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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Episode 9: The Polyamory Discussion

Originally Archived 11/15/11

Rebroadcast 11/1/12
Queer 2 The T is giving listeners of Hurricane Sandy a treat (since she wasn't) by bringing Episode 9 out of the archives! This is the most listened to episode of Queer 2 The T since it launched last year....interesting...maybe. Please feel free to leave your thoughts as others have!


  1. To be brazen, polyamory is a crock of shit. Communication in polyamorous relationships becomes over validation and policing because you are constantly talking about how to manage your emotions and exchanges with whomever you are considering your primary around the activity of having others. Communication in monogamous relationships (albeit they may not always maintain monogamy but the goal is monogamy) is about being partners with just each other and how to better focus on that. If you have the ability to find what you need in multiple places, how does that give your partner(s) as individuals the chance to grow and learn something new because of your relationship? If I like football and you like jazz, but I can find another lover who also likes football, how do we take the space to learn more about either topic with each other, because we have a passion for one another and want to enjoy what the other loves? What happens when one partner needs more attention and care, like 24/7? If your partner gets cancer and needs the kind of support that comes with that, how can that be navigated? You become monogamous to care from them don't you? And if you don't, how does that make the dying partner feel? How do you focus on becoming something successful in life (other than an ultimate juggling partner) when you are putting so much in to romantic exchanges? I believe the true challenge is monogamy in life, because it takes more mental growth on a constant basis, especially when you truly break it down. To be with someone for nearly 40 years (as I know people in my life to be doing) and monogamy has always been the goal (maybe not always what happened, but has always been the GOAL) you have to really become humble and accepting about oneself and one's issues/flaws, because ONE person is being reflective to you, not multiple visions reflecting back to you, casting all sorts negating places, making it hard to see yourself. I think people today are lazy and crazy and cannot do monogamy right, and the way they've dealt with their failures at monogamy is to bring some other ridiculous shit to light and over intellectualize it to make it sound like it's what the "smart" and "liberal" and more "open to receive" people are doing, which is pompous. Until incredibly successful, intelligent, strong, accomplished, world changing people are out and screaming about their polyamory, not sister wives (who are a group of not nobodies who are all beat anyway) and not nobody East coast queers, then I'll be convinced. Show me an Obama practicing it. Show me an Albert Einstein practicing it. Show me a cadre of millionaires such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates (and if your response is Marquise de Sade I will knife a puppy in rage) who practice it. Show me a poly relationship that has transcended 40+ egalitarian years. I don't even want to unpack the ridiculous amount of hypocrisy running through the guests on this show who are JUDGING sisterwives, (after saying every poly relationship has its own rules and regulations) but are all talking about their poly dynamic and how open they are. RIDICULOUS.

  2. Hello Anonymous,
    Its Z. I will give it to you, you raise some amazing points. Some that I (as a monogamist person) have personally considered. My issue with your response is not your fundamental stance, but rather you value-laden thread that runs throughout. While I do believe that as 'educated folk', we often over intellectualize certain matters, I don't believe that monogamy trumps polyamory or vice versa. I hesitate to call any relationship 'style' a crock of shyt. Conditioning says judge and edify and glorify. On Queer 2 the T, we desire to expand the conversation to complete inclusivity. While I don't practice polyamory, I don't think that monogamy is some claim to fame either. As I said, I've seen neither overwhelmingly 'work'. But I do value the communication of polyamory as I don't see it in monogamy as intensely. I firmly believe (based on my own rships) that monogamists often assume a whole lot of supposed givens often to the detriment of our rships. Does that mean I desire multiple partners? No. Do I have multiple best friends? Yes. Can that b viewed as contradictory or hypocritical? Sure. Am I ok with that? Damn right!
    Again, I value many of your sentiments but I cannot jump on board with your vehement denigration of polyamory and edification of monogamy.
    Have an AMAZING day!

