Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Polyamorous Pagan

Rainsong asked me to comment on her post about Polyamorism in the Pagan Community in this space.

She lamented that as a monogamous pagan she is under pressure to become poly and that she feels she is sometimes viewed or feels she is viewed as less than pagan. This is not the first time I've heard this. I've even heard the complaint from very well-known pagan authors. It seems that many pagans fear the strict doctrinal societal cages of Christendom only to recreate the same cages elsewhere. This is sad. I have seen this in many forms. Please allow me to say it slowly. Those of you that enjoy the non-judgemental pagan attitude about your freer version of sexuality should respect those that live within a different set of sexual norms. Is this really that hard people?

I am going to pick on a few things she has said to agree or disagree with. However, I encourage you to read her post. She is quite the writer.

I am strong and secure in my own choices and I know myself well enough to know that this is not the path for me.

Damn straight. Finding one's inner strength and being able to walk away from what is not healthy for you is a huge step for most people. We all want to get along and have friends. There is a tendency among humans to cave in around the edges to make that happen. That is fine. However, caving in against who you are is not so good. My only caution there is that one must recognize when you're inner self changes. Sometimes, we fight against something because it is bad for us. However, we forget to do an internal inventory and realize that what we fight against is no longer harmful but expanding. I am not targeting that statement to the polyamorist or monogamist but to those that adopt any ist, ism or point of view.

But what of new Seekers? What of people just seeking us out to learn our Mysteries? If they, at every turn, encounter only the polyamorous, they will assume that it is some unwritten guideline of the Pagan religions and we will lose many fine minds and hearts in the course of it. We are supposed to be open and free and it seems that we can only be “open and free” if we defy every rule of our modern society. And let me tell you, right now, honey – that is backwards. Backwards? Yes, BACKWARDS!

How can it be so you might ask, as well you might. Because if one shapes oneself according to a rule, even in defiance or opposition to that rule, one is letting that rule dictate their behavior and shape who they ultimately become. That is not being free; it is not being who one truly is...
That is difficult to argue with. So, I won't.

Polyamory has been presented as an ideal to be pursued, a “higher” form of love and life and to fall short of it is to not fully express one’s sexuality and spirituality.** Not so. Simply not so.

I am not sure about this one. If one is truly feeling deep and abiding love for each partner and is capable of doing that without harming another, that seems like a pretty high expression of love. However, if the innermost need is somehow selfish in nature or in avoidance of tackling difficult issues in relationships, it is nothing more than being a swinging slut, not that I've ever had a problem with being a slut. I simply have a problem in fooling yourself.

(Note: The word slut applies to both genders and is not a pejorative in my way of thinking.)

I must admit that I do not believe that many are truly suited to the polyamorous lifestyle they purport and/or pursue. If one cannot commit to a single relationship, then one cannot commit to several. 

Agreed. I have no moral problem with polyamory. However, I do feel that the average American can not handle the lifestyle well. Sexual attitudes are deeply ingrained. Breaking the societal pull is not enough. A true polyamorous relationship takes so much work in communication, time allocation, personal jealousy issues and the like, that most people are simply too lazy or ill-equipped to live in that manner. Than again, as a poly friend points out, he doesn't see a better track record among monogamous couples either. I can't argue with that.

One is, by the very nature of polyamory, not sharing oneself fully with any of one’s partners because those partners can’t be expected to “fulfill every need”, so there is no reason to turn to them, to work on it, to figure it out and to move forward together.

I disagree. A real polyamorous relationship takes so much more caring, giving and understanding that one cannot be successful without the willingness and ability to work through tons of issues. Again, the key thing here is amorous. If it is just about sex, that isn't polyamory.

As an aside, how can one fully commit to a partner if one is always on the lookout for the next partner?

There is a faulty assumption here. I was once in a poly relationship. It wasn't sought after, it just happened. No one was continually looking for the next partner. I assume there are many folks out there in committed poly relationships that don't seek others out.

If I poly situation naturally occurred in my life, I wouldn't reject it out of hand but I am not going looking for one. I would assess myself and the others and determine if I thought it could work. The gods provide challenges on all levels as we need them.

No comments: