[Epistemic status: trolling.]
One-penis policies are roundly condemned in the polyamory community. This article provides a fair sample of the common opinion: it’s homophobic, misogynistic, sex-negative, unfair, and a product of insecurity and toxic masculinity.
Now, it’s possible that I live in this wonderful bubble of people with healthy polyamory, but I’ve never actually met anyone with a one-penis policy. The amount of condemnation one-penis policies get seems entirely out of line with the number of men who actually get their partners to implement such a thing.
Furthermore, we clearly treat one-penis policies as a special case. In most aspects of polyamory, people adopt a nuanced position: while the ideal is for everyone to be comfortable with their partners’ other relationships, we accept that temporarily, while someone works on developing the skills necessary to deal with jealousy, they might accept certain reasonable limits. However, nobody says “well, it’s a bad idea if you’re planning on having one-penis policies forever, but while you’re opening up that’s a pretty reasonable way to deal with insecurity.” They say “insecure misogynist homophobe!” Why is that?
Wikipedia points out that of the 1231 societies in the Ethnographic Atlas, more than a thousand practiced polygyny at least occasionally, while those who practice polyandry make up a grand total of four. Of course, many have argued that the Atlas undercounts polyandrous societies. But even so, cross-culturally, it seems like polygyny without polyandry is by far the most common kind of polygamy. It’s almost like it’s an attractor: as soon as you start letting some people marry more than one person, it devolves into some guys having harems of women that they don’t let fuck any other guys.
So, let’s imagine how polygyny would look in our society. We’re modern, sex-positive people; we want at least a veneer of equality here. But we’re also, fundamentally, a homophobic society, one that views women’s relationships with women as being less important than their relationships with men, as sexy disposable fun times in between the real relationships.
Polygyny would probably look like “we can both fuck as many girls as we want!”
There are obvious reasons why no poly people want our poly networks to be polygynous. For one thing, for every man who has two girls who date only him, there’s another guy who doesn’t get to date anyone, which is sad for him. It’s not a great deal for the women either. And when people see you having harems of women, they start saying words like “fundamentalist Mormons” and “patriarchal” and other things one would not like to have associated with one’s minority sexual practice.
So what we do is we shame one-penis policies. It might be a bit unfair that the guy who is insecure about his wife fucking other men has to put up with it while the guy who is insecure about his wife kissing other people can say “look, honey, can we phase in the kissing over the next couple months?” But if we didn’t do it, we’d be sucked into the polygyny void from which– apparently– only four cultures can escape.
“However, nobody says “well, it’s a bad idea if you’re planning on having one-penis policies forever, but while you’re opening up that’s a pretty reasonable way to deal with insecurity.”
I totally said (approximately) that! http://wildeabandonment.tumblr.com/post/131675911873/funereal-disease-raises-hand-sheepishly-i
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Well. I am the person who has seen all the one penis policies. Including the unicorn hunting. It’s not very visible in actual life as the kind of person who is very into it has not been immersed into the local poly culture — we tend to boil out that tendency out from people, as far as I can tell, consciously or unconsciously — and instead is a product of online dating sites and Fetlife and et cetera.
Usually it’s an outgrowth of the large number of bisexual woman / straight man partnerships I’ve seen. Any sort of relationship standard that treats the two as a single “relationship unit” means that the man’s gynophilic preferences become the overriding concern. I think the real complaint, as far as I can tell, in the poly community? Is that you shouldn’t treat two people as a single unit. A single person’s sexuality should not become binding on two people. But people seem to think that you can agree to anything, and I’ve definitely seen imbalanced as fuck Master/slave relationships, and no one voices a complaint with them.
Locally, people don’t say misogynistic but they do say insecure. More often, however, they say transphobic. And I have definitely seen various kinds of uncomfortable transphobia from this. Thinking about it, it would almost be more accurate to say people shame a certain kind of relationship _advertisement_, at least in my experience. People seem fairly firm on the notion that you Can in fact negotiate anything you want, in my town — you just shouldn’t be a transphobic asshole when advertising on social networks for more people to come join. I find it hard to argue with the logic there. “If your poly has other people as collateral damage, you’re doing it wrong.”
And even then, it mostly is about using cis and trans (gender) in your advertisements rather than (slew of increasingly uncomfortable euphemisms). I don’t think I’ve seen someone advertise for a cis person using that language. I suspect they wouldn’t be bothered. I know that people who don’t vocalize noises about OPPs and similar social constructs aren’t bothered when they look for (specific gender) partner. Hm. Something something, it’s all about signaling, something?
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This is suposed to be trolling? OK, I guess I have a hard time imagining Ozy saying this seriously, but this doesn’t seem that out there…
Trolling == “this argument makes me giggle, and therefore I want to write a blog post about it, but it has nowhere near the evidence base or the high priors that I’d want to claim that it is true“
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Oh, well those are certainly worth writing. 😀
Since this is trolling, I suspect you may already know the historical reason why polygyny is the norm:
Males die off early. The fact that England never reverted to polygyny post WWI is a statistical and historical anomaly.
Trolling perhaps, but it is at least important to recognize that true polyamory (as opposed to polygyny more or less thinly disguised) is a very new thing under the sun, an experiment that may or may not work in the long term.
I can imagine a future in which polyamory is the norm and male sexual jealousy is treated as a moral failing. I can equally imagine a future in which “polyamory” means polygyny in practice. Apparently polyamorists can imagine the latter one too, or they wouldn’t make such an effort to shame the O.P.P. (And oh my God, do we finally know what that means?)
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Reblogged this on dave94015 and commented:
a post that discusses a common type of shaming in the #poly community…because polyamory will become the norm and male sexual jealousy will be treated as a moral failing? will “polyamory” be polygyny for many relationships?
“patriarchal” is the greatest compliment anyone could give to a minority sexual practice.
But this is a great exercise in motivated reasoning. It turns out everything that runs against our preferences is scientifically proven Wrong and Evil!
Clever alias said:
Yeah, you live in a bubble, sry
Helps I guess that people with OPPs often don’t identify with or participate in the polyamory community