Nathanel Goldman


Nathanel Goldman

To be or not be. Poly vs monogamy?

The new trendy word in conscious sexuality circles is “polyamory”, referring to people who are open to having more than one lover at a time. It has become increasingly common to hear discussions of polyamory versus monogamy…this is the new choice. Which one do you choose?
Well actually I’d like to point out that this may in fact be a false dichotomy. Where exactly is the line between one and the other?

You may immediately say “well of you have sex with anyone outside of your relationship, this is polyamory”. But as we all know when you scratch the surface, it is not as simple as that. If two people are naked, touching each other and arousing each other sexually, but without penetration…does that not count?

I would like to suggest that actually our boundaries around sexual sharing are actually part of a sliding scale. On one extreme we see cultures that cover up the women so another man won’t even see another man’s wife. In other cultures you may find committed couples who commonly take lovers, mistresses or engage in “wife swapping”. Some people freak out if their partner looks at a member of the opposite sex, whereas other watch whilst their partner makes love with someone else. There is actually a huge sliding scale of degrees in which we exchange sexual energy with others.

Where you fit along that scale is of course up to you, and something to communicate with your partner. But please never demand that your partner follows your preferences…no one else has to fit to your demands. If you have different boundaries, you may choose to negotiate a meeting point, else you may decide not to relate with each other if it is really important to you.
I have found that each relationship calls for a different container. With some men it has felt natural to be more open together, and both enjoyed that (or had the skills to work through it!).

Other relationships have naturally felt like they wanted to be more held, and we have had higher levels of commitment. It’s not even that we have had a conversation for each relationship, because sometimes it is just obvious how it wants to be. Sometimes we are just so damn in love, that no-one else exists anyway!!!

Another discovery is that I notice I change over time. I have different periods in my life. There are times I have a zest for openness and exploration. Then other times I am called more to deep intimate one-on-one sharing, and drawing my energy in.

I met a woman who coined the term “dynamic relationships”. Her and her husband decided to open up to meet different sexual needs. However they found that at times when the family needed more support they would let go of extra lovers and pull together. Other times, everything was relaxed and they may branch out and have lovers. Dynamic.

Many relationships like to be grown intially in a more held and safe container (like young trees protected by a windshield and supported with a wooden stake) . Then over time the boundaries may shift as the relationship grows stronger. The couple may like to go to events where they can exchange energy with others (including dancing with others, massaging, touching…there are many ways to exchange energy). There is a natural evolution, just as the tree grows strong enough to let go of the wind shield and wooden stakes. Some couples are fulfilled by joining the local ballroom dancing club….others go to swingers clubs. Others stay content gazing into one set of eyes for a lifetime!

It is worth checking in with yourself when choosing the structure of your relationship: are you coming from an external concept or model and trying to force your relationship to fit into it? How about asking the question “what would best serve love in this situation?”. Beware the pitfall of “I can have my cake and eat it”, because if you choose based on ego-gratification rather than serving love, this will have different consequences!

So why try to decide if you are “poly” or “mono”? Why determine your behavior by an externally-applied label? Why not feel into your heart and let it show you what your heart’s desire is for each new meeting and for different periods in your life? True freedom is found within. Be authentic and true to each living moment…even the box of “polyamorous” is yet another box!

/ Written by Shashi Solluna
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