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  #41  
Old 02-22-2014, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I also think that comparing a structure for relationships to one's sexual orientation is crap. One is just a way to approach having relationships, while the other is who one is attracted to based on the internal interpretations of gender identity/biological sex/gender expression of oneself and the person to whom one is attracted. Much more complex than the question of how many people you feel comfortable having relationships with, IMHO.
There seems to be a new attraction to squeezing "orientation" into this kind of discussion. I expect it is related to the fact that we understand sexual orientation to be somewhat predetermined and that no excuses or explanations are needed to have one orientation vs another. Having the ability to superimpose this certainty onto other aspects of our personality or our life choices would seem to be pretty comforting.

Personally I find this push to be counter productive. I actually find it unfortunate that I don't have the ability (or at least not much ability) to shift within my own sexual orientation spectrum. I think it would be terrific to be able to just switch my sexual orientation depending on where I am and what my current options are. I can't though, because I'm hard-wired to an orientation within a very limited spectrum.

It's a very different discussion with my ability to minimize jealousy, enjoy intimacy with multiple people at the same time, etc. I can have romantic love for one person at a time (and this is the norm for me) but why would I want to cut off the possibility of more with something like calling myself "hard-wired"? There are very few things that a human is truly wired to do; that is, they will turn out that way no matter what obstacles their environment presents. The rest is tendency based on a formula including genetic layout and environmental conditioning over time.

I choose not to limit my options by pigeonholing myself with terms like "hard-wired" or "orientation" when that isn't actually the case.
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  #42  
Old 02-22-2014, 10:59 PM
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Thank you for weighing in on the topic, Marcus. I really like and appreciate how you put it. It helped solidify in my mind how and why I view it the way I do. And, it's just nice to see you posting here again - you have been missed!
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  #43  
Old 02-23-2014, 06:51 AM
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If there is absolutely no hard-wiring involved in the desire to pursue multiple relationships, why do so many people cheat on their spouses despite genuine desires to remain "faithful?" Given that these people have so much to lose, from the respect of their peers to their very relationship, and that these people claim to genuinely want to be monogamous, why do they struggle so?

Our society overwhelmingly dictates that we be monogamous. Our behaviour as an animal species overwhelmingly demonstrates that we are not. Governments have been trying to make us monogamous since the dawn of agriculture. It makes transfer of land titles so much simpler when you know who's your daddy, and who's your daddy's eldest son. Yet despite 20,000 years of "nurture," here we are: as non-monogamously-inclined as ever. It appears as though nurture is losing the battle.

There's exactly one species of ape (gibbons) that is hard-wired for monogamy. They live in single family units, with a good 40 km between groups. Each and every other species of ape lives in some kind of larger social group, with sex shared in some way between at least some members of the group. Humans are apes. We're not above them, we're not evolved from them, we are them. Our closest relatives, chimps and bonobos, are tremendously non-monogamous. They don't even pretend. We're a little more clever than most of them, which allows us to make choices to override our biological urges, but intelligence does not negate the existence of hard-wired tendencies.
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Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 02-23-2014 at 06:54 AM.
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  #44  
Old 02-23-2014, 09:32 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Wait, SC, you just confused me. You believe that humans as a species are probably hard-wired for non-monogamy at the ape/biological/evolutionary level...which I tend to agree with...but a few posts ago in this same thread, you were offended that someone dared suggest that all humans have the innate capacity to love more than one person.

How do you reconcile those two views? This is something I struggle with, because I do recognize that many, many people identify as mono. I don't in any way think that their experiences are invalid.
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  #45  
Old 02-23-2014, 11:38 PM
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Well first off, I wouldn't say I took it personally enough to be "offended." That would entail a level of giving a shit that I just don't possess

Something being a product of the environment does not prevent it from becoming physiologically wired. For example, people who grow up in Japan develop differently shaped ear cochlea than people in England. Take a baby out of Japan when she's born and plop her down in England with English parents, and she'll develop cochlea suited to hear English sounds that aren't present in the Japanese language. Environmental stimulation, physiological response.

The problem with nature-nurture debates is that they assume a dichotomy, that things are either one or the other. This, of course, is bullshit. Nurture is the process by which natural potential comes to fruition. Within our genes, we hold the building blocks to become many kinds of person. But most of these blocks are cemented in early childhood and cannot be changed in adulthood. Sometimes they're cemented with flour paste and only minimal effort is required to build something different. Sometimes they're cemented with industrial strength mortar and re-wiring is a lifelong process.

