Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution?
I gave two workshops, one I call Emotional Edge Play: Polyamory for Folks, and a second on Poly/Mono relationships that got huge attendance. a while, like Minx, the Erosong family, Teresa Greenan, and Sue Tinney and. Polyamory—relationships with multiple, mutually consenting Terisa Greenan and her boyfriend, Matt, are enjoying a rare day of Seattle sun. Terisa Greenan: “Over the last year the group has expanded: I go out No surprise: the polyamorous live several relationships at the same time To get that message out, Teresa has even created a video series on the web.
Polys call this process "compersion"—or learning to find personal fulfillment in the emotional and sexual satisfaction of your partner, even if you're not the one doing the satisfying. Some have group sex—and many are bisexual—while those like Greenan have a series of heterosexual, one-on-one relationships. Still others don't identify as poly but live a recognizably poly lifestyle.
Terisa describes her particular cluster as a "triad," for the number of people involved, and a "vee" for its organization, with Terisa at the center the point of the V and her two primary partners, Scott and Larry who are not intimate with each other as the tips of each arm.
Other poly vocabulary exists, too: It's easy to dismiss polyamory as a kind of frat-house fantasy gone wild. But in truth, the community has a decidedly feminist bent: Terisa herself is proof of that proposition, as the center of her cluster.
She, Scott, and Larry have all been polyamorous since meeting in the Bay Area in the '90s, where they were all involved with the same theater community.
Poly Weekly #190: Poly Families
Terisa and Scott started dating first. Both were getting out of long-term monogamous relationships—Terisa had been married for six years—and knew they wanted something different. They fell in love, and though they were committed, they began dating around. Two years in, Scott introduced her to Larry, a pit violinist and mutual acquaintance.
There were local outings, monthly poly potlucks, and a Sea-Poly e-mail list that served to keep everyone informed. Larry even found a poly club for Microsoft employees—listed openly on the company's internal Web site.
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Microsoft declined to comment on the message board, or whether it still exists. The trio has been together ever since, and they share a lakeside home in Seattle's Mt.
Baker neighborhood, where they have a vegetable garden and three dogs. They often go on walks along the lake, hand in hand in hand. Scott had a hard time the first time he heard Larry called Terisa "sweetie" nine years ago. Larry was nervous when Terisa began semiseriously dating somebody outside the group.
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There are times when Scott has had to put up with hearing his girlfriend have sex with someone else in the home they share. And there have been moments when each of them have felt neglected in their own way. But they agreed early on that they weren't going to be sexually monogamous, and they are open about their affairs.
There are, of course, some things that are personal. When there are twinges of jealousy, they talk them out—by getting to the root of what's causing the feeling. Larry owns the house they all live in, and Scott pays rent. Household expenses require a complicated spreadsheet. Terisa, Larry, and Scott all have their own bedrooms, but sleeping arrangements must be discussed.
Larry snores, so Terisa spends most nights with Scott—which means she must be mindful of making up for lost time with Larry. Terisa and Larry only recently began dating Matt and Vera, after meeting on Facebook, and now every Friday, the couple bring their son over to the house and the three of them stay all weekend. Matt will usually sleep with Terisa, and Vera with Larry, or they'll switch it up, depending on how everyone feels.
The child, meanwhile, has his own room.
And he's clearly the most delicate part of the equation. Though Terisa doesn't have children—and doesn't want them—she adores Matt and Vera's son, who calls her Auntie. Recently, the child asked his father who he loved more: He and Vera say they are honest with him, in an age-appropriate way. For the moment, it seems to be working. The child is happy, and there are two extra people to help him with his homework, or to pick him up or drop him off at school.
They expect the questions to increase with age, but in the long run, "what's healthy for children is stability," says Fischer, the anthropologist. It's a new paradigm, certainly—and it does break some rules.
But perhaps the practice is more natural than we think: Everyone in a relationship wrestles at some point with an eternal question: Polyamorists think the answer is obvious—and that it's only a matter of time before the monogamous world sees there's more than one way to live and love. It's the latest obsession of the right in the United States: In the crosshairs of conservative editorialists: In the suburbs of Seattle on the west coast of the United States, welcome to the home of Terisa Greenan, who receives us with Scott and Matt, two of her lovers I go out with Matt, who is married and whose wife Vera also goes out with my other lover, Larry, who's not here today.
Matt and Vera live a little farther down the neighborhood, with their son. I'm sure that if I told my monogamous female friends that I'm married but have a secret lover, they'd say, 'You go girl, you've got it! Is that weird or what? To get that message out, Teresa has even created a video series on the web. A sitcom which is based on her polyamorous life, packaged on the internet.
And which has revealed the phenomenon to the great American public. These days the polyamorists have won the recognition of the U. At the end of September, the MTV network aired a one-hour documentary: Here we are in the countryside on the other side of the U. This is the core of the community, those who want to organize themselves into a movement. Many aging hippies, still perched in the seventies: During the Loving More conference, one learns also about the difficulties of this lifestyle.
Loving More has taken on the goal of improving the image of polys with the general public. And apparently they're succeeding: A woman presents her new lover to her husband just the way a mother would announce the arrival of a new baby brother [to a jealous older sibling]. Are there more and more polys?