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  #101  
Old 05-21-2010, 03:53 AM
SayYes SayYes is offline
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I'm just a newbie here, but personally I really like the fact that polyamory has a less than specific definition. It makes me feel like there are less automatic assumptions that go along with it, unlike some other labels that carry a whole set of stereotypes. If I tell someone I'm poly, they generally don't even know what that means, and I don't mind that at all. I'd prefer to explain the specifics of my personal relationship structure than rely on a label, and that would be especially true if I were talking to a possible romantic interest.

I understand the points about polyamory relying on trust, honesty, etc. But I agree with those who have said that those are simply good tools for any relationship with other human beings. If someone else says that they're poly, I assume that means that they are not romantically monogamous, and that anyone they are involved with is aware of that. My assumptions stop there. I don't assume I know anything about their values/ethics/specific relationship structures/etc., just like I wouldn't know any of those things about an individual based on a label of bisexual/gay/straight/etc.
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  #102  
Old 05-21-2010, 07:13 AM
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So is this whole debate about use of words part of rules/foundations of poly? Is it a rule to have it defined for oneself? I simply say, "this is my version of my poly life" when I explain it to others... because MY rules/foundations are different from others, as is my description of poly....

if I've learned anything on this forum in over a year, and the 11 years before that time, it would be that!
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  #103  
Old 05-22-2010, 08:51 AM
capricorny capricorny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovingRadiance View Post
So why did "gay" go from meaning,

"having or showing a merry, lively mood"

To: "homosexual"



What about the word "virgin"?

Why did it go from meaning,
"an unmarried girl or woman"

to: "a person who has never had sexual intercourse"


I think that the problem here in this thread is that what WE (you/I) think the words SHOULD be or SHOULD mean-has little bearing on what they DO MEAN to the MAJORITY-because we aren't the majority.

We COULD agree to our own words for this board-but we've already seen enough people pissed off about how "judgmental" we are when we argued against one night stands not being love relationships.........

Told we were being closed-minded, unreasonable, insisting on putting OUR definitions on other people's lives when the board professes to be a place for ALL people to share about their poly-relationships.

There isn't a defition for the board-therefore we can't really hold to any one specified definition to be "agreed upon" in this venue either.

(And GOd knows my personal opinion is stricter than MANY of the opinions I've read on here, but it's not MY place to name another person's relationship)
I have trouble with your logic here for one very simple reason: The word "polyamory" wasn't there, it is constructed, and therefore we CAN in fact ask other people to please use some other words. Which we can not with, e.g. multiamory, which is not a hybrid. It is perhaps more clear if we apply these same reasonings to "polyfidelity" - are we OK with having the meaning of that turned into something quite different and more general, so people living in polyfidelty relationships can't really identify with it? And if not, why?

Also, I wonder if you have thought about that you list up examples of specialization. Your first example is a word that may still be used in the general way, but in addition has picked up a specific meaning. And the other one is specialized by historical societal norms, by definition so to speak: In several cultures, an unmarried girl or woman was _supposed_ to be virgin, and some laws required death sentence if she turned out not to be. This did not necessarily have to do with judeo-christian moral tradition, but that women were juridically considered as property many places - including among the OT jews. While what we discuss here, is generalization: A specific word is used in more general ways, possibly leading to more difficult communication, because people's mental images aren't in sync at all.

I think the "love" issue with ONS that you mention is a good example of where we can NOT uphold clear definitions - "love" must necessarily be a quite fuzzy concept, and the full meaning of it has to be "defined" by each individual for themselves. It implies that we can't just say to someone "what you call love, isn't it, really". But it does not imply that we have to accept anything either, like an affection murder "legitimated" by "I killed her out of my deep love for her".

And unlimited conceptual relativism - I don't think anybody can really go for that. They just thnk they can, because they haven't really looked into the consequences, like the murder case above. And in daily life, we can't get by without a healthy bit of it

Last edited by capricorny; 05-22-2010 at 09:46 AM.
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  #104  
Old 05-22-2010, 09:35 AM
capricorny capricorny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SayYes View Post
I'm just a newbie here, but personally I really like the fact that polyamory has a less than specific definition. It makes me feel like there are less automatic assumptions that go along with it, unlike some other labels that carry a whole set of stereotypes. If I tell someone I'm poly, they generally don't even know what that means, and I don't mind that at all. I'd prefer to explain the specifics of my personal relationship structure than rely on a label, and that would be especially true if I were talking to a possible romantic interest.

