Atheist Polyamorists Featured on Oprah’s Network

Here’s something you don’t see very often: An honest, non-exploitative portrayal of a polyamorous “W” (involving five people), courtesy of “Our America with Lisa Ling”:

The people featured in the clip are actually atheist bloggers at Polyskeptic and they’ve done a really brave thing by opening their lives up to the public so that others can see that there isn’t just one definition of “family.” So check out the clip, visit their site, and let them know what you thought about their portrayal!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tiffany-Jade-Brown/640358790 Tiffany Jade Brown

    I watched this last night and found it fascinating. They seemed like a really cool bunch of people who really cared about one another. Had no idea they were atheist bloggers. Definitely going to check out their blogs.

  • A3Kr0n

    And this has been successful how many times in the past?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Polyamoury? Atheism? Out on TV?

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      i’d call three years a “success.” longer than a lot of ‘traditional’ marriages.

      all throughout history, up to and including today, relationships and living arrangements and marriages have included more than just one man and one woman. there are countless examples of it. christianity and judaism and islam are full of them. as well as other faiths.

      now we have an atheist example of poly. i’ve been in poly relationships, and they can be very nice. a friend of mine lived with and loved two other men for ten years. of course, they weren’t allowed the luxury of marriage; maybe if they had they’d all be together still today.

      the government has no right to legislate who and how we love. it’s the very definition of tyranny, imho.

      • sailor

        I would say it does. It has to protect minors for a start. For those in US or Europe, you are pretty much free apart from that. But there is a difference between allowing people to do what they want, and legislating into our system of norms and marriage. Consider what would happen if we decided polygamy was just fine. How many wives would the one percent end up with? How many for the rest of the population? what kind of unrest would that lead to? I have nothing against people experimenting, and the idea of multiple partners has appeal. I say let people be free, but think hard before we trade in out laws of partnerships of two people to multiple groups. I would guess the lawyers would love it though, think of the divorce potential!

        • marilove

          Ahhh, yes, and the slipper slope arguments have begun! That didn’t take long.

          “How many wives would the one percent end up with? How many for the rest of the population?”

          What the hell kind of question is this?

          You can’t really answer that. You’re making huge assumptions without any real knowledge of the outcome.

          • Beth

            I don’t think so. Plenty of examples from history – Kings get lots of wives. Course, they also sent lots of young men out to die in wars. That tended to keep the excess male population small.

          • The Captain

            Actually Sailor raises a rather valid point. How would polyamory effect the available relationships to the average person. Right now there is roughy a 50/50 split of males to females within the population, when that balance starts to be disrupted one way or the other, historically the ones left out tend to become a disruption or worse to the society. Unless polyamory was practiced in a way that where there was roughly the same number of female dominated groups to male dominated groups (or they are all 50/50) then someone within the society is getting left out.

            While data on the practice of polyamory is rather scarce one can see the possible effects where polygamy is practiced (yes not the same but it highlights the possible problem). Mormon cultures that practice polygamy must cast out the extra males that don’t win out. They are called “lost boys” and their stories are rather horrific. Now as I said polyamory is rather different from polygamy, but relationships do not happen within a bubble and if a society tends to produce polyamory relationships that are more one sided then you could have the same problems as the mormons or get a situation like china where the abundance of males over females is leading to high rates of depression/suicide/other problems.

            “”How many wives would the one percent end up with? How many for the rest of the population?”
            What the hell kind of question is this?”
            It’s also a valid question. Historically other that when one gender has been numerically decimated, polyamory has been the right of the wealthy or powerful. Wealthy/powerful people have historically been found to be more desirable to potential partners, it’s fair to reason that they would have the luxury of more partners in a polyamory relationship than a poor person. The average subject of Genghis Kahn didn’t get to have a polyamory relationship since the Kahn took up most of the potential wives. It’s very possible that a powerful/rich man or woman could monopolize many of the potential relationships of a small town leaving many out, and frankly that smacks a bit social darwinistic to me.

            Now once again I’m not saying that these outcome WILL happen if polyamory where practiced on a large scale, but what data there is points to them being a very real possibility and something that should be considered.

            • Virginia Brown

              There is a HUGE difference between multiple marriage where only men are allowed to have multiple partners (polygyny, and the form of most formal polygamy), and polyamory. As far as I know there is no hard data on this, but in my experience of poly communities the gender numbers come out pretty even when all genders are free to have as many partners as they choose. As long as the overall bent of the culture is egalitarian and doesn’t punish women for desiring multiple partners, I don’t think it’s a big danger.

