March 16th, 2011

Recommended Reading #38: Non-Monogamy, Pt. II

      “The Case For Open Relationships” by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Sex and Culture, Relationship) 12/10/07

I find this a measured, considered piece about intimate relationship and its different structures. I feel that Rachel acknowledges the uniqueness of relationship and different orientations toward them, and I also appreciate her mention of monogamy seeming to be the expected standard for intimate relationship in our culture and the issues that may arise (arguably have arisen) in response as such. Lastly, I like how she points out the fluidity of such orientations—that it is “not an either/or choice you must make now and stick with forever.” I see this piece as basically an exposition about the options in romantic/intimate relationship in the context of our current culture, with no claim that any is inherently “better” than any other.


      “Sex, Polyamory, and the Wisdom of the Body” by Deborah Taj Anapol (Sex and Spirituality, Sex and Culture, Relationship, Biology) 11/2/10

I find this perspective that seems to me to blend biological as well as psychological and spiritual considerations interesting and pertinent. I myself don’t find the question of whether monogamy is biological or “natural” particularly relevant (to how we choose to live our lives)—it seems evident that some people have felt genuinely oriented toward each, and we seem to do a lot of things that may not be considered “natural.” The sentence in this article that seems to encompass the thrust (no pun intended) of the whole piece for me is also the one I find probably the most intriguing: “Perhaps once our internal divisions are united into a coherent whole, polyamory will have served its purpose and a genuine monogamy will evolve.” The idea of our “internal divisions” is of potent interest to me, and I find interesting her idea of polyamory as a tool (especially in a culture that so favors monogamy) for psychological and spiritual self-awareness.


      “Critique of Pure Relationships: On Consent and Compulsory Monogamy” by Angi Becker Stevens and Alex Upham (Relationship, Sex and Culture, Sociology, Psychology) 12/11/10

This is a bit long but so very worth reading as far as I’m concerned, especially for anyone interested in the subject of non-monogamy or relationship structures and related sociological considerations and cultural context. I especially felt resonance with almost everything under the “Love and Marriage?” heading and found the “Jealousy” section to contain insights that seem to me extremely important to consider, including the insights about current society’s general perceptions about jealousy. To me this piece seems a considered, comprehensive expounding on what I find a beautiful line in its conclusion: “We must work consciously to break down our own deeply imprinted ideas that love inherently equals monogamy, and that jealousy is justified and unavoidable.”


Recommended Reading posted every Wednesday

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