I understand the points about polyamory relying on trust, honesty, etc. But I agree with those who have said that those are simply good tools for any relationship with other human beings. If someone else says that they're poly, I assume that means that they are not romantically monogamous, and that anyone they are involved with is aware of that. My assumptions stop there. I don't assume I know anything about their values/ethics/specific relationship structures/etc., just like I wouldn't know any of those things about an individual based on a label of bisexual/gay/straight/etc.
I think I understand, but do you really think there will be that much of a set of stereotypes loaded if we agree on some foundational principles in addition to the basic romantical non-monogamy? One of them here is exactly the anti-sterotypical "Your poly is not my poly", and I can't live poly without a principle like that.

I also wonder what you think is wrong with using the word "multiamory" for that more general sense.

The basic trouble, as I see it, is that if we use that very wide poly definition, we know that it is really too wide, and the very characterization of these "good tools" as "good" imply that we are, in effect, making a distinction between different kinds of poly. IF there hadn't been such an universal agreement - as it turns out - about these "good tools", it would have been futile to talk about a "foundation" of poly. But there is, and making a distinction in romantic non-monogamy between "multiamory" as the more general sense with no real foundations to it, and "polyamory" with a well-defined foundation, but an enormous wealth of relationship forms sharing that foundation - couldn't that be useful?

At least, it is to me.
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  #105  
Old 05-23-2010, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capricorny View Post
I also wonder what you think is wrong with using the word "multiamory" for that more general sense.

The basic trouble, as I see it, is that if we use that very wide poly definition, we know that it is really too wide, and the very characterization of these "good tools" as "good" imply that we are, in effect, making a distinction between different kinds of poly. IF there hadn't been such an universal agreement - as it turns out - about these "good tools", it would have been futile to talk about a "foundation" of poly. But there is, and making a distinction in romantic non-monogamy between "multiamory" as the more general sense with no real foundations to it, and "polyamory" with a well-defined foundation, but an enormous wealth of relationship forms sharing that foundation - couldn't that be useful?

At least, it is to me.
I guess the thing I have trouble with is the ability to always clearly draw the line between "foundationless" multiamory and polyamory. It seems, and correct me if I'm wrong, that love is one of the things you would see as a foundation of true polyamory. But isn't it likely that many (if not most) people--poly and otherwise--experience both love and also more casual relationships at some point in their lives? If someone is in love with multiple partners but also has the occasional one night stand, are they practicing polyamory or multiamory? If someone ultimately wants multiple loving relationships but is currently single and merely having "foundationless" sex with multiple partners, are they multiamorous until they happen to fall in love? I think that if every individual was looking for either relationships of the committed and loving variety or the "foundationless" variety in a long term, sustained way, then yes, differentiating between those two motivations would potentially be helpful. But it seems to me that what we seek from individual encounters is a lot more fluid than that. Just like there are plenty of mono people who at one point in their lives are looking for no strings attached sex and at another point are open to the possibility of something more serious and at another point might be specifically seeking a long-term partner. I might be misunderstanding the dividing line between polyamory and multiamory, but if my understanding is correct, it seems like an incredibly difficult line to draw.
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  #106  
Old 05-23-2010, 10:25 AM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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OK one more attempt at this... trying to nail down words and apply logic to language and its use it like trying to nail jello to a wall, I know, but...

I tend to see relationships as falling into one of two categories - Monogamy (one love, one sexual partner - the same person) and non-monogamy (breaking either of those conditions above).

Non-monogamy can be further divided into "ethical" (everybody knows about is and is in agreement) and "unethical" (people are lying and cheating to each other). note that so far the distinction between love and sex hasn't been made...

Then we divide the ethical side into swinging (emphasis is on the sex, the love part is either secondary and forbidden, depending on the type) and polyamory (emphasis on the love in the relationship, whatever form that takes, the sex, while it may be important, is not considered AS important as the love).

There is a broad spectrum with each of the swinging and polyamorous communities. One subgroup of the polyamory group is those that practice polyfidelity.

There are subtle differences in here where there are shades of understanding that individuals take on board and use. This way of thinking about it may not resonate with anyone else - it's just the way I think of it. I don't think that any one way is inherently better than another

And I also think that the foundations of all of the various categorizations I have listed are very varied from individual to individual - we're not even close to "one size fits all", and I think that this discussion is more than amply showing that.
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Last edited by CielDuMatin; 05-25-2010 at 03:32 PM. Reason: clarification on a point.
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  #107  
Old 05-23-2010, 10:59 PM
Tonberry Tonberry is offline
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I agree with CielDuMatin.