              Also consider that, as modern polyamory is practiced, not everybody need be involved at the same level of commitment, nor are people expected to meld into economically-entangled households, as traditional marriage structures (whether monogamous or polygamous) tend to assume. A person could be living on their own and self-supporting, and still get the sexual fulfillment and emotional connection of having one or more intimate relationships. The old framework of gender-biased polygamy where marriage is an economic arrangement really just isn’t that applicable to the way polyamory is done.

            • http://twitter.com/futilityfiles Heina D.

              Polyamory, in its modern incarnation, is very female-drive and led. It generally does not resemble patriarchal polygamy.

          • Emmet

            “…huge assumptions without any real knowledge of the outcome”. Which is my point above. What’s the evidence for the assumption that privileging gay unions in the same way as marriage won’t have any negative results? What is your “real knowledge of the outcome”? Do you in fact have any?

            Also: it’s not a slippery slope argument to say that the same rights-based arguments for gay marriage are the same as rights-based arguments for polyamorous marriage, or marriage between a father and his daughter etc etc. Slippery slope is saying “if this then inevitably that”: “how can you deny marriage to three people if you allow it for two of the same gender” is an appeal to logic and equality.

        • Artor

          Ah, because traditional hetero families are a guarantee of good upbringing, huh? Too bad lawyers aren’t getting any business from divorces now.

        • Alconnolly

          Relationships happen whatever the “legal status” of the relationship. Plenty of rich people have multiple girls retained, it has no significant effect on Society, and making something legally recognized would not change anything.

          • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

            It has an effect on the “retained girl” because she has no legal right to the rich guy’s money. If he could marry multiple wives, she could have rights to an equal share of his estate, as it is, the mistress is often left with nothing. I think this does have a significant effect on society.

        • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

          You also need to consider what happens when these relationships are not considered legal and are thus hidden in the shadows of society. If you really want to protect minors and others from being coerced or hurt by poly relationships, then I would argue ploy relationships need to be legal so that the people in them have the protection of their property through a legal divorce, and minor are protected from being forced into such relationships at too early an age.

          You only need to look at polygamy in Utah to see the problem. There are plenty of “Big Love” type polygamist families around that function just fine, everyone’s happy, kids are educated, they’re not bothering anyone, but the 2nd and 3rd wives are not legally married, so they risk losing a lot if they try to leave. They do not have the same legal rights as a married woman filing for divorce, huge problem!

          And then there’s the creepy, Warren Jeffs type, polygamist sects. They hide themselves from society so they don’t have to follow societies rules. They marry off girl at 12, fail to educate most of their kids, kick out “extra” boys, commit welfare fraud and all kinds of other bad stuff. The big argument for making polygamy legal is that it would help force these groups out into the open where they would have a much harder time getting way with that kind of crap. It would also protect women who try to leave these groups because if they had a legal marriage to the rich powerful leaders they would have the right to some of his money.

      • Emmet

        Christianity allows polyamory? News to me. Care to expand?

        The debate over same-sex “marriage” is not about the State legislating who and how we love. I’m not sure why that isn’t clear to you.
        The State does and should however legislate to protect and support those relationships that are best for society. Marriage (between a man and a woman) is a unique relationship in that it can produce children. The State has an interest in children growing up in families where they have the best chance of growing up well – all the research at this point suggests that families with a mum and dad give that best chance. To intentionally create families without a mum or day is a massive social experiment. Sure, we may find that children grow up fine in families with parents of the same sex – but at this point we don’t know. Why are we undertaking such a massive social experiment for a tiny percentage of people?

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          “all the research at this point suggests that families with a mum and dad give that best chance”

          Quite the opposite.

          Analyses revealed statistically significant effect size differences between groups for one of the six outcomes: parent-child relationship. Results confirm previous studies in this current body of literature, suggesting that children raised by same-sex parents fare equally well to children raised by heterosexual parents.

          –2008 metastudy from Michigan State University published in the Journal of GLBT Family Studies.

          Children [developed] in normal fashion, and that their adjustment was unrelated to structural variables such as parental sexual orientation or the number of parents in the household. These results held true for teacher reports as well as for parent reports.