  3. I edify nothing. In all actuality I think relationships (friendships, romantic, familial, business, etc) in this day and age are all failing, and that in my formal opinion has to do with people and how they present themselves and what they are willing to give and take on. We live in a time where everyone wants to receive, but no one wants to give. In general, people today are more self centered and selfish, and encouraged further with this ideal through medium such as facebook or whatever the recent link has been. Polyamory only exacerbates that, and even worse under the misguidance of being in opposition of selfishness because you are doing all this "sharing" and "checking in on others". Polyamory as these ideals in society is like having a candy drive for diabetes. Polyamory has taken the concepts/issues in relationships and challenged them so much it came right back around to being self centered again. Being poly is about getting what you can for you, then taking an extravagant amount of time to sit and communicate how this should be ok with another who is emotionally attached to you, and how they can do the same to you. What kind of ill begotten nonsense? To emotionally flagellate one another proverbially all while using intellectual post modern jargon of "well why does feeling jealous exist?" and "can't we challenge ourselves to unpack that?" Jealousy is a survival emotion, particularly in a romantic relationship. If your man (let's live in the world of heterosexuality for just a moment) started courting and advancing on another woman, you as a woman in past times ran the risk of losing EVERYTHING. Fuck love, you and him had children, a farm, familial business dealings, property, money, etc., all tied up with in that. A new woman was a threat to living. Now yes of course we don't have agrarian structures anymore, so the shift of survival to social interactions does play in, but still, who really wants to mess with innate emotional implantations within our psyches? Like should we lose our 6th sense for danger also? I think not.

  4. Monogamy as the goal (and here is where you miss my point, because I don't think it's about poly or monogamy, it's about the goal, which lays somewhere in the middle, where maybe there are moments of sexual indiscretion or openness throughout decades of exchange, but the goal is what I am considering, what are we aiming for) forces us to quell those moments where you say to yourself "I want but they can't right now". Am I the only one who remembers the Bearenstein Bear book the Gimme Gimmes? Polyamory looks like that in my mind. Their goal changes and is that fair to all those invested? Like children, like friends, like family. Comparing friendships with romantic relationships is the poorest argument EVER. That's like apples and oranges. The commitment and investment one (hopefully) puts in a lover isn't the same as the effort made in friendships. Friendships' structure and dynamics just aren't anywhere near the same. And let's be real, there is always a hierarchy in all things, humans compartmentalize m&ms when eating them. As a person of color I applaud your want to be completely inclusive, but as a person of color you should know that humans since the dawn of time weigh things out and have and 1-2-3-4 categorization (blacks on the bottom, remember?) so it's foolish to say "all partners are equal" in poly exchanges, or that in comparison, polyamory versus monogamy one doesn't outweigh the other. Remember that moment in the Dark Knight where Batman had a choice to save the woman or save Harvey Dent? Exactly. Choices happen, especially outside of our control. Do you stay by the side of a troubled spouse/partner, or do you continue out the door to see another because you promised to see a movie with them? In that moment, you must chose and send a message to both. One matters more, even if for just that moment, and we as people NEVER EVER forget the day we've been 2nd to another.

  5. Hey.
    Z, again.
    Have you ever been in a poly/open relationship?

  6. @ Anonymous
    I totally understand your feelings and thoughts on this very hot topic. For me, no matter if you are a person who defines themselves as or belives in mono/poly lifestyles, every point that you brought up can be applied to any relationship you engage in. It really comes down to the individual person and what they are/are not willing to do. Many monogamous relationships can still feel the strain of being pulled in several places at once and have to make a decision (close friends,family and/or illness). Poly relationships can also exist with very similiar qualities of monogamy. Whatever your choice is for how you decide to live your life, is your own. Was everything you addressed above answered in the show? Not at all! At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to exactly how they feel and I deeply respect your position, as I hope maybe (crossing fingers) you could respect (not agree :)) the lifestyles that other people lead. Something works for everyone.

