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How it has been: Taking Steps Toward Expanding Our Options
Marriage, Monogamy & the Nuclear Family - Creating Space for Different Types of Families - Divorce/Remarriage, Serial Monogamy, Infidelity& Blended Families, Polyamory/Polyfidelity,
Monogamy was for millennia, Imposed on women. Instead of extending the same license to women that men had enjoyed and abused, we imposed on men the limitations that we had always imposed on women. And its been a disaster because men have been as bad at it as women are. Dan Savage.
How it could be: Taking the Next Step
- Intentional Communities
- Both currently do not have legal and societal proections
The Right to Civil Union: Separation of Church & State
Prenuptial Agreements: Required
For better or worse is the way that many couple choose to show a commitment to each other. I just don't believe a marriage license should be issued to anybody unless it is accompanied by a Pre-Nuptial Agreement covering kids, possessions and terms of break up. Prepare for the worst while you still like each other cause it's a horror when you have to go through divorce lawyers!
Polyamory & Polyfidelity
Some brave people are attempting to relate in other ways. They practice what they call a "polyamorous" lifestyle. Polyamory means to love more than one person at one time with the full and open consent of all parties.
Polyamory is different from "swinging" in that there is more feeling and emotion is involved. Polyamory is not just an anonymous meeting of bodies but a joining of lovers and friends in a relationship context. Special Friendships would be in this category.
Of course, a polyamorous lifestyle is not for everyone. AIDS is just one problem that immediately comes to mind. However, living in the age of AIDS does not mean that you should lead a life of celibacy or unfulfilling monogamy. For a tiny but growing number of people the key to having your cake and eating it is the idea of polyfidelity. Polyfidelity is when three or more people decide to live with each other in a faithful relationship. It is a form of living and loving that allows variety and stability to coexist.
Truly wonderful lovemaking is an act of wild abandon. Unrestrained, passionate and full of potentially deadly bodily juices. A polyfidelitous relationship allows freedom to exchange juices and love with more than one and yet to do so with a great degree of safety.
If you live in a relationship that includes more than one partner or you know of one please tell us about it. We are especially interested in the problems and pleasures that come up from having such a relationship as well as the practical details involved in making such a relationship work.
Disbanding the couple isn't fully necessary to achieve our aims of reducing consumption patterns, so why put in the trouble to create new types of relationships? Because it is the stagnant, cementing traditional monogamy that makes it difficult to think of relationships in an ecologically and socially practical way.
Thinking about practicality can allow us to better see the big picture of our lives. How do I really want to spend my time, with who, doing what, and with what level of intimacy? Do I enjoy creating a home with this person, work on projects with this other one, and love practicing tantric arts with another? Do I like doing all these things with all three? Who is in my life that I want to be with? Are my relationship boundaries and allowances mine to create, or must I rely on my mother and society to create them for me? Through the process of analyzing my life and the passed down assumptions I am enabled to change my consumptive patterns, relationships, and well-being for the positive.
Sex & Gender - The Head, the Heart and the Loins
Male and Female: Victims of the Heart & the Loins
Gender Roles and Behavior in Sexual Relationships
– How it has been: Women following their hearts, Men following their loins
– How it could be: Using your head along with your head and heart.
Arranged marriages tend to be more long-lasting than 'love' marriages.
One reason why is that in arranged marriages there is cold hard calculations of a mate's marriage prospects. As many Hollywood and Bollywood movies have noted, there is no more calculating marriage 'fixer' than an elderly Indian mother.
However, most people in the world would not like to have their life partners picked out by their parents. They would like to choose their partner but then to have more stability in their actual relationship choice.
