Ethical nonmonogamy is more than polyamory.
I doubt this is news to anyone actively following my blog, but it’s something of a pet peeve of mine.
Mainstream media and, by extension, many monogamous folks have taken to either
- Using ‘polyamory’ as a stand-in for ethical nonmonogamy or
- Speaking as if polyamory is the ONLY kind of ethical nonmonogamy.
At best, this is leading to a situation where swinging, open relationships, relationship anarchy, ethical polygamy, etc, etc, are all treated as sub-sets of polyamory. At worst, other nonmonogamous folks will be forgotten or talked over. Hell, they already are. It’ll just get worse.
Polyamory Is becoming the New ‘Gay’
We’ve seen the same issue before in the LGBT+ community. Where ‘gay’ became the stand-in for everyone under the umbrella AND a term specifically for homosexual men. As frustrating as it was, it was somewhat understandable as there was no actual umbrella term.
These days there sorta is one — more and more folks are using ‘queer’ as that umbrella term, though not with anywhere near universal acceptance.
Ethical nonmonogamy already has a perfectly good umbrella term — ethical nonmonogamy.
Hell, why not just ‘nonmonogamy’?
Why do we need to keep proclaiming our ethicalness? It’s not like monogamous folks go around talking about ‘ethical monogamy’ to differentiate themselves from all those unethical monogamists. (There are a LOT of those, you know.)
NonMonogamy. It works. It’s a perfectly good word whose meaning people either know or can figure out just from looking at it.
Not-Monogamy. See. Easy.
Yes, It Matters
There’s a reason my latest book wasn’t called ‘NonMonogamy and Kink’. I was talking specifically about polyamory and polyamorous culture and how it can mesh with kink and kinky culture. Polyamorous culture is different from swinging culture. Swingers may get some benefit from reading Polyamory and Kink, but I don’t know swinging culture. I’ve never been part of it. I don’t know what (if any) unique problems swingers might have adding kink to their relationships.
And that’s okay! Maybe if there are real issues, a kinky swinger will write their own book about it.
It’s not okay when magazine articles and major media blogs and other stuff act like (ethical) nonmonogamy=polyamory.
Nonmonogamy is more than polyamory.
And I think that’s pretty cool.