Telling an educated woman (or any woman) that you know more than she does about one of her areas of expertise and lived experience because you read about it for the first time over your coffee this morning on Reddit is not banter. It’s mansplaining. As is assuming that I don’t actually know what I’m talking about — that I just read it in a book somewhere. I was quoting to you from other articles I’ve written on this topic which reinforces and supports what is in the OP because you didn’t actually pay any attention to what I said in it the first time.

There are closed polyamorous arrangements that have similarities to polygamy, but they are rare. By and large, both men and women in polyamorous relationships are free to have as many other partners as they want or can handle. That’s why there will never be a few men with harems — because all of the women will all have other relationships as well.

But then again, I already said that in the original piece.

“Because monogamy is an inherently patriarchal structure, people who don’t know much about polyamory assume that it would be the same as polygamy, another patriarchal structure. Patriarchy is a dominance hierarchy, where the man is the head of the family and women and children are followers. Of course, not all current monogamous marriage follows this model, but in 2004 when Americans were asked if “the father was the head of the household” 52% said yes.

By contrast, polyamory is about freedom, equality, individuality, and integrity. It doesn’t turn out that way in practice every single time, but it’s enough of a part of the dynamic that there is simply no way that this fear of exclusive harems would ever be a significant element in a polyamorous culture. The zero-sum thinking of patriarchy just doesn’t apply. It is theoretically possible that a man might have 30 partners, but they would all be free to have their own additional partners as well and most of them would have multiple partners.”

If you want to actually learn about polyamory and be able to hold an intelligent conversation about it, why don’t you read some more of the well-written articles in Polyamory Today?

Here are a few of mine:

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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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