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Old 06-19-2017, 07:38 PM
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Ravenscroft Ravenscroft is offline
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Question poly: what & how many

Somewhere in my books is a published study of the relational patterns of homosexual males, back in like 1978. Though rather Dark Ages, it was well done & thorough. It began by doing something overlooked in many studies: clearly defining their key term. Working from memory (accurate, if not precise), they described a "homosexual" for their purposes as
Quote:
a male adult who, in the past three years, has primarily had sexual contact with other male adults
(FWIW, using this criterion, they found that 8.4% of the men they surveyed from the general population qualified as "homosexual.")

I was looking something up on Wikipedia in the Polyamory article, & just now realized that a hundred words in it claims
Quote:
As of July 2009, it was estimated that more than 500,000 polyamorous relationships existed in the United States.
This is based on a Newsweek article, which claims
Quote:
Researchers are just beginning to study the phenomenon, but the few who do estimate that openly polyamorous families in the United States number more than half a million, with thriving contingents in nearly every major city.
Problem is, that number isn't blamed on ANY of "the few who do."

FIRST QUESTION -- doesn't 500,000 seem kinda overinflated?
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The problem might be with getting everyone to use ONE definition of "polyamory."

Apparently fearful of offending anyone, the WP article reaches for weaselly vagueness in the first few words:
Quote:
Polyamory is typically the practice of, or the desire for, intimate relationships ...
And it only gets more vague:
Quote:
For example, although polyamory is typically defined as a relationship practice or approach to relationships, some believe that it should also be considered an orientation or identity.
That damnable word appears exactly three times in a rather lengthy article, ALL in the opening sentences. Here's the third:
Quote:
People who identify as polyamorous typically reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary...
Hmm... I only now realize that, where another article might start off with History, this one decides to run with Terminology. And it veers quickly away from simple etymology & conjugation.
Quote:
No single definition of "polyamory" has universal acceptance. ... Most definitions of polyamory center on the concepts provided by Ravenheart's definition. Areas of difference arise regarding the degree of commitment, such as in the practice of casual sexual activities, and whether it represents a viewpoint or a relational status quo (whether a person without current partners can be considered "polyamorous").
And none of those claims cites a source.

SECOND QUESTION -- given that nobody seems to know, or even be ALLOWED to know for fear of hurting someone's feelings, how the hell is it possible to claim ANY number of adherents?

THIRD QUESTION -- any guesses as to how "500,000 relationships" is the same as "half a million families"? The WP article & its source seem to be saying "it ain't polyamory unless its under one roof!"

FOURTH QUESTION -- define "polyamorous relationship" in 15 words or less. Then have a swing at "polyamorous family."
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Last edited by Ravenscroft; 06-19-2017 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 06-19-2017, 11:39 PM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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Fourth question: Define polyamorous relationship in 15 words or less.

Let me instead try for defining polyamory.

Consensual non-monogamy limited in romantic scope only by the people involved in the romance.

I feel there are problems with my attempt at a definition, amongst which would include its lack of addressing boundaries or requests from romantic others and anticipate much teeth-gnashing in the replies. I also wonder if this phrasing i've chosen will resonate with some swingers. I'm happy to hear another definition in 15 words or less and to adjust my world view accordingly.

Last edited by Shaya; 06-20-2017 at 12:07 AM.
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  #3  
Old 06-20-2017, 12:47 AM
CTF CTF is offline
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Actually , when you break it down, 500,000 relationships/families doesn't seem all that high when you think about it. Assuming they're counting relationships as a unit, and not counting each individual, then you're looking at 1.5 million people. Hell, lets go big and assume that some relationships have kids, or some have more than 3 partners... even if each relationship had, say, 5 people involved... at 2.5 million, that's still less than 3/4 of 1% of the population. To me, that seems low.

Granted, my assumptions aren't scientific. I don't pretend to know the actual numbers. I honestly don't think anyone can. It's kind of like when they try to count the number of illegal immigrants, I don't think it'll ever be possible to know the true number. Especially if there isn't any true consensus of the definition of poly itself.

Now, I don't know if I can define it in 15 words or less, but I'll try to define it as best I can. And yeah, I know I'm a mono, so take it with a grain of salt if you wish.... Polyamory- the practice or inclination of more than one simultaneous romantic relationship.