Lady’s Choice (Empowered women choosing their partner)
– How it has been: Some Day My Prince Will Come
– How it could be: Go Out & Kiss A Few Toads
Intimate Connection in an Individualist Age (Introducing Special and Super Special Friends)
– How it has been: Fuck Buddies
– How it could be: Special Friends
Women waiting (impatiently) for men to choose them and complaining about men
Waiting for “The One”
Stop complaining and just go out there and make a choice
Date: give different options a try so you know better what you are looking for and more importantly what you are not looking for in a partner or Friends with Benefits
How it could be: Taking Steps Toward Expanding Our Options
Special Friendships (discrete and respectful)
Super Special Friendships
Creating Space for Different Types of Families (Expand definitions of family: poly & community)
Strength in Numbers: Single Parent Communities
(Single Mother Communities)
How it has been: On Her Own: The Struggling Single Mom
How it could be: Living Together: Support to Lessen the Struggle
Shared Custody & Father’s Rights
- How it has been: Child Goes Automatically to the Mother
- How it could be: Shared Custody
How it has been:
Marriage, Monogamy & the Nuclear Family
Serial Monogamy &
Polyamory/Polyfidelity: Both currently do not have legal and societal protections
Single mom phenomenon (address single dads) No money, no time, no support, no fun; welfare
Networking in online communities
Starting Goddess Houses: Locations where single moms can live together
Physically bring women together create spaces where they can live together, in community pool resources and share responsibilities. Watching each other's children to allow moms some fun time
Post-Marital Sex: Sexploration (Keeping it fresh)
- – How it has been: Cliché
- – How it could be: Kinky
The Right to Civil Union (Civil Union instead of Marriage)
- – How it has been: Legal Marriage
- – How it could be: Civil Unions for All
Prenuptial Agreements (Requiring Prenuptial Agreements)
- – How it has been: Optional
- – How it could be: A Requirement
People often joke about how marriage kills your sex life and after you’ve had children.
Get creative, Keep it fresh
Sexcations (SEE SEX & TRAVEL)
We have seen from the struggle for gay marriage how religiously charged the idea of marriage is
Separation of church and state: if it is so charged than perhaps it should not be a law
Marriage religious only
Civil Union: legal procedure; a business merger legally binding the parties involved
Under a Civil Union the same benefits would be extended to all parties that wish to join the merger:
Hetero, Homo, Poly
Make a plan while you still like each other
Especially if marriage is taken out of the law and everyone had a civil union, it would be clear that the
legal portion was separate from the religious and in a business merger assets would be discussed by
Sex & Dating
Women: Victims of the Heart; Men: Victims of the Loins
Ladies Choice: Women Choosing their Partner Intimate Connection in an Individualist Age
- Monogamy: Why mess with it?
How it has been: Women following their hearts, Men following their loins
For most of recorded history women were denied the right "fall in love". Usually their partners were picked for them. Sometimes they could reject their suitor but more often than not the person who they will bear children for was chosen for them. Feminism has allowed women to "follow their hearts".
And so was born the Romance Industry. Many women would beg to differ but we would argue that "following your heart" has been a disaster. Romance novels, soap operas, cosmopolitan. Ladies Choice: Women Choosing their Partner
Some Day My Prince Will Come - Women waiting (impatiently) for men to choose them and complaining about men - Waiting for "The One"
And for men the situation is no better. Much of their decision process on whether to go with a woman is based on one thing, how attractive is she; how do my loins react to her? This leads men to also make disasterous romantic decision.
How it could be: Using your head along with your heart and loins!
Go Out & Kiss A Few Toads - Stop complaining and just go out there and make a choice - Date: give different options a try so you know better what you are looking for and more importantly what you are not looking for in a partner.
How it has been: Friends with Benefits (or Fuck Buddies), Sleeping around, serial monogamy
How it could be: Special Friends - Special Friendships (discrete and respectful) - Super Special Friendships
A Special Friendship is an intimate sensual connection based on Buddhist principles of loving non-attachment and living in the moment.
And now for the LONG Definition! . . .