  7. Z, how is that question relevant to the debate? Refute me fine, but drawing in personal experience has no real holding on the points being made and disputed. My personal experience holds no water because I'm the only one who had it, so how can it matter? Maybe it shapes my true stance on the subject (of that I may or may not have revealed here, you can never know) but it has not crafted the cracks in the theorems that were presented. Anonymous #2, I respect and tolerate (let me emphasize more, TOLERATE) all people. At the end of the day, people are going to do what they do, they will chose what they chose, and the the most fascinating part of people is that they will defend whatever their choices or beliefs are with whatever logic (whether false, true, or some strange blend of both) they can get their hands on. I mean we are talking about the same group of mammals that invented the atom bomb and dropped it on a innocent city full of unsuspecting minorities mid work day, the same society that created such mythical sized proverbial monsters of pop culture since the hydra such as Justin Beiber and Soulja Boy. How can I not respect an entire grouping of animals that can create obsession in silly bands and facebook stalking? I have such reverence for a world that is so obtuse, strange, random, idiotic, and petulant but some how rules all others...... Paradoxes wrapped in enigmas are better than a box of insolvable rubix cubes tossed in with a ward of OCD patients. Something literally does work for everyone, and then when it doesn't, well that person simply changes their opinion, their religion, their partner, the city they dwell in, the job they work, whatever in order to defend fervently the change. And this is the way it is. I respect it because it exists in the same time continuum that I do, so I must share space with it whether I like it or not, best to at least make it comfortable by not throwing shade too. But I challenge all of the guests and even the hosts of this particular show to have this exact same convo again in 6 months - 1 year and tell me not one of them had some sort of volatile tumult have happened in that time period that directly had to do with this identity...... Again, call me when Oprah is selling this snake oil personally in O Magazine next to the weekly crossword, and maybe then you can move me on my ideals around it's viability.

  8. For me, the question is exceptionally relevant. Again, you raise many valid points but much of your stance, in my opinion, (if you have not been in a poly/open rship) reeks of the same pretentousness and hegemony of those spouted by countless theorists of the Ivory Tower and other privileged spaces who have a plethora of thoughts and opinions about communities that they have not been a part of but have only observed. But because of their power, privilege and assumptions that they are desired to be heard and have a right to be so vehemently vocal, in turn, project what they think is true onto communities they are not a part of.
    Contrary to the hegemonic belief that momogamy is the way, truth, and light, for many, monogamy is not THE goal. It does, however seem to be your goal. Which is fine. Your opinions are shared by many. But not all. And neither should they be.
    I find that many people who hold such opinions are very quick to refute all questions that pertain to personal investment/participation with statements such as 'personal experience has no holding on the points being made and disputed'.
    My issue here is how often misunderstood communities are forced into spaces and are projected onto by the socially acceptable voice. How often misunderstood communities are demonized, ridiculed and reduced to crocks of shyt for standing in their truth typically by folk who are not even active participants in said communities. Disagree? Cool. Demonize? Not cool.
    (If your are/have been poly/open, I still feel that much of what u say is a misguided demonization of poly folk and a glorification of monogamous folk)


  9. Z, I understand your sentiments, but again, I disagree. My personal experience is not grounds for reference in intellectual or ideologic debate, it would only give you my (assumable) emotion toward the topic to which I am debating, which you would then use to refute my argument, which is real a scapegoat, not a point. If we are discussing ice cream flavors and I am saying that based on what I understand about chocolate and all it's properties, it's popularity in society over a long history of ice cream, and based on how I see ice cream performing as a dessert in efficaciousness, chocolate is not the best. But I am not saying vanilla would be the answer either. Maybe the answer laying in between, maybe it lies in an entirely different flavor from either. Whether I've had vanilla or chocolate is not the point, the point is about extremism. Even you have created an extremism in this conversation by making it personal with a personal question, and then when not receiving a satisfying answer to it, retorting with personal high falutin attacks in assessing my character, a character you have no clue to truly know. In reading over my previous commentary, I say distinctly "I edify nothing. In all actuality I think relationships (friendships, romantic, familial, business, etc) in this day and age are all failing, and that in my formal opinion has to do with people and how they present themselves and what they are willing to give and take on. We live in a time where everyone wants to receive, but no one wants to give. In general, people today are more self centered and selfish, and encouraged further with this ideal through medium such as facebook or whatever the recent link has been." I say EVERYONE. Poly, mono, one eyed flying purple people eaters, everyone. But I do think this hyper intellectualized version of poly is the creation of this generation and era of what the Times called the "Me Me Me" generation.