Hard-wired is not synonymous with permanent. Any computer can be rewired. The process is simply more involved than software upgrades.
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  #46  
Old 02-23-2014, 11:47 PM
bofish bofish is offline
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I chose to be in an open marriage. I always thought i would be monogamous. I never had any mindset other than that. After many years of marriage, and finding that neither of our needs were getting met by the relationship, we decided to open up and try to meet some needs at home and others outside the relationship. This works more less for us.

It's complex though. When I'm really into someone, I do not look at other guys or fantasize about other guys or want them. That would make me sort of monogamous. However, I don't believe that this kind of interest (coupled with the stress of a home life can survive). I can only speak for myself, but there are many many unhappy married people.

That said, I also was never one to keep myself in a nuclear family. I have had friends (platonic ones) who I would say I am as dedicated to as my family. These relationships have sometimes included daily interactions for plus 10 years. Is sex the only element of monogamy? I would say that these friendships with people I have intense emotional dialog and commitment to would also be a form of polyamory.

I actually consider what I do closest to something gay male couples have always done.
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  #47  
Old 02-24-2014, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Personally, I think the idea that we are wired one way or another is crap. We have a potential for many choices and what feels right to us is formed by many elements, such as our personality, what we are taught is acceptable, familial and societal influences, and how comfortable we are with certain choices.
Do we choose our personality? If our personality reduces the choice between poly relationship or mono relationship to fulfillment or misery, then what kind of choice is it, really?

Gay people can choose to enter heterosexual relationships. That's a fact. Many people have, under pressure of family and church and state, accomplished it, even having kids and white picket fences, the whole American Dream. But making that your political platform is considered discriminatory and judgemental by the entire LGBT movement.

Poly-inclined people can choose to enter monogamous relationships. Mono-inclined people can choose to enter poly relationships. I don't deny this either. Hyper-sexual people can choose to enter asexual relationships.

But all of these choices come with the consequence of being miserable and unfulfilled. So saying it's a choice, knowing that one of the options will make these people miserable, is empty at best.

You can say that forming those relationships is a choice, and I don't disagree. But what motivates the choice? At some level, these choices are reduced to "fulfilled or miserable" and then the concept choice is rather meaningless.

Quote:
Think of the people raised in societies where polyandry is part of the culture, such as the Na of China. Culturally it is taught to them that having multiple partners is a-okay. Just because the majority of people in that culture live that way, does it mean they are wired for only poly? Does it mean that no one in their culture ever desires monogamy? Would saying that a Na person has the capacity to be monogamous insulting to their cultural identity that promotes and encourages having multiple relationships? I don't think so.
The Na are not polyandrous. Polyandry is a form of marriage. They've rejected the entire concept of marriage, monogamous or otherwise. But regardless, the answer is yes: forming a marriage and being monogamous would absolutely insult their cultural identity, just as many people on this forum feel shame and guilt for being unable to feel fulfilled within the type of relationship dictated by our monogamous society.
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  #48  
Old 02-27-2014, 03:06 AM
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Myrrhine1 Myrrhine1 is offline
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I really do feel polyamory is a part of my sexual identity. Since I can remember, I have always been drawn to romantically love more than one person, which is what caused all sorts of confusion and anguish to me before I realized I wasn't just a serial monogamist. That is a part of me I don't feel will ever change, so personally I do feel "hard wired" to non-monogamy.

The only way choice factors into this, again in my own observation, is how I choose to develop and explore relationships with people. I don't at all think relating polyamory as an aspect of my sexual identity is counterproductive.

I think what is counterproductive is to pidgeonhole sexual identity into just gender attraction in a purely monogamous way. I wonder how many marriages and relationships could be saved if people were more honest and open-minded to exploring their sexual identities in a way that might exist outside of the framing of monogamy.
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  #49  
Old 02-27-2014, 07:35 AM
Tiberius Tiberius is offline
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To me, it seems a lot like my atheism. I'm an atheist because it just makes more sense to me that there is no God.

Likewise, if I'm in a relationship (which I am), and I develop feelings for someone else, it doesn't make sense to me that I should be forced to choose to pursue only one of those relationships. If I end up being in love with two people, or three or however many, then why shouldn't I follow my heart? After all, people can have several best friends and none of those friends feels like they are being cheated on. Parents have more than one child and the children never feel like they are being cheated on when the parents give a bit more attention to the sibling. Why should romantic love be any different?
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  #50  
Old 02-27-2014, 07:51 AM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I feel the same way as you, but....

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Originally Posted by Tiberius View Post
After all, people can have several best friends and none of those friends feels like they are being cheated on. Parents have more than one child and the children never feel like they are being cheated on when the parents give a bit more attention to the sibling. Why should romantic love be any different?
Both friends and children can feel extremely jealous and cheated on in the exact situations you mention. It's just that we're taught that that jealousy is bad, while romantic jealousy is "normal and means you care".
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