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-   -   Is poly a decision or a person's nature? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=660)

redpepper 08-22-2009 02:46 AM

Is poly a decision or a person's nature?
I came across this blog today and it got me thinking.... here is what it says,

"Polyamory is a lie that people use to make themselves feel different. They puff their chests out and proclaim "I'm poly!" to be trendy or to justify sneaking around on their spouses.

Guess what? No one, NO ONE gets all or his or her needs meet in one relationship. If someone decided to get his sexual needs met through multiple partners, that is a decision, not something in his genetic code. And if someone decides to fill her romantic cup with more than one lover, then that is a decision, not some driven need. Having multiple sex partners and multiple lovers is common as DIRT!

If I get hungry several times a day, it is because I am human, not a polymealist. And if I sleep once a day, it is because I am human, not a monosleepist.

Get over it, people! You make your decisions how to live your lives. Don't go pretending that you are different from other people."

what do we all feel about this? Is poly a decision? or not.....?

Quath 08-22-2009 03:28 AM

I think it is a combination of choice and genetics. I think polyamory is something to be proud of because it is an ethical way to express our desires as opposed to the cultural norm of cheating.

vandalin 08-22-2009 05:29 AM

I have to agree with Quath. I think we do make the choice to accept our poly sides/natures but I know that there are some who fully choose to become poly by changing and adjusting themselves to the situation. So it is both.

The problem I have with what this person said is "or to justify sneaking around on their spouses." Now I know that some people will claim to be poly just so they can feel better about sleeping around, but poly is all about openness and honesty so there would be no "sneaking".

CaityandBen 08-22-2009 09:06 AM

Well, I kind of decide that this is a choice...I could certainly live my life as in a monogamous relationship with my current boyfriend but I'm bisexual and I have needs that he knows he will never be able to fulfill. Also, as a human male, he needs variety, naturally. Therefore, this is a lifestyle for me that I have chosen.

Ben and I sat down and agreed that we are human beings. We need variety and that it's not really possible for us to be attracted to the same person...and only that person for the rest of our lives...

so maybe it's not a choice, naturally...You can live a miserable life, cheating and pretending to be something you're not...or you can be who you are and have an intimate relationship with your girlfriend and your boyfriend and get all your cookies!

We all know...or I hope that most of us here know that homosexuality and bisexuality is not a choice... and that's mostly the issue of poly relationships...right? one who is bisexual and needs both to be happy...and that's fine. Or sometimes you need that preppy hot jock guy with huge pecks and others you need that badass tattooed guy with the green mohawk.

It makes sense to me...:D

foxflame88 08-22-2009 02:52 PM

I think poly is nature... but we choose whether to live it.

River 08-22-2009 03:03 PM


As a general rule, it is appropriate when quoting text found on the internet--especially lengthy quotes--to provide a link to the source material. Through a Google search, I identified the source of your quote in the opening post in this thread.:

As is very often the case with internet posts exhibiting rabid contemptuousness, the poster of these quoted words also exhibits flagrant disregard for reasonableness. I hope it will not be necessary to point out the many ridiculous flaws in reasoning in that bit of text!

I'll weigh in on the topic in a later post.

River 08-22-2009 03:51 PM

The question as to whether polyamory is a choice is an interesting one for many reasons. One of the main reasons I find the question interesting is that it relates so closely to the question as to whether homosexuality, or bisexuality, or heterosexuality for that matter, is a choice. These latter are widely understood to be "sexual orientations," and polyamory isn't considered to be a sexual orientation so much as a ... well, a "lovestyle" choice.