The vast majority of people on this planet live in "monogamous" relationships. One Man, one Woman. Till death do they part. That is the governing morality regarding relationships in most of the world today. Even when people are committing adultery they do so in the context of a supposed monogamous relationship. Most people today would argue that monogamy is the natural state of affairs. Homosexuals tend towards monagamous relationships.
However, wouldn't it be interesting to broaden the traditional definition of relationships? One that would include other forms of relating than the jealousy, possessiveness and hypocrisy so common in monogamous relationships?
When monogamy works it is a beautiful thing. But is monogamy permanent? One theory in Evolutionary Psychology states that in our prehistoric past, a cave woman would desire monogamy with a man for about four years. For that is how long it takes for the baby she would have had with him to have grown up to toddler level where it could fend for itself under her wing. Because she was now not dependent on the man to get food and diversification of genes is a necessary survival strategy she would then have another man. In other words monogamy is natural but it is temporary.
In modern society, we are lucky to have the ability to choose our partners. This was not so for most of recorded human history and especially so for women. So with choice and freedom and relative equality we now have the ability to search for "The One"; that person who is so perfect and wonderful (at least to us!), that we fall in love and stay together forever and ever in complete happiness.
However, instead of finding "The One", most people actually end up doing what is popularly known as Serial Monogamy. After breaking up with the person who they thought was The One, they wait in relative celibacy until the next "One" shows up in their lives. Then they enjoy monogamy until they break up and then they repeat the cycle. Some stay together and remain happy but they are few and far between. Too many couples simply tough it out "for the sake of the kids".
Though of course you can have a Special Friendship at any point in your life, in this article, we are focussing on Special Friendships in the periods between deeply committed monogamous relationships. The time in other words, when you are "single".
Here are some of the Principles of Special Friendship:
1 - Loving without Attachment. In Tibetan Buddhism, one can deeply love a person or thing and yet let go. The principle of non-attachment is very powerful; it allows for deep love and intimate connection but without the expectations that often come from a monogamous relationship. You love knowing the sensual part may end at any time. Part of being a Special Friend is the acceptance that the connection can change into being a Platonic Friend for whatever reason. (And possibly back again!)
2 - Respectful Appointments. Unlike a traditional relationship, a Special Friend, makes respectful appointments to visit. There is no automatic assumption that they can just come over!
3 - Living in the Moment. With a Special Friend there is less focus on the past or future. There is only the moment which you have now. In other words you don't take each other for granted. This can make a Special Friendship temporary but it can also serve to make the friendship more stable. When you enjoy each moment with each other like it is your last, you tend to really deeply appreciate the connection you have. This then gives both of you the incentive to make the connection last longer.
4 - Pure Acceptance. In a Special Friendship you accept the person for exactly who they are. In fact you like them for who they are! You do not want to "change" them as couples tend to do in a traditional relationship.
5 - Playing with Jealousy. All relationships have some form of Jealousy. In a Special Friendship jealousy is accepted and communicated if necessary but it is not an all consuming emotion. In fact because you don't take the other "for granted" jealousy can be a powerful tool for passion! However, jealousy does have its dark side; you may end up bumping in to your Special Friend at a social and realize that they are with their Special Friend! Ouch! How we then react is the true test of Special Friendship!
6 - Using the Brain as well as the Heart. When the Brain is involved in a connection there is a more practical aspect to the friendship. You can make "Tantric Appointments", communication is easier without so much underlying emotionalism. And when the head is involved the heart can actually open up in deeper more real ways.
7 - Don't Ask, Don't tell or . . . Ask and Tell! A Special Friend should always be honest. They should answer all questions truthfully. But that doesn't mean that they have to offer up every single detail. So a Special Friendship can have a little bit of mystery! And it puts a responsibility on the Questioner, "Do you really need to know everything?" Or can you accept mystery? This can work to make things rather exciting!
