nor did society expect otherwise) and choose to grow old with the same person– fusing sex and emotion.

I (naively, I’m sure) hope those gay folks who do have open relationships will choose to stay unmarried, because I think it cheapens the solemn vow.

Obviously a lot of unmarried straight folks and gay folks have “open relationships” But I personally hope when it comes to marriage, the behavior among gay couples will trend toward the traditional. It’s just something I’d like to see, echoing the Sullivan threads about the “end of gay culture”. IN other words, so regular nobody notices.

Until then, sadly, I don’t think it will be much of a stabilizing force. Hence more grist for the anti-marriage mill.

GreenEyedLilo
February 12th, 2010 | LINK

Before we were married, the woman who would become my wife and I had an open relationship. It was a long-distance relationship, her in NYC and me in Orlando. We found it very strange that she was lesbian and I was bisexual, but she’d had intercourse with men and I hadn’t. She told me that if I wanted to “see what it was like with a man in Orlando”, I could, as long as I was honest about it. I was offended! Then I met the man I wanted to see what it was like with. Since I opened the relationship on my end, I gave her permission to sleep with other women in NYC, and she took it a couple of times. I met one of those women; it was horribly awkward to say the least.

Ex-Boy and I meant to have a fling, and then to be “friends with benefits.” But I am very intense and probably completely incapable of being casual about sex and relationships. This friendship with benefits evolved into a five-year duogamous relationship. Eventually, my future wife regretted opening the relationship, on her end and on mine, and forced a choice. The choice became quite easy when we learned why I’d endured three miscarriages, and Ex-Boy got angry and critical at me for them, and L’Ailee flew to Orlando and offered to donate a pint of blood on the spot if I needed it during surgery. (We have the same blood type, which is quite convenient.)

She proposed to me–very “romantically”, basically saying, “We can, so why not?” over the phone. I moved from Orlando to NYC in 2004, and we married in Massachusetts that New Year’s Eve. I guess I can’t discount any possibility. I never thought I could be duogamous until I was. At the same time, I’d be surprised if the possibility came up for myself again, and while I don’t think I could say “no” to her in clear conscience, I’d be shocked if she asked for herself.

Charles
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Personally, I’ve never understood closed relationships. I think it contradicts human nature, and like everything that contradicts human nature it has a negative impact on people. Saying “you shouldn’t do it” / “you’re not allowed to do it” has never prevented anyone from doing so. The only thing it does is bring shame and guilt and deceit: all negative energies that are not healthy for a couple.

Now I totally understand that for some people monogamy is the way to go, and that it is what it feels best for them – I say good for you – but I don’t think it’s a superior way of living. And I certainly don’t think it’s the most wide-spread way of living.

What I oppose however is that:
“I (naively, I’m sure) hope those gay folks who do have open relationships will choose to stay unmarried, because I think it cheapens the solemn vow.”
This is my problem with most monogamy-only people. Both the contempt they have for others and the self-righteousness they feel allows them to state what makes a couple good and what makes it cheap.

Personally I think it is monogamy that makes a couple cheap: Monogamy is like saying “I own you, I want you to have sex with me ONLY” or worse “I don’t trust you, so I want you to think of me ONLY otherwise our relationship is so meaningless that it will break up”. It’s like the veil in Islam: “You have to cover yourself because I don’t trust you will not use your charms to woo other people and be unfaithful to me”. Well, that’s ownership and property, not love. If you need rules and laws like that to hold your couple together then I feel really sorry for you because I don’t think it’s the way to happiness. If you need to tie down an animal so that it stays with you, do you really think that it wants to? If you need to enforce monogamy in your couple because otherwise you would break up then it probably mean your couple isn’t strong enough.

(nb: I am fully aware that for some people monogamy is just the way both parties feel more comfortable and that’s absolutely fine – I just don’t think it happens very often)

Jason D
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

“Personally, I’ve never understood closed relationships. I think it contradicts human nature,…”

So does peace, democracy, and a lot of other things.

It may or may not contradict human nature on a larger scale, but individuals certainly vary, and are no less significant for it.

“Now I totally understand that for some people monogamy is the way to go, and that it is what it feels best for them – I say good for you – but I don’t think it’s a superior way of living. And I certainly don’t think it’s the most wide-spread way of living.”

I don’t think it’s superior either. I think some people need it, and other people need something else. Happiness isn’t prescriptive, it’s something we all have to find for ourselves.

“If you need to tie down an animal so that it stays with you, do you really think that it wants to? If you need to enforce monogamy in your couple because otherwise you would break up then it probably mean your couple isn’t strong enough.”

Obviously forcing something against someone’s will is bad.

Unless, of course, they want to be forced.

Sometimes restrictions are a cage that imprisons a person, sometimes restrictions are more like a kite string, anchoring the person so they can fly that much higher and not crash into the ground.

I find it curious that while the gay community(generally) embraces leather restraints, dog collars, chains, BDSM, and dominant/submissive roleplay and philosophy — that the “”restriction”" of monogamy is just too much! For some reason, I just don’t see how spanking someone is any less humiliating and degrading than monogamy (and some people like being humiliated and degraded, FYI)

A long time ago, someone in a chatroom said “monogamy is a fetish”. At the time I was insulted. However after a decade of living in the real world, meeting people, and reading about them in “Savage Love” I think that person might’ve been on to something.

I don’t presume to know for sure that it is a fetish, but from what I’ve learned about fetishes, they’re strong, they don’t go away, and they’re usually fairly healthy and when indulged by giving, game, and generous partners, make the fetishists life richer and more fullfilling. Whereas when people try to “give up” their fetish, repress it, or are forced to give it up by selfish and uncaring partners…they end up seeking their happiness elsewhere, or just end up unhappy and bitter.

