On the quest for the infinite possibilities of love, sex, and connection through various relationships
Is it possible to love more than one person simultaneously? Can we really be in more than one meaningful and fulfilling partnership at a time? Won’t jealousy eventually rear its ugly green eyes and see to it that someone gets hurt? It’s the age old question we have been asking ourselves for centuries: is love truly infinite?
Science says it’s possible; it’s been proven time and again, from the prehistoric times of our Neanderthal ancestors, to the millions living happy polyamorous lives today.
Humans have been coming together and entering into multiple, mutually loving relationships for thousands of years, contravening the strict maxims of what is considered a “conventional” relationship. Yet as a culture, we are still prone to dismiss its validity, and admonish those who find happiness living a polyamorous lifestyle.
“I had to come to terms with myself that maybe only loving one person wasn’t for me,” says Sarah, a self-identified poly who is engaged to marry her boyfriend this summer. “When you are monogamous, it is often frowned upon to have these attachments with more than one person, and the forced guilt that can be shoved on a person can be overwhelming.”
“With poly, whatever style you happen to choose, there is so much openness, and love, and understanding, it just feels more right to me,” she adds.
Now, I have even more questions. So polyamory is about loving, and being loved by more than one person? Isn’t that just a different form of swinging? What happens if you fall in love with someone you are swinging with? Do you now identify as polyamorous? For fairness, I asked a swinger to share his thoughts.
“I am not falling in love with new women. I am having sex with them. That is a massive distinction many people fail to make,” says Steve, a married man who was encouraged by his wife to find sexual partners in order to fulfill, what he identified as, unfulfilled needs. “Sex does not equal love.”
When you search polyamory and swingers on the internet, a wide array of articles, research papers, and lifestyle pages appear. There is no shortage of information, or opinions, on the two lifestyle choices. Start reading from a few sources, and it’s easy to feel more confused than you did when you started.
“Swinging, I think, is very different. Polyamory is about having both physical and emotional connections with others,” says swinger, Richard. “Swinging is purely sexual exploration with others.”
Okay, I think I’m starting to get the picture here. To me though, I can see major issues of jealousy arising from both. How would one deal with this is they were going to explore such lifestyles?
“Jealousy still happens, but we talk about it and figure out where it’s coming from,” says Sarah. “Why am I jealous? Am I actually jealous, or is there something else bugging me? What can I, he, we, do to correct this? What needs do I feel are not being met? Being open and talking about everything is very helpful, and so healthy.”
Similar sentiments were shared from the swingers side of the relationship spectrum.
“My wife and I have a marriage built upon communication and trust, period,” Steve explains.
As I continue to probe deeper on the subject of swinging and polyamory, love, and sex, I start to realize the fundamentals of a “traditional” relationship are still the key components of successful “lifestyle” relationships: trust, communication, respect, safety. So why then are these unconventional arrangements still considered taboo by mainstream culture?
Some attribute it to religion and long-held beliefs that it is wrong.
“We have been brought up as monogamy being the only way to have a relationship,” says Richard. “We are told that we are sinning otherwise.”
Other participants simply view it as an inability to try new things.
“Some people are very narrow minded and fail to even ask questions outside of their norms,” says Steve.
The one deduction I can make for certain after all of this is: no matter what your choices are, or your opinion is in relation to the relationships of others—everyone is searching for their own unique desires.