          –1998 research from the University of Virginia published in Child Development.

          Children of same-sex couples are as likely to make normal progress through school as the children of most other family structures… the advantage of heterosexual married couples is mostly due to their higher socioeconomic status. Children of all family types (including children of same-sex couples) are far more likely to make normal progress through school than are children living in group quarters (such as orphanages and shelters).

          –2010 research by Stanford University published in Demography

          those and a few more can be found at

          http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/medicine/same-sex-marriage-children-well-being-research-roundup#

          “but at this point we don’t know”

          Actually we do. At this point we have plenty of examples where children grow up just fine.

          There’s ONE study out there that all anti-same sex marriage groups quote, and it has been soundly rejected by the author himself.

          As I said (and you ignored) in the other thread, the State has no legitimate interest in keeping same sex couples from getting married. None. Kids in these families do just fine, and more importantly, we know they do fine. It has been studied. The data is in. It’s not ‘an experiment’. We can acknowledge them as legitimate families by recognizing their right to get married, or we can treat them as second class families who ‘might’ do ok, but we really can’t sanction them because other people are bothered by it.

          Now let’s get back to the topic, which isn’t same sex marriage, but polyamoury/atheism.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

            I can guarantee that Emmet knows all that and doesn’t care. People of this type like to pretend that same-sex parenting is some sort of new thing: a “social experiment.” Funny how they’ve been using the term “social experiment” for well over 20 years now.
            You can point them to a million studies, and they will not change their minds. They do not care one iota about actual evidence. They don’t care that there’s over 40 years of research on children of gay and lesbian parents. They’ve been beating the same drum since about 1992, not caring that an entire generation of the children they’re ranting about has already grown up.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Oh agreed, but I’m not talking to Emmet :-)

        • baal

          “Why are we undertaking such a massive social experiment for a tiny percentage of people?”
          The whole idea of a nuclear family with 1M1F and 2.2 children per household is modern. If you get outside the US you’ll see that open and semi-open households are pretty common.

          So far as kids are concerned, a quiet restful household with support for the kids (food, clothes, homework, lowish stress) is the most important factor. How many of what parent gender is pretty far down the list on predictors of future success or criminality.

          The exception is single parenting. The time and resources tend to be very short for single parents so those kids do have above average rates of problems or less success.

    • http://twitter.com/futilityfiles Heina D.

      I could snarkily ask about divorce rate on the monogamous side of things, but instead I will say that relationships of all kinds fail for a variety of reasons.

    • marilove

      Do additional anecdotes count? Good friends of mine are in a poly relationship Bisexual husband and bisexual wife of 12 years or so, now; and the husband has had a live-in gay boyfriend for the last 6 or 7. Wife used to date other women, but hasn’t in many years. The triad works well for them. They have a really healthy relationship. It’s kind of amazing.

      Me? I can hardly keep hold of ONE decent relationship. Heh.

    • Artor

      I know several poly friends. For some, it works great, and a few have been a stable triad for 10 years now, with occasional others coming & going from their circle. For others, it’s a source of drama and headgames, and it’s hard to watch. It’s not for everyone, but for some people it’s great. Honesty, openness & respect are key ingredients.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Sounds like the key ingredients for any relationship, really. It’s just that with poly relationships, everything blows up faster without open and honest communication and mutual respect.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    After the war is won for legal marriage rights for same-sex couples, groups like this will still be excluded.

    • John_in_Vegas

      The rules would have to be very different for polyamorous relationships. The one to one dynamic of an exclusive couple (straight or gay) cannot be applied to a marriage of multiple partners. Each member has a very different emotional stake with every other individual in the union. Sexual attraction and activity, parenting and children are all part of the equation. I don’t think there is a consensus yet for what the model should be in order for the government to sanction this type of union.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paulh Paul Holstein

        Why would we expect the government to sanction any kind of union or activity that causes no harm? It’s really none of our business and by extension, none of the government’s business who its citizens sleep with.

        • CottonBlimp

          As long as we live in a society structured around property, things like co-ownership of property require government recognition.

          I think polyamory represents a logical approach to human needs, but unfortunately capitalism doesn’t, so they clash. I think much broader reform will be necessary before the law will be capable of recognizing the complex needs of poly-relationships.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        I don’t know that the government cares about the emotional stakes, sexual attraction, or sexual activity of married couples. Why would this become relevant when more than two people are involved?