My problem with your view, capricorny, is that I just don't get it. It seems to me you are taking polyamory, then saying "if that one specific thing out of thousands of possible differences isn't like the way I do it, there should be a different word". I just don't see that.
I also think choosing a word that basically means the exact same thing, for a difference that isn't that obvious or necessitating a specific word for everyone, is confusing things even more. How are people supposed to remember which is which, when they sound pretty much the same are one is a subcategory of the other and, it seems to me, vague enough that it's not necessarily easy to tell which category does what.

It just seems to me like you're saying "my poly should be called poly, let's find a word for people who are different" and I don't really like that.

I see things pretty much like Ciel. You have relationships, among which romantic relationships (used in a broad way, to include sex without feeling. I mean relationships other than friendship and family), among which monogamy and non-monogamy, and within non-monogamy you have polyamory and swinging, and possibly both at once for some people.

It's complicated and confusing enough as it is, I feel.

At every level, there might be honesty, or there might not be. You might be cheating on your wife, that you don't love anymore, and she has no idea (which is the basis of cheating, I'd say). You might not love your wife anymore and have a relationship with someone else, and she's aware of it and okay with it.
In my opinion, that's not polyamory because you don't have a relationship with your wife anymore. You just say married for other reasons. Honesty and dishonesty are both possible.

Then with swinging, you can do it behind your partners back or have your partner know and be okay with it. There again, there is honesty or there isn't, and the non-honest way is called cheating.

With polyamory, there again, you can do it behind your partners back or have them know and be okay with it.

And in all of them, there is a middle-ground, where the partner knows, you know they know, but you don't talk about it and possibly pretend like nothing's happening. Happens in all three types of relationships. I don't think there should be a specific word for it just if it's in a polyamourous context and not for the other ones. I think, like cheating, you might want to find a word for it that applies to all cases, but I don't personally see it as absolutely necessary, since we have a word for the opposite: fidelity.

So we have cheating, fidelity, and that thing that's in the middle. And all three can apply to every type of non-monogamous relationship in similar ways.

In monogamous relationship, fidelity isn't exactly the same, since it means keeping the relationship monogamous, but still when you think about it, fidelity means having rules and following them, cheating means breaking the rules, and in the middle it's a kind of grey area where you're not breaking rules but that's because they don't exist, in a way.
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  #108  
Old 05-25-2010, 04:56 PM
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this thread is huge, thank you love(RedP) for starting it way back :P.

CielDuMatin talked about a sort of flowchart like idea of relationship topologies.
That is generally how I think, and i'm going to go from their. First off...
<Relationships>
Monogamy>non-monogamy
non-mono>ethical>non-ethical
ethical>swingers>polyamories(or whatever)

A major debate was, coming up with a definition of what a poly person or relationship is. However the major consensus seems to be that you can't define something ubiquitous, and most people put a subjective spin to it since it's so out of norm as we can see on our relationship dynamic chart there, it's hard to explain.
Unfortunately for us, our hippie friends Morning Glory and Oberon Zell were not English majors and to my knowledge had to formal training in linguistics. Though i'm definitely a hippie with a similar spirit as theirs.

So in saying "polyamory" is this vast relationship dynamic, with it's own subcategories, it falls on us to make our own terms for our own relationships knowing that they all fall under a umbrella of "poly". We've coined topologies liked "triad" "vee", terms like polyfidelity, multiamory, etc etc and I think that's great. So let's keep it up.

So how exactly would you "divide" the line between say a relationship I have with a wife and openness to have boyfriends and girlfriends but not in any meaningful way (like having 2 fathers for children and etc) VS. a relationship where we're actively looking for another grown member or members of the family, but obviously starting out as normal relationships? Or what would you the relationships that are already positioned like the above concepts?
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  #109  
Old 05-31-2010, 08:52 AM
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Stolen from the blog of Franklin Veaux (the xeromag.com guy), a "sexual informatic" on types of non-monogamy:


http://tacit.livejournal.com/tag/sexual%20informatics

Beyond that...?

I suppose there's binaries/scales for everything... open to closed, cheating to honest, romantic to unromantic, nonsexual to sexual, kinky to vanilla, serious to casual, etc.

A lot of people have agreed that polyamory is open, honest, romantic, and likely sexual, with the rest being discretionary. Not everyone agrees, but that's impossible.
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  #110  
Old 05-31-2010, 06:39 PM
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where do people get the time to write this stuff!
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