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BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships

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Rick Fielding 18 Feb 02 - 11:58 AM
Rick Fielding 18 Feb 02 - 12:00 PM
Jeri 18 Feb 02 - 01:05 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 02 - 01:19 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 02 - 01:27 PM
Kim C 18 Feb 02 - 01:32 PM
kendall 18 Feb 02 - 02:14 PM
DougR 18 Feb 02 - 02:25 PM
The Pooka 18 Feb 02 - 03:09 PM
Peg 18 Feb 02 - 03:30 PM
katlaughing 18 Feb 02 - 04:50 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 02 - 05:01 PM
Kim C 18 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM
MAG 18 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM
kendall 18 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM
DougR 18 Feb 02 - 08:18 PM
katlaughing 18 Feb 02 - 08:23 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Feb 02 - 08:26 PM
Bill D 18 Feb 02 - 10:07 PM
The Pooka 18 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Feb 02 - 10:58 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Feb 02 - 11:01 PM
Lonesome EJ 18 Feb 02 - 11:04 PM
catspaw49 18 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM
Rick Fielding 18 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM
DougR 18 Feb 02 - 11:32 PM
The Pooka 18 Feb 02 - 11:33 PM
GUEST 19 Feb 02 - 07:48 AM
Grab 19 Feb 02 - 09:33 AM
katlaughing 19 Feb 02 - 11:41 AM
GUEST 19 Feb 02 - 12:09 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 12:13 PM
Lonesome EJ 19 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM
MMario 19 Feb 02 - 01:08 PM
JenEllen 19 Feb 02 - 01:30 PM
The Pooka 19 Feb 02 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Kim C no cookie 19 Feb 02 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Desdemona at work 19 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM
GUEST,Just A,my 19 Feb 02 - 02:33 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 03:33 PM
katlaughing 19 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM
JedMarum 19 Feb 02 - 05:16 PM
Bill D 19 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM
Desdemona 19 Feb 02 - 06:28 PM
Rick Fielding 19 Feb 02 - 10:24 PM
Jim Dixon 19 Feb 02 - 10:58 PM
Jeri 19 Feb 02 - 11:10 PM
Little Hawk 20 Feb 02 - 12:36 AM
JedMarum 20 Feb 02 - 09:18 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 09:25 AM
GUEST,(jo) 20 Feb 02 - 09:55 AM
GUEST 20 Feb 02 - 10:31 AM
Bill D 20 Feb 02 - 12:42 PM
Jim Dixon 20 Feb 02 - 03:41 PM
DougR 20 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
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CarolC 20 Feb 02 - 07:15 PM
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Subject: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:58 AM

Last night I found my self absolutely riveted to the tube watching a film called "When two Won't Do", by Montreal filmaker Maureen Marovitch. I'm curious whether anyone else has seen it (it may be pretty new) and has any opinions.

It deals with "polyamorous" relationships, and yes, that's a 'made up' word, that hardly seems to treat the conflicts that these folks go through with sufficient gravity. In many ways the film seems to me, a kind of 'time warp', for although it's happening in 2001, so much of the dialogue (and folks' personnae in general) appears straight from the sixties.

It's (modern) cinema verite with characters constantly trying to explain to the "private" camera, that which they didn't feel they communicated in the "group dialogue" scenes. At times it's heartbreaking to watch people who are feeling devastated, attempting to explain the tears with terms like "primary (and secondary, and multiple supportive, etc.) relationships. Sometimes trying to find the right objective "modern therapy" term to describe the feeling when you're flat out jealous, or pissed off, can look comic to the camera.

These folks are constantly taking planes back and forth across North America to visit their "new" lovers, with current 'primary partners' in tow. Upon meeting, they (usually four people..two to tango, and two to be supportive) hug like mad, laugh, joke and cook up lots of vegetarian food, but they never seem to have worked out that night's sleeping arrangements....and so the awkwardness starts, and from the voyeur's eye (movie watcher) it's chilling if not downright scary.

Emotionally, virtually everyone in this film seems absolutely pushed to their limits (and beyond...as there is a suicide) and the moments of joy (hugging and more hugging) seem pretty few and far between. The two most prominent men seem so weak and vulnerable, that they are incabable of 'wanting' anything, other than perhaps a good night's sleep, without turmoil.

The filmaker(s) DO visit a couple of "Stable" multiple relationship families along the way, but these seem to have that "Mountain Man and his wives" sensibilities about them. The (sensitive) Patriarch of one family has of course started his own religion. Once the filmaker is back home, it's back to the internet to start exploring 'options' again.

For a very short time ('bout 20 years ago) I lived in a multiple relationship, and the main memory I have of it was how "polite" we all acted most of the time. It ended (mercifully) when the one woman of the triangle announced that she was "tired of doing two men's laundry"!!! Yah, there were lots of 'funny' aspects to it.

Whether you think the subject of the film is either fascinating, fraught with possibilities, or downright unworkable, it's a riveting watch. It'll probably be on a PBS station (in the States) or "Art film" house, and is probably easily rentable.

Cheers

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 12:00 PM

Oops, wanted to give a blue clicky

click


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 01:05 PM

She could have just told you guys to do your own damned laundry! (Yeah, I know - just a symptom.)

I think 'dysfuctional' makes for more interesting films. If they'd explored marriage, they would have probably focused on a somewhat messed-up one. I'd suspect the polyamorous situations that work are, as you mentioned above, also polyogamous. (Did I make that word up?) In other words, the relationships are based on love and some sort of commitment, not just sex. (And when I mean commitment, I obviously don't mean one that eliminates commitments to or relationships with other people.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 01:19 PM

Whoa! Been there, done that, and it was such an awful period of my life that it's still painful to look back on. I hadn't heard of the movie, but I will probably want to see it. I'm hoping it will be therapeutic and not just depressing.

Yeah, the sixties were an awkward age. The Vietnam War had driven a wedge between the generations, and caused us to question EVERYTHING our parents tried to teach us. Our general feeling was, if they care so little about us they would send us off to die in this godforsaken place, then they must not have our interests at heart, and everything they say is suspect. So we thought we could rewrite the book on marriage, religion, health, politics -- you name it. Someone even did write a book called "Open Marriage," and although I didn't read it, in those days, you felt you didn't NEED to read it because everyone was talking about it. And a lot of us thought, "Hey, I could go for something like that."