        Regarding parenting, it seems obvious that a child must have only two biological parents. Child custody could default to them, and secondary custody could apply to the other members of the marriage. Child rearing could be done by any members of the family according to their preferences, the same as couples do.

        All of this concern over how to fit the government into plural marriage seems crazy to me. I think marriage should be left to people to make what they wish of it, with the government excluded.*

        *It might be worth noting that the previous time I expressed this opinion, I was informed that I had a level of privilege which disqualified it.

        • The Captain

          Actually the problem is health care. Until we have a national health care system where all people are covered by default, polyamory would break the private health care system. You can not have a “legal” requirement to insure a “spouse” (which is what the benefit of government recognized marriage does) and thus have the health care of a group of several people (without counting children) only being supplemented by the payments of one individual.

          • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

            Interesting point. Thanks for that.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23900695 Moniqa Paullet

          “Regarding parenting, it seems obvious that a child must have only two biological parents. ” Not true. How many children have a single parent or extra step parents, and every other possible family configuration? California recently proposed a bill allowing for three legally defined parents for a child, as a way to include step parents or a biological parent and an adoptive couple. Families needn’t be polyamorous to reap the benefits of having multiple legally recognized caregivers.

          • AAA

            “Biological” parents. Actual genetic donors. Sperm and egg. Step parents are not biological parents and in the case of single parents, it simply means one of the biological parents isn’t there.

          • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

            As AAA already clarified, I was referring to genetic donors.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          “Regarding parenting, it seems obvious that a child must have only two biological parents.”

          One sperm, one egg, and one uterus (all from different people) isn’t uncommon.

          At this point certainly the genetic material must come from exactly two individuals, but even that may change before too long.

        • John_in_Vegas

          m6, The dynamics presented by plural marriages differ from union to union and many of them are irrelevant to marriages between only two spouses. For instance, how many can join one marriage and when and who decides? Who can leave and when? If one spouse wants a divorce, do they all have to divorce? What is the ratio of males and females? Are unions to be exclusively gay, exclusively straight or any combination? Should pair bonds be recognized within the marriage, designating the straight women “less married” to each other than they are to the straight men in the marriage? Are the gay spouses “more married” to each other? What are the parental rights, and who carries out those responsibilities? Can one spouse opt to be a surrogate parent for another spouse? What are the financial rights and responsibilities for each spouse? These concepts and many more would be relevant to a plural marriage.

          We certainly could discuss how we might apply some guidelines as you did, but sometimes, what seems to be the obvious solution to a problem is not the most beneficial to everyone. Biological parents may not be the primary caretakers due to their other roles within the marriage and may not be the best parent for the child. There are also half brothers and half sisters from different pairings along with a possibility that some siblings may not have any biological parent in common. If one or more individuals want out of the marriage, who gets custody? Should we separate siblings? How should it be done? The existing marriage laws are not easily transferable.

          People are already free to exclude the government from their amorous living arrangements. Government recognition of marriage comes at the people’s request for the benefits and protections it provides but, with it also comes the obligation the government has to protect itself from acquiring any undue burden when a marriage fails. Polyamorous unions employ very different concepts and have many challenges to consider before it can be officially recognized.

  • Canadian Atheist, eh!

    Cue the slippery slope arguments!

  • ShaunPhilly

    We enjoyed doing the documentary, and hope that it will educate people about polyamory the way we have been trying to do on our blog for years now. Skepticism, properly applied, leads to atheism and, ideally, to polyamory (or at least poly-friendly attitudes about relationships, rather than monogamy being the default setting).

    • http://www.facebook.com/paulh Paul Holstein

      Atheism leads, ideally, to poly-amour? I think that religious folks came up with this thousands of years ago. The Mormons and Muslims still practice it. I doubt there is a connection.

      I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it at all and fail to see why anyone outside that house would even care who is sleeping with whom, but I just don’t see the connection with atheism.

      • VLB

        There is a world of difference between polyamory and religiously accepted polygamy. Applying a skeptical approach to your religious views will likely lead to atheism; applying a skeptical view to relationship models will lead to being polyamorous or poly-friendly.

      • ShaunPhilly

        right, skepticism leads to atheism and to polyamory (or accidental monogamy). It is not directly related to atheism.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          What the heck is ‘accidental monogamy’? I’m not sure ‘skepticism’ but maybe ‘rationality’, and I’ll buy ‘poly-friendly’ but I’m not getting the ‘ideally’ leads to polyamoury?

