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  #31  
Old 11-22-2011, 03:53 PM
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I'm sorry Mags, that sounds awful.

Carte blanche veto is one of my least favorite things ever, speaking of "bad" poly agreements... yeesh. So, yeah, ovp totally exists and is *exactly* as potentially problematic as opp, just less common based on what we see here at least (obviously I haven't done a formal research study or anything).
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  #32  
Old 11-22-2011, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for the sympathy, Annabel. Now that I think back harder about it, the wife in that situation mightve called herself bi-curious, but I dont think she was all that curious.

It's really funny, having been here for a while, just how many couples here have a bi woman and a straight guy. When we think back to the Greeks and Spartans, where homosexuality was the norm, and hetero relationships were considered to be for procreation only, it does give one pause.

Not to mention the ages old, all male culture of the Catholic priesthood. Leaving pedophilia completely out of it, there is a LOT of gay adult male sex going on there.

Personally, since I am listed as bi on OKC. I get contacted by men a lot, who list themselves as straight, but are really bi. They want relationships with both genders (or with transwomen, or butchy women) but find that when they list themselves as bi, they only get hit on by gay men. Straight women are disgusted by the idea they might've had a cock in their mouth or ass.

Just a thought... maybe there are so many so-called straight guys who have repressed gay urges, the thought of their woman with another guy makes them envious, deep in their subconscious. There is no biological reason there should be more bi women than men. It must be cultural. If super buff tough warriors of old could have gay sex, why couldnt our average computer geek today have urges for it?
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  #33  
Old 11-22-2011, 04:24 PM
zylya zylya is offline
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I'd have two possible theories about bisexual women vs bisexual men:

1. Men are, generally, a lot more black and white than women. Therefore the idea of bisexual is a lot less "masculine" - not in a traditional "macho" sense, but simply that it's more of a male nature to be either gay or straight. The feminine, by contrast, seems more fluid, therefore some form of bisexuality is more likely than a purely gay or purely straight orientation. Therefore more bisexual women than bisexual men.

2. Men and women, in terms of orientation, are almost exactly the same, but because of social pressure (the whole girl-on-girl is hot, guy-on-guy is not debate) there's less open bisexual men. Therefore the numbers of bisexual women and bisexual men are pretty similar, except the bisexual women are more open about it.

Part of me thinks that it's a combination of the two. I think that our current society has female bisexuality as a lot more visible than male bisexuality. Male homosexuality is generally more visible than female homosexuality (although not by a huge amount), but for bisexuality it appears the other way around. Now, I know that you can't just "copy" an orientation, but how many people here knew that they were poly, but had no real idea of what "poly" was until they found a community like this? It's like, the three terms in the most common usage (homo, hetero, bi) actually encompass a HUGE RANGE of sexualities, and the three words mean different things to different people. When the visibility of a particular group is higher, it means more people are educated to what that means and suddenly realise "Hey, that's what I am!" In this case, lots of younger girls have sexual thoughts about other girls and think "Oh wow, such and such celebrity is bisexual, that sounds like what I feel." For the younger guys though who have sexual thoughts about other guys, because male bisexuality is less visible, they either think "Hmm, I'm straight but have a couple of gay thoughts" or they think "Hmm, I'm gay but have a couple of straight thoughts".

Obviously that's an overly simplistic model, but I think the reason there aren't as many bisexual men as women is simply because they're not prominently displayed in our society.

Last edited by zylya; 11-22-2011 at 04:25 PM. Reason: Speeling ;)
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  #34  
Old 11-22-2011, 04:33 PM
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Annabel: Alright, I was wrong and there are plenty of poly practices that many people find wrong. OPP is just so common that it deserves its name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
As for where you and your husband started, that does have a name, mono/poly, and no one here is against it because we understand that monogamy is right for some people. It can go either way, gender-wise, for het couples.
So it's ok for one person to give more freedom to their partner than what they themselves need (mono/poly), but it's not ok if the person giving more freedom is a female whose male partner wants OPP (or other variants of this phenomenon)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Now I've said above that I personally accepted a de facto opp in my relationship, and I would do so again if my bf needed it -- I love him, and it's not a big sacrifice. I accept that it serves a needed purpose for some people... whether that's because of cultural or biological imperatives I couldn't say. But ALL gendered rules bug the heck out of me, each and every one and I would *rather* they didn't have to exist. It doesn't make any sense to me on a personal level. People are people, bits are bits, hearts are hearts.
After all this rambling of mine, I still agree with you that gendered rules suck. I don't undestand them either but what I do understand is women who accept their male partners request of an OPP.

