Debunking Four Myths About Polyamory

This is a guest post written by Miri Mogilevsky. Miri is a graduate student in social work and the author of the blog Brute Reason, which covers psychology, mental health, and social justice from a secular perspective.

Polyamory — the practice of having multiple sexual/romantic relationships with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved — is currently going through that stage that all “alternative” lifestyle practices must go through: the one where journalists discover their existence and have a field day.

Luckily for them, more and more people are willing to openly talk about their open relationships as the stigma of being non-monogamous diminishes. Journalist Olga Khazan interviewed quite a few of them in this article for The Atlantic. While the article is well-researched, balanced, and accurate overall, it (probably unintentionally) repeats and propagates a few tropes about polyamory that aren’t always accurate.

Note that I said “not always”; tropes are tropes for a reason. There are plenty of people whose polyamorous lives resemble them, and I mean it when I say that there’s nothing wrong with that (as long as it’s all consensual!). But I think that the (presumably non-poly) audience these articles are aimed at might benefit from seeing a wider variety of poly experiences and opinions, so I wanted to add my own voice.

With that in mind, here are a few dominant narratives about polyamory that aren’t always true, but that crop up very often in articles about polyamory.

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Federal Court Overturns Indiana’s Ban on Secular Celebrants Who Want to Perform Weddings

According to Indiana Code 31-11-6-1, only a handful of people are allowed to perform a marriage: members of the clergy, churches themselves, a mayor, a city clerk… but not a Secular Celebrant.

The Center For Inquiry sued the state over this in 2012, saying it was unconstitutional to allow people of faith to be married by their faith leaders, while denying non-religious people the same right to have their marriages performed by a Celebrant.



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Married at First Sight, Reality Show Featuring Atheist Matchmaker, Premieres Tonight

Tonight marks the premiere of Married at First Sight on the new FYI network (formerly The Biography Channel). Harvard’s Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein is one of the four experts who will pair together three couples who agree to get married, sight-unseen.



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An Online Sexuality Class for Atheists Who Grew Up Feeling Guilty or Misinformed About It

Virginia Brown (below) grew up in a conservative Christian home and became an atheist in her mid-twenties. But it took several more years before she could “re-connect with her own sense of sexuality.” In a culture where Purity Balls are normal, sex before marriage can get you expelled from college, and some couples wait until their wedding day for their first kiss, she knows it’s no surprise that people raised in that environment might be sexually repressed — even after leaving it.

Now, she intends to fix that. Brown will be teaching a six-week-long online workshop called “Recovering Your Sexuality” with the help of the group Recovering From Religion:



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What’s So Bad About Atheist In-Laws?

The Pew Research Center recently reported that Americans really don’t want atheists to marry into their families:



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