          Rationally I can see no reason whatsoever that I should have any concern how consenting adults want to arrange their personal lives. But my rational thinking doesn’t make me want to change the way I arrange my personal life.

          Maybe I’m defensive and mis-reading, but I’m getting a twinge of “if you were really a free thinker, you’d be doing it like us!” I can’t imagine that you’re really trying to tell anyone else what is the ideal or logical arrangement, but when I read ” skepticism leads to atheism and to polyamory (or accidental monogamy)” that’s what I’m getting.

          • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

            I think you are being a bit defensive. I think the logic goes something like this: religions like to impose ‘traditional’ couple based relationship structures, and skepticism frees you of that imposition, so you’re free to have whatever relationship you want. That might be poly (if you meet a bunch of people to get together with) or ‘accidental’ monogamy if you only happen to meet one person you want to get together with. But the monogamy is ‘accidental’ in that you don’t have any imposed need to have one, and only one, partner in principle.

            Shaun did also say that skepticism should lead to polyamory or “or at least poly-friendly attitudes”, and your take of “Rationally I can see no reason whatsoever that I should have any concern how consenting adults want to arrange their personal lives” sounds pretty poly friendly to me.

          • ShaunPhilly
            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              I guess this comes down to “are we equally friendly/respectful of the other person’s arrangement”. Your post leaves me unconvinced of that.

    • Artor

      Scepticism leads to polyamory? I’m skeptical. Certainly, ditching Judeo-Xtian repression about sex, relationships, and gender roles opens up new possibilities, but I think you’re stretching to make a causal connection.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kevin.C.Jenkins Kevin C Jenkins

      I think a little more detail would be helpful:
      Skepticism is one of the more solid paths to atheism. Atheism can clear the way for humanism. For some like myself, that general humanistic love for everyone can be applied to personal relationships, and leads to polyamory.

      • ShaunPhilly

        I actually don’t see it this way. Sure, skepticism leads to atheism. But atheism does not necessarily lead to humanism. For me, skepticism leads directly to polyamory, tangentially to atheism. I will actually be giving a talk about this very topic this weekend, and will be blogging about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.zeblinsky Bill Zeblinsky

    Nothing wrong with polyamory as long as everyone is an adult and there is no hint of coercion. To each her, her, his, his and her own.

  • ProfessorPedal

    Nice to have poly out there like this, and not in a hyped or trite way. My family knows all about my religious preferences, but they’ve never known the other wonderful people who have been in the lives of my wife and I. And those societal limitations have made those relationships hard sometimes. The judgement can be fierce. Thanks for doing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paulh Paul Holstein

    I’m not entirely sure what this has to do with Atheism. Should we assume they are atheists? Is there any more prevalence of poly-amour among non-believers than among believers?

    • ShaunPhilly

      we at polyskeptic.com (who you see above, in the video) are atheists, and have I have been active in the atheist community for 11 years. We write about atheism, polyamory, etc through the lens of skepticism.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      I suspect that depends on whether you count the FLDS.

      • marilove

        Polyamory and Polygamy are not the same thing.

  • Pawel Samson

    As an aspie, polyamory sounds to me like the most stressful, uncomfortable thing imaginable. I can barely handle one person at a time. But whatever floats your boat…

    • http://twitter.com/futilityfiles Heina D.

      As an aspie with an aspie partner and many aspie poly friends, I will say that the stress and comfort level of poly depends on you, not your neurochemistry. I felt far more stressful and uncomfortable in monogamy: having to be someone’s everything and vice versa breaks my brain.

  • http://skepticink.com/dangeroustalk Dangerous Talk

    Definitely check them out. They are a pretty awesome group of people.

  • McAtheist
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23900695 Moniqa Paullet

    Thrilled to see a fair potrayal in the media that is not sensationalized and/or ALL about sex! Great reporting. :)

  • Justin

    I’m impressed, but I can’t grasp compromise of the level necessary to share a household with four other people.

