Oh, gosh… where do I start with all of this? If you weren’t such a good frenemy, I might not even attempt. First off, that study I’ve already cited indicates that the main reason that a lot of women leave their marriages is that they are sick of being treated like property and controlled. There’s also these:

“They had heard for too long that they were too emotional and needy.
Their desire for affection and attention and intimacy had been missing for too long.

They had been lied to, ignored, taken for granted, yelled at and not talked to or touched, in some cases, for years.

Their requests to work together on the relationship had been declined. Their men said working on relationship was too hard and took too much time.

They talked about how their men didn’t take responsibility, were defensive, blaming and critical. They said their men were resistant to looking at themselves, to growing and learning anything new. They said their men were cut off from their emotions and unavailable for deep connection. They agreed that their men did not take their concerns seriously and were not interested in creating solutions.

Each woman in turn said they felt powerless to affect change. They were unhappy in their relationships, and married to men who weren’t willing to work to improve their marriage.”

So, in other words, patriarchal style marriage where the guy is too bought into hegemonic masculinity.

Next — polyamory and polygamy are not the same thing. If you want to discuss something intelligently, you need to actually understand what you are talking about. Polygamy is what the Mormons used to do (and still do in some places) and it’s generally unhealthy due to the inherent power imbalances.

Third — you indicated that men cheat because they aren’t getting the kind of sex that they want (and yes, they do cheat more, even if it’s only slightly more — that’s still the definition of more last time I checked, and I’d already stipulated to that). But even though what you are asserting (which isn’t necessarily true, but it’s still your assertion) is that women enter into polyamory because they aren’t getting the kind of sex they want, but somehow that seems, by your tone, less OK then men who cheat for the same reason but without any knowledge or buy-in from their partners.

In each of the places where I’ve discussed how James and I opened up our marriage (several of which you have read by now) I’ve also said that we were at the peak of deeply connected phase where we were having great and more adventurous sex and that opening up just seemed like the next logical step. In fact, in our case, I expressed interest in opening up first, but James was the one who said later on and unprompted, “We can absoluely do that if you want to.” This doesn’t really fit the scenario that you are desperately clinging to in which I forced him into it somehow. That doesn’t mean it’s that way for absolutely everyone else, but for many I’ve talked to, it often is. Some people do try it to attempt to fix staleness or boredom, but it rarely works well in those instances, because polyamory requires you to get emotionally healthy and to deal with your own shit — and that’s what most people do. But as with everything that involves human beings, results may vary.

Lastly, I don’t know where you are reading all of these “stories.” Is there a Patriarchy magazine that I am unaware of? And while we are on the subject, you who knows little about this subject, and what you do know is from third parties, trying to tell me who has direct experience, what’s what, is known as Mansplaining. It’s kind of the dictionary definition of the word.

The hallmark of polyamory is honesty — both emotional honesty and the not lying to your partner about where you’ve been kind. It pushes you both (if you are entering into it as a couple) to develop yourself as a mature person, to talk to each other about things you never had to as a monogomous couple, to engage in healthy, non co-dependent relationships, whether they be with committed other partners or more casual assignations.

What polyamory is NOT is some kind of Springbreak “the regular rules don’t apply here” free for all. It’s also not just about sex. It’s an entirely different (and generally more healthy, although not without challenges) way to do love and connection. If you want to understand what a lifestyle/sex club is really like, read my piece on What the Vanilla World Can Learn About Consent From a Sex Club

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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