On Valentine’s Day this year, three men married each other in Thailand in a traditional water-pouring ceremony. I’m sure that the majority of people who’ve just read that sentence are most likely to zone in on the part where I said ‘three men’ and ‘married each other’.
When I first saw this news story on a close friend’s Facebook, I was already awaiting the hateful comments, the jeers, and the judgemental bullshit that often comes with such a story – ‘It’s not real marriage’, ‘They’re cheating on each other, that’s not love’, or other such nonsense that I could write on about forever. Instead, I got an extremely pleasant surprise.
‘They couldn’t be more adorable if they were holding baskets of puppies and wearing bunnies on their heads. How fantastic!’ one commentator gleefully exclaimed. Another said, ‘How progressive! Amazing.’ And in the one that resonated with me the most, one man asked, ‘Why not? Seriously, there’s worse things in the world than this…’ But the question is, how many would read this article and be up in arms about how wrong it is? I’m not even talking about the extremists, the religious nuts who claim that it’s wrong to do anything short of re-adjusting your balls, but regular, everyday people who can’t see past their own very black and white views.
These three men are not alone. Type ‘polyamory’ into Google and you will be amazed at how many people are accepting this as a part of life, whether it’s between four people, three people, or simply two people who engage in an open relationship, where either partner can choose to have sex with someone else. There are even articles which suggest that polyamory is the next sexual revolution and could lead to a much healthier and happier attitude to love, sex and relationships.
Before we go any further, I have a confession of my own: monogamy isn’t for me. And before any of you try to smother me with kissograms and old love letters, I’m not saying that it doesn’t work for everyone. I know many people who are perfectly happy in marriage and steady relationships. But I also know people who aren’t. People who are in relationships where the passion fizzled out years ago and they’re with them for the sake of it. People who are serial daters, constantly jumping from one relationship to another, shouting their love from the rooftops of Facebook in one week and cursing their now-bastard-of-an-ex a week later. People who would be far happier in polygamy or open relationships, if only they would embrace it.
We are taught as people, and as a society, that we should find a suitable mate, fall in love, get married, and if you are so inclined, have children, and live happily ever after. But why is it looked down upon if someone takes a different path? We’re told to live our lives as we please, as long as it doesn’t harm another human being. The most common misconception about polyamory is that it’s just an excuse to cheat, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Polyamory is largely about honesty and consent. It’s about an acceptance of multiple partners without jealousy rearing it’s ugly head, or getting jealous, but dealing with it in a way that’s not getting in the way of the foundations of your relationship. It’s about not restricting boundaries and creating a point of understanding between yourself and your partner. It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it doesn’t lie.
I fully understand that polyamory wouldn’t suit a lot of people, and that’s perfectly fine. But it’s not anyone’s right to tell someone who they can or can’t have sex with. It’s not anyone’s right to tell someone else how they should live their lives.
And most importantly, it’s not anyone’s right to tell someone how many people they can love.
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