26th Dec 2015

“Do you think incest and polygamy will be legalized?” – Part 6

I came across a poll on the subject of the future of full marriage equality:

I was watching a TV show recently and surprisingly, three characters (two men and a woman) got together in a sexual AND romantic relationship – as in, it wasn’t just a kink, they were serious about it, they even made their relationship official to their family/friends. And it got me thinking, do you guys think polygamy will ever be legalized? And incest? And should they be, and if not, why? Will our society ever see it as acceptable/normal like with gay relationships?

Addendum on non-monogamy:

EVanimations, on 28 Apr 2014 – 9:51 PM, said:

Futurist, I’ll admit that I don’t know or care much about the issue at hand, so I’m not going to spend too much effort defending a position I’m unfamiliar with. That said, my opinion is that… well, incest is icky. I very much dislike the idea of having sex with someone directly related to me; it ain’t right.

[…] As for polygamy, I don’t like the idea of watching some other guy have sex with my woman, and I respect the fact that my woman doesn’t like the idea of watching some other girl have sex with me. Again, no reason to keep it illegal, but why would you want that in the first place if you truly respect each other? It feels kind of unfair to a woman who loves a man but has to share him with 5 others. Same the other way around.

I understand your personal aversions. “Wrong” for you, however, doesn’t automatically mean “wrong” for somebody else. There are advocates of same-sex marriage who still find the thought of having sex with someone of their own gender to be disgusting. Dan Savage, who gives advice mostly to straight people, still finds the idea of sex with a woman icky. People find the idea of having sex with someone they inherently don’t find appealing to be disturbing. However, other people are other people, and thoughts aren’t sufficient justification for police action. You seem to understand that though.

If you read poly* people’s writing – especially the philosophers and social theorists – many actually find the idea of sexual jealousy itself to be repugnant. They see it as a desire to control another person, to get love from them through social sanction and even legal force, and not through having earned it.

The argument is that if you’re constantly working to deserve their love, and they’re constantly working to deserve yours, then a fling on the side, or even a more long-term relationship on the side, isn’t threatening. Jealousy, however, particularly when worshiped as it is in monogamist cultures, can lead to immoral and antisocial behavior: spying, stalking, lying, yelling, beating, and even murder. Because our society worships monogamy, it inevitably also worships jealousy, and so encourages all of this destructive, unethical behavior.

There are people out there, a minority though they are, who don’t feel much jealousy in relationships. Besides that though, you’re buying into the monogamist line of thinking, which equates sex or even love of someone else with a betrayal of their love for you. Clearly, having sex with someone else doesn’t mean they don’t want to have sex with you. What’s harder for people to understand is that this can apply to love as well, though it’s more difficult.

I’d like to point out that there are many people who are dispositionally and openly polyamorous, but are in practice monogamous because they can’t find anyone else they like enough to integrate into their lives. I think most poly* people aren’t against monogamy, they just wish it was left to occur naturally, instead of yelling at people because they’re not doing it right. (I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing.)

The most common type of polyamory I’ve heard of is hierarchical polyamory. In that, there’s a primary relationship, which has veto power and the most romantic attachment, as well as secondary relationships, which can be long-term but aren’t as demanding or committed. Even in group marriages, different people add different things to each other’s lives, and so their love isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

When the relationship is all same-gender, or the other people involved are bisexual, it makes it easier because everyone is sexually and romantically bound to everyone. Common triads are between a bisexual man or woman, another bisexual of the same gender, and someone of the opposite gender. They can all have sex together, sleep together, wake up together, and they each fear the loss of both others. It helps to limit the risk of fragmentation – which is, to be fair, a legitimate worry.

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