Cathy Reisenwitz

Also see my interview with Cathy, here!

You can find Cathy’s article in question, here.

As much as I like that new gender options are becoming available through Facebook, I do get nervous when people put their eggs in a basket. When they try to rely on these social media networks for defining them or helping them define themselves. To a certain extent I don’t think that’s necessary and I don’t want people to think that they need these things to define themselves as who they feel most comfortable with. That should come more from their individual selves, friends, loved ones and so on more so than any one social network.

Which isn’t to say that these social networks should be seen as unimportant or that the fact that more gender identity has been allowed isn’t great because it definitely is. I just think there’s some nuance to be had here in any case.

I feel similarly with the poly community and it trying (or its allies trying) to get more mainstream recognition of it. On one hand I understand the appeal and definitely agree that polyamory should be better understood. At the same time, I feel like there are also benefits to being considered culturally deviant or even criminal to some extent. It breeds distrust of the current system and encourages groups to act out for themselves and what they love rather than what the system tells them.

That doesn’t mean I want everyone to be regarded as criminals. But again, nuance is needed and I think the struggle (for example) for queers getting more gay marriage is, as the historian Thaddeus Russell has suggested, a fairly big blow to the history of the Gay Liberation movement.

“People assume that to be faithful, you have to be monogamous…”

Yeah, definitely agree. There’s apparently no way one can see other people without their significant other’s consent and happiness involved.

To be faithful, you have to be honest. Faithfulness is measured in degree based on the couple. The faithfulness is not to the individual. It’s to the contract that you’ve made to that individual.” The idea is that as long as you’re open and honest with your partners, and they’re comfortable with the terms of the arrangement, you are faithful, no matter how many people you sleep with.

I totally agree with this. Though I am less interested in strict contracts than loose, fluid verbal agreements. I don’t like feeling leashes on me, well…

So instead of promising yourself to your partner, you’re promising to obey the rules you’ve decided on with your partner.

I want to agree and caution that “obey the rules” can be fine in some circumstances but shouldn’t be taken de facto okay either (not that you were saying this). Plus I value my partner more than I value social agreements. So if they endanger themselves via some foolish rule I may be tempted to disregard their rule. Especially if it may hurt them.

I guess another way of possibly expressing this is relationship anarchy. Which I’ve only read a little bit about admittedly. But it sounds like something worth investigating at any rate.

Polyamory, a subset of ethical non-monogamy, refers to multiple concurrent sexual relationships, and is generally differentiated from open relationships by long-term, emotionally involved, and/or committed “secondary” relationships. Some poly relationships involve hierarchy, with primary, secondary, (and so on) relationships. And some are non-hierarchical, with no partner being more important than the other. In some poly relationships, “metamours,” as partners of partners call each other, have romantic relationships. In others, partners either don’t know about each other (Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell) or remain friendly but not romantically involved.

I really like this definition!

The main arguments against polyamory center around whether…

Although I know this is a bit of a cop-out I loathe the institution of marriage and don’t want children (I don’t loathe children though!). So this main argument against polyamory isn’t all that interesting to me, personally. I am skeptical of this concern nonetheless.

But the concern is certainly warranted, especially because as Cathy pointed out…

However the studies also revealed some drawbacks, particularly “the discomfort of having partnerships between adults dissolve and the resulting emotional trauma for children who may have been very attached to a departing partner.

Of course you could say this is true for any family. Would it be more potent in a bigger family? That’s definitely possible. I can’t deny that.

Conservative columnist Jonathan Rauch makes an interesting case against polyamory when hepoints out

The Reason article that Cahty links (that sadly doesn’t work) is really its own separate article due to how much I could go on about it. But by god is it terrible.