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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
Also, I think it's important to note that a temporary "for now, while we're opening up, while I'm getting more comfortable" boundary is very, very different from a "this is how it must be forever" rule. If people aren't being sensitive to that distinction then they ought to be, but I think most are.
I agree with this and find this important. If the OPP lable is put on every situation, that's what makes it difficult for me to deal with. That is precisely the problem: that all situations with one penis have the same lable.
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  #35  
Old 11-22-2011, 07:01 PM
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My wife insists on a OPP, she's almost a lesbian, and was almost commited to it until we got together, but she really likes me and plans to keep me around. For our gf, she's married, so she gets an extra penis. It may not be textbook, but 15 years speak for them self.
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  #36  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:11 PM
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My wife insists on a OPP, she's almost a lesbian, and was almost commited to it until we got together, but she really likes me and plans to keep me around. For our gf, she's married, so she gets an extra penis. It may not be textbook, but 15 years speak for them self.
15 years is a rarity...you've obviously figured something out to have that kind of longevity
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  #37  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I don't think there is any way around the idea that it is inherently sexist to feel that another woman is less of a threat to him than another guy would be. ... OPPs are born out of fear and lack of self awareness and examination of stereotypes. So, hang me for being a feminist, I don't care.
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Originally Posted by AnnabelMore View Post
We shouldn't mistake a woman in an existing m/f relationship who says "I'm interested in new relationships with women but not men" for someone operating under an OPP rule. There is every reason to believe that's her decision.
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Originally Posted by rory View Post
Sure, OPP tells you somebody is insecure, and that's bad bad bad. ... My point is that there are a million agreements people make in their relationships in order to avoid feelings of insecurity.
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Originally Posted by zylya View Post
My point isn't that OPP is a good thing or a bad thing, it's simply a type of relationship structure, which can never be good or bad in and of itself. ... I'm saying that the underlying assumption that a OPP is borne out of jealousy and fear is INCORRECT. ... people should not apply the term OPP as a catch-all to any situation, or if they are going to apply it to any one-penis/one-pussy situation then they shouldn't frame it as a negative.
First of all, the way I see it, a POLICY is not the same as an AGREEMENT. It is called OPP for a reason. OPPs are borne out of fear and lack of awareness, as Mags posted, and the term does not apply when it is a woman's choice.

What some people are missing in this discussion is that the term OPP refers to situations in which the male dictates to the female that his penis will be the only one that she is allowed to have, while he can have as many women as he wants. He has put his policy in place.

We have seen this occur time and time again in posts here: a woman comes here and describes her situation, in which she isn't really interested in being with other women, or is only a little curious but might not really want to have a relationship with a woman, and yet because her partner will not allow her to be with another man, and being with a woman is the only thing her male partner will allow UNDER HIS POLICY, she tries it even though she's not even attracted to the other female. The woman writes, "I'm not really into women, but..." Then she comes here and posts about all the problems they are having. She usually either wants to remain monogamous with her partner, or would rather explore an attraction to another man in her life, or wants the option of being with either a man or a woman as things develop, but her male partner will not budge in any way. He absolutely will not allow room for future negotiation. He has dictated she can only be with women. That, to me, is a OPP, and rather unfair and unreasonable. Oftentimes, there is also the demand that she can only be sexual with another woman when he is present and participating as well. Another level of unreasonableness.

If exploring or being in relationships with women, without the desire or need to be sexual with other men beside an already existing male partner is truly all she wants, that is not OPP. Even if she would eventually like to be with other men, but she discussed it and agrees not to until they are both comfortable with poly, and there is thoughtful consideration and respect toward what both of them need, then a situation where a male and female couple agrees that he can be with women but she won't be with any men is not a cut and dried case of OPP in my eyes -- it's an AGREEMENT.

No, it is not fair to assume that all situations where the woman is not free to explore being with other men besides her male partner is a OPP, and the determining factor is whether or not it really is her choice and what she truly wants.

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This horrible "judgment" you're so afraid of... well, we all judge. If we didnt judge, we'd have no way to form an opinion and there would be no reason for a discussion board!
If people didn't judge all the time, every day, we wouldn't know when to cross the street or how to dress properly for bad weather. Judgment is a natural, essential aspect of being human.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-23-2011 at 01:11 AM.
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  #38  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:30 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Originally Posted by zylya View Post
I'd have two possible theories about bisexual women vs bisexual men:

1. Men are, generally, a lot more black and white than women. Therefore the idea of bisexual is a lot less "masculine" - not in a traditional "macho" sense, but simply that it's more of a male nature to be either gay or straight. The feminine, by contrast, seems more fluid, therefore some form of bisexuality is more likely than a purely gay or purely straight orientation. Therefore more bisexual women than bisexual men.

