Tag Archives: polygamy

PantheaCon2014 Cover

Join me at 2 upcoming conferences!

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! I have good news for folks who will be in the SF Bay Area over the next two weekends:  There are two upcoming conferences at which I’ll be appearing, and at which I’d love to meet up with you! PantheaCon2014 Cover

First up is Pantheacon, an awesome gathering of thousands of people from all over the world. Filled with all sorts of Pagans and people interested in and/or practicing various forms of “alternative” spiritualities, this conference every year over the Presidents’ Day weekend offers a dazzling array of concerts, workshops, dealer’s room, rituals, classes, books, costumes, and much, much more. I’ll be co-teaching a class with Francesca Gentille (on the topic of creating your own best relationship model), at 2pm Sunday 2/16, in the Church of All Worlds hospitality suite on the 2nd floor of the Double Tree Hotel in San Jose.  If you’re of a mind to join us for a day or a weekend, check out the link here: http://pantheacon.com/wordpress/ I’d love to see you there!

Next up is the 3rd International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-monogamy, to be held this year February 21-23 in Berkeley, California. With multiple tracks including Academic, Clinical, Art & Folklore, and Public Education, this conference has something to offer almost everyone interested in polyamory, open relationships, and other related topics.  Kathy Labriola (my co-presenter for the Jealousy teleseminars last fall) will also be there. I’m scheduled in the Public Education Track on Saturday, and I’d love to see you there! Click here to find out more and/or buy tickets: https://sites.google.com/site/ipachome/

Whether or not we get to see each other in person soon, I wish you all the best for this Valentine’s Day season of love.

And remember:  No matter who or how many you love, Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m still running my “winter specials” — reduced prices on coaching packages.  I’d love to help you and your loves have relationships that are sizzling hot, and truly fulfilling!  Call me or email to set up a time for your free 30 minute consultation. 🙂

love_outside_the_box_white_on_dark_t_shirts-r734308d7aa2c48a6a7a731d0498738ca_8nfnu_216PPS:  Need something for your Valentine(s)?  You might want to check out my Zazzle Store: (zazzle.com/LoveOutsideTheBox*). I’ve got lots of items for sale, including things with my logo (some are customizable!), and also stuff with the poly “pi flag” design, or other nifty things. Or just shop Zazzle through my link, and find awesome stuff for everyone you love!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

TODAY 12/20: HuffPostLive on Polyamory + Other Poly Media

A last-minute heads-up that there will be a segment about Polyamory and the Holidays on HuffingtonPostLive today, Friday 12/20, at 1:40pm Pacific/4:40pm Eastern.  It hasn’t been fully confirmed, but it seems likely that I’ll be one of the speakers on the show, so check it out! The recorded show will be available on the site later, as well.

The topic of the show is what special challenges are faced by polyamorous people during the holidays. For instance, how and when should one come out to family and friends? Before the event? During dinner? What do you do about “plus 1” invitations when you have “plus 2” … or more? How do you handle presents, kids, relatives, and competing invitations? If you spend Christmas with one lover… are you obligated to spend New Years with another?

My contention, while answering pre-show questions was (and is) that in many situations, polyamorous relationships are similar to other sorts of “blended family” relationships. They can have similar challenges and may benefit from similar approaches, such as splitting time between households on various days, or negotiating which partners and family will be at which celebrations, to minimize drama. And of course, talking about things in advance, and making some Agreements is almost always a good idea!

Again, it starts at 1:40pm Pacific time, and is scheduled to run for about 25 minutes. Tune in, and join the conversation!

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sisterwivesIn other news, the decision regarding the Utah Kody Brown (aka “Sister-Wives”) Polygamy case has finally been handed down.  Similarly to the Canadian case two years ago, it looks like the judge has decided that it isn’t illegal to have more than one relationship… just so long as you don’t go seeking any legal recognition for it.

So on the up side, the Browns won’t be prosecuted for their religious marriages, so long as they don’t seek legal any recognition beyond the one existing marriage. That decision should provide some protection — and some precedent — for polyamorous as well as polygamous people in the US.

On the down side however,  in my opinion, is the fact that people in multiple-partner relationships are still being forced into a “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” model of sorts. It seems likely to me that not only adults, but also some children are likely to suffer, since some still may not be able to access needed benefits, falling through the cracks in our rather faulty system of health care, etc. And of course there is still no protection against discrimination against multiple-partner relationships in matters of employment, housing, etc. It’s progress, but we still have a long way to go, clearly.

Still, the ruling shows some progress in acknowledging the existence of multiple-partner households. And the increasing presence of poly topics on fora such as HuffPostLive also demonstrate an increasing awareness of ethically non-monogamous options among the general public. While perhaps not exactly the holiday gifts of our dreams, both are certainly better than a lump of coal in our collective poly stockings. 🙂

Here’s hoping your holidays — whatever form they might take, however many people are present, whatever the religious framework or lack thereof — are as full of warmth and love as you could possibly wish!

~♥ Dawn

PS: Looking for some help in figuring out how to handle your own sticky poly/open situations this holiday season? I’m running some great Winter Specials on my individual and group coaching. Get up to 50% off time with me! But act soon… the extra low package deals end when the ball drops for the new year!