There's my 2 cents... do with it what you will
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Old 06-20-2017, 06:00 AM
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Yah, I'm totally on base with both of ya. Like, does "family" include extant offspring? And the number of "relationships" bloats up quickly: for instance, a closed triad is FOUR relationships, & a quad has a potential 11 (six dyads, four triads, one quad), yet in each instance ONE "family." There's no way the numbers can be equal.

Taking a wild leap here, I'd say that first maybe the number of individuals should be estimated.

But, see, if it's acceptable that anyone who thinks they might, at some time, eventually consider having more than one simultaneous sexual partner thereby qualifies as polyamorous... then any guessed number has to be inflated.

Take that "half million" number & drop out all the teenage virgins & secret wannabees, & it collapses quickly.
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Old 06-20-2017, 07:18 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Aren't there gay and lesbian teenage virgins? AKA, queer questioning.

Why the focus on numbers anyway?

It's like saying you're not female until you've menstruated or had sex or had a baby. Where is the marker? And don't say genitalia. What if your sex organs don't match the gender in your head and other biology? What if a 4 year old "boy" hates wearing boy clothes and only wants to play "girl games?"

Just how far do you want to break it down, and why? You could be poly and introverted and shy, or repressed, and only love from afar, but love more than one, more or less living in a fantasy world.

Just as I reject a the 1970s definition of homosexual. You don't have to be adult. You don't have to have this arbitrary 3 years of contact with other males only.

You could be a closeted homosexual who married a woman, and is able to have had some sex with her... but is terribly unfulfilled by it.
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  #6  
Old 06-20-2017, 02:23 PM
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Shaya Shaya is offline
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@CTF: if you're still in your edit window, you may want to throw in something about consensual in your definition.
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  #7  
Old 06-20-2017, 05:04 PM
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Spork Spork is offline
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I think that the only point in trying to cite any figures, is to tell people that "Hey. Lots of folks do this, whether you know about it or not." This serves a couple of purposes.

It tells the ones who feel they would like to be poly, but are afraid of being the lone polywolf in their region or social grouping and persecuted for being utterly different from everyone around them, that yes in fact this is A Thing. People do it. You could, too. You aren't alone in this. (Which is pretty much the effect when anyone who has any "secret" or "deviant" interest simply does a Google search nowadays I think)...

Secondly putting that information in front of the "muggles" shows them that plenty of folks are doing this thing and society isn't collapsing and God isn't striking them down and yeah, you might even know some perfectly normal folks who do this and simply keep it on the down-low.

Which means that the number, which could only be ridiculously speculative, doesn't even matter. It's just a matter of "Hey! Look at this big number! It is very big and very numerical, and gives a feeling of authenticity to my supposed study on this subject!" I am however, usually fairly skeptical about statistics cited for "studies"...I mean, who are they asking, exactly? Where would these numbers come from? Are we extrapolating a study on how many Americans enjoy beer, from a poll of college frat boys, or what?

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  #8  
Old 06-20-2017, 06:32 PM
Taramafor Taramafor is offline
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"What" can get varied. I'm a masochist. I don't enjoy physical pain. Why? Because I'm a MENTAL masochist. Also not sexual only, which can be a part of it but never the only thing about it (I get miffed when I see people saying it's mainly about sex as if it's a fact for all).

I'm poly. But I don't cap myself with numbers as others might. Why? Because it's a "Someone else might show up down the line who I'll need to keep in mind" thing. And other reasons. Other poly people might go "It's just these two alone".

Even mono can get bloody varied. Some have flings yet it's ok because "not emotional". sexual encounters with doms/subs which has been talked about and agreed upon.

But you know what else is always varied? EVERY bloody relationship to have ever existed. Instead of making a billion labels to try and make sense of it all why can't we just go "Oh, it's THEIR relationship and up for them how to go about it"? Do all the research you like but what it boils down to is that they know each other in a way that no outsider ever will. And what an outsider can see as wrong or right can and will be known otherwise with insider company.

*Drops mic and walks out the door*

Last edited by Taramafor; 06-20-2017 at 08:23 PM.
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  #9  
Old 06-20-2017, 08:13 PM
Rockit49 Rockit49 is offline
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The people that would try to use the info negatively in an oppressive controling way too?
Goes both ways
There's all types of people

Last edited by Rockit49; 06-20-2017 at 08:15 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-20-2017, 08:25 PM
Taramafor Taramafor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockit49 View Post
The people that would try to use the info negatively in an oppressive controling way too?
It's not that people might try to use information is negative ways. It's that people can think "They know better" for others. or otherwise see what they want to see.
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