As to the questions that started it all. I’m a nester. I’m not much of a hunter. As much as I tried to “live it up” when I was younger my fun dial just doesn’t go all the way to 11, even when forced. I don’t find most men attractive. The dozen or so casual encounters I had when I was younger just felt…ridiculous. I thought at first, what I felt was some sort of prudish guilt, but it was actually just disinterest. I was on the soccer team when I was a teen, not because I liked sports, or soccer, but because I thought that’s what I was supposed to want. My experience with casual encounters pretty much went the same way. It just didn’t work for me.

So no, I wouldn’t be able to be in an open relationship. I could see myself lying and saying it was okay, bravely trying to give up something I value for my partner, but in the end I think I’d have to seek my happiness elsewhere. Monogamy is about as complicated as I can handle. I don’t think this makes a shallow, selfish, or controlling person. Perhaps it makes me just atypical, but this is who I am.

GreenEyedLilo
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

@ Jason D: I think it’s good to be honest with yourself and know what you want. If you and your partner don’t want the same things from a relationship, you can’t force that. For me, it was like, “Okay, that question’s been answered, now I can get on with business.” It seems that you were the same way with casual encounters.

It seems tragically ironic that in a community where we have to “come out” about our sexual/romantic preferences to find each other, that we sometimes shame ourselves and each other out of what we really want. Prude-shaming doesn’t come up as often as slut-shaming, but it’s just as bad.

Amicus
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Tim, I can’t believe you’re asking people to question the _value_ of their relationship on Valentine’s Day. One hopes that all the talk about “who’s right?” does mean that everyone is wondering, radically, “Am I wrong?”. Statistically, at least, if you are in a relationship, that’s a good thing.

I think there are healthy (and unhealthy) mono-amorous relationships as well as healthy (and unhealthy) poly-amorous relationships.

That seems a way forward, an answer to a question put in the prior thread about finding a way to “resolve” the differences/conflict.

Amicus
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

JD, the difference in perception does seem to suggest that monogamy/nonmongamy are not fetishes. It suggests that, right or wrong, people do not experience them in that way. When someone talks passionately about their fetish, like foot worship, few are taking it to imply they should like feet too.

Amicus
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

“does mean that everyone” s/b “doesn’t mean”

cowboy
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Perhaps I have been indoctrinated by some sort of rules of fidelity I have been taught because I grew up in a fairly religious family.

I know a few of my coupled friends who have the “open” relationships contracts but I deem them to something akin to being just convenient roommates. That is: someone to have as a date for the movies/dinner or a traveling companion but nothing more substantive.

One way to end a relationship with me is when I find out there has been some extracurricular sex on his part.

Put a mark in the check-box next to Monogamous for me.

Bearchewtoy75
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

For me, monogamy is one of the best things about being in a committed relationship. Kevin and I both flirt with other guys, but we know who’s going to be sleeping next to one another when get home. There is also a great peace of mind knowing that I never have to worry about STD’s or if there is a condom around.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve both been sluts in our single days! But I just love knowing that he’s MINE and I’m HIS, and there is NO ONE else in the world that we want to share the most intimate parts of ourselves with!

Now, I have also said that this is something that works for us in the now. Maybe some day down the line we will want to explore a more open relationship. We’re hardly prudes, but this is what works for us right now and we’re both happy with that.

R Holmes
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

I’m completely monogamous and so is my partner. But, as others have said, the health of a relationship doesn’t depend on whether it’s monogamous or polyamorous.

What annoys me when monos presume that polys are sluts, and when polys presume that monos are fettering their natural instincts.

Sorry, bud, monogamy *is* my natural instinct.

Jason D
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

“Amicus
February 13th, 2010 | LINK
JD, the difference in perception does seem to suggest that monogamy/nonmongamy are not fetishes. It suggests that, right or wrong, people do not experience them in that way. When someone talks passionately about their fetish, like foot worship, few are taking it to imply they should like feet too.”

True, it’s all about what’s being said and how it’s being interpreted. Some people can’t hear about a happy, non-monogamous couple without thinking they’re being sold something.

On the other hand we’ve got people who don’t really talk about the merits of their relationship style, they actually tear about the other one and hold up their own side as the “better alternative”.

It’s like the only merit of Side A is that it’s “better” than Side B. Having a “less of two evils” choice is part of life, but I don’t think it’s part of being in a relationship.

Ray
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

“So does peace, democracy, and a lot of other things.”

But “peace, democracy and a lot of other things” are not BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVES as human sexuality is. Let’s just be clear about that.

Priya Lynn
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Charles said “Personally, I’ve never understood closed relationships. I think it contradicts human nature, and like everything that contradicts human nature it has a negative impact on people.”.

Such an extreme generalization is wrong. Its human nature to steal, rape, murder, and war. Contradicting those aspects of human nature has a very positive impact. Just because something contradicts human nature is no guarantee its a bad thing, you need much more to make your case that monogamy is negative than the idea that it contradicts human nature.

Priya Lynn
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Ray said “But “peace, democracy and a lot of other things” are not BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVES as human sexuality is. Let’s just be clear about that.”.

Having multiple sex partners is not a biological imperative, and neither is sex for that matter. Lots of people do without sex.

Timothy Kincaid
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Remember, folks, this isn’t about why your perspective is right and the other is wrong. It’s about what you would do if asked to change your agreement.