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PPS: Still looking for that special something as a gift for lovers, friends… or yourself? 😉 Check out the selection of t-shirts, mugs, and other goodies in my Love OTB Zazzle store. Use code BE4CHRISTMAS for 50% off express shipping! (ends Sunday)

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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Poly & Religon

Polyamory and Christianity: Strange Bedfellows, or Loving Companions?

Poly & Religon

Series title at ModernPoly.com

With the recent legal changes and affirmations around same-sex marriage, the conservative right is grappling with their own predictions of doom and gloom and the slippery slope.  The unthinkable has happened, so what could be next?

Those of us who are polyamorous are quite aware that we’ve long been painted as “the bottom of the slippery slope,” so it comes as no surprise to us that fundamentalists, especially Christians (e.g., the Christian Broadcasting Network), are looking to interview poly people on the topic. But while we polyfolk aren’t finding the conservatives particularly surprising, apparently WE are surprising THEM.

In particular, in his recent (and not yet released) interview, Dave Doleshal (founder of the Academic Polyamory Conference) reported that the interviewer for CBN was extremely surprised that there are many Christians who are also polyamorous.  According to Dave, this

“…seemed to make his eyes bug out. It seemed like this was a possibility he had never considered.”

As many of us who are polyamorous already know, there are indeed many poly* Christians.  (By “poly*” I am including those who identify as polygamous as well as polyamorous in this case, as the two groups are certainly overlapping in some ways, though not in others.) There are some who are devoutly Christian, and also poly*. In my practice as well as my personal experience, I have met some that believe that they are fulfilling God’s commandments (e.g., “Love your neighbor as yourself” Mark 12:31) by being poly*. Some consider themselves to be following in the footsteps of Old Testament leaders, such as Kings Solomon and David, who each had many wives, or of Jacob, who famously waited 7 years to marry Rachel in addition to Leah. There is strong precedent for multiple wives (though less precedent for multiple husbands), in the Bible.

Note that we are not talking here about the Unitarians, who have a strong polyamory contingent. Nor are we limiting the discussion to Mormon splinter sects.  Many Christians do not consider either of those groups to be Christians, strictly speaking. We’re talking about Catholics, Episcopals, Lutherans, and many, many more from the mainstream Christian denominations. Some are closeted, and some are open with their Christian communities.  All are Christian AND poly*.

For those of you who might be Christian, but feel the call to being poly* as well, here are a few resources on the topic. [Note:  I have not explored all of these deeply, so this does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement of any particular beliefs, practices or politics; just a link to a few places to look to convince yourself that you are not alone!]

Article on Modern Poly site:

Liberated Christians:
http://www.libchrist.com/

http://www.christianpolygamy.com/

Facebook Group for Poly Christians:
https://www.facebook.com/christian.polyamory

For those who may not know, I myself come out of a conservative Christian background. My ultimate choice was not to stay within the Christian Church, but to pursue Love as a spiritual path.  However, I do understand the mindset and the choices that those who are called to both might face. If you’re ever interested in discussing your own situation with me, feel free to book a free or half price session. I’m happy to listen, and to share any wisdom I can offer, because, as many of you already know, I truly believe that

“No matter who and how many you love, no matter their gender, their body shape or size, their race or the color of their skin, their political affiliation, their talents and abilities, their spiritual or religious leanings, their education…

Love is ALWAYS OK.”

~♥ Dawn

PS:  Have you signed up yet for the FREE teleseminar, “Jealousy First Aid,” that I’m doing on September 4th at 5:45pm, with Kathy Labriola? It’s gonna be great! We’ll run through two tools you can use to reduce feelings of jealousy, and also tell you how you can get her new book The Jealousy Workbook (and hopefully also how you can get MY new book, the KISSable Agreements Workbook!)  Sign up now, so you can get the information on how to call in, and how to get the recording later!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Polyamory and Polygamy: Compare and Contrast

letter-writing1

Occasionally I get some interesting letters.  Recently, I was contacted by a High School Honors student seeking information for a paper. Here’s what the student wrote:

Hello, […] I am currently working on a research paper on polygamy. I found your information on the lovemore.com website and I was wondering if you would be willing to answer the following questions.

  1. How does dating work in a polygamist relationship?

  2. Did you choose to be a polygamist? If so what made you choose to be a polygamist?

  3. Did you grow up in a polygamist family? If not how does being a polygamist affect your non-polygamist family?

  4. How do the children interact with multiple mothers?

  5. How does being a polygamist child affect childhood?

  6. Do you have to be a certain religion to be a polygamist?

  7. What are your feelings on Warren Jeffs?

  8. Do you believe that Warren Jeffs is the reason polygamy is illegal in some states?

  9. How does being a polygamist affect your day to day life?

  10. Why do you believe polygamy is illegal in multiple states?

  11. Does polygamy being illegal affect your day to day life?

  12. Is there anything that you think that I should know about polygamy in order to write my paper?

Thank you for taking time to read my email and answering my questions

This email, while clearly interested in the topic and asking some worthwhile questions, shows the vast gulf in understanding in the general public of what polyamory and polygamy actually are.