For my then-wife, it meant promiscuity and something like sexual addiction (though that term wasn't invented until sometime later). For me, it meant going outside the marriage to obtain emotional intimacy and support. Oddly enough, I got that from a lesbian friend! (I'll call her "B.") This relationship was never physically consummated (B wouldn't hear of it.) but she was affectionate in various non-sexual ways, and verbally she gave me the kind of unconditional love I craved and had never gotten anywhere else.

And, oddly enough, this made my wife jealous, although she couldn't see anything wrong with the sexual acting-out she was doing. We got divorced. But I ended up in a good second marriage (the courtship was gently encouraged by B) which is not, never has been, and never will be "open" in the sexual sense. My wife and I have continued to be friends with B and her partner. They live in another state now, and I don't see them so often, but I'm sure I will be a loyal friend "as long as we both shall live." So I guess the story has a happy ending, although it hasn't ended yet.

Looking back on the open marriage era, all I can think is, how can we have been so stupid?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 01:27 PM

Woops! I should have said "seventies," not "sixties," because that's why my misadventure happened.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Kim C
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 01:32 PM

This is why people were made to live in pairs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: kendall
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 02:14 PM

I missed out on all that, being part of the establishment and all. I was either born 20 years too soon or 200 years too late.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 02:25 PM

Interesting, Rick, and I want to see the film. I think (probably due to my age) it wouldn't do for me. I was raised in a different age, with different senses of value and morals. Not that I'm a goody-goody prude, or anything like that. If it works for others, right on.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: The Pooka
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 03:09 PM

KimC, apparently not only people but also a number of other species were indeed meant, or have evolved in such a way as, to live in pairs (pairbonds)--but *also to cheat*. It's true, by God, because I seen it on The Learning Channel. Desmond Morris. Or was it Garret Morris? Somebody like that. It's the genes, y'know. Not Us; Them. They want Us to hang around the house nurturing the wee-bairns-borne-thus-far, while They (the littleboygenes) go gallivantin' about buyin' (indeed!) Supplementary Immortality Insurance in case of hoof'n'mouf back at the ranch; and meanwhile They (the littlegirlygirlgenes)quietly slip off from time to time to beef up (so to speak) the ol' chromosomal inheritance. It has nothing to do with *our* procreation. It's *their* survival. That's what the man said, I'me tellin' youse. Thing is, the logistics are awkward. Ah weel.

Um I've Been There, too -- sort of. But in a littledifferent way, sort of. Maybe I'll tell the tale another time. Better yet--maybe not.

"He used to sow his wild oats six days o' the week, then go to Mass of a Sunday to pray fer a crop failure." :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Peg
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 03:30 PM

I know a number of pagans who lead polyamorous lives; most of the articles and films intended for the mainstream have used non-pagan couples as their models and they always seem to me to be one step removed from swingers or swappers.Not every pagan poly couple I know has a perfect arrangement, but lots of them have tried to have these lifestyles andhave doen so successfully; being honest and responsible is the first prerequisite.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 04:50 PM

I don't think we were necessarily made to live in pairs. Even in the wild, animals quite often have packs which share duties, even as cows will take turns "calf-sitting" each other's offspring. I think a lot of what is haywire in society today is that we've become unattached to multi-generational groups of family and friends, tribes, if you will, which may or may not offer extra sexual partners, but at the very least can fulfill emotional and other types of needs if the onus isn't on just one person to do so for just one other.

Rog and I have ironed out a lot of wrinkles over 23 years, but there was a time when I thought the happiest we were ever going to be was when our gay friend/brother, also named Roger, was here with us. He didn't live with us and we weren't sexual with him, though in his house none of us had any compunctions about being sexual in front of others, if they happened to be passing through the room we were in or some such. I greived when he had to move away; it felt as though a third part of us was just gone and there were some definite emotional needs which just were not being met on both our parts, for his having gone. We've always been in contact and I know of no one who knows my Rog as well as gay Rog, so he is a real comfort and still a part of us, regardless.

We've always thought of our marriage as open and have had a few short-term lovers, but no one we lived with; it's just been understood that that is not for us. It has also been a long while since either of us has been with anyone else. AIDS scared the hell out of us because we lost so many friends to it. The risk just has never been worth it, since.

Rick, I will watch for this docu. It sounds interesting and terribly sad. You know I am no prude, but I think it is sad that so many may be seeking something so fleeting and sometimes shallow, at such great risk. It also seems a way of avoiding looking within and confronting whatever *demons* drive one to constantly be looking for more "thrills."

I would like to see a more honest way of living which would accomodate emotional, sexual, etc. needs without tying it down to two people exclusively. I know we all have friends who can help out, but I really think a tribal type living situation would be interesting to try out and watch evolve. Remember our Mudcat Retirement Community threads? Something like that...living in a deliberate community with common buildings for meals, music-making, jello-*wrasslin* etc.

Ah, well, I am rambling. Interesting thread. I was just young enough in the late 60's to still live by my family's conventions and get married when I got pregnant...missed out on the whole free love type thing until I was divorced at 21!*bg*

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 05:01 PM

Pooka: Yeah, I think I've seen that Desmond Morris show, too, while I think it's good to know what evolution has prepared us for, I don't think we have to accept all our genetically-programmed tendencies as right and good. Trouble is, there's nothing in evolutionary theory that guarantees the survival strategies that work best for our offspring will necessarily be painless for US.

What if our offspring had a gene that made them want to kill and eat us, once they reached an age where they could survive on their own? It might work for THEM, but…

Anyway, a lot of those genes arose when living conditions were a lot different from what they are now.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Kim C
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 05:33 PM

well, let me elaborate.... I think people were made to live in pairs (or at least mate in pairs, anyway), however, not everyone makes that choice or desires such an arrangement. I'm all for consenting adults over 18 doing whatever they want as long as nobody gets killed; and to that end I think the law needs to leave polygamists alone, provided they aren't marrying off young teenage girls or anything like that.

Personally, though, I don't want to share. It's fine for them that does - but it sounds to me that unless everyone is in agreement about everything, it's a good way for people to get hurt. It's true what Peg said about being honest and responsible - a good basis for ANY kind of relationship.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: MAG
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 05:42 PM

Don't take Desmond Morris as an expert on anything; the real experts foam at the mouth over his glib superficial stuff.