Jason D
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

But “peace, democracy and a lot of other things” are not BIOLOGICAL IMPERATIVES as human sexuality is. Let’s just be clear about that.

Simply put, results vary. And humans have a knack for running counter to their own nature as well as the natural world — to both positive and negative ends.

It seems to be a variation on the “it’s not natural!” argument. Well, neither is is the internet, democracy, cell phones, eyeglasses, open heart surgery, or birth control.

I got no issue with people wanting sexual variety and openness, but if you’re going to do it, don’t be a coward about it and blame “biological imperatives”. If you’re truly doing what makes ya happy, and nobody’s getting hurt in the process, then you don’t need excuses or to explain yourself. That’s for people who want to sell something, or think they need someone else’s permission.

Priya Lynn
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

My husband was a virgin when we became romantically involved. If he insisted on an open relationship I wouldn’t be happy about it, but I wouldn’t leave him over it either. Monogamy is no problem for me, I really have no sex drive to speak of. I like cuddling, kissing, and hugging, that’s all I need and my husband has no desires for sex outside the relationship either. Even if I did have a sex drive, I wouldn’t risk developing affections for someone else by having sex with them and risking ruining the relationship. For me there is no seperating sex from emotional ties.

BCCanuck
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Brilliant replies by Jason D and others. And the comment by Confessor was beautiful.

My partner and I have been together for 17 years (we were introduced to each other by a lesbian couple on Valentine’s Day in 1993). We’ve been monogamous all that time. It works very well for us. One of the unintended results of monogamy has included strong friendships with straight men who don’t feel “threatened” by us presumably because they see us as “safe.” Maybe this is part of a wider social trend?

Regan DuCasse
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

In all the comments regarding polyamory, there was the common factor of ONE partner challenging the other to accept it, AFTER THE FACT.
Some of these situations don’t start out mutually agreed upon, but are a matter of capitulation rather than lose the relationship altogether. Which will and does build resentment down the line at some point.

I think there IS something of a higher level of maturity and emotional intelligence in monogamy. Certainly it DEVELOPS within the relationship and is allowed to over time.

Since relationships ARE complicated, even with two people, engaging more and more people until the whole business is MORE complicated, or recreational, is territory for people who have convinced themselves that bonding is imprisonment, rather than a means to an end.
That’s why I think it’s hard to take the polyamorous too seriously, for all their assertions that it’s for their own happiness and so on.
It doesn’t seem serious at all, or even the behavior of more highly evolved people.
Butlive in the moment types.

In gay couples, there is less likelihood of the spectre of children and creating a world of less and less security and competition for their needs. The children of polyamory have issues with that, because they NEVER had a choice, but are forced to go along with whatever their parents want.

I didn’t hear of making any sacrifices or seeing to the needs of another human being from the poly crowd.
It was me, me, me, my happiness, mine, mine.
And other than the sexual engagement, there doesn’t seem to be much else to keep you around.

Meaning, that regardless of what anyone says about their preference or involvement for polyamory, it’s not deep, nor especially connotes the ability to BE deep.

Focusing one’s energies for the specific purpose of building on them and nurturing them to the extent that ALL other people don’t matter, is more egalitarian.

It leaves others with the opportunity for the same with a single person.

And considering that jealously, limited emotional and physical resources and ability are realities of human nature, indulging that which for the most part CAN create problems seems like a corner, rather than a path.

Priya Lynn
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

I agree Regan. Its tough enough to balance the needs and desires of two people without adding the complexity and difficulty of trying to balance the needs and desires of 3 or more. If people want to and think they can do it, they’ll get no complaints from me, but I certainly wouldn’t try it.

WMDKitty
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

I, for one, will NOT share my mate with another.

Amicus
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Jason,

I’m just finishing up the McWhirter and Madison tomb. When I get a moment, I’ll post some eye-opening quotes from the introduction on the earlier thread, that speak directly to how these studies get misconstrued. Thirty years ago and they were pointing out the same limitations that we still have to point out today!

Never a dull moment as an oppressed sexual minority: Two weeks ago, it was high brow cultural and biological anthropology (Blankenhorn). Then we turned to unit cohesion in the presence of sexual tension, the limits of policy implementation in a military with pockets of deep homophobia (e.g. ‘can gay Marines marry in uniform?’), and should partnered gay and lesbian couples get rights and responsibilities under the code. This week, we’re back to the pitfalls of making normative claims from point statistics and/or biology and what is the character of good/bad monogamous and nonmonogamous relationships, so we can figure out how to think about them and not injure our hopes for progress.

I, for one, will be happy to lay these burdens down, whether in victory or not. {Sorry, but it is true.}

Ray
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Amicus, that’s “Mattison” not Madison. :-)

Ray
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Oh. You link source misspelled Mattison’s name. You’re in the clear. :-)

anteros
February 13th, 2010 | LINK

Would I give it all up?

Whoah! …reminds me of some of the stressful stuff I experienced while I was still ‘happily involved’.

Being single aint so bad after all:-)

What a cool Valentine’s day gift!

Thanks BTB!

Andrew
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

Eewww!! Nancy Elliot & her ilk are such nasty bigots! Who wants hetero normative republicans telling them what is normal? Why is she so focused on her version of gay sex, as i would imagine she thinks it relates to men? How many women get f**ked up the arse within conventional ‘normal’ heterosexual relationships? What does she have to say about the lesbians? This would be a comedy if she didnt occupy such an important position. How much hate speech so we need to hear?
I guess when she finishes telling the gays how to be less gay, she can talk to all the other minorities about how they need to be less, ‘black’,'asian’,'indigenous’,'foreign’,or indeed any version of human outside of her experience!