  10. If I demonize anything, it has been human characteristics in current times on all sides of the discussion, poly people and monogamous people. Everyone needs to get their heads out of their own asses, read some books, and start looking to consider others along with themselves, not just themselves first and then how they convince others to get on board (because that certainly happens in monogamous relationships too). Ivory Towers? Pretentiousness? Far reach. Now if I said "I am better than poly people because I practice monogamy and that is the bestest and what they do is nasty" then yes, maybe. I cast out everyone living in EXTREMES if you must know my proclivities. My stance in this debate has been 2 things; 1) Not having identities in this, but goal destinations, and what goal would be most beneficial in the long run, especially when looking at the society as a whole and how our personal decisions inadvertently affect others? 2) Reassessing how we interact with partners on a whole, shying away from celebrating staunch extremes. Did I say polyamory is a crock of shit? Yes. Did I make clear that the way we deal with monogamy now is a crock of shit? Yes. Extremes. They kill us intellectually. And trying to incorporate making something personal as well, such as you have done here by asking about my personal experiences, then insisted on passing personal judgments. Ironically, this is the exacting definition of pomposity. Those who live in glass houses.

  11. Queer 2 The T, along with bringing the #1 Queer Sound from Germantown, has a mission to be a space where all minds can come and convene to discuss the gamut of topics on hand during the moments we are off the air. I would like to remind individuals that is quite fine for individuals to disagree. Just remember to state your POV, read and respect other's POV, gain some new insight (good, bad or indifferent), smile and please tune next week :)

    Thanks ever so!!!!

  12. I am inclined to ask, Can't we all just fuck and love one another? Why does it matter? Is everyone here happy with themselves? Great! Now how about we all have an everloving backseat on the subject. Its not that serious.

  13. @Sir.Prince: Thank you VERY much for bringing what I think is humor to this discussion. It is much needed :)

    Though, the only thing I will challenge is the "its not that serious comment". To those dwelling in the Poly lifestyle, this conversation is serious because it is a way of living which goes against the hetero-normative frame-workings of relationship. I only wish that more Poly individuals would come forward and comment to shed a different perspective on the life they lead. As non-poly individuals continuing to academically go rams head to rams head on the topic makes it moot: water under a bridge that no one has ever traveled yet pontificate directions on the eb and flow of the current.

  14. Is the above word exchange really just about the show? The extensive words could not just be from the very small segment on a topic that is quite large. The hosts of the show understood it was not their area of expertise and had a few guests to come on the show. In no way do any of the guests represent Poly as whole or relationships period. As a person who has successfully lived a Poly lifestyle for 10 years, I can truly say that the above sentiments are coming from a place of hurt and deceit.

    You have swinging, which is pretty much a free for all with any and everyone of your choosing. No real emotional connection or commitment, other than sex is made, it's just sex. You have Polyamory/Non-monogamy which is the commitment to more than one person. Many people have various definitions of what it is to them. I will say for me, my commitment to both my partners is very real, loving and open. One of my partners is also commited to another and my other partner always has the option. No personal relationship needs to be validated by and/or equated to success. Honesty, Love, Communication, Trust and Truth are the fundamentals of any relationship style. For me, choosing this relationship structure in no way suggests that any of us are selfish. Anyone could talk for days about what they are going to do, but in any relationship form, it's about your actions. Polyamory is just a word, it's the individual that truly decides it's meaning. I maintain a strong, trust relationship with 4 adults involved and 5 children.

  15. As a person with 30 years of personal experience (first-hand), I can admit that I had conflicting opinions about some of the points-of-view expressed during the show. Knowing that any topic outside of the mainstream that gets airtime (in this day & age) naturally results in online "conversation" that, more often than not, quickly deviates from the point of the original broadcast, I was clear on letting the online chips fall where they may. After reading the threads and experiencing the passion of this "intellectual and ideological" debate, it would be an act of cowardice on my part not to (at least) weigh in on this one.

    Having experienced both the highs and the lows of a life of polyamory, I am all too familiar with the misrepresentation of some individuals (in all honesty) are deserving of such scathing criticism. While not validating the claim that “polyamory is a crock of shit”, I do believe that the absence of a true definition of polyamory (beyond relying on the Latin-to-English translation and functional examples), leaves everyone affiliated exposed to cynicism and derision from the “Muppets in the Balcony.”