Whatever you think about pair bonding, I have a hard time believing we were designed for one life partner.

this thread could go in a dozen different directions; I have only observed that little petri dish of dysfunctionality; the ones that worked did NOT talk about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: kendall
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 07:24 PM

The human baby requires a long term commitment to get to adulthood, and, it requires more than one person to do it. Unlike other animals, such as Cheetahs,whose cubs are suddenly abandoned after they become self sufficient, the human baby needs years of support. The best way to do that is for a strong commitment by two people. That's what marriage is for; it makes it a legal as well as a moral contract. However, after the child rearing,the only reason to stay together, other than love for each other,is the kids. Thats a social thing. I believe it was Margaret Meade, the anthropologist, who said "To expect two young people to swear everlasting love and togetherness is silly."(I paraphrase) Back when people only lived 30 or 40 years, that may have worked, but, not now. If you have that, you are one lucky person. It is rare today, and, a divorce rate of 50% proves it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 08:18 PM

Well said, Kendall, well said.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: katlaughing
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 08:23 PM

Kendall, you mean Kipling lied to us? Wolves couldn't raise another Mowgli?!!!**BG**


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 08:26 PM

Mag': If you don't trust Desmond Morris, what do you think of Richard Dawkins? His book "The Selfish Gene" had a big influence on the way I think about human behavior. But I realize a lot of research has happened after that book was written.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 10:07 PM

humans are all similar...that does not mean we are all the SAME. There are just very few generalizaions about behavior patterns that are safe beyond a superficial level.

Some people can't imagine a polyamorous arrangement...others can't imagine monogomy...and some live lives of 'serial monogamy'.... What society needs is ways of sorting this out and recognizing the differences without moral judgement, so that most people find their level of comfort and commitment.

If honesty and responsibility were held up as "THE" virtues (and taught), rather than conflicting codes, we'd have far fewer broken marriages and confused kids.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: The Pooka
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 10:25 PM

Wow. Good thread.

JimD, KimC, MagApostrophee - I don't really take Desmond Morris *too* seriously (now *Garett* Morris, him I worshipped :); though I didn't know 'til now that he is Scorned by the Real Experts, which I shoulda guessed since he's done such successful TV serieseses which prettymuch assures shunning in academia. (Macadamia? Nah, that's just nuts.) I was even kinda tryna pooka little fun at Sir Desmond, there. But I admit, the theories have influenced me. To some extent.

Here's what I think (I think):

(1) We probably *are* genetically programmed for both pairbonding & wandering, since both behaviors are so nearly-universal throughout all cultures etc. The pairbonding part of it is still necessary (overall) to the continuation & wellbeing of the species. The cheating part is not --- it's waaaay obsolete. IOW if yer man O'Brien really still needs to scatter da genes from his jeans all aroun' like th' birdshot an' him a-sowin' the Wild Goats & th' Geese besides for to proppygandate 'is madprops inter th' next generalization, well den *WHY* duzzy pray like th' Divil fer dat cropfailure, now I ask yez? We don't NEED to be promiscuous any more. We got this evolution/extinction thing licked. Uh, whipped. No, beat. Nyaah, whatever. (Well, yknow, apart from the Bomb and the Warming and the Asteroids.) But the damn little genome gnomes don't KNOW it. They still WANT it. That's why they still make us LIKE it! Ahem - maybe. (*Hedge* hog.)

(2)(Whew) Conventional, albeit often serial, heterosexual marriage needs to, & will, remain the fundamental social norm. But that doesn't mean that the various alternatives need to be condemned, scorned, banned, etc. They can and should be not only tolerated, but respected. & Why not? Polygamy & polyandry (say I think I dated her.. stoppitnow, ya puke-ah)& samesex & so forth are not going to rise up and supplant ol' Lord Desmond's pairbonding and kill off the Breeders & detroy the Amurrican famndamily, Lily. Not gonna happen. (btw Desmond once got very bonded to a chimp. He said so. But it was a parental thing, not animal husbandry. It was cute.) So we should relax, already. Oh people are going to get hurt, sure. We all have been, I gather. And that's terrible. Serious pain, yes. Can be awful. But---that's life too. L'chaim!

(3) (last, I *promise*) Kim, I'm with you. Lemme rephrase that. I don't want to share right now, either. (STANDING OVATION) Pain, just as everyone said. And too weird. (Who, *me*? Canna' be.) At present I prefer to Pontificate (awright, who just yelled Kick the Pope?) and nurse my sorrows. And my Deirdre. (Don't I wish.) And my stout. G'night t'youse & thankee all.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TRIAD (D. Crosby)
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 10:58 PM

Triad
(D. Crosby)

You want to know how it will be
Me and him and you and me
You both stand there your long hair flowing
Your eyes alive your mind still growing
Saying to me--"What can we do now that we both love you",
I love you too-- I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three

You are afraid--embarrassed too
No one has ever said such a thing to you
Your mother's ghost stands at your shoulder
Face like ice--a little bit colder
Saying to you--"you can not do that, it breaks All the rules you learned in school"
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three

We love each other--it's plain to see
There's just one answer comes to me
--Sister--lovers--water brothers
And in time--maybe others
So you see--what we can do--is to try something new--
If you're crazy too--
I don't really see
Why can't we go on as three.

Significant that Crosby was talking about a relationship he had with two women. I wonder if he would have felt the same if he had been one of two guys in a "triad" with one woman? Pretty tune, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:01 PM

Actually, not everyone may find the film 'sad' or 'scary'. The main characters are bright, thoughtful, and trying to find their own personal answers....but I think sometimes the "cinema verite" style can reveal subtexts that even the participants miss.

I've seen several examples of this NEW style recently (the travails of a British family trying to live a Victorian lifestyle.....and of course the "Lofters" shows and spin-offs) and the added ingredient is the extra "PRIVATE" camera, where the people really let down their hair about what they're feeling at THAT moment. It often doesn't jive with the group dynamic of a few minutes before.