As for monogomy within gay relationships. Are we moving towards a nature/nuture argument of this as well? Surely not! Lets come out of the closet regarding the sophistication & diversity of our relationships. whether they be straight, gay, bi, whatever. We need to be pro choice on every level, concentrating on respect & equality.

Amicus
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

Ray, thanks for the correction. It did not escape my notice that David and Andrew – let’s call them that – wrote their introduction on St. Valentines Day, 1983. From Oahu. Sunset beach.

Regarding Andrew’s ‘trolling of the monogamists’ just above it would do if nonmonogamists ‘came out’, rather than being silent. There is really one way to be monogamous and, apparently, quite a few ways to be nonmonogamous (even polyamorous). There is also a suggestion on the table that there may be healthy and unhealthy aspects, to each type of relationship, which is unexplored (probably because this thread is not about that, exactly, but it’s another way to talk about the same thing).

It would do if folks had a clear idea of what they are asking for. For example, if I have a sexual fetish, I’m probably looking for tolerance of that, not acceptance. My fetish has meaning for me, it doesn’t have social value, especially, in terms of something that is generalizable. So, I’m seeking to keep limits from my personal freedom, not make a statement.

Uki
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

Monogamy or non-monogamy? It’s confusing for me. Monogamy is spiritually satisfying, and non-monogamy is my ultimate sex fantasy (It sounds fun!).

I never had any relationship before, so I’m not qualified in deciding what works for me.

But one thing I do believe, is that monogamy is hard, and non-monogamy is easy.

So the only question for me if I start a relationship, is whether I choose the hard and realistic way, or the easy and fantasy way?

PS: However, if being non-monogamous is being justified because of these reasons, then I am not going to choose to be non-monogamous.

1. Men are pigs, so men can’t be monogamous.
2. Monogamy is a heteronormative behavior and a symbol of heterosexual relationship.
3. Non-monogamy is the natural thing a human should do.
4. Monogamy is for ugly, poor, and boring person. While non-monogamy is for cute, sexy, and trendy people.

anteros
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

What exactly does non-monogamy mean?

Being single and getting a one-night stand fix every weekend?

Having one official partner in a committed (emotional and or sexual?) relationship while having several (part time and or long term?) sexual partners on the side (with or without the knowlegde and consent of the official partner?)… and casually ‘sharing’ each of those multiple partners with the official partner? …or only having encounters with other sexual partners in the presence of the official partner?

Having official committed sexual and emotional relationships with more than one partner, like how some Muslims have four wives or some Africans like Jacob Zuma and King Mswati have several wives?

I agree, there is a great deal of diversity in how relationships are structured, for both gay and straight people.

Some people may have a hard time drawing distinctions between the diversity of non-monogamous relationships and ‘anything goes’ relationships with continously dilating boundaries – which some would label as promiscuous and unhealthy. Many are probably uncomfortable with non-monogamy for this simple reason.

Definitions of relationships and their boundaries offer some kind of ‘comfort’ to couples, I think. Couples should be free to communicate openly and decide what works best for them, without internal coersion and external judgment. In my opinion, monogamy and everything else including ‘anything goes’ are all valid types of relationships, provided there is open communication and full agreement between all parties and everybody is happy. Nobody should have to feel trapped or unhappy in any relationship – whether gay, straight, monogamous, non-monogamous or whatever.

That said… personally, non-monogamy isnt for me… that’s my non-negotiable position.

ZRAinSWVA
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

Non-monogamy would probably destroy our relationship. We’ve been best friends, lovers and partners for over 23 years, and we’ve worked very, very hard to smooth the bumps. Our dedication to each other means that our relationship is continually evolving…and improving. Sex can seem inconsequential and such a fleeting thing (it was just 5 minutes and it meant nothing) or it can be the gentle massage late at night that turns into something more. I’ll take the latter–and the former, but only if it’s with him.

If he asked, we’d talk. I would need to understand ‘why’. I would want to explore every alternative. After that…I don’t know.

As I type, I’m looking at the ‘Happy You and Me’ Valentine’s day card that I gave to him three years ago that’s still on his desk. He’ll get another one today…

Burr
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

I have to clarify that for me, non-monogamy does NOT mean anything close to “anything goes.” All potential partners are friends we both know very well, and we share them (and hence share our relationship with them), so there’s nothing “selfish” about it. There hasn’t been an issue or any resentment over this as we communicate openly about every aspect of it, and there’s no competition for attention or any emotional attachment involved besides friendship. We always give each other the ultimate priority over anyone else, and there many things that are entirely exclusive between us. I didn’t capitulate. I just hadn’t seriously thought of it before.

Neither of us plan on having kids, but I agree that sort of thing probably isn’t healthy for a family.

I also agree with Uki that those are all terrible reasons for non-monogamy. However it isn’t a care-free fantasy, and how hard or easy or realistic either option is for you just depends on how compatible it is with who you are.

Houndentenor
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

There’s a flaw at the core of this. It assumes that this is different from heterosexual relationships and it’s not. Are negotiated open relationships more common? I would suspect so (although I think more research needs to be done). But it’s rather obvious that there are plenty of heterosexual marriages in which one, if not both partners, engage in sex outside the relationship and the other partner(s) look the other way. Of course sometimes they simply don’t know but I think at least as often they choose to ignore what’s going on.

