[Apologies! When I was writing the results post for the ITT, I discovered I’d somehow failed to run two posts. This is why you do not let people with brainfog organize ITTs. 🙂 The last two posts will run today and tomorrow; Wednesday’s previously scheduled post will be on Thursday, and the results will be on Friday.]
1. Why do you believe what you believe? What would change your mind?
The evidence that monogamy is a poor fit for many people is all around us in the affairs that many supposedly monogamous people have. I do believe that polyamory would work better for many people who are practicing monogamy simply because it is the socially accepted default. But what I’m even more certain of is I know it works for me. It’s possible that not everyone is like me in this regard, but I know I’m not alone. As for what would change my mind, I suppose if I experienced a series of relationship problems that seem endemic to polyamory that might do it, but I haven’t noticed poly relationships having problems that monogamous relationships don’t also have. What I can’t imagine is being argued out of polyamory. Who is argued out of love? Your time would be better spent convincing my partners that Fight Club was a great movie that they should constantly talk to me about than convincing me that it is bad for me to have a relationship with the people I love.
2. A polyamorous person gets an STI. In a healthy relationship, what would happen next?
In a healthy relationship, the next thing is they talk about it. Perhaps others in the polycule decide that properly treated herpes isn’t a big deal, or perhaps they decide to take action to contain it. Containment works a lot like it does for COVID — lots of testing, and cover up (but with condoms instead of face masks). Everyone switches to condom only with every partner until it is clear who has it and who doesn’t. (Hopefully you were already using condoms with most partners and getting tested regularly. In my experience poly people are better about this than monogamous people.)
What others don’t do is freak out about the news and treat the person with the STI like a dirty untouchable who needs to be cast out of the group. That’s how you create an environment where the next person with an STI is reluctant to talk about it, and that’s what an unhealthy relationship looks like.
3. What would happen if 90% of people in a society were polyamorous?
You mean after we’re done with the nationwide non-stop orgy Fox News has been promising us all these years? Things wouldn’t be all that different. There are still single people, but they are still polyamorous in that they are open to relationships with non-single people, and this improves their options. There is no pressure to settle down before everyone else does. Likewise, there are polycules of size two, but they are still poly in that they openly talk about their interests in other people and may try dating others from time to time. More kids grow up with three parents and it turns out it is easier to raise them when there are more adults around. There are frequently still rules, but they are individually negotiated rather than dictated by society. For example polycules with children tend to have stricter rules about bringing new adults into the relationship, sometimes outright forbidding it. And where there are still rules, there are still rule breakers, there are still affairs and they can still be destructive to existing relationships. But there are few affairs when people have more flexibility to find what they want in their relationships. It’s not utopia, but it’s nicer this way.