I think (and this may be what separates the folks from their sixties counterparts) that all the participants DO accept that the vast majority of folks ARE couple oriented. They seem to feel that they are somehow different, and really want to explore it. For me, the sadness was that every brief moment of relaxation and comfort, seemed to be followed by HUGE emotional upheaval....and no matter how they tried, the people could only talk in a kind of "New age" style about how hurt, or jealous they were. It almost seemed that to admit being affected by the emotions of "the mainstream" was considered 'failure'. Hope you get a chance to see it. It's fascinating. Much better than others of it's ilk I've seen.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:04 PM

Oops. Just noticed the line "Me and him and you and me". Crosby's original line was "me and her, or you and me". The change makes sense because this was pasted from a Jefferson Airplane lyrics site, and Grace Slick was anxious to try the two-men angle. I wonder if Dave and Grace ever hit the sack together, and if so, how many other people were involved?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: catspaw49
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:19 PM

I don't really believe people were meant to live in pairs. I think there are alternate choices and many of them can be similar but others are far different. Living in pairs is just one thing.......I think others would find that an apple would do as well or possibly a grapefruit. If you need something more then it's hard to beat the inside of a watermelon for sheer space.......No sense limiting yourself to pairs.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:22 PM

That's apples and oranges, Spaw.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:32 PM

Wow, Spaw, heavy! :>)

DougR


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Subject: Lyr Add: IN THE TOWN OF BALLYBAY (Tommy Makem)
From: The Pooka
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 11:33 PM

Hm..sheep eludes me tonight...& I *count* on it, too. Bah.

Lonesome EJ - beautiful "Triad". Darn good question posed, too. Really.

& Now here's one fer the ouldfashioned Courtin', the traditional PairBond, and the Results:

IN THE TOWN OF BALLYBAY
(air: 'The Limerick Races')

In the town of Ballybay, there was a lassie dwelling
I knew her very well and her story's well worth telling
Her father kept a still and he was a good distiller
But when she took to the drink, well the divil wouldn't fill her

Chorus:
With me Ring-a-ding-a-dong, ring-a-ding-a-daddy-o
Ring-a-ding-a-dong, whack fol the daddy o

She had a wooden leg that was hollow down the middle
She used to tie a string on it and play it for a fiddle
She fiddled in the hall and she fiddled in the alleyway
She didn't give a damn, she had the fiddle anyway

Chorus
She said she couldn't dance, unless she had her wellie on
But when she had it on, she could dance as well as anyone
She wouldn't go to bed, unless she had her shimmy on
But when she had it on, she would go as quick as anyone

Chorus

She had lovers by the score, every Tom and Dick and Harry
She was courted night and day, but still she wouldn't marry
And then she fell in love with a fellow with a stammer
When he tried to run away, she hit him with a hammer

Chorus

She had children up the stairs, she had children in the byre
And another ten or twelve, sitting roaring by the fire
She fed them on potatoes and on soup she made from nettles
And on lumps of hairy bacon that she boiled up in the kettle

Chorus

So she led a sheltered life, eating porridge and black puddin'
And she terrorized her man, until he died quite sudden
And when the husband died, she was feeling very sorry:
She rolled him in a bag and she threw him in the quarry.

Chorus

Words by Tommy Makem
In Sydney, Nova Scotia
May 11, 1977


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 07:48 AM

I think the polyamory movement is a largely New Age attempt to find an alternative to the heterosexual couple dominated by the male, and stuck in patriarch mode. It is a reaction against the conservative, right wing "family values" people, I think.

I know there are a lot of us experimenting with our sexually and emotionally intimate relationships (and they aren't necessarily with the same person at any given point in our lives). I feel I've been pretty successful at it too, but I'd never agree to be part of documentary about it.

To me, the issue people get hung up on isn't multiple partners, because man married people have extra-marital sexual relationships. The issue is the concept of "sexual fidelity" that is the problem. The idea that people should "own" the sexual mate is rooted in patriarchy of the most repressive sort (arranged marriages, and all that). Also, too many people have no historic or cross-cultural references for family structures beyond the way it is for them, right now. They don't understand that over time and in other cultures, the Western monogamous heterosexual couple at the head of a nuclear family is not the norm. In fact, to have the hetero couple at the head of the family is quite recent, and hasn't been very successful, if the divorce rate is an accurate measure.

Not having seen this particular program, I can't comment on it. But my opinion is I've never seen a balanced, objective, informative piece of documentary work done on this subject.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Grab
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 09:33 AM

Kendall, a large proportion of yon 50% (divorces) break up within a short period of the marriage. The problem isn't that once the kids are raised, the parents go their separate ways - the problem is more that the parents have kids before they've decided whether they can stand to live with each other for the next 20 years to raise those kids.

There's nowt wrong with dropping in and out of relationships - shit happens. If you've married someone and find you can't hack life with them, then better to divorce than waste your life. And sexual polygamy needn't be an issue, depending on the attitudes of the ppl involved, so long as _their_ core relationship stays intact.

But to have kids _before_ you're both confident that the relationship is going to last for the duration of their childhoods - that's damn irresponsible. I agree with Kendall, children need more than one parent. Don't matter whether you're married or not, but if you're not going to stick around then don't bloody do it! It's not like contraception isn't easy enough these days...

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 11:41 AM

Spaw, Kirkegarde or one of them just rolled over in their grave.**BG**


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:09 PM

And I believe children need more than two parents. A lot more. Because in so-called "traditional two parent families" the work of raising the child usually falls on one parent, the mother. Another reason for the high divorce rate. In extended families which didn't have the couple at the center of it, but rather the family elders, there are many people involved in the duties of raising children. I think the so-called "traditional two parent family" has given rise to some really fucked up human beings.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:13 PM

"...it's hard to beat the inside of a watermelon for sheer space"

"Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater,
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well."

now two wives 'might' require a watermelon annex.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 12:40 PM

I really believe that humans are monogamous by nature, and the fact that we have evolved societal safeguards for this inclination is no "artificial" activity. I also believe that this monogamous relationship encompasses more than sexual attributes, and that any true marriage is a friendship and business partnership as well. We may share sexual behavior characteristics with our animal brethren, but the more intricate aspects of partnership are peculiar to humans. Polygamy makes no sense from this standpoint. How do a man and his three wives function effectively as a partnership? They cannot. It only makes sense in terms of dictatorial rule by one of the parties, and this goes against human nature, although it may be common among apes and chimpanzees. And I don't believe that the high divorce rate is a product of monogamy. It is instead a product of the self-obsessed nature of our society, and the lack of compromise and sharing that monogamy should in fact foster.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: MMario
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:08 PM

Another vote here for the "more then two parents" method of raising children. In fact, I am strongly in favour of the large extended family - whether by blood or by choice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: JenEllen
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:30 PM

Yas, MMario. People need the extended group. I don't, however, think that all of those relationships need to be culminated in a sexual act. For myself, I like the fact that there are people I know I can laugh with, other people I can cry with, and still others I can argue with, all very intimately, but not sexually. I was discussing this thread with another Mudcatter yesterday, and as usual spoke before my brain engaged, but I told her that trying to maintain sexual relationships with two men at the same time was sheer folly. It's hard enough to get one to 'do it right', much less training two... Sure, tounge firmly in cheek, but the reasoning still stands. How many of these people are giving up quality in their relationships for sake of quantity?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: The Pooka
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:31 PM

'Spaw, Rick, DougR, all those fruits of your looms are juicy indeed, though lettuce leaf our loins out of this. But sadly, with the polygalamourous wives' all above in the pumpkin patch and the fair Polly Andery's husbands all beat from the beatin' within the watermelon annex below, I fear there's nothing left fruitful for the Pear Bond after all. But it's all right, the apples still shall fall nae far from the trees & by their fruits we shall know them. Scuse me now, I must go phone in my orange order.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST,Kim C no cookie
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:31 PM

well, Spaw, it's like Groucho Marx used to say... outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.

