ARE WE REALLY MONO-POLY?
By Janet Kira Lessin
More Magazine #22
& Psyche, Annie
& Satyr, 1873, Adolphe-William Bouguerea (1825-1905)
and Sidra Stone teach us that we have many "voices"
within ourselves. We each have our own set of voices, be they the
Inner Critic, the Inner Child, the Inner Pope, the Inner Aphrodite
or any of a myriad possible combinations.
times these voices battle for dominance within us. We each have
inner dichotomies -- poles of opposition vying for the upper hand.
The Inner Catholic conflicts with the Inner Atheist, for example.
find ourselves in any given point in our existence, we tend to
throw stones at our opposites. In life we tend to attract to us,
to "hire" in a sense our "disowned selves." We
see in others what we least like about ourselves. These
"mirrors" act as a reflection to us of those parts we
need to incorporate into our being, in order to feel whole and
As we seek
to come to complete integration of our many selves, or
subpersonalities, we strive to come to our center, or as we say in
voice dialogue, to develop an "aware ego". Many books
have chronicled this search for enlightenment.
opposites, almost universally, are our Inner Monogamist and our
Inner Polyamorist (loving more than one in an intimate
relationship). Never before has there been such debate, especially
in this Judeo/Christian culture. Why does it seem that so many
polyamorists are attracted to and marry so many monogamists and
vice versa? If we were to imagine the center for this dichotomy,
what would we find? Could it be a combination of the best of both
worlds, that which I refer to as Mono-Poly?
observe the world around us, it doesn't appear that mankind is
truly monogamous; with our incredible divorce rate that is rapidly
heading towards sixty-five percentile for us "baby
boomers". That's not counting our infidelity rate, which is
staggering. Add on top of that the "happiness factor",
those who stay together only because of the kids, the bills, the
family, habit, etc. and the figures really get alarming. What's
going on here?
of the above, it does appear that we humans do tend to "pair
bond". Even at the east and west poly conferences last year,
it was observable; twos seeking three, couples seeking couples,
even those "expanded group marriages" within them
appeared to have groupings, two by two! Lets now examine the pros
of each lifestyle.
monogamy, one can embrace the creation; man/woman, Adam/Eve, two
by two, the dyad, romanticism. Many find it fashionable to trounce
romanticism, but face it; romance is fun! It gives one that
chemical rush, that "high" of a new love, NRE (New
reinforces the security of a stable home, Mom and Dad, someone we
can turn to in thick and thin, loyalty, commitment, our "best
friend". Monogamy provides that special someone to whom you
can confess your deepest, darkest secrets; that person with whom
you have that "special" something that only you two know
resonates the feeling the feeling of forever, security, safety,
warm fuzzies. It provides that person to whom you return when your
poly adventures turn sour and they "dump" you.
it resembles "the split-apart", the "twin
flame", symbolized in the yin/yang. The twin flame is that
one special person that for some inexplicable reason you feel this
incredible bond that transcends time and space. When you meet that
person, it bowls you over. You connect, not just on one or two
chakras, but on all chakras. You realize how you never really
completely connected with anyone else before and if they left, you
would never go this deep ever again. It is a merging; a oneness
Historically, says Dr. Helen Fisher (Anatomy of Love,
Norton: 1992), monogamy insured at least two people stayed
together and committed to their child's survival; staying together
until he was "weaned" and somewhat self-sufficient
before parting (about 4 years).
we've shown the virtues of monogamy, what possibly are the the
pros of polyamory?
the first thing is "variety is the spice of life".
In polyamory we have sexual variety, which is very exciting and
attractive to many of us. We also have more than one person with
whom do things with, so one person is not trying to meet all of
our "needs", which is virtually impossible.
one has many mirrors in which to reflect; many points of view in
which to learn and grow. In a poly household, there are many hands
to accomplish tasks, to pull resources together.
resonates the security of the "tribe"; the memory of
which resides deep within many of us. With numerous to defend the
women and children and assure their survival, the survival of the
tribe, the children and continuance was assured against predators
As souls we
appear to be created in soul groups that find one another lifetime
after lifetime. We have many "soul mates" that we have
loved through many lifetimes; that we have loved in various
fashions time and again. As souls we know that we have an endless,
boundless capacity to love. Polyamory brings our natural state of
loving oneness and that ability to love all into the physical.
Statistically it appears that our marriages and dyadic
relationships seem to last on the average of 3.5 to 4 years.
Currently there are no real statistics available on poly
relationships. We can only speculate as many remain hidden to
protect their lifestyles and their families.
In my poly
group, I have seen first hand the trials and tribulations of
loving more than one. It is certainly not an easy path to
undertake, no easier than monogamy, it appears. Broken hearts
happen here as well.
heard one staggering statistic from a local Hawaii talk show host,
Kevin Hughes, which made me stand up and take notice. He said that
swingers stay married on the average of 23 years! Wait a minute...
23 years! Let's take a look at that one! So I did.
noticed in conversations on the Internet that there are many who
define themselves as "swingers" who are actually couples
seeking other couples with whom to love. They just don't have any
other models. They've never heard the vocabulary. Perhaps they
really are poly?
noticed that I myself had been passing judgment and throwing
stones at swingers, if only to myself. I wanted to observe things
first hand, see what was really going on. So, I asked my husband,
Sasha, if he wanted to check out one of the swinger's parties.
After some debate, we decided the best course of action was to
open up invite the local swingers organization to have a party at
our house. This way, we would be able to make the most
scientifically accurate observations. With some reservations and
much anticipation, the party began.
discovered from our party is that swingers traditionally do not
allow any single men in their functions. Parties are strictly
couples with once in a while the occasional single woman, who is
They do what
I call "inclusionary lovemaking". One man told me,
"I would never imagine going somewhere and making it with
anyone without my wife. We are a matched set. Love me, love my
there doesn't appear to be any "mini-monoging; that little
mini-affair away from home, discreet, unseen, separate from one
another. Swingers seem to love together, in parties, with another
couple, in the same room, or out of the room but not very far out
of site from one another. They always remain connected in some
way; sensing each other; feeling each other. Rather sweet, huh?
advocating that swinging is "THE MODEL" for all of the
world. It is just that I no longer throw stones at them and I'm
now taking a deeper look. I see the love. Many swingers develop
lifelong friendships with those whom they engage in sexual play.
One thing to
notice is that there are only about 200 in attendance at each poly
conference each year where there are more than 3,000 who attend
the Lifestyles Conference for the whole time with approximately
10,000 additional attendees for the daily events attending the
workshops visiting booths and exhibitions.
I feel that,
in the final analysis, we act from "choice." Even if we
define ourselves as belonging to one relationship type, it appears
that life throws a wrench at you; someone comes into your life;
you respond with love; and soon you find yourself somewhere else
along the continuum. After all, the only thing constant in life is
that's truly what Hal and Sidra Stone talk about when they speak
of centering oneself and the "dance of the selves" as
the path to awareness and wholeness in life.
As we seem
to go from lifetime to lifetime experiencing being every religion,
race, color and creed, we find within our soul group that we have
experienced being every imaginable configuration of friends,
family and lovers. We do this dance time and again, hurting and
being hurt, until one day we, find that we have completed all
karma, our soul group reunites in bliss and we return home
to "go out no more". Bless free will. Enjoy the