    • Randay

      I was in the university in the late 60′s and among the people I knew, including myself, it wasn’t so unusual. I am glad that there are still people carrying on this life style. We even had an extended group of friends and even “cheated” with the others. People who haven’t tried such an experience, or even orgies, are missing out on something. I miss those times and have since been married and divorced. That is definitely not easy. So now I am again single and date from time to time, but it is not as satisfying. Need I add that no religion or gurus were ever present.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

        To each his own, but I don’t think people who have no desire to engage in group sex are missing out on something by not participating in orgies. For me personally, it would be awkward, uncomfortable and extremely unpleasant.

        • Randay

          I didn’t mean it to be a prescription, but more of an opinion, maybe going so far as a suggestion. I certainly don’t urge people to do what they don’t want to do. Of the periods I wrote about, for me marriage and divorce were surely the most difficult emotionally.

          • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

            That’s fair enough. I certainly have no problem with orgies, if it’s what the people involved want to do. It’s just awfully hard to imagine myself in that situation, LOL.

            • Randay

              Times were different then as we coming out of a period of sexual repression and as we found liberty expression and protest against the war we found an extended liberty for our bodies. So we were willing to try new things and nudity and sex were part of it. It was the time of underground comix like those of R. Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, S. Clay Wilson, etc. It certainly was not porn, but a more joyous celebration.

    • http://twitter.com/futilityfiles Heina D.

      For those of us who became adults in the recession, such a household has been the rule for us, not the exception. Having 3 lovers living with me instead of 3 roommates sounds awesome.

      • Justin

        Roommates I can grasp. There are established boundaries and responsibilities, and interaction is optional.

        • http://twitter.com/futilityfiles Heina D.

          The problem is with the phrase “established boundaries and responsibilities.” That is hardly the case. Just ask anyone who has ever had roommates. People assume that things are going to go a certain way but don’t negotiate them because they assume what they understand to be the norm for roommates is what everyone else understands. This is not the case.

          Interestingly enough, that’s been one of the major benefits of poly for me: since there aren’t societal assumptions/norms around it, I get to explicitly negotiate boundaries and responsibilities with each partner and as a group.

  • SeekerLancer

    Polyamory, sure fine that’s all well and good.

    My question here is why the shoehorned in connection to atheism? Why is your romantic or sexual life relevant to whether or not you believe in a god? Would this story be different if it were a group of Wiccans or even progressive Christians?

    “Because skeptics and atheists are more open minded,” is not a good answer either, because it’s not a necessarily true one and a rather arrogant one. Maybe I’d buy more rational in most cases but not all skeptics are that either.

    I just feel like the atheist part is here because this group of people also happens to be a group of atheists which is all well and good as well but it’s neither the cause or the effect and is irrelevant. That said bravo for this piece not being a sensationalized piece of media tripe since with a subject like this harboring two hot-button and controversial issues it could have easily been one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1199783929 Jonathan Duran

    I have no particular opinions on polyamory and generally stick to the ‘each to their own’ philosophy of people’s differences. That said, I found this documentary particularly lacking and answered almost none of the questions that most people would have about polyamory. It was just a brief history of who met who when, with no real issues of substance touched on. A brief mention was made about conflicts and that communication is paramount, but that is it. That is true of all relationships. How are the differences and conflicts you allude to similar or different from conflicts that monogamous couples experience? Do the conflicts generally occur between just 2 or 3 of the “w” or are all parties always included? So much more could have been conveyed that would have resulted in a better understanding of these types of relationships…instead all we got was basically that “they exist and the participants seem happy with it”.

    All this led me to read more about these folks, and if they are trying to spread awareness and tolerance of polyamory, it seems they are going about it the with the wrong rhetoric. (If however, you only want to preach to the choir and convince other polyamorists that their decision was the right one, then you are taking the perfect approach.) The blog posts and comment responses come off as extremely condescending and demeaning. Even if this is not your intention, it is clear that I am not the only one to get this impression given the history of comments at the blogs. Referring to monogamy as unhealthy, “accidental”, and that skepticism should necessarily lead to polyamory alienates the very people you seem to want to reach out to. At once you bemoan the “default” position of monogamy while at the same time setting up polyamory as the only acceptable default for anyone who is sufficiently skeptical of traditional relationships. It is implied repeatedly that if you find yourself in a monogamous relationship it is most likely because you are full of insecurity and jealous to the core. It seems it most cases that you are generalizing other people’s experiences from your own.

    Perhaps your cause would be better served if you get down off the anti-monogamy soapbox and just talk from your own experience about polyamory, what works, what doesn’t and leave your criticisms of other types of relationships out of it.


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