Back in the old days, it was common to have lots and lots of people in the house, sharing rooms, no privacy, and all that. It was necessary for families to stay close to one another, not just to help out with kids and chores, etc., but also for safety reasons. As civilization grew, people spread farther apart, because they could. And now we are all spread out.

I've heard it said that the "breakdown of the family," often blamed on Mom going to work outside the home, really started when Dad had to go work outside the home. Families used to be self-supporting but industrialization changed a lot of that.

Anyway.... I am a pair person. It's just too doggone hard to keep up with more than one man at a time. ;-)

That reminds me... I saw a teaser on PBS for a movie about a woman who married about several different men in order to get all the qualities she wanted in a partner. One had money, one had looks, one had smarts... you get it. I don't remember what it was called, but it looked interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST,Desdemona at work
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 01:58 PM

It reminds me of something Frank Zappa once said about communism: "It's a great idea, except that people like to own stuff"!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST,Just A,my
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 02:33 PM

No one has mentioned my favorite novel from the late sixties - "The Harrad Experiment" which is about polyamourous relationships in an "open" college. It was made into a very bad movie with Tippy Hedren (in the seventies I think).


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:33 PM

Amy.... Harrad was mentioned in another similar thread just recently...as well as Bob Rimmer's other books.."Proposition 31" and such.....a lot of us read it, and it at least dealt with most of the issues, though making no pretense about changing the minds of people who just are not wired to think that way.

The Harrad Experiment had one of the best bibliographies I have ever seen on life and relationships.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 03:52 PM

NPR's Talk of the Nation has a program on right now, talking about teaching people how to have good relationships. It seems to mostly be focussing on marriage. I haven't heard the whole program, though. At one point I heard them say some state, Florida, I think, has passed a law which requires classes in marriage and relationships in high school. One of the speakers claims there are scads of kids out there who've watched their parents and grandparents divorce and that they are afraid to try marriage because of it. I haven't seen any trend like that here.

While I think it could be a good thing to have relationship skills classes, I do not think they should be centered around marriage. The name of the law, which I do not remember verbatim, sounded just like some sort of right-wing agenda. It may not be, but it sure has that ring to it. People who take the classes can be married the same day they get their licence, otherwise they have to wait three days. At one point, they said they are in great need of people to teach such classes, all over, and that one could become a teacher in 3 days!

Apparently there's been a bunch of tax=payer funded research over the years, which have caused the experts to come up with new approaches, identifying previously unrecognised behaviors etc. which make these course new and improved.

The show should be archived at www.npr.org sometime after 10p Mudcat time, tonight. Seemed to kind of tie into some of the things in this thread.

Thanks,

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: JedMarum
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 05:16 PM

I don't believe monogamy is a natural state. It is something many cultures strive for. To me it is an art that I have worked all of my adult life (and some of my teen years) to perfect.

The film sounds interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM

"I really believe that humans are monogamous by nature"

"I don't believe monogamy is a natural state"

...fascinating, isn't it?...Like many other issues, it just comes down to 'belief'; which usually means "what I am comfortable with".

....and this is why I said " What society needs is ways of sorting this out and recognizing the differences without moral judgement"!

It makes no difference to me how YOU live, as long as you don't impose it on ME...and it should make no difference to YOU how I live. But one way we differentiate between conservatives & liberals is by the degree to which they feel they should define the rules for others in matters of disagreement.

Being human sure is hard..........


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Desdemona
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 06:28 PM

The fact is that our intellects can tell us all sorts of things, many of which are perfectly reasonable & make lots of sense, but our FEELINGS don't always cooperate! I'd venture to say that for most of us, when we find someone we really, really, REALLY love in a romantic sense of the word, it's the extremely rare person who can contentedly "share" them with another person sexually, regardless of HOW much hugging goes on amongst the larger group!

Just basing this on my own personal observations, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:24 PM

I simply cannot conceive of the humiliation I would feel at the thought of TWO wives looking at me in disgust because I could not fix that damn leaky faucet.

Fortunately Big Mick was here last week and fixed it!*

*..but he had to go to the hardware store for a special tool....so maybe I'm not THAT stupid.

On the other hand....perhaps having two (or more) wives looking on with unbridled admiration, while I customized a capo, set up a perfect guitar-action, and worked out the chords to "How High The Moon" would be interesting. but leaky faucets? I'm outta my depth.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 10:58 PM

I think I remember hearing of some polygamous society where it was considered especially auspicious for a man to marry a pair of identical twins. The idea was that the twins would be perfectly compatible and never jealous of each other. The downside (for the man) was that if they didn't get along with HIM, they'd conspire to make his life miserable.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Feb 02 - 11:10 PM

So Rick, your two wives would probably be impressed by a big hunky guy with a "special tool" who knows what to do with a pipe. You never would have gotten him outta da house!

I don't believe monogamy is natural, but monogamy is about sex. The partnerships/marriages I've seen that worked really well have been based on love and trust and an intimacy that I would think is very hard in a group. The couples I've known who seem "lifebonded" are each others best friends. They know each other's secrets, they know each others dreams and failures, and they are each other's "home."

It's true people can't always find one person who will be all those things. In fact, it might be quite rare. I think, ultimately, that's what most of us hope for. In any case, it's the love that matters. And who the heck can understand anyone else's relationships anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:36 AM

Monogamy is natural for some people...I mean being with one partner at a time, that is...maybe that's "serial monogamy, is it? It's natural for me. I know it's not natural for any number of other people I've seen, which is okay with me, I guess.

Lifetime monogamy is relatively rare, I think, but is natural to a few people, even outside of social conditioning.