I am neither for nor against open arrangements in relationships. I just think partners should be honest about what they want and expect and what they are actually going to be able to do. The heterosexual “norm” is actually an elaborate system of institutional hypocrisy. If they don’t acknowledge what they are doing, then it’s as if it didn’t happen. I think gay couples are less likely (note: I did not say UNlikely) to have this kind of denial and are more likely to talk about these issues rather than ignore them. Obviously there are straight couples with arrangements and gay couples with assumptions of exclusivity.

But the ability of the religious right to use a study like this to make gay couples look illegitimate is built on an assumption that heterosexual marriages are all or at least almost all monogamous which is rather obviously not true.

Lymis
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

I have to agree with the people who are pointing out that non-monogamy is not a single universal form.

My husband and I would not do well at all with a “I’ve got a date, see you Monday” form of non-monogamy. We are very clear about our emotional monogamy, and it has held up extremely well over the years.

When we play with other people, it is exactly that – play. Friendship. Fun. We’ve both agreed that if either of us ever find ourselves falling in love with someone else, we will take it very seriously and expect to cut that person out of things or at least back way off.

So to the question, how flexible would I be to change, it would depend on why he was asking, whether he considered it permanent or temporary, and in which direction he wanted the change.

I would be far more open to “let’s not play with anyone else for a while” than I would be to “I want to be able to see people without you.”

I would be far more open to “let’s focus on us for a while (and this is why)” than to “I want a permanent promise of exclusivity.”

We’ve had periods where we were more outgoing as a couple, and long periods where we were happily exclusive, and through it all, we have very clear communication about how well it is or isn’t working.

Joy
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

My reason for needing a monogamous relationship is purely selfish. I am a very jealous person. I just could not handle my partner being with anyone else. I would constantly wonder if that person was prettier, smarter, better in bed, etc. I could not have an open relationship, I am just not that strong. It would just eat away at me. I think to be in an open relationship you have to be a very secure person, and you have to be with a secure person.

Pender
February 14th, 2010 | LINK

I could not give up monogamy. My view is that sexual intimacy will often lead to emotional intimacy no matter the intentions, and that reciprocal emotional intimacy will often lead to a new relationship, again no matter the intentions. And new relationships, no matter the intentions, are always incompatible with old relationships.

So if my beloved boyfriend told me today that he wanted to have sex with other people (which he won’t, because fortunately we’re of one mind on this), then no matter his intentions, it would be the functional equivalent of him saying that we should break up, or at least that we should be friends with benefits only until something better comes along, and the latter is something I am not interested in doing.

Amicus
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

Prude-shaming doesn’t come up as often as slut-shaming..

As an historical assertion, one would question this. True or false: more often than not, the price of admission once was to drop your pants (one way or another).

In fact, I just read a paper in which the author notes that to fail to do so was worse than prudery, in the 60s, but an ideological impurity, a stain, to think twice about that.

Invoking Dr. Frankenfurter voice, one might say, “It’s hard to be a sociable sexualist rather than a sexual socialist.”

In the prior thread, JMG noted that gay culture, as it existed, is far more than sex. Of course, that’s true and let’s not forget it. But, let’s not lose sight of the fact – a fundamental/defining fact or otherwise – that many gay men count a high percentage of ex-lovers among their closest friends. [I'm not sure if Nardi presented statistics from his sample used for his book on that].

So, some people can see that development as a great good (a way to create family and liberating modes of social happiness) but others could see it as a harm (a tacit quid-pro-quo to sexual-bonding that vacates the space for community and relegates other forms of friendship and friendship formation, i.e. asexual bonding, or promotes cliquishness).

Oddly, a typical route to long-term relationship formation is similar in form, sexual intimacy before partnership, but does seem different in intent.

Oops. This post turned out a lot longer than I thought. It’s a bit off topic, too.

Amicus
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

Oh, here is the article that I mentioned, in case anyone is interested. It’s just 14 pages, but the essay is quite rich and chewy. The author motions toward a quasi-defense of promiscuity, although he admits to at least one environment of it in his experience rife with jealousies.

I’m not sure he succeeds. His section on ‘hypocrisy’ looks more like a section on bias. The spirituality and time dimension analysis is very clever, but cursory. By sticking with individuals, he doesn’t grapple with questions about how a cogent theory of plural value, even if admitted, could be institutionalized.

Amicus
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

darn, no way to edit or delete. the link

Jeff
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

I suppose I’m kind of a traditionalist, though I’m only 20 years old. I like the music of the 40s and 50s, as well as 70s and 80s (so I do understand the idea of “being different,” though I’ve never considered myself so). I think gentlemen should open doors for ladies, pull out their chairs, and offer their coats when it’s cold. It’s not a question for me, it’s just what’s done.

That said, when it comes to relationships, my view doesn’t change, despite the fact that society views the way in which I construct relationships (with other men) as unacceptable. I have, nor will I ever, cheat on a man in which I am in a serious relationship with, nor have I ever “dated” more than one man at the same time.

While I’m in no position to judge anyone, I frankly don’t understand how some people can separate emotional and sexual feelings. For me, being around my man (who I’ve been with for just over a year now) brings me both emotional and sexual enjoyment, and I could no more find sexual enjoyment with someone else than I could fly a fighter jet; it’s just not possible for me.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.

Regan DuCasse
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

Jeff, that’s refreshing, ESPECIALLY coming from a young person.
What you’re talking about is simple social graces and good manners. It’s a sign of maturity to be concerned with another person’s feelings and comfort.

That’s what relationships are where that sort of concern, interest and support comes from, growing into maturity.

We see in our culture, erosion of manners, of public grace and civility. The way popular shows, such as the adversarial ‘reality’ show, encourages this sort of behavior and young people take their cues from that.

