Feb. 22nd, 2016

haggis: (Celtic)
This epic rant was sparked by Gesa Mayer’s paper on XX at the Polyamory event at MMU on 21/02/16. I found the paper interesting but infuriating as you can see.

I am going to try and summarise Gesa’s paper based on my memory of the key points that jumped out at me. I want this summary to be fair so if you think I am off base, please let me know. I am going to use polyamory and non-monogamy interchangeably in this article.

Gesa’s paper proposed that one of the attractions of monogamy is that it makes romantic promises about relationships and she identified priority, exclusivity and complementarity as key romantic promises.

By comparison with these promises, polyamory is often explained as a lack. On one hand, polyamory is assumed to be caused by a lack (lack of good enough partners or a pathological need for more sex or affection etc than one partner can provide). On the other, it is accused of causing a lack, by splitting people’s time and attention or by damaging the primary relationship.

Gesa presented a mix of quotes from relationship counsellors espousing these views and from poly people challenging them. Her argument seemed to be that monogamy based on lack/scarcity and that in contrast polyamory abundance and sharing but she also noted that many of monogamy’s promises turned up in poly people’s description of their own lives.

I hope that’s a fair assessment of the paper and I can see it as being useful in challenging negative attitudes to non-monogamy. But I have three big problems with it.


This got long! )

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