Having multiple wives (or husbands) has worked quite well in societies where it was taken to be "normal" behaviour, but it isn't taken that way in mainstream western civilization.

So, the question is...how much of this behaviour stems from actual human nature and how much from cultural programming? I'd give cultural programming the edge, with human nature fighting always to break through the armour of social and religious conditioning.

Oh, yeah, and I think Desmond Morris is a twit with a good instinct for publicity. He's the Erik Von Daniken of his field.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: JedMarum
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:18 AM

Bill - I like what you said, except I don't agree that conservatives are judgemental about other people's morality and liberals are NOT. I know conservatives are expected to be judgemental, and that there are some loud mouthed conservatives who claim to speak for the rest and they display their own judgemental attitudes - but I assure you there are many conservatives who do not need to tell others how to live. Likewise, I have seen here on this forum many many examples of liberals who have no tolerance for other points-of-view, liberals who make sweeping judgements about others - while there are other liberals who are more open minded. I think that being judgemental is a human trait, and one that is not strictly assigned to 'conservative' or 'liberal.'


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:25 AM

In Western societies where the nuclear family became "the norm" in the last century, lifelong marriage was THE LAW, and people who divorced were social outcasts, unless they were very wealthy (laws and customs for the masses have never applied to the very wealthy). That is why so many of us are wandering around with the cultural assumption that one single lifelong monogamous relationship is the "best" for everyone, even though nowadays it is pretty rare.

And why is it the men presume that a polyamorous relationship for them would mean "two wives"? It could just as easily mean that they would share a wife/partner with another man. I'm beginning to wonder how much some of you who claim to know about this subject, actually know? I suggest folks read here, for starters:

http://www.lovemore.com/


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST,(jo)
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:55 AM

fascinating thread..
for over two years now, i have been in a relationship with a man and woman, who are married to each other
and yes, it can work :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 10:31 AM

And I am in a relationship with a live-in male partner with whom I have a child; I am involved with another male who is married to another woman; and none of us is monogamous or promiscuous. It works really well. I'm more fulfilled than I've ever been in my life, and the rest of the parties are content enough with the way things are right now to consider it their "status quo" for now too. Nothing lasts forever, and we all know that. There is no emotional psychodrama thing going on at all. We just happen to be pretty mature adults who know what they want and what they don't want, and are respectful of one another.

It really doesn't take much more effort than that. To me, being in a monogamous partnership with the father of my child was much more draining and demanding of my energy. The emotional drain/demands are so much less now, because the emotional burdens are being shared with others, which I find much healthier. My daughter, who was absolutely certain people would think her a freak when she started high school because of her parent's strange relationship, has found numerous friends who's parents are either divorced or single and not monogamous, have been in multiple partnerships that haven't worked, so the kids have seen revolving door "other parents" and most seem to accept it pretty well (though not all). So my daughter feels very normal by comparison, because after a time of her parents being separated, they are now back together, making her seem pretty normal to her friends.

BTW, all the parties currently involved in our open relationships (what we prefer to call our arrangement), are very discreet and mindful of relatives, especially kids and the parents of partners. We don't push it in anyone's face, as some people choose to do. We don't wish to fight battles, but rather choose to live by example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 12:42 PM

to 'guest' above: You say very well what needs to be said...it CAN work, for some people who "are pretty mature adults who know what they want and what they don't want, and are respectful of one another."

Jed-- you are certainly correct that there are examples of liberal 'meddlers' and conservatives who do not meddle...which is why I said that was one way we classify. Generalizations have their place, which is to describe 'tendencies' and trends.

It's sort of a reverse analysis---when you look at the most publicized 'conservatives'...Senators from Utah, members of the NRA, certain TV politico/evangelists, and fringe groups who bomb abortion clinics, you see the pattern---they identify themselves as conservative, and send a message that they intend, if at all possible, to make sure EVERYONE obeys the same moral code that they do...Of course not everyone who call himself a conservative goes to those extremes!...But many DO vote for candidates who "send a strong message about the sanctity of the family" etc...

Even many tax laws are written to penalize those who do not conform to the 'right' standards.

Lordy, it's so hard to condense this argument into a few paragraphs...maybe the way I ought to say it, is that "not every conservative tries to meddle in what I do, but most of those who do try to meddle call themselves conservative".


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 03:41 PM

Come on, folks. Opinions are like assholes. Everybody's got one. But opinions are pretty boring unless you back them up by telling us what EXPERIENCES you have had. If you haven't had any relevant experience, why should we give your opinion any weight?

My experience (described above) was that non-exclusive sexual relationships were just too destructive and painful for me and my then-wife. But I can accept that that may not be true for everyone.

From those who say "open" relationships work for them, I'd like to know: How do you account for this? How are you different from other people? What kind of example did your parents set for you? What did they teach you about sexual morality? Were they hypocrites, or did they practice what they preached?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

Good questions, Jim. I would guess, though, that the majority of those who find that life-style appealing and workable came to this conclusion after they left home. Just a guess though.

Jed, I noted Bill's remark about conservatives too, but decided, what the hey. I'm glad you mentioned it though, and Bill sort of clarified what he meant. I for one am not willing to assign more guilt to one group than the other. They both have their extremes.

I suppose that fact that I would not be willing to share my wife (if I had one) with any other guy, would disqualify me from membership in the club.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 06:46 PM

Well DougR, if you consider a wife as property you own and aren't willing to share, maybe that explains why you aren't married. Just a guess though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:00 PM

that's NOT a fair explication of what Doug said! It is perfectly possible to be philosophically monogamous without claiming 'ownership'. This is how REAL misunderstandings get started and is simply a loaded TROLL.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:15 PM

If I, as a woman, said I wouldn't want to share my male partner with another woman, would I be accused of regarding my partner as property? Probably not.

Personally I just think of myself as a mature adult who knows what she wants.

If there are people who are not monogamous by nature and they can find others like themselves with whom they can be happy, I say more power to them. But as someone who is monogamous by nature, I'm glad there are members of the opposite sex like me out there as well. And I know I'm monogamous by nature because I've tried some of the alternatives and didn't like them at all. Although because of the way my life has unfolded, to the extent that I have been monogamous, it has been serial monogamy. That was more by accident than design, however.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:47 PM

kiddingly referred to in some circles as 'serial monotony',,,*smile*

but, Carol is exactly right. As a "... mature adult who knows what she wants." she makes a choice based partly on experience, partly on 'feeling' that it is right for her.