They might already come from a fractured and argumentative home where there is little restraint in personal attacks and unfair criticism.

The reason why our culture tends to trust the married, as opposed to the single person is that marriage was a signal of maturity, having a relationship in which you are trusted and relied upon.

Intimate relationships are supposed to be just that, and not a matter of recreation scattered over several people and exponentially there is less and less access to the object of your affection and interest.

Superficiality is easy, monogamous and focused relationships train a person to reign in and learn what they are really like if in a situation they can only be themselves and fully exposed. It’s not easy, but it’s a worthwhile process, and those that don’t think so tend to be people afraid of that exposure and reality of who they are and what they are capable of.

It’s a good thing to learn about your maturity and growth through another person, but especially that person responding to you in kind.

Good manners never hurt anyone, right? And decency and full attention to those entrusting themselves to you isn’t either.

Regan DuCasse
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

oops, error.
I meant to say that a person entrusting themselves to you isn’t bad either.

Amicus
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

Regan, I can’t help but think that you might need to meet some non-monogamous _couples_. Not to encourage you to change your orientation to relationships, but to help you temper your assessment/language. It’s just too facile to look _everyone_ in the face and tell them they are shallow or immature. Indeed, to the contrary, some of them are among those who are the most considered about sexuality and so forth.

Matt
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

Only one commenter above (Regan) brought up the idea of sacrifice here.

The argument about monogamy being unnatural, against nature, a kind of “oppression” is extremely popular. Why hold ourselves to a standard, why constrain ourselves, why control ourselves? Why not give ourselves what we want, when we want it? This seems to be the thought process of those who like open relationships.

I understand this; I understand that sex is powerful, and certainly I want to have it, too, with (multiple) people. But monogamy is sacrifice; it is holding oneself to a standard; it is “unnatural.” You do it for the other person, you take a vow.

I think there is a great value in that – you and your partner are sacrificing something for each other, you are entering into an arrangement that IS “unnatural,” you are doing something that is hard. I don’t want to be in a relationship where I’m not asking that of myself, and my boyfriend isn’t either. The distinctions between emotional and physical fidelity – as if the physical isn’t significant – leave me cold.

Blake in ATL
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

I am flexible as to what kind of relationship I could be in. I could envision myself in a monogamous relationship, an open relationship, or a multiple-partner relationship. Because I’m open to the paradigm of relationships, I most often let the other person (or persons) involved in the relationship make up the rules. Whatever he wants is what I want. That being said, those rules must hold indefinitely.

To me great relationships are built on mutual respect and trust, any attempt to change the rules governing a relationship would represent dissatisfaction in the current relationship and would be disrespectful to the other people in the relationship. If I were to feel disrespected and if I felt that either I or my partner was dissatisfied with the relationship as it was constructed I would end it rather than modify it. For example, if I was in a monogamous relationship and my partner suddenly wanted to open it, I would end it.

That being said, if I was in an open relationship and my partner suddenly demanded fidelity from me I would certainly end it. If I were in a relationship with multiple partners, however, it would depend on the ground-rules laid out in such a complex situation (intra-monogamous, open, growing, etc.)but any attempt to change these ground-rules would be unaceptable to me.

Currently I’m in a monogamous relationship and its lovely.

anteros
February 15th, 2010 | LINK

…about types of relationships being judged as ‘unnatural’ or ‘against nature’…

those sound like snippets taken from outdated sodomy laws from some backward country like Uganda or Malawi, being re-applied to monogamy.

is it really possible for creatures of nature, such as homosexual human beings, to act ‘against the order of nature’? isnt nature defined by all of creation in its diversity? how do some creatures get to define what’s natural and what isnt? are we trying to suggest here that creation and all its creatures ought to follow the order of ‘nature’ as defined by the chosen few who know what’s ‘natural’ better than any other creature of nature?

Amicus
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

anteros, there has to be a look through of some sort.

Picture this: one guy from a monogamous partnership has sex with a guy from a non-monogamous relationship. On account of poor relationship skills, the first guy is there with a bundle of unresolved emotions about his relationship, which is currently careening between periods of high conflict, smothering, and smooth sailing. The second guy could probably be diagnosed as sex addicted, and is there not for the other guy as much as out of a compulsion.

Now, I’m sure that might be the ‘natural outcome’ of their situations, but it would be hard to say it was a ‘natural order’ of things.

anteros
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

That scenario and all its possible outcomes are totally natural… as natural as a miscarriage, an earthquake, famine, heartache… even murder and suicide, often not counted as ‘natural’ causes of death – they’re all part of nature. Cloning, artificial insemination, hearing aids – those are often considered unnatural, but there’s still room for debate on that.

Perhaps ‘normal’ is the word to use, rather than ‘natural’… especially since it allows us to acknowledge how relative or subjective our evaluations may be. Most people would agree that what’s ‘normal’ for one person may not be ‘normal’ for a bunch of people… but ‘natural’ kinda implies something a lot more universal.

Am I confused? Dont wanna stray 2 far off topic.

Jason D
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

anteros, my understanding of “natural” is things that happen naturally — in other words, without the interference of man.

Animals are said to be without higher brain function. Their actions are entirely fueled by instinct. Thus, in that way, they are “programmed” by nature to behave a certain way.

In most respects when someone suggests or states that something is natural, they are saying that whatever it is would occur, behave, or exist if human beings didn’t.