8 - Freedom to Experiment. In a "Big" Relationship you are looking for someone who is as close to "perfect" as you can find. With a Special Friend you can experiment, go out of your comfort zone. Thus dating someone who is taller, younger, older or with a radically different life philosophy and so on might not be an option if you are continually looking for "The Perfect One". However, such different kinds of experimental Special Friends often bring perspectives, joys and connections that would never happen than if the focus is always on the "Perfect" one!
9 - A Special Friend can sometimes end up being The One! You might end up knowing a Special Friend for years and years. And then, without even trying, you one day may look at that person and realize that you are really in love with themThat they are The One! So rather than being against Monogamy, Special Friendships can end up providing a more solid and stable foundation for a long term relationship; the kind that involves having a family and sharing a life together.
Sex & Jealousy
Whether I am Monogamous or not how can I deal with Jealousy?
Jealousy is deeply rooted in human nature. It has, at one time or another, taken possession of nearly all our souls. It seems to be a natural feeling as much a part of us as hunger or thirst. Children exhibit feelings of jealousy from the earliest ages; even animals display feelings that can only be described as belonging to the green-eyed monster. Play with one dog and the other will vie for your attention. I used to look after one dog who would never let me pet another dog. Whenever we went for walks in the park and I would try to pet other dogs she would snap at them and chase them away. I have seen people behave in a similar fashion! Yet natural though the feeling may be, jealousy is usually based on an insecurity of some kind. We are jealous of that which we consciously or unconsciously feel that we cannot compete with.
Sexual and emotional jealousy can have devastating consequences. Murder, of course, being the most serious. But not all the consequences of jealousy are negative. Many couples can have happy faithful relationships partially because of jealousy. "You'd kill me if you caught me sleeping around, ooh, that must mean you love me!" This line, taken from a popular TV series, perhaps best illustrates the fact that many partners like to feel "possessed" by the other.
But not everyone wants to live a life based on jealousy. Humans have often overcome their "natural" tendencies in the modern world. If men behaved according to their natural imperatives they would never have vasectomies.
For myself, I wanted to reduce not erase the power that jealousy had over me. And so, like many people today, I attended a workshop group. I have the following experience from that group which helped to give me quite a different perspective on the issue of jealousy.
It was a tantric sexuality group in India. The group comprised of 9 men and 9 women of varying nationalities and it lasted for 3 days. We did various activities in the group and one of the activities focused on male jealousy and feelings of competition.
In this exercise all the men had to lie down on their backs in a circular shape with their heads pointed towards the center and their feet pointed outwards. Lying thus, we were instructed to hold the hands of the man on either side of us. I should mention that we were also all naked and all blindfolded at the time.
So there we were, nine guys, naked, blind and lying on our backs holding each other's hands. To put it mildly, it was quite an uncomfortable feeling!
We were not supposed to talk but I could feel through my hands the sweaty palms and nervousness of the other guys on either side of me. There was no male competition now, no macho egos, just nine apprehensive guys with shrunken penises facing the ceiling.
Meanwhile, the females who were in one corner of the room talking in low tones with one of the therapists suddenly began to laugh and giggle.
A needle in the eye could not have been more tortuous. Nine shaky pairs of male hands gripped each other in nervous response to the onslaught of female laughter. And, for that moment, I could feel what every guy was feeling, "My God, they're laughing at me!" Despite our surface bravado, all of us 'men' were actually quite insecure in some way or another and the women's laughter had brought those vulnerable feelings out to the front of our minds.
We tend to be jealous of those who have something which we don't. However, in that room on that day I realized that all of us, no matter how good-looking were "missing" something. In this new light my feelings of jealousy, which I would often have when around other males, looked rather ridiculous. After all, under all the macho and manly posturing we are as vulnerable and sensitive as little boys. Women have been telling us that since time began. But we have always refused to believe it.
Anyway, to make a long story short the women were then allowed to do almost anything they wanted to/with or for us. We guys just had to hold hands, lie back and enjoy!
It was very hard to even spell the word jealousy at this point!