I have known people who felt otherwise: some were successful, some not...for a WIDE variety of reasons.

Part of it is just mathematics....the more personalities involved, the more complex the equation becomes for adapting and tolerating. Add to that the 'time' factor in which the more 'partners', the less time it is possible to spend with each, and the trickier it is to maintain a bond. Not impossible, just harder.....It's not surprising that so many who think of poly as an 'adventure' discover that it is also WORK...and delicate work at that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 07:58 PM

Actually CarolC, I would accuse you of regarding your partner as property.

Possessiveness is one of the main problems I have with conventional monogamous relationships. Not commitment, and not a fear of working on the relationship--just a deep mistrust of possessiveness in relationships. I've seen it lead to a lot of domestic violence, intimidation, threatening and abusive behavior, etc. Other people's mileage varies, of course.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: CarolC
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:04 PM

Ok, GUEST. To each his/her own. Personally I would consider myself to be participating in a mutually agreed upon arrangement with an equal partner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:18 PM

Right--just like I see myself as participating in a mutually agreed upon arrangement with equal partners I'm in a relationship with too.

So since we've got it down, why do you suppose so many folks are having a hellacious time figuring it out?

One True Love and/or Only One Soul Mate For Me Syndrome? :-) That is meant as a joke, people!


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: harpgirl
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:56 PM

...I think human beings are like birds...with many variations in mating patterns...I'm a Tundra Swan, I've decided. I haven't found another one yet.

I'm definitely for raising my offspring in an extended clan. Do Tundra Swans do that?


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 08:56 PM

why is it a joke? It sounds quite lovely to me. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Little Hawk
Date: 20 Feb 02 - 09:27 PM

Mutually agreed upon relationships are fine, whether or not they're exclusive.

Curiously enough, there are more than a few animal species which mate for life, while there are numerious others which are quite indiscriminate in their mating behaviour. There are also some species in which homosexual behaviour is rather common (giraffes, for example).

People demonstrate far more variety in this respect than most animal species, suggesting to me that while we are closely related to animals, we have developed into something a good deal more sophisticated in its behaviour than any animal. The possibilities in life are tremendous for human beings, and so are the risks.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 01:07 AM

Guest: I really shouldn't reply to your insensitive remark, but I will. I was in a monogamous relationship for 48 years, but she died. Were I even to have hinted to her that my deceased wife was my possession, she would have died laughing rather than from what she did die of.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Fibula Mattock
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 09:37 AM

This is a thread that I'm following with interest. I got engaged last August to someone who I have known for 8 years, and who has been my best friend and lover for 4 of those. A couple of weeks ago we split up. We are living in different countries while I am studying, and the distance thing was too great - we weren't able to maintain the emotional closeness that we always had. I know that I'm young (26) but at the time when I agreed to marry him I had no doubt that I wanted to get married to this person. I have no regrets about getting engaged. I moved to England a year and a half ago, and I've changed a lot since then. I moved to a place where I knew no one, chucked in a good job to follow research I loved, and worked on the basis that "love would probably find a way". I had a couple of really bad months before Christmas where everything seemed to be going wrong - friends, work, relationship - and I slid into a bit of a downer. I reevaluated everything and realised I was miserable being apart from this guy, but as much as I love(d) him, I wasn't giving up the chance to do this work in this place that I love; nor did I want him to give up a very promising career back home, and one that makes him happy. Either of us giving up things for the other could only have led to resentment and guilt in the longterm. The decision to part was as mutual as it can be - we talked and talked and dealt with it logically, possibly because my emotions were so exhausted at the time.

Anyway - my point in relation to this thread. A friend summed it up nicely when she said "There's no such thing as the right person, just the right person for the right time." What surprises me now is that in the space of a few weeks (or okay, maybe a little longer) I have completely changed my views on marriage - I find it hard to believe I ever wanted to get married, although I firmly agreed with it at the time. Now I also realise that my own personal opinions that I've held for ages are coming back. One of those is my attitude of emotional vs. physical intimacy. I've been getting emotionally close to someone here, someone who is very similar-minded. I don't think you can control who you get on with, or how you connect with someone, but to me this mental link is the most important thing - the likeminded spark that fires me up. Anyway, me getting on well with this other guy - despite there being nothing "dodgy" going on, so to speak, was also a problem because I was turning to someone other than my fiance when things were tough and I needed a shoulder to cry on (or bitch to). A few people have talked about this sort of thing in the posts above. One of the things I share in common with this guy is our attitude to morals (i.e. the only important one is to treat people as you would like to be treated, and to hell what others think) and to relationships (if you've an emotional connection with someone then the physical stuff is the icing on the cake; sexual fidelity shouldn't be a compulsory thing - why can't you occasionally act on chemistry if you're open, honest, aware of your partner's feelings and above all safe). Anyway, forgive me if I sound like a New Age textbook, but it's been refreshing to know that although most of my friends are aghast at such ideas ("What? Go against conventional monogamy? Shock and horror!!") there are other people who share them. Each to their own. Horses for courses. Whatever floats yer boat and whatever wheels yer turf. Maybe someday I will get indeed get married, but I don't think I'll ever do so on the terms of a promise of unwavering monogamy. Choosing to be monogamous is something I would find easier (and better) to do than "enforced" monogamy. There is no accounting for time. I'm getting back to being me.
And finally, that's the best bit about this place. It delights me when I read a thread here and think yeah.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: JedMarum
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 10:05 AM

The mistake we humans often make is assuming that anyone person is the only person we need for all our needs. We sometimes try to establish a heirarchy of closeness (not necessarily sexual) and have our spouse at the top, followed by a heriarchy of friends and family. I find that I am surprisingly open with complete strangers about some things, have friends with who I share a large portion of my deepest feelings, have opposite sex relationships that have meaningful relations (though not sexual). These other relationships all help me be a better husband/father. I have a close relationship with my wife - but the other relationships are important to me as well.

I think it is foolish to say that we are now a more enlightened society and we can laugh at the conventions and moral codes of the past ... we risk throwing away many years of conventional wisdom that has developed and we risk throwing the baby out with the bath water. Likewise simply accepting a 'canned morality' without analysis and consideration is short sighted. I worked carefully on developing a moral framework, based upon a few guiding principles ... I viewed conventional wisdoms and tried to understand their values, I continue to this day to review my values - but I do not have a canned or even a hard 'decision tree' - I am capable of reviewing each decision as it faces me and I am careful to follow my conscience.