Désirée
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I would agree with Jason D

But of course, that leaves a lot of things open to being natural, including murder, polygamy, incest, war, using tools…

and a lot of things as “unnatural” including setting a broken bone, eyeglasses, utensils, toilet paper, clothes, wanting privacy while defecating, preventing sexually mature children from procreating, getting an education, marriage ceremonies…

The point being, “natural” is a terrible word to use to describe human behavior.

anteros
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Why would a bird’s nest or a spider’s web be more ‘natural’ than a man’s house, or a skyscraper? We’re not aliens – we belong here just as much as the bugs and the animals.

Sure, the monogamous – non-monogamous relationship described above has it’s probable causes (such as sex addiction or whatever) and consequences (such as heartbreak) but guess what? The same reasoning could be applied to pollenation… need-based relationships… party A and party B each have distinct needs, for whatever reason… so they ‘use’ each other to meet those needs with varying consequences – from an entire field of corn being harvested by machines to an entire hive being raided by a bear. It’s all nature, and we’re part of it… fully. So what if we communicate over the internet, we havent figured out all the mysteries of our fellow creatures and how they communicate… bird migration?

Again, I think ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ should replace ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ when describing certain things that involve personal evaluation… let’s allow ourselves to admit that the way we see things isnt as universal as the words ‘nature’ and ‘natural’ would imply, but rather as loaded with subjective evaluation as the word ‘normal’ suggests… we see the world through different ‘lenzes’ and… i’ve written too much.

Jason D
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

“Why would a bird’s nest or a spider’s web be more ‘natural’ than a man’s house, or a skyscraper?”

Because birds and spiders build their nests themselves using their own bodies (no tools) and do so from instinct, not creativity. Whereas houses and skyscrapers are built from creative thinking using tools and machines. Our brain is one thing we have that no other animal has.

It’s not my fault if you don’t accept the conventional reasoning behind the usage of words like “natural”.

And the words “normal” and “abnormal” are hardly a better option.

Regan DuCasse
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Amicus,
I have met non monogamous couples…
and I wasn’t impressed. That’s all.

I haven’t met ALL of them, no one can meet ALL of the people who are the matter of a discussion, and I don’t make assessments of situations lightly, nor unfairly.
And I am a seriously analytical person.
A pattern emerged from these non monogamous couples, gay AND straight and some things became very clear to me.

I will not be convinced such situations give the sort of time and effort required to learn about oneself OR the people you’re involved with. Some folks are emotionally low maintenance, that’s true too.

But this sort of arrangement still speaks to a form of detachment and selfishness that requires all the benefits, but NONE of the responsibilities or sacrifices required of a monogamous relationship.
That IS a situation lacking in DEPTH.

And those situations that involved children certainly DOES take away from their sense of security and who to trust and for how long. The limits of desire to be monogamous, is telling also about the limits of attachment, therefore abandonment is easier.
There are people who don’t care about those things, nor want to…and for the most part, don’t HAVE to.
It’s this last detail that are about freedom, but let’s not pretend there are no costs somewhere down the line.

Priya Lynn
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I wouldn’t want a non-monogamous couple around my man. If they have no boundaries in their relationship how could I expect them to respect the boundaries in ours and not attempt to tempt my man into an extramarital affair?

Uki
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I’m gonna have to agree with Regan. I have never impressed with how the non-monogamous couples I have seen so far.

Their partners come and go, and no tears shed, no memories remain, there was no……intimacy. Just a ‘hi’, ‘okay’, and ‘goodbye’, and that’s all. While the monogamous couples I have seen have more intimacy, and have more wisdom.

Yes, they tend to get more wrinkle than the non-monogamous. But for me, each wrinkles tells a story. And it was a story of hardships, and the struggle. Part of it, is the story on how they have overcome the ‘war’ on staying together.

I think now I am beginning to understand why there are so many heterosexual divorce rate in America…….

Uki
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I am also agreeing with Blake in ATL. If I was in a certain relationship, and if my partner asked me to change the nature of the relationship. I wouldn’t agree. And would immediately dump him.

It’s kinda like, our partner are not satisfied with the way the relationship are. And if he isn’t satisfied from the beginning, then even if we change the nature, it won’t change his dissatisfaction.

Nevada Blue
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t hold any perspective on myself in stone. One thing I’ve learned about humans over the last 45 years is that they change over a lifetime. I just try to stay vigilant at staying open to new perspectives (with varying degrees of success). Oh, and straight, btw.

I am monogamous when in a relationship, and have been for 17 years with two relationships over that span. I decided monogamy was for me when I experienced the pain of betrayal and when I betrayed someone. Neither pain was worth the practice. In my most recent relationship we talked about experimentation with others, but never made the leap.

I know I have issues of esteem and experience jealousy, and I hold honesty in high regard. If I was attracted enough to a person (inside and out) I’d consider entering an open or poly relationship. If I was already in a monogamous relationship where my partner initiated negotiations for openness…I’d appreciate the honesty, and would at least give it serious consideration. But at this late date, I just don’t know if I’d be up to conquering my jealous feelings.

Amicus
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

But one thing I do believe, is that monogamy is hard, and non-monogamy is easy.

I want to put some pressure on this.

This is not true as a general statement. For some, either choice is not hard. For some monogamists, anything different just ‘never entered their mind’. For some non-monogamists, monogamy is ‘absurd’ from the outset.

Then, after those two groupings, of whatever size, there appears a big gray area.

The somewhat alluring proposition that non-monogamy is like having your cake and eating it too is belied a bit from empirics.

