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-   -   Evolved polyamory? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=66980)

alexi 12-10-2013 05:23 AM

Evolved polyamory?
A tourist once told me that while on a trip to some country he came across families who exchanged their members for sex regularly. Any children born belong to the mother's family. The bonds within the family were very strong while physical intimacy with other families in the village was arranged by the women themselves.... maybe with the consent of the men. The men did all the outside work while women were mainly engaged in household work.

The concept makes interesting reading though I doubt its reality. Maybe we can adapt.

opalescent 12-10-2013 12:45 PM

They do exist! The Mosuo are a small ethnic group in China. They have a totally different way of organizing relationships and families than Western societies. Here is the Wikipedia entry http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosuo

nycindie 12-10-2013 01:32 PM

Yes, the Mosuo are one example. They are also known as the Na. Read the "Walking Marriages" section of that Wiki page that Opalescent linked to. Very interesting people. There is a book called A Society without Fathers or Husbands: The Na of China. From a book review in the publication American Ethnologist:
The Na have shocked Han Chinese ethnologists
by not having marriage; rather, they practice
"visiting relations" -- consensual sexual relations
in which both partners remain members
of their natal households and never form an
economic or social union recognizable as
marriage. Na men visit their partners in the
evening and return home by morning to mothers,
aunts, uncles, and siblings, to join in their
own household's work. Either partner can end
a relationship at any time, and both can take
other lovers during or between longer-term

In Na matrilineal households, the father is
considered socially unimportant, and, prior to
the Na's inclusion in the communist state, his
identity was often unknown.

The Na share an understanding, albeit flexible,
of the family as the blood or adopted members
of the household; they see the family as central
to their emotional, economic, and social existence
. . . it is because the Na believe that families should
be stable and harmonious that they do not base
family structure on romantic relationships. These
Na say that love for family members is enduring,
whereas passion is fleeting.
Just makes one think a bit about what's important. The Na's system enables a separation between familial love and sexual love/passion, which frees the adults to take on as many lovers as they wish without recrimination.

The Na live communally and the men don't rule the households nor have any ownership over the women or their offspring. Paternity is not integral for the community to thrive and function well, nor for any of the children to be loved, cherished, and raised well. The women who have children raise them with the help of their siblings, and family is preserved that way. The women's brothers (uncles to their sisters' children) help raise them. Men with only brothers probably share in raising children of other related households, or work to support the larger village. Men's contributions to their society are important, but it doesn't matter which children are theirs and there is not an emphasis on preferring male children to be born.

I think it's a great model for communal living but it would be a very brave endeavor in modern Western societies, where paternity is usually considered of utmost importance (a belief that was useful when woman and children were considered property). Yes, there maybe medical reasons for knowing paternity, but the Na live in a way that shows how possible it is to have a functioning society in which having sexual liaisons purely for pleasure and outside a bond like marriage is not something shameful! They also teach us how unimportant socially and culturally it can be to know whose seed the children come from. Loving and raising a child shouldn't be limited to biological offspring only, IMO.

alexi 12-10-2013 02:08 PM

Great information!! The thing I like most about these systems is the economic and emotional security it provides. The family wealth keeps increasing as there is no division. There is no problem of taking care of children and the families can really go for good genes for better progeny.

Maybe if people in small communities can get together for short periods (to start with) and become like the Na or Mosuo there will a lot more fulfillment in our lives. They can also look for funding through contributions or raising funds for children (if any, though it must be rare, but one can be atleast be free of any financial anxiety in this regard) born out of such brief encounters. Once these experiments are successful the idea can be established on a more permanent basis within these communities and even expand them. Initially it may need to be discreet.


alexi 12-11-2013 01:21 AM

My idea is if a few couples who share similar views can get together and form a close-knit group, it would be ideal. The problem is we do not know who these couples are in a given place. And if they exist how to get them together. Plus there is the factor of inhibitions brought about by centuries of brainwashing.

Most couples have a desire to experience a change of partners in bed once in a way (am I right?) just to get rid of the ennui of a monogamous relationship.

If there is the simple joy of of sharing ourselves with others in a detached manner; and also benefiting from a mutual support system; and without all the complications that seem inevitable at times like jealousy etc., nothing could be better. The group has to be selfless and be more in the nature of rendering a service - compersion.

alexi 12-12-2013 06:47 AM

A thought struck me - what are the practical limitations of polyamory? And what could be the solution? It is just to help me understand better the concept.


RichardInTN 12-12-2013 07:55 AM


Originally Posted by alexi (Post 253885)
A thought struck me - what are the practical limitations of polyamory? And what could be the solution? It is just to help me understand better the concept.


I'm new here, but the only limitations to polyamory that I know of are legal ones (more than one spouse is currently not legal in the US, and in some States, having a lover that's not your legal spouse is actually illegal, for 2 examples) and mental ones (jealousy or monogamous "programming").

alexi 12-12-2013 10:14 AM

I think the greatest drawbacks are its highly individualistic and patriarchal nature besides the non-existence of any family support either morally or economically in case of pregnancy for instance.

These negatives are the very things that do not plague the aforementioned Mosuo or the Na communities. Maybe the poly community needs to adapt and evolve.

alexi 12-13-2013 04:53 AM

You write that one of your researchers views monogamy as a “cultural cage” that distorts women’s libido. Is monogamy more suited for men than women?

Certainly, women are no better suited for monogamy than men are. That, I think, is clear. It seems possible, if you look at some of the data, that women are even less well-suited for monogamy than men. It’s important to distinguish between the sexual level of desire, and what we choose in our relationships for all kinds of reasons. But on a sexual level, women are even less suited to monogamy.

Partly, I do think that, ironically, has to do with the force of culture. Now that would take us to a really complex part of neuroscience that maybe is best left for another time. I do think that men who’ve been blessed to happily think that it’s only they who are having trouble with monogamy, and that their wives or long-committed girlfriends are more or less just fine with it, they may have a lot to worry about.

The Truth About Female Desire: It’s Base, Animalistic and Ravenous
A new book on women's sexuality turns everything we think we know on its head.
================================================== ==============================================

"I want the community at large to see polyamory as a reasonable and honorable relationship choice. Poly people are often told that what they are doing is too complicated or weird and that it would be better if they just cheated which is just strange to me."
The Polyamorist On The Couch: Q&A With Tamara Pincus On What Therapists Should Know About Big Love

kdt26417 12-15-2013 03:55 AM

If you haven't read "Sex at Dawn" by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, I highly recommend it. The Mosuo and other cultures are discussed in the book.

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