    First and foremost, Polyamory is a life-long commitment to personal accountability and refinement for the benefit of the group/community/society to which that person pledges allegiance (make no mistake…it is a self-governing entity). The unspoken rule/agreement in many (not all) monogamous relationships is that the relationship/connection can be used as a vehicle for self-improvement/definition. With a new “sense of self”, that individual is obligated to focus their attention and energy on the relationship that “made them whole”.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

    Though there are obviously common elements and influences, Polyamory just doesn’t function that way. Seemingly basic elements that are acceptable in monogamy (rank & order/compartmentalization, comparing one’s friend to the significant other, in-laws to in-laws, etc., reckless abandon, “checking in on “ or policing the behavior of one’s partner) are just a few of the more detrimental factors in polyamory. Three additional common by-products experienced by both monogamists and polyamorists that are worth mentioning are Complacency (“Finish Line/Fat, Dumb & Happy” mentality), the fear of exclusion/jealousy, and the excessive demand for personal validation from their loved ones (individual or group).

    Polyamory is about communication, cooperation, Oneness (not “a sense of” oneness), celebrating the humanity of others through correct thought, word & action (commonly referred to as unconditional love) and WORK.

    For those with limited experience/visibility into the structure of polyamory, it is understandable how the term can become synonymous with “Queer”, “Swinging”, Free Love, “a glorified orgy”, “aggressive hedonism”, etc. The negative effects of solipsism can certainly be found in within polyamory (or any relationship/functioning agreement among group members) as it can within monogamy. With Poly, there are little to no degrees for tolerance when it comes to selfishness; the identification of those indicators also becomes more difficult as the people involved stray further from the founding principles.

    Self-forgiveness, self-respect, self-awareness, discipline, accountability, compassion, and common sense are what keeps the individual “on track” within Poly (to be governed by THAT individual within the group PRIOR to communicating/communing with the group). Without those laws in place, there are no functioning examples/results. Failing to address those elements by one’s self at any (and all) points will result in the more oppressive philosophy of “what’s mine is mine & what’s yours is mine.” It is a cancer to the institution of Polyamory and (IMO) anyone who supports or promotes that school of thought should be treated as such.

  16. Regarding the comment about the Berenstain Bears books, I have always believed that books like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein should indefinitely replace the current selections (“The Ethical Slut”, “Opening Up” and the likes) found in the “Alternate Lifestyles” sections. The Berenstain Bears could become gazillionaires if their material could be marketed to Poly folks (in a non-creepy way, of course).

    Get the Gimmes – Appreciation of what you have instead of throwing a tantrum

    Trouble with Friends – You can’t always have your own way if you want to maintain healthy relationships

    The Truth – The effects of “little lies that grow bigger and bigger”

    Learn About Strangers – A common-sense approach to meeting new people/safe conduct among strangers

    The Messy Room – The perils of expecting an individual to clean up the messes/repair damages made by one or several members of a collective

    The Blame Game – Working together to solve problems

    Show Some Respect – Communicating the value of civility and respect

    (last but not least…)

    Forget Their Manners – Basic etiquette and the penalties for acts of rudeness

    Upon successful completion, all poly folks should receive a 9x11 copy of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” (kindergarten…a great example of a successful “progressive” institution modeled after the Agrarian System).

    The majority of people who are truly committed to a life of polyamory has neither the desire nor the time to spare for pageantry or proselytization; I consider them/us to be the 99% who have shit to do (more than likely won’t fit into a crock…and that’s not where I keep “important shit” anyway).

    But when the inpatient’s ejaculate glazed the cheek of the federal agent, I always believed Clarisse had just cause to draw her government-issue and respond in a meaningful way.

    I dread the idea of sharing space with anyone who chooses to be “out and screaming” about Polyamory (or anything, for that matter); so I certainly wouldn’t be able to provide the rap sheets of Poly Rah-Rahs, their known accomplices or their last whereabouts.

    When it comes to functioning/successful examples of Polyamory principles, then there are several:

    1) Rumi: 13th century Sufi and poet (relationship between the Lover and the Beloved)

    2) Søren Kierkegaard: Danish philosopher (“Either/Or” and “The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage”)

    3) Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Author of “On the Social Contract”; belief in the family being the most ancient of all societies and first form of government; the first seven sections of “The Social Contract” are as applicable to Polyamory as they are to politics

    4) Barack Obama: President Obama's vision of America parallels (if not mirrors) the goals and objectives of Progressive Utilization Theory (PROUT).

    Personal security without co-dependency, inclusion over alienation, freedom of thought and freedom from exploitation, oppression and superstition are a few of the objectives that define the purpose of PROUT. They can certainly be considered as long-term goals of monogamy; however, in the scope of Polyamory, they are, without question, the fundamentals of a healthy polyamorous relationship.