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Old 09-04-2011, 08:12 PM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Default Broody men, Jealousy, and Poly

I am a little confused by the interaction of two parts of me.

I am broody: I want to have children, I want to be part of my children's upbringing, and it is irrationally important to me to know that some/all of the children I am bringing up are related to me genetically.

On the other hand, I have never really been jealous of partners wanting to be with other partners or (in the few times it has actually happened) of them actually being with other partners.

But where these two points collide is where children are concerned. Suppose (and there is nobody specific in mind when I say this) suppose I get together with XX, (XX is the genetic code for female, of course), and we agree to have children, and we agree to be poly, and suppose she wants relationships with other blokes....

Thinking of this, I start to get where the whole monogamous culture comes from. Like, to be sure who my kids are, I will just enslave half the human race and make sure other blokes don't sleep with 'my' breeding partners. Seems like overkill, and more than a little unfair, but I do see the motivation.

I am sure monogamy is not the answer, but...

Like, OK, so we adopt fluid boundaries, the idea being XX can have sex with other guys without getting pregnant... Yes, but then what if the contraceptive fails... Automatic abortion? that sounds really icky to me...

Or do we say that XX can't have sex with fertile blokes while we are trying for a baby? Is that a fair thing for me to insist on?

How would some of you poly ladies here feel if your bf asked that in those circumstances? You can have sex with other fellas but not risk pregnancy?

Is this horrible and sexist to want the kind of certaintly over who my children are that women get automatically (IVF and other artificial aids excepted) ? Or is it anti-sexist as it undermines patriarchy right at its roots?

Ultimately, this is one of those poly-specific questions that do not arise for monos, but that I will need to discuss with someone one day (at least, that I very much *hope* to have the need to discuss with someone ...), but I'd appreciate any thoughts, theories, ideas, and experiences anyone else has on this.
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  #2  
Old 09-04-2011, 08:53 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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You may want to read about the Na of China. Very interesting people. I discovered them through a scholarly review on JStor of the book, A Society without Fathers or Husbands: The Na of China (I have not bought the book yet). Here are some tidbits from the review (publication is 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
relationships.

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.


PS - I think of the word "broody" as meaning moody, gloomy, sullen, etc., as in someone who's constantly brooding and occupied with dark thoughts. I didn't realize there was a second meaning to the word until your post prompted me to look it up. But then, I don't know anything about chickens!
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-04-2011 at 09:26 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:35 AM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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I can answer this very directly, because it relates to my recent life experience.

I have a husband and a thing going on the side with another man, Sven.

My husband and I were trying to conceive when things got hot and heavy with Sven. I immediately started using birth control with both men for safety reasons, so procreative sex was put on hold. That went on for a few months, and then I stopped having sex with the Sven temporarily. At that point, I began having unprotected sex with my husband again. That way, there was no question of paternity, because on the cycle I conceived, I had sex only with one man. After I became pregnant, I resumed having sex with both men.

If your potential XX partner is poly, she'll probably be having sex with other men. But it probably won't be too much to ask for her to hold off for a few months while you try to conceive. In fact, you could do it like me: a few months of trying, a few months of break, and a few months of trying again. That way, she could even maintain her current partners, who probably won't mind taking just a month off here and there. If you and your potential XX partner have fertility problems, however, and it takes many months or years to conceive, this approach may cause strain on your poly arrangements eventually.

In fact, she need not even take the whole month off. I have irregular cycles, so it is not possible for me to pinpoint ovulation. That meant that I nixed outside sex for entire cycles at a time. But if your future XX has regular cycles and charts them, she will be able to pinpoint ovulation. She can have sex only with you until she ovulates, then give it a nice wide safety window of, say, a week after that. That still leaves her one week at the end of her cycle each month where it is not possible for her to become pregnant, and she could pursue outside sexual contact in that last week.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:28 AM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
You may want to read about the Na of China.
...
Very interesting people. I discovered them through a scholarly review on JStor of the book, A Society without Fathers or Husbands: The Na of China
er, no thanks. The review snippets you quoted suggest that their culture totally invalidates men who feel as I do.

I do not feel that my gender should prevent me having a parental relationship with the children who carry my genes: the idea that this privelege only extends to women stikes me as profundly androphobic, shades of the 'utopian' ideas Sarah Gearhart was writing in the 70s/80s, ideas that to me are profoundly distopian.

Quote:
... I think of the word "broody" as meaning moody, gloomy, sullen, etc., as in someone who's constantly brooding and occupied with dark thoughts. I didn't realize there was a second meaning to the word until your post prompted me to look it up. But then, I don't know anything about chickens!
It is quite common in the UK to refer to women who are suddenly facing 'the biological clock' and desperate to have children. Using the phrase 'broody men' is less common, but not unique to me.

Met a man on the tube [subway] the other day, five month baby in snuggle carrier. Said 'i'm so envious, i'm the original broody man' and he replied 'me too'. He does most of the childcare, as his wife is more career focussed.

I am curious, nycindie, as to why you think the contribution to childcare by men like him (and hopefully in future by me) is less important than matrilineal care? I see this as a reverse-sexist mistake by another culture, not as an idea to emulate.
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I hope other British Quakers who are poly (or wonder if they are) will contact me here, thanks, Friends.