As a bisexual man who has had only two enduring loving relationships (six years, and then thirteeen years in duration), both with men (I had a girlfriend once, but only for a short while), I can say that I'm pretty familiar with the insides and outside, the whole terrain, of the sexual orientation choice questions and debates. Supposedly, the fact that I and my queer brothers and sisters never chose to be queer/bisexual/whatever, provides me/us with a certain kind of political clout and power that we'd not have if we somehow "chose" to be as we are. Our claim to continuity with the various great civil rights movements is supposed to be strenghthened by the fact that we no more chose our sexual orientation than black people chose the color of their skin, or women their gender, etc. This lack of choice is true, of course, but it is strange that we've been boxed in to this frame on things. And now that polyamorists are wondering among themselves if they, too, were "simply born this way", whether their "lovestyle choice" may be no more a choice than eye or hair color, I think some of the weirdness of these choice debates and frames begins to rise to the surface.

Be clear of one thing: polyamory is a cultural creation, not a biological essence. Polyamory is more like Permaculture [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture] than it is like our desire or ability to love more than one person simultaniously. Even the concept of homosexuality and heterosexuality, and bisexuality, are cultural abstractions, as is the notion of "gayness" and "queerness". But you have to look very close to see culture at work in these terms and notions. Example: the term "homosexuality" emphasizes sexuality, which is but one part or dimention of being "queer". Notice they (and "they" were the "heterosexual" coiners and populizers of the term) didn't call us queers "homoaffectionate," "homophiles".... To call someone "homosexual," or even "heterosexual" is to define an entire person around, really, an absurd abstraction--a distortion of perception about what that person is: whole.

Engaging in "nature vs nurture" debates or discussions vis-a-vis polyamory may be an interesting and playful pastime, but it isn't all that damn important, I think, either way. The discussion arises only because there is prejudice directed at those who choose this lovestyle -- Did I just say "choose"? Oh, my!

I'd rather undermine the prejudice that gives rise to the defensive posturing and maneuvering which begins with "this isn't a choice". Of course it isn't a choice! But so what? Who ever chose their desires? We can, within limits, choose what not to desire. Vegitarians have often done that. They may really desire meat, but don't desire the torment most "farm" animals undergo in today's industrial hell-hole meat-growing operations. Eventually, this becomes seamless and the desire for meat falls away on ethical grounds.

Polyamorists are like vegitarains in this respect, in that we choose not to "cheat," lie, sneak around -- on ethical grounds, but we also choose not to be ashamed or even afraid about loving multiply. We choose to question the nearly ubiquitous assumption mantras our cultural monogamism chants to us everywhere, in movies and songs and pulpits. We even doubt the core premise of monogamism, that loving only one person at a time is superior to loving two, or three.

Permaculturists doubt that dramatically unsustainable systems in agriculture, transportation, housing..., can lead to anything other than global disaster with so many billions of people engaging in them. They choose to try to live true to life, and more ethically. Who would fault them for that?


[Note: the Wikipedia page link, for Permaculture, didn't work for me. I have no idea why!]

River 08-22-2009 09:42 PM

Related post:


XYZ123 08-23-2009 12:13 AM

Personally, I feel it's in my nature to love deeply multiple people. Just as it is in my nature to be bisexual. However, I can choose to act (at least in the physical sense as I have no control over the depth of emotion) on these feelings. I can choose to be monogomous. I can choose to cheat. Or I can choose to form poly relationships. Currently, I choose not to choose. I'm not looking for a relationship with a woman, but I'm open to one. As far as a relationship with a man, maybe I will one day love another man deeply as I love my husband. But, because of agreed upon rules of conduct between me and N, I will not act on this physically.

Nature or nurture don't really matter in my eyes so long as poly is practiced ethically and openly with those involved. Does it matter what drives us to this life so long as we and those involved with us are happy in it?

Mark1npt 08-24-2009 03:27 AM

Nature or nurture? For me, it's a personal choice to live life fully but it's also in my DNA to act on my thoughts, to nurture, support and love. Can we as humans suppress our thoughts and desires? Of course, but we can also choose to act on them. Our society has developed religious and governmental policies to guide us or prevent us, whichever way you choose to view it. I suspect we all have different reasons for being poly. Is there a right or wrong?

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