I'll repeat my comments from earlier; I find that monogamy is worthy goal and an art I have worked to master, for most of my life. My relationship with my wife is most valuable to me - in deed if I were facing its end I would trade the rest of my life for one more day. A monogamous relationship may be significant effort - but it most certainly can be its own reward.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 10:51 AM

I really hope that the folks who've contributed here get to see this film. After four or five days to reflect on it, I think I may have been a bit more cynical then necessary (not unusual for me) in my initial post. Many of the issues discussed here are ATTEMPTED in the film, but (perhaps because of nervousness at the camera's presence) fall a bit flat. As I said the folks tend to fall into a lot of "therapeutic" cliches.

The strongest visual image I'm left with is still the filmaker's male partner....who seems at times, bemused, confused, and at all times, willing to go along with anything to hang onto his relationship. He definitely doesn't WANT what she wants (multiple partners). I'd be anxious to know if their relationship survives.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Willie-O
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 11:15 AM

Saying "I wouldn't share my partner" is not a declaration of ownership of the other person, it's about owning the relationship. And in a partnership of two, it's not a majority rules situation, cause there never can be a majority. It's more like, ideally, both partners own 100% of the relationship. The word is consensus, I guess.

I've been married almost 18 years now, and we had this discussion early on...I might have been tempted to stray, but it was explained to me that my partner had a non-negotiable position on this issue. I could be monogamous with her, or I could go sleep with anyone I wanted, but not her (and find another place to live).

OK, she declared her conditions on continuing the relationship. But if the door is still open to leave, it's not the same as owning the other person.

All in all, it's worked out pretty well for us. You learn to live with tradeoffs.

W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: DougR
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 11:37 AM

I think the only way a truly monogamus relationship will work is for both partners to really be committed to that belief and are willing to live with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Willie-O
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 12:08 PM

Amen, Doug...or any other type of committed relationship.
Bill


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Little Hawk
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 01:51 PM

Right on, Doug.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: CarolC
Date: 21 Feb 02 - 04:11 PM

My relationship with my wife is most valuable to me - in deed if I were facing its end I would trade the rest of my life for one more day.

--Jed

I think that's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read anywhere.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Grab
Date: 23 Feb 02 - 05:55 PM

A guest a little while back stated that monogamy was "THE LAW" (quote) in Western society until recently.

I've just finished reading a book called "The Floating Brothel" about a shipful of female convicts transported to Australia. The one thing illustrated very clearly in there was that sex meant very little back then. Women chose husbands much more on the basis of whether they would be good providers than whether they loved the man; men were more likely to chose a wife based on her dowry than her looks, and thought nothing of having casual sex with prostitutes or (for the rich) maintaining mistresses.

The thing is, until this century, the lack of medical knowledge made life expectancy low - women often died in childbirth, and men sent off to fight wars often didn't come back. With the advent of the modern professional army, most men don't need to get shot at; women almost never die during childbirth; and modern medicine has doubled life expectancies (all these in the developed world only). And finally, women have sufficient autonomy to be able to survive independent from a husband. So it's only this century that we're really finding out the implications of lifetime monogamy, bcos it's only this century that "a lifetime" has really meant something and that the woman has had a choice in the matter.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bearheart
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 04:57 PM

Well. Very timely thread for me. The subject has been on my mind for some time, and I've been working through the various arguments pro and con. I'm impressed by the thoughtfulness of many people, though it's clear this is a very emotional issue for most of us. When I married 21 years ago my partner and I had experienced enough hurt in our previous relationships (he is 18 years older and had also been married 3 times before)that we made a conscious decision to do monogamy. Since we have had many friends for these 21 years who experimented with other relationship styles, we had plenty of opportunity to see what it was like. Their success varied tremendously, and had more to do with how well they knew themselves and their needs, and their weakness and strengths emotionally, than with any other factor.

I personally feel that few of the people I know-- even the ones who chose monogamy-- are naturally monogamous. I also happen to feel that most people are bisexual, whether they act on it or not-- and I mean by that that we are all capable of loving-- which does not always mean lusting after-- people of our own gender as well as the opposite. (and also the reverse--I have many gay and lesbian friends, some of whom have learned they are capable of relationships with the opposite gender).

I think honesty is really important. Thoughout our marriage my partner and I have been able to joke about our attractions to others-- and our perception of the other person's attraction to others. I love him VERY much-- but that pheromone thing-- sometimes another man can be very physically attractive to me. And it's not about looks, it's generally about chemistry, which for me includes a sense of kinship on the soul level, on the emotional level. Perhaps that person has a high degree of empathy and gentleness, or has the same deep love for a particular kind of music, or some other quality that sets them apart--or more importantly, enables a special kind of bond. Because I am a very physical person I like being close with people I feel connected to. I hug my freinds and family alot. That's how I express my feelings. So where does one draw the line, particularly if sex should be something that comes from the heart? Physical intimacy is about a lot of things, and getting off is surely not the most important thing about it for me.

By the same token my choice to be monogamous was because I didn't feel strong enough to deal with the pain I was sure would be created by an open relationship. That was based on some very painful early experiences, and a deep lack of trust in my partner and our love/relationship. 21 years down the road I feel that it was a good choice for a long time. It allowed us to build trust and a solid foundation. And it required compromises. (Some compromises are healthy and promote the good of the relationship, and others are about power dynamics and aren't. And yes we all make choices... but sometimes not from a healthy place.)

We are both rethinking where we are with this, and I don't know yet how it will pan out. But I do know that there are many ways to do relationship and I agree with the statements already made that the choices that most people make are influenced mostly by the culture they grow up in. Few of us will mke choices that are radically different from those our families condone. (Even when we are self-styled black sheep, as I was.) For a look at how other cultures do relationships, get the videos of the Millenium series, a PBS documentary featuring David Maybury-Lewis, an anthropologist, as moderator. One of the episodes is specifically about relationships, and several others refer to them in other contexts. It will give you lots of food for thought.

Thanks everyone for the opportunity to share...


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Subject: RE: BS: Scary film on 'sex. open' relationships
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Feb 02 - 08:08 PM

Bearheart...very well said and thought out.

The point you make, that opinions & relationships DO change and need to constantly re-assessed is an important one.

It is a very difficult thing to stand off to one side and look at yourself and know what combinations of emotion, reasoning and peer pressures make you what you are.....and when TWO people need to do it and compare notes, it gets really tricky!

always good to hear one more bit of input, though....


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