2. Men and women, in terms of orientation, are almost exactly the same, but because of social pressure (the whole girl-on-girl is hot, guy-on-guy is not debate) there's less open bisexual men. Therefore the numbers of bisexual women and bisexual men are pretty similar, except the bisexual women are more open about it.
While there is some evidence that male sexuality is more hardwired - i.e. less fluid - I personally believe that men have a lot more to lose being openly bisexual than women do. They lose a lot of male privilege and there are many consequences to being openly bi for men. Bi men are often assumed to be the receiving party and so less manly. In part because of this attitude, health workers have developed 'men who have sex with men' category because they needed to reach men who don't identify as gay or bi but who have sex with men.

Also, some straight women won't date an openly bi man for all sorts of reasons. One assumption is that bi man is 'really' gay and not actually into women. Many LGT folks make this assumption too - and there is a bit of truth to the stereotype. I labeled myself bi decades ago because I was not comfortable with being a lesbian - it was a homophobic fear on my part that I eventually overcame. (And now I'm back to calling myself bi! Life is funny.)

It is socially way more acceptable for a woman or girl to be more masculine in look or deed than it is for a man or boy to be perceived as more feminine. For example, tomboys are fairly universally tolerated in the US - they are seen as cute and entertaining. It is assumed that when they grow up, tomboys will transition to skirts, makeup and boys but until then, it's currently generally positively perceived. (I realize this has changed over time and was less true in the 50s and 60s in the US.) But 'sissy' boys - who play with dolls, don't care for rough sports, like hanging out with girls more than boys - are often disliked by their peers, their parents may try extensive therapy to 'fix' them, and they are seen as having severe problems that need addressing. Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign is aimed in part at effeminate boys because these boys are viciously bullied since they are perceived to be gay. Many are actually not gay. The effeminate straight man is so overlooked, if not outright villified, in the US.

So anyway, I believe the reason we do not see as many open, out bi men is because they have much more to lose than bi women. However, this has changed quite a bit in just the past years - there are more bi men willing to be public about it than ever before. They deserve kudos because their actions open up space for those after them to be even more honest and fluid.

Back to the original topic of the thread.

I find certain conventions of ethical non-monogamy disturbing. One penis policy and don't ask, don't tell are two 'workarounds' people create that I personally find uncomfortable. Yes, they can be done so that all involved have had their say and they often work. And, in practice, they may not automatically disadvantage one partner or another although the policy inself may be inherently 'unfair'. Life is complicated. And the reminder to remember that by the OP and others is helpful.

When taken individually, OPP and DADT can work just fine. However, they do reflect broad trends in Western societies of protecting male perception of sexual selfhood and of privileging and addressing male fears around sexuality. We can never entirely undo the underlying assumptions of our society in our thinking - even the most reflective, thoughtful, and introspective person carries around social assumptions. The very pervasiveness of OPP and DADT indicates the profound power of our social assumptions about male sexuality and selfhood in our daily lives, even as we break out of the mold of traditional monogamy. That is one reason the 'one vagina policy' - while obviously around - is so much less commonly noted, used or talked about.
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  #39  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:40 PM
Minxxa Minxxa is offline
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I can only give my own perception and opinion here but... to me OPP just means exactly that. One Penis Policy. That's not inherently bad or good.

The only problem I would see with that (and why i wouldn't allow it in my own relationships) is because MOST of the time (not all-- of course) the policy is put into place INSTEAD of the person taking the time to figure out what's going on and working through their issues with why another penis bothers them, while another vagina doesn't.

I personally feel like ANY policy that is put into place in order to keep people from having to do the emotional/mental work is going to be problematic at some point in time.

And I've seen it mentioned here MANY times when somebody has a "rule" that they've put in place, that it's more productive to consider why they are needing that rule and where the fear/insecurity/jealous or whatever is coming from than to think a rule is going to protect them from being hurt.

I don't see OPP as being any different than any other boundary. They can be good, they can be needed, they can be used temporarily while people are adapting. But when they're used as a means to not deal with the emotions involved, then I see a problem.
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  #40  
Old 11-22-2011, 08:47 PM
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This thread has a very sad overtone that I just figured out. There are a lot of women who feel they have very little power in this society...and it's not the women who have agreed to OPPs...it's the ones that can't accept that some women can do it willingly by their own choice. Compromise is not a sign of weakness...it's a sign of reality and self assuredness.

I'm glad to be surrounded by empowered women...which makes me privileged and honored.
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