Answering Arguments Against Polyamory

1. Polyamorists Promote Abortion

The basis of this argument is to provide emotional charge for encouraging those against abortion to view polyamorists in a negative light.  One religious and anti-polyamory internet blogger contended that most polyamorous living agreements are that if a partner gets pregnant that they are expected to get an abortion.

None of this is true.  I am polyamorous.  I do not support abortion, though I understand the legal reasoning for it.  Most of my female partners have children and have said that they would never have an abortion.

While it is true that a woman might discuss with her partner what they will do if she gets pregnant, this has no connection with a bias towards abortion.  And I think that this assumption of a bias towards abortion is offensive to polyamorists.

2. Polyamorists Promote Group Sex

A common misconception of polyamory is that it involves group sex.  This likely comes from the fact that strict monogamy would forbid sex outside of the relationship. But most of those who are involved in group sex are actually in monogamous relationships, and are known as swingers.  They practice emotional and relationship monogamy while being open, more or less, with physical intimacy.

Polyamory is opening up emotionally to multiple relationships.  While it certainly would allow for group sex among consensual adults, it usually involves multiple one to one encounters between members of couplings.  It is simply polyamorous in that each person might have multiple couplings.

Even in cases where a group of two, three, or more people might all have a relationship with each other, this doesn’t mean that sex will include groups.

I’ve consistently had multiple partners, but have never had group sex between them, though I have had group sex in a monogamous marriage and have had partners whereby we have had group sex with people who neither of us had an emotional relationship with.

Frankly, polyamory doesn't promote group sex in and of itself, but what is wrong with group sex?  Why is this an argument against polyamory if not simply to play on the emotion of those who would not engage in group sex?

3. Male Polyamorists Force Polyamory on Women

Women are often assumed to have been talked into polyamory by opportunistic men.  I’ve never dated a woman in polyamory with whom I’ve talked into polyamory.  In some couples, they may convert from a monogamous relationship to a polyamorous one, just as they may convert back to monogamy, or swinging, or dissolve their relationship.  But many people, if not most, come to polyamory of their own free choice.

Every woman that I’ve ever dated in a polyamorous relationship was informed up front that I was polyamorous before dating them.  Some were happily married already.  Some were already in other relationships.  All were polyamorous before meeting me, or consented to a polyamorous situation before engaging in it with me.

I’ve never had to talk anyone into polyamory.  I did attempt to negotiate an open relationship with my second wife, and she opted out.  I opted to continue in polyamory and she opted to date another man, and we dissolved the marriage.

The key to polyamory, and any relationship, is mutual consent.  Any forced relationship, monogamous or polyamorous, is immoral and unethical.

4. Polyamorists Force Polyamory on Society

From one point of view, I can see where this misconception is born.  Polyamorists fiercely defend their right to engage in their relationships.  Science backs up the notion that the human libido doesn’t go into hibernation after a relationship is established and that a marriage ring isn’t a chastity belt.  The world’s morals are moving in a more liberal direction.

This can all seem like there is an agenda to promote polyamory over monogamy.

This is partly true.  Those of us who engage in happy and healthy polyamorous relationships are telling the world how wonderful our relationships are.  This is mostly a response to two facts.  

First, by engaging in multiple relationships, we have the joy of them all.  From a practical point of view, polyamorists do have more relationship experience than monogamists, on average.  We work harder at our relationships and engage in multiple negotiations with our partners for mutual happiness.  While a married couple might negotiate within their relationship, I for instance negotiate with three or four partners at the same time, and in such a way as to be mindful of all my other partners at the same time in each negotiation.

While a monogamist can have a great marriage with incredible communication skills, those skills aren’t even a fraction of the level of communication that I must use in polyamory.

So, we are communicators, and we don’t just negotiate with each other, but with a world that doesn’t yet understand us.  This can look like we have an agenda.

Second, we do have an agenda, in fact.  While we might communicate how wonderful our relationships are, and this is an agenda of positivity.  Our real agenda is defense.  The world doesn’t understand us, and what the world doesn’t understand, it fears.  And what the world fears, it often hates and attacks.

Our relationships are harder not just because of the level of honesty, openness, and communication skills required.  Our relationships are harder because the world seems set against us to a certain extent.

Our agenda, as it were, is to educate outsiders, support insiders, and defend us as a great choice.  But we are by no means trying to eliminate monogamy.  We do wish those who want to pursue polyamory to be educated and make that transition, just as someone who supports the LGBT community wants to help everyone come out of the closet.

But if anyone is monogamous, and doesn’t want to change this, we have no agenda to convert them.

Of course, some people are led to believe that they are a target for conversion, especially if they know someone who has come out as something they are not.  They may come out as gay, or come out as polyamorous.  Such a person is often very excited and talks about how much better life is since their coming out.  This often comes across as despairing their former life.

A divorced person might talk about how marriage is a horrible idea for them now.  And from the viewpoint of a happily married person, the divorced person might sound like they are encouraging divorce.  A happy gay person might talk about how much better their new gay friends are, and a straight friend might take this to say that they would be better if they weren’t straight.

This similarly holds true for polyamorous people.  Dan Savage, the internet personality and relationship expert, often gets letters from parents of polyamorous couples who have come out to them.  Often, the parents worry that when their children, who are happily married, explain how much better marriage is with polyamory, that they are telling them that their parent’s marriage is less desirable, less complete.

In effect, this is true.  It is less desirable and less complete, for the children.  This doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valid choice for others.  But for those involved, it is better.  Just as Sacremento might be wonderful for some people, and no other place in the world compares, Minneapolis is just as wonderful for other people, and no other place in the world compares for them.  And that’s the key, for them.

Polyamorists generally support all consensual adult relationship types.  With a live and let live attitude and a do what makes you happy mindset, they do not judge those who want monogamy.  But when continually confronted over being polyamorous, they reject monogamy and explain this in detail.  We explain what monogamy lacks for us, and what polyamory benefits us.

This looks like an attack on monogamy, but it is only an attack on lifestyles that are not for us.

This isn’t to say that many parts of monogamy can’t be attacked.  I attack monogamy vigorously in the areas in which it limits consent and forces partners into situations they disagree with.

5. Polyamory is Money Driven

From prominent think tank writers to bloggers, many have the concept that polyamory leads to those with the most money and resources ending up with the most partners.  Thus, they conclude, polyamory is simply a way for the strong, rich, confident men to gain a harem of women, and the weaker, poorer, less confident men are left without partners or without any “primary” partners.

First, I spend my time on education, writing, technology, and do not make much money.  My partners are lower and middle lower class.  Most do not own our own homes and live humble lives on meager wages.  We are not Christian Grey’s, walking around with piles of cash approaching people asking them to join us in polyamory with promises of a “better life”.

This argument is offensive.  It makes polyamorists sound like pimps or johns, using our money to gain more sexual partners.

The basis for this argument is complete ignorance.  “Why else would anyone get into polyamory if not for money?”  They can’t imagine that anyone would be in polyamory simply because it is what they want.