Last edited by trueRiver; 09-05-2011 at 11:31 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:35 AM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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The quote leaves out one important part of the equation... since the men are residing in their mother's houses along with their siblings, a man becomes the "father" to his sister's children, sharing in childcare and being a family. They are not cut off from the next generation.

He still gets to bring up kids. Just not his own (because who knows which are his own?). In terms of genetics, though, he is guaranteed to share genes with his sister's children.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
I am curious, nycindie, as to why you think the contribution to childcare by men like him (and hopefully in future by me) is less important than matrilineal care?
I never said that. You're putting words in my mouth.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
er, no thanks. The review snippets you quoted suggest that their culture totally invalidates men who feel as I do.
"Totally invalidates?" It's just a different and older world-view. I think it has a lot of value and interest, given the high divorce rate and all the dead beat dads out there in our Western culture. Certainly in some groupings we have today, where baby daddies are common (spread their seed and split), the mother, her mother and father, her sisters and brothers, hired daycare workers, school teachers, etc., are doing this anyway! I'm sure you've heard the saying, it takes a village.

Quote:
I do not feel that my gender should prevent me having a parental relationship with the children who carry my genes:
If you were Na, you'd have a relationship with your sisters' kids, who also carry the family genes.

Quote:
... the idea that this privelege only extends to women stikes me as profundly androphobic, shades of the 'utopian' ideas Sarah Gearhart was writing in the 70s/80s, ideas that to me are profoundly distopian.
You're looking at it backwards, man. Matrilineal groupings are an older idea and practice than patriarchal ones.

Quote:
I am curious, nycindie, as to why you think the contribution to childcare by men like him (and hopefully in future by me) is less important than matrilineal care? I see this as a reverse-sexist mistake by another culture, not as an idea to emulate.
Again, Na men (and others in similar communities) would have plenty of opportunity for childcare, with their nieces, nephews and grandchildren. There would be no worries about caring for "another man's child" as the children would be seen as members of the tribe, not members of a small nuclear family. You could also look at it this way, were your SO to get pregnant by another man in your poly tangle.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZed View Post
The quote leaves out one important part of the equation... since the men are residing in their mother's houses along with their siblings, a man becomes the "father" to his sister's children, sharing in childcare and being a family. They are not cut off from the next generation.

He still gets to bring up kids. Just not his own (because who knows which are his own?). In terms of genetics, though, he is guaranteed to share genes with his sister's children.
That was the point I was making -- that it isn't important whose seed the children come from (that doesn't mean the men are not important to the culture, mind you, just that it doesn't matter which children are theirs). In that communal culture, the men don't rule the households nor have any ownership over the women or their offspring, because they don't even know who they've fathered, and that information is not integral for the community to thrive and function well. The women who have children raise them with the help of their siblings, including the men, and family is preserved that way. That 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. A rather inspiring and interesting correlation, I think!

I think it is a lesson for many people in contemporary so-called "advanced" society who are so focused on paternity issues that millions of children are waiting to be adopted, yet couples will focus (and spend tens of thousands of dollars) on fertility drugs and artificial insemination just to make sure their bloodline continues. If I wanted to love and raise a child, I don't need to limit that love to only my own.
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Last edited by nycindie; 09-05-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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  #9  
Old 09-05-2011, 12:15 PM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
...it isn't important whose seed the children come from (that doesn't mean the men are not important to the culture, mind you, just that it doesn't matter which children are theirs).
it matters to me, and to many men. The fact that it "doesn't matter" to the culture is a way of denying men in that culture the possibility of even thinking whether this is something that matters to them (like making Gay people or Poly people invisible in our culture)

The fact that some cultures make that unattainable is as unacceptable to me as the way our culture tries to make poly unacceptable. In my view, when a culture forces ideas that are unacceptable to a significant proportion of its people (even if that is a minority) then it is the culture that should change, not the individuals.

Does a particular culture exist to serve its people, or do the people exist to serve the culture? The answer to that question determines, for me, whether the culture is oppressive or empowering.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
"Totally invalidates?" It's just a different and older world-view. ...
It is an older world view, certainly. It is not a "just different" view, any more than black slavery could be described as a "just different" way of looking at race. It is an unfair view from the past.

It does matter to me to know who my children are.

Please accept that. What I do with that feeling is up for discussion, and I am open to suggestions, that is why |I posted the thread.

I am not open to the idea that I am wrong to feel what I feel. I am not open to the suggestion that I should think about what is more important to you, rather than what feels immensely important to me.

And if you criticise "dead beat dads" who don't care about their kids (and yes there are too many of them), why are you reluctant to understand what motivates those of us who very much do want to be involved: why do you prefer to tell us what we should want, rather than building from what we do want?
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River~~

There are two Rivers here now: which one is this?

see
quaker poly experiences and poly: a quaker perspective

I hope other British Quakers who are poly (or wonder if they are) will contact me here, thanks, Friends.

Last edited by trueRiver; 09-05-2011 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post
Or do we say that XX can't have sex with fertile blokes while we are trying for a baby? Is that a fair thing for me to insist on?

How would some of you poly ladies here feel if your bf asked that in those circumstances? You can have sex with other fellas but not risk pregnancy?
You can state your preferences but, ultimately, it's up to the woman what she does with her body. All you can do is be prepared financially and legally to handle whatever occurs.

I have some questions: If you had two girlfriends, how would you handle it if they both became pregnant? What if one of them was married? What kind of control could you expect to exert over that situation?
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