Oops! Road sign

Here’s my response:

Dear [    ]:

I’ve been debating how to answer your questions since your first message.  The issue, you see, is that you have contacted the wrong person to answer the questions you’ve asked.  I’m not a polygamist.  I practice *polyamory*. Here’s a quick definition:

Polyamory =
poly (derived from the Greek for ‘many’)
+
amory (derived from the Latin for ‘love’)

In other words,

Polyamory is the belief in and/or practice of multiple loving relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of those involved.

Polyamory and polygamy are not the same thing, though they share the same Greek root meaning “many.”  Polygamy, however, shares the root “gamy” with the word “monogamy,” which refers to human marriage customs.  (See more here: http://www.affixes.org/g/-gamy.html)

You can read more about my definition of polyamory at this blog entry:
http://blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/?p=1147

If you’d like to know more about polyamory, you might want to look up some of the resources (websites, books, etc.) on this list:

http://blog.loveoutsidethebox.com/?page_id=114

For more on the distinction between polyamory and polygamy, see the informative web page “Polygamy and Polyamory” a brochure by the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness: http://www.uupa.org/Literature/PolygamyComparison.htm
Best wishes on your paper,

Dawn

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In addition to that letter, I’ve also compiled a DRAFT of a table highlighting some of the similarities and differences between polyamory and polygamy.  I’ve been hesitant to publish it, in part because I haven’t yet run it by any representatives from the groups discussed (other than polyamorists, where I’ve run the paper by some researchers into polyamory, a few months ago.) So if you, dear reader, identify with any of these groups, and you find areas that you feel need improvement, please do bring the matter/s to my attention (gently, if you can!) I wish to provide this list as a starting point for thought and discussion, not as a prescription for division.  I myself am not a social scientist and do not claim to be an “academic.”  The references and suggested readings listed are also not meant to be an exhaustive list, but instead a starting place for further research.

 

Polyamory

Polygamy
(as popularly understood in US;
aka religious polygyny) (1)

Some similarities

Multiple adult partners Multiple adult partners
Deserving of human rights Deserving of human rights
Stigmatized and misunderstood Stigmatized and misunderstood
Lack of governmental or social recognition of family status Lack of governmental or social recognition of family status

 

Some differences

Egalitarian (shared power in relationship) Patriarchal (decisions and responsibility reserved to male head of family)
Structure not based in organized religion (though practitioners may be religious and/or spiritual) Structure originates in religious doctrine or belief
Any combination and number of genders in relationship structure Relationship structure limited to 1 man, multiple women
Mostly not prohibited in the US (2) Mostly prohibited in the US (3)
About love/romantic relationships About marriage relationships
Long-term commitment optional Long-term commitment a requirement
May be sexually open (individuals in the relationship may or may not have additional sexual relationships outside of the polyamorous relationship under discussion) Always sexually closed (individuals within the relationship may only have sex within the relationship)
Same gender sexual relationships may be allowed Heterosexual relationships only
Allows for gender fluidity and other non-normative gender expressions Binary gender expression only
Relationship focused (May or may not consider themselves part of a family) Family-focused

© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson

(1) Other forms of polygamy exist worldwide that are not based in religious doctrine or belief. This table does not address those and is not meant to imply that they either don’t exist, nor that they are the same as the religious form of polygamy discussed here. This table exists primarily to clarify the most common misperception of polyamory being “the same as polygamy,” as represented by, for instance the TV shows “Big Love” or “Sister Wives.”

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_polygamy and http://jezebel.com/5981095/polyandry-is-actually-way-more-popular-than-anthropologists-have-thought

(2) Cohabiting polyamorous groups may be prohibited by bigamy laws in some states, e.g., Utah.  See also http://non-monodiscourse.blogspot.com/

(3) Some Christian polygamy groups advocate marrying and then getting a legal divorce in order to create a “spiritual marriage” only. This form of polygamy (in essence, a form of serial marriage) would be legal in the US. (Source: http://www.christianpolygamy.com/)

For more information, see also:

“Polygamy and Polyamory” a brochure by the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness: http://www.uupa.org/Literature/PolygamyComparison.htm

 

Do you have anything to add to this table?  Any great references, important line items, or any comments or questions? As always, feel free to contact me on my Love Outside the Box webpage, to comment below, or to visit my Facebook page, LoveOTB. I welcome your discussion and feedback.

May you always love boldly, safely, and well,

~♥ Dawn

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∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

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Polys Between Rock and Hard Place, Canadian-Style

oday’s the big day that we’ve all been waiting for, for months, the day of the decision whether to uphold the Canadian anti-polygamy law.  Sadly, the news is very much NOT good for the polyamorous folks in Canada (and by extension and example, for anyone else): the judge upheld the law.  You can read a good analysis over in Alan’s Polyamory In the News blog: Polyamory in the News: Canadian Judge Upholds Anti-Polygamy Law. The ruling is extremely confusing, and discussion has been hot and heavy on many poly lists all day. The general conclusion, however, is that it is certainly not GOOD news for polyamorists.  Continue reading