McWhirter and Mattison, for instance, report:

“Although most of the couples [in their study] have some degree of sexual nonexclusivity, they have not reached these arrangements by the same routes, nor has it been easy for them. In fact, more than 85 percent of the couples report that their greatest relationship problems center on outside relationships, sexual and nonsexual.” p. 256

The wonderful world of ‘free love’ is never as ideal as it seems.

Take this hypothetical:

Harvey is the ‘sensitive side’ of the relationship, but has trained himself to accept that his partner wants ‘freedom’ and he doesn’t want to be ‘a possessive’. One day, at the Piggly Wiggly, he comes past Steve, who his partner has been seeing on and off. Enthusiastically, he says “hello” and blurts out, “My husband says you’re fantastic.” Whether he said it the wrong way or whether Steve was just in an ugly mood that day, he quips, “He’s more my husband than yours, these days.” Stunned, Harvey bolts the PW in tears…

Amicus
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

anteros, it is true that some people don’t think that ‘natural’ has much place in abstracting what might be a ‘natural order’ to things. The theory or language has a lot of intuitive purchase with things like putting people on a shift for 12 hours with no break or into an office cubical with nothing but florescent light. Those situations are ‘unnatural’, fabricated in harmful ways. Sometimes, it has purchase in terms of a higher or better self, as in, “that brought out his true nature” or “dressing is more natural than running nude through the streets”.

Amicus
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Regan, keep looking.

Some of them do appear to be quite attached to their “primary partner” (for years) and prepared to make certain sacrifices. After all, they got partnered in the first place, when they didn’t have to.

I don’t have a good grasp of all the reasons, in proportion, of why people choose non-monogamy. In fact, McWirter and Mattison suggest that _some_ couples who do make such an agreement end up being monogamous for long periods in practice, anyway.

Without that, it doesn’t make much sense for one to offer a defeat of your perspective (i.e. typical stuff, the sacrifices that you are noting are not the ones that define “depth” and so on..).

anteros
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

Let me admit, I’ve got baggage… carried over from sodomy laws that use ‘unnatural’ and ‘against the order of nature’ to disenfranchise perfectly natural LGBT relationships.

Homophobes have used their concepts of what a ‘normal’ relationship means to them, to disenfranchise LGBT relationships as ‘unnatural’.

Everybody has, and is entitled to, their own opinion on what a ‘normal’ or an ‘abnormal’ relationship means to them. But to stretch that opinion on what is normal or abnormal, however dominant it may be… to extrapolate it into defining relationships as ‘natural’ or ‘unnatural’… I find that quite disenfranchising.

If I were in an inter-racial, cross-generational, non-monogamous relationship, and someone questioned me about whether such a relationship is normal… I’d understand that ‘normal’ differs from person to person and that ‘normal’ in one community may not be ‘normal’ in another… it’s subjective and takes into account different worldviews. I would find such a question less disenfranchising and less offensive than being questioned about whether such a relationship is ‘natural’.

In a world where people use strap-on dildos, I still find it difficult to understand how human beings can be involved in ‘unnatural’ relationships, but much easier to understand that certain types of human relationships can be seen as ‘abnormal’ or ‘atypical’ in different people’s opinions.

That’s just my baggaged opinion.

anteros
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

…i hold similar views on ‘illegal aliens’ vs ‘undocumented immigrants’.

…off-topic, i know. i’m sorry.

Jason D
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

anteros, I get that, but “normal” is just as loaded as people have the dividing line in this regard

normal:
regular, safe, average, conforming to expectations, upstanding, familiar, moral, HEALTHY, wholesome, GOOD.

abnormal:
rebellious, FREAKISH, foreign, unpredictable, dangerous, unreliable, dishonest, unhealthy, deformed, BAD

It’s all subjective, of course. Not being normal doesn’t bother me, but being called “abnormal” does, as it implies there’s something wrong.

I think “natural” is good for describing things that happen of their own accord, without human intervention — homosexuality is one of them, after all. But “natural” doesn’t always mean good. Weather is natural, and much of it can maim or kill you. Open heart surgery is unnatural, but I think most people would agree it’s a good thing.

What makes something good or bad isn’t whether it’s natural or even normal, those are simply details that are really irrelevant to the “goodness” of something. What matters is it’s affect, it’s result. Cancer is bad because it kills you(even though it’s natural). It’s normal to feel hurt when betrayed, and normal to have violent thoughts of retribution, but it would be bad to to act on those perfectly normal feelings and thoughts.

Amicus
February 16th, 2010 | LINK

anteros, I wouldn’t call it baggage. It’s a legit viewpoint that ‘nature’ doesn’t inform us, much, about ‘natural order’.

For sodomy, I think people just misread nature to one-size fits all. I mean, sodomy is obviously natural if you’re gay.

Uki
February 17th, 2010 | LINK

Here is in an interesting quote:

“But while Swedish society has become more tolerant, there is also an increasing expectation that homosexuals live in monogamous couple relationships.
Anonymous sex in public parks is not something that the general public finds appropriate, and legislation certainly reflects this attitude. This “normalization” of the gay and lesbian life style is deplored by many queer activists, arguing that multiple sexual relations and unorthodox sexual behavior are part of the queer culture.”

Well, that does it. Monogamy for me. Because apparently, non-monogamy is only being done just for the sake of differentiate themselves from the crowd.

Amicus
February 17th, 2010 | LINK

Uki, LOL.

We debate these profound matters of sexuality and the wider culture is … well just google “pull your pants up” to find out where it’s at with the new pull your pants up movement.

Uki
February 17th, 2010 | LINK

isn’t that just a movement to dress properly? What it has got to do with sexuality?

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